Archive for July, 2009

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Summer Drift Matsuri 2009 – Preparations 2

July 31, 2009

It took us a few hours of stuffing around but John and I finally got the Sparco seat and rail installed in the Riceline and also hooked up the Sabelt 4 point harness.

Satisfying stuff. It is very very red.

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We figured out we could use the eye bolts that came with the harness to double as not only anchor points for the harness but also as points where we could still utilize the factory belt and buckle. Win and won.

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For the drive up to Matsuri, I will be using the standard belt and the beauty of this set up is that I can clip the harness in anytime I like so I can keep it bagged up until we arrive at the circuit. I am a little bit concerned with the rake of the Sparco bucket. From the seat and strapped in tight,  I can see the nose of the bonnet ahead but that angle doesn’t feel entirely right. We will see how we go I suppose.

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The seat is a Sparco Speed Generation I and the harness is a 5 point, 3 Inch, turnbuckle “Top Formula A”, Sabelt job with matching pads.

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Forester STi was featured in Speedhunters

July 30, 2009

Not much more to say really, so I will just leave this here for you.

Great shots as always from my friend Dino Dalle Carbonare who has really captured the Forester perfectly. Thanks also must go to Akihiro who helped me during a marathon 6 hour session to get the cars paint back to better than showroom condition.

The car will be on its way to Australia soon so it was really good to get it looking like this and for it to also get a grand sendoff. The new owner should also be very pleased and encouraged by what he sees in this post.

http://speedhunters.com/archive/2009/07/29/car-feature-gt-gt-subaru-forester-sti.aspx

More on the paint rejuvination to come.

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Schumacher is Back

July 30, 2009

Amazing as it sounds, Michael Schumacher has confirmed he will be replacing Felipe Massa for the remainder of the season.

This news has taken everyone by surprise since Wili Weber said there was a 200% chance Michael would not return.

According to a Ferrari press release, “Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro intends to put Michael Schumacher in Felipe Massa’s car until the Brazilian driver will be able to race again. Michael Schumacher said he is ready and, over the next few days, will undertake a specific training program at the end of which confirmation will be given of his participation in the championship with effect from the European Grand Prix on the 23rd of August.”

Michael himself said that loyalty to the team and Felipe brought him back to the seat

“The most important thing first: thanks God, all news concerning Felipe are positive. I wish him all the best again. I was meeting this afternoon with Stefano Domenicali and Luca di Montezemolo and together we decided that I will prepare myself to take the place of Felipe. Though it is true that the chapter Formula 1 has been closed for me since long and completely, it is also true that for loyalty reasons to the team I cannot ignore that unfortunate situation. But as the competitor I am, I also very much look forward to facing this challenge.”


I am really excited to see the legend behind the wheel again. It has been a few years now since Michael retired so it will be intriguing to see if he still has what it takes both physically and mentally. I dont think he has lost anything personally and keep in mind the man is 40 years old so something like this is almost unheard of.

I realise that F1 has its large share of problems but this is a great boost to the morale of not just Ferrari but the entire paddock and the world that watches it.

I cannot wait for the European grand prix to be held in Valencia, Spain in 2 weeks time.

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BMW Quit Formula 1

July 29, 2009

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In a move that is sure to spark a turmoil in the pitlane, BMW have just announced their decision to quit F1. Again.

http://www.planetf1.com/story/0,18954,3213_5459257,00.html

The German manufacturer will see out the 2009 season but will not be present on the grid for the start of the 2010 season. This is sure to raise questions regarding the sale of the teams infrastructure and movement of its staff but just as importantly, the locations of its current drivers.

I believe this decision may have just signaled the end to Nick “The Pikey” Heidfeld’s F1 career. There is no word of him replacing Massa at Ferrari and it is highly unlikely he will get the seat at Renault when they sack Nelson Piquet Jr. So where does it leave the quiet achiever? With limited options; that is where.

According to the hairy chested German, this came as a total back door raid to his F1 party; BMW’s decision no longer to compete in Formula One was totally unexpected. I feel very sorry for the members of the team with whom it has been my privilege to work over the years. I would like to thank all of them for their tremendous support and for everything we have achieved together.”

Robert Kubica has a much better position as he is currently still in the embrace of Formula 1 as one of its darling speed stars. Offers are sure to come in thick and fast for the under-performing Pole.

Personally, I am very disappointed BMW has yet again pulled the pin on its F1 program. It is not the first time BMW has done this and you have to wonder when they will be back. History tells me it is only a matter of time before they return again.Historically, BMW has always shown a great aptitude and ability for getting in to the sport when it is at a peak and leaving it when it is in the dumps. Quite the opposite of Ferrari who is there regardless of the outcome. It shows BMW lacks the spine and wherewithall to weather the current climate. It also shows BMW’s motives. True racers like Sir Frank Williams and the Williams team do not quit when the going gets tough. BMW were always a financial operation – in it for the money and the glory but mostly from a corporate perspective; nothing more.

That is deplorable to anyone who truly calls themselves a racer.

No one can call in a plumber because their sink is broken and then as it’s getting fixed, tell the plumber how to do his job.

With BMW now on their way out the door, questions must be asked as to who will replace them. The FIA drew fierce criticism over its selection process regarding the grid for 2010 but with the exit of BMW, the door may have just been kicked open for the operations from Prodrive and Lola to recommence.

The FIA has also released a press statement saying that they saw this coming a mile off and even saw fit to have a stab at the FOTA alliance:

http://www.planetf1.com/story/0,18954,3213_5459581,00.html

More to come.

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Like Father, Not Like Son

July 28, 2009

Say goodnight to Nelsinho Piquet Jr.

It seems that Flavio Briatore, a man who led Fernando Alonso; one of the greatest drivers in the modern era, and Renault to championship success in 2005 and 2006 doesn’t know **** about F1.

Well, according to a talentless whining son of a gun, that is. Nelson Piquet Sr. is probably having kittens – right at this moment.

http://www.planetf1.com/story/0,18954,3213_5457601,00.html

What a way to get fired!

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Massa is safe

July 28, 2009

As I am sure many of you already know, Felipe Massa is now out of the danger zone. Acording to doctors monitoring him, he has shown great improvement over the past 24 hours and is now out of his induced coma and was even able to converse with family and friends.

This is fantastic news and something everone was awaiting to hear.

What isnt going to be so easy for everyone to swallow though is the news that the injury may have cut short the F1 career of the affable Brazilian.

Doctors have yet to diagnose Massa regarding the injury to his left eye, claiming that, “We can give no positive neither negative answer to this, because at this stage the vision cannot be examined.”

Frighteningly, it has been found that the spring in question hit Massa in the head at an absolutely astonishing 162mph ( 260kph )

I for one simply cannot fathom how anyone can survive an impact like that but thanks to God and modern safety in F1, we still have Massa among us.

This should never be understated. The last time we lost f1 drivers, we lost 2 in succession, Roland Ratzenberger and of course the great Ayrton Senna. It appeared for a morbid moment that history was destined to repeat itself in some way and even more unsettling that it involved another Brazilian.

Further news to come as Massa’s condition gets updated.

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Summer Drift Matsuri 2009 – Preparations

July 28, 2009

I am currently in the middle of a very big dilemma with the Skyline. Not only did it cost too much initially ( Initial Drift! ) – 250,000 yen, it is still nowhere near finished.

I got the car without the important things needed to go drifting. It didn’t have a 2 way, didn’t have a decent clutch and pressure plate, no seat and harness, no meters to monitor oil, boost and water temps. It didn’t even come with a front mount inter-cooler or a boost controller.

I did get a shitty turbo timer, a GTR front bar with splitter that doesn’t fit properly and some really tacky rear overfenders that were screwed on to the car and left unpainted and not much else to be honest apart from the second hand parts installed into the exhaust system and a few suspension bits. For 250,000 yen you should get one heck of a missle in this country, loaded with everything to get you started.

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Admittedly the car sounds great with the current system but it makes all that wonderful noise without really going anywhere quickly.

I went to the last Drift Matsuri in Ebisu with it basically stock and it ran great. The car left the place undamaged – a major achievement considering it was my first time and I was throwing towards Minami walls at 120kph. Beginners luck perhaps?

So fast forward 3 months and we have the summer edition of the Maturi looming large. For those of you that dont know about the Drift Matsuri, it is literally 48 hours straight of drifting madness – anything goes. You pay 20,000 yen and you then have access to 8 different courses for as long as you want for the next 2 days. It is dirty smokey, oily, high octane fuel and redbull charged, organized madness.

I relocated the car to Tokyo from Chiba and began sourcing the parts to make it do its job properly – parts that should have been there from the start had I been smart enough about the purchase.

I obviously need a few key ingredients and after contacting numerous people and consulting with friends I came up with this list of must haves.

  1. Coppermix clutch plate
  2. Heavy duty pressure plate
  3. 2 way LSD
  4. Full bucket seat and rail
  5. 4 point safety harness
  6. HiCAS locker installation

I started scouring the net for the best deals and after dozens of hours of research and phone calls to close associates found all the gear I was looking for. Some people quoted extortionate figures so it really does pay to shop around and play one seller off against another.

Seat wise I found what I was looking for at Up Garage- http://www.upgarage.com

I managed to find a brand new Formula A 4 point, 3 inch Sabelt harness at my local Up Garage of all places. Has red pads to match too. Beautiful thing.

http://www.upgarage.com/upgarage/stock/1/2/0903153002054/153

While I was there I spotted a brand new Sparco Speed racing bucket – also in red – on the top shelf over at the seat section.

Money quickly changed hands and I bolted out of there with a great seat and harness combo.

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There was still a lot to do. There still IS a lot to do even as I write this.

I sourced a Kaaz 2 way unit in the R200 casing so a straight swap is now much easier…

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So that’s the 2 way and seat equipment out of the way. One of my best friends from high school who also happens to work for a very high profile tuning parts maker in Japan put me on to a workshop that had prices I found hard to believe considering the quotes I was getting from others. In one place I was quoted 45,000 yen to fit the KAAZ. The place I am referring to though will do it for half that.

I was, as you can imagine, rapt. It got better too.

It turns out that this place does a package with their own parts and I could also get a coppermix clutch and pressure plate package with installation very cheap. This was too good to pass up so I have booked in with them for next week.

That takes care of 3 of the biggest difficulites I am facing but there is still a long way to go yet before it is ready to go for the August 8th drift onslaught.