Inside The CT525 Crate Engine Enhanced With Forged Pistons

Nearly any racer will tell you there is nothing better than the feeling of a big engine under the hood. However, the components within all those cubic inches must be able to withstand the engine’s extreme capability.
Chevrolet Performance is well aware of this concern, and the result is the CT525 Circle Track Crate Engine Enhanced with Forged Pistons*.

“Experience is a good teacher so we found a couple areas we thought we could improve on,” said Chevrolet Performance Associate Marketing Manager, Bill Martens. “For 2020 and beyond, every 525 is scratch-built. We hand-fit a tri-metal bearing package, it has ARP rod bolts and now it has forged pistons … This [racing] environment is very harsh so we had to change things to accommodate that. We’ve changed the clearances, we’ve changed the content to where now we feel these motors will certainly go a couple of seasons. And I’m not talking about a major refresh. It’s an $8,000 engine instead of buying a $30,000, $35,000 or $40,000 dollar engine and spending $8,000 to refresh.”

The CT525 is based on the LS engine family and is similar to the 6.2L LS3, but has been adapted for circle track racing. The 376 cu-in power plant is designed for high-rpm operation within Late Model and Modified racing on dirt and paved tracks across the nation. It is rated at 533 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and makes 477 lb-ft of torque at 5,200 rpm.

The engine utilizes an aluminum block with cross-bolted six-main caps and high-flow LS3 rectangular-port cylinder heads. It also features a carbureted intake manifold and six-quart racing oil pan. It comes with coil-on plug ignition and an SFI-certified balancer.

The lightweight and durable forged aluminum pistons that now come standard in the CT525 are an exact duplicate of the stock versions built for the LS3 crate engine. In the CT525 they are coated with a dry-film lubricant to reduce friction and provide initial startup protection. The pistons can also easily be installed in an existing CT525, thereby creating a power plant with the same internals as the updated version.

“They are available in sets of eight if you want to upgrade an existing engine, and frankly, if you wanted to build an engine from scratch you could use these pistons,” Martens said. 

Martens notes that the engine provides enough power to run on a heavy, wet dirt track, but also will not overpower the surface as it gets dry-slick throughout a race event. 

“It’s going to fall in the upper-end of Modifieds, Late Models and Super Late Models,” Martens explained. “We’ve even had a great experience running it against the 305 Winged Sprint Cars in Knoxville. I mention that because it’s a great testament to the long life and durability of the engine. Knoxville [Raceway] is a very, very tough test on engine longevity. It’s a sticky, long and banked track so you’ve got all the conditions for maximum output.”

Although the CT525 is currently primarily utilized in the dirt arena, it was developed on asphalt and is a good choice for Late Models competing on pavement as well.

As long as racers don’t overextend its capability, it is a very cost-effective option in headlining classes at local tracks and on regional tours. 

“This is a new concept for a lot of people,” Martens said. “It’s a very economical option. “There’s a certain level of expectation that a motor making this much power is going to cost many, many times the cost of this engine.”

However, it is designed to complement the Chevrolet Performance CT350 and CT400 as economical crate engine options

“It’s definitely a step up both in the power/torque range level and it’s just flat-out a racing motor,” Martens said. “Once you hear one you’ll catch on real quick.”

Pagenaud Climbs From Rear Of Field To Win Chevrolet 275

Simon Pagenaud used a combination of smarts, speed and strategy to win Round 3 of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge on Saturday, the Chevrolet 275 at Michigan International Speedway.

Reigning Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Pagenaud beat Team Penske teammate Scott McLaughlin by 13.409 seconds – a deceptively large margin in a thrilling race that featured nine leaders and 18 lead changes. It was his first victory in the virtual racing series, in which NTT INDYCAR SERIES athletes and special guests compete in the iRacing computer racing simulation.

Pagenaud pitted later than the early lead group and stretched the fuel in his No. 22 DXC Team Penske Chevrolet to the finish, making only one pit stop in the 85-lap race.

2016 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Pagenaud averaged 189.463 mph for victory after starting 22nd in the 31-car field. The Chevrolet 275 was slowed by only one caution period due to a multi-car crash on the front straightaway as the field took the green flag to start the race. That pileup shifted race strategists’ minds into overdrive, trying to figure the best fuel strategy.

Click: Results

“All credit to (strategist) Ben Bretzman and my virtual team behind me,” Pagenaud said. “We worked hard to understand this kind of racing. It’s a pleasure to bring the DXC car into Victory Lane this year.

“We were just saving fuel trying to stay out of trouble. At the start of the race, everybody piled up (in a crash). We were trying to avoid it. We didn’t have the pace in qualifying. We qualified toward the back and decided to use option B, which was saving fuel and conserve tires.”

Two-time Daytona 500 winner and NBC Sports motorsports analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third in the No. 3 Nationwide JR Motorsports Chevrolet in his series debut, using a similar fuel strategy as Pagenaud to climb through the field in the closing laps as leading cars peeled off the 2-mile oval for late pit stops.

2018 Indianapolis 500 winner and 2014 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Will Power finished fourth in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, his third top-four finish in the first three rounds of the series. Power and Round 1 winner Sage Karam traded the lead for most of the first half of the race but were forced to make two stops for fuel, along with most of the lead pack that snaked around the high-speed oval in lockstep for lap after lap after the early caution.

Graham Rahal rounded out the top five in the No. 15 TOTAL Honda.

Pagenaud took the front for good with three laps to go by passing Zach Veach’s No. 26 Gainbridge Honda. Veach then quickly dove into the pits for a second stop, as his first stop came on Lap 43.

Kyle Kaiser, who also last pitted on Lap 43, tried to soft-shoe his throttle enough in the No. 11 Juncos Racing Chevrolet to hang on to a top-three finish late in the race. But he ran out of fuel on the last lap.

The late pit stops and thirsty cars of drivers trying to stretch their fuel to the finish helped elevate McLaughlin and Earnhardt into the top three in the final laps. McLaughlin’s last pit stop in the No. 2 Snap-on Tools Dallara came on Lap 46, the same as Pagenaud, while Earnhardt’s last of two stops came on Lap 45.

Earnhardt also pitted under caution on Lap 3 due to damage suffered in the race-opening crash. That extra fuel early in the race helped him stretch fuel enough to make a different kind of two-stop strategy work.

“It was a lot of fun,” Earnhardt said. “We got a little damage in that wreck on the front straightaway at the start of the race. I had a real bad push in the car, so I couldn’t really run with the lead pack.

“A lot of those guys were pretty ticked off about how the strategy worked out for them with that wreck on the front straightaway at the start. It took a bunch of guys down pit road and put a bunch of us in fuel-mileage mode. The fastest cars didn’t win, the best sim racer today probably didn’t win, but this is the closest I’ll probably get to the real thing. That’s why I like it.”

Power and Karam wasted no time flexing their respective muscles when the race restarted on Lap 6 after the early caution period. Power took the lead from pole sitter Marcus Ericsson’s No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda on the first lap after the restart, with Karam in tow.

Then Power and Karam swapped the lead eight times through Lap 40 in a wild, weaving show of precision driving and pack racing.

But running up front and trading the lead took its toll on the fuel loads and tires of Power and Karam. Karam was forced to pit on Lap 41, five laps earlier than Pagenaud, with Power following on Lap 42.

Experienced and successful sim racer Karam converted quick, smooth entry and exit laps from that stop into a lead of approximately two seconds on Power after all other cars cycled through their stops. But Power used the power of slipstreaming to pull up to Karam’s rear wing by Lap 50, and their duel resumed over the next 22 laps.

Karam was forced to the pits for a second time on Lap 73 in the No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet, with Power following him a lap later for his second stop. That promoted NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Alex Palou to the lead in the No. 55 Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda.

With nine laps remaining, 2012 series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay took the lead in the No. 28 DHL Honda. But Hunter-Reay, making his series debut, also was forced to pit from the lead for fuel with on Lap 81. Veach took the top spot, driving in a sim rig that featured a throttle pedal with a spring from the sewing machine of his girlfriend after the pedal’s original spring failed shortly before the race started.

Today’s race was the third of six events to take place every Saturday through May 2. Future venues include a “Random Draw” track April 18, Circuit of the Americas on April 25 and a non-INDYCAR “Dream” track May 2. The series opened March 28 at Watkins Glen International, with Round 2 on April 4 at Barber Motorsports Park.

The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge will not crown an overall champion but will add a special element where INDYCAR will make a donation to one of its partner charities.

Bugatti Legends – The Type 41 La Royale

With the Type 41 Royale, in 1926, Bugatti presented the strongest, largest and most luxurious automobile in the world, characterized by unimaginable power and opulent equipment. For Ettore Bugatti, the Royale was the culmination of his creation. A vehicle that knew no competitors in terms of performance, quality and image. A vehicle for emperors, kings and queens. Simply put, “Royale” – the royal.

With a wheelbase of 4.3 meters and a length of over six meters, the Royale was the largest, most powerful and most magnificent car ever built in Molsheim. With a price of at least 100,000 Reichsmarks, it was around three times as expensive as similar limousines from other manufacturers and exceeded the price of other Bugatti vehicles about 10 times. Selected customers received the chassis with the drive and grille. As was customary at the time, independent and famous body construction companies such as Kellern & Cie, Weymann, Binder, Bugatti, Weinberger and Park Ward took care of the set up. Company founder Ettore Bugatti invested a lot of time and money into the development and went all in.

Aircraft Engine as a Blueprint for the Royale Drive

Everything about the vehicle was unique: an aircraft engine that company founder Ettore Bugatti designed in 1927 on behalf of the French government served as blueprint for the drive – at that time with a displacement of 14.7 litres and 300 hp. Under the long hood, a 12.8 litre inline eight cylinder worked in the production vehicles, also with about 300 hp. It managed to accelerate the vehicle, which could weigh up to 3.5 tons (depending on the body), to around 200 km/h. The engine remained discreetly in the background: the maximum output was only 1800 revolutions. A dry sump lubrication system pumped 23 litres of oil to the required points, 43 litres of coolant oil kept the temperature in balance. A vertical shaft connected the crankshaft and camshaft together, the long crankshaft sat on nine plain bearings. The extraordinary drive needed space; to open the bonnet, two fitters were needed to unlock and fold up the extra-long bonnet.

A multi-plate dry clutch that was shifted via a three-speed gearbox transmitted the power to the rear wheels. Bugatti doubled the quarter elliptical suspension on the axles in order to achieve more comfort. Solid alloy wheels with slots ensured that the large brake drums did not overheat. The 200 litre tank ensured enough range.

The first prototype was built in 1926, but it was based on a longer wheelbase and a larger engine with a displacement of 14.7 litres. It wasn’t until 1932 that Bugatti sold the first Royale to the Parisian industrialist Armand Esders. An extremely elegant roadster body by Jean Bugatti sheathed the eight-cylinder above the drive. Since Armand Esders only wanted to drive his vehicle during the day, the Roadster did not have headlights – giving it a more elegant look. Three other vehicles with different bodies went into customer hands. Overall, a Cabriolet, a Pullman limousine, a travel limousine with a folding top and a two-door limousine were built in the few years to come. In the Coupé Napoleon, the passenger communicated with the driver via an electrical intercom.

The Royale is the only Bugatti vehicle to have a hood ornament. It features a dancing elephant, designed by Ettore’s deceased brother Rembrandt Bugatti, a well-known artist and sculptor.

Despite its extraordinary features, the Royale did not go on to be an economic success. The global economic crisis and its aftermath made prospective buyers hold back. Up until 1933, six models of the super-car were built, only four of them were sold. Ettore Bugatti would be chauffeured with a Royale – or drove it himself. His wife also preferred a Royale as a means of transport. All vehicles still exist today, including two in the Cité de l’Automobile, Schlumpf Collection, in Mulhouse, France, and one at the Bugatti Headquarters in Molsheim. Each one of the six Royale vehicles can be considered as one of the most exclusive and expensive vehicles in the world. If one of them were ever auctioned, it could be the most expensive car in the world.

Other Royale Engines for Express Trains

Although Bugatti didn’t manage to sell many Royales, its construction was still a success. Bugatti modified the eight-cylinder engines that had already been produced, to use them for a new project – as units of motor coaches for express trains for the French railways. In just nine months, Bugatti developed an express train based on the huge engines.

From 1935 to1958 these engines were used in the new four-axle rail multiple unit that Bugatti developed for the ETAT state railway, known today as SNCF. Depending on the version, an SNCF XB 1000 required two to four of these huge motors with an output of 200 hp each. During the first test runs, a train reached 172 km/h – making it the first modern high-speed train. The SNCF ordered a total of 79 of these rail vehicles with the Royale engines, conducting extreme power without vibrations.

INDYCAR iRacing Challenge Off To Michigan Oval

In a series in which the only predictable trait has been unpredictability, the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge could get even wilder during Round 3 on Saturday, April 11.

That’s because the virtual racing series featuring stars of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and some special guests is moving to an oval – the super-fast, wide, 2-mile Michigan International Speedway – after the first two rounds took place on natural road courses at Watkins Glen International and Barber Motorsports Park.

The Chevrolet 275 will feature exciting, tight action for all 85 laps after the green flag flies at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday (live on NBCSN). INDYCAR events at the popular track in the Irish Hills of Michigan included wild racing with numerous photo finishes from 1968-2007, as the generous racing surface with multiple lines creates many passing opportunities.

Drivers in this six-round virtual series, which takes place every Saturday through May 2, use identical car setups provided by iRacing. That will place a premium on slipstreaming in packs for position and managing tire wear as fuel loads drop.

Click here: This weekend’s Entry List

Last Weekend’s Replay

Statistics – both overall and recent – also point to a very competitive race Saturday. Three of the 10 INDYCAR races featuring the most lead changes in history have occurred at MIS. And the last time INDYCAR raced at the 2-mile oval, Tony Kanaan edged Marco Andretti by a scant .0595 of a second for victory Aug. 5, 2007.

2004 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Kanaan and Andretti could repeat that photo finish Saturday, as Andretti is joining the series for the first time this week in the No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda fielded by Andretti Herta with Marco Andretti & Curb-Agajanian.

Andretti is one of three prominent drivers making their INDYCAR iRacing Challenge debuts Saturday, along with 2012 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay and two-time Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hunter-Reay is driving the No. 28 DHL Honda fielded by Andretti Autosport, while veteran iRacing competitor Earnhardt – now a motorsports analyst for NBC Sports – will be behind the virtual wheel of the No. 3 Nationwide JR Motorsports Chevrolet.

NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers Max Chilton and James Davison also will join the series Saturday, with Carlin Racing’s Chilton in the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet and Davison in the No. 33 Honda.

Those newcomers will be among 31 drivers taking the green flag in the largest field yet for the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge.

Among the favorites for victory Saturday will be Sage Karam and Scott McLaughlin. Round 1 (Watkins Glen) winner Karam will drive the No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet fielded by Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, and two-time Virgin Supercars Australia champion McLaughlin will try to earn a second straight win in the No. 2 Snap-On Team Penske Dallara after holding off teammate Will Power by .4241 of a second to win Saturday, April 4 at Barber Motorsports Park.

2014 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion and 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner Power also must be considered a primary threat for victory in the Chevrolet 275. He is the only driver to finish on the podium in both INDYCAR iRacing Challenge races so far, placing third in the opener at Watkins Glen and second last Saturday at Barber in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

While Power is the only driver with two podium finishes in the series, the level of unpredictability goes even deeper throughout the field. Just six drivers have earned top-10 finishes in both races to date: Power (3-2), 2019 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year Felix Rosenqvist (2-6), McLaughlin (4-1), 2016 series champion and 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud (6-5), two-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Josef Newgarden (7-9) and 2019 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge Rookie of the Year Santino Ferrucci (8-10).

The fuel window for this race is expected to be approximately 37 green flag laps, slightly less than half of the race distance. So, depending on the number of caution periods, drivers and their team strategists could decide on two stops for service or try to stretch fuel to finish the race on one stop, creating even more strategic elements. There will be no competition caution to bunch the field Saturday, unlike Round 2 at Barber Motorsports Park.

The starting lineup will be set through a 10-minute qualifying session prior to the event.

Saturday’s race at a virtual version of Michigan International Speedway, located in Brooklyn, Michigan, is the third of six races in the series. Future venues include a “Random Draw” track April 18, Circuit of the Americas on April 25 and a non-INDYCAR “Dream” track May 2.

McLaren Automotive Introduces McLaren Tech Club

A series of short films created to provide insight into the technologies behind the McLaren brand and cars will be shared across McLaren media channels in the coming weeks. Designed to educate, entertain and inform McLaren fans and customers alike, they can be accessed from the comfort of home via the McLaren Automotive social media and YouTube channels as well as the cars.mclaren.com website.

McLaren Tech Club (#McLarenTechClub) is designed for those who want to delve deeper into the core of every McLaren car while also increasing their automotive knowledge. The new films explore the innovative technologies developed by McLaren designers and engineers to help deliver the incredible driving experiences for which the pioneering supercar company is renowned.

The first film – titled ‘How does the McLaren Elva keep you comfortable at 70mph without a windscreen?’ – looks at the revolutionary ‘Active Air Management System’ (AAMS) of the new Elva, the latest McLaren Ultimate Series roadster and a car that is instantly recognisable because of the absence of a roof, windscreen or windows.

The new Elva has been designed to distil elements of driving pleasure into one incredible open-cockpit car. Fundamental to this is the world-first ‘Active Air Management System’, which creates a ‘bubble of calm’ for both driver and passenger despite the car not having a windscreen. In the Tech Club film, McLaren Automotive Director of Engineering Design Dan Parry-Williams, takes viewers through the innovative solution to deliver a comfortable drive at 70mph with no physical barrier to airflow in front of a driver or passenger, ensuring an incredibly immersive and enthralling experience.

“With absolutely nothing between you and the wind coming at you, would it be possible to create a virtual canopy? That was the challenge we set ourselves with the design of the new Elva.”
Dan Parry-Williams, Director of Engineering Design, McLaren Automotive

Presented in an easily accessible style, the McLaren Tech Club content is designed for viewers of all ages. The second film – released on April 9 – is titled, ‘What makes the McLaren Senna GTR’s wing design so unique?’ Featuring Esteban Palazzo, Principal Designer at McLaren Automotive, discussing the incredible carbon-fibre rear wing, it can be viewed here: https://cars.mclaren.com/en/latest/post/tech-club-2-sennagtr. The Elva AAMS film is available at: https://cars.mclaren.com/en/latest/post/world-of-mclaren-tech-club.

Future Tech Club episodes will include an explanation of Ignition Cut Technology and an exploration of the design of the new McLaren 765LT. Those interested in joining the social media conversation around any of the films should use #McLarenTechClub.

Yokohama Tire Partnering with St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund

Yokohama Tire is partnering with the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund (SCF) to help truckers and their families who have experienced an illness or injury that takes them off the road.

“As we collectively face the challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID-19, the country is looking for ways to support the unsung heroes who are working behind the scenes, such as the truck drivers, who are delivering the products necessary to help Americans maintain some sense of calm in this unchartered territory,” said Alan Holtschneider, Yokohama’s director of marketing. “Supporting the SCF during this critical time will help ensure that these drivers will have financial assistance available to them when they are in need.”

SCF is a 501(c)(3), truck driver charity that helps over-the-road/regional semi-truck drivers and their families when an illness or injury has recently caused them to be out of work. In 2019 alone, SCF distributed $501,000 to 344 truckers and their families.

In addition to donating a portion of its April commercial truck tire sales to the SCF, Yokohama is hoping to raise awareness of the SCF and their mission. Without their assistance, thousands of truckers would face significant financial hardship during times of medical need.

“We cannot thank Yokohama Tire enough for their generous support,” said Shannon Currier, SCF director of philanthropy and development.  “What a blessing it is to see our industry come together to support the truck drivers that play such a critical role in our everyday lives.  These men and women are the front-line heroes during this crucial time and we are honored to be here to support them when they need us most.” 

Yokohama has set up a link so individuals can donate directly to the SCF to help the truckers: Truckers Fund Donation. As a thank you, Yokohama will send a special rebate code to the first 500 people who donate $10 or more to SCF. The rebates can be redeemed on Yokohama tires purchased during the remainder of the year. For more information on the SCF and this special offer, visit https://truckersfund.org/yokohama.

About Yokohama Tire Corporation

Yokohama Tire Corporation is the North American manufacturing and marketing arm of Tokyo, Japan-based The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., a global manufacturing and sales company of premium tires since 1917. Servicing an extensive sales network throughout the U.S., Yokohama Tire Corporation is a leader in technology and innovation. The company’s complete product line includes tires for high-performance, light truck, passenger car, commercial truck and bus, and off-the-road mining and construction applications. For more information on Yokohama’s broad product line, visit www.yokohamatire.com, www.yokohamatruck.com or www.yokohamaotr.com.

Subaru Partners With iRacing For IRX Invitational Rallycross Series

Subaru of America has announced a sponsorship with iRacing, the leader in PC simulator racing, to field the Subaru iRX All-Star Invitational rallycross series. A world-class field of drivers from a variety of racing disciplines – rally, rallycross, Indycar, NASCAR, motocross, Formula Drift and more – will compete alongside esports pros in a six-round championship series held entirely online and kicking off April 10. Drivers will compete for a $10,000 purse to be donated to charity on their behalf; charitable beneficiaries will be revealed soon.

Subaru Motorsports USA will field a three-car lineup featuring the team’s full-time stage rally drivers: five-time national rally champion and action sports icon Travis Pastrana, and mountain bike legend and rising rally talent Brandon Semenuk. They will be joined by four-time U.S. rallycross champion Scott Speed, making his competitive rallycross return after a 2019 season cut short by injury, and fresh off a podium finish in last weekend’s iRacing Indycar Challenge at Barber Motorsports Park. Subaru rallycross star Chris Atkinson will also participate in a Team Yokohama WRX STI, and several other all-star drivers will compete in the WRX STI rallycross Supercar as independent entries. 

“With so many people staying at home and missing racing, now is the perfect time to try new things in esports,” said Pastrana. “For this series we’re going to bring together some of the biggest names from different types of racing and put them on virtual rallycross tracks with dirt, tarmac and jumps. It’s going to be a blast, and I can’t wait to see what happens!”

Subaru iRX All-Star Invitational events will be begin at 6pm EST/3pm PST each Friday, and will be streamed across iRacing’s social media platforms. Fans can also watch via live streaming simulcasts on the Subaru Motorsports USA Facebook page and the pages of other competitors, teams and sponsors. Additional events may be considered as schedules permit.

2020 SUBARU iRX ALL-STAR INVITATIONAL SCHEDULE

Round 1: Hell Lankebanen

April 10
Round 2: Daytona International Speedway (short)
April 17
Round 3: Sonoma Raceway
April 24
Round 4: Lucas Oil Raceway
May 1
Round 5: Atlanta Motor Speedway (long)
May 8
Round 6: Hell Lankebanen
May 15

About Subaru Motorsports USA
Subaru Motorsports USA is managed by Vermont SportsCar and proudly supported by Subaru of America, Inc., Yokohama TiresMethod Race WheelsDirtFish Rally SchoolKÜHL and RECARO. Follow the team online at www.subaru.com/motorsports.

FCA Scores Three Segment Wins In Automotive Loyalty Awards By IHS MARKIT

Keeping customers coming back has helped carry FCA to three segment wins in the Automotive Loyalty Awards by IHS Markit. The awards, marking their 24th year, are given annually to recognize manufacturers who demonstrate superior performance in customer retention.

The Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 were recognized by IHS Markit for having the highest model loyalty in the pickup segment for the 2019 calendar year. Chrysler Pacifica earned honors in the van segment and Jeep® Grand Cherokee in the SUV segment. Of the 15 category winners, FCA had the most vehicles taking the top spot in their respective segments with three awards.

“Congratulations to FCA for their efforts on customer retention for these models,” said Joe LaFeir, senior vice president and general manager, automotive, at IHS Markit. “We honor their commitment and focus on this important strategy in this truly competitive environment.”

The Automotive Loyalty Awards by IHS Markit are based on an analysis of nearly 17.5 million new vehicle registrations during the 2019 calendar year. Loyalty is determined by IHS Markit when a household that owns a new vehicle returns to market and purchases or leases another new vehicle of the same make, model or manufacturer.

IHS Markit analyzes loyalty throughout the year and regularly works with its customers to effectively manage owner loyalty and conquest efforts through in-depth research and analysis of automotive shopping behaviors, related market influencers and conquest and retention strategies. 

Ram 1500
The 2020 Ram 1500 is the no-compromise benchmark for durability, technology, efficiency and convenience with features never before offered in a pickup. The Ram 1500 features up to 12,750 pounds of towing capability and 2,300 pounds of payload. The eTorque mild hybrid system delivers improved fuel efficiency in both V-6 (standard) and V-8 configurations. For 2020 the Ram 1500 becomes America’s most powerful half-ton diesel pickup with 480 lb.-ft. of torque and most capable light-duty diesel, with towing capability up to 12,560 pounds.

As a segment disrupter, the new Uconnect 4C with a massive 12-inch touchscreen leads the pickup world in technology, featuring split-screen capability, 360-degree camera views and exclusive content from SiriusXM with 360L. Active safety and security systems include adaptive cruise control, Forward Collision Warning, Blind-spot Monitoring and Ready Alert Braking. Class-leading ride and handling is accomplished via a segment-exclusive link-coil rear suspension system with optional Active-level four-corner air suspension. The 2020 Ram 1500 also features twice the interior storage capacity versus the competition.

Ram Heavy Duty
The Ram Heavy Duty blends extreme performance and towing capability with the segment’s most refinement and operator comfort features. The 2020 Ram Heavy Duty offers a towing capacity of 35,100 pounds and a payload capacity of 7,680 pounds. Driving it all, the pickup segment’s first 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque engine; the Cummins I-6 Turbo Diesel. The Ram Heavy Duty also sets benchmarks in comfort, luxury materials, innovation and technology extending well past any competitive offerings. Class-leading ride and handling is accomplished via a class-exclusive link-coil rear (2500) suspension system with optional rear air suspension (2500 and 3500). Giving maximum effort all day, every day with confidence, the Ram Heavy Duty line of pickup trucks steps forward with the full force of modern capability.

Chrysler Pacifica
The 2020 Chrysler Pacifica reinvents the minivan segment with an unprecedented level of functionality, versatility, technology and bold styling. Re-engineered from the ground up on an all-new platform when first introduced in 2016 for the 2017 model year, the Pacifica delivers class-leading gasoline and hybrid powertrains to the minivan segment. The Pacifica Hybrid takes this revolutionary vehicle a step further with its innovative, advanced hybrid powertrain. It’s the first and only electrified vehicle in the minivan segment and achieves more than 80 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) in electric-only mode, has an all-electric range of more than 30 miles and a total range of more than 500 miles. The Chrysler Pacifica has earned its spot as the most awarded minivan four years in a row, with the Pacifica serving as a no-compromise minivan ideally suited for today’s families.

Revealed in February 2020 at the Chicago Auto Show, the new 2021 Chrysler Pacifica will offer a new all-wheel-drive (AWD) system that delivers America’s most capable minivan with AWD, and is the only minivan to offer both AWD and Stow ‘n Go seating. A utility-vehicle-inspired refresh of the interior and exterior is combined with 14 new standard safety features that give Pacifica the most standard safety features in the industry. The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica will offer 116 available safety and security features, a new top-of-the-line Pinnacle model, a new 10.1-inch touchscreen with the new Uconnect 5 system and the Uconnect Theater rear-seat entertainment system. The new Pacifica is the first and still the only minivan to offer a hybrid powertrain option.

Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep Grand Cherokee is the most awarded SUV ever and the vehicle that has long defined what a premium SUV should be. Legendary Jeep capability comes courtesy of four available 4×4 systems, Jeep’s Quadra-Lift air suspension system and class-leading Selec-Terrain traction management system. Grand Cherokee boasts best-in-class towing of 7,200 pounds and a crawl ratio of 44.1:1. The Grand Cherokee lineup offers a variety of models, including the Trackhawk, the most powerful and quickest SUV ever, as well as the most capable factory-produced and most luxurious Grand Cherokee models ever with the Trailhawk and Summit.

MINI USA Postpones Mini Takes The States Rally To Summer 2021

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, MINI USA has announced the official postponement of MINI TAKES THE STATES. The legendary road rally for MINI owners, which was set to take place from July 18 – 26, 2020, will be rescheduled for summer 2021.

“For the benefit of our MINI community and everyone that we’d come in contact with along the journey, in the cities and towns and on the back roads, we have made this very difficult and emotional decision.” said Mike Peyton, Vice President, MINI of the Americas. “We know that this is truly disappointing news to our MINI community, as it is for the entire MINI USA team and to our partners who work tirelessly for months to make MINI TAKES THE STATES an amazing adventure.”

The current plan calls for MINI TAKES THE STATES to rally along the same route initially planned for this summer, from Burlington, Vermont, to Spartanburg, South Carolina, sometime in July 2021.

“In light of the uncertainty we’re all facing, it’s the right thing to do to protect each other, our families, our neighbors and our future,” added Peyton.

MTTS 2018 attracted more than 3,600 MINI owners who took part in the Rally to the Rockies, with 1,000+ MINIs on the road each day. The two groups drove on two separate routes, one starting in Orlando, Fla., and the other in Portland, Ore., converging in Keystone, Colo., for a three-day festival of all things MINI. The group of loyal MINI owners travelled a total of more than 5,000 miles through 15 cities and 14 states. At times the group swelled to more than 1,000 owners and 500 vehicles of all shapes, colors and sizes on each route.

Stay tuned for more updates or visit MINITAKESTHESTATES.com. Media interested in updates on MINI USA can also follow us on Twitter at @MINIUSANEWS. To view a recorded video message from Mike Peyton, please visit the MINI USA YouTube channel.

For press images and video b-roll from MINI TAKES THE STATES 2018, please visit the MTTS 2018 Newsroom on MINIUSANEWS.com. Browse through a collection of amazing stories from the road captured by the MINI USA team on the MTTS 2018 Blog on MINIUSANEWS.com.