Sports Pedals and Footrests Don’t Make You a Rally Driver

One of the iconic camera angles from inside a racing touring car is the one from behind the driver’s pedals. Watching his feet moving in unison is like watching a dancer. The footwork is effortless, quick and precise. Watching them heel and toe the brake and accelerator to keep the power up as the car slows down is a skill that takes years to perfect, and in many modern cars with their automatic gear boxes, it is a thing of the past as left foot braking now becomes more and more common. One of the things that can help these drivers confidently perform their manoeuvres is the sports pedals fitted to the vehicle. Supplied in aluminium, the sports pedals they use provide them with extra grip and feel from the pedals. Now you can get that same feel and grip from your vehicles pedals by fitting a set of accessory sports pedals to your car. We are not expecting you to suddenly start heel and toeing as you drive, but fitting a set of these to your car will at least give the appearance that you can perform like a racing driver.

Most of these sports pedals come in an aluminium finish and are designed in the same style as those you would find in the same car in a race version. Providing that extra grip and feel these pedals replace the standard pedals that are supplied with the vehicle. All of the manufacturer’s sports pedals are supplied with full fitting instructions to allow you to make the change yourself. Most can be changed in under half an hour, even by inexperienced people. In addition, some even offer the option of a sports footrest to complement the pedals. Finished in the same style as the pedals, the sports footrest fits alongside them and gives the driver a comfortable position to rest his left foot when not being used.

When deciding to purchase new pedals, it’s important to remember that you ask the retailer about the opportunity to return them if you’re not satisfied. The last thing you want is to discover that they don’t suit your driving style and you’re unable to return them. As with any part of the car, if you’re not completely comfortable with them, you should change back to what you are used to and what will provide the safest journey. On the other hand, if you feel that they seem fine, the return policy will not be needed but it is good to have it there if necessary.

4 Most Exhilarating World Car Rallies

With a wealth of international rallies running throughout the annual calendar, the chance to immerse yourself in petrol head culture is pretty immense. The heat, the smell and the sounds render the experience quite unique from any coverage you’ll ever witness on television and if you’re really game, and have the cash to compete, there are also a number of races which are open to all – just make sure you’ve got an excellent navigator and/or comprehensive GPS, all the appropriate visas, and travel insurance that covers the extremes you’ll be going to.

Paris-Dakar
First run in 1978, the Paris-Dakar Rally has undergone a number of modifications over the years, including a change of route that now sees the race take place in South America – so if you want to be in on the action a flight to Buenos Aires is required. This off-road adventure, incorporating three classes – bikes, cars and trucks, has not passed without incident; the very nature of its course has led to numerous accidents, deaths and (temporary) disappearances.

Mongol Rally
The Mongol Rally started life as a charity event in 2004, with just six teams competing – only four completed. Kicking off in the UK, the course takes in a 10,000 mile journey with the only stipulation being that competing cars cannot exceed 1200cc – think 2CV and Fiat 126. Contestants can take any route they like and the cars are auctioned off at the finish line, with proceeds being donated to a local cause.

Gumball 3000
Although an open rally, contestants generally need a lot of cash – the entrance fee in 2010 was a startling £30,000, some kind of celebrity status – David Hasselhoff is a previous contender, and a car – of course. The race kicks off in London before taking in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Boston, Quebec City and Toronto, rounding off in New York seven long days and nights later. Whilst the rally has become known for exotic and powerful sports cars, all manner of vehicles get involved and the ‘Spirit of the Gumball’ award has in previous years been awarded to a Citroën 2CV and VW campervan.

Monte Carlo
A right royal rally this one, having been launched in 1911 by Prince Albert I no less. Throughout its history the event has become an important opportunity to test new auto mechanics and technology and in 1973 it became the first event on the new FIA World Rally Championship. Traversing 400km, it’s also a great spectator event, with the course ploughing right the way through the fashionable refines of the French Riviera.

Slick Performance Tips for Automotive Enthusiasts

Your car is quick. It handles well. It performs better than most cars on the road. But you still find yourself asking how it can be better. Can you squeeze a few more horsepower out of your engine? Can you shave a few tenths of a second off of your zero to sixty time? The answer to these questions is yes. With the right modifying parts, almost any vehicle can be made into a performance vehicle.

You can start at the back. Modifying your exhaust system can reduce strain on your engine and improve your power output. Most factory standard exhaust systems come equipped with mufflers designed for one thing: to keep your engine quiet. But you don’t really care about that. In fact, you would much rather hear the beast under your bonnet roar free. A smaller, lighter, less intrusive performance exhaust system will remove the bottleneck and boost your engine power.

But that’s only what comes out of the engine. What about the input? An engine can only go as quick as the air it takes in. Naturally aspirated performance engines have become legends, but their massive weight and bulk can turn any quick sports car into a rubber eating, turn ignoring beast. Artificially aspirating your engine can lend to a significant boost in power without pinning your car to the pavement under a ton of metal.

One way to accomplish this is to add a supercharger. This is an air compressor, driven by your engine’s crank shaft, that pumps greater volumes of air into your engine, thus increasing power output. Superchargers have become the standard for many different kinds of racing, and can be found sprouting from the bonnets of classic muscle cars.

The other form of artificial aspiration is the turbocharger. This is another type of supercharger, but instead of being powered by the crank shaft, it is driven by an exhaust turbine. The engine pumps its exhaust into a turbine to power the compressor, which, like a conventional supercharger, forces more air into the engine. Smaller and light, turbochargers are usually found in long distance forms of racing, such as rally.

When choosing between these two, it is important to ask what you want your car to do. Superchargers, powered immediately, can immediately boost your acceleration, giving you the advantage in drag racing or short distance circuit racing. Turbochargers are lighter, but since their power comes from the engine’s exhaust, they take longer to start pumping air into the engine and are susceptible to “turbo lag” if not tuned properly.

With the right tuning, any car can be a performance vehicle. Get your custom parts and start seeing how you can make your vehicle quicker.