Chevy’s Colorado Trail Boss, Hennessey’s 405-hp Bronco, IndyCar in a video game

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Welcome to The Manifold, our fresh daily digest of news and what’s happening in the car world.

Chevy’s Colorado Trail Boss is a ZR2-lite

Intake: Chevrolet has announced a Trail Boss package for the 2022 model year. This dealer-installed package will include a 1.0-inch suspension lift, 17-inch wheels straight from the hardcore Colorado ZR2, underbody skid plates, and a few other visual goodies to set it apart from more sedate versions of the mid-sizer. The package will be offered for LT and Z71 models for $2995 and $2985, respectively. Chevy says the package will go on sale later this summer.

Exhaust: A Chevy spokesperson noted that Trail Boss is among the most popular trims for the Silverado 1500, so we know there’s an appetite for that level of capability. As the Silverado team prepares to fill out their lineup with a hardcore ZR2 of their own, it’s fitting that the Trail Boss trim makes an appearance on the Colorado to fill out that lineup as well. Off-road-focused trucks continue to skyrocket in popularity, and Chevy seems up to the task of meeting those buyers at multiple sizes and price points.

Meet Hennessey’s new 405-hp Ford Bronco VelociRaptor 400 

2021 Ford Bronco Hennessey VelociRaptor 400
Hennessey

Intake: Hennessey wants to take the 2021 Ford Bronco to the next level with the all-new VelociRaptor 400 Bronco performance package. With the help of new intake and exhaust systems, the Texas tuner tweaked the range-topping Bronco Wildtrak’s 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine to deliver 405 horsepower and 503 lb-ft torque, gains of 75 ponies and 88 lb-ft, respectively. Those increased power figures help this off-roader achieve a 0–60 time of just 4.9 seconds. More than just a hotted-up engine, the off-road package also adds 18-inch wheels, massive 35-inch tires, special front and rear bumpers, and retractable side steps. Pleasantly, the tweaks don’t impede on any of the engine modes or off-road systems that Ford already bolsters the Bronco with. Just 200 units will be made this year, with 250 more joining the stable in 2022.

Exhaust: As the popularity of SUVs and trucks continue to rise, we’re seeing famous tuning houses like Hennessey and Shelby offer performance kits for them, and we don’t expect that to slow anytime soon. If, for some reason, you didn’t want the 35-inch tires offered directly by Ford via the loveable Sasquatch package, here’s another route that offers a bit more shove to boot.

Nissan commences 2022 Frontier production stateside

Intake: Bits and pieces of the new 2022 Nissan Frontier are finally coming together, as production of the redesigned truck commences today at Nissan’s Canton Assembly Plant in central Mississippi. This latest generation of the mid-sized pickup arrives on the heels of a long 15-year stretch for the humble second gen. Tim Fallon, VP of the plant has this to say regarding their new kid on the block, “The all-new Frontier has surpassed our expectations–setting new standards for mid-size truck capability, technology and power. The Canton plant team is full of pride and ready to produce the next generation of one of the strongest, most rugged trucks in the market.” 2022 Frontiers are slated to hit dealer lots later this summer.

Exhaust: Buzz is a brewing around the tastefully modern yet conservative new Frontier, poised to challenge the notion that every mid-sized pickup must be larger than the last, by possessing narrower proportions than the rest of the field. Fans of the old Frontier have been waiting years on this long overdue redesign, what’s a few more months? 

IndyCar is getting its own video game

IndyCar/Motorsport Games announcement
IndyCar/Motorsport Games

Intake: Motorsport Games, a racing game developer out of Miami, Florida, has inked a deal with IndyCar to develop an all-new video game for console and PC players alike. The game is expected to launch in 2023, and will open the door for a host of esports championships to take place using the cars we know and love from the real IndyCar series. “After decades of world class racing, we cannot think of a more deserving league for a video game franchise,” said Motorsport games CEO Dmitry Kozko.

Exhaust: Likewise, Mr. Kozko. Giving fans the opportunity to play as their favorite drivers on iconic American tracks seems like a win-win to us. Like the esports mania that has sprung up around Formula 1, don’t be surprised to see fiercely-contested championships and special tournaments blossom around IndyCar as well. Imagine an Indianapolis 500 tournament leading up to the real-deal race! Sign us up. 

Houston Raceway Park will close its doors after next year’s NHRA Spring Nationals

Houston Raceway Park sunset photo
Houston Raceway Park

Intake: After more than three decades of racing, hosting some of South Texas’ largest drag racing events, Houston Raceway Park announced that it will close its doors for good after next season’s Spring Nationals, which take place April 22–24, 2022. The facility, which is owned an operated by the Angel family and has been leased to the NHRA each of the last four years for competition, will be replaced by an industrial park, according to Autoweek.

Exhaust: The temporary closure of the track for storing hurricane Harvey flood cars was an indication of just how valuable the land was, and it’s likely no coincidence that the offer to buy the property came shortly after. This is a big loss to the Houston area as the track has been the primary legal outlet for racers in South East Texas, hosting events like TX2K and a litany of local track nights year-round. Losing the nitro cars of the NHRA makes headlines, but the real loss is to the locals who want safe locations to race.

GM expands design and technology footprint in southern California

General Motors

Intake: GM plans on investing more than $71 million in a new, 149,000-square-foot Advanced Design Center in Pasadena, California. The eight-acre design and technology campus will focus on concept and future mobility projects and be outfitted with state-of-the-art design tools and equipment. “The collaborative nature of this facility will provide our advanced design team, cross-functional groups, prospective employees, and external partners with the environment they need to continually redefine the boundaries of future mobility,” said Bryan Nesbitt, GM executive director, Global Advanced Design and Global Architecture Studios. GM will continue to operate its current design facility in North Hollywood until the new Pasadena complex is completed in “the second half of 2022.”

Exhaust: Aside from being three times the size of the current North Hollywood location, having a design and tech center in Pasadena will be a great recruiting tool. It’s close to lots of great schools, including ArtCenter College of Design, so it may give GM a leg up on getting top design talent.

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