LaFerrari….Not a Yawning Matter!

LaFerrari

LaFerrari

When my cousin called me from Jordan to tell me about the unveiling of Ferrari’s Supercar at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show, I thought there was a mistake as he kept calling it LaFerrari. Chalking the misunderstanding up to a bad long-distance connection and his Arab accent, I just Google’d “New Ferrari Supercar” and sure-nuff my cousin did pronounce it right, they named it LaFerrari.  Was it named out of a yawn or a blatant disregard to names as a whole, this puzzled me.

LaFerrari

LaFerrari

Assuming Ferrari would follow proper nomenclature protocol and name their new creation the F70, the LaFerrari was just beginning to unveil the first of many surprises.

LaFerrari

LaFerrari

Aside from the supercars obvious striking beauty and gorgeous stance, the technological advancement of this machine is most impressive.  Utilizing Ferrari’s KERS technology straight from the F1 circuit, LaFerrari’s HY-KERS adds an additional 161hp to the already overwhelming 789hp being produce by its 6.3L V12 internal combustion power plant totaling 952hp.  Much like a turbo charger, the KERS adds power directly to the combustions engines output making this drastically different than a simple hybrid system.

Ferrari LaFerrari

Ferrari LaFerrari

Ferrari LaFerrari

Ferrari LaFerrari

As you begin to peel off the layers of this sexy Italian goddess, her beauty becomes more apparent.  Four types of carbon fiber are used for the chassis bringing her curb weight to 3450lbs.  Considering the LaFerrari houses a massive V12, the weight of this supercar is quite remarkable.  The interior of the car has design input from Ferrari F1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa to further heighten the driving experience (as if that was necessary).

Armed with Ferrari’s 7 speed twin-clutch gearbox the LaFerrari is rumored to have a top speed of over 220mph and a 0-62 in just under 3 seconds. 

Ferrari LaFerrari Active Aero Dynamics

Ferrari LaFerrari Active Aero Dynamics

Assisting the Brembo carbon-ceramics in the monumental task of slowing down this supercar are the active aerodynamics and diffuser that act as air brakes.

Not only is this the fastest road going car Ferrari has ever built, it’s also an important sign of things to come.  Being the first car designed and built in-house without the help of designer Pininfarina, the LaFerrari brings to an end a relationship that began over 62 years ago in 1951.  While Ferrari has stated they have no plans in ending their business relationship with Pininfarina this does mark a change.  By Ferrari’s embracing of hybrid technology much like Porsche did with their 918 Hybrid and Mclaren with their P1 Hypercar, it reinforces the belief this is the direction of all sports cars to come.

Ferrari LaFerrari

Ferrari LaFerrari

I am not quite sure how or why Ferrari named their amazing new supercar LaFerrari but one thing is for sure, there is nothing to yawn at after learning about this supercar.  You quickly forget about the name and it’s $1.2M price tag and just appreciate the car for its importance for Ferrari.  I am proud of Ferrari’s initiative but next time maybe they could get a little help with naming their new models.  

KOENIGSEGG AGERA & AGERA R…WORTH EVERY PENNY!

My views of Swedish cars usually don’t include hypercars or even sports car for that matter.  I usually envision a happy nuclear family safely motoring down the road on their way to apple picking.  There is a car company however that may very well change my opinion.

Koeniggsegg Agera

Koeniggsegg Agera

Koeniggsegg has been around for a while, since first coming on to the scene in 1994 with their CCX model.  I’ve seen the car from time-to-time, showing up in random B-list movies and rap videos, although I never really took an interest in learning more about it.  I thought it was one of those boutique car companies that would soon fizzle away after the rich owner got bored and moved on to the next thing to check off his bucket list.

Koenigsegg Agera

Koenigsegg Agera

Well 17 years later founder Christan von Koeniggsegg is still as passionate as ever dreaming up the impossible and making it a reality.  His latest creations, the Agera and Agera R (2012), are nothing short of technical masterpieces.  While I could literally write novels about the cars’ technical feats I thought I’d touch upon some of the more distinctive characteristics that make the Agera so special.

Koenigsegg Agera R -1100 BHP

Koenigsegg Agera R -1100 bhp

The name Agera means, “to take action” in Swedish and also comes from the Greek word Ageratos or “ageless”.  Deemed as impossible or too expensive, Koeniggseg is among the very few, if any, boutique car companies that actually develop and produce their own engine in-house.  The 5.0-liter V8 twin turbo engine is considered the lightest and most compact hypercar engine in the world producing 940 bhp and 1100 bhp for their ‘R’ model.  This is quite an accomplishment considering the cars fuel consumption is 16 mpg and has emissions of 310g/C02.  What really impressed me was the specially designed carbon-fiber monocoque chassis that embodies a built-in 21-gallon fuel tank as to evenly distribute the weight of the fuel throughout the car.  The chassis design is not only physically brilliant it proved to be extremely safe thus allowing it to pass the U.S. crash test on the first try.  While I have only found unofficial 0-60 mph times (3.0 and 2.7 for the ‘R’) I did manage to find an official 0-200 mph time; 17.68 seconds! We are living in mad times when car companies no longer provide 0-60 mph times but rather 0-200 mph.  I love it!

Koenigsegg Agera R -1100 BHP

Koenigsegg Agera R -1100 bhp

Aside from the impressive technical attributes the Agera represents, I find this car to be strikingly sexy and aesthetically pleasing.  Scissor doors, removable roof, turbine wheels, ghost-lite dash the list goes on and on! I have often dreamt of starting my own sports car company and too be honest I don’t feel the need to do so knowing the Koeniggsegg Agera is out there.  It’s pretty much exactly the way I would want my car to look, sound and perform!  This car is very special and while I have no idea what the price tag is, I can already say it’s worth every penny.

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LAMBORGHINI SESTO ELEMENTO…NERDS RULE!

The word nerd and Lamborghini never worked very well in the same sentence together however, the sensational Italian automaker has become quite the whiz kid in recent years.  With some help from their friends at Boeing Aerospace Lamborghini is quickly being considered an authority figure on carbon-fiber hyper-machines.  So savvy indeed I felt quite intelligent just by reading up on the Sesto Elemento.  The name alone suggests a degree of scientific pedigree as it means “Sixth Element” in Italian or moreover the Sixth Element on the Periodic Table aka Carbon.

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

Debuted for the first time at the 2010 Paris Auto Show, the Sesto Elemento was introduced to the world as a technological demonstration piece by Lamborghini, a little flex of their muscle if you will.  Well that little flex raised a lot of eyebrows and generated quite a buzz.  With the excellent feedback and numerous requests received about the Sesto Elemento, Lamborghini had been convinced to embark on the challenge of producing a vehicle with the unique characteristics demonstrated at the Paris Auto Show.  One year later voila’, you have a very limited (20 units), track-only, extreme masterpiece of lightweight engineering that delivers unparalleled performance.

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

How unparalleled you ask?  The 5.2-liter V10 borrowed from the Gallardo produces 570 hp but that’s not what raises your heart rate.  The Sesto Elemento weighs in at 2202 lbs enabling this car to rocket from 0-62 mph in a ridiculous 2.5 seconds and has a top speed of 186 mph.  While its all-wheel-drive system and 6-speed paddle shift, semi-automatic transmission certainly aid the car in achieving those staggering numbers, it’s the cars impressive horsepower-to-weight ratio (.26hp/lbs) that plays the major role.

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

The Sesto Elemento’s lightweight is due largely to the chassis, body, driveshaft, and suspension components all being made of carbon-fiber.  Aside from being the lightest car Lamborghini has ever produced, it also embodies some very unique design features.  The sharp and stealthy lines resemble a snap shot of speed and velocity captured in one frame.  As you peer towards the back there lays 10 hexagonal holes in the engine cover placed there strictly to release perspired air from the engine bay.  That’s right people the car actually sweats!  Two hexagonal intakes provide the Sesto Elemento with enough air to help cool down the hard working Italian.  All 20 of these bad boys have already been spoken for and pricing rumors are all over the map ranging from $1.4M to as much as $2.6M.  It’s safe to say however, if you have to ask you probably can’t afford it.

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

Among the numerous attributes and accomplishments Lamborghini has accomplished over the years, I would have to say that most notably is their latest, making it so cool be a nerd.

Also be sure to check out my Bugatti Veyron Super Sport post as it weights twice as much as the Sesto Elemento and has the same 0-62 time.

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2012 NISSAN GT-R PREMIUM…STOCKING STUFFER?

Autumn is upon us and what better time to start fantasizing about what car you would like under that Xmas tree with a big red bow on it than right now.  This way your significant other or Santa (if you still believe) will have plenty of time to seek out the right color combo and have it gift wrapped for you just like in those Lexus commercials!

2012-Nissan-GT-R

2012-Nissan-GT-R

The car that I most envision getting for Xmas this year is the 2012 Nissan GT-R Premium.  Why that car you ask?  Well I will tell you why; because it has either beaten or has seriously come close to beating just about every Sports Car and Super Car on the planet, it’s been ravely reviewed by every respectable car magazine possible, and it almost broke Jeremy Clarkson’s neck when he test drove it on Top Gear.  It’s priced so realistically that even the brokest among us can dream about owning this car someday, it won “The World’s Greatest Drag Race” hosted by Motor Trend (video below), it was pitted up next to a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport in Road & Track…I mean how many cars can even qualify to do that; a V6 vs. V16, really?  It looks cool, it sounds cool, heck it even smells cool, the car is just damn cool.

2012-Nissan-GT-R

2012-Nissan-GT-R

2012-Nissan-GT-R

2012-Nissan-GT-R

If that’s not enough the boys at Nissan felt they could represent the GT-R nameplate just a little better.  That being said, improvements on the 2012 begin with an increase in turbo boost complimenting a larger intake and exhaust system along with revised valve timing and air/fuel ratio.  These tweaks and upgrades earned the 2012 GT-R Premium an additional 45 bhp totaling 530 bhp and 448 lb.-ft., up from 434 lb.-ft.  Oh one last thing…it goes 0-60 in 2.94 seconds.

Uhmmmmm, let me put that into some perspective for you; it only takes the GT-R .42 seconds longer to go 0-60 mph than the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport and costs the same amount it would be to maintain the Super Sport for one year.  By the time you scroll down to the video in this post, the GT-R would have already launched itself to over 60 mph.  The 2012 Nissan GT-R is definitely going on my Xmas list this year, I really hope Santa has an enclosed trailer!

2012-Nissan-GT-R

2012-Nissan-GT-R

Check out the GT-R Perform Admirably in “The World’s Greatest Drag Race” hosted by Motor Trend Below!

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MY PILGRIMAGE TO FERRARI….NOW MY LIFE IS COMPLETE!

Ferrari Factory in Maranello Italy

Ferrari Factory in Maranello Italy

Ferrari Enzo resting in the Ferrari Museum in Maranello Italy
Ferrari Enzo resting in the Ferrari Museum in Maranello Italy

In every car guys life there is a least one ultimate goal, a lifelong dream, a pilgrimage if you will.  No I’m not talking about a religious act or even a family tradition, I am talking about the few things you put on your bucket list before dying.  For some it’s going to the Indy 500 or to drive a race car, for others it’s simply to meet someone like Carroll Shelby.  For me it was visiting the Ferrari Factory!

Ferrari Formula 1 Cars at The Ferrari Museum in Maranello

Ferrari Formula 1 Cars at The Ferrari Museum in Maranello

Ever since I was lucky enough to have gotten a job at International Auto restoring vintage Ferrari’s as a teenager, I have had the urge to make a pilgrimage to the Ferrari Factory.  I would hear stories about how the wealthy doctors I worked for would get flown to the factory by Ferrari to view their new models.  It sounded so cool I immediately made visiting the factory one of my top goals.  Fast forward 20 years later and I finally did it!

Standing in front of Ferrari Museum in Maranello

Standing in front of Ferrari Museum in Maranello

Let me first say it wasn’t the easiest to find.  We flew into Milan and made our way towards Modena after staying a few nights in Venice.  I went cheap and declined Hertz’s $300 up-charge for GPS and decided to use a map purely out of spite (not the best idea).  After driving aimlessly for 4+ hours I knew I was getting close as signs for Maranello began to appear.  Soon thereafter I glanced to my right and behind the trees and bushes on the side of the road looked like what appeared to be a race track.  I thought to myself could it be? Yes it was! The Ferrari test track.  As I continued down the road another few minutes, and as the trees cleared away, there it was, just like I imagined, Ferrari heaven!

Formula 1 Cars in Ferrari Museum

Formula 1 Cars in Ferrari Museum

I turned off the main street and pulled in to a large parking lot which was surrounded by the Ferrari Museum, multiple Ferrari stores, cafes and most importantly Ferrari rentals.  I was immediately overwhelmed and couldn’t speak as everything became silent; my wife was snapping her fingers in front of my face to see if I was still conscious.  A nice Italian boy walked up to me and asked if I wanted to rent a Ferrari and I just starred at him.  Ferrari’s were driving past me from the left and from the right. It was so much sensory overload , I really almost shut down.  Finally my wife grabbed me with both arms and pulled me towards the museum as I was unable to make any decisions.

Ferrari Engines Inside Ferrari Museum at Maranello

Ferrari Engines Inside Ferrari Museum at Maranello

We paid the 13 Euro entry fee and walked around in awe at the display of race cars, models, trophy’s etc…  I took a ton of pictures and will have a post specifically on the museum soon after this post.  Upon leaving the museum I ran into that kid that asked me if I wanted to rent a Ferrari earlier that day.  Without hesitation I said yes.  Fifteen minutes and 85 Euro later I was in a Ferrari California Spider with Francesco and my wife flying down the back roads of Maranello; more on this to come as well.

Ferrari California Spider Test Drive in Maranello

Ferrari California Spider Test Drive in Maranello

I had 2 more stops before leaving this magical place; the actual factory and the test track.  While both of these are off limits to common folk, you could still drive to it, pay homage and snap off a few pictures, both of which I did.

Pista di Fiorano aka Ferrari Test Track

Pista di Fiorano aka Ferrari Test Track

More to come on actually going through the Ferrari Museum and my test drive of the Ferrari California.

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