Winton Summer Matsuri 2014 – Day 1

A couple weeks ago was matsuri time again at Winton and I had loads of prep to do before loading the car onto the trailer and heading up. Here’s the recap for the lead up and the first day of summer matsuri for 2014 at Winton.

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5 days before the first session I had to get a whole bunch of tyres.

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If you didn’t see my previous post, I wanted to change wheels for this year. I went with another pair of Federal 595 EVO in 205/40/17 for the fronts, after the awesome run I had with them last year. Then had 5 pairs to go through on the rear.

Loaded everything up, got some tyres fitted, then headed back to mine, made sure everything was sweet and put the new wheels on.

Fast forward to friday morning, time to get everything loaded up and ready for the drive to the track.

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I put the roof racks on the Stagea again and then put 8 wheels on top. So much easier having it setup like this, otherwise I would have to stack all the wheels and tyres inside the car, which would be a massive pain in the ass.

If you think you can get 8 wheels and tyres in this space, along with all my tools and spares, please tell me how.

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Also really happy with the new look for the 180sx, so much better with some super concave wheels.

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Loaded up and made sure everything was done, then quickly got some fuel, some food and  headed out to the track.

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I love towing with the Stagea, even though I’ve had some troubles and although it’s not tow car material, it still does a pretty epic job. It’s the most comfortable thing to drive and it’s quiet, which is what I wanted. I wouldn’t mind something that’s a bit more suited to towing, but then it wouldn’t be as nice to drive on a daily basis.

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2 hours down, 1.5 hours to go.

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Stopped to drop some fluids.

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Finally got to the track about 4:30pm and started unloading all the cars with some friends.

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I also had my old friend Shaun from Sydney bring his car down for the weekend, hadn’t seen him in over a year so was awesome to hang and drive together. I’ll keep trying to convince him to come to Queensland for matsuri at the end of the year, hopefully he doesn’t bail.

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Anyway, unloaded all the tools and spares and got some pit bays set for the weekend. Just over 14 hours and it was time for matsuri to start.

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From left to right we had – Ian, Henry, Shaun and me. 2 Melbourne guys and 2 Sydney guys. Technically only Shaun was the Sydney guy because I live in Melbourne now, but whatever.

We ended up getting pizza for dinner as the pub we usually go to was extremely packed out. Headed back to the cabin, laughed at lots of stupid crap, made jokes about who will break first, then hit the beds.

Fast forward to 7am saturday morning. I was first up, waking up all the other lazy idiots. Had to be at the track for driver’s briefing at 8am so had to get some quick breakfast and get going. It’s only 10 minutes drive from where we were staying, best spot in town.

Almost 9am and drivers briefing was done, cars were unloaded, warmed up and ready to hit the first session.

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I was a little sketchy for the first few laps, but started getting more confident towards the end of the session. This was the first time I’d driven with the new arms and the new height. It was sweet, but my exhaust had different ideas. Constantly scraping the ground was the most annoying thing, so that was the next thing on my list to do. It wasn’t because the car was low, it was because the exhaust was terribly made and it was hanging really low.

Other than that, first session went pretty sweet!

Next few sessions I threw on my cameras and got some footage.

I looked like some hollywood guy with cameras everywhere.

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One thing I was getting more confident with is driving the track with less handbrake. Admittedly I still use the handbrake quite a bit, but I tried a few laps without using it at all. Mainly through the back section is where I can get through without it, entries tend to be a little bit harder.

Got some smooth runs up the main straight.

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Made some pretty epic smoke too.

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Halfway through the morning I had a couple small issues come up. First one was my return line for the turbo was leaking. I had this issue early last year but thought I had fixed it at a Wakefield track day. It was fine at Queensland but at Winton, it decided to start leaking again.

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I’ll have to get a new line made up and hopefully it solves the issue. Dropping oil with this motor is my worst nightmare.

The next problem I had (you may think this is pathetic) was my pod filter kept blasting off the turbo. If you have seen my engine bay, you will know that my pod is directly attached to the turbo, no intake piping. The problem was the rubber mounting piece kept popping out of the pod itself. It wasn’t actually mounted to the pod, it was just sitting in there with a line of rubber holding it together. This is why I don’t buy chinese crap.

Out of everything mechanically, my pod is the only chinese part which of course means it’s going to causes issues. I tried cleaning the pod and turbo and re-attaching it but it wouldn’t quite work.

So I got out some bits that I hate using. Cable ties.

I always take them with me, but only ever use them as a last resort if I can’t make anything else work. In this case, the only way I could think of holding it together was with this ghetto concoction.

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It looked like ass, but suprisingly worked pretty well.

Cleaned up my engine bay then went back out for more.

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About lunchtime they had an extreme entry which I decided to try again.

Went a little derp on my first run, then did a similar thing on my second run. So annoying.

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My thrid run was ok, I did enter way too late but ended up going through alright.

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The entry wasn’t super extreme but the exit was a bit.

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We only did 3 runs and that was it unfortunately. I wouldn’t mind spending half a day just practising entries at Winton. I need to get more confident going down the main straight and throwing it in harder. One thing I think lets me down a bit is having really garbage tyres on the back, but then again I see other guys pull off some really big entries with crappy tyres, so maybe I need to step my game up.

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I missed a few sessions late in the afternoon on saturday, because I was cleaning stuff up and helping a couple of the other guys with their cars. Shaun ended up breaking his rear lower control arm and couldn’t find anyone who had a replacement so his weekend was over.

Henry bent a tie rod, buckled a wheel and ended up raising his car about 6 inches. Also had issues with the turbo to manifold bolts constantly coming loose which made the car run like an N/A, on top of that the head was rattling pretty bad.

Ian’s car on the other hand had no issues all weekend so luckily didn’t have to fix anything.

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My last few sessions before it got dark weren’t too full on. I was trying to keep the car cool and not cause more issues with the pod coming off, so tried to drive conservatively. I was still drifting, but it wasn’t a super insane blaze machine.

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Once it got to about 7pm they opened up the track for everyone to go on, so it started to get pretty packed with some good guys and some newer guys as well. Bit sketchy following guys I’ve never driven with, no idea what lines they take and how fast they drive.

I only went out for half the session, then gave the car a rest for the day.

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We checked over all the cars, packed stuff up and loaded them away. Casualties for the day were Henry’s tie rod, front wheel, fitment status and motor/manifold/turbo. Shauns car was out for the rest of the weekend so he was jumping in for passenger rides with a few guys. As for my car, the pod was barely holding on, the return line was leaking and by the end of the day I’d blown up a halfshaft. And Ian’s car (the closest car to stock out of the four of us) had no issues, so damn lucky.

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We headed out, got some quick dinner, went to the cabin and watched some of the videos from the day. I went to bed pretty early, so tired after the epic day that we’d just had. Got pretty excited for the second day of matsuri, 6 tyres down and 4 to go. Had to clean lots of stuff up in the engine bay before going out and top up some oil, then it was back to business.

Like I’ve said in the past, I love my motor setup and couldn’t be more happy with it. Out of all the issues I saw/heard about over the course of the day, I’m glad all I had to deal with was a poorly designed pod filter and a slowly leaking line.

I’ll get started on day 2 this week and hopefully have it up when I get a chance.

Enjoy all the current pics dudes!

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