Plus Lotus skipping Paris motor show, Nissan sends engineers to flight school and US consumers seek recompense for mechanical faults in Minis and Hyundais.
Week in Motoring: Famed German racetrack Nürburgring may go bankrupt
Nürburgring going bust, Europe won't help out
It will come as no surprise to anyone that has visited the place in recent years, but the most notorious racetrack in the world, Germany's Nürburgring, looks like it will soon be declared bankrupt. After huge levels of expansion, including luxury hotels, a theme park and cavernous, mostly empty shopping centres, it has become obvious that there simply isn't enough petrolhead tourism to sustain it. Germany's government had planned a €13 million (Dh58.6 million) bailout but this has been ruled as illegal state aid by the European Commission. The official line from the circuit is that this year's race events will carry on as planned but its future beyond 2012 is uncertain.
German street artist turns bridge into Lego
Many of us will be familiar with the street art that gifted individuals apply to urban pavements in Europe, only for it to be washed away with the next shower of rain. A German street artist, known as Megx, however, has taken this to a new level by transforming the underneath of a drab, concrete, former railway bridge in Wuppertal into a brightly-coloured Lego creation, with the surface resembling the base of the ubiquitous children's toy bricks. You can see the results for yourself on the artist's website: www.megx.de.
Lotus decides on Paris Motor Show no-go
It all seemed like too much to take at the time but, when Lotus unveiled its plans for a six-model line-up at the Paris Motor Show just two years ago, there was no doubting its sincerity. A lot has happened in the time since, not least the sacking of CEO Danny Bahar, allegedly for filing some particulary hefty expenses claims, and, according to Car And Driver magazine's online blog, the latest news is that the company won't be attending this year's show at all. What might appear to at first be bad news is, it's hoped, a sign that Lotus is in the process of a major restructuring to ensure its future survival.
Nissan takes to the skies for inspiration
There's one surefire way to take the wind out of motoring journalists' sails, no matter how many supercars they've driven: get them talking to a fighter jet pilot. When it comes to ultimate thrills, only being an astronaut comes close, and Nissan knows this. Which is why the company recently sent some of its engineers with a GT-R to visit America's Blue Angels, a training facility for the US Navy's pilots. Nissan said those involved came away from the day with "a number of creative ideas and actionable items from both a design and product development standpoint".
Car companies being sued in the USA
In the land of litigation, two automotive giants are being taken to task through the courts. Mini is in hot water with some Florida owners of its early cars that were fitted with CVT transmissions. They're failing, leading those stuck with them to fight for some financial recompense because, they argue, the cars are not possible to sell on to new owners. Meanwhile, Californian Hyundai owner, Louis Bird, is taking the Korean manufacturer to court over its claims regarding fuel economy. He bought a 2011 Elentra and, he claims, has consistently failed to match the company's claimed 40mpg (5.8L/100km) rating. He's not alone, either, but Hyundai seems intent on sticking to the economy claims in its advertising.