Relive Group C glory days, RTR Mustang returns, Genesis’ electric SUV smokes tires?
Relive Group C’s ’90s glory days with this winged duo
Intake: Want to relive the glory days of Group C racing, when endurance racers would top 250 mph on the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans? Then you’re in luck, because two of the era’s sports cars have just come on the market. First up is the Toyota 92C-V (below), which raced between 1992 and 1994 scoring a highest place of fourth. The car was built by Dome for Toyota with a 3.5-liter motor which, after a recent rebuild by Xtec, produces 782 hp. The 92C-V is chassis #001 and was progressively modified during its career to meet changing regulations. Eligible for entry to the 2023 Le Mans Classic, the car is for sale at Art & Revs in Luxembourg.
Should you fancy driving your Group C special closer to home, then the 1991 Koenig Special C62 (above) might do the trick. You can even drive this Porsche 962-based machine on the road. Koenig took the 962 chassis and rebodied it to meet German road rules, planning to sell 30 of them at an equivalent of just over a million dollars each. However, just three were built. Powered by a 3.4-liter 911 Turbo motor, it offers 550 hp at the wheels and, thankfully, maintains the 962’s brakes. The suspension is a tad softer than that of the original race car and it rides higher, making it more useable on the street. This car was originally sold to an owner in Japan where it covered just 5000 km (3107 miles) before being imported to California, where the seller has added another 600 miles or so to the odometer. It’s for sale at Issimi in California for $995,000.
Exhaust: If ever there was an era of race cars that you’d expect to be confined to a museum, it’s Group C. Yet here are two incredible endurance racers that are still being driven. Hats off to the people keeping them on the track—and, even more amazingly, on the road.
Detroit Grand Prix could return to downtown streets in 2023
Intake: Yesterday, September 29, organizers of the Detroit Grand Prix proposed a change of venue to the city council: from Belle Isle, where IndyCar has run since 1992, back to the streets of Detroit itself. The proposed circuit—a 1.70-mile, roughly rectangular affair that runs along Jefferson Avenue, Bates Street, Atwater Street, and Rivard Street, with pit row situated off Atwater, close to the waterfront—would not be the same layout that Senna, Piquet, and other F1 greats tamed from 1982 to 1988.
Exhaust: How does that saying go, “Everything old is new again?” After decades of running on Belle Isle, open-wheel competition could boomerang back to downtown Detroit, where the Grand Prix was held for most of the ’80s. As awesome as the Detroit Grand Prix is in its current form—Indy cars banging sidepods on an island that doubles as a bucolic state park—the change should be welcomed. The Belle Isle track surface is tired, the layout is tight with minimal passing opportunities, and the only access point to the venue is one long bridge over the Detroit River. A move to Motown’s downtown would relieve the claustrophobia felt by drivers and fans.
GM’s new, cloud-based software platform promises open-source goodies
Intake: GM has announced its new software platform, which builds upon its Vehicle Intelligence Platform (VIP) announced in 2019. (Known internally as Global B, GM’s VIP debuted with the 2020 Cadillac CT5.) The new software platform, dubbed “Ultifi,” is an in-house affair with a focus on cloud-based connectivity. It will, of course, support over-the-air upgrades. One of the most exciting features, however, is that applications written for Ultifi will be Linux-based: Rather than partnering with Apple, Google, or Microsoft, whose control of their digital ecosystems tends to be heavy handed, GM is holding open the door for open-source development.
Exhaust: Beneath the too-cool-for-school moniker, Ultifi holds the potential for some pretty nifty features. GM seems to be considering a digital marketplace populated by apps written by third-party developers—its own version of Apple’s App Store or Google Play. If such a “shop” becomes reality, you could theoretically download an app written by, for instance, your home security company, that could allow you to relay your back-door video feed onto the screen of your Lyriq. As the digital shop owner, GM would likely benefit from the sale of such third-party apps, and there’s always the looming risk of in-car digital advertising. We’ve reached out to GM for more details, and will update as we hear back.
RTR Mustang returns for 2021
Intake: The specially tuned RTR Mustangs from the mind of champion drift driver Vaughn Gittin, Jr. are back for the 2021 model year. The Spec 1 RTR (Ready To Rock) package is available on GT and EcoBoost Premium Mustangs with or without MagneRide suspension. The RTR package will include a lighted RTR grille, a chin spoiler, rocker extensions, rear corner splitters and diffuser, a Gurney flap for the rear wing, and 19-inch RTR wheels. Inside, the RTR logo will be found on the floor mats, a dash plaque, the shift knob, and lighted sill plates. Mechanical gear also includes a performance suspension and strut tower brace from Ford Performance. Just 500 of the packages will be produced, and they start at $7500.
Exhaust: Ford has always offered Mustang fans loads of options when it comes to customization and personalization. This RTR Spec 1 package is a bit pricey, but with RTR flow-formed wheels and Nitto NT555 tires, much of the cost is going to added grip and the Ford Racing suspension should help make the most of that 10-inch rear rubber. The new body panels are aggressive, without being over the top, so this is not a bad way to get a Mustang that stands out from the crowd.
Dealership consolidation is progressing rapidly behind the scenes
Intake: Yesterday a mind-numbing $3.2 billion was spent by the publicly-held Asbury Automotive Group to purchase the privately-held Larry H. Miller Dealerships. This purchase more than doubles Asbury’s footprint, which is a huge step in the consolidation of automotive retailers. While sticker shock is expected, the big bucks were needed because, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association, the average U.S. car dealership had a 48 percent jump in net profit in 2020.
Exhaust: There are many reasons why auto retailing news is never covered by car enthusiast hacks. Most likely because $3.2 billion won’t change the user experience significantly for customers. It doesn’t matter whether the dealership is run behind the curtain by a CEO appearing on CNBC every quarter or by the descendants of a mom-and-pop shop; customers are mostly interested in getting what they want from every transaction. Dealerships that win this game keep customer retention rates, employee productivity, morale, etc. high while keeping costs down. Getting bored yet? Yeah, we thought so.
Ford issues slew of recalls for safety and compliance issues
Intake: Ford is issuing three recalls for products sold in the past three years—two for safety and one for compliance. The first recall affects 701,114 vehicles sold in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, spanning a range of build dates (listed in full here) of the 2020 Explorer, F-150, Mustang, Transit line, Super Duty trucks, Expedition, Escape, Ranger, and Edge, plus the Lincoln MKX and Nautilus. A faulty circuit board might not allow enough power to reach the rearview camera, causing it to intermittently stop working. This would place these vehicles out of compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. The second recall is for a brittle brake-pedal bracket in 40,578 2020 Mustangs, which could fracture and cause the driver to lose primary braking in a sudden stop. The third and final recall applies to 10,589 2019 Super Duty pickups, which may have a wheel-end yolk in the front axle that was improperly welded to the axle-tube end.
Exhaust: Recalls are an unfortunate reality in an industry that builds machines as complex—and regulated—as modern automobiles. If you think your car might be affected by any of the recalls mentioned above, confirm by looking at the release linked above and make plans to get your vehicle to your nearest dealership in short order.
Genesis GV60 EV to get 483-hp, plus boost and drift modes
Intake: The upcoming Genesis GV60 crossover EV looks like it’s going to be pretty entertaining—at least in its Performance version. With twin motors and all-wheel drive, the top-flight GV60 will offer up a total of 430 hp and 446 lb-ft of torque, but an available boost mode will deliver even more power for ten seconds (up to 483 hp), to allow the GV60 to reach 62 mph in four seconds. Also included is a “hidden drift mode,” although since Genesis just made that public, it’s hardly a secret anymore. Activating this mode sends all power to the rear wheels with no interference from traction control, making electric burnouts and powerslides a possibility. Based on the same platform used by Kia for the EV6 and Hyundai’s Ioniq 5, the car features multilink front suspension, with a five-link rear setup. There’s an electronic limited-slip differential to provide torque vectoring and electronic adjustable damping, which uses a camera to allow it to react to the road conditions. An active sound system is included as well. All versions come with a 77.4-kWh battery pack good for up to 250 miles depending on the model. In addition to the range-topping Performance trim, Genesis will offer an entry-level rear-drive GV60 with a single motor and 225 hp alongside a 314-hp all-wheel-drive derivative.
Exhaust: Genesis spokesman Sean Lee says the GV60 will provide “a driving experience that is comparable to a sports car.” We’ll reserve judgment until we’ve driven it, but almost 500 hp and tire-smoking ability looks like a good starting point.