All posts in “Motorsports”

Red Bull’s Adrian Newey leaves F1 team, shifts focus to RB hypercar

Red Bull Racing’s Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey is officially departing the team in the first quarter of 2025. Rumors of his departure have swirled for the past few days, and now the news is official. But there’s more. Red Bull also revealed that Newey will be shifting his focus to the RB17 hypercar (a road car project) and seeing that project out through its completion.

It’s been 19 years of Adrian Newey designing Red Bull Formula 1 cars, and in that time he’s been a part of seven F1 Drivers’ titles, six Contructors’ championships, 118 victories and 101 poles. Those are the sort of numbers that make you a legend of the sport, especially considering that Red Bull was merely a startup F1 team when he joined. 

“Ever since I was a young boy, I wanted to be a designer of fast cars,” Newey said in a statement. “My dream was to be an engineer in Formula 1, and I’ve been lucky enough to make that dream a reality.”

Of course, the real question everybody wants the answer to is where Newey is headed next. Ferrari and Aston Martin are the two teams that seem to be in the running going by the most recent rumors. However, there’s no real sure indication of where he might eventually land, assuming he stays in Formula 1.

As for why Newey is leaving, the official statement follows below.

“For almost two decades it has been my great honour to have played a key role in Red Bull Racing’s progress from upstart newcomer to multiple title-winning team,” Newey starts. “However, I feel now is an opportune moment to hand that baton over to others and to seek new challenges for myself.”

Of course, there are the reported reasons of him leaving due to being unsettled by the Christian Horner misconduct investigation that stole headlines leading up to this season of racing. Newey’s statement upon leaving mentioned Horner calling him a “business partner but also a friend to our respective families.”

We’ll be waiting impatiently for further news on where Newey might be headed once the dust at Red Bull has settled, because where he goes, success in Formula 1 is almost sure to follow.

Toyota’s Gazoo Racing GT trademark could point to new supercar

Who would’ve guessed that in 2024 Toyota would be the company churning out a wide variety of performance cars? Once considered the epitome of A-to-B commuter devices, Toyota now has several exciting cars under its Gazoo Racing banner, and a new trademark filing could mean yet another. 

AutoGuide unearthed Toyota’s filing for the GR GT trademark with the European Union Intellectual Property Office. The “GT” moniker, usually reserved for elite performance models, immediately fueled speculation that it would be for a range-topping track weapon. A super-Supra sports car, if you will.

The obvious candidate would be the street-legal version of Toyota’s GT3-class race car. We’ve already seen patent renderings of it and an actual concept. The car was originally scheduled for a debut in the 2025 World Endurance Championship season, but last summer the team director said that the race car was being delayed one year to align with the production car’s launch in 2026. WEC homologation rules stipulate that 300 road cars must be built in order for the race car to compete.

There was some question of whether the car would be branded a Toyota or a Lexus. The team believed at the time that the powers that be were leaning toward Lexus. The appearance of the GR GT trademark could mean that the decision makers have changed course and that the GT3 racer will be a Toyota. Or it could mean both Lexus and Toyota will each get a version.

But given that Lexus is trying to go all-electric, the Toyota branding makes more sense. Also, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the GT3 concept’s uncanny resemblance to the Mazda RX-Vision. We know Toyota is fond of partnering with other carmakers to build sports cars and Toyota owns 5% of Mazda. Do with that information what you will.

No matter what it’s named, a camouflaged version of the car has already been spotted testing at Fuji Speedway in central Japan. With the GR86, GR Yaris, GR Corolla and GR Supra already on the docket, as wells cars like the IS 500, RC F and LC 500 in the Lexus stable, Toyota is an unlikely manufacturer committed to keeping enthusiasts’ cars alive. 

Rodin FZero V10 track car delivers an old-school F1 experience

Street-legal performance cars are great, but some of the most exciting vehicles on earth can only be driven on the track. The Aston Martin Valkyrie, the Ferrari FXX, and the McLaren P1 GTR are astonishing feats of engineering, but you won’t see any of them on your morning commute – at least not legally. A New Zealand company hopes its newest car reaches the bar set by those machines, and if the advertised specs are any indication, it might have a great shot.

Rodin recently announced the FZero, its V10 track car. The company has its sights set on an entry to the Formula 1 grid, and this car is said to offer an old-school F1 driving experience. Company CEO David Dicker designed the 4.0-liter V10 powering the car, which delivers 1,013 horsepower and a 10,500-rpm rev limit. Interestingly, that output only takes 11 psi of boost to develop. Rodin said it is working on a naturally aspirated version of the mill that could be offered as a crate engine for motorsport teams. The company also noted a 174-horsepower mild-hybrid system, though we don’t know if it was present during the filmed test.

Ricardo helped develop the eight-speed sequential gearbox using a 3D-printed titanium case. Rodin constructed the chassis from carbon fiber, and extensive aerodynamic bodywork generates up to 8,818 pounds of downforce. All of that adds up to a 223-mph top speed, and carbon-ceramic brakes bring everything to a screeching halt when asked. Rodin included a traction control system to help drivers cope with the power and slick tires.

Rodin hasn’t detailed a price yet, but it’s likely to climb past $1 million. The company only plans to build 27 of the cars, and as these things go, many (or all) of them are likely already sold. That’s not really a problem for most people, as the car’s price tag and track-only design place it in a highly exclusive club.

Ferrari takes Manhattan

Ferrari hosted a gala for its new charitable educational foundation this week in New York City, at The Shed in the Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s West Side. As part of this, the Italian exotic carmaker displayed 14 “game changing” vintage and contemporary vehicles outside the sculptural Vessel structure. These included vehicles from the contemporary Prancing Horse lineup such as the Purosangue and 296 GTB; custom Icona cars like the Monza SP1 and Daytona SP3; vintage supercars like the Enzo, La Ferrari, F40, and F50; and racing cars like the 66M, F1-89, and 333 SP. According to a Ferrari spokesperson, 40,000 people visited the space on the first day it was open.

The brand also hosted screenings of the forthcoming Michael Mann movie, “Ferrari,” for top clients, following its premiere at the New York Film Festival. Adam Driver, who plays Enzo Ferrari in the dramatic biographical film, attended the gala along with Mann, who, in addition to being a Ferrari owner has also shot promotional video for the brand. Actor Nicholas Hoult (“The Great,” “Renfield”) who has been training to race in the Ferrari Challenge Series, also attended. A performance by musician John Legend was the evening’s entertainment.

If this isn’t enough of a big-city presence, Ferrari also runs a very fancy client showroom uptown on Park Avenue, one of just three Tailor Made sites in the world (the others are in Maranello and Hong Kong), constructed to help clients customize their cars with special high-profit leathers, trim bits, paint-to-sample colors, and the like.  

All of this raises the question, why is Ferrari betting so big on New York, the least car-friendly city in America? “We wanted to have also something here in New York, on the East Coast, to be connected with the local community here,” says Enrico Galliera, the Italian marque’s chief marketing officer, as we sit together on the 24th floor of the Equinox Hotel in Hudson Yards, overlooking the events in the plaza from on high. (As we stare outside, a Ferrari spokesperson points out that the brand’s first importer in America, Luigi Chinetti, had his dealership just a few blocks south on 11th Avenue.)

As a test driver of high end sport and luxury vehicles for 15 years, a New York resident for over 30 years, and a car lover for far longer, I can attest that seeing a Ferrari driving through the city is an extremely rare experience, unless I am behind the wheel. But apparently, Ferraris are hidden all over town.

“You will be surprised to know how many Ferrari collectors there are in New York and how many big collections there are in Manhattan,” says Galliera. “When I came years ago, I went to visit one of these big collectors that is living in Manhattan, and all his collection is underground in the parking lot of his building. And he was telling me, you know, Enrico, I’m working here. Whenever I get stressed in my work, I take the elevator, I go downstairs in the basement, I decide which one, and then I jump in one, I take it out to drive, I relax, and I go back to work. So in Manhattan, maybe it’s not the best place where you can see Ferraris, but there’s a lot of Ferraris and a lot of big collectors in Manhattan.”

The Tailor Made site has also been a rousing success. “Since the beginning, we understood that there was a huge potential for the client experience. And now it has become an important center of our meetings for clients that visit in New York,” says Galliera. I note that, since it opened in late 2019, Lamborghini and Aston Martin have both opened similar sites in the city. “I didn’t visit them yet,” Galliera says, smiling. “But you know, I keep saying that as far as your competitors, I’m not saying copying. But if they try to do whatever you did before, it means that it was successful.”

At the gala, Ferrari auctioned off a customized one-off 812 Competizione for $5.1 million, as well as other Prancing Horse-branded and -adjacent ephemera, to help fund its educational initiative. The company raised a total of $7 million for the charity. So, at the end of our conversation, I asked Galliera how he would measure success for the event, and its potential continuation: Raising money? Raising awareness? Raising engagement?

“I think all these point that you said,” he said, smiling again. “But I would not measure engagement, because it’s already there.”

Aston Martin Valkyrie could fulfill destiny as Le Mans Hypercar in 2025

Media reports have paired the Aston Martin Valkyrie with a potential entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2019, 2021 and 2022. We’re doing it again thanks to a report in Autosport. The outlet alleges that Florida-based race team Heart of Racing is trying to expand its relationship with the English carmaker to include a Valkyrie in the Hypercar-class of the World Endurance Championship. Heart of Racing runs eight cars in five series in 2023, seven of those cars being Aston Martins. Aston Martin co-owner Lawrence Stroll has regularly mentioned his interest in racing, saying last year that the automaker would eventually find its way back to Le Mans “in whichever category aligns with the message we are trying to deliver.”

All the automaker would say to Autosport in response to this latest report is, “We are encouraged by the growth of the Hypercar class, and the hugely successful centenary Le Mans 24 Hours was a shining example of this … Motorsport is an ever changing landscape, so of course as a global hypercar brand we continue to play close attention to the class.” That class, by the way, currently counts entries from Ferrari, Peugeot and Toyota.

Aston Martin had been working on a Valkyrie LMH racer with Canada’s Multimatic before Stroll’s consortium took over, but the arrival of IMSA’s budget-capped LMDh class killed the Valkyrie LMH program. The intelligence gained during development went into the track-only Valkyrie AMR Pro. If the LMH program gets revived, changes to the automaker’s racing division in the meantime could get development quickly reestablished. Aston Martin is finishing its racing headquarters in Silverstone, England. Those facilities now include the Aston Martin Performance Technologies (AMPT) division, set up with the cost savings realized when Formula 1 introduced its budget cap. AMPT will work with the Aston Martin production car division on coming mid-engined products. Meanwhile, AMPT could resume collaboration with Multimatic on a new Valkyrie LMH. It’s said that AMPT brought on ex-Williams F1 engineering director Adam Carter earlier this year to oversee the initiative, and suppliers are already being queried. 

Heart of Racing team principal Ian James told, “Our ambition to ascend to the pinnacle of international sportscar racing is no secret. But currently, no formal agreement is in place.” The outfit was set up in 2020 to run Aston Martin GT cars in IMSA and is backed by Gabe Newell, co-founder and CEO of gaming company Valve Corp. Last year, the team topped the standings in the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship’s GTD class, this year it’s in second place with two races remaining. Its WEC entry is the #98 in the GTE AM class, but that’s a car the Heart of Racing team took over from Northwest AMR in April of this year.  

An endurance racer would keep the 6.5-liter Cosworth V12 in every Valkyrie but shed the hybrid component driving the rear axle in the Valkyrie road car. If this all comes true, don’t expect it to join the rolling start at La Sarthe until 2025, when it would certainly try to emulate Ferrari and win on its return after a lengthy hiatus. It’s also possible the car comes to race Stateside.

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Maserati MCXtrema revealed as a track-only limited-production ‘toy’ at The Quail

The Maserati MCXtrema just had its sheet pulled off at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. It’s yet another race car variation of the MC20, following in the footsteps of the Maserati GT2.

Unlike the GT2, though, the MCXtrema is not designed to be used in any official racing series. Instead, it’s a race car built without boundaries for maximum performance. And of course, because it’s a race car, it’s not street-legal either. 

What is it for then? Maserati claims the MCXtrema is meant for “purist collectors and for the loyal customers of the brand, who wish to add a new ‘toy’ to their garage that can swallow up the curbs of the most exciting tracks during private tests.”

Basically, just think of it as a millionaire’s toy to take out on the occasional weekend track day. It’s just for fun, not for any serious competition use. Since it’s not regulated by any specific racing series, Maserati pumped output all the way up to 730 horsepower from the twin-turbo Nettuno V6 engine. That’s 109 horsepower more than the road car and the GT2. Maserati didn’t go into detail about the aero and suspension package, but it sure does look as extreme as the name of the car makes it out to be.

Only 62 MCXtremas will be built, and from what we can tell, they’re already spoken for. We’re not sure how much one will cost either, but you’ll be able to see it in person at The Quail on the Monterey Peninsula today.

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Goodwood Festival of Speed cancels Saturday events due to weather

The Goodwood Festival of Speed will not hold events as planned Saturday for the first time in its 30-year run due to concerns over high winds, the organizers announced late Friday. Concerns over the potential for damage to temporary structures prompted the late cancellation after a long Friday of (appropriately?) dreary British weather promised to worsen ahead of Saturday’s competition. 

Saturday ticket holders will be refunded, event organizers said, and Sunday’s events will go on as planned. The full announcement from the Duke of Richmond and the Festival of Speed Team follows. 

It is with deep regret that we have taken the decision that the Goodwood Festival of Speed will not go ahead tomorrow (Saturday 15 July 2023). After consulting meteorologists, health and safety experts and other key stakeholders, we have taken the decision to close the event site due to a severe wind warning in the Goodwood area.

On-site safety is our highest priority and the forecasted high winds will pose a serious risk to various temporary structures across the site. We politely ask that you do not travel to Goodwood or attempt to access the site.

This decision has not been made lightly and His Grace, The Duke of Richmond, along with the whole Festival of Speed team, are deeply saddened that we will not run the event on Saturday for the first time in its 30 year history.

The event will resume as planned on Sunday.

Please note: Sunday is a sold out day. Anyone with a Saturday ticket will not be able to access the site. All ticket holders for Saturday will be communicated with in the coming days regarding a refund, and we ask that customers requesting refunds please do not try to contact the ticket office over the weekend.

Please pass this message on to any other ticket holders in your group.

Thank you for your understanding – further updates will be provided via email in due course. If you are camping over the weekend, you are welcome to stay in the campsites. Please be careful during the high winds and consider taking down gazebos and awnings, securing tents with additional pegs or demounting during the peak wind period. If you have any problems, please keep in touch with Goodwood through our campsite managers in the office.

Acura to climb Pikes Peak with Integra Type S and wildly modified NSX

This year marks the 101st anniversary of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, one of the oldest motorsports events in the world. As has been the custom for the past 13 years, Acura will head to the Colorado summit with a fleet of specially prepped cars based on production models. This year, their team consists of two new Integras in regular and Type S flavor, a modified NSX Type S, and a TLX Type S pace car.

Of the Integras, the HPD-prepped Type S will be the most eye-catching, as it’s wrapped in an anime-style livery. It’s an extension of the company’s “Chiaki’s Journey” web series whose second chapter was released to coincide with the Integra Type S’s launch. The second installment features the Pikes Peak race as part of its story line. 

The real-world Chiaki is Lori Unser, a fourth-generation driver in the Unser racing dynasty. Her father Johnny raced at the Indianapolis 500, and if you count her extended family of Al, Bobby, and Al Jr., the clan has nine Indy championships under its collective belt. The family also has a history of racing at Pikes Peak, with Louis and Joe Unser competing in the hillclimb way back in 1926.

In the Time Attack I division Acura is fielding a wild-looking NSX Type S called the Active Aero Study. We prefer its nickname, Yamabiko, which means “echo” in Japanese but is also the name of a spirit from Japanese folklore that lives in the mountains. 

The NSX wears an enormous carbon fiber front splitter and rear diffuser, which by the looks of them extend the length of the car by two to three feet. The one-off aero bits include an active aero rear wing that can be electronically moved to reduce drag on high-speed sections of the course, or deployed as an air brake. At the same time, enough has been stripped out to reduce weight by 200 pounds. More powerful turbos have been fitted to the twin-turbo V6 and the engine software re-written, but Acura did not reveal how much over the stock Type S’s 600 horsepower Yamabiko’s output might be.

The NSX was built specifically to tackle the hillclimb by Crazy New, the skunkworks team of Honda employees that brought us the 800-horsepower CR-V Hybrid. It’ll be driven by Honda engineer James Robinson, who holds the current Hybrid class record of 10:01.913, which he set with an NSX in 2020. With Yokohama Tires’ trademark Advan black and red livery and lightweight HRE forged wheels wrapped in Advan A005s, it certainly looks the part of a purpose-built Pikes Peak racer.

In addition, an Integra 1.5T modified with off-the-shelf parts including an HPD suspension from the Civic TC America race car, Cusco LSD, and Bilstein dampers will be driven by Acura engineer Paul Hubers. weekend wrenchers will want to see the result of this one, as it’s a car anyone can build in their garage. Another engineer, Jordan Guitar, will campaign a TLX Type S as well, and a separate TLX Type S will serve as pace car. 

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is a 12.42-mile course packed with 156 turns and rises over 14,000 feet above sea level. It takes place June 25.

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Lotus Evija X track special appears in spy photos at the Nurburgring

Few people would say the Lotus Evija is lacking in performance. It’s meant to make just shy of 2,000 horsepower and is light for an electric car at around 3,700 pounds. But apparently Lotus wants to go further. These spy shots reveal a wild track-only special that’s clearly labeled the Lotus Evija X testing at the Nürburgring.

We’re assuming this X will be substantially lighter than a regular Evija. It has a bare carbon body with seemingly fewer individual pieces. The headlights are gone and so are the rear windows. The interior appears gutted, too.

That carbon body is far from stock, too. It’s much wider and has all manner of downforce-producing add-ons. The front has a massive front splitter and canards and cutouts above the front wheels. The sides even have wide splitters with struts. And the X’s crown aero accessory is that enormous wing that rises well above the roof. 

The wide body also encompasses fat slick racing tires that are almost certainly not street legal. They bear the Pirelli P Zero name on the sidewalls, and they’re wrapped around center-lock wheels. AP Racing brakes are tucked inside.

There are of course plenty of questions surrounding the Evija X. It’s definitely a track-only machine, but is it a one-off, or is it going to be sold in extremely limited numbers to select buyers? Maybe Lotus wants to take the Evija racing? Though it seems more like a rules-be-damned type of car like the Pagani Zonda R.

Or maybe the Volkswagen ID.R, the fastest electric car to lap the ‘Ring, would be a closer analogue to the Evija X. The spy photographer that provided these photos said the track was rented out for the day by Lotus, and some sort of notary was on hand, likely to certify a lap time. If Lotus is gunning for an EV lap record there, the Evija R is going to be outrageously fast. The ID.R’s time sits at a shocking 6:05.336. And if the Lotus tops it, it would become the second fastest overall car at the ‘Ring. We’ll definitely be looking forward to more details and an eventual lap time.

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$4.4M Bugatti Bolide moves down the track and closer to production

Unveiled in 2020, and approved for production a year later, the Bugatti Bolide is one step closer to hitting the track. The automaker just published photos of the car being put through its paces, and it released details about some of features that differentiate it from the Chiron.

Writing off the Bolide as a rebodied Chiron would be an oversimplification. While the two cars share an 8.0-liter, quad-turbocharged W16 engine, the list of Bolide-specific parts is long. Bugatti explains that its engineers designed the model around a new carbon fiber monocoque, and they were unfettered by the various rules and regulations that shape modern cars because the Bolide isn’t street-legal. It’s exclusively a track car. Changes were made to the cooling system, the suspension system, and the transmission; the suspension is notably three times stiffer than the Chiron’s, and it includes uniball bearings. Several 3D-printed parts, including titanium rockers, will be used to build it.

Even the engine isn’t carried over; not quite. In the Bolide, the four turbochargers always provide boost because the 16-cylinder is expected to spend a lot of time at higher revolutions. In comparison, the Chiron uses a sequential setup: The two smaller turbos generate boost at up to 3,800 rpm, and the two bigger units kick in beyond that. The end result is 1,578 horsepower in a car that tips the scale at 3,196 pounds. 

Slick tires designed by Michelin put the power to the ground, while a carbon-ceramic braking system keeps it in check. Interestingly, Bugatti designed new calipers that generate and absorb heat to help the brakes warm up as quickly as possible (they’re less effective when cold).

Bugatti will begin delivering the Bolide in 2024. Production is limited to 40 units, and the model is sold out in spite of a base price pegged at €4 million excluding taxes, which represents approximately $4.39 million at the current conversion rate. If that’s too much, or if you missed your chance to buy one, one alternative is a 905-piece Lego Technic kit that stretches about a foot long and that costs about $50.

It’s too early to tell what’s next. We know that the Bolide is one of the last W16-powered Bugatti models along with the Mistral convertible and the final examples of the Chiron. The 16-cylinder chapter is about to end, and Bugatti confirmed that the Chiron’s replacement (which hasn’t been shown or given a name yet) will use a plug-in hybrid powertrain and feature a design described as “leaner and more athletic.”

2024 Ford Mustang interior, and we drive the BMW X7 M60i | Autoblog Podcast #771

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. They kick things off with a discussion about the 2024 Ford Mustang’s interior that Zac got to spend time in this week. Then, in the news, the pair run through news of a CT5-V Blackwing refresh by way of spy shots, the reveal of a new AC Cobra, rumors of the 911 GT2 RS going hybrid for its next generation and hit on the start of the Formula 1 season. Next, they discuss the cars they’ve been driving as of late, including our long-term 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line, the 2023 BMW X7 M60i and the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross. Finally, our hosts field a Spend My Money question for someone looking to go electric for their next vehicle purchase.

Send us your questions for the Mailbag and Spend My Money at:

Autoblog Podcast #771

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McLaren Solus screams into Monterey Car Week with 5.2L V10

Say hi to the McLaren Solus, a track-only supercar transformed from the virtual gaming world and into reality. McLaren just revealed this winged and wildly-shaped beast at Monterey Car Week in California — there will only be 25, and every last one of them is spoken for.

The most unique part of this McLaren is its powertrain, as it’s propelled by a unique 5.2-liter V10 (not a twin-turbo V8!). We didn’t see that one coming. McLaren says the engine makes 829 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque on its way to a redline somewhere above 10,000 rpm. It’s going to scream, and before you ask, McLaren makes clear that it’s nowhere near street legal. Claimed 0-62 mph acceleration is 2.5 seconds, and the top speed is simply listed as greater than 200 mph. 

For the first time in any McLaren, the engine is an integral part of the chassis, removing the need for additional structures or subframes outside the car’s carbon fiber monocoque. The engine is hooked up to a bespoke 7-speed sequential shift gearbox with straight cut gears that you won’t find in any other McLaren, too. 3-D printed titanium is used throughout the car for items like the halo cockpit protection structure. The suspension is a double wishbone design with the front damping being inboard with a pushrod design. The rear suspension is mounted to the gearbox casing — yes, this is some serious stuff . It features 18-inch center-locking wheels, is fitted with LeMans Prototype spec tires and braking is handled by 6-piston monoblock calipers with carbon discs.

This Solus originally saw the light of day as a virtual gaming concept of a hypercar in the Gran Turismo Sport video game. Now, McLaren says it’s the closest thing it’s built to the sensation of driving a Formula 1 car. Curb weight is a miniscule 2,205 pounds, and all of that wild aero — including ground effect tunnels in the full structural floor — is capable of producing “more than” 2,645 pounds of downforce.

It’s a single seater with an aircraft style sliding canopy that opens, allowing you to pop in and out of the car. Each Solus will get a driving seat molded to the owner’s body shape, along with a full race suit, gear and racing coaching to go with. As you’d expect, the Solus can be customized in every way imaginable via McLaren’s MSO program. Deliveries are meant to start in 2023, and no price was provided by McLaren.

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McLaren Artura Trophy lets loose the GT4 race car

McLaren already showed off the new Artura GT4 race car this year, but now there’s another Artura racer being added to the stable. This is the McLaren Artura Trophy, and at its core, it’s an Artura without any Balance of Performance (BoP) restrictions taken into consideration. 

Without having to limit power, add weight or reduce downforce, the Artura Trophy is said to have similar performance to a GT3 class race car as opposed to the GT4 that it’s based on. Just like the Artura GT4, though, the Trophy throws out the road car’s hybrid system in favor of gasoline power only. However, the 120-degree twin-turbo V6 outputs a strong 577 horsepower all on its own. It features an enhanced exhaust system to improve sound, too.

The Artura Trophy was designed with a single-make race series in mind, and that’s exactly where it will compete next year. Independent teams will be able to purchase and run the Artura Trophy in a series called “McLaren Trophy,” and they’ll be eligible to field both amateur and Pro-Am pairings. This series will serve as support to the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe and follow them along to the iconic tracks they’ll race at around Europe. Five total races are planned for 2023, and the tracks include Paul Ricard, Hockenheim, Spa-Francorchamps, Misano and Barcelona-Catalunya. Those who have a McLaren 570S Trophy will also be eligible for entering into this series.

After the McLaren Trophy races are done, though, McLaren says it’s easy to turn the Artura Trophy into a GT4 class race car. Engine management software allows you to re-map it for Balance of Performance compliance, and you can remove aero elements to get it into spec, too.

When you buy an Artura Trophy, McLaren rolls out a whole concierge package for you. This includes hotel bookings, transportation to and from the track and a luxurious paddock that McLaren says is inspired by what you see at Formula 1 races.

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Ferrari 296 GT3 brings V6 power to Ferrari sports car racing

This is the Ferrari 296 GT3 race car, and it’s here to succeed the 488 GT3 racer in sports car competition. Yes, this means that Ferrari’s mid-engine racer will no longer by powered by a V8. Instead, the 296 GT3 uses a racing version of the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 found in the road-going 296 GTB.

Since the 296 GT3 is exclusively for racing purposes, Ferrari deleted the plug-in hybrid system, meaning that this 296 is gasoline-powered-only. Balance of Performance (BoP) will dictate how much power this 296 is running in competition, but Ferrari quotes 600 horsepower and 524 pound-feet of torque as the baseline figures. That’s a smidgen down from the road car’s engine-only horsepower figure of 654 ponies. The GT3’s engine is also positioned further forward and lower down versus the road car. Ferrari says its goal was to make an engine with maximum performance, but also provide maximum reliability and driveability — this car will compete in 24-hour races, after all. The engine is connected to a bespoke gearbox developed for this car. It’s a six-speed single-clutch Xtrac system that now features electric clutch actuation via the steering wheel as opposed to a foot pedal.

The 296’s design and the new aero work done for the GT3 result in 20% greater downforce than the outgoing 488 GT3 race car. Ferrari says it worked to make the car more drivable even when in the slipstream of other cars. It’s not the prettiest Ferrari racer we’ve ever seen, but it sure doesn’t look like it’ll be lacking for downforce with the massive wings and appendages protruding every which way from it. If the 296 GT3 is damaged mid-race, Ferrari promises easier replacement of the front and rear aprons to get back on the track quicker.

Ferrari 296 GT3

Ferrari designed a new chassis using learnings from the 488 GT3. It’s made of aluminum, and Ferrari says its lightness will allow for better and more efficient ballast placement for BoP restrictions. The wheelbase is longer than the road-going 296, and the suspension is changed from the 488 GT3 to offer a wider range of adjustment for different styles of driver and different tracks. A new (and larger) braking system is integrated, and shrouding those brakes is a new wheel from Rotiform that was made specifically for the 296 GT3.

The interior is totally new versus the 488 GT3. Drivers will have an easier time getting comfortable with adjustable pedals and an adjustable steering wheel. Most controls have moved to an F1-style steering wheel. Plus, an air conditioning system combined with improved ventilation should help keep drivers cooler.

Ferrari says it’s already put thousands of miles on test cars to prepare for competition. The 296 GT3’s debut race will be next year’s Daytona 24 Hours.

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2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed Mega Gallery

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Acura Integra to make its racing debut at Pikes Peak Hill Climb

Acura is headed to this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with a bevy of race cars. Most notable of all is a Pikes Peak-prepped Acura Integra — yes, Acura is already getting the Integra out there for some racing.

Beyond the new hatchback making its motorsports debut, Acura is also bringing two TLX Type S race cars and two NSX Type S racers. For the icing on the cake, an NSX Type S will be serving as the official pace car for Pikes Peak this year, too. This particular running of Pikes Peak is special, for it’s the 100th running of the event. The first hill climb at Pikes Peak took place all the way back in 1916; the race went on hiatus during the world wars.

As for the cars themselves, Acura provided the greatest detail on the Integra. Modifications include upgraded brakes, new suspension, an HPD differential, wider (and lighter) 18-inch HRE wheels and 245-section-width Pirelli slick tires. The 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and six-speed manual transmission remain untouched, so it’ll be heading up the hill with the stock 200 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. However, we’ll note the this Integra is sporting some extra-large exhaust tips out the rear, so Acura has clearly done something with the exhaust.

The livery for the Integra is an homage to Acura’s first endeavor into motorsports where the first-gen Integra competed in IMSA and won the 1987 and 1988 championships. Pikes Peak rookie Paul Hubers will pilot the Integra up the hill for Acura.

As for the other cars, Acura says that both the NSXs and TLXs are fully prepped for Pikes Peak with plenty of modifications, but doesn’t go into detail about them. The NSX Type S will be trying to beat the previous record set by an NSX in the hybrid fuel class.

All of these Acuras, and the rest of the field, will be running up the hill on June 26.

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2022 Holman Moody Ford GT debuts as 1966 Le Mans tribute

For those who may have forgotten, yes, Ford (along with Multimatic) is still making the GT supercar. The latest iteration is this 2022 Ford GT Holman Moody Edition that pays tribute to Ford’s 1-2-3 finish at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. If you were wondering, the Moody car finished third among the trio of GT40s. As you can tell in the photos, the new GT is meant to replicate the original Holman Moody livery from that race.

To do so, Ford applied that unique gold and red color combo to the new GT and added the number 5 roundels in Oxford White to match the original’s racing number. The number roundels have been modernized, but considering how much exposed carbon fiber this sucker has, that’s small potatoes. Ford uses glossy carbon for the splitter, side sills, rear diffuser and engine louvers. The package also includes the 20-inch carbon fiber wheels that hide Brembo brakes finished in black with silver graphics. 

Holman Moody touches on the interior include a number 5 emblazoned on to the door panels, gold trim on the instrument panel and paddle shifters in gold, as well. The carbon fiber continues inside, too. Ford applies visual carbon to the door sills, console, lower A-pillars and more.

Ford says that the Holman Moody Heritage Edition GT is being made available for approved GT customers and notes that deliveries will begin this spring. No price was provided for this special model. If you want to see it in person, Ford says the Holman Moody GT will be displayed at this year’s New York Auto Show alongside the original third place Holman Moody Ford GT40 MK II, chassis No. P/1016.

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NHRA’s drag racing rules now allow faster street-legal cars

Up until now, rules laid out by the National Hot Rod Association required any car that was capable of running the quarter mile in less than 10 seconds to have a roll cage. That means a sturdy set of metal tubes welded together to internally brace the interior of a vehicle, thereby making it safer in the event of a serious crash. As of today, however, that rule has been altered to allow for faster street-legal cars to compete.

Vehicles like the Dodge Demon, Tesla’s Model S and X Plaid, Chevy Corvette ZR1, Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500 and possibly some other Hellcat-badged or supercar competitors may have been too fast to legally compete at NHRA-sanctioned drag racing events, depending on the driver’s ability and determination. The revised NHRA rules state:

2014 and newer OEM model-year production cars to run as quick as 9.00-seconds and/or 150-mph (5.65-eighth mile). In addition, racers with 2008-2013 OEM model-year cars will still be permitted to run as quickly as 10.00-seconds and/or 135-mph (6.40-eighth mile).

The rules do stipulate that the car’s factory safety equipment has to be installed and operational, including things like the brakes and airbags, and that DOT-approved tires are fitted. Drivers will have to have the appropriate competition license to race, and convertibles and cars with T-tops have different regulations. Stickers celebrating the racing accomplishments will be offered.

“At NHRA, we very much support their commitment to performance and recognize that there is still a very large market for performance cars,” Lonnie Grim, NHRA National Tech Director, said in a statement. “At the same time, we acknowledge that NHRA needs to keep pace with the current trends, which is why we’ve announced these rules adjustments.”

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Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari 512M and more immortalized as Lego sets

Lego has announced a slew of new Speed Champions sets, the ones based on actual licensed cars, for 2022. The latest batch includes a smorgasbord of supercars, from beloved classics like the Lamborghini Countach to yet-to-be-released promises like the long-awaited Mercedes-AMG One. There are seven cars in total, released in five sets. 

Our favorite is probably the 262-piece Lamborghini Countach, based on a later LP500 variant. Not only does it tick the box of a childhood dream machine, but the angular shape of the real-life Countach lends itself well to being recreated in Lego bricks. Also, it’s modeled in white rather than the typical red.

We also really dig the Ferrari 512M. It marked the last of Ferrari’s V12 endurance racers, and even though it was soundly spanked by the Porsche 917, the cars are undeniably beautiful. The 291-piece Lego set does a great job of capturing its brutal wedge silhouette in brick form.

Rounding out the single-car sets is the 247-piece Lotus Evija. The electric Lotus has a bit of a generic supercar look about it, but that’s not entirely the fault of the Lego kit. Its dramatic vents can’t really be replicated with the limited “resolution” of the Lego bricks. Its rear, with unique taillight-encircled air tunnels, is a bit more distinctive.

In addition to the single car sets, there are two larger sets of two cars each. One is a 592-piece Aston Martin-themed pack that includes the Valkyrie AMR Pro and Vantage GT3. Again, it’s a bit difficult to sculpt the cars’ curvaceous lines out of straight-edged bricks, but the effort is admirable. The Valkyrie is probably the more successful of the two, as the Vantage would resemble a Corvette or Viper if it didn’t have stickers to clarify the details.

Last but not least is a twofer comprised of 564 bricks to build the Mercedes-AMG One and seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton’s W12 racer. In Lego’s official product description the driver is not mentioned by name, but the number 44 gives it away. The model of the One indeed looks like a sharp supercar, but the blocky pieces don’t exactly replicate the lines we’ve seen on camouflaged test mules. The F1 car model looks a bit more like the actual thing, complete with the Petronas livery that graces Hamilton’s steed.

Lego has been doing a great job of immortalizing supercars and classics in brick form in their Speed Champions lineup. Last year saw kits of the McLaren Elva, Koenigsegg Jesko, Toyota GR Supra, Chevrolet Corvette, as well as the Ford GT and Bronco. Their more detailed Technics line has seen vehicles like the Ford Raptor, Volkswagen Camper Van and BMW M1000RR motorcycle

While the kits look entertaining, we wouldn’t mind if they didn’t skew so heavily towards unobtainably expensive, limited-production vehicles. What kid wouldn’t want a kit of their parents’ Chrysler Pacifica, a Ford Transit Connect to replicate a city scene, or a Mazda Miata for some clean, honest fun? The single-car sets will retail for $19.99, the two-packs for $39.99. All five sets are scheduled for a March 2022 release.

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2022 Ford GT Heritage Edition celebrates Alan Mann Racing

2022 will be the last model year for the Ford GT, the craftsmen at Multimatic turning out the last of the 1,350-unit production run. We already knew there’d be one more Heritage Edition coming, Ford using this year’s Monterey Car Week to reveal models that would honor the original 1964 prototypes. Now Ford Performance has teased a second Heritage Edition for next year, this one a nod to England’s Alan Mann Racing. The Surrey-based race shop prepped Fords for races like the Monte Carlo Rally and Tour de France Automobile before becoming a European factory team in 1964. AMR ordered five GT40 MkI racers with the small block 289-ci V8, intent on honing them to win Le Mans. Ford sent just two of the five before changing focus to the GT40 MKII powered by the 427-ci big block, believing the 289s couldn’t get the job done.

Mann had his way with the two cars anyway, reskinning them in aluminum, designing a new coil-spring suspension, an oil fill tube accessed through the clamshell rear end, and Phil Remington’s quick-change braking system. Called the AM 1 and AM 2, Mann entered both lightweight GT40s wearing his trademark Monaco Red, gold, and white livery in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966, leading the race for a brief spell before having to retire both cars. Ford then had Holman Moody convert the car to into a 427 MkII B model, but never homologated nor raced it, then had Holman Moody revert AM 1 to its Weber-carbed 289-ci spec. That original coupe has made a few appearances at Pebble Beach recently, owner Rex Meyers pulling it onto the lawn for judging and a sound check in 2019 — the first time it had been on display since 1968. Now Gooding & Company has put AM 1 up for auction this year with a pre-sale estimate of $7 to $9 million.

On a side note, Ford’s factory team won Le Mans twice with the 427-ci GT40s, retiring immediately after the win in 1967. John Wyer then created his own lightweight GT40 racers known as the Mirage cars, powered by the 289-cubic-incher, and won Le Mans in 1968 and 1969. 

AM 1 wore the #16 in its roundel, and this is the car the new Ford GT Heritage Edition references by having “16” painted on the underside of the rear wing. Yes, it would be awesome if Ford went all the way with the AM 1 honor and rolled out a lightweight GT, but here’s to dreaming. Back on Earth, expect a lively paint job and a 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 with 660 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque, akin to the previous GT Heritage Editions. Production will start sometime early next year, we await word on how many of the Alan Mann units are on the way.

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