The Hot Lap – Monday August 21
Dodge Viper Production Ends
We start with some sad news this week. After 25 years, the last monstrous 8.4L V10 Dodge Viper has rolled off the production line in Detroit.
The American 2 door super car was the ultimate combination of American Muscle and track-ready race car for a quarter of a century, but since Dodge’s bankrupt turn in 2010, the Viper has been on the decline.
Head of design at Fiat-Chrysler, Ralph Gilles, posted these pictures of the last two Vipers to his Instagram account. He attributed the extinction to “a new ejection-mitigated regulation airbag that simply won’t fit their package.”
Whether that’s the real reason or not is up for conjecture, but a large part could be down to slumping sales of Muscle cars in America thanks to the rise of fuel-efficient and hybrid vehicle sales plaguing the once great V8 nation.
Aston Martin unveils a Shooting Brake
Aston Martin, long known for being the ultimate grand touring coupe, now has a hatchback?
The stunning Vanquish Zagato Coupe and Volante are set to be joined by a Speedster and Shoot Brake.
Production will be limited to 325 cars, with Coupe, Volante and Shooting Brake production limited to 99 each, whilst the Speedster will only have 28 built.
Most of the exclusive cars have already been sold, unsurprisingly. They all come with the 590hp V12 mated to the Touchtronic III 8-speed ZF automatic.
I wonder if James will be driving a hatchback in Bond 25? Wait…
Hypercars Down Under?
After 2 years in office, Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull has made an announcement that might actually please some people.
Buried in legislature announced last Tuesday, Australia is set to allow left-hand-drive Hypercars – such as the Bugatti Chiron, The Ferrari The Ferrari and the Mclaren P1 – on our roads from 2019.
Whilst the actual wording is boring and complicated, we have summarised the parts that really matter.
Prior to now, if you wanted to have one of those sort of vehicles here, you had to meet at least 2 points of a 4 point criteria, of which none of them met, making them illegal.
But now, the criteria has been extended to 6 points, but you only have to met 1 of the criteria.
You can view the full criteria if you want, but the main point – which most Hypercars will fall under – is this.
If the total worldwide production of a particular make – Bugatti for instance – is less than 3000 in a year, or total worldwide production of a model – Veyron for example – is less than 1000 in a year, or total worldwide production or a variant – Super Sport? – of less than 100 in a year, means it can be imported here, in left-hand-drive and drive on our roads. But, and yes, there is a but. But you will need state or territory permission – something that could be easily achieved by offering a hot lap in your Hypercar to your local minister.
Of course there’ll probably be a postal vote before this happens…
BMW released a concept for a new Z4.
Virgin Australia Supercars in Sydney
The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship returned to Sydney this weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park and as usual, they didn’t disappoint.
DJR Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin started the weekend strong, scoring pole for race 17 on Saturday, but wasn’t able to convert off the line for the race start, with Prodrive’s Mark Winterbottom rocketing away into the lead.
After a safety car just past the halfway point, McLaughlin lead on the restart, with Red Bull’s Shane Van Gisbergen nudging him as they rolled to the control line. Van Gisbergen got ahead into turn one, with McLaughlin right on his tail. As they came into turn two, McLaughlin nudged Van Gisbergen once, then – as it was later revealed – applied the throttle hitting the Red Bull Holden a second time, spinning him around.
Erebus’ David Reynolds in fourth and Red Bull’s Jamie Whincup in fifth came off poorly in this exchange, with Reynolds running into McLaughlin and Whincup into Reynolds.
DJR Team Penske’s second driver, Fabian Coulthard came off best, sneaking into the lead to clinch the top step of the podium.
McLaughlin was given a 15 second post race penalty for the exchange, which moved him from second down to tenth, allowing Prodrive’s Chaz Mostert into second and a very wounded Jamie Whincup to score the last step on the podium.
Following race 17, the stewards investigated further, later imposing an extra 18 second time penalty to McLaughlin – to equate a pit lane drive through penalty, dumping him down to 21st – and Van Gisbergen received a 33 second penalty for breaching the restart procedure, moving him down to 23rd.
Both drivers copped it on the chin, with the penalties stripping McLaughlin of his 129 point championship lead.
Eye forward to Sunday, with Scott McLaughlin landing pole again, but unable to convert it to a good start.
the 52 lap race 18 was fairly tame, with Red Bull Holden’s Jamie Whincup streaking away for the win thanks to a well thought out pit stop strategy and a strong car, giving him his 106th Supercar’s Championship win. He now holds the record for most wins of all time, leaving his team mate Craig Lowndes second with 105.
DJR Team Penske’s Fabian Coulthard came second, with Red Bull’s Shane Van Gisbergen bouncing back from Saturday to come third.
Coulthard’s stablemate, Scott McLaughlin finished fourth, but the weekend has not been kind to the championship leader, with only 12 points separating Whincup from McLaughlin as we head into endurance season.
That’s all for this week. We’ll be back next Monday with another Hot Lap and a wrap up of the Belgian GP, as Formula 1 returns from the summer break to race at Spa.