A modified Nissan LEAF is set to enter the 2017 Mongol Rally. Piloted by Electric Vehicle enthusiasts ‘Plug In Adventures’ the LEAF will be the first all-electric car to drive the 10,000 miles from Goodwood to Mongolia. Slimmer wheels with narrow tyres have been fitted and the rear seats taken out, while extra plates have been welded underneath to protect against rough terrain. Charging will be a challenge as the team heads further east, however the LEAF will accept a 240v ‘Commando connection’ even in the most remote areas. The Mongol Rally gets underway on the 16 July.
Porsche has reveals its new 911 GT3 in Geneva. The German brand says the road car’s 500 horse power, 4-litre engine is virtually identical to the one in the 911 GT3 Cup race car and - with the six-speed sports manual gearbox - it sprints to 62mph in 3.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 198 mph. The new two-seater sits 25 mm lower than the 911 Carrera S while improved aerodynamics such as the large carbon fibre rear wing ensure it stays on the black stuff. The new Porsche 911 GT3 is on sale now priced at just under £112K in the road.
Hyundai’s first high-performance model - the i30 'N' - is being put through extreme winter testing in Sweden. World Rally Championship driver Thierry Neuville got behind the wheel, powersliding through snow and ice over a frozen lake to get a feel for the new car’s performance and handling. Reporting back to the engineers, the aim is to fine tune the Electronic Stability Control, Limited Slip Differential, steering, suspension and tyres. The Hyundai i30 N is set to hit showrooms later this year.
Renault has taken its all electric ZOE hatchback and added some Formula E race-car knowhow, to create the striking ZOE e-sport concept. The battery-powered hot-hatch is driven by two electric motors delivering a total system output of almost 460bhp - launching it from rest to 62mph in just over 3-seconds. Aerodynamics additions include a flat undercarriage, a rear diffuser and a large carbon fibre tailgate spoiler.
Featuring a wider, lower stance with improved handling and ride, the Subaru BRZ coupe has been updated for 2017. The new car comes with full-LED headlights up front, an aerodynamic spoiler at the rear and runs on new 10-spoke alloy wheels. Subaru’s Boxer engine is described as more responsive, with improved fuel efficiency, while a new TRACK mode enhances the stability of the car and allows for more refined accelerator inputs when driving on race circuits. The new Subaru BRZ goes on sale in Spring next year.
The Ferrari World Finals, in Daytona, saw the covers come off the new 488 Challenge. The latests Ferrari is the first ever turbo-charged model to join the international Challenge racing series and also the most powerful - with 660 brake horse power from its 3.9-litre V8 engine. The most noticeable changes compared to the road car are aerodynamic - including a completely redesigned front bumper, new rear flanks that take cooling air to the rear brakes, optimising downforce and a monster rear wing to increase stability at high speeds.
A special exhibition was held at the Paris Motor Show, celebrating the role of the car on the silver screen. ‘Engine! The Car at the Movies’ displayed historic film cars ranging from a 1977 ‘Transformers’ Chevrolet Camaro - albeit a replica - to the actual Porsche 908 driven by Steve McQueen in the 1971 ‘Le Mans’ film. A replica of the Ford Mustang from the 1968 film Bullitt - also starring McQueen - was on show alongside a Dukes of Hazard 1969 Dodge Charger, aka The General Lee.
Modern day film cars included James Bond’s new Aston Martin DB10 from the film ‘Spectre’ as well as the DBS which was heavily crashed in ‘Quantum of Solace’. No movie car collection would be complete without a ‘Back To The Future’ De Lorean - flux capacitor and all - which was joined by a fellow 80s icon - a recreation of the Ghostbusters converted Cadillac ambulance, also known of course as the Ectomobile.
A collaboration between Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing has resulted in a new striking Hypercar - codenamed AM-RB 001. The project saw renowned F1 designer and Red Bull employee Adrian Newey realise his first ever road car - which will be built at Aston Martin’s Gaydon facility. Designed around a lightweight carbon fibre structure, the Hypercar features F1 inspired underfloor aerodynamics - promising unprecedented levels of downforce in a road car - and is powered by a mid-mounted V12 to achieve a power-to-weight ratio of 1 bhp per kilogram.
Renault Sport celebrated its 40th anniversary by revealing a special Clio R.S. 16 concept car. Revealed at the Monaco Grand Prix, Renault’s F1 driver Kevin Magnussen took the Clio R.S. 16 for a spin around the famous circuit. Featuring a wider body and 19-inch wheels, the Clio concept is powered by a 275-horsepower 2.0-litre unit borrowed from the Mégane R.S. Trophy-R - along with the cooling and transmission - while the suspension was reworked to match the car’s performance characteristics.
Nissan has confirmed its updated GT-R will cost from £80,000 when it goes on sale in the Autumn. And to test the performance enhancements made to the 2016 model, Nissan took it for a spin around the Spa F1 track, in Belgium. The changes include a revised chassis and more power from its twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre engine. A Track Edition NISMO GT-R will also be available for just under £92,000.
Anticipation is building in the run up to the unveiling of TVR’s first new model in more than a decade. TVR boss Les Edgar and designer Gordon Murray were at the London Motor Show to confirm Cosworth V8 power and a sub-four second 0-60 time for the new coupe which will be available with a Carbon fibre chassis. Edgar said the new TVR will go on sale in 2017 but he wasn't giving much else away – as the show car’s cover was removed to reveal.. another cover.
Aston Martin has revealed a new race derived Vantage GT8. Calling on all its sporting DNA, the new extreme special edition draws heavily on the V8 Vantage GTE race car, with sculpted carbon fibre bodywork and wide-bodied, race-bred aerodynamics. Powered by a revised 4.7-litre V8 with 446 PS, the Vantage GT8 will be strictly limited to just 150 examples with prices starting at £165,000 OTR.
The all-new Ford GT supercar was recently sent around a specially designed ‘Silverstone’ circuit.. in London. Loaded on the back of a Clear Idea transport truck, the World Endurance Championship race car completed the slowest lap ever at 2 hours 20 minutes as it admired landmarks on a route that started and finished at Southwark Underground station. The stunt marked the opening of order books for the ultra-high-performance GT as well as celebrating its debut season in the WEC which gets under way this weekend.
F1 driver Felipe Massa played Bond villain for the day in Mexico, driving a Jaguar C-X75 stunt car from the new film SPECTRE. Jaguar partnered with Williams Advanced Engineering on the production of the C-X75 and as such, both Williams F1 cars will carry the 007 SPECTRE logo at this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix. Massa drove the car to celebrate F1's return to Mexico and the Americas Premiere of the new film which heavily features Mexico City in the opening scenes.
A new concept car, the Alpine Celebration, has been revealed at Le Mans. Celebrating the 60th anniversary of Renault’s racing department, the two-seater coupe was inspired by Alpine's motorsport heritage, and features sleek lines with carbon detailing. Finished in a deep blue with hints of orange, the colour scheme recalls the livery of past Le Mans entrys from Alpine, dating back as far as 1963. The Alpine Celebration is set to make an appearance next week at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Jaguar returned once more for the 2015 Mille Miglia four-day event in Italy. The official Heritage team, piloted by famous faces from the world of motorsport, TV and music, headed to the start in Brescia with 9 classic Jags - ranging from C-type and D-types to an XK140 driven by musician Example and an XK120 Roadster driven by model Jodie Kidd and male model David Gandy. All nine cars ran smoothly throughout the gruelling four-day event with the Jaguar Heritage team finishing strongly in the Mille Miglia’s regularity trial rankings.
As the Formula 1 teams head back to Europe, Red Bull took time out to entertain fans in Austria. A crowd of 60,000 turned out to watch Daniel Ricciardo put his RB8 through its paces in a specially-constructed arena in front of the historic Vienna Rathaus. Marking the return of the Austrian Grand Prix to the F1 calendar, he gave fans a doughnut master-class, while junior GP2 driver Pierre Gasly shredded the tyres of a borrowed NASCAR racer. Ricciardo and Red Bull will be back on the starting grid at the Spanish Grand Prix on May 10.
McLaren has launched the second model in its new Sports Series - the 540C Coupe. Priced from £126,000 OTR, it's powered by a 3.8-litre V8, delivering 540PS for a 0 to 62 time of 3.5 seconds, and a top speed of 199 mph. Running on 19-inch wheels up front and 20's at the rear, and featuring a host of F1 derived components, the McLaren 540C Coupe is available for pre-order now.
After 10,000 km of testing, Skoda's new Fabia R5 Rally car has been officially approved for competition. The new hot hatch, seen here in the hands of Skoda Motorsport driver Jan Kopecky, is powered by a 1.6-litre turbo engine mated to a five-speed sequential gearbox. The FIA's green light means the new four-wheel drive R5 can now continue the Czech manufacturer’s 114-year involvement in motorsport.
Audi has teased its new R8 prototype, in the hands of Frank Stippler, winner of the 24-hour Nurburgring endurance race.