May 24, 2008

Mazda Corral At Lime Rock Park!

The big Mazda Corral was today at Lime Rock Park! It is actually a 3 or 4 day event, but I only had the time (and money) to attend the Saturday event with my girlfriend, Stephanie. From Waltham, it was a 2 hour drive that seemed almost endless. Thankfully I had Greenblurr (James) to follow so I wouldn't be that bored on the drive.

When we arrived, it was heaven. It was my first time ever going to a track, or even seeing one in person. Everywhere for parking, was some sort of sports car or decent car. It was like a car show in the parking lot! Other parts had tons of tents and caravans parked out for the weekend I was guessing. Since the Mazda Corral was a planned event, we had our own special parking right next to the track in a circular area. After walking around the area for a bit to get familiar with everything, we checked out all the small booths along the side that sold everything, from helmets, to shirts, and little car toys.

Then we got to go down to the paddocks and see the cars actually racing for that day, which was almost the best feature. There were many RX-8 teams for the different classes that were racing and/or qualifying, and I really tried to learn the teams that were there but there was so much to keep up with, the only ones I could really focus on were Speed Source and Roar. The Speed Source RX-8s both were equipped with 20B 3 Rotor engines, with 400 HP. Hearing them fly down the track was an experience all in itself. If I lived closer to the track, I really would visit often just to hear the sounds and see the racing, as it was just really a good time. I see why people go and just hang out all day.

To top everything off, the Mazda Corral participants got to do a parade lap around the track! We got 3 or 4 times (Don't remember, was all so great!) around, following a BMW 5 series wagon as a pace car. Fastest we went was 80, but nothing too much. We all just got to ride around and strut our Mazdas. We probably would've gone faster, but this youngin thought he would be funny by constantly rushing at the pace car, almost crashing into him a few times. It happens I suppose, always one in the crowd.

To end the day, got some more food, watched the Miata cup, and got to raffle some goodies. It was all so much I had to take a nap before driving home for the day!

You can view all the pictures here and also here. Altspace's blog has tons of neat videos too.

May 18, 2008

Cape Cod Run 2008

(Thanks to Altspace for putting this awesome event together!)

Cape Cod Spring Run - and what a blast it was. Everyone met up in the morning around 10am to line up at a side parking lot, just before the bridge over to the Cape. We had about 50-60 cars it seemed like, mostly people from the Mazda 247 forums. We started off by cruising along the cape highway (not sure) to some big ice cream restaurant with seafood and burgers. After lunch, we went to a mini golf place called Pirates Cove. Even though it was a bit cold out, it was still sunny and still a great time. After that, we hit up the beach for a nice photo shoot before heading back home.

Something I'd say I really enjoy about NEPOC meets is that, it's not about the bigger engine or most money; it's about making friends and catching up with one another. Seeing whats going on and talking about the thing we all have in common; a love for sports cars.

All pictures can be seen here.

May 11, 2008

Wangan Midnight - Maximum Tune Series

I have been playing the Wangan Midnight - Maximum Tune series since Version 1, so I figure now would be a good time as any to review this latest version.

The game in general is a racing game based on an anime story that takes place mostly on the metropolitan highway in Japan, known as the Wangan (these highway battles are also known as Shutokou Battle). You have a neat, full 6 speed gear box shifter, with a leather wrapped steering wheel, racing bucket seat with a cushion, and overall great music to get you going. You purchase a magnetic card from the machine to save all your data on for that car.

Main features about the game is the tuning that is involved. When you play in story mode, you get the tuning bars that allow you to tune either the handling, or power of your car. After completeing the first quarter of the story (20 races), you will start to tune your car points differently. After a while, you can begin to distrubite the earned points into your car, where you desire before a race. Example, if you are going onto a route that has a lot of turns, you can choose if you want more handling and less horsepower. Or if you know there will be a lot of straights, you can choose more power, less handling. To me, that adds a sort of strategic approach, and always make the outcome different.

Has all name brand cars, both old and new ones, along with various body kits, wheels, and other goodies you can add externally by competeing in ghost mode. Ghost mode is where you battle another players ghost that he has left on one of the 4 linked machines. It is as if you are battling the player, only he is on a set line that he ran, last ghost run he did. From there, you earn dress up points to bling out your car.

The game features all the other usuals, time attack mode, battling, and outrun mode in which you simply have to pass 10 cars in a row, one at a time. The physics in my opinion are just right. It's easy to pull off a drift, but the real skill lies in timing your turn and controlling it. Smoothness is what is needed to play well in this game, not just speed. The graphics are great, but I personally feel that Version 2 had a bit of better graphics.

All in all, this is a great arcade game that has some epic 4 player battles, great ghost mode to challenge players while they're not actually there, and just tuning the cars and drifting on the highway in the game in general.

If anyone plays that is in the New England area, feel free to let me know and maybe we can go to Tokyo Game Action or FunWorld sometime and play.

May 1, 2008

Best Motoring International - Evo IX - The Next Evolution

This Best Motoring has no real "main topic", unlike the previous DVDs I have reviewed so far. The DVD started off with a great track battle on the new Fuji Speedway. Pretty good, not that bad, but was really nice to see the design of the new track and see the racers going through and looking at the new setup, talking about how to approach the turns and go through everything.

They had a time attack of the new Ford GT, but I was mostly interested in the next part, all about the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX. Once again, their overviews of new cars never fail to impress me. I really enjoyed the comparison to the old Evolution, before taking it onto the track and testing it against the other cars they have.

Top it off, they had great time attacks of the new Impreza S203 STI, Carerra S review, and then a time attack of the Nismo Tuned Skyline GT-R 34.

Good video for anyone that is interested in getting a Lancer Evolution, or at least curious of the differences between the VIII and the IX.