The Los Angeles auto show is the perfect venue for manufacturers to display their latest concepts. With California the largest car market in the US, it’s also home to the nation’s movie making industry and an ideal breeding ground for imaginative visions peppered by a dash of Sci-Fi. And what better way to do this than to develop a car destined to live in the digital world of the Gran Turismo 6 racing game.
Created at GM’s Advanced Design studio in North Hollywood run by Frank Saucedo, the Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Tursimo (VGT) concept was inspired by the innovative race cars Chaparral Racing and Chevrolet partnered on more than 45 years ago. It is a revolutionary interpretation of the ultimate race car, developed as part of the Vision Gran Turismo project and designed by Charles Lefranc.
“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,” says Saucedo. “Like the original Chaparral race cars decades ago, the Chaparral 2X VGT weaves advanced aerospace technologies into the design to help achieve its performance goals.”
Chaparral 2X VGT features a mid-mounted laser beamed-energy propulsion system, which pulses beams of light to create shock waves that generate forward thrust.
Known for unconventional, boundary-pushing race cars that shook up the motorsports world, Texas-based Chaparral Racing partnered with Chevrolet Research and Development more than 45 years ago, pioneering now-standard methods and materials used in contemporary racing and production vehicles.
The Chevrolet Chaparral 2X VGT channels that spirit of innovation into a vision of what the future of racing could hold, with a radical form and an advanced, laser-based propulsion system inspired by technology derived from advanced work targeted at space travel and future aircraft design.
With a 671-kW laser powered by a pack of lithium-ion batteries and an air-powered generator to provide 900hp worth of thrust, the Chaparral 2X VGT will propel gamers to a 240mph top speed and reach a virtual 60mph from a standstill in just 1.5 seconds. Ducati who?
The propulsion system’s position in the composite chassis complements an unconventional yet highly active prone driver configuration – face down with the driver’s arms and legs splayed toward the 17-inch wheels. The race car’s propulsion and suspension systems are actually built around the driver, enabling progressive strategies of active and driver-adjustable aerodynamics.
“Think of it as adapting a wing suit to a racing car, where the driver’s movements control certain aspects of the aero package,” says Saucedo. “In many ways, the Chaparral 2X VGT is like racing wing suit, with a protective fuselage for ‘flying’ very low to the ground.”
The driver-enabled aerodynamics eliminate the need for large, conventional wings and other aero devices used to generate grip-enhancing downforce – an attribute that helps reduce the overall mass of the Chaparral 2X VGT’s minimalist, lightweight structure. Only essential elements are on board, with instrumentation, for example, projected on the driver’s helmet visor.
“This concept is an audacious and ambitious vision – and one that demonstrates to a new audience how Chevy’s engineering and design teams challenge norms and explore the technologies of tomorrow,” comments Clay Dean, executive director of advanced design. “It also an ode to a unique partnership that pioneered ground-breaking technologies that are used today on the track and the street.”
The Chevrolet Chaparral 2X VGT concept is on display at the LA auto show through November 30th.