Hybrid Corvette tech leaked, Britain’s first F1 car will live again, Oettinger goodies for Mk8 GTI, Golf R

e-ray spy shot manifold hybrid corvette lead
Spotted by spy photographers back in December, this wide-hipped Corvette mule looks suspiciously like a Z06—except for the exhaust, which is arranged in two pairs rather than in a center-quad format. SpiedBilde

Tremec transaxle patent hints at hybrid Corvette tech

Intake: The Drive found a new patent filed by Tremec regarding its eight-speed dual-clutch transaxle that involves an intriguing motor-generator. Considering the only application of that TR-9080 eight-speed is in the C8 Corvette, this may be our first hint at how the C8 hybrid (the rumored “E-Ray”) will operate. The transaxle in the patent uses a motor-generator that works as a regenerative braking system and cam charge a battery or power the car through either of the two input shafts, which each hold half of the transmissions gear sets. This means that the transaxle can use electric power only to drive the car in first, third, fifth, and seventh gear, or in second, fourth, sixth, and eighth gear, depending on which input shaft is powered. It can also power the output shaft, providing a boost in power to the gasoline engine, even during shifts.

Exhaust: Speculation regarding a hybrid Corvette suggests that the front wheels will get an electric assist. That’s not to say that there won’t be an all-wheel-drive Corvette eventually, but Tremec’s packaging is an interesting development. Of course, we’re also wondering what it would feel like to drive a C8 in all-electric mode and shift through the gears, even if only half of them. If the battery pack for the hybrid Corvette can be compact and power-dense without adding too much weight, this could shape up to be a very fun ride.

Your next car might not have a traditional wiring harness

vehicle wire harness cellink

Intake: California-based startup Cellink has plans to eliminate the wire harness from your next car and has now raised 250 million dollars in capital from several large automotive groups. The technology claims to be a quarter of the weight and a tenth the volume of traditional round wire–based system. Cellink claims to be in “hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles now,” but has yet to disclose exact details.

Exhaust: In an era where most vehicles get heavier with each year, anything that can trim mass seems like a good idea. How Cellink’s systems connect and are serviced are two very important details we haven’t gotten clarified yet, but on paper this seems like a very interesting advancement.

Lost for 70 years, jig for Britain’s first F1 car found in a boat house

Intake: Following a five-year search, BRM has found the body buck that was used for Britain’s first Formula 1 car. Unearthed in the loft of a boat house after going missing for 70 years the jig will now be used to shape the second of three new P15 V-16 BRMs. Ordered by watchmaker Richard Mille the supercharged 1.5-liter, 16-cylinder, 591 horsepower, recreated Grand Prix star will be ready in 2023.

Exhaust: Behind the reborn BRM project is Paul Owen, grandson of Sir Alfred Owen, who led Britain’s great post-war Grand Prix venture. “This car has not been seen in this form for over 70 years, and it is a privilege for the Owen family to be in a position to bring it to life once again,” he says.

Maserati Grecale SUV arrives with nothing to say

Intake: Maserati has been touring its new Grecale SUV around Italy in a light camouflage, complete with the rather unusual statement “I’m the Maserati Grecale. I can’t tell you much more” emblazoned on its flanks. However, while no useful information comes with this parade, it has given everyone the chance to have a first proper look at the smaller sibling to the Levante. The trademark Trident is very prominent in a large and slightly snarly grille, while the headlamps are angular and compact. Maserati’s famous trio of side vents sits neatly in line behind the front wheels and there’s another fishy fork on the C-pillar. In other words there are plenty of visual reminders that this is a Maserati. Power is expected to come from the same three-liter 430-hp turbo V-6 as used in the Ghibli, Quattroporte and Levante, and Maserati promises an “everyday exceptional” experience. More will be revealed on March 22.

Exhaust: With the class-leading Porsche Macan in its final iteration before being replaced, the timing could be right for Maserati to enter the market—if it can live up to the promise of that extensive and evocative badging.

Jaguar bets big on in-car driver-assist tech with NVIDIA partnership

2021 Jaguar F-PACE P340 profile rolling
Jaguar Land Rover

Intake: Jaguar Land Rover is investing heavily in its planned battery-powered reinvention. Its latest deal is with California-headquartered NVIDIA—competitor to Intel and Qualcomm—for a veritable bouquet of software and computing services ranging from autonomous driving to active safety to parking systems. NVIDIA, which has its hand in the gaming and mobile computing industries as well as the automotive sector, specializes in graphics processing units (GPUs), software interfaces, and an all-in-one computer system known as a “system on a chip” (SOC). It’s the firm behind the dash-width Hyperscreen in Mercedes’ all-electric EQ products, Hyundai and Kia’s current infotainment suites, and Tesla’s Autopilot system. JLR products will boast NVIDIA-powered computer brains beginning in 2025. Comparing that timeline with JLR’s previously announced EV schedule, it appears the first electric Land Rover, due in 2024, will do without the NVIDIA goodies. The partnership aligns with Jaguar’s 2025 resolution to be all-electric, however.

Exhaust: As Tesla’s continued issues with its semi-autonomous Autopilot system prove, a partnership with tech heavyweight NVIDIA doesn’t guarantee a trouble-free transition to computer-assisted driving. More than anything else, JLR’s partnership points to its determination to play with the big boys.

Kit out your Mk8 GTI or Golf R with Oettinger aero, progressive blinkers

Intake: VW just made it easier to kit out your Mk8 Golf GTI or Golf R. Through a collaboration with Oettinger Sports Systems GmbH, a factory-approved source of bodykits for several GTI generations, front and rear lip valances as well as a roof edge spoiler will be offered. All three pieces can be painted and installed at your local VW dealership or through an independent body shop. There’s also a pair of progressive LED turn signals for the side mirrors, made by Osram. They’re dark when not in use but upon activating the right or left blinker, a fluid light moves from the inside to the outer edge, with no additional coding required. (Swipe through the gallery below to get an idea.) Wheel-wise, new dynamic center caps with model-specific logos should be available early this year. They stay level and upright as the wheels are rolling, something right out of the Rolls-Royce playbook.

Exhaust: “The GTI is our most storied enthusiast vehicle,” said Hein Schafer, senior vice president of product marketing and strategy for VW of America. “Its owners have a history of dialing the car in to match their personality and lifestyle, and we are proud to offer a catalog of dynamic options to help them do so.” Kudos to VW for staying faithful to these hot hatches, and keeping an ear tuned to the accessory-happy customers that buy them. 

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