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Reviews

Probe-ably not what you expected to find at Players

22nd June 2017 — by Dave Cox

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This was my first visit to the Players Classic show at the prestigious Goodwood Motor Circuit and I really had no idea what to expect. And I sure as sh*t wasn’t expecting to see a Ford Probe!

Yep, you read that right, a Ford Probe. If you saw it out of the corner of your eye you may be forgiven for thinking it was a Mitsubishi GTO, I know I did. Realising my faux pas I started circling the car in bewilderment, genuinely surprised that any still existed on UK roads, let alone in such good condition.

Sitting on ETA Beta 3-piece wheels at a lower than stock ride height this Ford was pulling off it’s new found attitude rather well. I really couldn’t make my mind up as to why someone would choose to modify a Probe or that the end result was pretty decent.

Looking through the windscreen there was a list of modifications, proudly boasting 226bhp from the 2.5l V6 (stock is 162). Clearly someone had put some love into this. The smoothed body panels, devoid of any branding, paired with the immaculate paint really did go a long way to updating it’s appearance.

I know this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but at an event like Players, I really think it stood out and did well to separate itself from the crowd. I appreciate it for what it is, the owner tried something different and I think they pulled it off.

Words & Pictures: Dave Cox (Shooting Dave)

Event

Sunshine and Tyre Smoke

21st June 2017 — by Ben Gaut

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The day before Drift Cup Round 3 was an invite-only practice day at Rockingham Race Way. For me, this was my first time ascending on Rockingham but I had heard amazing things from fellow Fueltographer Shooting Dave. I was so hyped to get down and see what it was all about. Being the second practice day I had shot this year, I was ready to see some action!

Now it’s safe to say the weather was the polar opposite of when I had my first outing of the year, it looked like I had traded in the snow and freezing temperatures for some amazing sunshine and a full on heat wave! Perfect for some smoky door to door action!

The main man behind Drift Cup ‘Sweeps’ had laid out a seriously awesome track which was perfect for the drivers. He also threw in a few hard hitting walls for good measure. It’s safe to say I didn’t see a single car without a dent in their rear quarters by lunch time, everyone was gunning for them. Just gradually edging closer and closer, before well you know the story!

The driving was on a whole different level, some of the best drift trains I have seen in the UK for a while outside of a show demo or major event!

As the weather stayed on our side and just got hotter and hotter, so I thought I would take the time to get off track side and out of the oven and into some cars and see how the track felt from the drivers perspective. It certainly didn’t disappoint, everyone was hunting for doors and pushing their cars to the absolute limit!

I managed to jump out with Monkey London, now this was an experience in itself, if you haven’t already, then do head over & check out his youtube channel. However I am telling you now, jumping in the car was like I had just stepped into a drifting documentary with David Attenborough! I then looked to my left to see Phil Morrison from Driftworks, hunting down my door and the adrenaline kicked in. I had only one option, to do what I do best, grab the camera and start firing.

The Practice day also meant that some of the Drift Cup drivers could get a day on track before the big event the following day and you could see for some of them just having that extra seat time really pulled through on the Sunday!

Now for me, I am pretty much out of words for this one – but thank you Sweeps and the team for an awesome day. Below are some more snaps from the day.

Event

‘Grass Roots’ At Drift Cup Round 3

21st June 2017 — by Ben Gaut

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Sun, Smoke, Walls, Battles and even a proposal! That’s right a proposal but I will get on to that later, Drift Cup Round 3 had it all! 

As this was my first Drift Cup event, I had heard mixed things about the series from both drivers & a plethora of random people throwing in their two cents. This aside, I went in with a clean slate to see what it was all about for myself. I dragged myself out of my comfy hotel room, grabbed a coffee + croissant and headed to the track. With the guys from Drift Cup having run an invite only practice day on the Saturday which you can read about here! It’s safe to say I wasn’t going to be disappointed by what was in store and had a good idea of what to expect!

The level of driving from what is classed as a ‘grass roots’ event was just insane, door to door action all day, non stop! Throw in a couple of walls as they make their way round just to up the ante that little bit more. I don’t think a single person drove away with a pristine rear quarter.

Open practice was running all morning for the drivers to get used to the track, With the sun beating down it truly was a smoky morning! From watching the practice you could see everyone was hungry for that number one spot!

Moving into qualifying the driver level just stepped up even further, was seriously blown away with the lowest score in the top 32 being a 68.5!

With qualifying over we heading into the driver briefing room to hear the feedback and find out who would be battling who. This is where the shock of the day happened, after everyone knew what was going on for the day ahead, Frazer Jamieson wanted to say a few words, little did we know he got down on one knee and proposed to his other half as the whole room erupted in a huge cheer! This is what drifting is about, it doesn’t matter if you make the final battle just being there and supporting all your fellow drivers in everything they do. Was a real moment and memory for all the drivers and staff there and of course the happy couple!

Jumping straight to the battles, the fight and pressure was on, everyone was driving to win! The pressure and talent was on a whole different scale, everyone wanted that podium spot not a single person was holding back.

Leading into the top 16 things started to get really interesting, With everyone from the top 8 being given the chance to drive at the eagerly awaited BDC street round! It’s safe to say the heat and battle was well and truly on!   I for one would have not liked to be sitting in the judging tower trying to call some of the battles!

Top 8 WOW, the hunger was unreal with drivers putting everything on the line and hunting the walls and doors of the lead like nothing I have seen from before in ‘grass roots’ drifting!

Now it came down to the final battles. The drivers showed no signs of stopping the fight for that top spot! It was bound to be an awesome show and they certainly didn’t disappoint!! The final battles were seriously something incredible with both the crowd, judges and commentators on their feet screaming the house down.

Oliver Bolton took the win is his awesome S13, bearing in mind he’s only been driving the car 3 months and this was his 3rd competitive event, safe to say we have a star in the making here on English soil! Time for the Irish to move to one side this is one to watch!

I would just like to finish off by saying a massive thank you to Sweeps and the team over at Drift Cup for putting on a seriously epic event! Entertainment value and driver skill was through the roof, more than enough to rival some of the biggest names in competitive drifting!

Reviews

The GT1 GTR at Coventry MotoFest

19th June 2017 — by Dave Cox

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It is always fascinating when you send a team of photographers to an event and see what they all capture.

Variety is often the result, occasionally though, we will all gravitate to one vehicle. It’s the same at car shows too. However in this instance, it wasn’t what the car looked like that caught our attention, it was something much, MUCH more primal.

The car in question, if you have not worked it out by now, is a Nissan GTR GT1 and it is quite clearly a racecar! To most, that is reason alone to make it a favourite and it is, but we will circle back to that in a second. You see, as we walked down blissfully quiet Coventry ring road, the silence was, and there is no other better way to describe it, shattered by the eruption of decibels from the Nissan VK56 that powers this FIA spec GTR.

5.6 litres of free breathing V8 labouring under heavy cams and sucking in air before detonating and shouting it out of the straight through exhaust. I nearly dropped my camera as it started up. It wasn’t so much announcing it’s presence as elbowing everyone out of the way and fighting it’s way through.

600bhp and 479ft-lb of torque certainly made light work of the rear tyres off of the line as well as reducing anyone in close proximity to a giggling wreck. Given that this car also weighs in at 1250kg, it didn’t hang around. And it was this sheer pantomime that really stole our hearts and brings me back to my earlier point about it being race car.

Not only was this silly fast and loud but it was also driving on a ring road! The juxtaposition is literally at it’s most extreme here. Race car + ring road, it is hilarious to look at. At a proper track, you might walk past it in the pits and briefly pause before continuing on, on the streets, it is just ludicrous!

What did you think? Did you see it?

Words: Dave Cox (ShootingDave)
Pictures: Fueltopia Team


Event

Coventry MotoFest

12th June 2017 — by Dave Cox

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Coventry MotoFest, an annual festival celebrating the region’s historic motoring heritage in the heart of Coventry on public roads! And this year it has been touted as being the biggest and best yet!

Let that sink in for a moment though, “public roads”?! Yep, think Monaco, take away the sea, double the size and slap on a West Midlands accent and you’re pretty much there. In some ways, you have surpassed that, if Formula 1 isn’t your bag then you can see cars ranging from student built racers to drift cars right the way through to rock crawlers or GT1 cars. The variety is simply staggering, you are in constant limbo of staying still as you don’t know what will come past next or moving on for fear of missing something going on elsewhere.

Add to the fact that we, as press, were walking down what was essentially a hot pit lane which is located on top of an elevated dual carriage-way, crowds were lining slip roads and cross overs using the landscape as some sort of amphitheatre. It was utterly bizarre and brilliant all the same, I for one had never experienced anything like it in my life. Under one of the fly overs was a converted car park which was home to our Formula G demonstrations as well as Drift Outlaws. Think Tokyo Drift but with less spinners and chrome, that’s what went down there.

The crowd for our demonstrations was immense, we had people lined up against the concrete guard rails, phones held high to get a snap of the action. The flyover not only held the smoke down but also provided a ceiling for the engine noises to bounce off of which only pumped the crowd even more. It is little unique touches like this that makes Coventry MotoFest so special.

Did I mention that this was a free event?

No entry fee to pay here, just rock up, watch some demonstrations, see some sprint racing, salivate over the display stands or chill out with some great food and live music. And that is the key, it is all very good attracting motoring enthusiasts to attend, we will drive hours and even fly to events just see the action. Attracting new fans is a difficult job, track tickets can be expensive, but here, passer-by’s could turn up and be present with a mixed bag of disciplines to experience.

To me, that reinforces what Coventry MotoFest is about, it is a celebration of the heritage and a way of showcasing it to those who would never considering handing well earned beer tokens for an entry to an event like this. The really isn’t a better way for the uninitiated to dip their toe in and see what they like.

The largest part of the event was the sprint section which followed the ring road for two junctions before turning back on itself and doing it all over again. The start line was a great place to stand with many drivers going for big rolling burnouts rewarding the baying crown with the smell of fuel and burnt rubber.

But nothing really beats the audio sensory overload as you wait near the exit of a tunnel being filled by the orchestra of a vintage Formula 1 car. That really is hair raising stuff.

Sure, this isn’t at the same sort of scale as Goliaths Goodwood Festival of Speed but it isn’t really claiming to be either. MotoFest has much more of a planted feel to it, rather than going to see it, it bring the action to your doorstep and has the audacity to do it in a City, a fact I still can’t get over. There is a beautiful juxtaposition here, purpose built track monsters driving on public roads, to me that is my favourite aspect of it. It feels so right but when you step back and look at it all, it seems so alien. They are racing in a city!

And the lofty ambitions don’t stop there, the organisers are in talks with the council to have a proper race inside the city next year! We haven’t seen anything like this since Birmingham SuperPrix or before that, if my history serves me well, the Crystal Palace GrandPrix. We need more of this and I can’t wait to see how this event continues to grow.

This was my first time attending and I had never heard of it before, it wasn’t even on my radar. That has now changed. It has been going for 4 years, 3 in this current format and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I feel there is an importance to writing this article, more people need to witness this event, not to support it, rather that it is simply too good to miss. More people need to know.

Words: Dave Cox (ShootingDave)
Pictures: Fueltopia Team: Phil, Mike, Craig, Dave, Kim & Ben.