Small quick video of me at the skid pad during M Gruppe track day. We only had one go at this, becuase we were running short on track time with all the cars lined up. This was probably my favorite part of the day becuase drifting is fun! Skid pad teaches you the how the car behaves over the limit of grip and it might look easy but its tricky. There are some parts of the area where a light tap on the gas causes the rear end to come out faster then other areas. If you get it right, it wont feel like you are fighting the car and you can control the car’s angle with throttle inputs.
Being a car guy I do have different types of friends to like to enjoy their cars…. I have friends the like to track em and Im that type of person also, but that doesn’t mean I have friends only in that circle. I have my other friends that just like to modify cars and enjoy them in the streets. Here is my friend, Hong, and his track inspired G37S Sedan.
I met Hong a some years back when I first moved to Houston. We met though friends that were also into cars. Back then I was into the stance scene with my GTI and Miata, and Hong drove a purple Altima on 20″ heavy ass Vossens haha. Times have changed, and for the better.
After graduating college and making some money, Hong bought a new and stock G37S. The car was originally black but as the years went by it went though many changes till what you see now.
Volk TE37 in OG gold is such a classic wheel. Besides the BBS RS this is my other favorite classic wheel. Track proven and looks great.
Hong’s interior is mostly striped making the original 5 seat occupancy for 2 people. When doing highway pulls or loop runs, weight matters. Or just be more race car lifestyle.
The lucky charm is a nice touch to the almost bare essential interior.
Yes it auto but the shifts are crisp and smooth. But what I really like, is the super JDM Key’s Racing steering wheel. Vertex, and Nardi are pretty common wheels I see in car show but Key’s is just another level.
The quality of the wheel is luxurious and I can tell it would match my Narita Dog Fight racing gloves. Puts you in the mood to go fast.
The rear end with the chassis mount Street Faction wing has very aggressive set up that matches the rest of the cars theme.
Glad I live in the city becuase you get cool photo shoots that kinda grab the city life and atmosphere.
No lift, full throttle.
Custom Headlights Carbon Fiber front lip Carbon Fiber side splitters Carbon Fiber rear spats Carbon Fiber Vis Racing rear diffuser Carbon Fiber Duckbill trunk Carbon Fiber Roof wing Custom Cerulean Blue Autoflex Coating StreetFaction GT Wing
Retrofit Source LED fog lights Retrofit Source 5000k HID
Wheels and tires:
Michelin Pilot Super sports 245/45/18 Front Michelin Pilot Super sports 245/45/18 Rear Volk Racing TE37sl 18×9.5+22
Brakes and suspension:
StopTech slotted rotars 355mm front 350mm rear StopTech stainless steel brake lines BCracing coilovers Cusco upper strut bar SPL titanium rear camber links SPL rear toe rods SPL front upper control arms Stillen front sway bar Stillen rear sway bar
Stillen gen III air intakes Stillen headers Gates Racing Belt Motordyne Art Pipes Motordyne cat back Ecutek Tuned
Corbeau Forza Seats Corbeau four point harness Custom Harness bar
Carbon Fiber Radiator cover Carbon Fiber Battery cover Carbon Fiber Fluid cover
After back to back track weekends, my M3 was coated in brake dust, dust and grime, with a few more extra scars. I used to worry about about keeping my car super clean never drive in the rain because of car shows. I always had to keep them nice so at least it looks “fresh.” I don’t think I can go back to car shows anymore….
The track life has somewhat changed this. Of course I still clean my cars, but I don’t sweat over the stuff that can’t be taken out with soap and a water.
I actually like the rubber markings on the paint from tires sacrificing themselves for more grip. Or the rock chips that pummels the M3 from a dusty track or lead cars throwing up dirt when tracking out.
Cracked lip from a cone that was in the exit corner. These are all serve as memories. Kinda like how a tattoo is a permanent reminder of how you got your tattoo in the first place. Good or bad, its there to stay.
Patina might not win car shows or win hard parking points but you can tall a lot about the way the person drives is by looking at their car. The track patina is a look I dig.
What more of a better way to kick off the final series with an exotic! Such a beautiful car with its Italian design. This Lamborgini Hurrican was in the same run group as me but we never passed each other during the session. COTA is such a big track usually you’ll have the track to yourself, with the occasional one or two point byes.
This Mclaren 675 LT (long tail) did pass me, no, I mean it pretty much walked on me. My lap times was a slow 2:51 sec range but this 675 LT was posting 2:19 sec range according to the driver during the drivers meeting. This thing catches you by surprise, you look in your mirrors in one corner and don’t see anyone then next corner you see the a grey 675 LT on your rear end! I had no problems giving the point by since that car has speed and downforce to pass anywhere.
Not just show brakes.
Adaptive wing that’s distracting to see it move at the track hahaha.
The titanium exhaust with the see through engine bay for more cooling.
Then you had this race car 675 LT version. It has center locking wheels, fixed wing, roll cage, striped out interior with carbon fiber goodies.
One thing I noticed with COTA compared to other tracks is it brings the heavy hitter cars…. Not the show cars heavy hitters but the expensive rare exotic cars. It nice seeing them used, and used in they way they where built for. Not garage queens or displays at Cars and Coffee. It’s a damn shame that most the cars I see nowadays are just for show and never really driven to the full potential.
The P cars group. Not really digging the cammo wrap of the GT3 but it does attract attention weather you like it or not. Warping is a smart idea though to protect your paint from the track scars. The cammo GT3 was a slouch either, it passed me every session.
Those Masseratti’s in the background participate in the Pirelli World Challenge series. Meaning those most be pro teams out here.
The grey Beetle is lady driven and in the same run group as me. The body was similar the the RSi Beetle in Europe. In the morning she was changing tires and swapping pads. She was one the slower cars becuase everyone else had higher power cars in the group but had awareness and made passing easy and safe. The blue corvette was in the novice class from the green sticker in the windshield. Sounded good rolling by.
The owner of this blue S2000 was a funny guy. He even has a race Miata that he has done endurance races in.
Speaking of Miatas…. this ND was in my run group also. Mostly stock with tires and wheels. That Miata can sure handle the corners pretty well.
Smart car rolling, I guess the owner bought this to save money on gas for race car spending hahaha.
Showing off my gold hardware.
Chase’s J swap S2000. Interesting choice on the J swap. A lot of people would keep the F20C or even swap a K motor in, but those motors are expensive to buy and maintain. J swaps are cheap junkyard motors but have decent power and not much weight penalty either.
Here is a another J swap, and interestingly its from an NSX! First glance I thought it was a V6 stock C32B motor, but the intake manifold gave it away. The NSX motors are expensive to maintain and buy if you blow one up. Some people put K swaps with boost but that can get expensive as the original NSX motor. J swap is the good practical choice without sacrificing performance.
The interior had some few upgrades to improve driving feel. Im liking the carbon fiber center console sporting a couple gauges with a red switch…. I wonder what that is for.
The booty shot…. Tastefully modded and Im sure it has some track miles under the belt. JDM mods that look like it was imported from Japan! The NSX is owned by Scott who is the head driving instructor for NASA. Basically he is the guy that will give you the final approval to move up DE classes or not. I’ll end it with that! Had a super great time at Circuit of the Americas with NASA. Track is life.
The pictures might not show but the whole weekend was hot and muggy…. The humidity really made it feel like a sauna. Those cool shirts suits putting in work.
Thanks again Michael AKA Mike Jones for the canopy! I really need to buy one so I don’t have to rent a garage at the track.
Lots of different types of cars competing in the same session. Kinda like Le Mans or Pirelli Word Challenge series.
Now thats a tow rig. Race cars are fun to drive at the track but terrible on the street after 5 minutes. A trailer and tow rig would be nice.
With that said, I really like the dual purpose cars. They are track capable and competitive but still retains some street use for every day driving. This R35 GTR was a good example. Better yet its was track modified for ACTUAL track use. Not just for show. This was rocking Volk ZE40, coilovers, brake ducting, and carbon fiber seats. Im sure it has some power too since it was in the TT2 class running in the 2:20 second range!
The carbon fiber seats with minimal padding. Reminded me of the Lamborgini Aventator SV seats. Not sure how comfy they are on long trips.
Here is a Porsche I’ve seen at car meets and I’m pretty sure its boosted. Looks more on the track side of the spectrum then street. Tracking is a slippy slope and next thing you know, your stock car is race car. Im just glad seeing track modded cars thats actually tracked and not just show queens. I know I’m repeating myself but I want to get the point across.
S2000 with some aero and slicks. I believe this is the car that one 1st in it’s class. Not sure but I wouldn’t be surprised.
Miata getting some repairs done.
The driver in the dark purple race car was racing in a spec class. I forgot the model name but they are kit cars. If you have a competition license you can actually buy a kit car and join the series. The driver has numerous racing experiences but its his first year in this class. They are powered by a 4 cylinder Mazda 3 engine but they are lightweight, with aero. I’m sure they make competitive lap times. Since the engine is a Mazda 3, I would think some of the consumables and parts are fairly cheap.
This was my favorite M3 at the track. Was posting pretty fast times, with some tasteful mods that served a purpose.
It wasn’t a full out striped race car interior…. Had some retainability for the street. Has the buckets seats, harness for the driver, rear seat taken out. But overall still had most of the interior intact.
I love how the car is actually track and it shows…. Those battle scars accumulated aver serval track days maybe even years. Nice to see cars actually driven properly and not just show queens.
He was a sure fast driver… There was an M4 GTS owner on slicks that was running the same sessions and told me he could barely keep up. The handling and aero was set up very nicely. One day I’ll get to that level.
Then there was this cool M2 in the same garage paddock. Mostly stock, it just had slicks and a harness for the driver from what I saw. Im sure that was posting fast times also judging the way it went by the main straight.
Nice little MR2 in time trials.
One think for sure is a lot of people brought tires. One thing you’ll definitely need at COTA.
Unfortunately the main pit was closed off by the barrier. Kinda lame, becuase on DE events they are open so you can actually drive through and experience the same thing pro drivers go to pit in.
I’ll end it there for part 3…. stay tuned for part 4!
After Wekfest I had another track day this time with NASA. It’s my first time with this organization, and they don’t just offer HPDE and also racing series of different classes. This was my first time at Texas World Speedway and I hope it will stay for awhile becuase I love this track mainly because how fast you can go on the main straight. Fastest time I got was in the 2 min and 8 second range. I knew I could go faster but I has hitting traffic in each lap. Didn’t mind though, you learn to set up for a pass.
This one has lots of passing…. My goal next year is to get under 2mins.
Technically its not a “track day.” More of a HPDE (High Performance Driving Education), well that is what it is officially called. I’ve been to these HPDE events and its basically racing school… You get classroom time with track time. You start off as novice if you don’t have much experience or new to the organization. Then as the sessions go by the instructors will grade you on your driving at the track and will give recommendations on what to do. If you do really well, then the instructor can bump you up a group. The top two run groups actually get a track discount. So hard work does pay off.
I’ve been going to track and drift events once a month for one year but since it was my first time with this organization (the drivers edge) I was placed in novice. I have nothing against that, I kinda wanted to be in novice becuase I wanted an instructor to help me improve at the track. I managed to get my other friends Dykon, and David to come on their first track day!
This was a two day event and nothing better than having back to back track days! Since I’ve kept up with the maintenance I knew my car will survive.
This Integra looks like has seen a lot of track miles.
You had full blown race cars to compete stock cars.
This GT3 is all ready tracked prep already from the factory.
Unfortunately sometime things do break unexpectedly… This E46 M3 had a broken wheel bearing. The driver was actually my instructor in the novice group. Later I got bumped up a group on my first day, becuase “I was too fast for the group.” I’ll take that as a compliment.
When I was bumped up to the blue run group this GTR was behind me and was all over the place! I noticed the neo chrome tow hook in my rear view mirror.
E92 M3 was in full force! These owners had track focused mods. M3 on the left had Nitto NT01 tires, and DCT tune. The M3 on the right had Stoptech BBK and Nitto NT05 tires, with 4pt harness too. The owners where really chill and nice talking about cars and track tips.
At the end of the 2nd day I was able to go with the yellow run group and join my fellow M3 friends! Too bad it started to rain in the last two sessions of the day.
All white M3s with all different mods. This particular white M3 on Apex wheels had some track oriented mods. Coilovers, striped rear seat and trunk, 4 pt harness, gts wing, Stoptech bbk, stud conversion, with RS-3, Eisenmann exhaust. The 2nd day I was in his run group and I did try to follow his line and he carried more speed than I did. The owner was very nice and also got bit with the track bug…. Started tracking 6 months ago!
The V8 was the motor of choice for most cars!
Superchaged Lotus Evora S. The owner got bit with the track bug. He started tracking last last year with a Lotus Evora then later traded it in for a Lotus Evora S.
This black GTR is pinoy owned and was in the Blue group. Had a very nice Armytrix exhaust, sounded nice chasing the GTR at the track.
Hankook RS-3 proving their worth. Very sticky tires once they are heat cycled. Usually a couple of laps warms them up pretty well.
During the the 2 days, the last two sessions ended in rain… I don’t like tracking in the rain because Im not too comfortable with it but at least the sessions wasn’t canceled. Eventually I’ll get the hang of tracking in the the rain.
The calm before the storm.
It was great weekend. My friends got hooked and already trying to see the next track day hahaha.
I do happen to have some video of me tracking that I will post up later. Thanks for reading!
Im no racing driver or even at a pro level, but I am a track rat and go to track days once a month. From my tracking experience, the way your utilize you brakes will make a big difference in lap times, and your car’s handling dynamics. Tracks have some type of braking markers that you can use to your advantage. The markers can be numbers on the side of the track, cones, paint along the track, or even landmarks, like a bump on the track surface.
Braking markers gives you an idea when to apply the brakes before approaching the corner. Now with different speeds your braking marker changes. When Im at the track, I estimate when I should brake after passing a certain braking marker. If I go into the turn too slow then I know I can brake later and if i take the turn too fast then I know I should brake sooner. Do small increments at a time and that would be your braking zone. Simple right?
Next when braking is to determine how much pressure applied is needed for the brakes. Thankfully with modern cars having ABS you don’t need to worry about lock up. A lot of people tend to underutilize the brake pressure initially. Then as you approach the corner too fast you are forced to brake harder. Which in turn can overload the front tires thus loosing grip and seconds.
From what I have experienced; is when you are at your braking zone, you want to press the brake pedal fast and hard for the first 50% of the braking zone. Then gradually release the pressure before hitting the apex. Pressing on the brakes hard on the first 50% of the braking zone allows the car to slow down significantly. Doing this loads up the front tire, and thus providing more grip in the front. Then after the 50% of the braking zone is passed then you could start slowly releasing the brake pressure and modulate the speed going in the corner. This allows the cars weight to shift slowly and making it more stable and predicable for the corner. Doing this technique also allows for trail braking.
Trail braking is the technique of braking while turning. Ideally, they say correct way is to brake in a straight line then turn. But sometimes that can unsettle the car and can cause oversteer (at least for me). I say that because when you release the brake pedal all the weight shifted to the front shifts to the back. Then as you turn all the weight transferred to rear will act like that pendulum and swing the rear end out causing oversteer. This makes the car loose and more difficult to handle at the track. Yeah drifts are fun but its not cleanest or the fastest and sometimes if you do it wrong you will spin out.
Trail braking when done right will allow you set up for the apex and have increased grip. Basically I do this during the 2nd half of the braking zone. As I am slowly releasing brake pressure I am turning the wheel aiming for the apex. Braking allows the weight to remain in the front tires which loads it and provides more grip while turning. Hence modulating the brake pedal and speed. By the time I hit the apex my foot is completely off the brake pedal and ready to accelerate out of the corner. Now if done wrong you can overload the front tire and this will cause the tire to loose grip. You loose seconds and get understeer or even brake lock up if you don’t have ABS. This can happen if you go into the corner to too fast. That saying: “slow in fast out” is sooo true.
Practice makes perfect.
A good rule of thumb, at least with me, is to do oil changes every 4 track days or every 3k miles, whichever comes in first. Another good thing to do that is often overlooked, is to do brake flushes once a year. I visited my buddy Fernando that owns Backyard Auto for my oil change and brake flush.
Brake fluid is corrosive. Eventhough the brake lines are a closed system, they do get dirty and can significantly impair brake performance. If you don’t track your car its still a good idea to do yearly brake flushes. Its maintenance that will keep your car running forever and avoid serious complications later.
I use Motul dot 5.1 brake fluid for my M3. Motul dot 5.1 does the job for the track abuse and normal city driving. My experience from the track, is the Motul performs exceptionally well and never had them boil. The brake pedal feels consistently firm and great bite. I can modulate the brake pedal nicely to adjust my braking distance. Only at COTA is when I had brake fade issues but I think that track exceeded the stock brake system. If I had race brake pads and fluids then it wouldn’t be an issue. Motul dot 5.1 is little more expensive than normal dot fluid but its way cheaper then higher temp brake fluids. For me its the perfect match for track abuse and city driving. The M3 only required one bottle for the stock brake system.
While I was doing waiting, I notice within one week I managed to crack my lip. Comes with the territory when tracking. Unfortunately during TX86 Day, there was a cone in the middle of course and I was unable to avoid it. The lip is still intact but you can see the crack is visible. Battle scars.
Soon after coming off from a 12hr shift I headed straight to HPD training academy for TX86 day. I was pretty tired but my tiredness soon went away when I arrived.
TX86 day was a event hosted by the people from NST on August 6, hence 86 day. That day celebrates the Toyota AE86 and the newer Scion FRS, and Subaru BRZ. TX86 didn’t allow non 86 owners to participate, but they did offer a pre screening for some slots. Luckily I was one of the few that was allowed to drive at the track.
When I arrived there where already a lot of 86 owners that was getting ready for the driving event or the car show. I was contemplating if I should grip or drift, but after seeing the famous Taka Aono do a drift session I made up my mind to go drifting. I brought my spare wheels with brand new Nexin N9000 rubber and slapped them on the rear.
It was super hot and humid that only got worse in the afternoon. Regardless, people stayed for the show and grip/drift event. From past experiences at that track, its always a good idea to bring drinks for hydration.
It even has an old school Nardi wheel and roll cage for tandem drifts. They didn’t allow tandem drifts at this event and kinda glad becuase Im not at that level.
This yellow FRS is rocking Volk TE37RTs with Advan Neovas, and dressed in TRD accessories. Most the cars drifted the course but this car looked well planted focusing on grip. Seems like with this chassis you can tune it for grip or drift, it does both pretty well.
A right hand drive AE86 that was in the show section. Sporting some very deep dish Work wheels and sticky Nitto NT01s.
The Volk and Brembro combo looking nice.
Slammed BRZ in the show section. I remember when I was about that life.
Simon setting up the drift course for the RC cars.
The AE86 with the red wheel is Taka Aono current drift car that competes in the Formula Drift series. It produces 700hp!
Taka Aono and Yoshie Shuyama offer drift school in California. I feel pretty thankful that they came from California to Houston to celebrate 86 day. The VIP drivers got an opportunity to get lessons, which I felt like I missed out on. I didn’t get a chance talk to them personally but I could tell they made their passion into a career and thats something I want to work towards too. I like nursing but my passion has been racing.
Simon Chan was able to get a dope picture of me sliding and kicking dirt up.
After 24hrs of no sleep, a day of just drifting and catching up with friends the tiredness caught to me again. Next thing I knew, it was 4pm and was hotter than an oven.I had a great time but I was feeling the heat. So I switch to my Volks, packed my gear, and headed home. Till next year, I hope I can join TX86 day again!
I think its only appropriate to end this coverage with my homie Thaison and his newly acquired AE86 Black Edition. Thaison just slapped on Work Equips and really gives that Hawaiian/Cali look to it. Dope photo taken by the famous Simon Chan.