Saturday, June 20, 2015

Nurburgring bans lap time records, implements speed limits

Following the recent accident involving a Nissan GT-R race car flipped and flew into a bystander during an endurance race last March, killing him and sparked a temporary ban for GT3-spec racers, it seems the days of car manufacturers recording lap times in the legendary Nurburgring Nordschleife, known by many as the Green Hell, are well and truly over (at this moment of time) as the management implemented speed limits following the crash three months ago and remained in effect. 

Corners such as the Flugplatz, Schwedenkreuz, and Antoniusbuche have a 124mph speed limit while the final straight known as the Dottinger Hohe has a 155mph speed limit. Thanks to the speed limits, record drives done by most car manufacturers are no longer allowed. It's a sad day for most car enthusiasts hearing the news but I'm sure the situation will be back to normal if things were under control.

For now, looks like carmakers won't be using the track as their proving ground and find somewhere else to test it out.

"Magpakatotoo Ka!"

On the June 19, 2015 episode of Bubble Gang...

- IKAW AT ANG INA takes on...bashing!

- Meatstand gags

- Your dad's a game show host!

- Who will survive these questions from TSUGI O CHURVA?!

  • Noong panahon na di pa nadidiscover ang Mt. Everest, ano ang pinakamataas na bundok sa buong mundo? - Mt. Everest
  • Kung may 12 buwan sa isang taon at may 120 buwan sa isang dekada, ilang buwan naman meron sa planetang Jupiter? - 63 moons or buwan
  • Bakit itinayo ang bantayog ni Andres Bonifacio sa Monumento? - Magsisikip kasi ang daloy ng traffic kapag nakahiga.
- Instant transformation with the Bubble Gang cast!

- Bubble Gang does Sprite by spoofing this commercial as SPIKE! Magpakatotoo Ka!

Bubble Gang does Sprite

- More line-infuriating moments with Aling Mary!

- One guy does everything to bring his dad back from the grave!

- Kids are busy with their phones even during dinner...

Friday, June 19, 2015

Let's Do The News! (June 19, 2015)

- Prayers are held across the United States after the recent Charleston church shooting that killed nine people by the suspect named Dylann Roof, who was arrested by policemen during a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina. About six women and three men, including the pastor, were killed in the attack and an investigation has been launched.

- Greece has ordered an emergency summit of eurozone leaders on Monday after the latest attempt to resolve the debt crisis failed with no breakthrough. Greece has less than two weeks to strike a deal with its creditors or face default on the existing loan.

- Mount Shindake in Kuchinoerabu Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, has been erupted again. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, a gray smoke shot up 200 meters from the crater around 0943 hours Japan Time. So far, the eruption alert is at the highest level of five and calling on people in the region to remain on alert status.

The MERS death toll in South Korea is now upped by 1, bringing the total count of 24. Meanwhile, Thailand has reported their first MERS case in the form of a male from Oman.

- Senator Grace Poe is once again at the top spot of the preferred Presidentiables in next year's elections, this time based on the latest survey conducted by Social Weather Stations. She received 42% of the ratings, 11% more than last March's survey.

- Jule Hamp, a female executive from the North American division of Toyota, may have illegally imported medicine tablets that contain a narcotic banned in Japan. She was arrested for allegedly violating Japan's narcotic drugs control act.

- The new Peugeot 308 GTi has been unveiled with two versions; a 250 model and the top-sped 270 model. Both of them are armed with Peugeot's 1.6L THP 4-cylinder engine with supercharged air cooling system.

2016 Peugeot 308 GTi
- Incoming Top Gear presenter Chris Evans announces tryouts for the next presenter of the hit motoring TV show. This is your chance to be part of the TG team!

- The invasion of a thousand Pikachus in Yokohama is happening again this August!


Forza Horizon 2: The Gauntlet #02


If you want to advance to Tier 4 of your Storm Island progress, you need to clear the second Gauntlet after you meet the certain number of trophies needed. In your second Gauntlet challenge, you'll be driving an offroader most of your opponents will likely yell the name NEMESIS because this is the Bowler Nemesis...err...the EXR-S, the road-legal version of the Nemesis.

Part rally car, part weekend race car, the EXR-S is more of a multirole machine that can take on circuit racing or cross country offroading, it's a tough and durable machine capable to survive even Storm Island's toughest terrains. It's started out in life as a Range Rover but Bowler morphed Solihull's finest into an extreme offroader. It comes with a supercharged 5.0L V8 engine from Jaguar which produces 550HP of power and 461lb-ft of torque. Even though this is a heavy offroader, it's lighter than the Jaguar XKR-S so it's power-to-weight ratio is better than the Jag.

All right, enough explanation. Time to give Nemesis a time to shine in the second Gauntlet challenge.

Amazing. Even though it's made for casual Fridays, it's still a Bowler, meaning it's still a great offroader that you can take on the weekends. Better still, I have completed my second Gauntlet and my road to the Island Finale continues...

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Daihatsu Copen Cero

Last year, Daihatsu brought back the Copen kei roadster in the form of two styles; the Robe which is much derived from its Tokyo Motor Show concept car from 2013 and the X-PLAY which looks like the Robe only with some crossover-ish looks that pretends to be it's ready to hit the beach. These different styles are because of the Copen's Dress Formation on the D-Frame, meaning customers can personalize their own Copen just the way they want.

2016 Daihatsu Copen Cero

As promised, the third variation of the Copen's resurrection has arrived and for this variant, it harks back to the first-generation Copen of 2002, giving customers new and old-time Copen owners a nostalgic feel to the once-forgotten kei-roadster. They've called it the Cero. Copen Cero.

2016 Daihatsu Copen Cero

2016 Daihatsu Copen Cero interior

2016 Daihatsu Copen Cero interior
With the Cero added in the Copen lineup, people who are looking forward to buy their own Copen can choose one of the three styles from the Robe, X-PLAY, and the Cero. However, there's a major catch when you're opting for the Cero model because it's priced 54,000 Yen more than the Robe/X-PLAY model for the CVT as well as for the 5-speed manual model.

That's a huge price to pay for nostalgia but despite the nostalgic looks for the Cero, it till retains the same 660cc 3-cylinder turbocharged engine from the Copen Robe so it produces the kei-car maximum limit of 64PS power output and 92Nm of torque, while mated with either a 5-speed manual or a CVT gearbox which comes with a 7-speed manual mode.

For fuel economy, the CVT version returns 25.2km/L while the manual gearbox version returns at 22.2km/L.

It still comes with the same driver-focused interior as the other two, meaning that you don't get a radio unless you've opted for the DIATONE SOUND NAVI optional extra. For the Cero, you get two interior color combinations with the latter known as the Red Interior Pack which gives the Cero a much charismatic taste while driving.

So, if you're in Japan and shopping for a new Copen, which of the three styles will you choose? The Robe? The X-PLAY? Or the Cero? The choices are endless when it comes to choosing your own Copen and feel free to mix and match until you have the Copen that's right for you.

Available Colors: British Green Mica, Pearl White III, Bright Silver Metallic, Black Mica Metallic, Matador Red Pearl, Tonico Orange Metallic, Jaune Yellow, and Clear Blue Crystal Metallic.

Photo: Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd.

Let's Do The News! (June 18, 2015)

- According to Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, Greece has a "political and moral" duty to reach an agreement with creditors over the nation's debt crisis but Thursday's meeting of eurozone finance ministers was unlikely to bring an immediate solution. In return, creditors want further reforms from Greece.

- Engineers are investigating the balcony collapse in California that killed six people and injured seven others say water damage may have caused it. The collapse occurred during a 21st birthday party in the early hours of Tuesday in the city of Berkeley. The victims were mostly Irish students who are temporarily living in the US as part of the work exchange program.

- The South Korean MERS death toll is now 23 with three more deaths reported according to the nation's health ministry.

- The European Union has agreed to extend economic sanctions against Russia over their standoff with Ukraine until the end of January of next year.

- Senator Grace Poe leads the latest survey for the presidential race in the 2016 national elections conducted by Pulse Asia. She takes the top spot with a 30% rating while VP Jejomar Binay's 2nd with 22% and Davao mayor Rodrigo Duterte is 3rd with 15%.

- REPORT: Honda will bring the Civic Type R to Japan this fall. The latest Civic Type R, built from the UK, is the pinnacle of the super hot hatch royalty when it was debuted at this year's Geneva Motor Show. It is the first Type R to come with Honda's brand new 2.0L VTEC Turbo engine which produces 310PS of power and 400Nm of torque. It lapped round the Nurburgring in 07:51.42, making it the fastest hot hatch to lapped round the legendary racetrack.

2015 Honda Civic Type R

- The Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class has been unveiled and it's served as the replacement to the GLK as part of the luxury carmaker's renaming structure. The new model promises to be a more capable leisure activity vehicle than the GLK it replaces and apart from the choice of petrol and diesel models, they're offering the first ever GLC 350 e PHEV model as well.

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

- The Koenigsegg One:1 megacar eclipsed the 0-300kph-0 time of 17.95 seconds, that's 3.24 seconds quicker than the Agera R's!


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Let's Do The News! (June 17, 2015)

- The government of Hong Kong is set to present a controversial political reform package this week that will, for the first time, give citizens the right to vote for its chief executive within the next two years but candidates will be vetted by a pro-Beijing committee.

- 16 people are reportedly killed by an airstrike that bombed a town in the Deraa province of Syria, according to activists. Those killed were attending lessons on the Koran in Ghariyah. Syrian government officials have no comments yet on the recent attack.

- The Japanese Diet approved a bill to lower the legal voting age from 20 to 18. The lowering of the voting age will be applied on the Lower House and Upper House elections, gubernatorial, mayoral, and local assembly elections as well as the national electoral review of Supreme Court Judges.

- As the death toll of MERS in South Korea reaches 20, the World Health Organization has held an emergency meeting to discuss the recent outbreak in the Asian nation. Experts examined the current situation and discussed the risks of the MERS coronavirus spreading further and ways to stop it.

- Ghadzali Jaafar, the 1st Vice Chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, says that they are not going to disarm another batch of their troops unless the government OKs the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law.

- Veteran actor, Sir John Hurt, is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

- Check out the trailer for the rebooted NEED FOR SPEED game that is coming this fall on PC, PS4, and XBOX One.

- The Toyota Land Cruiser Prado SUV has now been updated for the 2016 model year and for the first time, the Prado has been given a diesel variant starring Toyota's brand new 1GD-FTV 2.8L clean diesel engine. This is the first time Toyota offered a diesel variant in the Japanese market after almost two decades. This new diesel engine develops 177PS of power and 450Nm of torque. Mated with a new six-speed automatic gearbox and the fuel economy is rated at 11.2 to 11.8km/L on the JC08 Mode scale.

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado

1GD-FTV engine

Golden State Warriors named as 2015 NBA Champs

The Golden State Warriors are named as the 2015 NBA Champions after successfully defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers at the score of 105-97 in Game Six to win the NBA Finals 4-2. This is the first win of the team since 40 years ago. Draymond Green recorded the most rebounds by 11 and the most assists by 10 while Stephen Curry scored 25 points per game, six rebounds, and eight assists but the MVP of the season is Andre Iguodala whose record is 25 points, five boards, and five assists. It was one heck of a thriller between two teams vying for the summit.

Radio DJ Chris Evans named as new TG host

Chris Evans

After moments of speculations, it's official that the BBC announced that radio DJ, not to be confused (and no relation) with the actor of the same name, Chris Evans, is named as the new presenter of the hit motoring TV show, Top Gear.

Serving as one of the replacements of the ousted trio of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, who left the BBC after the scandal last March, Chris' knowledge and passion for cars as well as his personality might push the famed TV show to the top. The BBC also confirm that shooting for the new Top Gear will commence within a few weeks but in the meantime...

The extended, never-before-seen, Series 22 episode of Top Gear, featuring the ousted trio, will air on BBC Two on Sunday, June 28. The first clip will see the trio driving classic roadsters while the second clip will pit them into driving second-hand SUVs with the finale where the loser faces a much embarrassing punishment.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Let's Do The News! (June 16, 2015)

- European interior ministers are discussing how to deal with numerous migrants trying to enter Europe every year by crossing the Mediterranean Sea. The migrant crisis has dealt a massive blow on Italian, Greek, and Maltese resources.

- The Moro Islamic Liberal Front rebels in the Philippines is set to surrender their first batch of firearms as they're reaching a ceasefire agreement with the Philippine government. About 145 of the estimate 10,000 members of the MILF will be integrated into society.

- Japan's Meteorological Agency says that the Mount Asama in central Japan like had a minor eruption on Tuesday morning as they maintained the alert level for the volcano on the border of Gunma and Nagano prefectures at 2 on the scale of 5. The last time this volcano erupted was in May 2009.

- Chinese Foreign Ministry announced that the reclamation of Spratly Islands in the South China Sea will soon be completed.

- The number of confirmed MERS cases in South Korea has risen to 154 with 19 deaths recorded as of now.

- Forza Motorsport 6 will be released exclusively on XBOX One this September 15, 2015! The latest installment celebrates 10 years of Forza history and for this installment, it promises a more racing experience unlike any other with a range of machines, tracks, and new features such as the new time and weather change that can change the tide of racing.

- GREAT NEWS! Just announced on the recent E3 2015, an upcoming update for the XBOX One console with have backwards compatibility on most XBOX 360 consoles!

- The Jaguar XJ flagship saloon has been given a minor change with updated looks and more gadgetry than before.

2016 Jaguar XJ
- Guinness World Record recognized the hit manga comic series One Piece as the world's most published comic with over 320 million copies published worldwide.

- Ready your checkbooks! Good Smile Company released a Nendoroid of Mio Honda from THE IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls and she'll be priced at 3,611 Yen plus tax when she arrives this October. Pre-order one now to complete your New Generations collection with Uzuki and Rin!

Nendoroid Mio Honda

Forza Horizon 2: Driving the Lotus Exige


This is the Lotus Exige S, and it's the fastest and most powerful Lotus ever made thanks to its combination of big power and light weight that is uncanny for most British lightweights. It maybe 500lbs more than the old Exige but it has a Toyota-derived 3.5L V6 engine with added superchargers which develops 345HP of power and 295lb-ft of torque. It does 0-100kph in under four seconds and onwards to 274kph.

exige (2)

Back in the original Horizon, I started to fall in love with Lotus' finest masterpiece not because of its combination of power and lightness but also the agility and the precision it delivers if the setting's left untouched, probably, and it's the same story goes when I drove it on FM5 where all of its goodness starting to come unraveled in most parts of the world. In the world of FH2, it's starting to feel at home when I take it round the parts of the Southern Europe. It's like if love moves in mysterious ways and oh! Speaking of "mysterious", looks like the Exige deserves a special treatment I came up with...

exige (3)

exige (4)

Now here's the little scamp that I came up with and because I'm still in the process of celebrating THE iDOLM@STER's 10th birthday, the theme for my Exige S in FH2 I made is...yes, you've guessed it, Takane Shijou. It's a bit of a "Secret, Secret, I have a secret" thing but trust me, this theme deserves to be persevered because even though she's more of an arrogance and her mysteriousness really keeps you guessing like a nude Irene Adler appeared, you're most likely to spend some time with her until you're fully seduced by her witty charms.

That's why I chose this for my special treatment because this car moves in unpredictable patterns but only when left untouched. On its own, the Exige S is a wonderful car to drive full stop but because it fell onto the category dominated by cars whose power-to-weight ratios eclipsed the almighty Bugatti Veyron, the Exige finds it to be difficult to stick through its opposition and when I improved this car around to Ariel Atom territory, it feels more sensitive when it faces to corner. As a rule, you would never want to max out this car to compete with ultra-light machines because while it's fast on the straights, cornering it can be very nightmarish, and I shall demonstrate it with a championship I've booked for this car.

See? I told you it's much difficult to drive the Exige when maxed out to Ariel Atom levels but still, I've managed to survive all the way to victory. Looks like I won't be doing that again after all this but driving this Exige never made me so thrilling because I had fun driving a Lotus that combines big power and light weight into one unique package and the way it moves is unpredictable. Yes, it's as unpredictable as the design I made for the Exige.

exige (5)

Monday, June 15, 2015

BMW 2-Series Cabriolet

2015 BMW 2-Series Cabriolet

Last year, the BMW 1-Series Coupe has been replaced and renamed as the 2-Series Coupe following BMW's new naming structure where all saloons bear odd numbers while two doors bear even numbers but despite that, the 2-Series name, which is reserved for use with the 1-Series' 2-door equivalent, has been used for their minivans in the case of the front-wheel drive Active Tourer, which caused mayhem for Bimmer fans too many. Anyway, there's now a convertible version of the coupe version of the 1-Series, which is great on your weekend getaway but is it any good?

Under the bonnet lies the same choices from the hardtop equivalent such as the 136PS 1.5L engine from the 218i, 2.0L turbodiesel engine for the 220d, up to the top-of-the-line M235i whose 3.0L turbo engine develops 326PS of power. That's about the same as its hardtop and its M135i hatchback equivalent but even though it delivers the same stuff from its cousins, the cabriolet version is a hundred kilos heavier than its hardtop equivalent so, in the range-topping M235i model, it can do 0-100kph in 5.2 seconds (0.2 slower) and top speed normally limited to 250kph.

So, the cabrio may not be as fast as its hardtop equivalent but how about the way it moves? Well, despite the added weight, the cabriolet model behaves like the hardtop model. If you're in ordinary models, it feels good enough to cruise your brows all the way while in the range-topping M235i model, you can still enjoy the same thrill you'd expect from the hardtop equivalent. It may be as bland as a supermarket hotdog but it still has some taste that you can't get enough of or for better, you might expect some guilty pleasures not by driving in one of those but also by arriving in one of those. Hmmm...

As for value, this car is most likely to be passed out by some because the 2-Series Cabrio model is priced at 32,200 Euros, which is almost five grand more than its hardtop equivalent or a grand more than its chief rival, the Audi A3 Cabriolet, but you should know that the non-quattro models of the A3 Cabriolet are not as engaging to drive as the 2-Series Cabriolet so despite the one-grand-price gap between the 2-Series Cabriolet and the A3 Cabriolet, it's more fun to own than the Audi.

Photo: BMW

Let's Do The News! (June 15, 2015)

- The top Islamist who staged an attack on an Algerian gas plant in 2013, named Mokhtar Belmokthar (a former senior figure in al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb), has been killed in a US air strike according to officials. He and the other militants were killed in the eastern city of Ajdabiya, Libya, but there have been false reports of his death in the past. The Pentagon continues to analyzing his situation for now...

- A top commander from the National Liberation Army (ELN), Colombia's second largest guerrilla group, has been killed according to the Colombian army. The name is Jose Amin Hernandez Manrique, known as Marquitos, and he was killed in the north-western province of Antioquia.

- The death toll from MERS in South Korea has been risen to 16. So far, there has been 150 cases reported overall.

- North Korea test fired three short-range missiles from a position near Wonsan on the nation's eastern coast.

- Technology provider Smartmatic appealed its disqualification by COMELEC from the public bidding for the lease of 23,000 optical mark reader machines to be used in next year's elections.

- In Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Golden State Warriors are in the lead by 3-2 after the score of 104-91 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

- To celebrate the upcoming launch of Halo 5: Guardians on XBOX One this late 2015, Ford teamed up with Galpin Auto Sports, Microsoft, and developer 343 Industries to create an F-150 Sandcat truck themed after the Sandcat battle truck on the upcoming installment of the hit video game franchise. It will be displayed at E3 2015.

Ford F-150 Sandcat

- Renault unveiled the Alpine Celebration Concept during the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans competition and this concept car previews the revival of the legendary Alpine brand that was started by the legendary A110 berlinette.

Renault Alpine Celebration Concept

- "The demon born from the round table". The F-15C Cipher and the F-15C Pixy from the video game Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War spawned themselves limited edition model kits courtesy from Hasegawa Hobby Kits. Priced at 3,000 Yen plus tax, hobbyists can take home and build their own "Demon Lord" as well as Galm 2 "Pixy" and recreate their Belkan War moments. The F-15C Cipher arrives at stores on the 23rd of June while the F-15C Pixy arrives on the 7th of July. "Yo, Buddy. You still alive?"

F-15C Cipher

F-15C Pixy

Porsche's 919 Hybrid wins the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans

This year's 24 Hours of Le Mans have seen numerous twists, before, during, and after the race because this year sees the appearance of the world's first front-wheel drive LMP1 prototype, the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO, but sadly, all three GT-R LM NISMO racing machines faced numerous setbacks, proving that Le Mans is not welcomed to front-wheel drive machines. Another twist in this year's Le Mans is that Audi's reign as the king of Le Mans is well and truly over as Porsche's improved 919 Hybrid, specifically the #19 919 Hybrid, snagged Audi's crown and helmed as the winner of this year's Le Mans.


Image: Getty Images

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Forza Horizon 2: Kickin with the F12


When Ferrari created the F12berlinetta, the Italian carmaker wanted to make a sportscar that can match against the likes of the Lamborghini Aventador as well as the Aston Martin Vanquish but in reality, it wasn't made to be a hypercar but rather a powerful grand tourer that incorporates Ferrari's know-how in the realm of motorsports. Sure, it lapped round the Fiorano test track faster than the Enzo but this is in a totally different league.

The F12berlinetta was born to be a purebred race machine with its throaty 6.3L V12 engine which excites most car enthusiasts worldwide. It is a product of Ferrari's passion for motorsports and it's one way of saying "we're the stars of Italy's sportscar realm and Lamborghini must exit here". Well, Ferrari worked so hard to improve their reputation and no matter how many times Lamborghini trying to outpower Ferrari with new and exciting machines that can defect even the most of Ferrari's followers, this carmaker learns how to fight back and for the F12, it knows how to kick back from its opposition.

f12 (2)

When I drove this one in the original Horizon, I am already having a great time driving the F12berlinetta despite its handling characteristics that kicked me back like a bottle of Red Horse Beer. Here, in the world of Forza Horizon 2, it's the same story all over, only this time, a little reminiscent of its predecessor that is going to kill me with its car kung fu. Despite its character, the F12berlinetta is a fun car to drive and even novices can unleash its hidden potential from its Italian flair. Even though this is a serious car, this car promises the driver to kick back against his or her opposition as they're trying to reach their goals.

The thing is though, driving the F12 can be a lot of fun if you use your imagination...

What we have here is an F12 that is themed after one of our favorite buttkickers in the world of iDOLM@STER, Makoto Kikuchi, and the reason why I'd picked her for the design that I'd made because upon driving the F12, I'm getting the "kicking" experience while unleashing its power during races and while this is essentially a raw grand tourer that can kick through any rivals it see fit, it will take time for the driver to calm itself down before getting through corners. Its tough personality really reminded me of her's and every time I remember her...I gone into bedwetting mode in my sleep. Ha ha ha...

Anyway, to see how much "fight back" the F12 is, I booked this car for a championship somewhere over San Giovanni, and with some major improvements to make it competitive, the F12's starting to come alive.

Well, that was quite a messy progress but I managed to survive while driving the F12 without getting my pants wet when this car kicks me through. Better still, it was quite an accomplishment that with the F12, Ferrari knows how to fight back.

As I find out, even with the F12 making quite an accomplishment, it signals the end of the traditional V12 powerplant because in the future, all V12 Ferraris will be hybrids, just like the powerful LaFerrari, and while this announcement shocked the world, I am very glad that I made the so-called "last of the V12s" happy. I've finished my run and as the car ticked itself, I knew that its work is done.
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