Renault Megane RS265 Trophy 2012 Review

September 19th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

It’s not often you have the police to thanks for an insanely quick car being made even quicker. In this case it’s the French Gendarmes who requested a rapid response vehicle with a minimum of 265 horsepower. Renault obliged by taking its existing RS250 and squeezing another 15 horsepower out of it. That makes a total of 265hp or 195kW to you new-school hipsters.

So we said ‘merci’ to the Frenchies and took the Megane RS265 for a strop around the more twisty roads just out of Auckland. The fact that this car has done a lap of 8 minutes 8 seconds around Nurburgring will not be lost on you the first time you Continue reading “Renault Megane RS265 Trophy 2012 Review” »

Lexus produces LFA supercar ‘making-of’ video

October 31st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It’s not everyday that a mainstream automaker decides to try its hand at building a world-class supercar. But when one has the motoring world has been given some of its most interesting machines like the Honda NSX, the Ford GT, the Dodge Viper, and more recently the Lexus LFA.

Any supercar takes years of development with fine-tuning and extensive testing. Toyota learned its lessons with the Lexus LFA and spent year’s and millions preparing the supercar for its debut. Now, to show the world just how tough making a supercar really is, the Japanese automaker has released a ‘making-of’ video. Continue reading “Lexus produces LFA supercar ‘making-of’ video” »

Toyota breaks electric vehicle lap record at the ‘Ring (+video)

August 31st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It was only a few years ago that the electric vehicle lap record at the Nürburgring didn’t mean much to anyone, but the title is now hotly contested. The latest developer of electric propulsion to throw their hat into the ring, at the ‘Ring, is Toyota with its TMG EV P001.

The oddly named but beautifully curved electric Toyota set a new record recently with a run of seven minutes, 47.79 seconds. This new record has smashed the previous time, held by Peugeot’s EX1 by more than a minute. The EX1 clocked a lap time of 9.01:33 and prior to that the Mini E held the record with a time of 9 minutes 51 seconds. To achieve the feat the TMG EV P001 uses a 100% electric powertrain with a top speed of 260km/h and a huge 800Nm of torque.

Toyota’s electric racer record puts it in line with the lap times recorded by petrol-powered hero vehicles like the Porsche 911 Turbo and the Nissan GT-R. But what’s the point of it all? Turns out that Toyota wants to sell the powertrain used in the EV P001 from next year. Expect to see the components in passenger vehicles from 2012 which should mean a welcome improvement in performance of Toyota’s electric/hybrid offerings. Electric cars might just become exciting after all. Continue reading “Toyota breaks electric vehicle lap record at the ‘Ring (+video)” »

Mini to campaign JCW Coupe Endurance racer at 24hr Nürburgring race

June 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Only a few days after first showing the production version of its new two-seater Coupe (read news), Mini has now revealed the John Cooper Works Coupe Endurance car.

The motorsport world will get its first look at the Coupe race car when it goes up against the supercars at this weekend’s Nürburgring 24 hour endurance race. The Mini will compete in the SP 3T class.

An entire day worth of racing at the ‘Green Hell’ is a big ask for the little Mini on debut but it has been given the virtues to possibly get through. Under the bonnet is a tuned version of the stock N14 4-cylinder, 1.6-litre engine that uses twin-scroll turbocharging as well as direct injection. Power has been increased to 185kW with 330Nm of max torque on tap this will enable the Mini to hit a top speed of 240km/h whenever it can reach it. While exact sprint and performance times haven’t been announced, expect the 965kg enduro car to accelerate at an express pace.

Keeping the JCW Coupe held tight to the tarmac is the same adjustable race suspension system used in the Mini Challenge race car. There’s also a race-tuned Dynamic Stability Control system and ABS braking. Keeping it safe is a full roll cage, racing seat, 6-point seatbelt and HANS system. Continue reading “Mini to campaign JCW Coupe Endurance racer at 24hr Nürburgring race” »

Renault Megane RS Trophy claims FWD record at the ‘Ring

June 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Renault has further pushed its claim of having the world’s hottest hatch by lowering its own longstanding lap record for a front-wheel drive production car at the Nordschleife. Renault first achieved this title in June 2008 when its Megane RenaultSport (RS) Trophy special claimed ultimate front-driving bragging rights.

The 197kW Megane RS took just  8 minutes and 7.97 seconds to lap the Nürburgring racetrack beating the time of the previous generation Mégane Renaultsport R26.R by 9 seconds. By comparison, another higher-powered hottest hatch contender the Ford Focus RS took 8 minutes and 26 seconds to complete a lap back in 2009.

The new record was set by Renault Sport’s development driver Laurent Hurgon, who understandably talked the car up, “The carefully-tuned Cup chassis, the dampers, the fade-resistant brakes, the Recaro seats, the power of the 265hp engine, the ready availability of torque between 2,500 and 5,000rpm and the car’s Bridgestone RE 050A (235/35 R19) tyres allowed me to make the most of the car’s enormous potential, especially into and out of the corners.”

The Trophy is a special edition of the standard Megane RS, power is increased by 11kW and torque by 20Nm through engine tweaks. The Trophy also comes standard with Formula 1-inspired Bridgestone Potenza RE050A high-performance tyres which may have made a big difference. Continue reading “Renault Megane RS Trophy claims FWD record at the ‘Ring” »

Peugeot clocks fastest electric car lap at the Nürburgring

May 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

While the Nurburgring is the scene for heated competition for carmakers testing out their latest sports models and bragging about lap times, it’s rare that an electric vehicle tackles the track. That will surely change in the future and getting its name on the board early is the Peugeot EX1 which has set a new electric car lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife with a 9:01.338-minute run.

The previous lap record set by an electric car belonged to the Mini E racer, which lapped the German track last year in a more leisurely 9 minutes and 51.45 seconds.

The fully-electric Pug, averaged 136kph on its record-setting run. Peugeot has promised to release a video of the EX1 tearing up the Nordschleife, but for now we’ll have to wait.

The lightweight, four-wheel drive EX1 was originally built to mark Peugeot’s 200th birthday, and is powered by a pair of electric motors. Each electric motor produces 125 kW for a combined output of 250kW and 240Nm of torque. Energy comes through a high-output lithium-ion battery pack. Continue reading “Peugeot clocks fastest electric car lap at the Nürburgring” »

2012 Nissan GT-R smashes old model’s Nürburgring record (+video)

March 31st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Nissan has just released a video of its upgraded 2012 GT-R breaking its existing record on the Nürburgring-Nordschliefe track.

The video is in Japanese so it’s a good chance to brush up on your skills and we also get to see the full 7 minutes and 24.22 seconds of the GT-R’s track run from inside the cabin. Porsche, as always have been quick to point out that the GT-R’s new time is still slower than its 911 GT2 RS, which ‘apparently’ comes in at 7m and 18 seconds. It also costs tens of thousands dollars more.

The 2012 Nissan GT-R comes packing a twin-turbo 3.8-litre V6 engine and produces 395 kW of power and 661 Nm of torque. It can achieve the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in 3 seconds flat, but the GT-R’s launch control function is needed to get that figure.

The 2012 GT-R beats the 2011 model’s track time of 7 minutes 26.7 seconds by almost 2.5 seconds and has huge amounts of grip through its all-wheel drive system. The GT-R’s chief designer Kazutoshi Mizuno also makes a cameo in the video so keep an eye out.

Check out the GT-R lapping the Nurburgring in the video below. Continue reading “2012 Nissan GT-R smashes old model’s Nürburgring record (+video)” »

Caparo T1 gets tested at the Nurburgring – Amazing in-car footage

November 8th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Track demon Caparo T1 gets put through its paces at the Nurburgring

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