Monday, January 30, 2012

Brief Warmup...

Or should it be cool down??

Just a return to good old SCCA Rallycross for a quick run through on the truck to make sure everything is in working order and test my co-drivers helmet and intercom system, HANS device and seatbelt adjustments.

Last weekend was the first Rallycross event of the New England Region of the SCCA and was run in the snow and ice at Stafford Motor Speedway in CT.  This was its usual two day event with a race being run on each day and also a cumulative event for those who ran both days.  The NISMO Stuff Racing Frontier did not participate in the Saturday race as the snowstorm that was occurring that day made travel a bit risky for a RWD vehicle so close to my next stage rally event.  Sunday was cold but the roads were clear.

Driving to and from the event in a non-heated vehicle with no interior and lots of gaping holes through which the wind can blow made conditions commuting to the event far more uncomfortable than those at the event.  Racing was good though not the conditions for the Frontier.  I did manage to spin the truck once and had to drive very slowly given the lack of grip.  About the only notable accomplishment I had on the day was being declared the first person anyone had seen at a Rallycross that drove OVER a cone without knocking it down.  I guess that's something.  Out of the 7 RWD entries in the event there were two Toyota trucks and a couple Miatas that were being driven by multiple drivers.  The NISMO Stuff Frontier finished right smack in the middle in 4th place...three ahead and three behind.  More importantly the event showed that the truck is in good shape with all systems working without flaw before the Sandblast Stage Rally event later this week.

A quick wash and the truck was put to bed to dry and rest before the big opener to the 2012 season in only a few days and knowing we did at least a tad of proper testing/shakedown gives me a good deal of confidence in the upcoming race.  We'll see...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Exploring Roads for Rally...

So I'm back from a quick 27 hour trip to PA.

6 1/2 hours down going down by way of 95, NYC, NJ and into PA and 5 3/4 hours on the way back coming all the way on 84.  Didn't face much traffic in either direction.  Going through NYC is a much flatter route vs. the large hills on 84 and eventually 81 but it is definately longer.

Meeting up with an East Coast Scrutineer and a handful of the facility's employees we first went over some of the basics of what a RallySprint is and isn't, some ideas on the roads that might be used, the history of the facility and its existing motorsports programs of which there are many.

Off we went in a near stock Jeep Cherokee with one of the employees and spent about 2 hours going over a number but certainly not all of the trails available for use.  While the Cherokee handled all of these roads/trails with ease, it was clear that not all would be appropriate for a rally vehicle (see the photo with the good sized rocks in the road below--those types of road sections will NOT be used).

Not to fear however.  There are definately numerous roads and/or sections of roads that are Rally material.  Very little that we traveresed in fact would be considered much worse than what some sections of NEFR, BRS or IRNY has to offer from my recent races and observations at those events.  That's not to say that there isn't work to be done to make a proper rally course here (there will be some grading, etc. needed in some sections to connect one smoother part to another) but the roads and land are certainly workable and are 100% available to the Rally community if an event can be put together for them.

At the moment we are tenatively planning an October or November date for the event.  There are numerous items yet to be worked out but it looks like this may be one of the more "interesting" events in terms of the vehicles running the event.

Bottom line here is that if you want a less expensive, grassroots way to get into the sport or get some testing done, or even go as far as giving your special someone (co-driver) a shot to get in the driver's seat, this should be an excellent option for you.  Stay there are several other locations in the Northeast that we are looking also holding RallySprint events at and, if we can generate enough interest and participation, could (oh, by about 2014 or so) start a RallySprint series of some just never know...

Somtimes its good to be dumb enough to not know what you're not supposed to be able to do...

Any/all input is welcome and if you want to follow along on Facebook please "like" the NISMO Stuff Racing, LLC page as we'll be putting up news items (registration, pricing, options, preferences, etc.) there as we move forward.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

1967 Datsun Sports 2000 Roaster For Sale

Wow is this a beautiful vehicle.

Looking immaculately restored and in museum condition this is a wonderful example of Datsun/Nissan's early driving heritage.

Available on Ebay if you have the cash...

More info on vehicle here: 1967 Datsun Sports Roadster...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Nissan Wins the Dakar!!

OK...not fact Nissan vehicles did particularly poor this year with only a few entered and fewer finishing including a number of the usually solid Dessoude Nissans that included the fastest and most capable Nissan driven by Christian Lavieille that was out of the event after only a couple stages.

Not all is lost however!!

A very unique Nissan powered vehicle did finish and was the first ever of its kind to do so.

The #370 OSCar Eo became the first electric driven vehicle to ever finish the Dakar ending up in 77th out of the 78 official finishers with a time that was inclusive of 24 hours and ten minutes of penalties--but hey!!  They did finish!

So what does this have to do with Nissan?  Well, one couldn't rightly expect an electric driven vehicle to make it through the Dakar at this point right?  I mean even the best of these vehicles have a very limited range when driven under the most pedestrian of conditions.  So...In goes a Nissan V6 to the vehicle--but not to drive the wheels.  Instead the ever reliable Nissan V6 was used as a generator to create electricity with which to charge the batteries which would then power the wheels.  Carrying a 60 gallon tank of gas combined with the original charge of the batteries each day gave the vehicle the range to complete each stage and thus through many trials and tribulations (the specifics of which I do not know as I don't speak Latvian) the #370 Nissan powered OSCar Eo became the first of its kind to ever finish the and news release links below that include some decent video of the vehicle in action.

OSCar Eo Homepage...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Nissan Racing Team!!

So it looks like the Continntal Tire series will have a number of Nissans in it this year.

2011 saw the return of Nissan with the entry of one and then by the end of the year, two 370Zs fielded by A.M. Performance.  While not on the entry list yet for the 2/4 Grand-Am 200, A.M. Performance does list their next event as being this opening round of the 2012 Continental Tire season.

In addition to this team it appears there will be a new Nissan effort as well.

What had been a Honda based team in the recent past has seen its name change from CA Sport Racing now to Skullcandy Team Nissan.  Evidently getting sponsorship from the publicly traded Skullcandy maker of headphones and more, the team has evidently received two Altima coupes and is taking them (or at least one of them) racing.  Already on the entry list for the Grand-Am 200 it will be interesting what they might be able to do with this platform.  Certainly its not the sportiest rigs around but the livery sure looks cool.  Can't wait to see it and follow along.

Skullcandy Team Nissan Facebook Page:

Skullcandy Team Nissan Web Page:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

BBR: Brief Beer Review--Peak Organic Nut Brown Ale

Was really struggling with what to drink this weekend and ended up with a six pack of this.

A mild ale this Peak Organic offering is very mildly hoppy and leaves you with only a minor aftertaste--not close to anything you would experience with an IPA or the like.

The aroma is not really noticeable out of the bottle, nor is there anything really here to distinguish it as being "organic" as compared to any other beer.  I guess you'll just have to take their word for it.

Overall its a beer...that's about all I can say for it.  Nothing really memorable in its taste.  Light bodied, it could be drunk multiple times in one sitting but not overconsumed.

My big issue here is its carbonation.  It is (at least the six pack I had) WAAAAY overcarbonated.  It refused to be poured and every sip disappeared in a foam of bubbles within my mouth making the beer more of something I inhaled rather than drank.  Not the most pleasant of experiences.

Thumbs down overall...there are better and cheaper choices.

2012 New England International Auto Show

Despite the New England International Auto Show being on the second (or maybe even third or fourth) tier of auto shows, I somehow feel obligated to go each year as it is only a half hour away.  I'm not sure why though.  I continue to be disappointed by it.  Whether its the plethora of plain Jane models I have seen over and over again, the euro trash weenies from Boston who always show up with a boatload of cologne and unbuttoned shirts, the $7 hotdogs that are somehow passed off as "food" or the $12 parking on top of the entrance fee, it really pushes the limits of what I am willing to accept while keeping my sanity.

Nonetheless, I returned this year and there were a few items of note.

1--The new Ford Escape:  Way too bland.  The current and older versions of the Escape differentiated itself from its competitors in terms of its looks if not its capabilities.  It used to have a more masculine, angled appearance.  It looked the part of a small, capable SUV.  Now?  It looks just like every other mini-SUV, similar to the Nissan Rogue, Honda CRV, Toyota Rav4, Kia Sportage, Chevy whatever...and on and on and on...they all have the individual style of a bubble.  Boring and a rare miss in design from Ford these days.

2--The Audi A7:  Nice from the front, horrid from the rear.  While the front carries the same solid good looks as the entire Audi line, the rear looks like the engineers fell asleep and merely extended the wheelbase with no thought of appearance.  The rear window is bulbous and enormous...hell, it even reminded me of a AMC Pacer with the amount of glass back there...its not a good look.

3--Hyundai Veloster:  Really nice.  At only 130 HP its no screamer but the coming turbocharged version should help that.  There are so many angles and crevices in it that it will be a detailer's nightmare but it all comes together well.  Now if only they made the front scoops just beneath the headlights functional air vents to direct airflow over the brakes or to pull hot air away from the engine bay.

4--Mini Countryman:  If I wasn't a big Nissan geek, this would potentially be one of my next vehicles.  Not nearly as feminine as one would think the Countryman is a good looking small SUV that should be well built and handle nicely.  Really hits the current sweetspot in the market in terms of style and price.

5--Buick Encore:  What a joke.  Really??  A mini, economy SUV from Buick?  The style is a near complete retread of the Pontiac Vibe and about the same size, there is nothing distinguishing here except for its likely Buick-like over price point.  Another fail from Government Motors.

6--Chevy Colorado--Nothing new here, perhaps the most ignored vehicle of the show.  Which is almost a shame.  I like its looks and middle of the road size but at over $31K for 4WD and crew cab, there is virtually no chance this is a player in the market.