Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X-Rated

As I am an only child I have a bit of a problem when it comes to attention – I’m always seeking it. This however is socially accepted as ‘only child syndrome’ so I think I can get away with it. Unfortunately I can’t seem to get away from the fact that I am the most un-photogenic person on the planet, so I won’t be draped over the bonnet of a new Mitsubishi anytime soon. In any crowd, at any party or social occasion you can think of I’m there, in the front gurning uncontrollably in front of the camera.

Just a few years ago this wouldn’t have been much of a problem as the photos would be condemned to the family photo album or remain imprisoned on a friends’ memory card. Nowadays with the advent of social networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook I’m splattered all over the place looking ugly as sin.

Short of some drastic facial surgery or being pinned to the ground and forced to remain solemn I’ve been struggling to think of how to get attention whilst maintaining my dignity and not pulling stupid faces in public. The good news is I’ve found the answer, it comes from Japan and is now in its tenth incarnation: the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X (That’s ten in roman numerals to the uninitiated).

The Mitsubishi is undoubtedly a brilliant car as it appears on the showroom floor, but I’m a big fan of history and heritage and the Evolution models have a more extensive and impressive lineage than most. Formula One has always been accused of lacking excitement and being controlled by computers more and more as the years go by. The world of rallying however couldn’t be more of a polar opposite, sheer cliff drops, mud splattered cars and windscreens, sheep causing spectacular crashes and the only navigation the drivers have is a petrified co-driver reading the directions from a clipboard.

This is where the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution models come in. For years the Evo and its arch rival the Subaru Impreza slugged it out on the rally circuits before resuming round two on the public roads. For me though it was always Mitsubishi who I waved the flag for and in particular Tommi Makinen, who won the World Rally Championship four times in 1996, ’97, ’98 and ’99 – every time in his Mitsubishi. It was a time when I was a young teenager developing my love of cars and the sight of Makinen winning the championship in Wales of all places will stick with me forever.

Perhaps now you can see why I’m so passionate about the latest Lancer Evolution, although it’s not purely based on my boyhood memories. In recent years the Mitsubishi/Subaru battle has moved firmly into Mitsubishi’s favour with Subaru’s stylists’ seemingly going blind judging by the exceedingly ugly cars it’s produced. Mitsubishi on the other hand has toned down (ever so slightly) its aggressive styling, made the Evolution one of the best handling cars money can buy and then stuck a price tag on it that undercuts anything that could rival it by at least £40,000.

The Evolution X is pure PlayStation generation styling with big wheels and spoiler, a front grill that could plough through snow and headlights that give the car the look of Mike Tyson in his prime. However it is still a more subtle offering than previous models and the more grown-up feel continues inside. Yes it’s not the most inspiring cabin I’ve ever seen, it’s a typical workmanlike Japanese offering rather than Italian flair, but crucially everything on the X is far better quality than its elders.

Whereas build quality may have been in question previously, performance certainly wasn’t. Needless to say, the latest model doesn’t disappoint, with the snappily titled Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X FQ-360 GSR the one in the range to plump for. In fact it’ll get from 0-60mph in a mere 4.1 seconds, which is a damn sight faster that 99 percent of the competition and much faster than you can say it’s name.

Yet despite this Ferrari beating performance the Mitsubishi’s best feature is how it handles. The most accurate way I can describe it other than that overused word ‘perfection’ is to say it manages to handle like a rally car should but won’t break your spine on the shopping run either. It is a racing car for the everyman (or woman). Well if the everyman (or woman) has £37,999 spare. Yes it’s not cheap initially but when you’re beating Ferrari’s with the wife in the front, two kids in the back and your shopping in the boot having paid at least £70,000 less than Ferrari man you’ll see where I’m coming from.

Besides with the credit crunch I’m hoping the prices will plummet on used versions. I just hope I can cope with all the attention I’ll get.

Outstanding Automotive Accessories – Charging And Starter Auto Parts

We all love to flaunt our style and prestige value in front of our friends and family relatives. It is a common practice which is followed by the individuals all over the world. I must tell you that one can easily customize his/her car by affixing some innovative and pulsating accessories. It can really make your car look good. Charging and starter arrangements are an integral part of your vehicle’s performance. They need to be absolutely perfect in order to ensure proper functioning of your car.

It is pretty essential to note that an automotive mechanic can really help you a lot in this regard. If you are facing any kind of difficulty regarding the replacement of charging and starter system then you got to appoint a trained professional. Now, given below are some of the important points to consider before getting started with this process.

1. Price Range
Considering the price of a particular automotive part is really important for you. You should never leave this topic untouched. Make sure you plan your budget and monetary resources well before purchasing a charging system online. Internet is also a nice place to shop for such products. You can get an easy access to wide range of options on the net. The price range is also quite economical. However, you need to plan the shipping and other transportation charges beforehand.

2. Comfort Comes First
Well, we all want to run away from hard work. I am sure that you are also one such individual who loves to sit back and relax at home. If this is the case then you can take help from a professional. He would strike the best possible deal on your behalf. By doing this, you would not only save some time but a lot of money as well.

3. Search For Some Rare Auto Parts
You must be aware of the fact that old charging and starter parts are quite rare to find. One really needs to work hard when it comes to searching for rare automotive parts. An old car or truck can really take a lot of time to get repaired. For this purpose, you will certainly have to research hard.

4. Avoid Duplicate Auto Parts
You should always consider purchasing original automotive parts from the market. Otherwise you might end up on the losing side. It is better to visit a reputed and popular store in the market.

So, these are some of the most important points to note regarding body auto parts. You got to read this article carefully in order to generate the best possible results.

Lexus Supercar Climbs to the Top

Ever since I’d learnt to pronounce the word ‘car’, I became very passionate about all things on four wheels and latterly motor racing and all things two wheel related!

Thanks in part to my late grandfather, Saturdays were spent listening to him recount the articles in the motoring section of The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

We didn’t have the same taste in cars mind, he was an avid Lexus owner, while I was more into my Mercedes Benz…albeit not a owner, well just yet!

So imagine my delight at winning a competition and being invited down to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, to be driven up the famous hillclimb in the Lexus Supercar, the LFA.

I’d been to the festival a couple of years back, but somehow knew this experience was going to be slightly different after being told I would be treated like a VIP.

So off I headed down to Sussex, I should maybe mention that I was flown down to London and put up in a hotel by the Thames overlooking the Houses of Parliament, while being filmed by my own film crew. For someone being more used to being behind the camera and always doing things on the cheap, this was really out of my comfort zone.

For those of you that haven’t been to Goodwood, it is a definite must for any petrolhead. Not only does it ooze high-octane fun, but all the racing legends past and present turn up to take part in this motoring garden party. You can get close up to cars and bikes: mingle with the stars whilst soaking up the smells of the methanol fuel.

Current F1 World Champion Jenson Button wowed the crowds driving a turbocharged V6 McLaren-Tag MP4/2C up the hillclimb, a car nearly as old as him, while the only two and four wheeled World Champion, John Surtees got a round of applause from the fans as he parked up the Ferrari 158 he was driving. For a man that has had to experience his son Henry being killed racing last year, he is the true British racing gent, polite, humble and made time for every person that came to chat to him.

Adding some pizazz from across the pond was World Rally star, Ken Block. Known worldwide for his Gymkhana videos, I overheard the king of slide being told to not do anything too over the top in his Ford Focus RS WRC as he exited the assembley area. But the showman couldn’t help himself and infront of the huge crowds showed why he is adulated the world over by doing one of his smoke burning doughnuts!

The bikes weren’t too be outdone by the cars and a whole host of current world racers took to the track including British stars, Leon Haslam, James Toseland and Leon Camier. Italian legend Giacomo Agostini also entertained the fans aboard an MV Agusta 500, a bike which won him seven consecutive world titles.

Add some hair raising displays from the Red Arrows and a couple of Apache helicopters to the mix and it was a definite feast for the eyes.

But apart from all the entertainment, I was there for one reason only and that was to experience the Lexus LFA.
I must admit, when I first saw it, as aesthetically gorgeous as it looks, it didn’t take my breath away as much as the Mercedes Benz SLS AMG or the Bugatti Veyron. But in its understated looks it hides what lies beneath.

So here’s the technical jargon. The 4.8 litre V10 has caused quite a lot of fuss since its arrival on the world scene. It has a top speed of 202mph, does 0 – 62mph in 3.7 seconds and how many cars produce an exhaust note tuned by the music division of Yamaha? Obviously don’t expect to hear Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony playing from the exhaust, but what you will experience from this carbon fibre built supercar is a sound inspired by the F1 cars.

So after having a look around it and jumping into the passenger seat, it was time to head down to the assembley area before my dalliance on the circuit.

Japanese SuperGT driver and supercool 50 year old, Takayuki Kinoshita was to drive me up the hillclimb. He didn’t really speak much English, but from our broken English conversations it was his first time at Goodwood and he even drives a Mercedes Benz SL500 back in Japan and not a Lexus! I loved how he was taking photos of the satnav in the LFA showing the distance between Goodwood and the Nurburgring.

Sat in the low slung cockpit the interior is typical Lexus, superior high quality finish, a touch of 21st century gadgetry in its LCD panel and seats that make you feel so cocooned I felt it had been designed for my frame.

Just to add to the whole experience, the exhaust sounds are channeled into the cabin, so make you feel like you’re at home encased in 3D surround sound rather than in a supercar. Even Hollywood movie scores don’t come much better than this.

Once parked up waiting to go out to the track, I was surrounded by some of the world’s most expensive cars. Bugattis, Ferraris and Lamborghinis were all waiting alongside and this was definitely supercar heaven!

We seemed to end up waiting rather a long time and then a Mercedes 4×4 appeared and out stepped F1 racer, Lewis Hamilton. OK seeing him, I didn’t mind the wait! He jumped into the new McLaren MP4-12C, not a patch on the LFA I might add, and headed the supercars down to the start of the hillclimb. After some showboating from the former F1 Champion, it was our turn to arrive at the start line.

Was I nervous? Maybe just a little bit, but also very excited. As much as I am passionate about all things that involve engines, plenty of speed and are thrilling to watch, I have never been out on a circuit.

Takayuki asked me if I was OK, something he was to repeat during the entire duration of the hillclimb and I was definitely OK! Off we went, my body thrust back into the seat on every gearshift. There was a beeping noise from the rev limiter every time Takayuki went up through the gears on the paddleshift, but my ears were more attuned to the musical inspired exhaust sounds emanating through the cabin.

Now the climb may be 1.16 miles in length and rise 300ft, but the tree lined roads went past in a blur, as did the hay bales and crowds. Was I scared at any point? Maybe slightly, when the flint walls suddenly appeared and we seemed to be approaching them rather too quickly. But fear not, I was in good hands.

Then we sped across the finish line and that was it. It took just over a minute, but it was one of the most exhilarating experiences ever.

Lexus have produced a supercar to rival all its main competitors. It may be costly with a hefty price tag of over £300,000, but with only 500 being made and they have already being snapped up, the Japanese marque definitely has a legend on its hands in the luxurious, fast and automotive treat that is the LFA.

How Our Love Affair With the Motor Car Can Foster Some Great Rally Race Events

It’s easy to understand why we love driving so much. It gives us freedom, the opportunity to get out and enjoy some of the beautiful scenery and there is nothing quite like a great drive in the countryside to take your mind off some of life’s little imperfections! Ever since Henry Ford delivered the original model T to the masses, this style of for transportation has been part of our way of life and it’s hardly surprising that it has become intertwined with our very culture and an important part of the special event spectrum as well. While competition is always synonymous with the automobile, dating back to the 1908 New York to Paris Race and others, some of the best automotive related special events are not truly competitive as such, but equally as exciting nonetheless.

Major organizations are always on the lookout for a unique branding exercise, a way to foster customer relations and a vehicle that can provide them with some publicity. A specially designed rally race can help them on all fronts. Working with dedicated event planning companies, these organizations can help to develop specific rally race events that focus on particular selling points, hit all the right buttons in terms of marketing and public relations and help to build that feeling of camaraderie among participants. At the end of a successful event like this all those who took part should go away with fond memories and this, subconsciously, helps to cement that all-important relationship with the sponsoring organization.

A rally race event specifically designed for promotional purposes in this way can be as complex or as challenging as the client and participants prefer. Many of them can take on specific navigational challenges, calling for both driver and passenger to be “on their toes” as they navigate their way across the countryside. Some of them can have additional autotest-style maneuvers, which take place on areas of private land especially prepared for the purpose. This helps to inject an additional element of fun and a little bit of that competitive spirit between all the drivers.

We live in such a beautiful country, where excellent “driver’s” roads are never far away from our towns and cities. It’s great to be able to enjoy exploring these roads along with other like-minded individuals as part of an especially prepared rally race challenge like this. Long may we savor this freedom and our passion for the car!