Cars n' Stars: New Nissan Sports Car, Vasser Quickest in Japan, More Charging Stations For E-Vehicles.
26 March 1998
Nissan aficionados, lamenting the demise of the Z cars and the 300ZX, would like to see a new sporty car come forth from the Japanese auto maker. It appears their prayers may have been answered: Nissan's design center in LaJolla, CA has one on the drawing board. It will most likely come out in 2001, will be based on a whole new platform, and will be wedge shaped with a bullet-like nose. The FedEx/CART contingent will hold race number 2 of their 19 race season this coming weekend at the Motegi 1.5 mile oval in Japan. In yesterday's practice, Jimmy Vasser had fast time. The race, which will be carried on The Auto Channel, will see the entire 1998 CART entry go at it for 200 laps, which will probably be run in fairly ideal conditions . . . cloudy and 67 degrees. Vasser toured the track at 25.584 seconds at 217.964 mph. Next fastest was Adrian Fernandez, Reynard/Cosworth; followed by Gil de Ferran, Reynard/Honda, 217.761 mph. The first Mercedes powered car was Greg Moore, who is 5th quickest overall. Rounding out the bottom of the lineup are Patrick Carpentier, Mercedes; and Alex Barron, Toyota/Reynard at 179 mph. American Honda and Ford have kicked in $200,000 each to expand electric car charging stations in California, which means you can Charge up at nine Hilton Hotels, the Burbank airport, Century City, and in La Jolla, CA. Professional Sports Car Racing announces the Grand Prix of Nevada, sponsored by Toshiba, will take place at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway April 24-26. Feature races will include a four hour enduro. Another Detroit based rumor has Ford building a new sport ute that will be even bigger than the Lincoln Navigator. It will have six doors and could be called the Excursion. The LeMans 24 hour race is coming up. So far Mercedes--top cat in FIA Touring car racing--has not filed an entry. Observers feel they will be in the 74 car field with the CLK-GTR that won everything (except Laguna Seca) last season. Eight Ferrari 333SPs are entered, along with Porsche, McLaren, Courage, Panoz and BMW. Keep your eye on the David Letterman Hyundai hassle that is brewing. After Letterman zapped Hyundai verbally on his late night show, a Hyundai salesman, Conner Ryan of Missoula, Montana picked up the challenge and is driving to Manhattan in an attempt to confront David and tell him Hyundais are good cars. At Toyota, not only is the Paseo out of the lineup for this mid-year, but the four-door Tercel is being dropped. Thinking of buying a new car? Best customer incentive going on at this time is two grand off the 1997 Sebring coupe or ragtop. Bill Maloney The Auto Channel