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ALFA'S 159 Sportwagon - showroom 'shooting brake'

February 1, 2006 Alfa Romeo is to produce a Sportwagon version of the all-new Alfa Romeo 159 sports sedan which will grace showrooms around the globe by the middle of this year. The new Sportwagon will debut at the Geneva International Motor Show later this month, providing a successor to the highly successful Alfa Romeo 156 Sportwagon. The Alfa 159 Sportwagon represents a very desirable all-purpose vehicle, combining Italian style with the performance and handling of a genuine sportscar, and the flexibility of use and versatility of space expected from a high class wagon – a showroom quality “shooting brake” with 195kW performance at a fraction the cost of the best-of-both-worlds functionality normally associated with such models.  Read More

The Alfa Romeo Spider is back!

February 1, 2006 One of the most famous automotive names of all time, the Alfa Romeo Spider, will be re-born at the 2006 Geneva Motor Show (28 February to 12 March 2006) with the launch of the all-new Alfa Romeo Spider. Like its predecessors, the Giulietta Spider of the 1950s and the 1990s Alfa Romeo Spider, the new Alfa Romeo Spider is a unique blend of style, performance and, considering what it offers, affordability, with cutting edge solutions in terms of mechanical specifications, including for the first time a four wheel drive Alfa Spider.  Read More

Kia and Muller make it three from three on ice

February 1, 2006 Yvan Muller and his Kia Rio took sufficient points in the final competitive round of the Andros Trophy in the French Alps to make it three out of three championship wins in successive years. The domination of France’s pre-eminent motorsport championship by Muller and the Rio was complete – despite Muller carrying more weight-penalty ballast as the twice-previous championship winner – and Muller comprehensively saw off last minute challenges from former F1 Grand Prix World Champion Alain Prost in a Toyota, Jean-Phillipe Dayraut in a BMW and Franck Lagorce in a Fiat.  Read More

Nissan Terranaut concept for explorers (with built-in computer console)

February 1, 2006 Nissan Europe will present a bold concept at the 2006 Geneva Motor Show. The Nissan Terranaut is a 4x4 vehicle which is intended for explorers and those customers with a spirit of adventure who want to travel to the extreme corners of the globe. The Terranaut was conceived to serve as a mobile working environment for scientists, geologists, archaeologists or other adventurers who travel to the most challenging environments on the planet either for their work – or pleasure. Its cabin is designed to accommodate three people – a driver, a passenger and, in the rear, where a scientist or specialist is well served with a computer console, as well as communication and analysis equipment to support them in their work.  Read More

Renault F1 Team launches 2006 championship campaign in Monaco

January 31, 2006 The Renault F1 Team today launched its 2006 world championship challenger, the R26, in Monaco with the promise of an aggressive defence of the team’s double 2005 world championship. In front of world-wide media and VIP guests in Monte-Carlo, the world champions officially launched the 2006 championship campaign with a clear objective: defending the world championship with an aggressive approach to the 2006 season. “In terms of performance objectives, there can be only one: to be fighting for the world championship in the final races,” explained Renault F1 Team President Patrick Faure. “We enter the year with an unchanged line-up in our management, our drivers and our technical team. Everybody at Viry and Enstone has been working to prepare a technical package capable of keeping us at the top. Complacency has no place at Renault. We are focused on repeating our successes.” Previous 2006 Formula One team launch reports can be found here: Ferrari's 248 F1, Toyota's TF-06, Honda's RA106 and Williams' F1 FW28.  Read More

Learn to drive the Maserati Way

January 31, 2006 Having a high performance automobile is not much use if you aren’t a high performance driver – indeed, it might get you into a whole lot of trouble and has been known to be fatal. Which all adds up to a fantastic excuse to attend the Maserati 2006 Master GT driving course. The Maserati Master GT courses are based at the Paletti de Varano de'Melegari Autodromo in the mountains near Parma in Italy and have exclusive use of this demanding and road-like circuit, and its wide range of facilities that can provide artificial rain, low grip surfaces to mimic snow and ice and full telemetry facilities so that drivers can examine in the classroom exactly what they were doing behind the wheel while on the track. All cars are provided and the full Maserati range is on offer including the Coupe, GranSport, GranSport Spyder and the Quattroporte, all in manual and Cambiocorsa sequential manual gearbox versions. The team of ten instructors is lead by Ivan Capelli, a veteran of nearly 100 F1 Grand Prix starts during his motorsport career.  Read More

New technology makes stronger pistons

January 28, 2006 The internal combustion engine by another name is a heat pump and the hotter it gets in said engine’s combustion chamber, the more efficient and powerful the little sucker becomes. As any aspiring engine tuner will tell you, pistons have a habit of complaining (cracking, melting and worse) when things get very hot in there, so the petrol-heads amongst us should be downright grateful to developments over the last quarter century in the field of ceramics. We realized how far things had come when we heard about Federal-Mogul’s new line of high-strength high-performance pistons with a ceramic piston-head coating that withstands combustion temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and delivers three times the surface hardness of hard-anodized coatings.  Read More

The launch of the Williams F1 FW28

January 27, 2006 The WilliamsF1 team launched its 2006 season race car, the FW28, at the team headquarters near Oxford this afternoon. The FW28 is a manifestly purposeful race car, its defining visual cue being the aggressive barbed sting on the back of the engine cover. The car is both a response to circumstance, including the shifting technical regulations and the new primary partnerships the team has forged with engine supplier Cosworth and tyre company Bridgestone, as well as being its own clear statement of intent. Clearly the biggest transition is the shift away from 3.0l V10 motive power in favour of a 2.4l V8, and in Williams’ case, the new partnership with Cosworth. With the associated power losses all teams will encounter, all Formula One designers have been tackling a demand for higher aerodynamic efficiency to help compensate. In the case of the FW28, this became a fundamental design parameter for the car and is reflected in many ways across the aerodynamic strategy of the car, visible particularly in the design of the rear wing with its decambered tips. The target in this area was to maintain downforce while shedding drag at the wing tips.  Read More

Concept cars move to the forefront of collectables

January 27, 2006 Collecting rare automobiles has long been one of the more rewarding forms of investment as it has the added bonus of owning and driving a fine automobile while your asset appreciates. As the successful baby boomer generation begins to retire and cash in decades of endeavour, this appreciation of fine automobilia and the wonderful camaraderie which surrounds the collector scene is driving prices ever higher … and with it, a new star has emerged among automotive collectables - the concept car. Concept vehicles are vehicles with an instant and easily verifiable history – in the same way that cars owned by celebrities fetch a higher price, the concept car is usually created as a one-off, by a team of experts as a showcase of future technology (the first car with … electric windows, fuel injection, ad infinitum) and hence it has its own celebrity status, having been the focal point of massive media promotion at a major public event. Last week’s Barrett-Jackson Auction was a prime example – it attracted record attendance, broke numerous world records, had total sales of more than US$100 million and saw US $4,320,000 paid for a General Motors Futureliner concept bus, US$3,024,000 for a 1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special concept car and US$648,000 for Shelby Cobra GT500 Concept car just nine months old.  Read More

Honda unveils new F1 challenger

January 25, 2006 The Honda Racing F1 Team unveiled its challenger for the 2006 Formula One season in Spain this morning with the new driver line-up of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello. This marked an important milestone for Honda as it is the first Formula One car launched by a Honda works team since 1968. Two identical RA106 race cars were delivered to the launch to enable Button and Barrichello to begin testing at the same time. The RA106 sported its new base canvas of Honda Racing White, a colour which has been synonymous with the Honda motorsport identity since the company’s F1 debut in 1964. The rest of the livery has the more familiar feel of the Lucky Strike brand, which remains as title sponsor for the 2006 season. The new cars and their RA806E engines are the product of a single, unified team which combines the resources of the Honda Racing F1 Team Operations Centre in Brackley, England, Honda Racing Development’s engine base in Bracknell, England, and Honda R&D in Tochigi, Japan.  Read More

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