Entries Tagged as 'News'

Hype Preview: Lexus Teases New “F” Vehicle To Debut At NAIAS 2015

Posted on 12.17.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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Lexus has been doing a lot of F’s lately.  Seriously, its like for the last year or so every time they have come out with a car they have F’d it.  They sure do enjoy F-ing things.  OK, ok I will stop with the double entendres or it will go on all day.  The big take away from all this is that a new F Sport vehicle is making its debut at the Detroit Auto Show AKA North American International Auto Show AKA NAIAS.  Not much is known about the car aside from the teaser image that was released and that Lexus is referring to the new F-sport car as “track ready”.  Although that term is thrown around a lot in this industry so I can’t be entirely sure if they really mean track ready or if that is just marketing speak for high performance.  I guess we will all find out for sure come January 2015.

Judging by the press release below Lexus is pretty excited to give everyone a fast and powerful F… OK, seriously that was the last one!  Check out the incredibly short press release below.

Press Release:

TORRANCE, Calif. (Dec. 17, 2014) – Lexus announced it will be adding a second vehicle to its growing stable of F brand high performance models. Earlier this year, the luxury manufacturer launched the RC F, a V8 powered performance coupe. The newest Lexus F brand vehicle will make its global premiere at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) on Jan. 13. The vehicle will be revealed at a press conference in the Lexus display space at Cobo Center on Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 8:40 a.m. EST.

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Hype: New Indy Lights Cars To Be Powered By Mazda. Indy Lights Now Officially Part Of Mazda Motorsports Ladder

Posted on 12.12.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

Mazda North American Operations Dallara Indy Lights

Mazda just announced that they are officially taking over as the engine provider for the Indy Lights series which is a feeder series directly to Indy Car.  Previously, Indy Lights cars were powered by V8s that were derivatives of Nissan/Infiniti engines.  The new Indy Lights cars will be powered by a version of Mazda’s 4 cylinder 2.0 liter turbocharged MZR-R engine.  If that engine sounds familiar its probably because it is the same powerplant Mazda developed in partnership with Advanced Engine Research (AER) for Mazda’s American LeMan’s series program.  The Indy Lights version will have slightly less power (450hp) than the LeMan’s version (500hp) however the Indy Lights MZR-R is also built for durability as Mazda Motorsports claims that one of these engines can go for an entire Indy Lights season without needing a rebuild.  This should make the racing much better with no mechanical DNFs and also make things a little bit easier financially on the teams.

Here’s hoping that the addition of lower cost, higher efficiency engines to the Indy Lights series results in more talent making their way up to the Indy Car series!  Expect the new Indy Lights chassis and Mazda engines to line up on the grid next season.  For more info, feel free to check out the official press release below.

Press Release:

Mazda Powers Indy Lights in 2015

Mazda Enters Third Decade of Open-Wheel Racing with Addition of Indy Lights

December 11, 2014 (INDIANAPOLIS) — Mazda announced the addition of Mazda-power in the all-new 2015 Dallara Indy Lights chassis at the annual Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show. This was the latest development in its ongoing commitment to motorsports, which includes the Mazda Road to Indy, the most comprehensive driver development system in the world.

While most noted for success in sports cars, Mazda has been active in open-wheel, formula-car racing since 1984.  In recent years, that has developed into the Mazda Road to Indy, where aspiring racers can advance upwards along a logical progression from karts all the way to the Verizon IndyCar Series.  In 2014, Mazda powered both the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.  For 2015, Mazda adds Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.

The all-new Dallara IL-15 Indy Lights chassis will be powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged Mazda MZR-R.  Originally developed in conjunction with Advanced Engine Research (AER), the MZR-R was first campaigned by Mazda in the American Le Mans Series and Mazda customer teams in the European Le Mans Series.  The engine enjoyed several milestone victories, among them were Mazda’s first-ever major North American overall sports car racing win and the 2011 LMP1 engine manufacturers championship.  The engine, further developed by AER, will be designed to produce 450 horsepower and last an entire season without a rebuild.

The 2015 Mazda Road to Indy schedule will kick off with the fifth annual pre-season Cooper Tires Winterfest at NOLA Motorsports Park, just outside of New Orleans, La., on February 18-20 and will move to Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Ala., on February 24-26.  The official season will open at St. Petersburg on March 27-29 and conclude at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 11-13.

John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports: “The Mazda Road to Indy is a great showcase for what Mazda represents.  Our strength is in helping drivers move up the ranks.  Almost a third of the Indy 500 field traces their roots to Mazda.  Adding the Indy Lights series allows us to have an even longer, more productive relationship with the Indy stars of the future.  We were among the first to recognize the on- and off-track talents of racers like Simon Pagenaud, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti, Graham Rahal, and many others.  We can’t wait for the season to start at St. Pete, all the way to autumn in Monterey at our own Mazda Raceway for the season finales.”

Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions:  “From the onset of my involvement with Indy Lights, it’s been my hope to have our longtime partner, Mazda, join us in this effort. My decision to select AER as our engine provider was consciously made knowing the substantial Mazda involvement with the engine proposed by AER, and today I am delighted to confirm that the IL-15’s engine does indeed have deep Mazda roots. Mazda does more for open-wheel racing in North America than any other manufacturer, and its full involvement in the Mazda Road to Indy is great news for all.”

Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co, the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:  “Today’s announcement that Mazda has agreed to become the Indy Lights engine supplier next season is another pivotal step forward for the series. Mazda’s increased commitment to Indy Lights, and their continued support of the entire Mazda Road to Indy ladder system, is instrumental in the development of the next generation of Verizon IndyCar Series drivers. We’re thankful for their partnership and certainly look forward to having Mazda power behind the new Dallara IL-15 chassis in 2015.”

Chris Pantani, Director of Motorsports for Cooper Tires:  “Knowing that Mazda is once again our partner, this time in Indy Lights, continues to prove that the combination of Cooper Tires and Mazda is the best choice in the career path of a developmental driver.  Our relationship with Mazda started in 2006, and continues to be the path chosen by many champions in the early stages of their careers.”

Spencer Pigot, Champion – 2014 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires:  “It would not be an exaggeration to say that I would not be where I am today without Mazda and the Mazda Road to Indy. They have been a huge part of my career since I began car racing. I’m thrilled to be the first driver to ever earn three Mazda scholarships, the first one being in 2009 when I was still in karting, to making the move up to the Skip Barber National Championship.  The cost to rise through the racing ranks is so expensive, that it is only with support like the Mazda Road to Indy that many drivers can succeed.  I can’t wait to start the season in 2015.”

About Mazda, Mazda Motorsports, and MAZDASPEED

Mazda is a leading player in all aspects of sports car racing with an emphasis on endurance road racing.  Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America among both club racers and professionals.  Thousands of Mazda-powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world’s largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built.  Via the Mazda Road to Indy and the Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy, Mazda supports racers at all levels of the sport from club racing up to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship where it races with production SKYACTIV Technology.

Mazda remains the only Asian car company to score an overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1991).  Mazda has had a naming rights agreement at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca since 2000.

Mazda Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO).  MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers.  Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.

Consumer information can be found at www.mazdausa.com, with press information at www.mazdausamedia.com.  Racers and fans can follow the action on Facebook (Mazda Motorsports), Twitter (@mazdaracing), Instagram (MazdaMotorsport) and www.mazdamotorsports.com

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Gaming Hype: Mazda Teams Up With Forza Horizon 2 and Xbox To Launch 2016 MX-5

Posted on 12.04.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

Mazda MX-5 and Xbox Contest

Looking forward to getting your hands on the new MX-5? Me too.  I got up close to it at the LA Auto Show but the majority of the country hasn’t had a chance to get up close and personal with the new roadster yet.  However! They can now do that virtually on Xbox One and Xbox 360.  Today Mazda announced that they are teaming up with Turn 10 Studios, Playground Games, and Xbox to promote their new roadster.

Things will kick off with a branded interactive hub that will show up on Xbox consoles in which users can virtually take a closer look at the 2016 MX-5.  From there players can enter a livery design contest via Forza Horizon 2.  Using the game’s editor players can create their own design on an older MX-5 (the ’94 model to be exact) and then submit it for the contest.  Two finalists will be chosen and sent to the South By Southwest festival next march in a “design faceoff”, the winner of which will get nearly $4k worth of prizes, including an Xbox One console, a 55 inch curved tv, audio system, and the MadCatz steering wheel for Xbox One.  The winning design will also be made available to everyone to download for free.  Also, keep in mind that this contest is open to both Xbox One and Xbox 360 users.  Scroll down for the press release which includes all the steps to entering the contest in addition to the official rules.  Good luck!

Press Release:

IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — For the second consecutive year, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) is teaming up with Xbox, this time to promote the launch of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 and give Forza Horizon 2 players the chance to enter the Mazda MX-5 Livery Design Contest. An interactive experience with the 2016 Mazda MX-5 and information on the design contest will be available through the Mazda branded hub on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

The Mazda MX-5 Livery Design Contest, which is now live through January 4, 2015, will give Forza Horizon 2 players the opportunity to design the livery for the 1994 Mazda MX-5 currently available in-game. Two finalists will be awarded a trip in March to South by Southwest 2015 for the final design showdown. The winner will walk away with a new 55-inch curved TV, audio music system, Xbox One Kinect console and one MadCatz Racing Wheel estimated at $3,499.95. Additionally, the winning design will be made available in Forza Horizon 2 for all Xbox One and Xbox 360 users as a free gift.

“In addition to shining the spotlight on the 2016 Mazda MX-5 through the partnership, we also wanted to give Forza fans a way to engage and pick up some cool prizes and see their work featured in the game,” said Russell Wager, vice president of marketing, MNAO. “Fans of the Mazda MX-5 are some of the most passionate enthusiasts out there and we look forward to seeing the creativity that comes from this contest.”

To enter the Mazda MX-5 Miata Livery Design Contest users must:

  • Sign into the Xbox Live service via an Xbox 360 or Xbox One console
  • Enter Forza Horizon 2, select the available 1994 Mazda MX-5 car and follow the instructions within the game to design a livery using the tools available within the game
  • Once finished, participants will be required to save their design with the name “MX5contest” and upload it to the Forza Horizon 2 storefront during the contest period
  • Entries will be accepted now through January 4, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EST

A semi-finalist judging panel, consisting of representatives from Microsoft, Mazda and Turn 10 Studios will determine up to five potential semi-finalists. All submissions will be evaluated on a 100-point scale; with an emphasis on originality (33 points max), aesthetic design (33 points max) and technical proficiency (34 points max). The semi-finalists will be posted on the Mazda hub on Xbox Live from 12:01 a.m. EST on January 26, 2015 through 11:59 p.m. EST on February 12, 2015 for the online public voting phase of the contest. The two semi-finalists with the most votes will be flown to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas where a winner will be determined by three special judges; Derek Jenkins, Mazda’s director of design, Major Nelson from Xbox Live and Forest Byrd with TC9700Gaming.

The official rules can be found on the Mazda hub on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. A second contest with Microsoft will be announced at South by Southwest 2015.

This is the second time Mazda has teamed up with Microsoft. In 2013, Mazda made history by being the first automotive manufacturer to globally reveal a vehicle, the 2014 Mazda3, in conjunction with a live concert through Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming console.

Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.  For more information on Mazda vehicles, including photography and B-roll, please visit the online Mazda media center at www.mazdausamedia.com.

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LA Auto Show: Jaguar Exhibit Was Nothing But F-TYPE Goodness

Posted on 11.26.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

#LAAutoShow_2014_#LAAS_JaguarFTYPE_small

Anyone close to me knows that I pretty much think the Jaguar F-TYPE is one of the best cars ever made in the last 10 years.  My only complaint about it was that it was first released as a convertible rather than a coupe like the C-X16 concept it was based on was.  Though, it was just a matter of time before the beautiful coupe was released.  In my mind that was it.  It was all said and done and nothing needed to be done to make the F-TYPE better.  However, quite a few people were not happy that the F-TYPE wasn’t offered with a true manual transmission.  Personally, I didn’t see this as a problem but I understand how many would want to row the gears on a car that is so clearly meant for people who love driving.

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Jaguar apparently agreed on the issue of the manual transmission and then went one further by also including an all-wheel-drive option from now on for the F-TYPE S.  The R model F-TYPE will come with AWD standard.  The manual transmissions will be options for rear wheel drive V6 models.  So, if you were hoping for an AWD V8 with a manual transmission then first of all you’re greedy, and second you are out of luck.  Me? I just have two more reasons to really, really want an F-TYPE.

#LAAutoShow_2014_#LAAS_97 #LAAutoShow_2014_#LAAS_98 #LAAutoShow_2014_#LAAS_99 #LAAutoShow_2014_#LAAS_100 #LAAutoShow_2014_#LAAS_103

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Oh, and one more thing.  As if announcing a manual transmission and AWD for the F-TYPE wasn’t enough; Jaguar also decided to bring their F-TYPE-based “Project 7″ to the LA Auto Show as well so yes lets all drool over that for a second. A modern take on the D-Type racing designed married with the beautiful F-TYPE lines? Please and thank you.  The 575HP supercharged V8 doesn’t hurt its chances to get on my dream car list either.

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F1 Hype: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: A Champion Is Crowned (Quick Result And Video)

Posted on 11.24.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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Did you miss the final race of the 2014 Formula 1 season this weekend?  Did you forget to DVR it?  Have you some how avoided all forms of mass media and actually have no idea what happened or who won?  All of these things are very unlikely but hell I am going to go ahead and post this anyway.  Scroll down to learn who won the final race of the season and more importantly who captured the championship.  There is also a quick race recap courtesy of NBC Sports.

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!!

 

1st: Lewis Hamilton
2nd: Felipe Massa
3rd: Valtteri Bottas

Lewis Hamilton is the 2014 Formula One World Champion!

Race Recap:

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2014 LA Auto Show: Scion Leaks Their Own iM Concept Car Ahead Of LA Auto Show…Because That’s How They Roll

Posted on 11.12.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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It happens every year.  An OEM will tease a car or concept that is going to debut at a up coming auto show and then anywhere from a week to a month before said show, said car leaks in all its glory.  The leak is usually a result of dealer documents leaking online or ninja photographers getting shots of the car as it rolls into the auto show venue.  Really there are all kinds of ways that a car can leak ahead of schedule.  Scion knows this just as well as the rest of us.  After dropping a teaser a few weeks back for their new iM concept interest in the car as been high.  They could feel the storm brewing, a leak was coming!  What were they going to do about it?!

2014_LAAS_Scion_iM_Concept_Front 2014_LAAS_Scion_iM_Concept_Rear

Leak it themselves! If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!  Today Scion decided not to wait for the inevitable “leak” and did a digital reveal of their new iM concept car ahead of the LA Auto Show (where it is supposed to “officially” debut).  In addition to giving us the full monty we also got a little background on the concept via a press release.  It looks like the theme for the new iM is to basically merge the practicality and comfort that comes with your basic commuter with edgy and somewhat aggressive styling that is commonly found on sports cars.  I actually like the idea myself.  Why should a daily “A to B” car look like a boring box?  It shouldn’t!  How do you like the iM concept?  Would you get one?  Let us know in the comments.  For now, click the thumbnails for a larger picture and for more info check out the press release below.  Also stay tuned as I will spend some time with the iM concept at the LA Auto Show coming up!

Press Release:

Modern and Magnetic: Scion iM Concept Car to Debut at LA Auto Show

European Racing Circuit Styling and Hatchback Versatility for Scion’s Adventurous Audience

TORRANCE, Calif., (Nov. 12, 2014) – Whether it’s exploring the mountains or playing at the beach, Los Angeles offers adventures off every freeway. Young people just need a vehicle to get them, and all their gear, to their destination in style.  The new Scion iM Concept car is designed with that in mind and will debut on Wednesday, November 19 at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The iM Concept is a five-door compact hatchback with sporty looks inspired by those seen on the European touring car racing circuit. The concept brings in captivating styling with edgy, geometric grille inserts, deep air intakes and fog lights. The custom-blended “Incrediblue” paint is complemented by matte silver and gunmetal accents.

To create a grounded appearance ready for the road, the iM Concept has wide aerodynamics and a lower ride height. The performance inspiration carries through into the 19-inch forged alloy wheels and sporty performance tires. Vented front rotors and 4-piston calipers work with the adjustable height racing suspension to complete the racecar-influenced design.

“The tastes of today’s younger buyers have evolved. They want a car that provides excitement and individuality, as well as the comfort, technology and reliability that Scion offers,” said Scion Vice President Doug Murtha. “The iM Concept combines sleek styling with the versatility of a modern hatchback to catch the eye of Scion customers. Stay tuned for more on how we will bring this vision to the road.”

Scion’s press conference will be held at 3:40 p.m. on Wednesday, November 19 at Scion’s display in the South Hall. To follow Scion news at the LA Auto Show use the hashtag #iMDriven or visit http://www.scion.com/blog.

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F1 Hype: Brazilian Grand Prix Quick Result (With Video)

Posted on 11.10.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

F1_2014_Brazilian_GP

The second to last race of the 2014 Formula One season is in the books!  Please tell me you didn’t…seriously?! Missed it?  OK, I will help you out yet again!  It was quite a race in Brazil and tensions were definitely high.  You sure you want to know the results?  Alright, scroll down for spoilers and a quick race recap from NBC Sports.

WARNING SPOILERS BELOW!!!

 

1st: Nico Rosberg
2nd: Lewis Hamilton
3rd: Felipe Massa

It was definitely a crazy race and the phrase of the day was tire degradation as the Pirelli tires took a beating on the Integlagos asphalt and that provided hardship for just about every team on the grid.  Tire wear definitely played a part in everyone’s strategy today.  For a recap check out the video below from NBC Sports.

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F1 Hype: United States Grand Prix (Quick Result)

Posted on 11.03.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

F1_2014_USGP

For us American F1 fans the USGP is the biggest race of the year so if you missed it then it better be because you had one hell of a Halloween!  Is that what happened?  Are you sure? OK, I believe you …this time…  Anyhow this race was also important for a few other reasons.  It was the third to the last race of this season and this was a chance for Nico Rosberg to catch up to his teammate Lewis Hamilton in championship points.  On the constructor’s side, Williams-Mercedes was hunting for a good performance to keep them ahead of Ferrari for third place in the constructor’s championship.  Ready to find out what happened?  Alright go ahead and scroll down.

WARNING! SPOILERS BELOW!

1st: Lewis Hamilton
2nd: Nico Rosberg
3rd: Daniel Riccardo

Yes, Lewis Hamilton got his second win at the Circuit Of The America’s over the weekend and deservedly so.  With Nico winning the pole position and Lewis suffering from brake problems during qualifying and during the first half of the race it looked like Nico would get the better of his rival on this weekend.  However a well-timed pit-stop by Lewis’ crew and a set of fresh tires was all the Brit needed to take the fight to Nico and over take him around the mid point of the race and stay ahead to get his 5th win in a row and to earn his 32nd career win.  Lewis’ win over the weekend officially makes him the most successful British F1 driver in the sport’s history.

Lewis is now 24 points ahead of Nico Rosberg going into the next race in Brazil and normally it would look pretty firmly locked up but we should all remember that this year the last race (in Abu Dhabi) champion points are doubled.  Thus, a first place finish in the last race is worth 50 points rather than 25 points and so on.  So if Lewis makes a just a small mistake in the next two races, Nico has a very good chance to make a last minute run at the 2014 title.  Count on tensions being high at these last two races of the season!

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SEMA 2014: Super Street Is First To Instal Individual Throttle Bodies On A Scion FR-S In USA (Video)

Posted on 10.31.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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SEMA is just around the corner and all the builds that we have been looking for are starting to make their debut.  Among the first to start showing off is Scion as they always have a preview event for their SEMA line up.  This year, we actually got invited!  As promised, most of the cars that Scion will bring to SEMA this year were at the event, including the three “Tuner Challenge” cars.  All three looked pretty fresh but Super Street Magazine’s entry really stood out thanks to its bright “Release Series” yellow paint and its shaved engine bay in which sat an engine that had the first individual throttle body (ITB) set up done in America.  ITBs have been done before on a FR-S but as far as we know the only people to pull it off is Weld in Japan.  Super Street took the task on with the help of Borla and Gearheinz.  Together the developed a drive by wire system that should have pretty awesome response and a even better sound.  That modification alone is bound to get them a lot of points!  For a quick look at Super Street’s Tuner Challenge FR-S check out the video below.

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Hype Video: OK Go Does Synchronized Dance With Honda Uni-Cub’s In New Music Video

Posted on 10.27.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

OKGo_IWontLetYouDownVideo_HondaUniCub

A while back the band OK Go broke the internet when they dropped their video “Here We Go” on YouTube which featured the band doing an incredible synchronized dance on several moving treadmills.  The video sparked hundreds of parodies and attempts to recreate the routine featuring various other vehicles.  To this day “Here We Go” is one of the most watched music videos on YouTube.  Today OK Go is trying to best themselves with the music video for their new song “I Won’t Let You Down” in which the band is riding the Honda Uni-Cub one wheeled electric vehicle for the entire video.

Through what looks like some pretty crazy choreography and some stop motion this music video is a pretty entertaining watch.  If you have no idea what the Uni-Cub is, its a one wheeled electric scooter developed by the Honda robotics division and is positioned as a “personal mobility device”.  From what I can tell its not really meant to replace a car but designed to help people travel a somewhat significant distance whom are too lazy to walk or ride a bike.  Right now the device is in prototype limbo and is not currently for sale which makes it all the more impressive that OK Go managed to get four of them for their music video.  Having said that I would highly recommend checking out the video below.  Even if you aren’t an OK Go fan, watching them scoot around on these things is still pretty entertaining.

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