Welcome to the ultimate chapter in ‘The Huge Grind’ sequence with Challenge Tough, my ER34 Nissan Skyline.
In the event you’re simply becoming a member of us now, try to discover a while out of your busy schedule to check out chapters one and two of the sequence. They’re jam-packed with good recommendation, concepts, and tales of my struggling over the past yr or so. For this closing installment, we’re placing principle to the take a look at.
The best option to take a look at how correct my DIY alignment was could be to easily take it to an alignment store, put it on the rack and see how shut my numbers have been to these calculated with a laser. That, nonetheless, could be extremely boring and never inform me if the numbers translate to raised dealing with. I might take a look at the adjustments throughout a spirited drive on an area touge, however that too has some apparent downfalls and limitations. No, there was just one option to sit this closing examination, and that was on the observe.
To do that, I headed alongside to Sports activities Land Yamanashi (SLY).
SLY is a good, technical mountain course that, for time assault, is nicely suited to smaller, naturally aspirated automobiles just like the DC2 Honda Integra Kind R, Mazda Roadster, Toyota 86 and Suzuki Swift. Larger automobiles have a tendency to seek out it difficult to navigate the tight corners, and the truth that the course is barely 1km (0.62mi) in size means higher-powered machines don’t have many alternatives to make the most of all of their would possibly.
In the event you’re planning on sending it sideways although, SLY turns into much more of a playground, because the tight course supplies continuous, tire-shredding motion.
Having pushed at Sports activities Land Yamanashi again in 2019 throughout the SLY Summit Grassroots drift occasion, I had a benchmark to check all of the adjustments I’ve performed over the previous yr to, even when at the moment I solely bought to drive on the shortened drift format.
When Shibata-san from R31 Home invited me alongside to SLY and provides the his new Shibata Tire/Rydanz Revimax R23 tire a correct work out, it appeared like a great way to kill many birds with one gigantic stone.
Word: No birds, even theoretical ones, have been harmed within the making of this story.
Regardless of SLY being such a small grassroots observe, lovers merely love it. On this specific day, greater than 60 automobiles crammed the paddock for each grip and drift classes on the Nissan Jamboree.
The occasion’s organizer, Kanta Yamaguchi, works at Nissan, and informed me that the day was merely a chance for folks to get out on the observe and expertise motorsports.
“The aim [of this event] is to share the enjoyable of motorsports with as many pals and rookies as I can. I really feel that there’s a wall in entrance of unusual folks to know how pleasant it’s,” Yamaguchi-san informed me.
“As much as about one third of all of the folks right here work at Nissan. Sadly, there are much less youthful ‘automotive guys’ at Nissan now, so I needed to create this chance for the employees.”
Yamaguchi-san completed, “After all, I didn’t need to set limitations to the place solely folks working at Nissan might take part,” therefore why I used to be right here too.
I spent a part of the day merely mingling with drivers and listening to their tales, each inside and out of doors of Nissan. With the costs of ’90s JDM efficiency automobiles having reached foolish ranges now, the proprietor of this 180SX hides it at his buddy’s home down the road. Not for a concern of theft, however concern of his spouse making him promote it!
“I’ve two different automobiles already and this one is a bit tough.” the proprietor informed me. “It means quite a bit to me although, and if I have been to promote it, I do know I couldn’t justify the price to purchase one other.”
I can’t bear in mind the final time a tire producer got here to a grassroots occasion – or any occasion for that matter – and supplied drivers an opportunity to strive their merchandise proper then and there on the observe.
I assume whenever you’re a small privately-owned and enthusiast-run firm, you are able to do the type of issues massive firms can’t. Shibata-san not solely purchased a variety of tires for folks to strive, but additionally his truck, which is absolutely outfitted with tire altering and wheel balancing tools.
Shibata-san himself spent the day multitasking between renting and promoting tires, and doing just a little testing along with his contemporary GR86 construct that Koudai Sobagiri is now driving in Formulation Drift Japan.
With what appeared like one million various things occurring, Shibata-san and I made a decision to avoid wasting a nearer have a look at this beautiful construct for an additional day. Keep tuned for that!
Fact be informed, SLY is a bit too brief and tight for a automotive like this to do a correct take a look at, however by no means the much less, the crew ran just a few laps to see if including an enormous GT wing on the rear would offer a bit extra traction.
Additionally they gave just a few ride-a-longs, so folks might expertise the insanity of a full-blown, pro-spec FD Japan automotive.
The Closing Examination
However there was solely so lengthy I might stall earlier than it was time to choose up lap transponder #34, make tweaks to Challenge Tough’s dampers and hit the observe.
I want I might inform you that I used to be calm and 100% assured that every one the suspension and DIY alignment adjustments made have been going to work completely, however the fact of the matter is, I merely wasn’t. I had spent greater than a yr enjoying round with settings, attempting to develop a way of what labored and what didn’t, and now it was time to place all of it to a real-world take a look at.
Sadly, the one image we might discover of me on observe was this one on Instagram, that means no quantity of magic might be performed to revive the pixels. Regardless of that, this is one among my favourite footage, because it captures me having an absolute ball in Challenge Tough. That’s as a result of, in virtually 5 years of possession, Challenge Tough had by no means pushed this good earlier than. It’s actually evening and day how all of the adjustments have added up.
I spent the primary session getting accustomed to the total observe format, and inching additional and additional into the automotive’s new potential. The place I had anticipated it to chunk, it didn’t. The place I had anticipated it to expire of brakes, it didn’t. The place I had anticipated it to be unsettled by the bumps, it didn’t. I might even rotate the rear finish beneath path braking, one thing that basically wasn’t potential (or advisable) earlier than. With out actually breaking a sweat, I used to be in a position to obtain a finest lap time of 44”589.
For comparability, the quickest time of the day got here courtesy of this Monster-tuned Suzuki Swift Sport, which posted a 41”127 lap.
Within the second session I pushed Challenge Tough even more durable, however sadly I’d made the rookie mistake of not adjusting my tire pressures earlier than going out. The Rydanz Revimax R23’s optimum stress vary is round 2.6-bar, however as you’ll be able to see, it was really a lot larger than that.
Nonetheless, this did enable me to discover how the automotive behaved when pushed past the bounds of rear grip, and it was an absolute peach. All the things occurred in such a predictable method that I might management the slip angle with the throttle, one thing I’d have by no means dared to do earlier than.
However even with the tire pressures being off, I used to be nonetheless in a position to enhance my time to a 44”072.
As I knew the afternoon was going to be extremely sizzling (and I nonetheless wanted to take images of the day), I made a decision to name it quits after the 2 classes. My finest time was nonetheless adequate be tenth quickest on the day, simply forward of an FD3S RX-7 and simply behind a DC2 Kind R.
However I’m over the moon at how nicely every little thing went. And higher nonetheless, there’s nonetheless extra potential in it. I might play with the dampers just a little bit extra to enhance the burden switch beneath acceleration and cornering, or I might add just a little little bit of toe out within the rear to assist it rotate extra now that I do know it’s not going to chunk me. Maybe I might shed just a few extra kilos from the automotive and do one thing in regards to the horrendous aerodynamics at play.
Oh no, I believe I’m beginning to fall down the racing rabbit gap…
Whereas I ponder the place I am going from right here with Challenge Tough, take pleasure in the remainder of the day’s actions within the chapter beneath – no phrases wanted.
SLY Racing Membership