Last weekend was the running of the inaugural World Time Attack Challenge at Eastern Creek Raceway (Friday 21 May - Saturday 22 May 2010), just west of Sydney, Australia. It was put on by the same crew that has done Super Lap Time Attack series over the last couple of years, but this time inviting competitors from around the world to come and pit themselves against the best from Australia and each other - all up over 90 entrants. The lead up to the event had a number of big hitters set to come down here, but unfortunately there was some attrition that took place. Given the logistics of bringing a car, supporting equipment and crew overseas and on the somewhat limited budgets of the teams, it was not unexpected, as least from my point of view. Having said that, those internationl players that did turn up, pushed hard and came away winners.
In those travelling from overseas were four cars from Japan, and 1 car from the United States. Japan being where many see as roots of Time Attack (placed fair and square at Tsukuba) we had the Cyber Evo Mitsubishi Evolution IV (driven by Eiji “Tarzan” Yamada), the Tomei/Cusco Subaru Impreza WRX STI (again driven by Eiji “Tarzan” Yamada), the Pan Speed Racing Mazda RX-7 FD3S (driven by Kouta Sasaki) and the Pro Staff R-Magic Mazda RX-7 FD3S (driven by Kinoshita Mitsuhiro). The lone gun from the United States was none other than the Sierra Sierra Enterprises Cosworth Mitsubishi Evolution VIII (driven by David Empringham), having recently beaten the long standing HKS CT230R Evo's record time at Buttonwillow Raceway with a 1:43.43, just nine-tenths quicker than the CT230R.
Being in Perth, the journey to WTAC 2010 started early on Thursday morning with a 4 hr flight to Sydney, jumping into a hire car and tackling for the first time the freeways and toll booths out to our hotel in Blacktown, about 5 minutes drive from the track. Friday had us out at the track nice and early (if not a little seedy from the shenanigans the night before). My overall impression of the event is one that was very well run, with the best trade section I've seen at such and event and a good selection of cars out in the show and shine section too. Being able to get up and close to the back of the pit garages was great, probably something the Japanese can't do at say their Time Attack events which are generally closed to the public. Know this was the first day, I wasn't expecting a great deal in regards to times, as there was still all of Saturday to bang some fast laps in, but gave us all a good chance to take a peek at the teams doing their hard work and see what was available in the trade stalls.
Here's the 1st days pics, note that I'm putting these up in fairly high resolution (1280x960) so you can get a better glimpse at the goings on.
The Advan/Hi Octane Nissan R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R was hyped considerably before the event with plenty of news and the occasional video released showing it go through its shadedown paces. Unfortunately the weekend would see it plagued with problems that would keep it from running to its full potential. Hopefully next year, with much more track testing under its belt, we'll see this monster pushing it to the limit.
The Pan Speed Mazda RX-7 was a consistent performer throughout the weekend, not to mention an absolutely stunning piece of automotive engineering who's presentation was a standout on the weekend second only to the R Magic Mazda RX-7.
The Advan/Hi Octane GT-R coming back into the pits after 1 lap out, this would be a common site for this car which the team did the hard yards troubleshooting the running problems.
This strange looking snake piece is the roof trim from the Cyber Evo, ripped off at high speed down the long Eastern Creek pit lane straight. It just goes to show what sort of speed Tarzan was doing.
The Option film crew was on hand to document the efforts of the Japanese drivers (as well as the others), here seen doing a quick interview with Eiji “Tarzan” Yamada in the Tomei/Cusco Subaru Impreza WRX STI in what I recall was the first session out.
David Empringham in the Sierra Sierra Enterprise is seen here being pushed back into the pit garage after a quick practice session, and I assume still in shakedown/tuning/setup mode.
There were some really nice Mazda FD RX7's out there, one being this black example from Rama Racing driven by Brad Trenwith, and wearing a beautiful widebody kit from Bodyform. The sister car from Rama Racing was a Silver example, both the cars wrapped in vinyl by D&S Auto.
The immaculately turned out Pro Staff R-Magic Mazda RX-7 FD3S driven by Kinoshita Mitsuhiro trundling down pit lane after a couple of practice laps. This and the Pan Speed car were two of the best detailed race cars I've seen, certainly not '12-foot' cars by any stretch (a '12-foot' car is one that looks great from distances 12 feet or more away, any closer and you start to see blemishes).
This is the Prep'd Motorsport Lotus Exige GT3 driven by Warren Luff (a YouTube video of a full attack on Eastern Creek). There was a little bit of controversy about the fact this was a GT3 prepped racecar and it being allowed to race against what are essentially modified street cars, but considering the essentially 'no rules' type of modifications that have been done to the other cars, I thought there was a bit of a overhype on the issue. The more the merrier I reckon.
Tarzan brings the Tomei/Cusco WRX back in after a couple of laps. Again, as with the other Japanese cars, this was an immaculately turned out vehicle. It even turned up on the Autosalon circuit throughout Australia after WTAC.
A rear view of the Rama Racing Mazda RX7. The Bodyform widebody kit really is a nicely put together and design kit with the front guards and side skirts really lending their design from the FD race cars to an extent. And although that rear wing puts a Hills Hoist to shame, it doesn't look out of place given the tool that this car is.
This is a mix of the Motor Magazine Open Class and Yokohama Advan Clubsprint Class entrants lining up for practice. Considering there was over 90 entrants, the variety of different makes and models made for some great spectating and trainspotting.
Being an S13 chassis owner, I was really pleased to see Wayne Sutton in his Nissan S13 180SX Type-X. For what is essentially a late 80's designed chassis (first S13 appeared in 1988), it did extremely well in its class (Motor Magazine Open Class) even beating some of the times set in the Wynn's Pro Class. Not to mention it was immaculate too, with a widebody bodykit and all the essential time attack appendages. Just wish I'd managed to get some better photos (more photos I found on NissanSilvia.com).
As well as the on-track action, there was plenty in the pit paddock to keep any automotive enthusiast happy, from club displays to drift cars, aftermarket parts stalls and shop displays. One car that did catch my eye was this white Nissan S15 200SX/Silvia. The engine bay was immaculate and very well thought out. One item that did peak my interest especially was the placement and piping configuration for the GReddy Type-R Blow-off Valve, an item that I run on SILLBEER, and the cold air box that's been setup to keep initial intake temperatures down.
A close up shows the intricate piping configuration. Present in this pic are the GReddy Type-R Blow-off valve, which has a short return/plumb back into the intake pipe (seen with the K&N Air Filter). Interestingly it's still running the original plastic power steering reservoir. I'm not entirely sure what the tank is behind the power steering reservoir, but the black teflon braided line comes from the cam cover (see above overall photo) and is going to a custom breather can, which itself also vents back into the intake rather than venting to atmosphere keeping this package very much within the Australian ADR engineering guidelines and apart from the aftermarket parts, essentially a factory configuration. Bloody beautiful work whoever you are.
Another item that caught my attention, being another SR20 engine, was this one with an SR20VE/T head conversion. The heads come from either the SR20VE in the Nissan Primera or the SR20VET in the JDM Nissan X-Trail GT and house Nissan's Neo VVL (Variable Valve LIft) - see more on the SR16VE/SR20VE/SR20VET. The conversion allows for greater revs and superior response given a larger than stock turbo.
Well that brings me to the end of the Day one wrap-up. It was a top day, and on the Friday night we headed out and interacted with the locals, with some interesting social interaction witnessed at a local super pub (super because of the 3000 people capacity). There's plenty more to come.
At the beginning of the week I was told that AFARCC were having a track day up at Barbagallo Raceway. I was also told that I should be there to have a go, so I did. It would be my first time on a full race track in SILLBEER and was really looking forward to pushing it hard...which I did all day.
Before we started there was a little time before my group was to run on the track so I thought I'd check to see how much the car weighed. Now this was done with about 3/4 fuel in the tank and without me in the car...the result was 1313.5kg (2896 pounds). This isn't bad considering it has the full stereo still in there and all the Dynamat.
And then it was time for some hurt. My first time out in the morning didn't go too badly, running the short track. I did spin once on the left hander up the hill, just a little bit too much (was running in 3rd gear at the time so there was plenty of speed in it too).
Unfortunately part way through my second session, there was a tell tale PFFFT and I knew that a cooler hose had slipped off or split. Bugger! It turned out to be the rubber hose (the only rubber hose in the intake system...go figure) coming from the compressor housing. It runs right up next to the exhaust manifold and from the looks of the split it's been a long time coming. This was followed by a manic trip around all the local auto stores in the area trying to find something that would suit as it was a 2.5" (?) hose with a 135 degree bend. I did find something eventually at Supercheap Auto (of all places) in blue silicon which I cut down to fit.
Back at the track, the pipes were all plumbed back in and we were on our way again for the afternoon...along with a switch to the long track. The session just after lunch Jeff Ash from C-Red was in the same group as me and he was in the hunt. Tucked up in a 500hp R33 GT-R running pretty crappy tyres, he peddled hard to catch up. Many laps I saw him close in only to manage to pull away exiting the corners...and seeing not the front, but the side of the GT-R as Jeff did his best to keep all fours drifting out from the apex. After 5 or so laps, he finally got onto my tail, and I let him pass before the final corner. See a succession of pics below:
And finally parked up, you can see the grins from Jeff and I as we talked over what we'd just been up to.
The rest of the afternoon was a hoot...until about 3.30pm when things turned for the worst. The long track at Barbagallo is pretty punishing affair with WOT using for about 90% of the track. The straight down the hill I was managing about 190km/h at the top of fourth before hammering the brakes and backing down through the gears. It was at one of these points coming into the final turn that one of the S13's achilles heels reared it's ugly head. The clutch fork release pivot snapped (confirmed later) and the day was over. I had enough momentum left to put it in neutral and coast into the pits.
It was probably a good thing anyway, as temps were getting warm again and after lifting the bonnet, there was quite a bit of oil on the intake side. We think it was from the oil cooler sandwich block seal failing under the conditions. Luckily someone had already called a tow truck (our friendly neighbourhood Gerrin from Anytime Towing) which they then no longer needed so I then had a way to get home.
Many thanks to Gerrin for getting the car and I home safely.
All in all though they day was bloody great and I look forward to getting the car back out on the track again soon.
UPDATE: In all the excitement I forgot to mention how good it was to drive! In one word...brilliant. The handling setup was nice and sharp, with good turn in but with so much grip in the rear I had to be on the ball ready to catch it. The brakes never had a problem all day with the killer B's performing flawlessly. The only downside was the engine dropping a cylinder or two if I took it too close to redline and taking a good 3-4 seconds to clear up again, thus the reason for the head change. Needless to say I had a grin on my mug for a week afterwards even with the release pivot failure.
Earlier this month, SilviaWA had another day out at the AHG Driver Training Centre near Perth International Airport. I wasn't originally going to enter as my clutch was beginning to slip (more on this later), but a spot came up on the Friday for the event on Sunday so I jumped at the chance and said "to hell with the clutch!".
My Dad came down to watch so I handed over the camera to him to take some pics and a video too.
A few things on the video:
you can hear the clutch slipping from the outset as I head off through the centre
that was my first ever handbrake turn in an event, pretty proud of the results
car has had suspension tweaked since last event and was so much easier to place wherever I wanted on the track
So, I have no idea why my clutch is slipping. A quick recall on the clutch - it's an OS Giken STR2CD twin-plate. It's been in and driven almost daily for about 12mths, for all intents and purposes, it shouldn't be slipping. First noticed under max load - ie. all passengers, on the freeway in 4th hit boost and there it went slipping (and shuddering). It's progressively gotten worse, so when the head gets done in a couple of weeks we'll look into the clutch and rebuild with new plates if necessary (more than likely from the sounds/feel of it).
Another thing to note were the brakes. Basically they're phenomenal...once they're up to temperature. The combo of R33 GT-R Brembo's, Nismo pads, DBA4000 slotted rotors, braided lines and the correctly matched R32 GT-R N1 (non-abs) brake master cylinder are just brilliant. If there was something to pick, it would be there's a smidge much rear bias, but really can't complain. The new suspension tweaks also allowed me to hit the picks harder too without the previous lockups.
Damn, didn't realise it's been so long since my last post. Well, simple reason is I've been busy. Not with the car unfortunately, but work and life in general.
The car though has been used on a daily basis for to and from work duties, and the occasional weekend outing. Even some family transport duties thrown in for good measure, although only when there's four of us (I have three kids, but only two can fit in the back at one time).
Last October, we had the Powercruise come to Perth for the first time. Different to Motorvation, which is more a show and shine with a bit of cruising up and down the drag strip and around the car park, Powercruise is two days of watching the Power skids, and taking you car out onto a race circuit with 20-30 other cars. Racing per se isn't allowed, but it was fun nonetheless. The majority of the those in the event were V8's, many of which had 300+ horsepower, problem was though was having to wait for them to go around a corner. They mostly had no brakes, and suspension setup for drag racing or straight line work. Very frustrating when your car has power, brakes and handling. So I, and others with a similar setup, spent our time weaving around the traffic in a safe manner. At one point I took a died in the wool V8 lover for a drive, and he was amazed at the handling and braking on the car, and it wasn't too shabby when it came time to going in a straight line either. Will definitely be doing it again this year and hope the same guy I was following around in the Commodore ute is there again, we had great fun dicing around the track together.
Now, there has been problems since the car has been on the road with regard to response, which was mentioned back in September after the time out on the skid pan doing a motorkhana. Well, I took it into Sean at Allstar for him to take a look at it on the dyno and basic diagnosis was that either a lifter was sticking, or the heat at high revs was causing the valve to get pinched and stay open. After further conversations with Marc, Josh and Boney over at C-Red, it was decided that a head replacement could be the best solution...but why? Well the head that was used way back then was taken from the block that it sits on, it was ported already so seemed to be logical. It was then sent off to get a full service, but the problem we now have deduced is because it may have already been serviced a couple of times, too much meat had now been taken out of the heads and specifically the valve seats (note this is basically my understanding). As there's now less meat on the seat, the valve sits up in the head too far, and having used way undersized shims, the rockers are now also sitting at an angle they're not really meant to. This would explain why changing the adjustable cams gears during the tuning process didn't make too much of a difference.
What now you say, well during November and December I found and bought a head from Donny at Street Forced Performance in Melbourne. The head has already had porting work undertaken among other stuff. It's now been sitting at C-Red for a couple of months, but finding a time (and cash) to now get the change over done is the problem. I'm now working for myself, which means time off means money I'm not making...and I don't need to tell anyone what takes precedence at the moment.
So, that's where the cars at. There's a few paint problems starting to rear its head now the car has been on the road including some massive ones on the rear bumper where the old bog that was put on it before I started is cracking under the paint. Car still looks a million bucks, and for something that was taken off the road and rebuilt in such a way, it's had relatively minimal problems. Have another day at AHG on Sunday, so hopefully get some pics up from that too very soon.
Back at the end of August, SilviaWA had a 'Driver Training' afternoon at the AHG Driver Training Centre out near Perth International Airport. Although they have a short circuit, this event takes place on one of their large skid pans with the addition of a set of cones laid out in a pre-defined course. There were about 15 people taking part in the afternoon and I took along a video camera to capture some of the event. The tricky part of this type of driving is remembering the course you need to take, and thinking ahead a couple of corners so that you set the car up on the right part of the track to make the best time. Check out the video below:
This being the first time the car has been really pushed hard, it showed up a few problems in both engine tune and suspension. With regard to the engine tune, whenever I took it close to or up to redline (which was very often), then next gear change or off throttle would cause a dropped cylinder and time is lost from having to wait for it to clear up again. This also caused problems on the end corners as the engine wanted to stall leading to compression lock-ups and the back end coming around a little more than expected. This will be looked at soon though by doing some additional tuning off the dyno and on the road.
For the suspension, I was still really running the settings I put in to get the car on the road, so it was expected that it would need some tweaking. The rear especially was wanting to come around too quickly considering the amount of rubber. I put this down to the +0 camber that was setup originally leading to the rear tyres rolling a bit too much up onto the side walls. Since the event, I've taken it to John Fowler and his colleague Bob at Wheels World in Osborne Park for a proper dial in. With the instructions of intent being most daily driving with occasional track sessions, the results were pretty good. With daily driving feeling a lot more confident and refined, and when pushed where I could, the rear staying in check really nicely.
The brakes on the car performed really really well, with the only problems being me being a little overzealous when heading into some of the corners causing slight lockups. Braking into the garage though, I could really step on them hard and the car pulled up perfectly. The Nismo pads that are running really work best once warmed up.
Next track outing will be an unofficial one at Powercruise coming up in October. Really looking forward to that followed by a full track attack and possibly some drag strip time if I can get the tune sorted.
So I've had this helmet for a while now, but when I bought it it only had the clear visor/lens on it. Now most will probably recognise this helmet as the one the 'The Stig' wears on Top Gear...it being a Simpson Super Bandit. Unfortunately the clear lens just didn't cut it and wearing sunglasses under it has at times been uncomfortable so I finally got off my arse and ordered the tinted lens.
Go Gear in Mt Hawthorn were good enough to order it in nice and promptly so I now have a full 'Stig' version of the helmet. Looks freakin awesome if you ask me.
I can't stop looking at this engine. It just looks mint. The red ceramic coating on the rocker cover, with the contrasting coilpack cover in wrinkle black is a combo I'm yet to see. This is the engine as it was last Saturday morning, with just some new stainless screws to be put in to replace the steel ones in the coilpack cover and the fuel injector caps. And for a bit of Dally humour, he's fitted up a small plaque (see pic below) that pays homage to the SR20's beginnings as a diesel truck motor. All the pulley's and belts have all been fitted up - I think all being custom ordered according to the new lengths required by the downsized pulleys.
Now with the upcoming SilviaWA track day (or skid pan day) coming up tomorrow, I had to install my HPI harness into the Sigma as the original belts don't lock unless you really put the anchors on. So last Saturday, Greg helped (read did 99% of the work) put the harness into the Sigma. These belts are just beautiful, and are available through C-Red for $400...not bad for full FIA spec harnesses. I still have a second one to come, which will be setup for each in/out attachment in Sillbeer.
For those interested, I have fitted a set of seats from a Mitsubishi FTO into the Sigma as the original seats were completely shagged (as attested by my back giving me grief). They're actually very close in shape to GT-R seats, just a little more sectioned on the side and thigh bolsters. No work will be done on Sillbeer tomorrow morning as I need to fit new tyres up to the Sigma and do a minor service ready for a bit a thrashing in the afternoon!
PS> Also just made an update the 'The Plan' based on recent changes.