After traveling to the other side of the world for the first event of its kind, the World Time Attack Challenge, I returned with enough stories and adventures to fill this entire issue (which I almost did). The Sydney area is thriving with a vibrant car scene that reminds me a lot of our scene here in the U.S.
While Hondas are the most popular cars stateside, they're few and far between in Australia, and I suspect it's because of the Aussies' ability to import JDM cars into their country. They have no need to build four-cylinder economical cars into faster versions when all it takes is a trip to the dealer lot and an S13, RX-7, EVO or Skyline is waiting for you. I envy their access to the best JDM cars - past and present.
However, noticing the lack of Civics among the modified cars made me appreciate our scene back home that much more because we had so little to start with, and look how far we've come. We took what was considered the commuter car of the century, the Honda Civic, and converted tens of thousands of them into fast, fun and stylish cars. Some can even eat a V-8 or two.
When I chatted with the Australian locals, they told me that Americans are considered pioneers in the world of tuning Hondas; when you look back at our history, they're quite right. I always thought other countries had really unique tuning cultures, yet I completely forgot to acknowledge what we have at home. Thanks to my visit to Australia, I have a renewed appreciation for the U.S. tuning scene and how different it is from anywhere else on the planet.
As much as we complain about the silly laws and restrictions placed on modifying cars, we really have it good here. Our gas is cheap, there are thousands upon thousands of miles of great roads to drive on, we have access to both imported and local parts manufacturers, and the cars are pretty cheap because we have so many of them.
A new Honda S2000 could cost upward of $70,000 like it does in Australia. And don't get me started on the laws - the government has the country on speed lockdown. Photo radar is everywhere, and it makes driving around a mind-numbing experience. Add to the fact that if you're pulled over for exceeding 35 km/h(20 mph) over the limit, you'll have your license suspended for a month and heavy fines will follow. Ouch! I'd say we're in a good place here in the U.S after all.
A Sneak Peek At Excerpts From This Issue On the highway we found ourselves wishing the car had more top-end power, but then again as a cruiser-type car, it suited its duties perfectly well.FIRST DRIVEP.22
With its dual-clutch flappy paddle gearbox, highly sophisticated electronic driver aids and endless torque and horsepower, it's ridiculously easy to drive at speeds most other cars on the planet can't even approach. 10 Best Track Cars P.40
There are several methods to prevent this all-too-common form of engine death. The most effective method for purpose-built race cars is called a dry sump system. Project S2K P.78
To build a truly competitive STX machine requires special attention to detail, whether it be fine-tuning of the suspension and wheel alignment settings or finding creative ways to extract every last ft-lb of torque from the engine and pull every extra ounce out of the interior. Project RX-8 P.88