End of the Line
Ferrari Panamerican 20,000 reaches its terminusNovember 17, 2006-The 20,000-mile trek from Brazil to New York came to its epic conclusion as two Ferrari 599 GTB Fioranos crossed the finish line at the New York Stock Exchange
The Panamerican 20,000 was the latest and most comprehensive test of Ferrari's new 599 GTB Fiorano. On an often grueling 15-leg journey, a herd of 48 journalists took turns driving a brace of 599s from Belo Horizonte in Brazil to the Argentinian pampa; over Andean plateaus and through mountain passes some 13,000 feet above sea level; through the Central American tropics and across Mexico and the United States, with a stop in deepest, darkest Canada before reaching the final destination (our participation was featured in the February 2007 issue). Having made it over the rugged Andean roads with minimal damage to tires and rims, all the cars needed were regular oil changes.
This is not the first time Ferrari has embarked upon this type of journey. In 1997, it sent the F355 model on a tour around the world. In 2005, two 612 Scagliettis made a tour of China. We can't help but wonder what's next. Rallying the moon, perhaps?
The next racecar for the road
This is the Caparo T1. It's a two-seater that delivers 1000 bhp-per-metric ton, twice the power-to-weight ratio of a Bugatti Veyron. This has been achieved by applying the principles of lightweight vehicle design, mating a compact 2.4-liter V8 delivering 480 bhp to a hybrid aluminum, steel and carbon composite car whose entire vehicle mass is no more than 1025 pounds. In other words, the Caparo T1 shares the same power output of a typical American muscle car with only a quarter of the weight. The T1 promises phenomenal agility with acceleration, braking and cornering bordering on the insane. How about a reported 3g cornering and acceleration from zero to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds?
The men behind the T1 are design director Ben Scott-Geddes and engineering director Graham Halstead. The two honed their design talents with Gordon Murray, and Professor Murray has joined Caparo as director of advanced concepts. All three worked on the McLaren F1. Now, 14 years later, the T1 is less than half its weight. That's progress.
Caparo also claims that the T1 has been designed using aerospace and F1 technology for privateer race drivers wanting to experience maximum possible track performance, but without incurring the cost or reliability issues of running a formula racer. A road car's performance can only go so far at the track, so Caparo has designed a track car that could be driven on the road. In its home market, the car will be street legal through the established process of single vehicle approval. Caparo is not yet sure if it can make its T1 street legal in the US. Taking advice from its American distributor, Mann Motor Company, Caparo is to focus on track opportunities and possibly a race series. Caparo feels 165,000 (approximately $311,000) is fair. Most prospective customers are probably in a position where they don't even need to ask the price.
BMW Hydrogen 7
The world's first emission-free luxury car
BMW has announced the production of its new BMW Hydrogen 7, the world's first hydrogen-powered luxury sedan. Based on the existing 7 Series, it comes with an internal combustion engine capable of running on liquid hydrogen or gasoline, selected by a steering wheel-mounted button. In hydrogen mode, the car emits nothing more than water vapor. Powered by a 260-hp 12-cylinder engine, the Hydrogen 7 accelerates from zero to 100 kph (62 mph) in 9.5 seconds and on to an electronically limited 143 mph top speed.
The dual-power technology means the car has a cruising range in excess of 125 miles in hydrogen mode with a further 300 miles under gas power. The H7 comes with an additional hydrogen fuel tank holding up to 17.6 pounds of liquid hydrogen. The driver is able to use the vehicle at all times, even when the nearest hydrogen filling station is out of range. Engine power and torque remain the same, regardless of which fuel is in use. A total of 100 will be built in 2007. Prices to be announced at a later date.
MTM Motoren Technik TT
Putting more heat in Audi's new coupe
Those wacky German funsters at MTM have already doctored the new-generation Audi TT. From the company that brought you the crazed twin-engine, 860-bhp TT Bimoto comes four versions of four-cylinder turbocharged tweakery. Starting with the 200-bhp 2.0-liter FSI engine, MTM offers a 245 bhp/261 lb-ft option-but that's just an appetizer. More tempting are the 250 bhp/268 lb-ft and 272 bhp/273 lb-ft iterations. Or there's the whole hog: 313 bhp with 291 lb-ft of torque. Plans are afoot for similar outrages to be performed on the 3.2-liter V6 model, with 280 bhp being achieved through modified camshafts and changes to the air filter and exhaust system. An MTM supercharger, however, will coax a further 60 bhp, putting this car in 911 territory. New, sonorous exhaust systems are also available, as are uprated brakes and bespoke lightweight alloy wheels, with aerodynamic body kits coming down the pipe.
Penske Audi S4
Bavarian style with California flair
To promote its new West Covina, California, dealership, Penske Audi built this car over the last year as a promotional tool to drum up support for the dealership network. The V8-equipped S4 sedan wears a new custom exhaust with quad tips and has been lowered a couple inches using H&R springs over a set of 20-inch CEC C859 wheels with a custom black finish, diamond-cut lip and 245/35-series Michelin PS2s. Details include smoked taillights, color-matched mirrors, trim, grille and brake calipers. New Alcantara upholstery inserts have been placed within the cockpit and stuffed inside the trunk are 800 watts of disco madness, courtesy of Alpine and JL Audio in a custom stereo enclosure. In the coming months, we'll be teaming up with Penske Audi on a brand-new ec project car. Keep your eyes glued here.
Here, have some torque
A Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI has succeeded in towing a Boeing 747-200 Jumbo jet weighing more than 170 tons on an auxiliary runway at Dunsfold Aerodrome, just outside London, England. The diesel-powered vehicle is a standard production model fitted with a special towing adaptor and loaded with ballast to bring its total weight to 7.7 tons including the driver, a VW engineer from Germany (naturally). Amazing what 553 lb-ft can do.