Ferrari 458 Challenge testing at Fiorano

Ferrari 458 Challenge

German publication auto motor und sport have posted up video footage of the Ferrari 458 Challenge undergoing allegedly secret testing at the company’s Fiorano test track. It’s all pretty straightforward really, so watch the clip below and marvel at the clinical efficiency the 458 Challenge displays.


Ferrari 458 Challenge announced

Ferrari 458 Challenge

The Ferrari 458 Challenge, the latest Maranello road car to racecar transformation, has just been revealed at the Annual Dealer Meeting. Of course, the Challenge version is heavily based on the already mighty 458 Italia, which has been drawing praise the world over since its launch.

To make the 458 that little bit better on the track Ferrari’s engineers have played with the gear ratios to offer more low down torque, even though the road car’s standard engine and 425kW remains. The E-diff from the standard car also makes its way onto the Challenge meaning it is the first Ferrari wearing this badge to be fitted with such technology. Similarly, the most recent traction control technology from Ferrari, F1-Trac, has also been fitted to a Challenge for the first time.

A weight loss program has been employed through the use of thinner body panels. Other lightweight materials such as carbon fibre and lexan have been used as well. The Challenge sits 30mm lower than the Italia and runs on 19″ alloys with Pirelli slicks.

Apparently prospective 458 Challenge owners are “professional and gentlemen drivers alike” and they’ll be pleased to know they will be able to race their new toys in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli series from 2011. They also have a new target time of 1:16.5 at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track; two seconds faster than the F430 Challenge.

MINI Porsche

Porsche > MINI

MINI v Porsche

For those of you who have been following the MINI v Porsche challenge you’ll be pleased to know the results are in. The course was announced a couple of days ago and MINI USA provided a makeshift motorkhana style track for its Cooper S to take on the Porsche 911. Despite this attempt to tailor a course to in favour of the MINI’s excellent handling characteristics the result was predictable, as the grab above from the video shows.

You can watch the full race after the jump, including a pre-race interview with each of the drivers—Brad Davis (MINI) and Corey Friedman (Porsche). At this stage there’s been no official response from the man who started it all, MINI USA President, Jim McDowell. He has one last chance to save face, let’s see what he comes up with.

Over the years MINI’s marketing across the world has been first class; mostly cheeky, witty and engaging. This stunt, though, well, let’s hope it is only MINI USA that has jumped the shark.

[via Autoblog]

Top Gear

Top Gear movie – Around the world in 80 cars?

Top Gear world tour

As most readers will know Top Gear recently embarked on its latest world tour with their Live show. But, if the Mail Online is to be believed Top Gear will soon be setting off another global challenge. This time, though, it won’t be broadcast on your television screens. No, apparently, Top Gear have plans to make a full length feature film. The flick has already been anointed with the working title of “Around the world in 80 cars”.

The premise of the movie challenge will see Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May circumnavigate the globe in the cheapest and most unreliable cars available.

A Top Gear source has been quoted as saying, “Jeremy and the boys have become increasingly involved in outrageous stunts – but this will be their toughest. Driving around the world in different clapped-out cars will be no mean feat and should make the perfect road movie.”

In a move sure to raise the ire of recent critic Jeremy Bass, the source continued, “A feature-length film of the boys’ adventures is something that can be released in cinemas all over the world. It will also be a guaranteed big-seller on DVD when it is released, and that is a growing market.”

Given Jeremy Clarkson’s role in Love the beast, one wonders if the Top Gear leading man was inspired by Eric Bana’s foray into feature length car movie making.

Whether this rumour proves true or not may be another thing altogether. Filming a movie-length challenge that takes in numerous continents will place huge time demands on the stars and crew. Can they find the time? And, more importantly, can they make it work?

UPDATE 11 January: It appears as though the Top Gear movie plans may have been the fantasy of a Daily Mail reporter. At least, that’s what the chaps at Final Gear are speculating. The link below is now dead, so it may be safe to assume the worldwide special plans are now bunk.

[Source: Mail Online]

MINI Challenge

2008 MINI CHALLENGE – Round 8 preview


This weekend sees the final race of the inaugural Australian MINI CHALLENGE series and, after a few bumpy moments during the year, the organisers must be rapt the title will be decided at the last round. Neil McFadyen, winner of the first Australian MINI CHALLENGE race, leads the series with a 45 point lead over racing stalwart Paul Stokell. There are 60 points up for grabs for a race win, and with three races to be held at Sydney’s Oran Park Raceway over the weekend there is plenty of motivation on offer for McFadyen and Stokell.

Stokell comes off a flawless performance at Symmons Plains where he won all three races, putting him right up in the title race. He has also got form on the board in stealing Series victories in the last race at Oran Park. In 1994 he defeated Greg Murphy in the final race of the Formula Holden Championship to be awarded the CAMS Gold Star.

Home track advantage, though, is in McFadyen’s favour this weekend. The M3 Motorsport team is vastly experienced at the South-Western Sydney venue, having tuned a wide variety of racecars to get around the technical circuit in the fastest way possible—plus McFadyen lives not far from the venue.

The teams will contest qualifying at 11:20 this morning (check for results on the NatSoft Race Results website), before the first two races on Saturday—the second of which will be featured as part of the Seven Network’s V8 Supercars coverage. The round will be complete on Sunday with race three, when the inaugural MINI CHALLENGE Champion will be crowned.

MINI Challenge

2008 MINI CHALLENGE – Round 7 TV highlights

Round 7 of the 2008 Australian MINI CHALLENGE was held on 21-23 November at Tasmania’s Symmons Plains raceway, south of Launceston. Here is a five part television package including full coverage of Race 1 and Race 3 from the round. Also included is a brief interview with golf professional Stuart Appleby and AFL triple premiership player Jason Akermanis. Of course, Akermanis’ now infamous warm up lap rollover is covered in this interview, which can be seen after the jump in part 3.

The round was won by local lad Paul Stokell in the DecoRug MINI—a full wrap up of the round, including all results, can be read HERE.

The first clip, shown above, is the first half of Race 1. The rest of the race can be seen after the jump, followed by the UBER-STAR interviews with Stuart Appleby and Jason Akermanis. Race 3 comes next and is also split into two clips.

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.

MINI Challenge

MINI CHALLENGE race cut short at Bathurst

The Australian MINI CHALLENGE had a great position in the television broadcast today. Race 3, the final race for Round 6, was to be beamed live into Australia’s lounge rooms as the last event before the Top 10 Shootout for the V8 Supercars. The first two races, both won by Jason Bargwanna, were tight and exciting, and after a few ups and downs for the series management this year the MINI CHALLENGE would really benefit from a full grid and a national live telecast.

All was going well until a brutal accident on the first lap involving Darren Berry and Ryan McLeod. The crash happened towards the back of the field, on the downhill run, between the Dipper and Forest Elbow. McLeod’s MINI tagged the back of Berry’s Clipper Motor Yachts MINI and forced him head on into the wall. McLeod also slammed into the concrete, before parking on the in field just after Forest Elbow. The Safety Car was sent out, but race organisers stopped the race and declared it a no result. No points will be awarded.

The impact of Berry’s MINI into the wall was shocking. A statement from MINI CHALLENGE (shown below) reveals that Berry suffered a broken ankle and was complaining of back pain. He has been transferred to Orange Hospital where we hope he makes a quick start to a full recovery.

Berry’s accident comes on the back of Grant Denyer’s absence from the series after his incident at the NSW Monster Truck Championships last month.

MINI MINI Challenge


The Aussie MINI CHALLENGE Army - facebook page

Yes, that’s right, the Australian MINI CHALLENGE has its own facebook page. Join in and you can see and share your images, video clips and experiences with fans from around the country, and, probably the world! A lot of the drivers are also hooked up to the page so it presents a great opportunity to further extend your MINI CHALLENGE experience.

Top Gear

Top Gear – Series 11, Episode 3

In this week’s episode of Top Gear the lads set out on a £1000 Alfa Romeo Challenge. Jeremy buys a 75, May gets himself a four-cylinder GTV and the Hamster rolls up in a 2-litre Spider. Well, not literally rolls up, at first, anyway. BAFTA winner James Corden joins Rob Brydon on the couch for a fang in the Lacetti. If you’re a die hard TG fan then you’ve probably already seen the Alfa Challenge, and if you haven’t you will before week’s end. So, featured in this week’s wrap is the opening clip from the show, Jeremy Clarkson testing the six and three quarter litre Bentley Brooklands. Can you call such a car brutal and savage? Given that sixteen cows were used to fit out the car’s interior I guess you can, and that’s even before the tyre bursting performance!

MINI Motorsports

Eastern Creek MINI Challenge – TV highlights

Round 1 of the MINI Challenge kicked off in Australia over the weekend of 7-9 March at Sydney’s Eastern Creek Raceway. Here are three youtube clips from the highlights package which aired on Channel 7 today. This was the worldwide debut of the R56 MINI Challenge cars you can read more about the MINI Challenge by following the links below: