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Racing

Can Iannone’s MotoGP career be saved?

Having been handed an 18-month ban for testing positive for a banned anabolic steroid, Andrea Iannone’s MotoGP days look increasingly numbered. Although his Aprilia team are steadfastly backing him, Iannone will be out of contract soon. Can he save his MotoGP career?

In the 1970s, motorcycle racers were no strangers to drugs. But rather than using them – and you can bet a fair few partook – riders, generally privateers, would often find themselves smuggling drugs across continental Europe.

Riders would tour from race track to race track to make a bit of money, largely to keep their (legitimate) speed habit ticking over in the days when race organisers were just as corrupt and steadfastly neglected to cough up any meaningful start money.

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Auto News

Here's How You Can Drive A McLaren Elva Fast Without Destroying Your Face

Mclaren - Here's How You Can Drive A McLaren Elva Fast Without Destroying Your Face - Supercars and Hypercars

If you’re losing track of all the new open-top hypercars, we won’t blame you. The McLaren Elva is one of many windscreen-less Swiss bank balance liberators to emerge in the last year or so – joining the likes of the Ferrari SP1 and Aston Martin V12 Speedster – but it does have something of a USP hidden up its carbon fibre sleeves.

It’s an ‘Active Air Management System’ which ensures that the alfresco supercar experience doesn’t make it feel like your skin is being torn to shreds each time you venture over 30mph. McLaren has explained how it works in this new video.

Welcome to McLaren Tech Club, a series of short films you can enjoy in your own home. Join us weekly for a behind the scenes look at the incredible technology in our cars.

Tech Club is for those who want to take their automotive knowledge further, delve deeper and get to the core of what every McLaren car is about – using technology to help deliver the incredible driving experiences for which the pioneering supercar company is renowned worldwide.

This week, we kick things off with the just launched McLaren Elva. An incredible car, with its world first ‘Active Air Management System’ which uses aerodynamics to deliver a comfy drive at 70mph, without a windscreen.’

Who better to take you through this new tech than McLaren Automotive’s Design Engineering Director, Dan Parry Williams.

Want to know more about #McLarenTechClub – post your questions below and each week the videos’ presenter will respond and react to them. Dive into the conversation on social using #McLarenTechClub and we will respond.

We’d recommend having a watch through – it’ll be easier to visualise thanks to all the snazzy CGI plus McLaren Automotive design engineering boss Dan Parry Williams pointing out the inlets and outlets. But to sum up, the Elva is hiding a “hook-shaped” duct in its nose, which takes high-pressure air from the front, turns it 120 degrees, and spits it out of a vent in the top of the clamshell.

This creates a barrier of air just in front of the cabin. Oncoming airflow hits it and curves up and over the occupants, making life much more pleasant. Parry Williams says that at 70mph, driver and passenger will be left “in relative calm” with their hair (providing they have some) “unruffled”.

Mclaren - Here's How You Can Drive A McLaren Elva Fast Without Destroying Your Face - Supercars and Hypercars

How far over that point you need to go before proceedings take a much breezier turn, we’re not sure – with an 803bhp twin-turbo V8 borrowed from the Senna, the Elva is capable of reaching much higher speeds awfully quickly. But regardless, it’s an impressive system.

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Car Reviews

You Can Race Against Real WTCR Drivers in RaceRoom's New Esports Event

By now, we should all be used to seeing pro drivers trying their hand at esports events. Over the past couple of weeks, and in response to the near total cancellation of real-world motorsport, pros have raced against personalities in the sim-racing world in a series of exhibition races.

However, if you fancy taking part yourself there hasn’t been much chance. At least until now, as RaceRoom and the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) have teamed up to create a four-round championship between the pros and gamers themselves.

The series will take place between now and mid-May, as a prelude to the official FIA WTCR Esports Online Championship later in the year. Each round consists of a time attack qualifying session, in which real players will attempt to qualify for the races. There’s four rounds in total, so there’ll be four chances to qualify. The full schedule is below:

  • Race 1 – Hungaroring – Qualifying March 25-31, Race April 6
  • Race 2 – Slovakia Ring – Qualifying March 31-April 14, Race April 20
  • Race 3 – Ningbo International Speedpark – Qualifying April 14-28, Race May 4
  • Race 4 – Sepang International Circuit – Qualifying April 28-May 12, Race May 18

If you set a top 20 time at the end of the time attack phase, you’ll qualify for the top server. This will feature up to 10 spots for the real WTCR drivers, and there’ll be two 25-minute races each round – with a reverse grid second race. Your opponents could include Kevin Ceccon (Alfa Romeo), Tiago Monteiro (Honda), and current WTCR champion Norbert Michelisz (Hyundai) — who actually began his racing career playing Grand Prix Legends online.

There’s further spots available outside the top server, but these races will just be for fun. Meanwhile the main event will reward racers with points just as with WTCR, and the overall series champion will receive a TAG Heuer watch.

All the races will appear live on WTCR’s official YouTube channel and Facebook page, with commentary from James Kirk and Robert Wiesenmuller. The first qualification session is open right now at the Hungaroring, so get driving.

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Racing

F1 can ‘preserve’ calendar by scrapping summer break – Brawn

Formula 1 has confirmed that scrapping the summer shutdown will be one of the best ways of getting enough races in this year.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced F1 to abandon the opening four races of the season, and it is not expecting to resume until May at the earliest.

However, the likelihood is that F1 may have to wait until the Baku Grand Prix in early June for a more realistic starting point: although even that is uncertain amid the rapidly developing situation.

F1 managing of motorsport Ross Brawn is confident, however, that there will be time to pull a calendar together, although it will likely have to run through August.

“I think by freeing up the August break, we give ourselves several weekends where we can have a race,” he told Sky F1 in an exclusive interview. “And I think we can build a pretty decent calendar for the rest of the year.

“It will look different, but it will still preserve a good number of races, and they’re exciting races. So the season’s going to start later, but I think it will be just as entertaining.”

It is understood that if the season does not start until May, then it is unlikely that the Australian, Spanish nor Monaco Grands Prix will be slotted back in.

Brawn also asked for flexibility from teams to try to get things moving again, and one compromise could include having two-day grand prix weekends to allow some triple-headers.

“One thing we have been talking about is two-day weekends, and therefore if we have a triple header with two-day weekends, that could be an option,” he said.

“I think what we need from the teams this year is flexibility, I think they’ve got to give some scope to do these things. Because we are in very unusual circumstances, and we’ve got to make sure we’ve got a season that gives a good economic opportunity for the teams.

“For sure we’re going to have a quiet start. I’m sure the teams will be flexible to allow us to fit those things in.”

WHAT A 2020 CALENDAR COULD LOOK LIKE

June 7 – Azerbaijan

June 14 – Canada

June 28 – France

July 5 – Austria

July 19 – Britain

August 2 – Hungary

August 16 – Netherlands

August 30 – Belgium

September 6 – Italy

September 20 – Singapore

September 27 – Russia

October 11 – Japan

October 25 – USA

November 1 – Mexico

November 15 – Brazil

November 29 – Vietnam

December 6 – China

December 13 – Abu Dhabi

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Racing

How F1 can slot lost races back into the calendar

The prospect of the 2020 Formula 1 world championship starting in Baku in June emerged in Melbourne as the paddock took in the full consequences of the cancellation of the Australian GP.

The F1 organisation and the FIA now face a huge challenge in trying to squeeze at least some of the postponed events into what was already a busy calendar.

For Chase Carey the motivation to save races is obvious. Promoters typically pay $25-30m for their slots – some flyaways significantly more – and every event that doesn’t take place represents a huge financial hit to the bottom line.

A potential Baku season start date came up on Thursday evening when the team bosses met with Ross Brawn to discuss the heightening crisis.

Cancelling Australia was the priority, but it was also clear that Bahrain and Vietnam would have to join the already postponed China on the casualty list, even if there was less urgency to formally confirm their loss.

The consensus among the group was that fans should look further ahead, forget April and May completely and possibly aim to restart in June with the Baku/Montreal double-header, if the global health situation allowed. That would mean the Netherlands, Spain and Monaco joining the four flyaways on the list of casualties.

Now attention turns to how some events can be salvaged. One obvious solution is to slip at least one race into August, a month that currently includes three free weekends and the two-week factory shutdown that is mandated in the regulations.

Losing one of those free weekends obviously has its consequences. Hundreds of people who work in the sport have already booked family holidays in the only slot that they can use. Teams, F1, the FIA, broadcasters and other media will potentially have to deal with the challenge of placating personnel who have to change their arrangements.

Merchandise stands are dismantled

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

A shorter summer break may be more acceptable than in a normal season because travelling employees won’t be as run down as they usually are, as they won’t have done the usual punishing travel schedule. Also they could potentially have extra time off work in April/May in lieu of August.

The European events are obviously much easier to slot in, and figuring out which one is likely to be chosen first is not hard.

Monaco may be the most prestigious race of the year, but it doesn’t pay F1 for the privilege of being on the calendar – and Chase Carey has to use any precious spot for a race that brings in hard cash.

Also the principality would not be keen on moving from its traditional May date, as building the track at the height of the tourist season would involve massive inconvenience. So if Monaco doesn’t happen in May, it’s not going to happen at all.

Barcelona is also unlikely to get a second chance. Not only is it on a one-year deal and basically just plugging a gap, there are also growing financial issues with the race. The promoter, who is unlikely to be too excited about an August date, will probably be relieved not to be invited to fill it.

That leaves Zandvoort, and for obvious reasons the Dutch GP will be the race that Carey will work hard to find room for. One logical date is August 9, as a back-to-back with Hungary. An alternative slot is August 23 – but that would create a busy triple-header with Spa and Monza, and two Verstappen-focussed races in two weekends might be a bit much even for his devoted fans.

August works for Zandvoort in so many ways. It was the traditional date for the race, and the weather will be much better than on May 1. It also gives the circuit a welcome three extra months to get everything ready.

One complication is on the logistical side. Zandvoort is a seaside resort and accommodation is probably already booked up – to parachute the entire F1 circus and fans into the area at this late notice will be a total nightmare. In addition many fans who were coming in May might be planning to be somewhere else in August, although there will be plenty standing in line to buy any returned tickets.

An alternative for Zandvoort could be July 26, slotting into the gap between Silverstone and Hungary, but creating a challenging triple-header. However it would at least leave the summer break unchanged in August, with three free weekends.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull RB8

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Could Carey sneak a flyaway race into August? It’s possible, but unlikely. Realistically he has to find room at the back end of the season, where there isn’t much leeway as we saw a few weeks ago when China was postponed, and options were pondered.

Now he has Australia, Bahrain and Vietnam to think about too. It’s obvious that Melbourne is done for 2020 – there is no way that the city will be able to build up the track twice in the same year, even without the commercial considerations.

Of the other three, Vietnam is the one that Carey will most want to save, as like Zandvoort it is such a big deal for Liberty.

However, finding a new date for a street event is much harder than for a traditional circuit. Shanghai and Bahrain are a lot more flexible, but China is restricted by weather considerations as we get into November.

The obvious option at the end of the season, which currently finishes in Abu Dhabi on November 29. Weather permitting, Bahrain/China/Vietnam could slot in a week later on December 6 as the finale. However, as is well known, Abu Dhabi pays for the privilege of being the last race – in which case it could move to the later date, and a postponed race would take its current slot.

If the race that gets the late season slot is Bahrain it would make for a unique Middle East double-header. For obvious reasons, the two events usually wouldn’t want to be so close on the calendar, but why not make a virtue of it and potentially attract fans from all over the region and even further away?

There is an outside chance that Abu Dhabi could be pushed as far as December 13, creating a little more breathing space – possibly even enough for a triple-header that allows two extra races to be fitted in. But three races in a row at the end of the year, while teams are flat out on their 2021 projects? It won’t be popular.

Another unappealing option is to leave Abu Dhabi where it is and add a race on November 22, giving fans a triple-header that starts in Brazil. But at least the season would end on schedule, and two of the races will be close neighbours.

If nothing else moves, October 4 is currently free, but using that creates a run of four races, while the same goes for October 18. There just isn’t enough space.

Starting in Baku and adding the “lost” race of Zandvoort in the summer and one flyaway at the end of the season leaves us with a healthy schedule of 17 races – not a bad strike rate at a time when some sporting contests will be lost completely in 2020.

One team boss said on Friday that 18 is the target, but achieving that will require some serious compromises, and possibly some unexpected shuffling of existing dates by F1 executive Chloe Targett-Adams, who is responsible for the calendar. It’s not going to be easy…

The Red Bull Racing garage in the pit lane

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

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Racing

GT Sport Circuits Quiz: Can You Spot the DLC Track From These Detail Shots?

Since GT Sport launched back in October 2017, the Polyphony Digital team has brought an impressive number of new circuits to the game. From old favorites like Laguna Seca and Spa-Francorchamps, to new fictional tracks like Sardegna Road and Tokyo street circuits, there’s been a steady stream of new asphalt to learn.

With plenty of new content to sink your teeth into, we’ve been wondering just how well you know the new tracks. In the mold of our original circuits quiz, we’ve been hunting out distinctive details at each of the new locations to see who’s been paying attention and who hasn’t.

There’s a mix of easy and evil questions in there for you, so let us know your scores in the comments!

GT Sport Circuits Quiz: Just the DLC

Question





Your answer:

Correct answer:

You got {{SCORE_CORRECT}} out of {{SCORE_TOTAL}}

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Racing

Wolff: Ferrari can probably gain another second

Ferrari has been sandbagging in testing with Toto Wolff confident the Scuderia can “probably gain another second” when it turns up the engine.

Sebastian Vettel grabbed Ferrari’s first P1 of the pre-season at the Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday.

However, the German’s 1:16.841 was over a full second down on Valtteri Bottas’ best from last Friday, a 1:15.732.

Mercedes motorsport boss Wolff believes Ferrari has yet to turn the wick up.

“You can see what Ferrari is doing compared to Alfa Romeo or Haas,” he said.

“Ferrari’s top speed is far from what it currently show, they can probably gain another second.

“The most important thing is to try and guess where everyone is.

“We don’t know the fuel loads either so you can’t tell a lot from lap times.”

Ferrari, though, is adamant Mercedes is the team to beat, especially with Red Bull saying the Brackley squad’s dual axis steering system is worth “two-tenths” per lap.

Wolff is happy with the new Mercedes innovation, which allows the drivers to change the toe of the front wheels.

That improves cornering, helps with straightline speed and reduces tyre wear.

Thejudge13 quotes Wolff as having told Auto Bild: “Our approach is unchanged, we still assume that we’re not good enough and therefore have to compensate.”

He is, however, “proud of the performance” of the new W11.

“It is stable and makes a good impression even in the windy conditions here [in Barcelona].

“So we seem to have a solid base for the start of the season. At least we’ll have a base that we can build on to improve.”

Follow us on Twitter @Planet_F1 and like our Facebook page.

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Auto News

The Adorable Citroen Ami Can Be Driven By A 14-Year-Old With No License

Citroen - The Adorable Citroen Ami Can Be Driven By A 14-Year-Old With No License - News

Living in a big city and owning a car are two things that don’t go together awfully well. Finding somewhere to park it is a nightmare, insurance costs are hellish, and whenever you want to drive anywhere, you’ll spend most of your time sitting in traffic.

The solution for many is to not bother at all and rely on the increasing number of car-sharing services. Even major car companies like PSA are getting in on the act, although the company’s subsidiary Citroen has gone one step further by making its own car especially for the purpose.

Citroen - The Adorable Citroen Ami Can Be Driven By A 14-Year-Old With No License - News

It’s called the Ami, and technically, it’s not a car at all. The adorable, dinky vehicle – which was previewed by last year’s Ami One Concept – is classed as a quadricycle, meaning in some European countries, you can drive it from age 14 with no driving license.

The Ami is ever so slightly longer and wider than a Renault Twizy, but it has – as you can see in these images – proper doors. Speaking of which, they’re asymmetrical, with the driver’s side hinged at the rear. Citroen has managed to squeeze in two seats side-by-side, made possible by placing the passenger slightly further back.

Citroen - The Adorable Citroen Ami Can Be Driven By A 14-Year-Old With No License - News

Power comes from a 5.5kWh battery and an electric motor, making for a top speed of 28mph and a range of up to 44 miles. Charging takes three hours via a regular domestic plug socket.

Buying an Ami outright costs €6000 in France, or you’ll be able to drive one through Free2Move – PSA’s mobility scheme – for €0.26 a mile. Option C is you lease one for €19.95 a month (over 48 months), but you will need to stump up a €2600 deposit.

Citroen - The Adorable Citroen Ami Can Be Driven By A 14-Year-Old With No License - News

The Ami will be launched in its native country at the end of March, with debuts in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium and Germany following shortly after. It’s not yet confirmed if the car will make it to the UK in right-hand drive.

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Car Reviews

Op-Ed: Can We Combat The Sketchy Traditional Car Dealership Model?

EVs owners and especially Tesla fans seem to be against the traditional dealership model.

Many of our hardcore EV fans, and especially those who support Tesla may tell you time and time again the traditional dealership model is not the way of the future.

Sometimes, archaic laws and rules that were put into place years ago can stick around for the long term, though they don’t necessarily take into account the shift that’s happening. Moreover, they may not consider or support the views and expectations of today’s consumers. This is especially true when it comes to our younger generation (millennials), and more specifically, those looking to buy EVs.

If you follow InsideEVs and read our articles on a regular basis, you are probably well aware that we are good friends with Sean Mitchell (All Things EV) and we cover his informative videos on a regular basis. In addition, we’ve covered Two Bit Da Vinci on a recurring basis. We find his insight and videos compelling in many ways.

With the said, putting these two EV advocates together is like the icing on the cake. Check out the video and related links above. Then, send us your views in the comment section below.

Video Description via Two Bit da Vinci on YouTube:

Why Car Dealerships Suck & How We Can Fix It!

Today, I’m joined by my friend Sean Mitchell, of All Things EV, to talk about the reason for car dealerships, and how we need to change the laws to allow direct to consumer sales for cars.

Sean’s Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/seanmmit…
Sean’s Video: https://youtu.be/7AW7KcwpEpY
Bill: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb20-167
Subject line: Please vote FOR SB167

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Auto News

You Can Buy A BMW M4 For The Price Of A Well-Specced Fiesta ST

BMW - You Can Buy A BMW M4 For The Price Of A Well-Specced Fiesta ST - Used Cars

BMW seems to have decided that its cars, for some reason, need to have absurd, vulgar grilles. It started with the BMW X7, which is so large that you can’t miss it, however hard you try. Then BMW turned the 7 Series from classy into looking like one of those pigs from Angry Birds. And now, the 4-series and M4 are set to follow suit, and we brought you these camouflaged spy shots a couple of days ago.

The new M4 is set to go on sale in 2021, with a new twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight-six kicking out up to 503bhp in top-spec Competition guise, and a little less in the one that we’re most interested in, the Pure – which is rumoured to have a manual gearbox of all things. Thinking about the next-gen car led us to have a browse of the classifieds, where we came across several M4 coupes for a similar price to the Ford Fiesta ST pocket rocket with a few options added. Now, decisions decisions…

BMW - You Can Buy A BMW M4 For The Price Of A Well-Specced Fiesta ST - Used Cars

Sure, you won’t have the 503bhp promised in the upcoming Competition model, and you’ll have to pay a little more if you want the pleasure of changing gear yourself. But 425bhp is more than sufficient – it’s more than double what you’d get in a Fiesta ST – and means the M4 hits 0-62mph in just a smidge over four seconds. Top speed is a limited 155mph, as per BMW’s gentleman’s agreement with its main rivals. Obviously the M4 can’t match the fuel economy of the Fiesta, but that’s hardly the point of a car that outguns some supercars. You should be able to achieve the heady heights of 30mpg on the rare times you’re gentle with the throttle, while £300 tax and high insurance are going to be side-effects owners will have to put up with.

But you could easily argue that you’re getting double the car for the money. The M4 is equal parts track-day blitzer and relaxed motorway cruiser, with twice the cylinders and displacement of the ST. You’ll also enjoy an interior stuffed with leather and high-tech gadgetry, while being based on the regular 4-series means the boot is a decent size too.

BMW - You Can Buy A BMW M4 For The Price Of A Well-Specced Fiesta ST - Used Cars

The advert we’ve picked out isn’t even the cheapest on the market, but we didn’t fancy an 89k-miler (even if it was in Austin Yellow). Instead, we’ve picked a 2015 car with a slightly more palatable 74,000 miles on the clock, with full service history from BMW dealers and specialists. At £23,995, it’s exactly the same price as a three-door Fiesta ST-3 with no options and the standard Race Red paint. This M4 comes in Yas Marina blue, which was one of the standard colours but at least it’s metallic.

The black grilles, black wheels and carbon-fibre spoiler caught our eye on this car, as the latter was an expensive optional extra. The spoiler isn’t even standard on a brand new M4 Competition. Just as eye-catching are the other M4 hallmarks – the carbon roof, pointed wing mirrors, aggressive body kit and bulging bonnet.

BMW - You Can Buy A BMW M4 For The Price Of A Well-Specced Fiesta ST - Used Cars

It seems that the first owner of this car added plenty more from the brochure, too, as it features a head-up display, high-beam assist, a ‘driving assistant’, cream leather and a Harman Kardon sound system. As you’d expect from a car that originally cost more than £60,000, the M4 also comes with sat nav, electrically adjustable heated front seats, DAB radio and parking sensors front and rear.

Which would you choose – a used M4 or a new ST? Tell us in the comments!

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