BMW Video

Say hello to the BMW M4 GTS

BMW M4 GTS prototype

Hey, remember that wicked orange BMW M3 GTS? Well, good news, the new M4 is getting the GTS treatment too and here’s the video to prove it.

As you can see the M4 GTS will get a reworked and more aggressive front end, with a pretty big splitter by the looks. At the back there’ll be the obligatory and stupidly sized rear wing. Expect a fair portion of the interior to get chucked out, too, in a bid to shed weight.

It remains to be seen if the 3.0 inline six will get a serious makeover or if the BMW M GmbH boffins will simply turn up the wick on the turbos to create the extra 30kW or so it’s likely to have over the standard car’s 317kW.

Range Rover

Range Rover Sport SVR claims Nürburgring record

Range Rover Sport SVR

8 minutes 14 seconds.

That’s how fast that Range Rover Sport SVR above was able to lap the 20.832km of the Nürburgring Nordschleife. That’s pretty quick for a truck. Actually, it’s pretty bloody quick for any vehicle.

According to the unofficial list for unofficial production car lap times the Sport SVR has split the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG (8:13) and the BMW 1 Series M Coupé (8:15) right down the middle. That’s some exalted company for a motoring monolith to be mixing with around the Ring.

Of course, the secret lies, in part, in the SVR suffix which indicates this super SUV has 404kW (550PS) to play with from its fearsome sounding 5.0 litre supercharged V8. That’s an extra 29kW (50PS) more than the regular Range Rover Sport.

The JLR Special Vehicle Operations boffins who found that extra power also beefed up the SVR’s suspension for flatter cornering. Although, importantly, “this has been achieved without compromising the vehicle’s class-leading all terrain capabilities or high levels of comfort”.

Although, as the video below reveals, presumably they’re not referring to the oh so comfy racing buckets and roll cage fitted to this particular “production SUV”. Still, a sub-8:30 SUV that sounds like a thunder storm, what’s not to like!

Audi Video

Audi RS3 growls around the Nordschleife

Audi RS3 prototype

We really like the sound of Audi’s inline five cylinder. It’s a unique growl that heightens the senses. And thankfully it seems Ingolstadt is intent on keeping its famed 2.5 litre five pot in the next-gen RS3.

Here’s a clip of an RS3 test mule being put through its paces around the Nürburgring. The body is pretty much standard S3—look to the A3 clubsport quattro for new RS3 inspiration—but there’s no mistaking this car’s five cylinder heart.

Peak power in the RS3 will have to be at least 300kW (400hp) just to keep people interested, but perhaps, like that clubsport quattro Audi will go well beyond 300kW.

Previously it has been suggested we might see the RS3 this year. Latest guesswork says we should expect the RS3 in Geneva next March. We’ll be waiting!

[Thanks to John for the tip]

Audi Jaguar Mercedes-Benz Volkswagen

Ringing it with Audi, Jag, Mercedes and VW

Mercedes-AMG GT prototype

Regardless of what the new owners will have in store for the Nürburgring when they takeover next year it’s clear the industry pool is still in full swing.

Here’s four videos thanks to Dale from Bridge to Gantry which show a Mercedes AMG GT, an Audi R8 of some description (possibly turbocharged), a Jaguar XE Saloon and a VW Golf R Wagon being put through their paces.

What a lovely way to spend an afternoon!


Renault Megane RS275 Trophy announced

Renault Megane RS275 Trophy

What do you do if some Spanish upstarts take away your Nürburgring record? You start a hashtag revolution and raid the aftermarket parts bins from some of the world’s best automotive suppliers, that’s what!

The net result is this new Renault Megane RS275 Trophy. As its name suggests it has 10 more horsepower than its RS265 donor car. If you like the 21st century there’s 202kW on tap. The addition of a titanium exhaust from Akrapovic has no doubt freed both power and decibels from the 2.0 litre turbo.

From here it starts to get a bit murkier. The goal is for the RS275 Trophy to lap the Nürburgring in #UNDER8 minutes. Or more specifically, faster than the 7:58.44 lap time set by the Seat Leon Cupra 280.

To help reach that target a few “optional” extra can be ticked when ordering your RS275. They include adjustable Ohlins suspension, lightweight Speedline 19″ alloys and super sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.

All through the press release we keep getting told this will be an exclusive limited edition model. However is not it stated what limited means. Limited to what they can sell, or limited to 200 cars as perhaps indicated on the photo of the model-specific door sills?

As to that lap record, we’ll have to wait until the middle of next month to see what this RS275 Trophy can do. And if you want to by one you won’t be getting your new car until at least October. It will be offered in Australia, although we suspect 2015 will be well and truly under way by the time that happens.


A look at the Nordschleife in 1967

The Nurburgring as it looked in 1967

Over at AUSringers we have a series of photos showing the Nürburgring as it looked in 1967. You should take the time to go and check them out.

Bathurst 12 Hour Formula 1 Motorsports WEC

Racetracks of the world to scale

Racetracks of the world to scale

In this graphic you’re looking at 95 famous racetracks from the world, all compared alongside each other in scale. It’s been prepared by a guy appropriately named Matt Dunlop. Thanks Matt, this is great work!

Some tracks are pretty obvious to make out, such as the Nürburgring, Circuit de la Sarthe, Silverstone, Suzuka, Mount Panorama, Phillip Island and so on. If you want to identify more tracks simply click on the image above for the full-sized 3450x2400px version and all will be revealed.

For example, what’s the massive track running around the outside of the graphic? It’s the 60.73km Snaefell Mountain Course, best known for hosting the Isle of Man TT.

[Source: imgur | Thanks to Micky for the tip]

Motorsports News

The Nürburgring finds a buyer, positive signs


The Nürburgring has been sold. But not to the American investment firm HIG Capital as first thought, but rather the German-based capricorn group.

With a background in motorsport it appears fans can rest easy that the Nürburgring is in capable and willing hands.

“The buyer will take over and continue to run the business operations of the Nürburgring, with its numerous motor races, music events, tourist and test drives as well as the hotels and holiday facilities,” an official press statement reads.

“The business strategy of the bidder is that the capricorn GROUP will develop and expand the Nürburgring into an Automotive Technology Cluster. This new approach goes well beyond pure motor sport and offers the prospect of further jobs in the region.”

The purchase price for the Ring was in excess of €100 million and capricorn promises to spend up to €25 million on development, which includes the Autmotive Technology Cluster. That’s to say not all of the money assigned for development will be focused on track operations.

Other plans include the dismantling and relocation of the failed ring°racer rollercoaster. Similarly, the controversial ring°card payment system will be scrapped.

Jens Lieser, who helped to oversee the sale explained: “We had two excellent offers that were presented to the creditors’ committee. Finally they opted for the offer that delivered the highest purchase price and good prospects for the region.”

Adam Osieka, a local businessman and active racer at the Ring, who will take on the role of Managing Director under the new ownership regime, said it was key to ensure the people of the Eifel region had a positive future.

“Responsibility for local people and safeguarding the interests of the region are key to sustainable success,” he said. “They are the foundation for the new economic prospects of the Nürburgring. If the Nürburgring does well, then the people in the region also do well.”

Meyrick Cox an English businessman and racer, who was involved in the HIG Capital submission says he hopes capricorn will do well.

“Of course we are disappointed,” said Cox. “We have great experience in this sector, and our consortium runs three circuits already (including the Circuit of the Americas), and has excellent experience with the F1 and music businesses. We hope that the winning bid can do as much good for the Nürburgring as we had planned.”

All 2014 race events and public access days are scheduled to go ahead as planned. Capricorn Nürburgring GmbH will officially takeover on 1 January 2015.

[Source: Bridge to Gantry]

Motor Shows Seat Video

Geneva 2014: Seat Leon Cupra 280

Seat Leon Cupra 280

Seat has launched its Leon Cupra 280 at the Geneva Motor Show and in doing so has officially confirmed its claim on the unofficial front-wheel drive lap record at the Nürburgring.

Of the record setting lap Seat says the Leon Cupra 280 was fitted with an optional Performance Pack, which includes uprated Brembo brakes and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. Former Seat WTCC driver Jordi Gene handled the driving duties around the Nordschleife on a dry day with ambient temp of 10°C.

Interestingly the Seat UK press release also states the car used was fitted with a DSG transmission, but on the video published by Top Gear you can clearly see Gene changing gears with what appears to be a manual transmission.

The Leon Cupra 280 is powered by a 2.0 litre TSI four cylinder engine producing, as its name suggests, 280PS (206kW). It’s also available in a detuned state with 195kW on offer. Both tunes offer 350Nm of torque.

If this is all sounding a little familiar that’s fair enough, the engine is also found in Volkswagen and Audi models. Unlike its stablemates the Leon is not available with an optional all-wheel drive system.


Seat Leon Cupra 280 breaks Ring 8-min barrier

Seat Leon Cupra 280

The Seat Leon Cupra 280—essentially a detuned Audi S3/Golf R—has set a new Nürburgring benchmark for a front-wheel drive production car. The official announcement is being saved for the Geneva Motor Show, but Top Gear has the scoop for now.

As you can see the lap time is 7:58:44, which is pretty bloody quick, obviously. It also cuts almost 10 seconds off the previous best, set by the Renault Megane RS 265 back in 2011.

Seat recorded the lap time late last year with factory touring car driver Jordi Gene at the wheel. His Cupra 280 was fitted with a 6-speed manual gearbox and super sticky (optional) Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tyres.

[Source: Top Gear]


Is the McLaren P1 the new Ring-daddy after all?

McLaren P1

If you’ve been following our coverage of the McLaren P1 and its mystery Nürburgring lap time you’ll probably be over it just like we were.

And yet, thanks to Steve Sutcliffe’s review of the P1 for Autocar an unofficial ballpark time has emerged and breathed new life into the ongoing speculation. It’s been that way mostly because McLaren got cute and told us they went sub-7 minutes, but not how far below.

First, a reminder that the Porsche 918 has lapped the Ring in a documented 6 minutes 57 seconds. Clearly, McLaren will want to better that, and by some margin.

We’ve had speculation of a 7:04 lap time from the hybrid P1 and also 6:47. Well now we can add a new and much more impressive claim thanks to Autocar:

According to the rumour mill that is the internet the number of 6min 47sec keeps cropping up. But according to a McLaren insider I spoke to who knows rather more about the P1’s capabilities than any armchair expert ever could, the actual time is “a fair bit quicker than that.” As in six minutes 30 something. Either way, the P1 is, until Ferrari unleashes the LaFerrari at the Green Hell, king of the ‘Ring. For the time being.

Six minutes and thirty seconds?! That is very, very fast. As in, approaching all-time fastest ever around the fearsome Nordschleife!

Formula 1 News

Bernie Ecclestone wants to buy the Nürburgring

2013 German Grand Prix

The sale of the Nürburgring hasn’t exactly gone to plan. Almost a year after it went on sale it still doesn’t have a buyer. But that could all be about to change after Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone confirmed he has made a bid for the track.

“We made an offer and we now wait for it to be accepted,” Ecclestone revealed to German publications Handeslblatt and Wirtschaftwoche.

“We believe that we can do more than anyone else for the circuit. There could be a decision as early as in the coming weeks.”

It’s understood Ecclestone’s motivation is to help keep Formula 1 in Germany on a long-term basis. Currently, and due to financial pressures, the German Grand Prix alternates between the Nürburgring and Hockenheim from one year to the next.

It’s unclear what Eccelstone’s plan would be for the 20.8km Nordschleife but it would appear that his bid includes an offer for all sale items, including the Nordschleife and the failed NüroDisney complex.

Officials handling the bid remain tight lipped saying only: “We do not comment on any specific bidders. But everybody who has an interesting offer is warmly welcome.

“We’re in the final stages of the process and want to conclude it in Q1, so that the new owner(s) can start the season in April.”

German auto club ADAC reportedly made a low ball bid of €30–40m for the racetracks only, and not the troublesome entertainment facilities, which was rejected. Last November a €275m bid for the full Nürburgring complex was reported, but that bid appears to have stalled.

In December, Save the Ring protesters, led by Sabine Schmitz, rallied to ask for the sale of the Ring to be stopped in a bid to keep the facilities out of private ownership and in public hands.

[Source: Reuters | Pic: Red Bull/Getty Images]