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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Launch Control with the Cobb Accessport

The Cobb Accessport truely is a very handy device. Although some people prefer to tune using other methods, the Cobb Accessport still has some very important functions. It can easily datalog and display over dozens of variables, it's a code reader, has a built in 0-60 MPH and quarter mile test, and tuners can easily install custom tunes into your Accessport so that you can switch tunes anytime!

The launch control feature is actually a very handy thing to have during racing events. Not just at the drag strip, but even when you attend autocross events. Anything that requires you to shave seconds off your runs, the launch control function will help you out. You may be incredibly good at launching without launch control, but it is much harder to keep consistent. Cobb's two step launch control allows users to easily set their desired RPM, and just go nuts. No more blipping the throttle to build boost. With launch control, the user can keep their foot all the way down on the gas pedal, while the car maintains a certain amount of boost, so when you launch, you will get all the power you need right off the line.

As mentioned in the video, if you are going to launch your car, please do it at your own risk. Launching any car can be extremely harmful to the drivetrain. You will also want to adjust your launching RPM accordingly. If you have extremely sticky tires, you may need to set your launch RPM higher. The trick to launching this AWD car is to either let the tires slip, or your clutch slip. Personally, I think slipping the tires is a better way to go. I've considered the STI's extremely sticky Bridgestone Potenzas in my launch. I believed 5000 RPM would be enough to break traction off the line, which it did. If you are using different tires, or launching on different road conditions, please set your RPMs differently for best results. The best thing about this launch control is that you can adjust it on the fly. With or without your engine running, feel free to change the settings whenever you want.

Although flat foot shifting was part of this tune, I felt no need to use it. I may write about it later on, if I ever get to use it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bridgestone Potenza RE070

After many teasers, the episode is finally out! There is one thing I should say before I go on, whether you like the video or not, this was by far one of the biggest productions we've ever had to squeeze out in two weeks. If you don't like the video, appreciating our effort is just as important. And we move on.

This episode was actually inspired from one of our very own YouTube subscribers. The gentleman had complimented on how he enjoyed the videos, and was wondering if we could make a video about summer tires versus winter tires, since summer was approaching. It had actually been something I wanted to do since I have bought the STI. Not exactly about the Bridgestone Potenza RE070s specifically, but more of a general overview of all the bits and pieces that was included in an STI. Although this video isn't exactly about winter versus summer tires, nor an actual test of the tires on a skid pad, I hope this video still brings something to the table.

This hawkeye STI seemed to have been locked down for a very long time. Infact the last time you guys saw the car actually being driven in a video was back in Season 1, on the Dunlop Winter tires episode. Which was at least half a year ago! I really just wanted to make this into a dynamic film. I will honestly say, this video was sort of inspired by Initial D, the Anime. lol.

If you have not been fortunate enough to use these tires, you may not believe how good these tires are. However, if you search anywhere online, and talk to people who have used these tires, you will hear the same thing I will tell you. It is incredible on hot and dry tarmac, but the tires will become nothing after two sessions at the track. The tread life for these tires are a joke to some people. However, the grip that results is worth it in my opinion. When I had just started to research cars, one of my wisest friends told me, "Tires are the most important thing on a car, it is the only thing that touches the pavement."

This is indeed true, but it's sort of interesting how some people fail to realize it. I've seen people spend thousands of dollars on top tier suspension, brakes, and power upgrades, just so they can be faster. However, when it comes to their choice of tires, they choose mid level, or "bang for buck" tires. Of course, I understand that tires can get used up rather quickly, and changing tires all the time isn't cheap, but I think if you want to make all of those thousands of dollars worth it, you at least have to have a set of extremely good tires.

You readers and viewers actually have a rare opportunity to see the growth of this car. This car was bought in June 2011, with only 15000 miles and it was fully stock. The car does not have suspension upgrades, and does not have adjusted camber settings. A few months ago, I wrote about how Puyang and I were almost in a car accident. I had managed to swerve out of the way, because of these Bridgestone Potenza RE070 Extreme Performance Summer Tires. The speed for the upcoming impact was so fast, that when I swerved, all four of these extremely sticky tires were squealing. If it had not been for these tires, I am 90% sure that the STI would have been totaled, and that Puyang and I could have been seriously hurt. Do not take tires for granted, out of all the upgrades you can spend on, tires will be the one thing that could make or break your vehicle.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Under Sixty Hours

Ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to announce that the episode has finally been completed. It took me 58 hours to edit this episode, plus 9 hours to render the finished version. As mentioned before, there were so many shots, it took me almost a day just to organize all of the footage for processing. This was by far the most complicated edit I've had to do for Machine Zealots' videos so far. This episode will air in a few days, the next post will feature this, so I'll talk more about the episode later.

However, here are a couple video stills from the finished episode:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Two birds with one Car

I know some of you don't care when and how often we air the YouTube episodes, but I like to make strict schedules and procedures, and follow them to the letter. However, sometimes work and other things pile up, and these YouTube episodes get delayed. This week's episode will have to be delayed till next week. There is just no way I can maintain the quality I had intended for this episode, and air the episode in time.

The coming episode will touch upon the Bridgestone Potenza RE070s Extreme Summer Performance tires, as well as a slight overview of the current state of the STI on our show, our very own Project Impulse.

I'll be trying out some new editing techniques on this episode as well, and if successful we will be using it on many future episodes. All of the above takes time, so please be patient. However, because we aren't airing the episode on time this week, I thought it would be nice to show you guys some screen captures of our work in progress.

Three live cameras, synced together.

Spades doing most of the driving for the episode.

As mentioned earlier, there was an accident during our shoot. One of the GoPro cameras mounted on Puyang's lead camera car, fell off and made a huge tumble on the pavement. Camera C mounted on his car, caught the whole thing on film. Below are a sequence of four images, depicting what happened:

GoPro camera (Camera B) loses suction on the Honda Prelude and falls off. Both the Camera car and Subject car are moving at 40 MPH.

Distance between the two cars are consistent, as seen in the picture sequence. The camera is bouncing off the pavement, and flying towards the STI at an alarming rate. 

Spades behind the wheel, does a quick steering maneuver to avoid it. Not knowing it was the Camera at the time.

After the maneuver, Spades looks up and sees the missing Camera B on Puyang's car.

We actually have the footage from the falling camera as well. I went through that footage frame by frame, and counted the amount of times the Camera did a complete 360 degree tumble. It had done nine complete tumbles before coming to a complete stop on the pavement face down. In the footage, you see the back end of the Honda Prelude, and you see glimpses of the STI's hawkeye headlights coming towards it. There were some glimpses of the sky, trees, and other things as well. The footage was massively distorted, but I think I will include that footage for you guys anyways, lol.

It's just a thought right now, but I might use the footage we have right now for two episodes. Since this week's episode will be delayed, I'd like to make it up to you guys, and possibly give you guys two videos on back to back weeks. I'll see what I can do to keep you guys entertained.

That's it for now! Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Handsome

This morning, the Machine Zealots team set in motion to do some massive filming for the next episode. One of the viewers had asked us to talk about the difference between Performance Summer tires and Performance Winter tires. The episode in progress was meant to touch upon that subject, but mainly, it has been a while since we've shown some good old driving videos! That is all the information we are going to release on this episode for now. However, if you are interested in todays process, feel free to continue reading.

GoPro Cameras setup!

We'd like to thank GoPro for sponsoring us these two new cameras, because for shots like these, having more than one camera is very benefitial. If you are a frequent race car driver, investing in one or two of these cameras are a must. More cameras, means more angles, means more footage in one pass. We actually had to rotate the three cameras around three times in different locations, giving us nine different angles to use in our final edit.

STI ready for action!

Puyang, as our second camera man today.

We woke up at 9 AM this morning, planning out our shooting route, pit stops, and the different angles needed for today. We left home base around 10 AM, packed up all the cameras, tripods, and other equipment. We proceeded to shoot on our most familiar location, which I like to call it, the Machine Zealots' Test Track, lol.

Puyang and the STI.

Admiring the STI, while the car cools down.

We finished shooting part one around 12 PM. We went back to home base and set up Puyang's car to be the camera car. This would give us more dynamic shots of the STI as it's driving. On the way to our destination, one of the GoPro cameras fell off his car and did a massive tumble on the pavement! I was behind Puyang at the time, thank God, and saw some plastic thing fly towards the STI. We went back to pick up the camera, and found it like this:

GoPro lens and case is beat up from falling off moving car.

As I ran for the dropped camera, several cars seem to have just ignored it, and drove on through it. Luckily the camera avoided its ruthless demise since it had dropped in the middle of the street, and avoided all the tires of the oncoming cars. We met up at the nearest pit stop, and checked the condition of the camera. The good news is, the camera was STILL SHOOTING! I'll be sure to include the dropping of the camera in our final edit, it made us all laugh. We finished up around 12:30 PM, giving today a total shooting time of two and a half hours. I'll have more previews from our edit for you guys to see as soon as I find the time to compile them!

Stay tuned.

Oh yes, one last thing, we are on Instagram, so be sure to follow us if you are interested in some Machine Zealots daily life adventures!