Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Formula E Cars Zaps Onto Real Racing 3

Photo Credit: Screenshot Via Real Racing 3/EA

In an ironic move, cars introduced to the Real Racing 3 app share a power source similar to that maintained in electronic devices running the popular game. As the holiday season started, the developers behind Real Racing 3 announced access to updated content made possible through a new partnership in the motorsport world. For the first time on the app, the all-electric race vehicles belonging to the FIA Formula E championship can now be wheeled by an accelerometer and touchscreen pad.

The addition of FIA Formula E comprises of three race vehicles as well as the introduction of a new Hong Kong street course. Digital representations of the 2016/2017 Formula E championship batter-powered race cars are based on the SRT_01E vehicle created by a collaborative effort of companies including Spark Racing Technology, Renault and Dallara. For Real Racing 3, cars included is the Renault e.dams team's Z.E.16, NextEV NIO's TCR Formula 002 and as well as ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport's FE02.



Photo Credit: Screenshot Via Real Racing 3/EA

Started on December 23rd, the Renault Z.E. 16 became the first vehicle made accessible to Real Racing 3 users as part of the 'High Voltage' challenge. A 9-day challenge consisting of a multitude of driving tasks with the race car, winning the competition will reward you the Renault Z.E. 16 Formula E machine for free.

However, transitioning through levels of the High Voltage challenge, players will ultimately be faced with making upgrades to the car with in-game currency. As is the case with other challenges involving new cars on Real Racing 3, you will require a considerable amount of in-game credits to be able to reach the opportunity to win the Formula E car. From my experience, getting past the 3rd day of competition in the High Voltage challenge appears to be a pricey ordeal. Upgrades to the tires & wheels with in-game currency is R$ 66,500 at the first level while an engine enhancement costs R$ 85,000.

Following the conclusion of the High Voltage event, future challenges in Real Racing 3 will provide the opportunity to win the NextEV NIO and ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport race cars. All three Formula E cars will also be purchasable in-game through the career competition with two events available to run at the Master level section. The Renault Z.E. 16 will be the first car offered for purchase on January 2nd.


Photo Credit: Screenshot Via Real Racing 3/EA

Launched in 2013, the Real Racing 3 app has risen to become party to 200 million downloads up to mobile devices. A racing game consisting of competitions based around what is now 171 vehicles, the EA (Electronic Arts) backed motorsports experience features a diverse range of cars. Conventional, affordable sports cars such as a Nissan 350Z is available near the entry-level of the game while increasingly more exotic vehicles will be found deeper into a player's progression (or bank account if willing to make some very deep indulgences into buying in-app currency with real money). Cars such as the Laferrari and McLaren F1 represent exotic choices in the game in addition to concept or race machines. Adding the GTE-Pro vehicles such as the Ford GT and Chevrolet Corvette C7.R earlier this year, Devoting an entire section to NASCAR stock car racing, offering access to LMP1 category sports cars such as the Audi R18 e-tron quattro as well as classic racers such as the Ferrari 375 F1 car,  


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Audi Intends To Scale Up In Detroit With Q8 Concept

Photo Credit: Audi of America

In less than a month, the potential of a new year in the automotive sector will be in full bloom in Detroit. For a longtime a showcase largely reserved for new cars and ideas of the American automakers, growing interests of other brands has elevated the North American International Auto Show into a pinnacle global event. German luxury car maker Audi will be among the world motoring contingent choosing the 2017 edition of the auto show in Detroit to debut their latest vehicle imagery in the form of the Q8 concept.

Previewed in pair of sketches ahead of the 2017 North American International Auto Show, the Audi Q8 concept front and side exterior views reveal a sizable crossover infused with a healthy performance appetite. Featuring a long hood and long flat roof and a wide front version of Audi's Singleframe grille, the Q8 concept vehicle's outer appearance does convey an intentional sport design. Although premiering as a concept in Detroit, there is quite a bit of optimism that the vehicle may be the road-worthy reality.

The front end sketch of the Audi Q8 concept says quite a bit. The octagonal Singleframe is given a broad, aggressive look. It is also at the front where the wheel fender flaring is observed in full effect. As the Q8 concept reaches its cabin area, bodywork encapsulates a large interior space. Four seats will be installed in the show vehicle all providing an equal level of premium comfort.


Photo Credit: Audi of America


As captivating as the concept images are of the Audi Q8, a great deal of focus in Detroit may be on the mechanicals behind the crossover's design. Persistent rumours imply an all-electric powertrain will demonstrate the capacity for competing with the Tesla Model X. From the front end sketch of the Q8 concept, the e-tron badge is apparent on the lower air dam. If the German automaker's plans are for all-electric propulsion, it's fair to point out their attempts to launch into the automotive sector had not gone well so far. The all-electric R8 e-tron ended production before many had known production had even started on the vehicle. A highlight during the 2017 R8 lineup's premiere, the e-tron all-electric model received an unceremoniously short run of under 100 examples.

The physical Audi Q8 concept vehicle will be unveiled at the 2017 North American International Auto Show on January 9th at 8 am eastern time.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Markham's Multimatic Assembles First Production 2017 Ford GT Supercars

Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company

Almost two years since its initial introduction to the public at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Ford GT has enjoyed some busy duties. The supercar propelled by one of the most powerful twin-turbocharged V-6 engines ever placed inside a North American built production car has been in the spotlight even before the first vehicle was handed to its first owner. An auto show darling and driven in virtual form in Forza Motorsport 6, the racing version of the Ford GT became a quick spectacle in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Taking three class victories in the North American sports car racing series in its debut season in 2016, the year was highlighted by the LMGTE Pro category victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With a modern pedigree established, the first production examples of the 2017 Ford GT will work on cementing its status as a road car.  


Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company

Taking place in Markham, Ontario under the guidance of Multimatic (a company with ties to motorsport as well as a supplier auto manufacturers), assembly of the Ford GT is now underway in a new facility created specifically for the car. Ford's executive vice president for Product Development and chief technical officer Raj Nair was present the ring in production for the first 2017 Ford GTs destined for road-going customers. Adding that building street legal Ford GT was the second objective following a successful debut at Le Mans, Nair commented, “For everyone involved in designing and developing this car, including all of our employees and suppliers, this is a moment to celebrate,”

Construction of the 2017 Ford GT recognizes the low-production nature of the high-powered, high-cost exotic car. Each version of the machine is coming together through skillful hands of Multimatic personnel marrying the carbon fiber components, EcoBoost engine and the active aerodynamics into a completed vehicle. Only 250 Ford GTs per year are scheduled to be produced from the Ontario assembly line.

Ford hasn't even announced formal performance or pricing figures on the 2017 Ford GT to the public. While the vehicle is known to be propelled by a high-output, Twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine connected with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the auto company behind the supercar has only officially appraised the horsepower at more than 600 (although some publications have . Speculation of the 2017 Ford GT's pricing has been placed between $400,000 to $450,000 in the United States.    


Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company

Even with the pre-production success of what is a third iteration supercar, the newest Ford GT has big tire tracks to fill. The original benchmark was set by the 1960s Ferrari-fighting Ford GT40 that took three consecutive victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 1966 to 1968. Street legal production versions of the first GT40 models were essentially a means of homologation so it could build a racing dynasty.

In the 2000s, a continuation of the car featured the same basic shape of the pioneering vehicle infused with modern technology. Powered by a supercharged 5.4-liter V-8, just over 4,000 of the second coming of Ford's supercar were built. Constructed between 2004 and 2006, the Ford GT didn't enjoy many milestones on the race track but gains significance in another way. 2005-2006 model year Ford GTs are now hotly contested at major automotive auctions currently selling above the original MSRP. The enthusiasm that has sparked bidding on the previous GT appears to have spread to the new car. When the online order process opened for the first 500 examples of the third generation Ford GT in April, 6,506 completed applications were filled out by potential buyers in one month.

Even before the assembly of a road-going Ford GT started, it was announced that production for the supercar was extended. Sparked by heavy demand, Ford committed to an additional two production years securing the assembly for 500 additional vehicles.




Sunday, December 18, 2016

Alfa Romeo Confirms Canadian Pricing for Giulia Sedan

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy

Since the merger of Fiat Group Automobiles and Chrysler Corporation was announced, the framework for installing a greater dose of Italian content from the former company in the United States and Canada was laid. With Dodge, Chrysler and the Ram brand all heavily driven by Fiat's European influence heading into the 2017 model year, the door had also opened to a pair of brands that returned following meager presence on Canadian roads for years. The Fiat 500 that arrived in late 2010 brought one of the world's oldest running automobile brands back and has been reinforced by added models including the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider. In 2014, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles gave Alfa Romeo a new chance to shine again in upper part of North America (the brand had already been present in Mexico in recent years). Following the arrival of the 4C sports car and the 4C Spider that came in 2015, the Alfa Romeo name is prepared to adorn a new sedan for 2017.

A new vehicle on a global scale, the Alfa Romeo Giulia stands as a premium performance sedan boasting available all-wheel drive, an exterior and interior exploring athletic stance as well as potent turbocharged powerplants. The Giulia is assembled as Alfa Romeo's first four-door sold in Canada after a roughly 22-year absence. Naturally a more sophisticated vehicle in technology and design than the Alfa Romeo 164 sedan, the newest Italian sport sedan will be equipped with standard heated leather seats, Formula 1-styled steering wheel, 6.5-inch infotainment screen, bi-xenon headlight with LED daytime running lights and a stature promoted by a near 50/50 weight balance for optimized handling.


Photo Credit: FCA US LLC



In preparations for the early 2017 release of the Alfa Romeo, the Italian-built sedan's pricing information for the Canadian market presents the vehicle entering within premium company. The base 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia equipped with a 280-horsepower, turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-liter engine will start at $48,995. The amount for the Giulia is slightly less than the 2016 Cadillac CTS 2.0t but less than an all-wheel drive version of the 300-horsepower Infiniti Q50. Upgrading to all-wheel drive on the 2017 Giulia can be accomplished through an additional $2,000. The all-wheel drive option is also available on the Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti sedan featuring greater luxury content at a $50,995 trim level starting price. Expanded equipment items included on the 2017 Giulia Ti includes 18-inch wheels, front park sensors and real wood accents in the cabin area.

Advertised as the performance pinnacle for the new sedan is the Giulia Quadrifoglio. Fitted with a 505-horsepower 2.9-liter bi-turbo V-6 engine, this high-performance sedan boasts 0 to 60-mile per hour (0 to 96.5 kilometer per hour) acceleration in just 3.8 seconds helping to make the car Alfa Romeo's fastest four-door ever produced. The high-powered Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio will sell for a starting price of $87,995 in Canada equipped with auto racing inspired Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes, carbon fiber Sparco racing seats upholstered with leather and Alcantara, torque vectoring differential as well as a 300-kilometer per hour speedometer.

Although the premium pricing of the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia may not be a massive obstacle for the vehicle, another factor may play a role in exclusivity for the Italian sedan. Currently in Canada, there is only 7 authorized Alfa Romeo dealerships listed situated in the provinces of Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Honda’s Secret 30th Anniversary In Indy Car Racing

Photo Credit: Engine Developments Ltd.



Too many times, forgetting an anniversary would end with someone spending time in the proverbial doghouse. This has apparently happened this year as the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season concluded with no major celebrations or recognition for what is 30 years since a major current partner of American open wheel racing began participation in the sport. The following article is a collection of the details I’ve learned as well as some insight from engine builder John Judd on what was a quiet 30th anniversary in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

During the week where the 30th running of the Canadian street race now known as the Honda Indy Toronto, I was compelled to capture the flavour of the inaugural event. The viewing experience provided me some insight into a period of time where I was too young to absorb auto racing in the manner I do today. A race that featured television coverage with no regular onscreen statistics, the league used a local yellow flag to retrieve a crashed car driven by the senior Jacques Villeneuve (known today as Uncle Jacques) and the win of Bobby Rahal, the 1986 event also included a spectacle that surprised me. On the engine cover of the Valvoline-sponsored Galles Racing race car driven by Geoff Brabham, I observed Honda branding on the engine cowling.

Since I was born in the 1980s and was not an avid follower of auto racing until the 1990s, I was surprised by to learn about the appearance of the Japanese automaker on the track ahead of their 1990s appearance with Rahal Hogan Racing. Honda’s acknowledged involvement with IndyCar racing reflects on a debut during the 1994 CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) PPG Indy Car World Series season. This history is acknowledged as official since it marks Honda Performance Development’s entrance. However, for what was less than a two-year stint in the 1980s.  Honda was represented in American open wheel racing through an unusual manner. In fact, first chapter to the black sheep existence what would be the Brabham Honda engine was practically challenged from the start.


Photo Credit: Team Valvoline Press Kit



Consulting the British company Engine Developments Ltd. founded by John Judd and Jack Brabham, the Japanese automaker commissioned the construction of the Indy car power unit after previously successful Formula 2 program participation. In 1979, the race engine developer and Honda partnered to create a 2.0-liter V-6 engine for F2 competition combined with a Ralt chassis. The combination went on to collect multiple championships in the early 1980s. “After working with Honda on their V6 F2 engine 1979 to 1982 we were asked to participate in their plans for an Indy engine” commented Judd. Switching engineering focus from a Formula 2's naturally-aspirated V-6 to an ultra-exotic Indy car’s turbocharged V-8 engine could have been a tricky proposition. However, previous experience working the Cosworth DFX powerplants gave Engine Developments a leg-up in the creation of a Honda-supported effort.

By the end of 1985, Judd and Engine Developments crafted a turbocharged 2.642-liter, eight-cylinder race engine but lost an important backer. Before the powerplant could turn a competitive lap, Honda was no longer officially involved in the program. Despite this, the ignition and fuel delivery system employed on the engine was credited to Honda. “Honda decided to cancel the Indy project around 1985 but kindly allowed us to keep what we had already done and to develop the engine ourselves so we were free to sign up as many customers as we could find.” John Judd remembered as the door was still open for the Brabham Honda engine to race in 1986. Contending in a CART PPG Indy Car World Series with grids dominated by Cosworth engines, one team decided to take a chance on the Brabham Honda powerplant.


Photo Credit: Engine Development Ltd.


In the middle of the 1986 season, the #8 Valvoline-supported Galles Racing race car driven by Geoff Brabham would debut the new engine. The Brabham Honda powerplant started 10th at the Portland International Raceway but showed promise in its premiere. In fact, if not for a spark plug tip, Brabham may have been in position to win. A 7th place result at Portland was nonetheless an impressive maiden voyage.

Later in the 1986 CART PPG Indy Car World Series, a season-best run came in the 500-mile high-speed endurance race at the Michigan International Speedway. A race considered a torture test on race cars and engines, the Brabham Honda powerplant propelling the Valvoline machine ended the race in fourth place despite being involved in a late crash. Though the car started in 28th place, the Valvoline #8 car climbed mythically. One key trait exposed on the Brabham Honda engine was a fuel mileage advantage on the Cosworths in the field.    

Although Portland and Michigan were high points to the 1986 debut of the program, the Brabham Honda engine would not enjoy too many additional successful runs tainted by performance issues in addition to an uncompetitive Lola chassis used by Galles Racing. In the remaining six races on the CART PPG Indy Car World Series schedule, a Cosworth engine powered Brabham’s Valvoline race car instead of the Brabham Honda.


Photo Credit: Indianapolis Motor Speedway



Fully committed to the Brabham Honda engine for the 1987 Indy car season and now running a March chassis, Rick Galles’ team with driver Geoff Brabham scored an 8th place in the second event at Phoenix International Raceway. 1987 would also be the debut of the Judd-developed Brabham Honda engine at the Indianapolis 500. Alongside regular driver Geoff Brabham at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a second Galles Racing entry powered by the Brabham Honda engine was placed in the 1987 Indy 500 driven by Jeff MacPherson. The American MacPherson started in 12th pla
ce while Brabham was in the middle of the fifth row in 14th place. While Geoff Brabham’s vehicle dropped out of the 500-mile with an oil pressure issue, Jeff MacPherson’s #11 car remained in competition finishing in 8th place 12 lap behind winner Al Unser. The Brabham Honda powered car was the only non-Cosworth propelled vehicle to cross the finish line at the 1987 edition of the Indy 500. While it would be the first time Honda would be connected to powering race cars at the Brickyard, neither the race car of Brabham nor MacPherson prominently featured the ‘H’ symbol and was marked with “Honda West” wording.





Later in 1987, the Brabham Honda engine posted two runner-up finishes in Pocono and at Elkhart Lake’s Road America. A final podium was obtained in Miami’s Tamiami Park with a third place finish by Brabham. The podium in Miami would be the last accolade for the Brabham Honda name. “By 1988 we were supplying engines for F1 and F3000 under the Judd brand so we had also switched the Indy branding to Judd by that time, of course with Honda's agreement,” John Judd recollects. The Judd AV V-8 engine was fielded by Truesports in 1988 where Bobby Rahal piloted it to a Pocono 500 win. The Judd engine originally inspired by Honda’s motivation would continue to be run through to the early 1990s. Engine Development and Honda maintained a relationship beyond Indy Car. “In the background we had still been working with Honda on their F3000 engine which was initially based on our joint Indy engine platform.” said Judd.

The Brabham Honda engine’s status in past Indy car competition will likely remain a rarely mentioned footnote in racing. It’s unofficial status with Honda’s auto racing history presents conflicted observations for how to address the 1980s powerplant’s short run. However, as the unofficial entry towards what is now a great IndyCar presence, could the Brabham Honda era be suited for commemoration as the beginning of the current journey.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Production Begins In Windsor For 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Minivan

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy


Purposed to be the choice family shuttle heading into 2017, the Chrysler Pacifica premiered less than a year ago at North American International Auto Show in Detroit centered on rising the bar for comfort, practicality and advanced technology, Advertised as a vehicle with 40 firsts in the minivan category, the 2017 Pacifica's momentous roll-out is bolstered by remarkable available equipment such as Forward Collision Warning-Plus, hands-free sliding door and liftgate opening, a Stow 'n Vac integrated vacuum supplied RIDGID and a rear seat Uconnect Theater entertainment suite consisting of internet-enabled 10-inch touchscreens that can be used to play built-in games. In addition to innovations made in the name of safety and comfort for the new Chrysler minivan, the Pacifica would be the first Fiat Chrysler Automobiles product sold in North America with a plug-in hybrid powertrain.  

Featuring a modified version of the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine operating on an Atkinson cycle combustion configuration, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid will run short distances on electric battery power. A two-motor electric propulsion layout is fed by the energy stored in a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery providing the minivan with a 33-mile (53-kilometer) driving range. Through a 240-volt charging source, the 2017 Pacifica Hybrid's battery can fully charge in just two hours. In justifying the electric range of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, Head of Passenger Car Brands, Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and Fiat, FCA - North America Tim Kuniskis says, “Minivan drivers travel an average of around 48 kilometres each day, meaning that most Pacifica Hybrid owners will be able to complete their daily activities solely on electric power,”

This past week, the first of its kind plug-in hybrid minivan made a historic final journey in Windsor, Ontario. On December 1st, the first Chrysler Pacifica fitted with the plug-in hybrid powertrain was assembled by the workers at FCA's Windsor Assembly Plant. Under the guidance of 5,900 skilled hands of automotive workers, production commencement of the electrified family mover comes after 33 years of Canadian manufacturing of minivans within the complex. To accommodate the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica and Pacfica Hybrid, FCA invested more than 1 billion Canadian dollars in upgrading the Windsor facility. The construction of the first Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid model in the last month of 2016 appears slightly off the automaker's initial timetable. In the press release for the minivan, the plug-in hybrid version of the Pacifica was slated to arrive in showrooms within the second half of 2016.

In Canada, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid's pricing will start at $56,495. However, the electric/gasoline plug-in hybrid powertrain provides additional savings through the government through provincial credits. A price reduction up to $14,000 is offered through the Ontario Electric Vehicle Incentive Program. Electrified vehicle incentives in the province of Quebec and British Columbia also allow the final price to drop below the $50,000-range.



Friday, December 2, 2016

Canadian Auto Insurance Company Offers New Discount For Vehicles With Automatic Emergency Braking

Photo Credit: Toyota Canada Inc.

Like it or not, the next decade of motoring is embracing a reality where advanced technologies will play a more involved role. While optimistic futurists are hedging bids that full self-driving autonomous will be emerging, a more plausible driving future appears more likely to the supported by sensors, cameras and software in a manner that could make a noticeable effort in reducing collisions. One of the more remarkable technology is an automatic emergency braking system that has gained rapid acceptance as a collision avoidance tool. In what has been a relatively short period of time, this automotive safety advancement's potential of reducing severe accidents can now be a tool for car insurance savings in many parts of Canada through one provider.

Through Aviva Canada Inc., drivers of vehicles equipped with automatic emergency braking are entitled to a discount of 15 percent to relevant auto insurance policies. As Aviva becomes the first automobile insurance company in Canada to offer such a deduction related to vehicles equipped with the accident-preventing feature, Executive Vice President of Broker Distribution for Aviva Canada Jason Storah expressed, "Automatic emergency braking is quickly becoming a key feature in preventing collisions and reducing their severity. This means less repair costs and more importantly, fewer injuries," adding that the applying the crash prevention technology as a method for reducing premium costs is 'simple' logic. All customers under Aviva are eligible for the discount that will bring savings to insurance costs related to collision-related coverage (insurance related to theft and vandalism coverage are excluded from the discount. The Aviva Canada 15 percent discount also has no impact on the provinces operating public auto insurance.

The announcement for the large savings for drivers of applicable vehicles also featured the Vice President of  Toyota Canada Inc. Stephen Beatty in attendance along with media. Toyota is one of many automakers offering variations of automatic emergency braking technology but had pledged to include the system in a majority of Canadian sold vehicles in 2017 as part of their Toyota Safety Sense packages. By 2022, almost every new passenger car sold in the United States will be equipped with automatic emergency braking collision avoidance as a standard feature following a commitment from 20 major auto companies. Although the road safety decision was announced through the United States's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, equal rules should likely reflect by vehicles sold in Canada under the timetable. In Europe, automated emergency braking has been made mandatory equipment on all new commercial trucks and buses

Originally introduced as a slow-down aid when braking is applied, the automatic emergency braking system evolved from the first production brake assist system installed by Mercedes-Benz in 1996 called BAS Plus. Providing added braking force under emergency circumstances, BAS Plus and the various similar system introduced by other automobile manufacturers still needs a drivers to react. Automatic emergency braking operates as an intelligent intervention that uses a combinations of sensors, lasers and/or cameras to judge when the vehicle is in danger of an imminent collision slowing it down even without force applied to the brake pedal.

While the idea of self-driving or fully autonomous vehicles has proven controversial, solutions such as intelligent crash avoidance measures including automatic emergency braking has quickly won popularity. According to a study published by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), automatic emergency braking could reduce rear end collisions by approximately 40 percent.