The purpose of the L.A. Auto Show Design Challenge is to highlight the innovation and imagination of automotive designers from around the world. The challenge is part of the L.A. Auto Show's Design Los Angeles, a professional conference for automotive designers. It's a chance for the people who literally shape what our cars look like to discuss challenges, share breakthroughs and generally strut their stuff.
For the fifth design challenge, teams from Audi, BMW, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mistubishi, Toyota and Volkswagen submitted designs for the types of race cars they imagine competing in 2025. In some cases, the designers not only imagine a totally different type of car, but also a totally different type of car race.
Designers from Audi picture a car race with banks and tunnels that allow the cars to invert and pass someone by driving on the ceiling of a tunnel. Mazda's team imagined a racing series for electric cars, while General Motors imagined an eco-triathlon racing series. Honda's team stretched the limits of space, time and imagination by coming up with a race where competitors must circumnavigate the globe in 24 hours on land, air and sea -- and they must do it all in the same vehicle. Volkswagen's team imagined a fairly conventional Baja race track, but with the added rule that racers may only use 10 gallons (37.9 liters) of fuel to complete the entire course. Toyota didn't change the rules of Le Mans racing, but imagined a car reaching speeds of 350 miles per hour (563.3 kilometers per hour) that can change shape for optimal handing and also uses virtual reality to help the driver stay on-track.
While the teams come from a diverse group of automakers, each company has a racing heritage. Mercedes-Benz has perhaps the deepest racing heritage of the group, having raced cars for most of the 20th century. But even smaller companies like Mitsubishi are well respected on the rally-car circuit, while cars from General Motors have long been staples on American stock car racing tracks.
Keep reading to see how each company's racing heritage helped shape its design challenge entry.