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Five reasons to love or hate the culture of North American cars

  • Five reasons to love or hate the culture of North American cars
  • 2015 Honda CR-V
  • Morgan Plus 8 Speedster hits the track versus BMW R Nine T
  • 2014 Cadillac ELR

Brabham returns with open-source, crowd-funded racing team [w/video]

Posted Oct 1st 2014 2:00PM

Jack Brabham

A lot has happened since Sir Jack Brabham went down in history as the the only driver ever to win the Formula One World Championship in his own car. His offspring have followed in his footsteps, with two of his sons (Geoff in 1993 and David in 2009) having won at Le Mans with Peugeot. Bernie Ecclestone used the team as a springboard to seize control of F1's commercial rights. The Brabham name was subsequently adopted by a BMW tuner. And finally, Sir Jack himself left this world this past May. But his family is fighting to regain control of their name and bring it back to the world stage.

The plan, being initiated by Sir Jack's youngest son David, is to relaunch the Brabham name in a number of international racing series. And to get there, the Brabhams are counting on public support. They've launched a crowdsourcing campaign on Indiegogo to raise funds for racing activities, and in return for public contributions, promise to provide "unrivaled access" to the team's inner workings in an open-source racing platform.

The first step will be to enter the FIA World Endurance Championship – including the 24 Hours of Le Mans – in the LMP2 class starting next season. It will need to raise £8 million ($14.5m) to get up and running and onto the grid, and is raising contributions in increments of £250,000 ($450k). In other words, participating in the initiative will be a bit more costly than funding a new fashion label or gadget startup, but promises to give backers more than a t-shirt or a new toy: funders will participate in the development of the car, vote on key team decisions, and take advantage of the new Brabham-Digital platform as either a fan, a driver or an engineer, following the team and its progress as if they were on the pit wall, in the cockpit or in the garage.

It's racing democratized, or so at least it promises, and we'll be looking forward to seeing the project materialize. After the initial stage in LMP2, Brabham hopes to participate in Formula E and other racing series and eventually make it back into F1 – the series where Sir Jack Brabham won three world championships himself and his team racked up two constructors' titles and four drivers' championships over the course of three decades on the grid.

Find out more in the video below, the project's website and its Indiegogo page.

News Source: Brabham

Corvette Z06 cracks 3-second 0-60, 1.2 g on skidpad

Posted Oct 1st 2014 1:00PM

Quarter Mile Dispatched In 10.95 Seconds At 127 mph

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Ever since Chevy took the lid off, we knew the new Corvette Z06 would be fast. We just didn't know how fast, until now...

Hot off the presses, Chevrolet has now confirmed that the new Z06 will run from 0 to 60 miles per hour (0 to 96 km/h) in less than 3 seconds – 2.95 seconds, to be precise, when equipped with the eight-speed automatic transmission. Stick with the standard seven-speed manual and you're looking at 3.2 seconds, which is still a few tenths quicker than the previous ZR1, which the new Z06 effectively replaces. It's awfully hard to verify such things, but this could very well be the first front-engine, rear-drive production car to crack the three-second barrier.

Impressed? Hold on, there's more: the Z06 will run the quarter-mile in 10.95 seconds with the automatic, 11.2 with the manual – either way reaching 127 mph (204 km/h) by the end of the strip. It takes less than 100 feet (barely longer than a regulation basketball court) to stop from 60 mph (96 km/h), and will circle the skidpad at 1.2 g. (All the downforce that helps achieve that last figure, though, is expected to hamper the as-yet unquoted top speed.)

If you're wondering how all those elements add up, GM reports that the new Z06 is the fastest vehicle ever to lap its 2.9-mile (4.6-kilometre) road course at Milford, knocking a full second off the ZR1's previous record. Not too shabby for a vehicle costing less than US$80k. Feel free to read all the official details below.

News Source: Chevrolet

Honda Civic Type R on track to smash 'Ring record, eclipse NSX

Posted Oct 1st 2014 12:31PM

Honda Civic Type R

Honda has made some serious performance machinery over the course of its history, but few products have been as hotly anticipated as the upcoming new Civic Type R. Following a deep and proud history of Type R Hondas, the latest Japanese hot hatch is continuing its long striptease at the Paris Motor Show this week. But before it does, Honda has released this video clip featuring project leader Suehiro Hasshi – and he has some bold claims to make.

For one, he says it'll be the best Type R yet – and that's quite a statement considering some of its predecessors, including the almighty NSX Type R. Hasshi-san also reiterates Honda's aim of snatching the front-drive lap record at the Nürburgring away from the likes of Renault and Seat, and reports that the Honda team is on track to chew every bit it's biting off. In short, the new Civic Type R ought to be sensational.

Related GalleryHonda Civic Type R Concept II
Honda Civic Type R Concept IIHonda Civic Type R Concept IIHonda Civic Type R Concept IIHonda Civic Type R Concept II

Related GalleryHonda Civic Type R Spy Shots
Honda Civic Type R Spy ShotsHonda Civic Type R Spy ShotsHonda Civic Type R Spy ShotsHonda Civic Type R Spy ShotsHonda Civic Type R Spy ShotsHonda Civic Type R Spy ShotsHonda Civic Type R Spy ShotsHonda Civic Type R Spy Shots

Related Gallery2015 Honda Civic Type R Prototype
2015 Honda Civic Type R Prototype2015 Honda Civic Type R Prototype2015 Honda Civic Type R Prototype2015 Honda Civic Type R Prototype2015 Honda Civic Type R Prototype2015 Honda Civic Type R Prototype2015 Honda Civic Type R Prototype2015 Honda Civic Type R Prototype

News Source: Honda via YouTube

2015 Toyota Yaris

Posted Oct 1st 2014 12:00PM

Refreshed To Sell Confidence And Value, Not Innovation And Technology

2015 Toyota Yaris

Advertising firms have done an admirable job convincing consumers that the easiest way to find a best-in-segment car or truck is by looking at a few key metrics. In the most elementary terms, the vehicle with the highest horsepower, most gears in its transmission housing, lowest acceleration times and best fuel economy most certainly must be the class benchmark.

Yet as the commercials and billboards continue to drive that deceitful message, Toyota is betting shoppers in the subcompact segment are a bit more discerning. The Japanese automaker has just launched its updated 2015 Yaris, a three- and five-door offering that bucks the innovation and performance trends by offering what Toyota feels that entry-level buyers actually desire – reliability, practicality and a low sticker price.

It's sweltering in the tropical Hawaiian sun as I check out the deeply refreshed 2015 Yaris SE. This five-door hatchback, a range-topping version of the company's subcompact "sporty hatch" (Toyota's words, not mine), builds on the new-in-2012 generation by wearing new front and rear fascias, redesigned headlights and some attractive new wheels for the upcoming model year.

Overall, I like what I see. The front clip, with new LED daytime running lights, projector-beam headlight lenses and an oversized piano-black grille adds some character and aggression to a formerly nondescript vehicle. The wheel designs are big improvement, too, as their twisted spokes suggest motion even when standing still. The rear treatment, basically a new urethane bumper cap and redesigned taillamps, isn't as exciting as the front, almost appearing less sporty overall with the deletion of the chrome exhaust outlet, but it ties the package together. (It's interesting to note that the reverse lights have been moved from the taillamp cluster to a single unit at the bottom centre of the bumper – one would think its much lower height would be less effective in terms of overall illumination.)

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

Kevin Ward Jr.'s family writes open letter questioning crash investigation

Posted Oct 1st 2014 11:29AM

The grieving family of race driver Kevin Ward Jr. feels he's was portrayed unfairly after his death. Ward Jr.'s aunt read a prepared letter to USA Today Sports addressing the controversial incident that killed her nephew last month and the criminal investigation that released fellow driver Tony Stewart of guilt and claims Ward Jr. had enough marijuana in his system to "impair his judgment" at time of his death.

"Why was the toxicology report even an issue? Seems to me the wrong man was on trial," Wendi told USA Today. "Tell me why Tony Stewart was not taken in for testing, why his car wasn't impounded. Tell me how a man the size of Kevin can make a sprint car turn to the right on impact," said his aunt... READ MORE

News Source: USA Today Sports, AOL Autos

Image Credit: AP Photo / Mel Evans

Jaguar XE bares its claws in 74 images [w/video]

Posted Oct 1st 2014 11:00AM

2016 Jaguar XE Prestige

The XE may prove to be the most vital new model to Jaguar's expansion. But to date we've only really seen it in top-spec, supercharged XE S form. That ends right here and now, however, as Jaguar releases details, photos and even a brief video clip showing the entire range – including those most customers are bound to buy.

Globally speaking – or at least in its home market – Jaguar will offer the XE with five different engines and in four different trim levels. The new Ingenium engine family includes two diesels and two turbocharged gasoline options along with the top-of-the-line supercharged V6 that will serve as the XE's performance flagship model, at least until a new SVR version comes along. Both six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions are on offer, and overseas buyers will also be able to choose between base SE, mid-range Prestige, opulent Portfolio, dynamic R-Sport and range-topping S trim levels.

Of course not every engine is available in each trim level and with either transmission, so instead of 40 combinations we're looking at 22. Once the XE reaches American showrooms, we'll likely be looking at even fewer, as we're not expecting the manual and diesel versions to be offered Stateside. Stay tuned as well for our live impressions from the floor of the Paris Motor Show. But in the meantime you can scope out all the details and UK specifications in the press release below, along with the short video and the gallery of 74 high-resolution images above.

Related Gallery2016 Jaguar XE
2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE

News Source: Jaguar

Aston Martin finally drops the veil on its new Lagonda sedan

Posted Oct 1st 2014 10:30AM

Aston Martin Lagonda

Aston Martin has finally released the floodgates, delivering official images of the all-new Lagonda sedan, the company's latest expression of its long-serving VH architecture and 6.0-litre V12.

Set for an extremely limited production, the hand-built Lagonda's William Towns-inspired, carbon-fibre exterior has been a point of conversation since the new sedan first crept in front of a camera's lens some four months ago. While that evolved exterior isn't exactly new, we are getting our very first look at the Lagonda's beautifully crafted cabin.

Aston Martin's Q branch had a big hand in the cabin work, adding wide swaths of leather and elaborate hand-stitching to the Rapide-based interior. Unlike the Rapide, though, those rear thrones look considerably more accommodating, particularly in regards to rear headroom.

From a performance perspective, we have it on good authority that the Lagonda is currently exceeding 175 miles per hour (280 km/h) in testing and that this first production model weighs no more than the Rapide, which we're guessing is thanks to the aforementioned carbon-fibre body.

The first deliveries of the Lagonda are slated to begin during the first quarter of 2015. We're hoping we'll have much more info as that date approaches. Until then, we have ten images of the new Lagonda, several of which feature the beautiful, Q-spec interior. Have a look and then head down to Comments and let us know what you think.

Image Credit: Aston Martin

GP Experience will help you live out your F1 fantasies

Posted Oct 1st 2014 10:00AM

GP Experience Formula 1

Have you ever wanted to drive a Formula 1 car but know that you're too old, don't have the skill or lack the time and money to rise up the ranks? A new program called GP Experience claims to be the first program of its kind in North America to give people the chance to get behind the wheel an F1 car, as part of a day of high-performance driving.

The day includes instruction lapping in go-karts and eventually steps up to driving supercars. Of course, the climax is getting to do three laps in one of GP Experience's former F1 cars. There are also chances to do rounds of the circuit in the program's F1X3 three-seaters piloted by a professional.

Obviously, you're not driving Sebastian Vettel's championship-winning Red Bull from last year. According to GP Experience's FAQ, the chassis for its F1 cars are from between 2005 and 2008, and they use V8 or V10 engines from Cosworth, Judd and Peugeot that make in excess of 600 horsepower. The company's press release also claims that after graduating from the first level of the program, people can keep training and potentially get the opportunity to drive Kimi Raikkonen's 2012 Lotus E20.

GP Experience already has its first events scheduled for later this year at tracks like Thermal Club in Palm Springs, CA, and Palm Beach International Raceway in Florida that cost $6,995 (CAD$7,840) for a day of driving. There are also two courses set at the Circuit of the Americas track for $9,995 (CAD$11,200).

Obviously, these prices aren't cheap for a day at the track, but there also aren't many other opportunities out there to drive an F1 car, even for just a few laps. This is one way to tick it off the bucket list. Scroll down to read more.

News Source: GP Experience, [2], [3]

Five reasons to love or hate the culture of North American cars

Posted Oct 1st 2014 9:00AM

As enthusiasts, we love cars from all parts of the world. Whether they be supercars from Italy, luxury sedans from Germany or tiny urban runabouts from Japan, as long as they're interesting and well-designed for their intended purpose, we're location-agnostic when it comes to picking favourites... Mostly.

Considering that the vast majority of your humble staffers from Autoblog hail from and call North America home, it's only natural that some of us have a few hometown heroes with which we fill our fantasies. And it's not like American automakers haven't left a thorough swath of vehicles for us to swoon over – while the automobile wasn't exactly invented in North America, it was certainly popularized here, and, while we can probably find just as many flops as hits, the annals of automotive history are filled with plenty of examples of excellence rolling out of Detroit.

Here are a few reasons for automotive enthusiasts to celebrate North American domestic cars.

Image Credit: AOL