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

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Team Nissan Gives Back to Baltimore Youth

After wrapping up our Pirelli World Challenge Mid Ohio race weekend we stopped by St. Francis Neighborhood Center today in Baltimore City and had a great time talking to the kids, signing poster and giving one special birthday boy the opportunity to fire up the #07 and make some noise. Please check them out and throw whatever support you can their way - good people doing good work for the community! For more info visit their facebook.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Back to Elementary School: Career Day

Racing can be one of the most satisfying experiences in the world and sometimes it can be one of the most frustrating experiences. It just comes with motorsports, no matter what form that may be. But there is always one thing that all of us who race understand; what we do is for fun and we love to do it. So being able to share what I love with hundreds of kids at the elementary school I went to as a child for career day was just about one of the most satisfying days i've had with the #44 G35.

My niece goes to school there and asked my brother and I to come in and explain racing and motorsport electronics (my brother owns and runs Computech) to her classmates. After about a dozen classes, lots of great questions from the kids, pictures of them in the seat and few nice and loud turbo VQ revs everyone ended up leaving with a smile, especially me. Thanks to Lettie Marshall Dent Elementary School for the great hospitality and I look forward to coming back and doing it again next year!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

World Challenge Mid-Season Update

Where to even begin, ill try to make it short but we know how that goes. My life seems absolutely crazy these days. Between my political consultant job in MD to trying to race the #44 G35 enough to keep sponsors happy and also crew for the #07 Nissan World Challenge 370Z Nismo every other weekend somewhere around America I barely have time to breathe let alone write this article but here I am. It has been an awesome journey so far that has had its ups, lotttts of downs (ill get to that) but mostly great moments on and off track with a great team and group of guys that I am now very good friends with 6 races into the season.

They say you have to learn how to lose before you can know how to win... I personally think thats a load of bullshit but the racing gods certainly have a different idea and have tainted our luck as if trying to teach us a very cruel lesson from the start. Race teams are almost all superstitious but there aren't enough gummy bear sacrifices or post race traditional fireball shots (50% Tabasco, 50% Tequila... don't ask) in the world enough to please the Nissan gods for the first half of our season. Our first race at the Streets of St. Petersburg was going great until a blown motor left us pulling an engine in the middle of a hurricane. Then the Streets of Long Beach proved to be disappointing with the 07 car having a serious electrical gremlin causing a DNS and the 51 car wrecking on the last lap giving him a DNF. It was a rough start and it wasn't about to get better anytime soon.

After a poor start to the season the crew of both cars stopped in Atlanta, GA at Z1 Motorsports to fix the cars from the first two races and prep the cars for the next race just a few days and miles away in Birmingham, AL at Barber Motorsports Park. After a long week of wrenching on both cars we made it to the race only to have another electrical issue with the Motec system on the 07 car making for an even longer weekend of long hour days trying to do everything humanly possible. Unfortunately again the car did not cooperate and after a few laps in the race decided to shut down on the back stretch.

With two DNF's and one DNS we weren't about to risk it for the next race in Detroit and we ripped every ECU and sensor wire out of the car, again at Z1 Motorsports (I seem to live there these days) and re-wired the entire system thanks to Kevin down in FL and Kyle at Z1. Even after finishing last minute and me trailering the car from Atlanta to Detroit just in time for the race we unfortunately ran into bad luck again. During qualifying an oil pump failed in the engine and blew up our back up motor causing yet another DNF. This season was turning into one of those out of control train wrecks where even though you do absolutely everything right everything still goes wrong. But through it all we held our heads high and kept working and taking whatever the racing gods threw at us, albeit with a few libations after painful track days. Its been a frustrating year but it is all beginning to pay off now.

The car went back to Z1 after Detroit and received a new engine, tune, test day and a new livery as well to compliment the new equipment and hopefully remove the curse that was obviously on the 07. Sure enough we went to Road America in Wisconsin a few weeks ago and finally had a good race weekend! I guess the 7th time is the charm huh? Either way we had a good finish in race 7 on Friday starting 24th due to rained out qualifying and finished 11th winning the Hard Charger Award and Best Standing Start Award in the process. Race 8 on Saturday didn't go as well with most of the race under caution but it was still a successful weekend with zero issues on the car and our best and only finish of the season.

Our next race for the #07 World Challenge Nissan 370Z Nismo driven by Brian Kleeman is at Mid Ohio in early August followed by Sonoma two weeks later. Be sure to follow ScreaminKleeman07 on social media for live updates during the race weekends and watch NBC Sports on Sundays for race recaps and for live streaming of each race. Also side note, each race link on this article is linked to a Facebook photo album from the event for easy viewing. Wish us luck the rest of the season, hopefully we don't need it any more but it can never hurt!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

What Happens at ZDayz...

... stays on the Tail of The Dragon if your lucky enough not to get photographed. I was lucky this year, or at leaf compared to previous years. Except for the S#Selfie video but we won't talk about that haha.

This years 11th Annual ZDayz once again took over the hundred of cabins nestled in the gorgeous and always hospitable Fontana Village Resort in the Smoky Mountains on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina with 700+ consistently crazy, drunk, and often idiotic Nissan and Infiniti enthusiasts. I say that with all the love and respect in the world though, these people are truly family and every year we all gather at the base of the greatest road in America; the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap. This 11 mile stretch of road is famous for its amazing views, elevation changes and of course its absolutely absurd 318 undulating and switchbacking blind death turns! Obviously with the Nissan community being who they are we decide to come to this daunting road every year and drink our faces off (after the driving of course).

If you aren't familiar ZDayz is in its 11th year now and is all done by a great group of volunteers headed by my good friends Bryan Settle and Graham Hobbs. Along with the partying and driving for the weekend there is also a great car show, exhaust competition, military benefit run, beer olympics, deck party, vendor row and even this year featuring the world wide unveiling of the new 2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo thanks to Nissan North America

But most of all its about the people. I look forward to seeing all 700+ enthusiasts from all over the country every year. And everyone will tell you the same thing; they came all that way not only for the cars but really for the great people and the party that ensues when you get that many like minded craZies together. There really is no proper way to describe ZDayz other than the best event on my calendar all year. You really must experience it to understand what makes it so great. 

This year I had the pleasure to attend with some of my Nissan World Challenge team and also have the #44 G35 in the Z1 Motorsports vendor booth. We all had a great time from what pieces we each remember and stitch together... something about moonshine that I think I'm still mentally blocking but oh well haha. If you haven't been then make sure you come next year and experience it for yourself, the newbie hazing process isn't thaaaat bad. Thats about as far as my description of ZDayz goes for fear of incriminating fellow enthusiasts or myself haha. See you next year!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

GTA Back to Atlanta

There is one race on my schedule that I look forward to every single year; Global Time Attack Pro Series at Road Atlanta. Not only is Road Atlanta one of my favorite tracks but when GTA comes out to the East coast and shares the stage with Formula D it usually means a bunch of fast cars and a ton of rowdy fans.

This year I was even more excited to race because for the first time I can remember there were only a few changes to the car between seasons. In the past we made many large adjustments during the offseason trying to make the car faster but this season my focus was on dialing in the current setup and working to improve myself as a driver. Having said that there were certainly a few additions to the car and team this year that are still worth noting. Including a new spoiler from APR Performance, new 108 race fuel from my newest sponsor Ignite Racing Fuel, newly re-built CD009 transmission, new (back to black) vinyl livery, new Haltech tune, new race alignment and suspension setup from Z1 Motorsports and a few other odds and ends to get the car dialed in. A lot of people had a role in getting the G ready for this race and I cant thank them enough for all their hard work but I have to give a special shoutout to my dad for busting his ass on the car while I was out of town working with the Nissan World Challenge team. And also a huge thanks to all of the guys at Z1 Motorsports for welcoming me to the Z1 family with open arms and their unbelievable efforts to get the car ready to race leading up to the event and their awesome track support during the race.

With me being out of town leading up the to the race weekend it was a bit of a mad dash to get the car ready in time but thanks to the help of my father and some friends I got the car down to Atlanta a few days before the race to get the car race prepped at Z1 Motorsports. The week leading up to the race Z1 did all of the pre-race essentials and then some to get the #44 G35 ready to rock. When Friday morning rolled around we were more than ready to go, and with the first session being bright early it was a good thing Z1 had it prepped right off the trailer.

This year the GTA race format had changed a bit and the first two sessions of the day would be for practice and essentially qualifying for being in either Group A (faster) or Group B (slower). Knowing the track relatively well we used the first few sessions to get a feel for the new suspension settings and also scrub in the new Hankook TD sticker tires. After just a few laps of driving the car at speed I was amazed by the difference the new setup Z1 had put on the car. It was a night and day difference from what I had been used to and I knew that it was going to take a bit of a re-learning but in a good way. The car was way more predictable and seemingly easier to drive immediately. Also the added hp and tq from the Z1 tune was very noticeable and made the car a blast to drive. But the closer we got to the proper compression and rebound settings it became apparent the spring rate was no where near what it needs to be but we will correct that before the next race. After breaking in the tires a bit and getting some confidence in the car we ended up qualifying in Group A and began preparing for the first timed sessions.

For the rest of the day Friday we kept playing with suspension settings trying to get the car dialed in and also dealing with some odd pressure build ups on the tires. They had been sitting in my garage for a good while and this was the first time I had used this new set. It seemed no matter what we did they would build a ton of pressure equally all around after just a lap or two and never seemed to stabilize no matter how low we set them to correct the issue. I had used the same Hankook TD's tires the last season without issue but these seemed to behave a bit different. We unfortunately chased the tire issue all weekend but ended up finding a somewhat tolerable middle ground with them allowing us to get a good lap or so out of them at a time. With the threat of rain on Saturday we tried to use the last session of the day to push as hard as possible but at this point the track and car (slight overheating of engine, brakes and tires) didn't want to cooperate and left us with a pretty slow 1:39.xx to finish out the day. Knowing there was still a ton of time left in the car we made a few more suspension changes that evening and prepared for the first Saturday morning session before the rain came.

Every year it seems the Saturday morning sessions are always the fastest of the weekend and this year was no different. With the threat of rain looming all of the teams tried to push the limits Saturday morning and I was ready to do the same. Right off the bat I started to shave time in the first session thanks to Russel and Steve for getting the compression and rebound settings better than ever. The car was still rolling over more than I wanted due to the spring rates but I dealt with it and kept trying to improve, shaving time every lap.

Going into the second session I assumed it would be our last since the rain was forecast to be there any minute. I was hoping to at least get the car sorted out and my confidence built back up enough to run a 34 or 35 but unfortunately the best time I could muster before the throttle body began to fail (throttle pedal became intermittent and non-responsive toward the end of the session) was a 1:37.135. In Road Atlanta fashion the weather tricked us and ended up not coming down until later that evening after the race. With the track still dry and unsure if the throttle body would hold up I went into the final session ready to improve and more confident than ever and sure enough I lost throttle response going into the esses on my out lap and my weekend was over. I wasn't very happy to break in the last session due to the simple throttle body failure but I was still amazed by how much better the car was handling and running as a whole, leaving me excited for the rest of the season. Z1 Motorsports helped get the car to where it has never been before and with some more changes I know we can continue to improve the car and get it closer to the front runners of the Limited RWD class.

The #44 G35 ended up finishing 4th in Limited RWD which was respectable but no where near the time I was hoping for. We will continue to improve the #44 Turbo by Garrett / Ignite Racing Fuel / Hankook Tire / Z1 Motorsports Infiniti G35 this season and use the GTA East Coast Pro-AM series to prepare the car for Super Lap Battle later this year in California, see you all there but in the meantime be sure to checkout the video above and visit for more info.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Z1 Motorsports Joins the Team!

Z1 Motorsports is quite possibly one of the most well known Nissan & Infiniti based parts and service companies on the entire planet. And along with that bold statement I would also dare follow it up by saying that there is no company on earth that knows Nissans better than the excellent staff at Z1!

I have been good acquaintances with the guys over at Z1 in my years of building the G and attending ZDayz and ZNationals events but this year I have had the pleasure to get to know them a lot better through my work with the Nissan Pirelli World Challenge team.

This year I have had the pleasure to spend a very good amount of time at the Z1 shop working on the #07 Nissan World Challenge 370Z. The #07 team has essentially used Z1 as home base between race for a good portion of the season and as such I have been in Georgia more days than I could possibly count and every single one of those was a pleasure thanks to the great hospitality at the shop during the day and even at night with owner Russell Floyd letting me stay at his house for nearly every night of each trip.

With my experience with Z1 Motorsports I have been absolutely completely impressed with their operation from day one. I truly can not say enough about them. From their sales knowledge to the mechanical and tuning knowledge of the guys in the shop to the sheer dedication of the owners to make the Nissan community better each and every single day and of course their love for racing Nissans! I have been lucky enough to not only work alongside everyone at Z1 enough to be impressed but have been welcomed into the Z1 family with open arms and consider all of them very good friends for a long time to come.

Z1 has played such a large role in the success of our World Challenge race program so far this year so it only makes sense for me to have them be the primary tuning shop of my #44 Global Time Attack Infiniti G35 for 2014 and beyond! I am very excited for the future with the Z1 Motorsports family and know that with their knowledge and experience we will take the #44 G35 to the next level! Be sure to visit their ginormous selection of parts today at

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Nissan World Challenge Crew Chief!

I am very proud to announce a new and exciting endeavor in my racing career; Crew Chief of the #07 Nissan Pirelli World Challenge Nismo 370Z driven by Brian Kleeman in the GTS class! I will be the first to admit I would barely call myself a driver before ever thinking about calling myself a mechanic let alone a crew chief but as many of you reading this know I have pretty extensive experience with Nissan Z's and Infiniti G's. So when Brian was switching teams during this off season he thought to ask me to head up the crew for the #07 370Z for the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge season. I hesitantly accepted the job offer and quickly was thrusted in to professional racing at one of the highest levels.

The Pirelli World Challenge Championship Series is the most prominent sports car racing series in North America. Running as an accompanying race across the country alongside series such as Indycar and NASCAR there are two different racing classes that bring out nearly every manufacturer in the world; GT and GTS. The GT class is the high horsepower purpose built factory cars with around 800hp and light as can be. The GT class diversity is truly impressive and quite possibly the best among sports car racing in the world with Ferrari, Audi, Cadillac, Lamborghini, McLaren, Porsche, Bentley, Chevy and too many more too list. We are in the lower horse powered more rule restricted GTS class alongside Chevy, Ford, Kia, Porsche, Aston Martin, BMW, Subaru's and many other large brands. Both GT and GTS cars compete alongside each other in 50 minute races and often double race weekends. The standing start of nearly 50 of the fastest sports cars on the planet is truly and impressive site to take in from pit lane.

The World Challenge series travels all over North America with its vast different classes but the GT/GTS schedule has us going to nearly every corner of the country and even over the border to the land of Canadian bacon. So go check my updated race and crew schedule and see if we are coming to your town this year! Also all of our races are televised the follow week on NBC Sports Network and a live stream from World Challenge themselves can be found at

If you couldn't tell I wrote this article after already attending the first few races of the season as I have been unbelievably busy and haven't had time to keep up with the website. So if you cant tell, some of the photos in this post are from this season so far and are after I should be announcing this. The season has been a very interesting experience so far and I have learned more than I ever thought possible and look forward to learning more and improving every race weekend. Follow me on Facebook or Brian Kleeman like page for updates on the World Challenge side of things as I will not update for each race on this site like I will on social media.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sparco, APR and SPL Parts Join the #44 Team

I am proud to announce a few more amazing motorsport companies to the #44 G35 team! Sparco USA will be providing my safety needs with a brand new lightweight FIA/SFI approved fire suit and their 6 pt cam lock harness designed specifically for Hans devices. APR Performance has also joined the team with a beautiful carbon fiber GTC-300 spoiler with their gorgeous carbon gurney flap and end plates. Im no artist but my god the APR spoilers are a beautiful piece of carbon fiber and should provide a great amount of downforce since we will be raising the mounts and also moving it further back on the car. Lastly but possibly most important SPL Suspension Parts has doubled down on its support for the #44 G35 and is supplying some rear arms and a few solid bushings we hadn't installed yet to complete the entire parts catalog offered for the car. It is awesome companies like these that not only make our racing endeavors possible but also help us go faster every weekend so please help them help me and visit their sites by clicking the links above and purchasing their quality products.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Back to Black!

Thats right! I have finally decided that with the fixing of the body damage to the right rear from SLB and the fact that I will now be running the car out of my own shop in MD that it is now as good a time as any to finally switch the car back to black!

For those of you who have been following the build of the #44 G35 then you know when I originally bought it and autcrossed it for a few years it was Obsidian Black. When the car was rebuilt after the wreck at Road Atlanta in 2011 I designed a pretty cool livery in SOHO blue that became pretty popular for a few years but in the end I always thought the car looked more aggressive in black. Im not quite done yet but I'm already falling back in love with the car and any second thoughts I had as I was pulling the blue off have completely gone out the window. Enjoy this teaser photo until I unveil it at GTA Road Atlanta in a few weeks!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Final Issue of Modified Magazine: SLB & PRI

Modified Magazine has always been one of my favorite magazines since I first fell in love with sports cars in high school. In fact they were probably one of the biggest influences along with Super Street and Turbo Magazine. Unfortunately I guess all great things must come to an end and this story is no different. After years of publishing a quality magazine the powers that be decided that Modified wasn't profitable enough and as of March 2014 there will be no more Modified Magazine.

Sadly the April 2014 issue below was the last issue ever printed although it is very bittersweet I am proud to say that I am in this magazine twice! Well technically speaking at least. In the last issue not only did they do a feature on the Super Lap Battle / Global Time Attack Finale at Buttonwillow featuring an image of my car in action but they also wrote a review article about last year's PRI Tradeshow and featured the Computech (family company) DataMaxx Data Acquisition System on the first page of the story. I cant thank the staff enough for the many years of quality reading and a special shoutout to Peter Tarach for the awesome placement of the DataMaxx. Also featured below is the Super Lap Battle press coverage in Super Street Magazine. It was certainly a good month of exposure for the #44 team!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ignite Racing Fuel: New Sponsor!

2014 is already shaping up to be a great season before we even hit the pavement. I had the pleasure of meeting the great group of guys from Ignite Racing Fuel at the PRI (Performance Racing Industry) Annual Tradeshow in Indianapolis, IN in early December. I discussed with them my need for a higher octane fuel than the 100 we had been using in the #44 Global Time Attack Infiniti G35 and they told me they had the perfect product for me; their 108 Ignite Racing Gas Ethanol blend.

 "For a variety of reasons. IGNITE Racing Fuel is ethanol, so it burns cleaner—which is better for your engine and the environment. It’s a cooler-burning fuel, which also extends the life of your engine. And, most importantly, IGNITE provides more torque and power for the speed you demand. Then, there’s a substantial cost savings created by the use of ethanol. IGNITE Lubricants utilize a revolutionary corn base oil, that has been specially formulated to exceed the standards set in a variety of applications. With a high viscosity index, high flash point and natural lubricity, IGNITE's line of lubricants will help you run cooler, create more power, and protect your parts against wear and corrosion." 

 Ignite Racing Fuels have created the perfect race gas mix with ethanol and as such it required absolutely no changes in the tune or setup on my car. After a good re-tune and a few other changes on the car we even gained a good bit of power and seemed to be running at slightly lower temps. I would suggest Ignite 108 or 114 to anyone in any form of motorsport. I am proud to not only be a user of Ignite but also to announce that the #44 G35 will be sponsored by Ignite Racing Fuel and they will be supplying the fuel for our race program for a long time to come! Please show them support by visiting their website via the links above and also try out some of the amazing fuels and lubricants they make, I promise you won't be disappointed. Plus did I mention it smells amazing!?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Parlett Laboratories: Back in MD

Recently I have been offered a new job back home in Maryland as a political consultant for some regional campaigns. I have always been passionate about politics alongside my racing career for many years now so it was a very tempting offer. With a large amount of contemplation and some long thought I have decided to take the job and finally part ways with North Carolina once and for all.

Along with saying goodbye to the team at SOHO Motorsports after many great years in NC and helping build SOHO and the #44 G35 from the ground up. It's been bittersweet leaving but I know better things for me and my racing career lie ahead. I want to take a moment to thank everyone from SOHO and anyone in North Carolina who has helped me in this racing journey. I cant thank you all enough and I look forward to continuing this awesome journey and the amazing friendships I have made along the way.

 Coming back to Maryland not only is good for my career outside of racing but it also means the #44 G35 will be home in the garage at "Parlett Laboratories" where I will be able to develop the car throughout the season alongside my master mechanic father and hopefully get faster and faster in the #44 G35 as the year progresses. If there is anything the Parlett family knows its how to go fast and we plan on making the G faster and faster every race. Be on the lookout for more updates as the season moves forward and many more tech articles now that the car will undergo regular modifications as it will be under my control (insert evil laugh).

Thursday, January 2, 2014

PRI Show 2014 - Return to Indy

At the end of each season every racer, team and motorsports company in the world come together the first week of December for the annual Performance Racing Industry in downtown Indianapolis, IN. With the show nearing its 20th year most of the events have been spent in Indianapolis except from 2007-2012 when it was held in Orlando, FL. 2013 was the first year PRI would be coming back to Indy and many of us in the industry would miss the warm weather of Orlando but were excited for the huge crowds seen at Indy.

Normally I would be attending PRI to represent the family company, Computech Systems and helping promote and sell our data acquisition products but this year would be the first time attending as a racer as well (I didn't go from 2010-2012).  My first priority was of course to help sell Computech products such as our DataMaxx Data Acquisition system but I also used my time at PRI to check out some of the newest products from some of my favorite companies and it also gave me a chance to reach out to companies for potential sponsorships for the #44 Infiniti G35. I cant announce much yet but lets just say it was a great weekend in Indy and some awesome team news may be coming soon so be on the lookout!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

NARRA TT1 North Cup Championship at Sebring

November always seems to be the busiest month on the racing schedule and this year was no exception. With Super Lap Battle / Global Time Attack Finale's being in Buttonwillow, California on the first week of November and the NARRA US Time Trial Finale the following week in Sebring, Florida along with the PRITrade Show in Indianapolis a few days later it makes for a crazy month. We knew in the beginning of the year when we made the schedule that it would be hard if not impossible to do two races on opposite sides of the country 3,000+ miles apart in less than 10 days. I had originally planned to do one or the other but after our dismal raceday at SLB and a long drive home to think about it I had made the decision to go to Florida and end the season in a better fashion than our 7th place in California. I had always wanted to go to Sebring as one of my dream tracks and we were also mathematically in the hunt for the 2013 NARRA USTT North Cup Championship in TT1 so as long as we could get the car ready for track duty then it was a no brainer, we would be going and aiming for the podium.

When we finally got back to Charlotte on Monday we got the #44 SOHO Motorsports Infiniti G35 all fixed up (minus the body damage that we didn’t have time to fix) and tried to get some much needed sleep, which of this course was impossible after the trip cross country. Before I knew it we were loaded up on the trailer and headed 10 hours south to the infamous SebringInternational Raceway in sunny, 85 degree Florida for the final NARRA race of the year.

NARRA (North American Road Racing Association) has a unique set of Time Trial rules compared to the other TT/TA series across the nation. The main rules for each class from TT3 all the way to TTU is power to weight ratio and that's about it, allowing racing slicks in all classes. Most series we run have a specific tire tread-wear limit per class and rarely use the power or weight ratio. With our car being primarily a Limited Class in Global Time Attack the car is setup for those rules at 600hp/600tq on our sticky Hankook Ventus TD tires with a tread-wear of 80. With the NARRA rules we have to detune the car to get to our designated 6.25:1 power to weight ratio. We simply do this by reducing the boost on our TurboSmart eBoost 2 controller but the issue is that we aren’t running our normal power levels and we are on 80 tread-wear tires when literally every other car on the lot is using Pirelli Slicks, putting us at a disadvantage before we even touch the track. But with the #44 G35 on our awesome Hankook Ventus TD tires we do pretty damn well against all of those Pirelli slick whenever we get a chance!

After waking up to a warm Florida morning we got the car unloaded, tech inspection passed and the drivers meeting over it was time to finish out the 2013 season with four sessions around the gorgeous 3.75 mile track. Being the final event of the season it was a double points day and one of the racer's I needed to beat to win the cup had not shown up putting me in an even better spot of winning the cup before I even touched the track. I still needed to get on the podium to win the championship but with a track this large the #44 car could stretch her legs around Sebring and we thought we had a damn good chance at doing well. The first session I used to learn the track as best as I could and actually kept up with everyone pretty well having one of the top 5 fastest laps of the first session. After the first we made a sway bar and tire pressure adjustment and went out into the second session knowing that it would most likely be the fastest because the track surface was getting hot quickly in the nearly 90 degree temps.

The second session I had the track down pretty well and boy did I love racing around Sebring's 3.75 miles of bumpy asphalt and concrete. Sebring was built on an old airstrip and had multiple long straightaways allowing me to max out 5th gear a couple of times each lap and hitting speeds in excess of 175mph on the back straight. It was easily one of the best times i've had around a racetrack in a while and was quite refreshing after having been at Buttonwillow Raceway the week before. The weather was perfect, the track was awesome and the #44 G35 was running great. After a quick warmup lap and even a late start by me on the stacked start (NARRA likes us all to be somewhat bunched up on the start whereas most series send us out in gaps) I was ready to see what we could do. I was on my 2nd lap of the session and the 6th lap I had taken all day. I got down the front stretch and through the first few sections great until my transmission wouldn't let me shift into 5th gear easily. I finally jammed it in on the third try going under the Florida bridge into turn 6 and 7 slowing me up a bit and messing up my entry into 7. From there I dug deep and trusted the Hankook VentusTD's that were at the perfect temperature and pressure to hang with the guys in front on their racing slicks. I kept giving her hell all the way around the next few sectors but I couldn't quite get out of the turns as quick as the guys on slicks. With our tune and new aero I would run them down pretty quickly once I was up to speed thanks to our Turbo by Garrett GTX3582R turbo but corner exit we were struggling a bit compared to the rest. Then after the esses on the back side as I approached entry onto the back straight I ate up every inch of rumble strip and put the pedal to the floor for what I knew was going to be the fastest lap of the day and sure enough turned out to be.

With a solid lap in the second session under my belt I was currently in 2nd place for TT1 and two more sessions left to go I knew I could improve on my 2:29.783 by a good amount since I was learning something new and finding time on every lap. Unfortunately going into the third session the track nor the transmission wanted to cooperate with me. Nearly all the TT lap times in the third session for everyone were starting to slow. The nearly 90 degree temps and the radiant Florida sun had heated the track past its optimal temperature (at least for the pressures we were using the session before) and halfway through my hot lap it became obvious that I was sliding in places that I shouldn't be and even a lap that I thought felt faster turned out to be slower than my best. The track was one thing but not the real problem. After the 5th gear issues in the second session it would now barely let me into 5th at all no matter how hard I tried to throw it in gear or how softly I modulated the Competition Clutch twin disc clutch. After that session ended with no improvement on our lap time we felt like we were solidly in 2nd place for TT1 and decided to park the car for the fourth session knowing that we had done what we had come to do for points and also knowing that we certainly weren't catching the person in first place with a slightly limping car. Unfortunately a late arrival came out in the final session and beat our lap time dropping us down a peg on the podium. but even with that result I was happy to be going home from such a fast track with no damage and nothing more than a bad gear.

We finished 3rd in TT1 for the event and in the process won the points necessary for the 2013 NARRA USTT North Cup Championship in TT1! Sebring was a blast and it was a heck of a way to finish out what had been a tough last two race seasons rebuilding the car and dealing with new car blues. I cant wait for 2014 having a ton of experience with the new car, it handling and running better than ever and me having more confidence than ever. Until then be sure to check back here at often for offseason updates and be sure to check out our 2014 schedule.