September, 2006

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Think I’ll buy a Mac

Monday, September 18th, 2006

[Outlook sucking up 100MB of memory]

100MB for a freakin’ E-mail and calendaring program?!? Microsoft sucks.

Because one website isn’t big enough…

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

… to contain my ego, I’ve launched a second one: Vital Motorsports.

Actually I figured that I really needed a separate website to document my racing activities: chronicle my track/racing experiences (rather than filling up this blog with them), publish a bit of information about my car (since people keep asking me), put up a gallery of photos and videos, plug my sponsors, etc.

It’s also a chance for me to re-famliarize myself with website development. I designed vtluu.net a number of years ago and quite a lot has changed technology-wise. Rather than trying to build everything from scratch (manually writing HTML, PHP and CSS code), I’ll be using bigger “building blocks”, website software such as MediaWiki (the same wiki software used to build Wikipedia), WordPress (one of the latest-greatest blogging software), and Gallery (really nice photo gallery publishing tool).

Of course, once I’ve figured out those tools, I’ll be giving vtluu.net a long-overdue overhaul as well.

What this space…

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

Hmm, I wonder what this might be?

I suck at blogging

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

Well, another two-and-a-half months gone without an entry…

[photo of my rollcage]

As I mentioned before, the rollcage for my Evo is done; above is a shot taken right after I painted the cage, with the seat still out and not all the padding added yet. I’ve added a few more safety-related items since: window net, master (battery/alternator disconnect) switch, tow hook. I’ve stiffened the suspension further, going as stiff as the current shock absorbers will allow. The result is a car that has razor-sharp responses to steering, throttle and brake inputs and handling even more well-balanced than before. I wasted no time at all in showing what it could do…

['bicycling' over Turn 5]

My friend Richard captured this priceless photo of me getting way up on two wheels over the “Eagle’s Nest”, turn 5 at Thunderhill. Of course that’s not the fast way around, and not the way I usually drive; I was goofing off a little that session hoping Richard would get the photo.

I’ve been to Thunderhill three days since getting the cage built but unfortunately have experienced a number of engine-related problems. The first was blowing the dipstick and losing a bunch of oil due to excessive crankcase pressure, caused by a combination of problems with a new turbo inlet pipe and a clogged oil catch tank filter. I tried to address the problem and made it much worse when I rerouted the PCV hose incorrectly. At the same time, my engine’s head studs were starting to stretch a little and cause problems. I’ve fixed all these issues but haven’t been back to Thunderhill since. The car ran wonderfully at Reno-Fernley last weekend, where I set the fastest lap times both Saturday and Sunday. It was also my first time running with both no catalytic converter and no muffler on the exhaust. The car sounds fierce!

  • Video from Thunderhill; my only fast lap of the day before I parked the car due to engine problems. 2:08 and change, a couple seconds off my personal best. If only the car had worked that day!
  • Video from Reno-Fernley; not-at-all-fast laps. I was giving someone a ride around the track and having a bit of fun before the course marshalls black-flagged me for being too “aggressive” while having a passenger. Spoil sports! My fast lap that day ended up being a 3:00.8, about 25 seconds faster than I’d driven there (albeit just two sessions) in my Miata!

A few more upgrades to the car coming up: a FireCharger fire supression system, the last item needed to make the car a “fully equipped” race car safety-wise; the Evo 6.5 Tommi Makinen Edition titanium-shaft turbo that I’ve had sitting in the living room most of this year has finally been ported, ceramic-coated and is now ready to go into the car. I’m hoping to call the car “done” after that and only make small changes here and there, until I’ve figured out how the car will class for next year’s NASA Performance Touring racing series.

Next step: obtain a NASA provisional racing license and plan my entry into the world of wheel-to-wheel racing!