A Lasting Impression
It has been three days since the closing ceremony of the World Gliding Championships in Uvalde. I am now settling in at home, nearly 2,000 miles away from Garner Field. I think it is safe to say the same for those of you who were at the WGC. And if you’re still trekking home, I wish you safe travels, safe gliders, safe trailers, etc. Updating here now feels a bit like walking around the airfield after everyone has packed up their gliders and are setting off with their trailers in tow. A bit of a sad feeling maybe, but this never lasts too long really – there are only two more years until next time…
Words About The Worlds
Congratulations to everyone for a great competition. Thank you especially to the many volunteers that have made this event possible. It has been my greatest pleasure to be a part of the large team that has done such a wonderful job. Most of us, maybe all of us, had no idea what we were getting into. In spite of that, you volunteers have all done a terrific job and have made me proud to be a part of the team. Thank you.
A special thank you to John Good, our Deputy Director. John and I worked together closely as a team throughout the competition and John was responsible for tasking.
Thanks to our chief steward Dick Bradley for all your help. Dick came last year as well and helped me tremendously this year by providing sage advice on many matters.
Al Tyler has already sung the praises of the Uvalde town people, but I can’t close without saying that this is absolutely the most soaring-friendly town I have ever known.
Now for some interesting statistics: I believe that the winning scores of this championships are more points than have ever been earned at a glider competition. The second highest scores were earned here at Uvalde in 1991. You pilots flew 13 competition days. Many of you also flew 7 official practice days. Some of you started flying here well before that. About halfway through the competition I mentioned that the total km flown took us the distance from the earth to the moon. You’ll be glad to know that we didn’t leave you hanging out there in low earth orbit. The total distance flown including the official practice period was almost 800,000 km, more than the distance to the moon and back.
Thank you for coming. Maybe, we’ll see some of you back here in less than another 20 years.
Ken Sorenson – Championship Director
Automotive Websites By Race Media
Please find below a selection of our latest automotive forums all going live this year
Renault Kadjar Forum
Buoyed by the success of Captur, Renault is continuing its offensive in the world of crossovers with the launch of Kadjar, the brand’s first C-segment crossover. In a fast-growing and extremely popular area of the market, Kadjar will boost Renault’s ambitions on the international stage, as it is due to go on sale initially in Europe and in many African and Mediterranean Basin countries, followed by China. This sibling to Captur shakes up established thinking by bringing an innovative and attractive proposition to the crossover market. The Renault Kadjar stands out through its fluid, athletic exterior styling. Meanwhile, its interior is both sporty and refined, courtesy of the quality of the materials employed and the attention that has gone into its finish. Available with either four- or two-wheel-drive transmission, the Renault Kadjar encourages adventure while at the same time delivering easy manoeuvrability in town thanks to its compact footprint (4.45 metres long x 1.84 metres wide). Furnished with high-quality interior appointments and modern equipment, the Renault Kadjar offers advanced connectivity with the R-Link 2® multimedia system, along with a relaxed experience behind the wheel, courtesy of the latest driving aids. The Renault Kadjar also benefits from a range of particularly efficient engines which position it at the forefront of the segment in terms of low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The Renault Kadjar will be unveiled to the public at the 85th Geneva Motor Show which opens to the public on 5th March 2015. It will go on sale in the summer in both Europe and a high number of countries in Africa and the Mediterranean Basin region and is scheduled to appear in RHD form in the UK in the Autumn, our local Nottingham dealer maintains that an autumn showing is expected for the kadjar. Read More at our kadjar forums
BMW M2 Forum
The follow-up to the (sadly discontinued) mad, bad and most definitely delicious 1M Coupe couldn’t come a moment too soon for those who love a compact BMW developed by the M Division.
Prototypes of the 2-Series Coupe-based M2 have been caught both on track and the road for quite some time now. Today, though, BMW forum 2addicts revealed a US market built sheet showing that the M2 Coupe will enter production in November.
Expected to be unveiled as a thinly veiled concept at the Geneva Show in March and in production guise in Frankfurt in autumn, the M2 will be powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter in-line six.
Mind you, this won’t be a detuned version of the new S55 engine that powers the M3/M4 but an improved version of the N55 straight-six from the M235i. Although power will be up, it will probably be kept in the 365-375hp (370-380PS) range to avoid stepping on big brother’s M4 toes.
Expect the M2 to come with all the mechanical, bodywork and interior M Division bells and whistles. Thankfully, BMW hasn’t ditched the manual transmission in its M models, so a six-speeder manual will most likely be standard and the seven-speed dual-clutch DCT an option.
Vauxhall Viva Forum
The new Vauxhall Viva city car will make its first public appearance at the Geneva motor show in March, Vauxhall has confirmed.
The new model will sit below the Vauxhall Adam and new Vauxhall Corsa in the British brand’s line-up, with prices starting from around £7,000.
The Vauxhall Viva name first appeared on a small saloon car in the sixties. It sold more than 1.5 million units worldwide, before it was discontinued in 1979. However, the new model has no link to the original (apart from the name) and should rival cars like the Skoda Citigo, Hyundai i10 and new Toyota Aygo.
The five-door city car will get the option of four or five seats and will be based on the next-generation Chevrolet Spark. It has been designed by a British-led team, but will be built in South Korea.
New Vauxhall Viva price & release date
Although prices are unconfirmed, we expect the new Vauxhall Viva to be priced from just over £7,000. That means it should cost around £1,500 less than a basic Volkswagen up! and Hyundai i10, despite having five doors and a reasonable-sized boot. It’ll go on sale next spring.
New Vauxhall Viva design & specs
The car will get a similar look to the Vauxhall Adam and new Vauxhall Corsa. Although it’ll be cheaper to buy, it inherits the Corsa’s swept-back headlights and Vauxhall’s new-look grille.
Vauxhall claims that, like its biggest rivals, the Viva will have more than enough space for five people inside. The Viva’s wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) is 100mm longer than that of the Peugeot 108, allowing extra rear legroom. It is 3.7m long, making it fractionally longer than a Fiat 500 hatchback. Read more on our Vauxhall Viva Forum
Mercedes GLC Forum
Mercedes-Benz’s second-generation GLC SUV will be launched in the UK in the middle of next year and will come in a right-hand-drive configuration for the first time, highly placed company sources have confirmed. Find out more as it breaks on our GLC Forum
Surprisingly, yes. It comes with three engines, plus a GLA45 AMG which we’ll deal with separately. The diesels are both 2.1 litres, and make 136bhp in the GLA 200CDI and 170bhp in the GLA 220CDI. The petrol GLA250 is a two-litre turbo of 211bhp. The low-power diesel is FWD only, but the other two come with 4WD as standard. The suspension is softish and the tyres not too road-aggressive, and there are capable and well-calibrated electronic grip aids and a downhill stability system that keeps you well in check. So you get surprisingly decent traction. And the ground clearance is good, plus the front and rear aprons don’t foul the ground. All in, I tacked tackled some reasonably rugged tracks and it did better than I’d expected.
Caravan & Motorhome Buyers
Glen Campbell Director of Preston Caravans and Motorhomes, comments, “It was a huge relief when the caravan was found and back at the dealership within five hours. If it wasn’t for the TRACKER unit, that caravan could have been lost for good. This incident has underlined the value of TRACKER’s SVR technology and we’d recommend it to all of our customers, as a security solution that increases the chance of police recovering a stolen caravan.”
Andy Barrs Police Liaison Officer for TRACKER adds, “TRACKER is the only SVR product that is used by the UK’s police forces and once again, this has proved valuable to helping police locate and return a stolen vehicle. This case highlights the value of TRACKER for dealerships, such as Preston Caravan and Motorhomes. Having a TRACKER unit fitted to valuable stock could be the difference between a vehicle being found and returned or taken by organised criminals and never seen again. TRACKER’s award winning technology stops thieves in their tracks, protecting dealers and their customers, if their vehicle is stolen.”
Unlike other devices, TRACKER’s unique technology can locate stolen vehicles anywhere, even when they are hidden in a garage or shipping container. TRACKER stolen vehicle recovery systems work like an electronic homing device. A covert transmitter is hidden in one of several dozen places around the vehicle. There is no visible aerial, so the thief won’t even know it’s there.
Fiat 124 Spider Arriving In 2016
As part of the joint venture agreement with Mazda, both the Fiat 124 Spider and the Mazda MX-5 are to be made at Mazda’s factory in Hiroshima, Japan. According to our source, the agreement between Fiat and Mazda is that the MX-5 will launch first and take centre stage in 2015, with Fiat’s alternative offering coming 12 months in 2016.
Vauxhall Astra K Arriving Summer 2015
In the increasingly competitive segment of the compact hatchback, the 2015 Opel Astra K is the newest kid on the block, and it’s got the makings of a winner. Though it was slated to debut in September at the IAA 2015, a motoring publication from Italy jumped the embargoed information and published semi-official information of the all-new Opel Astra K prior to the unveiling event.
Opel responded to the leakage with an official release and photographs of the 2015 Astra, and boy you’re in for a plethora of goodies. First of all, the new model is based on the GM D2UX/D2XX platform that underpins the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze and Volt plug-in hybrid. The German manufacturer tells that the lightweight vehicle architecture ensures weight savings of 120 to 200 kg (264 – 441 lbs) depending on the model and trim level.
Audi Q2 Forum & Blog
So far only a concept version has been revealed to the public (Crossland concept shown above). The production model is set to be toned down slightly, featuring more usual alloy wheel sizes and less dramatic components and trimmings.
The design is likely to mimic the themes seen on the latest Q7 SUV and new A4, with a large front grille, sophisticated headlights, and defined panel contours. It will probably come with black or silver lower trimmings and wheel arches as well to give it that rough and ready look.
Underneath, the Q2 is set to use a modified version of Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform which originally debuted on the Audi A3 and then the Mk7 Golf. It’s understood the platform will be shortened to provide petite exterior proportions.
Powertrain options are expected to comprise of mostly front-wheel drive arrangements with quattro all-wheel drive only for the top variants, with power coming from turbo-diesel and turbo-petrol engines. There is also talk of TDI ‘SQ2’ and TFSI ‘RS Q2’ variants, offering around 170kW and 220kW, respectively.
Cool Citroen Cactus convertible concept car has a 3cyl 1.2-litre engine and 6-speed auto gearbox
The C4 Cactus is quickly becoming the face of Citroen. It’s proven more popular in the UK than the company predicted, and the crossover’s success will shape the future of the Citroen product range. The Aircross concept, unveiled at April’s Shanghai Motor Show, previews a larger and more practical SUV on the horizon, but the versatility of the Cactus has allowed the brand to delve into its heritage as well.
The Cactus M concept is a tribute to the classic Citroen Meharifrom the sixties, and Auto Express was lucky enough to be handed the keys. Only one, priceless example was built, so the car you see here on the coast just outside Lisbon in Portugal is the same one that appeared under the lights at September’
Audi is mulling the introduction of an Audi Q2 subcompact-crossover for the US.
The automaker also announced that it’s still on track to build a production version of the electric e-tron Quattro concept shown at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. It expects to launch the car in 2018. In total, Audi’s lineup will include 60 different cars by 2020.
Not all of those cars will necessarily appear in the U.S. Buyers here won’t see international models like the A1 hatchback, RS Q3 SUV or RS 6 Avant wagon in showrooms. But shoppers might get a crack at the Q2, an all-new model that Audi plans to launch internationally sometime in the 2016 calendar year.
Those plans come against the backdrop of the diesel emissions scandal that has swept up Audi and its parent, Volkswagen Group. Cars equipped with 2-liter and 3-liter diesel engines were found to be in violation of U.S. emissions laws. Some diesel Audi models have been withdrawn from sale until they can be fixed to bring them into compliance.
Anticipating lawsuit payouts and fines, VW Group is cutting back. Audi cut its development budget for 2015 to 2019 from $3.7 billion to $3.3 billion. But it is trying emphasize that it will be aggressive in rolling out new products inluding the Audi Q2
Seat is considering adding a third, larger crossover model to the two it is already developing, the company has confirmed. Speaking at the recent Frankfurt show, Jürgen Stackmann – who was until recently Seat’s boss – said: “A D-segment SUV has potential.” Seat is already commited to launching two SUV’s in 2016 some names in the running for the new models can be found on the SEAT SUV Forum
KIA Niro Forum
Kia will be unveiling its rival to the Toyota Prius early next year with sales starting in 12 months. James Baggott bagged an early drive.
What is it?
The Niro is Kia’s answer to the Toyota Prius, as if that was actually a question. It’s designed to be a standalone hybrid SUV and is built on a completely unique platform. We were shipped out to Kia’s highly secretive Korean R&D facility to drive the new car and although it’s covered in camouflage here, we saw it undressed. Think of it as a cross between a squished Venga and a Sportage and you’re pretty much there.
What’s under the bonnet?
Well, it’s more a case of what’s under the seats too. Firstly up front there’s a 104bhp, 146Nm 1.6-litre petrol engine combined with a 32KW electric motor. This is channeled through a six-speed DCT gearbox. The 1.56kWh battery is tucked away under the floor. Although Kia wouldn’t tell us exactly what the mpg figures looked like it alluded to 70mpg as a safe guess while emissions are believed to be sub 90g/km.
Read More on the KIA Niro Forum
Detailed report on technical specs, features and cost is not known for now and may be known during 2016 Paris Motor show. It is believed that apart from front-wheel drive option, the vehicle could also be offered with an all-wheel drive system. Engine options could range between 1.4-litre to about 2.0-litre in petrol as well as diesel options. The automatic trim could get 7-speed DSG while the manual version may get six-speed option. The vehicle could be offered with a seven airbags and offer ABS as standard.
A report in Autobild confirms that the company has finally decided the name, Kodaik. The SUV will be using an extended MQB platform of the Volkswagen group. The vehicle will be available with standard front-wheel-driven format while an all-wheel-drive model will also be on offer and the Skoda Kodiak Forum is looking for more info
The news on design and powertrains are very sketchy now. We can expect a design in line with the other Skoda cars based on the Vision C concept unveiled in 2014. The SUV will feature angular design and sharp creases across the body panels. The SUV will have a more mature design in comparison with the Yeti crossover of Skoda.
Alfa Romeo Giulia
The impressive Alfa Romeo Giulia returns to our attention with a couple of images that show how the high-performance model might look like in a new body style.The Italian answer to the BMW M3, Mercedes-AMG C63and others in the segment has received a few tweaks courtesy of Theophilus Chin. The modifications have transformed its body from a four-door sedan to a more practical five-door fastback. In order to achieve the more practical design of the Giulia, the roof has been elongated, increasing the rear headroom.
With BMW offering the 3-Series GT, such a version of the Giulia looks plausible, but keep in mind that the automaker didn’t announce any plans for it, so it’s just an exercise
Riding on the VW Group’s MQB platform that has underpinned various models since 2012, the new Skoda Kodiak SUV is expected to be based on the second generation of the Volkswagen Tiguan. Initial rumors indicated towards an approximately 4.75 meters length and a starting price of around €24,000 ($26,200).
The engine lineup should be sourced from the Tiguan and it might include four-pot turbo and diesel mills, with standard front-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive. Two versions of the vehicle, with a five-seat and a seven-seat, are expected to hit the market, after production will begin at the Kvasiny facility, in the Czech Republic.
At first, the Kodiak was expected to make its debut at the 2016 Paris Auto Show next fall, but apparently we’ll see it much sooner, since the teaser says “it will be big and it will be soon.”
The new Mercedes-Benz SLC is now available to order, and will be priced from £30,495 for the entry-level SLC 200 Sport.
The SLC is available with a choice of four engines. The petrol line-up features a 2.0-litre motor which produces 184hp (SLC 200) or 245hp (SLC 300). The SLC 200 is available as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox (150 g/km of CO2) or the optional 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission (137 g/km), while the SLC 300 comes with the 9G-TRONIC gearbox as standard (138 g/km).
The most fuel-efficient model in the range is the SLC 250 d which comes with a 2.1-litre diesel engine (204 hp), with CO2 emissions of just 114 g/km.
The SLC is available in two model lines: Sport and AMG Line. Standard equipment includes: re-designed halogen headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights; new sports exhaust system (standard with 9G-TRONIC on SLC 200 and SLC 300); sports pedals; LED tail lights; Active Brake Assist; Attention Assist; Active Bonnet; chrome-plated twin exhaust system; remote boot lid release; and Headlamp Assist.
Sport models come with 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels (18-inch five-twin spoke alloy wheels are optionally available for £995), while AMG Line offers 18-inch AMG multi-spoke alloys.
Inside, a light carbon-grain trim comes as standard on the SLC 200, SLC 300 and SLC 250d, while the SLC 43 is available with dark carbon-grain trim.
SLC is optionally available with LED Intelligent Light System with Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus for £1,150. For the best possible visibility on country roads and motorways, plus when cornering and on bends, the low-beam mode of the LED Intelligent Light System automatically adapts to the weather, lighting and driving conditions. In addition to its striking appearance, the LED Intelligent Light System offers more safety at night thanks to situation-based light distribution, combined with a light colour similar to daylight. The brightness of the brake lights also varies depending on the light conditions – to avoid dazzling other road users. Read more on the SLC Forums
While Jaguar may have kicked off its SUV offensive with the F-Pace, the automaker is currently hard at work developing a second high-riding model, which will use the designation mentioned above.
Jaguar hasn’t disturbed the logic of the alphabet – the newcomer will be smaller than the F-Pace. The pursuit for efficiency will see the E-Pace becoming one of the most streamlined crossovers out there, as its drag coefficient is expected to sit at 0.28.
The sheer thought of Jaguar’s traditionally appealing styling cues being mixed with the aero tricks required to achieve the value above makes us grow impatient over the development of the project.
Speaking of efficiency, the E-Pace will see Jaguar’s debut on the EV stage. While it’s a bit early to talk about the powertrain, the electric motors mean all-wheel-drive and low-end power, two key attributes of the genre, are easily achievable, according to the Jaguar E Pace Forum the e-pace could make it’s debut sometime before 2020.
The SEAT Ateca will be the first of a family of SUVs from the brand. SEAT has been working on an Ibiza-based crossover – a rival for the Nissan Juke – and the company also has plans for a larger, seven-seat flagship that was previewed by the 20V20 concept.
According to the SEAT Ateca Forum SEAT’s new Ateca SUV range could be set to grow with the addition of a Cupra performance version
SEAT bosses are assessing the feasibility of a Cupra version of the new Ateca SUV, Auto Express has learned. A high performance iteration of the brand’s new crossover could be on the cards if SEAT president Luca de Meo can make the business case stack up. Speaking from the launch of the new Ateca, de Meo told us: