On Friday, we inspected the 121 entrants to the first-ever There Goes the Neighborhood 24 Hours of LeMons, held at the Monticello Motor Club. On Saturday, we enjoyed a great Alfa-vs-Ford-vs-(Saab-engined) Nissan battle for the lead. On Sunday, the surviving cars battled for victory. Let’s see which teams went home with new trophies!
The winner on laps, believe it or not, was a Nissan 300ZX with a goofy Saab 900 Turbo engine swap. When we saw Rust In the Wind win in New Hampshire last year, we thought the team might be a one-hit wonder (having watched the Rust In the Wind guys struggle for two years to even finish a LeMons race), but they held off the Pro Crash Duh Nation Alfa Romeo Milano and won this race by a fraction of a lap.
“The RX-8 doesn’t just like a drink; it is the founding member of the AA institution for sports car engines”
Are you tired of my RX-8 reports yet? If you secretly nodded your head in agreement, then I have good news for you, because this will be the final one, in which I’ll try to recount the ups and downs of running Mazda’s last rotary sports car – until, hopefully, the next one comes up…
First of all, let me introduce you to the world’s first contemporary four-door coupe. The Mercedes-Benz CLS that supposedly invented the niche? It was launched a year later than the RX-8, which is a coupe and has four doors. True, the Merc and its clones are perched much higher in terms of pricing and none adopted the rear suicide doors that did without the B-pillar, but you get the point.
There’s nothing else like it on the market – period. Its powerplant shuns valves, pistons and conrods for ports and rotors and thus produces 228HP from a capacity of just 1.3 liters and a mad 9,500 rpm redline. I’ll admit, it suffers from a severe lack of low-end torque, but it revs so creamily and effortlessly that a chime has to remind you to change up before you hit the limiter.
This comes at a price. The RX-8 doesn’t just like a drink; it is the founding member of the AA institution for sports car engines. Yes, it really is that bad. No matter how gentle the right pedal is treated, a shocking 16-18 lt/km (15-13 mpg US) average in mixed use is common. Combine it with the 61–liter fuel tank and visits to gas stations are much more frequent than Lindsay Lohan’s to courts and rehab facilities.
On the bright side, it doesn’t get that much worse when it gets a good pasting. Thus, since the tank and wallet are draining at nearly the same rate regardless of speed, better to indulge in it. That’s what it was made for after all, right?
BMW first unveiled one of its latest 3-Series variants, known as the 3-Series Gran Turismo or GT, at this year’s Chicago Auto Show. Now, BMW sought the bigger New York moment by showcasing the 2014 BMW 3-Series GT at this year’s New York International Auto Show.
The 2014 BMW 3-Series GT follows the way of its older sibling, the BMW 5-Series GT, with an all-new sloping rear boot lid. In some ways, it reminds me of the old 1990s E36-generation 3-Series compact…and I’m not quite sure if that’s a good thing.
But still, I think the 2014 3-Series GT looks a lot better than the larger BMW 5-Series GT.
All the engine options from the standard 3-Series carry over to the 2014 BMW 3-Series Gran Turismo, which include BMW’s luscious 3.0L N55 twin-turbocharged straight-six good for 320hp and 300 lb-ft of torque, and BMW’s new 2.0L TwinPower turbocharged N20 four-banger good for 241hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.
For our full press recap, check it out after the jump.
All Photos Copyright egmCarTech © Chris Chin.
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Because the track at Sears Point aka Sonoma Raceway can’t fit more than 175 or so LeMons cars at one time, many of the hundreds of applicants for the 2013 Sears Pointless 24 Hours of LeMons couldn’t be accepted for the race. What to do? Why, stay over through Monday and run a special one-day Sears (Even More) Pointless race, that’s what! This race featured all the same prizes as the full all-weekend-long race that preceded it, and that means we’ve got another set of winners.
Sears Point has always been hard on LeMons cars, with plenty of bent metal and obliterated engines. This jar of pickles flattened by an RV in the paddock sums up the condition of many of the cars after two or three days of racing.
Weber announced the specs and details of its latest F1 sports car, claimed to be the world’s fastest and lightest street legal four wheel drive supercar, and it’s called the FasterOne. That’s a relevant name, given the fact that Weber F1 boasts 1,200 horsepower and has a dry weight of just 1,250 kg.
Built by engineers coming from the former BMW and Sauber Petronas Formula 1 team, the Weber F1 is powered by a V10 engine boosted with two turbos and very large intercoolers. A power-to-weight ratio of 0.96 hp per kilogram, intelligent all-wheel drive and sophisticated aerodynamic properties are among this car’s highlights, and the main contributing factor to its exceptional performance.
The F1 goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.5 seconds, to 300 km/h in just 16.2 seconds and reaches a top speed of more than 400 km/h. Those numbers are on the par with the latest hyper cars from Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche.
Weber is also working on a KERS-enabled system based on this powertrain to make a 1,600 horsepower super car. The Weber F1 FAsterOne will be launched next month. It will be built to order at an undisclosed price.
With 174 entries, we knew the first day of the 2013 Sears Pointless 24 Hours of LeMons would be wild. Plenty of thrown rods, plenty of lunched transmissions, and a steady stream of black flags later, the race session ended with several very exciting battles that will be resolved on Sunday.
In the P1 position, we have the car that dominated West Coast LeMons racing throughout the 2012 season: Cerveza Racing’s 1983 BMW 533i. This car is on the same lap as the P2 car, the If It’s Not Punk It’s Junk BMW 525i, and ZZZZzzzzzzzz…
So there it was, right in front of me. Just sitting, quietly, in its metallic black paint glistening seamlessly in the rays of the bright, early spring/late winter afternoon sun—one of the greatest supercars that history has ever produced. And this should go without saying, because Ferrari is an automaker that possesses one of the richest pasts filled with some of the most grandiose achievements in not just all of motorsports, but all of automotive history. That said, the world-famous Prancing Horse automaker is the epitome and the embodiment of over a century’s worth of civilian and racing automotive technology combined and is as bang up to date as your Applesung smartphone. I can go on and on about Ferrari’s extraordinarily affluent history. In fact, I could dedicate an entire book to how iconic the brand is. But that’s not what I’m here to do, no sir-ee.
I’m here to talk about how the 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia that has inhabited my presence and why it is the engineering marvel that it is. But not everyone understands that by experiencing the 458, I was living the dream of nearly every young boy around and inside of us car nuts. And even then, your average Joe tends to be oblivious to what specifically makes the Ferrari 458 Italia so special. As a gross generalization, a lot of those not familiar with automobiles—and even those who are—tend to attribute connotations to Ferraris such as, a “playboy’s car,” or a “status” symbol of wealth. Well, admittedly, yes, that is a bit hard to glaze over with a car that costs $ 230,000. But truth be told, there’s much more to the Ferrari’s brilliance than just being a status symbol and there’s even plenty more to the 458 Italia than its righteous bloodline of pedigree and exorbitant price suggest. And you have to look deep below the 458 Italia’s luscious bodywork.
For instance, the brilliance of the 458 Italia isn’t just about its seductive, fluid and artful shape, which also wasn’t deliberately designed to be pretty. It was specifically designed with aerodynamics in mind, thanks to being modeled in one of the world’s most advanced wind tunnels, Ferrari’s Galleria del Vento in Maranello, Italy—the same one used make their fastest world-class Formula 1 professional race cars. There’s more to the fact that the 458 Italia’s chassis and body shell are constructed primarily of aluminum, which weighs less than traditional steel. Even the attention to detail with the body doesn’t emphasize the 458’s brilliance, held together by a combination of precise machine, hand-welds and structural adhesives, all of which have made the 458 Italia weigh less, 3,042lbs vs. 3,175lbs to be precise, and structurally stiffer than its predecessor, the Ferrari F430. It doesn’t matter that these techniques are used at the forefront of Ferrari’s racing programs, making them some of the most advanced engineered cars in existence today.
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