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.  

2014 PORSCHE 918 HYBRID SPYDER…A SAUDI’S WORST NIGHTMARE!

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

Meet the 2014 Porsche 918 Hybrid Spyder, a mid-engined super/hyper/hybrid car designed by Michael Mauer.  While still in it’s final stages of R & D and slated for production in September 2013, the Porsche 918 Spyder is powered by a V8 engine that currently produces 562hp and tuned to rev to 9200rpm.  The 918 Spyder was developed from the RS Spyder Le Mans Prototype racing car, making this hybrid one beastly ride.

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

Remember this is a hybrid so Porsche couldn’t simply stop at the already impressive stats produced by their V8, they decided to really push the envelope and supplement the 562hp V8 with a pair of synchronous electric motors – one producing 107hp for the front wheels and the other producing 121hp for the rear wheels churning out a combined 759hp and 568 ft-lb torque.

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

Wrap a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic monocoque around those impressive engines, add in a 7-speed gearbox and Porsche’s very own own double clutch system (PDK) and shazaam…you get a spacecraft capable of 0-100 km/h in 3 seconds with a top speed of 320 km/h(200mph) and a staggering 78mpg.  That’s correct, 78mpg, officially making this car a Saudi’s worst nightmare!  In addition to the plug-in recharge, the batteries are also charged by regenerative braking.  The 918 Spyder offers five different driving modes allowing the vehicle to utilize different combinations of electric and gas engines depending on the driver’s desires.

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

Not only is the Porsche 918 a technological marvel it’s also a pleasure to look at.  I never thought the famed Carrera GT could ever be made to look old, however the new 918’s wonderfully shaped design definitely dates the Carrera GT.  Let’s be honest, Porsche hasn’t been producing the most attractive cars on the planet but I would have to say they’re certainly on the right track with this one.  Its curvaceous lines are perfectly proportioned giving the 918 a very aggressive and exotic stance.

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

One of my favorite design features about the Porsche 918 Spyder is where they decided to place the exhaust system.  For us car fanatics there is no better area to place a great sounding exhaust than directly behind your head.  Yup, two massive exhaust pipes jetting upward out of the engine bay emit beautifully sounding exhaust fumes straight up into the air.  This instantly reminded me of the old Le Mans and Can AM cars ripping down the straightaway with their massive engines spewing exhaust fumes infused with the sweet smell of race fuel.  Porsche didn’t design the exhaust system purely for nostalgic reasons; they were placed there to address a heating problem with the battery cells that are placed behind the cockpit.

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

Porsche really hit their mark with the 918 Spyder combining cutting edge technologies with nostalgic and intimidating lines and unbelievable performance stats which is really setting the stage for a new era of super/hyper/hybrid cars to come.  With all the money you save on fuel, it more than justifies the rumored $850K +/- price tag for one of these hybrids.

CHECK OUT VIDEO OF THE 918 IN ACTION BELOW:

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THINGS GET HEATED UP AT THE TARGA TROPHY RALLY IN HOLLYWOOD, CA

With all the automotive events going on lately it’s getting difficult to keep track, however I was lucky enough to catch up with what is quickly becoming a premier automotive lifestyle event, the Targa Trophy Rally.

The rally began at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, which took over the entire parking lot leaving the valet and hotel guests dumbfounded.  A massive DJ tent claimed its territory directly behind the valet stand and proceeded to play loud dance music all day long.  One of the main sponsors of the rally, Luxury4play.com, brought their Bugatti Veyron and Maybach out to play with the other impressive arsenal of exotic sports cars participating in the rally.

As the 100 or so teams reported to the check-in, the drivers and their navigators placed stickers on their cars and chatted with other teams.  Entries included Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s, Porsches, Audi’s Viper’s, and BMW’s to name a few.

Many participants sported their finest costumes which included a Mouse helmet girl, Spiderman, Ironman, and a guy wearing daisy-dukes with a wig (really wish I didn’t see that).  As noon approached all teams were summoned to the DJ tent for a quick “drivers meeting”, in which event founder Jason Overell, forewarned the driver’s of the treacherous course and driving conditions that lay before them.

                     

At high noon the rally began and cars lined up to clock-in and receive the coveted top secret course information.  The instructions revealed the check points, and what to do while there.  A strategic point system took both driver and navigator through a 3 ½ hour course and required proof of check-in by obtaining a receipt or picture.  The adrenaline pumping rally took supreme driving machines through some of LA’s most beautiful canyons and back roads with sharp switch-backs and deadly drop-offs.  Temperatures soared to above 110 degrees which caused some tempers to flare and mechanical break downs along the way.

The rally concluded back at the Roosevelt Hotel where Targa Trophy revealed the winner of the event.  In true road rally fashion, the partying continued throughout the night at Hemingway’s and later at the Roxbury, both in Hollywood.

This was a great event but don’t kick yourself if you missed out on all the action.  I was told by Targa Trophy they are planning a 3 day event sometime in November so stay tuned for more information.  Rubber & Fumes will be there covering all the motoring goodness.

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ASTON MARTIN RAPIDE…BY-GEORGE I THINK THEY’VE DONE IT!

It’s pretty obvious to most that there is a battle being waged by high-end car companies to design the best 4-door sport sedan/hatchback.  Many car companies have made some sad attempts of coming out with their version of the of the sedan hatchback i.e BMW GT, however one of the best looking sedans to have come along is the Aston Martin Rapide.  The Aston Martin design team did an amazing job of designing a 4 door while still maintaining the sexy lines of say their DB9 Coupe.  The Rapide is actually a hatchback although you wouldn’t really know simply by glancing at it.

The Rapide also has some very unique and noteworthy design features such as the individual rear buckets seats with personal climate controls.  Although it seems a little claustrophobic at first glance, there is actually a lot of room and great views from every angle.  It definitely eliminates the need to call out “Shotgun” when going for a ride in this car.

Other design features include a hatchback tailgate, power folding seats and movable bulkhead which afford the Rapide probably the highest degree of practicality ever offered by an Aston Martin.

The Rapide is powered by a massive 5.9 liter V12 which produces 470 hp @ 6000 rpm and 443 lb-ft torque @ 5000 rpm.  It goes 0-60 in 5.1 seconds and claims a top speed of 188 mph.

Although I think the Rapide is as close to perfection as one can get for a sedan, I really would have liked to of seen some more horse power.   I almost wonder if they would have been better off with well-tuned V8 vs. their V12.  Ferrari and Lamborghini aside, V12’s are very heavy, and never seem produce the amount of horse power you would expect from that size of engine.  This would have at least lowered the Rapide’s MSRP of $207K +/-.  With all that aside, the Aston Martin Rapide still makes it into my dream garage!

vrooom!

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