At the 2012 Beijing Motor Show, Ferrari CEO Amadeo Felisa told TopGear.com that they didn't "like the idea of an electric Ferrari because one of our main characteristics is the sound of the engine."
On playing Niki Lauda:
"It was a strange thing playing a real character who is still alive. Especially a character like Niki, who is quite extreme. There were so many things I wanted to get right. His courage, guts, overcoming the fear. I was lucky, he was very open with me. His book ‘To Hell & Back' was the best first source. He's a complex man, and so different to every other man I know. So determined. He has pure discipline, he's like a Swiss watch, an incredible businessman, super skilled.
"Niki talks with a staccato rhythm, his sentences are like stone, and he always thinks very carefully before he speaks, so he can appear cold and technical. Whereas James Hunt was more emotional, more passionate. The rock star. But I didn't want to exaggerate that too much, because I wanted him to be likeable. After his accident, it's quite heart-breaking. Even Niki said when he watched that sequence that he was touched by it.
"I think he's one of the best characters I've ever played, a gift really. There's so much to him. I'm German, he's Austrian, and we're very different. On top of that, he's Niki, so that's another layer! It really is a transformation, there's nothing of me in this part. He flew me to Brazil on his own jet, to attend the Grand Prix. ‘Come to Vienna, but just bring hand luggage... in case we didn't like each other and I have to send you back home.' But luckily we got on. I met Sebastien Vettel. Jackie Stewart, Nelson Piquet. I found it very impressive Niki would answer every question, even intimate ones, and he has a greater sense of humour than I expected."
On what he's learned:
"All sportsman have an armour. Niki knows the effect he has on other people. He's so frank, he plays on it, to this day. But he's also really likeable. He was very kind to me, from the first moment. The responsibility is extremely high. Everyone knows Niki Lauda, they know how he speaks. In Germany, in particular, he still casts a big shadow. [slips into perfect Lauda accent] ‘Just don't mess it up, OK? It has to be good...' He has certain tics and movements, and they'll be difficult to get rid of after filming. I'm not that method that I have to be in character the whole time. I love watching and imitating people. I spent hours watching interviews with him on YouTube.
"He doesn't give a s***. He has no vanity. He could have had full plastic surgery, but he only had done what he needed to do to go back racing. Because he's so open, you don't even notice his appearance. And he has very bright, intelligent eyes."
Learning to drive racing cars:
"I did an F3 driving course in Barcelona. I met Marc Gene [Ferrari F1 test driver and 2009 Le Mans winner]. Great guy. I have to look a little bit like I'm at home in the F1 car. I drove the replicas we used, but they're still pretty fast, trust me. We shot some stuff with the camera in the helmet, it would have been strange to do a movie that was all green screen. It's just not going to work in a film like this..."
On Hunt and Lauda:
"They wouldn't have been so great individually if the other hadn't been. They were friends, yes, but there are cinematic rules. It's important that the dramatic arc works."
On cars and F1:
"I've always been interested in old timers, though they never usually work. I've owned a Peugeot 304 cabrio, and an Alfa Giulia, a 1966 car. It's fixed now. So I love cars. I was always interested in Formula One. I was born in 1978, so I remember Senna and Prost. And, of course, I was a fan of Michael Schumacher."
On racing films:
"I love the rivalry story in Rush. I love Grand Prix with Yves Montand and James Garner, action sequences very well done for the time. Even now it's still impressive. Le Mans, Steve McQueen.Two Lane Blacktop. Set in the ‘60s and ‘70s, always a special period. So I loved the idea of being able to be in an F1 film set in that time."
With Rush and the Goodwood Revival getting us in the groove, and yet another Vettel win, we are all starting to wonder here whether racing was just, well... better in the past.
Last week we made the case for F1 in the 1970s. The Cosworth DFV had meant just about anyone who fancied it - and could finance it - could have a go at F1; big characters, big grids. The cars looked totally different each year. And they performed like it too, as there were no back-to-back champions in the 1970s.
The 1970s were F1's wonderland. But the innocence was to be short lived. Time marches on. Today it's the turn of the 1980s, the last time F1 cars were turbocharged as they will be next year. But while 2014's 1.6-litre V6s will be turbocharged in the name of efficiency (notionally at least), appropriately in the ‘80s it was all about excess, all about power. The 1980s sneered at the 1970s; non-forced induction was for whimps.
The turbo era was also when F1 got its corporate on. Turbo engines weren't cheap so teams needed to get the big boys to play and pay; Renault, BMW, Porsche, Honda, and of course Ferrari all developed winning turbos but they brought their big industry cultures with them. The cars changed too. Out went riveted aluminium and in came carbon fibre on the coat tails of McLaren's revolutionary MP4-1. But that technology wasn't cheap either so the teams had to dig deeper into sponsors pockets. Team's identities started to disappear behind those of their ‘commercial partners'. Modern mega-bucks F1 was starting to emerge, so we had to hope the cars would be appropriately impressive. And, oh my, were they ever.
Just as the Cosworth DFV, the engine of the ‘70s, had made its debut in the 1960s, so the 1.5-litre F1 turbo made its debut in the 1970s, at the 1977 British Grand Prix in an odd, but far-from-slow car called the Renault RSO1. The race also marked the appropriately lurid debut of Gilles Villeneuve, so the Renault's performance was overlooked. But the end was in sight for the DFV and Enzo Ferrari's detested garagistas culture.
By 1979 Renault was winning F1 races with its own team and by 1980 Ferrari had joined it in recognising the potential fail in the ‘equivalence formula' that reckoned a normally aspirated three-litre engine could produce as much power as a forced-induction 1.5-litre. It couldn't. Not even close and although free breathing Cosworth V8s would power two Williams' and one Brabham to world titles through '80-'82, from 1983 on it was all about the turbos.
Once Bernie Ecclestone and Gordon Murray's Brabham team had introduced in-race refuelling, there was little reason for the teams not to turn the wicks all the way up on the turbos. The craziest figure I ever heard was 1400bhp from the four-cylinder BMW in the back of Nelson Piquet's Brabham BT52 in 1983, so it's not unreasonable to assume that 1000bhp cars were starting F1 races in the 1980s.
BMW with its astonishing little straight four drew first blood with Nelson Piquet in 1983. Piquet, the '81 champion with Brabham (and like Williams' 1982 champion Keke Rosberg another F1 dad, albeit maybe a tad less proud) was one of three drivers whose names would dominate the decade and would between them bag no less than ten world championships in the ‘80s and early ‘90s; Piquet, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna.
Though both Brazilian, Piquet and Senna could not be less alike. The celebrated purity and dignity of Senna's approach to racing and life was alien to Piquet. He could not be wounded off the track or on it because he largely didn't care. He was sensationally quick however, brave too, once submitting to a lap around Silverstone in a Brabham-BMW in which the springs had been effectively removed to aid the ground effect. The vibrations made Piquet black out, but he kept his foot in. Hard to imagine Senna or Prost, with their more calculated approach to risk, submitting to a similarly crazy stunt. Intellectuals in comparison to Piquet, they were probably more alike than folklore suggests. Each knew when to drive with their head and when to give in to their hearts.
But turbocars took balls too. The ground effect underbodies introduced by Colin Chapman on the Lotus 78 and which, refined, took Mario Andretti to the 1978 World title in the Lotus 79, were not outlawed until the 1983 season. So early turbocars had almost limitless downforce to go with their almost limitless power. And there was none more destructive than the Ferrari 126C2, which in 1982 - after a Vettel-Webber style fallout - killed Gilles Villeneuve and would go on to maim teammate Didier Pironi. If Ron Howard is looking for a darker narrative for Rush 2, he need look no further that Ferrari's 1982 season.
If the Ferrari 126C2, raw, unrefined and still wrestling with the concepts behind it, was the yearling of the turbo era then the McLaren-Honda MP4-4 was the billion-dollar stud horse. The most successful racing car of all time, winning 15 of the 16 races in the 1988 season (and losing the Italian Grand Prix through a freak accident), it took Ayrton Senna to his first world title, Gordon Murray to his last (he'd left Brabham for McLaren after securing two world titles for Piquet and Bernie) and the last for a turbocar (for now).
Senna, who had made his debut in 1982 in the lurid Toleman-Hart turbo, took the MP4/4 to the 1988 title, one of five driver's titles McLaren would win in the 1980s. The others came in TAG-Porsche powered MP4s with Niki Lauda (‘84), Prost ('85 and '86) and Prost again in 1989 in McLaren's Honda-powered, normally aspirated V10.
McLaren were the team of the decade, playing the power game on and off the track. The arrival of Ron Dennis and his backers in 1981 wiped out not just much of the innocence of the team that had taken James Hunt to the '76 title (but little success since), but much of the innocence of F1 itself. We were well on the way to the arrival of the ‘brand centre' in the paddock. In the 1990s it would be the turn of the drivers to raise their game and that would come with the arrival at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix of a certain Michael Schumacher.
"Actually, I grew up surrounded by motorbikes. My dad raced them. I really only got an appreciation for the 1970s as a motor racing era and the personalities who dominated it while working on Rush."
On James Hunt:
"I'd love to have been able talk to him, but his passing gives me a little bit more freedom, I suppose. When you're playing a character you've got to get as much inspiration and information together as you can, but it's your version of it. I'm not mimicking him. You've got to find a way to relate to it, with a nod to the period and who this guy really was.
The character starts to take on a life of its own. Whatever energy is required in the scene, you've got to embody it. But I don't carry it about with me for four months. I'm not Marlon Brando, y'know? But when it's James being the life and soul of the party, or being dark, you have to find it. You've got to show the truth of it."
On landing the role and the physical challenges it entailed:
"I sent an audition tape to Ron [Howard] and the producers. I wanted to be proactive about it. First thing was, I had to get rid of the Thor weight. I tell you, it was harder to lose it than to put it on. At least on the way up you're being fed, so you're in a good mood. I was under-fed and had to over-train. My wife was like, 'please, just eat something!' It changes your personality in some weird ways. I remember going somewhere and thinking, ‘Who am I? I've got nothing to say.' Absolutely nothing was firing... I was talking to Matt Damon about it a while ago. He said it was like a crazy obsession. Insanity. He went away and did it, but I had to shoot a film while doing it. I got rid of 15kg in the end. Going any further wasn't worth what I was losing in my personal life!"
On motor racing in the '60s and '70s:
"Death was the dark cloud looming towards you that you'd occasionally acknowledge but otherwise ignore. 'I won't let them in'. Francois Cevert [Jackie Stewart's Tyrrell team-mate, who was killed at Watkins Glen in 1973] used to refer to them as being knights, that they had that sort of nobility. And that's in the film: there is so much more to it than just racing.'
This is a Hyundai Genesis Coupe, modified to produce 1,000bhp and clothed in an electric blue paintjob that gives some idea as to its pace.
It's been built by Hyundai in conjunction with Bisimoto Engineering, for the upcoming 2013 SEMA tuner show in Las Vegas, and is a "concept designed for the reliability of a street car but with the outrageous power of a no-holds-barred racer". They're not wrong there.
Underneath, you'll be surprised to find the standard Hyundai Genesis Coupe's 3.8-litre V6 Lambda engine - no whopping great supercharged V8 here. "Bisimoto Engineering is excited to develop the V6 to its full potential for the rigours of competitive motorsport," explains Bisi Ezerioha, owner of Bisimoto. He reckons that V6 is ‘a thoroughly robust powerplant', and we should hope so, otherwise there'll be a very loud pop at an inconvenient moment.
Saying that, the engineering bods have beefed up the V6's internals: there are Arias forged pistons, steel connecting rods, Bisimoto ‘level 2' camshafts, a pair of Bisimoto/Turbonetics turbochargers with a dual RG45 wastegate and amusingly named ‘Godzilla' blow-off valves, a custom fuel pump, custom headwork and a Spearco intercooler. There's also an ‘Ironman' clutch, though we doubt it's a tiny Robert Downey Jr nestled in the gearbox.
This 1,000bhp Genesis Coupe benefits from a Bisimoto roll cage, Progress coilover suspension and anti-roll bars, 20in aluminium wheels, racing seats and harnesses, a dry cell battery, G&J braided lines, and a ‘Racepack' dash.
When we first drove the new Porsche Turbo S, it was literally too fast for our eyes. The way the four-wheel-drive, four-wheel-steer monster put down 553bhp and a ludicrous 553 torques and proceeded to shoot us towards the horizon made us momentarily blind. Well now, that slightly scary, yet addictive sensation can now be done without a roof over your head. Say hello to the new Porsche 911 Turbo and Turbo S.
As the first model designed with significant input from all of the Caterham Group’s specialist business arms, the AeroSeven Concept signals the brand’s intentions in terms of product engineering processes, speed to market, as well as a hint to its styling direction for future models, including the all-new sportscar being developed in conjunction with Renault and due for release in early 2016.
The AeroSeven Concept, which draws heavily on methods used by the F1 team, will be the first ever Caterham model to be fitted with traction control. Thanks to a newly developed Caterham Engine Management System, drivers will be able to enjoy fully-adjustable traction and launch control functionality.
Every petrolhead has daydreamed their way into a lottery win and been left in the horrendously agonising situation having to decide what cars to spend your imaginary money on. Do you fill your ‘dream garage'with a mixed bag of motoring marques? Or stick to one and have the most amazing selection of a single model in the world? Well let us introduce you to D'Ann and Wayne Rauh, who did both... and not in a daydream.
The Texan couple collectively own over 100 cars, but amazingly, 65 of them are Vipers - the world's largest collection. It was an addiction that started seven years ago, and has led them to own originals from the 90s all the way to the latest SRT Viper with a bit of everything in-between - including a few of the special ones like the mental 640bhp, track-only ACR-X.
D'Ann even owns the last Dodge Viper (before they changed to SRT) to roll off the production line. It's the most customized Viper Dodge ever built and finished in two-tone gold with a unique interior. We think they'd get on well with Gerard Lopez, the owner of 13 per cent of total Viper race car production and another awesome car collection.
So click play to see all 65 V10 brutes in the video above. Then tell us which one's your favourite...