Ferrari have revealed their latest V12 Berlinetta – the 812 Superfast

 

In the wake of Pagani’s announcement of the Huayra Roadster, Ferrari have given us an early look at their latest V12 Berlinetta – the 812 Superfast.

While the name may be slightly more confounded than what the car has been called in spy shots (the F12M), it does accurately describe the car. As the marque’s flagship model, the 812 Superfast will boast an 800 horsepower v12 (an increase of around 60 hp over the F12 Berlinetta),  which Ferrari claims will propel the 812 to 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds and on to a top speed over 210 mph.

The improvements don’t stop with more power and speed either. The car benefits from innovations developed in the F12 TDF, such as the “Virtual Short Wheelbase 2.0” system, which uses rear steering to make the car more agile. Downforce has been increased through the use of active aero flaps and an “unprecedented aerodynamic by-pass.” The 812 will also be the first Ferrari ever to use Electric Power Steering.

There’s also been improvements to the interior, with updated infotainment and A/C.

With this announcement, we have another look at what to expect this year at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show, and so far it looks fantastic.

Source: Ferrari

Image credit: Ferrari

The Pagani Huayra Roadster is here, and it is glorious

The Geneva Motor Show is still a few weeks away, but Pagani has decided to give us an early look at their greatly anticipated Huayra Roadster… and it looks incredible.

The Huayra Roadster has caused a great deal of anxiety for fans and buyers alike, leaving many questions and expectations high. Fortunately, we finally have an answer to many of those questions, and the good news is the improvements don’t stop at the removal of the roof and the injection of exhaust noise to the cabin. According to Pagani, the Roadster marks significant performance improvements over the Huayra Coupe.  Pagani say they have utilized the developments made with the Huayra BC – the track-ready version of the Huayra Coupe.

The improvements begin with the chassis, which Pagani claims is about 52% more rigid than that of the Huayra Coupe, while the car overall is still about 80 Kg less than the Coupe. This is accomplished thanks to the use of some fancy new materials called “Carbo-Titanium” and “Carbo-Triax HP52.”

There’s more power than the Coupe, with the AMG M158 twin-turbo V12 making 764 horsepower (compared to the Coupe’s 720 hp). As with the Coupe, the torque begins low, at just 2400 RPM you have “over 1000 NM” (just under 740 lb/ft) at your disposal. This increase in power is put down through the Huayra BC’s seven-speed, single-clutch gearbox. As before, Pagani have chosen to stick with the single-clutch design in the name of weight savings.

The suspension has been improved based on developments made on the Huayra BC as well, utilizing a new lightweight aluminium alloy called “HiForg.” Brakes are carbon ceramic, provided by Brembo, as you might expect, and Pirelli has wrapped the forged aluminium wheels in their P Zero Corsa tires – however those can be swapped for P Zero Trofeo R’s on the track.

To top off all this performance (sorry for the pun), you get your choice of a carbon hard top or a removable fabric and carbon cover.  With all of this, one is left to wonder, where is the downside? Oh yeah, that would be the price – which begins at € 2,280,000 (not including VAT).

Personally, I can’t imagine a more perfect Pagani. Based on what we have been told by Pagani, there is no sacrifice in performance, beauty, sound or experience. I think it looks astonishing, and I’m absolutely melted by the idea of hearing “The God of wind” without a roof, and having improved performance on top of that would be simply otherworldly. We will soon get an even better look at the car when the Geneva Motor Show begins March 9th, but somehow, I don’t think we will be disappointed.

Edit: I should probably mention the other downside, they are only making 100… which have all been sold.

Source: Pagani Automobili SpA

Image Source: Pagani Automobili SpA

What is so great about driving anyway?

Petrol heads. Gear heads. Racers, drifters, and monster truck drivers. Wrench monkeys, cruisers, and sim-racers. Motoring enthusiasts. We all come together for one simple act: Driving. So what is it about driving that excites us? That makes us prefer one style of driving over the other? Why is it that some people get it and some don’t? 

When I was too young to drive, it seemed I had an eternity to wait. I spent much of my time playing with toy cars, and had it in my mind that when I turned 16 I would buy my first car – a Dodge Viper. Of course, this was completely unrealistic, but to a 9-year-old who grew up favoring his 1:64 scale Ferrari Testarossa, Dodge Viper and Porsche Carrera with no real concept of value, the Viper was the cheapest and most common in America and therefore, the most easily obtainable upon getting my license. Long before I ever got behind the wheel of a real car, driving was all I cared about.

As I’m sure you guessed, I never got the Viper. However, I did get a ten year old Chevy S10 pickup. For reasons which no longer make sense to me, I had this grand idea that it would be perfect with All-Wheel-Drive and a Subaru boxer engine swap – that never happened either. What did happen was a massive amount of sad, one wheeled burnouts, wet-road powerslides, off-roading and even a few jumps (my apologies to the person who ended up with that truck when I sold it). The point is, I had the bug. So, I traded the truck for something a bit more racey – a Chevrolet Cavalier Z24. For those on the other side of the pond who may have no idea what that car is, it’s appalling. It was a plastic mass of a throwaway car with a slightly more powerful engine than the base model – quoted at 150 horsepower, and around the same figure for torque (155 lb/ft). For a teenager at the time, where the best competition was an early 90’s Camaro or perhaps a Honda Civic, it seemed like a great sleeper.  In the grand scheme of things, I know now it was not a very good car. However, when taken to a certain one-way gravel road that snaked through miles of woods and hills, the recyclable death trap became my rally car. Before I got my driver’s license I spent years playing hardcore rally games like “Richard Burns Rally” trying to learn the basics, and it paid off. If I had the bug before, it had at that point become a full on terminal illness.

So what makes the difference between myself and the kids who were more concerned with things like sports, arts or music? Why do cars stir such emotions in some people? After all, what I say is an amazing noise (perhaps a Maserati V8) other unintelligent, horrid, unconscionable, unapproachable, silly people might say is an awful racket that sounds like a broken car. Is this a learned behavior or something more inherent? Let’s take a look at the evidence at hand.

First off, let’s think about why we like the sound certain cars make. Everyone loves the sound of a good V8, or a Ferrari V12, or a classic Jag straight-six, but do you know anyone who loves the sound of a Peugeot 3-cylinder? We love the sound cars make because we understand what creates that sound (power), thus indicating it is a learned behavior. There may indeed be strange creatures who do find joy in the sound of a 3-cylinder’s cough of an exhaust note, they would probably tell you it is because it represents fuel efficiency or eco-bla, bla, bla.

Next we consider the looks. Many of us would agree that the Alfa Romeo 8C is an especially beautiful car. Or perhaps you prefer the sleek lines of the McLaren 650S, or the widebody of the Skyline R34. These cars are all things people who love cars may see as art. Sleek lines communicate speed and aerodynamics. Sharp edges and bulging corners communicate technology and power. Meanwhile, there’s the PT Cruiser wedding chapel which has been discussed on Jeremy Clarkson’s Tribe. Believe it or not, someone built that thing. It wasn’t a cyst or a deformity, a real human being thought, “Yes, that will look good.” So again, I have to lean toward the visual appeal of cars being a learned trait dependent on our learned expectations of beauty.

So now we come to the meat and potatoes: Driving. We all know some of us – yes even we petrol heads and the like – can find daily driving on public roads to be boring. We need a bit more excitement, a bit more thrill. And that’s where driving can become the real draw. Driving can be exciting, however what that takes is dependent upon your experience.  For some, driving through a canyon road in a hot-hatch at 45 mph is thrill enough. For others, it takes a lap of the Nordschleife in an M3 to do the trick, or an all out drift session in an 800 bhp Supra. Some might even find driving a Peugeot 203 to the grocery store to be a terrifying ordeal.

To me it would seem the love of cars and driving is very much a learned behavior. This might initially seem like a bad thing to those of us prone to react with statements like, “NO WAY DUDE! MY CAR IS AN ABSOLUTE GOOD AND YOU F#@&*!G KNOW IT!” Fear not, however, for this means we can teach our children the way. We can breed petrol heads through learning, rather than genetics. Petrol heads need not die out with evolution, ergo we may rejoice.

A day in an outdated legend

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With the competition heading in a new direction, the Subaru WRX STI seems to be lagging behind. While the hatch is gone and so is the hype, that doesn’t mean you should count it out when considering the likes of the Focus RS or the Golf R. While many of the others have inched toward – and even over – 350 horsepower, the STI has remained around 300 horsepower. Combine that with a lack of a fancy gimmick like a drift button or masses of carbon fiber and you might reasonably think, “hmmm… maybe I should get the Focus RS.” So, to settle this dispute myself, I took to a lovely blue 2011 WRX STI 5-door for the day.
First of all, I think the ’08-’14 5-door (or hatchback) model looks the best and from what I can tell the difference in performance between that and the new WRX is minimal, with the most significant changes residing in the AWD system. For that reason, the 5-door STI would be my choice over a new one – plus saving a few grand on depreciation. Today, however, the question is not which STI to get, but rather is the STI still the legend it once was and is it still reasonable to choose the STI over the competition.

Okay, so the WRX doesn’t seem as ugly as it once did – so what? The Focus RS isn’t exactly an eyesore, and the Mercedes A45 AMG is a quite good looking car, why not go for one of those? On top of looks, the RS has 350 hp, and the A45 has an astonishing 381 hp to the WRX STI’s 305 hp. Safe to say, the RS and the A45 would both leave the WRX for dead in a drag race. So where is the appeal?

Well, we all know the Subaru AWD system is one of the best on the market, and for inclement weather the WRX may well be the best choice. The STI drives great, and is plenty fast for daily road use. Add in a Cobb Stage 2 kit, as was installed in this particular STI, and you will gain nearly 30 hp and, more importantly, a whopping 80 lb-ft of torque. Doing so will cost you considerably less than the difference to buy a new WRX instead of the 2011, and will put the car much closer onto par with the slightly more muscular competition. The truth is, however, that isn’t the best reason for installing the Cobb kit, nor is it the best reason for buying a WRX. The fact of the matter is, while the Focus RS and the A45 AMG – or even the Golf R – may be faster and more technologically advanced, I don’t think they sound very good. Sure, the RS makes some nice pops and bangs and the A45 has all the 4 cylinder charm you could ever need, but the WRX has that signature Subie bobble… and who doesn’t love that? Add to that the increased volume and turbo noise from the Cobb kit, and you have a truly great sounding car – something the others fall far short on.

As soon as I started driving the car, I immediately noticed that my body was positioned in some strangely crooked way, my knees had no room to move and my feet had hardly enough room to heel-and-toe. The turbo lag was quite noticeable, as under 2,500 rpm the car felt as if it was powered by an infant’s cough through a window screen. Once I got above 4,000 rpm, however, I was lost in a daze of Subaru bobble, differential noise and blow-off valve noise. The car launches hard enough to keep a passenger from touching the dash all the way to a speed which should not be publicised on public roads, and can corner hard enough to make sure none of your groceries make it home undamaged, even in poor driving conditions. The suspension eats up the bumps and provides enough clearance to not need to worry about the average pothole or sleeping policeman.

“OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE LOSING”

The point is, the WRX may be slower, technologically outdated, less comfortable and more unknown to those less automotively inclined than ourselves. It may also be the official car of computer programmers who played a bit too much Gran Turismo. Nonetheless, it is still a very fast AWD, 5-door hatchback with a good old fashioned manual 6 speed transmission. Best of all, it has something the others don’t: an all consuming soundtrack. The others may be faster and better in many ways, but once the sound of the flat 2.5 liter kicks in you simply won’t care. It sounds like a racecar, it feels (sort of) like a racecar, and as far as I’m concerned, it is a racecar.

Originally published on DRIVETRIBE.com

How much $$ does it take to get on track?

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So you finally got the car you have been lusting after, and because it has taken 20 years to afford it, you have reached a level of maturity in which you realize if you want to really use that car, you will need to take it to the track. The question is, now that you have the car and have given it a proper going over to ensure it is in peak performing condition, can you afford to use it?

To answer the question, I’ll take a look at the costs associated with attending a track day in the 2011 Subaru WRX STI I had the pleasure of spending the day with not too long ago.

First, you need to find a track day to attend. Odds are, you will be looking at a track near you, so start by looking at the calendar posted on the track’s website. There are typically three options for track days: open lapping days, private track days and club track days. Private track days may be an option under certain circumstances, but renting a track for yourself for the day isn’t exactly the most cost effective option. Safe to say, a private day will likely cost well over $10,000 – without any accidents. Open lapping days (or open track days) are days the track has designated to be open to the public. These can be few and far between – if the track holds any at all. Often, the most cost effective and popular option is club track days. Many club track days are open to the public, so check with the club to see if you can get signed up.

Open lapping days and club track days will typically cost you between $200 and $300 dollars for registration. So, 200 bucks and you’re good to go then, eh? Sadly, not even close. The first thing to consider is the track’s rules – which may require safety gear from a helmet to a full race suit, along with requirements your car will need to meet. Assuming your car already meets all requirements, you will likely need to get a helmet, if not more. A bare bones helmet that will meet most track’s requirements will cost you around $200, but prices can increase dramatically when looking for something with specific features. For example, a carbon fiber helmet will likely cost at least $500. You may also be required to get gloves, fire-retardant shoes, and possibly even a full race suit. Gloves can be found for $30 to $70 (keep in mind, you may be wearing them under rigorous use for several hours, so comfort is important). Fire-retardant shoes will cost you around $70 or more. If fire-retardant shoes are not required, make sure you have comfortable shoes, which are narrow enough for you to work the pedals as needed for your car (Are you able to heel-and-toe?). Race suits can be found for around $200, though again, the price can increase quickly with options or brands. One more thing you may want to consider regardless of the track’s requirements: if you are wearing a helmet you may want a neck collar to support your head. You can find a neck collar for about $35 and while that may be the price of a visit to the chiropractor, it may save you from a great many visits to the chiropractor.

Next, you need to consider the fact that things go wrong and you may, indeed, have an accident. If that happens, not only will your normal insurance be void, but you will likely be held responsible to any damages to the track and/or barriers. In some cases, you may also be charged for the downtime to the track, which can add up quite quickly. To minimize your liability, you may want to consider track insurance. For my previously mentioned theoretical WRX STI, track insurance for a day at Road America will cost me $198, with a 10% deductible.

You will also want to consider your tire needs. Unless you are content carefully conserving your tires, you may want to think about getting a fresh set just for the track day. If you plan to engage in a bit of hooliganism, you may want to consider an extra set – which will likely mean wheels as well. For the STI, a set of Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires will cost around $800, with shipping.

Last but not least, make sure you will have food and water. Do not assume there will be a concession stand at the track, there probably won’t be. Unless you are entirely certain food and drinks will be provided or available, pack as many meals as necessary, along with some snacks and plenty of water. Driving at pace for a sustained amount of time is hard work, don’t underestimate that. Be prepared to get a workout, and make sure you can maintain your energy and hydration.

So to sum up, track days are expensive. If you need to buy a helmet and plan to get insurance, you will need at least $600 to cover your track day’s initial expenses, assuming you don’t have an accident and you bring food from home. If you plan to get tires, and prefer to buy better safety equipment, you can see your initial costs soar over the $1,000 mark quickly. Fortunately, you won’t need to buy safety equipment every time you go out, so those costs do not recur with each outing.

Okay, so track days aren’t exactly a cheap hobby. However, since you are here, that probably won’t stop you. After all, what good is all that performance if you can’t use it? Maybe you should have just listened to your wife and bought the Prius. On the other hand, maybe she will change her mind after a few passenger laps… which reminds me, passengers often require an extra fee… and don’t forget to get petrol.

Originally published on DRIVETRIBE.com

The Bentley EXP 10 SPEED 6: British racing beauty or trying too hard?

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Bentley revealed the EXP 10 SPEED 6 concept at the Geneva Motor Show March 2015 as a concept two-seater sports car and potential future model. Part of the reason for concept cars such as this is to gauge the consumer’s response, so let’s make a judgement shall we?

The Bentley Continental GT has always been a car which I personally regard as sleek and beautiful. It’s wrapped in luxury yet has the power and performance to hang out with the racers and makes a quite striking GT3, I might add. You might say it’s the wealthy duke, who lifts weights regularly yet eats any delectable desserts he finds.

Comparatively, the EXP 10 SPEED 6 should fit in as the duke who works out daily, and follows a strict diet.

Wolfgang Dürheimer, chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors, said the EXP 10 SPEED 6, “offers thrilling, driver-oriented performance, complete with trademark modern Bentley luxury and effortlessness,” and “this is not just a new sports car concept – but the potential Bentley sports car – a bold vision for a brand with a bold future.

Bearing in mind this is a concept, and concepts are typically a bit overdone and more aggressively styled than the end product, I must say – and I say it with love, it seems to me they are trying a bit too hard.

The looks are, for me, a bit confused. The face of the car grins at you like some odd four eyed cartoon character, the side profile is oddly similar to the Jaguar F-type, and the rear end seems looks as though it has the weight of a dozen Continental’s pushing on it. I must say though, that is being rather critical and there certainly is some aspects I do like. In a sense it is indeed a slimmed down Continental GT, though I wish the ends resembled it more, and I do like the added aggression to the appearance.

The interior is wrapped in leather and the doors feature solid straight-grain cherry wood, with 3D quilting milled into them. It is the usual Bentley luxury we all know with a tighter, sportier feel, minus the rear seats… and that, is where the real problem begins.

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I’ve long dreamed of a true, modern Bentley sports car. One which represents all the performance and racing technology Bentley is capable of, without a sacrifice for comfort. In the world of premium sports cars, the word “luxury” can nearly be considered synonymous with “heavy.” Soft seats, soft ride, premium sound systems and climate control all add weight, and a lot of it.

The Continental GT already provides the combination of speed and relative performance with luxury, if Bentley wishes to do a sports car, it should be a proper sports car. Forget the soft seats, wooden door panels and flashy trim. Let’s see a true British, purist sports car.

 

Originally published on RaceDepartment.com March 18, 2015

Dear non-simracer: An explanation of the madness

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We have all heard it. The angry words of wives, girlfriends, roommates, parents and many others who simply don’t understand.

“Why do you take these games so seriously? It’s just a stupid racing game!” These words haunt sim racers around the globe every 3.4 seconds, and continue to ring in our ears like the screams of tortured wolves. To attempt to silence these unbearable screams, I will try to give some explanation for our madness.

There are many reasons why we sim-race, they all vary person to person, as unique as our own identities. However, there are certain roots which connect us all. Some are motor sport enthusiasts or even racers who simply can’t get enough in the real world. Some are computer nerds who have found a new obsession. All of us are bound by one simple truth, which we dare not admit.

Many of us will say it makes us better drivers. Indeed, science has proven it does, (We are all flawless drivers, are we not?) and many race teams do in fact use simulators as a crucial training tool. We may try to use that to win the argument, but lets be honest, that isn’t what keeps us up until 2:00 AM doing laps around Spa.

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One common trait of sim-racers is we are inherently competitive, as sim racer would imply. So,many of us will say that we crave the competition, and “I won’t feel like a man until I have beat the Stig”. As good of a reason as that is, that’s not it either.

The truth is, we all still have a bit of 8 year old inside us. Sim racing allows us to escape to our own fantasy world and be whatever sort of race car driver we always wanted. It takes it beyond just driving a cool car around in a race, it makes it feel real. It brings it so close, that you are just peering through a window into your dreams, and all you need to do is allow that inner 8 year old to fill in the gaps. It allows us to go where we would not, or could not without fear, and without penalty. Sim racing may be practice for the real thing, it may be a hobby, but the thing that makes us love it so much is how it brings our dreams closer to real life.

In today’s world people need a way to escape, to maintain some sanity from all the chaos. For us, that escape is sim racing, and as far as escapes go, I’d say its a pretty good one.

So when you see us spending thousands of dollars on a new sim rig, and staying up until the wee hours of the morning using it, please keep in mind its one thing keeping us all from collapsing under the stresses of life in this crazy world. We will do our best not to become lost in a fantasy world, just please, please, let us have our time to drive.

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 Originally published on RaceDepartment.com


Welcome to TrackDay with Ryan Ogurek

Ferrari 488 GTB

Welcome to TrackDay with Ryan Ogurek! Ryan is the tribe leader of DriveTribe.com’s Track Noobs, and this is the new home of his motoring adventures, as he dives into the exciting world of track days and high performance cars. In the coming weeks, TDRO will feature exclusive content leading up to the launch of our video series. You won’t want to miss what is coming next!

Home of the motoring adventures of Ryan Ogurek