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BigSmoke

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Posts: 762

Location: Indonesia
Occupation: Train Chaser, Food Orderer
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V$: Broke
#156315   2019-06-02 09:18          
Shredfest and Homecoming
(NOTE: I'm using ReShade for this update. Let me know what you think! ;) )











Welp, finally got time to write another update again!
Real-world issues has hampered me to write one to be honest.....not that I mind actually.
Anyways, at the moment I've came home to Japan but first, Ii'll cover the final week of the US trip.
So here we go boys let's jump into the update! :D












[13 May 2019]
Paycheck time! Aanother V$940 landed on my wallet. This day's quite a busy day for me and the boys at Side to Side for......quite a lot of things: Before all of us going home, we're planning for a trackday and BBQ party for three straight days! The track selected for this occassion was Hallett Motor Racing Circuit in Tulsa, OK. The 3km circuit is quite a fast and flowing one, with 10 huge turns along the way. It's not so big and the facility is rather simple, given this track is at best used in regonal and national levels, but the character reminds me of my home turf that is Tsukuba Circuit. Okay, Hallett might be slightly faster and Tsukuba has much better asphalt, but you get the point. As a bonus point, we could build a camp nearby for the night and settle down while enjoying BBQ.

Another reason is Muza(Niatross), AJ(RocketBunnyS13) and Marc(Macaron_moon) was also delivering their cars back to Japan much earlier, given they're already has another car for the final week. Marc is also going back to Japan earlier to help with the shipping and logistics matters, as well as firing up their garage's business again and in Marc's personal case, applying finishing touches to his now-turned-out-monstrous Evo X. He's a busy man indeed. As for the cars being shipped back, Muza ships back his E90 birthday gift that has been modded lightly over the course of our trip, AJ ships back his Impreza GRB, and Marc ships back his brand new Mustang S197A, which was also a gift given by the former two. The power of freindship is lovely indeed :D

As for me, I've got a lot of things to do as well. First off, the Foxbody's bumpers and bonnet has finally dried up from repainting process. But before that, this gave me a chance to do a light tuning for it....well y'know me, it would be cam and ECU tuning. It is a good thing the Ford Modular engine is basically tunable in any form, since it was created with the idea that you could have it in any guise with various tunes with similar or same parts, hence the name 'Modular'. It's also one of Ford's first fuel injected V8. The one inside the Foxbody right now, lifted from Lincoln Town Car as I've mentioned in the previous update has 190 BHP by standard. Quite a meagre number, don't you think? With this in mind, I gathered some infos and have Franklin(well, Franklin), who has a Mustang with exactly the same engine on my side to guide me on the tuning process. The goal here is to match Franklin's Mustang's stock power figure.

With the tuning session finished, we put back the dried bumpers and bonnet to the Foxbody, and then we cleaned and polished the car. Safe to say, this is my envision of the Foxbody when it was showroom new. One thing still remains though: The stock wheel is so 90s it hurtes my eyes a bit...is it just me or it actually looks like a knock-off Advan Super Racing wheels? Though on secong thoughts, it might be able to be painted to resemble one, thus making it uhhh.....a rep that isn't actually a rep :))

Mustang modding done, it is time to move on to the second car of the day: The 240SX Vert I acquired at the last update.....and almost immediately broke it's own transmission. It's time to replace the transmission anyway, with me and AJ securing a manual transmission for dirt cheap at the last update and the clutch and flywheel kit already arriving the previous day. So it is time to pull out the entire engine, get a huge table and play Lego with the transmission again. To be honest, I didn't expect the transmission internals to be destroyed THAT bad.......
(yeah I know that's a CA18, not a KA24. The KA24 mod is buggy and crashed my game)

While we're at it I also do yet another light tuning to the engine. AJ and Franklin said the KA24 is quite durable for any purposes, so it shouldn't be a problem whether if I keep it NA or have a bolt-on turbo on it, though at the moment I'd like to keep it NA since it's not going to see any aggressive motorsport actions. After tinkering over the transmission swap and cleaning up the mess that we made, we put back the engine in.

After all of this was done, I realized that not only the remains of both the Foxbody and 240SX's auto transmissions would fill the StS HQ for nothing, I also need some more money, so I consulted Ziga(Lagano) on what to do. For the charred remains, he suggest for selling it to the junkyard, since there's nothing can be done to them other than being scrapped and recycled. Surprisingly though both transmission's cores are still relatively in good condition. Originally I'm planning to sell them online, but since I need money as quickly as possible and I'm going to go back home to Japan very soon, Ziga suggests to sell it to any auto shop around downtown.

So then, it is time to whip out the Silverado for one more time. But as I load up the truck's bed to accomodate two boxes of transmissions and sme buckets of transmission internals scrap, I heard AJ and Muza planning to ship their car back to Japan later. Then it hit me: I have a whopping three cars to be shipped back to Japan, so it'll be easier to ship them back one by one rather than simultaneously. Since I'm going to drive the Silverado and there's nothing much to haul for the rest of the week, it might be better to ship it as well after the cash-grabbing trip is done.

First, I went to the scrapyard to deliver the scraps. Because I only know one scrapyard around the place (and it's the scrapyard where I found the KA24 manual transmission), I went straight there. Fortunately they got a good weight-based deals for scrap metals, and so I scored V$20 for selling the scraps. Not much indeed, but again, they're scraps so I would take anything to get rid of them after all.

Next up, getting the cores delivered to an auto shop. After a rather long hustle around downtown, mainly against my own steering wheel and brakes, I found an auto shop who accepts used car parts across the other side of the city. They accepted to buy the Foxbody auto core for V$200 and the KA24 auto core for V$300. Quite a deal for me. So with that sorted, I contacted AJ to get the directions to the shipping port.

Some time later, I arrived at the port. Muza's BMW has been recently lifted to the cargo ship, and because AJ is somewhere else when it's supposed to be his turn, I was allowed to take his turn instead by Muza. Not only shipping the Silverado earlier will make shipping the Foxbody and 240SX easier, when I come back to Japan I could quickly grab the Silverado again for the trip home to my crib. Later on, turns out AJ felt asleep after planning to ship our cars, and he was so late later on the ship was almost ready to go to Japan when he arrived. Understandably, Muza scolded him along our way back in our Grab car :))

At one side, I can't wait to experience driving a huge pickup truck in Japan. On the other hand, that might turn into a hellish experience.......

At the end of the day, I checked out some wheels for the 240SX, seeing if I can find a wheel that doesn't require any lug swaps. Yes I know it's rather easy and it's commonly done, but I'd rather save some money for the wheels and everything else. After an hour of hunting in front of my laptop, I've scored something that's not only fits 4-lugs but also, coincidentally, a rare classic: Weds Albino in 15 inch size! It's also actually fits the 240SX perfectly period-wise since Albinos has came a long way since the 80s, thus enhancing the kyusha look on the 240SX later. Well I could grab one in Japan, obviously, but since I found one for cheap here, I paid for a set straight away for V$600. And to wrap the tyres, I picked up a set of Dunlop SP Sport 5000 for V$276, which I plan to stretch to fit the wheels. All of the items will arrive at the end of the trackday.


[14 May 2019]
After a whole day of preparations before our trackday bash, we set off at noon to Hallett so we can set our camp eariler. Since I've shipped the Silverado to Japan, we had to put some of the tools inside the Foxbody....and surprisingly they fit well! It was a hot day downtown so AC was on full blast inside the Foxbody. Still, hot seats meant it was rather discomforting for my body instead.

As it turns out, there was a truck accident on the highway leading to Tulsa, so we have to use alternative routes to go to Hallett from Ardmore. It's not going to be a fun trip when you're stuck in traffic jams after all, and we want to build our camp as soon as possible. And we get to see the neighbourhood outside the city as well.....not gonna lie, I'd like to live here for some days.

Some hours later, we arrived at Hallett as the sun sets. The wind is cool and the temperature got calmer there, perfect for setting up our camp and have a dinner later. It is a good thing the bar nearby the track is still open as well. So basically we're all set for the event :D Meanwhile, let's see what everyone brings to the event. For starters, I obviously brought my Foxbody. I'd like to assess the result of the engine swap and tuning before bringing it back to Japan.

This is StS bossman Ben(Benny, formerly known as Phonexius)'s legendary R33, finally popping in front of my eyes again with full 1300 BHP! Hallett and Heartland Motorsport Park at Topeka, KS are the home turfs of this car, though Ben himself didn't do much track days these days. Seeing it parked under the dying light of the sun is quite a mesmerizing yet tranquil experience. This car, when parked, arguably paints 'the calm before the storm' moments perfectly. Tasty colour choice too, not too vibrant but augments the savage aura surrounding it.


Ziga also brought his own R-car, which is his own R32, straight from StS's second garage at Los Angeles. Despite being RWD and has the GTS-t bonnet installed, it's actually a full-on GT-R. Ziga chose the GTS-t bonnet for it's lightness (I kinda doubt this) and aero efficiency (this I could agree with). Just like Ben's R33, it's made for grip racing, but it's more than happy to be thrown sideways and swinging around corners.


Next up is Muza and AJ's shared toy for the occassion, a Mazda RX7 FD3S. As AJ would tell you, this one was acquired from once a famous Japanese drifter who made his name here in the US until a Chicago resident beat his records mercilessly in his hometurf in Autopolis circuit back in Japan. This time though, AJ has totally overhauled the ride thanks to him meeting a couple who are RX7 fans and has a connection to Kyle Mohan, owner of Mazdatrix tuning shop and Formula Drift racing team. What a lucky guy! The LS1 engine still remains inside the car, but visual-wise it's all brand new and totally fresh.


This here is Vahid(Smokiegun), a California resident and both Ben and Ziga's longtime close friend. Or should I say bro? :)) But yeah, they're quite close like brothers. Vahid recently has sold all of his cars in exchange of couple of BMW M5s spanning from various generations. As you can see here, this is the F10 model, recently restored and lightly modded by himself. Engine-wise it's pretty much stock, but we're talking a modern M5 here, so performance should be as raucuous and savage as an entire cast of Mad Max movie. If you're a fan of M5s, BMWs, or big sedans in general, or restomods, I'd suggest you to visit his RP here. He's basically turning his garage into a dedicated M5 museum!


And here we got yet another R33, driven by another of Ben's friend, Lydia(RedCarDriver). An Arizona resident who is a trackday and time attack enthusiast, she got her R33 slightly widened and sitting on 19 inch wheels. It screams both trackday vibes and 90s aesthetics in my eyes. And oh, as the plate points out, it has an RB26 inside making north of 900 BHP on all wheels. Serious spec indeed! Being a trackday and time trial enthusiast myself (and living near the spiritual home of time attack racing), I'm looking forward to hit the track and learn one or two things from her.


Next up is Franklin(well, Franklin) with his Mustang SN95. Nothing much has changed since it's last outing at Stroud drift event, and he's just as eager to hit the track as ever. Originally he planned to ride his Jetta VR6 here for grip sessions together with me, but then he realized he's currently lacking funds for his competitive 180SX project back in Japan, so he decided to sell it and bring the Mustang here instead.


Moving on, it's another track ready machine here that is Soju(well, Soju)'s legendary Supra A80. As you can tell from the mods installed on the car, Soju and his car feels pretty much at home here. It's modded and tuned for track racing, so I expect blistering fast times coming out at the end of the day. Aggressive setting should garner lots of new fans as well. This time though, it'll face more challenges: Not only there's Ben with his R33, Lydia should be able to dish exciting duels with both drivers as well.


And finally, we got 11K(11000rpm) with his SR20-swapped E36. Modded for gymhkana events (the traditional Japanese ones, not the obnoxious Hollywood-worthy Ken Block-induced ones), the E36 is also basically at home as well. I'm rather sure the SR20 would create a split opinion amongst the track day attenders, but of course 11K could give a concrete answer over these doubters once he hit the track.


After we set our camp, we had a 'small' initiation party. Well, 'small', as we see AJ, Ziga, Soju and Franklin downing some shots of lagers already :))


[15-17 May 2019]
Trackday time! As the track day spans over three days, it'll be very, very, very long to tell you in daily basis, so I'll just wrap the 3-day event into one section. It was all fun and thrilling to have our cars running on the track, following and/or racing each other. Some of us are running on grip settings, trying to minimize sideways action for more grip and saving tyres. Others are going rowdy as hell by going sideways almost everytime. There are also some who alternates between grip and drift driving for fun.

First off, obviously it's going to be myself in the Foxbody. At first the car was rather surprisingly wobbly in the corners. This was expected given it's bone stock suspension-wise after all, but I didn't expect it to be jelly-welly wobbly. As you can see fro the pic, the shocks are rather undecisive on damping the car along the track, giving it a comical body roll in the process. Running on old, long unused tires doesn't really help either.

Soon though, I could understand what's going on beneath the car and started to get in the groove of things. Despite grip levels are basically hit or miss sometimes, I could bring along the Foxbody at speed around corners much better for the rest of the event. The Foxbody is one of the lightest Mustangs ever produced by Ford, so it behaves a bit like a Japanese cars I usually drive, being predictable around corners and doesn't pull itself too much around high-speed corners.


The only catch would be the massive bodyroll and thanks to the V8 engine up front, it's a bit nose-heavy. The Foxbody at times gets confused on juggling it's own mass when you don't really know what are you doing. But nce you figured out how it transfers it's own weight, you could alter your driving style it your and it's liking. You can try to find the limits of it's grip to the point the front end bottomed out, or you could induce a small slide and flick it around corners like a Mario Kart player. Or if you feel so cute and want to mess around, you could pull a big one just for the fun out of it.




Next up, we have 11K and his E36. Being set up for gymkhana events, predictably he and his E36 easily flies away and blasts around the track. It also looks graceful doing so. Occassionally, he'll pull a small slide on corners to have fun while running around. And fortunately the front lip wasn't grated by Hallett's hilly evelations. Imagine how great it would be once this thing hits Tsukuba.....



And then there's AJ and Muza with their RX7. They truly had a lot of fun sliding the car around for three days straight....they've turned the trackday into Hallett Drift Matsuri for themselves! :)) Everytime they went off the pit lane, they always being quite rowdy in the process, so much that combined with the sonorous LS1 engine chatter it looks like someone set a lion's tail on fire. Dangerous but fun sight to behold I should say! :D


At some runs they asked me to be their camera car, with either AJ or Muza driving and whichever of them that didn't drive sitting inside my Foxbody holdig the camera. It was fun chasing the RX7 while spewing smoke around the track, and the fact that the Foxbody was actually able to keep up with the RX7 is fairly a miracle. Both of them were absolute pros at their job on the wheel, pulling huge angles and putting on an etertaining spectacle on the camera lens. We should've invested on drones I should say! :))


This one taken at the last day though, was the most majestic from all of the shots. Hallett's pit wall and main straight was separated by a patch of grass, but that doesn't hold them back from pulling a manji and wall tap. It might be still far off the wall but still, it was done in quite an unbelieveable speed. People in the pit wall reportedly having their caps and ID tags flew off when they perform it, and they described the move as if they've just received a gigantic, powerful slap from the car. I guess it should have been called a wall slap instead ;)

All those sideways shenanigans on the 3rd day infected and hyped lots of people on the track, even Ziga can't even hold himself from finally breaking the traction of his R32 on track! Having focused on grip driving and hunting for lap times in the first two days, it looks like Ziga had enough of gripping for dear life and decided to break loose as he saw Muza entering the first corner in the RX7.

Seeing Ziga carving up the track sideways echoing the tenor sound of the RB26 engine feels like seeing someone trying to conduct an orchestra with a side of rock and roll stingers. He definitely didn't hold back and made a very good use of all that massive power and potential of the R32.

Vahid spent the trackday alternating between grip and drift driving to see how far the M5 F10 can be pushed in both aspects. The M5 is quite a bulky car, even in modern sedan terms, and like other BMWs it's quite moody when you want to throw it's tail around. It's also obedient though, as guiding it's tail and nose around corners is surprisingly easy, so having it fitting your driving style is quite easy once you figured out how much weight can be thrown around the corners. It's a modern car after all.


Vahid steers the M5 like a battleship, juggling the car's mass around the corners with full force. And surprisingly despite all that mass, Vahid was still able to score times comparable to the faster cars of our group. I'm quite sure if Vahid was put inside a lighter car or had his M5 undergoing engine upgrades and massive diet, he could go even faster. Or he could also probably enter Formula Drift with his M5!



Then comes the power players of the crop. First off is Soju in his Supra A80. God damn I love seeing this thing flying aroud the track, with screaming 2JZ sounds as the soundtrack and aggressive aero setting as the icing on the cake. It was absolutely planted and dead-flat running around Hallett, allowing Soju to turn up his skills and guts to eleven and fearlessly setting lap times without anything holding him back. Added with big brake kits on all sides, this here is an absolute stopwatch devastator, which eats tyres and tarmac for lunch.


Even having him passing us by in the pit wall was enough to vibrate our chests and turn our heads, usually followed by loud and barbequey backfire as he enters the forst corner. At times he was clearly over the limit as he fights back oversteer mid-corner, but overall his driving style can be described as a sight of tranquil fury: Calm and flowing, but also lightning fast.


When it comes to lap records though, Ben actually managed to one-up Soju! This also become an equalizer as Ben is finally able to beat Soju in his Supra. Well to be fair, the last time it was happened when we have a touge drive weeks ago, it was more like an impromptu battle as Soju was cruising alone and Ben decided to chase him inside his R34.....but still, he was quite quick even Ben was sweating a lot chasing him. Back to the trackday, at times not only they're battling over lap times, they also managed to get side by side at times! It was rather fearful to see them going door to door (in fear of crashing, obviously) but also deeply entertaining since they're basicaly the titans of the track.



At the final day though, Ben gave me a wonderful surprise.

"Smoke, I know you always want to ride this"
"Well, uh, honestly, yeah"
"Get in man, let's have a ride of your lifetime"
"WOAH HOLY SHIIIIII-" :O

And so, I giddily jumped into the passenger seat, still unable to believe that I could ride shotgun in one of my favourite forum cars ever! As I became a meat ballast for some laps in the R33 while spotting for traffic, I also took some note from Ben's driving style. From my seat it looks like he's breathing along with the track, becoming one with the flow as he flings the R33 around corners. This was ruined a bit when someone exited from the pit lane and accidentally blocked us at turn 1, understandably angering Ben. Luckily, once he vented his anger by aggressively overtaking him, everything went back to normal again.


And despite being close to running out of tyres at the end of the day, Ben quickly adapts his driving, resulting in some satisfying sideways action around the track. It feels slik smooth and precise. Now, if only I have the cash to buy an R33 GT-R......


Lydia wasn't simply hanging around either. Quite a lot of times she scored lap times worthy to challenge Ben and Soju. Bigger wheels also helps the car gripping around nicely, though initially I was rather worried about understeer possibilities. But no, it turns out the whole package was blending nicely with Hallett's asphalt indeed!



She was also kind enough to let me check out the setup of her R33. Though it might look rather unassuming at first glance, everything was made and set up for pure tracking action. It's also doubles as one of her daily ride, just like my own Silver Queen (my Evo 3, in case anyone didn't remember). I can't imagine how 1st and 2nd would feel like on traffic lights in this car, but overall this should be an amazing thing to drive all the time. I'd like to see this car in the shores of Japan, if you ask me :D



And finally, Franklin as usual let himself loose and flying around in his Mustang. Even being still near-stock, Franklin didn't hold back from sending it as hard as he could. And due to us having the same engine, sometimes we were going side by side, with either Franklin later chasing me sideways or me giving space to see Franklin going sideways.



[17 May 2019, later that day]
With our time on the track finally over, I returned to the pits to wrap up our camp before going back to the garage.

After a long drive back to the garage, AJ, Muza, Soju and 11K decided to ship their cars back home immediately, so I followed suit to make deliveries easier. But first off, my new wheels and tyres for the 240SX has arrived, so while we're on the garage I decided to install them first. Looking good and proper, aren't they?

When I finished installing the wheels, turns out I was left behind by the boys, so I immediately grabbed the Mustang's keys and rushed through downtown to catch them up. How did I didn't catch the attention of the local cops was rather miraculous indeed......it is a good thing I already know where the shipping port is, cutting some precious time to get there.


In the end I managed to catch them just when they were going to lift their car to the docks. After some rather hectic diplomacy and paperworks I managed to get my Foxbody shipped along as well. If I'm being honest, I don't really know what I'm going to do with the Mustang and Silverado once they hit the shores of Japan. For the Silverado, it could be a spare daily, a flexing tool, parts truck when the Sprinter can't cut it, or for some track fun, I'll try to find a drag racing venue around Japan. As for the Mustang, either I keep it as a lower-tier TA car, rent it for TA events to drivers, or probably turn it into a drift car.


[18 May 2019]
Finally, it is time to end our stay in the USA and go back home to Japan, bar Franklin who decided to stay for one more week. But this wasn't even trouble-free either, as I still have one more car waiting to be shipped to Japan, which is the 240SX Vert. With this in mind, I and our crew hatched a plan: They went off first to the airport with some of my belongings, pick up a later flight, while I'm delivering the 240SX first then get a Grab to the airport so I could catch up before the flight. A bit risky, but I assured everyone this would work.

And so, after bidding our goddbyes to Ziga, Ben and Franklin, I immediately jumped into the 240SX with it's recently replaced stockies inside and rushed into downtown for one last time. It was a cool day as well so I can drive with roof down for one more time here.

The downtown is so beautiful and vivid as usual. I never expected it to be pleasant to drive on but come a month later, I wish I could drive around here again. The people are great, the food is delicious, the weather is rather hot but still bearable, and the traffic are surprisingly not too crowded at times.

I arrived in the shipping port later on, and trying to rush on the paperwork to catch the plane in time. Then AJ informed me there's roughly one more hour before the plane leaves. With that in mind, after the paperwork was done, I immediately get a Grab to get me to the airport.

Fortunately, I made it in time to DFW Airport with around 40 minutes to go before flight. I could swear that was one of the most intense experience I've ever had outside racing. After I handed my own luggage and spending the rest of the time with some final banters with Soju and 11K who went on separate flight to Seoul, we finally went onboard the plane to Narita Airport.

Seeing the skies of America for one more time bring me back to all the thing we've done for a month here. And the fact that most of us are quite lucky to snag at least one car along the trip :)) I can't even believe I managed to get three of them! :))

Finally, 12 hours with some sleep in-between later, we safely landed at Narita Airport. It's been a while since we see Tokyo skies at night, it was extremely bright to us. And safe to say, we were absolutely wasted when we were off the plane.

To regain some energy and curing a bit of jet lag, we decided to settle down for a while in the airport with some cups of coffee (finally, UCC coffees!) while AJ and Muza waits for their Grab. We were reflecting on what happened on our trip for a while.......

Finally, as AJ and Muza's Grab came to the airport, we bid our goodbyes. What about me, you ask? As Narita is closer to Tsukuba than Tokyo, I simply used the shuttle bus from Narita. Well the walk home was indeed rather long in the freezing cold night, but at least finally I can smell my own bed and have a long sleep.


[19 May-01 Jun 2019]
There aren't much happening these days, since there's no time attack event to attend so far and I'm finally resuming work and daily life, save for some days when I fell ill and had to put myself out of action for a while. As for the three cars, I've taken them off the Tokyo dockyard and had them in my garage, don't worry. I'm also in the process of looking for a new job so I could speed up the progress on the S15. As for the time attack schedule, I might be able to attend up to three events in June (which also means possibly another championship to attend), so stay tuned here ;)

And in the very end, I would like to thank Ben(Benny) and Ziga(Lagano) for their inviation to the land of the free and hosting lots of things for us as well as guiding me on buying a car in the USA, Muza(Niatross), AJ(RocketBunnyS13), Soju(Soju) and 11K(11000rpm) for joining the trip, as well as Marc(Macaron_moon) and Franklin(Franklin) for joining in the last minutes, and also Vahid(Smokiegun) and Lydia(RedCarDriver) for joining the trackday. Y'all guys are truly the best, I tell you that ;)














Welp finally able to update again!
Let's see how my wallet survives after coming home to Japan:













That's all my updates for now, thank you for stopping by and see you soon!

This post was edited by BigSmoke (2019-06-02 17:39, 80 days ago)
Still following the damn train since 1992

Visit my RP HERE!