Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lotus Renault F1 confirm Nick Heidfeld to stand in for Kubica

With Robert Kubica having a bad rally crash recently, the Lotus Renault F1 #1 driver has been temporarily replaced with 33 year old German Nick Heidfeld. Nick is a veteran of 172 F1 races and shares the title with Stefan Johansson of the most podium finishes without a win. Lets hope that Nick can get the win he deserves this year. We wish Robert Kubica a speedy recovery. Hopefully he will be back in the cockpit soon. But in the mean time. Go for it Nick.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Chevrolet today released the 2012 Camaro ZL1 at the Chicago Auto show. This is exciting news. We are back in business when it comes to muscle car wars. It was expected that the supercharged Camaro would be called the Z28, but as you will see from excerpts of the Chevrolet press release below, the ZL1 is representative of a much rarer model.

The ZL1 will be powered by a supercharged V-8 engine producing an estimated 550 horsepower (410 kW) which in turn will make the Camaro ZL1 the fastest Camaro ever offered by Chevrolet. That is good news.

The ZL1 features technologically advanced and highly developed chassis and suspension systems that help it deliver balanced, track-ready handling and braking power to complement its high engine output. Rigorous development of the ZL1 is ongoing, and official estimates of the car's capabilities will be released later in 2011, as testing nears completion.

The ZL1 name is derived from the all-aluminum racing engine of the same name, which was developed in the late 1960s and installed into a handful of regular-production 1969 Camaros. Only 69 were built with the engine, but they've achieved mythical status among enthusiasts, as they represented the pinnacle in Camaro performance until now.

The 2012 ZL1 model is designed to be a major leap forward for the Camaro, bringing a new level of performance capability to the segment. The central goal of the car's development was creating something new, a Camaro intended to reach optimal lap times on top road-racing circuits and excellent driving dynamics on the street. To achieve that goal, engineers evolved many of the existing Camaro's systems, as well as incorporated new technologies such as electric power steering and Magnetic Ride Control, the world's fastest-reacting suspension system.

Major elements of the ZL1's design are a new front fascia and hood with air extractors, designed in tandem to create aerodynamic downforce to aid handling. The car's hood includes a signature center section constructed of carbon fiber and rendered in satin black finish. New rocker panels, wide tires, 20-inch wheels and exhaust tips portray the car's handling and power.

Supporting the dynamic track and street performance of the ZL1 is the LSA 6.2L supercharged engine (currently used in the world fastest sedan, the Cadillac CTS-V), which will produce an estimated 550 horsepower (410kW) and 550 lb.-ft. of torque (677 Nm), with specific features for the Camaro. Built on GM's legendary all-aluminum, small-block V-8 architecture, the LSA features an intercooled supercharger system, premium heat-resistant aluminum-alloy cylinder heads and other details designed to ensure its exceptional performance is delivered with smoothness and refinement. Components and design elements that contribute to the LSA's performance include:
-- Balanced, lightweight reciprocating assembly
-- High-strength hypereutectic pistons
-- Sixth-generation Eaton supercharger with four-lobe rotors
-- Piston oil squirters.
Camaro ZL1 is a complete high-performance car, not just a Camaro with more power. Key technical highlights include:

Transmission – The high-performance Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manual is matched with the LSA engine. It is the “MG9” version of the transmission, with a higher torque capacity. It is used with a dual-mass flywheel and twin-disc clutch for easy operation and shift smoothness. A new, shorter-throw shifter actuates the gear changes.

Exhaust – ZL1 is equipped with a dual-mode exhaust system, which alters the sound level and character in response to engine rpm. First used on the legendary Corvette, and specifically tuned for Camaro ZL1, the dual-mode exhaust will give the car a signature sound.

Drivetrain– It is revised with a stronger driveshaft and rear axle system, featuring a larger and stronger cast iron differential housing, stronger axles and heavy-duty limited-slip differential. This patent-pending system is designed to ensure that ZL1's tremendous power is delivered smoothly to the ground.

Suspension – The suspension features completely revised tuning and the inclusion of segment-exclusive Magnetic Ride Control. ZL1's Magnetic Ride system will include driver selectable modes (Tour and Sport) tailored for the preferred style of driving. It uses advanced magneto-rheological science to produce shock damping with the highest level of precision, enabling body control optimized for excellent performance in everyday driving as well as track situations. This technology appears on only a small roster of some of the world's finest performance cars. Other chassis elements are redesigned to support the car's high-performance limits. Rear stabilizer bars have drop links repositioned outboard of the control arms. This makes the bars more effective in controlling body roll in turns, with crisp response to driver commands.

Brakes and Steering – Camaro ZL1 features an advanced track-capable braking system, developed in conjunction with experts from Brembo. The large 14.6-inch (370 mm) two-piece front rotors have six-piston calipers; the 14.4-inch (365 mm) rear rotors have four-piston calipers. ZL1 marks the entry of a new electric power steering system to Camaro. It is being developed to ensure precise control and feedback to the driver, with greater variability of effort for high-performance driving.

Exterior – ZL1's signature from the front is the redesigned fascia and aluminum hood with a raised, carbon fiber insert. The fascia includes a front splitter and new vertical fog lamps. The fog lamp area includes air intakes designed for brake cooling. The hood features front-mounted air extractors that direct air precisely over the car. Visually, this center section, in satin black carbon fiber, communicates the car's high-performance intent as a visual contrast to the car's exterior color. Functionally, the air extractor is a key in connecting airflow closely to the bodywork, creating aerodynamic downforce. The carbon fiber center section reduces the mass of the hood. High-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps and fog lamps are standard. The rear of the car includes a diffuser and spoiler, also functional elements that enhance the car's aerodynamics.

Wheels and Tires – New-design, 20-inch forged aluminum wheels, which are lighter than the 20-inch wheels used on the Camaro SS, are used with new Goodyear Supercar F2 ties developed specifically for the ZL1.

Interior – ZL1 is tailored for high-performance driving. The front seats feature microfiber suede inserts. Other enhancements include a redesigned steering wheel, alloy pedals, Head-Up Display with unique performance readouts and the “four-pack” auxiliary gauge system featuring a boost readout.
Production details

All of the Camaro exterior colors will be offered with the ZL1, but black is the only interior color. The unique exterior features are complemented with a black center section on the hood. Inside, the Camaro ZL1 has heated leather seats with microfiber inserts and ZL1 logos embroidered on the front headrests. Microfiber suede is repeated as an accent on the instrument panel, adding a richer look to the interior. The ZL1 will include the same content as the current 2SS package and include the following new or unique features:
-- Six-way power driver and passenger seats
-- Unique instrument panel and door panel inserts; and ZL1-logo sill plates
-- Steering wheel audio controls with Bluetooth capability
-- Wireless PDIM and USB-port
-- Boston Acoustics premium audio system
-- Rear parking assist
-- Rear camera system (displayed in the inside rearview mirror).

Engineers have already driven Camaro ZL1 prototypes extensively at demanding road courses in the U.S. and Germany, with final testing being completed through the balance of 2011. 

I am looking forward to seeing the ZL1 in person. I hope Chevrolet prices the vehicle well and does not limit production to just 69.

Thank you Chevrolet.......

Thursday, February 03, 2011

F1 Grand Prix manager ( fantasy) challenge to you!!!

I love F1. I have found that is one of the best F1 fantasy leagues out there. It is not for that faint of heart and takes some time, no one that I have invited to join has beaten me yet and most quit half way through (or earlier). It would also really help you if you follow all of the grand prix throughout the year.  
So I challenge you to join and beat me. Last year I was #7 for everyone playing the game, this year I need to improve. My team name is "Good" be sure to leave a message on telling us that you have joined and your team name. Good luck...

Cadillac CTS-V black diamond edition

Cadillac has just announced an addition to the CTS-V range, with a new version called the Black Diamond Edition. The Black Diamond edition comes with a special black paint finish that is embedded with aluminum flakes. Imagine the old hot rods with candy apple red flake paint, except it is black.
The paint scheme is intended to look like tiny diamonds are embedded in the Cadillac's surface. The engine remains at 556 HP, which may disappoint some, but you'll get black-graphite 19-inch wheels, black wood trim, yellow-painted brake calipers and Recaro leather seats with suede inserts
You can order the CTS-V black diamond edition in wagon, sedan and coupe as of next month. Price for this beast start at $69,190 with a six-speed manual and $70,490 for cars equipped with an automatic transmission. This increases the base by $4850 over the CTS-V base models. 
I'd like the sedan or the wagon. Not over the moon with the coupes styling and yellow interior option. You could always order the "standard" CTS-V and take it to D3 Cadillac or Hennessy and for the extra $4,850 you could most likely take the HP to over 600. Yee HAA.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Stefan Johansson (ex F1, ALMS, Indy etc ) watches

Racing car driver and talented artist Stefan Johansson is designing and selling luxury watches, for both ladies and men. These watches are sure to be desirable for the avid motor racing fan and watch collectors.

I have seen some of his collection in person and from what I have seen, Stefan is making brilliant, good looking, quality watches. You can order your new watch off his website here.

Here is a particularly good video of Stefan driving for Ferrari in F1 and doing it well.

McLaren MP4-12C begins production

The road car McLaren is soon to be selling, has began production at the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) in Woking, England. Most of the new cars to roll off the line will be made across the road at the new production facility as of May 2011, but the time has come to start delivering, so the first few will be made at the MTC.

The MP4-12C features a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 with 447 kW (600 bhp / 608 PS) and 599 Nm (442 lb-ft) of torque connected to a seven-speed "Seamless Shift" double clutch transmission. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) is less than 3.8 seconds, but not quite as quick at the mighty McLaren F1 which did it in 3.1 without turbos (at least for now). Top speed expected to be higher than 300 km/h (186 mph).

Price in USA will be $229,000 +/- Looking forward to seeing one in person soon.