31st March 2009

2010 Audi RS5

The 2010 Audi RS5 coupe test mule has been spied on public road near the Nurburgring. it is rumored the production version will run up to 500 hp by V10 engine. We suspect Audi will adapt the RS6’s twin-turbocharged, 580 hp 5.2-liter V10 for duty in the RS5, although it’s likely to be de-tuned for the coupe.

Also you can see a beefier rear bumper, RS-specific dual oval exhaust outlets and slightly flared fenders. The brakes have grown in proportion to the wheels, filling the inside of the 20-inch lightweight rollers with a minimal amount of clearance, while inside, a set of aftermarket Recaros have been fitted for prototype duty. The 2010 Audi RS5 will make its world premier at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

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31st March 2009

V-6 Dodge Challenger Gains Five-Speed Automatic, New Trim

While the rebirth of the Dodge Challenger happened just last summer, the coupe is already facing stiff competition from a new Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang. To keep up with the Joneses, Chrysler has added a new trim level and a five-speed automatic transmission to all V-6 models. They will still be called 2009 models, so make sure to check the car’s sticker to see if it’s equipped with the new five-speed.

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31st March 2009

Do performance car buyers care about fuel efficiency?

The man responsible for developing the new Golf GTI says fuel efficiency matters to people who buy hot hatches.

Senior VW engineer Rolf Trump has defended Volkswagen’s decision to focus on improving the GTI’s fuel consumption rather than its straight-line performance.

The new Golf is no quicker in the 0-100km/h sprint than the current model, but fuel consumption is down by 11 per cent on the manual and a little less on the double-clutch transmission.

Trump says the move is the “responsible” thing to do in the current climate of global warming.

And he says GTI owners will appreciate the improvement, because for 90 per cent of the time, they want their car to behave as efficiently as any normal car.

Power in the new Golf has increased by a modest 8kW to 155kW, but Trump isn’t worried about being left behind in the power war, despite the fact that the new GTI is out-powered by most of its competitors.

Subaru’s WRX, Mitsubishi’s Ralliart Lancer, the Mazda3 MPS, Renault Megane RS, HSV VXR and Ford Focus XR5 all comfortably shade the new GTI in the power stakes.

But Trump argues that a lack of power never hurt the previous generation GTI and won’t hurt the new one. He says Volkswagen is uninterested in chasing extra straight-line performance for the sake of it.

He’s also criticised competitors who try to channel too much power through the front wheels of their cars.

He says there’s no point in having heaps of power if the car’s electronics are constantly intervening and cutting the power to keep the car under control.

You have to admit there’s some sound logic in that argument. You also can’t argue with the success of the GTI formula. It’s never been the fastest car in a straight line or the sharpest through corners, but it has a balance between comfort and performance that has struck a chord with buyers.

What do you think? Does the GTI run the risk of being left behind as its competitors keep increasing power? Or do you think the formula of a “liveable” hot hatch will become even more popular in the current climate?

Richard Blackburn

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31st March 2009

More to come, says Button

Jenson Button says Brawn GP will improve its performance after the British team dominated the Australian Grand Prix this weekend.

The Briton led a Brawn GP 1-2 with Brazilian Rubens Barrichello finishing second on the team’s F1 debut.

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30th March 2009

Brawn with brains has GP one-two

Jenson Button called it a fairytale. His teammate Rubens Barrichello called it a dream.

Rising from the ashes of the global financial crisis under the guidance of Formula One guru Ross Brawn, they have crafted a Brawn New World.

A few months ago, it was doubtful Button and Barrichello would have cars to drive, after Honda withdrew from Formula One. In Melbourne yesterday, the Briton blew away the best in the world to take out the first grand prix of the season.

It was sweet vindication for adriver who has spent most of his career watching the winners draw away.

When it was pointed out to Button that he had scored more points with yesterday’s race victory than over the past two years combined, he said: “That’s quite true. That’s pretty rubbish isn’t it — wow.”

Button was laughing the laugh of someone who is having the last laugh. “I’m just happy to be here and I’ve worked bloody hard to be here,” he said.

Button was highly critical of Formula One’s first twilight race — the result of an impasse between F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, who wanted a night race to coincide with daytime viewing in Europe and North America, and the Victorian Government, which refused to stage the event later than twilight.

Button said racing conditions in a grand prix of light and shadow were “really difficult”, and that despite using a tinted visor he could not see the exit at some corners.

Crowds were also down this year. While 105,000 people attended yesterday’s main race, the

event attracted an overall crowd of 286,900 — well below the recent target of 300,000 and far fewer than the 401,000 race organisers claimed when the grand prix was stolen from Adelaide by Melbourne 13 years ago.

The race was played out against a backdrop of financial collapse, controversy over Brawn’s use of a piece of aerodynamic technology known as a rear diffuser, unconvincing attempts to make the sport more energy efficient, and driver unhappiness about the introduction of a medal system next year that is designed to make drivers race harder.

Before the race, Victoria’s devastating Black Saturday bushfires were also remembered, as drivers rode a lap of the Albert Park track in CFA trucks, standing on the side of vehicles from places such as Diamond Creek, Kangaroo Flat, and Eaglehawk. This was a grand prix that had been changed from “Melbourne fires up” to “Melbourne gears up” out of respect for the 210 people who were killed.

Virgin’s Richard Branson swept into the pits, accompanied by girls carrying chequered flags, as something of a financial white knight for Brawn GP.

Now backing a team that has gone one-two in the first GP of the season, he said after the race that Ross Brawn, who was the mechanical wizard behind the Schumacher-era Ferraris, was “quite the most brilliant engineer alive today”.

Australian Mark Webber was effectively out of the race at the first turn when he collided with Barrichello in another disastrous tilt at becoming the first Australian to win at home.

World champion Lewis Hamilton, despite starting at the rear of the grid in a McLaren that had underperformed in testing and now in Melbourne, finished fourth and was lifted to third by the stewards. Despite smaller crowds leading up to yesterday’s race, Premier John Brumby said the grand prix remained an important part of the state’s $80million a year major events strategy.

- The Australian

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30th March 2009

Oran Park Track Attack drive day

Be a part of history while you still can.

During its 47-year history, the iconic Oran Park Raceway in Sydney’s west has hosted thousands of touring cars and V8 Supercars and hundreds of champions. Mark Skaife and Allan Moffatt have been the most successful drivers there, with six ATCC wins a piece.

Sadly, the track is being demolished soon to make way for more ghastly development.

To make the pill a little easier to swallow, you can have one last crack at Oran Park this Wednesday, April 1.

Enthusiasts will have the chance push the upper limits of excitement legally in their own cars at the Track Attack Drive Day hosted by Ian Luff and his team at Ian Luff Motivation Australia.

Having been established there since 1983, Luff regards Oran Park as his second home, so feels the pain of losing it more than most.

“How do I feel about it — very upset. This place has been like my second home for 26 years….my playground,” Luff says.

“I’ve broken all sorts of lap records here and one that hadn’t been beaten for 10 years. I’m not blowing my own trumpet.”

And he’s not either. Luff speaks with infectious enthusiasm about his days at Oran Park, from the heart and with passion.

But as the name of his company suggests, Luff can turn negatives into positives in a heartbeat. It’s the end of an era but he realises life moves on and he hasn’t put all his eggs into one basket.

“We’re like McDonalds you know, we don’t just sell Big Macs.

“We do driver training, driver testing, driver development, TV advertisements.”

In other words we will be seeing a lot of Ian Luff for a while to come yet.

The track day is the perfect outlet for drivers who want to push their cars to the limit without the risk to public safety.

All drivers must be licensed and cars must be in good mechanical condition. Helmets can be provided.

Luff and his team will be on hand to provide tuition in high performance driving and answer any questions you might have on the day.

Track Attack Drive Day hosted by Ian Luff Motivation Australia:

Cost: $325

Phone: 9829 3599


- Carsguide

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