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Cadillac’s Racing Prototypes Have Changed A Bit In 67 Years 13
Dec
Posted by Carscoops Staff in Cadillac, Classics, IMSA, Le Mans, Motorsport, racing on 12 13th, 2017


Cadillac has been around for a long time. 115 years, to be precise. In that time, it has raced extensively, and as you might expect, its racers have changed a lot over the decades.

Jordan Taylor got to find that out for himself first-hand this week at Daytona, where he drove the 1950 Cadillac Series 61 Le Mans racer known as “Le Monstre.”

French (as you might have guessed) for “the monster,” the one-of-a-kind racing prototype was rebodied in aluminum with a streamliner shape to take on the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1950 (alongside a production-bodied version of the same). It ultimately finished eleventh, but its jet-age shape made an impression or two.

Nearly seven decades later, Taylor found it to be a radically different driving experience to the Cadillac DPi-V.R prototype he drove to victory in the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The two endurance-racing prototypes are both powered by Cadillac V8 engines, but that’s about where the similarities end.

Le Monstre‘s engine displaced 5.4 liters and produced just 160 horsepower, where the DPi-V.R dispatches 6.2 liters to the effect of 580 hp (in accordance with series regulations). Where the new one uses Brembo disc brakes to keep its 2,050 pounds of curb weight in check, the old one used drum brakes to anchor its 3,700 pounds.

“On the first lap going into the Bus Stop, I went for the brake, and I am not sure I’ve ever driven anything with full drum brakes before,” said Jordan. “When I got up high onto the banking, I looked left at the DPi-V.R on the inside and felt like I was going to fall out of the car. The relative lack of safety back then, and lack of support around the driver were crazy feelings.”

“You don’t get the sensation of how steep the Daytona banking is in the Cadillac DPi-V.R at over 170 mph,” continued the new IMSA champ. “I couldn’t imagine what it was like doing over 130mph down Mulsanne lap-after-lap for 24 hours. It was a great experience to be able to drive a car with such a great Cadillac history.”

Le Monstre is currently part of the Collier Collection at the Revs Institute in Naples, Florida, about four and a half hours south of the Daytona Motor Speedway where Jordan got to drive it for four laps at the end of the last IMSA test session of the year.

“Getting the chance to drive a car that raced in the 1950 Le Mans 24 Hours was super-exciting,” he said of the experience. “Besides trying to learn a three-speed column shift, I had to turn the steering wheel past 90 degrees to get it turn. Combine that with the car weighing 3,700 lbs. on skinny tires – it was a handful.”

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Aston CEO Says He’d Be Interested In The Valkyrie Racing At Le Mans 12
Dec
Posted by Brad Anderson in ASTON MARTIN, Aston Martin Valkyrie, Le Mans, Motorsport, racing on 12 12th, 2017


Aston Martin chief executive Andy Palmer has admitted that he would be very interested in seeing the Valkyrie hypercar compete at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Speaking to Autocar, Palmer said that as it stands, the top level of LMP1 racing is of no interest to Aston Martin. However, if the FIA changes the regulations on sportscar racing to allow for racing derivatives of road cars to compete at the top of the sport, the British marque would seriously consider a campaign.

“My personal perspective is very clear: Aston Martin will never compete in a prototype category because it has no relevance to us.

“But if they allowed racing derivatives of road cars, that would be very interesting to us and, I suspect, the fans.

“Road-derived race cars fighting for the win is in keeping with the history of sportscar and Le Mans racing, and the prospect of the likes of Valkyrie fighting against McLaren P1, LaFerrari and more would be interesting to more than just me, I suspect,” Palmer said.

Quizzed about whether Aston would race the Valkyrie if such changes were made to the sport, the executive said “Watch this space.”

If Aston Martin achieves it goals with the track-only Valkyrie AMR Pro, a variant tweaked for Le Mans could be just as fast as an LMP1 car. In fact, Aston Martin claims that the Valkyrie AMR Pro will achieve lap times to rival a modern Formula One car.

Beyond its use of a naturally-aspirated V12 engine and hybrid system delivering roughly 1000 hp, the Valkyrie will be able to achieve such incredible speeds thanks to the huge amounts of downforce it’ll produce. Aston says it will sustain cornering forces in excess of 3.3G and braking deceleration of more than 3.5G.

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Robert Kubica Reportedly Out Of Contention For Williams F1 Drive 12
Dec
Posted by Brad Anderson in F1, Motorsport, racing, Reports, Williams on 12 12th, 2017


Robert Kubica is reportedly out of contention to land a drive with the Williams F1 team for the 2018 season.

For the past six months, the popular Polish driver has been at the center of one the most intriguing F1 comeback stories in history. However, sources close to the team indicate that Kubica’s long-expected return to the sport won’t happen, at least not with Williams.

Planet F1 reports that the team has set its sights on Sergey Sirotkin to fill the vacant seat left behind by Felipe Massa. While Kubica reportedly impressed during the two-day Pirelli tire test at the conclusion of the 2017 season, Sirotkin was also fast and brings with him significant sponsorship backing of roughly $15 million a year.

A deal with Sirotkin has yet to be reached and even if one can’t be reached, Kubica won’t be the back-up for Williams. Instead, axed Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is said to be the team’s second choice.

Note: Robert Kubica pictured at his recent Renault test.

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Richard Petty Switches His Legendary No 43 To The New Chevy Camaro ZL1 10
Dec
Posted by Carscoops Staff in Chevrolet, Chevrolet Camaro, Motorsport, Nascar, racing on 12 10th, 2017


More than sponsors, manufacturers, teams, or even drivers, stock cars are known by their numbers. 43 is among the most famous of them, and it’s switching to a new car next season.

Since its debut in 1954, Petty Enterprises’ No 43 has been worn by Dodges, Plymouths, Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles, and Fords. But next year it will be on the new Chevy Camaro ZL1.

The switch coincides with a new deal penned between Richard Petty Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing, whose ECR Engines department builds the Chevy powertrains for NASCAR and the United SportsCar Championship.

“This is our next chapter of Petty racing,” said team co-owner Richard Petty. “Chevrolet has been a consistent winner in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for a long time and we’re proud to be a part of the GM family again.”

Though traditionally sponsored by STP motor oils, this year the No 43 Camaro will be sponsored primarily by Click n’ Close mortgages. It’ll be driven by Darrel “Bubba” Wallace, Jr, who moves up full-time to the Monster Energy Cup this season after strong showings and race wins in lower-level competition.

Though perhaps best known for his long-running partnership with Plymouth, Petty’s switch to Chevy for next year is something of a homecoming. Together, Petty teams have won 31 Cup races under GM power, stretching way back to the first Daytona 500 that Lee Petty won in an Oldsmobile in 1959.

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Maserati Could Be The Next Automaker To Enter Formula E 10
Dec
Posted by Carscoops Staff in FCA, Formula E, Maserati, Motorsport, racing, Reports on 12 10th, 2017


Automakers left and right have been flocking to Formula E, and the next one to join in on the action could be Maserati.

According to Autosport, Maserati is the most likely candidate among the numerous brands under the FCA umbrella, ahead of Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, or Dodge. But first the group’s chief executive Sergio Marchionne needs to determine whether the electric racing series represents a worthwhile investment.

The FCA chief has expressed interest in the series, most recently stating that, excluding Ferrari, it would be one of the other automakers over which he presides that would be represented should such a program be give it the green light.

“I haven’t spoken to Mr Marchionne,” series chief Alejandro Agag told Autosport, “but would naturally welcome his group into Formula E whenever the time becomes right for them.”

The Modena-based brand was just recently linked to a potential Formula One entry with the Haas team in the same way Alfa Romeo has with Sauber. But the leading motorsport publication believes a Formula E effort is far more likely to happen.

Maserati would be in good company on the electric grid, as rivals like Porsche, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Jaguar have all gotten involved. Aston Martin has been tied to a potential entry as well, but with the size of the field already limited, any manufacturer interested in joining would have to partner with one of the existing teams. While most of the current teams have partnered with one automaker or another, neither Techeetah nor Dragon Racing have any such partnership in place at present.

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Maserati Could Follow Alfa Romeo Back Into F1 With Haas 8
Dec
Posted by Carscoops Staff in F1, Ferrari, Haas, Maserati, Motorsport, racing, Reports on 12 8th, 2017


It’s been nearly half a century since we last saw Maserati represented on the F1 grid, but the Italian brand could be preparing a return. According to Auto Express, the automaker could follow a similar path to its sister brand Alfa Romeo, partnering with the Haas team on a rebranded engine deal.

Alfa Romeo recently announced just such an arrangement with the Sauber team, using Ferrari engines re-badged as Alfa Romeo. Both Maserati and Alfa Romeo fall under the umbrella of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, from which Ferrari only recently separated. All three, however, remain under the direction of Sergio Marchionne.

While Marchionne remains adamant that Ferrari could withdraw from the series if it doesn’t agree with the next round of engine regulations, bringing both Sauber and Haas under even closer influence could give the high-powered exec a larger voting block.

The deal would reportedly see Maserati paying Haas some €20 million per season for title sponsorship, most (if not all) of which would go right back to Ferrari, effectively making its engines free in return for the branding (and allegiance).

Maserati’s F1 history stretches back to the 1950. Juan Manual Fangio won two of his world championships in the legendary 250F, which was also driven by the likes of Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, Phil Hill Mike Hawthorn, Carroll Shelby, Masten Gregory and Roy Salvadori. The automaker shut down its works team after 1957, remaining represented by private teams through 1960 and continuing to supply engines through 1969.

This wouldn’t be the first time we’d see Maserati competing under Ferrari power. The Enzo-based MC12 dominated the FIA GT1 class in the previous decade with Ferrari’s blessing, though then-chairman Luca di Montezemolo is said to have blocked other efforts to put the Trident brand back on the racing circuit.

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F1 Champs Past & Present Gather For FIA Hall of Fame Induction 8
Dec
Posted by Carscoops Staff in F1, Motorsport, racing, video on 12 8th, 2017


This week the FIA opened its new Hall of Fame in Paris, created to honor Formula One world champions and, naturally, a number of them attended the event.

While the majority of the 33 champions inducted couldn’t be there in person, nine were: namely Sir Jackie Stewart, Mario Andretti, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg.

The evening started with the induction of drivers who won a single world championship, followed by the two- and three-time champs, then four-time winners Prost, Vettel and Hamilton, five-time winner Juan Manuel Fangio and, finally. seven-time champion Michael Schumacher.

“We all know Michael should be here and I am totally sure he would love to be here,” said Schumacher’s longtime manager Sabine Kehm, who accepted the award on his behalf. “He always had the highest respect for everyone in this room and he would be very honored.”

“It’s been incredible to see all these names, all these faces,” echoed Vettel. “There’s so much history in the sports, it’s still so alive, and thanks to events like tonight’s, we’ll keep it like that.”

On display outside were Schumacher’s Ferrari F1-2000, Alonso’s Renault R25, Senna’s McLaren MP4/5, Jim Clark’s Lotus Climax 25, Phil Hill’s Ferrari 156, and Nino Farina’s Alfa Romeo 158.

The Hall is situated at the Paris headquarters of the Automobile Club de France, where the original F1 regulations were first written in the 1940s, with the gallery designed by prominent French architects Wilmotte and Associates. The plan is to create similar galleries for past winners of other FIA-sanctioned world championships at the FIA offices in Geneva.

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FIA Finalizes 2018 Formula One Calendar 8
Dec
Posted by Brad Anderson in F1, Motorsport, racing, Reports on 12 8th, 2017


The FIA has just published the finalized calendar for the 2018 Formula One season with two famed Grands Prix returning next year.

On June 24, the French Grand Prix will return to the calendar and take place at the gorgeous Circuit Paul Ricard in LaCastellet. Additionally, the German Grand Prix is returning, scheduled for July 22 at the Hockenheimring.

Elsewhere, a few other alterations have been made over the 2017 season. Most significantly, the Malaysian Grand Prix has been dropped, the Russian Grand Prix has been moved from April to September and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix will be held in April, rather than June.

Next year will also see the first bank-to-back-to-back races with the French Grand Prix, Austrian Grand Prix, and British Grand Prix to be held over consecutive weekends.

Full calendar:

March 25 – Australia
April 8 – Bahrain
April 15 – China
April 29 – Azerbaijan
May 13 – Spain
May 27 – Monaco
June 10 – Canada
June 24 – France
July 1 – Austria
July 8 – Great Britain
July 22 – Germany
July 29 – Hungary
August 26- Belgium
September 2 – Italy
September 16 – Singapore
September 30 – Russia
October 7 – Japan
October 21 – USA
October 28 – Mexico
November 11 – Brazil
November 25 – Abu Dhabi

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Honda’s Fired Its F1 Engine Boss And Split His Job In Two 7
Dec
Posted by Carscoops Staff in F1, honda, Motorsport, racing on 12 7th, 2017


Things clearly haven’t been working in Honda’s F1 engine program, and Honda knows it. That’s probably why it’s not only changing the guard, but completely reconfiguring the way its F1 operation runs.

Up to this point, the effort has been run by one Yasuke Hasegawa, who has worn two hats: one supervising the development of the powertrain at Honda’s R&D facility in Japan, the other directing its application from the pit lane at grands prix and test sessions around at circuits around the world.

As Honda moves on from its partnership with McLaren to a new one with Toro Rosso, Hasegawa’s position is now being split into two, with the role of technical director (for trackside operations) now falling to one Toyoharu Tanabe. Currently employed as a senior manager at Honda Performance Development in the US, Tanabe has been with Honda since 1984, working in F1 alongside the likes of Gerhard Berger (at McLaren) and Jenson Button (at BAR-Honda) as well as in IndyCars.

The official announcement made no mention of who will run the powertrain development program back in Sakura. However Autosport reports that the role will fall to Yasuaki Asaki, previously head of Honda’s N series of JDM kei cars.

As for Hasegawa, he’s now being simply listed as a researcher in Honda’s R&D department. The changes are set to take effect as of January 1, 2018.

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IndyCar A-Listers Confirmed For 2018 Race Of Champions 7
Dec
Posted by Brad Anderson in Indy, Motorsport, racing, Reports on 12 7th, 2017


A number of IndyCar A-listers are among the first drivers confirmed for the 2018 Race Of Champions, set to take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on February 2-3 2018.

The likes of reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves, and Juan Pablo Montoya have all been confirmed for the annual event.

Montoya, who won the event in his first appearance back in January, says he is excited to return.

“When I came to the Race Of Champions for the first time this year, I immediately regretted never having done it before. It was an amazing experience and (ROC president) Fredrik Johnsson and his team put together an amazing event. It’s all about fun, but when you go to the grid it’s unbelievable how focused you are.”

A host of other drivers from the likes of Formula 1, NASCAR, rallycross and other motorsport series’ will be announced in the coming weeks.

Incredibly, the Race Of Champions will become Saudi Arabia’s first international motorsport event and be held just a few months before the country allows women to drive.

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Fingers Crossed The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Car Looks This Nice 6
Dec
Posted by Brad Anderson in alfa-romeo, F1, Motorsport, racing, Renderings, Sauber on 12 6th, 2017


Alfa Romeo recently confirmed its return to Formula One with the Sauber squad and unveiled a concept livery for its 2018 race car.

However, as that livery was simply a concept, it is subject to change before the new season kicks off. If it ends up looking like this livery, rendered by Behance artist Sean Bull Design, we’ll be very happy.

The designer has opted against taking inspiration from the concept livery and instead started afresh, painting the majority of the vehicle’s exterior gloss black. On the front there are the usual array of sponsor logos and some red accents. Moving along the car and you’ll find a design made up of orange and pink triangles running along the center of the race car.

Elsewhere, there is an orange and pink Alfa Romeo logo on either side and the rear wing. The controversial halo has also been painted black and much to our surprise, doesn’t look all that bad.

When the Alfa Romeo Sauber team hits the track next year, it will do so with Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson.

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Jenson Button Will Race For Honda In Japan’s Super GT Series Next Year 6
Dec
Posted by Brad Anderson in F1, japan, Motorsport, racing on 12 6th, 2017


Having taken the 2017 season off, Jenson Button has announced that in 2018 he will race in the Japanese Super GT series.

The 2009 Formula 1 World Champion is no stranger to the series, as he made his Super GT debut in August and has since reached a deal with Honda to race for the entire 2018 season, which kicks off on April 7-8 at Okayama.

“I’ll be racing for Honda and have a contract to race with Honda in Super GT in 2018. It’s been a dream for the last couple of years, I love the category. I did one race in Suzuka this year, and it got me very excited. I’m very excited about the new season. There’s a lot of testing to be done to feel comfortable and hopefully improve the package and go out next year and be competitive,” he said.

Button retired from Formula One at the end of the 2016 season, but negotiated a contract with McLaren that would allow him to return to the sport in 2017 if he wanted to. This resulted in Button getting the call up to replace Fernando Alonso at the Monaco Grand Prix, as the Spaniard was racing at the Indy 500 the same weekend.

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Nico Rosberg Is Done With Formula 1 But Is Interested In Formula E 5
Dec
Posted by Brad Anderson in F1, Formula E, Motorsport, racing, Reports on 12 5th, 2017


Just 12 months after retiring from Formula One, Nico Rosberg says he is thinking about becoming involved with racing again, though not in F1 but in Formula E.

While in Hong Kong over the weekend to attend the 2017-2018 season opener, the 2016 F1 champion confirmed that he is done with racing, but is very intrigued with the booming series.

“I’m open to explore so let’s see what the possibilities are, but I’m definitely interested. I know quite a lot, I have been following it. It has an amazing future, a great future. It is on the right track and Alejandro [Agag] is awesome as well so he is going to do the right stuff.

“No [I don’t miss racing], for me it is really done. I’m totally fulfilled and I am really excited about these new steps that I am doing now,” Rosberg told The Telegraph.

In the past couple of years, Formula E has cemented its position as one of the most important forms of motorsport for carmakers looking to test and develop electrified technologies. The likes of Alain Prost and Allan McNish already work for teams on the grid, and it seems that Rosberg could soon join them.

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VW Polo GTI R5 Rally Car Rockets From 0-62 MPH In 4.1 Seconds 4
Dec
Posted by Michael Gauthier in Motorsport, rally, Rally Cars, VW, VW Polo on 12 4th, 2017


Volkswagen has unveiled the all-new Polo GTI R5 following a preview last month.

Introduced earlier today in Spain, the Polo GTI R5 is a turn-key rally car that was designed to compete in the R5 class alongside rivals such as the Citroën DS3 R5, Ford Fiesta R5, and Skoda Fabia R5.

As part of the transformation from street car to rally car, the Polo has been outfitted with an aggressive body kit includes a sportier front bumper, extended fender flares, and a large rear spoiler. The model has also been equipped with lightweight wheels, a roll cage, and an assortment of safety equipment.

Motivation is provided by a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine which produces 272 PS (200 kW) and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque. It is connected to a five-speed sequential racing transmission that sends power to permanent four-wheel drive system. This enables the 1,320 kg (2,910 lbs) rally car to rocket from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in just 4.1 seconds.

The Polo GTI R5 will be homologated next summer and the first deliveries are scheduled to occur shortly thereafter. If everything goes according to plan, the car should celebrate its racing debut next fall.

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Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Officially Launches With New Livery, Driver Lineup 3
Dec
Posted by Carscoops Staff in Alfa Romeo Videos, alfa-romeo, F1, featured, Motorsport, racing, Sauber, video on 12 3rd, 2017


Alfa Romeo and Sauber are opening new chapters in their respective histories as they embark upon a new Formula One collaboration starting next season.

That partnership got off to a good start this weekend at the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo outside Milan where the team revealed both its new livery and its driver lineup for next season.

The color scheme, as you can see, is primarily white at the nose and sidepods, and red at the upper air intake and engine cover. The prominence of the Alfa Romeo emblems marks not only the first time that the Italian marque will be represented (beyond some small logos on Ferrari’s cars) for the first time in over 30 years, but the welcome arrival of a primary sponsor for the Swiss team that’s been struggling since parting with BMW.

Driving for the newly rechristened team will be Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc. Ericsson has been with Sauber since 2015 (when he joined from the now defunct Caterham outfit) and was believed to be the team’s choice for next season. Leclerc is a Ferrari prodigy fresh from securing the title in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, the series formerly known as GP2 with past champs including Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne, and Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly.

Leclerc is also no stranger to the Sauber team, having test-driven for it six times this past season (and Haas several times the one before that). His role as the team’s primary test driver will be taken next year by Antonio Giovinazzi, another Ferrari prodigy who contested two races for Sauber in 2017 and was a test driver for both Haas and Ferrari.

The question is whether the talent and the financial support will help Sauber find its way back up the pack. From the second- and third-place finishes it achieved a decade ago, the team has fallen to 10th place in the standings these past two season, which for 2017 equals dead last since Manor dropped out.

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