Jaguar Project 8 uses its 441kW to become the fastest four-door car around the Nurburgring. Picture: SUPPLIED
Jaguar Project 8 uses its 441kW to become the fastest four-door car around the Nurburgring. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Jaguar Special Vehicle Operations-developed XE SV Project 8 has set the fastest Nürburgring Nordschleife lap time for a four-door production car again: 7min 18.361sec.

This new officially verified time on the 20.6km lap is 2.9 seconds faster than Project 8’s previous benchmark set in November 2017 and seven seconds faster than any other four-door production car has achieved.

Returning to the iconic German circuit in a production-specification two-seat Track Pack version of Project 8 was development driver Vincent Radermecker. The car’s height-adjustable twin-spring coil-over suspension was set in “track” ride height, with adjustable front splitter and carbonfibre rear aerodynamic wing positioned for maximum downforce and stability.

The car was fitted with new off-the-shelf ultra-high-performance Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tyres. Tested and chosen by SV engineers for their capability on the track, the road-legal tyres use rubber compounds directly transferred from Michelin’s competition tyres.

Jamal Hameedi, engineering director, Jaguar Special Vehicle Operations, said: “The original Nürburgring time set by Jaguar XE SV Project 8 demonstrated the extreme performance envelope of the world’s fastest production sedan, but the SV team is driven by a motorsport mentality and we knew Project 8 could go even faster. This new official record time is a fitting reward for everyone who has played a part in pushing the boundaries for our customers with Project 8.”

Powered by the most highly tuned 441kW version of Jaguar’s 5.0l supercharged V8 engine, the all-wheel-drive Project 8 is capable of 0-100km/h in a claimed 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 320km/h. Project 8 also features a fully enclosed flat underbody for enhanced aerodynamics, which is key to its performance.

The limited-edition Project 8 won’t be available in SA as it’s built in left-hand drive only.

Netflix F1 doccie is back

The popular Netflix documentary Formula 1: Drive to Survive is to return for a second season and this time it will include Ferrari and Mercedes.

Formula One confirmed a second season of the series will be shown in 2020 based on the current 2019 season. All 10 teams will be included after Ferrari and Mercedes declined to participate in season one.

Drive to Survive took viewers on a behind-the-scenes look at the teams and drivers’ lives, and season two will adopt the same formula.

The documentary has helped F1 reach a wider audience, particularly in the US where the sport has played second fiddle to Indy and Nascar.

Porsche unveils baseline 911

The 911 Carrera is available in Coupé and Cabriolet versions. Picture: SUPPLIED
 The 911 Carrera is available in Coupé and Cabriolet versions. Picture: SUPPLIED

When Porsche ushered in its new 992 generation Porsche earlier in 2019 it was in the form of the more powerful 911 Carrera S.

Now the eighth generation of the iconic sports car range is being expanded with the introduction of an entry-level 911 Carrera guise, in both Coupé and Cabriolet derivatives.

Powering them is a down-specced version of the boxer 3.0l six cylinder biturbo engine, with outputs of 283kW and 450Nm versus the 331kW and 530Nm of the 911 S.

Still, that’s good enough to scoot the standard Carrera from 0-100km/h in a claimed 4.2 seconds and a 293km/h top speed, which isn’t exactly hanging about. The optional Sport Chrono Package shaves a further 0.2 seconds off the sprint time.

The Carrera gets a similar range of standard features as the 911 Carrera S. These include a touchscreen display, comprehensive connectivity and assistance systems such as the Porsche Wet Mode that ensures even safer handling.

The 911 Carrera is distinguished from its more powerful stablemate by smaller sized wheels, brakes and tailpipe covers on the exhaust system.

Available in rear-wheel drive only (the Carrera S also has an all-wheel-drive option), the basic Carrera rides on 235/40 ZR tyres on 19-inch alloy wheels up front and 20-inch wheels with 295/35 ZR tyres at the rear.

Power transmission is handled by a new eight-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission and claimed fuel consumption is 9.0l /100km for the Coupé and 9.2l for the Cabriolet.

Stopping power is provided on both axles by 330mm brake discs with black, four-piston monobloc fixed callipers.

The new Porsche 911 Carrera Coupé and 911 Carrera Cabriolet are now available for order, priced respectively at R1,489,000 and R1,674,000, including a three-year 100,000km Driveplan.

Korean leader lives the high life in smuggled cars

North Korea's Kim arrives in Vladivostok in a Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman Guard armoured limo. Picture: REUTERS
North Korea's Kim arrives in Vladivostok in a Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman Guard armoured limo. Picture: REUTERS

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has openly flouted UN sanctions by riding around in high-priced luxury limousines bought in the West.

According to Automotive News Europe, Kim and his entourage rode to meetings with US President Donald Trump and Russia President Vladimir Putin earlier in 2019 in a Mercedes-Benz SUV and two Maybachs. The dictator also has been spotted cruising around in a Rolls-Royce Phantom.

The top-of-the-line cars popular with world leaders — the Maybach S62 and Maybach S600 Pullman Guard — which cost $500,000 to $1.6m each, were used by Kim in open defiance of UN sanctions intended to ban luxury goods from North Korea.

High-end Western goods are making their way to North Korea’s elite through a complex system of port transfers, secret high-seas shipping and shadowy front companies, according to research by the Centre for Advanced Defence Studies, a nonprofit Washington group that looks at smuggling networks, and an investigation by The New York Times.

Kim’s high-priced car convoy reveals the potential limits of sanctions as a tool to pressurise North Korea into negotiations to end its nuclear weapons programme.

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