Friday Photo | The madness of SEMA 2015

EngageSportMode has featured the SEMA show, and the quite literally mental creations it throws up, before. This year seems to have been just as crazy, so we’ve pulled together a gallery featuring some of the wildest offerings. Just remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or something like that.

2015 SEMA Car modification in the UK seems to have come a long way from the Max Power glory days. Gone are the bodykitted Corsas and Saxos with huge exhausts and deafening subwoofers. Today, aside from bigger wheels or a vinyl wrap, everything just seems pretty standard looking. But, over in America, the modification industry still seems to be alive and well.

However, it isn’t just aftermarket companies that use the annual Speciality Equipment Market Association event to show off. Car manufacturers are also using SEMA to display their creativity with concepts inspired by celebrities, or just the minds of designers running wild. We’ve picked a handful of our favourites from the show, but there’s a bigger gallery of the slightly crazier stuff further down. Enjoy.


The big Detroit manufacturer rolled out a huge twenty concepts at SEMA, covering the range from Corvette Stingray to classic Camaro and a whole host of pickup truck offerings. With the all-new 2016 model year Camaro about to hit the streets, Chevy has clearly paid some attention to its latest offering, with four concepts based upon it.

2015 SEMA ChevroletHowever, our personal favourite is probably the 1970 Camaro RS with a thoroughly modern LT4 engine.  (more…)

Friday Photo – Six Retro Themed Toyota GT86 for Goodwood

We like the Toyota GT86. We also like retro-racer inspired liveries. So a bundle of six GT86s finished in classic Toyota racing colour schemes sounds like a pretty good deal to us!

2015 Toyota GT86 Retro Livery 001

Celebrating some 50 years of Toyota motorsport heritage, the six models have been vinyl-wrapped, lowered by 40mm, had stainless steel exhausts fitted and Rota alloy wheels bolted on. They look pretty damn awesome, and it took us a while to pick a favourite. Naturally, for ESM, it was the orange Esso liveried one but the red and yellow striped #98 is a close second.

The cars will be on show at the Goodwood Festival of Speed Moving Motor Show on Thursday 25th June, where members of the public will be able to drive them. Up the hill climb course. At Goodwood. Yeah, we know! So pick your own personal winner, and get yourself along to Goodwood later this month. Although you might have to try to drag ESM from the Esso sponsored car; you have been warned.

In case you’re wondering just where the inspiration from the above came from, take a look below: (more…)

Friday Photo – Toyota Yaris WRC

Yes, we know last week’s Friday Photo was a WRC car too, but this is an exciting new one. So here you are; Toyota’s return to the World Rally Championship with the Yaris supermini. Toyota Yaris WRC 001Don’t get too excited just yet; it’ll be another two years until the Yaris WRC officially hits the dirt in the 2017 World Rally Championship. For now, the excitement is purely the official announcement that one of the sports most successful manufacturers is making a comeback, having been absent since 1999. In fact, just to remind us all of how long it’s been, Toyota even included a photo of the new Yaris WRC car next to its forefather; the championship winning Corolla WRC:

Toyota Yaris WRC 002

Perhaps most striking is how big a modern supermini is, compared to a family hatch from 16 years ago.

The specifications are, of course, WRC standard with a 300 bhp 1.6 litre turbocharged engine powering all four wheels, via a sequential gearbox. Built in Germany by Toyota Motorsport Gmbh – who currently prepare the TS040 Hybrid sportscar racers – the Cologne workshops are also the place which services the Lexus LFA supercar too. As such, there’s no doubt that Toyota’s preparation for 2017 will be anything but meticulous. A number of European rally rounds will be entered in the coming two years, with Eric Camilli and Sebastien Lindholm being joined by Stéphane Sarrazin on driving duties.


Le Mans 2014 Gallery – Audi wins for 13th time with 1-2 podium

After qualifying, when Audi only managed the 5th quickest time behind Toyota and Porsche, we cautioned against writing off the German giant too soon. Turns out we were right not to. 24 hours is a long time, and Audi proved to have the most luck and reliability in what became a day-long war of attrition. The result was the marque’s 13th top category Le Mans victory in 16 years – quite a record.

Le Mans 2014

There must come a point where Audi starts to wonder just how many times it wants to win at Le Mans. Having all but dominated the event since the turn of the millennium, there surely has to be a moment where the Volkswagen Group board decides the brand should do something else. But, until that day, it almost seems inevitable that Audi Sport will take the top honours year in, year out.

That isn’t to do a disservice to Audi; their professionalism, experience and sheer determination to win means you can never rule them out of contention. The race wasn’t without its difficulties for the German team. The #3 R18 e-tron quattro was ruled out early on in chaotic scenes, as torrential rain lashed down the Mulsanne straight. In addition, both #2 and #1 cars required replacement turbochargers to be fitted – no small task in itself. Oh, and there was the need for the #1 car to be rebuilt from scratch after Loïc Duval’s huge crash on Wednesday!

But, despite all that, Audi Sport brought home a 1-2 finish, with the #2 car of Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer taking first, with Lucas di Grassi, Marc Gené and Tom Kristensen taking second in the rebuilt #1 car. 2014 was perhaps the most open race for sometime; it certainly wasn’t clear-cut Audi would win Until Porsche hit problems with only a couple of hours to go, did it became apparent they just might. But, as ever, there was always that feeling Audi would come through; and they did. Well done Ingolstadt.

Le Mans 24 Hours

#8 Toyota repaired after dramatic early Mulsanne crash to take third.

Early on it had looked like Toyota had the 2014 event already sewn up. The pace of the #7 TS040 HYBRID looked unstoppable for the vast majority of the race, showing the speed which has netted the team two wins in the World Endurance Championship already in 2014. (more…)

Subaru cuts £2,500 from price of BRZ – Will anyone buy it now?

Subaru UK leaves EngageSportMode confused at times. Recently we’ve seen them drop the Impreza part of the WRX STI name tag; banish performance cars to concentrate on SUVs; reintroduce said performance cars in an about turn, and decided that what people really want now is an non-turbo hatchback. All whilst still selling this:

2014 Subaru BRZ 001

If you’ve never seen one before – we wouldn’t be surprised – that’s a Subaru BRZ. A highly-regarded rear-wheel drive coupé developed and built in partnership with Toyota – they call it the GT 86; you’ve probably spotted one of them. In fact, at the end of 2013, there was a grand total of 197 BRZs registered in the UK compared to almost 3,000 GT 86s. Hardly big volumes for either model, but that’s a fairly substantial disparity between the two.

2014 Subaru BRZ 003

Given that both share the same 197 bhp 2.0 litre boxer four-cylinder engine, the same 0-62 mph in 7.6 seconds / 140 mph top speed performance and even the same five-year warranty why is nobody buying the Subaru? The fact that there are only 57 Subaru dealerships in the United Kingdom perhaps doesn’t help, especially when there’s three times as many Toyota dealers out there. Realistically, you’ll need to deliberately drive past somewhere selling a GT 86 to get to a BRZ shop.

2014 Subaru BRZ 002

There’s also that question of brand. (more…)

Toyota FT-1 – Ultimate Sports Coupe Concept from Detroit – News and Pics

Today marked the start of the North America International Auto Show or in short, the Detroit Motor Show, which is the first major event on the automotive calendar. For many manufacturers it’s the chance to set out their stall for the year ahead, both in the US market and globally. Toyota wasted no time in showing off a completely unexpected new concept, the FT-1.


Toyota faces a problem in that its key product range has become somewhat generic and middle-of-the-road. Apart from the wondrously well received GT86, the current lineup lacks any other really sporting intent. Think back a generation and Toyota’s offerings included the MR2, Celica coupe and the supercar-baiting Supra. Other than the aforementioned GT86, the current range is fairly short on lolz.


Fortunately, Toyota is seemingly aware of this, and wants the FT-1 to pave the way for cars which will “connect more deeply with customers and generate a more satisfying ownership experience” seemingly by being sportier and more enjoyable to drive. (more…)

SEMA 2013 – The wild and wonderful

Held annually at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the SEMA Show brings together the USA’s billion dollar aftermarket tuning and performance industry for one week. The show is a chance for companies from across the globe to show off their wares, but is also seized upon by car manufactures to show off their own creations. We’ve picked out some of our favourites below, both good and bad, from last week’s show.

Founded in 1963 the Specialty Equipment Market Association covers a wide range of companies, from the big brands such as K&N and Edelbrock, to lesser known firms such as Crap Industries. Apparently Crap Industries make various exterior enhancements for cars such as the MINI Countryman to the Ford Raptor, demonstrating the breadth of the SEMA Show. Anyway, without further delay, here are our notable picks from 2013.

1. Ford Snakebit F-100

Snakebit at SEMA

It’s hard to write this without it sounding too much like a Family Guy sketch. Essentially, this is the time Gene Simmons from KISS, his wife – actress Shannon Tweed – and a Canadian Ford dealership got together to produce a custom F-100 pickup to be auctioned for charity. (more…)

2013 Frankfurt Motor Show Photo Highlights

EngageSportMode couldn’t be at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show but, fortunately, it knows some people who are. So with the press days now out of the way, what are some of the highlights from the 2013 Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung?

Below are some of the stand out new cars announced at this year’s show. Some are purely concept cars to set new directions and garner interest, whilst others are production ready. Click the photo for bigger images.


I Could Afford That / Classified Dreaming #5

It’s been a while since EngageSportMode browsed the adverts in search of possible used car bargains and beauties. Well, that’s a lie; ESM is always checking the classifieds, just in case, you know? Anyway, after that brief spell of good weather the other week, ICAT/CD’s attention has been turned towards convertibles this time. For some, bizarre, reason the UK remains once of the biggest drop-top markets in Europe. Perhaps it’s that classic British sense of optimism, or humour, that leads us to buy so many roofless roadsters? Either way, here is a selection of vehicles at both ends of the unlimited headroom scale.

I Could Afford That

2000 Toyota MR2 1.8 VVTi – £2,495


BTCC Week – More ESM at Oulton Park

With the sun burn now slowly (and painfully) turning to a rich golden brown, it’s time for Engage Sport Mode to reflect on just what happened at Oulton Park yesterday.

The 2.26 mile Cheshire Circuit played host to rounds 10, 11 and 12 of this year’s British Touring Car Championship. The Yuasa Hondas of Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden look to be the cars to beat this season, with convincing performances in the previous rounds. Admittedly, ESM fell out of love with the BTCC a number of years ago (to be discussed later in the week) and was very much there for a good time, rather than as a die-hard fan.

As a result, the pictures you see below cover a variety of on and off track entertainment, including 2010 champion Jason Plato eating a burger. All the photos below were taken in an amateur style on a iPhone 4. I do not profess to be a professional photographer, nor do I particularly aspire to be one. ESM took along its “roving photographer” for the proper pics, also to be featured later in the week. Enjoy:

It was just after this point that ESM’s iPhone ran out of battery. Which was a shame, as the third and final BTCC race provided lots of action right under our very noses. Luckily our roving photographer got some great shots which will be neatly delivered later in the week.

If you want to know more about who won, who lost and who half of the people above are, then head on over to the offical BTCC website here.