Monday, October 29, 2012

Yama's Top Notch Photos of the FR-S at H2R

Yama took these photos at our H2R track day a few weeks ago. He got them all prettied up and uploaded to the interwebs. Here are a few of his finest photos of my FR-S on-track. Thanks for the great photos Yama!

My New Desktop Wallpaper...I know you were all dying to know my desktop pictures choices

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Speedway Motors 2012 SCCA Solo National Championships Music Video

I didn't hit a cone or spin at the 2012 Solo Nats so the Goodyear Eagle RS / Camaro didn't have much of a chance to the video....but it is still worth a watch. Some of our good friends made the video which is good to see!

Friday, October 19, 2012

SpeedHunters: Inside MadMike HQ

Mad Mike's RX-7 and RX-8 Drift cars

I love the quote and dorifto sim rig setup
Mad Mike Whiddett is a Red Bull sponsored drifting star from New Zealand. His shop is epic and is inspiration for my shop build (more on that later). Here is the full article on SpeedHunter's website:

Photos from

Monday, October 15, 2012

Slidin' Sideways in my Scion FR-S at H2R w/ Video

I went to Harris Hill Road this past weekend for my first track day in the FR-S. My buddies and I arrived around Noon during one of the H2R challenge races, and we were able to start lapping at 2PM after the races. Yama who is an H2R member and our guide for the day took me out for me sighting laps to start the on-track fun. After two solo Sessions, I started to push a bit more and got down to a 1:33.8s lap. After starting in the 1:35s range, I was happy to shave two seconds off without taking too much risk of balling up my daily driver. I'm sure there was a 1:32 out there.....but with only about 9 hot laps on the track prior to my 1:33.8s lap that was only going to happen if I didn't own the car or have to drive it home! I was also able to take Yama, Stuart, and Josh out for a demo ride in the new car so we could all have some fun. To feel the car out and get comfortable sliding it around, I also did some drift practice (see video below). All in all, we got about two hours of open track time before some heavy rain started. It showed no sign of letting up and there were some big thunderstorms predicted for our drive home, so we bolted. 

Despite getting cut short on track time, it was a blast. The FR-S is great on track - it was fun for the time attack laps and great for drifting out of the box. My car is only slightly modified, but from what I've read about the stock tires on track performance, I'm glad I was able to put the Goodyear tires on my car before going to H2R. It has great yaw damping and is very controllable in a slide especially in 2nd gear where you can use your right foot to steer more. Some more power would help in higher speed (3rd and 4th gear corner) drifting because it is hard to keep the drift alive on corner exit with the current engine output. For grip driving, it has one of the better stock balances of car's I've driven in it's price range. Most vehicles have strong understeer balance from the factory, but the Scion is easy and rewarding to make dance with the pedals. I was only running 3 laps stints to be easy on the engine, tires, and brakes, but I did not get any brake fade all day....which is not bad for a factory brake system. I'm glad I finally got to experience how this car is supposed to be driven.....and it didn't disappoint!

Here is in-car video with data overlay from my two fast laps:

Some drifting clips:

Yama and I at Micky D's on the way to H2R

View from the H2R Pits

My Rear Tires after some abuse at H2R - they hold up pretty well!
We got hailed on by this storm on the way home....not fun

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Off to H2R for my first Track Day in the FR-S

I am driving to San Marcos, TX with a few friends to burn some rubber at Harris Hill Road. Yama is driving his wicked Cayman R, Stuart is in his 3-series Bimmer daily driver, and I am in my new FR-S. I will have video and data later so stay tuned!

Here is a lap of H2R riding along with Yama and his Cayman R:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Scion FR-S: New Goodyear Tires and Exhaust Mod

 I am planning to do my first track day in the FR-S this weekend. I am going to Harris Hill Road in San Marcos, TX with my Cayman-owning pal Yama. In preparation for my new car's first taste of the track, I acquired some higher grip tires, Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric, to replace the soft and slow stock Michelin All-Seasons. I also removed the 30-lb stock muffler and replaced it with a Berk Technology track pipe. This means I am running a straight pipe, but the stock cats and resonator keep the engine quiet enough for the street, but now it has a more aggressive boxer engine growl on the track.

Stock Muffler Removed - it's heavy!
Berk Technology Track Pipe

New Goodyear sneakers...sorry for the crappy photo
Here is a quick video of the new exhaust note taken from my cell phone:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Highway 24 through the Tennessee Pass in Colorado

Tennessee Pass on Highway 24 in Colorado

Two weeks ago, Ali and I went to Mt. Princeton deep in the Rockies of Colorado to see two of our friends tie the knot. The views were spectacular and the driving roads were epic....especially now that I am used to West Texas roads. On the way back to the Denver airport from Mt. Princeton, one of my former Team Honda Research teammates and I "drove spiritedly" through this amazing stretch of road - Highway 24 through the Tennessee Pass:

We had a "scare your wife" contest and I think Chad won because his wife had to take some Dramamine. Either way, we all made it through safe and sound and with big smiles....until we got stuck behind a tractor trailer. Until this drive, I had never seen a hairpin sign like the one below. It might as well say "Awesome" because that is what followed this sign. 

I might have to travel to Colorado more often....

Monday, October 1, 2012

Another Trip to Paradise - Bondurant Advanced Road Racing Class

Entrance to the Bondurant School including the Tony Stewart liveried Vette
Well, some of you may not consider Chandler, Arizona paradise, but you can't deny that the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving is great fun and fantastic place to learn the craft of driving cars to the limit. I completed a 3-Day Advanced Road Racing class at the Bondurant school two weeks ago with two of my co-workers. We had three students including myself and two instructors for the class which makes for an excellent instructor/student ratio. My instructor was Pete Miller and I also worked with Austin Robison who both did an excellent job during the school and provided expert feedback to each student.

Drifting fun on the Firebird West Track
We were very fortunate to be able to driver three different tracks during the three day class. We started Day 1 in the Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sports on sticky Goodyear Eagle F1 tires and drove the Bondurant School track for a full day. For Day 2, we moved to the Firebird West Track and were welcomed with rainy conditions! This sounds like a negative but getting wet track time is rare and provides an excellent car control training ground. I also managed to have some fun drifting the oval section of the West Track as you can see in the photo above! After Day 2, my co-workers and I rented shifter karts for two hours and had loads of fun ripping around the Bondurant SuperKart school track. Thanks to Alan Rudolph to making it possible!

Rooster tailing in the wet on the West Track

Another wet driving shot from the West Track

For Day 3, we moved to the Firebird East Track which is my favorite track that the Bondurant School has to offer. In addition to the great track, we were allowed to drive the Bondurant Camaros in addition to the Grand Sport Corvettes which allowed myself and the other students to get driver training in multiple platforms which really helps to fine-tune advanced driving skills.

Group shot with my classmates

This was my third Bondurant class and fifth trip to the facility and I really enjoyed my experience this year. The Bondurant schools offers a top-notch training ground with great instructors, ample track time, and track-worthy vehicles. I would highly recommend a trip to Chandler, AZ to get faster on the track and to have a little fun along the way.

I took many hours of GoPro video and will post a compilation of the different tracks and cars when I get some time in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

Here are some other photos from the trip:

Gordon stock car in the Bondo Museum
Ford GT40 in the Bondo Museum
A little baseball action after a full day of on-track activities