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our year in pictures, 2017 we salute you

29th December 2017 — by Mark Turner

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I’d like to compare shooting for Fueltopia to white water rafting; exciting, challenging, scary at times, but ultimately satisfying. While we close the books on 2017, I’ll take you for a look back at the past 12 months, the cars, writers, photographers and their own submitted highlights of what has been a petrol fuelled whirlwind.

On reflection, we also want to add a ‘thank you’, yeah you, reading this right now. None of this would be possible without your support, clicks, shares, feedback.

January. – Intergalactic PlanetarE36


With inspiration drawing from Beastie Boys’ Intergalactic, James’s e36 rides on an Air Lift Performance system and 18 inch Rotiform TMB’s.
The incredible wrap was designed by CIAY and fitted by JD Wraps. There’s a feast of upgrades from an M3 CSL duck tail to a custom built EMP exhaust, Corbeau bucket seats, ASD hydro, half cage and more.

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February. Purpose Built Barrel Hunter

Just days away from the beginning of the 2017 Fueltopia Barrel Sprint season, this S14 met it’s demise at Coventry MotorFest when it made a firm introduction with a concrete pillar underneath the ring roads.
Another S13 was sourced and Mark Young at Japs Motorsport took on an impossible task and completed the transformation from a bare shell to a seam welded, 385bhp monster with with a serious weight loss fetish in a mere 7 days

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March. Packing A Punch

Dan Fegent, our O.G snapper, caught up with Perry Stephenson and his Monstrous looking MGB.
At the time of these photos it was running a 4.8 litre v8 (bored out Rover 3.9 V8) coupled to a supercharger from a Sherman tank! Perry believes its running around 400bhp with 600 ft/lbs of torque. A beautiful car that pushes the tastes of the purists to absolute limits

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April. Stunt Festival and Streetfighter Show

The Ace Cafe Stunt Festival featured the Streetfighter Show & the Fueltopia Barrel Sprint. It saw 2 wheel and 4 wheel worlds collide in a perfect display of raw rider & driver talent.
Static displays of bikes and cars were varied & ample. Allowing each patriot of two or four wheel a chance to get up close and personal with each others offerings. Ace Cafe put on a hearty food stand so those could sit and discuss their discoveries & settle their differences.

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May. Getting Ready for Speedway

Andi Gordon jumped on a plane to Slovenia for the first round of the 2017 Speedway Grand Prix series. His third season shooting Speedway for Monster Energy.
If you don’t already know, they race on a dirt oval, they don’t have breaks and it takes balls of granite to even twist the throttle and they fly past in a blink of an eye.
To get creative, expressive shots of Speedway you need to build relationships with riders, mechanics, managers and anyone else who you are going to get in the way of while cutting about in the pits.

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June. Coventry Motofest

Coventry MotoFest, an annual festival celebrating the region’s historic motoring heritage in the heart of Coventry but with the added draw of it being held on the cities public ring road. Think Monaco, take away the sea, double the size and slap on a West Midlands accent and you’re pretty much there.
Crowds lined up on slip roads and cross overs using the landscape as some sort of amphitheatre. It was utterly bizarre and brilliant at the same time.
Under one of the fly overs was a converted car park which was home to our Formula G demonstrations as well as Drift Outlaws.

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July. Players Classic

If you had to ask us if you had to visit one car show, without question, it would have to be Players Classic. It is hard to imagine how they could improve an event like this, but the plans the Players team have in store will no doubt leave this event as another yearly champion of car shows. I mean, where else would you find a lowrider Chevy Impala parked about 20ft away from a McLaren 675LT both of which receiving praise and respect?
In 2018 the event will span two days, with over 800 cars in attendance, 10,000’s applying you know you need something special to get through the gate

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August. 6R4.NET Track Day – Curborough

6R4.net co-founder Nicky Lindon organises a track day that is rolling piece of motoring history, that doesn’t spare the ponies.

If like us you didn’t get to see Group B’s in action then this track day brings them up close and personal and with the added bonus of hearing them at Max Attack! Line up’s include Ford RS200’s, the ultra-rare Escort RS1700T and a smattering of kick-ass Metro 6R4’s

Our rally and rallycross Guru, Steve White, even managed to sneak into the co-driver’s seat of Nigel Mummery’s Ford RS200 and brought us some amazing highlights

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September. Night Sessions – Dan Guirey

Let’s set you the scene, a local UK car meet, in the pouring rain, Dave Cox braved the elements to take the opportunity to capture the soul of Dan Guirey’s Mk1 Golf.
It’s cute proportions disguise the animal that it is. Peel back the wrapper and you will be greeted with a 1.8L 8 valve G60 engine which is turbo charged. The result is an engine capable of 300bhp! Plenty given the car’s weight. Dan is running the car at 240bhp due to handling issues.

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October. Edd Tubbs’ ’32 Ford Pickup

Nestled between an Evo and Mk2 Escort, a ’32 Ford Pickup that made us stop and stare. A labour of automotive love that took 4 years of busted knuckles and passion
In that time this Pickup has been stripped down to its bare chassis, laddered the rear and added a new cross members to allow the inclusion of modern coilovers – pretty neat huh?
In true HotRod style the roof has been chopped 2 inches and the cab channelled by 3”.
A Rover 3.5 v8 is hard to miss as it protrudes proudly from the engine bay. It has been completely rebuilt, re bored new high compression pistons and bearings, fast road cam, Holley 4 barrel, hand built open headers laker style and a Cadillac air box.

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November. Behind the Scenes: Formula G Pilot TV Show

CTRL, the team behind RC Racing TV contacted us earlier this year with a vision of using their expertise gained in producing programs about radio controlled cars to create a new pilot for a TV show all about Formula G. They see it as the new breakthrough in racing and something different to what is currently shown on many motoring channels.
Mat the director said “As soon as we saw the events that Fueltopia did we loved how exciting, accessible and ‘real’ the racing was, we can’t wait to show this to everyone else too”.

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December. Bagged Bull

Add power, attitude and heavily caffeinated graphics to a Scirocco and what you get is a pretty cool VW.
This is a classic father, son story as many a car build, but I think what we got here was something unique and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
A Racingline Performance air intake helps feeds the turbo whilst the Forge Motorsport intercooler helps intake temps stay down. An APR Stage 2+ map brings the final number to 370bhp.

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.