Well, the time has come for the Evo V to show up, so say hi to the next heir of my garage!
[19 Oct 2019]
And even though there's no time attack events for the rest of the month, I still get to taste some track actions!
And oh, finally I hit a touge route again with the Silver Queen after a looong time!
Time to jump into the update and see how it all unfolds!
With the end of the year getting even closer, this means I've got even lesser time to do any developments on my next time attack challenger, so an action has to be done. But first, obviously I haven't obtained the car I want to develop.....silly me
If you guys have followed my thread lately, you'd know that I'm looking for Evo V. So it is time to hit the classifieds and get cracking! I'm expecting for the prices to stay stagnant ever since the last time I delved for Evos.........
As I've explained some time ago, I'm specifically looking for an Evo V, rather than VI or newer. The Evo IV is even cheaper, but for some reason it's one of the least favorite among the Evo generations. Meanwhile, Evo VI upwards still has a sky-high prices, since they're all fan-favorites. The fact that Evo has been phased out from Mitubishi's line-up recently doesn't help matters either. Minus points for Evo VI since they tend to be an alternative for those who failed to get the TME version, therefore cranking the price even further.
Technically sepaking, the Evo IV itself was a huge upgrade over the Evo III that I have, but the Evo V was several steps even further. Evo VI simply refines the formula set by Evo V into an even better car. Since Evo IV-VI uses the same platform, akin to Evo I-III and Evo VII-IX, visual and possibly running gear parts are interchangeable. And even better, this extends to the engine and transmission department, since Evo IV-IX has the same structures for them. That's a lot of parts to play with!
Later on I found the perfect candidate for my project. This Evo V
got manual transmission and, to my delight, low miles, with only 90,835 kms on the odometer. That's not even a third or even a quarter of the distance my Silver Queen has covered along its lifetime! Why did it spent its life as a garage queen I'm not really sure, but all in all it looks quite great. Everything is bone stock apart from the Momo Tuner steering wheel and Enkei RPF1 wheels. And better still, it's located in Yokohama, which means delivery costs is cheap. I know I know, I have a tow van to pick it up or even I could pick it up and drive it away......I'm just a bit lazy to pick it up myself
Overall the Evo V costed me a nice V$5760, with an additional V$100 to tow it to my crib. Delivery should took two days.
[21 Oct 2019]
With the development subject obtained, it is time to plan my first upgrades. Back when I started developing Silver Queen, I started on the wheel and comforts first, since uhhh......the radio was broken (replaced with DAB receiver since) and I don't really like steelies. And I don't think people still produced body kits for Evo III......it already looked cool in stock form after all. But this time, since the Evo IV-VI generations are still used and competed for various purposes worldwide, obviously aftermarket parts are still produced for them. The Evo V actually looks cool in stock form as well....but this time, I could use some weight reduction. Let the diet begin!
First off, the bonnet. Rallytech
has full carbon fiber bonnet for Evo V and VI stocked for V$624, though they suggest to get a hood pin set to complement it. Whether I actually need one remains to be seen, but so far it looks promising, so I bought one. And then moving to the back side, I bought a carbon fiber trunk for Evo VI (yes, as opposed to V) from hillclimb masters Monster Sport
. I always thought they only specialized in Suzuki cars......after all, they're famous for their SX4, which was one of the modern king of Pikes Peak. Turns out they're doing performance parts for Mitsubishi as well! Man I really want to have a chatter with Nobuhiro Tajima himself......ah anyways, the trunk costed me V$838. I picked the Evo VI ones as opposed to Evo V, since the Evo V has an extra set of lights on its trunk, which the Evo VI doesn't have. While this might lead to me frantically looking for a solution to disable the extra lights wiring, count that as another weight reduction.
Moving up a bit, I also ordered a carbon fiber wing blade from EvoBits
for V$200. "Hang on, why not the entire wing?" I still need a sturdy wing base, and so far I didn't find one that is made of carbon fiber. In the meantime the wing blade itself may only cut a smidgen of the overall weight, but I'm sure it would give a bit of aero benefit as well. And finally, the doors. Sadly there are no carbon fiber doors available for Evo IV, V or VI, so I had to do with FRP doors. Thankfully RevZone
has them for 2900 AUD, which is around V$1450. The one they made would suit the stock door panels and windows, so perfect for daily usage. With the exception of the wing blade (cause they look cool unpainted), I plan to either repaint or rewrap the Evo after applying these parts. But now, time to wait..........
There are two huge things that come to my crib at the moment: My weekly paycheck of V$940, and.......the Evo V! At last, it's arrived at the doorsteps (well not literally
) of my crib. I was so excited I ran off my crib when I saw the tow truck coming with the Evo. After I received the keys to the Evo V and the tow truck went away from my crib, I inspected the Evo V in better detail.
Exterior wise it's all great and magnificent, just a little bit dusty and dirty. Underneath the car there are some light surface rust, but that can be solved by either sanding it or......just replace it right away. No worries, then!
Oh and as I've mentioned before, the Evo V has adjustable rear wing blades, a first among the Evos at that time. I ended up toying with the adjustment for some time
Interior wise, it's all good as well, AC works just fine and, to my delight, the radio works! Seats are slightly comfier and softer than I expected......the only problem is they're quite dusty. A huge cloud of dust puffs up as I sit on the seats, prompting me to let out a huge cough as I tried to catch my breath back. (And yes I know, wrong steering wheel in the pics. Forgot to change them before taking screenies).
[25 Oct 2019]
All in all, everything's fine like a Gucci bag! Just a small amount of TLC required for it, mainly cleaning the car and changing the fluids for the car. I can't wait to work on the car, and hopefully the works will be done quickly so I can shift my focus back to the S15 as soon as possible. Oh, speaking of the engine and transmission, try to guess how the interchangeability of Evo IV-IX engine and transmission components has to do with my plans
And oh, I guess I've told you that the Evo V featured an adjustable rear spoiler blade, the first amongst the Evo generations. I was sooo fascinated with that feature, I spent some time learning and toying with the Evo V's spoiler blade like a toddler with a new toy
Later that day, I received a call from Ohira-sensei. I wonder how did he and his garage survived the recent typhoon attack? And also, is it time already to sample their Mirage time attack project?
"Edo-kun, are you there son?"
"I'm here sensei, anything I can help?"
"Do you got any plans this weekend?"
"Ummmm bsically I haven't got any, since there's no races held for the rest of the month"
"I see.....that's great. Listen, it's time"
"For wha-OH.......the Mirage? It's raceday already?"
"Well of course not" *giggle* "But yeah, it's ready to be tested"
"Oh great! So where and when?"
"Friday, midday at Nikko. I believe it's grip trackday there"
"Eh? Not at Tsukuba?"
"No, not yet. We gonna test the handling first"
"Ah I see, still great though. I've been there-"
"Oh good then. I'll see you right on the track then"
"See you at Friday sensei"
Oh it is time then! And quite a great track selection I should say. I can't wait to get my hands on the Mirage!
It's time for test day! I giddily went off to Nikko with my Silver Queen, since I think the Summer Yume crew has arrived there first. It's quite a sunny day with mild breeze, perfect for toasting rubbers under the sun quickly. I didn't bring my race suit, as usually long sleeves or hoodies are enough for trackdays, but I did brought my racing helmet and gloves with me, as well as donning my race boots. Safe to say, they're some of my favourite items in my life
Some time later, I arrived at Nikko Circuit right as lunch time comes in. I saw their Mirage, but not the crew themselves. I'm hungry anyways, so in an instant I went off to park the SIlver Queen near the pitlane. The track itself was vivid and alive, with lots of cars either going for grip or drift runs. From cars like Cappuccino and Alto Works, to common time attack cars like the EG6, EK9, S15, ZN6, various Imprezas and Subies as well as a couple of R32 and R33 GTS-ts were present at the track. A couple S13, S14 and JZX100s were also there to go sideways later that day. Even I saw two Toyota Proboxes duking it out at one time!
As I expected, everybody was slurping bowls of ramen at the track's canteen. The crew present for the day were Ohira-sensei, Yuuta, Kei and Mishima. Goro and Nato were left at the shop to keep the shop safe and the business to run for the day. As I greeted them and had a rather long chatter as we enjoy our lunch, I had a seafood ramen with bottled tea on the side. It's quite delicious, you should try them sometime
Speaking of Proboxes, it's quite an unexpected rise in the JDM world, but recently, tuning and racing Toyota Probox vans, or its passenger car counterpart, Toyota Succeed, has been a trend amongst Japanese tuners and enthusiasts. The Probox and Succeed uses the 1NZ-FE engine, which usually you can find in the likes of Toyota Yaris, so ideal for long-term use. Usually they're utilized for track day and grip racing purposes, or alternatively, as a lowered stance boi (and you don't even have to slam it!), or simply a modded daily runner.
For trackday and grip purposes you might already see them similar to the Dajiban culture, which uses imported Dodge vans to grip and tear around various circuits, including Ebisu. But unlike those Dodge vans that needs to be imported in order to obtain it, Proboxes and Succeeds are (a) everywhere and (b) cheap to obtain, therefore making this segment of tuning world rises quickly. Even Probox racing has got their own league, in the form of All-Japan Probox-Succeed Championship, or JPSC.
To give you an idea on how serious this culture segment has become, Even Trust/GReddy and Blitz has their own Probox, obviously featuring their expertise on various aspects on the car. Both of these acted as their shop car and also racecar, and bonus points for Blitz's Probox since it's still streetlegal. You can read about Trust's Probox
here and Blitz's Probox here
. And oh, there's also already tuning shop that is dedicated to tune Proboxes and Succeeds, such as MJ Japan. You can read about their demo/racer car here
Right, enough talking about Proboxes, we're way off the thread. After fullfilling our bowels with ramen broth, we set off to work. As this is the Mirage (and Summer Yume)'s very first outing, we were surrounded by several enthusiasts. They were quite interested with the NA 4G63 setup we used, though whether this is actually effective remains to be seen. Seeing that I've got almost nothing to do, Mishima told me to rent the VBox from the main office and have myself warmed up. And what a better way to warm up than to score lap times with my Silver Queen? So I decided to pick two VBoxes.
And oh, I could hear some of you saying, "But Smoke, is it really possible to do a grip day at Nikko? I thought it's a drift circuit?" Well I'm glad to tell you, yes, grip days at Nikko does exists! But indeed it's more famous as drift circuit, as well as motorcycle circuit. Despite that, Nikko sometimes does grip trackdays as well. And just like Tsukuba which has their own time attack championship series, Nikko has their own 3-hour endurance series, with proper driver change and pit rules. Cool stuff innit? You can read more about it here
Speaking about time attack, the current track record is held by Yellow Factory EG6, with the time of 35.962 seconds. Well Nikko is short after all, but with a lot of RWD machines running around Nikko everyday, you might be surprised that the current record holder is an FWD car (with a proper aero kit, mind you). The RWD record is currently held by the famous Sakamoto FD, with a time of 36.743 seconds. The AWD record meanwhile is held by BFM X Marusho Evo with the time of 37.417 seconds. And there's one more record that I'd like to brought up, which is the backwards track record. Yup that's right, someone set a lap record while running in the opposite direction. Said record is held by Koichi Kono in his FD3S, scoring a time of 41.468 seconds. You can see the lap record list here
After installing the VBox in my Silver Queen and the crew's Mirage, I went off to my Silver Queen and drove it to the pit exit as I wait for the pit lights to turn green. And oh, speaking of which, the last time I ran here, I set a best lap of 40.364 seconds. I'm not looking forward to improve it, but it'll be a great news if I did.
Light turns green and I set off to do some hot laps. Initially I went.....just normal, not too slow but absolutely not pushing as usual. Weather is nice, asphalt temperature is hot enough to cook an egg, and wind is calm. Why autumn has to be this hot I have no idea.
But eventually my usual competitve self woke up again and I was running like hell again, gunning the Silver Queen in every corner. It's true what they say, speed and thrills are addictive
And with a car as fast as this, it's even more enjoyable.
After some laps I ended my warm-up (which is now should be relabeled as piping hot) laps, with the best time of........funnily enough, 39.696 seconds, almost a second better at my previous attempt. That's what you get when spirit, passion and adrenaline took your consciousness over at the same time
I went back to the pits to check out how's the crew doing on the Mirage.
Turns out they've almost done, and as I stepped off the Silver Queen, Kei notified me to come over their spot and get ready. I did some more stretches, drink a bottle of water and get a bit of massage from Yuuta before entering the Mirage. Ah yes, the plan for the day is to have me get in the car first to guide Yuuta around the track, as well as assess the setup for Yuuta. Sounds like a good plan, I should say.
Later on, I was back on the track with the Mirage, trying to tame both the understeer that naturally comes with FWD cars, as well as lift-off oversteer. This required much more dexterity than I thought. On the Silver Queen, which is AWD, I can go aggressive as the torque distribution was mainly set rearwards. Here in the Mirage you'd really have to feather it, but you can't be sure if you're going fast enough this way.
And later on I found the major problem: The brake bias were set too far forward, as I found out when I suffered a major lock-up at the final sector. At least I still could save it, but this also means lots of rubber wasted away plus uneven tyre heating. A good thing I didn't rip the whole thing off.......
With the assesment done and a best lap of 47.326 seconds, I went back to the pits. Back to the crew, I suggested to them to change the brake bias a bit rearwards, get the front diff to lock less and lower front tyre pressure. With a brand new front tyres, later on Yuuta went off to the track to test the new setup and to see how fast he can be. Meanwhile I, Ohira-sensei, Kei and Mishima went off to the back of the pit wall to see him running up close.
In between he observations, I talked to Ohira-sensei about the evacuation activities and endurance race I've done, which you can see at the previous update. Turns out Ohira-sensei and crew was lucky enough to be inside the garage while the storm happened. All Ohira-sensei did was drive his Galant up into the working bay, close the garage doors and camp with the others inside the garage. Well it still got hit by a minor flood in the end, but all in all everything was safe, but as Mishima said to me, "the garage reeks of mud and oil waste. Absolutely spectacular"
Yuuta's run in the Mirage was clean and smooth. I reckon the setup worked well........
Until eventually he had a giant lockup at the same spot as I did. This time though, Yuuta failed to recover and he had to veer the Mirage into a gravel bath. After said lockup he went back to the pits to check the damages done to the car, whch fortunately there were next to none. His best time before the lockup was 48.735 seconds.
As the crew fixed the Mirage a bit, I, Yuuta and Ohira-sensei discussed about our driving so far. I reckon that Yuuta could be faster if (a)The brake bias moved rearwards even more and (b)Yuuta could be a bit braver. After motivating Yuuta a bit over his driving ("You gotta run faster and more precise my man. That's how top level racers and chefs around the world does it!"), I let him drive the Mirage again since I'm a bit tired. I went back to the pit wall with the crew with some more bottles of water in my side.
Even though at first Yuuta still had to adapt to the new setting (to the point he made a huge lift-off oversteer at the first corner), eventually he got the hang of it! His driving style is much more smoother and flowing as time passes by, and the locking issue has been minimized. Though there are still some of it, it doesn't violently sway the rear of the Mirage as I and Yuuta experienced earlier. Even he managed to beat my time, with the final best of 46.832 seconds. I shouted "We did it!" as I jumped cheerfully and shared high fives with the entire crew.
Finally, Yuuta went back to the pits. I, the Summer Yume crew and some other enthusiasts welcomed him back with a standing ovation and a lot of cheering. I can see the potential inside him very well....I wonder how fast he can be if we put him straight into an Evo IV
But for now he still has a lot to learn, point that is capitalized by Ohira-sensei later.
As Ohira-sensei handed me V$500 as the payment for my test driver duty for the day, he gathered everyone for one last discussion before the crew went back to the garage, and I went back to my crib.
[26 Oct 2019]
"It's been a great test day today, thank you all for your hard work. Edo-kun, Yuuta-kun, I have a plan for you two"
"What is it sensei?"
"Come to the garage tomorrow morning, let's have another drive"
"Another test, sensei? I could do-"
"No, this isn't a test day. Just a casual fast drive"
"Um, a trackday?"
"Well......not really. Just come to the garage tomorrow, I'll explain it when the time comes"
".....sounds not so convincing sensei, but I'll come, don't worry. Got nothing to do anyways"
Still puzzled over Ohira-sensei's plans, I bid goodbye to the crew and went back to Tsukuba. I wonder what is he actually planning to do?
Still trying to guess what is Ohira-sensei planning, I went off to the Summer Yume garage anyways. As I arrived at the garage, I saw Ohira-sensei's Galant in clean, pristine condition, as well as the Mirage being almost fully restored. As Ohira-sensei handed me and Yuuta a bottle of tea, he gathered us for some talks. Finally, time to discover what is he planning.........
"My boys, it is time"
"Okay sensei, what are you suggesting to us yesterday?"
"We're going for a drive. A touge drive, that is"
"Hey that's great, I'm definitely in. But what about Yuu-"
"The Mirage is still road legal, don't you remember?"
"Ah yes yes you're right. Which touge by the way?"
"Have you ever visited the Tsukuba Fruits Line?"
"OOOOOH yes yes yes! I've been there several times, and you've told me you were once raced there"
"I'm glad you still remember my stories. Anyways, I want to drive my Galant there once more"
"Oh really sensei? I always want to see you drive around actually-"
"And I want to see you drive around the route as well"
"Wew, so we got to see each other" *laughter*
"And I also want to train Yuuta a bit further. Skills, dexterity, reactions, everything"
"I think this is actually a great idea"
As we prepared ourselves for the ride to the touge spot, I shifted my attention to Yuuta.
"Yuuta, have you ever seen bossman driving?"
"Not yet, aniki, I can't wait as well!"
"I know right? This should be an interesting drive. Ah tell me, how did the car felt yesterday?"
"A bit rough and tight at the first run, but after the second run I think I've got it"
"I'm glad the setup worked well. Hopefully it'll work as well for today's drive"
"Hopefully so. Ah, aniki, have you driven around a mountain pass before?"
"Oh yeah yeah, though it's been a long time since. How about you?"
"Ah, I never done this before. Is there anything I should be aware of?"
"Hmmm, a lot. Yourself in particular"
"Eh? What do you mean?"
"Um, keep yourself alerted of your surroundings, don't push too hard, and let the car flow with the road"
"Aaaah I see I see"
"Simply don't get sleepy and too fast that is all"
Later that day, we arrived at the start of the Tsukuba Fruits Line Touge
. The route spans from the off-limits of the Tsuchiura city to the outskirts areas of Ishioka city, where we are at the moment. If you're a huge fan of Initial D, you'll know that this touge is the home turf of the Purple Shadow team, which consisted of two blazingly fast seniors: Dr. Toshiya Joshima, or better known as God Hand who drives an S2K AP1, and Kozo Hoshino, or better known as God Foot who drives a Millenium Jade R34 GT-R. Fun fact: Kozo is a nod and reference to Kazuyoshi Hoshino, Nissan's works driver back in the day, who later found and owns the Impul aftermarket corporation. His son, Kazuki, still actively racing today for his dad's racing team in Super GT.
Before we get into the action, we decided to have a bit of rest at the top of the route. The traffic was almost nonexistent, the weather was nice and sunny, with cold breeze running down the road and our skins. The air is clean and fresh, truly a treat for our lungs and engines. Man I wish I could simply camp on the parking lot for the weekend......
But really, a drive around the mountain passes is the best for some, and it doesn't need to be fast. Simply admiring the view while driving slowly will evoke your senses and stimulate your mind, perhaps would also bring your mind to something or someone that you love, makes you think "Ah, I wish you're here right now"
Aaaanyways, after some time enjoying the fresh air, it's time to roll. First off, we go downhill, which I usually does. I so want to chase Ohira-sensei down the mountain, but since overtaing is quite difficult here, he told me to lead anyway, with Yuuta chasing him instead as a test. Well I do't mind really, open roads ahead is always welcome.
As I started to go downhill, I blasted this song
from my speakers. I tell you what, that songs is the perfect choice to blast at a touge route. Tempo's not so fast, but intense, flowing and cheerful enough to accompany your ride along the mountain. Ohira-sensei and Yuuta soon joined the pack on my back.
We approached my favourite corners of this pass. This one has gutter inside, but the there's also the rock faces after it. And there's no railguards on the outside. You either play safe while passing it, or try to hug the gutter with the risk of either hitting the rock, lauching your car off the hill, or even both.
The winding route continues downwards, with sometimes the road splits up into a two lane blacktop, and sometimes rejoins into a single lane again. You really have to be careful to pick your way around here. Thanfully though I didn't see any traffic so far, otherwise it'll be difficult to navigate around with their presence.
Surprisingly enough, despite the power and wheelbase difference that my Silver Queen and Ohira-sensei's Galant has, Ohira-sensei was still able to catch up with my Evo. He's really still got it, it turns out! I guess had if I was facing his younger self, it's actually possible for me to get passed by him. It just amazing to see him keeping up with my Silver Queen. In the meantime, Yuuta had to fight against understeer again as he tried to avoid plunging the Mirage and himself down the hills.
Another of my favourite corners came near the end of the route. After another road openings, you'll be faced with a chicane spread on a two-lane road, with no armcos protecting the apex of the latter part of it. You can try and dip your front wheel at the apex.....at the risk of the entire car could clip the entire corner, eventually you can't return it back on the road.
Some time later, we arrived to the finish line of the route, which is a small temple with a parking lot nearby. Continuing the route will bring you to Tsuchiura city. First to arrive was me and my Silver Queen, then Ohira-sensei and his Galant, and finally after a bit while Yuuta and the Mirage.
We decided to stop for a while to assess our driving while have a rest. I can only get away from Ohira-sensei at the first and final sections of the route, while Yuuta pretty much struggling to keep up as he fights his own fear and understeer. Somehow he didn't really want to do some more lift-off oversteer, but eh, that's understandable. It the first time he's doing this after all.
Some time later, it's time for us to go back home to Tsukuba. Ohira-sensei though opted to have some personal chatter firt with Yuuta, so he allowed me to go back first. And since I never run this route as a hillclimb route, might as well try it right now. I'm sure the Silver Queen has the power to go up the road again. I fired up the Silver Queen and went back to the road as this song
blasts through my speakers.
Going up the mountain pass really has it's own challenge. Yes, the grip levels are much better than going downhill as your car presses the road much better thanks to the gravity, and you can trust the tyres much better, but the corners themselves.......if you're not sure where you're going, get ready to crash. In downhill route at least you can see a bit or even half of the apex of the next corner. Here you're almost completely blinded.
But soon I've went back into the groove. The fact that I've ran the route downhill several times helped me memorizing the corners rather well. So in order to go uphill quickly you only need to reverse your memory......though some of my thoughts are aided with a bit of guesswork as well. Still, this made me confident to give it the beans.
And in the uphill run, attacking my favourite corner is much easier, since you can spot the gutter quicker than if you're running it downhill, so you can quickly drive into it. Hugging the gutter helps with the grip as well in this case! Truly a great experience.....I already felt like a pro hillclimber
It's been a while since the last time I hit this touge route with the SIlver Queen, and upon going it in the opposite direction I really wanted to try to do it again. It's even more fun than I thought!
And finally before going back to Tsukuba I decided to stop once again in the parking lot where I, Ohira-sensei and Yuuta stopped earlier to enjoy the cold breeze and great views. I'd say I really wanted to do this again with some friends, if I could. Or......how about camping with friends near or even at the parking lot?
With the update done, let's see how all my purchases has impacted my wallet:
And oh, later that day I found out that bossman @Benny
has gifted me a set of Volk ZE40s in 18 inch size. This turned out to be my reward for helping him sourcing one of the S13s he bought recently around the Japan soil. This should go well with the Evo V, I can tell you
What would he do with the S13 though remains to be seen, so you should follow the progress here
That's all my updates for now, thank you for stopping by and see you soon!