Malta's 1st Motoring Website

Racing, Videos Comments (0) |

Ken Block thrilled with the Audi RS Q e-tron

This was a car swap of a very special kind: with Mattias Ekström as the instructor in the co-driver’s seat, Ken Block tested the Audi RS Q e-tron with start number 224 on snow and ice. The outing during the GP Ice Race in Zell am See in Austria was the spectacular prototype’s first appearance after its successful debut in the famous Dakar Rally.

The Audi RS Q e-tron, with which Audi clinched four stage victories in January, was just one of the stars on the icy course in Zell am See. Audi Tradition also brought along the Audi quattro A2 Group B rally car, which competed in the 1983 Rally Finland. In addition, a DKW F 91 and a DKW Hartmann Formula V caused quite a stir.

For Ken Block, the weekend trip to Europe was like a visit to automotive paradise.

“The laps in the Audi RS Q e-tron were a phenomenal experience – even though the car probably feels more comfortable in the desert than in the snow,” said Ken Block. “Thanks to Mattias Ekström, who patiently explained all the special features of his car to me. A few minutes behind the wheel was enough to understand the fascination of this car.”

Ken Block, Audi quattro Rallye A2 Gruppe B

Mattias Ekström was impressed. “It only took three turns for Ken to get fully up to speed,” said the Swede, who, with ninth place, was the most successful Audi driver in the 2022 Dakar Rally. For Ekström, the event in Austria was also the perfect preparation for his participation in the prestigious “Race of Champions”, which was held in the north of Sweden last weekend. Ekström only had to admit defeat to the eventual winner Sébastien Loeb in the semifinals.

In addition to testing the Audi RS Q e-tron, Ken Block also took a little trip down memory lane and drifted around the circuit in the Audi quattro A2. For the American, who was inspired by Audi rally cars as a teenager, this was a personal highlight: “An insane moment that I won’t forget in a hurry.” Soon there will be even more moments like this: With the purely electric Audi S1 e-tron quattro Hoonitron, which Audi developed as a one-off exclusively for Ken Block and which was inspired by the Audi Sport quattro S1, the Hoonigan team is producing a video entitled Electrikhana that will be released in the next few months and will be the latest chapter of their Gymkhana series.

Read more

New Models, Videos Comments (0) |

Continental Drift – Watch the new film from Bentley

As customer deliveries of the new Continental GT Speed begin, Bentley Motors has released a new film capturing and celebrating the incredible dynamic ability of the GT Speed. Called Continental Drift and filmed at an abandoned air base on the Italian island of Sicily, the film shows the scope of performance of Bentley’s pinnacle GT, including incredibly precise drifting through dramatic locations.

The dynamic-focused chassis and rear-biased torque split of the GT Speed – which under most conditions will send the majority of the W12 engine’s 635 PS of power to the rear wheels – has made this new kind of film possible for Bentley.

Improved cornering dynamics and the extra grip provided by a suite of new systems (including eLSD, all-wheel steering and new ESC) allow the car to tackle any corner with an increased level of precision and confidence. In turn, the car is able to extract the maximum performance from the available traction to deliver stunning acceleration and composure from the apex – either with perfectly balanced grip or in a deliberate, controllable slide. With the powertrain delivering 900 Nm of torque, the GT Speed is a Bentley that can be driven on the limit with incredible ease and confidence.

Video: Bentley Motors

The film was shot over of the course of a day during the recent Global Media Drive for the GT Speed on Sicily. For this event, Bentley converted the abandoned NATO base previously known as Comiso Air Station into a gymkhana-style track. Originally built in 1936, Comiso was rebuilt in the 1980s as the home to 112 Ground Launched Cruise Missiles, each with a nuclear warhead, and was the largest NATO air base in southern Europe. Abandoned almost 30 years ago and having been slowly reclaimed by nature since, Comiso proved to be the ideal place to create a safe yet challenging environment to demonstrate the performance credentials of the GT Speed.

Mike Sayer, Bentley’s Head of Product Communications, said: “After the team discovered Comiso Air Station for the launch of the GT Speed, and we’d agreed to create a gymkhana-style course there, the next step was to design a film unlike anything we’d shot before. Sliding a metallic yellow Bentley around an abandoned air base is certainly an experience, and new territory for us, but the result shows just how dynamic the best Grand Tourer in the world has become.”

The film was captured by award-winning automotive film-maker David Hale, supported by expert point-of-view drone pilots and videographer and photographer Mark Fagelson. Eagle-eyed viewers may also recognise members of the Bentley Communications team making cameo appearances.

Photos: Bentley Motors

Continental Drift showcases the GT Speed’s talents as one of the fastest and most dynamic four-seat Grand Tourers in the world, and also reflects on the car’s heritage. The 1952 R-Type Continental seen at the start and end of the film is Bentley’s own car from its Heritage Collection, and in its day was the fastest four-seat car in the world. The elegant yet powerful design of the R-Type Continental was also the inspiration for the design of the Continental GT, with the same DNA describing the power line from the front wheel, the haunch over the rear wheels and the sloping roof line.

Read more

Paqpaq, Videos Comments (0) |

An electric scooter that does 100km/h?

Tonio Darmanin drives the Silence S01 scooter

The Silence S01 is an efficient and technologically high quality 125cc-class electric scooter made by a Spanish company that is dedicated to ecological mobility. That acceleration speed is comparable to that of a 250cc motorcycle.

But that is not all. It is definitely original with a detachable 5.6kw/hr battery that incorporates a trolley and can be carted away and used as a mega power bank. This allows for a low and comfortable position for your feet and space for two helmets under the comfortable seat.

The S01 comes with three ride modes: Eco (max speed 75km/hr, range 140km), City (max speed 95km/h, range 105km) and Sport (max speed 110km/h, range 85km). The in-hub electric motor develops 12hp/7Kw and enables acceleration to 50km/hr in 3.9 seconds.

Silence Scooters are designed and built in Spain and available at Kinds in Mosta. Prices from €6,150 before government grant and scrappage scheme.

Read more

Events, Racing, Videos Comments (0) |

Legend Ken Block joins Audi team

Ken Block has made a name for himself as a rally and rallycross driver since 2005. However, the 53-year-old is most famous worldwide for his elaborately produced videos in which he drives high-performance vehicles to the limit at iconic locations. 

The partnership with Audi closes a circle for Ken Block: “Audi is the brand that ignited my passion for motorsport. I am extremely excited to start this new chapter. Together, we will develop innovative projects and push the boundaries of electric mobility.”

Block was a teenager when the Audi quattro revolutionized the World Rally Championship and the Audi Sport quattro S1 stormed Pikes Peak in the USA in record time. These vehicles made Block dream of becoming a rally driver himself.

Now, during his first visit to Audi, another dream came true: the American was allowed to drive several historic race and rally cars from his favorite brand himself. These included the Audi Sport quattro S1, the Audi V8 quattro from the DTM and the futuristic Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo.

Of course, Block didn’t miss the opportunity to test the most powerful electric vehicle currently in the AUDI AG model range. “The Audi RS e-tron GT1 really surprised me,” says Block. “The design is exquisite with great attention to detail and a perfect finish. The driving experience is amazing: the car is incredibly fast and handles very well. The centre of gravity is very low so you can change direction quickly.”

Block is considered as a “petrol head” because of his history. But the American is also re-evaluating and has recently been testing and racing various electric cars. He recorded the third fastest time in the final stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally with an electric prototype and won the inaugural race of the “Projekt E” rallycross series at Höljes (Sweden) in the same year.

“Electric mobility is the future,” said Block. “I see the electric car as a leap forward for us as a society in order to create something that can not only reduce emissions and hopefully make the planet a better place. But not only that: it’s also about performance. I love anything that makes me go faster. Electric cars can do that. And as far as sound goes, I have kids who don’t care about that. They think that the sound of electric cars is just as cool as the sound of internal combustion engines.”

Block and Audi will be working together exclusively in the field of electric mobility with immediate effect. “Audi stands for ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’,” said Oliver Hoffmann, board member for Technical Development at Audi. “Every day we are trying to push boundaries to create the future of mobility. Our goal is to fascinate our customers with progressive design, innovative technology and a broad digital ecosystem. I am delighted that we were able to attract Block and his team to Audi.”

“Block shares our love of performance,” says Head of Audi Brand Henrik Wenders. “He has the ability to inspire people. With his progressive thinking, he will accompany us on our way into an electrifying future. Welcome to the team!”

“At Audi, motorsport is paving the way for future technologies,” said Julius Seebach, managing director of Audi Sport GmbH and responsible for motorsport at Audi. “Electrification is a game changer, just like quattro drive once was. With Block, we’ve got exciting things in store that go perfectly with our strategy.”

Read more

Events, Racing, Videos Comments (0) |

Reconstruction of the first Lamborghini Countach, the 1971 LP 500, unveiled at Villa d’Este

The Countach LP 500 has returned, entered in the class reserved for concept cars at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. It is a passionate reconstruction carried out by Automobili Lamborghini’s Polo Storico that required over 25,000 hours of work on behalf of an important collector. The contribution of the Lamborghini Centro Stile was fundamental in the reconstruction of the bodywork and styling supervision.

“The Countach reinvented high-performance cars,” said Stephan Winkelmann, Chairman and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, “and it became an icon in terms of stylistic language that even today, after decades, still inspires contemporary Lamborghinis. Bringing the reconstruction of the first Countach to the concept class of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, in the year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of this model, is something extraordinary because it allows us to admire the legendary 1971 LP 500in person for the first time in so many years.”

At the Geneva Motor Show in March 1971, Automobili Lamborghini presented its “idea car”, the LP 500 Countach. The car immediately became the star of the show, and the photographs of it, which went viral, were published in major magazines around the world. This new model was conceived to replace the legendary Miura and wrote a new page in the history of the automobile, both for its technology and design. After three years of development, the LP 500 was sacrificed in crash tests in March 1974 and then disappeared.

At the end of 2017, a classic car aficionado and important Lamborghini customer asked Polo Storico if there was any possibility of creating a reconstruction of the Countach LP 500, a legendary model known only through photographs of the time. 

The first months were spent acquiring all the material available and undertaking an in-depth analysis. “The collection of documents was crucial,” underscored Giuliano Cassataro, Head of Service and Polo Storico. “There had been so much attention paid to all the details of the car, to their overall consistency and to the technical specifications.” Photographs, documents, meeting reports, original drawings, and the memories of some the protagonists of the time: all this contributed to establishing the form and function of every single detail as accurately as possible. The support of Fondazione Pirelli was also fundamental in providing historical archive material to recreate the tires mounted on the original LP500 model.

The work began on the platform chassis, completely different from the tubular frame of the Countach models that would follow. In addition to physically redesigning it, Polo Storico had to decide which work system to use for building it in order to respect the production methods of the time. The same procedure was used for the bodywork, with various modern technological instruments employed for its analysis and definition. Once the sheet metal beating phase was reached, technology gave way to the traditional Italian system, carried out by the “battilastra” with his creativity and tools. A similar process was followed for the interior, which included the lighted diagnostic instruments, as shown on the 1971 prototype.

For all the mechanical components, as in 1971, original Lamborghini spare parts or restored components of the time were used, or failing that, parts were completely rebuilt.

For the historical reconstruction part of the original design, Polo Storico turned to the Lamborghini Centro Stile where the team led by Mitja Borkert, Head of Design, set to work on a very challenging project.

The collaboration with Pirelli – in existence since 1963 – to reconstruct the tires mounted on the LP 500 prototype proved to be invaluable. Thanks to the images and materials preserved in the archives of Fondazione Pirelli, it was possible to use the original plans of the Cinturato CN12 tire fitted on the LP 500 for its Geneva debut. From these documents, the Milanese company’s technicians set out to create the Cinturato CN12 of the Pirelli Collezione range, today’s line of tires dedicated to the most iconic cars built between 1930 and 2000, which preserve the originality of the rubber by combining a vintage image with modern technology. Specifically, the Pirelli Cinturato CN12 tires for the Lamborghini Countach LP 500 were supplied in the sizes 245/60R14 for the front and 265/60R14 for the rear, and are now fitted with the same tread pattern and aesthetics as in the 1970s, but with a modern compound and structure. 

When it came to choosing the color, the PPG archives proved to be crucial, making it possible to identify, after careful analysis, the exact composition for producing the yellow color used, identified as ‘Giallo Fly Speciale’. 

Read more

Racing, Videos Comments (0) |

Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll take on the Bond stunt driving challenge

No Time to Die – the much-anticipated 25th James Bond film and actor Daniel Craig’s last stint as the famous spy, is soon coming to the big screen.

Bond fever has gripped most – including Aston Martin Formula 1 drivers Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll. In collaboration with Sky Sports F1 team, Aston Martin brought its Formula 1 drivers to the Silverstone Circuit, to drive some of James Bond’s most iconic Aston Martins – including the ubiquitous DB5.

The Bond stunt driving challenge.

This iconic model made its first appearance in Goldfinger (1964), followed by appearances in the ThunderballGoldenEyeTomorrow Never DiesThe World Is Not EnoughCasino RoyaleSkyfall, and Spectre.

Read more

Videos Comments (0) |

And the Concept Car of the Year award goes to… the Renault 5 Prototype

The purpose behind the Renault 5 Prototype was to demonstrate Renault’s commitment to making electric cars widely accessible throughout Europe. Renault design teams set their minds on revisiting a popular yet essential car, much like its dashing ancestor back in its heyday. Renault 5 Prototype is a compact city car full of charm, a car that propels one of Renault’s timeless favourites into the future, with a modern all-electric touch. 

Renault 5 Prototype was voted Concept Car of the Year by the prestigious Car Design News after competing against other concept cars presented by car manufacturers between March 2020 and March 2021. Car Design Review 8 offers an overview of the previous year in design and takes stock of latest trends and innovation. It was elected by a panel of automotive experts and design directors from the world’s leading automotive manufacturers.

Read more

Videos Comments (0) |

One for the drivers

Receiving its world premiere at Hethel, Norfolk, last July, the design of the Lotus Emira is beautiful, timeless, memorable and modern. Above all, it looks like a Lotus, with optimised proportions and an athletic shrink-wrapped body which visually describes Lotus’ legendary agile driving characteristics.

Lotus Cars Design Director Russell Carr talks about the intricate design details that make Emira a car “For the drivers”.

Read more

Events, Videos Comments (0) |

David vs Goliath: the Ford Puma ST races replica model

It’s David versus Goliath… but not as you know it. The all-new Puma ST – the first Ford Performance SUV in Europe – takes centre stage in an epic clash against a small but mighty version of itself in a thrilling new film released by Ford.

Puma ST vs. Puma RC pits the 200 PS Puma ST high performance compact SUV – driven by rally star Louise Cook – against a 1/10 scale radio-controlled (RC) replica – driven by professional RC racer Lee Martin – in a dramatic race against the clock.

Shot on location at the iconic Brands Hatch motor racing circuit in the UK, the unique face-off is the ultimate test of Puma ST agility. Using cornering abilities sharpened by sophisticated Sports Technologies, the full-size Puma ST can lap the 1.9-kilometre Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in a target time of around 60 seconds.

Meanwhile, the 1/10 scale Puma ST RC model must complete three laps of the 220-metre Brands Hatch kart track; a precise replica of the full-size Indy Circuit that mirrors its six challenging corners. With a target lap time of around 20 seconds for the scaled-down Puma ST, the contest demanded all-out performance from both cars and drivers – setting up a nail-biting finish.

Introducing acclaimed Ford Performance driving dynamics to the innovative Ford Puma SUV, the Puma ST is powered by a 200 PS 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine and accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 6.7 seconds.

Sports Technologies including a unique-in-segment limited-slip differential option, patented force vectoring springs and unique suspension and steering specifications combine for exceptional cornering responses. Selectable Drive Modes include Track mode that tunes vehicle dynamics features for the fastest possible lap times and the purest driving experience.

Giving the Puma ST the best possible chance of victory, British rally driver Louise Cook is a winner of the FIA Production Car Cup for 2WD as well as the British Rally Championship Ladies’ title.

A one-off, custom-built 1/10 scale model developed by UK-based Designworks specially for the race, the Puma ST RC car is based on an ARC R12FF platform and uses a 402 W electric motor to reach speeds of 80 km/h.

Carefully designed to mirror the full-size vehicle as accurately as possible, the Puma ST RC car is front-wheel drive just like the real thing. Its lightweight bodyshell was made from high impact polystyrene (HIPS) using digital engineering data taken from the real car and a computer-controlled milling machine.

Details including the replica wheels, door mirrors and windscreen wipers were 3D-printed in meticulous detail. Even the Mean Green exterior is identical to the production SUV, using the same acrylic water-based paint.

At the controls, Lee Martin is a professional RC racer with six European and 13 British championship titles to his name.

“This was no ordinary race, but the Puma ST is designed to offer performance and agility in a compact and practical package, whatever the conditions. Even when it is up against a purpose-built racing car and a champion driver, it has the ability to deliver,” said Stefan Muenzinger, manager Ford Performance, Europe.

“Driving the Puma ST for the first time was awesome. I don’t know what I expected but it did not feel like an SUV, it felt like a sporty hatchback and I had so much fun driving it around the Brands Hatch circuit. I am used to rallying Ford rally cars, so it was nice to feel that familiar fast and forgiving feeling in the Puma ST chassis,” added Louise Cook, WRC rally driver.

“This was a great opportunity to see how an RC car went up against a real car. The model was made to look as close to the real car as possible; it was front-wheel drive, it had an SUV body – and like the real thing, it handled really well. The race was brilliant fun. Maybe next time Louise and I can switch cars,” concluded Lee Martin, RC racer.

Read more