The Geneva Motor Show is one we look forward to most each year. Why? It is the auto show that seems to be no-holds-barred for most automakers who save their best, most exciting cars fro this show each year. 2015 was no exception and was arguably the most exciting in a long time with new cars from Ford all the way to Koenigsegg. All featuring the cutting edge in technology and styling and all getting the fizz going as James May would put it.
Audi showed off its latest version of the Prologue, this time in the form of a wagon instead of a coupe. This Prologue Avant Concept is a stunner! It features many of the styling cues from the Prologue Coupe Concept from the LA Auto Show only it now uses a 3.0L turbo diesel and plug-in hybrid technology for power combining to make 455 hp and have a range of 33 miles of pure electric driving. The Prologue cars are still just concepts but offer a look into what future Audi products may look like.
Audi also pulled the cover off the redesigned R8 in a few variations. Shown above is the top dog, the V10 plus. Other versions include an e-tron and a base version of the V10. The R8 went on a severe diet and lost just over 440 lbs bringing its weight down to 3,205 lbs. Pair that with 456 hp in the e-tron, 540 with the base 5.2 L V10 and 610 hp in the plus version. The e-tron packs a 92 kWh battery pack and promises 280 miles of range and a charge time of under 2 hours. The V10 plus is similar to what the R8 GT was with a spoiler, more power and slightly less heft. Gone is the 4.2 V8 and gone are the love ‘em or hate ‘em side blades. The styling is still very much an R8 but a complete redesign.
Porsche came to play showing off the ultimate version of the ultimate version of the ultimate 991 in the new 911 GT3 RS. This 500 hp naturally aspirated monster is everything you dream of when thinking about the 911. Porsche managed to shave off 22 lbs (whoopty-doo) of heft from the “standard” GT3 by use of carbon fiber and magnesium parts. This added power and less weight allows the car to be five seconds faster around the Nurburgring than the GT3. The driver is held in place by seats nicked from the 918 Spyder. As with the GT3, the RS version is PDK only.
Arguably the most anticipated car of the year is this, the Ford Focus RS. Not only is it one of the most desirable hot hatches, but, it will also be available in the US for the first time. That enough to make your mouth water? Try this on for size, it will use a modified version of the 2.3 Ecoboost found in the Mustang only it will make somewhere between 320-350 hp and be put to the ground via an all-new all-wheel drive system. It will also only be available with a manual transmission. Prices have yet to be announced but soon you’ll be able to recreate your favorite Ken Block video all on your own. Thank you Ford!
Initially shown in concept form at last year’s show it seems only fitting that Honda would show off the production version of the next Civic Type R. The new car offers 306 hp thanks to a 2.0 turbo four. The Type R will scoot to 62 mph in just 5.7 seconds with massive Brembo brakes available to bring the car to a halt. Sadly, this aggressive little hot hatch is based on the European Civic and will not be available in North America.
The Bugatti Veyron is nothing new. In fact, the Veyron is bowing out. What you see here is the final Veyron to be built. Dubbed La Finale, this Veyron is finished in a beautiful black cherry carbon fiber and is based on the Veyron Vitesse, the Grand Sport version of the Super Sport. Veyron number 450 will be heading to its new owner in the Middle East.
Could this be the best looking car to ever come from Crewe? Bentley pulled the drapes off the EXP 10 Speed 6 which is quite a looker in British Racing Green. The EXP 10 Speed 6 can only be described as what the next Continental GT could look like. As with any Bentley its the cabin that gets garnished with luxury. For now the EXP 10 is simply a design exercise so details on it are sparse.
This little stunner is the new limited run McLaren 675LT. The 675LT (Long Tail) is a hot version of the 650S. Utilizing the same 3.8 TT V8 only packing a demonic 666 hp and weighing just 2700 lbs allows this little number to rocket to 62 mph in 2.9 seconds. The reworked aero really shows off what the 675LT is all about. McLaren will begin taking orders in July but you’d better be prepared for a waitlist as only 500 will be offered and each will cost you upwards of $400,000.
The Porsche 911 GT3 RS is plenty cool but its the new Cayman GT4 we are most interested in. Porsche FINALLY built what the Cayman should have been. This GT4 steals the 911 Carrera S 3.8 flat-6 with 385 hp but that’s not the best part. The GT4 will be offered only in a 6 speed manual! No PDK here. The GT4 also swiped the brakes and seats off the 911 GT3. Porsche says the car will hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, that’s .5 seconds faster than the Cayman GTS. The GT4 will be available in July and will start at $84,600. That’s $15,000 less than what the 911 Carrera S starts at. But which is best? We’ll just have to wait and see…
If you thought this was a Ferrari 458 Italia you’d be wrong. What you see here is the new Ferrari 488 GTB. A keen eye will notice the mostly subtle differences between the two, the most obvious is the last intakes behind the doors. The 488 GTB is more than just a styling refresh, there is an all-new drivetrain as well. The 488 breaks Ferrari tradition and instead of a 4.9L V8 under the hood its 3.9. It also adds turbos to give the car 661 hp, more than any production Ferrari V8 ever made. Beyond that Ferrari didn’t share much as far as availability or performance goes.
When Lamborghini replaced the Murcielago with the Aventador we knew it was only a matter of time before an SV was created. The day is finally here! The Aventador SV packs 740 hp and drops 110 lbs making this the ultimate Raging Bull. New features include new aero and styling around the car, bigger scoops behind the windows and a spoiler that increases downforce up to 170% at speed. The interior is full of carbon fiber and Alcantara of course and borrows the TFT gauge screen from the Veneno. The price for all this goodness? Well if you have to ask…
Koenigsegg is one of those obscure supercar companies you may or may not be familiar with. If you read our articles then chances are you do. This is the latest from the Swedish company dubbed Regera. The Regera is the company’s first hybrid supercar pairing an 1,100 hp 5.0L twin turbo V8 with 400+ hp of electric motors for a combined 1,500+ hp. The transmission? There isn’t one. The Regera uses a Direct Drive system which connects the motor straight to the axles. The electric motors act as a single speed transmission and keeps the ICE in its power band under acceleration similar but not the same as how a CVT works. Koenigsegg plans to build 80 of these and have given very little details about its performance other than that it will accelerate from 0-250mph in under 20 seconds. Sounds impressive.
The McLaren F1 is probably one of the most iconic cars of the 90s. The F1 GTR was later built and was the inspiration for McLaren’s party piece, the P1 GTR. McLaren stripped out the already lightweight hypercar and turned it into a full-blown race car. 83 hp was also discovered in the engine bringing the total up to 983 hp. The P1 GTR is not technically a race car though. It is not homologated for any existing racing series but is merely a track toy for wealthy playboys, much like the Pagani Zonda R. It’s not street legal, nor is it legal to race so what’s the point? To be the ultimate track day toy that’s what. It would look right at home at Spa in a Gulf livery.
It is time, time for the 63rd annual running of the Twelve Hours of Sebring! A track as infamous as any in the world. A track where many teams will test in advance for other racing series and even before the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I’ve heard some have said that 12 hours of Sebring is just as grueling and tough, if not tougher, then the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Friday was qualifying and many were curious how the Prototype class would pan out with the latest in Balance of Performance (BoP) decrees handed down from IMSA officials. After watching qualifying of this class, all I can say is, either Sebring REALLY likes P2 cars, or the BoP has shifted in favor of the P2 cars. The No. 57 Ligier JS P2 Judd, piloted by Olivier Pla, took the top honors with a blistering 1:51.152. Besting last year’s fastest qualifying by almost a second! Finishing out the top 3 are the No. 1 Tequila Patron ESM HPD ARX-03b, with Ryan Dalziel behind the wheel, and then nearly a second later, the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP.
Due to some live stream issues, I wasn’t able to see much of the other classes.
What I can tell you is that Porsche North America took 1st and 2nd in GTLM. The No. 3 Corvette C7.R, took the 3rd spot with 0.22 seconds behind the 2nd place No. 911 Porsche! And I should also mention that a visiting from the WEC, is the No.98 Aston Martin Vantage V8 running in GTLM. What is turning into typical behavior for GTLM, less then a second separates the top 7 cars.
A few things to look out for. Obviously the race in GTLM will be some of the best racing out there. GTLM will probably threat this as a 12 hour sprint race. Meaning, all the teams will be pushing “all out”, for 12 hours! As a bonus, look for the special livery BMW using on it’s cars. A throwback to Sebring racercars 40 years ago! In Prototype, those new Ligier P2 are proving themselves, but don’t discount the DP cars. This will be a tough one to call. But I’m leaning towards a P2 victory. The more nimble P2 cars seem to handle Sebring’s rough and tumble track better then their heavier cohorts in DP.
So how best to watch this 12 hour race?
Easiest thing to do is send you over to IMSA’s website for the explantation. IMSA is getting better at streaming, but not the quite the ease of use we had back in the ALMS days with ESPN3.
OR you can check out TUDOR/IMSA’s YouTube channel. They are good at posting the full race a few days after the event.
And a “Racing Blip” wouldn’t be a “Racing Blip” without the ever handy Spotters Guide.
Race starts today (Saturday 3/21) at 10:40am ET
[photo | IMSA]
New to our Racing Blips this year is Pirelli World Challenge. PWC is not new to the site however as we have covered their events held at Miller Motorsports Park over the last few years at Utah Grand Prix. Over the last few years PWC has seen some impressive growth largely due to them adapting GT3 rules and some new teams coming over from the Tudor Untied SportsCar Championship.
The 2015 season kicks off this weekend during the Nissan Grand Prix of Texas at Circuit of the Americas with a total of seven rounds across all classes and a record 116 entrees filling up the field. The series has made some changes with how their race weekends will play out adding a class and as well as an all-new stand alone race for the GTS class. GT, GTA, and the new GT Cup class will race together for two rounds this weekend, The GTS class now has the track all to itself for the entire season and they too will hold two rounds. TC/TCA/TCB will race in three rounds.
With so many new faces this season, last year’s champions will have fresh blood to go for. Johnny O’Connell is back in his all new Cadillac ATS-V.R GT3 car to defend his GT title. Mike Skeen in his Audi R8 LMS Ultra gave O’Connell a run for his money last season and the class points lead came down to the last two rounds of the season. This year he will also be fighting with newcomers Chris Dyson in a Bentley Continental GT3, Guy Cosmo who left IMSA to race in an Audi R8, local favorite Madison Snow who will be leaving his familiar Porsche Cup cars and also racing in an Audi R8, and Olivier Beretta who will be racing in a Ferrari 458 GT3.
The GTA class returns without its defending champion, Michael Mills, leaving this class wide open! Henrik Hedman was the runner up for the class points and he leaves his Ferrari 458 GT3 and will now be in a Mercedes-Benz SLS GT3. Other class favorites include Dan Knox in a Viper GTR, Marcelo Hahn in a Lamborghini Gallardo, Jeff Courtney in an Audi R8 LMS Ultra, Bill Ziegler in a BMW Z4 GT3, Tim Pappas in a SLS GT3, Alex Welch in an R8 LMS, and Duncan Ende in a Ferrari 458 GT3.
The GT Cup class is all new and race spec 911 GT3 Cup cars and is a relatively small class with only ten cars. Even though it is a new class there are still some familiar faces competing in the like of Colin Thompson, Mitch Landry, Alec Udell, and Sloan Urry, another local favorite. Combined, these three classes will field 40 cars at the series opener.
20 GTS cars will line the grid on opening day and will have the track to themselves. The GTS class was full of action and close racing last year. So close that the championship was decided in the last round of the season last year with Lawson Auschenbach coming out on top in his Chevy Camaro. Sadly, Auschenbach will not be returning to the series this season. This leaves the door wide open for contenders. Jack Baldwin in his Porsche Cayman S finished in a strong second in the points last season. Will this be his year? Followed closely behind him was Mark Wilkins who won the Manufactures points for Kia last year in an optima Turbo. Other favorites include Dean Martin and Jack Roush Jr. in Ford Mustang Boss 302Rs, Tony Gaples in his Chevy Camaro, and local Vesko Kozarov in a Nissan 370Z.
How can you watch? Well, to watch live you can only stream it. They can be streamed from World Challenge TV while the race schedule and live timing can be found here. Each round is also uploaded to YouTube a few days after the event or you can wait for the tape delay broadcast March 14 at 11 am EST for GT/GTA/GT Cup and March 18 at 8 pm EST for TC/TCA/TCB on the CBS Sports Network.
For the full drivers list click here. The spotters guide is currently unavailable.
Project Pony Up has been progressing a little slower than I’d like. Largely because of time. Unfortunately that is how car projects nearly always seem to go. A job you figure will only take an hour to complete often times ends up taking most of the day. This is an important thing to keep in mind when starting such a project. I was hoping this project would only take about two months. Here we are nearly a year later and it is still far from done! In the past few months a lot of progress has been made. In the last update you may remember the donor motor and transmission had been removed from the donor car. In this update we will cover what we did to clean it, what gaskets we replaced, installing a front sump oil pump, installing a windage tray and t-pan, and restoring the valve covers.
When prepping an engine it is a good idea to do some detailing before you start dismantling it too far. This will help you inspect the condition of various parts on the motor as well as helping keep all your new parts clean. In this case it also helped pin point where the oil leaks were, and they were pretty much every where that they could come from. On this motor there was so much oil and grime on it I spent several days scrapping it off in chunks. After I got all I could with a scraper I used a foaming degreaser to coat the engine and let the chemicals in the degreaser soak for a while. Sometimes as little as 5 minutes and other times as long as over night depending on how caked on the oil was. This was done several times for several days before finally getting it all off. The upper and lower intake manifolds were sent to a machine shop to be hot tanked and media blasted. Since they will be front and center, they should look as good as new. At this point I removed the water pump, harmonic balancer, timing chain cover, and the old oil pan and covered the bottom of the block and timing chain with plastic bags as well as masked off the heads so I could paint the engine block. You can paint it what ever color you like but be sure you buy paint that can withstand high temperatures. I used black engine paint from Walmart. The same paint I used to paint the rest of the engine bay back in Part One.
Now that the block is painted it is time to convert the oil pickup and install the windage tray, both of which are easy to install. First you need to remove the old oil pickup by removing the two small bolts that attach it to the oil pump. With that out of the way you can install the windage tray. This install requires more attention to detail and following the directions exactly as they are printed with the tray. There are several different brands and styles of windage trays. A windage tray is one of the easiest power adders you can do. They are designed to keep oil from sloshing around in the oil pan and splashing on the crankshaft. With less oil splashing on the crank it has less resistance and it turns easier thus giving you a slight bump in power. Don’t expect to see huge gains though. To install this Canton windage tray its as simple as un-bolting four of the main cap bolts. Your tray should come with new main cap bolts designed for installing the tray. It is VERY important to keep things clean during this step. Torque the new main bolts to the specified amounts. The tray then slides over the new bolts and also gets torqued on. Before you tighten the tray make sure it clears the counter weights on the crankshaft by turning the motor over by hand (this may be difficult for some). Mine did not clear so we used some grade 8 washers as spacers. You can then install the new oil pickup in the same place you removed the old one. Make sure to use a new gasket.
Now you’ll want to replace the front main seal before putting the timing cover and water pump back on, both receiving new gaskets as well. You will also want to plug the old dipstick hole. Do this BEFORE putting the oil pan on. I learned this the hard way. There are several ways you can plug the hole. I tapped the hole and used an oil drain plug.
Installing the new oil pan is also an easy task. Using new gaskets and a gasket sealer (I used one called The Right Stuff) torque the bolt down to their proper specs. This Canton T-pan holds 7 quarts of oil, has baffles inside it to keep oil near the pickup at all times, as well as its own dipstick hole. You can also use a stock 289/302 oil pan but that would require drilling a new dipstick hole for the front sump pan.
The valve covers were then removed to inspect the valve train which looked fine and I actually found a nice surprise hiding under the covers in the form of Ford Racing 1.6 rocker arms looking pretty in blue. The old valve covers were in desperate need of attention. The black paint on the was wearing off and they too were coated in oil. After cleaning and sanding them they were painted using the same black engine paint used on the block. Once the paint dried, I elected to sand off the ribbed area of the covers so you could once again see the aluminum accents. They were reinstalled with new gaskets and gasket sealer. The lower intake manifold was also installed with new gaskets. The engine is now nearly ready to be installed in the car. All that is left to do is replace the rear main seal which cannot be done on the engine stand. Then the flywheel and clutch will be installed and paired with the transmission. The transmission and clutch will be the topic of the next update very soon and currently the plan is to install the drivetrain this coming weekend which will be the topic of yet another update! So keep in tune and watch for those in the near future, hopefully.
Photos by the Author
Well, there it was, Round 3 of the WinterX series at Miller Motorsports Park. The last run of the season.
And I have to say, it was rather, umm, uneventful. None of the snow, slush, and grayness of last year. Not saying that’s a bad thing. Just means more, how should I say it, “track orientated” cars were able to tack advantage of some solid seat time in the off season.
And once again, we would like to thank the staff of Miller Motorsports Park for their help these last few months, It is appreciated!
Results for round 3 can be found here.
And for those that are curious about the next time you can take a car or motorcycle on the track, check out MMP’s calendar.
So, without further delay, the photos from Round 3 of WinterX, enjoy!
Intending this article for much earlier publication, I finally encountered sufficient uninterrupted time to get this article together. Please forgive my delay.
Summer 2013 seemed to go on for ever. Unseasonably warm weather lasted off and on into late October. Weather Gods extended me one last chance to grab some car portraits in early November before doom and Salt Lake City winter weather gloom descended upon us. I found Tony Beale at Utah’s British Field Days in June, 2013. Among many familiar British name plates I’d seen before Tony welcomed me to his spot under Liberty Park’s tall, merciful shade giving trees, introduced a brand totally unfamiliar to me. I wasn’t quite sure at what I stared. Was this a Morgan? MG? Kit car? With pride and confidence, Tony told me, “Its a Panther Kallista.” After a brief rundown of the Panther’s history, I thought, “This is pretty cool. I need to get this up on Daily Derbi.” As we exchanged contact info, summer, then autumn, ticked away. We missed one photo op as winter placed a warning shot across our path during November’s 1st Sunday afternoon. Next weekend, November’s 2nd Sunday, we had our chance.
Newly set Mountain Standard time brought golden hour light an hour earlier in our day, as Tony quietly rolled up for our shoot of his immaculate Panther Kallista at Salt Lake Airport #2. Top down, face alight with a “Can’t believe I’m driving this car with the top down in November,” smile, Tony gently rested his Kallista while we set up our shot. Dennjs Bleazard, Mike Gillilan and I guided Kerry Smith’s Swearingen SA-26AT, “The Merlin,” as background for our shot. Dennis arranged Leading Edge Aviation’s plane positioning as our great companion to Tony’s classy Panther. We posed the car. The sun did the rest. UK’s Panther Club published Kallista’s history on line @ www.pantherclub.co.uk/pantherkallistahistory.htm. Emerging to market in 1972, experiencing rapid ups and downs, several ownership changes, several successes and as many near death challenges, Panther car company ceased UK Kallista production and any international distribution in 1990. As the last owner, Korea’s Ssangyong Motor Company reportedly intended continued production in their home country. I haven’t heard of any. Have you?
Speaking with Tony regarding his 1986 copy, it bears a Ford 2.3L Mustang derived engine. Since emission issues presented US import barriers, Ford’s 88 hp engine proved the quickest route to US’ market. Chassis# 5049 came off the line March 13, 1986 as unit #23, one of 154 total Kallista’s produced with, according to Tony, only 107 making it to US shores. Tony’s car came to him in such great condition he’s had little to maintain. Working on British sports cars nearly his entire life, Tony says many Panther Kallista components come from more well known British brands. He’s seen no other Kallistas in Utah or at any personally attended car shows. What are the most common questions when people see this rare automobile? “Is that a kit car?” “How much did it cost?” “How much is it worth?” It wasn’t just me! I thought it might be a kit. As for the other questions, what does it matter? Let your eyes feast. You won’t encounter many of these stunning cars anywhere. See you at the track.
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