Thursday, December 29, 2016

Remembering 2016: 16 motoring bits

Continuing on this 2016 year in review, focus is now drawn in the world of cars. Throughout the course of this year, the world of motoring continues to change; from new models, concepts, tech, laws, even motoring shows on TV as well. Some have changed, some have left, and some stayed the same.

Time to jot down the 16 motoring-related tidbits that changed the world in 2016...

1) Bugatti unveiled the much-awaited successor of the legendary Veyron hypercar, called the Chiron at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. The newest Bugatti comes with an all-new W16 engine producing over 1,500HP of power and 1,180lb-ft of torque. Equipped with the most modern technology made for this new car as well as the improved 7-speed gearbox from the Veyron, the top speed is limited to around 261mph. Apart from that, the Chiron comes with a new bodywork that delivers a drag coefficient of just 0.35 in Top Speed mode.

2) The 2016 Formula 1 season has been one heck of a battle between the two Mercedes-AMG drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. From Melbourne to Abu Dhabi, every moment has been one heck of a battle between them and in the end, Hamilton's title as the world champion has been snagged by Rosberg but following his championship win, Nico Rosberg made a shocking announcement that he will be retiring from Formula 1 racing.

3) Tesla made some headlines with their high-tech Autopilot feature that features autonomous driving tech following strings of accidents involving Tesla drivers engaging this feature. Following the flawed tech, Tesla worked so hard to improve the Autopilot feature until they're ready for primetime on newer Tesla models like the upcoming Model 3 saloon and the facelifted Model S, now with the more powerful P100D variant with 762HP of power and 0-60mph time is two and a half seconds.

4) Lamborghini honors the 100th birthday of its founder, Ferruccio Lamborghini, by launching a special machine called the Centenario. Sold out before its announcement at the Geneva Motor Show, the Centenario is the most powerful Lamborghini ever made with 760HP of power and 349kph of top speed. It got featured in the Forza Horizon 3 game as well.

5) The 2016 Super GT season has faced a new turn in events following the Kumamoto quakes in April that cancelled their third round that supposed to held at the Autopolis. Therefore, the final round, which was held at the Twin Ring Motegi, is a two-parter, but still, the champions of the Autobacs Super GT 2016 Series go to the #39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD RC F, driven by Heikki Kovalainen and Kohei Hirate, for the GT500 class and the #25 VivaC 86 MC, driven by Takeshi Tsuchiya and Takamitsu Matsui, for the GT300 class.

6) It all started as a motoring show run by former Top Gear presenters Tiff Needell and Vicki Butler-Henderson, among many others, that was aired on Channel 5 from 2002 and transferred to Discovery Channel UK from 2012 to 2014, and History Channel UK since last year, but now, according to Tiff's twitter message, Fifth Gear is officially finished after its 14-year run.

7) Top Gear has returned in BBC Two last May 2016...with disastrous results all thanks to radio DJ Chris Evans doing his first and only job as the new presenter of BBC's hit TV series alongside Friends actor Matt LeBlanc, Rory Reid, motoring journalist Chris Harris, racing driver Sabine Schmitz, and Eddie Jordan. After the show's unsuccessful revamp, Evans decided to quit his presenter job and let LeBlanc, Reid, and Harris, among many others to continue this show without him.

8) The 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans has became one of the most desperate motorsport events of 2016 and just as we thought that Toyota's going to win the match, mechanical failures ruined their chances of winning, giving Porsche a chance to win this year's premier endurance match in France.

9) By winning the 2017 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, Jimmie Johnson scored his 7th championship win, joining the ranks of other veterans like Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.

10) Mitsubishi got embroiled in a fuel consumption scandal when Nissan found out the dirty secret behind the kei cars they made for both of them, therefore forcing them to suspend sales of these affected kei cars. Soon after, Mitsubishi has been hit hard from the scandal and therefore sealed its fate with the Renault-Nissan alliance.

11) The 2016 DTM Championship has been one heck of a ride for German's finest. With Marco Wittman and his BMW won the driver's championship this season, Eduardo Mortara and his Audi propelled their way to manufacturer title win.

12)  The two-part London finale at the 2015-2016 season of the FIA Formula E Championship really ends this season with a major twist unheard of in the world of motorsports as Sebastien Buemi and Lucas di Grassi ended up not finishing the last race but thanks to the "fastest lap" tiebreaker, Buemi wins and he is named as the FIA Formula E 2015-2016 champion. For the 2016-2017 season, big changes have occured.

13) Following the ongoing dieselgate scandal, Volkswagen announced that it will withdraw from its successful World Rally Championship career while Audi, after their long successful career, has ended their Le Mans journey as well as its World Endurance Championship activities.

14) As the countdown to the end of Australian car production looms, Ford Australia ended their Australian car production as the last Ford Falcon rolled off the assembly line. The Falcon in question is a blue XR6 saloon, which rolled off the line at its Broadmeadows plant in Melbourne since early October, three months after the last Falcon Ute rolled off the line, signalling the end of its 9-decade history of Australian production for Ford.

15) The first Ford GT has finally rolled of the production line in the Markham plant in Ontario, signalling the start of its new chapter. Following its historic class win at Le Mans, the production of the new Ford GT is more than just a Christmas miracle for the Blue Oval fans worldwide.

16) Former Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May finally returned on the airwaves on Amazon's original car show, The Grand Tour. Although the new show may have the same Top Gear chemistry like the good old days, The Grand Tour puts more emphasis on the hosts themselves aside from driving fast cars, crude humor, and celebrity casualties aside.

There are many motoring-related tidbits that changed the world in 2016 but let's leave it here and move on to the next topic later on.

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