Motorsports Peugeot Video

VIDEO: Sebastien Loeb annihilates Pikes Peak record

Sebastien Loeb, Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak

Sebastien Loeb has laser etched his name into the record books yet again by setting a time at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb that may never be bettered. According to computer simulations run by Peugeot Sport the 208 T16 Pikes Peak had a theoretical best time of 8m 15s. But that wasn’t fast enough for Loeb, he posted a time of 8m 13.878s.

That’s fast right? Consider this, the previous Pikes Peak world record was set last year by Rhys Millen. His time? A comparatively laughable 9m 46.164s.

Okay, the 20km course has lost some of its charm and intrinsic difficulties now that it has been fully paved to the summit. But there was no gravel in 2012 either. Sebastien Loeb, we bow down before you.

After the break you can watch unhindered onboard footage of Loeb’s ascent. No commentary, just man, machine and the noises generated by his 875hp purpose-built attack weapon.

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2013 British Grand Prix in pictures

2013 British Grand Prix

Here’s your pics from an epic British Grand Prix at Silverstone. If not for a customary dodgy start we may have been looking at Mark Webber with hands raised in triumph in the photo above. Instead Mark almost won, on the back of a gutsy recovery effort.

Ifs, buts and maybes—as likeable and charismatic as Mark has been during his F1 career—that pretty much sums him up. Now that his Porsche move has been confirmed, we can enjoy the Mark Webber F1 farewell tour. Certainly a win at Silverstone would have been a great way to start the journey, but a win at the Nürburgring, the venue of his maiden grand prix victory would have a nice symmetry to it as well.

Oh yeah, well done Nico Rosberg. A solid win for you. There’s over 90 pics from the British GP ready to be enjoyed after the break.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes and Pirelli got away with it (mostly)

2013 Spanish Grand Prix

While we were off last week the FIA International Tribunal delivered its verdict on the so-called secret tyre test carried out by Pirelli and Mercedes AMG.

The test was brought into question on account of Mercedes using a 2013-spec car driven by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, complete with disguised helmets. Such circumstances would appear to be a clear breach of the rules which ban in-season testing. In handing down its findings the International Tribunal said Mercedes did gain an unfair advantage.

A portion of the detailed ruling, which has been published by the FIA, reads:

It is inconceivable that Mercedes did not obtain a material advantage from three days of testing even if only as a result of the running of its car(s) – wholly irrespective of any matter relating to tyres.

Further, Ross Brawn candidly accepted in his evidence that it was inevitable that some advantage had been obtained, although he regarded that advantage as having been minimal.

Yet, on the face of it, both parties got away with it.

Officially, both Mercedes and Pirelli have been reprimanded and Mercedes will be forced to sit out the three-day young driver test to be held at Silverstone next month.

Since the young driver tests have been moved to mid-season, instead of after the final race, they have morphed from an opportunity to assess young talent to a more season-specific test where teams will extract useable data for the remaining races.

So, on the surface, the penalty will hurt Mercedes, but really, it’s all a bit wet lettuce leaf. The FIA, meanwhile, says it will endeavour to clarify matters regarding testing to ensure similar incidents don’t happen again.

Official commentary from the FIA can be read below.

Citroen WRC

If we can’t beat them, rejoin us

Sebastien Loeb wins 2013 Rally Argentina

As it stands Sebastien Loeb has one more WRC rally left in his record-breaking career. That’s scheduled to be his home event, Rallye de France-Alsace, in early October. However, Citroën’s current parlous performance against the emerging dominance of Volkswagen has forced Citroën Racing boss, Yves Matton, to think twice about letting Loeb go so easily.

With half of the WRC season behind us Loeb has proven to be the only person capable of defeating Volkswagen, as his victories in Monte Carlo and Argentina prove. He finished second to The Other Sebastienâ„¢ in Sweden and we wouldn’t mind betting that Ogier holds that victory, his first for Volkswagen, in high regard because of Loeb’s participation.

“I haven’t spoken to him yet, but for sure at the half of the season I will speak again with Sebastien to see if he has the motivation to do maybe one or two rallies more,” said Matton.

“It depends a lot on what we [Citroen] will do in the future, if we will be involved in the touring cars or not. In the following days or weeks then we will have an answer and we will see with Seb what we can do.”

We now know that Citroën Racing has been confirmed as a starter in the 2014 World Touring Car Championship, with Sebastien Loeb in the role of poster boy and lead driver. That really only leaves this year for Loeb to mount any challenge against Volkswagen in the WRC.

And what of Mikko Hirvonen, the supposed number one for Citroën this year? He’d better pull his finger out, and fast.


Citroen WRC

Robert Kubica wins again in WRC2

Robert Kubica, Citroen DS3 RRC

The popular former F1 driver Robert Kubica has continued his rise in the rallying community by taking out the WRC2 category at Rally d’Italia. He finished ninth outright in his Citroën DS3 RRC and was over four minutes ahead of his nearest WRC2 competitor.

It’s Kubica’s second victory in WRC2 and backs up his win at the Acropolis Rally earlier this month. Kubica set the early pace but lost some time on the first day after a minor off saw him damage the rear of his car. He soon put things right again, re-establishing his control before recording a comfortable victory.

“Obviously, I’m pleased to win again at an event that is completely different to Greece,” said Kubica. “Every day I spend in the DS3 RRC gives me a bit more experience. I feel good about my driving, but also about my understanding of the road surface and the reactions of the car.

“It wasn’t easy all the time, as we did have a few problems that are specific to gravel rallies, such as the dust. It was a good learning experience to drive in conditions like these, but I didn’t enjoy it at all because of the danger involved.”

The 28-year-old Pole sits fourth in the WRC2 championship, after competing in only three out of seven events. If he continues the rapid rate of improvement shown to date he may well give the front runners a shake for the title. Perhaps Robert’s longer-term future may lie in the gravel and not on super smooth F1 circuits?

[Source: Citroën WRC]

Volkswagen WRC

Sebastien Ogier wins 2013 Rally d’Italia

Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2013 Rally Italy

Volkswagen’s extraordinary debut season in the WRC continued to gather momentum after Sebastien Ogier claimed victory in the Rally d’Italia Sardegna. That makes it five wins from seven rallies for Volkswagen, with nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb the only person able to beat VW so far this year.

Ogier’s fourth win of the year came relatively easily too, enjoying a margin of more than 75 seconds back to Ford’s Thierry Neuville. A further 30-odd seconds behind was Acropolis Rally winner Jari-Matti Latvala.

Latvala slipped as low as twelfth early in the rally after a puncture cost him almost two minutes. With that in mind he was very happy to have clawed his way back to third place. Young Volkswagen driver Andreas Mikkelsen put in some very strong performances as well and was disappointed to have crashed out late in the event while pushing hard to take fourth place from Citroën’s Dani Sordo.

Speaking after the rally Ogier said his driving style helped him achieve success in the heat of Sardinia. With half to the WRC season now behind us you also get the feeling that Volkswagen think it’s now okay to start talking of world titles.

“It feels fantastic to be back on top of the podium again! I was really beginning to miss that feeling after the last two rallies. I’m simply delighted – the team did a fantastic job and the Polo ran like a dream all weekend. We now have a very comfortable lead in the Drivers’ Championship rankings,” said Ogier.

“The rally was incredibly demanding physically, due to the high temperatures, and it sometimes got as hot as 45 degrees in the cockpit. On the second day in particular, you came close to your limits and you easily lost three to four litres of fluid.

“The heat really takes it out on the tyres and the car too. My tyre-friendly driving style was no doubt one of the reasons for my victory. I was especially pleased to once again win the Power Stage. I had a tough fight on my hands there with Thierry Neuville, who was incredibly fast during that stage, as he was throughout the rally.”

Audi Toyota WEC

Audi wins 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans

Audi R18 etron, 24 Hours of Le Mans 2013

In a drama filled race Audi stood atop the podium for the twelfth time after winning the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans on the weekend. The #2 R18 e-tron quattro (Loïc Duval, Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish) completed 348 laps, one more than the #8 Toyota TS030 Hybrid (Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Stéphane Sarrazin), with the #3 Audi (Lucas di Grassi, Marc Gené, Oliver Jarvis) claiming third place, just under two minutes behind the Toyota.

Of course, the 81st running of the classic endurance race will be remembered for the sad passing of Danish driver Allan Simonsen, who was killed after crashing his Aston Martin V8 Vantage on the fourth lap of the race.

Throughout the whole race inclement weather and accidents ensured the field spent more time behind the Safety Car than organisers and fans would like. Indeed, a record amount of time was spent under full course yellows—11 periods adding up to more than five hours.

Toyota put up a strong fight and had enviable reliability. While the winning #2 Audi ran faultlessly, too, concerns were raised in the Audi garage after the pole sitting #1 R18 suffered alternator problems and lost several laps while it was repaired. Around the same time the #3 car picked up a puncture following minor contact with a slower car. Unfortunately Oliver Jarvis, who was driving at the time, had to travel almost an entire lap on the damaged tyre and the lost time added up to a two-lap deficit.

Up to that point the three Audis were jostling for positions on the podium. The #1 R18 was never able to rejoin the fight for victory and finished fifth, 10 laps down. The #3 Audi fought back well from its earlier problems to put pressure on the #7 Toyota, which succumbed when Nicolas Lapierre slid off the track in slippery conditions with an hour to go.

A special note of acknowledgement for Tom Kristensen as well, who notched up a record ninth Le Mans victory. It was the third win for Allan McNish and the first for Loïc Duval.

The LMP2 category was won by the #35 Oak Racing Morgan-Nissan. While Porsche took out both the GTE Pro and Am classes. The factory-backed Manthey team 991 911 RSRs finished first and second in GTE Pro, with the customer IMSA Performance Matmut team winning the GTE Am category.

So, we move on to 2014, hopefully learning from the death of Allan Simonsen, where the closeness of the barrier to a large tree may have contributed to his death. And we look forward to increased competition for Audi when Toyota will be joined by Porsche in the chase for LMP1 glory.

Top Gear

Top Gear Series 20 to premiere on 30 June

Top Gear, Series 20 preview

Season 20 of Top Gear is due to hit UK screens on 30 June. That’s this coming weekend; cool! Here’s a preview of what you can expect. For even more detail go straight to the source.

Aston Martin Motorsports

Allan Simonsen 1978–2013

Allan Simonsen

It’s with a heavy heart that we emerge from our week away to mention the death of Allan Simonsen at the 24 Hours of Le Mans over the weekend.

Allan raced in GT endurance events all over the world, notably V8 Supercars, Le Mans and at the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race. Simonsen also attracted attention in Australia when he piloted a Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 to a then outright Bathurst lap record during the 2012 Bathurst 12 Hour.

Fellow Dane Tom Kristensen dedicated his ninth Le Mans victory to Simonsen last night during a sombre post-race ceremony.

Simonsen was driving a V8 Vantage for Aston Martin Racing in the GTE Am category and crashed on the fourth lap. His car left the road at the Tetre Rouge corner, hitting an armco barrier. He was extracted from the car and rushed to the trackside medical centre, where he died shortly after. It’s the first in competition fatality at the 24 Hours of Le Mans since Jo Gartner in 1986.

An official statement on Simonsen’s passing from race organisers can be read here.

At the request of Simonsen’s family Aston Martin Racing continued to participate in the race, who had strong representation in the GTE Pro and Am categories.

Selected comments from Allan’s team and fellow competitors are listed below:

“It’s been an emotional weekend. No one could have ever thought it would start as it did. Our thoughts are with Allan, his family and all the mates he made around the world during his racing career.”
Darren Turner, Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE #97

“The tragedy in the opening hours of the race overshadowed the great performance of the Aston Martin Racing team. I am proud of everybody for demonstrating great speed, professionalism and competitiveness right up to the end of 24th hour. This achievement is a truly fitting tribute to Allan Simonsen.”
Dr Ulrich Bez, Aston Martin CEO

“He [Allan] was a very modest and nice person. That’s why I’m experiencing highs and lows this time. With respect to my ninth victory: I’m driving with determination and the ambition my father inspired in me. He died in March. Before his death, he told me that I’d win Le Mans this year with my team-mates. I’m hoping that one day I’ll be able to celebrate another victory with Loïc and Allan that I can dedicate to my father. Because this Le Mans success I’m dedicating to Allan Simonsen.”
Tom Kristensen, Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2

“Our joy, however, is also mixed with sadness and shock at the death of Allan Simonsen. We have not only lost a passionate racer, but also a good friend of the Porsche motorsport family. He contested his first Le Mans 24 Hours in 2007 with a Porsche. With our works driver Marc Lieb in 2005, he contested two races of the Le Mans Endurance Series in a Porsche as well. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family as well as the Aston Martin squad and his teammates at this difficult time.”
Dr Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Porsche AG

Simonsen was 34-years-old and leaves behind a wife and young daughter.


BMW 4 Series Coupe revealed

F32 BMW 4 Series Coupe

BMW has now released a full suite of information and images for its all-new F32 4 Series Coupe. Based on the F30 3 Series saloon the Coupe has a slightly restyled front to help emphasise the width of the car.

In profile and three-quarter view the 4 Series has a long bonnet and almost liftback-like appearance to the rear. This didn’t seem as apparent to us on the Concept 4 Series Coupe revealed late last year. Overall we think the production 4 Series looks pretty good, although the front edge of the bonnet does have a droopiness to it that we’d like to see in person before forming a finite opinion.

At launch you can have the 4er in three specifications. Starting with the four-cylinder turbo 420d, you’ll have 135kW/350Nm on tap. If you’d prefer petrol power you can have either the 180kW/350Nm four-cylinder turbo 428i or the range-topping 435i powered by BMW’s much loved turbocharged 3.0 litre straight six producing 225kW/400Nm.

There’s another 70 photos waiting for you after the break, including a handful of pics showing the M Sport kit. That will give us a small taste of what to expect for the highly anticipated M4. In addition to the pics we’ve also given you access to the full 36 page press kit.

Formula 1

No changes to Pirelli tyres for next three races

Pirelli Supersofts

Pirelli has announced the tyre compounds it will be bringing to the next three races (British, German and Hungarian Grands Prix). Despite coming under pressure from the teams to change the construction of the tyres, there will now be no changes until at least after the Hungarian Grand Prix.

And the reason for remaining with the status quo?

“This decision is due to the fact that the new tyres, which were brought to the Friday free practice sessions in Canada, could not be tested sufficiently due to rain—and that the teams failed to agree unanimously about introducing the changes,” reads Pirelli’s official statement.

Although, Pirelli says it has made changes to its construction process to ensure “delamination issue has been addressed.”

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2013 Canadian Grand Prix in pictures

2013 Canadian Grand Prix

The 2013 Canadian Grand Prix was a pretty easy day out for Sebastian Vettel. Indeed those ‘Mounties’ were as close as anyone got to him on race day. We didn’t want you to miss out on the fun, so here’s 86 images from the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve that will bring you as close to Vettel as any of his competitors got.