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Juke-R Making its Racing Debut

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  • On 27, Dec 2011

“The Dubai Autodrome will play host to a very special guest for the 2012 Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai race.

In addition to the scads of GT3-spec BMW Z4s, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGs, Ferrari 458 Italias and Porsche 911s, the pace car running in front of them will be none other than the Nissan Juke R.

The 480-horsepower GT-R/Juke mash-up hasn’t made its debut in front of the public yet, so unless Nissan has a surprise up its sleeves before the race, which is scheduled for the weekend of January 12-14, this will be Juke R’s coming out party. We won’t be on hand to snag shots of the R in Dubai, but rumour has it that it could make its first North American appearance at the Chicago Auto Show.”

Source: Autoblog

British Parliament after Jermey Clarkson

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  • On 19, Dec 2011

“Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC, has been forced to go to bat for Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson after the television host jokingly suggested striking public sector workers should be shot in front of their own families. Yep. That sounds like Clarkson to us.

According to the UK’s Guardian and Telegraph dailies, members of the UK Parliament then began calling for the government-owned BBC to oust Jezza, with Labour Party member Jim Sheridan asking whether or not Clarkson was a luxury the BBC couldn’t afford. Around 32,000 people sent complaints to the network about the host’s disparaging remarks, but Thompson countered, suggesting that Clarkson is one of the UK’s chief cultural exports at the moment.

The BBC executive also said far more people would be upset to see the gregarious host disappear from Top Gear than had complained about his flippant remarks.

This is just the latest episode in a long line of Clarkson’s skirmishes with various nationalities, religions and organizations, but it doesn’t look like the British personality is going anywhere any time soon.”

Source: Autoblog

Meet the $100,000 Focus

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  • On 19, Dec 2011

“There aren’t many American cars that approach $100,000. As excited as they were by the ZR1’s performance figures, Corvette enthusiasts balked at how a ‘Vette could cost so much. And of course the Ferrari-slaying Ford GT went for a good US$150k if you could get your hands on one, and was probably worth even more. But a Focus? You’ve got to be kidding, right?

No, we’re not kidding, but this also isn’t the same Focus filling shopping mall parking lots and rental fleets across North America and around the world, either. This is the Focus ST-R, the turn-key racing car launched by Ford Racing back in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It packs a competition-spec 2.0L Focus ST-R EcoBoost four, a full FIA-certified roll cage, racing brakes and a track-tuned suspension.

In short, it’s all but completely ready to tackle any of a variety of touring car series the world over, from Grand-Am ST and SCCA World Challenge TC to the World Touring Car Championship and similar local series around the world. So while the reported US$98,995 sticker price may seem like a lot for a Focus, it may be the turn-key bargain of the tin-top racing world.”

Source: Autoblog

2012 F1 Teams Shaping Up

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  • On 19, Dec 2011

“Now that the 2011 season is behind us, Formula One is focusing on the year ahead. So far, the top teams are keeping their talents in place: Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will continue at Red Bull Racing, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton will take another crack at McLaren, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa will soldier on at Scuderia Ferrari, and Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg will stick it out another season at what’s now begin called the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team.

The bigger changes are happening in the mid-field and back-market teams. Lotus (formerly Renault) is bringing back Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean. Toro Rosso is likewise switching up its roster with Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne. Meanwhile Sauber and Caterham (formerly Lotus) are both keeping their drivers (Kaumi Kobayashi & Sergio Perez, and Heikki Kovalainen & Jarno Trulli, respectively).

HRT has picked up perennial McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa, but has yet to announce its second seat. Marussia (formerly Virgin) is keeping Timo Glock and bringing in lackluster newcomer Charles Pic. Williams is keeping Pastor Maldonado but has yet to confirm whether Rubens Barrichello will be returning. And the final piece to the puzzle was filled in today when Force India announced it is keeping former DTM champ Paul di Resta in place, but replacing Adrian Sutil with Nico Hulkenberg, a German driver who raced for Williams after winning titles in Formula 3, A1GP and GP2 and who spent last year as Force India’s test driver.

With just two seats (Williams and HRT) still vacant, the 2012 championship is already shaping up before the new year has even started.”

Source: Autoblog

JFK’s Hearse Heading to Auction

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  • On 19, Dec 2011

“There was a touch of controversy when Barrett-Jackson auctioned what had been purported to be the 1963 Pontiac Bonneville ambulance that transported John F. Kennedy to the hospital the day he was assassinated. There is no such doubt about this (at least, not at the time of writing): the 1964 Cadillac Hearse (Lot #1293) that carried JFK’s casket to the Dallas airport.

Built as a showpiece for a funeral director’s convention that took place just before the assassination, it was bought by a Dallas funeral home when the convention ended. The very next month it was put to a use no one could have expected. It has has just three owners, and will be up for auction at the 41st Annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction, Jan. 15-22, at WestWorld of Scottsdale, Arizona.”

Source: Autoblog

Saab Files for Bankruptcy

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  • On 19, Dec 2011

“The Wall Street Journal reports Saab has finally filed for bankruptcy protection in a Swedish district court. Saab CEO Victor Muller reportedly turned in the bankruptcy application just hours before a court was set to rule on the company’s reorganization. According to the company’s Facebook page, the filing comes nearly two years to the day after Saab first learned it would be scrapped as part of the General Motors reorganization.

The latest development in the automaker’s tireless fight for survival could be the last chapter in the Saab story. Saab has been in a state of suspended production since April when the company ran out of cash and the company’s creditors came knocking. The company then entered into government-sanctioned creditor protection as Muller worked to find investors in the storied Swedish brand.

An on again, off again suitor soap opera carried on for months with Chinese companies Youngman and Pang Da, but repeated cash flow delays and vetos from GM squashed that deal before it could get off of the ground. GM expressed concerns over Saab working so closely with its direct competitors in China when so much of the Saab technological encyclopedia was penned by the American automaker.”

Source: Autoblog

2013 Nissan GTR Track Pack

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  • On 12, Dec 2011

“The Nissan GT-R has become something of a cult favourite for a number of types of enthusiasts: supercar slayers, import tuners, and especially track-day junkies. Particularly in the UK, where congestion (and a proliferation of speed cameras) prevents stretching out your car’s legs, where there are legendary racing circuits abound and where, subsequently, Nissan has now rolled out a new Track Pack for the recently updated GT-R.

The Track Pack doesn’t touch the engine, so the same 542-horsepower twin-turbo V6 applies. What it does provide is better cooling for the brakes with extra ducting front and rear, lighter six-spoke Rays alloys, a stiffer suspension (whose dampers can, of course, still be softened for road use), and an interior stripped of its rear seats and bolstered in the front for harder cornering.

Nissan UK is pricing the Track Pack at £10,000 ($16,000) on top of the £74,450 ($119,000) purchase price of a stock GT-R, and fortunately, the kit’s addition doesn’t preclude it from being driven on public roads. Although the package is currently only available overseas, we’re hopeful that when the revised Godzilla makes its way to these shores, we’ll have a chance to get our driving gloves on it as well.”

Source: Autoblog

Next Gen WRX Downsizes Motor

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  • On 12, Dec 2011

“WRX. Those three letters tell automotive enthusiasts the world over that they are not dealing with an ordinary Impreza, and it all began in rally racing with a 2.0-litre turbocharged flat-four engine. Though some models – including the current WRX and STI in Canada – had engines displacing as much as 2.5 litres, the WRX earned its reputation with 2.0 litres, and that’s the displacement specified for competition use.

According to Motor Trend, the 2013 WRX, which will likely debut sometime in 2012, will go back to its original engine size. The new powerplant will reportedly be based on the engine found in the 2013 Subaru BRZ, a clean-sheet design for Subaru, with the addition of the expected turbocharger. That ought to bring power up from 200 horsepower to about 270.

Now we come to the question of what platform in which the engine will reside. While common sense would dictate that the latest version of the Impreza, which was recently released as a 2012 model, would get the WRX treatment, we’ve heard rumblings that Subaru would keep its current WRX shell around for a few more years while it continues development of the next chassis. Only time will tell.”

Source: Autoblog

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