Feature

2016-2017 SASC Winter Driver Training


This article was originally published in December 2013. We are republishing it as the 2016-2017 program has now been scheduled. It has been updated with a new element/exercise so if you’ve taken part before you may want to give it a try again to freshen up your skills. Here are the updated links for this year’s program:

Registration: Register Here
More Information: Click here

This weekend, the Southern Alberta Solosport Club (SASC) held their first Winter Driving Training of the year and we were invited to check it out. While winter driving training is not mandatory for one to receive their driver’s license in Canada, it really ought to be. The skills that are taught at the event through various exercises are critical for safe winter driving and even the most experienced drivers come away learning something new.

Have you ever been caught on slick roads where no matter how far you crank your steering wheel your car just wants to continue going straight? What should you do if you lose control of your vehicle? If it looks like you cannot stop in time before running into someone, what should you do? These questions and many more will be answered as you go through each of these scenarios.

Read the rest of this entry »


2015 McLaren 650S – Exotic Redefined

mclaren-650S-coupe-2

I recently had the privileged of driving a car that most people can only dream of driving. Sure, you can pay a sum of money and head to LA or Las Vegas and rent one for a few laps, but those types of experiences are all about thrill seeking. When you get the opportunity to drive an exotic super-car, you take it and enjoy every moment of it.

I’m not going to bore you with the details of what makes up a 650S. That type of information can be found on the internet. Lets talk about how the car looks and feels.

The 650S literally looks like the bridge design between where McLaren production cars started and where they are now. The front is all P1 / 570S and the rear is all MP4-12C. The car is striking. I really love the front of the car. It’s aggressive and unique without being arrogant. The rear of the car is all business. It’s neat, tidy and functional. The high mounted exhaust exits are perfectly placed and convey that the 650S is no ordinary car. Some say it is the face-lift of the 12C, but other say it is a step up bringing it closer to the P1.

Read the rest of this entry »


F1 For the Road – The Ferrari F50

ferrari-f50-1
It’s not often one gets handed the keys to a million dollar car. Well in this case, about 1.6 million, but who’s counting? It’s ironic that I’m the one that gets to write about this supercar. You see, I’m not exactly a fan of Ferrari. Don’t get me wrong, Ferrari makes some great sports cars, but I’m a diehard McLaren fan in the sport of Formula 1 and Ferrari has been our biggest rival over the checkered history of the two teams.

For me, driving a Ferrari is akin to a Red Sox fan wearing a Yankees jersey or, something closer to home, a Flames fan sporting Oilers gear. It’s obvious that the owner of this car has a good sense of humor, as he suggested that I close off our Summer Series by taking his F50 for a day. I promised to be open minded about the experience. Hell, I even wore a red shirt to pick up the car.

Read the rest of this entry »


Performance Redefined: Nissan GTR

shadows-nissan-gtr-9
I spend a lot of time on various car forums on the internet, and I always enjoy clicking on the car comparison threads because they bring me the most amount of enjoyment. You see, I love watching people argue on the internet, as long as I’m not involved. Car comparisons always have good intentions to begin with, on the internet or in real life, but they typically end in a shit show of fanboys trying to justify why their prized possession is better than someone else who owns a competing model. I have a theory which explains why this happens.

It’s very simple, the theory is that there are only 3 personality types that describe every car enthusiast in the world. While everyone is primarily 1 of these 3 types, they can dabble in the other categories but, in the end, they will argue to the end based on their primary personality. Let’s break it down.

Read the rest of this entry »


Life Lessons, Courtesy of Mercedes

benyl-mercedes-e63s-wagon-1
Before we start, I need to apologize for being late. Partly due to real life getting in the way, but mostly due to the fact that I struggled to write this. My theme for this article was going to be “Growing up and growing old”. I was going to walk you through Benyl’s completely normal car history, where he threw whatever cheap mods he could to make his car stand out, regardless of whether or not they made the car any better. We were going to bring back memories of him crashing at the track (or on the streets) by driving like an idiot. We’d transition into his actual adulthood, where he owns a sensible home and drives a sensible wagon.

Problem is, none of those things are true. Benyl was born a 50 year old man and his cars have gotten consistently more powerful from the factory as time goes on. He didn’t really mod his cars until a money shift destroyed his STI’s engine and he was going to have to pay for a new one anyway. Even then, he built it right the first time.

Read the rest of this entry »


Canadian JDM Invasion – Honda Integra Type-R

NRGie-jdm-integra-type-r-1
I remember seeing my first Lamborghini Countach in person like it was yesterday. It was the fall of 1982, and sitting across from the street from our Los Angeles hotel under some lush palm trees was a pristine white Countach that looked exactly like the posters on my wall. This was my first trip to Disneyland, and my parents were trying to rush the two kids into a cab. I refused to budge, I’ve been a car guy all my life, and seeing that Lamborghini in person was infinitely better than seeing Mickey Mouse.

What’s interesting about this Countach was that it looked very different than the later Countachs on US soil. The bumpers were clean, and didn’t have the ugly ass US spec bumpers that were necessary to pass US federal standards in later model years. The US, as well as Canada, have a completely different set of vehicle standards compared to the rest of the world. Almost everywhere else, countries follow the UNECE Harmonized Vehicle Regulations. Introduced in the late 50’s, it was a set of rules that made it much easier for international trade, and thus much cheaper for manufacturers to sell vehicles in many countries. The US and Canada were notable holdouts in this agreement, and have their own set of standards. Low volume manufacturers were effectively shut out of the North American market due to the huge costs in federalizing their vehicles.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Track Rat: ESS Supercharged BMW M3

csmrx7-supercharged-bmw-e90-m3-2

Magazine featured project cars always look amazing on paper. Flipping through the pages of your favorite tuner magazine you’ll find an assortment of project cars that have the best parts and the best specs yet, when it comes down to it, they’re garage queens. Sure they might look like they are ready for a weekend of club racing but, most of the time, they’re destined for a life of car shows, meets, and magazine shoots. I’m not saying all project cars end up this way, but a large proportion of them do.

There’s a perfectly good reason why this is the case. Most of these projects aim to impress a reader, not a driver. Decked out with the most expensive pieces available on the market, there’s rarely a thought given to how they benefit the car. Readers drool over the Blitz intercooler without considering that the car is running 4 psi. Or maybe Zeal coilovers which have gone untuned, negatively affecting the handling compared to stock.

Read the rest of this entry »


C63 Black Series: Where Stimulation Trumps Stint Times

mercedes-c63-black-series-review-1

Being asked to drive a fun car should never cause you stress, but that’s exactly what I felt when my boss asked me to review his car. In a no-win situation comparable to “Does this make me look fat?”, I was being asked to give my opinion about rage2’s current pride and joy, the Mercedes C63 AMG Black Series.

Ah well, this gig doesn’t pay anyway.

For those that aren’t familiar with rage2’s C63 BS, here’s what you need to know. 510 hp, 457 lb-ft of torque, 3800 lbs, fender flares, matte wrap, 0-60 in 3.7s, 1/4 mile in 12 seconds flat, and a baby seat ISOFIX’d to the back seat. All for the mildly affordable starting price of $109,000. Which forces a question you’ll hear all too often on car forums and bar conversations. Why would you spend six figures on a C-class that doesn’t perform at the top of its price range? You could pick up a new GTR for the same money and literally drive circles around the C63. Ignorance and brand loyalty are the most common justifications you’ll hear but, while the latter certainly applies here (whether he’ll admit it or not), rage2 has his own reason. It’s fun.

Read the rest of this entry »


BMW 1M, the Anti-M Car

fuji-bmw-1m-9
Trying to predict which car will turn into an investment is like predicting the weather in Calgary. All the experts will think they know the answer but, in reality, it’s a pure crapshoot. When it comes to new cars, the odds of picking “the one” are even slimmer. Every automotive publication attempts to be Nostradamus with their future collectible cars lists, but look back at these lists and you will realize how silly these predictions truly are. I mean really, a Nissan Leaf?

Two cars, however, have beaten the odds in the last decade, the Ford GT and the BMW 1M; models that share really nothing in common with one another. You would think that the formula for success is fairly simple. Create a car that’s fun and exciting to drive, release it in limited numbers, cut off production after a short period of time, and then reap the marketing benefits over the next handful of years as enthusiasts and collectors rave over your halo model. If only it were that simple.

Read the rest of this entry »


Return of the Track Car

return-of-the-track-car-11
When Race City closed down in the fall of 2011, many purpose-built track cars lost their purpose. Cars that were terrible to drive on the roads but excelled on a power track such as Race City were left sitting on backyards and driveways, waiting for the day when a new track opens, allowing them to stretch their legs once more. Beyond’s co-founder, Kenny Chan, owns one of these track cars, where the car existed solely to lap the road course as fast as possible.

This Civic had quite the journey getting to where it is today. In its original configuration, it was a bare bones 1992 Civic Hatchback shell, completely stripped down, with a B18B1 Integra LS motor. Back then several Beyonders, including myself, were at the forefront of Honda tuning. Loaded with 94 octane fuel, a cold air intake, and an open exhaust, I was able to squeeze out 175hp out of the motor with some aggressive tuning. The car was making a name for itself on the drag strip, easily beating out 200hp Hondas with the ITR engine thanks to its low weight and excellent launch control system.

Read the rest of this entry »


Older Posts »