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Car and Driver's Lightning Lap 2014 - A Closer Look

Yes, Lightning Lap 2014! I thought they were going to skip 2014 all together but luckily they didn't. I know it has been available for a while in the paper magazine but I am not subscribed so I wait for it to be available online to read it. The full article is here: Car and Driver - Lightning Lap 2014 . This is easily one of my favourite magazine features of the year. As always, my car picks aren't necessarily very quick or slow. They simply did much better or much worse than I excepted them to. With that said, I would like to get one car out of the way. The Focus ST. The Highs: LL1 (Up to $35,000) - Ford Focus ST:  This car made it to last year's feature, Lightning Lap 2013, and it was on my "Lows" list ( Car and Driver's Lightning Lap 2013 - A Closer Look ). It posted a very mediocre-for-the-class 3:21.4. I said last year that "I wouldn't be surprised if, with more seat time on the track and a true limited slip differential, the Focus ST ma

How-to install Axle Back on 2011-2014 Mustang V6, GT, Boss 302 & GT500

There are plenty of videos and write-ups online about how to install axle backs but I couldn't find any covering installation while the car is on ramps with little room. I don't know for sure if all the models are identical since I only have experience with the Boss 302 but I don't see why Ford would over complicate it and mount mufflers differently so I included all models in the title to make it easier to find when searching. The first thing to keep in mind is safety. Disconnect negative battery terminal, ensure that the mufflers aren't too hot before you tackle this and wear safety glasses. I also feel more comfortable using ramps over jack and jack stands but if you use jack, make sure you secure the car on jack stands and not rely on the jack. I use Rhino ramps and so far, they haven't shown any sign of stress. I highly recommend them. If you use ramps, make sure that the tires are centered on the ramps. Tools: Drive extension bar Drive extension bar wit

2012 Mustang Boss 302 - Heartthrob Flowpack Axle Back Exhaust

A few weeks ago, I started the car up and realized that I forgot something so I ran back in to grab it and when I walked out, I noticed that there's a lot more vapour pouring out of the side pipes than the rears (as the car was warming up). I read many articles that said Ford designed the side pipes for noise and they flow very little compared to the rears. It certainly seemed like there's more flow through the sides than the rear (although I do have the side baffles completely removed). After that, I decided that I wanted an axle back exhaust. I'm obviously not expecting any power gains (nothing more than a couple hp anyway) but I was ready to turn up the decibels! I decided on the Heartthrob Flowpack kit (the picture above is of a Mustang GT from Heartthrob's website, not mine) and bought it from American Muscle. I was very pleased with shipping. It shipped on the same day despite ordering in the afternoon and it only took one week to deliver despite being in

2015 Ford Mustang GT vs 2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS - A Closer Look

Well, this comparison was bound to happen. A 2015 Mustang GT equipped with the Performance Package vs a 2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS equipped with the 1LE package. Before we get to the numbers, let's look at how these performance oriented packages improve on the regular spec models. The Mustang Performance Package ($2,495 USD/$3,700 CAD) adds the following: Chassis stiffening through a Strut-tower Brace and a K-Brace A Larger Radiator Unique Chassis Tuning Upsized Rear Sway Bar Heavy-Duty Front Springs K-Brace Brembo 6-Piston Front Brake Callipers with Larger Rotors (15") 19" x 9" front and 19" x 9.5" rear wheels (Gloss Black Aluminum) Unique Stability Control, EPAS (Electronic Power Assisted Steering) & ABS Tuning 3.73 TORSEN Rear Axle (differential) The rear wheel size is 0.5" wider than those on the outgoing Mustang with the Track Pack which used 19" x 9" wheels front and rear. It also gets 255/40/19 front and

Dodge pulls factory-backed Viper from Road Racing

Very depressing news came from Dodge today when it announced that it will pull its factory-backed SRT Motorsports Viper from the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship after the 2014 season. This is just within days of multiple wins. SRT Motorsports won the 2014 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GTLM-class driver and team championships in the season-ending Petit Le Mans 10-hour endurance race at Road Atlanta just two days ago, Saturday, October 4. It also finished second in the GTLM manufacturer championship, all in just its second full year of the program. This and a strong heritage for Viper in road racing means that success can't be the problem. Why is Dodge pulling the plug? It is unclear but, according to Ralph Gilles, Senior Vice President of Product Design at Chrysler, it is a business decision. He said: “Our company has made a business decision to discontinue the SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper GTS-R racing program. We are very proud of the amazing achievements our

2015 Mustang GT breaks into the 11's in the 1/4 mile!

It went 11.77 seconds to be exact and past the traps at 116 mph and that's with minor modifications. The modifications were courtesy of the folks at Ford Racing. They recently got a hold of three 2015 Mustangs, one with the 2.3L EcoBoost engine making 310 hp and two GT's with the 5.0L V8 making 435 hp. The power modifications are minor for two of the three Mustangs. The 2.3 EcoBoost gets a "Prototype Off-Road Exhaust" which most likely means there are no catalytic converters or "cats", a more free flowing exhaust and a tune. One of the GT's gets the same off-road exhaust treatment and a tune plus "ARH Cobra Jet Long Tube Headers". In the video, they say they did "a few changes to the air intake system but basically these are close to what any consumer can buy" so they may have included a K&N drop-in filter which FRPP Performance Packs for the 2014 Mustang GT included or an aftermarket CAI with a cone style filter.

Motor Trend Best Driver's Car 2014 - A Closer Look

This year's Best Driver's Car probably surprised many people because the winner was a lowly Camaro. A car that some people would argue is a muscle car, not even a sports car. With that said, let's start with the highs. As always, it's important to note that picking a car as an impressive or disappointing one doesn't mean it is quick or slow. It just means that, in my opinion, the car did much better or much worse than I excepted it to. The Highs: 2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 - 1:37.82 : This is obvious. It's a Camaro and it won. It's a blue collar's hero, a car with humble beginnings. Many will argue that it isn't a blue collar anymore with a price tag just north of $70,000 but the last time a car with the same task and equally humble beginnings tried to take on purpose built cars, the Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca, it finished in 5th place (Motor Trend Best Driver's Car 2011). The last time a Camaro tried to do the same feat, it fin

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 S

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 ad

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 mea






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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Falken Azenis RT615k+ Street and Track Review

Last year, I picked up a 2009 Lancer Ralliart to do a long term test with it as a dual duty track/daily. One of the first things I knew I was going to do was put a decent set of tires on it. The car came without OEM wheels which was actually good because I didn't have to hesitate about getting a good set of aftermarket wheels to support going wider. Thankfully, my friends at YST Auto Halifax  set me up with a great set of Superspeed RF03RR wheels. The Wheels I had never even heard of Superspeed but I trusted the good folk at YST Auto who mentioned some customer cars running on track with them. These wheels are rotary forged which is basically a prerequisite to be taken seriously in this market populated by companies like TSW and Fast Wheels. The wheels looked like a high quality, well finished wheel and each had a "QC" check sticker on. Just for appearances? Maybe, but I found no defects. The wheels seemed easy to balance (didn't need many weights) and at 18.1 lb. f

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 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