Thursday, June 30, 2011

Largest Supercar / Performance Car Gathering at Super GT 2011

Pic 1: Preparing to enter into SIC

During the Super GT 2011, JPM Motorsports organized the Largest Supercar / Performance Car Gathering. Their aim is to gather the most number of supercar / performance car in Sepang International Circuit at the same time. They managed to create a new record in the Malaysia Book of Record at 405 units of cars. That is all great and mighty fine but I had an unfortunate incident during the event.

Pic 2: At the holding area

As we were waiting in the holding area next to the back straight of turn 14, I noticed that my front tyre had a flat. Oh man, that really sucks. Running my hand around the rubber reveals there's no nails/screw that have penetrate the tyre. Really weird. It must have leaked slowly too as just an hour ago, I was barreling down the highway at speeds which is best not to be revealed publicly. LOL :D

Anyway, as the rest of the cars are making their way into the track, I had to ditch the ER34 behind and hop into one of the cars there (Thanks Colin for the ride!). Why leave the car behind? Well I don't have a 19mm wrench with me to remove the
Rays Engineering lug nuts. And the best place to loan one was where the rest of the cars are going to be parked, the main straight of Sepang International Circuit. Amongst the hundreds of cars there, I'm sure there must be at least one chap with the tools.

Pic 3: At the holding area

Pic 4: All 405 cars on the main straight of SIC

My plan to narrow down the search was to ask owners of cars that spots the same lug nuts as me. Smart move BUT funnily enough, most of the owners that I've asked either do not have the wrench or do not carry tools at all. Oh man!!!

Thankfully, Dennis had one in his beautifully kitted Reckless MR-S (Thanks a bunch bro!). Now, with the tool in hand, I had to get back to the parking area. This is where Jason (sakakida) came to the rescue with a loan motocycle from Alex. The ride back to the back straight is a journey in itself as we potter along outside the track proper to get to the area.

Jason helped with the tyre change and it was done in a jiffy. Thankfully too as there is a grandstand facing directly where we were changing the tyre. Not exactly a sight to be proud of. Hahaha

This is where the problem starts, the threads on the
Rays Engineering lug nuts got worn while tightening; and as such, only 3 of the lug nuts can be somewhat tightened. Somewhat tightened? Yeap! Just realized that the smaller dimension of the Rays Engineering lug nuts means that it ain't gonna be sitting flush and tight with the space saver wheel.

Pic 5: My old worn and well-used Rays lug nuts

Lucky thing is that the ER34 managed to be nursed back home all the way from Sepang International Circuit. We were only doing 60km/h all the way! Man that really sucks!

Couple of days later, I got replacement Rays Engineering lightweight Duraluminum lug nuts for the ER34 and she's now all fine and dandy. Oh btw, beware of fake Rays lug nuts which is flooding the market. Those are selling at a small fraction of the price compared to the originals. Don't be stingy on safety!

Pic 6: Brand new Rays lug nuts

Pic 7: Brand new Rays lug nuts

Pic 8: Brand new Rays lug nuts installed

Monday, June 20, 2011

Weider HSV-010 wins the Round 3 of the 2011 Autobacs Super GT in Sepang International Circuit

The SUPER GT International Series MALAYSIA race, Round 3 of the 2011 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, took place at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia on June 19. In the GT500 class, the winner was the No. 1 Weider HSV-010 (Takashi Kogure/Loic Duval). In the GT300 class race, the No. 4 HATSUNEMIKU GOODSMILE BMW (Nobuteru Taniguchi/Taku Bamba) took the win.

Race day was the hottest yet in this race weekend at Sepang. By the time the formation lap started at 16:00, the heat had passed its peak and the skies were increasingly cloudy but it was still a hot 34 degrees C. with a 43-degree track surface temperature. When the official start was signaled after the formation lap, it was the pole-sitting No.1 Weider HSV-010 (Loic Duval) that got the lead. Following Duval into the first corner were the 2nd-place qualifier, the No. 46 S Road MOLA GT-R (Ronnie Quintarelli) and the 3rd-place No. 17 KEIHIN HSV-010 (Toshihiro Kaneishi). Behind them, the No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (Joao Paulo Lima de Oliveira) and No. 39 DENSO SARD SC430 (Takuto Iguchi) collided while running side-by-side. Both machines ran off the track as a result and dropped far back in the pack. Moving up into 4th position in their place was the No. 8 ARTA HSV-010 (Hideki Mutoh). In 5th position came the No. 24 ADVAN KONDO GT-R (Bjorn Wirdheim) and behind it a cluster of cars would begin a cramped battle for position.

Meanwhile, the top two machines managed to slip away from the pack and open up a considerable margin. These two cars continued to run laps in the 1'59 to 2' range. Some distance behind the two leaders there was a hot battle for 3rd raging from the early stages of the race. Locked in the close-quarters battle were Kaneishi in car No. 17 and Mutoh in No. 8. Farther back, in the group running behind Wirdheim in car No. 24, Takuya Izawa in car No. 100 RAYBRIG HSV-010 emerged to try to pass No. 24 on the last turn of lap six. Unfortunately the attempt failed as Izawa (No. 100) ran off the track and into the gravel bed. This dropped him back to last position in the GT500 class.

In the battle for sixth position, the No. 36 PETRONAS TOM'S SC430 (Andre Lotterer) overtook the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 (Kohei Hirate) on lap nine. After that, Lotterer in car No. 36 chased Wirdheim (No. 24) but the superior speed of the GT-R on the straights prevented him from making a decisive move. Meanwhile, Lotterer had to worry about cars No. 38 (Hirate) and the No. 35 D'STATION KeePer SC430 (Andre Couto) chasing his just a few tenths of a second behind him.

The No.1 car of Weider HSV-010 ran on to its first win of the season, having maintained a fast and consistent pace from the start of the race. Finishing 2nd in the first GT podium finish for the team and the driver pair was the No. 46 S Road MOLA GT-R. In 3rd place came the No. 17 KEIHIN HSV-010, which had held on stubbornly despite struggling with its machine set-up.

The GT300 class got off to an uneventful start. It was the pole-sitting No. 4 HATSUNEMIKU GOODSMILE BMW (Nobuteru Taniguchi) that got the best start, followed by the No. 88 JLOC LAMBORGHINI RG-3 (Yuhi Sekiguchi), the No. 27 PACIFIC NAC IKAMUSUME FERRARI (Hideki Yamauchi) and the No. 11 JIMGAINER DIXCEL DUNLOP 458 (Tetsuya Tanaka). Gradually, the lead BMW (No. 4) began to increase its margin over the pack.

The battle for 2nd place developed between the two Ferrari cars, No. 27 and No. 11. As they battled, No. 4 continued to increase its lead. Farther back in the field, the No. 2 EVANGELION RT TEST-01 IM·JIHAN Shiden (Hiroki Katoh), which had been unable to compete in the qualifying due to machine trouble and had to start from 14th position at the very back of the grid (for the third year in a row!), was once again putting on a show of passing prowess while climbing to 5th position in just the first 10 laps.

Never faltering in the lead, Taniguchi in the No. 4 BMW managed to build a 14-second lead over the rest of the field before he finally made his pit stop and turned over the wheel to teammate Bamba. In contrast, the No. 11 Ferrari (Katsuyuki Hiranaka) had made an early pit stop and was closing to within 10 seconds of the fleeing leader, No. 4. Initially, both cars had been running laps in the 2'11 or 2'12 range, but with six laps remaining, Bamba's lap times in car No. 4 dropped by 2 or 3 seconds. Caught up in the battles of the GT500 cars mid-pack, Bamba's pace had been interrupted badly.

Seeing this, Hiranaka (No. 11) charged hard to try to catch him. With about six laps remain the gap was down to less than two seconds and with two laps remaining it had developed into a nose-to-tail battle between the lead BMW and the Ferrari. But Bamba in the BMW (No. 4) was not going to give up. Using his speed advantage on the straights, Bamba blocked the Ferrari in the turns and moved ahead on the straights to defend his lead for the final two laps to take the win.

It was the first GT win for the team and for the BMW Z4. No. 11 finished 2nd for the third race in a row. Finishing 3rd came car No. 27 (driven by Yutaka Yamagishi in the second half). For the third consecutive race this season the podium was swept by the European GT machines. Showing a magnificent rush to the front from the back of the grid was the No. 2 Shiden (driven by Kazuho Takahashi in the second half), and by holding off on its pit stop it had even taken the lead momentarily. However, a problem with the right-side door coming open in the final stages of the race, it finished in 10th place.

For more pictures of the cars and race queens, goto the below facebook link. Remember to click LIKE for the page. :)

Album 1
Album 2
Race Queens

Friday, June 03, 2011

Super GT 2011 Series - Malaysia Round 3

Middle of the year in the Malaysian motorsports calender only spells one thing. It's Super GT season! By far the most successful motorsports event in Malaysia (Formula One aside), the round 3 of the Super GT will be happening in Sepang International Circuit on the 18th and 19th June 2011.

2011 also marks the 11th year the series has been in Malaysia. No mean feat mind you as Kuala Lumpur remains to be the only championship round outside of Japan. Be it the drivers, cars or the even umbrella girls that attracted you Super GT, it's a race event and an atmosphere like no other.

I have been to a number of international motorsports event from Formula One to World Rally Championship but Super GT offers a unique sort of atmosphere. You get friendly and sometimes wacky drivers, charming race queens, freebies from the race teams, opportunity to get close to the machines but most of all you get to hang loose and soak in the aural orchestra of the GT300 and GT500 cars. Cars, that actually reassemble those that you might bump into on the streets! Real cars and not open seaters that worth millions of US dollars a pop. Yes, it's a motorsport event that motor heads and relate to in their heart.

So have you got your tickets? If not, it's pretty high time you head out to the participating ticketing agents out there and grab it!

See you in Sepang!!

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