Video: TMG’s super Lexus LS Sports 650 gets track tested

Filed under: Motorsports, Sedan, Performance, Videos, Lexus, Luxury

XCAR drives the Lexus TMG Sports 650 on track.

The people at Toyota Motorsport GmbH have been responsible for the Japanese automaker’s motorsports efforts since the 1970s, but since Toyota pulled out of Formula One after the 2009 season, the tuning shop has been developing a super sedan based on the Lexus LS called the Sports 650. Details on TMG’s first road car have been scarce, but XCAR was recently invited to drive the 641-horsepower Lexus on track.

Here’s what we know: the Sports 650 has enough power to sprint to 60 miles per hour in under four seconds, tops out at 199 mph, weighs over two tons and utilizes LFA brakes. Oh, and its twin-turbo V8 bellows like an AMG V8. That last part isn’t surprising when considering TMG could become Toyota’s in-house tuning arm – like AMG is to Mercedes-Benz. As for the bespoke body kit, fender flares and stacked exhaust pipes? They fit the car well and even remind us a bit of Lexus’ other high-performance sedan, the IS F. Currently there are no plans for the Sports 650 to be made into a production car, but we doubt TMG is devoting this much effort developing the LS into a road-rocket for nothing.

Check out XCAR‘s video below to see the AMG-fighter wrung out on track, and then ponder what could be if TMG were let loose to fiddle with other cars in Lexus’ lineup. Now that’s something we could get used to!

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TMG’s super Lexus LS Sports 650 gets track tested originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: TMG’s super Lexus LS Sports 650 gets track tested

Filed under: Motorsports, Sedan, Performance, Videos, Lexus, Luxury

XCAR drives the Lexus TMG Sports 650 on track.

The people at Toyota Motorsport GmbH have been responsible for the Japanese automaker’s motorsports efforts since the 1970s, but since Toyota pulled out of Formula One after the 2009 season, the tuning shop has been developing a super sedan based on the Lexus LS called the Sports 650. Details on TMG’s first road car have been scarce, but XCAR was recently invited to drive the 641-horsepower Lexus on track.

Here’s what we know: the Sports 650 has enough power to sprint to 60 miles per hour in under four seconds, tops out at 199 mph, weighs over two tons and utilizes LFA brakes. Oh, and its twin-turbo V8 bellows like an AMG V8. That last part isn’t surprising when considering TMG could become Toyota’s in-house tuning arm – like AMG is to Mercedes-Benz. As for the bespoke body kit, fender flares and stacked exhaust pipes? They fit the car well and even remind us a bit of Lexus’ other high-performance sedan, the IS F. Currently there are no plans for the Sports 650 to be made into a production car, but we doubt TMG is devoting this much effort developing the LS into a road-rocket for nothing.

Check out XCAR‘s video below to see the AMG-fighter wrung out on track, and then ponder what could be if TMG were let loose to fiddle with other cars in Lexus’ lineup. Now that’s something we could get used to!

Continue reading TMG’s super Lexus LS Sports 650 gets track tested

TMG’s super Lexus LS Sports 650 gets track tested originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Hot Wheels builds world’s highest wall track

Filed under: Etc., Videos, Toys/Games

world's highest hot wheels wall track

Any self-proclaimed Hot Wheels fanatic has surely built some sort of wall track in their house, but, like the ones from our childhoods, we’re guessing it never involved repelling down the side of a seven-story building. Back in May, Hot Wheels built an epic wall track on the side of an apartment building, and now the toy maker has released a video of the track, which it claims is the world’s highest.

Constructed for the BCN Fan Fest during the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, the repeating sections of track were assembled on the ground and then raised into place where they were connected to each other. Oddly, no official height was given for the track, but you can scroll down to watch a video of it being built and, of course, used. The video is in Spanish, but the thrill of rolling tiny cars down a huge track is universal.

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Hot Wheels builds world’s highest wall track originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 30 Aug 2013 12:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Read This: Project Ugly Horse alive and kicking at Road & Track

Filed under: Classics, Coupe, Budget, Performance, Ford, Read This

project ugly horse ford mustang zach bowman road & track

The hallways of the Autoblog campus are much quieter now that Zach Bowman has taken his prose, along with his welders, wrenches and hammers, over to the digital pages of Road & Track, but that doesn’t mean our favorite project Mustang is gone forever. Project Ugly Horse is still coming along, and Zach has gifted us another update on his unfoxy Fox Body.

Last we saw of the Ugly Horse, Zach was strengthening up the ’89 Mustang’s chassis as he prepares to stuff the turbocharged, direct-injected EcoBoost engine of a Ford Focus ST under the hood. First things first, the old mill must go. Head on over to Road & Track to catch the latest chapter of Project Ugly Horse.

Project Ugly Horse alive and kicking at Road & Track originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 29 Aug 2013 19:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Exclusive: Kia Track’ster still on table, Soul turbo possible

Filed under: Concept Cars, Plants/Manufacturing, Hatchback

2012 Kia Track'ster concept live at Chicago Auto Show

The Soul is a massive success – no news there.

We’ve just finished up in San Diego at the launch of the 2014 Kia Soul (sit tight for our First Drive next week), and we’ve learned a few things about the Korean automaker’s box-car future.

In the main, the Soul is a massive success – no news there – with Kia officials telling us that the US is gobbling up 80 to 90 percent of production coming out of the company’s Gwangju plant. Counterintuitively, it’s doing so well that its demand is actually hurting the viability of potential spinoff models like the 2012 Track’ster concept shown above, along with other variants. The issue is production capacity – or rather a lack thereof. In 2012, the Soul sold 112,000 copies here (its best-ever performance) and Michael Sprague, Kia’s Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications, says “we could have sold a lot more.” The problem is, Kia Motors America can’t get any more units, the factory is running flat-out. Thus, with the standard car selling so well, there’s no room and little incentive to develop new models.

Response to the widebody Track’ster was off the charts.

That isn’t going to stop Kia from coming to market with a Soul EV, which is expected to be shown at a US auto show some time this upcoming season, but it is making it hard to justify adding something like the Track’ster or a Soul turbo. This, despite company officials telling Autoblog that they’d love to see the 201-horsepower, 1.6-liter turbo from the recently introduced 2014 Forte SX snugged in the Soul’s engine bay. The engine fits and the new K platform is up to the task, but there’s also the question of price – Executive Director of Product Planning, Orth Hedrick, tells us that such a model would likely have to cost around $2,500 more, and the automaker isn’t sure they want the Soul’s pricing bandwidth to extend that high, especially with the turbocharged Sportage already available.

Sprague admits response to the widebody Track’ster was off the charts and the project is still very much on the table, but to hear him tell it, the model sounds unlikely as long as the Soul continues to be capacity constrained. Reading between the lines a bit, it would seem that if US demand continues to be as robust as it has been, Kia is going to have to find a way to build the Soul in North America soon – possibly by expanding its West Point, Georgia plant, which is itself maxxed out building the Optima and Sorento. Given how long it would take to build out and tool up West Point, though, it seems like the Track’ster’s window of viability is closing. In the meantime, the buying public will have to be happy with the redone styling of the Track’ster-influenced 2014 Soul.

Kia Track’ster still on table, Soul turbo possible originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 29 Aug 2013 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Dirt track driver escapes fiery wreck, finishes fifth

Filed under: Motorsports, Safety, Videos, Racing

Dirt Modified crash and fire video

Dirt Modified racer Mike Stofflet was running in a pre-feature heat at the Mahoning Valley Speedway in Pennsylvania, when things went quite wrong. It’s difficult to tell what happened exactly, but we’re guessing he made contact with another car, which sent him skittering up the track with his vehicle tipped on its side.

While that might be scary in and of itself, the part that had us cringing was the stream of fluid that wound its way down from the top of the screen – gasoline. It didn’t take much after flipping Stofflet’s car over for the gas to ignite, leaving the 27-year-old strapped into the flaming racer.

Miraculously, not only did he get out of the burning car uninjured, but after some pit-lane repairs, he was back out for the feature race, finishing fifth. Check out the scary footage below.

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Dirt track driver escapes fiery wreck, finishes fifth originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 27 Aug 2013 12:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Porsche 911 GT3 dukes it out with MP4-12C on track and GT-R on spectacular roads

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Videos, Nissan, Porsche, UK, Comparisons, McLaren

EVO tests Porsche 911 GT3 vs Nissan GT-$

The Porsche 911 GT3 has always been a favorite among auto journalists and car enthusiasts alike, but with the introduction of the new 991-generation GT3, which is the first GT3 with electric power steering and no manual gearbox option, how does it stack up to the competition from McLaren and Nissan?

Evo‘s Jethro Bovingdon attempts to answer that question by pitting the rear-engine Porsche against the mid-engine McLaren MP4-12C on a racetrack and the front-engine, all-wheel-drive Nissan GT-R on some amazing, twisty European back roads. We won’t give away the victor of either comparison, but we will say that, in Evo‘s test, the McLaren’s 141-horsepower advantage doesn’t give it as much of an edge over the Porsche on a racetrack as one might think, and the lack of a manual gearbox and the inclusion of electric power steering on the GT3 isn’t detrimental to enjoying the car on a back road.

Watch the video below to find out which car Bovingdon prefers on road and track – we think you’ll be happy to see him drift around turns every chance he gets.

Continue reading Porsche 911 GT3 dukes it out with MP4-12C on track and GT-R on spectacular roads

Porsche 911 GT3 dukes it out with MP4-12C on track and GT-R on spectacular roads originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 22 Aug 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Watch an Acura NSX prototype lap the track at Mid-Ohio

Filed under: Motorsports, Coupe, Hybrid, Performance, Videos, Acura

Acura NSX prototype at Mid-Ohio

As promised, Acura trotted its NSX prototype out to the mass of waiting fans ahead of today’s Honda Indy 200 IndyCar race at Mid-Ohio. The hybrid supercar took to the track for a fast lap, and Acura was kind enough to attach a score of cameras to the car in order to share the event with the rest of the world.

The blue-wrapped NSX looks pretty darn good on a race track, if we do say so ourselves, and its V6 engine, coupled with its three electric motors and lithium-ion battery pack, sounds awfully sweet at full song. The automaker is promising to release its new NSX in 2015, which is still quite a ways away, so we don’t expect this exhibition lap to be the last time we see a prototype in action ahead of a production debut.

Want to see the video? Of course you do. Scroll down to see the NSX take to the track like a fish takes to water.

Continue reading Watch an Acura NSX prototype lap the track at Mid-Ohio

Watch an Acura NSX prototype lap the track at Mid-Ohio originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 04 Aug 2013 11:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Watch Marc Gené hit the track in an Alfa Romeo 4C, then get the girl

Filed under: Motorsports, Coupe, Performance, Videos, Alfa Romeo

Watch the Alfa Romeo get driven on track by Marc Gené.

Alfa Romeo has turned up the heat on its 4C ad campaign, and we can’t tell if it’s from the hot laps Formula 1 test driver and Le Mans racer Marc Gené did in the car or the hot woman waiting for him and his passenger when they pull off the track. It seems yet another trend has started, as seen in a recent video starring the KTM X-Bow.

In the commercial (the first video), Gené picks up who we are supposed to believe is a complete stranger in a lightly camouflaged 4C, then mysteriously drives to a race track. Upon arrival, they strip off the camo, then Gené takes a lap at wide-open-throttle with the passenger on board. Afterwards, the duo is greeted in the pits by a blonde sweetheart.

In the second video (which has an in-car view of one lap), Gené is happy to indulge in one, screeching powerslide, and the car reaches almost 132 miles per hour on the straightaway. Unfortunately, at the end of the straight, Gené says, “It breaks a lot. It really breaks…”

But don’t worry, there’s no crash to be seen here, and no broken-down Alfas, either – just some badly translated subtitles. (Of course! It brakes a lot…) See for yourself in the video below.

Continue reading Watch Marc Gené hit the track in an Alfa Romeo 4C, then get the girl

Watch Marc Gené hit the track in an Alfa Romeo 4C, then get the girl originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 03 Aug 2013 19:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Acura releases yet another NSX track teaser vid

Filed under: Concept Cars, Motorsports, Coupe, Performance, Videos, Acura

On Sunday, August 4th (yep, that’s tomorrow), a prototype version of the all-new Acura NSX will make its public track debut ahead of the Honda 200 IndyCar race. Acura has already given us a short video snippet to enjoy, but now it’s added one more to get our hearts racing just a little more.

Before you watch it, make sure your speakers or headphones are turned up, because what the low-resolution video lacks in visual quality, it more than makes up for with its audio of the NSX’s exhaust screaming as the car tackles Mid-Ohio. And at the end of the video, the caption reads “watch the NSX racing prototype take a lap.”

Acura isn’t joking either. From what we hear, the car is expected to take one lap before the race and then disappear for the weekend. Scroll down to see and hear the NSX in action.

Continue reading Acura releases yet another NSX track teaser vid

Acura releases yet another NSX track teaser vid originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 03 Aug 2013 15:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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