April 2014 Behind The Wheel Talks About The Sweet Smell Of Victory

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It’s been another stellar month at Source Castle, where we’ve been busy driving fast cars in a mature and responsible fashion – that’s our story and we’re adhering to it!

Among the highlights was our group test with this issue where we took an extended road trip within the Jaguar XFR-S, Audi RS7 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S.

This wasn’t an arduous chore but I’m still astounded how close these folks were, as you’d expect. In reality, I’m scripting this before completing the final draft of the road test, and I’m still not sure which is going to come out on top. Each had its own qualities and unique talents that made it surprisingly hard to choose a winner.

Ordinarily, in a test such as this, the cream will rise to the top level. The problem we faced was that all three were high-fat, extra-calorie cream. There really wasn’t a loser. So I’ve found myself running back through my notes, looking back at the video (watch it at www.europeancarmag.com), discussing it with the team, asking random strangers. We even posted it to our own Facebook page to see which car would buy your vote.

At the back of my mind, one car edged marginally ahead, but it’s not a similar car the other team chose. So, right now, I genuinely don’t know what car has won, the only way to discover whether I crumbled underneath the weight of democracy or went my very own way is to transform the page and read the test because.

SEMA Race

Also featured with this issue is our regular report from the SEMA Show in Vegas. We’ve highlighted a lot of our favorite products and cars and have more images at www.europeancarmag.com

I used to be also required to present a relevant video for our parent company, which appears on the Motor Trend YouTube channel. I walked through the halls and selected my favorite European and Japanese cars to represent our International Automotive Tuner Group. A similar was done with this Performance and Truck groups, and all three of us came together after SEMA to get a drag race.

If they’d bring Project Grip – the 997 Porsche 911 Turbo featured around the cover in our 04/13 issue and displayed in the Optima Batteries booth at the show, we didn’t know what another groups could be bringing, therefore i went safe and asked BBi Autosport.

The 911 looked spectacular but it was up against a $250,000 race-prepared ’67 Mustang Fastback along with a $200,000 off-road buggy that wanted to drive over our roof.

The biggest surprise for all of us was that I’d be driving, something I hadn’t fully understood in our initial planning meetings and something I’d failed to tell Betim Berisha from BBi. The look on his face when I broke the news had been a true Kodak moment!

Unfortunately, the horsepower had been unapproved before the event from its full 750hp to some meager 600hp. Up against a lightweight Mustang and some very healthy trash talking from my opposition, the reality of letting down BBi, the tuner scene and myself looked want it was being a stark reality.

The biggest problem was engaging gears around the manual transmission. Its blend of carbon clutch and motorsport linkage meant it wasn’t responding to my delicate touch.

Stop becoming a pussy and shove it into gear, was approximately how Betim coached me, and that did actually do the trick. Would encourage one to visit the Motor Trend channel to watch the footage, though i won’t spoil the surprise from the video. We’ll post a link on our website at the same time to help you discover it.

Let’s just say that honor was upheld…

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