Welcome to the latest and greatest Nissan GT-R, the 2014 Track Pack. The GT-R story is unique in the automotive world starting with its legacy of racing excellence and continuing with the current R35 model which retained its full developmental program that continually refines the car and the engineers that build it through endurance racing. That’s why each model year of the GT-R goes beyond incremental steps of refinement to a full blown evolution of the previous model. The GT-R is often considered The Pride of Japan which is apparent in the dedication to the uniquely Japanese way of building sports cars. Check out the video to see Motor Trend’s Carlos Lago and Randy Pobst test the weekend warrior Track Pack for the GT-R at Willowsprings:
Motor Trend puts together the latest comparison from the ongoing muscle car war with Chevrolet’s awesome new 1LE handling package for the Camaro SS and Ford’s Track Package for the Mustang GT. The $3500 1LE Package uses huge 10 and 11 inch wide wheels, custom tuned mono-tube shocks, bigger anti-roll bars, a 3.91:1 final drive and some minor driveline enforcement to fix the stock Camaro’s handling problems for track use. Ford’s $1500 GT Track Package includes the anti-sway bars from the GT500, retuned shocks and springs, 19″ wheels with Pirelli summer tires, Performance Friction brake pads, recalibrated ABS and traction control and a shorter (numerically larger) 3.73:1 final drive with carbon fiber clutch plates. The guys put the two cars against each other at the drag strip and then around the Horse Thief Mile at Willow Springs with Randy Pobst behind the wheel.
The concept for the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 was born when the question of “What can we do with the Corvette if we allowed the price tag to exceed $100,000?” GM’s answer to that question was a highly capable ZR1 version of their Corvette that stood alone in the American Supercar class. That was until the performance division of Dodge, SRT, decided to make a new Viper. I wouldn’t be surprised if the SRT engineers bought a ZR1 to use as a benchmark because many of the performance specifications are nearly identical. Naturally we have to see which is the better car. Thankfully Motor Trend’s Johnny Lieberman and Randy Pobst are on the job with some hot laps around Laguna Seca.
Here on Flux Auto we cover a lot of high performance cars from Detroit’s Big 3 that have caused many people to say that the new Golden Age of Muscle Cars is here. While that may be true, advances in automotive engineering have benefited all genres of performance cars. One of the most popular segments among enthusiasts are the Hot Hatches thanks to their strong combination of fun, practicality and low cost of owning and operating. We could even say that we might be approaching a new Golden Age for the Hot Hatch with the recent focus on high tech turbocharged engines, lightweight and optimized interior space thanks to slow economies all around the world. It could also be said that it’s a new Golden Age of Hot Hatches simply because there is a viable alternative to the perennial king of the genre, the Volkswagen GTi. Carlos Lago puts the new 2.0 liter turbocharged Ford Focus ST up against the top of the line VW Golf R. Ford has really raised the bar for front wheel drive chassis balance in the ST which brings us to another Golden Age that we’re in and the funky title to this video.
As it turns out, the Volkswagen has an intrusive stability control system that can’t be turned off. There’s no getting around the the system slowing the car down as you try to find its limits. That’s right folks, we are in the Golden Age of electronic nannies in cars. Instead of learning how to be better drivers, the world has demanded that automakers add complex electronic systems to cars in attempt to make them idiotproof. Well don’t worry because Carlos thought of a way to keep the otherwise interesting comparison going. The Volkswagen Golf R gets substituted out for Motor Trend’s long-term test Subaru BRZ for the track driving portion. Randy Pobst takes them both around the Horse Thief Mile at Willow Springs to see how they perform at their limits. The BRZ and the Focus ST are actually pretty close in price which makes this a relevant power vs. balance comparison for weekend warriors shopping for entry level performance cars.
Chevrolet provides another point to the argument that we are currently in the new golden age of the Muscle Car with the $3500 1LE package for the Camaro SS. GM basically gave their suspension guys who do track driving free reign to make the Camaro handle well. The result is “The best handling Camaro yet! *thumbs up*” according to Randy Pobst. Huge wheel and tire upgrades form the core of the 1LE upgrades. The fronts are 10 inches wide and the rears are 11 with 285/35/20 Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires (same as the ZL1 fronts) at all four corners. Monotube shocks with revised damping replace the stock twin tube. Larger anti-roll bars were also added, 27mm in the front and 28mm in the rear. The fact that the rear bar is larger than the front is probably where the engineers killed most of the regular SS’s horrible understeer. Power output remains the same as the SS but the final drive is upped to 3.91:1 to give a little better acceleration. Reliability modifications round out the 1LE package with various beefed up links, mounts and half shafts. The $3500 price tag for the 1LE upgrades beats what you could buy in the aftermarket and have an added bonus of coming with a factory warranty. It also seems like the engineers got the suspension tuning right on a sweet spot that turns the Camaro into a true driver’s car that gets better with the harder you push it. The base price starts at under $34,000 with the car they tested here optioned out to $46,000. That puts the 1LE in direct competition with the Ford Mustang Boss 302. Both cars focused on the chassis balance instead of huge power upgrades which is something kind of new and pretty awesome for Detroit. Lets hope Motor Trend will do a Head 2 Head episode with the Camaro 1LE and Mustang Boss 302.