Sunday, September 27, 2015

This thing about driving?

What is it that allures us to it?
Magnetize us to it?
Gravitate us to it?
Is it the speed?
The freedom?
Or just the sensation of danger?

Driving for me has always been a fascination, both safely on the road and when driving at speeds...
Especially driving at speeds...

The realm you enter when you drive at speeds, that which you cannot logically explain... like another world, just you and your car...
You and the car... the car no longer becomes just a tool, it becomes your friend, it becomes your extension, it becomes part of you.
You communicate with it, caress it, and convince it to join the journey together...
When you are in such realm... it is the most wonderful feeling in the world.

Aryton Senna seems to be very good at philosophically explaining this sensation of driving;
"That day I suddenly realized, I was no longer driving consciously and I was in a different dimension from here. The circuit for me was a tunnel which I was just going... going, going... and I realized I was well beyond my conscious understanding..."

Exploring the limits, the limits of grip, the limits of speed, especially the limit of our own limitation.
When everything 'clicks', you notice it by then... how the world around you changes, how things changes around you and the car.
You can feel your own heart beat, you can feel everything around you with uncanny clarity, you can listen to even the slightest echo of your soul.

Ari Vatanen can sums up driving pretty much poetically :
"When the driving is going really well, it flows like a dance.
I almost gets goosebumps while driving... in the same way when I'm listening to the Finlandia Hymm and getting goosebumps.
I get that same feeling while driving, when it's flowing like a dance and it almost feels like I'm not sitting in the car myself anymore, everything happens subconsciously."

Such things cannot be understood by those who never felt it, the love of the cars, the love of the character of the cars, the love of driving the cars.

In some way, for me maybe driving is just a means... a means to escape my own reality and into another world, even for just a moment....

This article is just a sudden whim of mine to try to explain this illogical issue in our lives as car enthusiast, and I know... only another car enthusiast can understand what I mean.

Beside, this is a good reason to post MOAR Group B videos :P

And a driving article would never be complete without Ari Vatanen's beautiful "Climb Dance" :)

Friday, August 7, 2015

A dangerous encounter

12th July 2015 turns out to be a night to be remembered ;)

No, we're not dead yet :P
Occasionally we do crawl out from our grave and update this dying blog and then return back to whence we came, something just refuses to die out :P

Although we have not been very active these past years, sometimes magical things happens late at night in our dreary everyday life in this banana republic blessed by unknown donors :P

Nonna is fresh out of the woodwork, with a new pumping heart and slick new looks we decided to take her out for some refreshing soul searching drive from time to time :)
Nonna sporting new front bumper to accommodate her massive new intercooler :)
The new bumper gave her a new side profile as well but still maintain the original classic lines on an RX-7 FD3S... which Keisuke prefers (convincing him to get a GT wing is proving to be quite a task xD)
Her rear remains mainly unchanged, although she does sport a new FEED exhaust :D
And she has a model to pose with her pictures too xD
(These pics are from the Time Attack event back in January where Keisuke busted her gearbox on his 2nd run... below is a short video / preview of the time attack event together with some other mumbo jumbo we've been up to xD)

So we were out and about that lonely night of the 12th, as usual we went to our normal haunts... Tekali Touge, and Nonna is proving to be quite a Touge monster, just in her 2nd time flexing in Tekali she has already cracked Katyusha's record on the trail o.O

Although Katyusha herself is still in the woodwork for major modifications, Nonna has broken her time set by 6 seconds >.<

Purpose built, street spec touge machine... even her scary stiff hard suspension has been tweaked and are more accommodating for the bumpy back roads that make up our night life :)

But the night just gets more interesting, picked up a call... another late nighter is up and about as well, brandishing his own purpose built street spec wangan weapon :)
 A 2.0 2015 Audi S5 :)
With her massive ass :)
A dangerous weapon developed by a country blessed by de-restricted Autobahn :)
Further refined to dominate its intended area :)

We met up with Hanz and his German pornstar mistress at a shady corner of KL close to the "Naughty Babe, Dirty Duck" hotel :P

Had a few chow then the street beckons, too much time has been wasted talking about ducks and off we go for some adrenaline pumping, ego bloating, death defying, mad, frenzy run to another water hole somewhere in KL :P

Audrey even though heavier and churning out less horses than Nonna, she still gives the much lighter and more powerful Nonna a mighty scare :P

Her chassis is strong enough to feel secure in her running at speeds probably a little higher than the national limit, and her suspension though stiff is still supple enough to absorb and hug the bumpy roads of DUKE highway...

As for Nonna, even though she wasn't built for these kind of sprints and out of her comfort zone she can still go like the devil.
Throughout the run I know I had a distinct advantage against Audrey when it comes to acceleration and outright speed, but at those kind of horsepower demands her turbo lag rears her ugly head...
Audrey can get a glimpse of her nose before her secondary turbine kicks in and she rockets off, so those few seconds of being off-boost from the secondary turbine feels like an eternity when we're playing at this kind of horsepower demands.
At the Touge she feels almost lag-free, we could admire and take full advantage of her twin-scroll turbo setup and double-wishbone suspension to play along the limit of adhesion... but when it comes to outright power and pace, even her twin-scroll turbo cannot match up to modern turbo spool and response.

Also, something we barely felt at the low-speed corners of the touge... the stress of high speed game shows the weakness in her chassis... her chassis wiggles and chats too much at those speed impeding our confidence in her, although she has the weight advantage and excellent brake at corner entry, mid-corner she wobbles and hesitates thus losing any advantage when it comes to the exit... being light weight and cornering machine, she still couldn't shake off the big Audrey in those high speed turns.

Once we jumped into DUKE it was all Audrey's ball game, the bumpy DUKE highway toss Nonna around too much that we felt the time she was airborne is probably equal to the time she was actually touching the road, that was an extremely scary section of the road for Nonna... her cheap suspension being too stiff and too little stroke and suppleness to creased out the undulations on the DUKE, coupled with her weaken chassis, sending ripples of protest from her back end all the way to the front giving me vivid premonitions of consequences should I hit my talent wall at those kind of break neck speed... 
The result, giving Audrey her chance to be all over Nonna's rear end with reservation.
But that opportunity also gave us the chance to capture impressive videos at that mad moments :)
Enjoy and hopefully later on Katyusha may join the fray as well :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Introducing Nonna :)

This is no news anymore, well to us anyways since we've been having her since June but we were to lazy to update anything on this blog xD
But here's the big news... we have ourselves a new Battle Gear :D
She's a mid-model Efini, Type-R Special Edition :D

Keisuke has aptly named her Nonna, in conjunction with me naming our FC Katyusha :P
Nonna, the cool headed 2nd-in-command of the Pravda High :P

But enough with our naming weirdness... now back to the car....
So how does Nonna feels from Katyusha?
It seems the Mazda bloke has done a very impressive job on improving their generation car, Nonna (the FD3S) feels like it has improved from Katyusha (the FC3S :P) in every possible department.
The appearance department certainly something that looks like it came from the future... and this is from 1992 o.O

My first impression driving Nonna, I thought she had a longer wheel base than Katyusha... but a look up wikipedia proves other wise :P
Here's a quick stats between these 2 generation RX-7 :
Although Katyusha has been extensively modified but that does not change her basic characteristic.
Katyusha has gone through corner weight balancing and her total weight is almost 100kg lighter than stock (Well according to wikipedia that is :P)
Katyusha in her latest incarnation :)

So there is a fundamental difference in driving feel between these 2 generation cars, to put it more simply (and since I lack the literary skill to expressively convey the feelings) lets just put them in numbers.
In a scale of 1 to 10 of how close we are driving to the limit, driving Katyusha feels like 5..6..7..8..11!!..9..10..8..7.. 
Katyusha can easily get nervous approaching the limit, and when she does we have to quickly catch her rein to keep her in line.
Even with the new tires and all the suspension and handling mods my wallet (which is very shallow T.T) can get her basic characteristics does not change.

Compared with Nonna, the sense of driving her is like 5...6..7...8...9...10...10...10...10...9..8...7...
The sensation and feedback is very progressive, and the FD is a car that enjoys to be driven on the limit and it feels comfortable on the limit :)
Paired together with the smooth twin-scroll turbo chargers she is such a beauty to be driven, truly a driver's car :)
Metaphorically their handling characteristic is very similar to their appearance, the FC is rather boxy and angular... the driving character is thus, very rapid and up to the point.
While the FD is very smooth with lustrous curves... the driving character is exactly as that, like you are dancing with a very elegant lady :)
Keisuke is insisting to keep her stock, and also keeping her normal looks as he preferred the stock look compared to the gaudy-in-your-face racer looks of Katyusha xD

The only drawback I can think of comparing Katyusha to Nonna is her rather cramp interior, but considering these machines are not any daily driver but a through and true driver's car that does not count :P

Will I prefer an FD over the FC after this? Hell NO! xD
I still love my Katyusha, and I always prefer the old school look of the late 80s car compared to the newer cars... this was an era at the threshold of change, between the old and the new... at the apex of their time :)

But Nonna as being new to us is still quite a long way from being properly ready for the Touge and track abuse (which I doubt Keisuke will be willing to track her), she does have a few outstanding issues we will need to sort out first.
Mainly her cooling issues, being in Malaysia, heat is the mortal enemy of any Rotary enthusiast... with the stock hood, there is not enough escape vent to properly cool down the engine bay.
Although Keisuke wants her stock, her suspension is not though... she is currently riding on a set of Kei-Office suspension, which is very harsh indeed.
Driven on the limit, the suspension set doesn't feel as hard as Katyusha's Aragosta setup... but there is almost no damping feel coming from it... every small recesses on the road feels like you've just hit a brick wall >.<
This suspension is probably meant mainly for track use with no street use in mind :P
And lastly her brakes, maybe she's wearing old brake pads but her current brake setup is not good enough to last the touge heat, it feels fake, and it fades rather quickly >.<

Once we got these issues sorted out, and Katyusha getting her electrical issue cleared up we can start having some proper touge battles between these 2 generation of cars :)

Below is the video of our first impression of driving Nonna, which was back in July but only now did I found the time to edit the vid :P
Also the return of the caption guy xD

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The great Malaysian dream xD

Well we've finally done it, last April we participated in our very first Time Attack event outside of our imaginary world (/・・)ノ
The Zero To Hundred Time To Attack at our very own 'Sipang' international circuit ♪(┌・。・)┌

As usual our morning start late.... quite late, that we almost missed the registration time (*/∇\*)
But fate would have us participate it so... whether its a good thing or bad, we still don't have a clue...

I was still suffering from jet lag, Keisuke still had to do his Sugar Rush Deliveries and Katyusha is still suffering with some kind of electrical gremlin that just shorted her Twin Spark relay, right after her Dyno test o.O as well as some other light bulbs with it xD
Katyusha at the dyno....
Due to that electrical gremlin, most of the time just standing there looking pretty :P
 As usual with any dyno shop, you're bound to run into very cool cars :D
A black and white R34, why? Becoz Race Car!!!! xD

And her clutch was still suffering from heat strokes now and then as well, so with only one evening left before the time attack, we quickly send her over to our friendly neighborhood mechanic Hau to have her clutch system checked.
Her clutch pump being cleaned, although weirdly he seems to be enjoying himself doing it :P
The clutch pump dissembled and had its fluid and piston changed as well
And while we're at it, the brake fluid was changed out as well to new Mu performance brake fluids ;)

Hau and the geng was also preparing their demo car for the upcoming Time Attack event, although they did nothing to the engine and suspensions, but they were to test out the black art of aerodynamics (^~^)
The front under panel
With its massive front splitter :)
 Wheel well exits
And an all-home made rear diffuser xD
This is the final product >)
With new liveries ;)
And she is still street legal, all her interiors and carpets are still intact.... so still legit xD
As for our champ, after his previous time attack event he blew his engine... so its now having a new heart ;)
But unfortunately, during the morning track day session he blew off his turbo :(
So this monster FD was unable to participate in the time attack T.T

As usual, Amazing Garage joined the time attack together with Wing Hin Motorsport and ProArt, but Wing Hin is only fielding its time attack FT86 this time ;)
While ProArt fields their monster Volkswagen Golf R, 400hp, 4 wheel drive with a brake system as expensive as a Toyota Vios even with discount xD
This monster dominated its category with William Ho at its helm, producing a class winning lap of 2:27.063, 3 seconds ahead of its nearest rival ;)

Unfortunately the Time Attack category is very competitive this time around, with the FT86 only coming in second in its class 2200cc and below with a time of 2:33.134, almost 3 second short of the class leader a Honda Civic FD2-R....

As for our SuperStar Amazing Garage demo car, things in the morning were looking grim as well, during the morning track day session her air intake fell off and got caught with the beltings, which literally destroyed its beltings and the air filter...
 Hau and the crew had to make a last minute overhaul for all its beltings and install new air intake filter while we just slack off and take pretty pictures :P
But when her session is up, Kenny Lee (the OP driver xD) waste no time in producing the class winning lap of 2:22.328.
Although she was not as dominant as last year, but it was enough to secure the win from the GME Racing Honda Civic EK9 Turbo that produce a time of 2:23.798.

As is the tradition with the ZtH Time Attack, GTRs and supercars are aplenty ;)
 The fastest GTR of the day produces an amazing laptime of 2:17.653, but it was still not enough to beat the ST Powered EVO 9 that produces a stunning time of 2:16.297....
With 800hp on tap, the EVO9 must be using lab rats to spool its turbos to produce that kind of lap time xD
I have no idea why these military camouflage seems to be all the rage with the GTRs this year...
 Mind you, some of them do look.... OK...
But some are just.... for lack of better words... downright ugly >.<
But there are still GTRs there with some common sense of beauty :D
The McLaren MC12... the product of a failed F1 program, since McLaren no longer really perform in F1 they have dedicated their attention in producing stunning road cars xD
Ferraris are always stunning, even not in their traditional blood red colour :D
With this kind of beauty in the back, I'd say... "TAKE ALL THE POLAR BEARS YOU NEED!!!!" xD
Some rotaries were there as well other than us and Amazing Garage :)
The R32 GTR seems to be aging very nicely indeed, sadly he does not participate in the time attack but were there only for the morning track day, but still... a GTR is never a sour sight :)

But enough babbling about others at the event, the burning question was how was our time attack event? xD
Well I can't say it went very well from the beginning :P
I was unable to find a Shell pump station that sell their venerated V-Power Racing, so we had to manually fill her up from the extra stock we had on track xD
With our superior sticker technique, Katyusha was looking rather ready for the time attack xD
Notice that nice looking Prince Lubricant sticker? :P
But anyway, to cut it short... we weren't really confident of doing well at all xD
All I was hoping of was to end the day in one piece, after our disastrous track day outing last February, my confidence in bringing her home for at least 1 flying lap was shattered....
The first session ended badly, I noticed the car was skating on the track... she literally had no grip o.O
After a quick check, we found out her tire was over pressurize when it is heated up... about north of 50 psi >.<
We deflated her tires while she is still hot and waited patiently, praying the weather will hold for our 2nd session o.O
On the 2nd session I was becoming rather comfortable with Katyusha around the track, but then again... the tires being almost 1 year old can't produce the same amount of grip we enjoyed last time around... and only after 2 flying laps even Katyusha was suffering from heart burn (engine temp problem) :P
With some squid defensive tactic at the corner entry (producing enough tire smoke to scare off all em fast Evos xD) I was able to produce, a half-decent lap time of 2:46.192.... the only consolation is that we're not dead last in our category xD

I'm getting lazy to continue my narrative report of the Malaysian Dream anyway, so below is a short vid of how our day was.... just don't mind the caption guy, he's just being mean xD