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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

Top 10 wagons you need to know about

6th February 2017 — by Black Flagged

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I love a wagon. Like me, there are a few select that can see the beauty in the cars which were originally designed with nothing but practicality in mind.

For this article, I’ve dug deep into the Fueltopia archives to bring you the mega guide to Wagon love.

Opening up the proceedings is this  1998 Subaru Legacy GTB shot by Dan Fegent. This is no slouch, 2.0-litre turbo that packs a meaty 280hp from it’s Boxer engine heart, that classic Subaru sound magnified by the aftermarket Kakimoto exhaust. This isn’t factory fresh, its classic lines remain with the stock wheels getting upgraded to some 18-inch Work Emotion XD9’s

While looking at Wagons, I needed to include an Audi. The list wouldn’t be complete without one and getting one on the list is James Hughes’ Audi A4, shot by Ben Gaut. It’s Jon Olson inspired camo wrap is set off by its aired-out stance on the Airlift Performance V1 Management kit, allowing the Rotiform IND T wheels to squeeze excellently under the arches.

The wolf in sheep clothing. From first glance you may have thought this BMW 330D had managed to luck out to make it onto this list. However, this car is maybe the one to watch. Owned by Dan Fegent, it might look unassuming from the outside, but it’s the 390lb/ft of torque that will show you up off the lights

This car might be aerodynamically challenged, but it’s a classic and was the pinnacle of estate/wagon luxury during the late 80’s and early 90’s. However,  I’m sure that not one owner during it’s prime would ever have imagined seeing their family pride and joy do this! Thanks to Huxley Motorsport, the stock engine has been ripped out and replaced with a BMW M60 4.0-litre V8 that now allows it do this!

Aerodynamically challenged

The Gravel Express – with less than 15 of these in the UK it makes them rarer than rocking horse poo. However, Rich Maguire has taken his classic Subaru designed for the hardy Australian outback and given it a stunning contemporary look for the hazardous West London travels. What it lost in bull-bars and gated spare wheel carrier, it gained in style and stance

The drift world gets a lot of flack, but it needs some credit to helping save the fate of many wagons from the oily fingered grasps of the banger fraternity – who’d only abuse each other with gleeful wrecking abandonment while sending future classics to the great scrap yard in the sky. Fraser Stark’s BMW E30 however still has a slight death wish as it unleashes it’s tyres into a fire show extravaganza thanks to the hearty Toyota 2JZ engine that now resides under the hood

Another Subaru and it’s Gymkhana that saw this glorified dog carrier grab some lime light. Jake Archer’s Kamikaze wagon took on the internet’s best, Ken Block, at his own sport and surprisingly it did pretty bloody well. This might have been built in a shed in Birmingham, but it’s been fielded against the best and held it’s own!

Gatebil, it’s a bonkers three day car festival that boasts the most amount of engine swaped cars than any other show we know – I mean there are 2JZ engines in everything you could imagine. While the Volvo mafia reign large, a cheeky Mercedes always gets the looks and thanks to Dave Cox for capturing this weapon looking as good today as it did when it rolled out of the showroom… Well, perhaps not, but way more exciting right?!

More drifty action, this car dominated the UK drift scene. Michael Marshalls BMW E36 Touring – powered by the favoured Toyota 2JZ I’m sure this couldn’t be further than the sales dream of long weekends away and throwing the golf clubs in the back for a weekend of birdies and eagles… Thanks to our in house rally expert Steve White for getting this smokey run

To finish off our top 10, there could be only one car that took this spot, Edward Blom’s 1975 Volvo 242. It’s not quite a wagon, but I’m bending the rules. This car was originally shot by Andi Gordon and Edward and his mates welcomed in Andi to shoot his awesome M50 turbo powered build. However, sadly not long after Eddie passed away. So, with that in mind this car was  the perfect end to my blog and it’s a tribute to a real petrolhead – check out the hench burnout marks on the garage floor!

Reviews

Feature: Intergalactic Planetar-e36

8th January 2017 — by Dave Cox

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The BMW e36 has always held a special place in my heart. When I first passed my driving test, long before I picked up a camera, I wanted one. And to this day, I would still like one.

The sad reality is that, I can’t believe I’m going to say this, drifting has ruined them. They were launched 27 years ago, rear wheel drive and cheap, This meant it was an easy gateway into drifting being affordable and in plentiful supply. This popularity over the years saw the prices go from reasonable to comparatively stratospheric! This was bad news as it also meant that well kept and nicely modified versions were also becoming rarer and rarer. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a few new drift versions out there but you just don’t see that many of them anymore.

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The overwhelming visual thing you’ll notice when you first see the car is the wrap job. With inspiration drawn from Beastie Boys’ Intergalactic James’ e36 certainly wouldn’t look out of place lurking in the background of Stranger Things. CIAY, who has design wraps for Fail Crew’s cars (we will be bringing you a feature of Max’s Boss s14 later this year) was given a simple brief of “make it look like a mad galaxy car”. I’d say they certainly fulfilled the brief! The base layer has a deep galaxy feel to it, full of organic shapes and cosmic dust. This is contrasted nicely with the sharp geometric prismatic lines. In a way this kind of disguises the lines of the bimmer. The turquoise lines help punctuate it, grounding it back to that distinct ’90s shape.

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Attitude is added by lowering the altitude. This car rides on an Air Lift Performance system which means it can tuck the 18inch Rotiform TMB’s. A wheel design that stands apart from the typical deep dish that is more commonly found on modified e36’s. I think it works, the clean, non fussy design doesn’t do anything to take away from the wrap job but it also doesn’t let it down either.

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One of my favourite and also very subtle additions is the smoothed in deck-lid lip. It reminds me of the sort of spoiler found on the e46 M3 CSL’s. A nice touch considering none of the other original lines have been altered. I feel adding on a bolt on spoiler would have detracted from the clean look. I like the way it just adds the little piece of aggression to the rear nicely complementing the custom built EMP exhaust.

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Other modifications include Corbeau bucket seats, Luke harness, ASD hydro, Pipercross air filter, half cage and modified knuckles for my angle by SB motorsport. I think the end result will look awesome, the colour scheme is clearly loud but it ties so well together that it isn’t too much.

If you want to see this car in person then make sure you are at Autosport International 2017 at the Birmingham NEC this coming weekend. It will be on the Fueltopia stand number 9242 in the experience zone, hall 9. If you take any pictures be sure to tag us #Fueltopia or @Fueltopia, we’d love to see them. I’ll also be there on the Saturday so don’t be shy if you see me.

Words & Pictures: Dave Cox (Shooting Dave)

Event

DriftCup Round 5 – Driftland

14th September 2016 — by Connor Mathieson

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The final round of DriftCup drops into Driftland. An impressive grid size but even more impressive is the Scottish driver turn out taking up around half of the grid.

Practice had only been going on for roughly 30 minutes and already people were settling in and getting some nice, close driving providing quite an exciting practice. Even with a lot of drivers never having been to Driftland before, After an hour or so of practice 90% of people were starting to put down consistent runs and with only the occasional spin here and there, providing plenty of practice time for everyone.

Qualifying went great for the local Scottish lads, with 13 of them qualifying and going into top 32 battles. Mark Gemmell hot of his win in SDC last weekend qualifyied 1st. William Hanna first time competing in DriftCup qualifying in a strong 5th place with Taylor Bloomfield and Barry Stevenson just making it into the top 32. the later half of the top 32 was very fiercly contested with positions 19 to 31 only seperated by 4 points!

With Mark Webb already winning the championship before round 5 there was no pressure on him, but ofcourse he wouldn’t want to sit out. That almost became the case with his car throwing a fit right as he was going into qualifying, luckily for him he managed to put in 2 runs that planted him into 25th position. Michelle Westby managed to put in a great qulifying run putting herself into 8th position going into battles. Michelle like many others who had never been to the track before, started out slowly reading the track and lines then progressivly charging harder with each run.

First battle of the top 32 was also the first pair of Scots to battle. Taylor was nursing a clutch issue in the E30 since qualifying which hampered his runs with William, giving William the win. That’s not to say that it was an easy win for William, but he was on fire all day driving really good!

Barry the punk faced of against 2nd place qualifier Stuart Maclachan and were having good battle, but on the 2nd run barry seemed to come in too hot and had a spin, giving the win to Stuart.

Now we come to the battle that will be talked about for quite some time.. Michelle Westby vs Mark Webb. Even before the battle it looked to be interesting. Michelle was driving very well as seen by her 8th place qualifying position and Mark just wanted to get on some doors and have a blast. In the first run coming through the transition in between clips 6-7 Mark was too close which caused him to be thrown of track giving an easy 10-0 advantage to Michelle.

The 2nd run is where things get interesting. Michelle chased super hard on mark but coming through clip 3 seemed to straighten up and quite simply rammed him.. Causing them both to slide up the bank and most interestingly cause their battle to go into a one my time. Also interesting to note is the smile on marks face as they were spinning up the bank, with both of them throwing a fist out the window and having a hug, no hard feelings were had. after another few interesting runs Mark would eventually take the win over Michelle.

Jeek faced of against the mighty Kriss Darling. Now you may be wondering.. “whats with the ratchet strap on Kriss’ car?” Well, in practice his bonnet flew up and smashed the window. I’m guessing as a safety measure they thought it would be best to make sure it couldn’t open again. In battle Jeek couldn’t quite chase as closely as Kriss could and Kriss ended up going through to the great 8.

Ben Fisher and Chris Taylor met in the top 16 and provided a very nice close battle that Ben would eventually win. Ben would then go on to battle Marcin in the amazing Supra in the top 8. Marcin was on fire the entire day putting down superb qualifying lines in the lead position as well as doing some great chase driving netting him a place in the top 4.

First battle going into the top 4 came down to Callum Marshall and Charles Funnell. Charles had taken out quite a few impressive cars to reach this battle. Beating out Stuart Jones in the mighty 400bhp S14 as well as William Hanna. Callum also beat out some heavy hitters, taking down 2nd place qualifyier Stuart Maclachan in the top 16 and then going on to beat Kriss Darling in the top 8. Callum had just that little bit better of a chase drive against Charles, with Charles not quite being able to follow Callum as closely.

On the other side of the bracket Genetic Drifter Rob Johnston was up against Marcin. Marcin had a clean upper had over Rob with track knowledge which seemed to pay of well. Rob chased Marcin well but had to sacrafice angle in order to keep up with Marcin’s Supra giving Marcin the win.

The battle for 3rd saw Rob facing of against Charles in the E36 Touring. both drove excellent lead runs but noticeably Rob chased much better than he did in the previous battle with Marcin.

DriftCup Round 5 final came down to 2 Driftland locals, Both of which had been driving superb all day. Marcin lead Callum in the first run with both drivers showing the same consistant driving they had been doing throughout the competition. After the 2nd run however it was imediatly clear on who had won the battle.

Rob won himself 3rd defeating Charles and taking home a well deserved trophy. Following on from a rather weak chase on Marcin in the top 4 he would vastly improve his chase driving against Charles in the battle for 3rd place. Unlucky for Charles but for someone driving a lower powered BMW, He put in some great work to make it into 4th place.

In the battle for 1st place Callum would take 2nd. Marcin’s chase run in the final was pretty amazing, he stayed all over Callum throughout the entire run netting himself a very well deserved victory. Callum was comming of a 2nd place finish in last weeks Scottish Drift Championship and put in some great work to bag another 2nd place trophy 2 weeks in a row.

Michelle Westby would pick up hard charger honours for providing what i’m sure a lot of people that attended Round 5 would feel to be the most entertaining battle of the day.

Mark Webb had already won the championship at Round 4 but still drove very had at Driftland regardless. with some unfortunate car issues he eventually got knocked out of top 16 by local driver Stuart McLellan. Congratulations to Mark on the championship win, it shall be very interesting to watch him drive in the BDC next year.

Massive congratulations to the top 4 drivers, none of them had an easy job getting to the top 4 in what was a very competative top 32.

In this last year of drift competition in the UK the driving level has sky rocketed. DriftCup may be the feeder series for the British Drift Championship but i feel everyone who made it to the top 16 at Round 5 would certainly give any BDC driver a run for their money in competition.
Words and photo’s by Connor Mathieson