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Rolls-Royce announces launch of Rolls-Royce Wraith

British luxury car maker Rolls-Royce has announced the addition of a brand new model to its fleet of envy-inspiring automobiles. The Rolls-Royce Wraith, touted to be “the most powerful Rolls-Royce”, will be revealed to the public at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show to be held in early March.

Details surrounding the Rolls-Royce Wraith are being aggressively protected but we can expect it to be a coupe version of the car maker’s prestigious Rolls-Royce Ghost. According to sources, the Rolls-Royce Wraith will be “the most powerful Rolls-Royce that has ever played host to the famous Spirit of Ecstasy figurine”.

Rumours making the rounds suspect that the new Rolls-Royce model will boast a V12 engine which is expected to produce in the region of 600bhp.

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, discussed the choice of name for the new model. The Wraith name was first used by the Rolls-Royce brand in 1938 when we saw the production of the Silver Wraith that ceased to exist in 1959.

Mr Müller-Ötvös said: “Wraith alludes to an almost imperceptible but powerful force, something rare, agile and potent, a spirit that will not be tethered to the earth. It is the perfect name for our new model.”

The first Wraith cars will be delivered to customers at the end of the year.

The car maker, based in Goodwood in West Sussex, is owned by BMW. It has recently been in the news for its record sale of cars that rose from 1,002 in 2009 to 3.575 in 2012.


Rolls-Royce reports record sales three years in a row

BMW owned Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has reported record sales making this the third consecutive year for the car maker with increased sales. The company recorded a 1% growth in 2011-2012 with sales increasing from 3538 cars to 3575 cars in one year.

However, this was a lower growth rate that those recorded in the last two years that saw the company report sales growth of 31% and 150% respectively. The increased sales for 2011-12 can be attributed to expansions into newer markets with Rolls-Royce Motor Cars now selling luxury cars to Latin America, among other new areas. Another emerging but lucrative market for the car supplier is Saudi Arabia which reported a 63% increase in Rolls Royce car sales with automobile enthusiasts snapping up the luxury vehicles.

CEO of Rolls-Royce, Torsten Muller-Otvos, said: “Middle Eastern customers are completely different from British customers, and for that reason you might see more shiny, different colours in the Middle East.”

Sales in Europe rose 21% while Asia reported an increase of 18%. UK sales, however, were broadly flat that was partly brought on by an overhaul of the London dealership.

In the United States, sales of Rolls-Royce vehicles were spectacular with the country overtaking China as the luxury car maker’s top market. Mr Muller-Otvos said: “The United States proved to be quite strong at the end of the year, and we’ve had a certain slowdown in the Chinese market.”

According to Mr Muller-Otvos, the company has managed to rise above its challenges: “We are the pinnacle of all luxury brands in the world. We are interested in constant growth over the years to come, but sustainable growth.

“We had an outstanding year in spite of the challenges.”


New paint job makes McLaren car fastest artwork on roads

We’ve all heard of car makeovers but this one takes “giving your car a paint job” to a whole new level. A German tuning company has revamped the world’s fastest car to the world’s fastest artwork after it gave a McLaren MP4-12C a £90,000 multi-coloured makeover.

Hamann Motorsport has transformed the iconic British supercar, which usually retails at £175,000, into a psychedelic adventure inspired by the classic BMW Art Cars of the 1970s. After the expensive paint job, the 12C that was built in Woking, Berkshire and named the memoR, now boasts a price tag of more than £265,000. The tuning firm’s artwork is a far cry from the traditional colours that the McLaren usually comes in such as blue, black, silver and white.

Hamann Motorsport specialises in souping up cars and described the McLaren in its new avatar as “an exquisitely colourful piece of art”. If you’re thinking of purchasing this expensive psychedelic ride, you’ll be sure to get your money’s worth as the £265,000 also comes with a ‘bodykit’ of new exterior accessories including bumper, new lights, new rear spoiler called the ‘wing’ and a set of 21-inch alloy wheels to compliment the paint job.

The tuning firm is located in Laupheim in southern Germany. Discussing the rainbow McLaren, the company said: “Grass-green Porsches, neon yellow Lamborghinis and even luminous red Ferraris will soon fade away into the background on most streets, as the latest creation from Hamann Motorsport steals the show.

“With the stage set like this, the refined two-seater will transform ugly streets into palatial catwalks, clothing its passengers in magnificent haute couture.”

Now that’s adding colour to your ride!

jay leno

Jay Leno rides in sports car to cast his vote for US elections

King of late night comedy Jay Leno was recently seen heading to the US polls to cast his vote. The television personality lived up to his reputation by arriving in style in an exclusive sports car worth a staggering $200,000!

Leno was pictured walking out of his McLaren MP4 as he made his way to the polling station in Los Angeles on Tuesday. The high-end automobile is a celebrity favourite and boasts ‘butterfly’ doors to add to its sleek make. The McLaren MP4, from the house of the iconic UK Formula One company, complimented the American stand-up as he sported a casual look in a denim shirt, trousers and black suede shoes.

Leno is no stranger to luxury cars and is reported to own a shocking 100 cars hosted in a massive garage. His extensive fleet includes a roadster that was once owned by Howard Hughes. Leno’s collection of automobiles is recognised by the Peterson Automotive Museum where they are regularly on display.

In a recent classic car auction, two cars donated by Jay Leno – a New Holland Tractor and a 2012 Fiat 500 Prima Edizione – were sold for $535,000 and $350,000 respectively. The tractor was previously used for towing cars around Jay Leno’s garage.

Leno is the face of NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno which he has hosted since 1992.


Human beats robot car in race

In a race between human and machine, humans prevailed as a human driver defeated a robot driver to complete a lap around the circuit at the Thunderhill Raceway in California.

The Human V Machine race took place between an Audi TTS that can drive itself and its human counterpart who was familiar with the circuit. The race was part of a research to develop control systems to create more autonomous domestic cars.

The robot car called Shelley was developed by the research team at the Centre for Automotive Research at Stanford University (Cars), and is fitted with sensors that control it allowing for a driverless ride. The sensors can work out the car’s position on the road, transfer information about the grip of its tyres and calculate the best routes around the circuit.

Cars Lab chief Prof Chris Gerdes said they chose Thunderhill to carry out the race because the circuit boasted 15 turns that would create many challenges for the robot car’s control systems. Shelly was challenged by a Thunderhill Raceway staff who is familiar with the circuit and beat the robot car narrowly by being three seconds faster.

Prof Gerdes said: “What human drivers do consistently well is feel out the limits of the car and push it just a little bit further and that is where they have an advantage.”

The results of the race have been computed and calculated to see how to improve the robot car’s performance. Prof Gerdes said: “”We’re learning what they are doing and it’s those counter-intuitive behaviours that we are planning to put in the algorithm.

“Our ultimate objective is not really to robotify [car racing] but to take these sorts of technologies, learning from the very best human drivers and turn those into safety systems that can work on cars.”


Sir Chris Hoy to compete in Radical 2013

Race rookies are in for an experience of a lifetime as they gear up to challenge an Olympic champion in the upcoming Radical SR1 Cup. Winner of six gold medals and 11-time world champion in cycling, Sir Chris Hoy, is the UK’s most successful Olympian. And next year, race novices will have the opportunity to drive alongside him as he competes in the novice race season with 23 other rookies.

The acclaimed track cyclist is already an experienced trackday participant but will race a Radical sports car in the entry-level SR1. He will begin training for the challenge in February  followed by eight races at some of the UK’s most iconic circuits like Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Cadwell Park and Snetterton.

The entry-level race is quite a challenge for first-timers with a difficult power-to-weight ratio.

Talking about the upcoming event, Sir Chris Hoy said: “I’ve just been out in the SR1 for the first time on a slightly greasy Beford Autodrome and it’s fantastic, I absolutely love it. It’s challenging but exciting, and fun to drive. I think it’s the right amount of power for a driver of my ability but it’s fast – it certainly feels fast – but it’s not too intimidating.

“I think it’s going to take me a little time to get used to the aerodynamics, because there’s a bit of a leap of faith throwing yourself into the corner and braking later than the point you would normally brake in a car that doesn’t have the same downforce, so it’s a whole new experience. I’m starting to experience just how much grip you have with these cars.”

This promises to be an exciting watch for all sports car and race fans! There are still places available for those who want to compete alongside Sir Chris Hoy. Visit the Radical Sportscars website for further details.


McLaren to unveil “ultimate supercar”, the McLaren P1

British sports car maker McLaren is geared towards its next big launch in a week’s time when it unveils its first supercar, the McLaren P1. The McLaren P1, touted to reach speeds of over 200mph, is set to be the “ultimate supercar” and probably one of the most expensive ones with a price tag of £800,000.

The automobile beauty will be revealed at next week’s Paris Motor Show 2012 and although the exhibit P1 is a design study, McLaren is confident of a production version that will be available next year with the supercars rolling out to the market in 2014.

The P1 boasts an acceleration of 0-62mph in three seconds and aims to become the world’s best “driver’s car” in regular production whether on road or on a track.

Automobile supremacy is not unfamiliar to the team at McLaren who built the world’s fastest car two decades ago, the McLaren F1, and have since reigned supreme with Grand Prix championships over the years. The McLaren F1 held the title of ‘fastest production car’ with top speeds of 240mph for 13 years until it was overtaken by the 254mph Bugatti 16.4 Veyron.

The McLaren P1 is following in its predecessor’s footsteps with reports suggesting that it has already smashed the best lap time for road-legal cars at the Silverstone circuit ahead of its Paris debut.

McLaren Automotive Executive Chairman Ron Dennis said: “The McLaren P1 will be the result of 50 years of racing and road car heritage. Twenty years ago we raised the supercar performance bar with the McLaren F1 and our goal with the McLaren P1 is to redefine it once again.”

Managing Director Antony Sheriff said: “Our aim is not necessarily to be the fastest in absolute top speed but to be the quickest and most rewarding series production road car on a circuit.”

The McLaren P1 will be unveiled to an international audience in Paris later this month.


Luxury self drive car hire gets a new name – Regency!

When it comes to luxury, nothing spells it quite as much as a sleek and swanky sports car. From the Audi to the Lamborghini, sports cars are luxury redefined and the perfect crown to all your special events. Why not indulge yourself with a luxury sports car hire from Regency? Regency, the UK’s number one service for self-drive sports car hire and prestige car hire, boast one of the country’s largest fleets of opulent cars for hire. With an extensive range of high-end luxury car hire models there’s something for everyone at Regency – whether you’re looking for a BMW car hire, Mercedes car hire, Bentley car hire, Aston Martin car hire, Ferrari car hire or a Maserati car hire.

Regency is part of Transport Broker Group, one of the leading companies in the UK transport hire industry. As a prestigious luxury self drive car hire service, Regency pride themselves on delivering exceptional service. Once you step onboard one of their self drive car hires, you will immediately be transported to a world of opulence and extravagance. A self drive sports car hire from Regency feature luxuries such as air conditioning, reclining seats, state of the art entertainment, plasma screens, champagne bars, sunroofs and more.

Regency self drive car hire is not just about driving a luxury car, it’s about experiencing the lavish and plush journey en route to your destination. If you’re looking to splurge on yourself or someone special, nothing says it better than a Regency self drive car hire.

Regency is a nationwide service with self drive car hires available across all UK locations including London, Bristol, Brighton, Bath, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Cambridge, Oxford, Cardiff, Swansea, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Read more about Regency here.


Hasselhoff kicks off in style at Gumball 3000

David Hasselhoff was among many celebrities that got behind the wheels to participate in this year’s Gumball 3000 Rally. The Baywatch star, along with rapper Eve and the star of British TV show Dirty Sanchez Matthew Pritchard, were among a number of stars who took to the wheels to compete in the famous 3000 mile race.

Kicking off in New York’s Times Square, the 120 cars headed from the Big Apple to Los Angeles, aiming to complete the drive by 31 May.

Hasselhoff and his black Maserati were a crowd favourite, as he posed with fans before the big kick-off. He later shared a photo of himself and his car to followers on micro-blogging site Twitter. The caption of the photo read: “Gumball is on! Look out for car number 2! Team hoffballer gumball300 (sic)”

Gumball 3000, the annual international British rally that chooses a different public route around the world each year, is a paradise for high-end, powerful, exclusive sports cars. This year’s rally will travel through Toronto, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Santa Fe, and Las Vegas. The 120 cars will also stop at the Niagara Falls, Indianapolis 500, Detroit, St Louis, Route 66, the Grand Canyon and Death Valley.


Porsche announce special edition model to celebrate 60th anniversary of Porsche Club

Luxury car maker, Porsche, have announced plans to create a special edition model to mark the 60th anniversary of the Porsche Car Club which was launched in May 1952. In homage to 13 members in Germany that set up the first ever Porsche Club, just 13 units of this special edition Porsche will be created, with car club members being entered into a ballot to win the chance to purchase one of the specially created models.

Only 12 of the 13 models will be available for Porsche club members to purchase as one vehicle is being held back by the luxury car maker to go on display at the Porsche Museum. All Porsche club members can put their name in the hat for the chance to buy one of the 12 available 911 Club Coupé models, although the prize draw is not open to club members living in Asia or India.

If your name is chosen as one of the 12, you will have the opportunity to buy one of these rare special edition Porsche models which have a starting price of €142,831 plus VAT.

The Porsche Club Coupé will be based on the Carrera S Porsche and will feature Brewster Green paintwork and colour match 20 inch wheels. A power kit upgrade will also be made available to the 12 owners of the special edition Porsche sports cars to up the vehicles power to 430bhp. A number of special touches will be added to these sought after Porsche sports cars including a switch panel strip which with the wording, “911 Club Coupé – personally built for…” followed by the name of the lucky owner.

The ballot is open to members of the Porsche Club which is inviting members to register their interest now.