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Motor Sport

Mercedes-AMG says GT Up!

Updates have been given to the premium range of two door Mercedes-AMG vehicles. In coupe and convertible forms, the Mercedes-AMG range are positioned as the premium versions of premium cars. Pricing reflects this too. The Mercedes-AMG GT S Coupé starts the range at $311,142 (MRLP, Manufacturers Recommended List price), with the Mercedes-AMG GT C Coupé at $329,843, Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster $355,242, and Mercedes-AMG GT R Coupé $361,042.Power is supplied via a 4.0L V8, complete with a pair of turbos, with the GT S delivering 384kW. The GT C and GT R respectively have 410kW and 430kW. Torque runs at 670Nm, 680Nm, and 700Nm, between 1,900rpm (GT S)/2,200rpm to 5,500rpm. Economy is quoted as 9.5L/100km for the GT S, 11.5L/100km and 11.4L/100km for the GT C and GT R respectively. Top speeds max out at 310kmm to 318kmh.

Equipment has been given a wave of the magic wand. Drivers will enjoy a new centre console that has AMG Drive Unit controls placed in a stylised V8 arrangement plus there are display buttons to select the drive programs and control dynamic functions. A bespoke AMG Performance steering wheel now has a rotary controller for quick switching between drive modes, and an additional controller allows the driver to nominate two performance shortcuts. These can be toggled during performance driving without a need for the driver to take their eyes off what lies ahead.The driver faces a fully customisable digital instrument cluster of 12.3 inches in size. There is a 10.25 inch media display, with the leading smartphone apps. Vision is improved up front courtesy of a camera and Traffic Sign Assist pairs with it. Illumination is courtesy of new LED headlights, whilst updated alloy wheels and paint colours add to the on-road presence. The addition of the MercedesMe Connect system allows the driver to control key functions plus view relevant vehicle data and service information via a linked smartphone.Comfort and luxury are standard, with powered and heated Nappa leather seats sat underneath a sunroof. The tiller is clad in Nappa and microfibre, whilst sounds come from a 640W Burrmester system. Drive safety is in the form of the Distronic cruise control whilst sporting drivers can track progress via the AMG Track Pace system. This leads to a drivetrain underpinned by AMG’s Ride Control Suspension and electronic limited slip diff, and AMG’s high-performance composite braking system inside 19 and 20 inch alloys. A retractable aerofoil sits over a hands-free operating system for the boot in the GT S. The GT R coupe has a carbon fibre roof and a static aerofoil. The GT C Roadster goes for a fabric soft-top roof and keeps occupants warm with the bespoke Airscarf system.
The vehicles should be in dealerships in the next few weeks.

Luxury For Sale With F1 Relationship: RBR Edition Aston Martin At Pickles.

Noted Auction house, Pickles, sometimes has cars available that have we would-be wannabe lotto winners salivating and wondering why the numbers didn’t drop for us. One of the latest is a 2017 Red Bull Racing Edition Aston Martin Vantage V8. One of just 17 made available for the Australian market, it’s clad in the iconic Red Bull colours of deep Mariana Blue, with contrasting bright yellow and red accents such as the brake callipers and air intake inserts, with Red Bull Racing embroidered headrests, and features scuff plates by a Formula One driver as special additions.

Power is provided by a 4.7L V8, with a reasonable 321kW of power and 490Nm of torque. They’re put to the ground via a six speed manual and driving the rear wheels. And with a kerb weight of around 1600kg, a zero to one hundred time of 4.8 seconds is possible. The exhaust system in these cars was given a bi-modal switch, allowing a deeper, more grumble oriented note throughout the rev range.

Inside the smallest of the Aston Martin range is an interior that shows the era its roots were based in. But to raise that level, there have been detail touches such as the steering wheel being covered in Alcantara with a racing stripe at 12 o’clock, the dash highlighted with carbon-fibre trim, and the Red Bull Racing logo adorning the seats. The RBR Vantage also has Apple CarPlay added to the user friendly entertainment system which includes Bluetooth streaming.

It’s a proper driver’s car too, with a heavy but communicative hydraulic power steering system. It’s one that connects the driver to the road via the tiller, telling the driver just what the front wheels are doing and which part of the road they’re in contact with. The manual transmission is along the same lines, with a high pickup point balanced by a shifter mechanism that is smoother than a lothario’s pick-up line.

And although perhaps a little dated in the suspension technology, it’s nonetheless a comfortable, enjoyable ride, yet still allows a driver to exploit the sheer Aston Martin-ness of the RBR EditionVantage’s heritage.

When originally released, the RBR Edition Aston Martin Vantage was listed as a fiver under $260K driveaway. One lucky buyer via the Pickles Auction will have this in their collection after the 14th of October, when this, and a sterling range of other hi-po cars such as a 2015 Ferrari California, go under the hammer. Stay up to date by visiting the Pickles website.

Who’s Hugh? An Aussie On The Rise Barters For The Future.

Go-karting is one of the avenues that many high level drivers have used to enter motorsport. Be they a V8 Supercar driver or in the F1 family, karting is in the bloodline of many. One of the high profile Australians in motorsport, Daniel Ricciardo, started in karting.There’s a “new kid on the block” in the form of Hugh Barter. Aged 13, Barter already has close to a decade’s worth of karting experience, and is looking to drive in the upper echelons of motorsport. Hugh was admitted to the AWC Motorsport Academy earlier this year. The academy has joined with former V8 Supercars driver Marcus Ambrose to help train and coach the “next generation” of drivers.

Hugh’s path to the academy has included the Rotax Pro Tour. 2019 sees him in his second year in the Junior Max class, a category recognised around the globe for junior drivers. The tour kicked off in Port Melbourne and proved to be a challenge first up. Round 2 of the tour and Round 1 of the Australian Kart Championship in Ipswich, Queensland, showed promise in each of the heats however mechanical issues arose and took Barter out of contention in most of the heats. These hiccups has Hugh start in 11th in the round’s final race, and it all came together with the chequered flag seeing Hugh across the line in 1st.

Rounds at Eastern Creek and Newcastle had good results, with high placings getting Barter up into the top 3 of the championships. Extra experience came with Barter running two different karts. KA4 Junior Light Class and KA3 Junior Class are configured for different weight and grip levels. This flexibility has paid dividends with the rest of the season seeing Barter improve and gain some valuable points to finish overall in 5th in the Pro Tour over halfway into the season and was in 2nd in the Karting Championships.Puckapunyal in Victoria played host to Round 4 of the Rotax Pro Tour and Barter was in a new kart from Praga. Immediately there was improvement and the weekend finished with Hugh up into 3rd overall.

Results in his career so far now have Hugh Barter ready to head to Italy this month to represent Australia in the Rotax World Titles. With his experience in both time and the different classes, Barter is looking to use this trip to further his ambitions in motorsport. You can follow his progress via hughbarter.com.au

Bugatti’s Chiron Goes Lower For Higher.

When automotive speed records are talked about, engine power and a slippery, aerodynamically shaped, body are the first thoughts. Weight, too, is a thought. Then there is the type of vehicle and it’s fair to think of jet or rocket powered cars. Australia’s Rosco McGlashan, for example, is finalising his Aussie Invader 5 rocket car for a tilt at the outright speed record. But what about location?

Bugatti recently faced that question head on when it came to attempting and creating a supercar speed record of 304.773 miles per hour or 490.484 kilometres per hour. Although the Chiron based car, driven by British born Bugatti chief test driver Andy Wallace, had been lengthened in the body by chassis maker Dallara for a better airflow, had a modified exhaust for the otherwise standard quad-turbo 1,600hp W16 engine, and had been lowered in height, Bugatti had looked into a couple of locations for the attempt. As it turns out, there’s some “Big Bang Theory” style physics involved.

In Germany is a state known as Lower Saxony. It’s situated in the north-west of the country, and it’s home to a very special part of the automotive world. It’s the Ehra-Lessien high speed bowl. There are three lanes and the track is 21 kilometres, or 13 miles, in length. Naturally, safety is crucial, and at the northern and southern ends are high quality safety facilities should things go awry. That is a positive, straight away. However, the physics comes from the height of the location itself. Ehra-Lessien is virtually at sea-level, which means air pressure and density is higher than a location even just 1,000 metres higher. The actual molecules of air are more tightly compressed at sea level and as height increases, that density decreases as a result of the pressure falling off.

Nevada, in the west of the continental United States, plays host to many high speed attempts. Neighbouring Utah has the Bonneville salt flats, and these are 1,291 metres above sea level. This height difference has the benefit of having air pressure at around 86% to 88% lower than at sea level, such as that found at Ehra-Lessien. This effectively means that less engine effort is required to achieve, theoretically, the same speed at sea level.

There is a name for the relationship between inertial forces and frictional forces. This is called the Reynolds Number. This equation is then used with air pressure & density and a vehicle’s drag coefficient. Climb a mountain and the Reynolds Number decreases in correlation with the density of the air. To use 1,000 metres as a yardstick density has decreased by around ten percent, and the Reynolds Number also has decreased by ten percent. However it’s been calculated that the Reynolds Number is still at a level that has a vehicle’s drag coefficient virtually equaling what it would read at sea level. This became part of Bugatti’s choice in location, with the safety facilities becoming the sealer of the deal.

Although it was calculated that the Bugatti Chiron could have seen a v-Max of 329mph, possibly even 330mph, by undertaking the attempt in the U.S., the final differences were, in Bugatti’s opinion, not worth the effort needed to get to the proposed Nevada location. It was deemed that the safety factor in Germany was higher and the chance of a “mere” extra 25mph by using a higher location was outweighed in the safety stakes because of a one way track, meaning if there had been an incident, safety vehicles would take longer to reach the site.

As it is, Bugatti have created a new supercar speed record and they’re now content to leave that area of challenge to focus on further developments of their range.

Monterey Car Week: Pebble Beach Concours de Elegance.

In a field of diamonds there will be one that will shine, that will sparkle, just that brighter than the glittering surroundings. In the week of events celebrating automobiles, motorsport, fine foods and drinks, and superbly handcrafted timepieces, a stunning beachside locale named Pebble Beach becomes host once a year to a select number of the world’s best classic automobiles.

The area is steeped in history. Motorsport plays a large part in the origin of what is now the world’s premier concours event, with returning soldiers needing a place to vent post-WW2 frustrations. Road race events sprang up around the country, and Pebble Beach, with its natural oceanside setting and intoxicating mix of varying roads, quickly became a favorite. 1950 was the year the first concours was held and in the style of what had been seen in Europe. It was 1952 that saw the 18th green of the Pebble Beach Gold Club become the home of the concours and where it remains as the host for this year and beyond.

Classic cars are the heartbeat of the Pebble Beach Concours. For 2019 Bentley and Zagato will celebrate their centennials here, Bugatti will showcase historic Grand Prix and Touring cars, and Hot Rods that have featured on magazine covers will be celebrated. the 2019 Class list reads like an automotive “who’s who” with Bentley, Duesenberg, Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, and Packard to name but a few that will be showcasing their metal monuments to automotive beauty.

Bentley Motors At Pebble Beach

It’s been said that to be accepted into the strictly limited numbers of entrants is honor enough. To keep the gloss and lustre that goes with that acceptance fresh, the class list is varied each year. Entries are accepted until a predetermined date in January with the lucky few notified by April for the August meeting. In order to ensure that only the very best of the very best are selected, potential entrants must only show at Pebble Beach. Nor can an entrant re-enter the car for another ten years, unless the car is sold and undergoes a substantive restoration.

It’s these kinds of stringent guidelines that allow attendees to see different cars each year. Each year brings fresh light to the field and returning guests are sure to see outstanding examples of cars built up to but not past 1972. Whilst the cars are hand-cared for, with super fine cloths and love working together to ensure the best possible shine, guests can wander through the gardens and partake of gourmet foods, exquisitely fine champagne and wines, and order picnic baskets with up to 800 wines to complement the specially prepared fare.

There are more than metal, leather, and rubber to appeal. Pebble Beach also host charity fundraising and in 2018 raised over $2.1 million. Over 80 charities in the local area benefit from the hard work and sponsorships, with some directly aimed at encouraging a new generation of automotive enthusiasts. What these new members of one of the world’s most famous concours can see is how the automobiles are judged for authenticity, for history, function, and style. They’ll learn how the class structure works in respect to the marques, the rarities that are barn finds are rebuilt to better than brand new, and what makes a winner at Pebble Beach so utterly special.

2018 Best of Show 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta

Class judges are in a team that work with a Chief Judge. Automobiles that win their class to be named First in Class are the ones that become eligible for a tilt at the highly prized crown: Best of Show. Judging involves the Best of Show ballots which are provided to the Chairman, the Chief Judge, the Chief Honorary Judge, each Chief Class Judge, each Honorary Judge team leader, and select Class Judges. Judging is independent and free. Once the ballots are counted after judging, the most votes become part of Pebble Beach history, with the winner named Best of Show and becoming part of a very, very, select family.

The 2019 Pebble Beach Concours de Elegance will be on Sunday, August 19. For those looking to enter or attend for 2020 and August 16, www.pebblebeach.net is the site to go to.

Monterey Car Week: The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering.

The Quail. An unusual name, one big event. It’s part of the week that celebrates new and classic autos, new and classic aircraft, high end personal items and cordon bleu’ food in the coastal town of Monterey, California, every August. The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering itself is held in the beautifully manicured grounds of the Quail Lodge Resort and Gold Club in Carmel, just a few miles south of Monterey and a couple of miles east of Pebble Beach.

It’s perhaps the youngest of the numerous automotive themed events and shows that are held in the area, with this being more focused on motorsport. There are plenty of historic style vehicles that attend, but such is its stature, major brands such as Lamborghini and Bugatti, choose The Quail last year as the launch event for a new vehicle. Bugatti, for example, took the covers off of the Divo, powered by an 8.0L W16 engine. It’s a short-run car priced at “just” six million dollars…

This year’s event is to be held on August 16 and each year the organizers go for a theme or two. For this year, Bentley will celebrate and commemorate 100 years of motoring excellence, whilst McLaren will showcase a quarter century of its ground breaking F1. Modern times are given a nod with A Tribute To the Electric Car Movement also being part of the day.

Mclaren Senna (Photo Credit McLaren

It’s the sniff of petrol, the scent of grease, the raw appeal of well worn leather in the motorsports part of the event that draws the crowds. Traditional Classes such as Post-War Sports and Post-War Racing feature heavily, as do Custom Coachwork builds alongside Sports and Racing Motorcycles. There have been racing team displays such as Martini, who have brought along a selection of their legendary Lancias. Pagani have been here, Ferraris old and new gleam in the westering sun, performance companies such as Hennesy have highlighted their Venom F5, and Datsun/Nissan have provided rolling history lessons with classic rally cars.

Rimac’s California Edition C Two Hypercar (Credit: Somer Hooker/New Atlas)

Crowd management is simple. Tickets to enter are limited and this is done to maximise the usage of the location. It enables the cars to be properly viewed and enjoyed without fighting through crowds. It allows the useable space to showcase the event’s reason for existence: the cars. And it adds exclusivity which means the sponsors and haute couture suppliers aren’t pushed to the limit with supplies. Each ticket is fully inclusive too, so the once off cost covers an attendee for everything inside the grounds. However, there are tickets for the philanthropic which donates a portion of the ticket cost to charity, with a premium ticket granting access to helicopter transport to the Laguna Seca Raceway for associated events.

Genesis Essentia Concept: super smooth(Credit: Somer Hooker/New Atlas)

But it’s the judging, the concours, that brings the masses, and it’s done differently here at The Quail. Cars are put into classes and each car is judged by the owners of the other cars in the same class. The winner receives the “Best In Class” award and each of the winners then competes in a “Best Of Show” contest in the Rolex Circle of Champions, and again the winner is the one adjudged by the owners of the cars in competition. Last year’s winner was a truly beautiful example of the best from Italy.

Curtiss Zeus

A Pininfarina concept, a one off, and built upon the chassis of the Lancia Aurelia B52, the 1953 Lancia Aurelia PF200C owned by Anne Brockinton Lee stamped itself as being worthy of the accolade awarded from 235 competitors. A ten year restoration process ensured no part was left untouched in its meticulous rebuild. It’s this that makes The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering virtually unique in automotive week on the Monterey Peninsula.

Montery’s Auto Week: McCall’s Motorworks Revival.

Monterey, California. It’s located slap bang in the middle of the state’s coastline and once a year plays host to a number of car shows. Those two words, however, do not do justice to what is made available as there are events such as the fabled Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance to attend in a must-see automotive week.

The McCall’s Motorworks Revival on August 14 is the ignition point for the week and for 2019 will be held once again at the Monterey Jet Center. It’s an ideal location as it allows the organisers the opportunity to take advantage of the open spaces, combine aircraft, luxury and sports cars, high end personal luxury items, and more.
Of note for the 2019 event will be the attendance of world renowned performance car company, Roush. They’ll be showcasing their one-of-a-kind Stage 3 Mustang and a powerplant producing 710 horsepower. It’ll sit by the side of their new F-150 SC pickup. Power here is from a supercharged 650 horsepower 5.0L V8.

High end watch maker, Chronoswiss, will be there and they’ll be unveiling their startling Flying Grand Open Gear ReSec. Limited to just 50 pieces this beautiful and stylish timepiece embodies true Swiss watchmaking.

Along with the airport’s modern and historic aircraft displays, historic motorsport cars will appeal to those with more than a hint of gasoline in the blood. This year will see the BMW 320 Turbo race car, as campaigned by Jim Busby in the International Motor Sports Association competition. This car is just one of only two of its type built in 1978. It’s been raced at Silverstone, the Nurburgring, and competed with Jim behind the wheel in the 1979 IMSA GTX series. There will also be a LeMans winning Porsche at this year’s event in the shape of a GT3 RSR. Porsche have a long history with that famous race and this car is sure to have plenty of eyes on her.

Cessna is a name familiar around the world to anyone with even a passing interest in aviation. McCall Events are delighted to have this year’s Motorworks Revival Cessna’s new Citation Longitude. This sleek business jet is powered by a pair of Honeywell HTF7000 turbofan engines, has the quietest interior in its class, and can be configured to seat up to 12 passengers.

Attendees can taste high end fare, such as the gourmet caviar options from the California Caviar Company, or down a finger of tequila from El Jefe Tequila., whilst admiring Lamborghinis, McLarens new and historic, Gulfstreams, Pilatus aircraft, and perhaps even a James Bond Aston Martin DB5 or the original, prototype, Ford Mustang.

This year marks the 28th McCall’s Motorworks Revival. At its core is Gordon McCall, a man with plenty of events and concours experience. Gordon has over a quarter century of judging experience at Pebble Beach, and is the co-founder & motorsports director for “The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering”.
Tickets for the event go on sale the year before, shortly after the previous event, and are highly prized amongst regular attendees.

HSV SportsCat Ready To Pounce.

Four wheel drive four door utes are amongst the biggest sellers in the Aussie market but it’s not an easy job to make them look tough and ready for an all-in brawl. HSV somehow manages to pull that off with their warmed over version of the Colorado. Packing a 147kW/500Nm diesel (with auto transmission), the SportsCat is more than a “whack on a sticker pack” effort. It’s now into its Series2 offering and it looks the goods, visibly and underneath. It’s available in two spec levels, SportsCat V and SportsCat SV.
Engineered to pound the ground, and hard, SportsCat has uprated frontsprings, stiffened to cope with 110 Newtons per millimetre of impact stress. This translates to far less body roll and movement when getting serious or even taking it easy on the freeway. The rerated suspension also has the front raised by 25mm, increasing the travel available and increasing ground clearance. HSV also call upon SupaShock Suspension to help in the ride and handling.
Connected to six-spoke 18 x 10 wheels wrapped in specially developed Cooper tyres, the dampers from SupaShock, available as factory fitted options, are larger diameter items. By reducing losses of response to friction they are more quickly able to adapt to the ever changing needs of on and off-road driving. Factor in a HSV engineered decoupling bar for the rear axle anti-roll bars, which increases stability at speed by controlling the roll attitude of the rear end, it activates when the SportsCat’s drive system is put into 4WD Low. It’s standard on the SportsCat SV and optionable on the SportsCat V.

Stopping power comes courtesy of the AP racing package. as fitted to the HSV GTS-R, it features four pistons callipers, 362mm x 32mm front rotors to haul down the big machine. These are standard on the SportsCat SV, optionable on the SportsCat V.
Inside and upfront, SportsCat features a reworked interior, including six position adjustable electric seats for driver and passenger. There is specific HSV trim on the dash, doors, and on the steering wheel. The seats are bespoke HSV, with embossed headrests, leather, and Windsor Suede. Outside HSV have a optionable sailplane for the roll-over bar.
Tech and safety are in the form of Remote Start, Front and Rear Park Assist,Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and seven airbags including driver’s kneebag. Towing is rated as up to 3.5 tonnes. These are backed by a five year, unlimited kilometre warranty and roadside assist package.

Pricing is as follows: SportsCat V six-speed manual is $62,490, with the SportsCat V six-speed auto ticking the box at $64,690. Move to the upper level and SportsCat SV with six-speed manual is $66,790 and SportsCat SV six-speed auto tops out at $68,990. Here is where you can find out more.

EV Vs HV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s time for the big showdown between the two rivals hoping to knock internal combustion engines off the top spot in the world of automotive power. (cue drumrolls, flashing lights blaring heavy metal music and a hyperventilating commentator).  In the green corner, we have… Electricity!  In the other green corner, we have… Hydrogen!  Which of these two mighty rivals will win the title for best engine type and come out champion and win the Green Energy title?

OK, settle down.  Deep breath and time for me to stop channelling the pro wrestling I watched the other night when I was in need of a good laugh.  Right, that’s better.  Now to continue with a discussion of whether hydrogen-powered vehicles or EVs are the best.

Of course, one has to look at all aspects of motoring to decide what’s best. What’s more, when it comes to individual decisions as to what car you want to buy and drive, your personal priorities will come into play. So, without further ado, let the contest begin…

Environmental impact and emissions: On the road from the end-user perspective, it’s a draw.  Running EVs and hydrogen doesn’t pump out pollution or greenhouse gases.  However, the way that the electricity is generated or the hydrogen gas is produced may have to be taken into account. If the widespread uptake of EVs means that power companies have to fire up otherwise disused old coal- or gas-fired generators, EVs might not be all that green.  If the power comes from hydro, wind or solar, then it’s all good.  Similarly with hydrogen: if the process of getting said hydrogen into a fuel form can be done without chewing through non-renewables or pumping out nasties, then it’s all good – and we’re working on that, as we’ve discussed in an earlier post.

Maintenance: Assuming that you can find a mechanic that can deal with EVs (there are more of these knocking around these days) and/or hydrogen vehicles (we need a nice little abbreviation for these: what about HVs?), this is another draw.  Both types of vehicle have fewer moving parts than what’s needed in an ICE (internal combustion engine) – both involve electric motors that create rotational motion directly rather than relying on a controlled explosion to push a piston that turns into rotational motion.  Fewer moving parts means less friction, which means less wear and tear.  However, to be fair, EVs and HVs haven’t been around quite as long, so we will have to wait a bit and see what happens as they get older.

Accessibility: OK, here EVs win hands down.  Charging points can be found in all sorts of places and every time I go to my favourite holiday spot, I come across a new charger where there wasn’t one before.  You can also get charging points for your home so you can charge an EV overnight.  Although our very own CSIRO are working on ways to make transportation and storage of hydrogen easier, we still don’t have very many hydrogen bowsers out there… or at least not yet.

Cost: At the moment, electricity is cheaper to get than hydrogen fuel, so this is another win for EVs.

Time: As a lot of you have already discovered, it can take quite a while to charge the battery of an EV up to full, kind of like it does with your phone or laptop. Even the very fastest superchargers take half an hour to get a battery to 100%. However, hydrogen pumps as easily as petrol or diesel, and you all know how quick that is, so HVs win here.

Range: Another very clear win for hydrogen. In 2017, the Toyota Mirai clocked up 502 km, while a test version of a Tesla picked up somewhere between 397 and 506 km.  In practice and with everyday people driving, the range of HVs tends to be a lot longer than that of EVs.

Specs:

The Telsa Roadster (due for release in 2020) boasts some specs that make all the other supercars, muscle cars and hypercars look like Granny’s little runabout: 0–62 mph (that’s about the same as 100 km/h)) in 1.9 seconds, a top speed of 250 MILES per hour and a reputed 10,000 Nm of torque according to Elon Musk.  Yes, I’m counting those zeroes as well and wondering if that’s for real.  A nice nerd has explained how this figure might be a wee bit misleading, as Tesla’s talking about wheel torque, not engine torque:

On the HV front, the Pininfarina H2 Speed racing machine claims to do the 0–62 mph sprint in 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 300 km/h and a maximum power output (from four engines combined) of 480 kW; torque figures are hard to come by.

Actually, I would quite like to see a real head-to-head race between the Pininfarina H2 Speed and the Tesla Roadster, and not just because it would be cool to see the Tesla’s acceleration in action.  One of the things that puts me off traditional motor racing a bit is the engine noise and the smell of the fumes, but when electricity and hydrogen compete, these would be totally gone and that’s the whole point of EVs and HVs.  We can probably say now that the Tesla would win the sprint, but over a longer race, the quicker refuelling time of the H2 Speed might make up for this.

 

* Credit where credit is due.  Some of these stats and comparisons have been taken from a 2017 issue of How It Works magazine (issue 105); there have been some developments in both corners since then!

Niki Lauda.

Speed, we are told, is a dangerous thing to deal with. It is, therefore, a true oddity that so few Formula 1 drivers, people that are amongst the fastest drivers in the world, die. It then makes the passing of a driver, current or past, all the more poignant and tragic.Just days before the 2019 F1 race at Monaco, possibly the most picturesque location in the F1 calendar, Niki Lauda, well up there with Brabham, Schumacher, Fangio, and of course Hunt, passed away from complications following lung surgery in 2018, the flu earlier this year, and kidney dialysis. The Austrian born Lauda was, tragically, best known for his unexpected survival from a crash at the 1976 German F1 Grand Prix. His car exploded, trapping him in the cockpit, with rescuers taking close to a minute to extricate the badly burned driver from the cabin. Lauda said of the crash that it ripped his helmet from his head, leading to the horrific scars he bore. Taken to hospital he was not expected to survive, with last rites performed. Somehow, he was out out of bed and competing just 42 days later and would go on to win again.Lauda celebrated his 70th birthday in February of 2019. Born in Vienna, Austria, Lauda found his calling in motorsport and by 1971 was racing in Formula 2. Sadly, his family, a wealthy one with his grandfather being a Viennese industrialist, saw his racing as unworthy of the name, leaving Lauda with little option but to cease contact with them. Progress came in the form of bank loans and willing assistance from The March team in 1972, before a change to the BRM team in 1973. This team was also in the doldrums, looking at collapse.

His then co-driver at BRM, Clay Regazzoni, left BRM to join Ferrari for 1974. This would prove fateful for Lauda. The great Enzo Ferrari had asked Regazzoni of his opinion of Lauda. The response was so favourable that Ferrari hired the Austrian. He quickly found form with a second place in his debut race. He would win the Spanish GP a few races later but reliability issues aw Ferrari’s lightning start fizzle.  1975 started slowly with no wins for the first four races then it all clicked for Lauda and the team. Driving the Ferrari 312T Lauda would win four of the next five GPs. he would also bag his first world championship after a win at Monza and Ferrari would also take out the constructors championship that year.

His rivalry and friendship with other drivers was growing, particularly with James Hunt. The pair had raced each other from 1973 and although their seemed a fractious relationship, there was strong mutual respect. That respect would be shown by Lauda after his Nurburgring crash, with Hunt winning the 1976 championship by a solitary point. Lauda had receovered to a point where he was able to race again, however his burns had left him with surgery required to rebuild his eyelids. The final race of the season, in Japan, was beset by heavy rain. Lauda had declared, just as he had before his Nurburgring crash, that safety should be the number one proviso. He raced just one lap before retiring, which gave his friend and rival Hunt the chance to win, which he did. Hunt’s energetic lifestyle was at odds with Lauda’s way of life, yet their respect was such that when Hunt passed away, Lauda said: “When I heard he’d died age 45 of a heart attack I wasn’t surprised, I was just sad.”

Lauda would go on to be a successful businessman, founding an airline, plus he was called upon by the Ferrari F1 team to be a consultant. In 2012 he would be employed by Mercedes F1 as a non-executive chairman and would be involved in having the team sign Lewis Hamilton. At the 2019 Monaco F1 GP, he was remembered in various ways.Rest In Peace, Niki Lauda.