Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ebisu 6Hr- Hiroshi's Perspective

Our other guest driver Hiroshi (above) sent me a message earlier today, with his thoughts.

"A big thank you to the Team Gaijin Racing team for inviting me to drive in this event. As it was my first real car race, I didn't know what to expect, but my teammates (and new friends) welcomed me and gave me suggestions and advice, which was nice to have. The Prelude is certainly a much different driving experience than my 993, but in other ways, they are the same. Obviously, the Prelude has more understeering, but both cars require smooth driver input to get the most out of the car.

I have been told that the guys are working on improving the car's suspension and tractive abilities, which should really make for a fast car. Although I have other commitments so I can't make the next race, I am hoping the guys will be kind enought to invite me back to race with them next year - I certainly would love another go at the wheel!

Thanks guys -


Hiroshi also arrived with his own very attractive photographer friend who took many pictures for us, including the following:

The car in action, Miguel driving (click on this photo for a great wallpaper):
Some in the pit action:

Alex doing some calculating.

Juan making sure the car has enough gas! (while the others were, ehem, discussing strategy I'm sure...)

Tom letting some air out.

Having a meeting.

Hiroshi and Sumi-san, ready to refuel!!

The Safety Car - the view from the front (at the race start)

Half the team... I think we were watching Tom drive...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ebisu 6Hr - Miguel's Perspective.

Miguel's Perspective.

"Great memories racing again – both on and off the track and good to meet some new people too, notably Juan – who gave up his weekend to help us with counting laps, refueling, etc and Mike who proved to be very smooth and proficient - putting in consistent 1.14 laps even with tyres well past their prime. Bearing in mind this was only our second race – we’ve been doing well. Our driver changes and pit stops were a lot quicker, although there’s always room to improve, I guess.

Our focus for the next race will be to improve the car further – not just getting our original Aragosta suspension repaired, but also getting it re-sprung and re-valved for best possible control. With less roll and suspension travel and quicker suspension response, plus a lighter car - we should not only be able to improve our lap times by 2-3 seconds for the same conditions but also reduce our tyre wear considerably, meaning less pit stops and less lost laps! I’d like to see a brake bias valve fitted to the car for the next race as well.

So Aki & I are off to get thie shocks delivered to Nishiki tonight. Will update more on this later.

Looking forward to November 23rd!"


Image comments by Russ.

Rear inside wheel lifting.

Sometimes lonely in qualifying and practice.

The team under pit direction.

Race day pit for the oversubscribed Ebisu.

The office. It's pretty comfy actually.

Start to what?

Sumi-san is off.

Attack and Under Attack.

Just under attack here.

Bit of a nosedive under braking.

Sometimes lonely during the race too. But it doesn't last long...
"Here is a nice sequence of images"

Shows the tight racing that ebisu circuit can probide as well as safe overtaking places. Unlike Tsukuba.

Lights on and bring it home.

Another finish for TG-Racing.

Prelude Data Log 12 +6 Race Hours.

but the team is thinking about this.

Ebisu 6Hr - Mike's Perspective

Joined TG Racing team as a guest driver in their honda.
Really great bunch of guys and had a blast (as you can see from the pics).

Surprised how easy the honda was to drive after the lotus. Very forgiving car that gives far more warning of loss of traction than the lotus - making it an easy car to step into and race for the first time.

We came in a respectable 8th place in our class and 24th place overall.

First set of tyres only lasted 2 hours then were totally shreaded so by the time I went out I was driving on last set of used rubber and we had changed our race strategy to `survive and finish` agreeing on a tyre saving conservative lap time we should all keep to.

Unfortunately when I went out the trackmate failed and I was unable to tell what lap times I was doing so I had to try to guess and just drive as smoothly as I could.

In the end we did a total 254 laps just 3 laps shy of 5th place!

Ed. All of Mike's pictures are here or watch a slide show here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Race Summary - team manager perspective

First, let me thank everyone who came out yesterday - great job everyone! Special thank you to Alex and Juan, for being, really, the backbone of our organization and efforts yesterday - it seemed like while I was yelling at everyone, co-manager Alex was steadily counting laps, measuring lap time, and calculating our fuel consumption while Juan made sure our fuel canisters were topped off, assisted Alex, and while timing our pit stops, helping out there too, even making sure our car could clear the pits with no problems! Thanks so much guys - hope you'll be able to join us again next time! Go Navy!!!

Our pit stops, by the way - were a real team effort. Our shortest pit stop - with a full refuel and oil level check - was somewhere about 2 minutes and 30 seconds! Even with full four wheel tire swap - front to rear - AND fuel - we did it in less than 5 minutes! FANTASTIC! I don't think we can get much better!

Second, I think we all learned a lot about car set-up. It was clear to me that our car - while certainly one of the more unique shapes out there - had some tremendous mechanical disadvantages. Our last minute suspension replacement left us with a severe handicap, as demonstrated by excessive tire wear (see earlier post Bad Hair Day). The spring rates were actually the same (I think) as the Aragostas we ran last time in the 12 hour race, yet the overall spec of these coilovers just were not up to the tasks of driving hard on a circuit. After we discovered how bad the problem was after the second hour, our drivers had to back off and with some smooth driving, were able to keep going to the end on our spare set of tires. So we'll have to get those Aragostas fixed in time for the next race, and with specs appropriate for a racing course.

On the way home last night, Miguel and I discussed certain other mechanical changes and improvements we want to make, but if I told you now, I'll short myself topics for the blog, so stay tuned for further updates!

Finally - it's very obvious that we have tremendous driving talent. Nice circuit debut for Hiroshi - despite running on worn tires he brought the car back safe! Also, good idea with the last minute pedal mod too (worked for me!).

I also want to thank, and apologize to Mike especially, not only for his spectacular driving (the tires when he came back into the pits looked like they weren't even worn!), but for leaving him without the Traqmate running (so he couldn't measure his times while driving), and for not allowing him the pleasure of some aggressive, racing driving. Sorry about that Mike!

So, despite the troubles we had with our car, not only did our drivers extract the most from the car - even with the limited resources, we still finished in a respectable position - of the 38 cars in the field, we qualified in 27th place, yet finished 23rd! How's that for some great driving! Admittedly, we dropped a couple of spots in our class (from 6 to 8 of 10 - but frankly, I am very suspicious of some of those other so-called "street-legal" cars...), but to be able to compete with fully race prepped machines (non-street legal) and yet move up 4 spots in the overall field really says something about our driving! And this is still our second race!

So - overall, I was happy with our efforts. Not only do we seem to be getting better everywhere - in organization, in our talent, in our car prep - but as we were able to finish without injury and go home in one piece, I think the difficulties we had really were a tremendous learning experience which should serve us well in our future efforts!

Go Team Gaijin!!

We did it!

Nice job teammates!!

Friday, October 23, 2009



One down...

Crash claims one rival. Our tires are wearing out faster than
expected. Miguel at the wheel now, being very consistent time-wise,
to save the spares we put on.

Bad hair day.

Our new front tires after only 2 hours:(

And we're off!

Go, Sumi-San, go!!

Miguel qualifies...

6 of 10 in class

Miguel qualifying

Miguel kicks off the day for us.