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The HPDE Instructor

In true Jeremy Clarkson fashion, I always found myself wondering "How hard can it be?" Not in a trivializing the effort kind of way. I just always heard about the safety risk. HPDE Instructors agree to trust a complete stranger not to kill them in a fiery crash, while said stranger pushes their car towards its limits and, in return, they teach you high performance driving. Trouble is: I have ridden shotgun in a very wide variety of cars that span a huge range of capabilities. I'm quite fond of my memory of a ride in a 997 GT2 RS so I always love an opportunity to mention that. I've been in GT3 RS's, a C6 Z06 on R-comps, M3's of various ages and ranging from stock to heavily modified, and plenty others. I have also been in stock GTI's, Miatas, and similarly capable cars. And I took them all with a giant grin on my face as some of the best drivers I know piloted them. I had no fear of the passenger seat. If an opportunity ever presented itself for me to

2018 Ford Mustang GT & EcoBoost Power Figures!

Horsepower figures are finally in! The 2018 Mustang GT will make 460 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque out of the updated 5.0 litre Coyote V8. For those keeping score, those are increases of 25 hp and 20 lb-ft torque over the outgoing and exactly 5 hp more than the Camaro SS but 35 lb-ft less torque than the torquey small block Chevy. Back in February when I posted about the updated Mustang ( 2018 Ford Mustang Upgrades ), I figured it will be at least as much as the Camaro SS and was optmistically thoping for 470 hp. Ford landed almost right in the middle. While The Camaro should have the advantage at low rpms, the Mustang will have the upper hand in the top end and I love a big displacement high revving V8. The EcoBoost also gets some love. Although hp stays the same at 310 hp, torque jumps to 350 lb-ft, which should make it feel much stronger in midrange. Both cars will now switch to the 10-speed automatic co-developed with GM, but they'll still offer a manual option of course. Bo

2017 Honda Civic Type R Test - A Closer Look

FWD is for kids. Anyone can go fast in a FWD car. Real drivers learn to handle RWD. That's what a buddy said when I was talking about managing throttle in FWD vs RWD in one of the turns on our track. Another friend of mine who is a diehard VW fan just bought a new Mk7 Golf R. Naturally, we argued about Golf R vs Focus RS as we've done countless times in the past. This time, though, the Civic Type R came up, and he said it doesn't matter because "it's FWD." If you agree with all of that, you can't take this new Type R seriously. You might as well stop reading now and move on. And frankly, Honda has done a pretty good job with the styling to convince you NOT to take this car seriously.. But you might be making a mistake. A proper, thoroughbred sports car needs to have RWD in my book. But we aren't talking about thoroughbreds here. We are talking about very-hot hatchbacks based on compact economy cars. So the question boils down to FWD or AWD? Well,

Four Seconds in a BMW M3 Race Car

This isn't what you think. It isn't about spending four seconds in a race car. That would be rather useless. Instead, it's about finding four seconds to take out of a lap time in a race car. More specifically, Rocket Racing's 1997 BMW M3 GT3 race car (link to the previous post  here  for more about the car!). I wasn't driving, of course. That would imply I lose four seconds in lap time around the track (ok, sorry John, that was a cheap shot). This is about John's acquaintance with his newly acquired 97 M3 GT3 race car. Don't worry though, although John (like I was just last year) is new to wheel to wheel racing, he is a true racer at heart. If you don't believe me, just read some of the world-class excuses he got: " I had 7 months  [off season]   of rust to shake off. " " I hate driving with new shoes. " " it was cold and a bit damp " " my tires still had the stickers on them " Ladies and gents, that

2014 BMW 335i xDrive M Sport Review

Post-refresh 2015 F30 3-series pictured.  Which is better, an F30 3-series or an E46? The F30 has certainly taken its fair share of heat. But if you thought I was going to say the E46, you'd be dead wrong. The F30 3-series is better. Far better. It is quicker, faster, safer, more practical, more efficient, more refined, quieter.. the list goes on. A lot of reviews and people I talk to consider the F30 to be an abomination. Frankly, I don't see it. You'd have to be mad to think the E46 is better. Completely out to lunch. I don't know who in their right mind would prefer the E46..  Trouble is, since when were people buying sports cars in their right minds? Here, lies the real problem. " Raw rather than refined in its noises, pounding ride, heavy clutch, 50 grand and cloth seats? " "..  and not at all shy about its performance compromises. It always acts like the automotive jock it is, every mile of every day. " " Raw and quite loud.. An

Rocket Racing's 97 BMW M3 GT3 - The Prologue

If you've followed this blog, you'd know I started racing last year. I was fortunate enough to be involved with one of the best race team in the region - Vantage Motorsports (link: The Ram's Eye Goes Racing! ). This year, my good friend John Drysdale, also fulfilled his dream of wheel to wheel to racing. That said, his start was much more dramatic than mine in the (excellent) IT-B '95 GTI race car. In his words: " How does one become a race car driver? Maybe more importantly, what makes someone a good race car driver? Maybe I have the odds stacked against me in this game called racing. I started on track with true tarmac and rubber when I was 32. To my benefit, I was imprinted, like a duckling, with cars from a very young age. My dads stacks of Road and Track, and Car and Driver, made an early impression. When I was seven years old I was drawing air cooled Porsche 911's (and in 2014, I got one). In the early 90's I was playing "Need for Speed&

2018 Ford Mustang Upgrades!

Ever since I bought my Mustang, I have been gradually growing loyal to the brand. I’m not sure why. I like a lot of different cars and never felt like picking a camp, but I guess when you buy a car, you start to have to defend its honour (and your decision) whenever someone takes a stab at it. For someone who is so into cars, I think only one of two things can happen: you are either convinced of what “foes” claim and start to regret your decision, or you find more conviction as you defend your decision and love the car even more. Count me among the latter and, needless to say, I was properly excited when I found out about the updates Ford is bringing to the 2018 Mustang. For starters, the Mustang finally (probably.. hopefully) will get its horsepower mojo back. When Ford unleashed its 5.0 litre Coyotes to prey on the competition circa 2010, it was basically undisputed. The Camaro SS was usually slower in tests. You couldn’t say Challenger R/T in the same breath; you had to go

AMG GT R First Drive - A Closer Look

Motor Trend basically started the first drive review (2nd paragraph) by saying that the folks at AMG have a sense of humour for naming this car "the Beast from the Green Hell." Maybe I don't get German sense of humour, but the joke is completely lost on me. Of course, that's assuming there is a joke there to begin with.. You see, I highly doubt the response AMG hoped for is a chuckle. And if I'm right, I think they can rest easy, because beasts aren't funny, and those that come from hell are probably less so, whatever colour that hell may be. Now, fierce, brutal, menacing, loud.. those are the things you might expect a beast to be. And if that name alone doesn't conjure any of those beastly characteristics, play the video below and skip to 0:28.   What a NOISE! This will be one of those cars that, should it roll up next to you at a traffic light, you quiet everyone down and roll down the windows to hear it pull away. If you'

Chevrolet 1LE & Grand Sport - How do they do it? Part 3

In Parts 1 and 2 (Links:  +Chevrolet  1LE & Grand Sport - How do they do it? Part 1 & Part 2 ), I concluded that grip is where Chevys excel and decided to try and figure out how they do that by looking at test data from Car and Driver's Lightning Lap features. The first thing that stood out to me when the 5th generation Camaro 1LE came out was the wider tires compared to the Mustang Track Pack of the time and even the Boss 302. The tires on the ZL1 and Z/28 stood out as much.. only on those, they stood out compared to just about anything that isn't a supercar. So I decided to start looking there; tire sizes. To evaluate tire sizes, I calculated a weight-to-tire-section ratio for each car. Similar to the idea of power to weight ratio, where the number tells you how much weight each hp is burdened with, this tells you how much weight each mm of tire section is burdened with, so to speak. For example, a BMW M235i weighs 3,490 lb, as tested during the LL feature. It






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.




🔥 Most Visited This Week

2007 Saleen Mustang S281 SC Super Shaker Track Review

"Who's your green student today?" asked a friend and instructor at the BMW Club Atlantic Advanced Driver Training (HPDE) weekend in June this year. I said: "The Saleen." The response was: "Oh, boy." Mustangs, generally, have a reputation for being more power than chassis. Mustang drivers have quite the reputation for.. how to put this nicely? Taking advantage of said power/chassis imbalance. To make matters worse, this particular Mustang was a supercharged Saleen, with a honkin' Shaker scoop sticking out of its hood. Did I mention it was also a convertible? And the owner was someone who's never been on track before but clearly has the speed bug. Having had a Mustang for years and driven a few on track, they don't scare me - generally speaking - but the combination of being convertible and supercharged with a new and excited owner worried me a little. Nevertheless, I shrugged it off and got excited about chatting with the owner to find

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

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

2014 BMW 335i xDrive M Sport Review

Post-refresh 2015 F30 3-series pictured.  Which is better, an F30 3-series or an E46? The F30 has certainly taken its fair share of heat. But if you thought I was going to say the E46, you'd be dead wrong. The F30 3-series is better. Far better. It is quicker, faster, safer, more practical, more efficient, more refined, quieter.. the list goes on. A lot of reviews and people I talk to consider the F30 to be an abomination. Frankly, I don't see it. You'd have to be mad to think the E46 is better. Completely out to lunch. I don't know who in their right mind would prefer the E46..  Trouble is, since when were people buying sports cars in their right minds? Here, lies the real problem. " Raw rather than refined in its noises, pounding ride, heavy clutch, 50 grand and cloth seats? " "..  and not at all shy about its performance compromises. It always acts like the automotive jock it is, every mile of every day. " " Raw and quite loud.. An