Sunday, April 06, 2008

Trackday @ MASJA 05/04/08

I got all excited when my mechanic, Ah Chung gave me a call on Friday, asking me whether I’d be interested to tag along for a track event. It’s a question I’ll never say NO to, so off I cancelled my Saturday dates outing plans & routine just so I could go! Our local grassroots motor sport fraternity had been planning to organize an autocross event sometime later this year & is currently searching for suitable makeshift track location. So this so-called track event is actually a feasibility test session where experienced racers/drivers (not me, just tagging along =p) are invited to do some test runs & give valuable feedback. Location: MASJA grounds or Petra Jaya Boulevard

Track: maze or roads leading to & around a government complex; comprising of a 500m straights, long sweeping corners, a mid-hi speed slalom on one end and a hairpin u-turn on the other ~ not exactly a high speed course due to the limited straights coupled with a few sharp 90 degree corners, but the roads run wide though there are more undulations on the road then can be seen by the eye. But the course offers scenic views of the parliament building.

We had permit to run around MASJA vicinity for the whole Saturday morning & the incoming roads were sealed by none other than the friendly traffic cops.

Started the day early with breakfast at our rendezvous point; a coffee shop opposite PUSPAKOM in Pending. Our entourage consists of cars ~ an EF7 CRX, AK Civic, my EG Civic, a Savvy & a support van. And then, rolled up a trailer…

A sign that things will get really exciting ~ it means real business when the pro drivers come out to play. That’s a ATCS (Asian Touring Car Series) Division II track car belonging to Kuching’s Godfather of Racing, Tony Teo a.k.a cao-chia-ku (race-car-uncle in hokkien)! After a brief introduction & a quick bite, off we headed to our destination. 3 contenders: 2 highly modified cars ~ the semi-track EF7, the street AK Civic & my stock EG Civic; all sharing the same B16 base engine. After passing the toll booth at the 2nd link bridge, all hell broke loose as we went full throttle; did over 190km/h but I was just barely catching up with the other 2 cars up ahead. That was FUN.

At the track:

It was going to be a blistering hot morning. Cars getting unloaded & prepped up for the 3-lap test runs.

That’s my car right behind there…

This is what a real race car looks like… intimidating, sounds even more so.

Stripped to the bare, spartan interior & chassis strengthening bars everywhere… not for the faint hearted & claustrophobic…

Look at the size of that brake rotor… massive!

The only shade from the unforgiving morning sun at the Honda camp

A Caldina GT-4 basking in glory ~ a pure bred-sports wagon

All 3 ~ the pro in the EK, semi-pro in the EF7 & street racer in the AK went for a go in the first round. The pro, being a pro just blitzes away the competition; mind you, the other 2 is NOT SLOW at all by any means. I guess the difference lies in the individual car’s setup & chassis, and also driver skills & experience; not too much in horsepower. Like watching a real GT race, so close to the tracks ~ the speed, smell or burning rubber, sights & sounds is just so overwhelming… suddenly it doesn’t feel as hot anymore when the action starts.

1st casualty of the day. By the 3rd lap on the 2nd run, the EF encountered a major cooling failure & had to retire ~ blown radiator.

A new player comes to play. A hatchback EG with a Type R power plant, I reckon.

This is old-school fool-proof security system… =p

It’s finally my turn to see some action! =D

I’ll be a passenger in my own car though. Ah B, who also pilots the EF7, will be in the driver’s seat. A semi-pro, he’s got vast racing experiences particularly in go-karting & has seen some action in Sepang as well.

No helmet, no drive ride.

There’s nothing like the experience of having an expert driver push your car to the limits around a track & have you riding inside = priceless. I had the whole 1st lap run recorded; but a rather lousy recording as that red big thing got in the view too often.. *he flew off by the 3rd lap on a hard corner*

& while concentrating to observe his footwork, gear change & steering techniques I was also trying hard to keep my recording W810i firmly in hand & not let it fly out the window when we hit the Gs in the corners; i got too much distraction to solely concentrate on producing a quality film. =p

Lap time = 1min 50-ish seconds on the first run averaging about 120km/h through the course; Probably only 10 second plus slower than the pro driver. Amazing, considering:

1) He’s never driven my car before

2) My engine is bone-stock

3) At a point after the hairpin turn on the 1st lap we even had to slow down a little to let the yellow hatchback to catch up.

He’s not even pushing his own limit yet. Shaved a few more seconds off on the 2nd & 3rd lap (did not keep track of the time, but he seemed to be more into it on the later laps).

3 hot laps, was all it took for my brakes to start smoking like a char kueh stall (severe brake fade) & 2-year old Advan Neova rubber’s grip reduced to crap. That’s the cost of learning & realizing your car’s true potential. That’s well worth it for me. & he actually liked my car’s setup, so that’s as best a compliment I could get. =)

Ah B, & me in that rempit helmet, still looking as sexcited =p

And then, the police gate-crashed our party… we’ve gotten the permit, the traffic cops even helped in sealing up the track area & then some patrol cops (probably from different station) come barging in to interrupt? WTF! This is the case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing (miscommunication). Thankfully, the whole situation got ironed out in awhile & the cops left peacefully & the tarmac tearing session continues.

As the day wore on, more came to join the party

The RE (Rotary Engine) boys came too & changed the rhythm from grip to drift. This red FC RX7 is the drift star of the day. It is said that he pulls it off so gracefully that one could fall asleep on the passenger seat as the drifts.

2nd casualty of the day: The other white FC did not fare as well; the car crashed into the barricade when trying to drift from the entry of the last corner (had this recorded too!). A very fast 2JZ twin-turbo Aristo joined in the fun too.

Finally the big boys came to play, but a little too late.

Godzilla: An ultra rare R34 GTR VSpecII with Z-tune body kit.

Sounds like a beast too, that twin-plate clutch rattling sound is a dead give-away. Only cars that makes crazy horsepower needs a twin-plate clutch. This one they say makes over 500hp. That’s supercar killer potential!

That’s another Skyline up in front. The smaller brother, a GT-T single turbo FR.

A semi-auto? ~ the owner can drift it like there’s no tomorrow. If you drive a 150K plus car like that all the time on public road, it’s either you’re:

1) crazy

2) filthy rich (to afford repair costs, when wrecked)

3) very skilled

He’s damn good, probably a bit (1) too & no doubt (2). You got to see him drive to believe it. Hang around Ah Chung’s shop in Petanak often, he might drop by sometimes, & when he does, he usually comes drifting in. Memang siao…

And that wraps up my story of how I got sun tanned even before I leave for Phuket… =D

1 comment:

faithlovechocolate said...

wah ... u really look sexcited ... hehehhe ...with the helmet on...