News

McRae rally car leads the pack at Race Retro 

One of the most instantly recognisable historic rally cars is among the first entries into Silverstone Auctions’ sale at Race Retro on Saturday 22nd February.

Offered with an estimate of £65,000 to £85,000, the Eddie Stobart liveried 1977 Ford Escort MK2 RS1800 Gp4 Historic Rally Car is one of the most competitive ever. Built by leading specialists Prepfab Motorsport Engineering, and having been tested by the late Colin McRae, the car was driven to victory by the rallying legend’s father, Jimmy McRae, in the 2006 Roger Albert Clark Rally.

Commenting on the car, Nick Whale, managing director, Silverstone Auctions, said: “We’re incredibly proud to offer a competition car with such provenance. Given the high octane surroundings of Race Retro the car is a perfect fit and is sure to prove popular with historic motorsport fans.”

After it debut season win, ‘LSV171’ continued to post victories throughout the following year taking first place in the pre-1981 category of the 2007 British Historic Championship. The McRae connection continued in 2008 when the car was driven to another category victory by Alister McRae in the Colin McRae Memorial Rally. 

In 2009 the car was treated to a show condition rebuild and has since competed in the 2010 and 2011 Rally Clásico Isla Mallorca. The car comes with MSA stage rally logbook and Historic Rally Vehicle Identity Form, plus MoT and tax until May 2014.

Nick added: “We’re now in our third year of hosting the Race Retro sale and early indications are that this year’s sale will attract even more interest than ever before. Of course, as well as offering prestigious competition cars, we’re also welcoming entries of quality classic road cars and motorcycles as well as modern supercars. However, as space is limited, we’d encourage those looking to submit an entry to contact us as soon as possible.”

Citroën Racing has presented details of its 2014 sporting programmes. For the first time ever, Citroën will be competing simultaneously in two FIA World Championships, in both the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). This commitment to motorsport is also reflected in the products of the Brand, which has today unveiled a limited edition DS3 Cabrio Racing.

From the kick-off of the WRC on 14 January at Monte-Carlo to the chequered flag at the final race of the WTCC on 16 November at Macao, Citroën Racing is set to experience 306 intense days of competition, with two World Championships and a total of 25 races.

“We are embarking on a challenge that is not just sporting, but also technical and logistical. The entire team has been very enthusiastic and creative in preparing for the coming season as effectively as possible,” commented Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal. “We are very fortunate to be able to take on this double programme. Despite the difficult economic conditions facing the automotive industry, the trust placed in us by the senior management of PSA and the support of our partners have enabled us to implement our plans successfully. We are going to reach more countries, in all four corners of the planet, and we are going to have so many more opportunities to promote Citroën and showcase its Créative Technologie.”

“We are not starting from scratch in either championship. Our experience in rallying and the FIA’s desire for regulatory stability mean we can approach the WRC side of things in a relatively relaxed frame of mind. We have opted for the crews of Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson to represent us in the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team. Our aim is to support their progress so that they are able to challenge for victory at certain events. Khalid Al Qassimi/Chris Patterson will also be competing in a few rounds of the WRC, but their main objective will be the Middle East Rally Championship.”

“The challenge awaiting us in the WTCC is also very motivating, but we need to learn about everything in this discipline. We feel that we have worked well on the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, even though we have no real basis for comparison given that the regulations are new for all of the competitors. Yvan Muller believes the car has been well designed and this assessment has reassured us in terms of the direction we have taken. We can’t wait to go up against our rivals on track to get confirmation! Alongside Yvan and Sébastien Loeb, we are delighted to confirm our third driver, José-Maria López.”

 

FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP (WTCC)

The clock counts down for Citroën Racing to the opening round of the World Touring Car Championship, scheduled to start on 5-6 April 2014 in Marrakech. The team has come a long way since it officially announced it would be taking part in the championship earlier this year, on 19 July. Once the CAD drawings had taken on physical form, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC completed its first on-track tests. Since then, the car has undergone a series of development sessions, with the twin objective of obtaining a quick and reliable car.

Central to the project since its inception, Sébastien Loeb was the first driver to be confirmed on the team. This is unquestionably the greatest challenge that the 39-year-old nine-time World Rally Champion has taken on in his career. With the modesty befitting of a beginner, he has started from scratch in his attempt to learn about the inner workings of a racing category that is fundamentally different to the one in which he has excelled. To achieve his goal, the Alsatian driver has taken part in a variety of track racing events, notably winning several races in GT.

In securing the services of Yvan Muller, Sébastien Loeb’s teacher and rival, Citroën Racing has played a trump card for this new adventure. After starting out in single-seater racing and proving unbeatable in ice racing, “the other Alsatian” is above all one of the most experienced touring car drivers in the world, having competed in 20 seasons. In winning his fourth world title in 2013, Yvan became the most successful driver in the history of the WTCC and he almost certainly isn’t done yet.

Alongside the two Frenchmen, José-Maria López will be the third driver to compete for Citroën Racing. Having come close to a Formula 1 drive after an impressive career in single-seater racing, the Argentinian quickly adapted to GT and touring car racing. Competing in the very popular TC2000, “Pechito” won the Argentinian national championship in 2008, 2009 and 2012 (Súper TC). His experience of the WTCC is limited to the meeting held on the Termas de Rio Hondo racetrack in 2013. However, he made quite an impression, producing a stunning performance to win the second race.

Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal; After spending the last ten years or so at the top of the WRC, we are excited about the idea of writing a new chapter in our shared history with Sébastien Loeb. We chose the WTCC because it is a form of racing with controlled costs, a genuinely international race calendar and a lot of media coverage. As was the case in cross-country/rally-raid and in WRC, we have attempted to secure the best drivers for our team. Yvan Muller has been heavily involved in development of the car and has been one of the driving forces behind the progress we have made. But we also have high expectations of José-Maria López, who has proven to be very comfortable at the wheel of the C-Elysée WTCC during his first tests…”

SÉBASTIEN LOEB (FRA)
Born on 26 February, 1974
Nine-time World Rally Champion (2004 to 2012)
WTCC races: 0
 
YVAN MULLER (FRA)
Born on 16 August, 1969
Ten-time winner of the Andros Trophy
WTCC races: 182
WTCC wins: 37
Four-time World Touring Car Champion (2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013)
 
JOSÉ-MARÍA LÓPEZ (ARG)
Born on 26 April, 1983
WTCC races: 2
WTCC wins: 1
Best finish in the WTCC drivers’ championship: 15th in 2013
 
FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (WRC)

With 93 wins and eight Manufacturers’ World Championship titles, Citroën Racing has the best competitive record among the teams currently competing in the WRC. This impressive heritage continues with Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s entry in the championship in 2014.

First seen in 2011, when the new regulations were introduced, the Citroën DS3 WRC will be contesting its fourth racing season. After winning three rallies this year in Monte-Carlo, Argentina and Germany, the DS3 WRC remains very quick on all road surfaces, even when up against more recent models.

The big changes for 2014 concern the teams nominated to score points towards the Manufacturers’ World Championship standings. Having competed in a DS3 WRC on two occasions last year, Kris Meeke prepares to tackle his first full season in the World Championship. The 34-year-old Northern Irishman has been part of the Citroën Racing family for a long time, since he competed in the 2005 and 2006 J-WRC in a C2 Super 1600. IRC Champion in 2009, Kris has only taken part in around ten rounds of the WRC in World Rally Cars, but he is extremely motivated to make the most of this opportunity.

A WRC regular since he was 19 years of age, Mads Østberg is actually more experienced than his new team-mate. The 26-year-old Norwegian has already competed in 65 rallies, with his record including six podium-finishes and one win (Portugal 2012). For his fourth full season, Mads has opted to challenge himself by joining a team that in the past he has often tried to beat. A naturally aggressive driver, Mads Østberg is counting on combining his turn of speed with Citroën Racing’s expertise as he goes in search of that winning feeling again.

Competing predominantly in the Middle East Rally Championship in a Citroën DS3 RRC, Khalid Al Qassimi will also be taking part in a selection of WRC events. The Abu Dhabi driver will line up in Sweden, Portugal, Italy and Spain.

Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal; “Thanks to the support of our partners, especially Total and Abu Dhabi Racing, we are pleased to be able to continue Citroën Racing’s involvement in WRC. The team has the expertise and experience that will help our crews to establish themselves among the leading drivers in the Championship. Kris and Mads both have quite a bit to learn, in different areas. Our aim is to help them reach a level where they will be able to make a real impact and win rallies.”

KRIS MEEKE (GBR)
Born on 2 July, 1979
Co-driver: Paul Nagle (IRL)
First WRC rally: 2002 Wales GB Rally
WRC races: 40
Best finish in the WRC drivers’ championship: 11th in 2011
 
MADS ØSTBERG (NOR)
Born on 11 October, 1987
Co-driver: Jonas Andersson (SWE)
First WRC rally: 2006 Rally Sweden
WRC races: 65
Best finish in the WRC drivers’ championship: 4th in 2012
 
KHALID AL QASSIMI (UAE)
Born on 18 February, 1972
Co-driver: Chris Patterson (GBR)
First WRC rally: 2004 Acropolis Rally
WRC races: 52
Best finish in the WRC drivers’ championship: 12th in 2009 and 2010

 

CUSTOMER RACING

From the DS3 R1 to the DS3 WRC, Citroën Racing offers a genuine development programme with a progressive and consistent range of rally customer racing products. At national level, the Citroën Racing Trophy (DS3 R3) and Junior Citroën Racing Trophy (DS3 R1) promote accessibility to the world of racing and help to find talented young drivers. In 2014, seven European countries will be running a national Trophy. In the Middle East, five Emirati drivers, selected by Citroën Racing and Abu Dhabi Racing, will be taking part in a programme next year in DS3 R3s.

At the next level up, the Citroën Top Driver series runs at six rounds of the WRC3. In their DS3 R3s, the best talented young drivers attempt to win the chance to compete in the WRC2 in a Citroën DS3 R5 the following season.

Two drivers will be taking particular advantage of the Citroën Racing driver development programme in 2014. Winner of the Junior Citroën Racing Trophy, Frédéric Hauswald will be competing in the Citroën Racing Trophy in a DS3 R3 prepared by the Henri Laurens high school in Saint-Vallier. After winning this year’s Citroën Top Driver championship, Sébastien Chardonnet will be competing in six rounds of the WRC2 championship in a DS3 R5.

 

CITROËN DS3 CABRIO RACING

Citroën’s commitment to motorsport is also reflected in its products, like the individually numbered, limited edition Citroën DS3 Cabrio Racing unveiled today. Directly inspired by the concept car presented at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Frankfurt Motor Show, it combines all the qualities of the Citroën DS3 Racing with the pleasure of open-top driving provided by the DS3 Cabrio. A coherent combination, as the Citroën DS3 Cabrio has adopted a streamlined architecture (only 25kg heavier than the hatchback version), which means the car boasts responsive, agile handling.

Sporting the same distinctive design features as the Citroën DS3 Cabrio, this model also comes with resolutely Racing attributes such as the chrome-finish, twin exhaust pipes and the genuine carbon finish deployed on numerous bodywork components (air diffuser, a semi-rigid splitter in the front bumper, wraparound body sills, wing flares, etc.).

The cabin has also been given a very specific treatment. For example, the exclusive, matt-finish Moondust Grey bodywork colour is also used on the upper dash and on many interior trim items such as the central console of the instrument panel. The steering wheel inserts and the fascia panel cap are finished with a carbon fibre effect. Lastly, the dashboard also features the Crimson Red colour used on the vertical strip on the door interiors. The exclusive nature of the Citroën DS3 Cabrio Racing is clearly displayed with the Citroën Racing signature on the headrest of the front seats and a numbered identification plate located on the base of the gearshift lever.

Performance lies at the core of the Citroën DS3 Cabrio Racing. Its 207bhp, 1.6-litre engine, developed by Citroën Racing, benefits from the expertise of the eight-time World Rally Championship-winning team.

 

C-ELYSÉE WTCC TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
 
CHASSIS
Structure: Reinforced body with welded, multi-point roll cage
Bodywork: Steel and composite fibre
 
ENGINE
Type: Citroën Racing – 1.6-litre turbocharged direct injection engine
Distribution: Double overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder
Capacity: 1,598cc
Power output: 380bhp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 4,500rpm
 
TRANSMISSION
Type: front-wheel drive
Gearbox: Sadev six-speed sequential with manual control
Differential: Mechanical self-locking differential
Clutch: Carbon-fibre twin-disk
 
SUSPENSION SYSTEMS
Suspension: MacPherson FR+RR
Shock absorbers: Citroën Racing adjustable
Front brakes: 380mm ventilated discs with four-piston calipers
Rear brakes: 300mm ventilated discs with two-piston calipers
Steering: Hydraulic power-assisted
 
WHEELS
Wheel rims: 10x18’’
Tyres: Yokohama 660x275
 
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES
Length/width: 4,577/1,950mm
Wheel base: 2,700mm
Tracks: 1,750mm (FR and RR)
Fuel tank: 50 litres
Weight: 1,100kg with driver (regulations)

 

CITROËN DS3 WRC TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
CHASSIS
Structure: Reinforced body with welded, multi-point roll cage
Bodywork: Steel and composite fibre

 

ENGINE
Type: Citroën Racing – 1.6-litre turbocharged direct injection engine
Distribution: Double overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder
Capacity: 1,598cc
Power output: 300bhp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 350Nm at 3,250rpm

 

TRANSMISSION
Type: Four-wheel drive
Gearbox: Sadev six-speed sequential with manual control
Differentials: Mechanical front and rear self-locking differentials
Clutch: Cerametallic twin-disk

 

SUSPENSION SYSTEMS
Suspension: MacPherson FR+RR
Shock absorbers: Citroën Racing three-track adjustable
Front brakes: 355mm (tarmac) and 300mm (gravel) ventilated disks, with four-piston calipers
Rear brakes: 300mm ventilated discs with four-piston calipers
Steering: Hydraulic power-assisted

 

WHEELS
Wheel rims: 8x18’’ (tarmac) and 7x15’’ (gravel and snow)
Tyres: Michelin

 

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES
Length/width: 3,948/1,820mm
Wheel base: 2,461mm
Tracks: 1,618mm (FR and RR)
Fuel tank: 75 litres
Weight: Minimum 1,200kg/1,350kg with crew (regulations)

The presentation of awards to the winners in the 2013 Brick & Steel Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge took place in Glasgow on Saturday 30th November 2013.

Champion Driver for  the second year was Alexander Vassallo from Corebridge in Northumberland. But there was a twist to the presentation to Alexander. Not only is he a very fine young rally driver but he also excels at rugby and he had to decide between the afternoon awards presentation in Glasgow or playing for his school in a critical away game in York. The situation was resolved when the Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge organisers agreed with the ARR Craib Scottish Rally Championship that Alexander’s presentation could take place later in the evening as part of the SRC awards presentation. And so Alexander was presented with the distinctive Knockhill “J” carved wooden trophy by Britain’s first World Rally Champion – Louise Aitken Walker MBE.

Alexander commented "I've enjoyed this season just as much as 2012. Coming away with the Championship again is an excellent feeling. I have to give full credit to all the Junior drivers this year, they have certainly raised their game, making for a more closely fought Championship in comparison to last year. Can't wait to see how next year is going to come together. With everyone improving at the current rate, it indicates that it will be a good year with some good fights! Bring on 2014!"

But in the afternoon, the other winners were presented with their trophies by Euan Thorburn – the recently crowned BTRDA Gold Star Champion.

Second overall Junior Driver was Ben Crealey who travelled over by ferry from N Ireland in the morning and was heading back home with his delighted family right after the presentation. Ben also collected the Pearson of Duns Cup for finishing the season as First Nissan driver. Ben’s talents have now been recognised at the highest level and he has been awarded a place on the MSA Academy for 2014.

The top 2 positions may have been taken by “non Scottish” crews but standing proud and upholding Scottish honours in 3rd place was Michael Dickie from Banchory. This was a very satisfying moment for Mikey’s family and supporters and the organisers of the Championship as Mikey was the very first to step forward to sign up for the Championship when it was announced in 2010. He was 12 at the time!!!

Dylan O’Donnell received the First Newcomer award. He finished 5th in the Championship in his “rookie” year and impressed everybody with his driving skills and terrific attitude. Dylan may be our smallest driver in terms of stature but his achievements behind the wheel rank him amongst the best.

The Spirit of the Championship award went to Alasdair Currie from Mull. Like Ben Crealey from N Ireland, Ally had to spend a large element of his budget on ferries but he achieved considerable success and admiration from his fellow competitors for his commitment and driving skills behind the wheel of his ageing Citroen AX rally car.

Some competitors will now pack up their Junior equipment and move into the senior league because they are 17. But the rest will be busy sorting out cars and budgets for the 2014 season which will start again at the end of March. Several new faces will join the returning crews from 2013.

CAPACITY ENTRY CONFIRMED FOR 2014 BTCC SEASON 

32 entries allocated during TOCA BTCC Licence pre-registration process

The 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will have a capacity entry list after all 32 entries and available TOCA BTCC Licences (TBL) were allocated during the pre-registration process, which closed on Saturday (30 November).
 
Series organiser TOCA recently announced the introduction of TBLs, which are required by teams in order to compete in the championship from 2014 onwards. The overall aim is to provide teams with longer-term stability and security, and take up during the registration process was immediate.
 
Existing teams that applied and competed in at least 50 per cent of the 2013 BTCC season with NGTC machinery received automatic entry for the same number of cars in 2014, whilst existing teams with two or more NGTC cars had priority for one additional entry subject to validation by TOCA. Existing NGTC cars in the hands of new or other current BTCC teams were next to receive priority, whilst completely new teams would have been given the final slots on the entry list if available.
 
Such was the huge number of applications received from current BTCC teams and other entries running existing NGTC cars, however, that the opportunity for completely new teams to sign up was not forthcoming.
 
TBLs have now been issued to successful applicants, which will secure each entry until at least the end of the 2016 BTCC season. Teams may sell, gift, lease, assign or loan their TBL to other existing teams or eligible new entries on a season-long basis only, subject to the approval of TOCA as to the integrity of both recipient and transaction.
 
Possession and retention of a TBL includes an obligation from each entrant to contest all BTCC events for each season entered. An entry that is unused for one event in any season will void its TBL, and an entry that misses two events will have its entry rescinded for the balance of the season. In addition each entrant cannot make more than one change of driver per car during the course of a season except in genuine cases of force majeure.
 
As well as the capacity entry, there are currently three cars on a ‘reserve list’ that were unable to meet the strict entry requirements at this stage, but would be in a position to compete should an opportunity arise.

Honda’s 2014 WTCC Civic Takes Shape 

Honda has released the first visual of its 2014 World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) challenger reflecting the all new technical regulations for the FIA WTCC which will come into force for 2014.

The Honda Civic WTCC render shows the subtle style of the wheel arch extensions, larger diameter wheels, sleeker aero package and extended rear spoiler. Add all this to increased engine power and the 2014 Honda WTCC racer is clearly ambitious to retain Honda’s Manufacturers World Championship crown and enable the drivers to challenge for the World Champion title.

Two works cars will be run by JAS Motorsport for Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro with further Civics to be entered by private outfits Zengo Motorsport and Proteam Racing for Hungary’s Norbert Michelisz and Moroccan Mehdi Bennani respectively.

This announcement follows hot on the heels of the recent unveiling of the new 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Civic Tourer racer, with Matt Neal and Gordon ‘Flash’ Shedden confirmed as the Honda Yuasa Racing drivers for another season.

SEAT to launch Leon Eurocup one-make racing series 

  • SEAT continues its commitment to customer racing with exciting new race series
  • Six race weekends in six European countries, starting May 2014
  • New Leon Cup Racer with 330 PS available to order now for competition
  • Continuation of highly successful Leon Supercopa championships

SEAT is driving forward its rich motorsport heritage with the SEAT Leon Eurocup, a six-weekend customer racing series using the all-new Leon Cup Racer.

Taking place across six racing weekends beginning in May 2014, the Leon Eurocup will span six European countries and offer a substantial prize money pot. 

The star will be the SEAT Leon Cup Racer, a first-class motorsport machine with 330 PS and an extensive array of professional racing technology.

“Motorsport is deeply embedded in our brand. SEAT has more than 40 years of history here. With the SEAT Leon Eurocup, we offer an interesting opportunity for our motivated customer teams and our enthusiastic fans all over Europe,” says Dr. Matthias Rabe, Vice President of SEAT S.A. for Research and Development.“The Leon Cup Racer is an extremely high-performance race car. The new generation of the SEAT Leon provides an excellent basis for this, winning high praise from customers and motoring journalists alike.”

The SEAT Leon has already been one of the most successful race touring cars of recent years. In 2008 and 2009 it won WTCC titles for SEAT Sport, while the SEAT Leon Supercopa and Eurocup were among motorsport’s most popular One Make Series. The Supercopa championships ran from 2003 until 2013 in a total of eight countries, and the Eurocup from 2008 to 2010 in a total of nine countries.

“With the SEAT Leon Eurocup, we are delighted to be able to offer our customer teams a great series for the 2014 season,” says Jaime Puig, Head of SEAT Sport and responsible for the brand’s motorsport activities. “The SEAT Leon Cup Racer is an excellent vehicle and will thrill our fans with some fascinating competition.

The entire know-how of SEAT Sport has gone into the SEAT Leon Cup Racer. We are following on from the great sporting successes of years past.” 

The exact race calendar will be defined over the next few weeks. Each weekend will run from Friday to Sunday and includes two free training sessions, qualification, and two races. Winners can look forward to attractive prize money.

 

The SEAT Leon Cup Racer

The new SEAT Leon Cup Racer cuts an impressive figure. Its muscular stance on its 18-inch wheels is derived in part from a track that is almost 40 centimetres greater than that of the series production model.

The new front end has been designed for optimum aerodynamic efficiency and maximum airflow to the engine and brakes, while the substantial wheel arches, with their vents at the rear, enhance the cooling effect on the four-piston brake system.

The powerfully flared sills work together with the front spoiler, smooth under body, rear diffuser and two-stage roof spoiler mounted on a single support to provide maximum down force for high cornering speeds.

Nevertheless, the SEAT Leon Cup Racer fully retains the Leon design DNA. The distinctive full-LED headlights with their individual daytime running light signature have been carried over from the series-production model, as have the LED rear lights. The contour of the roofline is also that of the series-production model, likewise the characteristic lines and precise blisters of the side view.

Systematic weight reduction defines the interior, which is protected by a high-strength roll cage. Optimum safety is also provided by the bucket seat with HANS system for head and neck protection.

The basic form of the series cockpit has been retained, although the driver information and operating controls for the race car are focused on the multi-function steering wheel and the high-resolution TFT display behind it. This layout ensures that the driver always maintains maximum control of his racing machine.

The Leon Cup Racer is driven by the mighty propulsion of a two-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine. Its maximum power output is 330 PS, while its maximum torque stands at 400 Nm. Power transmission to the front axle on the standard version is courtesy of a six-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox operated from the steering wheel, and an electronically controlled locking differential.

A preliminary purchase price for the Leon Cup Racer has already been set at €70,000 (excl. VAT). The first official orders for the Cup Racer can be accepted as of the end of November, with deliveries expected around April 2014.

Paisley to host Monte Carlo Classic Rally  

Renfrewshire has pulled off a major coup as it gets set to host one of motorsport’s most iconic and world-renowned events – the Monte Carlo Classic Rally.
 
Up to 100 classic cars dating back to the 1920s will assemble in Paisley town centre before setting off for the glitz and glamour of the French Riviera.

The event – on the evening of 23 January 2014 – will see Paisley as one of five departure points, alongside Barcelona, Stockholm, Oslo and Reims.

Vehicles driven by classic car lovers will set off from outside Paisley Abbey on the 2,688km adventure to Monte Carlo, via the Channel Tunnel and over the snow-covered French Alps.

Since the event returned to Scotland in 2011, around over 30,000 spectators have watched internationally-famous cars such as Imps, Triumphs, Porsches and Bentleys set off for France.

This year’s event is expected to see the total economic benefit to Scotland top the £4 million mark since 2011.

The entry list is truly global, with crews from Scotland and the UK joining crews from across Europe. Among those are a Mediterranean mega-yacht captain in a 1958 Riley, a Zurich-based world land-speed record hopeful in a Porsche, and two French crews who will travel to Paisley only to go all the way back again.

Residents had a chance to see some classic cars up close for themselves at a launch event outside Paisley Abbey today (Thursday) – including a 1926 Bentley and a Renfrewshire-made Hillman Imp.

There on the day were Rosemary Smith, Irish rally driver of the 1960s, who will be starting the race, and Paul Coulter – who wrote the play Linwood No More about Linwood’s former Hillman Imp factory and who will be taking part in the rally.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “We are delighted to welcome this prestigious event and would like to thank the organisers for bringing it here.

“Being chosen to host an occasion of this calibre is a major thumbs-up for the area and the latest boost to Paisley and Renfrewshire’s fast-growing reputation as a venue for top-class events.

“Our events strategy – including this year’s Royal National Mòd and Spree arts festival – is helping to drive the regeneration of the area and boost local businesses.

“We look forward to another big crowd in January and I’m sure the sight of these magnificent vehicles assembling in the town will be a spectacle not to be missed.”

Douglas Anderson, competitor and spokesman for the Rally Start Committee said: “Since we brought the rally start back to Scotland in 2011, it has surpassed all expectations. It is exciting, colourful and endures in peoples’ imaginations.

“Paisley will be an excellent location as a start venue. It has a stunning visual backdrop, with the historic Abbey and Town Hall.

“It also has quick access to the first stages of the route for the cars of all eras that will be taking part. We know it will be a spectacle which befits such a famous event.”

A still-to-be-announced week-long programme of related events will take place around Renfrewshire to mark the occasion – with the area’s links to the car industry through the former Hillman Imp factory at Linwood set to be celebrated.

Paul Coulter, writer and rally competitor, added: “This year is the 50th anniversary of the production of the first Hillman Imp in the area, and 2014 will be 50 years from the first time Imps took part in the rally.

“Paisley was at one time the epicentre of the Scottish car-building industry and it is fantastic to mark this anniversary with the rally starting from the town.”

The Ford Motor Company has unveiled the new Ford Mustang – the first Mustang ever to go on sale in Europe in almost 50 years of production.

Executive Chairman Bill Ford introduced the new Mustang at Ford’s special “Go Further” event to an audience of around 2,500 journalists, dealers and employees, in Barcelona, Spain – one of six cities across four continents where the new Mustang was simultaneously revealed.

The new Ford Mustang fastback and convertible models promise world-class levels of performance and refinement while embracing the Mustang’s half-century of heritage and status as a global icon.

“Ford Mustang inspires passion like no other car,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “The visceral look, sound and performance of Mustang resonate with people, even if they’ve never driven one. Mustang is definitely more than just a car – it is the heart and soul of Ford.”

More than 9 million Mustangs have been sold since it was first launched in 1964. The world’s most-liked vehicle on Facebook, Mustang has made thousands of appearances in film, television, music and video games, and is one of 25 new vehicles that Ford will launch in Europe in the next five years.

“The Mustang’s formidable reputation for performance and its iconic status as a symbol of freedom and optimism precedes it even in those parts of the world where the car has never been sold,” said Stephen Odell, Ford executive vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa. “The new Mustang epitomises Ford’s aggressive product acceleration; technologically advanced and forward-looking, but without forgetting the heritage that has inspired Ford customers for generations.”

The new Mustang has been developed with world-class performance, driving dynamics and usability in mind – and includes a significant amount of advanced driver convenience and driver aid technologies.

“The new Mustang is one of the most hotly anticipated cars ever, we are very excited to now give drivers in Europe the opportunity to experience the real thing,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford of Europe.

 

Unmistakably Mustang

The clean-sheet design of both Ford Mustang fastback and convertible evokes the essential character of the vehicle, retaining key design elements of the classic Mustangs recognisable to car fans across Europe, including the long sculpted hood and short rear deck, with a contemporary execution.

“You only get one chance to make a first impression and when you see this car, you immediately see a Mustang strong and true,” said Moray Callum, Ford executive director, design, The Americas.

Several key design features define the new Ford Mustang, including:

  • A low roof height and wide stance
  • Sleek profile enabled by steeply sloped windshield and rear glass
  • Three-dimensional, tri-bar taillamps
  • Contemporary execution of the iconic car’s signature shark-bite front fascia

Ford Mustang convertible drivers will appreciate the standard multilayer insulated cloth top that gives the car an upscale appearance and a quiet cabin. The top has a sleek profile when folded for open-air motoring.

Large, clear instrumentation puts vehicle information right in front of the driver in the roomy cabin with an aviation-inspired cockpit, while ergonomic and tactile switches and knobs provide control. The vehicle’s width and new rear suspension contribute to improved shoulder and hip room for passengers and a usefully shaped bootspace that can accommodate two golf bags.

 

The Mustang experience

The way Ford Mustang looks, drives and sounds is key to the visceral experience. The Ford Mustang offers outstanding power options and chassis configurations refined to meet the driving dynamics expectations of European drivers.

Ford’s acclaimed 5.0‑litre V8 engine – yielding more than 426 PS and 529 Nm of torque – is joined by an all-new 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine that brings state-of-the-art technology to Mustang; delivering turbocharged performance with the fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions demanded by Europe’s car consumers.

“This EcoBoost engine delivers where a Mustang driver expects it to with a broad, flat torque curve that pours out when you stand on it for easy passing or hustling down a twisty road,” said Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer.

The Mustang’s 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine uses direct injection, variable cam timing and turbocharging to deliver usable performance. A unique intake manifold and turbocharger housing enable it to deliver the performance Mustang drivers expect, with output projected at more than 309 PS and 407 Nm of torque. An automatic transmission option features steering wheel-mounted shift paddles for drivers who want the choice between convenience and control.

 

A Mustang for the true driving enthusiast

The new Ford Mustang features all-new front and rear suspension systems. At the front, a new perimeter subframe helps to stiffen the front structure while reducing mass, providing a strong foundation for more predictable wheel control that benefits handling, steering and ride.

The new double ball-joint front MacPherson strut system also enables the use of large, powerful brakes. Both 2.3‑litre EcoBoost and V8-powered GT Mustang models will feature performance brake packages behind standard 19‑inch wheels in Europe.

At the rear is an all-new integral-link independent rear suspension. The geometry, springs, dampers and bushings all have been specifically modified and tuned for this high-performance application, and are well-suited to European roads and high speed driving culture. New aluminium rear knuckles help reduce unsprung mass for improved ride and handling.

 

Smart technology

The new Mustang features a significant number of innovative technologies providing drivers with enhanced information, control, and connectivity when they want it.

On a twisty back road or a weekend track day, the driver can tap the toggle switches on the console to quickly adjust steering effort, engine response, and transmission and electronic stability control settings using the available Selectable Drive Modes to create the perfect Mustang at any time.

The advanced, Ford-developed stability control is tuned to maximise the new Mustang’s dynamic capabilities with features like torque vectoring that directs engine power to individual wheels to keep the car on course. When the time comes to turn up the wick at the track, manual transmission variants of the Mustang GT include standard launch control that enables drivers to achieve smooth, consistent starts every time.

Advanced driver-assist features include standard Ford SYNC with Voice Control and Touchscreen, that lets drivers control their entertainment. Also available for Mustang drivers in Europe will be a navigation system utilising the 8-inch central colour screen in conjunction with a premium 12-speaker sound system.

 

50 years of Mustang

April 17, 2014, marks the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the original Ford Mustang. Mustang will continue to be built in America at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant.

“From day one, we knew if we were going to build a new Mustang, we had to do it right,” Pericak said. “We built a new Mustang from the ground up that is fast, great-looking, refined and efficient, without losing any of the raw appeal that people around the world have associated with Mustang for decades.”

ŠKODA confirms Fabia R5 development programme for 2014 

 

ŠKODA has announced that the Fabia S2000 – one of the most successful rally cars of the Super 2000 era – will be succeeded by an all-new model, the Fabia R5. An intense development programme will begin at ŠKODA Motorsport’s Mlada Boleslav base in early 2014, ahead of a competition debut in 2015.

Confirming the Fabia R5 programme, Michal Michal Hrabánek, ŠKODA Motorsport Director, said: “The new R5 rally car will be equipped with a 1.6-litre turbo engine, in accordance with FIA regulations. That’s a big change compared to today’s naturally-aspirated, two-litre petrol engines. The R5 category succeeds the previous Super 2000 class. This way, we are able to continue to compete successfully in international championships and to push ahead with our customer programme. Entering the R5 class is a logical step for ŠKODA. As it stands, we are assuming that the new car will be homologated by mid-2015.”

Dr. Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development at ŠKODA added: “Through the many international successes it has enjoyed, the current Fabia Super 2000 has been demonstrating our technical prowess for years. The challenge is now to follow on from this success. That is why we are working flat out to develop a new car, based on the ŠKODA Fabia, for the R5 category.”

The announcement follows another remarkable season for both ŠKODA Motorsport and the Fabia S2000. With overall victories in three international and six national championships, ŠKODA has enjoyed one of the most successful seasons in its 112-year motorsport history.

In addition to developing the Fabia R5, ŠKODA will continue to campaign the current Fabia S2000 in 2014. The brand will enter cars on selected rounds of both the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) and the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC). Current ERC Champions Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler will tackle the APRC, while rising star Esapekka Lappi will line up in the ERC with co-driver Janne Ferm. In addition, the German pairing of Sepp Wiegand/Frank Christian (ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland), will also contest rounds of the ERC in a factory-prepared Fabia S2000.

 

Fabia S2000 – the most successful rally car in ŠKODA history

First shown at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show, the Fabia S2000 has become the most successful rally car in ŠKODA’s 112-year motorsport history. Having recorded 27 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) event victories and three overall driver and manufacturer titles, the Fabia S2000 has won more IRC events than any other car. Andreas Mikkelsen became the first back-to-back champion driving for ŠKODA UK Motorsport in 2011 and 2012.

Building on these triumphs, factory driver Jan Kopecký took the 2013 European Rally Championship (ERC) title with a commanding season-long performance.

Further afield, the Fabia S2000 has also recored series victories in both the Super 2000 World Championship (SWRC) with Juho Hanninen and the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) with Chris Atkinson and Gaurev Gill.

Paraguyan Gustavo Saba won both the FIA Codasur South American Rally Championship and the Paraguayan Championship in 2013, with ŠKODA drivers accumulating a further five national titles in Austria (Raimund Baumschlager), Italy (Umberto Scandola), Bulgaria (Dimitar Iliev), Jordan (Marouf Abu Samra) and Portugal (Ricardo Moura).

 

MAGIC MILESTONE FOR FORD MUSTANG 

Next year’s Silverstone Classic will pay special homage to the most celebrated of all American muscle cars: the legendary Ford Mustang.

First unveiled in New York during April 1964, the illustrious Mustang is celebrating its 50th birthday in 2014 – a milestone that will be marked in style both on and off the Grand Prix circuit at the World’s Biggest Classic Motor Racing Festival.

Having staged similar celebrations for the E-type Jaguar, Ferrari F40 and Porsche 911 as well as Aston Martin in recent years, the award-winning Silverstone Classic is firmly established as the major event commemorating key landmarks in automotive history. And now, next summer’s Classic (25-27 July) has been chosen by the Mustang Owners Club for its official 50th anniversary celebration for the Ford Mustang.

The weekend will not only include dedicated displays and parades showcasing all five generations of the much loved ’Stang but also two thundering races dedicated to mighty American V8-powered machines from the Sixties. While the packed 50-plus car grids will also include other ‘Yank tanks’ from the era, the vast majority of the field will consist of competition-prepared Mustangs all galloping into Silverstone to honour the remarkable occasion.

“The Mustang celebrations follow on perfectly from the amazing party we had last summer for the Porsche 911,” said Event Director, Nick Wigley. “Like the 911, the Mustang has been in continuous production for 50 years and has become a global icon among sportscars. We are thrilled that the Mustang Owners Club will be holding its official birthday festivities at the Classic and, with what we expect to be a record number of Mustangs racing on the track, it’s going to be another fantastic celebration at Silverstone.”

Introduced in 1964 as a small (by American standards!) sportscar, the Mustang was an immediate success with more than a million sales in its first two years. It’s name, and then revolutionary long bonnet/short boot design, inspired a whole new breed of affordable, compact, high performance street machines still known today in America as the ‘pony car’ class.

The waves made by the Mustang resounded well beyond the automotive world, too. The car quickly became a film star appearing in various early James Bond movies including Goldfinger and Diamonds are Forever and, perhaps most memorably, when driven through the streets of San Francisco by Steve McQueen in Bullitt. It also featured in chart-topping songs such as the Wilson Pickett classic Mustang Sally.

Initially hardtop coupe and convertible body styles were offered but a sporty 2+2 fastback version was quickly added to the original model line-up. For those who wanted some extra performance, a collaboration with the legendary Carroll Shelby produced the even more muscular 300+ horsepower Shelby GT-350.

Underlining its on-going popularity the Mustang, complete with retro design cues, has remained in production ever since those early days with varying degrees of success. Indeed, the sixth generation is being revealed to the world today (5 December) by Ford and will, for the very first time, be marketed in right-hand-drive form.

The Mustang’s outstanding motor sport history also dates right back to the early days. It made its racetrack debut within a month of its introduction as pace car for the 1964 Indianapolis 500. Later in the same year, Mustangs started racking up the first of many notable competition successes with class victory in the Tour de France road rally. The following year an Alan Mann Racing entered 4.7-litre Mustang raced by Roy Pierpoint won the British Touring Car Championship, while Shelby GT-350 Rs captured a host of top titles back home in the US. A host of notable international victories have followed since, and today many of those original models are still reliving their glory days and wowing the crowds at premier historic events such as the Silverstone Classic.