Aston Martin Valkyrie, Formula One, Red Bull Racing, Videos

F1’s Max Verstappen and Alex Albon test the Aston Martin Valkyrie


Formula One team Aston Martin Red Bull Racing recently saw its drivers Max Verstappen and Alex Albon take time out from their busy schedules to test the Valkyrie.

The hypercar is a joint effort between Aston Martin and Red Bull, thus it’s no surprise to see Verstappen and Albon involved in its development.

Red Bull Racing F1 drivers Max Verstappen (left) and Alex Albon test the Aston Martin Valkyrie

They took turns behind the wheel of the first Valkyrie prototype, finished in the blue and red livery, and were joined by Aston Martin test driver Chris Goodwin in a second prototype and World Endurance Championship drivers Darren Turner and Alex Lynn taking turns in a third prototype. A total of eight prototypes will be built and tested before the Valkyrie’s development is signed off.

“The Aston Martin Valkyrie and its levels of downforce are incredible, and it looks super aggressive,” Verstappen said after his run. “It was a lot of fun out there.”

Red Bull Racing F1 drivers Max Verstappen (left) and Alex Albon test the Aston Martin Valkyrie

Red Bull Racing F1 drivers Max Verstappen (left) and Alex Albon test the Aston Martin Valkyrie

“It’s light; it feels sharp,” Albon said. “Sure, compared to an F1 car, you’re missing the outright downforce, but you still feel the Gs in the corners and it definitely reacts closer to an F1 car than a normal road car.”

The Valkyrie was originally due to start deliveries at the end of 2019 but development delays mean that won’t happen until the second half of 2020. The wait will be worth it for the 175 (150 road cars and 25 track cars) customers destined to own one, since the Valkyrie is coming with 1,160 horsepower, courtesy of a Cosworth-developed 6.5-liter V-12 that’s paired up with a KERS-style hybrid system and sounds like a F1 engine from the 1990s.

Aston Martin Valkyrie in near-production form

Aston Martin Valkyrie in near-production form

The car also boasts lightweight carbon fiber construction and trick aerodynamics developed by Red Bull’s chief technical officer, Adrian Newey. The result should be a road car capable of lapping a racetrack quicker than a sports prototype and almost at the pace of an F1 car.

Sadly, the Valkyrie will be the last joint effort between Aston Martin and Red Bull. Aston Martin is about to enter F1 with its own team in 2021, with the current Racing Point F1 team to be rebranded Aston Martin Racing in 2021 now that the team’s billionaire backer, Lawrence Stroll, is also a major investor in Aston Martin.



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Formula One

Mercedes-AMG reveals its race car for the 2020 F1 season


Mercedes-AMG on Friday revealed its race car for the 2020 Formula One World Championship.

The car’s full title is the Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance, and it’s what reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton will use in his chase for a seventh F1 title. His teammate once again is Valtteri Bottas.

The rules haven’t changed much from the last season since 2021 is due to see a major shakeup, so the W11 EQ Performance is more of an evolution of last year’s contender. Nevertheless, Mercedes has changed most of the over 10,000 parts in the car. The result is the automaker’s fastest race car to date.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance 2020 Formula One race car

One of these new parts is the power unit. The automaker has looked to address the issues of overheating in previous seasons by adding larger radiators. The engineers have also focused on making the cooling more efficient by testing out higher operating temperatures for the engine.

The power unit is still a 1.6-liter turbocharged V-6 working with two motor-generators—one mounted on the driveline and the other integrated with the turbocharger. The engine is allowed to spin to a maximum 15,000 rpm while the two motor-generators can spin at up to 50,000 (driveline) and 125,000 rpm (turbocharger), respectively.

One other new element is the touch of red for the car’s livery. This represents the sponsorship of British chemicals giant Ineos, the new principal partner of Mercedes’ F1 team.

Red Bull Racing RB16 2020 Formula One race car

Red Bull Racing RB16 2020 Formula One race car

Mercedes’ new F1 car made its debut at the Silverstone Circuit in the United Kingdom. The W11’s next stop will be the pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, which starts February 19. The first race will be the Australian Grand Prix on March 15.

There will be a record 22 rounds this year, including the new Vietnamese Grand Prix in April and the return of the Dutch Grand Prix in May, so teams will have their work cut out for them more than usual.

Other cars revealed for the new season include the Alfa Romeo C39, Ferrari SF1000, McLaren MCL35, and Red Bull Racing RB16.



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Formula One

Breaking: Mercedes mulling Formula One departure in 2021


Mercedes-Benz’s may tell Formula One next month that it plans to leave the sport, according to a report Wednesday from Autocar.

Autocar and Racefans broke the news, and sources told the publications that the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team may be rebranded as an Aston Martin team and its lead driver and six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton could move to Ferrari.

Mercedes-Benz may leave the sport in an effort to counter disappointing financial results, funnel research and development money to its road cars, and to reduce the company’s carbon footprint, according to the report. Late last year, Mercedes announced job and investment cuts as part of a goal to save more than $1.4 billion by the end of 2022.

The decision would have to be made soon to take effect for the 2021 season because Mercedes has to give F1 nine months notice before it may leave the sport.

Mercedes’ decision to leave the sport on top may be a surprise. It’s won the constructor’s championship every year since 2014. However, with rules changes and a new car design set for 2021, the automaker may leave F1 to avoid the costs of developing a new car to comply with those rules.

Despite the possible move, the report says Mercedes would continue to supply power units to other teams. It currently supplies Williams and may re-up that contract, and it also supplies Racing Point with a Mercedes power unit. Aston Martin, if it buys the remnants of the Mercedes team, could also become a customer. Aston Martin last year sponsored Red Bull’s team, which was powered by Honda powertrains.

Mercedes returned to F1 in 2010 after a 55-year hiatus, buying the team from Ross Brawn, who now oversees the sport. Mercedes’ lineup has included former F1 world champ Michael Schumacher, and Nico Rosberg who won the driver’s championship in 2016. Hamilton has won five driver’s titles at Mercedes since replacing Schumacher in 2013.

Lewis Hamilton after winning the 2019 Formula One World Championship at the United States Grand Prix

The report says Hamilton would replace Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari if he moves.

Mercedes’ decision to leave the sport could have a greater impact in the automotive industry. While one scenario has Mercedes-Petronas team principal Toto Wolff teaming up with Racing Point team owner Lawrence Stroll to take on the new team, another scenario includes Chinese automaker Geely—which owns Volvo, Polestar, and Lotus—investing in both the new team and Aston Martin. Aston Martin has struggled in the face of an uncertain Brexit and investments in four new vehicles, including its first SUV, the DBX. The DBX could be what the brand needs, but an infusion of cash from Geely would also help stem the tide.

This is a developing story and we could know more on Feb. 12.



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Formula One, Race Cars

British company makes it easier to own an F1 car


There are resto-mods and electra-mods and now we appear to need a name for what TDF is doing, taking Formula One racing chassis and installing its own powertrain with the promise of providing customers with “a package that is more reliable, useable and affordable to maintain.”

That package is is TDF-1, which uses a 2011 Marussia or 2012 Sauber chassis as its basis. The TDF powertrain comprises a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that puts out 600 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and a 6-speed semi-automatic transmission.

“The result is a car that delivers 95 percent of the on-track performance of an equivalent F1 car, with all of the visceral driving dynamics felt by the Marussia and Sauber drivers during the 2011/2 seasons,” TDF said in its news release.

TDR-1 racer

“In qualifying setup, the TDF-1 will generate 4.0g in a high-speed corner and 4.5g under braking.

“However, TDF’s powertrain is exceptionally robust and far more reliable, providing owners with a highly usable package that is affordable to run and maintain. It can be started at the press of a button on the steering wheel and only needs to be serviced annually.”

British press reports say the cars will cost £1.5 million ($1.96 million) each.

“As a core part of our business is maintaining modern-classic F1 cars, we know the complexities of keeping these cars on the track,” Matt Faulks TDF director, says in the company’s news release. “With TDF-1, we wanted to create a package that allows driving enthusiasts the ability to have a genuine F1 experience that is more accessible and cost-effective.”

“Driving a TDF-1 is like no experience I’ve had before; the responsiveness, balance and agility is second to none, and the raw speed is incredible,” added Jessica Hawkins, the TDF-1 development driver. “As a professional racing driver, I’ve been behind the wheel of some impressive cars in my career, but nothing comes close to the TDF-1. We’ve worked hard to develop a range of set-ups that suit all levels of experience and ability. The end result is a package that helps drivers build confidence and start to push the limits of TDF-1.”

TDR-1 racer

TDR-1 racer

TDF said it has removed some of the complexity from driving a modern F1 car so customers can concentrate on the driving experience rather than the various onboard systems.

TDF is short for Tour de Force Power Engineering and, according to its news release, the British company has a staff of former F1 engineers who do the restoration, maintenance and at-track support for many people who have come to own F1 cars after their season on the circuit.

In addition to vehicle and spare parts provision, TDF will host several driving days at European race tracks for TDF-1 owners.

This article, written by Larry Edsall, was originally published on ClassicCars.com, an editorial partner of Motor Authority.



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catherine bond muir, david coulthard, f1, Formula One, jamie chadwick, w series

W Series and F1 agree to women’s races at U.S. and Mexican Grands Prix

LONDON — W Series organizers say they have moved a step closer to getting a woman driver into Formula One after announcing on Thursday a deal to be on the support program for this year’s U.S. and Mexican Grands Prix.

Conceived as a platform to help women gain experience to compete with men further up the motorsport ladder, the all-female series started last year with six races in Europe alongside the DTM German Touring Car championship.

“In just one year, W Series has contributed significantly to increasing interest in the topic of diversity and inclusion in motorsport,” Ross Brawn, Formula One’s managing director for motorsport, said in a statement.

“We are convinced that our sport must offer equal opportunities for men and women to compete together,” added the Briton.

“It is no coincidence that improving the diversity of the F1 grid by supporting and promoting driver talent from under-represented backgrounds is one of our strategic objectives.”

Formula One has not had a female racer line up on the starting grid since 1976, but W Series chief executive Catherine Bond Muir told reporters the new deal was of crucial importance.

“Progressing within motorsport requires people to have access to a lot of money,” she said. “You need the support and the sponsorship as well as the talent.

“I think what this will give our drivers is a much bigger and better platform in which to promote themselves… so they will be able to attract more sponsorship.

“I think we are already starting to achieve our ambitions. We are closer to getting women into Formula One.”

Bond Muir said there could be further expansion into Asia next year, with Formula One’s season-opener in Australia still a possibility.

“We’ve always said we have very bold and ambitious plans to expand across the world. In our first year we purposely stayed in Europe because we didn’t want to expand too quickly,” she explained.

“I think these two races represent a sensible expansion in 2020 and hopefully we will expand across the other side of the world towards Asia in 2021.”

Bond Muir said she wanted, however, to avoid big gaps between races on the calendar.

This year’s series champion will earn $500,000 but also acquire 15 points towards the 40 needed for a Formula One superlicence over a three-year period.

The new races at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, and Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez will be on successive Saturdays when Formula One qualifying is the main draw.

The Formula One title has been decided at one or other of the circuits in four of the last five years and both have space on support programs without the usual junior series.

The 2019 W Series title was won by Britain’s Jamie Chadwick who is also a development driver for the Williams F1 team.

Former F1 racer David Coulthard, who competed in 246 grands prix between 1994 and 2008, is chairman of the W Series advisory board.

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Formula One, lewis hamilton, Mercedes-AMG One

Lewis Hamilton takes a look at Mercedes-AMG One hypercar development


Fresh from completing a successful campaign in the 2019 Formula One World Championship, Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton recently visited his team’s road car division to take a look at the latest progress on the One hypercar.

Although Hamilton hasn’t driven any of the prototypes, he’s been helping with development of the internal-combustion component of the One’s powertrain. It’s a 1.6-liter turbocharged V-6 lifted straight out of Hamilton’s F1 race car. In the video, the six-time world champion states that the One sounds exactly like the race car.

The One actually features a more sophisticated powertrain than the race car. For instance, it also features two electric motors at the front axle joining the electric motor driving the rear axle together with the V-6 and the electric motor that recovers energy from the turbocharger. The particular setup means the One has all-wheel drive. Its battery is also big enough to enable an electric-only range.

Mercedes-AMG One

Hamilton helped unveil a concept of the One at the 2017 Frankfurt International Motor Show. The production version was originally due in 2019 but getting its engine to perform like a road car’s engine has proven more difficult than the team had expected. AMG is now confident future owners will be able to take delivery in 2021, all 275 of them.

The wait will be worth it given the claimed performance of the One. We’re talking over 1,000 horsepower, 0-60 mph acceleration in well under 3.0 seconds, 0-124 mph acceleration in under 6.0 seconds, and a top speed of around 217 mph.

Interestingly, Hamilton has expressed an interest in developing his own specification, a potential “LH” special edition. He revealed early in 2019 that he’d want his car to offer a bit more power and noise than the standard car, along with some personalization options inside.



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Formula One, McLaren Senna, Nico Rosberg, Videos

Nico Rosberg drives the McLaren Senna and 720S back-to-back


What happens when former Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg puts two of McLaren’s best on a track for some head-to-head fun? This video from the Dubai Autodrome tells the tale.

Rosberg has spent time with both cars before, but this is his first opportunity to get the McLaren Senna on a race track, which has him pumped. He raves about its 1,700 pounds of downforce and how much of a difference that can make in high-speed cornering. So will its svelte, 2,641-pound curb weight.

“This thing is going to be fun today because the last time I drove this with you it was at a driving school in the South of France,” Rosberg says of the Senna. “But today, we have a proper race track, like kind-of F1 track, with the high speed corners and everything. It’s going to be epic.”

2019 McLaren Senna, Portugal Media Drive, June 2018

2018 McLaren 720S

2018 McLaren 720S

Both are serious machines. On paper, the 720S has the disadvantage in power, with 710 ponies on tap to go with its 568 pound-feet of torque. It can hit 60 mph in less than 3 seconds and 124 mph in 7.8 seconds. Its curb weight checks in at a mere 2,800 pounds.

The Senna, on the other hand, is a bit more technical—a real track weapon. It packs 789 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque from its 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, with 0-62 coming in 2.8 seconds and 0 to 124 mph in just 6.8. It will also crack off a quarter mile in 9.9 seconds on the way to a 211-mph top speed.

And straight-line performance matters in this case, as Rosberg’s first stop is a makeshift drag strip. The cars trade wins thanks to not-so-professional launches and cold tires, but clearly Rosberg and his competition are enjoying themselves. 

On the circuit, Rosberg praises the Senna’s downforce, saying it behaves more like a race car than a road car. Jumping into the 720S is a step backwards, Rosberg says, thanks to its street tires and comparatively limited downforce. But honestly, you can’t really go wrong with either car.



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Formula One, McLaren Senna, McLaren Ultimate Series

McLaren Senna XP specials celebrate their eponymous F1 legend


With its brutalist styling, punishing performance, and severe lack of creature comforts, McLaren’s Senna is certainly an acquired taste. However, there’s no denying the desirability of the latest Senna XP developed by McLaren Special Operations on a commission from McLaren Beverly Hills.

Just three of the Senna XPs have been built, each of them carrying a price tag of $1,435,328. Considering the Senna is sold out, the price could be considered a bit of a bargain by some.

While McLaren has built and sold 500 Sennas to customers, there are additional prototype versions. Denoted an XP by the automaker, short for “Experimental Prototype,” these are the cars that were used for development of the Senna. McLaren Beverly Hills managed to secure three of these prototypes and has since commissioned the MSO personalization department to rebuild the cars for public sale.

Each of the rebuilt XPs are unique thanks to liveries that highlight the national flags of countries were Ayrton Senna, the Formula One legend from which the cars draw their name, made astonishing achievements.

McLaren Senna XP – Photo credit: Robert Grubbs

The Home Victory car features the flag of Senna’s native Brazil and celebrates his win in the 1991 Brazilian Grand Prix. Against all odds, he managed to cross the finish line first despite a malfunction in the closing laps that left him with only sixth gear to rely on. After the race, Senna said, “It wasn’t the greatest victory of my life, but one where I gave everything I had.”

McLaren Senna XP - Photo credit: Robert Grubbs

McLaren Senna XP – Photo credit: Robert Grubbs

The Master of Monaco car celebrates Senna’s six wins, five of which were consecutive victories, at the iconic Monaco street circuit between 1989 and 1993. Although speed isn’t a major factor here, the drivers get closer to the barriers than at any other Grand Prix, making it quite the challenge as drivers can never relent on their focus throughout the race.

McLaren Senna XP - Photo credit: Robert Grubbs

McLaren Senna XP – Photo credit: Robert Grubbs

The Lap of the Gods car pays respect to one of Senna’s greatest victories, when at the 1993 European Grand Prix held at the United Kingdom’s Donington Park, he managed to move from fifth to first place in wet conditions by the end of the first lap. To this day, it’s still regarded as one of the best opening laps of an F1 race.

The special liveries have been applied by hand over exposed gloss carbon fiber body panels. The cars also feature custom cabins to match their exteriors, with special touches like etched accelerator pedals, custom embroidery, and a plaque signifying each of the cars as one of one. More than 780 hours of work has gone into creating each of them.

No change was made to the mechicals, meaning peak output registers at 789 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque courtesy of a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8. McLaren says 0-62 mph comes in 2.8 seconds, while 0 to 124 mph happens in just 6.8 seconds. Should an owner ever line a Senna up at the dragstrip, the supercar will dispatch the quarter mile in 9.9 seconds. Top speed? A brisk 211 mph.

Anyone keen to get a close-up look at the Senna XPs will find them on display at the Sunset GT car meet organized by the O’Gara Coach dealer group taking place in Los Angeles on December 8.



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Formula One

Could canceled F1 engine end up in Porsche’s next hypercar?


Porsche in early 2017 started work on a new 6-cylinder engine to power a successor to its unstoppable 919 Hybrid Le Mans prototype. But with its announcement of an exit from the World Endurance Championship made later that year, Porsche started looking at using the engine in Formula One. Yes, Porsche came close to returning to F1, as a power unit supplier.

While an F1 return is no longer in Porsche’s crosshairs, all is not lost for the engine. Autocar reported on Tuesday that the engine might feature in Porsche’s successor to the 918 Spyder hypercar.

Autocar also reported that the engine could also provide Porsche with a power unit suitable for both the WEC’s new Hypercar class and IMSA’s Daytona Prototype international class. For the record, Porsche hasn’t signalled an interest for either motorsport category just yet.

2015 Porsche 918 Spyder

The engine isn’t a done deal for the future hypercar either as senior executives at Porsche are yet to decide whether the 918 successor should be another hybrid or a more radical battery-electric model, according to the British publication.

It seems Porsche was originally in favor of the pure electric route, with solid-state batteries meant to be the showpiece of the new car. However, progress in developing the technology is proceeding more slowly than expected and now a hybrid setup is the preferred option. Porsche wants the car on sale in the first half of the next decade and solid-state batteries for high-performance applications aren’t likely to be ready until the second half.

Note, you can already buy a Porsche with an F1 engine, or at least you could have. Lanzante in 2018 announced an 11-car run of 930-generation 911s fitted with original Tag Turbo engines raced in F1 during the 1980s. One of the engines was even driven to victory by Niki Lauda at the 1984 British Grand Prix.



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