Toyota building hybrid LMP1 racer for Le Mans assault

October 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota has been the front runner in hybrid-powered passenger vehicles for many years and is now setting its sights on hybrid race car domination. The company’s racing division, Toyota Motorsport, announced today that it will enter the 2012 World Endurance Championship with a new hybrid weapon.

The last time Toyota competed in Le Mans racing was in 1999, before the Japanese automaker abandoned its GT-One program to focus on Formula One.

Now, Toyota is busy developing a brand-new, gasoline-electric hybrid racer that will compete in the top LMP1 class. The chassis is in development with Toyota Motorsport at its Cologne, Germany headquarters, which previously served as the Formula 1 base. The prototype race car’s hybrid powertrain will be engineered in Japan. Continue reading “Toyota building hybrid LMP1 racer for Le Mans assault” »

Aston Martin puts stunning V12 Zagato on show (+video)

May 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

When Aston Martin announced it was working in with Italian design house Zagato on a new project it got car fans everywhere excited. Now that the end result has been unveiled we can confirm that the new machine is a dead set stunner.

Named the Aston Martin V12 Zagato, this elegantly-curved beauty has been debuted at Italy’s Lake Como on the way to last weekend’s Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este. Built in celebration of a 50-year long working relationship between Aston Martin and Zagato, the new model draws inspiration from its classic 1961 DB4 GT ancestor.

Apparently, the V12 Zagato takes design cues from not just the DB4GT, but also the other collaborations including DB7 Zagato and V8 Vantage Zagato cars. Finished with a subtle double-bubble roof the hand-crafted aluminum body is painted in a deep shade of blood orange.

“The V12 Zagato is an elegant yet brutal design which reflects the great balance between race performance and pure Aston Martin style,” said Aston Martin director of design Marek Reichmann. “The original DB4GT Zagato was a true icon, powerful and graceful; the new design is a true representation of the spirit of DB4GT Zagato,” he continued. Continue reading “Aston Martin puts stunning V12 Zagato on show (+video)” »

Audi unleashes big-eyed R18 Le Mans prototype racer

December 13th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Audi has just pulled the covers off its newest LMP1 Le Mans prototype racer, the R18. The new machine looks suitably hardcore and has abandoned the open-top design of its predecessors — the R8, R10 and R15 Plus — for a closed roof to improve aerodynamics and reduce driver fatigue. Audi has been very successful at the Le Mans 24 Hours race in recent years winning it nine times since 1999 with the R8, R10 TDI and R15 TDI. The R18 looks set to continue the legacy.

Unlike the earlier R15, which used a 5.5-litre V10 diesel engine, the new model generates power from a much smaller, 3.7-litre TDI V6 engine, mated to a modified six-speed transmission.

The R18 uses a single-piece carbon fibre monocoque, which keeps weight down and increases stiffness.

In terms of exterior design the headlights are the most eye-catching parts of the R18. The headlights make use of “optimised” LED technology, they incorporate Audi light designers’ personal touch: daytime running lights shaped like a “1”.

The Audi R18 was first approved in mid 2009, while engine testing began in summer 2010. The first track test took place at the end of November and Audi is now planning to enter three cars into next years Le Mans 24 hour endurance race.

Check out more images of the Audi R18 in the gallery below. Continue reading “Audi unleashes big-eyed R18 Le Mans prototype racer” »