GALLERY> Global Rallycross at Irwindale Speedway

This past weekend's Global Rallycross event at Irwindale Speedway was definitely not what I expected. I mean, I've been to amateur rallycross events in the past... but this was just... different. To most people in the racing community, the term rallycross is what people use to describe an event that looks like an autocross event in the dirt. A rallycross normally takes place in a large dirt area, with marker cones denoting the course layout. The cars that normally participate in rallycross are the type of cars that you would see in an issue of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine - budget built, weekend racers built by everyday people like you and me.

Well, I suppose the Global Rallycross Championship is just like that - but replace the budget rallycars with fully-built factory-backed professional race cars with full welded rollcages, built engines, and top notch suspension and safety equipment. Also, replace the everyday-Joe shadetree mechanic type with professional drivers from the X-Games, Formula Drift, Pike's Peak International Hillclimb, and the World Rally Championship (WRC). Oh yeah... and replace the dirt parking lot with a humongous man-made dirt course, complete with dirt ramp for catching some big air! This, my friends, is the Global Rallycross Championship. It sure as hell sounds exciting, doesn't it?!

Before you look at the rest of the photos, I really should mention that the Global Rallycross Championship at Irwindale was pretty much the coolest event that nobody knew about.   Read more...

VIDEO> Rancho Deluxe Hot Rods in Australia

Hot rods are slowly becoming a new obsession of mine. A crackling V8 through short exhaust coming out the side of a small roadster and wire wheels wrapped in skinny tires has got to be the coolest form of transportation on the road, hands down.  Ben Thomas builds hot rods full time at his shop, Rancho Deluxe, in Melbourne Australia. While the rest of the world progresses with new technologies and methods for making cars faster, safer, and the like; Ben has been working his way backwards. He apprenticed with Porsche for four years at age 18 and since then has stuck with the classics. By classics, I mean 30′s and 40′s era cars. I think that makes the jump from ‘classic’ to ‘OG.’  His pristine 1932 Ford is the perfect example of what hot rods are all about – small car, big engine, and a driver’s seat. (more…)

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COVERAGE> Grassroots Drifting Action in NorCal

A couple of weeks ago, I shed some light on the Comrades FC3S Truckasaurus RX7 from Fatlace WordUp!, a drift and gymkhana session in held once a month in Santa Clara, CA. The event is only open to 15 drivers and members of the media - no spectators are allowed. It is the closest thing we have to Drift Day in the Bay Area and is centered on providing a safe venue for those who wish to better their skills in a safe environment.   Read more...

VIDEO> Sights and Sounds of Group B Rally

Keeping with my current obsession with Group B rally and looking to keep a pattern going, I present to you a compilation video of various Group B cars, and more importantly, the glorious sounds they make. While there are always going to be cars that make wonderful noises that make you feel all tingly inside, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything that is as aurally pleasing as the likes of an Audi Quattro hammering on the rev-limiter. Everything about Group B was absolutely mythic. The speed, the power, the sound, the driving conditions (whether that be the weather itself or the audacity of the crowds). One might even think that the Gods themselves took on the sport, which would explain the talent behind the wheel. But that’s enough rambling from me. Sit back, turn up the volume, and enjoy! (more…)

VIDEO> Ari Vatanen Tears Through the Isle of Man

While cruising through the internet recently I stumbled across this video of Ari Vatanen, Finnish World Championship rally driver. You might recognize some of his work in the classic short, Climb Dance.  Here you’ll see him blasting down the narrow roads on the Isle of Man in the Manx Rally, scaring the crap out of his co-driver in the process.

While I’m sure that we all like to think that we are somewhat competent behind the wheel of a car or are, in fact, very skilled armchair racers, I bet you can’t watch this and not feel a little bit uneasy or say anything other than (or the likes of) “Dear God.”  I’m making that bold assumption because, after all, if you’re here and reading this you must have some interest in cars and therefore you can see my connection. This is driving at its purest.  Just take notice of how much he works the wheel even when the car is going in a straight line. The amount of skill and absolute balls these men possessed blows my mind completely.  One might even say he is a master of sisu, a Finnish word which translates to “driving with guts.(more…)

COVERAGE> ThunderDrift ProAm at Thunderhill

With the Formula Drift series starting up in only three and a half weeks, this means that the Pro-Am series will be starting up as well. New drivers from around the country will be competing for an opportunity to drive on the next level. One such an event, is Thunder Drift, held just outside Willows California.   Read more...

VIDEO> Behind The Scenes with Barris Kustom

As the reach of our automotive website continues to expand, the MotorMavens Crew and I have been fortunate enough to attract tons of new and exciting opportunities – they seem to just fall into our laps! You can only imagine how shocked I was when I received an email from the good people at SPEED Channel, saying “we’d love to chat with you.”

As the biggest cable network with automotive programming, SPEED is obviously huge – I’ve been watching various forms of racing on SPEED Channel for years. I had no idea that they were even aware of MotorMavens! I was definitely excited to speak to them on the phone.

Although SPEED Channel is headquartered in Charlotte NC, they are constantly filming shows in Southern California. During our phone call, I discovered that they were actually filming their newest TV program, Car Warriors, only 10 minutes away from where I live! They suggested that we come out and visit, so I invited our lovely Motormavenette Samantha Totem to come out and spend the day hanging out on set with me while they were filming – cool! When the cameras stopped rolling, the very first person we were introduced to was none other than George Barris.

Even if you’re too young to recognize the name ‘George Barris,’ you’ve undoubtedly seen the cars he has created. As the automotive legend behind Barris Kustom Industries in North Hollywood, George Barris has created some of the most iconic cars in movie and television history – the original Batmobile from the Batman TV show with Adam West and Burt Ward; the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard; KITT from Knight Rider; the original A-Team van; the DeLorean time machine from Back To The Future; the Munsters hot rod; and many many more.

As we got ourselves acquainted in between filming, Mr Barris invited us to visit him at his shop, which is like a museum of famous movie cars, toys, and Hollywood memorabilia. How could we pass that up?! (more…)

COVERAGE> Grassroots Drifting at XDC Irwindale

Round 1 of the 2011 Xtreme Drift Circuit (XDC) season was held at the ever-popular Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, CA aka the "House of Drift." In addition to the drift competition, there was the REMIX Car Show, Cycle Path Bike Show, and the always popular model lounge. Drivers from all over made the journey to duke it out with a number of exciting "One More Time" battles during the last rounds of competition.   Read more...