Nissan selling track-ready 370Z NISMO RC

October 27th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It’s not only Ferrari and Porsche that can offer keen customers highly-priced race-spec versions of their performance production models. Nissan wants a piece of the pie and has just released a new 370Z NISMO RC that is now available for customer orders.

Based on the street-legal 370Z, the NISMO RC has been taken to the extreme with major weight-saving measures dropping off all luxuries. The result is a car that’s around 180kg lighter and tips the scales at just 1,339kg.

The Nissan 370Z NISMO RC also features NISMO race exhaust, NISMO tuned ECM, high capacity NISMO clutch, flywheel, engine oil, transmission and differential coolers and a Recaro racing seat with 6-point racing harness. A Sparco racing steering wheel and a carbon fibre control stack are also part of the RC package.

The 3.7-litre V6 motor has been tweaked to produce slightly more than the stock unit at 264kW of power and 373Nm of torque. Continue reading “Nissan selling track-ready 370Z NISMO RC” »

Weight For The Lights To Go Green

May 29th, 2011 by Tim Grimley

Thanks to a bit of jolly team building deigned necessary to spice up an otherwise unspectacular sales conference, last week gave me my first experience of Kiwi go-karting. And without wanting to come over all tall poppy-ish, I reckon that I may be harbouring a bit of a hidden talent. During my stint behind the wheel excursions into the tyre walls were expertly avoided, I nailed incredibly consistent lap times and caught the apex of every corner with almost surgical precision.

I also got absolutely stuffed.

The problem is this; for reasons known only to them, my employer has seen fit to recruit a number of people built along the lines of racing snakes. And this meant that they could enjoy a power to weight ratio similar to that of a Bugatti Veyron whilst my kart accelerated like a fat child on roller skates. Going uphill.

Not designed to move pie eaters

Admittedly at 95kgs no one could accuse me of having an entirely pastry-based diet, but I’m still a bit on the hefty side to ever give serious thought about making much of an impact on the race track. When it comes to the sportsmen at the top of that particular tree, less is most definitely more.

Take, for instance, Sebastian Vettel, the reigning Formula 1 World Champion who weighs in at a measly 58kgs. That’s about the same as a hamster which has spent a month on the cabbage soup diet. Then there’s Scott Dixon who, despite being a larger example of the breed, would still comfortably make the weight for under 85kg rugby whilst holding an average 3 year old child.

Not that this should necessarily come as a surprise. Given the extraordinary and expensive lengths that motor sport teams go to shed kilos from their cars in order to shave extra tenths of seconds from lap times, it would be a strange decision if they then chose to negate that benefit by putting a salad-dodger behind the wheel. Continue reading “Weight For The Lights To Go Green” »

Citroen to build hot hatch DS4 Racing Hybrid

November 2nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

In an effort to grab some market share in the lucrative premium compact segment, Citroën is set to push its higher-end DS line even further. The DS4 was recently unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, and now reports indicate that the French automaker plans to take on the likes of the Audi S3 and Volkswagen Golf R with a new scolding-hot version of it’s premium hatch.

What’s interesting is that the Citroën DS4 Racing is expected to go hybrid, following the likes of the Honda CR-Z and Lexus CT200h. A 95-horsepower electric motor will be matched up to the car’s 200-horsepower turbo four, in either a all-wheel drive setup or as a front-driver. Sounds like an exciting machine right? Well there’s plenty of time to ponder that question because the hybrid DS4 isn’t expected before 2013.

Citroen DS3 Racing launched in Europe

August 25th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Citroen has launched the Citroen DS3 Racing, the limited edition version of the DS3 – Citroen’s new premium small car which arrives in New Zealand in September.

The Citroen DS3 Racing is styled to match the image of the Citroen Racing Team which is currently dominating the World Rally Championship and has enabled Citroen to take five WRC constructors’ rally world titles and six driver and co-driver titles for Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena.

Based on the Citroen DS3’s top trim and equipment level, the Racing version is suitably sports-focused and boasts features such as the integration of carbon elements and specific equipment from competitive motor racing. Developed by Citroen Racing, its 1.6 litre engine develops 149 kW and enables it to reach 100 kmh in 6.5 seconds from a standing start. Its chassis and suspension have also been developed to offer precision handling and road holding.

The Racing-inspired design includes features such as a front air diffuser, a chrome twin-pipe exhaust and the carbon fibre work on much of its bodywork elements including the air diffuser, semi-rigid spoiler for the front bumper, lower skirting, spoilers and grille. The Citroen DS3 Racing is fitted with large 18 inch wheels with a new design and is available in two colors, Onyx black with orange trim or Banquise White with grey trim. Its sporting character is finished off with some custom decals.

The passenger compartment from the Citroen DS3 has received the same specific treatment as the exterior. The same external colour schemes and carbon designs can be found on numerous interior parts, such as the central front piece of the dashboard, the steering wheel trim or the handset cover supports.

The Citroen DS3 Racing’s exclusivity is proudly displayed with Citroen Racing signature on the backs of the front seats and on an identification plate located on the wheel trim.

While it’s an interesting machine it’s also unlikely we will see the Citroen DS3 Racing down here in NZ. With only 1000 examples to be built, a mere 200 of them will be built in right-hand-drive and all are earmarked for the UK. Continue reading “Citroen DS3 Racing launched in Europe” »

Ferrari vs Smart car

March 24th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Ferrari vs Smart car…Who will win???

Citroen DS3 Racing may come to NZ

February 22nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Citroen will take the wraps of the hot version of its new premium model, the DS3, which is due in New Zealand in August, when it reveals the 147 kW  Citroen DS3 Racing at the Geneva International Motor Show in March (2 March 2010).
 
Citroen’s dominance of the World Rally Championship – six manufacturers’ titles and seven drivers’ titles for Citroen’s Sébastien Loeb – over the past six years leaves little doubt that the French car maker has the ability to take its already critically lauded DS3 and turn it into a real performance machine.
 
Citroen is holding back the DS3 Racing’s performance figures for the Geneva Motor Show reveal, but there can be little doubt that with 147 kW and 275 Nm of torque on tap from its 1.6 litre turbocharged engine that was developed by the same engineers who produced the world beating Citroen C4 WRC, the DS3 Racing will offer exemplary performance.
 
The chassis of the DS3 has been thoroughly reworked to ensure that the DS3 Racing will go around corners as well as it goes in a straight line, with the suspension lowered, the track widened, 18 inch alloy wheels fitted, the springs stiffened and the shock absorbers re-rated. Additionally the brakes have been enlarged the ESP system has been reprogrammed to encourage more spirited driving and electronic responses that are in line with the new model’s sporting requirements.
 
The Citroen DS3 has set a new standard for style and exclusivity and this is further enhanced with the DS3 Racing with a special livery that enables it to stand apart from the DS3 range and ensures it looks as good as it performs.
 
“The Citroen DS3 Racing represents an outstanding concentration of behind-the-wheel thrills with an artful blend of performance and efficiency,” says Lawrie Malatios, General Manager for Citroen in New Zealand. “The DS3 Racing will take up its place in the DS3 range with an appealing combination of verve and vitality and it provides a clear indication of what we can expect when the DS3 arrives in New Zealand in August.”
 
The DS3 Racing will be launched in Europe with a limited series of 1,000 units in second-half 2010. New Zealand availability will be announced when the DS3 is launched in New Zealand in August.

Subaru Nurburgring Challenge 2008

December 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

The Nurburgring 24-hour race as seen through the eyes of a Japanese Subaru WRX STI-based team (in Japanese)