Thursday, January 1, 2015

Introducing the New KPR Website!

The time has finally come to move all of the KPR website content from this outdated blogger setup to a new Wordpress website. The new site feature a lot more content from new articles and videos to a new built in eCommerce store! This blogger website will no longer  be updated as of January 1st, 2015 so be sure to check out the new website today at

Saturday, October 18, 2014

10th Annual Z Nationals & AMP Track Day

Z Nationals is the largest Nissan Z Car meet in the world held every year just outside of Atlanta, Georgia at Z1 Motorsports. This year was the 10th Annual Z Nationals, my fourth time there, and it might just have been the best one yet. I know I say this every year but the event truly does get bigger and better every time. With a track day, car show, dyno competition and 700 of my favorite Nissan family members what's not to love for any auto enthusiast!? In years past the track day was always the day after the car show and dyno competition but this year the awesome staff at Z1 switched it to the day before which was great for all those involved as it allowed everyone to relax the rest of the event (aka drink more every night, we certainly are a lively bunch). They also decided not to return to Barber Motorsport Park in Birmingham, Alabama for the much closer and equally impressive road course at Atlanta Motorsports Park in Dawsonville, GA about 60 miles north of Atlanta.

The beautiful 2 mile 16 turn road course nestled in the rolling Georgia hills is one of the most beautiful private tracks on the east coast. It is a relatively technical track with a great variation of fast and slow turns with an impressive amount of elevation change to boot. This was my second time going to AMP and I was excited to return as it would be the first time in the #44 car. Along with driving in the track day for fun and a bit of testing on the new setup I was also asked to be an instructor for some of the beginners that usually come to the event each year. I don't normally instruct but with the 90+ track day enthusiasts that sign up each year they are always in need of instructors. Luckily for me all of my students were great and listened and executed amazingly and got faster and smoother every session. There is something really satisfying about explaining a line and how to drive a car to someone and finally seeing it click in their head and watching them successfully complete a turn or segment correctly with a huge smile on their face. I was really impressed with how quickly they all adapted to the technical track and look forward to instructing again next year, if not sooner.

Instructing is one thing but nothing beats finally getting back into the cockpit of the #44 Global Time Attack G35 around a road course after such a long season working on the Nissan World Challenge team. Unfortunately due to my busy schedule it was only the second time this year I have been able to track the G35. That along with all of the drastic changes I made to the alignment and suspension I was beyond excited to see how she handled around such an awesome track as AMP. This would also be a pretty important test to see how the rest of the season should plan out based on which races I want to go to such as Super Lap Battle.

It was immediately obvious that the #44 G35 liked what I had done. The turn in was much more responsive, very little push mid corner and it also had a ton of grip on corner exit. It was a completely different beast than what it had been the last few years. Still as I write this a week later I cant believe how amazing the car handles now and how much potential is most likely still in it. Of course i'm sure there is plenty of tweaking left to get all of the performance out of the car as possible but boy was this a good start. I only had a few short sessions between instructing groups to test out the car but learned a ton, including the fact that I am going to have to switch the Quaife mechanical differential out as it was unloading far too often now that the car handles the proper way. Be on the lookout for an article about that in the coming weeks. The track day was a great success at AMP and of course the car show and dyno comp with all of my favorite Nissan folks the next day was a blast as well but lets be honest; im here for the racing. Z1 Motorsports put on yet another great event and I want to especially thank the entire staff for everything they did to prepare for the event along with all their hard work this race season on the #07 and #44. I look forward to next year but in the meantime check out Z1 Motorsports and Z Nationals websites and look back here or on social media for a recap video soon along with a link to the MotoIQ article I will be writing for the event as well.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Mid Season Suspension Modifications

This year working with the Nissan Pirelli World Challenge series I learned an immense amount about professional road racing and vehicle setup. There was a ton to learn but I did my best to absorb everything I could from the talented and experienced people around me and my goodness I had no idea how involved professional racing really is. Since then I have made it my personal mission to learn as much as humanly possible about vehicle and race dynamics to not only apply to the #07 Nissan 370Z but also to my own #44 G35. With the chassis being very similar between the two models I was hoping that I could apply nearly the same setup knowledge I learned from the success at the end of the year with the #07 370Z and get the #44 G35 to handle equally as good for my time attack purposes.

Along with this new knowledge came some new SPL Suspension Parts to help me achieve my goals including rear adjustable mid-links (spring perches), traction arms, eccentric lockouts and some stiffer Swift Springs for the rear. My plan was relatively simple; go way more aggressive on everything, everywhere. More spring rate, more camber, more toe (out front, in rear of course), more rake, lowered ride height (just enough so the splitter doesn't rip off), stiffer sway bars thanks to Hotchkis and while I was at it more aero!

Now i'm sure at this point anyone who cares enough to be reading this is hoping I tell them exactly what I did on the setup... but for sake of keeping our World Challenge setup and my Global Time Attack setup to ourselves for competitive reasons I will not be posting my final alignment numbers. But I will say that thanks to the SPL Suspension Parts I was able to implement the exact setup I wanted which would not have been possible within the adjustments allowed on the factory components and was even able to correctly corner balance the car for the first time at a final 50.00% cross weight easier than ever before. I will be testing the new setup in a few weeks at the Z Nationals track day at Atlanta Motorsports Park and hopefully playing with the settings on the KW Suspension Club Sports to further dial in the car and see how the new setup affects the handling. Check back soon for the follow up.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

KPR "G Thang" & "Z Thang" Silver Series Shirt

When I created the original KPR G Thang gold shirt back in 2012 it was an instant hit selling more than 100+ in just a few months. Since then I retired the gold version of that shirt and none will ever be printed again. For the last year or so via social media the shirt still seems to pop up and I get asked about them more times than I can count. So in honor of the 2014 #44 G35 livery I have decided to run a short run of 50 KPR G/Z Thang Silver Series limited edition shirts. These will go fast so purchase yours today by visiting the KPR Store!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Nissan Pirelli World Challenge Season Finishes Strong!

Wow what a season! What an experience! My first year on a professional race team certainly had its ups and downs but boy was it an amazing experience I wont soon forget. Before I get into the recap of how we finished the last few races of the Pirelli World Challenge 25th Anniversary season with the #07 Nissan Motorsport Nismo 370Z I want to thank everyone who made it such a great time. From Brian being an awesome driver and boss to all the fellow crew guys Jason, Joe, Taylor, Reg and Kyle that I learned a ton from to the PWC staff who run one of the best road racing series in the world and also special shout out to Russell and the staff at Z1 Motorsports. Racing is truly a team effort, a brotherhood of sorts, and I have become great friends with all the guys on and off the pit wall and look forward to seeing them again in the future.

As anyone who has been following our season knows; it started out pretty darn rough with multiple issues on the car resulting in multiple DNF's (the worst three letters in motorsport). If you haven't been following on social media or this blog then check out my previous post earlier this year about the first half of the season. After finally having a relatively successful event at Road America in Wisconsin for Rd 7 & 8 we were excited to get the #07 Nissan 370Z to Mid Ohio where Brian has been many times and the car finally running correct.

Round 9 & 10 at Mid Ohio was a serious turning point in the development of the #07 370Z. With the bugs on the car figured out (mostly) and the racing gods somewhat appeased we were finally able to start focusing on the suspension setup and alignment to optimize the car throughout the 50 minute races. All season whenever the car would cooperate it would push horribly and get worse and worse as the race progressed. After making a few small adjustments that seemed to help at Road America we decided for Mid Ohio that we would make a few big adjustments to the car in hopes of getting the car in the top 10.

After a few more tweaks in practice and qualifying Brian got off to a great start moving up to 10th but then came the rain. And when I say the rain came, I mean it was raining buckets and cats and dogs and cows. With cars flying off track left and right on their slicks and without PWC making any suggestion of calling a caution or red under the conditions we made a strategic decision to bring the car in to pit and swap to rain tires as a few other teams had already done. Of course we don't normally do pit stops so it wasn't as fast as we wanted and ended up dropping from P11 to P14 with hopes of charging back and getting a top ten. And then as usual with our luck two laps later World Challenge called a red flag to end the race and we finished P14, soaking wet, frustrated and with lots of broken radio equipment (thanks Chad from Racing Radios for helping us out after that!) we looked forward to Rd 10 the next day and hopefully under dry conditions.

The next day with the weather perfect we started from P14 and immediately it was obvious the car had come alive and Brian quickly diced through traffic and was running P9 and racing for P8 when we unfortunately had a fuel pump failure that left the car unable to continue driving two thirds of the way through the race. The driving gods obviously were'nt done with us yet but from the clean laps we did have we knew that the car was finally performing as a top 10 contender and we were more than excited to go to Sonoma for the last race weekend of our season (better fixed late than never I suppose).

After licking our wounds and changing the fuel pumps at my shop in MD we ended up going into Sonoma for rounds 11 and 12 with a hint of bittersweet optimism. Sonoma is not onlya beautiful area among the rolling hills and wineries but it is also one of the most impressive race facilities I have ever seen with amazing elevation changes and views above Napa Valley. We knew this was our last race weekend of the year (one more PWC race weekend at Miller but not on our #07 schedule) and we wanted to finish it off strong for our fans, sponsors and team. After the first few practices we were down on speed compared to the rest of the V8 field and we made a few more changes to the setup getting even more aggressive as we went through practice and qualifying and every change we made Brian got faster and faster. The weekend was looking to finally be a good one although we were still plagued by fuel pump issues which ended up being a simple fix after a lot of headache. We qualified a dismal 18th but we knew the car would be faster in the race and get better as the race went on and we were right. Brian quickly went from P18 to P12 in the first half of the race and ended up finishing P14 after some late race fender battles with some other competitors. We knew we were finally a top ten car and hoped tomorrow we could prove it.

That night we knew it was the last time the team would be together so we of course did what we did best. Ate, drank, drank, go karted and then drank some more (race wasnt until late in the afternoon next day and shoot it was our last race). At the track we have a great time but off track we do as well and its nights like those that make you realize why racing and the guys involved are so great. Anyway the only reason I mention any of this is because after going to sleep around midnight we were all woken up abruptly around 3:15am... for one of the biggest earthquakes recorded in the lower 48 in my life time of 25 years, and we were within a few miles of the epicenter in Napa Valley. Now I had only been to California a handful of times before this and I had obviously never felt an earthquake before so you can only imagine how intense of a feeling a 6.1 for the first time would be and holy shit was it impressive. Luckily very few people were hurt, the track wasn't damaged and we were still ready to race for our last race of the year but man that was a wild experience to add to the already crazy list of things this year. Looking back maybe this was the racing gods one last vicious act for the season.

Having survived the earthquake and of course all of us re-hashing our own stories we quickly shifted in to race mode. Starting P15 from the previous race (based on fastest lap and not finishing position) we knew a top 10 was easily within grasp now that the car was handling correct and a decent starting position. Even so we did a few minor changes to the setup and sure enough it was obvious from the get go it worked when Brian came over the radio and said "Car is perfect!". Brian had the best car he has had all year and the #07 Nissan 370Z was on rails. Needless to say we were all on the edges of our seat in pit lane as we watched Brian work the car hard the entire race earning him his second Sunoco Hard Charger Award of the year for passing the most cars (GT & GTS not just GTS) and we finished P10 for the first time in Brian's Pirelli World Challenge career! We were all beyond ecstatic! With all of us having worked so hard this year and nothing ever going right for so many races this top ten might as well have been a podium finish. He had been chasing 9th and 8th place pretty closely toward the end of the race but unfortunately with 10 minutes left an accident in Turn 1 ended up ending the race under yellow and a hood from the accident destroying our front bumper as you can see at the end of the race video below. That day was one of the best race days I have ever experienced and I cant wait to have a whole lot more of those next season! Until then check out the photos and videos above and below and be sure to follow Brian Kleeman on facebook and instagram @screaminkleeman.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

#07 & #44 at Parlett Laboratories

Its rare for both the #44 Global Time Attack Infiniti G35 and the #07 Pirelli World Challenge Nissan Nismo 370Z to be in the same place at the same time, so when both are in the shop at Parlett Labs I cant help but walk around working on them with a shit eating grin on my face.

Fresh from its successful race weekend at Mid Ohio I am addressing a small fuel pump issue on the #07 along with installing some new SPL Parts components before it is shipped off to its last race of the PWC season at Sonoma Raceway next week.

The G35 is also getting some special attention this week with a full array of SPL Parts suspension components being installed in the rear along with new springs, cross balance and alignment. Be on the lookout for a detailed post on the #44 modifications in the coming weeks!

Video of #44 and #07 Idling at Parlett Labs