Saturday, September 10, 2016

The captivating Ferrari F12tdf

Oh I’m so in love. I’m writing this right after getting home. First it’s a Ferrrari V-12, that’s usually enough right there. It’s like a regular car though, a traditional one with the engine in front, doors that open out instead of up, rear glass you can see out of, the door sill isn’t too wide so ingress and egress is easy and it’s quick, insanely quick. It’s not a space-shippy, UFO looking oddity and actually, seemingly obtainable because of the natural shape. It has swoops and curves like a beautiful woman lying down (on either her front, back or side). It’s the car a Maserati Grand Turismo wishes it could be. Behold! It’s the Ferrari F12tdf! Now bow down in reverence!

The F12tdf is the monster from Maranello named after the Tour de France race Ferrari dominated in the years before the bicyclists, winning ten times from 1951 to 1964 almost all with the 250 GTO, a similar looking car. The F12tdf is a F12 Berlinetta that’s been lightened, more powerful, revised suspension, transmission, aerodynamic enhancements, rear steering added and a sharper edged version of the F12. This particular version has upgrades including a front axle lift, upgrade audio and a stunning selection of personalization with blue tinted carbon fiber. The blue helping highlight the various aerodynamic upgrades over the standard F12 that create 500lbs of downforce at 125mph.

The 6.3 liter V-12 has a horn section. It blares, blasts, plays notes and talks to you with aural feedback like only a Ferrari V-12 can. The brass section changes tunes depending upon the gear and throttle position. Rated at 769hp at 8500rpm, up from 730hp in the Berlinetta. The torque peak is 519lb-ft. at 6250rpm but 80% of that available from 2500rpm and the redline is 8900 rpm. The power builds in a linear rush with no dead spot or lacking under a particular rpm, a rheostat connected to the foot similar to the wife’s LaFerrari. And as he says, it is a front engine LaFerrari, albeit noticeably slower. Well slower to him.

The transmission upshifts are 30% quicker and the downshifts 40% quicker with 6% shorter ratios, turning roughly 3000rpm at 80mph in 7th gear. The suspension features magnetorheological suspension control (generations beyond the first system developed by Delphi) with dual coil system. In order to help with immediate turn-in, the first application of rear steering by Ferrari is with a controller by ZF and software by Ferrari, the system is called Passo Corto Virtuale which basically means short wheelbase. It allows for rapid rotational change as if the wheelbase was shorter and helps keep the rear end stable. For ultimate grip, tires are 275s in front and 315s in the rear and the overall weight is reduced a reported 220lbs.

The owner said the standard F12 Berlinetta was a very good car but wasn’t passionate about it and his wife wasn’t really a fan, but this car is on an entirely different level. More reminiscent of his 599 GTO which he thoroughly enjoys, this F12tdf handles extremely well, rotates immediately, and feels lighter than the weight reduction would indicate which many attribute to the rear wheel steering. The owner, now very experienced and frequent track day participant in extremely high horsepower cars scoffs at reports the car is tricky to drive at the limit. Who goes ten-tenths on the street anyway? However feeling that turn-in a level of effortless grip shames many street legal cars.

Opening the passenger door the custom color choice glossy carbon fiber door panel is stunning, as it contrasts nicely in the interior. The shifting paddles are very long and the steering wheel has multiple functions on the front versus levers behind it.  The display in front of the driver includes front and rear camera views. There is a lot of finished details inside with the carbon fiber and it works great. Plenty of legroom in the footwell was another pleasant surprise and the thin backed carbon fiber seats are perfect with an interestingly firm center section in the back that, while noticeable for a new passenger, were very comfortable. The yellow mesh headliner helps brighten the interior and the blue Alcantara compliments without being garish. Peering in the rear, the hatch opens up revealing a cargo area sufficient for a small suitcase and gym/duffel bag. It’s not a small coupe with a 107.1” wheelbase but under the hood long, blue carbon fiber airboxes lead to the V-12 that actually sits behind the front axle line.

Weight distribution is 46% front, 54% rear. Despite the engine not being behind the driver, traction off the line at a stop light is fierce and even with wheelspin, the fantastically responsive traction control allowed the car to accelerate extremely hard. This is a sub-3 second 0-60mph car with proper traction and run the quarter mile deep in the low 10s and trap speeds likely in the upper 130s. For comparison sake, a heavier, lower horsepower Lamborghini LP750 SV clocked a 10.5 @ 136mph.

One would think this is a numbers car with all the figures tossed around. It’s not, it becomes immaterial when going for a ride in this. Would it matter if it only ran low 11s? What if it only turns 1:35s at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca? It doesn’t matter. The numbers simply aggregate into an audible, visual, and g-force sensation experience. A seriously sexy beast, the owner loves it, even more than expected. It’s just so cool, especially as bespoke as this one. Possibly the pinnacle of front engine, rear wheel drive cars, it also may be the last of the naturally aspirated and non-hybrid Ferraris. This may be the last of the standalone V-12s with Ferrari. If you ever see one, take your time and really examine it, take it all in. Why? Because V-12, that’s why.

Link to pictures and video:

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering was a visual and digestive feast

The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering held on Friday, August 18th once again proved itself to be the finest gathering imaginable for cars, food and drink. Held at The Quail Lodge Golf Club in Carmel Valley, this year it expanded once again and featured another world class gathering of greats.

Pictures can barely capture what is seen in person. The Bugatti Chiron, Bentley’s entire display, Pagani with multiple cars, Singer Porsche, the 50th Anniversary of the Lamborghini Miura lined up like a bunch of sexy skittles, 100th anniversary of BMW with a couple of F1s (street and GTR long tail race car) a bunch of Z8s off in the corner, great Ferraris, super cars and much more.

Lamborghini introduced the Centario Roadster and also a present was a Miura Homage Aventador and Huracan Spyder. Porsche had a very clean display with the revered 911R as the centerpiece. Ken Okuyama design introduced a stunning one off V12 front engine roadster called Kode57. This is a judged car show, the winner being a 1953 Ferrari 375 MM Pinin Farina Spyder. The only black Maserati MC12 produced made women and men weak in the knees.

Now in the inaugural year, the The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award was awarded to the stunning 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS, Chassis No. 90106 Coupé aérodynamique ‘Goutte d’Eau’, Figoni & Falaschi. It was chosen among six of the world’s finest automobiles from top concours events internationally, to compete for the title of the most exceptional car in the world. Of the contenders, the most recent model year was 1968. The judging panel was twenty-four of among the most renowned designers, collectors and enthusiasts. Unfortunately it was in one of the food tents rather on a turntable on prominent display. If you’re a foodie, plan on eating multiple gourmet meals with menus from Beverly Hills, Chicago, New York and Paris.

Among various vendors, the achingly gorgeous stone automobile sculptures from Kellen Silverthorn captured the essence of the rolling sculpture at the event. Using a high tech process with careful staging, locations, props, photoshop and expert photography, Unique & Limited s.r.o. from the Czech Republic doesn’t capture magic, they create it with incredible scenes of cars and even aircraft. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen and a must if you collect automotive art.

Outside the show, Porsche has a destination display in itself and on the opposite side, the Bonhams auction took place. The program and poster themselves are collector quality. Of course a car enthusiast would just go crazy here, it’s so good, so overwhelming, when it’s over you don’t even want to leave. You secretly hope a car is left over on the field and you’re asked to drive it away. Instead, you reluctantly leave, the greatness gently tugging at your soul, with memories and photos to hold you over until next year.

Album here:

Scott Campbell Photography

Monday, August 29, 2016

McCall's 25th Motorworks Revival Party rocked the Monterey Car Week kickoff

Gordon and Molly McCall celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Motorworks Revival at the Monterey Jet Center on Wednesday, August 17th with a proper party that continues to evolve. It had all the requisite aircraft, cars, appetizers, and ambiance. This year a live DJ at 9pm was joined by a live drummer and violinist for a modern dance party. Needless to say, this party rocked.

Non-Red Carpet parking was well organized with comfortable shuttles delivering guests to the Monterey Jet Center. The caliber of cars in the remote lot and the number of helpful attendants made it hassle free. The complimentary professional photography at the entrance is always a treat.

Once past the entry its always, “Mind blown” with photography and ogle time. Modern and classic aircraft, specialty vehicles and stunning examples from various manufacturers. In the hanger itself, Koenigsegg had the Regera, Agera S and CCX there. Pagani had several models, McLaren, Alpha Romeo including the upcoming Giulia, Acura with the NSX, and Toyota had the Kyle Busch 2015 Sprint Cup Camry along with other Toyota racing standouts. Vintage motorcycles and war planes, executive jets, fine jewelry and more offered an incredible variety of visual treats.

Interestingly the second hanger wasn’t open this year without any detriment and kept the crowd from thinning out too much. One complaint was that there needed to be more places to sit, either to take a break, enjoy the wine, or rest some weary feet especially for the ladies in heels. There was no goody bag this year but the event lifestyle program is excellent and the branded wineglasses were favorite keepsakes so the bags weren’t necessary.

Food and drink seemed endless with four top chefs and six wineries kept the crowd well fed and in a party mood.  Tickets are available far in advance every year, this year for $395 and the excellent CHP 11-99 foundation continues to be the beneficiary of the raffle. Every year Gordon and Molly McCall continue to evolve the party with world class vehicles, food, drink and entertainment. It’s the Monterey car week kickoff party that should not be missed.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Lamborghini Aventador LP 750-4 Superveloce Roadster

The answer is V-12. The question is what is rare, powerful, makes extraordinary noises and in this case sits all by itself? All alone as in no turbos, no hybrid assist and of course, no supercharger. It is a 6.5 liter, 740hp, 12 cylinder, 48 valve wonder in the 2016 Lamborghini Aventador LP750-4 Superveloce.. An amazing, outrageous V-12 monster!

It features a carbon fiber 2-piece removable top, a carbon fiber passenger tub, scissor lift doors and
much more. This yellow example stands out like nothing else, it might be the least subtle car on the road. Deep rear diffusers, a carbon fiber wing, and the breakup of the lines with the roof removed is striking. A large, wide hood finishes off the front and the headlights feature an outline of LED running lights. This car is more transformer than anything else on the road.

A wide button on the door under the character line opens the swing-up scissor door by itself with an excellent damping motion, no worry about it swinging open too hard. Getting in is easier than some other cars with a particularly wide sill (McLaren P1), although it was still butt first. A yellow pull strap is used to bring it back down and the mechanical tolerance to close it is absolutely perfect, not even the slightest hint of slack.

Surprisingly roomy, it has good outward visibility with a very small triangular window at the base of the A-pillar that gives peeks of speed. Legroom is easily sufficient for a 6-footer and the carbon fiber backed seats were extremely comfortable, not even noticing any adjustment was needed in seat back or bottom, a very rare occurrence. Remember the Honda Del Sol? No? Well no matter, the Roadster has a small rear window that retracts downward. The gloss coat carbon fiber interior door panel isn’t for watches and bracelets though.

Turbos will muffle, electric vehicles may eventually kill it, but the V-12 is both a symphony and rock concert with volume control by the right foot and eagerly feeding the ears. Sound is such a necessary ingredient to the enthusiast’s driving experience and this monster has it in spades. Buffeting is minimal at speed and during start-up a whirring from the starter then a whoomph as the engine engages. Other sound bits include shrieking at full throttle, a zing during a rev matched downshift, rumbling at part throttle, a faint humming while driving during the cylinder deactivation, fans heard on the side from the huge intake at stoplights. Someone could write code for an EV’s sound
system to recreate this, but it would be really fake and really cheesy. Bystanders enjoy the concert from this marvel, but an intentionally fake-sound transmitting EV just begs for regulation and posers in skinny jeans.

When Lamborghini added magnetic shocks and revised the shifting of the single clutch automated transmission, and the stiff monocoque carbon fiber passenger tub, and improved steering it became a more attractive option to the owner, especially relatively uncompromised in terms of weight and stiffness as a roadster. And now, it’s a surprisingly good GT car. It’s a bit heavy and doesn’t flick in
transitions as easily like a lighter car, but it sure talks to you. In the Strada mode the ride is excellent, thanks to the inboard magnetic shocks, its firm but not punishingly so. The owner likes the Sport mode, right in between.

It isn’t without faults. The stereo is reported as terrible by any production car standards (I was busy listening to the other concert), and it needs an annoying manual re-shift to first gear when sitting at light for about five seconds. In the quest for higher horsepower, some low end torque is missing, if you can consider 509 lb-ft at 5500rpm a sacrifice, and the hit occurs at about 3500rpm. The stock exhaust sounds amazing and doesn't need modifying. The YouTube videos of exhaust revving mishaps are not from stock exhaust cars...

The owner weighed it at 3950lbs but it does have carbon ceramic rotors as standard to reel it all in. Despite the weight, the coupe still clocked a 6:59.73 at the Nurburgring. Essentially the record among all cars still in production. And one of the leading magazines ran a 10.6 second, 135mph quarter mile, it’s in a particularly rare field of performance especially among unboosted and non-hybrid vehicles.

Normally aspirated performance cars are becoming rare, and some are already commanding a premium new and on the used market. V-12s in particular are a dying breed. Hopefully they won’t be totally obsoleted, after all these rolling pieces of craftsmanship and engineering may stay around in the digital age the way analog watches have. The Aventador leads the way right now in purity and

Oil change interval advice from Ask Rob About Cars

7/3/2016 Oil change interval advice from Ask Rob About Cars |
See also: car & truck enthusiasts, mustang gt, oil change
Oil change interval advice from Ask Rob About Cars
June 5, 2016
10:29 PM MST
The shop where I have my car serviced has been urging me to change my oil in my 2013 Mustang GT California Special more often. I've owned this vehicle
since May 2012 and have 11K miles on it. Since I don't have time to drive it much I change the oil once a year since Ford recommends every 10K. The question
is should I change it more often or is once a year with synthetic oil okay?
Answer: Russell, modern engine oils and engine technology allow for the 10,000 mile oil change intervals. Keep in mind the manufacturer also offers a
powertrain warranty for up to 100,000 miles so a 10k oil change interval is not harmful under “normal” conditions.
What is the real oil change interval?
7/3/2016 Oil change interval advice from Ask Rob About Cars |
 Is Synthetic Oil Worth It? Ask Rob About Cars
If your trips allow the engine to fully warm up and the oil temperature to get over 200 degrees regularly to evaporate moisture, you’re probably just fine. Keep
in mind the manual says to start the engine every 15 days and allow it to reach normal operating temperature.
Ford puts particular emphasis on their oil life monitor stating a the oil change must be done within two weeks or 500 miles of the ENGINE OIL CHANGE DUE
or OIL CHANGE message. Should the monitor be accidentally reset or inoperative, Ford states to change the oil at six months or 5000 miles and never
exceed one year or 10,000 miles between oil changes. More extreme use as described in your manual will require more frequent changes and the readout
should reflect this.
If you want laboratory data to compare, I highly recommend Blackstone Labs for a $28 oil analysis What would be interesting is
how the oil life display readout correlates to the vehicle miles and the lab analysis.
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7/3/2016 Oil change interval advice from Ask Rob About Cars |
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Robert Eckaus
San Jose Cars Examiner

The Ford Mustang GT350 and GT350R review

It’s the exhaust system. It’s an eye widening, amazing mechanical roar, both exotic and muscular at the same time. And that is in the Sport mode. In the standard mode, it’s a quiet cruiser and an excellent grand tourer. Comparisons to the BMW M4 are immediate and inevitable, it is that dialed in. Ford took the already very good Mustang platform and enhanced the suspension and drivetrain, and based on past drives of the current the model, the some interior bits as well.

The 2016 Ford Mustang GT350 is Ford’s flat plane crankshaft V-8 answer to the Camaro Z/28 but is absolutely street friendly and less expensive. The non-R version has a starting MSRP $47,995. It features a 5.2 liter V-8 rated at 524hp at 7500 rpm and a healthy 429 lb-ft. torque at 4,750 rpm. The 8000rpm redline makes for a long, hard pull to redline. With the exhaust in the quiet mode, and 80mph cruise is as silent as the BMW 3-series.

Styling takes the great lines of the current GT and adds more aggressive touches without overtly showing off, besides the stripes, of course. Two sets of twin exhaust tips are on either side of the rear fascia. The rear spoiler highlights the rear fascia and which had brilliant styling already. The front end slopes downward more than the standard GT. It’s subtle and very well done.

This particular one is owned by an avid collector and track day enthusiast, who also happens to have a GT350R as well. The R is reportedly the most track focused of the street legal factory track oriented versions of various cars he has experienced. The exhaust is louder (if you can believe it!) due to the lack of an intermediate resonator.  His opinion is that the GT350R was an
extreme choice for daily driving, and offered a quite different driving experience than the wonderful non-R GT350 changed when it was discovered the shipping blocks in the springs weren't removed.  However the Pilot Sport Cup 2s are temperature sensitive in case you want immediate fun. He knows what he’s talking about, with plenty of wheel time in nonstreet legal factory race cars.

There are no complaints about the car. It noticeably comes into the power band at 3500rpm, even to a passenger and is fully exploitable. The GT350 and R have been clocked running low 12s in the high teens in the quarter mile. A very similar trap speed to the BMW M4 and Corvette C7 manual.

The seats are excellent and the available features and amenities include a navigation system, rearview back-up camera and heated and air conditioned seats with the Technology package. MagneRide magnetic shocks are included in both the Technology and Track packages make for a firm, not harsh and nearly perfect for a performance car on the roads that were driven. A standard feature, and unheard of in street legal production cars until now, Electronic Line-Lock. It keeps the front brakes engaged while power can be applied to the rear wheels to spin the tires and warm them up for an ideal launch at the dragstrip.

Fortuitously the opportunity to hot lap a GT350R and quite a few others at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca presented itself shortly after the GT350 ride. And the R was simply fantastic. Everything about it was dialed in and despite a somewhat high hood line (not as bad as a Camaro SS), the only other two vehicles that have made such an immediately impression were the Audi R8 and Ferrari 458 despite having radically different layouts. It’s that good. The new Camaro SS, far better than the Gen. 5 from last year has the potential in Z/28 form but still will have detrimental sight lines. The ATS-V with its odd gearing, severe turbo lag and terrible Cue system isn’t even a contender. The BMW M4 is close, but the soundtrack isn't engaging and the limits aren't as brutal. Considering it further, it is reminiscent of the CLK63 and C63 Black Series cars on the track. Simply brilliant considering the weight and front engine layout.

Although dynamically different than the mid-engine exotics, the GT350R is supremely driver oriented with supportive seats, an excellent shifter, great turn-in, and a confidence inspiring level grip with no body roll and extreme traction that made one feel like a hero on the track. The engine sound with the windows open was awesome and the engine revs so high, one instinctively shifts early at 7,000 rpm. It is at that high rpm can the vibration from the engine can be felt in the shifter but that was only at full throttle. Makes one wonder how much vibration can be felt in other cars at high rpm when hiding vibration isn't a priority.

Torque was abundant on the track, following in a supercharged Cadillac CTS-V, the R would accelerate out of the turns quite nicely. Its performance level limits are seemingly immediately obtainable and not as intimidating as the Viper ACR. In a head-to-head comparison versus the amazingly capable Camaro Z/28, both driven by pro driver Randy Pobst, the R
was over a second quicker on the track. The only thing missing is a rev-match feature for downshifting. Note to Ford if ever offered: Don't put redundant buttons behind the steering wheel, the worst possible location.

Factoring in price, it truly deserved the Road & Track Performance Car of the Year. It doesn’t compromise, it is practical, has a quality feel, it's engaging and an excellent choice for a do-anything performance car. If you can give up the rear seats and plan on tracking it, get the R. It is simply a supreme track monster.

Update: Randy Pobst clocked a stunning 1:36.11 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the GT350R. An absolutely amazing time!

Photos here:

Ferrari 488 GTB owner interview

Over three years ago I published a comparison article of the Ferrari 458 Italia versus the McLaren MP4-12C. Now the same owner has a Ferrari 488 GTB and was gracious enough to share his insights. Tony Gaples, owner of the Blackdog Speedshop and driver of the #11 Blackdog Speedshop Chevrolet Z/28.R Camaro in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS series broadcast on CBS sports is the very happy owner of the black model pictured here.

First some background on the Ferrari 488 GTB which is the replacement for the 458 Italia, considered by many to be the best sports car in the world. Dropping the normally aspirated 4.5 liter V8 engine that peaked at 597 horsepower in the Speciale model, the engine is now a 3.9 liter twin turbo V8 producing 661 horsepower and 561 lbs ft of torque at 3,000rpm. By all accounts it is an improvement over the 458 except in one area. Read on.

Q: How would you sum up the Ferrari 488 GTB?
Everything is amazing except the exhaust sound which is exactly the same as my M5. You can't feel the turbos, I think Ferraris should always be naturally aspirated.

Q: What is your overall impression of the 488 GTB?
My overall impression of the car is Ferrari makes some of the best cars in the world. The 488 is a quarter step past the 458. I would still say the 458 is the second best manufacturer built performance car you can buy. This after its replacement, the 488. It is fast, with physics defying handling and amazing brakes all wrapped in a user friendly package with some of the best looks, which were carved in the wind tunnel.

Q: What do you like the most about it?
What I like the most can also be said about all the mid-engine Ferraris. They are like a motorcycle on four wheels. Frantic acceleration with an incredible suspension, stop-now brakes and great ergonomics.

Q: Is there anything you don’t like about it?
There isn't much to not like with the 488. Even though the turbo power comes on as if they weren't there, I feel Ferraris should be naturally aspirated. The exhaust note still has a Ferrari sound to it but not as intense as prior models without turbos. I'm not sure if I have an electrical glitch, but under heavy braking it turns on the hazard lights. This I don't like at all. I don't want to advertise how fast I'm scrubbing off speed.

Q: Any surprises with the car?
No real surprises, but I'm glad Ferrari has finally adopted a keyless ignition since you had to hit a start button anyway. Also it’s neat to have a speedometer and tachometer for the passenger. The exhaust note is reminiscent of a BMW M5, yet louder and more bravado but still definitely a Ferrari.

Q: Ferrari purposely tuned the power delivery to mimic a naturally aspirated engine. What is your feedback having experienced this?
The power and torque curve has a very naturally aspirated feeling. There's always a kick in your back with any press of the go pedal in any gear. Hard not to like, but again I prefer naturally aspirated.

Q: What differences and improvements that you noticed versus the 458 Italia?
If you had a 458 it's a natural progression sitting in the cabin if the 488, not much has changed and what has is for the better. I'm not missing a thing. The improvements are all small. More power and better usability over the 458.

Q: What about a 458 Speciale, the last normally aspirated, non-hybrid assist, mid-engine Ferrari?
I also own a 458 Speciale and will probably keep that car forever. The pinnacle of the 458's.

Q: Any plans to track the car, especially given your level of experience and knowledge?
Even though the 488 GTB comes out of the box ready for race track, I suspect I'll never take on there because if I'm at a race track I'm generally working on my #11 Blackdog Speedshop Chevrolet Z/28.R Camaro or trying to squeeze out better times from my 2014 COPO Camaro depending on the track. Note: Tony’s Copo Camaro is a deep 9-second, 140+mph dedicated drag car.

Q: Turbo cars are easy to modify with increasing boost, would you ever consider it or have you looked into it?
I don't anticipate playing with the turbos on the 488 for more power, but we may see some Blackdog turbo packages for Camaros and Corvettes in the future.

Q: Assuming McLaren has made improvements to their cars over the years, would you consider a 650S or 675LT?
After the McLaren MP4-12C I've been soured on buying another McLaren. They may be much better cars now, but I'm not going to take the risk to find out.

Q: Any final words?
It’s fast as (insert favorite expletive here)! In any gear.

The 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 might be the optimal sports car

What more can be said about the Porsche Cayman GT4 that hasn’t been said already about the Cayman S and GTS? Take the best the best sports car under $100k, give it more power, grip and aero, keep it under $100k still, and it keeps the title. And of course, one of the best overall sports cars period. Mid-engine, light weight, powerful and Porsche quality adds up to a near perfect package.

This 2016 GT4 is a gorgeous Sapphire Blue on 20” thin spoke wheels showing lots of big brakes and red calipers. The 20” wheels allow and dictate great body curves with an aggressive but not overly obtrusive wing. Porsche Carbon Ceramic Brakes, also known as PCCBs were not chosen due to the cost of the option and replacement cost if the car is tracked regularly.

This GT4 will likely be tracked at least once, and always driven with passion. The owner knows Porsches and previous cars he’s owned being a 996 GT3 and 997 GT3 RS 3.8 with lap times at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca of 1:37.7 and 1:36.369 respectively on Hoosier R6 DOTs. So rest assured this car will be driven as designed, and represented very well. Tidbit: The GT4’s front axle from the 911 GT3.

Typical Porsche quality and workmanship is featured throughout the cabin, even the pull straps in lieu of door handles are designed and installed with care and a smooth, bolt-action precision feel when opening the door from within; from a pull strap mechanism, no less! The deep, one-piece carbon fiber backed lightweight sport buckets from the 918 Spyder are very comfortable once you get used to the
fixed, upright backrest angle. However, they have an extremely wide range of height adjustment and plenty of leg room. One interior complaint is the parking brake switch, never knowing which direction activates it versus release, and the sound is noticeable. Sometimes leaving an intrusive manual lever is best.

The GT4 3.8 liter boxer 6 cylinder engine is from the Porsche 911, supposedly filling up the available space so that the PDK dual-clutch won’t fit, leaving only a manual, albeit with very tall gearing, one of the few complaints about the car. Rated at 385hp, Car & Driver magazine tested it in the ¼ mile in 12.3 seconds at 117mph; roughly the same as the new Corvette manual. This is easily a high 11-second car if it had the PDK transmission, especially with more aggressive ratios. The EPA rating isn’t exceptional at 18 city and 23 highway. Do you care about that in a high performance car? The curb weight is only 3,050 pounds!

The owner reports the brakes are extreme, the massive rotors along with the 245-front, 295-rear Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s mounted on 8.5” and 11” wheels had a 70mph-0 braking distance of 151 feet which is exceptional. Understeer has been reported by the magazines but keyboard warriors probably don’t know an aggressive, track-oriented alignment could change that. From a lapping perspective, Randy Pobst, clocked a 1:37.43 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This is quicker than the new Corvette and any other sub-500hp car. except of course, a 997 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 3.8 liter. Motor Trend used to have a summary of their excellent "Laguna Lap" reference, but now is keeping track for therm.

The sport exhaust has a great tone, very sporty yet not overly obtrusive nor obnoxious. It fits its size, power and intent. Especially with the auto rev-match downshifting which makes anyone sound like a pro. The Cayman GT4 is easily a daily driver or a track star with a purity that is quickly going away: Normally aspirated, light weight, rear wheel drive, no hybrid assist, manual transmission yet still livable and practical enough despite the mid-engine layout with impressive performance. Does it really get any better?

Pirelli World Challenge is the best racing you have never seen

7/3/2016 Pirelli World Challenge is the best racing you have never seen |
See also: car & truck enthusiasts, racing, pirelli world challenge, mazda raceway laguna seca
Pirelli World Challenge is the best racing you have never
December 15, 2015
7:38 AM MST
On Sunday, September 13th of this year, the best racing in the western hemisphere concluded its season at nearby Mazda Raceway
Laguna Seca but few actually witnessed it. Why is it so good? Because the Pirelli World Challenge GT cars are closely related to what is
sold to the public, it is a 50 minute sprint, and the action is fierce. The short race duration means it is easy to follow without a
scoreboard, there is no pit stop, driver change or fueling strategy. It is intense and spectator friendly.
San Jose Cars Examiner
View all
19 photos 
7/3/2016 Pirelli World Challenge is the best racing you have never seen |
The problem is awareness, competition from another series, lack of a timely broadcasts on a major network and overall malaise
regarding auto racing in the US. Imagine seeing your favorite exotic and performance cars racing neck and neck in a big group of twists
and turns. These are not overweight, under-tired, under-braked special construction cars that go around in circles with no relation
whatsoever to what is on the street.
This series features raced prepped models such as: Ferrari 458, Porsche GT3, McLaren 650S, Mercedes SLS, Audi R8, Bentley
Continental, Nissan GT-R, Aston Martin Vantage, Dodge Viper, Lamborghini Gallardo, BMW Z4, Cadillac ATS-V* and Acura TLX*. The last
two are notable because of the extreme modifications to allow them to participate and be competitive. The ATS-V is essentially a
purpose-built race car with the engine relocated much further back in the chassis. Same with the Acura but all wheel drive is added. So
neither translates well at all to the street version, but manufacturer involvement is always good and the racing is close.
For some reason there are no privateers racing Corvettes unlike past years. The base LT1 engine would need modifying and the Z06
LT4 engine is unsuitable for motorsport circuit racing because it is supercharged. Next year will likely see the Lamborghini Huracan
making an appearance. And soon the Ferrari 488 GTB will show up as well, but detuned like the McLaren, down to roughly 550hp to
keep parity. Parity is always a topic of debate, the desire to keep the racing close yet still let the cars do the talking. Since the Viper,
McLaren, Ferrari are all over 600hp stock now, and Porsche has had 600hp-plus production engines, it would be a good time to let the
cars run at stock power levels instead of de-tuned.
The series had multiple support races occurring over the weekend as well as some vendor booths for the fans that always have some
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7/3/2016 Pirelli World Challenge is the best racing you have never seen |
really cool clothes, memorabilia, artwork and more. The Maserati Trofeo race sounds and looks great, but isn’t the fastest. Unfortunately
the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) series is diluted with multiple, slower classes that make tracking and caring the results too
complicated. GTS, GTA, TC, TCA, TCB etc. is just too much. Granted amateurs should be recognized as well as the pros, but this many
classes just makes for a big, “Who cares?” Most fans just want to know the finish order, not what classes did what. It was purer when it
was just GT and Touring Car only.
The final race was an exciting one, with hard charger Olivier Beretta moving up from 12th in his Ferrari 458 GT3 challenging Johnny
O’Connell in the factory Cadillac ATS-VR GT3 for 3rd place with 10 laps to go. A bad pass attempt by Beretta spun them both, and a
drive-through penalty still had Beretta ahead of O’Connell for the series championship but unfortunately contact with the wall 4 laps
before the finish gave the championship O’Connell and Cadillac, their 4th consecutive one. Just shows what a great race car Cadillac
built and what a great race car driver Johnny O’Connell is. Even if you scoff at a factory effort, special construction car competing against
the exotics, it is still a notable accomplishment.
Next year Nissan will be involved with the GT-R (one of the taller race cars), the aforementioned Ferrari and Lamborghini will appear as
well as the Mercedes AMG GT. The Pirelli World Challenge series will be in the Bay Area twice in 2016. First at Sonoma Raceway the
weekend of September 17th & 18th and back at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca October 8th & 9th. Don’t miss it this time!
Robert Eckaus
San Jose Cars Examiner
7/3/2016 Pirelli World Challenge is the best racing you have never seen |
© 2006-2015 AXS Digital Group LLC d/b/a

The 2015 San Francisco International Auto Show review

7/3/2016 The 2015 San Francisco International Auto Show review |
See also: car & truck enthusiasts, san francisco auto show, porsche, corvette
The 2015 San Francisco International Auto Show review
November 23, 2015
6:25 AM MST
The 58th annual San Francisco International Auto Show is being held Saturday, November 21st through Sunday, November 29th at the
Moscone Center featuring thirty-eight of the major manufacturers in in the world. Skipping Thanksgiving, the show hours go until 9pm
Dodge Charger Hellcat, 707hp.
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20 photos 
7/3/2016 The 2015 San Francisco International Auto Show review |
except Friday and Saturdays until 10pm.
Tickets are a bargain at only $10, and children under 12 are free. Just make sure they respect the cars… Numerous special attractions are
always part of the show such as special interest vehicles and driving simulators.
Test drives are available, and although downtown San Francisco is hardly ideal, bumpy city streets and a short stint on the highway can
reveal a lot. Ford, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Smart and Toyota all offer test drives, including some electric models. If you're attending or a
shopper, be sure to stop by the car buying service booth and enter to win a $1000 cash prize. Changing the car
buying experience, they claim a $4480 average savings for their clients.
The Academy of Art Classic Car Collection is always impressive, with excellent examples on display. Be sure to find the Auto Salon, it
can be easily missed in the Esplanade Ballroom. Race cars from past and present in Gasoline Alley can have some highlights as well as
real duds. The Ferrari Club of America is gracious enough to have cars on display, always an open question of what will be there, past
and present models.
The classic car collection is a must see for aficionados but this year but the Ferrari display is by owners and has no new models. Some
of the featured cars from each make are roped off. The Corvette Z06, the Hellcat Charger, Cadillac CTS-V, Lexus GS-F, Porsche 918
Spyder, Audi R8, and Ford GT350 could not be accessed. There is no Viper or Viper ACR, no Acura NSX, no Ford GT, no Porsche GT3,
or any new Ferrari. Bentley and Maserati have limited access areas for good reason because their cars look amazing. How they manage
San Jose Cars Examiner
7/3/2016 The 2015 San Francisco International Auto Show review |
 The 2014 San Francisco International Auto Show review
 The 2013 San Francisco Auto Show Review
the crowds and sticky hands from children must be a sight to see. The Japanese automakers seem to all be moving towards taillights
that sweep forward into the side body of the car, a trend they really need to move away from, and quickly.
Surprises included a Pagani Huayra, Bugatti Veyron, and the Porsche 918. The race car display should be relocated to the esplanade
where the Auto Salon cars are located since they are harder to find and far more interesting. However since many are roped off with
hoods closed, repetitive four door sedans and few if any fact sheets, it was rather boring along with limited photo opportunities because
of being parked so close together and roped off. The “stance” cars all look like they have broken axles and as for the modified ones, an
enthusiast in California would ask how many have actually seen a track or a passing smog certificate? In theory, with 40 awards to be
handed out, just nearly every car there can win one. It is a must see, regardless of your opinion of them.
The show is excellent, providing variety for everyone and for only $10, a bargain while parking will cost more than the entry fee. The
spokespersons in attendance are knowledgeable about the cars for the average shopper and if they don’t know an answer, are able to
obtain answers when asked. The show appeals to enthusiasts, shoppers and the curious looking for something to do. Be sure to attend
the best new car auto show in Northern California.
Robert Eckaus
San Jose Cars Examiner
7/3/2016 The 2015 San Francisco International Auto Show review |
© 2006-2015 AXS Digital Group LLC d/b/a