main

Event

Sunshine and Tyre Smoke

21st June 2017 — by Ben Gaut

IMG_9250-960x640.jpg

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

IMG_0031-960x640.jpg

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

cov_motofest_071-960x640.jpg

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

 Old Town

30th May 2017 — by Dave Cox

old_town_021-960x640.jpg

Armed with a beer and a camera, the air thick with the smell of booze, fuel and barbecue I felt the wave of childish excitement washing over me.

I write this through the eyes of a beer-fuelled tourist shuffling excitedly around the streets and bars of Old Town in Kissimee, Florida. It had been around 20 years since I last visited and I wanted to see if recollection of this petrol head nirvana was accurate. Fair warning, this will be a somewhat chaotic blog post, I hadn’t intended on doing event coverage, I just turned up looking to relax and drink some beer. I had no agenda, no features lined up, I was just there to take it all in. It wasn’t till I got home that I realised just how many pictures I had taken.

Before the dulcet tones of burbling V8’s filled the air, the sound track of the evening was people having fun in the fairground and surrounding bars. Picking up my first beer, I started walking from the bottom of Trophy Row, the staging ground for the cruiser cars, to get a closer look at the evening’s offerings. The night I visited was the Saturday Nite Classic Car Cruise which is hosted every Saturday with the main cruise starting at 8:30pm.

Reviews

Feature: Das Galag TG3

2nd January 2017 — by Dave Cox

ace_016-960x640.jpg

This thing is pure pantomime. It is a comically wide, hilariously loud chrome disco ball.  It is as subtle as farting in bed after a night of curry and beer, you’re bound to notice.

Now I will be the first to admit that I don’t know a huge amount about Mercedes. To my mind they are the type of car that is driven by taxi drivers and your Dad and often beige in colour. However they do have a way of clawing back some of that reputation by popping down to Halfords and sticking some chrome letters on the back. That, and shoehorning a thumping great V8 in the front of them. Even still, I failed to see their appeal.

ace_017

I even drove an E63 AMG Estate at Mercedes World in Woking, sure it was entertaining, loud and at the same time comfortable, I just never could shake off the thought of men in tweed transporting themselves to and from the golf club. To me they were rich boys toys, over styled, over weight and, dare I say it, vulgar. But what do I know? The sheer volume of them on the roads proves that I may be alone in this thinking.

ace_018

However, in late 2015 Mercedes announced the AMG GT and GTs. Everything I knew about the three pointed star had been changed, and I was very happy.

31965638596_f4d56edc22_o

The proportions of this GT cruiser are so well considered, that long bonnet, the swept back windscreen, the short cabin and curves that seem to never end. Who wouldn’t want to go mile munching in a thing that looks this pretty. Well that is exactly what the guys at Team Galag thought when they commissioned Xquisite Productions to build them a car for the Gumball 3000.

31193543763_fd1b0decce_o

What Xquisite did was not just bolt a body kit, because you can’t really call it as such. It is more of a complete reshell. It is said that there are a further six inches added to the width of this car already very wide car taking it well past the two meter mark. They managed this without disrupting the flow of Mark Fetherston’s original vision.

galag_feature_025

Just look at how the body extends well past the rear taillights, normally the standard body would follow the contours of the lights. Not any more. In case the reshell was too subtle a rather large (read bloody huge) carbon fibre wing was added. In fact it had to be cut down so that it didn’t extend past the cars width.


Up front we have a front splitter the size of a tea tray, canards that resemble Jaw’s fins and fender vents that looks like, well, fender vents. Round back with that large wing we spoke of but also a functioning rear diffuser. If it is all still too subtle for you, you could just remove the mufflers and wrap the whole thing in chrome. Oh…ok. Well it is Gumball after all. And as such you want your car to look like a race car but would you really want to do 3000miles in a race car?

galag_feature_024

Didn’t think so. So the interior was left as stock and to be honest, it is a great place to sit, everything works save for the sports exhaust button. The reason for that is they have removed the rear mufflers so it is on all the time. Naughty. There are exhaust flaps up front which get opened when you but the car in race mode.

galag_feature_031

The seats are supple and supportive with AMG details on the back rest, the driving position is comfortable with great visibility. Heated seats, cruise control, air conditioning, satnav, RACE BUTTON, it has it all. I love the red stitching details and the  Edition 1 AMG alcantara steering wheel. I’d love to jump in and chew through some miles across Europe.

galag_feature_001

Following the car through town to our shoot location was both hilarious and gob-smacking. The noises it makes in race mode are filthy. It is a dirty, filthy, brutal bark punctuated by pops and bangs. It’s like a heavily congested, snoring elephant rolling around on bubble wrap during a firework display. It was great to school kids gather and point as it set off from traffic lights, gawping motorists as went past and the cackling from myself and Phil as struggled to keep up with it. I love this thing.


The speed side of things is due to the fact that this AMG now how has a much smaller twin turbo V8 only 4.0L versus the old 6.2L n/a of 5.5L twin turbos but it makes more power, and is more driveable AND it has better fuel economy. The noise, well, as we mentioned, it doesn’t have any mufflers out back.

galag_feature_014

Now when Phil and I first saw this at the Ace Cafe which you can see in this blog here it was dark and hard to see all the little details. But getting up close and personal to it during this shoot allows you to appreciate some of the differences this TG3 (Team Galag 3) has to the GT3 variant. I for one prefer the standard front grill versus the bar version. the original cooling ducts for the brakes remain too as well as the standard headlights. I’m not going to pretend it is understated but the redesign does a nice job of sitting between the standard and the race version of this car.

galag_feature_038

With light rapidly falling away it was time to wrap up and head home. I really didn’t want to leave this silly, obnoxious, brilliant car behind. So on the way back I spent some time hanging out of the passengers window of Phil’s BMW catching some rolling shots. I’m lying really, I was just trying to get a better listen of it one last time. Now, if only I could find a spare £100k…

galag_feature_015

I want to pay a special thanks to Kay at Xquisite Productions and his team for allowing the opportunity to shoot it. I really do appreciate it, any time you have something else cool to shoot, don’t hesitate in asking us to pop down.

Words & Pictures: Dave Cox (Shooting Dave)
Additional Pictures: Phil “Paps” McCusker

Spec list:
4.0L Twin Turbo V8
Mid/Front Engine, Rear Wheel Drive
503bhp @ 6250 rpm
479 lb-ft Torque @ 1750 rpm
7 Speed AMG SpeedShift Dual Clutch transmission
1674kg curb weight
0-60mph – 3.8 Seconds
top speed – 193mph