Queensland Matsuri 2015 – Day 2

Finally, the second part of matsuri. Sorry I’ve been super slack with updates lately.

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After bending a tie rod on short track the night before, I had to find something to replace it.

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Surely there was no way I could find another S14 Ikeya Formula tie rod right? Wrong!

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I went to see Erin from JDM Garage (ironically who I was driving with when I bent it) to see if he had anything by chance. I knew I had almost zero chance at getting the exact same thing, so I didn’t expect anything. Then he pulled out an IKEYA TIE ROD! Apparently it came off a totalled S13 when he was in Japan earlier in the year!

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So I grabbed it, gave Erin and the dudes massive Hi 5’s then threw it in the car and headed out for some driving.

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The passenger skirt didn’t really survive on the saturday so I spent most of sunday driving without it. Plus it got a bit annoying having it constantly scraping.

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Driver side survived the whole event but it was on and off for most of the weekend so I could save it from death.

The worst thing about my car being black is it gets filthy really easily!

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I had another play on skid pan in the morning then gave it a quick wash.

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I think over the next few events I’ll play with the suspension settings and see what works at this height. I wasn’t 100% happy with how everything handled but that may have been because I had no power steering. Even with the little use of power steering on the saturday night, the car doesn’t handle anywhere near as amazing as the 180sx. Again, maybe it was just the power steering, but it felt like the weight balance was way too far forward. Might be because of the jungle gym I have in my front end or maybe because it has such a big engine setup, not 100% sure yet.

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What are the options to make it lighter in the front? Nothing easy comes to mind.

I could switch to a single turbo setup (which was never my plan), or maybe I could move the engine back a few inches to distribute more weight to the rear. The downside is that would mean cutting up my firewall and remaking the whole thing around the new engine position. Then I’d need to deal with the gearbox shifter relocation, have a new tailshaft made, make new cooler piping and new turbo manifolds as the turbo’s would most likely foul on the strut towers. I imagine a bunch of other things would come into play if I started, but it’s something to think about.

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Or maybe I can just learn to drive it how it is? Sure it’s a completely different setup to my 180sx and I knew that when I started.

Why have two cars that look completely different yet act the same way? There’s no challenge driving that way.

I’m always confident that I can step back into the 180sx and drive it like I used to, that will never change. The thing I’m a little nervous about is that I will never be confident about stepping into this thing and being impressed with my driving. Maybe I am just jumping to a bad conclusion after having a couple problems over the weekend, I’m sure my mind will change once I drive it more and learn how to control it.

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When I was driving well, the car performed amazing. The amount of rear grip it has and how quickly it picks up speed feels insane. I’d love to head out to a drag strip and see what it does!

If I was to work on anything mechanically related, I’d possibly throw in some cams and maybe look into a better plenum setup, just a couple things to help with the response. I was really happy with how the car ran over the weekend and the fact I had zero engine problems made it a lot less stressful.

The late afternoon runs on sunday were awesome too! I spent 99% of my time playing on main track and trying to figure out the best way to steer the car.

Another thing I was working on was using the handbrake less. If you have watched any of the videos of me driving the 180sx, you will notice that I use the handbrake A LOT on entry and transition. Admittedly I don’t hate it, but I wanted to rely less on that and more on using the foot brake, especially on entry.

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Towards the end of the afternoon I did a few solid runs and started to run out of fuel so thought it might be time to give it away. Matsuri had been rad and the car had survived what it was built for.

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While everybody else packed up, I sat on the pit wall and stared at my car.

5 years worth of hard work and annoying struggles and I finally got it to it’s first event. I remember when I rolled it into my garage for the first time when I lived in Sydney. It looked like crap but I had so many ideas for it and it was all now sitting in front of me!

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I walked through the paddock and spoke to a few friends, seeing how their weekend went. Most dudes were just happy their cars survived!

I had to load up my car as it was getting dark and I was super tired from the weekend, but it wasn’t time for home yet. World Time Attack was 5 days away and I needed to clean up the car a little bit so it could be on show in the pits!

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2015 Queensland matsuri was awesome and I’m still stoked that I made it. Even though it’s taken me ages to write up this recap, I can still remember the whole trip like it was yesterday.

Definitely one of the most enjoyable events I’ve done. Can’t wait to go back in 2016 with an improved setup and better driving!

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