The News for September 10th, 2021

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: Subaru finally debuts new, more perplexing WRX, Chevrolet finally gives the Silverado the ZR2 package, Porsche hints at a future electric race car with the Mission R, Lotus takes the Emira racing in GT4, and Radford shows off gorgeous John Player Special 62-2.

2022 Subaru WRX

As promised, Subaru debuted an all new WRX this morning to an eager online crowd. The fifth generation of the beloved rally-bred sports sedan has a massively new look inside and out, a bigger motor, a lot more body cladding, and a new top-of-the-line trim with more premium features. It’s already causing quite the buzz in the car community so let’s rip that handbrake and clutch-kick our way into the ditch details.

At the heart of the new WRX is a new 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer four-cylinder. It’s not often that a Subaru gets a new engine, though we don’t actually know just how new this one is. It’s likely modified from the 2.4-liter turbo unit in the Outback XT. But either way, this is a big step up from the last WRX’s 2.0-liter engine. Power is increased substantially with this newer, higher displacement engine by a whole three horsepower. Literally just three. Not 30, not 20, just three (3). Meanwhile the torque is increased by *checks notes* nothing. Power bands have been widened a good bit so that it would feel faster, but it’s actually not by that much.

Subaru’s legendary Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Active Torque Vectoring continues to define the WRX experience, as does its upgraded six-speed manual transmission which is still standard. It has newly optimized gear ratios and refinements for better shift quality. The automatic on the other hand is much quicker at those gear changes than before.

The new WRX is built on the Subaru Global Platform for the first time which for us means a better-performing chassis in terms of ride quality and handling with a lower center of gravity and higher rigidity. For Subaru it means cheaper development and production costs. Improving that suspension capability even more is the electronically controlled dampers that come equipped with the range-topping GT trim.

What is really getting people talking though is that styling. Thanks to the Japanese-market Levorg, we had some idea as to what the new WRX would look like and that was mostly spot on in terms of its aggressive and more pointy front fascia. What it didn’t prepare us for though was the Pontiac Aztec levels of black plastic body cladding. They must think owners will do a lot of rallying. Or go off road at all. But within those wheel arches and lower trim pieces are some functional aerodynamic elements. The texture itself is designed to reduce air resistance and the wheel arches feature air inlets and outlets for the purpose of allowing air to exit from the wheel well more freely, thus reducing light on the front tires and improving stability at speed. Meanwhile at the back are new BRZ-inspired taillights and even more black plastic just in case you didn’t think this car had enough of it.

So uh, that’s the new WRX. It’ll launch early 2022 for an undisclosed price. Are you convinced or are you shopping for a 2021 WRX now?

[Source: Subaru]

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2

At some point Chevrolet must have realized that the only Colorado most people care about anymore is the off-road-ready ZR2. After the realization came the idea to apply the beloved formula to the biggest money maker in their arsenal. So as the refreshed 2022 Silverado debuted with new design features and cabin tech, the Silverado ZR2 absolutely stole the spotlight.

It’s likely the most capable Silverado ever made even though they don’t say that outright. It uses some of the same technology that was exclusive (from an OEM) on the Colorado ZR2 but also utilizes some of the things that could only work on a bigger truck like the Silverado. For example, it only comes with the 6.2-liter V8 which delivers 420 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque.

The Multimatic DSSV spool-valve dampers carry over with its own enhancements for the Silverado. This consists of three separate spool valves to control damping with three connected chambers for fluid flow. This means more adjustability and more confidence-inspiring control over a variety of surfaces. That plus the uniquely tuned springs for greater suspension travel, 33-inch off-road Goodyear Wrangler tires, and front and rear e-lockers means this thing can do just about anything you want it to. Desert running, rock crawling, mud pits, parking over the lines into that second space that you’re entitled to, doesn’t matter. Anything reasonable thing you can throw at this, it’ll probably take.

And if the going gets really rough, skid plates protect the undercarriage from harsh impacts in the event that you bottom out on a rock that your mate Craig said you could clear no problem. Meanwhile, the steel front bumper is specially designed to increase the truck’s approach angle to an impressive 31.8 degrees. That puts it ahead of the Ram Rebel TRX and in the ballpark of the Ford Raptor. Meanwhile, the rear bumper is redesigned so it’s easier to take off and replace if it gets smashed.

So for those who will actually use their ZR2 off the road where it belongs, it sounds like it’ll be able to keep up with a Raptor or a normal Ram Rebel without much of an issue. But we all know that’s not gonna be the case with the majority of these. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet but we do know it’ll arrive in dealerships by Spring 2022… assuming they have the chips to build them.

Porsche Mission R

The latest headline-grabbing EV is this 1,000hp racing concept from Porsche. It’s meant to preview what the future of a one-make Porsche racing series could look like. Instead of 911 GT3 Cups, you could see something like this.

What’s more interesting than the 1,000 horsepower from its two electric motors and 900-volt architecture though is the car underneath it all. At just 170.3 inches in length, it’s a bit shorter than a 718 Cayman. So take this as a preview of what a future Cayman could look like. Or something else entirely as a sub-Cayman sports car has been rumored for about as long as I’ve been covering this industry.

While this remains strictly a design study for the time being, Porsche did make a point to mention that the Mission E and Mission E Cross Turismo concept studies both ended up in production as the Taycan. I think the car that’s hidden underneath the race car wing and futuristic race car interior is something that’s destined for production.

[Source: Porsche]

Lotus Emira GT4

It only makes sense that the last gas-burning sports car Lotus will ever make should get a competition version as well. The Emira is going racing in the GT4 class to replace the venerable Evora GT4 beginning next year.

GT4 is about as close to production as any race car can get. These cars all run the same powertrain as the road car (albeit with some light modifications for competition) with much of the same bodywork and minimal aero work. It’s a class where the strengths and weaknesses of a sports car can really play a role in the success of a race car. The Emira GT4 will take advantage of years of Lotus competition experience in its chassis setup, its lightweight composite bodywork, and its race-proven Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter V6. Power will depend on BoP adjustments, but should be in the ballpark of 400 horsepower. In a car with slicks and just 1,260kg / 2,777 pounds to lug around, this should be an absolute riot to drive.

The Evora GT currently races in a handful of SRO-sanctioned series. From what I can tell, SRO GT4 America is not one of those, sadly. But who knows, maybe some rich American team will buy one to campaign here. If you’re one of those rich team owner type people, email motorsport @ lotuscars [dot] com. Then hit me up at @gregckach on Twitter so I can help you drive it.

[Source: Lotus]

Radford 62-2 John Player Special

Remember Radford? They arguably stole Pebble Beach with a stunning throwback to a classic Lotus race car called the Radford 62-2. It’s a company founded by Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button, F1 TV presenter Ant Anstead, and designer Mark Stubbs. Two versions of the car have been shown up to this point, one is a “back to the basics” type of sports car and the other is the sportier Gold Leaf version (complete with a gorgeous throwback livery). Well now we’ve got that third version that was promised – the John Player Special.

This one is more track-focused than the others and has the most power of the bunch. So its 3.5-liter supercharged V6 from Toyota (as with the Evora and Emira) which gets beefed up to 600 horsepower. It’s paired with a dual-clutch transmission because race car, and while it may not have super crazy aero, it does have a bigger splitter and some real downforce. But it’s not nearly enough downforce to dominate the driving experience. This is the kind of sports car that’ll make you work for the lap times, and that’s kind of the point.

It’s a seriously cool car that any one of us would be lucky to even see. Just twelve of these cars will be produced, each with this outrageously beautiful hand-painted JPS scheme.

[Source: Jalopnik]

What’s your automotive news?

hooniverse news whats your naws

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.

I'm the guy that spoiled the site with all the new car stuff. Hooniverse News Editor since 2011, amateur motorsport photographer, sim racer, and mountain road enthusiast.

30 Comments

  1. That Subaru is…erm, edgy? Everything new seems to come with colourful paints though, that’s a huge plus.

    I was at a life conference today, for the first time in forever for obvious reasons. That required some driving. The car felt different, so I checked the tire pressure, basically the only thing I could do on the fly. The front tires were 15% off the recommended pressure, rear tires were lacking a bit, too. Isn’t that what TPMS is for? We had a lot of issues with the TPMS when we first bought the car, but now it doesn’t seem to do…anything?

    1. I can’t say I know how exactly TPMS works, but could it be possible that the sensors are set to a too low pressure, so they don’t go off until you lose 20% or whatever? Or maybe they’re just broken?

      1. I have no clue either, but going from 2.35 to ~2 bar is a quite significant loss – to my mind, at least. And a broken TPMS should send an error message to the dashboard; it’s a type 2 error in the tech inspection. Unless the shop just removed all traces of TPMS when we went in with issues for the fifth time… 😛

    2. I’m guessing it’ll need to be a bigger drop for the TPMS to alert you. I just make it a habit to check mine as the car is warming up.

    3. I pretend as though my car doesn’t even have TPMS, and just check my tires regularly. The only time it ever alarms seems to be when the spare is low– which is honestly helpful, because I don’t check it nearly as often.

      I will say that the KO2s I put on the van have been phenomenal for wear and air pressure. They look nearly new after 2 years and only one rotation.

    4. I believe the US standard is 20% low, based on our vehicles, and since the big reason they are found is because of the US mandate it is likely similar programing used everywhere. On my Van I’ve changed the tire pressure settings in the car’s computer since it is a CAFE dodging “1/2 ton” (3000lb payload, 40lbs less than the “3/4 ton”) and I rarely ever put anywhere near that much weight in it. Otherwise a couple of psi drop, from what I run in the rear would cause it to go off.

      1. Nice, do you have access to these settings from the factory or is this some OBD magic? Great insight on the 20% rule, I knew I’d get good answers here. At the same time, 20% is a quite significant drop that people should notice without a warning light.

        1. It is some OBD magic. Since they are Fords I use ForScan which does 99% of the function of the factory Ford scan tool which includes rewriting select blocks of code that are used to set the generic module for the specific application. Depending on the vehicle and module you can change a number of things. On the van I did the tire pressures, on the Pickup I used it to correct the tire size when I changed those and in my Lincoln I changed the temp of the heated steering wheel from 68 degrees (only done for a couple of years on the Lincoln version) to 98 degrees (as done on some years of the Mondeo) and the number of times the turn signal flashes when you activate the lane change function from 3 to 4.

  2. Something about the new WRX just seems off to me, but I can’t really say what though.
    I like the Radford though, the wheel design in particular.

  3. I had the valves adjusted on the Africa Twin to the tune of $1000. After having tried to do the valve check myself I was perfectly happy to pay someone else that much to do it. After my attempt the engine made a funny noise (even though I never even got the valve cover off) and now it doesn’t; worth every penny. Modern CAD designed motorcycles are just too much work to get deep into.

    I also had all my locks replaced on the bike because I left the keys in the bike one night (well, many nights, actually, over the past two years) and someone walked off with them. Strangely, they didn’t take the rear case; the key to the chain lock is on a different ring, so they couldn’t get the whole bike, and in fact all they took was the keys. I was uncomfortable with there being keys out there, though, so I paid about $600 to have the ignition, gas cap and seat lock replaced. (Hey, that’s a $200 seat!)

    On my way back from dropping the bike off for the locks my friend called me and said he left his keys in his bike and someone walked off with them, and would I help him pick the bike up in my van. That was quite the adventure. We parked the van across an alleyway in the Financial District to get the front end higher than the back; that reduced the angle of the ramps, but also our run-up room.

    Got the bike up the ramp and front wheel in, paused for breath, my pal asks what do we do next? I says, we take it back off the ramps and remove the windshield and mirrors, because it’s a DL650 and this is only an Econoline. It was high comedy. We had to lift the rear suspension to clear the high center, then compress the rear suspension to get the tailcase (again, no spare keys) in the door. We tied it down as best we could but it still fell over halfway to his house; and pissed gasoline all over my moving pad.

    After getting it rightside up again (while in a van! no headroom!) and squeezing it out the doors and into the garage I was, like, I’m always happy to help you out, pal, but is there a reason you didn’t call one of the three 24 hour motorcycle towing specialists active in San Francisco? He kind of mumbled that he hated waiting for towtrucks to show up. After about 2 hours of this boondoggle! And after leaving his bike street parked for 2 days!

    Well, anyway, this weekend I’m off to The Roots Of Motive Power’s annual Steam-up in Willits, California. Steam locos! Diesel Locos! Stationary engines of both types! Steam shovels, yarders, and rollers, oh, my!

    1. That roots of motive power show looks pretty cool. There’s tourist train west of Denver that climbs a mountain grade- and they do the climb under steam power! Cool experience sitting in the open car behind the locomotive.

    2. Not far from me there is a steam shovel that actually walks instead of having tracks. One of these days I’ll go when they are running it (only moved a little before Covid)

  4. I’ll go against the grain here- I like the new WRX. Though an extra 20% more displacement for 3 hp? I guess if the power band is actually significantly more broad, and they tuned for that instead of peak hp?

    More steady progress on the Spirit. Most of the dash bits are in, wiring is mostly done, dynamat install is nearing completion. Hopefully my dynaliner (carpet pad/sound deadener) gets here today like it’s supposed to, and with any luck I might get the carpet back in today. Still a longish punch list of other odds and ends before the interior is done. Soon though.

  5. I have a garage! I mean, there’s a house to go with it, but the garage (and 3-4 car parking outside) is the important bit. It’ll probably be enough of a project before I find a project car to fill it (not that I have much project car budget for the next few years anyhow). Probably something smaller though, my Mazda2 wasn’t exactly swimming in extra space.

    Also, I have a Transit for the weekend. Good steering, for feeling huge it doesn’t feel unwieldy. That said, I might still prefer the ancient Savana/Express, although the Transit is better as a tool.

    1. Congratulations! That is an unusual configuration, I’m guessing the car portion was extended at some point? But it does look like you have an area for a work bench and tools.

      1. I’m not entirely sure, my city has archived aerial survey photography going back past the 40’s (when the house was built), but I didn’t notice if it started off this shape or not. But yeah, at least enough room for a car, motorcycle, set of tires, and enough other odds and ends.

        1. They are probably providing access to or were gleaned from historicaerials.com. The other cool link is historicmapworks.com. Not not every area is available but it is pretty good in my area. I like the aerials one in that you can do two overlayed and “wipe” back and forth to see the changes between the two different years or between an aerial and a regular map. The map one is cool because at least in my area the old prominent map maker went off of county records so the names of the owners are on a lot of parcels and the names of roads start to make sense. For example near my house there is a road that used to be called Chapman, before they switched to the uniform numbering system and sure enough go back far enough and right on the corner of the main road was a large parcel owned by a guy named Chapman and there was another large parcel just down and across the road that was also owned by a person with the last name of Chapman.

          1. Neat! I’ll definitely have to check those out tomorrow- I think ours is just hosted by the city archives (which are pretty substantial, I think).

            Even as a Canadian, I’m absolutely apathetic to hockey, but I ended up down a rabbit hole of learning about the guy who owned the Maple Leafs for decades in the mid-century, as he built the neighborhood after the quarry he owned was used up (and as such, both the neighborhood and a local park is named after him).

    2. Congrats! Looks like a pleasant area with older trees and some plot size, too. Now witness the garage size theorem: It will shrink proportional to the time that passes. Can be reversed at intervals determined by self control.

      1. Not a huge lot, really (33″x87″), but we weren’t looking for huge. Plenty of parks in the area, and a transit line opening up shortly (plus, no condo corp to deal with anymore). And yeah, I’ve already got a bunch of odds and ends stashed at my in-laws that’ll fill the space plenty quickly.

    3. Congrats! There’s -nothing- like having your very own indoor car box.

      I am envious of the concrete drive and the extra square feet/meters I see (only 13′ by 23′ here, in freedom units). Is that facing West?

      1. I think mine is approx 16″wide, but might not even be 20″ deep (also, front of garage is the west side), although I haven’t broken out the tape measure yet. My wife’s pretty happy about the extra parking too, we’ve been a single car family since we got married, so she’s pretty committed to getting some sort of van once fiscally responsible.

  6. Well I’ve been busy for the last few weeks. One of my businesses is rental homes and I had one that needed to be ready to occupy Sep 1st. Of course I kept finding things that needed to be done, oh and this is one of the ones that is located 100mi or so from home. So I had been plugging away at it and had made a run down here with the baby pickup and was planning on heading back in it. Well that morning I decided to take a scrap run and about half way there the brakes acted weird when I put them on a bit on the harder side, but not that hard. Get down the road some more and touch the brakes to slow down and it pulled to the left. I made it to my destination and did a walk around and both rear brakes and the RF were hot. I let it cool a bit and then made for home. Unfortunately things got so bad as I neared home the truck felt like it was hopping if I got up to 35mph. Got home and got out the infrared to find the rear rotors at ~800 degrees, the RF at ~600 and the LF at ~180. Further investigation once it cooled indicated the calipers were indeed dragging. Not sure exactly why but it was 90 something degrees that day.

    So I decide that I’m going to take the Marauder so the wife could have the Lincoln. Why because she came home saying the tire pressure light was on in the SUV and I found a good sized screw in the inner sidewall. So we took the Marauder out to get some food before I took off and it started making a nasty noise from the accessory drive. Got it home and found it was the tensioner. Thankfully I have my other Marauder and the next morning I stole the tensioner off of it.

    I then start finding parts. I ordered up Power Stop rotors and pads for the truck and the SUV as the rotors have been warped for a while as well as an all in one accessory drive kit with tensioner, belt and the two idler pulleys online and find the local Napa that has Calipers in stock for the pickup. Unfortunately no one around here could get the parking brake shoes. Thankfully the store in the town where the house I was working on had them. Also ordered a front wheel bearing for the SUV since it has been making noise for a while and the wife swore it was coming from the RF.

    The parts arrive and I get home that afternoon. I go to start with the RF and open up the caliper box to find a Left in the first one and a Left in the second one. Thankfully that store had another in stock so I sent my son down to exchange that while I went to work on the rear. I found missmatched hardware between the rear calipers. One side had the factory style flanged mounting bolts where the other hand generic grade 8 bolts. One had a bleeder with a 3/8″ head and the other a 10mm head. Eventually I got it all done and everything worked as it should again! I also gave it an oil change as it had been 22 months and about 5k miles since the last time it was done. I then climbed in the truck late at night and went back to work on the house.

    Next time I came down I went to take care of the Marauder. Tensioner installed and then I opened up one of the idler pulley boxes to find it way to large, ditto for the second one. So the borrowed one went back on and I need to send the kit back. I did order up the pieces individually and then just arrived. So once I’m done with this I’ll be out putting all the new stuff on the one Marauder and the good used stuff on the other, did I mention one of the pulleys on it was starting to make some noise.

    I did the brakes, bearing and oil change on the SUV and while the brakes are working right and much better now the wheel bearing noise is still present. I’ve got to take a closer look at the rear which unfortunately is pressed in, not a bolt on assembly like the front. I may just go to the Pick N Pull and see if I can find one that looks like it has been replaced already and swap on a used knuckle.

    Oh and I also changed the oil on the real pickup, the van, and the daughter’s car since she is driving it to Idaho as I type this.

    Well I’m off to fix the Maraduers, wish me luck, though this time I have unboxed the parts and they look correct.

    1. As the old saying goes, it is always something. Putting the new parts on was easy enough, however with the belt off I did test the alternator’s overrunning clutch pulley and it is definitely seized. I was pretty sure that was the case as you could hear the belt chirp on a near redline 1-2 shift. So the old cross one thing off the list and put another one on. Meanwhile the battery is toast in the other Marauder but that wasn’t a surprise as it was a hand me down from the pickup where it was replaced somewhat due to age but also because the cheap radio I had put in it started causing a drain after having it for several months.

      Tomorrow is going up to paint the siding that was replaced on the rental house and can hopefully call that done for now.

    2. Sounds like some of the videos that Uncle Tony’s Garage has been doing on youtube, with dud parts. Those are some pretty stupid mistakes.

  7. That WRX is a “massively new look”? Or is that sarcasm? Doesn’t look that new to me, except for the taillights and all that cladding. Nice to see the Pontiac designers finally got new jobs, I guess.

    I love the new Lotus and that John Player Special, but I’m not a fan of the 4 spoke wheels.

    Did brakes on my daughter’s Protege. First project in the new barn. It was nice having plenty of space around it. The brakes themselves were painful, however. I was doing rear shoes and hardware and front rotors because they were pulsing. The rear drums were held on with Philips flat head screws and they wouldn’t budge. I successfully drilled 3 of them, but the 4th I broke a Phillips bit in and even new cobalt drills struggled to cut. I eventually got it, but what a pain.

    Got all my stuff moved out of the shed and started to organize things. I need more shelving and work benches, but it’s becoming more useful.

      1. 30′ x 40′, but it’s probably the 10′ doors and 12′ ceiling that’s doing it. I think my phone has a bit of a wide angle at it’s most zoomed out, which is probably exaggerating things too.

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