On Friday afternoon at the Formula D opening event at Long Beach here in Southern California Joon qualified 21st to make it into the show on Saturday.
On Saturday morning after the morning practice and warm up session we heard some odd ticking noises from the valve cover area. On further inspection we found that the LS7 had a broken valve spring. :-/ Joon was not able to get into the top 16 for the main event.
Kevin @ Nexus Visuals is Joon’s videographer and he put together this video of the weekend:
Joon’s first runs giving rides to the media and tearing up the streets at Long Beach’s Formula D Press Day in the Lucas Oil/RRE LS13.
Joon passed the Lucas Oil RRE LS13 through tech inspection this last weekend for the runup to the 2013 Formula D season. Here are some pics from the tech day and an interview with wreckedmagazine.com.
We were hanging with Coco Zurita @ the Extremespeed AWD Challenge @ Streets of Willow Springs. Coco was doing some filming with videographer Dylan Pfohl. We put a Go Pro Hero camera on the rear bumper looking at the rear suspension. Things were mostly safe and out of the way, just forgot about the front tires firing rocks back at the camera :-P
Watch the tire move about the rim, even half way up the rim. Also note how much the rear differential moves in its soft rubber mounts. How much the hydraulic piping for the AYC clutches jumps around near the rear sway bar.
About half way into the video the rocks start to take their toll. The outer case and lens gets messed up, finally getting blown away completely. Then the camera lens starts taking direct fire.
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…)
We last left off on this roll cage build with finishing all the welding. Now it is time for the cleanup, prep and paint.
All unnecessary seam sealer and sound deadening gets removed to lighten things as possible. We trimmed off any brackets and tabs. Most small holes get covered and smoothed over with metal tape for a cleaner look.
All the bare steel on the roll cage and welds needed to be cleaned and prepped with a light acid wash.
Everything gets masked off nicely. The floor gets cleaned and roughed up with sandpaper and a Scotchbrite. Blow all the (more…)
Here are the next round of pics building Ben’s full roll cage. The last article had the car getting stripped and interior cleaned. The main hoop and basic bars getting bent and tacked into place.
We had dropped the roll cage down off the foot plates to be able to weld all around the tubes up in the roof area. With the upper bars now welded all the way around, the roll cage goes back up on the floor plates and the floor plates get welded in place.
The b-pillars are closed back in now that they have been lightened.
The door bars are taking shape. The driver’s side has the bars extending deep into the door “NASCAR Style”
The passenger side is a lighter more simple “X” design (more…)
With all the 600 whp mods Ben has lately, he felt it was time to step up the safety from a bolt-in Autopower 4 point roll bar to a full cage. Here is the transformation:
The first step was to gut the interior. Everything that could be unbolted was unbolted. The dash comes out, carpet, seats, door panels, headliner, wiring and more.
Bryce was enlisted to help. Anything with a Phillips head screw was his responsibility.
Next is to clean and strip any caulking and paint or undercoating where the base plates will get welded into the chassis. We used 1.75″ diameter .120 wall (more…)
I picked up the newest issue of Modified Magazine last week and I was looking at the cover. Checking out the CBRD EVO they had there and wait, what? Hey! RRE’s favorite up and coming drifter Jack Reynolds got his 240 (with a Dart V8) pictured at the bottom! We have been helping Jack as much as we can. He is a great kid and he slides that beast with no fear. Modified Mag has a nice series of articles this month about how to get into drifting and time trials. Congratulations Jack!
Congratulations to RRE’s Matt Dennison for his 1st place in AWD Street class at the North American Festival of Speed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend!
1st Place Car# 23 Matt Dennison S-AWD 1:25.319 Sunday
Back over the last month we have been tweaking on Ben’s new track car. Remember the pretty red EVO RS on the cover of DSport? That one. With the big manly Borg-Warner EFR Series turbo and loopty-loo manifold hanging out there baking everything for 30 minutes at a time on the road course, some protection from all that heat was in order.
How things looked a month ago:
Ben started with moving the radiator hose away from the manifold. Then we connected the water cooling ports to the twin Tial wastegates to keep the diaphragms cool. We had to re-configure the water pipe and thermostat housing to try to keep the hose routing clean and tee fittings under control. The boost and coolant hoses had to be heat sleeved.
My favorite part is the heat shield that Lod came up with to get the manifold heat up and out of the engine compartment. It is a simple bolt on piece of sheetmetal with some reflective insulation on it. It directs the heat up and out the hood vent before it can bake anything else under the hood. This chopped pic shows it in relation to the hood vent.
The car is getting prepped for Superlap Battle November 8-9 @ Buttonwillow Raceway.
We got a beautiful EVO 6 Group N rally car here in the shop that was abused at the hands of a scooby shop. Scooby owners must tolerate a different level of abuse since the other shop thought all the work on this poor car was completely normal and up to par :-P
The cold air intake was more of a street cleaner intake. It was about 2″ lower than anything else under the car. That is it hanging under the radiator support.
On the EVO 4-7 the intake is further back and the battery behind the headlamp. That is why they had the little NACA duct in the hood on the left side. So we fabbed up a 4″ inlet that ran from the side there to the GT35R turbo.
Prototype air box with the 4″ by 9″ AEM Dryflow filter:
It also draws air in from the fender well as well as from the hood vent. After the mockup Matt fabbed the final part from sheetmetal.
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!
The full feature of the car isn’t on line, you gotta get yourself to the store and buy the November issue of DSPort when it hits the newstand! In the meantime, the RRE RalliArt is in the current October Issue. This is the EVO we tuned with the new Borg Warner turbo with the crazy spoolup.
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
I asked Matt to send me a bio but he just sent me these pics.
I told him that if he did not send me a bio, I would tell everyone how he is an exotic dancer in West Hollywood and that his character is a Fireman. I guess my threats were so close to the truth, he did not want anything changed. Oh, and Matt races EVOs really fast. He has some sponsors. RRE is one of them. We work on his car.
by MATT “O-Town” DENNISON
I got a special invite to attend the Global Time Attack at Willow Springs. it is essentially all the fastest cars in the west who could care less for Redline Time Attack. Records were destroyed to back the fact that GTA has the fastest time attack cars running in their series.
I on the other hand didn’t set any records but made my driving experience more exciting and slower by customizing my front bumper in a off road excursion in the 1st session… meh
I did finish the day running a 1.33.7 with no front aero, good enough for 2nd place…
Heres a write up from UrbanRacer.com
If you didn’t know they added a new section to the track that has a 10 percent grade… sickness
Thanks to all my sponsors Mike@RRE, Road Race Engineering, Robert “Robi” Fuller, ACT, Odyssey Batteries, GT Spec, SPY+optics, BERK Technologies
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:
RRE’s Formula D driver Joon Maeng took a couple days off to shoot a commercial for his sponsor Lucas Oil at Irwindale Speedway last month. This is his back up/demo S13.5 with the SR20 turbo motor. Here is the video.
By Matt Dennison
-1st place finish
After a test-n-tune weekend at SOW in weeks past, I fell into a few problems. 1) being my clutch problem that the good ‘ol boys at RRE help relieve and 2) my coilover cap loosening off and spewing oil all over my wheel well. It left a lot on my table that needed to be addressed for the 1st event of the SpeedVentures Time Attack sanctioned through Redline due in a few weeks time. And my work schedule is not the ideal one to have when things need to get done…
The decision to run the event was made at 7PM on Saturday and I still needed to prep my car and then make the 3hr commute to Buttonwillow to run on Sunday… so let the Grape, Orange, and Lemonade Rockstars flow through my blood…
Making it into BW at around 1:30AM I meet up with a few friends and was able to lay me head down at about 3:30AM, only needing to wake up at 5:30 to finish prepping the car…
Arriving at the track I was surprised to see over 130+ cars in attendance and over 40+ in the Time Attack portion…! Making it no easy task for winning any thing…
Well as time is never on my side I missed my 1st session due to changing out pads, bleeding brakes, swapping wheels and removing all the track necessities from the trunk and car… it’s tough being a one man army…
Good thing the 2nd, 3rd and 4th sessions are the ones that count toward the SVTA, and the 5th session is only a “fun run” according to the schedule…
Fully prepped for the 2nd session I went out just to feel out the track and scrub in the new set of Federal 595RS-R tires… only running a best of 2:02.605.. as interesting as it is, you can see the times drop in each lap as the tires come to…
Heading into the 3rd session I umped the boost to break the holy grail of the 2minute barrier at BW… The car ran phenomenal the entire session and I started to get my motor functions back in line and then the “black” flag is waived for the entire run group to come in… Coming into hot pits I was fortunate enough to get gridded behind 3 slower cars. Resulting in me never to improve my time and only running a best of 2:03.353 for the entire session…
Once in the paddock area I was looking over the car to make sure fluids and other things aren’t leaking or loose. Knowing that I have had a problem with my exhaust manifold nuts that connect to the head, I looked them over… Low and behold they rattled loose, most likely causing lag that I don’t need… Putting a Honda-Robert-forearm-gorilla-grip to them I made sure to tighten them down well…
Going out for the 4th and final SVTA timed session I was distend to get some clean laps. Making enough head way ahead of me and not knowing when those pesky nuts will rattle loose I steamed ahead… sure enough I clocked my fastest lap of the day in the third lap and then times began to slip away due to the exhaust leak… that best time was a 2:01.876… good enough to put me at the top of the podium…!
Having all the time attack sessions over it was now time for the 5th session “fun run” and for me to attempt to break a personal goal of mine, “the under 2 minute lap”… Before heading out I once again checked the nut on the exhaust manifold and once again tightened the nut that has now been problematic for who knows how long now… Having the same demeanor as in the 4th session I gave myself some leeway and throttled as fast as I could before problems started… the fastest lap in this session was the first with a 2:01.613, then a 2:03.126, then a 2:03.360, than a 2:03.865… somewhat showing I was losing steam…
All in all, it was a epic track day hanging with friends and running my personal best… Congrats to all of those that placed and I could not thank my sponsors for making it a little easier for me to attend events…
I’ll see you at the track…
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.