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

Sunday, April 20, 2014

La Drive Episode 2

La Polar Opposite :)

Another La Drive video since I have been too bored xD
This is just another one of those videos that have nothing to show other than the joy of driving a performance machine in the tight winding confines of the Touge :P

Why polar opposite you say? Well it draws a comparison between a normal run of the mill Honda City and a highly strung, adrenaline inducing, tantrum prone Katyusha (ノ*゜▽゜*)

Both are machines that share the same purpose... beast of burdens to transport us from point A to point B...
But how they serve their purpose is what differentiate these 2 machines.... each on one end of the spectrum, one is an appliance while another produce excitement, awe and awesomeness to stratospheric level!! (๑>ᴗ<๑)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Track day bro!

Yes, that cool words we enthusiast like to mention around to the common mortals...
Why do you buy that car? Why do you make that car that way? Why do you do that to the car?
The common questions common mortals tend to ask and it's just a simple answer... track day bro! xD
That and if our car starts breaking down or making weird noises.... BECAUSE RACE CAR!!!! :P

The past 8th February there was a track day at our local track "Sipang" international circuit held by ignition.my... personally I don't think the track day was a reasonable rate, but then again with all the price hikes going around in our glorious country... compared to others, RM330 per session of 2 hours is possibly the most reasonably deal one can find around here... the progress of the 3rd world country FTW!! ;)

As much as I like tearing down the touge at absurd speed (well we like to think we're going at absurd speed :P), going to the track once in a while to polish our skills and sharpen our driving technique is a must if we're seriously considering on pushing the car and ourselves to the limit.
And doing it safely in the confine of the track is the best, safest and legal way without getting shout at and curses for our next 7 generations by random people >.<

So our good lady Katyusha had her first taste of the track at the ignition.my track day session, but prior to her track test I was itching to test her where she truly belongs first... the touge.
Our first shake down was at the famous Bukit Putus... since Keisuke is at his in laws in Senawang, I figured why not I pay him a visit, pick him up and head to the local touge :)
Bukit Putus is a prime example of a great touge road, since there is the main highway bypassing it, it is relatively empty, riddled with hairpins and great long corners :)
The road surface is not bad either, although Katyusha is no longer running on her Aragosta suspension, which apparently was leaking, we track her up with a Tein adjustables... which was a good choice as well :)
Uphill Katyusha just ate the corners, with a naughty oversteer on the exit... she was running like a dime on the uphill.
But apparently we found out she was understeering like a pig on the downhill, most particularly the hairpins and heavy braking corners... at first we thought her front suspension setup maybe too soft for downhill run, but then after looking up our video run we were able to pinpoint the culprit... it was US!!!! T.T

After 2 years hiatus from the touge, or any spirited driving for that matter... my skills has become rather dull...
I didn't noticed it while driving the car, but looking at it from the outside my driving style has become extremely twitchy and looks rusty as well.
The movement of the car was not fluid at all, in fact it look like I was controlling her with a keyboard o.O sudden movements here and there, no wonder the weight balance is off.
And downhill run, keeping the weight balance is of the utmost importance... so that's why she was understeering like a pig :P we were just too rough...
Another thing we found out during the shakedown was that her cooling was inefficient.... T.T
After several runs the engine and the clutch would overheat... before we were using a Mercedez Benz cooling fan, good enough to keep her cool... but it had a faulty relay (which failed when Keisuke was driving her and had a hilarious experience with the overheating 13B xD), which meant we had to change it to a cheap ebay fan T.T
Who would have thought even Zee Germans would have build quality issues :P
But I guess we're not alone in that respect like here xD

So before going for the track day I know I had better polish my driving technique again, so night after night I went with Katyusha to our old hunting ground... the Tekali Touge ;)
At first I was very intimidated by the experience of driving her at speed at pitch black twisting road... but I was only able to make 2 or 3 runs before she overheated and had to wait for her to cool down.
The 2nd night we went out to Tekali, I had more confident and the OS Giken gear box with its close gear ratios are just a perfect match for the twisty road of Tekali, we can just maintain between 3rd and 4th gear... the sweet spot for the H-pattern gear, only shifting up to 5th on the long straights.
I was 30sec faster than my first night with Katyusha and I was pushing Katyusha up to the point where she even can't finish a whole run proper... she would overheat just going through the uphill run o.O
But at least I was driving her smoothly now, I can brake her properly up to the point of standing on the brakes on the downhill run without having anymore understeer issues at corner entry... the car movement has become fluid again and I felt connected to the car again ^^
Keisuke was just still searching for his lost confidence after his disastrous experience with our old lady Kate... which I can't blame him neither do I have any advice for him other than just to continue practicing the touge run again and again until he eventually does finds his balls confidence again :P
Because he does has the skills, no doubt about that....

So it suddenly dawned on us that Katyusha might possibly not even have the cooling capabilities to even finish a single lap at "Sipang"   >.<  But it is too late to do anything by now, we wrap out our night and went off to bed with the track day on our mind...

Come 8th Feb, track day time :D
I was feeling rather confident I wasn't going to mess up anyone's track day session by running into them or spinning out of control because of my poor driving technique, those nights at the touge and countless of hours of GT6 sessions help boosting that confidence :P
We had a lap time target in mind... 2:35 was our target, which I think is quite possible given Katyusha's performance.

As usual we woke up late, have all kind of excuses to miss the safety briefing at 12:30hrs... and just made it in time at the track for the session at 13:00 hrs xD
But it was already not looking good for Katyusha, her clutch started overheating even before going out for the lap... I had to start her in 2nd gear o.O
I drove the out lap as slowly as I could while warming up the tires, and took the longest run for the main straights to try to get at least 1 decent lap time....
First corner came racing from the horizon and I braked hard just before the 100m mark, passed a Porsche Caymen at the inside and buried the throttle through the 2nd corner overtaking a Civic Type R on the exit...
So far Katyusha is behaving like a peach... her handling is sublime!
We came racing towards the 3rd corner, a 90deg right hander... I braked hard just before the 50m mark, the brake feel is also top notch... turn in and slide her out a bit at the corner exit...
Her back end feels planted going through the high speed left and right hander (I like to think it's becoz of the of OP GT wing and rear diffuser, but it might be just becoz of us using better tires :P), my right foot planted onto the floor breathing down a track ready Ford Focus...
I outbraked him coming into the double right hander, but he would not give ground and maintain the outside line... which forced me to try to maintain the tighter inside line >.<
Coming out the 2nd right hander we were abreast with the Focus, but we managed to out brake him coming to the left hairpin, which Katyusha happily kicked out her back end like signalling to the Ford Focus that he just got owned (which we like to think it was a tense battle, but most likely the Ford driver just let us amateur through bloating our own ego xD).
Unfortunately I peeked a little at the temperature gauge and it was already pointing north to the H sign... uh oh not a good sign o.O
Her little 13B rotary is already dangerously overheating, taking the next right hander I was having problem shifting her into gear as well.... her clutch was also dangerously overheated >.<

I was contemplating in my mind at the time, should I cancel this run and slow down or should I continue to press on just a little more to try to get a lap time?
Coming into the last corner before the back straight my concentration was already in a mess... should I try to drop the gear from 4th to 3rd taking the corner? My instincts tells me that I should take the corner in 3rd, but my consciousness is questioning whether is it even possible to downshift to 3rd with the overheating clutch?
I decided to try my luck taking the corner in 4th but the decision was made too slow and too late, the tight exit meant I took the corner too fast and we oversteered into the gravel at the corner exit T.T
And then the Ford Focus overtook us seeing us beached at the corner exit :P
I was just trying to hide myself into the gravel being invisible with the sheer force of will at that moment xD

Apparently because we were beached precariously close to the corner exit right after the apex, the safety car came out and the track was red flagged :P
We shut down the whole track for 2 full lap until they can pull us out of our misery xD
2 unsuspecting cars that were going full throttle despite the warning of the red lights almost ran into us because they were taking the corner at full speed :P
So much for not ruining anyone's track day session xD

Eventually we were pulled out of our shame and misery and limped back into the pits... Katyusha was overheating dangerously and spewing vapour out of her vented bonnet, we were leaving traces of our injury by dropping along all those gravel picked up by our OP rear diffuser, we couldn't even change gear and everyone had that funny look when they were looking at us when we passed them in the pits, possibly because of Katyusha's race car looks but abysmal performance so far T.T
We quietly shouted deep in the depth of our timid heart... BECAUSE RACE CAR!!!! xD

We had to eventually pushed her into the small dark corner of the pit lane out of sight of the laughing eyes because she could no longer engage any gear and had to cool her down somehow... the engine bay was so hot that the cheap ebay fan motor even stopped functioning, her radiator overflow tank cap had blown off and hot vapour was pouring out of it >.<
Eventually we were able to cool her down, the fan started again and the temperature starts dropping. By the time she was cooled and her clutch was able to engage gears again our track day session was over xD
We were quite disappointed by her cooling issues (as you can tell from the looks Keisuke has :P) we drove her home and sent her for treatment at Hau's place... which we later found out the engine overheated so badly the engine block warped, the apex seal was bend and the clutch was finished T.T
Below is the track day vid I made, we were only able to clock a time of 2:14 before I eventually spun at the last corner before the back straight T.T
I'm a FAILURE!!! T.T

I had to go for my out station work again, so Katyusha is back at the shed to be mended hopefully by the time I can get my days off again... and for Kate, although there hasn't been any progress for her lately, but this is what we have in mind for her ;)
A 12,000rpm twin Webber 13B screamer :D