Supercars

Ferrari SF90 Stradale, Charles Leclerc film brings the Monaco F1 circuit back to life

The Monaco F1 circuit has been brought back to life, if just for a few minutes.

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

The Ferrari SF90 Stradale is a dizzying engineering achievement of numbers and downforce and power-to-weight ratios and power output and a big plug. It's also Ferrari's first "series production" plug-in hybrid.

Series production is Ferrari-speak for car-that-we-build-a-bunch-of-instead-of-building-just-five. It also has the most powerful eight-cylinder engine of any Ferrari ever, and excitingly (if you're a Ferrari enthusiast), means that a V8 is the Ferrari's top-of-the-range engine for the first time.

Ferrari SF90 Stradale, Charles Leclerc film Monaco movie The film was shot on the streets of Monaco.Photo courtesy of Ferrari

The 90-degree turbo V8 makes 769 horsepower. The car's three electric motors (one on the back axle, and two more up front) make another 216 combined electric horsepower. Combined, that's a whopping 985 total horsepower.

The SF90 Stradale is also the first straightforward Ferrari sports car (not to be confused with GT cars like the Ferrari FF, which are not sports cars in the Ferrari playbook) to come with four-wheel drive.

It goes zero to 62 mph in 2.5 seconds and on to 124 mph in 6.7 seconds. It also handles really well thanks to a whole bunch of wild and amazing technical details crafted by the engineering team that you can read about on Ferrari's website.

But a Ferrari isn't really about numbers and engineering. Go buy a McLaren if that's all you're interested in. The prancing horse is all about speed and pretty girls and sunshine. It's about passion for history. A Ferrari is basically Monaco in automotive form.

The plot takes the Ferrari around Monaco showing off several well-known attractions.Photo courtesy of Ferrari

That passion for history and speed and pretty girls is why Ferrari partnered up with Claude Lelouch, a cult hero in automotive circles for his short film "C'était un Rendez-Vous" shot on the streets of Paris in 1976. That film had a soundtrack from Lelouch's own Ferrari 275 GTB (it was filmed by a camera mounted on a Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9), and Ferrari felt that now was time for a remake of sorts.

The Monaco Grand Prix is arguably the most iconic motor race in the world. The 2020 running was cancelled, however, thanks to COVID-19. But that wasn't going to keep Ferrari — the oldest active team in Formula One — from running a car around the city on race day.

And so Lelouch, Ferrari F1 driver and Monagasque Charles Leclerc, a Ferrari SF90 Stradale, and HSH Prince Albert II all got together on the closed streets of Monaco early on May 24. That's the day the race *would* have taken place, mind you, and His Serene Highness was kind enough to close all the streets around the Principality so Lelouch and Leclerc could create a new short film: *Le Grand Rendez-Vous*.

The film stars F1 driver Charles Leclerc.Photo courtesy of Ferrari

In true Ferrari fashion, it combines what makes a Ferrari a Ferrari and it is perhaps the perfect quarantine antidote for any petrolhead. Watch it, then watch it, then watch it again. It's guaranteed to put a smile on your face — especially when Leclerc and his lady friend (played by Lelouch's granddaughter Rebecca) pull their masks off at the end.

Monaco lives. The horse prances. Life goes on.

"Le Grand Rendez-Vous" — Charles Leclerc and the Ferrari SF90 Stradale — One guy. No traffic. www.youtube.com

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The Michelin VISION tire is the tire of the future for the company

Photo courtesy of Michelin

Sustainability is in focus for most of the world's automakers. Making cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans that pollute the Earth less than their predecessors is their focus alongside emerging safety and driver assistance technology. Others in the auto industry supply chain are also looking to become more sustainable, including Michelin.

The tire company has announced that by 2050, Michelin tires will be made entirely from renewable, recycled, bio sourced, and otherwise sustainable materials. Today, nearly 30 percent of the materials used in manufacturing Michelin Group tires is are sustainable.

A study released last year, Emissions Analytics, an independent global testing and data company that studies real-world emissions and fuel efficiency for passenger and commercial vehicles, found that pollution from tire wear can be 1,000 times worse than what comes out of a vehicle's exhaust pipe. Unlike exhaust pollution, tire and brake pollution is mostly unregulated.

A recipe not as easy as it looks! www.youtube.com

In 2017, Michelin introduced the VISION tire, a concept that is airless, connected, rechargeable, and entirely sustainable. Since then, the company has invested in recycling efforts, buying up rubber pellet recyclers in the State of Georgia and in Spain.

The current lineup of Michelin tires consists of products that contain more than 200 ingredients each. The main part of the equation is natural rubber, which is harvested from rubber trees via a process that requires tapping a tree much in the same way that maple syrup comes from maple trees. Rubber trees traditionally need to be at least six years old before they are harvested.

Other materials in Michelin tires include synthetic rubber, metal, fibers, and components that are designed to strengthen the tire's structure like carbon black, silica, and plasticizers.

In a statement, a spokesperson fro Michelin said, "Michelin's maturity in materials technology stems from the strength of its R&D capabilities, which are supported by 6,000 people working in seven research and development centers around the world and mastering 350 areas of expertise. The commitment of these engineers, researchers, chemists and developers has led to the filing of 10,000 patents covering tyre design and manufacturing. They work hard every day to find the recipes that will improve tyre safety, durability, ride and other performance features, while helping to make them 100-percent sustainable by 2050."

Michelin has partnered with a number of companies to create materials of the future. Axens and IFP Energies Nouvelles, the two companies that are spearheading the BioButterfly project, have been working with Michelin since 2019 on producing bio-sourced butadiene to replace petroleum-based butadiene. Using the biomass from wood, rice husks, leaves, corn stalk, and other plant waste, 4.2 million tons of wood chips could be incorporated into Michelin tires every year with the materials replacement.

A partnership between Michelin and Pyroware can produce recycled styrene from plastics found in packaging. Styrene is used to produce synthetic rubber. Eventually, tens of thousands of tonnes of polystyrene waste could be recycled back into its original products as well as into Michelin tires every year.

Additionally, Michelin will launch the construction of its first tire recycling plant in the world with Encivo, a Swedish company that has developed a patented technology to recover carbon black, pyrolysis oil, steel, gas and other new, high-quality reusable materials from end-of-life tires.

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The Nissan Ariya has wind glide over it in the testing tunnel.

Photo courtesy of Nisan Motor Company

Nissan is targeting a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.297 for the Ariya all-electric crossover. If it can make that number, it will be the company's most aerodynamic crossover to date. What does that mean? Let's take a closer look.

What is drag?

Simply put, drag is an aerodynamic force. It's mechanical in nature, so it is the result of the interaction of a solid body and a liquid. In the case of a car, this liquid is air. (Yes, air is a liquid.) It only occurs when one part of the equation (the solid body or the liquid) is in motion. If there is no motion, there is no drag.

Drag only occurs in the opposite direction of the object's movement. Think of a car cutting through the air as it drives down a north-south road. As the car heads north, the air it passes through is pushed south. The car is in motion; there is drag.

2022 Nissan Ariya

Photo courtesy of Nisan Motor Company

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What is coefficient of drag?

The coefficient of drag, also called a drag coefficient, is a number that aerodynamics professions (aerodynamicists) use to determine the shape, inclination, and flow conditions on a vehicle's drag. The shape of an object (bullet vs. square vs prism, etc.) has a large impact on the amount of drag created by airflow surrounding a vehicle. Objects with narrower front ends tend to have a lower coefficient.

Scientists and vehicle designers want to keep air moving around the car for maximum efficiency. The inclination of the airflow to either move in a smooth, connected pattern, or to be broken up with air sitting, stalling in one particular part of the vehicle, lessening airflow and making the vehicle less aerodynamic.

A vehicle's Cd is determined by plugging various measurements into an equation. Cd is equal to drag (D) divided by the quantity of density (r) multiplied by half the velocity (V) squared multiple by the reference area (A). As an equation, it looks like this: Cd = D / (A * .5 * r * V^2).

The smaller the Cd, the more aerodynamic a vehicle is.

2022 Nissan Ariya

The Nissan Ariya employs aerodynamic wheel design, made to help it cut though the air with greater ease.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

What is the coefficient of drag of the Nissan Ariya?

"With the growing shift towards electric mobility, aerodynamic testing is becoming increasingly important. The aerodynamics of electric vehicles are directly linked to how efficiently the vehicle moves – less drag and better stability allows the customer to drive longer distances before having to recharge," said Sarwar Ahmed, Aerodynamics and Aeroacoustics Engineer at Nissan Technical Centre Europe.

Nissan is targeting a 0.297 coefficient of drag for the Ariya. How will it achieve that number? By utilizing precisely shaped body lines and strategically placed air ducts, among other components. There's a bonus to better aerodynamics when it comes to EVs.

"Following official homologation of the Nissan Ariya later this year, we anticipate the range to improve compared to the 310 mile figure shared in 2020 during the World Premiere. This will give drivers more efficiency and confidence to go even further on a single charge," said Marco Fioravanti, VP Product Planning, Nissan Europe.

How does the Ariya's coefficient of drag compare to other Nissans?

The newest Nissans, the Kicks, Pathfinder, and Frontier, don't have their Cd publicly available yet, but other models have their results. The targeted 0.297 Cd in the Ariya is less than that in the 2021 Armada, Murano, and Rogue. But, it's higher than the Nissan Leaf.

The fact that it's higher than the Leaf is not surprising. Shorter cars tend to be more aerodynamic because they sit lower to the ground and have a smaller profile. That also explains why Nissan's largest and boxiest SUV, the Armada, has the highest number on the list.

How does the Ariya's coefficient of drag compare to numbers from other EVs?

The Nissan Ariya's coefficient of drag is higher than that of most other electric cars, crossovers, and SUVs sold in the U.S. Here's where the others measure up:

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