Chaparral Racing is perhaps most famous from building a race car with a suction fan that helped it stick to the track. That car was the 2J, and it raced in Can-Am for just one season, before being outlawed by the SCCA. It was fast… unconventionally so. In addition, Chaparral Racing also shares a storied racing relationship with Chevrolet, utilizing a Small Block V8 in many of its racing cars, as well as some of its chassis having been engineered by the Bowtie. Today marks another chapter for Chevrolet and Chaparral. And this time, virtual reality plays a role.
The Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Tursimo (VGT) concept may not be entirely functional in its actual form, but when gamers drive it on Playstation 3’s Gran Turismo 6, they may enjoy its FREAKING LASER DRIVEN PROPULSION SYSTEM.
Yes, lasers. Freaking lasers, actually. Specifically, according to the designers, “a mid-mounted laser beamed-energy propulsion system, which pulses beams of light that focus in a shroud, creating shock waves that generate tremendous thrust in the lightweight race car” derived from technology from both future aircraft and space travel design. With the freaking 671-kW laser, powered by a pack of lithium-ion batteries, and an air-powered generator to provide 900 horsepower worth of thrust, the Chaparral 2X VGT will be capable of a 240-mph top speed in the video game, with 0-60 mph acceleration taking place in 1.5 seconds. Sounds like Gran Turismo 6 drivers are going to win a lot of races with this conceptual Chap.
“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 Frank Saucedo, who oversaw the team that worked on the concept. “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.”
That being the case, the laser-based propulsion system’s position in the composite chassis leaves for a highly unconventional driving position… with the driver, wearing a visor helmet, laying face down with arms and legs reaching toward the wheels. Designers of the Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Tursimo say that the propulsion and suspension systems are 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,” said 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 aerodynamics, which are of course driver-enabled, 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. The lightweight chassis components also reduce the sprung weight of the race car, enabling it to provide tremendous cornering grip. Without the need for a vacuum this time, apparently. The wheels up front are 17-inches, wrapped with racing tires.
“The Chaparral 2X VGT is a vision of how advanced technology may shape the look and driving experience of racing,” said Saucedo. “Chaparral’s race cars and methods were seen as outlandish four decades ago, and with the innovative spirit still burning at Chevrolet, the Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo concept might just be a harbinger of motorsports in the next four decades.”
The Chevrolet Chaparral 2X VGT concept is on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show through November 30. Hopefully it will find itself around other auto show floors as well.