BR Racing Blog

Porsche Rennsport Reunion V – 2015

PORSCHE Rennsport Reunion V – Laguna Seca, Sept 2015

Porsche racing history came alive this past weekend at the Rennsport Reunion V at the Laguna Seca Raceway in California. The unique class reunion is the largest gathering in the world for legendary Porsche race drivers and historic Porsche race cars.  And, for the second time, BRracing Motorsport was able to participate in this amazing event, this year with three cars participating the racing.  Jesse M was participating and making his debut in the IMSA finale, in his Porsche 991 2015 Cup Car, John T was running in his Porsche 2012 997.2 Cup Car in the PCA Scholar-Friedman PCA Club Race, and Craig A was participating in his monster Porsche 997.1 Cup R.

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This year marks the fifth time that Porsche enthusiasts and collectors have traveled from all over the world to the demanding circuit in the dunes of Monterey.  The three-day event saw more than 75,000 visitors, with a diverse range of activities on the program, from races in seven different classes and exhibitions to autograph sessions.

Nowhere else in the world have so many Porsche come together in one place: with 320 historic Porsche cars contesting races, as well as nine current Porsche works drivers and race legends like Hans Hermann and Richard Attwood, who in 1970 scored the first victory for Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours – the Rennsport Reunion V leaves no wishes of Porsche fans unfulfilled.

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Attending as prominent patrons of the event are two of the most successful Porsche Le Mans pilots from Europe and the USA: Jacky Ickx and Hurley Haywood. The Belgian won the world’s most famous long distance race six times, with the American notching up three victories. Moreover, Haywood won the Daytona 24 hour race five times.

Fifty well-known names stand on the list of legends who will turn their demonstration laps at Laguna Seca at the wheels of race cars in which they once celebrated their greatest successes: Derek Bell for example, the five-time Le Mans winner, or Vic Elford, who once achieved the remarkable feat of winning the Monte Carlo Rally and the 24 Hours at Daytona for Porsche on two consecutive weeks.

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Two successful Porsche drivers from Germany attending the reunion of the best are Hans-Joachim Stuck and Jochen Mass. Also at Laguna Seca as one of the legendary Porsche engineers is Norbert Singer, the father of the Porsche 962.

The Rennsport Reunion V offered fans a fascinating journey through Porsche’s illustrious motor racing history spanning from the legendary Porsche 356 to the groundbreaking Porsche 919 Hybrid.

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The 356 was the first Porsche to contest Le Mans in 1951. It finished first in class. This year at the long distance classic in France, the 919 Hybrid clinched the 17th outright victory for Porsche. And, if you wonder about the performance of the new 919, after coming out of the last turn, Turn 11, and accelerating up the front straight, by the time it crossed under the bridge at start finish, the car was doing 157 MPH.  Just to give you an idea, a Porsche RS Spyder or a 997 Porsche Cup RSR, was doing about 135MPH as they crossed the start finish line.  It was amazing and astonishing to watch.

Every year since the first outing of the 356 to today, at least one Porsche has competed at Le Mans. This record is again reflected at Laguna Seca following the moto: Le Mans is Porsche, Porsche is Le Mans.

On the expansion grounds of the Laguna Seca Raceway, around 1,400 Porsche vehicles can be seen this weekend in so-called “Porsche Corrals”. Most have been driven by their owners to Laguna Seca.

The famous Le Mans Porsche display features 75 exhibits. In addition, there are numerous Porsche vehicles from famous collections.

The Porsche Museum alone has flown eleven vehicles from Zuffenhausen to the USA – including the Porsche 718 W-RS from 1962 to the Porsche RS Spyder, which fittingly launched its successful racing career here at Laguna Seca in the 2005 American Le Mans Series.

Everything you could want was there.  Car corals, for multiple models of Porsche, the Porsche Museum, the Porsche Park…where you could get autographs from many of the famous Porsche factory drivers, including Mark Weber (who drive some of the laps in the Porsche 919), new models on display, all the race cars themselves, a Vendor row, w everything Porsche, great food options, great weather, a huge crowd, great racing, ability to watch many of the factory Porsche drivers fight fender to fender with each other….just an amazing event.

We didn’t talk to a single person who didn’t think this was THE EVENT of the year for them.

BRracing also had a party at its trailer / canopy, put on and organized by PCA Golden Gate Region, with the wine provided by Trefethen Winery….that alone was a perfect party.  If you have never tried the Trefethen Winery wines…..all you have to do is try them, and you will immediately understand why they are so highly acclaimed.

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BRracing Motorsport customers did outstanding in their events.  Just to get here you had to be invited by Porsche….in one of the race classes that our customers participated in, there were over 375 entries received for a single class, but only 20 cars were admitted.  This was special.

We even had an amazing new Porsche 918 Weissach Edition under our canopy (coutesy of Rodrigo S)….some have only seen pics of this car in magazines…but here is one in the flesh…stunning car.

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Over the TOP WOW!!!!!

The racing was great too….most races had LOTS of cars in them, normally a recipe for disaster…but not the case.  Not because they were not running hard, but they all played nice together.  In the hierarchy of sports car racing, and with Porsche’s, the top tier is PRO RACING w the IMSA series.  This is big time stuff.  Major teams, major players, very fast drivers, lots of knowledge…you don’t come to play at this level, if you are going to play, you need to bring your “A” game.  BRracing Motorsport was participating at this level for the first time w one of its customers, Jesse M, in his 2015 991 Cup Car.  We had set a target of reaching the top ten, and that was exactly where we ended up. We had the speed….our best lap would have put us at P3 overall, but you can’t just play here, you have to be on top of your game every minute you are in the car.  With it being a “spec” series, the racing is very close, and if you ever make a mistake, they will pounce, and take advantage, and you may not just drop a position, you may drop several positions.

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Heck…even your car has to look the part.  You don’t come w a plain looking car, almost all the cars scream AMAZING at you –

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Participating is one thing…just to get here, but to WIN is a whole different achievement.  And one of our customers, John T, in his 2012 Porsche 997.2 Cup Car, WON.  Woo Hoo….that’s hitting it out of the park.

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I loved the determination of our customers when they drive….while they came to drive, and to have fun, they all take it very seriously.  Craig A had a mean machine, and was consistently one of, if not “the” fastest car in the PCA Club Racing group.  After a quirky qualifying session (how do you get a decent time when you start from the back of the pack w 55 cars on the track at the same time?), Craig set out to make his run to the front.  A spin cost him positions, but Craig never relented, and pushed thru the whole event, and was slicing and dicing and passing as many as 5-8 cars a lap. There was just not enough time or laps, and we needed a “yellow”, but never got it.  Nonetheless, Craig drove like a man possessed, and ran some of the fastest laps near the end of the event.  A great showing.

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See our FACEBOOK page for many pics, or our gallery in our website.  All of our photos coutesy of our awesome team photo guy, Ryan Holst, and you can also see images there (Ryan Holst Photography).

VW / Audi Diesel RECALL – Illegal Emissions

FRANKFURT — SEPTEMBER 20, 2015 – Volkswagen said on Sunday that it would halt sales of cars in the United States equipped with the kind of diesel motors that had led regulators to accuse the German company of illegally installing software to evade standards for reducing smog.

John Schilling, a Volkswagen spokesman, said that the company would stop selling 2015 and 2016 Volkswagen and Audi models equipped with 4-cylinder turbo diesel engines, which the company has marketed as “clean diesel.” The company will also stop selling used cars that have the engines, Mr. Schilling said.

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He said he did not know how many models would be stuck on dealer lots as a result of the decision. Earlier this month, Volkswagen had said that 23 percent of new cars sold in August were diesels, or 7,400 vehicles.

The confirmation of the halt in sales came on the same day that Martin Winterkorn, the chief executive of Volkswagen, apologized for conduct that prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to order Volkswagen to recall nearly half a million vehicles.

Volkswagen could face billions of dollars in fines for what the E.P.A. said was a deliberate attempt to evade rules on emissions. The decision to stop sales was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

“I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public,” Mr. Winterkorn said in a statement.

He said the company would “cooperate fully” with the authorities and order its own independent investigation into the accusations.

In his statement, Mr. Winterkorn did not contest assertions by the E.P.A. that Volkswagen sold cars equipped with software that could detect when periodic state government emissions testing was taking place.

Only during such tests are the cars’ full emissions control systems turned on. During normal driving situations, the controls were turned off, allowing the cars to spew as much as 40 times the pollution allowed under the Clean Air Act, the E.P.A. said.

Diesel-driven cars have enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years, shedding much of their old stigma for being dirty, clanky and sluggish to drive, said Karl Brauer, an analyst at Kelley Blue Book. And in the United States, he said, Volkswagen has clearly led the pack — offering diesel vehicles that performed just like their gasoline counterparts.

“Now, we have to wonder if the technology really advanced as far as we thought at VW,” Mr. Brauer said. “They must have had a problem making it work in a way that delivered truly clean diesel. At least clean enough to meet the regulations.”

Mr. Brauer said the higher nitrous oxide emissions probably meant better drivability. Fuel economy also improves with more nitrous emissions, and engines can run cooler, and thus wear out more slowly.

“They must have had a mix of performance, economy and durability that they liked, but realized they couldn’t achieve that and still get the emissions,” he said.

Diesels in particular are known — and marketed — these days as having tremendous torque, or low-end thrust from a stop. If achieving the required emissions affected the torque, making it anemic, then “drivers are going to scratch their heads, thinking, isn’t this why I got a diesel?” Mr. Brauer said.

Volkswagen was going through a difficult period even before the accusations became public on Friday. Mr. Winterkorn recently survived a power struggle with the chairman of Volkswagen’s supervisory board,Ferdinand Piëch, a scion of the Porsche family who dominated the company for more than two decades before resigning in April.

Following Mr. Piëch’s departure, some analysts have raised questions about whether Mr. Winterkorn would be strong enough to hold together the sprawling Volkswagen empire, which also includes Audi and Bentley luxury cars, Porsche and Lamborghini sports cars, Scania and MAN heavy trucks, and Ducati motorcycles.

Although Volkswagen recently surpassed Toyota as the world’s biggest automaker measured by the number of cars sold, it is significantly less profitable than its Japanese rival and far weaker in the United States market.

A push by Volkswagen to increase sales in the United States, which included building a factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., to produce Passat sedans, has fallen short.

“For Volkswagen, it’s a huge scandal,” said Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, a professor at the University of Duisburg-Essen, who follows the automobile industry. “The timing is extremely unfortunate.”

Professor Dudenhöffer said the case could damage all German automakers, which have tried to build acceptance in the United States for diesel engines, a sector in which they believe they have a technological lead.

Until recently, Professor Dudenhöffer said, the United States applied stricter standards to diesel engines than those applied by European regulators. But the European authorities, concerned about the health effects of diesel pollution, have tightened standards, prompting complaints from the auto industry.

Professor Dudenhöffer said that as a result of the E.P.A. action, Mr. Winterkorn could come under pressure to resign.

“Winterkorn was already damaged,” Professor Dudenhöffer said. “Now there is an accusation of illegal behavior. This story is not over.”

E.P.A. officials issued the car company a notice of violation and said it had admitted to the use of a so-called defeat device.

The recall involves 4-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi vehicles from the model years 2009 to 2015.

The software was designed to conceal the cars’ emission of nitrogen oxide, a pollutant that contributes to the creation of ozone and smog, which are linked to a range of health problems, including asthma attacks, other respiratory diseases and premature death.

Disengaging the pollution controls on a diesel-fueled car can yield better performance, including increased torque and acceleration.

California has issued a separate notice of violation to the company. California, the E.P.A. and the Justice Department are working together on an investigation of the allegations.

Over the next year, E.P.A. officials said, owners of the affected vehicles should expect to receive recall notices from Volkswagen, including information about how to get their cars repaired at no cost to them. The recall covers roughly 482,000 diesel passenger cars sold in the United States since 2009.

Affected diesel models include the 2009-15 Volkswagen Jetta, 2009-15 Beetle, 2009-15 Golf, 2014-15 Passat and 2009-15 Audi A3.

The American investigation could ultimately result in fines or penalties for the company. Under the terms of the Clean Air Act, the Justice Department could impose fines of as much as $37,500 for each recalled vehicle, for a possible total penalty of as much as $18 billion.

The notice of violation came days after the company promoted plans at the Frankfurt International Motor Show to introduce 20 plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicles by 2020 as part of a campaign to reduce vehicle emissions.

Mr. Winterkorn said in his statement on Sunday that Volkswagen would “do everything necessary in order to reverse the damage this has caused.”

“This matter has first priority for me, personally,” he said, “and for our entire board of management.”

CONTENT for this article from New York Times, Sunday, September 20, 2015.

Porsche Mission E Car

September 15, 2015 – Frankfurt International Auto Show

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Porsche just unveiled a concept car to rival the Tesla Model S, and it’s as beautiful and amazing as you ever hoped. Dubbed the Mission E, this new electric car looks like a love child between a Panamera and Porsche 918 with just a tiny of touch of Aston Martin thrown in at the back. It is a sleek and aggressive machine, and by all that is holy in this world, it better be the next-generation Panamera sedan.

Oh! It has insanely cool suicide back doors that have a wild double-hinge to let them open completely.

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What makes this car so interesting is not its looks. Well okay, it’s partially the way it looks, but the really important stuff lies under that sexy sheet metal. The car is powered by a pair of electric motors that share DNA with the Le Mans winning 919 racer, and together they produce more than 600 horsepower. There is no word on torque figures that I can find, but assume it is well north of “a lot.” Porsche claims that from a dead stop, 62 mph will arrive in just 3.5 seconds and 125 mph shows up in less than 12 seconds.

But the cool stuff doesn’t stop there either. You see, Porsche claims this EV has a Model S rivaling range of 500 kilometers, or just about 311 miles. Oh, thanks to a new 800-volt charging system, you can bring the battery from the brink of death up to an 80-percent charge in just 15 minutes. That equates to just about 250 miles, all on a 15-minute charge. It still isn’t as quick as pumping a car full of gasoline, but I would call that time entirely tolerable on a road trip. If you hate cables, Porsche has also equipped the underside of the car with inductive coils so you can charge it just by parking on a special pad, albeit at a much slower rate.

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Of course, this is still a Porsche, so performance is king. The car can use its electric motors in fancy ways for torque vectoring to increase performance, and the guys and girls at Stuttgart are claiming a ‘Ring time that comes in under eight minutes.

Take a peek inside and you will see that Porsche traditionally button-filled cabin has been replaced with smooth surfaces and a variety of LCD screens. It even has fancy 3-D technology that uses eye tracking and positional data to make sure that the fancy 3-D screens are always lined up so can see them. Basically the cabin is filled with magic and electronic voodoo.

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We obviously don’t have much more detail at the moment than what Porsche sent out in the press release, expect to hear a lot more about this wild machine in the next months as interviews and information from the Frankfurt Motor Show and follow up meetings take place.

Here is a quick, short VIDEO from Porsche on the new car:

PORSCHE MISSION E VIDEO CLIP

BMW M6 GT3 Factory Race Car

BMW M6 GT3 Factory Race Car Introduced –

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15th September 2015.

BMW has set a course for the future in GT racing with the presentation of the newly developed BMW M6 GT3 at the 66th IAA Car Show 2015 in Frankfurt am Main (DE). The racing version of the BMW M6 Coupe will be sent into action by numerous private teams from the 2016 season in a host of championships and renowned race events around the world as part of the BMW Sports Trophy.

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BMW Motorsport has channelled its vast well of experience amassed since 2010 with the BMW M6 GT3’s successful predecessor, the BMW Z4 GT3, into the development of the new car. Indeed, the new GT3 racer boasts a raft of improvements, particularly in the areas of drivability and economy. One example is the use of a series-produced engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology, which develops higher output and an increase in torque. Moreover, with its centrally-positioned driver’s seat and long wheelbase, the BMW M6 GT3 offers a driving feeling unparalleled on the racing scene. The net price of the car is 379,000 Euros (BRR – about $450k US, close to what the other GT3 factory race cars are going for from Porsche, Lambo, Ferrari, Aston Martin).

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The BMW M6 GT3 weighs less than 1,300 kilograms (less than 2,866 lbs), and the transaxle drive concept, sequential six-speed racing gearbox and body aerodynamics optimised in the BMW wind tunnel also highlight the imminent arrival of a full-blooded racer from BMW Motorsport in 2016. The reliability, efficiency and ease of maintenance of the BMW M6 GT3 will likewise be tuned to master the demands of endurance racing, and its longer wheelbase promises to deliver significantly improved handling characteristics compared with the BMW Z4 GT3. As well as the car itself, BMW M6 GT3 customers will also benefit from the service provided by BMW Motorsport support engineers and a trackside supply of parts.

In May 2015, ahead of the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit in Germany, BMW Motorsport customers from around the world were treated to an exclusive first glimpse of the BMW M6 GT3 – not to mention a detailed presentation of the car by drivers and engineers – at a “closed room” event at the BMW M Testcenter Nürburg. The GT racing car was subsequently introduced to fans of “the most powerful letter in the world” at the traditional M Night event on the Friday before the classic endurance race in the “Green Hell”. Customer teams in North America were able to feast their eyes on the BMW M6 GT3 for the first time at the United SportsCar Championship (USCC) in Watkins Glen (US), where the racing car was given its first public appearance on the other side of the Atlantic in late June. The BMW M6 GT3 was then revealed to teams, drivers and fans at the Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour race in Belgium – the most important GT race in the world. And now, the car has appeared in BMW Motorsport racing livery for the first time at the IAA.

The BMW M6 GT3 has undergone an extensive program of testing on a variety of circuits over the course of 2015. This has allowed the experienced BMW works drivers to amass many valuable kilometres at the wheel of the BMW M6 GT3 and to carry out important work on the baseline set-up of the new GT and endurance racing challenger. This new poster car for customer racing is now undergoing a final round of fine-tuning prior to its race debut in the coming year.

For a full set of images on the new car, see our gallery in our website – select CARS, then select BMW M6 GT3

BMW M6 GT3 IMAGES

BMW M4 GTS

August 13, 2015.

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Pebble Beach/Munich. A year on from the launch of the BMW M4 Coupe, BMW M Division is presenting an initial preview of a high-performance model for use on the road and, above all, on the race track: the BMW Concept M4 GTS.

The move sees BMW M Division once again returning to its roots. The BMW offshoot, founded in 1972 as BMW Motorsport GmbH, not only caused a sensation with its iconic BMW M1 racing car, but developed the first turbocharged engine to win the Formula One World Championship and was the force behind what remains the worlds most successful racing touring car – the Group A BMW M3.

And so the new BMW Concept M4 GTS continues the tradition of BMW M3 special models already illuminated by the BMW M3 Evolution (1988), BMW M3 Sport Evolution (1990), BMW M3 GT (195), BMW M3 CSL (2003), BMW M3 GTS (2010), and BMW M3 CRT (2011). Technology honed in race competition, a hike in power, a commitment to lightweight design and limited production numbers have ensured these sharpest examples of their type offer unbeatable performance coupled with an emotionally powerful and exclusive driving experience.

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“While the BMW M4 Coupe embodies the ideal combination of motor sport genes and unrestricted everyday usability, the BMW Concept M4 GTS previews an emotionally powerful and exclusive special model conceived with an eye for trailblazing technology and a keen focus on the race track,” explains Frank van Meel, President BMW M Division. “Despite its outstanding track ability, it is still fully road-legal. This is racing technology for the road in the truest sense.”

The BMW Concept M4 GTS showcases new technologies destined to make their series production debut in a new model to be unveiled at a later date. For example, the BMW Concept M4 GTS features the innovative water injection system that has already provided a significant output and torque boost in the BMW M4 MotoGP Safety Car. In addition, the BMW Concept M4 GTS has rear lights with OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology that give the high-performance model a whole new look when darkness falls.

The world premiere of the BMW Concept M4 GTS will take place over the course of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance weekend in California on August 13, 2015, in the company of prize winning sports cars from years gone by.

Optimised down to the finest detail.
The BMW Concept M4 GTS builds on the BMW M4 Coupe’s dynamic and emotional use of forms. Yet its character as a high-performance special model, in which every detail has been developed to fulfill its purpose as a successful track machine, also comes immediately to the fore. The manually adjustable front splitter and rear wing – both in exposed carbon – ensure perfect aerodynamic balance and allow the BMW Concept M4 GTS to be adapted for both individual race tracks and for use on the road. Another example of the engineers rigorous adherence to lightweight design is the CFRP (carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic) bonnet, which lowers the car’s weight and centre of gravity further still. A wide front air intake optimizes airflow and minimizes front axle lift.

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BMW F82 M4 GTS wing

The dynamic and exclusive presence of the BMW Concept M4 GTS is accentuated by the exterior paint shade – Frozen Grey Metallic – with the Acid Orange accent on the front splitter creating an effective contrast. The lightweight, forged and polished light-alloy wheels in 666 M styling also feature an Acid Orange accent. The 9.5 J x 19 (front) and 10.5 J x 20 (rear) wheels are fitted with Michelin Sport Cup 2 tyres (265/35 R19 at the front, 285/30 R20 at the rear). The mixed-size tyres provide the ideal conduit for the stand-out dynamic attributes of the BMW Concept M4 GTS.

Water injection – power up, full-load fuel consumption down. The engine powering the BMW Concept M4 GTS is equipped with the same innovative water injection system that has endowed the BMW M4 MotoGP Safety Car with a noticeable increase in output and torque.

The water injection system introduced by BMW M Division sees the engineers using the physical effect of water when vaporizing to draw the required energy from the ambient medium. The water is injected into the plenums of the intake manifold as a fine spray. When the water vaporizes, the intake air cools significantly. As a result, the final compression temperature in the combustion chamber – and therefore the engine’s tendency to “knock” – is reduced, enabling the turbocharged engine to use higher boost pressure and earlier injection timing.

This technology ensures an increase in output and torque, while at the same time reducing the thermal stress on performance-relevant components. All of which also enhances the stability and durability of the turbocharged engine. The BMW Concept M4 GTS therefore brings high-performance technology directly from the race track to the road.

The strong performance potential of the turbocharged six-cylinder in-line engine already demands an exceptionally sophisticated thermal management system for the engine and ancillary units. To ensure optimal operating temperatures in all situations, the M Division engineers have developed a highly innovative and effective cooling system. It comprises a main radiator plus additional radiators for the high- and low-temperature circuits, transmission and turbocharger in order to keep temperatures stable. The turbochargers are cooled by means of an indirect intercooler, assisted by an additional electric water pump.

OLED rear lights radiate ultra-high precision.
The BMW Concept M4 GTS is fitted with innovative rear lights featuring OLED technology. OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) are a new type of light source producing full-surface and homogenous illumination – in contrast to LEDs, which emit light to a single point. Their low installation height of just 1.4 millimetres and the ability to actuate individual light modules separately create fresh design scope in lighting concepts. OLED technology enables extra flexibility and forges an unmistakable appearance that signals exceptional precision.

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OLED technology heralds a new era in light design and lighting concepts, and opens up new possibilities when it comes to a characteristic and distinctive light signature for BMW models – both for their daytime driving lights and during the hours of darkness.

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BMW, Audi, Mercedes buy HERE

BMW, AUDI, MERCEDES buy Map Company HERE

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August 3, 2015 08:05 CET

FRANKFURT — BMW, Audi and Daimler will buy Nokia’s mapping business HERE for 2.8 billion euros ($3.1 billion) in a push to extend the reach of automakers into digital services for connected cars.

The three automakers will each hold an equal stake in HERE, which is one of the biggest vehicle-navigation suppliers, and none of them seeks to acquire a majority interest.

“For the automotive industry this is the basis for new assistance systems and ultimately fully autonomous driving,” the companies said in a joint statement today.

The deal underscores the German competitors’ push for self-driving systems independent of technology giants such as Google, which is looking at entering the auto industry.

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Intelligent mapping systems are the basis on which self-driving cars linked to wireless networks can perform intelligent functions such as recalculating a route if data about a traffic jam or an accident is transmitted to the car. In the future, such mapping systems will have a role to play in collision detection and other features of self-driving.

While there has previously been limited cooperation on auto parts, the joint acquisition on this scale involving BMW, Volkswagen Group Audi division and Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler is unprecedented.

Supplying HERE’s technology to other carmakers would also enable the German partners to tap into a market for automotive data and connectivity that consulting company McKinsey & Co. estimates could surge sixfold from current levels to 180 billion euros by 2020.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year. Nokia said it will get net proceeds on the sale of slightly more than 2.5 billion euros.

HERE supplies map data for about 80 percent of cars with in-dash navigation systems in North America and Europe. Nokia is shedding the maps business to help it focus on integrating its 15.6 billion-euro purchase of Alcatel Lucent, a deal that will create the world’s second largest network equipment maker.

Suitors for HERE included Chinese web services company Baidu, private-equity firm Apax Partners in cooperation with U.S. online car-booking provider Uber Technologies and Microsoft, according to people familiar with the matter.

Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report.

Here is the Press Release from BMW today (August 3, 2015)

BMW Press Release

August 3, 2015

– Acquisition will secure and strengthen HERE as an independent company serving customers from all industries

– Real-time maps and location based services will be the basis for the mobility of tomorrow

– Transaction expected to close in first quarter 2016

Ingolstadt, Munich, Stuttgart, August 3rd, 2015. AUDI AG, the BMW Group and Daimler AG have agreed with Nokia Corporation that they will acquire its mapping and location services business HERE. The acquisition is intended to secure the long term availability of HERE’s products and services as an open, independent and value creating platform for cloud-based maps and other mobility services accessible to all customers from the automotive industry and other sectors. The three partners will each hold an equal stake in HERE; none of them seeks to acquire a majority interest. Subject to the approval of the relevant antitrust authorities, the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.

HERE is laying the foundations for the next generation of mobility and location based services. For the automotive industry this is the basis for new assistance systems and ultimately fully autonomous driving. Extremely precise digital maps will be used in combination with real-time vehicle data in order to increase road safety and to facilitate innovative new products and services. On the basis of the shared raw data, all automobile manufacturers can offer their customers differentiated and brand-specific services.

“Our environment is constantly changing. That’s why the information in digital maps has to be continually updated so that maximum utility can be offered,” stated Robert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG. The high-precision cameras and sensors installed in modern cars are the digital eyes for updating mobility data and maps; in this way, information such as speed limits or critical driving situations are already recognized today. All data gained will be processed in compliance with strict data-protection rules.

“HERE will play a key role in the digital revolution of mobility, combining high definition maps and data from vehicles to make travel safer and easier for everyone,” explained Harald Kruger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.

This knowledge will be to the benefit of all carmakers and their customers. “High-precision digital maps are a crucial component of the mobility of the future. With the joint acquisition of HERE, we want to secure the independence of this central service for all vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and customers in other industries,” stated Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG.

Swarm intelligence will create new information density for road maps.

“HERE will be able to offer users a continuously improving product, bringing highly automated driving and location based services a step further. As the volume of anonymized data from the vehicles increases, services will become more convenient, more connected and further tailored to the users individual requirements<” said Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management of Audi AG for Technical Development, Klaus Frohlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG for Development, and Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG for Group Research. It is the explicit intention that all HERE customers are to benefit from the continuous optimization.

The social benefits of swarm intelligence are enormous: They facilitate warnings of hazards in real time, of icy roads for example, based on calculations of individual data such as ABS activations and outside temperature. Upcoming traffic jams will be identified more precisely in the future, significantly reducing the risk of accidents. In this way, the vision of accident-free driving is gradually becoming reality. In a further stage, the data could be used to learn about critical bends on the road, in order to warn drivers in good time or to activate assistance systems. Anticipation of green phases of stop lights could navigate vehicles through an urban area on a “green wave” with the appropriate engine performance and minimized fuel consumption.

High-precision maps are important for autonomous driving and many other forms of assistance systems, as these technologies require an up-to-date plan of a vehicle’s surroundings exact to the nearest centimeter, in order to react in real time. While HERE already produces extremely precise static maps, they can be verified more exactly and continually updated with a constant flow of data from vehicles surroundings.

HERE will continue to offer its services and products across industries.

HERE provides mapping and location intelligence for nearly 200 countries in more than 50 languages and is one of the main providers of mapping and location services. The company will continue to develop its position as a strong and independent provider of maps and location-based services, will expand its product offerings and continue to make it available to all customers across all industries.

The management of HERE will continue to be independent – with the goal of moving the HERE business case forward as a platform, open to all customers. The consortium will not interfere into operational business.

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AUDI has another IDEA

AUDI Has Another IDEA – Synthetic e-Diesel

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If you believe companies such as Tesla, the future of car travel is all about electricity and batteries, but then you have Toyota & BMW claiming electric cars just aren’t practical and instead believe hydrogen-power is the future. Now we have a third car company entering the fray in the form of Audi, and it may have the best alternative yet.

Audi has setup an experimental production facility in Dresden, Germany, which is producing a synthetic form of diesel to power vehicles. The key feature of this e-diesel is the fact it is produced using water and CO2 as the core elements. Just as importantly, the fuel can be used in existing diesel engine vehicles without any modifications being required, either as a mix with gasoline or as a complete fuel solution on its own.

This synthetic diesel does require resources and effort to produce, but Audi says it is a green form of energy because of the way it is made. Water is heated to form steam which is then broken down into hydrogen and oxygen using high-temperature electrolysis. That process requires a temperature of 800 degrees Celsius, but Audi says they use heat recovery to ensure an efficient system and green energy sources for the initial heating.

“This synthetic diesel, made using CO2, is a huge success for our sustainability research,” Wanka commented (Johanna Wanka, Federeal Minister of Eduction and Research). “If we can make widespread use of CO2 as a raw material, we will make a crucial contribution to climate protecion and the efficient use of resources, and put the fundamentals of the green economy in place.”

The carbon dioxide that the plant currently uses is supplied by a biogas facility, through Climeworks (one of Audi’s partners in the project), plans to extract it from ambient air through a process called direct air capturing. That process should be a more sustainable and “greener” way of sourcing the carbon dioxide. (Note – while the output is also CO2, the net is the same, it consumes the CO2 it outputs, no net change to the atmosphere).

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The CO2 then reacts with the hydrogen in a synthesis reactor under pressure at high temperature to produce a liquid call blue crude. It is then refined to become e-diesel in a normal fuel refining process, which is free of both sulfur and “aromatic hydrocarbons”, which means it would produce no soot nor have any smell.

The goal of e-diesel, aside from shifting away from relying on oil-based diesel, is to reduce emissions, since the elements of typical diesel exhaust are not produced by cars using this fuel.

“In developing Audi e-diesel, we are promoting another fuel based on CO2 that will allow long-distance travel (ie, read, not like the current electric cars) with virtually no impact on the climate,” said Reider Mangold, head of sustainable product development at Audi.? “Using CO2 as a raw material represents an opportunity not just for the automotive industry, but also to transfer the principle to other sectors.”

Production of e-diesel will stay small scale for the rest of the year – the plant will produce about 800 gallons of the synthetic e-diesel fuel over the next several months. But its goal is to make e-diesel production a more efficient process in the long term, one that can achieve a greater commercial scale.

Audi B8 A4 – Styling It UP

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Audi A4 B8.5 2014 – Styling it UP.

So, what do you do when you want a car that has the power of the S4, but you want certain styles, sound and a defined “look”? If you spend all the money to get the S4, then you can’t get the car to look the way you want. But, you want more than just an A4.

Then, you get the A4, and bring it to BRracing to “style it up”. You want unique, you want classy, you want style, you want quality, you want the complete package.

Its easy. You style up the wheels, change the suspension, the exhaust, the tune, the brakes, the key defining body elements…you get the complete package. This customer doesn’t want to track the car, but does want to drive w enthusiasm. He wants a car that screams, “take me out and drive me”.

WHEELS

As the saying goes, GO BIG. So we did. 20″ wheels, front and rear. There is a shift in the wheel market, due to the spreading of the technology of “flow formed” wheel manufacturing. It used to be that there were either “cast” wheels, or “forged” wheels, and there was a big difference in cost, weight, design, sizes….all elements. Then, several years ago, the manufacturing process incorporated pressurized casting, or “flow formed”. The manufacturing costs are not much more than traditional casting, but the amount of metal needed to ensure a proper design is way less than a cast wheel, and very close to a forged wheel. With a flow formed wheel, you can also do more design treatment, you aren’t as limited as you were with casting. You can’t do all the fancy machining and weight savings of a forged wheel, but you can get very close. As a result, the cost of a well designed, light weight wheel has come way down, to just above the cost of a cast wheel. Most of the leading manufacturers have now jumped in, and produce “flow formed” wheels. BBS, OZ, Vorsteiner, VMR, and yes, even HRE.

Although, don’t think that means everything is the same. We knew we want to install a “big brake kit” (BBK) on this project car, and when we went to verify fitment, we found that some “flow formed” wheels still do not offer the clearance that a forged wheel does. Some do, some don’t, so make sure you check and plan well when you consider new wheels for your car.

Our checking, along w selecting the right design or look, led us to the leader in wheels….HRE. They now make flow formed in a couple of designs, and one was exactly what we wanted, and worked perfect w our budget as well.

We selected the FF15, in “liquid silver” (that’s the other fun thing you can do w most wheels now, you can pretty much have the option of any color).

BRAKES

Lately, some of the European car manufacturers seem to have a problem producing or implementing a quality brake system. They may produce or have calipers that are big and massive, and you would think they would do the job….but they don’t. On another of our project cars, a new Audi RS5, that does see some track duty, we have tried just about everything to leverage the big brakes that come on the car, but all to no avail. So, with this project, we didn’t waste our time trying this and trying that, we went with what we know works, what looks great, what fits well inside a 20″ wheel, and that would provide all the stopping power we would ever need under any conditions or use. We choose BREMBO. A 6 piston, forged caliper, 2-piece hat and rotor, and their latest in the street / performance brake pad options.

Brembo now makes several rotor designs (cross drilled, slotted, or their new J-hook style). Since we weren’t going to be putting a BBK kit on the rear, we wanted an option that would allow us to tie the design together front and rear. Therefore, for the front, we went w the slotted rotor option.

Here you can see the old and the new side by side

 

SUSPENSION

As mentioned, we didn’t need an upgraded suspension, but we did want the full flexibility of altering the ride height. That means there are two options, either the new “HAS” (Height Adjustable Spring) kits, or a traditional coil-over. Luckily, the market has continued to evolve to provide a solution for almost every customer need and application, and you can now get a true “coil-over”, w matching shocks, but that are non-adjustable in terms of the shock valving.? For most people, this is just what they need, as they are not likely to get down or inside and play w the various shocks settings that adjustable coil-overs offer (if someone did, then we would lead w the Bilstein PSS10 kit for street cars). There are several of these new non-adjustable coil-over kits, and we selected the ST brand (KW is the parent company). A little lower in the quality of the product, you only get a 5-year warranty, but the design and fitment is spot on.

EXHAUST

Here we look for the combination of performance / flow, quality, fitment, and design application. For this project, we were going to go beyond the traditional / stock implementation of a single outlet at the rear, and instead, go w the look of the S4, that has dual exhaust outlets. However, as you can see in the pic below, the stock rear valence does not support this. This is where the concept of a “project car” comes true, and holistic nature of the implementation. We were not only going to implement a beautiful new exhaust system, but we were going to change the rear valance to suit.? Here is the stock set up :

To solve this, we turned to the experts at APR…..a group that knows just about everything Audi. They make a killer exhaust that fits within the stock body work, in a normal manner, just like the S4 exhaust. Here is a picture of the complete exhaust before installation –

Great design, great quality, perfect fitment, even the tips and their diamond black treatment that goes so well w the black color of this Audi. A complete system. We have never had any issues on fitment or quality with any of APR’s products.

BODY – rear

To make the rear work w the new exhaust, a different rear diffuser would be needed. DEVAL makes a S4 replica, in Carbon Fiber, and that has the right size exhaust outlet cutouts for our next exhaust. Here is a pic of the new vs the old –

Agan, the quality and fitment were great. Take a close look at the beautiful CF design…to bad it sits so low in the car and you can’t get a more frequent view of it.

Since we made the rear of the car appear more like an S4….we couldn’t leave the front alone. So, we implemented a replica RS4 front grill. There are two versions, one w the center plate band, one without. We choose the one without.

Viola!!! Another great project car. Right look, right style, great stance, amazing brakes, killer wheels….what’s not to like?

What can BRracing build for you?

 

 

New Porsche GT3-R 2016 Unveiled

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Porsche has officially taken the wraps off its new GT3 contender, the 991 based 911 GT3 R, which is on track to make its race debut at next year’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season opening race at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The GT3 car, based on the newly launched GT3 RS production car, was unveiled Friday (May 15, 2015) at the Nurburgring, and features a number of improvements from Porsche’s 997-based race cars, which has been discontinued.

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The new 991 GT3 R is equipped with a four-liter flat-six powerplant, largely identical to the production engine used in the road going version, including the use of direct injection for the first time.

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It cam following a decision to adopt the production-based engine after beginning the car’s development in the summer of 2014, with a different power unit.

According to Head of Porsche Motorsport, Dr. Frank Steffen Walliser, the changes will help reduce operating costs by up to 50 percent over the 997-based model.

“We made the decision on the engine change to bring down run time costs, allowing the engine to be used for a longer run time between rebuilds.

The 911 GT3 R shares distinct lineage from the GTE-spec 911 RSR, including the use of carbon fiber bodywork, nearly the same electronics as well as the adoption of a centrally positioned radiator. (Notice the lack of side radiators in the front bumper cover in the pic below, not only improving cooling, but significantly aiding aerodynamics and front end grip).

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The brake system has also been revised to conform to the GT3-legal ABS system, and the suspension is all new all around.

“It’s a lot about the Balance of Performance” (BOP), driveability, and run time costs” he added. The major task is ease of driveability so its easier to drive for a sportsman driver.

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“If Patrick Pilet is fast, that is one thing. If a gentleman driver, as well as a lot of the Porsche Pro-Am drivers, can be confident w the car, then the whole solution is better.”

They also looked at using different tire brands on the car, so its not just a Michelin car. They also tried the Continental, Pirelli, and Hankook tires.

The car, which will be eligible for the various GT3 spec championships worldwide, including the TUDOR Championship beginning next year, along w the Pirelli World Challenge series here in North America. The car will retail for $E 490k, with the first deliveries expected in November.? Porsche expects to build about 20- 30 cars for next years use.

Miller Motorsport Park to CLOSE

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One of North America’s highest elevation motorsports facilities will be closing its doors later this year, as the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies announced that it will cease operations of the Miller Motorsports Park.

The state of the art facility, located near Salt Lake City, opened in 2006 and played host to a variety of two and four-wheeled championships, including the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am.

Most recently, it held rounds of Pirelli World Challenge and Pirelli Trophy Cup, and both have events scheduled for later this year (August), as well as a full schedule of other racing events thru the remainder of this year.

The facility, a project of the late Larry H. Miller, will close its doors on October 31, 2015, after the group elected not to renew its lease with Toele County.

“On behalf of my family, I would like to thank all of those who have supported the track over the years, both locally and worldwide, for their enthusiasm and use of the facility,” said Gail Miller in a statement.

The Alan Wilson designed circuit had struggled financially since its opening, reportedly costing the Miller family millions of dollars.

It’s unclear what the future will hold for the property, although given the previous financial issues, the possibility of another group reviving the circuit appears to be unlikely.