A flying car is one of the evergreen fantasies of car guys, and finally Chevrolet has fulfilled that fantasy, sort of. GM engineers have developed what they call “Flying Car Mode” for the Camaro Z/28, the most track-capable version of Chevy’s muscle car. While it doesn’t make the Camaro fly, it is a rather clever use of technology that’s already on board when the Z/28 does get off the ground that allows the car to do faster laps. (Read More…)
“It took me a lot of time and patience to achieve a ‘Bridge To Gantry’ lap time under 10 minutes during the tourist drive sessions at the Nordschleife. This challenge was definitely for fun but also to prove it could be done with work, tenacity and a bit of madness too… This TUD3 diesel engine is known for its poor reliability and I went through 9 engines and 5 gearboxes!”
We’re all aware by now how far manufactures go to validate their new sports car by posting a timed YouTube video of their prized new toy, worth at least tens of thousands of dollars, barreling down the Nürburgring at Vmax with some hot shoe driver. The ‘Ring time has started to become a regular, though often misguided, benchmark for how capable a car is.
Now, condense all of that determination, prestige and big-money manufacturer support; strip out the money and prestige, and add determined Frenchman with a diesel Citroën as he battles to break the magical 10-minute mark.
Die-hard TTAC readers who stick with us for the weekends might notice something strange about the site today: we’re missing a post. On Sunday morning, we republished a story that originally appeared on SVTPerformance.com. We did this after coming to an agreement with the administrator of that site to “re-pop” news and features that might be of interest to the Best&Brightest, in exchange for links back to the original site.
Yesterday afternoon, the fellow who had originally given us permission to publish the article changed his mind and demanded that we take it down immediately, stating that “[the article] was a direct copy with no link-back initially. When one was added it was a pitiful effort; a single hyperlink that looks identical to several other hyperlinks that lead back to your site.” We’ve honored his request to take the article down and to never, ever, ever link to the “SVT Performance” fansite again.
However, one important piece of the article — an email written by Jamal Hameedi regarding the merits of Nurburgring lap-time marketing — was delivered to us under separate cover by another source, so we’re republishing that after the jump.
If you have an Internet connection and an interest in automobiles, you’ve no doubt heard about the 7:08 ‘Ring time claimed for the new Nismo GT-R. Nissan’s in the middle of putting on a trackday/party for compliant media in Japan right now for the purpose of celebrating said time, but one of the journalists who attended turned out to not be quite as compliant as the company might wish.
If you haven’t read the first-ever Road & Track Performance Car of the Year story, I would highly recommend reading the Baruth-penned story, which gives any British buff book a run for its money, despite a dearth of derring-do heroics on Welsh backgrounds. Some of the most illuminating information comes not from the Disco Hoodied One himself, but from other R&T staffers. Take this choice quote about the Nissan GT-R for example:
There’s a lot of chuckling in the paddock over the blue seats and odd Track Edition badging on Nissans newest GT-R, but on the runway, it’s serious business. It’s also damn near the fastest car in the test. “It’s so good — and it used to be so terrible,” says Cammisa.
Nissan. Cadillac. Chevrolet. All brag about being the Lord of the ‘Ring, upsetting the German automakers to no end. Yet, one of them may still have the last laugh through the act of saving the Nürburgring from certain doom.
(Everyone please welcome Speed:Sport:Life alumnus and Cayman owner John Kucek to these pages. Upon hearing that John was going to the famous Burgerkingring, I asked him to get me a review of a car not available here. Strictly speaking, he did what I asked him to do. Frankly speaking, if he comes back next time with a review of a Toyota iQ or any other badge-engineered cars we’re firing him! — JB)
“Get me a couple of forbidden-fruit car reviews”. Jack’s words were still ringing in my ears as I gingerly walked up to a rental counter in Dusseldorf a few weeks later. I knew what this particular outfit had to offer, having been here almost three years earlier to the day on another Nordschleife-bound excursion, and it was good stuff. Imagine numerous E92 M3 Coupes, with the Competition Package even, lining the airport garage tower stalls. There was an Aston V12 Vantage standing on display in the terminal, the circular kiosk next to it touting its availability “from 169 Euros a day”. At least, I think that was the gist. It could have been 169 Euros per hour, but since most of my comprehension of the German language has been cobbled together from watching Inglourious Basterds on repeat, I might have been wrong on that count. Either way, the fact that a run-of-the-mill rental counter in Germany even offers such metal bodes well for my reservation, a “Premium” class upgrade that promised a new BMW 1er, VW GTI, Mercedes-Benz A-Klasse or similar.
While snapping shots of the new Chevrolet SS at the end of the show on Thursday, TTAC’s NYIAS crew was approached by General Motors vice president Mark Reuss. “You guys are always trying to make GM look bad,” he growled, his two personal assistants standing behind him and positively radiating menace, “but I’m going to show you that you can’t stop the largest car company in the world from making great product for great customers. Come with me.”
We didn’t have much choice, but after being given an industry exclusive on the biggest product reveal to not make news at the show, we’re glad we followed him down that dark corridor.
The legendary Nürburgring, purveyor of records an dreams, is dead. Well, it’s clinically dead, but it might be brought back to life. What else would you do with a 16 mile road that goes nowhere in the middle of nowhere? The Ring is bankrupt. Out of money. Can’t pay its bills. Broke. Bust. Pleite. (Read More…)
Where is global warming when we need it? Europe has been hit by a gigantic blizzard, and the Grüne Hölle of the Nürburgring has been converted into the Weisse Hölle. What happens when hell freezes over shows this clip by Spiegel TV.
It’s one thing to see a forthcoming performance-model prototype, say an Audi RS4 Avant or a Porsche 991 Turbo, tearing through the “Green Hell.” But it’s quite another to watch one unreleased prototype pass another camo-clad warrior, previewing autobahn battles that are still a good year away. It should come as little surprise that the new Porsche Turbo was able to get around Audi’s speedwagon by diving inside, but given the Audi’s slower line, the cornering-speed battle is closer than you might think. Besides, try taking the kids to hockey practice in an ‘elfer Turbo…
What do you add to footage like this? Watching a station wagon tear through tight corners and uneven road at an improbable rate of speed is one of life’s pleasures that needs no embellishment. So don’t waste time wondering whether this 450 HP AWD assassin is coming to the US, or what it would cost if it did. There’s plenty of time for that later. For now, simply enjoy…
With ‘ring times back in the news thanks to a new feud between Dodge’s Viper ACR and Lexus’s LFA, GM took its forthcoming Camaro ZL1 to the Eifel Forest to record its own time. The best lap time of 7:41:27, according to Motor Trend, was set by lead development engineer Aaron Link (some outlets are reporting the time was actually set by GM NA President Mark Reuss himself), although Reuss does have some his own impressions to add, telling MT
“It’s power all the time, capability all the time, and the steering and tractability of the car is just phenomenal,” he told us. Reuss also told us that this Camaro easily (and often) hit speeds of 170 mph on the ‘Ring’s back straight, and that even from those speeds the ZL1 exhibited, “Some serious braking power.” Reuss added, “We never faded the brakes on it… It’s one of the easiest cars I’ve ever driven to drive fast and hard. Everybody’s going to have a good time with it.”
The constant frustration of almost everyone in the automotive media, is getting scooped by the fanboys. And yet it inevitably, it keeps happening. While the usual German ‘ring-watching suspects were enjoying their Messe, ATSforum.com grabbed an apparent web exclusive video of the Cadillac ATS at the Nürburgring… three days ago.
Despite the endless sturm und drang surrounding ‘ring records, I think videos like this are what makes the ‘ring “matter”: they show not-yet-for-sale cars being pushed on challenging, degraded road. As Jack points out though, the driver makes a huge difference in ‘ring times, and therefore, the performance you’re seeing in this video. Your ‘ring mileage may vary. Still, it’s worth remembering that this is a Cadillac on the Nürburgring. I’m not making apologies, it’s just… typing that still feels strange (yes, even after the CTS-V). Anyway, there’s some fairly comparable 2012 BMW 3er footage after the jump, so… y’know…