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Motorsport Weekend: F1 Turkish GP, WRC Rally of Portugal and Nascar Charlotte races results

Motorsport Weekend: F1 Turkish GP, WRC Rally of Portugal and Nascar Charlotte races results

Welcome to a new edition of Motorsport Weekend, our own feature where we take a look at some of the most interesting races from the past three days and share the results with you.

We were treated to several exciting races this weekend, with the Formula 1 Turkish GP in Istanbul, the WRC Rally of Portugal and the Nascar Charlotte races, the Coca-Cola 600 and the TECH-NET Auto Service 300, taking place in Concord, North Carolina.

Curious to see how Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastien Loeb or Kyle Busch faired in their respective races? Then hit the jump and find out.

Dodge Viper-based Maybach Exelero replica can be yours for $680,000

Even though it didn’t achieve record sales, Daimler’s Maybach luxury brand really got the media talking with the stunning Exelero concept model (pictured above), commissioned by tire manufacturer Fulda.

Only one was made, so when it came to auctioning it off, it fetched around $8 million, presumably from an African diamond tycoon.

Now, for those who were bummed about not getting their hands on a Maybach coupe and who don’t want to order Xenatech’s 57S coupe version, are in luck. A company in Switzerland is now offering to create replica Maybach Exelero models, based on the Dodge Viper sportscar, of all things.

It will be powered by an 800HP turbocharged 8.3-liter V10 engine and boast 23-inch wheels. Interior and exterior options can be catered to the customer’s desire, but the starting price is around $680,000 (€550,000, to be exact). Interested in the offer? Then check out the official ad on JamesList.


Video: Audi showcases the new 2011 TT

Audi has been revealing refreshed models left and right at the beginning of the year.

Among them was the 2011 TT facelift, which was revealed for both the roadster and coupe models at the Leipzig Motor Show. Bringing a revised design, a new engine option (2.0-liter TFSI) plus various other options, including the LED daytime running lights, the new Audis was well received.

Now, the Ingolstadt company has revealed a video with the 2011 Audi TT, both in coupe and roadster form, in action. Peter Hirschfeld, product marketing representative for the TT also weighs in on the important changes suffered by the facelifted models. Hit the jump to check out the video.

2011 Buick Regal might get wagon and hatchback variants plus diesel engine

The 2011 Buick Regal is quickly becoming the turning point for the Tri-Shield brand and a bold experiment for General Motors.

It seems that the badge-engineered Opel Insignia will share a lot of things with its European cousin. We’ve seen the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and the six-speed manual confirmed for the upcoming Regal, but some even bigger news have now been revealed by Car and Driver.

According to the magazine, the Regal will also receive the two other body styles of the Insignia, a slightly shorter five door hatchback form and a full pledged wagon version. While both are rumored to join the sedan at one point in time, we don’t know how much customers are going to have to wait.

Besides the new body forms, a special treat is prepared to US diesel fans, as such a unit will make its way onto the Regal in the future. No figures were given, but it will certainly boost the green credentials, alongside the flex-fuel capable gasoline engines.

Factor in the performance oriented Regal GS, and the new Buick model is set to really blow away the competition. What do you think? Share your thoughts below.


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Jaguar F-Type sportscar set to be produced, to rival 911 or R8

Jaguar is getting better and better, largely thanks to its new corporate overlord, Indian car company Tata.

Seeing as how costs have been cut and beautiful models like the new XJ are being sent into public success, room (and money) for growth is guaranteed.

According to the new Jaguar Land Rover boss, Carl-Peter Forster, new products are being developed for the two brands. Among the new Jaguar models, according to the executive, we might see a fresh sportscar, derived from the old F-Type concept we saw in 2000.

We still don’t know anything concrete, but rumors have been flying around about a resemblance with the iconic E-Type, and it might go against other more affordable sportscars like the Porsche 911 or the Audi R8.

Still, even though it’s a bit murky, the promise of a dedicated Jaguar sportscar is quite enticing. What do you think?


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Video: Lexus LS steering wheel defect showcased by Toyota

Toyota has learned from its previous mistakes and is now treating every recall with the upmost respect.

Among the measures it is taking with each new defect is releasing videos of the problems and, subsequently, with the fixes implemented to resolve the problems.

We’ve seen it done with the recent 2010 Lexus GX460 SUV and its drift-inclined side and now with the latest Lexus recall, for the 2010 LS 460 and LS 600h limousines.

As you know, the steering system has a defect where if you turn the wheel full tilt to one side, and then rapidly turn it back, the wheel will be off centered. The system eventually centers the wheel, but it does take some time.

Hit the jump to check out the video of the 2010 Lexus LS steering defect.

Mercedes-Benz plans new electric cars with China’s BYD

Chalk another partnership for German company Daimler, owner of Mercedes-Benz, as the group has just signed a contract with China’s Build Your Dreams (BYD).

The new 50:50 joint venture between the two companies, called Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co. Ltd., will specialize in manufacturing all new electric vehicles for the already booming Chinese market.

Daimler has long been interested in expanding its electric endeavors, and partnering up with BYD, the leading battery technology developer from China, is a huge step in that direction. Wang Chuanfu, BYD boss, revealed that the first car in this new partnership will arrive as soon as possible. No concrete date was given though.

Daimler has partnered up with the Renault Nissan alliance a few months ago, in terms of small car development and platform sharing. It is also rumored to be preparing a deal with Toyota, that will see the two groups collaborate in terms of fuel cell technologies and future vehicles.


Lotus preparing to axe the Europa

It may come as a surprise for quite some people, but it seems that besides the ever present Elise sportscar and the new Evora, British company Lotus also kept on selling the Europa model since 2006, when it first launched the car as a bigger brother to the Elise.

Since then, the Europa didn’t really tug any heart strings, largely due to the brutish design, nor attracted any performance enthusiasts with its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, capable of 200 HP and 200 lb-ft of torque.

Now, the Europa is getting ready to be axed from the lineup, as many European dealers aren’t taking anymore orders. The Evora will receive a bigger marketing effort and occupy the place soon to be left empty by the older model.

Will you miss the Europa? Share your Lotus opinions below.


Saab’s future 92 going ahead as planned, will target Mini

Even though it dropped out of the media spotlight after being rescued in the nick of time by Spyker from GM, Swedish carmaker Saab is still going ahead full steam with its revival plans.

A big part of the Saab renaissance will be a completely new 92 successor, a compact hatch designed to take on other premium city car rivals like the Mini or the newly revealed Audi A1.

According to Victor Muller, the company’s CEO, the new 92 will be reminiscent of the teardrop-shaped Saabs of yesteryear and the brand is already in talks with quite a few carmakers to share the future platform of the 92. This would achieve a much needed reduction in developments costs, given Saab’s still rocky financial situation.

Muller revealed that he is checking in with designers every day for updates on the future 92, and that when he’s not talking with his team, he’s reaching out to manufacturers for the platform development.

Given the already popular Mini, the Fiat 500 or the new Audi A1, plus other premium city cars from the likes of Mercedes-Benz or BMW, is Saab making the right choice to dive into this segment? Pitch in your two cents below.


Nissan Leaf US reservations full, CEO Carlos Ghosn says

It seems that Renault Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn was right on the money earlier this year when he said that thanks to the upcoming Leaf electric vehicle, his company has no other competition.

In order to drive the point home, the Nissan CEO revealed that all of the models scheduled for US sale in 2010, 13,000 in total, have been reserved. Do bear in mind that we’re talking about the refundable $99 reservations, but still, achieving such an impressive number in just a few months is mighty impressive.

We should still wait until Leaf test vehicles start arriving in dealerships and people can actually test out the new EV, but given the low price (after you factor in tax cuts or discounts), the Leaf might be an offer no eco-conscious guy or gal can resist.

With this new data, Ghosn said that factories will go into overdrive in order to produce even more cars for both the US and the European markets in the next few years.


Subaru offers free hobby badges to owners

Subaru really wants to capitalize on its devoted fan base and has released a fresh new program for current owners.

The Japanese company will offer, for free, an array of badges designed to showcase the loyalties or hobbies of Subaru owners. From performance enthusiasts to outdoor activity lovers, these badges cover just about anything a regular Subaru owner might enjoy.

Fans need to visit Subaru’s Badge of Ownership website where they can order what types of badges they want. Bear in mind that a Subaru VIN is required, so that you can stick these adhesive memorabilia only on the back of such Japanese models.

We’re all for tasteful vehicle customization, and this special program designed by Subaru sounds great. What do you think? Share your thoughts below.



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Test drive with the new Citroen C3 Picasso

Drive Test Citroen C3 Picasso

After we tested the new C3, we got our hands on its funkier brother, the Citroen C3 Picasso, which we tried on a beautiful weekend. The first time I saw the car was a year and a half ago, at the Paris Motor Show. That’s also the spot where one of its rivals, the Kia Soul, made its debut. The two cars didn’t really blow me away as I wasn’t interested in their compact MPV segment. But after trying out the C3 Picasso, I saw that I was hugely mistaken. Curious to see why? Then read on.

Click here to read the full review

Ford might be close to shutting down Mercury brand

Reports are arriving, courtesy of Bloomberg, about a big decision set to be made at the Ford headquarters.

It seems that due to slow sales and dwindling brand appeal, the Blue Oval is very close to shutting down its Mercury division and continuing with just two brands, the mainstream Ford and the upmarket Lincoln.

Ford officials have limited their comments on saying that the future of the Mercury brand is laid out and they will follow it. According to sources at the beginning of the year, the division will receive its own badge engineered version of the 2012 Focus but not much else.

With the ambitious One Ford plan to release the same cars with minimal changes all around the world, plus the fresh start of the Lincoln brand with a focus on quality features, it seems Mercury just doesn’t have a big role in the future of the Blue Oval.

Will this mean the company is preparing to go the way of Oldsmobile, Pontiac or Hummer? Only time will tell.


Porsche Boxster fails at parking in Shanghai

A Shanghai Porsche Boxster owner decided to really showcase the more practical aspects of his convertible sportscar, and parked the car right on the stairs leading to a road underpass in his own city.

The guy took advantage of the small width of the Boxster and had absolutely no problem leaving the sportscar on those stairs (he even left some room for the actual pedestrians!).

So, what do you think of his ingenuity? Parking fail or resourcefulness win? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.


House of Representatives examines regulatory bill for black box and brake override systems

After the recent incidents with Toyota models and the unintended acceleration issues, the House of Representatives tasked one of its committees to create a new bill which will require automakers to implement even data recorders (aka black boxes), as well as other safety features in their future cars.

The bill has now been passed by the committee and is up for public debate at the House of Representatives. Besides the event data recorder part, systems like brake override, pushbutton starts and even pedal placement are also regulated by the new bill.

While such features were standard on quite a few cars, the House feels like a common regulation would help investigations in car crashes and, of course, augment the safety factor. If the bill is passed, it’s onto the Senate where it can be voted and become an actual law.



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