August 20, 2013

The Ferrari 458 Speciale to Debut at Frankfurt

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , — AutoMotoFoto @ 10:00 AM

The 458 Speciale is the latest product of Ferrari’s core philosophy of extreme technological innovation and research which, in this instance, has yielded powertrain, aerodynamics and vehicle dynamics advances that transform the already exceptional 458 Italia into a car genuinely worthy of the “Speciale” moniker. The result is a completely new, uncompromising, streamlined sports car concept.

Many of the sophisticated solutions being applied for the very first time to an in-range car in the 458 Speciale, including its advanced active aerodynamics, will become a standard feature of all new Ferraris in the future.

The Ferrari 458 Speciale to Debut at Frankfurt (THUMBNAIL) 2

Flanked in the Maranello marque’s range by the multi-award-winning 458 Italia and 458 Spider, the new mid-rear-engined V8 berlinetta was designed to boost both performance and driving emotion to unprecedented levels, yet simultaneously guarantee smooth, effortless control in all kinds of situations.

Having lavished meticulous attention on the power unit that was named “Best Performance Engine” at the International Engine of the Year Awards for two consecutive years, Ferrari has now built its most powerful naturally aspirated V8 ever (605 cv) with an extraordinary specific power output of 135 cv/l , the highest ever achieved by a road-going naturally aspirated engine.

Thanks to an equally exceptional weight/power ratio of just 2.13 kg/cv, the 458 Speciale can sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in a mere 3.0 seconds (0-200 km/h in 9.1 seconds) and also clocked a lap time of just 1:23.5 at the Fiorano Circuit.

The Ferrari 458 Speciale to Debut at Frankfurt (THUMBNAIL) 3

Aerodynamic requirements guided the work of the Ferrari Styling Centre, which led the project in cooperation with Pininfarina, to sculpt the car’s forms to ensure they were more performance-oriented than ever. The most notable features in this sense are the front and rear movable aerodynamics which balance downforce and cut drag, thus helping make the 458 Speciale the most aerodynamically efficient range production car in Ferrari history (E Index of 1.5).

The technology used in the vehicle dynamics subsystems which gives the driver instant confidence and control at high speeds, natural power oversteer management and precise response to commands are further advances in an area in which Ferrari is already a well-established leader.

One of the most innovative features of the 458 Speciale is the Side Slip angle Control system (SSC) which makes it easier to achieve car control on the limit, thereby greatly improving driving emotions. Thanks to the development of an accurate new algorithm SSC performs instant-to-instant analysis of the car’s side slip, comparing it with the target value and then optimising both torque management (via integration with F1- Trac traction control) and torque distribution between the two wheels (via integration with the E-Diff electronic differential).

The Ferrari 458 Speciale to Debut at Frankfurt (THUMBNAIL) 4

Part and parcel of the car’s development included Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2 tyres which were specifically honed for it in an intensive collaboration programme involving, amongst other factors, numerous track test and simulator sessions. Conceived for the 458 Speciale, they boost performance over a single lap in the dry as well as improving performance consistency in subsequent laps. They also allow the car to avail of maximum available grip in the wet.

The above-mentioned technical content has improved the 458 Speciale’s single lap time and also delivers repeatability of that performance on subsequent laps that is absolutely unprecedented for a car not designed exclusively for track use. The result is that the 458 Speciale has the fastest response time (0.060 s) and highest lateral acceleration (1.33 g) ever achieved by a car in the Prancing Horse range.

The 458 Speciale will receive its public world debut at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in September.

The Ferrari 458 Speciale to Debut at Frankfurt (THUMBNAIL) 5

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION SUMMARY

Engine

Type
Total displacement
Max. power output
Max. torque
V8 – 90°
4495 cm3
605 cv at 9000 rpm
540 Nm at 6000 rpm

Weight

Dry weight
Weight/power ratio
1290 kg
2.13 kg/cv

Performance

0-100 km/h
0 – 200 km/h
Fiorano lap time
3.0 seconds
9.1 seconds
1:23.5

Emissions (ECE + EUDC combined cycle)

CO2 emissions** 275 g/km

**With HELE System

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October 18, 2012

The Lexus LF-LC Blue Concept Revealed in Australia

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , , , — AutoMotoFoto @ 3:00 PM
  • Lexus reveals new LF-LC Blue concept at the Australian International Motor show
  • Carbon fibre elements incorporated using technology developed for Lexus LFA supercar
  • Lexus Hybrid Drivesystem engineered to deliver highest power output yet, at 500bhp (372kW)

Lexus has revealed a new high performance sports coupe concept at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney, the LF-LC Blue.

A further development of the model which became the sensation of the Detroit motor show earlier this year, it swaps that car’s burning red exterior for a lustrous Opal Blue finish, inspired by the natural base colour of the Australian gemstone.

The LF-LC combines advanced technologies and materials with an organic design that points to styling cues that will influence future Lexus sports models. The concept in particular pioneers use of lightweight carbon fibre and the next generation of Lexus’s industry-leading full hybrid powertrain.

The experience and in-house capabilities Lexus has gained in the development of the LFA supercar have directly benefited the creation of the LF-LC, notably in the successful marrying of carbon fibre and aluminium alloy materials in its construction to achieve a light body mass. It provides an ideal platform for the next generation Lexus Hybrid Drive system. Dubbed Advanced Lexus Hybrid Drive, it features a new, high-energy battery pack designed to deliver to greater power from a unit that is smaller than those used in Lexus’s current full hybrid model range.

The full petrol-electric system in the LF-LC produces a maximum 500bhp (372kW), more power than any other Lexus hybrid.

LF-LC Blue demonstrates what the future may hold for sports cars. Lexus has been synonymous with hybrid power, superior build quality, comfort and reliability; with the LF-LC it now reinforces its design and technology credentials. The concept hints at what is to come from Lexus, which is now actively studying how it can engineer and build a vehicle like this in the future.

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October 15, 2012

Ferrari F12berlinetta Wins “Best Supercar and Luxury Car” Award

A week after receiving the award for “Best Sports Car and Convertible” for the 458 Spider, Ferrari has received another award from The Sunday Times Driving, the motoring section of the influential British newspaper. This time it is the F12berlinetta that takes the honours as the “Best Supercar and Luxury Car” in the second of two special edition issues celebrating the Top 100 Cars on sale today.

The Sunday Times Driving commented: “It sounds like it should be an uncontrollable animal, but most of the time the F12 is actually a rather civilised car. According to your mood, you can tailor it to be any Ferrari you like. Which is why the F12 is not just Ferrari’s quickest car to date, but it’s one of the best too.”

The F12berlinetta was launched at the Geneva Motor Show to critical acclaim, receiving the prestigious “Auto Bild Design Award” earlier this year. The F12berlinetta is Ferrari’s most powerful and quickest accelerating road-going production car to date, with 740hp and a 0-62mph time of 3.1 seconds. However, exceptional progress has also been made in terms of fuel consumption and emissions, which have been reduced by 30 per cent, and the F12berlinetta also boasts the highest overall aerodynamic efficiency of any Ferrari ever built with downforce of 123 kg at 200 km/h and a Cd of just 0.299.

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October 11, 2012

The SLS AMG GT3 “45th Anniversary” Collector’s Item

With the new SLS AMG GT3 “45th ANNIVERSARY”, Mercedes-AMG is presenting an exclusively appointed special series which is aimed at car collectors with a particular penchant for motor racing. The customer sports racing car is being built by hand in a limited edition of no more than five vehicles in Affalterbach. Record DTM champion and AMG brand ambassador Bernd Schneider is involved hands-on in the production process, installing the AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine in the SLS AMG GT3 “45th ANNIVERSARY” together with an AMG engine fitter.

The exclusive collector’s item is also a synonym for the successful AMG Customer Sports Programme: With 32 victories in the current 2012 Motor Sports Season and after winning three driver and team titles in the FIA GT3 European Championship, the ADAC GT Masters and the FIA GT1 World Championship, the race edition of the gullwing car of Mercedes-AMG is an impressive success story as well.

A number of exterior and interior modifications have been carried out for the special SLS AMG GT3 “45th ANNIVERSARY” model. The body of the SLS AMG GT3 “45th ANNIVERSARY” gleams auspiciously in the new designo magno graphite matt paint finish, for example. To date, this matt paintwork has been exclusive to the SL 65 AMG “45th ANNIVERSARY”, which was unveiled to mark the 45th birthday of Mercedes-AMG at the New York International Auto Show in April 2012. The AMG light-alloy wheels in designo magno graphite complement the body’s matt paintwork to perfection.

Another eye-catching feature is the striking “45 Years of Driving Performance” logo framed in silver on the GT3 racing car’s gullwing doors. The special edition’s logo embodies consummate design right down to the finer points of detail: closer inspection reveals the exposed carbon-fibre structure of the gullwing doors under the matt paintwork. The doors, along with the bonnet, mudguards, boot lid, rear wings, front and rear apron, front splitter and rear diffusor, are produced in the particularly lightweight motorsport material CFRP (CFRP = carbon fibre reinforced plastic).

The interior of the SLS AMG GT3 “45th ANNIVERSARY” evokes a functional racing car atmosphere, refined by high-quality, exclusive details: the steel roll-over cage is finished in matt “designo magno graphite” to match the exterior. The racing car’s dashboard and centre console sport a matt carbon-fibre finish. Effective contrasts are produced by six-point seat belts and a steering wheel with silver detail.

The collector’s item also boasts a seat shell in a high-strength carbon-fibre safety cell on the co-driver’s side. A special badge with a “1 of 5″ logo on the seats and the centre console alludes to the limited production run for this racing car. The standard appointments for the SLS AMG GT3 “45th ANNIVERSARY” are rounded off by a high-quality AMG indoor car cover with “45 Years of Driving Performance” logo.

Bernd Schneider as a VIP engine fitter

In keeping with the exclusive exterior and interior equipment and appointments, the engineering under the bonnet is of a similarly exclusive standard. 48 year-old racing driver Bernd Schneider is assisting the AMG engine fitter responsible for installing the naturally aspirated AMG
6.3-litre V8 engine. The special AMG engine badge bearing the signatures of Bernd Schneider and the engine fitter attest to this high-calibre duo’s handiwork. Customers who acquire one of the rare SLS AMG GT3
“45th ANNIVERSARY” models also receive an exclusive vehicle certificate signed by Bernd Schneider.

The five-times DTM champion, overall ITC winner from 1995 and FIA GT world champion from 1997 works for Mercedes-AMG as a brand ambassador and an instructor at the AMG Driving Academy.

As an established expert in the field of SLS AMG GT3 customer motorsport Bernd Schneider has carried out the majority of the test drives for the racing version of the gullwing model. He also participates in selected races as part of the AMG driver support set-up. Bernd Schneider competed for various AMG customer teams in 2012, including the 24-hour Dubai race, at the Nürburgring and in Spa-Francorchamps. In the ninth race of the VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring, Bernd Schneider took a start position together with Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED) for the AMG Customer Team Black Falcon and won the 4-hour race. After numerous podium positions in the past two years, this was his first victory with the SLS AMG GT3.

Vehicle handover directly at AMG headquarters

Handover of the SLS AMG GT3 “45th ANNIVERSARY” takes place directly at Mercedes-AMG in Affalterbach, where customers are also granted exclusive insights into the AMG world and have an opportunity to sample AMG’s hallmark excellent service and support quality. An in-depth introduction to the operation of the new vehicle and its engineering and technology is provided in the new 360 square-metre handover hall. In the case of this special GT3 racing car, this instruction is provided personally by AMG brand ambassador Bernd Schneider.

The programme also includes a tour of the factory, taking in the AMG Performance Studio, where exclusive series of individual AMG cars and one-off vehicles are developed and hand-made. This is followed by a visit to the AMG engine “Manufaktur” (hand-finishing section), where Bernd Schneider and the AMG engine fitter assembled this special AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine by hand. On request, the SLS AMG GT3 “45th ANNIVERSARY” customer can enjoy a race track coaching session as part of an initiation event with the vehicle.

Success on four continents, exemplary safety standard

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 is the racing version of the SLS AMG which has been designed for customer motorsport. 49 such vehicles for short- and long-distance races have been delivered worldwide to date. In its first season in 2011, the gullwing model quickly established itself as the most successful newcomer of the motorsport year. International customer teams competing on four continents notched up a total of 26 wins. The vehicle’s successful run was crowned when HEICO Motorsport won the team rankings at the FIA GT3 European Championship with its two Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3s – the first title for the gullwing model in its first full racing season.

In the 2012 motorsport season the SLS AMG GT3 is competing in more than 15 racing series on four continents, including the FIA GT1 World Championship, the FIA GT3 European Championship, the ADAC GT Masters, the VLN Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring and the Blancpain Endurance Series. The triple victory in the 24-hour Dubai race in January 2012, three driver and team titles in the FIA GT3 European Championship, the ADAC GT Masters, the FIA GT1 World Championship and numerous places on the podium at various short-distance, 4- and 6-hour races demonstrate the SLS AMG GT3’s sporty performance in impressive style. For the time being, the 2012 season comprises 32 victories (1st October 2012).

The SLS AMG GT3 additionally offers an exemplary standard of safety which currently sets standards in GT3 racing. Mercedes-AMG develops and produces the customer sport racing car in close cooperation with HWA AG. HWA is responsible for development and deployment of the Mercedes AMG C-Class Coupés in the DTM on behalf of and in on-going consultation with Mercedes-Benz Motorsport.

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August 17, 2012

The McLaren X-1 Concept Car

Unique X-1 concept shows that no challenge is too great for McLaren Special Operations

McLaren Special Operations (MSO), the division of McLaren Automotive responsible for the delivery of bespoke projects, will present a breathtaking one-off supercar at The Quail, an exclusive event on August 17, 2012 that is a highlight of the Pebble Beach weekend in Monterey, USA.

Called the McLaren X-1 and based structurally on the company’s groundbreaking carbon MonoCell but with a totally unique body, it has been created for an anonymous car enthusiast.

X-1: the brief

It’s not every day that a team gets to create something unique in a project that would take the supercar, even by McLaren standards, to a different level.  The challenge began with a special brief.

‘One of our clients who already owned a McLaren F1, a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and now a 12C, wanted a unique car,’ says MSO Programme Director, Paul MacKenzie. ‘The conversation began with our Executive Chairman Ron Dennis almost three years ago before the 12C was even launched. The client wanted a machine that had all the capability of the 12C but wrapped in a unique body that reflected his needs and personality.’

In a subsequent meeting, Paul Mackenzie and Design Director Frank Stephenson went to see him to start to explore the sort of car he wanted.

Says Frank Stephenson: ‘The key qualities the client desired were “timeless and classical elegance”.  Which was some challenge.’

That meeting with Mackenzie and Stephenson lasted for almost three hours. From the pages of notes that were gathered, the design team brought together hundreds of images from the world of automotive, architecture, fashion, design and even film. These were then presented to the customer, and were then narrowed down to a mood book, full of inspiring images from which the design spirit of this unique car would be derived.

Inspirational cars included a 1961 Facel Vega, a 1953 Chrysler D’Elegance Ghia, a 1959 Buick Electra, a 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K and a 1971 Citroën SM. There were various examples of architecture – including the Guggenheim museums in New York and Bilbao – plus a Jaeger LeCoultre art deco clock, an Airstream trailer, a Thomas Mann Montblanc pen, a grand piano – and an eggplant. ‘The client liked the shiny texture of the finish,’ notes Stephenson. There was also a black-and-white photo of Audrey Hepburn.

‘The client wanted a competition between external designers – some outside the automotive world – and McLaren’s own designers,’ notes Stephenson. In the end, a design by McLaren’s Korean-born RCA graduate Hong Yeo was chosen, and completed under the direction of Stephenson.

One of the biggest design challenges faced by Yeo was that most cars that embody classic elegance and timeless values have front engines and rear-wheel drive proportions.  This is the exact opposite of a mid-engined supercar.  So a new visual language for the car had to be found which led to months of sketching and modelling to find that perfect visual balance.

Stephenson recalls: ‘From this design, we then produced a 30 per cent scale model, then a full-size hard foam model. Initially, we planned to do it all digitally but the client insisted on seeing “real” models.

‘The client was very clear in his own mind what he wanted. But the only styling feature prescribed were metal brightwork rails running from the nose, over the shoulderline and hips, to the rear of the greenhouse.’

In the words of Hong Yeo: ‘X-1 embodies the McLaren value that every part has to have a purpose.  No details are simply visual cues, every one has a purpose.  Although I like to think the wide body combined with pontoon style rear fenders will ensure the car glides when it’s moving just like a superhero’s cape…’

The styling took 18 months to sign off but the result is a design that in a few decades time will be hard to pinpoint exactly when it was created … timeless, therefore, exactly as the client requested.

X-1: the creation

The X-1 is the most ambitious example yet of MSO’s expertise. It has a whole new body made of advanced materials.  Everything is bespoke, even down to the lights and wheels, necessitating new testing and homologation meaning the car took two and a half years to build, a process that began before the styling was signed off.

The X-1 had its own development programme because crucially, this wasn’t to be a fragile concept car that would never see tarmac.  It was to be a usable car, road legal and capable of travelling at supercar speeds.  It also had to comfortably seat two adults so although the 12C was already as shrink-wrapped as it could be from a packaging perspective, the ingenious flexibility of the MonoCell allowed the creation of a completely different form while maintaining the engineering purity of a McLaren.

A full CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) aerodynamic testing schedule ensured high-speed stability, and the car also completed approximately 625 miles of testing including two intensive testing stints at the Idiada circuit in Spain with chief McLaren test driver, Chris Goodwin.  After testing, the whole car was meticulously rebuilt, by hand to concours standard.

X-1: the detail

MSO Programme Director Paul Mackenzie explains: ‘The X-1 showcases the skills of McLaren Special Operations. More and more luxury customers want bespoke or individual features. The X-1 demonstrates that we can provide the ultimate personalisation service. It also shows that MSO is not just a technology led company. X-1 demonstrates a commitment to perfection and to the highest levels of quality.’

All body panels of the X-1 are made from carbon, and are finished in a rich piano black, as specified by the owner. Body sides are lacquered visual carbon fibre. ‘The black paint has no metallic or colour tints and is one of the most challenging colours to paint, but the finish is absolutely exquisite and befits the car perfectly’ adds Stephenson

Components were tooled exclusively for the car. They even include unique head- and taillights, inspired by the McLaren Speed Marque logo. The brightwork is machined from solid aluminium, and a nickel finish is then applied. The McLaren logo in the nose is specially machined from solid aluminium then nickel plated. Wheels are also unique to the X-1, and are diamond turned with a tinted lacquer to complement the exterior nickel-plated brightwork.

The brightwork itself is all machined from solid aluminium, and then nickel finished to give the same hue throughout. Even the McLaren Speed Marque badge in the nose is machined from solid aluminium, then nickel plated.

The same brightwork is used for the over-the-shoulder rails (as specified by the owner), at the base of the windscreen and the back of the glasshouse, and for the ‘eyebrows’ over the bespoke headlights. The McLaren Airbrake rear wing is also machined from solid aluminium and nickel plated, to complement the rest of the brightwork.

Perhaps the most unusual styling feature is the enclosed rear wheels, an upshot of the owner’s desire to have a car reflecting ‘timeless elegance’. The wheels are accessed by carbon panels using, as Stephenson explains, ‘some of the most gorgeous hinges you’ve ever seen’. The styling, too, is in no way compromised by the opening rear wings.

He adds: ‘The attention to detail is astonishing. Neat styling touches feature throughout the design, such as the rear number plate illuminators finished in carbon, a gorgeous machined aluminium cap is used for the header tank, and carbon finishers line the engine bay.’

The doors have also been developed specifically for the X-1, although they retain the dihedral action and twin hinges, and the roof is also new. Externally, only the glasshouse is carried over from the 12C.

The unique body of the X-1 means most dimensions have changed. The X-1 is 4658mm long – 109mm longer than a 12C. Width is 2097mm (with mirrors) – an increase of 188 mm. Despite the revised roofline, the height remains the same, at 1199mm. Kerb weight is almost identical (about 1400kg), as the lighter carbon body panels compensate for the greater length and width. Light weight, as with all McLaren projects, was a priority.

While the basic architecture of the interior did not change, personalisation includes bespoke Harissa Red McLaren Nappa leather used for the seats, door and roof trim, and switchgear with machined nickel-coated, aluminium bezels. The carbon interior trim has a titanium weave, to give a magical 3D-like effect. Special Andesite tufted carpet covers the floor.

All these changes ensured the X-1 needed special homologation for road use. The car has been thoroughly engineered to be usable and road legal. The X-1 shares the same the major mechanical components as the 12C, including the twin-turbo 625PS engine, giving astonishing acceleration and top speed.

Stephenson explains: ‘The X-1 epitomises how we can not only create a truly unique product tailored to the client, but also enable the client to become a key member of the design team throughout the process.  It has been a truly rewarding and unforgettable experience.  And I think that we as a team have created a completely unforgettable car that is true to one man’s vision.’

Hong Yeo concludes: ‘We designers are often blinded by the sun and assume that whatever we see and understand is the only way forward: to see the stars, sometimes you need the absence of that blinding light … looking at a car from a different perspective is what X-1 stands for.’

After its debut, on the Monterey Peninsular, the X-1 will return to MSO headquarters in Woking and be carefully checked over before it takes a place in the owner’s collection.

McLaren Special Operations:

The bespoke McLaren Special Operations division was launched at Pebble Beach in August last year. It offers a personalisation service that varies from simple trim changes to a whole new car – as showcased by the X-1. ‘We can realise almost anything,’ says MSO Programme Director Paul Mackenzie. ‘The only limit is the size of the customer’s imagination.’

Changes are typically to colour and trim, although Mackenzie is keen to do more mechanical work too. ‘We are not just about styling,’ he notes.

At the beginning of this year, Mackenzie expected 10 percent of all 12C customers to choose some level of personalisation – over and above that offered from the extensive McLaren option list. In fact, the percentage of customisation is currently 15 percent and rising. MacKenzie expects 20 percent of all 12C customers will ask for some degree of personalisation by the end of the year. ‘There is a major trend to individualise premium cars, and we expect the demand to continue to rise,’ he notes.

MSO grew out of McLaren’s Customer Care programme, which goes back 20 years to the days of the McLaren F1 road car. It looked after servicing and maintaining cherished F1s for owners. It also undertook personalisation when cars changed hands: new owners often wanted to put their own marks on their vehicles. Today, MSO continues to service and look after F1 road cars from around the world. It also travels to destinations around the globe, to service and maintain cars.

During the production period of the Mercedes SLR McLaren, the Customer Care department moved into personalising new cars for owners. ‘On the Stirling Moss limited edition version, about a third of all SLRs had an element of bespoke build,’ says Mackenzie. ‘It varied from more visual carbon fibre, to different colours, to retrimmed interiors, to radios – all above and beyond the normal options list.’

MSO was officially founded in August 2011 and encompasses design, project engineering, technicians and purchasing.  It also has technical and design access to other companies within the McLaren Group. MSO is headquartered in a dedicated building close to the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, UK.

Currently the most popular areas for personalisation include external visual carbon fibre body panels, carbon fibre exterior trim, carbon rear wings, vented wheel arches and different wheel finishers. Different graphics are also in demand, while bespoke colour schemes are popular. Interior changes typically include different trim and unique upholstery stitching.

‘But it’s certainly not just colour and trim,’ notes Paul Mackenzie. ‘A number of cars have had different front and rear bumpers, which has increased downforce and boosted performance. These cars had to go through full aerodynamic CFD testing before engineering sign-off.’

Adds Mackenzie: ‘We’re here to help the client personalise the car to their precise taste. They typically come to Woking to see us, or talk to their dealer, or we go to see them. We’ll sit down with them, listen to their requests, then come up with a new colour or mechanical components, or – as with X-1 – a new “tailor made” car. Of course we make recommendations but we’re certainly not here to be style police. Every client is different. Our main job is to listen and then to interpret the owner’s requests into a superb car.’

As Mackenzie concludes: ‘This is the first fully client commissioned MSO car, but it certainly won’t be the last. The carbon fibre MonoCell chassis used in the 12C, is not only stiff and light, it allows for great flexibility in body styling and provides an affordable structure from which MSO can develop unique cars, as is demonstrated with X-1.’

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August 15, 2012

McLaren 12C CAN-AM Edition Racing Concept Debuts

  • Track-only design concept weighs 1,200kg (2645.5lbs) and features unique aerodynamic package with a 30 per cent increase in downforce
  • More powerful 12C with increased engine performance of up to 630hp
  • Debut showing of a 12C racing concept variant designed for the North American market

McLaren GT, the new race car manufacturing arm of the McLaren Group, is presenting a dramatic track-focused concept at the Pebble Beach Concours, the 12C Can-Am Edition. The one-off design study is finished in historic McLaren Orange and satin black, and is the debut appearance of a 12C racing variant outside Europe.

The 12C Can-Am Edition is finished in striking shade of McLaren Orange, in tribute to cars of Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme which were extremely successful throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The bold hue is in dramatic contrast to the roof, door and bumper sections, finished in satin black, while carbon fibre also features on the side radiator vanes, wing mirrors and engine cover. The McLaren badges on the front and rear are also finished in carbon fibre. Beneath the surface, the 12C Can-Am Edition shares the same carbon fibre MonoCell chassis as the 12C road car.

Being purely a concept at this stage, and designed as the ‘ultimate track car’, the 12C Can-Am Edition is not subject to the regular racing regulations, despite being based on the 12C GT3 race car. The revised version of the familiar 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine features a unique engine calibration and optimised cooling system, which allows a power output of up to 630hp, making it the most powerful 12C derivative ever shown. The overall dry weight is just 1,200kg (2645.5lbs).

The unique aerodynamics of the 12C Can-Am Edition, as with the 12C GT3 race car, have been honed by McLaren Racing using Formula 1 technology and simulation to optimise downforce. This unique package offers an increase in downforce of 30 per cent.

The optimised aerodynamic package includes a carbon fibre front splitter, carbon fibre dive planes, and a carbon fibre wing which dominates the rear of the car. The wing is held in place by polished aluminium mounts. An imposing carbon fibre diffuser helps to further maximise the aerodynamic package, fitted beneath the two-tone rear bumper.

The extra power output of the 12C Can-Am Edition is kept in check with a braking system developed by Akebono. The highly efficient braking system sits behind a set of black satin-finished forged lightweight racing alloy wheels, shod with Pirelli racing slick tyres which complete the exterior revisions.

Inside the cockpit, the 12C Can-Am Edition is race ready as well.  Two black race seats, complete with full six-point harnesses are mounted within the cabin, while a full race-specification rollcage has also been fitted. The steering wheel is carried over from the 12C GT3, with the shape and grip derived from that of Lewis Hamilton’s MP4-24 Formula 1 car, while carbon fibre detailing also continues throughout the cabin, across the dashboard and sill panels. An integrated air conditioning system, mandatory now in a growing number of race series, is also present.

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June 11, 2012

Lamborghini Aventador vs. Bugatti Veyron Drag Race!

Filed under: Videos — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Giancarlo Pawelec @ 1:00 PM

The Lamborghini Aventador is by far one of the most sought after vehicles this year in the exotic realm. All units have been pre-sold before they were event built and while they’re starting to pop up around major cities, some have even been modified already like Underground Racing’s 1,200hp Twin-Turbo creation we featured just last week. For those that are Lamborghini purists, here’s a not-so-common pairing in way of a drag race between the V12 raging bull and the kingpin of them all, the Bugatti Veyron (Grand Sport).

The video is just a piece of a multi-car drag race held by MotorTrend with the most exciting race being the V12 Lamborghini and W16 Bugatti. Who will win? Check it out and see for yourself.

Words: Giancarlo Pawelec
Video: MotorTrend (YouTube)

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June 1, 2012

Gumpert Apollo

Exclusivity; a key word in the world of high-roller automotive enthusiasts and super cars. Recently, there have been a handful of companies popping up with interesting and unique creations like the Marussia B2 and Pagani Huayra, but nothing comes close to being radical in all forms like Germany’s Gumpert Apollo. A former engineer with Audi, the companies owner Roland Gumpert, began his venture into the automotive world with Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur GmbH established in 2004. With a price just shy of $500,000 (USD) and fitted with massive gullwing doors, it is no doubt that the Apollo is the king of the hill for a reason.

If it isn’t obvious by now, the Gumpert Apollo isn’t the most attractive of vehicles with sweeping romantic body lines and subtle accents. Instead, the Apollo is all about aerodynamics that work and that can only mean a variety of louvers, slats and gaping holes that make the vehicle stick to the road like a suction cup. Powering this radical super car is an Audi 4.2-liter V8, that is paired to twin turbochargers for an output of  641hp and 627 lb-ft. of torque. A six-speed sequential transmission puts the power to the rear wheels allowing it to sprint from 0-60mph in a mere 3.1-seconds and a top speed edging 360km/h (223.9mph)!

The Apollo’s chassis is another piece of engineering marvel. The entire vehicle is comprised of a tubular frame made of chromoly steel and integrated with a carbon fiber monocoque. As such, the weight distribution on this 2,600lb super car is set at 42/58 percent.

Inside the cockpit, the Gumpert Apollo is all business with very minimal creature comforts aside from some leather and suede trimming. Moreover, the Gumpert team is so obsessed with even weight distribution that seat adjustment (driver and passenger) is not an option. It is key to note that many of the switches and accessories are taken from the Volkswagen and Audi parts bin, after all why re-invent the wheel – right? An in-dash DVD head unit comes standard on the non-race versions and can’t really be considered an option as it doubles as the rear view mirror. This car has no rear window! Furthermore, for the ultra-privileged, a full tailor-made trim program is available to suit anyone’s wishes and budget.

Out back the Apollo continues with its approach of an all-race attitude complete with a carbon fiber diffuser, gaping mesh filled vents, and twin exhaust exits. Every aspect of the suspension and aerodynamics is fully adjustable, but the Gumpert people know what they’re doing and messing with the settings can prove fatal if done incorrectly. Providing the traction for this unhinged beast, and adding to its overwhelming stance are massive front 255/35 ZR19 tires and 345/35 ZR19 at back matted to center locking wheels. With the way in which today’s top-speed benchmarks are set, the Apollo makes minced meat of most. The V8-TT giant might not be the most easy on one’s eyes, but it certainly makes any fan-boy drool with desire.

Words: Giancarlo Pawelec & Mark Harris
Photos: Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur GmbH

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