‘Rocket Bunny’ kit for Subaru BRZ now available from Atoy Customs


Notice how Toyota 86 owners went gaga over TRA Kyoto’s Rocket Bunny kits? Well, we’re sure that those who bought Subaru BRZs also want a piece of the action except that, they don’t make Rocket Bunny kits for the BRZ.

Thankfully, our trusty friends from Atoy Customs is here to save the day once more.

Although the 2 are indeed fraternal twins, there are slight differences especially on the front bumper. So no, you can’t just slap an 86 kit on a BRZ. These guys had to start with an original TRA Kyoto 86 Rocket Bunny kit, make a fiberglass replica, then re-shape it to fit the BRZ. More specifically, the front chin and fairings.

Rocket Bunny Subaru BRZ

The WR Blue Pearl ‘Rocket Bunny BRZ’ displayed at the 2013 Manila Auto Salon was in fact Atoy Customs’ very first creation.

If you want your BRZ to look this good, expect to shell out P145,000. That gets you (1) a front chin; (2) side skirts; (3) a rear diffuser; (4) fairings for all 4 corners; (5) and a Rocket Bunny Ver. 2 spoiler. They’ll then CUT (yes, like a a can opener) your front fenders and rear quarter panel to make the kit fit, followed by retrofitting of the fender liner. Of course, the package includes painting to match your BRZ’s body color, plus a 6 month warranty.

All in all, it’ll take Atoy Customs about 2 weeks to finish the job. That gives you enough time to shop for new set of rims and coil over dampers. Remember, the wheels need to be either 18- or 19-inch, sized 9.5 ET15 for the front and 10.5 ET-32 for the rear, in order to fill the wider fender flares. Atoy Customs also sell 5×100 to 5×114 spacer converters for P12,000 if needed.

Now if you really want one for your beloved BRZ, you may contact Atoy Customs at 411-5858, 414-1068, 0922 855-2869, or send them an e-mail at sales.atoy@gmail.com. Heck, why don’t you just visit their shop at 57 West Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines.

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Track testing a Formula Abarth single seater in secret


It’s not everyday that we get invited to join a racing team’s secret test session. Of course, we happily obliged and got a special behind-the-scenes look on how a world-class crew really works.

We travelled to the Batangas Racing Circuit (BRC) on a cold, cloudy morning for a tour of what goes on in Aran Racing’s garage. These guys have been around since ’05, racing in the Asian Formula 3 before the series folded up in ’08. Nowadays, team owner Mandy Borja offers training for up-and-coming drivers in single seaters.

Formula Abarth Test

The Naked Formula Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a stripped down Formula Abarth. Since it’s a test car, it wasn’t painted in a racing livery and the carbon weave was left exposed. The mechanics were also busy putting it together for the morning run, which allowed us to appreciate its inner workings in detail.

It goes without saying that there’s really nothing fancy about the machine. It’s designed as an entry-level series for karting new-grads, so don’t expect any fancy tech here.

A 190 hp 1.4L turbocharged engine from Fiat is strapped to the back of the carbon monocoque, along with a 6-speed gearbox. Front and rear wings are a mix of composite and aluminum, while push-rod suspensions are found on all corners. But as the nuts that we are, we found it absolutely beautiful. Formula Abarth Test

For Your Eyes Only The team tested on a weekday so they can run in full privacy. This lets them maximize track time, and more importantly, keep the driver’s progress a closely guarded secret.

At first, the team requested us not to take any photos of the driver, nor could we publish his name. When asked why, they explained that the driver won’t be racing formula cars until a few years time. Thus, secret testing could give him a leg up over his would-be competitors. They’re hoping that, by doing extra homework, he’ll be up to speed when he finally joins the grid, while others play catch up. The driver’s mom, on the other hand, doesn’t share the same sentiment and gladly allowed us document the entire test session. Yes, mom was on track to watch over her 14-year-old son, Marino Sato. Formula Abarth Test

Track Test The young Japanese driver has been to the Philippines on past occasions racing go karts. This, however, was his very first dip in single seaters.

Marino was still fitting his seat that day and watching foam expand is no spectacle. But to see the excitement on Marino’s face, knowing that he has taken his first step into the world of formula car racing was absolutely priceless. Of course, we’re just as excited as he is, because for all we know, a future Formula 1 world champion could be sitting right in front of us. It took Marino quite a while to get the Formula Abarth going; stalling the engine countless times as he tried to get off the line. This was, after all, his first time to drive anything with a clutch. But after a few frustrating moments, he was finally able to drive out of the pit lane for some practice laps. Formula Abarth Test

Class Act As observers for the day, there was always something mesmerizing to see in Aran Racing’s pit garage; may it be the machine or the team’s well-choreographed operation.

Their Formula Abarth chassis may not be brand new, but the team kept it in pristine condition. And even after Marino’s several off-track excursions, it only took a few minutes for a crew of 2 highly skilled mechanics to get the car back in running order. Then, there’s the team’s coordination. Every single person in that garage had a specific task and knew exactly what to do at any given moment. No one slacked around or stayed idle, well maybe, except for us.

It’s also hard to believe that racing is just another day at work for Marino where his job is to win races. And with his dad shelling out €2,300 per test day, coming in 2nd place is definitely not an option.

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Hyundai Ph confirms Elantra Cup one-make-race for 2014


If memory serves me right, Hyundai was never big in motorsports. Sure, they had a short run at the WRC back in early 2000 and gave Ryhs Millen a bunch of cars to play with, but there were no serious attempts from the Koreans, until now…

As early as next year, Hyundai will be returning to the WRC with a full-fledged rally team running 3 i20 World Rally Cars. Brave move. They’ve even built a Hyundai Motorsport facility in Alzenau, Germany just for all their motorsports-related projects and R&D. And the best news of all, they’re also expanding their motorsports program here in the Philippines.

Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI) has been supporting the Lateral Drift Championship since the year began. The partnership with Lateral Drift Productions has proved to be so fruitful that it’s expected to last for at least 2 more years. And at the awarding ceremonies of the 2013 Hyundai Lateral Drift Championship, they confirmed plans to expand their local motorsport program and run a Hyundai one-make-race for 2014.

The announcement was made personally by HARI President and CEO Ms. Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo in her speech. Quite honestly, I couldn’t stop squirming in excitement when I heard the good news.

The so-called “Elantra Cup” will be a one-make series utilizing the facelifted Elantra that’s due early next year. It has been confirmed to us by HARI that the 1.8 MT version will be used for the championship, but they’re tight-lipped on who’s responsible for turning the Elantra into race cars and eventually run the show.

However, snooping around HARI Execs revealed that they are considering running the Elantra Cup alongside the 2014 season of the Lateral Drift Championship, with other side events to boost the race weekend such as car club meets and drag races.

In case you’re wondering, HARI’s participation in motorsports is “a great platform to showcase and elevate our brand’s awareness and relevance with our products,” which just goes to show that the principle of ‘Race on Sunday, Win on Monday’ still holds true today. It’s also in-line with Hyundai HQ’s campaign to boost their presence in motorsports world wide. So no, the Elantra Cup is not a response in any way to Toyota Motor Philippines’ Vios Cup.

We’ll give you more updates once we get news from HARI.

Ford’s all-new Mustang is an American muscle with big shoes to fill


For something that’s celebrating its 50th birthday, the Mustang certainly looks good for its age. Well, of course, you have to consider that what you see here is the all-new 6th generation steed for 2015.

Although it’s not a big leap in terms of design, this all-new Mustang seems to have more personality than the one it replaces. Maybe it’s just us, but we feel that it no longer looks like a retro rehash. Sure, the old ‘Stang was a looker, but it will always be remembered as homage to the ’60s. It also appears lighter, leaner, and faster, which we hope is backed up by performance figures.

Ford Mustang

Instead of going gung-ho for even more ponies, Ford finally figured out that straight line speed isn’t all that matters these days. Yes, even American muscle cars now have to go quickly around corners. And one way to do this is to make the Mustang wider and lower by 381 mm in both dimensions to be exact.

Then there’s the all-important suspension. The 2015 Mustang gets a revised MacPherson struts upfront and, would you believe, an integral-link INDEPENDENT REAR SUSPENSION to replace the old live axle unit.

Geez Ford! What took you so long to figure that one out?

Ford Mustang

Finally, the biggest secret in building quick cars is to make them go on a diet. Early rumors suggests that Ford’s all-new muscle will be as much as 180 kg lighter than the old horse. But now, some believe that it’s actually a wee-bit heavier due to the extra toys Ford packed into it. *facepalm*

This American muscle’s biggest asset, however, is and has always been what lies under that long bonnet. There’s an upgraded version of the trusty 3.7L V6 and 5.0L V8, and a new 2.3L straight-4 EcoBoost engine that’s expected to have more than 305 hp and 406 Nm of torque. But something tells us that the V8 is still king.

Ford MustangFor something this promising and this good looking, we just find it quite odd how tight-lipped Ford is on the performance figures of their 2015 Mustang. They won’t say exactly how much it weighs, how much power it makes, and how fast it gets to 100 km/h. More importantly, is it quicker than the Camaro Z/28 around the Nürburgring Nordschleife?

Seriously, what’s the point of bragging about your newest muscle when you don’t have figures to back it up? We sure do hope they have numbers to surprise when they’re finally spill the beans.

Ford Mustang

Google puts McLaren’s Technology Centre on Street View


Unlike the Lamborghini Museum and Honda Collection Hall, we’re pretty sure that McLaren’s Technology Centre in Woking, Surrey is strictly ‘by invite only’. But with the help of Google Street View, you can now take a virtual tour anytime, anywhere.

The McLaren HQ is a 57,000 sq. meter state-of-the-art facility that houses their Formula 1 team, GT racing program, and wind tunnel. It’s also here where they meticulously hand-craft each MP4-12C and P1 for customers worldwide.

“The McLaren Technology Centre is widely considered to be an architectural icon,” said Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh. “Of course, it’s also so much more: It is the beating heart of a technology, motorsport and automotive group which this year celebrated its 50th anniversary. To mark this milestone, and reward our many loyal fans, we’re pleased to be able to open our doors to the public, with the help of Google.”

These guys, however, didn’t let the chaps from Google expose their trade secrets online. So no, you won’t be able to see where they build their 2014-spec Formula 1 car here. Instead, you can take a tour of the lobby where they house their most precious and historic cars.

Here you’ll find McLaren’s Can-Am and Indianapolis 500-winning cars from the ’60s and ’70s. There’s also a street and race version of the coveted McLaren F1 in the mix, plus a MP4-12C. But the most important collection is McLaren’s Formula 1 cars that represent different eras, including Porsche-engined cars from the ’80s, Ayrton Senna’s Honda-powered machines, and more modern silver Mercedes-Benz cars driven by Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton.

Further exploration will reveal a long corridor that McLaren uses as their huge trophy cabinet, housing tokens from 8 constructor’s championships, 12 driver’s championships, and 182 race victories. Sadly, none of them came from a podium-free 2013 season.

Because they’re trying to keep things under wraps, only the main hall of McLaren’s Technology Centre is available on Google Street View. They’ve even blurred out the windows on certain rooms to hide whatever they’re working on inside. But if you do find a secret passage, do let us know.

Check out McLaren’s Technology Centre for yourself below or hit the link (for mobile): http://goo.gl/maps/uK4U1

Meet Honda’s wider, fiercer, and quicker 2014 Civic WTCC

What you see here is Honda’s new toy for the 2014 World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). The defending Manufacturer’s World Champion returns with a revised Civic WTCC to suit the new 2014 regulations, that in our opinion, looks ready to eat other cars for breakfast.

Compared to the car it replaces, the 2014-spec Civic WTCC has much wider wheel arches, larger diameter wheels, a sleeker aero package, and a bigger rear spoiler. They’ve also boosted the 1.6L turbo’s engine power, that when combined with the other technical improvements, make the car around 3.0 to 5.0 quicker per lap.

JAS Motorsports will once again run 2 works Civic WTCCs for Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro with the hopes of defending Honda’s Manufacturers World Championship title. Meanwhile, Zengo Motorsport’s Norbert Michelisz and Proteam Racing’s Mehdi Bennani will enter the other two machines as privateers.

From what we’ve heard, these guys haven’t actually finished building the car yet hence the CGI teaser photo. They are, however, aiming to run the car for the very first time in January.

Let’s just hope they’ve worked hard enough to beat Chevrolet, Lada, and WTCC newcomer Citroën next year.

Tokyo 2013: Honda’s NSX Concept is drop dead gorgeous in real life


Nothing, absolutely nothing, could have prepared me for this very special moment. I’ve already seen it in photos and read about it in stories, but it’s amazing how dumbfounded I still was when I saw the NSX Concept in real life.

There was definitely a tense moment as I waited in line to get up close and very personal with this rare Japanese supercar. It’s like waiting to meet the love of my life for the very first time. I suddenly found myself lost for words and all I ended up doing was to stare at the beauty, with occasional nervous smiles here and there.

No, I wasn’t giddy like a little school boy. Instead, I put the butterflies in my stomach aside and faced it like a real man.

Honda NSX Concept

I had the NSX Concept all to myself for only 5 minutes. That’s 5 measly minutes for me take photos from all angles, digest all the information that was in front of me, and for it to leave a lasting impression.

Simply put, there was no room for me to screw up. Not here. Not this time. Not with something this good.

The NSX Concept glowed magnificently on stage in pure white. Step closer and you’ll feel its aura that somehow connects you with Honda’s rich 54-year-history. Or it could just be the bright and very hot stage lights. Whatever the case is, it blew me away.

Honda NSX Concept

Every single inch of it is carefully sculpted and there was something new to see everywhere I looked. The aerodynamically optimized skin served both form and function, while the intricate decorative pieces and LED lights were such a joy to look at all day. And it was only upon closer inspection did I notice that the grill, diffuser, and roof were all made from carbon fiber.

The NSX Concept might not be as flashy as a Ferrari 458 inside, but who cares. The Japanese knows exactly what they’re doing and they’re doing a fine job at it. It might be simple, but it sure looks damn good. Red interiors were also making a comeback and felt right at home in the NSX Concept. Meanwhile, the tall carbon fiber center stack confirms that only an automatic version will be available with flappy-paddles behind the wheel.

Honda NSX Concept

Sadly, they won’t let us take a peek under rear deck, where, a Sport Hybrid SH-AWD and turbo-charged 3.5L direction-injection V6 reportedly resides. Maybe I’ll reserve that for our second date.

The NSX Concept is ‘drop dead gorgeous’ to say the least. It is by far the most beautiful machine I’ve seen at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show and I have Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) to thank for the opportunity.

So, will I ever get to see the NSX Concept again? The production version should be ready by 2015, making that a very long 2-year wait. We, however, are not expecting HCPI to bring it in locally. Their initial calculations hint that it will have a tag price of about P10 million if it does get here, which is already Audi R8 territory. I guess that means you’ll just have to go gray.

Honda NSX Concept Honda NSX Concept Honda NSX Concept

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60th Macau GP commemorative stamps pay tribute to Dodjie Laurel


The Macau Grand Prix is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. And to commemorate the milestone, the Macao Post issued a special stamp collection that includes one that pays tribute to the Philippines’ very own racing legend, Arsenio ‘Dodjie’ Laurel.

The “60th Macau Grand Prix” collection includes a set of 6 stamps and 1 souvenir sheet designed by Stephen Chung Kui Sing and Gordon Chung Wing Kan.

The 6 stamps illustrate iconic moments from different eras of the GP. There’s Eddie Carvalho’s Triumph TR 2 that won the inaugural race in 1954, the Motor Cycle Grand Prix in 1973, Guia Race in 1983, Formula 3 in 1993, and an LKM Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 in 2009, but is oddly labeled as from 2003.

Our favorite, however, is the stamp that depicts Dodjie Laurel in his iconic No. 11 white Formula Junior Lotus 22 – Ford from the 1963 race. That great moment in history is where Dodjie achieved his second consecutive Macau GP victory and became the first driver in the world to do so.

Sadly, we lost an icon at the 1967 Macau GP when Dodjie’s Lotus 41 hit the wall at Yacht Club Bend (now renamed as Mandarin Bend) and burst into flames.

From the looks of it, the “60th Macau Grand Prix” stamp collection will only be sold in limited quantity. Luckily, it’s too cheap not to buy one. A set of 6 will only set you back 12 MOP(P65), while a sheetlet costs 24 MOP (P130).

If you do get to swing by Macau anytime soon, do visit the Macao Post HQ or Airport Post Office and get yourself a piece of Philippine motorsport history.

Macau GP Stamp Macau GP Stamp Macau GP Stamp

Peugeot rumored to return to Dakar in 2015

If you were paying close attention, you would have noticed that Peugeot has been reviving their glory days in motorsports, particularly in the WRC, Le Mans, and most recently, Pikes Peak. That leaves them with only 1 challenge left to be reconqured: the Dakar Rally.

There have been rumors that Peugeot Sport will return to the Dakar Rally by 2015.

These guys won what is known as the toughest rally in the world between ’87 to ’90 with the 205 T16 and 405 T16. So, a comeback in 2 years time would be a fitting 25th anniversary celebration.

Names that have been linked to this comeback included 11-time Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel and 9-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb. However, Peterhansel was quick to shoot down this report after re-signing with the X-raid squad until 2015. Loeb, on the other hand, has recently worked with Peugeot for a record-breaking run up Pikes Peak earlier this year; thus making him a good candidate for Dakar in 2015.

“When we have that information we will decide what to do. Maybe it could be something different to Pikes Peak and with a different car,” said Peugeot Sport Team Principal Bruno Famin in a statement.

Now that’s something we’ll all be looking forward to.

[Source: Autosport.com]

S660 Concept teases Honda Beat revival in 2013 Tokyo Motor Show


Honda certainly knows to tease by releasing the first batch of images of their S660 Concept, set to debut at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. Simply described as an “open-top sports-type mini-vehicle,” it revives one’s dream of owning a Honda Beat of the 90’s.

The S660 Concept is expected to be classified as a Japanese ‘kei car’, where the ‘660’ in the title represents the engine’s displacement. Early rumors say that it will be powered by a turbocharged 3-cylinder unit with 64 hp as regulated by the Japanese government – not much, but it’s supposed to be a cute little city car anyway. The tiny engine is then mated to a CVT where drive is sent via the rear wheels.

Honda S660 Concept

Sans the eventual soft or hard top, the futuristic interior comes into full view. Looks like the guys over at Honda’s design department went crazy with bits of carbon fiber and LCD screens, thankfully with good results. The LED rev counter mounted on top of the instrument panel is also a nice touch.

This S660 Concept definitely looks a lot like a production-ready version of the EV-STER concept from 2011, except this one has an engine instead of an electric motor. But why would Honda recycle a 2-year-old concept for a motor show? Well, that could only mean that they’re putting it into production real soon.

We can’t wait.

Honda S660 Concept Honda S660 Concept

CR-Z ‘HKS GT Supercharger Kit’ now available at Emperor Motorsports


The CR-Z is Honda’s latest and currently, only hybrid sportscar in production. But with only 136 hp on tap, it’s hardly the pocket rocket we’re looking for. Then here comes HKS who built a supercharger kit that bumps up the power to 200.

HKS explains that this aftermarket supercharger works with Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system, so there’s no risk of blowing things up. They also used a smaller HKS GTS4015 supercharger that will deliver progressive output and torque throughout the rpm range, while using stock engine internals.

The kit we’re talking about is the ‘CR-Z HKS GT Supercharger’ with part no. 12001-AH004, that’s now available by order from Emperor Motorsports.

The ‘CR-Z HKS GT Supercharger’ retails at around P300,000 to P350,000 depending on how many extra goodies you want. The standard kit, however includes the (a) Supercharger Assembly; (b) Supercharger Oil System; (c) Supercharger Installation Bracket; (d) Suction Pipe + Blow Off; (e) Intercooler Assembly; (f) Intercooler Pipe; (g) F-CON iS + OSC; (h) Injector; and (i) other installation brackets.

While you’re at it, you might as well throw in an HKS Silent Hi-Power or Factory Exhaust, higher heat range spark plugs, and 0W-25 or 10W-35 engine oil to get the most out of the system.

According to Emperor Motorsports Philippines, it’ll take them between 3 to 5 days to install and tune the HKS GT Supercharger on your CR-Z. After that, you’ll have all 200 hp and 261.8 Nm of torque to play with under your right foot. However, do note that this kit is designed for MANUAL TRASMISSIONS ONLY. Plus, it’ll need a constant supply of high octane gasoline for it to squeeze out every bit of power from the 1.5L i-VTEC 4-cylinder motor.

If you give it some thought, P350,000 for a supercharger kit is actually quite reasonable and tempting. Forget about the Mugen-kitted CR-Z that retails for P1.860 million. Those aero improvements won’t make your sports coupe any quicker anyway. Instead, go for the Standard CR-Z that Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) lists at P1.390 million, add on an HKS Supercharger, and maybe buy yourself a set of aftermarket rims with the spare change you have left.

For orders, contact Emperor Motorsports Philippines at (917) 841-0041, (922) 826-7532, (632) 421-1044, and (632) 738-2278, or visit their shop at 181 Katipunan Ave., 1109 Quezon City, Philippines.

HKS Supercharger

Honda Collection Hall now on Google Street View


Following in Lamborghini’s footsteps, Honda has now opened the doors of their heritage museum to online visitors. Honda Collection Hall is situated on the grounds of Twin Ring Motegi race track in Japan. But now, anyone can take a tour for free with Google Street View.

Opened in 1998, the 3-storey facility houses over 300 of Honda’s historic motorcycles and cars, including machines used for competition. Noteworthy machines we found included the S800 sports car, NSX, JTCC Mugen Accord, and Ayrton Senna’s Honda-powered McLaren MP4/7 from the 1992 Formula 1 season. It even has a dedicated area that looks back throughout the development history of their humanoid robot, Asimo.

All 3 floors of the Honda Collection Hall can be viewed with Google Street View by simply toggling through the floors with icons on the left hand nav bar. Pretty much every square inch is covered, including the library and gift shop on the ground level.

As a rough guide, the second floor houses all of the important road going models, while the third floor showcases Honda’s historic racing cars and bikes. The 2- and 4-wheeled machinery, however, are separated into the buildings two wings. That means you’ll have to find the actual walkway in Streetview and cross to the other side.

This is definitely a ‘must-see’ for all Honda addicts.

Begin your virtual tour of the Honda Collection Hall below or hit the link (for mobile): http://goo.gl/maps/rpvZB