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Friday, 30 December 2011

Range Rover Evoque - Big Deal...


Last month, TopGear Magazine released its 2011 Awards issue. That in itself is not very interesting, but what is interesting is some of the winners. The McLaren MP4-12C (a mid-engined, Twin-Turbo supercar) won the GT Car Of The Year award, thanks to its clever hydraulic anti-roll system, the quirky Citroën DS5 won Family COTY and the Fisker Karma beat the likes of the Rolls-Royce Ghost and Bentley Mulsanne to be TopGear's Luxury Car of choice. So far, so mildly interesting, but the overall winner surprised me, and not in a good way...

Monday, 26 December 2011

Video Weekday - Happy Boxer Day

Uploaded: 20/7/11
Running Time: 3:43
Views When Posted: 32,719

According to my homepage, this is my 100th post on Small Blog V8. That's a lot. It's been 10 months, and I think I've roughly got the hang of it! Anyway, here is a video of one of my early inspirations, the late Colin McRae. Here he's doing his thing not in the signature 555 Impreza WRX, but in a Subaru Legacy RS, way back in 1993, when I was but a toddler. The video appears to cover an entire rally stage (although there is sudden rain at the end, so maybe not), which he of course scales in no time at all. Despite being the rallying predecessor to the now-famous Impreza, the early Legacy still features that signature 'boxer burble', so just enjoy a legendary driver before he was famous. Boxing Day? Pah. This is Boxer Day!

I would write a reflective post, having reached my 100th, but I kind of already did that. I'll just add that "domar.ru" is the latest peculiar spam site that is giving me hits, and the Mini story seems to be proving quite popular, so thank you for reading that, and the virtual road test, which features a car with a boxer engine, as it happens. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video, and feel free to read through some of the other 99 posts!

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Photo Dump - Merry Christmas!


Hello SBV8'ers (if there are any regulars). I'd just like to wish you a Merry Christmas! Have a great day today and I hope you all get/got what you wanted. This is my 20th Christmas, and I'm still getting just as much chocolate, so I'm fine with that!  In the mean time, enjoy some snowy GT5 pictures I made yesterday. Click to enlarge!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Virtual Road Test - Toyota GT 86

Image slightly pixellated thanks to MS Paint and Vista...
DISCLAIMER - Yes, I am aware that a virtual road test does not carry the same weight as a real one, and I can't speak of ride quality or mileage or pedal feel or interior quality, but this is mainly just for fun, so enjoy! Also, you can find my other posts on this car here and here.

Unfortunately, I am unlikely to be upgraded from a small-time blogger to a writer for TopGear Magazine or such like between now and June 2012, so chances are I won't be able to have a go in the hotly-anticipated new sports coupé built by Toyota and Subaru. However, the kind chaps at Polyphony Digital have now given the JDM Toyota 86 to all us GT5'ers for free this Christmas, so I thought I would play motor journalist and report my findings, having driven it for a couple of hours. This, then, is like one of those "first impressions" reviews magazines do after driving a new car at a launch event. Only virtual, obviously...

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Video Sunday - The Sprinting Horse

Uploaded: 13/12/11
Running Time: 3:04
Views When Posted: 15,010

There are two things every self-respecting supercar owner (of which there are depressingly few) must do with their magnificent new acquisition. The first one is show off in it - preferably in front of a camera for YouTube's pleasure - and the other is to see how fast it can go. Thankfully, one gentleman in Germany has combined both, as he takes to the autobahn and embarks on a quest to achieve 200mph in his new Ferrari 458 Italia on an un-restricted stretch. Enjoy!

The GPS-given speed (to make it official in some way) is measured in kilometres per hour, so for those of you who, like me, measure in miles per hour, the magic number to look for is 320km/h. In case you know mph and not km/h, here are a few conversions to remember, rounded to the nearest whole number:

100km/h = 62mph
160km/h = 100mph
200km/h = 124mph
300km/h = 186mph
320km/h = 200mph
350km/h = 217mph
400km/h = 248mph
402km/h = 250mph
450km/h = 280mph
483km/h = 300mph
500km/h = 311mph

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Video Saturday - Close Shave, Comrade

Uploaded: 14/12/11
Running Time: 1:03
Views When Posted: 439,216

Over the Christmas holidays, you might find that with hearty servings of turkey and pigs in blankets and chocolate, your digestion takes a hit. If you do end up having a little bit of trouble emptying your pooh chute, don't bother with buying laxatives, just take a laptop or smartphone into the little petrolhead's room with you and watch this video on full screen. That should work nicely.

Somewhere in Russia, people were having trouble coping with the slippery surface on this bridge, and the lorry ahead of the driver has to throw out the anchors all of a sudden. Finding that he can't slow down quick enough to avoid said lorry, the driver pulls alongside and immediately empties his bowels. You'll see why when you hit play...

If that doesn't work, there's always this bit of quick thinking from a Lebanese rally driver who suddenly discovered that someone had carelessly parked at the bottom of a jump.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

A Brief History - BMC Mini

The first and last Minis ever
Look at these two cars and there's very little to tell you that they are separated by a full 41 years, or exactly 15,018 days. While the cream car on the right (621 AOK) came out of the Cowley factory on the 26th August 1959 as a cheap and innovative new small car for the housewife (according to chief designer Sir Alec Issigonis, not me), the final car on the left (X411 JOP) exited the Rover factory in Longbridge on the 4th October 2000 to much fanfare as a celebrated British icon, loved by millions and regarded as setting the template for all small cars that followed (except for not having a 'hatchback' tailgate, that was popularised by the Renault 5). With total sales of 5,387,862 units, it's also the best-selling British car in history. It is, quite simply, the Mini.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Video Sunday - Best. Scene. Ever.

Uploaded: 29/10/11
Running Time: 0:54
Views When Posted: 248,478

If you've been around on the internet, you may have already seen this clip as a .gif, but if not, then revel in the brilliantly awful, hilariously unrealistic nature of Bollywood action films. Also, aviators and a handlebar moustache make you invincible in all situations. This is a scientific fact. As factual as anything you're about to see, anyway...

I've actually seen crazier, but I'll have to look for that and post it next week. For now, enjoy 54 seconds of Bollywood.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Video Saturday - Sebastian Vettel Makes A Good Kimi Räikkönen

Uploaded: 4/12/11
Running Time: 4:32
Views When Posted: 185,472

We often think of racing drivers as being robots, who say what they're supposed to say before and after a race and are only really focused on one thing, often leaving their personalities at home (perhaps to save weight). Nowadays though, we have people like Jenson Button, and this bloke, some German guy called Sebastian Vettel, whoever he is (apparently he won some kind of F1 race this year). Here he is at the Autosport Awards flexing his comedic muscles by doing an impression of 2012 returnee Kimi Räikkönen, as well as making a war joke about knives. *shrugs*

Enjoy.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Formula 1 - Brazilian Grand Prix 2011

Interlagos Circuit, São Paolo, Brazil.
After 18 races, which should've been 19 were it not for Bahrain being a little busy to be holding a motor race, we come here, back to good old Brazil, home of Senna, Massa and Barrichello, for the final race of the 2011 Formula 1 season. For the 15th time this year, World Drivers Champion Sebastian Vettel had managed to extract the most from the fastest car on the grid and get pole position, setting a new record for most poles in a season. With the dominance he's had this year, his team mate Mark Webber hadn't won a single race in 2011, when an identical car had won 11 times, so with his car only one place and 0.2 seconds behind Vettel's, could the Australian go into the winter with a success rate higher than zero?

Friday, 2 December 2011

Video - Subaru BRZ GT300 Wakes You From Kimi-Induced Sleep

 Uploaded: 1/12/11
Running Time: 3:04
Views When Posted: 307

As a follow-up to yesterday's news flash about the dual release of the Toyota GT 86 and Subaru BRZ (which are twins), I'm posting this video of the BRZ GT300 set to compete in SUPER GT next year. Judging by the music, I'd say this is the video they played at this week's Tokyo Motor Show. The other melody you'll hear is the 300 horsepower race-tuned Boxer-4 engine. Enjoy! I know I did. This coupé and its new racing variant are getting me more excited than any other car released or unveiled this year.

Also, here's an interview with Iceman and F1 returnee, Kimi Räikkönen. See how long you can listen to that monotone before you drift off...

Uploaded: 29/11/11
Running Time: 5:40
Views When Posted: 8,430

Yeah, I didn't last much past the halfway point, myself...
Wake yourself up by watching the Subaru again.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Multiple News Flash - Kimi Räikkönen Back in F1, GT-86 + BRZ x GT300 = OMG

Subaru BRZ GT300. The words you're looking for are either "Dear Lord" or "Me Gusta"
Before I start writing the report on the Brazillian Grand Prix, I thought I would share three pieces of good news. First off, Magnum-eating legend Kimi Räikkönen is returning to Formula 1, secondly, Toyota and Subaru have finally unveiled the production version of the FT-86 (now called GT 86, as I shall explain) and BRZ coupés, and sexiest of all, Subaru has already designed the racing version for the SUPER GT series in 2012. Do your best Kool-Aid Man impression.