วันศุกร์ที่ 19 ตุลาคม พ.ศ. 2555


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This is first detailed look of a car that everyone has pretty much already seen. Such is the power of the internet, where news spreads as it happens and is old a day later. Except there is nothing old about the ride you see here. This is the freshest and at the same time one of the most extreme aesthetic treatments the new-gen 86 has received. Technically speaking however this is actually a Scion FR-S, the car that Kei Miura of TRA Kyoto imported into Japan…

…to develop his instantly recognizable widebody aero that everyone currently wants to get their hands on. It isn’t a first per se, as Miura actually supplied Fredric Aasbo’s GT86 with his kit ready for its first public unveil this past summer at Gatebil. Fredric’s car actually wears the master of the kit…

…shipped off to Norway just in time to be painted and stickered up for the car’s debut. The soon-to-be-turbocharged new GReddy Japan FR-S is also sporting the  same kit as is Imai-san’s Bee-Racing Subaru BRZ. But while we might have all seen it before, it’s Miura’s own car that everyone – including myself – were waiting to see.

So when he showed up this past weekend at the Slammed Society show in Fuji Speedway I made sure that I’d get a chance at immortalizing it…

…because, simply said, it looks amazing. If you are an 86/GT86/FR-S/BRZ owner, this is what your street-registered car could look like. It’s not a fully prepped pro-drift car, nor an equally extreme demo car, but the wild street car it was always meant to be in Miura’s head.

It is still very much a work in progress, but so close to completion that it was deemed more than ready to be shown off, which is why Enkei had it on their display area at the event.

After spending some time with the car, taking in all those lines and details, what comes across almost instantly is its simplicity. Rather than going against the original design of the base car, Miura concentrated on working with what was already there. An analogy would be a body builder working his muscles, toning his body rather than bolting on synthetic and fake looking implants.  There is continuity from the front…

…all the way to the back, which is finished off with the mother of all rear wings, taking obvious inspiration from the rear end of the BenSopra R35 GT-R.

Miura’s set of delicious oldschool BBS mesh rims, which suit the car down to a tee, were removed at the show and replaced with Enkei’s new deeply-concave, multi-spoke RS05RRs – “sparkle silver” on the driver’s side and “matte gunmetal” on the passenger side. While they may give the car a completely different look compared to the BBS, they are a great choice for the Rocket Bunny kitted FR-S, which manages to suit quite a lot of different styles.

Attention to detail, Enkei branded lightweight wheel nuts.

The rims used measure 18×10.5J +22 all round and are wrapped in 255/35R18 Nankang Ultra Sport tires up front and Achilles ATR Sport 265/35R18 at the rear. It was tough deciding which color the RS05RRs looked better in, the silver or the gunmetal.

Miura is a respected aero maker in Japan because he is one of a very few out there that uses CAD to design his kits, rendering them in a variety of colors and with different wheels before deciding what to go for. Once a design has been decided upon it is fed into a milling machine, which accurately shapes the negatives of the moulds out of special compressed polystyrene. This is the reason why his kits fit just as well as a stock body part…

…and why he has made a name for himself. Believe it or not, but his brands – Rocket Bunny, 6666 Customs, Number 6 – only take up a very small percentage of his time as he is contracted to produce tons of aero products for other established Japanese brands. Aside from the obvious riveted-on front and rear overfenders the FR-S’s kit also consists of a more aggressive front armed with a lip spoiler…

…to help create that initial visual impact when viewed head on.

The profile is boosted by skirts that, as they meet the rear wheel arches, emulate the curvature found up front on the lip spoiler.

There is no smoothing or blending of the overfenders, that would be totally against the Rocket Bunny way where details like the fenders need to be as in your face as possible.

And it doesn’t get more extreme than that GT-wing out back, bolted onto the rear side of the trunk…

…via a set of FRP brackets, contoured to follow the lines of the stock lid. Again, lots of exposed bolts.

The Rocker Bunny kit continues…

…with an extractor-type lower bumper section, to inject some super car looks to that rear end. Miura is currently running a straight through twin exit exhaust system which really boosts the natural “raspyness” of the flat-4 motor…strangely making it sound more like a tuned 4AG than a boxer.

Thanks to a set of KW adjustable dampers the FR-S sits just right, low enough to look good but not too low that it is undrivable.

Since the car has spent most of its time inside the TRA Kyoto HQ getting its kit fitted and being worked on, Miura hasn’t gotten to the interior quite yet.

So along with the double DIN Scion audio head unit…

…he has only had the time to swap out the stock steering wheel for something a little more sporty.

Sparkle silver or matte gunmetal? Uhm…it’s a tough choice!

Aside from the exhaust system the engine has been left stock, and by the looks of it has not even been washed since the car arrived in Japan. There’s quite a lot of white dust covering various plastic covers and the airbox, coming from all the sanding of the FRP body panels that was done during paint-prep. Much like Nakai’s RWB cars, a certain element of roughness kind of suits Miura’s rides.

Miura is not one to keep his cars looking pretty for long. He likes driving, and driving hard, so once he gets a bit of free time he will be hitting tracks like Meihan for a bit of sideways action.

The pretty Enkei wheels will have to give way to the 15-inch BBS for track use, smaller tires are cheaper after all.

Cruising around the access roads inside Fuji Speedway the FR-S looked nothing short of breathtaking. I’m probably not alone in saying this, but every time I look at these pictures I can’t help but want one! Scratch that, crave one!

TRA Kyoto

-Dino Dalle Carbonare

วันจันทร์ที่ 8 ตุลาคม พ.ศ. 2555

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When it comes to building cars as tough as they are unique there aren’t too many people out there that do it better than New Zealand’s drift export, Mad Mike Whiddett. But while his famed MADBUL RX-7 has proven itself on the international stage, Mike’s the first to admit that his other car – an RX-8 named BADBUL – was more about the way it looked than how it performed. Although that package showed itself to be quite competitive during his 2010 stint in Formula D, he’s alway known there was a whole lot of untapped potential just begging to be exploited.

After two years overseas, BADBUL made its return to New Zealand earlier in the year. When that happened Mike wasted little time ripping into the Mazda with the goal of running it at the Tectaloy International Drift Challenge in Sydney, a side show to the World Time Attack Challenge. While the majority of the mechanical upgrades were completed before the car was shipped to Australia for the August event, he still had a long list of work to complete in just a few weeks before the local 2012/2013 drift season kicked off. This is the result of many late nights and early starts.

Although there are plenty of remnants of the original BADBUL,  like the sticker bomb on the rear glass (complete with a couple of cameos by our Creative Director, Rod)…

…for the most part this is a very different car than the one Mike competed in Stateside.

The most obvious change is the way the car looks. Although the RX-8 still runs a Kiwi-made Street Pro kit and a BN Sport vented hood, Mike wanted to theme the car like his MADBUL RX-7, hence a similar military-spec grey camo wrap and Red Bull/Speedhunters livery. To help with weight reduction, Seibon supplied full set of doors and a trunk lid in perfectly formed carbon fiber.

When it comes to wheel choice it’s fair to say that Mike’s always been one to push the style boundaries. Thanks to a new partnership with Nessen Forged he’s been able to achieve a look he’s been chasing for a while: maximum concave with maximum dish. And in the case of the custom-made, 10-spoke, 18×11″ rears there’s plenty of both. I’m definitely feeling the clear-coated raw alloy spokes and black barrels!

Up front the BADBUL’s sitting on 8-spoke Nessens, which at 18×10″ are a full inch narrower then the wheels previously used to remedy issues with the tires rubbing on the firewall at full lock. And on the subject of  lock, there’s a whole lot more of it this time around thanks to Mike’s own refined steering knuckle design, which will soon be manufactured in billet form by local fab shop, BSL Racing.

The set-up under the hood still revolves around a Kiwi-RE built 20B triple-rotor motor with a big single HKS T51R turbo, but the engine’s undergone a full rebuild and this time with much larger bridge-ports.

A full host of Turbosmart gear can now be found around the engine bay, including this Power-Gate 60 external wastegate complete with laser-etched MM insignia. This Signature Line version might one day make it into production, but for now Mike’s more than happy to rock the prototype.

Before the rebuild, BADBUL was still using much of its factory wiring, but since then almost 90 pounds-worth of colored cable has been removed from the car, making way for a custom loom and an overhauled electrical system. Rich in functionality and well-suited to firing the 20B, the Sport 2000 engine management system from Haltech’s Platinum Series line is also a new addition. Running on a mix of 98RON pump gas and Castrol Power 1 TTS two-stroke oil dyno tuning has netted a peak power output of almost 700 horsepower at the rear wheels.

But the most important upgrade made during BADBUL’s reincarnation has happened out the back of the car. Not only has the chassis been cut away to make room for tube frame work, but the rear end’s now home to a Winters quick-change set-up pieced together by ASD (Autosport Dynamics) in North Caroline utilizing one of its one-way limited-slip diffs. Fitted into the RX-8 by BSL Racing, Mike now has the option of six final drive ratios ranging from  3.5:1 to 5.0:1 across three quick-change kits.

Because the factory rear end was completely removed, so too was the factory fuel tank. A custom-built cell dropped into the floor now resides behind the passenger seat.

And on the subject of seats, NZ-made carbon/Kevlar-framed Racetech 9090s threaded with Racetech three-inch harnesses are a new feature in the office. With the original set-up the seating position was too high for Mike’s liking, but repositioning (read: cutting and dropping) the floor beneath the seats has rectified that problem once and for all.

Mike wanted to carry the military theme through to the cockpit, and he’s done a pretty good job of it.

One of the coolest features has to be the billet hydraulic e-brake lever, which once again comes courtesy of BSL Racing.

Those with good memories might recall Formula D’s ‘Best Looking Car of the Year’ award being bestowed on RX-8 back in 2010. I’m not quite sure how Mike does it with his builds, but just when you think they can’t get any better he cooks up something like this.

Is there a tougher-looking drift car on the planet right now? I’m going with no…

While I was getting busy with my camera Mike and his little fella, Lincoln, made good use of a break in the weather…

…and indulged in some two-wheeled drag racing in the car park outside the workshop. A stock bike wouldn’t cut it for Lincoln – check out that Boso’ pipe!

Back inside the workshop a little later on, two cars that spend more time apart than they do together were reunited once again: MADBUL fresh off the boat from Mike’s win at Gatebil a couple of months back and BADBUL ready to do battle at the first event on the local calendar. But if you think these two creations are wild, just wait ’til you see what else Mike’s been cooking up in his compound.  Stay tuned for a guided tour of Mad Mike HQ next week…
Brad Lord
ENGINE: Mazda 20B 3-rotor; Kiwi-RE Monster Bridgeport; lightened/balanced rotors; cross-drilled eccentric shaft; Kiwi-RE apex seals; modified stationary gears; HKS T51R turbocharger; custom exhaust manifold; Turbosmart Mad Mike Signature Edition 60mm Power-Gate 60 external wastegate; Redline Performance GT-R intercooler; Turbosmart blow-off valve; K&N air filter, custom 3.5″ stainless steel exhaust system; custom fuel cell; 2x Bosch Motorsport 044 fuel pumps; Bosch Motorsport lift pump; high-flow fuel lines; Turbosmart adjustable fuel pressure regulator; custom fuel rails; high-flow injectors; Gilmer belt drives, custom catch tank and overflow bottle; Redline Performance alloy radiator; 2x Setrab oil coolers; intercooler and radiator water sprayers
ENGINE MANAGEMENT / ELECTRONICS: Haltech Sport 2000 ECU; custom loom
DRIVELINE: HKS 6-speed sequential gearbox; HKS Pro 2 twin-plate clutch; HKS flywheel; ASD/Winters quick-change rear end; ASD limited slip differential; custom Driveshaft Shop axles
SUSPENSION / CHASSIS: Custom built Tein Super Drift/Mono Flex suspension; Tein EDFC, FD3S RX-7 steering rack; Megan Racing steering arms; URAS tie-rods; Megan Racing tie-rod ends, MM/BSL Racing steering knuckles
WHEELS / TIRES: Front: 18×10″ Nessen Forged 8-spoke, Nitto NT05 225/40R18 tires; Rear: 18×11″ Nessen Forged 10-spoke, Nitto NT05 (dry) and Nitto INVO (wet) 265/35R18 tires
CABIN: Six-point weld-in rollcage; Racetech RT9009 carbon/Kevlar seats; Racetech 3″ harness belts; RacePak digital dash; BSL Racing hydraulic e-braker lever, Lifeline fire extinguisher system; D2 Racing air jacks; custom switch board
BODY: Street Pro/Lokey custom wide body kit; BN Sport vented hood; Seibon carbon fiber doors; Seibon carbon fiber trunk lid; Sard GT wing; BSL Racing laser-cut wing mounts; V-LED patrol lights; custom CRE8GRAFX livery
THANKS: Red Bull; Speedhunters; Nitto; Castrol EDGE; Nessen Forged; BSL Racing; Street Pro Kits; Tein/Autolign; Megan Racing; Seibon; ITS; Redline Performance; Etnies; Metal Mulisha; Alpinestars; Forgiven Supplements; Any Mazz Spares; V-LEDs; .COM Racing