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Alonso's departure not the end of Renault

Published by on Jul 25th, 2006, No Comments

To the surprise of many people (including manager Briatore), Alonso announced that he would be leaving Renault for rivals McLaren. This immediately after winning his first World Championship with Renault.

Fernando Alonso

After much deliberation, Flavio has finally come out to say, “I think it is normal that he wanted to leave at some point, he needs a new challenge on a sporting level, to win with somebody else.”

“He is a young guy, he has grown up with us, it is time for him to leave home.”

For some time, rumours (including here on Carblog) have been going around that Alonso may stick with Renault next year. Fernando squashed that rumour yesterday with the statement that “…the French like their rumours…”

So the record has finally been set straight. Fernando will indeed be moving to McLaren as of next year.
But according to Flavio Briatore, this will not be the end of Renault.
“People talk about cycles of success and we will finish a phase when Fernando leaves Renault this year.”
“But no team revolves around one person and I think that without change, you can get trapped. We want to carry on winning next year, to show we can beat McLaren and Fernando.”

I think my favourite comment (and one that sums it up nicely) is the following:

“…at Renault, we have built a team with Fernando, not for him or around him. That team will continue, and we will try 100% to win with him until the final race – and then 100% to beat him after that.”

Yummy Roadjet with Frothy Milk

Published by on Jul 24th, 2006, No Comments

Lucky Europeans will soon be able to get their hands on Audi’s most recent concept as the company announced production of the Roadjet will begin shortly.

Based on the popular A4, this high-riding hatchback/wagon/SUV sports a 3.2-liter V-6, amped up to 300 hp. As one would expect, the Roadjet drives all four wheels via a seven-speed DSG transmission and ze Germans claim a 0-to-60 mph time of 6.3 seconds.

The car also has some awesome technology including Audi’s MMI Multimedia Interface. Rear-seat riders each get their own, smaller MMI screens. Instead of sun visors, the windshield’s opacity can be controlled electronically – now thats cool. And finally my favourite feature is a built-in espresso maker, for those long stretches between Mugg & Bean pit stops.

Nifty Wrench

Published by on Jul 24th, 2006, No Comments

This is the coolest adjustable wrench I have ever seen. First off, I’m not one to actually get stuck into working on my own car… I’m more of a “I’ll watch you do it and give you my professional (self-opinionated) opinion” kind of guy.

Regardless, we sometimes need to buy things that give us a feeling of power, control and brownie points in front of the ladies who think that guys who get their hands dirty are good in bed. Huh?!

This patented hybrid adjustable wrench combined with the ease of use of a pair of pliers is the tool that will do just that. It attacks a nut or bolt on all 6 flat sides, removing the stress and strain from the corners of the bolt – so with no slipping you wont damage the bolt.

It’s so hot right now that it’s been awarded the Popular Mechanics Editor’s Choice Award as well as the prestigious Red Dot Award Best of the Best 2006 for pioneering design in the tools category.

GET YOUR BIONIC WRENCH HERE

BREAKING NEWS: BUGATTI VEYRON NO LONGER WORLD'S FASTEST!

Published by on Jul 24th, 2006, 14 Comments

It’s almost unbelievable: On Friday, Barabus announced the imminent release of their Barabus TKR, a brand new supercar that is set to annihilate the Bugatti Veyron’s current status as world’s fastest supercar.

Packing 1005 horsepower (the Veyron manages only a measly 1001hp), Brabus says its TKR will accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in 1.67 seconds, which has left many enthusiasts asking whether that is even possible. The car has an adrenaline-pumping and absolutely ludicrous top speed of 432km/h (or 270mph) – almost 32km/h faster than the Veyron. All this power is made possible by a 6 litre twin-turbocharged V8 with dual intercoolers, all of which is wrapped in a complete carbon fibre body and chassis.

Developed during the last ten years, the TKR is to be made in Italy although its engine is built in Britain. If you’d like to buy a TKR, you had better get into the queue and start saving. Only 300 to 400 will be manufactured over its three year production period, and each car will retail at a heart-attack inducing $500 000 (R3.5 million)!

If you happen to be in the U.K. later this year, you can check out the 2006 British International Motor Show, where the TKR will be on display.

Richard Hagan

‘Random Richard’

RandomRich@carblog.co.za

Are the wheels coming off the Hummer line?

Published by on Jul 24th, 2006, No Comments

What is the first thing that would come to mind if I asked you to draw a comparison with a Hummer?

An Abrams Battle Tank? An elephant with an engine, perhaps? Or maybe a combination of the two?

Originally designed and built for the US Military, one could be forgiven for thinking that the General Motors ‘Hummer’ is indestructible. However this, according to a recent article in an American newspaper, is not the case.

This weekend, the Sacramento Bee newspaper reported on its front page that there is a strong possibility that the Hummer H2’s wheels have a habit of simply falling off! Apparently, the Bee’s auto editor Mark Glover was test-driving a Hummer back in 2002 when the vehicle’s front left wheel broke off, leaving him stranded in a parking lot (check the pic!).

As humorous as this story is, the issue is being taken seriously by U.S authorities, who have uncovered 25 similar cases occurring during the last two years. Federal Highway Safety Officers conducting the investigation allege that the problem stems from faulty steering knuckles installed on the H2 Hummer series. According to reports, most of the instances of wheels falling off happened after the Hummer ‘struck another object’, although many (including Glover) claim that they did not hit anything prior to the fault occuring. One U.S. Hummer owner, Iris Zirioli, completely lost a wheel after bumping a post in a fast-food restaurant’s drive-through alley. “I thought I was so safe because the H2 is so huge and strong,” Ziroli said. “The way that Hummer fell apart in that drive-through was uncalled for.”

General Motors, perhaps predictably, says that there is nothing wrong with the part that caused the problem and that the failure of the steering knuckles – which hold the steering arms in place -is due to ‘crashes’. This is despite the fact that the part was mysteriously redesigned and replaced in 2003.

The NHTSA investigation continues and, if succesful, could lead to a recall of most Hummer H2s manufactured between 2002 and 2004.

Richard Hagan

‘Random Richard’

RandomRich@carblog.co.za

Possible McLaren 'B' Team for 2008

Published by on Jul 23rd, 2006, No Comments

Prodrive boss David Richards, who won the contest to become the 12th entry on the 2008 F1 grid, is currently in talks with McLaren to turn his F1 team into a parallel team for the factory outfit.

David Richards

Unlike other ‘B’ teams (like Toro Rosso), Prodrive will have access to the latest specification McLaren chassis and Mercedes engines. Although current regulations stipulate that all teams must develop their own independent chassis, the 2008 rule changes will allow for the sharing of a single chassis design between 2 or more teams.

Autosport reports Richards as saying, “One of the things I am trying to do with Prodrive F1 is bring in fresh ideas and fresh thinking.”

“We have an opportunity to do things in a new way, a much less labour-intensive way, and in a manner that we believe will shatter some of the entrenched beliefs about how a Formula 1 team has to be structured.”

Fabian E Schoonraad
Kheiron
Kheiron@carblog.co.za

Homegrown Skills Hidden in the Sticks

Published by on Jul 21st, 2006, No Comments

There is no doubt that South Africa has some fantastic manufacturing skills within it’s borders. Many may know that GM recently awarded a PE-based plant the right to move ahead with the production of certain HUMMERS and we’re all very proud that NOBLE’s are produced in the same area. As far as I know almost all BMW’s in Australia are made in South Africa and thats just the tip of the needle.

If one takes a look a little closer, perhaps in the sticks, you’ll find alot more cars being built in SA – most of which are shipped off before we get the chance to view them – like this awesome GT40…

This gorgeous piece of work is made right here in SA and was shipped off roughly three months ago to Germany where it raced on the N-Ring. Apparantly it, along with two others like it, did very very well.

So the question I pose is: Why are South Africans importing similar cars from abroad when the locally manufactured version are just as good if not better (thats why ze Germans are buying em from us!)?

Customize a car: No cash needed!

Published by on Jul 21st, 2006, 11 Comments

Today I stumbled across this fun little online configurator that allows you to modify some of our favourite street tuners with several tasteful aftermarket accessories. Click on the link below and marvel at your ability to improve on standard vehicle design:

http://config.superstreetonline.com/

Coffee breaks at work will never be the same again!

RandomRich@carblog.co.za

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