So let’s shoot through the next few years real quick and bring you up to speed.
Me: Still doing Uni things, starting to get into motorsport. From the first month I had the car I signed up to run in the Donington Winter Series Autosolos, and this is where I started to learn my real world car control. Somewhere in the mix of that I met Nick, Matt and Craig, the boys who would eventually help me form RAD, the crew we’re all in together. I took a year out as well and worked at Mercedes AMG in the F1 Engines department. There I did performance development and engine mapping, and learned so much that would come in so handy from this point onwards!
Forget all that jazz, what about Vyvian man?!
Well, in the meantime this stuff happened:
I binned off those lowering springs on pattern OEM replacement shocks… Rode like absolute arse, so the first thing to chance with my paycheck was grab some proper coilovers, Meister R was the choice and they’re a fantastic improvement!
I was torn between RS Watanabe style wheels and TE37s, but eventually settled on some Rota RKRs, shod in Hankook Ventus V12 Evos. These have been on the car for nearly 2 years at this point, and used as fronts at every drift day, and in 2 seasons of Autosolos and are only just now reaching the wear markers!
I had a few ideas of what to do for some more power- I’ve always been an engine nut (hence the job) and fell in love with Turbos years ago. In preparation for the eventual power increase, I bought a Megasquirt 2 Extra (before the ME221 was around, I might add) and set about getting the car to run on the stock engine. My logic that is that I know the stock car runs, and I know HOW it runs, as such any problems I run into were a function of the Megasquirt install, not the engine itself.
As always, my philosophy to remain as factory as possible is paramount- the whole setup uses a standard ECU connector (taken from Craig’s old Smurf ECU) into the Megasquirt loom, and at any point can be simply unplugged and replaced with the original ECU and run as standard.
The original VLSD was okay to start out with, but after a few drift days it became apparent that it wasn’t going to cut it anymore. The diff was inconsistent and didn’t ever lock up as I wanted it to, it had to go. I didn’t want to go with a welded diff as the car was being used daily, and I still wanted to remain competitive in the Autosolo championships. The best compromise then, was a Torsen diff from a 1.8, and would provide more strength to the driveline as well.
A trip to Junkyard Dog and a tasty Torsen later, I set about changing the whole driveline; clutch and gearbox too. It took a few late nights, but the car was eventually ready to go for the first DWYB of the season, and performed like a dream!
Nearing the end of the season I’d gotten to the point of needing some extra steering lock, I could push the car far beyond what my standard knuckles and rack spacers could support and it was time to upgrade! Enter: Mintfab. A lovely piece of work that gave me tons of extra angle to play with, very much a good upgrade, but not until you need it! Big angle knuckles make it very hard to spin, and can bring on bad habits if all you do is use them to catch your mistakes.
With extra speed, extra angle and extra skill comes a need for some more safety. After TR Lane did a great job of fucking over the people on his group buy, I went with the newcomer of GCFabs and couldn’t be happier. Awesome bit of kit fitted in an afternoon with the boys!
I imported a lovely N1 style exhaust from the US, which had a few design flaws and needed to be modified to work properly. The rearmost hanger didn’t line up properly and caused the silencer box to shear from the weight of the end can swinging around on the end. At the same time, the welds on the baffles internally split.
To fix this, I cut the exhaust open and had the baffles re-welded at a local shop, packing the silencer with proper glasspack to reduce the raspiness of the original exhaust. Strengthening brackets and a proper hanger were also sorted. And now it sounds awesome!
The car has been through a couple of visual iterations in the meantime. With the new exhaust came a cut bumper, and the whole car ethos was to keep stripped out and light-looking.
A little while after that, though, I started to look at some of the idol cars for me, cars like Minty Fresh’s MX-5. Smooth, subtle, chunky and mean. I fell in love with this style! So next up was a fresh JDM bumper (no fog light) and rear bumper lip. Also a pair of Lexus style lights, which are the worst thing in the known universe… UNTIL you tint them!
The interior got a bit of a rework as well, 6″ Jass Shifter Extension to help out with changing gear in a hurry, the naff chrome vent surrounds went red, I tinted the lockwood gauges red (which was a silly idea, they were worth money, now they look awful if you look hard, but at least my night vision is good) and bought a GORGEOUS Nardi wheel!