We’re known as champions of consumer advice here on Top Gear. No, really, we are. And we’ve got a little nugget for all you Americans that live in the United States of Americans.
Lamborghini has just announced the cost of competing in this year’s brand-new Super Trofeo race series in America, and it costs just $17,500 per driver.
For your money, you get 120 minutes of practice, a 40 minute qualifying session, and two 50-minute races, which is over four hours of track time per weekend. That’s $17,500 per driver, for 20 hours in a racing Lamborghini, versus quite a few thousand more hours if you bought the Cruze. But your hours in the Cruze won’t be filled with carbon fibre and oversteer and noise and horsepower and clapping fans and possible podiums. They will be filled with monotone, crushingly disappointing runs to the supermarket, with only the hammers-blow of regret that you didn’t buy a seat in a Gallardo, keeping you company. That’s a lot of time to be spent in angst.
The fee - $35k per car - includes the four-wheel-drive LP570-4, full service package, car transportation, a Pirelli tyre package, driver race suits, trackside hospitality and, erm, parking. Though if you’ve pilfered from the ‘sensible car fund’, you may only need a bus pass and a good excuse to your partner.
What are you waiting for?
There was sadness in the air at Le Mans this weekend, which no doubt contributed to the overall ‘Le Mans Lag’ that was trending on Twitter today (drivers Allan McNish, Anthony Davidson and Karun Chandhok all noting how their body clocks were still on La Sarthe’s racing time zone). Allan Simonsen’s untimely and tragic passing following his accident after three laps remains a sad reminder that, as we wrote yesterday, racing carries with it a constant, mortal threat.
But the race went on at the wishes of Allan’s family, and Le Mans became united under the #WinItForAllan banner, everyone donating their personal stories to the storybook of the fallen Aston driver whose bio simply read, ‘living the dream’….
I love convertible cars. There is something ethical about them, perhaps because the driver of a roofless car is not cocooned from the rest of society, and is therefore less likely to be aggressive towards it.
Convertibles are uplifting, too. When spring finally arrives, you want to take it in as intensely as possible, and an open car generates a sort of supercharging effect in the senses. Nature releases pheromones of some sort, and they are a drug to be craved, to be acquired as a concentrate. A cabrio does this for you. It’s like a persuasive dealer in something illicit.
It’s not long until Top Gear is back on your telly with the usual mix of arguments, idiocy and great clouds of tyre smoke. For the new series, however, there will be one slight but significant change: a brand new Reasonably Priced Car.
Over the course of three years and five series the old Kia Cee-apostrophe-Dee has been a faithful and reliable friend. What a life it’s had too, welcoming a glittering cavalcade of celebrity bottoms into its specially fitted race seat, from rock gods like Mick Fleetwood, Alice Cooper, and Slash to A-list heartthrobs like Tom Cruise, Ryan Reynolds and John Prescott. But the Cee’d we use is now an obsolete car and, more importantly, the physical celeb lap board we use in the studio is almost full up. It was either change the car or commission a new, slightly taller board. And that would be ridiculous. So, sorry Cee’d, it’s time to say goodbye.
The problem is, what to replace it with? We’re sometimes asked why Top Gear doesn’t spice things up by putting the star guests in something really fast like, say, a Lamborghini Aventador. Well, first of all the Lambo may be excellent but it’s not exactly reasonably priced. Nor is it very easy to get hold of one every week so that a mid-ranking celebrity can come along and attempt to scrub all the writing off its sidewalls. Besides, a car of that power and performance would scare the living snot out of a less confident driver and bring the prospect of a large and extremely messy accident for the more balls-out contender. Either way, we’d be looking at legal proceedings. No, the Reasonably Priced Car has to be something of adequate performance but no more.
We’ll find out what the all-new Reasonably Priced Car is going to be on July 8 but in the meantime… what car would you suggest?
JEREMY, RICHARD and JAMES are in Africa with a simple mission: to find the definitive source of the Nile.
Over the years many explorers claim to have already done just that, but the TOP GEAR trio believe that they can do better by traveling further and faster than any exploration team in history using only grit, ingenuity… and three aging estate cars.
But you know it’s never a good sign when JEREMY is praying (even if it is for the raft to flip over with RICHARD & JAMES on-board!) and RICHARD’s already squealing in fear…
Watch the US Premiere MONDAY MARCH 18 at 9/8c only on BBC AMERICA.
It is in fact, a design study by a chap called Alex Imnadze, a student of the highly regarded IED Torino (who were 2005 winners of the Ferrari World Design Contest and runners up in 2011), and proud fan of Alfa and Pininfarina’s rich design heritage.
He says he cooked up this rendering - which is no way real at all, unless you’re in The Matrix - as a competitor for the new Chevrolet Corvette; “an Italian muscle car, if it’s possible to say”, he tells us.
And it certainly looks striking. Front-engined (no word, probably the 450bhp 4.7-litre V8), rear-wheel-drive and with hints of the Alfa Romeo Montreal at the front, together with snippets of the rather delectable Alfa 2uettottanta concept, the gorgeous 8C and of course, the original Alfa Romeo 6C. Shame there’s no whisper of the bite-the-back-of-your-hand beautiful Alfa 33 Stradale, but we’ve always got the upcoming 4C for that.
Have a click through the pictures and let us know: reckon Alfa should build something like this 6C?
And it is brand new. This new GTI sits on the spangly new Mk VII platform; a platform that consists of many Lego-spec parts that can be rearranged to make up to 10 million VW Group models in the coming years.
To this Mk VII chassis - or Modularer Querbaukasten (MQB) - Volkswagen has bolted on a 2.0-litre turbocharged TSI petrol engine that is such a teacher’s pet, it already conforms to the EU-6 emission standards that come into place next year. Apple polisher.
But you don’t care about emissions as much as you care about poweeerrr. To this end, the ‘standard’ new VW Golf GTI produces 217bhp and 258lb ft of torque, which is sufficient to propel the GTI’s 1,351kg heft from 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds (a tenth quicker than before) and on to a top speed of 152mph.
Remember this from last night’s Top Gear? Piers Ward has got behind the wheel.
Read all about it at TopGear.com
This is a concept car built in collaboration between Alfa Romeo’s Styling Centre and the European Design Institute in Turin. It’s named after your great aunt, it has four doors, and it’s what the manufacturer says is an “international challenge”, which roughly translates as “other people, mostly the Chinese, are buying a lot of cars at the moment, and we don’t have anything to sell them.”
And this is what the students have come up with. The Gloria is 4,700mm long, 1,920mm wide and 1,320mm tall, riding on a wheelbase of 2,900 mm. So it’s certainly got the dimensions to carry four in comfort. And it’s uncannily similar to the sort of proportions the company’ll be looking to when it builds the Giulia, a new model, which is planned for launch in 2015.
Of course, the first Alfa to make it to US shores will be the gorgeous 4C.