Are racing car drivers an endangered species? Not if you’re a Stadium Super Truck fan or a new ‘Pony’ owner
Are racing car drivers an endangered species? Not if you’re heading out to Sydney’s Homebush where you can taste the blood and guts of real racing with the Stadium Super Trucks and the final round of the V8 Supercars….Five hundred lucky ‘Pony’ fans get an early Christmas present with the arrival of a batch of Mustang in Melbourne…and Volvo show off its Concept 26 automated car interior that the company claim will take the stress out of commuting.
Are racing car drivers an endangered species? If so, then Roborace could be the beginning of the end. Slated to kick off next year, this new racing championship will pit driverless electric cars against each other in a round-the-world series. The aim is to provide a competitive platform for the autonomous driving technology that is being developed by automotive and tech firms, as well as universities. Roborace is being developed in a partnership between the electric racing series Formula E, which is currently in its second season and investment firm Kinetik. It will form part of the support package for the Formula E Championship, with races taking place at the same circuits prior to each Formula E race.
Ten teams will compete in the Roborace championship, each with two driverless cars. The running of one team will be crowd sourced by a community of software and technology enthusiasts, and experts from around the world. All the teams will use the same car, but will be able to alter its software to gain a competitive advantage over the course of one-hour races. Formula E says the aim of Roborace is to demonstrate the capabilities of autonomous driving technology, even in extreme conditions, while Kinetik’s Denis Sverdlov says it will help to show that we can co-exist with such technologies. CEO of Formula E Alejandro Agag, describes the new series as “an open challenge to the most innovative scientific and technology-focused companies in the world.” The Roborace series is scheduled to debut in the 2016-17 season, with further details about its teams and technologies to be announced early next year.
IF YOU LIVE IN, OR ARE HEADING TO HOMEBUSH OLYMPIC STADIUM complex in Sydney this weekend and want to see ‘real racing’ then earplugs and an ability to withstand endless bouts of exciting motor racing are essential. Not only is the final round of what has been an incredible V8 Supercar season to be fought out in ear shattering horsepower, there’s the return of Stadium Super Trucks racing. These 650 horsepower monsters push components to breaking point and drivers, many of whom carry the scars of former battles, to the absolute limit.
Underpinning this vehicular combat, enduring 240km/h-plus speeds, five metre high jumps, two wheeling, rolls, power slides and perpetual paint trading, is the Toyo Tires Open Country A/T II: “Stadium Super Trucks is harsh on rubber and the Open Country A/T II tyres take everything we can throw at them. There isn’t much I haven’t put these tyres through,” says series creator and ‘scared’ legend Robby Gordon, adding that: “The OPAT IIs are the same available at tyre retailers around the country, in sizes fans can purchase for their 4×4 or SUV. An unmodified, off-the-shelf, tyre so tough its limits have not been found on dirt or bitumen, by the SST’s.” So there!
AND STILL ON RACING THAT INVOLVES REAL, LIVE DRIVERS, a very, very, very lucky motorist from the UK has realised a life-long dream to experience the ultimate in automotive performance, a drive in a real Formula One car, with personal tuition from Infiniti Red Bull Racing driver Daniil Kvyat. Having taken a test drive of an Infiniti road car, Carl Lawrence was selected from hundreds of other hopefuls in the ‘Infiniti Ultimate Test Drive’ campaign. His prize saw him first visit the Infiniti Red Bull Racing factory in the UK to drive the F1 team’s simulator and undergo an intense tuition program, before heading to the Dubai Autodrome.
With guidance from Russian F1 star Kvyat, he learned the circuit in an Infiniti Q50 before progressing to a junior single seater car and was then let loose in a race-specification, Infiniti-branded, Formula One car, turning this once-in-a-lifetime dream into reality. Last weekend he headed to Abu Dhabi for a VIP experience at the GP, courtesy of Infiniti. The Infiniti Ultimate Test Drive campaign ran in the UK from July to August 2015 offering anyone who test drove an Infiniti at his or her local dealership the chance to be entered into a draw. Twenty-five finalists from the UK were selected to compete against each other in a driving assessment day where Lawrence was deemed the best driver by Infiniti’s panel of experts, and joined two other winners from Russia and the Middle East for the main prize.
FATHER CHRISTMAS HAS COME EARLY for some fans of ‘The Pony’ with the arrival in Melbourne of 500 right-hand drive Ford Mustangs from Detroit. More than 4000 Australians have placed deposits for the latest version of the iconic American muscle car, triple the demand for the home grown Ford Falcon V8, despite the US model costing from $45-65,000. With the Falcon reaching the end of the Broadmeadows production line after 56 years in October 2016, Ford fans have embraced the new Mustang in record numbers with Australians placing twice as many orders as buyers in the UK. Ford executives in Detroit will be breathing a sigh of relief, as this is the first time in the nameplate’s 50-year history that a Mustang has been made in right-hand-drive on a US production line. The vehicles sold in the 1960s and early 2000s were converted to right-hand-drive locally.
Nine out of 10 orders are for the V8 rather than the four-cylinder model. The new Mustang is yet to be formally approved for police pursuit work but it is one of the limited options available to emergency services once the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore go out of production in the next two years. Meanwhile, Holden fans holding out for a right-hand-drive version of the Chevrolet Camaro will not be as lucky as their Ford rivals, having to wait at least another five years for the Mustang’s arch rival to be sold locally. However, the company has promised 24 other new imported models between now and 2020, once the Elizabeth production line closes in late 2017.
WHEN THE CAR DOES THE DRIVING, EVERYONE INSIDE IS JUST ANOTHER PASSENGER. Volvo unveiled its Concept 26 interior at the Los Angeles Auto Show with that thought in mind, demonstrating how future drivers can operate the vehicle, work or just relax when they’re behind the wheel of a vehicle they aren’t even steering. According to the company’s Anders Tylman-Mikiewicz: “Volvo Concept 26 address the notion that driving can still be fun and liberating on the right day and on the right road, but that some parts of driving, notably the daily commute in many metro areas is stressful, frustrating and even broken.”
The cockpit strives to create three very different spaces: the drive space, the create space, which transforms the driver’s position into a digital desktop and the relax space that allows the seat to recline and the person to relax. Included in the interior are a foldable desktop type table, a 25-inch monitor that flips up on the passenger side of the car and a centre console touch screen that controls everything. Volvo estimates that people lose as much as 26 minutes per commute and believes that time could be better used. The key to the system, Volvo say, is the patented seat design that easily adjusts to the different modes and is the first autonomous concept interior placed on a workable platform.
Volvo has been big proponent of autonomous driving and the interior suggests the Swedish brand will continue to lead the autonomous vehicle bandwagon with the company planning to have 100 autonomous vehicles on Swedish roads in two years. Source: CarHoots