Winton Matsuri 2012 – Day 1

Sorry for the lack of updates, the past few weeks have been crazy! I’ve been busy with plans and haven’t been able to update with a post. Over the past weekend I went to Winton in Victoria for an event I’ve been waiting for all year and it was the best piece of drifting I’ve ever done. Here’s day 1 of Winton Matsuri 2012.

Friday morning at 7am, I had both cars loaded up and ready for the 700km trip to Winton. The Stagea had all the tools and spares and I had eight wheels with fresh tyres packed into the 180sx.

The Stagea is really comfortable to tow with, it’s just annoying getting out of the city because the trailer is so wide. I think I’ll need to buy some things for the Stagea soon, definitely some better brakes and I’m also looking for some airbags too.

300km down I grabbed some food and filled up both cars with fuel.

By the time I got to the house it was nearly time for some dinner. A few of the guys hadn’t arrived yet so I grabbed some pizza and I went to sleep. I was dead tired from driving down so I desperately needed some rest before matsuri. Especially with 12 hours of driving ahead.

Smashed down a quick breakfast and I was here..

Set the car up, went to the driver’s briefing, got the car scrutineered and set up for the first session. Everything went sweet and perfectly to plan for the morning. Only one problem, it was about 38°! And I was in long pants and long sleeve shirt. It was insanely hot for the whole day, but all the drifting made it worth the suffering.

The first session was awesome. Still learning how to control the car again, but picked it up pretty quickly. I did have a problem after the session though, it wasn’t really anything major, but something that I was a bit worried about.

I ended up leaving them on for the second session, they only lasted about 10 minutes until they were done. The paint on both rear quarters wasn’t looking too great after it though.

Apart from the massive tyre scrubbing, it felt really good to drive the car again. I was at Wakefield the week before and being the first time driving since February 2011, it was scary trying to drive the car again. Especially since the last time I drove the car it had ~200kw. I knew how to drive Wakefield luckily, but Winton was a completely new track so learning all the corners and where to transition added to the challenge. I had to teach myself how to drive again, in a car that was loud and ridiculous, as well as learn a new track. It took half a day and was hard but I didn’t have anything wrong with that. I love learning to drive my cars, especially after they have undergone extreme changes.

I also noticed after my second session that my front wheels were rubbing hard on the chassis because of my steering setup. It made it hard to pull back the wheel when it had full lock so I brought out my 33 GTR wheels and put them on the front.

I swapped over the rears with fresh tyres as well and headed back out for next session.

The next few sessions were good, I started to get the hang of linking most up the corners. Going from the back straight in 4th gear, through the last two corners and sliding down the main straight into turn one took a little while to get but by saturday afternoon I had it good.

Over the weekend I was with a few friends and we had four cars and only a single garage. This was our setup for the entire weekend, if one of us had a problem or had to change tyres it made it a bit hard. There’s another car behind mine in this picture..

I tried doing the sweeper in 4th gear in one of my next sessions but couldn’t get it. We were in group B and there was easily about 30 cars on track so everytime we would link up a corner someone in front would spin out. Still happened to destroy another pair of tyres though so it wasn’t all bad. I’ve noted down a few things I want to do to the car in the coming months. A bit of suspension work, get some of my aero painted and also get a hydro handbrake as my stock one isn’t up to it anymore. Most of the weekend it wouldn’t lock up so I think it’s time for a hydro setup, which means lots of time spent researching which setup to use.

Towards the end of saturday it started to die down, cars were breaking, people were getting tired and it was getting dark, which meant time for the night session. I only went out once when it got dark. Main reason I didn’t do anymore is because I couldn’t see anything! Winton has no wind at all, so with all the smoke and dirt everywhere, seeing what’s in front of you is nearly impossible. I headed back to the garage, checked over everything on the car and started to pack up everything for the night.

Seeing how we had four cars and only one garage we had to do some area planning. Loaded the cars with all the wheels and tools, locked them up then carefully moved them in. Here’s the effort..

Everything for the weekend in a single garage, pretty happy with it!

Saturday of matsuri was good fun, but if I had to choose I would say sunday was better. We started to get some tandems happening and I also got more confident driving the car which meant going faster and getting more angle. I also ended up nailing the sweeper at the top of 4th which I was really happy with.

I’ll have the recap of day 2 up soon and I’ll also be putting up some videos of the weekend. Stay tuned!

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