Posts Tagged ‘rallying’

Here’s the 2015 Toyota RAV4 Rally Car

Posted by Stephen On Friday, May 8th, 2015

2015 Toyota RAV4 Rally Car

Toyota has an innovative new rally racer that they will bring to several rally competitions later this year. It’s a tuned up 2015 Toyota RAV4 LE, pictured here in full racing form.

The Japanese automaker unveiled their high-performance rally RAV4 this weekend at the Monster Energy Supercross Championship finale, which took place at the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. Obviously, it’s not every day that you see a commercial crossover competing in pro-level races like the Idaho Rally or the Mt. Hood Rally. Toyota plans to bring their RAV4 to several of the races in the 2015 Rally America season in the 2WD-Open Class.

Ryan Millin & RAV4

The modified 2015 Toyota RAV4 LE will be driven by Ryan Millen – a seasoned Toyota racer in his own right. He recently won the 2014 Baja 1000 driving a Toyota Tundra TRD Pro series, and he has high hopes for the RAV4. “I’ve driven just about everything Toyota has to offer,” he said. “And I’ve been very impressed with the RAV4 is tight, compact body and smooth handling. I’m looking forward to putting it through the paces this season.”

What kind of modifications has Toyota made to transform their commercial RAV4 into a rally-ready machine?

One thing they did NOT change is the engine… The RAV4 rally car runs on the same stock powertrain in the normal RAV4 LE, which is a 2.5L inline four-cylinder engine. It outputs 176 hp and just 172 lb-ft of torque, and the engine is fitted to the LE’s stock transmission. So, how will the RAV4 hope to compete?

Ryan Millen & RAV4 profile

Millen’s crew stripped over 500 lbs off the small crossover to make it a much more agile vehicle. They added a roll cage and fitted the wheels with BFGoodrich all-terrain DOT 215/75R15 tires. They also upgraded the unpderpinnings with a front and rear TEIN suspension.

You may be asking why Toyota would care about getting their RAV4 crossover into the motorsports spotlight; we certainly were. Turns out, they’ve got something to prove. The press release makes it clear they’re tired of the RAV4 being known “only” for its immense practicality and superiority to its “more-cumbersome” SUV brethren. Now, they want everyone to know that the RAV4’s “lighter and leaner design” makes it the perfect car for anyone who regularly makes “desert, beach and other outdoor excursions.”

Okay, Toyota, we get it. The RAV4 is an off-road vehicle. Let’s see what it can do.


The Toyota Sleeper Camry is SEMA’s Most Memorable Car

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

2015 Toyota Camry Sleeper

Imagine this: you’re waiting around in the Central Hall at the SEMA show waiting for what you think will be a showing of a lightly modified 2015 Toyota Camry, like the one above. Suddenly, a loud rev cuts through the air, and a hydraulic pump lifts the conventional sedan’s body to reveal…

2015 Toyota Sleeper Camry Drag Car

Who could have guessed that the most extreme build Toyota has ever unveiled at SEMA would come in the body of a Toyota Camry? Believe it or not, that’s exactly what they did with their Toyota Sleeper Camry, a jaw-droppingly fast drag racer hidden under the body of a family sedan.

We’d already covered every other car that Toyota showcased at this year’s SEMA show, but there was one missing from the promised 15 concepts we were told to expect. This is that car, and Toyota held off unveiling it until the event was more than halfway over.

Toyota’s Motorsports Technical Center Director, Chuck Wade, described what they were going for with this secretive racer. “This Camry is the ultimate sleeper – it definitely has the element of surprise on its side and more than enough muscle to drop the hammer on any unsuspecting car that pulls up.”

Exactly how much muscle is the Sleeper Camry hiding?

According to Toyota, the drag car can travel a quarter of a mile from a dead stop in 9.80 seconds.

How?

Underneath the shell of a normal 2015 Camry, Toyota’s Tech. Center built the car with the Tundra’s 5.7L V8 engine, transmission and rear axle, plus the truck’s electronics. Then, Toyota fitted the V8 with a TRD supercharger and a wet nitrous system, and topped the build off with rugged DOT 335/30/18 drag tires from Goodyear.

Even though it’s hard to tell from the picture, the Camry body that fits of the race car chassis is actually functional – you can open the front doors to get in and out of the sedan just like normal. However, the inside is completely stripped down other than a single bucket seat, driver controls and a gauge display.

All in all, this is definitely the car we’ll most remember from the 2014 SEMA event, and we’re glad to see that Toyota still has a sense of humor.

2014 Toyota Camry for Auction

2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Even though you’ll likely never get to drive Toyota’s Sleeper Camry, the regular Camry is still a great-looking car with a lot to offer most buyers.

Today’s auction find is a 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid G Package in top-notch shape. This family-sized sedan runs on a hybrid powertrain (see the blue Toyota logo?) with a 2.5L Atkinson cycle engine that outputs about 154hp and 153 lb-ft of torque on its own. As you can see below, the exterior is clean and the interior is spacious and well-kept.

2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid interior

With less than 500 miles on the odometer, it’s not too surprising that this auction find has an overall S grade (literally shinsha, or “new car”) and A-grade interior. Keep reading below the auction sheet for a full rundown on this find.

2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid auction sheet

 
“Grade S, interior A, exterior A, first registered May 2014, Hybrid G Package model, original navigation system and TV, FAT, AAC, 495KM, power steering, power windows, original AWs, ABS, airbag, original navigation system, original TV, marks as per map”


Mitsubishi Unveils XR-PHEV Evolution Vision Concept on PS3

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Earlier this year, Mitsubishi made official plans to axe their Lancer Evo sports car, but it seems that they’re already making plans to reinvigorate the Evo lineup. In doing so, they’ve unleashed a concept that – for the first time in recent memory – is actually exciting to look at.

The only problem?

It only exists in the virtual world. It’s the Mitsubishi XR-PHEV Evolution Vision Concept as seen in the Gran Turismo 6 video game for the PlayStation 3:

2014 Mitsubishi XR-PHEV Evolution Vision Concept

Even if this is a car that only exists in the digital realm, you have to admit that it’s one you’d like to take for a spin. And you can if you’re a PS3 gamer; the XR-PHEV is part of the Gran Turismo 6 Vision Initiative, which has automakers from around the world submit concepts to feature in-game. Last December we’d heard that Toyota would feature a Supra concept in GT6, but this is the first we’ve heard – or seen – of Mitsubishi’s contribution.

So, what exactly are we looking at?

The XR-PHEV concept features what Mitsubishi has dubbed the “Athlete Form” design language, which speaks to the rally racer’s lean and muscular exterior, like that of a sprinter ready to pounce at the starting gun shot.

To give you a little bit of context, Mitsubishi originally showed an XR-PHEV Concept last November (below) which was intended to showcase a possible direction for the next-gen Outlander, ETA unknown. Thus, the sports car seen in Gran Turismo 6 is actually a refined version of the XR-PHEV CUV. You can clearly see the similarities between the two vehicles.

2013 Mitsubishi XR-PHEV Concept

Just like the original crossover concept, the XR-PHEV Evolution Vision features, you guessed it, a Plug-in Hybrid EV engine… At least, it would if it were a real car. The PHEV powertrain would likely be turbocharged and connected to an eight-speed dual clutch transmission, topped off with 20-inch aluminum wheels.

2014 Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution III

Obviously, Mitsubishi will probably never produce a production-ready version of the XR-PHEV Evolution Vision Concept. However, they are bringing a car that bears a slight resemblance to the upcoming Pikes Peak Hill Climb (above), although it will be the third year in a row that they’ve used the same car. Still, if nothing else this shows that Mitsubishi is maintaining a tenuous hold on their motorsports potential, so perhaps a toned-down version of the XR-PHEV Evo Vision isn’t totally out of the question.

Either way, if you’d like to see Mitsubishi’s newest racing concept in virtual action, we’ll leave you with the demo video below:


Japanese Car Auction Finds: Lancia Delta Evolution II (1994)

Posted by Stephen On Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Having written a little about Group B rallying yesterday, I spotted this Lancia Delta Evolution II in the auction. The Delta came along right at the end of the Group B period, and is another classic of the genre.

This Lancia Delta Evolution II is in excellent condition. A grading of 4.5 is pretty much the best you could hope for at this age, and it has 81k KM on the odometer. The only things wrong with this car are literally minor dents and scratches and some minor wear on the seats. I expect the sale price on a car like this to be around 1 million Yen, maybe more given the very clean condition.

Lancia Delta Evolution II 1994 in the car auciton in Japan - front

Lancia Delta Evolution II 1994 in the car auction in Japan - rear

Lancia Delta Evolution II 1994 at car auction in Japan - auction sheet

(c) Integrity Exports Co. Ltd. – Japan car auction buyer and exporter.


Car Auction Finds: 1986 Ford RS200 Evolution

Posted by Stephen On Friday, February 18th, 2011

This pristine white RS200 Evolution is one of only 24 made for the Group B rallying scene in the 1980s. With 420+ horsepower, this car held the record for the fastest accelerating car (3 seconds dead to 60) for 12 years. That is still exceptionally fast today, with only cars like the latest iteration of the Nissan GT-R, the 911 Turbo S and the new McLaren MP4-12C able to equal its sprinting ability.

I remember the RS200 dueling with the Audi Quattros and Metro 6R4s when I was first into rallying during this Group B era. The WRC has evolved a lot since then and is now quite a different format, so I don’t think it is completely fair to compare the modern sport with this period, but (apart from the spectator accidents) I think it is reasonable to say that this was the golden age of rally driving – and this car was one of the stars.

Ford RS200 Evolution 1986 model at auction

 


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.