Falken doubles up for 2020 Nürburgring Endurance Series and N24 with brace of Porsche 911s

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Fans will be seeing double as tyre manufacturer fields a pair of 2020 specification 911 GT3 R at the Nürburgring 

Tyre brand Falken has confirmed its 2020 motorsport plans, announcing it will run a pair of the latest specification GT3 Porsche 911 GT3 R cars in both the Nürburgring Endurance Series (formerly known as the VLN) and the Nürburgring 24h race. Falken Motorsports race team, run by Schnabl Engineering for the tenth consecutive year, has ordered a new 991.2 chassis to run alongside its 2019 Porsche. Both cars will be identical in specification.

The decision to opt for two identical Porsche follows three seasons of running a BMW M6 GT3 alongside a 911. Whilst the BMW scored Falken’s first overall victory and was fifth in last year’s enduro, tyre engineers believe that competing with two identical cars will improve efficiency by focussing on improving specific car and tyre performance.

“Fielding two Porsche will allow us to run a more effective tyre evaluation programme, with a chance to try different set ups across the cars, whilst removing one more variable at a track that throws up so many unpredictable elements. We’ll also benefit from cost efficiencies with regards to carrying spares and logistics, making this a very practical decision,” says Stefanie Olbertz, responsible for Falken’s motorsport programme. “We are very grateful for the support from BMW and the M6 will always hold a special place at Falken as it achieved our first race win on the Nordschleife as well as several other great triumphs. These include playing its part in our first double podium as well as the flawless performance during 2019 24h race, finishing fifth overall and the fastest BMW.”

Falken Motorsports will head to Portimao in February for its now traditional shakedown, before revealing its new for 2020 driver line up in time for the official NES test day on March 14th. The first competitive outing for the new 4.0 litre, 550bhp machine, that is expected to feature a twist on the iconic teal and blue livery, is scheduled for the first NES round on the 21st March.

Falken’s race-winning BMW M6 GT3 is now available for sale to prospective purchasers via Schnabl Engineering.

All-new Falken SINCERA SN110 tyre sets the standard for wear and wet grip

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Sincera SN110 brings premium wear and grip technologies and benefits to the mass market 

Packed with technology in and under the surface, Falken’s new SINCERA SN110 car tyre aims to bring the wear and wet grip benefits normally found in top-of-the-range tyres to cost-conscious customers driving mass market cars. An A rating for wet weather performance underlines that the tyre doesn’t compromise on safety to achieve the wear benefits.

Available exclusively from MTS in the UK from mid-March 2020, the SINCERA SN110 is offered in 49 sizes for 14”-16” wheels and is suitable for mainstream cars such as Ford Fiesta, Hyundai i10/i20, VW Golf, Fiat 500, BMW 1 Series, MINI and many more.

An intensive two-year development programme by engineers has achieved significant gains in wet braking and driving dynamics over its predecessor, the SINCERA SN832 ECORUN, but also exceeds the wear life performance of benchmarked premium brands.

Engineers looked at every aspect of the tyre’s shape, construction and materials to meet the targets achieved. The lamellar flow and turbulence that generate fuel-sapping air resistance have been reduced by adopting an aerodynamic sidewall. Hemispherical ribs across the tread pattern ensure even contact pressure to reduce friction and improve mileage. A closed shoulder groove offers less distortion of the shoulder blocks to reduce braking distances. Meanwhile, flexible core sipes in the centre of the tyre maintain longitudinal rib stiffness to improve stability and grip, even on poor road surfaces prevalent in the UK.

Overall vehicle dynamics, particularly in wet conditions, is where some of the biggest improvements were made by the development teams, which are based in Germany and Japan. Falken’s trusted and proven Advanced 4D-NANO design process was used to identify at nano-scale the optimum rubber compound needed to achieve traction and grip on wet and dry roads whilst maintaining wear rates.

“SINCERA SN110 is a major milestone for Falken as it brings some of the most advanced tyre technologies to the mainstream cars that many of us drive,” says Markus Bögner, COO and President of Falken Tyre Europe. “Improvements achieved through the latest technology, will be available to all. With such a compelling offering, we expect that the SINCERA SN110 will be a popular choice for dealers and end users alike.”

The SN110 ECORUN tyre will be on sale in the first quarter of 2020 including key sizes 175/65/14,185/60/15,195/65/15 and 205/60/16.

“20 Years in 20 Stories” N24 film released by Falken

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Falken recalls stories from its 20 years at the Nürburgring with new film

Falken has released a short film that looks back at the tyre manufacturer’s participation in the Nürburgring 24 Hours. “20 Years in 20 Stories” brings the experiences of drivers, team personnel and engineers together to recount their memories at one of the most arduous races. Participants include Peter Dumbreck, Martin Ragginger, Roland Asch, Dirk Werner, Stef Dusseldorp and Dirk Schoysman.

To enable the film to be shown on large screens, it was shot using RED Helium 8K and RED EPIC cameras, the type used in Hollywood productions such as Bad Boys, Terminator and Guardians of the Galaxy. Four ATVs, a cable camera, several gimbal systems and multiple drones were used for filming at the 2020 race.

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After a preview at a Frankfurt cinema last night, the film is now available on Falken’s social media channels https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoJsJfJ-s3s

“We are proud to present a film in the cinema for the first time and are confident that the film will be enjoyed by our fans. The trailer alone, released in December 2019, has already had over 2.4 million views. This proves that our films have now achieved cult status within our motorsport fan community. As a result, for nine years now, our claim to always produce high-quality films has been unbroken,” says Dennis Wilstermann, marketing supervisor at Falken Tyre Europe GmbH.

In-car conversations made easier with Voice-Sensing Volume Fade EV technology from HARMAN

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CES 2020, LAS VEGAS – JANUARY 6, 2020 – Audio specialist HARMAN is aiming to put an end to constant fiddling with the volume whenever you want to chat in the car. As part of its EV Plus+ Solutions, a suite of audio technologies created specifically for electric cars, Voice-Sensing Volume Fade can differentiate in-car communication from music, seamlessly adjusting the audio volume level down when conversations are taking place and automatically turning the music back up as soon as the conversation has finished.

 

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This technology, available now for car makers, is one of a number of personalisation features that EV owners could choose from HARMAN’s Audio Marketplace, a new, cloud-based ecosystem that allows users to add and update in-vehicle audio, entertainment and communication features on-demand via Over-The-Air updates. Other features include NatureScapes where HARMAN has partnered with the National Park Foundation in the US. Using authentic recordings, NatureScapes delivers fully immersive soundscapes into the car from locations including Yosemite Falls and Mammoth Dome so occupants can transform the stress of dense traffic or monotony of dull scenery with their choice of real sounds from nature.

HARMAN has also looked at making audio hardware more suitable for EVs. Ecotect ensures powerful audio performance with half the parts and boasts reduced weight, reduced complexity and reduced power consumption when compared to a traditional system.

“At HARMAN, we believe the next-generation of mobility should convert the time you spend in your car into time well spent – and electric vehicles are no exception,” said Bill Wyman, VP of Global Marketing, Lifestyle Automotive. “Environmental concerns are guiding purchase decisions more and more, but the demand for premium experiences hasn’t changed. Through the ground-breaking delivery system of Ecotect that underpins EV Plus+ Solutions, we’re enabling automakers to fulfill these needs for their customers, without compromises, for the very first time.”

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Remote tyre pressure monitoring to improve the safety of autonomous vehicles

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New technology from Sumitomo Rubber Industries enables remote monitoring and predictive maintenance of tyres

Falken’s parent company, Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI), has developed a solution to remotely monitor the tyre pressure of an unoccupied vehicle. In a crucial step towards ensuring the safety of autonomous vehicles Level 4 and above, SRI has successfully established links between its tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and an Autonomous Driving Control Centre.

The new technology has the potential to support predictive maintenance to prevent flat tyres or other tyre condition concerns that may pose a risk to the safe operation of autonomous vehicles. It has been developed in collaboration with the Center for Research on Adoption of NextGen Transportation Systems (GRANTS), which is based at Gunma University in Japan. Having worked together on joint research since May 2019, links have now been established for communicating tyre data between an autonomous vehicle and the Driving Control Centre at GRANTS.

The system works with an indirect TPMS mounted inside the tyre rim. This transmits pressure data to the onboard computer system via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), which in turn sends the data to the GRANTS control centre. The pressure of each individual tyre can be monitored from the control centre via a Data Management Display.

This development is one of a number of technologies SRI is developing to achieve greater safety and performance while reducing environmental impact. Earlier this year it unveiled its Smart Tyre Concept, a suite of tyre technologies that provide greater fuel efficiency, increased tyre durability and improved safety while also being more environmentally friendly. SRI will continue to develop systems and services that anticipate and pre-empt issues that can result from inappropriate tyre pressure, wear or damage.

Harman Kardon enters new partnership with Volkswagen, bringing pure listening pleasure to the VW experience

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The VW Golf 8 is the first-ever Volkswagen to offer Harman Kardon’s beautiful sound 

HARMAN International Industries, a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., focused on connected technologies for automotive, consumer, and enterprise markets, is building on its longstanding partnership with Volkswagen Group to bring the sublime sound and sophisticated design of Harman Kardon branded audio solutions into VW vehicles worldwide. The branded audio partnership debuted with the global launch of the all-new VW Golf 8 unveiled at a spectacular event at the new Hafen 1 location in Wolfsburg, Volkswagen’s home city in Germany. More than 650 international guests from 20 countries attended the world premiere of the new Golf 8 and – for the first time in a Volkswagen vehicle – a Harman Kardon Premium Sound System.

“HARMAN and the Volkswagen Group have a long history of collaboration on impactful in-vehicle experiences in the Connected Car, Infotainment and Telematics spaces,” said Dave Rogers, President, Lifestyle Audio at HARMAN. “With our shared commitment to excellence and innovation, the extension of the HARMAN and Volkswagen Group partnership into the branded audio space is an exciting development for both companies. Music and driving are a powerful combination, and the captivating sound of Harman Kardon is sure to unlock a new level of connection between VW customers and their vehicles.”

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With Harman Kardon appearing for the first time in Volkswagen cars, drivers and passengers of the new VW Golf 8 are in for an exceptional in-car experience. The eighth generation of Volkswagen’s best-selling car, the new VW Golf 8 brings together elegant design, greater digitisation and connectivity, assisted driving, electrified drives, and an array of customisation options that allow drivers to create the VW Golf 8 that suits their tastes and preferences. And when it comes to in-car audio, the Harman Kardon Premium Sound System ensures that the VW Golf 8 truly stands out.

Winner of many prestigious design awards, Harman Kardon melds the beauty of music and the sophistication of design, both at home and in the car. Harman Kardon’s audio engineering and design teams have a well-deserved reputation for creating some of the industry’s most celebrated audio experiences. They have worked closely with Volkswagen from the earliest stages of vehicle development to ensure that the Harman Kardon Premium Sound System in the VW Golf 8 offers memorable musical experiences. It features a powerful 12 Channel Ethernet Amplifier with an output of 480 watts and 10 high-performance speakers. The result is a sound that captivates, bringing listeners into the moment and heightening every drive.

Designed to integrate harmoniously into the interior of the new VW Golf 8, the Harman Kardon Premium Sound System impresses with its sophisticated yet functional design. Distinctive speaker grills are highlighted by a 60°-hole pattern in a nod to the iconic angled slash in the Harman Kardon logo, and are crafted from ultra-thin 0.5mm high-strength steel to support optimal acoustic performance.

Echoing the highly customisable nature of the VW Golf 8, the Harman Kardon Premium Sound System offers four sound settings for a more personal listening experience that users can modify according to their mood: Pure, Chill Out, Live, and Energy. In each setting, the sound system delivers exceptional acoustic quality and excellent sound reproduction, so that every note captures attention.

Greg Sikora, Senior Manager and Head of Acoustic Systems Engineering for HARMAN, leads the team that spent hundreds of hours perfecting a sound designed to move a new generation of VW customers. “The Harman Kardon Premium Sound System combines innovative features and sophisticated design, creating high quality sound that invites consumers to fully immerse themselves in every moment in their VW vehicle,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is a truly inspiring listening experience for every passenger, every time.”

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Falken’s James Deane claims historic Formula Drift triple

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The Irish drift master defends both his Formula Drift and Drift Masters European titles to be crowned double champion yet again 

Falken drift driver James Deane claimed his third Formula Drift Pro title at Irwindale Speedway, California, on 19 October 2019. The 28-year-old Irishman joined the series in 2017 and has won every year since, making him the first person in Formula Drift history to win three consecutive titles.

During the season, Deane steered his Nissan S15 drift car, which is shod in Falken RT615K+ tyres, to six top-three finishes, including victory in St. Louis, Missouri. The Worthouse Drift Team driver entered the final round with a 19-point lead from his closest rival, Fredric Aasbø, who was knocked out of contention by Deane’s team-mate Piotr Więcek in the second round. Deane finished third at Irwindale after battling with Ken Gushi in the semi-final; his 67-points haul was enough to put him 52 points clear and earn him the history-making title. The points also helped Falken to victory in the Tire Cup, which it claimed with 1,189 points and a 237-point lead.

“I can’t believe it! This is a completely unbelievable result; never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d end up taking the triple in Formula Drift!” exclaims James Deane. “It was a challenging year for us. The level of competition has really come up this season and it’s been a real motivation to push myself even harder. My team-mate Piotr is a phenomenal driver and he’s been a great inspiration; I’ve learned so much. Thanks to him, Falken, the Worthouse team, my family and everyone who supports me, all my fans from around the world. I’m so pleased to have brought home the title again for the team, and for Falken to win the Tire Cup. I just love the sport, taking part, watching it, and I’m so pleased with this unbelievable result.”

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The traction needed for Deane’s sideways action is provided by Falken RT615K+ tyres. Running 235/40/18 tyres on the front and 295/40/18 on the rear of the 900bhp Nissan S15, the Falken rubber delivers the high levels of grip required to cope with the car’s power and accelerate sideways through the corner.

Deane’s outstanding victory follows the successful defence of his Drift Masters European Championship title in his new teal and blue Falken Tyre Eurofighter BMW E92. The Castletownroche-based driver was crowed 2019 Champion at his home track of Mondello Park, Ireland, in September. It was his second consecutive Drift Masters European Championship title and his seventh European title in total. Also adding to his incredible run of results, Deane was named 2019 Oman Oil Marketing International Drift Champion back in March.

“It has been an incredible season and a complete dream come true,” adds Deane. “There have been some tough times to come back from but the final results show that we’ve got the cars, the tyres and fantastic teams to see it through and get the results. Thanks, as always, to everyone for their unrelenting support throughout the year.”

Download video: James Deane – Falken – 2019 Formula Drift Champion.mp4

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Falken opts for VLN9 outing with Porsche factory pairing

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Sven Müller and Patrick Pilet to share Falken’s Porsche in final 2019 VLN round

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Falken has opted to contest VLN9 after securing the services of Porsche factory pairing Sven Müller and Patrick Pilet for the final round of the series. Falken had originally planned VLN8 to be its final outing for its Porsche 911 and BMW M6 but the opportunity to test 2020 set ups with the works drivers led the team, run by Schnabl Engineering, to return to the Nordschleife for the season-closing race.

For Müller, it marks a return to the tyre manufacturer where he starred in the 2018 qualifying session, securing a front row slot. For the French pilot Pilet, an N24 winner that year, VLN9 will be his first run on the Falken rubber.

„Our original plan was to conclude our season at VLN8 where we scored another top six finish in the Porsche,” says Falken’s motorsport head Stefanie Olbertz. „This was our first year with the 991.2 so when we were offered the opportunity for some extra running, together with the chance to get feedback from two highly experienced Porsche drivers, it made sense to enter VLN9 too. We’d like to thank Porsche for the opportunity.”

 

Compact, high power ‘crate’ EV powertrain simplifies switch to electrification for niche vehicle manufacturers

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Swindon Powertrain’s High Power Density EV system is a highly compact ‘ready to integrate’ electric powertrain for light commercial, sports, classic and recreational vehicles. 

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A new compact 80kW ‘crate’ powertrain that makes it easier for specialist OEMs to electrify their low volume sports cars, light commercial and recreational vehicles has been announced. Swindon Powertrain’s High Power Density (HPD) EV system will ease the transition for manufacturers currently frustrated by the lack of compact, high power EV systems available to buy in low volumes.

“To date, niche manufacturers have not had access to compact, high-power EV powertrains they could source in low to mid volume, leading to a vacuum of supply,” says Swindon Powertrain’s managing director Raphaël Caillé. “When you factor in development costs, specialist OEMs haven’t been able to electrify their vehicles as quickly as they would like. Our ready-to-install ‘crate’ powertrain will accelerate EV adoption in sectors poorly served by the larger tier one manufacturers and integrators.”

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Funded by the Niche Vehicle Network and working in partnership with electric motor manufacturer iNetic and automotive specialist Code, Swindon Powertrain’s HPD project will create a turn-key ‘crate’ transverse system with the highest power/volume ratio on the market. So compact is the 70kg HPD EV powertrain – 600mm wide by 440mm deep by as little as 280mm tall, that the motor, inverter, single-speed transmission and cooling system assembly fits under the bonnet of a classic Mini, in a quad bike or under the loading platform of a light commercial vehicle.

The HPD project will develop tooling, including castings, and identify manufacturing techniques to have the unit in production by June 2020. Core R&D and validation will be covered by the programme, easing development costs further for integrators. This project follows Swindon Powertrain’s programme earlier this year to electrify an original Mini, integrating an all-new and robust EV system into its tight confines.

Multiple mounting points and flexibility for inverter and cooling pack locations will enable it to fit a range of vehicles from sports car through to commercial vehicles while waterproofing options makes it suitable off-road leisure and recreation vehicles.

Other sectors set to benefit include OEMs that could use it as an e-axle for hybrid passenger car applications as well as the growing number of retrofit classic cars being converted to EVs. “Some of these classic EVs currently use second-hand parts of unknown provenance,” adds Caillé. “The HPD project draws on our engineering expertise from over 48 years in motorsport to offer a reliable, compact and durable solution for this sector too.”

JBL and Garage Italia Amp Up the Sound of Custom Cars

harma a samsung company JBL becomes the preferred audio partner of Milan-based Garage Italia with legendary sound for custom-designed cars  HARMAN International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. focused on connected technologies for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, and Milan-based Garage Italia, specialised in customising vehicles, today announced a new partnership, that will bring legendary JBL sound to Garage Italia’s custom-designed cars. As part of the collaboration, Garage Italia will customise their vehicles with JBL’s portfolio of car aftermarket and consumer audio solutions to create unique sound solutions. Extending its portfolio of Icon-E project cars, Garage Italia revealed yesterday the first of five customized Fiat Panda 4×4 vehicles that will be revealed one by one during the Autumn/Winter 2020 Season. The idea of Icon-E is to give a new life to iconic classic cars, by equipping them with an electric motor and freshening them up with a new customised design. Using an all-wheel-drive Panda from the first series, produced between 1983 and 2003, the cars are a real manifestation of Italian design. The Panderis car opens the way, born from the synergy with Vitale Barberis Canonico, the Biella-based woollen mill with over 350 years of history that enriches the 4×4 with a unique sartorial touch thanks to the interiors made with its fabrics. For a bold, vibrant sound experience, the designers of Garage Italia are using JBL Car Aftermarket speakers, custom fitting them into the vehicle cabin. Four JBL Club 4020 coaxial loudspeakers and a JBL Basspro SL active subwoofer will make the heart of the car passengers rise with the beat of their favourite tune. Garage Italia is one of the leading and most renowned customisation companies in the world, customising products to be unique works of art. Founded by Lapo Elkann, the DNA and mindset of Garage Italia are inspired by the tradition and the excellence of ‘Made in Italy’ in the automotive, design and tailoring fields. This combined with the ability to explore the customisation world in an innovative and disruptive way through artistic interpretation, craftsmanship and passionate attention to detail is what makes both world-leading car manufacturers as well as car enthusiasts turn to Garage Italia for customised works of art. “We are proud and excited about this new partnership with Garage Italia,” said Mathias Brand, Sr. Director, Global Marketing European Customers, Automotive Audio at HARMAN. “They are unique in the field of world class automotive customisation through outstanding design. Integrating our JBL aftermarket-audio and consumer audio solutions into these exceptional cars will certainly deliver truly unique experiences to the customers.”   JBL x GarageItalia_PanderIS_VBC-2329 JBL x GarageItalia_PanderIS_VBC-2380