The News for February 20th, 2015

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. I just throw in a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • McLaren shows off the P1 GTR in its final form

  • Aston Martin Vantage GT3 is a sweet but forbidden fruit

  • Lotus returns with the Evora 400; guess how much power it makes

  • The Aston Martin Vulcan is coming to burn your foot

  • Volkswagen goes soft roading with the Passat Alltrack

  • Chevrolet reportedly preparing track-handling package for the SS

  • Bentley Continental imitates Hollywood buyers, gets facial reconstruction

  • What was your automotive news?

McLaren P1 GTR

This is it. Again. But for real this time. McLaren’s monstrous track-only variant of the P1 is being shown at the Geneva Motor Show next month in its final form and in a livery inspired by one of the most important cars in McLaren’s history.
The McLaren P1 GTR takes everything that’s good about the road-going P1 hybrid supercar, removes everything that isn’t completely necessary, and cranks everything else up to eleven. For example, the car still retains its stunning shape, it loses 110 pounds over an already light car, and it keeps the same 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 and electric motor; both of which feature some improvements to increase total system output to 986 horsepower, 789 of which comes from the V8 alone.
For the actual track time these cars will see, the suspension has been reworked for surfaces that aren’t public roads and the bodywork features a more aggressive splitter up front and a fixed-height rear spoiler. The pitch of the rear wing can still be changed on demand thanks to the road car’s Drag Reduction System. All the additional aero elements increase downforce by ten percent over the road car.
The McLaren P1 GTR shown here features an iconic yellow and green livery originally worn by a McLaren F1 GTR, chassis #06R, which was among the five McLarens that dominated Le Mans in 1995. Car 06R finished third with Derek Bell, Justin Bell, and Andy Wallace at the wheel.
McLaren’s lust worthy P1 Driver Program, which centers around learning how to race the P1 GTR like a pro, starts with an initial test at Silverstone in England and eventually a full track session at the fabulous Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.
[Source: McLaren]

Aston Martin Vantage GT3

Vantage GT3_06
Up to this point, Aston Martin has never produced a hardcore, barely legal race car for the street like Ferrari, Porsche, and others do so often*. I say “up to this point” because Aston Martin just revealed this, the Vantage GT3; the hardcore, barely legal race car for the street we’ve been waiting for. [*Update: I’m wrong]
Only 100 examples will ever be built and sadly none of those will make it to North America. Each of those 100 Vantage GT3s combines all of Aston Martin’s learning from its years of sports car competition around the globe, which means the engine, chassis, and of course the bodywork are all dramatically reworked from the standard car.
A racecar-like 592 horsepower is produced from a reworked 6.0-liter naturally-aspirated v12. That glorious exhaust note is carried through a full titanium exhaust system with center outlets. So that’s more power than the V12 Vantage S and it’s even 220 pounds lighter than the S to boot.
Vantage GT3_08
The Vantage GT3 is lower and wider than any other Vantage for a reduction in lateral load transfer and also takes full advantage of Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires wrapped around center-locking wheels for improved footing in the corners. A race-derived aerodynamics package brings a more prominent front splitter, a fixed rear wing, and a few other less noticeable tweaks between them; all of which actually contribute to the car’s stability at speed.
The aforementioned weight savings are due in part to the expanded use of carbon fiber body panels and optional polycarbonate rear and rear quarter windows. Inside the Vantage GT3 are exactly the kind of things expected out of any track-focused beast, such as carbon fiber control panels, race-derived carbon fiber sport seats, Alcantara trim, and the absence of what they normally try to pass off as back seats.
The Aston Martin Vantage GT3 will be on display at the Geneva Motor Show. If you’re planning on being there and hope to see the GT3 for yourself, just look for the crying Americans and you’ll know you’re headed in the right direction.
[Source: Aston Martin]

Lotus Evora 400

Lotus hasn’t given up on the Evora just yet. It’s been off the market for the past year but will return this fall with more power, a fresh-ish look inside and out, and less weight. Unlike the car above this, the Evora 400 will be on sale in America.
As you probably guessed, the 400 in the name refers to the car’s new power figure. 400 horsepower and 302 lb.-ft. of torque originate from a new supercharged V6. Buyers can either opt for an automatic or stick with the manual for gear changes, but only the manual comes standard with a limited-slip differential. More aluminum chassis components and other lighter materials bring the car’s weight down by about 50 pounds and also helps bring the 0-60 mph time down to 4.1 seconds. Top speed is 186 mph, which is faster than any other Lotus before it.
The exterior is slightly updated to feature a redesigned face (complete with the kind of stick-on LED running lights that luxury automakers adopted when Audi’s integrated LED lights gained popularity), revised business end, and enhanced aerodynamics. Cabin design has shifted towards being more ergonomic and comfortable.
[Source: Lotus via Autoweek]


Speaking of track-only beasts, the Aston Martin Vulcan is coming. The Vulcan will make its full debut at the Geneva Motor Show but that didn’t stop Aston Martin from dropping this fiery teaser. The car sounds awesome and I’ll definitely keep you all posted on this one.
[Source: Aston Martin]
Volkswagen revealed the Passat Alltrack before its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show. The probably Euro only soft-roader follows in the footsteps of the likes of Volvo’s Cross Country and Audi’s Allroad line to offer practicality and comfort on the road and the confidence to drive up to that ski resort during the winter. The only styling updates it receives as an Alltrack are some lower-body skid plates and molding as well as the necessary extended wheel arches. Ride height is increased by an inch and five engine choices, gas and diesel because Europe, ranging from 148 to 237 horsepower.
[Source: Volkswagen]
The Chevrolet SS – or the loneliest Chevy in the world – could get a track-focused handling package according to a Motor Trend report. The would-be parts bin special would use existing handling upgrades from the Camaro 1LE, such as a wider tire setup that isn’t staggered, improved dampers, and a full retuned suspension optimized for track use. Building a four-door with a V8, a manual, rear-wheel drive, and an advanced track setup wouldn’t be hard for GM to do; convincing executives that it’s worth their time, however, is harder.
[Source: Motor Trend]
Bentley Continental GT Cabriolet Photo: James Lipman /
The Bentley Continental family is the most successful product line (in terms of sales) in company history, so an update for 2015 has been announced to keep it current and fresh. That ranges starts most noticeably with a few new exterior design features that aim to sharpen its road presence like the new front bumper and new twenty and twenty-one-inch wheels. Three new colors are also available, one of which is shown. The interior features new seat designs, a more ergonomic sport steering wheel, improved control surfaces, and a nifty rear storage unit between the seats that can store and charge most handheld devices. V8 and W12 options are still available, but the 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 is upgraded for 2015. Power and torque are bumped up to 582 horsepower and 531 lb.-ft.; all while being 5% more efficient. The Flying Spur models get bespoke new features, including new wheel options and some fancy interior upgrades. Deliveries start this summer.
[Source: Bentley]

What was your automotive news?

It was last Thursday night that I saw this while was walking back into the hotel after an awesome day at the Chicago Auto Show and a night of deep dish pizza and beer. Eric had gone home and Jeff was still out drinking the good stuff, but I stood outside in the cold admiring this for a few minutes. That’s a Subaru WRX STI five-door with Sparco rally wheels, dedicated winter tires, mud flaps, some LED light bar, and battle scars. 10/10 would drive through a blizzard.
Your turn.

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  1. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
    Dean Bigglesworth

    Well, technically Aston has offered a race car for the street in the Vantage N24. The stuff to make it street legal was an 9000£ option. It makes the "lightweights" from Ferrari, Lambo and Porsche look like toys for spoiled pansies.

    1. GregKachadurian Avatar

      I completely forgot about that. That was the car James May bathed himself in I think — actually, that's why I forgot about it.

  2. Eric Rood Avatar
    Eric Rood

    Mercedes has teased an AMG GT GT3 car, too.
    <img src="; width="500">

  3. dukeisduke Avatar

    An SS with a track pack – they could sell maybe ten, or twenty, of these?

    1. skitter Avatar

      The projection for the manual CTS-V wagon was: eight.

    2. topdeadcentre Avatar

      *sigh* If only they put some marketing into it, and chose a less stupid name than "SS".

      1. Devin Avatar

        The entire SS program seems to be a weird secret, like they're importing and selling these sedans but nobody actually told management this was going to happen.

  4. nanoop Avatar

    Master cylinder (brake) and eezibleed arrived – wish me luck that the USD350 brake booster survived the DOT 4 bath…

  5. mdharrell Avatar

    My automotive news is the addition of an American Microcar to the fleet:
    <img src="; width="350">
    Even rarer than the vehicle itself is the manual which accompanied it:
    <img src="; width="350">
    Despite the name, I'd be hard pressed to defend the assertion that the American Microcar is a microcar. It is, however, street-legal. Now I just need a motorcycle helmet.