As I dawdled through Sydney's morning traffic on the way to the inaugural Motor Hot Tuner challenge something bright and green appeared in my rear view mirror, it was a couple of cars behind me but I couldn't quite make out what it was. A few kilometres down the road the mystery green object was right behind me, menacing and low. I knew it was a Porsche and a special one to be in that Kermit Green Colour.
He tails me for a few more kilometres, now on the final stretch to Western Sydney International drag way, In no way did I think this would be one of the cars taking part of the event, I thought it was another rich guy taking it to the circuit next door for a track day.
I pulled up at the designated meeting spot, and so does the Green Machine. Yep the 911 GT2 was part of the story, and best of all it was modified and an absolute animal!
As we said our hello's and introduced ourselves, an automotive smorgasbord joined us, Super snake Cobra, R35 GTR, 911 Turbo's, Modified Volkswagen and a Holden Commodore that had more grunt than a Pig Breeder. Take note these cars are all modified, some more than others but the level of these vehicles was exceptional and a credit to those who built and own them.
The plan was relatively simple, gather 22 of the best workshop modified cars from around the country and test them against each other in a series of controlled test to see who was the Hottest Tuner in Aus. Logistically shooting this many cars in 2 days was extremely difficult but we managed to get the job done.
Day one involved the Acceleration test, 0-100kph, Braking tests and 0-400M thrash, whilst on the other end of the track we had the Dyno running measuring peak power and torque.
To avoid any inconsistencies, all the cars ran the same 98 octane fuel, were driven buy the same driver for each of the respective tests and kept locked up in "parc ferme" overnight to stop any overnight tuning.
Day one went relatively smoothly, Fellow snapper Thomas and I worked through lunch to snag a DPS shot with the Blue SS Commodore and the Super Snake doing a Burnout past the line, it worked out pretty well and gave a good mix of emotion and speed to an otherwise boring scenario. Taking exciting images of drag racing is difficult without having the cars lift the wheels or combust into flames so we had to do a bit of head scratching.
That night, Easton Chang made the trip to shoot the cover options, it was great to see his way of thinking and how he shoots his ultra complicated setups, I learned a great deal and will put a lot of the things into practice in future shoots.
Day 2 was at Oran Park Circuit for the track test, one flying lap on the main circuit and another on the smaller south circuit. John Bowe was the Guest driver for the main circuit and is an Australian Touring car Legend, It was amazing to meet one of my hero's from when I was a kid and he is also extremely funny and quick witted. Luffy took to the south circuit and in true Luffy style ripped it up! Doing some amazing powerslides for the camera's and making it look so easy.
In the end it was the Fitzgerald Racing Porsche 911 Turbo that took the honours over the 911 GT2, also noticeable mentions must go to city performance and their amazing R32 Golf which ran 11's over the quarter Mile and decimated many of the other tests. A lesson that can be taken from the event is that power doesn't nessaceraly maketh the car. Starting with a strong base and making smart and effective modifications is the real winner and a recipe for success.
So that was the 2009 Motor Magazine Hot Tuner event done and dusted, hopefully next year a stronger and even faster set of vehicles take up the challenge and hopefully I'll be there to capture it once again.