x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Exotics smoke tyres at Yas

A round-up of international and local motoring news.

Today is the final day to see Lamborghinis, Bugattis, Bentleys and other top-end marques compete for honours and dirhams at the Exotic Drag Racing event at Yas Marina.

Got a powerful, exotic car? The entry fee is Dh300 per vehicle to compete, but it's just Dh30 for spectators.

The drag racing falls into five classes with cash prizes: The winner of the Super Car/Exotic Car Drag Race will receive Dh13,000. The top motorcycle - yes, motorcyclists are invited - will win Dh5,000. The 4x4 Nitrous category winner will receive Dh7,000. The 4x4 Forced Induction class winner prize is Dh8,000.

Rashed Al Qubaisi, Head of the Yas Drag Racing Centre, says: "Owners of exotic cars rarely get the chance to truly experience what their vehicles are capable of in a safe and controlled environment. This is also a great chance for people to see their dream cars being pushed to their limits on the drag strip, making for a fun evening out. Bikes are especially welcome - they are great crowd-pleasers."

If you miss this one, there are more exotic drag events planned for next weekend as well as January 7-8.


DeLorean signs partnership deals with Nike, Miscrosoft and Mattel

This month, Nike released the 6.0 Dunk SE DeLorean trainers and they sold out in five minutes online.

The shoes cost US$90 (Dh331) are already selling for $400 on eBay.

The DeLorean Motor Company has no connection to John Delorean or the original DeLorean Motor Company, but it acquired the original company's assets and now owns trademark and copyright registrations for the brand and the DMC-12 automobile.

The new DeLorean company has recently announced partnerships with Mattel, Sun Star, Gateway Global, Microsoft and Now & Zen to make clothing and toys that use the car's retro-icon label.

The Texas-based firm is taking advantage of the popularity of the car: Forbes magazine cites a poll of 1,000 men in the US that shows the gull-winged car has a 93 per cent awareness factor among men aged 18 and older.

So get ready for a number of DeLorean-themed products to be featuring in Go Gear next year.


Lotus snares rivals' staff

Lotus Cars has announced the hiring of two new high-level executives from rival marques.

The Lotus chief executive, Dany Bahar, himself a Ferrari veteran, announced he had hired the former BMW executive Karl-Heinz Kalbfell and Guillaume Chabin, formerly of Bentley and Ferrari. The former GM co-chairman Robert Lutz has also been serving as an adviser to the company.

Chabin will be director of sales, while Kalbfell will advise Bahar.

"It's not often that you get the opportunity to work with such an iconic automotive brand at such an exciting stage of its development, and I really feel that now is the perfect time for me to contribute toward the future of Lotus," Kalbfell told The New York Times.

Bahar, the newspaper wrote, is often described as Ferrari's former "brand guru", and has brought in other Ferrari executives. In January, he hired Andreas Prillmann, a former director of business development at Ferrari, as chief commercial officer for Lotus. He also hired Claudio Berro (Lotus Motorsport) and Gino Rosato (Lotus Corporate Affairs).

The news confirms a widespread impression that the sports car company is making an aggressive effort to expand sales.


Porsche to return to Detroit with something 'spectacular'

After a four-year absence from the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Porsche is returning with "something spectacular to show there" in January.

Hans-Gerd Bode, a spokesman for the Stuttgart-based car maker, told Bloomberg: "You'll have to wait and be surprised."

Porsche AG, the sports-car maker merging with Volkswagen AG, will join the Volkswagen group presentations that will also include Audi and Bentley, Bode said.

Porsche last year delivered a quarter of its 85,903 vehicles to the US, its biggest single market.

"Porsche's return demonstrates the relevancy of the Detroit show for luxury manufacturers," Rebecca Lindland, an analyst at IHS Automotive in Massachusetts, told the news agency.

Porsche took another step towards its merger with VW after the company's shareholders backed a €5 billion stock sale to lower debt. Porsche agreed to combine with VW last year after a failed attempt by them to gain control of it.

Vatican wants a solar-powered electric Popemobile

Pope Benedict XVI has made efforts to promote sustainable energy and persuade people to take care of the planet; in that respect, he announced last week that he would like an electric Popemobile to replace the petrol-powered fleet.

The Washington Post reported that Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, who runs the Vatican City state, made the comment at the launch of a book on the Vatican's ecological efforts; The Energy of the Sun in the Vatican.

The book chronicles the installation of photovoltaic cells on the roof of the Vatican's main auditorium in 2008 and the installation of a solar cooling unit for its main cafeteria the following year.

The Germany-based firm SolarWorld, which provided the photovaltaic cells on the auditorium, told the newspaper it has discussed the idea of providing the Pope with a solar-powered electric car. The marketing chief, Milan Nitzschke, said the main hurdle is to get the Vatican security team to sign off on it.