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Motorsport Weekend: Formula 1 Italian GP, WRC Rally of Japan and Nascar Richmond race results

Motorsport Weekend: Formula 1 Italian GP, WRC Rally of Japan and Nascar Richmond race results

Welcome to a brand new edition of Motorsport Weekend, our own feature where we talk about the results from the most exciting races in the last three days.

We had a bit of everything last weekend, as the Formula 1 Italian GP was held in Monza, the WRC Rally of Japan took place in the land of the rising sun, while Nascar’s Sprint Cup held the Air Guard 400 at the Richmond International Raceway, the last race before the Chase.

So, interested to see how Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Loeb or Denny Hamlin faired in their respective events? Hit the jump and find out.

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Video: Pagani Zonda Tricolore honors Italy’s acrobatic air force

A few months ago, we revealed the Pagani Zonda Tricolore one-off model, designed by the Italian supercar manufacturer to honor the 50th anniversary of Italy’s “Frecce Tricolori” (Tricolor Arrows).

Officially known as the 313th Aerobatic Training Squadron, the group appears in special aerobatic exhibitions and promotes Italy’s air force.

Seeing as how they are celebrating 50 years since the squadron’s assembly, Pagani revealed the unique Zonda Tricolore, boasting a unique paint job and tricolor Italian flag inserts.

The one-off supercar and the Aermacchi MB-339-A/PAN airplanes have now met on the Rivolto Air Force Base. Needless to say, the following video is just breath taking. Sit back, crank it to HD quality and enjoy the footage.

Audi S7 to debut at the Paris Motor Show?

Audi S7 to debut at the Paris Motor Show?

The Audi A7 Sportback is definitely quite a looker, and will no doubt impress those that want more space in their sedan but aren’t looking for a wagon model.

But as soon as the A7 Sportback was revealed by Audi, rumors were already flying around concerning its performance version, the S7.

According to the latest rumors collected by the guys at Autoblog, it seems that the S7 might be making its debut later this month, at the upcoming Paris Motor Show.

It seems that Audi wants to get the S7 out as quickly as possible, in order to complete the lineup. According to the rumors, we might not see a large displacement engine in the performance model, as the Lamborghini 5.2-liter V10 in the S6 or the 4.2-liter V8 in the S5 aren’t exactly the most frugal of units. Instead, and this might be a long shot, a new turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 might be prepared for the S7.

Autoblog also says that while the A7 Sportback will be available in the USA with just the 3.0-liter TFSI gasoline version and the ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox, the S7 might get a sportier S-tronic dual-clutch seven-speed transmission.

Still, bear in mind that these are just rumors, and Audi has yet to comment on all these speculations concerning the S7. Until it’s official, you can always get the S Line look-fast accessories.


Video: Ford debuts 43 Fiestas contest with Nascar’s Ford Fusion versus Ken Block’s Fiesta

Video: Ford debuts 43 Fiestas contest with Nascar's Ford Fusion versus Ken Block's Fiesta

Ford has revealed a brand new competition, entitled 43 Fiestas.

The contest is open to all residents of the USA, and offers a lot of interesting prizes. These include 43 LCD TVs, 43 all expenses paid trip to the Ford 400 Nascar race, and one customized Ford Fiesta for one of the lucky 43 people invited to the race. What’s more, if Ford driver AJ Allmendinger wins the Nascar race, the rest of the 42 contest winners will walk away with a free Ford Fiesta.

Without a doubt, the contest will be quite popular. In order to hype it up even more, the Blue Oval has released an interesting video showcasing Nascar legend Richard ‘The King’ Petty watching AJ Allmendinger with his #43 Ford Fusion Nascar race car take on rally driver Ken Block in his #43 Fiesta model.

Needless to say, this is a must watch, so check it out after the jump. Afterwards, register for the 43 Fiestas contest at this address.

Ford wants to slow down in 2011, won’t release as many new or refreshed models

While General Motors or Chrysler have been licking their wounds in 2010, after being bailed out last year, Ford looks like it was never better. The Blue Oval released new models left and right, including the 2011 Mustang, the refreshed 2011 Edge, the all-new 2011 Fiesta or the new 2011 Explorer.

During the launch of these new products, the company also announced that it will shut down the Mercury brand, in order to focus on the upmarket Lincoln, which also received its fair share of new models, like the 2011 MKX or the new MKZ hybrid.

For 2011 though, things are going to slow down, according to Ford America chief Mark Fields. He revealed that the company will shift its focus from launching new or refreshed models, in order to consolidate its products and shave off debt.

This also includes the often talked about One Ford initiative that will ensure almost all the products will be based on global platforms, in order to minimize development costs.

Still, even if Ford will be taking its foot off the gas, GM and Chrysler are expected to put the pedal to the metal, in order to one-up the Blue Oval and get some of their credibility back. The end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 are definitely going to be fun!


Video: New Nissan ad shows the company’s innovations

After the heart warming Polar Bear ad for the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle, Nissan has followed up with a new commercial, showcasing the innovations it has implemented all across the range, not just in the Leaf.

Narrated by the same Robert Downey Jr., the ad is quite good, and seamlessly goes from the keyless entry tech on a crossover like the new Murano to the step in the Pathfinder’s rear bumper or the Leaf’s seats which were made from recycled plastic bottles.

Check it the new Nissan Innovations ad after the jump.

U.S. traffic deaths reach 60-year low

It seems that the struggling economy, the big number of safety campaigns and more and more safety features in new cars have had some impact in the USA.

According to a new statistic from the National High Traffic Safety Administration, the number of deaths in traffic has reached a 60-year low, with 1.13 deaths for every 100 million miles traveled.

According to the NHTSA, safer cars, more campaigns against drunk driving and in favor of seat belt usage are largely responsible for this improvement. Still, more than 30,000 people died last year in traffic accidents, while a whopping 2.4 million people were injured.

This just goes to prove that even though roads are a bit less cluttered and your car is much safer, you still need to be careful so as to not end up as just another statistic.


Videos: Audi A7 Sportback gets showcased

Besides powerful super sedans and four-door coupes, another big trend in the car industry is the introduction of half sedan half hatchback combinations, as seen with the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo or the newer Audi A7 Sportback.

We saw that there was some reason to this madness with our own BMW 5 GT test drive, and now, thanks to a few videos, the Audi A7 Sportback also seems pretty interesting.

In the videos located after the jump, you will see a lot of details about the five-door hatchback/sedan hybrid. Also, in a video with driving footage around the beautiful Sardinia region in Italy, the Audi A7 Sportback really looks fetching.

Check out the videos after the jump and then cast your thoughts about this new German model.

Porsche Panamera sells 22,500 models in its first year

Porsche surprised a lot of people when it first introduced the Panamera four-door sedan last year. But despite the controversial design and the fact that it takes the German sports car manufacturer into a whole new direction, it seems that the Panamera was just what Porsche needed.

According to the latest estimates, 22,518 Panamera models were sold during the first year of the German super sedan’s life.

As testimony to the desire for speed, the 394 HP Panamera 4S has been the most popular, followed by the range-topping 493 HP Panamera Turbo and the regular, rear-wheel drive Panamera S. It should come to no surprise that the city with the most Panamera models sold was Los Angeles, with a whopping 890 German sedans rolling through the streets of Southern California.

So, even though fans didn’t like the four-door and people were against the design, the Panamera has proven successful where it counts, sales.


Mansory tunes the Maserati GranTurismo S, doesn’t make our eyes bleed

Tuning company Mansory isn’t exactly favored by many car fans, largely because it usually chooses to dress up its tuned models in questionable materials or paint jobs. We’ve seen an eye burning Porsche Panamera in Cobalt Blue, as well as a Bugatti Veyron with an interior wrapped in gold and various types of leather.

Now, things have gotten a bit more sensible, with the company’s newest tuning package for the Maserati GranTurismo and the GranTurismo S.

A complete carbon fiber body has been installed, consisting of front and rear aprons, new spoilers and a revamped grille. Everything, as you can see, has been dressed in a relatively tame black and red two-tone paint scheme.

In terms of performance, the GranTurismo and GranTurismo S now have 30 HP more than the stock models, and are equipped with a new suspension system that lowers ride height by 30mm. All of this is rounded off by a set of custom Mansory wheels in red and black inserts.

Source: Mansory

Armored Hennessey VelociRaptor SUV is perfect for the apocalypse

We’ve already praised the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor pickup truck quite a few times, but Hennessey newest version of the off-road ready monster is definitely worth a special look.

After releasing the upgraded VelociRaptor edition, the US tuner has revealed a new modification, the Hennessey VelociRaptor APV SUV.

The company decided to turn the pickup into a full pledged SUV and, just for the kicks, added special armor plating, in case people try to shoot you while you’re blazing through desert dunes and over huge rocks. A special non-armored version will appear in the future, but for an upcoming apocalypse, we prefer the one with armor plating.

At the heart of this new VelociRaptor is a 6.2-liter V8, tuned to develop 575 HP, and, as we’ve seen on the regular VelociRaptor, capable of impressive performance.

Pricing has yet to be revealed, but you can be sure that it’s going to require a bit of a financial effort.


Mini Countryman WRC rally prototype showcased

A few months ago, the Mini Countryman crossover was officially confirmed by the both the British car brand and by British rally team Prodrive that it will be entering the 2011 World Rally Championship.

Now, the two companies decided to showcase the first few pics of a camouflaged Mini Countryman WRC tearing it up on the private Prodrive test track.

According to Mini, the Countryman is still in the primary stages of testing, and the body kit that you can figure out behind the funky camouflage is just a mock-up, until Prodrive tweaks everything. Also, the Countryman WRC is preparing for a trip to Portugal, where it will experience the tough gravel courses the country has to offer.

While the Countryman is still being tested, it is rumored that for the 2011 WRC season, British driver Kris Meeke will be at the helm of the Countryman WRC. He is currently the reigning champ in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, running a Peugeot 207.


Video: Bad Habit monster truck sets new world record with 208 ft. jump

Monster trucks are born from competition, and when Joey Sylvester, driver of the Bad Habit truck saw that Big Foot set a new world record for the longest jump, with 202 feet traveled in the air, he set forth to break that achievement.

Sadly, things didn’t go so well in the first test run, with Sylverster crashing the truck into the dirt landing ramp. With a lot of work and dedication, the Bad Habit monster was back on its huge wheels and, on September 5, tried to officially beat Big Foot.

The first run was short, as the truck did 75 mph and jumped ‘only’ 198 feet, but on the second run, Sylvester pushed it to 79 mph, and achieved a 208 foot jump.

Hit the jump to see video with the first crash, and a teaser of the record breaking jump. Sadly, the rest of the footage is only available as a DVD.

Need For Speed World now completely free to play without level restrictions

Need For Speed World now completely free to play without level restrictions

A few months still keep us from enjoying big racing video games like Gran Turismo 5 or Need For Speed Hot Pursuit.

Luckily, EA has decided that since over 1 million players have registered for the Need For Speed World online video game, it will make the game completely free to play, without any restrictions.

Up until now, gamers could play NFS World for free until they reached level 10. Afterwards, it they wanted to keep on progressing until the level 50 cap, they had to buy a special Starter Pack.

Now though, all restrictions have been raised, and all players can access new areas, new cars and a special co-op pursuit mode, without any purchases necessary. Those who already bought the Starter Pack will be rewarded free 7-day car rental vouchers for the BMW M3 GTR, the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 and the Audi R8.

You can register for the Need For Speed World online racing video game at this website.


Videos: Chevrolet Cruze ads target Toyota Corolla, showcase plenty of features

GM wants to really capture the compact segment in its home country. It’s main weapon is the new Chevrolet Cruze sedan, which is already being shipped to dealerships as we speak.

Marketing is now being kicked into overdrive for the compact sedan, and the US carmaker has already revealed two ads. The first, New Kid, showcases just how many features the new Cruze packs as opposed to its rivals and to its whole segment.

The second gets more specific, targeting the current compact top dog, the Toyota Corolla. In it, Chevrolet highlights a few things the Cruze has standard, as opposed to the Corolla’s optional features.

Both are narrated by actor Tim Allen and are worth a view, check them out after the jump.

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