“We have football, meat pies, kangaroos and imported cars…Shell backs Virgin Australia Supercars series…’Cousin of Tesla’ crowdsourcing for the big end of town…

“We have German-born, Korean-made, Aussie tuned, blow-in cars”…Doesn’t sound right! But then it’s not. Believe it, or not, Holden is promoting the ‘next generation’ Astra as being born in Germany, manufactured in Korea with design and engineering ‘input’ from Australia…ha! ha! What’s that joke about a camel being a horse designed by a committee? Not really. It’s more about the fact that nothing about the vehicle has much to do with down under other than a burn around the old Lang Lang proving ground in Melbourne.

According to LL engineer Rob Trubiani, his team has subjected the Astra to some really intense tuning and testing. Rating a tune up as ‘design and engineering’ input is a bit of a stretch, but then all that land banking at Lang Lang needs a bit of work out now and again before the high rise apartments start appearing on the horizon.

Still it’s not Holden’s fault that we no longer manufacture cars in this country that honour goes to a dopey Liberal government and its even dopier sidekick the Productivity Commission. But that’s all water under the bridge and back at Lang Lang the team has been doing its best to sound relevant.

“We’ve focussed on making the car feel comfortable whilst being great to drive and managed to accumulate over 20,000km in the process, which wasn’t just on good roads, it was on gravel, rail roads and rough country back roads too,” said Rob. “With so much global talent and local tuning going into one special vehicle, having a clear modus operandi was critical and the for Astra sedan, that was efficient fundamentals.”

Efficient Fundamentals – what the hell is that? Quite a lot, apparently. And as we’ve just stuck it into the meat pies, kangaroos and you know what company, we’ll at least we should let it tell you all about Efficient Fundamentals in its very own, unedited autospeak.

Well, for Astra sedan it starts from the ground up thanks to a clean sheet design and a new architecture which has resulted in up to 120kg of weight saving as well as much improved aerodynamic performance with a drag rating of just 0.295 CD – believe us, that’s impressive!

There’s also the same punchy 1.4-litre turbocharged engine found in Astra hatch, which promises enough get up and go to keep life interesting with 110kW and up to 245Nm of torque. Whilst the global vehicle is a winner, Trubiani and Holden’s Engineering team saw even more potential for it to tackle tough and varied Australian conditions. Following months of work at Holden’s top-secret proving ground in heavily camouflaged cars, Astra sedan is ready to hit the open road.

So there! And, before you fall asleep, how about this for a reminder of that Holden golden era?

Shell backs Virgin Australia Supercars series.

With the automotive industry pulling up stakes and going overseas, it comes as no surprise that the fuel refining industry has done the same. It’s hard to believe that Australia has no refining capacity whatsoever? Be that as it may both, the OEMs and the fuel industry still support local racing with Shell Fuels the latest company to get behind the Virgin Australia Supercars series.

Speaking in Adelaide at Clipsal 500, Supercars James Warburton paid the usual tributes saying how thrilled he was about Shell Fuels’ support. “Our race teams and our fans want the best for their vehicles and Shell strives to achieve this investing $1.5b annually in research and development to advance fuel products. The engine technology powering Supercars continues to evolve and Shell’s high performance fuels are a great match for these high performance vehicles.”

And according to Shell’s Scott Wyatt, the company has a longstanding and successful association with motorsport. “Supercars lie at the heart of Australia’s love of motorsport so it’s exciting that we are extending our support in such a big way.” Shell looks forward to sharing its technical expertise with Supercars and is committed to continuing a shared focus on innovation and performance.”

The sponsorship comes hot on the heels of the launch of the Shell V-Power Racing Team in partnership with DJR Team Penske, which sees Shell V-Power branding on both the No. 12 and No. 17 Ford Falcon XR8s. Shell V-Power also launched yesterday a new fan zone featuring virtual reality (VR) technology.

“The Shell V-Power Pit Stop is the first of its kind in Australia and includes simulated pit stop experience that lets race fans can see if they have what it takes to get a Supercar out on the track in record time,” said Scott.

 Scott Wyatt, James Warburton and Shell V-Power Racing Team drivers, Fabian Coulthard and Scott McLaughlin


‘Cousin of Tesla’ crowdsourcing for the big end of town

Whilst on the subject of investment, or lack of in Australia’s case, in the auto industry, how about digging out a couple of hundred bucks from under the bed and getting a very small slice of what is described, somewhat misleadingly, as the ‘Cousin of Tesla’. Yes, it’s another of those crowdfunding things and this time it’s the Tomahawk, described as the world’s first 2+2 electric sports car that’s got the begging bowl out.

California-dreaming company Dubuc Motors is the operation behind the exotic sports car and the long and short of it is that it is exclusively designed to please the big end of town (up to 6’5”) and has a 600ks range.

“People have embraced the idea that is the Tomahawk, although an exotic sports car can be as practical as a sedan,” said Mike Kakogiannakis, co-founder of Dubuc Motors. “We have been pleased with the response from the crowd. It’s exciting to see a community of game changers and trend setters jump on board as shareholders of our company early on.”

Additional features such as rear seats and trunk space add utility, making the Tomahawk an everyday luxury sports car and is is now available for reservation with a $US5000 deposit on the company’s website, first deliveries are expected in 2018. Investors in the United States and internationally can invest as little as $200. Details on the website.

The company is no stranger to self-funding with the founders putting up the cash to carry out 13 years of research and development into creating luxury vehicles that merge automotive power and technology with sustainability.

Mike says that the company is focused on providing electric vehicles within niche markets. “The Tomahawk features top quality performance, going 0-100k/ph in three seconds while offering a luxury sports vehicle experience that is sleek yet spacious, and Mother Nature-approved. The company will be a low volume manufacturer, with an expected production of up to 1500 units per year.”


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