Las Vegas Motor Speedway might just be heaven on earth

When Bridgestone invited us to a new product launch at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, I was somewhat wistful as I thought about the passing of Dan Wheldon at the speedway at the final race of last year’s Indycar season. I knew it would be tough to visit the track without thinking of the popular driver. Still, I had never been to the Speedway (or Vegas for that matter) so I was excited to visit. All I can say is WOW!

Ferrari. Lamborghini. Andretti. Race cars. Fighter planes. Race tracks.

All in one place! LVMS is the kind of place that gearheads dream of.

Arriving on a shuttle, the first building one notices in a long strand of racing businesses is Shelby’s headquarters. As we drover further into the complex, I was blown away by the sheer size of the place. The only big speedway I have been to is Pocono, and LVMS is easily 3 times the size. There are race tracks all over the place. We saw 2 road courses, the big oval, a bullring, an off road truck course and there is the NHRA drag strip. Just massive.

Throughout the day, the background was filled with the sounds of the U.S. Airforce, as pilots performed training maneuvers. The day before, guests were treated to a real show as the Thunderbirds did some practice.

When a Shelby Cobra went by on a test drive, you knew it was the real deal.

To guide their tire industry attendees and us media types through the day, Bridgestone had assembled a star studded cast of drivers. Our instructors in the early morning included Pierre Kleinubing, Peter Cunningham and Burt Frissell. Later on, the big surprise came as we learned that Mario Andretti was also on hand and would be joining us for lunch.

Before lunch though, we had to flog a BMW 3 Series around a fast autocross course, before heading over to Exotics Racing, where we would get to play with a collection of Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s. I drove a Lamborghini Gallardo LP550 for the first time. For a machine with 550 or so horsepower, it was surprisingly manageable. Equally surprising was how high the limits of the car are. With just five laps, I was nowhere close to exploring the limits of the car. It would be fun to have a bit more seat time to actually get comfortable with the limits of the bull.

To get a taste of our day, head past the jump to check out our photo gallery.
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Happy (Belated) Father’s Day from The Garage!

To all the Dad’s out there who read The Garage, we hope you had a very happy Father’s Day, and hope you were able to set aside some time to indulge your automotive passion, whether it be at the track, a car show, or driving your own pride and joy. For me, I drove up to the Farmington Polo Club for the annual Concorso Ferrari & Friends Event, hosted by the New England Region of the Ferrari Club of America. We arrived around the middle of the show, but by then it was clear many cars had already left. With an hour to go, cars were being loaded on trailers or being driven out (MAJOR kudos to the guy that roared out in his Ferrari 250 GTO!). So while it was a limited field of cars, it was a good time to get up close to some beautiful, rare, exotic Italian machinery. I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

And if you were wondering, the body shell you see in the picture gallery is a freshly painted 1958 Ferrari 250 Series I Cabriolet. Because there is no better way to spend Father’s Day than showing your five year old son the suspension mounting points on a vintage Ferrari!

Menace, thy name is Lamborghini Reventon Roadster

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Think it’s easy being Lamborghini? When the Gallardo and Murcielago are your “regular” production cars, imagine the challenge of having to design a hyper-exotic. When the Reventon coupe debuted in Frankfurst in 2007, Lamborghini nailed it. Over the top? You bet, but it had to be. Two years later, Lambo also chose Frankfurt to show the new Reventon Roadster, a car Lamborghini calls “the most extreme car in the history of the brand”.

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2009 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance: The Italians

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The Fourteenth Annual Greenwich Concours d’Elegance was held on June 6-7 at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich, CT. Founders and co-chairs Bruce and Genia Wennerstrom hosted an impressive variety of marques, featuring rare, classic, unusual, exotic, and one-off production and race cars.

It is a pleasure to share this delectable mix of devastating machinery with you. So as to not overwhelm you, gentle reader, we will show the cars in separate installments by the car’s nation of origin. Enjoy!

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As Bad as They Come: Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SuperVeloce

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You can call it whatever you want, but the people at Lamborghini call their new Murcielago LP670-4 SuperVeloce a car for the purist. Any Lambo is judged at least partially on its numbers, so let’s cut to the chase. Power is from a 6.5 liter V-12, producing 670hp-30 more hp than the uh, ahem, “base” Murcielago. The bump in horses is the result of improved valve timing and a revised intake system. Lamborghini engineered weight out the car-engine, transmission, chassis, interior, for a total of 220lbs shaved off. All this adds to a a 0-62mph time of 3.2 seconds (!). Top speed depends on you-the SuperVeloce buyer can choose between a standard small wing, which will get you to 212mph. Opt for the larger “Aeropack” wing for greater downforce, and 209mph is all you get. 

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Increased downforce was an important part to the SuperVeloce, even without the optional rear wing. The front and rear of the car were redesigned to improve high-speed stability. The other main visual cue that this is no ordinary Murcielago is the transparent engine cover. 

Inside, drivers will find an interior trimmed in carbon fiber and alcantara. Special sport seats made of carbon fiber shells are standard, but if you prefer the standard Murcielago seats, they are a no-cost option. In keeping with the purist theme, there is no radio or navigation, but they are an available option. Lambo’s sequential, automated manual e.gear is standard, which to me is at odds with the “purist” theme of the SuperVeloce. Thankfully, a true six-speed manual in a classic gated shifter is available. And we know which box the true purists will check off. 

Interested? Better act quickly, as only 350 of the baddest of the bulls are going to be built.

A Lamborghini for the Family?


Meet the Estoque concept from Lamborghini, another highlight from the 2008 Paris auto show. While strictly a design exercise, the concept is clearly an effort to see if the public would accept the notion of a four-door Lambo. If Lamborghini asked me (and they didn’t), I would tell them to put the Estoque in a warehouse, put a cover on it, and forget the car existed. 

I see what Lambo, or their German parents are thinking. Porsche set a dangerous precedent a few years ago in bringing to market the Cayenne SUV. Then, as now, it is a huge deal when a sports car, or in this case, an exotic car company wants to break out and sell a vehicle you never would have imagined them building. With the Cayenne, Porsche soothed its critics by telling them “The money we’ll make on the Cayenne will improve our racing program, and give us capital to further develop the 911 and Boxster.” Now that Porsche is going to offer the four-door Panamera, I think Lamborghini felt motivated to stick a toe in the water. Not with the intent to improve anything, just to sell more cars.

Critics of Lamborghini have already complained that Audi has mellowed this brand too much, and that’s talking about the V-10 Gallardo. Is demand so high for the Maserati Quattroporte that Lambo has to answer to that car? Maserati making the Quattroporte is more than fine with me, simply because it has been a part of their history since 1963. 

The jump from two extreme mid-engine exotic cars to a four-door doesn’t sit right. It is un-Lambo at this time. What I propose instead is an evolution of the front engine, V-12 Espada. To the uninitiated, have a look-

 

If you are a little shell-shocked, that’s OK. This is not your typical Lamborghini of the late 1960′s/early 1970′s. All the fury of a V-12 Lambo with a back seat. Before considering a four door, I would advise the company to at least trot out a 2+2 GT car like the Espada to see if the public would accept anything other than a mid-engine two seater.

Team Polizei Co-piloto Dave Maher is on a pilgrimage

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Some guys have all the fun!

Dave Maher, Alex Roy’s sidekick is on the trip of a lifetime. Day one, visit the Maserati factory for a guided tour. Day two will include both Ferrari and Lamborghini. The ultra lucky Maher tells the tale at Gumball 144 headquarters.

Dave, I’m sure that thousands will agree with me when I say: I hate you!

If cars could fly

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Lamborghini certainly has a bloated ego when it comes to comparing the 12-cylinder, 650HP Reventon against other supercars. Feeling their superiority is unmatched by anything on the ground with four wheels, Lamborghini, arranged to challenge a Tornado aircraft to a runway duel.
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It rides like a million bucks

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Talk about supercars! With a price tag of $1.4 million, the 20 Lamborghini Reventon’s that were produced are totally sold out. If you were wondering why the rich and famous have clamored to this car maybe it has something to do with little things like a 6.5 liter V12 that produces 640 horsepower, or the fact that your Reventon can take you from 0 to 60 in just 3.4 seconds. Oh, I forgot to mention, before you sign the check, a top speed of over 210mph.
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Video: Alex Roy und zee Lambo hit zee vall

Those of you who have read your copy of The Driver already know that Herr Roy suffered more than a little embarrassment when he planted a brand spanking new Lamborghini into a wall. I’m sure that the sting has subsided a little in the past 3 years, but this video I just came across must cause Alex’s eyes to burn.