• Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips

"I said our cars are built to be winners." – Jim Hall

Racing legend Jim Hall never thought he'd be a video game consultant, but when Chevrolet asked for his advice to create a futuristic Chaparral for the Vision Gran Turismo series, he was eager to help.

He reviewed early sketches and suggested some changes that made it onto the concept, including the addition of a camera that's mounted onto a mast over the cabin to aid the driver.

The Chevy Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo concept was revealed this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show and will be part of a downloadable update for PlayStation 3's Gran Turismo 6 in December. Theoretically, at least, it uses a laser-beam propulsion system and an air-powered generator to produce 900 horsepower in the video game. It's capable of sprinting to 60 miles per hour in 1.5 seconds en route to a top speed of 240 mph.
Those gaudy performance specs – even in the virtual world – came at Hall's urging.

"I said our cars are built to be winners," Hall told Autoblog on the floor of the Los Angeles show.

Chevy Chaparral Gran Turismo Concept

The 79-year-old drove Lotus racecars in Formula One before launching the successful Chaparral Cars in the 1960s. Like his innovative Can-Am racers, the Vision Gran Turismo project has an eye toward the future. It also introduces the iconic Chaparral name to a new generation of fans, and hopefully, Hall says, gets them excited about engineering and design.

"It emulates what we did in the '60s," he said.

And what they did back then still resonates. Chaparral Racing and Chevy partnered more than 45 years ago for development work on the composite monocoque chassis, lightweight alloy powertrains, automatic gearboxes and active aerodynamics.

"He [Hall] walked right back into this and was able to apply thinkings and learnings," said Clay Dean, General Motors executive director of advanced design.

The Chevy Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo concept was created at GM's North Hollywood advanced design studio, and it will be on display at the show through November.


Other News and Views

F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - PreviewsSebastian Vettel joins Ferrari team in 2015

Ferrari confirmed that four-time Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel will join the Scuderia for the 2015 season, jettisoning Ferrari's current ace, two-time champ Fernando Alonso. Vettel has been F1's most successful driver since Michael Schumacher, though he's struggled to match his previous accomplishments in 2014. Vettel was fourth in the drivers standings heading into this weekend's season-ending race at Abu Dhabi, behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo. Alonso is fifth.

The move has been rumored for weeks after Vettel announced in mid-October he would cut ties with Red Bull Racing at the end of the season. He's the latest high-profile driver signed by Ferrari, which hasn't won a Constructors Title since 2008. The drought has been frustrating for fans of the team – the oldest and most successful in F1 history – leading to shakeups in team management and drawing the ire of chairman Sergio Marchionne.

2016 Toyota MiraiToyota Mirai fuel cell coming in 2015

Toyota is bringing an ultra-efficient – but expensive – hydrogen fuel-cell car to market late next year. Called the Mirai, the sedan will launch in California in the fourth quarter of 2015, and then expand to markets in the Northeast United States with the goal of having more than 3,000 cars on the road by the end of 2017. The Mirai is a midsize sedan that can travel up to 300 miles on a tank. Refills take about five minutes, and the hydrogen fuel is free for up to three years, Toyota said. The MSRP is $57,500, though incentives could slice that to a more reasonable $45,000. The car can also be leased (for 36 months) for $499 a month with a $3,649 down payment.

Still, an $8,000 federal credit is due to expire at the end of the year, which is nearly nine months before its scheduled launch next fall. It's unclear if the credit will be extended. Fuel-cell vehicles have been popular side projects for automakers for years, and Honda, Hyundai, General Motors and others have dabbled in the technology. Though fuel cells offer the potential for zero-emission driving, the cost and the lack of infrastructure have held it back from gaining mainstream acceptance. High development costs don't help, either – Toyota is expected to lose tens of thousands of dollars on each Mirai it builds.

2015 Lincoln MKZ Black LabelLincoln launches Black Label line

Lincoln's top-end Black Label line will go live in December, as the service and customization program begins a limited rollout to 32 dealerships in six states. Lincoln plans to expand it nationwide in late 2015. Black Label offers customers free service on routine matters, free car washes any time and a yearly detailing. Other perks include free rental cars while the car is in for service and a culinary membership that gets owners exclusive experiences at restaurants.

Black Label models come with high-end materials and colors – like Venetian Leather – which are not offered on other Lincolns. It costs $5,995 on the first vehicles to get the Black Label treatment, the MKC crossover and MKZ sedan. The experience will launch in China in 2015, though it will be called the "Presidential" line in that market.


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