If you hadn’t already heard, the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (kind of like an all-electric version of the F1 racing series) is heading back to Canada, although Vancouver will be the host for the 2022 event, and when the show literally gets on the road, a new Porsche Taycan Official Safety Car will be seen along with Porsche’s Formula E team.
Formula E will hit the streets of lotus land on the weekend of June 30 through July 2, which means season eight of the FIA-sanctioned all-electric street racing series will already have eight races under its belt for the 2022 season. A total of 15 races will be completed by the time the year ends in Seoul, Korea on August 14, with others taking place in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Mexico City, Rome, Monaco, Berlin, Jakarta (Indonesia), New York City, and London (England).
Those old enough to remember the Molson Indy Vancouver held in the city’s False Creek area during the 1990s, will know the Formula E circuit well. The electric cars will course along Pacific Boulevard, between Griffiths Way and Quebec Street, before powering down Quebec Street, between Pacific Boulevard and Central Street. A total of 56,000 spectators will be able to enjoy the spectacle from grandstands and other viewing areas, which makes it an outdoor party you won’t want to miss out on.
“We’re proud that Formula E has entrusted a Porsche with this task – one that is important for the safety of its drivers,” said Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “With the Taycan Turbo S as the official safety car, we’re making an important contribution to track safety and also underlining the importance of Formula E for Porsche Motorsport.”
The three-day Formula E race weekend will also coincide with another Vancouver event held in the same False Creek setting. Canadian E-Fest will be a one-of-a-kind festival that includes a creative business conference on sustainability, plus a major esports tournament. Tickets to the event start at just $70, and can be purchased directly from the Canadian E-Fest website.
“Formula E is delighted the Porsche Taycan Turbo S will serve as the Championship’s safety car from Season 8,” said Jamie Reigle, CEO of Formula E. “The Porsche Taycan Turbo S is the pinnacle of high-performance electrified vehicles and will light up Formula E city racetracks around the world. In designing the Formula E safety car, Porsche reimagined the critical on-track safety function to be a powerful symbol of the championship’s commitment to an electrified future and the unity of the competitors in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.”
Incidentally, the new Formula E Safety Car is based on the 2022 Taycan Turbo S, the most capable variant of Porsche’s plug-in electric sport sedan. The new Turbo S is capable of sprinting from zero to 100 km/h in just 2.8 seconds, due to 750 horsepower (with Overboost) and 774 lb-ft of torque with Launch Control engaged, while it is also able to zip from standstill to 160 km/h in only 6.1 seconds. The 2022 Taycan, which now comes in three different body styles and many more trims, ranges in price from $119,900 and $218,000 (plus options).
Formula E: make it matter in season 8 (0:45):
Story credit: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche and Vancouver E-Fest
Just in case you missed it, racing legend Jeff Zwart, already with 16 Pikes Peak hill climbs to his credit, blasted up the steep 20 km road course in a 700 horsepower, rear-wheel drive 935 remake worth…
Just in case you missed it, racing legend Jeff Zwart, already with 16 Pikes Peak hill climbs to his credit, blasted up the steep 20 km road course in a 700 horsepower, rear-wheel drive 935 remake worth some $780,000 USD when introduced in 2018 (which equals $1,032,696 CAD at the time of writing).
Despite achieving a time of 09:43.92 minutes for fifth overall and second in the car’s Time Attack 1 class, the latter specifically for track and race cars based on production models, Zwart admitted taking it a bit easier than he might have otherwise driven due to the 935 in question being someone else’s car and not having driven the course for five years. He nevertheless praised the 935 for ease of use.
“It’s the most comfortable race car I’ve ever driven,” commented Zwart. “The combination of the turbo, the bodywork and the motorsport chassis is wonderful.”
The 935, which weighs in at just 1,380 kilos (3,042 lbs), is one of just 77 produced since introduced during the historic “Rennsport Reunion” motorsport event at California’s Laguna Seca Raceway on September 27, 2018. It’s a race-prepared single-seater that rides on Porsche’s 991-generation 911 GT2 RS platform (that sold for a lofty $334,000 on its own in 2018), but gets completely unique 935-like bodywork from front to rear, the latter featuring an elongated tail section (like the original) designed specifically to increase downforce.
This specific 935 reissue is owned by Porsche collector Bob Ingram, and ran in support of his son Cam’s Porsche restoration shop. It was painted in a white, grey and red livery with a stylized Pegasus on each rear fender due to Mobil 1 sponsorship.
The fastest time belonged to Clint Vahsholt who drove a Formula Ford in the Open Wheel category, with a time of 09:35.490, while the quickest Porsche was a GT2 RS Clubsport driven by David Donn, who, also in the Time Attack 1 class, managed a time of just 9:36.559.
Colorado’s Pikes Peak road course is officially 19.99 kilometres (12.42 miles) long and includes 156 turns, climbs an elevation of 1,440 metres (4,720 ft) that average 7.2-percent grades. It starts at Mile 7 on Pikes Peak Highway and ends at an elevation of 4,302 metres (14,115 ft). Multiple classes of vehicles compete yearly in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, making it a must-see event for motorsport fans.
To learn more about 911s that we mere mortals can potentially buy (935s like the one Jeff Zwart used to scale Pikes Peak now fetch upwards of $1.5m USD on the used market), check out CarCostCanada’s 2021 Porsche 911 Canada Prices page and 2020 Porsche 911 Canada Prices page, where you’ll find important information about factory leasing and financing rates from zero-percent, as well as all the latest rebate info and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands. Remember to download the free CarCostCanada app too, so you can have all their money-saving info with you when you need it most.
Now, be sure to check out the video of Jeff Zwart piloting the 935 at this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb below:
Jeff Zwart | Full Run Onboard + Driver Interview | 2020 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (11:00):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche
3D printing is nothing new in the auto industry, but customizing form-fitted sport seats for customer racers is an innovative way to test out a potential new personalization product. Then again, Porsche…
3D printing is nothing new in the auto industry, but customizing form-fitted sport seats for customer racers is an innovative way to test out a potential new personalization product.
Then again, Porsche has long used motorsport to hone its road cars, so the act of creating 40 prototypes of its “3D-printed bodyform full-bucket seat” for some European-based 911 and 718 client racers isn’t too much of a stretch.
Porsche Tequipment will start producing the new six-point safety belt-equipped “bodyform” driver’s seat prototypes in May 2020, and after it receives enough feedback from those customers, which will be incorporated into the seat’s development, it will start making them available to road car customers in soft, medium and hard firmness levels and various colours though its Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur division from mid-2021.
Just to be clear, custom-fitted driver’s seats have been part of the motorsports world for almost as long as car racing has existed, but 3D-printing technology will allow the same level of personalization in Porsche’s road cars, as long as enough owners expressed an interest.
Together with a driver’s seat specifically designed around an individual customer’s body contour, the new 3D-produced seats would allow for “an extended range of colours” so that owners could match their cars’ interiors to Porsche’s available “Special” colour palette, and their “Custom Colour” requests.
Along with the ergonomic fit for enhanced comfort and control, the new 3D-printed bodyform driver’s seat will allow for a totally unique interior design, plus lowered weight, and even “passive climate control” says Porsche, the latter due to the seat’s sandwich construction.
The base support, which is produced from expanded polypropylene (EPP), gets bonded to a “breathable comfort layer consisting of a mixture of polyurethane-based materials.” The external skin, made out of “Racetex,” features a perforation pattern that allows for climate control, while “window panels” expose the coloured components in the 3D-printed “lattice structure” and therefore give the seat a completely original look.
“The seat is the interface between the human and the vehicle, and is thus important for precise, sporty handling. That’s why personalized seat shells customized for the driver have been standard in race cars for a long time now,” commented Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche. “With the ‘3D-printed bodyform full-bucket seat’, we’re once again giving series-production customers the opportunity to experience technology carried over from motor sports.”
Ask those in the know to name the best of the best in the super-luxury SUV market segment, and the Bentley Bentayga will quickly rise to the top of the list. When it arrived on the scene in 2016, nothing…
Ask those in the know to name the best of the best in the super-luxury SUV market segment, and the Bentley Bentayga will quickly rise to the top of the list.
When it arrived on the scene in 2016, nothing could match it for premium accoutrements or performance, the former because it’s a Bentley, and the latter thanks to a 600 horsepower twin-turbocharged W12 engine featuring 663 lb-ft of torque, a quick-shifting eight-speed ZF-sourced automatic transmission with paddle-shifters, and performance-tuned full-time all-wheel drive, allowing it to catapult from zero to 100km/h in just 4.0 seconds flat, before topping out at a stratospheric 301 km/h (187 mph).
Renowned drift champion, Global Rallycross racer, and U.S. rally driver Rhys Millen never attempted to achieve top-speed in his most recent Bentayga outing, but he nevertheless managed to smash the Production SUV record at the famed Pikes Peak hill climb.
Millen completed the 19.99-km (12.42-mile) course in just 10:49.9, chopping nearly two minutes off the previous record by averaging 107 km/h (66.5 mph).
“What an incredible machine,” said Millen immediately after his run. “To take a luxury SUV with minimal modifications and be able to drive up this course in under 11 minutes is a huge testament to the performance and level of engineering in the Bentayga. I had a great run – the car was planted all the way up and gave me the confidence I needed to push hard. I’m delighted to take the SUV record for Bentley and for everyone that’s been involved in this project.”
The Pikes Peak track, in Colorado, USA, scales 1,440 metres (4,720 feet) of paved mountainside roadway (prior to August 2011 gravel sections were also included), from its starting point at Mile 7 on Pikes Peak Highway, to the finish line at 4,300 metres (14,110 feet). The course includes more than 156 turns on grades averaging 7.2 percent, and has hosted sanctioned racing events since 1916.
The record-setting Bentayga featured Bentley’s top-line W12 engine (a 542 horsepower V8 with 569 foot-pounds of torque is also available), plus an adaptive air suspension, active electric 48-volt anti-roll control, and carbon ceramic brakes, all of which are available on the stock Bentayga, and each contributing to the SUV’s shockingly fast record pace.
“This record proves the outstanding dynamic ability of the Bentayga – demonstrating again how Bentley Motors is the only automotive company in the world that can combine pinnacle luxury and breath-taking performance,” said Chris Craft, Bentley’s Member of the Board for Sales and Marketing. “Congratulations to all at Bentley Motorsport and to Rhys Millen and his team.”
Due to Pikes Peak International Hill Climb rules compliance, Bentley modified the standard production Bentayga with front racing seats featuring four-point harnesses, while the rear seats were removed to make way for a roll cage. A fire suppression system was also installed, while Bentley Motorsport chose a set of Pirelli DOT-marked performance tires for extra grip, plus a production-specification Akrapovic sports exhaust system. Other than these small changes, the Bentayga that conquered Pikes Peak was standard from the factory, including its stunning Radium Satin paintwork, all-black chrome exterior accenting, and carbon fibre body kit that came as part of its Bentley Black Specification.
Knowing that its ardent racing enthusiast clientele would want to own a commemorative example of this record-breaking Bentayga, Bentley has created a Limited Edition model handcrafted by its in-house Mulliner bespoke and coachbuilding division. The Pikes Peak Bentayga is now available as “an homage to the achievements of the Bentayga W12 on the mountain,” said Bentley in a press release.
Of course, the same Radium Satin paint is available, but Beluga black can also be had as an alternative for those wanting a darker, more menacing look. Additionally, an eye-catching set of totally unique 22-inch alloys feature two-tone Beluga coated spokes with Radium painted pockets, while Bentley’s Black Specification is once again part of the package, with all components normally finished in chrome done out in gloss black, plus the splitter, side skirts, diffuser and rear spoiler made from visible carbon fibre weave. The exterior is capped off by a tastefully penned Pikes Peak nomenclature below a subtle mountain outline on the front fenders.
Inside, the Pikes Peak Bentayga features a Mulliner Design Colour Split that combines Beluga black leather with Key Lime accents, while the seat and door inserts are covered in grippy suede-like Alcantara for a rich look and feel. The headliner is made from a “technical Eliade cloth,” says Bentley, while a lime green outline of the Pikes Peak track, along with elevation increments and the specific example’s number plaque, gets applied to the carbon fibre dash inlay ahead of the front passenger. Lastly, Mulliner adds a set of numbered Pikes Peak treadplates to the doorsills, reminding the special SUV’s owner of the celebratory event each time they cross the threshold.
Just like the Pikes Peak Bentayga that took to the track, the production version includes Bentley’s 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 under the hood, while the adaptive air suspension and 48-volt electric active anti-roll control system, a world’s first that gets named Bentley Dynamic Ride, comes as part of the package too. Finally, Mulliner adds a Bentayga Sports Exhaust system and a Touring Specification pack, making this special edition almost as formidable as the record-winning race-spec version.
To find out more about the Pikes Peak Bentayga, or a more readily available Bentayga SUV, contact your local Bentley retailer.
With 2017 coming to a close, we’re taking a look at some of the year’s more intriguing concepts, with a sharper focus on those that have a better chance of being produced than the whimsical dream…
With 2017 coming to a close, we’re taking a look at some of the year’s more intriguing concepts, with a sharper focus on those that have a better chance of being produced than the whimsical dream cars that more often than not fill the front pages of buff magazines.
Infiniti’s Project Black S fits that bill to a T. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s based on a car already in existence, the beautiful and formidable Q60 Red Sport 400.
The Project Black S first hit the stage at the 2017 Geneva auto show earlier this year, with a matte grey paint job plus stunning gloss black and yellow highlights that paid homage to the Renault Sport Formula One team.
F1 fans will know that Infiniti is a Renault Sport Formula One team sponsor, its branding prominently displayed on each side of the race car’s cowl induction unit (the big air scoop above the driver’s head—in Renault’s case Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr.). Along with sponsorship, Infiniti also confirms it contributes “knowledge in hybrid technology and additional engineering resources” to the Renault Sport Formula One initiative.
Readers well versed in the automotive industry will also know that Infiniti is the luxury division of Nissan, and that Nissan is part of a three-brand Franco-Japanese strategic partnership known as the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance (Renault–Nissan having purchased a controlling stake in Mitsubishi last year), this group responsible for one out of every 10 cars sold worldwide.
With that backgrounder out of the way, the Renault Sport Formula One-inspired Infiniti Project Black S makes a great deal of sense, especially after appreciating just how much F1 technology gets infused within this proposed road car’s power unit.
“Power unit” is the appropriate term, because the direct-injected and twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 borrowed from Infiniti’s Q50 and Q60 Red Sport 400 models gets an electrified power boost that goes beyond any hybrid ever seen on public roads, unless we’re talking single weekends each year in Sochi, Monte Carlo, Montreal (between the Pavillon du Canada and the Cosmos Bridge), Baku, and Singapore—street races on the F1 calendar.
“Infiniti is leading the way with innovative new powertrain technology for consumers, such as the award-winning 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine, and VC-Turbo, the world’s first production-ready variable compression ratio engine,” said Francois Bancon, Vice President, Global Product Strategy, Infiniti. “With Project Black S, we are looking at how a unique performance hybrid energy recovery system could be adapted from Formula One for use on the road.”
Certainly the Q50 Hybrid and Q70 Hybrid sedans offer a considerable performance advantage over their base counterparts, thanks to 360 net-horsepower from a 3.5-litre V6 and 50kW electric motor combination, but the Project Black S not only utilizes the much more advanced VR30DDTT engine noted above, its “instant, significant, lag-free acceleration” comes via a dual-hybrid heat energy recovery technology unique to Formula One, increasing the Red Sport 400’s peak output by 25 percent to a whopping 500 horsepower.
Breaking down the tech, most hybrid cars, like the Q50 Hybrid and Q70 Hybrid, utilize some form of regenerative braking system, which redirects kinetic energy from brake friction to a battery normally used for running ancillary features. This is similar to a Formula One car’s MGU-K unit, MGU standing for motor generator unit, and K for kinetic. The Renault Sport Formula One car’s MGU-K unit regenerates kinetic energy from braking and feeds it into a high-rate discharge lithium-ion battery used in turn to spin the engine’s crankshaft and exhaust turbocharger’s turbine blades quicker, resulting in more power. The second part of an F1 car’s dual-hybrid system is an MGU-H unit that harvests “heat” energy from exhaust gases to do the same thing as the MGU-K, more or less doubling the energy fed into the battery and subsequently the crank and twin turbines.
The MGU-H is much lauded by forward thinking tech devotees albeit somewhat loathed by F1 fans, as it’s a common cause of power unit failures. Of course, the Project Black S road car’s internal combustion engine is nearly twice the size of the F1 car’s 1.6-litre V6, while it’s certainly not asked to rev to 15,000 rpm in order to make upwards of 870 horsepower, so therefore it’s nowhere near as stressed and should theoretically be easier to achieve reliability.
This said the MGU-H has never been used in a production car before, and therefore if Infiniti were to build something along the lines of the Project Black S it would be an industry first. That F1 rivals Mercedes and Ferrari haven’t done so already is testament to the difficulty of the task, but considering that the ERS’ (energy recovery system’s) raison d’être in F1 is a form of road car relevance, necessary to attract big name engine builders like the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance (and Infiniti), integrating the MGU-H portion of the equation into a production vehicle is not only fitting, but important.
As part of the Renault Sport Formula One team’s motorsport technology transference, Project Black S also sheds curb weight from extensive use of carbon-fibre, which is nothing new to both motorsport and performance road cars. F1 cars are mostly made from advanced composite materials, whereas the Project Black S uses carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) for its large reshaped front splitter, rear diffuser, fenders and side skirts, “while ultra-thin aero ‘blades’ in the side sills ahead of the rear wheels channel air around the lower body of the car.” The sizeable rear wing, designed to increase rear downforce at speed, is also made from CFRP.
There’s function to all the new forms too. The large frontal air intakes effectively channel cooling air into the engine compartment and onto the brakes, while new hood vents allow heat to escape. The Project Black S’ rear body panels are shaped to allow circulating air to flow away from the car as quickly and efficiently as possible, enhanced by vertical aero foils as well as the aforementioned rear wing.
Along with all the lightweight CFRP components, a set of forged 21-inch aluminum wheels also reduces weight while providing a larger contact patch to improve mechanical grip from wider, lower profile performance tires. Additionally, modified chassis settings improve high-speed stability and overall handling, while a high-performance titanium twin exhaust system increases flow and reduces yet more weight. These items, plus all of its tastefully applied aero elements penned by Infiniti’s Paddington studio in London, England, combined with the already beautiful new Q60 sports coupe, have resulted in a sensational looking road-going prospect.
“Project Black S is a daring and elevated representation of Infiniti’s performance DNA,” said Alfonso Albaisa, Executive Design Director, Infiniti. “It expresses our desire to create cars that are designed to perform, marrying the potency of a high-performance powertrain with a muscular new design. This project has given us the opportunity to experiment with advanced materials to create a performance-inspired aesthetic that draws on Infiniti’s motorsport ties through the Alliance.”
Despite rolling on a modified Q60 Red Sport 400, Project Black S seemed more concept than reality when unveiled at Geneva in March, but when reintroduced at the Montreal Grand Prix in June, together with exclusive F1 tire supplier Pirelli, which came on as a new Project Black S partner responsible for supplying specially designed and constructed bespoke performance tires, its road-going prospects brightened.
Pirelli announced its intention of supplying the Project Black S with a unique set of P Zero performance tires, from the brand’s F1-inspired Coloured Edition. F1 uses bright colour markings on its tire sidewalls in order to let fans and FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) marshals (the sport’s governing body) know which tires they’re running (tire use is regulated during each race), the 2018 “Pirelli Rainbow” tire lineup including Super hard (orange), Hard (light blue), Medium (white), Soft (yellow), Supersoft (red), Ultrasoft (purple), Hypersoft (pastel pink), Intermediate (green – used for light rain), Wet (blue – used for heavier rain), and now Pirelli has capitalized on this by offering road car customers hundreds of tire colour options to match their vehicles.
“We are very excited about our ‘Project Black S’ and the work we are doing with Renault Sport Formula One Team on performance hybrid technology,” said Tommaso Volpe, Director of Infiniti Global Motorsport. “Having another key Formula One player involved is proof of the interest it generates and will add even more focus on performance delivery. As we explore the feasibility of ‘Project Black S,’ Pirelli’s input and knowledge – both motorsport and automotive – will be invaluable. We couldn’t be happier to have them onboard.”
To be clear, Project Black S has been touted as a possible production car from its onset, with the initial Geneva press release stating the car “explores the potential for a new Infiniti performance grade” that Infiniti hoped would help “gauge potential interest in high-performance derivatives of Infiniti cars.”
“We were fascinated with ‘Project Black S’ since Infiniti unveiled it at the Geneva motor show earlier this year,” added Paul Hembery, Motorsport Director for Pirelli. “We simply had to get involved. ‘Project Black S’ is the ultimate expression of innovation and cutting-edge technology transfer, which is in our DNA, so we couldn’t let this opportunity go by. We are thrilled to be a part of it and to support Infiniti on this project.”
Does this mean a Project Black S-like Infiniti Q60 is destined for future production? Let’s say a dual-hybrid KERS motivated road car is more likely than the GT-R-powered Eau Rouge, which came too close to treading on Godzilla’s tracks. As it is, racing (and hopefully one day winning) on Sunday and selling on Monday is right up Infiniti’s alley, and no doubt Renault–Nissan would love to recoup some of the substantial F1 investment more directly than the global brand recognition it’s currently receiving. Only time will tell if a production version is imminent, but either way the Infiniti Q60 Project Black S is a concept car with a very interesting ongoing story.
For more, check out the gallery above, as well as the following video of its Geneva motor show introduction by Roland Krueger, President Infiniti Motor Company, and Jérôme Stoll, President Renault Sport Racing: