RPM Act gains steam, Porsche’s new track toy, Czinger sets Laguna Seca record
RPM Act gains support in House of Representatives
Intake: According to SEMA, Congressional support for the bipartisan Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2021 (RPM Act) continued to build before members of the U.S. House of Representatives left Washington, D.C., and headed home until mid-September. The RPM Act—which guarantees the right to modify street cars, trucks, and motorcycles into dedicated race vehicles, and ensure that industry can offer parts that enable racers to compete—now has 96 bipartisan co-sponsors. The House reconvenes on September 20.
Exhaust: With the public support of five more House members, the dominos continue to fall in favor of the RPM Act and SEMA, which for years has been fighting for the rights of custom builders. Congressional action on the RPM Act is long overdue, but at least we’re seeing some progress.
Porsche rolls out a limited-run track toy in honor of Manthey-Racing GmbH
Intake: Porsche announced a limited-production, track-only variant of the 911 GT2 RS Clubsport to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Manthey-Racing GmbH, the outfit that has worked closely with Porsche motorsport over the last 25 years. Just 30 examples will be produced, all sporting the same 690-horsepower 3.8-liter twin-turbo flat-six engine and the same seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The GT2 RS Clubsport boasts a centrally-positioned radiator and a redesigned front apron to optimize airflow as well as engine cooling capacity. Out back, there’s an especially large rear wing and a revised rear lid that creates better airflow departing the engine bay. Just six of these apex hunters are destined for the North American market, each at a cost of $620,000 plus taxes and shipping.
Exhaust: While the cynic in us might roll our eyes a bit at another track-only toy for the ultra-rich, it’s cool to see Porsche recognize its strong partnership with Manthey Racing. Recall that Manthey is the same outfit that recently helped Porsche reclaim the lap time throne at the Nürburgring Nordschliefe. Exclusive though it may be, we must admit that it’s a pretty wicked looking machine.
Czinger snatches Laguna Seca lap record from McLaren Senna
Intake: The WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca lap record once again belongs to a hometown—or at least, home state—hero. In the cool of the evening on July 21, Joel Miller piloted a Czinger 21C shod in road-legal Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Rs to a time of 1:25.44. That’s 2.8 seconds faster than the previous record, the McLaren Senna’s 1:27.62. Miller himself is a Californian by birth, with experience in both sports car and prototype racing. If you’re in town for Monterey Car Week, and if you’re on L.A.-based Czinger’s guest list, you’ll get a chance to see the record-setting car in person, at the company’s private Pebble Beach home.
Exhaust: What does it take to beat Woking’s golden child? Along with optimal West-Coast-perfect track conditions (a 9-mph NW wind and 60 degree air temp), a power-to-weight ratio of 1250 hp to 1240 kilograms (2728 pounds). A 2.8-liter, flat-plane-crank V-8 strapped with twin turbos and complemented by an electric motor on each front wheel reportedly powers this beast to 186 mph in 13.8 seconds. Now we know for certain that the 21C is far more than a straight-line, spec-sheet diva.
Big 3 publicly support aggressive White House vehicle emissions initiative
Intake: President Biden signed an Executive Order that sets a new target to make half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 zero-emissions vehicles, including battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, or fuel cell electric vehicles. Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis quickly followed with a joint statement of support and announced their “shared aspiration to achieve sales of 40–50 percent of annual U.S. volumes of electric vehicles by 2030 in order to move the nation closer to a zero-emissions future.”
Exhaust: These are ambitious targets, but we don’t yet know to what extent they are achievable, practical, or desirable for car consumers and enthusiasts—some of whom have already voiced their skepticism about the rise of EVs. It is important to note that this isn’t the first time the EPA’s efforts to lower emissions have been met with fierce resistance, but the Clean Air Act of 1970 had a positive impact on the environment.
2022 Lexus GX gains handsome black trim package, ditches obnoxious touchpad
Intake: Four model years into its second generation, and three since Lexus’ second-largest SUV received the spindle grille treatment, it gets an edgy special edition trimmed in black. Beyond the gloss-black 18-inch wheels and dark, gaping maw, the Black Line Special Edition gets a black headliner and a mostly black interior accented with black wood. The real news, however, is that all 2022 GX models get an updated infotainment system headlined by a 10.3-inch touchscreen. Gone for good is the exasperating, console-mounted touchpad.
Exhaust: This black-trimmed luxobarge appears aimed at a younger, deep-pocketed set who appreciate the burliness of a Toyota body-on-frame SUV but crave the posh experience of a Lexus. The Black Line edition is also the only GX model available in Lexus’ delicious Nori Green Pearl (shown above)—a definite selling point, in our books. Lexus isn’t done squeezing more life out of this three-row SUV yet.
VW’s rakish ID.5 will have to edge out the Mach-E
Intake: On September 7, Volkswagen will introduce a near-production version of its upcoming ID.5 GTX SUV coupe at the IAA Munich Motor Show. The sportier EV’s sheetmetal, donning some funky camo flair, is draped over the same MEB skeleton that underpins the more conservative ID.4. The “GTX” denotes this ID.5 as one equipped with VW’s latest electric performance goodies, a dual motor, all-wheel-drive system that aims to do justice to the reputation of previous GTX models: internal VW lingo for the Golf’s GTI, turbodiesel, and hybrid variants (the latter two don’t come stateside). Official performance figures for this spicy ID.5 are withheld as of now, but they will likely mirror those of the ID.4 GTX, which does 0–60 mph in a modest (by EV standards) 6.2 seconds.
Exhaust: Shape and style are going to be the most polarizing differentiators, given that many of VW’s EVs sprout from modular versions of the same platform. As history suggests, the image-conscientious younger set will be waiting in the wings to scoop up the ID.5—that is, if the Mach-E or Model Y hasn’t stolen their attentions (and wallets) first.