Alpine A424

The News for June 9th, 2023

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: Porsche previews an electric hypercar future with the Mission X, Alpine shows off their LMDh racecar, Ford unveils the Mustang GT3 plus a new look for Ford Performance, Lexus shows us a new GX that will please off-road enthusiasts, Ram may be readying a compact pickup for the US, and Chevrolet is offering a Garage 56 Edition Camaro for the public.

Porsche Mission X

As Porsche celebrates the 75th anniversary of their first ever road car to receive its general operating permit, they’re showing off a concept/design study that could be the precursor to a road car unlike anything they’ve built before. The Porsche Mission X is an all-electric reimagining of a hypercar and a “technology beacon for the sports car of the future”. It would be a theoretical successor to their most iconic sports cars from each decade before it – the 959, Carrera GT, and 918 Spyder.

Its sleek and sculpted body is purposefully aerodynamic yet not overly aggressive. It’s also smaller than you might think, being about an inch shorter lengthwise than your average 911 and about 3 inches shorter heightwise than a 718 Boxster. Some key design features include a glass dome with a carbon fiber exoskeleton, butterfly doors that look just like the ones on a 917 race car, transparent aeroblades on the rear wheels, and headlights inspired by the 906 and 908.

As this is merely a design study (for now) they aren’t talking hard specifications. But they did outline a few goals they set for themselves if this did happen to go into production (wink wink). First and foremost, be the fastest road-legal vehicle around the Nürburgring Nordschleife. They also want a power-to-weight ratio of roughly one PS (metric horsepower) per kilogram and to achieve downforce values well in excess of what’s delivered by the new 911 GT3 RS. They’d use a 900-volt system architecture and offer charging speeds roughly twice as fast as the Taycan Turbo S.

It’s no guarantee that we’ll see a future production car exactly like what we see here. But Porsche’s next supercar/hypercar is almost guaranteed to be electric and at the very least we’d see them borrow some of these design elements for other projects.

[Source: Porsche]

Alpine unveils their Le Mans prototype

The new golden age of sportscar racing has only just begun. Alpine has unveiled their much-anticipated prototype that’s destined for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) next season – the A424_β. They might drop the beta from the name once it’s ready for competition, but now it’s full speed ahead on development. They’ve been getting their feet wet in endurance racing more recently with the A480, but that was literally a rebadged Rebellion R13 LMP1 car that was grandfathered into the then-new Hypercar regulations. This A424 is (almost) all their own. And it’s stunning.

Alpine has chosen to develop within the LMDh regulations, taking advantage of its cost-effective approach to prototype endurance racing. This will allow Alpine, who only has one car on sale globally, to compete with the giants of sportscar racing like Porsche, Toyota, BMW, and Ferrari. LMDh at a glance means manufacturers partner with one of four approved chassis suppliers and then supply their own bodywork and an engine that’s paired with a spec hybrid unit. Alpine partnered with Oreca for the chassis and ran their first aerodynamic tests last July. The engine will be supplied by Mecachrome who completed the motor’s first dyno run back in December, followed immediately by its first blow up. When the engine is in one piece, it’s a 3.4-liter V6 with a single turbocharger producing the series-mandated 675 horsepower at up to 9,000 RPM.

The bodywork Alpine designed cleverly incorporates some of their signature design elements. The rear taillight elements are “A-arrows” (the stylized A in their logo), the nose features Alpine’s “future lighting”, and some other inspirations from their Alpenglow concept. It’s then wrapped in a wonderful livery that fits the car perfectly. Bonus points for painted wheels.

While they may have handicapped themselves before even setting foot on track by willingly partnering with Mecachrome, Alpine knows how to defy the odds with their racing programs. Their F1 team has been steadily improving and showing signs of promise. The team they’re partnering with for this program is Signatech, who they’ve worked with before. They’ll figure this one out. Or we’ll all have a new source for memes.

[Source: Alpine]

Ford Mustang GT3, Ford Performance rebranding

Ford may not have a horse in this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, but they will next year. That’s why they were onsite today to show off the new Mustang GT3 race car. It’s the first Mustang GT3 and Ford’s first GT3 product ever. In the spirit of GT3 competition, it’ll be offered for sale to customer teams – the first of which will be Proton Competition, who have had success with Porsche in recent years. Ford also took the opportunity to unveil a fresh new look for Ford Performance with new branding, logos, and colors.

The Mustang GT3 is joining the FIA GT3 category with a brand-new, built from the ground up racecar based on the new Mustang Dark Horse. It was developed with longtime Ford partners Multimatic and M-Sport, who helped develop the Ford GT Le Mans program and Ford’s WRC program, respectively. Multimatic will help build and support the Mustang GT3s in global competition and M-Sport will assemble the engine. Power is derived from what else but a Coyote-based 5.4-liter V8.

With the new car, Ford is debuting a whole new look for Ford Performance. With assistance from renowned motorsports designer Troy Lee, it blasts a colorful and bold new look along with a new, simplified Ford Performance logo that will be worn on Ford racecars around the world. They wanted a new identity for Ford Performance so they can position themselves as a “standout lifestyle brand with a sporting mindset”. You can look forward to seeing the logo and the colors on future racing liveries, merchandise, marketing materials, display assets, parts/accessories, and literally all over my body as I pull up into the Mustang corral at the Rolex 24.

Proton Competition will be fielding a pair of Mustang GT3s in the 2024 WEC season as fulltime entries. WEC’s 2024 regulations will only allow for two LMGT3 entries per manufacturer because they are simply outstanding at being completely fucking stupid at literally every chance they’re given, so Proton will be the only ones allowed to race this car in WEC. IMSA however doesn’t have such completely fucking stupid rules for their GT3 classes, so that allows Ford more freedom over here in the states. Ford Performance will field their own two-car factory team in IMSA GTD Pro with Multimatic. It’s possible other customer teams will join them in GTD Pro or GTD (Am).

Ford’s CEO and genuine racing enthusiast (who I’m sure will find some way to race one of these Mustangs), Jim Farley, puts it best: “It is not Ford versus Ferrari anymore. It is Ford versus everyone.”

[Source: Ford]

Lexus GX

As promised, Lexus has unveiled a dramatically reworked GX that takes the luxury and its underrated off-road capabilities to new heights. The current GX460 is one of the last old school body-on-frame SUVs on the market but with an interior that was way outdated and an engine/transmission combo that, while generally well-liked and highly reliable, was even older. This new GX, which formally launches as the GX 550, keeps the body-on-frame SUV alive but adds more luxury and tech plus a much-needed powertrain update to go with it. They’re fully exploiting its off-road capabilities and adopted a new design that doesn’t even try to hide it anymore.

Six grades are offered: Premium, Premium+, Luxury, Luxury+, Overtrail, and Overtrail+. The Overtrail grades are new models that will offer a range of additional off road features to buyers who want an overlanding rig right out of the box. Overall the GX grows in every dimension by just a couple inches. Inside its lush interior is room for seven as well as a more digital interface, complete with a 14″ multimedia touchscreen display, a 12.3″ digital gauge cluster and an available HUD. They haven’t completely digitalized the interface, as common controls like air conditioning and audio volume remain as physical controls.

The new GX is built on the same GA-F platform introduced on the new LX 600 (or Land Cruiser in other markets). The strong and lightweight ladder frame increases body rigidity substantially. It also features a newly developed double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear suspension, plus available adaptive dampers. The GX retains its standard full-time 4WD setup and a Torsen limited-slip center differential with a locking feature. The electronic transfer case got some love too and will now shift between 4hi and 4lo much more quickly than before.

The GX 550 Overtrail and Overtrail+ models (pictured in tan) get all that plus a little more. They benefit from an Electronic-Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (E-KDSS) for improved wheel articulation, an electronic rear locker, standard 33″ all-terrain tires wrapped around 18″ wheels, black accented overfenders, and a standard aluminum skid plate.

For power, Lexus has ditched the good ole V8 voted most likely to survive a nuclear apocalypse in favor of the new standard at Toyota – a 3.4-liter twin-turbocharged V6. It’s the same powerplant that debuted in the newest Toyota Tundra and Lexus LX 600. In the GX 550, it’s producing 349 horsepower and 479 lb.-ft. of torque, a massive improvement over the last model. That’s all sent to the ground through a ten-speed automatic transmission. Lexus has promised that a hybrid model will be available at a later date. That’ll be good, because like the last GX460, the new GX 550 will suck ass with fuel efficiency. Lexus’ estimates put it at 17 mpg combined. But with all of its new performance and an increased towing capacity of 8,000 pounds, it’ll at least put that gas to good use.

[Source: Lexus]

Ram Rampage might be coming to the US

Ford literally cannot keep up with demand for the Maverick. The compact pickup market in the US is hotter than it’s been in decades and it will only get hotter. So it was only a matter of time before another brand decided they didn’t want to let Ford just have it all to themselves. Ram appears to be the first to mount a challenge, according to a new report from The Drive that a new compact truck that they confirmed for South America will also be sold in the US. It’ll be called the Rampage, and The Drive’s sources at Stellantis confirmed that it’ll debut in the US later this year.

There isn’t much known about the Rampage but some official concept images plus more than reasonable speculation from The Drive can sort of paint the picture. I’d definitely recommend checking out their coverage here. The Ford Maverick will finally get some real competition. And with that, the compact truck wars will have officially begun.

[Source: The Drive]

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Garage 56 Edition

You knew Chevrolet weren’t gonna miss a chance to sell a special edition car with this whole Garage 56 thing. Chevy along with Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR are fielding a specially-developed Camaro race car, built on the Gen-7 Cup Car, as an experimental Garage 56 entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend. Well you could potentially own a small piece of that fantastic experiment. But only if you’re willing to fight other Hawaiian-shirt-wearing car collectors for one of the extremely limited models.

The Camaro ZL1 Garage 56 Edition wears a similar color scheme and decal set to what’s on the actual race car. It’s not a perfect match, but you can immediately tell they’re related. And as the name implies, just 56 of them will ever be made. When they inevitably sell out with each one going for $100,000 above MSRP, it will have accounted for about half of all Camaro sales for the year.

[Source: Chevrolet]

What’s your news for the week?

hooniverse news whats your naws

So 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.

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5 responses to “The News for June 9th, 2023”

  1. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    tell us how you really feel about wec. the GX looks like something out of minecraft, think i’ll have to see it in person to judge.

    a few weeks ago i posted about how i’d acquired a lovely vtec engine to drop into my impulse buy Honda. well that weekend, on the way to the junkyard to get some parts, the engine in my diesel MB just blew up. no idea why but once i got it home cylinder 1 was full of oil, and the next day it wouldn’t start.

    so the honda engine will go on fb marketplace, the honda will be sold, and i now have an upgrade engine for the Benz (5 cylinder turbo, replacing 4 cylinder NA) on a stand in the garage. starting to tear it down to test compression, inspect closely, and probably replace the head gasket.

    this is an upgrade i’ve kind of been fantasizing about anyway, since the original motor only made ~70 hp when need. i’m mostly just curious what popped in the old motor. they are supposedly unkillable, yet this one went boom even with all the oil and water still in it.

    1. Sjalaboom Avatar

      I follow your updates with great interest, mostly because you seem to be positive either way. Engine blows up? Oh, great opportunity to fix that one, let’s just quickly dump that other project…hehe. That’s amazing. Good luck!

      1. wunno sev Avatar
        wunno sev

        lol. i wasn’t exactly happy about it, but you take the silver linings where you can get em.

        tbh the honda project was working out to be a little more expensive than i had expected, and i was a little hesitant about buying the rest of the parts. so the kaboom at least provided a clear path on that. insufficient mental energy for two simultaneous projects of this magnitude. i’m also happy to be back in the garage. i haven’t dug deep into a car project for several years and it’s been satisfying to work on the new diesel engine.

  2. Batshitbox Avatar

    Two-door, steel wheel, stick shift Bronco meets my high standards. (Also available in no-doors.)

  3. Maymar Avatar

    Spent a week in a new Highlander on vacation – the new 2.4 turbo is pretty suitable to mission (and I averaged like 25mpg), but I’m disappointed by all modern turbos that don’t sound like Group B cars (even the bloated 3-row crossovers). But I can’t wrap my head around paying $50k CAD for that, although I guess it’ll at least last 25 years with minimal issue (assuming it doesn’t get unwillingly shipped halfway around the world).

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