This is a story about what you see and what you can’t see; what you’d like to see and what they don’t want you to see. And mostly, it’s a story about the lengths people go to make sure you can’t see what they don’t want you to see.
The Detroit 3 all operate test tracks in southeast Michigan. All have high-speed ovals, pavement that is purposely uneven, hilly, undulating terrain and other testing areas. But even in these massive, ultrasecret facilities, there is only so much real-world testing they can carry out without actually being in real-world traffic.
Stop-and-go driving, traffic jams, long periods of idling in slow-moving traffic -- all put stresses and strains on vehicles that can’t be duplicated on a test track.
To travel among the masses, automotive engineers for decades have employed visual deception -- camouflage -- to disguise what it is they are working on or testing from the prying and ever-present eyes of both the media and competitive automakers.
Sometimes, engineers’ efforts at obfuscation are creative and wildly successful. In early 2013, for example, supercar maker McLaren hid its P1 under eye-tricking camouflage that included outlines of famous racing circuits from around the world.