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Today’s performance spark plugs perform feats never before attempted by spark plugs of years past. Factory engines and race engines are pushing more horsepower per liter than ever before thanks in part to forced induction and direct injection. Both of these technologies put an additional stress on the engine’s ignition system. With the spark plugs representing the soldiers in the field, we decided to take a look at the technologies in use. Today, platinum and iridium have replaced nickel-alloys in many performance and long-service applications. So are a set of Iridium plugs right for you? What about the latest generation…

Mash ups are inevitable. Fusion can be found in foods, fashion and lifestyle. So what happens when European automotive style gets blended with JDM? Well, you might end up with a build like Patrick Estudillo’s turbocharged, E46 M3 GTR. Text and Photos by Richard Fong Estudillo first fell in love with the E46 while in high school and later purchased his E46 brand new in September, 2006. As the final model year of the E46 chassis, it was the last hour to get his dream machine off the showroom floor before the new E92 M3 went into production. Straight from…

An invitation to race in the Pro Class of the World Time Attack Challenge (WTAC) is like qualifying for the Olympics. Only a handful of teams receive an invitation to represent their country, and this fiercely contested class features the quickest time-attack cars in the world. In the first two years of WTAC, Japan’s Cyber EVO and America’s Sierra-Sierra Enterprises dominated the Pro Class, with the Cyber EVO capturing hard-fought, back-to-back wins. But the retirement of the Cyber EVO and the Sierra-Sierra EVO opened the door to new competitors in the field. Text by Richard Fong // Photos by Rob Shaw,…

The Smaller, The Better? Don’t go to the grocery store when you’re starving. Why? Because you’ll probably end up with mountains of junk food. Despite most people’s best intentions to diet and eat consciously, obesity now plagues more than one-third of U.S. adults. Unfortunately, the “more is better” motto has also latched onto automakers and their new vehicles. Text by Jun Chen // Images Courtesy of Ford Motor Company When it comes to cars, it seems like there’s no reason to hold back. Who doesn’t want more power, more room and an impressive list of standard features? However, in a…

Since their invention, video games have impacted the lives of millions around the world. These simulators allow players to hone their skills on virtual racetracks from around the world. For fanatics of driving games, winning races and earning racecar upgrades fuel the gaming addiction. Alex Robinson, a business owner from East Yorkshire, UK, has played every version of Sony’s Gran Turismo®, which he admits had a great impact on his interest in cars. Text by Richard Fong // Photos by Chris Wallbank Going from virtual to real was a gradual progression for Robinson. He explained, “I started my tuning fetish…

Prudence demands that you protect your investments. When that investment is your vehicle’s paint, it’s easy to see how difficult it is to defend. Rock chips, oxidation, ultraviolet light, bird droppings, sap, tar, brake dust…the list is long and harrowing. Fortunately, paint-protection technology has come a long way. Prior to the 1990s, defending your paint job was limited to washing/waxing, a car bra, a car cover or parking in a garage. While these methods do a reasonable job, there are obvious limitations: Waxes need to be reapplied periodically, a car bra is as attractive as a thick and bulky case…

Credibility and experience, especially in the world of racing, can take years to develop. In the case of SARD Co., Ltd., this heritage began in 1972, when it was known as Sigma Automotive Company. Within a year, Sigma Automotive began competing on an international level, becoming the first Japanese team to campaign a Japanese car in the 1973 24 Hours of Le Mans with its Sigma MC73 racecar (though it was forced out after 79 laps). Sigma Automotive went on to compete in the 1974 event with its Sigma MC74 which completed the race but failed to cover at least…

Specialists excel at what they do, and customers that know what they want are drawn to them. In the case of Naohisa Tazawa of Garage G-Force, he became a specialist by default. Tazawa recalled, “I worked on Galant VR-4 rally engines at my work, so I was already familiar with Mitsubishi engines. I decided to venture out on my own, by opening Garage G-Force as a non-specific tuning shop in snowy Aomori, Japan, in August 1996.” Six years later, Garage G-Force moved to its current facility in Yokohama. Text and Photos by Richard Fong At that time, focus shifted, and…

Jesus was forced to resort to resurrection before being able to convince billions he is the real deal. Of course, even God has only been able to convince one third of the population that he is legit (according to Christian math). Today, nearly 15 percent of the world population isn’t sure or doesn’t believe that God exists. Convincing the world of even the most important truth is no easy task. For DSPORT, we’re simply trying to convince millions of Honda performance enthusiasts that what they’ve read on their favorite forum may not be the Gospel. While we haven’t turned water…

At the LA Auto Show in November 2013, Subaru unveiled its new and improved WRX. Its new exterior, turbocharged FA20 engine, six-speed driveline and active torque vectoring worked well with the stiffer chassis to deliver a fun driving experience. As Subaru fans would expect, when a new WRX is released, an STI is sure to follow. At the Detroit Auto Show in January, that highly anticipated STI made its grand entrance. Text by Richard Fong and Magnus Ohlaker // Impressions by Magnus Ohlaker // Photos by Richard Fong and Subaru of America Rally-inspired Subaru Tecnica International (STI), the motorsports division…

In the world of time attack in Japan, one of the most venerable tracks and benchmarked venues is Tsukuba Circuit. This famous racetrack could arguably be the birthplace of time attack competition. Although Tsukuba opened in the late 1960s, tuning shops didn’t start to actively compete in time attack-style venues until the Rev Speed Tsukuba Super Battles of the early 1990s. The Super Battles pitted together shop project cars and high-profile customer vehicles in competition for the quickest lap. At the first event, Tarzan Yamada piloted the Mine’s R32 GT-R to victory with a lap time of 1:00.85. While there…

Where one is good, wouldn’t two be better? This is sometimes true, and for Takayuki Maezuka, operator of a tuning shop in Chiba, Japan, called Car Making Revyou, it was an option to explore. Maezuka got his start in the industry, working at JUN AUTO for two years and at Top Secret for one year, before venturing off to start Car Making Revyou 15 years ago. His shop is a member of the RH9 Tuned Pro Shop group, which includes famed tuners like Top Secret, JUN Auto, Top Fuel and Phoenix Power. When just about every tuning shop jumped on…

The Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ represent the best entry-level, rear-wheel-drive sport compacts on the market. While capable of turning on a dime, most enthusiasts agree the FR-S needs more power. CARB-legal intake and exhaust upgrades can add up to 15 more wheel horsepower, raising the FA20’s output to 180- to 185-peak wheel horsepower. For serious improvements, forced induction is the only real solution. Worried about smog? Innovate recently completed the CARB compliance of its intercooled, supercharger system for the 2013-2014 FR-S and BRZ. Text by Aidan Spraic // Photos by Jun Chen THE MULE What is knock? Engine knock…

Like cayenne pepper on a mushroom risotto, boost pressure is the seasoning in a serving of turbocharged performance. Too little boost hampers performance and produces a bland dish, while too much boost, like too much seasoning, kills your engine and puts you back in the kitchen to start all over. As many owners of turbo vehicles have discovered, the most important component control system on a turbocharged engine is the boost control system; optimization of the engine’s boost control system delivers peak performance and reliability. Ideally, boost response is maximized while power output is optimized, while at the same time,…

To reach a goal, you’ve got to have a proper game plan. To achieve Record Holder 9 (RH9) status, that plan involves producing enough power to run a nine-second quarter-mile time on street-legal tires. As simple as it sounds, joining the RH9 club is no easy feat; however, with the right knowledge, achieving this goal is not only possible, but also very rewarding. Text by Richard Fong // Photos by Scott Nelson of TPR Media FROM ROTARY TO RB Tessa Whyte has been a performance fanatic since she first learned to drive. Her first ride was a Mazda RX2 sedan…

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