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ONT pinch me, please, because I don't want to wake up... Growing up in the pre-lnternet era and in the somewhat isolated world of small-town South Africa, I found my escape, inspiration and motivation in the pages of CAR magazine. By absorbing the words of legendary CAR scribes such as Dave Pollock, John Wright, Mike Monk, Stuart Johnston and my predecessor, John Bentley, I not only became familiar with the English language, but also travelled to the far corners of the globe, zapped to-and-fro through time and, most importantly, was left with great admiration for the world of the automobile and the men and machines that have made - and continue to make - it the fascinating place that it is. CAR magazine has been a part of this country's automotive landscape since 1957 and its continued success can be attributed to the dedication of generations of passionate motoring scribes. It can, however, never be taken for granted and I know that I have big shoes to fill. So, to take over the reigns (or should that be steering wheel?) of this prestigious publication is therefore a special honour, and an incredibly humbling experience. We say goodbye to CAR'S sixth editor, John Bentley, on page 27.

To my esteemed predecessors and CAR'S loyal readers, I want to emphasise that the core of what makes this magazine great will remain. Nevertheless, recent research has suggested a few changes, some of which you will notice in this issue, and more will be phased-in over the coming months. I know I can trust on CAR's readers to let me know what they think of this evolution.

In many ways I was in the very fortunate position of starting my stint as editor with a bang, for this is, after all, the January Performance issue. And what a Shootout we have lined up for you... Featuring ten of the hottest performance cars, a pair of racecars and an internationally-acclaimed driver who calls a spade a spade, I have no doubt it's not only our most exciting, but also most controversial Shootout ever. For all the action, take a deep breath and flip to page 38. By the way, this massively ambitious event would not have been possible without the support of our sponsor, Bridgestone.Thanks guys!

If you're left craving even more Shootout content, then log onto CARmag.co.za for loads of wallpapers, exhaust tones, blogsand galleries. In fact, logon to CARmag.co.za anyway, because a "facelifted" and improved version of our rapidly growing site went live late-November. And if you're one of the lucky ones who received an ¡Pad in their Christmas stocking, log on to Zinio.com and download CAR for viewing in full HD splendour.

Finally, the CAR team wishes all its readers a fun and relaxing festive season, and a very prosperous NewYear. Remember to buckle up and drive safe!

Stay in touch by following me on Twitter (hanneso carmag)

The CAR team, including one Sabine Schmitz, wishes you ali the best for 2011.

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