The Ferrari Challenge is a single marque motorsport that began in 1993 for owners of the Ferrari 348 that wanted to become involved in racing. The motorsport has changed since then and now the exclusive model is the Ferrari 458 Italia. Single marque means each competitor uses the same vehicle, which is an identically prepared race car that has specific modifications such as a roll cage, safety harness and other safety equipment. The race is divided into three series, Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. There are two classifications for drivers, Trofeo Pirelli and the Coppa Shell, which is professional and amateur drivers, respectively.
Ugo Colombo has raced in previous Ferrari Challenges and so far for the 2014 season, he raced in the Daytona and Montreal races. Ugo Colombo placed 3rd in Daytona in the Coppa Shell classification. In the most recent race, Montreal, Ugo Colombo had a collision with Chris Ruud from Ferrari of Beverly Hills. Chris Ruud was the North American Ferrari Challenge champion for 2011. Luckily, both drivers are fine and walked away from the collusion. This will be the 20th season for the Ferrari Challenge and the next race for the North American series is June 27-29 in Mont Tremblant, Quebec.
The Porsche 918 Spyder made its debut as a concept car at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show and was met with huge consumer interest. Three years after that at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor show, the production model was introduced. The 918 Spyder is a gorgeous supercar that is surprisingly a hybrid. It is equipped with a V8 behind the seats that pushes 608 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 391 foot-pounds of torque. In addition, the vehicle has two electric engines one for each axle that boast 154 HP for the front axle and 127 HP for the rear. This results in a combined horsepower of over 880. The 918 Spyder can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 2.6 seconds and to 186 mph in 19.9 seconds. It is equipped with five different operating modes to make the most out of its three engines. In “E-Power” mode, it is purely electric, which can reach speeds of over 90 mph. When the battery power begins to drop, the car will switch to “Hybrid” mode where the electric and combustion engines are working together for maximum efficiency. In “Sport Hybrid” the combustion engine runs continuously for a focus on performance. In “Race Hybrid” mode, the vehicle focuses on maximum performance and the last mode, “Hot Lap” the 918 uses all available energy for maximum power.
The exterior of the car is extremely exotic with wide body rear fenders, two-piece Targa top, lightweight construction and plenty more. The interior is futuristic looking with a nice black and silver contrast. The 918 features a new console technology that is similar to a smartphone. The console is an infotainment system that operates like a web browser and has many functions such as navigation, cabin cool/heating controls, audio and email. The Porsche 918 Spyder was produced in a very limited quantity at a price of over $845,000 each.
The Alfieri is a new concept car unleashed by Maserati at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. It takes its name from one of the Maserati brothers, who founded the brand. The exotic car resembles the design of the late 1950s Maserati GTs with the 2+2 style. The chassis is based on the GranTurismo MC Stradale, which was showcased at the 2013 Geneva show. The engine of the concept Alfieri is a 4.7 liter, naturally aspirated V8, which results in 460 horsepower. The production version of the Alfieri will come in rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, both with V6 engines. The RWD version is equipped with 410 horsepower, while the AWD version has the option of 450 HP or 520 HP. The competition for this vehicle class is the Porsche 911s and Jaguar F-Types.
The exterior of the car features Bi-xenon LED headlamps, a front spoiler, rear diffuser and fender air ducts. The interior of the vehicle is handmade with Aniline leather on the dashboard, seats and center console. Many of the other interior components are aluminum such as the pedals, gearbox paddles, seat garnishes, the gearbox lever and more. This gives the interior a modern look with a slight hint of the early Maserati designs. The production model of the Maserati Alfieri is expected to hit the market in 2016 and will be available in a convertible and cabriolet variant.
The Porsche Panamera, still fairly new to the Porsche family, is one of the few 4-doors in the history of Porsche. The Panamera was originally released in 2009 and has received slight upgrades such as front and rear body facelifts for 2014. The most interesting upgrade is the new hybrid version that is offered for 2014. The hybrid is a plug-in that contains two engines; electric and gasoline. This is the first of its kind for Porsche. The combustion engine is a supercharged V6 that generates 333 horsepower and the electric engine generates 95 horsepower. The Panamera has a 9.4 kWh lithium-ion battery that recharges in about 3 hours through a direct connection. In addition, the Panamera’s battery can also be recharged while it is driving through its brake recuperation system or through the gasoline engine. The Panamera has the ability to drive with either engine running or both running at the same time. This is useful for the different types of driving conditions such as city, highway, et cetera. The Panamera hybrid is environmentally friendly in a few other ways too. For instance, it has a lightweight build to reduce fuel consumption and increase performance. In addition, the lightweight material that the Panamera is made of is easily recyclable, which makes the model a staggering 95% recyclable.
A great feature that this new hybrid has to offer is it transmits a large amount of useful information to the driver. For example, the instrument display has gauges for power, boost, electric range, energy flow and average consumption statistics. Many are directed towards determining the environmental impact of driving the car. There is even an app that has the ability to tell the driver the current charge of his or her car while they are relaxing, waiting for their car to charge. The key feature of the Panamera hybrid is that it offers environmental protection with the performance that we know, love and expect from Porsche.
Audi is in the process of perfecting technology that allows drivers to see how long until a green traffic light changes. In order words, this technology will allow drivers to almost always catch green lights because their car will tell them the appropriate speed to travel at to reduce stop lights. The system relies on traffic light data combined with predictive data based on the vehicle speed and current traffic. Of course, drivers cannot make every green light, but this new technology will give the driver the time remaining until the light changes. In addition to a countdown timer, there is a traffic light icon to show the color of the upcoming light. The system is even able to account for lane changes and signal changes.
The beauty of this system is it will prepare the engine to drive five second before the light turns green. This has some environmental implications because it is expected to reduce emissions by 15%. Furthermore, it’s estimated that it will save 900 million liters of fuel annually in Germany. Considering a global context, this will save substantial amounts of fuel worldwide. Testing has been successfully completed in Las Vegas, Nevada; Berlin, Germany and Verona, Italy. Traffic Light Assist can be easily applied to a vehicle by a simple software patch. The difficulty with implementing the system is connecting the vehicles to the varying traffic light databases that different cities use. There isn’t an expected release date, but it will definitely be available on the full Audi lineup in the near future.
Aston Martin has introduced a more powerful version of their Rapide sedan, called the Rapide S. In fact this is the most powerful four-door that Aston Martin has ever produced that can reach 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. Furthermore, the Rapide S has 550 horsepower from its 5.9 liter V-12. This model has 17% more horsepower than the previous Rapide model as well as a 20Nm increase in torque. The top speed of this newly upgraded Aston Martin is 190 mph. In addition to its high performance, the Rapide S has a lightweight aluminum structure along with aerodynamic improvements to aid its high-performance engine.
Some other improvements are the new grille, bumper and a slightly lowered engine. The interior is Piano Black and has a glossy trim around the center console and door handles. The Rapide S has an option for perforated red leather inserts for the seat and door trim. The upgraded model comes with excellent audio as well as the option for a six-disc DVD player with screens in the back of the front headrests for backseat riders. In terms of safety, the Rapide S has eight airbags as well as new load limiting technology for seatbelts. It might look similar to other Aston Martins, but it definitely has many sleek improvements. The 2014 edition will reach dealerships in May or June with an expected sticker price of $200,000.
Recently Jay Leno became the first owner of a McLaren P1 in North America, and the video of the dealership delivery shows how much care is taken when delivering a car of this caliber.
Covered in a protective white tailored cover, the delivery team takes great care to ensure that the car does not scrape its nose or tail on the concrete, and you can tell from the video how seriously this process is taken.