CAR NEWS – Latest car news around the globe.

  • Rana Motors Unveils the Ashok Leyland Phoenix: first locally assembled

    Rana Motors Unveils the Ashok Leyland Phoenix: first locally assembled

    Rana Motors Unveils the Ashok Leyland Phoenix: first locally assembled – The first ever Phoenix Ashok Leyland brand of motor vehicles fully assembled in Ghana by Ghanaian engineers have been unveiled at Rana Motors’s Automotive vehicle assembling plant located at Amasaman in the Ga West Municipality in Ghana.

    The new Ashok Leyland Phoenix 3-seater motor vehicle is a two-tonne payload with a five-year warranty and have a relatively cheaper fuel consumption. The Phoenix steering column comes with tilt-able and telescopic movements while the 2-point suspended cabin offers comfort and convenience. It also offers class-leading comfort that sets the benchmark in the commercial automobile industry while the vehicle also comes with multi-angle  adjustable seats.

    Kassem Odaymat, Chief Operating Officer of Rana Motors,  speaking at the unveiling of the new automobile commended the government for developing the Ghana Automotive Development policy (GADP) as it had paved the way for the establishment of motor vehicle assembly plants in the country and also indicated that the phoenix truck’s launch was the results of stringer partnership between Rana Motors and Ashok Leyland and further stressed that the success of any venture was underpinned by such collaborations.

    “The Phoenix, a 2-tonne payload truck, stands on an all new platform, powered by a 1500 cc Turbocharged diesel engine that delivers 80 Hp of maximum power and 190 Nm of peak torque.

    What truly sets the Phoenix apart is its tailor-made features that address the diverse needs of our customers. From its fuel-efficient engine to its spacious interior, the Phoenix is designed to provide optimal performance and comfort whether it’s for personal use or commercial purposes. Its maneuverability on our small streets, robustness to tackle our diverse roads, and affordability make it an ideal fit for our country. This is more than just a vehicle; it’s a cost-effective solution

    Kassem Odaymat – Chief Operating Officer, Rana Motors

    The Head of International Operations of Ashok Leyland, Rajesh R., emphasized the great progress and collaboration Ashok Leyland and Rana Motors have had over the years highlighting the high quality of their products including the new Ashok Leyland Phoenix.

    “Our commitment to excellence extends beyond borders. With modern integrated manufacturing plants in India and abroad, state-of-the-art R&D centres and a global footprint spanning from Asia to Africa, we have established ourselves as a trusted and reliable partner in progress. Our products are a symbol of reliability and a testament to our enduring partnership with our customers.

    It brings me immense joy to announce our collaboration with our two-decade-old partner, Rana Motors. Together we have brought the Phoenix to Ghana, maintaining the same standard as any of our vehicles produced in our modern integrated plants”

    Rajesh R. – Head of International Operations of Ashok Leyland

    First Secretary and Acting High Commissioner of India to Ghana, Chinpau Ngaihte in a brief remark at the launch of the new Phoenix trucks indicated that the new development reflects a great partnership between India and Ghana.

    As speakers before me said, we have gathered here in this vibrant land of Ghana to celebrate the remarkable collaboration between India and Ghana exemplified through the local assembling of Ashok Leyland Phoenix on Ghanaian soil. This achievement is a testament to the enduring partnership between our nations and a significant milestone in our shared journey towards progress and economic empowerment”

    Chinpau Ngaihte – First Secretary and Acting High Commissioner of India to Ghana

    Component assembly policy

    The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry & New Juaben South Member of Parliament, Michael Okyere Baafi, who officially unveiled the new trucks, expressed delight about the achievement chalked by Rana Motors and Ashok Leyland.

    He noted that the assembling of the Ashok Leyland brands of vehicles under the Ghana Automotive Development Programme brings to eleven, the brands of motor vehicles being assembled under the programme.

    He stressed that Ghana was on the path of becoming the vehicle manufacturing hub in the sub-region through the implementation of the Ghana Automotive Development Programme highlighting the substantial positive impacts the automotive industry can have on economies.

    The deputy minister added that as a measure to promote the development of an integrated automotive industry, the government was finalizing processes on the development of a Component Manufacturing policy. 

    “This policy is meant to attract investments from component manufacturers to feed into the local automotive industry while supplying aftermarket components across the sub-region”

    Michael Okyere Baafi, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry & New Juaben South Member of Parliament

    Mr Baafi said the policy would further enhance the availability of certified parts and assembly components to drive the export of made-in-Ghana vehicles under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) rules.

    The launch of the Phoenix trucks brings to eight the range of cars assembled in the country by Rana Motors.

  • President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo commissions KIA vehicle assembly plant

    President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo commissions KIA vehicle assembly plant
    President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo commissions KIA vehicle assembly plant

    President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo commissions KIA vehicle assembly plant – President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has commissioned the Kia automobile assembly plant in Ghana, urging the motor vehicle manufacturer to work towards making their products affordable to the local consumer.

    Rana Motors

    Set up by Rana Motors Limited, a local licensed dealer for the South Korean automobile company, the plant, situated at Amasaman in the Ga West Municipality of Ghana, will assemble various Kia brands for Ghana and the West African markets.

    The plant is a landmark achievement that marks the rollout of the first generation of KIA motor vehicles assembled under the Automotive Development Policy of the government.

    Chief Executive Officer of Rana Motors, Essam Odaymat, in his address, recounted that the dream of the company started some 35 years ago when their father, Alhaji Mohammed Odaymat arrived in Ghana and stayed throughout the years to achieve his dream.

    “Rana Motors began as a humble metal fabrication workshop located at Avenor. Handwork and dedication were soon to pay off in 1986 when Rana Motors was awarded the dealership in KIA vehicles being the first to do in Sub-Saharan Africa. The establishment of the company over the years, required tremendous effort to gradually change the perception and shine a ling in what we always believed the people behind the KIA brand possessed.”

    Chief Executive Officer of Rana Motors, Essam Odaymat

    Mr. Essam Odaymat however expressed gratitude to the government of Ghana for laying the foundation to allow their father to realise the dream.

    Chief Operating Officer of Rana Motors, Kassem Odaymat, said one key feature of the newly commissioned motor vehicle assembly plant can produce 70,000 units of annual volume with enough space and planning to include more complex assembly.

    “It has been built with environmental credentials protecting the future of all of us including rain water harvesting, solar power readiness and even recycling shipping materials and metal into parts of the building,”

    Chief Operating Officer of Rana Motors, Kassem Odaymat

    Kassem Odaymat added that the facility is capable of meeting and satisfying Ghanaian standards and customs needs. He said it can further expand to meet the standards and customer needs of neighbouring countries in Africa which will allow the potential exportation of cars from Ghana to other markets.

    “I look forward to a bright future for this facility when it will produce higher volumes with much more complex operations,”

    Chief Operating Officer of Rana Motors, Kassem Odaymat

    President Akufo-Addo said the opening of the plant was a major boost for Ghana’s industrial transformation agenda and that the development would enable his government to achieve its vision to make Ghana a fully integrated and competitive industrialised hub of the automotive industry in the West African sub region.

    The President said the establishment of the plant had been made possible by the conscious initiative of his administration to attract investment in the automotive sector under the Ghana Automotive Development Policy initiated by his Government and further stressed that they will pursue policies that would stimulate patronage of locally assembled vehicles.

    Kia is the fourth largest global motor vehicle manufacturer. The company joins other global car brands including Toyota-Suzuki, Nissan, Volkswagen, Peugeot, Sinotruck, and Ghana’s indigenous brand Kantanka, who have already established motor vehicle assembly plants in Ghana.

    Noting that the critical component for harnessing the full potential of the automotive industry was a demand for assembled motor vehicles, the President revealed that his government was developing policies that would enable ordinary citizens to acquire locally assembled vehicles.

    As you may all be aware, I have directed the Chief of Staff at the office of the President, the prioritisation of the procurement of domestically assembled vehicles by state institutions to fulfill the government’s commitment to patronising made-in-Ghana products.” 

    President Akufo-Addo

    “We are, however, mindful of the fact that the state alone cannot purchase the sufficient numbers of vehicles to be produced from our assembly plants and will thus require Ghanaians also patronise these vehicles”

    President Akufo-Addo

    Consequently, the government, the President disclosed, would soon roll out an asset-based vehicle financing scheme, as pertained in other developed climes, to stimulate the demand for domestically assembled vehicles.

    We have also shown commitment by implementing the zero-rating of VAT on the sale of domestically assembled vehicles. This means that there is no VAT on the sale of domestically assembled vehicles even to the end user to make domestically assembled vehicles affordable,

    ”President Akufo-Addo

    President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that he had charged the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta to submit to Parliament the required legislative instruction proposing the implementation start date of the Customs Amendment Act (2020) and implementation of those outstanding provisions would trigger the full implementation of the Ghana automotive development policy and drive further investment into the industry.

    The President also disclosed that the Trade and Industry Minister would soon submit to Cabinet for approval the Ghana Automotive Component Manufacturing Policy (ACMP), outlining incentives to attract investors into the component manufacturing sector. 

    The policy, he stated, would also support ‘artisans at Suame in Kumasi, Kokompe in Accra, and other enclaves to upgrade their capacity to fit in the automotive industry.

    President Akufo-Addo expressed hope that the incentives granted to Rana Motors would translate into competitive pricing of motor vehicles for the Ghanaian consumer.

    “We look forward to the transitioning of this assembly plant into a fully integrated vehicle production plant in Ghana,”

    President Akufo-Addo
  • New VW Touareg close to the Arctic Circle – final tests

    New VW Touareg close to the Arctic Circle - final tests
    he new Volkwagen Touareg

    New VW Touareg close to the Arctic Circle – final test. This year, Volkswagen will proceed the success story of the million-selling Touareg with a comprehensive technical and visual update of the premium SUV. The front and  back of the luxury Sport Utility Vehicle have been redesigned, the chassis has been further developed and impresses with its combination of comfort and performance. Before the world launch in the summer, Volkswagen is now offering a first preview of the update for its top model.

    The camouflaged new Touareg is still finishing its final test miles in Swedish Lapland. Although the design modifications are still hidden under an oversized QR code wrap, the pictures of the disguised prototype already provide a concrete preview of the first technical details. At the front, for example, it is possible to see the newly developed IQ.LIGHT HD matrix headlights and the elements of an also new LED light strip integrated between them.

    IQ.LIGHT HD matrix headlight with 38,400 micro LEDs

    HD stands for High Definition, a very high resolution. What is meant is a sea of extremely bright points of light generated by a total of 38,400 micro LEDs. They turn night into day and ensure significantly more brightness on the road without dazzling oncoming traffic. 19,200 micro-LEDs are meted out over the new headlights on each side of the automobile. The matrix system projects an interactive carpet of light into the lane of the luxury  Sport Utility Vehicle. This so-called “lane light” makes driving at night more comfortable and makes it easier to drive through narrow motorway construction sites in the dark, as the carpet of light optimally illuminates the lane.

    Illuminated VW logo on the back

    As the first model from Volkswagen, the new Touareg has an illuminated logo on the rear end. Since January 2023, the Volkswagen badge lit up in red has also been permitted in Europe. Previously the shining brand logo was allowed only in markets such as China or the US.

    New chassis generation

    VW has further developed the chassis of the always all-wheel drive Touareg. Among other things, a roof load sensor is now used, which is networked with the chassis electronics. The advantage: increased agility when the roof is not loaded. If, on the other hand, a roof box is installed, the sensor recognizes this and passes this information on to assistance systems such as the ESC. This increases the driving stability of the Touareg.

    The standard steel spring running gear and the optional two-chamber air suspension running gear have also been given a new setup to achieve an even larger bandwidth between maximum comfort and optimum performance. New VW Touareg close to the Arctic Circle – final tests.

    Enhanced vehicle interior

    The Touareg is equipped with the “Innovision Cockpit”. It is operated via the central touchscreen (display diagonal: 38.1 centimeters or 15 inches), the multifunction steering wheel and analogue elements such as the volume control in the center console. The “Innovision Cockpit” of the new Touareg offers, among other things, lane-precise navigation and high-resolution HD map data. Voice control has also been further developed. The app integration via smartphone and “App Connect” (Apple CarPlay, Android Auto) can now also be done wirelessly.

    The high quality level of the VW  Touareg was further improved by evaluating customer feedback: the armrests and the center console panels are softer – a plus in comfort. The new Touareg thus also stands for the goal of gearing Volkswagen models even more consistently to the needs of customers. The update makes the Touareg a well-balanced SUV all-rounder that masters long distances as well as everyday life.

  • First Locally Assembled Suzuki Swift Unveiled in Ghana

    First Locally Assembled Suzuki Swift Unveiled in Ghana
    First Locally Assembled Suzuki Swift Unveiled in Ghana

    First Locally Assembled Suzuki Swift Unveiled in Ghana – Toyota Tsusho Manufacturing Ghana Company Ltd (TTMG), based in Kpone, Tema unveiled the first locally assembled Suzuki Swift in Ghana. Toyota Tsusho Manufacturing Ghana Company Ltd (TTMG), Toyota Tsusho Corporation (“Toyota Tsusho”)’s vehicle assembly company in the Republic of Ghana, began SKD* production of Suzuki Motor Corporation (“Suzuki”)’s Swift compact car in Ghana in September 2022.

    Automobile assembly in Ghana rides on the back of a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in developing Ghana’s automotive industry, signed between Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC) and the Government of Ghana.

    With the introduction of the Ghana Automotive Development Policy, the Government of Ghana aims to enlarge the automotive industry and create new opportunities for skilled Ghanaians. The policy cater the necessary framework to establish assembly and manufacturing capacity in Ghana and to create a fully integrated and competitive industrial hub for automotive manufacturing in collaboration with the private sector, global, regional and domestic. 

    The Suzuki Swift is a subcompact automobile known for its fuel efficiency, affordable price, and fun-to-drive nature. In addition, the Swift is perfect for city driving as it has a tight turning circle, excellent visibility, and light controls. As a result, the Suzuki range in Ghana has demonstrated impressive growth in market share across various automobile segments, with CFAO Ghana PLC recording a sale of 2900 units since its introduction in 2015.

    During his welcome address, Mr Akira Yamada, Managing Director of TTMG, disclosed his appreciation to the Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC), Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC), CFAO Ghana PLC and the Ministry of Trade & Industry for making possible this laudable feat for TTMG, and Ghana’s automotive industry.

    ‘This assembly project marks an important milestone for both parties since it is the first Suzuki assembly effort with TTC.’ He added, ‘In 2022, Suzuki sales in Africa increased by 60% to 116 thousand units and in Ghana increased by 63% to over 1 thousand units. Therefore, we have positioned this alliance as essential to our company’s strategy in the African market. We will continue strengthening it to enhance Suzuki’s presence in Africa, especially in Ghana.’

    Mr Koichi Suzuki,Managing Officer, Middle East and Africa Division of SMC

    Mr Shinichiro Otsuka, Chief Operating Officer for TTC, Africa Division, declared his gratitude to the government of Ghana for issuing the necessary certification to TTMG as a vehicle assembly facility, which was in line with the Ghana Automotive Development Policy. He added, ‘We are committed to contributing to the economy, industry and society of the republic of Ghana through automobile production together with Suzuki Motor Corporation.’

    At the unveiling event, Mr Adedamola Adelabu, Managing Director & Country Delegate of CFAO Ghana PLC, gave an overview of Suzuki’s performance in Ghana’s automotive market. He shared that ‘By 2022, Suzuki attained a market share of 5%, and currently holds a market share of 17%, reflecting a growth of 293%. The Swift model alone accounts for 30% of total sales volume.’

     “The government of Ghana is fully committed to working with all stakeholders to promote industrialization and make Ghana the industrial hub for the automotive industry in Africa”

    Honourable Samuel Abu Jinapor, Minister for Trade & Industry

    After a special tape-cutting ceremony, the Suzuki Swift vehicle was unveiled amidst fanfare and audience applause. The commissioning ceremony is another commendable milestone for TTMG, SMC, TTC and CFAO Ghana PLC; a union of sound investment and technology transfer aimed at making Ghana a competitive automotive hub in Africa.

    Overview of TTMG

    LocationTema, Republic of Ghana
    Capital8 million U.S. dollars
    ShareholderToyota Tsusho 100%
    RepresentativeAkira Yamada, Managing Director
    EstablishedJune 2020
    Business DescriptionAutomobile assembly and production
    Production VehiclesToyota Hilux, Suzuki Swift
    Production Volume1,700 units/year
  • Toyota Unveils All-New Prius HEV in Japan

    Toyota Unveils All-New Prius HEV in Japan
    Toyota Unveils All-New Prius HEV in Japan

    Toyota Unveils All-New Prius HEV in Japan – Toyota Motor Corporation announces today that it has begin sales of all-new Prius Series Parallel Hybrid (HEV) models. It will also unveil Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) models around March this year.

    Launched in 1997 as the world’s first mass-produced hybrid car, the Prius has driven uptake of HEVs as a new-generation eco-car with outstanding fuel efficiency. These days, hybrid technologies are employed in a wide range of different models that are loved and enjoyed by people all around the world.

    With a range of powertrain options being developed to promote carbon neutrality, Toyota wanted to create a new Prius HEV that customers would enjoy and cherish as the automobile of choice for generations to come. Developed under the “Hybrid Reborn” concept, this new model is an exhilarating package that adds a design inspiring love at first sight and captivating driving performance to its core strength as an environmentally friendly car.

    The main features of the new Prius are as follows.

    Vehicle outline

    A design inspiring love at first sight

    • Inheriting the signature monoform silhouette of the original Prius, the new Prius has been reborn with a lower center of gravity and even more stylish proportions. The simple yet sculpted body expresses exhilaration that appeals to the senses and a universal beauty that will remain popular into the future.
    • The “island architecture” concept achieves a low-stress, spacious interior with a cockpit that makes it easy to concentrate on driving. Altogether, the interior offers intuitive operation and an enjoyable driving experience.
    • A total of eight body colors are available, including two newly developed, solid base colors of Ash and Mustard that create a sporty impression, bringing touches of color to the daily lives of customers to create a stronger sense of attachment.
    Z (2.0-liter HEV 2WD) (Model with options shown)
    Z (2.0-liter HEV 2WD) (Model with options shown)

    Captivating driving performance

    • The new Prius is equipped with the latest fifth-generation hybrid system in both the 2.0-liter and 1.8-liter models.
    • Compared to the previous model*1, the 2.0-liter Prius (Z and G grades) achieves improved fuel efficiency of 28.6 km/L*2 and maximum system output of 144 kW (196 PS), which is 1.6 times higher than the previous model*1. This model achieves a high level of balance between the outstanding environmental performance of a Prius and the captivating driving performance of a car that reacts as expected with satisfying acceleration and responsive driving.
    2.0-liter Hybrid System
    2.0-liter Hybrid System
    • With a long list of improvements, including updates to all electric modules, the 1.8-liter Prius (U and X grades) achieves great fuel efficiency of 32.6 km/L*3. The refined driving performance and seamless acceleration of a hybrid provide feelings of agility when starting off and the responsiveness of direct driving power.
    1.8-liter Hybrid System
    1.8-liter Hybrid System
    • The second-generation TNGA platform was developed as part of continuing improvement of the matured TNGA platform to achieve the exhilarating styling and driving performance of the new Prius, allowing for a lower center of gravity and large-diameter tires.
    • This version comes with the latest E-Four system. Employing a high-output motor and other features, it offers improved uphill performance on low-friction road surfaces, like snow-covered roads, and greater stability when turning.

    Advanced Safety and Driving Support Systems

    Toyota Safety Sense, the latest active safety package, is a standard inclusion. Including the Advanced Safety System with an expanded range of detectable objects, the new Prius also comes with the following added features.

    – Rear vehicle proximity notification [first for a Toyota brand vehicle*4]

    Using the Blind Spot Monitor’s rear millimeter-wave radar, this feature detects vehicles in the rear and, if another vehicle is approaching, it alerts the driver via the Multi-Information Display and buzzer.

    – Approaching vehicle proximity support (recording function and vehicle reporting suggestions) [first for a Toyota brand vehicle*4]

    If an automobile approaching from the rear is too close, this system offers the driver suggestions for dealing with the issue, including contacting the police or the HELPNET emergency call service. In vehicles equipped with a drive recorder, in addition to automatically recording the event, the system stores the data in a dedicated area that makes it difficult to record over.

    – Secondary Collision Brake (rear impact mitigation when stopped) [first for a Toyota brand vehicle*4]

    Using the Blind Spot Monitor’s rear millimeter-wave radar, this system detects vehicles in the rear and, if it determines a very high possibility of a collision while the vehicle is stopped, it applies the brakes to reduce speed if a rear collision occurs. Compared to the previous model, this system enables an earlier reduction in speed by applying the brakes prior to a collision.

    KINTO Unlimited: New car subscription service launched

    • The new “KINTO Unlimited” car subscription offered by Toyota and KINTO opened for subscribers on January 10. To start, the new Prius U grade will be available on this service, which will be the only service offering it.
    • KINTO is a subscription service*5 which includes insurance, tax and other costs combined into a monthly subscription charge. Using new Toyota technologies, KINTO Unlimited will be provided with two additional values in the form of upgrades that ensure evolution of the vehicle’s software and hardware and connected services that ensure protection of cars and people using the customer’s driving data. These additional values will help maintain the value of the car, which is considered in advance to reduce the monthly subscription charge to start at 16,610 yen per month (including tax)*6.
    • The Prius Z and G grades will be available on the usual KINTO subscription service.
    • More information on KINTO Unlimited and KINTO’s other services is available here (
  • Valentino Rossi – the newest member of BMW M Motorsport works driver family

    Valentino Rossi - the newest member of BMW M Motorsport works driver family
    Valentino Rossi, BMW M Team WRT, GT World Challenge Europe.

    Valentino Rossi – the newest member of BMW M Motorsport works driver family – The BMW M works driver team for the 2023 season is gaining a well-known 21st member. Valentino Rossi (ITA) and BMW M Motorsport have established a works commitment that goes beyond the race appearances with BMW M Team WRT declared last week. The nine-time motorcycle world champion, who called time on his long-standing, successful career on two wheels back in autumn 2021, is set to compete the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and Bathurst 12 Hour in the BMW M4 GT3 in 2023 and will also be available for further race and test appearances in BMW M Motorsport racing cars.

    “Valentino Rossi needs no introduction. As one of the most successful motorcycle riders of all time, he has made history. His successes on the racetrack and his personality have quite rightly made him a living legend. But Valentino has proved that he is also an excellent racer on four wheels. He has shown that car racing has become his second motorsport home, and he brings all his passion, skills and commitment to this new chapter of his career. It’s fantastic that Valentino will be joining our BMW M Motorsport family as a new works driver next year. We’re really looking forward to working together – welcome aboard Vale!”

    Andreas Roos, Head of BMW M Motorsport

    “I am very proud to become an official BMW M works driver and it is a great opportunity. Last year I started racing seriously in cars and I finished my first season with the WRT team with whom I got on very well and I am very happy that the WRT team chose BMW M Motorsport as a new partner. I have already had a chance to test the BMW M4 GT3 twice and the feeling with the car is very good. I think we could be competitive next season. Also, BMW M Motorsport has given me the opportunity to race with two very strong drivers next year, Maxime Martin and Augusto Farfus. I still have a lot to learn and improve, but I hope to be up to the task and fast enough to fight during the race weekends.” 

    Valentino Rossi

     Valentino Rossi History

    The Italian, Valentino Rossi celebrated his maiden world championship title in the 125cc class in 1997. Two years later Rossi followed this up with the title in the 250cc class. He was promoted to the highest Grand Prix category at the time in 2000, the 500cc class, where he was crowned world champion in 2001. This category was superseded by the MotoGP the following year, and Rossi remained the measure of all things. By 2005 he had added a further four world championship titles to his collection, with titles number eight and nine following in 2008 and 2009. Rossi continued to do battle for the world championship crown regularly after that. ‘The Doctor’ has also long been committed to youth development with his VR46 Rider Academy – a ‘school‘ that helps young Italian riders with the goal to bring them to MotoGP.

    Rossi also took part in testing in various racing cars early on including a Formula 1 Ferrari and Mercedes. There were also starts at the Monza rally, Italy in 2009 as well as two races in the World Rally Championship, one in 2006 in New Zealand and one in 2009 in Wales. In 2019, Rossi contested in an endurance race in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirate. After retiring from active motorcycle racing after the season finale in 2021, Rossi embarked on a new chapter of car racing. He contested the GT World Challenge Europe with Team WRT in the 2022 season.

    The new year will see him compete in that race series and in the endurance classic at Bathurst, Australia alongside his BMW M works driver colleagues Maxime Martin (BEL) and Augusto Farfus (BRA). His status as works driver also gives him plenty of other options. In addition to his current fixed engagements, Rossi will be able to make further race and test appearances in various BMW M Motorsport racing cars. The 43-year-old will also have the opportunity to represent BMW M Motorsport. Details will be announced at a later date.

    BMW M works drivers 2023 (in alphabetical order).

    NameDate of BirthBMW M Works Driver Since
    Jake Dennis (GBR)16th June 19952021
    Connor De Phillippi (USA)25th December 19922018
    John Edwards (USA)11th March 19912013
    Philipp Eng (AUT)28th February 19902016
    Augusto Farfus (BRA)3rd September 19832007
    Dan Harper (GBR)8th December 20002020
    Colton Herta (USA)30th March 20002023
    Max Hesse (GER)23rd July 20012020
    Erik Johansson (SWE)16th October 19962019
    Jens Klingmann (GER)16th July 19902014
    Jesse Krohn (FIN)3rd September 19902014
    Maxime Martin (BEL)20th March 19862023 (2013 – 2017)
    René Rast (GER)26th October 19862023
    Valentino Rossi (ITA)16th February 19792023
    Bruno Spengler (CAN)23rd August 19832012
    Sheldon van der Linde (RSA)13th May 19992019
    Dries Vanthoor (BEL)20th April 19982023
    Neil Verhagen (USA)18th February 20012020
    Charles Weerts (BEL)1st March 20012023
    Marco Wittmann (GER)24th November 19892012
    Nick Yelloly (GBR)3rd December 19902019

  • MINI Convertible in the Seaside Edition

    MINI Convertible in the Seaside Edition
    MINI Cooper S Convertible Seaside Edition

    MINI Convertible in the Seaside Edition: – As blue as the sea, as stunningly white as the beach. The MINI Convertible in the Seaside Edition celebrates 30 years of individual style and maximum fresh-air driving fun. To mark the 30th anniversary of the open-top four-seater, MINI now offers the sporty classic with special equipment and design features optionally in a shimmering blue Caribbean Aqua paint finish or in the light Nanuq White bodycolor.

    The Seaside Edition of the MINI Convertible is available as the Cooper (combined fuel consumption: 6.4 – 5.9 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 145 – 135 g/km according to WLTP) and the Cooper S (combined fuel consumption: 6.9 – 6.5 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 157 – 148 g/km according to WLTP).

    Presently the world’s only premium convertible in the small automobile segment and with an impressively distinctive look in traditional brand style, the MINI Convertible embodies individual open-air driving pleasure. In the MINI Cooper S, a 2.0-litre, 131 kW/178 hp 4-cylinder power unit with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology enables acceleration from a standstill to 100 km/h in 7.2 seconds.

    The MINI Cooper also offers typical MINI go-kart feeling, featuring a 3-cylinder petrol engine with an output of 100 kW/136 hp. The black, electrically operated soft top takes things at a more leisurely pace: it can be opened or closed automatically up to 30 km/h.

    From February 2023, the limited Seaside Edition of the MINI Convertible will accentuate this stylish model’s hallmark features with an edition-specific design in the exterior and interior. Double decorative stripes in white run from the side doors to the rear of the car, and the exclusive outer design is rounded off with a unique graphic on the front apron, where a stylised 30 once again refers to the model’s anniversary.

    These contrasts elegantly with the maritime-inspired paint finish Caribbean Aqua, emphasizing the sporty character of the open-top four-seater. In the Nanuq White finish, the consistently light-coloured bodywork has a particularly elegant appeal: here the MINI Convertible is reminiscent of spotted clouds against a deep-blue summer sky.

    The side scuttles with the edition’s discreet “Seaside” lettering pick up on the 30th model anniversary with graphically designed numerals in light and dark blue. The round birthday is also celebrated with exclusive “Seaside” lettering in sporty orange on the rear. Meanwhile the 18-inch alloy wheels in Pulse Spoke design are reminiscent of pulsating waves in the water. By contrast, the specific wheel caps stand still: here, the number of the anniversary appears once more. A weight behind them ensures a perfect appearance at all times.

    Even as you enter the car, the trim strips on the vehicle doors in edition design with two white stripes and Seaside lettering convey the exclusive aura of the interior. The Carbon Black leather seats with comfortable knee rolls and armrests in the doors offer comfort as well as harmonising perfectly with the two exterior finishes Caribbean Aqua and Nanuq White when the soft top is open.

    The decorative trim strips on the front dashboards also appear in edition-specific design: both the printed pattern and the lettering bring the round anniversary to mind once again. This pattern also appears on the floor mats in the form of a graphic badge. The lower spoke of the sports leather steering wheel features the eponymous “Seaside” lettering of the new MINI Edition. The automobile key featuring the edition-specific graphic wave pattern in iridescent blue tones picks up on both the open atmosphere and the pure elegance of the sea, enabling the owner to take a piece of this exclusive edition home with them. The integrated “Seaside” lettering underlines the model’s unique flair definitely ruling out any potential key mix-ups.

    For the driver, the latest generation of the MINI operating system optimises quick and intuitive control of the car functions, audio programme, communication, navigation and apps, while newly compiled equipment packages enable specific individual preferences to be fulfilled in terms of driver assistance and connectivity.

  • New Mercedes-AMG GT2 expands Customer Racing programme

    New Mercedes-AMG GT2 expands Customer Racing programme
    2023 Mercedes-AMG GT2

    New Mercedes-AMG GT2 expands Customer Racing programme: in the 2023 season, a GT2 model will match the fleet of the successful GT3 and GT4 automobiles from Affalterbach. The new Mercedes-AMG GT2 is the most authoritative homologated race automobile in the meanwhile twelve-year history of the customer sport programme. The GT2 offers the usual extremely high safety level of AMG race automobiles and comes with many new racing technologies. As a result, the GT2 version stands out as an attractive overall package for ambitious amateur drivers in particular. With the presentation of the new model, Mercedes-AMG underlines its ambition to take a leading role in international GT2 competition as well.

    With the Mercedes-AMG GT2, the performance and sports automobile brand from Affalterbach starts a new chapter in customer sport. The race car bridges the gap between the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the Mercedes-AMG GT4. While the GT3 is increasingly being raced by professional drivers and the GT4 primarily marks the entry into the world of GT racing, GT2 particularly aims at the group of gentlemen drivers. For them, with the GT2 regulations introduced in 2020, Stéphane Ratel Organisation (SRO) has created an attractive platform with more and more international race events.

    An outstanding feature of the new Mercedes-AMG GT2 is its maximum performance level: at 520 kW (707 hp), the new member of the Customer Racing family ranks above GT3 level, both in terms of horsepower and in top speed. The source of this power is the AMG 4.0 litre V8 biturbo engine with a flat crankshaft. The power is transmitted by means of a sequential six-speed racing gearbox with modified gear ratios. Like in all GT models, the gearbox is mounted on the rear axle in transaxle configuration and is connected to the engine by a carbon torque tube, torsion and torque rigid. The suspension includes comprehensively configurable motorsport shock absorbers and adjustable anti-roll bars.

    The exterior of the Mercedes-AMG GT2 speaks the same expressive design language as the other Customer Racing automobiles from Affalterbach: from the wide front section with the large air intake openings all the way to the muscular rear end, every detail is aimed at performance. The carbon bonnet includes a large air outlet and so‑called louvers that also influence the aerodynamic performance have been integrated into the carbon wings at the front axle.

    A further aerodynamic highlight of the Mercedes-AMG GT2 is a fully newly developed back wing, held in place by a characteristic swan neck mount. The large single-level wing is multi-adjustable and significantly contributes to precise handling. As usual for the AMG Customer Racing cars, the GT2 version also stands out for reliable handling. As a result, less-experienced drivers can also quickly build up confidence. An important new development for competition use is the wheel mounting: the Mercedes-AMG GT2 has an innovative central wheel mount system. This allows for even faster and more reliable changes of the forged 18” AMG light alloy wheels.

    Functional racing ergonomics prevail in the cockpit of the Mercedes-AMG GT2. The DDU (Digital Display Unit) of the latest generation is an innovation in the driver’s central field of view. The completely programmable dashboard system has a high-resolution graphic display. This makes it intuitive to operate and very user-friendly. Another exclusive novelty is the new multi-function steering wheel, which Mercedes-AMG developed together with the sim racing experts at Cube Controls. It offers a new level of ergonomics, functionality and control.

    To ensure optimum occupants protection, the Mercedes-AMG GT2 uses the pioneering safety concept that has also been incorporated into the GT3 and GT4. This includes, among others, racing-specific driver aid systems such as the multi-adjustable traction control or racing ABS of the newest generation. The interior of the car is protected by a steel roll-cage bolted onto the aluminium space frame. The carbon driver safety cell includes a six-point safety belt and customizable ergonomic seat foaming. Safety nets, an extrication hatch in the roof, a carbon safety fuel tank and a powerful motorsport fire extinguishing system round out the comprehensive safety features of the Mercedes-AMG GT2.

    Customer teams will receive the Mercedes-AMG GT2 fully matured. The new car will undergo comprehensive trials in the upcoming weeks, among others at circuits of the next GT2 European Series season. Next to various test races, an endurance test run in racing conditions is planned as well. Teams running the Mercedes-AMG GT2 get to enjoy the full support of Mercedes-AMG’s worldwide Customer Racing programme. Like for the GT3 and GT4 models, technical support is guaranteed from the motorsport experts at HWA AG. As a development and production partner of Mercedes-AMG, HWA AG carries out all maintenance and overhauls. Sales of the Mercedes-AMG GT2 will start in the course of the 2023 motorsport season.

    “The Mercedes-AMG GT2 is yet another milestone in our Customer Racing programme. Thus, we emphasise once more our commitment to GT racing and further expand our involvement by entering a new segment in GT racing. The GT3 segment having become more and more professional and GT4 having become established as an entry-level category, we open up new opportunities with the Mercedes-AMG GT2. As a result, we address an extended range of customers and therefore offer the high quality and the comprehensive support of our Customer Racing programme to interested parties in the GT2 segment as well. The race series for this category of vehicles have seen significant increase of reach and relevance in the past two years. In this dynamically growing market, we come up with the Mercedes-AMG GT2 as a highly attractive package and once again prove the performance potential of our brand.”

    – Christoph Sagemüller, Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport

    “The Mercedes-AMG GT2 incorporates our entire experience we have acquired over the past years in our successful Customer Racing activities. Next to proven GT3 and GT4 features, however, we have also integrated entirely new racing technologies, specially developed for the GT2. The result is the most powerful homologated race car we have built to date. The Mercedes-AMG GT2 is entering a new range of speed. Moreover, we have achieved that gentlemen drivers who don’t race every weekend can control this enormous power in a commanding and safe way all the time. I am really happy that we can now offer a top-notch product along with our maximum support activities for the customer teams in this burgeoning segment as well.”

    – Stefan Wendl, Head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing

    The new Mercedes-AMG GT2 at a glance

    EngineAMG 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine with flat crankshaft
    Displacement3,982 cm3
    Outputup to 520 kW (707 hp)*
    Max. torqueup to 800 Nm
    Drivetransaxle configuration: engine at the front, gearbox on the rear axle, connected by Torque Tube
    Transmissionsequential AMG 6-speed racing transmission with mechanical (adjustable) self-locking differential and magnesium casing as well as shift paddles on the steering wheel; pneumatically operated
    Bodyworkaluminium space frame; roll-cage of high-tensile steel
    Safetycarbon driver safety cell to latest FIA standard, customisable seat foaming and integrated headrest as well as extrication hatch in the roof; powerful motorsport fire extinguishing system
    Chassisaluminium double wishbones front and rear; adjustable rebound and pressure motorsport shock absorbers, adjustable anti-roll bars
    Aerodynamicsmulti-adjustable rear wing
    Electronicsmotorsport electronics with torque control; optimised driver aid systems: AMG TRACTION CONTROL, multi-adjustable racing ABS of the latest generation, service-friendly durable motorsport electrics
    Steeringelectro-mechanical power steering
    Brakesracing brake system with adjustable ABS, brake balance adjustment via beam, self-ventilating composite brake discs with special cooling air guidance; 6-piston brake callipers front, 4-piston brake callipers rear; brake disc diameter 395 mm front / 355 mm rear
    Wheelsforged AMG light alloy wheels with central mount,
    front: 12×18“, rear: 13×18“
    TyresFront: 325/660-18 slick / rear: 325/705-18 slick
    Weight< 1,400 kg incl. air conditioning
    Fuel tank capacity120 l (motorsport safety fuel tank)

    *depending on BoP categorization

  • Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato makes its EMEA unveiling

    Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato makes its EMEA unveiling
    Huracan Sterrato at Lamborghini Lounge Doha

    Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato makes its EMEA unveiling – Automobili Lamborghini presents the Huracán Sterrato[1] to VIP guests and media from Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), at its floating Lounge created in Doha. The Huracán Sterrato was formally presented by the Lamborghini executive management team, headed by Chairman and CEO Stephan Winkelmann. Joined by Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Federico Foschini, behind-the scenes workshops with Chief Technical Officer Rouven Mohr and Head of Design Mitja Borkert provided comprehensive insights into the design and engineering evolution of Sterrato.

    The Huracán Sterrato is the culmination of a development project that is entirely symbolic of Lamborghini’s philosophy: pushing expectations and possibilities to produce something unexpected but immediately recognizable as a Lamborghini. Following the car’s official unveiling in Miami, its presentation in Doha has enabled us to share the inspiration and evolution of this fun, all-terrain super sports Lamborghini with our EMEA clients, where the production Huracán Sterrato has received an equally enthusiastic reception.”

     – Stephan Winkelmann, Chairman and CEO, Lamborghini

    Initially conceived in 2017, a two-year development period saw the Sterrato concept presented in 2019, with the 1499-unit production automobile announced just one week ago on the occasion of the Art Basel Miami Beach, for delivery in 2023 and 2024. While the world premiere in the United States had featured two different liveries in Verde Gea and Bianco Phanes, the Sterrato displayed on the terrace of the Doha lounge was dressed in Bianco Isi with the Italian flag livery, showcasing the Italian pride and heritage of the super sports automobile manufacturer from Sant’Agata Bolognese.

    The Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato comes with a 5.2-liter V10 engine with maximum power output of 610 hp and 560 Nm of torque (at 6500 rpm), combined with 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and electronically controlled all-wheel drive with back mechanical self-locking differential. The exterior expresses the adventurous spirit of the Sterrato right from the first glance. The increased ground clearance by 44 mm ensures greater suspension travel, the front (+30 mm) and rear (+34 mm) tracks are wider.

    In addition to protecting the Sterrato’s body, the aluminum front underbody protection, the reinforced sills, the rear diffuser and the sturdy wheel arches all emphasize its muscularity. The classic air intake located on the rear hood not only enhances the sporting spirit of the model, but also helps supply the engine with clean air when driving on dusty tracks. 

    Clienteles joining Lamborghini in its pop-up Lounge floating on a pontoon in Doha Bay, were also able to consult Lamborghini’s Ad Personam specialists to configure their new Sterrato, selecting from more than 350 exterior paints and finishes, 60 internal leathers and a host of other finishes and options for virtually unlimited personalization potential.

    New Lamborghini products including Urus Performante[1], Urus S[2], Huracán Tecnica[3] and Huracán STO[4] were also accessible for test drives, while the VIPs and journalists present enjoyed the Lounge’s hospitality overlooking the Doha coastline. Invited VIP guests and Lamborghini owners visiting the area can experience the world of Lamborghini from 21 November to 18 December. 

    [1] The vehicle is not yet offered for sale and is therefore not subject to Directive 1999/94/EC. The fuel consumption and emissions data are in the type of approval stage. 

    [2] Fuel consumption and emission values of Urus Performante; Fuel consumption combined: 14,1 l/100km (WLTP); CO2-emissions combined: 320 g/km (WLTP)

    [3] Fuel consumption and emission values of Urus S; Fuel consumption combined: 14,1 l/100km (WLTP); CO2-emissions combined: 320 g/km (WLTP)

    [4] Fuel consumption and emission values of Huracán Tecnica; Fuel consumption combined: 14,5 l/100km (WLTP); CO2-emissions combined: 328 g/km (WLTP)

    [5] Fuel consumption and emission values of Huracán STO; Fuel consumption combined: 13.9 l/100km (WLTP); CO2-emissions combined: 331 g/km (WLTP)

  • Lamborghini Squadra Corse announces Romain Grosjean as official Factory Driver with Iron Lynx Team

    Lamborghini Squadra Corse announces Romain Grosjean as official Factory Driver with Iron Lynx Team
    Lamborghini Squadra Corse announces Romain Grosjean as official Factory Driver with Iron Lynx Team

    Lamborghini Squadra Corse announces Romain Grosjean as official Factory Driver with Iron Lynx TeamLamborghini Squadra Corse is delighted to announce the arrival of Romain Grosjean as an official Lamborghini Factory Driver from 2023. The experienced former Formula 1 driver will also be a key cog in the development of the Lamborghini LMDh project, which will unveil in 2024.

    The Swiss French driver, who has spent the last two seasons racing in the IndyCar Series, will make his factory unveiling at the 24 Hours of Daytona aboard a Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2, run by Iron Lynx, alongside fellow Lamborghini Factory Drivers Andrea Caldarelli and Mirko Bortolotti. Grosjean will also contest further endurance events throughout the 2023 season, with a full programme to be announced in due course.

    In addition to his GT3 programme next year, Grosjean will also join Caldarelli and Bortolotti as a test driver for Lamborghini Iron Lynx’s LMDh car, with which it will compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship in 2024.

    Romain Grosjean History

    Born in Geneva but competing under a French licence, Grosjean spent nine seasons in Formula One and recorded 10 podiums. He raced for Renault, Lotus and Haas before switching to the IndyCar Series in the US in 2021. A versatile driver, Grosjean has a number of junior single seater titles to his name over the years, winning the Formula 3 Euroseries in 2007, AutoGP in 2010 and the GP2 Series in 2011. He has equally raced in GTs and took a race win on his FIA GT1 World Championship debut in Abu Dhabi in 2010 as well as contesting the Spa 24 Hours the same year.

    Iron Lynx, which is owned by the Swiss company DC Racing Solutions Ltd, will be the partner Lamborghini team in the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship. Iron Lynx and Lamborghini will also work in close collaboration with PREMA Engineering, which will utilize its 30-year championship-winning expertise.

    Speaking about the latest step in his career, Grosjean said:-

    “First of all, it’s an honour to be joining Lamborghini, it’s such an iconic brand for everyone who loves cars, including myself and my kids. On top of that, I am very excited about two things: the first is starting in Daytona with the GT3 which has been very successful in Daytona and a really good team like Iron Lynx and team-mates around me, so that is going to be a nice discovery for myself. And then, later in the year developing the new LMDh which is a beautiful car – I’m lucky to have seen it – and an incredible project in endurance. It’s becoming a very exciting category with all the constructors coming. With Lamborghini being such a successful brand, I hope we can do well in the future.” 

    Lamborghini Head of Motorsport Giorgio Sanna added:-

    “We are very proud to welcome Romain Grosjean to the Lamborghini family, for this new and exciting period in the history of Squadra Corse. He’s a driver with a huge amount of experience in various categories over the years and will be able to add a great deal of value to both our GT3 programme but more importantly, the development of our LMDh car as well. I am looking forward to seeing Romain out on track in Daytona which will hopefully be the start of a very successful partnership going forward.” 

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