Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or the bull. I also throw in a little opinion of mine, just because I can. This week:
Lamborghini reveals new range-topping Gallardo Squadra Corse
Ford utility vehicles to be available with natural gas compatibility
Alfa Romeo 4C gets safety car duty
Ford wants to send Focus ST, Fiesta ST owners to ST Octane Academy
And much more!
Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Squadra Corse
At this year’s Frankfurt motor show, Lamborghini will have another new version of the Gallardo on display for the world to see. It will bring all the fascination and emotion of motor racing to the street in a car that’s being described as one based off the Gallardo Super Trofeo race car, which is also based off the Gallardo street car (filed under Inception).
The Gallardo Super Trofeo competes in a one make series called Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo, and the similarities between the race version and the street version are closer than ever. Lamborghini’s new Gallardo Squadra Corse shares the 570 horsepower V10 engine found in the race car (which is also based off the one used in the Gallardo Superlegerra for the street), sports the same functional carbon fiber rear wing, a removable carbon fiber engine hood with a quick-release system. The extensive use of the aforementioned carbon fiber as well as aluminum in the car’s construction results in a dry weight of 1,340 kilograms / 2,954 pounds, which is 70 kg / 154 lbs. lighter than the base Gallardo LP560-4. All this with a six-speed e-gear paddle-shift transmission and all-wheel drive with relentless grip, which contributes to a 0-62 mph time of 3.4 seconds and 0-124 mph time of 10.4 seconds.
Buyers can have the Gallardo Squadra Corse in any color, as long as it’s yellow, red, white, or gray. Along the side of every Squadra Corse is a decal strip that proudly displays the green, white, and red in the Italian flag to represent Italian racing – just not those guys from Modena, I presume. Gloss black paint is sprayed on the hood, front air intakes, rear diffuser, and the nineteen-inch forged wheels which hide brake calipers painted in either yellow, red, or black. The dominant materials inside the Squadra Corse are Alcantara and – surprise! – carbon fiber. The door panels, racing seats, center console, and various other trim pieces are made of carbon fiber while the underside of the dash and seat inserts are Alcatara.
[Source: Lamborghini via Autoblog]
Ford offering compressed natural gas-prepped vehicles
Ford customers will soon be able to opt for a compressed natural gas (CNG) ready vehicle starting with the 2014 Ford F-150 and eventually extending to eight other commercial vehicles within the next year. Ford expects to sell 15,000 CNG-prepped vehicles this year, and with them adding more, that figure is only expected to get higher, especially since Ford will be the only manufacturer to sell a half-ton CNG capable pickup.
The 2014 Ford F-150 in question will utilize a 3.7-liter V6 and will come with a factory-installed gaseous fuel-prep package that includes hardened valves, valve seats, pistons, and rings so it can run on either CNG or regular gasoline through separate fuel systems. Depending on which tank size is selected (specific sizes weren’t specified), the CNG-ready F-150 can travel up to 750 miles on a single tank.
This engine prep from the factory costs $315 and upfits for everything else done by a Qualified Vehicle Modifier can run between $7,500 and $9,500. Qualified Vehicle Modifiers will provide a wide range of CNG-ready hardware to fit the specific needs of buyers. CNG sells for $2.11 per gallon on average and can be as cheap as a glorious single dollar in some areas, so Ford believes operators will start to see a payback on their investment in as little as 24-36 months while also being environmentally friendly with 30% fewer emissions that CNG vehicles offer.
The CNG-ready F-150 will be available this fall while those eight other Ford vehicles will get the same capabilities within the next year. Those eight vehicles are as follows:
- Transit Connect van and wagon
- Transit van, wagon, cutaway and chassis cab
- E-Series van, wagon, cutaway and stripped chassis
- F-Series Super Duty pickup and F-350 chassis cab
- F-Series Super Duty chassis cab (F-450, F-550)
- F-650 medium-duty truck
- F53 and F59 stripped chassis
- 2014 F-150 light-duty pickup
Shelby Mustang GT500Ha. Could you imagine?
Alfa Romeo 4C gets safety car duty
The 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C, one of if not the most anticipated cars of the year, will be the official safety car at the 2013 World Superbike Championship taking place this weekend at Silverstone. Alfa Romeo has been sponsors of this series for seven years, so it was only a matter of time.
The 4C will be sporting a very Italian livery, featuring a matte white base and complete with red, white, and green stripes on its roof and hood. I personally would love to see a color combo similar to this when the car arrives in showrooms this fall, but that’s probably a bit optimistic. The 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C features a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-banger mounted in the middle and producing 240 horsepower, lightweight construction, killer looks, and a starting price just below $80,000 if we’re lucky. The first 1,200 cars sold in North America will be labeled as Launch Editions for added value as a collector car in the future when all the fossil fuels have run out.
Ford offering ST Octane Academy experience to ST owners
Do you currently own a Ford Focus ST or a Fiesta ST? If so, Ford wants to send you to the ST Octane Academy free of charge (you just have to pay airfare and hotel). Ford Racing instructors will greet you at Miller Motorsports Partk in Tooele, Utah and provide a firsthand experience of what the cars are capable of on the track as well as your track driving skills.
They provide the Focus ST and Fiesta ST so you don’t feel at all bad about pushing it to the limits because that’s exactly what they want you to do. They’re also modified with safety equipment for
peace of mind insurance reasons. The session starts out with classroom instruction then goes to first-hand car control, cornering, braking, and vehicle dynamic techniques instruction then ends with hot laps, lead and follow exercises, and an ST karting challenge which involves things. While you’re there, you can also take part in the Mustang GT and SVT Raptor events but you must pay for those in full.
Those interested can check out www.stoctaneacademy.com for details when they arrive. The schedule will be announced later this summer on that site as well. And if anyone here goes, sending in pictures of your experience as well as your impressions is highly encouraged.
The 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show announced that they expect more than 50 global and North American debuts. Those include seven or eight from BMW, including one we don’t know about yet, the Porsche Macan (entry-level SUV slotted below the Cayenne), something from Mini we’ll probably adore or loathe, stuff from Chevrolet, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, and Volkswagen. Press days start November 20th and public days start the 23rd and go to December 1st. Some of us will be providing LIVE(ish) coverage from the show floor and get called bloogers on TV. I’ll be covering more of the specifics as well from my desk, blooger-free. [Source: Los Angeles Auto Show]
Auctions America is holding a car auction this weekend in Burbank, CA with a couple special guests. One of those guests is a 1974 BMW 2002 tii Touring Alpina, previously owned by
a guy who wasn’t double-clutching like he should Paul Walker, best known for his role in the Fast and Furious movies. This celebrity-owned machine also happens to be a rare one. And a very pretty one. It will cross the auction block sometime today so if you’re near Burbank and want to own it, act fast. [Source: Auctions America]
Also happening this weekend is a World Record Attempt for the longest parade of pickups at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The current Guinness World Record was set in Ontario, Canada at 273 trucks. Anyone in the Indianapolis area with a pickup is encouraged to attend and anyone who doesn’t is also encouraged to attend the huge truck and tractor show in the infield, complete with music, displays, games, and other summer fun stuff. The show and record attempt is a promoter’s idea to honor a new SiriusXM channel called Rural Radio (channel 80). [Source: PickupTrucks.com]
Mercedes AMG Patronas released a video that gives us a glimpse into the future of Formula 1. The video shows a computer-generated F1 car putting in a hot lap around Monza with the new turbocharged 1.6-liter V6 as the source of power. Next season, that engine will replace the current naturally-aspirated 2.4-liter V8 that screams up to 18,000 RPM (the new V6 tops off at 15,000 RPM). The sound recording came from a development engine at AMG’s High Performance Powertrains facility and it’s a sound that will be tough to get used to. [Source: YouTube via Autoweek]