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When Land Rover revealed the new Discovery Sport at the Paris Motor Show, it didn't just present a new model; it kicked off a whole new era for the British purveyor of sport-utility vehicles. And that new era has officially started now with the production of the very first model you see above.

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Engineers have a heck of a job on their hands developing any new model, but when it comes to an SUV, they've got to conduct testing both on the road and off. That's why, in preparation to launch the all-new Discovery Sport, the development team at Land Rover has built 181 prototypes that have already covered some 750,000 miles over all manner of terrain. The prototypes have waded through two feet of water, climbed up 40-degree inclines and down 45-degree grades and endured temperatures from -33

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The roster of eligible drivers for the nascent FIA Formula E Championship keeps growing. This time it's Virgin Racing which has brought in the latest recruits, and they're both proven drivers with real race experience behind them.

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Can't hack it in Formula One? That's all right, because the Formula E championship seems eager to accept the rejects. Of the ten teams that will take part in next year's inaugural season of electric racing, series organizers have now announced nine. And like several others, this latest team briefly campaigned in F1.

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What's in a name? More than you might think, particularly in Formula One where two teams have been fighting for use of the Lotus moniker for a couple of years now.

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Getting ahead as an F1 team is a costly affair. There's an endless stream of expenses, but even all the cash in the world doesn't buy experience and expertise.

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It's safe to say that Virgin Racing hasn't been a huge success so far. One of three new teams that joined the F1 grid last season, Virgin has largely been performing better than perennial back-markers HRT, but has failed to keep pace with Lotus, which is itself still far from competing with even the bottom end of the established teams like Williams and Toro Rosso. But Virgin has little intention of staying at the back, and to that end is shaking things up.

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Say hello again to Pat Symonds. The former Renault F1 technical director was thrown out of the sport in disgrace along with Flavio Briatore in the wake of the Crashgate scandal for having ordered Nelsinho Piquet to crash his car on purpose. But now Symonds is back.

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Jerome d'Ambrosio (above left) and Vitaly Petrov (above right) the latest drivers to be confirmed for 2011

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You don't get much higher stakes than Formula One. And while some teams have their own airplanes, there are a couple this season that have their own airlines: Richard Branson's Virgin, and Tony Fernandes' Lotus Racing and Air Asia.

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As Red Bull Racing aptly proved this season, you don't need an automaker's backing to rise to the top of the Formula One ladder. Any consumer company with a popular image will do the trick. Virgin has been trying to follow in Red Bull's footsteps with the launch of its own F1 team, but as Richard Branson and company have discovered, it's more than most can chew. So it should come as little surprise that the upstart team has pursued – and secured – an automaker's support for next seas

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Things are heating up in Formula One. As you may recall, earlier this year, Lotus head honcho Tony Fernandes jested that he would retire and kill himself if his team was bested by Virgin. A gaggle of reporters recently pinged Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson to see how he felt about Fernandes' oath of victory or death, and Branson responded with a challenge for the Lotus guru. The boss of the losing team will have to serve as a stewardess on the winning team's respective airline.

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If you've stuck your head outside of the automotive maelstrom for half a second, you've probably caught wind of the fact that the UK is going through a major political shake up right now. Jolly Old has just appointed David Cameron from the Conservative Party as its new Prime Minister, and that means plenty of change is in store.. That also means that a new Transportation Minister is likely to pop up in the near future. According to a new AA/Populous pole, the Brits wouldn't mind seeing Sir Richa

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2010 Virgin Racing VR-01 – Click above for image gallery

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Marussia B1 commercials – Click above to watch video

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From left to right: Rubens Barrichello, Sir Richard Branson, Niki Lauda

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Richard Branson would like to go racing with his Virgin brand that is known around the world. The withdrawal of Honda from Formula One at the close of 2008 provided a perfect opportunity to pick up all the pieces that are needed on the cheap. But you don't get to be as wealthy as Sir Richard by doing dumb stuff, and Branson is apparently aware of Roger Penske's warning about using racing to make small fortunes out of large ones. Therefore, before he proceeds with taking on the remnants of Honda'

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Bus and rail company Stagecoach has reported better than expected growth since May 1st. According to the company, Stagecoach's UK bus business was up 9.3 percent, while rail revenues rose nine percent. The company said that the increases were due to people switching to public transport because of the rising cost of private motoring. The company is pleased with the figures, because high fuel prices and inflation in the UK could have hurt their financial results. Virgin Rail, a company in which St

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"Reports of my death" the fuel cell might say "have been greatly exaggerated." Market Watch spoke with Larry Burns (see video below the fold), VP Research & Development & Strategic Planning for GM, at the launch of Virgin's fuel cell fleet and he is very bullish on fuel cells. Burns said that while today there are hundreds of fuel cell vehicles on the roads today, there will be thousands by 2012 and then hundreds of thousands or even millions "within our grasp" in the "next decade." A lo

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