GM Starts Work on New Performance and Racing Center

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From General Motors:

PONTIAC, Mich. – General Motors today began construction of a state-of-the-art facility for race engine design and development, as well as an electric motor laboratory and gear center.

GM’s continued investment in motorsports comes from the time-tested belief that racing is the ultimate proving ground for much of the technology that applies to the vehicles GM sells.

“The GM Performance and Racing Center, or GMPRC, will continue to develop some of the world’s winningest race engines for Chevrolet and Cadillac,” said Steve Kiefer, vice president of GM Global Powertrain. “Connecting our race engineers with our global powertrain engineering teams will improve our customers’ powertrains in terms of efficiency, reliability and durability. The center will also provide exciting career opportunities for our engineering organization.”

Engineers and technicians from GM’s race engineering center in Wixom, Mich. will move to the new facility in mid-2015. The relocation will centralize North American powertrain engineering expertise for production engines as well as advanced and racing propulsion programs. Condensing the engineering to one large space is an excellent way to develop race-bred engineers whether they work on production or performance vehicles.

This centralization of talent will provide more collaboration opportunities between racing and production engineers already at GM Powertrain Engineering headquarters and development lab, one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in the world.
The move will include about 100 employees who work on powertrain racing development, electric motors and in the gear center. The new building is expected to be opened and in use by mid-2015 and completed by early 2016.

“The GM Performance and Racing Center will serve as a resource to help our race teams and drivers continue to win races and championships,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “It will also help advance technical sharing between racing and production engine programs.”

The GMPRC is part of a $200 million investment GM announced last January to build a new 138,000 sq.-ft. test wing. At that time, the company announced work at four remote locations would consolidate on the Pontiac campus, helping to reduce development timing for GM’s next-generation advanced propulsion technologies. When the moves are complete, about 400 jobs will be added to the Pontiac campus.
Engineers at the GMPRC will work on powertrain-related projects for GM’s involvement in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Verizon IndyCar Series, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, Pirelli World Challenge, NHRA (COPO Camaro Program) and Global Rally Cross.

The Chevrolet and Cadillac racing teams have seen much track success. Since its inception in 1999, Corvette Racing has won 10 manufacturer titles in GT competition and 92 global wins, including seven prestigious class wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Team Cadillac, since 2004, has amassed 24 wins, 82 podium finishes and 20 pole positions. The team won the World Challenge Manufacturer Championship in 2005, 2006, 2012 and 2013.

In NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, Chevrolet has captured the Manufacturers’ Cup title an unprecedented 37 times, including the past 11 consecutive years. Chevrolet also leads all Manufacturers in the series with 722 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories. 

Chevrolet returned to the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2012 as an engine manufacturer, and won 23 of the 37 races held since. Chevrolet also won the IndyCar Manufacturer Championship in 2012 and 2013. Chevrolet IndyCar V6 drivers on the pole for the Indianapolis 500 in both 2012 and 2013, and Tony Kanaan won the 2013 Indianapolis 500.

In addition to the performance and racing engineering, the new facility will house an electric motor lab and a gear center.

The electric motor lab produces prototype electric motors and validates manufacturing processes used in the production of electric and hybrid vehicle motors. Electric motor engineering, design and validation are core competencies for GM in the development, sourcing and manufacturing of electric vehicles and their major components.

The gear center supports design, manufacturing processes, inspection techniques and testing of gears used primarily in the next generation of GM transmissions.

GM rumored to build full-sized pickup truck

Reuters reports that General Motors will be working towards an aluminum-bodied pickup truck by late 2018.

This comes after pressure from the federal government to improve fuel efficiency standards.

According to their story, GM recently locked-in contracts with two suppliers to increase their aluminum sheet production to supply the next-generation GM pickup.

Right now, aluminum is in such high demand that the companies need to order it years in advance, Reuters said.

What do you think about GM producing an all-aluminum bodied full-size pickup truck? Leave a comment below, or send us a tweet to @PowerBlockTV.

Also, make sure you check out this week’s PowerNation TV schedule so you don’t miss out on any of the shows! Click here: www.powernationtv.com/schedule

GM: Track-capable Camaro Z/28 Validated at Nürburgring

From General Motors:

Chevrolet today revealed a video of the all-new, 2014 Camaro Z/28 lapping Germany’s challenging Nürburgring road course in 7:37.40, a time comparable with some of the world’s most prestigious sports cars.
The Z/28’s lap is four seconds faster than the Camaro ZL1, and beats published times for the Porsche 911 Carrera S and the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640. The Z/28’s lap was completed on less-than-ideal conditions, with damp pavement and pouring rain near the end of the run.
“One of the challenges of testing at the ‘Ring is that the track is so long that conditions can change radically in a single lap,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “Adam Dean, the development driver for Z/28, did a heroic job driving in deteriorating conditions. Based on telemetry data from our test sessions, we know the Z/28 can be as much as six seconds faster on a dry track.”
In terms of lap times, the Z/28’s improved speed came from three areas:

• Increased grip: The Z/28 is capable of 1.08 g in cornering acceleration, due to comprehensive chassis revisions
• Increased stopping power: The Z/28 features Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes capable of 1.5 g in deceleration, and consistent brake feel lap after lap
• Reduced curb weight: The naturally aspirated Z/28 weighs 300 pounds less than the supercharged Camaro ZL1, with changes ranging from lightweight wheels to thinner rear-window glass.

The heart of the Z/28 is the 7.0L LS7 engine. The LS7 uses lightweight, racing-proven, high-performance components, such as titanium intake valves and connecting rods, CNC-ported aluminum cylinder heads and a forged-steel crankshaft to help produce an SAE-certified 505 horsepower (376 kW) and 481 lb-ft of torque (652 Nm). Air-conditioning is available, but only as an option.

A close-ratio six-speed manual transmission is the only transmission offered and power is distributed to the rear wheels via a limited-slip differential featuring a helical gear set, rather than traditional clutch packs. The new design enables the driver to apply more power and get through corners faster, by making the most of the capability of individual-wheel antilock brake function during corner entry braking, mid-corner speed and corner-exit traction.

The team spent a week at the Nürburgring as part of the Z/28’s performance-validation regimen, accumulating a total of 10 hours and nearly 1,000 miles on the track. Each lap took less than eight minutes to complete, despite having to overtake slower traffic at times. These hours are part of the grueling 24-Hour Test, which simulates a full year’s worth of track use of track days or amateur-level competition at the hands of an owner. 

“Passing the 24-Hour Test is a requirement for all cars we call ‘track capable,’” said Wayne McConnell, director of global vehicle performance. “The test pushes the car at 10/10ths on the track for a total of 24 hours. During the test the only mechanical changes allowed are replacing the brakes and tires.”

The 24-Hour Test is broken into a number of segments over the course of several days – and even at different tracks – to evaluate performance in precisely measured and carefully monitored increments. Crucially, each valid test lap must be run within 2 percent of a target lap speed to count toward the 24-hour total.

The 24-Hour Test was first used in the early 1990s for the fourth-generation Corvette. Back then, the 300-horsepower Corvette was Chevrolet’s most powerful vehicle, and the 24-Hour Test measured 15 channels of data. Today, the 2014 Camaro LS offers a 323-horsepower V-6, while the Camaro Z/28’s racing-proven LS7 7.0L small-block V-8 delivers 505 horsepower, and the 24-Hour Test measures 130 channels of data.

“Our cars’ performance and capability have advanced tremendously in the past 20 years, which required us to continually improve the parameters of the 24-Hour Test,” said McConnell.

“Today’s test pushes the car harder than the vast majority of customers ever will. As a result, when we call a car ‘track capable’ we are confident that it will perform reliably and consistently for our customers.”

Thoughts? Leave a comment below, or send us a tweet to @PowerBlockTV.

Colorado, Canyon to receive four-cylinder Duramax diesel options

Colorado, Canyon to receive four-cylinder Duramax diesel options

General Motors has stepped up to the plate to offer a diesel options of its mid-sized pickups.

Automotive News reports that the redesigned Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are slated to get a version of GM’s 2.5-liter or 2.8-liter, four-cylinder Duramax turbodiesels, which currently power the Colorado in overseas markets.

The site says that the diesel option will be added to the U.S. lineup abut a year after the fall 2014 launch of the redesigned trucks.

“You’ve got to keep a closer eye than ever before on what the competition is doing and what they’re offering,” Jeff Luke, executive chief engineer for GM’s full-sized and mid-sized trucks, told Auto News. “At the same time, you’ve got to make sure that you’re not confusing the customer with too many choices.

Thoughts? Leave a comment below, or send us a tweet to @PowerBlockTV.

General Motors Invests $167 Million in Spring Hill for New Vehicles

General Motors Invests $167 Million in Spring Hill for New Vehicles

From General Motors:

SPRING HILL, Tenn. – General Motors today increased to $350 million planned spending for new vehicles to be produced at its Spring Hill assembly plant. The new investment adds $167 million to a previously announced $183 million pledge and is expected to create or retain about 1,800 jobs.

The new investment is for two projects:

An additional $40 million added to the earlier announced $183 million investment to support a future mid-size vehicle program, bringing the new total investment to $223 million. This program is expected to create or retain approximately 1,000 jobs.

A second mid-size vehicle program with an investment of $127 million that will create or retain approximately 800 jobs.
Timing and product specifications for both programs will be shared closer to start-of-production.

The new programs will add to existing manufacturing operations at the site that include vehicle assembly, stamping, engine and component parts production.

“Today’s announcement recognizes the commitment of Spring Hill employees and leadership,” said Mark Reuss, president, GM North America. “As a team, they draw upon the plant’s unique heritage and dedicated work force to deliver top quality for our customers.”

Located 40 miles south of Nashville, GM Spring Hill Manufacturing operates as a flexible-assembly plant, capable of building a variety of products on a range of platforms. The facility is designed to supplement production for plants being retooled for new products or add production to meet sales spikes in real time.

Chevrolet Equinox production began at the site in the third quarter of 2012 to meet growing consumer demand and support GM’s Canada operations. GM Spring Hill Manufacturing, home to the former Saturn brand from 1990 to 2007, operates as a fully integrated complex.

“I would like to thank General Motors for its confidence that the highly skilled members of UAW Local 1853 can successfully build mid-size vehicles with high quality here at Spring Hill,” said UAW Vice President Joe Ashton, who directs the union’s GM Department. “The hard work and dedication of our members once again proves that we can competitively manufacture vehicles for the future right here in Tennessee.”

General Motors: Cadillac’s Twin-Turbo Kicks Turbo Lag to the Curb

General Motors: Cadillac’s Twin-Turbo Kicks Turbo Lag to the Curb

From General Motors:

DETROIT – Turbocharging increases power and performance with efficiency, but the delay in the delivery of power – known as “turbo lag” – has historically been its key limitation.

That’s about to change.

Cadillac’s first-ever Twin-Turbo, available on the 2014 CTS Vsport midsize luxury sedan and XTS Vsport full-size luxury sedan in the U.S. this fall, kicks turbo lag to the curb with a unique combination of smaller turbochargers, top-mounted throttle body and shorter air pathways.

The Cadillac Twin-Turbo V-6’s patented air flow design, which eliminates circuitous heat-exchanger tubing, makes the most of engine packaging efficiency to improve torque response time over other air flow designs.

Rated at 420 horsepower in the all-new 2014 CTS Vsport and paired with Cadillac’s first eight-speed transmission, the Twin Turbo is one of the most power-dense engines in the midsize luxury sedan segment, rated at an SAE-certified 420 horsepower (313kw) and 430 lb-ft of torque (583 Nm).

Air flow routing volume is reduced by more than 60 percent when compared with a conventional design that features a chassis-mounted heat exchanger. The water-to-air cooler system achieves more than 80 percent cooling efficiency with only about 1 psi (7 kPa) flow restriction at peak power for fast torque production.

“By creating a very short path from the turbos to the throttle body, the compressors are able to draw air directly from the inlet box and send pressurized air through the intercooler immediately,” said Richard Bartlett, Cadillac assistant chief engineer for the 3.6L engine. “This gives the driver a more immediate feeling of power on demand.”

Using two smaller turbochargers rather than a single, larger turbo also helps ensure immediate performance because smaller turbochargers spool up quicker to generate horsepower-building air pressure that is fed into the engine. An integrated charge air cooling system also contributes because the compressors blow through very short pipes up to the intercooler.

The single, centrally located throttle body atop the engine controls the air charge from a pair of turbochargers after the temperature is reduced in the intercooler. This design fosters more immediate torque response and reduces complexity by eliminating the need for a pair of throttle bodies.
Together, smaller turbochargers, top-mounted throttle body and shorter air pathways help sustain peak torque over a broad range – 1,900 to 5,600 rpm – for a confident feeling of power in almost all driving conditions, such as accelerating or overtaking traffic on the highway.

“The Cadillac Twin-Turbo intercooler design builds on our experience with the 6.2L supercharged engine used on the current CTS-V Series,” Bartlett said. “That means more performance for drivers without sacrificing efficiency.”

General Motors: Corvette Stingray Most Efficient Sports Car on the Market

Corvette Stingray Most Efficient Sports Car on the Market

From General Motors:

DETROIT – The 2014 Corvette Stingray will deliver up to an EPA-estimated 17 miles per gallon in the city, and 29 mpg on the highway, making the new Stingray the most fuel efficient sports car on the market as no other car offers more than 455 horsepower and greater than 29 mpg highway.

“The Corvette Stingray establishes the benchmark for modern performance cars by using technologies to deliver more performance and more miles per gallon,” said Tadge Juechter, executive chief engineer for the Corvette. “We expect more and more performance cars will follow Corvette’s example.”

The EPA estimate of 17 city and 29 highway is for the Corvette Stingray equipped with an all-new, seven-speed manual transmission. The estimate reflects an average of fuel economy in both the default “Tour” mode, which delivers 28 mpg highway, and driver-selectable “Eco” mode, which delivers 30 mpg highway. For Stingrays equipped with the seven-speed manual transmission, Eco mode enables Active Fuel Management, which disables four of the cylinders for improved fuel economy during light engine loads.

For Corvette Stingrays equipped with the six-speed automatic, Active Fuel Management is active in all drive modes until the driver engages the manual-shift mode using the steering-wheel paddles. Fuel economy estimates for Corvette Stingrays equipped with the six-speed automatic will be finalized soon.

The highway rating represents an 11-percent increase in fuel economy over the previous Corvette, while the all-new 6.2L LT1 V-8 delivers 455 horsepower, a 6-percent increase over the previous Corvette. The LT1 delivers 460 horsepower with the available dual-mode exhaust.

By comparison, the Porsche 911 Carrera S delivers 400 horsepower, and an EPA-estimated 27 mpg highway.

Sports cars with more than 455 horsepower typically offer significantly lower highway fuel economy estimates than the Corvette Stingray. For example, the Jaguar F-Type S offers 495 hp and 23 mpg highway while the Audi R8 V10 offers 510 hp and 19 mpg highway.

Sports cars that deliver more than 29 mpg highway based on EPA estimates typically deliver significantly less engine output. For example, the Porsche Cayman offers 30 mpg and 275 hp while the BMW Z4 sDrive28 delivers 34 mpg and 241 hp.

The 2014 Corvette Stingray coupe goes on sale this fall, with a convertible following by the end of the year.

Thoughts? Leave a comment below, or send us a tweet to @PowerBlockTV.

GM, Honda to Collaborate on Next-Generation Fuel Cell Technologies

GM, Honda to Collaborate on Next-Generation Fuel Cell Technologies

From General Motors:

NEW YORK – General Motors (NYSE: GM) and Honda (NYSE: HMC) announced today a long-term, definitive master agreement to co-develop next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies, aiming for the 2020 time frame. The collaboration expects to succeed by sharing expertise, economies of scale and common sourcing strategies.

GM and Honda plan to work together with stakeholders to further advance refueling infrastructure, which is critical for the long-term viability and consumer acceptance of fuel cell vehicles.
GM and Honda are acknowledged leaders in fuel cell technology. According to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index, GM and Honda rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in total fuel cell patents filed between 2002 and 2012, with more than 1,200 between them.

“This collaboration builds upon Honda and GM’s strengths as leaders in hydrogen fuel cell technology,” said Dan Akerson, GM chairman and CEO. “We are convinced this is the best way to develop this important technology, which has the potential to help reduce the dependence on petroleum and establish sustainable mobility.”

Takanobu Ito, president & CEO of Honda Motor Co. Ltd. said: “Among all zero CO2 emission technologies, fuel cell electric vehicles have a definitive advantage with range and refueling time that is as good as conventional gasoline cars. Honda and GM are eager to accelerate the market penetration of this ultimate clean mobility technology, and I am excited to form this collaboration to fuse our leading fuel cell technologies and create an advanced system that will be both more capable and more affordable.”

GM’s Project Driveway program, launched in 2007, has accumulated nearly 3 million miles of real-world driving in a fleet of 119 hydrogen-powered vehicles, more than any other automaker.

Honda began leasing of the Honda FCX in 2002 and has deployed 85 units in the U.S. and Japan, including its successor, the FCX Clarity, which was named the 2009 World Green Car. Honda has delivered these vehicles to the hands of customers in the U.S. and collected valuable data concerning real-world use of fuel cell electric vehicles.

As already announced, Honda plans to launch the successor of FCX Clarity in Japan and the United States in 2015, and then in Europe. GM will announce its fuel cell production plans at a later date.

Fuel cell technology addresses many of the major challenges facing automobiles today – petroleum dependency, emissions, efficiency, range and refueling times. Fuel cell vehicles can operate on renewable hydrogen made from sources like wind and biomass. The only emission from fuel cell vehicles is water vapor. 

Additionally, fuel cell vehicles can have up to 400 miles driving range, can be refueled in as little as three minutes, and the propulsion technology can be used on small, medium, and large vehicles.

Thoughts? Leave a comment below, or send us a tweet to @PowerBlockTV.