Lamborghini to roll out their fastest Lambo ever
Lambo Sesto Elemento.
Lamborghini will show their fastest ever car, in
Lamborghini’s 50 year history, at the 2013 Geneva motor show in late March.
This new car will have the latest in lightweight carbon fibre production
techniques - Lamborghini is one of the leaders in carbon fibre - the new
supercar is expected to be built in very limited numbers, somewhere between 2
and 10, depending upon firm orders.
Research and development head at Lamborghini Maurizio Reggiano says the car will
be road-ready. “It will be a homologated car and we want it to be a tribute to
the forthcoming 50th anniversary of Lamborghini.”
It is expected that the new secret Lambo will be quicker than the Sesto Elemento
which covers 100 km/h in 2.5 seconds. Neck braces recommended!
“One-off is part of our strategy,” says Reggiano. “Usually we present something
because we want to produce or sell it.”
He says buyers of one-off Lamborghinis - each typically paying multiple millions
for the privilege of having something unique - are often loyal customers and pay
for the car prior to production, “the majority of the time without seeing the
Another Lamborghini which will be made is the Urus SUV, tipped to become one of
the fastest off-roaders in the world.
Revealed first as a motor show concept car, the Urus could become Lamborghini’s
first turbocharged and first hybrid vehicle. However this is some way away yet
with Lamborghini chairman Stephan Winkelmann says the Urus could go on sale in
Alonso’s new car
Scuderia Ferrari launched their F138 F1 car last week. This
took place in Ferrari's home town of Maranello, Italy. The event was attended by
Luca di Montezemolo, Stefano Domenicali, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. The
new car, which will be driven by Alonso and Massa during the 2013 Formula One
season, was revealed to a packed room of international journalists all eagerly
awaiting the first glimpse of the Ferrari F138. (My ticket must have got lost in
The F138 is the 59th car built by Ferrari specifically to take part in the
Formula One World Championship. The name comes from a combination of the current
year and the number of cylinders, to mark the fact that this is the eighth and
final year of competition for the V8 engine configuration.
This car constitutes the Scuderia's interpretation of this year's Technical and
Sporting Regulations, which in fact are substantially the same as those from
last season. Therefore the F138 can be seen as an evolution of the F2012, in
terms of its basic design principals, although every single part has been
revised in order to maximize performance, while maintaining all the
characteristics which were the basis of last season's extraordinary reliability.
Shell is again the supplier of fuel and oils. The roots of that partnership date
back to 1929 when Shell supplied fuel and lubricants to Enzo Ferrari himself.
Ferrari and Shell contested the first Formula One season together in 1950 and
last season they celebrated their 500th race together. The technical partnership
with Shell has led to continued progress on the fuel and lubricants front, aimed
at increasing performance in overall terms and also on maintaining it throughout
the engine's life, as well as reducing fuel consumption.
“Formula One engine regulations are currently frozen so the only way to maximize
performance of the engine is through improvement in fuel and lubricant - even
half a horse power is important, every little bit counts,” said Stefano
Domenicali, Team Principal Scuderia Ferrari.
And that reminds me…
A ‘fuelish’ tale
Many years ago I was running a standard Isuzu Gemini in a tightly controlled
formula. Like everyone else, we would be looking to see what little tricks could
be turned to give an advantage. For most teams that meant trying to alter cam
timing and compression without being found out by the scrutineers. For me, I
began looking at the fuel we used.
The F1 circus came to Australia for the Grand Prix. After the GP weekend,
somehow, a drum of the special F1 fuel was left behind by the Williams team, and
it made its way to Brisbane, 2000 km away, where I was waiting. This fuel was
really special, very much more efficient thermodynamically than 97 octane, or
Taking Gemini to the rolling road dynamometer we tipped in the F1 fuel and
looked at the horsepower numbers. Instant horsepower, and big grins all round.
The weekend would be very successful, we predicted.
We rolled out for practice, and I could feel the extra urge immediately.
However, the extra urge only lasted three laps. The crew set about working out
why it stopped, and it turned out that the fuel was not getting to the engine.
But why not? There was plenty in the tank, and so we began to take out each fuel
line looking for the blockage.
It was then we found that the F1 fuel was eating the inside of the standard fuel
lines, making gummy deposits all the way along the hoses. F1 cars, of course, do
not run rubber/neoprene fuel lines, like production Isuzu Gemini’s do!
We had outsmarted ourselves, but at least we did find a good use for the F1
fuel. It was the greatest way to get the BBQ coals burning. After dousing in F1
fuel, you tossed a match at the BBQ from about 20 paces away. Whooompa, and the
BBQ was ready! Technology wins again!
Can the ugly duckling turn into a swan?
I have written before that Ssangyong should have shot their
sstylist, for that awful ugly duckling monstrosity called the Ssanyong Sstavic
with its boat-like behind.
Honestly, how they managed to sell any at all is a mystery, but you do see the
odd one floating around the local roads.
The Korean company, which was saved from bankruptcy by Indian manufacturer
Mahindra and Mahindra in 2011, has announced that the replacement for the
Sstavic (called Rodius in some markets) will be powered by 3.2 liter petrol and
2.0 liter diesel engines. The diesel is the same 114 kW/360 Nm four-cylinder
unit as employed in the Korando and Actyon - the only Ssangyong models still on
sale in most places after the demise of the Rexton large SUV and the Stavic.
Ssanyong’s publicity blurb states, “Based on its design philosophy ‘robust,
premium, specialty’, the new front line emphasizes Ssangyong’s boldness and its
spacious body combines dynamics with sophistication. Styled to be fit for
outdoor, off-road driving as well as on-road driving with its streamline-shape
of the radiator grille and headlamp, the new Rodius/Stavic also offers a whole
package of convenience and practical values by fulfilling various needs from
business, leisure, and travel.”
The new car will be released at the Geneva Show at the end of March, and we
might even get to see it at the Bangkok International if we are lucky.
Hmm, a SSanyong for all sseasons!
Honda joins the expansion
Does the future of the Thai auto industry look good? You
betcha! The latest to join the expansions is Honda which is going to spend B. 17
billion on a new assembly plant at Prachin Buri and another three billion baht
on expansion of the current Ayutthaya assembly plant. This will provide for an
output of 300,000 units per year by 2014.
According to the local Honda president, Hiroshi Kobayashi, the new Prachin Buri
plant is modeled on another new plant in Japan, with the emphasis being “green”.
This new plant will initially produce 120,000 units annually, bringing Honda
production to 420,000 units by 2015. Most of these will be sub-compact small
cars, with around 50 percent of the output earmarked for export to ASEAN,
Oceania, Middle East and Africa.
The new plant will also be looking for an additional 2,500 workers, which could
be a problem in the short term, with there being a chronic shortage of skilled
labor in Thailand.
Suzuki an early Myanmar investor
Early news from CEA boss Kevin Fisher, who reported that
Suzuki are building a new plant next door to his new CEA yard in Myanmar. This
plant will supposedly be operational by mid-year, though other sources have said
that the date for being fully operational could be some years off. Permission
has been granted by the Myanmar government for Suzuki to recommence manufacture,
after the cessation in 2010 of the business license.
Suzuki will also be re-opening its Yangon plant and the aim is to produce 100
light trucks a month. This output is for domestic sales, there being no
indication, at this stage, that Suzuki might be looking at tapping the export
market from Myanmar.
The Yangon plant had assembled 6,000 cars and 10,000 motorcycles between 1999
New Chevrolet Corvette
The hard-top version of the new Chevrolet Corvette was
released at the Detroit Motor Show last month, but GM have now leaked images of
their new Corvette Convertible, which will be released at the Geneva Motor Show
Details are scarce on the convertible, including whether the car will be offered
with a soft or folding hard-top lid. However, the same 6.2 liter V8 engine that
develops 335 kW of power and 610 Nm of torque will be fitted with the choice of
six speed auto or seven speed manual. (The power gives the hard-top a 0-100 km/h
in less than four seconds.)
The styling is very sharp and angular, getting away from all the swoopy designs
currently all the rage, and I like the look of it.
That’s all the good news. The bad news is that it is only for LHD markets. GM
denied it was planning a right-hand-drive variant, “I’m telling you there is no
plan,” said Tim Lee, General Motors president of international operations and
the vice-president of global manufacturing, at the Detroit motor show.
Hello Sweetie, I’m Sylphy
Nissan is excellent at one thing - picking ridiculous names
for their cars. I’m no macho man, but I am damned sure you won’t catch me
driving a Cedric. Or for that matter, a Tiida - just what on earth is a Tiida?
But nothing daunted, the Nissan Stupid Names department has now come up with
The Americans and the Aussies said “No thanks”, and the US call theirs the
Sentra and in Australia it is the Pulsar (but it is made in Thailand).
After China, Thailand is the second country to get the Sylphy, with a 1.6 liter
producing 85 kW and a 1.8 down with 96 kW. The Thai lineup consists of 1.6 S,
1.6 E, 1.6 V, and 1.8 V, all with standard features like air conditioner, CD
player (the 1.8 V gets a color display audio system), electric windows and
electrically adjustable and folding mirrors, with dual airbags across the range.
There is a navigation option for the 1.8 V and dual zone climate control with
rear air ventilation, pricing starts from B. 746,000 - 931,000 so it is right in
the Corolla territory. Looks OK, but Oh that name! Since the Aussie Pulsar is
made here, perhaps they might throw in the Pulsar name badge if you asked
From the Thai Auto Book
Nissan Thailand will build a new 11 billion baht factory next
to the Samut Prakan factory on 150 rai, a move aimed at sustaining Nissan’s
growth across Southeast Asia.
The new plant will have an initial production schedule of 75,000 vehicles a year
when it starts up in August 2014, doubling to 150,000 within a few years.
The factory will produce pickup trucks, which are no longer built at Nissan’s
existing factory after production was moved to the Mitsubishi Motors plant in
Laem Chabang, Chonburi.
At full capacity, Nissan will have an annual production capacity of 370,000
vehicles (excluding the 60,000 Navara pickups now built at Mitsubishi’s
That is all good news for Thailand, and with Toyota stating that they are going
to be spending 12 billion baht to build a factory to produce their own eco car,
it will not be long to wait to see Thailand in the top five car producing
countries in the world.
Blowing in the wind?
Blow up here.
French car conglomerate PSA Peugeot Citroen is showcasing a
set of bold future technologies including a hybrid drivetrain that uses
compressed air rather than batteries to store energy and will become production
reality in 2016.
Now, the compressed air idea has been around for a while too, even advertised in
an inventions magazine in 1928. However, as recently as 2000, CNN reported on a
Korean company that had created a car engine that ran on air. The engine, which
powers a pneumatic-hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), works alongside an electric
motor to create the energy source. The compressed air drives the pistons, which
turn the vehicle’s wheels. The air is compressed using a small motor, powered by
a 48 volt battery, which powers both the air compressor and the electric motor.
Once compressed, the air is stored in a tank.
The manufacturer also said the compressed air system could reduce the cost of
vehicle production by about 20 percent, because there was no need to build a
cooling system, fuel tank, spark plugs or silencers.
Round about the same time, a French company (MDI), and called Zero Pollution
Motors in South Africa, produced a two cylinder compressed air engine. They
called the vehicle they installed it in, the e.Volution, and even showed it at
South African Auto show in 2000, and again at the Paris show in 2002. The cars
generated much interest at the time, and the Mexican government was purportedly
signing a deal to buy 40,000 e.Volutions to replace gasoline and diesel-powered
taxis in the heavily polluted Mexico City.
The claims for e.Volution were quite substantial. It would travel for 200 km
before needing another charge of compressed air. The e.Volution was powered by a
two-cylinder, compressed-air engine. The basic concept behind the engine was
unique in that it could run either on compressed air alone or act as an internal
combustion engine. Dual fuel capabilities.
The compressed air was stored in carbon or glass fiber tanks at a pressure of
300 bar. This air was fed through an air injector to the engine and flows into a
small chamber, which expands the air. The air pushing down on the pistons moves
the crankshaft, which gives the vehicle power, very similar to the way burning
fuel pushes down on the pistons to move the crankshaft in internal combustion
Air tanks fixed to the underside of the vehicle can hold about 300 litres of
air. When your air tank nears empty, you can just pull over and fill the
e.Volution up at the nearest air pump. Using a household electrical source, it
takes about four hours to refill the compressed air tanks. Well, that was the
Come today, and among the exhibits at the PSA Innovation day, held at its
research and development center on the south-western fringe of Paris, was the
company’s new modular global platform and a low-cost diesel-electric mild hybrid
system that will feature on production cars from 2017.
The Hybrid Air system was developed with Bosch, which has experience in
hydraulic energy recovery and traction systems for heavy trucks, and is claimed
to deliver fuel savings of up to 45 percent in city driving or 35 percent
A hydraulic pump powered by regenerative braking, or the petrol engine, stores
the energy as compressed air in a cylinder in the car’s transmission tunnel.
The stored energy is later used to power a hydraulic motor that drives the
wheels through the car’s transmission.
In zero-emissions mode, which PSA says runs for 80 percent of urban driving but
has not indicated a maximum driving range, the petrol engine switches off and
the hydraulic motor alone drives the wheels at up to 70 km/h.
PSA says Hybrid Air makes full hybrid technology more affordable, the pressure
accumulators do not eat into interior space, and as a mechanical system it is
reliable, robust and easy to maintain.
Quite frankly, I cannot see this compressed air system working. With the limited
size of a tank that can fit in the transmission tunnel, it will not propel a car
any decent distance. I think PSA are huffing and puffing, to be honest.
MG to go world-wide for 7-eleven
A few weeks ago I wrote on the alliance being formed by
Chinese conglomerate Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) and the CP
Group (which also owns 7-eleven) to build MG in Thailand.
However, pre-empting the Thai-made MG’s, SAIC is saying it will launch MG in
Australia around Easter 2013. Spokesman for SAIC, Xiaomin Xi, head of
right-hand-drive markets for SAIC, said that the brand will launch over the
Easter weekend. Xi says the distributors and the head office are working closely
with existing owners and enthusiasts via the MG car club, stating the launch
event will take place on the back of the club’s national meeting in Toowoomba,
Queensland, on the last weekend of March. It will be interesting to see just how
well a Chinese MG will be accepted by the MG enthusiasts.
Xi says the company is working to add dealers in Brisbane and Newcastle, and
confirmed that the brand will initially only offer the MG6 sedan and hatchback,
with power coming from a turbocharged 1.8 liter engine producing 118 kW of power
and 215 Nm of torque. Hardly enough to blow your flat cap off.
According to the MG UK website, the 6 can lumber from 0-100 km/h in 8.4 seconds,
and return consumption figure of 7.5 L/100 km.
The MG6 is about the size of a Mazda3 sedan at just over 4.6 meters long and 1.8
m wide, and has a class-competitive boot size of 498 liters.
It is not clear what safety equipment will be standard on the MG6 destined for
Down-under. The MG UK site suggests all models have six airbags (dual front,
front-side and full-length curtains), as well as stability control.
There is no indication yet what price the MG6 will be offered, but the car was
recently launched in New Zealand significantly cheaper than the Toyota Corolla.