Author Message


Posts: 844

Location: Indonesia
Occupation: Following Those Damn Trains
V$: Broke
#158059   2019-09-19 19:54          
Low Power to the People

It's the final week of my second American trip! And there's no better way to spend it than having a trackday innit? ;)
But rather than running high performance cars as people do, this time I and my boys run some otherwise stock and mundane daily cars.
And oh, the track action didn't just end there as I finally experience my first test & tune as well!
Welp without further ado let's jump into the update! :D

[09 Sep 2019]
Wew boi it's paycheck time! V$940 has touched down smoothly into my wallet. And that's not the only thing that comes into the HQ that day......all in a sudden, following my backcountry ventures at the last update, it turns out Franklin and Ziga kinda wanted to do the same and decided to grab themselves cheap cars as well. Ah, I guess I shouldn't have showed him Lemons (no, not Le Mans, Lemons) builds......but they're either darn freaking awesome, outright bonkers and unthinkable, or even both, so I had to. And I'm glad Franklin and Ziga(Lagano) got so riveted on these kinds of builds they wanted to do something similar.

At this point I could hear you asking "What's this Lemons thingy you're talking about?" Well, practically speaking, a lemon or banger or beater is a car that has dropped drastically in value, has been used for a veeeery long time and it's either barely rolling or doesn't at all, with minor to major mechanical issues. A good example of these kinds of cars is, well, my Greco. It's everywhere since it's birth year, worth next to nothing today, had a head gasket problem when I picked it up, but still runs well once I fixed it. People bought these cars as either spare parts source, or in most cases something you would use to commute everyday as opposed to, say, luxury cars. And because maintenance and fixing cost of these cars are cheap as a result of the value skydive, often these cars becomes something you don't have to worry over breaking down or damaging in general.

These days, those kind of cars found a new home in the form of motorsport events. Some are non-competitive events such as banger rallies like Plymouth-Banjul, Budapest-Bamako and Lemons Rally where all you have to do is pass checkpoints without any concern over how you get there. Some are competitive as well such as ChumpCar(now properly named ChampCar as they actually got the license for the name!) and 24 Hours of Lemons....yes that's a pun over the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. Yes, it's a 24-hour race (though not always nonstop, as some track doesn't have sufficient lighting or has a state issued curfew. In this case, race action will be paused as night fall and continued at the next day) with those kind of cars.

The 24 Hours of Lemons is an endurance racing series spaning across USA, Australia and New Zealand, with a budget cap of USD 500, AUD 1000 and NZD 1000 respectively. Said budget cap covers the car cost and mods done to it, except three things: Safety equipments such as rollcages, seats, belts and fire extinguishers, consummables such as wheels, tyres and brakes, and any other mods that doesn't enhance perofrmance at all or made the car slower. A good example of the last point would be uhhh.....fitting a taxi sign, a small billboard or a ricer wing for any reason that you have as long as it's still deemed safe(i.e. it won't easily fall off). Or probably installing a small, low power engine over an otherwise powerful car. What if you somehow overshot the budget limit? That's okay, you still could go racing, but you'll be slapped with a negative lap penalty before the race start, with you starting a lap down for every 10 bucks you spent over the budget. Participating for the race is quite easy as well, all you have to bring is a valid drivers license. If you're interested to see what's this all about, look over here and here.

Back to the topic........

"But I thought you already bought yet another S-Chassis?"
"Well, yeah, but it's too precious to be destroyed as yours does"
"Okay that one is obvious but still. You sure you can maintain and handle them all?"

Franklin bought himself a BMW 318i E36 coupe for V$300. Quite a nice deal, considering it's a coupe and it looks fairly well. That reminds me of the Hoonigan S**car project car as well, as it's also a BMW E36 bought for $350, used as the Hoonigan crew's missile car. Franklin plans to mod and drive it for a while before doing an engine swap. Whether he's going to bring this baby back to Japan or not remains to be seen. He was also going to purchase a Lexus SC400 to grab the 1UZ engine inside it, but Ziga wanted it as well as his drag car's parts source, so the car is now in Ziga's hands. Oh yah, you'll get to see the cars very soon, don't worry.

I was a bit concered over Franklin's shopping spree, particularly if later on he indeed he decided to bring his car back home to Japan. I'm saying this because that's what happened to me at my previous US trip, where I had to bring three cars back home to Japan, with one of them being a gift from Ziga and Benny. Not that I' not grateful, I actually like all of them in fact, but in the end these cars occupied lots of my garage space, which is already occupied with my uhh.....unfinished projects. You might already know that the 240SX vert has become Kaede the Kyusha Vert. The Silverado from the boys is slotted to be a spare truck for hauling needs And as for the's just sit in my crib without purpose, so I propose to put the Foxbody for sale with an announcement later on(you can buy it now if you want, just DM me with your best offer!). The Silverado will remain in my crib, though I could move it somewhere later depending on Ziga and Benny's future plans.

Later that day, Franklin announced that we'll go race our cheap cars around a track in a trackday event. A quick search reveals there would be a track day and a test & tune event(basically track day for drag racers) at Heartland Motorsport Park in Topeka,KS at the middle of the week. The track day would be held at day time, and as the sun sets, the road course woud be closed and the drag strip would be opened for use untul late night. Seeing as there are more things to do than if we go to Hallett as usual, almost none of us had visited Topeka before, and the track is only a 6 hours drive away, we agreed to settle the track and drag battle there. After hands are shook and brofists has been bumped, we set on improving our cars.

[10 Sep 2019]
I spent the day working and repairing the Greco after my backcountry shenanigans I've done with it. Most of the work I did involves removing dried dirt from the front end of the car, as well as tuning and improving the stock 100 BHP engine as far as I could without relying to aftermarket parts. Well, I could if I wanted to as I only spent an unbelieveable V$66 so far, but I simply don't want to as I wanted to save some money for later projects in Japan.

"Ah there it is, time to scrape this mud bit off......eyy Soju what're you doing there?"
*typing rather loudly* "Ah, ordering some bits for my Supra while I'm at it"
"That thing's perfect alreayd, what're you gonna do next?"
"Thanks for the compliment, but eh, nothing's perfect in this world, we gotta improve ourselves"
"Wise words from the king of Supras indeed. What kind of improvement though?"
"I can't say a lot, but I can tell you it would still retain the looks while also changing it drastically"
"Hmmm.....I wonder.....elaborate. Ah while you're at it, is there a hammer, ruler and glue near your desk?"
"Yeah those are on the desk near me right now. You want me to pass them all to you?"
"Oh sure sure, just throw them near my head. I'll pretend I'm Thor and catch them as I could. Ah yes elaborate as you throw them"
"Okay, so the highlights are new wheels..." *throws glue* " mirrors...." *throws ruler* "....and repaint" *throws hammer*
"Interesting...." *catches glue* "...nice-ow..." *catches ruler* "....and woah mama-OWOWOW! Crap mate!" *failed to catch the hammer*
"Whoops sorry mate, you okay there?"
"Nah nah I'm all good, it's my own fault don't worry. The hammer is heavier than I thought. Anyways what colour would it be?"
"'s a secret, but I'm sure you'll have the answer very soon before I show it to you"
"Can't wait for it my man. Now, to straighten the underbody......POWEEEEER!"
*hits the underside of the body and bumper so hard that it breaks, followed by Soju rolling on floor laughing*

Soju got a good point, at this point starting my orders for my project back in Japan is a great idea as the parts I needed would arrive at my doorstep after I land home, therefore less waiting time guaranteed. And this time, finally I can afford the one thing i wanted the most since the start of the year: GP Sports G-Sonic Evo kit for the S15! As I've said a long time ago, the S15 is meant to be a time attack racer, and I have absolutely no budget to develop my own aero set for it, so the best alternative to this is get a publicly sold bodykit. After some thoughts and upon seeing 11K(11000rpm)'s S15, I decided that the G-Sonic Evo kit fits my criteria the most. Problem is, they're quite expensive, even almost everyone outside Japan loathed it. The complete bodykit set is officially sold at V$12800 on their site. Thankfully they're also sold at Yahoo Auctions for slightly cheaper at V$11520, so I picked that one instead. But think about it, at this price you can get at least one or two Evos, Imprezas, R32 or R33 GTS-t or any S-Chassis of your choice at once.

Afterwards originally I wanted to continue shopping for a while, but since I need to see how the car actually looks with the kit on, I decided to just get the body kit in the meantime and start the next shopping list that I should fullfill later in Japan. This list would comprises of rear spoiler, suspension kit, spacers, camber kits, suspension arms, and subframes. And if the budget allows, wheels, tyres and brakes will be on the list as well.

[12 Sep 2019]
Showdown time! I, Franklin and Ziga set off from the HQ at 9am in order to let the rush hour pass by and so we could arrive at the track at the right time. Traffic is still crowded as a remnant of the rush hour, but nevertheless spirits was running high and the weather was sunny but cool and calm. Looks like summer has officially ended and autumn is here to stay, at least until the end of the year. No more sauna tortures, then.

Here's Franklin with his E36 Bimmer, not much has been done to it so far. He welded the diff in order to y'know, get it sideways easier, which in this case actually a great idea as it only has 140 BHP at the moment. Whether it's effective for track usage though remains to be seen.

And here's Ziga with his SC400. The SC400 originally came with no front bumper, so Ziga had to use a spare ones from his drag car to compensate. The drag car itself is, as you might have guessed, painted in purple, therefore explaining the mistmatched look on this one.

After some time driving through downtown, we joined the highway that goes to Topeka. Traffic has went down a bit after the rush hour, and it looks like it's going to be sunny all day with some presence of clouds. I cheerfully pumps up Van Halen's 'Panama' as we soldiered on. Gran Turismo 4 players rise up! Frankly speaking, 'Panama' wasn't insipred by the country, but rather a drag racing car called 'Panama Express', hence the heavily automobile-themed lyrics, fitting for the game and our upcoming activity.

After a looooong drive to the north and a fuel & lunch stop somewhere in the Kansas border(somehow they got tuna sandwich and it's good!), our jolly convoy arrived at the Heartland circuit at 3pm. The track day has run for quite a long time, evident by the sonorous and buzzing sounds of various cars running around the track. Thankfully we still got plenty of time to prepare our cars and go into the track.

Obviously at the moment all the pit stalls are full with other cars and drivers, but thankfully there are some giant tents nearby opened as garage extension, so we headed there to set pur base for the day. Additionally, our tent was close enough to one of the track's bar & lounge, so we got ourselves a strategic spot should we need to grab a meal and some cold ones :))

Because all the timer beacons has been rented and using our phone as a stopwatch while driving would be a hassle, we decided that we determine who's the fastest among us the classic way by one of the three conditions: Who turned the most laps before sunset, who overtook the most and/or who got overtaken the least. A bit complicated, I know, but this had to be done. With all preparations done, we made our way to the pitlane and into the track.

Speaking of which, rather unexpectedly we'll be running the full road course that spans around 4 km, around twice and obviously much bigger than the Tsukuba Circuit which is my home turf. Motorsport activities at Heartland mostly comprises of drag racing and autocross racing, but after a huge repaving at 2016, road racing activities at Heartland has slowly revived over recent years. The drag strip usually hosts everything up to NHRA events, while both the autocross lot and road course hosts SCCA and NASA(no, not that NASA who fly rockets to space, this one's different) track days and competitive events.

As we get off the pit lane we rushed into the first corner. And I immediately ran into a problem: Not only said corner turned to be bumpy and deceiving, the Greco understeers rather heavily. Due to the tyres perhaps? Either way Franklin seemed to be able to sail through easily, while Ziga also shows some signs of understeer. Some miliseconds later I was almost missed the entirety of second corner, turning my face red full of shame in the process.

The track had some smooth elevations, which I enjoy very much since I could push the car to the edge to measure its limit quickly. As you can see, the Greco naturally suffers from body roll, but somehow it still able to grip through the corner even with worn tyres.

The Greco and Bimmer felt like home after a few corners, whereas the Lexus still felt a bit out of place. The Greco and Bimmer were touring car heroes of the nineties after all! Well granted they used 2 liter engines (though the Greco Group A still retains the 4A-GE engine, and the Bimmer retains the 318i badge despite the engine bore-up. Also, the Corolla never had duty outside Japan. At least in BTCC the racing duty was bestowed onto Toyots Carina instead) and they produced circa 250-300 BHP, but in the Group A days and early Super Touring days the race versions looked exactly like the road cars, just with stripped interior and rollcages plus fire extinguisher installed. That's one part of the touring car racing appeal to the can easily buy something that looks exactly like how they race at weekends.

Ziga's Lexus meanwhile was originally never meant to go trackside.....rather obviously that duty goes to the Supra. The Supra is plotted as the sports GT car of Toyota, whereas the Soarer was set as a luxury, cruiser GT. This segment is roughly fullfilled by the likes of Bentley Continental and BMW 6 series today. Back then, Toyota launched this car to steal some cake in said segment's market from Mercedes and their SL series. Some of you might know that this car is also known as Toyota Soarer. One thing that sets the Soarer and SC series apart is the engine choice: The Soarer could come with 1JZ-GTE, 2JZ-GE or 1UZ, whereas the Lexus only has the 2JZ and 1UZ variant. Funnily enough the 1UZ in the Soarer was the least powerful among all variants, whereas for the SC series of course it's the most powerful. This one is the early model that boasts 250 BHP.

As the day continues, we happily pushed ourselves, each other and our cars along the track. Along the day pretty much I and Franklin duked it out around the track, while Ziga simply blasted both of us on the straights. But thanks to his car's jelly-welly suspension and heavy overall weight, both of us could catch him back at the straights.

Ziga's Lexus proven to be one hell of a rowdy speedboat. At times Ziga would throw it sideways for showboaty fun........

But sometimes the understeer tendency kicks back severely, to the point where Ziga went off-track. This sight made me burst a huge laughter as I passed him by, somewhat satisfied finally I could get past him. Still, I'm glad he didn't send it to the nearby armco or spun the car. That's gonna be a hell of incident if it did occur.......

As the sun starts to move to the west side, we kept on driving despite basically everyone passing us one by one and we started to get hungry and tired. It's true what they say, with the power of love you can even lift the entire world or probably jump across continents! :)) And it doesn't have to be love in the context of love between a couple of lovers. It can be love between friends, family, or simply love toward what are you doing ;)

Sadly it looks like there's one thing that can stop the power of love at the moment, and that is our increasingly worn tyres. Near the end of the day they're all absolutely cooked, we're all suffering from understeer in the end. Feeling that enough is enough and we have to rest before the test & tune session, we finally decided to go back to the pits.

As we enjoy a huge hot dog and a can of cola at the lounge while waiting for sunset, we tallied our results. Rather obviously Ziga won since he's clearly faster than the rest of us despite going off-track several times. The second place goes! I was lucky to be able to overtake some more cars before we return to the pits, giving a gap of 3 cars ahead of Franklin.

As the sun sets, the road course is closed and the drag strip is opened. After a short discussion of who's going to start first, as well as Ziga giving me a crash course on drag racing start procedure(I never attended a test & tune day before, mind you), we set off to the track. Turns out there are just about everything that attends this kind of event, from full-on modified dragsters, street legal drag cars to showroom stock cars like ours, including even trucks and minivans! As we prepare to line up, Jeff Beck's 'Hot Rod Honeymoon' was blasted through the intercom speakers.

First off was me and my Greco. Because obviously it can't do burnouts, my staging stage consisted of simply checking my pedals and a bit of body stretching inside the car. Well, what else I'm gonna do? :))

With the one on the other lane finished their staging process, it's time to rock on.

Lights went green and here we go!

It might only be a quarter mile strip but it felt like a long time has passed by then, made worse by my rival passing the finish line quicker than me.

Next up is Franklin and his Bimmer, lining up for staging. He did a small bit of burnout before going to the start line.

Lights went green and Franklin goes off in a small flurry of wheelspin.

Eventually Franklin finished his run. It looks like he did it slightly faster than me........

And finally we have Ziga and his Lexus. Because he has done drag runs with exactky the same car(though different engine), this should be very easy for him, as seen later when he did a fat burnout along the staging line. Naturally, crows cheered for him.

Light went green and Ziga goes in a flurry of wheelspin.

Some time later, Ziga crossed the line, clearly being faster than I and Franklin did. Yep, he took this one in his bag onece again.

We took some rest and did some runs again, while enjoying more hot dogs and colas as we continue to improve our times. We had some chatter with a lot of fellow racers as well, and obviously some asked why there's a plucky and peculiar Greco amongst us..... :)) But most of them are quite welcoming such sight, especially after hearing why I bought this car and Ziga telling about my life so far in Japan.

At the end of the day we compared our results once more. Ziga won again, scored 15.895 seconds as his best time. Next one is Franklin, with best time of 18.142 seconds. And finally there's me with a best of 18.658 seconds. Welp, kinda expected that. Nevertheless, our track shenanigans has finished and ended in such a high note.

Before we left the track, I posted the pics of Greco in various social medias and put it on sale. Yep, I never intended to bring this car home to Japan, there are a hell lot of them there after all. And the Greco has served me very well as a commuter, as well as a fun driving machine both on the road and off the road.

[14 Sep 2019]
The motorsport shenanigans though didn't just stop there, because at the weekend Formula Drift ran their 7th round at Texas! Specifically, they ran at Texas Motor Speedway, Forth Worth, TX. Because our HQ at Ardmore isn't so far from Fort Worth, we decided to attend the event to spectate the Pro drivers duking it out as the title fight comes closer, and to compare Japanese pro drifting scene with US ones by our own eyes.

The site was sooooo crowded with all kinds of enthusiasts. Lots of great battles as well! Even though I didn't follow competitive drift scene as deep as I do on time attack and endurance racing scene, I still can find myself enjoying the event in general as well as cheering on various drivers and appreaciating the builds brought by various racecars. Yes, some say it's generic or even sanitized compared to past events of FD or even D1GP, but those builds are obviously state-of-the-art ones with quite a lot of craftstmanship and effort behind them.

Before the sun sets that day I received an offer for the Greco.....someone at OK offered V$250 for it! I decided to accept it as I need cash quickly before going to go back home anyways and told him to go to the HQ the next day. Ah yes, I'll hand this one to Ziga as this one's quite a loooong day.

[15 Sep 2019]
Well, the promised day for the Greco has come. The offerer did come that day after lunch, and offered exactly V$250 for it. Given that he looked like a decent guy and he actually fullfill his promise on his side, I handed him the keys and papers to the car without any single doubt. Well, I didn't put that I actually brought it for backcountry ventures and a track day.....but eh, I've fixed it and brought it from a mere dead car into a working, tough one. If I could find a similar backcountry in Japan, no doubt this thing will be on the top of my list.

After the deal was sealed, I and Soju packed our stuff to prepare ourselves for our trip back home to our own homelands.

[16 Sep 2019]
After a month and a bit more in the land of the free, it's time to go back home in Japan, and South Korea in Soju's case. I heard that his R33 has come back to the Korean shores, so he doesn't have to pick it up from Japan first. Well, I might be able to stay onger if I could, but I've got a lot of projects to finish back home. I also have to finish all championship events with my Silver Queen for the rest of the year before I can switch to an Evo V peacefully.

Just like when we arrived here, Ziga drove me and Soju to DFW Airport inside his Porsche. Man I'm gonna miss that sweet, sweet boxer engine sound....thankfully traffic wasn't so crowded, allowing Ziga to open the taps of the Porsche whenever possible.

After some time waiting for checking in as well as some cups of coffee, finally it's time for me to leave, since Soju's plane arrives 30 minutes after mine took off. I shared my final brohugs and brofists with Ziga and Soju before boarding to my plane. It's time to go back home.......and finally, I'd like to thank Ziga and Benny for inviting me once more to USA, as well as Soju and Franklin to join our adventures as well. You guys are simply the best :cheers:

Another update has been completed and I've finally come back to Japan yeaaa!
Meanwhile hhere's how my wallet surviving at the end of the trip:

That's all my updates for now, thank you for stopping by and see you soon!
Still following the damn train since 1992

Visit my RP HERE!