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Automotive journalists get behind the wheel at AJAC TestFest in Bowmanville

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WATCH ABOVE: Automotive journalists from coast to coast are in Durham this week reviewing some of the new 2019 vehicles. The Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville has become a go-to spot for TestFest. As Aaron Streck reports, there are many things about the facility that makes it an easy choice – Oct 25, 2018

Automotive journalists from coast to coast are in Durham this week to review several new 2019 vehicles.

The Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ont., will once again host AJAC TestFest, an annual event put on by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada.

Automotive journalist Richard Russell has spent more than 40 years travelling all over the country to review cars.

“It’s just an interest in automobiles and trying to explain to people about automobiles and different aspects, from technical to the joy of driving,” said Russell.

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This week, Russell, a Halifax native, is one of about 100 automotive journalists who are in Bowmanville for TestFest.

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This is the fourth year Canadian Tire Motorsport Park has been used as a test site for vehicles.

“We have everything we need here, plus outside this particular track, we have all the roads, various surfaces, scenery — just a great part of the country,” said Russell.

“Racetrack facilities, the off-road course, these are things, as journalists, we don’t necessarily have access to throughout the rest of the year,” said Stephanie Wallcraft, vice-president of the Automobile Journalist Association of Canada.

Over the three-day TestFest, drivers do just that — put vehicles through the paces.

Russell says he has certain things he looks for during a test drive.

“Everything from performance, appearance is a small part of it, but NVH — noise, vibration, harshness — and the various things of owning a vehicle,” said Russell.

“Try to get that through to the consumer, and there maybe only a 0.5 difference, but I may put more emphasis on noise or silence, somebody else may be more interested in how quiet it rides,” he added.

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At the end of the day, it really is a competition between automakers.

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“It’s a great opportunity to showcase how our product stacks up against the perceived best in the industry, and through this testing process the consumer can truly rely on the results and say that the car that is a winner in a given category is truly deserving of their hard-earned money,” said Genesis Motors Canada product strategy manager Patrick Danielson.

The information gathered by journalists in Bowmanville will help determine the 2019 Canadian Car and Utility Vehicle of the year, which will be announced mid-February at the Toronto Auto Show.

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