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Le Mans Hypercar in the works?

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LaFerrari supercar

Ferrari engineers have been spotted again with a test mule using the makeshift body of a LaFerrari to hide its new mechanicals.

The test mule is thought to be for the successor to the LaFerrari—a car that will most likely also serve as the road-car counterpart to Ferrari’s planned contender for the World Endurance Championship’s Le Mans Hypercar. Ferrari in February confirmed its intention to join the new premier class of the WEC in 2023, the rules for which require a road car with a similar powertrain concept to the race car.

LaFerrari supercar

LaFerrari supercar

LaFerrari supercar

Considering the LaFerrari was launched in 2013, the timing is also about right for the arrival of a successor. Ferrari tends to launch a new limited-edition flagship every decade in what has become to be known as the Special Series, with previous entries including the 288 GTO, F40, F50, Enzo and LaFerrari. But what about the SF90 Stradale? This model may be faster and more powerful than the LaFerrari, but its $625,000 price tag is about half what the LaFerrari originally cost, and its production run will be much bigger.

Looking at the test mule, there are some clear differences to the LaFerrari. Aero elements covering air vents at the front and rear have been removed to aid air flow, while the front hood, roof, side intakes, and rear deck are all different. The LaFerrari exhaust tips are also dummy units, with the test mule’s exhaust positioned higher up and in the center of the rear. You can see the makeshift exhaust tips in some of the shots.

Ferrari Special Series test mule spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Ferrari Special Series test mule spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

You’ll also notice the side mirrors (and their supporting stalks) are different, the rear fender vents have been covered up, and the center-lock wheels of the LaFerrari have been replaced with wheels with lug nuts on this test mule.

Ferrari has been quiet on its plans for the LaFerrari successor, and right now it isn’t even clear whether there will be a V-12 under the hood or a smaller unit. The blue stickers on the test mule confirm we’re looking at an electrified vehicle, which means there could still be a V-12 present.

Ferrari Special Series test mule spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Ferrari Special Series test mule spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Former Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne in 2017 said it would be “nuts” to turbocharge a V-12, effectively ruling out forced induction for any V-12-powered Ferraris. However, he did add hybrid solutions will be examined very carefully with a focus on improving performance, not just meeting various emission regulations, as was the case for the LaFerrari which featured a mild-hybrid setup.

Interestingly, Ferrari Chief Marketing Officer Enrico Galliera hinted in 2019 that the car might come with less power than the 986-hp SF90 Stradale and instead focus on aerodynamics, handling and a low weight. This suggests the car might follow a similar route to Aston Martin’s Valkyrie hypercar.

Ferrari Special Series test mule spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Ferrari Special Series test mule spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

We’re sure whatever the bright minds at Ferrari dream up for the LaFerrari successor will be nothing short of impressive—hopefully with a better name.

Considering Ferrari will be racing its new Le Mans Hypercar contender by early 2023, the reveal of this potential LaFerrari successor should take place before 2022 is out, assuming it ends up as the road-car counterpart of the race car. Stay tuned.

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Will renewable fuel power Bentley to a Pikes Peak hat trick?

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Bentley Continental GT3 Pikes Peak

Bentley has set records at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with its Bentayga SUV and Continental GT coupe, but now it’s going for a hat trick, this time using renewable fuel.

A Bentley Continental GT3 race car modified to run on renewable fuel will race at the 2021 Pikes Peak hill climb, scheduled for June 27, Bentley announced Monday in a press release. Driver Rhys Millen will aim for the Time Attack 1 record, to go with the production SUV record achieved with the Bentayga in 2018, and the production car record scored with the Continental GT in 2019.

Bentley didn’t provide much detail on the fuel it planned to use, but claimed blends currently being tested could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% compared to conventional gasoline or diesel.

The Continental GT3 that will be used at Pikes Peak is a modified version of a car raced in the popular GT3 category before Bentley’s exit at the end of 2020. Bentley plans to work with two race teams—United Kingdom-based Fastr and United States-based K-Pax Racing—to run Pikes Peak, with technical assistance from U.K. firm M-Sport.

Bentley Continental GT3 Pikes Peak

Itself a modified version of the Continental GT road car, the GT3 will get additional modifications for Pikes Peak, including the largest rear wing ever fitted to a Bentley and an equally massive rear diffuser and two-plane front splitter. Power comes from the same twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 used in the road car, but it’s modified to run on renewable fuel and produce adequate power at Pikes Peak’s high altitude (the starting line is at 9,300 feet above sea level and the finish line is at 14,100 feet).

Bentley plans to begin testing the Continental GT3 Pikes Peak race car in the U.K. before shipping it to the U.S. for high-altitude testing. A progress report will be released in May, ahead of the running of the hill climb in June.

Bentley isn’t the only automaker investigating alternatives to conventional fossil fuels. Porsche is testing synthetic fuel made using methanol in its own race cars, and is working with multiple partners on a pilot plant in Chile to produce the fuel.

If all goes according to plan, though, renewable fuel will have a fairly short useful life in new Bentley road cars. Bentley plans to launch its first electric car in 2025, and go all-electric by 2030.

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Ford dealers reportedly opt to build 100 standalone Bronco stores

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2021 Ford Bronco

About 100 Ford dealers are planning to open standalone showrooms for the Bronco, according to a Sunday Automotive News report.

Automakers sometimes ask dealers to carve out additional space for new brands or sub-brands, as was the case with Hyundai and Genesis. However, in this case the idea for standalone “Bronco Stores” alongside existing Ford and Lincoln showrooms originated with dealers, according to the report.

Ford has signed on to the idea. Bronco-only showrooms are optional, Ford United States sales boss Andrew Frick told Automotive News, although dealers that opt in will get “slightly increased allocations” of the SUVs.

2021 Ford Bronco

Ford has no corporate template for the Bronco stores, just three general configurations, which is unusual for a showroom remodel. Dealers can opt for a completely separate showroom, an expansion of an existing space, or a smaller display within a showroom.

Renderings shown at an October 2020 Ford national dealer meeting showed an outdoorsy theme appropriate for the Bronco. The showrooms will also have Bronco branding, rather than the ubiquitous Blue Oval, according to the report. That aligns nicely with Ford’s plan to market Bronco as a sub-brand, which is also why the automaker has both the standard Bronco and the Bronco Sport in its lineup.

While dealers are eager to start selling the Bronco, they may have to wait. The SUV’s launch has already been delayed to due to coronavirus-related supplier issues. The 2021 Ford Bronco will now launch this summer, and the manual-transmission Sasquatch package has been pushed back from the 2021 model year to the 2022 model year.

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Maxlider Brothers ready to build your dream Bronco 6×6

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2021 Ford Bronco 6x6 conversion - Photo credit: Innov8 Design Lab/Maxlider Brothers Customs

It was only a matter of time.

Vehicle customizer Maxlider Brothers Customs has announced plans to build a 6×6 version of the modern Ford Bronco due to start deliveries this summer.

Ever since Mercedes-Benz AMG launched the G63 6×6 back in 2013, multiple tuning firms have attempted to mimic the success (and notoriety) of that vehicle by offering 6×6 conversions of other rugged SUVs and pickup trucks. The list includes the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150 Raptor, Jeep Gladiator/Wrangler, Land Rover Defender, Ram 1500 TRX, and more.

2021 Ford Bronco 6×6 conversion – Photo credit: Innov8 Design Lab/Maxlider Brothers Customs

Now we can add the Bronco. First spotted by Motor1, Maxlider over the weekend posted to its Facebook page computer-generated renderings of its planned Bronco 6×6. Together with the renderings, the company said it is now accepting orders with a view to delivering the first vehicles in 2022. The price tag? An insane $399,000.

Maxlider offers a full range of upgrades for the Bronco, though the Bloomington, Illinois-based company hasn’t mentioned what exactly it plans to include on its Bronco 6×6. The obvious upgrades include the BFGoodrich all-terrain tires (including a full-size spare), raised suspension, fender flares, brush guard, and roof rack with off-road lights. Naturally, there’s also an extended frame supporting the additional axle and differential.

Considering the next Ford Ranger will share the same updated T6 body-on-frame platform found in the Bronco, there’s a good chance Maxlider will be able to handle a 6×6 conversion of the new pickup truck. The new Ranger is due for a reveal later this year as a 2022 model.

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