Cadillac unveils a gorgeous race car, NHTSA expands its Autopilot investigation, news on the next BMW M2, and more.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
Cadillac Knows How To Build A Beautiful Race Car
Cadillac has been a serious player in top-level American endurance racing for years. The marque’s outgoing DPi-V.R won the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. Yep, that’s a near-unstoppable force if ever I’ve seen one. However, the DPi-V.R was effective, but it was never really stunning. Thankfully, Cadillac has fixed that. Say hello to the Project GTP Hypercar.
Built to compete for the IMSA WeatherTech SportCar Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship, the Project GTP Hypercar promises to be a brilliant blend of high design and high performance. Power comes from a new 5.5-liter quad-cam V8 paired to the LMDh common hybrid system, no huge surprise there. What is a surprise though, is the exterior appearance. My god, just look at this thing. It’s a scoop-packed, fin-festooned monument to speed. The vertical headlights and sharply-contoured front grille add just enough familiarity to anyone who knows Cadillac’s street cars, but the rest is simply bonkers in the best way. Flying bridges off of the fenders, massive vents often hidden by cascading bodywork, epic snowflake wheels, it just does the absolute business. Expect the Cadillac Project GTP Hypercar to hit the track next year. I certainly can’t wait to see it.
NHTSA Autopilot Probe Widens Its Scope
Consumers seem to be putting a disturbing amount of trust in Level 2 driver assists, and Tesla really popularized the phenomenon of the modern Level 2 system. However, Level 2 is only an assist, and NHTSA investigators are looking seriously at crashes while Level 2 was active.
According to Automotive News, 830,000 Tesla vehicles made between 2014 and 2022 are now potentially affected by this NHTSA investigation. First, some background. See, NHTSA officials looked into more than 100 crashes while Tesla’s Autopilot or Full Self Driving Beta Level 2 assist suites were active, before settling on 16 key crashes involving Teslas striking stopped emergency vehicles. Something tells me that an alert driver in full control likely wouldn’t have hit emergency vehicles stopped on the shoulder, so the impacts themselves are definite cause for investigation.
It’s worth noting that while using a Level 2 driver assist suite, the driver is fully in-control of driving and liable for anything that happens. What’s interesting is that driver assist suites should provide adequate hand-off time to hand full control back to the driver, but an NHTSA statement said, “On average in these crashes, Autopilot aborted vehicle control less than one second prior to the first impact.” Not good. Because of NHTSA findings thus far, the agency’s widening the scope of Tesla vehicles to upgrade the investigation. It feels like the walls are about to come down on Level 2 driver assists, and honestly the world might be better for it.
The Next BMW M2 Will Be The Last Non-Electrified M Car
The 2023 BMW M2 is shaping up to be a bit of the end of an era. In an interview with German outlet Bimmer Today, BMW M boss Frank van Meel spilled some details on the upcoming coupe and it really sounds like a send-off car.
First up, some news for the drivers – the upcoming M2 will still come with a manual gearbox. More than 50 percent of cars allocated for America will get a row-your-own gearbox, a bit of news that hit my eyes like the morning sun. It’s so wonderful to hear that manual-equipped models won’t be scarce. Now for the really big news. The new M2 will be the last non-electrified M car ever. All future models will adopt some sort of electrification, be it a 48-volt mild hybrid system, a proper full hybrid system, a plug-in hybrid powertrain, or eventually a fully-electric drivetrain. That last option might take some time, although electric M cars should still have motorsport ties. As van Meel said, “The goal is, of course, to be able to offer fully-electric high-performance vehicles at some point. It’s not that easy for a variety of reasons, which is why it doesn’t exist yet. But the same question also arises in motorsport, because one day there will no longer be any basic vehicles with combustion engines. So, just like in the high-performance segment, we have to think about how long-distance motorsport can work fully electrically.” Proper end-of-an-era stuff then, but still hopeful words about the future of high performance. In the meantime, I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next M2. The promise of one last dance never felt so good.
Ferrari Plans To Ramp Up Electrified Production With A New Plant Line
It’s no real secret that Ferrari has been leaning quite heavily into electrification. While the hybrid LaFerrari hypercar was a preview of sorts, the regular production SF90 Stradale is 986 horsepower of mad electrified science, while the 296 GTB brings plug-in hybrid power to the entry-level supercar segment. Good stuff, but apparently just the beginning.
According to Automotive News, the famed Italian supercar brand is building a third assembly line for electrified vehicles. In addition, the factory expansion will likely house a new research and development center for batteries, an important thing to have in-house when you compete in a segment where weight and packaging really matter. Honestly, it’ll be interesting to see how Ferrari further electrifies its lineup. Expect the next decade to unlock a whole different sort of speed than the one we’re used to.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on The Morning Dump. Happy Friday everyone! Give yourself a pat on the back for finishing the work week. As ever, I’d love to know what automotive adventures you’re planning this weekend. I’m desperately trying to find space near Toronto for something roughly 190 inches long, but that’s all in good fun. Maybe you’re planning a road trip or spending some quality time in the garage. Whatever the case, it’s always a joy to hear what you hope to get up to over the weekend.