Posts Tagged ‘F1’

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2012 Ferrari 458 Italia

Posted by Stephen On Friday, January 30th, 2015

We’re moving a bit upscale for today’s Japanese car auction find. It’s a 2012 Ferrari 458 Italia, which is the original two-seat berlinetta version of the car that made its original debut a little more than five years ago at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

2012 Ferrari 458 Italia

The Ferrari 458 succeeded the Ferrari F430 Coupe, however you wouldn’t be able to see any relationship by looking at the two cars. The 458 has a much more invigorating design, and was developed specifically with technology from the firm’s experience in Formula 1 racing.

We can start by talking about what’s under the hood of this renowned Italian sports car. This 2012 458 Italia boasts a 4.5L V8 engine with direct fuel injection. It can output a rubber-burning 562 hp at the redline, and a full 398 lb-ft of torque. Plus, the car has a very efficient rev-range; Ferrari brags that you can access 80% of the car’s torque by 3,250 rpm, which is a hair over a third of the car’s 9,000 rpm redline. The 458’s engine is paired with a dual-clutch 7-speed GETRAG transmission.

2012 Ferrari 458 Italia auction find

Of course, all of these specs are meaningless until you put them into real-world numbers… The Ferrari 458’s official 0 to 100 km time (aka. 0 to 62 mph) is a staggering 3.4 seconds, and its top speed is 202 mph (325 km/h).

While the engine is what gives this 2012 Ferrari 458 Italia its power, you’ll need to thank the double wishbone suspension and the perfectly symmetrical 50/50 mid-engine mount. This perfect front-rear balance and performance-tuned suspension allow for precise motion control throughout all states of movement and acceleration. When you pair that with Ferrari’s incredible traction control systems – E-Diff and F1-Trac – it’s no wonder that piloting the 458 is regarded as nothing short of an epic experience.

2012 Ferrari 458 Italia interior

Looking inside the Ferrari 458 Italia, you’ll find a highly organic interior with a surprising amount of legroom for the driver and his/her passenger. This car showcases the epitome of luxury materials – fine leather seating and upholstery with subtle red accent stitching. Ferrari also kept the dashboard controls minimally complicated. Navigation and vehicle information is delivered via dual-purpose LCD screens, and many of the controls such as turn signals and wipers can be directly controlled from the steering wheel.

All in all, this 2012 Ferrari 458 Italia is an incredible Japanese car auction find. We don’t always see these newer Ferrari models hit the auction floors in Japan, simply because people really like holding onto them. So, if you’re interested, be sure to get more details for this one by reading the translation below the auction sheet:

2012 Ferrari 458 Italia auction sheet

Grade 4.5, interior B, first registered September 2012, 458 Italia model, AT, AC, service book, original alloy wheels, two wheel drive, power steering, power windows, leather, airbag, one owner, Cornes official dealer left-hand drive import, ¥3.7 million worth of option items, 2012 model, carbon fibre-look wrapping, protective film on headlights, spare remote key, seats have minor wear, marks where a mount has been on the dashboard, scratches, marks as per map


Honda Announces Two New Civics for 2014 WTCC & BTCC Seasons

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Now that the 2013 motor sport season has come to a close, automakers all over the world are setting their sights on the 2014 season. Honda is no different, and this week they unveiled two brand-new Civic race cars they intend to put to the track next year.

2014 Civic WTCC Racer (Hatchback)

2014 Civic WTCC Car

Unlike the Civic BTCC racer below, the only visual we have of the 2014 Civic WTCC racer is the digital rendering you see above. However, what a rendering it is; easily one of the most attractive cars we’ve seen in 2013. And just imagine that at one time it was nothing more than a plain old Civic five-door hatchback!

Compared to the FIA race car they used in the 2013 World Touring Car Championship, this one will get several updates. Some of them are aimed at complying with new regulations; others are simply aimed at improving performance.

Unfortunately, we don’t have an entire list of specific updates to refer you to. However, we do know that the incoming racer will get a more powerful engine, larger wheels, an extended rear spoiler and all-around improved aerodynamics.

2014 Civic BTCC Racer (Tourer)

2014 Honda BTCC car

This is Honda’s 2014 contribution to the British Touring Car Championship. As you can see, it is a Honda Civic Tourer-based race car with tons of performance upgrades. Interestingly enough, it’s will be the only wagon-based racer in next year’s BTCC. Traditionally wagons are heavier and less aerodynamic than their smaller, more compact counterparts. However, given Honda’s excellent performance in this and past year’s BTCCs, we’re sure that the longer roofline won’t have any impact in the car’s dominance on the track, and it will be interesting to know whether there is some aerodynamic benefit to this shape over a regular “saloon car” configuration.

Now, before you go raising that skeptical left eyebrow of yours, remember this: the Civic Touring is actually one of the most compact wagons out there. In fact, it’s only 9 inches longer than the Civic hatchbacks Honda used in 2013. The performance-tuned BTCC Tourer will actually weigh exactly the same, feature the same suspension, and have an identical wheelbase to the Civic hatchbacks of the 2013 season. They’ll even use the same drivers – Matt Neal and Gordon ‘Flash’ Shedden.

Also keep in mind that there could be some changes to the final BTCC racer, as Honda hasn’t officially started testing it yet. That will begin in January 2014.

Even with the aerodynamic tuning so obviously featured in the BTCC Tourer, there’s no doubt that the wagon will present some unique challenges compared to a hatchback. But, that’s exactly what Honda wants — after four straight years of championship titles, they’ve decided they’re going to make 2014 a challenge.

All in all, Honda has demonstrated a phenomenal affinity for motorsports racing, and there’s no reason to think that these two new cars will be anything less than stellar. If Honda can successfully pull out championships with a wagon-based race car, all the more power to them. Either way, you’ll have to check back next March to see how well these two new Civics can finish.

And then there’s Honda’s return to F1 coming in 2015. Even more too look forward to from this Japanese car maker.


Honda Returning to F1 Racing as With Old Partner McLaren

Posted by Stephen On Monday, May 20th, 2013

It seems that motorsports are trending among Japanese car makers at the moment. For the past couple years, Nissan has successfully made the most of their racing presence with a revamped line of NISMO-tuned street cars. Jumping on the bandwagon, Honda has officially confirmed recent rumors that they will be returning to F1 racing in 2015. More importantly, they’ll be coming back as partners with their English allies of yore, McLaren Automotive Limited.

Veteran motorsport fans will recall that Honda and McLaren first partnered up all the way back in 1988. From a performance standpoint, this partnership was the most profitable one Honda has ever had in motorsports. Together, they were able to dominate Formula One racing for 5 years, winning 44 grand prixs, claiming pole positions in 55, and breaking 30 fastest lap records. In their first season together, McLaren Honda cars won 15 out of 16 F1 races.

To be fair, credit is also largely due to the powerhouse drivers behind the wheels. In their first grand prix together at the beginning of the 1988 season, Alain Prost took first and Ayrton Senna won a pole position. One or the other of these two drivers would go on to win world championships for the next four years in a row. Then, Gerhard Berger stepped in to take home a victory for McLaren Honda at the Australian Grand Prix in 1992, concluding their initial partnership together.

Honda Provides the Punching Power, McLaren Provides the Team

At a press conference yesterday, managing director of McLaren Jonathan Neale said, “If we are going to compete at the upper echelons, then we need to be punching at that weight. Getting together with a powerhouse like Honda enables us to do that.”

So, McLaren will provide the cars and team, Honda will provide the engines. This is great news for McLaren, who’ve been paying £7M per year for engines from Mercedes ($10M USD). The new partnership will allow McLaren to focus on what they do best, while Honda provides the power. According to the press release, Honda’s contribution will include both engine and energy recovery systems.

Why Formula One Racing? Why 2015?

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that motorsports are trending among Japanese automakers right now. In truth, Honda’s decision to participate in Formula One once again is more than just jumping on the bandwagon. Honda has participated in F1 pretty consistently for the past 30 years, but they’ve had to abstain since the recession in 2008. Formula One is an expensive pursuit, and in times of financial crisis anything that doesn’t affect the bottom-line usually gets cut.

Now that the automotive industry and the global economy as a whole are beginning to show signs of recovery, Honda is ready to jump back in to F1 racing once again. Why? Because there is value in the challenge of racing. “The opportunity to further develop these powertrain technologies to the challenge of racing is central to Honda’s decision to participate in F1.” In other words, Honda is looking to apply the lessons learned in creating energy-efficient Formula One power units to their consumer vehicles. Very similar reasoning to why Toyota pursued the Lexus LFA. With the new NSX on the near-term horizon, pushing racing to the fore makes sense for Honda.

McLaren has to finish out their current contract with Mercedes, which is why you won’t see Honda jumping in until 2014. However, this is great news for motorsport fans everywhere. From the looks of it, both Honda and McLaren are ready to pursue the glory days once again. Turbo engines and McLaren-Honda? The excitement for next season’s building already,


F150 Truck / F1 Ferrari Confusion Ended – Phew!

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Now I thought I had been pretty scathing in my original blogpost about Ford suing Ferrari over the similarity of the name of their pickup truck to Ferrari’s 2011 F1 contender. But I was positively reserved compared with Ferrari’s official statement about the settling of the lawsuit with another name change for their race car. (I have Italicized – pun intended – my favorite passages for your delectation):

It might seem like a Kafkaesque scenario, but the affair relating to the name of the car with which Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa will tackle this year’s Formula 1 World Championship saw its final and decisive episode played out these past few days with the concomitant withdrawal by Ford of the summons.

Therefore common sense has prevailed. In order to avoid the slightest risk of anyone confusing a Formula 1 car with a pick-up truck, for their part, the men from Maranello have decided that the car will lose the F that precedes the number 150 and which stands for Ferrari, as it has done on numerous occasions when it’s come to giving a car a code name, be it for the race track or the road. It appears that this could have caused so much confusion in the minds of the consumer across the Pond that, at the same time as losing the F, the name will be completely Italianised, replacing the English “th” with the equivalent Italian symbol.

Therefore the name will now read as the Ferrari 150° Italia, which should make it clear even to the thickest of people that the name of the car is a tribute to the anniversary of the unification of our country. Let’s hope the matter is now definitely closed and that we can concentrate on more serious matters, namely ensuring that our car that already seems to be pretty good out of the box, becomes a real winner.

I understand that corporations are expected to defend their trademarks or else the courts could take the view in the future that the corporation in question is not really interested in having sole use of this word for its own branding purposes. Thus, Google is constantly jumping on the generic use of “google” or “googling” to mean to use a search information to look for information.

However, this is one of those instances where flimsy legal reasoning has lead to corporate humiliation and resultant damage to Ford’s brand, and is a good example of why a CEO should lead a company and not a committee of lawyers.

Now, what’s this? News just in: Ferrari is counter-suing Ford for seeking to benefit from the goodwill of the prancing pony by having a galloping horse as the symbol of its Mustang model. Ferrari is also requiring Ford to cease using the name “pony car” in reference to this model.

Just kidding… or am I? Stranger things have happened!


Truck Mistaken for F1 Car

Posted by Stephen On Friday, February 11th, 2011

The F-150 may be the best-selling truck (aka “pickup truck”) in North America, but I doubt it is so well known outside of there. It seems ironic that Ford is suing Ferrari for alleged infringement of its”F-150″  model name, when people outside the US have probably not heard of this truck (or are even able to buy it in their market) – and F1 is hardly religiously followed in the USA.

Laughably, Ford is asserting, “Ferrari has misappropriated the F-150 trademark in naming its new racing vehicle the F150 in order to capitalize on and profit from the substantial goodwill that Ford has developed in the F-150 trademark.”

What? Ferrari is so desperately in need of someone to piggy-back on for publicity, that the best they could come up with for their new F1 championship contender was… a pickup truck? And they even admit that the F150 name (that Ferrari is now stating is just an abbreviation) is different to Ford’s own trademark, which is hyphenated.

It seems like a case of over-zealous-lawyer syndrome. Or is it Ford who is, in fact, trying to drum up some interest in its lethargic truck brand through a spurious high-profile lawsuit linking it with glamorous Formula One? Only time and phalanxes of lawyers will tell.

Readers (and lawyers) are invited to peruse the following visual guide for disambiguation purposes:

F150 Ferrari F1 Car and F-150 Ford Truck

This is not the first time Ford F-150s have come into conflict with Ferraris. But who will end up on top this time?

Source: BBC


Small Cars Are Safe Too

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, January 20th, 2011

There is a persistent myth that a car that is small is a car that is dangerous. Gordon Murray, the former F1 designer who is the brains behind the new T.27 city car and iStream manufacturing process knows that this is not true. Not only does his design greatly simplify the manufacturing process, reducing cost and environmental damage along the way, but it is also incredibly strong.

Despite diminutive dimensions, the T.27 passed the 35 mph full frontal crash test at MIRA with flying colors and zero cabin intrusion. When your car is so small and the space for crumple zones so limited, a result like this really does show the incredible strength of the vehicle.

It should not come as too much of a surprise when you remember that this technology is trickling down from F1. An F1 car is not big either, but has amazing strength to withstand impact and protect the driver. The 180 mph  crash below involving Gerhard Berger in 1989 was one I remember clearly. The viewers and commentators alike were convinced that he would not make it, but he did so without any long-term effects (mainly burns, rather than impact damage).

This is 1989 F1 technology in action, so it is not surprising that we can have a similar level of protection in 2011 in our affordable city cars. And, unlike this F1 car, the T.27 is designed to be an electric car, so there is no danger of nasty fuel conflagrations either.

But if you are still not convinced of the strength of modern small cars, take a look at Fifth Gear crashing this Smart head on into concrete at 70 mph. Not a survivable crash scenario in even larger cars, but notice how even on this older Smart, the passenger cell is intact.

Can we put the small-cars-are-dangerous argument to rest now?


The Greatest Drivers of All Time

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Walter Rohrl

Watch his feet dance on the pedals – and the spectators’ feet scuttle out the way in this footage from the golden age of Group B rallying in 1985.

And if you are wondering whether Rohrl still has it, just read this story in Evo magazine about his encounter on the track with a certain M. Schumacher.

Ayrton Senna

I started watching F1 in 1982, so I had only been watching a few seasons when Senna burst on the scene. Back then I remember him as being a more controversial character – was he a genius, or was he reckless. I must admit at the time, I erred towards the latter. But you cannot argue with his sheer speed, especially in qualifying. If Rohrl is famous for his dancing feet disguising his car’s smooth progress, Senna is famous for his single-handed driving.

Michelle Mouton

Another Group B great, and the only woman to have won the WRC. Here is a more recent video of Mouton chatting casually in her second language (English) as she pilots a classic 911 at extreme speed in preparation for the Rally du Maroc (Rally of Morocco) 2010, in which she finished second overall.