Ferrari Formula 1 McLaren Red Bull Racing Video

One last look at the 2010 Formula One season

2010 F1 highlights

The recent launch of Ferrari’s F150 challenger marks the unofficial beginning of the 2011 Formula One season. So, for a quick reminder of the immediate season past, take the jump to watch an excellent highlights clip which celebrates the sport’s 60th anniversary year.

It’s a very entertaining piece of footage and is the perfect complement to our 2010 pictorial season review.

MINI Challenge

BMW Australia withdraws support for MINI Challenge

MINI Challenge, Townsville

In disappointing, but perhaps unsurprising news, BMW Australia today announced the MINI Challenge series would not continue beyond the current season. Originally set up in 2008 with a five-year commitment commercial realities have influenced BMW Australia’s position.

MINI national manager, David Woollcott, explains, “Motorsport is becoming increasingly expensive and, together with a contraction in the television exposure, this has meant the race series has become financially unviable.

“MINI would also like to recognize the contribution of all those who participated in MINI Challenge including V8 Supercars, CAMS, our series sponsors Hertz and Pizza Capers and most of all, the teams and drivers who made MINI Challenge such a thrilling spectacle.”

This means the upcoming round on Sydney’s streets at Homebush (3–5 December) will be the last round for the series.

AUSmotive passes on its best wishes to the organisers (Toleman Motorsport), the team owners and all the drivers. Here’s hoping Homebush is a great celebration of a category that has provided some thrilling entertainment over the last three years.


Volkswagen Polo GTI – Australian pricing & specs

Volkswagen Polo GTI

Volkswagen Australia has just released pricing and specifications for its newest hot hatch, the Polo GTI. There’s good news, too, as the pre-delivery list pricing comes in under $30K and both 3-door ($27,790) and 5-door ($28,990) versions are available.

Standard equipment includes a 132kW twincharged 1.4 litre engine, a 7-speed DSG transmission, an XDL electronic diff, ESP with Hill Start Assist, six airbags and 17″ alloys. For the first time on a Polo model xenon headlights with LED daytime running light can be added as an option ($1600). Unfortunately, there is no option for a manual transmission at this stage.

The usual GTI colour palette is offered with two flat colours Candy White and Flash Red (pictured). While an extra $500 will get you pretty sparkles in your Shadow Blue, Reflex Silver or Deep Black Pearl Effect colour options.

Performance is both brisk and efficient, with the baby GTI matching its larger Golf GTI cousin by reaching 100km/h in 6.9 seconds. While the 6.1l/100km fuel economy rating is first class for a car in this segment.

Press statements from Volkswagen Australia are available after the break, including a gallery of 24 local images.

UPDATE: Thanks to Corey_R who has left a note in the comments section that all Polo models in Australia can be ordered with a Panoramic Glass Sunroof. This will be a $1700 option and will be available from January 2011 build. There is nothing official from VW Aus just yet, but the information comes from a credible source.


So, what is the Audi quattro concept like to drive?

Audi quattro concept

When the stunning Audi quattro concept made its debut in Paris it was little more than a show car queen. It had a modest engine designed only to get it from transporter to show hall. Now, though, Audi has fiddled with the car and installed a few herbs. 402 of them to be exact, or around 300kW if you want the straight version. Powered by the wonderful 2.5 litre inline five cylinder found in the TT RS and now the RS3, as well, and tipping the scales at a whopping 235kg less than the RS3, this 21st century Quattro should be the duck’s guts. But is it?

Well, luckily for us, or perhaps more luckily for them, Matt Prior from Autocar and Henry Catchpole from Evo have been given the chance to drive the car to find out.

Matt Prior: Encouraged by Audi to press on a bit faster, I give it a bootful, at which point it feels rather less like a concept car. The Quattro really flies. Once you’ve a few revs wound on – anything over 2500 is fine – most of the lag disappears and the distinctive five-pot warble kicks in, followed by some whistling and chattering of the wastegate when you lift and start the process in the next gear. It feels R8 V10 kind of fast, but that acceleration is easier to get at. The shift is sweet too. The brakes perhaps a tad over-servoed, but manageable enough. Engine response is fine for heel and toe downshifts.

Henry Catchpole: Despite steering that could do with being a bit quicker, you can feel how light it is and what a short wheelbase it has as it snaps into corners with the rear end feeling particularly keen. It also rides amazingly well for a concept car with big 20in wheels. Even after a limited drive I want one.

While it’s very early days yet—the concept is yet to be approved for production—it sounds as though Audi’s engineers have a great platform to work on should the top brass give them the okay to build it.

We especially like this last line from Catchpole’s review, “If you put the sat-nav into ‘Race’ mode then it will apparently read you pace notes for the road ahead like a rally co-driver!” For the full text follow the links below.

[Source: Autocar & Evo]


2010 Macau Grand Prix highlights

2010 Macau Grand Prix

The Macau Grand Prix has a long and proud history. Many of the drivers to win the event have gone on to enjoy stellar Formula One careers, including Riccardo Patrese (winner in 1977, 1978), Ayrton Senna (1983), and Michael Schumacher (1990). Even a few Australians have stood atop the winner’s podium, Kevin Bartlett (1969), Vern Schuppan (1974, 1976) and David Brabham (1989).

Since 1983 Formula Three cars have been the main event and last weekend was no different. If you missed the 57th running of the race fear not, there’s a short highlights package for you after the break. The opening segments were filmed on a Canon 7D, too, pretty amazing, really.

[Source: Cinema5D]


Audi quattro concept looks set for production

Audi quattro spied in Malibu

This Audi quattro concept, or perhaps that should read, the Audi quattro concept was recently spotted in Malibu, California. It’s understood the Paris Motor Show star was out on a photoshoot, with a red 1980s Ur-Quattro also along for the ride. The cruisey quattros had a Police escort and all.

Okay, that’s not the properly exciting bit. Apparently the guy who snapped the spy pics (see link below for more) spoke to the lucky folks with the stunning quattro concept and was told Audi will be putting the concept into limited production. Bravo!

Let’s just hope the earlier rumour that its price could be a whopping £200,000(AU$320,000) is proved false.

[Source: Jalopnik]

Green Machines Mercedes-Benz Motor Shows

LA 2010: Mercedes-Benz BIOME

Mercedes-Benz BIOME

Check out this crazy thing, it’s called the Mercedes-Benz BIOME. We’re half expecting it to be some sort of joke. Read the press guff after the break and you’ll see why.

Truth is, the BIOME was created as an entry into the LA Design Challenge and it is a stunning looking creation. But the explanation of how it works and how it draws its power, well—honestly, you just can’t make this stuff up—it’s extraordinary. Who knows, maybe one day the joke will be on us.

Oh, the winner of the LA Design Challenge was the Cadillac Aera, an equally hair-brained concept powered by fiction.


Audi quattro concept could be positioned above R8

Audi quattro concept

A tweet made by Evo magazine from the LA Auto Show suggests the Audi quattro concept could be positioned above the R8 if it goes into production. Also predicted is a £200K price point and a limited production run of no more than 1000 cars.

From a pure power point of view the 300kW concept car is unlikely to knock the 412kW R8 GT from its performance perch. As a result, we remain a little unsure that Audi would place the quattro concept above the R8 in its model line up.

Of course, it is entirely possible that any road going version of the Paris concept could redefine performance Audis; using an entirely different engine to the tweaked TT RS powerplant previewed back in September.

Whatever the case, if Audi builds it, we will want one!


LA 2010: AMG forms alliance with Ducati

AMG & Ducati

Announced at the LA Auto Show is news of a formal cooperation agreement with Mercedes-Benz performance arm AMG with Italian superbike maker Ducati. In its early visible form this new partnership will be seen with AMG sponsoring the Ducati MotoGP team.

Other activities would see Ducati motor cycles available for test rides at AMG performance days and so on. It’s all about exploring new markets that suit each brand. Ola Källenius, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH explains, “AMG and Ducati ideally complement each other, as both companies share the same values: racing as the driving passion, and high performance plus exclusivity as the central brand messages of both AMG and Ducati. This long-term cooperation will help us to jointly access new customer groups.”

You can read the full press release after the break.

UPDATE 22 November: According to Autocar AMG is keen to take its relationship with Ducati to the next level by buying the Italian superbike maker. Click HERE for more.

Motor Shows Subaru

LA 2010: Subaru Impreza Concept

Subaru Impreza Concept

What’s this – has Subaru got its mojo back? You’re looking at a new Impreza Concept, which was revealed by Subaru overnight at the LA Auto Show. As you can see it’s nowhere near as bad as you might think. Recent designs from Subaru have been, well, let’s be honest, pretty ugly, but this new direction could launch Subaru into new heights.

Okay, the details around the front grille are a little fussy. And it’s pretty clear Subaru just put a sheet of tracing paper over the Mazda 6 to create those chunky wheel arches. But, the general look is very successful. In side profile the car looks smart, sharp and very stylish. From the front three-quarter angle you see that strong shoulder line which gives the car a great presence.

Just don’t look at the back. No, really. Don’t.

Formula 1 Red Bull Racing

Sebastian Vettel talks about winning the World Championship

Sebastian Vettel

Here’s a brief video of Sebastian Vettel talking about his Formula One World Championship success. He starts by talking about his relationship with Mark Webber, before discussing his emotional response to discovering he had just won F1’s biggest prize.

[Thanks to Wes for the tip]

Motor Shows Porsche

LA 2010: Porsche Cayman R

Porsche Cayman R

As promised Porsche has revealed a new lightweight Cayman model at the Los Angeles Auto Show. As expected the car is badged as the Cayman R.

Porsche didn’t really offer up any surprises either, which means the Cayman is a bit lighter, has a bit more power and will cost a few more beans, as well. Peak power from the mid-mounted 3.4 litre flat six is 243kW (330bhp). Weight has been reduced by 55kg to a new unladen total of 1295kg. The ride height, too, has been lowered by 20mm.

Buyers can pick from a 6-speed manual, or a 7-speed PDK. Porsche reckon you can reach 100km/h in 5.0 seconds with the manual, or 4.9 seconds with the PDK. The optional Sport Chrono Plus package reduces the 100km/h sprint time further to 4.7 seconds. Top speed is around 280km/h.

Now, onto the use of the R badge. Keen Porsche scholars will remember the 1967 911 R. Just 19 were made with 210bhp powering a super lightweight 830kg body. The R stood for Racing (or Rennen in German). Since then the R badge has been used very rarely by Porsche and when it has been used it’s mainly been for true race cars, such as the GT3 R. Purists might not be happy that a Cayman with a mere 10bhp more than a Cayman S and a respectable, but not spectacular, 55kg weight difference has been granted such special status. Quasi-celebrity motoring journalist Chris Harris is not pleased.

You’ve got video, pics and Porsche’s press release available after the break to help you decide if Porsche has used the R appropriately.