Thursday, December 20, 2012

2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G: The Amazing Mileage Miser

"Best Buy" - 2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G Sedan with 5-speed shift-selectable 6-speed automatic SkyActiv transmission and Grand Touring trim level appointment package is judged to be an amazing mileage miser that delivers on many surprising levels. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G: The Amazing Mileage Miser

A common problem beginning to present itself to many premium sedan owners in this 21st century America is summed up with this question: What Miles Per Gallon (MPG) car can one buy in order to get through a continuing era of increasing fuel prices, increasing number of EPA regulations, and low economic growth expectations - yet retain some of the advantages found in the decade old premium vehicle that is needing replacement?

The overall age of the personal fleet of automobiles careening around the country's roads is the oldest it has been since records have been kept and is reported to be nearly 11 years old. Many of these cars are a proud-but-aging rolling stock of premium sedans that featured rear wheel drive, leather interior, remote keyless entry, electric everything including fully adjustable seats (with heat) for both front bucket riding positions, named manufacturer audio systems with about as many speakers as room would allow, and power to spare from a stout V6 or better (0-60 in under seven seconds or better), at not much better than 20 mpg average, etc.

When one purchased these cars in pre-2001, the selling prices of a new or slightly used vehicle may have begun at around $25,000 and ranged upwards to $40,000 for the most well equipped standard premium quality vehicle with marques of Lexus, Acura, Infiniti, and the like.

2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G with automatic transmission Grand Touring trim level appointments touchscreen interface.  This 5.8" full color touch-screen controls and informs the driver of navigation w/real time traffic thru Traffic Message Channel, Blind Spot Monitoring System, 265-Watt Bose Centerpoint 10 speaker surround sound audio system, HD Radio, Pandora audio application, audio menu voice-command, E911 automatic emergency notification, Radio Broadcast Data System program information, SMS text message audio delivery and voice reply. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

An owner as described above is faced with a decision. It would be easy to continue investing in the current car especially since a direct replacement would set one back with prices starting at around $35,000 and ranging to $50,000+ for any mid-size or better marques … or better, bite the bullet and decide to invest in the reality of a worsening future picture of fuel prices, regulation, and economic growth opportunities social environment.

With this view in mind, one has several options to consider. First, one has to consider if the path to greater MPG and fuel consumption efficiency will be through the current fuel delivery infrastructure or be aided through the evolving electric-power delivery systems (hybrid or all-electric) which may add cost and disposal issues in maintenance-process of the vehicle.

For buyers seeking to purchase a new car that has as its principle value low fuel consumption and current fuel delivery infrastructure, there appear to be only a couple of options that can promise some of the profile functionality of premium sedans. 

 Rearview - 2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G with automatic transmission and Grand Touring trim level appointments. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

After careful evaluation and test, one car sticks out as the best premium vehicle replacement choice to get through the next four years and beyond. That car is the 2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G with automatic transmission and Grand Touring trim level appointments package.

By opting for the Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G ... what one gives up not investing in a new premium vehicle is spending at least $7,000 more for leather seats, V6 engine, rear wheel drive, 0-60 in under 7 seconds, a little more elbow room, a couple of more speakers, fuel consumption that would never exceed 30 mpg, and possibly a little quieter riding passenger cabin.


What one gains through a strategy of settling with a scaled back expectation in favor of high MPG, is an average MPG of about 34 miles per gallon combined city/highway, 0-60 at just under 8 seconds ... enough to not be run over by others getting onto the freeway or being a little shy on power once one enters the freeway lanes at speed, leather interior, a Bose 10 speaker sound system (with Bluetooth wireless, USB, and 3.5 connector Auxiliary port connection capability), push-button and remote keyless entry, with electric everything including a fully adjustable seat (driver's side) - with heat for both front bucket riding positions.

More importantly, one gains a driving experience that is very surprising for a car that competes with a mix of "hyper-mile" mavens that put all of the other vehicle choice options to shame - Fiesta, Focus, Fit, Accord, Altima, Leaf, Corolla, Hyundai and Kia. The car carves through corners with strength and anticipated (even expected) ease. The ride is less stiff or "road bed imperfection sensitive" than heavier entry level premium cars of a couple of years ago ... as in the Infiniti G35, for example. Sadly, the roadways in Southern California are not as well maintained, therefore stiffness of ride must be figured into vehicle purchases going forward.

Downtown Los Angeles and the Christmas Tree atop the Capitol Records building in Hollywood can be seen in the background of this Mulholland Drive Hollywood Bowl Overlook view of a 2013 Mazda3 in Velocity Red Mica. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

As tested on Los Angeles area freeways and surrounding hills including the twisty Mulholland Drive during the day and at night (thanks to a loaner arranged through Galpin Motors in Van Nuys, CA), the 2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G Sedan with 5-speed shift-selectable 6-speed automatic SKYACTIV transmission and Grand Touring trim level appointment package is judged to be an amazing mileage miser that delivers on many surprising levels, but mostly it delivers a pleasant driving experience for having a car that is rated at near 40 miles per gallon fuel efficiency (Hwy), especially if one is having to procure new rolling stock, replacing an older premium vehicle that has delivered a long, pleasant, useful ride.

… notes from The EDJE

** Article first published as 2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G: The Amazing Mileage Miser on Technorati **

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Oval Track Racing Events Return To Irwindale Speedway For 2013

Just about everything with wheels can be found racing on the Irwindale Event Center twin ovals ... Stock Cars, Sprint Cars, Midgets, Supermodifieds, Legends, Trucks, and more can all be seen in wheel-to-wheel competition action at this great new facility! Image Credit: Irwindale Event Center

Oval Track Racing Events Return To Irwindale Speedway For 2013

"We're very pleased to announce that oval track racing will return to Irwindale for the 2013 season." With that direct statement, Team 211 Entertainment's President/CEO Jim Cohan ended a long 11-month period of uncertainty about regular racing competition at the well-known Southern California motorsports and family entertainment facility.

"Our master lease with the property owners, Nu-Way Industries, has been broadened and now includes all forms of racing activities on the 6,500-seat twin oval track. We are now working very hard to put all of the pieces together to be able to run a 2013 racing season," said Cohan.

"Our company name has the word 'TEAM' in it," he pointed out. "We need everyone to understand that name is not an affectation. It's a statement of our commitment to the process of re-building the legacy of Irwindale Speedway."

This Thursday - 12-20-2012 - is the final Thursday of Drag Racing in 2012. The next year of Thursday night Drag Racing at the Irwindale Event Center begins on January 10th 2013. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

"We've re-named the entire property 'Irwindale Event Center' to better reflect the wide range of public and private events that can be accommodated here and invite everyone to join us in what we feel will be a great new era of operation for this venue.

Corporations, businesses small and large, competitors, individual fans, everyone: you are all welcome, if you want to be a part of this facility, we'll find a place for you." Cohan concluded.
Cohan's announcement also indicated that long-time employee Bob Klein has been named the event center's Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, and that veteran publicist Doug Stokes would be re-joining the facility on the first of the year as the Vice President of Communications. Both men will report directly to Jim Cohan.

At the same time, experienced competition manager Mike Atkinson was named the track's Race Director. Atkinson has been working behind the scenes with representatives of the new Kern County Raceway Park track to put together a common set of technical rules which will allow racers in a number of divisions to compete fairly at both tracks.

"We know that we're starting out a couple of laps behind," Cohan candidly admitted. "But we also know that we have the support of a great number of former racers, sponsors, and most importantly, our fans who have stood by waiting for this track to come back on line again. We'll really need everyone's good will and support, and we'll be trying very hard to return the favor by running a facility that always puts the customer first."

A 2013 oval track competition event schedule will be published shortly.

... notes from The EDJE

** Article first published as Oval Track Racing Events Return To Irwindale Speedway For 2013 on Technorati **

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2012 Dean Batchelor Award Is Snagged By "Porsche - Origin of the Species"

Book category finalists for the Motor Press Guild's Dean Batchelor Award. The annual award banquet singles out individuals demonstrating outstanding achievement in the profession of automotive journalism. Each year MPG presents the Dean Batchelor Award to the journalist judged to have produced the single piece of work which best represents the professional standards and excellence demanded by Dean Batchelor during his life as an editor, writer, and chronicler of the automotive industry. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

2012 Dean Batchelor Award Is Snagged By "Porsche - Origin of the Species"

Every year since 1995, when the Motor Press Guild decided to bestow it's true highest honor by naming the prestigious process of recognition on the efforts of its community of communications professionals after Dean Batchelor, the Dean Batchelor Award has set the standard of  automotive journalistic recognition.

Dean Batchelor's career spanned many disciplines, from aircraft builder, B-17 flyer, to race car driver and automotive journalist and through it all he proved to be the consummate historian, editor, racer, designer, and hot rodder.

The award builds from a series of awards honoring three publishing categories defined as Best Article, Best Book, and Best Audio/Visual.

Dean Batchelor Awards Images Slideshow (20 images) >>

The three finalists in each category are culled from potentially tens of nominations submitted by Motor Press Guild members who have seen an outstanding published effort and thought it worthy of recognition with in the year of the honor.

Best Article Dean Batchelor Award 2012 presentation. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

This year, the following finalists for Best Article were "Tambay: The Phoenix" By Thomas Stahler (Vintage Motorsport, May/June 2012) | "The Dillinger Trail" By Peter Egan (Road & Track, March 2012) | "The World's Fastest Hot Rod" By Greg Sharp (The Rodder's Journal, Spring 2012) with the Article of the Year Award going to "The World's Fastest Hot Rod" By Greg Sharp.

Best Book Dean Batchelor Award 2012 presentation. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

The following finalists for Best Book were "In The Red" By Jade Gurss (Octane Press) | "Porsche - Origin of the Species" by Karl Ludvigsen (Bentley Publishers) | "The Stainless Steel Carrot: An Auto Racing Odessey - Revisited" By Sylvia Wilkinson (Brown Fox Books) with the Book of the Year Award going to "Porsche - Origin of the Species" by Karl Ludvigsen.

Best Audio/Visual Dean Batchelor Award 2012 presentation. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

The following finalists for Best Audio/Visual were "Corvette ZR1 Review - Exotic Driver" By Todd Deeken and Paul Schmucker (, September 27, 2012) | "A Look At London's BMW Art Drive" By Alistair Weaver (, August 6, 2012) | "KBB Races A Mazda Miata" By Micah Muzio and Michael Delano - Kelley Blue Book (, February 22, 2012) with the Audio/Visual of the Year Award going to "KBB Races A Mazda Miata" By Micah Muzio and Michael Delano - Kelley Blue Book.

The 2012 Dean Batchelor Award is bestowed upon a choice from one of these three category award honorees Article of the Year Award going to "The World's Fastest Hot Rod" By Greg Sharp | Book of the Year Award going to "Porsche - Origin of the Species" by Karl Ludvigsen | Audio/Visual of the Year Award going to "KBB Races A Mazda Miata" By Micah Muzio and Michael Delano - Kelley Blue Book with the 2012 Dean Batchelor Award going to Book of the Year Award going to "Porsche - Origin of the Species" by Karl Ludvigsen.

Book of the Month at Bentley Publishers becomes Book of the Year for Motor Press Guild. Image Credit: Bentley Publishers (2012)

This edited and excerpted from Bentley Publishers (and was included in the presentation from the podium during the award presentation) -

Classic and Sports Car - December 2012 

Porsche - Origin of the Species

by Karl Ludvigsen

It's hard to imagine that there's a Porsche stone unturned for respected marque historian Karl Ludvigsen. But, inspired by an early 356 - comedian Jerry Seinfeld's treasured Gmünd coupe 2-040 - the American historian set out to reveal the story of the landmark 1950s sports model. And top studio photographer Michael Furman provides a superb set of the historic survivor.

Ludvigsen's journey of fastidious research took him from factory archives to owners and specialists while unravelling this fascinating tale. This hefty, 344-page title covers the evolution of pre-war streamliners through to the early operations in the wooden sawmill in Gmünd, Austria. Putting Porsche's development in context, the book also covers VW Beetle-based specials and coach built variants.

Ludvigsen's writing style is a captivating joy to read, plus the main text is accompanied by fascinating panels including Robert Cumberford on styling, Miles Collier on preservation and Alex Finigan on ownership. The final pages are devoted to a complete reproduction of Porsche's trial reports on '040', and an early 1949 356 Betriebsanleitung (operating manual).
[Reference Here]

A wonderful time spent with like-minded folks and meeting new friends. The Petersen Automotive Museum provided the backdrop for the evening's presentations and all of the finalists from all categories were equally honored to be mentioned along side of the eventual 2012 Dean Batchelor Award honoree.

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

Sponsors for the evening included Hyundai, Mothers, Jaguar, Land Rover, Honda, Ford, Audi, General Motors, Infiniti, Mazda, Porsche, Subaru, and Toyota - Thanks.

... notes from The EDJE

** Article first published as 2012 Dean Batchelor Award Is Snagged By "Porsche - Origin of the Species" on Technorati **

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Super Drift Challenge And Toyota GP Of LB Agree To Night Races

Formula DRIFT has announced a special charity event to benefit the American Red Cross’s Hurricane Sandy relief efforts on December 13 at Irwindale Speedway. Professional drift ride-alongs from Formula DRIFT stars will be for sale to the public with proceeds to going to the relief fund (CLICK HERE to purchase a ride-along). Caption and Image Credit: Formula DRIFT

Super Drift Challenge And Toyota GP Of LB Agree To Night Races

For the first time in its 39 years, the world-famous Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 19-21, 2013, will offer night racing with the inaugural Formula DRIFT Super Drift Challenge on Friday and Saturday nights during race weekend.

The Formula DRIFT Super Drift Challenge, which will take place at 7 p.m. both nights on the eastern end of the race circuit – turns nine, 10 and 11 – is expected to feature 16 of the sport’s top cars and drivers.

Committed to compete are 2012 Formula DRIFT champion Daigo Saito, 2011 champ Daijiro Yoshihara, plus Frederic Aasbo, Aurimas Bakchis, Michael Essa, Conrad Grunewald, Ken Gushi, Tyler McQuarrie, Robbie Nishida, Justin Pawlak, Matt Powers - more are expected to make announcement to compete soon. Friday’s action will include practice and qualifying runs, while Saturday will see the teams compete for a $25,000 prize. On Sunday, the Super Drift Challenge cars will drift the entire race circuit after the featured IZOD IndyCar Series race.

A view one gets from a ride-along - here, the trailing car is just leaving turn #9 and looking down the short chute toward turn #10. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)

“We are excited to change up the drifting action during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend from an exhibition show to a competition. By doing this we will be able to showcase the true form of competition drifting to the Grand Prix fans," said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. "The icing on the cake comes in the form of night time drifting on the streets. We are truly honored to be the first Series to be competing on the streets of Long Beach at night!”

“The Grand Prix has enjoyed a long and productive relationship with Formula DRIFT and this newly designed event takes it to a new level,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “And all this added excitement will be presented at no additional cost to our race attendees. Plus, because of its unique location, there will be no impact in any way on the businesses around the rest of the track.”

Grand Prix fans that purchase any admission ticket for Friday or Saturday racing activities will be able to see that day’s Super Drift Challenge.

Seating for the Super Drift Challenge will be in Grandstands 16, 18, 24, 25 and 26 on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning at 6:30 p.m.

In addition to the Super Drift Challenge, the 2013 Grand Prix will again be headlined by the IZOD IndyCar Series®. Also featured will be the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series, the fan-favorite Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, Firestone Indy Lights and Pirelli World Challenge.

... notes from The EDJE

** Article first posted as Super Drift Challenge and Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach agree to night races at Examiner **

Monday, December 3, 2012

DeltaWing Recieves The 2012 Autosport Award For Pioneering And Innovation

Nissan DeltaWing on display at the LA Auto Show Press Days. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

DeltaWing Recieves The 2012 Autosport Award For Pioneering And Innovation

The 2012 Autosport Awards, the motorsport industry's 'Oscars' held last night at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London's Park Lane, provided a night of delight for Nissan when the Nissan DeltaWing received the award for Pioneering and Innovation.

The Nissan DeltaWing is currently settling in for its close-up near Hollywood, at the LA Auto Show which runs now through the end of this next weekend on December 9th. One will find it on display at the Nissan booth in the South Hall at the Los Angeles Convention Center ... of course.

The Nissan DeltaWing has grabbed headlines, turned heads, and divided opinions wherever it has gone. For Nissan, a company known for delivering innovation that excites, this project has gathered great momentum throughout the season, providing excitement for fans of motorsport but has also caught the eye of non-motorsport fans, intrigued by the car's unique design.

The first Nissan DeltaWing driver, Marino Franchitti, presented the award to DeltaWing Designer Ben Bowlby during the star-studded evening.

Image Credit: Nissan (2012)

"While the car wasn't eligible to collect any trophies in its two races so far, it is very rewarding that the industry and the media recognize the significance of the project," Bowlby said. "I can honestly say I've never done anything so cool in my life. The Nissan DeltaWing is all about efficiency and we hope this car can play a part in shaping the future of the sport.

"There are many people who have played key roles in the development of the car but I have to say a big thanks to Don Panoz's Garage 56 consortium with DeltaWing Racing Cars, and of course the ACO. Nissan and Michelins' contributions were imperative. It took a huge leap of faith from them to really make this car possible. Both signed on at a time when we had plenty of doubters saying the car wouldn't go around corners."

The unique Nissan DeltaWing features the performance of contemporary Le Mans sportscars but consumes only half their fuel and tires, using half of their power, aerodynamic drag and weight.

"What made the car stand out from other contenders for the Pioneering and Innovation Award is traditionally the winners are for something underneath the skin of a race car which the man on the street would really struggle to see or even understand," Autosport, Editor-In-Chief, Andrew van de Burgt said.

"No matter whether you are a hard core motorsports fan, or somebody who doesn't follow the sport at all – one look at the car and you can tell that it is totally different from anything seen before. It really is a credit to everyone involved in the project. It has generated great interest amongst our readers and we look forward to seeing the car compete again in the future."

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

The plaudits don't stop there for the Nissan DeltaWing. The car has already won EVO magazine's Innovation Award; it was voted Automobile magazine's Racing Car of the Year and received the Popular Science Best of What's New Award. Ben Bowlby has also received the Simms Medal from the Royal Automobile Club and the Dino Toso Award for the world's top racing aerodynamicist, awarded by Race Tech magazine.

"Last night was the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people who weren't scared to use their imaginations," said Nissan's Darren Cox. "The Nissan DeltaWing is clearly innovative in terms of the car's design but the entire project and the way it has engaged the interest of the fans is also innovative. We have all enjoyed the challenge."

... notes from The EDJE

** Article first published as DeltaWing Recieves The 2012 Autosport Award For Pioneering And Innovation on Technorati **