The Good Oil: Prius' complete Ring cycle

Toyota Prius TRD took on the Nurburgring. Photo / Supplied
Toyota Prius TRD took on the Nurburgring. Photo / Supplied

The Toyota Prius hybrid is now the lucky owner of a track record at the Nurburging, spiritual home of the German Grand Prix.

But it's not based on time and speed - it's for fuel economy. Before you flip over to our awesome cover car, hold up: the Prius went around the track averaging an incredible 0.336 litres per 100km.

The plan was to give the car a full charge and send it round for a lap driven carefully enough that the engine kicked in as little as possible, if at all. Of course, driving 2.76km (the length of the Nordschliefe) in day-to-day driving would normally be perfectly achievable with the Prius' electric-only range.

However, it wouldn't be simple in der Rhineland. First, one lap includes an economy-sapping 300m rise in height, and second, with a 60km/h minimum average speed rule for anyone taking part in public sessions, the driver couldn't pootle around like Grandad going to the shops.

The Prius clocked a leisurely lap of 20min 59 sec at an average 69 km/h.

The engine kicked in only once, using about five tablespoons of fuel, and giving that absurd fuel economy figure.

For the record: Michael Schumacher holds the lap record of 1 min 29.468sec, set in his 2004 Ferrari.

We are the world

In what is possibly the most redneck thing ever to happen anywhere (but did, of course, happen in the USA), police in Des Moines, Iowa, arrested a man named Shelby Mustang GT500 Miller after he caused a disturbance in a bar.
Why his legal name is Shelby Mustang 500GT Miller is not known. He is, not surprisingly, in jail.
A while back The Good Oil told you about a New Hampshire man who was fighting to get his COPSLIE number plate allowed. Well, he won, starting a flurry of applications for previously denied plates such as A55MAN, BOO-B, or our favourite, an ex -police officer who wanted OINK.

The Fast and the Tedious

The top ticketed car in the US is the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class.

Ever wondered what car in the US gets the most speeding tickets?

No, we haven't either, but that was before this little bit of research by Mustang parts supplier CJ Pony Parts (umm, no, we're not sure why they did it either ... ) threw up some, well, bizarre results.

Apparently the top three most ticketed cars are the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, the Toyota Camry Solara (a coupe version of the Camry) and the Scion tC (a coupe based on, of all things, the Toyota Avensis platform).

The most obvious thing this says to The Good Oil is that Americans have utterly no idea what a sporty car is, yet they drive them like they really do think they do.

The three least ticketed cars? They are the Jaguar XJ, the Chevrolet Suburban and the Buick Park Avenue.

The most obvious thing that says to The Good Oil is that Jaguar has clearly utterly failed to convince America that the XJ isn't just for old people any more.

Nissan design comes under fire
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but the makers of the DeltaWing race car (left) are unimpressed that Nissan has released the ZEOD RC (right). Pictures / supplied
Open letter from Panoz to Nissan

Don Panoz probably isn't the kind of guy you should pick a fight with. His father was an Italian immigrant who became a champion boxer in the USA, while Don himself served in the army during World War II.

He made his fortune in the pharmaceutical game (inventing the idea of time-release medication via a transdermal patch, or what we know as the nicotine patch today) before making even more money in resorts, wineries and water pollution control.

Then he turned his attention to motorsport in order to help his son Dan establish his fledgling car business. Like most people with lots of money, he did this by simply throwing lots of money at it.

He started his own series (the American Le Mans Series or ALMS), owns IMSA (International Motor Sports Association), a number of race tracks across America, several race schools and a number of companies that build racing cars for, among others, the Formula Ford series, ALMS, the Le Mans series and Indy Car.

So how does a man like Don Panoz take it when a big company, well, in his view, rips him off? Not well. But he responds magnificently.

Panoz has recently had a falling out with Nissan over the design of their ZEOD delta wing racing car, which bears a remarkable resemblance to the car that Panoz's DeltaWing Technologies created alongside Nissan, before the Japanese company pulled out of the arrangement.

Since December Panoz has been in legal wranglings with Nissan, but a few weeks ago he went public in a spectacular way by taking out a full-page newspaper ad having a crack at Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn.

Now he has run another ad that flatly accuses Nissan of ripping off the DeltaWing design. Gary Fong, a spokesman for DeltaWing, told US website www.autoblog.com that the idea for the ads started after mediation between the company and Nissan broke down earlier this year.
"We were trying to bring them to settle it amicably," he said to Autoblog.

When that didn't happen, DeltaWing decided to straighten out the misconceptions in the public about the lawsuit. The strategy actually worked, too.

"We've seen an opinion change," said Fong. He estimates that before the advertisements the attitude was "90 per cent against Panoz," but there has been more support since then.
Either way, the lesson here is you don't annoy Don Panoz ...

Number Crunching

20.81KMS
The length of a single lap of the Nürburgring track.
100 MILLION
The Euro price German parts company Capricorn bought the Nürburgring for earlier this year.
73 DEATHS
The number of people killed while driving at the Nürburgring.
0LAPS
The number of laps Driven has put in around the 'Ring.

- NZ Herald

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