I'm back, but this time in the captain's chair. Some of you may recognize my name; I was the engineering editor here at European Car from 2006 until 2008. It was my first gig in automotive journalism, so this feels like a bit of a homecoming. The last few years I've been away sharpening my abilities, learning new skills, but mostly missing being around European cars exclusively.
My first few days behind the wheel were spent assessing the positives and negatives of the title at present. From past experience, I know upsetting the status quo can be a dangerous proposition. Although to some it may seem like this is just a car magazine, it is something both staff and readers have made an intellectual and emotional investment in. Luckily for me, the week after I took the seat, the results of European Cars most recent reader survey came back. Even luckier for me, my ideas match almost Scantron dot for Scantron dot with all of you who responded.
Changes will start making their way into the magazine, website, and YouTube channel over the next few months, although this issue will already have a different feel to it. Our survey showed that almost unanimously, our readers want more technical information and more performance-oriented content. You will notice that along with our usual First Drives, there is our first in the series of Tested articles.
Part of what I have been doing during my time away from EC was writing for Motor Trend, where just about everything is tested for actual performance numbers. While others may rely on manufacturers' claims, we will be burning fuel and rubber to give you real numbers from a controlled environment. EC will be using the same test parameters as our sister publications Motor Trend and Automobile, meaning our data is comparable with theirs for your barstool-betting comparison convenience.
When you get to the test of the Rolls-Royce Wraith a little later in this issue, you will notice the old standbys; 0-60 mph, quarter-mile time and trap speed, 60-0 mph braking, along with something that might be new to you. Figure-8 testing is two, 200-foot skidpads separated by 500 feet. That means we get an average g-force in both directions in skidpad sections, plus acceleration and braking performance summed up in one simple lap time. You will also notice an average g for the entire figure-8 lap, which comparing that number to just the average lateral number can help you determine if the car is stronger in cornering or in a straight line.
Besides the performance numbers, our magazine will start featuring more news and information concerning the latest and greatest in technology. Cars are advancing faster than ever, and we intend to keep up. Look for features highlighting the latest from both auto manufacturers and the aftermarket industry with more explanation as to the hows and whys it works.
If you are sitting on your couch reading this and are not itching to hit the racetrack, count yourself in the minority of ECs readers. The majority of readers either currently or want to participate in track events. For those of you who haven't yet scratched the itch, in upcoming issues we will prepare you with a look at the basics of what you need and need to know to take the plunge into probably the greatest experience most car enthusiasts can have, a day of track driving.
There are plenty of other things all of you readers have asked for. I don't want to give away too many spoilers right now, so keep watching. European Car will deliver all of the content that makes you a current EC reader, while expanding in directions consistent with all our interests. This isn't just about cars; it's the community, the experience, and the people. So let's get this started.