Welcome to the Hooniverse News! 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:
Audi runs Pikes Peak with latest e-tron prototype… downhill
Porsche a builds Cayman GT4 Clubsport for rally, is gauging interest
Ford builds ten millionth Mustang
Report: Geely is considering $1.9 billion boost for Lotus
Ford debuts 2019 NASCAR Cup Car with Mustang stickers on it
What’s your automotive news?
Audi e-tron prototype
Audi has once again built hype around their latest prototype to don the e-tron moniker, which is unsurprisingly a full-size SUV. This week, they took some working prototypes to one of the world’s famous stretches of road and one that’s quickly becoming a playground for EVs – Pike’s Peak. Weeks after their sister company broke a record going up the 19-mile-long road, Audi is going down.
Descending from a 14,115-foot peak is the perfect chance to test regenerative braking and Audi spent 463 words talking about it. But regen braking isn’t the only reason the e-tron prototype made news this week because Audi also casually dropped some other info about the electric motor setup, the power and torque they deliver, and the performance it’s capable of. So for those who are even remotely interested in what isn’t the first of many electric SUVs on the way, here’s what you need to know.
In testing their new energy recuperation system which is described as variable and is thus better than everyone else’s, they got some remarkable results. On the e-tron’s 19 mile downhill drive, the regenerative braking fed so much energy back to the battery that it could cover approximately the same distance again using just what it was able to recover. So about a mile of driving range was recovered per mile it spent driving down the mountain. These are obviously extreme conditions, but it proves the system’s effectiveness.
Audi says approximately 30% of the e-tron’s 249-mile driving range comes just from its regenerative braking. It’s a powerful system which recuperates energy with up to 221.3 lb-ft and 220 kW (295hp) of electric power, which is more than 70 percent of its operating energy input – more on that later. The braking is handled by both of the e-tron’s electric motors and the electrohydraulic braking system. Light braking (under 0.3G) is handled exclusively by the electric motors and the conventional brakes are only used for heavy/panic braking, but they do respond quickly. Audi says the motors handle the load for around 90% of braking applications which means energy is being fed back to the battery in nearly all normal braking maneuvers.
As for the hardware that does the opposite of braking, the e-tron prototype utilizes two electric motors split between the axles. Total system power is 355 horsepower and 414 lb.-ft. of torque for up to 60 seconds at a time to prevent output loss. However, its peak potential can be unlocked in “boost mode” which permits eight seconds-worth of 402 horsepower and 490 lb.-ft. of torque – just enough time to complete the sub-six-second 0-62 mph sprint. Its top speed is limited to 124 mph.
In 463 words, Audi managed to talk brakes. I used the same amount to talk about the rest of it.
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport Rally Concept
[Filed under: gib now pls]
Porsche has a long and storied history in rally racing, but they haven’t returned in any official capacity in years. You’ll see 911 GT3 Cup cars repurposed for rally racing even today and the craze has even hit the street with ‘Safari’ 911 builds. Given the public’s interest in taking Nürburgring-tuned sports cars through the dirt, I guess Porsche felt compelled to give it a go themselves.
Out of the blue, they tweeted four photos of a rally version of the Cayman GT4 Clubsport. This GT4-spec racecar that’s normally sold to customer racing teams around the world and run around paved road courses has received a makeover for the dirt and gravel rally stages. It gains rally lights, a hood scoop, rally wheels and tires, and all the skid plates.
No production plans have been made yet but this one-off concept determines whether there will be. According to the tweet, it’ll be on display at the German WRC round, Rallye Deutschland, where Porsche will seek feedback from the rally scene. In closing, Porsche said the “decision if a similar car based on a future model could be developed will be made later in the year.”
“Future model” most likely means the 718-based GT4 replacement that is due any day now. The previous Cayman GT4 with its beautiful flat six is long out of production and the Clubsport version maybe has a season left before the newer version takes over.
I know we have some German readers here, so if you’re planning on attending Rallye Deutschland, do us all a favor and pretend that you’re part of the industry and are very interested in a GT4 Clubsport rally car. We all need this in our lives.
[Source: Porsche Motorsport (Twitter) via Autoblog]
Ford Builds 10,000,000th Mustang
The internet knew something was up when a Wimbledon White Mustang GT Convertible was spotted heading down the Flat Rock Assembly Plant. Ford made it official on Wednesday – the ten millionth Mustang was born.
The Mustang that rolled off this week with serial number 10,000,000 is very different from the Mustang that wore VIN 001, but that didn’t stop Ford from dusting off the old Wimbledon White paint cans and getting as close to the original specification as possible. White car, black convertible top, black interior, V8. What differs is the manual transmission and… uh, well everything else.
The new Mustang is faster than ever, more advanced than expected, and shows no signs of stopping as it remains the best-selling sports car of the last 50 years. Ford was also proud to point out that the Mustang has more likes on Facebook than any other car.
1 like = 1.17
[Source: Ford, Motor1]
Lotus May Get Big Funding Boost From Geely
Autoweek is reporting that Bloomberg is reporting that Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is considering an additional investment in Lotus to the tune of $1.9 billion. The Chinese holding company that’s also behind Volvo’s recent hot streak is hoping to turn Lotus into a serious competitor in the global sports car market.
They’ve already proven themselves capable of building a car that can go toe-to-toe with Porsche and the like, but sales are a fraction of other established sports car manufacturers. Lotus has sold just 145 cars in their home country so far this year. The investment would specifically target an expansion of their Hethel production center followed by a new one all together and expanding their R&D budget to allow new technology to be integrated into the brand.
The talks are still ongoing and nothing has been publicly announced yet, so grains of salt and stuff.
[Source: Bloomberg via Autoweek]
Ford Debuts NASCAR-Bound Mustang Cup Car
Remember the Ford Fusion Cup Car that’s currently racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series? Ford revealed a new version of that but with stickers that make it look like a GT350 Mustang instead. It races next year.
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 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]
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