Mustang goes GT3 racing in ’24, mysterious Buick “GNX” Rainier SUV surfaces, an electric Esprit?
Ford’s taking the Mustang GT3 racing in 2024
Intake: Ahead of this weekend’s 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race, the Blue Oval dropped some of the best news we’ve heard in a hot minute (well, since Monday, anyways): Ford will return to factory-backed GT3 racing with a new Mustang GT3 IMSA race car. The car will be a joint program between Ford Performance and long-time Canadian partner Multimatic Motorsports, which has experience running the current Mustang GT4 race cars. Power will come from a 5.0-liter Coyote V-8-based engine. Ford will ready a two-car factory-backed IMSA program in the GTD Pro category but will also offer customer teams the chance to campaign the car in the GTD class. Recall that Corvette Racing is also working on a customer program to take the C8 Corvette racing in the 2024 GT3 class as well. The new Mustang GT3 will make its race debut at the 2024 24 Hours of Daytona.
Exhaust: It goes without saying, but: Hell to the yes. We love seeing the modern Mustang take to the race track, whether it be in NASCAR, Australian Supercars, or the beloved IMSA endurance series. Mark Rushbrook, Ford Performance Motorsports global director, puts it perfectly: “Mustang was born to race from the start and we’re thrilled to introduce the GT3 version to compete head-to-head against some of the greatest manufacturers in the world.” 2024 is gonna be fun.
Design your own Ducati
Intake: Ducati has announced a new program for customers to create one-off two-wheelers. The Ducati Unica scheme opens the doors to the Italian firm’s Centro Stile design studio for buyers to work with Ducati’s ateliers to define the materials, finishes colors and performance parts to make their bespoke bike. Ducati will document every stage of the process from the first sketches to final delivery, and each bike will be supplied with a certificate of uniqueness.
Exhaust: Looking at how successful Ducati’s four-wheeled neighbors at Ferrari and Lamborghini have been with their personalization programs, this move looks certain to be a smash hit among the Ducatisti–and a big earner for the brand.
A Buick GNX reborn as an SUV?
Intake: Did the Buick GNX actually die in 1987? There’s a modified 2004 Buick Rainier SUV for sale that begs to differ. Sporting a twin-screw supercharger atop an aluminum 5.3-liter V-8 (LM4) paired to GM’s all-wheel-drive system, this reborn GNX is how you make the GMT-360 platform move like a modern-day GMC Typhoon. This one-off Rainier GNX sports blacked-out trim, GNX graphics on the gauges and doors, 20-inch chrome wheels, and a Borla exhaust. The seller claims this is a “Prototype Show Vehicle” that “has no title and cannot be driven on public roads” yet the listing suggests it has 24,000 miles.
Exhaust: Some might be concerned by the Buick’s relatively high mileage, and the fact that GM isn’t in the habit of letting third-party vendors promote themselves on its concepts (peep the Classic Soft Trim leather seats, Magnacharger-branded blower). Fear not, as we ran this GNX’s unique VIN through CARFAX to get a clearer picture. The vehicle history report says this is a Buick Rainier CXL that never received its mandatory “pre-delivery inspection” by the selling Buick dealership. No inspection means there was no formal delivery with a legit title. While that’s a dangerous red flag for a regular car, it makes for an even more credible story behind this very cool SUV. Consider us intrigued and very impressed.
IMSA acquires HSR
Intake: New school buys old school. The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), North America’s premier road racing sanctioning body, announced yesterday that it has acquired Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR), one of the nation’s largest vintage motorsports organizations. HSR, which held its first event in 1991, has organized over 250 vintage racing events in the past three decades, and is now the designated sanctioning body for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. The purchase brings HSR into IMSA’s booming portfolio, which includes seven other endurance and road racing series. No extreme schedule revamps or format changes have been announced yet, as HSR kicks off its nine-event calendar at the annual Spring Fling in Sebring, April 6 through 8.
Exhaust: Currently, HSR is most known for its “HSR Classics,” weekend romps in vintage sports cars around southeastern tracks like Daytona, Sebring, and Road Atlanta. (The eldest of the event trio, the annual Mitty at Road Atlanta,dates back to 1977.) Prior to the purchase, these meets were typically held separate from professional race dates. As enthusiasts of all things left-n-right, we hope this acquisition increases the potential for companion events between modern and vintage racing series. Imagine, a crowded paddock filled with Cadillac prototypes and Porsche 962s. If anything, the purchase will bolster the vintage series by bringing new partners and more exposure to the table, which will hopefully ensure HSR at least three more successful decades.
2022 brings new Harley-Davidson models with custom style and features
Intake: When you think touring, Harley-Davidson is likely one of the first names that comes to mind. For 2022 the brand is looking to branch out with its ST line. The ST is short for sport touring, and the Low Rider, Street Glide, and Road Glide all get the ST treatment which includes unique colorways and detail options, along with the Milwaukee-Eight 117-cubic-inch V-twin engine with its 125 pound-feet of torque.
Exhaust: When it comes to sport touring, the most machines lean to the sport side. H-D’s moves seems nicely calculated to capture a buyer that wants the power and cool of a custom with the convenience of buying ready-to-ride from the dealer. The power of the Milwaukee-Eight is a bonus when the new models have a certified mean look.
Lotus gives us a glimpse of its next EV
Intake: The first “affordable” Lotus EV sports car is to be powered by a new battery-cell pack developed with Britishvolt with special attention paid to its ability to rapid charge, save weight, and optimize energy density. Lotus used the announcement to tease a sketch of the car’s silhouette, and, maybe it’s just us, but there’s something of the Esprit in the angle of the windscreen and rear end. The fenders look more pronounced and there’s some additional complexity in the surfacing. And who wouldn’t want to see a return of the wonderful wedge?
Exhaust: Lotus is shortly to reveal its all-electric Type 132 SUV, which many may see as the antithesis of Colin Chapman’s philosophy, even if it will likely be the brand’s biggest-seller. However, with a focus on saving weight, the sports car that’s set to follow should mark a return to form—and if it looks like an Esprit, then all the better!
24 Hours of Le Mans winners will be featured at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion
Intake: The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion always features some of the greatest classic race cars to ever compete on the track, but the 2022 event will be extra special for fans of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In addition to the four Le Mans-specific race groups, a Le Mans Legends Heritage display will feature a century of winners and significant cars that have competed in the French classic. Among the confirmed cars is 1929 Bentley Old Number One chassis #LB2332, which won the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright in both 1929 and ’30; 1966 Ford GT40 chassis P/1046, which gave Ford Motor Company its first Le Mans victory; and 1979 Porsche 935 K3 chassis #009 00015, the first rear-engine winner. The Reunion is scheduled for August 17–20 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Individual tickets are available online at www.WeatherTechRaceway.com or can be purchased by calling (831) 242-8200.
Exhaust: Depending on how many 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning cars show up at the Reunion, this year’s event could become the largest-ever American gathering of 24 Hours winners. If you’ve always wanted to go to Le Mans but have never made it, this may be your chance to at least see some of the race’s greatest champions.