Emphatically… Yes! But it will be missing a key ingredient. We here at RPM have been quite happy with the recent trend of putting super cool concepts into production, even if it is limited production. With Porsche announcing the building of the 918, and Lamborghini putting very few examples of the Sesto Elemento on sale for $2.7-million apiece, we now get word of the news we really wanted to hear. Jaguar will be building its turbine-powered electric supercar concept, the C-X75. Jaguar says that the production car will stay true to the concept’s design and will offer up to 250 units at a staggering price of £700,000 GBP. The C-X75 will be developed in association with Williams F1 which will provide its engineering expertise in areas including aerodynamics, carbon composite manufacture and hybrid technologies. It will be built of carbon, capable of 0-60 mph in three seconds, with a 200-mph top speed and a range of 50 km of pure electric travel. But there’s an issue – the production version will get its battery power generation from a highly-boosted turbo gasoline engine rather than those super-cool twin Bladon Micro-Jets. So while the design is still very attractive, the change in drivetrain makes it look more like an exotic Volt. Nevertheless, it’s great to see the cat is back in the supercar market.
While automakers are getting out of the high-priced world of Formula One, the WRC has seen a recent spike in interest as the top-spec cars have been reduced to 1.6L turbo engines to help cut costs. As a result, Mini has now joined Citroen and Ford in the Championship, and now VW has announced its intentions to get dirty in the forests as well. After three consecutive victories at the Dakar Rally, Volkswagen has set itself new aims in top-calibre sport. By 2013, the Wolfsburg-based brand will develop a near-300-hp rally vehicle with a 1.6-litre TSI engine and four-wheel drive based on the Polo. VW hasn’t been involved in the sport directly since the mid ’90s when 2WD Golfs competed in the UK, but VW Motorsport isn’t jumping in with its eyes closed. Along with the success of the Dakar vehicles, VW-owned Skoda has nearly a decade of experience in the WRC, currently with a successful S2000 program with its Fabia. With all these resources, VW looks to be able to get up to speed relatively quickly in the high-tech championship.
Kicking off its inaugural Canadian Tuner Challenge earlier this year, Scion announced a competition for tuners to submit their world-class designs for the ultimate customized 2011 Scion vehicle. Of the initial entries, three regional teams of Canadian tuners have now been selected to move on to the next phase of the contest. Over the next few months, the three teams will take their skills for creating stylish, performance-driven and unique vehicles to new heights, as they get to work modifying one 2011 Scion vehicle each. The chosen teams are SR Auto Group of Richmond, B.C., tasked with customizing the xB, Camo Customs of Lachine, QC, which will take control of an xD, and Team TDS of Toronto, ON, starting work on a tC. Each team will receive $10,000 to finance their builds along with unlimited access to Scion-authorized accessories and the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) catalogue of accessories for their modifications. They have three months to build their cars. They’ll then show off their creations at Importfest – first in Toronto on August 27 and then in Montreal on October 1 – where the team with the best modified Scion vehicle, as chosen by a panel of judges, will be crowned champion.
We haven’t heard a whole lot from Saab after being saved from death from supercar maker Spyker. However, with the launch of the new 9-5 and 9-4X, Saab Cars North America has also announced the appointment of a new president and chief operating officer, Mr. Timothy Colbeck. The announcement comes as Saab has embarked on its biggest-ever product offensive with four all-new products since 2010 – the all-new Saab 9-5 Sedan, Saab’s first crossover – the 9-4X, the 9-5 SportCombi and the 9-3 Griffin range. Effective Monday, May 9, Mr. Colbeck will oversee Saab’s largest market, North America and will report directly to Saab Automobile AB vice president, Matthias Seidl. Mr. Colbeck joins SCNA with 25 years of automobile industry experience in the United States with Subaru of America. Most recently he was the senior vice president of sales. Under Tim’s direction, Subaru of America achieved record sales and market share in the last two years and was the only brand to achieve sales increases in each of the last three years.
So they say that records are made to be broken, and as such we’ve had a lot of news lately of brave drivers piloting high-performance machinery to greater heights everywhere from the Nurburgring, to Laguna Seca, to the frozen ocean off Finland. However, now we have something even more interesting coming from Subaru, as its top rally driver, Mark Higgins, has just smashed the old lap record for a four-wheeled automobile around the Isle of Man TT course. For those not familiar with the TT, it is a collection of particularly quick madmen who race motorcycles around a 25-km racing circuit that circumnavigates the Isle of Man and utilizes public public roads to do so. As a result of the dangerous roads, 231 racers have lost their lives on the course since its beginnings in 1907. If there was ever a rival to the Nordschleife, this is it. Back in 1990, the late Tony Pond, also a British rally driver, completed the course in 21 minutes in a Rover 827 Vitesse. The record had stood up until recently, when Higgins posted a blistering lap time of 19 minutes and 56.7 seconds, translating to an average speed of 182 km/h. The peak speed achieved during the lap was 261 km/h. What’s even more impressive is that the car Higgins used was a stock Subaru Impreza WRX STi only fitted with a safety rollcage, harnesses and fire system. With Subaru’s new record, we wonder whether the TT course will become the new Nurburgring, for manufacturers to prove their products.
For those not familiar with the Wörtherseetour, it is a rather important car show in VW owners’ hearts, based in Reifnitz, Austria. The 30th edition of this major meeting for Audi, Seat, Skoda and VW fans saw a rash of new concepts from all four brands including one special appearance by a tough little Audi. The Audi A1 clubsport quattro is a one-off vehicle built to the limits of technology utilizing a five-cylinder engine displacing 2.5L with turbocharging and direct fuel injection. Compared with the version used in the Audi TT RS and RS 3 Sportback on which it is based, the output of the TFSI has been increased dramatically to 503 hp and 486 lb-ft of torque. Another area where the A1 clubsport quattro shines is its overall weight of just 1,390 kilograms (3,064 lb). The powerful engine catapults the car from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds. From 0 to 200 km/h takes just 10.9 seconds, while the car goes from 80 to 120 km/h in fourth gear in just 2.4 seconds. The numbers are all impressive, but we have to admit, this angry little A1 looks the part. Lets hope we see something like this soon on this side of the pond.
The world of motorsport is in a massive state of change these days, as alternative power is starting to make its way to the upper echelons of the sport. With diesel being the fuel of choice for the top running teams at Le Mans, and everything from natural gas to butane being used in the American Le Mans Series, is motorsport ready for its first top-level EV racer? Nissan, makers of the Leaf EV that is soon to be on sale here in Canada, is currently testing a prototype racer based on the battery-powered hatchback. The NISMO RC, the first-ever zero-emission racing spec production vehicle, was unveiled at the 2011 New York International Auto Show in April and garnered considerable consumer attention throughout the show. Testing of a working example had been taking place in Japan for several months prior to the vehicle being unveiled in demonstration laps at the iconic Le Mans event earlier this month. So far, the NISMO RC is a racecar without a racing series, and while there is talk of Nissan starting up its own one-make championship for the car, no serious racing efforts are currently planned for it.
When mixing brawling and motorsport, one automatically looks to NASCAR to be the culprit of such acts, and maybe sportscar racing or even amateur racing. However, it’s not very often we hear of a brawl breaking out in the tightly-wound world of Formula One. Regardless, Force India driver Adrian Sutil is facing charges of Grievous Bodily Harm and a lawsuit from the CEO of Genii Capital, Eric Lux. Reports say that Sutil was celebrating at the Shanghai nightclub, M1NT, along with Lewis Hamilton after the Chinese GP, when an altercation took place. Genii Capital is the corporate owner of one of the few front running teams, Renault F1. Few details are available as to exactly what transpired, but Genii Capital CEO Eric Lux was seen afterwards with scars on his neck. Word has it Lux had to get stitches and broken glass removed following the incident. Looks as though Sutil, who races for one of the slower teams in the F1 field, can kiss goodbye any chances of racing for one of the faster teams, at least not the one owned by Genii.
The couple from Penticton, BC, who became lost and stranded in the wilds of northern Nevada are said to be the latest victims of what Consumer Reports is calling “Death by GPS.” In this case, however, the story has somewhat of a happy ending as the woman managed to stay alive for nearly seven weeks on trail mix and water, although her husband who left the stuck van has yet to be found. However, it does bring up the case of “Death by GPS.” Anyone who’s used a GPS system knows that settings for fastest or shortest routes often take drivers on an unconventional trip through unknown and often unused roadways. As Consumer Reports says, the issue is becoming more and more of a danger as society becomes complacent and puts blind faith in modern technology. While GPS navigation is a helpful tool, remember to have a back-up plan and use your common sense when traveling in an unknown area.
Chrysler Group has repaid $7.6 billion in outstanding U.S. and Canadian government loans following the completion of new refinancing transactions. The original loans were repaid in full, more than six years ahead of schedule, along with the payment of accrued interest and additional consideration. The company made payments of $5.9 billion to the U.S. Treasury (UST) and $1.7 billion to Export Development Canada (EDC) to retire the loans granted when Chrysler was going through a nasty bankruptcy back in June 2009. So where did the money come from? The Chrysler Group has seemingly procured the funds via new term loans and newly issued debt securities. Some of the payoff amount will also come from Fiat as a portion of the stock purchase.