Thursday, November 20, 2014
A Virtual Vision: Chevrolet’s Chaparral 2X VGT Concept Racer
At the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, Chevrolet’s most recent concept vehicle meant have just claimed the title as the most outrageous design of the year. Honouring 45 years of their partnership with legendary Chaparral Racing, designers created a car characterizing a similar sense of ground-breaking practical style as what flourished with the 1960s race cars. Called the Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo (VGT), the only more radical part of this concept car is that almost anyone with a Sony Playstation 3 will be able to drive it.
Every aspect of the Chaparral 2X VGT can honestly be described as science fiction meets 21st century motorsports. A lightweight design sculpted under what General Motors classified as a “No-rules environment“, the vehicle is constructed on a composite material chassis. Bearing a minor resemblance to the GM Autonomy, the Chaparral 2X VGT cannot really be compared to any active production or race car. Active driver-adjustable aerodynamic elements provide optimized grip and handling for the advanced race car. “It was created in a no-rules atmosphere to challenge designers and test engineers to deliver the most exhilarating sensations. This is a fantasy car by design,” said the car’s design team manager Frank Saucedo.
Something pulled straight from the minds of forward-thinking scientists and engineers consumed with theoretical thoughts of space and air flight, the power unit of the Chaparral 2X VGT is far-removed from a Chevrolet small-block engine. Called a laser beam-energy propulsion system, the mid-mounted source of momentum for the Chaparral 2X VGT is electrical powered through a lithium-ion battery and air-powered generator. Pushed by 900 horsepower of thrust, the futuristic technology allows the vehicle to accelerate in just 1.5 seconds and achieve a top speed of 240 miles per hour.
Wild and far-out, the Chaparral 2X VGT’s ancestry required the concept vehicle to live up to some innovative creations. While Chaparral Cars existed for only a short time, the Texas-based race vehicle constructor founded by Jim Hall and Hap Sharp was renowned for being a world leader in aerodynamics in the late 1960s. Cars powered by Chevrolet engines were remembered for sailing around race tracks with a large, high-mounted rear wing. Experimenting with winged vehicles at an early stage, Chaparral was also a pioneer of ground effects. In 1970s, fan-driven ground effects were conceived for the Chaparral 2J. Proving extremely fast, this car was eventually banned from Can-Am competition. As a true tribute to the Chaparral cars of the past, the 2X VGT concept shares the classic '66' numbering.
Designed for the racing video game Gran Turismo 6, the Chaparral 2X VGT can be experienced simply by downloading it as part of an online update. The notion of creating vehicles that only operate in the virtual world could eliminate the need for costly (though thrillingly climatic) physical show cars. Last year, Audi created the Fleet Shuttle quattro vehicle for the futuristic war movie Ender’s Game. While Harrison Ford was seen on-screen riding inside of the 22nd century design depiction, the Audi Fleet Shuttle quattro never existed in full scale. Instead of allowing their concept design to be felt in only a virtual environment, Chevrolet has constructed a real-world example of the Chaparral 2X VGT in time for the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. Until November 30th, the Chevrolet dream racer will be on display.
In addition to celebrating Chevrolet’s 45th anniversary to the partnership with the Texas-based sports car builder, virtual release of the Chaparral 2X VGT on Gran Turismo 6 commemorates the 15th year for the auto racing video game franchise.