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Showing posts from January, 2013
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Car and Driver's Lightning Lap 2013 - A Closer Look


They've finally posted it! The 2013 Lightning Lap feature is finally available online (full article: Lightning Lap 2013: Hot Cars, Hot Track, Hot Laps). I know it has been available in the February issue but I don't buy the magazine so I haven't been able to read it until today. It is kind of bittersweet for me though. You see, I love the Lightning Lap feature. They test all the performance vehicles that either came out or were upgraded the year before. This makes it a very exciting event/test but it also means that there is only 1 Lightning Lap feature in a year, so I am both excited for the new one and disappointed that I have to wait for a year for the next one. Anyhow, for road racers and track day veterans, it is a great test (or set of tests).
There are many reasons why the Lightning Lap feature is great IMO. Except for the SUV class, which includes vehicles like the Jeep SRT and BMW X5 M regardless of prices, cars are divided in classes depending on price ranges. Thi…

2013 Camaro SS 1LE vs 2013 Mustang GT Track Pack - A Closer Look

Unsurprisingly, a Camaro vs. Mustang comparison grabs a lot of attention. Motor Trend's recent comparison of the 2013 Camaro SS 1LE and the 2013 Mustang GT Track Pack (full article: 2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE vs. 2013 Ford Mustang GT Track Pack) has fans of each car fighting in the comments section. I'm hoping a closer look at the results and the review could clear some of the air, although I know it won't mean anything to the diehard fans.




The Camaro has been winning reviews lately. Most comparison tests between the ZL1 and 2013 Mustang GT500 crowned the ZL1 as the winner. Although the GT500 is faster in all aspects, it is less composed and loses lead as time and laps go by due to brake fade. The Camaro ZL1 also beat the Boss 302 LS because, while the Boss 302 LS is more fun on the track, the power advantage and suspension tuning of the ZL1 propelled it to a win on the track and the magnetic shocks give it a more comfortable ride on the road. The Mustang still had one c…

The Stingray is back! Details about the new 2014 C7 Corvette.

The stingray is back! Chevrolet decided that the new Corvette is worthy of the moniker and I don't doubt that it is. The base model is already faster than the Grand Sport of the current generation. It is all new and improved from the ground up, sharing only two parts with the C6 Corvette. The car looks very similar to the renderings that were based on the leaked drawings and it certainly doesn't disappoint. The new rear end is starting to grow on me but I can't say I wouldn't have liked to see round taillights. According to Chevrolet, form followed function when it came to the exterior design.







Chevrolet has used its racing experience in sculpting the exterior and placement of scoops and grills that all work towards improving the aerodynamics of the car. Hot air off the radiator is directed out of the engine bay, up and over the car instead of under to help keep heat away from the differential and transmission. A lower roof helps keep centre of gravity low but without sa…

Live Streaming of the reveal of the C7 Corvette!

Today, the reveal day of the C7 Corvette, has been one of the most anticipated dates of 2013 for many car enthusiasts. We don't know everything about the new Corvette but we do know a few things. The Corvette is staying true to its traditional formula since the C2, a V8 in the front and rear wheel drive. The only exception to the formula has been a straight six for the first generation Corvette. The engine will probably be set further back like the C6 Corvette for better weight distribution but a mid-engine layout is not going to be used, at least for this generation, and no twin turbo V6 is planned for the first release.

The exterior design seems evolutionary rather than revolutionary, which is great IMO because I love the shape of the Corvette. The rear split window doesn't appear to be making a comeback, according to the (supposedly) leaked drawings of the C7. The rear end will keep the signature quad exhausts but they seem to be placed closer together and look like one set…

2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Platinum - A Closer Look

In a 2-page, 10-paragraph, car review of a luxury sedan, Car & Driver failed to review much of the car besides the CUE (Cadillac User Experience) infotainment system. They go on and on to complain about the CUE system but they mention very little about the engine and ride of the car. There are basically only two paragraphs that talk about the engine and the suspension.

I can't say whether the CUE system is as bad as they say because I haven't tried it yet. However, in their review of the engine, they only mention two aspects; the hp output of the engine (304 hp) and the 0-60 mph time, which is 7.2 seconds. They then criticize the performance for being only adequate and move on. In the next paragraph, they criticize the suspension for not being as sporty as the ATS and a numb, light steering feel but say it has a nice balance between body control and comfort.
I do agree that the straight line performance is only adequate but I'm not sure why that's a problem. For a …






Does An Aftermarket Grille Really Increase Airflow?
I put a Saleen S281 grille to the test to answer that question.

Stock Suspension S197 Mustang With Square 305/30/19's
What you need to fit a proper size square tire setup.

How Limited Slip Diffs Make You Faster on Track
What you need to know about how they put power down and pros and cons.

Can Telemetry Explain Schumacher's Talent?
A comparison between Schumacher's and then team mate Herbert's data.






Cayman GT4 Track Review
The first Cayman with proper (911-challenging) power.

Is an EcoBoost Mustang any good on Track?
Two days at the track in a Mustang short 4 cylinders.

2016 BMW M4 DCT Track Review
It's quick (properly quick). But is it fun?

Can a stock Golf Diesel handle a Track Day?
Not your every day track beater.




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Michelin Pilot Super Sports vs Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 - Street Review

I've been a huge fan of Michelin PSS tires and exclusively bought them for the Mustang over the last four years. So how did I end up here? This year, I was hugely interested in trying an "R-comp" tire. I had my eyes set on Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R's for two simple reasons: price and reputation. Although not a true "R-comp" tire on paper, it performs like one by the account of every single test and review I've read (down to wear rates...). They seem like they're easily the most affordable (from a big brand) R-comp tire and combine that with a reputation for having tons of grip, it was an easy top contender. I had my concerns, though. For one, I'm told and have read that they are an autox tire, not really designed for high speed, pressure, and temps associated with open track. For another, the Mustang is a heavy car (as far as track cars are concerned) being roughly 3,800 lb. (including driver), which will amplify the unwanted open track loads.…

Koenigsegg Gamera: 4 Seats, 4WD, 3 Cylinders, and 1700 hp

Meet the Koenigsegg Gamera. This car brings so many firsts, not just to Koenigsegg, but also to the entire automotive industry. For Koenigsegg, it is the first car to have 4 seats, the first to have 3 cylinders and the first to have all wheel drive. Koenigsegg calls it the world's first mega-GT (gran touring) car, and I think they're right. For the world, it brings the first four seater, mid-engine, hyper car. Koenigsegg says it wants to bring the "exciting performance traits of a mid-engine two-seater megacar with the practicalities of a four-seater car with more luggage space" so the experience can be shared with "family and friends." Clearly, I need better friends...

With 1,700 hp on tap, you are sure to impress those lucky enough to be your family and friends if you own one of those. Of course, a three cylinder engine with 1,700 hp is likely to have all the driveability and flexibility of a farm tractor so Koenigsegg doesn't rely on it for all the …

Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R Track Review

For better or for worse, I have heard and read so much about RE-71R's. Everyone swears by the grip but complains about the wear. Generally speaking, the pros are:

1. They grip as well or better than most R comps.
2. They don't wear as quickly as R comps if driven occasionally on the street.
3. They work better in the rain than R comps.

The cons were limited to overheating quickly when used on track (being an autocross tire) and wearing too fast on heavy cars like mine.

In the popular 200 TW category, they are faster than the popular Hankook RS-4's and BFGoodrich Rival S's according to published Tire Rack Tests. According to plenty of reviews, they are also faster than well established R comps like R888R's (which don't seem to work too well on heavy cars anyway) and the venerable NT01's. But I was still hesitant for a while until I talked to a tire tech support gentleman at Tire Rack who has gone faster on RE-71R's than NT01s. In a Mustang (his own, not…

Michelin PSS vs Firestone Indy 500 - Track Review

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my first impressions of Michelin's PSS vs Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 tires. I've run PSS's for several years on the Boss, but I'm trying the Indy 500's for the first time. In short, I was worried about the narrower tires (I was running 285/35/18 PSS but could only find the Indy 500 in 275/35/18) and tread squirm, but I was happy with them up to that point just driving on the street. I had the chance to drive on them for three track days now. So what were they like? After my first session, they made an impression that basically persisted for the rest of track sessions on them. Phenomenal, unmatched value. Now, if value is something that stands out above all else, it typically means the compromise between qualities you want and those you don't is less than ideal, but the value is attractive. This is no different. I'll start with the bad, which really boil down to two: ultimate grip and grip longevity.

Grip is noticeably lowe…