Exotic Rides does its best attempt at a LaFerrari look-alike with W70 supercar

No, you’re not looking at some backyard attempt at a Ferrari [NYSE:RACE] LaFerrari replica.

It’s the W70 from Exotic Rides of Orlando, Florida, a mid-engine supercar whose design shares some obvious traits with Ferrari’s flagship and some of the Italian firm’s other models, like the F12 tdf.

We first caught wind of the project in 2014. Back then, all we had were some rendered images of the car and a promise to bring it to production. ER says the car is available to order, with production to be capped at just 70 units.

Beneath the body is an aluminum tube frame, in which sits a 7.0-liter V-8 sourced from General Motors Company [NYSE:GM]. The engine is tuned to deliver 626 horsepower and drives the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission sourced from Porsche.

There are some high-tech elements like an air suspension setup with sensors that can recognize a bump and automatically raise the nose to prevent scrapes. There are also massive 8-piston brake calipers up front and 6-piston calipers at the rear. These clamp down on 14-inch cross-drilled rotors.

According to GTspirit, the asking price for the W70 is $250,000. That’s a lot to ask for what many will deem a poor man’s LaFerrari. We’re sure there will still be some takers. They’ll have to front up 50 percent of the price as a deposit and wait around eight months for the build to be complete.

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Every second counts: Riding shotgun with an ambulance crew

As far as deadlines go, it’s fair to say that ambulance crews in the UK have it tougher than most, with Government-mandated targets to reach 75 per cent (65 per cent in Wales) of all Category A callouts – those classed as “life threatening” – in under eight minutes.

And with a rising number of 999 calls, meeting these times is harder than ever as recent figures show that the 14 UK ambulance trusts have reached an estimated 68 per cent of all callouts in the past year in eight minutes or under.

What is the UK drink-drive limit?

At this time of year, the task becomes even more difficult, because the festive period is one of the busiest times for the emergency services – as well as one of the busiest on the road. Traffic is one of the main reasons paramedics fail to arrive inside their target time, with motorists unknowingly blocking a path or failing to move out of a junction – often to the detriment of the patient.

To find out what motorists are getting wrong, and more importantly, what we as drivers can do to help the emergency services, Auto Express spent the day out on call with the South East Coast Ambulance (SECAmb) service in Chertsey, Surrey. Our shift starts early on a brisk Tuesday morning, and within minutes a call comes through.

It’s a Category A Red 1 emergency – a cardiac arrest. Paramedics James Perks and Charlie Adler stop chatting to us, jump into action and fire up the Mercedes ambulance parked nearby.

Best movie cars: Ghostbusters Ambulance

This whole system is geared towards efficiency. Ambulances are maintained at a 24-hour service bay, with paramedics returning keys to servicing teams which restore each vehicle with supplies while another ambulance is ready to go should an emergency come through. And when a call does arrive, the patient’s details are instantly uploaded to the communications system installed on the ambulances. Their location is pinged to the sat-nav which automatically starts the guidance, and if the situation becomes critical, the crew will be alerted via the system.

This well oiled machine is repeated, and the Category A callout we witness is the first of many for Perks and Adler. With NHS England receiving over 26,000 emergency calls a day, of which 18,600 require an ambulance, the pair will easily fit eight callouts in their 12-hour shift. This callout is a prime example of ambulance crews struggling to meet the eight-minute deadline on crowded roads when time really is a matter of life and death. Perks estimates that pretty much every ambulance trust across the UK struggled to meet the 75 per cent target this year, and adds: “What drivers don’t realise is that by creeping along, they often close a gap to an oncoming vehicle and force us to accelerate or turn quickly.”

And ambulances aren’t always meant to be driven fast, as Adler points out, with more severe cases requiring a slower journey back to hospital: “We get to places quickly by driving smoothly. People need to remember that 50 per cent of the time we have someone in the back with us. Safety is a key priority for us.” The more seriously ill the patient, the slower the ambulance may have to drive.

Training with the UK emergency services

A full-size ambulance attending a critical scene is just one of a number of vehicles that the service has on its fleet. SECAmb also has Land Rover Discovery 4s for rural areas and unmarked estates for scene managers, and all come with different challenges for drivers.

We join clinical operations manager Steve Haire on the next callout to see how it differs from tearing along on a Category A shout. Scene managers like Haire are required to cover a wider operational area than ambulance crews, and are therefore excluded from the eight-minute deadline, but time is still of the essence. We jump into his unmarked Skoda Octavia vRS and join the morning traffic with the lights on and the siren at full chorus.

Haire says the worst of times can see a 15-minute journey turn into a 55-minute slog. “It’s a mixture of too many cars on the road at any given point and drivers not knowing what they’re doing – pulling out in front of us or blocking the road,” he explains.

Skoda Octavia vRS review

The first obstacle we approach is a two-lane roundabout. Drivers should not enter a roundabout when an emergency vehicle is navigating through, but Haire still has to brake around people who have tried a late dash through. On another roundabout a young driver who isn’t paying attention nearly ploughs into us. “This happens on a daily basis,” notes Haire. It’s not always easy for motorists to know what to do when faced with an ambulance, with each scenario on the road requiring a different response, but often the safest and best action is for drivers to come to a stop, far in advance, giving plenty of room for the ambulance. This is the advice in the Highway Code, too.

Despite that, it’s far from the norm. As we approach the crest of a hill, the driver of a Nissan Micra fails to pull over and stop the car. Instead she continues to drive at a slower pace expecting us to overtake. “This is just dangerous,” says Haire. “Because she didn’t stop, we now have to wait as we can’t overtake on top of the crest as we can’t see what’s on the other side.” Haire says.

Throughout the journey we see most people making an effort to get out of our way, even if it isn’t always in the correct manner. But Haire says some motorists will purposefully work against emergency vehicles: “Because I drive an unmarked car, people possibly assume I’m an unmarked police officer. As a result, some have tried to actually block my progress to a scene.”

It’s not just drivers who cause a problem, either. As we enter the town centre of Chertsey with the lights and sirens blaring, most cars pull to the side, but as we approach a pelican pedestrian crossing, a man waiting to cross decides to prioritise himself over the oncoming emergency vehicle. He begins to walk across, in what appears to be a deliberately slow manner, maintaining eye contact with us. Haire says while ambulances do not have the right of way on red lights, they can claim exemptions for certain situations. Clearly, the pedestrian should have paid more attention and not moved to cross the road.

As we head back to base, we’re left thinking that maybe dealing with these irritations on the road is just part of the job, an unfortunate downside to an otherwise rewarding career. The crew members Auto Express speaks to all agree, but Haire thinks it’s something that can easily be addressed to improve things for paramedics, motorists and, most importantly of all, the patient.

“I would like to see more driver training from the Government,” explains Haire. “Learners should be taught more on what to do around emergency vehicles as well as motorway driving, which would bring about more attentive drivers.”

Phone use behind wheel as bad as drink-driving

The message from ambulance crews then is clear: by thinking in advance and giving way safely, you can end up saving crews crucial minutes – and lives. With emergency crews working long hours protecting you and your loved ones, there’s really no reason for us to make their jobs any more stressful on the roads.

Top Tips for drivers to help 999 vehicles

Steve Haire, clinical operations boss at South East Coast Ambulance service, gives his advice for drivers to aid emergency vehicles’ progress.

Use the mirrors more

“You’ll see emergency vehicles approaching a lot sooner and will be able to position yourself better on the road as a result.”

Observe both the front and rear of your car

“Emergency vehicles can come from any direction, so pay attention to the traffic in front of you as well as behind you.”

Think

“Consider where an ambulance wants to go and find a safe place to pull over, giving it plenty of room to pass safely and quickly.”

Keep the radio volume down

“Loud music can distract you from sirens. When a convoy of ambulances is rushing to a scene, different siren tones will often be used to separate one vehicle from another so traffic doesn’t close up after the first one passes.”

Don’t use a mobile while driving, and don’t wear earphones

“Using a handheld mobile phone while driving is illegal, but we’re unfortunately seeing an increasing number of motorists doing it. Some go as far as having their headphones in and listening to music. Loud music through headphones can cancel out the sound of sirens – don’t do it.”

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Rocker Style

Molti di quelli che mi conoscono sanno la mia avversità per le svolte ai pantaloni e alle barbe , si insomma quello stile hipster che fa tanto di moda in questo periodo.
Io sono un pò vecchio stile e vi dico che se davvero volete fare le svolte ai pantaloni…allora fatelo nel modo giusto, in maniera decisa e vistosa , come il Rocker degli anni 60 quelli che andavano in giro con le vere cafe racer e non contro fantasiosi mezzi che poco hanno a che fare con questa cultura.

Si lo so che vostra attenzione è stata attirata da questi stupendi stivali Norton, che la Clarks ha prodotto con un rapporto di collaborazione con il noto marchio inglese.
Il prezzo non è economico ma la fattura e la qualità li rendono davvero eterni e con il loro stile intramontabile sono davvero un acquisto durevole nel tempo   

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How to get past a cut-off low pressure system – a true weather router’s dilemma

Chris Tibbs offers a few different ways to get past a cut-off low pressure system.

cut-off-low

How many times do skippers – racers and cruisers – report that some of the worst Atlantic conditions are to be found between mainland Europe and the Canary Islands? Many of these reports are from those caught out by a cut-off low – often an insignificant-looking weather system that can pack quite a punch.

Once past Finisterre, race skippers in the Vendée Globe, or those attempting the Jules Verne Trophy, should soon pick up the Portuguese Trades and start their long, fast run to the Doldrums, usually passing to the west of the Canary and Cape Verde Islands. Cruisers heading south to the Canaries prior to an Atlantic crossing also enjoy these typically strong, favourable winds as they leave Spain, Portugal or join the route having passed through the Straits of Gibraltar.

Routeing charts show the wind as being predominantly from the north-east, but it does vary as depressions pass close to the north, temporarily displacing the Azores High. However, when the Azores High is north of its ‘normal’ position it is possible to get a small low trapped, or cut off, south of the high, somewhere between the latitude of Lisbon and the Canary Islands. These cut-off lows, detached from the steering force of the jet stream, can then linger for days following a track that is erratic and difficult to forecast. Indeed they sometimes even track to the west.

It is easy to underestimate cut-off lows due to the fact that, for a given pressure gradient, the further south we are (in the northern hemisphere) the stronger the wind. For example, isobar spacing that would indicate 20 knots at 50° latitude, will, for the same spacing, give 30 knots at 30°.

Navigation dilemma

Whether racing or cruising, these lows create a dilemma: the shortest route will most likely be between the low and Africa, but this will give strong headwinds and an uncomfortable sea state. However, to pass north of the low by heading out into the Atlantic will add a considerable number of miles and there is still the uncertainty as to where the low will track. It may stay in place or track east, but if it does go west, skippers could find themselves heading in the same direction as the weather system they are trying to avoid.

cut-off-low-dilemma

For racing skippers with a long-term strategy, a fast westerly route may look more appealing: get north of the low in favourable winds then head south. However apart from the fact that the low may drift west, if it does drift east, there is often a hole in the wind as the low moves away before the Trades are re-established, delaying the moment when the skipper can get back on track. Passing to the east, the beat may not be very appealing and with such a long way to go, any damage or breakage could be expensive later in the race. Sometimes the Trades will stay as a band of light wind close to the African coast, and if the low fills or drifts west, the Trades will fill in on the east side first. However should the low track east, the door shuts, leaving the skipper facing an increasing then veering south-westerly along with a lee shore.

There are no easy answers. For the racing yachts the decision may well determine the overall results months down the line, and regularly provides excitement for the audience following along at home. For yachts heading to the Canaries ahead of a transatlantic passage, passing to the west of a cut-off low is usually not an option as it adds too many miles and may make landfall in the Canaries difficult. The key advantage for cruisers, of course, is that they can choose their departure time. A five-day forecast will indicate a cut-off low so the best option is to delay and avoid it.

The post How to get past a cut-off low pressure system – a true weather router’s dilemma appeared first on Yachting World.

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60 Percent of U.S. Drivers Are Unfamiliar with EVs, Survey Says

A recent survey suggests we still have a long way to go when it comes to educating the public about plug-in vehicles. Sixty percent of U.S. drivers said they were unaware about electric cars, and 80 percent have never ridden in or driven one, according to data from Altman Vilandrie & Company.

When drivers were asked about reasons they wouldn’t opt for an EV, 85 percent noted a lack of charging stations. Other reasons include high costs (83 percent) and uncertainty over how long they would take to charge (74 percent).  The survey also notes that range anxiety is a widespread concern, no matter how long a person’s commute. It was an issue for 87 percent of those with a commute of more than three hours, and 72 percent of those with commutes under one hour a day.

Despite some of these negative numbers, the electric future doesn’t look so bad if you consider other stats. Of the 2,500 customers surveyed, just 3 percent said they currently own an EV, although 10 percent said they plan to buy one as their next vehicle. And 60 percent of drivers who said they have experienced an EV reported enjoying it, while only 8 percent said they didn’t enjoy the experience. The strategy consulting group behind the survey noted that $35,000 is the magic price point that would greatly help expand consumer adoption of EVs.

“Price matters, and our analysis shows that more affordable models would go a long way to changing the perception that EVs are luxury items for the urban elite,” said Altman Vilandrie & Company Director Soumen Ganguly, in a statement. “Both electric and self-driving vehicles are the future of personal transportation but carmakers need to make sure consumers are excited about going electric now, and that goes beyond the obvious environmental benefits.”

Finally, the survey noted that drivers older than 65 were more likely to go for an EV from Ford or Volkswagen, while younger buyers were more attracted to Mercedes and Tesla.

Source: Altman Vilandrie & Company

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Character Assassin: KTM 450 EXC-F

Every year the motorcycle manufacturers of the world roll out their shiny new bikes, and tell us about how cool their new stickers look, how their new suspension offers a ride like no one has ever experienced before, and how their engine is at the forefront of modern technology.

Yeah, yeah, got it. We’ve heard it all before.

Introducing the 2017 KTM 450 EXC-F, with all new WP Xplor forks, new chromoly chassis, and redesigned 450cc four-stroke engine…

Now, the manufacturers might have the full intentions of making new bikes better than their old ones. But seriously how much better could the 2017 450 be when compared to 2016 model?

OK, so maybe we’re being a bit dramatic here, and probably a bit numb at times to the latest new bikes, as we get to ride bikes every other week. But leading up to the day of our KTM 450 EXC-F test it felt like we were heading off for a ride on yet another new bike.

Well… weren’t we proved wrong!

Spec it up

KTM got the message loud and clear, the open cartridge forks are well beyond their ‘best before’ date, and the WP 4CS forks which graced the Six-Days model for the past few years, are simply not up to scratch. Enter the all new 48mm Xplor forks. Simply put, the Xplor fork is a collaboration between WP and KTM which maintains the split fork concept from the 4CS forks, with compression in one side, rebound in the other, and springs in each fork leg. Inside, the design and material coatings are quite different which contributes to the massive improvements claimed by KTM. The PDS rear shock systems stays put underneath the orange machine. It’s a trustworthy unit, which has proved to work remarkably well in the bush. Internally, it has a new smaller diameter piston, increased reservoir capacity, 4mm shorter stroke, and a new second piston design which offers a more progressive action.

The chassis may still be a chromoly steel design, but it’s now much lighter, claimed to be one kilogram lighter than the nearest competition. Thanks to developments that have flowed down from the motocross models, the frame is now stiffer in the lower sections of the chassis: offering increased rider comfort and more precise handling. The swingarm is slightly different for 2017, with a new PDS mounting position, the more symmetrical design brings the rear shock closer to the centreline of the bike by five millimetres which allows the load to be distributed more evenly across the machine.

The engine has undergone some pretty serious changes with the entire crankshaft moving backwards 9mm and raised seven. This also means new engine cases and covers, which shave around 550 grams of engine weight. A shorter cam chain connects the crank to the all-new camshaft, which sits comfortably in a redesigned cylinder head. Keihin take care of all the electronics and fuel-injection with an updated 42mm throttle body, and dual engine mapping system. The engine maps are accessible via a simple switch located on the handlebars.

The rest of the package is what we have come to know and love from KTM. Ready to Race. Brembo brakes, no-tool required air filter access with a Twin-Air filter, hydraulic clutch, lithium-ion battery, keyless electric start, 8.5-litre translucent fuel tank, black wheels, and all-new styling and bodywork.







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