Wednesday, March 5, 2008

2008 Spyker C8 Aileron

Big news for a little firm, Spyker have today unveiled their V8 powered C8 Aileron Grand Tourer.

The coupe has an aluminium body clad around an all aluminium space-frame chassis. The bodywork from the front draws heavily from Spyker’s aero heritage as some of the intakes would not look out of place on an Airbus A320. Squint a little from the rear and you would be forgiven that you were looking at a TVR Tuscan, overall though it’s undeniably interesting.

A wider track and a 10cm longer wheelbase gives the Spyker an almost square footprint. Making that footprint are immense 19-inch BF Goodrich tyres which are wrapped around turbine style (the aero heritage again) 10 spoke bladed alloys. Just hidden behind these alloys are substantial AP racing brakes which can be optioned up to Carbon/Ceramic specification. Double wishbone suspension features both front and rear.

An Audi sourced 4.2L 5 valve per cylinder V8 churns out a respectable 400hp through either a 6 speed manual Getrag gearbox or at an extra cost, a 6 speed ZF automatic transmission.

The standard kit is immense and includes Xenon headlights and a Bluetooth equipped Audio system with GPS and an i-Pod adapter. Expect lots of leather inside the cockpit. It’s not cheap though with the manual coming at a snip under €200,000 and the auto at €207,990.

Keen to develop some racing heritage, Spyker will field two Spyker Laviolette GT2R’s in both the 2008 and 2009 Le Mans Series. Spyker will also enter the classic 24hr Le Mans. We wish them luck.

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unusual roads

The Millau Bridge

The Millau Bridge is in southern France and crosses the River Tarn in the Massif Central mountains. It was designed by the British architect Lord Foster and at 300m (984 feet) it is the highest road bridge in the world, weighing 36,000 tonnes. The central pillar is higher than the famous French icon, the Eiffel Tower. The Bridge opened in December 2004 and is possibly one of the most breath taking bridges ever built.

The bridge towers above the Tarn Valley and the aim of Lord Foster was to design a bridge with the ?delicacy of a butter fly?. Lord Foster designed a bridge that enhances the natural beauty of the valley, with the environment dominating the scene rather than the bridge. The bridge appears to float on the clouds despite the fact that it has seven pillars and a roadway of 1½ miles in length. On first sight, the impression is of boats sailing on a sea of mist. The roadway threads through the seven pillars like thread through the eye of a needle.

The bridge was opened by President Jacques Chirac. In his speech he praised the design saying that it was a ?monument to French engineering genius? and ?a miracle of equilibrium?.
The bridge was entirely privately financed and cost 394 million euros (272 million pounds, 524 million dollars). The aim is to cut the travelling time to southern France, removing the bottle neck at Millau, through the completion of the motorway between Paris and the Mediterranean.

The bridge took only three years to complete with new engineering techniques being employed. The traditional method of building a cable stay bridge involves building sections of the deck (roadway) and using cranes to put them in position. Because of its height, 900 feet above the valley floor, a new technique had to be developed.

First, the towers were built in the usual way, with steel reinforced concrete.
The road way was built on either side of the valley and rolled into position, until it met with precision in the centre. This technique had never been tried before and it carried engineering risks. However, it proved to be an efficient method of deploying the roadway.

Beautiful Road