Welcome to the ! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. There’s also just a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:
The Gulf racing colors are officially back on a Ford GT
McLaren offers first details on 720S GT3
Lexus facelifts the RC
Mercedes-Benz recreates W125 record-breaker with EV concept
Bugatti finds another way to sell the Chiron for $5.8 million each
Record-breaking Lamborghini Aventador SVJ finally shows its face
What’s your automotive news?
2019 Ford GT Heritage Edition
This is the one we’ve been waiting for. Ford’s third Heritage Edition GT was revealed at Pebble Beach last weekend and it pays tribute to one of the most famous racing liveries of all time as worn by one of the most famous race cars ever built. Finally, the Gulf Oil color scheme is back on a Ford GT.
With these Heritage Editions, Ford has been celebrating each of the GT40’s four wins at Le Mans between 1966 and 1969 by offering a throwback paint scheme that corresponds to each year’s winner. In 2016, the black and gold-striped winner from 1966 was beautifully honored and last year’s car paid tribute to the red and white GT40 Mk IV that its all-American team won with in 1967. For 2018 and 2019, Ford will be honoring the American Gulf Oil-sponsored GT40 chassis No. 1075 which won in 1968 and 1969.
Besides the Heritage Blue and Heritage Orange paint scheme which recreates the original look that the GT40 made so famous, this year’s Heritage Edition can be ordered with or without the racing numbers. The number package relies on exposed carbon fiber accents to add the No. 9 graphics on the hood and doors as well as a ghosted image on the interior door panels. It’s a neat trick, but those who just want the clean and gorgeous look of the Gulf colors can do so.
The Heritage Edition also features exposed carbon fiber A-pillars, unique 20-inch one-piece forged aluminum wheels in high-gloss dark stainless with black lug nuts, orange brake calipers, and silver rearview mirror caps. The interior gets loads of Ebony Alcantara with contrasting blue and orange stitching in the seats and around the steering wheel. Another thing unique to this car is the new seat embossment inspired by the original GT40’s signature “hot button” seat inserts.
Expect next year’s Heritage Edition to be nearly identical but with No. 6 graphics instead. More Ford GTs in the Gulf livery is a good thing.
McLaren 720S GT3
Now that the McLaren 720S has been their established flagship sportscar for at least a year now, it’s time for the retired 650S to finally hand over its racing duties. From 2019 on, McLaren will be offering the 720S in GT3 specification to customer racing teams around the world. It’s already been seen testing in Europe and America and that will continue until its officially eligible for worldwide GT3 competition, but it’s now ready to show its face to the world.
Sticking with GT3 tradition, the racecar is built around the same carbon fiber MonoCage II chassis structure that you’d find on the road car and it has a modified version of the M840T 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 also found in any 720S. But that’s about where the similarities end; 90% of its parts are either replaced or reworked compared to the standard 720S.
It has all-new carbon fiber and composite bodywork complete with dive planes, front splitter, and a big old wing. Other standard features include a six-speed sequential paddle gearbox with a new electronic shift actuator, an externally adjustable Salisbury-type limited slip differential, and cockpit-adjustable traction control and ABS driver aids. It also has a class-leading air jack system and FIA-spec carbon-Kevlar racing seat right from the factory. Such value.
As is to be expected, the performance capabilities will be greatly improved over the 650S GT3, which was based heavily on the MP4-12C GT3 that launched McLaren as we now know it. So yeah, this new 720S GT3 is basically their first all-new GT3 car since they started competing.
Some of the bigger priorities of the development process is to make its performance accessible for drivers of all abilities and make it more efficient for teams to run, which will come as good news for readers with a multi-million-dollar GT3 racing team to their name. It’ll have optimized fuel efficiency and tire management along with improved reliability, durability, and serviceability.
Pricing starts at $564,000 and it’ll debut early next year.
2019 Lexus RC
Lexus is rolling out with an updated version of their luxury sports coupe that isn’t as cool as the LC, the RC. Since its introduction in 2014, it’s been one of the brand’s most important assets as they tried to portray themselves as sporty and cool after all those years of beige. The face lift brings lightly revised styling, some interior refinements, and improved driving characteristics.
To quickly sum up the exterior styling updates, they connected the headlights so they’re now one piece on each corner of the grille which now features standard F Sport mesh inserts. There’s a larger set of corner air intakes up front, revised tail lights, and a cleaned up bumper that gets rid of the old vent strakes.
To sum up the interior updates even more quickly, it has new Dark Gray Streamline trim pieces.
Through various aerodynamic and chassis tweaks, Lexus sought to make the RC more athletic and responsive than ever. Little things like a new fin shape on the side window mold and a new duct on the rear bumper result in improved stability at speed. Sticker tires, stiffer suspension bushings, and new shock absorbers all work to improve grip levels without sacrificing the kind of ride quality Lexus is known for.
The full reveal happens at the Paris Motor Show in October so there may be some more details to discuss, like a price tag. All in due time…
Three Other Quick Stories from Pebble Beach
Because Gridlife South happened to fall on the same weekend as most of the Pebble Beach festivities, I wasn’t able to cover most of the big stories as they happened. So here’s a quick attempt to catch up on what was revealed.
Mercedes-Benz revealed their stunning EQ Silver Arrow Concept which pays homage to the streamlined W125 Rekordwagen from 1937. With this car, Rudolf Caracciola hit an average speed of 268.9 mph on the autobahn between Frankfurt and Darmstadt. I don’t know what’s scarier, 268.9 mph in a car from 1937 or 268.9 mph on roads from 1937. But it was an incredible record that stood for 80 years. This concept is 2018’s interpretation of that incredible car complete with streamlined carbon fiber bodywork, retractable air brakes, massive wheels with 168 aluminum spokes each, and an all-electric powertrain. A thin 80kWh battery rests in the floorboards and the EV equivalent of 738 horsepower is transmitted to the ground. It’s probably the coolest thing revealed at the fancy golf courses last weekend.
[Source: Mercedes-Benz via ]
Meanwhile, Bugatti was busy finding another way to sell the Chiron. Billed as a more agile and driver-friendly Chiron, the Divo is a $5.8-million aerodynamics and “lightweight” package. It saves a whole 77 pounds over the standard Chiron but the more aggressive bodywork, bigger rear spoiler, and new diffuser adds 200 pounds of downforce. The Chiron’s 1,500-horsepower, quad-turbo W16 engine is retained, in case you were worried. Only 40 are being built and of course all were sold out immediately, probably before Bugatti even knew they were making it.
[Source: Bugatti via ]
Lamborghini finally took the wraps off their Nordschliefe champion, the Aventador SVJ. The latest in Lamborghini’s long line of V12-powered cars which carried the SV name, you can tell this one is better because it has that extra letter in it now. The SVJ just blitzed the ‘Ring in 6:44.97 and did so with a 770-horsepower N/A V12, four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering, lightweight materials which contribute to a dry weight [twitches eye] of 3,362 pounds, and their latest semi-active aero elements. It’s fast and crazy and loud – the perfect Lamborghini.
What’s your automotive news?
That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.
[Image © 2018 Redusernab/Greg Kachadurian]