Friday, 28 February 2014

Hamilton saga nearing endgame

Only Lewis Hamilton truly knows where he wants to drive next season - and perhaps not even he does just yet. But the signs are that the saga that has been occupying Formula 1 for months is nearing its endgame.

Hamilton has two competing offers on the table for his future - one to stay at McLaren and one to move to Mercedes.

The word at the Singapore Grand Prix - for what it's worth - was that he is leaning towards staying where he is; one McLaren insider even suggested that a deal could be inked within days.

At the same time, there may be a complication. There are suggestions that earlier this year Hamilton signed something with Mercedes - a letter of intent, a memorandum of understanding, perhaps - that he would need to get out of before he could commit to McLaren. His current team have heard talk of this, too. Hamilton's management deny this.

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The conventional wisdom is that Mercedes are offering Hamilton more money and that the deal is sweetened further by greater freedom over personal sponsorship deals. Those are highly restricted at McLaren because of the team's breadth of marketing tie-ups.

But BBC Sport understands it is not quite as simple as that.

For one thing, some sources say the figures quoted for the Mercedes offer in the media so far - of £60m over three years - are significantly larger than what is actually on the table.

Of course, in theory, as one of the largest car companies in the world, Mercedes can afford to pay almost any figure it wants.

But the board's commitment to Formula 1 has been in question all year. While it is understood that the company has now reached an agreement with the sport's commercial rights holders defining the financial terms under which they have committed for the next few years, F1 is not a money-no-object exercise for them.

McLaren believe their offer to Hamilton is broadly similar to Mercedes', and that in terms of total remuneration he could actually end up earning more money if he stays where is.

How so? Well, it seems the headline salary figures may not differ that much - although I understand Mercedes' offer is larger.

Mercedes offer greater freedom in terms of new sponsorship deals with which Hamilton can top up his income, and out of which his management group - music industry mogul Simon Fuller's XIX - would take a cut that some sources say is as great as 50%, a figure XIX say is wildly exaggerated.

McLaren, by contrast, have strict rules around their driver contracts - they do not allow any personal sponsorship deal that clashes with any brand owned by a company on their car.

So deals with mobile, fashion, household products, perfumes, oil and so on are all out. Jenson Button is allowed to have his deal to endorse shampoo because it was signed before McLaren had GlaxoSmithKline as a partner.

McLaren, I'm told, have loosened some of their restrictions in an attempt to give Hamilton more freedom.

And in their favour is that all contracts contain clauses that define bonuses for success; in McLaren's case for wins and championships. These amount to significant amounts of money and on current form Hamilton would earn more in bonuses with McLaren than with Mercedes.

Financially, it is in XIX's interests for Hamilton to move to Mercedes - that is where they will earn most money.

But that may not be the case for Hamilton, which of course begs the question of whether the driver and his management group actually have conflicting interests.

While Hamilton has steadfastly refused to discuss his future with the media, he has been consistent in one thing. As he put it at the Italian Grand Prix earlier this month: "I want to win."

He knows exactly how good he is and it rankles with him that he has so far won only one world title.

In which case, the last few races will have given him pause for thought.

McLaren started this season with the fastest car in F1, the first time they have done that since at least 2008 and arguably 2005.

But Hamilton's title bid was hampered by a series of early season operational problems that prevented him winning until the seventh race of the season in Canada. Was it during this period that he signed that "something" with Mercedes?

After a slight mid-season wobble through the European and British Grands Prix in late June and early July, though, McLaren have come on strongly.

Upgrades introduced at the German Grand Prix gave them a big step forward, making the McLaren once again the fastest car.

Progress was disguised in Hockenheim by a wet qualifying session, which allowed Alonso to take the pole position from which he controlled the race.

Even then, though, with Hamilton out of the reckoning after an early puncture, Button ran the Spaniard close.

Since then, it has been all McLaren. Hamilton won from pole in Hungary and Italy; Button the same in Belgium. Then in Singapore Hamilton lost an almost certain victory, also from pole, with a gearbox failure.

Meanwhile, Mercedes have floundered. And while rival teams agreed that a big upgrade to the silver cars in Singapore did move them forward a little, Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher only just scraped into the top 10 in qualifying and were anonymous in the race until Schumacher's embarrassing crash with Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne.

Undoubtedly, Mercedes will have given Hamilton the hard sell.

They'll have pointed out that they have won the world title more recently than McLaren - in their previous guise of Brawn in 2009.

They'll have said they are a true works team backed by a huge car company, whereas McLaren are from next year paying for their "customer" Mercedes engines.

They'll have argued that, in team boss Ross Brawn, Mercedes have the architect of the most dominant dynasty in F1 history - the Ferrari team of the early 2000s - who is determined to do it again. Triple world champion Niki Lauda, who is expected to be given a senior management role at the Mercedes team, has also been involved in trying to persuade Hamilton to join the team.

And they'll have said Hamilton has relative commercial freedom with them to make as much money as he wants.

What they won't have said is that the 2009 world title came about in rather exceptional circumstances and that at no other time has the team looked remotely like consistently challenging the best - whether as BAR, Honda or Mercedes.

And they won't have said that McLaren - for all Hamilton's frustrations over the cars he has had since 2009 and the mistakes that have been made in 2012 - have a winning record over the past 30 years that is the envy of every team in F1.

Of course, the past does not define the future, but the future is built on the past.

It's possible that the near future of F1 is one of Mercedes hegemony, but it would be a hell of a gamble to take for a man who professes he just "wants to win".

If the latest indications about his mind-set are correct, perhaps that is what Hamilton has now realised.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/andrewbenson/2012/09/hamilton_saga_nearing_endgame.html

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2007 Hyundai Elantra

2007 Hyundai Elantra
2007 Hyundai Elantra - New Car, Truck, and SUV Road Tests and Driven - Automobile Magazine
In a single stroke, the new Hyundai Elantra has leapt ahead, and now it's right in the mix with small sedans such as the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla.

Generation by generation, a car usually evolves slowly as the technology under the nameplate gradually improves. But in a single stroke, the new Hyundai Elantra has leapt ahead, and now it's right in the mix with small sedans such as the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla.


Photo Gallery: 2007 Hyundai Elantra - New Car, Truck, and SUV Road Tests and Driven - Automobile Magazine


Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/reviews/compact/0701_2007_hyundai_elantra/index.html

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2008 Pontiac G8 Sports Sedan

Pontiac borrows an Australian rear-wheel-drive platform to create its most exciting sedan, well, ever.

Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/auto_shows/0702_2008_pontiac_g8/

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Mazda 3 Reaches 4 Million Produced Worldwide

Four millionth Mazda 3 is produced less than 11 years after its debut.

Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/features/news/1402-mazda-3-4-million-produced/

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Pirelli unveil 2013 F1 tyre range which promise more uncertainty during race (+Video)

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/F1InsightAFormula1Blog/~3/Qu-ZiFkwhLs/pirelli-unveil-2013-f1-tyre-range-which.html

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Thursday, 27 February 2014

2015 Audi TT preview video released

Audi has released a preview clip of the highly anticipated third generation TT set to be unveiled next week in Geneva.

Source: http://feeds.worldcarfans.com/~r/worldcarfans/Jxfz/~3/ClltN3nKMlU/2015-audi-tt-preview-video-released

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2007 Tesla Roadster

The 135-mph Tesla Roadster might change everything you know about electric cars.

Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/auto_shows/0611_tesla_roadster/

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Sports Sedans Supreme: 2007 Maserati Quattroporte Executive GT vs 2007 Audi S8 vs 2007 Mercedes-Benz S63

Sports Sedans Supreme: 2007 Maserati Quattroporte Executive GT vs 2007 Audi S8 vs 2007 Mercedes-Benz S63
Sports Sedans Supreme: 2007 Maserati Quattroporte Executive GT vs 2007 Audi S8 vs 2007 Mercedes-Benz S63 - Latest News, Features, and Road Tests - Automobile Magazine
With an all-new gearbox, can the Maserati Quattroporte knock the Audi S8 and the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG from the top of the high-performance luxury sedan pedestal?

One after the other, the three tenors pull up. The Lamborghini-sourced V-10 of the Audi S8 chants with the fiery intensity of Luciano Pavarotti. The Ferrari-engineered V-8 of the Maserati Quattroporte Automatica intones aural nuances with the spine-tingling depth of Jos Carreras. The big-bore, 6.2-liter eight-cylinder of the brand-new Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG bellows with the vibrant timbre of Plcido Domingo. Their viciously threatening idles only hint at what the next 7000 or so rpm will unleash: sports car performance and turbinelike torque, plenty of brio, and engineering that turns any favorite rural road into your own private Nrburgring.


Photo Gallery: Sports Sedans Supreme: 2007 Maserati Quattroporte Executive GT vs 2007 Audi S8 vs 2007 Mercedes-Benz S63 - Latest News, Features, and Road Tests - Automobile Magazine


Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/roadtests/sedans/0703_sports_sedans_supreme_maserati_quattroporte_audi_s8_mercedes_benz_s63/index.html

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The Last Crusade

Source: http://www.metrof1.com/blogs/metrof1/2011/11/the-last-crusade.html

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2007 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT

2007 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT
2007 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT - 2007 New Cars - Automobile Magazine
The Sport GT receives an updated transmission and several other improvements over the standard Quattroporte. See it here.

Los Angeles, which is Maserati's largest market in California, which is in turn Maserati's largest market in the U.S., which happens to be--you guessed it--Maserati's largest market in the world, was the site of the U.S. launch of Maserati's sexy Quattroporte Sport GT. First shown in Frankfurt last September, the Quattroporte Sport GT was conceived as sportier version of the brand's big sedan--if not a more powerful one. With enhancements on the decidedly subtle side, the Sport GT nonetheless should help remedy the car's major malady--the clunky six-speed manu-matic transmission--as the car boasts a reworked gearbox that allegedly shifts 35 percent faster than the frustratingly slow-witted previous tranny. The Sport GT model also gets twenty-inch wheels, suspension tweaks, and special interior accoutrements such as carbon-fiber trim and blue and red stitching for the steering wheel and parking brake. A mean-looking, blackened crosshatch grille also adorns the Quattroporte Sport GT.


Photo Gallery: 2007 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT - 2007 New Cars - Automobile Magazine


Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/new_car_previews/2007/0605_2007_maserati_quattroporte_sport_gt/index.html

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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Aston Martin Debuts V8 Vantage N430, DB9 Carbon Special Editions at 2014 Geneva Auto Show

Neither of these special Astons will be coming to the U.S.

Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/auto_shows/geneva/2014/1402-aston-martin-special-editions-geneva/

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2007 Acura RDX

2007 Acura RDX
2007 Acura RDX - 2007 New Cars - Automobile Magazine
The 2007 Acura RDX is most notable for its powertrain, the first turbocharged gasonline engine from Honda. It comes beneath the skin of a compact, luxury SUV that promises to be a great driver. Check it out in our New Cars coverage.

Honda's first turbocharged engine debuts in....an SUV.


Photo Gallery: 2007 Acura RDX - 2007 New Cars - Automobile Magazine


Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/new_car_previews/2007/0605_2007_acura_rdx/index.html

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Aston Martin Debuts V8 Vantage N430, DB9 Carbon Special Editions at 2014 Geneva Auto Show

Neither of these special Astons will be coming to the U.S.

Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/auto_shows/geneva/2014/1402-aston-martin-special-editions-geneva/

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A week on the road

I have spent the last week travelling, which is not unusual as an F1 reporter, although I do prefer to try and stay at home as much as possible in the winter months. I was in Los Angeles for the first few days for a speaking event, at which I met Simona de Silvestro. The […]

Source: http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/a-week-on-the-road/

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2013 Car Launches: Sauber launch the C32 with new design and livery (+Pictures)

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/F1InsightAFormula1Blog/~3/-pghhjPTFw4/2013-car-launches-sauber-launch-c32.html

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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Report: Toyota Plans "More Risky Designs"

FT-1 concept previewed more exciting Toyotas.

Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/features/news/1402-report-toyota-plans-more-risky-designs/

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A week on the road

I have spent the last week travelling, which is not unusual as an F1 reporter, although I do prefer to try and stay at home as much as possible in the winter months. I was in Los Angeles for the first few days for a speaking event, at which I met Simona de Silvestro. The […]

Source: http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/a-week-on-the-road/

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Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Turbocharged Engine Teased Ahead Of Geneva Debut

Twin-turbo V-6 possible for 500-hp sedan.

Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/auto_shows/geneva/2014/1402-infiniti-q50-eau-rouge-turbocharged-engine-teased/

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Alonso and Massa at Ferrari Challenge Finals in Cheste (Pictures)

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/F1InsightAFormula1Blog/~3/KLdQX5WXw1g/alonso-and-massa-at-ferrari-challenge.html

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F1 WAG: Hanna Prater

With Sebastian Vettel being the main man of F1, Hanna Prater is surely the leading lady. Despite this, she has rarely been seen around the paddock on race days, with Vettel himself seemingly keen to keep some distance between his professional and personal lives. But, that didn’t stop us getting a few images together for [...]

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Formula1Fancast/~3/BIjsiqZl2-s/f1-wag-hanna-prater-3

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Monday, 24 February 2014

Vettel sprouts a second finger

Source: http://www.metrof1.com/blogs/metrof1/2011/10/vettel-sprouts-a-second-finger.html

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F1 2012 Championship Standings after United States GP

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/F1InsightAFormula1Blog/~3/ihD5XwEJ6UA/f1-2012-championship-standings-after_19.html

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Pagani Zonda Revolucion #5

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Exclusivity and fast cars have gone hand in hand for years. Corvettes, Porsches, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Bugattis all have both factors in common and to an increasing degree as the list progresses. However, There’s one car maker, and more specifically, one car model, that oozes with the sort of bespoke rarity only found in artistic works from the likes of de Vinci or Michelangelo; the Pagani Zonda Revolucion.

The Zonda Revolucion is Pagani’s greatest iteration of the Zonda supercar and will likely be the last. This last hurrah of greatness for the nameplate that dates back to 1999, the Revolucion is a hyper version of the already-hyper Zonda R.

Like the Zonda R, the Revolucion’s power comes from an AMG-sourced 6.0-liter V-12 that churns out an amazing 800 horsepower and 538 pound-feet of torque. A central monocoque carbon-titanium chassis and carbon fiber everything keeps the Revolucion’s weight down to a skimpy 2,358 pounds.

Supercars like this aren’t usually built in great quantity, which holds true in extreme form for the Revolucion. Only five were ever made. The one you see pictured above is number two, delivered to its owner in Japan in 2013. Number five, however, is headed to the Geneva Motor Show in early March to show off one last time before being delivered to its lucky owner.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Pagani Zonda Revolucion #5.

Pagani Zonda Revolucion #5 originally appeared on topspeed.com on Friday, 21 February 2014 16:00 EST.

read more



Source: http://www.topspeed.com/cars/pagani/2014-pagani-zonda-revolucion-5-ar162483.html

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2007 Hyundai Genesis Concept

Hell has indeed frozen over, and the first U.S-bound rear-drive, V-8-powered Hyundai has slid right across the ice into our world.

Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/auto_shows/0703_2007_hyundai_genesis_concept/

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Sunday, 23 February 2014

2008 Buick Invicta Concept

Buick will showcase its latest concept at the 2008 Beijing show. This near-production sports sedan was jointly developed by GM in China and the U.S.

Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/auto_shows/0804_2008_buick_invicta_concept/

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Lewis Hamilton move would not be a huge surprise

If Lewis Hamilton does move to Mercedes from McLaren for next season, as Eddie Jordan believes he will, it would be a massive shock but not a huge surprise.

There has appeared no urgency from either Hamilton or McLaren to sort out a new contract for 2013 and at the same time there have been signs of unease in the relationship.

The 27-year-old's management team have approached all the big teams this summer and they got short shrift from Red Bull and Ferrari.

Mercedes's reaction has been warmer, and negotiations are known to have taken place, but the issue is complicated by Michael Schumacher's situation.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of leaving Mclaren to drive for Mercedes next season. Photo: Getty

Schumacher has not exactly been setting the world on fire this season, with the notable exception of qualifying fastest in Monaco, but at the same time Mercedes cannot be seen to be sacking him because of his status, particularly in Germany.

The German legend is of huge promotional value to Mercedes but the company is split on whether he should continue.

From a marketing point of view, he is a dream - and as he is considered untouchable in Germany any decision to move aside must appear to have come from him.

But those who see the F1 programme from a performance point of view would rather Schumacher stepped down and made way for someone younger and faster.

If they can replace him with someone of the highest calibre - someone such as Hamilton, for example - then that helps, too, as the decision is more easily understandable.

And it is clear after an increasingly uncompetitive season that the team could benefit from employing Hamilton, who is one of F1's 'big three' alongside Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, neither of whom are available.

The attraction Mercedes might have to Hamilton is less clear, given their current struggles, but perhaps the continuing frustrations of his time at McLaren have convinced him it is time for a change.

McLaren struggled by their own high standards in 2009-11, during which time Hamilton did not have a car competitive enough to mount a full-on title challenge.

They came closest in 2010, but it was always a battle against the generally faster Red Bull and Ferrari.

And although McLaren started this season with the fastest car - and have it again after a brief mid-season dip in form - operational errors earlier in the season hit Hamilton's title bid.

Money may well also be an important factor. Hamilton made some cryptic comments in Belgium last weekend about his future move being a "business decision".

Equally, there have been signs of friction between him and McLaren.

In certain quarters of the team, they are uncomfortable about Hamilton's approach to his job and his mindset. And the disconnect was made public this weekend with his ill-advised behaviour on the social networking site Twitter, on which he posted a picture of confidential team telemetry.

Where does that all leave McLaren, Mercedes and Hamilton? Time will tell.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/andrewbenson/2012/09/lewis_hamilton_move_would_not.html

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2015 Volkswagen Tiguan Spied

Tiguan will be longer, taller, and more spacious.

Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/features/news/1402-2015-volkswagen-tiguan-spied/

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World Car of the Year Candidates Officially Announced

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Every year, hundreds of motoring journalists from all over the world descend upon New York City for the New York International Auto Show. Among the new car reveals, fancy parties and exciting concepts, the New York Auto Show also plays host to the World Car of the Year Awards.

This prestigious award is handed out by a collection of experienced automotive journalists from around the world. Some of this year’s jurors include writers from countries like Japan, Russia, South Africa, China, Australia and more. Overall there are nearly 70 jurors in total.

Some of the previous year’s winners include the Mk VII Volkswagen Golf and the Nissan Leaf.

Of all the cars that were eligible for this year’s award, twelve have been selected as finalists. We have brought together all twelve of the final candidates for you here, and we also included a little bit information about each one.
Which one do you think deserves to win and why? Sound off in the comments below.

Click past the jump to read about the World Car of the Year candidates

World Car of the Year Candidates Officially Announced originally appeared on topspeed.com on Saturday, 22 February 2014 18:00 EST.

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Source: http://www.topspeed.com/cars/car-news/world-car-of-the-year-candidates-officially-announced-ar162372.html

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Vettel sprouts a second finger

Source: http://www.metrof1.com/blogs/metrof1/2011/10/vettel-sprouts-a-second-finger.html

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Saturday, 22 February 2014

2007 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder

2007 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder
2007 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder - 2007 New Cars - Automobile Magazine
The Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder is hot and fresh for 2007. Read about it in our new cars section.

Toned down from the wild Concept S show car that was seen earlier this year at Geneva, the Gallardo Spyder makes use of a powered top that stows under the engine cover and behind the passenger compartment. In case you invert the car, there is a pop-up roll bar and strengthened A-pillars. While the car was in the body shop, the Lamborghini engineers increased the 5.0-liter V-10's power from 492 to 512 hp. (All 2006 Gallardos receive the power hike.) The six-speed transmission has been recalibrated, along with the suspension and steering. Lamborghini says that the car will accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 4.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 195 mph with the roof up. Topless, the car is 4 mph slower. The Gallardo Spyder goes on sale in Europe early next year, priced at about $200,000.


Photo Gallery: 2007 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder - 2007 New Cars - Automobile Magazine


Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/new_car_previews/2007/0605_2007_lamborghini_gallardo_spyder/index.html

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Pagani Zonda Revolucion #5

-->


Exclusivity and fast cars have gone hand in hand for years. Corvettes, Porsches, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Bugattis all have both factors in common and to an increasing degree as the list progresses. However, There’s one car maker, and more specifically, one car model, that oozes with the sort of bespoke rarity only found in artistic works from the likes of de Vinci or Michelangelo; the Pagani Zonda Revolucion.

The Zonda Revolucion is Pagani’s greatest iteration of the Zonda supercar and will likely be the last. This last hurrah of greatness for the nameplate that dates back to 1999, the Revolucion is a hyper version of the already-hyper Zonda R.

Like the Zonda R, the Revolucion’s power comes from an AMG-sourced 6.0-liter V-12 that churns out an amazing 800 horsepower and 538 pound-feet of torque. A central monocoque carbon-titanium chassis and carbon fiber everything keeps the Revolucion’s weight down to a skimpy 2,358 pounds.

Supercars like this aren’t usually built in great quantity, which holds true in extreme form for the Revolucion. Only five were ever made. The one you see pictured above is number two, delivered to its owner in Japan in 2013. Number five, however, is headed to the Geneva Motor Show in early March to show off one last time before being delivered to its lucky owner.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Pagani Zonda Revolucion #5.

Pagani Zonda Revolucion #5 originally appeared on topspeed.com on Friday, 21 February 2014 16:00 EST.

read more



Source: http://www.topspeed.com/cars/pagani/2014-pagani-zonda-revolucion-5-ar162483.html

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2013 Car Launches: Lotus launch the new E21 (+Pictures)

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/F1InsightAFormula1Blog/~3/wY9dQf6IVwk/2013-car-launches-lotus-launch-new-e21.html

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Would Vettel or Alonso be more deserving champion?

On the surface, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso seem very different. Alonso is all dark, brooding intensity; charismatic but distant.

Vettel is much sunnier - chatty, long answers, always ready with a joke and, as the Abu Dhabi podium ceremony proved, a salty English phrase.

Underneath, though, they share more than might at first be apparent. Both are highly intelligent, intensely dedicated to their profession, and totally ruthless in their own way.

Equally, although Alonso’s wit may be less obvious than Vettel’s, it is highly developed, bone dry, effective, and often used to tactical ends.

Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso

Sebastian Vettel (right) leads Fernando Alonso in the Championship going into the penultimate race of the season. Photo: Reuters  

And they are both, of course, utterly fantastic racing drivers.

These two all-time greats head into the final two races of a marathon and topsy-turvey 2012 Formula 1 season separated by a tiny margin. Ten points is the same as a fifth place - or the margin between finishing first and third.

Vettel, on account of being ahead and having comfortably the faster car, is favourite. But within F1 there is a feeling that Alonso would be the more deserving champion, so well has he performed in a car that is not the best.

But is that a fair and accurate point of view? Let's look at their seasons, and you can make your own judgement.

THE GOOD

Vettel

It seems strange now, in the wake of Red Bull's recent pulverising form, but at the start of this season the world champions were struggling.

The car always had very good race pace - it was right up with the quickest from Melbourne on - but qualifying was a different matter.

In China, Vettel did not make it into the top 10 shoot-out in qualifying; in Monaco he did – just - but then did not run because he didn’t feel he had the pace to make it worthwhile.

In both races, though, he was competitive, taking a fifth place in China and fourth in Monaco, where he nearly won.

That was the story of the first two-thirds of Vettel’s season. He kept plugging away, delivering the points and keeping himself in contention in the championship.

He took only one win – in Bahrain, from pole – and he should have had another in Valencia, when he was as dominant as he ever was in 2011 only to retire with alternator failure.

Then, when Red Bull finally hit the sweet spot with their car, he delivered four consecutive wins (one of them inherited following Lewis Hamilton’s retirement in Singapore), the last three from the front row of the grid, including two pole positions.

And in Abu Dhabi there was an impressive comeback drive to third after being demoted to the back of the grid, albeit with the help of a significant dose of luck.

Alonso

It is hard to think of a race in which, assuming he got around the first corner, Alonso has not been on world-class form.

In Australia, when Ferrari were really struggling with their car at the start of the season, he fought up from 12th on the grid to finish fifth (including getting up to eighth on the first lap).

His three victories have been among the best all year –in the wet in Malaysia from ninth on the grid; in Valencia from 11th, including some stunning, clinical and brave overtaking manoeuvres; and a superbly controlled defensive drive in Germany, holding off the faster cars of Vettel and Jenson Button for the entire race, by going flat out only where he needed to, lap after lap after lap.

Then, to pick out some other highlights, there was beating the Red Bulls to pole in the wet at both Silverstone and Hockenheim; his rise from 10th on the grid to third in Monza, including a courageous pass on Vettel a couple of laps after being forced on to the grass at nearly 200mph; and splitting the Red Bulls to finish second in India.

THE BAD

Vettel

Impressive Vettel has been this year, flawless he has not.

In Malaysia, he cost himself a fourth place by sweeping too early across the front of Narain Karthikeyan’s HRT while lapping it. There was a hint of frustration and a sense of entitlement about the move – as there was in his post-race comments in which he called Karthikeyan an “idiot”.

In Spain, he was penalised for ignoring yellow caution flags.

In Hockenheim he overtook Jenson Button’s McLaren off the circuit, earning himself a demotion from second to fifth place, despite the drivers being warned only a month or so before that they could not benefit by going off the track.

In Monza, he earned a drive-through penalty for pushing Alonso on to the grass at nearly 200mph, in presumed retaliation for a similar move the Spaniard had pulled on Vettel in the same place the previous year. Again, this was despite the drivers being warned that they had to leave room for a rival who had any part of his car alongside any part of theirs.

In qualifying in Japan, he got away with blocking Alonso at the chicane, despite Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne being penalised for doing the same thing to Williams’s Bruno Senna earlier in the session.

And in India he appeared to break guidelines about having all four wheels off the track at one of the chicanes on his only top-10 qualifying lap, but kept his time because the only available footage was from outside the car, and showed only the front wheels. So the FIA had to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Alonso

Er… Has Alonso made any errors at all this year?

Well, he did cost himself a couple of points in China when he ran off the road attempting to pass Williams’s Pastor Maldonado around the outside of Turn Seven – a move that Vettel did pull off against Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen.

He spun in a downpour in second qualifying at Silverstone, just before the session was red-flagged because it was too dangerous.

And some argue that, defending a championship lead, he should not have put himself in the position he did at the start in Japan, where his rear wheel was tagged by Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus on the run to the first corner, putting Alonso out of the race.

The claim is that Alonso had everything to lose and that, while he did nothing wrong, trying to intimidate Raikkonen into backing off, and squeezing him twice, was too big a risk.

The opposing view of that incident is that Raikkonen, who was behind Alonso, had a better view of the situation and should have realised he wasn’t going anywhere from where he was and backed off.

THE MISFORTUNE

Vettel has lost points from two alternator failures, one in Valencia when he was leading and one in Italy when he was running sixth. And third became fourth in Canada when a planned one-stop strategy had to he aborted. That’s 36 points lost.

Alonso was taken out twice at the start – once definitely not his fault (Belgium, when Romain Grosjean’s flying Lotus narrowly missed his head); and once arguably not (Japan).

He lost a possible win in Monaco because Ferrari didn’t realise that if they left him out a bit longer before his pit stop he could have overtaken leader Mark Webber and second-placed Nico Rosberg as well as third-placed Lewis Hamilton.

He should have finished second in Canada and probably won in Silverstone - rather than being fifth and second - but for errant tyre strategies, and he would have been on the front row and finished at least second in Monza had his rear anti-roll bar not failed in qualifying.

That’s 60-odd points lost.

A POST SCRIPT

While we’re analysing Vettel and Alonso, spare a thought for Lewis Hamilton.

The McLaren driver finally lost any mathematical chance of the title after his retirement from the lead in Abu Dhabi. He is 90 points behind Vettel.

Hamilton has said that he has driven at his absolute best this season, and it’s hard to disagree – he has not made a single mistake worth the name.

But his year has been a story of operational and technical failures by his team.

At least three wins have been lost (Spain, Singapore and Abu Dhabi), as well as a series of other big points finishes, as detailed by BBC Radio 5 live commentator James Allen in his blog.

Without that misfortune, Hamilton would be right up with Vettel and Alonso, if not ahead of them.

So, if you’re thinking about ‘deserving’ world champions, if such a thing exists, spare a thought for him too.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/andrewbenson/2012/11/benson.html

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2007 Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon

2007 Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon
2007 Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon - 2007 New Cars - Automobile Magazine
Alfa could be bringing the 159 Sportwagon to the US. Check it out here.

The attractive Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon is derived from the recently introduced 159 sedan, and the overall length remains the same at 183.5 inches. To give a sense of size, that's roughly the same length as a Saab 9-3 SportCombi or an Acura TSX. The Sportwagon will ride on a control-arm front suspension and a multilink setup at the rear, and its power will come from one of six powerplants, including three gasoline engines that range in output from 160 hp to 260 hp and three turbo-diesels that will produce anywhere from 120 hp to 200 hp. Transmission options include a six-speed manual and a six-speed manu-matic, and 260-hp versions can be had with all-wheel drive.


Photo Gallery: 2007 Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon - 2007 New Cars - Automobile Magazine


Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/new_car_previews/2007/0605_2007_alfa_romeo_159_sportwagon/index.html

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Friday, 21 February 2014

Robert Kubica Hospitalised Following Rally Accident

UPDATE ON KUBICA’s CONDITION:  http://wp.me/p3uiu-11K Renault Lotus F1 driver Robert Kubica has been airlifted to hospital following a car accident while competing on a rally. The incident, described as a high speed accident, left the Pole injured and he had to be airlifted to hospital.  His co-driver Jakub Gerber was uninjured in the incident. While […]

Source: http://f1fanatics.wordpress.com/2011/02/06/robert-kubica-hospitalised-following-rally-accident/

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Important Small Cars

Small cars are getting better and better every year. Take a look at the standouts for 2007.

Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/auto_shows/0706_2007_wrap_up_important_small_cars/

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Volvo Concept Estate teased, could debut in Geneva

Swedish raincoat maker Stutterheim has released the first teaser images of the Volvo Concept Estate.

Source: http://feeds.worldcarfans.com/~r/worldcarfans/Jxfz/~3/mFaML19bwVk/volvo-concept-estate-teased-could-debut-in-geneva

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2007 Kia Optima

2007 Kia Optima
2007 Kia Optima - 2007 New Cars - Automobile Magazine
The 2007 Kia Optima is based on Europe's Kia Magentis. Get a first look here.

The 2006 Detroit show marks the North American debut of the new Kia Optima, which will be nearly identical to the European Kia Magentis that was unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show in September 2005. Whereas the previous car was a restyled, bug-eyed version of the Hyundai Sonata, Kia claims that the Optima is significantly different from its Hyundai brother, although powertrains are still shared. Engine choices are include a 185-hp 2.7-liter V-6 and a 161-hp 2.4-liter four.


Photo Gallery: 2007 Kia Optima - 2007 New Cars - Automobile Magazine


Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/new_car_previews/2007/0605_2007_kia_optima/index.html

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2007 Maserati GranSport MC Victory

2007 Maserati GranSport MC Victory
2007 Maserati GranSport MC Victory - 2007 New Cars - Automobile Magazine
Get a peek at this super-limited edition Maserati here.

Maserati has reason to celebrate, since the automaker just wrapped up a victorious 2005 FIA GT Manufacturers Cup season. The trident brand's victory cigar? This beautiful, blue, limited edition GranSport. A total of 180 MC Victory coupes will be made this year, featuring carbon front and rear spoilers, unique carbon-colored wheels, and Italian flags behind the front wheel, just like the winning MC12 race car. While the car doesn't officially go on sale until May, we're pretty sure the order list will be filled soon after the car's Geneva debut.


Photo Gallery: 2007 Maserati GranSport MC Victory - 2007 New Cars - Automobile Magazine


Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/new_car_previews/2007/0605_2007_maserati_gransport_victory/index.html

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Thursday, 20 February 2014

2007 Hyundai Genesis Concept

Hell has indeed frozen over, and the first U.S-bound rear-drive, V-8-powered Hyundai has slid right across the ice into our world.

Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/auto_shows/0703_2007_hyundai_genesis_concept/

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Lopez tips new Lotus to 'go like hell'

Acting team boss Gerard Lopez expects Lotus to be fully competitive in 2014. Amid rumours of financial strife, the Enstone team sat out the opening Jerez test, and when the E22 finally made its publ...

Source: http://feeds.worldcarfans.com/~r/worldcarfans/Jxfz/~3/3RmYLqX3nf8/lopez-tips-new-lotus-to-go-like-hell

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Honda Civic Type R Concept Teased Ahead of 2014 Geneva Auto Show

Our first look at the Civic Type R expected to arrive in 2015.

Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/auto_shows/geneva/2014/1402-honda-civic-type-r-concept-teaser-2014-geneva-auto-show/

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Ecclestone wins court case over ‘corrupt deal’ | 2014 F1 season

A High Court judge has dismissed a case brought by Constantin Medien against Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/f1fanatic/~3/1LVgSM7cxuA/

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2007 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and E63 AMG

2007 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and E63 AMG
2007 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and E63 AMG - 2007 New Cars - Automobile Magazine
In addition to the optional urine-dependent Bluetec diesel, the 2007 E-class, which goes on sale with a mild face-lift in July '06, got two new meaty gasoline engines. The normally aspirated, AMG-tuned, 514-hp, 6.3-liter V-8 is the top choice for the horsepower hungry, while the new S-class donated its 388-hp, 5.5-liter V-8 for those who like ample power without that diesel aftertaste. For '07, Mercedes-Benz also endows the mid-sizer with standard crash-anticipating safety features and an op

In addition to the optional urine-dependent Bluetec diesel, the 2007 E-class, which goes on sale with a mild face-lift in July '06, got two new meaty gasoline engines. The normally aspirated, AMG-tuned, 514-hp, 6.3-liter V-8 is the top choice for the horsepower hungry, while the new S-class donated its 388-hp, 5.5-liter V-8 for those who like ample power without that diesel aftertaste. For '07, Mercedes-Benz also endows the mid-sizer with standard crash-anticipating safety features and an optional lighting system that will make many other cars' headlights seem like gas lanterns. Mercedes also claims to have retuned the car's chassis and improved its steering.


Photo Gallery: 2007 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and E63 AMG - 2007 New Cars - Automobile Magazine


Source: http://www.automobilemag.com/new_car_previews/2007/0605_2007_mercedes_benz_e_class/index.html

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