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Racing

Gallery: Over 70 years of Porsche’s history in pictures

To celebrate over 70 years of Porsche, Motorsport Images revisited its archive to compile some of the best pictures from the German marque’s rich history.

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Car Reviews

Tesla May Come Out Of The Current Crisis Ahead Of Legacy OEMs

Tesla’s demand is outpacing that of the auto industry as a whole.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX, which makes and sells aftermarket Tesla accessories. The opinions expressed therein are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs, nor have we been paid by EVANNEX to publish these articles. We find the company’s perspective as an aftermarket supplier of Tesla accessories interesting and are happy to share its content free of charge. Enjoy!

Posted on EVANNEX on April 06, 2020 by Charles Morris

The years of steady sales and plentiful profits for carmakers have experienced a “rapid unplanned disassembly,” if I may employ a bit of Muskian dark humor. The future is unpredictable, but no one doubts that the auto industry has a very ugly year ahead of it.

There’s an argument to be made that Tesla may suffer less than others, and that the current crisis situation may accelerate the disruptor’s rise to dominance, and the fading away of the legacy automakers.

At first glance, this may seem surprising, to say the least. Comparatively tiny Tesla has nothing like the financial resources available to the global giants, and it’s certainly true that, despite the company’s current strong cash position, it could get into trouble if the production shutdown of its US plants lasts too long.

On the other hand, Tesla’s vehicle sales have been comparatively strong. For Q1 2020, delivery figures were up 40% compared to the previous year (despite the expiration of the federal EV tax credit), while the overall US auto industry was down 29%.

As Loup Ventures sees it, Tesla’s demand is outpacing that of the auto industry as a whole, and it’s going to get harder and harder for the legacy automakers to catch up. In a recent article, the venture capital firm tells us, “Tesla is winning because they have a product that is measurably better than both gas and electric competitors.”

The first quarter’s strong delivery numbers aren’t likely to last—Tesla, along with all the other automakers, is bound to see sales slide in the next quarter. However, for the full year, Loup Ventures expects Tesla’s sales growth to outshine other automakers by 15-25%. “As the company scales to meet demand, Tesla’s price performance gap versus other car makers will widen,” says Loup.

How can this be? Other automakers have strong new EVs on the market, and if they start producing those in volume, they could leave Tesla in the dust. This is just what many in the mainstream press have been insisting would happen for the past couple of years. However, as better-informed observers have pointed out, this isn’t likely to happen, because the legacy automakers aren’t producing EVs at scale, and they have no intention of doing so.

As Loup puts it, the fossil brands are “producing EVs at subscale, which creates a dilemma: If traditional auto releases a car with features and range at parity and sells the car at cost, it will be priced 10-25% higher than a comparable Tesla. This will soften demand and lead to further market share loss. If traditional auto subsidizes vehicle cost to gain market share, they will lose money with limited margin cushion. The more they sell, the more money they lose.”

How does this topsy-turvy tale conclude? “Taking it to the logical end,” write Loup Ventures’ analysts, “we believe car companies that have been around for 50-plus years will eventually (10 years from now) be forced to restructure or go out of business.”

===

Written by: Charles Morris; Source: Loup Ventures

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX, which makes and sells aftermarket Tesla accessories. The opinions expressed therein are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs, nor have we been paid by EVANNEX to publish these articles. We find the company’s perspective as an aftermarket supplier of Tesla accessories interesting and are happy to share its content free of charge. Enjoy!

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Auto News

Audi Unveils 1 of 200 RS3 Nardo Edition

Audi is making a special edition of the RS3 that will be limited to just 200 examples in the USA. The RS3 Nardo edition will feature all of the available performance parts and even bump up the car’s top speed.

With an electronically limited top speed of 174 mph (19 more than the standard RS3), the car will be able to stretch its legs on the highway. To keep it stable, the NArdo edition will come standard with Audi’s fixed sport suspension.

It will also standard Sport exhaust with black tips and the full complement of 394 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque form Audi’s inline-five.

To differentiate from other RS3s, Audi’s four rings have been blacked out. In concert with the Nardo Gray paint and the Black Optic trim piece, it all combines for a sinister look.

Inside, you get standard virtual cockpit, as well as RS embroidered floor mats, Alcantara knee pads, red accent stitching, seatbelts with red edges, and Audi Sport carbon inlays.

The car is headed to dealerships now and will start at $59,900.

first published by fourtitude

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Car Reviews

Witness The Sheer Bombast Of The 730bhp Abt Audi RS7-R

Audi - Witness The Sheer Bombast Of The 730bhp Abt Audi RS7-R - Tuning

Remember what we said about Abt Sportsline cars being a little more reserved and considered than the wares of companies like Mansory? That doesn’t really apply to the ‘-R’ line of cars the company puts out.

Proving this point nicely, here’s the new RS7-R. It won’t exactly fly under the radar, will it?

Audi - Witness The Sheer Bombast Of The 730bhp Abt Audi RS7-R - Tuning

Limited to 130 units, each will have 730bhp and 679lb ft to play with, up from the 592bhp and 590lb ft produced by the standard RS7. The extra power is extracted from Audi’s 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 via the ‘Abt Power R’ pack, and although Abt hasn’t gone into specifics about what that means for the RS7-R, in other vehicles tuned by the company this consists of a tuning box, a new exhaust system and a beefed-up intercooler.

Abt will fit a set of new coilovers for you too, ensuring the RS7-R sits nice and snuggly on its 22-inch ‘High Performance HR’ wheels.

Audi - Witness The Sheer Bombast Of The 730bhp Abt Audi RS7-R - Tuning

The RS7-R has come under heavy fire from the carbon fibre cannon, with expensive-looking bits and pieces made from the stuff wherever you look. The front splitter, gurney flaps, side skirts and rear diffuser are all carbon, and there’s even a CF ‘moustache’ sitting above the grille.

Orange accents ensure that even if you don’t opt for the mad crisscrossing lines adorning the example you see here, your RS7-R is going to stand out quite successfully.

Audi - Witness The Sheer Bombast Of The 730bhp Abt Audi RS7-R - Tuning

Inside, there’s yet more carbon fibre, some natty RS7-R seat emblems, a numbered plaque and “Handcrafted for Daniel Abt” script.

Like the idea of this but need more practicality? An RS6-R will be along later this month.

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Car Reviews

Ford extends closure of several NA plants indefinitely

As the Covid-19 pandemic worsens in the United States with over 180,000 cases being reported (the highest in the world right now), Ford has announced that it will extend the closure of several of its North American production facilities indefinitely.

Previously, the company planned to restart production on April 6 at its Hermosillo Assembly Plant, with other key United States plants following suit on April 14. However, this is no longer the case and the company will announce new startup dates later on.

The only exception will be the Rawsonville Components Plant, which will begin producing the General Electric/Airon Model A-E ventilator to ensure there is enough supply for Covid-19 patients. Approximately 500 UAW (United Auto Workers) volunteers will build these ventilators, with the goal of producing 50,000 units by July 4.

“The health and safety of our workforce, dealers, customers, partners and communities remains our highest priority. We are working very closely with union leaders – especially at the UAW – to develop additional health and safety procedures aimed at helping keep our workforce safe and healthy,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford president of North America.

“Today’s decision by Ford is the right decision for our members, their families and our nation. Under vice president Gerald Kariem, the UAW Ford Department continues to work closely with our local unions and Ford to make sure that as we return to production all members are safe, and our communities are protected from this spreading pandemic,” added Rory Gamble, UAW International president.

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Racing

Helmut Marko accused of 'playing with human lives'

Helmut Marko has been accused of “playing with human lives” for even suggesting a coronavirus camp for Red Bull’s drivers.

Never one to shy away from controversy, Marko has suggested putting Red Bull’s full driver squad, including Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon, into a camp and infecting the lot of them.

“We have four Formula 1 drivers, and eight or 10 juniors,” he told Austrian broadcaster, ORF.

“The idea was to organise a camp where we could bridge this mentally and physically somewhat dead time. And that would be the ideal time for the infection to come.

“These are all strong young men in really good health. That way they would be prepared whenever the action starts. And you can be ready for what will probably be a very tough championship once it starts.”

But as the worldwide death toll from the virus climbs to 38,000, Marko’s comments haven’t gone down well with many.

One of those being biochemist Douwe de Boer.

While De Boer says he understand the concept of group immunity, this pandemic has claimed too many lives to be played with – especially by a Formula 1 boss.

“The coronavirus is more unpredictable than a normal flu,” he told De Limburger newspaper. “You are playing with human lives.

“I understand the line of thought of Marko, advisor of Red Bull Racing, he wants immunity for his drivers.

“The government is talking about group immunity, which is similar somewhere, except that Marko only thinks of his drivers.

“But the coronavirus is more unpredictable than an ordinary flu: we see that healthy, young people can also become seriously ill and even die.”

He added: “This is part of a medical-ethical discussion and I don’t think a team boss should want to risk the health of his employee.”

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Racing

Restart of NASCAR season at Martinsville appears in doubt

NASCAR’s hopes of returning to on-track action at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway next month took a hit on Monday.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued a stay-at-home order for residents of his state to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak that begins Monday and extends through June 10.

NASCAR currently has postponed all of its races through May 3 and had planned to restart its 2020 season with the May 8-9 NASCAR race weekend at Martinsville.

The Virginia order prohibits “all public and private in-person gatherings of more than 10 individuals.” Such an order, if still in effect at the time, would prohibit the running of the Martinsville race.

NASCAR has made no official changes to its proposed return date but did offer the following statement: “NASCAR is aware of the stay-at-home order issued for Virginia. We will continue discussions with public health officials and medical experts as we assess rescheduling options.”

Sources told Motorsport.com that NASCAR was planning to talk to teams this week about several proposed scheduling options along with ascertaining whether it should postpone the introduction of its next generation race car, scheduled to debut in the 2020 Daytona 500.

NASCAR has said it plans to run all 36 scheduled races plus its all-star race once it resumes racing.

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Racing

Gallery: All of Nelson Piquet’s F1 race wins

On this day in 1980, Nelson Piquet became a Formula 1 race winner with a dominant drive in Long Beach. It was the first of his 23 grand prix wins, all of which are listed below.

1980 US GP West (Long Beach)

Photo by: Motorsport Images

1980 Dutch GP

Photo by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch

1980 Italian GP

Photo by: Motorsport Images

1981 Argentine GP

Photo by: David Phipps

1981 San Marino GP

Photo by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch

1981 German GP

Photo by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch

1982 Canadian GP

Photo by: Motorsport Images

1983 Brazilian GP

Photo by: Motorsport Images

1983 Italian GP

Photo by: Motorsport Images

1983 European GP (Brands Hatch)

Photo by: Sutton Images

1984 Canadian GP

Photo by: Motorsport Images

1984 US GP West (Detroit)

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

1985 French GP

Photo by: Motorsport Images

1986 Brazilian GP

Photo by: Motorsport Images

1986 German GP

Photo by: Sutton Images

1986 Hungarian GP

Photo by: Motorsport Images

1986 Italian GP

Photo by: Sutton Images

1987 German GP

Photo by: Motorsport Images

1987 Hungarian GP

Photo by: Motorsport Images

1987 Italian GP

Photo by: Motorsport Images

1990 Japanese GP

Photo by: Motorsport Images

1990 Australian GP

Photo by: Motorsport Images

1991 Canadian GP

Photo by: Motorsport Images

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Racing

Leclerc: Lack of Ferrari contract won’t destabilise Vettel

Charles Leclerc doubts Formula 1 teammate Sebastian Vettel will be destabilised by his expiring Ferrari contract through 2020, expecting the German to be “very strong”.

Leclerc managed to beat Vettel in their first season together at Ferrari in 2019, scoring his first two F1 victories in Belgium and Italy en route to fourth place in the drivers’ championship.

The 22-year-old was rewarded for his good form with a new long-term contract that will keep him at Ferrari until the end of 2024.

Leclerc ended the year ahead of Vettel in the points standings, and was rewarded with a new long-term contract keeping him at Ferrari until the end of 2024.

Four-time world champion Vettel is now in the final year of his contract, but Leclerc does not think the uncertainty over the German’s future will have any bearing on his form.

“I feel very lucky to be in a position where I have a long-term contract, and I’m happy to be in this position,” Leclerc said.

“I also know his position in a way, as my last two years I only had a one year contract.

“I don’t think it will destabilise him so much. He’s a very strong driver, and I expect him to be very strong anyway.”

Ferrari has said retaining Vettel is its preferred option for 2021, but Renault recently refused to rule out a potential approach for the 2010-13 champion should he become available.

Asked whether he wanted Vettel to continue at Ferrari, Leclerc replied: “I’m very good with him by my side.

“But I would respect Ferrari’s decision in case they want to change.”

Leclerc and Vettel experienced a tense first year together at Ferrari through 2019 amid disputes over team orders, with the pair then clashing on track at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Both drivers have always stressed their relationship remained unharmed by the incidents, with Leclerc saying in Australia it has “always been good.”

“Last year there have been some tricky moments, but our relationship stayed the same,” Leclerc said.

“I think is a good thing, that we are both mature enough to do the separation between what happens on-track and out of the track.”

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Racing

The story of F1’s most incredible win from the back

On March 27th 1983 John Watson pulled off one of the most remarkable victories in Formula 1 history, winning the US GP West at Long Beach from a lowly 22nd on the grid.

It was a sunny Californian day not impacted by bad weather, there was no multiple accident to thin out the field, no clever pit stop strategy, and safety car interventions were still a decade away.

So how did he do it? Quite simply it was a stunning performance by a motivated driver who was at the top of his game and had complete confidence in the package underneath him.

In 1983, Watson was in his fifth season with McLaren. The previous year he’d been joined by Niki Lauda, whose return from retirement had captured the headlines. Watson enjoyed a good relationship with the Austrian – they had been team mates at Brabham in 1978 – and while Lauda had the higher PR profile they were equally matched on track through 1982, scoring two wins apiece.

McLaren was one of the teams still using the normally aspirated Cosworth engine, and through 1982 the turbo cars from Ferrari, Renault, Brabham and Alfa Romeo dominated the front rows of the grid.

It was obvious that the class divide was going to be even more apparent in 1983, and with his own TAG Porsche turbo project still in development team boss Ron Dennis left nothing to chance. If McLaren couldn’t match the engine performance of its main rivals, the team could at least ensure that its drivers operated more efficiently than their rivals.

“At the start of that year Ron Dennis had said to Niki and to me, ‘I’m fed up spending so many millions of dollars to make competitive race cars,” Watson recalls. “You two lazy bastards should make the same effort.’

“He said that Niki’s physio Willi Dungl would become a full-time team member, and Niki, myself and the team would have to pay a third of the costs each.

“I got my first official Dungl treatment in Brazil, and it was a revelation. He was the architect of the first really scientific approach to the physical, dietary and psychological training of a racing driver. Niki had benefited from it before, and I had seen it, but never actually been a part of it.”

Watson was to gain an advantage over Lauda when following the ’83 season opener in Rio he unexpectedly found himself with exclusive use of Dungl.

Derek Warwick, Toleman TG183B Hart, battles with Eddie Cheever, Renault RE30C, at the star

Photo by: Motorsport Images

“After the Brazilian GP Niki, Keke Rosberg and myself were due to do a promotional tour of South America for Marlboro.

“But some of the British newspaper boys heard about it, tackled me and said, ‘John, are you seriously intending to go to Argentina some nine months after our boys were shot and tortured in the Falklands Islands? This is a great story John, it wouldn’t be very good for you…’

“In effect it was a form of blackmail. I thought, ‘I don’t need this, I’m not going.’ I explained that to Marlboro, who were understanding, although it caused some disruption of their plans – they sent Andrea de Cesaris instead.

“So instead of me going on this week-long tour of South America, I flew straight up to California and Long Beach. And there I had the full attention of Willi Dungl for about a week or eight days, before Niki and the rest of the tribe arrived back from South America.

“As that week went on, my physical condition improved. I was never a natural runner, but I began to run better, and all the things that basically equate to fitness were improving, like heart rate and recovery rate.

“Niki eventually arrived back and joined in, but that trip had been an arduous one, and I think he’d picked up hepatitis or something of that nature. It wasn’t affecting him immediately, but he wasn’t 100%. And I was.

“As the second week continued, my strength increased – not just physical strength, but mental strength – and that’s where so much of a driver’s performance comes from. I felt I’d grown over that two-week period between Brazil and practice in Long Beach.”

There was still a belief that the Cosworth-powered cars could mix it with the turbos on a street track, and indeed the Williams duo of Keke Rosberg and Jacques Laffite qualified third and fourth, and the Tyrrells were also in the top 10. However both teams were using Goodyear tyres, while rivals on Michelins – including McLaren – were left struggling.

“Basically, they were geared more to suit the kind of energy that a Renault turbo car would put through the rear wheels,” says Watson.

“In Long Beach, where part of the surface was concrete, we just couldn’t get the bloody things to work, because the DFV-powered MP4 was very light on its tyres, especially in qualifying configuration.

John Watson, McLaren MP4-1C

Photo by: Motorsport Images

“The inevitable conclusion was that we qualified 22nd and 23rd. It drove Ron and John Barnard almost to distraction – always blame it on the drivers!”

By any stretch this was a disaster for the team, especially at a high-profile US event that was important for sponsors.

The race at least offered some hope, as the turbos couldn’t run the sort of power levels they enjoyed in qualifying, and their reliability was always suspect. However, from outside the top 20 even securing a point for sixth place seemed a little ambitious. Then the warm-up session provided some encouragement.

“Then as usual on Sunday morning, with a full fuel load on board, the times were there, and I was flying. You were putting energy into the tyre, which was generating heat. So you could really drive the car, steer it anywhere on the race track.

“There was a particular Michelin, the 05, which was always more consistent for me, whereas Niki always sought to take advantage from something which was marginally quicker, but was not so adaptable to circumstances and conditions.

“So he had potentially slightly more grip than I had, but I had the mental strength plus the knowledge that my good old 05 Michelin would last the race. I could push on it all the way. So that was the tyre – and I come to the point – that I chose…”

Watson went into the race with a positive mindset, helped by his earlier preparations with Dungl. He also knew that he’d won from a similarly frustrating 17th at Detroit the previous year, and that overtaking was possible on a wall-lined city track, if you had the confidence.

“Niki got ahead of me at the start of the race, and basically the pair of us moved up through the field in tandem. Some people dropped out, and some we overtook. I felt extremely strong, and at no point was I going to let Niki get away.

“I felt I was better street fighter than Niki was, borne out to some extent by my win in Detroit a year earlier. He was driving his balls off, but I shadowed his every move, and every time he made an overtaking manoeuvre I pushed my way through as well, to prevent him getting away.

“It wasn’t that I was racing him any more than anyone else, but when you’re behind another car, if you lose momentum, you then stall out.”

Both men worked their way up the field, helped by some attrition ahead, notably when Keke Rosberg and Patrick Tambay tangled while battling for the lead.

“At some point we were running third or fourth or something, and I’d decided that there was no way he was going to beat me. Eventually I slid past; I’d come from quite a long way behind to do it. Niki was also aware that once I was on an overtaking manoeuvre I was on my way, and there was nothing stopping me!

John Watson, McLaren MP4-1C Ford

Photo by: Motorsport Images

“Then once I was past him, I was gone. Mentally, he’d been beaten. Once he was overtaken he didn’t come back, he almost acknowledged that that was going to be the result – which was another aspect of Niki’s pragmatic mind.

“And then I took Jacques Laffite for the lead. He tried to narrow the angle into the corner, but with the same kind of confidence I’d shown in Detroit, I did a really positive, well-executed overtaking move. I think overtaking is as much in the head as anywhere else. So I won the race, with Niki second.”

In fact, Watson led his teammate home by 27.9 seconds – and the Ferrari of third-placed Rene Arnoux was almost a lap behind.

“It was a big shock. John and Ron, plus John Hogan and Paddy McNally of Marlboro, looked like they’d been caught with their trousers round their ankles or something!

“It took some time to react to the reality that we’d won the race from this lowly grid position. But Willi had seen the potential, the power he was generating in me. He didn’t tell me before the race, but he said afterwards that he knew I was going to win. He could see what was happening to me – there was this svengali-like operation going on.”

The joy of victory was later to be tempered by some in internal politics at McLaren, and Watson would be subject to a dressing down when he returned to the UK.

“In the press conference I remember being asked, ‘What tyre do you use?’. And I said, ‘I chose the 05.’ Which was a naive answer…

“When I got back to England a few days later, there were thunderclouds over the McLaren HQ. I walked in and Ron said, ‘John [Barnard] is very, very upset.’ Motoring News was put down in front of me – the headline was about me choosing the tyre.

“The problem was that nobody in the team chooses tyres except the technical director. It’s his decision. In answering that question, ‘I chose to run on the 05,’ I may have inferred – if if you read it that way – that I was the technical director and racing driver.

“There were two points, one that I’d implied it was my choice, and secondly that I had exposed something that was in-team knowledge. So there were two lessons to be learned, and I had no problem with that. You’re never too old to learn.

“But it was just amazing the way this had manifested itself at the end of a dream weekend for the team – a one-two, when they were looking at falling on swords…

“I said, ‘Look John, I apologise, I shouldn’t have done it,’ blah, blah, because that was the easiest way to resolve the situation. It was a lesson for me to in future, in those circumstances, never answer direct questions…”

Podium: race winner John Watson, second place Niki Lauda, third place René Arnoux

Photo by: Motorsport Images

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