The News for June 16th, 2017

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:

  • Microsoft reveals 911 GT2 RS at E3 on behalf of Porsche, rumors say

  • The beautiful Jaguar XF Sportbrake is here

  • Panoz reveals ambitious EV endurance racer concept

  • McLaren adds roadster option to 570S

  • Audi adds V10 Plus option to R8 Spyder

  • Aston Martin shows off a more production-ready Valkyrie

  • What’s your automotive news?

Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Rumor has it that a new super-high-performance Porsche was revealed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) earlier this week and there’s further speculation that it’s actually the 911 GT2 RS. The rumors of the existence of the car you’re looking at right now are of course unconfirmed, so grains of salt and such.
On stage during the Microsoft presentation at E3 and on the cover of Forza Motorsport 7 you may see an aggressive-looking 911 with a big wing and the words “GT2 RS” written on the side, but that’s not the 911 GT2 RS. It’s not anything at all, really. At least that’s the stance Porsche is taking in what is one of the most bizarre news events I’ve ever covered.

Here’s the only statement Porsche has issued in regards to that GT2 RS that isn’t the GT2 RS:

Microsoft has released it new video game Forza 7 at the E3 in Los Angeles. Speculations regarding a possible new Porsche GT model have surfaced surrounding the presentation of the game. As a matter of policy, we will not comment on these rumors. However, don’t rule out a surprise later in the year.

Just so we’re clear, the car in question was revealed by Microsoft in a live event to millions of people around the world, was shown on the cover of FM7, and shown racing in FM7 demos, but it’s just a rumor.
Other bigger auto journalists at E3 who got to witness this rumor first hand are saying they were told to expect anywhere from 640 to 700 turbocharged horsepower being sent to the rear wheels, but are we sure those journalists aren’t just rumors too?
But until Porsche tells us more, we’ll just have to wait for their super secret surprise later this year. I hope it’s something cool.
[Source: Microsoft via The Drive]

Jaguar XF Sportbrake

After numerous teasers and an interesting choice of camouflage, Jaguar has finally given us all the details on the XF Sportbrake (a fancy way to say wagon). Like the one before it, it’s a wagon with stunning looks and real practicality. Unlike the one before it though, it’ll be sold in the US this time.
The XF sedan is already a great car to look at, but adding a longer roof does this car lots of favors. Jaguar Director of Design, Ian Callum, adds that the car’s “fast sweeping silhouette” makes it look “just as sporty as the sedan, if not more so”. Proving you can have both form and function, that longer roof line create 31.7 cubic feet of load space behind the back seats which expands to 69.7 cubic feet with the seats folded, enough to keep it competitive against the likes of the E-Class Wagon and 5 Series Touring.

Helping it do wagon things is a new self-leveling rear Integral-Link air suspension designed to keep it riding optimally with a full load and a single-piece polymer lift gate to maintain a near perfect 50/50 weight distribution so it can drive as well as it looks. Drivers can even set the maximum opening height for that lift gate in case you’re ever in a tight area.
The XF Sportbrake can only be ordered with the 380-horsepower supercharged V6 – I think buyers will find a way to cope. All-wheel drive is standard on this cat, as is the ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox. 0-60 mph takes just 5.3 seconds and a full suite of traction and stability control systems working with the specially tuned suspension means it’s just as nimble as the sedan.

Obviously everything else about it is identical to the XF sedan, including most of the interior layout, materials, and features. The biggest new additions in the Sportbrake are a new full-length panoramic sunroof (which can have its sun shade operated via gesture control) and an optional Cabin Air Filtration and Ionization system to reduce pollutants inside the cabin.
No word on an exact release date yet, but they did confirm an MSRP of $70,450. Compared to its closest sedan counterpart (Jaguar XF S with the same engine and AWD), that’s about a $3,500 upcharge for the Sportbrake. Worth it?
[Source: Jaguar]

Green4U Panoz Racing GT-EV

The only guys that can rival Nissan in the business of making weird and daring race cars is Panoz and they’ve got something brand new planned for Le Mans in 2018. They’ve partnered with Green4U Technologies, an EV-focused design and manufacturing company, to produce an all-electric racecar with a new solution for extending the useful range of an EV in an endurance race.
Green4U is a new company but headed by Brian Willis, a man with the No. 99 Toyota GTP car, BMW V12 LMR, Audi R8 LMP, Multimatic, and Aston Martin on his resume per Autoweek. They don’t exactly have a history of producing race cars, but Don Panoz does. So combine an EV solutions company with another that’s not afraid to take risks and you end up with this, the Green4U Panoz Racing GT-EV.

This car is still at least a year out from making its planned racing debut, but they’re already talking tech in hopes of being approved for a Garage 56 entry at Le Mans next year. Since we’re talking about a 24 hour race here, they developed a really interesting solution to the EV’s range limitations in the form of a battery pack (or ten) that can be swapped out during pit stops.
Those packs weigh about 1,000 pounds each and they’d need to be swapped out after 100 miles of racing or about 55 minutes. How they plan to pull those massive things every hour and put them in a charging station behind the pit wall is another story, but they have a concept in the works. Whatever they come up with, it’ll be better than having to swap cars mid race like they do in Formula E. “You too can race a sustainable electric car! – provided you have a second one laying around”. Yeah, I like this idea better.

They’re aiming for about 450kW or ~600 horsepower and a sleek carbon fiber body to help compensate for that thousand pound battery pack sitting on the right side of the car. And of course Don wants a road car version.
The GT-EV is being shown to fans at Le Mans this weekend but it remains to be seen when exactly it’s confirmed for competition, if ever. Either way, it’s a neat concept that could help solve a lot of problems with EV racing.
[Source: Autoweek]


McLaren revealed an open top version of the 570S this week, making it the third body style available on the Sports Series. I don’t need to go into much detail here because the only real changes are the folding hard top (which operates in 15 seconds) and the extended rear spoiler to account for the change in body shape. It still packs a 570-ish-horsepower punch and it rocks the same 204-mph top speed as the coupe (with the roof up at least). You’re only allowed 196 mph with the top down, sadly. Prices start at $208,800.
[Source: McLaren]

Did you know that the Audi R8 Spyder wasn’t available as a 610-hp V10 Plus? Well that travesty is finally being corrected. The R8 Spyder can now be fitted with the highest output V10 in their inventory plus all the other supporting enhancements that comes with the Coupe V10 Plus. Permanent AWD, a “performance program”, bucket seats, and more carbon fiber now offered in a soft top version pretty much sum this up. Prices start at €207,500 (~$232,000).
[Source: Audi]

Aston Martin tweeted a new image of the Valkyrie (AM-RB 001) and it shows two things of interest. The first is that it has real headlights now rather than the gray covers that were on it until now. The other thing you can see from this picture is that it almost looks like it has a real interior now. Every time it’s been shown so far it’s had a fake plastic cover or heavily tinted windows (if those even were windows) as many show cars do, but this is actually looking real now. It may not be the final product, but it’s something. According to a report given to Autocar, the Valkyrie is about 90% production ready. And yes, this is a future road car you’re looking at. I still can’t get over that.
[Source: Autoweek, Autocar]

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.
Have a good weekend.
[Image © 2017 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

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12 responses to “The News for June 16th, 2017”

  1. nanoop Avatar

    Toyota’s Kobayashi has the pole in Le Mans, putting up a new fastest lap. Race will start at 15:00h local time tomorrow. I hope there will be a little coverage here, too.

    1. Fred Talmadge Avatar
      Fred Talmadge

      Fox Sports 1: 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. (Sat.)
      Fox Sports Go only: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (Sat.)
      Fox Sports 2: 1:00 p.m. (Sat.) – 1:00 a.m. (Sun.)
      Fox Sports 1: 1:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. (Sun.)
      All times are EST

    2. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      We’ll try to whip our Motorsports editors into shape

      1. nanoop Avatar


  2. Alff Avatar

    I hope those damn plastic retaining clips don’t break like they sometimes do on my cordless drill.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      Could be a good, if self-defeating way to deal with overtaking moves!

  3. outback_ute Avatar

    Some really great stuff here, thanks Greg!
    I don’t suppose they let anyone see the Porsche engine bay and whether there are any turbos? Otherwise a GT3 RS with some stickers? I don’t know Porsches well enough to pick any differences.
    Jaguar, a wagon but no manual or red? I’ll assume there will be diesel versions in Europe, and is brown in Jaguar’s palette, to complete the internet mythical car enthusiasts meme? Actually I bet that combination is available from BMW, so I hope they have sold at least one! Anyway I expect the Jag wag won’t be sold in Australia, again. I have finally worked out how to tell the new model XF sedans though, they have a six-window side layout (ie extra window behind the rear door) which the old model and the XE don’t have.
    The GT-EV is interesting too. I wonder if the batteries are liquid cooled like most/all production EVs, which is a real obstacle to swappable batteries. At least the race car has the advantage of a convenient box shaped battery that can be slid out the side, perhaps (hopefully) complete with crash structure attached, which would also help with centralising the weight.

    1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
      Greg Kachadurian

      What we can assume about the new GT2 RS, you know, assuming it exists and all, is based off our knowledge of the last one. The 2011 (997) GT2 RS was a RWD, twin-turbocharged, manual only monster with 612 horsepower. Until Porsche “surprises” us with the GT2 RS, we can assume it’ll follow a similar formula but with even moar power. So compared to the current GT3 RS, it’ll probably have most of the same track-ready hardware (if not more), but different bodywork and lots more power.
      But you know, it’s just speculation 😛

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        Oh yes, it is easy to assume, but equally easy to roll out a car with a “2” sticker and voila, a GT2 RS! Like ‘roller’ concept cars at shows that have a V16 5-turbo engine and not fresh air under the hood.

  4. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    Why is the Panoz rolling it’s eyes like that?

  5. jeepjeff Avatar

    I’m buying a new project this weekend. Stay tuned.

  6. jeepjeff Avatar

    Also, I got to ride an Indian Scout motorcycle today. It’s a nice enough machine. Comfy seat, plenty of torque, stable. It was quite willing to slip down the line through traffic. It did confirm that I just don’t like the feet forward riding position. Too disconnected. I’d rather be on top of the bike in an athletic position. I also like a more frenetic bike to go with the stronger riding position.
    I have it for Saturday, and it will be fun to cruise around on.