Catch These 18 Racecars at the 2018 LA Auto Show
The Los Angeles Auto Show once again has arrived in downtown LA, allowing thousands of visitors from November 30 to December 9 the chance to see, touch, and get inside the latest vehicles from manufacturers around the world without the pressure of a salesman breathing down their neck.
While most of the cars are production cars you’ll be able to buy, there are the exceptions. Some cars are merely concepts showcasing the latest tech in development and style cues you’ll no doubt start to see in the next 5-10 years. However, some of the others are what we love the most – THE RACECARS.
So think of this as a guide to the LA Auto Show for you, the racing fan, that loves hitting the track at K1 Speed and catching your favorite racing series on the weekend.
Volkswagen Bonneville Record-Setting Jetta
VW was out to break records in 2018, and they did so with this car and the following example. This heavily modified 2019 Jetta set the new Blown Gas Coupe (G/GBC) class record by reaching 210.16 mph. THR Manufacturing got what they could out of the EA888 engine, extracting three times more power than stock by installing a new turbocharger, exhaust, camshafts, valves, and connecting rods, but kept the stock crankshaft and engine block. The result was a Jetta that produced 600hp at 8,500 rpm – now that seriously goes like schnell.
2018 Volkswagen ID R Pikes Peak Winner
One of the real surprises and thrills of the VW display was seeing this epic ID R Pikes Peak hillclimb car in the flesh. At K1 Speed, we were fascinated by this all-electric racer that absolutely obliterated both the electric vehicle record and overall record in the hands of renown racer Romain Dumas. If you haven’t read about it, be sure to read our blog post all about its accomplishment.
2018 Camry NASCAR Cup Series Racecar
Toyota brought a trio of racecars in their display. First up is Kyle Busch’s 2018 Camry NASCAR (or at least a show car version of it), which took the driver to a 4th place finish in the 2018 Cup standings.
2019 Corolla Hatchback Drift Demo Car
This Carolla is a clone of Fredric Aasbo’s second-place finisher in the Formula Drift championship, this Carolla underwent the same ground up modification that Papadakis Racing gave the real deal: converted rear wheel drive drivetrain, chassis center rebuilt to accept transmission and said drivetrain, engine swapped for a Toyota 2AR-FE with a custom forced-induction system and nitrous oxide, new front and rear suspension, and custom widebody panels that were designed and manufacturerd in collaboration with Jon Subal and Toyota Racing Development (TRD).
But hey, the chassis is the same as your mom’s car!
2019 Toyota Supra NASCAR Xfinity Series Car
While Toyota isn’t debuting the Supra road car until the Detroit Auto Show in January, we did get to see the NASCAR Xfinitiy Series version that’ll make its debut in February 2019 at Daytona. Developed by TRD and Calty Design Research who took what they learned from their 2017 championship-winning Camry Cup car.
Acura NSX GT3
Since its competition debut in 2016, the NSX GT3 lead its class at the 24 Hours of Daytona, won its class in the Grand Prix of Detroit and Six Hours of Watkins Glen and finished runner-up in this year’s IMSA GTD Championship with veteran racer Katherine Legge behind the wheel. We loved seeing this GT3 in naked carbon fiber and definitely recommend seeing it in person.
2018 Acura Team Penske DPi IMSA Racecar
This 2018 Acura IMSA prototype marked Penske’s return to full-time sports car racing since they campaigned Porsche RS Spyders in the 00s. Two of Penske’s most famous modern racers, Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya joined IMSA protoype winners Ricky Taylor and Dane Cameron for the driver lineup, however 2018 proved to be a learning session for the team, with the team registering just one win at Mid-Ohio, though they did finish 1-2. This particular car was driven by Castroneves, Taylor and during longer endurance races, Graham Rahal during the season.
2018 BMW M8 GTE IMSA Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Speaking of Rahal, we spotted this M8 GTE racer perched up in an exclusive BMW VIP area. So while you won’t (likely) be able to oogle this car up close, it’s a racecar so on the list it goes! This is the first LM GTE spec car to be built by the ground up by BMW Motorsport and in its first year it won two races, at Virginia International Raceway and at Laguna Seca.
Ken Block’s 1986 RS200 Evolution
We’ve been binging the new Gymkhana Files on Netflix, so seeing Ken Block’s RS200 got our blood pumping on sight. Only 200 of these gorgeous RS200 rally cars were ever built for World Rally Championship’s iconic Group B homologation, and this one features Fifteen52 forged 3-piece Evo SC wheels, KW custom coilovers, and a custom interior and exterior finish. Block regards this as his favorite car of all time, and he’s got a valid argument.
Uncle Bob’s Bouncing Bronco
Originally built by Galpin Ford in the late 1960s for off-road racer Bob Lewis, this customized first-gen Ford Bronco has seen its share of desert races and features large bumpers, chrome-plated winches, beefy tires/wheels, a custom paint job, and naturally, a rifle rack. That’s all we really know about this vehicle (the info behind the car ironically didn’t have any info about it whatsoever), so if you know more do let us know in the comments section below!
Pinto Trans Am
While early 70s Trans Am racing conjures up images of Datsuns, Alfa Romeos and BMWs, it’s worth remembering that a lowly Pinto actually went wheel-to-wheel with them as well. Enter this Galpin Ford-sponsored Pinto that campaigned in the legendary SCCA Two-Five (2.5L) class. It’s powered by a 2.5L Weber carburetor version of the original SOHC 4-cylinder engine and…didn’t win anything. But hey, there’s a cool little piece of history for you that you can see in person at the LA Auto Show!
2018 Civic Type R TCR Racecar
This Civic Type R Touring Car R Racecar is similar to the one that won the inaugural 2018 TCR Championship in Pirelli World Challenge with Ryan Eversley and RealTime Racing. This racecar features the same turbocharged 4-cylinder engine from the road-going Type R and produces 340hp.
2018 Honda Dallara IndyCar Chip Ganassi Racing
This Honda Dallara IndyCar may or may not be the actual car that Scott Dixon drove to a historic 5th IndyCar title, but that doesn’t stop the cool factor. If you didn’t make it out to an IndyCar race, be sure to stop by and check out this all-new generation as it forgoes many of the ugly aero kits and returned to a more simple and pure design that looks the best since the Champ Car years.
Kia Forte Drift Car
If this car looks familiar, it’s because Kia’s been using it in a recent ad campaign. Developed in partnership with Red Bull, this drift car was built from a stock Forte FE, adding the twin-turbo V6 engine from the Stinger, custom intake manifold, six-speed sequential gearbox, quick change rear differential, and hybrid drift/grip suspension.
2018 Ford Fusion NASCAR Cup Car
Check out the new NASCAR champ’s car at the LA Auto Show! This ’18 Ford Fusion NASCAR displays the iconic Penske – Pennzoil livery driven by Joey Logano during his championship-winning season. Standing next to the car is a life-size Ford Factory Driver built entirely out of LEGO bricks.
2019 911 GT2 ClubSpeed
Porsche generated a lot of excitement around the LA Auto Show with the release of the new generation of 911, but there was another surprise: the release of this 2019 911 GT2 Clubsport. Built as a 700-horsepower track-only racer of the 911 GT2 RS, the Clubsport will be eligble to run at Clubsport events (naturally), Porsche Club of America (PCA) track events, and other select motorsport events. There’s tons of great goodies with this version, but only 200 will be built. So if you’ve got the 500 grand needed to purchase one, you better act quick.
Hyundai i30 N TCR
Virtually an Elantra GT Sport with a 350hp engine and a bunch of racing goodies, this i30 N TCR was driven by IndyCar/ChampCar veteran Bryan Herta, Bryan’s son (and 2019 IndyCar driver) Colton Herta, and George Kurtz to victory in the SRO California 8 Hours at Laguna Seca after starting from the back of the pack. A neat car to see, and easily missed if you’re not careful. It’s on the bottom level before the entrance of the South Hall exhibits, so pay it a visit!
2018-19 Jaguar Gen2 Formula E Car
This is the all-new second-generation Formula E car that’ll be used for the next three seasons. Drivers no longer have to swap cars completely during a pitstop – these actually carry enough juice to last an entire race distance. Plus, they’re faster, which is always important. And they sound like our karts – so that’s cool, too.
So there you have it! There’s plenty of fantastic racecars on display at the LA Auto Show that’s worth the cost of admission alone. The fact that you can crawl inside virtually every other car on display is just an added bonus.
The LA Auto show runs until the end of this weekend, December 9, so be sure to catch these cars before they roll out. And since you’ll be in the area, stop by our Torrance location for a rush of adrenaline afterwards!
Which racecar would you most want to see? Let us know in the comments below!