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2016 Mustang EcoBoost Track Review

Photography by: Graham MacNeil Ford really wants to sell you a Mustang with a turbo four cylinder. They started by derating the V6 engine in the 2015 S550 compared to the 2011-2014 S197 V6 to make the EcoBoost 2.3 litre more differentiated. Then, they offered a performance pack on the EcoBoost but not on the V6. Now, they killed the V6 all together for 2018 and will only sell you a V8 or this EcoBoost. I love a good V8, everyone who knows me knows that. This is a Mustang, which means it needs a V8. If those aren't enough reasons, I always prefer natural aspiration over forced induction. That's three strikes against the EcoBoost-powered Mustang. But I'd be lying if I said the idea never intrigued me. It's the lightest (if you account for features). It has the best weight distribution. It has the same great chassis as the GT. It's very affordable and it has a lot of potential to make more power. Aftermarket? Endless support. There's plenty of good about it.

E46 Dinan S1 BMW M3 - Track Driven

Photos by: Graham MacNeil A few years ago, I was still a student and I had a class called Internal Combustion Engines. It was easily one of my favourite classes, as you can image. Studying engines, calculating hp, torque, efficiency, and exhaust flow for grades? Sign me up! It wasn't just the content, though, as magnificent as it was. The class itself was taught by the coolest prof there is. You may think you've had a cool prof, teacher, coach, or instructor, but I've got the standard by which all educators must be measured. For one, he or she has to teach something that is cool.. does it get cooler than Internal Combustion Engines? (No, in case you're wondering). This one is also a true gear head, so much so that he sticks around after class and argues about cars, performance, lap times, and racing. And occasionally does so in the middle of class.. For one class project, I proposed comparing the engines and specifications of the C6 Corvette ZR1 and the Ferrari 5

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 sett

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

Porsche Cayman GT4. Driven. On Track.

Cayman GT4 On Track at AMP - Graham MacNeil © It's a crisp, dry Sunday morning; the second day of the annual two-day BMW Club Atlantic Advanced Driver Training (HPDE) 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,

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 a 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 shotgun 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

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. Bo

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,






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 load

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

Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2's vs Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R's

I never thought I'd ever run Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2's on my 2012 Boss 302. The cost is astronomical and they are supposed to last the least of anything comparable. So how did I end up with (nearly) fresh Sport Cup 2's? A complete fluke. I came across a lightly used set with only a few hundred miles and no track time; 305/30/19 takeoffs from a GT Performance Pack Level 2 (GT PPL2). I knew my 71R's were getting very worn before the season started and likely wouldn't last the whole season, even this short one. The price was far better than a new set of RE-71R's, a little more than half, and local Time Attack rules (Canadian Automobile Sport Clubs) recently made 180 and 200 TW tires equivalent, meaning no PAX or PIP point penalty for going with 180 TW tire like the Pilot Sport Cup 2's. I have been very curious about how PSC2's compare to RE 71R's but I stayed away due to their being painfully expensive and, up to last year, their 180 TW rating would

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 l