Tag Archives: 2013

A450 Le Mans test day.

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I eagerly await this year’s Le Mans (June 22-23)—-and while I will be, as usual, pulling for the stunning Audi R18s to win (as expected they will), my eyes will actually be peeled out for the Alpine A450 which heralds the return of one of the greatest marques in racing back to Le Mans!  Sure this is a car that was developed primarily by Nissan originally, however its tuning and program is now joined to the hip with Dieppe and the Renaultsport/Alpine tuners.  It is such a great feeling to see the Alpine marque on the track again, and with reasonable success I am sure that in the near future we will start to see a non-Nissan Alpine race car being developed and run in future endurance events!  

Here are some photos shown by Team Signature about the current A450 race car doing Le Mans testing this weekend in France.

As usual, IEDEI will be setting up live feeds of Le Mans on this site as we do every year to help everyone to watch it!

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TT Ultra quattro Concept.

2450 pounds. (a reduction of 660 pounds!)

306hp

wow.  I never thought i’d see an Audi TT with such a low weight.  I think the MK2 TT was a major design flop as I think the MK1 is one of THE great designs in automotive history…but this weight reduction is almost enough to make me forgive the MK2’s unforgivable design flaws.  Audi, you’ve impressed me yet again.

Read more details at Fourtitude

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Audi and Alfa Romeo in “negotiations”.

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Has Sergio Marchionne finally buckled?  Is Audi buying Alfa Romeo?  Let’s hope so!

Ward reports:

“Alfa Romeo is at the core of top-level negotiations between Audi and Fiat and might be near to a sale, reliable sources here and in Ingolstadt, Germany, say.  Sources close to both Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne and Audi CEO Rupert Stadler confirm the two are in talks over a major deal.

The top subject reportedly involves the sale of Alfa, but this time not only the brand but Fiat’s Pomigliano assembly plant also is on the table. If the discussions bear fruit, the facility would return to building Alfas under Audi. Pomigliano was built in the late 1960s specifically for Alfa production, but currently makes the Fiat Panda.”

src:  Wards

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CLA45 AMG.

The Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG is NOW.  An AWD, 4-cylinder, turbocharged, 360hp, dual-clutch gearbox, in a beautiful slope-y sedan outline ready to launch this week at the NY Auto Show. 

In the past, i’ve been very excited about this entire generation of upcoming MB ‘smaller’ cars…..even though i had spewed some critique about the original A-class concept back in the day.

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src:  autoExpress

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OFFICIAL: Alpine will be racing at the 2013 Le Mans!

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I was expecting an announcement for 2014 Le Mans, but Renault has somewhat surprised everybody by announcing that there will be an Alpine badged car racing the LMP2 class in THIS year’s Le Mans.  Wow.  They’ve also released the ‘teaser’ pic above (tastefully tweaked by yours truly).

Here are some quotes directly from Renault:

“Today, another important step has been taken with the announcement that an Alpine prototype is to race in the competitive 2013 European Le Mans Series endurance racing championship (ELMS), as well as at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours (June 22-23).

The decision to compete at Le Mans fits perfectly with the brand’s heritage, since Alpine contested the famous 24-Hour race 11 times between 1963 and 1978, running a total of 55 factory cars. In addition to its successes in the ‘Energy Index’ classification in 1964, 1965 and 1968, as well as in the ‘Performance Index’ classification in 1968 and 1969, its efforts harvested seven class wins in total and, above all, outright victory in 1978 with the Alpine A442B prototype shared by Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Didier Pironi. The two Frenchmen were joined in the top four by the A442 of Jean Ragnotti and Guy Fréquelin.

For its return to Le Mans, Alpine has joined forces with Signatech. The Philippe Sinault-run team will enter an Alpine LM P2 prototype with an Alpine chassis powered by a 500hp Nissan engine for the five rounds of the ELMS, including the opening race at Silverstone, England (April 13). The drivers will be Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues.

The highlight of the season will naturally be the Le Mans 24 Hours. The name of the third driver who will join the team for the world’s most famous endurance race will be announced when the car is officially presented at Le Castellet, France, on March 24.

Said Carlos Tavares, Chief Operating Officer, Renault: “Alpine’s return to the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours in 2013 marks the beginning of a new adventure which is set to last. The passion that drives us is matched only by the humility and careful attention paid to costs that epitomise this comeback which itself has been made possible thanks to the involvement of our partners and supporters who I would like to thank formally here. Together, step by step, we will do our very best to write another exciting page in the history of Alpine, a truly outstanding name in the world of French sports cars.””

I AM SO EXCITED.

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src:  renault press services

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ALPINE returning to Le Mans!

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An announcement is expected Friday to hear Renault introducing the plans for their return to endurance racing!  LMP2 is surely expected by the 2014 racing season with possible LMP1 ambitions as well, and the engines are expected to carry the ALPINE badge!  Renaultsport (which evolved out of the original Alpine after it stopped making cars 20+ years ago) will be tuning them and involved with the engine construction.  All of this seems consistent with the Renault plan to resurrect one of the finest racing and rallying marques ever!  I wonder if the cars themselves will be badged “Alpine-Renault” like the old days.

IEDEI is, of course, devoted to Alpine news and will offer updates as they come in.  My biggest issue is going to be whether I root for Audi or Alpine?  I have stayed up to watch almost all Le Mans races for the past several years….and am a die hard Audi fanboy.   If Alpine makes it to LMP1 against Audi…..it will be very very tough for me to root against the boys in blue.

Exciting news.

BTW, to fuel the imagination, here is an interesting ‘re-interpretation’ (rendering) of the glorious Alpine A220 by Racing Emotion found at le Blog Auto. Obviously this is not a realistic vision, but still entertaining to look at!

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src:  racecarEngineering

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CLA.

Well i’ve been pretty anxiously awaiting the new Mercedes Benz CLA, as i’m excited about the ‘next phase’ of Euro compact sedans and hatchbacks entering the deprived US market.  I was expecting a lot out of the CLA design, as the Concept sort of blew me away last year.  I wasn’t disappointed.  In black…..this thing looks spectacular.   Can I leave the 4 rings to go be the 3 pointed star?  hmm….

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oh and would you look at that interior! it matches my Fitzroy Chronograph watch! dig it lots.

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src:  mercedes-benz

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welcome to the world of unimaginative sports car design.

Are there no design themes left?  Aside from the rear end of the Ferrari F12 looking like a uterus, it pains me to see 3 sports cars, all in red, sitting on the floor of the Detroit Auto Show as we speak with front-end designs plagiarized and derived from each other.  There are other headlight designs and front end treatments!!!!!!!! FIND A DIFFERENT ONE!  How repulsive…

First 3 photos taken by majestic Mike Spinelli

Ferrari F12

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Viper

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C7 Corvette

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bonus round! *face in palm*

Elise

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Elise photo via carsession

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B8 RS4 spotted in the USA.

This is THE sexiest and most exciting Wagon  (Avant in Audi language) on sale right now….and having been forbidden for as long as it existed, could this be the first time that Audi is thinking of importing an RS Avant to US shores?  Look at those fenders.  Wicked.  Fruitfully spotted by our friends at Quattroworld at a recent GTG.

There is now a FB page devoted to getting people to join; to convince Audi of America there is a market for this car.  I, for one, am severely interested!  I am currently on the order list for a 2014 Audi S3, however if I was told this would be arriving I would have to re-evaluate things!  The Facebook petition worked for the TT-RS, did not work for the RS3, but let’s hope it works for this.

Dear AoA:  Take the steps we all want you to take.  I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when the 8P RS3 did not come to the US market, and it would be a shame if the B8 RS4 Avant doesn’t come here either.  These are the cars we want and will pay money for!  

Join the FB page HERE

HA! “you just got beat by a wagon” sticker at the top of the back window!

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Progress of the Alpine resurrection.

Carlos Tavares (Renault CEO) has been talking some details about the resurrection of Alpine!  It seems it will be a completely new car, and NOT the A110-50 that was shown several months ago.  Should be very, very interesting.

My bet is that Lotus is going to be involved in this….as Lotus and Alpine have a history of collaboration.

from Autocar:

Carlos Tavares:

“We could have given our engineers €50 million and told them to make the best of it. But that would probably have produced a mediocre car because it’s not much money to play with. Alpine has a great history, and we want to make emotional cars that will be true to that.”

“He won’t yet reveal the mechanical layout but admits it is unlikely to be rear-engined, as the A110 was.”

“Convenience is an important part of modern packaging,” Tavares says, “but we are not inclined to compromise too much. This is a car that must appeal to the emotions. If you refine such a car too much, it loses its special character.”

The production Alpine will bear little relation to the Alpine concept from earlier this year that incorporated the styling of the DeZir concept on to a Mégane Trophy racer.

 

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Bentley Continental GT3.

Bentley is coming back to Le Mans!  And would you just look at this beauty.  The Bentley Continental GT3.  Most excellent, sir.

I’m still trying to get over how i’ve posted 2 entries about the Bentley Continental in 1 week.   Don’t get the wrong idea….i’m not that into the Continental….or Bentleys for that matter…but both photos are quite interesting I must say.

Is this an Audi R8 in disguise? i’m almost certain it is.  Does this mean that Audi will be bringing the R8 to Le Mans after 2013? I would certainly assume so.  Domination in different classes is sure to ensue….

 

a video of the big beast in action:

src:  Audi Sport

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Mercedes installation.

The Mercedes-Benz “Concept Coupe” incorporated into an art installation by Paul Cocksedge Studios.

Love the details on it.  Next year is really going to be competitive in the small luxury sedan segment of the US market with this new MB A-Class sedan, Audi A3/S3, and rumoured BMW 1-series sedan.

This is a beautiful car, and it’s really great to see modern automotive design picking up steam.  This will add a lot of excitement to the more conservative Mercedes lineup.   I’m not sure it’s enough to talk me out of a next-generation S3…but it is pretty wicked. I really hope this car reaches production with the design elements intact.

 

 

 

 

src: MB

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A110-50 around Monaco!

This car has already become a chameleon, donning at least 4 different types of wheels from all the photos i’ve seen so far.  Well here are some great shots of it around the Monaco circuit today!

(click to get hi-resolution pics!)

src:  Renault

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Return of ALPINE: Friday May 25th as the “Zar” concept

UPDATE! Apparently the neu Alpine will be unveiled as the “Zar” concept.  (thank you GentlemanScooper)

According to the excellent and interesting Renaud Roubaudi, the details are that Renault will debut a NEW Alpine 2 days before the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix! Details as follows:

(translated from french)

“I confirm that the new Alpine Renault will be officially unveiled in Monaco Friday, May 25, the surrounding of 13h30/14 h and a World Champion Formula 1. After doing some laps on the circuit, the Alpine will park in front of the barge moored in the Red Bull Monaco harbor which will be held the press conference. Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President of Operations for Renault, Laurens van den Acker, Design Director of Renault and Alain Prost, Renault Ambassador , will present all three. And POA that will immortalize this memorable day on video …”

2 days before that update, Renaud Roubadi also posted this:

“New Renault Alpine to be unveiled as a concept Monaco Friday, May 25, two days before the Grand Prix Formula 1.Renault officially announces the presentation of an iconic car turns 50, but make no mistake, this is the Alpine 2012 which made a big comeback. We also learn in the press release it develops 400 hp and it will do some laps. Nice publicity stunt for global fallout this revival. We expect everyone to discover the beautiful design. Neo retro or new style? ”

400hp? that sounds weird.  It better NOT be a GT-R or a 370z rebadged.

Is it true?  I hope so and i hope not.  I’m scared to see what Renault have planned for this ‘resurrection’…..my info has suggested it will be a lightweight sports car, possibly electric or gas/electric hybrid.    All i know is that if it is a 370z with new badges, there is an 80% chance I will have a seizure from disappointment.   Either way, a debut in Monaco sounds like a pretty flashy debut for a new Alpine, but with the A110’s grand history of Monte Carlo rally—-it seems somewhat suitable I must say!

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Maserati Granturismo: a grower.

when the Maserati Granturismo came out a couple of years ago—-i thought it was too big, too soft, and pretty much overshadowed by its Alfa brother–the 8c.

Fast forward a few years—-and the other day i was bumbling along on the freeway on my way home from work and a Granturismo went absolutely pounding past me with exhausts screaming in full force.  A) i was impressed, B) i realised just how good it looked in speed and being driven with enthusiasm.  I think the Granturismo is a pretty classically designed coupe; which will likely age quite nicely.

The Granturismo S is the latest variation of this car….and i absolutely love it with the black wheels and the spec’d out interior.  Those blue gauges REALLY do it for me on the gauge cluster! wow.

src: newspress

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Ferrari F12 is inspired by the Uterus.

Ever since I was confronted by the ungainly sight of the new Ferrari F12, i’ve been trying to remember just what that rear end reminds me of…and then all of a sudden, i remembered.  It looks like a Uterus with bilateral fallopian tubes and ovaries!!

The Ferrari version has very wide fallopian tubes, and unnaturally round ovaries; however the general architecture is simply uncanny.  Did you think nobody would notice, Pininfarina?

Exhibit A: Uterus

Exhibit B:  Ferrari F12

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MK3 Audi TT…could this be the 1st official hint?

I believe so!  From everything I minimally know about the MK3 development process, this is by far the closest thing i’ve seen consistent with the descriptions i’ve heard.  Same kinda roofline, but very progressive design.  I really think this photo, which accompanied a technology press release….is the first official hint at the MK3 TT’s design!

src: autoblog

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Roding Roadster 23.

I love this thing! Totally inspired by the R8 and the E-Tron (especially the Detroit Auto Show E-Tron Coupe concept), but this Roding carries a BMW inline 6 with 320hp.   Weighs only 950kg.

Limited to 23 cars for the initial production run.  I can’t wait to see more photos…..and to find out if there will be a proper run of production cars!  Oh and roding……ditch those silly time attack ‘red strips’ on the rim of the wheels and get some proper black/grey wheels on there.

more info at: Roding

src: Autoevolution

 

 

 

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Lotus return to rally with the Lotus Exige R-GT

I cannot wait to see Lotus entering this into the 2012 FIA WRC GT class, and although Lotus still hasn’t officially begun its season with this rally version of the Exige, they claim it will enter in competition for this 2012 season at some point.

Claudio Berro, Group Lotus’ Director of Motorsport, said: “When you consider that we’ve only began working on this car in July, I think what we’ve achieved in that time has been incredible. For me the Exige S makes the perfect GT rally car, it has an awesome 3.5-litre, supercharged engine, and we’ve managed to balance the weight perfectly to meet the minimum weight regulations.

365hp, to be exact!  Wicked.

Video:

src: Lotus

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Return of the Renault 5?

It’s hard to believe that the Renault 5 is celebrating its 40th (!) anniversary from its launch soon.  Apparently, it is being reported in the french media that Renault are bringing a Renault 5 ‘redux’ back in celebration and that this is now ‘confirmed’….

A shame that Renault isn’t coming back to the US market….But then again, Fiat is pretty much ruining any chance of others trying to come back.  If Fiat would have done well, the others would have made a run—-but not any more!

Here’s a rendering of the Renault 5 resurrection! (maybe)

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Chevy 130R.

I can’t remember the last time I actually liked a Chevy—–i think i may be able to trace this to 1990 and my childhood admiration of the Cavalier Z24! ha.

Anyways, Chevy have introduced 2 concepts at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show—–one of which, the 140s is kinda worthless (and ugly)—–but one of them (130R) is strikingly good looking!  Although there is a lot borrowed from the BMW 1-series upon first glance, i find that the stance and size of this RWD concept is basically how I envision the ‘modern pony car’.  Since Dodge has re-introduced the (forgettable) Dodge Dart—–maybe it’s time Chevy brings back the Nova! Or not….

There’s something pleasantly retro about this design, and at the same time progressive. I think i feel the same way about the previous generation 1-series; a car I’ve always loved in coupe design.

130R:

Of course Chevy just had to ruin all the fun by putting a $75 interior in it! terrible.

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F1 to Jersey!

 

It is super exciting news to hear that F1 is finally coming close to the NYC area in 2013!  The race will be held in New Jersey right across the river—–with the race having a backdrop of the Manhattan skyline.  This is very exciting news for race fans living in the tri-state area, and marks the latest in the sequel of F1 coming back to the US after unsuccessful stints in Indianopolis and Detroit.   Obviously there is the Austin, Texas F1 return as well, however I (a) don’t like Texas and (b) think the east coast makes a better venue for F1 racing.

The announcement is expected next week!  Now if we can just get the WRC to come to Brooklyn…

full story here!

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