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BY: Bix

Steve Millen Crushes New Zealand in a Nissan GT-R

Godzilla, Kiwis and rallying? Yes, please.

Rallying remains one of our favorite forms of automotive racing—not just because it requires drivers to turn the wheels in two different directions, but because it's the form of racing that seems most similar to everyday driving. (more…)
November 12, 2010 at 04:10 PM
BY: Bix

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento Could Enter Production

But there wouldn't be many, and they wouldn't be cheap. Surprised?

If, like many out there, you were captivated by the lightweight Sesto Elemento concept car Lamborghini debuted at this year's Paris Motor Show, then we hope this makes your day: the car maker is thinking about approving a limited production run of the car.

But you'll probably need about $3.4 million.

Your heart still pumping? Okay, good, because you need to be in decent shape so you can run down to your local Lamborghini dealership and slap down your deposit, as the car maker is talking seriously limited production here. Right now, rumors of between seven and 10 units are being bandied about—and the company reportedly already has five firm orders on the books even without a guarantee the car will be made.

While the Sesto Elemento certainly has panache, we can't imagine blowing more than $3 million on one of them; odds are pretty good the Gallardo of, say, 2016 will offer pretty similar looks and performance and cost about 1/15th the price. So we think we'll just wait until then. (Plus, we won't be scared to death of driving our one-of-10-in-existence-car into a tree.) But hey, maybe that sort of logic is why we're not rich.

(See our pictures of the Sesto Elemento here.)

[via Automoto.fr]

November 12, 2010 at 02:16 PM
BY: Bix

Lamborghini, Audi and Bentley to Use Porsche Platform?

Other brands could score Panamera-based sedans.

While most news brought about as a result of Volkswagen's Porsche buyout has been about new Porsches to be built on VW Group platforms (such as the Q5-based Cajun and the unnamed sub-Boxster roadster), it was only a matter of time until VW decided to poach one of Porsche's platforms for broader use. (more…)
November 12, 2010 at 12:58 PM
BY: Bix

Ford's Boss Mustang Gives "Turn Key Race Car" New Meaning

New Boss has two keys—each unlocking a different personality.

Apparently taking a cue from the Bugatti Veyron (which requires a second key to be turned, nuclear launch-style, before hitting maximum speed) Ford has outfitted the new Mustang Boss 302 with what they're calling a "TracKey"—a second ignition key that activates more aggressive ECU programming.

Each ignition key activates a separate set of engine management parameters on the ECU. Use the regular black key, and drivers will get the street treatment; crank the engine with the red key, and it unlocks ass-kicking mode. Ford says the TracKey program opens up additional low-end torque, makes the throttle response more aggressive and provides more engine braking to preserve the brakes themselves. But the system doesn't come with the car from the factory—you have to bring your Boss to an authorized Ford Racing dealership to have the new programming installed.

Ford also announced another perk to Boss ownership this week: a complimentary Boss Immersion experience, which sounds like being buried under a pile of Hugo's finest suits but actually involves free track lessons at Utah's Miller Motorsports Park. While Boss owners must take care of their own transportation and lodging, Ford attends to a full day of racetrack driving in the car maker's own Boss Mustangs—so you don't have to worry about blasting the hell out of your own car's brakes or tires. Free track lessons and a race-ready engine program? Sounds like Ford is taking the Boss's motorsports heritage very seriously. And we like it. [via Ford]

Press Release:

2012 Mustang Boss 302 lets loose with TracKey; choose stock or full-race calibration * TracKey, available for 2012 Mustang Boss 302 owners through Ford Racing dealers, adds TracMode powertrain control software to the car for track use, providing full race calibration and two-stage launch control in addition to stock calibration, without compromising factory warranty * Using a dual-path powertrain control module (PCM), TracKey software is installed after the vehicle is purchased; accessed by a specially programmed vehicle key, new code coexists with stock Boss software, allowing drivers to choose between street or track use simply by selecting a key * No aftermarket chips or permanent modifications are made when TracKey is used, allowing owners to return to the stock setting by starting the car with a regular key DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 11, 2010 – You hold two keys: One has a black Boss logo, the other red: Either will start your 2012 Mustang Boss 302. Slide the all-black key into the lock cylinder, give it a twist and you’re treated to 444 ponies worth of smooth, streetable driving joy. Or choose red – the TracKey – and you have a competition-ready track car. A joint project between Mustang engineers and the Ford Racing dealer network, TracKey adds a second set of powertrain control module (PCM) software to a customer’s Mustang Boss 302, activated by a specially programmed vehicle key. When invoked by TracKey, the new TracMode software alters more than 200 engine management parameters, increasing low-end torque and turning the potent but well-mannered stock Boss into a competition-ready track car. Remove TracKey and start Boss with the standard key, and all factory engine settings are restored for a comfortable drive home from the course. “From an engine management standpoint, we’ve done just about everything possible to give TracKey users a full race car experience,” explains Jeff Seaman, Mustang powertrain engineer. “It’s not for use on the street – for example, the deceleration is set up to preserve the brakes, and the throttle response is very aggressive. A skilled driver on a closed course will really appreciate the benefits.” As part of the TracKey software package, Ford engineers also devised a two-stage launch control feature similar to that used on the Cobra Jet race car. Using a combination of steering wheel buttons, drivers can set the tach needle to a desired launch rpm. Floor the throttle and the engine will rev to the preset rpm until the clutch is released, helping aid acceleration and vehicle control from a standing start. One key, hundreds of changes Devised during an all-night garage brainstorming session among core Mustang team members, TracKey introduces the concept known as the dual-path powertrain control module. The industry-first, patent-pending innovation allows two separate sets of engine management software to exist on a single PCM, selected through the existing SecuriLock® Passive Anti-Theft System (PATS) transceiver found in current production keys. The TracKey PCM software, installed by an authorized Ford racing dealer after a customer takes delivery of the car, adjusts variable cam timing, spark maps, engine braking, fuel control and other engine parameters – more than 200 in total – to provide a complete race car calibration. The result is an aggressive, race-bred driving experience all the way down to the lopey idle rumbling through the Boss quad exhaust. “Anything that could possibly affect all-out performance is deleted from the TracKey calibration,” said Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer. “Throttle limiting and torque management – any daily driveability enhancements are removed and replaced with a pure Ford Racing competition calibration.” When TracKey is removed and the vehicle is started with the standard key, the PCM settings are automatically drawn from the factory Boss 302 instruction set again without any additional modifications needed – a huge advantage over aftermarket tuning chips and ECU reprogramming. The convenience is useful for enthusiasts who want all-out performance at the racetrack but stock driveability for the journey there and back. An after-hours obsession In the early stages of TracKey development, a major challenge was the complexity of installing multiple PCM computers and switching between them. However, Ford controls engineers developed a method to choose between two unique sets of software in a single powertrain control module on the Boss 302: The dual-path PCM was born. “We installed the 302R software on the same PCM that held the stock Boss software,” says Seaman. “Then the controls engineers developed a software system to activate one or the other, depending upon which key was used to start the vehicle. Really, all the parts to make this work existed – the Ford MyKey® system was already using the PATS transceiver to perform specific actions based on the key used to start the car, and the PCM was flexible enough to handle multiple control modules. It was just putting everything together.” As the project unfolded, the team was driven by the uniqueness of what they were trying to accomplish, and TracKey became an obsession. Considering the compressed time frame in which the technology was developed, motivation was essential to the creation of the finished product. “We’ve all been really excited about TracKey, so it came together quickly,” explained Pericak. “The concept was first discussed in spring 2009, and here we are 18 months later with a finished, tested, verified product. It’s a perfect example of what can happen when you get a core, cross-functional team willing to contribute 24/7 to bring a great idea to life.” TracKey powertrain software installation and key programming will be available to 2012 Mustang Boss 302 owners through Ford Racing authorized dealers. Pricing will be announced at a later date. # # # About Ford Motor Company Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 163,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln and Mercury, production of which has been announced by the company to be ending in the fourth quarter of 2010. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com. Ford sets 2012 Mustang Boss 302 owners loose with complimentary BOSS IMMERSION, track experience * Boss Track Attack program, offered through Team Mustang and Ford Racing, and complimentary with purchase of a Mustang Boss 302, will feature a Boss immersion, driving instruction and track time * Event will take place at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, using both Mustang GT school vehicles and 2012 Mustang Boss 302 * Dates and additional program details will be available in early 2011 DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 11, 2010 – Buyers of Ford’s highly anticipated Mustang Boss 302 will now get a hands-on track driving experience to learn just what their car is capable of as part of a new complimentary program being announced today. “The Mustang Boss 302 is a very special vehicle, tuned to perform on a racetrack,” said Mickey Matus, marketing manager, Ford Racing. “It’s an absolute blast to drive on the street but we want owners to be able to experience all the incredible balance, power and performance engineered into this machine, and the only safe way to do that is to push the car to the limit on a closed course. This is only natural, since the Boss grew up on the racetrack.” The Boss Track Attack program, offered through Team Mustang and Ford Racing, will feature a full Boss immersion, driving instruction and plenty of track time with engineers and racers. The experience is designed to give Boss owners a comprehensive, hands-on look at exactly what their cars are capable of – and just how much fun they can be. Boss Track Attack will take place at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, outside of Salt Lake City. Boss owners will need to make their own travel and lodging arrangements, but once in Utah, the full track experience – including cars for the event – is courtesy of Ford. The evening before the track day, owners will be treated to a welcome reception followed by an in-depth immersion into both the non-product and product stories of the Boss 302, focusing on how the program came to be and the underlying engineering and design philosophy. The next morning, participants will convene at the track for a full day of driving instruction and course time. “Practice makes perfect, and in this case it’s going to be a ton of fun, too,” said Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. “There’s nothing like the experience of being behind the wheel of a high-performance car on a dedicated track. It’s the environment that breeds incredible machines like Mustang Boss, and for owners who want to experience all these cars are capable of, we can promise an unforgettable event.” More details about Track Attack, including dates, will be available in early 2011.

November 11, 2010 at 08:00 PM
BY: Bix

Gran Turismo 5's Red Bull X1 Race Car Comes Alive

It's not drivable, but it looks even cooler at full-size.

So it looks like someone out there listened to our plea to build an analog version of the Red Bull X1 racing car from Gran Turismo 5—at least to a certain extent. (more…)
November 11, 2010 at 07:04 PM
BY: Bix

Audi R8 E-tron Coming in 2012

Buy your 230V charger now, before the rush!

If you, like us, find the technology of the new wave of electric cars interesting but the cars themselves boring, take heart: Audi has finally announced details on an electric car we're interested in: the R8 e-tron. (more…)
November 11, 2010 at 04:49 PM
BY: Bix

Travis Pastrana Says Goodbye Rally, Hello NASCAR (Updated)

It's just what you do when rallying ceases to be awesome.

Travis Pastrana has quite a few honors sitting on his shelf from his days as a Subaru rally car driver: setting a record for fastest drive up Mount Washington, earning the unofficial Kenny Powers Brass Balls Award for leaping his car 269 feet across Long Beach Harbor, and while not performing over-the-top stunts of testicular fortitude, he won 22 races and brought home four national rally championships. (more…)
November 11, 2010 at 03:44 PM
BY: Bix

Porsche Bringing New Mid-Engined Sports Car to L.A.

Sound vague? We'll know more next week.

Stop the presses! (Not literally, printing guys.) It seems Porsche has a surprise for us at next week's Los Angeles Auto Show—the world premiere of a new mid-engined sports car. (more…)
November 11, 2010 at 03:20 PM
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