• 350PS And 470Nm From Ford Focus RS

    350PS, or 345bhp in old money. That’s a lot of power for any road car but when it’s coming from a mid-sized five door hatchback its bordering on the obscene.

    2016 Ford Focus RS (07)

    2016 Ford Focus RS

    It is, if you haven’t already guessed, the output of the 2.3 litre Ecoboost that propels the Ford Focus RS. Despite losing a cylinder and 200cc displacement the new engine pushes out the same grunt as the limited edition RS500 from 2010, backed up by 440Nm of torque (or 470Nm on overboost, which kicks in for 15 second bursts on full throttle).

    No news on the 62mph time or terminal velocity, but suffice to say it’ll be bloody quick thanks to all-wheel drive.

    Ford aren’t messing about. The RS’s only serious rivals in the hot hatch world are the Audi RS3 (367PS for £39k) or the AMG A45 (365PS for £38k), and my gut says the RS will be a better drive than both.

    With the first public sighting at Goodwood this weekend, it looks like the famous RS badge continues to go from strength to strength.

    2016 Ford Focus RS

    Performance & Economy 2016 RS 2009 RS 2010 RS500
    Engine 2.3-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol 2.5-litre 5-cylinder turbocharged petrol 2.5-litre 5-cylinder turbocharged petrol
    Transmission 6-speed manual, front-engined, all-wheel drive 6-speed manual, front-engined, front-wheel drive 6-speed manual, front-engined, front-wheel drive
    Power (PS / bhp) 350 / 345 300 / 295 350 / 345
    Torque (Nm / lb.ft) 440 / 324
    (470 / 346 on overboost)
    440 / 324 460 / 339
    0 – 62 mph (seconds) 4.7 5.9 5.6
    Top Speed (mph) 165 163 165
    CO2 Emissions (g/km) TBA 225 235
    VED Band TBA K L
    Combined Economy (mpg) TBA 30.1 28.5
    Price (OTR) £28,940 £27,925 £35,437

     

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  • INDYCAR: SO YOU WANT TO DRIVE THE INDY 500?

    We’ve suspected this for many years and now it’s official. The Indianapolis 500 is no longer a reasonable aspiration for most racing drivers, blogs Stephen Cox.

    Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) president Doug Boles was kind enough to talk with me briefly at the annual PRI trade show in Indy. I asked him what his plan was to increase the number of entries at the Indianapolis 500. His answer took me by surprise.

    “We grew up falling in love with the sport when you had that number of entries,” Boles said. “A lot of those entries were guys who sat around in December and said, ‘You know what? We’re going to build a car in our garage and we’re going to enter it at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500.’”

    “But first and foremost in my mind is just really safety. I don’t think it makes sense for us to get back to fifty or sixty cars just from a safety standpoint,” Boles continued. “I’d love to see fifty or sixty or seventy cars entering and guys just being able to decide that they have a driver who’s running at Putnamville and we’re going to give him a shot to run at the Speedway. I just don’t think it’s practical anymore.”

    Let that statement sink in. American short track drivers – who routinely filled the field until the 1980s – are now considered unsafe and incapable of running the Indy 500.

    Don’t ever go back to the speedway and expect to find the next A. J. Foyt or Parnelli Jones. There won’t be one. Nor will you ever see another Stan Fox or Rich Vogler claw their way up through the ranks and make it to Indy. For that matter, we’re also unlikely to ever see another Rick Mears or Robby Gordon. Those guys got to Indy through off-road desert racing, not Indycar’s current ladder system. They would likely be considered unsafe at the speedway today.

    Boles countered by saying, “We have the best on-track product that we’ve ever had in the history of the speedway with the last five years. The number of lead changes we have, the number of cars in the field that have a chance of winning it.”

    True, recent events have had a certain NASCAR-green-white-checkered-overtime excitement to them. However, this was not achieved by eliminating drivers of sprint cars, off-road trucks, midgets, late-models or amateur sports cars from the speedway. It was achieved – if indeed, this can be called an “achievement” at all – through regulation.

    More teams are in contention because everyone is forced to use the same spec car. The additional lead changes were artificially created through “push to pass” legislation and turbo boost mandates. Using this logic, even better races could be manufactured by enacting a rule disqualifying anyone who leads two consecutive laps, thus assuring 249 lead changes in every 500!

    The bottom line is this – SCCA drivers are welcome to compete at IMS in the Run Offs. SVRA drivers are welcome to Indy’s vintage event. Short track drivers are welcome to buy tickets and sit in Turn Three.

    But the speedway has no intention of enlarging the field past forty cars and creating space that could be filled by new drivers from other disciplines. That is bad news for thousands of very good racing drivers worldwide. And it is even worse news for the Indianapolis 500 itself, whose relevancy continues to fade.

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  • Our Top 10 Favourite Muscle Cars

    Showcasing what we think are the top 10 coolest muscle cars in the world. Through the ages, people have been attracted the sheer power of muscle cars and here are the 10 best.

    10. 1965 Pontiac GTO
    Possibly the one to start the American muscle car craze, the Goat or 1965 Pontiac Tempest GTO option featured racing car options that remained inspirational long after it was out driven in speed and power.

    From 0-60 in 6.1 seconds was not shabby, but not awe-inspiring considering the next 10 years of muscle cars. Regardless, this muscle car has the chops to make this list just by starting the phenom that has turned car enthusiasts into weekend warriors under the hood.
    9. 1970 Buick ‘GSX’ Stage 1
    A beefy Buick, the Stage 1 ‘GSX’ performance package boasted 360 bhp though testers said it came in at closer to 400 for the bigger valved, better headed and hotter camshafted car.

    This supercar did the quarter mile in 13.38 seconds and came in only two colors – Apollo White or Saturn Yellow.

    8. 1969 Ford Mustang ‘Boss 429’
    The ‘Boss 429’ 1969 Ford Mustang was the costliest non-Shelby Mustang Ford offered at the time.

    The reason came down to the semi-hemi 429 engine that Ford wanted to get into NASCAR. While the car was not built for its screaming starts, it was known for long-haul racing capabilities and smooth handling.

    7. 1970 Plymouth Hemi-Cuda
    The baddest of the 1970 Plymouth Barracudas or Hemi Cudas featured a 425 bhp 426 hemi engine.

    This muscle car boasted a 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds and was known for burning rubber without much prompting. A brute on the road, the Hemi Cuda was made for muscle lovers. The Hemi Cuda came in one engine size, 426, while the other four engine options for the ‘Cuda did not have hemispherical heads.

    6. 1969 Z28 Camaro
    Not the most powerful, the 1969 Z28 Camaro was built for the excitement of road racing and loved for its sense of style and handling capabilities.

    Perhaps one of the most stylish muscle cars, this Camaro could do a quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds though only at a speed of a little more than 100 mph. Despite that obvious lack of raw power, it was noted for its great handling with four-disc brakes, positraction and power steering.

    5. 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 S/C
    Thought to have too much power for its chassis, the 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 S/C featured an impressive 480 bhp.

    This sporty little number looked like a European sports car, yet had the muscle to prove it was American. Two twin turbocharged versions of this super car were made – one for Bill Cosby and one for Shelby. Cosby sold his because it had too much power and the next owner put it in a lake; Shelby’s Super Snake was sold in 2007 for $5.5 million US.

    4. 1968 L88 Corvette
    Boasting a top speed of about 170 mph with a special order package, the 1968 L88 Corvette is thought to be the end-all, be-all in the Corvette world.

    The 550 bhp motor was designed specifically for racing and GM didn’t want the L88 on the open road due to its power. More standard features of everyday cars such as air conditioning and a radio weren’t even offered to make this powerful car less attractive to the common man.

    3. 1970 454 Chevelle SS
    The 1970 Super Sport package Chevelle featuring the LS6 package came in at a whopping 454 horse.

    The option was standard for the average car buyer of the day making it one of the most powerful stock cars anyone could purchase. With racing stripes and a smooth interior, this muscle monger was the average muscle lover’s dream.

    2. 1969 427 COPO Chevelle
    A special order by dealers designated Central Office Production Order, the 1969 427 COPO Chevelle had a limited run of about 320 cars.

    This 450 bhp muscle car was fitted with a L72 427-cid V-8 due to demand from muscle loving Chevy dealers. Interestingly enough, Chevy didn’t want their mid-sizes at the time to have more than 400 cid. But the COPO Chevelles were made and distributed to some very happy dealers.

    1. 1969 ZL1 Camaro
    Perhaps one of the rarest of muscle cars, the 1969 ZL1 Camaro featured a jaw-dropping 500 horses under the hood in an aluminum V-8 engine.

    This bad boy American beast could go from 0-60 in about 5.3 seconds, which was why some of the 69 models made found their way into drag-racing. Over time, the full complement of cars was sold; however, the package option was never offered again.

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  • 8 Ford Cars That We Adore!

    Anyone involved in selling Ford cars anywhere in the world will inevitably be asked on a regular basis “which is the single best Ford ever made?” Suffice to say that with hundreds of incredible models under the brand’s belt, it’s a pretty difficult question to answer with one single Ford model. Instead, you’re more likely to be handed a list of amazing Ford models – most of which you’ll sadly not be able to pick up from pretty much any of today’s dealers. I couldn’t stroll into my local Ford car dealers in Dorset for example and ask for a 1964 Mustang unfortunately…I’d love to, but it isn’t going to happen…although there is one family car on this list below which would be available, see if you can spot it.

    Here is a quick look at eight of the most outstanding Ford cars of all time that are more than worth tracking down, if of course you have the time and money to spare!

    1964/1965 Ford Mustang

    The fact that the 1965 Ford Mustang was essentially a Ford Falcon wearing a pretty dress makes the car’s success to date all the more impressive. It is still debated to this day as to whether the very first Mustang was a 1964 or 1965 model, but according to the VIN, it was in fact a 1965 car.

    Ford GT40

    The original Ford GT 40 was an absolute stunner in its day and was only built to the tune of 135 units. And not only is it incredibly rare, it is considered to be the best racing car of all time.

    Check out the engine sound on this bad boy!

    Ford F-150 SVT Raptor

    An absolute legend of the pickup truck world, each and every year since the introduction of the F-150, Ford has somehow managed to make it even better and an even more impressive success by way of hard sales.

    2015 Ford Torino GT

    A hotly anticipated car that is widely expected to become one of the most highly demanded muscle cars of the last couple of decades at least, the 2015 Ford Torino GT is the perfect example of that elusive combination of ferocious raw power and genuinely outstanding elegance.

    1955 Ford Thunderbird (T-Bird)

    Here’s another classic example of precisely why so many Ford purists find it so unfortunate that the automaker had to change its design aesthetic so much over the years. Quite simply, the 1955 Ford Thunderbird is an absolute stunner in every way. The Ford Thunderbird is also known as the T-Bird…I’ve only just dawned on me that the T-Birds in the movie Grease were named after this car 🙂

    Ford Consul Capri

    Yes, it might be controversial to call this little beauty the coolest and best looking British Ford car ever made, but at the same time there is no denying its unique charm. Those sweeping lines and graceful curves were unlike anything anyone had ever seen before and remain legendary in the eyes of Ford fans even today.

    2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R

    Last but not least, just to show that the guys at Ford still know what they’re doing when it comes to churning out an absolute leviathan, the 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R is quite simply one of the most breathtaking and unstoppable muscle cars ever produced. Guaranteed to tear up the track and wipe up the floor with the competition, to say that pundits are excited about its arrival would be a huge understatement.

    Ford S-Max

    And finally, last but not certainly not least we have a sensible affordable car! Of course it’s not as if you can realistically trade off the Ford S-Max against the examples above in pure style and performance stakes, but when it comes to that tricky balance between good looks and practicality, the Ford S-Max was nonetheless something of a game changer.

    When I had to sell my 2 seater sports car and buy a family car with the birth of our first son back in 2011, the Ford S-Max is the family car we bought…and it’s still going strong today. It’s a very reliable and cool looking family car compared to other MPV’s on the market…it’s very roomy inside and surprisingly quick!

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