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Throwback Thursday: Art Morrison Enterprises: Creating A Solid Foundation

Corvettes Online News Feed - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 4:54am
If you're looking for the ultimate chassis for you hot rod, check out Art Morrison Enterprises. Making your classic handle better than ever is the goal.

Porsche 911 GT2 RS or GT3 Touring? Here’s Our Take

Motortrend Magazine News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 4:00am

Money no object, which would you choose: the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, or the 911 GT3 Touring? Turbo and PDK versus naturally aspirated and six-speed stick shift; two different solutions to the same challenge, each quintessentially 911. In truth, there’s no wrong answer here. But, like medieval scholars arguing over angels dancing on the head of a pin, it’s something on which few enthusiasts  would choose not have an opinion. Here’s mine …

The GT2 RS is the alpha-dog of the 911 lineup, and as I wrote after first driving the car in Portugal last year, it’s an intoxicating mixture of tradition and technology, defined by its brawny twin-turbo, 3.8-liter flat-six. The tradition is in the concept: a turbocharged, high-horsepower, two-wheel-drive 911 that recalls the spirit of the fearsome 930 of the late 1970s and builds on the reputation of the formidable 2010 GT2 RS. The technology is in the execution: This latest GT2 RS is the distillation of everything the best and the brightest engineers at Porsche know about making their iconic sports car go fast in the early 21st century.

And, man, is it fast. Punch the gas, and the 691-hp GT2 RS streaks past 60 mph in 2.7 seconds, 124 mph in 8.3 seconds, and 186 mph in 22.1 seconds, en route to an electronically limited top speed of 211 mph. It is the quickest road-legal car we’ve ever had around Laguna Seca, with Randy Pobst posting a 1 minute 28.3 second lap during our 2018 Best Driver’s Car shootout, outpacing the mighty McLaren 720S by more than 1.4 seconds.

The GT2 RS redefines the art of the possible, and not just in terms of a road-going 911. I don’t think I’ve ever driven a road car with the mid-corner grip and tenacious traction of this Porsche, apart from the preternaturally fast McLaren Senna. And I’d argue it trumps the Senna on the slower corners where the Big Mac’s trick active aerodynamics can’t generate maximum downforce.

All wing and splitter, vents and and pumped fenders, the GT2 RS looks ready to devour the Nürburgring Nordschleife, with Bathurst and Spa-Francorchamps for dessert. By contrast, the GT3 Touring is a stealth street racer. It gets all the GT3 go-fast bits—the 500-hp naturally aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six that revs to a sizzling 9,000 rpm, the track-tuned suspension, the big brakes—but without the arrest-me-now rear wing, and with leather instead of Alcantara interior trim. Oh, and the six-speed stick shift is standard. The spiritual successor to the breakout 911 R, this is the ultimate 911 for drivers who like to do it themselves.

The feeding frenzy over the 911 R made the business case for the manual GT3, because making the six-speed available was no simple task, says Porsche’s GT car boss, Andreas Preuninger. “It’s not just developing a gearbox,” he insists. “You have to address damping rates, stability systems, ABS, everything, because the car weighs 33 pounds less with the manual transmission. It behaves differently, and you have to adjust all the systems, as well for the new gearbox.”

That the hardcore 520-hp GT3 RS and the GT2 RS are only available with the PDK automated manual tells you something else about the stick-shift transmission: It makes a 911 slower. Porsche’s own numbers put the six-speed GT3 six-tenths of second slower to 60 mph than the PDK version. But about four- to five-tenths of the PDK-equipped car’s advantage is in the launch control, says Preuninger. The other tenth or so in the first-to-second shift.

Beyond the 0–60 sprint? “It’s more work in the manual,” Preuninger concedes, “but I don’t think you can run away from a GT3 manual with a GT3 PDK just anywhere. You would need a racetrack for that, as the electronic diff in the PDK car also delivers more traction than a limited-slip diff.”

More work. After a 500-mile day in the GT3 Touring on some of California’s most challenging backroads, I agree. After the ferocious GT2 RS, it feels oddly languid, partly because the 4.0-liter engine’s power delivery is so linear and it never seems to run out of revs. But then you look at the speedo and realize with a shock that you’re covering ground very quickly indeed. And the noise! The urgent, edgy snarl of the flat-six gets a steely, manic edge over 7,000 rpm. It’s epic, almost vintage 911, with a digitally remastered hint of air-cooled clatter. There is nothing else like it.

The six-speed manual has a lovely oiled metal action: solid, precise, satisfying. And, as you’d expect in a car engineered by a company that’s spent more than half a century honing its products on racetracks around the world, the clutch action is beautifully weighted, the brake pedal perfectly placed for heel-and-toe downshifts. Quick, and with the remarkable poise Porsche chassis engineers have dialed into modern 911s, the stick-shift GT3 is unquestionably entertaining and engrossing to drive—to about eight-tenths. Then you have to start working at it.

There are those who argue the PDK takes the involvement out of driving a 911 fast, dilutes the skill. Nonsense. When you’re in the GT2 RS and making the most of its stupendous turbo power and torque, trust me, you’re involved. And, like a lion tamer, you need to be on your game when you start tickling its growling underbelly and wanting it to play. With so much weapons-grade grunt—that 691-hp at 7,000 rpm is accompanied by 553 lb-ft of torque from 2,500 rpm—being funneled earthwards only through the rear tires, the GT2 RS chassis feels more alive, more adjustable than that of any other road-going 911. Thing is, it’s all happening at warp speed.

The PDK transmission enables you to better work with the GT2’s sheer speed, to brake later and deeper and get on the gas earlier, making the most of that power and torque and the superb traction. What’s more, it allows you to totally focus on what the chassis is doing, on taking the tires to the absolute limit, on using the throttle to initiate precise dollops of weight transfer precisely when you need them. Just because you’re not tugging a lever and punching a pedal doesn’t make driving this 911 fast less of a challenge.

Nor does it make you less of a driver. As F1 driver, Le Mans winner, and DTM champ Hans-Joachim Stuck once drily observed to me: “Think of the three greatest racing drivers of the modern era—Aytron Senna, Michael Schumacher, and Lewis Hamilton. They all learned their car-control skills in karts, which have no transmission at all.”

GT2 RS or GT3 Touring? Turbo and PDK, or naturally aspirated and stick? Like I said, there’s no wrong answer. But …

As rewarding and aurally intoxicating as it is to drive, the GT3 Touring is for me the lesser of these two 911s. Yes, the throttle response is surgically precise, and to the point where the stick shift starts slowing things down, it’s easier to drive because it has less power, and the power delivery is more linear. But ultimately, the GT3 Touring, for me, delivers more sound, less fury than the GT2 RS.

The GT3 Touring demands aggression as you approach the edge of its performance envelope, especially to keep that manic engine in its happy place between 5,000 and 8,000 rpm. By contrast, patience is just as important as aggression in the GT2 RS; understanding this, knowing when to unleash the turbomotor’s power and when to hold back, is the key to speed in this car. And it builds speed so explosively and grips so hard, the effects of its unique weight distribution are amplified; you’re aware of the mass of the engine slung out behind the rear wheels more than in any other modern 911.

With turbo boost that came on with all the subtlety of a shovel to the back of the head, and a chassis that demanded a constant sweaty tightrope walk between terminal understeer and hair-trigger oversteer, the original Porsche Turbo, the 930, was a car that inspired awe and fear in equal measure, like a made man among the wise guys. By contrast, the GT2 RS is an infinitely more mature, astoundingly more accomplished 911. But the 930’s animal spirit still lurks deep within. And that’s what I love about it.

The post Porsche 911 GT2 RS or GT3 Touring? Here’s Our Take appeared first on Motortrend.

GM 3.0L Duramax On Track Despite Rumors Of Delays

GM Authority News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 10:56pm

The rumormill is wrong. Here's some actual info.

[VIDEO] C6 Corvette ZR1s Having Fun at the Drag Strip

Corvette Blogger - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 10:55pm

The title of the video from High Tech Corvette says “These ZR1’s are NO JOKE!” but we like to think that running in the 9’s with trap speeds topping 150 mph shows just how much fun these C6 ZR1 owners are having at the track!

From High Tech Corvette via YouTube:

If you like ZR1’s then you’ll want to watch this.

Continue reading [VIDEO] C6 Corvette ZR1s Having Fun at the Drag Strip at Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

Is This Fastback Ford F-150 Cool? More Than 400 People Think So

Motortrend Magazine News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 7:30pm

A couple of weeks ago, a photo surfaced showing a Ford F-150 equipped with a fastback-like bed cap, complete with window louvers. We first saw it on Twitter, but apparently, it had been making the rounds on Facebook and forums before that. Was it someone’s custom one-off or something you could buy? Was it kind of cool or completely horrible? At the very least it was interesting.

Eventually, The Drive figured out that these are real bed caps you can actually buy. They’re built by a shop called Michigan Vehicle Solutions in Southgate, Michigan, and retail for $3,995. And since the liftback is lockable, you can safely store valuables in the bed without worrying they’ll get stolen. Due to the unique and controversial nature of the Aero X, the story quickly spread all over the internet.

As we watched the Aero X get picked up on site after site, we couldn’t help but wonder just how much interest there really was in the fastback bed cap. Was this the kind of thing MVS was hoping to sell a dozen of, or was there more demand than you might think? To get our answer, we reached out to the shop itself, and according to Jim Thompson, the program manager at Michigan Vehicle Solutions, more than 400 people have contacted the company about placing an order.

Interestingly, Thompson said MVS doesn’t plan to stop with the F-150. He said there are plans to adapt the Aero X for other trucks, such as the Ram 1500, Ford Ranger, and Chevrolet Colorado. And with enough demand, the plan is to take the Aero X to a wind tunnel to test its effect on a truck’s aerodynamics and fuel economy.

So there you have it. Whether you like the idea of the Aero X or not, it really is generating interest. And when the aero testing has been completed, we’ll be interested to see what kind of impact it has on gas mileage.

Source: Michigan Vehicle Solutions via The Drive

The post Is This Fastback Ford F-150 Cool? More Than 400 People Think So appeared first on Motortrend.

U.S. Traffic Deaths Reportedly Topped 40,000 Again in 2018

Motortrend Magazine News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 6:35pm

Reuters reports that based on estimates provided by the National Safety Council, traffic deaths in the U.S. topped 40,000 last year. That would make 2018 the third year in a row with traffic deaths above that mark, according to the nonprofit organization. And while the good news is that the NSC estimates there were 231 fewer deaths than in 2017, a decrease of about 1 percent, those figures are 14 percent higher than they were back in 2014. An additional 4.5 million people were seriously injured in wrecks in 2018, which represents a 1-percent decline, as well.

Even though total deaths decreased slightly, not all states saw a similar improvement. Florida, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Pennsylvania, each saw at least a 5.8-percent uptick in fatalities. While not a state, Washington, D.C., saw a similar increase. On the other hand, traffic deaths in Kansas, Maine, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Wyoming all dropped at least 9.4 percent.

“Forty-thousand deaths is unacceptable,” said Nicholas Smith, interim president and CEO of NSC. “We cannot afford to tread water any more. We know what works, but we need to demonstrate the commitment to implementing the solutions. Roadway deaths are preventable by doubling down on what works, embracing technology advancements and creating a culture of safer driving.”

As Reuters points out, modern safety systems that offer features such as automatic emergency braking have been shown to reduce the number of wrecks. But those features have only been offered on mainstream vehicles for a few years and will take time to become more common.

“There is definitely evidence that these systems are preventing crashes,” Ken Kolosh, the safety council’s director of statistics, told Reuters. But “they’re probably not at the critical mass yet to see them having an impact on the overall macro level.”

Source: Reuters, National Safety Council

The post U.S. Traffic Deaths Reportedly Topped 40,000 Again in 2018 appeared first on Motortrend.

GM To Invest $1.3 Billion In Brazil’s Sao Jose Dos Campos Plant

GM Authority News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 6:22pm

Concluding six rounds of negotiations spanning six weeks.

Demand for the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Has Been Surprisingly High

Motortrend Magazine News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 5:30pm

The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 was already an off-road beast. Not only did it handle the Trans-Labrador Highway with ease, it beat out the Ford F-150 Raptor and gave the Ram PowerWagon a serious run for its money. Instead of stopping there, Chevrolet collaborated with AEV and created an even more capable version called the Colorado ZR2 Bison. But with a $48,000 price tag, could there really be much demand for a factory overland-capable truck? Turns out, absolutely.

GM Authority reports that dealers have been so desperate to get their hands on ZR2 Bisons, Chevrolet’s already received orders for its entire 2019 production run. That doesn’t necessarily mean that each truck has been pre-sold, but if you want one and haven’t already put a deposit down, you may have a hard time finding one. And if you do, don’t be surprised to see a big dealer markup.

Sandor Piszar, Chevrolet’s marketing director, told GM Authority that the automaker had originally planned to build only 2,000 ZR2 Bisons for 2019. Whether Chevrolet plans to increase production for 2020 remains to be seen.

It’s not like the regular ZR2 is sitting on dealer lots for long, either. Piszar said the ZR2 accounts for about 10 percent of Colorado sales. With nearly 135,000 Colorados sold last year, that means Chevrolet probably sold around 13,500 of the $42,000 off-roader. We’re big fans of the ZR2, but still. Consider us impressed.

Source: GM Authority

The post Demand for the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Has Been Surprisingly High appeared first on Motortrend.

NASCAR Heat 3 Update Adds All 2019 NASCAR Season Content

GM Authority News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 5:29pm

New liveries, new drivers and much more.

Spied! Kia Tests New Small Crossover

Motortrend Magazine News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 4:30pm

Kia is slowly filling gaps in its SUV lineup. It just debuted the large Telluride, and now it’s getting ready to introduce a new crossover on the opposite end of the spectrum. Our spy photographers caught this small Kia playing in the snow.

Our sources say this vehicle is based on the SP Concept that Kia debuted last year at AutoExpo in India. With this information, we can connect the dots further. Han-Woo Park, Kia Motors Corp. CEO, told Automotive News that a small crossover based on the SP Concept will be exported from South Korea to the U.S. market.

It’s possible that this new small crossover will share its bones with the Hyundai Kona, though our shooter believes it will be based on the global-market Hyundai Creta. Rumor has it the model will bear the name “Tusker,” although it could be called something different in the U.S.

The heavy camouflage provides little indication of how the crossover will look when it enters production. The cut-outs on the front suggest a split-lighting design, but at this point, it’s impossible to tell whether or not this Kia’s true plan. The model has a rounded front face, and camouflage in the rear gives off the wrong impression of a bulky back end. The wheels, window trim, and so many other details don’t look production-spec.

The model will arrive later this year, as the previous AN report indicated.

Photo source: CarPix

The post Spied! Kia Tests New Small Crossover appeared first on Motortrend.

Corvette Driver Backs Into Neighbor Leaf Blowing His Property

GM Authority News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 4:23pm

That escalated quickly.

Corvette America Acquired by CID Capital

Corvette Blogger - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 4:15pm

Our friends at Corvette America have a new owner with an exciting vision to keep the company going strong in the 21st century.

Founded in 1977, Pennsylvania-based Corvette America has been acquired by CID Capital, which praised the company’s management team, leading product quality, strong customer service, and broad line card as some of the strong attributes that attracted them to the company.

Continue reading Corvette America Acquired by CID Capital at Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

Toyota’s TRD Line Isn’t Going Anywhere Despite Rumors to the Contrary

Motortrend Magazine News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 3:30pm

Ever since Toyota introduced the 207-hp Yaris GRMN in Europe and launched the GR performance sub-brand in Japan, we’ve heard rumors that GR could find its way into the U.S. in some form. Toyota’s decision to officially call the Supra the GR Supra only added fuel to the rumor mill. In fact, following the Detroit auto show, we heard that TRD might even go away and be completely replaced by GR. But thanks to a conversation we had at the Chicago auto show, we can confirm that TRD is here to stay.

While speaking with Jack Hollis, general manager of the Toyota brand in North America, we asked how TRD and GR were going to work together. Would GR eventually replace TRD? In response, Hollis said, “Think of GR as a global branding. It’s really Akio Toyoda’s own personal brand that he started back a ways [with the] Gazoo Racing team. That was really more of the global. For North America and specifically for the U.S., TRD has been our brand. So you’re going to continue to see the GR name more globally. TRD locally. And TRD is our passion. We’re going to continue to grow TRD [brand].”

So there you have it. Unless Toyota makes some major changes to the way it does things, TRD isn’t going anywhere. GR will continue to be a thing overseas, but even racing will continue under the TRD brand in the U.S. “Whether it’s racing in NASCAR or any of our motorsports, it’s all TRD,” he concluded.

The post Toyota’s TRD Line Isn’t Going Anywhere Despite Rumors to the Contrary appeared first on Motortrend.

GM Layoffs Trickle Down To Ad Agency McCann Detroit

GM Authority News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 3:04pm

With GM selling less cars, it needs less advertising.

The New Mini Cooper John Cooper Works GP Will Make More Than 300 HP

Motortrend Magazine News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 2:45pm

If you want a car that’s small, light, and fun to drive, a Mini Cooper is a great choice. But if you want power, Mini doesn’t have a lot to offer. Even the $32,750 John Cooper Works Hardtop only makes 228 hp. But when the newest high-performance Mini finally goes on sale next year, it will make some very Honda Civic Type R-like power.

Yes, BMW announced that the next John Cooper Works GP will make more than 300 hp. That’s nearly twice as much power as the last Mini JCW GP made back in 2012. Mini’s keeping most of the specs to itself for now, but we do know it will use a turbocharged four-cylinder and will be both the fastest and most powerful Mini ever built. If you’re interested, you better start talking with your dealer now because only 3,000 will be built, with an unknown number of those making it to the U.S.

Mini also promises that its most track-focused model will use race-derived tech to demolish its predecessor’s 8-minute, 23-second Nurburgring lap time. With an extra 100 hp, we can’t imagine that will be much of a challenge. But whether the new JCW GP will break the Honda Civic Type R’s 7-minute, 43.80-second record remains to be seen.

“The fastest Mini in our brand history—which now goes back 60 years—is an expression of pure racing passion,” said Thomas Giuliani, Mini’s VP of product and launch management, said in a release. “We are well aware of the enormous fascination exercised by the Mini John Cooper Works GP, not just from the euphoric reactions to the concept vehicle but also from past experience: after all, every one of its predecessors was completely sold out even before the official market launch.”

Source: Mini

The post The New Mini Cooper John Cooper Works GP Will Make More Than 300 HP appeared first on Motortrend.

GM and Amazon Reportedly to Invest in Rivian

Motortrend Magazine News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 2:00pm

Could Rivian Automotive become the next Tesla? General Motors and Amazon may think so. According to Reuters, those two corporate giants are reported to be in talks to invest in Rivian, the 10-year-old electric-vehicle company that unveiled its first vehicles, the R1T full-size pickup truck and R1S SUV, at the Los Angeles auto show last November.

GM, through a spokesperson, responded to our request for comment with just this: “We admire Rivian’s contribution to a future of zero emissions and an all-electric future.” A Rivian spokesperson told us, “We don’t comment on speculation.”

Last November, GM announced a controversial restructuring that sees several gas-powered sedan models cut from its lineup and leaves five North American assembly plants with no product to build as the automaker shifts toward an EV future. GM plans 20 new electric vehicles by 2023.

Like GM plans to do, Rivian uses a flexible skateboard-style platform for its  electric vehicles. Such a chassis could be adapted to underpin GM vehicles if some kind of technology sharing deal is worked out. Rivan has previously said it plans to partner with other companies on autonomous tech rather than try to develop its own. Having access to a platform that already supports a full-size electric pickup could potentially make the electric Chevy Silverado and GMC EV truck that GM executives have talked about much closer to reality than previously thought. Then again, GM is already developing a skateboard of its own: a platform called BEV3 that will debut in a new Cadillac model in 2021.

GM and Amazon investments would give them minority stakes in Rivian Automotive and value the Plymouth, Michigan–based EV startup at $1 billion to $2 billion, Reuters says, citing unnamed sources. That could put the automaker and the online retail giant on the ground floor of an electric-vehicle manufacturer with enormous potential. Fellow EV automaker Tesla has a current market cap of nearly $53 billion, just a couple billion short of GM’s own number. In an additional, Google-like move to move beyond its core business, Amazon has been reported to have made an investment in autonomous-vehicle technology development startup Aurora (one of whose co-founders, Chris Urmson, previously helped lead driverless-car development at Google).

Rivian already boasts a $500 million stake from Abdul Latif Jameel, whose investments include the U.S. branch of Japan’s Sumitomo Bank, and the Toyota distributorship in Saudi Arabia. In addition to its Michigan HQ, Rivian’s human and physical assets include an office in Silicon Valley (of course), a team of ex-McLaren engineers, former Chrysler design chief Tom Gale as a corporate director, and the Diamond-Star auto-assembly plant, formerly owned by Mitsubishi, in Normal, Illinois, which it purchased recently for just $16 million.

Led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumnus R.J. Scaringe, Rivian plans to sell the first examples of the R1T and R1S in 2020. Rivian says the R1T pickup will start at $61,000, and have a range of 250 to 400 miles depending on the battery pack; the highest-range trucks will be priced somewhere north of $100,000. Rivian also claims a 10,000-pound maximum payload and a zero-to-60-mph time of less than 3 seconds.

Source: Reuters

The post GM and Amazon Reportedly to Invest in Rivian appeared first on Motortrend.

General Motors Invests $25M In Wejo, A Connected-Car Data Start-Up

GM Authority News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 1:59pm

The deal gives GM a 35-percent stake in the company.

[VIDEO] Man Using Leaf Blower Hit By Neighbor Driving a C5 Corvette After Dispute

Corvette Blogger - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 1:31pm

It’s not every day a man gets arrested for allegedly using his C5 Corvette as a deadly weapon, but that’s what happened in a Fort Myers, Florida neighborhood this week.

Apparently a dispute Sunday between two neighbors escalated to the point of violence – and it’s all captured on the victim’s surveillance camera.

Continue reading [VIDEO] Man Using Leaf Blower Hit By Neighbor Driving a C5 Corvette After Dispute at Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

Early Le Mans Entry List Published, Still Awaiting Corvette Racing

GM Authority News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 1:13pm

Le Mans is coming up fast!

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