• ‘17 JAG F-TYPE SVR: KITTY KITTY BANG BANG!

    It’s the latest supercharged cat from Jaguar, with a tiger under its alloy bonnet and an explosive snarl from its quad exhaust. Meet the F-TYPE SVR, which lives up to Jaguar’s claim of being the “lightest, quickest, most powerful” member of its line.The F-Type SVR’s supercharged 5-liter V-8 serves up 575-horsepower and 516-pound-feet of torque after and hooked to a recalibrated, fast-responding 8-speed ZF Quickshift transmission. Its Dynamic Mode gives it sharper throttle response with quicker shifting, staying in a lower gear for instant power on demand.

    Power is available at throttle tip-in, getting to the ground via on-demand all-wheel drive. That meant our 7,000-mile-old Jag pinned us in our seats en route to 60-mph in 3.3 seconds, and 100-mph in 7.8 seconds. All four tires grabbed and went, with no wheelspin, as the quad exhaust wailed a seductive battle cry. The gearbox executed neat, fast downshifts with a throttle blip before each in Dynamic mode.

    The Active Exhaust gave the sound exiting that sleek tail a sharper edge under power, and a loud and very addictive POP-pop-snarl overrun on deceleration. I loved it, as did most of my friends. But don’t try to sneak home with Active exhaust turned on, or even off – it rumbles and crackles even when off. Auto stop/start works on all settings, helping net an average 19-mpg.

    The F-Type also has adaptive dynamics, torque vectoring and dynamic stability control, with an upgraded chassis, new dampers and anti-roll bars, wider tires on lightweight 20-inch forged wheels and new, stiffer rear suspension knuckles. Add in forged aluminum double wishbone suspension up front and multilink in back with adaptive damping that reads the car’s body motion, roll and pitch to firm up or soften as needed.

    The result was a firm but comfortable ride in normal mode; the coupe quiet and supple at speed except for some tire noise. In Dynamic mode, the ride got very firm but surprisingly forgiving, each bump quickly handled, rebound at full compression nicely buffered. The SVR really carved its way into curves, both ends grabbing and going with super tight control. Power out of a turn in Dynamic, which backs off stability control, and some playful rear-wheel-drive tendencies would appear as the rear Pirellis came out a bit.

    On our skid pad, there was initial understeer. Then with a touch of power, the rears would work in a bit and grab. Engineers worked on the rear electronic active differential to make sure there was good torque distribution between the front and rear axles, and across the rear wheels. The result – a lithe 3,455-pound coupe with catlike reflexes in high-speed twisty bits and an admirably flat line around fast sweeping turns. The G-force meter’s data log showing it pulling a super-grippy 1.11 Gs in turns, and .89 Gs on launch.

    The electric power-assisted steering was scalpel sharp, no play dead-center, with a very direct feel. And with the huge (15.6-inch front/15-inch rear) cross-drilled carbon ceramic matrix disc brakes with six and four-piston monobloc calipers, the Jag stopped clean and straight from any speed, no brake squeak or noise. Hard repeated use on the street saw no fade at all.

    Since Jaguar’s birth in 1934, 2-seat coupes and roadsters have been its most memorable cars, like the 1960s E-Type. Then in 2013, there was its spiritual descendant – the F-Type. Jag’s Special Vehicle division went to work, and the F-TYPE SVR was born.

    If the base F-Type is sleek, the SVR is slick and even a bit evil looking, with hints of classic E-Type in the long hood, fastback rear roofline and rounded flanks. Its short front and shorter rear overhangs live on a relatively long (103.2-in.) wheelbase. But the SVR redesign adds 1.5 inches in width, while all the carbon fiber and carbon ceramic brakes subtract 110 pounds. 
The snarling cat’s face emblem lives on a gloss black grille. There’s a wider lower intake with carbon fiber air dams for reduced drag and added engine cooling.

    More SVR touches include carbon fiber bonnet vents so hot air can exit from the supercharged V-8 and slit side vents inside the wheel arches to smooth side airflow and reduce front lift. The front bumper was extended outward over aggressive low-profile P265/35ZR20-inch Pirelli P-ZERO rubber to also aid airflow. They roll on lighter 10-spoke satin alloy and black wheels framing those huge cross-drilled carbon ceramic disc brakes with yellow Jaguar-badged calipers. The side mirrors behind thin A-pillars are carbon fiber too.

    The rear fenders flare wide over meatier P305/30ZR20-inch rubber before wrapping around the short tail. There is where slit LED taillights with cat’s eyes mimic the classic E-Type. The roof panel is more glossy carbon fiber weave, part of a low roofline that flows down a small fastback rear window. The tail is capped by a huge carbon fiber rear wing that rises at 70 mph to help reduce lift by 15 percent, according to Jaguar. The sculpted gloss lower aero piece has a carbon fiber diffuser to aid underbody aero control.

    The cockpit is tailor-made for two, amped up with more carbon fiber, special leather and soft suede done in black with red seat belts. Driver and passenger have to duck to get under the low roof and over aggressive side bolsters of 14-way power bucket seats done in Jet leather with quilt pattern. Tap the black start button in the center console and the engine barks to life. The thick-rimmed leather and suede steering wheel has power tilt and telescope plus aluminum shift paddles behind it. It frames a straightforward gauge package under a double-curved suede cowl, with 210-mph speedometer and an 8,000-rpm tach redlined at 6,800 rpm.

    A color LCD screen in between offers trip computer with radio, time, outside temperature, digital speedometer and gearshift position. The wide center console’s carbon fiber face frames a color touch screen for navigation, audio, climate control, parking sensors, backup camera with cross-traffic detection and phone. It also displays performance gauges – engine/transmission/steering/suspension setup and a stopwatch/gas and brake force/4-way G-force. But no voice command for stereo and navigation, and simple things like vent position and radio station scanning require going into their menus.

    A base rear-wheel-drive Jaguar F-Type with 340-horsepower V-6 starts at $61,400 for the coupe and $65,400 for the convertible. But you basically double that for our 575-horsepower, all-wheel-drive SVR – $125,950, with the convertible version starting at $128,800. But that price includes everything we’ve mentioned here, including all the carbon fiber and carbon ceramic brakes, for a final price of $126,945 with destination.

    “Scratch the price,” says Scanlan. The Jaguar F-Type SVR is a dynamic sports car with all the right moves, enveloped in a sexy and aggressive body with the right pieces of carbon fiber.
    And that sound!

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  • Ford GT supercar production begins

    The first road-going version of the all-new 2017 Ford GT has rolled off the assembly line in Ontario, US.

    “When we kicked off 2016, we had two primary objectives for our Ford GT supercar – to excel at Le Mans, and to start deliveries before year-end,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, global product development, and chief technical officer. “We’ve achieved both.”

    “The all-new Ford GT is a showcase of our strength in innovation and our commitment to delivering more for our customers – especially related to lightweight materials, aerodynamics and EcoBoost engine technologies.”

    First Ford GT supercar

    Originally unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2015, Ford Performance is now delivering the first cars to lucky customers around the globe, just in time for Christmas.

    The race version won in its class in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2016, living up to the iconic car that inspired its design, the GT40, which ruled the famed French circuit from 1966 to 1969.

    The 2017 road-going Ford GT is powered by a 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6, which is said to produce some 595bhp.

    Global production will be limited to 250 units per year, though Ford received more than 6,000 applications for the first 500.

    Ford hasn’t confirmed the new GT’s price tag yet, but it’s believed to be around the £350,000 mark

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  • The Origin of the Chain

    Humanity is so familiar with chains – we see them and use them in hundreds of applications throughout our lives – that it may come as a surprise to find that they are a relatively recent invention.

    The word “chain” itself is a derivation of an ancient Indo-European word and the earliest known use of a metal chain is that of a well-bucket chain made from linked metal rings back in 225BCE. The use of chains developed alongside humanity’s growing expertise in metalworking and these early chains would have been prized for their vastly superior resistance and longevity compared to the ropes made from animal skins and plant fibres.

    Nowadays our industries still make use of chains, although they’ve evolved somewhat! There are heavy duty chains capable of withstanding caustic and abrasive environments, as well as temperatures of up to 530C, such as the chains used in lime production. A far cry indeed from a hessian rope!

    Da Vinci’s ideas

    Back in the 16th century, genius inventor Leonardo da Vinci made several sketches and plans for what seem to be the first steel chains. These chains appear to have been designed for a pulling application rather than a wrapping application because they have plates and pins only, as well as metal fittings. The sketch does reveal a roller bearing ensemble as well, though, and it’s not dissimilar to bearings used today!

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    As was often the case with the Italian genius, da Vinci found his ideas were way ahead of their time. The technology to realise and produce the concept was limited by the restrictions on the production and processing of steel itself. Thankfully, innovations in the 19th century made steel manufacture and processing easier and more sophisticated so that it was possible to make chains and bearings much more accurately and uniformly. In 1832, a French inventor called Gull was awarded a patent to make a chain similar to a modern-day bicycle chain and the so-called Gull chain is still used today in hanging and suspension applications.

    Chains take off

    With the invention of the moulded chain in the 19th century, chain technology started to advance more rapidly. Next in line was the cast-detachable chain, made from cast links that are identical in shape and dimension. Then came the pintle chain, which features a separate pin. Both types of chain, cast-detachable and pintle, have been refined and improved over the decades, as you no doubt imagine and they are still in use today in some industries. They are gradually being replaced, however, mainly by large pitch steel conveyor chains.

    By the late 19th century, the bushing came along to change the chain industry further. Chains that featured bushings had much greater resistance to wear then the Gull chains because the bushings provided a bearing to protect the pin. This is when chains really started to develop and to be used in more and more industries and applications. Steel bushing chains were used in bicycles, as well as in the rear-wheel drive of early cars and even in the propeller drive of the Wright Brothers’ 1903 aeroplane.

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  • Lewis says what we’re all thinking (saying)

    Most, but not all of us, have been saying this for the better part of seven years now and it’s never taken root in the decision making in Formula 1 because, in my mind, of two reasons.

    Less aero which should beget less aero wake and more mechanical grip for more overtaking. At least that’s our consistent refrain. After all these years, the sport has not changed the levels we feel is needed to achieve this.

    With all deference to F1, they have reduced some aero but not enough because teams continually claw back much of the lost aero through crafty interpretation of the regulations.

    Reason One

    Aerodynamics is the least expensive way to claw serious time out of an F1 car. Sure, it’s expensive but not as expensive as other more radical means like an all-new hybrid engine development program or changing wheel size and drastically altering the entire chassis design. Before you heap scorn on me, I’ve spoken with a few key engineers in the sport who have told me this, I’m not making it up so it isn’t just my silly hunch here.

    Reason Two

    Teams know that big gains can be made through magical interpretation of the regulation via aero tricks when the FIA makes big changes to the technical regulations. They still recall 2009 when Brawn GP showed up with a dual diffuser and rubbed everyone’s nose in the dirt over a relatively inexpensive stroke of genius. They also don’t want to eliminate their current performance advantages or mothball their enormous wind tunnels they spent millions on.

    Reason Lewis

    Leave it to our friend Lewis Hamilton to say what other drivers won’t and certainly team boss won’t or can’t.

    “There’s been a lot of talk about the rules and whether the drivers should be more involved in decision making,” Hamilton said. “It’s not our job to come up with ideas and we all have different opinions anyway.

    “But personally, I think we need more mechanical grip and less aero wake coming off the back of the cars so we can get close and overtake. Give us five seconds’ worth of lap time from aero and nothing will change – we’ll just be driving faster.

    “I speak as somebody who loves this sport and loves racing. I don’t have all the answers – but I know that the changes we’re making won’t deliver better racing.”

    Good on him I say! It’s great Lewis has the brand equity at this stage in his career to call it out when it needs calling out.

    It’s not a popular opinion and I know this but it may be one of the biggest ways to get F1 back on track and fans reinvigorated again.

    We’ve done the hybrid sustainable thing and the gimmicky baubles like HD Tires and DRS so let’s try something different for the next 4 or 5 years. What do ya say? It couldn’t be any worse could it? On second thought, don’t answer that.

    Hat Tip: Sky Sports F1

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  • Lamborghini Sesto Elemento – Super Cool Concept Car!

    Showcasing pictures and videos of the super cool concept car, the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento. Revealed at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, this Lambo is known as the Sixth Element Concept in English, the concept will boast advanced carbon-fibre construction technology which allows for a total curb weight of 999kg. Estimated cost is a cool $3.44 million

    This concept signals Lambo’s intention to withdraw from the Top Speed War which the world’s supercar makers have been embroiled in for some time, and instead focus on something much more doable – power-to-weight.

    As such, this Sesto Elemento gets the Gallardo’s 5.2-litre V10 wrung out to 562bhp, but sits on a carbon-fibre body weighing a paltry 999kgs, meaning rocket-powered performance in a go-kart shell. 0-62mph is sliced in just 2.5 seconds, which, as you’ve guessed, is the same as a friggin’ Veyron. Top speed is ‘over 186mph’.

    But, says Lambo, “what the figures cannot convey is the Sesto Elemento’s razor-sharp handling, voracious turn-in and huge braking power”. An understanding of basic physics will tell you this is right. So, so Right.

    Lamborghini Sesto Elemento Videos
    Here’s some cool videos of the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento at the Paris 2010 Motor Show

    Lamborghini Sesto Elemento Engine
    5.2-litre V10 engine from the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera which sports 419kW with permanent all-wheel-drive. Because of the overall weight of under one tonne, the 0-100km/h time amounts to 2.5 seconds where the top speed is 300km/h.

    The Sesto element Concept from Lamborghini is meant to represent the sixth element in the periodic table and that is occupied by the element carbon. The total weight of the concept is 999 kg which translates into a healthy 2,202 lb. This weight is inclusive of the engine unit which is a V10 and also the all wheel drive transmission. The V10 delivers 570 hp and accelerates the car from 0 to 100 kmph in just 2.5 seconds which is the same for the Gallardo Superleggera. The top speed of the concept is well over 300 kmph or 200 mph.

    The car is supposed to have perfect aerodynamics as per the cars maker. The ribs up front, two of them which helps to improve the stiffness of the component as well as in guiding the cool air directly to the radiator which is located behind them and to the brakes as well. Right beneath the front windscreen there are two red color triangular shaped openings. It is through these openings that the cool air is flowing.

    For the rims it is made up of complete carbon fiber and incorporates a five spoke design. The interior of the car is also done up to a very minimal standard. Ergonomics has been attended to in the design of the steering wheel which can be adjusted both for height and reach. The pedals also can be adjusted longitudinally. There are just three switches embedded in the central console. These are piezoelectric ones and are to start the engine, throw the car into reveres gear and the third to switch on the lights.

    The president and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, Stephan Winkelmann had this to say of the Sesto Elemento: “The Lamborghini Sesto Elemento shows how the future of the super sports car can look – extreme lightweight engineering, combined with extreme performance results in extreme driving fun. We put all of our technological competence into one stunning form to create the Sesto Elemento.

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