Ford’s new Mustang drift racer, Genesis’ sportier SUV, and more


Vaughn Gittin Jr. returns to Formula Drift in 1300-hp RTR Mustang

Intake: RTR Vehicles just showed off its Spec 5-FD Formula Drift competition vehicle that it will make its racing debut at this week’s Formula Drift Long Beach event. The company also announced that two-time Formula Drift champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. will return to competition after taking a year off. The RTR Mustang has the updated look of the 2024 model, but it’s packing 1300 hp of tire-frying V-8 under the hood. The 2024 Ford Mustang is a natural in the series as well as the larger world of grassroots drifting, since it will include a segment-first electronic drift brake that RTR drivers Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Chelsea DeNofa helped tune.

Exhaust: We’re glad to see Gittin back behind the wheel in Formula Drift, as he’s always entertaining. However, we’re even more interested in driving a new Mustang with the electronic drift brake. Ford says the electronic brake has three times the power of a pedestrian-spec one. The brake’s familiar engagement—a center console lever—certainly looks better than the rocker switch found on most cars. We’re sure that the application of braking force is critical to driver enjoyment; judging from the video, Gittin had fun helping Ford dial everything in. — Brandan Gillogly

Genesis previews a sportier side with GV80 Coupe concept

Intake: Genesis is stepping into the performance-oriented side of high-riding luxury with a new GV80 Coupe concept. Genesis’ chief creative officer Luc Donckerwolke says that the GV80 Coupe concept takes inspiration from the low-slung X Speedium concept that the brand revealed in New York last year. Donckerwolke said the GV80 Coupe “emphasizes the duality of the Genesis brand by showcasing the antagonistic character that lives within the Athletic and Elegance parameters of Genesis’ design philosophy.” The four-passenger SUV features many exterior design cues that are now Genesis trademarks, including the large crest grille and the double-line head- and taillamps. The sleek silhouette, blistered fenders, Magma Orange paint, carbon-fiber roof, and rear-drive platform certainly hint at the sportier aspirations of this concept, crossover silhouette aside. Inside, four bucket seats with carbon-fiber backs, plus a sportier three-spoke steering wheel and a hefty structural brace behind the second row, signal this concept’s rapid intentions.

Exhaust: Though it’s just a concept for now, the GV80 Coupe looks very close to production-ready. With its more traditional SUV offerings finding their stride, we’re not surprised to see Genesis embark on bolder executions that mirror those of its M-badged German counterparts. — Nathan Petroelje

Ex-Stirling Moss Aston Martin will weigh heavy on someone’s wallet

Tim Scott ©2022 Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

Intake: A 1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT driven to its maiden victory by Stirling Moss is now for sale at RM Sotheby’s. The car is one of just 75 featuring a body made by Touring of Italy, built on lightweight chassis with a shorter wheelbase than the standard DB4. Only six right-hand-drive versions were ever made and this example was constructed for Tommy Sopwith (whose father was aviation pioneer Sir Thomas Sopwith). Sopwith’s Equipe Endeavour racing had the car finished in Jaguar Indigo Blue with white detailing, and its 3.7-liter, twin-plug-ignition straight-six engine powered the car to its maiden win at Goodwood on Easter Monday of 1960 with Moss behind the wheel. Two weeks later Jack Sears won the Aintree 200, then followed up with wins at Oulton Park, Snetterton, and Brands Hatch. Subsequent owners include racers Ron Fry, Ted Jones, David Ham, and Pink Floyd’s manager Steve O’Rourke. The current owner has had possession since 2005 and it has been in regular action at the Goodwood Revival and Silverstone Classic.

Exhaust: The car is offered as a private sale, with no price listed. In 2021 a similar race car sold for $2.5 million despite being in bits, but with this DB4 GT’s illustrious history, we’d expect the next buyer’s pockets to be at least twice as deep. — Nik Berg

Student-restored car accepted to Pebble Beach Concours

McPherson College

Intake: Crowning a nearly 10-year effort, the 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet owned by McPherson College has been accepted to be shown at the 2023 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this August. This car was donated to the Kansas college and has been the pride of its automotive restoration program—the only degree of its kind in the U.S. The Mercedes been painstakingly restored by students who are in process of getting their bachelor of science in automotive restoration. The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is the oldest concours in the United States and one of the world’s most prestigious gatherings of rare and antique automobiles.

Exhaust: The selection process for the Pebble Beach Concours is no simple task; just being accepted is a huge honor. Now comes the really hard part of finishing the restoration before Sunday, August 20. Students and staff who worked on the car over the last 10 years—and it’s worth noting all the work was done outside class hours—will join the car on Pebble Beach Golf Link’s 18th green to celebrate the process and completion of such a monumental project. — Kyle Smith 

Federal jury orders Tesla to pay $3.2 million in racial bias case

Tesla GIgafactory aerial

Intake: A federal jury has ordered Tesla to pay about $3.2 million to a Black former employee after he won a racial harassment lawsuit against the company, far less than the $15 million he rejected last year in opting for a new trial, said ReutersThe verdict came after a week-long retrial in the 2017 lawsuit by plaintiff Owen Diaz, who in 2021 was awarded $137 million by a different jury. A judge agreed with that jury that Tesla was liable but said the award was excessive. The judge ordered a new trial on damages after Diaz declined the reduced $15 million.

Exhaust: Diaz had sued Tesla for violating a California law that prohibits employers from failing to address hostile work environments based on race in the Fremont, California factory, where he worked as an elevator operator. Lawyers for Tesla pointed to what they said were inconsistencies in Diaz’s testimony and repeatedly raised the fact that he did not lodge written complaints to supervisors. He worked for the company for nine months. – Steven Cole Smith


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    Management and counsel for Tesla should review their training. I was always taught that expectations were anyone seeing a violation should report it. Not doing so was considered a violation, and if you reported something in good faith, and investigation proved otherwise, you wouldn’t be written up. Many times the person who is the subject of this fears speaking up.

    A sportier Genesis crossover sounds interesting but please no fake “coupe” styling please.

    The Tesla lawsuit sounds really sketchy.

    Harassment of any kind should never be tolerated, but millions awarded for an offense of which there’s no record of a complaint? You have to wonder.

    Will the Mustang formula-drift car be making late night promotional appearances on the streets of major cities across the country ?

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