It appears that the McLaren and Honda relationship will stretch beyond their Formula One engine supply deal in 2015 and into road cars.
Speaking to autocar.co.uk, McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh said the deal is strictly a Formula One contract, but the parties have worked together before and are open to share technology information with one another.
“It’s a pure Formula 1 contract, but we’ve already been looking at automotive technology and we’re sharing that very openly,” said Whitmarsh. “Our road car strategy at the moment has no other automotive partner and Honda would be a good place to collaborate.”
If there’s to be any collaboration on road cars between the two companies, you won’t see it for a few years. Keep in mind the Formula One deal doesn’t start until 2015 and McLaren just launched the P1 and the 12C is fairly new. They’re also in the development stage of the P13, which will have no Honda input.
For now, hopes are high for both companies to have a successful future down the road with a partnership that sees McLaren obtaining Honda engines and Honda on the receiving end of McLaren technology. They will also be pursuing a commercial partnership together to bolster the finances of McLaren Racing.
LONDON, UK - A British university says it is delaying the publication of an academic paper on electronic vulnerabilities in high-end Volkswagen cars following legal action from the German automaker.
In a statement, the University of Birmingham says it will "defer publication" of the paper, which explains how researchers were able to hack the sophisticated anti-theft system used in Porsches, Audis, Bentleys, and Lamborghinis.
The academics had hoped to publish the paper at the USENIX Security Conference in Washington next month but Volkswagen sued to prevent them from disclosing key details of their work, arguing that publicizing the flaw would put the security of some of its most expensive vehicles at risk.
The University of Birmingham declined further comment Tuesday. Volkswagen also declined comment, citing the ongoing legal proceedings.
The world, and with it the sphere of personal mobility, is in a state of ecological, economic and social upheaval. Global developments such as climate change, dwindling resources and increasing urbanisation call for fresh solutions. BMW i is finding those solutions. The brand stands for visionary vehicle concepts, inspiring design and a new understanding of premium that is strongly defined by sustainability.
In the BMW i3 – the first series-produced model by BMW i – zero-emission mobility in a premium car package proves to be a recipe for pure driving pleasure. The first BMW Group model running on electric power alone offers customers totally new and groundbreaking ways to experience driving pleasure, sustainability and connectivity on city roads. The visionary design of the BMW i3 showcases both BMW’s customary sporting capability and the efficiency of a four-seater with authentic clarity. Its innovative vehicle concept, including a passenger compartment made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), combines lightness, stability and safety with extraordinary spaciousness. Meanwhile, the driver assistance systems and mobility services from BMW Connected Drive and the 360° ELECTRIC services – all developed specially for BMW i – turn zero-emission urban mobility into a compelling everyday driving experience.
The electric motor powering the BMW i3 generates a maximum output of 125 kW/170 hp and peak torque of 250 Newton metres (184 lb-ft). Its instantaneous power flows to the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission. The motor sources its energy from lithium-ion storage cells integrated into the car’s underfloor section. The significantly lower centre of gravity of the i3 – the result of the low, central placement of the battery units – and even weight distribution make an additional contribution to the car’s agile handling. The battery gives the car a range in everyday conditions of 130 – 160 kilometres (81 – 99 miles) when fully charged from a conventional domestic power socket, BMW i Wallbox or public charging station.
Cadillac is working on the first major change to its logo in more than a decade, pruning away the classic laurel wreaths that surround its crest, several sources told Automotive News.
The modified emblem is likely to appear on a concept vehicle that Cadillac plans to show next month at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in California. The redesigned badge would appear on production cars no earlier than the 2015 model year, and the plans could change, the sources said.
A Cadillac spokesman confirmed the plans to show a concept at Pebble Beach next month but declined to comment on a badge redesign.
'Outdated and obsolete'
The plan to discard the wreaths was prompted in part by feedback from potential customers, the sources said. "Every time it was tested, the reaction was almost universally negative," a Cadillac insider told Automotive News, adding: "The wreath is seen as outdated and obsolete."
That's an image that Cadillac has been working hard to shed with successive generations of products aimed at younger buyers.
Cadillac's emblem has morphed nearly 40 times in the brand's 111-year history, and the wreath has come and gone over the years. The emblem was last re-engineered in 1999 to project a more streamlined, contemporary look and signal a departure from its legacy of producing old-fashioned, luxurious land yachts. An assortment of birds, a vestige of the original company logo, was stripped from the main crest, but the surrounding wreaths survived in a modified form.
That change coincided with the launch of a new brand signature that Cadillac called Art and Science, which was reflected in angular and aggressively styled concept cars such as the Cien and the Evoq. The look quickly trickled down to production cars, beginning with the first-generation CTS sedan and XLR coupe.
More recently, Cadillac has embraced a European approach to engineering and performance, a high-tech image that's at odds with the old-fashioned wreath. The Art and Science design language also is evolving, from sharp edges to sleeker, more-sculpted styling elements.
A single-piece logo would give designers more flexibility to play with the "face" of future Cadillacs. The new logo could be positioned in the center of the grille, as it is now, or above the hood.
But it would have implications for dealers and the sales organization as well, requiring new signage and stationery, for example.
The original Cadillac crest was inspired by the historic family coat of arms of Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the founder of Detroit and namesake of the brand.
TAJIMI, Japan - Toyota is opening a training facility for mechanics complete with a test course that simulates 13 driving conditions including cobblestones and bumpy roads as part of the automaker's efforts to avoid a repeat of its recall fiasco.
A ceremony with Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda and government officials was held at the 9 billion yen ($90 million) Tajimi Service Center Monday in Gifu Prefecture, central Japan, near Toyota city where the car maker is headquartered.
Toyoda said quality must remain a priority even as the company becomes ever more global, with buyers driving on a range of road conditions. The centre will initially train about 2,600 mechanics year, and eventually 4,800 mechanics a year, the company said.
Toyota has about 120,000 mechanics around the world and those numbers are expected to grow with sales expanding in emerging markets.
Toyota's reputation for quality was tarnished by massive global recalls that started five years ago. The automaker announced recall after recall, spanning almost every model in its lineup, totalling more than 10 million vehicles being recalled.
At the facility, Shinto priests in robes waved branches and hurled specks of paper before an altar with offerings of cabbage and oranges in a purification ceremony. Executives, dealers and officials lined up to bow and clap in what Toyota said was a prayer that its cars would stay safe.
The renewed focus on checking up on defects even after a vehicle has been delivered highlights Toyota's determination to stop recalls from spiraling out of control — not just in development and design stages but also after production and years of use.
"No vehicle is used in the same way, and all sorts of things happen that cannot be anticipated at the development stage," Toyoda said. "It is impossible to build a vehicle that will never break down."
Toyoda pointed to one problem with Prius hybrid braking, which the company had initially deemed safe, but upon testing had been found to work 0.06 seconds slower than the previous model, and customers were not feeling comfortable.
The new facility might not end recall problems once and for all, but will help the automaker respond more quickly, Toyoda told reporters.
"When something happens next time, we will be faster with our response and then people can trust our vehicles more as safe," he said.
Other automakers have similar training and test-course facilities, and Toyota also has other training centres. But the Tajimi centre is among the biggest for any automaker, with a 1.3 kilometre (0.8 mile) track with 13 different kinds of road conditions, including cracked, bumpy and wet surfaces.
It is dotted with big "Safety First" signs. A four-story building has classrooms and areas where car-maintenance checkups can be practiced. Tajimi has one of the hottest temperatures in Japan, but gets snow in the winter, allowing mechanics to study what severe weather does to cars.
Toyota, which makes Lexus luxury models and the Camry sedan, has sprung back from the recall disaster and re-emerged as the world's top automaker, growing in new markets such as China and Indonesia, while regaining sales share in the U.S
"Toyota has been taking longer in model development to be more careful and strengthen quality controls," said Nomura Securities Co. auto analyst Masataka Kunugimoto.
Despite the recall problems, Toyota boasts among the highest quality standards in the industry, he said.
Still, the arrival of new kinds of vehicles such as hybrids means maintenance crews must be trained to spot abnormal vehicle responses, diagnose problems and research new kinds of service technology, according to Toyota.
Training is also mental and involves instilling the right "customer-first" spirit in the mechanics in 135 nations so they won't let a quality failure get by, it said.
In 1935, when Toyota's G1 truck was riddled with problems, company founder Kiichiro Toyoda, Akio Toyoda's grandfather, rushed around to personally fix breakdowns and apologize to customers, Toyoda said to drive home the message of quality.
American Adam J. Crawford, from Arizona, among the instructors at the centre, acknowledged he wasn't sure he could really avoid massive recalls by training people who fix cars, but he said he was hopeful.
"If I can instil in him a desire and a true want to have good quality in everything he does, from an oil change to an engine overhaul, then I think we can keep our customers happy and we can keep the quality of our vehicles very high," he said.
MARKHAM, ON - Honda Canada is expanding a recall of the Honda Fit Sport vehicles from the 2012-13 model year.
The automaker said Thursday it is issuing a recall for an additional 8,871 cars because it wants to update the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) software, which will be done free of charge.
Honda first announced in April it was recalling nearly 48,000 of the small cars in the U.S. and Canada for the same issue.
It says the VSA system on some of the vehicles equipped with certain tires may allow the tires to lose traction and cause the vehicle to skid under certain test manoeuvres.
Honda says that could result in swerving that exceeds certain Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards requirements.
Customers will receive notifications of the recall in the mail but are encouraged to take their vehicles in to an authorized dealer.
STERLING HEIGHTS, MI - Chrysler will start selling a completely new midsize car during the first quarter of next year, company executives confirmed on Tuesday.
The replacement for the aging Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger is badly needed for the company to compete with the likes of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord in the most popular part of the U.S. auto market.
Chrysler officials gave few details about the new car. It will be built at a factory in Sterling Heights, Mich., north of Detroit, where the 200 and Avenger are now built. The officials confirmed the timing of the car Tuesday while taking reporters on a tour of the factory's new paint shop.
Chrysler's current midsize cars were unveiled in 2006 and updated three years ago. Their designs are the oldest in the midsize car market, and buyers pay far less for them than nearly all competitors. The 200 and Avenger generally are noisier, get lower gas mileage and have worse rides than the competition, a bad combination in the hotly contested market.
The new car likely will be built with components jointly designed with Italian automaker Fiat SpA, which owns a majority stake in Chrysler.
Through June, Chrysler has sold just 136,000 200s and Avengers combined. While sales are up over last year, they're far below the top-selling cars in the midsize segment. For instance, Toyota sold almost 208,000 Camrys through June, while Honda sold 187,000 Accords. Crosstown rival Ford sold 161,000 Fusions and had to open a second factory to build them because of rising sales.
The new 898,000-square-foot paint shop in Sterling Heights is about 85 per cent complete. When finished, it will be able to paint any Chrysler or Fiat vehicle except for big pickup trucks and large commercial vans, said John Powell, senior manager of the shop. The plant also is getting a new $165 million body shop.
The paint shop, along with upgrades to two nearby metal stamping plants, cost $850 million. It's scheduled to open early next year.
The investment is good news for the factory's roughly 2,600 employees. The plant was slated to be closed in 2009 when Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy protection but was saved when demand for midsize cars increased.
Prius PHV available for test drives July 18 at Toronto event
TORONTO, ON – If you want to learn more about advanced technology vehicles, downtown Toronto is the place to be on July 18, when the second annual “EV Day” will be held.
Toyota Canada will have a major presence at the event, where attendees will be able to get behind the wheel of the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV), and take this unique eco-friendly car for a test ride.
“The Prius PHV’s extended electric range makes it the ideal city car,” said Sandy Di Felice, Director, External Affairs, Toyota Canada Inc. “With up to 25 kilometres of all-electric driving, the typical daily Canadian commute can be made without using a single drop of gas.”
The PHV is the first plug-in vehicle for the Toyota brand and offers the lowest starting MSRP of any plug-in hybrid in Canada. It features a powerful lithium-ion battery pack that is ready to go with a full charge within three hours when connected to a regular household outlet, or as little as 90 minutes when connected to a 220-volt dedicated socket, giving it the fastest recharging time of any plug-in vehicle on the market today.
The PHV is capable of driving on electric power alone at speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour, and drivers can take it up to 25 kilometres in the city using electric-only mode. Most importantly, it provides drivers with peace of mind because it automatically switches to its full hybrid gasoline-electric system once the electric power is exhausted.
The event is being held at Yonge-Dundas Square with free admission for all. It will run from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 18. For more information, visit www.evday.ca.
Toyota will also have kiosks on site, where visitors can enter the “You Could Win $10,000 Cash with Toyota” contest.
Manual driving has slowly become a lost art. Consumers don’t seem to know or care to learn how to drive stick with the technology in cars today. Throw in some constant stop-and-go traffic in Toronto and Montreal and I can see why the majority feel that way.
Then there’s the other side of society that feel the exact opposite way. For them the only true way to drive is with a manual transmission. It allows the driver to be in control of the car. It’s your call whether you want to shift for more power or downshift on turns or in traffic when needed. Unfortunately, there are fewer manual drivers out there and simultaneously fewer manual cars being produced.
The best part about owning a manual vehicle is that you will save money on the purchase as well as saving fuel on an everyday basis. It’s well documented that manual transmissions deliver better fuel economy than automatic transmissions. This is mainly due to manuals not having a torque converter for shifting which takes away from the vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Furthermore, you can achieve better fuel economy numbers by shifting up early and driving at a consistent pace avoiding those higher RPMs.
Honda Canada wanted to stop this manual downslide and give out manual driving lessons to those who’d never driven stick before. That idea gave way to the Honda Manual Driving School and now they are into their second year.
It wasn’t a surprise that Honda would come up with this event, as they have one of the best press fleet selections of manual vehicles and they do show plenty of respect for their history as well as their manual-driving customers.
You never know when you might need to use this skill someday. You could be in a pinch while needing to rent a car in Europe? You might need to borrow another’s car for an emergency and it’s a manual? Why not learn a new skill? You might be the hero someday.
Honda’s Manual Driving School had two race car instructors, Kelly Williams and Daniel Morad as well as the Franczak Enterprises team led by Chris Bye on hand to teach the newbies the first steps and provided some new tips for the veterans. The vehicles on hand were the limited edition 2013 Honda Accord HFP and the Honda Civic Si HFP. Two sporty cars that feature enhanced handling, style and performance.
At first Chris went through a proper seating position in the instructional. To test whether you’re sitting correctly, you should stretch out your arms in front of you, when your wrists are level with the top of the steering wheel – you’re in a perfect seating position. I personally sit even closer to the three pedals when in a manual vehicle. Not sure why I do this…I guess I have a non-realistic fear of being too far away to depress the clutch all the way.
As I’m jotting down some notes and taking some photos I overhear a question, “so what’s this whole clutch thing all about?”
It’s not as mystifying as it seems. Each newbie got one-on-one instruction on how to move a vehicle without pressing down on the accelerator. Believe it or not, this can be done. Just put it into first gear and gently ease off the clutch. At the half way point you will start to move, so continue releasing the clutch fully and then gently use your right foot to apply some throttle. If you do this successfully – you’re off and running, but not close to being done.
The next step is to switch into second gear by depressing the clutch fully. Once depressed, put it into second gear and once again ease off the clutch at a bit quicker pace. This time once you hit that halfway point you have to apply a little throttle, while easing fully off the clutch. After second, gear shifting gets easier, as you only need to depress the clutch half way before switching into gear leading to much smoother transitions.
It’s a lot to take in and it takes a while to master. If you stall a whole bunch of times (and you will), don’t worry – we all do it. Practice is the key and Honda provided enough challenges to practice starting and stopping. Unfortunately, we didn’t have all day, so the instructors challenged the newbies with some driving exercises including a slalom, a few courses and an emergency stopping drill.
As long as we’re in a secured area – I feel it’s always best after some initial instruction to throw people into the fire and see how they react. You can only start to get comfortable with the clutch-throttle application on gear shifts through practice and feel. Believe it or not, the new drivers were able to practice gear shifts throughout the course, even reaching third gear.
Its impressive how quickly the art of manual driving caught on and it just shows that it only takes some instruction and practice to learn the ancient skill of manual driving. I’m glad to see Honda is taking the initiative to promote manual driving and I can tell you first hand, all those newbies had an exhilarating experience and more importantly learned something from it. It might be basic instructions, but it could get you out of a jam someday. And for Honda’s sake, this event provides them some nice exposure and more importantly the hope of more manual sales.
When I received the invite to the Bridgestone Racing Academy – I couldn’t contain my excitement. The Bridgestone Racing Academy is one of a kind and it teaches future race stars and racing enthusiasts how to successfully and safely drive a race car. Now where else would you get the same experience as Danica Patrick or James Hinchcliffe, who were once instructed at this very same school?
The Bridgestone Racing Academy is held at the newly named Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (CTMP), formerly Mosport. The day starts out with some classroom time led by owner Brett Goodman and chief instructor Jamie Fitzmaurice. They both went over certain safety procedures as well as how to handle some tricky corners around the race track. Surprisingly, every media member in this group would be in a Formula car for their first time, so I’m sure there was plenty of nervous tension to go around from the drivers to the instructors who have a 28-year injury-free safety record intact.
The formula cars were powered by a Mazda engine producing 170 horsepower, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but what you need to consider is that these race cars only weigh 900 lbs., so it’s a hell of a lot faster than you think.
The day wouldn’t be only about racing, the team from Suncor were on hand to teach us more about Ultra 94, a premium gas that’s used in these very Formula cars. Considering the cost of fuel nowadays, I’m sure many would like to understand more about why they need to stick to using this higher quality fuel. But first it was time to hit the track and feel that Ultra 94 in use.
Drivers, start your engines!
We were supplied racing suits, shoes, gloves, and helmets, you name it – they had it. They supply you with everything to make you feel like a race car driver, but it was left to me to actually drive like one. We all know there was no chance for that, but the main focus was to master the correct braking points, hit the racing lines and keep up with the lead instructor.
Little did I realize that the biggest challenge might be getting in and out of the Formula car. It’s no longer a shock why most race car drivers are petite in stature and I start to feel sorry for the Justin Wilsons and Mark Webbers of the racing world. I manoeuvred myself into the cockpit and had belts fastened over each leg and over each shoulder. Safe to say I wasn’t going anywhere as I could barely move, but nothing could contain my excitement.
I flicked the engine switch on and pushed the big black button to start it up queuing one of the best adrenaline rushing sounds you’ll here.
These cars are fitted with a sequential gear shift, so that was easy to work with as long as you remember or feel what gear you’re in. It took a little time to get used to the clutch as this car didn’t work like your typical street manual. Once you start to depress the clutch you have to get on that throttle and give it some – this wasn’t going to be a test on how smooth you could do it.
We were off and running for three separate sessions. The first would be a slower ride to get familiar with the race car and CTMP’s 12 turns and we got progressively quicker as our comfort level improved.
After starting off I put it in second gear and pedalled my way through turns two and three. It would definitely take a little time to get used to driving these Formula cars, because you’re so close to the ground as if you’re driving one of those Flintstones’ cars while leaning back. To understand it fully, I was at level with those Bridgestone Potenza tires.
During the second run, I started to gear shift quite frequently between second, third and fourth to get a good feel for the sticky shift and find the appropriate moments to ease off the throttle and shift down while approaching the corners.
I tried to incorporate all of my racing knowledge while in these beautiful specimens. I broke before the corners, gently accelerated from the turning point to the apex and hit the throttle hard as the steering wheel straightened out. The biggest thrill were the corners before the long straightaway that you can attack hard by shifting down to second and picking up the throttle quickly into third and then fourth allowing you to reach your highest speeds and fly down that large straight. Some might have tested it in fifth gear, but it was fast enough in fourth and the instructors did warn us of the concrete wall at turn 12, so I didn’t want to push it – I'm a guest after all.
I always love track time, because it gives me the chance to improve on my racing skills and the Bridgestone Racing Academy gave us more than enough laps to master our craft. I’m definitely using the word master loosely!
Before I knew it my time was done and the thrilling experience was over. For a person that gets some track time occasionally, I had an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. It just proves what a great corporate event or birthday present the Bridgestone Racing Academy could be. Brett, Jamie and the rest of the crew take you through the ropes in class with tips on how to tackle each corner and they continue that lesson with helping you out whenever you need during your track time. They really know how to make it a fun experience while keeping the entire day organized and safe.
In the middle of the session and after lunch, we were treated to an Ultra 94 presentation as mentioned before. If you’re not familiar with Ultra 94, it’s the super-premium gasoline offered at Petro Canada. It surpasses the recommended octane in any street vehicle, so the question is why would people spend the extra money to get it?
Ultra 94 is a choice and it's nice to see that it's offered to us, but what are the benefits?
The 94 octane level resists knocking which is when abnormal combustion occurs creating the fuel/air mixture to burn more rapidly. The higher the octane, the more resistant it is to knocking and the better performance you get out of your vehicle.
If you’re really into getting the maximum performance out of your vehicle – Ultra 94 can definitely help. The people at Ultra 94 preached that it will maximize horsepower, acceleration and performance. Furthermore, it will optimize fuel economy and reduce your carbon dioxide emissions.
It’s not for everybody or every car, but if you’ve paid for a high-priced luxury sports vehicle like the BMW M6 Coupe or the Mercedes-BenzSL 63 AMG Roadster – you might want to partake in some Ultra 94.
Should you pay if you have a Scion FR-S or Subaru Impreza WRX STI?
You need to figure out if it’s worth it to you – all depends on what you’re doing with your car. If you like to take it to track and get the most out of it, it might be worth it. If you’re driving back-and-forth from home to work in it with the occasional fun drive, you might be better off with the recommended octane listed.
The advantages of Ultra 94 were intriguing and it worked it sync with what they do at the Bridgestone Racing Academy. Ultra 94 is trying to increase their awareness and recently became the new title sponsor and official fuel for the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. Racing is the perfect arena to demonstrate Ultra 94’s performance and it showcased its talents at the Bridgestone Racing Academy and I’m sure it will do the same in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge.
If you’ve ever had the desire to try out a racing car, I can’t think of a better place to start than the Bridgestone Racing Academy. It was an experience I will remember forever and one where I want to try several more times. It was a thrilling ride and the instructors allow you to go at the pace you want while being safe in the process. Therefore, if you’re more experienced you can tackle the course at the speed you wish; while on the flip side, if you’re new and want to take a more conservative approach you can go at the speed you’re comfortable in. It’s your experience, so do what you want with it and have a blast – I know I did.