It’s the 50th anniversary of the Alpine Berlinette, and to mark the event Renault have created this striking concept car. The A110-50 is based on a combination of the DeZir concept and a Mégane Trophy race car, and very much designed with the track in mind. It features a full roll-cage, air-jacks and 21″ single-nut racing wheels, and the Renault V4Y 3.5-litre, 24-valve 400hp V6 engine is mid-rear mounted.
Wrapped in metallic Alpine Blue-painted carbon-fibre bodywork that echoes the blue of the A110, even the LED headlights of the A110-50 have a yellow tint to again tip their hat to the original car. Downforce is generated by the ground effect from the hidden front splitter and rear diffuser in conjunction with the big rear wing. The car weighs just 880kg, so with over 450hp per ton it will mean you’d want to give the seat belts an extra tug before setting off.
BMW also released a new one-off this week: the two-seater Zagato Coupé. With a fresh twist on the BMW family style at the front, it’s the muscular Kamm-Effect rear-end that it really makes it stand apart. The ‘Coda Tronca’ style has been used before by Zagato and is profiled to reduce wind resistance and remove the need for a wing.
Renowned coach builder Zagato was responsible for the design and construction of the Coupé – its aluminium body has been hand-built by the craftsmen at the company.
The cockpit has a double-bubble ‘doppia gobba’ roof profile, which is made especially to accommodate helmet-clad heads and a signature Zagato touch, as are the Zs that make up the front grille.
BMW chose to unveil the the car at this years Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on the banks of Lake Como in northern Italy. Villa D’Este is one of the most exclusive events in the world of classic cars: the limited number of exclusive entrants are hand-picked by the organisers, and was originally a get-together of coach-builders presenting one-off, hand-built creations.
Aston Martin also revealed what could become the replacement for the DBS. Named the Project AM310, the car retains the usual Aston styling cues, but emphasis evolution rather than revolution.
Alfa Romeo also displayed their 4C coupé, which promptly won the Concept And Prototype class at the show. The 900kg, rear-wheel-drive car is due to be powered by a 1.7-litre turbo unit, which should produce a 0-60mph time of less than five seconds.
Alfa swept up the main prize at the Villa D’Este, the Coppa D’Oro for the best of show, with this privately-owned 6C 1750 GS Figoni teardrop coupé.
Another one-off, and another example of what you can do when money is no object. Or your name is Eric Clapton. Which means the former is not a problem. Designed by the Centro Stile Ferrari in collaboration with Pininfarina and the engineers from Maranello, the SP12 EC was created as an homage to Clapton’s career and his long lasting experience as a Ferrari owner and fan of the 512BB.
The name breaks down neatly: SP for Special Project, 12 for the Ferrari 512BB that inspired its design and EC for… You can guess.
Also busy playing around with Ferraris are Mansory Design. Their latest creation is the Monaco Edition 458 Spider. Just three examples will be built of the weight-optimised, face-lifted 458: revised engine management mated to the aggressive aero tweaks mean the 590hp Mansory 458 will now get to 100kph in 3.2 seconds and have a 330kph top speed.
The leather, carbon fibre and Alcantara interior uses the Monaco red and white diamond emblem on the seats and doors; the pedals are aluminium.
Talking of Monaco, over the same weekend as the Concorso d’Eleganza was the Monte Carlo Grand Prix – in fact both events have taken place since 1929, making it a nice and convenient double-header. The race itself wasn’t stunning – as usual overtaking was virtually impossible – but it was still exciting, especially towards the end as Red Bull’s Mark Webber held off a five-car train to take the win.
Michael Schumacher’s moment of pole glory during qualifying lasted as long as it took him to get back round to the pits – his collision with Bruno Senna in Spain cost him five places, moving Webber into the prime position for the race. Schumacher’s bad luck continued on the Sunday when fuel pressure problems caused his retirement early in the race.
The milk has been flowing on the other side of the pond, as the counterpoint to the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500, took place. They couldn’t be more different: one is the narrowest, shortest track on the calendar, the other the world’s largest sporting facility, but both are iconic races. This year Dario Franchitti came from the back of the field to win for a third time.
Franchitti recovered from a collision in the pit-lane early on to win a dramatic race that broke the record for the most number of lead changes in Indy’s history. He only got to the front with 50 of the 200 laps to go, but then fought it out to the end.
It was a weekend for close finishes. Just 0.0677s covered the first three cars at the flag – Franchitti just held off team-mate Scott Dixon and KV’s Tony Kanaan. This meant Honda-powered cars finished first and second, with Chevy third; the two Lotus-powered cars suffered an appalling race and were both black-flagged within 11 laps for being too slow…
The DTM circus is moving back into mainland Europe after its jaunt to the UK, and as a warm-up to the race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria staged a demonstration on the streets of Graz. Miguel Molina burned up the rubber on his Audi A5 for the fans before giving the local mayor a passenger ride.
Over in the USA the hotly-anticipated Global Rallycross Championship has kicked off, with the first round held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. 17 Supercars took part, with all the big names turning out to entertain the NASCAR audience at the track: Tanner Foust, Rhys Millen, Dave Mirra, Ken Block.
The track was laid out around the front section of the Speedway, using the pit-lane and a number of water-filled barricades to funnel the cars, plus a make-shift jump. The action was frantic, despite the lack of gravel, and left plenty of cars requiring major repairs. So, a normal Rallycross race really.
WRC champion Marcus Gronhold took the win in his Ford Fiesta MkVII, beating Foust’s Fiesta and Stéphane Verdier’s Hyundai Veloster to the top spot. The two Saab 9-3s were next up.
You can catch some great in-car footage here courtesy of Subaru, which shows the rocketship acceleration of these cars – and just what damage they’re willing to give and take.
Over in the allegedly more sedate world of GT racing, McLaren must be thanking the racing gods, as not only has an MP4-12C finished a race but actually won! And not just a single victory, but two in the World GT1 Championship, including a one-two result in the Qualifying Race.
All-Inkl’s big Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGs were second and third in the Championship Race – three of their four drivers were fresh from the Nürburgring 24 Hours, as were many other of the drivers in the race.
The wins have catapulted Hexis McLaren drivers Fred Makowiecki and Stef Dusseldorp into the lead of the Drivers Championship.
Racing success is always good for business: McLaren are continuing to open new showrooms for the MP4-12C, and their latest one is in Abu Dhabi – they now have four in the region.
Whilst the showroom is definitely in the plush end of town, McLaren have taken an MP4-12C out into the desert for a spin – and took some cameras with them.
Audi are continuing to ladle technology onto their Le Mans Prototypes as well: the latest addition is an advanced high-resolution AMOLED rear view mirror. It brings benefits on a number of levels: not having to rely on vibrating side mirrors, plus having a system which will be useable in the wet.
The concept is hardly new of course – it’s been used by GT cars such as Ferrari, Panoz and Corvette for some time – but it is the first time that a prototype has used the system. This perhaps says something about the visibility in the R18 of course…
Talking of looking back, Porsche have opened a special exhibition at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart celebrating 60 years of Porsche clubs. Included in the collection are a number of rare cars, such as this 911 Turbo S 993 from Dr Wolfgang Porsche’s private collection.
Club memorabilia from around the world has been gathered together, plus other cars such as this 1970 Porsche 914/6 GT.
Porsche are also releasing a limited edition 911 Club Coupé – just 13 will be built, all in classic Brewster Green, with the Sport Design Package and 20″ SportTechno alloys. Each car will be tailored to its new owner with personalised engraving on the trim – except for one, which will be kept at the Museum.
The BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé is being released into the wild next month – the top of the range four-door 650i grand tourer packs a new 450hp, twin-turbo V8.
Vauxhall, one of the world’s oldest car manufactures, will be showing off its private collection of cars to the public on June 10 at its Luton Heritage Centre in the UK. Visitors will be able to view the company’s collection over of 50 cars, ranging from pre-war to a selection of very rare concept cars.
At the latest round of the World Rally Championship, the Rally Acropolis in Greece, Citröen’s Sebastian Loeb once again took victory despite a puncture, extending his lead in the championship to 31 points. Team-mate Mikko Hirvonen took second on the rally, also moving him up to second in the points.
The deities were not looking down on Ford during the Rally Of The Gods: Petter Solberg crashed out on Sunday during a rally in which there was heavy attrition though out the field.
It was left to Jari-Matti Latvala to uphold Ford’s honour – he had been leading early on, but ended up third after recovering from handling issues on the opening day and damage on the Saturday.