BMW have announced that they are introducing two exclusive M models to the UK market, the M3 and M5 Performance Editions. Both care will be available in three ‘Frozen’ paint schemes (Japan Red with a red wrap, Frozen White and Frozen Blue) with black Merino leather interiors in the M5 and black Novillo leather in the M3, each with stitching that matches the exterior colour choice.
Just 30 of each model will be made, the number laser-cut onto the trim. The M3 Performance Edition mounts 19″ M Y-spoke matt black alloy wheels at the corners, a Dark Chrome exhaust, carbon front splitter, bonnet intakes and more. Under the hood the M3 sports the 420hp V8.
The M3 comes with the BMW Competition Package as standard, which features 10mm lowered suspension, electronic damper control with sport mode and a revised DSC+ system. The M5 packs the 560hp TwinPower Turbo V8 with chassis upgrades and Active M differential and sits on 20″ M double-spoke black alloys.
The BMW mothership is also ramping up to celebrate 25 years of the Z1, which was launched in the autumn of 1988.
Seen as a descendent of the 507 from the 1950s, the Z1 show-cased several avant garde ideas in its two-seater roadster body. At first just a concept, it was quickly given the green light and within 12 months of the concept a pre-production model was ready.
The Z1’s compact chassis had a low weight and centre of gravity, a front mid-engine and sliding doors. The majority of the body was made of deformable injection-moulded thermoplastics, and under the skin the Z1 used a self-supporting monocoque construction made of individual sheet-steel parts for added rigidity. Because of the technology involved, the car was hand-built by BMW. Far before the Smart, it was possible to change all the panels on a Z1 within an hour if you wanted to change the colour of the car!
Inside the cockpit were low-slung, leather-wrapped sports seats, but the unique feature was the installation of vertically-sliding doors. These retracted electrically into the sills, allowing you to cruise along with the doors open. Under the bonnet was a 2.5-litre straight six, producing 170hp, pushed out to the rear wheels via a special ‘Z-axle’ – BMW shorthand for a centrally guided, spherical double-wishbone axle.
The floor was bonded to the frame – and also made of glass-reinforced plastic. It weighed just 15kgs, but was corrosion resistant, safe in a collision and produced smooth underbody contours which rose towards the rear to produce downforce and reduce rear axle lift. 8,000 Z1s eventually rolled off the product line between ’88 and ’91.
Over in the DTM, BMW have passed on the winner’s baton to Audi, who won their first race of the 2012 season at the picturesque Red Bull Ring Spielberg track in Austria last weekend. This follows on from two wins for Mercedes’ Gary Paffett, who won the opener in Hockenheim and the British round at Brands Hatch, and the win for BMW’s Bruno Spengler at Lausitzring.
Rosberg Audi driver Edoardo Mortaro started from pole and just held off Paffett and BMW’s Martin Tomczyk to take the win – he had to retake the lead on the run to the Remus curve both times that he exited the pits after a stop.
The action took place both on and off the track right from the start – this is Mortaro’s team-mate Filipe Albuquerque being kicked into the air after contact with Spengler’s BMW deep into the Remus curve run-off. He still managed to finish eighth, one of five Audis in the top 10. Spengler would be the one forced into retirement from the damage sustained.
Paffett finished third, and his string of podiums means he’s way out front in the drivers’ table after the opening four rounds, with 83 points against second-placed Audi man Mattias Ekström’s 47 and fellow Mercedes driver Jamie Green on 44.
Eibach are the official supplier of suspension components for Audi’s A5 DTM, and have announced a new tuning pack for the latest Audi S5 Coupe. The package comprises the Eibach B12 Pro-Kit, performance sway bars and aluminium wheel spacers, plus a choice of three different alloy wheel and tyre combos and a racing-inspired foil wrap and decals set.
Back at the Red Bull Ring, Olympic Ski jumper Thomas Morgenstern also had a run out in a Red Bull RB7 Formula 1 car, coached by ex-F1 and current DTM driver David Coulthard.
Even Red Bull technical chief Adrian Newey was getting his hands dirty behind the wheel: he raced in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo race, which was supporting the Blancpain Endurace Series at Silverstone last weekend. Newey is of course no stranger to racing, having competed at Le Mans in a GT Ferrari and being a regular competitor in historic racing.
During the week in the run-up to the Blancpain race, Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy Ambassador (he also drives a McLaren F1 car when he has time…) Lewis Hamilton was at the track to launch an expansion of the marque’s school. 16-year-olds are introduced to driving safely in a controlled environment, which has been shown to reduce accident rates amongst drivers in their first year on the roads.
The big news in endurance racing was the weekend’s Test Day at Le Mans. We’ll be previewing the race early next week, but the predictable outcome at the head of the field was the dominance of the Audi R18s, and the two e-tron Quattros in particular. The McNish/Capello/Kristensen ‘old boys’ #2 set a 3:25.927s lap.
What wasn’t so expected was the performance of the Toyota TS030 Hybrids: they were right up amongst the Audis, with the Toyotas pushing the last of the quartet of Audis down to sixth on the combined time-sheets for the day. The bad news is that the privateer, petrol-driven LMP teams are 10 seconds off the pace of the fastest diesel… In GT, Ferraris and Corvettes were tight at the top, with Aston Martin and Porsche just behind.
Audi have also released the first public images of the R18’s 3.7-litre V6 TDI engine. The 510hp unit uses a Honeywell Garrett mono turbo system with inboard exhaust manifolds and variable turbine geometry. “The temperatures are extreme,” says Ulrich Baretzky, Head of Engine Development. “Temperatures of up to 1,050 degrees Celsius in the turbine and in the VTG can only be handled by high-temperature-resistant steel alloys”. It’s the stuff privateer teams dream of.
There’s more F1 interest at Le Mans this year again, with the return of Martin Brundle to the driving seat of a prototype. He’ll be driving the LMP2 Greaves Motorsport Zytek Z11SN Nissan.
He’s sharing the car with his son, Alex, and Lucas Ordonez – a graduate of the Playstation GT Academy.
Also on the bill at Le Mans will be a big grid of monstrous Group C cars, plus the Aston Martin Festival. The latter race brings together 30 Aston GT cars from the recent era, including the Zagato that recently competed at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, three GT1 DBR9s and a big group of GT3 and GT4 cars.
Turning to the scarlet marque, Ferrari have announced an online charity auction today, June 6, in aid of the recent earthquakes in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. The prize of the auction is this unique 599XX Evo, signed by company chairman Luca di Montezemolo and F1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Felippe Massa. The highest bidder will also have the car handed to him or her by the F1 drivers at the Monza Grand Prix in September; the reserve is €1.35m.
Other lots include a 2008 F1 V8 engine with which the Scuderia won its 16th Constructors’ World Championship title and an original nosecone from the F60, the F1 car that celebrated Ferrari’s 60th consecutive year of competing in the Formula 1 World Championship.
In addition, there are also a host of racing gloves, suits and helmets autographed by Alonso and Massa.
If the cool mill-and-a-half to own a 599XX is too much for you, then there’s still the chance to see a range of Ferrari’s on-track at September’s Ferrari Racing Day at Silverstone in the UK on September 15-16. A selection of historic F1 cars will be run out…
…plus a marauding pack of FXX and 599XX development cars.
Ferrari North Europe will also be attempting to reclaim the Guinness World Record for the largest parade of Ferrari cars at the event. The record currently stands at 490, and Ferrari North Europe intends to set a new record in excess of 500 cars with the help and support from Ferrari owners all over Europe.
With the first round of the Global Rallycross Championship done and dusted, attention turned back to Europe and the fourth round of the European Rallycross Championship held at the Nyirad Motorsport Centrum in Hungary. Hansen Motorsport driver Timur Timerzyanov took the win after a dramatic A Final that saw him fend off Tanner Foust for victory. The points haul also moved the Citroën driver to the head of the SuperCar drivers’ standings.
Brit Liam Doran was out of the final after hitting the wall on the final lap whilst in fourth, heavily damaging his Citroën and leading to Liam being taken to hospital for precautionary checks – he was discharged that evening and should be fine for his upcoming participation in Round 2 of GRC.
However, he was still classified sixth, and good results in the previous rounds means he holds second in the drivers’ standings, just five points behind the Russian.
It’s time to stick on those ’70s moustaches and pretend to be Burt Reynolds: the Cannonball 2000 for 2012 has been launched. The charity run will take place in September and already 50 cars are signed up, including a DeLorean DMC12, Gallardo LP570 Performante, various Nissans, Bentleys, Astons and a fleet of Ferraris and Porsches.
The formation start takes place at London’s Hilton Park Lane Hotel on September 5, with a circuitous 2,000 mile route taking the cars through Barcelona, Monte Carlo and Milan on the way to the finish in Paris five days later.
There’s the chance to see supercars in more sedate surroundings at the Supercar Sunday gathering at the Brooklands oval to the south-west of London. Bugatti, Maserati, Koenigsegg and Lamborghini are expected on July 15, plus an Aston Zagato, AC 378 Zagato and Jaguar XJR15.
Mercedes-Benz have re-engineered the SLS AMG with the new GT model: the light clusters have been darkened, a two-stage AMG Ride Control system added with stiffer suspension, red callipers mounted inside the spoked alloys and the power given a hike. The front mid-mounted AMG 6.3-litre V8 will now push out 591hp and accelerate to 60mph in 3.7 seconds.
Toyota Germany are also already beefing up the GT86. New options have been introduced, including black or silver body stripes, carbon fibre mirror caps and a range of new 18″ alloy wheels.
There are also some interior options for multimedia and navigation, but the more relevant thing is the suspension package that lowers the car’s ride height by 30mm, giving it a much meaner stance.
Owners of GTIs and other hot VW-group cars will be readying their mounts for this year’s GTI International, the 25th anniversary of the event, which is being held at the Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground in the UK on June 23-24. Eibach and Bilstein will be on hand to oversee the handling course, and VW Classic Parts will also be bringing a number of historic cars along.
And where there’s old, there’s new: VW have unveiled a special edition Scirocco at the Leipzig Motor Show, the GTS. It’s been 30 years since the first Scirocco rolled off the production lines, and the racing stripes of the new GTS are supposed to ape liveries of that era.
The bodykit has been tweaked at the front, back and sides, and 18″ ‘Thunder’ alloys, red brake callipers, a diffuser and roof-edge spoiler added. The interior has also been made more racy, complete with a golf-ball style gear knob that harks back to the first Golf GTI and the 1982 Scirocco GTS.
To wrap up, some rock ‘n’ roll: the spectacularly-named Cholmondeley Pageant of Power runs from June 15-17 in the UK (frustratingly the same weekend as Le Mans), and will see a huge collection of classic cars and bikes – including this back to the future, sci-fi spinner from… 1910! The unique Edison-Puton Monowheel is being shipped across from the Auto & Technik Museum in Germany for the CPoP; it was originally built in Paris and featured a single wheel which housed the frame, rider and a 150cc De Dion engine.