All posts in “Cars”

Toyota GR Super Sport hypercar previewed at 24 Hours of Le Mans

Here’s your yearly reminder that Toyota is building a hypercar. Just like it did in last year’s running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Toyota has provided us a preview of the GR Super Sport. 

This car will run in the hypercar class in the World Endurance Championship, but the regulations require that anyone who enters will also need to produce a minimum of 20 road cars based on the race car. Toyota says the car we’re looking at in photos here is a GR Super Sport development car that is customized as a convertible and wearing the now-recognizable GR camouflage. Remember the same camo on the GR Supra a couple years ago?

Details are scarce on the ground concerning the road car version headed our way, but here’s what Toyota said about it: “The GR Super Sport epitomizes Toyota Gazoo Racing’s commitment to use motorsport to make ever-better road cars for the enjoyment of customers, and it symbolizes the ever-closer relationship between Toyota Gazoo Racing race and road car products.”

From what we’ve witnessed so far, more GR in Toyota road car products is a very good thing. The GR Yaris (that isn’t coming here) is a great example of what Toyota is capable of doing when it harnesses its engineering might. As for this car, it’s likely going to have near (or over) four-digit horsepower and a price tag that’ll buy you many lifetimes of Camrys. Its relation to the now three-time-Le-Mans-winning TS050 Hybrid should help it immensely. And in case you missed it, Toyota just happened to win Le Mans again last weekend.

McLaren Senna GTR LM Revealed: 5 Cars Recreate 1995 Le Mans Finishers

This week, McLaren announced a limited production run of 5 McLaren Senna GTR LM. The LM models are designed to replicate each of the 5 F1 GTR’s that crossed the finish line at the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans.

5 McLaren F1 GTRs finished the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans, achieving 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 13th. The Senna GTR LM replicates the liveries of each car, with the design taking more than 800 hours to complete by McLaren Special Operations (MSO).

In order to replicate the liveries, McLaren required permissions from brand owners such as Gulf and Harrods and by Le Mans organiser the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO).

McLaren F1 GTR at 24 Hours of Le Mans 1995

Each car will receive a performance boost. The 4.0 litre twin-turbocharged V8 gets a 20 hp increase over the standard Senna GTR with a power rating of 845 hp and 800 Nm of torque.

Other mechanical improvements include valve spring retainers made from metal matrix composite (MMC) to deliver a 65% weight reduction, higher grade steel for the valve springs and hand-polished, CNC ported cylinder heads.

Elsewhere, the McLaren Senna GTR LM benefits from a bespoke LM steering wheel with anodised gold gear shift paddles and control buttons. The foot pedals are made from titanium nitride. The exhaust system is specially designed for the LM with twin-exit pipes.

McLaren F1 GTR at 24 Hours of Le Mans 1995

The six-point racing harnesses get a GTR LM logo embroidered onto the harness pads and onto the headrests. Five-spoke OZ Racing wheels, gold-coloured brake calipers and suspension wishbones are reminiscent of the original F1 GTR.

Each car gets a ‘1 of 1’ dedication plaque featuring the VIN number and the provenance details of its namesake 1995 Le Mans F1 GTR. McLaren has also arranged a Le Mans circuit driving experience for the lucky owners, to take place during the 24 Hours of Le Mans race weekend in 2021.

5McLaren Senna GTR LM 825/1 – The Ueno Clinic Car

The winner of the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans. It wore race number 59 and was driven by two-time Le Mans winner Yannick Dalmas, Japanese veteran Masanori Sekiya and former Formula One driver, JJ Lehto.

The original F1 GTR had a charcoal grey livery, branded with the name of Japanese sponsor Ueno Clinic. For the McLaren Senna GTR LM, McLaren created a new colour, Ueno Grey. Otherwise, the design is faithful, even down to the unique driving lamps.

4McLaren Senna GTR LM 825/6 – The Harrods Car

The Harrods Car achieved 3rd place, wearing number 51. It was driven by an all-British line up of Andy Wallace, Derek Bell and Justin Bell but suffered a transmission glitch two hours from the flag.

The design bore the name of the iconic London department store, Harrods. The GTR LM gets an MSO paint colour called Solar Yellow with Heritage Green stripes and matching green pinstripe and green detailing for the front aero diffuser.

3McLaren Senna GTR LM 825/2 – The Gulf Car

The Gulf Car was next on the grid. Wearing number 24, it is the most iconic of liveries. The F1 GTR was driven by Brazilian Maurizio Sandro Sala, joined Brits Mark Blundell and Ray Bellm. It eventually finished in fourth place, 291 laps later.

Finished in MSO’s Gulf 95 Blue, it gets a ‘Gulf 95 Orange’ pinstripe which traces the rear diffuser and the rear wing’s endplates. The OZ Racing wheels are finished in equally vivid orange, while the lower sills and roof stripe are painted in Gulf 95 Silver.

2McLaren Senna GTR LM 825/7 – The Jacadi Car

The Jacadi Car wore number 50. It was run by French-based customer team Giroix Racing with two French drivers – Fabien Giroix and Olivier Grouillard – joined Swiss driver Jean-Denis Deletraz. It finished in fifth place, a lap down on the Gulf car.

The Jacadi Car is finished in royal blue livery with a patriotic French-theme. The colour is called Le Mans Blue it is complemented by a blue metallic called ‘Polaris’, and offset by authentic Elf logos from the company which sponsored the 1995 race car.

1McLaren Senna GTR LM 825/5 – The Cesar Car

The final car is the most complicated of all. It originally wore the number 42 and finished in 13th position during the race. It was run by French team Société BBA, with an all-French driver line-up of Jean-Luc Maury-Laribiere, Marc Sourd and Hervé Poulin.

The Cesar Car was was designed by renowned artist Cesar Baldaccini. Poulin’s collection of racing trophies became the inspiration for Cesar’s work on the McLaren. The Cesar Car is a modern reinterpretation of the livery it took several thousand hours of work.

McLaren Senna GTR LM cars created by MSO to honor the F1 GTR’s Le Mans success

The McLaren Special Operations division has outdone themselves again. Today, we get to present to you five McLaren Senna GTRs that were commissioned in a group. Their design and liveries are meant to re-create the five McLaren G1 GTRs that raced in the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans. McLaren took first place in that race, with the remaining four cars finishing third, fourth, fifth and 13th. 

These five Senna GTRs are much more than just Senna GTRs with stickers on them, too. The (faithfully re-created) liveries were hand-painted on every one of the cars. McLaren says each car took approximately 800 hours to paint, with some taking far more than that. All five are kept as close to the originals as possible, as McLaren coordinated with the Le Mans organizer to get permission to re-create every last detail of the logos and trademarks on the cars. The only sticker you’ll find on the exterior is a replica of the scrutineering sticker.

It isn’t just the appearance that received all the attention, though. McLaren has found a way to give the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 a small power boost. It went from making 814 horsepower to 833 horsepower. The rev limit has also increased from 8,250 rpm to nearly 9,000 rpm. This is accomplished through metal matrix composite valve spring retainers (65% lighter), higher grade steel for the valve springs and CNC ported cylinder heads. A recalibration of the whole powertrain takes advantage of these new parts, leading to the increase in power.

Small changes abound elsewhere in the car, too. OZ Racing designed a bespoke set of wheels for these cars; the suspension wishbones are made in an anodized version of their previous selves, and the brake calipers are finished in satin gold. New exit pipes are bent for the Inconel exhaust (for a new look), and the interior gets a small work over, too.

There’s a new racing steering wheel with anodized gold paddles and control buttons, titanium nitride pedals, carbon fiber racing seats with a bespoke headrest embroidery, leather door pull straps and an MSO six-point racing harness. We’re afraid to know the prices for these five cars, but we won’t know anyway, because McLaren hasn’t released that information.

All five owners will be allowed to take a lap of Circuit de la Sarthe on the day of the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans, which only seems right given their Le Mans re-creation provenance. 

Nissan Z Proto: 7th Generation Z Car Announced

It’s been 51 years since the first of Nissan’s Z Cars, the Nissan Fairlady 240Z, made its debut. The current Nissan 370Z has been around since early 2009. Its long overdue replacement is previewed today by the Nissan Z Proto.

Revealed as a near-production prototype, the Nissan Z Proto has potential to morph into a new Nissan 400Z. The 400Z is widely expected to be the 7th generation Z Car. When released, it should compete with the likes of the Toyota Supra, taking us back to the 1990’s.

Nissan Z Proto: Overview

– Previews the upcoming Nissan 400Z
– Nissan Z Car styling brought up to date
– Powered by a modified V6 engine and fitted with a manual gearbox
– The interior gets a fresh look with new digital displays

Nissan Z Proto: Exterior

Nissan Z Proto Side

The most eye catching feature of the Nissan Z Proto is its bright yellow pearlescent paint. This harks back to the classic first-generation 240Z and the 300ZX. The paint scheme was a popular option on both models.

The design is fairly minimalist. The front air intake is one large black hole framed by a sharp front bonnet and front splitter. Either side, the Z Proto gets teardrop-shaped LED headlights.

The roofline flows from the nose to the squared-off rear to create a distinctive first-generation Z profile. The rear interprets the 300ZX rear lights for the modern era with a black frame and exhaust pipes similar to the outgoing 370Z.

The side skirts, front lower lip and rear valance are all produced from carbon fibre. The Z Proto uses a revised V6 twin-turbocharged engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. An automatic transmission will be optional with the production version.

Nissan Z Proto: Interior

Nissan Z Proto Interior

Inside, the Nissan Z Proto gets a 12.3-inch digital meter display, three analogue dials mounted to the dashboard and a deep dish steering wheel.

Otherwise, the Z Proto looks fairly modern inside. It arrives with plenty of leather trim, with what looks like alcatara and yellow accents.

Nissan Z Proto: What does the future hold?

The Nissan Z Proto is one of 10 new vehicles that Nissan is showing for the US in 20 months. Clearly, it hopes to revive its fortunes after falling on hard times in recent years.

This intense focus on the US market will mean that the eventual 400Z is unlikely to make it to European shores. For markets that will get the 400Z, the wait is likely to be in the region of 2 years.

2020 Acura NSX Road Test | The cerebral supercar

The 2020 Acura NSX is the kind of car you’re pumped to drive. You think about it the night before. You read up on it. You tell your friends and family. You notice passers-by admiring it in the driveway. They try to be sly. Some gawk. There’s anticipation.

But is there satisfaction? The NSX immediately raises two questions. Where does it fit among its contemporaries and does it measure up to its legendary predecessor?

Seeking the answers, I slip behind the wheel on a sunny morning. The NSX is a welcome respite from the cares of the world and concerns of the coronavirus. I’ve got a few hours ahead of me in a $203,000 supercar. It’s a good time to reflect.

Immediately, I have a sense of déjà vu. I drove an NSX in 2017 at Pebble Beach, but my senses take me farther back, to the fall of 2014 when I drove a 1991 NSX. I had the same anticipation, nerves even, as I prepared for that drive. Getting situated in the 2020 model, I’m struck by the simplicity of the NSX. A McLaren or a Lambo take a minute to figure out, but everything is easy to read and use in the Acura. Like the ‘91 NSX, it looks striking on the outside, but the inside is almost plain. I’m OK with that. Simple works for Porsche, which will happily sell you a six-figure 911 with a spartan interior.

I’m underselling the NSX’s cabin — which is actually quite nice inside — understated yet cool. My tester has a black interior with carbon-fiber accents and semi-aniline leather seats with Alcantara, though the big steering wheel is the focal point. Looking to my right, the infotainment anchors the center stack, and there’s a knob for tuning the drive modes and the push-button gear selector. The outward visibility is outstanding. Driving a supercar can be intimidating, and being able to see things is helpful, especially when you’re inches off the ground.

I accelerate onto a surface street where the speed limit is 45 mph. There’s a low growl, and then the NSX gets a bit angrier. It’s never quite uncouth, even when the revs spin up on the expressway. It’s surprisingly gutsy low in the band, around 2,000-3,000 rpm, and the soundtrack gets louder and better from there. Anticipation building, I near the onramp to Interstate 75 in Detroit’s northern suburbs, where I run into cones. And blockades. Construction work is a staple of summer in Michigan. More time on the suburban slow road, and I find myself growing more comfortable in the NSX. Unlike the Lamborghini Huracán, Audi R8 or even some Mustangs, the Acura is civilized, docile even. It reminds me of my first time in that ‘91 NSX, where my nerves gave way to cockiness. The old NSX was so drivable, agreeable even, that I’ve long believed it made the cliché “everyday supercar” a real notion.

Acura tightened the suspension, retuned software for the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive and made the steering more responsive for the 2019 model. It feels more buttoned-up than the car I drove in Pebble Beach before these updates. There’s more feedback in the steering, which previously felt a little light. The Continental SportContact 6 tires provide plenty of grip. The brakes return stopping power with little pedal travel — not as immediate as McLarens I’ve tested, but more balanced for daily driving. This NSX is equipped with the optional carbon-ceramic rotors, which look great with the silver calipers visible through the gray Y-spoke wheels.

The other 2019 updates changed the grille accent to match the body color (it was silver before) and added gloss black trim in place of matte. Those sports seats I like so much and the tech package are now standard equipment.

The NSX is a striking car, especially in Valencia Red Pearl with the optional carbon-fiber elements, including the decklid spoiler, front chin spoiler, engine cover, rear diffuser and side sills. It’s beautiful, and in this shade it reminds me vaguely of recent mid-engine Ferraris. While I like the silhouette, the NSX is also a little angular and even busy, which is in contrast to the original NSX.

The expressway opens up as I make my way across town, sampling the driving modes. Sport mode is the basic setting, and Sport+ tightens up the chassis and makes the exhaust louder. I spend a decent amount of time in Quiet mode, which is actually all electric at speeds of less than 50 mph for brief periods. A couple of neighbors on bikes didn’t see me coming, then did triple takes trying to process what exactly was coming at them.

That stealthy capability belies the NSX’s raw power. Between the 3.5-liter V6 and electric motors, the NSX puts out 573 total horsepower and 476 pound-feet of torque, enabling sprints to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds en route to a top speed of 191 mph. The sequential paddle shifts summon all of this power into your fingertips, and pulling the paddles at high speeds while gripping the steering wheel with traffic parting gives even the novice performance driver a bit of a Senna streak.

The NSX is a car that you discover as you drive. There are layers to its personality. I learned a lot about the NSX, and Acura, simply by running errands. That’s not something every car gives you. Critics point to the “everyday supercar” label as a discredit, that the NSX is somehow watered down. It’s not. It’s cerebral yet passionate. What it lacks in flash it makes up for with a breadth of capability.

Let’s return to my original questions. How does the NSX compete against modern exotics, like Audi, McLaren, Ferrari and the like? It’s a peer. And that’s enough. It’s not the best of the bunch, but it’s competitive and interesting.

More weighty, how does the 2020 NSX measure up against the first generation? It does not break new ground in the way its predecessor did, which is not necessarily a demerit. When the New Sportscar eXperimental debuted in 1989, Ferrari and Lamborghini were making erratic cars that were at times as dangerous as they were exclusive. The notion of actually driving your supercar as I did on this bright Saturday was inadvisable. The NSX changed all of that. In that era there was room for improvement. Now the market is more mature, and even mainstream American brands like Chevy and Ford offer mid-engine performance.

It’s tough to compete against your younger self, but that’s not the point. The point is Acura chooses to make an NSX, and it’s excellent in the ways a modern supercar should aspire to be. The NSX crashed the party once. Now it’s simply accepted as part of the establishment.

Lewis Hamilton’s supercar collection sits undriven

Six-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has a collection of supercars worth millions of dollars but he no longer drives any of them.

The Mercedes driver, announced this week as the new owner of a team in the electric off-road Extreme E series starting up next year, told reporters he was doing his best to be environmentally friendly.

“It’s difficult because there are people (who say) like ‘yeah, but you race a Formula One car around every weekend’,” the 35-year-old Briton said on Thursday at the Tuscan Grand Prix at Italy’s Mugello circuit.

“Some of it’s education because not everyone knows the footprint that our sport currently has and what we’re doing in terms of trying to improve that. But I’m making a lot of changes in my personal life.

“I don’t drive any of the cars that I own anymore. I only drive my (electric Mercedes) EQC.”

Formula One issued a sustainability plan last year with the aim of achieving a net zero-carbon footprint for the sport by 2030. It has also promised that all Formula One events would be sustainable by 2025.

Hamilton, a vegan, said he also drove a Smart car and requested to be collected from airports in electric vehicles. He has sold his private jet.

According to media reports, he owns a Ferrari LaFerrari, Pagani Zonda, McLaren P1 and 1960s Shelby Cobra among other cars.

The championship leader said he was impressed by Extreme E’s aims and goals, with each team crew having a mandatory female driver.

The races will be held in some of the most remote and harsh environments including the Brazilian rain forest, Greenland, Saudi Arabian deserts and mountains of Nepal to highlight global warming.

There will be no spectators but races will be broadcast on TV and social media, with cars transported around the world on a boat that doubles as a floating paddock.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)

Lucid Air and Maserati MC20 unveiled | Autoblog Podcast #644

In this week’s Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Associate Editor Byron Hurd. Before they get to the juicy news of the week, they chat about the cars they’ve been driving, including a Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R, Audi A6 Allroad, Mazda CX-9 and Kia Niro. It’s been a busy week in the news department, with GM investing in Nikola, Lucid Motors launching the Air electric sedan, Maserati unveiling the MC20 mid-engined supercar and a farewell to the Lexus GS. Then they talk about having a newfound respect for the Fox Body Mustang and the Mazda CX-9.

Autoblog Podcast #644

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2023 Maserati MC20 Folgore planned with three-motor electric powertrain

Maserati’s first new model of the 2020s, the MC20, strays from the path that’s leading carmakers towards electrified and connected vehicles. The brand is nonetheless headed in this direction, and Autoblog can reveal it’s planning to release a range of battery-powered cars called Folgore, a name which means thunder in Italian.

Developed in-house, the 800-volt Folgore powertrain consists of one electric motor mounted over the front axle, and two electric motors installed over the rear axle. Sandro Bernardini, the man responsible for the second-generation GranTurismo, told us this configuration is not going to be reserved for high-performance, high-end cars. It will be the norm. And, although the rear motors are bolted into a single unit that’s about the size of a modern four-cylinder engine, there is no mechanical connection between them, meaning Maserati’s electric models will benefit from true torque vectoring. Ditching gasoline isn’t an excuse to stop chasing performance.

As we’ve previously reported, Maserati’s first series-produced battery-powered model will be the next GranTurismo, which is tentatively due out in 2021. Motorists who don’t want or need an electric car will be able to order the coupe with a version of the 3.0-liter Nettuno V6 engine that powers the recently-unveiled MC20. Speaking of, the mid-engined coupe will become a mid-motored, zero-emissions coupe a little bit later in its production run. It was developed with both electricity and gasoline in mind from the get-go.

Bernardini couldn’t share concrete technical specifications, but he noted his team is designing the powertrain to achieve maximum range. Engineers notably went to significant lengths to make the motors smaller, lighter, and more efficient, we’re told, and the technology will be compatible with 300-kilowatt fast-charging. While performance details are also under wraps, Autoblog learned the electric version of the MC20 will “absolutely be more powerful” than its 621-horsepower gasoline-burning counterpart. It will be heavier, too, but the power hike will more than make up for the weight gain, and its handling won’t be adversely affected.

Chassis mock-ups confirm the MC20 Folgore will share its basic underpinnings (including its carbon fiber tub and its subframes) with the gasoline-powered model. Its front motor will occupy the space normally reserved for the frunk, while its rear motor will slot neatly between the two wheels. Maserati is putting the lithium-ion battery pack directly behind the firewall for weight distribution reasons; it will be the heaviest part of the car, after all.

Does an electric MC20 need a low-mounted grille, or air vents chiseled into the rear end? Not necessarily.

“Going electric is the next logical step. We are trying to avoid unnecessary air openings and air outlets, in contrast to some of our competitors that seem to depend on them to convey a message. In our case, it’s about the purity of the body. We can further purify the car by reducing the amount of air intakes and air outlets, which will help us tell the design story even better,” explained Maserati head of design Klaus Busse in an interview with Autoblog.

Francesco Tonon, the head of Maserati’s product planning team, told us the MC20 Folgore will make its debut by 2022, and its debut is penciled in after the Spyder-badged convertible model’s. When it arrives, it will join the aforementioned second-generation GranTurismo and a new SUV positioned below the Levante in Maserati’s family of electric models. Production will take place in Modena, Italy, on the same assembly line that began making the gasoline-powered MC20 in September 2020.

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Maserati MC20 Revealed: New Maserati Supercar!

The Maserati MC20 has now been officially revealed. We saw the photos yesterday, the details have now been confirmed as the covers were removed in Modena.

The Maserati MC20 was designed in Modena and will be built at the Viale Ciro Menotti plant. The Italian brand has created a new production line in the space once occupied by the GranTurismo and GranCabrio models.

Maserati MC20: Key Details

– First of a new Maserati era
– 100% made in Modena
– New Nettuno V6 engine produces 630 horsepower and 730 Nm of torque
– 100 km/h in just 2.9 seconds with a sub 1,500 kg weight

Maserati MC20: Engine & Chassis

Details for the new Nettuno engine were already known. The 3.0 litre V6 is mounted at a 90 degree angle. It is rated to 630 hp and packs 730 Nm of torque.

Maserati confirm a 100 km/h sprint time of 2.9 seconds, a 200 km/h sprint time of 8.8 seconds and a top speed in excess of 325 km/h.

Power is routed through an 8-speed DCT gearbox to the rear wheels via a mechanical limited slip differential. An electronic differential is said to be optional.

The suspension setup includes double-wishbones at the front and rear with an anti-roll bar. The Maserati MC20 weighs in at under 1,500 kg of kerb weight.

The braking system consists of 6 piston Brembo callipers at the front and 4 piston callipers at the rear. The braking power is enough to allow for a 33 metre braking distance from 100 km/h.

Maserati MC20: Design

The design is typically mid-engined supercar. The aerodynamics were honed in the Dallara Wind Tunnel with a drag co-efficient of 0.38.

The front end takes cues from the Maserati MC12 with a low air intake and prominent Maserati trident. The bonnet gets two air intakes either side of a flat bonnet. Along the side, deep wheel vents cut into the Maserati MC20 door panel.

The roof line slopes gently towards an uncluttered rear end. The rear taillights are narrow and split by a Maserati logo. Two centrally mounted exhausts are reminiscent of the outgoing Maserati GranTurismo.

The addition of butterfly doors give the Maserati MC20 a visual edge.

Launch colours include Bianco Audace, Giallo Genio, Rosso Vincente, Blu Infinito, Nero Enigma and Grigio Mistero

Expect a convertible version to follow.

Maserati MC20: Interior

Inside, the MC20 uses two 10 inch screens: one for the cockpit and the other for the Maserati Multimedia System (MIA).

The carbon fibre-clad central console gets a wireless smartphone charger, the driving mode selector (GT, Wet, Sport, Corsa and a fifth, ESC Off, which deactivates the control functions), two speed selection buttons, the power window controls, the Multimedia System controls, and a storage compartment underneath the armrest.

All of the other controls are on the steering wheel, with the ignition button on the left and the launch control on the right. The Maserati Connect program makes it easy to access services.

Maserati MC20: Competitors

Pricing has yet to be announced for the MC20. That said, it looks likely that the Maserati MC20 will compete with the McLaren 570S and Porsche 911.

Aston Martin Victor: 1 of 1 Hypercar Built from Vulcan and One-77 Parts

Aston Martin’s Q by Aston Martin recently revealed its most ambitious project to date. The Aston Martin Victor is a one-off. Built from a mix of Vulcan and One-77 parts, it has taken the internet by storm.

The name picks up where the Vulcan left off. The Victor was a jet-powered strategic bomber, the last of three V Bombers which included the Vulcan. Produced by Handley Page, these bombers were designed to carry the British nuclear deterrent.

Aston Martin Victor Highlights

– Inspired by the iconic Aston Martin V8 Vantage of the 1970s and 80s
– Pentland Green exterior
– Forest Green and Conker Bridge of Weir leather, cashmere and carbon interior
– 842 Nm of downforce at 100 mph
– 7.3-litre V12 engine producing 836 bhp
– 6-speed manual with power delivered to the rear

Design

Aston Martin Victor Price

The Victor is a bespoke Aston Martin design. It looks like no other modern Aston Martin. Many of its design elements were inspired by the Aston Martin RHAM/1 racer, itself built off the platform of an Aston Martin DBS V8.

Aston Martin’s iconic front grille sits front and centre. Either side, two simple circular headlights keep the design clear, sitting atop a deep front splitter. The front bonnet includes a deep ‘U’ shaped air vent, similar to the Vantage GT12.

A long design-line runs the entire length of the side with an elongated side air outlet. The side sill is taken directly front the Vulcan. A boat tail rear end blends simplicity with complex details. The 18 individual light strips that make up the rear lights and the deep rear diffuser are highlights.

Chassis & Power

Aston Martin Victor Engine

The Aston Martin Victor uses a One-77 chassis. It weighs less than an original One-77 with GT4 levels of downforce. It is capable of producing 842 Nm of downforce at 100 mph, compared to 525Nm for a race-prepared Vantage GT4.

The One-77’s naturally-aspirated 7.3-litre V12 has been rebuilt by Cosworth. It now puts out 836 bhp and 821 Nm of torque, uprated from One-77’s 750 bhp and 750 Nm ratings.

Power is delivered to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission, supplied by Graziano. As the most powerful manual Aston Martin, the Victor includes a bespoke motorsport clutch.

Interior

Aston Martin Victor Interior

The interior is pure Vulcan. Heavily redesigned, yet retaining the feel of Aston Martin’s unique racer, the Victor includes huge carbon fibre shapes.

The digital dashboard display is complemented by a second central infotainment system. The steering wheel is lifted straight from the Vulcan while the gear shift gets a traditional wooden touch.

Pricing is unknown as the Aston Martin Victor is a one-off. Hopefully Q by Aston Martin takes on more of these projects in years to come!

Brabham BT62R: Road Version of Australian Supercar Revealed

Brabham automotive have officially unveiled the road version of the Brabham BT62, the Brabham BT62R. The Australian supercar has been developed by the son of Sir Jack Brabham, triple Formula 1 world champion and founder of the legendary Brabham racing team.

Brabham had promised a road-legal version of his track-only supercar. That promise is now delivered with the BT62R.

Highlights of the Brabham BT62R

– Variable ride heights for driving on track and on public roads.
– New exhaust system, air conditioning and heated windscreen
– New front splitter and rear diffuser to accommodate road use and maintain track aero.
– New road seat design.
– Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport road tyres.
– 700hp, 5.4 litre V8

Engine

Brabham BT62R Rear Wing

The Brabham BT62R is powered by the same 5.4 litre V8 engine, producing 700 hp and 667 Nm of torque. The difference is the mapping, which is modified for the road.

To make the BT62R more palatable for the road, Brabham has developed a new exhaust system. Drive is through a 6-speed sequential transmission with revised gear ratios.

The Brabham BT62R gets the same FIA compliant chassis as its track-oriented brother. A revised suspension system has been tuned for road use.

Exterior

Brabham BT62R Front

The body features a revised front splitter, new top-mounted air intake, new rear diffuser and a re-designed and road compliant single-plane rear wing.

Interior

Brabham BT62R Side

The interior is finished in leather and/or Alcantara with contrast stitching. The light-weight seats are a redesigned carbonfibre construction. Heat and sound insulation are improved with an alcantara roof and additional storage compartments.

BT62R owners will get a new digital control panel which has the option to revert to the track oriented display when on circuit.

Mercedes Unveils Redesigned 2021 S-Class

As the perennial flagship of Mercedes-Benz, the S-Class cars are built from the ground up to set the standard and presage the brand’s latest advancements. For 2021, they nailed it again. The new S-Class is not only longer, wider & more aerodynamic, it is safer—with rear seat airbags, smarter with second-gen MBUX infotainment tech, and more luxurious than ever. Also noteworthy: the S580 pushes 500 horses.

Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s revealed as track-only, even more extreme T.50

It’s been one month since the Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 was fully revealed. We’re still reeling from learning about how stupendous it is, but Gordon Murray has gone and one upped himself again today. In addition to the road-going T.50, there will also be a track-only T.50s. 

The name “T.50s” is only a codename for now. GMA says that a proper full name will arrive when the car is officially unwrapped. Only one photo of the T.50s was shown, and you’re looking at it above. However, we do have plenty of details to share alongside the single photo.

What we’re dealing with is essentially a race car. It’s not legal to drive on any type of road, unless that road happens to be a closed course. The T.50s has more power, weighs less and produces significantly more downforce than the standard T.50. It also costs a great deal more at £3.1 million. Adjusted to U.S. dollars, that’s just over $4.1 million. Alright, yes, the price goes well beyond the realm of silly and ridiculous. But Murray will also argue that nothing else in the world can match it. So, what all do you get for the extra $1.1 million over the standard car?

Somehow, the Cosworth 3.9-liter V12 makes more power. With the new ram-induction, it’s going to make approximately 720 horsepower. No turbos or supercharger necessary. That’s a 66 horsepower increase. Murray says that revised cylinder heads and camshafts, higher compression ratio and a free-flowing exhaust all contributed to the power gains. It doesn’t even attempt to meet emissions or noise regulations anymore, which is a boon for power. In all, over 50 components in the engine have been changed. Murray specifically attributes a 30 horsepower gain to the new roof-mounted ram-air induction system.

Since this model is being built for pure speed on a racetrack, Murray has gone away from a traditional manual transmission. Instead, it uses a bespoke six-speed Xtrac transmission that is shifted via steering wheel-mounted paddles. It has new drive ratios and is optimized for track performance.

A standard T.50 (pictured in the gallery above) is a featherweight at 2,174 pounds, but the T.50s weighs even less at 1,962 pounds. The completely stripped interior contributes to much of the weight savings. Murray has deleted the air conditioning, infotainment, storage compartments, carpets and instrumentation. The seat to the right of the driver has been removed, but the seat on the left was retained for co-drivers or a single passenger for fun. The two seats that remain are both new carbon fiber racing seats fitted with six-point harnesses. A new steering wheel in F1 style (minus the buttons) is swapped in, and there will be a racing display that shows the vitals for racing only. Forged magnesium wheels also contribute to reducing the car’s mass. They’re wrapped with Michelin Cup Sport 2 tires.

Added aero is another big focus with the T.50s. A massive 69-inch delta wing is mounted to the top of the car as the shining crown, a design that was inspired by Murray’s 1983 Brabham BT52 F1 car. Other aerodynamic improvements include a new ground effect underbody airfoil, new front splitter, adjustable diffusers and an aero fin that runs from the top of the roof to the rear lip of the car. Of course, the fan remains, but it now permanently runs at 7,000 rpm. Murray says the car generates 3,306 pounds of downforce. It would be capable of driving upside down at 175 mph or more with this amount of downforce, according to Murray. We’ll just take his word for it. Murray also claims that the car is capable of generating about 2.5G-3.0G under braking. For some perspective, F1 drivers experience about 5G of braking force during races.

The brakes themselves are carbon ceramic units from Brembo. New ducting around each wheel helps them handle the increased heat they’ll be feeling from the extreme braking. Both the engine and transmission oil cooling systems are relocated for better airflow. As for the suspension, GMA re-tuned the dampers, spring and front anti-roll bar for racing. It also rides 1.57 inches lower in front and back. Customers will be allowed to tailor the suspension setup to their liking, though. In fact, everything about the T.50s will be customized to the customer’s desire. Murray really wants owners to track the cars, so the team will be working closely with every owner to set the car up properly for such an event.

“I’d like to organize a series of racing events as part of our Trackspeed package to ensure the T.50s is driven regularly by owners,” Murray says. “There will be nothing like the experience of driving this car. And hearing it … well, that will be something else! I’d like each of the 25 cars to be completely unique from setup to paint finish.”

That’s right, only 25 will be made in T.50s spec. Murray says that half of them are already spoken for, so there isn’t much time left to secure a spot. The GMA team says it will supply a “full range of pit, garage, and support equipment for the T.50s” for those who take it racing. Production for the T.50s will commence after the 100 road-spec T.50 models are built. The current estimate for T.50s production start is the first quarter of 2023.

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Henrik Fisker interview, and driving the Polestar 2 | Autoblog Podcast #643

In this week’s Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder. They’ve been driving the updated 2021 Honda Odyssey, the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 and the new Polestar 2 electric sedan. After reviewing those, they talk about how the Chrysler 300 appears to be withering on the vine. Next, they take time to talk to legendary automotive designer and eponymous Chairman & CEO of Fisker Inc., Mr. Henrik Fisker himself, about jeans, horses and, of course, electric cars. Finally, they help a listener pick a $100,000 supercar in the “Spend My Money” segment.

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2020 Chevrolet Corvette Road Test | The hype is legit

The $59,995 2020 Chevrolet Corvette exists. This one isn’t it. Chevy sent me the complete opposite of a base Corvette, as the sticker on this Accelerate Yellow 3LT model came to $86,860. Yet, after a week in the tight bucket seat, I’m convinced it’s still a bargain.

Raw performance, sophistication, luxury, price. Pick three, because combining all four of these elements in a sports car or supercar is like trying to find Waldo when he’s been torn out of the page. Chevy is turning this conundrum upside down with the new Corvette. Equipped properly, the C8 checks all four of the boxes emphatically.

Performance is a no-doubter. The 6.2-liter V8 makes 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque in this Z51 pack car, rocketing it to 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds via an excellent launch control system. The magnetic dampers make for a sophisticated ride and handling balance. It can go from forgiving and plush to racetrack stiff at the twist of a dial. The interior is more luxurious and tech heavy than anything else GM makes, save for a loaded-up Cadillac. And then there’s the price. How Chevy priced this car below $100,000 still baffles me. Almost nothing is missing, but let’s dive in a bit deeper, starting from the best place to be: the driver’s seat.

Reaching beyond the highly-bolstered suede, leather and mesh Competition GT3 seats in this C8, everything I touch feels of quality. Yellow accents are splashed about the interior in thoughtful locations. Even the removable roof has yellow stitching woven in. Before I even get on the road, this attention to detail and level of customization reminds me of Porsche — the Chevy options are just cheaper. The spectacular view forward over a low nose keeps the Porsche theme on track, but it trails off when I begin to take in the interior design language around me. 

No car takes the jet fighter cockpit theme as seriously as the Corvette does. I’m cocooned in my own bubble, completely walled-off from the passenger, and the passenger from me. Wide, swooping armrests are swathed in suede and placed at perfect elbow-resting height. The square-shaped suede-covered ($595) steering wheel isn’t weird to use, but spokes at 9 and 3 would be preferable over their current 8:30 and 3:30 positions. My passengers kept accidentally adjusting my seat and temperature controls on the vertical climate control stack (driver on top, passenger on bottom), but I became accustomed to the design quickly. It beats putting the climate controls in a touchscreen. There’s a general feeling of busyness inside with all the sharp angles and its multi-tiered dash design. GM may be trying a little too hard to make it exotic, but functionality doesn’t suffer for the styling, so I accept the flair. 

The push-to-start button presses in with a satisfying click, but even more satisfying than that is tapping the remote start on the keyfob when standing near the loud pipes. Since the Corvette saves its drive mode from the last engine cycle, you can remote start your engine with the exhaust in Track mode (thank you to the engineers who did this). It is thunderous and guttural and all the things you want the startup to be.

The drive mode dial has proper heft, and the digital instrument cluster quickly animates through layouts with each new mode. Ergonomically, the interior is brilliant. My seating position is spot on with the seat set to its lowest point. Being able to see out the back with a standard mirror would be nice, but the digital rearview camera mirror on this car is a revelation for a mid-engine layout. You can see everything, and glare from taller cars’ headlights in the dark is a non-issue — even the driver-side mirror is auto-dimming. All this, and my butt and back are cool via the ventilated seats.

Setting out in Tour (comfort) mode, GM’s Small Block LT2 clacks away quietly behind my ear, sounding every bit like a Camaro or the previous Corvette. A thick piece of glass separates the cabin from the engine bay, allowing driver and passenger to look back at the pretty V8. It’s far more sedate and normal to cruise around in than you might imagine. The steering wheel flies left or right with ease at low speeds, the brakes are comfortable but not touchy, and those magnetic dampers are damping out the bumps. The big engine and eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox never fully fade into the background when casually driving around, but there’s no drama at low speeds. Ferraris or Lamborghinis never stop telling you what they are when cruising through town. If it weren’t for the incessant staring and pointing, I could’ve forgotten I was driving the hottest, most-anticipated car of the last several years. Credit to Chevy for making this beast so livable on a day-to-day basis.

Not to say the Corvette is quiet inside (it’s not), but that level of refinement in the cabin in casual driving isn’t always conducive to noise and personality when the right pedal is flat. Even with the supplemental exhaust noise being pumped into the cabin via the speakers, the Corvette isn’t as loud inside as I imagined it would’ve been with the performance exhaust. It’s opposite what’s going on out back, too. This Corvette sounds like NASCAR thunder from the roadside as it pounds through the forest, barking and snapping at each quick gear change. Problem is, the driver is only getting a fraction of this in their eardrums. I have a certain expectation for theater and aural wonder from a mid-engine car. The Corvette could use a tinge more of both.

Now, enough with the nit-picking. Power (so much of it) is simply here. It’s like a light switch. The speed at which this updated V8 revs — get the full download in our First Drive — is one pivotal aspect that stands out. Whether you’re banging through first and second or free revving for a demanding onlooker, it goes from idle to 6,500 rpm (redline) in a flash. The steady increase in shove keeps coming all the way to the top despite peak torque hitting at 5,150 rpm. 

There isn’t much fuss in the power band. Everything is business as usual if you’re accustomed to GM’s Small Block V8. It’s glorious in its simplicity, and brings a sense of normalcy to the gob smacking acceleration. I’m not wanting for any more forward thrust — there is zero letup at legal speeds — but I’m already looking forward to the shriek of the flat-plane crank Corvette headed our way soon. This engine is an ode to the traditionalists, but the flat-plane crank ‘Vette will be an ode to people like me who love high-revving, exotic engines.

Once I make it out to some proper driving roads, the brilliance of this chassis comes into plain view. It doesn’t feel like a company’s first go at a mid-engine supercar. No, it’s well-tuned and strikes a wonderful ride and handling balance the likes of which Porsche has been perfecting for years with the 911. The magnetic dampers on this car deserve many thank you notes. Turn-in is crisp and quick. The nose is happy to be pointed in a different direction at a moment’s notice, and there’s zero uneasiness coming from the rear end. As the Gs build, the Corvette remains a wonderfully balanced rock. I’m waiting for the rear end to step out on me as I apply more and more throttle coming out of turns, but it wriggles, then sticks with the weight of the engine keeping it planted. This car will happily go sideways if you intentionally goose it, but it’s incredibly well-behaved when speed is the priority.

The steering weight is just about perfect in Sport mode, but turns a smidge too heavy in Track mode. Bumps and bigger undulations in corners are shrugged off. I can feel what’s going on at the wheels through the seat and steering wheel, but the Corvette reassuringly trucks on without skipping a beat. Lesser chassis will bound around and send the car skipping on my testing roads, but the Corvette handles them like a champ. The $1,895 you spend on these dampers will be the best $1,895 you ever spend.

A manual transmission is the only item missing. My tester car may be supercar-quick, but it’s not too much of a handful that a manual would ruin the experience. Take the three-pedal version of the 911 Carrera S as an example. It may be slower to 60 mph than the PDK, but the car is still plenty drivable and doesn’t turn into some hot mess with too much horsepower. I think there’s room for a manual to work the same way in the Corvette. This is no condemnation of the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission in the Vette today, though. It’s as quick to respond as the best of them. If Porsche held any advantage here it would be in smoothness, as the Corvette is less refined in manual mode when you’re not pushing. I’d move the paddles up by about an inch, too, since they’re just out of reach at my preferable 9 and 3 hand position.

It’s staggering what Chevy put together here — nothing less than a generational milestone. The last no compromise supercar that truly shook the segment up was the 1991 Acura NSX, but even the NSX was pricey. Chevy’s new Corvette is just as important, but in a different way. McLaren and Ferrari buyers will keep buying McLarens and Ferraris. Lamborghini isn’t going to make a budget model. This car won’t force the old guard to change what they did the way Honda did in the 1990s. No, what the new Corvette does is bring that exotic level of performance to a price bracket that’s never had this opportunity before. It’s a supercar for the people, assuming the people have over $60,000 for a toy. But don’t worry; in three years depreciation will have them down in the $40,000 range.

Raw performance, sophistication, luxury, price. Somehow, all four deliverables are present and accounted for. At $59,995, nothing can beat it. At $86,860, nothing can beat it. The Small Block isn’t holding this car back from greatness — it’s already great with it. But this chassis, and the car as a whole, begs for more. More character, more revs and an exotic yowl that matches the chassis’ greatness. When Chevy adds such an engine, the Corvette can transcend beyond the performance bargain moniker to being one of the greatest of all time. It’s nearly there already.

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Spyker aiming to revive sports cars and even an SUV with new backers

Luxury sports car builder Spyker, despite having some beautiful and unique products, has had a rocky history over the past couple decades. The last news we had heard from them was the release of a special variant for the last run of its C8 Aileron, and before that was the announcement that the C8 Preliator would move to a Koenigsegg V8. All of that was in 2017. Now the company has announced it has partnered with other companies for some financial, development and production support. And if all goes well, we may see old concepts finally reach production.

The two people involved in the new partnerships are Boris Rotenberg and Michail Pessis. Between the two of them, they operate a number of racing- and automotive-related businesses: SMP Racing, BR Engineering, Milan Morady SA and R-Company GmbH. They each are fans of Spyker, both owning its cars themselves. Apparently, Milan Morady and BR Engineering were already helping build some special edition C8 Ailerons.

As for the future, it seems that Rotenberg’s and Pessis’s companies will be doing some major lifting in building some of the aforementioned C8 Preliator. Plans go beyond continuing production of that existing model, though. Apparently these companies are planning on finally bringing two even older Spyker concepts to production: the smaller B6 Venator and the D8 Peking-to-Paris SUV. The B6 made its debut in 2013, featured a 375-horsepower V6 and was a smaller, presumably more accessible Spyker. The D8 Peking-to-Paris was reportedly based on the D12 Peking-to-Paris concept, shown at the top of the page, but with a V8 engine instead of a V12. That concept dates all the way back to 2006. Time will tell if these new partnerships give Spyker some new life.

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Ferrari 812 Superfast variant spied, could be a GTO

The chance to buy a new, naturally aspirated V12-powered Ferrari is closing, and the camouflaged 812 Superfast we’re looking at here is likely going to be one of the last. Our spy photographer caught two 812s running around, but the changes are similar (not identical) among the two.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a potential 812 variant, either. Ferrari is rumored to be producing some special editions of the 812 before it goes out of production, and this one looks like it has the potential to be the most potent version. The changes we spy on these two prototypes suggest that Ferrari is prepping an 812 GTO, or if we use the F12 as perspective, a tdf. Either way, this car will likely have even more power and better handling than the current 812 Superfast.

Ferrari manages 789 horsepower and 530 pound-feet of torque from the 6.5-liter V12 today, so we fully expect to see a number north of 800 horsepower for this special edition. The crude, mesh front grille and gaggle of wires coming from the engine bay suggest some powertrain development is underway. How much power Ferrari ends up with is anybody’s guess, but a redline over 9,000 rpm sounds pretty good to us — the current 812 stops at 8,900 rpm.

There’s some camouflage along the side sills, reaching up into the front fenders. Ferrari is very obviously doing some work with the rear aero, as we see two different designs on the two test cars. They both look unfinished, but one is filled in with venting, while the other is wide open on the edges. Whatever secrets Ferrari is trying to keep, it has kept for the time being. The looks of these camouflaged prototypes are obviously in an unfinished state of business. Ferrari managed to differentiate the standard F12 from the F12 tdf substantially, and we expect its next front-engine masterpiece to receive the same treatment for production.

Just like the tdf, we’ll expect this version of the 812 to be made in limited quantities and cost a small fortune. As for timing, Ferrari could very well reveal the car this year as it continues its new product offensive.

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