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Chevrolet 1LE & Grand Sport - How do they do it? Part 1

Recently, Chevrolets seem to have been punching far above their weights and a lot of people (myself included) are impressed. Sure, Corvettes have always been formidable track cars, but they're low, light, purpose-built, and didn't blow expectations - just provided excellent value. Now, all  +Chevrolet   track cars, especially Camaros, seem to be overreaching and, combined with excellent chassis tuning, have been doing wonders for GM's chassis engineers' image. I decided to take the time and do some research to try and figure out what GM is doing that others aren't (or can't). Before I start, I'd like to point out that this is based only on my own understanding and research, not an interview or publication by GM, so take that for what it's worth. Since I haven't posted about the latest of Chevy's track-focused models/trim packages, I thought I'd first take this opportunity and talk about what you get. Whether you're looking at a Cam

Car and Driver Lightning Lap 2016 - A Closer Look

Where did the time go? I unfortunately missed last year's feature. I did intend to post about it this year but haven't had the chance and it's already time for this year's feature. I thought I'd get this one done first and then go back to last year's (hopefully). The full article for this year's LL is here:  Car and Driver - Lightning Lap 201 6 . 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.  The Highs BMW M2 - 3:01.9 : Last year, a BMW M4 did 3:00.7. 1.2 seconds is all that separate the iconic M4 (an M3 coupe, really.. doesn't that sound better?) from this M2. And that one had the dual clutch transmission and carbon ceramic brakes. Opt for the manual, and you could very well be neck and neck. But you save *ahem* about $30,000 in the process, a little more if you're in Canada. That's what you need to get an M4 with the competition package, dual

2016 Camaro SS vs 2016 Mustang GT - Road Test

If you've come here for a new instrument head-to-head test, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. Although, for the sake of those who do want numbers, here they are from the most recent Car and Driver comparison test: 2016 Camaro SS 2016 Mustang GT 0-30 mph 1.6 s 1.7 s 0-60 mph 3.9 s 4.4 s 0-100 mph 8.9 s 10.5 s 1/4 mile 12.3 s @ 116 mph 13.0 s @ 112 mph braking 70-0 mph 147 ft 157 ft 300-ft dia.skidpad 0.98 g 0.94 g 610-ft slalom 43.9 mph 43.3 mph For some reason, Car and Driver tested an 8-speed auto Camaro and a 6-speed manual Mustang, so figure you'll lose a tenth or two with a manual; the gap is still clear. The new Camaro SS out accelerates, out brakes, and out grips the new (now almost two years old) Mustang. And I'm not here to tell you otherwise. If you're reading this, chances are, you'v

Mods and Update: Focus RS vs Golf R vs WRX STI vs Evo X

Earlier this month, I introduced the cars that we'll be testing in a comparison. The cars included a Focus RS, a Mk7 Golf R, a 4th gen WRX STI and an Evo X. Unfortunately, the Evo X will not be making it, but the other three are still in, so I thought I'd take some time to post the update and shed more light on the cars. I wanted to have a 100% stock car comparison. I really did. Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen. Well, for most of the cars anyway. The Golf R and the STI are modified, whereas the RS is stock. If you're curious, the Evo X was also modified. All have very few modifications. The Golf R went the way that seems to be very popular - tune and exhaust. It also has an intake. I asked the owner to return the tune to stock, which he agreed to do, and said he might take the intake out too. Exhaust, though, is a lot tougher to get out. He has a full turbo back exhaust so he didn't want to take it out. I can't blame him. As a result, the car wi

2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 - Faultless?

Sitting in the Paddock lookin’ pretty. Picture by Graham MacNeil (Instagram @ns_streetscene)  Driving cars fast is similar to playing and composing music. You can’t produce good music in all genres in the same way. You have to pay attention to scales, beats, appropriate tempo, chords, etc. In much the same way, different types of cars like to be driven differently to reward you. Depending on the handling balance of the car (understeer, neutral, or oversteer), weight distribution, polar moment, yaw axis location, driven wheels, etc. Luckily, I had a chance to find what the Cayman GT4 is like. I was asked to come for ride on track on a lapping day I went to ( lapping day post here ) to ride in a Porsche Cayman GT4. Needless to say, I took it. Although there is a lot you can’t tell about a car from the passenger seat, you can still judge quite a few things. Plus, I have been a passenger in a lot of cars on the track, stock, modified, and built, ranging from humble SRT4's and

Porsche Cayman V8

Well, it looks like someone figured out how to improve a Porsche Cayman.. This could inflict some (very) serious damage. A buddy of mine said Porsche purists will begin to die (as a result). That's probably true, and for that, I do apologize. However, look at this way. Porsche took away the flat six out of the Cayman and stuffed a turbo 4 in its place in the new Caymans.. At least this is naturally aspirated and (I can say from experience) is beautifully linear, and of course powerful. What better way to stick it to Porsche than effectively removing the turbo and doubling the cylinder count?

Natal Day 2016 AFRA Lapping Day

I went back to the track earlier this week for a lapping day organized by the Atlantic Formula Racing Association ( AFRA ). Turnout was great and weather was nice. There were quite a few Mustangs, actually, something I haven't seen since the S197 Boss 302's were released. This Natal Day, there was a '13 or '14 Mustang V6, first time I had seen a V6 Mustang on the track. The V6 Mustang didn't sound bad at all and had quite a few modifications. Its pace was better than I had expected too. There were also two 2015 Mustang GT's, 3 Boss 302's (two 2012's and one 2013 - all white! The fastest colour, of course.), and there was one Shelby.. a GT350R. Beautiful car and it sounded awesome.  I (very unfortunately) did not get a chance to take a video to capture the noise since we typically were on the track at the same time (but different sections). I'll try to make sure to capture it next time. For now, here are a couple of pictures.

Intro: Focus RS vs Golf R vs WRX STI vs Evo X

You read that right. We're going to put these cars to the test, including the highly anticipated 350 hp Focus RS, not just on the street, but also on our very own excellent local track - Atlantic Motorsport Park . We will hit the track first in September to learn two of the cars and then back in October to learn the other two cars and set lap times in all four. We will also take them on the street to see which one is more comfortable  (although we won't care as much about that portion because, well, we don't). But first, let's introduce the cars. The WRX STI and Evo X are very well established. They're to AWD turbo compacts what Mustangs and Camaros are to muscle cars. They have huge followings and very loyal fans and, regardless of which is on top, they both are very capable and are the result of years of experience and continuous improvement. The Golf R isn't exactly new, now in its second generation, and it has been with us in one form

Porsche Club of America (PCA) - Acadia Region Track Daze

Last week, I spent another couple of days at our track with the local PCA to participate in their annual High Performance Driving School ( Track Daze - link here ). There was great turnout with plenty of cool cars, including the new 991 GT3 RS in the picture below, which you can also see (and, more importantly, hear) pass me in the video at the end of the post at 5:55. Weather did not disappoint either, presenting us with a dry track for two full days. This is the first time I have been able to attend, as PCA run their schools on weekdays and I wasn't able to find time the last few years. Luckily, this year, I planned it well in advance and made it there. The school has four run groups - Green for novice students, Yellow for intermediate students, Red for advanced students and newer instructors, and Black for experienced instructors. The local BMW club - BMW Club Atlantic - also arranges HPDS's ( Advanced Driver Training - link here ), which I have been going to sin






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