I’ve been neglecting my blog for the past 2 and a half years! In my defence a lot has happened in that time:
- I moved back to Pretoria from Potchefstroom.
- I bought a new car.
- Schumacher returned to F1 racing full-time!
- I travelled overseas to meet a girl in the most exciting date ever.
- My affiliate business has drastically taken off!
- I’ve been doing a lot of overseas travelling for business and pleasure.
- I bought a house.
- I married the above-mentioned girl!
I plan to revamp this blog’s layout a bit and start writing about anything that interests me. Chat again soon!
OK, I know that many news networks have already reported this, but this is way too awesome not to blog about: Michael Schumacher is officially returning to the F1 grid! He will be taking the place of injured Felipe Massa. I can’t even imagine how awesome it will be to watch the 7-times world champion take on Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Kimi Raikonnen, while competing in a car which is not quite up to speed yet. There is no doubt that the remaining races of the year will be simply epic.
It will be very interesting to see how he will manage the pressure. Everyone will expect him to win, despite being 40 years old and not having driven in an F1 car in more than a year. He will be competing against guys used to driving in F1, and who are in their in their 20′s. Nevertheless, Michael has continued his training even after retirement, so with a month to go he should at least be fit enough to survive a race. Most importantly, if he is successful he will be able to vindicate himself. Many people have been attributing his success in F1 to the car and technical leadership provided by Ross Brawn, after the brilliant start BrawnGP has had in the 2009 season. Hopefully Schumacher will be able to at least beat the BrawnGP’s.
I have no doubt that this will give Formula 1 as a sport a massive boost, possibly reversing all the damage done to the sport’s image as a result of the FIA/FOTA row. This is exactly what was needed. After the start of the season I expected it to be dreary affair with Brawn running away with the championship, but I could not have been more wrong. I was wondering if we will ever again see a season as brilliant as 2008, but the 2009 Formula 1 world championship is turning out to be even more crazy. I expect the remaining races of the year to be sold out. I know that I have been looking up prices to visit a GP or two, just to see the legend in action again.
Ferrari today announced their replace for the 430 – the 458 Italia. The 430 replaced the 360 a couple of years ago, and it was basically just an evolution of the same concept. The 458 is a radical departure from the car it replaces, which is really refreshing. The 458 looks really high-tech, and Ferrari has put a brand new spin on the wedge shape. Very importantly, the car looks much more flamboyant than the old one, which is what we expect from any Italian carmaker.
The 430 was my previous favorite Ferrari. The other cars produced by the prancing horse are pretty awesome, but I loved the way the 430 was focused as a no-compromise driving machine (especially the Scuderia track day edition). From Ferrari’s press release, it seems that the 458 will continue in this fashion. Weighing only 1380kg and outputting 425kW and 540N.M., it has 0-100km/h of only 3.4 seconds and a top speed in excess of 325km/h.
Full press release after the pictures.
The 458 Italia is the latest incarnation of the mid-rear engined berlinetta and will be unveiled at the next Frankfurt Motor Show
Maranello, July 28th 2009 – While it’s true that every Ferrari is innovative by definition, it’s equally true that in the course of the Prancing Horse’s history, certain cars have marked a genuine departure from the current range. This is very much the case with the Ferrari 458 Italia, which is a massive leap forward from the company’s previous mid-rear engined sports cars.
The new model is a synthesis of style, creative flair, passion and cutting-edge technology, characteristics for which Italy as a nation is well-known. For this reason Ferrari chose to add the name of its homeland to the traditional figure representing the displacement and number of cylinders.
The Ferrari 458 Italia is a completely new car from every point of view: engine, design, aerodynamics, handling, instrumentation and ergonomics, just to name a few.
A two-seater berlinetta, the Ferrari 458 Italia, as is now traditional for all Ferrari’s road-going cars, benefits hugely from the company’s Formula 1 experience. This is particularly evident in the speed and precision with which the car responds to driver inputs and in the attention focused on reducing internal friction in the engine for lower fuel consumption than the F430, despite the fact that both overall displacement and power have increased. However, Ferrari’s track experience makes its presence felt in the 458 Italia not only in terms of pure technological transfer but also on a more emotional level, because of the strong emphasis on creating an almost symbiotic relationship between driver and car. The 458 Italia features an innovative driving environment with a new kind of steering wheel and dashboard that is the direct result of racing practice. Once again input from Michael Schumacher – who was involved from the very start of the 458 Italia project – played an invaluable part.
The Ferrari 458 Italia’s Pininfarina design provides further evidence of the complete departure from the past that this new car hails. The Ferrari 458 Italia has a compact, aerodynamic shape, underscoring the concepts of simplicity, efficiency and lightness that inspired the project. As with every Ferrari, the car’s styling has been very heavily influenced by the requirements for aerodynamic efficiency, as can be seen from the downforce of 140 kg at 200km/h generated by the new model. The front features a single opening for the front grille and side air intakes, with aerodynamic sections and profiles designed to direct air to the coolant radiators and the new flat underbody. The nose also sports small aeroelastic winglets which generate downforce and, as speed rises, deform to reduce the section of the radiator inlets and cut drag.
The new 4499 cc V8 is the first Ferrari direct injection engine to be mid-rear mounted. It has a very low piston compression height typical of racing engines which contributed to achieving its compression ratio of 12.5:1. Equipped with the traditional flat-plane crankshaft, the engine delivers 570 CV at 9000 rpm and, with an outstanding power output of 127 CV/litre, sets a new benchmark not only for the whole Ferrari range and the history of company, but also for the entire market segment. Maximum torque is 540 Nm at 6000 rpm, over 80 per cent of which is available from 3250 rpm. Specific torque is a record 120 Nm/litre. However, what is truly extraordinary is the amount of torque available while still maintaining high levels of power at low revs.
The car’s soundtrack is also typical Ferrari, with an exciting, powerful growl emerging from the engine before it channels through to the exhaust’s three rear tailpipes.
The 458 Italia is equipped with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission which increases performance whilst providing very smooth shifts even at full throttle. The engineers have developed specific, sportier gear ratios to match the power and torque curves of the new V8, guaranteeing high torque even at lower engine speeds and allowing the car to reach its maximum speed in top gear.
This new Ferrari is also a major leap forward when it comes to cutting emissions. Despite the fact that the new engine is significantly more powerful than the V8s that preceded it, the Ferrari 458 Italia produces just 320 g/km of CO2 and fuel consumption is 13.7 l/100 km (combined cycle), the best in the entire segment.
The engineers also focused on weight reduction during the design phase for similar reasons. Consequently, the Ferrari 458 Italia has a dry weight of 1380 kg with a power-to-weight ratio of 2.42 kg/CV. Weight distribution is also optimal with 58 per cent over the rear axle. The result of the engineers’ endeavours can be summed up in to two simple statistics which together perfectly encapsulate the Ferrari 458 Italia’s exceptional performance: 0-100 km/h acceleration in under 3.4 seconds and a maximum speed in excess of 325 km/h.
For the new chassis, once more in aluminium, Maranello’s engineers incorporated various types of advanced alloys along with aerospace industry-derived manufacturing and bonding techniques.
With regard to vehicle dynamics, the Ferrari 458 Italia’s suspension features twin wishbones at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear tuned for maximum roadholding and superlative handling. Along with a more direct steering ratio, the 458 Italia thus offers extremely rapid turn-in and body control whilst maintaining superior ride comfort.
The integration of the E-Diff and F1-Trac (now controlled by the same ECU) and their respective mappings is even greater, resulting in a 32 per cent increase in longitudinal acceleration out of corners compared to previous models. The evolution of the control logic, with even faster and more accurate calculation of levels of grip, ensures even greater roadholding, better handling and ease of control on the limit.
The same ECU also governs the high-performance ABS, providing even more precise control over the logic threshold and greater efficiency. The brakes also feature a prefill function whereby the pistons in the callipers move the pads into contact with the discs on lift off to minimise delay in the brakes being applied. This combined with the ABS has cut the 100-0 km/h braking distance to a mere 32.5 metres.
The Ferrari 458 Italia’s interior is another area of the car that exalts its sporty personality. The driver is welcomed by a new layout and a revolutionary ergonomic interface where the main controls are all clustered on the steering wheel.
With the Ferrari 458 Italia, Maranello has brought a highly distinctive new car to its 8-cylinder range. The company now offers two models that share a common, race-derived DNA, both exceptionally sporty and fun to drive in true Ferrari tradition, but aimed at two very different kinds of client. While the Ferrari California was created for owners requiring a more versatile sports car with a practical edge, the 458 Italia is designed for owners for whom the priority is uncompromising on-road performance with occasional track day capability, but who still demand a car that is useable in day-to-day driving like all Ferrari’s recent models.
Ferrari 458 Italia – Technical specifications
Length 4527 mm (178.2 in.)
Width 1937 mm (76.3 in.)
Height 1213 mm (47.8 in.)
Wheelbase 2650 mm (104.3 in.)
Dry weight 1380 kg (3042 lbs)*
Weight/power ratio 2,42 kg/CV (7.16 lbs/kW)
Weight distribution fr/r 42%/58%
Type V8 – 90°
Displacement 4499 cc (274.5 cu in.)
Maximum power 570 CV (425 kW)** @ 9000 rpm
Maximum torque 540 Nm (398 lbs/ft) @ 6000 rpm
Specific power output 127 CV/l
Compression ratio 12.5:1
Front 235/35 ZR20 8.5″
Rear 295/35 ZR20 10.5″
Maximum speed >325 km/h (>202 mph)
Fuel consumption + emissions
Fuel consumption*** 13.7 l/100 km
Emissions*** 320 g CO2/km
Dual-clutch, 7-speed F1
E-Diff3, F1-Trac, high-performance ABS
* With forged wheels and Racing seats
** Including 5 CV of ram effect
*** Combined cycle (ECE+EUDC)
I have never made a secret of the fact that I am a BMW driver, and a big BMW fan. Yes, I know that these cars are usually driven by idiots. Funnily enough, I usually use my indicators, I only switch on my fog lights in the fog, and I don’t drive on the bumper of the car in front of me. That may be because I didn’t buy a BMW for the looks. I do like how they look, but what I love more is how they drive.
Being a die-hard BMW fan, I naturally despise anything from its rivals – Audi and Mercedes Benz. I just can’t stand all Audi’s looking exactly the same, and I feel a Merc is an old person’s car. However, being German they are technically very good. So if I had to drive either a new Audi or a new Merc, which would I choose?
OK this is pretty obvious. Everyone loves the R8. It is simply awesome, Tony Stark drives one and it has one of the best V8 engines in the business.
This one hasn’t been released yet, but I would love to own one. It should have a much more aggressive RS8-esque front bumper, making it look distinctly different from the rest of the hum-drum Audi range. Plus it’ll be quattro, and have the same V8 engine as the R8. I guess it’s sacrilegious for a BMW fan to love a competitor to the M6, but this car will be brilliant.
The modern interpretation of the classic gullwing will be very good. From the spy pics, it’s clear that the proportions of the old car have been maintained. In other words, it’s beautiful. There will be an AMG edition, so its go should match its show.
Mercedes AMG Black editions
These cars are bonkers. That’s why I love them. The insane bulging wheelarches shouts that it’s not an old person’s car. Actually, they shout that it’s a hooligan’s car. Which makes sense, as Jeremy Clarkson owns one.