Wednesday, August 17, 2016

’64 TEMPEST: THE GRAY GHOST RIDES AGAIN!

Car Guy Chronicles’ Mike Matune is trackside for the return of the Gray Ghost at The Monterey Pre-Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Fans at the annual Pre-Reunion, held a week prior to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, were given a real treat with the return to active competition of the Gray Ghost. In 1971 a team of moonlighting Pontiac engineers, including Herb Adams, raced Sandy Adams ‘64 Pontiac Tempest in SCCA’s Trans-Am series.

Joining the effort at the Pre-Reunion were Herb Adams, right, and original Trans-Action team member Harry Quackenboss, left. Here they study some photos With Marty Amon of Peterson Motorsports (provided by CGC’s Mike Matune) as they work to set up the car. It’s like the intervening decades never occurred!

The car had last turned a wheel in anger more than fifteen years ago. Its return to the track is a result of a herculean effort by owner/driver John Hildebrand, Randy Peterson of Peterson Motorsports in Sonoma and LJ's Speed & Machine Shop of Napa, CA.

Monday, August 8, 2016

‘16 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE SRT: HEMI HAULER!

This Jeep Grand Cherokee is the biggest beast in the SRT family, and the most luxurious and all-weather capable, blogs Dan Scanlan. 
Birthed by the Street and Racing Technology team responsible for the V-10 Dodge Viper as well as the Charger and Challenger SRT392s and Hellcats, this hunkered-down Grand Cherokee commands respect both on and off road.

“Regular” Grand Cherokees make do with a 3.6-liter V-6, a 3-liter EcoDiesel or a 5.7-liter V-8. But our 5,600-mile-old Grand Cherokee SRT has a 6.4-liter HEMI with aluminum alloy heads. It funnels its 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque through an 8-speed automatic hooked to a traditional shifter, as well as paddle shifter.

This Jeep has four-wheel-drive. But it’s a full-time Quadra-Trac 4x4 system with a big mechanical "wet" clutch and electronic limited slip differential in the rear that allows up to 100 percent of torque sent to one rear wheel if needed. Torque split and suspension damping is handled with a new Selec-Trac center console knob. Our 5,104-pound SUV had Auto, Sport, Tow, Track, and Snow modes, which control all-wheel drive, transmission, paddle shifters, stability control, suspension and steering.
 Auto is the default and launches quick off the line when your right foot demands, with torque split 40 percent front, 60 percent rear. Eco lets the engine shift into 4-cylinder on highway and deceleration to save gas, with second gear starts.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

TIME TO WIN: A WEEK IN THE LIFE OF A SHORT TRACK RACER!

Last season was a dream year. Seven starts produced three poles, a track record, five podiums and three wins, blogs Stephen Cox. 
This year, not so much. My car caught fire in a well-publicized road race at Circuit of the Americas, burning the team's Porsche to the ground and sending me to intensive care.

Driving for NASCAR's Rohrbaugh Racing at Midvale Speedway in June, we set a new track record and won the pole but went home a disappointing second place after a controversial finish. Rohrbaugh has the best team in the Super Cup Series. We have the best crew chief and mechanics. We have the best equipment. The time to win is now.

The series visits Virginia's Lonesome Pine Raceway on August 6th. Built in 1972, the venue is among the finest bullrings in the south. I remember working pit lane at Lonesome Pine as part of Speed Channel's announcing team for the Hooters Pro Cup Series over a decade ago. This will be my first time driving the track.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

2016 PITTSBURGH VINTAGE GP: GO FAST; DO GOOD!

Charity-driven GP has donated in excess of $4.35 million since 1983 to support Autism and educational organizations.
This year’s Grand Marshall was Anatoly “Toly” Arutunoff, racer, author and consummate car guy. Don’t let his ‘55 Thunderbird fool you, it’s a veteran of the European historic rally circuit and he raced it over the weekend.

The Royale Formula Ford Challenge marked a return of open-wheel, single-seat, purpose-built racecars to the PVGP. They did not disappoint, as Christian Morici would lead virtually from the drop of the green flag, taking the win and setting a new course record in the process.

Anticipation runs high early on Saturday morning as the Pre-War/Select MG-T Series cars take to the track for the day’s first session. These cars create a time warp back to the infancy of U.S. sports car racing. Other than MG vehicles are invited to participate in this class. Peter Patterson’s Allard J2X, below, moves through “Westinghouse Turn” with the sun still on the horizon. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

BENT AXLES: SHOWTIME IN OLD TOWN!

The 36th Annual Bent Axles Car Show is all about cool cars, BBQ and raising money for local charities, blogs Jim Palam.
Established in 1980 to showcase the Bent Axles Car Club's love of hot rods and Santa Maria-style barbecue, this casual and fun, small-town show draws spectators and participants from all over California. This year, approximately 150 cars were on display in the heart of Old Town. Proceeds from the show are generously donated to local charities.

According to Ford's brochure, the ’35 V8 Cabriolet is 'A rakish, all-weather car' and, thanks to its ease of driving, 'A splendid choice for the woman motorist.' Well, it's pretty easy to see that it oozes enough sex-appeal and style to satisfy both genders.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

NEW JERSEY MOTORSPORTS PARK: ULTIMATE MAN CAVES!

If you own multiple sports cars, collector vehicles and/or racecars, it’s hard to beat the protection and convenience of an exotic car garage with country club amenities at a top-flight racetrack.
Whether you show, race or just cruise your collectible car(s), safe and sensible storage are always key concerns. Typically, home garages aren’t the best environments for collections, nor are they usually secure enough. Garage rentals are always an option, but the monthly fees add up, especially if you race and have to trailer your car to a track. If you also want to spend quality time with your wheels and family or friends, consider the latest in customizable trackside “residences” that offer a luxury environment with climate control and 24-hour security.

New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) offers the perfect playground for enthusiasts, especially those who track their cars. They’re selling Phase II and Phase III of its trackside Exotic Car Garages, with sizes ranging from 1,000 to 8,000 square feet. Pre-construction prices are $140-$145 per-square-foot. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

‘16 LAMBORGHINI HURACÁN SPYDER: AWESOME!

The Huracán Spyder is the only way to fly, blogs Dan Scanlan.
Nothing beats the sound of a mid-engine Supercar. So when Lamborghini introduced the V-10 Huracán, we couldn’t wait to drop its top and check it out.

The wait was worth it. We let its naturally-aspirated, 610-horsepower 5.2-liter V-10 sing and still heard the Aventador with a 740-horsepower V-12 hammering away in front of us down a sunny Florida road. Say buona giornata (good day) to the Huracán Spyder.

A Lamborghini Huracán Spyder offers a tactile driving experience, with a V-10 inches behind you and the top down. True, there’s no manual transmission offered. But a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic brings immediate power to the all-wheel-drive’s electronically managed center differential. That’s a 43-front/57-rear torque split under normal conditions unless you demand more, when it shifts rearward. And you can configure the Spyder for three drive modes: Strada, Sports and Corsa. 


Sunday, July 3, 2016

SPEED RACER: PORSCHE BOXSTER SPYDER!

Porsche’s glorious new hard-core Boxster Spyder is a 180-mph investment opportunity, blogs Road Test Editor Howard Walker.
Maybe a decade from now, there’s an exceedingly good chance you’ll be lamenting the fact that you could have, no should have, bought a ‘16 Porsche Boxster Spyder.

How come? Not only is this the most powerful version of Porsche’s much-loved mid-engined roadster ever, it’s the grand finale of the naturally-aspirated six-cylinder Boxsters. From now on, Boxsters will come with an eco-friendly, though still potent, turbo-4 under the hood and re-badged as the 718 Boxster. So think of the Spyder as the end of an era, the last of the last, the David Bowie, the Prince of sports cars!
   
But cast aside any thoughts of potential investment opportunities and look at this latest $83,095 Boxster Spyder for what it is; arguably the most thrilling, most exhilarating, most fun-to-drive open-top Porsche you can buy today.
   

Thursday, June 30, 2016

MID-OHIO VINTAGE GP: SNAKE BITE & SPORTS CARS!

Chronicles’ Mike Matune is trackside at the SVRA vintage GP, held in conjunction with one of the hobby’s most exciting single-marque club events – SAAC 41.
The Shelby American Automobile Club held its 41st convention in concert with SVRA’a Mid-Ohio GP. In addition to shows, open track events and dinners there was an SAAC-only race. Curt Vogt would take top spot home in his 1970 Mustang Boss 302, top, followed across the finish line by pole sitter, Scott Hackerson’s ‘67 Mustang. Here they lead the SAAC field down to the start joined by Christopher Zappa’s TVR, Andre Ahrie’s Cobra Comp R and the GT350s of Donnie Maull (#21), Frank Marcum (#314) and Marc Sharinn (#49).

Scheduled a week after the Brickyard Invitational, the event drew a great field, including Australians Philip & Aaron Lewis’ Matich A50 F5000, above, powered by a Holden-Repco V8. Australian constructor Matich enjoyed success in both the formula and sports racer ranks. Engine shares lineage with the Chevy V8; heads and intake are unique Repco pieces.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

ROY LUNN: GODFATHER OF THE GT40 HONORED!

On July 21st, Roy Lunn will be inducted into the Automotive Hall Of Fame for his accomplishments that led to Ford’s winning at Le Mans for four straight years, and domination of International sports car racing in the mid-late-1960s.
Roy Lunn, top, with 2006 Ford GTs in 2015, photo by Gary Jean; above with prototype 427 GT40 #106 at Ford Proving Ground, 1965. Photo: Roy Lunn Archive.

Last weekend racing enthusiasts, automotive journalists and historians worldwide, and the Ford Motor Company, celebrated the 50th anniversary of what is probably the most iconic event in auto racing history. It was on June 19th, 1966, when three Ford GT40 Mark IIs crossed the finish line - One-Two-Three - to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans and change the face of sports car racing.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

DÉJÀ VU: FORD GT WINS LE MANS!

The Ford vs. Ferrari battle was rekindled at Le Mans exactly 50 years on from Ford’s 1-2-3 overall victory in 1966.
The No. 68 Ford GT of Sébastien Bourdais (FRA), Joey Hand (US) and Dirk Müller (GER) crossed the finish line at Le Mans at three o’clock today, as the overall GT winner of the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours. The No. 69 Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe (AUS), Scott Dixon (NZ) and Richard Westbrook (GB) joined the winners on the podium after scoring third place. The Nos. 66 and 67 Ford GTs finished in fourth and ninth places, respectively.

“This is an historic moment for the Ford Motor Company,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company. “We dared to dream that we could return to Le Mans, 50 years after the incredible 1966 win, below, and take on the toughest competition in the world. The pride we all felt when the Ford GT crossed the line at Le Mans is indescribable.  The team that designed, built and raced the Ford GT has worked tirelessly to bring us to this result and I am proud of each and every one of them. The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team demonstrated the spirit of Ford, that of innovation, determination and true teamwork.  We cherish our history and heritage, but today we made history again and I couldn't be more proud.”

Thursday, June 9, 2016

LAMBORGHINI HURÁCAN SPYDER: RAGING BULL!

Lamborghini replaces its best-selling Gallardo Spyder with a drop-top version of its 610-horsepower V10 Hurácan. Hang on, it’s a wild ride, 
blogs Road Test Editor Howard Walker.
A McDonnell Douglas F/A-18E Super Hornet attack fighter being catapulted from the deck of the USS George Washington carrier, accelerates from zero to 165mph in roughly two seconds. That’s fast, insanely fast. But until the day Uncle Sam invites me to take the aptly-named joy stick of one of his Super Hornets, base price $65.3 mill, my new-found benchmark for insane acceleration is the sensational new V10-engined, 602-horsepower Lamborghini Hurácan LP610-4 Spyder. Man this car is quick. Quick as in standstill to 60 in a mere three seconds. Standstill to 100 in just over six. And this bull doesn’t quit charging until the speedo readout is flashing-up 201 mph!

Monday, June 6, 2016

WEST COAST NATIONALS: KRAZY KOOL KUSTOM CARS!

Our man on the Left Coast, Jim, Palam, brings us highlights of the 2016 West Coast Kustoms Cruisin' Nationals. 
This head-turning annual three-day spectacular in Santa Maria, CA honors the vision and skills of West Coast Kustomizers. Beginning with a Friday night City Cruise and motoring on through Sunday, this popular show featured hundreds of pre-1961 Kustoms and Cruisers. It attracted thousands of visitors to the Santa Maria Fairpark. They enjoyed great food, live music, a swap meet, an auction, Kustom Kulture vendors and of course Krazy Kool Kustom Kars, like this seriously-slammed '60 Pontiac Bonneville. It’s another masterpiece from Kyle "K-Daddy" Gann of K-Daddyz Kustomz. Amazing how something so long and low and over-the-top could be so exceptional in every detail.

Friday, June 3, 2016

THE GMC BLOWER & MY PAL BRUCE!

Veteran racer and supercharging and fuel injection guru, Gale Banks, blogs about the good old days and the great new days.
I’d rather be Blown Than Injected, so reads Bruce Geisler’s t-shirt. It’s the early 1960s, we’re in the pits at Bonneville wrenching our Studebakers. It’s over 100 degrees at an altitude of 4,219 feet, no wonder my Moon air density meter is only reading 81%. Despite the low ambient air density, my Hilborn-injected, Isky-cammed, Small Block Chevy has pushed my ’53 Stude to 189 mph and the C-Gas trophy. But, there’ll be no 200 MPH Club membership for me. I had enough power on the Champion Dyno down in Long Beach, where the air density was 98%, but not here on the salt.

In the days before O2 sensors, we read the spark plugs to determine the proper air/fuel mixture. Unfortunately, to get the plugs to read like Art Chrisman taught me, I had to give away a load of my sea level power. My jetting was perfect back in Long Beach. But off the trailer at Bonneville, my Chevy was blubbery rich. Where I wanted a light grey band around the base of the porcelain, a color I named 12 to 1, I had black.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

2016 WISKO GRAND PRIX: HSR AT VIR!

Our man on the track, Mike Matune, brings you four days of glorious historic racing at Virginia International Raceway.

Memorial Day weekend marked the return of the Historic Sportscar Racing group to VIRginia International Raceway with the Wisko Grand Prix. Comradery and competition ran high, as an eclectic group of historic road racers did their best to tame VIR’s full course over four days. Here using all of the road, curbing, rumble strip and “gator teeth” available, we have Jeff McKain’s Mustang working to hold off Scott Jachthuler’s Porsche, Sean Brown’s Escort and John DeFord’s Porsche.

Sean Brown’s Ford Escort RS "tribute", below, is finished to FIA period standards complete with a mechanically-fuel-injected Cosworth BDG. He would go on to dominate Group 3 over the weekend. Not routinely seen in the U.S., the Escort was produced over a 30-plus years in the UK. Recently the Escort was named the favorite Ford of all time by a UK-based group, narrowly beating out the Capri.

Friday, May 27, 2016

1967-2016 CAMAROS: PACING THE INDY 500!

Nine pace cars trace the history of Camaro at the Brickyard, pacing the Indianapolis 500.
Among the milestones surrounding the 100th running of the Indy 500 this weekend is Chevrolet’s legacy as supplier of the official pace car – an honor it has held more than any other manufacturer. A unique version of the new ‘17 Camaro SS 50th Anniversary Edition will lead the field on Sunday, May 29, driven by motorsports legend Roger Penske. It’s the 27th time since 1948 that a Chevrolet has served as the pace car and the ninth time for Camaro.

Chevrolet gathered examples of all nine Camaro pace cars at the Brickyard for a look at the distinctive design and production significance that made each of them leaders of the pack.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

‘16 DODGE SRT HEMI HELLCAT: SMOKE ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM!

It’s a well-mannered hooligan, a bad boy that can haul people and butt with style 
and smoke, blogs Dan Scanlan.

Just take a drive in my neighborhood – any street will do. You’ll see a lot of Hellcat traces left behind – twin rubber stripes departing from many stop signs. Sorry Dodge – the Hellcat with 707 Hemi horsepower generating 650 pound/feet of ground-pounding torque made me do it. And, according to Dodge, it has a top end of 204 mph!

Dodge says the Hellcat’s SRT Hemi has the highest output of any passenger-car engine it’s ever produced, and they made sure we could test all 707 of its horses by handing me the red keyless remote that delivers insures max power. And I used it every day, waking up the neighbors as I fired it up, a Hellcat image welcoming me on the gauge screen before I let its rubber claw the road.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

2016 JEFFERSON 500: WEATHER OR NOT!

Our man on the track, Mike Matune, captures the essence of what racing is all about at Summit Point Raceway. 
This year’s Jefferson 500 showcased the full range of Spring weather - from torrential rain to bright sunlight to driving wind against the backdrop of a vast range in temperature. None of that seemed to slow the VRG competitors who soldiered on through the various weather systems. Here Richard Schnabel winds his Fiat 124 Spider through a very wet Carousel while corner workers and spectators seek whatever shelter is available.

Chris Fennel’s Corvette leads Susan Kimmitt’s Porsche through Turn 6. Fennel’s Sting Ray is thought to be one of Dick Guldstrand‘s  “mules” used to test suspension components. It’s been prepared to period race specifications and has been awarded a Gold Medallion by SVRA for history and level of prep. The car is a veteran of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

STEPHEN COX: BACK ON TRACK!

After the fire that ended my race on February 13 at Circuit of the Americas and sent me to the intensive care unit of the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, I’m thrilled to say that I’ll be back on track next 
month, blogs Stephen Cox.
Fans are are invited to Stephen Cox's return to auto racing on May 14 at Midvale Speedway, 45 minutes south of Canton, OH.

WHAT: The Super Cup 100 stock car race 
WHERE: Midvale Speedway, 3825 W State St, Midvale OH
WHEN: Saturday, May 14, 2016 ~ racing begins at 6:30 pm EDT 

Monday, April 25, 2016

‘16 MINI COOPER S CLUBMAN: ROOM & ZOOM!

The bigger MINI Clubman may not be as much fun as its smaller siblings, but it’s an all-round sporty four-door with room, utility and a bit of Brit cheekiness,  
blogs Dan Scanlan.
It is a question for the ages: Can a four-door MINI be as much fun as a two-door? And will a MINI Cooper S version with four doors be even more fun?

The first Mini in 1959 started out as a tiny and economical family car, until people found out how much fun it was to play with. Then racecar maker John Cooper saw the potential and juiced the little car’s suspension and engine. But they were still tiny coupes until a ten-inch-longer Clubman Estate arrived atop a four-inch-longer wheelbase.

Now as the new MINI (reborn in 2001) enters its third generation, the past becomes the present as the BMW-owned company offers a genuine four-door MINI that’s longer than the already five-inch-longer ‘16 MINI two-door. And it’s called – you guessed it - the Clubman.
The MINI Clubman was offered in the second (2007-2013) generation with a third half-door and side-hinged rear barn doors. The longer Gen-3 Clubman keeps the barn doors in back, and gains two rear side doors plus two new turbocharged engines – a 134-horsepower 1.5-liter/3-cylinder and our Cooper Clubman S’s 2-liter, 189-horsepower four-cylinder engine.

Monday, April 18, 2016

CORVETTE C7: CALLAWAY GT3-Rs READY FOR ADAC GT MASTERS!

Callaway’s new racecars and team ready for ADAC GT Masters’ Opener.
No. 31, Whelen Motorsports C7 GT3-R - Americans Boris Said and Eric Curran, with Loris Hezemans substituting for Curran in selected races, including Oschersleben.

The ADAC GT Masters series begins its 10th anniversary season this weekend at Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. The tough, 3.7-km (2.3-mile) German road course will host the first of seven events on the 2016 ADAC GT Masters calendar, with race weekends scheduled this summer at prominent German, Austrian and Dutch racetracks. The series features the world’s premier GT sports cars and drivers, with 33 cars competing for manufacturer and driver championships.

Callaway Competition brought three new C7 GT3-Rs to Oschersleben, as they have exclusive permission from Chevrolet to construct Corvette racecars for GT3 racing worldwide, except for North America. In pre-season testing, the Callaway Competition team’s C7 GT3-Rs have exhibited tremendous potential, achieving top-5 lap times, including recording a second-fastest lap time. Other new-for-2016 GT3 models include Audi’s R8, BMW’s M6, Mercedes’ AMG, Lamborghini’s Huracán and Porsche’s 911.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

2016 NEW YORK AUTO SHOW: THE STARS!

Start spreading the news, there’s a car show in town. You’ll want to be a part of it, New York, New York. Road Test Editor Howard Walker blogs on what’s new at this year’s New York Auto Show.
For automotive aficionados, springtime in the Big Apple means only one thing, the New York International Auto Show at the cavernous Jacob K. Javits Center in Hell’s Kitchen. My vagabond shoes took a stroll through the aisles last week, and here are a few of the hits, and misses, from the city that never sleeps.

Audi R8 Spyder
No surprises here that after the arrival of the new, fresh-faced R8 Coupe, a drop-top Spyder would follow. And like the previous Spyder, it’s drop-dead gorgeous. Power comes from a 540-horsepower 5.2-liter V-10 which gives 0-to-60 sprinting in 3.5 secs. But arguably the more important figure is 20, which is the number of seconds it takes for the power top to drop!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

SHOP TOUR & PIG ROAST: THE DIGITAL DRIVE!

Even if we didn’t love cars, the spit-roasted pig was well worth the drive from Manhattan to the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. The Porsche show of force really made the day.
An example of Akira Nakai's Porsche 911 magic, top. Above, THE DRIVE's Mike Guy with Schorr, senior and junior,  bookends.

Mike Guy, Editor-in-Chief of Time-Life’s new way-cool automotive website, THE DRIVE, hosted legendary Porsche tuner/coachbuilder, Akira Nakai and the conversion of a 911 into a wide-body RWB (RAUH-Welt-BEGRIFF) Supercar at their well-stocked in-house shop. He also extended an invitation to the Sarasota Café Racers and Jaguar Land Rover to join staffers and friends to watch the build. Since Nakai had flown in from Japan and Guy sweetened up the invite by adding a pig roast to the bill of fare, my son Stuart (VP Communications, Jaguar Land Rover) and I (CIO, Sarasota Café Racers) could not resist.

Friday, March 25, 2016

ETV SPACE CAR: EXTRA TERRESTRIAL VEHICLE!

You never know what you might see when you go to the New York International Auto Show, the country’s oldest show. It opened today!
 When I first saw the ETV it instantly reminded me of Woody Allen’s hilarious 1973 futuristic Sci-Fi comedy, Sleeper. It looked like it would have been right at home parked outside one of the Orgasmatron (sex-replacement) booths! But the ETV, the brainchild of Mike Vetter, is actually a fully functional vehicle that can be registered and driven on the road.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

’16 SHELBY-HERTZ GT350-H: RENT-A-RACER!

Fifty years after the ’66 Shelby GT350-H and ten years after the ’06 Mustang GT-H were introduced, Ford, Shelby American and Hertz have once again brought back the iconic performance car that you can rent.
A special run of Shelby performance-modified ‘16 Ford Mustang GT-Hs will be available for rent beginning Memorial Day weekend. As a throwback to the famed Shelby GT350-H "Rent-A-Racer" program of the 1960s, a total of 140 ‘16 Ford Shelby GT-H's will be available exclusively through the Hertz Adrenaline Collection at select airport locations in the continental United States. 

"The’66 Ford Shelby GT350-H became a legend from the moment it was introduced," said Joe Conway, Co-CEO of Carroll Shelby International and CEO of Shelby American. "Ten years ago, the ‘06 Ford Shelby GT-H earned the same rock star status when it was introduced at the New York International Auto Show. We worked closely with Ford Performance to make the ‘16 Shelby GT-H the most exciting Mustang ever to wear the iconic Hertz black and gold livery."

Saturday, March 19, 2016

‘16 AUDI TTS: GOLF R IN A BESPOKE SUIT!

It’s all there, hidden under a sleeker skin with big wheels at each corner. Bottom line – Teutonic exotic bliss in a sleek if slightly derivative shape, with power and great grip, blogs Dan Scanlan.

This is the Audi TTS, its arcing body a Nano Gray metallic suit over the good stuff from the VW Golf R. Now the question is whether losing real back seats and storage room is a sacrifice, or is the TTS the way for two to go?


The Volkswagen Golf R’s good stuff – turbocharged 2-liter inline four with 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, all-wheel-drive and 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission – all go into a 110-pound-lighter Audi TTS. But it doesn’t show its stuff immediately. Our 2,400-mile-old Audi’s little engine launches a bit soft, then turbo boost kicks smoothly in to hit 60-mph in 5 seconds with the drive select set in “Dynamic.” That hikes engine and throttle response as well as stiffening up the steering and suspension feel.

Friday, March 18, 2016

2016 AMELIA ISLAND CONCOURS: THE BEST GETS BETTER!

Our intrepid photo-journalists at large - Maureen and Mike Matune – bring us highlights from one of the country’s premier shows.
The Amelia Island Concours has grown to include events over several days. Friday brought the Reliable Carriers Eight Flag Road Tour where Concours participants exercised their mounts over local roads, ending up in downtown Fernandina Beach. Here is Mark Moshayedi’s ‘65 Shelby-DeTomaso P70 racer, above. Originally conceived by Carroll Shelby to contest the USRRC championship, it featured a Peter Brock designed body over a DeTomaso constructed backbone chassis. It would never turn a wheel in competition as its proposed seven-liter engine never materialized.

A very appropriately attired Colleen Sheehan, above, right, poses with her ‘30 BMW, an example of one of its first automotive products. A variant of the Austin 7 manufactured under license, the cars are sometimes referred to as DIXI-BMW’s. A 15-horsepower L-Head Four, with a three-speed transmission, provides power for the 1,000-pound-plus machine. It’s a far cry from BMW’s The Ultimate Driving Machine.

NY AUTO SHOW DEBUT: SPYKER C8 PRELIATOR!

Spyker’s exclusive third-gen, hand-built C8 Preliator debuts to the Press on March 24 at the 2016 New York International Auto Show. 
Spyker will join a very exclusive club of very limited production Hypercars at the NYIAS, including the Koenigsegg One:1 and Regera. Just 50 will be built!

"We are delighted to be back at the New York International Automobile Show to unveil the new Spyker C8 Preliator in one of our most important markets," said Victor R. Muller, Spyker's Founder and Chief Executive Officer. "Historically, Spyker has sold half of its production in the US, with a very large number of cars sold through the company's first US dealer, Manhattan Motor Cars".

The "Preliator" name, which means "fighter" or "warrior" in Latin, pays tribute to the company's aviation heritage: Warplanes were made by Spyker between 1914 and 1918. But even more so, Preliator symbolizes the uphill battles Spyker faced and won in the past couple of years.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

STEPHEN COX: TRAPPED IN A BURNING RACE CAR, PART II!

The fire that ended my race at COTA last month and sent me to the intensive care unit of the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, also destroyed our on-board cameras. We were convinced that no video of the event existed, but last week's article drew over 50,000 readers and three videos surfaced. All three videos are very short and are presented uncut.
The first video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nmXIueTx1g&feature=youtu.be
comes from the on-board camera of a fellow competitor, Paul Kruse. I am briefly seen on the right side of the picture, falling ungracefully out of our team's Porsche 944 in a desperate effort to escape the blaze. My right arm is on fire, as can be seen in the sliding photo banner at the top of the page. The interior of the Porsche is a mass of flames as well, and my leg is still burning as I tumble backwards out of the car.

I would like to publicly thank Paul and all of my other fellow drivers for looking out for my safety during this incident. If any of them had failed to pay attention and steer clear of my car, the results could have been even more disastrous. The quality of drivers in this series is excellent. If you raced past my burning car, thank you for your attentiveness and good driving.

Monday, March 7, 2016

STEPHEN COX: TRAPPED IN A BURNING RACE CAR, PART I!

It was the same sound you hear when you pour too much lighter fluid on the charcoal as you're preparing a Fourth of July barbecue. A giant “whoosh” followed by a flash of flame. Except it was a thousand times louder. And it wasn't charcoal that was on fire. It was me, blogs Stephen Cox. 

On February 13, 2016, I was driving an eight-hour sports car endurance race at the Circuit of the Americas near Austin, TX. I started inside row eight and quickly realized that our car was very fast. Within just a few laps we were in the top ten and I had high hopes of scoring my fourth straight endurance racing victory, a personal record.

On COTA's massive back straightaway, the fastest point on the course, I smelled fuel and felt a cold spray over my right hand and leg. There was a sudden flash and my whole world turned a bright, terrifying orange. Everything was on fire. 

Flames poured through every crack in the firewall. My right hand was on fire. Splashed with fuel, my right leg was burning as well. Even the inside of the cockpit was ablaze as fuel vapor ignited and literally set the air on fire. I could see nothing. I could not steer the car off the track because I couldn't see the track. I stomped the brake as hard as I could, but it takes a while to get a Porsche from 125 mph to a dead stop.

Friday, March 4, 2016

’17 FORD GT: AMERICA’S LATEST ROAD & TRACK STAR!

Alex Pepe talks with Jim Owens, Ford Performance Marketing Manager, about the 
new GT and racing.
Top, Ford GT. Above, L to R: Jim Owens, Matt Sylvester, Focus RS, Assistant Marketing Manager, Alex Pepe and Tyler Weiland, TimePiece PR & Marketing, the person who made this interview possible.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with the marketing manager for Ford’s Performance vehicles. Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale was our rendezvous point largely due to the focus of Ford’s annual showcase this year – ’17 GT. This year was quite special, as both the ‘17 Ford GT and ‘16 Ford Focus RS were displayed. Eventually, I was escorted outside and into Ford’s hospitality center, a rather luxurious RV. After several minutes of exchanging pleasantries and shaking hands, I sat down with Jim. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

’17 STINGRAY GRAND SPORT: CORVETTE RACING HERITAGE!

A snapshot of the new Corvette Grand Sport, plus Corvette's international racing legacy on and off the track.
Chevrolet is bringing back the Corvette Grand Sport, leveraging more than 50 years of technology transfer from the track, while incorporating the distinctive styling attributes and special-edition aura. It is also the first production model to incorporate the chassis and suspension elements of the high-performance supercharged model in addition to its wider tires and fenders. It was introduced today at the Geneva Motor Show.

Here’s a snapshot of Corvette racing history, starting in 1960:

1960 – Urged by Zora Arkus-Duntov, Corvette’s first chief engineer, racer Briggs Cunningham entered three mostly stock Corvettes in the 24 Hours of Le Mans – each powered by the  283 cubic inch “Fuelie” small-block with mechanical fuel-injection. In a race dominated by European factory teams, Cunningham’s No. 3 Corvette, driven by John Fitch and Bob Grossman, won the large-displacement GT class and finished eighth overall. In fact, the top ten finishers included six Ferraris, two Aston Martins, a Porsche and the privateer Corvette.