December 2, 2012

Preliminary SCCA National Tour Dates Posted!

Great news! Looks like the preliminary 2013 National Tour and ProSolo dates have been released! For those that are subscribed to SportsCar magazine, you probably already saw this in the latest January 2013 issue. For those that are not however, this will help keep you in the loop with where things currently stand. Be sure to follow the SCCA Forums to see all the talk about specific details regarding the schedule.

November 14, 2012

Videos You Should Watch

I recently stumbled across a few videos I thought you all would like to check out!

First thing's first. Speedway Motors has been releasing a music video every year of Solo Nationals. This year, they kicked it up 10 levels, as it is probably one of the greatest music videos I have seen. Catchy upbeat song with some great footage! No way I'm missing Nationals in 2013 after seeing this now.

October 31, 2012

Social Networking

For those that haven't noticed on the right side of the blog, I now have a link to Google+. And it's not a link so that you can share it, it's a link straight to RE-Zelse's Google+ Page!

October 21, 2012

Team Challenge - Soul Glo!

Photo by Ed Savage - NoWin Photography
At the end of every year, NER holds the Team Challenge! Team Challenge consists of teams of four. Only two Moss competitors are allowed in each team. Each team member chooses a class to compete in, and aims to take first place in it (so clearly, you want to not compete in the same class as one of your teammates!) You are allowed to share cars as well. Which ever team has the most 1st place wins, wins the event! There are some trophies for other categories as well, such as best team costumes. It's too bad we don't have more team challenges throughout the year...

October 20, 2012

Renegade Miata Finale

Throwing up coolant in grid, no big deal...
The last Renegade Miata event, and what a great way to go out with a bang! This event was a true wrap-up of everything I learned this year, due to the elements I encountered on and off the course. This year was all about patience and mindset, and I applied it all to today's event.

October 7, 2012

2012 Stirling Moss Runoffs

Picture taken by Jack En
Here we are folks, the finale that everyone has been working so hard to get up to! At the end of each season, NER SCCA holds a special event known as the Stirling Moss Runoffs. The trophy is a mounted silver bowl that was originally presented to Sir Stirling Moss back in 1967 for his racing on the Nürburgring in Nürburg, Germany. Then this prestigious trophy was donated to our region by someone who knew Sir Stirling's daughter. Essentially, it's our version of the Stanley Cup. That being said, at the end of each year the winner gets their name engraved into the trophy. It's not very easy to obtain this beautiful trophy however...

September 3, 2012

Polished Makeover

I may not be a female expert, but as far as I know, most women like to get makeovers when they're depressed. I figured, "what better way to cheer up Serenity than to pamper her with a full polish and detail?". Since we couldn't make it out to Nationals this year, this was the least I could do. Big thanks to Jordan for helping me out with a lot of this, especially the polishing part, as the car had never been fully detailed before it seemed.

September 1, 2012

Renegade Spin Session

Josh Noble to the rescue!
Well, this event was quite embarrassing. Ever completely forget to check something that should be checked frequently, and it starts causing problems just as you forgot? Well, that was today, and boy did I pay the price.

August 27, 2012

No Solo Nationals?

Unfortunately, I will not be going to the Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championship as planned for this year. A lot of the work and stress for this season was to have the car fully prepped with a solid setup for Nationals, but there are too many factors in which it wouldn't make sense to go. I could have gone to just have fun of course, or possibly even ask someone from my region to co-drive, but that would defeat the whole purpose of all my work with Serenity, no?

August 18, 2012

Come Back @ NER!

Photo by Ed Savage - NoWin Photography
Today was NER SCCA's second to last points event, "Scorched Orange". Looking ahead, I found out that the Stirling Moss event will NOT be a points event for the first three runs in the morning like last year, which means I've already lost first place for the season to John. John definitely deserves it, as he has been able to consistently drive Serenity fast with all the setup changes throughout this season, so congratulations to John! Just because he is in first though, doesn't mean I'll make it easy for him for the remainder of the season!

August 17, 2012

Suspension Work @ Flatout Motorsports

Pop Quiz: Which is higher, front or rear?
After fixing some of the problems I encountered after the last event at NHMS and taking some personal time to myself, I decided to reevaluate our alignment setup once again. I heard great things about Flatout Motorsports, so I wanted to give them a try and see what they think would help the car handle better.

August 5, 2012

Rough Time @ The Speedway

Photo by Ed Savage - NoWin Photography
Rough day at NHMS. I couldn't figure out how to go faster at all, my hands were everywhere on the steering wheel, the car was understeering a lot... Talk about a mess! John managed to figure it out though, as he came 5th in PAX! Congrats to him on that and the win in BSP for the day.

July 14, 2012

STX Fun @ Renegade

Photo by Ed Savage - NoWin Photography
I've been on the fence lately about how my car setup feels, especially in regards to the differential. That being said, I decided to co-drive with Dave for this event and have some fun. This car has come a very long way since the last time I drove it. New Ohlins coilovers, exhaust, wheels and tires, and some other goodies have made this car a serious STX competitor this year. After a few runs in it, I can see why! Sadly however, this will probably be the last time I get to race this car, as Dave has put it up for sale. If you're interested, his for sale post is here.

July 8, 2012

Fresh Rubber For NER!

Mmmm... Fresh Hoosiers
Nothing beats the feeling of running some fresh Hoosiers on the car, don't you think? Since our last set of Hoosiers A6 tires were completely useless at this point, John had picked up a brand new set to last us the rest of the season (Thanks again John!). Time for me to stop driving slow and make a come back!

July 6, 2012

Blueberry's Bruise

Rotors and Eccentric Shaft freshly removed 
Found the problem with Blueberry; Eccentric shaft. As pictured above, the eccentric shaft connects the two rotors together inside our rotary engines. When that very shaft is off standard specifications by a fraction of a millimeter, things can go wrong. Fortunately enough I have a spare motor that will be used for a donor eccentric shaft (e-shaft). There is a fancy dial indicator on its way to measure my spare e-shaft before it goes back into the block with a fresh set of seals.

June 30, 2012

Godzilla's Return

Looks like I get to race a little treat this event at Renegade Miata… Kaizen Tuning's GT-R 35! If you remember from my post a year ago, I got to race this monster for the first time on some dead R6 Hoosiers that corded by the end of the event. With some more experience and confidence under my belt, and some fresh 295 sized A6 Hoosiers this time, I was ready to see how well I could try and tame this beast again… and have a hell of a time!

June 17, 2012

SCCA Solo Northeast National Tour

Photo by Ed Savage - NoWin Photography
I wish I had more time and resources to do more National Tours... Nothing is quite like that full weekend experience. The people, the energy, the flow, the pressure… It's very different than any local autocross race. This weekend was the SCCA Solo Northeast National Tour at my home course, Moore Airfield in Ayer, MA. With over 200 people signed up, and 8 competitors in BSP, I was ready to rock!

June 14, 2012

Getting Ready For War

Time to wear the war paint again! En garde!
It has started, and there's no turning back at this point. The war paint- I mean... The vinyls are on for the National Tour, and for Nationals in September. This allows me to be eligible for contingency prizes and to show respect (will be getting more vinyls for Nationals as well). All that is left is my Tire Rack windshield banner and a few small SCCA vinyls I receive at the event.

June 9, 2012

Testing At Renegade Miata's Second Event

Photo by Ed Savage - NoWin Photography
Ever had a really bad day? I mean in where it rained, then poured, and then the sun came out for a moment... only to show you the tsunami heading your way? What am I saying… There WAS a few positive points to today, it just took me a bit to see them I suppose. The car was left with some alignment issues on Friday in that the steering wheel and toe was off on the car. Then, as I was leaving my house to go to the event, my battery was dead. I then later found out when I made it to the event that the battery was completely cooked, as the sides had expanded outward a fair amount. Lastly, after getting the battery problem situated, John and I received more bad news. Our set of R comps would probably last only until the National Tour next weekend, but after that would be pushing it.

June 8, 2012

Bad Camber Bolts?

On the alignment rack
Since the previous few posts, I've been trying to sort out a lot of kinks in the suspension to get everything nice and balanced, especially for the upcoming SCCA National Tour. After coming up with a game plan, I decided to mess with the alignment a little. That's when I ran into a minor problem while trying to get realigned. The passenger side could easily gain a lot of camber, while the driver side was maxing out only at -2.1 degrees. Clearly, something was not right here.

June 7, 2012

Blueberry's Blues

On her way to see Doctor Wankel!
Clearances. Exact and precise internal clearances are essential for any rotary engine to operate smoothly and properly. So what gives? Where have I been? Wankel Works and I have been trying to troubleshoot a few issues after the engine build. Clearances, just so happened to be one of them.

June 2, 2012

Stuck Swaybars?

Dry bushings can't be very helpful I bet
While I was changing the front swaybar from the full-stiff setting to medium-stiffness, I came across something really interesting. After I disconnected my endlinks, I had tried to move my front swaybar up and down to see how well the grease I applied at the beginning of April was holding up. With one hand, the bar didn't budge. With two hands, the bar didn't budge. With two hands pushing pretty hard, still no movement. Taking a rubber mallet to the bar, not an inch. I loosened the bushings on both sides, and STILL no movement with the rubber mallet! After removing the bushings, I noticed that the bushings and bar was completely bone dry. Within a little under two months, the grease had apparently dried out.

May 17, 2012

Lifting Wheels

Getting ready for some testing
I wanted to share some of my thoughts regarding my current handling issues with the RX-8. For those that have not been following the past few races, I've been experiencing some odd behavior with the car. When going into a corner, the car will start to oversteer slightly, then understeer, followed by sudden oversteer. In transitions, the car will feel great and solid, but then will suddenly oversteer, instead of increasingly starting to slowly become more and more loose. It is as if the car cannot make up it's mind! Let's take a closer look into all the facts and see what we can come up with.

May 6, 2012

Springtime Coneage

Getting ready to battle
After becoming more comfortable with the car after Saturday's event with the Renegade Miata Club, I was confident in being faster this event. I was really able to keep the power on the ground, while staying "mostly" in control. I was hoping that with R compounds, the "mostly in control" part would change to "100% in control". John and I had decided to run with the similar settings that I had put on the car at the Renegade Miata event. With it being a bit warmer out (73°F), we went with the following:
  • 37 PSI front
  • 35 PSI rear
  • 8 clicks from stiff front
  • 10 clicks from stiff rear
  • Front swaybar full stiff
  • Rear swaybar full soft
The results were interesting, to say the least.

May 5, 2012

Renegade Miata First Points Event of 2012!

Tech inspection line
With the rain letting up early this Saturday morning, we were able to have a dry first event. Today, I was planning on running on street tires to really feel out the natural behavior of the differential. I want to understand it's behavior a little bit more so I can drive the car at it's limits more comfortably. Kaizen Tuning adjusted the rear alignment a little bit, bringing the camber from -2.6 to -1.5. This should help in keeping the rear planted and allow me to feel out the rear wheels more.

April 22, 2012

Problem Solving At Porsche NCR

Porsche NCR Club, lined up in grid
Ben and I had planned on running with Porsche North Country Region (NCR) to work out some of the kinks I've been experiencing. This was my first time running with this club at Devens, and it wasn't too bad. I saw a few members from the Renegade Miata Club, but most were unfamiliar faces to me.
Ready to run against some Porsches

April 21, 2012

Speedway Slalom

Photo by Ed Savage - NoWin Photography 
Some of my favorite battles are events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS), as it is a nice change of pace from Fort Devens Airbase. The short but tricky course with elevation changes, the loud roar of road racers on the track, and downtime in the infield all makes the entire experience quite enjoyable. I was joined by Lui and Raul from Wankel Works as they wanted to hang out for the day, and to hopefully check out some of the rotary teams that run at NHMS. Thanks to Lui and Ed for some of the great pictures!
Photo by Ed Savage - NoWin Photography 

April 19, 2012

Lui's Birthday Meet At Wankel Works

Photo by Kristyn Brophy
A lot of rotaries were revolving their way to Wankel Works this past weekend for Lui's birthday party. It was a great turn-out, as the entire RE-Zelse team was able to show up, along with some of my friends from NEPOC, the Mass RX-8 Club, and some personal rotary friends of Lui. Be prepared for a lot of pictures as various cars came by, such as a fully restored Mazda REPU and some first generation RX-7s!
Photo by Kristyn Brophy

Blueberry's Upcoming Track Weekend

Photo by Jordan Cancela - Cancela Photography
Yes, it is finally that time. After all of the wrenching, troubleshooting, and cuts soaked in WD-40; Track time. So far, the weather is going to raining most of the weekend which will make this weekend a very technical one. Here is a link to New Jersey Motorsports Park's track information.

Circle me on Google+ to get updates from the track!

April 7, 2012

Solo Airways!

Whooohoo! The 2012 race season has finally started for the SCCA New England Region at Devens! It was great to see the family again after the long winter break. All the same people were preparing their cars nice and early, some people with new cars (Nice new CSP Miata Bob and Billy!), Mickle's Dad Steve was already preparing the camper and his grill for sausages later, getting to see the course get setup by the other club members, and more. Man, it sure was great to be home.
Photo by Ed Savage - NoWin Photography

April 3, 2012

Ti Gri's Engine Bay Overview - Part 1

Ti Gri in her full glory!
After a month and a half, I finally got Ti Gri back in my hands. I originally was going to hold off on this post for a bit so I could clean up various things on the car, but I decided to post the condition of the car the way I got it back from Speed 1. In their defense, I did go to pick it up early (which was after almost two months of waiting). The work that was done was great, however, there were a couple of important things that were overlooked in my opinion. Let's have a look...

March 29, 2012

Build Weekend... Again!

Blueberry - 4x4 Status
As Blueberry's track conversion continues, all of the wear and tear of daily driving is coming to light. Just before my other motor was rebuilt at Wankel Works, I began to notice increased drag from the rear wheels. The increased drag quickly lead to a loud whine from the differential. Since the differential was in need of replacement, it made sense to completely disassemble and clean everything else. I referred to the Factory Service Manual (FSM) for the removal procedure and I began to break down all of the rear suspension components.

Since Blueberry was my daily driver for years in the Northeast, I have one word: Rust. When disassembling the rear, I discovered that my tie rods were not only rusted, but completely frozen solid in place. That is when the RE-Zelse team and Luis from Wankel Works assembled together down in Pennsylvania to help me finish the work I started.

March 25, 2012

Getting Ready!

Getting help at Wankel Works with installing the oil pan
Racing season has already begun in some parts of the country, and it is almost time for it to start over in the east coast! With less than two weeks left before the first race, I've been working overtime to get ready. Most of the things I had to take care of over my winter break were maintenance related, but I still managed to pick up some new goodies as well. If you haven't noticed from the changes to the build page yet, here are some of the new parts for this year.

March 16, 2012

Autocross Presentation At Wankel Works

  • Saturday, March 24th
  • 12pm till everyone leaves!
  • Presentation starts at 1pm

  • Wankel Works
  • 465 Lancaster Street
  • Leominster, MA 01453

What to Bring:
  • Notebook or Tablet if you want to take notes

March 13, 2012

Blog Redesign and Vision Statement

After getting some downtime, I finished putting together the new design layout of the blog. The new banner design, matched with the overall new look and feel is something I have been brewing up for awhile. Each page has been updated with new content that features the new members of the team, so feel free to check them out at your leisure.

March 10, 2012

Francesco's Motor Swap, Live!

Check out the live progress of the freshly built Wankel Works motor swap! 

Update 3/14: She's alive! Follow me on Google+ to get updates on the break in and more.

All updates can be found on my public google+ page!

March 7, 2012

Ready, Steady, Brap!

Yes "brap", and plenty of it! This past weekend the RE-Zelse team was working on the Blueberry's motor at Wankel Works. Luis and Raul from Wankel Works allowed the team to work with them throughout the build. When the motor was broken down Luis was able to spot weaknesses in my previous porting. Needless to say, Luis custom ported the irons.

March 6, 2012

Blueberry's Build Update

Good news everyone! The Blueberry's motor has been ported and rebuilt thanks to Lui and Raul from WankelWorks. I will be creating a complete post about my absolutely wonderful experience working with them and everything about the motor rebuild.

February 1, 2012

Japan With Kaizen Tuning

Hi everyone! Well, I made it back in one piece from Japan. Half of me wishes I never left, but the other half is always glad to be back home! Japan was truly an experience like no other, as I have wanted to visit for a very long time. I've always had a deep appreciation for their culture and traditions, music, technology, food, and of course, their cars. If Japan is not on your bucket list of places to visit, I would suggest adding it. I owe this all to Kaizen Tuning, as I was able to have this amazing time in Japan thanks to them. 

January 20, 2012

Omori Factory - Nismo

We arrived at our last shop we had planned to visit in Japan, Nismo's Omori Factory. Nismo Japan (which is completely seperate from Nismo USA) is Nissan's racing branch with a lot of racing history behind them. They offer complete car care to any Nissan car, sell many high-end bolt on parts, custom engine builds, and even build complete "Nismo tuned" cars to be sold at dealers in Japan with a full warranty. Take the Z33 (350Z in America) for example. In Japan, you could go to a dealer and ask for a Nismo Fairlady Z33. From there, you then specify what package you would want it in, such as E-Type, S-Tune, R-Tune, or S1. How cool would that be to have a fully built Mazdaspeed RX-8 autocross monster, right off the dealer floor, with full warranty?

Tomei Powered

By now, I was already used to Japan. Going to Yoshinoya for breakfast by myself like a big boy, practicing Japanese that I haven't spoken in ages, hanging out in Akihabara at night for some Wangan Midnight: Maximum Tune 4 and the new DDR...I was turning into a "Man of Japan"! Our next stop was to Tomei Powered. I knew very little about Tomei before the trip and what they had to offer, other than what they had were good products. After getting off the train, we set out on foot to Tomei. We originally planned to stop at UP Garage which is actually next-door to Tomei, but we unfortunately had no time. When we entered, we were greeted by Allen Lorenzo, their International Marketing Coordinator, and by Jun Hamamura, their International Sales Manager.

January 19, 2012

Power House Amuse

Our next stop was my favorite non-rotary tuner shop, Power House Amuse. I grew up watching Best Motoring and Hot Version movies, so I was no stranger to Amuse. They sell their BMW products under a different name, Ericsson, but it is the same shop. My favorite build of theirs was always their S2000 Touge monster. Infact, the S2000 Touge Monster is the car that lead me to the RX-8 in the first place. Watching a properly built under-powered car demolish any car it was pitted against (especially ones with more power) was truly an amazing feat. It motivated me to see how far I could take the RX-8 while keeping the build naturally aspirated.

January 18, 2012

Super Autobacs

Stand aside Autozone, PepBoys, etc... These guys will do it all and more! Super Autobacs is like a very large candy store for anyone who loves their car. Want to get some rotary-specific motor oil and track brake pads, while picking up Recaro seats for your car? Super Auto Bacs is your place. Want to look at some amazing lightweight wheels in person and the tires that will be going on them? Not a problem. Oh, did you want racing shoes, a helmet, quality car wax, and some wheel totes? Sure, they have all that too, along with some "spirited music for spirited driving".

January 17, 2012

Tokyo Auto Salon 2012

Tokyo Auto Salon (TAS) is dubbed the "world's largest car show" for a reason. Imagine three aircraft hanger sized rooms, one half sized room with stadium seating, and a large outside parking lot with more cars and a drift show, all dedicated to this amazing event. It literally took me two days to see everything they had to offer, and I found out later that I still managed to miss some cars!

January 16, 2012

Andrey & "Tigri"

Hello everybody! I am Andrey (Dre), and I will be giving you a look at the weekend racer/luxury modifier along with my ride, "Tigri".
I will be going to a lot of road racing events with Francesco, however, whereas Francesco's goal is to compete, mine is to learn the car and learn how to drive. In the meantime, my car is at Speed1 (formerly known as KDR) in Pennsylvania getting the finishing touches done to my GReddy turbo kit.

Francesco & "Blueberry"

Hello world! Francesco here with the Winning Blue RX-8 aka "The Blueberry".

Photo Courtesy of Bazooka Photography
You'll find the Blueberry darting through turns this season as the track build begins in the coming months. Here is a quick and dirty run down on the work at hand. All of this work will be documented here on RE-Zelse throughout the build process.

January 3, 2012

2012 - The Year of Change

 Photo by Ed Savage - NoWin Photography
Happy New Years everyone! I hope everyone is enjoying the new year so far, because I know I am! For starters, I wanted to apologize with the lack of content. Granted, it is the off-season, but that doesn't mean I should be leaving everyone hanging without content. I only have some minor updates, but I can promise you that they will be sure to excite you.