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Event

Is this the return of UK Drifting?

2nd April 2017 — by Dave Cox

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I’ll just come right out and say it: The British Drift Championship is back.

Believe when I say that I didn’t expect to write that. At first I thought it was a combination of enthusiasm and sun stroke but the more I think back, the more I am happy to cement my opening statement.

Reviews

Benny Rees’ sleek Celica

27th March 2017 — by Dave Cox

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“Sweet Mustang man…” a phrase Ben often hears when people approach his car.

You may guffaw but it is true, you can clearly see the American influences on this vehicle. The Japanese during this era were known for designing the vehicles using tracing paper and pictures of cars from all around the world. Just look at the “C” Pillars, the rear louvres and the vertical tail lights. All of which are styling cues taken from the Ford Mustang. It is no wonder that the RA28 Celica got the nickname “Japanese Mustang” and therefore you can forgive people’s mistakes.

Event

Spring Matsuri

21st March 2017 — by Dave Cox

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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

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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

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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