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Thursday, June 28, 2012

First Autocross with the Corvette Club

This was the very first autocross with the Subaru STI. It was an extremely rainy day, and the Bridgestone Potenza RE070 summer tires were not made for the weather. However, with the AWD system, earlier braking, and light acceleration, the car was manageable.

A couple of things I've learned from this first autocross, brakes are by far the most important thing to modify. I believe, a lighter car would do a lot better around the corners as well. The one thing I did want to modify to this car after experiencing the lateral g-force were the stock STI seats. The USDM seats do not hold me in well enough. Originally, as you can see in the video, I had my launch control set to 4500 RPM. However, even in the rain, after the tires were warmed up, it was not enough power to break traction, so I ended up bogging down the car slightly. I proceeded in using the Cobb Accessport's handy on-the-fly launch control settings, and dialed it up to 4700 RPM. 

I'm looking forward to more racing, and more modifications!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Impressions of first Autocross

On June 16th, I took the STI to my very first Autocross event, and what a way to celebrate the anniversary of Machine Zealots' Subaru Impreza WRX STI! That's right, it has been a full year!

The day before the event, I went through a check list of things to do. I checked the torque of the lug nuts, checked the tire pressure, checked the car's fuel levels, and made sure all of my other fluids were up to specifications.
Some stuff to bring to any Autocross event.

I actually spent some time online, reading through other people's experiences, and some useful advice given from other drivers. It's useful to bring several tools with you. For one, if you have an air compressor, you can change your tire pressures according to what you need. A spare tire, or a spare set of tires could be rather useful. If one set somehow fails, you can go home in another set. However, most people bring a different set of tires for the different driving conditions. I met a Subaru owner, who brought a full set of R-compound tires, but ended up driving in a set of all seasons because it was too rainy that day.

Subaru Impreza Wagon, owner of the R-Compound tires.

Checking out the rain.

The course was extremely large, like looking into an ocean.

Corvettes and other stuff.

After racing, my impressions of the STI were actually very different. I learned to appreciate all the flawed characteristics it had, and I really appreciated all of the good qualities it had too. It was good practice, and I felt a lot more confident in the car. A couple of thoughts that came to my mind after the racing, mostly things I thought that needed improving on the STI. The USDM STI seats were not supportive at all. I was tossed around the car like a garden salad, and ended up coming home with backaches because I had to tense my body up so much to counteract the g-force generated in the car. Another thought was, never over estimate your brakes. I almost felt that was the most important aspect of the autocross. I am glad I took the time to install the HAWK HP Plus Racing brake pads before I went because, boy, the STI really needed it.

Clean wheels.

After one day at Autocross.

Close up of the brake dust.

I am very glad that I did not modify this car too much before going, because if I had modified everything already, I wouldn't appreciate how the car is now, and certainly wouldn't appreciate how much it can improve. Since this Autocross event was far too rainy for me to judge the tires and suspension characteristics, I will leave that assessment for a dry Autocross event. The Bridgestone Potenza RE070s did surprisingly well in the rain, it wasn't composed, but it wasn't as bad as I had imagined either.

Oh right, one last thing, at the end of the day, I had won an award! For the first person to eat 3 cones in a row. LOL. I was given the title, Cone Head. I was far too aggressive...

Anyway, the episode for this Autocross event will be posted in a couple of weeks. Will talk more about the runs, the times, and the competition later. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 15, 2012

New Project Revealed

Introducing, the brand new project to join Machine Zealots, Project Feint. This is Puyang's 2012 Volkswagen Golf GTI, it packs 200 horsepower and around 207 ft-lbs of torque on a turbo charged 2.0 TSI inline 4 engine. This car reaches the peak torque at around 1750 RPM, so there is hardly any turbo lag, and packs quite a punch.

It has European suspension, which means it can take corners like mad, but still maintain the every day driving comfort. Though it is a front wheel drive vehicle, it has been recognized as a very competitive one. Puyang decided to get the 5-door GTI instead of the 3-door simply because it maintains the performance while also being practical. Personally, I just think the 5-door version looks better than the 3-door, but to each their own.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012. The day we brought the car home!

Turbo charged brothers.

We took some time to film this reveal episode, testing out a new shooting location as well. It's similar to the parking lot we used to shoot the Machine Zealots' intro sequence. The parking lot is usually always empty, and it's big and well lit. Although, it may be too bright to shoot some more "artistic" shots, but it does the job quite well. Here are some of the production stills:

Anyway, that is all the news for now. If you guys are interested in following Puyang's project specifically, you can check out his very own project blog here. Otherwise, I will also be documenting the GTI's modifications here on Machine Zealots. You can also check out the MZ Project tab for a chronological archive of past modifications for the cars.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Three HUNDRED!!!

As of today, Machine Zealots has reached 300 subscribers on the YouTube channel. This is definitely a good sign. It means you, as the viewer, want to see more videos from us. The channel reached 200 subscribers back in April 24th, 2012, and it's just amazing to think that we have gained another 100 loyal viewers at such an alarming rate.

Let's hope 400 and 500 are just around the corner while we continue to do our best to bring you guys videos to watch!

And we move on. If you follow our updates via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, then you will know that Puyang and I have recently embarked on a "secret" project. Although, it may not be so secret to some of you now, we will be revealing this "secret" in the next couple of weeks in a full episode, so stay tuned for that. We've also got to install the S204 style polyurethane lip, install new stainless steel brake lines, and flush and bleed the brake fluid on the Subaru Impreza WRX STI.

That's all the updates for now. Thanks again guys!