x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

The Circuit of the Americas to host F1 and MotoGP

US F1 circuit get its name, Aston Martin launches new race car and son writes off dad's super car, plus more international and local motoring news.

The GT3 race car will be based on the V12 road car. Courtesy of Aston Martin
The GT3 race car will be based on the V12 road car. Courtesy of Aston Martin

US circuit gets a name

Circuit of the Americas is the name given to the track in Austin, Texas, that will host the Grand Prix in 2012.

Also on the day Formula One United States and Full Throttle Productions announced the official title of the track, it was announced the circuit would also be used to host MotoGP.

Autoweek reports that track officials saved their confirmation of the MotoGP race until the end of the press conference, when the 1993 MotoGP champion, Kevin Schwantz, joined the project chairman, Tavo Hellmund, onstage with one of Schwantz's motorcycles. Schwantz has been involved in the project since it began, so the use of the venue as a host for motorcycling events was not a big surprise.

The Circuit of the Americas will mark a first for a US track when it begins hosting Formula One, which has a 10-year contract to race at the Austin facility beginning next year, and MotoGP as it will place both world-championship series at the same circuit in the United States for the first time. Although Indianapolis has hosted both championships, it never did in the same year.


Vantage GT3 will become the new Aston Martin Racing car

Aston Martin Racing announced last week that the new Vantage GT3 race car, based on the V12 Vantage road car, will be ready for competition in 2012.

The Vantage GT3 will replace the DBRS9, launched in 2006 at Le Mans, which has since seen 26 chassis built and raced to multiple victories around the world.

Designed to FIA regulations, the Vantage GT3 will be built around the Vantage aluminium VH architecture with a lightweight, dry-sumped 6.0L V12 engine, based on the V12 Vantage. The new car will have a race semi-automatic paddle shift Xtrac gearbox and the latest race-developed ABS and traction control systems, optimised for the Vantage GT3.

Aston Martin Racing has set a target weight of 1,250kg and target engine performance figures of more than 600hp and 700Nm. The first car will be completed in July and will undertake an extensive test and development programme during the rest of the year. Ten customer cars will then be built ready for delivery for the start of the 2012 season.


Lotus loses UK funding bid

Lotus's ambitious plans have been put in jeopardy after the UK government has turned down its request for funding.

The sports car manufacturer, based in east England, put in a bid for £27.5 million (Dh165m) of regional growth funding from the £450m pot.

Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley and General Motors were all successful with their requests, prompting Lotus to look at shifting the production of its new Esprit supercar abroad.

Reuters news agency reports that Lotus stated: "Following this decision, Group Lotus is currently exploring all available options including the possibility of submitting an updated bid for round two of the RGF [regional growth funding], which is set to close on July 1."

Jaguar Land Rover was a big winner in the round of bidding, getting £70m for research projects it says will lead to 6,500 jobs in the long term.

Despite the loss of funding, Proton, Lotus's parent firm, secured a £270m loan from six Malaysian banks. Proton's managing director, Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir, said: "The £270 million will primarily be used for product development, part of the loan will be used to upgrade the Lotus facilities in Norfolk."


Ford plans expansion for China, doubling its workforce by 2015

Ford will recruit 1,200 new employees in China by 2015, doubling its workforce in the world's largest auto market.

"In China we're going to significantly increase our resources here," Joe Hinrichs, the chief of the automaker's Asia-Pacific and African operations, told Blomberg news agency. "We're committed to it, we have the capital, we have the products."

Ford introduced the Mondeo saloon to the Asian giant last month, the automaker already sells the Focus compact cars and Fiesta subcompacts in the second-largest economy in the world.

Ford is building a new vehicle plant with its China joint venture, Changan Ford Mazda Automobile ,in the south-western city of Chongqing and also has plans for a new engine plant city.

The recruitment in China, across departments including engineering, manufacturing and sales, adds to the more than 7,000 workers Ford plans to employ in the next two years in North America.


Son's showing off costs dad his Dh1.7m Gumpert Apollo

When you borrow dad's car and return it with the slightest of scratches, you know you are going to be in trouble; so who knows what the 20-year-old German who wrote off his father's Gumpert Apollo supercar felt like afterward?

The Apollo, worth Dh1.7 million, has a top speed of 360kph. The man was driving with a 19-year-old female passenger, which may explain why he so desperately wanted to borrow the vehicle. Both of them walked away from the accident with minor injuries.

The accident occurred on a sharp bend on a road with an 80kph speed limit, just north of Hamburg; police are investigating whether the young driver was speeding. The car was demolished in the crash - the door was found 30 metres from the wreckage.

A police spokesperson told the Daily Mail: "The car is a total loss - only the passenger cabin remained virtually intact."

The Apollo will go from zero-to-100kph in 2.8 seconds, and from zero-to-200kph in 8.8 seconds.