Daniel Ricciardo wins 2014 Belgian GP

2014 Belgian Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo has enhanced his already soaring reputation after he won a dramatic Belgian Grand Prix. It’s Daniel’s third Formula 1 race victory and the first win by an Australian at the admired Spa circuit since Sir Jack Brabham won on the old 14km layout in 1960.

Mercedes was expected to dominate the race but a clumsy move by polesitter Nico Rosberg on Lewis Hamilton, who made a lightning start from P2 to claim the lead, threw the race result wide open. Rosberg clipped Hamilton’s left rear tyre leaving the Briton with a puncture and pouting bottom lip. Rosberg, too, lost momentum when his front wing had to be replaced and opened the door for Ricciardo who was good enough to capitalise on the glimmer of hope that came his way.

Hamilton’s undertray was damaged when he limped back to the pits and proceeded to whinge his way through the grand prix until he finally got his way and the team brought him in to retire with a handful of laps remaining.

Rosberg was able to work his way back to P2, finishing just a few seconds behind Ricciardo, but he wasn’t missed by a loud contingent of race fans who booed him during the post-race podium celebrations. A harsh reaction perhaps, although his own team has Rosberg in its sights. The contact with Hamilton was clearly Rosberg’s, fault but it was much closer to being a racing incident than any deliberate sabotage. Still, the end result saw Rosberg extend his championship lead by 18 points.

Valtteri Bottas drove a relatively quiet race to claim the final podium step, a position he’s made his own in recent times. Kimi Raikkonen showed outstanding pace at times on a track where he was won four times previously and finished P4.

The closing race scrap for positions P5–P8 was breathtaking, with four drivers mixing it wheel-to-wheel and regularly swapping positions. In the end the results fell to Sebastian Vettel, Kevin Magnussen, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.

Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top 10, not that either were able to attract much camera time. While Andre Lotterer’s F1 debut lasted just one lap.

Ricciardo’s win has cemented his third place position in the drivers’ championship, he’s now only 36 points behind Hamilton, who is 29 points behind Rosberg.

[Pic: Red Bull/Getty Images]

UPDATE: Kevin Magnussen was handed a 20 second post-race penalty from the stewards after forcing Fernando Alonso off track. That pushes Magnussen fro P6 down to P12.

Continue reading →

Thierry Neuville wins 2014 Rally Germany

Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul, 2014 Rally Germany

Thierry Neuville has outlasted his competitors at Rally Germany to register his first WRC win and, of course, the first rally victory for Hyundai Motorsport as well. The 26-year-old Belgian was the fourth driver to take the lead on the tarmac roads of the Moselle wine region and the only one not to crash out of contention.

Defending world champion Sebastien Ogier was the first to retire when he careered through a barrier at high speed early in Saturday. He and co-driver Julien Ingrassia were very lucky to escape with no injury.

Ogier’s demise handed a relatively comfortable lead to Jari-Matti Latavala who was chasing his first WRC victory on tarmac. Alas on Sunday morning the Finn lost control on the opening stage and sent his car deep into picturesque vineyards. Kris Meeke was the next to take the lead hoping to post a best possible result for Citroën, but he too crashed out shortly after Latvala.

And so Neuville was the last man standing as it were. Rounding out a great rally for Hyundai was the fact Dani Sordo finished in P2, 40.7 seconds behind his team leader. A 1–2 result is an oustanding way for the Korean manufacturer to post its first WRC victory.

Latvala will rue his missed opportunity to close the gap on Ogier in the championship title race. He is still 44 points behind Ogier but could have cut that gap to as few as 16 points with the win and three bonus points.

None of that will concern Neuville and a beaming Nicloas Gilsoul who will be celebrating their maiden WRC win long into the night.

UPDATE: Hyundai’s official reaction to the win has been added below along with a Day 3 highlights video.

Continue reading →

BMW M4: Initiation ceremony

BMW M4

Until this year we didn’t know the BMW M4. To help us get to know its new icon a little better BMW has released this introductory video.

It’s a pretty cool clip and BMW is to be applauded for embracing its history and its loyal owners. Those of you playing at home may also remember the preview of this video we brought you a few weeks ago.

That M Performance exhaust sure does sound good!

Continue reading →

VIDEO: BMW X4 v Porsche Macan

BMW X4 xDrive30d M Sport v Porsche Macan S Diesel

If you can stomach the planet’s insatiable desire for SUVs then you’ll be primed for this review from Autocar. It’s the BMW X4 up against the Porsche Macan. Two SUVs likely to polarise opinions on numerous levels, but two SUVs that are likely to be among the best in their class.

Specifically, Autocar has compared a BMW X4 xDrive30d M Sport against a Porsche Macan S Diesel. And at 1895kg and 1880kg respectively these little “small” SUVs have a lot of weight to throw around from their elevated positions.

So, they’ll be crap handlers right?

Continue reading →

Audi RS3 tipped for Paris show debut

Audi Rs3 prototype

An Audi RS3 prototype has been growling its way around the Nürburgring in recent days confirming what we already knew, that we can expect it to remain powered by a 2.5 litre turbocharged inline five cylinder engine.

Peak power should give 300kW a nudge, or perhaps even more, while in-gear progress will be a blast with at least 500Nm of torque. Let’s just hope Audi sorts out the handling and makes it better than its first RS attempt on the A3 platform.

The best news, though, is a tip from carsales.com.au suggesting we’ll be seeing the RS3 under the bright lights of the Paris Motor Show (4–19 October). We’re not totally convinced that will be the case but hope that it does prove true. If it does we should see something from official Audi by late September.

[Thanks to John for the tip]

Continue reading →

Le Mans winner Lotterer to join Caterham

Andre Lotterer

Three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner André Lotterer will replace Kamui Kobayashi at the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend. At this stage the 32-year-old German has been given one race to impress in Formula 1 and Kobayashi will remain on Caterham’s driving roster.

Lotterer, known for his role with the Audi LMP1 program, has driven a Formula 1 car in the past, although not for some time having previously been the official Jaguar test driver back in 2002.

“I am delighted to be given the opportunity to take part in a Formula One race weekend,” Lotterer said. “I want to thank Caterham F1 Team for this chance. I’m ready for this challenge and I cannot wait to jump in the car and make the most out of the weekend ahead.

“I will need to get settled and used to the car quickly, as the team has worked on a number of updates and we will need to have as much time as possible out on track to optimise the car’s performance.

“I really enjoy racing at the legendary circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, it’s one of my favourite tracks and it’s very close to where I grew up, so this makes the weekend even more special and one to remember.”

It has been rare in recent years for drivers to move into F1 from sports car racing and it could be a difficult weekend for Lotterer at Caterham, a team which has struggled for consistent results so far in 2014.

Continue reading →

Ferrari 250 GT California Spider sells for $15m+

1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider

Ferrari’s place as the maker of the world’s most desirable classic cars was further enhanced at the Gooding & Company Pebble Beach auction on the weekend. This 1961 250 GT SWB California Spider topped the sales at US$15,180,000.

That result follows the US$38m world record price for a car sold at auction achieved by a Ferrari 250 GTO at the Bonhams auction, also held as part of Monterey Car Week in California.

The Gooding & Company auction netted over US$106m in sales. Take a look over the final results and let us know which car you would like to take home.

In addition to the gorgeous 250 GT, of course, would you also want the 1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider ($59,400), the 1990 Ferrari F40 ($1.32m), the 1974 Porsche 911 3.0 Carrera RS ($1m), the 1964 Aston Marti DB5 ($1.485m) or maybe just the 1968 Mini Cooper S ($46,200)?

[Pic: Gooding & Company]

Tuthill Porsche 997 RGT to tackle Rally Germany

Tuthill Porsche 997 RGT

As well as the key WRC-spec machines at this weekend’s Rally Germany there will be another car attracting headlines. It’s this 997 Porsche 911 GT3 which has been built by Tuthill Porsche.

The Porsche 997 RGT has, as its name suggests, been prepared in accordance with FIA WRC rules for GT cars. Business owner Richard Tuthill will do the driving while former Chris Atkinson co-driver Stéphane Prévot will be calling the notes.

There’s a couple of videos after the break showing the car in action. We wish Richard and Stéphane all the best this weekend. Let’s hope it’s not the last we see of them on the WRC tarmac circuit.

Continue reading →

A lap of Spa-Francorchamps with Lewis Hamilton

Belgian Grand Prix preview with Lewis Hamilton

A desperately overjoyed Lewis Hamilton climbs into the Mercedes-Benz simulator and gives us a preview of the much loved Spa-Francorchamps circuit ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Lewis has one Belgian GP winner’s trophy in his cabinet (actually that’s not true, McLaren will have kept it). That win was back in 2010 and he’ll be hoping to add to that with victory on Sunday. As always the race is must watch viewing for any F1 fan.

Continue reading →

17yo Max Verstappen to drive for Toro Rosso

Max Verstappen

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
Ferris Bueller, 17

First of all, I would like to thank Dr. Helmut Marko and Red Bull for all their trust and giving me the chance to make my Formula debut in 2015 with Scuderia Toro Rosso. Ever since I was seven years old, Formula 1 has been my career goal, so this opportunity is truly a dream come true.
Max Verstappen, 16

Max Verstappen, son of Jos the Boss, and currently just 16 years of age will replace Jean-Eric Vergne at Toro Rosso in 2015. He will be 17 and 167 days old when the Australian Grand Prix is held on 15 March next year, comfortably the eldest boy youngest man to race in Formula 1.

Previously, Jaime Alguersuari held the title of youngest man in F1 when he made his debut at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, aged 19 years and 125 days.

This time last year Verstappen Jr was still racing karts. He graduated to Formula 3 with Dutch team Van Amersfoort Racing at the start of this season and scored a podium during his debut race weekend at Silverstone. He’s since added eight victories from his 27 starts to date, included in that haul was a run of six consecutive wins.

All very impressive no doubt, but F1 won’t be an easy step and it will be fascinating to see what the latest Red Bull protege can bring to the sport.

You only have to look at the soon-to-be-discarded Jean-Eric Vergne to see that you don’t get much time to shine.

[Source: Toro Rosso]

The majesty of Spa and the future of F1

2013 Belgian Grand Prix

Nigel Roebuck is one the first Formula 1 writers I can remember. I had a collection of his season annuals from the mid–late 1980s. I like that he’s still covering F1 because, in a small way, it takes me back to my youth and helps for a moment to delay the advancing years.

In his role as editor-in-chief of Motor Sport Magazine Roebuck has written a preview for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix. He starts with some very current views, analysing the current season. Of equal value, though, is his reflection on the sport in the immediate post-Senna era and what F1 can do to help its future:

As Spa looms, followed by Monza, there is no getting away from the fact that neither the Belgian nor the Italian Grands Prix have anything like the longterm security of more nondescript ‘rich’ races, where the size of the crowd is irrelevant. Bernie Ecclestone, while confirming that Azerbaijan is shortly to be taken into the bosom of the World Championship, recently cast doubts on Monza’s future as a ‘commercially viable’ Grand Prix venue.

For now, at least, Monza survives, and – as with Spa – I am much looking forward to it. I couldn’t hide my dismay, though, when an Italian colleague told me last week of the construction of an asphalt run-off area – in place of the previous gravel trap – at the exit of the iconic Parabolica. Is this to be yet another ‘white line’ corner, with mistakes punished only by stewards?

Follow the link below for the full article.

[Source: Motor Sport Magazine | Pic: Sahara Force India Formula One Team]

Lamborghini Huracan LP620-2 Super Trofeo revealed

Lamborghini Huracan LP620-2 Super Trofeo

As expected Lamborghini literally took the cover off its new Huracan LP620-2 Super Trofeo in California on the weekend.

As its name suggests the race version of the Huracan produces 620hp and all of it is sent to the rear wheels. It tips the scales at 1270kg (2800lbs) and we think it would be a lot more fun than this understated reveal would indicate.

Turns out that video preview gave us a far better look at the car and all we have from the official source is three pretty crappy pics.

Continue reading →

VIDEO: Inside Maranello

Ferrari factory at Maranello

Here’s a relaxing video to start your week. There’s no words, just soothing music as you are taken on a video tour of Ferrari’s factory in Maranello. Perhaps it would have been better if they followed one car from start to finish. But that’s just being picky!

Continue reading →

Ferrari 250 GTO now the most expensive car ever

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

Thanks to market demands and well funded egos the title of the world’s most expensive car is a fluid thing. The current title holder is this 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO which just sold at auction for a shade under AU$41 million.

Sold by Bonhams as part of the Pebble Beach festivities in California this weekend the car was introduced with the following text:

The Ferrari 250 GT ‘Omologato’ needs little introduction as the most iconic, most habitable, street-useable, race-winning, World Championship-winning – and simply gorgeous – closed two-seat Coupe car from the world-famous Maranello factory. The GTO was developed to contest the 1962 3-litre class FIA GT World Championship series of classical endurance racing events. Selective production at Maranello and in the Scaglietti body plant in Modena ran on through the 1963 FIA GT World Championship and – sure enough – the Ferrari 250 GTO won the World title both seasons in succession.

Chassis 3851GT was last purchased in 1965 by Fabrizio Violati, then a young Ferrari enthusiast, who has kept the car for 49 years. The car’s original owner was French racer Jo Schlesser, who ensured his 250 GTO saw plenty of competition.

It’s a beautiful car with outstanding heritage and the sound of its screaming 3 litre V12 would be hard to put a price on. Still, $40 million plus would buy you a fleet of some truly outstanding cars!

Continue reading →

Mercedes-Benz AMG GT photos leaked?

Mercedes-Benz AMG GT leaked image

Mercedes-Benz is talking a big game for its new AMG GT, which is due for an official reveal next month. But as we’ve become accustomed these days images have a way of leaking out and spreading around the interwebz.

It’s not totally clear if these two AMG GT images are genuine, but based on a previous teaser from Mercedes they look pretty damn close.

The images are watermarked by the Italian website Quattroruote and that’s exactly where we followed our nose. Alas, aside from a couple of pics on the Porsche-based Rennteam forum we could find any extra info.

A few weeks back Mercedes-Benz confirmed details of the new M178 4.0 litre V8 biturbo which will power the AMG GT. It boasts 375kW (510hp) at 6250rpm and 650Nm of peak torque is available between 1750–4750rpm.

Perhaps inspired a little by the innovative turbo configuration from the F1 W05 the M178 V8 features what’s been labelled as “hot inside V” whereby the turbos are mounted inside the V layout, rather than outside the engine.

You can read more about that below. There’s also a new video from Mercedes talking up the AMG GT, which was published yesterday.

[Source: Quattroruote via Rennteam | Thanks to Wayne for the tip]

Continue reading →