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Ben Chen Crashes Rare Gemballa Mirage GT in New York City

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Ben Chen Gemballa Mirage GT Crashes In New York City
Ben Chen aka @bc crashes his rare Gemballa Mirage GT in a drug-fuelled joy ride through the streets of New York City, also taking out a Toyota Sienna and three other cars in the process.

Earlier this week a rare Gemballa Mirage GT driven by owner Ben Chen caused automotive carnage after a drug-fuelled joy-ride down the center of Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

In a city currently battling to contain over 81,000 cases of COVID-19 and at least 4,500 deaths, a Gemballa Mirage GT crashing into a Toyota Sierra van parked on the side of the road and then taking out a further three cars in the process was the last thing most people expected to see happening on the streets of NYC under a “Stay At Home” directive.

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Rough morning *photos taken by me*

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The official NYPD account reads:

“On Tuesday, April 7, 2020, at approximately 0730 hours, officers responded to a motor vehicle collision in the vicinity of West 44 Street and 11 Avenue, within the confines of the Midtown North Precinct.

Upon arrival officers observed a 33-year-old male operator and sole occupant of a 2014 Porsche Gemballa Mirage GT conscious and alert. Further investigation revealed that the operator of vehicle #1 struck the rear of a parked unoccupied vehicle #2 and fled southbound on 11 Avenue in his Porsche The motorist proceeded to strike vehicles #3,4 and 5 that were also parked and unoccupied in the vicinity of West 44 Street where his vehicle came to a rest. The suspect was taken into custody at the scene.

The following individual was arrested and charged with the above incident:

Chen, Benjamin

33-year-male

[Address redacted]

Charges: Operating a Motor Vehicle Impaired by Drugs and Reckless Driving

In footage shared to social media, the Gemballa Mirage GT can be seen hurtling out of control through the near-empty streets of Midtown Manhattan and crashing into a parked Toyota Sienna before continuing out of the CCTV line of sight.

In another clip shared online, pieces of the damaged Mirage GT are seen flying off the car as he drives away from the first collision (running a red light in the process) and further reports note that he proceeded onto 11th Ave, leaving a “trail of damaged vehicles” in his wake before coming to a stop and being apprehended by police.

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WTF 🙃🙃 #porsche

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Ben Chen (also known as @bc online) is a somewhat well-known figure in the supercar community thanks in part to his incredible collection of supercars and his previous involvement in the Gold Rush Rally events that saw supercar owners participate in multi-day rallies across the continent while enjoying some of the best parties, hotels, and events along the way.

According to one Reddit user, his extensive collection has included some of following models: Koenigsegg Agera R, Rolls Royce Phantom Coupe, Rolls Royce Phantom Coupe Series II, Mercedes McLaren SLR GTR, Mercedes SLS Black Series, Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, Bugatti Veyron (Pur Blanc 1 of 1), Porsche Carrera GT Gembella GT, Porsche Carrera GT, Bugatti EB110 Super Sport, Porsche 997 Turbo S, Lamborghini Murcielago SV, Lamborghini Aventador SV, and a Range Rover Sport SVR

It’s not only his extensive supercars though have brought him notoriety in the past, but his propensity for crashing them.

To date Ben’s totaled a rental McLaren 12C Spider on a Gold Rush Rally in 2013, trying to swerve at high speed to miss a truck and crashing into a storage unit complex.

That did not end well for the McLaren 12C…. Credit: Discount Storage

Then in 2016 he wrote off his 2010 Lamborghini Murcielago SV in Westlake Village Californa after speeding off from a car meet and there are reports online of several other crashes.

Another one bites the dust. Credit: Unknown

The Cobalt Blue Gemballa Mirage GT which is now his latest victim was a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT that was converted by German-based auto tuners’ Gemballa somewhere around 2013-2014. According to an interview with Dupont Registry not long after he had taken delivery of the newly converted Gemballa, the choice of the Cobalt Blue color was in honor of his late father who he had purchased his first exotic car with in the same color – a 2007 Porsche Turbo – and was planning on having all future Porsches finished in the same color. The Gemballa Mirage GT was also one of a few special cars that his father had thought about purchasing back in the early 2000’s when they first came out but had never done so.

At the best of times, the un-modified Porsche Carrera GT has been known to be a beast with Porsche test driver Walter Rohrl quoted in Drive Magazine as saying it’s “the first car in my life that I drive and I feel scared”, leading one to believe it should be handled with all the respect one would have approaching a raging tiger.

Based on the Porsche 980 Carrera GT, a project that was first developed for a Le Mans prototype in the late 90’s, the Mirage GT is an even more powerful vehicle upgrade starting at €300,000 that features 2 extra exhaust pipes, a roof-mounted air intake, a special Gemballa Sports Clutch, Gemballa wheels, and a completely new Gemballa body kit.

Before this spectacular misdemeanor only 25 of these Gemballa Mirage GT’s existed in the world, of which Ben Chen’s was the only one in USA.

After having been identified as the driver, Ben Chen was taken into custody, arrested and charged for reckless driving of his Gemballa Mirage GT under the influence of drugs.

Whether there are long term consequences or a change in the owners driving behavior (if he even still has a license now) remains to be seen given his previous driving offenses but one can only hope he will seriously reflect on these recent events.

The only upside of this story is that despite the extensive vehicle damage thankfully no one was hurt or killed.

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Ferrari XX Program For Select Owners Returns July

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Ferrari has announced the XX Program is back on track for a July start after the cancellation of earlier events at Monza, Shanghai and Suzuka this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ferrari Corsa Clienti crew inspecting the vehicles.
Ferrari Corsa Clienti crew inspecting the vehicles. Credit: Ferrari

With Formula 1 being canceled this year and only a lone Charles Leclerc driving the streets of Monaco in a Ferrari SF90 Stradale in recent days, both race fans and Ferrari owners alike have been starved of race action this year but for a few very lucky Ferrari owners it has been announced that the Ferrari XX Program will be back on track to begin from July.

Ferrari XX Programme & F1 Programme combined at Imola Race Track.
Ferrari XX Programme & F1 Programme combined at Imola Race Track. Credit: Ferrari
What exactly is the Ferrari XX Program?

Ferrari’s XX Program is one of the most exclusive invite-only driver programs in the world, with a tiny membership of only around 30 individuals. It evolved out of the idea of involving a special group of customers in the development of the Ferraris of the future and in return, owners can own and use a very limited edition Ferrari FXX car developed exclusively for the track and supply feedback to the Corse Clienti engineers.

Designed for the track but NOT for professional competition use, the research and development team do not have to meet the regular homologation requirements required for racing and are given a lot more to play, offering certain benefits to owners who really want to see what their cars can do.

Time for a fresh set of wheels.
Time for a fresh set of wheels. Credit: Ferrari

Owners in the XX Program are able to take part in both the Corsa Clienti events and various technical test sessions held over the year at 8 or 9 tracks around the world and are closely monitored by Ferrari experts as well as get the chance to meet Maranello’s engineers and professional testers. Another perk for owners is that Ferrari will take care of every single detail regarding maintenance, logistics, and optimization of the vehicles.

Ferrari XX Program participants are given expert driving advice.
Ferrari XX Program participants are given expert driving advice. Credit: Ferrari

To date four models are part of the program: the FXX, the 599X, the FXX K, and the FXX K Evo from 2018 equipped with the brand new Evo kit.

The Ferrari FXX: The First One

The first laboratory-car, the Ferrari FXX, was launched in 2006 and is equipped with a 12-cylinder 6.3-liter engine that makes it capable of electrifying performance. According to the engineers, it is the most “straightforward” in its reactions but also the most difficult model to push to the limit. A development kit (EVO) for the FXX, which incorporates information gleaned from customers, has since improved the car’s already outstanding performance.

Ferrari's Corsa Clienti XX Program cars
The Ferrari 599 XX: The Next One

The second model in the Ferrari XX evolution is based on the Ferrari 599 and appeared in 2009. The Ferrari 599XX is a 700 horsepower vehicle packed with technology and equipped with very sophisticated systems including fans that, by sucking air from the faired bottom of the car and expelling through two rear pipes, make the vehicle stick to the asphalt, creating a perfect ground effect. Once again, performance is thrilling and has been further improved by adopting the EVO kit, which incorporates the suggestions made by tutors and customers, for an extreme car that is even more tailored to its drivers.

Ferrari XX Program 599XX
The Ferrari FXX K: 1000 HP Plus Hybrid

The Ferrari FXX K was officially presented at the Finali Mondiali in Abu Dhabi in December 2014. The letter K stands for “KERS” kinetic energy recovery technology that is used to maximize track performance. The FXX K is equipped with technological innovations that make for an unprecedented driving experience with the huge potential of the car summed up in a few significant figures: 1050 total horsepower, 860 of which come from the 6,262 cubic centimeter V12 heat engine, and 190 from the electric engine with over 900 Nm of maximum torque.

Ferrari's Corsa Clienti XX Programme
The Ferrari FXX K Evo: The Upgrade

The FXX-K Evo was unveiled at the Ferrari Finali Mondiali 2017 in Florence during the Ferrari 70th Anniversary celebration. It is an added aerodynamic package available for the existing Ferrari FXX-K that allows the car to produce 23% more downforce than the standard FXX-K and 75% more than the road-legal LaFerrari due to a modified front fascia, a large rear wing and underbody diffusers.

Ferrari XX Programme Corsa Clienti FXXEVO

While recent FXX Program events had to be canceled earlier this year due to travel restrictions and local authority protocols concerning COVID-19, the remainder of the 2020 season will continue as planned beginning with Corse Clienti activities held at Barcelona on 21 and 22 July, followed by the Ferrari Racing Days at Mugello from 28 to 30 August, and at Spa-Francorchamps from 11 to 13 September.

Following on, the Ferrari XX Program will run at the French Paul Ricard track before the final event in the Middle East that coincides with the Finali Mondiali at Abu Dhabi from 4 to 7 November.

Barcelona, 21-22 July
Mugello, 28-30 August
Spa-Francorchamps, 11-13 September
Paul Ricard, 26-27 September
Abu Dhabi (Finali Mondiali), 4-7 November

To ensure the safety of all participants and crew members, special protocols will be put in place as per the individual local authorities and all events will take place behind closed doors until further notice.

For more information on the Ferrari XX Programme visit the website.

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New LEGO Lamborghini Sián – the Latest Supercar to “Roll off the Production Line”

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The LEGO Lamborghini Sián FKP37 in lime green with gold rims is a miniature version of Lamborghini’s first-ever hybrid electric model production car.
The new LEGO Lamborghini Sián in lime green.
The new LEGO Lamborghini Sián in lime green. Credit: Lamborghini

Lego and Lamborghini have teamed up to create the latest technic creation and delivered the futuristic LEGO Technic Lamborghini Sián FKP 37 in a 1:8 scale model complete with 3,696 pieces for supercar fans to build.

First presented at Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2019, the Lamborghini Sián (which means “flash” or “lightning” in the Italian Bolognese dialect) is Lamborghini’s first hybrid electric model production car and will only be produced in 63 limited editions.

LEGO technic Lamborghini Sian Mini
You must be my mini-me. Credit: Lamborghini

Staying true to the design of the full-size version, the LEGO version features a technic replica of the V12 engine; a moveable rear spoiler; front and rear suspension; and a steering wheel complete with the tiniest Automobili Lamborghini badge you’ll ever find on a Lamborghini.

Slightly larger than the average LEGO wheel.
Slightly larger than the average LEGO wheel. Credit: Lamborghini

Speaking on the collaboration, Lamborghini CEO Stephano Domenicaly commented, “The LEGO brick is an icon in the same way as a Lamborghini super sports car. They both embody the pursuit of design perfection through constant research and development, create different emotions with every interaction, and are valued by generations. Each Lamborghini super sports car can be unique thanks to our Ad Personam personalization program and the specific driving style of each owner, just as LEGO bricks provide builders of all ages with endless possibilities for creation. This outstanding replica of the Lamborghini Sián FKP 37 from the LEGO Group presents a brilliant new building experience for both super sports car fans and LEGO enthusiasts, and Lamborghini is privileged to share this opportunity with the LEGO Group.”

Lamborghini's Head of Design Mitja Borkert comparing the two cars
Lamborghini’s Head of Design Mitja Borkert comparing the two Sián’s. Credit: Lamborghini

Based on the color configuration of the original full-sized version presented at Frankfurt (exterior paint in “Verde Gea” and details in “Oro Electrum”), the bright lime green LEGO Lamborghini Sián with gold rims also comes with the signature scissor doors, which open to reveal the intricately recreated cockpit, with a fully-functioning eight-speed sequential gearbox controlled by a movable paddle gearshift.

Discussing how to make a LEGO version
Discussing how to make a LEGO Technic Lamborghini Sián. Credit: Lamborghini

Made up of 3,696 pieces, the build instructions include special QR codes that can be scanned to reveal 13 special videos from Lamborghini and LEGO experts explaining the inspiration behind each stage of the design. Once completely built, it will measure over 5” (13 cm) high, 23” (60 cm) long and 9” (25 cm) wide.

Lego technic Lamborghini Sian doors up
LEGO technic Lamborghini Sian Rear View
LEGO technic Lamborghini Sian engine bay
LEGO technic Lamborghini Sian top view
All 3,696 pieces of the LEGO Lamborghini Sian
All 3,696 pieces of the LEGO Lamborghini Sián. Credit: Lamborghini

Oh, and if you “pop the hood” you’ll also find an overnight bag along with a unique serial number that offers access to additional special content.

The LEGO Technic Lamborghini Sián FKP 37 will be available directly from LEGO stores, online at LEGO.com starting June 1 and from retailers globally starting August 1, 2020.

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Luxury Cars

McLaren to Cut 1,200 Jobs Including F1 Team Roles

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Supercar manufacturer and Formula 1 team McLaren have announced they will be cutting 1,200 jobs under a proposed restructuring program as it handles the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and impending F1 cost cap.
The McLaren Production Center may look a little quieter in the coming days.
The McLaren Production Center may look a little quieter in the coming days. Credit: McLaren

British supercar maker McLaren currently employs around 4,000 staff although in a sign of the times, are looking to cut almost a quarter of their workforce as they navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to their business.

The McLaren Technology Center by night.
The McLaren Technology Center by night. Credit: McLaren

In a statement made by the company McLaren chairman Paul Walsh, he noted they had been “severely affected” by the crisis and had worked hard to cut costs and avoid layoffs but unfortunately “we now have no other choice but to reduce the size of our workforce.”

“We deeply regret the impact that this restructure will have on all our people, but especially those whose jobs may be affected. It is a course of action we have worked hard to avoid, having already undertaken dramatic cost-saving measures across all areas of the business.

“But we now have no other choice but to reduce the size of our workforce. This is undoubtedly a challenging time for our company, and particularly our people, but we plan to emerge as an efficient, sustainable business with a clear course for returning to growth.

“This is undoubtedly a challenging time for our company, and particularly our people, but we plan to emerge as an efficient, sustainable business with a clear course for returning to growth” he continued.

Both the British automaker operations at Woking Surrey, and the group’s Formula 1 team will be impacted with layoffs affecting the applied technologies, automotive and racing divisions. Temporary factory closures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, along with empty showrooms due to “stay at home” instructions and canceled events, have all contributed to the squeeze McLaren has been feeling.

A Royal visit in 2019 to view the latest technological advancements.
A Royal visit in 2019 to view the latest technological advancements. Credit: McLaren

McLaren’s Formula 1 operations are also expected to lose around 70 staff out of the current 800 strong work-force although this decision is said to be affected more so by the new Formula 1 cost cap reductions that will come into play for the 2021 season.

The McLaren group had previously requested a £150m loan from the UK government and also tried to raise emergency funds by mortgaging its headquarters and historic car collection but were unsuccessful at the time due to a disagreement with shareholders over the bond collateral.

The McLaren Technology Center designed by Foster + Partners.
The McLaren Technology Center designed by Foster + Partners. Credit: McLaren

McLaren’s existing shareholders have however rallied and raised an additional £300m equity to support the long-term strategy of the brand.

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