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Daily News: Thursday 7/27/17

HeaderRolls-Royce Reveals New PhantomPhantomThe ultra-luxury car marketplace is a strange place: potential customers are generally more concerned with things like amenities and appearance rather than price and reliability as other, more pedestrian car-shoppers might. As such, advertising for such a vehicle is an entirely different beast for auto makers, and in the early 1920’s some luxury brands such as Cunningham didn’t bother to advertise: if you didn’t know about the car, you probably couldn’t afford it. With the announcement of the eighth-generation of the Rolls-Royce Phantom, Rolls-Royce has decided to take the opposite approach and make their press release as elaborate as I have ever seen from a car company. Totaling 4235 words, the release appears to be the perfect venue for Rolls to wax lyrically about itself.

The new Phantom is returning to the roots set by the first Phantom in 1925, 92 years ago, by forgoing the industry-normal unibody construction for a ‘body-on-spaceframe’ construction. The new spaceframe is an entirely new design, and will be shared with no other brands besides other Roll-Royce models. The practice of sharing platforms among brands for ‘economies of scale’ is something that Rolls-Royce feels is beneath their clients. Dubbed the ‘Architecture of Luxury’, the new spaceframe is 30% stiffer than current unibody cars, while maintaining a low-weight. The architecture is 100% scalable, allowing future SUV’s and Coupes with ease. To power this new Phantom, Rolls has developed a new 6.75L V12 engine, for the first time equipped with two turbochargers. With low-end torque output pegged at 900Nm at an incredibly low 1,700rpm whilst also delivering 563bhp, the new engine is designed for low-end torque and ‘stately progress’, rather than outright performance. The muting provided by the turbochargers, as well as the advanced spaceframe, means that the Rolls-Royce is the quietest car in its class, a key selling point to the Sheik sitting in the back.

The exterior and interior of the Phantom are predictably opulent, as Rolls-Royce strives to live up to its reputation of producing the best motor car in the world. With the ‘Bespoke Commission’ program, customization options are literally unlimited, although production of such models will take longer. Regardless of the customization options chosen, the Phantom will feature enough in-cabin technology to entertain even the most bored individual. The next Phantom is available for consultations now.

Privateer-Led Effort Takes SRT Viper to NurburgringViperDodge has confirmed the inevitable death of its massively-engine’d Viper supercar, and as such, have stopped promoting the sale of the vehicle. When the ACR Viper seemed to casually break 13 lap records in the States back in 2015, everyone had high hopes that the Viper would return to the ‘Ring, ready to show the world what a bit of 8.4L V10 brute force can do. Sadly, Dodge never made the investment to promote their terminally ill supercar—the EPA takes exception to such a large, useless-seeming engine—leaving the Viper and the ‘Ring un-reunited, seemingly forever. A U.S.-led, fan-based,  privateer effort has other ideas, as a combination of sponsors and crowdfunding have resulted in a pair of 2017 production-stock Viper GTS-R models arriving at the ‘Ring earlier this week.

Sponsored by Kumho Tires and Prefix, the team’s first closed-session of practice was rained out, and only a single, damp, traffic-crowded run could be had. Despite these less than optimal conditions, Viper driver Dominik Farnbacher set an unofficial ‘Ring-record for rear-drive, manual production cars at 07:03.45. With more closed sessions planned this week and next, expect to see an officially broken record in the coming weeks.

Stay safe out there guys and good luck, for the States!

Porsche Leaving LeMans Prototype Racing for Formula ELMP1Porsche is expected to announce today that it is following its sister brand Audi, and will be leaving prototype racing in the LMP1-H class of LeMans to instead enter the Formula E racing series. This departure leaves the LMP1-H class with Toyota as the sole contestant, competing against privateer, non-hybrid LMP1 teams. This motorsports move represents a shift at the parent company of the Volkswagen Group towards electrification, with Formula E providing more direct experience and development of electric powertrains. This also represents a major victory for Formula E, especially after their signing of Mercedes-Benz earlier this month. This growth of Formula E does seem to come at the expense of other leagues, as Porsche left LMP1-H racing and Mercedes left DTM.

The electron is slowly encroaching on the racetrack. Expect changes in the coming years.

Stephen Hyden View All

I recently recieved a degree in History from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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