Category: Super Car

The beauty of a legacy: The Gordon Murray T.50s Niki Lauda

On the 22nd of February 2021, the former legendary Formula 1 driver of yesteryear, Niki Lauda would have turned 72. The late three time World Champion and personality for the historically based movie Rush, has a legacy that lives on in the automotive world as Gordon Murray Automotive’s latest creation commemorates the decorated driver’s career.  

The Durban-born Gordon Murray has easily cemented himself as one of the modern all time greats in automotive design – which should instill a sense of pride for us South Africans. With extensive experience in Formula 1 and an impressive CV working on some truly incredible machines (yeah, the Mclaren F1 is one of them), he decided to channel his talents into a creation that bears his own name. If you were under a rock during August of last year, you would be none the wiser that the Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 was released. In summary, the T.50 is a lightweight, 488kW V-12 powered, manual transmission supercars with a price tag north of £2.4m (before tax – not that it really matters if you can afford it). If you’re able to snag of the 100 built. 

On Niki Lauda’s birth date, Gordon Murray tributed the next iteration of his personal masterpiece after him by giving it the name: the T.50s Niki Lauda. To add context into the naming convention, Lauda raced the Murray-designed Formula 1 challengers in the late 1970’s, including the iconic Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT46B (appropriately named the fan car because of the massive fan mounted to its rear cowling). 

“The T.50s is named in honour of Niki to commemorate his famous win with the Brabham BT46B fan car in the 1978 Swedish GP,” said Murray. If you play spot-the-difference between the rear of the BT46B and the T.50, you will be hard pressed to find many – both iconically wearing Murray’s fan to aid ground effect. 

With only 25 of these to be created, they will have a chassis plate with a story equally as romantic as their name. Each car produced will be designated after one of the Murray-designed F1 Brabham or Mclaren winning challengers. In other words, the first car to be completed: Chassis 1, will bear a chassis plate with the engravings of Kyalami 1974, crediting Murray’s first victory in Formula 1 when F1 driver Carlos Reutemann emerged victorious behind the wheel of the BT44. 

If history isn’t what you came for then the numbers might be. To carry the weight of the Austrian born Ferrari and Mclaren-TAG champion requires a substantial justification, which the Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s Niki Lauda on paper should live up to. The power in the 3.9-litre, naturally-aspirated Cosworth V12 has been uprated to 540kW. Which is a lot – especially in a car that only weighs a measly 852kg. Power upgrades are thanks to higher compression ratio (15:1), new camshafts and revised cylinder heads with air being fed through a roof-mounted RAM induction box. This all helps the lightweight V12 reach a glorious 12 100rpm (just imagine the deafening sound with the factory straight piped exhaust). While the T.50 is manual, gearing in the Lauda is offered in a six-speed sequential paddle-shift with a choice in ratios getting the vehicle to approximately 330km/h or 275km/h with the short-ratio cogs.

If you thought the stock-standard T.50 came with a hefty price, take a seat because the T.50s Niki Lauda comes in with a whopping price of £3.1m. While both variants of the T.50 have been developed in tandem, the 25 Lauda’s won’t begin production until the last of the 100 road-going T.50’s roll off the production line in early 2023. There is hope that the Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s will compete in the World Endurance Series and not exclusively be reserved for opulent-climate controlled garages after Murray expressed interest in 2019.

Mclaren 765LT: The latest in the Longtail Evolution

The Longtail developments made by Mclaren and inhouse specialists MSO speak for themselves. Examples clear, with the sheer understanding of track-focused unrelent. This time with the supercar Brutus that is the Mclaren 720S as a base.

A tuned version of the same 4.0Litre V8 Twin-turbo from the 720S, enhanced with the strengthened internals from the Senna, produces 563kW’s and 800Nm to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Like with any LT version the track-focused nature creates the need for extensive carbon fibre redesign to the aerodynamics. Larger front air venting, larger front spoiler, active rear wing. The 1339Kg Curb weight and incredible power propel the 765LT from 0-100 in 2.7 Seconds and on the lower 330Km/h in the high drag configuration.

The revised dynamics make for a 6mm addition to the track and a 5mm reduction in the ride height, through significantly updated suspension revisions to the Proactive Chassis Control systems. The Carbon Ceramic Brakes are lifted from the Senna once again and can be Speced with a more forgiving road bias compound.

Internally the 720S on which the LT is based shares its interior is identical with a lesser finesse and focus on refinement given the weight reduction subtractions for sound insulation, carpets, and the no-cost option for the radio and aircon delete.

Mclaren 675LT In South Africa

The English carmaker will only make 675 of this version of the LT Coupe for 2021 with a likely Spyder to follow afterwards. It’s still too early to tell if there will be a South African allocation, but LHD USA sales are scheduled for a September release. With other focused supercars like Ferraris F8 Tributo with its 530kW matching nicely the next generation of halo mid-engined on the way, the 765LT should have most shaking in there 20-inch boots.

Porsche adds the 478kw Turbo S to the Range

With the current 8th Generation 992 911 range being the ultimate epitome of what is the modern 911 still is, even the purist arguments that endlessly rant on about electric steering, turbocharging and water cooling have been humbled now. The 991 and 992 have proven to be thunderously focused drivers cars with very little to wish for even in more plebian entry-level models. A statement not so true of 911s of old. These days even a standard Carrera is suitable for a sub 3.5 Zero-100 time. The modern view of the Stuttgart manufacture, with a specific focus on the ‘Turbo‘ element, is more indicative of trim levels in Porsche speak given the whole Carrera range has a turbo, and the EV Taycan doesn’t even have a combustion engine. This may all sound a bit doubtful and anti-climatic for the 1980s 930 Turbo nostalgia, but the Wider body and the historic rear-arch mounted intercooler intakes make the distinctions very clear. 

Mounted in the rear is an all-new 3.8Litre Twin-turbo Flat-Six engine with 478kWs and 800Nm, Through Porsche Traction Management AWD system via an 8-Speed PDK gearbox. With launch Control Active 0-100 will be dispatched in 2.7 Seconds and 200 in less time than it takes to read about the drivetrain or 8.9 seconds, with a 330Km/h top speed.

The Turbo S model benefits from the revisions to the aerodynamics and enhanced track characteristics; the front axle is 42 mm wider and ten at the rear. Porsche Active Suspension Management with a 10mm drop in ride height and Sports Chassis comes standard with active cooling air flaps which channel air into and underneath the car. Like the rest of the range, a staggered wheel set up featuring 20/255/35 in the front and a healthy 21/315/30 at the rear.

The Cabin gains a new PCM infotainment centre with a 27.6cm screen, GT sports Steering wheel, Carbon trimmings and accents. The Sport Chrono Package comes standard with the Track Precision app and Bose Surround System standard.

Porsche 992 911 Turbo S pricing in South Africa

Prices starting just over R3.5Million rand for the Turbo S Coupe without options and inclusive of a 3/year Drive Plan. Deliveries South Start in early May.

New Audi R8 Spyder – Now you can hear your V10 scream better.

New Audi R8 Spyder V10

New Audi R8 Spyder V10 released in South Africa

Let’s be honest, as much as pure petrol heads lament the lack of rigidity in a convertible, the look and feel of a drop top is badass. This is especially the case when it comes to supercars. The Audi R8 is already a fantastic vehicle, offering ridiculous performance figures and an amazing soundtrack. This soundtrack will be even more audible now that the New Audi R8 Spyder gives you the choice of driving around without a roof.

Enquire about a new or used Audi vehicle at Audi Centurion here!

The same V10 engine we’ve come to know and love has been used, featuring 397kW and 540N.m. This figure may seem strange because more press has been given to the R8 Plus model, which has 445kW. The Spyder however pushes out the exact same power as the non – Plus variant, but we’re sure Audi will make a Plus available at some point. That being said the car now dashes to 100km/h in 3.6 seconds which is still a monumental time considering that the Spyder variant will be heavier than the coupe. Heavier doesn’t mean heavier though as the new R8 Spyder uses technology called Audi Space Frame. This a multi-material frame that combines aluminium and Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic. The convertible top also only weighs in at 44kgs, so a lot has been done to keep the car light on its feet, ensuring dynamic handling characteristics.

Another thing many people have enjoyed about the R8 is the way the Quattro system works. Unlike other four wheel drive systems, it’s less prone to nose diving provided you give it the respect it deserves coming into corners. In fact the system in the New Audi R8  Spyder can send up to 100 percent of its power to the rear wheels, depending on the situation. Whilst most people won’t exploit their R8’s to this point, it’s good to know that fun can be had for those who’ve watched too much Top Gear.

 

Besides the lack of a roof, the R8 remains mostly the same – just much better looking. The car comes standard with a host of technology such as Navigation, Virtual Cockpit and front and rear LED lights. Although, you do expect those kind of creature comforts if you’re paying approximately R2.9million for a car. We love it’s look, we love how it sounds, now it’s a matter of seeing if we love how it drives. Judging by the coupe, it should be very exciting.

Enquire about a new or used Audi vehicle at Audi Centurion here!

What we can expect at the 2017 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb

2017 Jaguar Simola Hill Climb

Jaguar Simola Hillclimb 2017

Where there is a hill to be climbed, someone at some point will endeavor to climb it. Humans do this, it must be in our nature to choose a thing that’s bigger than us and then scale it, only to poke a flag in it once the summit has been reached. One step further than this, though, is racing another human to the top, conquering not only the hill, but your competitor too!

2017 Jaguar Simola Hill Climb

Now in its eighth edition and the fourth to be sponsored by Jaguar South Africa, the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb 2017 promises to be the ultimate showcase of people racing up a hill, as we like to do. Considered by many to be the most prestigious motorsport event in South Africa, the Hillclimb has grown exponentially from its humble beginnings back in 2009 to the local equivalent of the iconic Goodwood Festival of Speed, having had over 14 000 motorsport fans grace the hill in 2016.

2017 Jaguar Simola Hill Climb

The cream of the motorsport crop are to be found at the Hillclimb with legends such as Ian Scheckter, Mike Briggs, Deon Joubert, Leeroy Poulter and Sarel van der Merwe having taken part over the past 7 events. Of course, the cars are important too – nobody would fly all the way to Knysna to bear witness to a running race between Mike Briggs and Franco Scribante…

Porsche 917 and 956, Ariel Atom, various Lotus’, countless Ferraris and the usual brigade of supercars such as the McLaren 650S, Lamborghini Aventador and Jaguar F-Type have all taken part, as well as a handful of Formula 1 cars from a bygone era.

2017 Jaguar Simola Hill Climb

The 2017 programme sees a slight tweak with the King of the Hill event being split into three categories – SuperCar Shootout, Sports Cars and Single Seaters and Modified Saloons.  This ensures that competition is fair and that each competitor stands a chance against the other hillclimbers. The fastest cars in each category will then go head to head in a shootout to crown the King of the Hill.

2017 Jaguar Simola Hill Climb

We look forward to seeing all the action from the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb – if the hype and success of the previous years is anything to go by, this year’s event promises to be quite the spectacle!

The New 911 GT3 Sets a very fast lap around Nürburgring

911 GT3 Nürburgring Lap time

The new 911 GT3 Nürburgring lap time.

The Porsche 991.2 911 GT3 may look very similar to its predecessor but under the skin much has changed. This is proven by the official lap time set by the 991.2 GT3 around the legendary Nürburgring. A track which seems to be proving ground for fast cars. “If you can drive fast on the Nordschleife, you can drive fast anywhere in the world”, Frank-Steffen Walliser commented.

The new Porsche GT3 set a lap time of 7 minutes and 12 seconds. That, my friends, is 12.3 seconds faster than the previous generation 991 GT3. That is a very fast time and a big improvement which shows the changes to the GT3 really do make a difference. Read about the changes here: The New Porsche 991.2 GT3 Has Changed More Than You Think.

It’s worth noting this time was set on Michelin Sport Cup 2 N1 tyres which come standard with the  Porsche 991.2 GT3.

There is currently no official time for the GT3 RS, Although some have rumored it set a time of 7 minutes  and 20 seconds, in the wet. The official time set by the GT3  has also sparked rumors suggesting a sub 7 minute lap time from the upcoming Window Maker – the GT2.

This could mean a production car lap record if it beats the claimed time of the time Lamborhini  Huracan Performante – 6 Minutes and 52 seconds, which many are saying never happened…

 

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If Idris Elba doesn’t want to be James Bond, maybe the Aston Martin DB11 will convince him.

Aston Martin DB11 review in South Africa

We drive the Aston Martin DB11

Besides being one of the coolest people in Hollywood, Idris Elba is also a petrol head. If you don’t believe us, Google it. The fact that he is a car lover gives the makers of James Bond an even better reason to make him the next 007. If I were in the unique position to be considered for that role, I’d have a specific request though, besides being made to look taller – I’d want the lead car to be an Aston Martin DB11. We don’t need to explain why this car would be perfect for the next James Bond movie because Aston’s have long been synonymous with the 007 brand.

Old man gets some work done:

Let’s be honest, the Aston Martin brand was always the car for the “mature”. You know, the expensive cigar smoking, trench coat wearing types that look you up and down as you approach them. With technology and innovation making leaps and bounds, many manufacturers are looking to appeal to a different target audience nowadays. The internet has made many younger people wealthier so a sports car for the refined gentleman won’t appeal to that rich kid who swears by his Adidas sneakers and hoody from college. What that guys wants is something smart and powerful, something the Aston Martin DB11 is.

The new car has learned from its older siblings in terms of style and pizzazz, but its packaged in a different way. The DB9 and Vanquish for instance feel old school with their sonorous naturally aspirated V12 engines. Having driven a Vanquish recently, I can confirm that it’s quite an event-nothing beats the raw nature of the engine. The power delivery is a build up, giving you an exquisite crescendo at the end of the rev range. The only problem with that, is that in everyday traffic, you’ll barely reach that crescendo because of a little thing called traffic.

This is where the Aston Martin DB11 comes in, since it’s turbocharged it has boost very early in the rev range – allowing you to access the power easily. The car is a GT vehicle, meaning that it’s meant to be driven a lot. It’s not meant to be a Sunday car, but for it to be an “everyday car” it needs everyday features. The modes in the DB11 were made specifically for that purpose.

GT mode is the one you’ll use to go to the office,  Sport mode will be used by those who still want to go to the office but very loudly. Sport Plus mode will be used by those who still want go to the office but loudly and less comfortably. In whatever mode the Aston Martin DB11 is in, it’s never terrible though. It’s always good. Underneath it all, the car is basically a Mercedes-AMG GT and the people at Merc know a thing or two about comfort. The surprising thing is that the Aston drives better as an everyday car than the AMG GT. The engine is also nicer. A unique 5.2 litre V12 Twin Turbo is the life of the party and with 447kW/700Nm at your disposal, you won’t get bored easily. This engine makes any other Aston seem slow, but it still has soul.

Driving the DB11 teaches you that you don’t have to drive fast for you to enjoy a car with so much power. With your cell phone paired and the engine in its most docile mode, you often forget you have a weapon under your right foot. The 8 speed automatic gearbox adds to this as it can feel non-existent, but in Sport mode it changes quicker than you’d expect. The seating position also doesn’t make you feel like you’re in a long car, as does the Vanquish. Instead you’re surrounded by luxury and technology and you don’t feel like you’re driving “daddy’s car”. The Aston Martin DB11 has done well then to appeal to younger guys.

Sure it’s not as exciting as a super car but it’s not mean to be. It’s meant to offer everyday thrills nestled in luxury and sophistication. If I was a wealthy 35 year old, the DB11 would be a very tempting car to own. Better yet if I were Idris Elba, I think it would add to the James Bond swagger I would already bring to the role. Imagine the scene, Idris driving up to a lavish hotel, pulling up in the Aston Martin DB11 with a gorgeous girl. As the valet approaches he says, “park the old girl won’t you, but keep it running, I won’t be long…”    

 

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Aston Martin Vanquish S Released In South Africa

South African Launch of the Aston Martin Vanquish S

For as long as humans have lusted over motorcars, the question of whether or not a car can be considered to be art has existed. Silly as it may seem, many an art aficionado has gazed upon such beauties as the Jaguar E-Type, Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder SWB  and E60 BMW M5 (a personal favourite) and have thought, “Psh, this is not art.” What these dreary individuals seem to completely miss, however, is that these vehicles are but three examples of a pool of cars we consider to be greater than the sum of their parts.

Similarly, there has been ambiguity as to whether photography can be considered to be art ever since it became commonplace in the 19th century and arguments such as “photography is too literal to compete with works of art” and that it is “unable to elevate the imagination” do not help the cause. Thankfully, then, a charming fellow by the name of Clint Strydom has gone off, armed with his camera and an Aston Martin One-77, and much like a naughty child skipping Physical Education on a Friday afternoon, stuck it to the man. Commissioned by Aston Martin Lagonda to capture the essence of their iconic brand, what Clint has come up with is truly remarkable.

 

Apt then, that Dr Ulrich Bez, Chairman of Aston Martin once said that “The true value of a work of art lies in the unique relationship between the art itself, its creator and ultimately its owner.” He then goes on to relate this to the cars which Aston Martin produce, noting that each vehicle reflects the personality of its owner in its unique specification – unless it’s second-hand, of course.

The local unveiling of the Aston Martin Vanquish S took place in Melrose Arch on the High Street, between the Daytona Melrose Arch Dealership and The Melrose Gallery where an exquisite exhibition of both Clint’s Inspired by Aston Martin series and a series of Esther Mahlangu’s works were on display. The significance of this was noted by few as Esther Mahlangu is one of the very few artists in the world to have been commissioned by BMW on two separate occasions to create a BMW Art Car, another amalgamation of the automotive and artistic spheres. The presence of these two visionaries was a fitting setting, then, for the local debut of Gaydon’s latest masterpiece and the halo vehicle of the Aston Martin brand.

The differences between the Aston Martin Vanquish and Vanquish S

Very similar to the “standard” Vanquish, only the eagle-eyed will notice the subtle differences between the Vanquish and its S counterpart. Most notable is the new aerodynamic package with its extended front splitter and rear diffuser, both fashioned from exposed carbon fibre and designed to reduce front lift with a minimal increase in parasitic drag. New quad exhaust pipes also emphasise the Vanquish S’ performance oriented character, as do the subtle changes to Aston Martin’s signature grille and side strakes.

Carbon fibre bonnet louvres, forged rims and various graphics packs can also be fitted to the Vanquish S.

Inside the vehicle, options with long and confusing names can be had such as “Bridge of Weir Caithness” leather and a Chopped Carbon Fibre finish which again suggests the overtly sporty nature of this flagship model.

Most notable changes are found beneath the skin in the form of all carbon fibre bodywork and recalibration of the 8-speed Touchtronic III transmission which now delivers faster gearshifts and is more refined at low speeds. Alterations to the inlet manifolds ups the power of the sonorous AM29 6.0-litre naturally-aspirated V12 from 424 kW/630 N.m (2014 onwards) to 444 kW/630 N.m. The larger volume inlet manifolds allow for a greater volume of air to flow into the engine at high rpm’s, creating stronger pull all the way to the redline as well as notably improved throttle response. 0-100 km/h is dealt with in 3.5 seconds and top speed is 323 km/h if you’re the sort of person who is concerned with those figures.

All of these aspects combine to create a GT which offers a distinctly different experience to the DB11, yet one that is still notably a product of the Aston Martin marque. The question is, do you feel that the Vanquish S is a work of art? If looking at it as a piece of art, some would say that at its starting price of R4 950 000, it’s a steal, but those who see it as just a motorcar might argue that that is quite a lot of money…

I leave you with this sentiment, then – you can gaze in awe at the lines, craftsmanship and attention to detail found in an Aston Martin, but you can’t drag race a painting.

 

Ferrari’s stubbornness strikes again: 812 Superfast.

Ferrari’s stubbornness strikes again: 812 Superfast

The trend of downsizing may be slowing down but it’s still something most manufacturers are doing when developing a new car. Not Ferrari though, specifically when it comes to their V12 engine. The Ferrari V12 is something special to most petrolheads and it’s great to see that it won’t be dying anytime soon. Think of cars like 575 M and the F12 TDF, would you want that sound to be no longer? Of course not. Well then you’ll be happy to know that the 812 Superfast is going to be revealed soon at the Geneva Motor Show.  This car uses a 588kW (800hp) and 718Nm 6.5 litre V12 to power the Berlinetta. It is as Ferrari puts it “the new benchmark in the mid-front-engined sports car segment”.

So it’s fast as you can expect, with the name Superfast you can’t really expect anything less. The Superfast uses Variable Geometry Intakes which if it uses a similar setup to the LaFerrari, means it uses a single tube per cylinder bank that can change its length depending on engine speed. This gives the car the choice to use a longer intake manifold under load and a shorter intake at higher rpm. You still with us? If not it means the car gets the right amount of air at the right time, making it superfast all the time. See what we did there?

Other cool features in the 812 Superfast are Side Slip Control, which allows you to drift without crashing. The Virtual Short Wheelbase system also makes the car more nimble and the Superfast makes use of Electric Power Steering. Oh, and it also uses a double clutch gearbox to make sure that all those horses don’t get wasted. So much so it does a 0-100km/h in a time of 2.9 seconds, not bad for a car that’s not extremely lightweight.

The most controversial aspect of this Superfast is the looks – some have mentioned how it has a bit of Corvette in it. We get where they’re coming from because if you squint your eyes, you can see it. Knowing the folks at Fezza, they’ll probably say the Corvette was inspired by the 812. Anyways, all that matters is that the Ferrari V12 still lives and if Ferrari can have it their way, it will probably live on for as long as possible. Yay for more cylinders!

 

A Seven Year Project: Pagani Huayra Roadster

Give Horacio Pagani a wand and a robe and one could be forgiven for thinking that he is in fact a magical professor – what with his curvaceous silver locks and chiselled visage, he really does fit the role of Snape’s vertically challenged brother. However, with the unveiling of the Huayra Roadster, I am starting to question his muggleness more than ever…

Nothing could have quite prepared anybody for the sheer pornography that is the Huayra Roadster – from its squared off face to swishy bits above the taillights, it is a completely different box of frogs to the Huayra Coupe and that wasn’t exactly a Gremlin either.

Horacio himself recently described this project as having been the most difficult they have ever worked on, a statement which makes complete sense once you delve into what went into this work of art.

The project began in 2010 with the simple idea of creating a Huayra without a roof. Three years later, all the design work was scrapped and they began from scratch with the goal of creating a vehicle lighter than the Coupe still in mind.

Power comes from the M158 Twin Turbo V12 from Mercedes-AMG, built especially for Pagani and producing an immense 592 kW and over 1000 N.m from its 6.0-litres. All that torque is available, too, from just 2 400 RPM. This allows the Roadster to sprint to 100 km/h in under 3 seconds, obviously a relevant figure…

This power is fed through a new single-clutch automated manual transmission developed for the Huayra BC and while not as immediate as its double-clutch counterparts, its lightweight construction offsets the slower shift time allowing a better power-to-weight ratio than if a double-clutch unit were to be used. The gearbox is also mounted transversely which reduces the polar inertia of the vehicle, just in case you were wondering.

Most impressive, however, is that the Roadster is some 25% lighter than the Coupe, yet 50% more rigid. A feat like this is almost unheard of in the automotive sphere, especially when one considers just how wiggly a car becomes when its roof is removed.

Other highlights include special Pirelli tyres with Horacio’s initials on them (how ostentatious) new carbon-ceramic brakes, a new ESP system and two roofs – one a glass and carbon-fibre jobby which only fits into one orifice in the vehicle – the one above your head – and the other a tent which can quickly be erected in the event of sudden moisture.

Only 100 will be made and they have all been sold for a ridiculous outlay of $2.8 million Dollars.  I now urge you to zoom into these images and ogle at the attention to detail that has gone into this vehicle.

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