National Electric Vehicle Sweden, which owns the main assets to Saab, is previewing its new 9-3 sedan and 9-3X SUV. The company’s electric vehicles will take part in a car-sharing and ride-sharing pilot program in Tianjin city in China.
On its Instagram account, NEVS posted a photo of the 9-3 sedan and SUV concepts. The company is expected to announce more at the CES Asia show in Shanghai next month, but from these renderings we can see some hints of Saab showing through. Beneath those updated fascias are the bodies of the 9-3 sedan and 9-3X crossover that ceased production in 2012, along with an electric drivetrain in place of the previous gas engines. Production at the Saab plant resumed earlier this year.
The 9-3 series goes on sale next year in China, and the company has already received more than 150,000 orders. NEVS estimates a range of more than 186 miles on a single charge. While borrowing the engineering know-how from Saab, the new vehicles add modern features such as WiFi hotspot, battery management via smartphone, and over-the-air software update capability.
NEVS rescued Saab from bankruptcy in 2012. While it lost the rights to use the Saab name on its vehicles, it acquired the main assets of the brand and its former Trollhattan production plant in Sweden. The company also has a plant in Fujian, China, and a new plant in Tianjin is still under construction but is expected to be operational by the end of the year.
The post NEVS 9-3 Concept Sedan and SUV Build on Saab Heritage appeared first on Motor Trend.
Carbon fiber is a hugely useful material in terms of decreasing weight and increasing structural rigidity in today’s super and sports cars. However, it can prove even more invaluable to those that require prosthetic implants and other medical devices that entail lightweight construction.
While carbon-fiber construction has been in the medical field for quite some time, these research departments and companies don’t have the intensive expertise that supercar manufacturers have.
Manufacturers like Lamborghini use carbon fiber and have been molding, bending, stretching, and experimenting with it for years. Lamborghini has announced a partnership with Houston Methodist Research Institute that will see Sant’Agata share its expertise.
The partnership will benefit the Institute’s ongoing research project focused on “A biocompatibility study of composite materials to be used mainly in prosthetic implants, but also in subcutaneous devices.” The materials expertise will see Lamborghini’s carbon-fiber engineers sharing their research into the substance, in the goal of identifying “new materials that are lighter, better tolerated by the human body, and more resistant over time than those currently used in the medical field.”
Lead scientist, and current president and CEO of the Houston Methodist Research Institute, Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D. (Oh yes, we get the coincidence as well), is currently engaged in nanotechnology research and in applied bioengineering, which will directly benefit from Lamborghini’s cooperation as both look to use carbon-fiber composites in their construction.
Both Ferrari and Lamborghini’s Stefano Domenicali, the brand’s current chairman and CEO, sat down in Sant’Agata Bolognese and signed the partnership documents. According to Lamborghini, the brand is also working with the Occupational Medicine Unit of Bologna University Hospital, the Neurosurgery of IRCCS Institute of Neurological Science of Bologna, The Neurosurgery Humanitas University Rozzano-Milano, the CNR Institute of Neuroscience and Humanitas, and the IRCSS Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute of Bologna.
The post Lamborghini Partners with Medical Engineering Institute for Carbon-Fiber Research appeared first on Automobile Magazine.
Every time we compare a Mazda MX-5 Miata and one of the Toyobaru twins, we have a hard time naming a winner. The two purist sports cars both offer so much fun for the money that it’s difficult to choose one over the other. Now Mazda has a new retractable targa-top MX-5 RF and Toyota has a reincarnated and revised Scion FR-S called the 2017 Toyota 86, so we can once again endeavor to find out which is the better budget sports car on Head 2 Head.
On paper, the 86 has the power advantage at 205 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque. But the Miata RF is more than 300 pounds lighter than the Toyota, so its 155 hp and 148 lb-ft is enough to keep up. Hosts Jonny Lieberman and Jason Cammisa begin arguing about styling. They find flaws in each and ultimately can’t decide which one is the better design, so they head for the hills to compare the experience behind the wheel. That turns out to be too close to call as well, so they call on Motor Trend’s own Randy Pobst to decide a winner at the track. With nearly identical lap times, however, that again turns out to be a difficult task.
Just for kicks, Lieberman sees if he can beat either car around the track in MT’s long-term Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – a car that has as much power as four and a half Miatas. Find out if brute force can beat balance and finesse, and learn the winner of this comparison, in the full episode below.
The post 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Takes on 2017 Toyota 86 on Head 2 Head appeared first on Motor Trend.
Kasey Kahne is going to need a lot of sponsorship in 2018.
Great Clips is ending its contract with Kahne and his No. 5 car at the end of 2017. The contract with the sponsor and team was supposed to go through 2018 but had a buyout option in the contract to get out of the deal at the end of the current season.
“We have enjoyed our partnership with Hendrick Motorsports over the last five years,” Great Clips president Steve Hockett said in a statement provided to ESPN. “From top to bottom, Hendrick Motorsports is a first-class organization, and through our relationship, Kasey and the entire team have been excellent ambassadors of our brand.
“With a shift in our marketing strategies, our partnership will come to an end at the conclusion of 2017.”
Great Clips first appeared on a car for Kahne in 2012. The company was set to sponsor a third of the season next year for Kahne and was the largest sponsor for the No. 5 car on the books for the upcoming season.
Farmers Insurance, Kahne’s primary sponsor since he joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, said last fall that it would be leaving at the end of the 2017 season. It’s slated to be on Kahne’s car for a third of the season in 2017. Without Farmers and Great Clips, that’s 24 races that Hendrick Motorsports has to fill in 2018 that it had sold for 2017.
Kahne’s contract runs through the 2018 season. He signed a contract extension with the team after many wondered if Chase Elliott’s promotion to the Cup Series in 2016 would be in the No. 5 car. Elliott’s Cup Series destination — the No. 24, of course — was clear after Jeff Gordon announced his retirement effective at the end of the 2015 season.
Hendrick Motorsports is currently working to re-up Lowe’s and Jimmie Johnson. The driver and sponsor contracts expire at the end of the 2017 but it would be nothing less than an absolute stunner if Johnson and Lowe’s didn’t return for 2018 and beyond. HMS will also be working to find a driver and potential sponsorship for the No. 88 in 2018 following Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s retirement.
Kahne is currently 20th in the points standings. He’s finished higher than 20th in every season at Hendrick though he hasn’t won a race since the 2014 season.
– – – – – – –
There’s good news though if you enjoy the pleasures of a half-mile track as the development team has confirmed that the Myrtle Beach Speedway will be joining the already impressive track roster.
The Myrtle Beach Speedway has hosted the NASCAR Busch Series (now known as the Xfinity Series) from 1988 all the way up to 2000. The half-mile semi-banked paved oval is said to launch some time in June, check it out below.
MXGP 3 stands out thanks to the switch to the Unreal Engine 4 for developer Milestone. This affords extra grunt to enable multiple weather effects (a first for the series) along with improved audio and graphics.
Perhaps the biggest feature in MXGP 3 is the depth of its ground deformation: every rut makes a difference and you’ll need to seek them out to get around each turn as fast as possible.
MXGP 3 should satisfy the beginner and veteran rider alike with the option to run manual or automatic dual brakes, rider movement and gearing and comes with three different handling modes.
In our overview we discuss each mode available, compare all of the weather types, check out the various online server options and take a look at a number of tracks with different weather conditions, time of day and surface types. You can view the MXGP 3 overview video below and we’ll have more on the title very shortly, if there’s anything you would specifically like to see let us know in the comments section.
Indian Motorcycles is releasing a very limited run of custom-built ‘Wall of Death’ Scouts to pay homage to the pre-war models used in early 20th century American sideshows.
The bike has been customised by Johnny Gee of Antique Motorcycles in Melbourne.
Johnny has been a “huge fan” of the Wall of Death, “when I saw the Scout, I thought it was a great platform for a custom bike that celebrates the most dangerous and daring motorcycle show on earth,” he said.
Indian will be showing off a fully-customised Wall of Death Scout in each Indian Motorcycles’ dealership around Australia.
The Wall of Death became a worldwide phenomenon of speed and fury, drawing massive crowds each time one was set up.
It was a spectacle like no other, with lions sometimes being released into the arena to increase the thrill for the spectators, who could already not believe their eyes as they stared down into barrel at riders defying death at high speed.
The latest round of MX nationals at Horsham, May 21 was a muddy affair, the track sodden with lead up rain made for one of the hardest and most challenging tracks in recent times.
CDR Yamaha’s Dean Ferris turned in his most impressive performance to date, winning both MX1 motos in the tough conditions.
Ferris said it was a thinking man’s track, but he managed to have a “good time” in the mud.
“It wasn’t a track that rewarded crazy riding.”
“Fortunately the team and I were able to get those right on the weekend.”
KTM’s Kirk Gibbs and Luke Styke finished the round in second and third.
KTM team manager Jay Marmont said “It was great for the team to have both riders on the podium here.
“As a team we worked hard during the week finding little things to create a bit more confidence, but unfortunately the track didn’t allow us to feel all those gains – it was basically just survival mode.”
Gibbs had earlier qualified fastest for the round and set the fourth-fastest Go-Pro Super Pole time, but couldn’t quite nail the moto starts he needed to bring his abundant speed to bear.
He got tangled with lappers and had a couple of small falls in the first race, but in both cases pushed on with trademark Gibbs grit on his way to 5-2 results.
Gibbs wasn’t happy with his performance, he said “the fitness is there and it feels like the speed is there, but I’m not getting away early and it’s too hard to make it up.”
On the other hand, his KTM team mate Luke Styke started well to begin both his campaigns from top-two positions, and despite a fall in the second moto he registered 3-4 finishes.
“I changed my program up a little bit in the last few weeks and just set about trying to be more efficient on the bike and it helped a lot.
“My bike was awesome, and the changes we made going into the round improved our balance, too,” Styke said.
Kawasaki Racing Team racers Aleksandr Tonkov and Nathan Crawford struggled in the tough conditions.
Tonkov set the fifth fastest qualifying time, but in the opening MX1 race, he crashed at the midway point and bent his hand-guards into the handlebars, affecting his clutch.
He still managed to soldier around the challenging track for seventh.
In the second moto, Tonkov grabbed another solid start and was pushing for third when he again crashed in the rutted, muddy conditions. He regrouped to cross the line in eighth place and eighth overall for the day.
Crawford had a small crash midway through the opening race which forced the 19-year-old to withdraw from the day’s racing in an effort to preserve a niggling wrist injury.
DPH Motorsport’s Wilson Todd was the man to secure the Motul MX2 overall victory and the category’s red plate.
“I knew when I went out for qualifying that there was only one gate that I wanted and that was the inside, so I put in my best effort to get there and it paid off,” Todd said.
“It’s awesome to get the championship lead back – I went out there today and I was consistent in the mud and these aren’t conditions that usually suit me so I’m pretty happy.”
Incredibly, 16 riders registered a DNF in the first Motul MX2 class race, indicative of the conditions that competitors were forced to contend with.
MX2 rookie, Mitch Evans carried the points leader’s red plate into the round after some sensational racing at rounds two and three.
Evans was confident in the mud as he had previously done well in wet conditions but the day ay Horsham proved unlike anything he had raced before.
“It was a tough weekend, no question,” Evans said.
“Starts here were so important as vision was terrible when behind other riders and my starts weren’t what they needed to be today.
“I made a few mistakes and it was hard to even keep it on two wheels in some sections but I was able to keep my bike running and get through the day safely and not lose too many points so that’s the positive.
“Hopefully it won’t be as wet at Murray Bridge next week and we can get things back on track there.”
Round Four Results – Horsham
1st Dean Ferris – 70
2nd Kirk Gibbs – 58
3rd Luke Styke – 58
4th Todd Waters – 55
5th Kade Mosig – 55
6th Kyle Peters – 48
7th Hamish Harwood – 48
8th Alexsandr Tonkov – 47
9th Lachlan Davis – 43
10th Keiron Hall – 40
Championship Standings – After Round Four
1st Dean Ferris – 288
2nd Kirk Gibbs – 243
3rd Todd Waters – 224
4th Kade Mosig – 223
5th Luke Styke – 215
6th Kyle Peters – 182
7th Alexsandr Tonkov – 173
8th Luke Clout – 173
9th Nathan Crawford – 149
10th Keiron Hall – 148
1st Wilson Todd – 70
2nd Hamish Harwood – 64
3rd Kyle Webster – 58
4th Ricky Latimer – 56
5th Mitch Evans – 50
6th Dylan Wills – 49
7th Jackson Richardson – 46
8th Egan Mastin – 44
9th Aaron Tanti – 42
10th Thomas Ravenhorst – 42
Championship Standings – After Round Four
1st Wilson Todd – 257
2nd Mitch Evans – 246
3rd Jackson Richardson – 224
4th Egan Mastin – 215
5th Hamish Harwood – 213
6th Kyle Webster – 208
7th Dylan Wills – 186
8th Aaron Tanti – 178
9th Ricky Latimer- 168
10th Jayden Rykers – 168
Have you ever been in a riding rut? I know I have. When my wife and I moved from the curvy roads of East Tennessee to the flat, straight plains of central Indiana, I all but gave up riding. Then we moved to Southern California and riding got interesting again. But I hadn’t ridden much for a few years and my confidence was low. I didn’t know the roads or the best places to ride, and I didn’t want to deal with the Los Angeles freeway system.
Then my wife (a saint, by the way) surprised me with a gift certificate for the California Superbike School (CSS). She sensed my reluctance to get back into riding. When the day finally arrived, with a bit of apprehension, I woke before dawn one Saturday and made the trek to Willow Springs International Raceway.
It was exactly what I needed. The class completely changed my mindset when it came to motorcycles and riding. And even though I’m 48, I’ve found a new passion for riding.
If you are unfamiliar with Keith Code, founder of CSS, he is a legend in motorcycle training. A former road racer, Code is a guru when it comes to how motorcycles operate. He pioneered high-performance rider training and motorcyclists all over the world use his books. He and his team have operated CSS since 1980 and have trained thousands of riders.
The beauty of the CSS operation is that it is completely turnkey. You can show up with nothing (except riding experience—that is required) and the school will provide everything, including the bike. They use the current model-year BMW S 1000 RR, so if you have an older bike, like me, it’s also a chance to see what technology has done for modern sportbikes.
Code has broken his training system down into four levels and each addresses specific “roadblocks” for motorcyclists. Instructors introduce concepts one at a time, with each skill building on the last. The final drill of each level transitions to the first concept of the next. Each hour is broken down into three 20-minute segments. First, riders go into the classroom, where a concept is introduced. Next, they head out onto the track to work on the technique. After a short break, it’s back into the classroom for the next concept.
Riders are assigned a riding coach at the beginning of the day and work closely with them on track and off. CSS uses a lead/follow system, where coaches follow students on track for several laps, then execute a pass and have the student pull in behind for several more. This allows coaches to identify problem areas and correct them right away. After each riding session, coaches and students meet up for a debrief session where specific problems are addressed and discussed.
I was nervous when the day started. I’ve ridden some great and challenging roads. I’ve been all over the “alphabets” in Wisconsin. And when we lived in Tennessee, our house was less than an hour from Deals Gap (a.k.a. The Tail of the Dragon). But I’ve never had butterflies like I did sitting in that classroom at Willow Springs.
After a few sessions, though, I started to get more comfortable. Though riding on a track, it is not a race. CSS emphasizes not pushing beyond your limits. Coaches meet students at their skill level to help them lift the anchors that hold back their riding.
By the end of the day, I could not wait to get back for Level II, which I completed a couple of months later.
Then, I saw that CSS was hosting a two-day camp in October at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. Perhaps no road racing course in the U.S. is as famous, and I would argue that no corner is as revered as the Corkscrew, the daunting left-right down a three-story drop. It’s the corner where MotoGP star Valentino Rossi made his daring inside pass through the dirt on Casey Stoner in 2008. And where Mark Marquez returned the favor to Rossi in 2013.
Honey, I know what I want for my birthday…
Because my wife is the best, we planned a weekend in Monterey and the camp was slated for Monday and Tuesday. The camp format is slightly different than a regular class with CSS as there are more riding sessions and fewer students. This provides more face time with your coach, but also allows time for video recording and review. And camp lap times are recorded so students can track improvement.
I rode through Level III on Monday, focusing on drills emphasizing body position. Tuesday, I progressed to Level IV. Here, the format is completely customizable. Students decide where they are still lacking and work on drills to overcome specific shortcomings. Rather than a group classroom, a Level IV advisor works on an individual basis. Riding strategy is discussed and noted, and on-track coaches work alongside the advisor to ensure progress.
By the time I started Level IV, 15 concepts were floating through my mind. Trying to execute each one as I turned laps was difficult. I would forget something in one corner, kick myself for the mistake and overemphasize it in the next corner. For example, several times my focus on turn-in would result in late throttle and no drive out of the corner. My coach saw it right away and noted on my lesson plan, “Good lines, no drive.” Then we re-employed a drill from Level II to address the problem. Code has developed 146 additional drills just for Level IV to keep riders moving ahead. It’s also why riders return again and again to take the Level IV course.
Through many, many laps, my riding steadily improved. It wasn’t always my best riding and I was never close to being the fastest person on track. But I consistently dropped my lap time throughout the day. And there is nothing quite like having a breakthrough on the track and seeing the excitement of your coaches as they give you an enthusiastic fist pump and thumbs up when they fly by!
By the end of the camp, I realized that I was a lost cause. All I could think about was when I could get back on the track. A couple of months later, my wife bought me a BMW S 1000 RR for Christmas. (Have I mentioned that she is awesome?)
I’m in the process of converting it to a track-day bike.
California Superbike School offers training at tracks across the country, from February through November. For more information visit superbikeschool.com.