Automotive news

McLaren 720S GT3 stuns on global race debut in Abu Dhabi

McLaren 720S GT3

The brand new McLaren 720S GT3 came tantalisingly close to a stunning win on its global competitive debut at the Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi.

The first GT racer designed and built in-house by McLaren Customer Racing dominated much of the second half of the race at the Yas Marina Circuit before suspension trouble dropped the car to a nevertheless impressive fifth place.


The #5 car’s pace – and a totally trouble-free run for 10 hours in the hands of McLaren Automotive Factory Driver Ben Barnicoat (GB) and his teammates Álvaro Parente (PT) and Shane van Gisbergen (NZ) – turned heads in a paddock that included top GT racing cars, teams and drivers from around the world.

The McLaren 720S GT3 run by McLaren Customer Racing was quick out-of-the-box, setting encouraging times during the three practice sessions on the Yas Marina circuit – home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It was in the hunt for pole position in its first ever qualifying session, with Barnicoat immediately topping the times. Co-drivers Parente and van Gisbergen continued to show impressive pace, however the car was pipped at the post by just half a tenth on aggregate times to take second in the GT3 class ahead of 16 competitors and third overall on the 33-car grid.

The race itself was split into two six-hour events and in the first of these, Barnicoat took the 720S GT3 into the lead after just an hour of its racing career. The combined efforts of all three drivers and the McLaren Customer Racing team would keep the Papaya Spark-coloured car in the hunt for the whole six hours, despite several incidents and two safety car interventions. The team reached the mid-point of the race in second overall, and ready to attack from the start of the second race.

The second part of the race showed the potential of the new McLaren 720S GT3, as the #5 car headed the charge to the flag. Within two laps van Gisbergen had taken the lead on the back straight, and by the end of Hour 10 the car had lapped the entire field.

Unfortunately, the dream of a win on the car’s global race debut was over moments later when an issue with the right front suspension forced van Gisbergen into the pits for repairs. Rapid work from the team saw the car return to action after just 13 minutes and with Ben Barnicoat back behind the wheel, set about chasing down the leaders. In the closing 90 minutes, the gap was reduced and the #5 720S GT3 crossed the line an impressive fifth in the GT3 Pro class and eighth overall, completing 309 laps of the Yas Marina circuit.

“It’s been a great start to the competitive life of the 720S GT3, which has proven itself against a world-class field and just as importantly, successfully progressed the development programme. I am incredibly proud of the efforts of the team at the circuit and back in Woking, who have achieved this result against world-class opposition.

“The experience of going wheel-to-wheel with the teams and cars that our customers will be aiming to beat with the 720S GT3 in the future has proved invaluable as we continue to learn lessons about how to get the very best from the car. Add that experience to the vast amount that we have learned during the design, build, testing and development with the McLaren 720S GT3 so far and we are growing in confidence about the prospects for the newest racing member of the McLaren family.”

Dan Walmsley, Motorsport Director, McLaren Automotive

The McLaren Customer Racing team will continue the 720 GT3 test and development programme, ahead of homologation early in 2019 which will enable the car to compete in a variety of GT3 racing championships around the world.


Automotive news



The Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY racecar charged ahead as it made its global debut in Berlin. Founder and CEO of Formula E Alejandro Agag had the honour of marking this historical moment alongside Jaguar Racing as he drove the racecar around the iconic Tempelhof Circuit.

Alejandro Agag put the eTROPHY racecar through its paces on the track and completed five laps in front of the crowds in Berlin. While demonstrating its dynamic capabilities, the eTROPHY racecar gave a glimpse of the future of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship to a global audience.


Gerd Mäuser, Chairman of Jaguar Racing: “Today is an exciting day for the future of Jaguar Racing as we showcase all of the hard work our Special Vehicle Operations team have done to get us to this moment in their development of this exciting new support series.” 

“As a business we are committed to electrification and the future of battery electric vehicles. We have already transferred key learnings from our involvement in Formula E into the development of our future road cars, and no doubt that the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY will only further enhance this learning and development.”

Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Formula E: “The eTROPHY car feels great – it looks like a production road vehicle with the performance of a racecar. This series is all about bringing new innovative technology to a wider audience, and the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY is a perfect platform to do this alongside Formula E. I’ve been a strong supporter of Jaguar since they joined the ABB FIA Formula E Championship and it’s been exciting to help shape the future of the sport alongside them. I look forward to seeing more of these cars line-up on the grid next season.”

The Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY will be the official support series for the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in 2018/19. Up to 20 Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY racecars will line up on the grid on the streets the centre of global cities such as Hong Kong, Rome, Paris and New York. The Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY offers an ‘Arrive and Drive’ package for the drivers on the grid. All of the vehicles will be designed, engineered and built by Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO). The package includes professional technical support from racecar preparation to data engineering, global logistics for vehicles, spare parts and equipment.

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Automotive news

Ten years of Audi Sport customer racing

Ten-years-of-Audi Sport-customer-racing-Arab-Motor-World

Audi Sport customer racing is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Following the presentation of the first generation of the Audi R8 LMS in 2008, the first customers relied on the GT3 sports car the following season – and immediately clinched three driver championship titles. To date, the number of these successes has increased to 52 around the world, plus other class titles have been won and victories scored in 12-, 24- and even 25-hour races. Audi Sport customer racing has by now built 531 race cars for international customers.

“Audi Sport customer racing today is experiencing the largest model offensive in its history,” says Michael-Julius Renz, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “In 2018 we’re aiming for our fifth overall victory in the world’s biggest endurance race, the 24 Hours of Nürburgring. The race is under the banner of our anniversary which we’re celebrating with the customers, fans and friends of our company.”


The first two overall victories in the iconic endurance race at the Nürburgring in 2012 and 2014 were achieved by the first generation of the Audi R8 LMS that won the 24-hour race at Spa in 2011, 2012 and 2014 as well. During its seven-year model cycle, 137 race cars were built for the Asian, Australian, European, North and South American markets. The race car is still popular and successful in classes for cars of older generations such as those in Australian club sport. All owners benefit from a global service network and comprehensive parts supply.

In 2011, Audi Sport customer racing extended its program by a model for a small but mighty niche. Customers at the Nürburgring and in various club sport series were provided with the Audi TT RS, a powerful car with 279 kW (380 hp), front-wheel drive and excellent handling qualities. In addition to a large number of class victories in Europe and in the United States, the race car in 2011 scored overall victory in a race of the VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring against cars with clearly higher power ratings. In 2013, on clinching victory against high-caliber GT sports cars in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill in California, the Audi TT RS achieved its greatest success.

In 2015, the brand with the four rings presented two new race cars. For three years, the Audi TT cup car was the exclusive model fielded in the Audi Sport TT Cup. The second generation of the Audi R8 LMS delivering up to 430 kW (585 hp) sets standards in terms of safety and continues the string of success of the first model unchanged. Endurance racing victories at Daytona, the Nürburgring, at Spa, Bathurst, Sepang and Laguna Seca, plus championship wins around the globe underscore its qualities. 103 race cars of this model have been built to date. It shares 50 percent of its component assemblies with the production model including the low-maintenance and high-powered V10 engine.

At the next stage of its model offensive, Audi Sport customer racing launched the Audi
RS 3 LMS at the end of 2016. The front-wheel-drive race car for the popular TCR category delivers up to 257 kW (350 hp). Like the Audi TT cup this model is built within the corporate group together with Cupra at the Martorell site in Spain. 166 units of this entry level touring car that won five titles in its first season have been made to date. The most recent addition to the range is the Audi R8 LMS GT4. A one-two class win in the 24 Hours of Dubai marked a brilliant start to the season in January 2018. In the first six months, Audi Sport has produced 65 of these models. The Audi R8 LMS GT4 is made at Böllinger Höfe using the same manufacturing facilities as the production model with which it shares 60 percent of its components.

“The interest by our customers and their successes show that our model offensive is paying off,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “In the current season alone, our teams have contested 158 races across all classes and celebrated 53 victories in the process. We’re proud of having such strong teams and drivers among our customers in a fiercely competitive environment.”


Automotive news

Automobili Pininfarina, the World’s Newest Sustainable Luxury Car Brand

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., part of the $19 billion Mahindra Group, today announced the launch of Automobili Pininfarina, the world’s newest sustainable luxury car brand.

Automobili Pininfarina, promoted by Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., will be based in Europe. The company will design, engineer and manufacture high technology, extreme performance, luxury electric vehicles for the most discerning global customers.


Automobili Pininfarina will combine Pininfarina’s legendary automotive design prowess with Mahindra’s growing electric vehicle (EV) expertise gained from its participation in the Formula E electric racing car championship. Automobili Pininfarina plans to launch its first model, a ‘Pininfarina’ badged electric hypercar, in 2020.

Paolo Pininfarina, Chairman, Pininfarina SpA, “We are pleased to welcome the new company, Automobili Pininfarina which represents an additional client for Pininfarina SpA, joining the list of the many prestigious car makers for which we will be designing cars in the future. This project helps me and my family to realize my grandfather’s dream of seeing outstanding innovative cars solely branded Pininfarina on the roads.” 

According to Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group, “Italy’s renowned design expertise produces objects of true beauty and unique style. Drawing upon the pedigree and design vocabulary of the Pininfarina aesthetic heritage we will develop a rare collector’s item that only a handful of connoisseurs will ever own. It will be an innovative and pioneering product powered by high technology. The Mahindra Group has bet big on electric vehicles. They are the future, and when power, beauty and high end EV technology come together in one car – that will be the perfect luxury vehicle, that will give car lovers the freedom to roam without impacting the planet adversely.”

Dr. Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. and Chairman, Mahindra Racing, said, “We believe that this is the perfect me to launch Automobili Pininfarina, given Mahindra’s growing EV expertise from our participation in Formula E racing where we are currently second in the constructors’ and drivers’ championships, and Pininfarina’s design expertise that will allow us to develop stylish, extreme-performance, electric vehicles for global markets.”

Automobili Pininfarina will be led by Michael Perschke, as its Chief Executive Officer. Michael brings with him over 25 years of experience with premium German brands at both headquarter director-level as well as in various market roles. He was the Managing Director of Audi in India and a member of the Management Board of Volkswagen Group Sales India, from 2010 to 2013. Michael will play an instrumental role in developing the strategy for Automobili Pininfarina. He will be joined by Per Svantesson as Chief Operating Officer. Per brings with him relevant experience including his stints with the Volvo Group and NEVS.

Michael Perschke, CEO, Automobili Pininfarina commented, “Establishing Automobili Pininfarina as a leading sustainable luxury brand is our strategic vision and will be a dream come true. It will combine 88 years of iconic design heritage with leading edge electric vehicle competence of the Mahindra Group and Mahindra Formula E racing. It’s a powerful combination. I am honoured to lead Automobili Pininfarina and our ambition is to make it a respected and desirable brand recognized by connoisseurs who value design heritage, substance and sustainable high performance EV technology.”


Performance News

The McLaren 570S Spider refined by NOVITEC


Sporty carbon designer outfit, extremely light forged wheels, and performance tuning to 475 kW / 646 hp and 692 Nm

Just 3.0 seconds to 100 km/h and 335 km/h top speed

A sportily styled designer outfit made from naked carbon, extremely light forged wheels with 20 and 21-inch diameter and a performance upgrade to 475 kW / 646 hp of power and 692 Nm of torque.

As a result, NOVITEC refines the McLaren 570S Spider not just visually, but also gives the two-seater even better performance on the road: The sprint time to 100 km/h is shortened to just 3.0 seconds. The top speed increases to 335 km/h.


Also part of the product range: NOVITEC RACE high-performance exhaust systems in different versions, sport springs for even more direct handling, and countless options for making the interior of the British sports car even more exclusive.

Giving a sports car such as the McLaren 570S Spider an even more thrilling design is the specialty of the NOVITEC designers. They adapted the naked-carbon aerodynamic-enhancement components initially developed for the 570S Coupe models to the open-top two-seater.

The NOVITEC front spoiler lends the 570S Spider an even more distinctive and athletic front: The refined looks are accompanied by maximum aerodynamic efficiency: The shape of the carbon component was optimized in the wind tunnel to reduce front-axle lift at high speeds. The NOVITEC rear spoiler was designed to elevate the handling stability even further. Its contours were adapted precisely to the sweeping rear end of the vehicle.

NOVITEC carbon rocker panels, which lend the British sports car a longer and lower visual stance, upgrade the sides of the 570S Spider. In addition, the transition between the front and rear wheel arches now looks even more homogeneous. The aerodynamic finishing touches à la NOVITEC also include carbon covers that were tailored-made for the air intakes on both sides of the vehicle. They route the air even more precisely into the air intakes behind the two doors, which supply the engine with combustion and cooling air.

The sporty NOVITEC appearance package is rounded out by carbon covers for the sides of the rear bumper.


The hi-tech forged wheels specifically developed for the 570 models are just as elementary for the thrilling NOVITEC looks of the open-top McLaren. They are mounted in a staggered combination featuring 20-inch wheels on the front axle and 21-inch wheels at the rear. Thanks to their different diameters, they emphasize the wedge shape of the mid-engine sports car visually.

As a result of their design featuring five delicate double spokes and being produced using state-of-the-art forging technology, these wheels are extremely light for their king-sized format. The 9Jx20 front wheels with size 235/30 ZR 20 high-performance tires make full use of the available space under the wheel arches, as do the 11Jx21 rims on the rear axle, which are fitted with size 305/30 ZR 21 tires.

In addition to further enhancing the looks of the Spider thanks to the ride-height lowering by about 30 millimeters, the NOVITEC sport springs also make the handling more direct.

Upgraded in this way, the open-top McLaren is also perfectly prepared for more power. The NOVITEC engine specialists therefore developed three different performance kits for the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that powers all versions of the 570 model series. The special feature of this engine tuning is that the driver is able to activate or deactivate it at any time on the ‘Active Dynamic Panel.’ When needed, the two plug-and-play NOVITEC N-TRONIC modules adapted to the electronic engine control unit of the vehicle provide injection, ignition and boost pressure control with new mapping in a matter of seconds.

The maximum performance level, which is installed in combination with a NOVITEC RACE high-performance exhaust system, produces an additional 56 kW / 76 hp of peak power. At the same time, the engine develops 92 Nm more torque. With an output of 475 kW / 646 hp at 7,450 rpm and a peak torque of 692 Nm at 6,250 rpm, the open-top two-seater delivers further improved driving dynamics: From rest, the tuned 570S Spider storms to 100 km/h in just 3.0 seconds. The top speed increases to 335 km/h. However, the NOVITEC performance upgrade offers more than just improved road performance: It also makes the throttle response even more instantaneous. In addition, the power and torque curve is even more potent across the entire rev range.

With or without engine tuning: A NOVITEC high-performance exhaust system always delivers better sound and performance. In addition, these exhaust systems feature full thermal insulation, which significantly improves the heat transfer in the engine bay. Precision-tailored NOVITEC exhaust systems in different variants made from stainless steel or the even lighter INCONEL material used in Formula One racing are available for all McLaren 570 models. The looks of the two slanted tailpipes on the left and right were adapted perfectly to the contours of the rear end. In addition, the NOVITEC product range comprises lighter and more efficient sports catalysts.

NOVITEC also offers refinement at the highest levels of customization and quality for the interior of all McLaren automobiles. The company transforms the finest leathers and Alcantara in a virtually endless range of colors into the sports car owner’s personal dream cockpit.


Automotive news

24 Hours of Dubai to kick off the season for Audi on January 12/13


Never before has Audi Sport customer racing’s representation in Dubai been as strong as this year. 13 of the 93 race cars in the field are sporting the four rings on their hoods. For the first time, the brand will be on the grid with all three current products in the GT3, GT4 and TCR classes.


“The 24 Hours of Dubai is an outstanding club sport event,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “Amateurs share the cockpits with pros, are able to compete with them and have chances of clinching victories in class and overall.” In 2016, Belgian Audi Club Team WRT won this endurance race in the Audi R8 LMS and a year ago, Team Cadspeed Racing with Atech prevailed in the Gulf state with the Audi RS 3 LMS in the TCR class.


This year, Audi Sport customer racing will be represented in the race with its three current products for the first time. Four teams are fielding the GT3 version of the Audi R8 LMS that is in contention for overall victory. Team MS7 by WRT is relying on Vincent Mosse’s seasoned and successful Belgian race team. Also on board will be the two Audi Sport campaigners Christopher Mies and Dries Vanthoor. Optimum Motorsport in position four of the overall classification was the best Audi customer team in Dubai a year ago. This year, Audi Sport campaigner Christopher Haase, winner of the 24 Hours of Spa, is augmenting the UK squad. Car Collection Motorsport is providing Audi’s largest lineup in the GT3 class once again. The German privateer driver team from Walluf clinched third place in the A6-Am classification the last two years and won both rookie titles in the 24H Series at the end of the year. In Dubai, Peter Schmidt’s team will again compete with two privateer driver lineups and receive support by Audi Sport campaigner Frank Stippler. For Team BWT Mücke Motorsport, the event marks a premiere as the Berlin-based squad is contesting a 24-hour race for the first time in its 20-year history. Markus Winkelhock will be on board as an extremely experienced Audi Sport campaigner, having won an amazing five 24-hour races plus the 2017 Intercontinental GT Challenge with Audi.


The Audi R8 LMS version that has been prepared for GT4 racing will contest the event in Dubai in the hands of privateers for the first time. The German Phoenix Racing team from Meuspath is preparing two race cars for the GT4 class. On board will be a driver team from Hong Kong which in Marchy Lee and Adderly Fong includes the first two champions of the Audi R8 LMS Cup. The second driver combination is giving an opportunity to three drivers having been promoted from another Audi one-make cup: Joonas Lappalainen and Philip Ellis were the title winners in the Audi Sport TT Cup the last two years and Gosia Rdest was another successful participant.

Five customer teams in the TCR class are completing the brand’s lineup with a total of six Audi RS 3 LMS cars. Lap 57 Motorsports from the United Arab Emirates, the Swiss Stanco & Tanner Motorsport by Autorama Wetzikon team, the German Bonk Motorsport company from Münster, Bas Koeten Racing from the Netherlands and the Belgian AC Motorsport team are representing Audi’s colors in this class which, with 14 entrants, is well-filled. Following free practice and qualifying sessions on Thursday, January 11, the 24-hour race will be started at 3:00 PM local time on Friday, January 12. It will be the first championship round of the 24H GT Series for GT sports cars and the 24H TCE Series for touring cars.


Driver lineups


BWT Mücke Motorsport, Audi R8 LMS #9
Ricardo Feller/Christer Jöns/Mike David Ortmann/Andreas Weishaupt/Markus Winkelhock (CH/D/D/D/D)

Car Collection Motorsport, Audi R8 LMS #33
Ali Çapan/Dimitri Parhofer/Dirg Parhofer/Frank Stippler/Rémi Terrail (TR/D/D/D/F)

Car Collection Motorsport, Audi R8 LMS #34
Wiggo Dalmo/Gustav Edelhoff/Elmar Grimm/Dr. Johannes Kirchhoff/Ingo Vogler (N/D/D/D/D)

Optimum Motorsport, Audi R8 LMS #96
Bradley Ellis/Christopher Haase/Oliver Wilkinson (GB/D/GB)

MS7 by WRT, Audi R8 LMS #777
Mohammed Bin Saud Al Saud/Christopher Mies/Dries Vanthoor/Michael Vergers (KSA/D/B/NL)


Phoenix Racing, Audi R8 LMS GT #247
Adderly Fong/Charles Kwan/Marchy Lee/Darryl O’Young/Shaun Thong (HK/HK/HK/HK/HK)

Phoenix Racing, Audi R8 LMS GT #248
Philip Ellis/John-Louis Jasper/Joonas Lappalainen/Gosia Rdest (GB/D/FIN/PL)


Lap 57 Motorsports, Audi RS 3 LMS #57
Abdullah Al Hammadi/Mohammed Al Owais/Ashan Silva/Nadir Zuhour (UAE/UAE/LKA/UAE)

Stanco & Tanner Motorsport by Autorama Wetzikon, Audi RS 3 LMS #112

Ralf Henggeler/Andrew Mollison/Luigi Stanco/Stefan Tanner (CH/GB/I/CH)

Bonk Motorsport, Audi RS 3 LMS #115
Hermann Bock/Max Partl/Rainer Partl (D/D/D)

Bas Koeten Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS #125
Mathijs Bakker/Ronny Jost/Anthony Lambert/JM Littman (NL/CH/B/GB)

Bonk Motorsport, Audi RS 3 LMS #127
Michael Bonk/Axel Burghardt/Volker Piepmeyer/Simon Wirth (D/D/D/D)

AC Motorsport, Audi RS 3 LMS #888
Stéphane Perrin/Vincent Radermecker/Alexandre Renneteau (F/B/F)


Automotive news

First customers take ownership of new Audi R8 LMS GT4


Neuburg an der Donau, December 24, 2017 Audi Sport customer racing has acquired their first customers for the Audi R8 LMS GT4. The racers from America, Australia, China and Europe, took proud possession of the first twelve sports cars from the most recent model range in Neuburg an der Donau. The Audi R8 LMS GT4 is Audi Sport customer racing’s third model.

Stephan Winkelmann, CEO of Audi Sport GmbH, and Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing, personally welcomed the customers at Audi’s Neuburg location. Five race cars went to customers from the USA, two cars each to customers from Asia, one to Team Bourguignon from the Netherlands, one to Phoenix Racing from Germany and one to an Australian customer.

“A new project always symbolizes new beginnings. The first deliveries mark a special moment for our customers as well as for us. We wish the teams the best of success with the new Audi R8 LMS GT4,” says Chris Reinke. The race car delivers up to 364 kW (495 hp) and has been directly derived from the production model. It shares 60 percent of the assemblies with its road-approved “brother,” and, like the road-going car, is built at the Böllinger Höfe site.


The GT4 category in North America, Europe and Asia has become an established element as an overall classification or class in more than 15 racing series and major individual events. Additionally, from 2018 onwards, the new GT4 model will be fielded in the Audi R8 LMS Cup.

Audi has successfully tested the R8 LMS GT4 this year on several occasions, including the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring, where it secured a podium position and in the VLN Endurance Championship. Now, the first purely private racing commitments of the Audi R8 LMS GT4 are approaching when Phoenix Racing contests the Dubai 24 Hours with two cars from January 12 to 13, 2018. Two weeks later, the season of the North American IMSA series will kick off at Daytona. On the first weekend in February, customers are going to contest the Bathurst 12 Hour before the Audi R8 LMS Cup starts its seventh season in March.

In addition to the Audi R8 LMS GT3 for top-flight racing and the Audi RS 3 LMS entry-level touring car, the Audi R8 LMS GT4 is Audi Sport customer racing’s third model. Audi has been offering the Audi R8 LMS GT3 race car since 2009 and delivered more than 200 units. Now Audi Sport’s portfolio of models has been extended once again.

The Audi R8 LMS GT4 can be ordered directly from Audi Sport customer racing at a price of 198,000 euros (excluding VAT).