Visiting manufacturers and performance shops are a big part of how we spend our time here at Turbo. We build these relationships so we can be close to the action and can be the first to hear about new products. The performance shops tell us if the new products are a piece of crap or work damn well. Our close relationships enable us to glean a general feel of the industry and future directions it might take.

When making our rounds we hear a lot of backroom chat that we can't publish. We hear rumors, diatribes against other people or products, inside deals, new product developments under wraps and other various information we have been sworn to secrecy not to spill. Sometimes it is so tempting just to gossip and tell you which import poster boy doesn't have an ounce of driving skill and which racer is racist, but alas, due to the powers that be we can't get sucked into the politics. We leave such banter to the chat rooms and forums.

We have, however, come up with an idea that we hope will be a happy medium starting with this very issue. We plan to publish a new monthly column written by an anonymous industry insider. This insider will change every month and a new individual will be able to grab the mic and spew whatever is on his or her mind. The anonymity will allow the person to say things that push the envelope more; things they couldn't say as a representative of their company/shop/race team.

We don't plan on it being a negative tirade against any particular individuals or companies, rather just an opportunity to get more true opinions out in the open. Our intent is not to have any mean-spirited flaming but rather to provide you, the readers, with some of the insider information that we hear and usually you aren't privy to.

We also are not going to get just any Joe Schmo off the street to give his opinion but rather we are going to use our connections and get folks high up in the automotive performance industry to share their two cents on the scene. The individuals that run product companies, race teams and performance shops are some highly opinionated people, le'me tell ya. They didn't get to where they are by standing on the sidelines. Always in the middle of controversy, they take risks to bring the sport compact arena to the next level. This sometimes means stepping on toes and doing things differently than the old-timer legends. Other times it means calling the bluff of their competitors.

As with any opinion editorial piece, we have to put it out there that the views expressed by our guest columnists are not endorsed nor necessarily shared by Turbo magazine or any Primedia publication. The statements are simply the opinion of the individual and he or she may indeed ruffle a few feathers. As such, you have been warned. Our premier insider speaks out:

The Sticker That Sparked A FireI recently came across a decal printed by a popular U.S.-based sport compact enthusiast magazine [Ed. Note: Not Turbo]. At the top of the decal was printed in Japanese characters "OREWA BAKANA AMERICAN JINDA" followed by "Biting the JDM style since 1996" in English and the name of the magazine underneath in big, bold letters. At first I couldn't believe what I was seeing and had to do a double take. But sure enough, I wasn't seeing things. My first reactions were shock and disbelief. Then as I started to think about the implications of the statement I became increasingly insulted and also deeply saddened at the same time.

You are probably wondering how a few words written as a poor attempt to be humorous could have such an impact. Well, let me explain. The literal translation for "OREWA BAKANA AMERICAN JINDA" is "YOU ARE A STUPID/IDIOTIC AMERICAN." Think about that statement for a second before you read on.