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):

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.


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):

Michele Bumgarner makes impressive debut at 2013 Pro Mazda C’ship finale

The Grand Prix of Houston last October 5 and 6 might be the final round of the 2013 Pro Mazda Championship, but that didn’t stop Michele Bumgarner from fighting for a strong debut.

While she wasn’t for championship points, it gave her valuable seat time to prep for a full 2014 campaign. With backing from Mazda Philippines, the 24-year-old Filipino-American race car driver competed in the no. 6 Mazda ‘Renesis’ rotary-engined single seater with World Speed Motorsports.

The race weekend didn’t start out well for Michele, qualifying in 14th place with limited track time. Then, a mistake in Race 1 put her car into the wall backwards, which ended her race prematurely. Luckily, the team was able to repair the car in for Race 2 on Sunday morning where she fought her way up the field and finish in 9th spot – just 2.0 seconds behind World Speed Motorsports teammate Kyle Kaiser.

Michele Bumgarner Houston

Michele’s heroic efforts also didn’t go unnoticed by the stewards, where she received the Staubli Award and Quarter Master Hard Charger Award for making up four positions during the race.

“Certainly, the race weekend wasn’t everything I wanted,” said Michele on her performance. “As a driver, you always want the best results. But this really was a warm-up for me, so to get the solid finish in Race 2, I’m happy. I just want to thank everyone, especially Mazda Philippines for all the support, the love! It’s been amazing.”

For now, Michele is back in the country for a break while fulfilling duties with the media and her sponsors. Then, she’ll head back to the US to begin her training for next year. “Lots of work for the off season, but I am ready and looking forward to the 2014 season,” she added.

As for Mazda Philippines, they expressed their continued support for the talented racer who will compete in her first full season of the Pro Mazda Championship next year.

“We at Mazda Philippines are very optimistic that she can continue on an upward trend in her 2014 Pro Mazda Championship campaign,” said Steven Tan, President of Berjaya Auto Philippines Inc. – Mazda’s official distributor in the Philippines. “Mazda has always been about pushing for ceaseless improvement and defying conventions. In Michele, we see someone who is capable of translating these ideals into success in the extremely competitive arena of motorsports.”

[Photos courtesy of the Pro Mazda Championship and World Speed Motorsports]

Michele Bumgarner Houston Michele Bumgarner Houston

Porsche driver Sean Edwards killed at Queensland Raceway crash

26-year-old British race car driver Sean Edwards was at the Queensland Raceway in Australia on October 15 for a private test session when the Porsche 996 was riding in went off course, hit the barriers, and burst into flames. Sadly, he was killed instantly upon impact.

The unnamed 20-year-old man who was driving the 996 Sean was in, on the other hand, survived the crash but was critically injured and airlifted to the hospital.

Reports say that Sean was on a working vacation in Brisbane to coach drivers on track for a non-competitive event. After that, he’s scheduled to go to Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi this coming November 3 for the last two races of the Porsche Carrera Supercup where he’s leading the championship.

Sean Edwards is the son of former Formula 1 driver Guy Edwards. He started his racing career when he was only 11 in go karts and progressed into Formula Ford, Formula Renault, then into GT racing. Sean won the 2006 FIA GT3 European Championship with Porsche before moving on to the FIA GT Championship, American Le Mans Series (ALMS), and Porsche Carrera Supercup. He also raced in the 2012 edition of the Le Mans 24 Hour. His more recent successes include winning the 2013 Nürburging 24 Hours and both the 2012 and 2013 Dubai 24 Hours.

People’s Car Celebration marks return of VW in the Philippines


55 years have passed since German automaker Volkswagen first arrived in the Philippines, and more than 20 years since one was sold by any local dealer. But now, they’re finally back. And to mark the occasion, they’ve organized an elaborate two-day public display aptly named the “People’s Car Celebration” last September.

These guys really wanted to make a bold statement on their very first public outing, while embodying the event’s title. So, they rented out pretty much all of the available commercial spaces in Greenbelt Park, Makati so everyone, and I do mean everyone, could enjoy their 2-day show. Best part is, they raffled off a brand new 21st century Beetle, which unfortunately, I didn’t win.

People's Car Celebration

The weekend’s main attraction was the Racing Pavilion and Innovation Zone in Greenbelt 5. All eyes were on the Scirocco R in its iconic Rising Blue Metallic paint, which served as VW’s centerpiece. Oh, we could just imagine thrashing it around up and down winding roads and making its 261 hp 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine sing. But no. As we were told, they have no plans of selling Scirocco R here, yet. Gee, thanks for getting our hopes up VW.

Beside the two-door sports coupe was a red Mk 7 Golf, but that won’t be available locally either. Then there was the the glorious 21st century Beetle Cabriolet basking under the sun that reportedly, Ayala Corporation President Fernando Zobel de Ayala wanted for keeps. Now, how can you say no to that?

People's Car Celebration

Meanwhile, the Ayala Museum was filled with all sorts of VW memorabilia for their ‘Brand Heritage’ exhibit. They were able to put together a collection of vintage posters, books, and pieces from an old parts bin that’s worthy to be classified as art. There were also several cars on show: Touran, Tiguan, and Touareg – all of which are now on sale in the Philippines.

On the other side of the block, passers-by along Makati Avenue got a glimpse of the Passat and a lovely candy white 21st century Beetle. Believe me, this bug was begging for a set of red, white, and blue racing stripes with the trademark #53. If you want to revive the 1968 classic, the hard top version of the 21st century Beetle won’t be available in local VW dealerships until early 2014. So I’m sorry to say, Christmas isn’t coming early this year.

People's Car Celebration

The final stop in the tour was the Volkswagen Plaza in Greenbelt 3. Kids loved the play area where they rode little toy VW Beetles round and round, while mom and dad enjoyed the lights and sounds of the mini-concerts that went on all day. But what really caught my eye was the simple yet stylish Jetta that stood silently outside Starbucks. It wasn’t as flashy as a Beetle Cabriolet and definitely nothing close to a Scirocco R in terms of performance, but I have a gut feeling that we will all see a lot of these four door compacts on our roads real soon.

The Volkswagen brand was handled by different local companies in the past and all have failed. So what makes Automobile Central Enterprise, Inc. (ACEI), VW’s new Philippine distributor, think they can do better? Well, the fact that it’s owned by Ayala Automotive Holdings, Corp (AAHC), who by the way are the same group behind Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) and Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC), already speaks a lot. But on top of that, I trust that the new VW Philippines is here to stay for the long haul, because the good people working there have the heart, passion, and most importantly the talent to make this brand simply awesome.

For more details about Volkswagen Philippines and their vehicle line-up, you can all visit

People's Car Celebration People's Car Celebration People's Car Celebration People's Car Celebration

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