The new 911 Turbo and Turbo S

Scheduled to make their world debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, USA, in January 2016, the top models of the 911 model range – the 911 Turbo and 911 Turbo S – now boast 20 hp (15 kW) more power, sharper design and even broader everyday usability.

Available in both Coupe and Convertible versions, the twin-turbocharged, 3.8-litre flat-six engine in the 911 Turbo now has an output of 540 hp (397 kW). This power gain was achieved by modified inlet ports in the cylinder head, new injection nozzles and higher fuel pressure. The 911 Turbo S now develops 580 hp (427 kW) courtesy of new turbochargers with larger compressors. Porsche is still the only manufacturer to utilise turbochargers with variable turbine geometry in petrol engines.

The engines now also have what is known as a ‘dynamic boost function’ to further raise engine responsiveness in dynamic operation. It maintains the charge pressure during load changes – i.e. when the accelerator pedal is released briefly. This is achieved by just interrupting the fuel injection, whereas the throttle valve remains open. As a result, the engine reacts with practically no delay to a subsequent press of the accelerator pedal. The effects of this function are more pronounced in the Sport and Sport Plus modes than in Normal mode.

Overall, the new high-performance sports cars attain breathtaking driving performance, while fuel consumption is reduced even further. The 911 Turbo S Coupé sprints to 62 mph in 2.9 seconds. Its top speed of 205 mph is eight mph higher than before. The 911 Turbo reaches the 62 mph mark in 3.0 seconds, and its top speed is 198 mph – three mph faster than the previous model. Nevertheless, the coupes only consume 31 mpg (9.1 l/100 km), and the convertibles 30.4 mpg (9.3 l/100 km). This represents a gain of approximately two miles per gallon for all versions. This has been delivered via further advances in electronic engine and transmission management with revised gear change mappings.

A standard feature for both derivatives: Sport Chrono Package with Mode Switch and Sport Response button

A familiar option on the next generation 911 Carrera models, the new 911 Turbo and Turbo S feature as standard the new GT sport steering wheel – 360 mm in diameter and with a design adopted from the 918 Spyder. It features what is known as a ‘Mode Switch’, a rotary ring with stepped positions that is used to select one of the four modes Normal, Sport, Sport Plus or Individual. The Individual setting lets the driver configure and store a very individual vehicle setup. Another new feature of the Sport Chrono Package is the Sport Response button at the centre of the mode switch. Inspired by motor sport, at the push of a button it pre-conditions the engine and transmission for optimum responsiveness. In this state, the vehicle can produce instantaneous acceleration for up to 20 seconds, such as during an overtaking manoeuvre. An indicator in the instrument cluster in the form of a running timer shows the driver the elapsed time. Sport Response functionality can be called up as often as desired, and from any of the driving modes.

Porsche Stability Management (PSM) in the 911 Turbo models now has a new PSM Sport Mode. A brief press of the PSM button on the centre console puts the system in a very sporting configuration – which is independent of the prevailing driving programme selected. The separately switched PSM Sport mode alters the PSM intervention threshold much more than was the case in the Sport Plus mode of the previous model. The new mode makes it possible to approach performance limits even more closely – such as when on a race track. In this mode, the PSM warning lamp lights up, and a message in the instrument cluster indicates that the PSM system’s contribution towards driving stability is limited. However, PSM still remains active in background, even in the PSM Sport mode. A long press of the PSM button, though, completely deactivates PSM, as usual.

911 Turbo S has full set of driving dynamic features

The chassis of the new 911 Turbo models with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) as standard offers an even greater spread between performance and comfort. In addition, the 911 Turbo S offers a full complement of equipment for dynamic driving: Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) roll compensation is standard as is the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) system.

New options for all 911 Turbo models include the radar-based lane change assist and a lift system for the front axle that can be used to increase ground clearance by 40 mm at the front spoiler lip at low speeds.

Sharpened design with new characteristics

Naturally, the new generation 911 Turbo models adopt significant characteristics of the striking design of the latest Carrera models, supplemented by typical 911 Turbo special features. The newly-formed nose with side-mounted airblades and precisely laid out narrow LED front lights with double fillets give the front end a wider look, further complemented by the additional fin in the central air intake.

In profile, the high-performance sports car boasts new design 20-inch diameter wheels. On the 911 Turbo S, for instance, the centre lock wheels now feature seven instead of ten double spokes. Also new are the wheel dimensions for the 911 Turbo: with 9J x 20 rims at the front and 11.5J x 20 rims at the rear, the new wheels are each half an inch wider than previously. They are now the same size as the wheels of the 911 Turbo S. The new door handles are also now a smoother, cleaner design – just like on the Carrera models. The rear body styling was also thoroughly revised. Eye-catching at first glance are the three-dimensional style rear lights with four-point brake lights and ‘aura-style’ illumination, familiar from the 911 Carrera series.

The exit openings for the exhaust system at the rear as well as the dual tailpipes were also redesigned. The grille of the rear engine lid was also redesigned, and it now features three parts: the right and left sections have longitudinal louvres, and in the middle there is a separate cover for optimised air induction for the engine.

New Porsche Communication Management with online navigation

As with all 911 models, the newly-developed infotainment system, Porsche Communication Management (PCM) incorporating online navigation, is a feature of the cockpits of the 911 Turbo models. This system features a multi-touch monitor with high-quality glass surface, which is perfectly integrated into the centre console, and it offers numerous new and extended connectivity functions thanks to the standard Connect Plus module. Navigation can also access the latest traffic information in real time. Routes and places can be visualised with 360-degree images and satellite images. In addition, the system can now process handwritten inputs. Moreover, mobile phones and smartphones can now be integrated more quickly, easily and comprehensively than before via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or cable. Selected vehicle functions can now be controlled remotely as well.

In addition, as in the previous Turbo models, the upgraded Bose audio system is fitted as standard; although a Burmester installation can be delivered as an option.

Next Bugatti named after Louis Chiron

 The next Bugatti is to be called Chiron. It will be named after Louis Chiron, a legendary racing driver who won virtually all the major grands prix for the brand in the 1920s and 1930s. His name is more closely connected with the history of Bugatti than any other racing driver. The world premiere of the new super sports car from Molsheim in France is planned for the 86th Geneva Motor Show in 2016. With the Chiron, Bugatti will continue to produce the world’s most powerful, fastest, most luxurious and most exclusive production super sports car. The Bugatti Chiron is currently being shown to selected customers and the feedback is outstanding; more than 100 orders have already been received.

“The development brief for the Chiron can be summarised in one sentence and is probably the shortest in the history of the automobile: we want to make the best significantly better,” says Wolfgang Dürheimer, President of Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. “The Chiron will set new standards in every respect. We will continue to produce the world’s most powerful, fastest, most luxurious and most exclusive production super sports car. This is the claim of Bugatti and our customers.”

“In Louis Chiron, we found a worthy patron for a new model in the history of our brand,” Dürheimer continues. “The name of the best racing driver and the most successful Bugatti driver of his time for the best super sports car of the present day – that is the ideal combination.”

Currently, the Chiron is undergoing final testing. A number of prototypes are on the road in several continents for the fine tuning of the vehicle – right down to the last detail under a variety of road and climate conditions. No other production super sports car of this calibre will be subjected to such a stringent, comprehensive test programme.

At the same time, pre-marketing of the Chiron is now underway. Bugatti has invited selected customers in the brand’s key markets to private previews. “The feedback from our customers concerning the Chiron is outstanding,” says the Bugatti President. “Our order book is steadily filling up. More than 100 customers have already ordered the Chiron despite the fact that they have had no opportunity so far to experience the fantastic driving properties of the Chiron.“

Lydie Barre-Chiron, descendant and biographer of Louis Chiron, recently visited the Bugatti’s headquarters in Molsheim to inspect the vehicle that will bear the name of her famous forebear. “The Chiron is a modern super sports car that is instantly recognisable as a Bugatti,” says Lydie Barre-Chiron. “It looks fantastic, just magnificent. The design already indicates that this car will be very powerful and very fast. If Louis Chiron were alive today, I’m sure he would be proud that such an extraordinary sports car is to bear his name and is to represent the brand with which he achieved his greatest successes.”

Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Calendar Announced

The 2016 calendars of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Europe, Asia and North America will feature six double rounds on 17 of the most iconic circuits throughout the world, including circuit debuts and two street races.

After the seventh successful season of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Europe, which  featured the debut of the new Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2 Super Trofeo, the series will continue alongside the Blancpain Endurance Series, the most demanding championship for GT racing in Europe.

The Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo will kick off in Monza (Italy) over the 23/24 April weekend, followed by Silverstone (GBR) on the weekend of 14/15 May. One month later the series will race on France’s Paul Ricard circuit (24/25 June) and, at the end of July, it will be the turn of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) during the prestigious 24hrs weekend. After the summer break, on the 17/18 September weekend, the series moves to the Nürburgring (DEU).

The fifth season of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Asia will start in Sepang (MAL) in April. The calendar will then feature rounds in Shanghai (CHI) in May and make its series debut at a new circuit, Suzuka  in June. Another intriguing round will be at the Thai circuit of Buriram in July. In the same month, for the second year in a row, the city of Sepang will host a street race. The sixth and final Asian round will be in Fuji (JAP) .

The first round of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America will be in Laguna Seca at the end of April (29 April – 1 May). The round in Watkins Glen will follow in June, as will the series debut in Road Atlanta. After the successful Asian street race, the North American series will also feature its first street race in Boston city center over the first weekend of September. The fifth round will take place in COTA in Texas (14/16 September).

The sixth round for both the European and North American series will be held in November in Valencia, coinciding with the fourth edition of the World Final open to protagonists of all three Series.

Kyle Busch wins first NASCAR Championship for Toyota

Camry driver Kyle Busch captured the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) driver’s championship – the first for Toyota since entering the series in 2007 – when he finished first in Sunday’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.   

Busch earned his first-career Sprint Cup Series title by one point over second-place driver Kevin Harvick in his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 M&M’s Crispy Camry by finishing highest among the championship contenders in the final round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. The 30-year-old Las Vegas native overcame multiple injuries sustained in the season-opening race weekend at Daytona International Speedway in February – which sidelined him for the first 11 NSCS races – and returned to racing in May to climb his way back into the Chase and ultimately capturing the 2015 championship.


“This is just so unbelievable, so amazing and means so much right here, right now and probably will for a long, long time to come,” said Busch from the championship stage. “The opportunity that the amount of people that have poured their life and soul into everything that Kyle Busch does and is about – from M&M’s to Toyota to Snickers and Twix and Skittles, Joe Gibbs (team owner) and his family and all of Joe Gibbs Racing, everyone that gave me such a fast race car here tonight to drive. It was so much fun. This is just a dream come true and my family, my wife, my son – to have him this year and to have everything we’ve gone through this year to be in this moment – I don’t know what else to say, but this is so special.”
In just 25 races this year, Busch won five races at Sonoma Raceway (June 28), Kentucky Speedway (July 11), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 19), Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 26) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 22). He also recorded 12 top-five results, 16 top-10 finishes and 735 laps led to capture the sport’s top honors.

Since becoming a Toyota driver in 2008, Busch has been an integral part of the manufacturer’s NASCAR success, having won more races than any other driver across the three NASCAR national series. Busch is responsible for 133 of Toyota’s 332 NASCAR triumphs, having collected the most wins in each series in a Camry or Tundra race vehicle with 30 NSCS, 65 NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) and 38 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) victories to his credit. He also claimed the inaugural NSCS Camry victory when he took the checkered flag at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March 2008.

The 2015 NSCS driver’s championship is the top prize by a Toyota driver in NASCAR since joining series competition in 2007. Other Toyota championships include one NXS driver’s title (Busch, 2009) and six NCWTS driver’s championships with Todd Bodine (2006 and 2010), Johnny Benson (2008), Matt Crafton (2013 and 2014) and this year’s champion Erik Jones (2015). Toyota drivers have also earned 11 NASCAR manufacturer’s trophies with three NXS (2008-2010) and eight NCWTS (2006-2010, 2013-2015).

“We are extremely proud of Kyle Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing on winning the Sprint Cup Series driver’s championship,” said Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A. “It’s an incredible accomplishment for Kyle, to overcome the adversity he faced this year and come back with the focus and determination he has had to win races, qualify for the Chase and then earn the ultimate prize, his first Sprint Cup Series championship.

“Winning this NASCAR championship has been a huge aspiration for Toyota since joining NASCAR in 2004. We are honored to finally be on this stage and join Kyle and Joe Gibbs for our first Sprint Cup Series title,” continued Laukes. “The consistency and hard work by our team partners and TRD team members has enabled Toyota to enjoy successes across multiple racing platforms and we are dedicated through unwavering support of all NASCAR series.”
Camry drivers won 14 events, 11 pole positions and led 2,596 laps in 2015, with Matt Kenseth (five), Carl Edwards (two) and Denny Hamlin (two) also visiting victory lane this season. For the first time, five Toyota drivers competed in this year’s NSCS Chase for the championship playoff with the four JGR drivers joining Michael Waltrip Racing’s Clint Bowyer in the 10-race runoff where Busch ascended to the series crown.
Toyota has earned a total of 79 victories since joining the NSCS in 2007.
NASCAR kicks off next year with the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 21 where the Camry will serve as pace car for the season-opening events at Daytona International Speedway.

Drag Racer for a Day

A few weeks ago I was invited out to Auto Club Speedway for a day of automotive adventure (you can watch my short vlog on that here). One of the highlights of the day was a visit to Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School to take part in their Dragster Adventure Course. This course is designed to allow you to personally get behind the wheel of a real dragster.

Now this is not one of those faux dragsters that is fixed to a rail and you just mash the gas, this is the real deal and allows you to go from the classroom to the drag strip in one day. Now, this is not a licensing program, but it will allow you to experience the thrill of going down the 1/4 mile strip with a 572ci engine just inches behind you.

572ci Chevy Motors propel the dragsters from 0-60 in under 3 seconds 
Now I've done some drag racing, but that was in street cars so dragster was intimidating. But after our class session and being shown all the controls, I was suited up and ready to head down the strip. The first run is a rest to make sure you can control the car, and you only go 1/8 of a mile. But if you follow all the instructions and keep it safe, you are cleared to go the 1/4 mile as fast as you are willing to push it.

The test run went smoothly so I made my way back around and lined up for my second run, on Auto Club Dragway. After warming up the tires I rolled out onto the pad and waited for the lights to go from red, to yellow, to green. I mashed the throttle and took the car the full 1/4 mile. It's hard to explain how exciting it is to have all that raw power launching you down the track, but it is an experience I will never forget. Climbing out of the tight cockpit, all I want to do is try it again, to go faster, to get a quicker time, but our time was over. In the end I was the fastest in our group, hitting just over 122 mph at 10 seconds (See the video below).

After sitting down and chatting with Frank I learned that they offer this program at all of their schools across the country, including tracks in Arizona, Ohio, Florida, Illinois, and of course California. If you try it and catch the drag racing bug, well Frank and his team can help you with that as well, since they offer a full competition licensing program and have trained about half the pro drag racers in the country.

The one day Dragster Adventure Course costs just $399 and of course you can always get gift certificate for the gearhead in your life.

For more information or to book your own adventure visit

2016 Honda Clarity

The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell sedan makes its North American debut at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show today as Honda announced additional details for its most advanced zero-emissions vehicle in the U.S. market. Serving as the next evolution of Honda's fuel cell technology, the Clarity Fuel Cell leverages two decades of advancement in Honda fuel cell technology, showcasing significant gains in packaging, interior space, efficiency and real-world performance. Additionally, Honda announced that the platform underpinning the Clarity Fuel Cell will also serve as the foundation for a next-generation Honda plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) that will launch nationwide by 2018, with more than triple the all-electric range of the Accord Plug-In Hybrid Sedan.

Honda will begin deliveries of the Clarity Fuel Cell to customers in late 2016 through select fuel cell dealers in select California markets starting in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento. Eventually, Honda will expand the scope of its marketing to additional California markets and other states, including the Northeast as hydrogen refueling networks expand. The Clarity Fuel Cell will be priced competitively with others in the segment and Honda expects its new generation of environmental vehicles, which includes the Clarity Fuel Cell, to serve as a new volume pillar for Honda.

"Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are a zero emissions technology that Honda believes in, and has worked to advance for more than 20 years," said John Mendel, executive vice president, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "Vehicles like the Clarity Fuel Cell are potential game changers because they offer an uncompromising, zero emissions customer experience, with utility, range and refueling times on par with today's gasoline-powered cars."

Customers interested in the Clarity Fuel Cell are encouraged to sign up at where they can receive more information and sign up for the opportunity to become a future Clarity Fuel Cell customer.

Honda Clarity Fuel Cell
Technological innovations to the Clarity Fuel Cell have created a fuel cell stack that is 33 percent more compact than its predecessor with a 60 percent increase in power density compared to the outgoing Honda FCX Clarity. The more compact fuel cell powertrain, comparable in size to a V-6 engine, fits entirely under the hood of the car, allowing for a spacious cabin with seating for five passengers. The new Honda Clarity Fuel Cell will feature a driving range estimated to exceed 300 miles, and an anticipated refueling time of approximately three minutes at a pressure of 70 MPa.

As the next progression in Honda's dynamic FCV styling, the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell features a low, wide aerodynamic body with clean character lines. The interior strives to achieve a refined and harmonious experience using rich materials and intuitive, streamlined controls. Additional features include the Honda Sensing™ suite of safety and driver assistive technologies, support for Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™, LED exterior lighting and 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels. The Clarity Fuel Cell will be available in black, white and signature red exterior paint schemes.

Honda sees hydrogen and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as one of the most promising pathways to address climate change by reducing CO2 emissions of transportation. Honda has announced a company-wide goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2050, and the Clarity Fuel Cell is a one of a series of bold steps towards achieving that goal