August 21, 2008

Interior Decorating

I met up with Altspace after work to make a small, but certainly well needed touch up on my interior. He purchased 50 Yards of black vinyl, costing a mere $15, so that we could place a strip of it along the silver lining on my center console. Upon arriving, we decided to just paint it instead. It was just as easy, if not easier than cutting and applying the vinyl. On top of this, it looked great! The silver really had to go; it was out of place and did not contrast well with the rest of the interior. Now, the center console blends in perfectly and your eyes are not immediately drawn to that tacky strip of silver.

For those wondering how to dissemble the center console, it's only held on by a few screws. There are screws under the ashtray, under the cup holders in the rear, under the armrest storage, and pull off the plastic trunk access door. From there, pull up on the entire console and voila.

There are multiple DIYs on the RX8 Club on how to remove the center console, just use the search.

August 16, 2008

Autocross Bonanza

Today was a real blast. Drove up with Oleg and arrived at Fort Devens around 8am. From there, we got all prepped up, had snacks, etc. I got to walk the course with someone named Sal (Miata driver - really good). He has this special way of teaching newbies how to read and walk the course. By the second time around, I was like a master at reading it. I could read the whole course just by stepping back and looking at it (it was scarey too). Last time we went up one way, cross overed and came back down, then back up the other air strip, cross over, then come back down. This time was much easier as it was a full loop around the air field.
Made some new friends and met a lot of new people. It really was a blast just hanging out, doing my runs, and learning more and more. At the end, we finished at about 3:30pm and had tons of times for fun runs. Granted, these runs don't count, but I really need the practice and experience. I went out with Sal in his car to learn what he does, then I did it and dropped my time by 4 seconds in the end. It's funny, because I'm not competetive in the sense of beating other people. I'm competing against myself, to better my skills and become more capable with my car. The times are just to show me where I compare to other good drivers.

Buttload of more pictures this time, and as usual, they can be found on Oleg's web photo gallery, here.
After everything, I took a ride up to Tokyo Game Action to get more action and play some racing games.

Best time was 1' 19. Average was about 1 ' 25 - 1'27. My best was 1'42 recorded, and fun run was 1'39.

August 10, 2008

Initial D Arcade Stage 4

After a poor mood during the morning, I decided to pack up, and head on over to Tokyo Game Action to play some Wangan Midnight. Upon arriving, oddly enough... I decided to try Initial D 4. Let me tell you a little bit about this little gem that very few arcades have in America, and my feelings towards it.

For starters, you get a plastic card that is just like a credit card, that holds all the information of your character and cars. On the top, it shows the touge passes you have beaten, and shows your characters face. The card also holds up to 3 cars at once...Not bad if you get bored of one car.

Once you make a card, choose your car and start racing, you have to play either story mode, time attack, or in-store battle. Time attack is self explanatory, in-store battle is to battle someone next to you, and story mode is where you go through the touge courses 1 by 1, following a similar story to Initial D's main character, Takumi; except you are yourself. When you beat a racer, you earn battle points that you can use to purchase parts for your car.

It can be really fun at times, especially the dynamic tuning of the cars, ranging from tons of name brand body kits and wheels, to various levels of tuning of the engine, suspension, etc. What is NOT cool, is to get to tune your car, you have to quit after each turn. Every 3rd quit, you can visit the customize shop to edit settings on your vehicle. Every 5th quit, you can get a random dress up item for your driver. Just gets annoying, quitting after each race, pulling out your card, then putting in money, and doing it again.

My main dislike about this game is the physics. At first, they felt decent, the car felt grippy, extra fast but grippy. But then there are these turns that if you go in too fast, or at an awkward angle... Your rear literally kicks out completely, and you slide into the wall, then ALONG the wall..and you can't get out. Once your car slides off the wall, you are in second gear going about 30MPH. If you brake hard, you make up for it, but still, it gets really aggervating when you're doing good, and suddenly you go sideways and your car becomes a magnet to the wall.

All in all, it's a fun-terrible game. Fun because of the up to date selection of cars, the in depth tuning - especially the name brands from Japan, and the touge courses. Bad, because the terrible physics, computer cars pushing you aside and/or driving through you if you're in the way, and again, the ice skating physics. Apparently they are beta testing Stage 5 in japan now, and from what I hear, it gets rid of that lame slide and fixes a lot of things. We can only hope for a better game!

August 4, 2008

Gaining Power With A Renesis

A lot of people are displeased with the "lack of power" that the RX-8 provides, especially because of the fact that it is not twin turbo charged like its predecessor. Essentially, there are three ways that one can go about getting the most power out of the engine, and they are the Super Charge, the Turbo Charge, and the Exhaust Modification.

Now, I truly believe that the RX-8 is a balanced car, straight off the line. It handles well, has decent horsepower, brakes well, and has sporty looks complimented by a handsome interior. I believe it should be left for the owner to decide where to go with the car, thus why I like the fact that it's not turbo charged. Granted, turbos make the car faster, but I'm an "au natural" kind of guy. In addition, a lot of people lean towards the TRUST turbo kit or non Japanese brands for their parts, and I stray from that crowd. I've seen a few super charge owners, but not as many as those with a turbo. I'd prefer to see what the Japanese tuners have running under their hoods.

One of my favorite companies is Knight Sports due to their amazing, sleek looks, in addition to the great performance of their RX-8s. RE Amemiya has always been a favorite, but mostly for RX-7's, as well as Fujita Engineering. Knight Sports (correct me if I'm wrong) won in a RX-8 battle that was held not too long ago in Japan. Knight Sports is running a 13B from an RX-7, peripheral ported. Their lineup of parts for the stock Renesis engine in my car includes headers, a sports cat, and some really good exhausts. They claim that there is a 30HP gain with the whole system in use. Now, if you top that off with a Cobb AccessPort to change the mappings, along with some pulleys, you come close to 15HP gain. For just under $4000, you get a mean sounding RX-8 with a great power increase, bringing you close to 300HP (at the crank, not wheels). That's less than what a turbo kit costs, with added exhaust essentials and more. I have yet to see anyone go this route, so it's something I'd really like to try out. There's no worrying about possibly breaking the turbo, turbo lag (if that even still exists), or the entire setup. It is raw NA engine power.

RX Reviews gives great advice as he has tested a lot of the JDM exhaust parts. I'm just not sure why anyone would want to turbo this car when Mazda did not bother to do it themselves. I think they kept it NA for a reason; we just have to do the rest and make the exhaust system monstrous.

August 2, 2008

First Autocross

Man what a day! Today was my first ever Autocross event. Hell its my first ever motorsport event ever! Before I go explaining how the day went, I'm going to explain briefly what Autocross is.

Autocross (or sometimes AutoX) is a motorsport in which you race against the clock. You have a defined course that is laid in place by using the orange cones. Your clear the course as fast as you can, one car at a time. This is the safest motorsport out there, as you don't even reach speeds above 60MPH. In my car I can't even top out 2nd Gear! It's mostly focused on car balance, control, and understanding how to take turns nimbly while keeping a constant pace. It's really great, especially for those wanting to do track because this will teach you the basics of the out-in-out turning and how to smooth out your car.

There isn't too much to say about this autocross unfortunately. It was done with the awesome Renegade Miata Club and was only $30 for the day (Pre-register). $25 for a year membership. The club has instructors who will ride with you and help you understand how to read the course, where to go faster and slower, etc. Heck, they even have loaner helmits for those who can't afford them right now!

For a first motorsport experience, it was phenominal to say the least. It had everything I wanted and more. The sounds, the cars, the atmosphere, everything. Unfortunately, we got rained in on the second heat (with a lot of serious lightning) so I only got 3 runs for the day... Not great practice. But it was worth it, and I can't wait for the 16th! Not many photos were taken (none of me!) as well as some movies (I'm in one...going slow!). All that can be seen here.

Best time was 1' 19 or 1'18, don't remember. Average was about 1 ' 25 - 1'27. My best was 1'59.

August 1, 2008

Hot Version - Tuner Battle Royale

BIG BATTLE~! Is what comes to mind every time I think of this great video. Not much to really say other then it was all great battles. Apparently every year they have a large event in Japan in which there is a battle between NA cars and turbo cars. Touge Showdown was excellent, with a RX-8 from Fujita Engineering that battled the Amuse S2000 for the Touge Monster title. Top it off, bonus battle between Orido's Supra, a RX-7 and a Evolution from BOSS.

All in all, not bad, good movie to add to the collection, and good if you just want see the various races.