by Byron Hurd. Photography by Byron Hurd and Nicole Gagnon.
As I ease my way around Summit Point Motorsports Park’s Shenandoah Circuit on my morning out lap, everything feels familiar. It was a year ago this month that I last drove this course in my 2008(.5!) Mazdaspeed3, and for a few moments it’s as if nothing has really changed. The car feels good–better than my own, in fact–and everything is clicking. I’ve just picked up where I left off.
I glide over the Ski Jump at a leisurely 60 or 70 miles per hour and brake gently on the uphill section that follows. As I prepare to dip into the next turn–Shenandoah’s replica of the Nürburgring’s famous Karussell–I decide to just leave it in 4th and sort of coast on through. I bend it in and breathe off the throttle and the car slows abruptly.
Now that the weather has broken and the track season is well underway in the northern half of the country, your friends here at Speed:Sport:Life have lined up a healthy dose of road and track tests for enthusiasts of every stripe. Keep an eye on this space for reviews of Suzuki’s new midsizer, Chrysler’s truck of the year, Mazda’s perpetually happy sport compact, Corvettes and BBQ, and perhaps even a Blue-Oval-branded pony or two. And don’t forget to stay tuned for our regular installments of Avoidable Contact, Racer Boy, Rational Bohemian, Lord Byron and Rich Corinthian Leather.
Anyone who spends enough time on The Car Lounge has doubtlessly seen numerous threads and posts with all manner of Volkswagens, Subarus, Hondas and (ugh) Miatas with improbably low ride heights, low offset BBS RS wheels in all colours of the Popsicle rainbow, roof racks and even rusted body parts.
The “stance” movement is the biggest thing going for people who seek validation from anonymous automotive forum members, though I have yet to really see a car like this in person. Maybe it will fly in California, but in Toronto, with roads like the surface of the Moon and 6 months of snow, this style is impractical if not unfeasible.