main

Event

Spring Matsuri

21st March 2017 — by Dave Cox

Pic-021-960x603.jpg

So it was my first ever Drift Matsuri. And being one of two yearly events this spring Matsuri event took place at Rockingham Motor Speedway, East Midlands.

I set out on my 3.5 hour journey at early hours of Saturday morning to and get to the venue as early as possible and get the most out of the weekend.

The journey was super smooth in my old Mercedes, which made it extra enjoyable traveling up. Arriving at the track I was immediately overwhelmed with the sheer amount of effort people have put into their cars, and the variation was incredible.

The word ‘Matsuri’ meaning festival in Japanese was clearly shown here, by the chilled and party-like atmosphere, inside and out of the pits.

Using 3 separate tracks meant there was action to be seen from all angles. 1 of them being used on the Sunday for the Drift Cup Round 1.

Apart from shooting trackside I also took the opportunity to catch up with some old mates (fellow photographers, organisers and drivers). Which is the great thing about the drifting community; it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been away from it you can jump straight back into the deep end and it was like you’ve never left.

Hearing feedback from drivers of the event was very positive, and the main thing they all loved was that they could drive next to whoever. Whether it be a learner, streeto hoon or a BDC pro. It was all in the name of drifting and having fun.

From 600bhp animals to 100bhp low powered clutch kickers all the drivers gave it a shot.

That aside it is a real shame that other drift events in the UK aren’t as entertaining as this, and show as much of a variety of cars and driving styles.

What we can’t forget is that there are so many styles out there and not one of them is wrong, as they all have their place. Even the cars in the car park were on another level!

Overall it was a really enjoyable weekend and a great event to go to after having so much time out from it all.

Words & Pics: Al Hughes

News

The New McLaren 720S

10th March 2017 — by Dave Cox

McLaren-720S-2018-1600-0e-960x720.jpg

Good vehicle design challenges your predisposition.

Car manufactures over the last decade or two have been doing this for a while with each incremental update. BMW comes to mind here when they released the last of the E series cars. I remember seeing the 5 series and thinking “Hmm, not sure I like that” but within a couple of days I had totally come round the new design language. And I think it is important that manufactures keep on challenging our ideals. For if they follow the same styling cars will quickly date.

Sure, sometimes it doesn’t work out so well, consider the FIAT Multipla, that remains as ugly now as it did the day it was dreamt up. The same could be said about the Nissan Juke. Ahead of the Geneva motorshow, I saw a few blurry and low res pictures of the new McLaren 720S and I couldn’t really work out what was going on.

Come Wednesday morning my feed was full of pictures of the 720S, more importantly, they were clear and I could finally see what McLaren had been up to. My initial thoughts were that of confusion. I love McLaren, I always have, in my eyes, they can do no wrong. But now I wasn’t sure, is it ugly? Can I even say that?

The first point of contention for me was the “eye sockets” that now adorn the front of the car. From anything other than a dead front they appeared almost garish, like a set of poorly chosen sunglasses. For me it really disrupted the flow of the car. It was an odd choice as I have always thought that McLaren’s headlights have been cleverly integrated into the flow of the design.

Secondly the seemingly continuous change in surfaces across the bodies skin was a bit busy for my liking. From a side profile, it made it difficult to read. Things weren’t looking good, this was not the McLaren I had known and loved.

To be honest, these feelings lasted all of about 24 hours. I watched a few videos on the car, listened to McLaren talk about the innovations they had made and looked at really impressive imagery by Dean Smith and I could finally appreciate the way it looked. It is all in the details with this car, the “eye sockets” are not only there to house the improved headlights but also low temperature radiators. When you think about it, that is quite a clever way of designing the front end, no more large open grilles at the front of the car.

The “fussy” sculpted side is all about funnelling air to the intakes and holding turbulent are closer to the car all in the aid of improving down force. Speaking of which, this car actually produces 50% more down force than the 675LT before it! That is enormous! Not to mention that this car will also do 212mph!!!

McLaren have also developed “Carbon Tub II” for this project. A lighter stiffer tub which improves weight, torsional rigidity and allow for much better visibility. Having had a ride in a few McLaren’s I can say that being able to see out of these cars was never their weak point. To improve it must make it a joy to drive. I am thinking more along the lines a fighter jet canopy. The speedometer folds away neatly when the car turns off and also when you engage sport mode. I turns into a race car inspired rev-counter. Now that is just cool!

What do you think? Are you still struggling with the way it looks? Or have you come round to the new look of McLaren?

Words: Dave Cox (ShootingDave)
Pictures: McLaren – NetCarShow.com

News

The New Honda Civic Type R

8th March 2017 — by Dave Cox

Honda-Civic_Type_R-2018-1600-01-960x720.jpg

The all new Honda Civic Type R, what you saying?!

This is a car I have been waiting to talk about for a while. I have known about it for some time now as my day job is creating CGI imagery for Honda (UK, EU and US). So I am keen to hear what you think? How do you like it the new look?

For me, this is the Civic Type R they meant to build last time round. It seems more of a complete package, purposely designed body panels and aggressive looks. The 2015 version was an impressive car but the panels felt like they were just stuck on, like it was a body kit you could buy off the shelf. The vents were there purely for aesthetics rather than being functional. I was also slightly disappointed that it didn’t stay closer to the concept. It is still impressive too look at but if you were to approach from the rear or side and squint your eyes a lot of that aggressiveness went away.

That is where the 2018 model comes into it’s own, who would of thought that it would be pretty much remain so true to the original concept? Well done Honda!

The widened fenders are single pieces now, the bonnet has a very Subaru-esque scoop on it (not a bad thing if you ask me). A feature on the standard Civic 5 door was the large “vents” underneath the headlights. For me they didn’t really have a place, on the Type R, they seem far more justified.

The rear has some new features too. Most notably the 3 exhaust pipes. I am told by the chaps at Honda that the centre exhaust is an external wastegate from the turbo. I could be proven wrong but lets hope I am not. The rear wing is bigger, more aggressive and chunkier. It seem to be in parity with the updated tail-lights which I personally think are a big improvement over the ’15 version.

So that is the exterior covered, I know you all want to know about power, is it more powerful? Yes, well, a bit. A new exhaust system and an updated ECU see’s power pushed a further 10bhp totalling 316bhp and 295ftlb of torque. Nothing insane but from what I hear, the 2.0l 4-pot was pretty good anyway. They have been playing with the ride quality as well. The ’15 version was criticised for being too harsh so Honda have now given differing driving modes; Standard, R+ and Comfort. no ability to customise throttle response with damper settings but Honda isn’t interested in letting you do that. They feel they have set the car up to be the best it can be.

The interior is typically “Type R” with nicely bolstered seats and lots of red trim, shorter gear stick and machined metal gear knob. Small tactile changes to lift the car above the standard version.

So what are your thoughts? I think it is a big step in the right direction, I wish it was four wheel drive like the Focus RS but I won’t let that sully my opinion of it. I just can’t wait to get to drive one.

Words: Dave Cox (Shooting Dave)
Pictures: Honda UK – Richard Pardon – sourced from NetCarShow.com

Reviews

Purpose Built Barrel Hunter

28th February 2017 — by Dave Cox

mike_007-960x640.jpg

At the time of writing, we are just days away from the beginning of the 2017 Fueltopia Barrel Sprint season. Test & Registration day has been and gone and we take this brief gap to bring you a close look at Mike Newland’s new purpose built barrel sprint s13.

This is not Mike’s first rodeo either previously he had a purpose built S14. A car that Mike has competed in for the last 4 years and spent tireless hours and effort developing. Sadly the S14 met it’s demise at Coventry MotorFest when it made a firm introduction with a concrete pillar underneath the ring roads. When life deals you such a poor hand it can be hard to get back on your feet.

Motorsport is high risk, leaving many grass roots racers with two options, All or Nothing. The impact the S14 had sustained was too much, the chassis was completely folded underneath the car meaning that it would sadly be beyond repair. For someone who had invested all they had into a sport they love the result was pretty crushing. Thankfully that was the extent of the damage, pretty much everything could be salvaged.

An S13 was sourced and Mark Young at Japs Motorsport set to work sand blasting the fresh shell before seam welding and inserting a full cage in preparation for transplanted parts. The decision to go for an S13 instead of an S14 was to step away from the norm on the field. Rear wheel drive class in Barrel Sprint is pretty much dominated by MX5’s and S14’s so Mike felt the need to provide a different body to keep things interesting.

Mark took a staggering 7 days to complete the transformation from a bare shell. I will let that sink in for a little bit. In an era where builds are getting turned around for shows in ever decreasing times, this is incredible. Not to mention that this isn’t a show car, this is a purpose built race car and it is fully functional! I have struggled to make decisions in 7 days, let alone build and complete a car.

The exterior also got a refresh thanks to Sussex Wrap Studio which closely mimics the colours scheme of the S14 as well keeping in line with the team colours.

After all the work was completed, the car was unveiled at the Wembley Qualifier for GRiD last year. Where unfortunately due to a lack of testing due to time constraints the car was fighting with him and not behaving herself. Due to this Mike came in 3rd place missing his spot at GRiD. Disappointing for Mike but still very impressive for anyone else.

The eagle eyed amongst you would have noticed that the lines of this S13 are slightly off, that is because the rear glass hatch has been removed and replaced with fibreglass flat bed. This was done to primarily reduce weight and lower the centre of gravity keeping the car light and nimble or “Smimble” as Mike affectionately calls it (Small and Nimble).

The obsessive weight loss spreads further than just the rear hatch, the bonnet is single skin fibre glass too,

The interior of the car is a spartan yet functional place to sit. A flocked dash obscured only by an OMP steering wheel houses minimal switch gear whilst a hydro setup help get the car round the barrels. Whilst a Corbeau seat helps keep the driver in place.  An Android dash allows Mike to customise what he monitors, keeping only the essential information on display.

As mentioned before, many of the components were transplanted over to the new chassis. Gold wrapping around the intake pipes help keep engine temperatures down. Mike is however developing a new expansion system to help lower intake temperatures and keep them constant which will mean he can go more aggressive on the map. Given that the car is already making 385bhp on a Nispro tune, it will be pretty lively.

Frustrated with his performance at the Qualifier, Mike sent the car to Walton Smith at Nispro to get the car’s alignment dialled in. This proved a wise choice as during the next FBS round, he beat his personal best time and then went on to finish 2nd in the championship.

I keep teasing Mike about the reverse rake of the car saying “just lower the front by a foot and you’ll be fine!” But I am told this is to help with balance and turn in. Seeing as I am at very best a spirited driver, I shall shut up and stop poking fun. (Will I f*ck)

The car is littered with small considered details, I’m particularly fond of the KODE rivets that secure the over fenders and duck tail spoiler . There are other touches too, like the JDM painted spokes. All of this is colour coordinated to tie in the with wrap this car has.

“The test day was an eye opener, After changing the suspension and the cars setup in the off season, it felt totally different. But not in a good way, I couldn’t get to grips with the changes and was struggling to go at my normal pace. After lots of messing around and tweaking I got it set perfect and produced some very nice runs. New front tyres needed due to the increased rear grip since last year due to Nispro’s awesome new setup.”

It is clear that Mike has spent the last 4 years honing his skills and working out what kind of setup he wants from the car. Finishing 3rd in 2015, 2nd in 2016 it only makes sense that he is setting his sights on 1st for this season.

After watching him most of the day and getting really up close and personal, I have little reason to doubt that he will be in strong contention for the win. I wish him the best luck for the season ahead. If you fancy going down and seeing him in action for yourself then you can get tickets from here: Fueltopia Barrel Sprint

Words & Pictures; Dave Cox (SHOOTINGDAVE)

Sponsors:

JAPS Motorsport
EBC Brakes
Corbeau
Adolescent Dogs
Advanced Lubricant Solutions
Dodo Juice
Just Jap
Nispro
Infamous Creations
Sussex Wrap Studio

Specs:

SR20DET
Owen Developements Turbo
LINK ECU
EBC brakes all round
Seam welded chassis & Roll cage
Custom Corbeau bucket seat 5 point harnesses
Driftworks CS2 Coilovers
Custom cooling and intake setup by JAPS Motorsport
1 piece prop shaft
Wisefab rear setup
Geomaster front setup

Event

Offline at the Ace Cafe – February

19th February 2017 — by Dave Cox

ace_023-960x640.jpg

February’s Offline meet at the Ace Cafe was our biggest yet. With a wide range of automotive metal and BBC’s Top Gear: Extra Gear in attendance. It was a great opportunity to forget about work and hang out with like minded people.

It was great to see some unusual cars there too, I don’t think I have ever seen a Jaguar XJ220 in person, or at least on the road. It had such clean smooth lines, hard to believe that it is around 23 years old. It has aged to well. Sadly it disappeared before I could get some decent pictures of it.

Another that really caught my attention was this Dodge Viper GTS-R, when I was a kid, this was one of my dream cars and this one in race trim was phenomenal. Again, that left before I could spend some time or speak to the owner. If you’re reading this, say “Hi” on any of our channels, we’d love to know more.

It was also pretty fascinating to see the Top Gear crew do their thing. I didn’t want to get in the way of their filming but you may see me in the back of shot in a few of them. I’d love to know what they thought of the night and can’t wait to see it aired. It really makes you feel proud when you see something like Top Gear turn up at your event.

There was also some regular faces there, you may recognise this E36 that I featured earlier this year, you can read about it here.

Also if this Mercedes AMG seems familiar, well we featured that earlier this year too, click this link and you can even see behind the scenes on the lovely guys at Xquisite Productions who built here.

Here is a cool little video that shows you guys what goes on during our meets. If you fancy popping a long, one night, we hold them on the second Monday of each month at the Ace Cafe. Check out the facebook page for more information.

And whilst we are sharing videos, our buddy Adam at 6Two1 did this awesome VLOG of the event too as we invited him down.

Words & Pictures: Dave Cox (Shooting Dave)