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The day they let me loose in a Formula G car

17th February 2018 — by Mark Turner

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On a chilly Sunday Nick @TinTopsuk rolled into Santa Pod for the last round of the 2017 Formula G season. It had been arranged that he was to share the Redtop Racing Nova for a second time in the season. They were pumped to be squaring up to some of the best gymkhana drivers in the world.

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This was to be the last event for the current Redtop Racing Nova as the dreaded rust had taken hold of the shell so we were determined to give the old girl a proper send off.

Quick recap on what  Formula G is. Two cars run side by side on a mirrored autotest style course. The winner is the car with the fastest time across both lanes. If you haven’t seen it you need to – Formula G is “the” up and coming, high octane motorsport taking the UK by storm. It’s a timed, Gymkhana style, head to head event, with a series of cones and obstacles for the drivers to get through and around as fast as possible. You’ve heard of Ken Block? Well it’s kinda’ like that…

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Once the track layout was unveiled we headed out to walk the track. This is key in any motorsport, but in Formula G it’s especially important as the track is only revealed just before the start! Track walk done and convinced they were going to get lost, we headed out for the all important practice. Boss man, Carl, had made some changes to the Nova since the last round at Rockingham to make the car more predictable on the limit, crucial in the high speed sections.

Nick headed out first. At his previous round at Rockingham, technical issues had cut short his driving time, so the decision was made to get him out and comfortable in the car. The first few runs were pretty rough, going the wrong way, half spins and misjudged handbrake turns. It’s all part of the learning process he kept telling himself. Carl then headed out, and showed Nick how it’s done. It was decided Nick needed more practice and more speed!

He headed into qualifying reasonably happy, feeling comfortable in the car.
The course was fun and he’d managed to find somewhere selling chips.
As is the way with motorsports qualifying, you get a few runs with your fastest time counting towards the final standings. The first few runs were challenging but then came the highlight of Nicks Formula G season. Technically these qualifying runs aren’t races, but you try telling a racing driver that when they line up next to their main rival…..

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Lining up next to the Mighty Micra, the lights went green and we were off. Nick carried as much speed as he dared and headed into the ‘flower pot’ section of four handbrake 90’ turns, being careful to not lock the wheels.
When he exited the ‘flower pot’ section, he saw he was ahead of the Mighty Micra. Had he made a mistake or was Nick quicker? Frankly no-one cared, Nick was winning.

The last obstacle to negotiate was the figure 8 around two monster truck tyres, as He rounded the last corner Nick could see the Micra had closed in dramatically but he could still win if he managed to stop in the finish box. Braking as late as he dared, he slammed to a stop in the finish box and nervously waited for the marshal to point at the winner, and eventually he pointed at Nick. It was a completely meaningless victory but it was a victory nonetheless!

As it turned out, it was a meaningless victory, as Nick was fifth fastest and too slow for the battles anyway.

But, the story doesn’t end there.

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Carl had been having some ‘issues’ remembering the course, he only completed one successful qualifying run but it had been enough to get him into the top four and in to the battles. He smashed his first battle and headed into the final against Gymkhana top dog, Dmitrij Sribnyj, who, for this weekend, was in the FWD class as his AWD Subaru was on it’s way to South Africa for Gymkhana Grid. No pressure then.

Run one was neck and neck, until Carl made a small mistake and gave Dmitrij the advantage and the win. He headed into the second run with it all to do but with this being the final event for the Redtop Racing Nova, he was determined to win or blow it up trying. A flawless second run meant he finished ahead of Dmitrij and was the winner of the final round.

In a finale straight out of a Hollywood film, Carl had won, his first ever motorsport win, in the last event for the current Redtop Racing Nova, a fine send off for the old girl.Formula G tintopsuk redtop racing

Carl would like to thank Toyo Tyres and Opie Oils, Nick would like to thank him for letting him loose in his Nova.

Until next time….

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Words by Nick Underwood aka @TinTopsUK
Edited by Mark Turner aka @BlackTopMediaUK
Car by RedTop Racing

PeopleReviewsVideo

Menacing MK7 Golf R will have you running for the hills

17th February 2018 — by Mark Turner

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If you’re in the ‘Scene’ you may have seen this MK7 Golf R once or twice before.
It belongs to Jacob, one of the original members and a director of Car Culture UK, one of the largest Car Communities in the UK.

Jacob has always been a Vee Dub fan, so it’s no surprise that he is the proud owner of this menacing stealth MK 7 Golf R.

The Golf R is a car most of us would be happy to own. Over 300bhp, 4WD and a sub 5 second 0-60mph sounds very tasty… but Jacob has big appetite.
As a die hard Vee Dub fan, he was always going to go with VAG and the Golf is possibly the best platform out there at the moment. It’s drop dead gorgeous lines combined with huge tuning potential from the 2.0T EA888 TSI engine make it a no brainer for a serious petrol head.
This Golf R is a constantly evolving project and Jacob has big plans. It was completely standard when he got it, but it’s far from that now.
Slammed on genuine Ferrari FF wheels, this Golf R has serious presence. The wheels are genuine 20” Ferrari items from an FF, mounted on custom adaptors, with huge 8.5J 235/35/20 all around. Braking is taken care of by Lamborghini 8 pot calipers and discs no less. 365mm front and 324mm rear.
Stance is courtesy of an Airlift Performance 3H self leveling kit which uses both height and pressure sensors to provide the most innovative air suspension control ever.
It’s not all show with this R, the go comes in the form of an APR 377bhp stage 1 with an R600 intake, Racingline turbo muffler delete and GFB dump valve. A bigger intercooler and exhaust and stage 2 map is the next step which will give this Golf R a 420bhp punch. After that, Jacob says he’s chasing 500bhp. Oh, and he wants to go even lower and is considering a widebody conversion.
Just soak in the details. This stealthy Golf R is a real feast for the eyes. From the carbon RS steering wheel and flappy paddles to the RS carbon grille, door mirror caps and bumper inserts. There’s a Xenonz UK Diffuser, front splitter and our back there’s also an Oettinger roof spoiler.
You’re sure to see this menacing, stealth Golf R at any of the Car Culture UK meets. Go and introduce yourself to Jacob, he doesn’t bite. Not so sure about his Golf R though.

Thank you to STNC & JamieTakes.Photos for producing this footage

Check out the YouTube video of the Golf here:

PeopleReviews

Skull and Pistons Garage Custom British Classic

5th February 2018 — by Mark Turner

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Skull and Pistons Garage (S & PG). Full of rock ‘n roll attitude and style, the new kids on the block in the UK custom scene and are so slick and full of enthusiasm, spirit and passion.

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I met these guys at their launch event at the Ace Cafe a while ago with their then unfinished first project. Not sure what to expect, I was blown away by the attention to detail and the quality of the work. More than that, Helen and Stephen, the drive behind the dream, are as impressive as the build.

In their own words; Skull & Pistons Garage is born from Helen and Stephens infinite and slightly obsessive love of cars and is a British brand, established in 2014, specialising in the customising and renovating of classic British cars. They create head turners, full of nostalgia and style. Forget that aftermarket, bolt on approach, we’re talking custom work that looks like it came out of the factory that way. Stylish and full of rock ‘n’ roll attitude; they’ve been doing it in America for years, now it’s our turn.

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The first build is a no half measures, in at the deep end kind of build. S & PG opened their portfolio with a MK2 Cortina 1600GT. A classic you might say. not to be messed with people might shout. No fucks given is the reply you would get from S & PG. To add insult to injury, this one was a nice clean car to start with too soooooo……………they cut the roof off.

Their clean, classic, precious 1600GT Cortina was the victim of a 4” roof chop. It was a bitch to do but it’s been done properly, no bullshit, no half measures, and looks like it came out of the factory it’s so straight. To get it to work they had to chop the roof up, widening and lengthening, adding metal where it needed it to make it perfect. The roof chop was made even more complex by the challenges offered up by a 4 door shell, and the result is flawless.

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S & PG’s Cortina reeks of subtle alterations and modifications that have taken many, many hours to complete. Some have been done and re done because the finish or look didn’t meet the exacting standards of Helen and Stephen. They have kept the 1600GT crossflow but rebuilt it and bolted on a set of 40’s……just the job.

I saw it first when it was part built, then again, later as a finished car. This Cortina is entirely rust free, straight as a die from front to back with a paint finish like glass.

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This jaw dropping, roof chopped Cortina is a blend of gangster chic with a healthy dose of modern twist on a classic custom build.

A blend of gangster chic

Like any car I feature, you need to see it in the flesh to really appreciate it. Take the time to walk around the car and drink in the exceptional attention to detail – but I’ll do my best to convey it to you

The longer you stare the more more cool and subtle touches you notice. Frenched rear lights complete a smoothed rear end and who doesn’t like a smooth rear end. Shaved rear door handles, hispec callipers wrapped in minilite-esq Rotas, a detailed underside with colour matched suspension bushes, the list goes on, this car is breathtaking.

Skull and Pistons - Classic British Customs

Next up on the S & PG chopping block is a rare South African imported MK3 Cortina pickup. This is getting the custom muscle car treatment complete with V8 and nasty muscle car stance.

With that pre-mentioned, no fucks given attitude, you won’t be surprised to hear they have yet another classic gem waiting in the wings to get the S & PG treatment. It’s a 1974 MK1 Cortina estate. If you thought chopping up a MK2 1600GT was sacrilege, what will the purists think about a rare MK1 estate?

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This is the build I will be saving up my pennies for. This MK1 will be restored and customised with a solid nod to originality. Lift the bonnetand you’ll find it already has a 1500 GT Harris tuned engine on twin 40s which is a hell of a way start.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Skull and Pistons Garage are the next big thing in the UK custom scene. You can get regular updates and find out more on their website and the guys are very happy to talk about bespoke commissions.Skull and Pistons - Classic British Customs

I’m proud to know these guys and can’t wait to see where Skull and Pistons Garage take the scene.

Have a look at their film here……..https://youtu.be/NaGbKAdCilE 

Skull and Pistons - Classic British Customs customised cortina Skull and Pistons garage is on the rise

Reviews

Are Electric cars the devils work?

4th February 2018 — by Mark Turner

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This is a difficult subject for me and I’d imagine for most petrolheads.
I have, up until now, always ignored EV’s (Electric Vehicles) and classed them as pointless or the devils work.

I’ve generally considered them a marketing exercise and had serious reservations on their true ‘green’ status once you factor in whole life costs.

With the continued growth and development of the EV sector, I thought we couldn’t put this off any longer and had to go & find out what all the fuss was about.

The main concern with EV’s has always been batteries. Horrible to make and they can’t be recycled once the short vehicle life is over.

How green is that?

The reality is nothing like that. Battery ‘ownership’ has many solutions. Rental, leasing, lifetime warranties, whatever. That means that EV ownership now doesn’t have to be a short and painfully expensive ordeal. When the battery starts to loose efficiency and hold less charge, it’s changed at no additional cost.

Ok, but they are finished with and can’t be recycled. That’s terrible for the environment… Isn’t it?
No, another one of our anti-EV weapons explodes in our face. Hold that thought though…

Just for a moment, let’s go off topic slightly and look at renewable energy. One of the main issues with renewable energy, such as wind and solar, is storing the energy. It’s produced largely during the day when we are at work and don’t need it, but is gone when we do as we can’t store it.
If only we had a source of batteries we could use to store that energy… Hold on, I see a plan coming together.

The plan is to use old EV batteries as second life in storing renewable energy. These batteries are not ‘done’ when removed from the vehicles, they just don’t charge as well as they used to. Say they used to do 150 miles fully charged, when at the end of their useful vehicle life they do 110. Still plenty of life in the batteries, in fact as much as 10-15 years of second life is estimated if used as renewable energy storage. A much more green solution!

We know many companies are looking at these batteries as an option to reduce energy bills. A great solution.

This is all based on current battery technology too. It is assumed that the next big technology advances will be in this sector. There is a huge amount of resource being invested in this area so keep an eye out.

So, what about the nasty little cars? I like my cars simple and old school. Well, let’s look at that. Modern internal combustion (IC) cars are far from simple. Crammed with so many electric aides and strangled to meet emissions.
Electric vehicles have been around since the 1830’s.

In terms of simplicity, can it get any simpler than forward/backward gears and stop/go pedals?
Admittedly, some manufacturers are making them very complicated but as a simple, fun mode of transport, they are great.
Clearly there are limitations. Charging can be inconvenient, range can be limiting and so on. But, there are a growing number of new players in the market, all with innovative solutions to these issues, so watch this space.

Let’s consider the future of conventional cars? Legislation is getting increasing more difficult to meet and  we’re currently on Euro6 emissions regulations which are tough, just ask VW.
Euro7 will come in to play at some point. I have worked with some of the fuel system manufacturers who say Euro7 is almost impossible to meet with current diesel technology. Past that, it is a real possibility we won’t be able to produce diesel engines that can meet future emissions regulations, with petrol engines close behind. So then what? What else is there? Hybrids and EV’s that’s what.

We have dipped our toe in the EV waters recently and have had our eyes opened. They are not the devils work and actually fit quite well in to Fueltopia’s ethos.
I’m looking forward to trying some more and seeing what there is out there. Of course I’ll report back to you with all the juicy details!

Event

Fueltopia racers Autosport spotlight

25th January 2018 — by Craig Toull

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Did you attend the 2018 Autosport show If you did then you might have been lucky enough to have seen the awesome selection of cars the Fueltopia race series’ had on display in hall 9. It would be safe to say the main attraction on the stand was the unveiling of Dmitrij Sribnyj’s Subaru BRZ STI purpose built AWD Gymkhana car.

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This car will raise the game in UK gymkhana and no doubt will see our former AWD Champion bring a serious campaign to the asphalt in the year ahead.

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If you didn’t make the show, we’d like to think we have you covered, check out our full coverage from all the halls on Dan Fegent’s blog – but if you’re an avid Gymkhana loving super fan, then don’t you worry we have the stands highlights below for you. Over the weekend, the series gained a lot of enquiries from racers from many backgrounds in motorsport looking for a new challenge.

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If that wasn’t enough, the Autosport Show was also a place where Fueltopia could showcase it’s TV pilot to its Formula G series. It was a great place for the motorsport loving public to be able to see what our championship is all about. The first instalment is available to watch on Motor Trend On Demand now, so if you’ve not already seen it – do yourself a favour and hit the link below

Show page

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The 2018 season is shaping up to be an awesome one already and it hasn’t even begun yet. We can’t wait to see if the new BRZ will dominate the tried and tested Subaru’s, will Adam Elder and Ryan Milton topple the reign of Luke Woodham? Who knows, but it’s going to be an exciting season

If you want to see the action in person then be sure to check out our first event on the 3rd of march at Santa Pod Raceway or if you’d like to have a go without the pressure, then come to our test and tune day at Santa Pod on 25 Feb – advance tickets can be bought here