Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Automotive

Musical chairs as Formula One launch season unfolds

January 16, 2007 Formula One is underway again for 2007 with the launch events as spectacular as ever. Toyota Panasonic was the first team out of the blocks, then followed McLaren Mercedes and Ferrari with world champion drivers champ Fernando Alonso no longer in Renault Mild Seven blue but the black and silver of McLaren. The biggest change is at Ferrari where Kimi Raikkonen now wears Ferrari (or is that Marlboro) Red and has been installed by the bookies as champion elect in the absence of Michael Schumacher, narrowly shading Alonso. Similarly, Ferrari is now favourite for the constructors title over McLaren with Renault seen as a distant third. BMW will unveil its new Sauber F1.07 later today in a live event held at its web site. Renault will trot out new R27 livery next week with the Mild Seven sponsorship leaving, and Williams will show its new Toyota-powered FW29 team in early February, followed by Honda’s RA107, Red Bull and Toro Rosso … with Dieter Mateschitz owning both teams, the party (current form here and here) can be expected to trump them all. If you’re an F1 tragic, might we suggest a new way to get amongst it is the on-line fantasy game Formula One Grand Prix Manager! which gives you the chance to become a manager of your own F1 racing team.  Read More

BMW focusses supercomputer on F1 aerodynamics

January 16, 2007 The seemingly endless amount of money available in Formula One is directly related to its audience size and the influence it has. Success in Formula One, the world’s most watched sporting series, is the world’s most visible gauge of automotive technological prowess, and it is so sought after because it adds value to the company brand name. With BMW entering the fray under its own name last year, it isn’t about to settle for anything less than the top step of the podium and has embarked on its quest with the aid of one of the world’s most powerful computers. The BMW Sauber F1 Team new super brain, Albert2 is Europe's fastest computer currently used in industry. It’s roughly three times faster than its predecessor and is employed solely in the study of computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Rather than going with the current trend where many teams are building a second wind tunnel, BMW invested its racing budget in Albert2, which is quite a specimen. It’s main memory is 2,048 Gb – it 256 nodes with two Intel Xeon 5160 processors each, and each of these has two cores. This results in a total of 1024 cores and a maximum computing power is 12,288 GFlops. This means that Albert2 is capable of performing 12,288,000,000,000 floating-point arithmetic operations per second.  Read More

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 Launch

January 16, 2007 The launch of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team was predictably huge – with Vodafone is joining as Title Sponsor and Official Mobile Partner, the event took on gargantuan proportions on a bespoke circuit around the Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias in Spain, coincidentally the homeland of their stellar signing, newly crowned world champ Fernando Alonso. Alonso and new teammate Lewis Hamilton form one of the youngest driver line-ups in the history of the sport and Hamilton in particular must have wondered just how big F1 would be when the pair unveiled the new livery in two MP4-21 race cars in front of a crowd of more than 150,000. This was followed by the unveiling of the 2007 car, the MP4-22. Tomorrow, the 2007 challengers will conduct a shakedown test at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia. Vodaphone released three commemorative edition phones for the affair.  Read More

Rare Mercedes-Benz 1948 Cabriolet Design Study

January 15, 2007 A rare and beautiful left hand drive Mercedes-Benz W142 A320 Cabriolet, believed to be the only example built, is certain to attract International interest from collectors at this year’s Melbourne International Motor Show auction on March 12. The imposing 5.5 metre long car was originally built by the factory around 1948 as a design study for a future luxury cabriolet model. The evolution of a single overhead camshaft engine and other technical developments that materialised in the A300 (Adenauer) saloon of 1950 rendered the cabriolet design study redundant and the vehicle was found in Indonesia by a travelling businessman 20 years ago. The fully-restored vehicle is expected to fetch more than US$350,000 at auction.  Read More

More venom for the Viper: 600 bhp 2008 Viper SRT10

January 15, 2007 One of the most brutal cars on the road will become even moreso next year when the Dodge Viper SRT10 will be packing 90 extra horsepower from its new 8.4-liter Viper V-10 engine, delivering an astounding 600 horsepower and 560 lb.-ft. of torque. The new 2008 Viper SRT10 will run from 0-60 mph in under four seconds, and deliver 0-100-0 mph performance in just over 12 seconds, braking in under 100 feet.  Read More

Hydrogen-powered motorsport on the horizon

January 15, 2007 In what could turn out to be an historic occasion for international motor sport, a new racing entity announced its formation at the closing of the NAIAS in Detroit last week. The Hydrogen Electric Racing Federation (HERF) is a new racing organization dedicated to helping the world's leading automobile manufacturers accelerate the development of hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric vehicles through sanctioned competition. The concept is to provide a competitive arena in which manufacturers can push the envelope of hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric vehicle technology, enabling racing to take its rightful place again as the principal conduit for the transference of advanced technologies and innovations directly to our future production vehicles. The first on-track competition for electric vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells will be in the United States in 2009, with international events in 2010 and 2011.  Read More

New Swiss Supercar – the Beck LM 800

January 12, 2007 A new SuperCar joined the ranks of the world’s elite automobiles this week when the Beck LM 800 was shown to the world’s public for the first time at the luxury motor show in Vienna. Built by Beck Engineering & Composits GmbH from Muri near Berne in Switzerland , the most striking feature of the car is its weight - 900 kg with a full tank of gas and an 80 kg driver – achieved with liberal lashings of aluminium, magnesium, titanium, and the latest plastic and composite materials such as Kevlar. The chassis is an active, electronically controlled unit based on current F1 design, and lots of windtunnel development gives the car a very refined aerodynamic profile. Not surprisingly, every car is a one-off and you can order the specification of your choice, from the US$600,000 base model with a 650 bhp turbocharged 4.2 litre V8, all the way to1000 bhp. We're still trying to wrap our brain cells around the concept of 1000 bhp pushing 900 kg around.  Read More

Toyota's 400 bhp  FT-HS Hybrid Sports Car Concept

January 12, 2007 UPDATED PHOTO GALLERY Toyota’s FT-HS hybrid sports concept to be shown at the 2007 North American International Auto Show next week seems to have a lot more of the real world in it than your normal concept car. Sporting hybrids are coming to mainstream consumer land very soon, if we’re reading the signs correctly. The two-plus-two concept is a front-engine, rear-drive sports car with a projected 0-62mph acceleration in the four-second range. A powerful V6, 3.5L-engine is coupled with a sports hybrid system for a total of 400 bhp. The press release specifically prices the FT-HS in a mid-priced market position, making it a truly attainable exotic should it be produced. The Japanese company will achieve it’s Everest this year when it will become the world’s top selling automobile manufacturer – our bet is that this baby will be in the 2008 model range.  Read More

Audi shows Q7 V12 TDI with 1,000Nm of torque

January 10, 2007 While we love concept cars, and we’re enamoured with futuristic power train technologies, but we must admit that one of the most alluring vehicles at the Detroit (NAIAS) Motor Show was the diesel-engined, production-ready Audi Q7 V12 TDI. It’s now nearly two decades since Audi invented the TDI engine, so it’s nice to see the technology being presented it in an all-new high-tech, range-topping guise. Derived from the company’s all-conquering race car which won everything it entered in 2006, including the Le Mans 24 hour, the now production-ready version of V12 TDI engine produces 368 kW/500 bhp and 1,000Nm of torque.  Read More

Kia Kue crossover concept vehicle

January 10, 2007 Kia showed a new concept, the Kue crossover concept vehicle, at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit yesterday. The all-wheel drive Kue is designed to deliver an exhilarating drive, both on- and off-road and is powered by a 400 hp 4.6-litre, supercharged V8 petrol engine producing 400 lbft (542 Nm) of torque. A technology-driven interface designed to adjust to driver and passenger preference is the focus of the interior functions. Touch pad and motion-sensing controls are used to adjust systems such as audio and climate control. The entire touch-pad set up is programmable so that one surface may activate the stereo for one driver and temperature for another. Rear passengers have their own, separate interface.  Read More

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