Top Gear – The End of an Era

I’m sure everyone has heard – Jeremy got into a bit of fisticuffs with a producer after a long day of filming, confessed his sins, and ended up getting fired (he was on his last warning after a couple of ‘incidents’ in the last few years). So, what now. No-one really knows to be honest, with the usual mix of the the show must go on, or it will never work without him.

I’m in the latter camp – it would seem a little weird to say the least to have a Top Gear with a replacement Jeremy but keep the other two presenters. So maybe it’s a whole new team, in which case it might have a shot. But it’ll take a while for everyone to gel, and by that time someone might have just swept up the old team and there’s a new “Definitely not called Top Gear” show popping up on your local TV. Which is a good point – maybe Netflix has some money in it’s budget to add a Top Gear type show? Free reign for the presenters, huge market audience and a nice way for Netflix to get some marketing and recognition in lots of places where it hasn’t quite made it yet. (Apparently even when writing a random blog that no-one reads there is some disclosure thing I’m meant to follow, so in the interests of the net police not showing up at my door one day, I own some Netflix shares and if this idea takes off and they make billions of dollars because of it, my holdings in said Netflix shares might go up $10 or so. Disclosure over).

I’m not sure how long this whole thing will take to sort itself out – technically given they’ve cancelled the rest of this series the BBC has almost a year to make decisions and get things in place. I hope it doesn’t take that long – I can’t mourn for that long to be honest, and we need to find a new show about cars that will keep me and the rest of the family interested and engaged at the same time (and who is going to be feeding The Stig!!). It’s a tall order, and the future is always interesting, just not always in a way you were expecting.

If You Ever

Wonder about how different the cars are in the US compared to Europe, let me provide you with this Kelly Blue Book link to the 15 Best Family Cars of 2015. If you wander down that list, you might see a few “cars” that might not be actively considered for family duty back home. You know, like a Ford F150. Or a Ram 1500.

Mini Superlegga

mini superlegga

Finally Mini has come out with a variant that actually looks good (or maybe I’m just on my own thinking the current coupe and countryman and whatever else random they spawned are all fugly).

Scheduled for release (hopefully) in 2018 as a replacement for the roadster) this to me almost looks like a mini Jag of old (and that’s definitely a good thing). If you can imagine one of these things with the Cooper S engine in there, it could be the perfect baby convertible for those summer days.

Nissan GT-R – Gold Edition

2016 Nissan GT-R 45th Anniversary Gold Edition

I guess everyone is getting in on the Apple Watch gold craze these days, none more so than Nissan who today announced they were going to offer a special Gold Edition GT-R for 2016.

The 45th Anniversary Gold Edition, built off of the GT-R Premium model, commemorates the GT-R’s long heritage of world-class high performance. Featuring a special gold paint color, the limited edition model also includes a special gold-tone VIN plate located inside the engine compartment and a special commemorative plaque on the interior center console. The paint color itself is the same “Silica Brass” color that marked the 2001 Skyline GT-R M-Spec (R34 Type). Fewer than 30 of these special GT-Rs are slated for the United States market.

2016 Nissan GT-R 45th Anniversary Gold Edition

Personally I’ve never been a huge fan of gold, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon (but I will of course take one of these bad boys if the Nissan USA Press Office wants to lend me one for a month or two….).

Porsche Cayman GT4 Review – Chris Harris

Someone got to spend a little time this weekend playing with the new Cayman GT4 in Portugal. Without any major spoilers, it’s pretty fantastic – the video is definitely worth your time.

Seat Porn

Ford Focus RS Seats

I have this thing about seats – not just any seats, but the race/rally seats you can occasionally spec in a production car. The latest ones to tickle my fancy are these beauties from Ford, destined for the new Focus RS they announced recently. Not sure if it’s just the more subtle color this time, or what, but I’m a little obsessed…

Porsche 911 GT3 RS

313653_P15_0152_a5_rgbFollowing on from the recent release of information for the Cayman GT4 comes the next race-car for the street from Porsche – the 911 GT3 RS.

The new Porsche 911 GT3 RS breaks down the barrier between road-going sports cars and race cars. It is equipped with the maximum amount of motorsport technology that is currently possible in a street-legal 911 suitable for everyday driving. Extensive modifications to its drivetrain, aerodynamics, and lightweight design take performance to an even higher level than the 911 GT3. With a Nuerburgring Nordschleife lap time of seven minutes and 20 seconds, the new 911 GT3 RS surpasses the 911 GT3 by five seconds, making it the fastest current generation 911 on the famous German racetrack.

Porsche 991 GT3 RS

The 911 GT3 RS is powered by a four-liter six-cylinder engine developing 500 hp and 338 lb.-ft. of torque, combined with a specially developed PDK transmission. The engine has the largest displacement and most power of any naturally aspirated engine with direct fuel injection in the 911 family, accelerating the high-performance sports car from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.1 seconds and propelling it through the quarter mile on the track in 11.2 seconds. Functions such as declutching by “paddle neutral” – which is comparable to pressing the clutch with a conventional manual gearbox – and speed limiting via the Pit Speed button have been adapted from motorsport use. They give drivers more freedom in terms of driving dynamics, while providing them with a maximum level of control and engagement.

Porsche 991 911 GT3 RS Rear

For the first time, the roof is made of magnesium; carbon fiber is used for the engine and luggage compartment lids, and other components are made of weight saving materials. This makes the RS model around 22 pounds (10 kilograms) lighter than the 911 GT3. Furthermore, the lightweight roof lowers the sports car’s center of gravity which improves its already excellent lateral dynamics.

Porsche 991 GT3 RS Interior

The interior design of the 911 GT3 RS with Alcantara® elements is based on the current 911 GT3. One key new feature is the full bucket seats, which are based on the carbon bucket seats from the 918 Spyder. The optional Sport Chrono Package features – in addition to its integrated timers – the Porsche Track Precision app for smartphone use. The Track Precision app can be used to have times automatically measured via GPS, and to log data on a smartphone for many driving parameters such as vehicle speed, lateral acceleration as well as deceleration and acceleration in the driving direction. It manages this data and lets the driver share and compare it with results from other drivers.

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The 911 GT3 RS can be ordered now, and it will launch in the U.S. in early July of 2015. In the United States, the MSRP is $175,900.

McLaren 675LT

McLaren 675 LT

The LT stands for Longtail, apparently, which McLaren has previously used to identify the (more) lightweight, track focused and higher power models. And so this will sit alongside the 650 in the lineup, rather than replace it.

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Offered as a Coupé only, the 675LT will be the most track-focused, yet road legal, model in the McLaren Super Series, with a power to weight ratio that eclipses established rivals. The sprint from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) takes just 2.9 seconds, with controlled torque delivery ensuring optimised traction off the line. Acceleration continues at relentless pace with the 200 km/h barrier broken in 7.9 seconds, on to a top speed of 330 km/h (205 mph).

310798_McLaren 675LT_studio_07

 

The purposeful driver-focused cabin of the 675LT gives even further indication of track potential. A pair of ultra lightweight carbon fibre-shelled bucket seats, upholstered in Alcantara® as standard and modelled on those in the McLaren P1™, provide comfort and support with no compromise on overall weight. A subtle 675LT logo features on the headrest of each seat, and is also present on the rev counter. In a change to the other models in the Super Series, the air conditioning controls are now incorporated within the intuitive touchscreen infotainment system.

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The McLaren 675LT will make its global debut at the 85th Geneva Motor Show at 12.15 CET (11.15 GMT) on Tuesday 3 March 2015.

Aston Martin Vulcan

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If you didn’t think the regular Aston Martin’s were beautiful enough, maybe this very exclusive, very expensive track only special edition will tickle your fancy? Only 24 will be produced worldwide, so if you are actually planning to drive it on a track (which is the only place you can), you better make sure you’re both very good and not pushing too hard, as I dread to imagine what the cost to rebuild one of these things is if you have an off. At least there’s a (very) special driver training program to go with the car…

With its 7.0 liter V12 800-plus bhp powerplant developed in conjunction with Aston Martin Racing, this front mid-engined, rear-wheel drive sports car draws extensively on the brand’s rich GT motorsport experience.

Utilising the techniques of world-class motorsport engineering, the supercar sees its power-to-weight ratio exceed those of the GTE cars which compete in the FIA’s annual World Endurance Championship.

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Comprising cutting edge engineering including that sourced from the brand’s successful GT racing campaign, the car features a carbon fibre monocoque and body constructed by Aston Martin’s long-term specialist body engineering and manufacturing partner Multimatic, integral limited-slip differential, magnesium torque tube with carbon fibre propeller shaft and Brembo racing calipers acting on carbon ceramic racing disc brakes which measure 380mm in diameter at the front and 360mm at the rear. Drive is channelled to the 345/30 x19 rear wheels and Michelin race specification tyres through a race-bred rear mid-mounted Xtrac six-speed sequential shift gearbox. Track-derived pushrod suspension with anti-dive geometry is complemented by Multimatic’s Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) adjustable dampers and anti-roll bars front and rear, driver-adjustable anti-lock braking, and variable traction control.

The new track car will comply with all relevant FIA race safety requirements.

Aston Martin Vulcan

Prior to taking delivery of their cars, owners will be offered the opportunity to take part in an extensive and detailed programme of intensive track driver training.

Experienced racers including Aston Martin Racing’s Le Mans-winning Darren Turner will support owners on their learning journey, offering them the chance to refine their track driving technique and increase their ability through a carefully-constructed series of practical and theoretical driver training events. Using a number of exciting high performance Aston Martins including the V12 Vantage S and One-77 road cars and the Vantage GT4 race car, customers will gradually build experience and develop their track technique, before beginning their thrilling personal journeys into the immense performance potential of their Aston Martin Vulcan.

Aston Martin Vulcan Interior

David King said: “We will be running a series of exclusive track day events commencing in 2016 that will offer the opportunity for these customers to explore their driving capabilities, and the car’s performance potential, on some of the world’s most famous and glamorous race circuits.” There will also be the option of time in the virtual race car world of Darren Turner’s Base Performance Simulators, where buyers will have ample opportunity to further refine their driving style in the safety of the digital race track.

 

Porsche Cayman GT4

Porsche Cayman GT4

Well, Porsche finally did what we all wanted them to do ever since the Cayman first graced this world – made a version that was actually faster than a 911. And from the looks of it all, they have done an exceptional job with this GT4 performance version. This is the first Porsche GT sports car based on the Cayman and features components of the 911 GT3. Clocking a lap time of 7 minutes and 40 seconds on the North Loop of the Nürburgring, the Cayman GT4 earns the same lap time as the 2011 911 GT3 and positions itself as the new benchmark atop its market segment.

Porsche Cayman GT4  Rear

The engine, chassis, brakes, and aerodynamic design of the Cayman GT4 are configured for maximum driving dynamics while retaining the versatility and everyday utility that are typical of the two-seater Porsche coupe. Powered by a 385 hp 3.8-liter flat-six engine derived from the 911 Carrera S engine, the Cayman GT4 transmits its power solely through a six-speed manual transmission with dynamic gearbox mounts. Zero to 60 mph is accomplished in 4.2 seconds; its top track speed is 183 mph. The chassis – which features a 30 mm lower ride height and a generously sized brake system – consists almost entirely of components from the 911 GT3.

Porsche Cayman GT4 Interior

The interior of the Cayman GT4 focuses on maximizing the experience of unfiltered driving enjoyment for both driver and passenger. Standard sport seats, which are upholstered in a combination of leather and Alcantara®, offer excellent lateral support. The new Cayman GT4 sport steering wheel guarantees ideal control and direct steering feedback due to its compact dimensions.

Porsche Cayman GT4 Yellow

The starting MSRP for the Cayman GT4 is $84,600. If you’re in the market for a new car that can give you huge grins on your commute and at the weekend track visits, I can’t imagine this being very far from the top of your list. Definitely in the want category for me….