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Race starts, drag racer explodes!


EXPLOSION OF THE LINE: The driver in this drag car never expected his vehicle to go up in smoke the moment he got off the line. Fortunately, the driver is on his way to a speedy recovery.

Goodwood Festival of Speed: 11 cars we’re looking forward to

Cape Town – The annual Goodwood Festival of Speed is nirvana for car enthusiasts. Thousands of petrolheads from all over the world will make their way to Goodwood house in West Sussex, England from June 24 to 26.

‘The endless pursuit of power’ 

The 2016 theme for the show is “the endless pursuit of power”, reports organisers.

Apart from rare vehicles taking on the famous Goodwood hill, there’ll be new model launches shown to the UK public for the first time in 2016.

BMW is the featured brand in 2016 says organisers, so expect lots of blue-propeller (old and new) badged cars at the show.

Here are 11 cars we can’t wait to see at Lord Mach’s stunning Goodwood estate:

1. Aston Martin DB11The British automaker will show its new DB11 for the first time at Goodwood. It’s powered by a 447kW V12 turbocharged engine, the first for the automaker.

The sight of the DB11 upclose is something to behold. We already know it sounds good. Aston Martin president and CEO Andy Palmer will drive the DB11 up the famous hill.

The 611kW insane-looking Vulcan will also make an appearance, powered by a 7.0-litre V12 engine.

2. Audi R8 SpyderIngolstadt’s hardtop supercar is due to arrive in South Africa later in 2016. Audi used the New York auto show to unveil the new Spyder version.

The Spyder uses the same 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 found in the R8 hardtop. Power is a huge 397kW/540Nm. The Spyder should arrive locally in 2017.

3. Audi S5 CoupeThe new S5 Coupe will be shown to the UK public for the first time at Goodwood. For South Africans, the latest S5 coupe is set to arrive locally during the first quarter of 2017.

It uses a newly developed 3.0-litre TFSI V6 tuned to deliver 260kW – 15kW more than its predecessor.  Gear shifts are administered via an eight-speed tiptronic ‘box.

4. Bugatti Chiron – Unveiled at the 2016 Geneva auto show in March, the successor to the world’s fastest production car uses an 8-litre W16 engine from the Veyron which has been completely redesigned. Its engine propels the new hypercar to limited top speed of 420km/h for ‘road use’.

The Chiron will take on the Michelin Supercar Run and will speed along the hill each day of the 2016 event.

5. Mercedes-Benz AMG GT R – The GT R will be unveiled to the world’s media at Mercedes-Benz World at Brooklands on Friday (June 24), before being transported to the Goodwood Festival of Speed for its public debut on Saturday 25th June.

Power from its twin-turbocharged V8 is tipped to be a staggering 425kW.

Other Mercedes models making their UK debuts are Merc-AMG C 63 Cabriolet and E 43 Saloon, alongside the SLC 43, SL 63 and S 500 Cabriolet.

6. McLaren 570S Sprint – The recently-announced McLaren 570S Sprint will take on the hillclimb  at the Goodwood festival.

This track-only McLaren is set to thrill crowds on the famous hill run and will be on public display at the Supercar Paddock.

A second 570S Sprint will be available to view for McLaren guests at its central location, adjacent to Goodwood House.

The 570S Sprint is built around the automaker’s carbon-fibred MonoCell II chassis and features a mid-mounted 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 engine and seven speed transmission.

7. Mini SevenThe new ‘Seven’ will make its world debut at Goodwood, with Mini South Africa confirming the new model will be available locally from July/August 2016.

The new Mini will be available in 5- or 3-door guise with specially designed exterior and interior details not yet seen in the automaker’s current offerings.

8. Lexus LC 500 – The LC coupe will make its UK debut at Goodwood and the good news is that the svelte coupe arrive in SA in 2017.

Lexus says the production version retains much of its design from the concept, with supercar-like proportions and a V8 engine driving the rear wheels through a ten-speed auto gearbox.

9. Porsche 911 R – The 911 R is a 367kW back-to-basics GT3 RS. It forgoes the PDK for a six-speed manual.

The car will be driven up the hillclimb by Porsche GT supremo Andreas Preguriner. \

10. Tesla Model XElectric car company Tesla, will show the Model X for the first time in the UK. Famous for its ‘falcon-wing’ doors, the Model X is also famous for beating the ‘world’s fastest SUV’ on the drag strip.

The SUV’s battery pack allows it to hit 100km/h in just over four seconds.

11. Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport SFresh from breaking the lap record at the Nurburgring for the fastest front-wheel drive car, the 228kW/380Nm Clubsport S is the automaker’s most powerful GTI ever.

In a cool throwback, the Clubsport S will take on the hill alongside the original GTI.

2016 SupaDrift: Western Cape Regionals Round 2


View the gallery of pics taken at the Western Cape Regionals!!

First Ferrari in SA resurfaces: It’s worth R160-million!


Ferdi de Vos

Italy – After it “went missing” for years, the first-ever Ferrari in South Africa made a surprise appearance at this year’s prestigious Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este on Lake Como in Italy.

Rubbing its shiny red flanks with some of the most delectable and esteemed vehicles in the world, the history of this now extremely rare 1952 225 Sport Spider Vignale, is as interesting as it is illustrious.

Its first appearance at the Concorso, ahead of the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix, was also very apt – as chassis number 0154ED, piloted by owner Count Vittorio Marzotto won the 1952 Monaco GP; beating the likes of Stirling Moss in much more fancied Aston Martins, Jaguars, Gordinis and Talbot-Lagos, and leading home a Ferrari 225S 1-2-3-4-5.

Even more significant is the fact that this victory was the first and last for a sports car in this Grand Prix.

Ferrari legacy

Also of interest is that the Marzotto 225S was the first to carry the open Spider coachwork by Alfredo Vignale, it was the last factory car fitted with a Lampredi 2.7-litre V12, and even though it was used in Europe, was a right-hand drive car. The round holes besides grille on this specific car were also a running change – added to aid cooling after the car overheated during the 1952 Giro de Sicilia.

The “Tuboscocca”, as the 225S was also known, was introduced as a larger version of the 212 Export. The model was intended for endurance sports car racing and was bodied either as a two-seat Berlinetta or Spider.

It made appearances at the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio in the early ’fifties and Marzotto became the over 2.0-litre champion in his 225 Sport in 1952. After racing the car a few more times, Marzotto sold it to fellow Italian Pietro Palmieri.

The SA connection

In 1956 Gino Lupini, patriarch of the Lupini family; well-known in local racing circles, acquired the car and brought it to South Africa. It was the first Ferrari in the country, and his idea was to race it as part of the newly-formed Scuderia Lupini in the first 9-hour race at Grand Central in 1958.

The Ferrari had the potential for this race, but as by this stage it was seven years old, it lacked the handling and road-holding of newer cars.

Scuderia Lupini gave it a massive transformation: The 154kW engine was rebuilt by Carlo Machetto; new sleeves were machined and Gigi’s Ferrari 250 Cabriolet road car (which he bought subsequent to the 225S) was used as a model for a new nose – bringing the car in line with the styling of the day.

The car headed the Scuderia’s 9-hour attack and was driven by Bill Jennings and Don Philip. It led initially, but was slowed by overheating problems.

For the 1959 SA Grand Prix in East London (actually taking place on New Year’s Day of 1960) the 225S underwent a further transformation.

The whole rear end was removed and remodelled from new Ferrari drawings and a rear suspension similar to that of the Ferrari 250 GTO was fitted. As the car was thought to be underpowered, Lupini bought a new Colombo V12 to replace the Lampredi engine.

Exchanged; for a pair of handguns

In practice driver Fanie Viljoen was only a second off the pace of John Love’s D-Type Jaguar and Louis Jacobz’ Maserati 200SI. It didn’t finish the race, but the interesting part is that Gigi Lupini commandeered a Union Castle mail boat to transport the car to Cape Town for the next race…

Multiple South African champion John Love also drove the Ferrari – ostensibly in a 6-hour race in South Africa, as well as in the 1959 Rhodesia 100 at the Belvedere race track in Harare, Zimbabwe. In this the engine apparently blew a gasket and it didn’t perform well.

In a bizarre twist the car then went to a farmer in the Three Sisters district of the Cape Province with the surname Rugani – exchanged for a pair of chrome Sturm Ruger .44 Magnum revolvers with grips inlayed with mother of pearl… A decision the Lupini family now rue.

The car was then sold to Marsiglia Motors in Cape Town, where it stood for years before it “went missing” – bought by Richard Phillips in 1993 and taken to the UK.

Restored to Monaco form

The car, still in its Scuderia Lupini form, partook in the Goodwood Festival of Speed of 1993 and then was sold to Sir Anthony Bamford on auction in 1997 – still without its original engine.

The Lampredi 0154 engine was then offered by Gregor Fisken and Bamford bought it before commissioning DK Engineering in Watford, UK, to restore the car to its original Monaco spec.

In May 2003 it was sold to Oscar Davis of New Jersey in the US, but later that year it was acquired by the Spaniard Jose Maria Fernandez from Madrid, the current owner.

Fully restored, it has been campaigned at select events, including the 2005 and 2006 Tutte le Ferrari at Mugello, and the 2000, 2006 and 2008 Monaco Historic Grands Prix. Following its Concorso appearance, the car, now valued at R160-million, might just be on its way to Monaco to participate in the 2016 historic event.

Ferrari 225 Sport Spider Vignale, no. 0154ED
Engine – Front, longitudinal, 12V 60 °
Bore and stroke – 70 x 58.8 mm
Displacement – 2.715 litres
Compression ratio  – 8.5: 1
Maximum power – 154kW @ 7200rpm
Valve gear  – SOHC, 2 valves per cylinder
Fuel system  – 3 carburettors, Weber 36 DCF
Ignition – mono, 2 coils
Lubrication – wet sump
Clutch – Single-disc

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: What’s in a car name?

Wayne Batty

‘What’s in a car’s name? Not much it seems, unless it really sucks,’ writes TopCar’s Wayne Batty as he examines bizarre vehicle names.

Cape Town – It’s true – browsing through Topcar’s The Good, The Bad & The Ugly new car guide has mental health benefits, that is, it gets you thinking. So, ‘after much deep and profound brain things inside my head’ in the tradition of Madagascar’s King Julian, I concluded that the people choosing car names should probably lay off the sugar.

Let me explain . . .

There are cars that simply sound cool, despite having nothing whatsoever to recommend them. Chrysler Crossfire, for instance, sounds accurate and potent like it’s a weapon or something. It isn’t.

What’s in a name?

The converse can also be true. Renault’s Koleos (‘sheath’ in Greek) and Nissan’s Qashqai (a nomadic tribe in Iran) are cases in point. Both fall easily into the good car category, but would you really be happy driving a car that sounds like a colonic ailment, or in the Qashqai’s case, one that no one can pronounce?

A recent tour of Hyundai-Kia’s HQ in Seoul included a powerpoint presentation for Kia’s new Sportage. One of the execs on hand kept mentioning the ‘kwas-kwaai’.

Read: Top 10 ugliest cars in the world

Now I’m not all that slow on the uptake, but it took more than a few slides to figure out he was referring to the Qashqai and not a lekker new paint process. How many sales has Nissan lost because potential buyers have been happier to mispronounce Tucson instead, I wonder.

GWM Cool Bear to CB150

The Chinese can also be epically bad at labelling their vehicles, and I’m not just talking about gluing boot badges 13 degrees off the horizontal either. Have you heard of the GWM Cool Bear? It’s been rather sensibly renamed CB150 for our market, so people will think you bought a two-way radio or an old Honda motorbike instead. But you won’t get off scot free, as those in the know will still introduce you as Yogi to all their female friends. Sorry to harp on about Great Wall Motors, but it also has a Steed double cab in the stable. In my book, a steed is a horse and riding a horse involves wearing tight pants and wielding a crop.

So, given that many Steed riders are likely to be in the construction game, it’s only natural to start picturing builders’ butt in a pair of low-cut skinnys. Not for the faint-hearted. On the bright side, it’s called a Wingle in some markets.


Yet another GWM product worth noting is the Florid, which is exactly what it sounds like – one letter short of a holiday. And now they’ve added an angry version.

You guessed it, the Great Wall Florid Cross, which would be a brilliant name for a glorious expedition of sorts, but it’s not a good name for a car. Besides, it rhymes with stuff like horrid loss, torrid dross etc. No wonder the Germans opt for alpha-numeric names like X6 and S500 instead.

And just when did this meaningless crossover word become part of motoring jargon anyway? Most so-called crossovers are just jacked up hatchbacks wearing plastic pants like they’re about to wet themselves or something. Crossover should be reserved for cars that can float or sprout wings and fly.

That’s proper crossing of genres. Perhaps a more appropriate term is portmanteau, which the Collins English Dictionary defines as ‘embodying several uses’. I can see it now: ‘Introducing the future of the sports SUV, the Maserati GranSportmanteau.’ Has a catchy ring to it no? No. Okay, so maybe it’s too French for the Italians.

Hyundai recently unveiled an attractive new Accent, regrettably dubbed Verna. Not a good name for a car either.

Verna is a good name for an Aunt who stitches doilies together while watching reruns of Antiques Roadshow. Verna also sounds like a tool, in the Eastern Cape, at least.

Of course we could all adopt a similar attitude to Wilbur, the pig from Charlotte’s Web, and simply answer ‘Great name’ upon first introduction. That works fine for cars like the Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed, but in the case of the Zotye Nomad, you’d just be lying. As for the Bentley, I understand the company is planning a special ‘Africa’ version of the Continental Flying Spur. That’s just great. Presumably our local fatcats who are not used to giving a continental, will now be getting one instead.

‘Rolls-Royce Silver Tokoloshe?’

It’s only fitting to end off with the grandest maker of all. No, not Hongqi, the Chinese rip-off artists, but its victim Rolls-Royce. A century of Rolls-Royce models throws up names like Dawn, Cloud, Shadow, Wraith, Spirit, Phantom and Ghost, occasionally enriched with a Silver prefix. Sometimes lofty, mostly paranormal.

Read: We drive the Rolls-Royce Dawn in SA

What comes next? The Rolls-Royce Apparition, Spectre, Visitant. Nah, I’m thinking more along the lines of the Rolls-Royce Silver Tokoloshe – comes standard with several bricks in the boot.

On second thoughts, a name like that would almost certainly sound the death knell for Rolls-Royce sales in SA. Which kind of proves my point. Probably. f5958d7c528c4175989f43648fd03e00

SA’s new Driver Demerit System: Here’s all you need to know



Johannesburg – The South African driver Demerit System has taken years to be implemented, yet the Department of Transport system said back in 2015 that it could be given the greenlight early in 2016.

As of April 2016, the system has yet to be implemented. It shouldn’t surprise South African motorists as it first appeared 18 years ago!

Wheels24 contacted the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offenders (AARTO) and was told that while the system will be implemented, the organisation has yet to confirm a date.

Long road ahead

It was initially signed into law in September 1998 as part of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act, Act 46 of 1998.

This system, based on those used in Australia and the United Kingdom, has been adapted to meet local needs, according to Arrive Alive.

Why the delay?

The proposed system has been delayed for several years pending, amongst other reasons, a feasibility study and an assessment of technological requirements, law enforcement criteria and an analysis of human resources needed to ensure the successful implementation of the system.

It could lead to repeat road offenders having their driving licences suspended or even cancelled, reports Arrive Alive.

Which department will run the Demerit System?

The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) system will be implemented and managed by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA).

How will the Demerit System work?

• Each driver will start out with zero points (irrespective of the number of classes of vehicle licences held)
• Points are allocated according to infringements or offences committed (there are different values for different infringements and offences)
• Points are incurred (allocated) on the date a penalty (fine) is paid or when the person is convicted of the offence (as the case may be)
• Operators receive points separately from their drivers (ie a transport company receives points allocated to the operators permit)
• When you reach 13 points and more, the licence (and / or operator card) is suspended with effect from 32 days after the maximum points (12) have been reached
• The suspension period is calculated in months equal to the number of points exceeding 12, multiplied by three (or such number as may be prescribed by the Minister of Transport)
• The number of points (demerits) added will depend on the severity of the offence
• The driver / operator may apply for the return of the licence on expiry of the suspension (disqualification) period
• A driver / operator who is disqualified for the third time will permanently loose the licence / operator card and will have to reapply for testing and issue (as if a first time licence / operator applicant) after expiry of the disqualification period
• Demerit points will be reduced (for all persons / operators) at a flat rate of one point per every three months (or as otherwise prescribed), except in the case where evidence points to the fact that the process has been deliberately delayed to obtain a reduction in points.

Drivers helped F1 axe new qualifying system – Rosberg

F1 drivers played a role in the scrapping of the hated ‘musical chairs’ qualifying system.

That is the view of Nico Rosberg, who went out on a limb on Wednesday by aiming fire at Bernie Ecclestone’s description of the drivers as “windbags”.

About 18 drivers met for an ultra-rare collective dinner in Shanghai on Wednesday but championship leader Rosberg insisted on Thursday that the drivers were not making another “message”.

‘We love our sport’

Mercedes driver said: “But of course, we love our sport and want it to be the biggest and the coolest that it can be. I think it’s great that we are able to hold together in these moments, not only for fun but to discuss matter.

“Take for instance this (musical chairs) qualifying.  We have gone back to the old system and we might have a small share in it as we expressed our opinion in such a unified strong  way.”


5 awesome automotive April Fools’ Day pranks

Cape Town – It is that time of the year again when the world pulls pranks and manufacturers try to put one over people’s eyes. Yes, it’s April Fools’!

We scanned the Internet for some pranks and listed (and scored) five that we think are pretty awesome.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we did compiling it!

1. Subaru SA promotes using social media while driving (4/5)

Subaru launched a new piece of tech that allows drivers to engage with their social media followers while driving their vehicles. The technology, called Social Integration Drive, uses steering wheel controls and full HD cameras to make instant social media updates possible.

With a front-facing 9MP camera in the rear view mirror and a reverse camera in the rear bumper, drivers can now capture HD photos and videos and preview it on the vehicle’s infotainment system before sharing it. Voice recognition eliminates the need to type captions.

Driving with both hands firmly planted to the steering wheel is important, but this new feature from Subaru allows you to do perhaps the most important thing of all: staying connected! All this while keeping your eyes on the road.

The future is here!

Available from April 1st, the system will be standard on all vehicles sold in SA, as part of the Subaru April Fools Imaginative campaign.

2. Ford’s Engine Listeners (4/5)

A new and very important job opportunity just opened up at Ford, but unfortunately all positions have been filled. The position of “engine listener” requires the employee to be in a soundproof room and listening to a range of engines for any imperfections.

The candidates apparently went through a very stringent selection process, whereby all of their senses were tested under rigorous conditions. These tests included wine tasting, tuning pianos for concerts, looking at a magnifying glass through a magnifying glass, and even touching a range of surfaces and materials while being blind-folded with a lollipop in their mouths. Rigorous!

The most important engine the successful candidates will have to listen to is that of the Ford Focus RS. They have to listen to the engine with a stethoscope for any impurities deep inside the engine. Up to 2000 tests can be carried out on a single day.

Juan Carlos Rosmari, quality technician at the Valencia engine plant, said: “The experience of hearing thousands of engines allows us to sense straight away when something is not working perfectly.

“Each different engine type has its own unique sound, and from listening to them in the test cells we get to know their individual characters – and the tell-tale signs which indicate a problem.”

The candidates’ contracts expires at the end of the business day on April 1st, 2016.

3. Honda to roll out emoji number plates (3/5)

Honda is doing its utmost best to shake off its reputation of being an old man’s car and have in recent years have come up with products that are doing just that. The latest being the Civic Type R. But now the Japanese firm have taken it one step further and are now introducing emoji number plates on their vehicles.

This is the first step in making their vehicles more individualistic – something that is appealing to the younger buyer they are targeting. This new trend will be launched in early 2017 and the first market to receive it will be the UK. Honda already held talks with the country’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

It is not just for fun and games that Honda are doing it. They’ve conducted research into the matter at hand and found that 96% of the respondents aged under thirty preferred emoji number plates over conventional plates.

97% of the above-mentioned 96% indicated that emojis are their main method of expressing an emotion, feeling or idea.

Honda approved the new project at 00:00 on April 1, 2016, and is hoping that this new plan will make them cool with their target audience.

4. Ford rolling out ingenious technology on April 1 (5/5)

Ever traveled somewhere and suddenly the kids start acting like, well, kids? Ford understands your situation, your predicament, your pain and suffering. But importantly, Ford understands the importance of quieting the kids down before they reach that dreaded level: anarchy.

In conjunction with Ford’s SYNC communication and entertainment system, drivers are now able to engage CALM mode by simply activating a switch on the steering wheel. CALM – Child Anarchy Layoff Mode – automatically reduces the noise levels for a quieter, more enjoyable ride.

The technology used is similar to what can be found in the automaker’s Active Noise Control system, which reduces/eliminates unwanted sound waves from the audio system.

CALM is aimed at reducing high-pitched noises that small children emit, but Ford is also hard at work in developing a system for lower frequencies called “mother-in-law”.

CALM is available on all new and second-hand Fords from April 1.

5. MINI offers PEE as standard (3/5)

In what is a bold and daring move for the British-German marque, MINI now offers the option of scissor doors to all their models, with the added safety feature of ‘Pyrotechnic Emergency Exit’, or PEE, if you will.

These doors were originally only scheduled for the three-door, Paceman, and Convertible MINI’s, but it will now be available on the Countryman, too, from next year onwards.

The scissor doors open vertically and should, in all likelihood, ease exiting/entering the car in tight spaces. The doors can be opened via a remote control, a button on the door handle, or the MINI Excitement app.

In the unfortunate case of an accident, the doors will be blasted off its hinges, ensuring that you are saved in a nick of time.



WATCH: A BMW M2 hit 275km/h on the Autobahn


3.0 LITRE STRAIGHT SIX TURBO: The guys from Auto Bild sports cars TV showed off the top speed (on Germany’s autobahn) of the much-anticipated BMW M2 in this awesome clip. The M2 will wrestle its way to South Africa in April.


Ecclestone wants Africa F1 race, pressures German GP

Berlin, Germany – Formula 1 magnate Bernie Ecclestone says he wants to see the sport debut in Africa and has put pressure on the German Grand Prix after it was cancelled during the 2015 season.In an interview with Hamburg-based newspaper Handelsblatt, Ecclestone says he has had conversations about taking F1 to Africa and is also toying with holding a second GP in America with Austin, Texas, hosting the US GP on October 23.

In the pipeline?

The 85-year-old  said: “I would like to see a race in Africa, where we so far have never raced.

“The first conversations have already taken place and perhaps one more race in the US, let’s see.”

After a one-year absence, F1 racing will return to Germany again this northern summer when Hockenheim hosts a GP on July 31, but Ecclestone says the Germans have ground to make up.

2015’s race at Nurburgring, which is scheduled to host again in 2017, was cancelled due to contractual problems and Ecclestone says Hockenheim, which could not host the 2015 race at short notice, has much to live up to.

‘Behind the times’

“We wanted Hockenheim to wake up a little last year,” said Ecclestone, who says the circuit has a contract for 2016 and 2018 which is “not an especially good one”.

“They are still living 20 years behind the times when I compare it to other events.”

The new season starts in Australia on March 20 with Ecclestone breaking new ground by holding a Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan, for the first time on June 20.


MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – NOVEMBER 01: F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone walks in the paddock before the Formula One Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on November 1, 2015 in Mexico City, Mexico. Lars Baron/Getty Images/AFP