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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

Ferrari's new 248 F1 - not the end of an era says di Montezemolo

January 25, 2006 To say Ferrari had a bad year in racing in 2005 is an understatement. Going into the year with six consecutive constructors titles and five consecutive drivers titles, Ferrari finished a distant third in the constructors championship and Schumacher’s claim on being best ever slipped when he too finished a third with Alonso more than doubling his points haul. Ferrari's President, Luca di Montezemolo was very clear in his pronouncement as the 2006 Ferrari F1 machinery and staff were introduced to the media at Autodrome Mugello yesterday: "After having lost two titles at the last round, in 1997 and 1998, and six consecutive world crowns, I don't want the 2005 results to seem like the end of an era. We have lived through some incredible years. Last year we suffered a little from the successive rule changes but now we are looking ahead. We want to get back to winning ways.” Accordingly, Ferrari showed a completely new car.  Read More

Innovative rear-midship car layout vastly increases interior space

January 24, 2006 Mitsubishi today launched its new "i" minicar model throughout Japan. Developed as an innovative premium small car, the “i” utilizes a newly developed platform with an original rear-midship layout that mounts the engine forward of the rear axle line to maximize the available interior space. With no engine at the front, the front wheels can be placed as far forward as possible, enabling a wheelbase of 2550 mm (substantially longer than any minicar to date). The long wheelbase and placement of the tires at the four corners provide generous, compact car levels of interior and luggage space that boast a combined length of 2,075 mm.  Read More

Toyota discloses unprecedented details of F1 development

January 23, 2006 There are just two environments akin to the acute excellence required to compete successfully at Formula One level – a space launch and the battlefield. All three areas are so close to the edge of human understanding that the technology developed in their pursuit often filters down to consumer products and introduces a better way. Panasonic Toyota Racing officially kicked off its 2006 Formula 1 campaign with a special event at the Toyota manufacturing facility in Valenciennes, France earlier this month, at the same time as disclosing an unprecedented amount of information about the Toyota production process and how it has been applied to the former art, and now decidedly scientific process of Formula One. Incredibly, the company has applied knowledge developed in manufacturing production cars to improve its Formula One competitiveness . If you’re into car racing or manufacturing, this is a “must” read!  Read More

Gronholm scores debut win for Ford in Rallye Monte Carlo

January 22, 2006 New Ford driver Marcus Gronholm claimed victory on his debut in the new Ford Focus RS World Rally Car on the Rallye Monte Carlo today. The BP-Ford World Rally Team triumphed on the legendary Monaco-based event, the opening round of the FIA World Rally Championship, after three-days of demanding competition in treacherous ice and snow in the French Alps. Behind Gronholm, Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) completed a tremendous recovery to finish second after crashing on the opening day. The Frenchman overhauled Toni Gardemeister (Peugeot) on the final stage over the Col de Turini to lead home the Finn by 21.3sec. Gardemeister pulled clear of Manfred Stohl’s Peugeot to claim a comfortable podium with Subaru team-mates Stephane Sarrazin and Chris Atkinson completing the top six. It was Atkinson’s first Monte Carlo Rally and he ran as high as second outright during the event – a remarkable feat and one that augers well for the future of the young driver in only his first full season.  Read More

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