Saturday, October 16, 2010

Glorious day

Had an amazing time drifting at Pacific Grand Prix today. The car performed beautifully and everything felt great. From the start things were a little hairy as it's been a while since my last event and I spun a few times here and there. Had some issues figuring out how to clutch-kick properly and under-steered a lot--and going off the course a bit. At the edges of some parts of the track there were these white raised speed bump bits which tore my car / wheels up a bit. The brand new wheels suffered a few nasty gouges from them unfortunately, it's mostly cosmetic stuff though.

As the day went on I started to get a better feel toward initiating drifts by clutch-kicking and put my car through a ton of abuse. The new differential performed amazingly as well and made some really weird sounds during intense drifting action--hopefully I won't need to have the diff rebuilt for a looong time as I'm quite poor at the moment.

Then towards the end of the day I was feeling pretty comfortable and began to really feel the cars movements and was able to use weight-transitions to link multiple turns together. Once I felt that it was like my eyes were opened to new possibilities. I had to do the entire course in 2nd gear and the car had no power in third which limited my ability to throw a good smoke show, and I wasn't comfortable using the e-brake yet.

The brand new tires I had on the rear almost lasted the entire day, I swapped the rears out once they started to show some cords. It looks like there will be quite a few events throughout the winter, at least one per month, which is great except I'm a bit wary of having to flush my cooling system with distilled water before each event especially when it starts to hit freezing temperatures--we'll see how it goes. Pictures soon to come from media at the event hopefully!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Looking good

Today in preparation for tomorrow I took the car to the shop to have the new wheels installed, not just installed though as I can do that myself. I needed to have the fitment checked and have the fenders rolled to add clearance. Front and rear wheels were installed with the car in the air, the fronts looked ok... but the rears showed some massive poke. The mechanics didn't think there would be any way to get the wheels to fit without cutting and installing over-fenders.

I wasn't going to take that for an answer though as I've heard lots of other people with my car fitting some ridiculous sized wheels without so much difficulty. I later realized that other people were able to fit large wheels because they had raised their car to a height where the wheel didn't need to tuck into the fender. My car's height can't be adjusted right now and it's pretty low so I said to break out the fender roller and have at it--let's make this happen.

It took a bit of pressing and muscling to force the fenders out, they were pushed out pretty well and afterward the wheels appear to be able to tuck inside the fenders now. After a test drive there was some rubbing on one side so more pressing and rolling was required. After tweaking the fenders a little more the fitment seems to be pretty good. I'll find out for sure tomorrow I think.

Final touches left to do before tomorrow include flushing the coolant with distilled water and mounting a fire extinguisher in the car.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ready to roll

Since I've gotten back from Japan, I've been continuing my work in the lab and have started taking a 2nd year Japanese language class. It's pretty fun stuff. Hopefully by the end of the year my Japanese will be at a decent enough level that I'll be able to hold conversations easily in Japan. We'll see. There's 3 people from Japan in my lab so thankfully I'm able to get some conversation practice in although the practice is pretty informal and ends up being a bunch of joking around saying things like "you're fired!" or some other new vocab that I picked up in Japanese.

On the automotive / drift-related side a lot of things have happened. While I was in Japan I sourced a really great deal on some OEM BMW Style 5 wheels (original BBS) that were for sale in the states, so I had those drop-shipped to my place in Seattle. They're a bit bigger (and as a result, heavier) than I'd really like, but they're still really nice wheels. They were originally an upgrade option for the old 7-series but apparently not very many people who bought 7-series cars upgraded which left BMW with a giant warehouse full of these pristine 18" BBS wheels. Many years passed up to now and BMW placed all the wheels under clearance to get rid of old inventory and that's how I got my hands on them. However, because they were originally designed to fit a 7-series, fitment on my car (which originally came with 15" wheels) may be a slight issue. I'm not too worried about that and am looking forward to putting them on to see the sexiness transformation.

On another note, I had the diff upgraded again to a more beastly unit which should be absolutely ready to drift like mad. When I take tight turns and apply gas the diff clunks and pops like crazy which seems to drive a lot of people crazy. However, I love it because it's telling me the diff is actually doing something and is still working. My car is noisy enough as it is, a few extra clunks here and there won't be noticeable.

With that said, I have a drift event that I'm attending on Saturday at Pacific Grand Prix which is a newly built go-kart racing track which has now been opened for drifting. This will be the first public open drift event at the course and will be my first time drifting on a real miniature circuit. I hope it all goes well.