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Archive for December, 2009

Maserati GranTurismo MC Corse Concept

Italian luxury sports car maker Maserati has just announced full details for the Maserati GranTurismo MC Corse Concept, which will debut at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. The GranTurismo MC Corse is a technology study on what future Maserati GT-class race cars may look like, though this is no rolling chassis.

With full GranTurismo MC powertrain intact, and horsepower upped to 450 bhp, the Corse Concept looks to compete with the likes of the Porsche Carrera 911 GT3 and Audi R8 GT3 as track-ready race cars, should Maserati choose to release a limited number of GranTurismo MC Corse cars to wealthy weekend track enthusiasts.

The design certainly looks the part, tightly based on the critically acclaimed Maserati GranTurismo S but featuring a number of touches that only add to the MC Corse’s sporting appeal. But what is form without function?

GranTurismo MC Corse Powertrain

The MC Corse Concept uses a modified version of the excellent V8 motor used in the consumer Maserati GranTurismo S. Through ECU recalibration as well as the addition of larger intake and exhaust outlets, every ounce of performance has been squeezed out of this engine. In addition to 17 more horsepower, GranTurismo MC Corse torque has been upped to 376 lb-ft. @ 4750 rpm.

This torque figure speaks to the hard-revving nature of the Maserati GranTurismo V8. A heavy foot will be needed to drive the MC Corse to its full potential, but at least optimized aerodynamics will make sure none of the power is wasted.

Race Prepping the GranTurismo S – Weight, Aerodynamics and Safety

Because of the Italian sports car maker’s focus on luxury, the hefty Maserati GranTurismo needed significant weight reduction and body modifications to be competitive at the GT racing level. Completely stripping the GranTurismo MC Corse concept’s interior and liberal use of carbon fiber have allowed curb weight to drop from a rather portly 4145 pounds to a much more manageable 3086.

A carbon composite material built on a steel chassis, and Lexan plastic windows all around are responsible for the rest of the weight savings. Aero pieces on the MC Corse start with a revised front airdam and a boattail-style rear spoiler, providing extra downforce to keep the Maserati racer glued to the track.

Due to the stripper interior, which lacks airbags but does offer the driver added safety in the form of a full carbon fiber-strengthened roll cage and a 6-point safety harness, the GranTurismo MC Corse would not be road-legal even if it could pass emissions tests.

Still, with other luxury automakers planning track-only versions of their GT cars for public release, Maserati is testing the waters for bringing the GranTurismo MC Corse concept to production in the form of a turn-key race car.

Do we have to beg?

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2008 Ferrari 430 Scuderia

The new Ferrari 430 Scuderia will join the road-going V8 line-up alongside the F430 coupe and the F430 Spider. The 430 Scuderia is a truly high-performance 2-seater berlinetta which demonstrates how Ferrari’s Formula 1 know-how is carried across to its production cars.

The new model is a special series based on the F430 and is aimed specifically at Ferrari’s most passionate and sports-driving oriented clients. Development focused on light weight, minimum trimmings and innovative technology. All this to exalt the car’s extremely high-performance and ability to thrill the driver.
The new car can count on an extremely low weight-to-power ratio of just 2.45 kg per bhp thanks to a low dry weight of just 2755 lb – 220 lb less than the F430 – and to the naturally-aspirated 4308cc V8’s 510 bhp at 8500 rpm.
Superb performance both on and off the track is assured by a series of cutting-edge solutions. There is the latest software – F1 Superfast – which reduces gearchange times to just 60 milliseconds, and new traction control which, for the first time, combines the E-Diff electronic differential and the F1-Trac traction and stability control in a single integrated system.
Vehicle dynamics, control and performance thus represent the zenith of Ferrari’s achievements in terms of developing road-certified sports cars.
The 430 Scuderia will be officially unveiled by Michael Schumacher at the IAA Motor Show in Frankfurt in September 2007.

2006 Saleen S7 Twin Turbo

Saleen knows all about power. As in S281 Mustangs, N2O Focuses and the S7, America’s first (and still the only) mid-engine exotic supercar. When it went on sale in 2002, the S7 was the only street-legal car in the U.S. with more than 500 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque. The media and S7 owners have raved about the car since it first smoked the rear tires in anger. And it has been recognized by numerous automotive magazines as the fastest production car in the world. But during the past three years the automobile marketplace has witnessed an explosion of performance with models from manufacturers including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Chevrolet touting power numbers above the once magic 500 level.


Saleen is not an organization content to rest on yesterday’s 0-60 mph times or quarter-mile speeds. So in 2005, it was “goodbye S7” and “all hail the S7 Twin Turbo!” This is the first major change to the S7 since its introduction, and it is a big change as in 750 horsepower and 700 lb-ft of torque, numbers the competition will be chasing for a long while we predict.

Unchanged From 2005


While there are a number of different roads Saleen’s engine designers could have traveled down to achieve those high-altitude horsepower and torque figures, for this second edition of the S7 they decided to think beyond atmospheric. And because this is Saleen, they added a double twist to a tried and true racing technique for boosting power and torque: twin turbos.

Aerodynamics has also come under scrutiny in 2005. Unless you place the new S7 Twin Turbo next to one of the original 2002 models, you probably won’t notice that the 2005 version has a different diffuser/rear spoiler package and reshaped front fenders to enhance the S7s already sleek, swoopy and aerodynamic contours. To complement the Twin Turbo’s enhanced straight-line performance envelope the S7 chassis has also undergone a fair amount of tweaking. Virtually every suspension pickup point has been changed, and the suspension geometry has been modified for less squat and dive during acceleration and braking.

Engine & Drivetrain


Designed by Saleen engineers, the S7’s engine and drivetrain incorporate the latest in modern racing technology. The new all-aluminum V8 engine casting was engineered and tooled by Saleen to displace seven liters. Redline is 6500 rpm. Space age materials and engineering are used throughout, including stainless steel valves, titanium retainers, beryllium exhaust valve seats, an aluminum throttle body, Saleen designed aluminum CNC-machined cylinder heads and stainless steel exhaust system. An exclusive Saleen-designed Front Engine Accessory Drive (FEAD) system results in an extremely compact engine, allowing for better packaging and overall weight distribution. The V8 incorporates a unique Saleen-designed side-mounted water pump, a belt-driven camshaft drive and a Saleen-engineered dry sump oil delivery system. The engine’s mid-chassis placement optimizes weight distribution and center of gravity, making room for an unusually tall engine that allows for a very efficient induction system. Air enters a roof intake, passes through a 90-mm mass air meter and feeds into a carbon fiber plenum. From the plenum the air is routed to the twin ball bearing turbos, is pressurized to 5.5 psi max and then passes through an oval-bore throttle body into an aluminum intake manifold with eight individual runners.

To feed juice to this setup, the injection system includes dual electric fuel pumps and high-capacity, return-less, 52 lb/hr fuel injectors. Neatly engineered and integrated into the S7’s stainless steel, dual, high-flow exhaust system are two, twin-ball-bearing, water-cooled Saleen-Garrett turbos, featuring 44-mm wastegates. The four exhaust pipes from each bank of cylinders merge into a race-car-like high-efficiency collector. In addition, the exhaust incorporates dual catalysts per cylinder bank, EGR and those aforementioned twin wastegates. And because Saleen believes in power and clean air, the emission control system features dual, heated oxygen sensors per cylinder bank and a high-volume evaporative emission system along with those four catalysts. Oh, and for good measure and clean air, the system is OBD-II compliant.

And if you need any more proof of how Saleen engineers sweat the details, the stroke of the already short-stroke shifter has been furthered shortened for improved shifting feel. Say that five times fast, once for each gear change.

Chassis, Suspension & Brakes


The S7 chassis and suspension incorporate decades of Saleen’s experience in racing, racecar construction and high-performance road car manufacturing. The Saleen S7 architecture begins with a space frame chassis to which honeycomb composite reinforcing is grafted. The body is structural, aerospace-quality, autoclave carbon fiber. Suspension is via fully independent unequal-length double wishbones with coilover springs, lightweight aluminum dampers (shock absorbers) and stabilizer (anti-roll) bars front and rear. The uprights at each corner are CNC machined billet aluminum, flow-through designs that use air to help cool the bearings.

Chassis tuning also includes revised shock valving front and rear. Saleen-engineered Brembo-supplied lightweight aluminum six-piston mono-block calipers are fitted front and rear.

Geometry changes, along with new tires, result in about a 30 percent increase in mechanical grip… which is substantial. In a seeming contradiction to current performance tire practice, the 2006 S7 Twin Turbo is fitted with “taller” tires, 275/35 R19s up front and 335/30 R20s at the rear, replacing the 275/30 R19s and 345/25 R20s fitted to the normally aspirated S7. While the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires have higher aspect ratios, they also lay tire patches that are nearly an inch wider up front and almost 1.5 inches wider at the rear.

Exterior & Interior


The S7’s beautiful shape was “designed” by the wind. Optimal aerodynamics and top speed performance objectives were achieved with extensive wind tunnel work. Targets included a low coefficient of drag, optimum drag-to-lift ratio, and extreme down force. The S7 has “full tray” body sculpting underneath.

For the 2006 S7 Twin Turbo, the redesigned front and rear diffusers, along with the new rear spoiler, result in a 40 percent reduction in aero drag and a 60 percent increase in down force. Those of you who know anything about aero forces recognize the significance of that last statement. Typically, you would have to trade down force to reduce aero drag.

The mid-engine Saleen S7 has front and rear trunks and comes with Mulholland Brothers custom-made, 3-piece, fitted luggage. In true supercar style, the doors open up and away from the body.

Seats and other interior surfaces are covered in elegant leather and suede. Air conditioning, power windows, power door locks with remote keyless opening for the doors and both trunks, an electric-headed front windshield, variable intermittent windshield wipers, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an AM/FM/CD/DVD/TV system are all standard. The Saleen S7 also has one unique interior feature: a video “rearview mirror” , there is a small video camera inconspicuously mounted in the rear of the car.

New Ferrari California revealed: a hugely versatile, innovation-packed GT

Maranello, May 13th 2008 – The first official photographs have been published of the Ferrari California, the latest addition to the new generation of Ferraris launched in 2004 with the 612 Scaglietti and added to more recently with the 430 Scuderia.

The Ferrari California joins the Prancing Horse’s 8-cylinder family which has always been defined by power and performance. It also flanks the flagship 612 Scaglietti in the prestige sporty Grand Tourer segment.

The new Ferrari California will satisfy even the most demanding of owners in term of its superb vehicle dynamics and driving pleasure. The new model will be available exclusively as a convertible with a folding hard top. Both chassis and bodywork are aluminium, in line with the rest of the current range. The California will be powered by a new V8 engine mounted for the first time in the marque’s history in the mid-front position.

In line with Ferrari tradition, the new model also features several innovations. Apart from its folding hard top, these include the original 2+ concept which guarantees exceptional versatility of use in the rear of the car. The California’s 4,300 cc V8 engine features direct fuel injection and a “flat” crankshaft. It generates 460 CV at 7,500 rpm with a torque curve that enhances vehicle dynamics and provides maximum driving pleasure which is typical for Ferrari.

As per the traditional Ferrari transaxle layout, the engine, which allows the Ferrari California to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 4.0 seconds, will be coupled to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission that boosts the car’s performance while enhancing the driving pleasure, improves ride comfort and reduces fuel consumption and emissions (c.310 g/km CO2). The comfort is further enhanced by a new multilink rear suspension system. The Ferrari California is also equipped with the exclusive F1-Trac traction control system which made its debut on the 599 GTB Fiorano and has been further honed to suit the typical driving conditions expected for this new GT. Brembo brakes featuring carbon-ceramic material disks as standard guarantee superbly efficient braking.

In addition to sporting the marque’s classic styling cues, the cabin has also been beautifully trimmed using quality materials by Ferrari’s own skilled artisans. New accessories and equipment, such as the seats, steering wheel, instrument panel and infotainment system, together with optimised aerodynamics ensure that this is a highly ergonomic and enjoyable car to drive regardless of whether the top is up or down.

The Ferrari California is aimed at owners who desire a car which embodies everything the Prancing Horse represents in terms of sporty design and innovation, but also seek a car with greater versatility than ever. The car will be officially unveiled to the public at the Paris International Car Show. However, over the coming weeks, new photographs and further details about it will also be published.

Chevrolet Enters the World of Supercars with Corvette ZR1

Chevrolet officially announced the 2009 Corvette ZR1 – an American supercar that brings the technology and engineering refinement of carbon-fiber, ceramics and electronics together in a distinctive design.

“Chevrolet’s goal with the new ZR1 is to show what an American supercar can deliver, at a price that trumps exotics that cost two, three or four times as much – and does so with exceptional driveability,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager.

“Preliminary testing shows the ZR1 builds on the highly respected Corvette Z06 in every performance category, from acceleration and braking, to cornering grip and top speed,” said Peper. “It all boils down to the power-to-weight ratio and the ZR1’s is exceptional – better than the Porsche 911 GT2, the Ferrari 599 and even the Lamborghini LP640. In fact, the ZR1 is expected to be the first production Corvette to achieve a top speed of at least 200 mph.”

The Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro – Breathtakingly dynamic open-top driving

NGOLSTADT/FRANKFURT, Germany, Sep 14, 2009
– Exceptional performance and breathtaking dynamism coupled with the intense sensations of open-top driving: Audi presents the R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro. Its lightweight cloth top opens and closes fully automatically; several body parts are made of a carbon fiber composite material.

The V10 engine produces 386 kW (525 hp) and launches the open-top two-seater to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.1 seconds on its way to a top speed of 313 km/h (194.49 mph). Featuring technologies such as the Audi Space Frame (ASF), quattro permanent all-wheel drive, full-LED headlights and with an innovative seatbelt microphone available as an option, the R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro is the new top-of-the-range Audi.

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