Monday, October 15, 2012

2012 Z Nationals at Z1 & Barber!

The G in all her glory!!!
Me driving the SOHO 350Z around Barber Motorsports Park -

   Burning what was left of the midnight oil we left the shop at 11pm and drove late into the night, with race cars in tow, on the 5 hour journey that was Charlotte, NC to Z1 Motorsports, just outside of Atlanta, GA. Hopped up on more energy drinks than any one human should consume in a 24 hour period, we finally arrived in town around 4:30am, just in time for a shower and hour of sleep at the hotel before waking up bright and early to set up the SOHO Motorsports tent at the Z Nationals car show. 

   We were a sponsor of the event and when we got there and realized we were placed right next to the main stage we were pretty ecstatic about our location. We had our normal setup and display but this was the first time we had both the race G and the shop Z at the same event in over a year. It was a very proud and awesome moment to step back and look at what we had achieved in such a short amount of time. It was a lot of blood, sweat and tear and it took non stop work by so many people who helped in the process, and we cant thank them all enough!

The G's new engine bay and turbo system. Need to lower the rad now. 
   It was a perfect Georgia morning for the 2012 Z Nationals car show and the SOHO tent was buzzing with people coming to finally see the G and Z unveiled for the first time with the new SOHO Motorsports Turbo kit on both cars. We got to see a lot of old friends and meet a ton of great new people, many of whom happened to be fans from facebook so it was really cool to put a face to peoples names. 

   Thanks to everyone who came up to us over the weekend and gave us a pat on the back or complimented our work, its people like you that make all of this worth while for us. Well that and the track days of course haha but thats coming up soon. The cars were a huge hit and I dont think there was a moment all day where I wasnt talking to someone and answering questions or just shooting the shit with old friends. It really was a great day and the best part hadnt even come yet...

The G is beautiful in blue! Look at those new fenders and aero!
The Z is all decked out in gold & matching vinyl. Looks amazing!
The G's new seat, fenders and side skirts are all functionals and beautiful!
   Saturday's at Z Nationals always consist of the awesome car show with hundreds of beautiful Z's and G's of all ages, beautiful women, awesome companies on display and last but certainly not least, and most of the time the best part is the dyno comp. We were all eager to strap the Z down on the dyno in front of everyone to show the whole Z/G community the awesome turbo kit we have all worked so hard to create over the past few months. This would be the first time the public would see it in action and there was a lot of anticipation our parts and a good part of the crowd as well. 

   When the time came I could tell Nik was nervous so I told him "dont worry about it we have done enough testing and we know it will do great", and a few minutes and a dyno pull later he was all smiles. The Z did great running right around the 400hp/400tq range exactly where we wanted it for the stock block, and did it all 3 pulls in a row. Everyone seemed impressed and we were happy as can be, and ready for the track day on Sunday to show the effectiveness of the kit even more. But first was the awards banquet where I have to mention the food was damn good and congrats to our very very good friend Todd from Assaultech Performance for winning Best G35 and also Highest HP VQ35 on the dyno comp, the only car to beat us haha. Way to cheat Todd! In all seriousness though the guys from Assaultech are great guys and we were very happy for them to do as well as they did! After stuffing our faces we were off to bed in preparation for the track the next day. We were exhausted to say the least.

The Z doing work on the Z1 Dyno with a nice crowd around it.

There was a constant stream of people checking out the SOHO booth.
   Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! "Oh shit its 8:30 wake up! We are two hours late guys, lets go!" is the first thing I screamed when my sleep deprived body opened its eyes Sunday morning. To my horror we were very late to the day I had been waiting a very long time for. We were in Carrolton, GA and the track day was in the next time zone in Birmingham, AL nearly 100 miles away. Needless to say we robbed the hotel breakfast buffet quickly and then booked it all the way there, avoiding the police for the pre-Talladega traffic (which was awesome to see that huge track!) all while being perplexed as to where/when exactly the time zone changed and astonished to see it was literally on the border, I think haha. Either way we got to Barber Motorsports Park and registered and teched and all of that fun stuff by about 11am, just in time to wait for our last session at 1:30. 

   While waiting I hitched a ride with our pal Steve Ruyan around Barber in his session to help me learn the track quicker, and wow what a track! So many elevation changes, so many different styles of turns, so many different places where the car weight can be unbalanced! What an awesome track, I could instantly tell it would be a track where the "track drives the car, rather than the car drive the track". This would be one of those good ones that putting the car in the proper spot would be a matter of being smooth and letting the car flow and keep balance at all times. I couldnt wait to track the Z but there was one problem...

Steve Ruyan's 350Z with me riding shotty learning the course.
   The Z was out at Z Nationals to do one thing, show off the turbo kit at the show, on the dyno and on the track. And it looked amazing for the show, put down great numbers on the dyno and was as fast as all hell on the straight aways on track.... but the brakes were non existent. We unfortunately left the stock compound of Akebono brakes on the Z and I knew from the get go the braking power would be limited in not only stoping power but no one knew how many laps they would last. Which meant very terrible and slow cornering, just to be safe on the car and brakes. 

   Either way we started out in the "Pro Group" session, and me being back on a road course for the first time since the accident had a nice little bit of nervousness in me as I followed out a factory race Nissan 370Z Racecar. I was by no means what I would consider a "pro" haha. I figured oh well time to push it at least I get to follow a real pro and learn his line. With Danny from Assaultech in the passenger seat with me I figured out the course in a few laps and the brakes held up well, but my god that turbo kit was quick to spool and fun to drive!

Me pointing by the faster GTR as I learn the track.
   After figuring out the course and how the car handled (first time racing the Z as well) we began to cycle passengers in and out every 3 laps or so. Luckily after the session that was alloted to us the guys at Z1, who were eager for a ride in the Z, allowed us to hop into the next group and then the next group after that as well! As the one driving the car im not gonna lie, it was an absolute blast to drive the Z around such a badass course giving rides to nearly a dozen people and getting to do a full three sessions in a row over 24 laps! 

   What an awesome experience, I felt like the Stig haha. Everyone seemed to be impressed by my driving (which was good for my bruised ego) but the real star was the SOHO Motorsports Single Turbo kit! Man that thing was amazing. Aside from the literally smoking hot and on fire brakes at the end of the day the car ran perfect for a solid hour and a half straight with zero issues. Check out the video attached to this post of me piloting the G around. I believe the lap has Sean the owner of SPL Suspension riding shotty with me. Enjoy, I know I did!

Track finally learned and digging hard!
   Z Nationals 2012 was another awesome event and I cant forward till next years event. But I must comment on something that happened on the way home. I was driving the truck and trailer, exhausted from no sleep and racing all day, and began to have a nice thought to myself as I drove past Talladega Superspeedway just as the NASCAR race finished. As I smiled ear to ear thinking about the weekend and seeing the NASCAR track my thought was that I love these weekends and the weeks that build up to these weekends. I dont just love them, I live for them. I live for the deadline that seems impossible, the amount of work to be done that seems imense and never ending, the pressure of trying to make sure everything is perfect even when you cant control it all and everything else. 

   Racing is my life and will forever be my life. Passing that NASCAR track after tracking all day, it made me think about my dreams of racing and it I had a moment of clarity and renewed vigor. Nothing beats lapping a car around a race track at speed and my dream has always been to get better and better and rise in the series and rankings. When I wrecked that car at the highest stage of time attack, a piece of me stayed in that tire wall and bent body pieces and I had been searching for it for months, all while un sure of whether I could really do this. But after an amazing day on track and the amazing support from everyone from fans to team to family over the past few month, I drove past that huge pinacle of racing achievement that is Talladega and I knew that I hadnt lost anything, I was displaced, but now im back, and im hungrier than I have ever been. More driven than I have ever been and I can not wait for the next race no matter how big or small. And I cant wait for 2013, we will race, and we will win, a lot! Here's to looking forward!

Monday, October 8, 2012

G Done!?!? Countdown to Z Nationals!

   Wow what a crazy month it has been, but this past week has easily been one of the longest and hardest weeks we have ever experienced trying to get two cars ready in time for an event. And this was no normal event, this was the 2012 Z Nationals hosted by Z1 Motorsports every year, and the one event we have circled on our calendar every season. The G and Z made it in time, but barely and with no sleep on our ends haha.
The new tubular NASCAR front end thanks to Bingz Customz!
   The G finally came back to us after Jason from Bingz, who busted his ass getting the new body finished with the new fenders and side skirts and also the tubular front and rear end. The moment we got the car off the trailer we immediately installed everything back in the car as much as we could and then it was off to the fab shop for the new turbo setup. Thanks to the handy work and long hours of Doug, the new turbo system was fabricated in a matter of days! The new setup is designed just like the new SOHO Motorsports turbo kit, for street cars, with the Garrett GTX 3582R turbo. The only exception is we had to route a few pipes differently on the race car due to the new tubular NASCAR style front end.
The new turbo setup being mocked up by Doug!
   The G's body work was finished on Saturday, the new forced induction system was finished on Tuesday, the car was started for the first time on Wednesday and then wrapped in Phenomenal Vinyl's Matte Metallic Blue Azul vinyl on a 24 hour stint Wednesday night with the help of Jason from 7pm-7am. Thanks to Brett and Matt from Phenomenal Vinyl but more importantly I cant thank Jason enough for spending a delirious night with me wrapping the G. With all of that craziness done and sleep non existent, we used Thursday to button up the last few things on the already built SOHO 350Z "Mule" car and the last few wiring and engine things on the G Thursday night in preparation for the dyno Friday morning and the 5 hour trek from our shop to the Z Nationals in GA.
The G stripped of the old logos and prepped for the new blue vinyl!
   Going to sleep for the 3 hours we all got Thursday night, the anticipation for the weekend and more importantly the morning dyno session loomed over all of us and made sleep near impossible. We hadn't run the G nearly at all yet and the dyno session the following morning would be the first test as too how the engine held up in the accident, outside of the few things we could do outside of the car of course.

   Bright and early the next morning, Friday, we strapped it on the dyno and Nik went to town on the Dyno Jet doing gentle pulls and watching the data feverishly, while I sat next to the car putting the finishing vinyl and logo touches to the now very blue G35. It all came together visually with the new SOHO logo's and Global Time Attack number placards, it finally looked like what I had envisioned it would looked like, and it was a long time coming.
The G all finished and about to be loaded on the trailer!
   Back to reality though, just as I finished placing the last #44 placard Nik shut the car off and explained we had a problem with the timing not adjusting. At this point we scrambled to swap out all of the sensors that could have been going bad and after swapping and testing everything we could the ems still wouldn't allow timing adjustments and was stuck at running a high timing number so we shut the car down and began to brainstorm. After trying to source one last sensor late in the evening, way past our scheduled departure we finally gave up and decided that we would load the car on the trailer since it was visually done but leave the tracking up to the SOHO Mule Z. It was 11pm and we were finally off on our 5 hour journey in the middle of the night to the 2012 Z Nationals. Check the next post for the next installment.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

SOHO Motorsports 350Z/G35 Turbo Kit!

   After months of hard work the SOHO Motorsports Single Turbo Kit for Nissan 350Z's and Infiniti G35's is finally released for sale to the public! Check it out on the SOHO Site or Store today!