Mercedes-AMG GT revealed

Mercedes-AMG GT

After a long build up the Mercedes-AMG GT is here. Mercedes is talking itself up with this car and AMG has lofty ambitions for its latest model. Just look at the first sentence from the press release below:

The first Mercedes was a racing car, its most recent successor carries this heritage forward: with the new Mercedes-AMG GT, the Mercedes-AMG sports car brand is moving into a new, top-class sports car segment for the company.

To help achieve its aims the AMG GT features a curvaceous coupé body with most of the curves in all the right places. It’s a classic two-seat sportscar look, with a long bonnet and the cabin pushed back towards the rear wheels. It does look pretty good from most angles, although we do think this car would look more impressive before our eyes than it does on a computer screen.

Powering the AMG GT is a 4.0 litre V8 biturbo engine. The new M178 V8 is provided in two states of tune, for the entry level GT model there’s 340kW/600Nm on tap, while the GT S gets a modest boost to 375kW/650Nm.

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. The use of a dry sump also means the engine can be mounted lower, helping to provide a lower centre of gravity for better handling.

In true AMG tradition, this V8, even with turbos, sounds as raucous and thunderous as the company’s previous normally aspirated offerings. Thankfully!

Motorsport-inspired double wishbone suspension has been used for superior road holding, cornering and feedback, well, according to Mercedes anyway. A 47:53 front to rear weight distribution should also give the GT a classic sportscar feel, with that extra weight at the rear to keep the driving wheels better planted to the road.

The GT has a kerbweight of 1540kg and sees off 100km/h in 4.0 seconds, while the more powerful GT S weighs 1570kg but is quicker to triple figures with a sprint time of 3.8 seconds. Both models have had their top speeds electronically capped, 304km/h for the GT and 310km/h for the GT S.

Meaningful buzzwords like forged alloy wheels, carbon ceramic brakes, 7-speed dual clutch transmission, rear-axle locking differential and more can be found lurking in the detailed press guff below, along with a few videos and enough photos—in new 2560px mega sizing—for you to form a judgement on the AMG GT that we’d love you to share with us.

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No changes at Williams

2014 Austrian Grand Prix

While Ferrari is making heads roll off the track Williams will go into 2015 with the same driver pairing doing the business this year.

It’s great timing for Felipe Massa who stood atop a Formula 1 podium at Monza for the first time in over a year. While Valtteri Bottas who has collected four podium finishes so far this season looks every bit a grand prix winner in waiting.

You can read the team’s official statement after the break.

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Big changes at Ferrari

Luca di Montezemolo

Ferrari is having a bad year in Formula 1. Mind, in living memory, they’ve probably had worse years. But with the total dominance of Schumacher era still in recent memory the big wigs demand success and they aren’t happy with what they’re seeing. And by big wigs, we mean, big wigs.

There’s not too many people higher than Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo, but Sergio Marchionne, boss of parent company Fiat, is one of those men. And he has spoken.

The pair have had a public spat in the wake of a terrible Italian Grand Prix. As a result Luca di Montezemolo is leaving Ferrari. The legeacy he has left for the road and racing cars from Maranello cannot be underestimated and this is a massive day for the company.

“Ferrari is the most wonderful company in the world,” di Montezemolo said. “It has been a great privilege and honour to have been its leader. I devoted all of my enthusiasm and commitment to it over the years. Together with my family, it was, and continues to be, the most important thing in my life.”

Sergio Marchionne will step in as the boss of the F1 team after di Montezemolo departs in mid-October. This change follows the removal of Stefano Domenicali earlier this year.

Marchionne has put his money where his mouth is, his reputation is at stake here, and he’d better hope he can deliver the results he demands.

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McLaren could test with Honda engine this year

Eric Boullier, McLaren

The McLaren-Honda reunification could make its track-based return this year, just days after the end of the 2014 season, according to Eric Boullier.

“The safe side is that we’ll obviously be in Jerez with a McLaren-Honda car,” said Boullier, McLaren Racing Director. “But it keeps open to maybe the possibility that if everything is matching in our schedules to run it earlier.”

The only earlier opportunity for McLaren to run with its new Honda power unit would be the post-season Abu Dhabi test which is scheduled for 25–26 November.

“We won’t give a definite answer now because we actually don’t know yet exactly. It’s very likely to be before Jerez. We’ll see,” Boullier added.

Only last week Honda’s Yasuhisa Arai said the company was on track with the development of its V6 power unit and that its debut was expected in the first pre-season test at Jerez in 2015.

[Source: Sky Sports F1 | Pic: McLaren]

Aston Martin Virage Shooting Brake Zagato revealed

2014 Aston Martin Virage Shooting Brake Zagato

Normally, if you put the words Aston Martin, shooting brake and Zagato into the same sentence we’d be drooling with excitement. And, now that somebody has put all those words into the same sentence, we’re left a little bit disappointed.

It’s nice and all, the detailing on the C-pillar is beautiful, but overall it’s just not as appealing as one might have thought it would be. In two-dimensional form at least.

Maybe we’re just being picky. One thing is clear, with their long association, we hope this is not the last time Aston Martin and Zagato get into bed together.

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Jaguar XE revealed

Jaguar XE S

Jaguar has given a soft launch of its new XE saloon ahead of a full reveal at next month’s Paris Motor Show. The 250kW supercharged XE S was unveiled at a special event in London and had all the bells and whistles, including a helicopter flight in front of Tower Bridge and a boat ride down the Thames, before arriving at Earls Court.

Powered by the company’s familiar 3.0 litre V6 the engine’s peak power is complemented by 450Nm of torque and when coupled to its 8-speed ZF auto transmission and rear wheels the XE S can reach 100km/h in 5.1 seconds.

A medium-sized luxury sedan, the XE has a listed kerbweight of “from 1474kg”, which is relatively lightweight. That’s thanks to a new modular construction made from high-strength alloy which Jaguar describes as an “aluminium-intensive monocoque”. Further, Jaguar states the door pressings are made from 1.1mm gauge sheeting, instead of the usual 1.5mm gauge with no loss in stiffness.

Sitting below the XJ and XF saloons, the new XE continues the current Jaguar styling and at first glance in this more compact sizing it appears to work very well. We look forward to the inevitable addition of the 5.0 litre V8 to the range, which may or may not come with the Paris launch.

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Formula 1 expecting 20 races in 2015

2014 Australian Grand Prix

Australia will once again kick off the Formula 1 season after a provisional 2015 calendar was sent to teams during the Italian Grand Prix weekend. The maximum number of 20 races have been pencilled in for the F1 calendar, with the Mexican Grand Prix back to rejoin the fun after a 20 year hiatus.

2015 Provisional F1 calendar

  1. March 15 – Australia (Melbourne)
  2. March 29 – Malaysia (Sepang)
  3. April 5 – Bahrain (Sakhir)
  4. April 19 – China (Shanghai)
  5. May 10 – Spain (Barcelona)
  6. May 24 – Monaco (Monte Carlo)
  7. June 7 – Canada (Montreal)
  8. June 21 – Austria (Red Bull Ring)
  9. July 5 – Britain (Silverstone)
  10. July 19 – Germany (Nurburgring)
  11. July 26 – Hungary (Budapest)
  12. August 23 – Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)
  13. September 6 – Italy (Monza)
  14. September 20 – Singapore (Singapore)
  15. September 27/October 4 – Japan (Suzuka)
  16. October 11 – Russia (Sochi)
  17. October 25 – Mexico (Mexico City)
  18. November 1 – United States (Austin)
  19. November 15 – Brazil (Interlagos)
  20. November 22/November 29 – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina)

[Source: Planet F1]

Louis Chiron to inspire Veyron replacement

Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse

As the all-conquering Bugatti Veyron begins to drive off into the distance word has come through that its replacement will be called the Chiron.

According to the Bugatti website, Louis Chiron helped forge the company’s strong racing heritage, as well as being a bit of a player:

Women had always been responsible for the most significant developments in Chiron’s life, and in fact his success with the fairer sex can be directly attributed to a woman – a Russian noblewoman who financed his private school education, music lessons, and courses in etiquette, thus providing the necessary training for him to become a true lady’s man.

Fortunately for Bugatti, Chiron was also able to score on the podium, as well as the dance floor:

Chiron won his first races with Bugatti’s Type Brescia, Type 30 and later the Type 35 and Type 35 B – all courtesy of the unwitting Hoffmann. Early highlights of his career were victories in the 1926 Grand Prix of Comminges and the 1927 Grand Prix of France as well as his fourth place that same year in the Grand Prix of Europe at Brooklands, England. In 1928, Chiron joined the Bugatti company team and continued his winning streak in Rome, Reims, San Sebastian, and in the Grand Prix of Europe at Monza.

For more details about what we can expect form the Chiron, predicted to boast 1100kW, read our previous update from last month.

[Source: Car & Driver]

BMW M2 development continues

BMW M2 prototype

A new BMW M2 prototype has been spotted testing at the Nürburgring in recent days. It appears as though this new F87 test mule is wearing a bodykit much closer to the final production spec.

At this stage, we can’t really tell you much else about the car’s details or performance expectations to add from the update we brought you in June:

There’s been no change to the predicted power source, which means you can pencil in around 370–380PS (272–280kW) being offered from an N55B30T0 3.0 litre inline six cylinder turbo.

We’ll continue to monitor the M2’s progress, eagerly awaiting its market launch sometime in 2015.

[Source: Carscoops | Pics: CarPix]

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2014 Italian GP: Post-race press conference

2014 Italian Grand Prix

Formula 1’s biggest soap opera continued in Monza where Lewis Hamilton won the Italian Grand Prix overnight. Lewis took the lead after Nico Rosberg made a repeat error at the first corner, allowing Hamilton to take the lead unopposed.

It was a bad error from Rosberg, this is true. However, suggestions Rosberg ran wide on purpose are a little hard to believe, we think and more inline with the overhyped fantasy land some journalists or their editors want to create.

Elsewhere Daniel Ricciardo’s late charge earned him unofficial drive of the day plaudits but in the end all that mattered were the 10 points he got for finishing fifth.

“The strategy helped today, it kept the tyres fresh enough to go those extra few laps at the end,” Ricciardo said after the race. “I saw the cars in front of me pit and the pace was still good enough, so seeing that we didn’t have great pace when we were out of position then we thought we would try something different and that’s why we went long, which helped towards the end of the race.

“The start wasn’t ideal, it’s one of the longest runs up to Turn One here from the start line and it’s not a place where you want to have a bad one, but I dropped the clutch and didn’t get the traction, so we will have to look at that, but we kept a cool head and picked our way back through the field. I think fifth, even with a good start, was the best we could do.”

You can read the thoughts of the first three drivers after the race and you’ll see that’s where the Rosberg conspiracy theories began, albeit with a subtle question from Peter Farkas.

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Lewis Hamilton wins 2014 Italian GP

Lewis Hamilton wins 2014 Italian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has overcome a fortnight of hyperbole and poor start from pole position to win the Italain Grand Prix. He’s now within striking distance of the world championship lead, 22 points behind Nico Rosberg.

Mercedes AMG also enjoyed maximum points with Rosberg coming home in a comfortable second place. The German made an excellent start from P2 leaving Hamilton in his wake. However, an error going into the first chicane after the start-finish line allowed Hamilton to take the lead.

Lewis dropped down to P4 on the opening lap but fought back to increase pressure on Rosberg. When Rosberg went straight on at the chicane Hamilton took control of the race, built a steady margin and was never troubled.

As expected the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas were the next best, filling places P3 and P4. Massa’s podium is his first for Williams and his first taste of champagne since last year’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo’s race started badly, too. Starting from P9 he was soon out of the points in the early stages after he was forced off track through the first corner. Although, his day was salvaged thanks to his ability to run a long first stint in a one-stop race. With fresher tyres as the race drew to a close Daniel was carving through the field. His move to claim P5 from teammate Sebastian Vettel combined superb awareness, race craft and even some cheekiness.

Close behind Vettel were Sergio Perez and Jenson Button, who had a great scrap late in the race swapping positions a few times. Rounding out the top 10 in an otherwise drama free grand prix were Kimi Raikkonen and Kevin Magnussen. The latter copping a five second penalty for forcing Bottas off track.

The visit to Monza represents Formula 1’s final European race for the year as the teams head to Singapore for the next grand prix. While we may not like it the season is sure to stay alive until the final race in Abu Dhabi which will have that controversial double points policy in place.

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Chris Atkinson ready for Rally Australia challenge

2014 WRC Rally Mexico

In rallying terms it’s been a long time since Chris Atkinson was behind the wheel of the Hyundai i20 WRC, but he is very much looking forward to grabbing his opportunity at Rally Australia (11–14 September) with both hands.

“There’s been a bit of a gap between events but that hasn’t stopped me before and I’ll definitely give it a good crack,” Atkinson promised in an interview with wrc.com. “My aim is to drive well all weekend and be as fast as possible. I’ll be happy with that.”

Surprisingly, Atkinson doesn’t have any racing experience on the roads around Coffs Harbour where Rally Australia takes place. However, he doesn’t expect that will hinder his performance.

“It’s all new because I’ve never done the rally there.” Atkinson said. “But I should have a good idea about the terrain and fast gravel suits me. Knowing the nature of the Australian roads should play into my hands. I just need to write some good pace notes and drive to them.”

Atkinson will race alongside Hyundai’s lead driver Thierry Neuville and young Kiwi ace Hayden Paddon, who has earned himself some quality seat time in the WRC this year, driving the i20 WRC for three events in a row in Italy, Poland and Finland. In contrast Atkinson has only Rally Mexico to add to his WRC career and knows it will be key to do well against Paddon.

“Hayden’s obviously driving well and has been given a good opportunity with the team. But I’ve got more experience of the WRC. It’s going to be interesting and I’m sure he’ll be quick. I just need to pull my finger out and go as fast as I can.”

[Source: wrc.com]

Haas F1 signs Ferrari engine deal

Gene Haas

The Amercian-based Haas F1 team has announced it will race with Ferrari power units when it takes to the Formula 1 grid in 2016.

“There is no team in Formula One more accomplished than Scuderia Ferrari, and no team with more history. They’ve been a part of Formula 1 from the beginning, and now they’ll be a part of Haas F1 Team’s beginning,” said Gene Haas.

“Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsports. It showcases the latest technology and is the most competitive form of racing in the world. Aligning Haas F1 Team with such a tenured and successful company in Scuderia Ferrari provides our team with the greatest opportunity for success in 2016 and beyond.”

As is the norm in F1 this has been described as a “multi-year deal” although the exact terms remain confidential. Gene Haas’ CNC business, Haas Automation, signed a sponsorship deal with Scuderia Ferrari a few months back and the alignment of his F1 team with Ferrari was therefore expected.

[Pic: Getty Images]

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Front-wheel drive BMW 1 Series sedan spied

F52 BMW 1 Series sedan prototype

Despite previously suggesting it would leave Audi and Mercedes-Benz to play alone in the sand pit with the A3 sedan and the CLA, BMW now appears to making a 1 Series sedan after all.

It’s being reported the F52 1 Series sedan will be built on the front-wheel drive platform which will form the basis of the next-gen 1 and 2 Series ranges. It will also be offered with BMW’s x-Drive all-wheel drive technology.

Engine options will not go beyond four cylinders, although looking at BMW’s current 2.0 litre four pots, that still leaves room for plenty of punch.

[Source: Bimmerpost]

Watch the US launch of the new Mazda MX-5

ND Mazda MX-5 launch from Monterey, California

If you couldn’t watch the live stream of yesterday’s US launch of the Mazda MX-5 then you’re in luck, because it’s available for you after the break.

Hosting the event from Monterey in Calfornia was Derek Jenkins, Mazda Director of Design. As we’ve come to realise there wasn’t a lot of technical detail revealed in this launch but it’s still interesting to hear Jenkins talk through some of the design aspects of the new MX-5.

Besides, what could be better than watching a car launch with a bunch of whooping and hollering Americans!

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