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Meet Horacio Pagani, the man who changed supercars into hypercars

This still, from the Pagani Automobili video "Huayra Roadster BC", shows Horacio Pagani sharing his love of automobiles with a young fan.

Photo courtesy of Pagani Automobili

Before the Pagani brand name became synonymous with supercars and hypercars, company founder Horacio Pagani had to travel many miles from the small town of Casilda, Argentina where he was born in 1955.

As a child Horacio would make miniature car models, read about exotic European motor shows, and study legends of the industry like Enzo Ferrari and the Maserati brothers. He dreamed of traveling to Modena, Italy, a town known for being the home of renowned tenor Luciano Pavoratti that would become better known as being the home to the Ferrari, De Tomaso, Lamborghini, Pagani, and Maserati automobile companies.

Horacio also learned about Leonardo Da Vinci, another famous Italian. He read a quote by Da Vinci that would set him on his path: "Art and Science are two disciplines that must walk together hand in hand."

Museo Horacio Pagani www.youtube.com

By 1979, Horacio had spent two years crafting a Formula 2 single-seater racecar, working each bit of the car's minutiae except the car's engine, which was supplied by Renault. The detail work of the car attracted the attention of Oreste "El Mago" Berta, one of the world's leading automotive engineers, and five-time Formula 1 World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio.

This was his turning point.

A tent, a suitcase, and two bicycles are all that Horacio and his wife Chrisina left home with when they set off for Italy in December 1982. They didn't know if they would be able to find a job there once they arrived. The automotive industry in Italy was suffering from a slump during as the changing tides of buyer purchasing behavior moved quicker than brands like Alfa Romeo and Lancia were able to adjust. Letters of introduction and recommendation from Fangio did little to help his cause.

Despite living on a shoestring budget and making his wages doing odd jobs, Horacio never lost site of his dream.

UNSUNG HEROES #73 - The Lamborghini Countach Evoluzione www.youtube.com

He was able to put together several solid months of employment at Automobili Lamborghini before the company moved to hire him as a mechanic. His passion burned so bright that Horacio quickly gained a reputation for his work ethic, being the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave at the end of the day. After dinner he would delve back into sports car design and production issues.

In 1985, at 30 years young, Horacio was promoted to lead the new Composite Material department where he participated in the design of the Lamborghini Countach Evoluzione, a one-off prototype that was created to test multiple forthcoming designs that would be the basis for future Lamborghini product using technology usually reserved for the aerospace industry. Some of its attributes and features made their way to the Lamborghini Diablo, the automaker's first mid-engine model, when it debuted in 1990.

With his work on this prototype, Horacio learned that the future of sports cars would focus on efficiency, safety, and lightweighting. He took this knowledge and tried to convince Lamborghini to purchase an autoclave so they could make composite materials on a large scale. When he was turned down, he went to the bank, got a loan, and bought the machine himself, installing it inside a rented building near the Lamborghini plant. He used the autoclave to conduct research and development that he would harvest in the future.

The onset of a world economic crisis is not the time when many financial planners would advise to start a business, but it was then, during the late 1980s, that Horacio decided to strike out on his own, founding Modena Design, making leading-edge composite bodies for Renault, Daihatsu, Ferrari Formula 1, Aprilia and Dallara. In the overnight hours, he worked on his own car, soon to be known as the Fangio F1.

Pagani rear logo The company now known as Pagani Automobili started as Modena Design in the late 1980s. Photo by Getty Images

Following several years of development on the Fangio F1, Horacio met then-Mercedes-Benz chief engineer Dieter Zetsche, the man with a mustache the Lorax would envy who is affectionately known as Dr. Z, who would go on to be the Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz. Horacio showed Dr. Z the Fangio F1 prototype he was working on and Zetsche exclaimed, ""It looks like a timeless car!" to which Horacio replied: "Thank God! Because I don't have any money and I'll need a lot of time to make it."

Months after their meeting, Zetsche agreed to supply Horacio with the 450-horsepower,12-cylinder Mercedes-Benz M120 engine that would help begin to make Horacio's dream a reality.

In March 1999, the car was officially presented at the Geneva Motor Show under the mark name Zonda. It was different. Very different. There was almost an unprecedented level of attention to detail. Using the term supercar wasn't enough to describe the model. It became the world's first hypercar, seamlessly blending science with art.

The Pagani Huayra Story - A Documentary www.youtube.com

Pagani Automobili had arrived.

First with Honda, then with Huayra, Pagani has broken speed records and made technological breakthroughs, all in style.

Neither Pagani nor Horacio are done. The company and the man have more ambitious goals they wish to achieve in their mission to create further timeless models that never lose sight of Horacio's, or Da Vinci's, vision.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

CSR Racing 2 is a mobile game that allows gamers to drive a selection of Bugatti concept cars and production vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Bugatt

Bugatti and Zynga, the company behind FarmVille, have teamed up again to deliver a virtual drive experience in the Bugatti Bolide concept car to gamers. Bugatti has not yet decided if the Bolide, a hypercar that the President of Bugatti described as “riding a cannonball”, is bound for production.

Zynga’s CSR Racing 2 (CSR2) mobile game to allow players to compete against each other in drag race with different vehicles in various categories. As players win races they win points. These points can be used to upgrade their vehicle of purchase a more powerful model, like the Bolide.

The Bugatti Bolide is able to be raced at various tracks throughout the game.Photo courtesy of Bugatti

In the concept, Bugatti has used its 8.0-liter W16 engine, which delivers 1,850 PS (1,824 horsepower) and 1,805 nM (1,364 pound-feet) of torque to move the Bolide1's 1,240-kilogram (2,733-pound) body. Bugatti clocks the model's top speed as being almost on-par with that of Formula One cars, well above 500 kilometers per hour (310 mph) and confirms that the weight and speed do not impact the car's agility.

The game gives gamers relatively accurate use of the car’s power.

"We are thrilled to have our fans experience the raw track-ready power of the Bugatti Bolide virtually through CSR2," says Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti. "Interactive entertainment allows racers across all generations to get behind the wheel of our latest hyper sport cars and feel their performance."

This is not the first collaboration between Zynga and Bugatti. Since last year, gamers have been able to add vehicles including the exclusive Chiron Pur Sport, the Chiron Super Sport 300+, La Voiture Noire, and the Centodieci to their garage, configure them and use them to race along the drag strip.

CSR2 is available to download for free on the App Store as well as the Google Play Store.

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The all-electric Porsche Taycan took to a track in Germany to set a new world record.

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

The record holder for the longest drift with an electric vehicle belongs to the Porsche Taycan. A rear-wheel drive version of the electric sedan took the Guinness World Records title at the Porsche Experience Center in Hockenheimring, near Heidelberg, Germany.

Porsche instructor Dennis Reter completed 210 laps of a 200 meter-long drift circle without the Taycan's front wheels ever pointing in the same direction as the curve. The feat took 55 minutes and covered a total of 42.171 kilometers. Reter's average speed behind the wheel was 46 km/h.

Porsche Taycan Guinness Book of World Records The attempt was logged using experts from various professions, including a professional from the Guinness Book of World Records.Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

"When the driving stability programmes are switched off, a powerslide with the electric Porsche is extremely easy, especially of course with this model variant, which is driven exclusively via the rear wheels," said Retera, "Sufficient power is always available. The low centre of gravity and the long wheelbase ensure stability. The precise design of the chassis and steering allows for perfect control at all times, even when moving sideways".

Retera has an extensive performance driving background. He is currently the Chief Instructor at the Porsche Experience Centre Hockenheimring. Previously he has competed in karting, single seaters, and endurance car races. Still, it was a challenge for him to pilot the car during the record-making experience.

"Nevertheless, it was also very tiring for me to keep my concentration high for 210 laps, especially as the irrigated asphalt of the drift circuit does not provide the same grip everywhere. I concentrated on controlling the drift with the steering – this is more efficient than using the accelerator pedal and reduces the risk of spinning," said Retera.

The attempt took place under the supervision of Guinness World Records official record judge Joanne Brent on the irrigated driving dynamics area of the Experience Center. Brent has five years experience supervising Guinness World Record attempts. "We've had some drift records, but with an electric sports car it's something very special for us too," said Brent. "Here Porsche has done real pioneering work."

Porsche Taycan Guinness Book of World Records The drifting circle at the Porsche Experience Center is 80 meters.Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Overseeing the event wasn't just an easy spectator sport. Brent documented the record with a number of technical aids and independent experts. Before the attempt, a local land surveyor measured the 80-meter diameter area where the attempt was to take place with millimetre precision. GPS and yaw rate sensors within the vehicle were used for documentation purposes, as was a camera installed on the roof of the track's control tower, with which the record ride was filmed.

Denise Ritzmann, the 2018 and 2019 European drifting campion was responsible for ensuring the car remained permanently drifted during the attempt. "You can see at a glance whether the front wheels are pointing in a different direction to the curve. As long as this is the case, the car is drifting," she said. Together with Brent, she also counted the laps completed during the record attempt.

The Porsche Taycan Drifts into the Guinness World Records www.youtube.com

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