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  • 2018 Aston Martin Vantage revealed, packs 510 PS

    The current Aston Martin Vantage has been the backbone of Gaydon’s range, spawning various V8 and V12 variants, numerous special editions and a successful racing programme that has bagged two Le Mans class wins and several World Endurance Championships (WEC). Now, twelve years later, there’s finally a new one, which will help usher Aston Martin into its Second Century plan alongside the larger DB11.

    While the outgoing model was widely considered to be one of the most beautiful cars in the world, there will probably be greater contention with this one. The new car has been given a much more aggressive and sculptural design, clearly incorporating a lot of the design details found on the DB10 – James Bond’s favourite mode of transport in his latest film Spectre.

    The front of the car is dominated by a massive new mesh grille that sits low down and is integrated into the splitter, giving the Vantage a love-it-or-hate-it look. You’ll also find slit-like LED headlights and a clamshell bonnet with a distinct power dome, while larger vents have been cut into the sides to bleed air from under the front wheel arches, reducing lift.

    Classic sports car proportions remain with short overhangs, a long bonnet and a sweeping, low-slung glasshouse, this time without the DB11’s “floating roof.” The tail lights are slim and follow the upright flick of the rear spoiler forming a single line of light that, if controversial, is at least distinctive. That rear spoiler, together with the massive rear diffuser, is said to create a significant amount of downforce.

    Inside, the current car’s elegant flowing lines have been ditched for a more technical design, with controls like the PRND selector buttons, climate control toggles and infotainment system controller all clustered into different zones. The high beltline and lower seating position also provides a more cocooned feel, and Aston claims there are generous storage areas such as dual-tier compartments.

    Other features include a version of Mercedes-Benz’s COMAND Online infotainment system with an eight-inch central display, standard Alcantara upholstery (a full-leather interior is available as an option) as well as beautiful details like the saddle leather door pulls. Open the tailgate and you’ll find 350 litres of cargo space, and you can also fit extra luggage behind the rear seats.

    The new Vantage is on the same bonded aluminium structure as the DB11, but with 70% of its components unique to this car. Measures 4,465 mm long, it’s 284 mm shorter than its sibling and 34 mm shorter than a Porsche 911, making for what Aston says is a more agile car. Dry weight is 1,530 kg.

    Under the bonnet sits a 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 from Mercedes-AMG, but with new engine mounts and a lower-profile wet sump to mount the engine lower in the car. Engineers have also retuned the engine and its intake and exhaust systems to give it a more Aston-like feel and a characteristic gravelly growl.

    The headline figures are 510 PS at 6,000 hp and 685 Nm of torque from 2,000 to 5,000 rpm, sent to the rear wheels via a rear-mounted ZF eight-speed automatic transaxle. As such, the Vantage will blitz the zero-to-100 km/h benchmark in just 3.6 seconds before topping out at 314 km/h.

    Underneath, the new Vantage rides on forged double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, with standard-fit adaptive damping and a solidly-mounted subframe to give a rigid base for the suspension to do its work. There’s also Dynamic Torque Vectoring and, for the first time on an Aston, an electronic locking rear differential (E-Diff) that works alongside the stability control system to react based on the car’s behaviour.

    Also fitted are ventilated cast iron brake discs that measure 400 mm at the front (two-piece items) and 360 mm at the back, clamped by six-piston front and four-piston rear callipers. They hide behind 20-inch alloy wheels (either cast or lightweight forged), wrapped in specially-developed Pirelli P Zero tyres.

    The new Vantage was revealed alongside the GTE racing version that will compete in the 2018 WEC season. So what do you think of the Vantage’s new design – is it a successful rejuvenation of its beautiful predecessor, or is it a step too far? Sound off in the comments after the jump.

  • BARU: Artikel terkini dalam Bahasa Malaysia

  • BMW M division confirms development of hybrid cars

    In continuation to BMW’s recent electrification spree, the Bavarian company has just confirmed with Autocar of its plans to electrify cars within the M stable. In fact, several prototypes with hybrid powertrains are already well into the testing phase, and the confirmation came from M division’s vice president, Dirk Hacker himself.

    Details of the new powertrain are scarce at the moment, but Hacker says future M hybrid cars are “inevitable.” “We cannot avoid the need for electrification and it is true that we are working on hybrid power already. For now, all I will say is that we are working on a very precise technical solution, but there is no final decision on how to deploy the concept,” he adds.

    As with all electrification ventures, weight gain is the main cause for concern. Hacker says the added mass from running a hybrid powertrain would surely affect the car’s pace and agility.

    “Adding mass to performance cars is never ideal. But if we can use electrification to install more performance, then we start to have the answers. That might be more speed, or it might be the ability for a car to be driven on electric power in a city. It might also be the case that we need different answers to that question in different cities,” he says.

    According to the report, Hacker’s response suggests that BMW is forced to electrify M cars due to tightening emissions regulations. Hybridising them would be a short term solution if the company aims to retain the range’s appeal of being usable on a daily basis.

    On the flip side, he stresses that the latest generation of electric technology, which will make its debut in BMW cars by 2021, offers engineers a wider breadth of options than before. “The better the batteries and the more efficient the electric motors, the better the solutions will be for M. We are working on always making better cars,” he says.

    As for enthusiasts/loyalists, BMW M remains committed to building combustion-only cars, so long as it’s legislatively permissible. “For some enthusiasts, they will always have advantages, and we have seen with the sales of the M2, which are well past expectations, that these are the kinds of cars many enthusiasts still want,” says Hacker.

  • October 2017 Malaysia vehicle sales up by 14.9%

    The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) has released vehicle sales data for the month of October 2017, with 47,041 units delivered during the month. The total shifted last month represents an increase of 6,085 units or 14.9% from the number of vehicles that were registered in a slow September.

    The association said the climb in vehicle sales was due to a longer working month in October.

    Compared to the same corresponding month in 2016, the sales volume in October 2017 was 839 units – or 1.8 % – lower. As for total industry volume (TIV), the year-to-date figure for October is 472,723 units, one percent higher than that registered at the same point last year (466,157).

    For November, the association is projecting the sales volume to be better than that of October, citing new model launches and aggressive year-end promotional campaigns as the catalyst for an increase in sales.

  • BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 – Dallara chassis, 720 hp

    The top-tier, LMP1 prototype class in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) is an increasingly lonely one, with the departures of factory teams such as Porsche leaving Toyota as the sole manufacturer-backed entry contesting the championship next year. This leaves a larger window of opportunity for privateer outfits such as Russian firm BR Engineering, which has unveiled its LMP1 contender the BR1 at the recent 6 Hours of Bahrain season finale.

    Work on the BR1 racer started almost exactly one year ago at the final round of the 2016 WEC, when BR Engineering and racing chassis specialist Dallara announced their agreement. The roster of development drivers included Renault F1 reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin, IndyCar series driver Mikhail Aleshin, Le Mans class winner Victor Shaitar, 13-time karting champion and Le Mans podium finisher Kirill Ladygin and former Renault F1 and Caterham F1 driver Vitaly Petrov.

    “The drivers worked on the simulator and their task was to make their professional suggestions into key aspects of the prototype development – from ergonomics to the car’s behavior on the track,” said founder and chief of BR Engineering Boris Rotenberg.

    The carbon-fibre monocoque BR1 has provision for a choice of engines, namely an AER twin-turbo V6 with 720 hp, or a Gibson V8 engine producing 700 hp. Either powerplant is internal combustion only, and will be paired with a six-speed paddle-shift Xtrac sequential transmission driving the rear wheels, through a mechanical limited-slip differential.

    Other running gear include Brembo LMP1 carbon brakes, Kayaba electric power steering, and bespoke OZ magnesium wheels.

    The commencement of the 2018-2019 WEC ‘superseason’ will see the merging of hybrid and non-hybrid LMP1-class contenders, so privateer entries such as BR Engineering are in with a chance at winning the top WEC crown. Without electrification, it loses out on a four-figure horsepower output figure of the Toyota TS050 Hybrid, for example. How do you fancy the newcomer’s chances?

  • MINI JCW Buggy revealed for Dakar – 340 PS, 800 Nm

    MINI has just pulled the veils off the new John Cooper Works Buggy, and it will compete in the 2018 Dakar Rally. The rear-wheel drive vehicle is powered by a 3.0 litre turbodiesel straight-six that produces 340 PS and 800 Nm of torque, riding on a tubular steel frame with unique bodywork that’s developed closely with MINI Design.

    However, the Buggy, which will be piloted by the X-raid team, doesn’t resemble anything that’s in the current MINI line-up. MINI says the overall vehicle is extremely lightweight because the body is made of Kevlar and carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). During its test runs in the challenging terrains of Morocco and Hungary, the Buggy “never had to stop once due to a technical problem,” said Sven Quandt, X-raid team manager.

    Running alongside the JCW Buggy is the familiar JCW Rally, which looks almost identical to last year’s model. New to the car is a lighter chassis and improved suspension which provide better travel distance. It shares the same 3.0L straight-six with the Buggy.

    The JCW Rally gets a six-speed transmission sourced from Sadev, an AP Racing clutch as well as a lockable and oil-cooled front and rear differentials with a Sadev centrifugal diff. The exhaust system is from Akrapovic. As for suspension, it’s fitted with two fully-adjustable dampers by Reiger Racing Suspension, each with a maximum travel of 250 mm. Stopping power comes from a set of six-piston calipers, which clamp down on 320 mm ventilated steel discs.

    MINI will field seven vehicles to the upcoming Dakar season, with three of the JCW Buggies being driven by Mikko Hirvonen, Bryce Menzies and Yazeed Al-Rajhi. The remaining four JCW Rally models will be piloted by Orlando Terranova, Jakub Przygonski, Joan “Nani” Roma and Boris Garafulic.

    GALLERY: 2018 MINI John Cooper Works Buggy

    GALLERY: 2018 MINI John Cooper Works Rally

  • New Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE for WEC 2018

    With a new road car comes a new race car. This stunner of a race machine is Aston Martin Racing‘s Vantage GTE, which will compete in the 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). It will replace the multiple Le Mans class-winning V8 Vantage GTE, the team’s most successful competition car of all time.

    Built to comply with the FIA’s strict GTE class regulations, the new Vantage GTE takes the road car’s core design and dynamic capabilities to a whole new level through extensive optimisation of the powertrain, chassis and aerodynamics. The car was designed and engineered at AMR’s headquarters in Banbury, led by technical director Dan Sayers, who also guided the development of the V8 Vantage GTE.

    Though the road car has only just been launched, development of the Vantage GTE is well advanced, with more than 13,000 km of testing completed, including a successful 30-hour run at the Spanish circuit of Navarra. The car has also been through a durability programme at the famously rough Sebring circuit in USA. All of AMR’s current drivers have contributed to the test programme.

    Aston’s race arm claims that reliability has been exceptional straight out of the box, while team drivers have reported the car is easier to control on the limit than its predecessor – the latter will make the Vantage GTE attractive to competitors in the GTE Am class, where top-level amateurs race alongside pro teammates.

    The Vantage GTE is powered by a Mercedes-AMG 4.0 litre turbocharged V8, which has been developed for use in the Vantage GTE application by AMR. The team is working with new technical partners: Alcon for the brakes, Ohlins for the suspension and Michelin for a bespoke tyre programme.

    The car is new, but the driver line-up remains. This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE Pro class winners Darren Turner and Jonny Adam have been retained, as have the Danish duo and 2016 FIA WEC GTE Pro world champions, Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen. In addition, AMR has recruited ex-GP2 race winner and now Formula E racer Alex Lynn. Further driver announcements will be forthcoming.

    “Designing and developing this new car has been an extremely satisfying process. We’ve collaborated closely with Aston Martin’s Gaydon headquarters to develop the road and race cars in parallel. Attention to detail has been a priority at every step of this process and we’ve made big improvements in each area of the car. We’ve spent every second optimising the design right until the build of our test car, which has paid dividends during our current testing schedule. This project has been one of the most intensive but also rewarding of my career so far,” Sayers said.

    “Motorsport is fundamental to the DNA of Aston Martin and our commitment to the WEC is stronger than ever. This is a golden era for GT racing and today’s launch of the new Vantage GTE wil ensure that AMR remains at the forefront of the world’s greatest endurance series. The team has enjoyed incredible success over recent years with the outgoing V8 Vantage GTE and while this will hold fond memories for me, I can’t wait to see the new car race in anger at Spa next year and continue to write motorsport history,” said AMR president David King.

    On a different motorsport note, Formula 1 fans will see more of Aston Martin next season. The maker of James Bond’s cars is the new title partner of Red Bull Racing, and CEO Andy Palmer has gone on record to say that Aston wants to be more involved in the top tier racing series.

  • VIDEO: Mark Webber auditions for The Grand Tour

    As many of you are aware by now, The American will not be returning for the second season of The Grand Tour. Therefore, a replacement needs to be found, which is exactly why the show’s trio invited various racing drivers to audition for the position.

    One such person who turned up was Mark Webber, a man with 215 starts in Formula 1, and drove for Porsche in the World Endurance Championship from 2014 to 2016.

    The Australian has already announced his retirement from racing, and is currently a representative for Porsche. With years of driving experience under his belt and plenty of spare time compared to before, he certainly checks all the right boxes. Furthermore, he isn’t “fat, clumsy, or slow,” as Jeremy Clarkson demands it.

    Arriving for the audition in the Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, Webber is then let loose on The Grand Tour test track in the new 911 GT2 RS. Suffice to say, he wringed every bit of performance out of the 700 hp monster.

    Of course, as a test driver on the show, one needs to be able to drive multiple vehicles quickly. Next up, Webber is put into a Mercedes-AMG GT R – a 577 hp ‘Beast of the Green Hell’, and is unleashed again onto the track. The result? Well, there’s quite a bit of contrast, if we’re being honest.

    Even though Webber is quick, he might not still not get the part, on the count of only being fast in “specific” vehicles, if you know what we mean.

  • MSF Finale 2017 to feature Malaysia’s only OKU drifter

    Photo credit: Adam Photography

    This is the story of a physically disabled man who drifts cars. He’s a familiar sight at grassroots drifting events, participating competitively in these, mostly around Melaka, and he’s known for his flamboyant drifting style.

    To those in the know, he’s called ‘Pak Busu’. His real name is Halizamri Haji Mustapa – born and raised in Melaka, the son of a martial arts teacher is Malaysia’s one and only disabled drifter.

    He grew up in a large but caring family, but has shaped his life to never expect anything from anyone. When the drifting craze hit the country a decade ago, it inspired him to take up the sport. “I was born deformed, but it’s something that I had to do,” he explained.

    His independent nature and steely determination eventually led to him taking up drifting as more than just a hobby or interest. This drive has kept Pak Busu active in life, and he hasn’t allowed anything to hinder his desire to lead a normal life.

    Photo credit: Adam Photography

    He’s a trained and certified automotive mechanic, and runs his own workshop in Batu Hampar, Melaka. He also runs a stall at nearby night markets where he sells petai. This is a man who gets his hands dirty and pulls out all the stops to make an honest income in order to provide for his family of four.

    At the coming Malaysia Speed Festival (MSF) Finale 2017 on December 2-3, Pak Busu will be taking part in the Street category with his Toyota Corolla GL KE70, which he prepares for competition by himself.

    His Corolla is a pretty highly tuned and specialised drift machine – it features a swapped Nissan SR20-DET turbo engine and five-speed gearbox (along with a higher 4.7:1 final drive ratio) as well as a suspension from the Nissan Silvia S13. The car’s steering rack and ratio have also been modified to offer more angle, important for high-angle slides.

    But it’s the controls that are very obviously altered and highly personalised – some serious thought and welding work went into making it possible for Pak Busu to drift his beloved beast, something that he’s immensely proud of. “These are modifications that I made myself, with the help of some good friends,” he said.

    Pak Busu will be taking part in the MSF Drift Gonzo target-style drift competition at the MSF Finale 2017 that will be held in Sepang International Circuit this December 2-3.

    The MSF Drift Gonzo will take place on December 2 (Saturday) and will preview a full season event in 2018. Those who are interested to participate can register and pay online at the MSF website. Early bird registrations start from RM220 per driver.

    Tickets for Saturday will be from RM10 per adult, and from RM20 per adult for Sunday, for early purchasers. Tickets can also be bought on-site at the SIC. Entry is free for children up to 15 years old. For more information, visit the event information page on the MSF Racing website or its Facebook page.

  • Proton Auto Fest this weekend – up to RM8k savings on new models, up to 80% discount on genuine parts

    This weekend (November 25-26, 2017), the Proton Auto Fest will be held the at the company’s Centre of Excellence in Shah Alam. There’s something for everyone at the event, beginning with savings of up to RM8,000 on new model purchases.

    There will also be discounts of up to 80% on Proton genuine parts, and for those who are looking for Proton Lifestyle merchandise, you’ll be glad to know they are discounted up to 30% too.

    The event’s agenda includes an auction for Proton vehicles as well as test drive sessions. Vehicle safety briefings will be conducted on the day, and owners can even send their vehicle for a free safety inspection.

    The young ones will also be treated to fun activities, plus there will be apperances by local celebrities during the event. Once again, the Proton Centre of Excellence is where you’ll want to be this weekend, from 9am to 6pm.

  • OKU parking: what are the rules and who can use it?

    A recent viral Facebook video showing a driver in Penang protesting against Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang (MBPP) parking wardens clamping her car for parking in a disabled (OKU) parking spot despite her having a wheelchair-bound mother has been making the rounds. In the video, the driver is seen trying to argue her case that she should be allowed to use the space because her passenger is unable to walk.

    However, the council enforcement officers stood firm by the ruling that only vehicles displaying an OKU sticker, with an official OKU identification card issued by the Social Welfare Department (JKM) are allowed to use disabled parking spaces. Eventually, the officers relented and released the clamp after the driver paid the fine.

    The driver, when asked to show an OKU card, said the passenger was recently disabled, and the application was still being processed by JKM. Members of the public were also seen trying to convince the officers that an allowance should be made in this situation.

    Checks with both the JKM and disabled advocate Peter Tan showed that JKM rules require a disabled person to be examined, with a letter from a government medical officer stating the nature of the disability – temporary or permanent – and type of disability. The disabled person, or caregiver, should then complete a JKM form and the card will be issued.

    With the OKU card, one can proceed to the Road Transport Department (JPJ) to obtain an OKU sticker, which is only distributed at the department. Find out about the process and required documents by the JPJ here.

    Tan said that for council controlled parking spaces, usage of OKU parking is only with the display of the OKU sticker on the vehicle, and the OKU card must be produced on request or displayed. This also applies to parking located inside government buildings, but according to Tan, the security guards in such buildings do allow abled drivers with disabled passengers to park in OKU spaces, at their discretion.

    We contacted Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) for clarification and the council confirmed that it has the right to issue summonses to cars without OKU stickers parked in OKU lots. Under the MBPJ traffic ordinance, those wrongly parked in special parking lots (OKU and reserved) can be fined RM100. The rate may be different in other jurisdictions.

    MBPP mayor Datuk Maimunah Mohd Sharif explained to the woman in the viral video that council officers cannot nullify issued compounds on the spot. “We will review the guidelines. There could be room for improvement. Yes, the enforcers saw your mother was in a wheelchair. However, your car could not be unclamped without the need for payment. At the moment, that is not the procedure,” she said, as reported by The Star.

    As the current ruling stands, only disabled drivers, with suitably modified vehicles approved by the JPJ, with a JKM identification card, are allowed to use disabled parking. In many cases though, the disabled rely on abled drivers to move around.

    It should be noted that OKU spaces are designed with extra space so that a driver in a wheelchair is able to move around the car and get in and out easily. Such spaces are located near building entrances with ramps for easy access to the disabled.

    Registration as a disabled person with JKM is voluntary, but does allow access to all the services and privileges provided by the government for OKU. What do you think? Should the ruling stand as it is with OKU parking only for disabled drivers with proper JKM card and sticker, or should an allowance be made for drivers with disabled passengers, despite not having the proper documents and sticker, such as in this recent case?


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Last Updated 16 Nov 2017


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