x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Dates set for Maserati races in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Plus Range Rover like you've never seen it before, Porsche unveils two-wheel foray, Bugatti chief says new model must improve, and Aston Martin named coolest car.

The wire-framed Evoque at the Ritz roundabout. Courtesy of Land Rover
The wire-framed Evoque at the Ritz roundabout. Courtesy of Land Rover

Maserati has announced dates for the Trofeo JBF RAK race series in the Middle East.

The one-make series - the first factory-backed race series in the region - will feature 12 Maserati GranTurismo MC Trofeo race cars battling it out in races in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Bahrain, as part of a six-weekend, 12-race series.

The event is open to anyone, even if they haven't raced before. Al all-inclusive package is offered to drivers that covers all costs involved in racing and logistics between each race circuit.

The preseason test session gets under way at the FIA-accredited Dubai Autodrome on Saturday November 19 before racing begins in earnest at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir two weeks later, on December 2 and 3.

"My team here in the Middle East have been working extremely hard with our colleagues in Italy over the past year to bring the Maserati Trofeo to the region," says Umberto Cini, the managing director of Maserati Middle East & Africa. "I believe we are offering something unique to the motorsport community in the Middle East."

For information, visit www.maseraticorse.com.


Art installation gives whole new meaning to the term 'base model'

You've read about the new Range Rover Evoque in these esteemed pages a few weeks ago, when we drove it for the first time. And perhaps you've already seen it for yourself already in Dubai; well, sort of.

A wire-frame art installation in the shape of the baby Range Rover was on display at the Ritz roundabout in Jumeirah Beach Residences. It was scheduled to move after yesterday on to the Dubai International Financial Centre from October 16-20.

The art piece, inspired by one created by London artist Benedict Radcliffe for the Geneva Motor Show in March, is painted in a luminous neon blue and part of a worldwide campaign by Land Rover ahead of the public launch of the small SUV, and the wire-framed vehicles have popped up in cities such as New York, Frankfurt, Paris and Sao Paolo.

Abu Dhabi is set to get one, too; Virgin Megastores in the capital and in Dubai will have a wire-frame display from October 20 to November 19.

The real Range Rover Evoque will appear in showrooms here in the UAE next month.


Porsche builds two bicycles

Porsche has created a bicycle using its intelligent performance principles proven in its sports cars.

The new Bike S and Bike RS were inspired by the company's GT road-car department, which creates lightweight sports cars.

The Bike S, weighing 11kg, has an aluminium frame, carbon fibre front forks and an internally geared Shimano 11-speed Alfine hub gear system.

The DT Swiss wheels are optimised for resistance to punctures and also to assist performance on wet or rough terrain, while the bike also features Magura disc-brakes.

The Bike RS weighs only 9kg and has a carbon fibre monocoque frame that provides high levels of bike stability and high quality damping properties.

Equipment normally reserved for high-level cycle racing is also part of the specification of the Bike RS, for example, the 20-speed Shimano XTR derailleur gearset is tried and tested by competitors worldwide. Other features include Magura hydraulic disc-brakes and Crank Brothers wheels, optimised with the same low-rolling resistance tyres as the Porsche Bike S.

The Porsche Bike S and Bike RS are priced at £2,999 (Dh17,086) and £4,999 (Dh28,480) respectively.


Bugatti Galibier must improve before production, says CEO

The new boss of Bugatti has put the car maker's much-hyped four-door super saloon on hold, as it's not yet an "argument stopper".

Wolfgang Durheimer will make a decision later this year about the future of the Galibier after the chief posed tricky questions to Bugatti's engineering team about comfort, interior space and performance, sources said.

The concept car originally proposed 800hp and it is understood Durheimer is less than satisfied with that output.

"In his opinion," a source confirmed, "there should not even be a question about the best car in the world when you sit down to discuss it with your billionaire buddies.

"He doesn't want to build it until it's the car that finishes the argument, not the car that starts it.

"It's 800hp now, but there are tuners today who can give you that and we don't want our car to be involved in any discussion that involves tuners, so we have to move the benchmarks."


Aston Martin named coolest car brand in Britain for a fifth time

Aston Martin has been named the coolest brand in Britain - for the fifth time in six years.

Leading international contemporary design-driven brands, including Apple and Bang & Olufsen, as well as other leading automotive brands and even music artists such as Jessie J were asked which car maker they thought was coolest and Aston came out on top again.

"Smooth, sexy and sophisticated; British-built, high quality and hand finished, let's be honest, young or old, male or female, who wouldn't aspire to own what is truly the coolest car on the road," says Stephen Cheliotis, of The Centre for Brand Analysis and chairman of the CoolBrands Council.

The past decade has seen Aston Martin transformed from a small-scale manufacturer of specialist sports cars to one of the world's best-known luxury brands.

Its line-up includes the new V12 Zagato, which featured on last week's Motoring cover.