To touch on a subject not normally covered by CarGurus, Audi has announced its expanded involvement in the all-electric Formula E racing series, furthering its support of Team ABT Schaeffler before fielding a full-works team in 2017. Motor racing is an exceptionally expensive business, and with perhaps the exception of Ferrari’s involvement in Formula 1, no manufacturer can simply dabble in the game—there has to be some sort of return on the investment.
In 2006 a friend’s dad bought a new $150,000 Ford GT. It was low to the ground and sleek. I stood next to the car and towered over the roof as I wondered how a guy could afford to buy such an exclusive supercar.
A week later he bought one for his wife.
I never got to drive either of the cars, but I did see them every day as my friend was picked up from work by one of her parents. That was when I fell in love with the GT.
The GT was only produced for the 2005 and 2006 model years, then silently slipped into the past. Today those cars are worth far more than they were a decade ago, with some selling for upwards of $300,000 each.
At last year’s Detroit Auto Show, Ford surprised show-goers with a concept for an all-new GT. This year we could see the production-ready version, but this time prices might make used versions look downright affordable.
Hyundai: maker of cheap, utilitarian cars or competitor to established high-performance brands?
Most of us would agree that Hyundai, the South Korean automaker that introduced the 100,000-mile warranty, falls into the cheap, utilitarian category.
The carmaker gained its fame for building inexpensive alternatives to the mainstream brands, but in the process became a mainstream brand. The next challenge is to build cheaper alternatives to high-performance brands and try to change the landscape of the high-powered car business.
The best way to do that is to hire one of the industry’s most successful engineers and let him loose on a new performance sub-brand.
Ready be driven wild by Hyundai?
The last couple of days have been intense for fans of the Ford GT. Rumors are strong that the much-loved supercar could come racing back, with a debut coming as early as next month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Arch rivals Chevrolet and Dodge both have supercars, and the closest Ford currently gets is with the Shelby Mustang, which admittedly is almost as good. Almost.
In the game of car competition, though, “almost” doesn’t win many sales. The timing is right for the GT to come back, but does it make sense?
From June 19–22, over 150 cars and hundreds of drivers will race the ADAC Zurich Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race on the Nordschleife (north loop) of the Nürburgring in central Germany. The Nürburgring, with a lap length of over 20 km, allows a driver to race in 150-minute intervals before being required to take a 2-hour break. A driver’s teammate then takes over and does the same. This lasts for an entire day.
An average car will run a quarter-mile drag race in 15–16 seconds. That’s not a blistering pace, but it’s just enough to give a slight rush while accelerating up an on-ramp before settling into a steady stream of 65-mile-an-hour commuters.
The Mazda Miata, while relatively sporty and fun to drive, typically falls somewhere within that average time in stock, off-the-showroom-floor form. It’s nothing spectacular, and it won’t win many drag races, but the time is good enough to warrant the designation of “sports car.”
A quick quarter-mile time in the Miata might fall somewhere in the 11–13-second range. When that stock speed just isn’t fast enough, upgrades can be applied, and the Miata, like any car, can become a drag racer.
An extreme case would be taking a Miata, stripping it completely of its powertrain, and replacing it with a source of power sure to embarrass even the most seasoned of racers.
Costco: the land where dreams come true.
Assuming, of course, your dreams include 50-pound bags of sugar, gallons of mayonnaise and full access to all the toilet paper you’ll ever need.
Bulk discounts on household staples are enough to keep some people coming back every Saturday. Every once in a while, though, Costco surprises by offering something so over-the-top extravagant or absurd that it blows our little minds. That includes million-dollar diamonds, caskets stacked near the TVs, and now, F1 cars.
Back in May of this year we heard about a competition put on by GrabCAD, an online engineering community, and 500 Group, a think tank for new products. The challenge was to create a body for a new supercar that would be built on an existing chassis using GM Performance parts and the LS3, LS7 or supercharged LS9 V8 engines. (Maybe they should also consider the new LT1 engine… just saying.)
In that original post, I admittedly got a little harsh about letting engineers act as designers. I made the argument that when that happens, we’re left with cars like the Accord and Camry. Excellent vehicles, but they don’t have much in the way of personality.
We heard yesterday from a representative of the 500 Group who wanted to set us straight.
America’s first real supercar.
One of America’s favorite big-screen auto-racing heroes.
The most expensive American car ever sold.
Thanks to some history with the one and only Steve McQueen, a 1967 Ford GT40 has sold for $11 million, making it the most expensive car ever built here in the land of recliners and football.
At the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, RM auctioneers got rid of the ultra-rare Ford GT40 for such a high price thanks to bidders pushing the sales price in the final minutes in their attempts to own the car used in the filming of Steve McQueen’s movie “Le Mans.”
I’ve driven the Pikes Peak hill climb.
Okay, maybe not the Hill Climb, in capital letters, like the one that took place on the Colorado mountain this weekend, but I’ve driven up Pikes Peak for an entirely separate occasion. It took me a good 30 minutes to negotiate the switchbacks, curves, dirt sections of road and harrowing vistas of road ending in sky.
That drive gives me a new appreciation for the brave souls who actually compete in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, a flat-out timed race to the summit. Compared to my time of a rather leisurely 30-40 minutes, the competitors make the 12.42-mile 156-turn drive in about 10 minutes.
But at least I didn’t fly off a cliff and roll 10 times down the side of the mountain when I made the drive. That, plus falling snow and falling records dominated this year’s Hill Climb.