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Motor Trend’s Head 2 Head Takes A Look At The Audi TTS And The Alfa Romeo 4C: Video

Both sports cars offer something to the table. But which one has more to offer?

Head 2 Head’s Jason Cammisa and Jonny Lieberman are good at their jobs even though they sometimes spend too much time cracking jokes and doing gimmicks that take away from what they do best: review cars. This episode of Head 2 Head contains more of the same but, to their credit, they found a way to keep the jokes down and focus on giving us an insightful episode centered on the new Audi TTS and the Alfa Romeo 4C, two of today’s most appealing compact sports cars, and how both cars stack up against each other.

The two are joined by resident test driver and acclaimed racer Randy Pobst and, together, all three dissect the pros and cons of both the TTS and the 4C, right down to the dramatic styling differences between the two cars. In that sense, Camissa and Liebermann are right. The Audi and the Alfa Romeo look nothing alike as both embody the stereotypes of German engineering and Italian flair, respectively. Once the chit-chat was done, the hosts proceeded to get to the important part of the episode. They put both the TTS and the 4C through the ringer in a series of challenges to determine which car scored higher in a specific task.

All told, it’s a very insightful episode, as is always the case with Head 2 Head. Cammisa and Liberman even behaved themselves, at least for the part. In any case, it wouldn’t be fair to reveal the verdict here because there’s a lot of information that the host poured over. Instead of spoiling, I invite everyone to just sit back and enjoy the 23-minute episode.

2016 24 Hours Of Le Mans - Race highlights: Video

Drama-filled race shows how hard the Le Mans 24 Hours really is

So, did anybody see the final stages of the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours? If you didn’t, you missed what could arguably go down as one of the most dramatic finishes in the race’s long and storied history. Porsche and Ford took home top honors in the LMP1 and GTE Pro categories, respectively, but the real story of the race was how both teams recorded their victories.

Let’s start with Ford, which came close to replicating its sensational 1-2-3 finish in 1966, only to have Risi Competizione’s Ferrari 488 GTE climb its way to second place amidst a lot of controversy. Both teams filed protests against the other, and both teams were penalized from said protests. In the end, Ford Ford still took home the victory in what turned out to be an arousing return to endurance racing for the American manufacturer, which was celebrating the 50th anniversary of that historic 1966 triumph over Ferrari. History repeats itself, 50 years later.

Now let’s move on to the top class LMP1 category where Toyota was on the verge of its first-ever triumph in Le Mans when the race-leading No. 5 Toyota of Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi, which was untouchable throughout the course of the 24-hour race, came to a sudden stop as it was starting its final lap. The No 2 Porsche driven by Neel Jani, Romain Dumas, and Marc Lieb passed the car on its way to one of unlikeliest victories in the Le Mans history. As devastating as it was for Toyota Toyota - believe me, my heart sunk when I saw the car lose power - the results are real and Porsche now has its 18th Le Mans title.

You can relive the highlights of the race in the video. Do check it out!

The Mill Blackbird Is The Future Of Computer-Generated Cars: Video

The do-it-all car rig could change the face of TV, movie, and commercial productions

It may not look like an actual car, seeing as it doesn’t have a body, but if I were to tell you that the Mill Blackbird can replicate the driving characteristics of any car, past, present, and future, would you believe it? Well, you better because that’s what the Blackbird is all about. Officially, it’s described as the world’s first fully adjustable car rig that can alter its own chassis to match the precise dimensions of any car. Unofficially, it could become the saving grace for every TV, movie, and commercial production that will rely on automotive content in the future.

Ok, so how does the Blackbird work exactly? The basic principle of the extendable chassis has already been mentioned. Other than that, the Blackbird is also CGI-compatible, which means that it can be re-skinned to look like any car, be it a Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 or a Jaguar XF. The rig also comes with 3D laser-scanning and high-dynamic range imagery that allows users to build a virtual version of the environment the car is in. Just as important, it also comes with an electric motor that can be programmed to literally emulate the driving characteristics of the car being used. In other words, the Blackbird can go from doing burnouts and donuts like the Shelby GT350 to driving around gracefully about town like the XF.

The implications are far-reaching, especially in the TV, film, and commercial industries. If a TV show, movie, or a commercial client needs a car, it doesn’t need to actually have a physical car on set. The Mill Blackbird can do it by itself, potentially saving these companies a ton of money, time, headaches, and possible insurance and legal battles in the process.

The Blackbird is a product of The Mill, which worked in conjunction with partners JemFX, Performance Filmworks and Keslow. It took two years to complete and its name - Blackbird - was thought of as an homage to the original Blackbird SR-71 supersonic jet. In a nice symmetry between the two, the Mill Blackbird was hand built in the same hangar as the more famous jet that it got its name from.

Petrolicious Showcases Spike Feresten’s 1968 Porsche 911L: Video

This story is proof that dream cars still exist, no matter how old we are

It has to be said. Petrolicious can make a case for being the best car channel on YouTube. The production value of these episodes is absolutely top quality and the content always brings something new and fresh to the table. That’s the case with the latest episode, featuring Spike Feresten and his rare 1968 Porsche 911L.

As with most episodes from Petrolicious, Feresten’s story with his 911L is a rich one that dates back to his days as a writer for David Letterman. As Feresten puts it, Letterman’s own car collection spurred him to contact a dealership in Georgia, which then sent him a beat-up Porsche with 300,000 miles and had what he describes as “the worst color in Porsche history.” Unflattering as the description sounds, Feresten immediately fell in love with and thus began his love affair with the German automaker.

Today, Feresten owns his share of Porsches, the most significant of which is the 1968 911L, a factory race car built in period for Trans-Am competition that has since been configured to be street legal. The car is also famous for a number of reasons, something that will be best explained by Feresten himself.

It’s the kind of story that will make you look back on younger days when all you had were dreams and car posters. It’s also a good reminder that the world is smaller than we think and that dream cars, no matter how old we get, are still attainable.

Jaguar Kicks Off Wimbledon Campaign With Commercial Starring Andy Murray: Video

The 2013 champion was joined by the Jaguar XE, F-Type SVR, and Formula E race car.

As the official car provider of the Championships, otherwise known to everybody as Wimbledon, Jaguar is making its presence felt ahead of this year’s tournament with the launch of the #FeelWimbledon campaign. To give the campaign a public face, the British automaker has even enlisted the services of 2013 Wimbledon champion Andy Murray to serve as brand ambassador for the tournament, which kicks off on June 27, 2016.

Speaking of Murray, Jaguar has also created a promotional video featuring the tennis player and a number of Jag models, specifically the XE, F-Type SVR, and the company’s new Formula E race car. The premise of the ad is pretty straight-forward. One at a time, the three Jaguars take to the line with a target placed at the rear section of the cars. Once the Jaguar speeds up, Murray is tasked to hit a serve into the target. Standard tennis scoring applies so, if he misses, Jaguar gets the score and if he connects, he gets the score. One at a time, the XE and F-Type SVR take in their runs before the Formula E race car comes into the picture. What follows is a pretty funny exchange between Murray and the driver, who is probably one of the last people you’d expect to see behind the wheel of a race car, let alone Jag’s new Formula E contender.

In addition to the Murray ad, Jaguar’s #FeelWimbledon campaign will also touch down in various locations around the country, specifically the Goodwood Festival of Speed where extensive promotional activities are being planned to raise awareness for the campaign. The British automaker also hired a coupe of digital specialist companies - Mindshare and Hammerhead - to create a 360-degree virtual reality tour of Center Court from the perspective of the number one British player in the world.

All of these marketing endeavors are tied into the five-year partnership Jaguar signed with the All-England Club in 2015.

Nissan’s GT-R Drone Can Run To 60 Mph In The Blink Of An Eye: Video

It’s faster to 60 mph than a Bugatti Chiron...by more than a full second

Nissan is already responsible for giving us the GT-R, one of the most impressive performance cars in the world. So with that in mind, Nissan collaborated with World Drone Prix Champions Tornado Blades Racing to create a drone that could give the GT-R a run for its money. The result is the GT-R Drone, a first-person racing drone equipped with the latest in performance-enhancing technology that enables it to sprint from 0 to 62 mph in a ridiculous 1.3 seconds. Considering that an electric racer just set the fastest 0-to-60-mph sprint for an EV with a time of 1.5 seconds a few days ago, the fact that a drone can do it two-tenths of a second quicker is incredible.

To break in the GT-R Drone, Nissan invited 2015 British National Drone Racing champion James Bowles to drive the GT-R Drone against Nissan NISMO driver Ricardo Sanchez and Godzilla itself at the Silverstone circuit in England. The race was chronicled in this expertly done video by Nissan showing the supercar and drone engage in a highly entertaining race. The result is what you’d expect. The drone immediately shoots out of the line only to be caught up the GT-R in the circuit’s twisting corners. Ultima Ultima tely, the GT-R’s 196 mph top speed also flexed its muscles, outgunning the 115-mph GT-R Drone to the finish. Surprisingly, the drone actually did well for itself considering the circumstances, proving that, while it may not be able to match the GT-R in a lap around a track, it’s got the tech to leave the car in the dust in an acceleration race.

The whole thing makes for a very entertaining race and it shows because anybody who watches it will likely end up wondering what it’s going to take to own the GT-R drone. Trust me. I’ve thought about it myself. It’s unlikely that it’s going to go up for sale anytime soon, but hey, people can dream, right?

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Swiss Students Set 0-To-60-MPH EV Record: Video

This EV can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in an incredible 1.5 seconds.

Students from Swiss universities ETH Zurich and Hochschule Luzern have achieved something very few in the auto industry have been able to do. They developed an electric vehicle that has just set the world record for the fastest 0-to-60-mph sprint time for an electric vehicle, clocking in an incredible 1.513 seconds on a runway at the Dübendorf Air Base in Switzerland.

The EV, dubbed “Grimsel,” was developed all the way back in 2014 for the “Formula Student” engineering competition by the students who are part of the Academic Motorsports Club Zurich (AMZ). By any standard, Grimsel is an incredible piece of engineering and the fact that it was created by students speaks to the skills of these young, brilliant minds.

It may look the part of a go-kart-sized Formula racer, but underneath that body are four wheel hub motors that the students themselves developed to produce a combined output of 200 horsepower and an eye-popping 1,250 pound-feet of torque. Combine that with a carbon fiber body that weighs just 370 pounds and it’s no wonder it managed to hit 60 mph from an idle position in just 1.513 seconds.

By comparison, the “previous” record was 1.779 seconds and was set by another EV from the Formula Student competition developed by the Green Team Uni Stuttgart e.V. This record still stands in the Guinness World Records but it should only be a matter of time before Grimsel takes its place atop the record books.

On a more specific context, the Porsche 918 Spyder can do 0 to 60 mph in 2.2 seconds (as tested by CarAndDriver). That’s 0.7 seconds slower than Grimsel. Wrap your heads around that.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Recently Restored 1969 Ford Mustang 429 Boss Gets Jay Leno’s Attention: Video

This is one of the most beautiful Ford Mustang 429 Boss models you’ll ever see

Jay Leno has seen a lot of cars in his life as a passionate auto collector and, by now, it takes a special kind of car to get his attention. It just so happens that a beautifully restored 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429, a classic Mustang if there ever was one - fits that “special kind of car” description.

Recently, the comedian and world famous auto collector hosted this particular Mustang boss 429 in an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage. Leno also invited Marcus Anghel of Anghel Restorations to talk in detail about the process of restoring this car back to opulence after being purchased for just $4,934.76. A lot of work was put into the restoration of the car, which eventually received a new front fascia, front spoiler, a very noticeable hood scoop, modified fenders, and all the way down to period-correct boss 429 badging and smog pump. Under its hood, the Mustang also got Ford’s massive 7.0-liter 429 V-8 engine that produces 375 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque, numbers that Anghel says were conservative because of Ford’s decision to detune them for road use since the engine was initially used for racing purposes, specifically in NASCAR.

Today, this Mustang Boss 429 is about as unique as any classic Mustang in the road. For those who don’t know, Ford only built 1,358 examples of the Boss 429, making it one of the rarest and most sought-after Mustangs in history.

And, as you can expect from Leno, he managed to spend some time behind the wheel of the Mustang Boss 429, an occurrence that shows the kind of cache that Jay Leno has as a car collector.

Posted on by jayk  

Full disclosure – I love wagons. Hell, I drive one in real life. You know, outside. Any time an automaker produces a wagon instead of another SUC, er I mean SUV, I’m usually one of the first to stand up and shake the ‘ole pompoms. Make the thing fast, and well, I couldn’t be happier. Which should make me a dead ringer for loving the Panamera Wagon, right? Not exactly. For some reason, the upcoming hatch from Stuttgart hasn’t sat right with me. For a while, I wasn’t sure why – yeah, it isn’t “pretty,” but I wouldn’t consider any modern Porsche “pretty,” at least not in the traditional sense. No, the problem here goes deeper. The problem I have isn’t really with the Panamera Wagon, or the way it looks… it’s with the people who would buy such a thing.

I understand the image you’re going for when you buy a Panamera five-door – first off, it’s a Porsche, so you know its fast, and with an MSRP that starts dangerously close to six-figures, it should be comfortable, too. Second, it’s a wagon, so it should be practical, with lots of space for people and things.

From track days to road trips, apexes to Home Depot runs, the Panamera Wagon should do it all. The problem is, it probably won’t.

Sure, the capability will be there, but the people who’ll buy this thing don’t really care about that. The selling point here is image, not reality. The idea that you could drive three hours to the racetrack, post a fast time, then pick up some lumber on the way home is far more important than actually, you know, doing it.

Still with me? Read on to see what I’m talking about.

Continue reading for the full story.

2016 Ford Mustang GT 25th Anniversary HPE800 Edition By Hennessey

American tuner celebrates 25th anniversary with limited edition program for the Ford Mustang GT

Hennessey is known for a lot of things in the auto industry, one of which is its ability to develop insane tuning programs for American performance cars. The Ford Mustang GT counts itself in this group and, while Hennessey has created past programs for the Ford muscle car in the past, this one carries a unique flavor because it’s been dubbed the 25th Anniversary Edition HPE800 Mustang GT to celebrate the company’s 25 years of existence. It’s a fitting name since this limited edition Mustang carries a lot of the characteristics of the full Hennessey tuning experience, highlighted by an increase in output to 804 horsepower and 648 pound-feet of torque.

By any tuning metric, that output is astounding, and more so for a car whose engine “only” tops out at 435 ponies and 400 pound-feet of torque. But that’s Hennessey for you. The American tuner doesn’t work on programs that offer modest gains; it swings for the fences. The 25th Anniversary Edition HPE800 Mustang is proof of that.

In addition to the engine tune, the limited edition program also comes with a useful set of aerodynamic components, a flashy set of wheels, and a modest interior upgrade that ironically comes with a few not-so-modest reminders of the car’s exclusivity.

The only downside to this program is that it’s limited to just 25 units and, as of now, there’s no telling how many of them are still available. Better be quick about it if you’re interested. Give Hennessey a ring or you might be left out on acquiring this alluring piece of tuning brilliance for the now 25-year old tuning wizard.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ford Mustang GT By Hennessey.


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