Kyspeaks.com

Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / sports car

I am a bit of a petrol head, in my drive way is an MR2 turbo, an old two seater that looks pretty decent, drives pretty fast, and basically as practical as a speedy bicycle with a basket. While I love my MR2, I had always wanted a Lotus, the little car maker that is incredibly, owned by Proton, and produces cars that can only be described as sex on wheels.

So when I was invited to join the Shell Helix Invasion Tour to Johor Bahru driving a Lotus, I jumped on the opportunity straight away.

Before you continue reading, for those who are the fan of TL;DR, may I suggest viewing this video that I spent half an hour creating?

some of the supercars that participated in the tour
some of the supercars that participated in the tour

Our journey started at Proton Centre of Excellence in Shah Alam on Saturday morning, and in the compound were over 35 speed demons – Ferrari, Lamboghini, Aston Martin, Audi R8, Porsche 911 GT3, Nissan GTR, BMW M3, Lotus Evora and Exige.

I felt like kids in a candy store, and Haze found a lot of sketching subjects.

Lotus, the "almost" affordable dream car of mine
Lotus, the “almost” affordable dream car of mine. Evora, Exige

Our ride was the Lotus Evora – a mid engine sports car with 3.5 Liter V6 motor churning a respectable 280 PS. It had a 6 speed IPS automatic and is capable of launching from 0-100 in 4.9 seconds with a top speed of 260 km/h.This car gets it done with a perfect balance of grace and power, it was at the same time very comfortable and luxurious.

The stereo system is respectable, interior trimming simplistic yet elegant, and getting in and out doesn’t require you to be a gymnast (like an Elise or Exige would).

It is also the only Lotus with 2+2 configuration (though the rear seats are only good enough if you’re around Audrey’s size, but it sure was handy as luggage space).

In short, I want it! (only if it isn’t also over RM 400k+ a pop *gulp*)

Thank you Lotus Malaysia for loaning this car. 😀

the first stop was Melacca
the first stop was Melacca

So off we went on the North South highway with the help of police escort service (I last had this at BMW drive, it was a godsend).

A moment later (yes, a moment later), we reached our first stop at Ayer Keroh Shell station for a fuel refill. It was a chance to allow my heart to slow down a little bit from pumping too fast driving the Evora. That was because the convoy wasn’t exactly slow moving, I had to be on my toes to keep up.

We then stopped by Movida at Hatten Square in Melaka from lunch. With all these cars parked right outside the mall, we managed to draw quite a crowd of passerby eager to snap photos.

p/s: I’ve heard the Lotus could do up to 240 km/h with ease.

at Kelab Alami at Tanjung Kupang, South Johor
at Kelab Alami at Tanjung Kupang, South Johor

After lunch and a bit of chillax at Movida, the convoy went South Bound again.

Zoom zoom zoom….

Our next meeting point was Gelang Patah R&R, but due to a bit of confusion, the group somehow got split into 3, and we were among one of the groups that went into Gelang Patah town and got lost. An hour or so later, however, we managed to regroup, refuel, and head to the most important destination of the trip – Kelab Alami at Tanjung Kupang with the help of police escort.

the kids giving us a proper class on nature itself
13 different kids giving us a proper class on nature itself

Formed in 2009 by Cikgu Bakhtiar Jaffar, Kelab Alami is a centre for youth development first created with the help of Shell Malaysia Sustainable Development Grants Programme 2009. The club is an outlet for (mostly poor) kids around the area to learn about environment awareness and to study the ecosystem around the Singapore Strait and Sungai Pulai.

Over a dozen kids at the club took turn to educate us about the geography as well as the flora and fauna of the area – from the various sea grass species to dugong (manatee) to shell fish. It was amazing to see rural kids being empowered and given chance to participate in something like this, not to mention that we got quite a bit of a lesson ourselves.

We were going to take the kids for a ride in the cars, but unfortunately it started pouring, gahhh. We had to jet off after the presentation by the kids.

the BBQ buffet dinner at Thistle JB was delicious
the BBQ buffet dinner at Thistle JB was delicious

Part of the convoy stayed at Thistle Hotel with some of us placed at Mutiara Hotel, but we had dinner as a group at Thistle.

Their BBQ buffet dinner was fantastic, the grilled lobsters and other seafood were much appreciated after a long day’s hard work (yeah right).

Many participants headed to The Zon for after dinner party, but Haze and I decided to head back to the hotel for an earlier snooze instead. We were pretty tired thanks to a few days of sleep deprivation (she was rushing for a Paint Lust project).

a mini autocross session with the Evora & other participants
a mini autocross session with the Evora & other cars participanting

The next morning, we head to Danga Bay for a mini autocross competition. A manual Evora was fitted with less grippy tires for the purpose.

We were given a couple demo runs by Lotus Malaysia’s Ong Kah Beng, and then off we went taking turns on the course. While not the first time witnessing these type of events, I popped my virginity in Autocross this time, and I did it with style by going on the completely wrong route on my first trial.

who would have thought I'd get a trophy too? 3rd place (out of 6.. hehe)
who would have thought I’d get a trophy too? 3rd place (out of 6.. hehe)

Thankfully, I somehow managed to improved my time on the subsequent runs and came in 3rd place among the media members (only 6 of us particpated, hehe). In the photo above, I was trying to not looked completely embarrassed.

After that, we made our way home and surrendered the car to Lotus Malaysia at Proton Centre of Excellent with a heavy heart. I will miss the Evora, and damn it I really want an Elise now.

Thank you Kong, Shell Helix, Zero To Hundred, and Lotus Malaysia for this opportunity.

In the previous post on Mitsubishi FTO, I’ve mentioned Japanese car maker’s reluctance on making affordable performance cars in the past decade or so. This painted a pretty bleak picture for sports car enthusiasts (who aren’t also super loaded).

There’s good news on the horizon. Apparently this trend might see a reversal with the news of the concept car from Toyota – the FT-86

Toyota FT-86 concept sports car

The FT-86 is pretty much inspired by the popularity of AE-86 that is made popular by the comic series Initial-D. Nicknamed the tofu car, AE-86 has a huge cult following especially in the drift racing series, and still cheered upon whenever appeared at Autocross events.

interior of Toyota FT-86

A collaboration between Subaru and Toyota, the FT-86 is to come with a new 2 liter Toyota-Subaru “D-4S” Boxer engine. Targeted to cost around US $20,000 when it is eventually launched, that’ll place it cheaper than a fully loaded Honda Accord (or Toyota’s own Camry for that matter).

I, for one, welcome Japanese manufacturer’s return to this segment, 6 speed manual with 2.0 liter boxer sounds like a good combination to me.

Check out wiki page for more details.

black and white mitsubishi FTO

In the early 1990s, the Japanese car makers offer quite a good lineup of pretty affordable sports cars. Cars that were geared towards enthusiasts who aren’t necessarily fixing their midlife crisis.

Mitsubishi had two models that fit into the category, the GTO (and Dodge Stealth), and the little brother, the FTO.

FTO stands for “Fresh Touring Origination”, and it is really a sleek little car that is rather capable. Equipped with a 2.0 liter MIVEC V6 engine with 24 valve. The car produces up to 200ps at 7500 rpm without an aid of a turbo. Quite impressive.

The 0-100 km/h speed is in the mid to high 6s mark, not quite as impressive as its closest rival, the Toyota MR2, but would still beat over 80% of the cars out there with it’s NA engine in FF configuration.

Specification:

  • Engine: 6A12 2.0 L DOHC 24v MIVEC V6
  • Weight: 1200 kg
  • Wheel base: 2,500 mm (98.4 in)
  • Power: 197bhp
  • 0-100 km/h: 6.5s (GPX version)
  • Top speed: 225 km/h

The second (or third of many hand) FTOs are now trading in Malaysia for about RM 40-50k region. Since FTO was produced only from 1994 to 2000. There aren’t many of them around anymore, so if you can get your hands on one in awesome condition, I’m sure you won’t regret it.

After all, how many cars were in Jackie Chan’s movie Thunderbolt (1995)as one of the main characters? Check out the video below for some old time classic!