x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Mercedes-Benz driver sets new world record for longest car drift

Plus McLaren announces plans to open dealerships in the capital and Dubai, F1's Hamilton tries his hand at Nascar and more motoring news from the region and around the world.

Humaid al Masaood will team up with Steven Kane to pilot an LMP1 Mazda Lola coupé for the American Le Mans series, a first for an Emirati driver.
Humaid al Masaood will team up with Steven Kane to pilot an LMP1 Mazda Lola coupé for the American Le Mans series, a first for an Emirati driver.

The Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows Display team has set a new world record for the longest car drift - a mind-boggling 2,308 metres.

Stunt driver Mauro Calo added 394 metres to the existing record when he completed the feat at the Handling Circuit at Mercedes-Benz World, in Weybridge, UK.

The circuit provided a 360-degree circle of tarmac, which allowed Calo, driving a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, to complete almost eight sideways laps.

Calo's career as a professional driver includes working at Mercedes-Benz World, providing driving experiences for guests and entertaining crowds with tyre-smoking driving skills in the Silver Arrows Display.

Andrew Mallery, commercial operations director at Mercedes-Benz, said: "When Mauro approached us to hold his record-breaking attempt on the circuit at Mercedes-Benz World we were happy to offer him the support.

"He has been a valuable member of the driving experience team for several years and is a respected driver in the industry, so there was no doubt he would achieve his aim".


Emirati first as driver to compete in US top-flight sports car races

An Abu Dhabi driver will become the first Emirati to take part in top-level international sports car racing when he contests the remaining seven rounds of this year's American Le Mans Series (ALMS).

Humaid al Masaood will team up with Steven Kane to pilot an LMP1 Mazda Lola coupé run by ALMS Teams points leader Dyson Racing, in conjunction with Masaood's Oryx Racing team.

The move lifts al Masaood - already a widely recognised racer in the Speed Euroseries - to the highest level of any Arabic, circuit-based driver.

The drivers will join the ALMS championship at Lime Rock, Connecticut, on July 8 and 9 before completing the rest of the season, which ends with the Petit Le Mans endurance race in October.

Al Masaood said: "The car will hit 320kph and reach 100kph in 3.2 seconds, so it's quite a beast.

"The turbocharged Mazda MZR-R engine delivers over 500hp and over 542Nm of torque. But unbelievably, the car runs on the ecologically sound Isobutanol, a biofuel, rather than traditional petrol, and uses G-OIL's fully biodegradable synthetic oil."


Ferrari World names finalists

Seven schools have been shortlisted after the conclusion of the first part of Ferrari World's Design Contest.

The Italian car maker launched the contest in partnership with Autodesk, its technical partner, for 50 prestigious international design schools, with the winner being involved in the planning of Ferraris in the future.

The competition attracted more than 200 projects from the schools, with the finalist being: IED and IAAD from Turin, Italy; the London Royal College of Arts, United Kingdom; the European Design Institute Barcelona, Spain; Hong-ik College, in Seoul, South Korea; the DSK Supinfocom, from Pune, India; and the College For Creative Studies in Detroit, US.

The seven schools will next be asked to produce three models each, both by using Autodesk computer software and physical models in a scale of 1:4.

When the winners are announced in July, they will get the opportunity to work at Ferrari, as well as getting a cash prize.

Autodesk will also present an award to the student team that best uses Autodesk Alias software to communicate their design intent and demonstrate the process of design. The contest aims to support research and invest in young talent.


F1's Hamilton tries his hand at driving a Nascar Chevrolet

Formula One star Lewis Hamilton got behind the wheel of a Nascar racer last week at Watkins Glen in New York.

The British driver tried out Tony Stewart's Chevrolet Impala, which weighs 1,542kg - about two-and-a-half times as much as his McLaren F1 car - while Stewart tried out Hamilton's wheels.

The 5.86L V8 engine of the Chevrolet, which is more than twice the capacity of Hamilton's 2.4L Mercedes V8, certainly inspired the F1 driver.

"Tony was an excellent teacher and I quickly found a good rhythm," said Hamilton. "Those cars are raw and powerful. They're fantastic fun to drive."

Stewart added: "Feeling the power behind the McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 was amazing and being able to take it for a ride around the course in front of a crowd made it even more special - an experience I'll never forget."

Stewart was driving Hamilton's 2008 world championship-winning MP4-23.


McLaren to open showrooms in Abu Dhabi and Dubai this year

McLaren Automotive is to open showrooms in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, where the company will flaunt its new MP4-12C high-performance sports car.

McLaren has invested £800 million (Dh4.8 billion) since 2005 in becoming a top sports car company and, starting with the McLaren London showroom, which opened on Tuesday, the car maker is now forming a global retail network consisting of 35 locations in 19 countries.

The new MP4-12C will be the first in a range of high-performance, highly efficient, carbon-fibre-based sports cars from McLaren. The 12C, which will sell from Dh850,000, intends to take on the world's best premium performance cars and claims to be lighter, more powerful, more fuel efficient and more exclusive than its key competition.

The car maker will produce its vehicles at its new £40m plant in Woking, England.

The showrooms in the UAE will open by the end of the year.