Verstappen did it for Didi, glorious Ghias, cops close in on computer-savvy car theft ring
F1: Verstappen wins it for Didi
Intake: Dietrich “Didi” Mateschitz, the 78-year-old co-founder of Red Bull energy drink and the owner of Formula 1’s powerhouse Oracle Red Bull racing team, died on Saturday, and on Sunday, the team honored him with a win at the 10th anniversary of the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Max Verstappen finished first and teammate Sergio Perez was fourth, and Verstappen said after the race that “This one is for Didi.” Verstappen, who already won the driver’s championship, added the constructors’ championship to a dream season marred only by the death of the team patriarch. Mateschitz, the billionaire Austrian, was an ardent motorsports fan, and gave multiple drivers a ride in F1 in the Red Bull and Toro Rosso teams, and was involved in countless other sports over the years, from air racing to NASCAR. “We gave it everything out there today, and of course it’s a very difficult weekend for us, so this one is definitely dedicated to Dietrich,” Verstappen said. “We had a big chance to win the constructors’ here, and you want to do that in style, and I think we did that today.”
Exhaust: Mateschitz’s death aside, it was a stellar event in Austin, with an announced crowd of 440,000 for the weekend, and a thrilling race where Verstappen lost a big lead after a bad pitstop and had to fight his way back through the field, ultimately passing an invigorated, but winless, Lewis Hamilton for the victory. The turnout had to look good to the organizers of The Las Vegas Grand Prix, due to join the circuit in November of 2023. That race, along with Miami, will give the U.S. three Formula 1 races per season. —Steven Cole Smith
A trio of glorious Ghias is going to auction
Intake: Three rare Ghia-designed Chryslers are headed to Bonhams Scottsdale Auction in January 2023. The mid-century models were sculpted by the Italian carozzeria between 1954 and 1962, and catalog the fast-moving pace of automotive fashion over a decade. In chronological order there’s a 1954 Ghia GS-1 Coupe, finished in turquoise over tan, which is estimated to sell for $600,000-$800,000. Curvaceous and chrome-laden it’s one of just nine built, of which only five remain, and is a three-time class winner at Pebble Beach. Next up is a 1957 Super Dart 400 which is predicted to go for $750,000-$950,000. Exhibited at the Torino and New York Auto Shows this one-off concept was fitted with a 400-horsepower Hemi V-8, and proving that it wasn’t just a show car, the Super Dart has racked up 49,000 miles with three owners, including a trip to Pebble Beach to pick up a class award. Lastly, there’s the L6.4 of 1962. Ghia built 26 of these, with Frank Sinatra among the recipients and 17 are said to remain. This example has covered 33,000 miles and comes with an estimate of $450,000-$650,000.
Exhaust: All three cars are from the John White Ramshead Collection. Ramshead is the son of a New York Dodge dealer who amassed more than 25 all-American classics, but is now parting with many of them at Bonhams. If the Ghias don’t grab you then there are Chryslers, Cadillacs, Buicks, Dodges and Lincolns and Fords to choose from as well. —Nik Berg
One Chinese province has triple the number of EV chargers as America
Intake: According to Bloomberg, one province in China has more EV battery chargers than all of the U.S. does. Guangdong, a coastal province that borders Hong Kong, has 345,126 public chargers and 19,116 charging stations as of the end of September, according to the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance. That’s around three times as many public chargers as exist in the U.S., according to BloombergNEF data. In just the past 12 months, China added 592,000 public chargers.
Exhaust: “With more chargers, there’s less range anxiety. EV sales therefore go up,” David Zhang, an automotive analyst who is also dean of the Jiangxi New Energy Technology Institute, told Bloomberg. That’s what happened in Guangdong, where EV sales went up 151 percent in six months. —SCS
Car theft ring uncovered by Midwest police
Intake: Following the armed robbery of a postal worker in Ohio in January, police have uncovered a ring of people connected to several brazen car thefts in the Detroit area, according to a report from the Associated Press. When authorities caught the man suspected of the armed robbery, they found several high-end vehicles at his home, which led to federal indictments against him and three other Ohio men on charges of conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen vehicles, according to Automotive News. The men arrested in connection with the postal robbery appear to be the ones who were taking delivery of the stolen vehicles; they connected with people in Detroit through Instagram to get the stolen vehicles. As it stands, those directly responsible for stealing the cars appear to still be at large. The thieves are using cloned key fobs to steal Dodge muscle cars and trucks (as well as Ford F-150 Raptors and Mustangs) and other high-powered vehicles from dealerships and even automaker lots in Michigan, then selling them for steep discounts according to authorities and court records. The thieves were selling the vehicles, which were worth anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000, for $3500 to $15,000 to buyers in Chicago, Indianapolis, and cities near East Coast shipping ports.
Exhaust: Despite all the improved security measures on modern cars, thefts still seem surprisingly common, and the thought of a ring of thieves repeating these bold acts feels like something from another decade. The thieves used “pro pads,” a locksmith’s tool that can clone keys by plugging into the interior ports of a vehicle. Once they had the cloned keys, it was as simple as starting the car up and driving off with it. Expect authorities to continue to investigate the ring in the coming months and hopefully nab those lifting the cars and trucks off dealer and automaker lots. —Nathan Petroelje
Isotta plans to enter Le Mans with new car
Intake: According to DailySportscar.com, Isotta Fraschini, the Italian marque revived years after its glory days, has announced plans for an LMH race car designed by Michelotto and aided by Williams Advanced Engineering, and plan to debut the car at the 6 Hours of Spa next year in the Hypercar class of of the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship. “Also now confirmed,” reported Daily Sports Car, is that the car will run a four-wheel drive system with hybrid energy deployed via the front axle. The selected internal combustion engine is now confirmed as a 3.0-liter turbo V-6 from a still un-named German OEM supplier.
Exhaust: The debut at Spa next year means the team will miss Sebring and Portimao, but will be ready for the 100th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. So far, no word on drivers. —SCS
Kia to lose its Stinger in 2023: report
Intake: Kia’s sports sedan will cease production in 2023, according to reports coming out of South Korea. Auto Times claims that the lines will shut in April next year and there will be no replacement. Launched in 2017, the rear-drive Stinger was welcomed by enthusiasts, but sales never quite matched expectations, with an average of just 13,000 examples being sold each year in the U.S.A—the car’s biggest market.
Exhaust: Given Hyundai and Kia’s strides in electrification, the Stinger’s demise is no surprise. Kia plans to have 11 electric vehicles on sale by 2025 and the Stinger’s place will most likely be taken by a restyled and amped-up version of the Ioniq 6, just as the EV6 shares its underpinnings with the Ioniq 5. No doubt the new car will be even more rapid than the Stinger, but will it be as fun? —NB