Archive for January, 2009

Porsche 911 RSR

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Porsche has posted the following about the new Porsche 911 RSR:

The successful Porsche 911 GT3 RSR takes off into the new model year with extensive modifications. The most powerful race car based on the Porsche 911, which last season secured wins in the American Le Mans Series and at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, competes in the GT2 class at international long distance races. The most distinguishing feature of the new GT3 RSR is the redesigned front with large air outlets on the front hood. Under the light-weight bodyshell, as well, major changes were made to the quickest 911.
Noticeable at first sight are the air outlet slots, or the so-called louvers, on the front hood: an indication of the completely redesigned air ducting of the radiators, which became necessary through the new design of supply and discharge air with the installation of an optional air-conditioning unit. The aerodynamics under the rear underwent further optimisation. The rear wing now features a wider adjustment range. The weight-optimised brake system and the lighter wiring harness contribute to further improved handling, compared to the predecessor model.

The capacity of the well-known six-cylinder boxer engine increased from 3.8 to 4.0-litres. After another reduction in the size of the air restrictors for the 2009 season, the engine now delivers around 450 hp (331 kW) at 7,800 revs per minute and develops a maximum torque of 430 Nm at 7,250 rpm. The rev limiter of the efficient six-cylinder unit kicks in at 9,000 rpm. Compared to the forerunner, the rev level for a given power output was significantly lowered. Thanks to this, the engine features an optimised torque curve and offers better driveability.
In the cockpit, a new multi-function display located above the dashboard indicates the opti-mum moment to change gears. Another new feature is the programmable multi-function, onboard supply system control device, giving teams the choice of many individual functions. One of these is the infinitely adjustable blinking frequency of the lights in the front apron, which helps to immediately recognise race cars when they enter the pits in the dark. For eas-ier servicing under race conditions, other modifications were made. The GT3 RSR now fea-tures a new air-jack system with overpressure valve. The oil refill with fast filling function has now moved to the rear lid, giving mechanics better access.

Aside from GT3 Cup and the GT3 Cup S, the GT3 RSR is the third race car based on the Porsche 911 offered by Porsche Motorsport. About 20 of the successful long distance racers have been built in Weissach and are now being delivered to customer teams around the world. The GT3 RSR costs 380,000 Euro plus VAT specific to each country.

Technical Description Porsche GT3 RSR (2009)

Water-cooled, six-cylinder boxer engine; four valves
per cylinder; dry sump lubrication; individual throttle
butterflies; fuel injection; air restrictors 2 x 29.5 mm.

102.7 mm

80.4 mm

3,996 cc

Power output:
331 kW (450 bhp) at 7,800 rpm

Max. Torque:
430 Nm at 7,250 rpm

Max. revs:
9,400 rpm

Six-speed gearbox with sequential jaw-type shift;
oil/water heat exchanger; single-mass flywheel;
hydraulic disengagement lever; three-plate carbon-fibre
clutch; rear wheel drive; limited-slip differential 45/65%.

Monocoque body (basis GT3 RS) of hot-galvanised steel;
aerodynamically optimised front end with front spoiler;
aerodynamically optimised front underfloor; adjustable
rear wing; 90-litre safety fuel tank with fast filling function;
air jack; welded-in safety cage; bucket-type racing seat
(on driver’s side only) with flame-resistant seat cover;
six-point seat belt adapted for use of the HANS
Head and Neck Support; electric fire-extinguishing system.


McPherson spring strut axle; Sachs four-way gas
pressure dampers; double coil springs (main and ancillary
spring); front axle arms adjustable for camber; adjustable
sword-type anti-roll bar on both sides; power steering.

Multi-arm axle with rigidly mounted axle sub-frame;
Sachs four-way gas pressure dampers; double coil springs
(main and auxiliary spring); rear axle tie-bar reinforced
and infinitely adjustable; adjustable sword-type anti-roll
bar on both sides.

Complete suspension infinitely adjustable (height,
camber, track).

Brake system with balance bar control.

Single-piece six-piston aluminium fixed callipers;
inner-vented, 380 mm in diameter; racing brake pads.

Rear: Single-piece four-piston aluminium fixed callipers;
inner-vented, 355 mm in diameter; racing brake pads.


Three-piece BBS light-alloy wheels (11J x 18-34);
central bolt;

Three-piece BBS light-alloy wheels (13J x 18-12.5);
central bolt.

Electrical System:
Motec display with integrated data recording; multi-function
display with integrated gearshift indicator; adjustable
traction control; battery: 12 volt, 50 Ah, 140 Ah alternator.

Approx. 1,220 kg complying with A.C.O. regulations,
1,245 kg complying with FIA regulations.

New EXTREME Bentley

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

The New EXTREME Bentley!
See: Extreme Bentley

Apparently, the car pioneers FlexFuel technology, running seamlessly on biofuel, gasoline or a mix of the two, thereby underpinning Bentley’s environmental commitment to the use of renewable and sustainable fuel in the future.
That is certainly good news considering the size and weight of the Bentley product line!

To read more about Bentley’s three-part environmental strategy, please visit

Arriving March 3, 2009 at the Geneva auto show!

LOTW: California’s hydrogen highway

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Of all of the people you might expect to ignore environmental concerns, a Humvee-driving Republican governor must rank fairly high on the list.

Without a doubt, he is the governor who best knows that environmental concerns rank near the top of priorities for his constituency.

This article comes on the heals of the Obama administration’s move to allow the states more leeway in how they pass and apply laws as they pertain to automakers’ emissions. This could pave way for more fuel efficient vehicles, including some that run on renewable fuels, such as hydrogen.

For more information on hydrogen cars, check out these links:

For more on the Honda Clarity, the only known hydrogen vehicle actively being sold by a major automaker, click here.

Tesla partners with SMART – a “smart” move for both

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Earlier in the month, CNET reported that Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, announced a deal with Daimler at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. At the same auto show, Tesla unveiled a higher-end Sport version of its Tesla Roadster electric sports car.

CNET reported as well that a deal has been surfacing for quite some time: In August, Financial Times Germany reported that the supply agreement was for electric Smart cars planned for a pilot to test lithium-ion battery Smart cars and a network of charging stations in Berlin, Germany.

It seems that Daimler is planning to re-position the SMART car as a sort of “larger” G-Wiz. Hopefully the car will not suffer the same problems that plague the G-Wiz, which is little more than a glorified electric golf cart, except smaller, less reliable, slower, and far more expensive.

The deal seems to be for 1000 electric power trains for a limited run of SMARTs. One could assume that if successful, and there is little reason to suspect otherwise given the focus of the SMART car, we could expect electric SMART cars in every dealer, even in the new American market. (more…)

What’s it like to sit shotgun in a Porsche GT3?

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Weekend entertainment: a car that drives itself

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Link of the week: Splitwheel Project

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Splitwheel Project Logo

If you’re interested in starting your own car company, but don’t have the requisite $500 million on hand, you ought to have a look at Splitwheel.


Project Splitwheel is a unique project that will incorporate the ideas of project particpants and then turn the designs over to famous Lotus 7 builder Caterham. 

Caterham is UK-based and is working with the project to take the designs, turn them into engineering, and then project participants will vote on key decisions. Check it out, and sign up. The project should be starting soon!

A Pagani for America

Sunday, January 25th, 2009


After the Pagani Zonda F laid down a seriously quick, record-breaking time at the Nurburgring,


Pagani Zonda breaking the record at Nurburgring.

Pagani Zonda breaking the record at Nurburgring.



the people at Pagani were propositioned to build a limited edition of just five (5) cars, which are called the Cinque, seen here:

Pagani Zonda Cinque

The Cinque comes as a precursor to the next generation Pagani supercar, which is due out later this year. According to Pagani’s Catia Pramazzoni, the car will be completely new and will see a production number of 60 cars per year. More importantly, this is the first car from Pagani to be sold to the U.S. market. Pagani estimates that half of the production run will be sold in the U.S.

LeftLane News has posted some “spy shots” of the new car on its site, here:


Click on the image to see LeftLane News site on the new Pagani Zonda.

Click on the image to see LeftLane News' site on the new Pagani Zonda.


Pagani says the specs for the Cinque include:

- Mercedes Benz AMG engine, 678 hp, 

- ECU, Traction control , ABS by Bosch Engineering 

- Inconel/titanium exhaust system coated with ceramic 

- Suspensions in magnesium and titanium 

- Cima sequential gearbox (6 speed), robotized by Automac enginnering 

- APP monolitic wheels forged in aluminium and magnesium. 

Size: front 9×19 – rear 12,5×20 

- Pirelli PZero tyres. Size: front 255/35/19 – rear 335/30/20 

- Toora Racing leather/carbon fibre racing seats 

- Carbon fibre steering wheel 

- Brembo brakes in carbo-ceramic self ventilated with hydraulic servo brake, 

Size: front 380×34 mm, monolitic 6 piston caliper; rear 380×34 mm, monolitic 

4 piston caliper. 

- Dry weight 1.210 kg 

- Weight distribution in driving condition: 47% front, 53% rear 

- Acceleration: 0-100 Km in 3.4 sec., 0-200 in 9.6 sec. 

- Braking: 100-0 km in 2.1 sec., 200-0 km 4.3 sec. 

- Maximum side acceleration: 1,45 G (with road tyres)

Economic failures = new car models for European automakers. Month in review.

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Audi R8

The economy is hurting and more and more carmakers are suffering. Not all are doing poorly, though. Audi, as an example reported record sales for 2008, with over 1,000,000 vehicles sold. Lamborghini, owned by the VW/Audi Group, also posted record sales for 2008. Both companies produce sports cars that retail at over US$100,000.

Let us examine the developments of the last month by automaker:

Porsche. There is no substitute for a strong economy. A poor economy negatively impacted sales at the sports car maker, and even a significantly revised 911 model did not save it from a virtual sales slump. Porsche is tighter with numbers than most companies, but while sales were slowing, the company hopes that new models in 2009 will help it combat slumping sales. A four-door car, the Panamera should hit showroom floors in the first half of 2009, while you can expect to drive a 2009 Boxster/Cayman with revised powertrain as soon as March.

In financial news the company announced the first week of January that they had bought an additional 8.16 per cent stake in VW worth 6.1bn Euro/US$8.2bn. Porsche now owns 50.76 per cent of VW Group but may gain further stake in VW, rising to 75 per cent in coming months (if all goes as planned).  In November, news came out that Germany’s upper house of parliament passed new laws regarding ownership of VW, despite European Commission rulings that such laws were illegal.

In November, the high profit-maker in the world gobbled up a stake, which sent hedge funds scrambled to recover from trading, which briefly left VW as the most valuable company in the world. Porsche’s finance team effectively practiced something called “cornering”. Let us not forget that Porsche is better as an investor than as a carmaker – though they are a damned good carmaker. In 2007, the company made 3.6 billion Euros on investments, and only a paltry 1 billion Euros on cars. At a 12 per cent profit margin, the decision to invest in VW stands financial positioning, and partly seeking a partner with whom to share technology development costs.

Still, everyone is watching the dollars and cents these days. Even Porsche has announced that is it pulling out of the American LeMans series for 2009 – in part. It is pulling the P2 team, but not pulling support for the 911 GT3 RSRs in the GT2 category.

Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes has finally announced the much-anticipated E-class for 2009. The new car replaces the round headlights with more rectangular ones, perhaps in the style of the C-class or a Lexus.