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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

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 stil

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

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 se

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.

Snow Driving Tips

With snow on the roads, grip is reduced and, as a result, a vehicle's ability to accelerate, brake and turn is also reduced. Here are a few winter driving tips that could help you drive safer while there's snow on the ground. Starting up - Roll into the gas pedal : When taking off, always apply very little pressure on the gas pedal and start to roll into it very slowly to avoid losing traction and spinning the wheels. - Start in 2nd gear : In manual/standard vehicles, especially those with high torque outputs, it may be helpful to start in 2nd gear as it will have less torque at the wheels and will be less likely to spin. - Don't keep spinning : If, while you're trying to get going, the wheels keep spinning but you are not moving, lift off the gas right away. For one, the tires most likely will keep spinning without going anywhere and you could dig the tires deeper in the snow. For another, if you actually start moving, you could damage the gears and be faced w

Winter Car Maintenance Tips

It's this time of the year again and I thought I would share a few winter maintenance tips that can be overlooked but they can keep a vehicle running better and more safely. 1- Tires They're the only components that connect your vehicle to the road. Regardless of the capability of a vehicle's drivetrain and suspension or how strong the brakes are, they will handle only as well as the tires allow them to. Always get snow tires and not summer or all season tires if snow stays on the ground. If you only get rain but no snow where you live, all season tires are a great choice. Check tread regularly to make sure the grooves are deep enough. Tires have wear bars which indicate  when the amount of tread left is unsafe for driving. Snow tires have two wear bars; one for dry/wet driving and one for snow driving. If the tread is at the taller wear bar (the snow wear bar), the tires are not safe for snow driving but may still be used in the rain or dry. If the tread reaches the

Super wagons, anyone?

What do you get when take a powerful V8, add a capable chassis, RWD or AWD and wrap it up in a 4 door shell with a large hatch behind the rear seat? Super wagons.. a super fast, tire shredding, grocery getters with performance that challenges supercars. Audi has just revealed its new Audi RS6 wagon with a 4.0 litre twin turbo V8 putting out 552 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Audi estimates a 0-62 mph time (0-100 km/h) of 3.9 s but judging by Motor Trend's test and dyno of the Audi S8 which uses basically the same engine, I expect the acceleration and output numbers to be on the conservative side. I wouldn't be surprised if the engine puts out about the same power as the one in the S8 but Audi just gave them different ratings to market this as being more sporty. The idea of a powerful people mover is nothing new. Large station wagons with powerful V8's were not unusual but, unfortunately, after the oil crisis of 1973, the power wars started to die. The power wars are back t

Handling a Nissan GTR on A Wet Track - A Closer Look

I have talked to many people who tried to argue that AWD gives the Nissan GTR a traction advantage over RWD competitors.. which is true. However, they argue that, because of the AWD drivetrain, the GTR has another advantage which is that it can be driven year round, in inclement weather. They also usually refer to the GTR's Nurburgring lap time as a wet lap time because the track was slightly damp at a few spots and that it would be several seconds faster if it had been completely dry. I disagree. The GTR's power and suspension setup isn't meant for all weather capability.. add that to a performance oriented AWD drivetrain, and all weather capability starts to seem very unlikely. The video shows an Audi A1 quattro with just over 250 hp that has no problem at all keeping up with a Nissan GTR, which has more than twice the power, on a wet course. In fact, at several points in the video, the Audi A1 seems like it had a good shot at passing the GTR. The advantages of th

How to deal with drunk drivers

Luckily, I haven't been involved with any drunk drivers but I know many people who have. It is never pleasant, whether there is a collision or not. I saw this video yesterday and decided to make a post about  it. The driver in the Subaru does appear to be drunk but, IMO, this is definitely NOT the way to deal with a drunk driver. The driving could have swerved violently across the lanes and hit this guy while he was passing. He could brake too quickly while you're close behind or accelerate and lose control while you're in front. MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Canada has been encouraging drivers to call 911 when they suspect there is a drunk driver and they list a few signs for drunk drivers:  - Driving unreasonably fast, slow or at an inconsistent speed  - Driving in and out of lanes  - Tailgating and changing lanes frequently  - Making exceptionally wide turns  - Changing lanes or passing without sufficient clearance  - Overshooting or stopping well bef






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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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

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 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

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