Okay, so the camerawork is a bit unfortunate, but we’ve managed to throw together a quick video from Supercar Saturday in Bloomington, Minnesota, USA. Unfortunately, our abilities were somewhat limited by the weather, but there was a great turnout nonetheless.
Special thanks to Minnesota Exotics and Supercars and the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel, who hosted the event.
Music by: RW Smith
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Okay, so some of us are feeling a bit down about the fact that we aren’t yet flying around in Jetsons-like hovercars – but that’s okay, for soon we will have the Aston Martin Valkyrie.
In fact, cars seem to have gone the opposite direction of our nostalgic cartoon predictions – we try to push them downward into the road rather than making them fly. To some this may sound counterproductive, but since you have found your way here, I suspect that probably isn’t the case. If you are here, that means you probably love cars, and thus prefer them limited as such. However, we may be about to see that limit for road going cars raised… a whole hell of a lot.
The Aston Martin Valkyrie isn’t going to begin being delivered to the first lucky customers until sometime next year, and for many of us that can’t come soon enough. Not that we would be able to buy one, since between only 99 and 150 road cars will be made – including remaining prototypes and 25 track-only cars, but because it represents the next big step in hypercar performance. Not only does it mark the next big step, it does so while holding to the naturally aspirated V12 roots that petrolheads love in a hypercar.
The Valkyrie is being created in a collaborated effort by Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing, which brings some of the world’s leading Formula 1 and motorsport experience to the project. Details on the car are still few and far between, but based on what we do know there is no doubt the car’s performance will shatter current hypercar standards. The combination of lightweight technologies and materials, aerodynamic performance which will likely exceed that of an F1 car, and a V12 which we can expect to produce somewhere around or north of 1,000 bhp for a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio will undoubtedly make for an unprecedented combination.
So rest easy, we may not be flying, but who the hell wants to fly when you can drift the Valkyrie.
In an age of rapidly increasing technology and production ability, electric and autonomous vehicles seem to be set to thrive, despite the unfortunate aesthetics of concepts like Volkswagen’s Sedric (above). This leaves many petrolheads with a looming sense of fear and impending doom for the driver’s car. While the environment is, of course, an important factor, many of us would simply die off without the obnoxious symphony and toxic aroma of the petrol thirsty V12, or the tire shredding thrill of watching drift cars destroy their tyres and the environment at a similar rate. It seems we may have reached a golden age in the petrol powered automobile, but is it a final flare before the end?
Fully autonomous automobiles are still a ways off (at least as far as production models go), but they might be hitting dealership lots sooner than you think. Tesla’s fully electric cars have a semi-autonomous ability, which allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel while cruising, but that still requires the driver’s attention. However, many companies are hard at work developing fully autonomous technology, which would enable both fleet cars, public transportation and private vehicles to operate without any drivers or direct human input whatsoever. Surely, this will be the end of cars meant to be driven and enjoyed, right? We must only be a few years away from some autonomous reality similar to that seen in the hit movie “iRobot.” We even saw the spherical wheels and tires from that movie on display at the Geneva International Motor Show.
Fortunately, I don’t think the reality of tomorrow is that dark and gloomy. The reality of it is, manually driven vehicles will remain for those of us who choose to buy and drive them. Mass autonomous technology will only serve to make our drives more predictable and, quite likely, more pleasant. With advances in dual-clutch, flappy-paddle gearboxes, everyone feared the death of the manual gearbox; now we have the 911 R and the new 911 GT3 is being offered with an optional manual gearbox. We have the Jaguar F-Type SVR and its manual V8 which sounds like Thor in a frantic rage. And let’s not forget the Aston Martin GT8, or perhaps the fact that you can still buy a brand new 1967 Shelby Cobra.
Not only that, electric motors have proven to create some of the most insane vehicles on the road today, such as the Tesla Model S P100D and its 2.28 second 0 to 60 mph, or the Rimac Concept_One (below). When coupled with petrol power, electric motors can contribute to what have become the undisputed greatest cars of the current generation – the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, and Porsche 918 (you might also want to include the Koenigsegg Regera).
The fact is, while the future of society en masse may be electric and autonomous, there will remain a demand for driver’s cars, sports cars and super cars. There will remain a demand for glorious petrol power, just as there has remained a demand for simple, manual gearbox, soundproofing free machines of unrestricted passion, soul and driving experience.
Lamborghini shocked the motoring world when they released video of a camouflaged Huracán Performante doing an insanely fast 6:52.01 lap time around the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Welcome to the new king of the ‘Ring, the 2017 Lamborghini Huracán Performante.
The Huracán Performante was welcomed into the world with shock, awe, skepticism, and outright controversy. After the Porsche 918 -which is considerably more powerful and faster in a straight line than the Huracán Performante – set a 6:57.00 around the historic German track, the world expected only an equally revolutionary hypercar would beat the time. To see a supercar – let alone a toned-up Huracán coupé, which set a 7:28.00 – beat the German hypercar seemed improbable, if not impossible.
Some stated their case, laying out evidence which might indicate the lap video to be manufactured or otherwise altered. However strong some of the evidence may have appeared, Lamborghini was able to quickly dispel such claims by releasing GPS data, confirming the record breaking lap time as legitimate. Porsche fans and hypercar fans were forced to accept the painful reality that a lightweight bedroom-poster supercar had taken down the almighty hypercar at the almighty Nordschleife.
“[The Huracán Performante] illustrates the pinnacle of Lamborghini V10 producation car performance to date, on both track and road, and is perfectly exemplified by its name.” – Stefano Domenicali, Automobili Lamborghini Chairman and C.E.O.
As expected, the Huracán Performante was finally revealed at the Geneva International Motor Show in full detail… and it certainly begins to explain the, frankly, ridiculous lap time. While other manufacturers in the super-sports car sector may be focused on driver engagement and bringing back manual transmissions or holding to traditions while raising the bar, Lamborghini has gone for maximum technology. The car’s frame is composed of aluminium and carbon fiber, and the body is produced from Lamborghini’s own “Forged Composite.”
The use of these high tech materials make the car extremely light, just 1,382 kg (3,047 lbs) dry. Combine that with the 640 hp 5.2 liter V10, and you get 0 to 62 mph in just 2.9 seconds and a top speed over 202 mph. Not only can it go fast, it stops fast too: 62 mph to 0 in just 31 meters.
The real magic, however, comes from the increasingly common practice of manipulating airflow over and under (and through) the vehicle. Lamborghini’s “Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva” creates the ability to have variable downforce and drag through active aerodynamics and electronically controlled air channels. You might think of it as being similar to having a DRS system found in an F1 car, except it works at both front and rear, and uses channels rather than simply stalling the rear wing.
At high throttle, the ALA system is activated to provide maximum acceleration and top speed, reducing drag on the front splitter and the rear spoiler by opening channels directing air under the car and under the rear wing. When the ALA system is deactivated, the channels close, directing air over the wings and splitter to create an amazing 750% more downforce than the Huracán coupé. The ALA system also keeps the driver up to speed on what it is doing through a dedicated display in the dash.
The interior is as you would expect, with alcantara fabric and lightweight materials, however, optional comfort seats are available. The driver displays are configurable “depending on driving mode selected: Strada, Sport or Corsa.” The Huracán Performante also supports Apple CarPlay and the Lamborghini telemetry system.
The first examples of the Huracán Performante will be delivered this summer, with prices starting at $274,390.
What do you think? Are Lamborghini heading in the direction you think they should go?
The new Porsche 911 GT3 is looking better than ever, largely thanks to more power and the return of the optional six-speed manual gearbox.
It seems that as quickly as the manual gearbox began to disappear from the high-performance sports car sector, it has made its return. As flappy-paddles took over for their ease and superior performance, enthusiasts cried out and the value of cars with manual transmissions began to skyrocket. Following the success of the manual-only 911 R, Porsche has decided to give us what we really want – an optional six-speed manual gearbox on the new 911 GT3.
The new GT3 features a new 5.0 liter flat-six, lifted straight out of the 911 GT3 Cup race car, which produces 500 hp. Combine that with a wet weight of only 1,430 kg (3,153 lbs) and you get to 62 mph from a standstill in just 3.4 seconds with the standard seven-speed PDK gearbox, or in 3.9 seconds with the manual. While the launch might be slightly slower, the good news is the manual will take you 2 km/h faster, to a top speed of 320 km/h (198 mph).
On the track, the new 911 GT3 should feel even more at home, where the standard rear steering can allow for some liveliness. Not only that, the standard “Connect Plus module” and “Track Precision app” will allow you to track your performance on your smartphone.
If you have the €152,416 base price to spare, you can order yours today, and see it delivered sometime after May.
RUF Automobile GmbH have answered our prayers and brought the return of the “Yellow Bird.” Best of all, this time it is all original, nearly all carbon-fiber and propelled by RUF’s own 710 horsepower flat-six.
The RUF CTR “Yellow Bird” made its debut in 1987, and almost instantly became a legend. RUF took the 911, made it lighter, more powerful, integrated a roll-cage and improved the suspension and brakes and more. What resulted was a supercar with the looks and sounds of a 911, but could compete with the likes of the Ferrari Testarossa and the Porsche 959. The 1987 “Yellow Bird” reached an incredible 213 mph during testing, sealing its place in the books of motoring history.
Tuesday at the Geneva International Motor Show, RUF Automobile GmbH revealed the all new 2017 RUF CTR. To anyone familiar with the original CTR “Yellow Bird” (pictured below) the so-called “nods” to the original are immediately obvious. What isn’t quite so obvious, however, is the fact that the car is RUF’s first entirely original car.
The 2017 CTR features a “bespoke carbon-fiber monocoque chassis,” and a weight-to-power ratio of 3.46 lbs per horsepower. The body panels are carbon-fiber too, but don’t worry, the integrated roll-cage is still steel. In total, the car weighs in at only 2,640 lbs (1,200 kg).
In keeping with the original “Yellow Bird,” the new CTR focuses on an analog minimalist design. The interior is lined with alcantara and carbon-fiber, and best of all, you will notice the three aluminium pedals for the driver.
The six-speed manual gearbox connects the rear wheels to the 710 PS 3.6 liter twin-turbo flat-six, made by RUF themselves. The engine produces a mind shredding 649 lb-ft of torque to propel the CTR from 0 to 60 in under 3.5 seconds and to 125 mph in under 9 seconds. In true “Yellow Bird” fashion, the top speed is a blistering 223 mph.
And thus, RUF fans can rejoice, for the “Yellow Bird” has returned, and their hero flies once again.
At the Geneva International Motor Show on Tuesday, McLaren have finally revealed their latest 710 brake horsepower addition to the “Super Series,” the 720S, to replace the 650S.
The first of “the second-generation Super Series,” the 720S introduces a host of new features and tech – not to mention the 720 hp, twin-turbo 4.0 liter V8 which powers it. McLaren claims the will raise “previously accepted limits of performance in the supercar sector.” And based on what we see, it may very well do just that, despite stiff competition from Ferrari. This is McLaren we’re talking about, however, so did you really expect anything less?
“Super Series is the core of the McLaren business and personifies the blend of extreme performance, crafted luxury and unparalleled driver involvement that is the McLaren heartland. This is the first time we have replaced a product family and the new 720S is absolutely true to McLaren’s pioneering spirit in being a revolutionary leap forwards, both for our brand and the supercar segment.” – Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive
You might immediately notice the lack of the radiator intakes which is so distinctive to make mid-rear engined supercars. On the 720S, however, the intakes are channeled through the doors in what McLaren calls a “double-skin,” (see below).
The new four liter creates 720 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque, which is capable of propelling the car to a claimed top speed of 212 mph. That may not be an unprecedented top speed, but the more remarkable figures are the acceleration and braking. McLaren claims 0 to 60mph takes just 2.8 seconds, to 124 mph takes just 7.8 seconds. Stopping from 124 mph takes a stomach emptying 4.6 seconds.
As you would expect, the 720S is built on McLaren’s MonoCage II carbon fibre tub. Depending on the spec, the car can have a minimum dry weight of only 2,828.5 lbs (1,283 kg), which would help to explain the ridiculous numbers listed in the previous paragraph. Combine the power-to-weight ratio of as much as 561 PS per tonne (that’s about 31 more than a Bugatti Veyron), with McLaren’s new generation of “Proactive Chassis Control,” and you can see how this is forming a pretty astonishing recipe.
Inside, the car is as elegant as you would come to expect from McLaren, and incorporates a futuristic flip up instrument cluster. McLaren says the 720S, “establishes new standards in the supercar segment for visibility, space and comfort.” Seeing how the 650S has been held as potentially the most useable supercar, I wouldn’t expect the 720S to fall short.
The 720S will be produced in three trim levels, with “Performance” and “Luxury” trims available on top of the standard car. The first examples of the 720S will begin delivery in May, meaning the car is already available for sale, if you can cough up the £208,600 base price.
What do you think? Is the 720S set to be the new king of the supercar segment? If price were no object would you rather have this or the Pagani Huayra Roadster?
Aston Martin have finally announced the official name for the fabled AM-RB 001 hypercar – the Aston Martin Valkyrie.
One of the most eagerly anticipated hypercars of the 2018, the Valkyrie was first announced as the AM-RB 001 in March of 2016. We were told that Aston Martin and Red Bull would be partnering to create a “ground-breaking Aston Martin hypercar.” We then got our first look at the AM-RB 001 (or at least the shell of it) in July. Today, we get the name, along with the video above.
In keeping with the tradition of Aston Martin “‘V’ cars,” the Valkyrie takes its name from mythology. Aston Martin’s Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichman, tells us,
“Aston Martin model names have deep meaning. They need to inspire and excite. To tell a story and enrich a narrative that stretches back some 104-years. The Aston Martin Valkyrie is an incredibly special car that demands an equally remarkable name; an uncompromising car that leaves nothing in reserve. The connotations of power and honour, of being chosen by the Gods are so evocative, and so pertinent to a car that only a fortunate few will ever experience.”
The Valkyrie is sure to be a revolutionary hypercar, a product of one of Formula 1’s strongest competitors and what has been called the “coolest” brand of all time. It does, however, still face some strong competition from Formula 1’s current champions, Mercedes – who is poised to release a hypercar of their own.