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Motor Trend Best Driver's Car 2014 - Laguna Seca Hot Laps & Lap Times

Well, it's this time of the year again for Motor Trend's Best Driver's Car feature. The full feature and the drag race is not available yet but quick reviews have been posted for the contenders as well as lap times (everyone loves lap times, right?).

I will post a rundown of the cars that surprised and disappointed me the most when the full reviews are available but for now, enjoy the above car introductions and specs as well as hot laps and lap times around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. I have posted the most recent video, which is of the 2015 Nissan GT-R Nismo. From there, you can go back through videos by clicking on the video insert next to "PREVIOUS VIDEO" or "NEXT  VIDEO" between the 2:30 mark and the 2:40 mark depending on the car's lap time. This year's entrants are the following:

2015 VW Golf GTI - 1:50.11
2015 BMW M4 - 1:39.69
2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S - 1:35.62
2015 Alfa Romeo 4C (Launch Edition) - 1:43.78
2015 Subaru WRX STI (Launch Edi…

Cadillac Flagship Named - Cadillac CT6

It's official, Cadillac will finally have a large, luxury, flagship sedan. It's going to be called the CT6. Why the departure from the now-familiar three letter nomenclature? According to Cadillac, the name indicates a coming shift to a simplified naming convention for future Cadillac models. Under this strategy, familiar lettering like “CT” would be used for car models, with the number indicating the relative size and position of the cars in the hierarchy of Cadillac models. Uwe Ellinghaus, Cadillac chief marketing officer, said: “As we expand the portfolio, we can assist consumers in placing the cars within a structure, as they compare cars both within our showroom and across the market generally.”

BMW and Audi use numeric digits to indicate the hierarchy of their lineups and that's probably what Cadillac is after. While I am a much bigger fan of actual names for car models, I think this strategy will work well for Cadillac going forward. Cadillac plans on using advance…

2012 Mustang Boss 302 - Last Lapping Day of 2014

I went back to the track yesterday, Sept 20, and was hoping to at least get into 1:21.x and 1:20.x if I'm lucky. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. There was plenty of traffic and I could only get a few clean laps in. My recorded best of the day was 1:23.2 with plenty of 1:23.x laps throughout the day. This is 1.2 seconds slower than my last track day best of 1:22.0 (Post: Track Progress & Goals) but on my best lap, I had to get on the brakes on the front straight due to traffic so I know I would have been in the 1:22's.

I also had a friend with me in the car during most of the sessions and I had a best time of 1:23.4 while he was in the car. I don't know how to adjust for additional weight on our track (or any other track for that matter) but if we use the rule of thumb for 1/4 mile drag racing, 0.1 sec/100 lb, that would be 0.64 sec/100 lb for our 1.6 mile track. My friend is around 200 lb. so that should be worth approximately 1.3 second which would mean the 1:…

Michelin Pilot Super Sport Review

I recently replaced my worn out Continental ExtremeContact DW with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. I don't know how they are at high speed (say +120 mph) because our local track doesn't have long straights but traction out of corners is phenomenal compared to the stock Pirellis and Contis. They take the heat better too, more stable over the length of a lapping session.

The car is a 2012 Mustang Boss 302. Sizes are 265/35/18 fronts and 285/35/18 rears on TSW Nurburgring 18" x 9.5" wheels at all for corners. All wheels are downsized in diameter from the stock 19" and the front wheels are wider compared to the stock 9" fronts. Front tires are also wider, compared to the stock size which is 255/40/19.
If you're considering pulling the trigger on a set of Michelin PSS's to use on the street/track, I highly recommend it.

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - Track Progress & Goals

I haven't been back to a time attack event since June of last summer (Post: What is the best mod to cut down lap times?) so I haven't been able to keep track of my laps and see if I'm moving in the right direction. That is, until a few weeks ago. I finally found a good track app for lap times, Track Addict, so I was able to start recording. It's free, has great recording features and even includes our local, humble track, Atlantic Motorsport Park. The app stores up to three sessions at a time. A session is defined by when you start recording to when you stop recording or come to a stop, not a single lap so it's great. There is a pro version which removes the three-session limit and I imagine it brings additional features but it obviously isn't free. I have been very satisfied with the free version so I haven't upgraded yet.

Now let's get to the times. My previous best-time (last year) at our local track was 1:25.2 which was done on this setup:

TracKeyOE…

2015 Ford Mustang GT First Test - A Closer Look

The test everyone has been waiting for - the all new 2015 Mustang GT. Let's get straight to the numbers and compare them to the now-last-generation Mustang GT:

                                              2014 Mustang GT                     2015 Mustang GT

0-60 mph                    :                    4.4 s                                           4.4 s
1/4 mile                      :         12.8 s @ 112.2 mph                 12.7 s @ 111.7 mph
60-0 mph braking       :                   107 ft                                        110 ft
Average lateral g        :                   0.96 g                                       0.96 g
Motor Trend figure-8  :            24.7 s @ 0.85 g                          25.0 s @ 0.77

Since the two cars were tested on different days, comparing the exact differences aren't relevant but the conclusion that can be drawn is that the new Mustang GT is not a leap in terms of acceleration. I doubt that the change from the solid axle to an …

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 …

Ferrari LaFerrari - That Noise

I am sure different people will watch this video and think of different things. The video is a Motor Trend Ignition video of a test of the 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari. There are many things to think about.. the the horsepower figure, the performance capabilities, and cost are probably among the first aspects that come of this car that come to mind. All are substantial. The fact that it comes across civilized and well mannered is even better. But I can't help but think of one thing; the noise.





It actually isn't so much about the noise of this car itself. It is more about the "contrast". The contrast between the glorious noise that this car makes and the soulless, muffled, disappointing noise that Ferrari's F1 car. I have already made a post earlier this season about the 2014 Spec F1 cars and I said that they don't sound bad but the more F1 races I watch, the more disappointed I get. I would actually be far more excited to listen to a LaFerrari in person than an F1…

Is A Manual 2015 Chevrolet SS Coming?

When the Chevrolet SS was first announced, I assumed that the decision between the SS and the Charger SRT8 wouldn't be difficult. Assuming no brand loyalty and narrowing your choices down to full size sedans with good ole' American muscle, the choice would come down to your driving style. The Chevy SS would be your favourite of you're more of a canyon carver and the Charger would be your choice if you wanted more of a grand tourer, judging by the fact that the Camaro is smaller and sharper than the Challenger. Chevrolet may want to give buyers another reason to consider the SS though, as Motor Trend sources report that the SS may be getting a six-speed manual transmission and magnetic ride control suspension. 
Full size sedan with a V8 in the front, power going to the back and a manual transmission? Seems too good to be true. I don't know if a manual would make the car any quicker because GM builds a good auto and I believe I have read a few times that the six speed a…

GM Doesn't Want You to Clone The Camaro Z/28

After Ford re-introduced the Boss 302 and Boss 302 Laguna Seca, many parts became available such as the wheels, the front splitter and more. The GT500 spoiler has long been a favourite amount many Mustang owners (myself included - I have a genuine GT500 spoiler on my Boss 302). GM doesn't want you to be able to do that, though. To prevent people from borrowing design cues or all out cloning the mighty Camaro Z/28, GM is restricting sale of 35 parts to only those who own the car.  The restricted parts include the brake callipers and carbon ceramic rotors, forged wheels, helical differential, half shafts, seats and many aerodynamic parts such as the fender flares, rocker panels, rear spoiler and more.




Here is a  list of parts (courtesy of GM Authority) including part numbers:

22958646 ROTOR-FRT BRK
22958647 ROTOR-RR BRK
22958658 CALIPER ASM-FRT BRK
22958607 CALIPER ASM-FRT BRK
22958637 CALIPER ASM-RR BRK
22958634 CALIPER ASM-RR BR
23179350 MOLDING ASM-RKR PNL
23179351 MOLDING ASM-R…






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…