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.
“Climate change has been a known quantity (at least in some guise) since before I was born.”
Millions of years before you were born, in fact. It’s nothing new, and driving an EV isn’t going to “fix” it.
Was supposed to be a reply below.
Finally, a Batmobile that doesn’t look like the Joker had a hand in the design.
So Cadillac rebadged a Corvette chassis as a racecar. Again. Got it.
The Caddy race car makes me wish GM would develop a dialed back production version based on Corvette mechanicals. If only the C8 had similar styling instead of the angry transformer robot weirdness.
Weekend plans? Damn, Mercedes’ article about the driftless area got me seriously thinking about hitting some twisty roads in the C6 GS on Sunday.
The heading to this article just made my list of the top ten things I would like to say to someone after I travel back in time to the mid 1980’s just to see the reaction.
Hoping to have time this weekend to tinker on the D100 a little more, I took my first proper test drive last weekend that involved some, um, hiccups.. but I think I have them rectified.. now it’s onto seeing if I can get the AC working, tightening up the suspension and fixing a window regulator!
That Cadillac is a sexy beast. Love those tail-fin-lights! Plus, if they could cram some more lettering on the tire sides, they would almost have a proper whitewall.
Boy, Cadillac’s design lanquage just looks outstanding on a mid-engine platform. Imagine if they got thier own version of the C8.
I had a question along a similar line. Why doesn’t the US compete in the ultra-luxury/supercar/hypercar space? Sure, we have supertrucks (Raptor, TRX) and globally competitive sports cars like the C8. Why has Ford been the only one to design a supercar in the past few decades? And really, that was a homologated racecar more than an ultra-premium luxury supercar. Would a Cadillac with a similar design language to that race car work? Could a Lincoln contend with the S-Class or 7 series?
Maybe the world doesn’t need more supercars and that’s alright. I just want more chances to see that Cadillac.
On the Caddy, I especially love the clear vertical stabilizer. I hate how the solid ones make otherwise-beautiful GTP cars look like station wagons in profile.
I guess Cadillac design boss’ kid is a fan of Jackson Storm from cars.
I’m honestly in love with the 296 in a way I’ve never been before with Ferrari. Obviously I pine for most of them but the 296 just hits different. Maybe it’s the gorgeous Dino-like styling, the 120 degree V6 that I’ve wanted to see in a road car since I watched the driving 4 ansewrs video about V6’s, or the fact that it’s an “entry-level” car with 830 horsepower and pure rear wheel drive, but it really is just a work of art. I hope lots and lots of them get bought so one day, if I get my boss enough mansions and play my cards right, maybe I’ll be able to rent one myself for a nice trip.
Agreed – this is the most compelling exterior design to me since the 360.
That Caddy looks hot, can’t wait to see it on track! I’m headed to Road America this weekend for some IndyCar action at the National Park of Speed!
If you’re trying to find such a space in Toronto, it might be easier to look for something a little over 4.8 meters long, no?
And yes, garage time is scheduled: it’s finally time to tackle the left front wheel bearing on my crappy old Corolla. Spend all day replacing a $10 safety-critical part on a car I don’t actually like. Fun, huh?
You can put U-joints in the Mustang if you want! Just kidding.
Lol they’ve been sitting on the back floorboard for weeks. If it wasn’t going to storm this afternoon, maybe we’d tackle it.
I’ve had front wheel bearings for my gray commutermobile sitting in a box in a friend’s garage since last summer. The wobble sound hasn’t gotten any worse, so at this point I’m just going to track the car as a proper send-off to those little wub-wub-wubbing bastards.
It’s almost as if the manufacturers believe phasing out ICE drivetrains for electric will somehow make the electric delivery infrastructure mature overnight. You can’t just wish things like that into reality. That’s why they call it reality.
This. I live in the Midwest, and we often take 500+ mile vacations. When you can add 300+ miles of range to an EV in 10 minutes in Amboy, CA or Offerle, KS or Wasta, SD or Smithburg, WV like I have done with gas, the technology and US infrastructure may be ready for EVs.
I think people on the coasts forget or don’t realize how big or open much of the US is. Hell, in Texas you can drive 900 miles and still be in Texas!
I think people often forget how many people there are on the coasts. Just because EVs won’t be suitable for long trips, doesn’t mean that they won’t be usable for the vast majority of people and circumstances. Delivery is one that suits EVs perfectly, and I think it will be working in cities and suburbs fairly soon.
This. As i remember around 50% of the u.s. population lives along the coasts (mostly east and west). I grew up and spent a good chunk of my formative driving years in the middle of the country. I get the concerns with charging availability and time. That being said, having been on the east coast for about a decade now, I can count the number of times I have traveled more than 300 miles in a day (non-work related) on 1 hand and have digits left over. As with a lot of things, the infrastructure will expand across the middle of the country sooner or later. The same way gas stations did more than a century ago.
Apparently, about 2/3 of the population of the US lives within 100 miles of a coast or an international border (the ACLU has other concerns about that – https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/border-zone ). Even in the middle, most people live in metropolitan areas just like 86+% of the total population (about 57% if you want to just count MSAs of a million or more people). Like those on the coasts, they spend most of their drive time commuting and running errands in their home areas, not doing cross country road trips. The ones pushing up the rural miles traveled are the truck drivers delivering freight between all of those population centers, not the 6% that actually live there. Their needs will need to be addressed, but the mindset of holding up progress for everyone else over such a small minority is ridiculous.
Those coastal denizens also don’t realize how thin the charging network is in those wide open spaces, even in states much smaller than Texas. In a discussion about the issue I had someone from the SF Bay area actually comment he couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about – he never has a problem with charging. Well cool for you, man.
I live in Colorado and the charging infrastructure here definitely isn’t as good as it should be. Currently, the only EV I own is a Fiat 500E with a total range of 100 miles on a good day with flat roads. Still, the wife and I take weekend trips of up to 160 miles with it, factoring in plenty of recharging time. Unfortunately, it’s limited to only level 2 charging, which adds a lot of time 3 hours to go from 10% to 90%). But if you’re just toodling around, that’s not a huge deal. Anyway, what we’ve realized is that it’s not the range as much as it is the recharging time that’s the limitation. We’ve decided that our next car will be an EV with at least 250 miles of range and DC fast charging capability (at least 150 kW). With something like that, we could charge for about 30 minutes every couple hundred miles and it wouldn’t add an inordinate amount of time to the overall travel time. We don’t normally drive more than 200 miles at a stretch anyway, so a 250 mile range should be plenty for us. Recharging times will undoubtedly get shorter and might even eventually approach the 10 minutes you currently spend pumping gasoline, but even at 30 minutes, I don’t think it’s unreasonable. And the benefits of electric transportation far outweigh the minor inconveniences, IMHO.
It doesn’t matter all that much when the vast majority of people live in metro areas and spend most of their drive time commuting back and forth to work or doing errands, not on 500+ mile vacations. Despite being “big or open much of the US is”, there is electricity supplied to where nearly everyone lives and resources like plugshare or A Better Route Planner will help people find where they can charge up. Short vacations like that are doable with EVs now, especially if one has whiny kids and spouse that have to stop every 2-3 hours anyway.
Charge up time is going to be an issue until manufacturers start shipping EVs with much lighter batteries, so the vehicles don’t need as much energy to move from point A to point B.
Most people do this and majority that, and if you don’t, refer to the first part of this sentence.
Now you made me look up the length of California dammit. 770 miles.
And… Alaska. But I bet it’s a lot harder to drive. East to west, 2,400 miles; north to south, 1,420 miles.
EVs have been just around the corner for most of my life. Climate change has been a known quantity (at least in some guise) since before I was born. At some point society has to shit or get off the pot on this, and it’s not as though we’ve been leading with infrastructure. It’s unfortunate that it has to come down to an if you build it they will come situation where hopefully the demand for charging infrastructure will eventually compel action out of sheer necessity, but we’ve had hydrogen fueled cars and hybrids for twenty years and proper EVs for what, ten or fifteen, and most manufacturers have spent that time with a few lip service models in the lineup while waiting for someone else to blink first, content to pay CAFE fines if it means they can sell as many big trucks as they can make.
Yes the technology for BEVs isn’t developed to the point where they can replace all ICE vehicles and no technological development isn’t inevitable. However, what we do have now is actually pretty damn good for a lot of use cases and we should absolutely be demanding continued development as well as the corresponding infrastructure improvements as well as massive expansion of PHEV and hydrogen models and availability.
Existential crises don’t go away if you declare them inconvenient so we need to get serious about adapting. Saying “my specific use case isn’t perfectly solved ergo we should not attempt to further solve anything” is not helpful
A certain generation doesn’t want to change anything or spend the money on maintaining the infrastructure/public institutions their predecessors built. They would rather piss it away on themselves and let the future burn. They don’t care about the future because they’ll be dead before things really fall apart.