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Automotive

A Century Of Grand Prix Racing At Goodwood Festival of Speed

March 29, 2006 The world’s foremost motorsport event, the Goodwood Festival of Speed is now approaching rapidly (July 7-9) so now’s the time to book those appointments in the UK to ensure your national and international business trips coincide. One of the many highlights of this year’s festival will be the celebration of one hundred years of Grand Prix history. Renault’s Malaysian Grand Prix winner Giancarlo Fisichella will be there with last year’s World Championship-winning Renault R25 and so will be the closest-surviving relative of the car that won the first-ever Grand Prix. That first Grand Prix – the French Grand Prix which was held over two days on a 60-mile road course near Le Mans in June 1906 – was won by Renault’s Hungarian driver Ferenc Szisz aboard his 13-litre 90CV AX. (see image library for some fantastic images from the first ever Grand Prix).  Read More

Acura To Debut New MDX Concept At New York International Auto Show

March 29, 2006 Celebrating its 20th anniversary as a brand, Acura overnight announced plans to debut a concept version of the all-new MDX luxury sport-utility vehicle, April 12, at the New York International Auto Show and released an artist's rendering of the new vehicle. Scheduled to debut later this year, the 2007 Acura MDX will be the second generation of Acura's luxury SUV to be designed, developed and manufactured exclusively in North America. "The 2007 MDX will speak clearly to the advanced image of Acura and promises to put MDX solidly at the front of the pack with a striking new image, new technology and performance unmatched in the segment," said Honda’s Dick Colliver. "The designers and engineers working on this new MDX have a tremendous passion for this product that will be evident in all aspects of its design and performance."  Read More

Citroen Reigns In Spain!

March 27, 2006 Citroen may not be officially competing in this year’s World Rally Championship but it’s hard to tell. Wearing Kronos Total Citroen colours, Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Dani Sordo/Marc Marti completed a faultless and trouble-free third day of the Catalunya Rally in order to give Citroen a 1-2 win in Spain and extend Citroen and Loeb’s leads in both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ title chases for the 2006 World Rally Championship. It was the reigning World Champions’ second consecutive win in Spain, and the 22nd of their joint career. This puts Loeb just four wins away from Carlos Sainz’s record of 26 victories, while Daniel Elena is just two wins away from the co-drivers’ record of 24 wins, held by Luis Moya. Loeb and Elena have now extended their 2006 championship lead to nine points, while the Xsara chalks up its 26th triumph.  Read More

Disney's cute Porsche - Sally Carrera

March 27, 2006 Looks kinda cute for a Porsche doesn’t it. The characters of hotshot rookie racecar Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson), Sally Carrera, a snazzy 2002 Porsche 911 (voiced by Bonnie Hunt) and Mater, a rusty but trusty tow truck (voiced by Larry The Cable Guy) from Disney•Pixar’s upcoming release, “CARS” exist not only on the movie screen, but in sheetmetal as well. Our old mate West Coast movie car creator (“if it doesn’t work it’s just not finished yet”) Eddie Paul, with help from Porsche and Pixar Animation Studios’ artists and technicians, created life-sized versions of three of the film’s lead characters. Sally Carrera, a converted Porsche 911, was the first of the film’s stars to roll off the production line. Paul, who was introduced to Porsche by entertainer Jay Leno, has been building cars for Hollywood for more than three decades.  Read More

Turbo heat jacketsimprove thermal efficiency

March 26, 2006 Turbochargers not only generate lots of engine power but they generate over 1,000 degrees centigrade of heat, which produces significant detrimental side effects. We’ve written about UK-based Owen Developments before. The latest from the Oxfordshire turbocharger technology experts is a range of turbo heat shield jackets developed to fit most makes of turbine housings including Garrett, Mitsubishi, IHI, KKK and Toyota. The jackets offer four major advantages, the most significant being that by retaining heat within the turbine, the hot and expanding gasses will have the effect of increasing thermal efficiency of the turbine design. Bottom line, it’s an additional long term horsepower boost for UKP82.20 (plus VAT if you’re in the UK).  Read More

Boxster SportDesign package – improved aerodynamics and sportier looks

March 24, 2006 In an age of increasing customisation, owners of Boxster and Boxster S roadster models will be pleased to know that Porsche is now offering a SportDesign package for the beasties. This new individualization option comprises spoiler lips for mounting on the standard front trim, an automatically extending, redesigned rear spoiler, and a modified rear trim with an integrated diffuser. In addition to providing a particularly striking and sporty appearance, the new SportDesign package improves aerodynamics. The lifting forces on the front and rear axles are reduced without air resistance being increased, which further supports the vehicle’s finely-tuned, roadster-specific balance. The shape of the rear trim with the integrated diffuser evokes a conscious association with the Carrera GT high-performance sports car. The automatically extending rear spoiler, which has been designed according to the divided wing principle, contributes further to this association.  Read More

Audi V12 TDI engine writes motorsport history

March 21, 2006 Audi achieved Motorsport history on the weekend when its diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI sportscar driven by Allan McNish, Dindo Capello (Italy) and Tom Kristensen won America’s most important sportscar race, the Sebring 12 Hour sportscar endurance motor race at Sebring (USA) – the first victory in an open motorsport event for a diesel-powered car. "Flying Scotsman" McNish showed the potential of the 650-hp V12 TDI engine with a record-breaking pole-position time in qualifying. Because the heat exchanger had to be replaced after the morning warm-up, Capello was forced to start their R10 TDI from the pit-lane starting his chase from the back of the field. It took Capello only half an hour before he had moved from 35th and last position to second just behind the "sister" car of Frank Biela (Germany), Emanuele Pirro (Italy) and Marco Werner (Germany). Shortly before the end of the second hour, the McNish/Capello/Kristensen Audi took the lead and remained at the head of the field to the chequered flag – McNish also setting a new race lap record. The diesel Audis now head to the Le Mans 24 Hour event in June  Read More

Renault F1 takes 1-2 in round 2 and rockets to championship favoritism

March 20, 2006 A day can make a big difference in any form of sport, but perhaps none as pronounced as in Motorsport. Just a week ago, in the first round of the championship, the rule changes that will define a new era in Formula One appeared to have levelled the competitiveness of the field. Renewed pace from Ferrari, reliability from McLaren and Honda, and promise from Williams and BMW looked to have made for a season of intruige and a broadly contested title. But following the application of the Malaysian blowtorch, Renault now appears set to successfully defend its Formula One dual crown. The French team that gave Fernando Alonso his first Formula One crown last year has already demonstrated in 2006 that it has the speed and the reliability to run two cars at the front all year and yesterday was the first one-two for the blue and gold since Renault returned to the sport as a works manufacturer in the 2002 season and only its second in history. It was a day for technology too as Ferrari debuted a new brake cooling drum (technical details here) - an evolution of similar devices seen on cars last year, but Ferrari have taken it to its extreme. The cooling drum not only covers the brake disc and calliper, preventing heat being transferred to the wheel rim, it also completely fills the space inside the wheel rim, not only improving brake cooling, but also dramatically reducing the vortices generated by the rotation of the wheels, hence making this area more aerodynamically efficient. Other news included the coolest new helmet for some members of the Renault pit-crew and young lion Nico Rosberg who was once again the talk of the paddock with third fastest in qualifying before an engine failure wrecked his race.  Read More

Nissan announces Distance Control Assist System

March 16, 2006 Nissan has announced details of a new Distance Control Assist System, an electronic system that helps drivers control the distance between themselves and the vehicle in front. The system is able to determine the distance to the car in front, as well as the relative speed of both cars, using a radar sensor in the front bumper. If the driver releases the accelerator pedal or is not pressing the accelerator pedal, the system automatically applies the brakes. If the system determines that braking is required, an indicator will appear on the instrument panel and a buzzer will sound simultaneously. The accelerator pedal then automatically moves upwards to assist the driver in switching to the brakes. The new system is especially useful in heavy traffic when frequent braking is required.  Read More

Formula One season gets underway - Renault, Ferrari, McLaren and Honda on the pace

March 13, 2006 The 2006 Formula 1 season erupted to life yesterday with strong indications that four teams will contest the win at each Grand Prix, and three, maybe four drivers will contest the title. 2006 champion Fernando Alonso won the race narrowly in his Renault but it was the renewed pace of Ferrari and Michael Schumacher that gave everyone heart, with an all red front row on the grid for the first time since the 2004 Hungarian Grand Prix as the Scuderia Ferrari driver equalled the record of 65 pole positions set by the late Ayrton Senna. The performance of the day though was that of Kimi Raikkonen who drove through the field from dead last in his McLaren Mercedes to take third. Honda’s 2006 challenge appears credible after a year from hell in 2005, with Jenson Button missing the podium by just six tenths of a second. Finally, the first race performance of seventh place by Nico Rosberg (son of Keke) was a ripper, particularly considering the rookie cut the fastest lap of the race in a Williams Cosworth which was nowhere near the fastest car.  Read More

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