June 27, 2009

Renegade Miata Event 2

It’s so good to be back to my home club! This Sunday we had our 2nd event from Renegade Miata. The course was a full course, with 7 work stations this time surprisingly. Like most of Rob MacAlpine’s courses, the course was quick with many tricks. It featured spots where you could pick up a lot of speed, but if you went too fast, the exit would hurt your time greatly.
I got to co-drive with my good friend James due to his car having some problems, so we got to really test my new strut bars and some different settings in our runs. In raw time, I came in 1st place in their “Other Mazda’s” class, while in Pax and overall I came second. Close but there is also room for improvement for this coming weekend. The final results of all the runners is here on Renegade’s site.

All pictures are here, thanks to Oleg for the camera and Becka for taking them!

June 23, 2009

New Wheels - Enkei RPF1

Ask any of my friends and they will tell you with a good laugh," What does Marc want to change the most on the car?" and they would immediately answer "His wheels". Since the day I purchased my car, I've been tossing back and forth wheels that I want to put on the car. Finally, I came to the conclusion for both good looks, light weight, and aggressive offset... The Enkei RPF1.I got the wheels in 18x9 +35 in F1 Silver. They only weigh in at 17lb, which is a huge difference from the stock wheels of 23lb! Big ups to my sponsor sleepermodz.com for helping me out with this purchase for a great price. Not much to say other then I'm very happy. Full gallery of pictures here, thanks to Oleg. I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

Rainy Sunday Autocross

Well, not too much to say here. The weather was terrible outside, and everytime I ran, I swear the rain picked up. Really nice course, would've been lovely if it wasn't wet, but I took this chance to learn the behavior of the car in the rain and the limits of pushing it. I learned it, with two spins sadly on my fastest runs. I finished 2nd (only 2 of us in SM today), only a 2 second difference between me and the leader. Hopefully next event will be dry so I can really get going and not worry about rain.

I also was co-driving with a good friend of mine, who was surprisingly good for a novice! Fastest time was a 71 plus a cone or two, which was almost a top time for Novices that day. Hopefully I'll be convincing him to co-drive with me for more events, as you learn a lot co-driving with people I noticed. Whether it be sitting in the car with them on their run, or having them sit with you, it was just a different experience.

Either way, no pictures from me due to poor weather just blurring everything, so hopefully next event I can get some nice clean pictures. I did find someone from the event who was taking pictures, his gallery located here.

June 17, 2009

Small Fortune Racing & 4.777 Final Drive

Before I explain how great and amazing my new 4.777 modification is, I'd like to give a big thanks to Bill Gendron, the owner of Small Fortune Racing (SFR) for all the hard work on this. We had some trial and error problems with the installation but everything is all set now. Thanks again Bill, car runs great!

On to the review for all those anxiously waiting! For starters, I am now in love with this mod. This is the 4.777 Ring and Pinion upgrade from a 09 RX8, purchased from Mazmart. I would also like to add, that this mod is NOT for those who are not looking to lose their long revving. After installing this, not only is the car much quicker, but at the price of staying in gears longer. I have a feeling this will really help me in autocross because of the huge pickup increase.
If I had to explain the change, it is like going from a stock flywheel to a extra lightweight flywheel twice over. Very addictive to feel this type of torque from a naturally aspirated rotary, and very enjoyable. Of course, still nothing that throws you back, but still good enough that it is noticeable and very enjoyable. Again, recommended to those only looking to exchange top speed for some fun low end pickup.

Stay tuned for my post of this upcoming autocross to see how this feels on the course!

June 8, 2009

Fully Loaded Weekend

I think if every weekend was like this one, I’d be burnt out from racing within a month! This weekend was a back to back event weekend, starting with a Test and Tune day on Saturday, followed by a full points event. Both events were hosted by SCCA NER.
Saturday’s event was an excellent event in where 4 small courses are setup, and you decide what you would like to do for the day. All courses were self serve, so if you hit a cone, you pick it up and place it after. The courses were
  • Offsets Loop (bigger clam shells)
  • Increasing and Decreasing Slalom
  • Skid Pad (Sadly no water)
  • Small Timed Course (featured popular course elements such as offsets, small slalom, etc.)
Funny enough, the first thing almost every driver went to was the small, timed course, leaving everything else relatively empty. I stayed in the offsets for the entire day, working on my looking ahead, car positioning, and throttle control. Met a good guy I’ve talked to on RX8 club for a while, Broda! He is the owner of Brian Goodwin’s old blue RX8, running a rare set of Enkei RP03 18x9 +40 with the new Toyo R1R. It was really fun to sit in together, drive eachothers cars and really just learn from one another and a few other drivers. I highly recommend test and tune days to anyone who wants A LOT of seat time and plenty of practice.Sunday was a full points event that featured many of the elements from Saturday, as well as many quick sweeping turns, but with a lot of high speed sections surprisingly. I even managed to top out 2nd gear twice in two sections, which is pretty quick for a autocross course.
The results (final results, pax time results, final raw time results) were pleasing, but I would’ve liked to see some faster times, even if I stayed in the same position. I know I can be faster in some sections, especially if I keep looking ahead and positioning my car properly. I started the day with a 63’ and ended with consistent 61’s, with a final time of 61.6’ clean. I came third in my class of eleven (including SSM). The top two drivers are co-driving a drift, raced out 240 SX with R compounds, and scored a 55’, and the other driver a 57’. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with them in up coming events, regardless of the R compounds on their car. All in all, for raw times, I came in 56th out of 119 for the day. With pax, I came in 68th out of 119.
My spirit isn’t broken though, regardless if the top guys are running R comps with a lot more torque and power, because I know I can be faster. And if I know I can be faster with my current setup, just wait until we see all the various parts that are coming this month for my car. Stay tuned.

Here are some of Mike's videos of his run in his stock RX8 running in Bstock class.
Video 1
Video 2

June 2, 2009

SCCA Points Event #4

Saturday was my first points event running with SCCA New England Region! The entire atmosphere, rules, car setups, everything was completely different then what I was used to with the Renegade Miata club. We had roughly 150 runners on the course, all with cars that were very focused on their class. I really got to see what it meant to be classed by specific modifications and how it can play a serious roll in your ranking of the class. I would have to say almost everyone here was determined to top their class as drivers with SCCA, where as some other clubs, most do it for fun and some are on the competitive side.
Currently I’m in the Street Modified class due to my engine work and transmission work, which is fine with me as I’m not planning Nationals (not yet anyways!), but it is really competitive against cars that are heavily modified. It sort of reminds me of Touge Challenge from Best Motoring, only without the horse power and street tire limits. Even though I am running on very grippy street tires, and the other 5 in my class are running on R compounds, I managed to come in 4th place, very close to 3rd with a 63’. It was nice to know that I was keeping up with street tires compared to R compounds that have a high advantage. I believe I could have done better, but I had to leave the event early due to getting sick in the middle of the heats (also the reason for delaying my post).

June 1, 2009

RX-8 - Jack Yamaguchi

This book is a resource that is overflowing with information for all RX8 enthusiasts. I had received this book for my birthday back in May, and I was originally going to review this for that month, but I wanted to make sure I covered everything before reviewing it.

For any RX8 owner, this book is very essential to fully understand all the fundamentals and capabilities of the RX8. It covers everything from many driver impressions, to history, design, testing, structure, and just about every detail about the car. There is some information you find in here that you won’t find on a forum message board unless you dig really deep. I highly recommend reading or owning this to anyone who is an RX8 owner, or at least interested in the RX8.

Big thanks to josh for getting me this awesome resource for my birthday, can’t thank you enough for how awesome this is, both to have and the chance to review it!