August 30, 2005
●D1-GP Round 5, Ebisu
Well even if over a week late here are a few snaps from Round 5 of D1. Close to 7,000 people made the trek to the small Fukushima circuit to check out the action. Only 2 rounds to go now (Fuji & Tsukuba) and Kasama with the Kei-Office S15 is in the lead by a massive 26 points over Suenaga of Team RE-Amemiya.
Kasama is without a doubt the 2005 champion, but no celebrations...there is still some entertaining to do in the last 2 rounds! Next stop for D1 is the UK exhibition in Silverstone on the 2nd of October.
Kumakubo owner of Ebisu circuit with the most unique D1 car out there! JUN has worked wonders with this Spec C and it's without a doubt the car that can get the most sideways...I'm sure Kuma's skills play a big part in it too!
August 27, 2005
●Thinking of entering the D1-GP with this baby...
12.5HP of pure air-cooled power! You don't screw around with this little beast. A bit tricky to control on the limit what with the short wheel base but I'll show Kazama and Taniguchi a thing or two! :-)
August 25, 2005
●New Mazda Roadster (MX-5/Miata)
Got this cool looking invitation in the mail the other day. Pity I couldn't attend but check back soon for a full road test of this fun new little Roadster. With 170PS and 1100Kg it promises to be a great drive.
For more info and pictures on the new Roadster check the Mazda Japan Website
August 24, 2005
●And another GT-R in Italy....
Except the owner has cheated and registered it in Monte Carlo ;-) LOL
Lowered with HKS suspension. You can see the non-Xenon lights fitted to UK cars. Another of those stupid rules stopped them from using the J-spec Xenon lights! The car from the previous entry has the Japanese lights fitted.
And what's a days fun without a drag start. Gotta love ATS carbon clutches!
August 23, 2005
●First BNR34 V-spec in Italy
Went to check out what may well be the first BNR34 in Italy. This car was previously owned by a long term and respected member of the UK GTR Owners Club and is one of the UK spec models that were officially sold in the UK through Middlehurst Nissan. A very rare example which looks brand new and has only covered 12,000 miles since new. Car is immacule throughout and the new owner is very happy with his new toy!
Cunning mod to the MFD allows the Alpine navi unit to run through the factory LCD screen. More info on this mod can be found on the tech section at GT-R Central
To allow registration in the EU Nissan had to make sure all the windows were maked "E." I really can't see any difference between these an the Japanese ones except for the marking itself?! Gotta love bureaucracy.
August 20, 2005
Magical place this. It's just amazing the cars you see zooming by.
And was lucky enough to spot this popping out of the back entrance. The test mule for the 575's replacement, the 600, or something like that. By the looks of it it should look very similar to the Scaglietti, a car I really love. As the driver saw me jumping out of the car with my big zoom lens he gunned it down the road and made sure I couldn't get any clear shots. One thing is for sure, they certainly fixed the uninspiring V12 engine note that was endlessly criticized on the 550 and 575. This thing sounded amazing!!!
Finally had the chance to visit Galleria Ferrari in Maranello. Looked a bit like an abandoned building outside what with poorly maintained grounds and overgrown weeds all over the place, but I guess that's how Italians like to do things;-) But things get better inside, with cars like these to drool over...
Ferrari at its best. Make a model of a car that is totally pointless (why screw with the beautiful 575?) and absolutely ugly and everybody will buy it! All 559 Ferrari 575 Superamerica were sold before the car went officially on sale. Features a cunning and innovative rotating roof. What I don't get is what happens if it starts raining cats and dogs with the roof down? Does the roof collect liters of water that will then be pored on the occupants at the flick of a button...or will the electric motors burn out lifting the extra weight?
The mighty Enzo. I think this was a pre-production model as the whole rear section was out of alignment with the rest of the car. You could literally stick your index fingers down some of the panel gaps. Looks like they can learn a thing or two from Lexus...LOL
So this in the end turned out to be a great place. Most interesting for me was the prototype engines in curios configurations, both aspirated and turbocharged. And a round of applause to who ever was responsible for writing the English information boards and various name plates. It's very disappointing to see the most renowned sports car maker in the world struggling to hire people proficient enough in the English language to avoid making spelling mistakes in virtually every sentence. I spotted a few British visitors shocked at what they were reading! Come on Ferrari you can do better than that surely?
August 18, 2005
Few pictures taken durng a very hot and muggy day in Venezia.
August 14, 2005
●Chrysler Crossfire SRT6 vs Nissan 350Z 35th Anniversary Edition
Got a chance to snap away at these two coupe's while at Adria Raceway. On paper they appear as decent rivals even if the Chrysler does have the upper hand on engine output with 335PS compared to the Nissan's 300. However out on the black stuff these two couldn't be more different. As you would probably have guessed the Crossfire, being an american car build of the previous generation Mercedes Benz SLK platform, is not exactly the sharpest of the two. Things certainly don't get any better when you consider that the SRT6 is 11,000 Euro more than the 350Z and is only available with a lazy slush box.
The blown 3.2 L V6 certainly gives the SRT6 decent performance levels and is quicker to 100km/h by .8 sec over the Z (5 sec vs 5.8sec) but thats just about all it's good for. The Z's 3.5L V6, even if not the most impressive engine Nissan has built, is silky smooth throughout the rev range and pulls evenly from as low as 1000 rpm. Now with a slight power increase (used to develop 280PS) things get even better. Add the crisp and snappy 6-speed box and the Z really sets itself apart from the US offering.
Step inside the Crossifire and you can't help but feel a bit queasy. This is all thanks to probably the nastiest center console ever fitted to a car's dash. Horrible to look at and not much better to use it looks like it's been finished in a silvery matte color from an aerosol can. Pretty much everything else in the Chrysler looks like it's been put together on a tight budget and it certainly does not look like a 50,000+ Euro car's interior. The Z is slightly better in this department. Design and ergonomics are without a doubt in another world, it looks modern, sporty and is great to use but some of the materials really need to be addressed. Like the plastic on the transmission tunnel, hard like a rock and extremely easy to scratch. Then there are the switches for the seat warmers which you turn on with your elbow at every gearchange. Smart move there! But at least it feels solid, something that can't be said for the Crossfire.
Out on track they are both pretty quick but the driving experience the Z gives is rawer, more precise, like a front engined rear wheel drive coupe should. You spend most of the time with the Crossfire cursing at the traction control which is programmed to cut power at just the right second you begin to have decent fun! The 350Z is a true driver's car with a great chassis and dynamics only real negative aspect has to be the 1500 plus Kgs it has to haul. Where does all that mass come from nobody knows!
August 11, 2005
●BMW M6 - Part II -
Some action shots of the BMW M6 being used like it should around the impressively modern Adria Raceway . Couldn't get over how cool the covered paddock is.
Dorifuto!! Adria turned out to be the perfect track for drifting. Maybe when the D1-GP has a few rounds in Italy (hint hint!) they can use this circuit which also offers excellent space for tens of thousands of potential spectators. M6 felt right at home here....tyres not so much
Ahh...the joys of having an empty race track all to yourself...
●BMW M6 - Part I -
You really can't go wrong with a 5.0 L V10 no matter where you put it. Couple it with a latest generation smooth shifting 7-speed Getrag SMG gearbox and things can't get any better. The design of the new BMW 6-series might not be to everyone's taste, after all it is Bangle's most daring design to date. But I like it, a lot. I like it's originality, the way the creased lines of the bodywork play with the light and the fact that it looks like nothing else on the road. But then again I was one of the few that liked the pre-face lift 7-series, so maybe it's a bit easier for me to digest the look of this new coupe. I'm even beginning to accept the rear boot lid, it's just one of those things that you either love or hate.
You really have to look hard to tell the M6 apart from a normal 6-series though. Apart from mildly aggressive front and rear bumpers and the M-badged wing vents it looks rather plain. Of course those lovely thin-spoked 19" wheels are hard to miss but it all looks very mature and almost bland on the outside. Harder to spot on this black M6 was the super technologically advanced carbon roof panel which thanks to it's lightweight construction reduces the car's roll center. Great little detail but why bother at all when the M6 nudges 1800Kg!! It almost seems a bit of a joke.
But the M6 has no intention of setting fast lap times around the world's most demanding circuits, it just wants to offer great performance coupled with everyday comfort and usability. And this it does very well indeed. Interior space is vast, rear seats are good enough for 2 adults although there is little room for your feet thanks to the electronics-packed front seats. Build quality as you would expect is very good as is the choice of materials. Color coordination is obviously something the germans still need to work on a bit as is perfectly demonstrated by the vomit inducing maroon leather seats and wood trim combination.
But we all know the interesting aspect about this car is the high-revving (stoke is only 75.2 mm, bore 92 mm) V10. 507HP at 7750 rpm and 520Nm at 6100 rpm are very impressive numbers. The torque curve might look a bit peeky but the truth is it works quite well in practice having enough twisting power to smoke the rear wheels in second and give a nice chirp when shifting into third.
Other nice details include an interestingly finned rear diff housing
Looks aggressive, but then again it doesn't.
So great car but what remains a mystery is why BMW wants 21,000 Euro more than the M5 for it. A very interesting marketing move that will no doubt assure waiting lists for the M5 keep growing. Small detail...the bland BMW looking key on top of the super technologically advanced carbon roof panel. It's very light you know...;-)
August 09, 2005
●Newera Imports S15 Silvia SpecR
First off apologies for the lack of updates, I'll get into why this happened on a later entry. For now feast your eyes on this lovely looking Silvia built and mentained by Gareth Brunt of Newera Imports .
Gareth came to Japan in 2004 to work for Newera and was faced with the hard choice of what company car to get. Miguel, president of Newera, suggested a tuned R32 GT-R but Gareth wanted to get into the drifting scene and so looked for something a bit different. When this superb looking white S15 Silvia came up at an auction he knew it was the right car even if a bit over budget.
Over his 12 month stay in Japan Gareth did a substantial amount of work on the Silvia, like fitting massive Brembo F50 front brake kit and full R33 GT-R rear Brembo conversion (with handbrake and all). Most impressive job has to be the Defi gauges cleanly and seamlessly fitted in the air vent housings as well as the massively tall rear GT-wing.
Engine wise this S15 kicks out around 380PS thanks of a equal length ex-manifold, Nismo exhaust, HKS F-Con V Pro and EVC.
Gareth had lots of fun racing this car against Miguel's RX-7 which up until a few months ago was very evenly matched power wise, not to mention getting the tail wide around the deserted roads of Oi Futo in the wee hours of the morning.
Miguel keen to show the camera how things are done in the Silvia...
The Silvia is being shipped to the UK now where Gareth, now back home, will be putting the finishing touches to it before probably selling it on.
Many thanks to Miguel for bringing the Newera S15 to Daikoku Futo for the shoot. Next time it will have to be the Rex;-)