2008 LA Auto Show Design Challenge Entrants Revealed

Audi R25

If you thought the Mitsubishi MMR25 concept was far-out, wait 'till you see these. Held in cooperation with the Los Angeles auto show, the LA Design Challenge has a penchant for producing ideas that would make Syd Mead blush. Though we doubt we'll ever see a single one of these race cars take to the starting grid in our life time, they do make for an interesting design competition in the present.

Audi R25 Though the exterior design of Audi's concept isn't that radical (at least not when compared to its competitors), its vision of the American Le Mans Series in 2025 certainly is. Inverted racing in tunnels? Wireless charging zones in lieu of fuel stops? Wild stuff, indeed.

BMW Salt Flat Racer Damn the torpedoes - this racer sure looks like one. Harkening back to the belly-pan racers of the '50s, the BMW Salt Flat Racer mixes hydrogen power and reused materials (body panels from barbeque grilles?). Designers say it's a whimsical design - we'd say the goldfish co-pilots (there to ensure clean emissions) are proof positive...

GM Chaparral Volt Let's snap back to reality for a second: when it comes to revolutionizing race vehicles, there's no question Jim Hall and his Chaparrals did just that forty years ago. GM designers sought to continue that tradition with the Chaparral Volt, an open-wheeled racer built around the Volt's EERV technology. A section of the car's body is coated in solar cells, while the rear-mounted fans (in the tradition of the 2J) can either cool the car or serve as aerodynamic aids.

Honda Great Race 2025 Arguably, Honda's entry is the most far-fetched. In the spirit of the Great Race of 1908, this vehicle is designed to race around the globe - but via land, sea, and air, and in the course of 24 hours. We see this not as a car so much as a juxtaposition of motorcycle, jet, and robot - interestingly, industries Honda's presently active in.

Mazda Kaan You'd be forgiven for assuming this racer carried a Star Trek connection, but if anything, Mazda's three-wheeled entrant resembles a podracer from the first Star Wars prequels. Note the Sbarro-like wheels - designers envision they'll conduct electricity from an underground charging network, much like the Scalextric cars of your youth.

Mercedes-Benz Formula Zero Mix windsurfing with bobsledding, and you may yield this - the Mercedes-Benz Formula Zero. Designers envision the car receiving power from either the sun (there are solar panels installed along the top deck) or, of course, wind - hence the giant sail. Drivers are given equal amounts of stored energy at the start of the race; winners are determined by both elapsed time and their efficiency factor.

Mitsubishi MMR2025

It looks nothing like a Lancer, but this is Mitsubishi's vision of a rally car for the future. <span id="intelliTXT">;Designers envision the cockpit as being lined with a 360-degree panoramic screen, which constantly displays images from exterior cameras. Equally radical are the MMR2025's wheels. Eight mini-wheels lie at each hub, each of which is powered by an individual electric motor, and are positioned away from the hubs upon spokes.</span>;

Toyota Le Mans Racer Looks as if Audi may have some competition at the 2025 24 Hours of Le Mans - Toyota's dreaming up a race car of its own. Powered by fuel cells, Toyota's design fully-encloses the driver within the cockpit, letting screens and a robot co-pilot provide information on the external world. A high-speed mode tucks the wheels into the body, allowing the car to hit 350 mph, while a cornering mode pushes them back out for maximum grip.

Volkswagen Bio Runner VW decided to tackle the 2025 Baja 1000, in which drivers are given only a ten-gallon tank of jet fuel (which powers twin gas-turbine engines) to travel 1000 miles. VW's driver sits as if he were upon a motorcycle, while the "synthetic suspension" allows the racer to lean into turns and tackle challenging terrain.

It looks nothing like a Lancer, but this is Mitsubishi's vision of a rally car for the future. <span id="intelliTXT">;Designers envision the cockpit as being lined with a 360-degree panoramic screen, which constantly displays images from exterior cameras. Equally radical are the MMR2025's wheels. Eight mini-wheels lie at each hub, each of which is powered by an individual electric motor, and are positioned away from the hubs upon spokes.</span>;

It looks nothing like a Lancer, but this is Mitsubishi's vision of a rally car for the future. <span id="intelliTXT">;Designers envision the cockpit as being lined with a 360-degree panoramic screen, which constantly displays images from exterior cameras. Equally radical are the MMR2025's wheels. Eight mini-wheels lie at each hub, each of which is powered by an individual electric motor, and are positioned away from the hubs upon spokes.</span>;

It looks nothing like a Lancer, but this is Mitsubishi's vision of a rally car for the future. <span id="intelliTXT">;Designers envision the cockpit as being lined with a 360-degree panoramic screen, which constantly displays images from exterior cameras. Equally radical are the MMR2025's wheels. Eight mini-wheels lie at each hub, each of which is powered by an individual electric motor, and are positioned away from the hubs upon spokes.</span>;

It looks nothing like a Lancer, but this is Mitsubishi's vision of a rally car for the future. <span id="intelliTXT">;Designers envision the cockpit as being lined with a 360-degree panoramic screen, which constantly displays images from exterior cameras. Equally radical are the MMR2025's wheels. Eight mini-wheels lie at each hub, each of which is powered by an individual electric motor, and are positioned away from the hubs upon spokes.</span>;

It looks nothing like a Lancer, but this is Mitsubishi's vision of a rally car for the future. <span id="intelliTXT">;Designers envision the cockpit as being lined with a 360-degree panoramic screen, which constantly displays images from exterior cameras. Equally radical are the MMR2025's wheels. Eight mini-wheels lie at each hub, each of which is powered by an individual electric motor, and are positioned away from the hubs upon spokes.</span>;

It looks nothing like a Lancer, but this is Mitsubishi's vision of a rally car for the future. <span id="intelliTXT">;Designers envision the cockpit as being lined with a 360-degree panoramic screen, which constantly displays images from exterior cameras. Equally radical are the MMR2025's wheels. Eight mini-wheels lie at each hub, each of which is powered by an individual electric motor, and are positioned away from the hubs upon spokes.</span>;

It looks nothing like a Lancer, but this is Mitsubishi's vision of a rally car for the future. <span id="intelliTXT">;Designers envision the cockpit as being lined with a 360-degree panoramic screen, which constantly displays images from exterior cameras. Equally radical are the MMR2025's wheels. Eight mini-wheels lie at each hub, each of which is powered by an individual electric motor, and are positioned away from the hubs upon spokes.</span>;

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