Tag Archives: R8

Pur Sang De La Route – Renault R8 Gordini

When Renault decided to replace it’s rear engine rear wheel drive Dauphine models in 1962 it choose ignore the front engine front wheel drive layout used on the Renault 4 first seen in 1961 and kept the Dauphine layout for the R8 and later more luxurious R10 models designed by Philippe Charbonneaux.

Renault R8 Gordini, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

During the design stage of the R8 it appears there were plans for ALFA Romeo to expand their relationship with Renault to include building a version of this car which never came to fruition, however the unusual styled bonnet / hood with its central crease, shared with the 1960 still born prototype front wheel drive ALFA Romeo tipo 103, is possibly a remnant of the initial co operative intention.

Renault R8 Gordini, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

Novel features for a car of this size at this time were all round disc brakes and the 43hp 1 litre / 61 cui Cléon-Fonte engine featured a sealed for life cooling system first seen on the Renault 4.

Renault R8 Gordini, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

While the R8 was narrower than the Dauphine it replaced the front seats were actually wider than those on it’s predecessor.

Renault R8 Gordini, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

“Le sorcier” Amédé Gordini produced a cross flow cylinder head for the larger 1108cc / 67 cui R8 engine which when fitted with twin Solex carburetors produced 89hp which was fitted to a close ration four speed gearbox for the R8 Gordini model that featured uprated rear suspension and marketed, only in blue with white racing stripes, as a “pur sang de la route / thoroughbred of the road” in 1964, with it’s 110 mph capability it was faster than the contemporary luxury Citroën DS19.

Jean Vinatier, seen at the wheel in the opening scenes of the clip above, with co driver Roger Masson drove an R8 Gordini to victory in the 1964 Tour de Course tarmac rally in Corsica this was followed by two more victories on the same event by Pierre Orsini with Jean-Baptiste Canocini in 1965 and Jean-François Piot with Jean-François Jacob in 1966 completing a hat trick of Tour de Course victories for the model.

Renault R8 Gordini, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

In 1967 the face lifted R8 Gordini featured additional Cibie Oscar driving lights and the engine capacity was increased to 1255 cc / 76 cui which with the cross flow head and twin Weber carburetors produced 99hp.

Renault R8 Gordini, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

More major international Rally successes followed on the Rallye du Maroc won by Robert La Caze
with Raymond Ponnelle in 1967 and Jean-Pierre Nicolas with Jean de Alexandris in 1968, the following year Marc and Hélène Gérenthon won the inaugural Rallye Côte d’Ivoire, while in 1970 Bob Watson with Jim McCauliffe won the five round Australian Rally Championship in their R8 Gordini.

The 1970 example seen in these photographs taken at the recent Castle Combe Rally Day was first registered in the UK in September 2002 and has been seen in the hands of Renault gear box expert David Wheeler on the La Vie En Bleu Prescott Hillclimb.

Thanks for joining me on this “Pur Sang De La Route” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Rally Day tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


PVO Sports Utility – Dodge RAM SRT 10

For the 1996 Chicago Auto Show Dodge produced a Dodge RAM VTS concept sport utility truck powered by a 8 litre / 488 cui V10 motor form their revised Phase II Viper sports car.

Dodge RAM SRT 10, Kernow Mill,

The VTS never went into production but 8 years later DaimlerChrysler’s Performance Vehicle Operations PVO produced the RAM SRT 10 now powered by an 8.3 litre / 505 cui V10 producing 500 hp like the one seen in these photographs taken at Kernow Mill during the summer.

Dodge RAM SRT 10, Kernow Mill,

The 5,130 lb (2,330 kg) regular cab RAM SRT 10 will reach 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds, cover a 1/4 mile in 13.6 seconds to reach 106 mph and has a top speed of 154 mph. Until the arrival of the Australian HSV Maloo R8 the RAM SRT 10 was the quickest production pick up in the world after NASCAR driver Brendam Gaughan set a record of 154 mph in February 2004.

Dodge RAM SRT 10, Kernow Mill,

Production of the RAM SRT 10 ran from November 2004 to the end of the 2006 model year during which time 9,527 examples were built.

Thanks for joining me on this “PVO Sports Utility” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you’ll join me again for Ferrari Friday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


It Is Not A Green Audi – Bentley Speed 8 #004/1

Just over a week ago I visited Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power where I manged to catch up with today’s featured Bentley Speed 8 of the type which ten years ago were entered in the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hours.

Bentley Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

The origins of the Speed 8 lay in two Audi projects that raced at Le Mans in 1999 one of which was designed by Peter Elleray who would go on to design the Bentley’s which competed at Le Mans from 2001 and 2003.

Audi R8R, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Audi entered four cars in the 1999 endurance classic two open cockpit LMP class Audi R8R’s like the one above that was built by Dallara and entered by Audi Sport Team Joest which Frank Biela, Didier Theys and Emanuele Pirro drove third place one spot ahead of the sister R8R driven by Michele Alboreto, Rinaldo Capello and Laurant Laurent Aïello.

Audi R8C, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The two remaining Audi’s were closed cockpit LMGTP Audi R8C’s designed by Peter Elleray and built by Racing Technology Norfolk (RTN) using the same twin turbo V8 motors and gearboxes as the R8R. Veteran Porsche Group C entrant Richard Lloyd ran the R8C’s in the ’99 Le Mans Race under the Audi Sport UK banner with James Weaver, Andy Wallace and Perry McCarthy in the #10, seen above which retired after 198 laps. The #9 R9C was driven by Stefan Johansson, Stéphane Ortelli and Christian Abt retired after 55 laps both cars experiencing gearbox issues that were shared with the R8R’s but which the Joest mechanics were better able to cope with.

Audi R8, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The R8R’s were quicker than the R8C’s which suffered from being the second project to get the go ahead and Audi decided to go with the open cockpit concept and developed the R8 of the type seen above which won five Le Mans 24 hour races in ’00, ’01, ’02, ’04 and ’05.

Bentley EXP Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

In 1998 the Volkswagen Group, which includes Audi, acquired Bentley and Rolls Royce, for reasons that are not clear they did not acquire the rights to use the Rolls Royce name which went to BMW and an agreement was reached that saw Rolls Royce production separate from Bentley at Crewe, where the two marques had been manufactured alongside each other since 1946, with Rolls Royce becoming a BMW owned company located in a new production facility at Goodwood.

Following the acquisition of Bentley in 1999 a 220 mph concept car was announced. The Bentley Hunaudieres powered by a normally aspirated W16, a version of the motor that would be used to power another super car from the Volkswagen Group namely the Bugatti Veyron.

In 2000 Bentley announced that it was to return to Le Mans, for the first time in 71 years, in 2001 with two closed cockpit LMPGTP entires and that a prototype was being worked on by Peter Elleray at Racing Technology Norfolk.

By the time the design for the EXP Speed 8 was finalised it had been decided to use the same twin turbo V8 as was being used in the Audi R8 programme but fitted with an X-trac transmission. During the 2001 Le Mans race chassis #002/4 seen above was driven by Martin Brundle, Guy Smith and Ortelli, qualifying 7th but retiring with transmission failure. Chassis #002/3 driven by Andy Wallace, Eric van de Poele and Butch Leitzinger qualified 9th and finished 3rd overall behind two Audi R8’s 15 laps adrift of the overall winner, but winning the GTP class.

Bentley EXP Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

For 2002 only one Bentley entry was prepared for the Le Mans 24 Hours, it’s upgrades included a new 4 litre / 244 cui version of the Audi based twin turbo V8 up from 3.6 litres / 219 cui, the 4 litre motors were unique to Bentley.

Driving a new chassis, #002/6 seen above, Wallace, van de Poele and Leitzinger qualified over two seconds faster than they had in 2001 but wound up only 11th on the grid. In the race they covered 62 laps more than in 2001 but finished 4th behind three Audi R8’s now only 13 laps behind the overall winner and again winning the LMGTP class.

Bentley Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

For the third and final planned onslaught at Le Mans Peter Elleray designed a completely new car based on a completely new safer carbon fiber tub.

Bentley Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

After Johnny Herbert crashed one of the new #004 cars, chassis #004/2, at 100 mph into a concrete wall without injury during testing, Peter persuaded the management that two even stronger tubs should be built. However one of these #004/4 “blew up” while being cured in the autoclave and the other #004/5 was prepared for the 2003 Le Mans 24 hours.

Bentley Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

Today’s featured chassis #004/1 along with #004/3 was sent to Sebring to compete in the Sebring 12 Hours as a warm up preparation for Le Mans. However two privately entered Audi’s did not read the script and ended up beating the Bentley’s by 4 laps. #004/1 driven by Capello, Tom Kristensen and Smith qualified and finished 4th 5 laps down on the overall winner and behind the Johnny Herbert, David Brabham and Mark Blundell entry.

Bentley Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

Both of the Sebring cars were then sent to Le Mans in May 2003 for the Le Mans test weekend where Capello, Kristensen and Smith driving #004/1 set the fastest time ahead of the Audi Sport Japan Team Goh R8 driven by Seiji Ara, Marco Werner and Jan Magnussen. Third fastest time went to Herbert, Brabham and Blundell in chassis #004/3.

Bentley Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

Like the 2002 EXP Speed 8 the 2003 Speed 8 retained exclusive use of the 4 litre twin turbo V8 which produces around 600 hp. When designing the prototype Bentley Le Mans challenger, 001 in 2000, Peter Elleray was expecting to use an unspecified normally aspirated motor apparently several options were discussed including the W16 and the prototype was tested with a Cosworth DFR Formula One motor before the twin turbo Audi V8 and later larger Bentley V8 derivative were selected.

Bentley Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

The Speed 8 Bentley’s were perfectly prepared for the 2003 Le Mans 24 hours and in the absence of works Audi R8 entries they called on Joest Racing to support their efforts in the pit lane. Capello, Kristensen and Smith were entered in the new chassis #004/5 which qualified on pole 2 seconds faster than older sister car #004/3 driven by Herbert, Brabham and Blundell that completed a Bentley sweep of the front row.

Bentley Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

The Bentley’s then ran a text book race finishing in the order they qualified with the lead car two laps ahead completing 377 laps in total seven more that the third placed Champion Racing Audi R8 driven by JJ Lehto, Emanuele Pirro and Johansson. The last time a Bentley had won the Le Mans 24 hour race was when Woolf Barnato and Glen Kidston led the similar Bentley Speed Six of Frank Clement and Richard Watney in 1930 having completed ‘just’ 179 laps.

Bentley Speed 8, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Designer Peter Elleray believes that Bentley possibly choose to enter the LMGTP class because of the ‘visual presence’ of the closed cockpit cars and it must have been satisfying to him that his final Speed 8 design was the first non Formula One car in 14 years to win be awarded the 2003 Autosport Racing Car Of The Year Award.

There have been many uniformed opinions that the Bentley Le Mans project that ran from 2001 to 2003 was simply a badge engineered Audi R8 with a roof, however this was most certainly not the case.

The Bentley Speed 8 had more British content than the successful Italian Dallara Audi R8’s had German content even though the British car was powered by a unique to Bentley version of the Audi V8.

Peter patiently answered some of the misinformed opinion about the cars he designed at The Nostalgia Forum recently.

I’ll leave the final word on this project to Peter “i(t) will be on my tombstone – “it wasn’t a green audi…”

My thanks to Peter Elleray for an engaging discussion on his involvement with today’s featured car at The Nostalgia Forum.

Thanks for joining me on this “It Is Not A Green Audi” edition of “Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a car that was developed with a very different approach to winning the Le Mans 24 hours. Don’t forget to come back now !


Racing Maloo – HSV Maloo

Two weeks after starting the ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ blog I remember getting a huge thrill from discovering an HSV Maloo on the streets of Bristol and learning that it was the fastest pickup truck in the world.

HSV Maloo R8, Castle Combe

Last weekend while at the Britcar British Endurance Championship Racing Weekend at Castle Combe I stumbled across another Maloo this time in full race trim including

HSV Maloo R8, Castle Combe

slick tyres to compliment it’s 400 hp Corvette LS2 engine which according to one passer by in a Britcar T shirt is tuned to 600 hp good for reaching 60 mph in under 4 seconds.

HSV Maloo R8, Castle Combe

When I got home I was surprised to learn that there is an Australian racing series for Ford and Holden pick ups, where pickups are known as Utes, which is part of a staircase to find talent for the top tier Australian V8 Supercar series.

HSV Maloo R8, Castle Combe

Even more surprisingly I have found out that late last year an announcement was made by Britcar to the effect that they would organise a debut season for a UK V8Ute Series using only the rebranded Vauxhall VXR Maloo pickup model.

HSV Maloo R8, Castle Combe

The cars were to be rented from Britcar with the rental cost including entry fees for a full season of races.

HSV Maloo R8, Castle Combe

The plan was that at each meeting the Maloo’s would take part in three 40 minute races with mandatory pit stops for driver changes.

HSV Maloo R8, Castle Combe

The projected series is on temporary hold, I look forward to an announcement from Britcar that the series will get a chance to go public and from Vauxhall that the VXR Maloo gets the opportunity to enter the UK market place.

Thanks for joining me on this Antipodean Racing edition of ‘Gettin a lil’ psycho on tyres’ I hope that you will join me again tomorrow ! Don’t forget to come back now !


The slowest car they have ever built – Audi R8

For the 8th day of Christmas and first day of the New Year I present this Audi R8.

According to the on line publicity it takes 70 skilled workers to fit over 5,000 unique parts to each vehicle and build 25 of these cars a day.

These vents direct air straight through the car.

The aluminium space frame which includes 99 meters of welds, 782 punch rivets, 308 self tapping screws, and 113 weld studs takes 45 minutes to manufacture.

The R8 rides on a magnetic damping system which provides the the driver with two modes of ride, comfort or sport.

This is the first Audi to compete with Porsche it is not quite as quick to accelerate but has been demonstrated to have slightly better handling than the 997.

Powered by a 420 hp all aluminium dry sump 32 valve V8 with Fuel Stratified Injection, FSI, the R8 is capable of a 12.8 sec 1/4 mile and a top speed in excess of 185 mph.

Audi use 210 exterior LED’s in the R8, 186 of them as brake lights which run at 5,700 degrees centigrade, they are said to use 50% less energy than conventional bulbs.

Expect to see racing versions of the R8 in two wheel drive form make an impact in GT3 racing in the coming year particularly at the annual 24 hour Nurburgring race.

Hope you have enjoyed to today’s LED edition of ‘Getting a lil’ psycho on tyres and that you will join me tomorrow living the life of Riley. Wishing you all a healthy and happy New Year, don’t forget to come back now !


I JUST WANT ONE ! – Maloo R8 !

The odd Latvian Lada Zhiguli notwithstanding it’s not everyday I amble along the streets of Bristol and get stopped dead in my tracks on seeing a vehicle and think WTF is that I want one and want it now !

Such was the case with this vehicle, which oozes refinement and speed by the bucket load yet looks like a pick up. Turns out the Maroo R8 is manufactured by Holden Special Vehicles in Australia and has it’s origins in the humble Holden Ute – pick up.

This Maloo R8 would appear to be the latest E series introduced in 2007, which features a 412 hp 6 litre / 366 CUI LS2 V8 from the Corvette parts bin.

This pick up does not just look fast either, it holds the record for being the worlds fastest pick up timed at 168 mph / 271 kph a staggering 13.5 mph / 22 kph faster than its closest competitor the Dodge Ram SRT-10.

I don’t think its a stretch to say the Maloo R8 is a considerably better looker than the Dodge either.

For a long time the 1970 Chevrolet El Camino has been my dream pick up, my dream just took a turn for the Australian outback 🙂

Hope this Antipodean Stunner leaves you in good spirits for the week ahead, Don’t forget to come back now ! Hear ?