Home » October 2011
Vettel Wins Indian Grand Prix

Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel won the inaugural Formula One Indian Grand Prix on Sunday, staying on track to equal the record for the number of wins in a season.

Vettel led from start to finish, maintaining a comfortable buffer throughout to finish 8.4 seconds ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button, with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso a distant third.
The race saw yet another collision between McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Felipe Massa to intensify their rivalry, with Massa in the wrong and given a pit drive-through penalty before later breaking his front suspension and retiring from the race.
Red Bull's Mark Webber was fourth, ahead of the Mercedes pair of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg.

Porsche chases Porsche at Laguna Seca

Chrysler 300C

The latest in the long line of refreshed and generally much better cars pouring out of Chrysler after its recent bankruptcy and rebirth, the new 300 is, more than ever before, one of the most significant cars the company makes. Not just because it keeps the company rolling in the full-size segment of the US market, but also because the car is going to appear all across Europe this year badged as the new Lancia Thema (other than in the UK, where it keeps the Chrysler name).
 Using the same upgraded platform that sits under the new, improved Dodge Charger, Chrysler has catapulted the 300C from being a pretend, poor man's Bentley into a real, poor man's Bentley. While the current car has little more than the right bone structure to pull it off, this new one has plenty of sinew to back up the promise.
Quieter than a submarine with its engines off, and with a ride quality that would make a magic carpet seem harsh, the new 300 now does luxury-car waft better than cars 10 times its price. It gets the all-new 3.6-litre 291bhp Pentastar V6 engines, retains a retuned version of the stalwart 5.7-litre 363bhp Hemi V8, and there will be a new V6 diesel option by the time it hits the UK market. Later there will be muscle-popping SRT8 versions - and perhaps even a return of the Magnum, if estate-loving Italy gets its wish - but the current engine line-up is more than adequate for now.
Likewise the interior, which is hugely - hugely - improved. A large, 8.4-inch central touchscreen acts as the main driver interface, and it's a masterclass in functionality. No sub-menus and thousands of options, just clear, big buttons and a couple of knobs for the volume and heat. Add that to a thoughtful, considered and high-quality cabin layout and colour scheme, plus huge let's-cross-a-continent-now seats, and you have a cool, relaxing place to watch the miles pass by.
Where it all fell apart on these US-spec models was in the steering department. Zero feel meant keeping the car moving in a straight line was a challenge, and hustling it through corners was like trying to thread a needle from 10 yards away. But that's how they like it over there. The good news is that European versions of the 300/Thema will have completely different suspension and steering settings, more akin - and probably even tighter than - the more precise Charger, with which it shares its electro-mechanical steering system.
The other big change is to the styling. It might look broadly similar to the current car, but up close the new 300 is way sexier. There are more subtle curves, tighter shutlines, more elaborate LED lights front and back. It shares the same general look and feel, but the overall impression is of a much more premium, luxurious car.
Which it is. 
Pat Devereux
Good: Superb ride quality and seclusion
Not Good: Vague steering of US models
Performance: 0–62mph in 6.0secs (est),  max 116 mph (est), 18mpg 
Tech: 3604cc, V6, RWD, 291bhp, 260lb ft, 1797kg, n/a g/km CO2
Tick this on the options list: Choose from one of the six grilles...
And avoid this:...just avoid the Bentley one

Marco Simoncelli dies after MotoGP crash in Sepang

Bad news, it seems, does come in threes, as we're grieved to report the passing of Marco Simoncelli. The MotoGP rider succumbed to injuries sustained this weekend at the Malaysian Grand Prix, his death coming barely a week after those of Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon and Baja racer Rick Huseman. 

A promising Italian rider, Simoncelli advanced just last year to the top-tier MotoGP series after making a name for himself in the feeder classes. He was a force to be reckoned with in the Italian Minimoto Championship in the late 90s, won the European championship (as well as several World Championship races) in the 125cc class for Aprilia and took the 250cc World Championship for Gilera in 2008. He advanced to the MotoGP series last season, riding for the Gresini Honda team, for whom he took a second-place finish just last week in Australia. 

Disaster struck, however, on the second lap of the Malaysian Grand Prix today where he lost control of his Honda racing bike and was hit by fellow riders Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi as he slid across the track. He laid there motionless, his helmet having come off in the incident, until an ambulance brought him to the trackside infirmary where he was subsequently pronounced dead. He was 24.  

The tragedy marks the first death in MotoGP since the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix where Daijiro Kato, also of the Gresini team, was killed. However Shoya Tomizawa was killed a little over a year ago in the Moto2 race at San Marino.

Porsche Cayman R vs BMW 1-series M Coupe (2011) CAR video review

Korea - Petrov crashes into Schumacher

Vettel wins F1 Korean Grand Prix

Double world champion Sebastian Vettel won the Korean Grand Prix in crushing fashion today to help his Red Bull team retain the Formula One constructors' title after a dominant season.
Just a week after cruising to third place in Japan, where Vettel confirmed himself as the 2011 drivers' world champion, the 24-year-old German was uncatchable as he drove to his 10th win this year, and 20th of his career.
“This is special for us all, for the whole team,” he said.
“It was not such an easy race, but we did it. After the drivers, the constructors' -- it's fantastic.”
Vettel started second on the grid, but took the lead from Briton Lewis Hamilton of McLaren on the opening lap to pull clear and produce a flawless drive to the chequered flag.
He came home in a winning time of one hour, 38 minutes and 1.994 seconds, 12.019 ahead of Hamilton, who drove a splendidly controlled defensive race to stay ahead of Vettel's Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber.

Entry-level Audi TT revealed

The Audi TT just got cheaper, with a new entry-level 1.8-litre petrol version starting from $38,000

One of the best coupes on the market - the Audi TT - just got a little cheaper, with the news that the brand has launched a new entry-level petrol version that costs just $38,000.
Powered by the turbocharged 1.8-litre TFSI petrol engine from the Roadster, the newcomer produces 158bhp and 250Nm of torque, and is available with either a six-speed manual or Audi's optional seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch automatic.
Despite being the cheapest TT in the range, the new coupe isn't short of pace, as manual versions cover the benchmark 0-62mph sprint in just 7.2 seconds, going on hit a 140mph top speed. Yet it's also surprisingly economical, managing to return a combined 44.1mpg and emitting just 147g/km.

Japanese Grand Prix review: welcome to the Vettel era

Jenson Button took his third win of the season at this morning’s Japanese Grand Prix, leading home Fernando Alonso and – as if it was ever in doubt – record-breaking double world champion Sebastian Vettel. Though he did well to cover a move from Button off the line, Vettel was eventually leap-frogged after the second round of pit stops, with his Red Bull failing to cope as well as the McLarens and Ferraris with the tyre-punishing twists of Suzuka. Mark Webber finished fourth, just ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who brought out the safety car on lap 25 following yet another tangle with Felipe Massa, which took a chunk out of the Brazilian’s front wing. Michael Schumacher enjoyed another strong race to finish a solid sixth, while Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez, Vitaly Petrov and Nico Rosberg also picked up some points.
So that’s that – Sebastian Vettel is Formula One’s youngest ever double world champion, and the first man to pick up the title with four races to spare since Michael Schumacher in 2004.
Feels sort of anti-climactic, doesn’t it? Given that most of his rivals had given up on the season by the half-way point, they really should’ve handed Vettel the trophy back in Germany. That’s not to say that a dominant, one-sided season can’t be a spectacle – they’ll be talking about that four-hour epic in Canada, if nothing else, for decades to come – it’s just hard to get excited about something that’s looked inevitable for months.
Still, what is exciting is that we now know the identity of this era’s first legendary driver. And, as sick as we are about the fact that he doesn’t have a Union Jack on his helmet, thinking about the lad’s potential is seriously dizzying. Since his debut in 2007, he’s won 19 races, been on pole 27 times and amassed a fortune that doesn’t even bear thinking about – all before his 25th birthday. At Vettel’s age, Ayrton Senna was in his rookie year, and we were still living with our mum.
So, how long can Sebastian Vettel keep on winning? Assuming he’s got another decade of his career left to run, we’d happily put money on another three world titles. It’s unlikely any of them will be as easy as the infamous cakewalk of 2011 but still, we’re going to stick our neck out and say that this young guy from Heppenheim has just put himself in the position to become one of the all-time greats of his sport.
Of course, there’s always the chance he’ll do a Fernando Alonso and spend the next five years getting shown up by the latest rookies. But it’s been a long time since Formula One has had a hero so consistent, so level-headed and so damn fast as Sebastian Vettel, and something tells us that the domination is only just beginning.
What do you reckon? How many more titles can Vettel win? Here’s how they finished:
1. Jenson Button
2. Fernando Alonso
3. Sebastian Vettel
4. Mark Webber
5. Lewis Hamilton
6. Michael Schumacher
7. Felipe Massa
8. Sergio Perez
9. Vitaly Petrov
10. Nico Rosberg
11. Adrian Sutil
12. Paul Di Resta
13. Kamui Kobayashi
14. Pastor Maldonado
15. Jaime Alguersuari
16. Bruno Senna
17. Rubens Barrichello
18. Heikki Kovalainen
19. Jarno Trulli
20. Timo Glock
21. Jerome d’Ambrosio
22. Daniel Ricciardo
23. Vitantonio Liuzzi
24. Sebastien Buemi (DNF)

Lamborghini Aventador video review

Auto Insurance Buyer's Guide for All States

Step 1. Understand What Factors Affect Your Rates

Become an informed insurance consumer. Every insurance company takes a slightly different approach to pricing auto insurance, and that’s why rates vary so much from one company to the next. The basic facts -- who you are, where you live and what you drive -- are used by all insurance companies. Prior claims, traffic tickets, annual mileage, zip code, and even education and occupation will affect your rate. In some states, insurers may use an insurance credit score for rating or underwriting. Lastly, your coverage, deductibles, and the safety features of your cars will contribute to your final rate.

New Ginetta G60 sportscar revealed

The ongoing saga of the Farboud GTS is like the evolution of a beard. First, the original GTS could be likened to a deep, five o'clock shadow. The Farbio GTS that came next was akin to whiskers, some substance. Then, Ginetta came in and rebadged it the F400, making it a Tom Selleck-inspired super-‘tache. Now we have the final, fully-grown Chuck Norris beard: the Ginetta G60.
Ginetta boss Lawrence Tomlinson loved the old F400 dearly, but wanted something a bit more consistent. He halted production of that car and set to work on the G60 you see above. It houses a 3.7-litre Ford ‘Cyclone' V6 engine - the same engine used in the 185mph GT3 racing Ginetta - mounted in the middle, sending 310 horses and 288 torques to the rear wheels. 0-60mph is quoted as 4.9 seconds, while top speed if somewhere north of 165mph.

The body is still an F400, albeit with new carbon fibre cooling vents and a revised splitter, but its been bonded to a new tubular steel chassis, housing that V6, a six-speed manual and an ‘ATB' limited slip diff. The suspension is of double wishbone variety with coil springs, there are 355mm grooved brake discs, the wiring has been redone to make it more reliable (handy, that), while even the driver's pedals have been realigned.
Oh, and Mr Tomlinson also thought it wise to rip out the power steering, the brake servos, ABS and traction control. That's right. No assistance for your arms, legs or tiny brain. As a result of this and the use of carbon fibre, the G60 weighs in at just 1,080kg.
There are some creature comforts though, such as sat nav (to see which hedge you're ploughing into), Bluetooth (to alert loved ones of your imminent hedge-ploughing), audio (to drown out your screams) and climate controls (to remove the sweaty-palmed panic) all housed in a 7in centrally-mounted touchscreen.
Ginetta says the G60 "is rare by any standards", and just 50 will be built each year, at a cost of £68,000. Customer deliveries are expected to begin in February 2012.
We'll reserve judgement on this V6-powered carbon fibre go-kart until we drive it, but does the premise appeal? A lightweight, uncompromised mid-engined sportscar?

Ogier wins in France

Sebastien Ogier, in a Citroen DS3 WRC, has won Rallye de France Alsace for the first time following a nail-biting finish to the world championship qualifier near Strasbourg this afternoon.

Ogier fended off the MINI John Cooper Works WRC of Spaniard Dani Sordo on the event-closing Power Stage in Sebastien Loeb’s hometown of Haguenau. The seven time-world champion wasn’t in action following his retirement on Friday morning when his factory Citroen suffered a rare engine failure.
Victory for Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia marked their fifth triumph of 2011 following wins in Portugal, Jordan, Greece and Germany earlier in the campaign. The result also puts Ogier back into contention for the drivers’ world title with two events remaining.
Petter Solberg, in a privateer Citroen, finished third with Mikko Hirvonen the first factory Ford driver home in fourth to maintain his championship bid.

BMW M5 F10M (2011) CAR review