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Mazda MX-5 (Miata) Defy Convention

Defy Convention.. that's how Mazda sums this ad. The ad starts out with a group of cars, all of which are convertibles faster than an MX-5 (Miata), lined up to set up for a drag race. The Mazda, an uninvited guest according to the ad, shows up as they're getting ready to launch and just before they take off, it starts "raining" (later in the ad you learn that a water truck starts dumping water on the track). As soon as it starts raining, they all "race" to put their top up before they take off and the Mazda gets the top up the quickest, takes off and finishes the 1/4 mile first. I have no problem with a good play on words for ads. I love creative advertising. In this case, "the world's fastest convertible" is the one that takes the least amount of time to put the top up. The problem I have with the ad is the selling message. The Miata has never been about features. It has never been luxury, speed or power. It is isn't even abou

2014 Corvette Stingray gets 30 mpg, rated at 29 mpg EPA highway!

How does it get 30 mpg, yet it's rated at "only" 29 mpg on the highway? Well, you may remember from an earlier post -  Corvette Stingray makes 460 hp!  - that one of the new engine technologies for the Corvette is Active Fuel Management (AFM) which saves fuel by shutting down half of the engine's cylinders under light load driving conditions. Many enthusiasts, myself included, were not too sure what to think about the AFM technology from a performance perspective. Will throttle response be delayed or dull to prevent firing up all 8 cylinders? Will the auto transmission shifts be slower or hunt for a higher gear on the highway to activate AFM? These are among the questions that were worrying me but, as it turns out, enthusiasts need not worry. At the live reveal of the Corvette earlier this year -  The Stingray is back!  - Chevy announced that the car will be available with a 5-mode Driver Mode Select (DMS) feature which varies attributes like active

Discount Tire Direct - A Canadian Order That's Tough to Beat

Last December, I bought light weight 18" wheels to replace the heavier 19" stock wheels. I had been planning on doing it this summer but I was forced to do it at the time (find out why here ). I always have several automotive parts website bookmarked. Whenever I want to buy something, I open up the related sites (in this case Tire Rack, Discount Tire Direct, 1010Tires, etc.) and decide (mostly) based on prices and shipping charges, the latter are often a lot for orders shipping from the US to Canada. I ended up on Discount Tire Direct  (DTD) because they had the best prices and they were very helpful over the phone. I was happy to find good service but was very disappointed that Discount Tire had the best prices.. let me explain. If you go to the home page of 1010Tires , you'll see "We are Canadian, Eh! All Canadian orders are shipping from Canada, Pay no duties, Pay no brokerage fees, etc." A clear selling message that if you're in Canada and you buy

Got'er fixed - The Boss is all set to go!

Last time I took my car to the track, a 2012 Mustang Boss 302, I had a steering issue occur more than once, where it seemed like power steering cut off temporarily for less than a second at a time (full post: 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - Back at the track! ). I took the car to the dealership, Steele Ford , and they asked me a few questions about the issue when I went to drop it off. As is the case with any sports cars owners, I was reluctant to say that the problem occurred on the track. There's a long track record (see what I did there?) of dealerships refusing warranty work on a car simply because the tires of it touched the asphalt of a road course, regardless of whether the cause of the problem is abusing the car on a track. Nevertheless, I decided to be honest to better help them diagnose the problem and to put trust in them in the hope of them putting trust back in me. Well, I was not disappointed. They said they'll look at it and see if they find any codes and

K-Car treasure - The ultimate 1987 Dodge Aries race car!

If you've been looking for a car but haven't been able to find the perfect opportunity, look no further! Here's an excellent 1987 Dodge Aries that also happens to have racing pedigree. Yes, this is a Kijiji K-Car race champion! Max Karpinccho piloted this car to victory against Bolt Lundgren and got his pride back. The best part is that you could be the new lucky owner because it is up for sale and for a good cause. This performance machine isn't a one trick pony, though. Despite the excellent performance and race-tuned suspension, it has a full interior and a premium Alpine sound system so it could be a family car all week and a track warrior on the weekend. Forget the Mercedes Benz 190E Cosworth and the BMW M3 - this is genesis of the sports sedan. The car will be on sale until July, 8th, 2013 and Kijiji will match the selected buyer's offer (up to $10,000) and donate the total sum to Habitat for Humanity . If you're interested in this gem,

Just how fast is the new Corvette Stingray?

Chevrolet released official performance numbers for the 2014 Corvette Stingray and they're nothing short of impressive. When equipped with the Z51 Performance Package, Chevrolet estimates that it will be able to get from 0 - 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and cover the 1/4 mile in 12.0 seconds at 119 mph. With braking performance of 60-0 mph in 107 ft and the ability to sustain 1.03 g in cornering, handling is just as impressive. In the hands of Jim Mero, Corvette vehicle dynamics engineer, the Stingray is capable of lapping Virginia International Raceway's (VIR) 4.2 mile Grand Course in 2:51.78. The lap was done in a Stingray equipped with the Z51 Performance Package and Magnetic Ride Control. The only modifications made to the car were the addition safety features, such as a racing seat and harness along with a fire extinguisher system. Luckily, VIR is the track that Car and Driver uses for their annual Lightning Lap event so a large database of lap times is available

Cadillac CTS finally gets a proper price tag!

GM finally announced pricing for the new, 2014 Cadillac CTS and it was given a proper price tag to match the move upwards Cadillac made with the 2014 model year (full post: 2014 Cadillac CTS ). The current and previous CTS models have been stuck between the compact and midsize luxury segments and their sizes and prices reflected that. Now that Cadillac has a proper entry into the compact segment, the ATS, the CTS can comfortably move into the midsize luxury segment. The third generation CTS sedan grows in size and interior space. It is now five inches longer than the outgoing model and interior space reflects the increased size. Despite the increase in size, the new car is 244 lb. lighter than the previous model and sits lower which should give it handling dynamics to match the excellent ATS. The CTS is expected to be the lightest car in its segment. The 2013 CTS standard model will start at $46,025, including $925 destination fee, which is an increase of $6,005 over the

2014 Chevrolet SS Pricing Announced - MSRP of $44,470

Chevrolet revealed details about the flagship sedan, the Chevy SS, earlier this year ( Details about the new 2014 Chevy SS ) but pricing has only been announced a couple of weeks ago. When it goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2013, it will carry an MSRP of $44,470 in the US, including a $995 destination fee. Unfortunately, the SS will not be sold in Canada. The car will come standard with a long list of features such as: High intensity discharge (HID) headlamps with light emitting diode (LED) daytime running lamps (DRL) Automatic Parking Assist Chevrolet MyLink with a color touch screen and GPS-based navigation system Bose premium audio system - including SiriusXM radio (with 12-month trial) Color head-up display and color driver information centre Dual-zone automatic climate control Alloy pedal covers Heating and ventilated front seats with memory Side Blind Zone Alert and Lane Departure Warning Rear-vision camera with rear park assist Keyless access and pu

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - Back at the track!

A few weeks ago, I took my car - a 2012 Mustang Boss 302 - to the track for the first time this summer. Head to  2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - Doing what it does best!  to find out what modifications I made and how I liked it last summer, stock, and how I like it so far this summer after modifications! This time, I'm back at the track with the local BMW club - BMW Club Atlantic - for a high performance driving school (HPDS) that I attend annually. The school is arranged twice a year and each time, it runs for an entire weekend. Each day, there are 2 sessions of slaloms and accident avoidance exercises and 2 lapping sessions for a total of 8 sessions on the track. Classroom sessions that go for 15 to 30 minutes run between each track session where vehicle dynamics and track etiquette are discussed. It is a very comprehensive school and between the 1-on-1 instructor time and classroom sessions, there's a lot to be learned for those who are trying to improve. If you're l

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - Doing what it does best!

It was 6:30 a.m. and I was already up and getting ready to leave. It wasn't for work - I'm usually not awake until 7:30 a.m. on workdays. I also didn't need to grab or prepare lunch. I did grab a couple of items, though, my helmet and my second car key - the track key (TracKey), for the first day at the track this summer. The local track - Atlantic Motorsport Park  (AMP) - is about an hour away. I filled up the car and a 10 litre gas tank and headed to the track. I arrived shortly after 8:00. The last time I was at the track before then was the last weekend of August, 2012, and I have been counting down the weekends since then. Once I arrived at the track, saw the line up of cars and heard a few idling engines, it seemed like it was only last weekend that I had been there last. Now let's get to the important stuff - the car. I've had the car on the track before. Initial impressions were excellent. I bought my car "used" with 230 miles on the cloc






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 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

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

How would a Mustang 3.5L EcoBoost compare to the 5.0L V8?

Ever wonder how a 3.5 litre EcoBoost might fair against the 5.0 litre V8 in the Mustang? Of course you have. Ever since Ford dropped it in the F150 (and perhaps well before), everyone has been wondering how it would perform. There are basically two camps; those who think it would be awesome because of tuneability and power potential and those who think it means the death of the V8 in the Mustang. If you are in the latter group, we seem to be good so far with continuous upgrades to the 5.0 litre Coyote and the brand new Shelby GT500 which still uses a supercharged V8 as it has been for over a decade and multiple iterations. But what if... Well, it seems we are closer than ever to finding out the answer to that question. American Trucks recently got together two crew cab, short box, 4x4 F150's but one has the 5.0 litre V8 and the other has the 3.5 litre EcoBoost V6. There has been a few comparisons between 5.0 litre and 3.5 litre EB F150's, but this seems to be the most di

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