Former French rally driver, Michèle Mouton, seems to have got it slightly wrong at the 2010 Race of Champions. A bit too much curb unexpectedly caused the most successful female rally racer to flip the 1980s rally-winning machine. She wasn't hurt, and was quite apologetic about it. Bless her.
If you're a follower of F1, you definitely would have noticed that Michael Schumacher didn't exactly give the comeback performance we were all expecting.
Many have said that his three years in retirement were too long to make a comeback, that the game had moved on significantly since the end of the 2006 season. Some say that he needed more time to adapt to the new F1 cars, and that in no time he would be showing the little kids (Vettel, Hamilton, Button etc) how it's done. Some simply say that his days have come and gone and that he just can't drive as well as he used to. Others say, Schumacher included, that his car just wasn't up to the task, and are still waiting for a proper comeback in 2011.
However, thanks to youtube, we've found proof that he's still more than capable of giving the young guys a hard time. If the 2009 Race of Champions is anything to by, we can expect a better Schumacher for 2011. The videos are worthy of any motorsport fan's 20 minutes.
Audi has finally coughed up details on its upcoming RS3 hot hatch, making it the second model this year to wear the RS badge.
The new RS3 follows the current trend set by Ford with their Focus RS of over-endowing their hatchback with muscle car levels of power. The new RS3 has a turbocharged 2.5 litre five cylinder engine producing 340hp and 331 lb-ft of torque, and is connected to Audi's dual-clutch S-tronic seven-speed transmission.
As with all high performance Audi's the RS3 comes equipped with their Quattro all-wheel drive system and is also able to accelerate from 0-62mph in less than 5 seconds, 4.6 seconds to be exact, while top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.
The engine's turbo produces a boost of 1.2 bar (around 17 psi) and also sends the air through an intercooler. Audi has also equipped the RS3 with an active sports exhaust system. By pressing the sports button flaps open in the exhaust system promising a 1980s quattro-style exhuast note.
The RS3 is quite a heavy car, though. Tipping the scales at 1575kg means that it will be one of the heaviest hatchbacks on sale. Audi quotes its average fuel economy at 9.1 liters per 100 kilometres (25.85 mpg) while emitting 212 grams of CO2 per kilometre. The RS3 also has an energy regenerative system.
There will be plenty of RS3 logos in and out of the car, while other exterior features include 19 inch wheels as well as fenders made from carbon fiber reinforced plastic.
The RS3 is set to go on sale early in 2011 as a 5 door sportback model, with prices set at around 49,900 euros in Germany.
The 2010 Formula 1 season will remain one to remember for years to come. Nearly a week after the final race of the season, now maybe a good time to see some of the most memorable moments.
The return of Schumi.
After a three year retirement period, seven time F1 champion Michael Schumacher saw it best to put his helmet back on and give F1 another go. Hungry to rekindle his glory days, Schumacher rejoined Ross brawn at team Mercedes GP, and slowly but surely disappointed fans all over the world with lacklustre performances throughout the season. His performance has definitely divided opinions as result, some put it down to the car, while some say his time is simply over. Schumi promises a return to his previous form for the 2011 season, 2011 will be a year to look forward to.
Trouble in Red Bull's Paradise.
It was paradise as their cars were without question the fastest this season. However there was a lot of tension between their drivers Mark Webber and Sebastein Vettel. The Silverstone Grand Prix was a memorable case in which they took the front wing of Webber's car and put it onto Vettel's after his was damaged during a practice session. In Webber's view this was seen as the team having more faith in Vettel to bring victory. However Webber did win the Silverstone Grand Prix and on his victory lap was heard saying "not bad for a number two driver". But the crash between Webber and Vettel at the Turkish Grand Prix, probably brought to light how bad things were at the Red Bull camp, Vettel angrily gesticulating Webber was crazy after the collision.
Webber and Kovalainen crash.
Probably the scariest crash of the season. The venue was Valencia. After Mark Webber tried to negotiate a pass from Heiki Kovalainen, who was a lap behind, Webber's car made contact with Kovalainen's Lotus and caused the Red Bull to backflip into the air, momentarily landing on its roof and violently hitting the tyre barriers at very high speed. Luckily Webber was okay.
Hamilton vs Alonso part 2.
Another incident that saw Fernando Alonso crying foul, when Lewis Hamilton passed the safety car at the Valencia Grand Prix. Hamilton was penalised for passing the safety car, he served a drive through penalty, but apparently this wasn't enough to satisfy Alonso. Alonso would continue to fume for days to come.
Ferrari Team orders.
"Fernando is faster than you. can you confirm you understood that message?", was the not-so secret way of telling Felippe Massa to let his team-mate Fernando Alonso take the lead at the Hockenheim Grand Prix. After Massa was actively defending his lead, the Ferrari team decided they would prefer Alonso ahead of Massa, effectively confirming his role as a number two driver. The FIA fined Ferrari $100,000 for breaking the rule which states team orders are prohibited.
Considering the fact that Lamborghini didn't make an open top version of its last Superleggera, it really did come as a surprise that they decided to get rid of the roof of its current Superleggera LP570-4.
Called the Spyder Performante it weighs 1485kg, 65kg (143lbs) less than the normal LP560-4 spyder, with weight savings coming from extensive use of carbon fiber both in and out of the car. Weight distribution is set at 43/57 percent front to rear.
It will also have the same high revving engine as the Superleggera, a 5.2l V10 that produces 570hp @ 8000 rpm, and 540 Nm (398 lb-ft) of torque. Combine the engines power with the standard six speed e-gear transmission, it will accelerate from 0-62 mph in 3.9 seconds, and can reach a top speed of 324 km/h (201 mph). Its all wheel drive system distributes power at a ratio of 30:70 front to rear. A conventional manual transmission is still available as a no cost option.
The interior will fature a sport black colour scheme with alcantara, accompanied by colour contrasted stitching on the sports seats. The Spyder Performante will ride on lightweight 19 inch wheels which save a total of 13kg, and come wrapped around in Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres. Carbon Ceramic brake discs are also available as an optional extra.
Prices and an on-sale date have yet to be announced, but will put them up as soon as they are made available.
The 2011 BMW 6 series convertible is here, looking less outrageous than the previous model but with a host of new turbocharged engines. It comes as a surprise, though, that BMW decided to release info on the convertible version first rather than the coupe.
Like Mercedes benz, BMW has been busy getting turbocharged engines for its flagship models. But while the cars with the three point stars have seven speed transmissions, this car will get the new eight speed automatic transmission seeing service in other BMW models.
The new 6 series convertible shall initially have two turbocharged petrol engines. For the 640i model, you can expect a single-turbo 3.0l inline 6 cylinder engine producing 320hp and 450 nm of torque (about 331 lb-ft). The new drop top will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds and on to the default electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
The 650i model gets a 4.4l twin-turbo V8 with 407hp and 600nm (442lb-ft) of torque, with a 0-60 mph of 5.0 seconds, but the same 155 mph top speed as the 640i. The V8 has a design unique to BMWs in the sense that the exhaust manifolds and turbochargers are found between the cylinder banks rather than either side of the engine. BMW claims that this layout is better for packaging and contributes to better efficiency.
Speaking of effieciency, the 640i will achieve 35.8mpg on the combined cycle and a CO2 rating of 185g/km, while the 650i will do 26.4 mpg and produces 249g/km. Both cars also feature brake energy regenration and an electronic power steering system.
Prices for the new 6 have yet to be announced, but it will go on sale in the UK in March 2011.
Mercedes Benz unveiled the sleek looking 2012 CLS63 AMG at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show.
The new CLS AMG comes in with a brand new 5.5l biturbo V8 engine, and now comes with the seven speed MCT-transmission found in the SL63 AMG and E63 AMG. 518 hp is how much you can expect from the new 5.5l biturbo V8, and an eqully healthy 516 lb-ft of torque. This is enough to take the four-door coupe from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds and on to a limited top speed of 155mph.
An AMG Performance Pack will be available for those who will end up craving a little more performance, increasing the horsepower to 550 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, which drops the 0-60 time to 4.3 seconds and increases the top speed to 186 mph (still electronically limited). The performance pack also features a sportier suspension, a steering wheel covered in alcantara, red brake calippers, a carbon fiber engine cover, and a carbon fiber rear spoiler.
Mercedes have been quite busy trying to make the new engine more efficient as well. The engine features four valves per cylinder variable camshafts, spray-guided direct injection with piezo injectors, as well as an Aluminum crank-case. In addition to this there is also an air to water charge-air cooling system, a genarator management system, and stop/start technology.
Mercedes claims better fuel economy with the new M157 unit (as it is known internally), a 33% decrease in consumption over the 6.2 naturally aspirated engine found in other AMG cars. With this Mercedes also claims drivers will be able to go 4 miles further, and quoting economy figures at 16 mpg city, and 21 mpg highway.
The CLS63 AMG is expected to hit showrooms in the U.S. in the summer of 2011, prices are yet to be announced.
The Porsche Cayman has always been praised by the automotive press as one of the best sports cars out there, thanks in large part to its great handling and engines. However there were always a few who thought that it could be better still, and that Porsche wouldn't allow it because it would mean overshadowing the 911. So here's porsche response; a lighter and slightly more powerful version of the Cayman S - the Cayman R.
The new Cayman R will go on sale in February 2011, and customers can expect 330hp (10hp more than the Cayman S) from its 3.4l flat six, and a 55kg weight reduction. The Cayman R shall be available with both a 6 speed manual gearbox, and the seven speed dual-clutch PDK unit, with the manual sprinting from 0-62 mph in 5.0 seconds while the PDK unit does it in 4.9 seconds. Top speed is quoted at 175mph (174mph for the PDK version).
The Cayman R weighs in at 1295kg (2855 lb), which is only 20kg heavier than the special edition Boxster Spyder. The weight savings come thanks to use of lightweight equipment and "doing without convenience equipment." Lightweight equipment such as a set of rims which weigh less than 40 kg combined. In addition to this the Cayman R also rides 20mm lower to ground.
Prices are set at 69830 Euros (tax included) when it goes on sale in Germany thiis coming February.
Lamborghini has finally given out some details about its new V12 engine. A brand new 6.5l naturally aspirated unit designed to replace the engine that finished its duties after the last Murcielago LP670-SV rolled off the production line, whose roots can be traced all the way back to 1964 with the 350 GT. The new engine comes with a potent 700hp and 690nm (508 lb ft) of torque, which is connected to a brand new type of seven speed transmission. Lamborghini calls the new gearbox an ISR (Independent Shifting Rods) gearbox. It is essentially a single clutch manual gearbox operated by steering wheel paddle shifters, but with gearchanges that are faster than (according to Lamborghini themselves)a blink of an eye.
Despite superfast gearchanges Lamborghini still promises a smooth driving experience with the new gearbox. They say 50% less time is used for a gearchange than a dual clutch transmission, and that they have managed to save weight by not opting for a typically heavier dual clutch unit. Check out a video of the new unit being assembled, and hear it sing on the dyno.
If there is one thing we can definitely say about the 2010 F1 season is that it was completely unpredictable and exciting all the way through. With four drivers still in with a chance of taking the driver's title, it was heart in the mouth stuff for McLaren, Ferrari, and Red Bull fans all over the globe.
Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit was the final venue on this year's calendar. Sebastian Vettel had a good start to the race holding to his pole position and managing to just get away from second place Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile Jenson Button managed to steal third place from Fernando Alonso thanks to a better start. But barely thirty seconds into the race the safety car had to be deployed due to a collision between Michael Schumacher and Vitantonio Liuzzi, bringing an end to Schumacher's lacklustre season.
With the safety car having returned to the pits, Vettel then went on to dominate the race, with Hamilton following close.
No doubt Mark Webber did not have the race which would have given him the championship. Having to return to the pits early to have his tyres changed, thanks to slight contact with the barriers, this effectively meant that he would only have an 8th place finish.
And with the Ferrari team concerned with defending their chances of a driver's championship by playing it close with Webber, Alonso pitted in shortly after Webber. This move would cost him the championship as he would would fall way back on the fourth place he needed to be champion. That and the fact that he could not get past Renault's Vitaly Petrov. A 7th place finish meant that he would not be a three time world champion this year.
With the Schumacher-Liuzzi collision being the only major incident of the race, Vettel continued to dominate the race right up to the checkered flag. Lewis Hamilton finished the race in second place with Jenson Button in third. The McLaren 2-3 finish means that the team has been placed second on the Constructor's standing.
The season's unpredictability served as a great lead up to Vettel's victory. We also saw a little resentment from Alonso towards Petrov, as he shook his fist in disapproval towards the Russian after the race was over. Next year sees the introduction of new rules, most important being the use of Pirelli tyres. We can only hope that the 2011 season is as excting as this year's.