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Insider Report: Still think you don't need snow tires? Think again!

Despite the science that tells us that traditional all-season tires just don’t work below 7 degrees Celsius, there are still those who continue to believe that dedicated winter tires is not needed. I just came across this 2011 video from the Russian town of Vladivostok that shows just how quickly a seemingly small snowfall can turn into a hair-raising experience.

The couple in the car are slowly navigating the roads around a neighbourhood, when they cautiously round a corner in the apartment complex. The road leads to a fairly mild downhill section, and then the fun starts. While there is obviously some ice under the surface of the snow, the car’s ABS can be heard activating before they reach the beginning of their descent. The car actually appears to accelerate before bouncing off several parked cars. Had this car been equipped with proper winter tires, it is very likely that they would not have become a pinball!

I know that someone out there will say “no tires work on ice”, but you are wrong. Modern winter tires are constructed using tire compounds that remain grippy on cold, slick surfaces. Until you experience the difference for yourself, you can continue to stick your head in the sand (or snow bank) but once you finally feel the difference, you will not believe how you lived without winter tires.

More: This winter braking rule could save your life

More: Driving without winter tires? Watch this

Crazy Super Mod never raced

There was a time in the ’60s and ’70s that many racing enthusiasts consider the golden era of motorsport. Regardless of what type of racing, it was a time of experimentation and innovation. Many of these experiments were non-starters. A Facebook contact just sent me this photo of Kenny Reece’s Super Modified that had three wheels on the right side, which was one of those projects that never saw competition.

If you have ever looked at any oval track race car, you will notice that the right side tires are larger than the left. They call this stagger, and it enables the chassis to create the most grip, while putting the most power down, when the car only turns in one direction. Reece’s three wheels on the right theory apparently worked something like that. In testing, the car proved to be very quick. So much so that the rule makes at Oswego Speedway made changes that prevented Reece’s creation from competing. In the process, they also shut down the ability for many new ideas to see competition. You can read more about the car here.

Taking slot cars to a whole new level of realism

Back in my childhood years, my buddies had those teeny tiny new AFX slot cars, that were the size of a Hot Wheels car, but I had a Stromberg set that offered a slightly larger size and more selection for someone like me who prefered cool old race cars to shiny new models. I never said I was normal. In recent years though, the larger scale of slot cars have become popular again thanks to companies like Scalextric who make incredibly detailed models.

Engineer Gareth Jones is a fan of these larger scale slot cars too, but the engineer in him wasn’t comfortable that old school cars were just as fast as the current Formula 1 cars. The solution? Jones did what any self respecting engineer would do and created his own chassis that would allow for body roll and steering. In other words, Jones created old school slot cars that handle like real cars. His design worked so well that he actually sells them online. To help get the word out, Jones has a youtube page to show off some super cool videos of his creations in action. Check out the A-Team van in some chase action!

Who needs video games when you could hillclimb in a formula car?

Ok, so a video game that costs fifty bucks is a whole lot more attainable than the gazillion dollars that it costs to buy and operate a top flight formula car, I know this. That said, doing it for real is just so much more intense than staring at the TV, with a PS3 controller in your hands. Hitting the fence has real consequences. The heat is unbearable. The sound is insanely loud. To coin a certain manufacturer’s phrase, there is no substitute, for driving a real formula car. It is one of the most intense experiences to be had, short of jumping out of an airplane.

This on board video from the Shelsley Walsh National hillclimb in the UK a few weeks ago gives a pretty real glimpse into what it is like to storm up a hillclimb course in 26 seconds.

Historic Tall Pines Action: Antoine L’Estage does victory doughnuts in 2010

I promised lots of rally coverage this week as I get ready for the Rally of the Tall Pines this weekend in Bancroft, so I’m staying true to that promise. In 2010, Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard won the Triple Crown of rallying in North America. Their win at Tall Pines finished off a season that saw the pair and their Rockstar Mitsubishi win the Canadian and U.S. Rally Championships along with the North American Rally Cup. Not surprisingly, they were pretty excited, which led L’Estage to put on a bit of a show before the podium celebration!

  • Insider Report: Still think you don't need snow tires? Think again!
  • Insider Report: Still think you don't need snow tires? Think again!
  • Insider Report: Still think you don't need snow tires? Think again!
  • Insider Report: Still think you don't need snow tires? Think again!
  • Insider Report: Still think you don't need snow tires? Think again!

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