Monday, March 31, 2008

Chocolate Covered Beetle Art Car

A chocolate-coated car was placed in front of a supermarket in Qingdao, Shandong Province, China, on Valentine's Day. This eye catching car was the work of seven employees from a local car company. The car was wrapped in a plastic wrap before being painted with melted chocolate. A total of 200 kg of chocolate was used in its making.

Article from Spluch

March 2008 Dream Car of the Month - Nissan Skyline GT-R

The Skyline started life as a car originally produced in 1957 by the Prince Motor Company of Japan. Prince merged with Nissan in 1966 and the Skyline became a Nissan property. The Skyline was mostly a basic mid sized car in the early years. In 1964 Prince developed a racing version, GT Skyline, which used a straight 6cyl engine and competed in the Japanese Grand Prix where it finished 2nd through 6th behind a winning Porsche 904. It wasn't until 1968 when the first GT-R was created that a performance version was put on the street.

Original Prince Skyline

The original GT-R lasted from 1968 until 1972. The GT-R was replaced in 1977 with the GT-ES which was the first turbo powered production Japanese vehicle. In 1983 the Paul Newman Version Skyline was produced to commemorate Newman's racing relationship with Nissan. This R30 generation also saw the introduction of the DR30 Skylines which were more powerful and distinct from the rest of the Skyline family, a prelude to the re-introduction of the GT-R name. The R31 generation debuted the RB engine series and saw development of the GTS-R version, powered by a RB20DETT-R. This was a coupe only and 800 examples were built for racing homologation.

Skyline GTS-R Coupe

In 1989 the R32 generation Skyline was introduced and it marked the return of the GT-R. It featured the RB26DETT which was rated at 280HP due to the Japanese manufacturer's agreement not to exceed 280HP. The cars also featured all wheel drive and all wheel steering. The production engines were intentionally restricted by small diameter exhaust, conservative ECU programming and low boot settings. Apparently there was a physical restriction built into the boost control system that was marked in yellow so that the owner could remove it and receive a free boost increase. This alone resulted in a bump in power to about 320HP and resulted in 0-60 times of 4.7 seconds and a 1/4 mile in 12.8. Nissan claimed that the Porsche 959 was their model for development of the R32 GT-R. The GT-R was built for racing from the beginning and won 29 races in 29 starts in the JTCC (Japan Touring Car Championship). A R32 GT-R hit the Nurburgring and set it's sights on the production car record of 8 minutes 45 seconds set by a Porsche 944. That GT-R ran a lap in 8 minutes 20 seconds and later the Japanese magazine Best Motoring backed that up with an 8'22" lap. The Australian auto press coined the nickname Godzilla after it appeared there on the streets and racetracks.

R32 Skyline GT-R

The R33 Skyline generation was released in 1993 as a coupe and 4 door. The GT-R was equipped with an improved version of the same RB26DETT used in the R32. The improvements to the engine upped the torque the engine produced. GT-Rs now all came standard with Brembo brakes. In 1996 a limited edition NISMO 400R was produced with 400HP. An R33 GT-R was the first production car to lap the Nurburgring in under 8 minutes, if you don't count the limited production Jaguar XJ220.

R33 Skyline GT-R

Nissan introduced the R34 Skyline in 1998 and the GT-R in 1999 which still used the RB26DETT engine. A new, stronger, 6spd Getrag gearbox was also used. The GT-R came in many "flavors" for the R34 generation. There were the GT-R, the GT-R V-Spec, GT-R V-SpecII, GT-R N1, GT-R M-Spec, GT-R V-Spec Nur, GT-R M-Spec Nur, GT-R NISMO R-Tune, and GT-R NISMO Z-Tune. The NISMO Z-Tune was the untimate street going R34 with a bored and stroked 2.8L 6cyl producing 500HP. Only 20 of these were built.

R34 Skyline GT-R Nur

R34 Skyline GT-R Z-Tune

In 2001 a new Skyline generation, now dubbed the V35 was introduced. This car was based on Nissan's FM platform which it shared with the 350Z. This became the first Skyline platform sold in the US although it was only available through Infiniti as the G35. This skyline generation was notable for what it lacked. The straight 6cyl of previous generations was missing, replaced by the VQ V6. Also missing were a turbocharged variant and, most importantly a GT-R model.

The V36 Skyline debuted in 2006 as the Skyline and Infiniti G35. Again the car featured a 3.5L VQ V6. The engine produced 306HP in the sedan. A coupe variant debuted in 2007 with a 3.7L VQ V6 producing 330HP in the US Infiniti G37. Again there was no turbo engine available and no GT-R.

After a few years of hinting of the GT-Rs return, Nissan finally unveiled a production version R35 GT-R. This GT-R will be the first one available in the US. It features a 478HP, 3.8L twin turbo V6 dubbed the VR38DETT. The car will simply be known as the GT-R, loosing the Skyline nameplate and be sold as a Nissan in the US. There had been rumors that, based on the price, it would be sold as an Infiniti outside of Japan. Priced at $70,000 US it will be, by far, the most expensive Nissan for sale. So far, the car is proving that it is worth every penny, upstaging cars costing more than twice it's price.

R35 Nissan GT-R

If you are like me, the first time you even heard of the Nissan Skyline and GT-R were through the video game Gran Turismo. In 1997 Sony released the game in the US for the Sony Playstation and singlehandedly started the JDM tuning craze in the US. The game introduced people outside of Japan to the many performance models only available in Japan and a few other select places. The Skyline GT-R and other cars like it(Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi EVO, Civic Type-R, NSX Type-R) became mythical type of beasts. No one in the US had seen or heard of them and their "forbidden fruit" status along with their huge performance and racing reputation made them even more desirable. Black markets popped up to import them into countries they were never sold in. All this finally culminated in Nissan bringing the car to the whole world for the latest version.

I've always thought of the GT-R as a Japanese interpretation of a muscle car. Take a midsize sedan or coupe, throw a big engine in it(relatively speaking) and go racing. The Japanese twist is the technology thrown into it. All wheel steering, all wheel drive, and turbo motors all take the car to limits that no sport coupe should be capable of. The latest version is already proving that the GT-R reputation still holds strong and it hasn't even hit dealerships in the US yet. Godzilla lives.

Nissan GTR Underrated?

Many people seem to be confused by the new Nissan GTR. Lots of them may be Porsche 911 Turbo owners. The main problem is how can the GTR be faster than the Porsche when it has a substantially poorer power to weight ratio. Some people claim that Nissan is pulling a fast one by having some not so stock, "tuned" models around for testing. Road and Track took a GTR around a track about 5 seconds faster than a Porsche 911 Turbo and a Corvette Z06. That's a huge difference. Then Car and Driver went out and tested a GTR ripping 0-60 in 3.3 seconds and the 1/4 mile in 11.5. Those are crazy numbers especially for anything costing less than $250,000. A lot less as the GTR's MSRP is around $70,000.

All of this would certainly point to some sleight of hand by Nissan. Maybe they are providing "special" GTRs for testing. Maybe not. Motor Trend has also thought of this and they went straight to the dyno with the GTR they secured for testing. They claim it is a fresh, new, US spec, production GTR. They used a Dynojet dyno and registered a whopping 430+ HP to the wheels over several runs. At just 15% driveline loss that would equate to about 506HP at the crank. At 25% loss, we're looking at 570+HP and 560+TQ. Pretty far off from Nissan's numbers of 473HP.

They conclude that these cars are not "special" test mules but rather have been underrated by Nissan for one reason or another. Remember, Japanese manufacturers for years had to abide by an agreement in their home country that they would not make cars with over 280HP. That lead to underrating HP figures for countless models. I guess old habits die hard. The GTR truly lives up to it's Godzilla nickname. What a beast!

Here is a link to the Motor Trend article.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The basic ground rules of F1

The sporting regulations are the framework of rules used for running Grands Prix.
They define basic ground rules such as:
  • The length of a Grand Prix must be the least number of laps that exceeds 305km (189.5 miles).
  • What happens if a race has to be stopped.
  • Whether a Grand Prix happens regardless of rain. (It does.)
  • The points system: (currently 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 points for the first eight places in the race).
  • Driving etiquette, such as the one-move rule, and transgressions, such as jumping the start, passing under yellow no-overtaking flags and ignoring blue flags (which instruct a lapped car to move aside).
  • Tyre allocation. Currently a maximum of 12 sets per weekend for each car.
  • Penalties. Anything from a small fine up to exclusion from the world championship depending upon the seriousness of the offence.

Mosley and Ecclestone

Although Max Mosley (president of the FIA) and Bernie Ecclestone (president of FOCA), represent two sides that are regularly in dispute, the disagreements tend to be about the specific tactics that will meet the agreed strategy. Both sides � the sport�s governing body and the teams � understand that the goal is to do what is in the interests of the sport. Seen in this light, the fact that Ecclestone, president of FOCA, is also vice-president of the FIA may not seem so strange!
Mosley and Ecclestone go back together a long way. When Ecclestone bought the Brabham Formula One team in 1971 Max Mosley was one of his fellow team owners. Ecclestone had the commercial sense and Mosley � a trained lawyer � the legal brain to transform Formula One from a minority-interest sport into a multi-billion dollar enterprise over the next two decades. They were co-founders of FOCA, the body representing the teams and one which fell into serious conflict with the sport�s governing body, the FIA, in the early 1980s. Mosley was instrumental in the conception of the Concorde Agreement between the two sides.
In 1991, Mosley, no longer a team owner, was elected as president of the FIA. He then gave up his role in FOCA. Ecclestone, by this time, had ceased to be a team owner although he continued to represent the team owners� interests. To this day, the two men work closely together behind the scenes to ensure that Formula One heads in whichever direction they agree is best.

The Concorde Agreement

The Concorde agreement is the charter by which Formula One is governed. The agreement is between the sport�s governing body (the FIA) on one side and the participating teams (represented by FOCA) on the other. It is called the Concorde agreement because it was conceived at the FIA�s Paris headquarters in the Place de la Concorde.
Think of the Concorde agreement as the Geneva Convention which covers terms of conflict during wartime. And think of Formula One as a permanent civil and international war. The teams fight each other at every level and, in doing so, occasionally fight the governing body too. Teams accept the fact that they need to be governed because they�re too self-interested and competitive to govern the sport themselves. But that doesn�t mean they have to like it.


The FIA represents 150 national motor clubs from 117 countries. Formula One is the jewel in the FIA crown, but it also governs motorsport of all forms within its member countries. (The USA is not a member country and has formed its own governing bodies.) As its name implies, the Federation was founded in France because that�s where the sport was invented. Today it has bases in Paris, Geneva, and London. There is no legal reason why the FIA should be the only international motorsport governing body in the countries it represents. It is simply the one that has prevailed and through which all the contracts with teams, manufacturers, circuits, and race promoters have been worked. Its status and constitutional security has also been enhanced because European law recognises the FIA as the body that can assess vehicle and circuit safety. Even if a rival governing body were to set up, it would still need to accede to the FIA � at least in Europe � in getting cars and tracks certified as safe.
Every five years, the motor clubs vote for the presidency of the FIA. The current president, Max Mosley, was first voted to the position in 1991 and has been successfully re-elected twice since. He is the son of pre-war British fascist leader Oswald Mosley, although there is probably less significance in this fact than meets the eye!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

[rF] Release - Update for Sepang Gp4

Original Track is available here!

Download Update here or here!

Copy in your rFactor\GameData\Locations\Sepang\Sepang-Gp4 Folder!

Credits to TTTTT & SLN

Formula 1 Cars of the Past

Brabham BT26

McLaren M26

Wolf WR1

Williams FW07

These photos were shot by my son Laurent at the 2007 Mosport Vintage Racing Festival.
All photos, and more, are available for sale.

I took this shot of one of my favorite early F1 racers, the Talbot-Lago T26C (Photo � Paul Chenard).

Friday, March 28, 2008

[rF] Sepang 2008

World premiere of the new-generation A-Klasse at "Auto Mobil International" in Leipzig


Stuttgart, Mar 27, 2008 - The new-generation A-Class will be stepping into the limelight at the "Auto Mobil International" (AMI) motor show in Leipzig from 5th - 13th April, 2008. Following an extensive facelift, the successful compact car is younger, more attractive and more environmentally friendly than ever before. The convenient ECO start/stop function is available for the first time for the high-volume A 150 and A 170 models, which reduces fuel consumption of these BlueEFFICIENCY vehicles by up to nine percent when driving in city traffic. Mercedes-Benz has developed an additional BlueEFFICIENCY package for the three-door A 160 CDI, reducing the Coup�'s fuel consumption to just 4.5 litres per 100 kilometres. Independent experts have confirmed these major environmental advances by awarding the A-Class an internationally valid Environmental Certificate - the world's first compact car to receive such an accolade. The new-generation B-Class will also be celebrating its world premiere at the AMI. The sports tourer is now available with a petrol/natural-gas drive system for the very first time.

Since its world premiere in 1997, the A-Class has made a name for itself in the compact-car class as a trendsetter and groundbreaking innovator. Outstanding safety, everyday versatility and hallmark Mercedes reliability have always been the strengths of the A-Class, whose distinctive yet equally versatile concept has won over more than two million drivers since its launch.
The new-generation A-Class builds on these virtues: Mercedes-Benz is presenting a range of five-door saloon and three-door coup� versions in spring 2008, each sporting an all-round upgrade. The front end of the compact Mercedes-Benz is younger, yet at the same time more poised and assured than before. The sweeping lines of the new-look headlamps flow seamlessly along the front and into the flanks, which literally appear to have been moulded from a single piece.
The equally redesigned bumper reinforces this impression; its air intake at the bottom is noticeably larger, emphasising the width of the body. The radiator grille has also been redesigned to reinforce the progressive character of the A-Class.
Design elements at the front help differentiate the A-Class lines even more clearly than before. For instance, the AVANTGARDE line features a specially designed bumper that further emphasises the arrow shape of the front and symbolises even more agility. Individual wheel designs help differentiate the side view of the A-Class lines. While the entry-level model comes with 15-inch wheels with 7-spoke trim, the ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE lines sport individually styled 16-inch light-alloy wheels. The new, larger exterior mirror housings and the door handles are now painted in the vehicle colour on all model variants.
The rear of the A-Class is dominated by a modified bumper and new-look tail lights that extend well into the flanks. Both features ensure that the body looks wider and even more powerful.

Interior: larger stowage compartments and new fabrics further upgrade
the interior

The Mercedes designers also paid particular attention to increasing perceived value when it came to revamping the interior, selecting a range of new high-grade upholstery fabrics and door trim. In addition, new trim elements made out of smoke grey, diagonally brushed aluminium add an upscale feel to the interior of the AVANTGARDE line, while the distinguished ambience of the ELEGANCE model is reinforced through wood trim elements. All variants of the A-Class come with a larger stowage compartment in the centre console and a new-look cup holder between the front seats.

Economy: the A 160 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY consumes just 4.5 litres

The new-generation A-Class emphasises its economy with fuel consumption of between 4.9 and 8.1 litres per 100 kilometres. Thanks to further detailed enhancements, fuel consumption of the sophisticated direct-injection diesel engines has been reduced by over 8 percent or 0.5 litres per 100 kilometres compared with the outgoing models. From autumn 2008, Mercedes-Benz will supply a standard-fit BlueEFFICIENCY package for the three-door A 160 CDIwith manual transmission, which further improves engine efficiency, aerodynamics, rolling resistance, energy management and weight. Taken together, these measures add up to a fuel saving of 0.4 litres so that the A 160 CDIBlueEFFICIENCY consumes just 4.5 litres per 100 kilometres on the NEDC cycle. CO2 emissions of the 60 kW/82 hp coup� are 119 grams per kilometre.
The BlueEFFICIENCY package includes an aerodynamically optimised radiator grille, the rear side of which is sealed off, thus reducing the volume of air flowing into the engine compartment; despite this, sufficient cooling for the CDI engine is ensured at all times. The bodywork has also been lowered by 10 millimetres to further reduce wind drag. The Mercedes engineers have leveraged further potential to save fuel by dynamically controlling the power supply on board the A 160 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY to save energy. The generator management system consistently converts the power generated when the engine decelerates (i.e. on the overrun) into electrical energy, which is then used to recharge the battery in an optimum, energy-efficient manner.

Start/stop function: the engine automatically switches off when idling

The Mercedes engineers have achieved fuel savings for the petrol-engined models of up to 0.4 litres per 100 kilometres on the NEDC cycle thanks to the newly developed ECO start/stop function. This system will be available for the high-volume A 150 BlueEFFICIENCY and A 170 BlueEFFICIENCY models from autumn 2008. It automatically switches the engine off when the driver shifts to neutral at low speed whilst depressing the brake pedal. A special display in the instrument cluster informs the driver if the conditions for switching off the engine are met.
The moment the clutch is pressed or the brake pedal released, the engine springs back to life almost noiselessly and in a fraction of a second. This ability to restart the engine swiftly yet smoothly gives the Mercedes technology a key edge over other systems of this type.
The ECOstart/stop function further reduces fuel consumption by around 6.5 percent on the NEDC cycle. The A 150 BlueEFFICIENCY (70 kW/95 hp) completes the cycle with fuel consumption figures of 5.8 litres per 100 kilometres , the equivalent of 139 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre.
Even greater savings can be made in urban traffic, as the results of extensive field testing show: Mercedes employees have tested the system in 175 test vehicles, notching up some 1.2 million kilometres in the process. Around half of this marathon testing schedule involved driving on urban roads where the new ECOstart/stop function produced fuel savings of up to nine percent.

Environment: the A-Class is the first compact-class car with an Environmental Certificate

These kinds of practical results are all-important to Mercedes-Benz when it
comes to assessing new technologies. The Stuttgart-based brand assesses the environmental compatibility of vehicles not just on the basis of the results of standardised exhaust emissions and fuel consumption measurements but also looks at the entire lifecycle - from manufacture through use over many years to end-of-life disposal. The analysis of more than 40,000 individual processes provides a complete picture that helps the engineers objectively assess development work.
This lifecycle assessment forms the basis for the Environmental Certificate based on the stringent international ISO standard 14062 "Design For Environment" which the A-Class is the world's first compact car to receive.
Mercedes-Benz has put together a brochure including detailed information on
the eco balance sheet and the Environmental Certificate. This brochure is available on the Internet at .

Safety: flashing brake lights warn drivers behind

Mercedes-Benz has also enhanced safety and comfort in the A-Class. Technology from the luxury-class segment has found its way into the compact car with the adaptive brake lights, which add another accident prevention system to the standard specification. During emergency braking when travelling at more than 50 km/h, the brake lights flash at high frequency to warn drivers behind who can consequently react faster and are in a better position to prevent an accident.
The A-Class also sets new standards in this market segment in the area of occupant protection with two-stage front airbags, belt tensioners for the front and outer rear seats, belt force limiters, active front head restraints and head/thorax sidebags. Mercedes-Benz is now complementing this extensive safety technology with crash-responsive emergency lighting in the interior, which comes on automatically after an accident of a defined severity to provide occupants with better orientation and make the task of the emergency services easier.

Parking assist: ultrasound and electric steering make parking easier

In future, A-Class owners will have assistance looking for a parking space and when reverse parking, courtesy of active parking assist, which is optionally available for all model variants. Using newly developed ultrasonic sensors on the sides the system looks for an appropriate spot on either side of the road as the A-Class drives by and informs the driver via a display in the instrument cluster. Once a suitable spot has been found, an arrow also appears in the display, informing the driver on which side of the road the parking spot is located. If the driver selects reverse, accepts the suggested space and depresses the accelerator, active parking assist takes over and manoeuvres the A-Class automatically into the space. The driver simply needs to press the accelerator pedal and use the brake; the ultrasonic sensors associated with PARKTRONIC provide assistance and information on the distance to the vehicle in front of and behind the A-Class.
To be able to use the automatic parking feature, the parking spot only has to be 1.30 metres longer than the A-Class - an indication of the technology's tremendous precision. Thanks to the very compact dimensions of the A-Class, a parking space of just around 5.19 metres long is sufficient to park; no other car can automatically park in such a small space.
The Mercedes engineers have added a new function to the tried-and-trusted assistance system on the A-Class: the Electronic Stability Program (ESP�) on the A-Class now comes with automatic hill-start assist, which prevents the compact car from rolling backwards if the driver moves his or her foot from the brake to the accelerator pedal when moving off on an uphill slope.

Audio: new units offer Bluetooth, colour display and Europe-wide navigation

Just like all the other new Mercedes models in 2008, the A-Class also comes
with enhanced units that provide information, communication, navigation and entertainment. The new Audio 50 APS is fitted with a colour display, Europe-wide DVD navigation system and DVD drive, while the top-of-the-range COMAND APS includes hard-disc navigation, Music Register, a slot for SD memory cards and a voice-operated control system. The newly developed, interactive media interface provides even more options for in-car listening pleasure by allowing an optional MP3 player, USBstick or another external audio device to be connected to the A-Class infotainment system.

B-Class: sports tourer with petrol/natural-gas drive system for the first time

Mercedes-Benz has also revamped the design and technology of the B-Class -
the success story launched three years ago. Thanks to a series of detailed improvements, the four-cylinder engines now burn up to seven percent less fuel than previously, and distinguish themselves with remarkably low exhaust emissions that undercut the current EU limits by as much as 90 percent. As with the A-Class, the new ECO start/stop function is also available for the high-volume B 150 and B 170 models. Another new development for the B-Class comes in the shape of the bivalent petrol/natural-gas drive system in the B 170 NGT BlueEFFICIENCY, which consumes just 4.9 kilograms of natural gas per 100 kilometres. Converted into the equivalent quantity of petrol energy, the fuel cost per kilometre is around 50 percent less than when running on petrol.

Copyright � 2008, car-evolutioncars. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

New spy photos of the 2010 CLK surface on

Link to the article

Copyright � 2008, car-evolutioncars. All rights reserved.

Mercedes-Benz to develop exciting versions for the A- & B-Klasse

From an article posted today on Autocar UK website, we discover that Dieter Zetsche has big plans with Mercedes-Benz. In order to give a tough response to its opponents, the Stuttgardt-based carmaker is expected to release by 2011 two brand new models, derived from its smallest cars. I talk about the well-known SUV to compete with the future BMW X1, probably to be badged BLK, and about a possible coupe version built on the platform of the third gen. A-Klasse. The sporty model will be named CLA and its price will start from 19000 pounds. The engines to be used will be brand new, with outputs ranging from 120 to 200 BHP, 4-cylinders direct-injection petrol or commonrail diesel powered. It is believed that the new CLA will replace, on a long term, the recently presented CLC-Klasse.

Link to the article

Copyright � 2008, car-evolutioncars. All rights reserved.

2008 NY Auto Show Photos - Pontic G8 GXP

What's not to like about 402HP, a 6 speed manual, and 0-60 in under 5 seconds? Nice looking too.

Indian Authorities Approve Joint Venture between Daimler Trucks and the Hero Group


Stuttgart � The Indian government�s Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) have both approved the establishment of the Daimler Hero Motors Corporation Ltd. joint venture by Daimler Trucks and the Indian company Hero Group in the first quarter of 2008.

The closing for the foundation of the joint venture will be completed by the end of April. Further details concerning the new joint venture will be released at that time.
Andreas Renschler, member of the Daimler Board of Management and Head of Daimler Trucks: �The approval process of the Indian authorities has been exemplary. We are looking forward to the implementation phase of our German-Indian joint venture, Daimler Hero Motors Corporation�.

The joint venture will provide Daimler Trucks with three benefits: essential market access, a base for penetrating further growth markets in the region, as well as a cost level and infrastructure that will enable competitive production. For Daimler Trucks, India will therefore be sales market, production location and export hub, all in one.
The projected joint venture is initially aimed at the local production of light, medium, and heavy-duty commercial vehicles for the Indian volume market. The vehicles produced will be variants of Daimler Trucks� existing product portfolio that are tailored to the Indian market.

Copyright � 2008, car-evolutioncars. All rights reserved.

More photos of the revamped A-Klasse leaked

Copyright � 2008, car-evolutioncars. All rights reserved.