The News for November 9th, 2018
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:
Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus commits to WEC hypercar class
New Mazda3 and Skyactive-X engine is coming to LA Auto Show
Ford looks at those stupid E-Scooters and says “yes, we want those”
Geely purchases Utah Motorsports Campus (formerly Miller Motorsports Park)
What’s your automotive news?
Glickenhaus Commits to WEC’s ‘Hypercar’ Class
As the FIA’s promising new ‘Hypercar’ regulations start to take shape, manufacturers are weighing in on the replacement for the dying LMP1 class. Names like McLaren, Mercedes-AMG, Aston Martin, Toyota, and even BMW have been coming up recently as they weigh options on whether it’s worth joining. Well we can add America’s own boutique supercar manufacturer to the list of confirmed entries.
Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus has confirmed to Dailysportscar that they’re fully on board with the ‘Hypercar’ regulations and will commit to a full season of the FIA World Endurance Challenge in 2020/2021. They’re looking to run with two examples of the SCG 007 shown above. The word came from James Glickenhaus himself who is no stranger to fielding a team with cars build under his own roof. Cars like the P 4/5 Competizione and SCG 003C (below) have both seen success in the VLN series at the Nürburgring, scoring four class wins at the grueling 24 hour race in the process.
Totally not a rendering from Assetto Corsa I just made tonight.
The provisional rules package came out just last month and it’s just what we’ve been told before. Future prototypes in this class will be based on hypercars, supercars, luxury GTs, or concept cars with styling that’s recognizable to the brand, will have open engine rules, and will mandate a KERS package developed by a third party. Things could change before 2020, but “we already know enough from the information so far released though to know that this is well within our design and engineering capabilities,” said Glickenhaus to Dailysportscar.
He continued by revealing “the direction of the regulations is clear, high performance but with strict parameters. Several of the numbers are not all that far from those we have already seen with our earlier or current projects… And we have experience too of blending a hybrid drive into an established package.”
Glickenhaus also confirmed in the same statement they’re looking at GM for engines that will help them hit the power goals the FIA had set for the class. This matches up with what Autoweek is reporting in regards to another upcoming Glickenhaus project, the SCG 004S supercar, which will have an option for a Corvette Z06-sourced LT4 or even the LT5 from the ZR1. Yeah, 800 horsepower should do it. It’ll even be built at a newly acquired facility in Connecticut!
But back to the SCG 007, it’ll be built where all SCG race cars are: at a shop run by Podium Engineering in Turin, Italy. It’ll be a requirement that all race cars competing in this class to have a road-legal counterpart, but Glickenhaus looks to take this even further. He wants the race cars themselves to be easily converted into street cars. The racing engines would need to be detuned or even swapped out all together, but otherwise it’ll be a matter of changing the tires and putting on the license plate if Glickenhaus gets his way.
New Mazda 3 with Skyactiv-X Will Debut This Month
Mazda stunned the industry last summer by announcing a major breakthrough in internal combustion engine technology. They claimed to have figured out the secret to making a compression ignition gasoline engine work well enough to reap the benefits. The initial press release promised to have the tech on sale with Skyactive-X-branded models by 2019. With this teaser shot they’ve just given us, it looks like they’re one step closer to making that happen.
Exclusive artist’s rendering of the new SKYACTIV-X engine
We’ll be seeing the new Mazda 3 sedan and hatch at the Los Angeles Auto Show and the first of the Skyactiv-X engines is expected to be revealed with them. The Mazda 3 launch kicks off a whole new generation of Mazdas that should see numerous improvements in “fundamental performance attributes”, including chassis refinement, better engines, and probably some of those hybrids they’ve been talking about. Expect styling to be reworked slightly as well while still adhering to that gorgeous ‘Kodo’ design language that graces their cars now.
You’ll be hearing more about all of this soon. The LA Auto Show kicks off the week after Thanksgiving.
Ford is in the Electric Scooter Business Now
If you live anywhere near a major metropolitan area in America you’ve probably noticed a bunch of scooters being ridden around and left abandoned on sidewalks like litter. The ride-sharing craze has spawned yet another “disruptive” industry that came seemingly out of nowhere: e-scooters. People can rent these for cross town trips for cheap and then just leave them around for the next #millennial to use. They’re certainly the most polarizing new mobility trend in recent memory. But thanks to a deal Ford just struck to purchase an e-scooter company called Spin, it’s a trend that just got a little more serious. Unfortunately.
You may remember (or chose to forget) a new mission statement for the nation’s oldest automaker that claimed they would be a “mobility” company and not just an automaker from now on. This came at a time when mobility was just another buzzword used by marketing teams for companies both old and new, so we didn’t really know what this plan was going to entail. As stupid as this investment sounds, I think this is actually our first glimpse into what Ford is thinking when it comes to this “future mobility” stuff.
The e-scooters have proven to be popular amongst urban dwellers who want a cheap way to get a few blocks over without hailing a Lyft or walking like everyone else. It’s been well documented that most American cities are hugely lacking in public transit options and suffer from debilitating congestion, so Silicon Valley’s solution was to create more congestion on sidewalks with scooters. But for now at least, it’s working. Popular scooter brands Lime and Bird have tallied over 10 million rides in less than a year and it’s already been immortalized by South Park, so you know it’s here to stay… and terrible.
But the prospect of these actually being useful in the future was good enough for Ford to drop an estimated $100 million on the one scooter company that’s trying to not make things worse. Ford knows urbanites don’t buy their cars as much, but maybe they’ll keep riding their scooters. And if scooters are going to have a fighting chance in the long run, Spin knows they can’t just show up in cities unannounced and suffer from the bad optics of having their shitty scooters left abandoned in front of parks and businesses. Spin goes about this like a real business should and that’s primarily why Ford chose them.
So is this the next big #disruptor in the #mobility space or a half-assed attempt to solve our transportation problems? It sounds risky to me for Ford to be this invested in it, but big risk can yield big reward.
Geely Purchases Utah Motorsports Campus
Utah Motorsports Campus, formerly known as Miller Motorsports Park, has just been acquired by Mitime, a subsidiary of the Geely Holding Group. Geely is of course known as the group that provided crucial funding to Volvo to help turn it around, but they also own Proton (who owns Lotus) and recently launched Lynk & Co. Tooele County, who has been operating the track since 2015, just approved the sale but did not disclose the sale price.
The purchase of this 511-acre property seems logical when performance brands like Lotus and Polestar are in the mix, but so far they’ve not confirmed their exact plans. All that’s been said so far is that Mitime/Geely is looking forward to making the facility “bigger and better” and the track’s existing managers “have significant plans” for it.
Any time a race track gets the financial support it needs is terrific news. Here’s hoping UMC gets to host more races and that the existing tenants (including Ford’s Performance Racing School) aren’t unceremoniously kicked out.
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.
[Image © 2018 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]