May 02, 2012

Targa: The Team

A few posts back we annouced our entry in the Targa Newfoundland, and we mentioned we'd be bringing some updates, including information on our team members. Somewhat complete biographies past the jump.

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April 24, 2012

Target Targa Newfoundland

VRPerformance Racing has entered the 2012 Targa Newfoundland. We'll be running a highly modified 2003 BMW M3 (follow the construction of the car on this blog). Team members include Bill Caswell, Horst Reinhardt Jr., Eric Volz and John Sandrock. Along with race car build updates, we'll fill you in on the teammates' backgrounds and some Targa Newfoundland information in the months ahead, so stay tuned. As a not so quick primer, check out the 2011 Targa Newfoundland video past the jump that the SPEED channel recenty posted.

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VRPerformance Open Track Day at Grattan

Our annual track day is set for 2012. We'll be heading to Grattan Raceway May 11th.

As every year, we gather experienced track drivers (those with some club or professional performance driving instruction under their seatbelts) for 8 or so hours of open track fun. And we rely heavily on personal responsibility to make the event safe for everyone.

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June 09, 2011

VRPerformance Open Track Day at GingerMan

It's official: Friday, July 29th, 2011 is the date for another VRPerformance Open Track day-- this time at the newly configured GingerMan Raceway in beautiful South Haven, Michigan.

If you've been to one of our events in the past, you know the drill. We try to gather experienced track drivers (those with some club or professional performance driving instruction under their seatbelts) for 8 or so hours of open track fun. We rely heavily on personal responsibility to make the event safe for everyone.

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May 17, 2011

Open Track Day April 2011

The VRPerformance Open Track Day at Grattan Raceway Invitational has become an annual must attend event for many friends of the shop. With its minimum number of rules and absolute maximum amount of track time its a great way to spend a day learning about all the upgrades we performed to the cars (or need to). Check out the gallery after the jump.

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January 21, 2011

5th Annual VRPerformance Kart Enduro

Sign up today for the 5th Annual VRPerformance Coffee Beanery Enduro at Kart2Kart in Sterling Heights. We'll be using the same format as in the past: 12 teams of 3 to 4 drivers, non-stop 90 minute race with starting positions decided by qualifying (or random draw, behind qualifiers, if you show up late). Every driver on the team needs to race at least one stint. Price is $150 per team (or about $38 to $50 per driver).

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October 27, 2010

Powder Room

Brakes go through a whole lot of abuse. We change pads and rotors pretty regularly but often overlook one of the most essential assemblies in the brake system, the calipers. It’s the pistons that reside in the calipers that provide the clamping force on the rotors via the pads that stop the car. And these pistons have o-rings and seals that need to be checked-- especially if you take the car to the track for some-- quite literally-- "hot" laps.

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June 30, 2010

2010 VRPerformance Open Track Day at Grattan Raceway

Date: Monday, July 12th, 2010 rain or shine
Time: Driver's meeting at 0830, open track from 0900 to 1700, lunch at noon
Cost: $225 via check, $230 via credit
Deadline to enter, July 3rd

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June 12, 2009

VRPerformance Open Track Day at Grattan Raceway

Date: Friday, July 17th, 2009
Time: 09:00 to 17:00
Cost: $225
Deadline: July 3rd, 2009

More details after the jump

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September 03, 2008

How not to do it

Okay, I thought this was too funny not to pass along. We actually run into customers like this every now and again...

7 Worst Ways to Modify Your Car

February 20, 2008

Vive La Differential!

One of the most complex systems to visualize in a car is the drivetrain—specifically how the power from the engine provides forward motion to the car. A train of gears and shafts somehow converts the linear motion of pistons going up and down to rotational motion (torque) that turns the wheels to move the car. And in sporting cars a differential proportions the aforementioned torque between the two drive wheels.

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December 17, 2007

Karting Coupon

Anyone interested in a free membership with 2 free rides to the newest karting facility in SE Michigan?
Fill out the form after the jump and send it to Apex Conference & Karting Center-- formerly known as Kart2Kart-- before the end of the year. This offer is for anyone, not just previous K2K members. Information gathered is used for internal use only and will not be sold. The Apex Center should be opening up mid January 2008.

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October 10, 2007

Grattan Track Videos

A participant in last month's [VRPerformance Open Track Day at Grattan Raceway] just sent us some video (after the jump). If you've never been to Grattan before, the videos give you a good, outside of car, perspective. Check it out.

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September 29, 2007

End of Summer VRPerformance Open Track Day at Grattan

I think it is safe to say that everybody had a great time at our last for the season VRPerformance Open Track Day at Grattan Raceway. The unpredictable Michigan weather cooperated with warm temperatures and hazy sunshine. We did not have a professional photographer at the event this time, so you'll have to make due with this author's snapshot skills after the jump.

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September 10, 2007

A Truly EVO Sway Bar Install

A typical stabilizer (a.k.a. sway bar and/or anti-roll bar) swap takes a half an hour to maybe one hour if the end links are in a bad spot or the bar needs to be fed thru a tight area. The front bar on a Mitsubishi EVO is a whole other problem, requiring a great deal of disassembly just to see the bar in the first place, let alone take it out.

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August 29, 2007

Track Videos!

Speaking of balance (see [Balance entry]) when a driver has a well sorted out car, he can really push it on the track and feel comfortable taking it to its limits. And we have video to prove it after the jump.

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August 28, 2007

Don't Take Our Word for It Again

It's great when we're able to help out customers with their performance needs. And sometimes it's as simple as a good alignment. The devil is in the details, or so they say, and doing a proper alignment is all about the details. How accurately you measure the base line, and how close to the specifications you're aiming for you get are key details.

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July 24, 2007

VRPerformance Open Track Day at Grattan Raceway

What a great way to spend a day— at the race track in the company of great cars and like minded people. Better still, you’re driving those cars at their limit on the track without a care for police or drivers on cell phones or little children suddenly running out in front of you. And with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 70s, the day was darn near perfect.

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June 19, 2007

Black Beauty

There is no real trick to mounting wheels and tires onto a car, but when the results are this cool we just had to share.

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June 01, 2007

Now THIS is Driving

In my book, there really is no argument as to which class of race car driver is the best-- the pro rally driver is. Sure, F1 pilots may drive some of the fastest, most finicky race cars around some challenging road courses. And NASCAR bubbas have to reign in lumbering giants around gothic sized super speedways with nary a nat’s ass space between them. And yes, top fuel drag racers have to be able to control and harness thousands and thousands of horsepower across a quarter mile run. But it’s the high flying, dirt flinging, tarmac tearing, blind cornering rally drivers that get my respect. When it comes to car control, they reign supreme. Don’t believe me? Check out the video of an E30 M3 running the Manx rally after the jump…

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May 20, 2007

Take the 959 to Dakar

What to do on a lazy, cold and wet Michigan Sunday afternoon? Cruise the web for some interesting video, that's what.

Before Porsche became the all conquering fashion statement for the gold chain rich and famous set, it produced some real four wheeled engineering marvels. The Porsche 959 shares top shelf space in my hierarchy of great cars along with the McLaren F1.

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May 19, 2007


I'm in the middle of working on an article about so-called "car films" and came across the famous chase scene from Steve McQueen's Bullitt posted over on Google Videos.

Bullitt is a murky police drama that starred McQueen as a gutsy, no frills San Francisco cop assigned to guard a mafia informant. The real stars of the film of course are the green 1968 Ford Mustang driven by McQueen and the black 1968 Dodge Charger R/T of the “bad guys”. Thanks to McQueen’s attention to realism, the 7 minute chase scene between these two cars is still one of the best. Just the sound of the two V8s under full throttle makes for great entertainment.

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May 11, 2007

The Cannonball One Lap of America

Long before there were rallies like this year's ill fated Gumball 3000, or the Bullrun, there was the Cannonball Baker Sea to Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash-- the Cannonball Run. A stick in the eye of the 55 mph national speed limit, it was an event designed to prove that one could traverse this great nation at extra-legal speeds in comfort and safety.

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April 16, 2007

Let the Driving Season Begin

The weather Gods conspired to give us a nearly perfect Sunday afternoon here in the frigid as of yet Midwest. Though windy and a bit cool, the sun was out and so were the BMWs. Organized through messageboard word of mouth (like here: ) E36, E46, and E90 BMWs gathered for a meet and greet.

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April 02, 2007

Fun With Polo

Okay, so we're an easy mark for this, but these three little ads had us rolling in the aisle (okay, so it just had me, your humble reporter, rolling but dammit! man they are funny). Check out what we're (I'm) talking about after the jump.

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March 20, 2007

That's Racing

The VRPerformance crew just got back from our trip to sunny Sebring Florida and the 55th Annual 12 Hours of Sebring ALMS race. And despiite the fact that the top categories of the the two main classes are devoid of real competition-- thanks to the dominance of Audi in P1 and Corvette in GT1, the junior categories P2 and GT2 are full of grid filling excitement. Case in point: the race for first place in GT2 came down to a front straight, paint swapping, drag race after 12 hours of grueling endurance racing!

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February 19, 2007

VRPerformance 90 Min Enduro Kart Race

The 2nd Annual VRPerformance 90 Minute Endurance Kart Race is in the history books. The turn out was better than expected with 12 teams of 3 or 4 drivers. While the experience level ran from expert to complete newbie, the top 5 spots were highly contested, with the final three swapping positions throughout the race.

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February 12, 2007

the Making of an Engine Block

Okay, we're suckers for technology, especially when it comes to making cars. Here's a cool video showing how an engine block is made starting from sand casting moulds to finished hunk of aluminum.

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January 27, 2007

Go Kart Go!

As the cold and snow finally settles in here in the Midwest, the car guy in us starts to get cabin fever. Sure finding a desolate parking lot covered in the slippery white stuff gives our idle hands the opportunity to test full opposite lock maneuvers with the snow tire shod family sedan, but still our competitive juices need an outlet. Well, thank God for the indoor karting track. As it so happens, we have one just around the corner from home base here where we spend many hours honing our aging reflexes and questionable skills.

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January 20, 2007

The 'Ring Video

The Nuerburgring in Germany is probably the most famous race track in the world, particularily the old Nordschleife. BMW has used the old track as a test bed for decades now, going so far as having a permanent test facility bordering the track. Following the jump is a video produced in part by BMW (and played originally on TiVo sets) that explains some of the mythos of the track known by old time racers as the "green hell" for its treacherous corners and hills. Enjoy.

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January 18, 2007

the 2007 NAIAS, All Others

The North American International Auto Show is an international event (says so right there in the title), and while the domestic two and a half automakers did dominate the proceedings, the foreign brands did not hold back. Here are some highlights:

Toyota showed its assault weapon of choice in the pick-up truck wars, which has been dominated by the domestics as long as there has been a pick-up truck market. The new Texas built Toyota Tundra—and its massive quad cab derivative-- is the first Asian brand truck that might stand a chance against such segment stalwarts as the Ford F150, Chevrolet Silverado, and Dodge Ram. It certainly has the size to compete. And while the Tundra’s power-train options are not as varied as that of its US competitors it will be interesting to see how much of an impact it can make in the most nationalistic of market segments.

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January 12, 2007

The 2007 NAIAS, the Home Team

It may sound silly, but one can truly feel a “buzz” at large shows or conventions. At the 2007 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit it was all about GM—in a good way. GM’s design team seems finally to be running on all cylinders again with most, if not all, of the new production and concept car designs hitting the mark. They also introduced an environmentally sound technology that should put smiles on the faces of all those car hating greenies out there.

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January 06, 2007

Jaguar Direction Revealed at the NAIAS

Twenty-four hours and counting to the opening of the 2007 North American International Auto Show—also known as the Detroit show to us locals. The anticipation is high despite the fact that it seems almost every embargo has been broken by every sort of media outlet resulting in most of the surprises being revealed—in detail—before the doors of Cobo Hall ever opened. Nonetheless, seeing the cars in the flesh is as much of the excitement as finding out about them over the internet or seeing pictures in a printed magazine. If you’re not available to visit the Detroit show, fear not since I’ll try to capture some of the goings on and reveals here on this blog.

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December 22, 2006

Saab Chronicles Part 5

I’m not alone. That’s what I have realized the past few months. I’m not alone in liking “classic” Saabs. I thought that this Saab 900 thing I had going was just a bit off kilter and that I would need to explain myself to all those who would take one look at my 16 year old heap and turn up their noses. Instead I run into giddy excitement from most; often times accompanied by stories of Saabs past (yes, “Saab stories”). I guess strange little cars like the old 900, VW Beetle and Rabbit, Fiat X1/9, Datsun 510, BMW 2002—the list goes on—can illicit emotions that vanilla cars like Camrys and Accords and Tauruses—and that list, unfortunately, goes on even longer—just can’t.

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November 29, 2006

Behind Design

If you're like me and appreciate great small cars, and particularly great small car design, there's a very interesting blog up and running that you should check out. It's populated by Simon Lamarre, a Canadian born designer working for Volvo design in Sweden, and it’s about Volvo's new small car, the C30.

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November 28, 2006

Cool Car

Cool cars do not come around very often, and when they do they are usually not noticed until they are gone. Sure there are interesting cars that create an immediate lust from car aficionados with even the vox populi chanting its praises but they are not really cool, they’re just fashionable. I put most every exotic car types from Ferrari, Porsche, et al into that category. Sure many of them are lustfully beautiful and fast as all get out, but they’re all a bit prissy with their high strung (albeit very powerful) little motors and fine honed details.

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November 27, 2006

Good Design?

I’m given to thinking a great deal about design because it is such a black art for me. Engineering I can get a handle on because it is objectively based in science (it also happens to be what I am schooled in). Even if I do not understand the exact calculus behind the theory, I do at least understand the theory. Given the same set of variables two people will come up with the same solution—there are defined mathematical laws to guide you. What makes a car look good is a completely different matter because what makes a shape so pleasing is mostly indefinable. It’s easy to say what one likes and dislikes, but it’s hard to convince those around you that may disagree that you are more correct than they are by pointing to a calculation.

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November 09, 2006

SEMA 2006

Much like Cher, Madonna, and Sting, SEMA has grown so large that it’s known within the car world by just one name. “SEMA” is actually the acronym for the Specialty Equipment Market Association, a lobbying organization founded by early automotive go fast parts makers.

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October 23, 2006

Let’s Get Real, Who Needs Whose Help at DCX?

The media is at it again, breathlessly reporting on the supposed collapse of the Chrysler unit of DaimlerChrysler AG. And automotive trade publications seem to be regurgitating the same crap. The story goes that Dr. Z, under pressure from the German dominated supervisory board, had to send in—irony of ironies—a German manager to help the hapless staff operating behind the big “penta-star” window at Chrysler HQ in Auburn Hills, Michigan to cut costs. Are they serious? Who taught whom how to cut costs at DCX? It sure as hell wasn’t Mercedes, or anyone from the bloated half of the merger of equals.

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September 19, 2006

Review: BMW 335i

I recently had the chance to flog the newest BMW coupe, the 335i, around Pocono Raceway and I came away extremely impressed. Not only is the 335i coupe a handsome car-- the best design exercise from the Bangle gang to date-- the engine is a true masterpiece.

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September 02, 2006

Two Guys and a Garage

To kick things off I figure it might be a good idea for a quick introduction of the men behind not only the blogs you’ll be reading at this site, but also behind VRPerformance.

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