First electric police truck, Vettel retires, next Mustang will keep manual
Meet U.S. law enforcement’s first electric pickup
Intake: The base-level Ford Lightning Pro is designed with fleet management in mind, but now it’s kitted out to accommodate the needs of the most famous fleets around the country: law enforcement. Called the F-150 Lightning Pro SSV (Special Service Vehicle), it combines the performance/long term cost benefit of electric fleet vehicles with the interior features needed for police duty. Changes to the Lightning SSV include steel “intrusion plates” in the front seat backs, roof-mounted LED warning beacons, an “upfit-friendly” reinforced instrument panel for police equipment, and heavy-duty vinyl rear/front cloth seat material that’s likely on par with other Ford police vehicles. Unlike Pro models available for retail markets, the Lightning SSV is available with either the 452-hp, standard-range or the 580-hp, extended-range battery. Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.
Exhaust: Get ready to see flashing lights fill up your rearview mirror faster than ever before, as all the benefits Ford Pro provides to fleet customers (financing, telematics, ongoing support) now comes with 775 lb-ft of torque and insane off-the-line acceleration. Considering the F-150s track record in fleets, and having driven both Lightnings already, I am confident it will work for a large number of police fleets in urban and suburban areas. — Sajeev Mehta
Details emerge as Porsche gets serious about F1
Intake: According to Autosport, documents filed in Morocco detail what is believed to be a 50 percent buy-in of Red Bull Technologies by Porsche, likely effective next month. “The document reveals that Porsche notified the [Moroccan government] on July 8 that it will be setting out on a 10-year partnership with Red Bull – which includes a 50 percent stake in its grand prix operation,” reported the publication. Sister team AlphaTauri apparently will remain Red Bull–owned, but it’s probable that it, as well as Red Bull, will be using Porsche power. “The revealing of the details by authorities, even before the announcement has been made public, has partly been triggered by delays in a formal green light from Porsche for its F1 return. The original plan had been for its partnership to be announced at the Austrian Grand Prix three weeks ago.” Autosport also reports that Audi is progressing with its initiative to acquire 75 percent of Sauber.
Exhaust: The popularity of Formula 1, already reaching a peak, will benefit greatly if Porsche and Audi enter the sport. Not just from a competition standpoint, but from a publicity standpoint—expect the Volkswagen group to spend millions publicizing the move. — Steven Cole Smith
Defender Works V8 Trophy gets a sequel
Intake: Land Rover is following its run of V-8 Trophy Defenders with another batch of reborn classics. The 25 Trophy II cars will feature a black and white camo theme instead of the first edition’s Camel yellow, and there’s also the option to specify the 110 Double Cab Pick Up body as well as 90 and 110 Station Wagons. As before these are in-house restomods, featuring a five-liter 400-hp V-8 engine mated to an eight-speed ZF transmission. Brakes and suspension get upgrades, and there’s a chunky front bull bar with a winch mounted ahead of a bespoke grille. An external roll cage with roof rack, light bar, rear ladder, and 18-inch black Sawtooth alloy wheels complete the rugged look. Inside there are Recaro sports seats and the black and white motif continues. Prices start at $274,000 for a 90 Station Wagon, which is a 15 percent hike over last year’s Trophy.
Exhaust: The 2021 Trophy was an easy sell-out, so why wouldn’t Land Rover Works cash in again? The original 24 buyers may be a bit miffed, but at least the price increase of the Trophy II could protect their investments to a degree. There are plenty of other big-ticket Defender restomods around and the market seems pretty strong. If you had a Defender, would you keep it stock or bring it up to speed with today’s tech? — Nik Berg
Intake: IndyCar driver Alex Palou is being sued … by his current team. Earlier this week, Chip Ganassi Racing filed a civil lawsuit in Marion County Superior Court against Palou and his licensing name ALPA Racing. Though details are murky, experts believe that the two parties’ ongoing contract debacle is the reason for the court trip. In case you missed it, two weeks ago, Ganassi Racing announced that it had exercised Palou’s contract option for 2023. Minutes later, Palou posted a series of tweets explaining that he would split from the team at the conclusion of the 2022 season for “personal reasons.” Following the tweets, McLaren announced that Palou would join their team next season. Yikes. In an email to the IndyStar, Ganassi’s team stated: “As the result of a competing racing team improperly attempting to contract with him notwithstanding the clear terms of our contract, we are proceeding to legal process pursuant to the contract.”
Exhaust: Things could get messy—quickly—for the defending IndyCar champ Palou. That is, if you don’t already consider driving for a team that is also taking you to court to be … undesirably intricate. In fewer than 50 starts, the Spaniard has collected three victories and the 2021 Championship with Ganassi. Despite the turbulence, Palou is sixth in the 2022 points race. A fair showing so far, sure, but the fact that teammates Marcus Ericsson—winner of this year’s Indy 500—and Scott Dixon are ahead in the standings, suggest that the drama surrounding Palou’s contract may be a distraction. So how does Palou silence the noise and finish out his tenure, whether it may be this year or the next, with Ganassi? Win. Everyone knows Chip’s predilection for winners. A victory for Palou, who has gone winless so far this season, would go a long way. Perhaps, he can do so this weekend at the Indy’s Gallagher Grand Prix, some 11 miles away from the Marion County courthouse steps. — Cameron Neveu
Supra saves the manuals for free
Intake: Toyota won’t charge extra for three pedals and a stick when its manual Supra goes on sale for the 2023 model year. Whether you opt for the eight-speed automatic or a six speed DIY shift the entry level Supra will cost $53,595 including destination charge. Premium trim adds $3150 to the price tag or, if you can get in on the limited edition A91-MT action it’ll cost you $59,440. Alongside the manual option the 2023 Supra has retuned suspension and an active differential for three-liter models, plus a Hairpin+ mode for the traction control system that allows more rear-end slip as you power through tight uphill corners.
Exhaust: The car community complained and Toyota listened. A Supra isn’t a Supra without a stick option, we all said, and now the company has given us exactly what we wanted and isn’t charging extra. Order up people, and prove that we really do want to save the manuals. —NB
After 15 years in F1, Vettel retires to spend time with family
Intake: In a remarkably literate, touching four-minute black-and-white video, former Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel announced that he is retiring from F1 at the end of the 2022 season, and the end of his deal to drive alongside Lance Stroll for Aston Martin, saying that he wanted to spend more time watching his three children grow. He will be best remembered as the youngest F1 champion in 2010–2013 with Red Bull, and then two second-place finishes with Ferrari. Thirteen wins in one season: That record is likely to live for quite a while. “The marks I left on track will stay until time and rain will wash them away. New ones will be put down. Tomorrow belongs to those shaping today,” he said in the video. “The next corner is in good hands as the new generation has already turned in.” The pleasantly irreverent Vettel also said, “I like to make people laugh, I like chocolate and the smell of fresh bread. My favorite color is blue. I believe in change, and progress and that every little bit makes a difference. I am an optimist and I believe people are good.” Vettel turned 35 earlier this month.
Exhaust: It is June 12, 2012, and I drew the short straw. I’m in the (barely) back seat of an Infiniti G37 while Sebastian Vettel is driving the layout for the proposed 3.2-mile temporary street course for the New York Formula 1 race. With a spirited police escort, we top 80 mph on the streets of West New York and Weehawken, New Jersey, Vettel grinning ear to ear. I am not. With each bump, my head bangs against the roof of the little Infiniti coupe. “I hope your head is OK,” the reigning world champion said after the ride. “I hope the roof of the Infiniti is OK,” I said. Sebastian Vettel will be missed, but I rather doubt he’ll disappear. — SCS
Gran Turismo 7 adds vintage Italian, ’80s JDM racer
Intake: Details on the July update for Gran Turismo 7 just landed. While only three new cars were announced for this update, they’re all heavy hitters. Undoubtedly the prettiest addition is the 1954 Maserati A6GCS/54 race car. Fans of vintage racing will recognize the livery as the car that took third at the 1954 Mille Miglia and the Gran Turismo Award at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Our next entry is a throwback for Gran Turismo fans. The Nissan Skyline Super Silhouette race car, which campaigned IRL in the early ’80s, was last seen in 1999’s Gran Turismo 2. This Group 5 racing monster featured a 2.1-liter LZ20B 4-cylinder making a fire-breathing (literally) 562 hp. Rounding things out is the Porsche 918 Spyder. As one of the hybrid hypercar “Holy Trinity,” alongside the McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari, the 918 was a technological milestone. While eight years old by now, this 887-hp successor to the Carrera GT is still an object of desire for Porsche and hyper car fans alike as a car that is still very modern in this rapidly changing automotive landscape.
Exhaust: While we didn’t get a new track for this update, the quality of the cars added more than makes up for that. There’s something for everyone from vintage racing fans to hyper-car enthusiasts and even one for the OG Gran Turismo players. Prestige does not come cheaply, we expect all of these cars to cost over 1 million credits, so better get back to grinding for credits. — Greg Ingold
Jim Farley confirms 7th-gen Mustang will debut in Detroit—with a stickshift
Excited to confirm that we’ll unveil the all-new, seventh-generation @FordMustang September 14 at the Detroit Auto Show. It’s a stunning car and I’m excited to share it with the world! 🐎 #SaveTheManuals pic.twitter.com/d2kdQioBWY
— Jim Farley (@jimfarley98) July 27, 2022
Intake: Ford CEO Jim Farley confirmed, via tweet, that the seventh-generation Ford Mustang will debut at the Detroit Auto Show on September 14. As we’ve previously noted, we expect to see both the turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and Coyote V-8 make their way to the next-gen Mustang as it moves to a new platform. We also hear that a hybrid Mustang is coming as its new platform, shared with the current Explorer, is available in hybrid and AWD variants, leaving all sorts of drivetrain options. What’s real news in the tweet is the hashtag at the end: #SaveTheManuals.
Exhaust: We’d expect the Mustang to be the last Ford offered with a manual transmission in North America, but we also know that it’s never a certainty. While we don’t know any specifics on the powerplants available, it’s always good news to know that there is a manual transmission pony car on the market. — Brandan Gillogly
Chip Ganassi Racing sues driver Alex Palou over contract debacle