the Tribe

WIN THIS NEXT MONTH! RENAULT ALPINE BACKPACK

Kam Aghtan, via email

Our Letter of the Month author, Kam, scores another year’ worth of his favourite car mag, MOTOR. Next month our winner will be the envy of his soccer team with this official Renault Alpine backpack. It’ come with a beautifully illustrated book on Renault’ history, too, worth more than $100! So sharpen those pencils

MY DREAM GARAGE PROJECT I’ M A LONG time reader, but first time venter, so keep the good stuff coming! I was flicking through your current issue just before and saw that the new Civic Type R won BFYB and PCOTY. What a cracker of a lap time, too (as a frequent track-day attendee at Winton, that lap time is pretty epic for a standard car on standard tyres in my books)!

Now, I’ ve been in the fortunate position to have owned a number of great performance cars and am also lucky to be at a point in life where I can start to create a permanent collection. Coincidentally, the two cars I have in my permanent collection are both PCOTY winners. It got me thinking I should be collecting cars based on your PCOTY winners, but where to start? Well, wouldn’ it be great to read an article that uses a variant of the BFYB formula on the past PCOTY winners based on their current second-hand values, not to mention a round-up of the allstars for some back-to-back comparisons. That would be a great read and interesting to see how far things have come. I have two cars from different ends of the spectrum, a 2002 S15/200SX and a 2007 997 GT3.

I wouldn’ say that one car is more fun than the other. The GT3 is more rewarding when you find the groove and can stitch together consistently good lap times. However, for the money, the 200SX is so much fun and because everything happens at such a slower pace it feels like the track is twice as wide and you can just have a huge laugh throwing it around.

Lucky you! An interesting idea regarding the past PCOTY winner showdown, we will mull it over. Just off the top of our heads, though, perhaps the next past PCOTY winner to consider is an E46 M3...

Kam Aghtan, via email

BAFFLED BY BANG

I wonder if you could help me with a couple of questions that popped into my mind while I’ve been reading the July issue’s BFYB articles?

Would you be able to tell me what you say to the various manufacturers when you approach them for access to the cars you want to use at BFYB? For example, how would you approach Subaru to ask for a WRX STI or BRZ?

Do they ask for details about what testing you’ll be doing (ie, track laps and drag strip runs)? Do they set any sort of limit on what things you can or can’t do with their cars, or are they quite happy for you to use the experienced testers like yourselves and Warren Luff to go all out to get the best times for each car?

Lou Batskos, via email

What are you, a spy for another magazine or something? Generally the manufacturer has a pretty good idea what we’re intending to do with their car when we send them the invitation. A lot of trust is involved, but lucky we’ve been doing this for a while and have a few runs on the board.

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Sorry if this has already been mentioned, but reading through your latest BFYB and comments about the goal posts being moved ever higher, how would past champions measure today? How far has the game moved on in, say, 10 years? I’m not sure how long BFYB has been around. On a different note, how can you not have Tesla Model 3 listed in “hot stuff coming soon” under 2019?

Mitchell Smith, via email

Ten years ago, it cost a lot more than $51K to get the track performance of a Honda Civic Type R. Cars are also a lot safer. As for the Tesla Model 3, we’ll continue to keep an eye on the supposed M3-rivalling Performance.

SUVs ARE NOT CARS

Yes, they are popular and are selling very well around the world, but it is damn annoying when the top auto publications refer to 4WDs and SUVs as ‘cars’. They are not cars in the same way as trucks, tanks, tractors, harvesters, forklifts are not cars. Even some 4WDs and SUVs have won ‘Car of the Year’ awards and similar. Call cars, cars!

Phil Bradshaw, via email

Phil, while we agree for something like a Toyota Landcruiser Troop Carrier with its leaf springs and ladder chassis, a BMW X5, for argument’s sake, is much more of a car than a lumbering old 4X4.

BRZ DIDN’T BELONG

I’m new to Australia, but I am also an unrepentant car magazine addict, so MOTOR has become an instant favourite for me. And I love the new format. Just finished BFYB and enjoyed it immensely, predicting the top three, but not in the correct order. But I do find your excuse unacceptable for the inclusion of the same car twice. The BRZ/86 made it in because of “grippy tyres!” Really? As expected they finished practically next to each other – as they would. What then rankles even more was the omission of the very special Renault Megane RS Cup. Also, I’m guessing the new cheap as chips three–pot, laugh-a-minute Ford Fiesta ST wasn’t yet available? So unfortunately, as the headmaster’s report has to say: ‘Nice read, good effort – but could and should, do better!’

Jonathan Dymond, via email

Thanks for the feedback, Jonathan. The new Megane RS and Fiesta ST aren’t in Australia yet so ones for BFYB 2019. Tough call between the 86 and BRZ – who do we disappoint, Toyota or Subaru fans? It was almost worth having them both there for seeing the 1.6sec difference in laptime, down to the tyres alone.

“THE CIVIC TYPER’ S WINTON LAP TIME IS PRETTY EPIC”

DODGY DRIVING

We don’ drive the road anymore, but instead drive watching the speedo. There are drivers speeding within the speed limit, or in other words, they cannot safely handle a motor vehicle at any speed within the speed limit.

It seems to be that if you’ re under the speed limit you are a safe driver, which can frustrate drivers no end. We need road rule reform. We need some sort of training to educate those without experience. As I sign off, I understand and realise we need to have speed limits, but we need to find a way to fairly police them and for those ridiculous road-safety ads to have some sense.

Graeme Ackroyd, via email

Hang on, Graeme, are you saying it’ possible to crash if you’ re going under the speed limit?

GOTTA PLAY GAMES

Gaming is the cheapest way to drive like crazy and get away with it (with your licence, car and life intact). It’ also a good way to release stress. Pretty much any interactive movie or a book can come to life with some games.

I know of people over 50 years old who are avid gamers, and since video games make more money now than the biggest Hollywood blockbuster movies, it is no longer something to be ashamed of/embarrassed about (some people have had those experiences).

It just irks me a little when people who aren’ gamers still look down on it as something bad for your intellect/lifestyle, etc. The best thing these people can do is go play some games (not smartphone games either, proper ones) with an open mind in order to see why it’ such a massive industry now.

Mark Cook, via email

Agreed. F1 teams don’ make their drivers spend hours and hours in a sim for nothing. We probably need more gaming stuff in the mag, but we fear the magazine wouldn’ get done.

CHEAP TYRES, GOOD

I reckon too many spend too much for too little on tyres. Tyre ratings are overrated. Why, for example, fi V/W/Y rated tyres when no-one in their right mind will travel on public roads at sustained speeds over 240/270/300km/h? Yes car makers are required to fi tyres that can match a car’ top speed, but on replacement they only need be S rated for 180km/h, surely suffi cient?

On my E46 M3 I’ ve just replaced a no-name (wider than standard) brand which gave great mileage, but were horrid in the wet. (Although you drive to conditions don’ you?)

In the end they were also noisy and pulling the car to the left. I ended up fi tting Nexens – last on your list of 11 tested brands – for half the price of ‘premium’ tyres. After 5000km on the Nexens the result has been: car now tracks perfectly, strong in the wet, quiet and comfortable; longevity unknown.

On a track a tyre difference may be noted by an experienced driver, but for the road, what’ the point?

And if regularly tracked, surely it’ best to have a spare set of wheels with R-spec tyres anyway?

Gordon Bratts, via email

A Nexen is miles better than some of those no-name tyres. Some of the more expensive tyres just give much greater feel than the cheaper ones. This alone makes driving, even on a twisty road, much more enjoyable.