Jan 31, 2008 | NZPC

grand turismo5

Sony Computer Entertainment announced today the April 17 North American release date for Gran Turismoâ„¢5 Prologue, available exclusively on PlayStation3 (PS3), so it can’t be too far behind for New Zealand.

Gran Turismo 5 Prologue , an intense precursor to Gran Turismo 5, features over 60 meticulously detailed vehicles from manufacturers such as Ferrari , Audi and Nissan. Users will experience the vehicle-specific physics technology and intricate graphical rendering that Polyphony Digital is renowned for. Additionally, for the first time in the history of the franchise, users can race online – at 60 fps (frames per second) in stunning 1080p HD – with up to 16 vehicles at a time on beautifully rendered tracks from around the globe, including Daytona International Speedway and a London City track.

“Ten years following the introduction of Gran Turismoâ„¢ on PS one, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue delivers the most realistic and technologically advanced racing experience on any platform,” said Jeff Reese, Director, Software Marketing, SCEA. “With 1080p graphics, revolutionary online features like Gran Turismoâ„¢ TV and the new in-cockpit racing view, the world’s best-selling racing franchise will once again set the standard for racing games.”

Gran Turismo 5 Prologue will feature various innovative and revolutionary modes to harness PS3 system’s capabilities while further developing an automotive lifestyle and global community . Among them is Gran Turismo TV, a new dedicated online channel available exclusively from PlayStationNetwork that delivers worldwide motorsport programming and manufacturer content. Additionally, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue will support online racing events to foster community competition. A new in-cockpit view will provide a unique perspective for racers and features real-time gauges and human animations that accurately represent the true performance and handling of each vehicle . To extend the realistic driving experience, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is also compatible with the new Dualshock3 controller, which has vibration functionality.

We’ll let you know when the New Zealand release dates are as soon as we know.

Source: Sony

Jan 31, 2008 | NZPC

A V-Spec version of the Nissan GT-R is planned that will likely drop 100kg, have 30 more horsepower, and feature upgraded brakes and suspension. There’s also a race/trackday spec car planned that will have new wheels and a full roll cage.

Here’s some video of the race spec car.

Jan 31, 2008 | NZPC

nissan gtr

Nismo, Nissan’s in-house tuning arm, is making it easier to obtain its parts via its dealer network in Japan, and it has plans to expand the program around the world. This means you’ll be able to source all your Nismo go-faster bits from your local Nissan dealer, have them fitted while you wait, and not invalidate your warranty.

Jan 30, 2008 | NZPC

mitsubishi lancer prototype S

Mitsubishi is to give the Prototype-S concept for a sports hatchback its global debut at the 78th Geneva International Motor Show which runs from March 4 through March 16 at the Geneva Palexpo exhibition and conference complex.

Deriving from MMC’s sport sedan family, which includes the Lancer (named the Galant Fortis on the Japanese market) launched in 2007 and the Lancer Ralliart announced at the 2008 Detroit Motors Show and the Lancer Evolution premiered at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, Prototype-S takes the form of a hatchback.

Distinguished by the inverted-slant nose with trapezoidal grille front fascia that marks Mitsubishi Motors new design identity and with wide-and-low proportions that leave no doubt as to the concept underlying its design, Prototype-S uses exterior lines to craft a shape that is powerful and sporty even by European standards, echoing the acclaimed 2005 Concept-Sportback show car.

In its mechanical specification Prototype-S is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder DOHC MIVEC intercooler / turbocharger engine [developing maximum of 177 kW (240 PS) and 343 Nm (35 kg-m)] mated to Mitsubishi Motors’s high-efficiency Twin Clutch SST automated manual transmission that marries fun-to-drive control with good fuel efficiency. The full-time 4WD driveline features Mitsubishi Motors’ Active Center Differential (ACD) that uses an electronically controlled multi-plate hydraulic clutch to optimally tailor front/rear drive torque split to different driving conditions and deliver the best balance between steering response and traction.

This model is likely to be available only in Europe. Mitsubishi is showing the car in orange because it says that orange best represents the brand.

Jan 30, 2008 | NZPC

three-way battle

A three-way battle for leadership in the inaugural one-make Suzuki Swift Sport Cup title has developed following close competition at the A1 GP meeting in Taupo.

Twenty-one-year-old Cody McMaster from Christchurch holds a narrow lead as the championship contenders head for the fourth round at Manfeild, Feilding, in mid-February.

But Brock Barrie, from Auckland, and Paeroa driver Mark Whyte are right in contention after spirited racing in the Suzuki Production Racing Championship at Taupo.

McMaster has amassed 602 points after three rounds of the production saloon car series, while Barrie has 579 and Whyte, 549.

The three races for the Swifts at the international Taupo meeting resulted in three different winners, with Whyte emerging overall winner of the round.

McMaster’s second overall placing was good enough to allow the young driver back in the championship lead. Cody says he is looking to increase his advantage at Manfeild.

Third overall at Taupo was Barrie, with fellow Aucklander Joel Thrupp fourth, all driving identical specification Suzuki Swift Sports.

Little more than one second separated the top five qualifiers at Taupo, with Barrie setting the fastest practice time of 1 minute 51.8 seconds. The meeting was a Taupo debut for McMaster, but he managed to take third best lap and was beaten only narrowly by Auckland driver Dane Fisher.

Fourth and fifth best qualifying times in the 92 kW Swift hatchbacks went to Greg Brinck (Auckland) and Mark Whyte.

During the opening race at Taupo, Barrie took out top honours, finishing 2.26 seconds ahead of Fisher. On the opening lap McMaster moved into second place ahead of Fisher but on the third lap the Christchurch car was hit on the side.

Despite being knocked off the track and suffering panel damage, McMaster recovered to finish fourth behind Whyte who finished right on the tail of Fisher who posted the fastest race lap time of 1 minute 51.429 seconds.

Cody started race two from fourth spot on the grid, moving into third at the first corner, and assuming the lead on lap 3.

But the result was never a foregone conclusion, with McMaster having to drive defensively to hold out Whyte. He eventually crossed the finish line just 0.136 seconds ahead of the Paeroa competitor in what was a photo finish.

Fisher set the fastest lap of 1 minute 50.821 seconds, which was not beaten all day, and finished third ahead of Barrie.

Race three was a reverse grid format, with McMaster battling his way through to lead the class by the end of the first lap.

However, McMaster received a five second penalty for jumping the start, and the race win went to Whyte, with Cody second, Brinck third and Thrupp fourth.

The seven-round Swift Sport Cup is now in mid-season with the final round scheduled for the end of March.

Read our roadtest of the Suzuki Swift Sport by clicking in the related items below.

Jan 29, 2008 | NZPC

subaru impreza The car felt extremely competent, aided by all the electronics that help keep you on the road – in fact, it’s pretty much impossible to get the car out of shape with the VDC active.

And it goes around corners too with its symmetrical All Wheel Drive transmission connected to the four cylinder 2.5-litre turbocharged “Boxer” engine through a six-speed close ratio manual gearbox.

With its flared wheel arches, deep front air dam, significant roof mounted spoiler and no less than four exhaust tail pipes it looks like it means business.

It sits on 18-inch alloy wheels with 245/40R18 tyres — plenty of meat to put the power on the road and grip tenaciously through the bends. BBS wheels are optional on the Spec.R model.

This is the car that will challenge for the Production World Rally Championship in 2008.

Only the bonnet, roof, hatch opening and front door panels are the same as those of the other models in the Impreza range.

The front bucket seats use a combination of Alcantara fabric and leather with RECARO, custom sports seats available on the Spec. R model.

An extended wheelbase and widened track compared to the previous STI provide optimal dimensions for the new model to ensure its outstanding handling and road holding. (The wheelbase is longer by 85 mm to 2625 mm, the front track is 40 mm wider at 1530 mm, and the rear track at 1540 mm is 45 mm wider, than the previous model.) The 5-door body style excels in balancing lift forces in the front and desirable downward forces in the rear, achieving optimal aerodynamic characteristics.

A 6-speed manual transmission, Subaru’s own development, is responsive, but if you try to change too fast there’s a hint of lag.

The Impreza WRX STI is available in two models. — The Impreza WRX STI at $59,990 RRP excluding on-road costs and accessories, Includes 18-inch aluminium alloy cast 5-spoke wheels and sports type Alcantara/leather front seats with STI embroidered logo

Impreza WRX STI spec.R at $64,990 RRP excluding on-road costs and accessories includes BBS 18-inch aluminium alloy forged 18-spoke wheels and RECARO Alcantara/leather sports front seats.

We’ll have a full review for you as soon as possible. In the meantime, if you want one you’ll have to wait until at least August as Subaru has sold their allocation.

Jan 29, 2008 | NZPC

sebastien loeb

Sebastien Loeb is now the unqualified king of the Monte Carlo rally after he drove his Citroen C4 WRC to record fifth win of the world’s oldest rally, putting him one event ahead of Walter Röhrl, Sandro Munari and Tommi Mäkinen following his victories in 2007, 2005, 2004 and 2003 as well as this year.

Citroen initially dominated the 2008 Monte Carlo Rally, with Loeb’s team mate, Dani Sordo setting the pace from the start before Loeb took over the lead on stage two and never looked back. On day two Loeb and Sordo completed a clean sweep of all the stages and it was only engine problems for Sordo on day three that stopped it being a Citroen 1-2. Sordo restarted on the final day under the super rally rules and finished 11, giving Citroen one valuable manufacturer’s point.

“More than the fact that this was our 37th WRC victory and our fifth Monte win, I think the most significant thing is the way we won this year,” said Loeb at the finish. “Our Citroen C4 performed faultlessly throughout and the set-up we chose for the start proved excellent, which shows how well we worked upstream. The C4 and the Pirelli tyres also functioned well together on these asphalt stages which were often damp. It’s always nice to start the season with a win, but I have no intention of getting carried away because there are some very difficult rallies to come.”

Putting his woes behind him, Dani Sordo also concluded on a positive note:

“We were the only ones who succeeded in staying with Sebastien’s pace,” said Sordo. “Once again, our car was awesomely quick on asphalt and I was also pleased with the way our tyres performed. That was one of the unknown factors before the start. Last but not least, I’m glad to have picked up a Manufacturers’ point for Citroen.”

The new Citroen Sport Team boss, Olivier Quesnel, could not have had a better start to his new job.

“This result owes much to the talent of Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena,” said Quesnel. “They put in a perfect run. Another win for the team on the WRC’s particularly challenging curtain-raiser is a fitting reward for all the hard work put in by everyone at Citroen Sport. It’s immensely satisfying to have started my job as Director of Citroen Sport with a win on the Monte Carlo Rally. It gives us a solid footing in both championships. I remain lucid, however, because the team is often successful on sealed surfaces. A totally different challenge awaits us in Sweden. Our rivals will doubtlessly be very strong in the slippery conditions and the fight promises to be more open.”

Next round: Sweden, 8-10 February 2008

Rally statistics

Stage wins
Leg 1 : SS1 : Dani Sordo (Citroen C4) — SS2 : Sebastien Loeb (Citroen C4).
Leg 2 : SS3 : S. Loeb — SS4 : Dani Sordo — SS5, 6, 7 and 8 : S. Loeb.
Leg 3 : SS9 : D. Sordo — SS10, SS11, SS12 : S. Loeb — SS13 : Chris Atkinson (Subaru Impreza) — SS14 : S. Loeb.
Leg 4 : SS15 : François Duval (Ford Focus) — SS16 : D. Sordo — SS17 : C. Atkinson — SS18 : F. Duval — SS19 : C. Atkinson.

Best performers

S. Loeb : 10 stage win — D. Sordo : 3 — C. Atkinson : 3 — F. Duval : 2.

Leaders SS1 : D. Sordo ; SS2 to SS19 : S. Loeb.

Final leaderboard on 76th Rallye Monte-Carlo*

1. S. Loeb/D. Elena (Citroen C4) 3 h 39 min 17 s

2. M. Hirvonen/J. Lehtinen (Ford Focus) + 2 min 34,4 s

3. C. Atkinson/S. Prevot (Subaru Impreza) + 2 min 58,6 s

4. F. Duval/E. Chevailler (Ford Focus) + 2 min 59,7 s

5. P. Solberg/P. Mills (Subaru Impreza) + 4 min 40,9 s

6. G. Galli/G. Bernacchini (Ford Focus) + 8 min 46,5 s

7. JM. Cuoq/P. Janvier (Peugeot 307) + 10 min 24,8 s

8. PG. Andersson/J. Andersson (Suzuki SX4) + 11 min 19,5 s

9. H. Solberg/C. Menkerud (Ford Focus) + 12 min 43,6 s

10. M. Wilson/S. Martin (Ford Focus) + 14 min 00,1 s

11. D. Sordo/M. Martí (Citroen C4) + 20 min 40,5 s

FIA World rally Championship’s rankings 'Manufacturers’ (round 1/15)*

1. Citroen Total, 11 pts — 2. Subaru, 10 pts — 3. Ford, 8 pts — 4. Stobart, 8 pts — 5. Suzuki, 2 pts.

FIA World rally Championship’s rankings 'Drivers’ (round 1/15)*

1. S. Loeb, 10 points — 2. M. Hirvonen, 8 pts — 3. C. Atkinson, 6 pts — 4. F. Duval, 5 pts — 5. P. Solberg, 4 pts — 6. G. Galli, 3 pts — 7. JM. Cuoq, 2 pts — 8. PG. Andersson, 1 pt.

*Subject to final publications of the results by the FIA.

Jan 29, 2008 | NZPC

ferrari challenge

System 3 has announced that its upcoming racing simulation, Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli, will be heading for the PlayStation2 this Autumn. The announcement comes ahead of a special issue of Official PlayStation Magazine, which sees Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli taking pride of place with a special wrap-around cover and Ferrari-branded packaging framing a world-exclusive preview.

Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli is System 3’s labour of love — a re-creation of Ferrari’s own racing series, which sees both professional and amateur drivers taking to the world’s most famous race tracks in 430 Challenge race cars. Developed by racing game specialists Eutechnyx, Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli draws upon the developer’s years of experience with racing titles and includes a uniquely magical touch from GP2 driver Bruno Senna, nephew of F1 legend Ayrton and technical consultant on the game’s handling.

Previously announced for Playstation3, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS, Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli on the PS2 will match the PS3 version in terms of game features. 50 expertly-modelled Ferraris are available, along with the full complement of Ferrari Challenge series tracks, exquisitely balanced handling, remarkably lifelike opponent AI and the most comprehensive custom vinyl editor yet seen in a PlayStation racing title. With online multiplayer for up to 8 racers and System 3’s innovative Card Challenge mini-game also included, Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli’s PS2 incarnation proves itself to be no poor relation to its bigger cousin and is in prime position to become the definitive racing experience for the platform.

In-depth analysis of the game’s features and development process can be found in issue 95 of Future Publishing’s Official Playstation 2 Magazine, which goes on sale on the 30th of January. Spanning six pages, the preview describes Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli as “a total dream come true for any Ferrari fan”, noting that the cars “handled beautifully”. Rounding off with a closing comment that “established PS2 racing games do face a real Ferrari challenge”, the enthusiasm and optimism of the feature is matched by that of System 3 CEO, Mark Cale.

“We want Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli to reach as many gamers as possible and the PS2 version is instrumental in achieving this”, remarks Cale. “Despite technical limitations, the team at Eutechnyx are doing an outstanding job in translating the exceptional features of the PS3 version to its predecessor, maintaining an excellent standard of visuals and keeping that incredible handling intact. We’re confident that Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli will set the standard by which other PlayStation 2 racing titles will be judged”.

Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli will be released for all formats in Autumn 2008.