Automotive

Chevy scorches the virtual track with the laser-powered Chaparral 2X

Chevy scorches the virtual tra...
Chevy describes the 2X as a "revolutionary interpretation of the ultimate race car" (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Chevy describes the 2X as a "revolutionary interpretation of the ultimate race car" (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
View 29 Images
Chevy describes the 2X as a "revolutionary interpretation of the ultimate race car" (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
1/29
Chevy describes the 2X as a "revolutionary interpretation of the ultimate race car" (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The Chaparral 2X becomes one of the latest additions to the Gran Turismo 6 video game (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
2/29
The Chaparral 2X becomes one of the latest additions to the Gran Turismo 6 video game (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The 2X's powertrain is mounted amidships, while its driver is sprawled out across its length (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
3/29
The 2X's powertrain is mounted amidships, while its driver is sprawled out across its length (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Chevy envisions a 671-kW laser creating shock waves that develop 900 hp of thrust (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
4/29
Chevy envisions a 671-kW laser creating shock waves that develop 900 hp of thrust (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
It may be one of the most fantastical Vision Gran Turismos yet, but that didn't stop Chevy from building a model (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
5/29
It may be one of the most fantastical Vision Gran Turismos yet, but that didn't stop Chevy from building a model (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The Chaparral 2X Vision GT at the 2014 LA Auto Show (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
6/29
The Chaparral 2X Vision GT at the 2014 LA Auto Show (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Chevy reveals the Chaparral 2X at the LA Auto Show (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
7/29
Chevy reveals the Chaparral 2X at the LA Auto Show (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
"A vision of what the future of racing could hold" (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
8/29
"A vision of what the future of racing could hold" (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The Chaparral 2X may seem crazy in 2014, but Chevy sees it as preview of what racing might look like in 40 years (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
9/29
The Chaparral 2X may seem crazy in 2014, but Chevy sees it as preview of what racing might look like in 40 years (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Chaparral 2X at the 2014 LA Auto Show (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
10/29
Chaparral 2X at the 2014 LA Auto Show (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The Chaparral 2X develops up to 900 hp of thrust with a combination of a 671-kW laser and an air generator (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
11/29
The Chaparral 2X develops up to 900 hp of thrust with a combination of a 671-kW laser and an air generator (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The Chaparral 2X celebrates a working partnership that began more than 50 years ago (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
12/29
The Chaparral 2X celebrates a working partnership that began more than 50 years ago (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The Chaparral 2X has a set of 17-in wheels wrapped in racing tires (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
13/29
The Chaparral 2X has a set of 17-in wheels wrapped in racing tires (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Chevy Chaparral 2X VGT (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
14/29
Chevy Chaparral 2X VGT (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The Chaparral 2X has Brembo brakes (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
15/29
The Chaparral 2X has Brembo brakes (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Chevy presents the Chaparral 2X at the 2014 LA Auto Show (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
16/29
Chevy presents the Chaparral 2X at the 2014 LA Auto Show (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Chevy presents the Chaparral 2X at the 2014 LA Auto Show (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
17/29
Chevy presents the Chaparral 2X at the 2014 LA Auto Show (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
A pair of Chaparral 2Xs chase each other (Photo: General Motors)
18/29
A pair of Chaparral 2Xs chase each other (Photo: General Motors)
The Chaparral 2X promises to be an exciting addition to GT6 (Photo: General Motors)
19/29
The Chaparral 2X promises to be an exciting addition to GT6 (Photo: General Motors)
0 to 60 mph: 1.5 seconds (Photo: General Motors)
20/29
0 to 60 mph: 1.5 seconds (Photo: General Motors)
Chevy says the Chaparral 2X can hit a virtual top speed of 240 mph (Photo: General Motors)
21/29
Chevy says the Chaparral 2X can hit a virtual top speed of 240 mph (Photo: General Motors)
Several decades later, the Chaparral 2X succeeds revolutionary designs like the 2E and 2J (Photo: General Motors)
22/29
Several decades later, the Chaparral 2X succeeds revolutionary designs like the 2E and 2J (Photo: General Motors)
The Chaparral's chassis is built around a prone driver (Photo: General Motors)
23/29
The Chaparral's chassis is built around a prone driver (Photo: General Motors)
Forget the commonplace engine: The Chaparral 2X uses laser-powered propulsion (Photo: General Motors)
24/29
Forget the commonplace engine: The Chaparral 2X uses laser-powered propulsion (Photo: General Motors)
Chevy says the 2X's light footprint and ample downforce combine for crisp cornering (Photo: General Motors)
25/29
Chevy says the 2X's light footprint and ample downforce combine for crisp cornering (Photo: General Motors)
The Chaparral 2X will become available for GT6 during the holiday season (Photo: General Motors)
26/29
The Chaparral 2X will become available for GT6 during the holiday season (Photo: General Motors)
Chevy designed the Chaparral 2X's chassis and systems around the prone driving position (Photo: General Motors)
27/29
Chevy designed the Chaparral 2X's chassis and systems around the prone driving position (Photo: General Motors)
The driver control some active aerodynamic elements (Photo: General Motors)
28/29
The driver control some active aerodynamic elements (Photo: General Motors)
Chevy describes the 2X as a "revolutionary interpretation of the ultimate race car" (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
29/29
Chevy describes the 2X as a "revolutionary interpretation of the ultimate race car" (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)

After seeing Chevy's sneak preview of the Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo, we got the idea that it was going to be the most extreme Vision Gran Turismo yet, both in terms of styling and technology. We weren't disappointed when Chevy pulled the cloth off at the LA Auto Show last week. The radical racer uses a highly conceptual laser powertrain to rattle the track with 900 hp of thrust.

The 2X is a futuristic homage to the past collaboration between Chevy and Chaparral Racing, a partnership that pioneered a few racing technologies nearly half a century ago that still seem futuristic today. Chevy and Chaparral pushed the boundaries – sometimes too far for racing regulatory bodies – advancing key design technologies, including composite monocoque chassis construction, lightweight-alloy powertrains and automatic racing transmissions. The all-new 2X channels that past into a design for the future, a car that pays no mind to the limitations of racing regulation.

"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," explains Frank Saucedo, director of GM's Advanced Design Center. "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."

Looking from above at the 2X's fuselage and extended appendages, the car takes on the rough shape of a person with arms and legs outstretched. That's no coincidence; the race car is actually built around a prone drive position, in which the driver lays belly down with arms and legs stretched toward the wheels. In place of an instrument panel, key drive information is delivered via the head-up display on his helmet.

The Chaparral's chassis is built around a prone driver (Photo: General Motors)
The Chaparral's chassis is built around a prone driver (Photo: General Motors)

"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 skeletal composite chassis and active, driver-controlled aerodynamics eliminate the need for larger, heavier aero components like wings, helping keep weight down. Chevy doesn't specify the fighting weight of the 2X, but to see it is to believe that it is very light, even when compared to the already feathery weights of other race cars.

The look of the 2X is unconventional, but things get really weird when it comes to the powertrain. The car builds forward momentum from a mid-mounted laser propulsion system inspired by space-travel research. Wired to a lithium-ion battery pack, the 671-kW laser "pulses beams of light that focus in a shroud, creating shock waves that generate tremendous thrust." With help from an air generator, that laser system develops up to 900 hp of thrust, which translates into 240 mph (386 km/h) of video-game track speed. In this virtual world, the car can hit 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in just 1.5 seconds.

The Chaparral 2X develops up to 900 hp of thrust with a combination of a 671-kW laser and an air generator (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The Chaparral 2X develops up to 900 hp of thrust with a combination of a 671-kW laser and an air generator (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)

These projected numbers are reminiscent of another virtual Gran Turismo race car inspired by Chaparral's work from the 1960s and 70s. The X2010 S.Vettel that we checked out at Red Bull's Hangar-7 museum dialed up crazy projected acceleration times and speeds with help from a fan-assisted downforce system similar to the quickly banned system Chaparral introduced on its 2J car.

We're guessing there's not much of a real-life future for a race car that has a prone driver firing lasers out his ass, but Gran Turismo 6 players will soon be able to race the video game version. It will become available in an update during the holiday season.

Despite designing what's easily the most outlandish virtual racer in the Vision Gran Turismo lineup, Chevy was one of the automakers to build its vision into life. Check out the Chaparral 2X's every component and angle in our gallery from the LA Auto Show and learn a bit more in the six-minute video below.

Source: Chevrolet

3 comments
Gargamoth
It looks like in other gizmag new, Laser propulsion could be used for rockets http://www.gizmag.com/laser-propelled-ablation-space-rockets/34505/ . This means that there is a real potential to make this a car power plant. Hopefully with enough minds working on it, it won't take 20 years to develop.
Mark Lee
Where can you find another example of prone-position seating on a terrestrial vehicle that won't give you a pain in the neck? Just suspending your head in that position is tiresome after mere minutes. Your eyes and your balance must re-learn what is up & down because in that position, your are always looking "up" when actually you are looking forward down the track/road. This would only be comfortable if you were equipped with eyes on top of your head. I suggest making the driver's position reclined with the head toward the rear of the cockpit - on his/her back. Now that's lying down!
Jugen
I recall watching a classic CANAM race where both Chaparrals with their variable wing had to retire because the cable that trimmed it snapped. As for the fan car, I don't recall seeing it in any hall of fame books for its innovative design.