Archive for the ‘Hypercar’ Category

Ariel—makers of the Atom—have a hybrid hypercar in the works

August 23rd, 2017

Ariel Motor Company

If you watch Top Gear, you’ll know the Ariel Motor Company. It’s the British maker of the Atom, a mid-engined assortment of scaffolding that was dreamt up as a modern answer to the Lotus/Caterham Seven—the same car that gave Jeremy Clarkson an epiglottis full of bees. Ariel also makes the Nomad, an off-road version of the Atom that featured in Matt Le Blanc’s Top Gear debut.

Both of those vehicles are utterly bonkers, stripped down to the very essence of a car but overloaded with excitement. Which makes us rather excited about the fact that the next four-wheeled thrill ride to emerge from its Somerset factory is going to be an electric vehicle.

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1,000hp hybrid hypercars are the next big thing, and McLaren’s is called the BP23

March 23rd, 2017


Pity the humble hypercar. For a brief moment in time you’re the hottest thing on four wheels, splashed across thousands of desktop wallpapers (and bedroom walls, if car posters are still a thing). But these days that kind of star power doesn’t last long. Blame the companies that build them. You’d think it would be hard to top something like a McLaren P1, a hybrid with 903hp (673kW) and a $1.6 million price tag, but that’s just what McLaren intends to do with the next car in its “Ultimate” series, the BP23.

The BP23 is still two years off, and details are scarce on the ground. It will be a hybrid and have even more power than the P1, and more advanced aerodynamics.

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Posted in Adrian Newey, Aston MArtin, Cars Technica, hybrid, Hypercar, McLaren, mercedes-AMG | Comments (0)

Rimac’s Concept_One electric car drag-races a Tesla Model S and LaFerrari

August 16th, 2016

(credit: Rimac Automobili)

As its legion of online fans never cease to remind us, the Tesla Model S P90D is a fast car. Actually, that’s selling the electric vehicle a little short. In Ludicrous mode, it’s about as quick in a straight line as a McLaren 650S, no mean feat considering that the McLaren weighs 1,800lbs (815kg) less. Until now, if you wanted to go any faster in an EV, you needed to roll your own, Flux Capacitor-style. But even Jonny Smith’s quarter-mile EV record may be under threat, courtesy of Rimac’s Concept_One.

You may not have heard of Rimac Automobili, but the Croatian company has been impressing us for a while now. We first saw the Concept_One in the paddock at last year’s Formula E race in Miami. More recently, we met up with some of its engineers in Colorado at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb—the four-wheel torque vectoring powertrain in Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima’s car is a test-bed for the Concept_One. And Rimac has also been working with Konigsegg on the batteries and power distribution units going into the latter’s Regera hybrid hypercar.

We always knew the Concept_One would be fast; it’s hard to argue with 1072hp (800kW) and 1180ft-lbs (1600Nm) after all. But thanks to British YouTuber Archie Hamilton, we now know just what that means. Hamilton traveled to Rimac in Croatia and brought along a Tesla Model S P90D (yes, with Ludicrous mode) as well as a rather rarer beast—a Ferrari LaFerrari hybrid:

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Posted in Cars Technica, Concept_One, Electric vehicles, ferrari, Hypercar, Rimac Automobili, Tesla | Comments (0)

What happens when Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing build a road car?

July 6th, 2016

Seemingly, there comes a time in every great Formula 1 car designer’s life when he (and sadly they are almost always a he) gets a little bored of the straightjacket of rules that bound creativity. Inevitably, thoughts soon turn to applying some of that race-bred knowledge to “the ultimate road car,” sometimes to extremely good effect. Gordon Murray and the McLaren F1 is the best known example, although Ferrari’s F50 deserves a mention too. Its V12 is based on an actual Formula 1 engine, and that engine is fully stressed (i.e. rigidly mounted to the carbon fiber tub, with the suspension attached to it). Now Adrian Newey and Red Bull Racing—along with Aston Martin—want to join this club with the AM-RB 001.

Now, Aston Martin is a company that is no stranger to the hypercar, having built the One-77 and more recently the Vulcan. But that car is not street legal. Its racing experience comes from competing against versions of the company’s production cars at Le Mans and elsewhere. The AM-RB 001 on the other hand was born in more rarefied air, which is where Newey and Red Bull enter the picture.

Newey is probably the most successful engineer working in Formula 1 right now. His designs have won 10 World Drivers Championships and 10 World Constructors’ Championships since 1991 (first at Williams, then McLaren, and with Red Bull Racing since 2006). But Formula 1 recently got a bit boring for Newey. Fears that he would leave (possibly for the challenge of working at Ferrari) earned him a pair of golden handcuffs from the team, with an expanded portfolio (Red Bull Advanced Technologies) giving him some creative freedom outside the sport.

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Posted in Adrian Newey, Aston MArtin, Cars Technica, Hypercar, Red Bull Racing | Comments (0)

Bugatti is back in 2016 with the 1500hp Chiron

November 30th, 2015

(credit: Bugatti)

One of the biggest thrillers being written in the car industry right now is what Volkswagen is doing to recover from its cheating diesel scandal. Estimates of the cost to VW Group vary widely, but most agree that $10 billion is probably on the low end. That’s a lot of cash, even for one of the world’s largest auto manufacturers, and questions abound over which projects, new cars, or even brands might find themselves in for the corporate axe. The latest plot twist will take many by surprise: VW-owned Bugatti will indeed build a replacement for the Veyron.

In October we learned that the new Phaeton—a technological flagship sedan that no one bought—would survive as an electric vehicle. R&D spending would be cut, too; VW was spending around $12.6 billion a year on research, more than any of its competitors. The Bugatti Chiron was thought to be a goner for sure. VW Group is thought to have lost almost $5 million on every Veyron it sold, and continuing to build ornate rocketships for plutocrats could seem at odds with a sober corporate rehabilitation strategy. But more than 100 orders were already on the books, and the car will debut in 2016, the company announced today.

How does one top a Veyron? According to Bugatti boss Wolfgang Dürheimer, “the Chiron will set new standards in every respect. We will continue to produce the world’s most powerful, fastest, most luxurious and most exclusive production super sports car. This is the claim of Bugatti and our customers.” The new car will still use a turbocharged 8L W16 engine and all-wheel drive, but power is rumored to be up 50 percent at almost 1500hp (1100kW). Expect a mighty price tag, too.

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Posted in bugatti, Cars Technica, Hypercar, vw, vw scandal | Comments (0)

You probably shouldn’t drive a $1.6 million car around NYC, but we did

November 13th, 2015

McLaren P1 owner Chris Sturgeon takes us around Manhattan in his hypercar. Video produced by Jennifer Hahn. (video link)

NEW YORK—Late last month, National Geographic Channel and Uber teamed up to promote a new series on scientific breakthroughs—called, appropriately enough, Breakthrough—and they chose to do it with a fleet of alternative energy vehicles on the streets of Manhattan. Obviously we’ve got a healthy interest in forward-looking cars here at Ars, so it seemed like a good idea to hop on a train to check out what all the fuss was about. The fleet of cars included some running on biodiesel, E85 ethanol, and even a fuel cell-powered Hyundai, but one car more than any other was top of our list for a passenger ride: the McLaren P1 hypercar.

I know what you’re probably thinking at this point. “Manhattan’s streets sound like a terrible place to try out the mighty McLaren,” and we certainly didn’t blame its owner, Chris Sturgeon, for being apprehensive about threading his 903hp (673kW) machine through dense city traffic. But a couple of hours in the passenger seat proved the Big Mac more than up for the job, even if it was designed for the race track rather than commuting.

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Posted in Ars Technica Videos, Cars Technica, Hypercar, McLaren P1 | Comments (0)

Gallery: Hybrid hypercar happy hour

July 5th, 2015

Earlier this week we published our review of BMW’s i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. You should still read that piece, but the short take home is that it’s an amazing car and you ought to buy one if you can. However, it’s not the only game in town when it comes to plug-in hybrid sports cars, merely the cheapest. Ferrari, McLaren, and Porsche have all recently brought such cars to market. While they may beyond the reach of most of us, Alex Bellus (a good friend of Cars Technica) just conducted a photoshoot with a McLaren P1 and not one but two Porsche 918 Spyders. And because both Alex and Imola Motorsports (not to mention the cars’ owners) are nice people, they’ve allowed us to share the results.

The two cars embody the two different corporate philosophies at work at McLaren and Porsche. The McLaren P1 brings to the road a lot of know-how and technology McLaren have learned from Formula 1, with a drag reduction system just like the F1 car (a button on the steering wheel changes the rear wing’s angle of attack to let you go faster in a straight line). Porsche’s 918 Hybrid also has racing roots—the naturally aspirated V8 engine is derived from the mid-2000s RS Spyder prototype racer—but by all accounts is a more thoroughly developed road car, no doubt a result of Porsche’s much longer experience building road cars, as well as the fact that it’s larger production run (Porsche is building 918 918 Hybrids, compared to 375 McLaren P1s) gave the company a bigger budget to work with.

Sadly we’ve yet to log any time behind the wheel of either of these hybrid hypercars (or a Ferrari LaFerrari for that matter), so if you (or someone you know) happen to have one in your garage and want to see it featured on these pages, don’t be a stranger.

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Posted in Ars gallery, Cars Technica, Hybrid Cars, Hypercar, McLaren, porsche | Comments (0)