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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Noble M600

For a car that took a few years to develop, you would think that Noble would take to great lengths in hyping the hotly-anticipated production debut of their new supercar, the M600.

Instead, it was about as low-key as it could get. On one hand, we weren’t surprised considering that the company isn’t particularly known for bombastic and glitzy unveilings. On the other hand, you would think that a car of this stature should have had its own stage, a chance for the world to see the final product of Noble’s hard work and dedication.

In any case, Noble has finally introduced the production version of the M600 and yes, the car looks to be as good as advertised. The supercar’s appearance maintains a slender and contoured shape that doesn’t scream for attention every time you look at it, unlike other supercars we’ve seen in the past. For those of you that think a subtle yet aggressive design on a supercar doesn’t work, the M600 is proof that it definitely can. It’s also worth noting, at least as far as we’re concerned, that at first glance, you notice a few similarities with other supercars. It doesn’t mean that Noble spiked some design elements from its competitors, but rather used them as inspiration to design a car that looks about as stunning as we imagined.

Noble has announced that the M600 is finally ready to be delivered to its first customer. According to the British automaker, the M600 will be built at a rate of just one car per month, delaying the vehicles’ deliveries to their rightful owners. Not the best way to please customers, but hey, at least the first supercar is ready to be sent out so that’s a plus.

Exterior and Interior

More than the full carbon body that the M600 is built on, the car’s overall design kind of reminds us of a combination of a McLaren MP4-12C, an Audi R8, and a Nissan GT-R.

Inside this gorgeous supercar, there’s plenty of carbon fiber to make the driver feel like he’s surrounded in it, which is a pretty awesome deal. On top of that, the M600 also comes with black and red Alcantara and leather trim with red stitching and full on carpeting. The car also has an on-board satellite navigation system, a funky matchstick-looking transmission, and that unmistakable red switch that has “TC” scribbled on it. “TC”, if you didn’t know, stands for traction control. Yeah, that’s right. Traction control.

Performance

We’ve already touched on the powertrain under the hood of the M600. Just in case you’ve forgotten, it has a Volvo-sourced mid-mounted 4.4-liter V8 engine with a couple of turbochargers in it. For the M600, Noble is producing three power variants – a 450 horsepower, a 550 horsepower, and a range topping 650 horsepower with 654 lb/ft of torque – giving customers a choice of how much pony power they prefer to have on their supercar. All these models are then mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

For the top-of-the-line model, the car is capable of blasting from 0-60 mph in less than three seconds with a top speed of 225 mph.

Pricing

Noble has not yet released a price tag on the M600, but the persistent rumor is that the car is expected to retail for £200,000, which is about $320,000 based on current exchange rates. That number isn’t official by any means and given the car’s capabilities, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the price spike when Noble officially announces it.

Despite the price tag of the M600 still being kept under wraps, there have already been 52 deposits for this supercar, which is kind of amazing given the fact that nobody outside Noble knows how much the car is going to cost.

Competition

At first, using a Bugatti Veyron as an example of a competing car is tantamount to high treason. But if you look at the figures of the almighty Bugatti supercar and compare it with the upstart M600, then it doesn’t sound as ridiculous. Sure, the Veyron has tons more horsepower than the M600, but with a curb weight of just under 2,645 lbs., the M600 has a 550 hp/ton power-to-weight ratio, a number that’s actually better than the Veyron’s 521 hp/ton power-to-weight ratio.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Jaguar XJ220

This is the world’s first road test of the £403,000 Jaguar XJ220. It is also destined to be the last. 

Tom Walkinshaw and his team at Jaguar Sport, who build this extraordinary supercar, have decided that there is only ever going to be one set of independent performance statistics taken on the XJ220 and those are the ones you will read here.

The car that we tested, registered J999 JAG, is Walkinshaw’s own and the ‘001’ on its kickplates shows it to be the very first of the 350-strong production run. The figures were taken at Millbrook and, along with 1000 miles of non-stop evaluation in England and Wales, represent the first and last clinical analysis of the performance of this, the fastest production car in the world.


The XJ220 is driven by a four-cam, 24-valve 3.5-litre V6 engine derived from the units that powered the XJR10 and 11 sports racers. In road car trim its outputs, at 40C, are 542bhp at 7200rpm and 475lb ft of torque at 4500rpm. At the 18C we had at Millbrook, Jaguar Sport’s engineers estimated the 220 to be giving about 580bhp and “in excess of 500lb ft of torque”. That deals with the first misconception: that a small-capacity V6 wouldn’t cut the mustard.

The second concerns the XJ220’s weight. At five metres long and 2.2 metres wide, the presumption is that the XJ 220 is grossly overweight. But do not mistake size for portliness, as this bonded-aluminium Jaguar carries no fat at all. It’s all muscle. The proof is that, at 1456kg, it is at least 150kg lighter than the Lamborghini Diablo, Ferrari 512TR and even the Bugatti EB110GT. It all adds up to a power-to-weight ratio of at least 372bhp per tonne.

Savage acceleration really is a given here. But what’s really incredible about the XJ220 is its ability to provide such performance in a way that it never, ever intimidates. If we’re still looking for misconceptions, it would be forgivable to assume that a race-derived engine with a small capacity for its enormous output would deliver its power with the friendly progressiveness of a kick in the teeth.

Not so. Its throttle response and, just as important, the weighting of the accelerator pedal, means you can draw on the Jaguar’s performance with absolute accuracy. Use only half the pedal’s travel and it goes like a Golf GTi, moving smartly into Porsche 968 territory with a little extra pressure. A bit more and you have Honda NSX acceleration on hand. The next stage takes you into the domain of the Ferrari 512TR, from which you will only erupt if you nail the pedal to the floor, something you could not conceivably do by accident.

The engine itself sounds awful at its 1000rpm idle, more akin to a pail of nuts and bolts being poured through a Magimix than a pukka race-bred engine.

When it comes to the numbers, though, this car is in a league of its own. It will hit 60mph from rest in 3.6sec, and in first gear. Second asks only for 4.3sec more to take you to 100mph. The Jaguar XJ220 does 130-150mph in fourth in 4.2secs, It’s easier if you say it quickly. It will do 140-160mph in 6.4sec. In top. It recorded a 150-170mph time (11.1sec) within the confines of Millbrook’s mile straight with ease, something no other car has even attempted in our hands.

We were unable to measure the top speed of the XJ220 but we know it will circulate the banked Nardo test track in the south of Italy at 213mph and that this equates to a genuine 220mph.

And yet it is also the finest handling supercar we have ever driven. Such is its damping that supercars we previously considered superlatively well-controlled over difficult roads now seem flawed and spongy after the Jaguar.

Economy is probably not of the greatest concern to those about to spend more than £400,000 on a car but, for the record, the Jaguar stretched a gallon of super unleaded an average of 13.8mpg. The interior of the XJ220 is airy and spacious for two people, the seats are excellent, well able to hold you in place during quick cornering and keep you comfortable, and the driving position is among the best offered by supercars. Sadly, the ergonomics are flawed, but beautiful design details abound: curved slats ahead of the windscreen not only look good but also help air-flow. That said, the boot, though wonderfully trimmed, is almost useless. Oddments fit well enough but any larger bags travel in the car with you. There’s no space under the bonnet, either, as this is given over to the cooling system.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ascari A10

Introduction

The Ascari A10 sports car, developed by British manufacturers and similar to the Spanish GT version, is rated in the top ten supercars for 2006. Its lightweight carbon fiber body of less than 3,000 pounds (1,361KG) is designed more for the racetrack than the road. There were only a few models of this fast car built, somewhere between 10 and 50, and although expensive, it promises incredible speed and power.







Ascari A10 Data

Base Price 650,000 USD
Power 625 hp
Zero to 60 mph 2.8 s
Zero to 100 mph 5.9 s
Top speed 220 mph (354 km/h)
Engine: 5 liter, V8 BMW M5 4941 cc 625HP


Technology

The power of the Ascari A10 comes from the modified BMW 5.0 liter V-8 engine, with the standard six-speed sequential transaxle, where the gearshifts operate as paddles, similar to other race cars. Additions and modifications to the engine, however, include cams with advanced timing, new rods, and pistons, as well as a dry sump lubrication system. It has the same steel sub-frame for the power train and rear suspension as the KZ1 sports car, but the height of the coil spring units can be adjusted hydraulically on front and rear. This is a unique feature, not found on most other supercars, where adjustments can only be made manually. Handling should be easier than before, with front and rear anti-roll bars installed, which are also adjustable. The builders of the A10, not to be outdone by their competitors and to ensure adequate braking at such high speeds, have installed ventilated ceramic disc brakes, with 6-pot calipers on the front and 4-pot calipers on the rear.

The exterior design of this luxury race car is more dramatic than its predecessor the KZ1, with wider headlamps, a different grille, and higher wheel arches to accommodate larger rear tires. In addition, it features a splitter in the front, fixed rear wing, and five detachable body panels for added race trace utility. Even with standard features such as a battery isolator, rollover cage, electric windows, and air conditioning, it still weighs 55 pounds less than the KZ1.

Klaas Zwart, the owner of Ascari, may well have designed the fastest exotic car in the UK, outperforming the Ferrari Enzo as is claimed. The A10 is certainly a rare and distinctive car, one that is much desired to own.

Friday, April 18, 2008

SSC Ultimate Aero

On Sept. 13, 2007, the Shelby SuperCars' Ultimate Aero became the fastest production car in the world. The event took place on a temporarily closed, two-lane stretch of public highway in Washington State. In accordance with Guinness World Records' strict policies, the car had to drive down the highway, turn around, and make a second pass in the opposite direction within one hour.

The Ultimate Aero posted 257.41 mph on the first pass and 254.88 mph on the second for an average of 256.18 mph. Official data were collected via a GPS tracking system from Austrian data acquisition company Dewetron. Guinness World Records later verified data for an official top-speed announcement on Oct. 9, 2007. At that speed the Ultimate Aero broke the official record held by the Koenigsegg CCR (242 mph) and the unofficial record (253 mph) held by Volkswagen's (VLKAY) $1.6 million Bugatti Veyron (BusinessWeek, 9/17/07).

And the car could go even faster. NASA's wind tunnel testing facility in Langley, Va., found the Ultimate Aero to be aerodynamically stable at speeds up to 273 mph. It just ran out of road. "If there was additional straight pavement on which to accelerate, the top speed would have been considerably higher, so if anyone challenges our record there is tons left on the table," says Chuck Bigelow, the brave soul who piloted the Ultimate Aero on its record-breaking run.

Changing Gears, Chasing a Dream

Achieving the record wasn't just a matter of bragging rights, though. For company founder Jerod Shelby it was a business decision. From early on Shelby, who started the West Richland (Wash.) company in 2000, decided that he had to break the production car top-speed record in order to establish credibility for his infant company. "No one is going to buy a $600,000 car they never heard of," he says.

As Junus Khan, his director of marketing, adds: "Being a brand-new player, it was important to do something extraordinary in order to gain credibility and to be taken seriously. Our main goal wasn't just to break the speed record, it was to become a well-known, respected manufacturer of world-class exotics."

Before he was able to realize his dream, Shelby, 39, a former go-kart champ and an engineer by trade, spent 13 years developing patents for medical-device company Advance Imaging Technology in nearby Richland, Wash. One of his patents is for a radiation-free medical device that uses sound waves to scan for breast cancer.

After more than a decade developing breakthrough medical technology, Shelby -- who is no relation to legendary auto designer Carroll Shelby -- realized that his financial success would afford him the opportunity to pursue his lifelong automotive ambitions. "I always thought it would be great if I could design my own car. So about nine years ago, while eating at an Italian restaurant, I did my first napkin drawing. Amazingly, the final product looks very similar to our early sketches."

Hot Wheels

The final product stood waiting for me on a sunny afternoon in mid-December at a 13-mile loop in the Nevada desert (watch the video). I had previously driven the Veyron, and SSC wanted to get my feedback on the Ultimate Aero. So I went out to Las Vegas to meet Shelby, Khan, and the stakeholders in SSC's first and, so far, only dealership. The guest of honor, a sultry red and black Ultimate Aero, is No. 7 of the 50 Shelby plans to build and is the only customer-ready example that currently exists in the U.S.

The Bugatti and Ultimate Aero are very similar when you look at some of the key performance and hardware statistics. They both contained expensive, lightweight materials such as aluminum and carbon fiber; a mid-mounted engine aided by the use of turbochargers (two for SSC and four for Bugatti); 1000-plus horsepower; 0 to 60 mph times under three seconds; and a top speed above 250 mph. This is where the similarities end and differing characteristics start to become more apparent.

First off, the Veyron sends power to all four wheels while the Ultimate Aero utilizes a rear-drive setup with no traction control. Yes, you read that correctly -- no traction control. In the engine department, Bugatti favored the use of 16 cylinders while SSC made do with eight. The Ultimate Aero's weight, thanks in part to the smaller engine and lack of all-wheel-drive system, comes in at a much lower curb weight than the Bugatti. Most shocking, the $1.6 million Veyron costs more than 2.5 times as much as the SSC.

Bugatti pitches the Veyron as being the best of both worlds -- luxurious and civil when you want it to be, and shockingly fast when you feel the urge for speeding tickets. "It's this unique combination between very docile, everyday handling and top speed. So you can drive this car normally like a Golf or Passat, and at the same time, you can overtake [Formula 1 champion Michael] Schumacher with your tie on," says Bugatti communications chief George Keller.

Gaining Traction

The SSC, although surprisingly smooth and comfortable over rougher surfaces, does not pretend to be anything other than an involved driver's car. And it is. There is no power steering, which makes for a killer workout when navigating the car at low speeds, but at the same time makes for a more connected and authentic road feel while traveling at speed and during handling maneuvers.

Regarding Shelby's decision to do without traction control for the Ultimate Aero, it was a move he saw as consistent with pure sports cars that are not interfered with by the electronic nannies seen in many of today's modern cars. There is also a traditional manual gearshift lever to your right, which, in my opinion, makes for a more rewarding and engaging experience in a car of this performance caliber.

You don't need to be Mario Andretti to pilot the Ultimate Aero, but chatting on the cell phone and sipping a latte while behind the wheel is probably a bad idea. And although extremely well-balanced -- fuel is stored up front as to counter the mid/rear weight bias from the engine -- the Ultimate Aero demands your respect and attention if you would like to remain vertical or out of traction. "We celebrate the Ultimate Aero's unique differences because we did not create this car for everybody. The Veyron is an amazing car, but the Bugatti driver and the SSC driver are two very different people," says Khan.

Flick a switch on the Ultimate Aero's instrument panel, hold down the ceiling mounted starter button, and what can only be described as a lion's roar emanates from all that American muscle resting behind your head. Standing outside of the car at idle, the ceramic exhaust pipes emit a pleasing grumble alluding to the symphony of power that awaits your right foot.

Inside the Car, On the Road

Probably the first thing I noticed after takeoff was all the amusing noises reverberating in the cabin. They're a mix of high-tech happenings and muscular emissions. The twin turbos cradling the engine, for instance, make an awesome pinging sound as the wastegates switch on and off between them. Shelby lovingly refers to them as "the twins." The turbo pinging, along with a ferocious exhaust note, becomes more aggressive as you tear through each of the six forward gears. With a quick flick of the wrist, the Ultimate Aero's transmission precisely clicks into each gear gate as you rapidly climb to triple-digit speeds.

How rapid? How about reaching 60 mph in 2.78 seconds in first gear. Like a well-funded brewery, the SSC's power is always on tap. And thanks to massive 14-in. vented and slotted disc brakes up front (eight-piston calipers) and in back (six-piston calipers), the Aero only needs 103 feet to get back down to zero.

The interior is just as well thought out. "You hear feedback about other cars, like the shifter is too far away or the steering wheel is too close," says Shelby. "So we did a lengthy study about different sized bodies and how they fit into cars. We talked to a lot of owners. We would look at a 55 percentile female and a 95 percentile male, and there is a huge swing in arm/leg length, eye level, etc. We came up with an interior that is suitable for men and women of every size."

The specially made Recaro seats are super-snug and effectively keep your body in place while ripping through corners. This is necessary considering the Ultimate Aero literally handles like it's on rails. Like a high-end camera, just point and shoot where you want to go.

A Hand-Built Record-Breaker

SSC is already well on its way to reaching the 50-car production run planned for the Ultimate Aero. The 2007 order bank, which opened more than halfway into 2007, has been put to bed with five cars sold and delivered internationally. And 2008 has already seen eight orders with six-figure down payments to match. Next on the company agenda is a four-door, four-seat, luxury sports sedan aiming at near or above 220 mph.

When you consider SSC's daunting challenges and its David vs. Goliath situation, it is all the more impressive that they came out on top. And like the founders of many startups, Shelby has been intimately involved in the design and development of his baby. In fact, workers in SSC's assembly plant have become quite used to Shelby turning wrenches alongside them during the 3.5 months it takes to hand-build each Ultimate Aero. "I know the part-number and price of every part on this car, which you will never see at a larger company," says Shelby.

With 1,183 hp and 1,094 foot-pounds of torque, the Ultimate Aero's all-aluminum, twin-turbocharged V8 has more horsepower than any other street-legal production car, another record for which the company is applying.

But wait, there's more.

The car also holds the best-recorded speed for navigating the slalom (73.1 mph), and bests all others in the ever-important weight-to-horsepower ratio (2.33). "A lot of people think that powerful, American supercars are only good at going straight, but our car will out-handle just about anything that you put next to it," Shelby says. "When Road & Track tested a pre-production version of our car, it broke the Ferrari Enzo's slalom course record. It will just take time to get the word out on how capable we are."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Saleen S7

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.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Barabus TKR

Barabus Sportscars, a specialty engine and vehicle manufacturer has created the most powerful supercar. with the launch of the Barabus TKR. The TKR is designed to compete with the worlds fastest, quickest, best handling, most luxurious grand touring cars in the world, whilst providing a distinctly European driving experience for the fortunate few who will own one.

A true supercar, the TKR is capable of over 200 miles per hour. Zero-to-60 time is under two seconds. When designing the TKR, Barabus put drivability on a wide variety of road conditions high on the list of on the list of objectives. And, while the TKR would be at home on any racetrack, it is also a car that can be driven with pleasure on motorways, autobahns and back roads.

The car is to be made in Italy and the power plant is built in the United Kingdom. While the TKR is a true Italian supercar, the vehicle itself reflects a "best-in-practice" philosophy, where Barabus has incorporated superior components from around the globe in order to manufacture the best vehicle possible. The TKR utilizes ceramic brakes as well as numerous high technology pieces from companies located in Italy.

The Barabus TKR architecture begins with a full carbon fibre body and chassis. Suspension is fully independent unequal length "A" arms. The TKR chassis and suspension are straight from the race track; Adonis Alanagan was enlisted to assist with the design and building of the supercar and packaging of the TKR.

The TKR engine is designed and built by Barabus and incorporates modern racing motor technology and engineering. Based on a V8 all aluminium block re-engineered by Barabus, the twin turbo dual intercooler motor generates 1005 horsepower at 6800 rpm; redlining at 7500 rpm. Space age materials and engineering are used throughout:
  • A Barabus Electromech control system computer handles engine management.
  • The ignition system is integrated coil-on-plug.
  • A longitudinally mounted transaxle, with unique Barabus bell housing, transfers power to the wheels.

The gill-like ducting is fully functional, venting air into the engine. The autoclave carbon fibre body panels beautifully incorporate the advanced aerodynamics and including full underside air management, advanced front tray and side skirt designs.

Interior

Upholstery is covered with finest leathers and suedes. Accents are brushed aluminium or carbon fibre and painted body-colour highlights. Air conditioning, adjustable pedals.

The Barabus has a unique interior feature: the rear view "mirror". There is a small video camera mounted in the rear of the car, with the display is shown normally where the rear mirror is situated.

The Barabus TKR is for sale worldwide. Built in Colonella, Italy, the TKR will be sold through select Barabus certified dealers specializing in exotic automobiles. Worldwide volume is projected to be 300-400 cars over the estimated three-year production run.

The Barabus TKR is on sale at its introduction at the famed British Motorshow, with the first vehicles to be delivered to customers in four months. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is £360,000 (668000$).

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Gemballa Avalanche GT2 650 EVO-R

With the new Gemballa GTR 650 Avalanche, based on the Porsche 997 Carrera, the Leonberg, Germany Porsche conversion specialist Gemballa has created THE absolute dream car for the 2006 sports car year, optionally on 19 inch or 20 inch wheels. This ultimate German sports car will be available to a selected clientele starting next year. With this refined, ultra-sporty and equally reliable automobile, Gemballa is continuing in its very own great tradition of sports car construction. The Gemballa Avalanche, Mirage and Cyrrus models from the 80's didn’t earn their legendary reputation for no reason.

The performance of the 2006 dream car is already the first attention-getter. The Gemballa GTR 650 Avalanche's motor boasts a breathtaking 650 hp. Part of the motor's conversion by the Gemballa engineers included eliciting an impressive 820 Nm torque, guaranteed to bring a satisfied smile to the driver's lips already at 4800 RPM. In comparison, the standard Porsche 997 model features maximum 400 Nm torque at 4600 RPM. The difference puts the GTR 650 Avalanche's sprinting qualities in a class all their own. The GTR 650 Avalanche reaches the 200 km/h mark in only 11.2 seconds, and its top speed leaves doubters in the dust: The irrepressible GTR 650 Avalanche engine delivers a maximum tempo of up to 335 km/h.

But peak performance wasn't the only item at the top of the Gemballa engineers' spec sheet. The Porsche conversion specialists placed just as much emphasis on the safety and durability of the Avalanche. Titanium piston rods, an intake system specially developed by Gemballa, three intercoolers and a special turbo configuration ensure Gemballa pleasure for a long time to come. And its lucky owner only has to share this pleasure with one passenger, because for safety reasons, from 650 hp the GTR 650 Avalanche is only available as a two-seater.

Massive eight-piston brake calipers and accordingly sized 380 millimeter diameter perforated disk brakes make sure the Avalanche also slows to a safe stop. The GTR 650 Avalanche sits on 19 inch wheels with tires sizes of 235 (front) and 315 (rear). The new 20 inch racing wheels are also optionally available, with tire sizes of 245 (front) and 325 (rear). For the particularly ambitious driver who would like to push the GTR 650 Avalanche's envelope, for example on the Nordschleife, Gemballa also offers an optional roll bar.

The new Avalanche's body and interior are equally as exclusive and unique as its driving performance and safety components. All of its add-on components are made of carbon. Fenders and sidewalls are all metal. And the future owner of the GTR 650 Avalanche can also look forward to Gemballa sport seats, a Gemballa sport steering wheel and aluminum pedals. Starting at 240,000 Euros, the new Gemballa dream car becomes tangible sports car euphoria.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ferrari Enzo

Introduction

The race track has always been the testing ground for the advanced technological research that later went into Ferrari's road cars. The very first Ferrari, built in 1947, was a 12-cylinder racing car. From that first 12-cylinder, 126 more were born, destined for both track and road. The Enzo Ferrari is not only the marque's latest V12, it is also a pinnacle of excellence drawing on the experience of victories in the last four years of the Formula 1 World Championship, thus endowed with the very latest automotive technology.

Company founder Enzo Ferrari always felt that design of the road cars should stem from the racers. Therefore, it was entirely logical that the company's latest creation should bear his name. The Enzo, built in a limited run of 399, is an outstanding expression of the concept of extreme sportiness, developed for road use, yet epitomizing the most advanced concepts of Formula 1 racing technology.

Ferrari set out to develop the Enzo as an integrated system designed for extreme performance, in which even the limits of the performance achievable by the driver were enhanced, thanks to a man-machine interface typical of Formula 1.

Never before has style been derived so directly from function as in this model. Pininfarina wanted to create an uncompromising car that would break away from the approach used for the GTO, F40 and F50 that preceded it, to develop a new formal language that looked to the future. The engineers tried to create visual links with the world of Formula 1, to which the Enzo owes its technology, while highlighting its compactness and lightness. The result is a complex, sculpted form.

The use of advanced composite materials for the bodywork, with parts made of sandwich panels of carbon fibre and Nomex, allowed the designer to structure the bodyshell while keeping the weight to a minimum, and creating "extreme" stylistic forms.

The front, with its two air intakes for the radiators and a raised central section, is an interpretation of the Formula 1 front section with a small pointed, raised nose and air-intakes under the spoilers in a gull-wing effect. The sides, also benefit from the use of composites, shaped to optimise air-flow with respect to internal fluid dynamics. The large spoiler has been eliminated from the car's rear section which now boasts small aerodynamic appendages and very efficient ground effects.

Ferrari Enzo Data

Base Price $670,000
Power 660 hp
Zero to 62 mph 3.4 s
Zero to 100 mph 6.5 s
Top speed 217.5 mph (350 kph)

Aerodynamics

In developing the Enzo, Ferrari set itself two pure performance targets which would represent a milestone for ultra-fast cars: to increase the grip limit in medium-fast bends by increasing downforce (lateral dynamics,) while maintaining a very high top speed, over 350 km/h (longitudinal dynamics.)This meant that different aerodynamic configurations with contrasting characteristics had to coexist on the same car. In racing cars, this problem is solved by developing wings and special aerodynamic accessories for each circuit. But in the case of the Enzo, for which the various targets had to coexist in a single aerodynamic configuration, a concept of active, integrated aerodynamics was developed.The high downforce configuration was obtained with a basic aerodynamic set-up developed on the basis of contemporary concepts for the definition of covered-wheel racing cars combined with the expertise of Ferrari Gestione Sportiva.

The optimal aerodynamic set-up is kept stable by special elastic features of the car's engineering and by active aerodynamic control.

As the speed increases from low-medium to high-very high, the engineering ensures that the car takes on the optimal aerodynamic set-up (maximum downforce obtained with an optimal load distribution) by varying the rigidity on the basis of ground clearance. As the speed climbs even higher, this set-up is maintained by the combined action of the flexible mechanical components and by active control of the spoilers. At very high speeds, the actively controlled spoilers (front and rear fins) limit the maximum vertical load, thus making it possible to keep the car above a set minimum ground clearance. On the Enzo, the aerodynamic load and balance can be modified on the road by means of a pair of flaps positioned in the front slides and a rear spoiler.

Vehicle Control System

The Enzo project is the first example of the complete integration of the vehicle control systems. Engine, gearbox, suspension, ABS/ASR, and aerodynamics all interact to optimise the vehicle's performance and safety. This presupposes an innovative approach to the design of the control system architecture, and to the development and fine-tuning of the subsystems on the car. It was made possible by the collaboration and specialist skills of Gestione Sportiva, and performance of each system was designed to enhance that of the entire car. The target when defining the control strategies of each subsystem was therefore the optimal behaviour of the car. The subsystems that interact are: the engine, gearbox, suspension, aerodynamics, and the ABS/ASR system. The large number of systems made it necessary to use special sensors. Management of the sensors is divided between the various control systems, each of which shares the relevant information with the rest of the system. The way the systems interact depends on the driving modes that the driver can choose from. The Enzo offers several set-ups: Sport, Race, No ASR.

Electrical System

The architecture of the F140 project was designed to minimize the section of the cables that link the utilities positioned on the steering wheel, the steering column, the onboard instruments, and the rest of the car. To achieve this goal, the architecture was based on a high speed communication line which links several different control units which pick up the signals "in the surrounding environment". These signals are transformed into information which can then only be exchanged through the communication line.

Engine

The engine of the Enzo Ferrari (which is known by its project number F140) is a 12-cylinder aspirated unit in a 65ฐ V, a cylinder capacity of 5,998 cc, with a completely new design that draws on experience gained in Formula 1, and has a number of unique technical features. The cylinder head design reveals its Formula 1 origins: the "pentroof-type" combustion chamber, with four valves per cylinder, plus inlet and exhaust ducts designed to maximise the exhaust coefficients and combustion speed.

The cylinder case is built of aluminum with press-fitted sleeves lined with nicasil, with seven main bearings, and sleeve intervals of 104 mm. The con rods are made of titanium, the piston design is new, the crankshaft is lighter and the cylinder heads have four valves with high fluid dynamic efficiency, a new structure to increase rigidity, and a different oil discharge layout.

The timing gear features four overhead camshafts, direct valve control, and hydraulic tappets. It is completely chain-driven, with central transmission on triple gearing. The timing of the inlet and exhaust manifolds is continuously variable, thanks to the intervention of four variable advances activated by the engine control unit throughout the operating range via a high pressure hydraulic system, with the goal of lowering the noise and enhancing versatility.

The lubrication sump is of the F1 wrapround type, incorporating the main bearings and a specific oil recovery circuit to increase efficiency.

The variable geometry inlet manifold is also borrowed from Formula 1, with a system of small telescopic derivation cones, combined on this V12 application, with variable timing gear with a continuously variable advance on the four camshafts and a high pressure control unit.

Electronic engine management is provided on each row of cylinders by a Bosch Motronic ME7 unit which controls the PFI multiple injection system, the drive-by-wire throttle valve, and the single coils on each spark plug. Six knock sensors mounted on the crankcase guarantee knock control.

The performance goals of the new V12 have been met in full, in order to supply a unique blend of very high power, generous torque from low speeds and versatility. In spite of the large capacity of the engine, the applications derived most directly from Ferrari's Formula 1 experience have made it possible to keep the specific power of the engine at an extremely high 110 bhp/litre.

F1 Transmission and Gearbox

In the F140 project, the rear gearbox is coupled directly to the engine by an element that incorporates the engine oil tank, the bevel gear pair, and the self-locking differential. In line with the car's performance targets, the gearbox unit was developed only in a Formula 1 version. Gear changes are entrusted entirely to an electrohydraulic system which activates the gearbox and clutch. Gear change control is managed electronically and activated by paddles positioned behind the steering wheel, modifying engine torque and vehicle dynamics.

The project was designed for extremely sporty performance and adopts triple cone synchronisers on all six speeds. Lubrication is forced, with a large pump and lower oil level to minimise losses due to ventilation/shaking. The architecture with three bearings guarantees optimal gear train coupling even at high torque. The twin plate clutch with aluminium housing and a diameter of 215 mm also speeds up engine dynamics and synchronisation.

The number one goal of the Enzo project was to cut gear change times (down to 150 milliseconds) in the interests of extremely sporty use. The F1 gear levers are made of carbon, with an optimised shape and size, and they have been made symmetrical by transferring the direction indicator controls to the steering wheel spokes. The gear change pushbuttons are mounted on the steering wheel, as are the two different gear change modes, Sport and Race, as well as the reverse gear selector button. Each of these modes comes with its own integrated software controlling damping and traction control systems (ASR.)

In RACE mode and with ASR disengaged, the Launch Control strategy borrowed from Formula 1 is also available, allowing the driver to start off at top speed in good grip conditions. The driver keeps the brake pedal down while he uses the accelerator pedal to choose the engine speed at which he wishes to set off. When he releases the brake pedal, the clutch closes rapidly while torque control is left to the driver.

The system fine-tuned by Ferrari for its Formula 1 transmission envisages a special multiple telltale at the centre of the main instrument panel which keeps the driver constantly informed about the state of the system and the speed engaged.

Chassis

The chassis was built entirely of carbon fibre and aluminium honeycomb sandwich panels, which made it possible to meet demands for outstanding rigidity, lightness and safety. In order to pass the offset collision tests required by the latest safety standards (56 km/h impact), highly sophisticated CAE methodologies were adopted to optimise the composite structures, to identify the optimal bodyshell structure, and to maximise the contribution of the reinforcement skin, where it is needed to support the basic panelling. The final result already meets the stricter future standards which will raise the collision speed to 60 km/h.

Respect for the styling and access targets (door solution with impact on the roof of the chassis) and the goal of passing 64 km/h offset collision tests with a view to further evolution of the requirements (extremely demanding in structural terms as a result of the 30 % increase in kinetic energy to be dissipated compared to previous collision standards), required complex planning of the tooling and the manufacturing methods.

The use of CAE optimisation methodologies was extended to the engine support frame, and particularly to the distribution of thicknesses in the suspension casting. In line with the work done for the bodyshell, a specific analysis set-up made it possible to identify the best weight-performance trade-off, supplying exact indications for the distribution of casting thicknesses.

Experiments confirmed the validity of the solutions chosen: torsional rigidity proved to be higher than the project target and to correspond to the values calculated, while all the homologation collisions gave a positive result from the start.

These results are all the more significant if we consider that the chassis weight had also been decreased considerably to 92 kg (compared to the 102 kg of the composite chassis of the earlier F50).

Suspension and Wheels

The Enzo has independent front and rear suspension with jointed double wishbones, and antidive-antisquat geometries to limit pitching during the transfer of longitudinal loads. The front uspension, which is push-rod in type with an opposed damper, also incorporates a lift to increase ground clearance during parking maneuvers. The rear suspension was designed to adapt to the chassis, with the engine-gearbox-differential assembly supported elastically, and a rear subframe.

Combined with this suspension layout, an adaptive set-up was adopted for the Enzo project, based on a system of continuous control of the damping effect. The adoption of this system on the vehicle makes it possible to reconcile handling requirements (i.e. roadholding, minimal variation of the ground load) with the demands of comfort (movement and acceleration of the "shell", vibration transmitted to the driver), without having to adopt passive solutions (standard dampers) as a compromise.

In other words, electronic adaptation of the damping effect makes it possible to use a damper setting that is sufficiently comfortable in the car's basic configuration ("Sport" setting), yet there is also a setting that offers extra control in high performance conditions ("Race" setting).

The system uses the unsprung weights (wheels and suspension) to hold the sprung weight still (body) but it also insulates the shell from impulses transmitted to the wheels by the ground. The system is actually made up of four sensors (accelerometers) on the shell, two vertical wheel sensors, one vehicle speed sensor and a brake switch. The dampers are fitted with an internal proportional valve governed by the control unit, allowing damping to be modified instantly.

The braking torque control strategies (via ABS/ASR) were specially developed on the basis of the installed power and the optimisation of the braking system, and achieved a satisfactorily convenient result in terms of torque and braking pressure.

Although the Enzo project put the emphasis on handling, because of the car's extreme connotations, the adaptive set-up system employed meant that a good level of comfort could be obtained. Where the wheel modules are concerned, single-bolt light aluminium alloy wheels were chosen. The tyres were developed specifically for the Enzo project by Bridgestone and bear the exclusive name "Bridgestone Potenza RE050 Scuderia".

In order to maximise running safety, the car is equipped with a system that measures tyre pressure through special sensors inside the wheel rims, near the inflation valve. These sensors transmit a signal which is picked up by the antennae behind the stone traps on the bodyshell and linked to the control unit of the pressure monitoring system, which transmits the state of the tyre pressure to the instrument panel.

Braking System

The braking system developed for the car by Brembo features brakes made of carbo-ceramic material (CCM) used for the first time on a Ferrari road car, although Ferrari has been using them for many years on its Formula 1 racing cars. This made it possible to achieve outstanding results on the Enzo for all braking performance parameters. The main benefit required of this application was a decrease in unsprung masses, which was made possible by the significant reduction in the weight of the brake discs (12.5 kg less than conventional brakes). In addition to this, the entire braking system was obviously designed for maximum braking effectiveness and efficiency, in terms of prompt braking, stopping distances, and fade resistance. A further benefit of using brake discs in composite material was achieved in terms of improved reliability over time.

Interior

All of the main surfaces are made from unadorned carbon fibre. The functional elements are hooked onto a structural aluminium crossbeam. One of the main goals for the interior of the Enzo was to develop the concept of a facia and steering wheel that could optimise the flow of information and the way controls were activated by the driver, to make the so-called man-machine interface much more efficient.

One element that helped in this direction is the completely new steering wheel, the upper part of which is made of carbon and bevelled so as not to limit external visibility. It contains a series of LEDs which duplicate the telltales and the rev counter, and the lower part has been optimized to make more space for the driver.

Like a Formula 1 steering wheel, it also includes a large number of controls (six) on either side, linked to the main vehicle control functions: vehicle lift, reverse, exclusion/re-engagement ASR, integrated Sport/Race strategy, display configuration.

The control panel is tailor-made for the driver and includes technical features that are easily accessible from the wheel grip, and a compact, mixed analogue-digital instrument panel, in the shape of a reconfigurable graphic screen.

The driver's seat is an essential part of the driving position structure. A new racing seat was developed, made of carbon fibre and designed to give greater rigidity and to make the driving sensation more precise, filtering even the tiniest flexion in the seat system as much as possible. The aim was to give the Enzo driver the greatest possible awareness of the car's behavior.

Seat inclination is adjusted by a double Bowden lever system, and includes a lever control on the seat cushion, the only system of its kind in the field of fast sports car seats. The driver can also adjust the squab-seat combination to obtain a perfect driving posture.

Because the project only envisages a version with the F1 gearbox, there are only two pedals (accelerator and brake) which were optimized functionally and stylistically. There are numerous settings, for a total of 16 different configurations.

Koenigsegg CCX

Introduction

The CCX is the latest iteration of the Koenigsegg CC family. The CCX is in many aspects a new car since it has been re-engineered to comply with the US regulation and market demands. Still, it has been a key issue for the Koenigsegg Team to keep the distinctive and record breaking CC shape. We believe it is important to avoid trends and instead hone the aerodynamic shape of the CC range for the future, only enhancing its unique look and appearance with tighter lines and a more aggressive stance. We also believe in continuity. A new Koenigsegg shall show a clear lineage from its predecessor and shall not follow any other design trends – but enhance its already proven concept and shape to perfection.

CCX stands for Competition Coupe X. The CCX commemorates the 10th anniversary of the completion and test drive of the first CC maiden prototype, which rolled out from the R&D Department in 1996.

Koenigsegg CCX Data

Base Price $540,000
Power 806 hp
Zero to 62 mph 3.2 s
Zero to 100 mph N/A
Top speed 245 mph (394.3 kph)

Body & Interior

The CCX features a completely new set of body and interior parts. The new body incorporates a new front bumper design, engineered to function well in the stringent 2.5 mph bumper test, including enhanced brake cooling, fog lamps and US side position lights. The front lamps have been slightly redesigned to suit the new bumper line.

There is a new scoop on the front bonnet acting as a larger fresh air-intake for the occupants and new air vents have been added behind the front wheels in order to further evacuate air from the cockpit. The frontal shape revisions now allow for effective track use options to be added. The side rocker panels feature side skirts in order to further enhance downforce by increasing underbody area. The new exterior of the car has been created using the industry leading Icem Surf CAD software, guaranteeing a perfect fit and finish as well as optimal highlights.

The car is 88 mm longer in order to comply with the US rear impact regulations and in order to free up space around the rear muffler. The rear clamshell now features a glass window over the new CCX engine, clearly showing off the bespoke and unique Koenigsegg Block casting. The mufflers have received improved cooling, by incorporating grill vents above in the clamshell. The number plate area is now adapted to suit both US and Euro size number plates.

Space

There is a further 50 mm in headroom, making the CCX the most spacious super car on the market, truly considering the taller driver's needs. Koenigsegg believes to have found a niche by enabling really tall drivers to fit well inside the car, still with its highest point only 1120mm above the tarmac.

Seats

In corporation with Sparco, and Koenigsegg test driver Loris Bicocchi, Koenigsegg has developed a new seat design for the CCX. The structures of the seat are still carbon fibre, but now feature fully padded front surface and a tilting backrest. The striking and very comfortable Tempur padded CCR seats can still be fitted in the CCX on special order.

Wheels / Brakes

The optional ceramic 382 mm front discs are coupled to 8 – piston callipers and in the rear the 362 mm size is retained with 6 piston callipers. The optional industry first carbon fibre wheels save another 3 kg per wheel compared to the already lightweight magnesium wheels that come as standard. The ceramic discs save another 2 kg per wheel, giving the Koenigsegg CCX lower unsprung weight than any other super car.

Koenigsegg now also offers the ceramic discs and carbon wheel upgrade to all previous Koenigsegg models. Aerodynamic Enhancement

Between the raised speedster humps there is a new type of vortex generator originally conceived and patented by Torbj๖rn Gustavsson at Vortaflow and implemented as a Ram Air engine booster by Christian Koenigsegg on the CCX. Due to the fact that there is a fresh air engine intake right below the rear window, the vortex generator redirects the air directly into the air intake and thereby creating a positive pressure in the air box. To normally obtain this phenomenon in a mid engine car a roof scoop is required, increasing frontal area. In the case of the CCX, the small frontal area can still be kept and reward visibility is unaffected, even though it has now got a true ram air intake over its mid mounted engine.

Electronics

The CCX now features wholly digital, intelligent fuse and relay unit. This means that there are not physical fuses or relays as such. The unit is programmable and is can-bus connected to a display unit which sends crucial information to the driver. The main advantages of this system are its reliability, light weight, small physical size, programmability and direct information to the driver. The system is prepared for future upgrades and functions.

Unique Koenigsegg Engine

The Engine in the CCX retains the incredible performance and power of the CCR engine, while running on US 91 octane fuel and complying with California emission regulations. In order to reach this challenging goal, extensive rework had to be done to emission related items, such as new cylinder heads with larger valve area and more optimally flowing cylinder head ports. Dual smaller injectors per cylinder were integrated, as well as new camshafts, a new carbonfiber individual runner intake plenum, a new engine management system, updated fuel and EVAP system. New exhaust system where the catalytic converters are moved closer to the engine for earlier light-off time. A returnless fuel system has also been implemented with pumps integrated into the new fuel tank. All in all, a heavy rework in order to retain the unique performance of the CCR engine and at the same time comply with the strictest emission regulations in the world.

The new and cleaner CCX engine also incorporates the first engine block design that is specifically created and cast for Koenigsegg, with the Koenigsegg shield embossed in the casting on both left and right side of the engine block. This new block design is an all aluminium construction made out of 356 aluminium with a T7 heat treat that has undergone a High Intensity Pressure process in order to further enhance block integrity as well as a cylinder bore chill during casting. The new block reaffirms the future development of Koenigsegg engines and makes Koenigsegg stand out among low volume super car manufacturers, due to the fact that Koenigsegg engineer the engine completely in house in combination with the fact that it is also built, assembled, and dyno tested in the Koenigsegg production plant. The Koenigsegg Engineers also incorporated the most powerful internal piston coolers in the industry – bringing down the piston temperature by as much as 80% more than competing systems, which was a must in order to run high cylinder pressure with 91 octane fuel.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Dodge Viper SRT-10

Introduction

The new 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 boasts more of what performance aficionados crave: kick-in-the-pants, throw-back-in-the-seat power, combined with benchmark braking, world-class ride and handling, a race-inspired interior and bold exterior styling.

While every SRT vehicle offers balanced, overall performance, the heart and soul of the new 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 is its standout powertrain. For 2008, SRT ups the ante with a new, 8.4-liter aluminum V-10 engine that produces an astounding 600 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque.

“A legendary big-game hunter once said, ‘Bring enough gun!’ – and with the new 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10, we’ve created some very powerful artillery for sports-car enthusiasts,” said Kipp Owen, Director – Street and Racing Technology (SRT) Engineering, Chrysler Group. “With 600 horsepower – 90 more than before - and 0-to-60 performance in less than four seconds, the 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 sets a new benchmark for the ultimate American sports car.”

The new 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 will arrive in Dodge showrooms in North America this summer with a new level of customization options, including five new exterior colors, four new interior color combinations and a new wheel design.


Dodge Viper SRT-10 Data

Base Price N/A
Power 600 hp
Zero to 60 mph less than 4.0 s
Zero to 100 mph N/A
Top speed 190 mph


Standout Powertrain

When SRT powertrain engineers set out to get more venom from the 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10’s powerplant, their objectives included not only increasing performance, but also complying with stringent regulatory requirements, such as federal Tier 2, Bin 5 and California’s Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV) 2 mandates.

Working with specialists from McLaren Performance Technologies and Ricardo, Inc., SRT engineers began by following the racer’s basic formula for more power: bigger displacement, more efficient breathing and higher engine speed.

SRT engineers didn’t stop there. Upgrades were developed to handle the 8.4-liter V-10’s increased horsepower and torque levels, while improving traction, driveability – and durability.

The 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10’s V-10 channels its power through a new, smaller-diameter, twin-disc clutch (a change from the previous larger-diameter, single-disc setup). The new clutch reduces rotating inertia by 18 percent, resulting in reduced clutch-pedal effort and improved engagement feel.

The transmission is the latest evolution of the Tremec T56 six-speed manual, known as the TR6060. It features 10 percent wider gears for higher torque capacity and a new synchronizer package. A new shifter system results in reduced shifter travel. Club racers will applaud a new provision for adding an external transmission cooler.

Bold Exterior Styling

The 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 remains available in two body styles – Roadster and Coupe. Both feature a dramatic new hood with a larger, more efficient hood scoop for air induction and larger, functional hood louvers to facilitate a greater cooling effect for the more powerful 8.4-liter, 600-horsepower V-10 engine underneath.

Eight exterior colors will be introduced throughout the model year – five of which are all-new including Venom Red, Snakeskin Green, Viper Violet, Viper Orange and Bright Blue. Racing stripes continue to be an option with six dual painted stripe colors available: white, black, silver, graphite, blue and red.

Race-inspired Interior Design

The 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 cockpit retains its characteristic red push-button starter and performance-oriented, highly functional instrument panel with center-mounted tachometer and 220-mph speedometer.

Five interior colors will be available in 2008: black, and four new color combinations in black/red, black/blue, black/slate or black/natural tan. A choice of bezel finishes on the center instrument panel and console adds to the increased level of customization.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Maybach Exelero

Introduction

The 700-hp two-seater with a V-12 biturbo engine is a unique custom model produced for Fulda Reifenwerke, which is using the Maybach Exelero as a reference vehicle for a newly developed generation of wide tyres. The German manufacturer of luxury cars built the unique model as a modern interpretation of its legendary streamlined sports car from the 1930s, thereby forging a link with the historical predecessor, which at that time was likewise based on a powerful Maybach automobile (SW 38) and used by Fulda for tyre tests.

A one-off custom-built Maybach was unveiled yesterday at the Tempodrom in Berlin. Commissioned by tyre company Fulda, the Exelero is a chopped-down two-seater coupe, though it's more than just a show car - in tests at the Nardo high-speed oval, the prototype reached a speed of 218.38mph, despite weighing over 2.66 tonnes. It is capable of acceleration from 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds.

Maybach Exelero Data

Base Price N/A
Power 700 hp
Zero to 60 mph 4.4 s
Zero to 100 mph N/A
Top speed 218.4 mph (351.45 km/h)

History

The car's design was the result of a competition amongst students at the Pforzheim Polytechnic Department of Transport Design, which has worked on show vehicles for Fulda in the past. The design of 24-year-old Fredrik Burchhardt was chosen, and his work was co-ordinated with that of the Maybach design centre in Sindelfingen. The project, based on the Maybach 57 limousine, required a certain amount of re-engineering; the A-pillar and doors had to be shifted rearwards, and the steering column, pedals and gearshift all re-located. The standard 550bhp V12 engine was bored out to 5.9 litres, and tuned for 700bhp and over 738lb ft of torque. With final dimensions of 5890mm long, 2140mm wide and just 1390mm high, the car was kitted out with a full-spec interior, including leather, neoprene, aluminium and carbonfibre finishes.

Maybach says the car, built by Stola in Turin, is "a one-off vehicle created to showcase the new ultra-high performance Excelero tyre range from leading tyre manufacturer Fulda"; it's not the first time the two companies have teamed up, as back in 1938 Fulda demonstrated its tyres on a Maybach SW 38 limousine. There are, however, "no plans to produce the model in series", though it has been certified for on-road use.

Technology

The German manufacturer of luxury cars built the unique model as a modern interpretation of its legendary streamlined sports car from the 1930s, thereby forging a link with the historical predecessor, which at that time was likewise based on a powerful Maybach automobile (SW 38) and used by Fulda for tyre tests.

The Exelero embodies the highest expression to date of the Maybach individualisation strategy of offering specific custom solutions on request. In initial tests on the high-speed track in Nardo (Italy), the unique vehicle reached a top speed of 351.45 km/h (FIA*-standard unit of measurement). Developers at Maybach designed the custom model with the participation of students from Pforzheim College. The Exelero was built by the prototype specialists at Stola in Turin (Italy). There are no plans to produce the model in series.

Porsche Carrera GT

Introduction

The Porsche Carrera GT refines the undiluted character of a racing car to provide an unprecedented driving experience of a unique kind. Indeed, the car's performance figures provide a clear picture of what to expect right from the start, the Carrera GT requiring a mere 9.9 seconds to accelerate from 0 – 200 km/h or 124 mph. The Carrera GT has a pure racing engine. Its 10-cylinder powerplant with dry-sump lubrication is based on Porsche's 5.5-liter V10 naturally aspirated engine developed especially for racing. For production, technicians at the Development Center in Weissach, Germany, have increased the displacement to 5.7 liters. And this top-flight athlete offers new records and achievements never seen before in many other areas. Porsche's philosophy to concentrate on the essential comes out particularly in the Carrera GT through the use of consistent lightweight technology in every respect. Measuring 4.61 metres or 181.5" in length, 1.92 metres or 75.6" in width, 1.16 metres or 45.7" in height, and with wheelbase of 2.73 metres or 107.5", the Carrera GT weighs in at an ideal unladen weight of 1380 kilos or 3043 lb.

Porsche Carrera GT Data

Base Price 440,000 USD
Power 605 hp
Zero to 60 mph 3.6 s
Zero to 100 mph N/A
Top speed 205 mph / 330 km/h

History

Porsche began developing the car in 2000 as a successor to the 911GT1 car they had discontinued in late 1998 , but the project was abandoned. Porsche started a production run of Carrera GTs in 2004, shipping the units with an MSRP of 440,000 USD. Originally, a production run of 1,500 cars was slated, But Porsche announced in August, 2005 that it would not continue production of the Carrera GT into 2006, reducing the total production estimate to 1,250 units. 340 Carrera GTs were sold in the United States in 2005.

Beautiful Design and Engineering

The Porsche Carrera GT, which was introduced as a 2004 model, is a low, sleek, lightweight roadster that is as beautiful to the engineer as it is to the eye. Foul weather protection is also available in the form of two removable panels that can be stored in the front trunk.

Among the car’s unique features are its 5.7-liter, 605-horsepower V10 engine, its monocoque chassis with Porsche-patented engine and transmission mounts made of carbon-reinforced plastic and the first use of a ceramic composite clutch in a production car. The Carrera GT’s aerodynamic and race-bred suspension package provides safe and stable travel at speeds of up to 205 mph (330 km/h). The Carrera GT features the extensive use of lightweight materials, such as magnesium for the car’s substantial wheels and the frames of its special sport seats.

The result of such artistic and athletic equipment is a car that accelerates from a standing start to 62 mph (100 km/h) in only 3.9 seconds, reaches 100 mph (160 km/h) in less than seven seconds, 125 mph (200 km/h) in less than 10 seconds, and can achieve a top test-track speed of 205 mph (330 km/h).

Purebred Racing Engine

Porsche’s development center in Weissach, Germany, built a 5.5-liter, normally aspirated V10 engine for racing, and that engine’s bores have been enlarged to displace 5.7 liters in the Carrera GT. Maximum output is rated at 605 horsepower at 8,000 rpm, with peak torque of 435 lb-ft. The engine has a very low center of gravity, a 68-degree V angle and four valves-per-cylinder heads. The engine block serves as a load-bearing part of the chassis structure, yet is so strong that there is no distortion to the cylinder bores. Using dry-sump lubrication reduces the number of engine components and seals and also helps optimize weight and reliability.

The engine has a closed-deck configuration, a principle carried over from motorsports. This closeddesk architecture enables the cylinders to be cooled by internal water chambers that directly surround the cylinders. Three front-mounted radiators and cross flow cooling ensure optimum heat transfer even under high engine loads.

The engine weighs only 472 pounds (214 kg). The block, crankshaft and camshafts are all made of light alloys. The crankshaft is designed to operate at speeds of up to 8,400 rpm and is both forged and designed for minimum mass inertia and thus offers maximum torsional stiffness.

Race-winning Suspension Design

The chassis and suspension of the Porsche Carrera GT are based on the architecture of the Porsche GT1, the car that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1998. For example, as on the GT1, the rear track control arms of the Carrera GT are made of aerodynamically designed steel tubes. However, Porsche engineers did not forget the need for driving comfort on the street when they adapted such racing-bred systems for the road-going supercar.

Like a racecar, the Carrera GT uses pushrod suspension with double-track control arms at all four corners to give the Carrera GT its refined response and behavior, feeding forces smoothly and efficiently into the car’s chassis. Where many cars use MacPherson spring struts, the Carrera GT’s spring and damper elements are operated by stainless steel pushrods and pivot levers, which separate the guidance function from the spring action.

Functional Ambience is Interior Theme

Even with its racing-quality performance, the Porsche Carrera GT has a cockpit characterized by functional ambience and the extensive use of high-tech materials. Carbon, magnesium and leather dominate interior materials, with composite components either in their natural state or painted to match the magnesium pieces.

The car’s center console is made of composite materials covered in galvanized magnesium and features the chassis number imprinted on the surface. The shift lever is positioned about halfway up the console directly next to the steering wheel.

The seats are finished in smooth leather and have manual adjustment (fore, aft and height) because power motors would add unnecessary weight. The seats are made of a composite carbon shell. Each seat weighs only 23.6 pounds (10.7 kg.), compared to 44.1 pounds (20 kg.) for the seats in a typical Porsche 911.

Air conditioning is optimized for weight and the car comes with a standard air filter system. A glass screen is mounted between the supplemental safety bars to help reduce wind buffeting. Even though the Carrera GT is a serious performance car, it can be equipped with many comfort features, including a navigation system and Bose audio. A battery trickle-charger is included as standard equipment.