Manual-only, limited-run 911 just for U.S., GM Defense goes int’l, Glickenhaus third at Le Mans
Manual-only, droptop 911 is Porsche’s latest U.S.-only treat
Intake: Porsche is continuing a one-off American tradition that began in 1952 by releasing “an open-top, enthusiast-focused sports car made specifically for the North American market.” The 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet America edition follows the 356 America Roadster, introduced in 1952, and the 964 America Roadster from 1992, and is glorious in red, white and blue. Specified only with rear-drive and a seven-speed manual transmission, the Azure Blue 356 paintwork takes its inspiration from 70 years back, the RS Sypder design wheels feature white, silver and red detailing, and “America” decals are white with red accents. The interior theme is black and Pebble Grey with Guards Red stitching, and a white central tachometer. Power comes from a 480-hp, twin-turbo, three-liter flat-six, and performance-enhancing standard features include Porsche Active Suspension Management with a 0.4-inch height drop, a Sports Exhaust and Sport Chrono Pack. Rear-steering and ceramic composite brakes are on the options list. Sold as a 2023 model the Carrera GTS Cabriolet America will reach dealerships in late 2022, but you’ll have to be quick as only 115 examples will be built. “Passion for driving a Porsche runs deep in the United States,” says Porsche Cars North America President and CEO Kjell Gruner. “In particular, there is something special about hitting the road in an open-top 911 with a manual transmission that fits perfectly here.” Only 16 356 Americas were assembled, while 250 964s were built. The 115-unit production count of this most recent U.S. special splits the difference.
Exhaust: Historically, the United States has been Porsche’s biggest and most important market, so it’s no wonder that we occasionally get a special-edition Porsche all to ourselves. Any recent limited-production 911 has become a hot collector’s item almost immediately, and there’s no reason to believe the same won’t happen with the latest one.
Dodge to host seventh Roadkill Nights on August 13
Intake: The street-legal drag-racing festival known as Roadkill Nights, backed by Dodge, is returning for 2022. For its seventh-year iteration, Dodge will collaborate with the city of Detroit to shut down a stretch of Woodward Avenue—that famous site of ’60s shenanigans—where it will stage an temporary drag strip with concrete blocks, metal fencing, a garden hose, and a whole mess of tire-shredding muscle machines. (With the approval of local law enforcement and the support of emergency services, of course.) The racing is supplemented by food trucks galore, plus car shows old and new, driving simulators, and thrill rides at the nearby M1 Concourse in Pontiac. The celebrity competition “Grudge Race” returns for the second time, this time showcasing Dodge’s Direct Connection catalog: The media stars who compete against each other will do so with cars provided by Dodge and built out from this OEM treasure trove of publicly available speed parts.
Exhaust: This event draws big names within the amateur drag-racing community—plus 38,000 attendees last year—but with an appeal distinct from that of Power Tour or Drag Week. (Each is a week-long “progressive dinner” of drag racing in which competitors drive their prepped cars (many of which are sub-10-second builds) from track to track, towing tires and extra parts.) These battle-worn contestants love Roadkill Nights more as a chance to pop lawn chairs next to their racing friends from across the nation, with a little low-stress rubber roasting and a party atmosphere to boot.
Ferrari’s taking this shadowy monster to Le Mans in 2023
Intake: When else would Ferrari drop the first teaser image of its 2023 Le Mans racer but the weekend of the famous 24-hour race? This is your first peek at the hybrid monster with which Maranello will return to prototype racing, the top class of endurance racing that features cars built from scratch, rather than based on a production car. (Endurance-racing aficionados will be familiar with the 488 GTE Evolution from Le Mans’ GTE Pro class.) 2023 marks the first year of the IMSA/WEC co-sanctions, which allow a team to campaign the same car in endurance-racing series on both sides of the pond: The North America–based SportsCar Championship, operated by IMSA, and the World Endurance Championship, overseen by the FIA. Ferrari appears to be prioritizing the European series over the American one, judging by the “WEC” hashtag on the Instagram post featuring the image above. Ironically, Ferrari built its last prototype—the 333 SP—to compete in the IMSA-sanctioned 24 Hours of Daytona, which it won in ’98, and the 12 Hours of Sebring (overall wins in 1995, ’97, and ’98).
Exhaust: Given the precedent set by the Dallara-built 333 SP in the ’90s, it’s entirely logical that Ferrari adds IMSA competition to its WEC schedule after a season or two getting used to this new LMH-spec car. At the least, we’d expect to see Ferrari bring this new prototype to the 24 Hours of Daytona, even if it doesn’t homologate the car to earn points in IMSA’s GTP class. Either way, the Prancing Horse is back in endurance racing’s top class. It’s a good look—and a great way for the manufacturer to hone its hybrid know-how.
GM Defense expands internationally
Intake: GM Defense is expanding its global footprint with the formation of GM Defense International. According to parent company General Motors, GM Defense will leverage GM’s $35 billion investment in transformational technologies “to support its global defense and government customers’ use of electrification, autonomy, and connected vehicles across the battlespace.” GM sold a defense division of the same name to General Dynamics for $1.1 billion in 2003; GM Defense was reestablished in 2017. Although General Motors built tanks during WWII, it has not strayed—nor will not, it says—that far from its core manufacturing this time around. Instead, GM Defense is focusing on electric powertrains and vehicles, as well as autonomous systems.
Exhaust: The second iteration of GM Defense was expected to be a showcase for the automaker’s fuel-cell powertrains, which rely on electricity that’s generated from hydrogen and oxygen. However, until the military is ready to adopt such technologies en masse, GM Defense is focusing on more near-term business opportunities, including battery-electric vehicles.
Toyota unchallenged at Le Mans; Glickenhaus first U.S. brand on podium since ’69
Intake: Toyota Gazoo Racing scored a one-two finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, five full laps clear of third-place Glickenhaus Racing. Sébastian Buemi, Brendon Hartley, and Ryo Hirakawa took the victory with 380 laps in their #8 GR010 Hybrid and were only ever challenged by team mates Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and José Maria López in the #7 car. For the first 16 hours the dominant duo traded places at the front before López had to pit following an issue with the front electric motor. With both cars’ pace almost identical there was no way to catch the leader before the checkered flag dropped after 3217 miles of racing. The LMP2 class was won by Jota Sport’s Oreca 07-Gibson, Porsche took the GT Pro win with its 911 RSR-19, and Aston Martin took the honors in the GTE Am class.
Exhaust: There was never much doubt that Toyota had the pace and durability to win for the fifth time, though next year it can expect a flurry of new competitors. Don’t overlook the third spot on the podium, however: Glickenhaus’ result marks the first time that an American brand has finished in the overall top three at Le Mans since 1969, when a GT40 Mk I driven by Jacky Ickx and Jacky Oliver took the overall win.