The Latest Pony From Ferrari’s Stable

Daniel Lewis

Scuderia Ferrari, which means Ferrari Stable, is one of my favorite stables to stay up to date with. While everyone may have been talking about “Mine That Bird” from the Kentucky Derby this past weekend, the pony that I was watching was the Ferrari 599XX. Here is Ferrari’s take on the newest speed demon to come out from its stables:

While based on the 599 GTB Fiorano ,with the same transaxle layout and engine type, this prototype is an extreme track car. Ferrari’s engineers have carried out extensive work on the engine’s combustion chambers and inlet and exhaust tracts. These modifications, combined with the fact that internal attrition has been reduced and the maximum revs have been boosted to 9,000 rpm, helped achieve the target power output of 700 hp at 9,000 rpm. Particular attention was also paid to cutting the weight of the engine unit components. This was achieved both by optimising forms – as in the new crankshaft – and adopting exclusive materials, as in the carbon-fibre used for the intake plenums. A new gearbox shift strategy cuts overall gear-change times to 60 ms.

The 599XX is characterised by an innovative electronic concept called the ‘High Performance Dynamic Concept’, which has been designed to get maximum performance from the car by managing the combination of the car’s mechanical limits with the potential of its electronic controls. The mechanical and electronic systems work together to get the maximum performance from the car under extreme high performance driving, for consistent lap times. The sporty handling has been improved thanks to the adoption of second generation SCM suspension system. Track usage is also made easier thanks to the new ‘virtual car engineer’, a screen in the car that provides a real-time indication of the vehicle’s efficiency.

The 599XX’s aerodynamics were honed in numerous Wind Tunnel test sessions with the result that the car now boasts 280 kg of down-force at 200 km/h (630 kg at 300 km/h). The front underside of the body is completely faired-in and the vents that channel hot air from the engine bay have been moved to the bonnet.

The ‘Actiflow™’ system increases down-force and/or cuts drag, depending on the car’s trim cornering conditions, courtesy of the use of a porous material in the diffuser and two fans in the boot, which channel the air flow from under the car out through two grilles next to the tail lights. Winglets have been added to the rear buttresses to increase downf-orce, while synthetic jets have also been incorporated into the rear of the car to control and smooth the air flow and to reduce drag. Ferrari’s engineers have also used F1-derived ‘doughnuts’, which partly cover the brake discs and wheel rim. These have the dual functions of improving aerodynamics and cooling the brakes.

In terms of the bodywork, composites and carbon-fibre have been widely used and the engineers drew on their experience in working with aluminium to reach the weight target. The development of increasingly high-performance materials has also benefited the carbon-ceramic braking system. The brake pads are now made from carbon-fibre, which means the callipers are smaller while guaranteeing the same efficiency. The new racing carbon-ceramic braking system also delivers shorter braking distances and is generally more efficient due to the weight saving.

The 599XX comes with slick tyres (29/67 R19 front and 31/71 R19 rear), specifically developed to maximise stability in cornering and increase lateral acceleration. They are fitted to 19 x 11J wheel rims at the front and 19 x 12J at the rear. Ferrari.com

These pictures of the new 599XX have just been released for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!!

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We Remember Ayrton Senna

ayrton_senna_1991_united_states_gp2

1991. Phoenix, Arizona. The United States Grand Prix. It would be the first and last time I would personally see Ayrton Senna blaze by in the McLaren-Honda livery that started my fascination with Formula 1. Taking the pole and the win, it seemed business as usual for the Brazilian driver.

Exactly 15 years ago at the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, Senna would go straight on at Tamburello and eventually die from his injuries later that day. Racing fans around the world were shocked and mourned the loss of probably the greatest racing driver of all time. Three F1 driver’s titles, numerous records for poles, wins and fastest laps. Any car, any where… he made it go faster. His 2 second gap over Alain Prost during qualifying at the 1988 Monaco GP is just one example of the sheer speed and brilliance this man possessed.

We miss you, Aryton.

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Pontiac: Sayonara!

 

Pontiac, the 83 year-old General Motors brand once dubbed as the “excitement division” of the Detroit OE manufacturer, will be eliminated Monday, April 27.

According to The Detroit News, the demise of the Pontiac brand is part of the government-supervised restructuring plan of the automotive industry. GM is also set to close additional production plants and cut jobs to further reduce its $28 billion in unsecured debt.

Sure, Pontiac may have been an “exciting” brand in the past with the venerable old school GTO introduced in the 60s. But there have been nothing exciting about the forgettable Aztek, the front wheel drive Grand Am (’85 and up), the crappy G5 (rebadged Chevy Colbat), and the G6, which is just an updated & rebadged Grand Am. What about the latest GTO / G8? Both are made by Holden, GM’s subsidiary in Australia, and Holden is no General Motors (in a good way). What about the Pontiac Solstice? You can buy the same car as a Saturn or Opel (Germany), all sharing the same underpinnings. Hell, the Solstice’s roots can be traced back to the Opel Speedster / Vauxhall VX220.  There’s nothing original about any of their cars.

Rather than being an exciting brand, Pontiac – much like GM’s other brands – have incited an endless chain of yawns. And having no small car strategy has for sure hurt this brand. Personally speaking, I have never considered a Pontiac vehicle when shopping for a new car. Needless to say, I won’t miss it one bit.

Cheap Thrills: Denso Iridium Spark Plugs

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Denso Iridium Spark Plug After 15,000 Miles

With this feature, we launch a new category of editorial on RevdCars.com: “Cheap Thrills.” These aren’t the kind of thrills that will likely get you arrested and thrown in the slammer. Rather, these are small, affordable upgrades you can perform on your car to achieve better performance, realiability and / or driving experience.

Reportedly invented by Edmond Berger in 1839, spark plugs are the often-overlooked component of an engine. Most people don’t give a second thought to replacing them, relegating this rather simple maintenance item to their dealer or local mechanic during a “tune up” (newer vehicles really don’t need “tune ups” per se). But checking and replacing your vehicle’s spark plugs at regular intervals can pay dividends.

Our in-house Mitsubishi Evolution IX MR came equipped with NGK Iridium spark plugs from the factory. Compared to spark plugs with a conventional copper center electrode, iridium spark plugs – due to the high temperature nature of iridium – allow the use of a smaller center electrode, which will not melt or corrode away. When you combine this increased level of durability and the more efficient spark afforded by iridium, these spark plugs will provide more efficient combustion translating into performance and economy gains. Indeed, the advantages iridium spark plugs permit are ideal for high performance applications like the turbocharged 4G63 engine in the Evo IX.

At 15,000 miles on the odometer, the NGK’s were swapped for Denso Iridium spark plugs. Although the Mitsubishi service manual advises a longer change interval, we were pleased by the results. Immediately, idle smoothed out and engine response was improved. Now with 30,000 miles on the odometer, we checked out the Denso Iridium plugs previously installed. The plugs looked almost new, the center electrode showing no signs of any corrosion or melting. And idle and engine response is still excellent.

While we can certainly continue to use the plugs, we figured as long as they were out, we’d install a fresh set. Sure, iridium plugs do cost more than standard copper or platinum plugs, but the performance and efficiency advantages they offer more than justify the extra cost in our opinion. Even if your pocketbook does not permit spending upward of $25 per plug, regularly checking and replacing your vehicle’s spark plugs will enhance the vehicle ownership and driving experience.

Sourcebox

Denso Sales California, Inc.
3900 Via Oro Avenue
Long Beach CA 90815
(888) 96-DENSO

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FIA: "Disputed Formula 1 diffusers are LEGAL"

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Brawn GP's Controversial Rear Diffuser

Finally, the FIA has put the final rubber stamp of approval on the disputed “illegal” diffusers in use by Formula 1 teams Brawn, Williams and Toyota. The FIA’s International Court of Appeal rejected claims made by Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and Red Bull, stipulating that the diffusers being used by the aforementioned squads were in breach of the technical regulations for 2009. Furthermore, they backed the decisions of the FIA stewards at the recent races in Australia and Malaysia, where they deemed the diffusers in line with regulations as well.

It all boils down to Brawn, Williams and Toyota being smart and ahead of the curve, whereas the contesting teams were left holding the bag. Now, the “race” for the losers will boil down to retrofitting their existing chassis with look-alikes of these disputed diffusers. But considering how aerodynamics is such a black art, and with no testing allowed, how they will manage to make it work is a mystery. With this decision, it’s not a long shot for Brawn to potentially take the F1 Constructor’s title and perhaps Jenson Button taking the Driver’s title for 2009.

Here’s the statement from the FIA:

“The FIA International Court of Appeal has decided to deny the appeals submitted against decisions numbered 16 to 24 taken by the Panel of the Stewards on 26 March at the 2009 Grand Prix of Australia and counting towards the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Based on the arguments heard and evidence before it, the Court has concluded that the Stewards were correct to find that the cars in question comply with the applicable regulations.

Full reasons for this decision will be provided in due course.”

Now that this particular saga is over, LET’S GET BACK TO THE BUSINESS OF RACING!

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2009 Nissan 370Z Aftermarket Parts Guide

While we are evaluating the 2009 Nissan 370Z with Sport Package…

The 350Z was hugely popular with the aftermarket crowd and we foresee the same level of popularity and aftermarket support for the 370Z. It is a new platform so it will take a bit of time for manufacturers to develop parts for the car. We will update this list as often as necessary to provide you with as comprehensive a list as possible.

Some of the parts listed below have been introduced / launched in Japan, but not in the States. Please verify compatibility and availability with each brand’s respective distributor in the US.

**Brake pads listed below are designated for the optional sport brake package (4-piston front / 2-piston rear) ONLY**

Brake Pads (OE Replacement; F/R) – Street

Brake Pads (OE Replacement; F/R) – Street & Track

Brake Pads (OE Replacement; F/R) – Track

Brake Kits

Engine – Exhaust

Engine – Intake

Suspension / Chassis

Sourcebox

Endless / Zeal USA
18421 Gothard St. Suite #200.
Huntington Beach, CA. 92648
(714) 847-0694

HKS USA
13401 S. Main Street

Los Angeles, CA 90061
(310) 491-3300

Mackin Industries (Project µ)
9921 Jordan Circle
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
(562) 946-6820

Tein USA (Tein / Fujitsubo)
9798 Firestone Blvd.
Downey, CA 90241
(562) 861-9161

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