Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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Press your red trousers, internet, because concourse season is upon us. Which spurred Mini to team up with legendary coachbuilders, Touring Superleggera, and create this one-off EV speedster… thing.

But unlike most concepts, which have loosely tangible purposes like previewing styling ideas, the Mini Superleggera Vision seems to have been built for absolutely no reason beyond some lawn ornamentation at Villa d’Este. A bit like those retrogasmic efforts from BMW we got excited about last month.

So, the facts. The Vision’s been put together like a proper superleggera (translation: superlight). That means that there’s an alloy spaceframe (lots of thin alloy tubes) chassis, which is covered in large hand-beaten alloy sheets – that explains why there aren’t any panels gaps.

Louis de Fabribeckers, Head of design of Touring Superleggera, says: “In this car all unnecessary equipment or decoration is sacrificed, as performance is gained through lightness and efficiency of the bodywork and interior. The Italian touch is in the proportions and the typical waistline.”

Though, you could argue that the rear lights are both decorative and unnecessary. BMW-owned Mini’s keen to hammer home its Britishness, which is manifest in the Union Jack LED light clusters. And the Union Jack bracketry in the doors. Very subtle…

Much like its engine note. Which is entirely absent. And while Mini hasn’t told us what it’s packing under that long bonnet, we suspect it’s spun off the Mini E setup, That means 0-100kph acceleration of eight seconds, top speed of 153kph, and 200-kilometre range on each charge.

Look closely, and you’ll see some slightly more familiar Mini-ish sights. In the middle of the vast, naked aluminum dashboard – which is made out of a single sheet of metal – there’s the new car’s centre console. It’s been extended to include a touch-sensitive control element and two circular instruments with metal surrounds on the right.

Look on the far right and, as well as a wantonly analogue clock, there’s a little button that activates a camera set between the driver and front passenger seat, which, as BMW has it, “captures those particularly worthwhile moments on the road.” Hmm.

OK, so it’s extremely frivolous, and slightly cringey, but you would, wouldn’t you?

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Last month, Top Gear revealed that the Hennessey Venom GT hit 435.31kph at the Kennedy Space Centre. The highest speed ever recorded by a production car.

This feat of engineering – and demonstration of sizeable gentleman vegetables – earned the company a Guinness World Record, but not for the fastest production car (Bugatti still has that one). The GT’s officially the fastest roadgoing, four-wheeled production thing to hit 300kph.

Time to celebrate, then. Which Hennessey has by building a triplet of “World’s Fastest Edition” Venom GTs. Each costs Rs 7.54 crore, and gets special red, white and blue stripes. No power upgrades though – not that you’ll need any, because it’s still packing the same 7.0-liter, twin-turbo V8, which churns out 1244bhp and kicks the GT to 300kph in a record-breaking 13.63 seconds.

Hennessy CEO, Don Goldman, says “We’re thrilled about what we achieved at Cape Canaveral with the Venom GT,” said Hennessy CEO Don Goldman, “and now the World’s Fastest Edition is a living, breathing celebration of that record achievement.”

Want one? Too bad. All three of the World’s Fastest Editions are so fast they’ve already sold out…

 

Tata Sons and Tata Motors have just announced their support for Indian pacesetter Narain Karthikeyan in his venture into the Japanese Super Formula racing series. Having gotten himself a seat with the team that finished third in the championship last year – Impul Hoshino Racing, Narain and his 2010 Super Formula Championship teammate, Joao Paulo de Oliveira, will go up against some pretty stern competition in the form of some 24 hour Le Mans and WEC World Champions and former F1 pilots like Vitantonio Liuzzi, Takuma Sato and Kazuki Nakajima to name a few. 

The Super Formula Series comprises a total of 8 rounds, seven in Japan and one in South Korea. The Japanese championship commences on April 13 and concludes on November 9 later this year.

The cars partaking in the Super Formula series (which was previously known as the Formula Nippon championship) this year, are built on the new Dallara SF14 chassis. At the heart of these racing machines lie 550bhp-producing, direct injection, turbocharged 2-litre, 4-cylinder motors – provided by Honda and Toyota – that are mated to a Ricardo six-speed paddle shift ’box. Each Super Formula Series car is not allowed to exceed 650kgs (inclusive of the driver).

When asked about his expectations in the series this year, Narain says, “I’m optimistic. I think I stand a good chance of getting on the podium more than once in this year’s Super Formula series. I was fourth fastest after two practice sessions in Japan earlier this month. And the best part about this spec-series is that everyone has an equal opportunity to win. It’s all based on the car setup. In fact, I went faster around the Suzuka circuit this year in the Super Formula car than I did back in 2012, in the HRT.”

 Schu wins fight against pneumonia - report

 

Michael Schumacher has won his fight against pneumonia, according to the major German daily newspaper Bild.

Earlier, the seven time world champion’s manager Sabine Kehm played down rumours the lung infection had interrupted efforts to wake Schumacher from his long coma.

She said the great German “still is in a waking up process”.

Now, Bild says its sources indicate pneumonia is no longer posing “an acute danger” to the former Ferrari and Mercedes driver’s health.

“Schumacher has already won the fight against pneumonia,” the report claimed.

 Bugatti having problems selling the remaining 40 Veyrons

 

All of them are convertibles

Bugatti is having major problems in selling the remaining Veyrons which are worth no less than 62.5M EUR (about 85.6M USD or 51.2M GBP).

The Bugatti Veyron coupe was introduced back in 2005 and its production was capped to 300 units which were sold over a course of five years. Bugatti planned an additional 150 units of the Grand Sport roadster of which they still have 40 units and can’t find buyers.

These 40 unsold Veyrons amount to around 62.5M EUR and Bugatti hopes that through its Dynamic Drive Experience program they will be able to shift some of the remaining units. The program gives prospective buyers the possibility to test the Veyron Grand Sport in the United States both on open roads and on a closed airport runway. Bugatti says this program is now being offered for 20 to 25 potential customers each weekend.

The company estimates all remaining cars will be sold within 12 months but don’t expect a successsor immediately after that as Bugatti Sales Director for the Americas John Hill told Bloomberg “I wouldn’t expect an announcement for a couple years down the road.”