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Showing posts from 2017

Racing again.. and #61 almost catches fire!

Last year, I joined the ranks of amateur wheel-to-wheel racers and went to race with the fantastic Vantage Motorsports racing team (to read more, go to The Ram's Eye Goes Racing). It was just as much fun and rewarding as I imagined it would be so I was really looking forward to this (2017) season. Unfortunately, life has a habit of getting in the way of things you want to do so that's exactly what happened this year. I missed all but the last round of the race season, which was on Sunday September 17. It seems, though, that I had a full season's worth of racing experience in one day..

For starters, I missed the early morning call, which meant I had to start from the back of the pack in every race. No problem, I liked that I'd have more racing to do. I went out in the practice session and I found out I was very rusty.. My first hot lap was a 1:27.x, about 5 seconds off the pace of the car on the Toyo R888's that were on it. Second dropped to 1:26.x, then I settled i…

911 GT2 RS vs Camaro ZL1 1LE - Sweating the Details

Blasphemy!! Before you get your pitchforks, let's get two things straight first of all. Number 1, those two cars are not actually going to be cross shopped. I get that and don't mean to suggest that they would be. In fact, even for those people who can afford to buy several of either of those cars and would not turn their nose up a Chevy Camaro (they do exist), if any were to consider both those cars, they would not be looked at as alternatives, just two separate interesting cars. Number 2, stock vs stock, on the same day, same track, same (experienced) driver, the Camaro does not stand chance. Don't get me wrong, the Camaro ZL1 1LE is very impressive and supremely capable. More so when you consider the price. Even more so when you consider that this isn't like the last Z/28 or GT350R.

As much as all the aero bits would have you believe, one of the ZL1 1LE's goals was to retain full functionality. As a result, it doesn't lose any sound deadening. You get to ke…

Porsche Cayman GT4. Driven. On Track.

It's a crisp, dry Sunday morning; the second day of the annual two-day BMW Club Atlantic in August. The first day was very rainy, which did make it very educational and fun, but it wasn't the day to make speed. Sunday was shaping up to be a good day for that, and I had a lot more to look forward to than just making speed.. Because the tool by which I would be making that speed (at least for one session of the day) was not my sledge hammer. It was a scalpel, a Porsche Cayman GT4. You may be wondering how I got to drive one in the first place. Let's rewind a bit for that.

Last year, a gentleman at our local track asked me if I want to come out for a few laps with him in his car, a Cayman GT4. Obviously, the answer was yes. I wrote about that (original post here, if you want to read). Fast forward a few months to when I had that post featured front and centre in my updated blog layout, and he offered to let me behind the wheel next time we are both out at the track. I wasn&#…

The HPDE Instructor

In true Jeremy Clarkson fashion, I always found myself wondering "How hard can it be?" Not in a trivializing the effort kind of way. I just always heard about the safety risk. HPDE Instructors agree to trust a complete stranger not to kill them in fiery crash, while said stranger pushes their car towards its limits and, in return, they teach you high performance driving. Trouble is: I have ridden shot gun in a very wide variety of cars that span a huge range of capabilities.

I'm quite fond of my memory of a ride in a 997 GT2 RS so I always love an opportunity to mention that. I've been in GT3 RS's, a C6 Z06 on R-comps, M3's of various ages and ranging from stock to heavily modified, and plenty others. I have also been in stock GTI's, Miatas, and similarly capable cars. And I took them all with a giant grin on my face as some of the best drivers I know piloted them. I had no fear of the passenger seat. If an opportunity ever presented itself for me to rid…

2018 Ford Mustang GT & EcoBoost Power Figures!

Horsepower figures are finally in! The 2018 Mustang GT will make 460 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque out of the updated 5.0 litre Coyote V8. For those keeping score, those are increases of 25 hp and 20 lb-ft torque over the outgoing and exactly 5 hp more than the Camaro SS but 35 lb-ft less torque than the torquey small block Chevy. Back in February when I posted about the updated Mustang (2018 Ford Mustang Upgrades), I figured it will be at least as much as the Camaro SS and was optmistically thoping for 470 hp. Ford landed almost right in the middle. While The Camaro should have the advantage at low rpms, the Mustang will have the upper hand in the top end and I love a big displacement high revving V8. The EcoBoost also gets some love. Although hp stays the same at 310 hp, torque jumps to 350 lb-ft, which should make it feel much stronger in midrange.

Both cars will now switch to the 10-speed automatic co-developed with GM, but they'll still offer a manual option of course. Both car…

2017 Honda Civic Type R Test - A Closer Look

FWD is for kids. Anyone can go fast in a FWD car. Real drivers learn to handle RWD. That's what a buddy said when I was talking about managing throttle in FWD vs RWD in one of the turns on our track. Another friend of mine who is a diehard VW fan just bought a new Mk7 Golf R. Naturally, we argued about Golf R vs Focus RS as we've done countless times in the past. This time, though, the Civic Type R came up, and he said it doesn't matter because "it's FWD." If you agree with all of that, you can't take this new Type R seriously. You might as well stop reading now and move on. And frankly, Honda has done a pretty good job with the styling to convince you NOT to take this car seriously.. But you might be making a mistake.

A proper, thoroughbred sports car needs to have RWD in my book. But we aren't talking about thoroughbreds here. We are talking about very-hot hatchbacks based on compact economy cars. So the question boils down to FWD or AWD? Well, wha…

Four Seconds in a BMW M3 Race Car

This isn't what you think. It isn't about spending four seconds in a race car. That would be rather useless. Instead, it's about finding four seconds to take out of a lap time in a race car. More specifically, Rocket Racing's 1997 BMW M3 GT3 race car (link to the previous post here for more about the car!). I wasn't driving, of course. That would imply I lose four seconds in lap time around the track (ok, sorry John, that was a cheap shot). This is about John's acquaintance with his newly acquired 97 M3 GT3 race car. Don't worry though, although John (like I was just last year) is new to wheel to wheel racing, he is a true racer at heart. If you don't believe me, just read some of the world-class excuses he got:

"I had 7 months [off season]of rust to shake off."

"I hate driving with new shoes."

"it was cold and a bit damp"

"my tires still had the stickers on them"

Ladies and gents, that right there is proof John …

2014 BMW 335i xDrive M Sport Review

Post-refresh 2015 F30 3-series pictured. 
Which is better, an F30 3-series or an E46? The F30 has certainly taken its fair share of heat. But if you thought I was going to say the E46, you'd be dead wrong. The F30 3-series is better. Far better. It is quicker, faster, safer, more practical, more efficient, more refined, quieter.. the list goes on. A lot of reviews and people I talk to consider the F30 to be an abomination. Frankly, I don't see it. You'd have to be mad to think the E46 is better. Completely out to lunch. I don't know who in their right mind would prefer the E46..  Trouble is, since when were people buying sports cars in their right minds? Here, lies the real problem.

"Raw rather than refined in its noises, pounding ride, heavy clutch, 50 grand and cloth seats?"
".. and not at all shy about its performance compromises. It always acts like the automotive jock it is, every mile of every day."
"Raw and quite loud.. And sometimes ru…

Rocket Racing's 97 BMW M3 GT3 - The Prologue

If you've followed this blog, you'd know I started racing last year. I was fortunate enough to be involved with one of the best race team in the region - Vantage Motorsports (link: The Ram's Eye Goes Racing!). This year, my good friend John Drysdale, also fulfilled his dream of wheel to wheel to racing. That said, his start was much more dramatic than mine in the (excellent) IT-B '95 GTI race car. In his words:

"How does one become a race car driver? Maybe more importantly, what makes someone a good race car driver? Maybe I have the odds stacked against me in this game called racing. I started on track with true tarmac and rubber when I was 32.

To my benefit, I was imprinted, like a duckling, with cars from a very young age. My dads stacks of Road and Track, and Car and Driver, made an early impression. When I was seven years old I was drawing air cooled Porsche 911's (and in 2014, I got one). In the early 90's I was playing "Need for Speed" in …

2018 Ford Mustang Upgrades!

Ever since I bought my Mustang, I have been gradually growing loyal to the brand. I’m not sure why. I like a lot of different cars and never felt like picking a camp, but I guess when you buy a car, you start to have to defend its honour (and your decision) whenever someone takes a stab at it. For someone who is so into cars, I think only one of two things can happen: you are either convinced of what “foes” claim and start to regret your decision, or you find more conviction as you defend your decision and love the car even more. Count me among the latter and, needless to say, I was properly excited when I found out about the updates Ford is bringing to the 2018 Mustang.
For starters, the Mustang finally (probably.. hopefully) will get its horsepower mojo back. When Ford unleashed its 5.0 litre Coyotes to prey on the competition circa 2010, it was basically undisputed. The Camaro SS was usually slower in tests. You couldn’t say Challenger R/T in the same breath; you had to go up to t…