Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year 2012

 A new year means new year's revolutions...

Two Thousand and Eleven

This is a very long post as it was a very long year. A lot has happened with a lot of learning and decisions along the way. Let's rock out 2011 with a look back through my lens as it happened.

TAS as always brings out the best of the best. The Hattari RX-8 from RE-Amemiya drew my attention for line and colour.

But the bling from Junction Produce had me thinking about other things.

R-Magic's ventures into the small screen include the use of this car.

And their ventures in D1 include the outright abuse of this car. I wondered weather it would last the year without a refresh. It did not. By half year, the body was refreshed and D1 was again up and running... kind of.

But this car really stole my imagination. A lot of vinyl and imagination can work.

One car that was a star at TAS was the Hurricane RX-7. But the year ended without the key aturn.

The main reason was of course this event. Ebisu circuit felt the brunt of it. It effected us all.

My shoestring budget for track adventures dried up and left me with the reality of a great car that I couldn't drive.

One last drive for contemplation was actually the first real drive I had around Hakone.

While the economy has slowed the markets for sports cars for most are a non-reality. I did manage to get the car on track during the year, but it was non the full attack I had initially planned.

One thing I started at the beginning of the year was a side project .RSG. design. While Ebisu based were recovering from the March events, I helped them out with some designs for their D1SL machines.

It seems like 7's day was a spark to get the ball rolling again. The turnout for events was huge!

Tuners keen to get back on track and boost the economy.

I started to take my photography a lot more seriously again also.

I think the results have paid off with my range improving through the year.

With 7's day attracting so many different people and styles it was ideal time to relaunch RE-Xtreme's new format.

Aoki-san from revolution watches on as lucky passengers were seated for some rides of their lives.

My favourite shot from 7's day. The R-Magic Gunship in action.

but the graphics and design also captured my attention.

While my hobbies have turned away from real racing for the time being, I found a niche in RC Drift which also allows me to prototype designs in a relatively inexpensive, fun way.

My father owning an RC shop has meant RC cars have always been around, but the reality in them these days is amazing.

The FD3s was sold and funds made available for new ventures in 2012.

Where and What are in my mind somewhere...maybe.

As the year drew to an end, I have a few cool experiences, Tsukuba super battle always showcases the best. I enjoyed the day immensely.

This shot really strikes a note with me. I think it sums up my attitude towards cars at the moment.

Although not an FD3s, this shot was by far my best picture from TSB.

However, this is an FD3s and it is my favorite at the moment. Minus the graphics, this is my pick a car that very well could be the perfect FD.

TSB is also a place I can meet and try to chat with some great people in my broken Japanese/English. If I'd kept my roadster, it probably would have had a 2.5L block and many more parts from Nopro by now.

But the sights, sounds and atmoshphere are what I like about track days in Japan. While some target for 52seconds these days, I'm just happy to look and admire.

I love this out of focus shot, It proves passion is still red.

Next year and the future are very uncertain. it seems in the last one or two years, things have changed rather quickly. Is this the way forward with re-chargeables from a nuclear source?

Or will this beast shake up the driving passion and re-ignite the industry.

for Mazda owners... I've given up trying to pump up a new rotary sports car. I thought the announcement would come on 07/07/07, but that was 5 years ago now. With 2012 being the 10th anniversary of the demise of the FD3s from production, new parts are still coming for the rotary fans, so I'll be at TAS 2012 to show the best from the event, but where we go from there, the future is uncertain.

Russell Gander

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Base Performance Experience

I'd like to share an amazing experience I recently had at the Newly Open Base Performance Simulator in Tokyo.

A while ago I did a Driver Training School course with Sunako-san. Sunako-san has driven everything from Super GT to Super Taikyu with loads of experience and trophies to match. Today was a chance to get some more advice but basically experience something amazing.

After some basic familiarization with the controls of the GP style cockpit. I selected first gear and headed out onto Fuji. A track I have had a little experience with in my old FD3s. When you think SIM, you think game, but this is no game. GT5 and PC sims don't come anywhere near this experience.

Now the first time you drive a real GP car you are probably going to spin. I was feeling the throttle and braking points but the inevitable happens. Yes... they are my tyre marks. But you just want more and more. It's very addictive and feels amazing. Eventually times came down. The simulator can also change every parameter available for an engineer and driver to learn.

After a while I got a feel for the car. While the first half of FSW, I was way too cautious,  The feeling was real so I didn't want to crash my GP Car. I was glad when the 2nd half of my data log showed only a slight gap to the master. Sunako-san instantly recognizes places where you can improve and his advice is what you'd expect from a professional racing driver.

Soon it was time for him to show us a thing or two. 280kph in 6th gear down the Fuji straight sounds incredible. It's an aural experience and much as a tactile one. But really he wasn't showing off. He was demonstrating different methods of negotiating a single corner for us and the reality is that driving on the limit is difficult.

Another Sunako-Jyuku school student and regular Fuji attendee, Aki from was taking advice and applying it. The simulator has a GP bodyshell, but the feeling can be made to represent any kind of vehicle.

We were using this amazing machine in the beginning, but there's an array of cars to select from.

Another professional Akihiro Asai-san at work heading under the Suzuka tunnel. When professionals get out of the machine with a big smile... you know this is good! Actually, he didn't want to get out.

I was feeling a little homesick, so Sunako-san dialed in Surfers Paradise indy car track for me and I started to rub the walls on a track that I'd probably never get a chance to experience in real life. I was supplied a GT-2 spec machine "Aston", the feeling is very different and you find the lethargic weight transfer of a big bodied sedan quite the contrast to the GP cars. You really have to push hard on the pedals to pull these things up.

If you are in Tokyo and need some instruction (in English is OK) or would like to experience something special. Contact Base Performance Systems in the new year.

Contact information Email UK Main Site.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Xmas 2011

Mrs Claus pimped herself out to get the elves workin' overtime to finish my FC before Xmas. Reindeer Sleigh is so ol' school. I'm gonna rock the FC sideways this year!

Enjoy your day!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tsukuba Super Battle 2011 - Revolving

One Revolution of TC2000 elapsed in '54.713. Too Slow!

As the Revolution TA-2 left the pit for it's first attempt, almost every eye was on the car.

I quickly headed up on the pit tower to get a few shots as I knew 3 laps wasn't enough time to get over to the other side of the track. Such is time attack photography.

This shot shows a bit more exhaust gas out the back on a hot lap. The car sits very low for positive ground effect.

You can't even tell the car is under FULL braking here. Spring compression is negligible.

The line here is setting up for the hairpin. The damp track resulted in less than impressive times (as far as the team were concerned) but still rewarded them with fastest open class car of the day. With 2 seconds in the track can we expect a 52 second lap from the car?

Again under full braking, the car is flat as is cornering, the car hardly rolls on it's suspension.

On a hot lap here, using ALL the road and ALL the ripple strips for maximum return.

I'm really looking forward to more times as the season progresses.

I'll finish my TSB 2012 posts with this inspirational shot. Brake lights a glow as the car heads around the inner hairpin at Tsukuba Circuit 2000.

Catch me if you can!