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:
Toyota Gazoo Racing stuns with WEC-inspired supercar concept
Ford is building an Edge ST because they know it’ll sell
Lotus debuts millionth Evora variant
Toyota GR is taking a Lexus LC to the Nürburgring 24 Hours
Honda confirms powertrain, mpg target for Insight Prototype
Ford reveals specifications for first-ever diesel F-150
What’s your automotive news?
Toyota GR Super Sport Concept
Toyota Gazoo Racing had a mic-drop moment yesterday at the Tokyo Auto Salon as they unveiled a new concept that’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen from them. It’s the GR Super Sport Concept, a presumably road legal super car with powertrain tech lifted straight from Toyota’s wildly successful and not at all cursed WEC program.
This concept was announced shortly after Toyota committed to their prototype program in the FIA World Endurance Championship and now sees the light of day as Gazoo Racing expands their influence within Toyota’s lineup. Their goal is to refine Toyota’s production cars through the lessons learned in motorsport at a much quicker rate. With the GR Super Sport Concept, it’s clear they also want to apply those lessons very literally.
Source: Toyota Gazoo Racing Twitter
The car’s powertrain is mostly the same as what’s used in the Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 car. Mounted behind the cabin is a 2.4-liter twin-turbocharged V6 backed by their competition-grade Toyota Hybrid System – Racing (THS-R) to produce a combined 986 horsepower. Even though the engine and hybrid system are “mostly” the same, the quoted output is identical to what was claimed for last season’s TS050 Hybrid.
Source: Toyota Gazoo Racing Twitter
It being a concept means we don’t have a whole lot of other information about it at the moment (and we only have one official press photo), but I think this has GT1 written all over it. We’ve heard all sorts of rumors that the FIA will replace the dying LMP1 class with a revived GT1 class based on high-end super cars like this, and seeing such a car from Toyota makes it seem that much more likely. This concept already has race car-like bodywork, an LMP1 car’s powertrain, and even racing tires. Slap on a livery and a hex or two and you’ve got yourself a Le Mans-ready Toyota GT1 car.
Ford Edge ST
A few days ago, Ford put out a teaser shot on Twitter showing an ST badge on something that was clearly new. Many found this intriguing as they started wondering what car from the Ford lineup was getting their ST treatment next. Was it a Mustang? Fusion? Transit Van? It was then revealed to be the Ford Edge. Twitter didn’t like that very much.
Yes, it’s true. Ford is making an Edge ST so crossover buyers can pretend they care about performance. To Ford’s credit, they’re just capitalizing on a trend that favors crossovers, SUVs, and pickups over sedans and hatchbacks. 2017 was Ford’s best year ever for SUV sales, so it only makes sense to give the public another way to buy an Edge.
The first SUV to ever be tuned by Ford Performance gets its power from a 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 pumping out 335 horsepower and 380 lb.-ft. of torque. Other enhancements include a new quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, standard all-wheel drive with selectable traction control, an available performance brake package, and ST-tuned sport suspension. A full ST appearance package makes it look the part.
If a few things look different about this Edge (besides the bodywork), you’re right. The Edge ST previews upcoming changes being made to the 2019 Edge lineup, which Ford calls their smartest SUV ever. Future options will include a wireless charging pad, WiFi hotspot for up to ten devices, and smartphone integration that allows you to lock/unlock, start, and locate your Edge from your phone.
Safety will also be greatly improved as well. Every 2019 Edge will come standard with Forward Collision Warning and Dynamic Brake Support, Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane-Keeping Alert and Assist, Auto High Beams, Hill-Start Assist, AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control and Curve Control, and 911 Assist. Post-Collision Braking, Evasive Steering Assist, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go and Lane Centering are options.
The new Ford Edge and Edge ST will be built at the Oakville Assembly Plant in Oakville, Ontario, Canada and will arrive in showrooms this summer.
Lotus Evora GT410 Sport
Remember the Lotus Evora that used to be the fastest, most powerful, and most extreme Evora ever? No, the other one. Not that one. Not that other one either. Yeah that one. This “new” Lotus Evora GT410 Sport is like that but with slightly different aero and a £85,900 price tag.
Also, fun fact: in 2017 alone, Lotus released four new-ish high-performance variants of the Evora. Yesterday’s reveal makes five new Evoras in less than a year.
Toyota Gazoo Racing has confirmed their participation in this year’s Nürburgring 24 Hours with a race-prepped Lexus LC. It’ll be the 12th N24 in a row for Gazoo Racing, and as usual it’ll be with a car built and raced by a team of Toyota’s mechanics and engineers. This one-off Lexus LC will compete in the SP-PRO class with Takeshi Tsuchiya (chief driver) and young drivers Takamitsu Matsui, Naoya Gamo, and Yuichi Nakayama at the helm. No specifications have been released just yet, but here’s hoping that the first Lexus LC race car isn’t the last.
Honda’s Insight Prototype will debut on January 15th at NAIAS, but they’ve given us a few more specifications early. If you missed the first announcement back in December, surprise! Honda is bringing back the Insight as a premium compact hybrid sedan that will be positioned above the Civic and below the Accord. They’ve hyped it up as hybrid without any of the compromise, capable of delivering excellent mileage while being just as family-friendly as any other sedan. Yesterday we were given some of the initial figures to support that claim. It’ll come with a new version of Honda’s third-generation two-motor hybrid system, featuring an efficient 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle engine, a powerful electric propulsion motora and lithium-ion battery pack. They say it’ll operate on electric power only in most conditions, drawing energy from the engine (operating as a generator) or battery pack. Said battery pack resides under the back seats to free up trunk space. Honda says they’re expecting combined fuel economy in excess of 50 mpg. Yeah, Honda pretty much has to build this now.
Ford has finalized the specifications for the first-ever diesel F-150. Available this Spring, the F-150 diesel will launch with a 3.0-liter Power Stroke V6 which cranks out 250 horsepower and 440 lb.-ft. of torque and allows for up to 11,400 pounds towing and 2,020 pounds of payload capacity. Peak torque comes at just 1,750 rpm with strong torque delivery continuing throughout the rpm range, which they say is ideal for towing or hauling heavy loads over long distances. And it does all this with a targeted 30 mpg highway. Dealers can begin taking orders next week.
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]