Friday, December 16, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

EXE Crew Exposure

The recent Exe Crew track day at Winton got coverage via Street Cover and Farm of Minds, thanks to Shaun for his photos and publicising of the event.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

AROCA Sprints - Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit

JimJim, Eiji and I went to Phillip Island today for a track day run by Alfa Romeo Club.

All weather reports seemed to indicate that today would be horrible, with an 80% chance of rain and the entire day having continual showers. It certainly seemed to be the case on the way to Phillip Island and when we arrived, the skies were grey and the ground was soaked.

This was my first track day at PI and I wasn't looking forward to having to learn the lines and contend with a wet track simultaneously. Fortunately, the clouds started dispersing by 9am and patches of sun shone through intermittently. The driving conditions became perfect and although there was a brief period in the afternoon when it threatened to pour down, the grey clouds yet again cleared up.

So, on to the driving. As it was my first time at PI, I sought instruction from one of the regulars for the practice session. I was assigned Alister, who drives a 997 Carrera S. He was a great help, explaining the lines and what gear to be in for each corner.

Here is what I learnt from Alister.
Turn 1: Staying on the left, brake somewhere before the 200 and 100 metre signs, shift down to 4th gear. Take the middle apex and shoot out to the left side.
Turn 2: Stay on the left about a quarter of the track width from the left edge of the track. After the first apex, move out right about a third of the track width and then come back in for the second apex. On exit, take the car out to the right edge of the track. I short shift up to 5th gear before turn 3.
Turn 3: Come in from the right, apex and then exit by going a little wide to not lose speed. Then bring the car back to the left of the track in preparation for turn 4.
Turn 4: Down to 2nd gear, turn in and late apex, moving out to the left side of the track on exit and changing up to 3rd.
Turn 6: Stay about a quarter of the track width in from the right, a small application of brakes and staying in 3rd gear. Turn in and late apex, exiting the corner and taking the car to the right edge of the track.
Turn 7: Move to the left of the track, up to 4th gear and attempt to connect this corner to turn 8 with a straight line.
Turn 8: After exiting turn 8, following the curve to the right and prepare to brake a little for turn 9, staying roughly in the middle of the track.
Turn 9: From the middle, fly over the infamous Lukey Heights crest and move towards a late apex. Exit the corner about a third of the track width from the left.
Turn 10: Move back all the way to the left in preparation and brake hard before the 100 metre sign. Down to 2nd gear, turn in and late apex, exiting and ending up in the middle of the track.
Turn 11: Short shift to 3rd and take the corner with a middle apex. Exit the corner and get to the right, shift up to 4th.
Turn 12: Take a late apex and shoot out to the right side and keep the accelerator planted for the run down the straight. Shift up to 5th and move to the left side.

Still tentative and concentrating on Alister’s instructions and controlling the car.

Session 1
Still getting comfortable from corner to corner and figuring out stuff.

Session 2
Eiji and I missed the start of our session as we got lazy and thought other people would dawdle. It was still a good session - getting faster by chasing MX-5s and cracking the 2 minute barrier.

Session 3
Using the fast MX-5s in my group as a gauge, I chased them to achieve my PB for the day.
1:58.2519 PB

Session 4
No PB, but I was happy to see I achieved another 1:58.

Overall, I’m very happy with the result. My initial goal was the break the 2 minute barrier and then to get as close as possible to Silas’ 350Z PI time of 1:56. RaceChrono says that my theoretical PB is 1:56.8, so it is very possible. Thank you JimJim and Eiji for the company and support, I’m looking forward to what’s in store next year.

Full results:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

[Video] Exe Crew Track Day 20-Nov-2011

Here's a video by Jason Ho, immortalising the recent Winton track day. Great work!

Friday, November 25, 2011

[Photos] GorillaZ @ Winton 20th November 2011

Thank you to Shaun Chiew and Dan Lee for these photos.
More of Shaun's photos can be found at
More of Dan's photos can be found at

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Exe Track Day - Winton Motor Raceway

Another track day at Winton, this time trying four new things:- 
  1. hardest damping setting at the rear
  2. 265/35R18 Hankook Z221's at the rear
  3. X3E Motorsports front rotors
  4. a new set of Project Mu Level Max900i pads at the front

I couldn't have asked for better weather, the morning cover of rain clouds threatened to make the day a wet one but they moved on to allow for a completely sunny day.

Session 1
1:41.0740 NEW PB

Session 2

Session 3 - I think I over-drove the car as the rear tyres' grip seemed to drop off quicker

Session 4 - I think I over-drove the car again

Session 5 - Starting to get back in the zone with a couple of 42s, but this was to be last session of the day

New PB versus previous PB:

The Z221 tyres I have are hard compound and wore down very slowly. They didn't even become gooey and I would say they are harder than RE55S SR2 compound. The new front rotors performed superbly, providing a clean wipe of the pads. I just hope that they're not warped now.

Looking at my speed graph, I am now faster through turns 1, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 10/11 (the S bend). Overall, I'm happy with the result of this track day and I know that if I can string all the corners together in one lap that 1:40s are possible.

A big thanks to Exe Crew for coming together to make this event flow and run so well, and thank you for the comradery.

Monday, October 31, 2011

[Video] Takes Two To Tango

My friend Silas has created yet another masterpiece, this time a pre-wedding video for our friends Jim and Agnes. Exe Crew came together to make this a reality under the direction of Silas. I played the role of the president's bodyguard and it was hilarious and great fun to produce. See the video page for a full description of concept, but in the mean time click Play and enjoy.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Crack whores - Part II

Well, it's happened again; not as bad as last time, but the Project μ SCR Pro rotors are still cracked nonetheless. After two track days, cracks developed from the holes where the rotor bolts on to the hat. Then on their third track day at Sandown, I could feel a vibration through the steering wheel under hard braking. The uneven surface around the cracks also took small chunks off the edges of the brake pads.

This is the left rotor with three noticeably large cracks. The right rotor also had a couple.

Close up view of the cracks:

From inside the rotor, you can see where the cracks started.

The rotors had only worn down about 0.25 mm and they still performed fine on the road, but with more track days coming up I had to replace them. Instead of paying a premium on a brand name rotor again, I decided to try a set of rotors by X3E Motorsports. These rotors are apparently hardened and more resistent to wear, lets see if they can withstand cracking. Thanks to JimJim for recommending these to me as he uses a set on his Evo.

They weigh around 7.5 kg each, so they are roughly 500 grams heavier than the Project μ. As a comparison, these are the weights of other rotors:

DBA 4000: ~8 kg
DBA 5000: ~7.5 kg
Project μ SCR-Pro: ~7 kg

I'll also be working on my cooling for the brakes to mitigate the effects of hard braking on the track.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bulls eye!

My windscreen sustained a bulls eye crack from a rock at the recent Sandown track day. I think it was flicked up by the stupid unyielding MX-5 race car.

So I bought one of these kits to fix it cheaply. The kit basically consists of a tube of resin and a syringe to apply the resin to the affected area. The video at the link above shows the process for repair.

Here's the application of resin in progress.

After the syringe is removed, a drop of resin is applied to cover the hole and the curing strip placed on top.

The view from inside the car, the bulls eye is filled in by resin but as expected, there are still visible parts of the crack.

The Gorilla sits in the sun to allow the UV to cure the resin.

After the curing strip was removed and the excess resin cleaned up, some parts of the crack are still visible but it has been completely sealed by the resin.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

[Photos] GorillaZ @ DECA 24/9/11

Exe Crew had their second motorkhana day at DECA on the 24th of September 2011. Here are a few shots of the Gorilla courtesy of my friend Shaun. His other photos can be found here or you can follow him here.

This photo of the GorillaZ braking hard into the box courtesy of my friend Michael.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

So artistic

First there was interpretive dance, now there's interpretive parking.

[Photos] GorillaZ @ Sandown 18th September 2011

Here are a couple of pics from Sunday.

Thanks to Ying for this pic.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

AROCA Sprints - Sandown Motor Circuit

Today I joined the Alfa Romeo Owners Club of Australia at their track day at Sandown. The weather was perfect - sunny and no rain in sight. I went to this track day not expecting much improvement (if at all), judging from my last visit to Sandown. The things that have changed on the car since last year are the Project Mu Level Max 900i brake pads and Project Mu brake fluid. In addition to that, the car now has the 265/35R18 Hankook Ventus TD Z221 semi slicks at the rear, compared to the 255/40R17 Dunlop D03G last year. I was to be pleasantly surprised.

1:51.2488 1:41.1170 1:42.3953 1:36.5952 1:32.5984 1:38.6449 1:33.8959

Session 1
1:40.9837 1:34.0626 1:35.7845 1:32.1095 1:31.2179 1:34.2567 1:35.2121 1:33.3627 1:56.8544

Session 2
1:32.0829 1:34.7989 1:31.8079 1:30.8023 1:31.0758 1:31.0492 1:32.6734 1:49.5718

Session 3 - New PB!
1:53.3659 1:32.2929 1:34.0607 1:29.9864 1:33.9377 1:29.7400 1:30.6694 1:32.3326

Session 4
2:05.5371 1:32.3262 1:32.1319 1:34.3576 1:35.8649 1:34.9616 1:35.3367

After the practice session, I was thinking whether I would actually improve today, with my best time for the session being 1 second off my PB of 1:31.6. Then, I was surprised that I actually beat my PB in session 1 with a 1:31.2. I realised that I was starting to get more things correct and I continued to try and go faster through turns 1 and 6, two areas that I identified as being particularly weak previously. In session 2, I was really starting to get into the rhythm for the day, the car felt very planted out of corners and the brakes were inspiring confidence. At the end of the session, I couldn't believe it - finally into the 1:30s, beating my PB again. In session 3, I worked on later braking for turns 1 and 6. For turn 6 I aimed to brake just after the 100 metre mark and maintain at least 130 KPH through the corner. This seemed to work as I ended the session with my new PB of 1:29.7. Session 4 was a write-off as I was stuck behind a "150kW at the wheels MX-5 race car" whose driver would pull away from me on the straights but could not get away from me through the corners. This was incredibly frustrating as the driver refused to yield and let me past. It's one thing to be fast in a straightline (the car), it's another to be able to be fast while cornering (the car AND the driver).

Anyway, an enjoyable day for the most part and I'm happy with the car setup. The front brakes performed consistently for almost the entire duration of the 12 minute sessions and the new semi slicks kept the rear end very stable out of corners. I'm happy.

Thanks for the company and also coming out to race Exe Crew.

Speed versus distance

Corner speeds

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Ken Block Gymkhana World Tour 2011

So as part of his world tour, Kenny B paid a visit to Melbourne, Australia to hoon around Calder Park Raceway and put on a free show.

Here's the setup at Calder Park, with a course that ran down part of the drag strip and on to the final corner of the circuit.

The crowd.

Ken doing what he does best.

There was other entertainment too in the form of stunt bikes, drift, drag and off road cars; interspersed between sessions of Ken Block sliding around and smoking up the course.

And finally, there was just too much Ken Block for this bin to handle.  A fun few hours of free entertainment.

To finish up, here are a couple of videos of the action.