Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Cadillac and BMW debut stunning LMDh race cars, Ram offers up desert-themed TRX, and Ford teases a possible Transit Supervan 4 – plus your news for the week.
Cadillac Project GTP Hypercar
Cadillac has pulled the covers off their brand new prototype slated for IMSA and WEC competition next year. It’s called the Project GTP Hypercar, at least for now, and is built within the LMDh rulebook, which means it’s eligible for both the IMSA GTP class and WEC’s Hypercar class. This stunning race car will make its competition debut at the 2023 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona and will also take on the 24 Hours of Le Mans next year, as well as the rest of each respective championship season.
Being an LMDh formula, it’s built on a Dallara chassis (much like Cadillac’s DPi race car is now) and must run a spec hybrid motor. But everything else was left up to Cadillac, including a significant chunk of the bodywork and the gas engine that provides most of the power. While Cadillac calls this a preview, which suggests to me that certain things are subject to change by next year, it demonstrates an extensive level of freedom that Cadillac had over the design of the car. In the great LMDh vs Hypercar debate, LMDh was often dismissed as an LMP2 with branding. This Cadillac, as well as the next car I’m going to talk about, has effectively put that to rest.
The Cadillac incorporates key brand design characteristics and elements of the brand’s heritage, such as vertical lighting and floating blades. “The Project GTP Hypercar is a unique convergence of form and function and showcases Cadillac’s future performance aesthetic,” said Chris Mikalauskas, lead exterior creative designer at Cadillac.
But it’s not just going to look like a Cadillac – it’ll sound like one too. An all-new 5.5-liter DOHC V8 will be tucked neatly in the back and paired with the spec hybrid system. The current Caddy DPi also sports a 5.5-liter V8 and the sounds that thing produces are magnificent. The new one will surely live up to Cadillac’s reputation.
On track testing will begin this summer. The Cadillac DPi-V.R has been a very successful race car and a dominant force in the DPi era. The Project GTP Hypercar has some big shoes to fill. Helping fill those will be Chip Ganassi Racing and Action Express Racing who currently field Cadillacs in DPi. There will be a full house of Cadillacs in IMSA for the full season and for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A single CGR entry is expected to bring the thunder for the full WEC season, according to Racer.
[Sources: Cadillac, Racer]
BMW M Hybrid V8
Another massive announcement in the world of sportscar racing came from BMW for their very own LMDh race car. And unlike every other BMW announcement from the past couple of years, this one doesn’t make me want to give up. Quite the opposite, actually! BMW beat Cadillac to the punch this week with their competitor for next year’s IMSA GTP class – the BMW M Hybrid V8. It will also make its debut at the 2023 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. Participation in WEC or at least Le Mans has not been announced. I guess even BMW knows IMSA is the superior series for endurance racing. Sure, WEC has Le Mans, but the best action is here in the states.
Anyway, the LMDh formula provided BMW the chance to work with one of four approved chassis manufacturers and enough design freedom to completely fuck it up as much as they wanted. But they didn’t. Like Cadillac they worked with Dallara and will be running an engine of their choice along with a spec hybrid unit as mandated by IMSA. And as the name suggests, that engine of choice is a V8 – specifically the V8 that they raced in DTM with, albeit turbocharged.
The bodywork they came up with is instantly recognizable as a BMW with what is predictably the largest grille ever carved into a prototype. But it’s an inoffensive shape compared to what we’ve been seeing lately. It’s a true kidney grille like what we used to see and not an intentionally awful shape dreamt up by a designer who should’ve been hugged more as a kid. In BMW’s quest to have this recognizable as a car of their own, they also added the nested 50th anniversary BMW logo on the hood, twin BMW icon lights, “dynamic body side”, Hofmeister kink window graphic, M ‘hook’ mirrors, and the kind of funky tail-light pattern that I guess fits their style.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will continue to work with BMW Motorsport in the LMDh/GTP era. The team has enjoyed success with BMW since 2009 all the way back to the days of the American Le Mans Series. There’s no reason to believe that won’t continue even with a stacked GTP field. Acura, BMW, Cadillac, Porsche, and later Lamborghini have been confirmed for IMSA GTP competition thus far.
RAM TRX Sandblast
The world’s most unapologetically American truck is getting a new edition aimed at those who like to play in the sand. The Ram 1500 TRX Sandblast Edition offers a unique look with a desert theme and some hardware to put it right at home in any sandy terrain. Adding to its credibility, none other than Ken Block was consulted for the package… and for some fun shots.
The Ram TRX Sandblast Edition enhances the already well-equipped TRX Level 2 Equipment Group with unique 18″ beadlock-capable wheels painted black, a dual pane panoramic sunroof, spray-in bedliner, cargo tie-downs, bed step, and an LED cab-mounted brake light. Some of those features are options on the TRX already, but the Mojave Sand paint color and graphics package are only ever going to be on the Sandblast Edition. The customization continues insides with Light Frost accent stitching, “TRX” embroidery on the seat backs, carbon fiber accents, a center console badge, and a leather and carbon flat-bottom steering wheel.
Performance is unchanged, but when you’re talking about a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 in a big ass truck, you don’t really need much more. The Ram 1500 TRX Sandblast Edition goes on sale this summer at $100,080 including destination.
Ford teases possible Transit Supervan 4
Ford began teasing a new project set for a Goodwood Festival of Speed debut this week. This teaser video came from Ford Europe and was later reposted by Ford CEO Jim Farley. All we have so far is a shadowy silhouette of some vehicle, confirmation of it being electric, and a June 23 reveal date. Based on a few factors, I believe it’s a new Ford Transit Supervan project.
Ford Performance and Ford Pro are involved, the latter being a commercial business division within the company. Ford Pro focuses on commercial vehicles for fleet customers and contractors, namely the Ford Transit and F-Series. By focusing on the little bits of the vehicle we can see in the video, it’s something with an aggressive bit of bodywork and a big footprint. It’s definitely not a sports car. Definitely not a truck and probably not another SUV. It has to be a van. A Supervan.
The Transit Supervan was a series of promotional concepts done up by Ford where they basically turn a commercial van into a sports car. Three Supervans have been built with the latest being an extremely rad Supervan 3 in 1994. Ford has already confirmed an electric Transit for production, so this would be a perfect time for a Supervan 4. They have a potent electric powertrain in the F-150 Lightning already. They also have electric crate motors they could demonstrate. Or they could call in the same people that built the ridiculous Mach-E 1400. Either way, I’m sure the end result will be a good time.
[Source: Ford Europe]
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.