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SRT Viper ACR is coming!

Unsurprisingly, a more track focused Viper ACR has been confirmed for production (Viper GTS-R shown). SRT CEO Ralph Gilles has previously hinted at a Viper ACR but a high-level at Chrysler has confirmed to Motor Trend that a faster snake is already under development. Apparently, the reason for the delay is not budget or technical difficulties facing the SRT team. Rather, it's a problem with the tires.

The SRT team would like some of the sticky goodness wrapping the Corvette ZR1's wheels - the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires. However, Michelin wouldn't sell the tires to SRT. The Corvette team may have had something to do with it but that would be difficult to confirm. Either way, they are now pressing their supplier, Pirelli, to develop something comparable to the Pilot Sport Cup tires to be used on the Viper ACR. The development for the car and tires are expected to be done for the 2014 calendar year.

Along with upgraded tires, the ACR should receive a bunch of performance…

700 hp C7 Corvette Stingray ZR1 may be in the works!

The C7 Chevy Corvette - the Stingray - was revealed last month and the details are very promising (full post: The Stingray is back! Details about the new 2014 C7 Corvette). If we're to learn anything from the changes from C5 to the C6 Corvette, the C7 base and Grand Sport Corvettes will approach the performance of the current Z06. Carbon fibre bits and an all aluminum frame are now standard across all models. As a result the new car is 99 lbs lighter but the chassis 57% stiffer than the outgoing model. With the added help of 50/50 weight distribution and increased power, GM says the base model Stingray will be quicker than the current Grand Sport Corvette. That means the Z06 will have to move up a lot in performance and so will the ZR1.

The next ZR1 is expect to use a supercharged version of the new LT-1 V8 in the new base Corvette, much like the current Corvette ZR1 formula, with about 700 hp. The Z06 may keep its massive naturally aspirated 7.0 litre V8 but with more power. Fuel …

2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club vs. 2013 Scion FR-S - A Closer Look

When Jeremy Clarkson presented the Toyota GT-86 (Scion FR-S over here) and Subaru BRZ on Top Gear (Season 19 - Episode 3), he praised them for offering affordable RWD fun. With a balanced lightweight chassis, fuel economy tires (little grip) and RWD, the car offers the same sort of fun you can have in German RWD sports sedans, but with two exceptions - lack of power and a luxury car price tag. It sounds like a good formula but the case changes in North America because the domestics have that area covered - affordable, fun RWD cars and they've even got power to boot so marketing them that way won't work. What's the selling point then? The only advantage cars like the Mazda MX-5 offer over here is lightweight handling.

Motor Trend's comparison of $28k high performance two door cars that they had last year (full post: Comparison: $28K High-Performance Two-Door) used that advantage to choose the winner. I personally would buy the Mustang V6 if I were in the market with tha…

Details about the new 2014 Chevy SS

Chevrolet has finally revealed its much anticipated RWD flagship sedan. As expected, the car looks nearly identical to its Australian cousin, the Holden VF Commodore SS-V and bears great resemblance to the late Pontiac G8 GXP. Unlike the Holden and the Pontiac though, the Chevy will only be offered with a 6-speed automatic as the sole transmission option. This is disappointing for those of us who prefer to row their own gears but I doubt it will affect sales.




Since Dodge pulled out of NASCAR, this makes Chevrolet the only maker to have a RWD production vehicle (and a V8 one at that matter) using the same nameplate that's used for NASCAR. It, unfortunately, still isn't mechanically related to the race car but a shared name and front end is a good start.




It will be offered with the LS3 6.2 L V8 making 415 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque routed to the rear wheels and a 3.27 final drive ratio. Chevy is estimating a 0-60 time of about 5 seconds but I am expecting this to be overly cons…

Top 5 pictures from the Top Gear inbox

Top Gear posted a few funny/weird pictures of the (probably) very many that fans email to them (full post: A small selection from the TG inbox). There are quite a few so be sure to check all of them but here are my top 5:

Nurburgring Toaster: I would have toast every day just to use this and print a map of the Nurburgring on my breakfast.










Knowledge of British culture: This is one of the top 5 simply because it is true.





Evolution (or lack thereof) of the Porsche 911: I can just imagine Jeremy and Hammond fighting over this picture. Jeremy blaming Porsche's design department for being the laziest and Richard defending the design because it is aerodynamic. I do appreciate keeping heritage in car designs but it is still funny to look at.




Bugatti Veyron body kit: It is both sad and impressive that someone went through all the work to do this.



Lieber Nurburgring als Ehering: This translates to "Rather Nurburgring than wedding ring." It is stuck on the unmistakable back end of a …

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.…

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…

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.


The R32, R33, and R34 Skyline GT-R's used a system that looked basically identical to the traditiona…

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…