St. Patricks day weekend was cause for celebration for many people all over the country but it was also a big weekend for motorsport freaks like us. In addition to Sebring the past weekend also saw the return of Formula One. I decided to kick the weekend off by paying a visit to one of my favorite meets: Cars & Coffee in Irvine.
It was the first time I had been to the meet since the start of the year so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to see an even more eclectic mix of cars than I was used to. There was everything from million-dollar exotics to a few rare classics. I even saw a crazy turbo-diesel zombie apocalypse truck! (more on that in a later post).
However, I would have to say the meet’s biggest attention getter was a genuine Bugatti Veyron brought by Symbolic Motor Cars of San Diego. As jaded as I am these days even I am still impressed with a Veyron sighting. I have only been in the presence of Bugatti’s hyper-car four times and only two of which (counting the weekend) were “wild” sightings.
All in all it was a great trip. If you haven’t been to Cars & Coffee I would highly recommend checking it out. If you’re saying to yourself: “Hey jerk, I don’t live in Southern California!” I would say “don’t interrupt me while I’m talking!” See, the cool thing about Cars & Coffee is that it is something of an organization now so there are meets in several places all across America; even in Europe! Just head to CarsAndCoffeeOnline.com to find the closest meet to you.
Having good credit is essential to many financial milestones of life. Good credit is needed for things like renting a nice apartment, buying a house, getting a business loan, even some employers check the credit history of potential employees. However people do not usually associate good credit with test driving a car; financing a car sure but a test drive?
It looks like a new trend is starting to develop among dealerships. If you want to test out their flagship cars then better be ready to have your credit run! User “aj996tt” of the 6SpeedOnline forum (lets call him “AJ”) from Texasfound out the hard way. See, AJ was in the market for a new car. Hes a family man so he had a few trucks and SUVs on the top of his list but he kept his options open for sports cars as well. On his list of potential sports cars was the upcoming Corvette Stingray and the current Nissan GT-R
He stopped by one local Nissan dealership to check out the GT-R for himself. The staff at the dealership seemed to be from the “pinky ring and gold chain” crowd as AJ described it but the manager was nice and gave him a quick tour around “godzilla. Unfortunately, the weather was bad that day so he never went on a test drive.
Later, he was contacted by a sales rep from the Orr Nissan dealership in Corinth, TX. The rep invited AJ to check out a 2013 GT-R they had in stock. The listed price seemed like a good deal so AJ took them up on their offer and went out to the location of the car which was actually a good 50 miles away from Corinth, in Greenville, TX.
Once he reached the location he was told only a manager could show him the car. Once he finally met said manager he immediately informed AJ he could only test drive the car after filling out a credit application and being approved for financing. AJ promptly expressed his displeasure of being subjected to a credit check for a car he wasn’t even sure he wanted and then left the dealership after some choice words were exchanged.
AJ happened to have a friend who works in the legal dept at Nissan corporate and she informed him that the “credit before drive” policy is something being adapted by many OEMs with their dealerships. AJ says he has never been asked to do such a thing when shopping at Mercedes or Porsche dealerships. Frustrated, he vented to his fellow forum members.
Many users agreed that the practice smacks of “poor business etiquette” and that they have never been subjected to such a thing in their past dealings. However a user “YellowBull” who also happens to be a GM of a dealership chimed in and made some good points.
YellowBull’s take is with a car like the GT-R which is just as popular with young broke college kids as it is with affluent older adults, dealerships need to take measures to weed out the “tire kickers” and joy ride seekers, from serious buyers.
But AJ was a serious buyer and the whole experience has turned him off to GT-R’s period. What do you think? Would you be willing to submit a credit application to test drive a GT-R? Or do you think its wrong for dealers to demand such a thing from customers, even if it is in regards to a high-dollar sports car?
In a little less than an hour Nissan will launch a live press announcement concerning the future of NISMO worldwide. Up to now little is known and in the original press release CEO Carlos Ghosn was pretty vague on the what this would be about. We do know that the announcement has something to do with NISMO’s future motorsport plans but they might also announce a few new NISMO badged vehicles. Honestly I have no idea.
The good news is that we can find out together! Just scroll down for the live stream of the press announcement!
UPDATE: Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn just announced that in the next 12 months there will be a “GT-R NISMO”
UPDATE #2: Here is the official Press Release on the GT-R NISMO
YOKOHAMA, Japan – NISMO is planning to work its magic on the famed Nissan GT-R as the flagship of a new range of performance models.
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd announced today that NISMO, its dedicated global performance road car and motorsports arm, is developing a new, higher-powered road version of the iconic Nissan GT-R.
The GT-R NISMO will be the third NISMO-badged model to emerge from Nissan’s performance-oriented brand as part of a strategy to add a range of exciting, innovative performance models across the Nissan range.
NISMO, with a new global headquarters near Yokohama, Japan officially opening today, already has deep experience in developing and preparing the Nissan GT-R for the racetrack. That expertise will go into creating GT-R NISMO.
“It would be unthinkable for us to develop a range of NISMO road cars without including the GT-R,” said Nissan President and Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn. “The standard road car is a global supercar and the GT-R’s performance on track reflects the passion and talents of the NISMO team. The GT-R NISMO will be special and I can’t wait to drive it.”
Already a legendary name to millions of video gamers and motorsports fans around the world thanks to Sony’s Gran Turismo® video racing series and Skyline’s on-track success since 1969, it’s no wonder that, together with acclaim for its road-going versions from leading automotive publications, the GT-R has achieved cult status.
The NISMO team’s intimate knowledge comes from their involvement in racing the GT-R and is a good precursor to the development of the new NISMO road car.
“We know that enthusiasts around the world will be itching to know more about the forthcoming GT-R NISMO,” said NISMO President Shoichi Miyatani. “It’s too early to share any details yet, but fans can be certain we’ll be applying all of our motorsport expertise to creating a GT-R NISMO worthy of the name.”
The current production 2014 model year Nissan GT-R has received evolutionary design and engineering enhancements based around feedback from competing in last year’s 24-Hours Nürburgring, and its success in Super GT and Global GT series.
As a result, the vehicle’s overall performance has been dramatically increased, high-speed stability improved and ride quality vastly more refined.
In development now, the new GT-R NISMO will sit at the top of the new Nissan NISMO range of performance vehicles, and be available alongside the standard model in Nissan’s specialized GT-R dealerships next year.
Technical specifications and performance figures will be released closer to launch.
Often I get asked the question: “What’s the difference between a ‘car meet’ and a ‘car show’?” I usually then ignore that person or flip them off… Seriously though I will give you the answer right now. A car show is about competition, entertainment, and is usually a big production. A car meet is much more low key and is really just about a segment of enthusiasts gathering to hang out, enjoy a nice day, and talk about the object of their obsession. Most of the time a meet is free and is held at some public location. However, sometimes a meet can be about much more than that. For example, the Nismolism meet last weekend in San Dimas was not only about enthusiasts celebrating all things Nismo but the event also raised money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Local dealership O.C. Infiniti also helped out by sponsoring the event. They also had reps on hand to answer questions and sell parts at employee cost! Can’t beat that with a stick!
Sure there were not many high-dollar magazine cover builds on hand but the fact that each car there represented hard earned money going to a good cause made each car there worthy of an award. I have a few teaser shots below but for the full gallery hit up our Facebook page. For more information on the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation go to JDRF.org
We are a little less than two weeks away from the SEMA show and more project cars are starting to reveal themselves. In rendered form at least. Today’s SEMA 2012 preview comes from visionary Mark Arcenal and his Fatlace brand. Arcenal and his team in Northern California have building one of the first BenSopra equipped widebody Nissan GT-Rs in the states for the last several weeks now. You can see build photos on Fatlace.com but yesterday this rendering of the finished product was released to the interwebs. It is pretty clear from the image that the guys at Fatlace are definitely going for a Super GT race car theme. There is not much about this build that says “street car”.
Oh, and if you are worried about the Fatlace GT-R being a purely superficial project then put fears at ease because Mark Arcenal is employing a slew of GReddy power parts under the hood. This includes an upgraded , intercooler, intake manifolds, and custom exhaust. Fatlace will use a Cobb Tuning Access Port module to up boost and fine tune everything to work in harmony. If the final product ends up anything like this rendering (which it probably will) then I am sure it will be the talk of the show.
Earlier today I was invited to the Mazda R&D center in sunny Irvine, CA to meet and greet with some of the newest champions in the Mazda “Road To Indy” Motorsports Ladder. After a nice informal lunch and a round of questions a group of journalists (including myself) were taken down to the “basement” to see the unofficial Mazda Museum, which was pretty much an underground parking garage filled with cars that would make any Mazda fan faint from over-stimulation. There was everything from vintage race cars to custom one-off show cars. However, two cars really stuck out like a sore thumb. I saw a Lotus Elise and a late model BMW 3 series parked next to each other as you can see below in the thumbnail.
Someone must have saw me scratching my head because soon after, a Mazda associate filled me in. I was told that whenever Mazda is working on a new car they typically procure a competitor’s car to use as a “benchmark”. As you might guess, the Lotus Elise was the benchmark used in the development of the last few generations of the Mazda Miata. The BMW 3 series was used as a benchmark during development of the Mazda 6. After it was explained to me, it made a lot of things clear. This is how Mazda continues to punch above their weight with their offerings, by benchmarking cars that are tens of thousands of dollars above the products they want to put out. It is a pretty good strategy when you think about it.
After the tour was over and the group made its way outside I noticed out of the corner of my eye a rather large car under a cover. Once I turned my head it was clear to me that this covered car was in fact a Nissan GT-R. The moment I recognized the Nissan I immediately thought back to what the associate had told me earlier. Is the Nissan GT-R the benchmark for Mazda’s next sports car? Why else would they have a car like that at their R&D center? Even the Mazda associate confirmed that it really was a GT-R under the cover but they refused to elaborate on why it was there.
Is this the reason why Mazda really killed off the RX-8? Because they have been planing a GT-R killer all this time? Color me curious!
It was only about a month ago when fear was spreading wide over the interwebs that Carlos Ghoson, CEO of Nissan has not officially signed off on development for the next GT-R. This left a lot of people thinking that the GT-R was going to ride off into the sunset, again. However, today Nissan released a mini-documentary dubbed “A new page was turned in the evolution of GT-R” which suggests that the GT-R’s time with us has not come to an end yet. In the subtitled Japanese doc. viewers get taken behind the scenes of the club spec GT-R’s entry into the 24 hours of Nurburgring and what Nissan’s true intentions were in that effort.
The documentary also takes viewers back to the GT-R’s debut and how far their supercar as come since then. There are also many references to the “future of the GT-R” so perhaps Godzilla is not going away after all. Or maybe this documentary was done as some type of internal push to get Mr. Ghoson on board for signing for an extension of the GT-R’s lifespan. Either way, it has been a fun ride so far!
In the meantime check out the documentary below, but fair warning the video is in Japanese (with English subtitles) and nearly 20 minutes long. Given its duration, if you are at work you may want to wait for your next break to watch it.
The past weekend marked the official kick-off of the 2012 Formula Drift season. Once again the roar of drift cars echoed off the high rise condominium and office buildings of downtown Long Beach and layers upon layers of scorched tire rubber were laid down on turns 9, 10, and 11 of the Long Beach Grand Prix street course. Round 1 of the Formula Drift season is always the most anticipated because this is the time when the fans get to see the debut of new cars, new drivers, and in same cases new teams.
Speaking of new cars one of the biggest stories of this year’s first round was the debut of Ken Gushi’s new Scion Racing FR-S drift car built by GReddy. Scion is banking on the FR-S so much that they actually flew out the first 86 people to drop a deposit on one out to the event all expenses paid and built a special VIP viewing area for the group to cheer on Gushi and the other Scion Racing drivers. “The Gush” as he is called had a pretty good first outing in the new FR-S as he made it all the way to the Great 8. Unfortunately he had to face 2011 Formula Drift Champion Dai Yoshihara. During the battle Gushi gave the FR-S its first official introduction to the walls of Long Beach, effectively handing the win over to Yoshihara.
Another major talking point of the weekend revolved around the track itself as the surface was repaved just weeks before the event. A special test session was held with one driver from each tire sponsor to see how their rubber would hold up to the new asphalt surface. The feedback was resoundingly positive and it showed in the tandem battles as many drivers who historically had lackluster performances were throwing down lines that were straight gangsta! To help measure just how “gansta” each run was Formula Drift actually had proximity sensors installed at the three main clipping points of the track that would light up every time a car came within a foot of said point. It really helped to show who was really hanging it out there and who was being conservative; it really was a great addition for the hardcore fans who love to technically break down each run to the minute details.
In the end the final battle was a re-enactment of the 2011 points battle as it came down to 2011 champion Dai Yoshihara against 2011 runner up Justin “JTP” Pawlak while the battle for third place came down to fan-favorite Matt Powers against living legend Daigo Saito who was killing it all weekend. Saito, with his Toyota 2JZ powered soarer proved that V8s are not needed The final battle between JTP and Dai was close but this time Justin Pawlak came out on top claiming the victory and marking his second year in a row winning in Long Beach.
With round 1 officially in the books it is onto round 2 at Road Atlanta which is a favorite among the drivers due to its super fast downhill entry. Stay tuned to MotorworldHype.com as we will have the live feed from the event at the top of our page!
For a full gallery of all the action from the weekend hit the links below to our Facebook photo albums.
Today’s hype video is the latest from the aweome crew over at Clash Productions. In this piece we basically get 5 minutes of car porn featuring a Porsche GT3 cup car, a Nissan GT-R, and a BMW M3 complete with art car wrap. If you are wondering what this video is really “about” then stop. It really isn’t about anything, nor does it need to be about anything. This is purely awesome cinematography of sweet cars on a race track. Now scroll down and enjoy!
If you like excellent cinematography and awesome cars then you really need to subscribe to Clashproduction’s YouTube channel. These people are masterful at making awesome car related videos. Their latest work turns something as simple as a GT-R race car at a track and makes it into pure awesome! The funny part is despite all its drama and excellent direction this video is effectively a commercial for the Nismo/JR Motorsport customer GT3 race car program. If I had a spare $350k laying around and I saw this commercial I would definitely be a customer.