Motorsports: FIA gears up to launch new Formula 4 championships worldwide

Filed under: Motorsports, Racing

Dallara F4

Formula One may get all the glory – and rightfully so – but it’s not the only racing formula out there. There are many steps along the motorsports ladder, but they’re all run by different authorities and under different names. There’s GP2, GP3, Formula Three, Auto GP, Formula Renault, Formula Ford, Formula BMW, Formula Vee… the list goes on, and leaves some rungs missing on the ladder up to the big leagues in some countries. But Gerhard Berger is keen on fixing that. The former F1 driver – winner of ten grands prix for teams like Ferrari, McLaren and Benetton – serves as the president of the FIA’s Single-Seater Commission, and he’s out to launch a new class of Formula 4 around the world. The idea is to provide a stepping stone between karting and Formula 3, which is too expensive for many would-be racers to get into without the sponsorship that can be attracted in lower formulae.

Rather than launch the new FIA F4 category as one unified series, with one engine and one chassis, the idea is to make it as diverse as possible. Individual countries are being encouraged to run their own F4 championship, yet each can choose its own engine supplier (conforming to a common 1.6-liter, 150-horsepower standard) and different chassis suppliers are being invited to participate.

One of them is Dallara, the Italian chassis constructor that makes race cars for numerous other single-seater series, including IndyCar and the FIA’s new Formula E series. Dallara has given little in the way of details about the new design, but it looks to incorporate a comprehensive aero package including front and rear wings and underbody ground effects.The FIA is calling for carbon-fiber construction to keep things light, strong and safe. Similar to its F3 chassis, however, Dallara plans on adapting the new F4 platform to accommodate different engine installations, including a possible hybrid version, for whatever power the individual national series organizers choose.

Dallara expects to launch the new car next spring, when it will have to compete with other chassis constructors as well on racetracks around the world. In addition to launching new series in some countries, Berger and company are looking to bring into the fold existing championships like Germany’s ADAC Formel Masters, France’s Signatech Formula 4, Italy’s Formula Abarth and Britain’s Formula Ford – many of which already have their own constructors in place.

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FIA gears up to launch new Formula 4 championships worldwide originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 31 Aug 2013 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Chrysler delays 2014 Jeep Cherokee media launch

Filed under: Jeep

2014 Jeep Cherokee

Chrysler is making the unusual move of delaying the first media drives of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, which were slated to start next week in Seattle. And while something like this is a rare occurrence, and one that most of the Autoblog staff can’t recall happening this publicly or so close to the event itself, it won’t effect the actual on-sale date of the new Cherokee, which is set to hit showrooms in September.

“Over the last couple of weeks during final quality and durability testing, we have discovered the opportunity to further improve powertrain calibration,” Chrysler told Automotive News. This marks the second notable delay in the Cherokee’s short life, after production was delayed for roughly a month earlier this summer.

Still, we’d rather Chrysler make sure the Cherokee is ready for primetime before flying media in from around the country. It shows a willingness to get things right the first time, rather than offering media drives and then tweaking the car after the fact.

A simple look at the Cherokee’s powertrain is all that’s needed to understand how big of a deal it is. Everything under the oddly styled CUV’s hood is new, from a tweaked 2.4-liter engine to a new 3.2-liter V-6, to the first use of Chrysler Group’s new nine-speed automatic, developed jointly with ZF. The pressure to get this right must be immense. We’ll find out if Chrysler succeeds in September.

Chrysler delays 2014 Jeep Cherokee media launch originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Jul 2013 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: 2012 Toyota Prius V still on track for U.S. launch this fall

Filed under: Hybrid, Japan, Plants/Manufacturing, Technology, Crossover, Toyota

Toyota Prius V

2012 Toyota Prius V – Click above for high-res image gallery

False alarm, Prius fans. According to Toyota, the Prius V MPV is on track to hit the market as scheduled. Reports recently began circulating indicating that the Japanese automaker was delaying the vehicle’s launch due to the lingering impact of this year’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters. Word was that a battery shortfall was causing the hold-up, though the manufacturer has now confirmed that the large hybrid will debut this fall as originally scheduled.

Unfortunately, the arrival of the Japanese-market Prius Alpha is still slated to experience a delay of indeterminate length. Hit the jump for the brief press release.

Continue reading 2012 Toyota Prius V still on track for U.S. launch this fall

2012 Toyota Prius V still on track for U.S. launch this fall originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 13 May 2011 19:53:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Citroën to launch new DS5 in Shanghai, on Facebook

Filed under: Citroën, Shanghai Motor Show, Luxury

Citroen DS5 teaser

With the DS3 hatchback already on the market and the DS4 crossover soon to reach dealers, Citroën has confirmed plans to launch the next model in its premium lineup next week at the Shanghai Motor Show.

We don’t know much about the DS5 at this point, except to assume that it’s likely based on the C5. Bearing in mind that the three-door DS3 is based on the five-door C3, and that the DS4 crossover is based on the C4 hatchback, there’s no telling what body-style the DS5 will carry on the back of the C5 sedan. Given the latest industry trends, we’re probably looking at a four-door coupe or five-door slant-back.

The car will be launched simultaneously with the Shanghai show floor debut on the French automaker’s Facebook page.

[Source: Citroën]

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Citroën to launch new DS5 in Shanghai, on Facebook originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 15 Apr 2011 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mini and Prodrive officially launch WRC team at Oxford

Filed under: Motorsports, Crossover, Mini, Off-Road, Racing

Mini JCW WRC

MINI John Cooper Works WRC – Click above for high-res image gallery

It’s been a long time in the making, but after confirming their participation some eight months ago and unveiling the car in Monte Carlo for nostalgia’s sake, Mini and Prodrive have finally and officially launched their joint World Rally Championship effort at the Mini assembly plant in Oxford, England.

The team is starting off with a limited schedule in the WRC this year, where it will contest a number of rallies throughout the year, before taking on the likes of Ford and Citroën – which have won every drivers’ and manufacturers’ championship in the WRC for the past seven years – for the full championship in 2012.

The S2000-spec Mini Countryman rally car has already contested three lower-level regional rallies, winning the Rally dell’Adriatico in the Italian Gravel Rally Championship. 2009 IRC champion Kris Meeke and former Citroën WRC driver Dani Sordo will debut as Mini’s official works drivers at the Italian Rally in Sardegna next month.

We’ll be watching to see how they do, but for now you can follow the jump to read the full press release, and check out the images of the WRC-spec car at its debut in Oxford and the S2000-spec machine being put through its paces during Rally Portugal in the galleries below.

Gallery: MINI John Cooper Works WRC

Gallery: MINI John Cooper Works S2000

[Source: Mini]

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Mini and Prodrive officially launch WRC team at Oxford originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 13 Apr 2011 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Infiniti confirms plans to launch in Australia

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Sedan, Crossover, Infiniti, Australia

Infinity M37

2011 Infiniti M37 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Infiniti has big plans to expand beyond North America, and Drive reports that the Japanese luxury automaker intends to include Australia in its expansion. The site says that officials at Nissan have officially announced that Infiniti would head Down Under by September 2012, adding that the brand would start off with three stand-alone dealerships in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

When those dealerships launch, there will only be three Infiniti products from which to choose. The G37 coupe and convertible, the M sedan and the FX crossover were chosen in part because of their freshness in the market. Infiniti has reportedly decided against exporting the high volume G37 sedan to Australia, opting instead to wait until the next generation model goes prime-time. The Australians will be able to choose from the same 3.7-liter V6 and 5.0-liter V8 options we have here in the States, and they’ll also be able to pick a 3.0-liter diesel that we aren’t afforded.

The folks at Infiniti also hinted at their strategy for the brand. Infiniti brand GM Kevin Snell reportedly told the press at a launch event that the brand wouldn’t try to be the “cheapest” make Down Under, adding that Infiniti models are often better-equipped than the competition from Europe.

Gallery: 2011 Infiniti M37: Review

Photos copyright (C)2010 Michael Harley / AOL
[Source: Drive]

Infiniti confirms plans to launch in Australia originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 25 Mar 2011 07:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chrysler looking to boost Japanese sales by 21% with launch of new Grand Cherokee

Filed under: Japan, Crossover, Chrysler, Jeep

Jeep Grand Cherokee

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is selling like hotcakes here in the States, with sales of the new crossover up 130 percent in January. Chrysler hopes the Grand Cherokee will find similar success overseas, with Automotive News reporting that the automaker is hoping the new Jeep will help boost sales by 21 percent in Japan.

By the numbers, this means that Chrysler is counting on the Grand Cherokee to bump sales up from 2,350 units in 2010 to something closer to 3,000 in 2011, with the Jeep accounting for anywhere between 500 and 1,000 of those transactions. That’s only a few days worth of sales here in the United States, but considering the fact that Jeep sold only 88 units in all of 2009 in Japan, being able to move 1,000 units is indeed a big step forward.

We can see how Japanese car buyers would be interested in the Grand Cherokee, but the attractive and capable ‘ute isn’t the most popular vehicle in Japan. That honor goes to the Jeep Patriot, with 760 sales in 2010.

Gallery: Review: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Photos copyright (C)2011 Zach Bowman / AOL

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

Chrysler looking to boost Japanese sales by 21% with launch of new Grand Cherokee originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 25 Feb 2011 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Test Drive Unlimited 2 offering free downloadable content to make up for buggy launch

Filed under: Toys/Games

test drive unlimited 2

Test Drive Unlimited 2 – Click above for high-res image gallery

If you jumped right into the Test Drive Unlimited 2 world, you may have been disappointed to find a slew of bugs and server issues. Atari and Eden Games have been working hard to rectify that situation. A new update has been made available and it includes a variety of fixes, as well as a thank-you bonus item. The first batch of downloadable content for TDU2 thrown in the mix for free.

Called the Exploration DLC Pack, the downloadable add-on features new wrecks to find. The two new wrecks, once found, will put a rally-version Lancia Stratos and 1969 Dodge Charger in your garage (or garages, if you are progressing through game more quickly).

In addition to the extra vehicles, this update addresses the following issues:

  • Casino performance has been improved
  • Log-in time has been improved
  • Game is more stable across the board
  • Saved games are no longer corrupted
  • Friend lists are now populated
  • Invites work correctly
  • Clubs are now online

It’s clear that Eden Games and Atari have been listening to the masses, and are working hard to provide an enjoyable gaming experience. The update is being provided to PC users first, then it will filter over for console gamers.

Gallery: Test Drive Unlimited 2

[Source: Joystiq, Test Drive Unlimited 2 Forums]

Test Drive Unlimited 2 offering free downloadable content to make up for buggy launch originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Feb 2011 17:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Lexus LFA launch control makes start lines disappear quickly

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Videos, Lexus

lexus lfa tachometer

Lexus LFA displays serious control on launch – Click above to watch video after the jump

Today, it’s almost impossible to buy a new supercar without launch control; the 2011 Lexus LFA is no exception. It might not be the fastest, with a zero-to-60 time of “only” 3.7 seconds, yet the LFA remains an impressive rubber-footed beast.

The LFA’s V10 wails towards its 9,500 rpm fuel cutoff like an oni haunting whoever slides behind the wheel. The video posted after the jump focuses on the tachometer as a Lexus LFA bolts from a starting line with the launch control lending its assistance. The driver pushes the car all the way up to 260 km/h (around 163 mph) before letting up on the throttle. Click past the jump to launch into the clip.

[Source: Lexus Enthusiast]

Continue reading Video: Lexus LFA launch control makes start lines disappear quickly

Video: Lexus LFA launch control makes start lines disappear quickly originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 19 Feb 2011 14:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ram unveils 1500 Code Name: Adventurer, pulls ahead Tradesman launch

Filed under: Truck, Chrysler, Dodge

2011 Ram 1500 Code Name: Adventurer

2011 Ram 1500 Code Name: Adventurer – Click above for high-res image gallery

Chrysler is banking on the warm reception that the Ram 1500 Tradesman received at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show this year by unveiling another low-buck model targeted at first-time vehicle buyers. For now, the pickup is cruising under the “Code Name: Adventurer” moniker, and Chrysler says that when it arrives in the second quarter of this year, it will come packing more horsepower and a lower MSRP than the competition. For $23,830 (including a $975 destination charge), buyers can look forward to sinking their teeth into the same 5.7-liter V8 found in the Tradesman. That means that there will be 390 horsepower and 407 pound-feet of torque on hand to do whatever deed needs done.

In addition, the Adventurer will be differentiated from the rest of the company’s pickup flock thanks to monochromatic paint, body-colored front and rear fascias and a dual-tip exhaust. The truck comes with 20-inch aluminum wheels as the standard rollers and a 3.55 axle ratio. Buyers can also choose a 3.21 or a 3.99 ratio if they so desire. With the latter choice mated to the hearty V8 on board, we’re guessing that this will be a pretty solid factory-bred street machine – at least in a straight line.

In addition, Chrysler has announced that it will accelerate the launch of the Tradesman thanks to “overwhelming response,” though it isn’t immediately clear how soon buyers can expect to see the work truck in their neighborhood Ram Truck showroom. Hit the jump for the full press blast.

Gallery: 2011 Ram 1500 Code Name: Adventurer

[Source: Chrysler]

Continue reading Ram unveils 1500 Code Name: Adventurer, pulls ahead Tradesman launch

Ram unveils 1500 Code Name: Adventurer, pulls ahead Tradesman launch originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 15 Feb 2011 15:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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