Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Say good-bye to 2008.
Let's welcome 2009.

Happy diecasting!!!

Ferrari Challenger - Part 2

Pagani Zonda R

It's been a hot topic among motor racing enthusiasts since Pagani announced the Zonda R project in early 2007. Like Ferrari FXX, the Zonda is purpose made for track use, without restrictions of any competition rules or homologation, with the only exclusion of the passengers' integrity, where no compromise is tolerated according to Pagani philosophy and state-of-the-art safety measures are featured.

A new heart
The engine is built by the racing specialists at Mercedes AMG, where the championship winning DTM cars are born,as well as the CLK GTR, probably the most devastating and effective weapon ever to compete in the GT series. From it's engine the Zonda R borrows the basic architecture including an ingenious dry sump allowing a low centre of gravity. This self-supporting engine with 750 hp at 8000 rpm and 710 Nm of torque carries a lightweight carbon fibre highperformance intake system, a racing multiple disc sintered clutch and Formula 1 style exhaust system, hydroformed in Inconel 625 and ceramic coated for optimal heat dissipation. The power unit combined with a 6 speed transversal manual sequential synchronised gearbox is designed to satisfy the most ambitious drivers.

The chassis
The central carbon chassis will incorporate a roll cage and a rubber racing fuel tank with 4 fuel pumps and quick refuelfiller like on GT race cars. The wheelbase has been increased by 47mm to offer the best stability. The front and rear subframes are brand-new, built to accommodate a new suspension geometry, produced in avional. The magnesium forged rimswith central wheel nut and a quick pneumatic lifting system allows fast and effortless changes of the slick tyres.

Bodywork and aerodynamics
The new bodywork has been honed to offer elevated downforce even in low speed corners. The longer front bonnet with flaps, closed underbody and the rear overhang with the adjustablerear wing and race derived diffusor translate into shattering aerodynamic efficiency and will let you experience cornering speeds beyond imagination. The car displays and logs information about the amount of dowforce that the car is generating at each moment. Combined with the adjustable wings you can easily find the best setup for each track.

The interior is designed to accommodate the driver and passenger in bespoke seats, built to offer the best support, when the G-forces from the vehicle dynamics come into question. The Digitek instrumentation provides the essential information and a sophisticated telemetry allows through a variety of sensors to monitor every single component of the car.

Technical Data
Type V12 - M120
V - angle 60°
Displacement 5987 ccm
Stroke 80,20 mm
Bore 89,00 mm
Valves per cilinder 4
Horse Power 750
Power output 551 KW at 7.500 1/min
Torque output 710 Nm
Aspiration Single throttle bodies, mechanically operated
Lubrification Dry sump with separate oil tank
Firing order 1-12-5-8-3-10-6-7-2-11-4-9

Ferrari FXX

The FXX is the most advanced GT ever created at Maranello and its mission is to involve Ferrari’s most valued Clients as genuine Prancing Horse Test Drivers in their own right. The wealth of data and experience gathered in the course of this very special programme will be exceptionally important.

In fact, the feedback from these highly skilled, non-professional Client Test Drivers will be compared and supplemented with suggestions from Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello and Ferrari’s professional in-house Test Drivers.

Every Client who signs up for the FXX project by purchasing one of the estimated 20 or so cars being built, will actually be joining Team Ferrari,and will have his driving experiences at the wheel of this new car monitored directly by the Prancing Horse’s technicians and specialists.

The FXX has not been homologated for road use and thus will not be a competition model. It will be used exclusively on the track as part of a specific ongoing research and development programme featuring this first ever group of Client Test Drivers.

Ferrari's FXX gets the schuey touch

schuey leading the way...

Michael Schumacher has helped Ferrari to upgrade its on-track-only FXX customer supercar
Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher has helped Ferrari to upgrade its on-track-only FXX customer supercar to make it easier to drive and cut a minimum of two seconds off a typical lap time at the Fiorano test track.

The changes have been developed in conjunction with Schumacher and are in response to feedback from a lucky group of invited owners who have participated in the FXX programme which Ferrari established in 2005.

Ferrari will use the revamped car in an extension of the programme into 2008 and 2009.The FXX, which Ferrari says is the most advanced GT it has yet created, isn’t homologated for road use and there are no plans to race it.

The FXX is designed exclusively for track driving as part of a specific research and development programme using a selected group of just over 20 customers.

In the past two years, they have taken part in 14 group test sessions and 14 private ones.
FXX cars covered 16,500 kilometres in 2006 and 18,500 in 2007, and data gathered has been used to develop the modifications made to the 2008/2009 car.

The changes have focused on honing its aerodynamics, running gear and electronics. Schumacher joined the client test drivers several times.

Ferrari engineers have developed a kit which will cut the FXX’s lap time at Ferrari’s test track at Fiorano to under one minute 16 seconds.Previously it was one minute 18 seconds.

The FXX’s 6262cc V12 engine now develops 860bhp at 9500rpm.

Gearshifts take 60 milliseconds, a drop of 20 milliseconds on the previous time.The gear ratios have been adapted to make use of the extra 1000rpm now delivered by the engine.

The FXX’s new traction control system, developed in close collaboration with GES Racing Division engineers, gives the driver a choice of ninesettings (plus the off position) which are selected using a switch on the central tunnel.

This means that the driver really can modify the car’s behaviour on the track from corner to corner, just as the Formula 1 drivers do tomaximise performance and reduce tyre wear. The FXX’s traction control is also now less invasive and more flexible, adapting more efficiently to the individual driving style of each driver – a requirement pinpointed when what Ferrari describes as “this very extreme car” was being driven on the track by non-professional drivers.

The FXX’s specially developed 19-inch Bridgestone tyres now last longer thanks to a new car set-up and new front suspension geometry.

The Brembo brakes, which have large Composite Ceramic Material (CCM) discs, are more efficient, and the brake pads last twice as long.

New aerodynamics are designed to increase downforce over the rear axle. They include a new rear diffuser and rear flaps. Ferrari says the changes have increased aerodynamic efficiency by 25 per cent.

Invited customers buy into the FXX evolution package, which includes participation in six track events a year – two in North America, two in Europe and two in Asia.

At the tracks, cars will be tended by a 15-member factory team of engineers, electronics experts and mechanics.

Clients can also organise private individual track sessions in their cars.

So, which car do you think is faster? Ferrari FXX or Pagani Zonda R?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Revealing the Ferrari FXX Challenger - Part 1

Pagani Zonda R - the ultimate performance at the racetrack!!!

Pagani, makers of one of the hottest supercars on the planet, have now builtan all-out track version called the Zonda R. The Zonda R is not a racer, but rather like the Ferrari FXX, it was built without regard to any rules package. The customer who initially commissioned it just wanted the fastest possible toy to play with on track days and with a 750hp engine derived from the Mercedes CLK GTR powerplant, that shouldn't be much of a problem.

While it looks somewhat like the road-going Zonda F, it only shares 10% of it's parts and has a 47 mm longer wheelbase. The bodywork is optimized for down force, with a longer splitter, larger rear defuser, and more substantial rear wing, among other changes. At somewhere north $1.2 million,this is one exceedingly rare and pricey toy.

While we certainly cannot say the Zonda F lacks performance figures, driving around theNürburgring in 7:32 and achieving lateral G forces of almost 1.5 G, it is however a road car,easy to drive, intuitive and setting the benchmark for comfort, safety and lightweight. Pairedwith a quality finish and the attention to detail this made the Zonda F one of the most desirablesupercars resulting in the 25 Coupé models being sold out in record time.

This did not seem to fulfill the requirements of our most demanding customers, who adore theweekend drive on a racetrack.

The spark has been set by an Italo-American customer, enthusiast and already proud ownerof 3 Zondas. He describes the project this way: "The thought has been on my mind for quitesome time, but I am not interested in racing".

The Zonda R is born with full liberty. The target: the ultimate performance at the racetrackwithout any implications of rules, except for safety, where no compromise is allowed.In September 2006 the first drawings were ready, but it was crucial to have the support ofMercedes-AMG for a high revving engine with a power output of 750hp, dry sump, light andwith a low centre of gravity. The basis was the self supporting engine of the mighty CLK GTR,which has dominated the GT championships.

Eve at constant racing pace the engine would have to cover over 5.000 km before servicing.The challenge has been accepted without hesitation.

The Zonda R is a car designed from scratch, with only 10% of the Zonda F components to becarried over. The suspension forged in Avional, a new Pagani six speed transversal sequentialgearbox, carbon fibre monocoque, aeronautical four pump fuel tank are only part of theequation.

The wheelbase has grown by 47mm, the overall length by 394 mm and the track is increasedby 50mm. The bodywork and aerodynamics have been studied to offer maximum downforce.Even though built for the track, the project would not have received kick off, if the quality andfinish of the car and its details was not up to the level of the Pagani road cars.

One of the first cars to be delivered however will be kept in a living room, designed by Paganiand built with the same materials as the Zonda F, beautifully textured carbon fibre, avional,titanium, inconel and other state of the art materials. Additionally it will feature a bespoke HiFiSystem that will allow the customer to listen to the sound of this car at Le Mans and theNürburgring.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

1997 Gulf McLaren F1 GTR - Le Mans #39

In 1997, the GT series gained full FIA status and with the works AMG Mercedes-Benz team joining Porsche and McLaren, it was set to be a thrilling year. The opposition were armed with purpose-built GT1 racing cars, and it was extremely hard for McLaren F1 - with its genuine road-going origins to compete. A revised long-tail version with more downforce gave the model a new lease of life, however.

The challenge was spearhead by the works schnitzer team, whose main pairing of JJ Lehto and Steve Soper won at Hockenheim, Helsinki, Spa and Mugello. They kept the title battle alive all the way to the end, just losing out to Klaus Ludwig of Mercedes-Benz. Their team-mates, Roberto Ravaglia and Peter Kox, also won at Silverstone, but it was a tough year for the other McLaren teams, Bscher having joined GTC to make it a three-car effort.

As far as McLaren was concerned, the F1 GTR programme concluded at the end of the 1997 season. Some owners carried on into 1998, but, by then, the opposition's GT cars had developed even further from what could genuinely constitute a road car.

There was an unexpected bonus at Le Mans in 1998 when owner Steve O'Rourke, Tim Sugden and Bill Auberlen took a superb fourth overall with their 1997 car. In the process, they set a record for the shortest time spent in the pits in the history of the race, another testament to the design and build quality of the GTR.

Mclaren F1 GTR 1995

The McLaren F1 GTR is particular hard to catch. The ever produced 1/43 scaled models were selling like hot cakes. I almost missed out this baby earlier, would like to thank the considerate seller considerate seller for reserving one for me.

The legend revealed - Mclaren F1 GTR

Looking back on the 1995 Global Endurance GT Series, in which MCLaren's legendary F1 GTR won 10 of the year's 12 races at its first attempt, it's worth remembering that the 'World's fastest production car' was never supposed to turn a competitive wheel. That the car won motorsport's most important and celebrated race - the Le Mans 24 Hours - tn the same year, make its impact on whata hugely competitive racing discipline seem all the more staggering.

Unsurprisingly, the man who can lay claim to much of the credit for persuadingthe TAG McLaren Group MD Ron Dennis to build a race car, Ray Bellm, contributed significantly to that success in 1995 - its first year of competition. Bellm hadtasted success in the mid-eighties in Group C sportscar and called upon his considerable experience to take McLaren to the top of GT racing, ahead of rivals Ferrari and Porsche.

Bellm led the Gulf Oil-sponsored GTC team and, with former British Formula 3 champion Mauricio Sandro Sala sharing the driving duties, took commanding victories infour of the first five races.

McLaren's strength in depth came from two additional cars run by experiencedsportcar team boss David Price, one of which belonged to German financier and sportcardriver Thomas Bscher - and another figure instrumental in persuading McLarento develop the F1 GTR. With former Le Mans winner Andy Wallace and John Nielsen bolsteringthe driver lineup, the cars - one carrying West sponsorship, the other adorned with colours of famous London department store Harrods - scored three victories apiece.

It was almost a clean-sweep for the Woking cars - the only hiccups in an otherwisefairlytale racing debut were a poor turn-out at Montlhery in France that gavevictory to Porsche 911, and a rare slip-up that allowed Ferrari's F40 to takethe spoils in Sweden. Nielsen and Bscher took the championship honours in the West-sopnsored F1 GTR.

The icing on the cake for McLaren - if indeed it needed any - was its extraordinatyvictory at the Le Mans 24 Hours. The mid-nineties at the Le Mans was boomtime forprototypes; few people expected a GT (production-based) car to stand a chance ofoutright victory. But the menacing-looking black F1 GTR, driven by JJ.Lehto, YannickDalmas and Masanori Sekiya, pounded round and round, unfazed by the incessant rainthroughout the weekend, to take a famous debut victory.

With more superlatives attacched to its name than any other road-going supercarever created, the McLaren F1 rewrote the automotive rulebook and, almost as if forfun, added its name to the motorsport history books, too.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Lamborghini Race Car Collection - Part 5

Lamborghini may not have won many races at the competitive racing level. No matter how they perform in racing, as a true race car fan I do love to see the the raging bull in action... similar to Ferrari, every Lamborghini cars are sheer beauty of masterpiece creation that invented by people with passion in making the best sports car out there. I hope the success achieved by it's sister company Audi over the recent years in Le Mans can give the future Lamborghini a strong foundation in developing a more competitive race car that will bring them more success on race track....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Lamborghini Race Car Collection - Part 4

Gallardo - 2007 SuperGT Triple A GT300

The Lamborghini Gallardo #66 was raced in 2007 SuperGT GT300 series. Run by team JLOC, the Gallardo #66 didn't have a good racing year. Drivers Naohiro Furuya and Muneyuki Kurihara only managed 2 points after raced in 9 rounds in GT300 series. Therefore finished 29th position in the team ranking.

Ebbro 1/43: Well, there are very limited Lamborghini Gallardo race car to choose from out there. As far as I know only Minichamps & Ebbro do produce them in 1/43 scaled. Unfortunately the Minichamps 1/43 is beyond my reach. Therefore, I bought this little beauty from ebbro instead.

Lamborghini Race Car Collection - Part 3

Murcielago R-GT

After struggling to be competitive in its first two seasons (2004 & 2005), the Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT finally delivered this season with a win in the Super GT class at Suzuka. Following up with a pole position in round 5, the car continued the season with several top-10 finishes in the 2006 FIA GT Championship series. Hans Reiter, of Reiter Engineering who fields the cars for Lamborghini, is confident that the new car for '07 is even better and that they are more than ready to take a stab at LeMans.

The car that will compete is known as the "LeMans Edition" and pumps out 520 horsepower from its V12. With the amazing speeds reached at LeMans, aerodynamics have been totally revamped in searching for the delicate balance between downforce and speed. The front bumper has been completely redesigned with an extended splitter and large air intakes as well as driving lights for enhanced night driving. The rear wing has been modified to reduce aerodynamic drag and several of the air intakes in the body have been enclosed to improve not only airflow around them but also through them. The chassis sits considerably lower than the previous model as well, with ground clearance ranging between 4 and 8 centimeters.

Look for the raging bull at LeMans in 2007. Ongoing testing at Salzburgring has been promising and Lamborghini is pulling out all of the stops to firmly implant their name into the LeMans record books.

In 2007 team JLOC Isao Noritake took the raging bull to race in LeMans GT1 series with 3 drivers Koji Yamanishi, Atsushi Yogo, Marco Apicella.Unfortunately the promising Murcielago RGT didn't performed well in the 2007 LeMans. Bad luck stuck during first qualification round.

"The first qualifying session began under the threat of rain, so most of the teams tried to set a good lap time before the conditions deteriorated. The Audis and Peugeots swapped the overall pole position several times, and at the end of the session the #1 Audi was fastest overall with a time of 3.28.301. The #33 Barazi-Epsilon Zytek led LMP2, after an earlier misfiring problem had been repaired. Oreca's Saleens were the fastest two GT1 cars,while Ferrari and Porsche were close to one another in GT2".

The session was red flagged about halfway through because of an accident in which the #53 JLOC Lamborghini Murciélago, driven by Marco Apicella, hit the wall at the first Mulsanne chicane.

It was later announced by the ACO that JLOC Isao Noritake would be allowed to use another Lamborghini Murciélago R-GT chassis, borrowed from the French DAMS team, but Marco Apicella was not allowed to drive in the race due to the head injuries he sustained in his accident during qualifying, leaving the team with two drivers. Somehow the JLOC #53 machine qualified 43rd position with time of 4:06.223.

During race day! again the Murcielago failed to make any impression. The rebuilt Lamborghini of JLOC Isao Noritake was the first retirement of the race when the gearbox failed on the Mulsanne during its second lap of the race.

Lamborghini Race Car Collection - Part 2

Diablo GTR

Introduced at the December 1999 Bologna Motor Show. Only 30 made in 2000 for racing in the Lamborghini Supertrophy. A monomarque championship held every year on the most famous race tracks, mainly in Europe. Since 1996 the cars competing in the Lamborghini Supertrophy were the Diablo SVR, a special version of the DIablo SV model adapted for racing. After four years of competition the Diablo SVR has proved the extreme reliability of the Lamborghini engines which could stand four racing seasons with no problems. Quite an achievement for an engine designed for road use and brought to the track with no modifications.

Now, to meet the request of the passionate driver participating in the Lamborghini Supertrophy, the House of the Bull is presenting the Lamborghini Diablo GTR, a car based on the Diablo GT, the most powerful produced in series, that will set a new benchmark in the monomarque championships with an engine delivering no less than 590 hp.

In comparison with the Diablo GT, GTR most important features are a modified chassis frame with integrated roll bar, improved suspensions, central fixing nut for the rims, race braking system, additional radiators for transmission oil cooling, very high performance rear wing (directly bolted to the chassis), simplified interiors and weight reduction. The engine is basically the same V12, 6 litre, of the Diablo GT which thanks to the adaption of a specially tuned exhaust system, without catalyser, delivers 590 hp (575 in the GT model)

Special features of the GTR engine, common to the GT, are:
multi-throttle intake manifold with individual intake system variable intake valve timing system dynamic air inlet duct upstream of the intake plenum titanium connecting rods and

lighter crankshaft Unique specifications of the GTR engine are:
improved exhaust system designed for racing special calibration of the engine management system. The tubular chassis frame integrates the roll bar and is directly connected to the rear wing.

The engine management system is based on the proprietary Lamborghini LIE electronic engine control system tuned for racing. Fuel injectioon is sequential multipoint and ignition is static with individual coils. Lamborghini Data Acquisition System, LDAD, and diagnostic functions are integrated in the engine electronic mangagement system.

For the engine cooling, two water radiators in parallel are side mounted to the engine and an engine oil cooler is front mounted as in the Diablo GT. Additional coolers for gearbox and differential oil are installed in order to better match the racing overloads.

The transmission is on the rear wheels through a Lamborghini 5 speed gearbox with one basic gear ratio option and an alternative option for a shorter 5th gear ratio. The gear box lever is in an asymmetric position on the central tunnel in order to be closer to the steering wheel, for better control. The steering system is power assisted.

The front suspension is modified for racing. Shock absorbers and anti-roll bars are adjustable. The rims are lightweight magnesium alloy with central fixing nut and they accept racing type tyres. A special racing fuel tank with fast filling system has been installed.

The braking system is based on the Diablo GT high performance module. New racing brake calipers have been adopted to better match the very severe racing conditions.

Most of the body is carbon fibre made, except for the roof, which is made of steel for torsional rigidity, while the doors are mode of aluminium, for safety reasons.

The cockpit fittings are simplified to meet racing requirements. The driver seat has been moved towards the longitudinal axle of the car, reducing the size of the central tunnel, to ensure a better driving position. Racing switches for ignition and for other functions have been adopted instead of the series push buttons. The fire extinguisher system is installed on the right side of the cockpit with activating switch on the tunnel. The driver's seat is of racing type with a six-point safety belt and the steering wheel is also racing type.