Will Volkswagen target a new Nurburgring track record with its electric ID R? Picture: MARK SMYTH
Will Volkswagen target a new Nurburgring track record with its electric ID R? Picture: MARK SMYTH

Chatting with a member of the Volkswagen Motorsport communications team at Goodwood this weekend, it appears that the brand has no plans to rest on its laurels after its electric ID R set a new record at the Pikes Peak hillclimb in the US a couple of weeks ago.

Instead it seems the company wants to take the Nurburgring track record away from Porsche, which set a new record recently when its 919 Evo lapped the famous ’Ring in a time of five minutes and 19 seconds. Volkswagen will, however, have a lot of work to do if it is going to wrestle the accolade away from sister company Porsche. The ID R will need to improve its top speed by around an additional 100km/h if it is to topple the 919. The challenge is on.

McLaren to go hybrid

McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt announces the company’s Track25 plan. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK
McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt announces the company’s Track25 plan. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK

McLaren used the Goodwood Festival of Speed to reveal its new 600LT model but equally importantly to announce its plans beyond the existing Track22 strategy.

The big surprise was that the firm announced its Track25 plans will see its entire range go hybrid by 2025. It will launch 18 new models and derivatives by the same year and lift production to 6,000 vehicles a year. It will also launch the Ultimate Series successor to the P1, codenamed BP23.

Sketching the future

The grille of the electric Mini shows very little of the car which will go on sale in 2019. Picture: BMW
The grille of the electric Mini shows very little of the car which will go on sale in 2019. Picture: BMW

While there are plenty of spy pics doing the rounds of the new electric Mini, the firm itself has released a pair of detail design sketches as an early preview following the reveal of the concept in 2017. But the sketches only show the detail of the grille and wheels of the vehicle, which it was recently announced will be built in China.

"Mini is an urban brand and the fully-electric Mini the logical next step into the future," says Oliver Heilmer, head of Mini design.

"These initial sketches outline our vision of authentic design creating a bridge between the history of the brand and its electric future."

Due to go on sale in 2019 and under consideration for SA, the brand is promising that the electric Mini will ensure that electro-mobility is delivered in a way unique to the Mini name with driving fun, style and individualisation at its core.

Daimler gets China nod

The autonomous S-Class coping with the challenges on the roads of Shanghai. Picture: QUICKPIC
The autonomous S-Class coping with the challenges on the roads of Shanghai. Picture: QUICKPIC

China has made Daimler the first foreign car maker to be granted an autonomous-testing licence for the country’s roads. The company said its new licence for Level 4 self-driving prototypes covered roads in Beijing, Shanghai and roads and highways inbetween.

The Chinese government has given similar licences to its homegrown car makers, like the Beijing-based BAIC, the Shanghai-based SAID, tech company Baidu and startup car maker (and Formula E contender) Nio.

Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz and smart, has a history of self-driving test and development dating back more than two decades and even has its own self-driving test facility in Immendingen, in Germany’s south-west. It has self-driving licences for public roads in Germany and the US.

Strikes over Ronaldo

A Fiat union in Italy went on strike this week of Fiat’s parent company signing Ronaldo for Juventus. Picture: AFP/MIGUEL MEDINA
A Fiat union in Italy went on strike this week of Fiat’s parent company signing Ronaldo for Juventus. Picture: AFP/MIGUEL MEDINA

One of Fiat’s unions went on strike this week over the Juventus soccer club’s €112m signing of Portuguese soccer star Ronaldo. The USB union insisted that the Juventus club’s decision to sign Ronaldo was so expensive that it would cost workers’ jobs and slash investment in the Italian firm.

Both Fiat and Juventus are controlled by the Agnelli family’s holding company Exor. The union said the deal would punish workers and suggested the team had overpaid for the 33-year-old. The USB is not one of the major unions in Fiat’s seven Italian car-making plants, so the strike is not expected to have a major impact.

Civic updates

Our sources have spotted an updated version of the Honda Civic Type-R undergoing testing. The main changes will be to the interior, but small exterior changes suggest the facelift could be for the entire Civic range.