Joon Maeng debuted his new LS2 powered S13 at the Las Vegas Formula D this weekend. We just finished building the new car over the last month and a half. Joon lost his ride in the Nitto Tire RX8 with Ron Bergenholz just before the Seattle Formula D round.
Joon had a S13 bare shell in the wings waiting and all the guys at RRE chipped in with some serious long all nighters to get the new car built and running.
Lucas Oil and American Real TV have always been a personal sponsor of Joon. They both are really helping to get Joon to the last two races of the FD championship this year.
The S13 is wrapped with one side as Lucas Oil
And the other as American Real TV.
After being let go from Bergenholtz Racing, Joon Maeng decided to continue as a privateer in the Lucas Oil/Nitto Tires V8 S13 240SX. This car was a plain 240SX body shell that was built into the LS2 V8 beast you see here in just over a month and a half.
Nitto Tire, Sam’s Auto Land, Parts Shop Max, Feal Suspension, Westech Performance, ACT and many, many other companies stepped in to help Joon make this happen.
With some final suspension adjustments Joon qualified 12th Friday night with a clean 82 point run. With the new course layout it was a night of big upsets.
RRE mechanic Lod Tongkul is Joon’s crew chief and RRE fabricator Art Thavilyati (more…)
Jen got her Suzuki Swift all patched up after the roll at the Gorman Ridge Rally last month. The car headed out of here and off to Arizona last Thursday.
She finished 2nd place in Performance Stock for the Friday night rally. On Saturday she had to deal with a blown rear strut but here competition for the championship John Black in the Ford Ranger had more problems. She ended up with 1st place in P-Stock on Saturday and enough points to get the Performance Stock California Rally Series Championship. Congratulations Jen!
This is what got me into AWD turbo cars… fixing bent rally cars. Bent rally cars led to AWD Eclipses which led to EVOs and the rest is history.
But bent rally cars still follow me around.
This is Jen Imai’s Suzuki Swift GT with Terry “Tear Dawg” Stonecipher as navigator. Jen rallys her Swift in Performance Stock and is leading the championship in points this year. (more…)
Ed is a good guy. I have gotten to spend some time with him over the last few months for NASA. He is the perfect garage mate. He doesn’t talk to you too much and takes care of business. He also has the coolest dad ever. The last time I ran NASA was in June. Ed wasn’t driving but he came out anyways and did a ride along in my EVO. Then, he drove my EVO, which scared the crap out of me. There is nothing like having a real race car driver drive your daily driver around the track in anger to freak you out and show you how slow you are. I thought I was kicking some imaginary ass in HPDE but ED is really the one killing it!! I can’t wait to have more good times with Ed out on the track this year in NASA. You should come out too!! [nasaproracing.com]
More on ED Nazarian after the break
MotoIQ just posted a great interview with JOON MAENG.
Before getting in to that however, I have to say, all that stuff you hear about Joon is true. I got the chance recently to hang out with Joon over the weekend at Redline Time Attack when RRE was out supporting his S13 for the event July 2-3 at Big Willow. Joon and I shared a hotel room, so we hung out a bit on and off the track. After careful study of Mr. Maeng, I have to say, he is just as cool as the media describes him as. The guy has a magnetic personality and he is just golden to be around even when his car was overheating in the 112 degree heat (that translates to something like 10000000 degrees on the track). Joon took the whole weekend in stride, the ups the downs and even me, snoring while he was trying to get some sleep. It was a great weekend and I hope to get the chance to hang out with the RRE crew and Joon again soon!!
Also, The fact that Joon is the first Korean American pro drifter is no joke in the Korean community. Koreans take stuff like that seriously and the community is behind this guy with their love and support!! There is a minidoc on this here:
….enough said… Here is the interview. Don’t forget to check out MotoIQ!! Their site is worth at least a day wasted in the office at your cubicle monitor!! ALSO, I changed ALL the pictures on here, so the MotoIQ story will have pics. of Joon in his beastly RX-8.
new video of a picture or two I took at RTA the weekend of July 2-3, 2011 at BIG WILLOW.
OMGWTF? RRE Works on Miatas?
Mike @ RRE tuned the AEM EMS Series 2 ECU on Jeff Abbott’s FD Miata. It is not only DSMs and EVOs all day every day. There are some weird things going on at RRE like JOON MAENG’S S13 and JEFF ABBOTT’S Miata. Come by the shop and see what is going on!!
Everyone who is anyone reads MOTORMAVENS! You are in your favorite PJs sipping some coffee and you see a MIATA and ask, IS that an RRE sticker on that MIATA??
Why yes, that is an RRE sticker. Get out of your PJs and come to an FD event to support these fools!!
We were racing at BRP about a week ago, April 9-10, on configuration #13CW. About a month before that we completed both of our races at ACS Roval during our 2011 season opener event. You can read about our season opener here:
Ed is completely changing his tire setup this year going to full race slicks. Between this and changing the downforce setup with the added front splitter, this will be a learning year for Ed. He wont be going to the national championships because of some family obligations he has.
Saturday was mostly a disaster dealing with the new tires and pressures. Ed was busy again on Sunday getting his corded tires flipped/mounted/balanced, so he was late to grid again. He didn’t have enough time between his qualifying session and the race to get everything done quickly enough to make it to the grid on time. He had to start in the back again.
At the start the cars in front of him looked confused. Ed was able to capitalize on that and passed 3 out of class cars, and a fellow ST2 racer. He set his fastest lap of the entire weekend in lap 2 with a 1:48.622. Unfortunately, his tires started cording again during this race also, but this time it was far worse than Saturday’s race.
Ed’s Full War Story:
The 2011 season opener was at ACS Roval on March 4-6. Up until last year our season opener has been at Big Willow in February, but NASA decided to cancel that event this year. It’s really unfortunate because I love Big Willow.
Before anything I want to say a quick thank you to Mike Welch (owner of RRE), KC from APR, and Art from RRE. Due to some personal challenges in the off season, I didn’t have time to get ready for our season opener in a timely manner. I literally prepped my car a few days before leaving for ACS. Mike, as usual, was extremely helpful and generous. He even made the time to get my car on the dyno in the midst of a busy schedule to see how things were looking. KC from APR went out of his way by driving out to ACS on Friday to hand deliver a set of risers, that he installed himself. Since I had used the GTC-200 wing without the risers, I could feel they made enough of a difference. As for Art, he was there that weekend crewing for someone else but made time to check up on me. I was doing some work on my RF fender and had him come over to give me his opinion. He ended up doing some work on the fender also.
Earlier I said that since I had some personal challenges in the off season I couldn’t get ready in a timely manner. The major factor I didn’t have time to sort out was getting my alignment adjusted for this event. And Robi (owner of Robispec) was going to be out of town during this event, so we couldn’t make adjustments at the track like we usually do. I knew it wasn’t ideal but I figured it was close enough from when I did a test day in November, so I decided I was willing to race as-is. Besides, I figured it would be a good learning experience.
Saturday was a day full of incidents before and during the race. I qualified P2 with a 1:48.745, but after qualifying I realized I was cording my RF and RR tires. Since our drivers meeting was after our qualifying session I didn’t have enough time to get my tires flipped, get ready, and make it to grid on time.
For Saturday’s race our group had 2 rolling starts. Super Touring was with the 1st start, while GTS had the 2nd start. When I entered the track both groups were long gone. By the time I was approaching T9 the first group had already taken their start and the leaders were entering T3. A few seconds later GTS took their start. My only chance at that point was if there was an incident that entailed a full course double-yellow, or a pace car to collect the field. Due to a pretty serious incident, that’s exactly what happened. As I crossed start/finish to start my 1st lap there was a yellow issued before T3 due to an incident in T3. As I started my 2nd lap the pace car was entering T1 with a full course double-yellow. What are the odds? I had to do over 2 laps to catch the pack behind the pace car. It was unfortunate that incident happened, but it gave me what seemed like a one in a million scenario. I was in the very back of the pack, but at least I was with the pack.
The race then restarted on lap 5. After 4 laps I closed in on one of my competitors, but there was another incident at the start of lap 9 which caused another full course double-yellow. The pace car was deployed again to collect the field, and our race ended as-is with the pace car. I have in-car footage of this race but there is no point in posting it.
Sunday was nearly a repeat of Saturday. I corded my tires again during qualifying and was busy after that rushing to get my tires flipped in time for the race. This time I just barely made it to grid in time, but as I was pulling in they were rolling out, so I had to start in the back. But at least this time I was able to start the race with everyone else.
At the start the cars in front of me looked confused, so I was able to capitalize on that and passed 3 out of class cars, and a fellow ST2 racer. I then passed another Super Unlimited American Stock Car on the outside of T4 totaling 5 cars I passed by T5. So I started off pretty strong, and set my fastest lap of the entire weekend in lap 2 with a 1:48.622. I got into a decent groove and was ready to gradually push it a little harder, but I quickly realized something didn’t feel right with my RF tire. So after lap 2 I focused on trying to maintain consistent and decently fast laps. Unfortunately, little did I know that my tires were starting to cord, but this time it was far worse than Saturday. If my tires didn’t cord, I was on pace to run 1:47s all day from start to finish. And if I had the luxury of having [forum-restricted] there with me, I think 1:46s were within reach. At least now I know what I’m capable of doing in a race with my new setup. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until next years March event to see what I can do at ACS Roval. Here’s a breakdown of my lap times illustrating how badly my tires corded:
Consistent and decently fast laps in the beginning:
Lap 1: 1:54.130
Lap 2: 1:48.622 (Fastest lap of my weekend)
Lap 3: 1:48.747
Lap 4: 1:49.094
Lap 5: 1:49.022
Since my tires started cording I tried to maintain consistent yet somewhat fast laps:
Lap 6: 1:51.451
Lap 7: 1:51.376
Lap 8: 1:51.518
I could no longer maintain those lap times because my tires were cording severely:
Lap 9: 1:53.155
Lap 10: 1:54.272
Lap 11: 1:55.658
Lap 12: 1:57.688
Lap 13: 1:57.187
Lap 14: 1:58.173
By Ed Nazarian
My 2010 race season is over. Reflecting on what I’ve encountered this year, numerous things stand out. I had a couple really exciting races this year. My win at ACS where I went from the back of the pack, to the front, and won the race on the last lap by .152 seconds. Battling the Mazda GTs at BRP. The 3 brutal days of racing at NASA’s National Championship. More than anything, finishing the National Championship race under some challenging conditions. The more I race the more I learn, conversely, the more I realize how little I know.
Other than that, I remember the transitions my car has endured. From adding the TRE rear-diff, to adding some aero on my car for the first time. All of which was made possible by Mike Welch, owner of RRE, and the entire RRE crew. Being the genuinely awesome guy Mike is, he gave me a diff that he shipped to TRE. This way we can keep my OEM diff as backup. As for the aero, KC from APR set me up with a splitter. And to help me minimize my expenses for Nationals, my friends stepped up to the plate and gave me their wings. Sean Bradley gave me his APR GTC-200 wing off of his STi, and Scott Pennock gave me his GTC-300 wing off of his Evo. Not to mention the scores of hours Mike invested in fabricating all the supporting components. The work was extremely meticulous and time consuming but Mike made it all enjoyable.
I also want to thank my fellow racers. The competition grew significantly this year, and the majority have stepped things up. On top of that, we had some seasoned drivers join us with some pretty fast cars, 2 Corvettes and a blisteringly fast Porsche. I got to know some of the drivers I met in 2009 a little better, and met some new people in the meantime. It’s been an honor to race against these guys, and I’m looking forward to trying to battle with them next year. If the 2011 season progresses at this rate, the potential is there for some even more competitive racing.
In closing, a major thank you to all my sponsors and friends who have been there for me. Without their support I would not be as far along as I am. They are part of the reason why I’ve been able to achieve the following since I started racing in 2009:
- 5 wins
- 8 podiums
- 1 pole position
- Winner of hard-charger award
- (12) 35min Socal Regional races
- (3) 25min National Championship qualifying races
- (2) 45min National Championship races (2009 National Championship race ended really short because I was hit)
- (17) Races in total
- Finished 16 out of 17 races
* Tuning: Scot Gray with some touch ups by Mike Welch
* Maintenance/Installs/Fabrication/Just about everything else: RRE crew
- RRE: Mike Welch, Robert Ramirez, Scot Gray, and the entire RRE crew.
- Robispec: Rober Fuller, a.k.a. Robi, and his crew for providing me trackside suspension tuning at my races.
- Girodisc: Martin Meade for providing me 2pc rotors and Raybestos brake pads.
- South Coast Mitsubishi: Rigo, Sam, Abbas and everyone else for all their support.
- APR: KC for setting me up with a splitter and all the other little things.
- Crew and Friends: Robert Ramirez, Sean Bradley, and Mark Homer.
Ed Nazarian racing his RRE Evo 9 at the 2010 NASA National Championship in Super Touring 2 at Miller Motorsports Park (MMP), in Utah. This is in-car footage of the National Championship race. ST2 had about 26 entries, but a few of them broke down before or during the National Championship race. There were 19 ST2 cars listed for the National Championship race, and Ed was in P10 for the start.
Ed was battling with 5 of his competitors during most of this race. They exchanged positions several times. After Ed took the lead amongst that pack, his brake pedal fell nearly on the floor. Because of that he had to let 2 of his competitors pass him. Ed had to back off a bit and continued the race one corner at a time. He had to pump his pedal several times before every braking zone to make sure his pedal would holdup. One of his competitors he let by was Scott Howard, driver of the white 1st gen Mazda RX7, who went on to take 2nd place. Major congrats to Scott considering the troubles he’s had the last 2 years at Nationals. The other was Jim Wagaman, driver of the yellow Mazda GT. After letting Jim by, Ed was able to keep him within reach. Unfortunately, NASA ended the race a bit short due to excessive oil spills. If it wasn’t for that Ed would have had a chance to battle for 5th. Beyond that, if Ed had an optimal brake pedal, he would have been in a position to battle for a podium, but that’s racing. As always, a certain amount of good/bad fortune plays a factor for everyone. Ed ended up in 7th place, so it was a successful finish considering the circumstances.
Ed’s Full Story:
The 2010 NASA National Championship was September 14-19 at Miller Motorsports Park (MMP), in Utah. We were racing on the Outer course again this year, which is listed at 3.06 miles. I was there racing my RRE Evo 9 in Super Touring 2. Last year was the first time I had raced at MMP, let alone driven the track. And I left MMP with not much interest in the track. It just wasn’t a track that thrilled or interested me. I’m really not sure what happened this year, but I left with the exact opposite experience. I really enjoyed the track this year and left wanting more of it.
The competition this year was fierce and diverse. There were around 3 times as many ST2 entries this year. I don’t know how many ST2 racecars were there, but from what I recall there were around 26. However, we lost a few by the final National Championship race on Sunday. And iirc, 4 people didn’t finish the National Championship race. NASA’s Nationals is brutal because on top of it being our National Championship, it’s 3 days of racing. And the National Championship race is 45 minutes long. So NASA’s National Championship is more like a marathon of races, as opposed to 1 race. Despite trying to be well prepared, you really have to be somewhat lucky because anything can and will happen, especially with 3 days of racing.
Last year I was the first to be racing an Evo at MMP for NASA’s National Championship. This year I wasn’t alone. A Socal Honda Challenge racer was racing in H2 with his Integra, and ST2 with his Evo 9. There was also a guy racing an Evo in ST1, who I think is a MMP local. Although, I barely saw them on track. I think both of them were having some sort of issues.
As for me, I didn’t have any major challenges. I started and finished all 3 races. The only major challenge I had was trying to get used to my new aero on a track that I have very limited seat time on. As I noted in my previous thread, my new aero consists of an APR splitter that’s coupled with an APR GTC-200 wing. KC from APR set me up with the splitter. As for the wing, to help me minimize my expenses for Nationals, my friend Sean Bradley gave me his APR GTC-200 wing off of his STi. My friend Scott Pennock gave me his GTC-300 wing off of his Evo also, but I ended up only using Sean’s 200 wing. Sean’s wing is slightly different than the Evo version, but we made it work thanks to Mike Welch, owner of RRE. The dimensions of the wing are identical, only differences are the size/shape of the end plates, and the location of the wings mounting brackets.
Before anything else I want to thank all my sponsors, RRE, [forum-restricted]spec, Girodisc, South Coast Mitsubishi, and APR. Without their support I would not be able to do all of this. My racecars home away from home is at RRE. I’ve spent many long nights at RRE prepping under Mike’s wing. For instance, Mike spent a great deal of time fabricating and installing my splitter and wing. It was a great deal of meticulous work, but he made it enjoyable. I can’t say enough good things about Mike and his crew. He is such a genuinely good person. I truly enjoy working by his side. More than anything because he is patient, and has the capacity to explain just about anything in the simplest way. I didn’t grow up around cars, so I’m the furthest thing from a gearhead/grease monkey. Not everyone has the capacity to teach, but Mike is one of those rare people. Not only has he been around, but he also has the capacity/wisdom/patience to teach without coming across as arrogant/condescending.
So, did my new aero and brake ducting help? Yes. But I’m not sure by how much because I don’t have a comparable reference point for MMP. I’ll know better when I run ACS in Socal. I can say that my car feels different with the aero. And I can tell that my new brake ducting is helping, but it has its limit. With my experience, I can now say that if I want to maintain faster lap times in a race, I can’t do it with the OEM calipers. I have proven that the Girodisc rotors work, but they can only do so much.
The dyno situation:
There was 1 factor that put me at a disadvantage compared to everyone else. NASA couldn’t get an AWD dyno this year either. Last year they found a MMP local with an AWD dyno. And I went last year to test on that dyno, but it was malfunctioning. That dyno was malfunctioning this year also so NASA tried locating another one. They tried, but they couldn’t get anyone to commit. So while everyone else (RWD, FWD) had the opportunity to check their power at MMP and to tune their car on the 2WD dyno, I couldn’t.
NASA did however have GPS units that they used to monitor a lot of people, including me. I requested that they monitor me all day Thursday so I knew where I was at. That way, if I was down on power I could at least take ballast out of my car. Problem was that they were busy and fell behind, so they didn’t get a GPS unit on my car until Friday. That hurt me even more because I pretty much lost any chance I had on Thursday to adjust my weight. So I basically went into the 2nd day without any real progress on my setup. Although, they sincerely apologized, and went out of their way to help me out.
They finally got some data of me on Friday, and that’s when I found out that I was down on power. They told me by roughly how much I was down on power, however, it didn’t really help me because they weren’t allowed to tell me what my actual numbers were with whatever other math they needed to apply to that data. So I knew I was down on power, but I didn’t know exactly by how much. Therefore, I didn’t know exactly how much ballast I could remove. Best case scenario, I figured I could have been close enough to making the power I needed with their calculations, but there could have been something funky happening in my powerband. Keep in mind that my car was tuned in Socal, so maybe at MMP’s elevation, around 4,400 ft., my powerband wasn’t as efficient as it could have been. It’s not a comforting feeling knowing my car is potentially down on power by enough of a margin, and I can’t really do anything about it because there isn’t an AWD dyno. Meanwhile, my competitors have the opportunity to tune their cars at MMP on the 2WD dyno.
As I noted before, this year I was able to start and finish all 3 races (Thursday, Friday, and Sunday). My focus was to make it to Sunday, so my plan was to progressively get up to speed. We started off with around 26 cars in ST2, but a bunch of them had some sort of issue from the first day. Conversely, everything worked out well enough for me on Thursday. I qualified in 13th place, and finished the race in 11th. I also improved my time in the race by about 1.5 seconds. I was basically on track with my plan of attack. Only issue was that after the race I found out that one of my rear brake pad pins and the clip was missing. It was a first time for me. I called Mike at RRE and he immediately shipped me replacement pins and a clip overnight.
Friday started off well in Qualifying, because I improved my time from Thursdays Qualifying session. I also improved 2 spots by starting the race in 11th, but my race didn’t go as well. PTA was mixed in with us, but they only had 3 entries. However, only 2 of them were competitive. One of the PTA cars, I think it was a turbo Miata, dive bombed a few of us. He was clearly a fast driver with a really fast Miata. Since my goal was to make it to Sunday, I didn’t want to tangle with him, or anybody else for that matter. On the other hand, it didn’t seem like he had the same plan, so a couple of us got stuck behind him. He was clearly trying to use us to put some distance between himself and the other PTA driver. We were all bunched up so I kept my distance and didn’t really bother trying to pass anyone.
Saturday was our groups day off, so I spent pretty much the entire day relaxing and getting ready for Sunday. Everything went smoothly and I was ready to go. Sunday’s race was a great deal of fun. I was in P10 out of 19 ST2 cars listed. For me, it was intense from start to finish. Since I was hit last year at the start of the National Championship race, which ended my race, I wasn’t sure what to expect out of a 45min race. All my other races thus far have been 35min races. You can see how it all went down because I have in-car footage of the entire National Championship race.
What basically ended up happening is that my brake pedal fell nearly on the floor. In the meantime I was battling with about 6 other ST2 cars. We exchanged positions several times throughout the race. I finally took the lead amongst our pack, but my brake pedal didn’t have the capacity to allow me to stay competitive, so I let 2 of my competitors pass me. One of them was my friend Scott Howard, racing his White 1st gen Mazda RX7. Scott went on to take 2nd place. Major Congrats to Scott, especially considering the issues he’s had the last 2 years at Nationals. The other driver was Jim Wagaman, driver of the Yellow Mazda GT. After letting Scott pass me, I thought about ending my race, but decided to stay on for a bit longer.
I had to back off and focus on taking it one corner at a time. The only way I was able to do that was to pump my pedal several times before every braking zone. For the longer straights I actually had to pump my pedal in 2 sets. Around 3/4 way down every long straight I’d apply 1-2 pumps to make sure my pedal still had the capacity to rise. Then before the braking zone I’d start pumping again to prepare the pedal. All the while I was able to keep Jim within reach, and with about 2-3 laps to finish we closed the gap on Josh Carroll, driver of the Bronze Mazda GT. Josh clearly had some sort of issue also. However, NASA ended our race a bit short. We were told it was due to oil spills. I remember hearing of 2 cars specifically that dumped a bunch of oil all over the track. If our race wasn’t cut short, both Jim and I would have passed Josh in that lap. And since Jim wasn’t pulling away from me, I’m confident that if I had the entire race I would have had an opportunity to pass him again. Furthermore, if I had an optimal brake pedal, I was in a position to battle for a podium. Either way I’m happy with 7th place given the circumstances. If you watch my entire race you will see how busy my left leg gets pumping my pedal before every corner and down the long straights. It was another great experience.
Beyond all that, a certain amount of good/bad fortune pretty much always plays a factor also. Here are some examples of people I know of who weren’t fortunate. Ryan Cashin blew his engine on the first day and never got to race. Oli Thordarson had a puncture in his oil filter during the National Championship Race and had to pull off on the warmup lap. John Gordon was dominating all week by winning both Qualifying Races, and also set the fastest lap times. However, John’s car broke down in the National Championship Race. I’m not sure but I think it was due to a blown engine. Basically, anything can and will happen in a race because despite trying to be well prepared, a certain amount of good/bad fortune always comes into play.
Link to the Results of the National Championship Race:
In-car footage of my National Championship Race:
- 2010 National Championship Race in-car
The SU/ST1/ST2 National Championship race is now online at SpeedCastTV.com:
Thanks again to all my sponsors:
- RRE: Mike Welch and the entire RRE crew for everything from tuning, to maintenance, to everything in between.
- Robispec: Robert Fuller, aka Robispec, and his crew for providing me trackside suspension tuning.
- Girodisc: Martin Meade for providing me phenomenal 2pc rotors and Raybestos brake pads.
- South Coast Mitsubishi: Rigo, Sam, Abbas and everyone else for all their support.
- APR: KC for setting me up with a splitter and all the other little things.
- Friends: Sean Bradley for giving me his APR GTC-200 wing off of his STi. Scott Pennock for giving me his APR GTC-300 wing off of his Evo. And also a thanks to Matt Dennison and Sean Sisco for going out of their way to help me out.
By Ed Nazarian – RRE Team Driver
The 2010 NASA National Championship is right around the corner, September 14-19, at MMP in Utah. Last year was the first year that Nationals was held at MMP. Cool thing was that I was the first to be racing an Evo at MMP for NASA’s National Championship. This year I won’t be the only one racing an Evo at Nationals. Earlier this year a Socal Honda Challenge racer started racing his Evo with us. Last time I saw he is registered to race in H2 with his Integra, and ST2 with his Evo. Hopefully both of us do well and return without any issues.
After this year, Nationals is going back to Mid-O for 2 years, 2011-2012. It will return to MMP for 2 years starting in 2013. So it’s sort of my last year at Nationals because, given how things are, I don’t foresee being able to do the 5,000 mile round trip drive to Mid-O and back.
As of today there are 21 racecars entered in ST2 for Nationals. That is the biggest field of racecars for a higher class series. There might be a few more come Nationals, but you never know who’s going to make it until it happens.
Looking at the names that have registered for ST2, the competition is looking really fierce. The racecars are pretty diverse, and it’s been changing, so we’ll have to wait and see. So far there are a bunch of Corvettes, a few of the Mazda GT’s, 2 Porsches, Mazda RX8, Honda Civic, Nissan 240SX, E46 M3, Roush Mustang, my friend Scott Howard in his 1st gen RX7, and so forth. I know most of my competition, and since the National Championship race is 45min, I’ll need all the luck I can get.
In the meantime I want to note something we’ve modified on my car…some aero and better brake ducting. It’s the first time that I’m modifying my aero, so bear with me. I contacted APR, and they set me up with a splitter. And to help me minimize my expenses for Nationals, my friends stepped up to the plate and gave me their APR wings! Sean Bradley gave me his GTC-200 wing off of his STi, and Scott Pennock gave me his GTC-300 wing off of his Evo. Then, Mike Welch (owner of RRE), fabricated and installed pretty much everything. Mike, on his own time, bought all the parts we needed to put it all together. Then over the course of about 3 weeks, I went to RRE where Mike did his thing. Mike is awesome!
As for the brake ducting, it’s something I’ve been planning on amending ever since I bought a used AMS kit. I wasn’t happy with the AMS kit because it didn’t seem beneficial/efficient for my needs. So I took some basic concepts and incorporated them into my setup. Only thing I can say now is that it came out better than I had anticipated. It’s really cool when something you visualize finally comes together.
I also want to thank Robert Ramirez, a.k.a. Honda Robert, from RRE. I ran into some challenges one night at RRE while prepping and I needed help. Honda was planning on working on his car but he sacrificed his time to help me out. Then, 2 days later I did a shakedown test day on Sunday, August 15, at ACS with Speed Ventures. Everything seemed normal, but my day ended short. During the 2nd session the coupler of my lower IC pipe popped off. I crawled into the pits and had them tow me to my spot. In order to get to that coupler I would have had to remove the splitter. Since it takes a while to remove/reinstall the splitter, I called it a day. After the test day we’ve gradually been continuing with our prep work. Now we just need to tweak on a few more things, wrap things up, and cross our fingers for Nationals.
Btw, if you’re the type that likes road trips and you’re interested in seeing Nationals, don’t hesitate to come out and spectate. Here is my schedule for Nationals. I’ve excluded my Warmup and Qualifying sessions, so this is just a schedule of my races:
- Thurs, Sep 16: 1st Race
- Fri, Sep 17: 2nd Race
- Sun, Sep 19: National Championship Race (45 min)
In the meantime I want to thank my sponsors and friends:
- RRE: Mike Welch and the entire RRE crew. Too many things to note. RRE is basically my racecars home away from home. One thing I will note again is the APR splitter and wing that I added in preparation for Nationals. Mike pretty much did all the fabrication work. And he did it on his own time, even on weekends. Mike is so easy to work with. I truly enjoy working by his side and learning from him. He is such a genuinely good guy.
- Robispec: Robert Fuller, aka Robi, and his crew for providing me trackside suspension tuning at my races.
- Girodisc: Martin Meade for providing me phenomenal 2pc rotors, Raybestos brake pads, and awesome customer service.
- South Coast Mitsubishi: For their continued support. I can’t imagine there being a better car dealership out there.
- APR: For the splitter and for all their help. KC was the rep that dealt with me, so a special thanks to KC for being so helpful and swift with everything.
- Friends: Sean Bradley, and Scott Pennock. To help me minimize my expenses for Nationals, Sean gave me his GTC-200 wing off of his STi, and Scott gave me his GTC-300 wing off of his Evo. Thanks also to Matt Dennison for letting me borrow his Tactrix cable.
- All my other friends and everyone else for their support.
1St in Class, and with the new qualifying record! thanks to Dave (aka Merlin) Hinde, and my other special half, and navigator, Cath.
We will post a full report later, this image is from the newspaper here in Colorado!
Photos by Kevin Hahn Photography.
Place Car# Driver Name Vehicle Make Vehicle Model Type Course Time
1 16 Jeff Denmeade Mitsubishi Evolution 4WD 11:53.2
2 61 Karl Scheible Subaru Sti 4WD 11:55.0
3 156 Dave Kern Mitsubishi Evolution 4WD 12.55.4
I have been looking for results but have not found anything for the smaller classes yet. Cant find anything for AWD Time Attack other than Jeff Zwart won with his Porsche in 2WD TimeAttack. Looks like Rhys had tranny problems and more and didn’t get a chance at the overall or record. Tajima won overall but was off the record of 10:01.
Here is all I have for now:
Being a rest day, today we borrowed a lift and rotated the tyres, changed the oil, bled the brakes, bled the clutch, and did a checkover.
Tomorrow, Sunday, we race. We have to be up by 3:00am, and be at the hill around 3;30, we are scheduled to be on the hill competing by 10:30-ishy.
They hope to have us all run by 1pm, including over 200 motorcycles. Hopefully all will be safe, and well.
We are very happy with how it all has gone so far, how could we not! We set the new record for qualifying, but we have a target painted on our backs, and there are many aiming at it, not only in our classes, but also the ‘open’ class of cars of which we beat all but one.
Our focus now is slightly different, we had a plan to always run 70% speed but 100% accuracy, and I really hope my mindset stays with that, it will assist us in finding the rhythm early. Getting to the top is more important than winning for us now.
The record we set will stay for the year, as they pave the last half right after the end of this years event, next year it will tumble dramatically.
May all be well in your world, Chase your dreams, cherish the friends you have. Life is short, you only get one shot at it, and remember,you miss 100% of the shots you dont take!
Here’s the result from today! We were fastest in class in Qualifying and set a new AWD Time Attack Qualifying record!!! Which means we beat ACP in his full house AMS NOS energy drink Evo. ACP is a good friend of mine, and it makes it sweeter.
Here are some nice pics of the car at speed. Thanks Mike, we are very happy, we just have to get through the big day on Sunday.
I asked Jeff about his suspension:
My suspension is Ohlins coilovers with my spec springs by Swift. We spent two days at a test center dialing the suspension in Australia, and then ran that at the Mt Buller Hillclimb event in Australia, which is the setting we are using now, so you could say we spent 4 days and many $1000s dialing the suspension and geometry in, and all focused on Pikes.Even sweeter of course is we are tormenting the AMS guys! All for RRE, of course, in the line of duty… ha ha.
I think the ACP car (AMS) is running on a stock motor right now after all the motor problems this week. Tomorrow is a day off I think and they might have time to get some of their power back.
Today we were at the very top of the hills, practicing on the last 3- 3.5 miles. Mostly very loose gravel, but very very fast! This is where we have to compromise with our lines, and hope there will be a good dusting on the race line on race day. The Kumhos are holding up, even on the gravel sections, at times, with the right dusting some of the gravel road has as much grip as tarmac. We shall see.
The yellow Mini is an all girl team that are fun to be around. They’re giving it a shot, and a good one as well. Rhys stopped half way through the practice stage with a problem, on the previous run his guys were trying to source a ‘glitch’ via data log, but I guess they didnt find it.
We also had a casualty today, the white ex-prodrive Sti (GC8) rolled on one of the fast down hill sections into a hairpin. Car looks worse than it is, but will be an easy fix! We’ve offered to go around and assist with hammers, which I think we will have to do. He is in our class, but we need the competition, if for nothing else, to justify us being here.
The speeds on the gravel were very fast! I never look at my speedo, EVER! But Merlin (Dave Hinde our Ecu guy) asked what speed we were pulling, now I hate speed so I never look at what the speedo is saying, but this time I decided to sneak a peak at speed, and it confirmed why I never want to look. Going around a left hander, sliding, setting the car up for the exit, I run down the next hill full throttle upshifting, the car is squirrily and moving around a fair bit on the Kumho V710s, I take a peak as I reach the very point I need to brake it the speedo is past 120mph (200kph+) I then have to slow the car down for a fast but treacherous right hander which I swing the car through with a small flick.
Then on the way back I found we were all going quite rapid back to the start to do another (of 4 total) timed run, 3 of us travelling together hitting 100mph switching between the tarmac and gravel.
Oh, almost forgot, I was standing there after the drivers meeting, which took place at 5am, keeping Cath warm, and chatting to the BMW boys, when this hooded figure walks up and walks into me, I knew someone was playing games and pulled the hood off to reveal my old buddy Andrew Comrie-Picard (ACP to the world), it was a great surprise seeing him again, and tonite we shall catch up on lots of missed drinks. Tomorrow’s Blog entry will n doubt be all about how I should stop drinking and how Im having trouble focusing because I’ll be hung over and that I promise to never drink again.
Andrew runs and evo 8 as well, but highly modded with carbon, well, everything. He’s a great competitor too, although he’s not in our class. It’s going to be fun having him around.
I love Pikes Peak, I can see now why it is such a drug for a lot of people!
One thing I can tell you is the Media is very thick on the ground at all Practice points. So much so they actually stand on the road with their video camera, even on the apexes, but it’s a little hard to say ‘apex off camera man’, it wont be good if he isnt there the next run.
As you can imagine being up the top of this huge mountain before sunrise gives an awesome view of the sun arriving for the day! The air is fresh and chilly, the head spins come and go when you get out of the car for a walk.
Videos will be loaded later today, all of which were taken by Cat’s mom, Michelle, who has been terrific to have around. Check out the cute navigator in the bottom pic!
The shot third from the bottom is Rhys Millen’s animal! This car will be taking the record! My fav shot is the first one (what, not the one with my car in it??) with the sunrise over the eastern US seaboard, and the trucks and guys standing on the edge of the road. ‘Majestic’ comes to mind.
Till next time
Well we got up at 2;30 am to be at the mountain by 3:30 am to be in position for our first practice. We had the middle section today, tomorrow we are on the very gravelly top, and Friday we will be running/practicing on the bottom. This works out very well for us as they use the bottom section for qualifying, so those that had it today, ie; all the bikes, quads etc, were in fact qualifying. We wont have to worry about that for another couple of days.
We did 6 test runs and learnt a lot, we saw no need to do anymore as it just wears on the clutch and tyres.
We also were given a test set of Elig competition brake pads, and I have to say, these were good, flying up to the first hairpin, flat in 4th gear, my notes say brake at the sign, but flying up to it foot down in 4th, 3000 foot drop off the side I thought ‘am I crazy, that’s too close to the turn’, but I gave it a shot and whammo’d the brake pedal and the car stopped 20 feet short of the corner. Great pads!!
The evo got its new tyres mounted yesterday, so we were bedding the tyres in and heat cycling them, but they came through on their first run.
Right now we really need a nap, not just because of the early start, but because we both didnt sleep last night, and we get to do it all again tomorrow. Umm, I mean tonite, well, you know what I mean.
On a sad note, Dave Kern blew his engine in his evo, it was an AMS special stroker, and it wouldve been a true powerhouse, but it seems the timing belt broke, so Dave has taken it back to his house and we’ve offered to help in any way. We hope it gets back together real quick.
Well, the time had come to prove we are capable of reading, and we went into drivers’ registration, handed over all the docs, and copies of everything, and got signed off! Next it was over to scrutineering and tech inspection, which also went very smoothly. Right behind us was Monster Tajima’s car. What a machine that is! No photos give it justice.
Scrutineering done, Drivers briefing done, Rookie briefing done. Fuel canisters filled, evo filled, alignment (basic) done, Kumho tyres mounted and balanced and done.
Tomorrow we get up at 2:30 am and head off for first practice. Let me show you some of the cars that ran through tech today. Enjoy these pictures, and check out these evos that are running.
Well, we got out of bed, just, had waffles and coffee and headed out on the ‘road trip’ to our destination: Pikes Peak.
What a drive. Sometimes boring, sometimes incredibly spectacular! Check the shots in these photos, although these were done with a camera phone, they have come out quite good. From boring open deserts and fields to some beautifully rugged terrain.
The climb to our final altitude was a long and slow one, but all good, and at times we climbed to over 11,500 feet and finally, Colorado, which is actually on a very high plateau that sits about 6500-7000 feet. We did find ourselves gasping at times for deeper breaths of air.
We are now in Colorado springs which will be our home for the next 10 days. Tomorrow we clean the evo, confirm our order for our E85 race fuel, check out Pikes Peak for a pre-recce, and start to get things in order for the event.
More importantly, we are here, and time to finally relax, maybe sleep in, and get into the time zone and altitude. One thing that came to mind driving along looking up at the huge rock monoliths that skirt the highway that runs along parts of what seems to be the Grand Canyon are these beautiful and huge and majestic and imposing rock formations was ‘it’s bigger than you’, if you get that at all.
Well, we’ve been to the top a few times now, writing our notes and then checking them. The bottom starts twisty and fast, with bumpy tarmac, then it goes to fast hard ‘dirt’ that will seem like tarmac when driving on it, then back to proper tarmac, then onto full gravel dirt, which may well have a line with most of the gravel brushed off by the time we run on it.
Our first recce when we got to the top of the hill, we got out and walked around and went inside the shop they have there, and Cath immediatley almost fainted from lack of oxygen. We ended up seeing the EMT’s service quite a few people, and even saw one rushed back down to the bottom, thrown into an ambulance and whisked away.
The road is forever changing, it was changing just between recces. Getting to the apexes is the #1 key for us, accuracy is tantamount. Speed will come.
Will add more images and details later. Keep safe.
We got our new Kumho tyres delivered, and put them in the room, once we put them in the corner I stood back, and suddenly I felt right at home, tools, helmets, tyres, all next to the bed – ahhhh, really is just like home.
And then the sticker guy showed up to install the numbers on the doors of the evo. We need these on to go through tech inspection tomorrow, and better if a pro installs them.
Their rental truck/buy a beater truck plan fell through and Jeff was getting ready to drive the car to Pikes Peak and rough the weekend without a truck and trailer. I cant imagine running the event like that so we offered up the Dodge shop truck for towing duty.
The next day, Wednesday, it was off to GT Fabrications (ebay name evo05) for our new Hans helmets and hans devices, collected the truck, dropped the rental car off, picked up the rented trailer and headed back to Road Race Engineering to collect and load the evo.
Loaded up we headed up to northern Los Angeles to meet up with good friend Brendan, another good steak, quite a few laughs and then we crashed at his house for the night, but not before we dragged poor Cath through some photo albums at Brendans’ showing some of my old race cars I used to run. Brendan is the drivetrain engineer at Honda US race team HQ, running the Acura’s in ALMS series and at Le Mans. So when you watch the ALMS series and see the Acuras’ kicking butt, know that that is Brendan’s work, along with a team of course. Brendan is an early Datsun afficiando, having an early 510 wagon and 240Z at his house.
We are now somewhere in Utah, a small town called Richfield, and with 550 miles down, and 510 to go to get to Colorado Springs we will be on the road again tomorrow. Right now, we are off to have dinner and a cold tall beer…
On the road again….
Got up and had wonderful waffles this morning, and then called my close friend Jay Jones (aka Jaybird) and arranged to have lunch in the middle of his hectic schedule. I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed being in his company again. Both Cath and I had a great 4.5 hour lunch.
Then it was onto Road Race engineering, these guys are pure pro’s and like MEEK in Sydney, there isnt much they dont know about evos. Once the workshop was cleared, we moved in to grab a lift and work on installing the new K&N intake system from i-autosport (iautosport.com.au for all your aftermarket needs, both European and Japanese brands).
When we finished this, Scot Gray the ECU guy showed and we set about getting a reading as a baseline on 98 octane (91 in the US). Once it was confirmed all the perimeters were set, we had a run, and with Meek hot side piping, Meek ECU flash, 272 Cams, turbo outlet, and the intake, it made 229kw at the hubs. Pretty impressive!
Then we drained the fuel and refilled the tank with E85, and RRE started to dial up some pretty impressive and continually growing numbers. Final result was 285kw, (380hp) and we could’ve stayed with 300+ but kept it down to keep it under control, with the older clutch and all best work within a cautious range for now.
We are helping out the Australian team from Meade Sports at Pikes Peak this year. Jeff Denmeade is driving, if his name is familiar to you, he has one of the first EVO Coupes down in Australia and has been rallying all over the world for quite some time. He contacted us for dyno tuning on US spec E-85 and we went from there. Great guys to hang out with (even though they talk funny ;-) )
I love Pikes Peak and everything about it. The first time I went I was helping out Rod Millen’s team when he ran the 3 rotor tube frame RX-7. RRE ran customer cars in 94, 95 and 96. In ’95 we beat Rhys’s new Supra with his old Celica All-Trac. In ’96 we beat Rhys’s Supra with a FWD Eclipse GS-T. In 2004 we won the Rally class with Stephan Verdier’s WRX.
I’ll be posting pics and notes from their blog here from now till the race on Sunday the 27th.
The car is fairly stock. They are running in the AWD Time Attack class. It is a US spec 2003 EVO 8. They have a 10.5 hotside, HKS 272 cams, cam gears and a LICP. For the E-85 tune they added 1000cc injectors.
We arrive in LA at 6;15 in the morning on the 14th of June, which is the same time and date we left Sydney. Cool huh! We clear US Border & Immigration and grab the rental car (after what seemed like a very long ride to the rental company we used), then we rounded up the paperwork for the evo and head out to Long Beach to US Customs and Importations, once we found their office we walked in and were met by a young Customs Agent, and proceeded to do the evo clearance. Handing over tons of paperwork: title, rego papers, export docs, etc etc, we take a seat as they start the process of clearing it for us. After a short while we realise what we need is a big shot of red bull and some food, so I go in search and find some fried rice from down the road, bring it back and we shove some carbs down our throats, and suck on some Red Bull caffeine.
After a short while we are waved to the counter, we go there and we hand over the last bit of paperwork, and are met by an older well dressed gentlemen behind the counter who says “so about this car, it’s a rally car?”, “yes sir!” I reply, his immediate response was ” you have a log book?”, our answer, “yes sir, two of them!” and hand them over with our Cams and AASA licenses. He looks at us and says, thank heavens someone does it right, and proceeds to tell us horror stories about people trying to import cars, ie; rally cars, and they have no Logbooks, or even race licenses, etc, he then spends the next 1/2 hour thanking us and congratulating us on being legit racers, and welcomes us as the car is quickly cleared, hand shakes and huge thanks on their behalf for making their job easy and uncomplicated. He then brings out his photo album of the cars he used to rally in the 70′s, and it was a old Mitsubishi. This older gent also turned out to had been a master artiste and painted cars for a living on canvass etc, he showed us some of his work and we are in awe of his talents.
With clearance in hand, we then head off to Collect the evo from the dock yards, and despite a bit of running around (to be expected) we are taken to it sitting out on the docks, but then we are slightly delayed when we realise they have locked the keys in the car out in the middle of the dockyard and we wait for the mechanic to show with the slim jim and a few other items to unlock the car. Once these guys find out we are headed to Pikes Peak they can’t seem to help us enough, wishing us well with huge smiles. We pull the evo pull it out of the docks, and drive it up to Santa Fe Springs to the great guys at Road race Engineering.
Now, we are fortunate to have been in racing and rallying for going on 30 years now, we’ve raced on three continents and we’ve met and gotten to know many a great person, as time goes by you realise we are all connected by the passion of motorsports and hard facts. Whether we are dealing with the great guys at MEEK automotive, or Road Race Engineering. And between these two groups, there is nothing that is not achievable, or doable with evos.
We deliver the evo up to Mike Welch at Road Race Engineering and he is pure pro. He builds some of the fastest race evos in the US, and tunes 2-3 a week to E85. His yard is full of evos with stories. Such is Mike’s work schedule he works on and tunes evos well into the early morning hours most of the week, a car showing up for a tune at 11pm at night is an often occurrence. ‘Dedicated’ comes to mind. As MEEK and RRE work closer to bring the best of development to Australian evos, your going to see some great stuff in Australian Motorsports with evos. The top few images are from RRE’s activities with evos.
After dropping the evo at RRE, we set off for what had to be one of life simplest nicest pleasures, a HOT SHOWER, which after 45 hours in the same clothes, and a 15 hour flight, and running around half of California, was simply the best thing in the world at that point. Then it was off to the second best thing, a nice juicy incredibly well cooked steak and a bottle of Red Wine, which we got at the Outback Steakhouse near our hotel, and oh man it was juicy and nice.
Visit RRE at www.roadraceengineering.com and check out their site.
Tomorrow we share the latest updates with the tune from RRE. – JD