#BCEquipped Car of the Year Awards

#BCEquipped Car of the Year Awards

The ballot boxes were absolutely stuffed for our 2021 #BCEquipped Car of the Year awards, and the quality of the nominees was simply phenomenal. With over 500 quality builds to consider, our judges had to burn the midnight oil (and work through a considerable amount of coffee) to whittle it down to a shortlist of just twelve contenders. With the best of the best singled out for glory, we put it to the public vote over on Instagram; we had over 15,000 votes, and the winners in our six distinct categories are all thoroughly deserving. Here’s a closer look at the victors…


Road Car of the Year: Grant Butler

Grant’s purple Mk2 was the world’s first Focus RS to break into four-digit power figures, packing an eye-watering 1,010bhp – and what’s even more remarkable is that he hasn’t just done this for the sake of being able to brag in the pub about big numbers. This wasn’t built for drag racing, and it’s not flaky or fragile; Grant made this to be a devastating road car, and that’s exactly what it is. The engine is built strong for day-to-day reliability (he even gets decent fuel economy around town!), but flex that right ankle and the full force of the colossal power is unleashed, its rose-jointed BC Racing coilovers keeping the Focus firmly planted in the twisties.
The quality of the car is magnificent throughout too, it’s a real show-stopper: that House of Kolor Kandy Purple Pearl paint cost £1,400 for the materials alone, and we love that he decided to trim the seats in a hexagon style inspired by the Escort RS Cosworth, and swap out his BBS rims for a set of wheels from a Jaguar XF – some proper lateral thinking.


Show Car of the Year: Matias Mäenpää

The GR Yaris is undoubtedly the iconic hot hatch of the modern age – a car that’s guaranteed to be reverentially whispered about by future generations in the same way that 40- and 50-somethings do about the 205 GTI today. And given that it’s such a stellar package right out of the box, it takes some real chutzpah to start tearing up a GR to rebuild it in your own image… but chutzpah is something Matias Mäenpää has in spades, and what he’s created here is unquestionably one of the finest Yaris builds on the planet.
Matias’ history of modding has generally been focused along the lines of low-down stanced rides, but with this one he wanted to do something with a proper motorsport flavour. Taking that exquisite chassis to the next level with a set of BC Racing coilovers, he locked himself away in the garage over the winter to set about cutting up the metalwork and fitting the box-fresh new Pandem widebody kit. Topped off with a shouty Martelius exhaust, Volk Racing 21C wheels and an awesome custom livery, this little Toyota is a proper stunner.


Stance Car of the Year: Tom Kennedy

Of all the niche and not-so-niche trends on the global tuning scene, there’s none more gangsta than the VIP look. Known domestically as ‘bippu’ (Japanese for ‘very important person’), VIP-style originated with the Yakuza – the bosses of organised crime syndicates wanted big flashy cars, but knew that rival gangs and the police would be immediately suspicious to see them in European luxury cruisers, so instead of rolling in top-flight Beemers, Mercs or Rollers, they set about up-speccing JDM cars like the Toyota Crown and the Nissan Gloria. As time moved on and the scene evolved, today’s bippu cars are characterised by high-end wheels with loads of dish, very low ride height, huge negative camber, aggressive skirts and lips, and very glossy paint.
Tom Kennedy has absolutely nailed the look with his Lexus LS400. A rolling embodiment of the less-is-more ethos, this car is proof positive that if you pay attention to the details, the bigger picture will look after itself. Tom’s fitted BC Racing Ultra Low coilovers, adjustable Serial 9 upper control arms at either end, and a set of supremely dishy Weds Kranze Bazreia wheels. The result? Pure unadulterated gangsta vibes.


Drift Car of the Year: Ben Mears

Ben’s S14a is a real fusion of ideas, taking a desirable model and transplanting in an entirely different and equally desirable powerplant to create something unique. The S14 was the sixth-generation Nissan Silvia; the ‘kouki’ facelift in 1996 brought in an angrier looking face which makes it perfect for motorsport builds, simply because it looks kinda terrifying in your rear-view mirror. Under the bonnet we find a 2JZ, the 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six best known for its appearance in the Mk4 Toyota Supra. This turbocharged 24-valve DOHC can kick out insane power on stock internals, and Ben’s fully exploited that. The motor’s now putting out 500bhp thanks to its 1,050cc ASNU injectors, FMIC intake manifold and thick intercooler, custom exhaust manifold with full 3” system, 45mm Turbosmart external wastegate and Link FuryX ECU. All of those rampaging horses are deployed effectively courtesy of BC Racing coilovers, a Wisefab lock kit and Skyline brakes. A devastatingly capable drift weapon that just keeps on getting better and better.


Race Car of the Year: Mervyn Beckett

Mervyn’s EP3 is a real favourite among the contenders in the Civic Cup, and part of its appeal is the endearing story behind it. Mervyn grew up watching his dad racing hot rods and bangers, and he got into oval racing himself at the age of 17, buying himself a Vauxhall Nova and campaigning it at Standlake, his old man’s former stomping ground. Moving into the Stock Hatch series, he soon realised that the guys racing in the Civic Cup looked like they were having a lot of fun, so he made the lateral move and, having started his own garage business, had some funds to build a decent race Honda. So that’s exactly what he did.
The crux of the matter here is that he built the Civic himself, and Mervyn’s just as good at driving race cars as he is at building them, as his increasingly over-laden trophy cabinet attests. This is a relentlessly successful car, and we just know that Mervyn’s going to keep achieving podiums with his #BCEquipped weapon.


Track Car of the Year: Adam ‘Robbo’ Robinson

Porting is a big deal with rotary engines. It’s also something of a black art: a great way to get more power out of them is to open up the holes into the intake side of the engine itself, although the more extreme the ports are, the more lairy and tricky the motor becomes. Bridge porting involves opening out the standard ports, then adding an additional eyebrow port above – this makes the engine less smooth and louder, all of which is OK because peak power will be somewhere around 8,000rpm and, with well-chosen intake and exhaust, you’ll see an enormous power increase. All of which serves as a metaphor for Robbo’s bridge-ported RX-7 as a whole – uncompromising efforts to push the boundaries on all levels. He’s running a single Garrett T04S, massively uprated fuelling and all sorts of other tricks to unleash a very loud 470bhp. The smooth engine bay is finished in candy turquoise, while the body wears a full RE-Amemiya GT wide-arch kit, painted Audi Ibis White and adorned with untold carbon fibre bits and a crazy wrap. The interior is show-car detailed, but this is a hardcore track car at heart: BC Racing BR Series coilovers provide the fancy footwork as Robbo unleashes hell through those tortured rear tyres. An iconic build, and a very worthy winner.