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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

Gymkhana Giants take back the podium

16th May 2017 — by Fueltopia Events

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This Sunday a new track was laid out at Santa Pod Raceway and 29 drivers came to master it.

A mornings practice soon dried out the wet track from the downpour overnight, with times dropping rapidly as drivers learnt the track line.

Once more we had some first timers join the field and it didn’t take long for them to show that they had true skill and would be contenders when it came to the battles

Our smallest class had regular auto test driver Carl Harper join us in his Vauxhall Nova, which in all the tracks twists and turns spent more time on three wheels than four! He showed great skill and speed setting the fastest qualifying time but unfortunately loosing out in the finals by over shooting the stop box and gaining a DNF to see series veteran Sean Franklin take the top spot.

The Biddle brothers were joined again in our Unlimited class by Mark Elder for round 3 and it was great to see him really pushing the brothers and knocking down his track PB all day. In qualifying Andy Biddle took the top spot with a 33.1 second run.  In a battle for the spot against him in the final Mark took on Nick in their closest battle to date, with Mark knocking another second of his track PB. It was nick however to face off once more against Andy, with Andy eventually taking the top spot.

Marks efforts however had not gone unnoticed by our Hard Charger Jury, who awarded him with recognition to how much his driving improved throughout the day.

The AWD class qualifying couldn’t have been closer so it was all to play for in the knockouts. Reigning champion Dmitrij Sribnyj hadn’t had a great start to the season so far, with mechanical issues leaving him off that top spot that he has grown used too,  and a new standard engine replacement required after complete failure at a recent event, but he topped qualifying giving him a bye straight into the semi finals.

The rest of the class went head to head and Dmitrij was soon joined by Andrew Stevens, Jonathan Buck and Yordan Andreev, all of whom have been on the podium already this season.

With a tight course and pressure running high, lots of penalties accumulated and it wasn’t always the first in the box taking the win

A battle for 3rd and 4th between Andy Stevens and Jonathan Buck, see both drivers pick up a penalty on their runs in the left lane, with Bucky taking the last spot on the podium.

The final between current championship leader Yordan Andreev and ScoobyClinic driver Dmitrij should have been a close battle but once again, Sribnyj showed us all why he is the Gymkhana champ and dropped both his runs to 32 seconds storming over the finish clearly ahead of his competitor.

Rear wheel hosts our biggest class and we battle from the top 16 of the day. 6 seconds split the top from the bottom in qualifying with Luke Woodham taking the fastest time by 0.5 seconds over Adam Elder who was currently sitting at the top of the 2017 championship after taking the win at round 2 when Woodham overshot the stop box in the final.

As we worked through the battles we saw high powered S bodies take on the quick and nimble field of MX5s proving power is not everything when it comes to mastering Gymkhana.

A top 8 battle between Mike Newland and Ryan Milton proved just this with just 0.6 seconds splitting the two over the two runs, until the times are added no one can tell by eye who would have taken the win, but it was Ryan who went into the Semis this time

A closer battle ensued between Philip Staniford in his MX5 and Mantas Sliogeris in his Honda s2000 with just 0.08 seconds splitting the two drivers.

The semi finals were made up of 2 MX5s vs 2 s14s, and it was here we see Ryan Milton retire due to a broken drive shaft, giving Elder the spot in the final against Woodham and an automatic award of 3rd place to Philip Staniford. Never the way we want to see final battles go but we know Ryan will get it fixed and will be fighting once more for those podium spots at round 4.

So the final was one we have seen many times before, and after his mistake at round 2 Luke was ready to make this one count and take back that top spot and £100 Nankang cheque. His driving from run one in practice had been on point all day, showing the field why he is three time European and 2016 Formula G Gymkhana champion.

Pressure on Adam was high, these guys have faced off many times and this is all about all important championship points and bragging rights! This round was Luke’s for the taking with a 4 second lead overall after Adam picked up a penalty hitting a cone in the right lane. This has now pushed Woodham up from 4th to first in the championship, with Adam on his heels with 1 point to catch him, we have a feeling this is going to right to the final round this year.

As usual all drivers rallied around for the podium presentations and champagne fights! See you all at Rockingham for Round 4 of the championship on Sunday 30th July. Tickets are available on the store now

 

 

Reviews

DO A SKID

28th March 2017 — by Dan Fegent

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The drift scene has taken over the car world, we get it, its rad & we’re huge fans of it, most of us here at Fueltopia are somehow heavily involved with it. However its caused some issues on a wider scale, for example you’ll be at a perfectly uncivilised car meet/cruise/show/Maccy Ds car park & something modified & RWD will turn up. Then you hear the cries… “Do a skid!” Its the sad reality people.

One car conjures up mad drift skills to those that see it and those that drive it none more so than the 200sx. Its become a symbol of drift culture here in the UK especially, & a popular body among those with enough pennies to go Pro at the sport. However, they don’t have to be all that way, the 200sx was popular across the ocean in the States long before drifting took a hold of us all. They went for the whole low & slow stanced look which is ever popular with Euro cars.

A lot of the reason behind that being the lack of availability of SR20DET engines in their 200sx models or even anything remotely performance driven. No matter the reasons though, the style was clearly different & not driven by an obsession of drifting. This one you see here is an example of modifying that has followed that older US trend, its not been built to drift, its been built to grip, to drive, to use on a daily basis. BORING all the Initial D fans shout, but different strokes for different folks.

 

With a plethora of performance & styling mods, 200sx owners have plenty of choice. This one has a small selection of enhancements mainly revolving around a Stage 2 custom map & all the other breathing mods that are needed to make that work. All whilst sitting pretty on its Japan Racing JR12 rims thanks to HSD coilovers. It performs awesome & looks good without ever being sideways on the edge of control. Featuring this example is because we want to give a shout out to the car, not what it represents now in our ever evolving car culture but what it is and always has been, a fun RWD boosted machine that can be styled however you want, not just for shits & skids.

Event

Formula G Championship, Round 2: Santa Pod Raceway

24th March 2017 — by Fueltopia Events

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Sunday 19th March saw the Fueltopia event team host Formula G round 2 at a dry yet windy Santa Pod Raceway.

Just two weeks on from the first event, drivers were faced with a new track and it proved to be the fastest one to date. A relatively simple layout meant that mastering the course directions came quickly to most and that round two was all about dialling in your technique around the obstacles and getting your foot in quick on the straights. The track lived up to its name the Quickdraw, and as many used their practice session to reduce their times, some soon fell under 37 second’s across RWD, AWD and U1 classes.

The qualifying session of 4 runs per driver places all into a top 16 ranking and then for battles go head to head 1st v 16th and so forth in each class. In the AWD class Andrew Stevens topped the class with a 36.025 but with just 0.9 of a second splitting the top 4 we could see we were going to be in for some tight battles.

In the RWD class, whilst we saw series regulars take the top 8 positions it was great to see 5 of them be taken on by fairly new drivers to the sport, including 14 year old Ben Dryburgh who made the trip down from Scotland to compete in the championship for the first time. However it was the top 8 who all progressed through to the semi-final stages.

The U1 class had a new entry to the series in the form of a Robin Hood, piloted by Daniel Cooper. However as a complete newbie to the sport, he didn’t quite have the speed to knock the biddles off the top spot. With advice from the drivers in the pit we hope to see him back soon ready to take on the challenge once again. Andy Biddle stole the show with a driving masterclass on the day and posted a 35.139 in qualifying taking the crown of fastest time of the day across not only U1 but all classes.

The AWD class battles kicked off with a bye for Andy Stevens when Dmitrij Sribnyj suffered mechanical issues meaning the car didn’t make it to the startline. The battles continued with Flitspeed teammates Dom and Lewis taking each other on in their semi-final, that saw Dom take the win and his place in the quarter final against Yordan Andreev, who made it through after winning his battle against Michael Irwin.

 

Jonathan Buck, who suffered major mechanical issues and therefore missed the first Formula G event, was out to get as many points as he could to better position himself in the championship points table. He won his top 8 battle against Nankang and Pole Position driver Jake Archer and was next drawn against fastest qualifier Andy Stevens, a close race ensued but with Andy picking up a 2 second penalty the win was Buckys and in the final he faced off against Round 1 winner Yordan Andreev. A mistake picking up a 2 second penalty for Andreev meant he had to give his all to beat Bucky in the final race, however his eagerness see him jump the start lights and as long as he could keep his cool and complete the course with no DNF the win was Buckys to take. The final race also see Bucky set the fastest time of the day in the AWD class so he picked up a vital 12 championship points.

 

The RWD class was the last to see battles and with 16 quickly down to 8 our season regulars lined up against opponents they all know too well. It was 4 big powered Nissan S bodies against 4 smaller nibble MX5s and a Honda S2000. With 3 MX5s taking the podium spots at round one the Nissan drivers were guns blazing to get back to the top!

The four making it through to the quarter finals were Luke Woodham, Mark Young, Ryan Milton and Adam Elder. Ryan in his MX5 had been flying around the course all day and was up first against Adam Elders 400bhp Nissan S14, both races were close, with Adam pulling ahead on the straights and Ryan catching him on the tight turns in the obstacles, but it was Adam who pulled ahead just enough to see him into the Final.

Mark Young was up next against 2016 Formula G and 3 times European Gymkhana champion Luke Woodham. Jap motorsport driver Mark had been having the drive of his life Saturday, looking smooth around obstacles and fast on the straights but he couldn’t quite keep up with Luke and he headed into the 3rd/4th place battle with Ryan. His battle with Ryan see him take 4th on the day, losing out by just 0.6 of a second over the 2 sides of the course, his driving didn’t go unnoticed by staff who picked him for the Hardcharger award and all drivers were in agreement with this decision.

The final see a battle we have seen before and are likely to witness many times in the future. As Elder and Woodham, lined up on the grid, we were given the most exciting final battle. The first run see the drivers split by just 0.1 of a second with Luke taking the edge. As they drove around back to the startline we knew this could be anyone’s to win. Both flew round the course, no time penalties and both flew into the stop box at the same time, however Woodham handed the win to Elder when he shot way over the perimeter of the stop box, giving him a DNF. He took it well, laughing it off and congratulating Adam before both finished the day with a huge smoke show as they headed back to the podium!

 

Two rounds down with 3 to go, the points in the championship table are so close right now every point counts and we look forward to seeing what a new track and round 3 brings on May 14th. Tickets are available now on the store.

Photos by

Craig Toull, CRT Photography

Reviews

Purpose Built Barrel Hunter

28th February 2017 — by Dave Cox

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At the time of writing, we are just days away from the beginning of the 2017 Fueltopia Barrel Sprint season. Test & Registration day has been and gone and we take this brief gap to bring you a close look at Mike Newland’s new purpose built barrel sprint s13.

This is not Mike’s first rodeo either previously he had a purpose built S14. A car that Mike has competed in for the last 4 years and spent tireless hours and effort developing. Sadly the S14 met it’s demise at Coventry MotorFest when it made a firm introduction with a concrete pillar underneath the ring roads. When life deals you such a poor hand it can be hard to get back on your feet.

Motorsport is high risk, leaving many grass roots racers with two options, All or Nothing. The impact the S14 had sustained was too much, the chassis was completely folded underneath the car meaning that it would sadly be beyond repair. For someone who had invested all they had into a sport they love the result was pretty crushing. Thankfully that was the extent of the damage, pretty much everything could be salvaged.

An S13 was sourced and Mark Young at Japs Motorsport set to work sand blasting the fresh shell before seam welding and inserting a full cage in preparation for transplanted parts. The decision to go for an S13 instead of an S14 was to step away from the norm on the field. Rear wheel drive class in Barrel Sprint is pretty much dominated by MX5’s and S14’s so Mike felt the need to provide a different body to keep things interesting.

Mark took a staggering 7 days to complete the transformation from a bare shell. I will let that sink in for a little bit. In an era where builds are getting turned around for shows in ever decreasing times, this is incredible. Not to mention that this isn’t a show car, this is a purpose built race car and it is fully functional! I have struggled to make decisions in 7 days, let alone build and complete a car.

The exterior also got a refresh thanks to Sussex Wrap Studio which closely mimics the colours scheme of the S14 as well keeping in line with the team colours.

After all the work was completed, the car was unveiled at the Wembley Qualifier for GRiD last year. Where unfortunately due to a lack of testing due to time constraints the car was fighting with him and not behaving herself. Due to this Mike came in 3rd place missing his spot at GRiD. Disappointing for Mike but still very impressive for anyone else.

The eagle eyed amongst you would have noticed that the lines of this S13 are slightly off, that is because the rear glass hatch has been removed and replaced with fibreglass flat bed. This was done to primarily reduce weight and lower the centre of gravity keeping the car light and nimble or “Smimble” as Mike affectionately calls it (Small and Nimble).

The obsessive weight loss spreads further than just the rear hatch, the bonnet is single skin fibre glass too,

The interior of the car is a spartan yet functional place to sit. A flocked dash obscured only by an OMP steering wheel houses minimal switch gear whilst a hydro setup help get the car round the barrels. Whilst a Corbeau seat helps keep the driver in place.  An Android dash allows Mike to customise what he monitors, keeping only the essential information on display.

As mentioned before, many of the components were transplanted over to the new chassis. Gold wrapping around the intake pipes help keep engine temperatures down. Mike is however developing a new expansion system to help lower intake temperatures and keep them constant which will mean he can go more aggressive on the map. Given that the car is already making 385bhp on a Nispro tune, it will be pretty lively.

Frustrated with his performance at the Qualifier, Mike sent the car to Walton Smith at Nispro to get the car’s alignment dialled in. This proved a wise choice as during the next FBS round, he beat his personal best time and then went on to finish 2nd in the championship.

I keep teasing Mike about the reverse rake of the car saying “just lower the front by a foot and you’ll be fine!” But I am told this is to help with balance and turn in. Seeing as I am at very best a spirited driver, I shall shut up and stop poking fun. (Will I f*ck)

The car is littered with small considered details, I’m particularly fond of the KODE rivets that secure the over fenders and duck tail spoiler . There are other touches too, like the JDM painted spokes. All of this is colour coordinated to tie in the with wrap this car has.

“The test day was an eye opener, After changing the suspension and the cars setup in the off season, it felt totally different. But not in a good way, I couldn’t get to grips with the changes and was struggling to go at my normal pace. After lots of messing around and tweaking I got it set perfect and produced some very nice runs. New front tyres needed due to the increased rear grip since last year due to Nispro’s awesome new setup.”

It is clear that Mike has spent the last 4 years honing his skills and working out what kind of setup he wants from the car. Finishing 3rd in 2015, 2nd in 2016 it only makes sense that he is setting his sights on 1st for this season.

After watching him most of the day and getting really up close and personal, I have little reason to doubt that he will be in strong contention for the win. I wish him the best luck for the season ahead. If you fancy going down and seeing him in action for yourself then you can get tickets from here: Fueltopia Barrel Sprint

Words & Pictures; Dave Cox (SHOOTINGDAVE)

Sponsors:

JAPS Motorsport
EBC Brakes
Corbeau
Adolescent Dogs
Advanced Lubricant Solutions
Dodo Juice
Just Jap
Nispro
Infamous Creations
Sussex Wrap Studio

Specs:

SR20DET
Owen Developements Turbo
LINK ECU
EBC brakes all round
Seam welded chassis & Roll cage
Custom Corbeau bucket seat 5 point harnesses
Driftworks CS2 Coilovers
Custom cooling and intake setup by JAPS Motorsport
1 piece prop shaft
Wisefab rear setup
Geomaster front setup