Audi Centre Canberra acknowledged for excellence

Audi Centre Canberra

The Audi Mark of Excellence awards were held earlier this month and Audi Centre Canberra was named the Metropolitan Dealer of the Year for 2009. This is the third major award for the Canberra dealership after winning the Provincial category for 2007 and 2008. Audi Centre Canberra happens to be my local dealership and after adding one sale to their tally last year I can say that Richard and his team do a great job servicing the Canberra region.

Audi Centre Townsville took out the Provincial award for 2009, a great boon for the dealership after opening a new showroom just over 12 months ago.

Further details after the jump.

Top Gear

Even more on Top Gear in Vietnam

Top Gear 12x08 - Vietnam Special

The Top Gear Vietnam Special was eagerly awaited by AUSmotive HQ, especially after our world exclusive announcing the recording of the episode, in October 2008. Now, Australian viewers can see the 75 minute episode, in full, on SBS tomorrow night from 7:30pm.

In addition to our earlier “More on Top Gear in Vietnam” post are these six wallpaper sized images from the filming. Simply click on each pic to load the 2000x1320px super image. There’s some good images, including a few from the stunning Ha Long Bay.

The good lads at Explore Indochina also have some behind the scenes images on their website. These guys were used as consultants during the episode with some of the bike modifications carried out under their supervision. If you’re ever considering a road trip, with a difference, then this is the company for you.

For a brief overview of the episode click HERE *spoilers* or simply book a spot on your couch for 7:30 tomorrow night.

(Thanks to Andrew for the all the tips.)

Audi News

Audi’s 2009 Super Bowl commercial

The 2009 NFL Super Bowl has been run and one and in true American fashion the event is as much about the razzle dazzle as it is about the athletes. Part of the razzle dazzle centres around the hype created by the round of television commercials that premiere during the game.

Here is Audi’s one minute ad called The Chase promoting their supercharged A6. It features Jason Statham behind the wheel (or Handsome Rob for fans of The Italian Job remake). He takes an historic path progressing through recent decades driving other prestige marques before, you guessed it, finally getting away from the baddies in his shiny new Audi A6.

It’s probably not quite up there with Audi’s 2008 Super Bowl commercial which was a parody of the famous horse head scene from The Godfather. That ad, along with a behind the scenes promo for this year’s ad can be seen after the jump.

News Rolls-Royce

High Rollers raise stakes

Rolls-Royce - Spirit of Ecstacy

Rolls-Royce is bucking the trend of financial disaster in this carpocalypse now era. Yesterday, the Goodwood based company proudly announced a 20 per cent growth in sales during 2008. Last year 1212 Rollers found new homes, up from 1010 in 2007. That marks their fifth consecutive year of increasing sales.

“This is a tremendous result and particularly gratifying considering the challenging economic environment manufacturers faced in the second half of 2008,” said Tom Purves, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “Once again much of this success lies with the highly skilled and dedicated workforce that we have at Goodwood”.

Given the gravity of the financial meltdown in the United States some may be surprised to learn that almost 40 per cent of Rolls-Royce deliveries headed Stateside. Northern Europe and the Middle East also saw big spikes on 2007 figures, up 95% and 48% respectively. Even Australia did its part in boosting BMW’s balance sheet in the RR column, with sales also growing here.

It will come as no surprise that the most successful Rolls-Royce dealer worldwide is in Abu Dhabi. While Beijing, Beverly Hills, Dubai and London rounded out the top five.

Can sales continue to grow for a sixth consecutive year? I can’t imagine the chaps at Goodwood are banking on that. However, preparations are underway for the introduction of a brand new model series, currently named RR4, due later this year (design sketch images below).

Audi Targa Tasmania Top Gear

AUSmotive – Best Stories 2008

For my last post of the year, a quick reflection on my favourite stories from 2008.

Getting a world exclusive on Top Gear filming in Vietnam was right up there—thanks to Andrew for giving me the scoop on that one, it has provided some nice traffic to the site, that’s for sure, with Jalopnik and autoblog just a few to reference the story.

Sharing my experiences as a Targa Tasmania service crew member for friend and privateer entrant ‘Robbo’ was also a rewarding process to go through. All going well, I should be back on board helping out Robbo in 2009, so stay tuned for that.

Credit goes to Ross and Debra for taking me back to my youth by bringing their Audi RS2 to the Shannons German Autofest. If I made a list of the cars that have shaped my love for most things automotive the RS2 would be in the top five. Putting together that piece and seeing the car up close and personal was a real highlight.

I also enjoyed covering the MINI CHALLENGE during 2008, there were plenty of thrills and spills, and here’s to a bigger and better 2009 for the MINI team.

A special mention to Gabe and his team at MotoringFile/BimmerFile for their support, their willingness to reference both AUSmotive and AUSringers has been a great help in building up traffic.

Finally, thank you to all of the readers out there. Your comments have been great, but, please, post lots more of them! Page loads and unique visitors to the site have really grown in the last few months, a trend I hope will continue well into 2009. If you have any feedback about AUSmotive that you would like to pass on, please share your thoughts below in the comments section. Your feedback can only aid the continual improvement of this site and help me provide the content you want to read.


Motorsports News

2008 Race of Champions

Race of Champions 2008 - Sebastien Loeb and David Coulthard

The 2008 Race of Champions has been run and won. Sebastien Loeb was the winner, claiming his third ROC title. Loeb took the trophy after edging our retiring F1 stalwart David Coulthard in the third and deciding race.

For Australian viewers, Channel When are living up to their name by broadcasting highlights of the event at a date that is yet to be confirmed.

If you can’t be bothered waiting for that you can watch a few highlights below, courtesy of WorldCarFans and YouTube.

MINI Challenge

2008 MINI CHALLENGE climbs the Mountain

A case of better late than never with these two clips of the Australian MINI CHALLENGE at Bathurst. Of course, Mount Panorama circuit is probbaly the best in the country, and rates pretty highly as one of the best circuits anywhere in the world. It was fitting then that the racing here was some of the best the we saw in the first year of the MINI CHALLENGE.

Held over the V8 Supercar weekend 10-12 October, these two clips contain a few highlights from the Round 6 action, including full coverage of Race 2. Just watch as Jason Bargwanna strikes to claim one of the most opportunistic wins you’re likely to see.

The second clip can be seen after the jump.

Formula 1

F1 2008 – Season highlights

Formula One seasons usually have everything. Excitement, high drama, controversy, and tears. Lots of tears. On that front, 2008 delivered one of the most dramatic seasons in recent times. There was pit lane mayhem, wet weather mayhem and post race results mayhem. It was also the first season to see a race held at night under artifical light. And, of course, the last race seemed to fit almost all of these things into one single event.

If Al Gore used to be the next President of the United States, then Felipe Massa used to be Formula One’s next World Champion. A title he held, provisionally, for less than one minute. That was all the time Lewis Hamilton needed to claim the extra point he needed to secure his first F1 title. It truly was an amazing climax to an amazing season.

This clip does a pretty good job of capturing the action, the drama and, ultimately, that final lap euphoria.

UPDATE 16 December: Looks like Bernie pulled the plug on this compilation.
UPDATE 19 December: Thanks to Matt for the YouTube find (while it lasts).


2008 MINI CHALLENGE – Round 8 wrap up

Neil McFadyen - 2008 MINI CHALLENGE champion

As reported earlier this morning, Neil McFadyen has been crowned the first Australian MINI CHALLENGE winner, seeing off a late season charge from DecoRug racer Paul Stokell. The Round 8 winner, Jason Bargwanna, showed magnificent pace after joining the series mid-season claiming a series high ten race wins. Oran Park was no different for the former Bathurst champ as he strolled home in the last race this morning by a lazy 11 seconds.

McFadyen ended up winning the Series over Stokell by just 24 points after a tense final race. Although the Sydney-sider in the Industrie Clothing MINI was playing the conservation game, he survived a scare on the final lap when the close following Gary Young received contact from Barry Sternbeck—almost taking out McFadyen in the process. However, he completed his lap and took the series win.

On claiming his title McFadyen paid tribute to his team, “I really have to give this up to the M3 Motorsport team. They have lived and breathed MINI Challenge since the Series was first announced and for some of them even to the detriment of their own businesses. It’s been a tough year for us and I’m really happy to be crowned a national champion once again. MINI CHALLENGE has been a fantastic series to be a part of and I’m sure it will only grow from here.”

MINI Challenge

Neil McFadyen wins the 2008 MINI CHALLENGE

MINI CHALLENGE - Round 8, Oran Park

According to the race results as published on the NatSoft website, Neil McFadyen in his Industrie MINI is the inaugural Australian MINI CHALLENGE champion.

By finishing Race 3 in 9th place McFadyen has done enough in the final race of the season to hold off the late season challenge from DecoRug’s Paul Stokell. Just! Race 3 saw a one-two finish for Team Bargwanna, with Jason taking line honours ahead of his cousin Scott.

More details and final points tallies, as they come to hand, to be provided in a complete Round 8 wrap up.

MINI Challenge

2008 MINI CHALLENGE – Round 8, Race 2

After two races at this weekend’s meeting, the 2008 Australian MINI CHALLENGE is still alive and will be decided in tomorrow’s final race of the year. Will it be DecoRug’s Paul Stokell, or will Indutsrie Clothing’s Neil McFadyen hold on to his current 51 point series lead?

With 60 points up for grabs for the win in race 3 at 9am tomorrow, Stokell needs a minor miracle to win the crown. Only a top two finish, with a McFadyen DNF will see him win the championship.

Sadly, there will be no television coverage of tomorrow’s race but this afternoon Race 2 was broadcast live on Channel 7. The first half of the race can be seen above, with the second half after the jump. Make sure you watch the second clip to see Justin Hemmes rolling the UBER-STAR car (more on Justin can be read in the Round 8 preview). Luckily, he walked away with nothing more than injured pride.

MINI Challenge

2008 MINI CHALLENGE – Round 7 wrap up

Last weekend’s MINI CHALLENGE racing at Tasmania’s Symmons Plains raceway had plenty of action at both ends of the field. Up front, former Tasmanian Paul Stokell had a dominant weekend winning all three races. However, at the back of the tightly packed field UBER-STAR driver Jason Akermanis got off to an eventful and rather embarrassing race debut by rolling his car on the warm up lap (see clip above).

Akermanis, often a human headline in the world of AFL, certainly attracted plenty of attention. Both he and Stuart Appleby had set solid qualifying times for Race 1, although both were starting from the rear of the grid. Appleby’s time was 1.3 seconds off pole, while ‘Aka’ was 1.5 seconds from the front. But Akermanis didn’t see any race action after his roll on the parade lap, although he did return for Sunday’s two races after a mammoth effort from the UBER-STAR team. The crew worked until 4am to have his car ready and to Akermanis’ credit he finished race 3 with his head held high, setting a best lap time of 1:03.7. His time compares well with the fastest lap from the race, of 1:02.9, set by former Bathurst winner Jason Bargwanna.

But it was Stokell creating all the headlines at the front of the pack, finally bringing an end to Bargwanna’s great run of consecutive victories by stringing together three of his own. Stokell’s success created the biggest impact on the series leader board as well, moving him into second position behind Neil McFadyen.