Quite remarkably, in the 2017/2018 season, Audi was the first German automobile manufacturer on the Formula E grid. And as we all know, when Audi enter a championship it’s not to make up the numbers, ending the season having scored four victories and a total of eleven podiums after twelve races around the globe, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler claimed the teams’ championship. The commitment in the fully electric racing series that is currently experiencing a boom with the participation of other manufacturers and partners forms the electric pillar of the brand’s motorsport involvement.

Furthermore, Audi have confirmed to MotorMartin that they will continue to be active in the DTM especially as next year, the DTM will see one of the most radical changes in its more than 30-year-history: Now concentrate as this appears to be quite complicated.

1. In 2019, modern four-cylinder turbo engines will be introduced. In addition,

2. The “Class One” being driven by the DTM and the Japanese Super GT will make its debut.

3. The new regulations will make it possible to field the cars in both championships.

4. It provides the basis for the joint races to be held for the first time starting in 2019 and increased internationalization.

However, following on from Mercedes-Benz’ exit, a minimum of three brands being represented from 2020 will be the prerequisite for Audi’s continuing DTM commitment.

“In Formula E, we’re demonstrating Vorsprung durch Technik in e-mobility,” shared Peter Mertens, Member of the Board of Management, Technical Development, AUDI AG with MotorMartin. “At the same time, we continue to further develop our internal combustion engines. Four-cylinder turbo units with two liters of displacement provide a good mix of performance and efficiency. They are the most important engines worldwide and will be used in Class One starting in 2019. As a result, the DTM – just like Formula E – will receive an increased reference to production development.”

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Do you want to watch stunning car control, ridiculous turns, extreme jumps and enjoy standing in the dark, in the rain? If the answer’s yes then put the following date in your diary as the FIA World Rally Championship will make its return to the UK when the 2018 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB blasts off under the floodlights at the Tir Prince Raceway on the evening of Thursday 4 October.

Introduced last year, the innovative new Visit Conwy Tir Prince curtain-raiser proved to be a real crowd-pleaser attracting more than 6,000 visitors.

Now the WRC have promised an even bigger and better show when the they return next month with improved spectator facilities plus an enhanced programme of entertainment as well as the track lay-out being refined to provide even more dramatic viewing opportunities. Excellent news.

Adult tickets are priced at just £15 when purchased in advance (or £20 on the gate), while accompanied children aged 15 and under are admitted free. Admission is included with the four-day World Rally Pass, available for £99, and the Thursday Day Pass, which costs £28. Paddock Passes are priced at an additional £10 for adults and £15 for accompanied children strictly subject to availability.

Last year’s rally winner Elfyn Evans shared with MotorMartin: “I don’t think anybody really knew what to expect from this new venue when it first appeared on the route last year, but there were a lot of people and that created a really nice atmosphere. For a driver it is actually quite a tricky little stage on what’s a sandy surface.”

Full ticket details can be found on the official website and via the event’s social media channels.

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A quick quiz for you, which vehicle is a former winner of the International Pickup Award and is Nissan’s most popular pickup globally. It is manufactured at facilities in Spain, China, Mexico, Thailand and – since July 2018 – Argentina. Any ideas?

The Navara N-Guard, Nissan say, is a tough and stylish new special version of the brand’s award-winning pickup, and it’s on sale now. Available as Double Cab with 2.3 dCi 190 PS engine, the model is priced starting from £28,075.00 Basic Retail exc. VAT with the Manual gearbox, and £29,525.00 Basic Retail exc. VAT for the Automatic gearbox.

Based on the flagship Tekna grade, the front grille, fog lamp surrounds, mirror covers, door handles and rear bumper are all finished in black. Matching side steps and roof rails have been added, along with unique black 18-inch alloy wheels. The interior of the headlamps has been darkened, and a sunroof with tinted glass is standard.

Customers can order the Navara N-Guard in one of three exterior colours – Twilight Grey, Metallic Black and Storm White. The makeover is completed with unique decals at the base of the front doors, extending on to the load bed behind the rear wheel.

And then there’s the N-Guard’s standard equipment which includes Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, Intelligent Emergency Braking and Intelligent Around View Monitor. As with every Nissan LCV, the Navara N-Guard comes with a five-year / 100,000 mile warranty.

Looks rather lovely doesn’t it. The Navara N-Guard will make its public debut at the Hannover Motor Show 2018 later this month and will definitely be worth a look.

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This doesn’t even need discussing. Read, look at the pictures and fall in love all over again.

Gulf have explained to MotorMartin recently that they are extremely proud in 2018 to be celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first Le Mans win, with the legendary Ford GT40, and, as a fitting climax to these celebrations, Gulf has joined with Ford to produce the new Ford GT ’68 Heritage edition for the 2019 and 2020 model years. The Heritage Blue with Heritage Orange paint scheme honours the Gulf Oil-sponsored Ford GT40 – chassis #1075 – that won back-to-back 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1968 and 1969.

“Many say the Gulf Oil paint scheme is the most famous in motorsports, propelled by the 1968 GT40 that quickly became a global sensation after Ford beat its European competitors not three, but four times in a row,” shared Joe Hinrichs, Ford executive vice president and president, global operations with MotorMartin. “We set out to accentuate the new Ford GT’s race-inspired aerodynamic lines with the Gulf colours, while staying true to the original GT40 Le Mans winner.”

“We are delighted to partner with Ford to help the Gulf-themed Heritage Edition Ford GT become reality. The Ford Marque has played a major role in creating Gulf’s place in motoring and motorsporting legend and the same is true in reverse,” enthused MD of Gulf Oil Lubricants India Ltd, Ravi Chawla, at the launch of the car. “Every Gulf outright victory at Le Mans has been Ford-powered and of course Gulf Ford GT40s took the latter two wins of Ford’s four consecutive victories at Le Mans from 1966-1969. What could be more fitting than both brands coming together to produce this fantastic motor car – the modern spiritual successor to the amazing Gulf-Ford GT40s that took Le Mans and World Championship honours.”

And for those lucky enough to be in the running to purchase such a stunning car Ford have said that the Limited-edition Ford GT features exclusive interior colours, materials and appointments. Believe me when I say that you will not be disappointed.

The ’68 Heritage edition boasts a unique serialised identification plate plus exposed matte carbon fibre door sills, air register pods and centre console.

Limited quantities will be available for the 2019 and 2020 model years and, for 2020, the package will boast an optional No. 6 in honour of the 1969 Le Mans winner.

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Some news now for those, much like us here on the #MotorMartinRacing desk, that can’t wait for the World Superbike stars to return to the track after their long summer break. That’s certainly not to say that the teams have been standing still as testing has been continuing behind the scenes, subtle changes giving small improvements in lap time allowing the team to bridge the gap to the front of the field.

Indeed, The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team have shared with MotorMartin the following news after completing their mid-season testing programme in a private two-day test and the official WorldSBK group test at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal, which we have printed in full below. Enjoy:

The team had exclusive use of the 4.6 kilometre Portimão circuit from August 20-21, before regrouping at the circuit for the WorldSBK group test on August 23-25, using the four days of track time to evaluate new development components.

Among the items tested by riders Leon Camier and Jake Gagne were a new engine specification with enhanced driveability, a revised chassis to improve bike balance and a new electronics package.

Camier, still feeling the effects of the injury which forced him out of the Suzuka 8 Hour was still able to set a competitive pace on race tyres and finished eighth quickest at the official WorldSBK test with a best time of 1’42.718, 1.5 seconds off the fastest time. Gagne’s best time was a 1’43.361, placing him 13th overall on the timesheet.

In addition to Camier and Gagne testing for their team, Triple M Honda World Superbike Team rider PJ Jacobsen was drafted in to ride the Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 on the final day of the two-day group test, the American rider finishing with a best time of 1’44.247.

Over the four days of testing, the riders cumulatively completed hundreds of laps of the Portimão circuit in a wide range of track conditions, not only completing the test programme but also acquiring valuable setting data ahead of the upcoming WorldSBK round at the Portuguese circuit from September 14-16.

Leon Camier 2

With our private test and the two day test at Portimão we definitely made a step forward with the bike. I was still struggling physically at the test following the crash at the Suzuka 8 Hour testing, but we managed to get through everything we planned. The new engine spec worked well, as did the new electronics and chassis and overall, I think our pace on race tyres was quite competitive. We’ve made some progress and have a good direction to follow and I’m looking forward to the Portimão round and the rest of the season.

– Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Jake Gagne 45

We had a long week of testing at Portimão and completed plenty of laps and collected a lot of data in some really hot conditions. We haven’t had a chance to test since the start of the year due to injuries, so it was good to do try out some new engine, chassis and electronics and there’s a lot of positives to take from all the new developments the team introduced. We’re ready to go for Portimão next month and should have a good base setup for the track, so I hope we can finish the year strong.

– Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Kervin Bos

Team Manager

There was a lot to do at Portimão after all our development work over the summer break, so this test gave us the opportunity to try many new components. The three main items we tested were a new engine specification which was made to improve driveability with more low-down torque, a new chassis version to improve the balance of the bike, and a new electronics package to improve the connection between the riders right hand and the rear wheel. With the amount of testing to do, we had a private two-day test as well as the group test at the circuit to ensure our programme could be completed. The test was a success, with Leon and Jake able to test all the components, although Leon still wasn’t fully fit following his crash at Suzuka. On the final day of the group test, PJ Jacobsen also rode the bike to help with the test programme. The test showed us that we’ve made good progress with the CBR1000RR to help us be more competitive for the rest of the season, and the data we collected for this circuit gives us a strong starting point for the next round of the championship which isn’t far away now.

– Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

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We like Formula E up here on the top floor of MotorMartin Towers and anything or any event that increases recognition of this exciting World Championship has got to be a good thing in our opinion. News then that the Jaguar I-TYPE 2 Formula E race car has set a new electric car course record of 30.46 seconds at the world-famous Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb in Worcestershire will surely go down as a quite remarkable achievement so early in Jaguar’s electric adventure. The record attempt, Jaguar say, was a partnership between GKN Driveline and the Panasonic Jaguar Racing ABB FIA Formula E Championship team and saw New Zealander Mitch Evans pilot the Jaguar I-TYPE 2 on its dynamic debut in the UK breaking the previous record by 6.84 seconds. Blimey!

Gordon Day at GKN Innovation Centre, Abingdon, shared with MotorMartin: “In breaking the electric car course record with the Jaguar I-TYPE 2, we’ve helped to show the incredible potential of pure electric drive to an ever-broader group of enthusiasts. It was a privilege to partner with Panasonic Jaguar Racing on this endeavour, showcasing the I-TYPE 2 in its UK track debut with a suitably thrilling result.”

Mitch Evans, Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver, commented: “It was a great honour to drive the Jaguar I-TYPE 2 at such a historic venue, and the whole team was elated with the record time we managed to achieve. Formula E fans in the UK were incredibly welcoming, and it was great to see them so excited about the car’s debut run here. I’m proud to have moved the class-best result a step further towards a potential pure electric outright hill record in the future.”

A fantastic achievement by all involved and a record that will surely be broken as the technology behind the Formula E World Championship improves significantly with its fifth season offering new rules, new cities involved and crucially, 22 brand new Gen2 cars.

Strap yourselves in for the EV revolution.

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Aston Martin today announced to MotorMartin the formation of a new partnership with RM Sotheby’s, the world’s largest auction house for investment-quality automobiles.

The new partnership, they say, got off to the best possible start earlier today when the beautiful 1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype went under the auctioneer’s gavel at Pebble Beach for an astonishing $21,455.000. It’s been explained to MotorMartin that this one-off Aston Martin Works car, the DP215 is extremely significant as it was the very one driven by Lucien Bianchi and Phil Hill at Le Mans in 1963 and is the final David Brown competition Aston Martin.

“What a great way to start this exciting new partnership,” shared Paul Spires, President of Aston Martin Works with MotorMartin recently. “The market for historic cars is booming so it is vital that Aston Martin is represented by the best auction house in the business. RM Sotheby’s give us the opportunity to reach a global audience with their international clientele.”.

Kenneth Ahn, President, RM Sotheby’s commented to MotorMartin that: “It’s certainly an honor to join Aston Martin in celebrating a milestone anniversary of its motorsport history in 2019 and the exceptional road cars that have come to define the brand. In keeping with RM Sotheby’s record-breaking success in the sale of important Aston Martins at auction, we look forward to presenting the marque’s very best motor cars from around the world in Monterey next year, an auction setting unlike any other.”

So there we go, an annual Aston Martin single-marque sale commencing in 2019 looks set to become a highlight of Monterey Car Week. Best start saving then.

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Peugeot 308 GTi By Peugeot Sport THP 270: You’ve Got What It Takes

It’s not often that MotorMartin focuses on specifications as it’s how a car drives and feels that is surely most important, but with this particular Peugeot I’m sure you’ll understand:

Cubic capacity: 1598cc

Max Power (HP): 272 @ 6000rpm

Max Torque (NM): 330 @ 1900rpm

Length: 4253mm

Width (incl Mirrors): 2041mm

Height: 1446mm

Wheelbase: 2617mm

0 – 62 mph: 6.0 seconds

Maximum Speed: 155mph

Kerb Weight: 1205Kg

Gross Train: 1790Kg

You’ve got to hand it to Peugeot, squeezing 272 bhp out of a 1.6 Litre 4 cylinder power plant is something very special especially when all that power doesn’t compromise the superb family car credentials that the 308 also delivers.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here after all, perhaps the most important words on this car are ‘GTi By Peugeot Sport’ and for those in the know, those few words most definitely mean something. For those that don’t know, founded in 1981 by Jean Todt, Peugeot Sport has competed in many of Motor Sports most demanding events, races and championships varying from rallying to Formula One. The thing is, all of this race winning expertise then finds it’s way down to the relevant road car in Peugeot’s range, the 208 and 308 GTi being excellent examples.

Is this specialist input enough to make the 308 GTi special though and is the 2018 308 worthy of that iconic GTi badge? Let’s hope so.

From the outside, there’s a certain high class appeal to this Peugeot, unadorned, as it is, with unnecessary and gauche styling bells and whistles. What you do get with the 308 GTi is something else, something different and refreshing and it’s down to the lack of extravagant spoilers and side skirts that creates such a desirable profile. Think less Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família and more Basilica of Sacré-Cœur. Class then, over excess.

That’s not to say that the Peugeot is standard looking as it certainly isn’t. Aside from the aluminium GTi door sill finishes, front wing and tailgate badges, there’s the large twin exhausts, black rear diffuser, a ride height lowered by 11mm, black radiator grille, sports front bumper skirts and a red lower bumper finisher. Looking at the GTi as a whole, it’s certainly a very impressive piece of hot hatch architecture and one which, in MotorMartin’s opinion, will still look as good many years down the line.

Inside the car and you’re immediately greeted by deep GTi bucket seats with Peugeot Sport branding and surprisingly, massage functions for both. Who says going fast and being comfortable can’t go together? Lovely.

You’re left in no doubt as to the origin of your car as up ahead you have Peugeot’s now iconic iCockpit with it’s new GTi twist. This includes vibrant red stitching which adorns the upholstery, door panels, gearshift lever bellows and the high-end floor mats. In addition the pedals, foot-rest and gear lever knob are all finished with aluminium. What you end up with is a quality interior that provides you with the feeling that you’re about to set off in something special.

And then there’s the technology which includes a driver sports pack that when activated increases the responsiveness of the engine and gearbox, turns the dials in-front of you from white to red (will make you faster) displays vehicle dynamic parameters – acceleration, power delivery and turbo – and amplifies the engine sound inside the cabin itself (will make you faster) The thing is, the 308 GTi is a fast and fun hatchback, a car that you’d be more than impressed with every time you take it out of the garage for a spin but once the dynamic mode is activated, you’d better hold on tight.

The difference between normal and dynamic is indeed, dynamic, actually, make that dynamic X 2! The additional sound of the engine on song piped into the cabin is addictive enough but combine that with the sharpened response you get from the slightest touch on the accelerator and you’re in for a whole lot of fun.

Peugeot’s much discussed compact steering wheel, designed to give you a clearer view of the iCockpit dials and instruments whilst delivering heightened responses and improved agility in the corners, comes into its own when you start to press on as it allows you to feel exactly what is going on with the front end of the car. And that’s what you want in a hot hatch as potent as this.

Oliver’s Mount, towering above the beautiful seaside resort of Scarborough, spends some of its time as one of the few (only?) road racing circuits left on the mainland, is the perfect place to allow the Peugeot the time and space needed to fully test out the handling available. Granted, when not used for racing purposes the speed limits remain (rightly) in place but what you’re left with is a sinuous 2.43 mile ribbon of tarmac that, due to it’s tight and twisting nature, is not somewhere that top speed is relevant.

With maximum torque of 330Nm available at just 1900rpm this incredible engine gives you the tools needed that allow you to concentrate fully on placing the 308 exactly where you want it to go. With corners arriving thick and fast on this fantastic circuit, the Peugeot’s 380mm ventilated front brake discs mounted on aluminium hubs and squeezed by vibrant red fixed callipers, offer powerful braking with plenty of feel for those moments when retardation is the name of the game whilst the finely-balanced suspension system, Peugeot say, lets you drive the car dynamically with complete confidence. The pseudo-MacPherson front axle operates with precision, while the rear axle with its torsion-beam system ensures a seamless pairing. And they’re certainly not wrong.

In the drivers seat this all means that you have a hot hatch that truly lives up to the name, a car that can be thrilling in the right situation, a car that offers phenomenal speed and acceleration combined with a chassis, brakes and suspension that combine to become an extension of yourself. Think about attacking a particular stretch of road and the car responds brilliantly to your every input, no matter how small, delivering a visceral thrill ride that’s impossible to beat at this price point. It really is an incredible experience.

Then there’s the 308 GTi By Peugeot Sport you get for everyday use. A car that offers room for 5 adults, a large 9.7-inch multi – function touch screen that houses a number of key standard features such as Satellite navigation, Reversing camera display, Telephony including contact list and keypad and Dual zone climate control settings to keep things comfortable. Simple to set up Bluetooth music streaming and DAB radio take control of entertainment during a long drive and then there’s Peugeot’s Open and Go keyless entry and start system, a system that works so well it’s rather difficult to go back to a more conventional key.

Overall, Peugeot have taken the already brilliant 308 GTi By Peugeot Sport as was and along with the rest of the range, made it even better. Everything about this car shows the duality that a hot hatch should offer: Everyday driving, Shopping, School run, commuting and then, at the press of a button you have a proper sports car. And all with a proper size boot. At £29,050 Peugeot have another worthy addition to their GTi lineage.

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MotorMartin’s recent experiences with the incredible 2018 EWB Phantom has led to a newfound appreciation as to the sheer quality of build, style and driving experience offered by this grand old marque.

With interest at an all time high here at MotorMartin Towers, the following arrived at #MotorMartinCarNews. Rolls-Royce have shared with MotorMartin that their ‘Silver Ghost’ was the motor car that established Rolls-Royce’s reputation as ‘The Best Car in the World’. In celebration of this defining heritage, Rolls-Royce has created a limited collection of just 35 Bespoke Ghosts, named the ‘Silver Ghost Collection’. Today, the marque releases a film showing this elegant contemporary iteration of Ghost, in motion.

Matthew Butt, Product Manager – Ghost, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, commented to MotorMartin recently, “Careful consideration has been paid to the Collection’s defining features. References extoling the past are skilfully hand-crafted into Ghost’s interior and exterior, creating a contemporary homage which speaks as much of today’s great brand as the original Silver Ghost does of its day. This is a truly remarkable Collection.”

A solid sterling-silver Spirit of Ecstasy, the muse that has guided motor cars created by the marque since 1911, hints at the pioneering heritage of this motor car’s forebear. A specially created Hallmark of AX201, the registration plate of the original ‘Silver Ghost’, is marked on the base of each muse and a black-gold-plated collar enshrouds the base, itself bearing the unique identity of this collection. An insert is crafted from hammered copper, in tribute to the copper extensively used in the engine bay of the original ‘Silver Ghost’. The copper, shaped, beaten and textured is also engraved with the newly designed AX201 Hallmark.

To view the film, MotorMartin recommends that you click here and prepare to be amazed.

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Here’s one for the more discerning classic car fan out there due to a rare appearance on UK soil. It’s been brought to MotorMartin’s attention that the 1939 D8-120 Cabriolet, with a ‘Bustle Back’ outline by legendary French coachbuilder Henri Chapron will be making a rare UK appearance before an appreciative audience at Blenheim Palace on Thursday, 30 August.

For those unaware of the fascinating details behind this incredible car it was delivered new to Chapron as a rolling chassis, it was equipped with an exceptionally elegant four-seater body, complete with a three-position top. This particular car was reputedly commandeered by a collaborating French general of the Vichy government during World War 2. In 1946, a year after the end of hostilities, he dispatched the car to California on the assumption that he would be reunited with it shortly thereafter. However, he was unable to obtain a visa to enter the USA, so he fled to Argentina instead. The general subsequently sold the Delage to RKO Pictures, one of the ‘Big Five’ studios during Hollywood’s Golden Age.

The car’s beautiful styling earned it a role in the 1951 MGM production, “An American in Paris”. It received a cosmetic makeover for its appearance on the big screen, which stretched to modifications to the taillights and a new green paintjob. In the film, star Gene Kelly is seen being chauffeured around the City of Lights alongside actress Nina Foch. In 1955, ownership of the Delage passed to Thol ‘Si’ Simonson, a special effects expert who was part of the RKO Studios production team. He was ‘given’ the car in lieu of the pension he was owed, and Simonson drove the car around Arizona before it went under the hammer in 1987. It was acquired by its current owner who has since returned the car to its former splendour. The Delage has garnered awards at concours events stretching from Italy to India via the USA, and it is sure to amaze the judging panel at Salon Privé.

Rather unsurprisingly, the car will be vying for honours alongside a remarkable coachbuilt Lancia Astura and it’s been explained to MotorMartin that this streamlined machine is believed to be the lone survivor of only three fourth-series Asturas bodied by Carrozzeria Boneschi during the late 1930s. The model, which features a narrow-angle, three-litre V8 engine sited in a long-wheelbase chassis, acted as a blank canvas for most of the great Italian coachbuilders of the day, and variations on the theme were used extensively by Italian government departments in period. This ultra-stylish example was originally owned by a Belgian coalmining magnate, and it was laid-up during World War 2. After this death, his widow kept the car in storage.

Save for a repaint in its original dark grey hue, this elegant Lancia is completely original, including its plush black leather upholstery and grey, convertible roof. This arrangement is electrically-operated, too, which was highly unusual and innovative for its era. A true ‘Gran Turismo’ from a time before the term was even coined, this rarest of classic Lancias serves as a reminder of a period when Italian coachbuilders were emerging as world leaders in transforming metal into rolling sculpture.

Incredibly, these are just two examples of pre-war coachbuilt icons set to appear in the Chubb Insurance Concours d’Elégance; one of countless attractions for car lovers of all creeds during the Salon Privé extravaganza at Blenheim Palace.

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