Originally designed on a napkin, the world-famous Mini launched by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) in 1959 was envisioned as a cheap, practical city car for families on a budget. Now, 61 years later, it's a sought-after classic that many aftermarket companies hail as the ideal foundation on which to build their wildest dreams. Gildred Racing thought further out of the box than most by turning a Mini into a mid-engined, 500-horsepower sleeper.
Starting with a 1974 model, the California-based firm removed the original four-cylinder engine (and the four-speed manual transmission bolted right under it, where you'd normally expect to find the oil sump) and completely stripped the interior. Only the front seats ended up going back in; the space occupied by the tiny rear bench is now home to a 3.2-liter V6 that started life under the hood of an Acura CL Type S from the early 2000s. It's mounted transversely, and it spins the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.
During a roundtable during a recent event hosted by Honda, we joined in on a roundtable interview with Honda Technical Consultant Ko Yamamoto and Honda Civic Type R Project Leader Hideki Kakinuma. Questions were asked about the Type R brand broadly, as well as the potential for some new projects. The answers were both good news and disappointing news for Honda fans.
The good news is that Honda takes the Type R name and brand very seriously. Yamamoto and Kakinuma explained that the name and its associated red "H" badge are only for vehicles with a racing connection, such as the Honda Civic Type R that has a couple of racing variants. As such, you won't be seeing a CR-V, Odyssey or Insight with the Type R name. Furthermore, the Type R name is only for Honda-badged vehicles, despite the existence of the Acura Integra Type R a couple decades ago.
According to the description of the accessory, “Hori is pleased to announce the Nintendo Switch Mario Kart racing wheel Pro. The racing wheel is ideal for the Mario Kart and racing gamer. The ergonomic wheel design, pedals, and convenient on-board controls were built to create an authentic racing simulation. Officially licensed by Nintendo.”
While the controller seems to suggest that it is for Mario Kart, Hori notes that it will be usable with other racing games as well, so you should be able to use it with more than just one game. While Hori is not the only company to release a steering wheel controller for the Switch, it does come with some added accessories like pedals that will make the game feel a bit more realistic.
Around the same time as Toyota was on its way to winning the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans, the automaker posted video of its coming Le Mans racer on track. Toyota announced the GR Super Sports concept at Le Mans last year, and just announced that it would campaign the race version of that car in the so-called Hypercar class created for the 2020/2021 World Endurance Championship. The show car in the video is our most updated look at what, in road-going trim, could be an all-wheel-drive hybrid with 986-horsepower or more.
Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda shared wheel time with factory driver Kamui Kobayashi, both men running the prototype between the kerbing at Japan's Fuji Speedway. The exhaust soundtrack has been replaced by a rock soundtrack, so we have no idea yet what the coming treat will sound like. It appears there are two prototypes, one with a roof scoop, one without. Based on the rendered race car Toyota put out with the WEC announcement, our guess is that the race car gets the roof scoop.
While fevered anticipation for the 2020 Supra continues apace, there's been a lot of chatter and rumors surrounding what's next for the 86, Toyota's existing sports coupe and the twin sibling of the Subaru BRZ. Now, the company has announced an international racing-themed special edition called the Hakone Edition.
It's named for the Hakone Turnpike, a privately owned toll road in the mountains two hours southwest of Tokyo that is a favorite of enthusiasts and automobile reviewers. It's based off the 86 GT grade, the sports car's mid-level trim, and it comes swathed in a striking Hakone green exterior paint that evokes the dark highland green of the Ford Mustang Bullitt and is punctuated by bronze on the 17-inch twisted-spoke wheels. There's also a black spoiler.
Remember the time a year ago when the 2020 Toyota Supra was yet to be revealed but Toyota brought a racing version to the Geneva Motor Show? You can now live that moment again, as Toyota is bringing a new Supra racing version to the Geneva Motor Show.
The video and image pack Toyota has released of the new Supra GT4 concept show a neat and stylishly made racer, with different aero and livery compared to the racing car concept of a year ago; interestingly, the race car retains the Supra's dashboard screen. The concept previews the customer motorsports version of the fifth generation Supra, aimed for privateers in endurance racing. The Supra GT4 will be seen at the Nürburgring 24 Hours race this year, and in 2020, the GT500 class car will take part in the Super GT series. That particular racing version was shown in early January before the Supra's Detroit debut.
Let's not act surprised by an aftermarket kit to put a 2JZ engine into the 2020 Toyota Supra. The new Supra's chief engineer, Tetsuya Tada, already advised anyone planning such a swap to "please buy the four-cylinder. It will be cheaper." What's surprising is that the kit is being advertised before the Supra's even gone on sale, and it's coming from CX Racing. The tuning firm offers a long list of equipment, but it might be most known for selling turbochargers and plumbing on eBay.
The company might also have been surprised by response to the 2JZ swap kit announcement. When CX Racing posted a render of a blue Supra with a blue-hued 2JZ dropped perfectly in the forward bay, naysayers streamed down from the hills. The primary gripe was that the B58, an engine only in production since 2015, hasn't been tuned to its limits, so why "swap in a heavier less efficient engine for the sake of nostalgia?" No one knew the B58 had so many defenders. We won't get the four-cylinder Supra in the U.S., so swaps will put more B58s on the market for those who covet their potential.