BTCC // AUDI WILL RETURN TO TOURING CAR RACING IN 2011Rob Austin Racing has announced plans to enter a pair of Audi A4's in next season's Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. The former F3 racer has confirmed that the two cars will be built to NGTC (Next Generation Touring Car) regulations and that a deposit has been lodged for two NGTC kits.

GPR Motorsport the company that has been commissioned by series organisers TOCA to carry out the design, validation, prototype manufacture and testing programme for the new NGTC subframe/suspension will be responsible in conjunction with the team for the build process... [read more]

Austin who for the last 5 years has moved on from a successful racing career to running his own team commented "This is a great step for us and a fantastic challenge. We are convinced that the NGTC concept is going to make the BTCC even more competitive and exciting and that the Audi will be a race winner.”

The last time the Audi name was represented in the BTCC was back in 1998. Two years before, the legendary German manufacturer had captured the title on its series debut with full factory backing running the somewhat controversial at the time four wheel drive A4. Indeed 1996 saw title winner Frank Biela totally dominate the season - which naturally at the time raised questions over permitting a 4WD car to enter the series.

Pictured above is an artists impression that has been released. However it should be noted that this is based on an Audi RS4 which has raced in the Italian run "SuperStars International Series".

The Pershore based team hope to announce their driver line up for the two cars in January.

Editorial: Neil Tozer
Photo: BTCC


NEWS // SUPERSTARS SERIES CONFIRMS EXPANDED SERIESThe Italian run Superstars International Series confirmed its 2011 series calendar today. 9 events are scheduled with Donington Park and Spa-Francorchamps being the major additions. In total six races will be held outside the Italian border... [read more]

Organizers have also confirmed that the double race format will be retained for 2011.

Sharing the bill at all except the Spanish round will be the Superstars GT Sprint series.

April 10th - Monza, Italy
May 8th - Valencia, Spain
May 22nd - Portimao, Portugal
June 19th - Donington Park, United Kingdom
July 10th - Misano, Italy
Aug 7th - Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
Sept 11th - Hockenheim, Germany
Sept 25th - Mugello, Italy
Oct 10th - Vallelunga, Italy

Editorial: Neil Tozer
Photo: Superstars Series



NEWS // AUDI UNVEILS R18 LMP1 CHALLENGERAudi aims to continue its string of victories at the Le Mans 24 Hours with a completely new LMP1 sports car development. Since its debut in 1999, the brand with the Four Rings has won the world’s most important endurance race as many as nine times with the R8, R10 TDI and R15 TDI models. In doing so, Audi has equaled this feat in the race’s roll of honor with Ferrari. With the new R18, which was presented at the Audi Sportpark in Ingolstadt on Friday, Audi is aiming for its tenth Le Mans success in 2011... [read more]

For the first time since 1999, Audi will contest Le Mans with a closed coupe again. "In the future, aerodynamic efficiency will be even more important at Le Mans than it was in the past," says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "A closed car has clear advantages in this respect. Our computer simulations have been confirmed in the wind tunnel and during initial track tests."

Significantly smaller engines than those used before will be prescribed at Le Mans in 2011 as the rule makers aim to achieve a substantial reduction of engine power. By opting for a 3.7-liter V6 TDI unit, Audi retains the diesel concept that saw its first victorious fielding in 2006. "From our point of view, the TDI continues to be the most efficient technology," says Ulrich Baretzky, Head of Engine Development at Audi Sport. "There are good reasons why the share of TDI units among Audi’s production models is as high as it is."
Through the innovative V6 TDI engine for the Le Mans 24 Hours, motorsport is yet again performing pioneering work for the production arm at Audi where there is a growing trend towards smaller, more economical but yet powerful engines.

Another new development is the six-speed transmission in the R18 which has been specifically modified for use with the smaller engine.

NEWS // AUDI UNVEILS R18 LMP1 CHALLENGERWith regard to the chassis Audi Sport wants to live up to its promise, expressed in the brand’s "Vorsprung durch Technik" tagline. Unlike those of the closed Le Mans prototypes, the carbon fiber monocoque of the R18 does not consist of two halves but features a single-component design. This saves weight and increases stiffness.

For the development of the closed R18, engineers at Audi Sport were able to draw on the experiences gained in 1999 with the R8C and in 2003 with the LMP1 of the corporate "sister brand" Bentley that was victorious at Le Mans. "Also the Audi A4 DTM, which for example, features a heated windshield, allowed us to shorten the development cycle with respect to the ventilation of the cockpit, the doors and the heating of the windshield," explains Dr. Martin Mühlmeier, Head of Engineering at Audi Sport.

The chassis and aerodynamics package contains a lot of know-how from the R8, the R10 TDI and the R15 TDI whereas the fitting of identically sized front and rear wheels is new to an Audi Le Mans sports car. This configuration allows a more balanced weight distribution.

The R18’s headlights, which are the first to completely consist of LEDs with optimized amount of light, are a technical highlight. The new generation of headlights was developed in close cooperation between Audi Sport and the Technical Development (TE) division of AUDI AG and by using at Le Mans, will be prepared for future use in production vehicles. Audi’s light designers had the chance to make their mark on the development as well: The LEDs of the daytime light form the shape of a "1" which is intended to inspire associations with Audi’s historic brand logo.

The Audi R18 has been designed for progressive electrification, which Audi Sport is planning to drive forward step by step. "But efficiency is always the crucial factor for us," says Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "No matter which form of energy recovery we may choose the key aspect for Audi - in motorsport as well as on the production side of the house - is that it provides a true advantage."

The development of the new Audi R18 started in mid 2009. The V6 TDI engine has been running on the dynamometers since the summer of 2010. The R18, with Allan McNish at the wheel, completed its first test on a racetrack at the end of November.

The racing debut of the Audi R18 is planned for the Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) 6 Hours on May 8. Prior to the event, the new prototype will be able to do its first laps on the race track at Le Mans during the official test day on April 24 and gather important data for the race on June 11 and 12.

Audi is planning to field three Audi R18 cars at Le Mans, which will be entered by Audi Sport Team Joest, the most successful Le Mans team of all time. In addition, Audi Sport Team Joest will contest the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC), consisting of a total of seven endurance races on three continents (including the Le Mans 24 Hours) with two cars. At the opening race at Sebring on March 19, the team will use two "R15 plus plus" cars. "Sending the R18 into a race at such an early point in time would be difficult in terms of logistics and interfere with our development program," explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.

Images and Info: Audi Sport
Editorial: Neil Tozer



EYE CANDY // THE OTHER BATMOBILE BIMMERThought you guys might enjoy this shot of a Motorsport Limited Edition E12 530, a car that was jointly developed by BMW of South Africa and BMW Motorsport GmbH in order to homologate the 3.0-liter 5 Series sedan for competition in the South African Modified Production class. This particular example wears the same livery as the infamous E9 3.0 CSL Batmobile. Image and info courtesy of Motoring con Brio // [comment]


It's official, Group Lotus and its Malaysian parent company Proton, have partnered with Renault and will field a pair of cars in the 2011 Formula One World Championship. The news comes after a dispute between Proton and Tony Fernandes, owner of the now defunct Lotus Racing team, a dispute that ended when Group Lotus bought out Renault's stake in their own F1 team. The team will be branded Lotus Renault GP and will continue to use the French automakers engines. We'll spare you the dry details, but lets just say we'll likely see a Renault powered Lotus wearing the iconic black and gold livery come 2011.

Follow the link for the official press release... [read more]

Genii Capital and Group Lotus join forces in Lotus Renault GP

Genii Capital and Group Lotus plc today announced the creation of Lotus Renault GP, the successor to the Renault F1 Team that will contest the 2011 FIA Formula One™ World Championship. This exciting announcement is made in the context of a strategic alliance between the two companies that will provide Group Lotus with significant technological and commercial opportunities for its range of road cars.

Following the return of the Lotus name to Formula 1™ in 2010, under licence from Group Lotus, this historic announcement marks the complete return of the Lotus manufacturer to the sport, with the full backing of its parent company Proton. Group Lotus plc will become a major equity partner of Genii Capital in Lotus Renault GP, and the two parties have concluded a title sponsorship agreement that will run until the end of the 2017 season. With the continued support of Renault as a supplier of engines and technological and engineering expertise, Lotus Renault GP enjoys a strong, stable platform for future success.

Gerard Lopez, Chairman of Renault F1 Team, commented: "We are delighted that we can now go public with the news that we will be racing as Lotus Renault GP in 2011. It is extremely exciting to begin a new era for the team in partnership with Group Lotus, and we will continue to enjoy a strong relationship with Renault over the coming seasons. It is a tribute to the excellent work this year by the team in Enstone that we have been able to attract both major sponsorship and new investment for a very bright future."

Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said: "I can think of no better platform for automotive brand communications than motorsport and F1 is the very pinnacle of open-wheel racing. We're well aware that there has been a lot of controversy around the usage of our brand in F1 and I'm delighted to be able to formally clarify our position once and for all: we are Lotus and we are back."

The new partnership has been enabled by Renault selling its remaining shares in the team to Genii Capital. Group Lotus plc will subsequently become a major equity partner in Lotus Renault GP, which it will co-own with Genii Capital.

Renault will continue its strong support of the team with which it won the 2005 and 2006 world championships, as a supplier of engines and technological and engineering expertise. Reflecting this technological support, Lotus Renault GP will continue to compete with the Renault chassis name and Renault will enjoy pre-eminent brand exposure on the livery.

For 2011, the Lotus Renault GP cars will race in a new interpretation of the iconic black and gold colours that were last used when Lotus and Renault joined forces in the 1980s. This livery, which has been on the drawing board for over two months in order to reinterpret its iconic graphic signature to suit modern media requirements, is sure to strike a powerful chord with the sport's enthusiasts around the world.

The team scored a strong fifth-place finish in the 2010 constructors' championship, which included three podium finishes for Robert Kubica. Next season, Lotus Renault GP is aiming to take another step forward which will see it competing regularly with the most prestigious names in Formula 1™.

Image and Info: Renault
Editorial: Justin W. Coffey



NEWS // FERRARI UNVEILS NEW 458 GT2 CONTENDEROur friends at Axis of Oversteer managed to snag a photo of Ferrari's new GT2 contender. Based on the 458 Italia, Ferrari's new GT2 class competitor replaces the wildly successful F430 GT2, which won its class in both the American Le Mans Series and the FIA GT Championship. And while we're not keen on the aesthetic, we have to assume the 458 will be a marked improvement over its predecessor // [comment]



EYE CANDY // AURI R15 TDI OR SPACESHIP?A lot of us work in office buildings, seated at desks or workstations. Some of us might even be relegated to cubicles. But there are those who spend their days here, at the wheel of a racing car. I happen to know a few of these guys (#TedAnthonyJr. #JoeyAtterbury). Their days are spent at the helm of rally cars, race cars and driving simulators. They work long hours, coaching at driving schools, preparing for the next race weekend. But can we really call that work? I suppose anything can get old. The love can get lost at some point, right? But for those of us riding desks and not dirt bikes Monday through Friday, we day dream of having an office like the one featured above... Do us proud gentlemen. We're all a little jealous // [comment]


NEWS // TOURATECH SPONSORS STREET FOR 2011 DAKAR RALLYWe are less than a month away from one of the greatest motorsport races in the world, the 2011 Dakar Rally. Entered into this years competition is Ellensburg native, Jonah Street, who hopes to to win the 5,900 mile rally with the help of Touratech-USA. Street, who will race his Yamaha WR540 across South America, will be in Seattle tomorrow night for a send-off party being held at the Touratech headquarters... [read more]

NEWS // TOURATECH SPONSORS STREET FOR 2011 DAKAR RALLYTouratech-USA has provided support for Jonah's race efforts, including motorcycle equipment, fundraising, and a significant financial contribution. Touratech-USA even created a limited edition Jonah Street Dakar Rally shirt with all proceeds going directly to Jonah. This project ended up raising $10,000 for his 2011 Rally effort.

“The idea to create a limited edition shirt was awesome and ended up raising way more money than we expected" said Street. "The guys at Touratech have done a lot of the groundwork which has given me more time to focus on training and preparing for the race.”

Prior to Dakar, Jonah was a dominant force in Baja with 3 consecutive wins in the Baja 500 and four 2nd place finishes in the Baja 1,000. In his first Dakar Rally, he posted multiple top-3 stage finishes and managed 17th overall. In the 2009 Dakar Rally, Jonah won stage 5 before pulling out of the race with an injury. In the 2010 Dakar Rally, Jonah finished 7th overall, and a few months later became the first American to win Rally Mongolia. Many people close to the sport regard Jonah as America’s best chance for a win at Dakar in 2011.

Fans can help Jonah get to Dakar by purchasing a limited edition T-shirt or joining Jonah’s fan club called the Riff Raff.

Images and Info: Touratech-USA
Editorial: Justin W. Coffey


Sit back and watch as Ayrton Senna puts his Mclaren Mp4/5 on pole ahead of the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit. Video comes to us courtesy of Motorsport Retro // [comment]


In 1972, British rally racer, Roger Clark, at the wheel of his Ford Escort RS1600, collected a famous victory at the RAC Rally, ending a 12 year reign of Scandinavian dominance. Driving through the night, Clark bested a handful of WRC greats to include Stig Blomqvist, Simo Lampinen, Shekhar Mehta and Ove Andersson. The video featured above is a tribute to Clark's victory // [comment]


EYE CANDY // ALAIN PROST GOES AIRBORNEThought you guys might enjoy this shot of Michael Andretti getting some air in his McLaren MP4/8. And while I'm not entirely sure what Grand Prix this photo was taken at, I have to assume it was either the 1993 Canadian GP at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve or the French GP held at Magny-Cours on July 4, 1993. I make this assumption based on the fact that Andretti finished only six races during his one and only year at the wheel of a Formula One car. I'm sure Camden Thrasher will correct me, though // [comment]



Check out this great clip from the penultimate round of the 2010 FIA GT1 World Championship held at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo, Brazil last weekend. Featured in the video is the long mid-race battle involving Clairay, Bartels, Mutsch and Muller. Enjoy! // [comment]


NEWS // MALDONADO CONFIRMED @ WILLIAMS F1 FOR 2011Williams F1 today confirmed that Pastor Maldonado will contest the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship for the AT&T Williams team. The appointment finalises the team’s line up for next year following confirmation in November that Rubens Barrichello will remain with the British squad for a further season.

Venezuelan-born Maldonado started his motorsport career in karts at the age of seven, his passion for the sport ignited by a father and uncles who all competed. Having won seven national karting titles, Pastor moved into Formula racing in 2003. With three series championships and 30 wins to his credit, most notably a superlative victory at Monaco in only his debut year in GP2 in 2007, Pastor brings a wealth of experience to the team at only 25 years of age... [read more]

Pastor’s promotion into the pinnacle of motorsport follows an impressive 2010 campaign in the GP2 championship in which he was crowned champion and became the only driver to have ever won six successive feature races in a single season. Pastor also comes to the team with nearly 2,000kms of F1 testing mileage in hand having driven all four of the Abu Dhabi test days. Pastor will make his debut in the team’s 2011 race car, the Williams Cosworth FW33, in February’s winter test programme.

NEWS // MALDONADO CONFIRMED @ WILLIAMS F1 FOR 2011On Pastor’s appointment, AT&T Williams Team Principal, Frank Williams, said, “Pastor first caught my eye in 2007 when he drove a masterful race at Monaco. Since then, he has regularly reminded us of his unquestionable talent with some skilful wins, particularly during this year’s GP2 championship, taking an unsurpassed record of six successive victories. Of course, we already know Pastor from the time he spent with the team at the Abu Dhabi test, but we are very much looking forward to developing his talent over the winter and a fruitful season with him next year.”

Pastor commented, “I feel very privileged that Williams has selected me as one of their race drivers. It is a great way to end what has already been an amazing year for me. I tested with the team in Abu Dhabi, but can’t wait to start working with everyone properly to be in the best possible shape going into next year. I will be doing my best over the winter to prepare myself, and I know the team will be working hard to ensure a successful season. 2011 will be the first time in nearly thirty years that a Venezuelan has driven a Formula One car so I will be looking to get some good results in return for the support my country has given me to help get me to this position today.”

Images and Info: Williams F1
Editorial: Neil Tozer