Ford honors NASCAR team’s ’66 Le Mans podium, Polestar 2’s wrench-free tune, off-road Telluride cometh

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Ford salutes NASCAR team that completed 1966’s Le Mans podium sweep

Intake: It’s an open secret that, though Ford filled the podium of the world’s most famous endurance race in 1966, the 1-2-3 sweep was the work of many hands. Those who weren’t there in person likely remember the race winner—the black #2 GT40—from 2019’s Ford v Ferrari starring Christian Bale (Ken Miles) and Matt Damon (Carroll Shelby). Driven by the Australian duo of Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon, that car was a Shelby American special, crowned the winner on a technicality over the #1 of Ken Miles and Denny Hulme fielded by the same. However, Ford wouldn’t have completed the sweep without the third-place car—or the team that put it on the grid. Holman & Moody ran Ford’s NASCAR teams, but in 1966 it also fielded the #5 GT40 at Le Mans, driven by Ronnie Buckman and Dick Hutcherson (as well as the #4 bronze GT40 driven by Mark Donohue and Paul Hawkins). 56 years later, the factory is honoring Holman & Moody with a special-edition, limited-run GT (its ninth). The carbon fiber–bodied Heritage Edition GT, whose siblings have competed at Le Mans, wears gold-and-red livery to match the 1966 original, chassis P/1016. Want one? You either already know you’re getting one, or you’re doomed to wait until one rears its head on the auction block.

Exhaust: Holman & Moody’s #5 was arguably the most authentically American of the GT40s on the 1966 Le Mans grid, which included the MK IIs of Ford France and Scuderia Filipinetti (neither of whom finished), and not simply because both its drivers were American. Holman & Moody–built Fords won 48 of 55 NASCAR Grand National Series races in 1965, a record that has never been broken. The year following, it would win the Daytona 500 with Mario Andretti. Don’t let the gold-and-red livery deceive you—the #5 car was the red, white, and bluest of them all. Funny thing the modern GT’s built in Canada

Report: BMW and McLaren to partner on electric sports cars

Intake: BMW and Mercedes signed a memorandum of understanding in March to cover the development of a new EV architecture for sports cars, according to reports coming out of Germany. The publication Automobilwoche claims that the two companies are currently discussing the plans, which would be their first road car collaboration since the McLaren F1—and we all know how that turned out. McLaren has plenty of hybrid experience but will have to commit to fully electrified cars soon, while BMW has already made significant progress with high performance electric powertrains in cars such as the iX M60, which packs over 600 hp.

Exhaust: There is a possible fly in the ointment in the shape of Audi. BMW’s archrival is looking likely to enter Formula 1 when a new raft of rules come in for 2026, and buying McLaren is said to be the four-ringed firm’s favored route into the sport. Audi is still evaluating an entry, saying, “This gives our company the opportunity to demonstrate “Vorsprung durch Technik” in the pinnacle of motorsport from 2026. We have not yet made a decision as we are currently in the final evaluation phase.” Who will get to McLaren first?

Dual-motor Polestar 2 jolted with extra power—for a price

Polestar

Intake: Polestar’s P2.0 software update is being rolled out over the air (OTA) to bring new app functions and personalization to its most affordable offering. Previous OTA updates have included major improvements, including the ability to schedule charging times, a more efficient climate control mode, and battery preconditioning. Owners of Polestar 2 Long range Dual motor models now have the ability to purchase an OTA upgrade that boosts power to 469 hp, up from an initial 400. Polestar will announce exact cost later this spring. “Software technology in our cars should not be much different from how the latest software is pushed out on smartphones in everyday life.” says Polestar CEO, Thomas Ingenlath. 

Exhaust: Please connect your car to power before installing the latest iOS … We appreciate Polestar’s willingness to support existing customers by offering easily accessible software to brings existing vehicles up-to-date. It also signals a larger, mental shift for tuning culture: Whether their upgrades come from the factory or the aftermarket, EVs rely on software more than hardware to increase performance.

Smart #1 is an electric Geely-Mercedes city car for China and Europe

smart #1
smart

Intake: Geely is on a mission to electrify every niche in the auto market. Having just launched the Lotus Eletre “Hyper SUV” and generally impressing everyone with Polestar, the Chineses conglomerate has partnered with Mercedes-Benz to deliver a new city car from the quirky no caps smart brand. It’s an SUV of course, and at 168 inches long, it’s a lot larger than any previous model and, dare we say it?, not quite as smart as a result. The original smart Fourtwo was so tiny you could park it nose-on to the curb and it would stick out less than a standard sedan. Times change, though, and even city dwellers seem to want a high-riding crossover, so that’s what smart has given them. The exterior styling is generic electro-SUV, while the interior looks simple and fluid. With 272 hp from a rear-mounted electric motor it should pull away swiftly from city stop lights even though it weighs in at a hefty 4012 pounds. Top speed is quoted as 112 mph and the range is up to 273 miles on a charge of its 66 kWh battery pack, so it won’t need juicing up too often.

Exhaust: The smart brand is forbidden fruit in the U.S.A. after the company’s foray stateside from 2008 to 2019. Despite the new car being more suited size-wise Geely will be focusing its attentions on more profitable marques such as Volvo, Polestar and Lotus.

Telluride adds big screen, off-road trim to fight an edgier Palisade

Intake: Our first peek at the 2023 Telluride shows just a hint at some of the changes coming our way, including a new grille, headlights, and lower front fascia. Inside, a wide digital display (below) will replace the hooded, twin-gauge configuration that’s currently in use. Kia also promises more variety with at least one new trim, the X-Pro, which will increase the off-road capability of the three-row crossover. Meanwhile, the Hyundai Palisade, which shares its platform with the Telluride, is also getting a new look (give the above gallery a swipe). We’ve got no news on interior or trim options, but the front does show a significant redesign that separates the midsizer from its Tucson stablemate by adopting a more rectangular grille.

Kia

We’ll be able to see all the changes, inside and out, next week at the New York International Auto Show when the Palisade makes its official debut on Wednesday, April 13, at 9:45 a.m. ET. The Telluride will be unveiled shortly after, at 10:10 a.m.

Exhaust: Kia nailed the styling on the Telluride, helping to make it one of the hottest commodities among midsize crossovers and one of the fastest-selling vehicles of 2021. An off-road trim, if not the giant infotainment screen, is a near-guaranteed moneymaker. The Palisade has been lighting up the sales charts, too, and managed to improve its sales numbers in 2021 after a remarkable 2020 sales year. The updates should help the South Korean twins keep pace with an expanding field of fantastic competitors. We’re also hoping to hear about some new powertrains to join the 3.8-liter V-6, which is currently the sole offering between the two.

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