Motorsports: New NASCAR tire tech to debut in Atlanta this weekend

Filed under: Motorsports, Safety, Technology, Racing

Goodyear Eagle Multi-Zone Racing Tire for NASCARAside from the antics of the Busch brothers and Tony Stewart’s uncensored comments, some of the biggest controversies in NASCAR are directed at the tires used on the cars. Goodyear can’t do anything about Kurt, Kyle or Tony, but it is looking improve the quality of its rubber by introducing a new type of racing tires for this weekend’s event at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Developed from the same technology behind Goodyear’s Assurance TripleTred passenger tire, the new Multi-Zone Tread Technology debuting in NASCAR uses multiple rubber compounds in the hopes of optimizing performance, safety and durability. Goodyear says that Atlanta is a good test track for the new technology since it has an abrasive surface, long race length and high vehicle speeds. The new compound will only be used on the right-side tires only (click on the image for a larger view of what’s a work here).

Scroll down for the official press release about the new tires, and check out how they perform this weekend at the Nationwide Great Clips-Grit Chips 300 tomorrow and the Sprint Cup Advocare 500 on Sunday.

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New NASCAR tire tech to debut in Atlanta this weekend originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 30 Aug 2013 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spy Shots: Opel Insignia OPC Sports Tourer shows its fresh face ahead of Frankfurt debut

Filed under: Frankfurt Motor Show, Spy Photos, Performance, Wagon, Europe, Opel

Opel Insignia OPC Sports Tourer - front three-quarter

Drive down the Autobahn and there’s any number of vehicles likely to pass you, and most of them are produced locally. But if you’re wondering how that Opel left you in its dust, look closely (and quickly) enough and you might make out the letters OPC on the back.

They stand for Opel Performance Center (the German counterpart to Vauxhall’s VXR line) and they adorn performance versions of the Corsa, Astra and Insignia. The latter is undergoing a bit of a refresh and is expected to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in a couple of weeks, but you don’t have to wait that long as our intrepid spy photographers have caught it in the flesh outside an Opel facility in Germany.

Spied here completely undisguised in Sports Tourer (read: wagon) form, the Insignia has had a few nips and tucks performed, but we’ll be more intrigued to see what it’s got under the hood. The current model packs a 2.8-liter twin-turbo V6 driving 325 horsepower to all four wheels, but rumors suggest that the OPC (yeah you know me!) could have as much as 400 hp up its sleeve. That would make this one heck of a sleeper – especially in wagon form – and only make us pine for a more potent version of its twin Buick Regal to roam our highways, too.

Opel Insignia OPC Sports Tourer shows its fresh face ahead of Frankfurt debut originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 22 Aug 2013 13:41:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Exclusive: BMW M4 to debut in Detroit, lose manual transmission

Filed under: Detroit Auto Show, Coupe, Performance, BMW

BMW M4 Concept live at Monterey 2013 reveal

BMW took the wraps off its M4 Concept at Pebble Beach last weekend, and many speculated that the highly anticipated production version of the sleek new two-door sports coupe would debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this year. But a well-placed source tells Autoblog that the E92 M3’s successor won’t arrive in Southern California this November. Instead, the German automaker will wait until the Detroit Auto Show in January for its first official reveal.

An all-new 3.0-liter inline-six with twin turbochargers is expected under the hood, and it should provide about the same horsepower as the current 4.0-liter V8 (rated at 414 horsepower), but with much more torque that arrives lower on the tachometer. The lightweight engine is said to have an impressively high redline, which is unusual for a turbocharged engine.

Unfortunately, Save the Manuals members aren’t going to like this next bit of news. After four generations of three-pedal M3 models, our source says the upcoming F82 M4 will arrive with a dual-clutch transmission (DCT) as standard equipment – with no manual option – just like the latest iteration of the track-ready Porsche GT3 (few have complained about the automaker’s PDK after driving the latest sports car from Stuttgart). In exchange for some moans, groans and gripes from enthusiasts, BMW’s DCT mounted aft of the M4’s inline-six will provide quicker acceleration and improved fuel economy.

BMW M4 to debut in Detroit, lose manual transmission originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 21 Aug 2013 13:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Infiniti Q30 premium compact concept teased ahead of Frankfurt debut

Filed under: Concept Cars, Frankfurt Motor Show, Hatchback, Design/Style, Luxury

This year’s Frankfurt Motor Show is certainly shaping up to be an exciting (and busy) event, and now we have one more car to add to the list of unveilings. The Infiniti Q30 Concept will make its global debut in Frankfurt, giving a glimpse at a future premium small car for the brand, and the automaker has released the teaser sketch you see above to grab our interest before we see the real thing in person next month.

Seemingly headed in a much different direction than the 2012 LE Concept, the Q30 has even more aggressive styling to go with its two-box design. The Q30 is the not only the first Infiniti concept to come out under the company’s new design director, Alfonso Albaisa, it’s the first car that Sebastian Vettel, Infiniti’s Director of Performance, will help develop from the very beginning, and it could be the small car that Infiniti plans to build at its Sunderland, UK assembly plant.

Scroll down for the preliminary press release for this upcoming concept.

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Infiniti Q30 premium compact concept teased ahead of Frankfurt debut originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 08 Aug 2013 01:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Honda Civic Tourer to debut at Frankfurt

Filed under: Frankfurt Motor Show, Spy Photos, Minivan/Van, Wagon, Europe, Honda

2014 Honda Civic Tourer Spy Photo

Honda will be bringing its new Civic Tourer to next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, just as we predicted in our spy shots of the new MPV from back in April. The new model, which will arrive in European dealers in 2014, will be built alongside Honda’s Euro-spec Civic hatchback, Jazz (Honda Fit) and CR-V in Swindon, Wiltshire, UK.

Honda first hinted at the Civic Tourer with a concept at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, which is set to do battle with the Toyota Auris and Volkswagen Golf in the European market. The production Civic Tourer will also be shown alongside a refreshed Civic hatchback, yet another NSX Concept variant, a McLaren MP4/4 Formula One car, and Honda’s World Touring Car Championship Civic.

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Honda Civic Tourer to debut at Frankfurt originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 07 Aug 2013 16:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Bugatti to debut special Grand Sport Vitesse ‘Legend Jean-Pierre Wimille’ during Monterey Car Week

Filed under: Convertible, Performance, Bugatti, Misc. Auto Shows, Design/Style, Luxury

Bugatti has announced that it will offer the Legend, a special-edition run of the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse that pays homage to six heroes of the carmaker’s long, storied past. Officially the world’s fastest car with its top down (try keeping your toupee on at 254 miles per hour), Bugatti will enhance the special Vitesses visually with design cues from the cars that its heroes drove.

The first Legend honors Jean-Pierre Wimille, who won the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice for Bugatti and was one of the company’s longest-serving test drivers. He won in 1937, co-driving a 57G Tank with Robert Benoist, and in 1939, co-driving a 57C Tank with Pierre Veyron. Fittingly, the Veyron Legend dedicated to Wimille is blue, just like the 57G that he drove at Le Mans in 1937. In Bugatti’s own words, it “now shines in blue clear-coated carbon fiber and a light Wimille Bleu paintwork.” The 57G-based design language continues into the interior, with numerous details, such as materials and colors, that represent what Wimille would have experienced driving the Bugatti.

Pricing hasn’t been announced, but if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. It also should be noted that the Wimille edition Legend will be limited to a production run of three. As for the other five Legend editions? All we know is that they’ll be launched over the next 12 months. Look for the Wimille Legend on display next month in Monterey, Calif., at The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

In the meantime, scroll down to check out the history-heavy Bugatti press release. No photos of the Veyron Legend were provided, so feel free to visit the gallery we included of the Grand Sport Vitesse’s record-setting open-top run.

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Bugatti to debut special Grand Sport Vitesse ‘Legend Jean-Pierre Wimille’ during Monterey Car Week originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 24 Jul 2013 05:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Raikkonen moves up the NASCAR ladder with respectable Nationwide Series debut

Filed under: Motorsports

Kimi Raikkonen

Between the Indy 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix – both packed with nail-biting action right to the finish line – there was no lack of excitement for racing fans this Memorial Day weekend. But open wheels weren’t the only ones turning yesterday as NASCAR headed back to its heartland at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. And while the top-tier Sprint Cup was the headline event, our eyes were on the second-step Nationwide Series as Kimi Raikkonen made his next step up the stock-car racing ladder in the Top Gear 300.

Following his solid debut last week in the Camping World truck series, the former F1 champion turned rally driver took the next step up, driving the #87 Toyota Camry fielded by NEMCO Motorsports and prepared by the same Kyle Busch Motorsports with the same Perky Jerky sponsorship from his truck debut.

So how’d he do? Not bad. Not amazing, but not bad, considering this was only his second oval-track race, his second outing in a stock car and the first in the Nationwide Series. Kimi was up to fifteenth for much of the race, running on the lead lap and taking advantage of green-flag restarts to gain position. He struggled, however, with the car’s front-end handling, as well as heat burning his feet inside the cockpit, and dropped down several laps after a series of disadvantageous trips to the pit lane – one for fresh fuel and rubber, one to remove debris from a crash and another to serve a drive-through penalty.

In the end Raikkonen finished 27th out of 43, running but four laps down on the race leaders. Sprint Cup drivers ended up dominating the race, with Matt Kenseth taking the checkered flag. So what’s next for Kimi? Well he’s back in the WRC next month for the Acropolis rally in Greece, but there’s no telling when he might be back Stateside for more NASCAR action. The Sprint Cup road-course race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California, could give Raikkonen a chance to shine, but his team fears there’s precious little time to put it together with less than a month to go.

Raikkonen moves up the NASCAR ladder with respectable Nationwide Series debut originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 30 May 2011 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Raikkonen makes a solid debut in NASCAR

Filed under: Motorsports, Truck, Racing

Kimi Raikkonen's NACAR debut

Former F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen made his NASCAR debut yesterday, driving the No. 15 Perky Jerky Toyota Tundra in the Camping World Truck Series NC Education Lottery 200.

Starting from the 31st position, Raikkonen finished 15th, crossing the line on the same lap as the race leaders. At one point, Raikkonen ran as high as seventh, but fell back when he missed a crucial pit stop. Along the way, he survived several close calls as multi-car collisions unfolded in front of him and he picked his way through the debris. Raikkonen’s teammate Kyle Busch took the win.

What’s next for Raikkonen? The Finn plans to return to Charlotte next weekend to run the Nationwide Series race. He’ll pilot a Toyota Camry fielded by NEMCO motorsports in partnership with Kyle Busch Motorsports.

The NASCAR race conflicts with the WRC rally in Argentina, but Raikkonen isn’t scheduled to contest that round. His next WRC appearance will be at the Acropolis Rally in June. As for F1, the former champion hasn’t ruled out a possible return if the conditions are right, but for now he appears to be taking things one step at a time.

Raikkonen makes a solid debut in NASCAR originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 22 May 2011 11:07:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ferrari FF makes North American debut at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Filed under: Performance, Hatchback, Ferrari

Ferrari FF

Ferrari FF North American Debut – Click above for high-res image gallery

Ferrari’s absence at North American auto shows the past few years has meant that its newer vehicles have made their debuts at some less conventional venues. Last year, the 458 Italia’s first U.S. appearance was at the Ferrari Challenge event at Miller Motorsports Park. This weekend, the Ferrari FF received a private showing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the Ferrari Racing Days.

In addition to the new Ferrari four-seater itself, the display showcased the numerous interior options and a full set of matching luggage. The car on hand was a European version, but retail sales of the U.S.-spec FF should begin at either the end of October or the beginning of November of this year. Only 40 cars will be available for the rest of 2011. After that, Ferrari plans on selling approximately 200 cars yearly to American buyers.

You can see our photos of the Ferrari FF at Laguna Seca in the gallery below. Check back this week for more coverage of the Ferrari Racing Days.

Ferrari FF makes North American debut at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 22 May 2011 09:35:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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A.J. Foyt to replace Donald Trump as Scott Speed and Ho-Pin Tung debut at 100th Indy 500

Filed under: Motorsports, Celebrities

Donald Trump in the Indy 500 pace car

It’ll be a landmark running for the Indianapolis 500 later this month, as the event celebrates its 100th anniversary as the premier open-wheel racing event in America. All of which only gave some fans more reason to be ticked off when Donald Trump was announced as this year’s pace car driver.

Annoyed by political implications detracting from the spirit of racing, many fans were up in arms when Trump was announced as the official pace car driver, evidently prompting the celebrity businessman and possible presidential candidate to change his plans. In his place, organizers at the Speedway have invited none other than A.J. Foyt to drive the Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible that will serve as the official pace car. As a four-time Indy 500 winner, Foyt is among the most decorated drivers ever to lap the Brickyard, and his nomination will surely come as more welcome news to the legions of open-wheel devotees.

In related news, two drivers better known for their formula racing activities overseas will make their Indy debuts at the 500 this year. One of them is Scott Speed, the last American to race in Formula One. Speed shifted over the NASCAR after things didn’t pan out in F1, until Red Bull dropped his sponsorship last year. Given his experience in open wheels and oval tracks, Speed may find a new home at Indy.

Also making his Indy debut will be Ho-Pin Tung, who will become the first Chinese driver to contest the Indianapolis 500. Tung is a reserve/test driver for Renault F1 this season and has contested such feeder series as GP2, A1GP and Superleague Formula. Both he and Speed will be driving for Jay Penske’s Dragon Racing team and will be eligible for the $5 million bonus available to drivers from outside the series should they overcome the insurmountable odds to claim the checkered flag and drink milk in victory lane.

A.J. Foyt to replace Donald Trump as Scott Speed and Ho-Pin Tung debut at 100th Indy 500 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 12 May 2011 18:42:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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