Month: June 2015

Modded Monday: BMW e30 M3 V10

If you’ve been a car lover from birth, there are definitely cars that you wanted to own from an early age. “Poster Cars” I like to call them. I’m sure you would sit in the bath with a toy version of your dream car wouldn’t you? Who needs a rubber ducky when you can play with your Countach? Most of us were that kid, vrooming around the house, making tyre screeching noises even when we were told not to. The sad reality about growing up is that very few of us get to own our dream cars, but some are more fortunate than others. Others are so fortunate, they can even merge their current dream car with the one they’ve always wanted. How you may ask? Let’s say for instance you dreamed about owning a BMW M3 E30 but you’re also in love with the BMW M5 V10. You then decided to take the body of the M3 and add the engine of the M5, therefore creating a light weight, tyre shredding, howling and potentially lethal car. Well that’s exactly what someone has done. The result? A marvellous 373Kw creation that has me wishing I had the budget to do the same. Since I don’t have the budget, all I can do is write about it and inform that there are others out there living our dreams. How does a car like this perform? Well why don’t you press play and see for yourself. Happy Modded Monday Motorists.

 

Thought Thursday: Koeninsegg Regera, What can you do in twenty seconds?

What could you do in  twenty seconds? (don’t say brush your teeth)

I suppose you could take your clothes off and get into bed in that amount of time, or you could start up your computer ( if its decent). You may be able to open your boot, drop a bag in, close the boot, jump into the car and put your belt in twenty seconds. ( We should actually do a “Themotorist get into the car speed test” and see who would win between myself, Francisco and Richard). Back on the subject, you can do very a mundane task in just about twenty seconds.

But not anymore …

How does accelerating from 0 – 400 kph sound? Yes… in twenty seconds. Pretty mind blowing isn’t it? Let me introduce you to the Koenigsegg Regera. The Regera boosts a crazy amount of Power, 1800 BHP to be precise, 1800 BHP from a road going car! My word. You think that’s impressive, let me tell you how it makes that very large number. Firstly it has a beautiful 5 litre twin turbo v8 pushing out a sweet 1100 BHP. To add to the fun, each wheel gets it own electric motor, which is where the other 700 BHP comes from. Best of all, this car does not have a transmission. Koenigsegg have developed something called a Koenigsegg Direct Drive system. This works with a crank mounted electric motor which fills the torque gap together with a hydraulic coupling. From pull off, the car is powered purely by the electric drive. Then once the cars rev increase,  the hydraulic coupling closes and the small crank mounted electric motor joins in to help the lower end of the torque curve. ( I will write an article just based around this system in the coming week, so we can fully understand how it works).

I wonder, could this be the future for all cars in the next fifty years? This system has enabled them to rid of the heavy transmission, which is a huge advantage.  For example, you can be sitting at a moderate 148 kph and  when you decide to floor it, the time your wife has shouted and gripped the seat ( 3.2 seconds) you will be touching the number 248. Pretty epic. I wonder who will be the first to reach 2000 BHP?

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Wheel Wednesday: Domingo Mags

In America, Domingo’s is synonymous with pizza but to a South African car lover, a totally different dish comes to mind. The dish that comes to mind here is a “Deep Dish”, which has nothing to do with food and everything to do with wheels. If you’ve ever watched the show “Cake Boss”, that’s exactly how I imagine the atmosphere in Domingo Mags to be. An authentic family business that is based on passion, pride and good ol laughs, I’m sure fights as well. From shiny Alfa Romero’s to fancy supercars, Domingo Mags has a set of wheels for you. I’m a lover of all things real and that’s the feeling you get when you’re at the store, real car guys, we need more of that in South Africa.

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Domingo Mags is the largest South African importer of a Japanese wheel company called Work Wheels. These are premium wheels aimed at the high end segment. Cars like Nissan GTR’s, BMW M4’s and more have been seen donning a set overseas and locally, so if you want a set there’s only one place to go and that’s on Mint Street in Fordsburg. The Domingo family have been in the car game for a very long time now so they know their story. They can tell you all about professional racing which they were heavily involved in for many decades. I get all nostalgic when I hear stories of families like these because growing up, my brother and my motoring influences came from grandfathers and uncles who helped pave the way for our passions too.  I salute you Domingo Mags for representing petrol-heads in South Africa so gracefully. Happy Wheel Wednesday.

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*images taken from www.domingo.co.za

Tech Tuesday: Ferrari 488 GTB

Not once has someone thought “slow” when the word Ferrari pops in their heads. Automatically, we think power, noise, beauty and price. With all this being true, the last decade of Ferrari’s have proven to be the most technical too. Technology has made the Ferrari’s of today become some of the most exciting cars to drive. The merger of technology and passion has been so well fused, we have seen many journalists lose their minds like three years olds receiving new Lego when driving these cars. A few weeks ago we spoke about Side Slip Control found in the 458 Speciale, now we have the new kid on the block to talk about, the 488 GTB. To the normal person, this car looks like a sort of different looking 458. Yes there are many characteristics that are similar to the old car, but this is a new car completely. First off the engine. It’s no shock to see a turbocharged Ferrari as the most legendary Ferrari, the F40 was a boosted beast. This time around, we have 21st century technology and things are far more sophisticated. For instance the 3.9l engine has ball bearing turbochargers with compressor wheels made from the same stuff you get in jet engines.

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How’s that for bragging rights? Your golfing buddies won’t be able to top that. If they do top you, you can tell them that your car has just under 500…Kilowatts, not horsepower and 760Nm of torque. At this point, they will be phoning their bankers and organising themselves Bugattis to top you. The great thing with the 488 GTB is that not only do you have stupid power, you have the aerodynamics to back it up too. If you so happen to be on an airfield you can trust that your Vortex Generators,will keep your car stuck to the ground at high speed to make sure you can cruise at silly speeds. Vortex Generators? Yes these are appendages under the car which help direct air flow so that the car can generate more downforce at speed. See what I mean when I say Ferrari’s nowadays are packed with crazy tech? So if you’re rich enough to own one, be happy that your car shares many design elements with Sebastian Vettel’s car. If you don’t know who that is, google him and use it against your friends at the golf course. Happy Tech Tuesday…

Modded Monday: Computers and Cars

I own a Dell machine and it does the job most of the time. In the the two years of owning it, I’ve only experienced one problem with it. One day as I’m about to watch an episode of Suits, I press the “on” button and wait for the machine to boot which usually takes a few seconds. “Let me make some coffee” I think to myself, nothing goes down better than some Harvey Spector lines and an espresso right? I get done and come back to my machine, but to my surprise the screen is black and it’s making an eery ticking noise. Now I’m not one to fiddle with things I don’t know so after I hit it a few times, I decided to call Dell South Africa. Little did I know that I was redirected to a call centre in India, where they proceeded to ask me what was wrong. I explained everything and they assured me that tomorrow at 11am somebody friendly would come to my house and fix it.

The next day somebody friendly rang the door bell just before 11am and proceeded to diagnose the problem. Apparently my software was buggered, so the man went into matrix mode and in less than twenty minutes, my computer was fixed. Good as new,better in fact since they uploaded quicker software on my machine. It’s amazing that in such a short space of time, a complicated piece of technology can go from bad to great because of a little computing. It’s even more amazing that you can go from a 225kw BMW 135i to around 260Kw of power in the same time. When they talk about a “plug and play” chip it sounds too simple but it really works like that. The thing is, like my computer and I, you need the right person to do the “plug” bit, thereafter you can play. Regarding BMW 335i’s and 135i’s a chip called JB4 has become very popular because it can give you the aforementioned power jump we discussed. A lot of the time this all sounds good to be true, but take a look at this video and see what the results are. As per usual, I must give my normal disclaimer regarding non OEM upgrades, when the big people find out, it generally ends in voided Motorplans. It’s still fun to watch videos of tuned cars versus stock though. In this case we have a BMW 335i with the JB4 software and an upgraded turbo, taking on a Ferrari 430 Scuderia. Happy Modded Monday.

*Image from www.AR15.com

Thought Thursday: How to not crash your car PT.2

How not to crash your car PT.2 : Oversteer.

  • Oversteer or going sideways is probably in my top 10 ways to have the most fun while keeping your clothes on!
  • Oversteer is great if its deliberate, not so great if it just sneaks up on you without warning. Even if its deliberate, it can still come back to bite you.
  • Oversteer in simple terms is the rear of the car sliding out when turning into or out of a corner. In the last article we discussed understeer, where the front of the car wont turn in enough, this is the total opposite. You could say the car turns more than it should.

What causes Oversteer?

Like understeer, oversteer can be caused by excessive speed coming into a corner, getting on the throttle too early coming out of a corner or being very rough with the steering whilst cornering. Oversteer generally is more frequent in rear wheel drive cars because the cars power is delivered through the rear wheels. There is also more weight on the rear axle in terms of mechanical moving parts like the diff so rapid changes in direction in a car like this can cause the back to slide out. The basic fact is that when too much power is applied to the throttle in a rear wheel drive car, the rear wheels spin and this causes the car to slide out. For an example of this think of the sport called drifting, where drivers deliberately use the methods mentioned above to cause the car to slide.

How to deal with it?

If you’re driving at speed or close to the cars limit, it’s always a good idea to get into the mindset that the car might do something you don’t want it to at any moment.  As soon as you feel the car start to slip, don’t panic and don’t tense up! Try and stay as relaxed as possible and counter-steer (Turn the wheel in the direction that the rear of the car is slipping to. For instance if the rear of the car is sliding out to the left, turn the wheel left.) This will stop the rear sliding around at an even greater degree, or turning around completely (not a great situation).  Back off the power slightly and start to straighten the wheel, the car should hopefully even out and your back on the road to life. The trick is not to over correct the steering, this can cause the car to slide back out to the other direction and this is going to cause more issues. As I said in the previous article, Pro-action is better than reaction. Take the time to learn how your vehicle reacts in different situations.

If you’re teaching yourself how to drift, then please don’t do this on public roads and circles since it’s unsafe and not exactly legal. As well, the margin of error is so small and the chances of you hitting those little concrete devils are quite high.  At a decent speed these things can do some serious damage to your, at the least you will end up with a rim most likely beyond repair and a bent suspension arm.  At most you will probably end upside down and if that doesn’t stop your heart, the call to the insurance company probably will.

This always reminds me of my younger days travelling to college in the UK. At times I would take the families Mitsubishi L200 (Triton in South Africa) as transport.  This was the raging bull version, bright red with chrome and a huge vinyl down the side, it was pretty epic.  Anyway, I used to put this huge lump of metal into RWD mode and when I approached an empty roundabout, I would turn in and give it some power. Unfortunately it wasn’t something you would see at the world drifting championships, but it went sideways and drifted reasonably well. I was getting pretty good at it until one day it didn’t go as planned. The rear end was sliding but then out of the blue the front start to slide as well, not so great when there is only one metre of safety either side. Luckily, I got the vehicle back under control and stopped a few millimetres before a road sign and a street light.

The moral of the story is, there is always the possibility of the unexpected happening. When it does happen, you would much rather be in a large open space where the worst thing you can hit is a little orange cone.

Until next time,

Drift responsibly…on a track.

Wheel Wednesday: Carbon (Fibre) Revolution

Wheel Wednesday: Carbon Revolution

Carbon fibre has long been used by car manufacturers to make vehicles lighter because a lighter car is essentially a faster car. Carbon Fibre has also created very interesting pub conversations for people who own cars that have the material in their cars. You know the person I am referring to, the guy who wears sailing shirts with all sorts of paraphernalia written on it. Our overly tanned friend that races on weekends even though his only been on the track once. Yes Carbon Fibre has great bragging rights in the car world, whether its a diffuser, mirror covers or a spoiler. Now my Carbon lovers have even more to brag about, Carbon Fibre rims. This concept makes sense because wheels play a very important aspect in the dynamics of a car and a Carbon Fibre wheel can make a huge difference. This is for two reasons, strength and weight. Carbon Fibre is a very strong material and it is extremely light too, so if you have Carbon Fibre rims this can increase performance and add to the dynamics of your car. Carbon Revolution allows you to do that, they offer a one piece Carbon Fibre wheel that does all of the above and apparently their the only guys in the world doing it. I think that’s worth a feature on Wheel Wednesday don’t you? Pity their all the way in Australia. So if you want to shave off lap times by just changing your wheels, given them a call or have a look at their website. Happy Wheel Wednesday Motorists!

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Tech Tuesday: 2015 Civic Type R

Tech Tuesday: The new Civic Type R suspension and dampers

I don’t know how long it has been since we first heard about the upcoming Honda Civic Type R. My Honda loving friends have been already bragging about how it will destroy all the other hot hatches due to the fact that it’s turbocharged. The car is now officially revealed and I must be honest, it looks stellar. Honda has put their head on a block regarding this car, saying it will be the fastest hatch on the Nurburgring. They have managed to get some exciting times from their non production version of the Civic Type R, so let’s hope they can back it up with the road car. Power figures are steep with 228Kw and 400Nm, that’s definitely not something to take lightly. The problem with front wheel power houses like these is one, torque steer. Limited slip differentials can curb this, but often times you will still run the risk of running over an old lady each time you accelerate. Honda has another trick up their sleeves to counter this, that is through a system called Dual Axis Strut Front Suspension. This isn’t anything new, it’s essentially very similar to Ford and Renaults systems but with a different name to it. A few tweaks here and there, but the idea is the same.

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The car also uses the same dampers as the Lambo Aventador SV, the Magnetorheological ones remember? Yeah so it packs a lot of interesting tech for a hatch. Judging by the reviews, the reactions are generally good, some not so good. With a 0-100kph time of 5.7 secs, I think it does the job from a performance point of view. It’s all about how it delivers that performance though, I’ll let you know the moment I get behind the wheel of one later this year. Till then, Happy Tech Tuesday Motorists.

Modded Monday: Revo Technik

Modded Monday

Have you ever had a person wearing Ed Hardy clothing tell you that his car is now just as fast as the top of the range version of the one he drives? Well this has happened to me a number of times and as usual when this happens, my eyes roll so deep in their sockets all you can see is the white bits. This is because generally these claims are so ridiculous you can see right through the lies. To top it off the supposed modifications are generally from the persons uncle’s cousins performance store, not someone recognisable. The thing is there are tuning companies that have an excellent reputation for improving performance and fuel economy on specific cars. It is easier to do this with turbocharged or supercharged cars as all it takes is some good quality remapping of the software to increase boost pressure and fuel management.REVO_Technik_AUDI_S4_3_3100

There is a German company called Revo Technik which is very well know for this.  Revo has a strong presence in South Africa, in fact if you have a careful look at many hot hatches that seem “worked”, there is a strong possibility that there will have a Revo sticker on them. Revo’s tuning capabilities extend beyond hot hatches though, they have produced some very interesting numbers from serious machines such as big Audi S models and even Porsches. Well known journalist Chris Harris tested this on his personal Audi S4 Avant equipped with Revo’s software, pitting it against its older brother the RS4. After the software was installed, the cars power increased from 245Kw to 309Kw, a major difference. The race results were very interesting. Have a look. Happy Modded Monday Motorists.