All posts in “performance”

Watch a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 fall off the lift at a dealer

Here’s your hard watch for this Thursday afternoon: A Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible fell off a lift at the dealership, and someone caught the catastrophe on camera.

Posted on YouTube by Jason Grubb, the video starts with the Z06 already in the air. A few seconds in, the fall begins, and it almost looks like a video game glitch. The car falls toward the camera, so we get to see one of the lift’s arms cut through the fiberglass like a hot knife through butter. In a word, “pain” is what we all feel watching this supercar tumble to the ground.

The Vette hits the ground rear bumper first before rolling onto the rear tire. Its front end never finds the ground as the arm scrapes along the side of the body before it comes to rest half in the air half on the ground. The camera quality isn’t so hot, so it’s tough to tell the extent of the damages, but it’s safe to assume that it’s bad. Hopefully, the car can be repaired with a bunch of bodywork (and more), but seeing as we’re unsure which dealer this occurred at, it’ll be hard to know the Z06’s fate.

We’re also left to guess exactly what went wrong, but chances are likely that the Corvette’s lifting instructions (above) were not followed by the dealer. Comparing Chevy’s diagram to the grainy video, it looks like the rear jack may not have been placed far enough back in the spot that Chevy prescribes.

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Bugatti Rimac signs exclusive distribution deal with VW of America

Volkswagen Group of America (VGoA) has only just announced a deal it signed with Bugatti Rimac during Monterey Car Week last month. The deal gives VGoA exclusive rights to import and distribute Bugatti and Rimac products in the United States, and puts the COO of Bugatti America, Sascha Doering, in charge of the Rimac’s American outpost as well.

Mate Rimac, CEO of what’s now called the Rimac Group, said, “For both the Bugatti and Rimac brands, the U.S. is the strongest single market in the world, so it’s important that we curate a sales and ownership experience befitting the extraordinary cars that we’re delivering to customers. The alignment and cooperation with Volkswagen Group of America will allow a new dealer network in the States to evolve with the enormous experience and resources available to them, allowing us to combine all the best bits of a mass-market sales operation with the bespoke, customer-centric special touches that have become a hallmark of both Bugatti and Rimac brands.”

We suspect the news will have more effect on Bugatti dealers than Rimac dealers, but neither company explained what the new arrangement will mean. Rimac’s retailer map shows seven stores in the U.S. Three of those seven also sell Bugatti, one assumes they’ll only need to deal with paperwork and potential new showroom dictates. Of the remaining four, two sell numerous additional brands that include VW nameplates other than Bugatti, one appears to only sell Rimac and Koenigsegg, and one appears to sell just Rimac. Those latter two could be cut off from the herd.

However, it’s more likely that all of the dealers saw this coming once Rimac turned into Bugatti Rimac in 2021. For anyone interested in minutiae, Bugatti Rimac is a joint venture between Porsche and Rimac, the German sports car company owning a 45% stake, the Rimac Group owning 55%. The Rimac Group is the carmaking division and Rimac Technology, which engineers electric powertrains for other automakers like Pininfarina and is separate from the production cars, is 100% owned by Rimac Group.

No matter all that. By the time Bugatti’s new hybrid debuts next year, eager buyers should be clear on who they’ll need to call to place a deposit.

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Watch Alfa Romeo reveal its mid-engine supercar here live

Alfa Romeo is about to unveil its supercar that’s long been rumored and even teased at this point. You’ll be able to watch the video livestream above starting at 11 a.m. ET to see it all.

The mid-engine Alfa is rumored to be named “33” after the original Tipo 33 race car and feature a heritage-inspired design. Much of the car’s construction is reported to be shared with the Maserati MC20, though the powertrain is a bit of a question. There’s the Maserati Nettuno V6 that could be utilized, but Alfa’s 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 from the Giulia and Stelvio Quadrifoglio is also available and could be overhauled for mid-engine use with more power.

Regardless of the details, this Alfa supercar is supposedly going to be built for an exceedingly short run consisting of just 33 cars. Tune in at 11 for all the details.

Woodward Dream Cruise 2003: Mega gallery of classics, off-roaders and more

We just spent the entire day in and around the Motor City enjoying the automotive sights and sounds of the Woodward Dream Cruise. According to the event’s website, the Dream Cruise attracts over a million people every year to see a collection of “more than 40,000 muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and special interest vehicles.” That’s a lot of people and a lot of vehicles. And if you couldn’t be there this year in person, perhaps our galleries from this year’s festivities are the next best thing.

We kicked things off up above with muscle cars, classics and hot rods, since those make up the largest part of the collection. But below you’ll see galleries of modern performance vehicles, trucks and off-roaders and, finally, the strangest sights we were able to point our camera lenses at. Enjoy!

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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Ruf reveals air-cooled Tribute, open-top R Spyder and CTR3 Evo at The Quail

Ruf is revealing three Porsche builds at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering this week in the Monterey Peninsula. Two are totally new builds called the Ruf Tribute and the Ruf R Spyder. The third is an update to the Ruf CTR3 Clubsport, which gains the new name of CTR3 Evo.

Starting with the Tribute (seen in the gallery at the top of this post), this Ruf is powered by a 3.6-liter air-cooled engine designed by Alois Ruf that is meant to be an homage to the air-cooled 911s of the past. However, this new engine features loads of new tech such as a four-cam three-valve design, variable valve timing and lift and dry-sump lubrication. It makes loads more power than naturally aspirated air-cooled engines ever did from Porsche, as Ruf claims a heady 550 horses. Ruf says its drivetrain is similar to that of the SCR and Yellow Bird Anniversary it unveiled a few years ago. Carbon fiber is used liberally throughout (not to mention the carbon tub chassis), and it features an integrated roll cage, as well.

The other new Ruf is the R Spyder, which might remind you of the also-open-top Bergmeister from last year’s Monterey Car Week. Of course, the R Spyder is better and more powerful than what Ruf managed to screw together before. This open-top Ruf is powered by a 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six that cranks out 515 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. That power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.

Each occupant has their own little cocoon, separated by a carbon fiber bar. You get a small windshield, and screens are mounted on either side of the carbon fiber dashboard. Ruf says the car uses a McPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear design. All that said, Ruf is still calling this car a “design concept,” so we’re not sure if it will be produced and sold yet.

The last Ruf is the CTR3 Evo, and Ruf says it’s the most powerful vehicle it’s ever produced. Output from the 3.8-liter (water-cooled) twin-turbo flat-six is an astounding 800 horsepower and 730 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and all that speed is hauled in by carbon ceramic brakes. A top speed of 236 mph and the carbon-composite body just make it all the more alluring.

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Pininfarina B95 revealed, costs $4.8 million, 0-60 in 2 seconds

The art of exaggeration is a highly refined exercise in Italy, especially among those who promote the revered Italian automobile industry. In the case of Automobile Pininfarina and its just-announced B95 “hyper” electric car, the hype is probably deserved.

Francesco Cundari, the brand’s director of interior design, said in a statement that “driving the B95 will be an immersive experience like no other. It will feel like a cross between driving a modern F1 car and piloting a vintage fighter plane.”

See what we mean?

At any rate, the name Pininfarina conjures up the canals of Venice and spaghetti carbonara and peerless automotive design and engineering. And today the Monterey Car Week hosts the world premiere of the pure electric B95, the all-electric “Barchetta” (that’s the “B” in the name) supercar that will put our 1,900 horsepower. 0-60 is specced at less than two seconds, top speed 300 kph (186 mph). It will be a limited edition of 10 units in 2025, each to sell for 4.4 million Euros ($4.8 million). (The 95, btw, refers to the 95th anniversary of the Pininfarina SpA design house.)

And another BTW: “barchetta” means “little boat” in Italian and originated in the Forties with a Ferrari. It often refers to an open-top two-seater.

The B95 is supposed to go on display alongside the recently previewed Pininfarina Pura Vision concept, another element in the company’s agenda to become a full-fledged car company. An early look showed this electric crossover riding on 23-inch wheels and measuring about 205 inches long, 85 inches wide and 65 inches tall.

There will also be on show the Battista Edizione Nino Farina, which made its world dynamic debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Britain in July.

In a statement outlining the B95’s design, the company noted that “viewed from above, the Pura design DNA is instantly recognizable. With no vehicle glasshouse, the Automobili Pininfarina design team has defined the cabin space with a surrounding loop, which incorporates the seats.”

Again touching on the fighter jet reference, the car incorporates what Pininfarina says are the first adjustable aero screens and the domes behind each passenger. “Taking inspiration from vintage fighter planes, the clear polycarbonate designs feature intricately engineered and exposed aluminium supports and can be raised and lowered to improve comfort.”

Some other details worth noting about today’s launch car:

  • The main body is finished in metallic Bronzo Superga (how Italian is that?}, “providing a dramatic contrast to the distinctive Giallo Arneis gloss section at the front and atop the driver’s dome,” itself featuring Black Gloss ‘95’ lettering. The body finish features gold metallic flakes
  • B95 has new 20″ front / 21″ rear forged aluminum wheels finished in Matt Black and contrasting with exposed aluminum matt precision-polished outers. The brakes are Brembo carbon-ceramic 390 mm discs with six-piston calipers front and rear.
  • Inside, the dashboard is upholstered in “Tan Sustainable Luxury Leather” with bespoke embossing, which contrasts with the brushed black aluminum anodised finish that features elsewhere. The seats, also finished in the Tan Sustainable Luxury Leather, “are designed to curve around the occupants.” The headrests, with “electro-welded” Pininfarina logos, are finished in a Pied de Poule Houndstooth Luxury Textile.

Said company CEO Paolo Dellachà of the Car Week events, “It is a pivotal period in the evolution of Automobili Pininfarina. Our ambition when we launched the company in 2018 was to become the world’s first creator of purely electric luxury cars. Envisioning, designing, and delivering on the dreams of our clients. I am incredibly proud to now share what we have carefully prepared for our customers and fans in 2023.”

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Lamborghini previews electric concept ahead of Monterey unveiling

Lamborghini will preview its first series-produced electric car (and the fourth member of its range) with a concept scheduled to break cover on August 18. It’s keeping details about the model under wraps, but it published a dark teaser image that hints at what’s in the pipeline.

Posted on the Italian brand’s social media channels, the picture shows what looks like the top of either a low-slung sedan or a big coupe. We’re not 100% sure what we’re looking at yet, but we’re nearly certain that it’s not a crossover. Instead, the silhouette vaguely reminds us of the Estoque, a close-to-production design study that could have morphed into a high-performance sedan but ultimately remained a concept.

Keep in mind that this is pure speculation; Lamborghini’s image doesn’t show shut lines so we don’t know whether the concept — whose name hasn’t been revealed yet — has two or four doors. Officially, company executives have described the car as “a grand tourer with a 2+2 seating layout” developed to fill the gap between super-sport cars like the Revuelto and the Urus SUV. It will offer “comfortable” rear seats.

If it’s a coupe, the fourth model will land in a very small segment. While two-door models with a 2+2 layout were reasonably common in the 1960s and the 1970s, even in the Lamborghini range, they’ve all but disappeared in recent years. Some of the more notable torchbearers left include the second-generation Maserati GranTurismo, which is also offered with an electric powertrain, and the Bentley Continental GT.

As for the drivetrain, we’ll need to be patient to find out how Lamborghini plans to deliver an electric model that’s as engaging to drive as its gasoline-powered cars. The brand has stressed that its fourth model will arrive as a standalone car, so it won’t land as an electrified version of, say, the Huracán’s replacement. We’re betting it will be electric-only; we’re not expecting this Bull will offer several powertrain options.

More details about Lamborghini’s next concept will emerge in the coming days, and its unveiling will take place on August 18. However, note that what you’ll see in Monterey in a couple of days isn’t necessarily what you’ll see in showrooms when production starts later in the 2020s.

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Electric Lamborghini concept headed to Monterey Car Week: Think ‘spaceships’

In a press release tracing the history of Lamborghini concept cars, the Sant’Agata Bolognese automaker let us know it will debut “the prototype” of its coming battery-electric car during Monterey Car Week. The word “prototype” is interesting here because Lamborghini touched on the transition from one-offs and concept cars to “few-offs” — those being “a limited run of cars for the most loyal customers that pre-empt or enhance the most advanced technical solutions that will be used on production cars in later years.” We’re told, “The same formula will be repeated in just a few days,” suggesting that whatever goes on show could end up in a few driveways before long.

We’re still not sure what’s coming, though. Autocar reports the EV is “expected to draw light inspiration from the Estoque saloon concept,” pictured above from its reveal at the Paris Auto Show in 2008. The same report also throws “high-riding,” “2+2 seating and GT proportions,” the idea the car might have two doors, and a tip from head designer Mitja Borkert that future products will “look like spaceships.”

That’s quite the combo. Most modern cars considered 2+2 have two doors and diminished rear quarters; the Estoque was a proper sedan with four proper seats. Know what was a 2+2? The hybrid Asterion LPI-910 from 2014, which could be considered a coupe-ified Estoque, design-wise.      

The automaker says the EV is “due to enter production by the end of the decade.” It’s anticipated that by then, the EV will join the battery-electric successor to the Urus, creating an electrified lineup for four cars when counting the hybrid Revuelto and the hybrid Huracán successor. It’s then we’ll find out what electrification the Lamborghini way really means, the brand still coming up with those answers.

CEO Stephan Winkelmann said, “There are definitions that I think no electric car in our sector has yet resolved sufficiently: not just acceleration and handling behavior but also responsiveness, braking feel and multiple acceleration protocols. These are unproven in high-performance EVs and things we must spend the next years working out.”

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Hennessey Venom F5 Revolution Roadster unveiled with 1,817 horsepower of pure poison

Texas-based supercar manufacturer Hennessey has chopped the roof off of the Venom F5 Revolution Coupe. Unveiled in bare carbon fiber, the Venom F5 Revolution Roadster packs an 1,817-horsepower V8 engine, and it’s sold out in spite of a base price pegged at $3 million.

While the F5 Revolution Roadster is related to the F5 Roadster, the brand notes that it completely re-engineered the model to prepare it for track use. Like the coupe, it receives a body kit that provides additional downforce thanks to bigger splitters on both ends, dive planes on either side of the front bumper, and a massive wing on the back end. Both models also share a scoop that feeds the engine cooling air.

The carbon fiber roof panel weighs 18 pounds, so the driver can remove it and install it without asking a second person to help. It’s secured by four quick-release bolts and a pair of high-strength latches added to ensure it doesn’t fly off at triple-digit speeds.

Like the coupe, the Revolution Roadster uses a twin-turbocharged, 6.6-liter V8 that sends 1,817 horsepower and 1,193 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission. Mid-mounted, the V8 is visible through a transparent cover that Hennessey notes is about four times stronger than standard glass. Performance details haven’t been announced, but combining a massively powerful engine and a relatively light carbon fiber chassis should deliver jaw-dropping acceleration and a stunning top speed.

Hennessey will present the Venom F5 Revolution Roadster at The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering, which is taking place August 18 as part of Monterey Car Week. Production is limited to 12 units, and every example was spoken for before the model’s unveiling.

If you missed your chance to buy one, or if you don’t have $3 million and a supercar-sized hole in your (presumably gigantic) garage, Hennessey also offers more affordable models based on existing cars. The seventh-generation Mustang-based H850 gets a supercharged, 850-horsepower 5.0-liter V8. Buyers can even keep the six-speed stick, though a 10-speed automatic transmission is available at an extra cost.

Zenvo Aurora to run with quad-turbo 6.6-liter V12 hybrid powertrain

This year’s edition of The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering is going to be a sort of royal running. It’s the 20th anniversary of the event, the 25th anniversary of the Quail Rally, and two-wheelers get their 13th showcase. The show plans four featured classes and 20 debuts, one of those reveals the Zenvo Aurora. The Danish hypercar maker closed its TS model chapter last year with a TSR-GT that a driver ran up to 263 miles per hour. As with every Zenvo up to that point, motivation for that speed run came from a GM-based LS-series V8 bearing some amount of both turbocharging and supercharging. The Aurora writes at least two new chapters for the company, introducing Zenvo’s first in-house engine as well — and not just any engine, a quad-turbocharged 6.6-liter V12.

Those are larger specs than Zenvo announced earlier this year when it said the Aurora would run with a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12. The Danes are working with the German boffins at Mahle Powertrain on the unit, seems one of the parties realized they had a lot more potential in their design.

Named Mjoner, the name of Thor’s hammer, the engine’s heart is a new aluminum block in a modular design so Zenvo can break off V8 and V6 mills to power Aurora offshoots. The heads hide Mahle’s Jet Ignition tech. This is the same pre-chamber ignition design Maserati uses in the twin-turbo 3.0-liter Nettuno V6; the Italians also worked with Mahle after watching sister brand Ferrari use Jet Ignition in the Ferrari F1 cars. The integration isn’t about bragging, it’s for emissions. The coming Euro 7 regulations place limits on an engine’s fuel-use trickery, Jet Ignition keeps Mjolner within regulation for the European and U.S. markets. Compatibility with synthetic fuels lends another measure of future-proofing — for the near future, at least.     

Internal combustion horsepower comes to 1,232 (1,250 ps) at 8,000 rpm on the way to a 9,800-rpm redline, leading Zenvo to say this will be the most powerful road-legal V12 in the world. Electrical assistance will add another 592 hp (600 ps), taking matters to 1,824 hp. The company says the hybrid unit’s being tuned for drivability and usability. We know the combined sources will grant the Aurora all-wheel drive. It’s not clear which motor powers which axle, but our guess is that there will be a short electric-only range to satisfy stricter urban demands in Europe.

All-carbon chassis construction means a carbon tub and front and rear subframes. There are going to be two trims, Tur the slicker GT variant ready to cross Germany at more than 249 miles per hour, Agil the higher-drag and higher-aero track variant. Zenvo plans to make no more than 100 cars in total, split between the two trims. We’ll find out what they look like on August 18 during Monterey Car Week.

New Alfa Romeo supercar teaser mentions ‘6 weeks’ and ‘792 hours’

Alfa Romeo got on Instagram again to tease the coming supercar that will debut on August 30. The image is a bit funky, and so is the caption. The picture shows the steering wheel, shot from underneath. The hub center is the first unusual bit, being a monochrome Alfa Romeo logo. The Italian brand’s steering wheels usually feature a full-color logo except in the Quadrifoglio trims that bear a black and silver design. Vintage Alfas like the GT Junior models of the 1960s and 1970s were known for silver logos. They were also known for drilled steering wheel spokes, which might be featured in the teaser as well. No current Alfas we know of use metal-looking steering wheels spokes, and none contain what look like dials set into the bottom spoke. Even the limited-edition Giulia GTAm that started at about $225,000 in Europe took the Giulia’s regular wheel and replaced plastic with carbon fiber for the lower spoke.

Then there’s the caption, “792hours and less than #6weeks left to ignite your spirit with #AlfaRomeo. Witness history unfold on August 30th, as #Courage and passion #Converge to give birth to a visionary #Creation. Save the date!”

That’s an oddball number of hours for a countdown timer. The guess is that this is a reference to the horsepower figure engineers coaxed from the twin-turbo 3.0-liter Nettuno V6 poached from the Maserati MC20. In the MC20, the engine produces 621 horsepower. Rumors out of Europe have said the Maserati mill is going to share the Alfa Romeo’s engine bay with at least one electric motor and make about 800 horsepower — close enough to 792 not to quibble over. Since that would be a metric horsepower rating, converting PS to U.S. HP gives 781 hp, a tidy 160 horses more than the MC20 and totally achievable with a single flux capacitor.

Unless the Italians are taking a MacGuffin from Hitchcock’s playbook, six weeks away could foreshadow the 6C name instead of the 33 name that’s worked its way into the conversation. The livestreamed debut from the Alfa Romeo museum in Arese, Italy is a month away.

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Every McLaren 600LT in the U.S. recalled over fire risk

McLaren has issued a recall that applies to every example of the 600LT and 600LT Spider registered in the United States. Built during the 2019 and 2020 model years, the cars included in the campaign are fitted with a faulty joint in the cooling system that could cause a fire.

Assigned recall number 23V-484 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the campaign includes 652 units of the 600LT built between July 4, 2019, and July 16, 2020. McLaren estimates that the defect is present in 100% of the recalled cars. It explains that the “outboard right-hand radiator joint between the temperature sensor housing and the hose running from the outboard radiator to the housing can potentially leak due to inadequate sealing of the joint.” The leak can occur while driving at “high vehicle loads,” like on a track.

If the joint fails, coolant can come in contact with hot components in the engine bay and cause a fire. McLaren’s engineers looked into the issue and traced the problem to the joint’s basic design. Luckily, it sounds like the fix is fairly simple. Owners will be asked to bring their 600LT to an authorized dealer so that a technician can replace the coolant hose, the temperature sensor housing, and the clamp. McLaren adds that the redesigned clamp will ensure the joint doesn’t leak, though it hasn’t explained how the new design differs from the existing one.

The company hasn’t decided when it will notify owners of affected cars.

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.

Koenigsegg details outrageous new Gemera specs with Dark Matter e-motor

Koenigsegg recently held an event to celebrate an expansion of its campus headquarters in Angelholm, Sweden. We got some initial bits out of it from Koenigsegg Registry, focusing on changes to the production-spec Gemera such as the option to swap the turbocharged 2.0-liter three-cylinder engine for the 5.0 TTV8 from the Jesko. It looks like the Swedes saved the juiciest details for now. Coming straight from founder and boss Christian von Koenigsegg, the Gemera hasn’t only been improved by a lot, it’s got some outstanding new tech that started with the question of an engine and transmission swap.

Engineers had developed a nine-speed gearbox called the Light Speed Transmission (LST) for the Jesko’s TTV8. The LST dispenses with a flywheel and clutch or hydraulic coupling, making the TTV8 engine’s output shaft the LST’s input shaft. At some point during Gemera development, someone wondered if the Gemera could fit the TTV8 and LST instead of the planned Direct Drive transmission from the Koenigsegg Regera. The short story is the engineers answered that question in the affirmative with what’s now called the LSTT, the Light Speed Tourbillon Transmission. In the lingo of jewel-like Swiss watch internals, a “tourbillon” is a mechanical feature that makes a watch more accurate. Reworking the LST for its new employment made it smaller, lighter, and better.

Alongside that, engineers created a new six-phase e-motor to replace the three, three-phase Quark e-motors that had been paired with the 2.0-liter Tiny Friendly Giant (TFG) engine. The one motor to rule them all is called Dark Matter, designed as a blend of radial flux and axial flux topologies called “raxial.” In the original powertrain, two of the Quark motors on the rear axle could each make a maximum 500 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque, the third Quark on the crankshaft made 400 hp and 369 lb-ft. transmission. Their combined output in operation came to 1,100 hp. 

The Dark Matter makes 800 hp and 922 lb-ft. Pairing a single Dark Matter with the LSTT makes the TFG powertrain lighter and smaller, improving acceleration and performance. New control logic means the Dark Matter can drive the Gemera on its own, the TFG can power the car, or both can be called to action. When operating together, max output comes to 1,400 horsepower and 1,365 pound-feet of torque. The Gemera retains its all-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, and torque vectoring.

Thanks to the more compact transmission and single e-motor, the TTV8 could find a home in the Gemera’s engine bay. That required more development, mostly changing the turbo setup to a hot vee, putting the exhaust into the valley between the cylinders. Note the more pronounced pipes emerging from beside the rear window.

Previous info said going to the V8 would add $400K to the Gemera’s price. It also makes a huge difference to output. With 1,500 hp coming from the TTV8 and 800 hp coming from the Dark Matter, final output is rated at 2,300 hp and 2,028 lb-ft. of torque. Well then. 

This Gemera iteration is called the Client Specification. It’s what those who managed to get on the Germera reservation list will fly to Sweden to configure in the new extension called the Gripen Atelier. Production begins toward the end of next year, first deliveries planned for early 2025.

Aston Martin Valour gets retro looks and a manual-backed V12

A few years ago, Aston Martin stunned the supercar world with its Victor. It took the V12 and other mechanicals of some of the most advanced and exclusive Astons of the modern era, such as the One-77, and gave it ’70s retro looks and a retro transmission: a six-speed manual. The problem, though, was that it was a one-off. Beautiful to look at, but out of reach for even the most well-heeled customers. We have a feeling a good number of those prospective buyers were ringing up Aston begging to give them money for something like it, because the new Valour offers a taste of Victor … y.

Though Aston doesn’t explicitly say so, we’re confident that the Valour’s based on the DB12 platform, considering the shape of the greenhouse as well as the twin-turbo 5.2-liter V12 that we’ll get to shortly. But you probably won’t notice that connection at first because of the radical restyling. Just like the Victor, the Valour takes styling inspiration from the V8 Vantage of the 1970s with its forward-leaning nose, boxy fenders and subtle lip spoiler. It even gets unique round LED headlights to drive home the classic look. But there are many other nifty exterior touches to this carbon fiber bruiser. Its grille slats and rear trim are made of real aluminum, and there are aerodynamic aids throughout, such as the vents and scoops in the hood, the air ducts on the outboard ends of the front bumper, and even the rear window louvres help with aero.

Under that perforated hood is Aston’s twin-turbo 5.2-liter V12 making more power than the DB12, but less torque. Total output is 705 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque. Again, Aston didn’t explicitly say, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the torque was turned down a bit to accommodate the six-speed manual transmission, the only gearbox available for the Valour. We doubt prospective buyers will be bothered by the lower torque number when they’re getting to shift for themselves. That power goes only to the rear wheels through a mechanical limited-slip differential. The adaptive suspension has its own unique tuning not shared with other Astons, and it comes standard with carbon ceramic brakes with six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers. Connecting everything to the ground are 21-inch wheels with 275-mm-wide front and 325-mm-wide rear Aston-specific Michelin Pilot Sport S 5 tires.

Owners will spend time in the Valour’s unique and carbon fiber-laden interior. The centerpiece is definitely the manual shifter, which has its linkages exposed and is capped with a luxurious knob crafted from a choice of aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber or walnut wood. The options expand in regards to color and fabric. Aston equipped the debut car with tweed upholstery, a nod to the 1959 DBR1 race car. This is one of the many special upholstery options. And on the topic of customization, the exterior has extensive choices, too. Four sections of the car can be painted different hues: the front, hood, sides and rear. There are 21 colors on offer as standard, but with even more money, the Q program will let you choose completely custom hues, stripes and other graphics, and even tinted carbon fiber.

No pricing was announced for the Valour, but with the limited production nature of the car, and its special design and powertrain, it likely doesn’t matter to buyers. Only 110 will be built, and they’ll probably be sold out soon after this reveal, if not already. Production starts in the third quarter of this year, with deliveries starting by the end of the year.

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Pininfarina Battista Edizione Nino Farina honors the first F1 champion

Design house-turned-carmaker Pininfarina took a trip to the heritage well to create its latest limited-edition model. Named after Giuseppe Farina, the first Formula One champion, the Battista Edizione Nino Farina stands out with several edition-specific styling cues inside and out.

Giuseppe “Nino” Farina’s ties to the Italian automotive industry aren’t limited to winning the first Formula One Driver’s Championship in 1950. He’s also the nephew of Battista “Pinin” Farina, who founded the design house that bears his name. Pininfarina honored the driver by giving the Battista edition-specific Rosso Nino paint with contrasting Bianco Sestriere and Iconica Blu accents, wheels finished in Glorioso Gold, and “01” graphics on both sides. The Furiosa Pack, which adds carbon fiber exterior trim pieces, comes standard.

The interior is characterized by a two-tone design. The driver’s seat is upholstered in black leather and has the “01” logo embroidered into the headrest. The passenger’s seat gets beige leather and the Pininfarina logo embroidered into the headrest. Production is limited to five examples, and each one will receive a specific aluminum door sill plate engraved with a date that commemorates Farina’s life and career; 1906 celebrates the year he was born, for example, and 1950 corresponds to the year he won the Formula One Driver’s Championship.

Mechanically, the Edizione Nino Farina is identical to the regular Battista, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing; few could argue that it needs a higher output. Power comes from four electric motors (one per wheel) that jointly develop 1,900 horsepower and 1,726 pound-feet of torque. The company quotes a zero-to-62-mph time of 1.86 seconds, a top speed of 217 mph, and up to 300 miles of driving range.

Pininfarina will present the Battista Edizione Nino Farina at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed that opens in England on July 13. Pricing information hasn’t been announced, but keep in mind that the standard Battista (which is limited to 150 units) starts at about $2.2 million.

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Koenigsegg shows production Gemera with TTV8 option

The Koenigsegg Gemera is taking the scenic route to production, making stops along the way that buyers will appreciate. Koenigsegg Registry attended an event to inaugurate a new production line for the Gemera, company boss Christian von Koenigsegg telling the audience the mid-engined four-seat hypercar can be optioned with the 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that powers the Koenigsegg Jesko. The V8 adds $400,000 to the price and about 500 horsepower to the spec sheet, while decreasing torque by about 500 pound-feet, the announced figures being 2,300 hp and 2,028 pound-feet of torque on E85. The TTV8 makes 1,280 hp and 738 lb-ft by itself on premium fuel, 1,600 hp on E85. The remaining output comes from the Gemera’s three electric motors. The nine-speed Light Speed Transmission (LST) would also make the jump from the Jesko. 

The Gemera debuted in 2020, the original spec sheet boasting 1,700 horsepower and 2,583 pound-feet of torque from a plug-in hybrid drivetrain that could get the four-seater from 0-60 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds. A turbocharged 2.0-liter inline three-cylinder called the Tiny Friendly Giant (TFG) sends 600 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque to the front axle. It’s frugal enough that the company lists gas-powered range as 590 miles. Three Quark electric motors turn the rear axle, two motors for each wheel, another between the crankshaft and the Hydracoup direct-drive transmission. The axle motors each produce 500 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque, the crankshaft e-motor makes 400 bhp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Their combined output in the powertrain comes to 1,100 bhp.

The Gemera shown on stage at the event sported physical side mirrors instead of the cameras on the concept car. Those will be a necessity for markets like the U.S. that haven’t approved digital outside mirrors yet. It’s not clear if the camera system will be offered in places like Europe that do allow such. 

The options sheet grows again with the addition of a Ghost Package. This installs a larger front splitter, an S-duct in place of the traditional hood, and a rear wing. Aggression and downforce get amped up, but practicality diminishes since the S-duct front end replaces the frunk. That would be a shame considering the four-season, nuclear family potential of the car. The Gemera comes with all-wheel drive, all-wheel steering and torque vectoring on both axles. The 16.6-kWh battery can power up to 31 miles of all-electric range on the WLTP cycle. The interior’s been designed with four heated seats, tri-zone climate control, infotainment screens for front and rear passengers, wireless chargers front and rear, and a few climate-controlled cupholders among the beverage receptacles. 

After production begins, 300 Gemeras will come off the line. As part of the improved headquarters, customers visiting Sweden to configure their cars will find a new showroom, lounge, experience center and retail space. 

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How Porsche plans to grow margins with luxury and speed

Porsche — with CEO Oliver Blume behind the wheel — has zipped by a number of milestones over the past several years. Its share price has gained more than 36% since its IPO in September 2022 and profit margins are at an enviable 18%.

And yet, Blume isn’t satisfied.

“We are driving the company like a sports team,” Blume said earlier on the sidelines of the company’s 75th anniversary celebration. “After a success, focusing [on] what we can do more… going for the next goal.”

The next goal, Blume said, is 20% margins. The road to get there will be paved with investments in new segments and maybe even a seven-figure hypercar.

Timing is everything

The last nine months haven’t been kind to other automakers that went public in the past few years, particularly companies like Canoo, Fisker, Lucid Motors and Polestar that merged with special purpose acquisition companies. Even Rivian, the 2021 IPO darling that debuted at $78 a share, has seen its price fall some 82%.

Porsche has managed to avoid a similar fate — a result that Blume credited to years of preparation.

“It was a process over years, where we developed the company,” Blume said. “Five years ago, Porsche would never have been able to go to the stock market, and now it was the right moment.”

That preparation required a renewed focus on the fundamentals: margins, profits and cash flow. But, don’t think all that has made the company boring. At Porsche’s 75th birthday party in Stuttgart, Blume unveiled the Mission X, a hypercar designed to be the fastest production car ever made, not the most profitable.

Pushing into the luxury segment

When it comes to growing profit margins, it’s hard to do better than the luxury segment.

Though Porsche is certainly a premium manufacturer, its reputation has been built on performance, not poshness. A pivot to challenge brands like Mercedes-Benz or Rolls-Royce is not to be made lightly.

“Before we decide to go to a new segment, we make a deep analysis of the markets, of the profit pools and different regions of the world, and we think the segment of luxurious SUVs is quite huge, and with a very strong development potential from the future, and strong profit margins. What’s missing is a very sporty one there,” Blume said.

In other words: Buyers have many luxurious and stylish options in the premium SUV segment, but none of them has the character of a Porsche.

Learning from the Cayenne

It’s a similar story to what drove Porsche to introduce the Cayenne SUV 20 years ago. Though not particularly luxurious, the tall, big and wide Cayenne was a massive departure from the company’s pure sports offerings.

Cayenne sparked controversy, with many brand purists saying that Porsche had lost its way. Far from the beginning of the end, Cayenne is now Porsche’s biggest seller, while the company’s portfolio of fast, desirable sports cars is broader than ever.

By heading to green pastures, Porsche found huge success, and now Blume hopes to do so again.

That next expansion is a new SUV that Blume referred to by its code name: K1. This new SUV, first mentioned in March and due by 2027, will be bigger than Cayenne. It’ll be quick, too, but the focus here is on luxury.

Performance will come from a fully electric powertrain, Blume said, in keeping with Porsche’s goal of delivering 80% EVs by 2030. However, the look and layout of the car might be a little unfamiliar. “You will be surprised by the design,” Blume said.

Blume also said that the K1’s systems and software, the car’s “technology profile,” will be unique.

Wanted: Software engineers

To create innovative technologies found only in Porsches, the company is on a hiring spree — a notable difference from an industry that is laying off workers.

Porsche has more than 1,000 technical positions open, including many on the software side. Blume said that this is an increasingly core part of the company’s identity: “We think that the IP we are developing is very specific,” Blume said. “100% portion of this kind of costs are important for our brand identity and for our product identities. Therefore, that is our core business.”

For Blume, this clarifies the build versus buy debate.

“You can buy solutions in the market in areas, which are not your core business… And so for us it is very clear where to tap into that focus, where we will get the best talent from the market to develop our core competencies,” he said. “And in other areas, where it is not so important… we will work together with partners, but they are the best partners in the market.”

When it comes to that core experience, Blume said: “All the touch and feel and coming up to the software experience into the car should be unique for Porsche.”

Bringing a luxury all-electric SUV — catnip for American buyers — might make sound financial sense. However, for extremely low-volume hypercars (Porsche sold just 918 of the 918 Spyder), the value proposition is often a bit more nebulous.

Blume cited the brand-building impact of a record-setting halo car like the Mission X: “All our hypercars are icons,” he said. But, there are some more tangible benefits, too. “In the hypercars, we show the best the company is able to develop, to produce, to show what our technologies [are] for the future. We will later bring [them] to other serial cars, and so, it’s not only a showcase, it’s real life, to bring innovations, to develop innovations,” he said. “The whole team is focused, motivated, pushed to develop a hypercar, and that is the best the company is able to deliver.”

Mission X: To be or not to be?

Porsche Mission X Concept

  • Porsche Mission X Concept

Blume declined repeatedly to indicate whether or not the Mission X would be produced, but we shouldn’t have to wait long to find out.

He said the decision will be made “during the next month.” Should it get the green light, its first official duty will be recapturing the fastest production car lap record around the Nurburgring Nordschleife. For Blume, that iconic, 13-mile race track cut through the forests of western Germany is part of Porsche’s DNA: “When we design and build the concept of a car, the Nurburgring Nordschleife is the measure for Porsche.”

Porsche’s last hypercar, 2013’s 918 Spyder, itself set the fastest lap time for a production car, with a time of 6:57. The current record, set by the $2.7 million Mercedes-AMG One, sits at 6:35. That will likely be the target for the Mission X, the existential goal for a car built by a nearly octogenarian company still intent on proving its mettle on the track.

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