11th Dec2017

When Worlds Collide: Old Meets New

by Gavin Pouquette

After the leaves on the trees have changed color and fallen, some of my favorite canyon roads to drive in the summer shut down  due to the fact that they aren’t maintained in the winter. Thus, making the next 5-6 months, from late fall into late spring, a tad grim for those of us that consider canyon carving a favorite pastime. East Canyon, Guardsman’s Pass, Wolf Creek Pass, closed until the winter snow thaws out in May of next year. Kind of a bummer, I know. But this gives us true addicts an excuse and reason to get out of our bubble, and discover even more of this beautiful state that we call home.

The MK 7 Golf R isn’t exactly an old car, but with the release of the MK 7.5 facelift, and the fact that I have driven various renditions of MK6 and MK7 Golf Rs, makes this platform somewhat familiar. For those who don’t know me or my background, I work as a photographer and videographer at Integrated Engineering; a Volkswagen and Audi tuner shop in Salt Lake City. I tried to keep a level head and an unbiased opinion going into this project. But thinking about driving a fun and engaging road that is a 2 hour drive from home, I figured “What a better car to be in than a comfortable and luxurious car on the freeway, while still being fun and engaging in the twisties?”

Okay, so the road and the commute. UT-199 is a quick and twisty road that resides in the Stansbury Mountains overlooking Skull Valley. It sounds intimidating, but there’s really just not a lot out there. Lots of flat terrain with straight roads… Oh yea, and not a police officer, Sheriff, or Highway Patrolman for miles. The perfect place to pull over to the side of the road for an impromptu photo shoot, or to *potentially* test out the aerodynamic properties of the Strafe carbon fiber rear diffuser. The road in question is in a place that isn’t really well known for driving or any kind of recreation, seeing as it is so far from anything of real interest. It’s roughly a 2 hour drive each way going around the north side of the Oquirrh mountains, and then southbound to the end of the Stansbury mountains. Quite the trek I know, but worth the drive to experience something new. With a drive this long to a place so desolate, it’s always wise to bring a co-pilot. So, what better co-pilot to assign to this adventure than my gearhead girlfriend Brooke? She’s one of very few women I’ve met that actually likes me driving fast up canyon roads, and is also a sucker for new Volkswagens. Match made in heaven, amirite?

Another note about UT-199: this is the place where Tim Stevens of CNET drove the 2017 Ford GT supercar for on road testing, to show how the car rides on surfaces that aren’t a perfectly smooth racetrack, such as Utah Motorsports Campus. Packed with tight sweepers, S-curves, and canted corners, it’s unlike many other roads that we have access to here in Utah. The only other place I’ve experienced such a combination is in the hills of Malibu where it is almost impossible to go wrong on picking a fun canyon road. I was enjoying myself in a 320 hp Golf, I can only imagine what that road would be like in a 600 hp, mid-engined supercar, purpose built to handle such corners.

Let’s talk about the car. 2016 Volkswagen Golf R with a Cobb AccessPort V3, and Whiteline lowering springs that are (at this point of me writing this article) still a prototype product. The Accessport is simply running a Stage 1 Tune, putting it at 320 hp and 340 lb ft torque at the wheels. With a boost gauge as one of the many features of the Accessport, the highest number for boost that I saw was roughly 24 psi, which is about par for the course for the power output in cars such as this. That power is put to the ground via 6 speed manual gearbox, and a trick Haldex All-Wheel Drive system. For those that are unfamiliar, the system used in the Golf R is Front-Wheel Drive for 100% of the time under normal driving conditions. When the system detects loss of traction, or any potential for understeer, the rear wheels are engaged via clutch pack to help rotate the rear end of the car. The steering inputs feel electronic, but is still weighted nicely for a premium feel. Not necessarily a bad thing for daily use, or commuting to and from work, but I would have definitely appreciated more information from the front wheels while flying through corners on UT-199.

So, how did the car do on the UT-199? With swooping esses, and smooth pavement with no traffic, it felt like my own personal race course. With the sheer fact that the road is so desolate, it’s imperative to keep the sticky side down and to stay in the lane. I have to admit, I only kept to the former. With open curves and the ability to see around corners two or 3 corners ahead, cutting over the line and hitting apexes is only inevitable. The Golf R does what most Front-Wheel Drive based VW products do best. Super fun and engaging in the high speed kinks, but easily shoves if you enter a sharp hairpin on the quicker side of fast. Considering I had never driven this road before, and being in a car that isn’t mine, I felt fairly comfortable pushing the envelope more and more. I almost got a little carried away and Brooke had to tell me to reel it back a little (which never happens). The car always felt planted and secure; even hitting S-Curves nearing triple digit speeds.

With Brooke being a fan of all things Volkswagen, she is an absolute fan of the car. She loved the layout of the interior controls, she said that everything was laid out in a very coherent manner, and that the car has a very luxurious feel to it. Gathering from her giggles and her laughter, I can tell that she also loved the way the car delivers power and takes corners.

I only have two legitimate issues with the Golf R. I’m in no way a fan of the clutch and the shifter feel of the manual gearbox, and I also don’t care for how the car rotates around corners. As far as driving dynamics go the shift linkage is rubbery and vague, and the clutch is equally uninformative. The “catch point” of the clutch is vague, and not as defined as I would like. These can easily be fixed in the aftermarket with a different clutch, pressure plate, and a short throw shift kit. When it comes to vehicle rotation, I understand that the platform is based on Front-Wheel Drive architecture with a transversely mounted motor and transmission so I have to take that into account. But objectively regarding handling dynamics, the sheer fact that the Focus RS exists somewhat kills the appreciation of the Golf R for me. On the RS, the rear end just wants to pop in for a little visit. Ya know… Just a little meet and greet. Maybe have a spot of tea, and then carry on its merry way. The rear end on the Golf R just stays in its room and looks at memes all day, while the front dives and digs into the road, clinging on to any and all grip it can find. I mean, it doesn’t understeer like a Subaru at least… But it sure as hell doesn’t rotate like I want a canyon carver to.

Everything else about the car I appreciate. The sculpted exterior, the exquisitely refined interior, the way the engine produces power, the value per dollar on the aftermarket for bolt-ons. It’s all there. The car just needs a little more coaxing in the dynamics department, and then it’s quite the perfect car. Spacious, comfortable, reasonably quick, engaging, and also practical with having a hatchback and All-Wheel Drive. And for a mini road trip with the person you love, I feel that’s all you really need.

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09th Oct2017

Euro Brews: Cars and Doggos

by Michael Chandler

I started this past weekend off by not really sleeping in, and going to Euro Brews for the first time in a while.  I managed to show up before everyone (hooray poor time management!), and watch a bit of Petit Le Mans.  Then everyone showed up, and conversations were had.  

There was also a very good doggo who showed up in a 2002.  Good dog!  

Also this fancy lookin hybrid sports coupe made an appearance.  A decent amount of people came out, so here’s a gallery of that.

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19th Sep2017

The Classics at NASA Utah Round 7

by Michael Chandler

We all know about the 944’s and older 911’s running around during a NASA weekend.  This past NASA round saw a host of modern classics hanging out, and running on track, but there were also some legitimate classics running.  Legitimate classics like this vintage 911

It was in the Lightning group on Sunday, along with Ed Mineau’s 911.  The car was in ST4, and came in dead last, but damn did it make coming in last look good.  

What do you when you find out that the car you bought for LeMons won’t pass tech because of the bolt in roll cage?  Well, you take it NASA racing of course!  That’s part of the history of this car.  It also spent some time kicking around the Rocky Mountain SCCA and NASA regions before being dusted off for a potential LeMons run.  When the team saw the bolt in cage, they immediately found something without one.  And the rest is history.

Literally next to the GTI was this BMW 2002, which has seen plenty of track time.  I can’t confirm this, but just looking at it tells tales of track days gone by.  It wasn’t ratty, just well worn.  Like an old baseball glove.  It was refreshing to see a 2002 put through the paces, instead of being treated like it’s made of glass.

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22nd Jun2017

CAMcast: Over Hyped & Under Sold

by Michael Chandler

Live on… well not tape, but whatever this is, it’s the CAMcast!  Welcome to it ladies and gentlemen!  We’re glad you could be here for this episode, because it’s a good one.  Mike, Gavin, and Dave congregate in the basement, battle insects (we’re winning!) and talk about so many things:

  • The 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans was insane, and we fumble around with the results
  • Nobody is buying the Alfa Romeo Giulia, and we try to figure out why
  • A dealership is selling a bone stock JZA80 Supra for $125,000, which is insane
  • We talk about how much we love the small turbo diesels found in TDI Volkswagens and BMWs
  • And nobody’s mic has issues!

Thank you all for joining us!  We really appreciate you taking some time to listen to our semi-informed conversations.  Stream the episode in the player above, grab it on iTunes or Google Play, or just download it here. And we have a challenge for you: send us a photo or video of you and your friends listening to this podcast in a basement, while eating pizza and drinking some beers.  Best/worst basement situation will get some prizes.  We’ll be back next week with more shenanigans, and more random challenges!

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*Article, Photos, Videos, and Audio clips are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
08th Jun2017

The Triumphant Reunion CAMcast

by Michael Chandler

Good day/night/whenever you’re listening to this!  The gang is all here, and they’ve got a mountain of stuff to tackle.  Before we get into it, we want to thank all of you for listening to us ramble.  We sit in this basement, talk cars, and drink beer and eat pizza because we like it.  We grab the mics and record our chats because we like you, and think you’d be down here if you could.  Anyway, Mike, Dave, Gavin, and Brandon talk about:

  • BMW M8 is a thing
  • Liberty Media wants to do more F1, and make America care about it
  • Lewis Hamilton insults IndyCar drivers
  • Brandon waxes poetic about the VW Atlas
  • We get emotional over some listener questions
  • There’s a winner of the $3k KSL Challenge!


Again, thank you for listening to us ramble and get misty.  We talk for us, we record it for you.  Stream the episode in the player above, subscribe via RSS, or download the episode right here. And we’d appreciate it if you’d head to iTunes and Google Play and rate us and leave us a comment.  We’d do the same for you if you have a podcast, no joke.  Let us know if you have a podcast!  We’ll support you, because you support us.  Please share the episodes, word of mouth is the best way for this to grow.  We’ll be back next week with more CAMcast goodness!

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*Article, Photos, Videos, and Audio clips are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
14th Mar2017

80eighty Scrapefest Premeet

by Michael Chandler

While technically true, the 80eighty Scrapefest premeet was a full eight days before Scrapefest.  Weird?  YOU BET!  Well attended?  DAMN STRAIGHT!  There were a ton of cars in attendance, so many that some resorted to parking in the undeveloped lots near the 80eighty building.

There was a wide variety of cars in attendance.  Everything from clean, modern builds

To some classics

A pretty cool rat rod was there

And that was spitting distance from the R8 that Envision wrapped at Autorama.  Not for, AT.  While the show was going on.  Looks good.

And then there was this guy, who kept staring at me while I was taking pictures of his edgy-ass xB.

So kawaii it causes me physical pain…

Anyway, here’s a big gallery of some of the other cars that were there.  Saturday we’ll be at the track for the first NASA Utah event of the season, then up at Scrapefest on Sunday.

*Article, Photos, Videos, and Audio clips are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
20th Feb2017

EuroBrews Gallery

by Michael Chandler

It’s the end of a holiday weekend, which is sad.  BUT I have a bunch of photos from one of our local cars & coffee meets: EuroBrews.  It’s an exclusively Euro thing… Except for the R32 GTS4 and the R35 that were there… And the twin turbo Terminator Mustang… But other than that, all Euro.

*Article, Photos, Videos, and Audio clips are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
24th Jan2017

And Here’s A Snowy GTI

by Michael Chandler

This weekend I was helping my girlfriend move into her new apartment.  Hooray for a change of scenery!  Unfortunately, we had that monster storm.  I was confident it wasn’t going to be that bad.  They said 1-3 inches!  I can deal with that, even with the sub-optimal tire setup* that’s on the GTI.  Then I woke up, and looked out the window.  

GUH!  That 1-3 inches wound up being over 6.  That much snow would be too much for the GTI, but it wouldn’t be that much of a problem for the Nissan Rogue that was tucked in the garage.  I just had to get it out, which meant moving the GTI, which meant I’d have to clear the driveway of all that snow.  All that heavy, wet snow.  So heavy and wet that it rendered my little snowblower useless.  Normally, I’d have another cup of coffee and fire up the old Playstation; however, I had made a promise, and damnit I was going to keep it!  I grabbed the shovel, and got to digging.

And dig I did!  It was not fun, nor easy, but I did it.  And I saw some of my neighbors challenge the hill that is my street.  Everyone made it, but my God were some sketchy.  Have you ever seen a Mercury Mariner do a tank slapper up a snow covered hill, with a nervous teenage guy at the helm and his scared girlfriend hanging on to anything in the cabin for dear life?  I HAVE.  It’s pretty damn scary when you’re in the killzone, funny in hindsight.  Anyway, I managed to get the GTI moved, the Rogue out, and helped my girlfriend moved.  Expect a weird review of the Rogue here in a little bit, I have some thoughts on that crossover.

*Article, Photos, Videos, and Audio clips are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

*All Seasons on the front, summer tires in the rear.  Always have the proper tires, kiddos!

12th Jan2017

CAMcast: We Need Adult Supervision

by Michael Chandler

SEMA 2016 Thursday CAMautoMag-168

Can you make a 911 better by shoving an LSx in the back of it? What were the cars that Dave, Gavin, and I spent time wrenching on, are working on, and would like to turn into future projects?  And just where the hell is Pizza Dad?  All of those questions, and an actual reader email are in this week’s episode of the CAMcast!

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Stream the episode above, go grab it on iTunes and other fine purveyors of podcasts (please rate, comment, and subscribe while you’re there!), or download it here.  We’ll be back next week with a new episode, and a new voice!  We welcome Dan Chilinski, owner of Old Man Yellow, and driver of a twin engine Toyota in the 24 Hours of LeMons.

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14th Oct2016

2016 TresDuro: Tres Means Three Part 3

by Michael Chandler

Time Trial C

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With a total time of 7:24.302, Max Dufford claimed a big TTC win.  Having to drive three different tracks in one day, including one that nobody has driven on in a couple of years, is a test for anyone.  Max rose to the occasion, and drove his Boxster to the limits set forth by the modifications allowed in the rulebook!

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Taking home a shiny piece of silver neck wear was Rod Kujaczynski. Still rocking a RaceCo decal, but sans cowboy hat, Rod’s total time was an impressive 7:29.662!

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Bringing home the bronze was Joe Evers, with a total time of 7:30.852.  Three medals went to three people who drive German cars.  Coincidence?  I THINK NOT!

Time Trial D

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Trever “with an E” Pope managed a combined time of 7:53.343, not too bad for running around in a more practical Miata.  Trever is one of the many drivers who helps out, and instructs the HPDE drivers.  The young up and comers, or older up and comers, can learn some things from Trever.  He may be alone in TTD, but he’s consistent and he doesn’t get caught up trying to run down someone in a faster class.

Time Trial E

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Piloting his trusty Mazderati, Tyler Nisonger threw down a total time of 7:41.375.  As you can see in this photo, Tyler saves weight by only having one door mirror.  These are the little things that separate the winners from the “also ran” crowd.

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Erick Gerday also ran, but wasn’t an “also ran”.  His combined time of 8:02.322, while not stellar, is nothing to sneeze at.  Explore the limits of the rulebook a little bit, and get some more seat time, and Erick should start knocking seconds out of that time.

Time Trial B

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Darin Beaudoin, the goofy fella in the best Miata ever, took home the TTB gold.  How?  NO CLUE!  But I do know he waved at me on one of his out laps.  Did I get a picture of it?  NOPE!  Blame Andy Moench.  He was ahead of Darin on track, and waved at me first.  Quick PSA: If you’re going to wave at a photographer do it on an out lap, a pace lap, or a cool down lap.  Don’t do it when you’re trying to set a flyer, or mid race.  It’s one of those things that’s cool for the two of us, but will be infinitely embarassing if I have to write “and as they waved at me, the accidentally dropped two tires off track, which caused them to spin, which got them stuck in the sand trap”.  Ok, with that out of the way we can move on.

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Jan Gerday, running both TT and Spec Z, had a combined time of 7:32.775.  Running six total session in the same car is quite the feat, and it’s validated when you get a medal at the end of the night.

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Another Z getting a medal.  The 350Z is a useful tool in a racing situation, if you know how to use it.  And Justin Jones knows how to use it.  His 7:38.607 was six seconds off the pace of the Spec Z driver Jan Gerday, but eight seconds ahead of fourth place finisher David Muskovitz.

Time Trial 3

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James Pasquier was back, after some noticeable absences in the recent past.  The lack of a doctor’s note notwithstanding, James’s combined time of 7:06.328 got him another gold medal to add to the sizable pile.  I assume it’s a pile.  What I’m trying to say is James wins a lot.

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In a stunning upset, Mechanic Mike Bratsch beat out Andy Moench!  This after Mike helped Andy fix his car between sessions.  Sponsored by crippling instruments of debt, AMEX credit cards, Mike pounded out a 7:08.188.  You can’t drive fast enough to out run your debts Mike.  You just can’t.  Sounds cryptic, but really is absolutely meaningless.

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Andy Moench, with a car fixed by the skilled hands of Mechanic Mike, drove slower than Mechanic Mike.  He did drive all of the sessions, and he wasn’t that much slower than Mike.  His total time was 7:09.727.

Time Trial 2

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Shawn Murphy continued to set records.  He reset his record on the Outer Loop, and took over the East and Full track records.  His car still has a full interior, and he drives it around on the streets.  His total time was 6:37.029.  It was the fastest of the TT drivers.  His car, and how fast it is, hurts my brain.  I don’t understand it, I never will understand it, and I’m ok with that.

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Finishing in second place was Jenn Wolthoff in the Makes & Models Porsche 911 GT3.  Her total time was 7:09.621.  I understand that time, and how fast that car is.  There is no witchcraft involved in it.  Just good, clean, wholesome, pure, unadulterated speed.

Time Trial 1

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TT1 had two drivers who drove in all three races AND all three TT sessions.  And they did it in different cars.  David Gilliland hopped out of his Spec Z and into his Viper T/A.  His 6:58.015 was deserving of a gold medal at the barbecue.  I agree with the decision to give him a gold medal.

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David Bradshaw was a nother Spec Z driver who was jumping between cars all day.  He would jump out of his Spec Z, get some feedback on his race, then hop into his 996 Cup car for a TT session.  Then out of the Cup car, feedback, into the Z, and race.  His game of musical cars didn’t hurt his times, as he ended up with a 7:03.08.

Time Trial Unlimited

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Mike Kresser got himself a gold medal, after playing musical cars like his Lyfe teammate David Bradshaw.  Mike drove like a man possessed and posted a total time of 6:48.304.  Not too bad for a guy with a bad back and another race car to drive.

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Greg Warnock, and his widebody M3, came up just short against Mike’s 997 Cup car.  His total time was 6:58.414.  Again, not bad for someone who was pulling double duty all day.  And if you’re someone who says “I hate flares!”, then you haven’t seen this car turning laps.  It needs those flares to cover the massive slicks it uses to grip the tarmac.  You don’t hate flares, you just hate useless and/or ugly flares.

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Rounding out the top three is James “1000% not Jordan” Collier.  Less than two seconds separated him from Greg.  James’s total time in his Viper ACR was 7:00.335.  Notice how a lot of the photos are with the headlights on?  That’s because they got way behind schedule at some point.  So far, in fact, that the final TT session got underway AFTER sunset.  I made the most of it, and got some very cool pictures.  The corner worker at Tooele Turn had a brief, but loud meltdown.  We were all out of our comfort zone, corner worker.  But we survived.

And there it is, at least for TT.  Looking for Thunder and/or Lightning coverage?  I’ve got them in separate posts.

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