Ford To Live Stream 2017 World Rallycross Season

Ford Performance announced that they will be the exclusive United States live provider for the FIA World Rallycross Championship. All 12 races of the 2017 season will be streamed live on the Ford Performance Facebook page. While Ford is streaming the races, World RX Managing Director Paul Bellamy said that highlights would be available on a free-to-air broadcaster in the U.S. The details of that deal should be announced soon.

This is the first time a manufacture has partnered with the series to provide a live broadcast. Ford World RX driver and beloved lunatic Ken Block couldn't be happier about the deal. "I think it's amazing that my factory race partner, Ford Performance, has chosen to become the official distributor of World RX here in the States. One of the things I love about World RX is that fans are able to watch the action in real-time on race day via streaming. The fact that Ford has stepped up and become the official partner in America and is doing it via their Facebook is beyond cool to me" said Block via a press release.

For Ford, it would be wonderful the two Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Focus RS RXs dominate the season. Ford has puffed it chest up in the recent past and actually delivered. For almost a year, they boasted they were bringing the Ford GT back to Le Mans to reclaim the throne. They did. So maybe this will work out, too. It would be America's shame if the Ford-sponsored World RX live stream turned in to Peugeot commercial.

The season starts this weekend. You can watch it live on April 2nd, at 8:00am EST at

Watch SpaceX’s Historic Reusable Rocket Launch Live Right Here

If all goes according to plan, at 6:27 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time this evening, Elon Musk and his rocket company SpaceX will be set to write their names into the history books yet again. Because tonight, SpaceX will likely become the first private organization to launch a payload into Earth orbit on a used rocket.

See, the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket that'll be pushing this SpaceX mission off from Cape Canaveral's Launch Complex 39A somewhere between half-past six and 9 o'clock will be making its sophomore flight when it helps heft the SES-10 communications satellite into geosynchronous orbit. It first launched back in April 2016, when it helped bring supplies to the International Space Station during mission CRS-8. (That mission also happened to be the first time SpaceX successfully landed a first-stage rocket on an ocean-going barge, a feat it plans to repeat tonight.)

Reusable spaceships are nothing new, of course; each of NASA's space shuttles made repeated trips into space and back. again. But SpaceX is shooting to become the first private company to usher reusable rockets into commercial use. Making rockets that can be launched repeatedly is a crucial part of SpaceX's goal to lower the costs of space launch. It'll also likely be key to Musk's plans to send people to Mars.

The SpaceX livestream feed on YouTube goes hot at 6:27 p.m. EDT. You can click here to go to the company's official page...or, if you'd rather hang out here on The Drive (and we wouldn't blame you), you can watch it below.

Cadillac Paving the Way In Vehicle-To-Vehicle “Mesh Communication”

Self-driving cars are on their way to becoming more and more popular in North America, especially thanks to increasingly stringent regulations due to Big Brother's close watch on highway safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that it wants to end traffic deaths within 30 years, and it hopes to accomplish it by using autonomous cars, stricter safety regulations, and more advanced technology.

Mesh communication is something that has been used for some time now in computer networking. In December of 2016, U.S. courts ruled that smart vehicles must speak with each other using a standardized protocol known as "Vehicle to Vehicle" (or, V2V). This particular protocol—although still in largely unregulated and rudimentary stages—is designed to help save lives by allowing vehicles to talk to each other in the same language.

GM has implemented this as a standard feature on the 2017 Cadillac CTS in hopes of taking the lead in the industry. Realistically, being the first to market means are greater chance that their implementation could likely become the standard in a market that is currently unregulated by the FCC and the ISO.

The technology, which uses short range microwaves (like the kind in your cell phone and wireless router, not the kind you make food in), will allow consistent communication to vehicles within a certain range. This may include speed, braking, and other sensory details about the car or environment. The idea is that a vehicle one-fifth of a mile up the road will be able to provide feedback to another vehicle to help it avoid an accident.

Eventually, as more new cars get this technology, it will be able to help more and more vehicles avoid accidents by creating a large enough mesh of coverage to link most cars on the road together.

Recently, a bill was introduced to seek better cyber security for cars to prevent hacking critical systems. If the NHTSA plans to include V2V technology in all new cars by 2023, it will need to ensure that the car is properly secured from outside attack vectors, especially if vehicles begin talking to each other.

Watch This Impatient Subaru Driver Nearly Cause a Mountainside Wreck While Passing

While behind the wheel of a car, being attentive and having some patience are two things that can help keep you and the motorists in the vehicles around you out of trouble. In reference to a video that was uploaded to Facebook Tuesday, that means waiting until you're not on a blind mountain road to pass a truck as it creeps up the hill. Apparently, this Subaru driver didn't get that memo.

The clip, which was uploaded by Facebook user Cathi Duck, shows a truck barely managing to climb a narrow road with an aggressive uphill grade in Australia. As the truck inches up the road, you can see a Subaru WRX-looking (it could be a 2.5RS, but we'd bet our silver dollars it isn't) car dash for a pass, but nearly cause a head-on collision while doing so.

It's dumb driving.

"HOLY F**K.....WHAT A F**KING IDIOT I CAME ACROSS COMING UP THE MOUNTAIN EARLIER TONIGHT......THANK GOD FOR DASH CAM," wrote Duck on the Facebook post. "I am starting to realize what could have happened there if he hit me coming back I would have gotten pushed into the rock wall."

To you, the Subaru driver, we get that you don't want to wait behind a truck as it creeps up a hill, but if you can't see what's in the other lane, or if you're not sure you have enough of a gap to make that pass, please, for all parties involved, just don't do it.

What Is This Car Porsche Keeps Teasing?

In three different YouTube videos, Porsche has teased a new car by showing it under a car cover. It is entirely possible that these are three completely separate models, but we're banking on them all being the same car. Porsche is going to an awful lot of trouble to continue showing this car without really showing it, trying to drum up some excitement for their future model. Based on the context of the car's 'secret identity', its shape from three different angles, and a few hints from elsewhere, we think we know what this car is, but how sure are we? In short, not very. Porsche is known for their subterfuge, and this whole thing could be nothing more than that.

Beginning at the front of the car with the screenshot shown above, we can see that this is likely to be a 911-based car. You can clearly see the 991-generation headlight/fender shape, and the leading edge of the fender. The cover here is tight enough to the leading edge of the bumper to give us the impression of large radiator and brake duct openings, not to mention the widened front fenders, leading us to believe this is a sporting model, perhaps from the GT department. Because it was released in this video, we know that it will be produced by Porsche's exclusive department and will feature a low production quantity.

This second screen capture was taken from a recent GT3 testing video. At the very end of the short video, the German man in this frame says "weiter gehts" to his workers, which basically means "back to work", and then nods his head toward this machine. This angle shows a 911-esque silhouette, but the roofline seems perhaps a bit too low. It's possible that the large rear wing (did we mention the LARGE REAR WING?) is keeping the car cover to an angle that obscures the true rear window angle. The fact that this car is shown off in the same video as the new GT3 seems to reinforce the GT-department connection.

The first time we saw this car was during Porsche's Geneva Motor Show event for the GT3. A man walks into a garage with two cars covered and flips a coin. Whatever the coin read, it meant that he took the cover off of the GT3 and went for a drive around the track. The other car remained covered, and was only shown briefly in a dimly lit storage area. Stacked behind the car in question, however, is a set of treadless pure racing slicks. Porsche doesn't do things by half-measures, and they don't do things by accident. Whatever this car is, it has to be a track-focussed experience.

So, having presented all of this evidence, what do we think this car is? Well, we're leaning toward a new 911 GT2. In an interview with Autocar nearly two years ago, Porsche GT boss Andreas Preuninger noted that a GT2 would be coming at the end of the "Gen 2" series of 991 near 2018. The 997 generation GT2 RS produced 611 horsepower, but you can nearly get that from the current Turbo S. In order to be really wild, you'd have to expect in excess of 650 horses. We won't know for sure what this car is until it bows officially. Porsche has said before that they're putting a lot of effort into their New York Auto Show booth, so perhaps we'll see it as soon as next month.

Two Killed by Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Modified Ford Fiesta ST

If you're looking to shave a few seconds off your car's quarter-mile time, there are a few straightforward routes you can take. You can tinker with the drivetrain setup, find a good ECU tune, add lightness—hell, even new tires alone can make an appreciable difference. But if you're going to open up the exhaust and mess around with the catalytic converter, the tragic deaths of two people in a modified Ford Fiesta ST in England shows the danger created when everything is put back together incorrectly.

20-year-old former Ford engineering apprentice Tom Putt and his friend Nikki Willis were sitting in the car outside Willis's house on the night of December 5, 2016. Neighbors say they heard the engine running around 4:30am, and their bodies were discovered later that morning.

Police announced their findings today after working with Ford over the last few months to pin down the cause.

Putt apparently modified the Fiesta's exhaust system last year, removing the catalytic converter and adding vents in the hood. While local articles vaguely point to the missing cat as the reason the dangerous fumes were allowed to escape, a straight pipe on its own wouldn't cause this, and given Putt's experience it seems more likely there was a problem with the reassembly—possibly something as simple as missing or broken gasket, or a loose connection.

So leaking exhaust was allowed to build up under the hood since the car wasn't moving, eventually coming up through the added vents and entering the cabin through the fresh air intakes at the base of the windshield. It's also believed cold weather kept the gas concentrated around the front of the car.

The report released today confirmed CO levels in the cabin were more than 1,000 times higher than the country's legal limit.

It's a tragic tale all around, and a sobering reminder of the inherent risks in messing around with complex machines. Check, check, and check your work again —your (or your loved one's) life could depend on it.

This Jeep Grand Cherokee Rises Over Traffic to Promote Verizon’s New Connected Car Tech

When it comes to capable off-roaders, the Jeep Grand Cherokee ranks at or near the front of the pack by most measures. Few SUVs on sale in America today can match its combination of on-road performance (especially in beloved SRT form) and off-road prowess, an arrangement that makes it more than suitable for both outdoor adventurers and suburban showoffs alike. (We bet you can guess which of those two categories buys more Grand Cherokees.)

But every now and again, even 10.8 inches of ground clearance isn't quite enough. Enter: the Hum Rider, a Grand Cherokee that's been rebuilt to rise up nine feet above the ground on telescoping hydraulic limbs so it can roll straight over traffic.

The Hum Rider was conceived of by marketing firm Thinkmodo and built by Scott Beverly of A2Zfx, according to Mashable. It was created as a publicity stunt for Verizon's new plug-and-play connected car system, Hum, which enables users to enable features like geo-fencing, vehicle locating, and emergency assistance into any car built after 1996 with a Bluetooth-connected speaker simply by plugging a dongle into the OBDII port.

As the video of it in action below reveals, it's every bit as surreal and awesome as you'd think.

While it may look effectively stock from the outside, the Hum Rider is anything but beneath the skin. The stock drivetrain has been ripped out and replaced with a gas-powered Honda generator under the hood, which powers the pumps driving hydraulic fluid at 900 pounds of pressure through hundreds of feet of cable to all four corners of the vehicle.

All those modifications mean the Hum Rider weighs in at more than twice the size of a stock Grand Cherokee—about 8,500 pounds, according to Mashable. Which means this Jeep probably can't even outrun Usain Bolt, let alone match a regular G.C.'s 100-plus-mile-per-hour top speed.

That said...we're totally going to wish we were driving this Jeep the next time we wind up stuck in traffic.

Shedding Some Light On The Pentagon’s Most Shadowy Aviation Units

On May 2, 2011, a group of special operators from the top secret Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) descended on an unassuming compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. In an ensuing fire-fight, members of SEAL Team Six shot and killed infamous Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. Due to an accident during the operation, the elite troops had to leave behind evidence of previously unknown stealthy transport helicopter, likely related at least in part to the ubiquitous UH-60 Black Hawk.

The incident offered a rare window into the activities of the U.S. military’s most secret aviators and a look at their unique aircraft. Although the secretive 160th Special Operations Air Regiment, otherwise known as the "Nightstalkers," may get all the attention, layers of clandestine units far more obscure exist. Some of them are silently blazing the path for special operations aviation's future.

Though they often involve various military units and personnel from intelligence agencies, these sort of “black ops” are most commonly associated with the nebulous JSOC. When planning America’s most demanding military operations, which officials in Washington might never admit even occurred, these elements sometimes need very specialized aerial support.

So, with help primarily from the U.S. Army and Air Force, the Pentagon has steadily formed a permanent and secretive infrastructure to provide aircraft and helicopters for these missions. As of January 2017, this included at least four different units across the services and within JSOC itself: the joint Aviation Tactics Evaluation Group (AVTEG), the Army’s Flight Concepts Division and the Air Force’s 66th Air Operations Squadron and 427th Special Operations Squadron.

The bland-sounding AVTEG is situated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the home of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and JSOC. While little is known about this organization, thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, we can now present its official organization. The U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) provided the following chart in response to a request for information about the group's organizational structure.

The breakdown is almost completely standard. A unit made up of individuals from across the services, AVTEG has a command group and seven “joint” offices, including typical administrative, operational and supporting elements.

The numbering scheme is standard across the Pentagon and the absence of a “J7” – usually set aside for a group in charge of creating joint operational plans, doctrine, training materials and exercises – is not necessarily notable. The sections specifically for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) – distinct from the common operational and intelligence components - are more unusual.

With no description of the functions of these offices or details about their size and associated equipment, the chart provokes more questions than it answers. We have no idea whether or not it is even complete. Of course, none of that is surprising.

A Russian-made Mi-17 helicopter from 6th Special Operations Squadron, also seen at top, which is the kind of foreign aircraft top-secret aviators might have, too.

Details about the other units are similarly scant. The Air Force Historical Research Agency, which had official records on every unit in the service, has nothing in its file for the 427th after 1972. It does not list the 66th among active squadrons on its website, either.

It is possible that these are unofficial or cover designations rather than the formal nomenclature. However, the 427th resides at Pope Airfield in North Carolina and “provides U.S. Army [special operations forces] personnel opportunities to train on various types of aircraft for infiltration and exfiltration that they may encounter in lesser-developed training,” according to an official mission description that aviation researcher Andreas Parsch obtained through his own Freedom of Information Act request.

The only readily available public mention of the 66th is from an Air Force manual on forward-area refueling point (FARP) operations, which also name drops AVTEG. Both units are exempted from over-arching rules regarding pre-site surveys and “for short-notice exercises and contingencies, AVTEG and 66 AOS may authorize the use of temporary FARP sites” based on the service’s approved parameters, according to the handbook. Oh, and there’s also its awesome patch.

Researchers and journalists have found evidence that these Air Force squadrons fly a mix of traditional military type aircraft like the C-130 and less common types, including Cessna C-208 Grand Caravans, Pilatus PC-6s, and CASA 212s and C-295s, over the years. The service went so far as to assign the official designations U-27A and C-41A to the Caravan and 212, respectively.

There is even less information about the Flight Concepts Division or what aircraft it has in its inventory. But it would be reasonable to expect its fleet includes a diverse collection of American and foreign aircraft.

In his 2015 book Relentless Strike, Sean Naylor said this unit had quietly transformed into the E Squadron of the Army’s equally secret 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment D, more commonly known Delta Force. However, on July 8, 2015, Army Colonel Paul Olsen briefed Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Norfolk District’s work, in which he described work on the Flight Concepts Division’s hangar as something “you will soon see.” Again, its possible that one or more cover names is in use to refer to these units.

The obscure building itself sits secluded at Fort Eustis, Virginia behind multiple layers of fencing. The base’s fire chief isn’t even allowed in to check things out for emergency planning purposes. “Research activities are also conducted by the Flight Concepts Division that is highly secret and access for pre-planning purpose is non-existent,” an undated job posting explains. “Nature of their work is known to be hazardous.”

A rare shot of a C-41A, believed to be assigned to the 427th Special Operations Squadron, at Andrews Air Force Base in 1993.

The exact relationship between these units, as well as AVTEG, remains unclear. There is, understandably, little official information available. A cursory Google search of .mil websites mainly turns up biographies of officers who list one of the elements among their previous positions, as well as vague job postings. Titles like "operations officer," “troop commander,” and “fire support officer” are just standard military positions that offer no obvious clues as to the specific nature of the missions – no doubt by design.

Of course, the U.S. military has had these types of units for decades. However, by and large, they had historically been ad hoc formations that lasted only as long as specific conflicts. During World War II, in Europe, what was then the Army Air Forces used modified attack planes and medium and heavy bombers to drop intelligence agents behind enemy lines, insert Office of Strategic Services (OSS) teams – a precursor to both the Central Intelligence Agency and Army Special Forces – and resupply those efforts and friendly partisan troops.

From the United Kingdom, the Eighth Air Force’s used the nicknamed “Carpetbagger” for its component of these operations. The 801st Bomb Group (Provisional) and then the 492nd Bomb Group flew the actual missions with a mix fleet of B-24 Liberators, C-47 Skytrains, A-26C Invaders and British Mosquitoes.

Another unit, which ultimately became the 885th Bomb Squadron (Heavy) (Special), conducted its own sorties first from sites in North Africa and then from bases in Italy. Similar “air commandos” supported operations in China, India and Southeast Asia, including providing dedicated air support for allied guerrilla units such as Merrill’s Marauders – the predecessors of the 75th Ranger Regiment – and the British Chindits.

Modified B-24 Liberators, similar to these standard bombers, were among the U.S. military's first special operations transports.

When the war ended, the Pentagon shut them down, only to have to bring them back for the Korean War. This procedure continued for covert and clandestine missions around the world for much of the Cold War. The CIA created its own network of cover companies, including the famous Air America, for similar duties.

By the time America’s war in Southeast Asia was in full swing, things had not changed dramatically. To support an explosion of so-called “special activities” – covert and clandestine missions requiring the United States to be able to plausible deny involvement – in South Vietnam, Laos and then Cambodia, the Pentagon rushed to stand up new secretive aviation units.

In 1964, the top U.S. military headquarters in Vietnam created a single entity to handle these top-secret operations, blandly titled the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observation Group (MACV-SOG). Though regular and special operations units worked with MACV-SOG, the Airborne Studies Group (OPS-36) was responsible for dropping agents and propaganda leaflets into North Vietnam and Laos, as well as parachuting supplies to teams already on the ground.

The group’s First Flight Detachment at Nha Trang had six specially modified twin-engine C-123 Provider transports sporting a special dark-colored camouflage paint job and equipped with special navigational and communications gear. To help conceal American involvement in this operation, nicknamed Heavy Hook, American personnel trained Taiwanese and Vietnamese crews to fly the actual missions. Special brackets on the sides allowed personnel on the ground to swap out American and South Vietnamese Air Force insignia as necessary.

An MC-130E Combat Talon in flight in 1991.

The C-123s were not particularly popular for the demanding missions. “The C-123 load capacity, operating range, and inability to fly in adverse weather greatly hampered airborne operations,” one 1964 review explained, according to a subsequent Air Force study of special missions. After initially resorting to shorter range helicopters, in 1965, the Pentagon approved plans to convert a number of four-engine C-130Es for specialized missions in Vietnam and elsewhere. These aircraft were the forerunners of the MC-130E Combat Talon and arrived at Nha Trang in 1966, where they joined the 15th Special Operations Squadron.

For a time, both the 15th and First Flight Detachment flew together. MACV-SOG used the codename “Heavy Chain” for missions involving C-130s. Air Force and Army UH-1, CH-3, and CH-53 helicopters, along with Air America and other private companies working for the CIA also provided support to MACV-SOG and other clandestine units in the region.

But "throughout the Vietnam conflict, [unconventional warfare] operations were tainted with the constant infusion of conventional military thinking," the Air Force complained in its post-war review of special activities. "'Dedicated air assets' was a concept antithetical to the Air Force concept of the Single Manager – centralized control."

So, despite these activities, when the Pentagon decided to launch Operation Ivory Coast in 1970, the daring raid on the Son Tay prison camp in North Vietnam, officials had to craft yet another temporary task force. This process repeated itself nearly a decade later for Operation Eagle Claw, the attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran who had been swept up in the country’s revolution.

An MH-6 Little Bird of the U.S. Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, similar to the civilian Hughes 500s that Seaspray reportedly flew.

That embarrassing debacle, which left eight Americans dead at a remote site named Desert One, provoked a significant amount of soul searching in Washington and increased support for developing a standing set of special operations units to respond to various crises. International terrorism, the War on Drugs, and continued Soviet-backed insurgencies had already contributed to the Army’s decision to create Delta Force in 1979 and the U.S. Navy forming SEAL Team Six the following year. This in turn led the U.S. military to ultimately create new secretive aviation elements to support those forces.

The most notable of these was a shared CIA and Army special operations element codenamed Seaspray, which reportedly had a mixed fleet of Hughes 500D helicopters and Cessna Grand Caravan and Beechcraft King Air fixed-wing aircraft. The Agency already had significant experience with flying specialized helicopters on top-secret missions, having crafted a pair of ultra-quiet, long-range, night-flying Hughes 500Ps as part of a project to tap phone lines in North Vietnam.

Based at Fort Eustis, the group flew covert and clandestine missions from the Middle East to Latin America, routinely working with Delta Force, SEAL Team Six and the Army’s Intelligence Support Activity. Authorities in Washington ultimately decided to clearly delineate the responsibilities of intelligence agencies from the military and gave the Army full control of the unit, who renamed it the Flight Concepts Division. The force has continued to operate since then, shielding its operations for at least for a time under the codename Quasar Talent, according to Michael Smith’s Killer Elite.

An Iraqi Air Force Cessna C-208, similar to the U-27As the 427th Special Operations Squadron has reportedly operated.

Though there is no official public record, it is likely the Air Force established the 427th and the 66th after Seaspray came under full military control as part of the Pentagon expanding these aviation capabilities. But there is little doubt these special operations aviators have been busy since the 1990s, though it may take decades for any formal information about their latest operations to come out into the light.

In December 2001, Russian authorities arrested a group of contractors working for the Army – reportedly for the Flight Concepts Division – and the CIA in the far-eastern city of Petropavlovsk. The group was trying to surreptitiously buy Mi-17 transport helicopters for operations in Afghanistan.

Nearly a decade later, there was the Bin Laden raid in Pakistan. Though members of the Army's elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment reportedly flew the stealthy chopper, this was precisely the sort of product one could expect to see come out AVTEG or the Flight Concepts Division.

There's also the matter of these shadowy Sikorsky S-92 helicopters operating in northern Syria surfaced on social media. For more than a year, these mysterious choppers had made appearances first at a major U.S. military base in Djibouti, then in Erbil in northern Iraq, and finally near the city of Kobani in Syria.

No one seems to know who owns these rotorcraft, which have been devoid of any national markings, but they could belong to various U.S. government outfits or another regional actor. Officially the Pentagon does not operate the S-92, but it is exactly the kind of "non-standard" or "off-the-books" aircraft AVTEG or another of the secret aviation elements might provide for discreet operations.

The fact that we don’t know for sure is the entire point of having these groups in the first place. We may just have to wait for another tidbit to turn up through FOIA – and hopefully not another accident during an actual operation – for the next set of new details to emerge.

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Porsche Remains Confident Following Unlucky Sebring 12 Hour

In Porsche's own words, 'at the 12 Hours of Sebring... the new Porsche 911 RSR was on course for a podium result until shortly before the finish. In fact, thanks to a sound race strategy and a strong performance from the pilots, even a maiden victory was within reach.' Yep, defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. We've already discussed how that loss made us feel on Saturday evening, but here are a few quotes directly from Porsche's management team and driver squad to give you a feeling for how they felt about the whole ordeal.

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport:

We witnessed a very dramatic race and up until 33 minutes before the end everything was looking good. We had a tough fight for first place with the Corvette but then suffered a slow puncture on the front left tire. We had to pit and change the tire and after that, we could forget about victory. With our number 912 car, the unplanned pit stop due to a leaking damper cost us three laps and all chances of winning. This car was also running very well.

Patrick Pilet, Driver, 911 RSR #911:

Our plan was to have the best car at the end of the race. This meant that it wasn’t so easy driving during the heat of the day. But once it cooled down we were very clearly the fastest on the track. The team did an excellent job. The strategy had been perfect. After the last pit stop, we had a good chance to win. The tire defect was annoying. It wasn’t a pit crew error, it was just bad luck.

Dirk Werner, Driver, 911 RSR #911:

The pace of the car was very good and under normal circumstances it would have been enough to win here. Patrick was running in a very good position when he got the puncture. It’s hard to lose the fight for victory like this. Still, we had a great weekend and we put in a good race. The performance of the entire team was outstanding and we were so close to winning our first race.

Frédéric Makowiecki, Driver, 911 RSR #911:

It’s really disappointing. The team had done such a great job and we had a very good strategy. We knew that we would get stronger in the second half of the race when the temperatures cooled down, and that worked perfectly, too. Patrick’s flat tire cost us the victory. That was just simply unfortunate.

Kévin Estre, Driver, 911 RSR #912:

It was a tough race. Our car had the pace to run with the leaders. The track worked better for us in the second half of the race when it got cooler. Unfortunately, we then had the problem that cost us three laps. We were able to make up one of those laps, but we couldn’t do any more than that.”

Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, 911 RSR # 912:

Our pace was very good. Unfortunately, we lost three laps because of a leaky damper. Because there were comparatively few caution phases, we weren’t able to make up much ground in the final hours.

Richard Lietz, 911 RSR # 912:

Sebring is merciless, but we knew this beforehand. We had a good car and I enjoyed driving here with my teammates. We did our very best but unfortunately we had the problem with the rear left damper. Things like this can happen, particularly on a bumpy circuit like this one. We were well prepared, we did a great deal of testing here in Sebring, but sadly it ultimately wasn’t enough for a better result.

If you have a spare twelve hours, you can watch the full race broadcast here on YouTube, thanks to IMSA. The final hour and ten minutes is worth watching at a minimum if you haven't got that much time.

And here are the final race results, as well as current points standings for Porsche in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

GTLM class

1. Garcia/Magnussen/Rockenfeller (E/DK/D), Corvette, 334 laps

2. Hand/Müller/Bourdais (USA/D/F), Ford GT, 334

3. Fisichella/Calado/Vilander (I/I/SF), Ferrari 488, 334

4. Westbrook/Briscoe/Dixon (GB/USA/NZL), Ford GT, 334

5. Pla/Mücke/Johnson (F/D/USA), Ford GT, 334

6. Auberlen/Sims/Wittmer (USA/GB/CAN), BMW M6, 334

7. Pilet/Werner/Makowiecki (F/D/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 334

8. Estre/Vanthoor/Lietz (F/B/A), Porsche 911 RSR, 332

9. Edwards/Tomczyk/Catsburg (USA/D/NL), BMW M6, 149

10. Gavin/Milner/Fässler (GB/USA/CH), Corvette, 42

GTD class

1. Bleekemolen/Keating/Farnbacher (NL/USA/D), Mercedes, 325 laps

2. Balzan/Nielsen/Cressoni (I/DK/I), Ferrerari 488, 324

3. Vautier/Habul/Said (F/USA/USA), Mercedes, 324

6. Bergmeister/Lindsey/McMurry/Heylen (D/USA/USA/B), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 324

10. De Quesada/Morad/Pumpelly/Christensen (USA/CAN/USA/DK), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 323

Points’ standings GTLM class after 2 of 11 races


1. Müller, Hand, Bourdais, Ford, 67 points

2. Garcia, Magnussen, Rockenfeller, Chevrolet, 63

3. Fisichella, Vilander, Calado, Ferrari, 60

4. Pilet, Werner, Makowiecki, Porsche, 57

5. Mücke, Pla, Jonsson, Ford, 50

5. Westbrook, Briscoe, Dixon, Ford, 50

6. Estre, Vanthoor, Lietz, Porsche, 48

6. Auberlen, Sims, BMW, 48

7. Wittmer, BMW, 45

8. Gavin, Milner, Garcia, Chevrolet, 43

9. Edwards, Tomczyk, Catsburg, BMW, 42


1. Ford, 67 points

2. Chevrolet, 63

3. Ferrari, 60

4. Porsche, 58

5. BMW, 54


1. #66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, 67

2. #3 Corvette Racing, 63

3. #62 Risi Competizione, 60

4. #911 Porsche GT Team, 57

5. #68 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, 50

6. #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, 50

7. #912 Porsche GT Team, 48

8. #25 BMW Team RLL, 48

9. #4 Corvette Racing, 43

10. #24 BMW Team RLL, 42

Which Ford Motor Company Car Had a BMW Engine?

The oil shocks of the 1970s sent carmakers into a panic. What would happen, they pondered, if big oil producers continued to drive up prices by squeezing supply, and governments responded by tightening demand through stricter fuel-economy standards?

The short answer is, a disaster for the auto industry. Back then, the gasoline engine wasn't nearly as efficient as it's become in the 40 years since. Engineers would have to find an alternative that provided sufficient power and superior fuel economy.

But they had to act fast. By the late '70s, gasoline in the U.S. had rocketed past a dollar a gallon—a huge increase for the time—and was steaming toward two bucks. There was no relief in sight.

Electric cars, powered by heavy lead-acid batteries, were unsuitable for anything but lightweight, short-distance commuter cars. Downsizing all cars to increase fuel efficiency would only play half-way. The American market still demanded large interstate cruisers and pickup trucks—for work and pleasure. The only alternative that made any sense was the diesel engine.

American companies needed a diesel solution that would work for a Silverado or an Oldsmobile Station wagon. Mercedes-Benz, at the time, built the world's best diesel engines for large passenger cars, but the Stuttgarters were not about to share.

General Motors sent its engineers on a mission worthy of the Apollo 13 rescue crew: to refit its ubiquitous small-block V8 with diesel-ready heads. It was not an ideal solution: Diesel engines' combustion comes from intense compression of fuel and air, not by way of a spark plug, and even the stout V8 blocks had trouble withstanding the added pressure.

The resulting Oldsmobile 5.7-liter diesel was deemed appropriate on the test bench, but in the real world—as installed in Cadillacs, Buicks and other large cars and mid-sized trucks—it was failure-prone. Some say it single-handedly ruined the perception of diesel engines in the U.S. for the next three decades.

Still, GM was the first mover, and captured 60 percent of the total U.S. passenger vehicle diesel market, which by 1981 totaled 310,000 units.

As the 1980s unfolded, Ford was running behind. It needed a diesel solution that could work for its Lincoln Continental Sedan and Mark VII coupe, but refitting one of its V8s was not an option. What would it do?

The answer came from Munich.

Back in the mid-70s, BMW engineers had developed the M21 diesel engine to compete with Mercedes-Benz and Peugeot, the two automakers that dominated the European diesel market.

They started with the standard BMW M20 straight-six engine, but installed new valves, pistons and crankshaft, and planted a turbocharger on top. The 2.4-liter engine produced 115 horsepower and 154 lb-ft of torque, taking the BMW 524td from zero to 60 in just under 13 seconds, which, while slow as a wheelbarrow in mud, was still quicker than the Mercedes-Benz 300D.

It was this motor, built in a joint operation by BMW and builder-for-hire Magna Steyr in Austria, that Ford plugged into the Continental and Mark VII. The result was a slow but relatively sturdy package, that delivered somewhere around 30 miles per gallon in the luxe Lincolns. Lincoln advertised the diesel-powered Mark VII LSC, in close proximity to a Mercedes-Benz SEC, as being available with a "European designed 2.4-liter Turbo Diesel." Thanks, Bimmer.

Ultimately, bad timing killed the sad American diesel luxury car. It was a mercy killing. Gasoline engines would soon gain enough efficiency to fend off a supply crunch, just as fuel prices fell precipitously throughout the rest of the '80s. That left the the diesel boom-and-bust as a weird footnote in the American auto industry of the 20th century.

Postscript: BMW's M21 also found its way into a weird motorhome called the Vixen. Google it.