x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Week in Motoring: Nissan reveals 'ground-breaking' racer for Le Mans

Plus: Jay-Z and Kanye West's mash-up Maybach sold for charity; Volkswagen in UAE desert clean-up; Ford Kuga kick starts shopping trips; and Japanese doctor charged over Ferrari YouTube video.

The DeltaWing is unlike anything else racing in Le Mans at present. Nissan
The DeltaWing is unlike anything else racing in Le Mans at present. Nissan

Nissan this week launched what it called a ground-breaking new vehicle that will participate in this year's Le Mans 24 Hours race.

The DeltaWing is a Batmobile-like racing car that was created with the aim of halving aerodynamic drag, power, mass, fuel consumption and tyre consumption while still maintaining the required performance.

Nissan claims to have thrown away the rule book when designing this car and focusing on the important characteristics of a racing car with relevance to the auto industry and motorsport fans. It is powered by a 1.6L turbo engine that is expected to produce around 300hp, sufficient to give the DeltaWing lap times between LMP1 and LMP2 machines at Le Mans.

"As motor racing rule books have become tighter over time, racing cars look more and more similar and the technology used has had less and less relevance to road car development. Nissan DeltaWing aims to change that," says Andy Palmer, the firm's executive vice-president. "But this is just the start. DeltaWing embodies a vast number of highly innovative ideas that we can learn from."


Jay-Z and Kanye West's mash-up Maybach sold for charity

The Maybach that rap superstars Jay-Z and Kanye West destroyed for the video for last year's hit collaboration Otis has been auctioned off for US$60,000 (Dh220,386).

The 2004 Maybach 57 would have cost $350,000 new but sold for a fraction of that as it had been ripped to shreds for the making of the video for the first single from the stars' Grammy Award-winning album Watch the Throne.

A guide price of $100,000 to $150,000 was set but it didn't help that the car was advertised as a work of art, as opposed to a working vehicle.

For the video, which was directed by Oscar-winner Spike Jonze, the doors were torn off and affixed to the boot as wings, the front grille was stuck to the boot, a fire-spewing exhaust was fitted and a basic-looking sheet-metal body kit was attached around the wheel arches and the front of the vehicle.

The Maybach was sold at Phillips de Pury auction house in New York, US, last week and the proceeds are going to the charity organisation Save The Children.

The charity's chief executive, Carolyn Miles, says the money will go to families in East Africa.

Volkswagen in Dubai desert clean-up project

Volkswagen is teaming up with the Rotana hotel chain and Siemens to champion a desert clean-up initiative.

The companies plan to send groups of volunteers inland from Dubai today for Clean the Desert, which aims to raise awareness of the litter problem, the grave consequences it has to local wildlife and the importance of a clean environment.

"The Clean the Desert project focuses on preserving the desert and actively taking care of local wildlife, believing that it is the everyday small actions that can bring about the big changes the environment needs," says Volkswagen Middle East chief executive Stefan Mecha.

"It is great to team up with Siemens and Rotana on this initiative as both companies share our concern about the serious issue of littering and the need to do something about it."

Thomas Tapken, area vice-president for Rotana Dubai and Northern Emirates, says: "Everyday a tragedy is taking place in our deserts, along the beaches and in the mountains of the UAE. Camels, sheep, goats and cattle, as well as the protected Arabian Onyx, the Sand Gazelles and other wildlife are dying after ingesting plastic and other waste materials that are being dumped in the desert."


Kick-start your shopping trip with Ford Kuga's new technology

We've all been there. You've got bags full of shopping that you're determined not to put down as you strive to find your elusive car key in your strangely bustling pocket.

It's a frustrating business that ultimately ends with you admitting defeat, placing the shopping on the ground and emptying everything out of your pocket before the key - finally - emerges last.

However, this particular scenario could be a thing of the past with the new technology Ford is introducing in its new Kuga crossover SUV.

Utilising the technology that allows for keyless starting of engines, when the Kuga senses its key in the vicinity, it allows the boot to be opened with a gentle kick to the back bumper.

And the same goes when lifting items out of the boot. A kick at the bumper will see the "kick-activated automatic tailgate" close the boot.

The technology is available as an option on a 2012 Kuga.


Japanese doctor charged after YouTube users report Ferrari speed video

A Japanese doctor is facing speeding charges after posting footage of himself online driving at excessive speeds in a Ferrari on public roads.

The 50-year-old, from Okawa in Fukuoka Prefecture, was reported to police by angry users of video-sharing website YouTube.

He faces charges after being filmed driving at 124kph in a 40kph zone, Japanese police say.

A police spokesman told AFP news agency that the driver's speed was calculated based on the distance covered and the time elapsed.

The man reportedly said he "wanted people to understand the beauty of a Ferrari".

The six-minute video is titled Ferrari 458 Italia Drive in Japan 2011 in Japanese and it films the doctor from a position behind the driver.

At least 84 people disliked the posting, compared to 19 likes.

Police say he could face six months in jail or a fine of up to $1,220 (Dh4,481) if convicted.