Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fast Five IMS Meetup

This last Friday like many other theaters a car show rolled up to show off some sweet rides before watching the latest movie release in the Fast and Furious franchise.  In Meridian ID members of the Idaho Motorsports Forum showed up in mass at the Majestic Cinemas to show off their cars and attend the first screening of Fast Five the fifth and definitely not the last movie in the franchise.  The turn out was huge and the movie was great.  Don't forget to sit though  the credits for a surprise look at the sixth movie.

The cars started rolling up at 6:30pm for the car show.  The movie show time was at 9:30pm so this gave everyone a good chance to chat each other up take some pictures and look at what everyone brought out to the little get together.  Of course being as it's Idaho and April the weather was a major pain in the ass.  The sun would only hang out for a short time before hiding back behind the clouds.  That wasn't the worse though, the wind was crazy and of course even though it's almost May it was really damn cold.  And now I can say least it wasn't raining.

Nissan 350Z I was out taking some pictures and enjoying hanging out with friends and meeting new people.  It was nice having the chance to see some cars that are not regulars out at autocross events all the time.  The car show in it self was pretty large, there were plenty of Hondas and Acuras out there but thankfully there were some unique cars as well.  It was nice to see a R32 Skyline GTS-4 as well as the very nice looking Sakura Nissan 350Z.  Later in the evening some other cars were showing up that I didn't get the chance to take pictures of since it was getting a bit to dark. Not to mention the wind and cold was freezing my fingers.  Then I was wrangled into handing out stickers while Brandi was wrangled into handing out the remaining pre-purchased tickets.  At around 9pm people were heading in to grab their seats for the movie.  You can find the pictures that I took here -- Fast Five flickr set.

Nissan Skyline GTS-4The theater was packed, and IMS members sold out an entire theater of some 217 seats I believe.  To say that Fast Five will be number one this weekend will be an understatement for sure.  Then all we had to do was watch the movie.  And what a great movie it was.

The Fast Five movie is probably the best one so far out of the bunch.  There are definitely still some cheesy moments and lines but for the most part this was the prefect summer movie. It had it all, sexy cars (personally I loved the old school Hakosuka Coupe), sexy ladies (gotta love Brazlian ladies and their short short little skirts and itty bitty bikinis), great music, great gun fights and oh yeah probably every lady's dream the knock down drag out fight between the Rock and Vin Diesel.  The story line as also better this time as well.  It brought back some of the more memorable characters of the other movies, save for Tokyo Drift of course, to liberate a notorious Brazilian bad guy of his money in order to fade into the sunset and disappear.

You'll just have to watch the movie yourself but until then you can check out the trailer below.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

2011 Super GT Itasha Racers

This really seems like the year of the break out Itasha Racers in the GT300 class for the Super GT race series.  There are six anime related/inspired vehicles running in the GT300 class starting this year.  Some time this year there may even be a seventh Itasha themed car as well.

If you are not aware of what exactly is an Itasha car it's literally translated as Pain Car and is the term coined for cars that are covered in anime/manga themed cute girl graphics.  The trend has been around for a while and three years ago GoodSmile Racing started the trend of Itasha Racers when they introduced Racing Miku on their first entry into Super GT with the older BMW Z4 race car.  Later that year S Road Mola also added Itasha graphics to their GT300 Nissan Fairlady with Kagamine Rin/Len.

Although not exactly like the others Team Mach GoGoGo had the Mach5 livery on their Vemac racer as well.  This year I believe the Mach GoGoGo team will be back with the same Vemac and Livery.  We haven't seen it yet so I'm not entirely sure.  That's the only Anime themed GT300 car that I haven't seen any current news on.  However I've finally seen what the other five teams look like finally thanks to AS-web who just released a slew of pictures for the team cars.  Not all of them but a good number of them.

Thanks to Jon Sibal we have already gotten a really good look at the new GoodSmile Racing BMW Z4 GT3 car and it was looking a lot better than their first BMW Z4 that is for sure.  One of the things that I love and hate about the GoodSmile Racing team is their cool little collectibles they have which you can only get if you live in Japan or have a way of spending a crap load of money to use third party shipping companies.  It's really sad that with today's exchange rate it is really expensive to be a part of that group.  I wish I could but unless I win the lottery it's just not in the cards at the moment.

Last year there was one Racing EVA team that was driving one of the Team Lexus IS300 cars this year however there are two EVA racing teams.  The first is the EVA Type 01 that changed from the Lexus to the Apple Shidon Mooncraft car.  The second one is EVA Type 02 which is the new Porsche that is run by the Direction Racing team.  Their car is up at the top of the page.  It will be interesting to see how these two cars do in the series that is for sure.

The fourth car that we knew about from the start was the LMP Pacific NAC Ferrari F430 car that will be running the Squid Girl Livery.  I never did watch that anime but it'll be interesting to watch this car run and check out what the Race Queens will look like.  They have already done some promo work with a Cosplaying spokesmodel of the Squid Girl character.   I did also finally find the blog for the LMP team so hopefully we'll have some new news about the car and team.

Now we have the surprise of the season with the second Hankook KTR team car which is sporting a Haruhi Suzumiya theme that is run by Team Dijon Racing.  I didn't here anything about this Itasha until it popped up on AS-web last week and I was really surprised to see that it was Haruhi Suzumiya not because I don't like Haruhi Suzumiya but because there just hasn't been anything new from her in a while.  Not that I'm complaining though.  I'm just glad to see more Itasha Racers out there.

The last team that will more than likely have an Itasha theme is the AS Racing Team that announced that they were entering the GT300 series but then said they were not going to enter a car until late in the year.  They started in Super Taikyu with the Kyosho EVO and announced that they were going to be running the old GoodSmile Racing BMW Z4 but we'll have to see how that all pans out later in the year.

I was looking for some testing footage on YouTube and ran across this series of videos that was showcasing some of the new race cars as well as a segment on last year's series.  I've included all five segments.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Autocross: April 23, 2011

Normally I will never make it to a Satuday Autocross event for the Snake River Region SCCA club due to my work schedule but this last week I was able to because the co-worker wanted Easter Sunday off so we switched giving me Friday off and the chance to  film a Saturday event.  There are a few different drivers who can only show up and race on Saturdays so it gave me a chance to film and take pictures for them as well.  Also Saturday promised to be a sunny and clear day compared to Sunday so that was a nice change as well.

Since I'm out there to take pictures and video and I know that's what you're looking for, you can find them at the usual places.  There was a good number of cars which means there was a good number of pictures which you can find in this set on flickr -- Autox April 23, 2011.  As for the videos there are 179 of them on my YouTube channel.  One of the changes I made to uploading videos is that I've started grouping cars a little bit better so it will be easier for people to find all their videos.  While this doesn't really change much for people who have a different car than everyone else (ie the Tesla Roadster) for those who have a Miata or Corvette where there are several different ones out racing it will be easier to find their car as they will be all grouped together instead of spread out like they used to be.

IMG_7171Why are there so many pictures and videos?  Well that's an easy one.  This weeks autocross event was held out at the Dealers Auto Auction site once again and the person who designed the course for Saturday made one that was fast and very open.  Fast times equal shorter videos and shorter videos simply equals more videos.  And this time I do believe that I got at least one video from every car that was out there.  I'm not sure about every driver though.  It's always something right.

Thanks to the course being very open on Saturday it wasn't a cone killer event, which I'm sure made the course workers happy not having to shag cones all that often.  That doesn't mean there weren't some eyebrow raising moments though.  There was the traction challenged Chevy S10 pick-up who seemed to be doing his best to impersonate Japanese drifters just about every run he had.  However, for me the most exciting eyebrow raising part was late in the evening when one of the Miatas got a bit loose and spun out in front of me while I was filming.  Since I was filming it made it look a lot closer than it was and it caused me to, for the first time ever, pick up and move back aways a bit.

IMG_7131Even though this event was chuck full of Acura Integras, Chevy Corvettes and Mazda Miatas there were some interesting cars that showed up to race on Saturday as well most notable I thought was a new mod car, a Caterham/Lotus Super 7 body powered by a Rotary engine.  He mentioned that he just recently moved here from SoCal but also said that he only gets out to race every so often. I was looking forward to taking pictures and videos of his car but something happened to it on one of his morning runs and he had to pack it up and take it home.  Hopefully what ever happened isnt' to bad and hopefully he'll be out again sometime this year when I'm filming.  

BMW M3And as an air-cooled Porsche 911 nut I was disappointed in not getting to see one run on Saturday but at least there was the regular white 996 and now becoming a regular black 996 C4S to satisfy my Porsche cravings. Also on the euro front was the return (finally) of the Black M3 in a new class running on street tires and  now with some lovely blue rims done by Moda Metals.

Finally, I have a bit of news for those who might be wondering where their old videos have gone off to. I typically remove videos from two years ago at the start of the new year to make room for the current years videos on YouTube (if I didn't I'd have well over three thousand videos by now) and every now and then people ask about the videos and I've decided to sell them so people can upload them to their own YouTube channel (or whatever) and I can raise some money to buy a new HD video camera and tripod.  If you are at all interested in that then you can check out this page -- Buy Now.

Traction challenged S10

Sunday, April 17, 2011

2011 Super GT Update 3

In one of the bigger surprises of the year so far 2010 Super GT GT300 champs Hasemi Motorsports have decided to pull the plug on their return to the 2011 Super GT season.  That's right that bright yellow FairladyZ has withdrawn from the 2011 Super GT series.  This leaves the GT300 field devode of a Nissan and Mazda race entrant.  Apparently that hasn't happened since 1995.  The good thing is that the First round of the season has been rescheduled as well.

So yeah first the good news the first round has been rescheduled to be ran at Okayama on May 21-22.  And yes it will still be considered the first round so I have no idea how the winning weights is going to work out.  I'd imagine they just do the weights normally though.  So that means we don't have to wait such a long time for the next race from race 1 to 3.

So what else has been changed due to the disaster in Japan in regards to Super GT.  Well it's a lot of conserving.  The races are all going to be shorter in length.  Races with lengths of 300km will be knocked down to 250km (not bad) the 500km races will be knocked down to 300km (holy hell guys) and the 700km race at Suzuka will be knocked down 500km.  I'm just hoping that maybe some time in the year they will decide that they don't need to do that and go back to the original race lengths.  One could only hope.

Of course that isn't the only change either.  To help conserve energy pit crews can't work over night after qualifying and their work at night is heavily restricted.  I'm not entirely sure how that will effect the transformation of the race teams though out the season.

Now for the really important information. Hasemi Motorspots have decided to withdraw from the entirity of the 2011 Super GT season and you can read their Japanese Press Release at several different places but I have yet to find a really good translation of it yet and Yahoo! Babelfish translation gives you this wonderful translation.

From HASEMI MOTOR SPORT news this time of 2011 SUPER GT participation pause, it decided HASEMI MOTOR SPORT in stopping 2011 SUPER GT series participation. Last year it acquired the GT300 class champion, continued and directed to SUPER GT series participation, started doing preparation. But, it became to give up participation with various circumstance participation system is established up to reaching. We at the NISSAN car started continuing participation from 1994 all the Japanese GT championships which are the predecessor of SUPER GT are started. Entry it did in GT300 GT500 both class, it was possible in 2003 2010 with the shade to acquire the champion. This year when it is [hasemimotasupotsu] establishment 30th anniversary the [takaratomi] way in order to begin sponsor each company from, it was the circumstance which continues and can support. In spite even to that, it cannot participate to race/lace it apologizes the fact that it becomes deeply. Furthermore it is undecided, concerning the SUPER GT participation after the next year, but in the future it starts groping the possibility of return. In addition, because sort it starts continuing business so far in regard to our company after part business section, it continues and about patronage, asks may. It became last, but as and past support received, everyone of the authorized personnel and it grants so far from everyone of the fan including sponsor each company it says gratitude deeply vis-a-vis better wooden pail kindness. Limited company [hasemimotasupotsu] typical Hasemi 昌 Hiro

So while they are no longer running in Super GT this year they may be back later and the company will still be around selling their products.

[update April 19]
Another team kicks the bucket.  Right after posting this blog post I was checking out AS-web for new stories and sure enough the top story was that one of the new Porsche 911 teams was dropping out of the 2011 Super GT season.  Team Art Taste announced their departure from the race season.  However, Rire Racing is back on the schedule.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Autocross: April 10, 2011

Sunday was the fourth Autocross event for the Snake River Region SCCA club and I was out there for pictures and videos.  This weekends event was the first event to be held at the new venue for 2011.  It was held on the back lot of the Dealer Auto Auctions property and it's a massive lot with only a handful of light poles to contend with.  That makes for a wide variety of possible track layouts.  Even though I'm only out there on Sunday this was another 2 day event so you can find results from both days here -- Event 3 & 4.  

For Sunday though I have uploaded some pictures that I took on Flickr which you can find here -- Autox April 10, 2011 and you can find the videos that I've uploaded here -- YouTube Channel.   Sunday was an early and very long day.  Since we had to travel a little bit further out for this event meant I had to get up earlier than normal and I have to say it was still very cold in the morning.  Once out there took a look around found my spot to set up and got to work.  This Sunday I was able to borrow a real lens from my friend Chris Wold who lent me his Canon 70-200 for the event.  I'm used to my much lighter Sigma budget lens so while man handling the much heavier and bulker Canon lens it was a learning experience for me and through out the day that lens just got heavier but the results are much better than the budget Sigma Lens could have done considering the overcast and darker light.

Honda Civic SiEven though it was overcast I was smart enough to bring my sunscreen along this time out and it was a very smart thing to do since the day lasted well into the late afternoon (we didn't leave the event site until well after 6pm).  Many people didn't think about sunscreen and you could find a lot of red necks and arms in the group of participants at the end of the day.

I was a happy camper again this event as there were a handful of Porsche 911 cars out there and while the yellow 911 Turbo wasn't there another 930 out there this time and one I've seen at a couple car shows so it was nice to see it at an autocross event. I saw the red 993 in parking lot but he didn't run that car today. A couple new and returning Porsches were there as well like the white Cayman and a new 944 Turbo which lost his power steering  belt late in the day.

Mitsubishi Lancer EVO XThis event also had the first JR cart and for her first time driving did remarkably good out there.  Back out also for the first time this year as well was the IMS winner from last year the EVO X in a new class.  It was looking good as well.  And for the first time and last time my friend Matt in his finally running M5 was there for his last event before he moved out to Seattle.  I'm glad I could get some pictures and videos of his gorgeous M5 for him to remember our little club before he left.

Also out there for the first time this year was the drift Miata and before their (co-driver car) first run you could see the event master having a little conversation with them and I can only imagine what was said but for most of the event the drift Miata didn't do any driting even though you could see that they were setting up their cornering  like they were going to drift.  It wasn't until the last couple of runs that they got a little lite drifting into their runs.

There were many new and returning cars and trucks out there for this event and I could just keep going on about them but this would be a really long blog post if I did that.  That would go with how long the day went but I don't like going on and on.  At the end of the day the locked the gate and kept people in so that everyone could help with cleaning up the site and getting things cleaned up and because of that it didn't actually take all that long to get everything cleaned up and put away.  It seems like the new event was happy with us and the club was I believe very happy with the new site.  Also they found out what was causing the very annoying timing issues that have plagued the last events.  Hopefully a software update with fix the issue and we can do away with the way to many hold starts.  Until next time enjoy one of the many videos.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Project Jetta Part 2

Since I've gotten the new to me Jetta GL I haven't done a whole lot with it since I just haven't had any money to start working on it.  In fact the only thing that I've bought for the car since getting it home was to buy a new air filter for it ($15) since the one that was in there was all sorts of moldy and oily and just down right nasty as all hell.  I wasn't about to put the old air filter back in even if I wasn't going to be driving the Jetta around for a while.  With the oil in there it looks like I'll need to pick up an Oil Controller for it as well.  But there was one thing I could do for the car that wouldn't cost any money.  Clean it and do a write up on things that will need to be upgraded, fixed or replaced.

I cleaned up the interior of the car and trunk and to be honest it did a pretty good job of cleaning up.  Even though this was a high school kids car it was in surprisingly good shape a bit of mold in the cracks and the floor but that cleaned right up.  Still need to take out the rear bench seat and clean under that as well.  While cleaning up the trunk I also found the stickers that list all the information of the car which is a good thing since it gives me a chance to see exactly what options came with the car what engine the car has and a list of other important information.

VW Jetta info tagWith this information I was able to visit A2Resource to look up what type of engine I have in the car (Digifant II) as well as the original color of the car if I ever wanted to repaint it that color which I don't.  I really want to go with a very dark gray color.  And from there I visited a Vin # decoder that was able to tell me that the car was built in Germany (thank goodness) as well as a few other important things.  After that I was also able to visit an Option code Decoder that was able to tell me all the options that were included with the car.  I learned that the car did not come with Cruise Control even though it looks like that was at one point installed.  Here is the actual list of options.
X9A = National sales program USA
C0B = Steel wheels 5.5J x 13 surface style
G0D = 3-speed automatic transmission
H2L = Tires 175/70 R13 T
J0J = Battery 300 A (63 Ah)
K8B = Notchback
L0L = Left-hand drive vehicle
M0Z = 4-cylinder gasoline engine 1.8 L/79 kW DIGIFANT, closed-loop US cat. converter base engine is T3E
V0L = GOODYEAR tires
V0A = Tires w/o specification of tire brand
0A2 = 4 doors
0NE = Nameplate set "GL"
1AF = Power brake
1C1 = Antifreeze up to -25 degree celsius tolerance up to -30 degree C
1G6 = Space-saving spare wheel
1H1 = Load-sensitive proportioning valve
1MC = Steering wheel (hollow rim)
2JC = Comfort bumpers
3AM = Right exterior mirror: adjustable from inside, convex, with US print
3BW = Left exterior mirror: adjustable from inside, with special mirror surface (chromium instead of silver)
3D2 = Center console
3KA = Rear seat bench unsplit, backrest split folding
3L1 = Manual height adjustment for left front seat
3YB = Door pockets, front
8D4 = 4 speakers (passive)
After getting all of that checked out it was time to work on my list of things that need to be fixed and replaced. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be doing a LED light conversion on most of the car as well as going with either smoked or clear light covers.  Yes totally ricer but they do look better when done right.  I'm just not sure which way I'll go with it at the moment.  Also a bit ricer will be the 5 Panel Wink rear view mirror.  I have to replace the missing rear view mirror and since the price is the same about $20 might as well get the Wink.  More ricer stuff as I'm also planning on Sticker bombing it.  I will however not be adding a hipster roofrack.  infact I'm going to be making a sticker that says |n|o|r|o|o|f|r|a|c|k| anti-hipster just because.

Not only did I make a list of things to fix but I also made a lists of mods as well.  And while the LEDs and Wink mirror are part of it I'm also looking to do some other upgrades as well.  The rest of them are lightweight pulley, rokkor coilovers, rear disk brake upgrade, sport exhaust, Rota RB rims and of course tint the damn windows.  That's what I have planned for the car so far but we all know that can easily change.  It'll take a while to get a lot of the stuff done.  I hope to do a lot of the cheap things here and there with the bigger things happening during tax season and the first thing will be those coilovers.
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