By on November 1, 2017

C-HR R-Tuned SEMA

Intended to be the best of both worlds, crossovers deliver the ruggedness of a sport utility vehicle with the handling characteristics of a sedan. At least, that’s the theory. In practice, we’ve often found them lukewarm — sacrificing the best traits of either segment to deliver something that can bridge the gap between them. If that’s what you’re looking for, then there isn’t much of a problem. But we’ve often thought you’d be better off in a hatchback or a more traditional SUV.

Crossovers do have a role to play, however. I find petite examples particularly adept at city duty. But there aren’t many crossovers offering driving excitement below the $40,000 mark, and none of them are particularly svelte. Toyota seems to understand our plight and, in continuing its attempt to rebrand itself as a bold automaker, decided to make something genuinely thrilling out of the ho-hum C-HR.

It’s called the “R-Tuned,” and the manufacturer claims it’s the quickest CUV ever to grace God’s green earth.  (Read More…)

By on April 6, 2017

Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Car at Long Road Racing, Image: © 2017 Bozi Tatarevic

The Global Mazda MX-5 Cup car is one of the most affordable, ready-to-race cars on the market today. The racer starts as a fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 and receives over 250 changes to become track ready. Mazda wanted the cars to be built to a single spec, so it tapped Long Road Racing to be the sole builder of the car.

I paid them a visit to see just what goes into building these race-ready roadsters.

(Read More…)

By on October 10, 2016

Auto Polo - Bain's New York

People do strange, dangerous things to entertain themselves and others. Real lawn darts were once sold as children’s toys. Almost as soon as automobiles became somewhat practical, people were figuring out dangerous and fun things to do with them.

The earliest automobiles were typically rich folks’ novelties, which may explain why, in 1902, Joshua Crane, Jr., a polo enthusiast active with the Dedham Polo Club of Boston, decided to put on an exhibition polo match wherein Mobile Runabouts replaced horses.

That it might not have been the safest endeavor can be seen from a surviving photograph of the match catching one of the drivers/mallet men doing a header into the ground, about to be run over by his own steed.

(Read More…)

By on October 6, 2016

Brock Yates (Facebook)

Brock Yates wore many hats during his enviable madcap life, and each one blew off as he pinned the accelerator to the firewall.

The longtime Car & Driver editor, racecar driver, brief TTAC contributor, author, restaurateur, television commentator, screenwriter, Cannonball Run founder and fierce critic of government regulations packed a burning passion for cars into every strand of his DNA.

Yates passed away yesterday from complications of Alzheimer’s. He was 82. (Read More…)

By on September 8, 2016

Formula One (Leo Hidalgo/Flickr)

New details about the Formula One purchase trickled out last night after the buyer, Liberty Media Corp., agreed a deal to take over the sport.

The U.S.-based entertainment and telecommunications giant will initially pay $4.4 billion for a controlling stake in the franchise, The Guardian reports, and a familiar white-haired figure will keep his job. (Read More…)

By on September 7, 2016

Bernie Ecclestone (Ryan Bayona/Flickr)

Longtime Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone will remain involved with his beloved sport, even after an imminent takeover by a U.S.-based media company.

Ecclestone, head of Formula One for the past four decades, says he’s been asked to stay on for three years after the takeover, Reuters reports. (Read More…)

By on July 26, 2016

Bernie Ecclestone (Ryan Bayona/Flickr)

Brazilian media sources say kidnappers are demanding a huge ransom for the safe return of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone’s mother-in-law.

The São Paulo kidnapping of Aparecida Schunck, mother of Ecclestone’s wife Fabiana Flosi, was reported in Veja and Globo, according to the BBC. The assailants are asking for $36.5 million. (Read More…)

By on March 17, 2016

2016 Ford Explorer

Millennials are buying Ford SUVs like it’s going out of style, no doubt dismaying the friends who like to lecture people about their lifestyle on Facebook.

That, Chevrolet offers a voyeur package for its full-side pickup, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles grabs a stack of cash with both hands, Mercedes-Benz gives its midsize SUV the AMG treatment, and two more automakers eye the Formula E grid … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on September 9, 2015

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Apple today rolled out a slew of gadgets including an iPad the size of the 10 Commandments, a new iPhone that sounds a lot like the old iPhone that likes to be touched and touched hard, a Pencil that Steve Jobs never wanted and a Microsoft Surface Pro keyboard.

Yadda, yadda, yadda. The new Apple TV may be what most people will be talking about and it could change how we watch motorsports. Imagine in-car feeds between cars chasing each other, live scoring and timing underneath the feeds, cold beer in your fridge and no lines at the bathroom.

We live in exciting times, people. (Read More…)

By on July 11, 2015

Nurburgring_lap

After speculation that Germany’s famed Nurburgring would lift speed limits at the track for manufacturer testing this year, GTSpirit.com has reported that officials will keep the limits in place for at least this year.

“There is no change in the situation so far and the speed limit at three sections of the Nordschleife will not be lifted during the 2015 season,” track spokesman Uwe Baldes told GTSpirit.com.

Nurburgring management implemented speed limits in three portions of the track after a Nissan GT-R GT3 crashed and killed a spectator during a race held in March. The limits effectively ended the manufacturer arms race for the fastest production time around the circuit.

(Read More…)

By on July 10, 2015

Volkswagen TCR-Golf

Chances are you probably won’t see this Golf in the Volkswagen showroom anytime soon. Volkswagen Motorsport rolled out its race-tuned Golf on Thursday, built to compete in the Touringcar Racer International Series.

The 2.0-liter turbocharged four, which has been tuned to 330 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque, is mated to a six-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission and is front-wheel drive.

The huge rear wing, front air dam and side skirts obviously add 15 percent more go-fast.

(Read More…)

By on July 7, 2015

Our recent post asking what possible relevance most automobile racing has to the consumer side of the auto industry has me thinking about a race series idea that’s been percolating in my head for a while. The goal of the concept is to come up with a racing series that will resonate both with consumers (read: auto manufacturers) and racing enthusiasts. So far, I have a pretty good idea of what kind of cars, rules, tracks and schedules would be involved, but as yet I haven’t come up with some kind of catchy acronymic name.

To begin with, it would be based on production cars in North America and the races would be run in all three countries that make up the continent — Canada, Mexico, and the United States. That should get some manufacturers involved, if not fielding works teams, at least in terms of funding, PR, and technical support. (Read More…)

By on July 1, 2015

All-around fast driver and New Zealander Rhys Millen had roughly 20 miles of experience behind the wheel of his Latvian-made eO electric race car before Sunday’s race.

That apparently didn’t matter as he piloted the first electric car to an overall win at the 93rd running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on Sunday.

(Read More…)

By on May 22, 2015

Boston Circa May 2015

Any plans for Labor Day Weekend next year? If you’re in Boston, those plans could include an IndyCar event on its streets.

(Read More…)

By on February 11, 2015
Full gallery here

2016 Cadillac CTS-V. Full gallery here

I don’t know if it will help them sell cars are not, but Cadillac’s decision to move it’s business headquarters to the trendy Soho district of New York City has certainly gotten some attention as have Cadillac marketing maven Melody Lee’s comments related to the move and the potential customers they hope to reach by making Cadillac into a more general luxury brand, not just a car company. When I saw that Lee’s boss, Jim Vurpillat, Global Marketing Director for Cadillac was going to be participating in a press event for the 2015 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, because Cadillac has factory based teams running racing versions of the ATS in the Pirelli World Challenge, it seemed like a good opportunity to ask him how racing and the high performance V cars in Cadillac’s portfolio fit in with appealing to New York’s trendy set, a group not known for their love or horsepower or what they see as environmentally questionable motorsports.

(Read More…)

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