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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