Ok now that I have two feet (and days) firmly in 2012, I can reflect on the epicness of ‘My 2011′ in some top cars.
Like any year it has had its up and downs but remained so packed with auto-memorabilia that you just want to button it up and pack it on a shelf labelled AWESOME. It was a year of many trips, many cars and many new experiences. And more cars than that even, at last count over thirty. It was a year of great change at Topcar, we’ll start 2012 with a very different team from the one we started 2011 with. We’ve had fun with video and pushed up our presence online, but most of all there’s a deeper sense of ownership, belonging to the Topcar family. If you are a reader I hope you feel it too, this fortification of a great thing and the great people who keep the wheels turning.
Enough of the soppy stuff, here’s my (personal) year in review in cars.
TOP 5 PERFORMANCE CARS:
1.Porsche Cayman R:Turns everything up to 11
2.Nissan GT-R:Continues to defy physics and annoy exotics
3.BMW 1M:Factory built drift car with pedigree
4.Nissan 370Z:Grand tourer and athletic sportscar with roadster perks
5.Renaultsport Clio Gordini:This is as good as a FWD normally aspirated 2.0 litre hatch back can be. Read more herehttp://topcar.co.za/road-tests/tested/renault-clio-gordini-full-review
SURPRISE CAR OF 2011:
Hyundai Elantra- perfect in most ways and we even managed a 7.8sec to 100kph in one.
Runner’s up award belongs to the better-in-the-fleshNissan Jukewhere the largest disappointment is probably theToyota Auris TRD, but hey, it’s a start.
FLICK ME SIDEWAYS
Then again, these are mere factory machines and some of the wildest rides can be found in the modified realm. This Monstermob Nissan S14 Silvia barely churned out more than 200kw and was neutered with a 5600rpm rev limiter but in her I managed to hook up some figure of eight drifts. I named her Bareback.
In greener news, the super funky Renault Twizy is my funnest electric car.
MOST ANTICIPATED CAR 2012:
Toyota GT86 -no surprise here, the only car I’d spend my own money this year, then again I DID just buy a Renault Sandero. This one is all about sportscar purity.
Blacktop Rally -Tough one this. A three car trip to Oudtshoorn and back in an Audi RS3, BMW 1M and Porsche Cayman R with my groovy colleagues comes close as does a Mini Blacktop Sprint to George but ultimately six days across South Africa can’t be beat.
BEST SINGLE MEMORY:
It happened on the Blacktop Rally when we were driving a 370Z roadster on route to Durban from Bloemfontein across the golden plains just before sunset with storm clouds looming a hundred kilometres away. And then my iPod summoned Lynyrd Skynrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. Can’t. Beat. That.
You can read the full story here:http://topcar.co.za/news/news-articles/road-trippin-blacktop-rally
BEST TOPCAR VIDEO:
Ok so we tried some stuff to see if it catches the public’s attention and there have been some hits but also plenty of misses. Ultimately trying to look cool on vid is tough when you suffer from my personal brand of aesthetics so it is no wonder that one our most successful videos was one of me looking like a stuffed monkey as I’m riding shotgun with Peter ‘Sideways’ Henkel in aSuzuki Kizashi.
A close second was this one from ourBest Drivers’ Carjaunt.
THREE CARS THAT CONTINUE TO ELUDE ME
1: Mercedes SLS AMG
2: All Aston Martins
3: Lexus IS-F
All missed due to bad timing or something. Silly fate.
Awesome as it was, 2011 was challenging for the Topcar team, and you couldn’t blame any of us if we chose to avoid the four wheeled stuff the moment our end of year break began. Yet, we were more than eager to send off the year in style with a 12hr marathon Forza 4 Tournament – it was great to get back to basics and enjoy cars at the most purest level all over again.
I cannot thank every smiling PR, every helpful techie, our new friends and all our supporters so I will not even attempt to do so. Instead, “thank you all” – and we hope to repay you in 2012 by putting you in the seats of more fantastic metal.
WATCH THESE GUYS IN 2012
1: Rockstar energy drink
2: Blacktop Rally 2012
3: 4 Elements Gaming Festivals
THREE SONGS PLAYED MOST IN MY CARS THIS YEAR:
1: LMFAO – Sexy and I know it
2: Rage against the Machine – Killing in the Name
3: Black Sabbath: Iron Man
SPECIAL MENTION: Barbara Streisand and Bryan Adams – I finally found someone. This one is dedicated to colleague Ashley Oldfield.
I drove a lot of roads in 2011. Arguably more than I’ve ever driven before in any previous year. This year it included all the mountain passes in the Western Cape and the sweeping bends that make up Umghlanga but the absolute top honours has to go to the Garcia Pass, which I ripped through in my long term Volvo V60 Polestar wagon. Google Map that sucker and set your GPS Nav to ‘Find now’!
The next greatest drive of the year was a 15 min stint around the block in my 1983 Toyota Celica Supra during which the fuel pump only died once. In 2012 it is the one sure thing I want to devote more time.
BEST ANDROID APP
This has to go out toGoogle Mapswhich has finally polished off its FREE Navigation mode, that’s free GPS nav!
My second favourite app isEndomondo Sports Tracker. I have been using it of the rare occassion I go cycling, but you can also use it to measure out and trace your favourite driving roads. Yeah, I do that.
Incidentally if you’re a Forza or GT5 nut, I findGT Racing HDon Android and Apple to offer the closest gaming experience.
BEST OVERSEAS TRIP
Well I visited four places this year including South Korea, Mozambique, Istanbul and Dubai. Each for different reasons, each in different cars. The most interesting drive was a convertible Chevy Camaro along some Dubai city roads. In the same country I stood at the top of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa of Mission Impossible 4 fame. On the same trip I sat inside my first Hachi Roku at a Sega arcade and watched my first Formula One at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit. It trumps the other trips by a narrow margin still because driving Land Cruisers along the beach at 130kph and travelling the public transport of Turkey with mates and visiting the border of warring nations are all severely memorable things.
Well I didn’t do too many but this is one I managed without offending anyone:
But this one is infinitely closer to my heart, my dad’s car:
BEST NON-TOPCAR YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE YEAR:
I call it ‘DEATH OF TUNED AUTO’
Check out this music vid of Jay Z and Kanye West cutting and shutting a Maybach to the back track of Otis Redding’s ‘Try a little tenderness’. This is two fistfuls of WINNING.
PS: Hey, you never heard this from me ok? But 2012 is going to start off in a big way. I’m talking epic three way comparison aross the spine of South Africa stuff!
Yours in cars and junk.