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The Power Wars Recap - 707 hp Challenger, Mid engine Corvette, AWD 300 hp Focus RS and more

Well, I have unfortunately found myself too busy to write once again for the last few weeks. Typically, whenever I don't write for a while (regardless of length) I overlook the period that I missed. Not this time though. Some announcements that were made in the last few weeks are so significant that it would be wrong for a driver's blog to exclude them so here's a quick rundown of what I think are the biggest announcements, starting with the obvious one..




Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat: It blew expectations on many levels. Dodge allowed it to make more hp than the Viper which many said it wouldn't. It allowed it to crest the 700 hp mark, 707 hp on tap to be exact. It comes with a full warranty, looks absolutely menacing and MSRP is just under $60,000, much lower than anyone expected. It's a HEMI. It's supercharged. It makes more than 700 hp and it has a warranty. The rest are just details. Yes, it's not particularly happy at the track but whoever expected it to be was just delusional and it handles great for its size and main purpose. It's a big bruiser and I love it.




Dodge Charger SRT8 Hellcat: Take all the above and turn the awesome factor a few notches, with the same drivetrain and power but double the door count. If only Dodge offered this with a manual..




Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z06: There are huge expectations for this car and I do not expect it to disappoint one bit. The (very pleasantly) surprising detail about it as that, despite making 650 hp which is more hp than the outgoing ZR1 and being expect it to match or beat all performance metrics, base price gets only a slight (relatively) bump to $78,995, keeping it under $80,000. This will put many cars on notice, as did the last Z06 and ZR1.

Mid-engine Corvette: There has been many rumours about mid-engine Corvettes over the years but, according to Motor Trend, this one will stick. A mid-engine Corvette is confirmed and coming so all we have to do is wait. The best thing is, it won't replace the traditional Corvette which will turn the Corvette nameplate into a sub line-up with front and mid engine options. There's something special about front-engine RWD layout in my opinion so I'm very happy that the traditional layout isn't going anywhere. However, a mid-engine layout will give the car much needed traction and stability to compete in the near-1,000 hp class and being a Corvette fan, that's always good. I would imaging there will be at least two models, one to replace the outgoing ZR1 and be one step up from the upcoming C7 Z06 and another to compete with hypercars in the 800-1,000 hp range. I'll certainly be looking forward to more details.

AWD Ford Focus RS: According to many sources, the next Focus RS will finally get an AWD drivetrain and have up to 350 hp. The best part about it is that it is likely to land on this side of the pond. With the next Dart SRT confirmed to be AWD, the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO and Subaru WRX and WRX STi will finally have domestic competition not from one, but two manufacturers (are you listening Chevrolet?). There has already been spy-shots of it testing so details should start rolling out soon.




Dodge Viper SRT: While I think the slow sales are a factor in dropping the price, I wouldn't be surprised at all if it really isn't the main reason. The main reason is probably the announced price of the new Corvette Z06. I really hope they aren't concerned about the slow sales and the future of the Viper isn't in jeopardy. I know if I had a $100k to spend on a car, I wouldn't easily go to the Z06 simply because the undeniable attitude of the Viper (and it isn't like the Viper is slow by any stretch of the imagination). If I had $200k to spend, I wouldn't hesitate about buying one of each.

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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 load

GTR vs Evo X vs STI: which has the best AWD system?

A few weeks ago, I made a post explaining  mainstream AWD system types and how they compare , pros and cons, etc. including some simple diagrams to show where the power goes and how much. As promised, this post will focus on specific cars and what AWD systems they use, especially ones that that have more or less been defined by their AWD systems, and the best place to start may be with a bombshell; the Nissan GT-R. Nissan GT-R (R35) The GT-R has built a reputation around having monster traction and very approachable performance, thanks to its AWD system - Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All-Terrain (ATTESA) - and what it can do for you. But the GT-R doesn't actually use the most mechanically sophisticated type of AWD systems discussed in the previous article, namely a "true" AWD with a centre differential. Instead, it uses a clutch pack to transfer power. RWD-based clutch-type AWD schematic - Rams Eye The Track Guy © The R32, R33, and R34 Sky

Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R Track Review

2012 Boss 302 on square 305/30/19 RE-71R's at AMP - Graham MacNeil © 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

Stock Suspension S197 Mustang With Square 305/30/19's

If you've had any doubts about whether or not they will fit, fear not! You absolutely can run square 305/30/19's. I had a lot of doubts before pulling the trigger, even more so when the wheels where on the car. The tires do poke out a bit and I figured rubbing is all but guaranteed at full compression but I couldn't be happier I trusted APEX and those on here who have run it. Here's what you need: 1. Camber plates: I have MM C/C plates and they are maxed out at -2.3 deg with the stock struts. I have been running them for years with many track days without issue. 2. 1"/25 mm spacer: I have Motorsport-tech 1" spacers and they look like high quality units. There is maybe a 1/4 inch clearance in the back so you can't go any narrower than 25 mm. http://www.motorsport-tech.com/adaptec/car/ford_s and you want Design 2. Motorsport Tech 1" Mustang Hub-centric Spacers 3. Elongated studs: your best bet is to get the FPP hubs with elongated studs