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Ducati and Audi together in Sardinia with DesertX and RS Q e-tron for a special event

Ducati and Audi together in Sardinia with DesertX and RS Q e-tron for a special event

  • International debut for DesertX and RS Q e-tron, together in off-road with Danilo Petrucci and the official Audi drivers including Stéphane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz
  • To celebrate this partnership, the Centro Stile Ducati has created a special livery for the DesertX inspired by that of the Audi RS Q e-tron
  • The new DesertX will be available in European dealerships starting from the end of May, also in a depowered version for A2 license holders

The most highly anticipated motorcycle of 2022 and the most surprising rally prototype met in Sardinia for a special event organized in partnership by Ducati and Audi.

The new Ducati DesertX and the Audi RS Q e-tron took centre-stage in the first test reserved for the international media, which could also count on the presence of Danilo Petrucci, winner of a stage of the Dakar 2022, and the official Audi drivers/co-drivers Emil Bergkvist, Stéphane Peterhansel, Edouard Boulanger, Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz.

To celebrate this event, the Centro Stile Ducati has created an exclusive livery for the DesertX inspired by that of the RS Q e-tron. This special bike was ridden by Petrucci, who put on a show together with the Sainz/Cruz pairing on a technical off-road track

Andrea Ferraresi, Centro Stile Ducati Director: “When we saw the RS Q e-tron for the first time, we couldn’t help but imagine it in action among the dunes and rocks together with the DesertX. This event gave us the opportunity to do so and so we decided to create an exclusive livery, inspired by the colours and graphics of the Audi prototype. Seeing cars and motorcycles together off-road is truly a great show. The collaboration between the two brands and between their respective Design Centers is strong and important

The DesertX is the model with which the Borgo Panigale motorcycle manufacturer enters the mid-displacement enduro segment. The bike is designed to tackle the most demanding off-road and for this reason it is equipped with a 21″ front wheel, 18″ rear wheel, long suspension travel and ample ground clearance. Powered by the 11° Testastretta engine, DesertX guarantees a comfortable, easy and safe ride on every type of journey thanks to the attention paid to ergonomics, careful aerodynamic study and advanced technological equipment.

The safety and performance of the new Ducati model are also guaranteed by the electronic systems, which represent the state of the art in terms of riding assistance. There are 6 Riding Modes available on DesertX (two of which are intended for off-road use: Enduro and Rally), and they work in combination with the 4 Power Modes that modify the power and responsiveness of the engine.

The RS Q e-tron is Audi’s rally prototype to tackle the desert and embodies the purest efficiency. The innovative electric drive with high voltage batteries and energy converter pushes the limits of what is possible. The RS Q e-tron made its debut in the 2022 Dakar Rally last January and impressed with four stage victories, while in March it achieved his first overall victory at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Audi factory driver driver Carlos Sainz underlined the importance of the model for the motorsport program of the German manufacturer:

What Audi has achieved with this concept is technically unique and a real benefit for us drivers. The event in Sardinia was great to communicate the benefits of the electric drive. All the media were impressed throughout”.

Sainz, Petrucci and all the Audi drivers were greeted enthusiastically by the press during this event which confirmed the great bond and constant collaboration between Ducati and Audi.

The new DesertX, which since its presentation has met with remarkable success, will be available in all European dealerships in the Ducati network from the end of May. The new model is also available in a 35kW depowered version for A2 license holders.

The time has come for bikers to make their wildest travel dreams come true.

#DesertX #DreamWilder


MINI John Cooper Works returns to the 24h race at the Nürburgring

MINI John Cooper Works returns to the 24h race at the Nürburgring

The 24-hour race at the Nürburgring is considered to be the ultimate endurance test for human and machine.

This year, a MINI John Cooper Works will compete in the 50th edition of the high-speed showdown taking place from 26-29 May at the 25.378 kilometre circuit, consisting of the Grand Prix circuit and legendary Nordschleife.

In September last year, the project was launched at Bulldog Racing in the Eifel region, just a few metres away from the Nordschleife. The base vehicle is a MINI John Cooper Works with the 4-cylinder turbo engine known from the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman and MINI John Cooper Works Countryman with 225 kW/306 hp and a maximum torque of 450 Nm. The 8-speed Steptronic gearbox taken from large-series-production featuring an integrated, mechanical differential lock with a locking effect of up to 70% ensures that the drive torque is converted into thrilling performance without any losses.

Racing modifications
For racing purposes, the following modifications were made to the standard MINI John Cooper Works which go beyond SP3T class regulations:

  • A specially developed racing cage was installed.
  • The fuel tank volume was increased to 100 litres.
  • Far-reaching interventions in the aerodynamics, including an adjustable rear wing, a completely covered underbody, a rear diffuser and front splitter were made.
  • Weight was consistently reduced, e.g. by using Makrolon® window panes.
  • A model-specific racing suspension with adjustable rebound and compression damping was fitted.
  • All moving chassis and suspension parts were replaced with reinforced Uniball bearings.
  • A pneumatic lifting unit was installed.
  • The sports exhaust system was adapted with a racing catalytic converter.
  • Original BMW M Performance brake components were installed.

MINI in motorsport 
Pat Moss made motorsport history in 1962, scoring the first international rally victory for MINI at the Tulip Rally. Her victory marked the beginning of the Classic Mini’s unique success story in rally sport, with 3 overall Monte Carlo Rally wins in 1964 (Paddy Hopkirk), 1965 (Timo Mäkinen) and 1967 (Rauno Aaltonen).

This string of successes included six overall Dakar Rally victories in 2012 (Leonid Novitskiy), 2013 (Stéphane Peterhansel), 2014 (Nani Roma), 2015 (Nasser Al-Attiyah), 2020 (Carlos Sainz Sr.) and 2021 (Stéphane Peterhansel).

The MINI John Cooper Works racing car “Made in Nürburg” pays homage to the racing tradition of the MINI brand in the classic colour scheme of the 1960s racing cars in red / white.

Aston Martin returns to GT World Challenge Pro class with all-star Beechdean AMR driver line-up

Aston Martin returns to GT World Challenge Pro class with all-star Beechdean AMR driver line-up

  • Beechdean AMR launches two-car assault on 2022 Fanatec GT World Challenge Endurance Cup
  • Vantage returns to Pro class with all-works Aston Martin driver line-up
  • Maxime Martin joins Dane Train champions Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen in Pro entry
  • Valentin Hasse-Clot confirmed as works Aston Martin driver, joining team principal Andrew Howard and Theo Nouet in Gold Cup car

Aston Martin will return to the Pro class of the Fanatec GT World Series Endurance Cup for the first time since 2019, as Beechdean AMR today announced its two-car Aston Martin Vantage GT3 assault on the world’s premier all-GT racing competition in 2022.

As Aston Martin Racing’s longest-serving partner team, Beechdean AMR has extended and expanded its collaboration with the British ultra-luxury sportscar manufacturer this year, with a return to fulltime top-flight international competition and fielding an all-works driver line-up in its Pro class Vantage. This is the first time an Aston Martin has featured an all-works line-up in the top class of the SRO-run series for a full season, and marks a clear statement of intent for a car that has won races at every other significant level of GT racing around the world.

In a return for the famous ‘Dane Train’ #95 Vantage, double FIA World Endurance GT champions Nicki Thiim (DEN) and Marco Sørensen (DEN) will partner up once again for a crack at the GTWC Endurance Cup title as well as target an overall win in the series’ crown jewel – the Total 24 Hours of Spa. Thiim already has a Spa 24H victory to his name, having won the Pro-Am class with TF Sport in 2019. They will be joined by another works driver and the winner of the 2016 event, Maxime Martin (BEL), who also claimed victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Aston Martin in 2020.

In the Pro-Am Gold Cup, team principal, two-time British GT champion and 2016 European Le Mans Series title-winner Andrew Howard (GBR) makes a return to the international arena. Alongside him in the #97 Vantage GT3 and completing a strong line-up, is newly-confirmed Aston Martin works driver Valentin-Hasse Clot (FRA), and his 2020 GT4 European Silver Cup championship-winning team-mate Theo Nouet (FRA).

Hasse-Clot has extensive experience of Vantage, having been an ever-present in Aston Martin partner team line-ups since 2020 at both GT3 and GT4 level, and won the 2021 FFSA GT Silver Cup to add his GT4 European title the previous year. The 26-year-old Parisian also graduated top of class from Aston Martin’s coveted in-house AMR Academy in 2020, following in the footsteps of fellow champions Ross Gunn and Tom Canning.

Andrew Howard, Beechdean AMR team principal, said: “As Aston Martin Racing’s longest-serving partner team, Beechdean AMR has a proud track record of success with Vantage. For me personally, it’s a brand I have always regarded with a strong passion, and this deep emotional tie combined with the ambitions of our team have culminated in Beechdean AMR stepping into the GTWC Endurance Cup. This is the beginning of a new chapter, and together with the help and collaboration of Aston Martin, we intend to demonstrate the full potential of Vantage in the world’s most competitive GT series.”

Huw Tasker, Head of AMR Partner Racing, said: “The GTWC is very much unfinished business for Aston Martin, and while we have had competitive Pro entries in the series previously, for one reason or another, Vantage has not always enjoyed the success it deserves. With Beechdean AMR, and a superb driver line-up in both cars, we hope and expect to see a step forward in terms of consistent competitiveness and results. Beechdean AMR is our longest-serving partner and one we have always enjoyed close ties with, so we will of course support the team’s endeavours in any way that we can to ensure that Vantage establishes itself firmly as a competitive option in the world’s most highly-contested GT division.”

The five-round GTWC Endurance Cup begins this weekend with a three-hour race at Imola in Italy on 3 April, before moving on to the Paul Ricard 1000km race in the south of France on 5 June. The TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa follows on the weekend of 30-31 July. Germany’s Hockenheim has been added to the calendar for a three-hour race on 2-4 September before the traditional season finale at Barcelona on 2 October.

Sunday’s race begins at 1500 CET and can be followed via the website and the SRO’s official YouTube channel.


Maxime Martin, #95 Beechdean AMR, Aston Martin Vantage GT3: “I’m very excited to be back in the GTWC and to be pairing up with my old team-mates Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen from WEC. I think we have a really good line-up. The team is preparing well and things look very positive. This may be the first time we’ve had a full works line-up aligned with a good team in the GTWC and I think it is the time to show that the car is competitive. The championship is one the reference points for GT racing around the world, so if we can win there it shows how good the car is.”

Nicki Thiim, #95 Beechdean AMR, Aston Martin Vantage GT3: “GT World Challenge, Beechdean AMR, Marco Sørensen, Maxime Martin and Nicki Thiim – what a line-up! It’s great to see Andrew putting a lot of heart into this project. He has a great belief in Aston Martin and you can feel the spirit throughout the team. This is a great championship to get into – it is the strongest GT championship by far. As a pro-driver, I’m really looking forward to the challenge. And together with two insanely fast team-mates I can’t wait to get on with a season that includes the famous Spa 24 Hours.”

Marco Sørensen, #95 Beechdean AMR, Aston Martin Vantage GT3: “It’s great to be teaming up with Nicki again in the #95 Dane Train, as well as Maxime, and it feels good to be fighting in the top level of GT competition for Aston Martin. After Spa last year we know the Vantage has the potential to fight at the front and in Beechdean AMR we have a team that will be able to prepare it well and give us the chance to race for wins.”

Valentin Hasse-Clot, #97 Beechdean AMR, Aston Martin Vantage GT3: “Becoming an Aston Martin works driver is a life-changing opportunity for me. The career of a young driver is made of many sacrifices for very few moments of pure joy. The path was not easy until I found my way in 2019 with Aston Martin. Over three years of commitment with the manufacturer, I’ve had the chance to evolve in many championships, with different partner teams, to learn alongside amazing people, but above all to win my first titles. I would like to thank Aston Martin for having trusted me through the AMR Academy in 2020, then with the status of Junior driver in 2021, and now as a factory driver. Now the focus is on winning another title in GTWC with Beechdean AMR.”

Theo Nouet, #97 Beechdean AMR, Aston Martin Vantage GT3: “Making the step up to the Vantage GT3 is the next logical progression for me in my career. Having won the GT4 European title in the Vantage GT4 with Valentin, it feels great to be stepping into the bigger class with a car I know and trust alongside a driver I work well with. This is going to be a big year for Aston Martin in the GTWC and I’m really excited about being able to play a key role in this story with Beechdean AMR.”

Former Formula 1, IndyCar, and Le Mans 24H driver Max Chilton joins McMurtry Automotive

Former Formula 1, IndyCar, and Le Mans 24H driver Max Chilton joins McMurtry Automotive

  • Max will work closely with McMurtry engineers to develop the Spéirling to its full potential as the ultimate electric track car.
  • Through driving the Spéirling, Max will gain a unique understanding of the McMurtry mission and inform the design direction of future McMurtry vehicles.
  • McMurtry Automotive will benefit from Max’s considerable racing and event experience to tailor the vehicle for specific events, racing and track days.
  • McMurtry Automotive will learn from Max’s perspective as a driver to create an unbeatable driving experience for future customers.

British ex-Formula 1, Indy Car and Le Mans 24H driver, Max Chilton, joins McMurtry Automotive in the pivotal role of head development driver for the McMurtry Spéirling.

As head development driver, Max will have the enviable role of driving and enhancing the McMurtry Spéirling at numerous race circuits and testing venues over the coming year. Max will also be a senior spokesperson for the company and present exclusive behind the scenes footage of the team’s progress from experimental prototype to record breaker.

Managing Director Thomas Yates said: “I am really pleased to have Max join as a dedicated and leading member of our team, as we now further increase our rate of testing and development. Fresh from six seasons of competition in IndyCar and previously having competed in Formula One, Max will bring a wealth of motorsport and driving experience that will undoubtedly help us to reveal the performance potential of the Spéirling and get us closer to our record breaking goals.

Max Chilton said: “It’s a huge honour to be given the opportunity to become head development driver for McMurtry. The company is really reaching new heights in the performance EV world. The team have spent over four years developing the Spéirling, a car which will really show the world what performance can be achieved with all electric power.

McMurtry caught my eye last year; their professionalism and ability to invent new solutions is something I have never experienced at this level. I am excited to see what we can achieve in the future, particularly developing a road car which has always been on my long term list to achieve. My thanks are with Sir David McMurtry for coming up with this truly amazing project and trusting me with this role.

The McMurtry Spéirling was unveiled in July 2021 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed where it was driven up the iconic hillclimb by development drivers Derek Bell MBE and Alex Summers. Since then, the Spéirling has attended other prestigious events such as the UK’s most exceptional Concours d’Elegance, Salon Privé, and completed a first round of development testing through the winter season. 

Known for its diminutive size and enormous capability, the Spéirling is instantly recognisable by its all-black livery and unmistakable double-finned and wingless silhouette. 

The Spéirling houses the patented McMurtry downforce-on-demand system; a fan-powered ground effect system that generates downforce without the need for conventional, drag-inducing aerodynamic wings. The downforce-on-demand system also generates a huge amount of noise, which has been likened to a jet engine. The key to the Spéirling’s track potential, the downforce-on-demand system unlocks mind-bending performance without stretching the shrink-wrapped proportions. 

About McMurtry Automotive
British electric vehicle start-up McMurtry Automotive invents, engineers, and develops electric vehicles to challenge conventions surrounding the automotive industry. McMurtry attempts to see beyond the trends of today and into a future where cars can be compatible with the planet and the pleasure of driving is uncompromised. The McMurtry Spéirling is not just a hypercar, it is so much more. A possible future of motorsport, a demonstrator for technologies that will enhance tomorrow’s mobility, and an introduction to the value we see in small. 

About Max Chilton
Max Chilton started his ascent to Formula 1 in karting at the age of 10. By 22, Chilton had become the latest in a prestigious line of British racing drivers to enter the exclusive world of Formula 1 as he secured his full race seat with Marussia, competing alongside the world’s elite at the pinnacle of racing. Chilton helped his team triumph over their nearest rivals in the Constructors Championship and throughout the year, using his gift of caring for his machinery, was able to set a world record, finishing 19 of 19 races, the best finishing record for a rookie F1 driver, ever. 

In 2016 Max began competing in the IndyCar Series. He dominated the 2017 Indianapolis 500, leading the race for 50 laps, losing the lead with just five laps to go, and ultimately finishing fourth. 

Chilton is one of a select few professional drivers to have raced in the Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500 and Le Mans 24 Hours. 

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MC Edition: the new special series to celebrate racing as the beating heart of Maserati

MC Edition: the new special series to celebrate racing as the beating heart of Maserati

MC stands for Maserati Corse: a sporty nature, fostered on the track for everyday competition. The new MC Edition celebrates Maserati’s uncompromising performance and racing spirit.

Victories, trophies, legendary cars and drivers: the world of racing immediately comes to mind when thinking of the Trident Brand, here paying tribute to its glorious history.

The focus is on the versions equipped with a V8* engine to highlight the concept of “uncompromising driving pleasure”: the most powerful Ghibli, Levante and Quattroporte become the stars of a new edition with a captivating aesthetic.

MC Edition epitomises performance, orientation towards victory and bold driving pleasure, echoing a story that began almost 96 years ago when the Tipo 26 – the first model to bear the Trident on the bonnet – won the 1,500 cc class at the Targa Florio with Alfieri Maserati at the wheel.

The same racing feeling can now be found in this specific edition, available on the Ghibli, Levante and Quattroporte in two exclusive colours: Giallo Corse and Blue Vittoria.

The exterior clearly recalls the Brand’s roots, with its exclusive colours and powerful sporty character.

Yellow and blue are the colours of Modena, the city that symbolises the Motor Valley and is the home of Maserati.
Giallo Corse is a three-layer yellow colour with blue mica interfering with the light in a highly sophisticated manner, for a sporty and advanced look. Conversely, Blue Vittoria is a matte three-layer blue. Extremely deep, impactful, new and contemporary, it has a notably tangible effect.

To complement the exterior, the MC Edition range features distinctive details in Piano Black and a specific badge on the rear fender and B-pillar. The Levante MC Edition has 22″ wheels, with 21” rims on the Ghibli and Quattroporte. The gloss black finish of the wheel rims and blue brake calipers complete the look.

The specs of the special series are completed with an electronic sunroof, Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system and Driver Assistance package.

The MC Edition’s unique link with racing spirit and Modena is also evident in the interior features, including components in blue carbon fibre in the cabin. The yellow and blue stitching on the seats across the natural Nero Pienofiore black leather is juxtaposed with denim accents. The headrest is embellished with the MC Edition logo and a dedicated badge takes over the centre of the console.

Unprecedented performance and driving pleasure require an uncompromising visual impact: taking Maserati’s roots as a starting point, MC Edition creates a perfect “racing style” and celebrates the power rooted in the beating heart of racing and the DNA devoted to the competitions typical of the Motor Valley.

The new MC Edition is available in EMEA, APAC and China from February 2022.

*350-hp V6 engine on the Chinese market.


Maserati S.p.A.
Maserati produces a complete range of unique cars, immediately recognisable by their extraordinary personality. Thanks to their style, technology and innately exclusive character, they delight the most discerning, demanding tastes and have always been a reference point for the global automotive industry. A tradition of successful cars, each of them redefining what makes an Italian sports car in terms of design, performance, comfort, elegance and safety, currently available in more than seventy markets internationally. Ambassadors of this heritage are the Quattroporte flagship, the Ghibli sports sedan, and the Levante, the first SUV made by Maserati, all models characterised by the use of the highest quality materials and excellent technical solutions. Ghibli and Levante are now also available in hybrid version, the Trident Brand’s first electrified cars. A complete range, equipped with V6 and V8 petrol, and 4 cylinder hybrid powerplants, with rear-wheel and four-wheel drive. The Trofeo Collection, comprising Ghibli, Quattroporte and Levante, equipped with the powerful 580 hp V8 engine, further embodies the performance DNA of the Trident Brand. The top-of-the-range is the MC20 super sports car, powered by the ground-breaking Nettuno V6 engine, incorporating F1-derived technologies available in the power unit of a standard production car for the first time.

The exciting story of Spain’s automobiles

The exciting story of Spain’s automobiles

A true passion for racing, inspired by the raging bulls of Pamplona and fuelled by the people’s desire to achieve automotive immortality

The fight for survival

The 2021 F1 Spanish GP in Catalunya may be in the history books, but this challenging track still remains as the one of the most well known and enjoyed by most, if not all drivers. So what is the history of the cars, engineered and built in Spain?

The beginning of this story was difficult, as the very first automotive company La Cuadra, created in 1898 by a Spanish artillery captain called Emilio de la Cuadra, which quickly changed ownership and then went bankrupt in just five years, and with only two concept cars to show for. A major restructuring took place in 1904, creating La Hispano-Suiza Fábrica de Automóviles (Spanish-Swiss Automobile Factory) based in Barcelona. Four engines were introduced in the next year and a half – a 3.8L and 7.4L four-cylinder and a pair of big six-cylinder engines were produced. This company managed to avoid complete collapse and its largest operations remained in Barcelona until 1946, where cars, trucks, buses, and even aero engines were produced.

Under the inspired leadership of the talented Swiss engineer Marc Birkigt, Hispano-Suiza launched a full range of luxury models in quick succession. Birkigt also recognised the marketing benefits of competing in races. When he learned that Spain’s King Alfonso XIII would present one of the trophies during the nearby 1909 Catalan Cup, Birkigt quickly readied Hispano-Suiza’s first racing car.

Hispano-Suiza Alfonso XIII (1909) – Credit: Hispano Godo

From ruin to racing

Instead of turning one of the existing models into a competition car, Birkigt opted to start from scratch. The four-cylinder engine differed from any of his earlier designs in that it was constructed from a single block as opposed two blocks of two cylinders. Displacing just over 1.8L, the straight-four featured an innovative ‘T-head’ with twin lateral camshafts, actuating the side valves through push-rods. The engine was mounted so far back in the chassis, behind the front axle for better weight distribution that it actually amounted for a mid-engine car! Despite having relatively little time to prepare and test the company’s first racing car, Hispano-Suiza entered three cars in the Catalan Cup. The Spanish King saw one of the Hispanos get an early lead, but eventually all succumbed to issues and were forced to drop out. Birkigt continued the development of the cars, increasing the displacement and fitting stronger wheels. The work paid off and in 1910, Hispano-Suizas placed first, third and sixth in the prestigious Coupe de l’Auto race.

While continuing the development of new competition cars, Birkigt also used the Coupe de l’Auto winning machine as the basis for a new production model launched in 1911. Officially dubbed the Type 15T or 15/45 hp depending on the market, this high performance Hispano-Suiza is better known as the Alfonso XIII. It received this nickname after the prototype was gifted to the Spanish monarch by his wife. Mechanically the Alfonso XIII shared its basic design with the successful racing car. The biggest change was a further increase of the engine displacement to 3.6L. The engine, in unit with the three-speed gearbox, was mounted again in the middle of the chassis, and added rigidity to the new steel ladder frame. The new Hispano-Suiza’s suspension followed convention with semi-elliptic leaf springs all around. Cable-operated drum brakes were fitted to the rear wheels only.

Hispano-Suiza Alfonso XIII Jaquot Torpedo – Credit: PebbleBeach Auto
New gold standard

Considered one of the first ever sports cars, the Alfonso XIII was available with a basic roadster body that featured wooden fenders on the earliest examples. Some were also supplied to specialist coach-builders to be clothed with more lavish bodies. In 1913 various revisions were carried that included the introduction of a four-speed gearbox, a longer wheelbase and rear suspension with triple quarter-elliptic leaf springs on each corner. For obvious reasons, production ceased in 1914. By that time a very impressive 500 examples had been produced. In addition to being a sales success, the Alfonso XIII also established Hispano-Suiza as a serious manufacturer. It is with this reputation that company re-emerged after the war as one of Europe’s premier luxury manufacturers. Rarely seen today, the Alfonso XIII ranks among the finest cars produced before the Great War.

Between the two world wars Hispano-Suiza became a benchmark for engineering and luxury throughout Europe. Licences for Hispano-Suiza patents were in serious demand from prestige car manufacturers world-wide. Even the British Rolls Royce used a number of Hispano-Suiza patents – for instance, for many years Rolls Royce installed Hispano-Suiza designed power brakes in their vehicles. After WW2 the company remained more concentrated on military contracts and less so on continuing their standard-setting car success. The company’s attention turned increasingly to turbine manufacturing and after a takeover, and various mergers, it disappeared from the automotive industry. The brand saw an attempt at revival with the showing of a concept at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. However, the planned production never materialised.

The quest for speed

Pegaso was born in 1946 from the former truck division of Hispano-Suiza, initially under the name of Enasa. By the 50s the company had established itself as a reliable manufacturer of various utility vehicles, but the general public was unaware of the racing car that had been developed behind the curtains. Pegaso’s chief technical manager was Wifredo Ricart who formerly worked as chief engineer for Alfa Romeo, and designed the Alfa Romeo Tipo 512. The Z-102 started life as a pair of prototypes in 1951 with coupe and drophead body styles. Both prototypes had steel bodies which were determined to be too heavy and Pegaso made the decision to switch to aluminium bodies to save weight. However, the cars were still quite heavy and difficult to drive, so racing success was virtually nonexistent. Three cars entered the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1953, one crashed with more than 200 km/h and the team withdrew the other two. Because the cars were built on a cost-no-object basis the car soon proved too costly to warrant continued manufacturing and the Z-102 was discontinued in 1958 after just 84 cars being produces.

Pegaso Z-102 Coupe – Credit: RSF Motorsport

The fastest pegasus

But even with the lack of racing merits, Pegaso had a winner in their hand. The Z-102 was the fastest production car in the world at the time of production! The car had a steel chassis with an aluminium body. Everything was produced in-house at Barcelona at Pegaso’s own factory. The Z-102 was powered by a V8 engine and had a 5-speed non-synchromesh transaxle. The car entered production with a 2.5L engine, the same as in the prototypes, though later variants used a 2.8L and 3.2L DOHC 32-valve V8 engines with multiple carburetors or an optional supercharger. Power ranged from 175 hp to 360 hp and was sent to the rear wheels through a five-speed gearbox. The base model had a top speed of 192 km/h. The supercharged version proved the real worth of the Pegaso. On September 25, 1953, in Jabbeke (Belgium), a Z-102 Touring BS/2.8 driven by Celso Fernández, broke four official R.A.C.B. (Royal Automobile Club de Belgique) world records. Of these records the most prominent was its speed in the flying-start kilometre. The supercharged Z-102 achieved a 243.079 km/h average speed, a record previously held by a Jaguar XK120. This made the Z-102 the fastest production car in the world at that time.

After that endeavour proved to be not as successful as Pegaso were hoping for, they went back to their roots at building utility vehicles, before Iveco took over the company in 1990.

Small Italian Miracle

SEAT was founded in the 50s by a large Spanish consortium with the goal to produce vehicles domestically. Unfortunately, the initial financing meant creating a car from scratch was just not feasible. So a partnership with FIAT was signed and the production, albeit in low volumes at the beginning, of licensed model was the moving force behind the brand. Now people are going to say that SEAT has no place here, since it’s been producing licensed models under their brand, but there is an important part of the story, that SEAT was instrumental for.

The SEAT 600 was basically a FIAT 600, but this little car started what’s called “The Spanish Miracle” – an economic boom that gave Spanish people a much needed boost of mobility and in terms gave a shove to the whole economy. It was small, cheap to buy and run, but in 1958 it accounted for an enormous growth in personal vehicle ownership. By 1972 SEAT sold nearly 800 000 of their licensed model 600 in Spain alone! Of course, nothing lasts forever – SEAT and FIAT separated after a financial dispute and then VW stepped in. We all know the rest of that story.

1963 SEAT 600D Convertible – Credit: Car Pixel

Track day aquarium

Nowadays a glimpse of Spanish engineering can still be seen mostly from small companies. One such example is Tramontana, which does a track car with 720 hp Mercedes V12 engine. It’s certainly fast with a 0-100 km/h time in just 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 325 km/h. It has an open top version, but the closed top is . . hilarious. Probably inspired by Hammerhead Eagle iThrust a.k.a. GEOFF. It’s basically a road-legal open wheeler, made of all the exotic material (carbon fibre, magnesium) to be light, fast and agile.

Tramontana – Credit EVO Media

Spanish Caterham

Then there’s Aspid (IFR Automotive, S.L.) named after the viper species “Vipera aspis” found in northern Spain, where the company is based. They’ve started in 2009 with the IFR Aspid, which may look like a Panoz Roadster clone, but in fact is quite innovative. It’s powered by a 2.0L Honda S2000 engine that has been tuned to produce 270 hp in naturally aspirated form and can go all the way to 400 hp in the supercharged version. 0-100 km/h is just below 3 seconds with the supercharger and the car’s cornering capabilities are impressive with a claims of 1.6G. What separates the Aspid from anything else in the world is that it holds four unique patents for technologies used throughout the car.

The first patent is for a twin brake disc system, consisting of two lightweight stainless steel discs with large turbine shaped slots designed to maximise brake cooling and efficiency as well as being 70% lighter than a conventional brake disc setup. The second patent is for the aluminium extrusion chassis, developed for maximum rigidity and to fit the Aspid’s double wishbone suspension system. The chassis then has a lightweight aluminium honeycomb overlaid on top for added strength. With these advancements IFR has been able to reduce the weight of the Aspid’s chassis to only 55 kilos. The third patent is for Dual Lip Reinforcement wishbones which used almond shaped spars with strengthening beams going through the centres to improve rigidity and aerodynamics. Lastly, the 4th patent is for a modular wiring loom which cuts the amount of harness needed to 1/3 of what it originally was as well as reduce its weight by 70%. The Aspid also uses a removable F1 style carbon fibre steering wheel complete with data logging and telemetry abilities as well as a slew of other features to control various aspects of the car such as rev limit, ride height, brake balance, valve timing and others, which is a feature almost never used in street cars. Additionally the Aspid is fully compliant with FIA safety regulations, as well as European homologation standards, from stock and as such can be taken to the track and raced with little to no additional modification needed.

IFR Aspid – Credit: Car Images

Raging Bulls

The Spania GTA Spano was introduced 11 years ago, it is a very limited production sports car, yet it’s a very popular name around the world. Now why would that be? Maybe because it was created by a racing team. Yes! Not a road cars manufacturer, but a proper and successful racing team from Valencia, called GTA Motor Competición. The team was founded in 1994 and has been racing continuously in various GT and Junior Formula championships, even recording a win at the Superleague Formula in 2008. So when the team principal decided they are good enough to spread their racing heritage, he immediately received support within the team. And in 2010 the first generation of GTA Spano was presented. It had an enormous 8.4L twin-turbo V10 from a Dodge Viper and a weight of just 1350 kilos. It was pushing 900 hp and 1000 Nm of torque. 0-100 km/h was 3 seconds flat and the top speed was 350 km/h.

GTA Spano First gen – Credit: Zastavki

The Second generation in 2015 saw a power, as well as styling upgrades. The engine lost displacement at 8.0L but it was now pushing 925 hp and a monstrous 1220 Nm of torque! As a result of the changes, the car gained a little weight at 1400 kilos. But the 0-100 km/h time was now just under 3 seconds and the top speed was 370 km/h.

GTA Spano Second gen – Credit: TopSpeed

What happened then?

As it was the case with Portugal, the car industry in Spain never received an adequate government help. Two world wars and a prolonged civil war also took a toll on the young Spanish industry. But the desire for speed is still there and small companies like Spania GTA and Aspid are indicating that the Spanish racing spirit is not dead. Spanish drivers in top level motorsports are also a pretty good indicator about the developed racing culture and their fighting spirit has been an inspiration on future generations.


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