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Drivers talk about F1 for 2015

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Marc VDS Announces BMW Z4 GTE Program

The European BMW Z4 GTE program for Marc VDS was confirmed at BMW Motorsport_s end-of-season awards ceremony in Munich tonight.

It will be the first time the Z4 GTE will be raced outside of North America, having contested the ALMS and new-for-2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

Priaulx, who drove the BMW Z4 GTE in America this year, has been confirmed as the lead driver for the effort. His teammates for 2015 will be announced at a later date.

_This is a nice program, it_s going to be an enjoyable team. I_m really looking forward to doing these five races with Marc VDS, and hopefully we could have a championship to our name _ that would be lovely,_ Priaulx said.

_I_ve really enjoyed the racing in GT _ there_s no easy stint. I really like the long distance races _ they_re great, and all the ELMS races are four hours so that_s a nice length to share with other drivers, you can get into a nice rhythm._

_Let_s not forget that there are some brilliant tracks _ which I know really well _ on next year_s calendar. I_m really looking forward to it._

_This is one of the most exciting programs we_ve ever taken on as a team. Racing the GTE is a new challenge, and one we_re all thrilled about. Technically, the car might look similar to the GT3, but it_s a wholly different beast,_ team principal Bas Leinders added.

_To get Andy Priaulx on board is also fantastic _ I know him from my early racing days in the UK, so I know he_s a great racer. He spent last year driving this car so he knows it well, and that will be very important._

_We know that the ELMS is a strong championship, with an excellent level of competition _ it_s not going to be an easy year!_

It is highly unlikely that the confirmation of a European Z4 GTE program will include a return to Le Mans for BMW. Earlier this year BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt told Sportscar365 that BMW would not be competitive at Circuit de la Sarthe.

_We are confident that we will also fare well and mix it with the front-runners in the ELMS with BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS,_ Marquardt said tonight, making no reference to Le Mans at all.

As was the case this season, the Marc van der Straten-owned team is also planning to compete in the 24-hour races at the Nurburgring and Spa next year, plus the first VLN rounds of the season. The full lineup for the GT3 program will be announced at a later date.

Sportscar365 | Marcel ten Caat

Mercedes-Benz GLA-class

Brabus has recently taken the covers off their own version, which sought to improve upon the 355-hp GLA 45 AMG, but with greater engine choice in home country there is more opportunity to improve upon the smaller engines in the range as well.

German tuning house Carlsson just unveiled their version of the GLA-class, offering some performance upgrades and a redesigned look. Carlsson's tuning program for the GLA-class starts with the GLA 200, which is has upgraded via ECU modifications and the installation of sport exhaust system of its own design to produce 185-hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, up from 154-hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. The tuning house has also developed similar performance mods for GLA 250, which has been given a boost from 208-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque to 249-hp and 310 lb-ft of torque.

Carlsson also offers upgrades for the exterior, in the form of a new front spoiler and grille, rear skirts, and a rear bumper with an integrated diffuser that houses the quad stainless steel tailpipes. The exterior upgrades are rounded out by a choice of three new wheel designs, ranging in size from 18 to 20 inches.

The interior has received attention as well, with Carlsson installing polished aluminium sill lates with an illuminated Carlsson logo, a set of pedals with the Carlsson logo, and aluminum door lock pins. The range of interior modifications doesn't stop there, as the company offers a broad range of upholstery options for the seats and other surfaces, with the option of ordering your family crest imprinted on the headrests. If you're into that sort of thing.

Carlsson does not have a representative office in the U.S., and for now only the U.S.-market GLA 250 could be fitted with the performance and exterior design modifications that the company has developed.

Autoweek | By Jay Ramey

Hamilton formula 1 champion again



Hamilton is the 16th multiple champion in Formula One history, the first Mercedes drivers_ champion since Juan Manuel Fangio and the first non-German driver to win 11 or more races in one season. The Briton also delivered Mercedes their 16th victory of the season, meaning the Silver Arrows now have sole ownership of the record for most wins in a season which had previously been jointly held by McLaren (1988) and Ferrari (2002, 2004).

Behind Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas came home in second and third to give Williams their first double podium finish since the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix. It was Bottas_ sixth podium of the season - only Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo scored more in 2014 - and helped him see off Red Bull_s Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari_s Fernando Alonso to seal fourth place in the final driver standings.

Williams also sealed third place in the constructors_ standings - their best placing since 2003 when they finished second.

Elsewhere, Jenson Button finished fifth on the day that he equaled Ayrton Senna_s tally of race starts for McLaren (96). Only Alain Prost (107), Lewis Hamilton (110), Mika Hakkinen (131) and David Coulthard (150) have started more races for the Woking team, but will Button get to add to his total next season?

Speaking of McLaren, the Abu Dhabi race saw the curtain come down on their 19-year relationship with engine partner Mercedes. When the pair came together in 1995 Jan Magnussen was one of McLaren_s drivers, while rather fittingly his son Kevin was behind the wheel in their final event together.

Force India ended the season as they began it - with a double points finish - whilst Sebastian Vettel signed off his Red Bull career with eighth place. Sadly for the German, he ended the year without a race victory - the first time a defending champion has failed to win a race since Jacques Villeneuve in 1998.

In other news, Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez finished outside the top ten, meaning Sauber finished the season without scoring a single point - the first time that has happened since they entered F1 racing in 1993. Meanwhile, Caterham_s British rookie Will Stevens became the 753rd driver - and the 143rd Briton - to start a round of the world championship. He finished 17th, a lap down on race winner Hamilton.

Finally, Nico Rosberg, whose championship challenge was ended by mechanical trouble in Abu Dhabi, recorded his third non-points finish of the year at Yas Marina - the same number as team mate Lewis Hamilton - but he still finished with the fourth highest points total for a season in history.

See how your favorite racer did


Formula 1 |

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S

AMG was so confident that the new GT S would speak for itself, it simply gave us a quick route briefing and sent us scuttling out the door and down the San Francisco Peninsula toward Monterey in this, the final-spec version of its latest halo product. (We_ve previously ridden in a test car and driven a prototype.)

Make no mistake: Despite the fact that the GT S is likely to cost two-thirds as much as AMG_s most expensive offering, the S65 coupe_final pricing has yet to be released for either car_the car we_re discussing here serves as the brand_s calling card.

At the end of the day, after a couple of hours spent lobbing the car around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, AMG CEO Tobias Moers gathered our g-force-addled bunch, offered a few remarks about the car, and casually noted that a 1:41 lap was a pretty good time for a session that saw us restricted to lead-follow lapping behind instructors. For reference, 1:41 is the sort of time a solo racing driver in full time-attack mode lays down around Laguna in something like a Porsche Cayman S. The point is this: The GT S turned a similar time during what amounted to an exceptionally spirited Sunday drive.

Yet the sensation of speed in this, the car with which Daimler hopes to take a chunk out of Porsche_s Neunelfer Zwiebelkuchen, is muted. One does not quite realize the sheer velocities attainable until the right foot attempts to extricate itself from the floorboard just ahead of the crest marking the end of the front straight. Or until one experiences the forces acting upon the car when slowing for the Andretti Hairpin. Point, squirt, brake, repeat: The result is subdued violence all the way around the course. Atop the Corkscrew, the long hood and low windshield header conspire against sightlines. The quick and sure turn-in, paired with predictable front-end grip, more than make up for those shortcomings after a couple of laps.

The twin-turbo 4.0-liter M178 V-8 dispenses with the grunty, naturally aspirated honk-_n_-braaaap hoedown that the late, lamented C63 Black Series offered. Home taping is killing music, turbocharging is killing engines_ auditory esprit d_guerre. Despite Moers_s hatred of BMW_s current MP3 soundtracks_notwithstanding his laudable intent to let an engine be what it is_the 503-hp, 3600-pound GT S never gives you that side-of-beef-to-the-chest whump offered up by, say, the big-bore Corvette Stingray. The AMG just accelerates. We predict 60 mph will arrive in 3.5 seconds. Given enough room, AMG says it will continue to build speed until the car hits 193.

Chuck everything you remember about Mercedes-Benz steering. Imagine the tactility of a nice manual rack, then picture it boosted to the point that there_s just enough feel left. The wheel saws easily from left to right. The automobile is incredibly quick to follow these orders. The tiller reminds us a bit of the McLaren 650S_s, if the Woking-bred supercar_s had spent the past 24 hours pulling helium-tank keg stands.

The supercharged V-8_powered Jag F-type R is a loutish hooligan of a thing, a straight-outta-Albion wide boy happy to throw the odd elbow to make his point. In contrast, the GT S makes like the handsome, stern Teuton in the corner, prepared to dispatch interlopers with understatement, efficiency, and extreme prejudice. The AMG offers prowess and competence but something just short of unfettered joy. Rewarding as hell? Yes. Satisfying? Of course.

Interior-wise, the impeccably trimmed AMG_s cabin shames those of all comers save for the 911. The Porsche features better ergonomics and visibility, and we find that car_s sport seats to be more comfortable than the tight-fit units in the GT S. The main quirk of the Mercedes, however, is that its gear selector is placed far rearward on the high, sloping center console. We understand this is due to Americans_ need for cup holders. We_re not huge fans of Mercedes_ column-based gear stalks, but one might have been more useful here. Alternately, ditch the cup holders.

Due at your local Mercedes store in April, the GT S will be followed in 2016 by the base level, 456-hp GT. Despite Mercedes_ refusal to comment on its impending existence, a blast-furnace Black Series model will arrive at some future date. There may even be other models to come. Could we see a roadgoing AMG GT GT3? The racing version is in the works, after all.

As relentlessly competent as the GT S is, it clearly has more to give. The fundamentals are all here_and nailed_but the ineffable, incandescent fire that makes a car transcendent awaits a thorough stoking. We fully expect to see that happen in a future variant, and we get the sense that_in grand 911 tradition_the AMG GT is about to spawn plenty of _em.

Car And Driver | BY DAVEY G. JOHNSON

Jaguar F-Type all-wheel drive confirmed

The British marque has confirmed that its F-Type range will grow from the current six derivatives to fourteen, with the new drivetrain making its public debut at the Los Angeles motor show later this month.

As suggested by development mules spied in January, one of those new models is the AWD F-Type R Coupe.

Powered by the same 404kW/680Nm 5.0-litre supercharged V8 as its rear-drive equivalent, the all-paw R Coupe can hit 96km/h (60mph) in 3.9 seconds - slightly quicker than the two-wheel drive model.

It is expected that all existing F-Type Coupe and Convertible models will be offered with an all-wheel drive powertrain as well as rear-drive in a similar fashion to Porsche_s 911 range.

If true, this will equate to six all-paw models and six rear-drivers. The remaining two L.A reveals could be either new four-cylinder entry-level F-Type models to compete with Porsche_s base Boxster and Cayman models, or two hardcore track-orientated _R.S_ models to rival the Porsche 911 GT3.

Jaguar_s Vehicle Line Director, Ian Hoban, said the aim when developing the AWD R Coupe was to retain the playful character of the rear drive model, while adding more grip.

_The result is a controllable, exploitable and blisteringly fast performance car in all weather and road conditions,_ he said.

Jaguar has also used the launch of the F-Type AWD R Coupe to announce its tie-up with the Bloodhound SSC World Land Speed Record program which aims to raise the land speed record past 1000mph (1609km/h).

The new all-paw cat was used to complete an important communications test which involved driving the F-Type at its top speed of 299km/h towards a low flying aircraft travelling at 804km/h to simulate the closing speed of the jet-powered Bloodhound record car.

This high-speed test allowed the team to verify that the Bloodhound_s radio system would operate properly on its way to 1600km/h.

Jaguar will confirm more details on its new F-Type derivatives and its partnership with the Bloodhound SSC Land Speed Record Program on November 19 at the L.A auto show.

Car Guide | Aiden Taylor

Porsche set to launch the Panamera Exclusive Series

Porsche has been launching luxury cars for long now and has made its name in the biggest companies in the world. With continuous efforts, Porsche has been launching many concept cars which have been ideal for their prospect customers.

If you are a Porsche lover, and want some extra space in your car to accommodate all the stuff that you carry with you, the Porsche Panamera Exclusive Series is what you must buy. This car enjoys the brand name of Porsche, thus incorporating all the luxurious features and services that this car has to offer, along with the extra space that you were looking for.

This car is more of a monstrous beast than a simple car. Equipped with a high performance 408L V8 twin-turbocharged engine, having the capability to produce a power of 570 bhp and a torque of 750 Nm, this car has much more to offer besides this high powered powertrain which can make the car, reach to a speed of 100 kmph in just 3.9 seconds. The interiors of this beast include a high-quality rear seat entertainment system comprising of two high-resolution touchscreens of size, 10.1 inches. This also consists of independent DVD players with each screen. The sound can be played with the help of the wireless headphones or through the Burmester surround sound system.

The only disappointment that the Porsche buyers are going to face while buying this car is the less availability. Porsche is planning to launch this on an exclusive basis with just 100 units of this car being built. The extra space that this car carries makes it unique in the Porsche sector. Porsche is planning to launch these 100 units of this car in the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show. So book this car before it goes out of stock.

Car Trade |__ by Roger Dsouza

Land Rover Considering Electric Model

It_s not really a surprise that Land Rover is considering making an electric vehicle, considering it showed off an all-electric Defender concept in 2013. What does come as a surprise is that Land Rover would create a crossover that has not all-terrain capabilities, considering that the Defender is a legendary off-roader.

If they are even true, the rumors might indicate that Land Rover believes consumers who are interested in electric vehicles don_t have an interest in taking them out on the open range, for whatever reasons. Efficiency has been cited as a possible reason for the low ground clearance and lack of any differentials, which would seriously decrease the model_s aerodynamics and increase its weight, seriously hurting the range owners could expect. Considering that most people have serious range anxiety when it comes to electric vehicles, such a move is probably wise.

Some are likely wondering why Land Rover would even bother making an electric crossover. There_s the risk that such a vehicle would alienate the hardcore customer base, or that it wouldn_t sell well at all. While those are legitimate concerns, a model powered by electricity would help lower the brand_s fleet emissions, which could be necessary as government regulations call for aggressive improvements across the board. At the same time, there sadly is a significant portion of Land Rover owners who never take their vehicle off pavement, so having something that cannot go off-roading wouldn_t really cramp their lifestyle at all. On top of that, an electric Land Rover could be a hot seller in China, where large luxury vehicles are popular and there are new requirements for electric models.

Inside Car News | by Steven Symes

Nissan: next GT-R will be hybrid

It's looking certain the next-generation Nissan GT-R will go hybrid.

There's been mention of it before, but Nissan GB's sports car chief, James Oliver, effectively confirmed it to TG in a candid chat about the brand's halo model.

"I think it [a GT-R hybrid] is the obvious direction," Oliver told us. "There's been obsessive development of the GT-R over the years, and at some point we will move onto the next generation car. The overall market is looking at different methods of powering cars, and at Nissan we've got great expertise and investment of electric.

"We already have the capability in terms of battery production and electric vehicle technology, so I don't think it's a great stretch to think a future performance product would have some of that tech incorporated into it.

"When the R35 launched in 2009 it was a massive leap forward, and we need to make sure when the next generation comes, it's a similar leap forward. Not just the car itself, but the overall effect for Nissan."

Oliver would reveal nothing firmer on what will power the next GT-R, or how much clout it will have. The current car produces 542bhp and completes 0-62mph in a fairly bonkers 2.8 seconds or so. To quite what level the R36 will raise its performance is faintly frightening to imagine.

Styling-wise, the outlandish Concept 2020 shown at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (and pictured above) gives us some idea of what to expect, Oliver describing it as a "design study" for the next GT-R.

In the meantime, we can expect plenty of continuous updates for the current R35 model.

"I think we need to keep developing it and squeezing every last ounce of performance out of it," said Oliver. "I think that our customers really value and respect the fact that it's being constantly honed and refined."

Do said customers not get a bit peeved that their __78,000 car might only be a few months old when Nissan announces its latest model-year update, though? "Updates are refinements, so they don't render the previous model obsolete. People don't stop buying the current car because there's a new model year coming," Oliver said.

Some particularly loyal customers even trade up to the latest GT-R each time an update launches. "We have a real broad cross section of customers, some are on their fifth GT-R. Other buyers come and buy one, then move onto the next big thing elsewhere, that's typical of the sports car market."

Whatever the future holds for the Nissan GT-R, Oliver is adamant it should retain true to its ethos of relative value. "The overall approach will be performance on a par with much more expensive cars at a relatively affordable price."

Over to you, though: is hybrid the right move for the GT-R? What form would you like the R36 to take?

Top Gear | Stephen Dobie

Audi unleashes racing version of the new TT

The Audi Sport TT Cup will run on the undercard of the German DTM touring car championship. The series is angled at beginners, club-level competitors and celebrity drivers.

The racing version of the new Audi TT uses the road car's lightweight steel and aluminium body and weighs 1125kg in total. It is powered by a two-litre TFSI petrol engine that's been adopted from the production model with very few changes, and a six-speed S tronic transmission.

The engine produces 306bhp, but is equipped with a 'push-to-pass' function that temporarily boosts maximum power by 30bhp. An active differential that is electronically variable from the cockpit ensures optimal traction at the front axle.

Other tech is adopted from Audi's existing racing series, such as the 'PS1' racing seat, which is taken from the Audi R8 LMS ultra.

The cars will all be prepared by Audi's performance and sporting arm, Quattro, and two races are planned at each of the six DTM rounds that will be held within Germany next season.

Former Formula 1 driver and Audi sportscar racer Markus Winkelhock will be on hand to coach the participants of the Audi Sport TT Cup during the season.

The German has tested the Audi Sport TT Cup car and said: "It is a genuine race car, ideal for rookies, yet challenging to drive. You immediately feel that you_re sitting in an Audi and recognise the close kinship with the brand_s other race cars."

Audi says the winner of the championship will receive support to move up into the manufacturer's__ GT3 sports car programme.

Autocar | by Matt Burt

BMW M2 (2015): Munich_s new baby hotshot revealed

The new edition, on sale in print and digital editions for tablets today, names the new cars coming in 2015 that we_re most excited about. And the M2 is most certainly near the top of that list. Here_s why.

BMW M2: the new M division here in 2015

Remember the original E30 M3 of 1986? The BMW 2002 Turbo from way back when in 1972? That_s the spirit of next year_s new M2. A kind of back-to-basics BMW hot-rod.

It_s due to slot beneath the M3/M4 duo, which have climbed up a step on the performance and price ladder in recent years. The two-door is set to continue in the smoking tyre tracks of the 1-series M Coupe, which we had such a scream running as a CAR magazine long-termer back in 2011.

Our artist_s impressions by R.Varicak/Motor Forecast reveal the look of the new 2015 BMW M2; based on detailed insider information from the design studio in Munich, they depict a stubby car that takes today_s M235i and adds an extra dose of menace and muscle.

Quad exhaust pipes and a subtle boot lip spoiler dominate the car_s rump, while the front of the M2 is marked by extra air intakes and a bulging bonnet. The M badge features front and rear on the kidney grille and boot lid.

The engine room: a twin-turbo straight six

Munich is planning to equip the M2 with a detuned version of the 3.0-litre straight six in the latest M3 and M4. It_s still twin-turbocharged, but we detail the exact engineering tweaks in the full magazine story.

Expect power to shrink to 369bhp and torque to 384lb ft, from big brother_s more fulsome 425bhp/406lb ft. That_s internal politics for you.

Read the full story on the new M2 in the new magazine. We reveal the chassis tricks used to tame that grunt in a small package; how the M2 will out-drag many Porsches from 0-62mph; and have more photos and details of the __45,000 coupe.

Car Magazine | By Tim Pollard

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