All posts in “Specialty”

Did the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series set a new Nurburgring record?

According to well-known YouTube Nürburgring-watcher Misha Charoudin, the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series likely set a new production car record at the famous German race track. According to the channel’s calculations, the 720-horsepower AMG GT Black Series likely crossed the finish line with around 6:43 showing on the stopwatch. If that’s true it would be a new record, taking top billing away from the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, which did the deed in 6:44.97. It also wouldn’t be a big surprise, since Mercedes was known to be honing the car at that exact track for years.

Instead of rehashing the great debate about the never-ending quest to set records at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, we’ll just recap a few highlights: Does it matter? Is it repeatable? Is it relevant to actual street performance? Do the mods that make it fast at the ‘Ring make it worse on the road? Now that those are out of the way, let’s add this unqualified statement: ‘Ring records are nothing if not impressive and newsworthy.

If Charoudin’s projected time is accurate — and he’s been on the mark in the past — we expect confirmation from Mercedes-AMG will be coming in short order. Probably with onboard video, and probably with much pomp and circumstance. We look forward to it.

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The McLaren 765LT is even quicker than we thought

We have good news and bad news for those who happily find themselves in the market for a brand-new supercar. We’ll start with the good: The McLaren 765LT is even quicker than initially announced. According to the British automaker, the 765LT will run from 0-124 mph (a nice, round 200 kilometers per hour) in seven seconds flat.

Sure, that’s a scant 0.2 seconds quicker than previously claimed, but in the world of supercars, a couple of tenths is a major achievement. McLaren further claims a 0-60 time of 2.7 seconds and a 9.9-second quarter-mile time, which is impressive no matter which way you slice it. So is its 205-mph top speed, courtesy of a 755-horsepower twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine.

Now for the bad news: If you haven’t already obtained a guaranteed order from McLaren, you’re out of luck. The automaker says it will produce 765 units for 2020, and they are fully allocated.

Along with those two nuggets, McLaren says it’s also showing off some MSO-customized examples of the 765LT to buyers. Two themes have so far been unveiled, the first of which is called Strata (above left). It’s “inspired by a city skyline and realized in a three-color design requiring 390 hours of hand painting and finishing,” the automaker says. The Azores orange, Memphis Red and Cherry black scheme carries on into the interior, as well.

The second theme is called GEOHEX and features Tarmac Black and Tokyo Cyan paint inspired by a 3D honeycomb. A large array of carbon fiber elements inside and out reportedly complete the look. Sadly, we don’t have pictures of this finish, but we’re sure those will eventually leak out.

Buyers who really love carbon fiber, though, may prefer the MSO Bespoke Carbon Fiber Body treatment (above right). One car has already been produced with a glossy finish, but McLaren says it can also tint the visual carbon with a number of colored finishes.

Historic French brand Delage returns with the D12

We’ve seen several ways so far of resurrecting a dormant car brand. There’s been the continuation build, like at Alvis, with period vehicles created from new-old-stock or parts created from original blueprints. We’ve seen brands wrap modern technology in historically-themed bodywork, as with the new Hispano-Suiza, or put that technology inside brand new bodywork said to channel the spirit of the original, as at Maybach or Bugatti. ü Called the Delage D12, CEO Laurent Tapie says it fulfills the dream of Adolphe Louis Delage, who campaigned a 2.0-liter V12 in the 1923 and 1924 Grand Prix seasons, supercharging the engine in 1925 and winning two races. Delage took the crown of World Champion of Car Builders in 1927 with the Type 15 S 8 and its supercharged 1.5-liter straight-eight, then returned to a V12 formula in 1938 in a car lost to fire before it could race.

The original Delage insisted on technical excellence, its 1914 Indy 500-winning car benefiting from a 4.5-liter four-cylinder engine with double overhead cams and desmodromic valves, a five-speed gearbox with two overdrive gears, a metal clutch, and brakes at all four wheels plus a transmission brake. On public roads, some of the finest coachbuilding of the era sat on top of a Delage chassis; the brand has won Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance three times between 1996 and 2010.

Echoing the dual thrust of those vintage cars, the D12 is road-legal, yet designed to be “the closest to the sensation of driving a Formula One car that has ever been experienced in a street legal car.” Tapie wants the D12 to claim the record for the fast street-legal car around the Nürburgring. There will be two D12 trims, both powered by a naturally aspirated 7.6-liter V12 with 990 horsepower, developed in-house and aided by an electric motor mounted in the eight-speed, single-clutch, automated manual transmission. In the GT version, which weighs 3,086 pounds, the e-motor produces 110 hp for a total of 1,100 horses. In the track-focused Club model that weighs 2,888 pounds, the e-motor contributes a gentle 20 horses for 1,010 hp and is used mainly while driving on the streets, reversing, and parking. Delage says the GT is quicker, but the Club — which can hit 62 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds and tops out at 233 mph — is faster around a circuit.

Delage technical director Benoît Bagur has a résumé including years at Citroën Sport, Seat and VW Sport, and Ligier, the entire technical team said to have been involved with 16 FIA World Championship titles in various series. Bagur claims two in touring cars, the head engineer is responsible for six, and one of those titles is claimed by Jacques Villeneuve, the ex-F1 pilot being one of Delage’s test drivers.

The carbon fiber body panels are accompanied by carbon fiber wheels engineered to channel airflow to cool the brakes, the body and wheels connected by a visible pushrod suspension. In the cockpit, the steering wheel handles are molded to the driver’s hands, the carbon fiber seat and leg support are molded to the driver’s body. 

Tapie says he’s backed by 10 investors, four of them apparently billionaires, but he’s looking for two more. Tapie’s father is French billionaire Bernard Tapie, but the elder is not invested in the nascent car company. Laurent sees the D12, produced from next year in a run of 30 cars priced at $2.3 million each, as the opener to more products. Two D12s have been spoken for so far, sold through Delage’s West Coast dealer, Newport Beach Automotive Group.

With the brand name licensed for seven years, the deal including a provision to buy the rights to the name in 2022, Tapie already has a second model in mind. The follow-up will further highlight the historical connection at the same time as it’s powered by “a revolutionary turbine that’s been in development for 12 years, and will also take advantage of some innovative aerodynamic technology. We really see ourselves as a technology company.” 

Prototype Ferrari 812 Superfast caught making awesome noises at Fiorano

In January, spy photographers snapped an 812 Superfast prototype testing around Maranello. Bodywork revisions included an open front intake, smoothed-out bumpers, taped-up side sills, covered air extractors behind the rear wheels, and new bodywork around the exhaust outlets with what appeared to be additional venting. The Supercar Blog suspected the prototype was a hardcore version of the 812, possibly earning the hallowed “GTO” appellation. Autoevolution went further with the speculation, writing that a reworked 6.5-liter V12 would produce 850 horsepower, a 61-hp jump over the standard 812, and would rev beyond the 9,000-rpm limit in the Ferrari LaFerrari.

At least one more of these testers has been caught on video around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track, giving us a chance to hear what’s going on underneath the patchwork skin. YouTube user Varryx got the footage, doing us the favor of including a regular 812 lapping the circuit for comparison. The differences are clear. The 812 is already praised for its glorious exhaust note. The prototype, which looks to have put on a more finished rear valance, snarls more during downshifts and bellows with a lower, angrier pitch on the flyby. 

We’re still not sure what it is, but perusing Ferrari Chat forums reveals members having a conversation about an “812 VS” for nearly two years now. VS is Italian for Versione Speciale, the thrust here being a track-focused and lighter 812. The Speciale cars began with the one-off 1955 375 MM Berlinetta Speciale — “MM” representing Mille Miglia, another name mooted for the special 812. The denomination has returned a few times throughout the decades, used most recently on the one-off 458 MM Speciale commission shows in 2016.

Keeping in mind that this is all speculation until Ferrari reveals the real thing, one Ferrari Chat poster wrote we’ll get “a somehow more powerful blistering naturally aspirated large V-12 track oriented version of the prodigious 812 Superfast. As one of, if not the last of, its kind this will be a high-priced limited edition. Likely limited to 799 pieces. Probably priced at $750,000 or more and approaching $1 million for Tailor Made cars. Prospective launch date 2020. Confidence level 80%.” That production figure matches the number of F12 TDF units Ferrari built. Another forum member said the 812 VS will make 860 metric horsepower, which comes to 848 of our horsepower.

Supposedly, Ferrari had planned the debut the car at the Geneva Motor Show. As of now, suspicions have settled on Ferrari showing an SF90 Spider in September, and this hardcore 812 VS with “organic and pure” bodywork in October or November. We’re also waiting on the mid-engined hybrid supercar spotted all over Maranello of late, so it could be an especially flouncy year for prancing horses.

McLaren Sports Series model with V6 hybrid delayed to 2021

In the middle of May, the McLaren Group began the hunt for up to $335 million to endure the downturn caused by the coronavirus, with the conglomerate ready to put every sacred asset on the block for collateral. A few days later, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt told Automotive News Europe, “This will have cost us probably two years. [In] 2020, we’re going to do very little. I think it’ll take us the whole of ’21 to climb back [to] where we are.” Even though the Woking firm had already moved to cut supply in anticipation of lower sales, a 67% sales drop in Q1 this year led to McLaren laying off 1,200 employees — a quarter of the workforce — across Automotive, Racing, and Applied Technologies divisions. Another casualty of current events is the timeline for the anticipated plug-in hybrid model reported to replace the 570S in the entry-level Sports Series tier. Chatter had suggested McLaren would debut the car this summer and begin deliveries in some markets before the year ended. But Evo magazine reports the coupe will be on the tardy list, a company spokesperson telling PistonHeads the schedule has slid back “a handful of months.”

The PHEV represents a big step, being a volume model built on a brand new platform, powered by a brand new engine at the heart of a brand new powertrain. The twin-turbocharged V6 said to sit behind the cockpit inaugurates a life beyond the small-displacement V8 that has powered every McLaren Automotive product since a 3.8-liter twin-turbo unit entered service in the MP4-12C. We don’t know much about the V6, but spy shots appear to show that it will rev 500 rpm higher than the V8, to 8,000 rpm, and its peak output with electrical assistance will exceed the 570 horsepower in the 570S. The plug-in hybrid component contributes an Electric driving mode to Comfort and Sport modes, the powertrain supposedly able to go 21 miles on battery power. As for looks, the compact body seems to crib from the 720 S in front, the GT in the midsection, and add a lot of cooling apertures in the rear.

The “little” that Flewitt said McLaren would do this year means focusing on the Elva roadster, 765LT, and Speedtail. A spokesperson said testing and development have resumed, and “dealers are [also] already opening for appointments.” Since we’re still not halfway through 2020, it’s hard to imagine what anything will look like when — hell, if — the dust settles. It’s good bet, though, that McLaren could need to recalibrate the two dozen or so remaining models in its Track 25 strategy that envisions 18 new models by 2025.

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Gordon Murray T.50 beats weight target thanks to ‘Weight Watchers’ meetings

Gordon Murray is staying on the offensive about his T.50 supercar, working the phones recently to let all know that “This car will deliver — and this is a promise — the driving experience of [a McLaren] F1, but better, better in so many ways,” because he and his team have “fixed the things we knew were wrong with the F1.” As they say in the Westerns, them’s big words. Two factors he credited for the T.50’s estimated performance specs are bespoke parts, and the relentless focus on weight savings they enable. The team behind the supercar doesn’t need to restrict any component to parts-bin sourcing, doesn’t need to check with production or accounting departments, and can create or re-engineer any part to serve a single vehicle. Technology improvements since the creation of the McLaren F1 and the use of a bespoke 3.9-liter Cosworth V12 gives the team even more freedom than Murray had with his icon.

This has led to ruthless weight shaving, helped by what Murray described as “Weight Watchers” meetings. The Cosworth V12 comes in at less than 400 pounds, cutting 132 pounds compared to the 6.1-liter V12 in the F1 — the designer citing the S70 BMW engine as part of the reason he overshot his 2,205-pound (1,000-kilogram) target for the 2,579-pound McLaren. Carbon brake technology wasn’t polished enough in the early 1990s to get the units to work on the McLaren, so the F1 used heavier iron brakes, a setback the T.50 won’t suffer. The Xtrac six-speed manual transmission cuts 22 pounds compared to the six-speed sequential box in the F1. The all-carbon moncoque and body panels are less than 330 pounds, the driver’s seat and frame weigh 15 pounds, the twin outboard passenger seats weigh less than seven pounds each. Murray told his team they wouldn’t be able to take any weight out of the pedal box, since he designed it himself. His engineers cut seven ounces. They shaved the windshield glazing to be 28% thinner than what would be standard for this application. The materials analysis team modeled the stress loads for all 900 nuts, bolts, washers, and fasteners in the T50, designing them with just enough material — titanium, of course — to do their jobs. 

This and more is how Gordon Murray Automotive beat the 2,205-pound target for the T.50 by 45 pounds. That will put the T.50 260 pounds above the hardcore 260-horsepower Lotus Elise Cup 260, 180 pounds under the 181-hp MX-5 Mazda Miata Sport. Yet the T.50 has 640 horsepower in everyday guise, which can be cranked up to 690 hp with ram air induction in certain modes. That lower figure is 22 hp more than the F1, for a car weighing more than 419 pounds less, part of what Murray means when he says the T.50 is “the F1 for the next generation, with all the same targets. But of course my toybox is much bigger now.” Backing that up, Murray said about a third of the deposits received so far come from people who own a McLaren F1, another 40% of deposits come from buyers under 45 who had McLaren F1 posters on their walls in their youth, but who’d been priced out of the astronomical F1 market.  

From now until the end of June, the GMA teams are finalizing details, tooling, and working with suppliers on parts. If all goes well, there’ll be a working prototype ready for road testing in September. Production on the 100 road cars and 25 track-only cars begins in late 2021, deliveries to start in early 2022. About 25 slots remain for the road car, so anyone with a $740,000 to put toward the $2.5 million starting price should send word to England.

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SCG 007 hypercar to swap twin-turbo V6 for twin-turbo V8

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus began the long tease to its SCG 007 LMP1 hypercar with a set of sketches in June 2018 that clearly incorporated cues from the SCG 003. Refining that original sketch for 18 months produced a longer, smoother design with pontoon-like front fenders and a rear wing seamlessly integrated into a more tapered rear end. The first powertrain mentioned for the 007 was a twin-turbo V6 with 800 horsepower and a 200-hp hybrid component. In the WEC’s Hypercar class where SCG will try to win Le Mans outright, regulations cap maximum combined output at 740 horsepower, and electric assistance can only power the front wheels above 80 miles per hour. Late last year, Jim Glickenhaus told us SCG decided to shed the hybrid portion, since “We can make max allowed HP from our ICE, and our powerplant will be lighter and less complex.” A new announcement last week means the end of the V6, too, SCG partnering with French engine developer Pipo Moteurs on a “whole new custom V8 twin-turbo engine.” 

Pipo Moteurs opened for business in 1973, and has a track record of wins mainly in World Rally Championship with teams like Peugeot and Ford, and European hillclimbing with BMW. We expect the 007 to mark the first time SCG takes a V8 into top-level racing; the SCG 003 road car was powered by BMW’s 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, but the road car housed a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 from Honda

SCG plans to get the 007 down near the WEC’s minimum weight of 1,100 kilograms (2,425 pounds). Evo reports that the first wind tunnel tests are finished, the engineering program scheduled to continue through to summer 2020. Subsystems should enter production in August 2020, the first shakedown runs happening a month later. The math so far shows the hypercar regulations enabling laps times of three minutes and 30 second around the Circuit de la Sarthe, about 15 seconds off the best qualifying lap for the pole-sitting Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrid at Le Mans last year, 13 seconds adrift of the fastest lap set during the race by the second-place Toyota.

Next year’s a long way away, though. The hypercar class only has three entries for the moment, Toyota, SCG, and ByKolles scheduled to run after Aston Martin dropped out, and many wonder if that will be enough to keep a top-level worth running. The ACO and IMSA announced a new class to integrate the former’s LMP1 with the latter’s DPi into a new category possibly called LMDh, the first race the 2022 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Lamborghini had been examining a hypercar entry and Peugeot had committed, but Peugeot pulled out after the LMDh announcement. Being able to race internationally and run Daytona, Sebring, and Le Mans with one car is a huge lure to automakers. It’s not clear yet if the hypercar rules can be shoehorned into the new category, of if ACO will want to try. 

Assuming the 007 makes it to Le Mans at some point, SCG will produce at least 20 roadgoing versions to satisfy homologation rules, priced around $2.1 million, roughly the same price as the SCG 003. 

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McLaren Elva production cut from 399 units to 249

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt revealed the production quota for the new Elva speedster will drop from 399 units to 249. The boss explained lopping volume by 38% with, “the feedback from our customers is that they think the car should be more exclusive than that, so we’ve capped it at 249.”

While it’s to be expected that owners investing $1.7 million in a specialized road car would promote exclusivity — and thereby residual values — it seems dubious that McLaren would return 150 down payments if the automaker had 399 orders. More likely, the global market for windscreen-less roadsters, no matter how technologically advanced, couldn’t absorb all 399 Elvas on top of 500 total Ferrari SP1 and SP2 Monzas, 88 Aston Martin V12 Speedsters, 40 Pagani Huayra BC Roadsters, and 12 Bentley Bacalars.   

The production revision puts the Elva in company with the McLaren F1. Ron Dennis would have built more F1 road cars, but the market (just 20 years ago!) wasn’t ready for a supercar that cost $810,000 before special requests, so production ended after 106 road and racing chassis’ and a complete set of parts for another. The Elva represents technical high points for McLaren, too, being the company’s lightest-ever car outside the F1, able to hit 62 miles per hour in under three seconds, and announcing its presence with the dual-exit “Nirvana” titanium exhaust. The handling, designed to be less intense than that of the Senna but more supple than that of the Speedtail, kept engineers up late due to the Elva being lighter than the Senna yet more powerful.

Nevertheless, even without sharing its rear lights with an Italian bus, as the F1 did, the Elva may have had a hard time convincing shoppers it deserved to be the second-most-expensive model in the carmaker’s Ultimate Series range, at the same time as being the least practical. The Elva runs about $700,000 more than the Senna and $500,000 less than the Speedtail. A lightly used P1 can be had for as low as $1.2 million.

Autocar writes that build slots are still open for the model Flewitt called “a uniquely modern car that delivers the ultimate connection between driver, car and the elements,” and if you’re in the market, their values just went up. McLaren will begin building Elvas when Speedtail production ends later this year or early next.

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Gordon Murray’s T.50 gets a soundcheck and a website

Gordon Murray Automotive isn’t slated to begin building the T.50 supercar until late next year, with deliveries scheduled for early 2022. Thankfully for us, the next step on the march to that goal is a website and a soundcheck of a portion of the 3.9-liter V12 which will power the three-seater coupe (watch that video here). We say “a portion” because Cosworth — the engineering firm developing the mill — put just three of the 12 cylinders on the dyno to verify emissions output and ensure the components can handle 12,100 rpm, said to be 300 rpm short of a 12,400-rpm “hard limit” redline. That figure is 1,400 rpm beyond the north wall of the 6.5-liter V12 Cosworth built to propel the Aston Martin Valkyrie. Murray told TopGear that the air pulses sucked into the ram-air intake above the cabin will result in magnificent sound. The English engineering legend tuned the thickness of the roof panel on the McLaren F1 to enhance the engine sound, and he’s done the same thing on the T.50. Based on the short snippet of the dyno run, the free-breathing V12 will excite blood and bone.

Output checks in at 650 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, meaning ten hoses more than the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S but 184 lb-ft less. Unlike just about every other supercar out there today, the T.50 will weigh no more than 2,161 pounds, a stunning spec that’s 1,475 pounds less than the Turbo S, 899 pounds less than the Lotus Evora 400 Lightweight, 180 pounds less than an entry-level Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport. The V12 will utilize two engine maps, one that loads up torque at the bottom of the rev range for potting about town, dropping the redline to about 9,500 rpm and horsepower to roughly 600, the other unlocking every rev and joule. A 48-volt mild hybrid system powers the 15.7-inch rear fan and active aero panels, and employs a small electric motor to add 30 ponies in certain aero configurations. Power in the 100 units of the T.50 road car is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual with an exposed linkage; the 25 units of the T.50 track-only car will use paddle shifters. 

The coupe serves up five aerodynamic maps, two automatic and three driver selectable. Auto mode moves the under-floor and diffuser panels and active rear spoilers automatically as needed. Braking mode — as on a Bugatti Chiron or any McLaren — stands up the rear spoilers and powers the fan to suck air from under the car, improving downforce and therefore traction. Selectable High Downforce mode is made for the track and wet roads, boosting downforce by 30% over Auto mode. Streamline goes the opposite direction, closing aero inlets to reduce drag by 10% compared to Auto mode, and it “activates the fan at high speeds to extend the trailing wake of air behind the car, in effect creating a virtual long-tail.” VMAX mode starts with Streamline and kicks in extra boost from the 48-volt system to get to about 680 hp. Murray said the T.50 tops out somewhere around 220 miles per hour.  

The carbon-intense supercar has moved into wind tunnel testing in Silverstone, using the Racing Point F1 team facility. At the same time, Gordon Murray Automotive is finishing its customer experience and service center in Dunsfold, England next to the factory that will build the T.50. Have a listen to the engine and imagine what’s to come for what it’s designer calls the “last and the greatest analog supercar ever built.” We also recommend checking out TG‘s piece on the car, where Murray admits that driving dynamics have been benchmarked against the Alpine A110, power steering will only work at low speed and in parking lots, the V12 flips from idle to 12,000 rpm in 0.3 seconds, and the rear tires are just 295-section (911 Turbo S rubber is 315-section out back). 

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The Apex AP-0 is a 649-hp EV that weighs 2,645 pounds

Apex Motors sounds like a brand new name in the game, but the Hong-Kong-based company’s been around for more a few years and through a few transformations. In 2015 a maverick outfit of car designers banded together under the name Elemental to reveal the RP1, powered by 1.0-liter and 2.0-liter EcoBoost engines. By 2017, the 1,278-pound coupe could produce 2,205 pounds of downforce and was running Goodwood. By 2019, the Elemental RP1 had turned into the even-more-evolved Apex AP1, putting out 400 hp from a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and blitzing from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds.

The brand new AP-0 is the follow-up. As the naming scheme suggests, it takes the top spot in the lineup ahead of the AP-1 by having battery-electric power, a single electric motor turning the rear axles with 649-hp and 427 pound-feet of torque, a 320-mile range on the WLTP cycle, and a 0-60 time of 2.3 seconds. Top speed is 190 mph.

Just as remarkable, and even more unusual for an EV, the whole package weighs 2,645 pounds. Compared to a McLaren 720S, the AP-0 is 4.5 inches shorter but 3.4 inches wider, and while the Apex gives up 61 hp and 131 lb-ft to the Englishman, the AP-0 weighs almost 500 pounds less than the 720S. Compared to performance EVs, the Apex weighs about 1,380 pounds less than a Tesla Model 3 Performance, 1,700 pounds less than a Rimac Concept 2, and almost 2,500 pounds less than a Porsche Taycan Turbo S.

The Apex packs a floor-mounted, 90-kWh lithium-ion battery that consumes 1,213 pounds of its curb weight. When plugged into the right CCS charger, the pack can refill 80% of its charge in 15 minutes; on a standard Type 2 charger, filling up from empty takes eight hours.

The chassis and bodywork is entirely carbon fiber, a central carbon tub and modular spaceframes laid on a rigid carbon spine connect the front to the rear. Outside, the Le Mans-like fin houses a retractable LIDAR system up front and a cross-shaped taillight in back. Built as a road-legal racer for gearheads and sitting just 3.7 inches off the ground, there’s an adjustable pushrod suspension with automatic ride-height adjustment, 14-inch carbon ceramic rotors with six-piston calipers in front and four-piston in the rear, and a pair of 19-inch center-lock wheels up front paired with 20-inchers in back. 

Behind gullwing doors, the carbon, aluminum, and leather interior makes every occupant feel like a racer with a single-seater-style, reclined and feet-up seating position. Three displays for the driver sit atop the instrument panel behind a square steering wheel. To help drivers make the most of track days, Apex says the AP-0 can “gamify the way drivers can learn new racetracks and deliver the ultimate immersive racing experience” through augmented reality projection. The software-based “instructor” can be improved through over-the-air updates. To ensure the instructor knows what it’s talking about, Apex said it wants to build an FIA-approved race track, followed by a racing academy, around its Hong Kong HQ. 

The ambitions only begin there. When off the track, that LIDAR unit is intended to provide Level 3 autonomous capability at launch, with the company saying Level 4 potential is already built in. More handily, the AP-0 will come with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep assist. That’s all down the way, though, the AP-0 not scheduled to enter production until the latter half of 2022, costing around $195,000 for U.S. buyers. If all goes well from here to there, Apex plans to build up to 500 units per year in Britain, what it calls its second home, on the way to introducing a wider lineup of offerings.

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McLaren Elva M1A Theme by MSO channels Bruce McLaren’s 1964 race car

McLaren Special Operations hit up Twitter to show a version of its new Ultimate Series speedster, christened with the full name of Elva M1A Theme by MSO. The Elva takes its design cues from the M1A race car that Bruce McLaren developed for sports car racing in the 1960s. McLaren first entered his black #4 racer in the 1964 Canadian Grand Prix and put everyone on notice; the M1A equaled the lap record at Mosport Park four times and broke the record seven times. As buyers lined up, McLaren commissioned English firm Elva to build replicas for privateers. Although the historic M1A was an advance on the McLaren’s “Jolly Green Giant” Cooper-Oldsmobile, the M1A inaugurated the McLaren lineage that would soon dominate sports car racing. This modern Elva M1A goes about as far as it can to channel its inspiration, adopting the black exterior and red seats of the original — but not the 4.5-liter Oldsmobile engine.

Instead of painting the speedster black, MSO took the much better option of coating the carbon fiber bodywork in clearcoat. The only touches of paint are the silver slash and red pinstripe running front to back, splitting into a low runner along the sills, and the white roundel with the race number. We’re not sure what’s going on with the wheels, though — they’re the same design as those on the Elva that launched in November, but in mirror image. The other big splash of color appears on the seats, topped with crimson Alcantara. 

MSO didn’t mention any limitations on this theme, so it’s possible there could be more than one among the 399-unit Elva production run; Bruce McLaren built three works versions of the original M1A, and Elva produced 24 customer cars. And yes, the historic car was powered by an all-aluminum 3.5-liter Oldsmobile V8 that Traco bored out to 4.5 liters, producing 310 horsepower breathing through four Weber carbs. Oldsmobile not being an option anymore, the Elva homage goes with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 804 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, which helps ensure buyers get their $1.69 million worth.

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The tilt-winged Zenvo TSR-S now has carbon fiber wheels

Danish auto manufacturer Zenvo only produces five hand-built cars each year, so it’s a fairly big deal every single time one is completed. Not only is each car unique per customer requests, they’re also unique due to newly in-house-developed technologies, options, and techniques. In the case of its most recent build of the TSR-S supercar, it has previously unavailable features such as carbon fiber wheels and a new “hybrid” transmission. 

The TSR-S is mostly known for its insane actively tilting rear wing (see the video below), but this most recent iteration should be known for its beautiful carbon fiber work. In addition to the numerous interior and exterior panels and parts made from traditional carbon fiber weave, the hood features a beautiful blue-tinted geometrically designed weave. On the side of the car, ZENVO is seen in a lower stripe with a hand-laid opposing weave pattern. Zenvo calls this feature a “bespoke watermark carbon fiber graphic.” Customers have the options to color-tint anything that shows exposed carbon fiber, and numerous sections can be designed with special weaves and graphics.

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Yet, the standout carbon fiber feature on this car is not a weave at all. Zenvo used what it calls fragmented carbon fiber, also known as forged composites as seen on Lamborghinis. Essentially, it’s crushed or flaked carbon fibers shaped and molded within resins, which provide a distinct artistically chaotic look. Zenvo used the fragmented carbon fiber on the engine and for the wheels.  

The wheels are created with hand-cut pieces that are then hand-placed, and each one takes two technicians about one week to complete. Using carbon fiber wheels reduces weight by about 133 pounds, as each wheel is roughly 33 pounds lighter than an equal aluminum wheel. 

This TSR-S also has an altered powertrain. The 1,177-horsepower twin-supercharged 5.8-liter flat-plane crank V8 remains, but the transmission is new. Zenvo’s seven-speed sequential gearbox with helical-cut dog gears is joined by a “hybrid module which yields a power boost, further traction control, and even the addition of an eighth forward gear with the electric motor providing reverse drive.” No further details were provided.

This level of exclusivity and customization is easily a seven-figure endeavor. The TSR-S starts at $1,619,000. 

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The Mansory Cabrera is a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ with a bullish mug

Mansory does not care if a car is rare or special or unique. If it’s not a Mansory, it’s probably not good enough. But it might qualify to become a Mansory. The aftermarket tuning and design company has captured the limited Aventador SVJ and transformed it into a new vehicle called the Cabrera, which sports new looks and has more power.

Lamborghini will only produce 900 Aventador SVJs, and of those 900, three will go under the knife at a Mansory workshop. Mansory quotes a motto, “one car per decade,” and says the Cabrera “marks the start of several special editions on the occasion of Mansory’s 30th anniversary in 2020.” The name Cabrera is a breeding line of the Spanish fighting bull, similar to the names Miura and Gallardo.

The Cabrera has an entirely distinct face thanks to a new set of LED headlights. Rather than the chunky stock units that point toward the rear of the car, the new four-unit headlights are slim and horizontal. With the adjustments to the headlights came tweaks to the hood and front fascia. New air inlets on the front apron improve radiator air flow and help improve downforce. The carbon fiber widebody kit, which adds 1.6 inches in width, continues with bulbous wheel arches, aerodynamic side skirts, and a rear “double diffuser.” Extra downforce comes courtesy of a massive angular rear wing, and aggressively designed forged lightweight wheels (9×20 and 13×21) are wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tires.

The body kit is also designed to help cool the upgraded 6.5-liter V12 engine. While the “normal” SVJ makes 759 horsepower and 531 lb-ft of torque, the Cabrera makes 810 hp and 575 lb-ft. Mansory claims zero-to-62 mph in 2.6 seconds and a top speed of 221 mph.

Inside, Mansory takes the Aventador’s fighter-jet inspiration literally. The forged carbon fiber has “arrow-shaped decorative seams,” that look awfully similar to stealth bombers. That’s also mimicked with imprints in the seats. Every part of the interior has been redone and refitted with upgraded materials, including the ceiling, which has a colorful accent spine.   

The Cabrera is only one of many vehicles that were launched surrounding the canceled Geneva Motor Show. Other new custom creations include the Lamborghini Urus Venatus and the Bentley Continental GT V8 Convertible.

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Cadillac Blackwing gets ticket to Italy, to go to work in a supercar

Some necessary cost-cutting at Cadillac led to switching the new CT4, CT5, and Escalade to older platforms. The revised architecture plan meant Cadillac’s newest top-tier products couldn’t fit Cadillac’s newest top-tier engine, the 4.2-liter twin-turbo DOHC V8 known as Blackwing. That engine would serve limited duty at full power in the now-dead CT6-V, and at reduced output in the CT6 Platinum V8 trim before ending its bright, brief domestic life. But the story isn’t over, the rebirth of Blackwing coming from a most surprising locale: Turin, Italy.

Before the canceled Geneva Motor Show, Hagerty spoke to Paolo Garella, CEO of Manifattura Automobili Torino; that’s the company better known as MAT, makers of the New Stratos and contract engineering house for boutique screamers like the Aspark Owl electric hypercar, Apollo Intensa Emozione, and SCG003C. Garella told the outlet, “We have an agreement with General Motors” for a supply of Blackwings, which would be developed and built at the General Motors Propulsion Engineering Center (PEC) in Turin. Since 2005, the PEC has been used to develop GM’s global diesel engines and electronics. MAT’s plan is to put the V8 into a new limited-run car MAT is creating from its own design.

Then another surprising turn: Belgium-based global auto supplier Punch Group bought the PEC, with plans to work with GM on projects in progress until at least the end of 2021. Nothing changes as far as MAT is concerned, except perhaps a chance for an even closer collaboration with Punch Turin.

The V8 once hand-built at the Performance Engine Center in Bowling Green, Kentucky, made 550 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque in its most powerful form. Of course we’re looking forward to the Blackwing-powered vehicle MAT comes up with; the prospect of a V8-powered supercar with a modern mill is the best kind of news. Just as much, though, we’re looking forward to what’s possible with the Blackwing in a high-performance application freed of OEM constraints. The 4.2-liter LTA Blackwing shares its architecture with the 5.5-liter LT7 V8 in the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R racer and headed for the Corvette Z06, the big differences being turbos mounted between the cylinder banks on the Blackwing, whereas the boosters hang outside the banks on the LT7, and the Chevy engine uses a flat-plane crank.

It’s a moonshot, but if the Blackwing proves its might and popularity over time, and sees continuous development, perhaps the engine could one day be recalled to service with a different car at its original brand home. 

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Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Omologato preparing for debut

Lamborghini’s Squadra Corse motorsports division will soon be showing two takes on two of Lamborghini’s marquee products. At the deep end, we have the Aventador-based, 830-horsepower track car recently flogged on a dyno. At the other deep end we have this, which Motor1 caught wind of: Instagram user “allanlambo” uploaded pics of a camouflaged Huracán said to be called the Huracán STO, for Super Trofeo Omologato. If you’ve seen the automaker’s one-make and customer race car, the Huracán Super Trofeo Evo, the camouflaged coupe should look real familiar. From what we can tell, everything from the B-pillar back could have come straight from the competition car — the roof scoop, shark fin, bodacious wing, deep-dish spoiler, and center-lock wheels are all looking for the checkered flag. The rear even copies the overall design and negative spaces from the race car, as well as the diffuser, the only major change being the rear lights from the road car. The STO, according to Internet rumor and forum postings, will be a limited-edition road-going version of the race car.

Automobile mentioned this very creature late last year but only in passing, as a side dish to the possibility of a production Sterrato off-road sports car. According to a PistonHeads forum, word is the Huracán STO is about making the most of the Huracán Evo’s already potent package, so the naturally-aspirated 5.2-liter V10 with 632 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque goes unchanged. The engine will have less weight to shift, thanks to a diet expected to shed around 330 pounds. All power will go to the rear wheels, and as a Squadra Corse production, the Lamborghini Talk forum claims that the coupe won’t get the ALA system that improves handling. Backroom chatter has it that the STO was designed for superior hotshoes who carry their personal ALA systems somewhere between their solar plexii and their gall bladders, not for the merely average hotshoes who praise technology for keeping them out of gravel traps. Other add-ons like a racing clutch, a mechanical differential, and bigger brakes have been mentioned as potential upgrades.

Both forums peg a debut during Monterey Car Week in August, before the car goes on sale late this year as a 2021 model. The automaker supposedly intended the STO to be a small-batch special for dealer-backed race teams and Squadra Corse clients, akin to the Ferrari 488 Pista Piloti, but has opened sales to a wider audience. That doesn’t mean the opening is large, however; Lamborghini’s apparently spiffed up a customer grading system, so dealers can submit willing buyers and the factory will choose which applicants win. Owners have heard build numbers of between 400 and 700 units, dealers said to be lobbying for that lower number or even fewer. Applicants who lose out shouldn’t despair, there’s rumor of a Huracán Superleggera arriving before the model gives way to the next generation sometime around 2023. 

Pikes Peak Hill Climb Record | Behind the Wheel S02 // E09

“Behind the Wheel” is a video series that shows you a bit of what it’s like to work at Autoblog. The editors and video producers will show you the cars we have in our fleet, and you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the personalities who help make the site run. 

In this episode, Senior Producer Christopher McGraw packed up his bags, got in the car and moved out to the fantastic state of Colorado. After getting settled in the mountains, his first assignment was to cover VW’s attempt at setting the course record for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. What followed was one of his favorite days on the job.

Where are you traveling to in 2020? We’d love to hear from you, so please comment below!

Gear used to make this: 

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2019 Hennessey Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk HPE1000 First Drive | Sounds like war, goes like hell

LOS ANGELES — To get our hands on Hennessey’s 1,000-horsepower Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk HPE1000, we agree to meet Vinny Russo in an alley across the street from the practice facility of the Los Angeles Clippers. Noon sharp.

We hear the Hellcat-powered SUV before we see it, its raspy idle reverberating off the concrete buildings and expanse of fence. It rounds the corner and comes into view, its thunder growing as it slowly approaches over the dirty broken asphalt. It sounds like my big-block ’69 Camaro: thump, thump, thump.

Russo climbs out. “Sorry I’m late,” he says before reaching back in and shutting down the Jeep’s blown Hemi. The silence seems to hang in the air along with the Grand Cherokee’s spent hydrocarbons. It smells like an old-school big block, too.

“This is John’s personal truck,” he says handing me the SUV’s red key. “It’s the one on the internet going 181 mph with a Christmas tree on top and all that other cool stuff. It’s got 20,000 miles on it of …”

He pauses for a second. I’m sure he wants to say abuse. That the Jeep has seen 20,000 miles of abuse. But he’s a good PR man so he stopped himself. I can see him searching for another word. Any other word. He clears his throat.

“It’s got 20,000 miles on it of R&D,” he says. “Just make sure you have it pointing straight and have a good grip on the wheel the first time you go to full throttle. It’ll shock you.”

John, of course, is John Hennessey, and his company Hennessey Performance down in Houston offers up an extensive range of 1,000-hp machines, from McLarens to supercharged Camaros, Corvettes and Hellcats. It’s a good place to drain your 401(k).

After modifying his personal Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 and driving it to a class record at Bonneville in 1991, he built his first Dodge Viper in 1992, the Venom 500, opened Hennessey Performance and paid the bills cranking out disgustingly powerful Vipers for the next decade and half. Then he built his own supercar about 10 years ago, the Venom GT. Steven Tyler famously bought one.

At some point he began turning up the wick on pickups and SUVs. Today Hennessey says it has built more than 10,000 specialty vehicles, and last year trucks and SUVs made up about 50 percent of its business. There’s the usual fare on the menu, including 600-hp Navigators, 650-hp Escalades and 800-hp Tahoes, but the company’s products can get pretty wild. Its V8-swapped Ford Raptors are popular. Or how about a Chevy Silverado with two rear axles? Not into a 6×6? Maybe I can interest you in a $225,000 1,000-hp Hellcat-powered Jeep Gladiator called the Maximus?

Last year we drove its least powerful and least expensive model, the 360-hp VelociRaptor Ranger. So this time we asked for something more extreme. Hennessey offers three versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, the HPE850, HPE1000 and the HPE1200, which the company says makes 1,200 hp and 1,000 lb-ft of torque at the crank on 109-octane fuel. We settled for the one with only 1,000 ponies.

Hennessey says the modifications it makes to the Jeep’s supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8 increases its output from 707 hp at 6,000 rpm and 645 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm to 1,012 hp at 6,500 rpm and 969 lb-ft torque at 4,200 rpm. And trust me when I tell you, meeting a guy at a gas station with a new ZR1 Corvette and telling him your SUV has 245 horses more than his supercar is a hoot. You should have seen his face.

With the Trackhawk’s all-wheel drive, 20-inch Pirelli Scorpion All-Season Run Flats and launch control putting the power down, the guy’s Corvette didn’t stand a chance and he knew it. Hennessey says the Jeep hits 60 mph in 2.6 seconds and blows through the quarter mile in 10.2 seconds at 133 mph — and it really does feel that quick. According to Jeep, a stocker hits 60 mph in 3.5 and runs the quarter in 11.6 seconds.

So how do you make a Grand Cherokee that weighs 5,363 pounds accelerate like a Lamborghini Huracán Evo? Hennessey basically adds boost and fuel. The size of the factory-installed IHI root-type supercharger is increased from 2.38 liters to 2.65 liters. It also spins faster than before thanks to a smaller pulley, up from 14,600 rpm, and generates a maximum of 18 psi of boost, up from 11.6 psi.

A Kenne Bell Boost-A-Pump is installed to increase fuel pressure and volume to the Fuel Injector Clinic 1,000cc injectors, which supply fuel at a rate of 110 lbs/hr. Hennessey also adds tubular headers, an open element air filter and reflashes the ECU, raising the engine’s rev limiter from 6,200 rpm to 6,500 rpm in the process.

That’s all there is to it. The SUV even looks pretty much stock under the hood, and Hennessey doesn’t touch its suspension, brakes, all-wheel drive system or its ZF-supplied 8HP90 eight-speed automatic. And it can all be yours for $34,950, not counting the cost of the Jeep, of course.

Hennessey backs the package with a one-year / 12,000-mile warranty. Unfortunately it does void the Grand Cherokee’s factory warranty, and Hennessey doesn’t guarantee any of its kits are CARB legal. So California residents may have a problem at the smog check. “The rest of the states haven’t been an issue,” Russo told us.

Around town you can’t help but feel like you’re the king of the hill in this thing. How can you not? You’re driving one of the quickest SUVs on earth. A mommymobile that runs with hypercars. And it’s a serious sleeper. Hennessey removes the Trackhawk badge from the tailgate and the Supercharged lettering from Jeep’s doors. Unlike Saleens and Roushes, which are covered in branding, he adds a single and subtle Hennessey script to the left side of the SUV’s rump. Either you know, or you think it’s a V6 with a (very loud) exhaust leak.

After driving it for a couple of days, you start getting cocky. I remember passing a guy in an SRT Grand Cherokee and thinking, “Man, what a loser. He only has 475 hp to play with. Must be frustrating.” 

Quarter throttle at any speed leaves traffic in the dust. Half throttle and you’re at 100 mph before you know it. Full throttle is simply violent. Use the launch control, which unleashes the SUV at 2,800 rpm, and the thrust is so brutal it ripped my kid’s sunglasses from the top of her head, sending them from backseat into the cargo area and up against the tailgate.

And the entire time the Hemi spits a cacophonous mix of exhaust thunder and high-pitched supercharger whine. It isn’t just supercar fast, it’s supercar loud. At wide-open throttle, it sounds like the Tasmanian Devil, its eight-speed grabbing gears at 6,000 rpm, still 500 rpm below the engine’s power peak. At red lights, people in Teslas and Priuses roll up their windows in a feeble effort to escape its ruckus, sealing in their smug. One man’s noise is another man’s music, and the Jeep is playing Extreme Metal.

Unfortunately there’s a metallic resonance between 1,500 and 2,000 rpm, which is a problem when you’re putting around town. “It sounds broken,” my wife said. But above 2,000 the tone levels out and the engine is pretty quiet on the highway. At 80, the Jeep cruises like a stocker, but the big blown Hemi’s presence is always felt. Even at a steady 2,200 rpm, it sends a slight thump through the Grand Cherokee’s chassis like an elevated heartbeat. 

In perfect comfort, with the family and dog onboard, we cruised this 1,000-hp beast a few hours to grandma’s, averaging 13.6 mpg on the highway and just over 12 mpg in about 400 miles of mixed driving. Honestly, we were expecting worse.

Maybe Hennessey should consider a 6×6 version.

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Czinger releases full specs on 21C hybrid hypercar

A week ago, LA-based Czinger teased its 21C hypercar with a video and a promise of “dominating performance.” Now that all the specs are out before the coupe’s reveal at the Geneva Motor Show, on paper at least, it appears “dominating” was the correct choice of words. We’ll start with the performance: Zero to 62 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds — making 0-60 perhaps faster; the quarter-mile in 8.1 seconds at 170 mph; zero to 186 mph and back to zero in 15 seconds; zero to 248 mph and back to zero in 29 seconds, which would eclipse the Koenigsegg Regera’s record of 31.49 seconds set last September.

Assuming the 21C can bring those numbers to life, how does the coupe do it? There’s a 2.88-liter twin-turbo V8 with a flat-plane crank stowed amidships driving the rear wheels, good for 950 horsepower. (To get a sense of the march of progress, the 2.855-liter twin-turbo V8 in the 1984 Ferrari 288 GTO produced 350 hp.) Each front wheel gets a high-powered electric motor, serving up all-wheel drive and a combined output of 1,232 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque at 10,500 rpm, 500 rpm short of redline. The 21C in standard road guise without the big rear wing has a curb weight of 1,250 kilograms (2,756 pounds), and with a metric horsepower rating of 1,250 hp, we’re talking about a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio. The 21C Lightweight track-focused car with the big rear wing weighs just 1,218 kg (2,685 pounds). Shifting through a seven-speed automated manual transmission, the road car maxes out at 268 mph, the track car produces more than three times the road car’s downforce so its top speed comes in at 236 mph.

The e-motors get juice from a lithium-titanate battery, the same pack composition used by the Mitsubishi i-Miev and Honda Fit EV, an integrated starter-generator helping to deliver power where needed. Czinger says the entire powertrain was designed and is built in-house, and it’s flex-fuel — owners can fill up with Vulcanol, described as “a renewable methanol made from captured carbon dioxide,” assuming they can find it.

Czinger is only making 80 examples of the 21C, using its proprietary “vertical assembly,” 3D-printed build processes that combine carbon fiber, high-performance alloys, and other materials, topped off with book-matched carbon fiber bodywork. Road & Track has a good writeup on the production system. Company founder Kevin Czinger explained that the 3D-printed parts are expected to last the lifetime of the car, but if any need to be replaced, they can be dissolved into their original powder and reconstituted to serve a different purpose.

Each 21C comes with a reported price of $1.7 million before the obligatory options and fripperies. We look forward to checking this one out in Geneva, and we’ll take the one with the wing, please.

Glickenhaus SCG 004C gets its first track shakedown in Italy

It can be hard to keep track of the various Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus vehicles on the way because we read about them for years before seeing them. No matter, when they do show, they are welcome sights. The SCG 004C, hardcore racer that’s successor to the Nürburgring pole-sitting 003C, is the next to make the transition from text coverage to track footage. Developed to ultimately serve as a platform for GTE, GTLM, GT3, and GT4 categories as well as Germany’s NLS series, SCG put the first example to test on Italy’s Cremona Circuit. Years ago, SCG’s plan was to have Nissan’s 3.8-liter twin turbo VR38DETT V6 from GT-R placed amidships. That plan morphed into using a 6.2-liter naturally-aspirated pushrod V8 based on GM’s LT4 block, developed by Autotechnica Motori.

Fellow Italian company Podium Advanced Technologies is helping with overall vehicle engineering, SCG saying the 004 chassis — which will get an 004S road version, 004CS road/track version, and the 004C track-specific car — has already been through 35,000 hours of development work. As to the engine, James Glickenhaus told Sportscar365, “It can’t rev very high, but GT3 engines can’t rev very high anyway with the restrictors. You get a very low center of gravity and it’s a very compact engine, so there’s a tremendous amount of space around it to blow air around and keep it cool.” The 003C used a 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged Honda HR35TT V6 built for IMSA’s Daytona Prototype category. Glickenhaus said the change in philosophy with the 004C meant that “with the low-end torque, we’re going to be able to be faster coming out of the turns than we were with the 003C.”

On the first shakedown and improvements compared to the 003C, the owner explained that two more inches of suspension travel in the 004C would translate into softer landings on the high-flying Nordschleife, and the new nose results in improved downforce and better aero balance. The 004C is also about 220 pounds lighter than its 2,976-pound forebear.

The 004C will of course be restricted to series power limits. Since the road-going cars won’t be limited, customers will get about 680 hp out of the V8 in the 004S, and around 850 hp out of the 004CS with the help of a supercharger bolted to that V8. Estimated price for the hand-built, carbon-fiber bodied 004S is $485,000, the 004CS will start around $650,000. As with the racer, all versions will employ a three-seater cockpit with a central driver’s seat, the choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission; the race car fits an Xtrac sequential transmission.

After its first test at Cremona, the 004C heads to Aragon, Spain, for a 30-hour endurance test. Its first race comes next month in the Experimental Class in the NLS series, before racing again in April, and a tilt at the Nürburgring 24 in May. Check out the sound from the outside in the clip above, and the on-board views below.

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Czinger preparing 21C hybrid hypercar for Geneva debut

Kevin Czinger — with a silent C — has spent the past 11 years that we know of trying out various automotive concepts in Southern California. The Yale Law School graduate who built hot rods as a youth in Cleveland co-founded Coda Automotive in 2009, which tried to get off the ground with a re-engineered Chinese sedan converted to an all-electric powertrain. Coda went under in 2013. In 2014. The next year, Czinger started Divergent 3d, which revealed the Blade supercar in 2015. Czinger’s point with the Blade was to convert automakers to novel production techniques, the Blade’s chassis and body created with 3D-printed aluminum alloy. In 2019, Czinger formed an eponymous company taking the Blade as the inspiration for the Czinger 21C hybrid hypercar. In a previous interview with Road and Track, which deserves a read, Czinger said, “We’re looking to combine computing power, science, and additive manufacturing into one system.”  

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The 21C could be that blend, having clearly come a long way from the Blade. We don’t know much about the coupe, Czinger preferring to wait for details until its debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month. The moody reveal video shows off the suite of hypercar cues like diminutive overhangs, the fulsome fenders, angry LED headlights, plenty of vents, center-lock wheels twirling around giant carbon ceramic rotors and beefy calipers, a serious wing hanging off the back, and what looks like a top-mount dual exhaust. Tandem seating — passenger behind driver — carries over from the Blade, and the copious exposed carbon fiber bodywork hides plenty of 3D-printed components. The brace connecting the carbon fiber steering column housing to the instrument panel, for instance, looks a prime culprit for additive manufacturing. The full-width roller coaster brake light ensures everyone behind the 21C will remember what they’ve just seen. 

The powertrain is an unknown beyond the descriptive that it’s a “strong hybrid” developed in-house to deliver “dominating performance.” Strong would be the correct word if the video can be trusted; at the 0:28 mark, the digital rev counter shows a redline beyond 10,000 rpm. We’ll know more come Geneva.

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