Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Formula D Long Beach


Must I say, this past weekend was hectic! But it was full of excitement and full of mixed emotions.

Let me give you the break down of what our team went through to make it through the event.

I was actually given the opportunity to test the car for the FIRST time 5 days before the competition. This is Monday. We take the car out for an initial shake down and many things go wrong. What can you say? It is the first step to driving a newly built drift car. I only had about 2 minutes of drifting time before we noticed that something with the rear end had gone out.

Wednesday, we decide to come back after Gary from Design Craft had fixed the problems. The RS-R tC was much better this time around. The car handles great at high speed drifts. One thing I noticed was the lack of power. Given the time we had until Thursday's load in, we decided to leave the car underpowered and bump up the rear tire pressure. So my rear tire size at this point was a 255/35-18 with 70psi. The Toyo R1R tires are extremely sticky even at the tire pressure. Man, I must say that they are the best drifting tires I have ever run.

Soon after getting accustomed to the car's seat position and the shifting, the turbo decides to loosen itself from the manifold. So we called it a day.

Friday, the first day of practice. At this point, I have had maybe around 30-40 minutes of driving time. So practice starts and after about 2 runs, my rear axles decide to give out. That was the end of my day. For the rest of the day, Gary worked on the axles, giving me time to watch the unseeded drivers qualify and the rest of the seeded drivers practice.
My weekend was starting to look terrible. We had the president of Scion coming out to watch the event the following day with many other representatives from Scion and our car is still trying to piece itself together.

I prayed that the car would atleast make it to the 4pm practice at the end of the day. Gary, Len, and Koji-San were all working hard to get the car running while the rest of the team nearly experienced a breakdown. I honestly saw the worst of my Formula D experience coming together. The 4pm practice ended and our car was still on jacks.

Saturday, Gary managed to find a way to fix the axle problem by working some of his magic welding skills. By the time the car was on the ground, it was already 50 minutes into the our 90minute practice session. I had 40 minutes to get the car dialed in and start attacking the course. We changed the rear tire size to a 245 to save the axles. My practice runs were very sloppy. I was too far away from the outer clipping points and my speeds were low. On top of that, I had no tire smoke and shallow angle. But it was enough to get myself dialed in to the car.

Qualify. I was not expecting to score any higher than 20th place. Since my radio was not working, I was not able to get the scores until the session was over. On my first run, I managed to hit the outer clipping points and carry a little more speed than my practice runs. I thought to myself, "hmm, that was a decent run. I didnt make any mistakes."
On my second qualify run, as soon as i exit corner 9 completely sideways, the engine decides to give out as it felt like the car was choking for fuel. I knew i didnt score for that run.
As i was driving back to the pits, I noticed my team looking very happy. Well, it turns out that i qualified 10th and made it to the top 16 eliminations. WOooHOO!.
Not bad for a start eh? I was relieved knowing that was would be seeded going into Round 2.

Once the top 16 eliminations took off, I felt that all of Gary and the RS-R team's hard work paid off. My parents were there to support me all weekend and they looked happy as well. Even though I lost to Haruguchi in the first round of the top 16, this was a big step for us as a team. We have a lot more confidence in the car going into Atlanta.

Many thanks to those who came by the Toyo Tires booth to check out the car.
Thanks to all the Rogue Status guys for hooking it up with the sickest clothes on the track.
Also, Thanks to Scion for making it out to the event.

See you all in Atlanta!



Anonymous Vadim Anikin said...

Good Day!
My name is Vadim Anikin, I'm journalist from TUNING Magazine, Saint-Peterburg, Russia.
We want to publish article about Scion RS-R tC, but we have only studio photos, and, have no action photos. I can't find action photos of Scion RS-R tC - maybe you can help?
With best regards, Vadim Anikin

May 6, 2008 at 11:50 AM  

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