And here’s the car that must fill them. This is the new 650S GT3, and is McLaren’s track-only GT racer that’s set to compete in races from the 2015 season onwards.
And, as you can see, it’s based on the new 650S road car that takes over from the 12C. Underneath sits the same MonoCell chassis, while up top is a rather angry incarnation of the new 650S’s body: wider, squatter, larger air intakes, more aggressive splitter, carbon fibre bodywork and a huge fixed rear wing.
Then there’s the FIA-approved rollcage, a digital dash, a new McLaren GT-developed race seat with moulded seat inserts - said to increase driver comfort for endurance racing - itself bolted directly to the chassis, along with better ventilation and driver cooling. Remember, it gets hot in there. [x]
Idris Elba: King of Speed (x)
Premiering on BBC America Monday, July 14th, right after Top Gear: The Perfect Road Trip.
Luther star Idris Elba charts the origins and history of underground racing and examines how the quest for high speed has affected modern racing and the cars of today in a new special: King of Speed.
Idris Elba: King of Speed premieres Monday, July 14th at 10/9c, immediately following Top Gear: The Perfect Road Trip.
Some say you can now race The Stig around New York. All we know is, they’re right, you can.
Just in time for the Fourth of July, Race The Stig gets an American update! Now you can Race The Stig in New York City!
Top Gear: Race The Stig is free to download across Apple, Amazon, Windows and Google devices around the world, or visit RaceTheStig.com.
"Do we look like Tubbs and Crockett?"
Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond are in search of The Perfect Road Trip. Part 1 of this Top Gear special premieres Monday, July 14th at 9/8c on BBC America.
As days go, today was a good one. Right up to the first braking zone, at least.
Alone in an original Audi Quattro from 1980, the problem dawned on me just a little too late, going a little too fast. Alone in an original Audi Quattro from 1980 meant using brakes from an original Audi Quattro from 1980. There was very little run off into some concrete. Brakes were applied. Little happened. Thoughts quickly degenerated from ‘wow, today is excellent,’ to ‘wow, I wonder how they’ll identify me when I’ve been smeared across a wall’.
Thankfully, whatever cosmic forces are at work upstairs appeared to be in a good mood, and enough speed was scrubbed from the Audi to turn into the hairpin - tyres squealing - without understeering out of shot and into concrete. Phew. Embarassing phonecall to Audi AG avoided, I pulled over to take stock.
It’s a blinder, this original Quattro. Built in 1980 as a showpiece, it’s a snapshot of a company on the cusp of building a legacy as a technological innovator. And it all spawned from a German military-spec off-roader, the 4WD VW Iltis. Audi chassis engineer at the time, Jörg Bensinger, clearly had a Top Gear moment: why not use such a four-wheel-drive system in a road-going car? [x]
This is a Volkswagen Beetle that has been made angry. So angry in fact, it’s sprouted some 544bhp. Welcome to the world of Global Rallycross.
Specifically, the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team, who will be entering this white hot Beetle later in the Red Bull GRC championship. As the name suggests, the team is run by Michael Andretti.
So, what are we looking at? Underneath sits a 1.6-litre very turbocharged and very intercooled four cylinder engine producing that headline grabbing 544bhp. There’s also a six-speed sequential gearbox thrown in for good measure, as well as a fixed ratio all-wheel-drive system featuring multiplate limited slip diffs front and back. [x]
A Cactus. Can it survive hostile environments thanks to its soft waxy skin?
Yup, the C4 Cactus has a unique solution to the biffs of hard urban life. The outside is bubble-wrapped. Or more precisely it has ‘Airbumps’, oval pads of air embedded in sheets of a soft but high-tech and durable plastic. If an errant supermarket trolley or the door of the adjacent car nerfs the side of the Cactus, it will simply bounce off.
And a Cactus can survive on very little fluid?
Indeed. There’s a diesel that rates at better than 90mpg. Even this handy turbo petrol one manages better than 60, for 105g/km. That’s partly because of newly developed engines, but also because it’s sensationally light – some models under a tonne. And the turbo I’m driving only 1020kg. It weighs less than a Fiesta, but is the size of a Focus.
Very admirable I’m sure. But this isn’t the Consumers’ Association site. You’re not making it sound like much of a Top Gear kinda car.
Then look at it. This is a beautiful piece of true design, wrapping function and desirability into a distinctive form. It cannily marries straight lines with pure curves in a modern but probably dateless way. It’s instantly recognisable from a distance, but it bears close inspection too. And refreshingly, it’s not at all aggressive. Not sure why they sell this My First Caterpillar shade of toy yellow, because that’s the wrong colour. You can get the Airbumps in four shades too, so you’ll seldom see two the same. [x]
The man who race engineered Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacherand Fernando Alonso is currently fiddling in the vicinity of my gentleman’s area. A lower quality gentleman’s area than he’s previously known, for sure, but as the Formula E is a single-seater, the safety procedure is necessarily top drawer. Which is a polite way of saying that I may never walk in a straight line again.
Will it be worth it? Well, we’re mighty excited by Formula E, the long anticipated all-electric race series, due to kick off in September in Beijing. It’s being touted as the future of motor racing, but as this year’s brave new F1 era continues to court controversy with its muted soundtrack and emphasis on efficiency, can we really learn to love a series that makes no real noise at all? Today, TG.com brings you a world exclusive first drive of the car, so we’ll be a step closer to answering that key question.
The signs are promising, not least because some of motorsport’s biggest guns are involved. Dallara has engineered the carbon/aluminium chassis, McLaren’s electronics division is supplying the powertrain and control electronics, the 200kW batteries are from Williams F1’s advanced engineering department, and the sequential gearbox is from Hewland. Renault is tasked with safely integrating the whole lot, while Michelin has developed a new type of all-weather treaded tyre. Spark, a sister company to the ART GP2 and F3 outfit, has spent the past two years designing and developing the car. And the whole thing is presided over by Alejandro Agag, a former politician turned motorsport entrepreneur who has more fingers in pies than he actually has fingers and Ginsters have pies. [x]