Top Gear given the hard word about fake Ferraris

March 9th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Apparently, word got out to Ferrari that Top Gear Live was not using real Prancing Horses for its stunt driving routine here in NZ a few weeks back, (read news item) and the Italian automaker is far from happy about it. But before any three-piece-suited men carrying violin cases were sent around, Ferrari asked Top Gear to cut it out.  A spokesperson for Ferrari said, “We asked them to change it… for the Hong Kong [Top Gear Live] show (the last stop on the world tour). We said please use real Ferraris.”

The Ferrari spokesperson also said that Top Gear Live had admitted to using replica Ferraris. BBC’s head of communications, Philip Fleming, says that he’s been in contact with Ferrari but stops short of admitting that the show’s Italian machinery was fake. Whatever the case, the Top Gear Live show in Hong Kong didn’t use Ferraris at all, real or fake. Instead, the sequence in the show was changed to incorporate unspecified drift cars that Top Gear believed are more in keeping with the the interests of the local audience. A suitably slippery answer to the problem.

Ferrari preps special 599 GTB models for Geneva Motor Show

March 2nd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Ferrari 599 GTB fqjpg

At next week’s Geneva Motor Show, Ferrari has announced that it will take the wraps off of two new versions of its 599 GTB Fiorano. The first is the long rumored 599 HGTE. Details are scarce on what comprises the Handling GT Evoluzione package at the moment, but the promise is that it will take the already accomplished GT to the next level.

The more interesting car will be the 599XX. This model will apparently only be available to select clients — those with a long history of Ferrari ownership or a tonne of cash. Like the existing FXX version of the Enzo, the 599XX will be a moving laboratory that incorporates technology that Ferrari engineers have been developing on both road and track cars. At this point, Ferrari isn’t saying how many of these cars will be available — or what they will cost — but expections are the standard 599 will look quite affordable by comparison.

Ferrari recalls F430 Spider

February 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Ferrari F430 Spider fq

Yesterday Ferrari issued a recall for 1,950 of its 2005-2007 F430 Spiders involving the car’s automatic convertible top. The problem arose from the hydraulic hoses that operate the top, which could form hairline cracks due to heat from the engine.

As a result, the hoses could leak fluid into the engine bay and possibly create smoke or even start a fire. To remedy the situation, Ferrari dealers will install an insulated heat shield that will protect the hoses from heat in the engine bay.

Any New Zealand customers with a F430 Spider should wait to be advised about the recalls from their Ferrari dealer.

Top Gear Live caught using fake Ferraris

February 17th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Top Gear has often been accused of being a show solely about entertainment and little was done to change this view with the recent Top Gear Live event in Auckland. The Ferraris driven by precision drivers at the event didn’t exactly come from Maranello, in fact they originated from Sagamihara, Japan. In a classic move of motoring trickery the two Ferrari 360s were actually rebodied Toyota MR2s, which of course are not quite the real thing.

Showgoers reported that the heart-racing sounds they expected from Italian small-bore V8s were notably absent, replaced by deafening music instead. At least one fan was interested enough to snoop backstage, where he noticed that these specimens lacked the rear air intakes and the transparent engine cover of the real thing. Further inspection revealed mid-mounted engines with half the expected number of cylinders.

No one likes being tricked but is it a big deal or not? You decide, but why not just have two tidy MR2s pulling the stunts? It could have been the price of tickets and the expectation of the audience to see more exotic machinery.

Ferrari F430 replacement coming soon

February 5th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Ferrari concept

Speculation is rampant in the motoring world on the upcoming successor to the Ferrari F430. Ferrari rarely produces concept cars, but when it does, they have some meaning and recent examples have had an environmental twist. So expect some green credentials to appear in the new mid-engine supercar, internally code-named project F142.

The car is likely to feature the direct injection and dual-clutch transmission which debuted in the California, temaed to a regenerative braking system which the company recently developed. The supercar, which could pick up the F450 or F470 nameplate depending on the displacement of its high-revving V8 engine is expected to be even lighter than the 430 Scuderia’s lump. However, there are few expectations of a convertible version to follow since the success of the front-engine California. Reports state the car’s debut will be around October of this year which makes the Frankfurt Auto Show a likely venue for the unveiling.

SkyCity Supercar show begins today

January 15th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

The SkyCity Supercar show in partnership with A1GP World Cup of Motorsport opens today at the SkyCity events centre. On display is the new A1 Team New Zealand race car Black Beauty now powered by Ferrari.

The rest of the show is split out into four sections:

Luxury on Wheels – Some of the World’s most famous marques, including Lamborghini, Bentley, Aston Martin, Porsche and Ferrari. Highlights of this section include a Ferrari Enzo, Aston Martin DBS, Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder and an Audi R8. For the classic vehicle entusiasts there is Denny Hulme’s McLaren M8A Can-Am Car and a McLaren F1 LM Road Car.

Race Place – A selection of finely tuned speed machines used for circuit racing and a display on how top drivers progress from kart racing to competing with the World’s best. The highlight of this section is the new Black Beauty A1GP car.

Green Machines – A detailed insight into how today’s most energy efficent vehicles work. Models from Volkswagen, Lexus and Hyundai will be on display. The highlight is a diesel powered rally car.

Virtual Racing – Visitors can compete head to head with friends in race simulators designed to replicate the Taupo race track, venue for the NZ leg of the A1GP.

A special feature of the show is a daily seminar hosted by A1 Team New Zealand’s Data Engineer, Jonathan Moury. He will speak on aspects of race preparation, race simulation and data analysis followed by a Q&A session.

The Supercar Show is on from January 15-20, 2009.

Show Hours are Midday – 7pm weekdays, 11am – 6pm weekends.

Admission is $15 for adults and $5 for children.

For more information on the show, click here to visit the SkyCity website

People will always be crazy enough to buy a Ferrari

December 19th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Ferrari California Sydney

Speaking at the annual Ferrari end of year media conference, Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has said that while other car makers saw profits and sales plummet in 2008, Ferrari has ignored the trend and recorded its best ever year for sales, earnings, profits and achievements in motorsport.

“Enzo Ferrari said to me in the 1970’s fuel crisis we’d always find 1,500 people crazy enough to buy a Ferrari. Adjusting the numbers for 2009, I think that we’ll continue to find 6,000 people crazy enough to buy a Ferrari!” explained Mr Montezemolo, who is also the chairman of the Fiat Group.¨¨”But in the Group as a whole, we’re holding back launching cars already developed for better times. But we’ll definitely launch the Fiat 500 Cabrio and the Alfa Romeo 149 in 2009,” he added.

As far as the decisions taken by the FIA a couple of days ago are concerned, the President said that with regard to the idea of a standard engine for all teams would have been “the occasion to leave F1. If the standard engine had passed, at least four or five teams would have abandoned Formula 1. And I mean four or five besides Ferrari. That is all of them.”¨¨”The FIA did well and Max Mosley did a good job to talk about the problem of cost cutting. But he was thinking about 2010, that’s in the future. The effects of the actual crisis will be felt in 2009. Last July we had the first meeting of all the teams here in Maranello, founding the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA). There was a great atmosphere of unity. We were able to reach a 50 per cent cost cut on engines as of the next year. According to our plan from 2012 a cost cut of 50 will affect the whole budget.”¨¨”Since our first FOTA meeting here in Maranello we’ve made some major steps. As of 2009 we’ll save 50 per cent as far as the engines are concerned and as of 2012 we’ll save 50 per cent of the whole budget.”¨¨Asked about his opinion as far as Bernie Ecclestone’s and Max Mosley’s roles in this crisis are concerned, the Ferrari President said: “Time goes by and in a few years I will retire too. The crisis might accelerate a process of renovation in Formula One. I’ve known Ecclestone since ’73 and I think he’s done a great job. A few years ago we argued. I called him greedy, because of the revenues, which were distributed 70 percent for him and 30 percent for the teams. Now it’s 50-50. We’ll have to do more though. We’ll see. What’s certain is that the time to divide and conquer to rule in F1 is over.”¨¨As far as the drivers are concerned the President said: “Lewis Hamilton? He’s great. But with all respect I will not change him for Felipe Massa.”

What about replacements or purchases? “Usually Ferrari chooses. I’m convinced that it’s the Prancing Horse which makes a driver popular.”¨¨”Raikkonen came to Ferrari and won the World Championship. That Massa didn’t win this year was our fault. It took Schumacher years and when he left everybody was cheering for him. Felipe is extremely popular, as a man and as a driver, but also for the way he coped with the defeat in the Championship.

Jobs safe at Ferrari

December 11th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Earlier this week we ran a news item about job losses and tough times at Ferrari. We have since heard from Ferrari Australia who have kindly informed us that there are no job or production cuts at Ferrari, and despite the global economic crisis that is affecting every other car manufacturer Ferrari is officially ‘sweet as’ for now.

We retract our earlier news item for its inaccuracies and wish Ferrari the best.