Thursday, April 30, 2009

Raging Bull Vs Prancing horse

Like most sport cars enthusiast out there. I can't resist myself from adding few race cars by two of the greatest Italian super car makers, the Lamborghini and Ferrari.

Murchielago Vs 575 GTC

Gallardo Vs F430

Diablo GTR Vs F40 LM

Can the GTR strike back?

On May 3rd and 4th, 2009 AUTOBCS SUPER GT Round 3 "FUJI GT 400km RACE" will take place at Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka prefecture. With the race being a milestone in the early stage of the season, it is positioned as a crucial point that decides the direction where the season ends up. A distanced race of 400 kilometers at a worldly known, high-speed Fuji Speedway is indeed a battle that no one should miss.

Falling giant ?

With the drastic changes made in the GT500 class technical regulation for this season, the competition picture among domestic cars is starting to shift. Nevertheless, the NISSAN GT-Rs continue to be visible except for the defending champion No.1 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama / Benoit Treluyer) who has not score a point yet after two rounds of the season, but that is mostly due to bad lucks fell on the team in the two races. So the champion team will definitely go after a win at Fuji, or at least a podium finish, to put them back on the rhythm for the season. And No.12 IMPUL CALSONIC GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda / Sebastien Philippe) seems to be well-fit to join the No.1 car in the battle for victory.

Fuji: Toyota home track.

If there is anybody who would put more stakes on Fuji, it must be the LEXUS SC430 fleet. With the Fuji Speedway being a part of Toyota group, the track is pretty much home for the fleet. They have accumulated a great amount of data through numerous testing done at the track, so it's not just winnable but it is a "must-win" track for Lexus'. Leading force would be No.38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 driven by "Fuji Meister" Yuji Tachikawa (partnered with Richard Lyons). Their brilliant win at Suzuka stopped GT-R's winning streak that continued from last year. Despite the handicap weight that the Lexus team has to carry, anything can happen in the long-lasting 400km marathon. In fact, the team won in Fuji last year which proves that it has enough potential to overcome. Obviously, No.36 PETRONAS TOM'S SC430 (Juichi Wakisaka / Andre Lotterer) will be looking straight towards the win at Fuji as well after losing to No.38 at Suzuka. Young pair of No.35 KRAFT SC430 (Hiroaki Ishiura / Kazuya Oshima) would be another interesting contender besides aforementioned two.

On the other side, Honda NSX camp is struggling a bit this season, but No.32 EPSON NSX (Loic Duval / Yuhki Nakayama) favors Fuji track, and No.8 ARTA NSX (Ralph Firman / Takuya Izawa) and No.18 ROCKSTAR DOME NSX (Ryo Michigami / Takuya Kogure) are known to be fast on the course. All three have a good chance to be in top positions.

GT300 class is no different in the complexity of competition picture. It may even be more chaotic. Winner of 9th round in Fuji last year, No.26 UP START TAISAN PORSCHE, and all other Porsches would be the top favorite for the race with their remarkable record at the track. But the No.26 team has a new pair driving for them this season, making it all unpredictable. Wait and see how Haruki Kurosawa and Tsubasa Abe perform on the track. Winner of the round 2 in Suzuka, No.33 HANKOOK PORSCHE (Mitsuhiro Kinoshita / Masami Kageyama), should be included in the list of candidates, but, unfortunately, the team is not competing in the event.

Other than above, No.81 DAISHIN ADVAN Ferrari (Takayuki Aoki / Tomonobu Fujii) should be highlighted for its speed on the straight. The team was unable to leave a good result in spite of its performance on the track. No.2 Privée Apple Shiden (Hiroki Katoh / Hiroki Yoshimoto) and No.11 JIMGAINER ADVAN F430 (Tetsuya Tanaka / Katsuyuki Hiranaka) may put themselves in the contention for top positions.No.43 ARTA Garaiya (Morio Nitta / Shinichi Takagi) and other Michelin tire users obtained top-position finishes at Fuji last year by taking 1-pit-stop strategy rather than common 2-pit-stops strategy. But the regulation for this season requires all teams to make two pit-stops during the race at this round hence none of the teams are allowed to use the 1-pit-stop strategy this year, which means teams will be battling for their speed over speed.

Looking back to last year's race, it was won by young drivers. It would be interesting to see how the young duo of No.74 COROLLA Axio apr GT (Takuto Iguchi / Yuji Kunimoto) perform after two rounds of experience on the new car.

Going extra distance from usual 300km to 400km with 2 pit-stops, anything unusual can happen at the 3rd round Fuji. Moreover, teams are allowed to have a third driver for the race, adding another uncertainty. With the race being held during the Golden Week, a huge crowd shows up to the track every year, giving all drivers a motive to say that they want to win. Race should offer many dramatic and exciting actions to the fans again this year

Sunday, April 26, 2009

50th car milestone

Looking back, my first 1/43 car was bought from Japan about 10 months ago. It was a Kyosho yellow Lamborgini Diablo GT... In fact I bought this model by mistake - didn't read the item description. Expecting the black GTS version (the online store shown the wrong photo)... Though didn't get the GTS version, I'm equally happy with this fine Kyosho model.

I'm a great fan of Ebbro model. In my opinion, ebbro models are value for money. Great quality at very reasonable price.

I do collect IXO models too. IXO produced handful of both classic and modern Le Mans race cars.

My small collection of F1 cars...
Some Aussie V8 supercasrs and AutoArts as well.
And Minichamps, Spark, Hotwheels, Vitesse and out of production ONYX models...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

R34 GTR - Grand Turismo

Got this car nearly two months... hardly have spare time to take photos, since the arrival of my baby girl, Bernice. Bought it cause it's stunning livery, so unique if compare to an average AA 1/43 R34... really like the Grand Turismo logo... satisfied with overall the finishing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Chinese Grand Prix Preview - Brawn under pressure?

Even with Brawn GP’s trick diffuser having been declared legal, championship leader Jenson Button expects to have to fight really hard for his Formula One hat-trick in Shanghai this weekend, as the Chinese Grand Prix moves to the third slot on the calendar for 2009.

“I am understandably delighted with how our season has begun, but we are only two races in and everyone at the team is aware that our competitors will not stand still,” the 29 year-old Englishman says. “We fully expect a tough fight from here if we want to continue our early successes.

Brawn, along with Toyota and Williams, come to Shanghai boosted by news that they can continue to race their disputed rear diffusers, after they were declared legal by the FIA’s International Court of Appeal on Wednesday. It’s a decision that leaves rivals scurrying to add similar designs to their cars as soon as possible - and one that leaves Button eager to get racing again before they have a chance to catch up.

“The Shanghai International Circuit (SIC) is an enjoyable one for the drivers and a good technical challenge to find the right set-up,” he adds. “I particularly enjoy the high-speed sections and the overtaking opportunities going into the tight right-hander at turn five and at the end of the back straight."

Meanwhile, after a high-powered meeting in Maranello, Ferrari have reacted to their disappointing start to the season - and their disaster in Malaysia - by making internal team changes. Team manager Luca Baldiserri has changed to a factory-based role, and his position at races will be taken by Briton Chris Dyer, who was formally Michael Schumacher’s engineer and has recently acted as chief track engineer.

Baldiserri will now work with technical director Aldo Costa to fast-track developments on the F60. The pressure is really on Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, who must score good finishes this weekend.

Likewise McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton. “I really enjoy racing in Shanghai,” says the reigning world champion, who won the race last year. “The track is a good blend of fast and slow stuff and it throws up a few nice challenges for the drivers. Finding the right set-up is important, you need speed and balance through the high-speed corners but decent mechanical grip for the hairpins.

“We got it spot-on last year, and while I don’t expect us to enjoy that sort of performance advantage this season, I think we’re all looking forward to a good showing. Hopefully, some of the upgrades we’ve added to MP4-24 for this race will have a benefit: it would be very encouraging if we could qualify a little further up the grid and be regularly challenging for points.”

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh added: “We have reasons to be both disappointed and optimistic about our performance in the opening races: disappointed because we do not yet possess the necessary technical package to enable us to fight with the leaders, but optimistic that our rate of progress is sufficiently rapid that we should be able to fight for points finishes on a regular basis. This weekend’s race will see a number of new components introduced to MP4-24, and while we do not expect them to radically transform the car’s potential, they should move us a little closer to the front.”

Toyota, Williams and BMW Sauber are feeling more bullish about their chances this weekend.

"I am really optimistic about the Chinese Grand Prix because we have started the season very strongly,” Toyota’s Jarno Trulli says. “It shows how much progress we have made since last season that in Malaysia I was a little disappointed with fourth because I wanted to finish on the podium and fight for the win. Last year in Malaysia I finished fourth and that was more than we expected. We are second in the constructors' championship so it's clear we are one of the top teams and both Timo (Glock) and I have consistently been fighting at the front which is great. So the goal for me in China is to fight for the podium again and I think we have a really good chance.”

"Shanghai's a driver's track," says Williams’s Nico Rosberg, who led early on in Malaysia. "There's a great mix of corners and then there are those two long straights so plenty of overtaking opportunities around the lap which will be good for the racing. Sepang showed that the team seem to have fixed the problem we had last year on these types of circuits so it's now looking like we have consistency. I'm confident that we'll have another competitive weekend in China. Top eight for sure."

BMW Sauber, like Renault, will be hoping to exploit their KERS advantage (at least on Nick Heidfeld’s car) on the SIC’s long straights.

The track is 5.451 kilometres long and shaped like the Chinese character 'shang,' meaning 'high' or 'above'. It has an equal number of left and right turns - seven apiece - and presents several overtaking opportunities. Among them are Turn One and the corner at the end of the 1.1 km back straight where the cars brake from more than 320km/h on the section between Turns 13 and 14.

It is a low to medium-downforce track, and this weekend Bridgestone will be supplying their medium and super soft compound slick tyres, a combination which presented interesting challenges to the teams in Australia.

Stop GT-R! Lock your eyes on the new SC430 and homecoming NSX

Will GT-R mark 6 consecutive wins? Or will it be...
Unprecedented competitive landscape clears up in Suzuka!
Watch out for the full of excitements at the first big race for new Suzuka!!

On April 18th and 19th, 2009 AUTOBACS SUPER GT Round 2 "KEIHIN SUZUKA 2&4 RACE" will be held at Suzuka Circuit (Mie prefecture). It will be the first event to unveil the refurbished Suzuka Circuit which underwent comprehensive reconstruction that spanned to the grandstand and paddock facilities. As a matter of fact, not only the heat of SUPER GT, but the highest category of domestic motorcycle road racing, JSB1000, as well as a wide variety of events will be co-hosted at the circuit to offer a maximum excitement.

In the opening round at Okayama last month, No.24 HIS ADVAN KONDO GT-R (Joao Paulo de Oliveira / Seiji Ara), starting from third position on the grid, dominated the rainy race, achieving five consecutive wins for GT-R since the sixth round of last season. Another win for GT-R this weekend would mean to tie the winning streak record of six consecutive wins set by NSX in '98-'99 season. The winner of Suzuka round last year, No.1 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama / Benoit Treluyer), as well as No.12 IMPUL CALSONIC GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda / Sebastien Philippe) may need a close look at all the time in Suzuka.

But looking from a different perspective, the SC430 fleet with completely new cars for the season dominated the 1st and 2nd position in the qualifying of the season opener, that was held under a clear sky, with No.38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 (Yuji Tachikawa / Richard Lyons) snatching the pole position. In fact, there was only No.24 HIS GT-R out from GT-R camp in the top 8 of qualifying practice. By the pre-season prospect, it was believed that the competitive landscape would be established around with GT-R in the center, continuing its success from last year, but it seems very likely that the landscape would change dramatically.



Considering Suzuka is the home track of Honda, there is no reason to believe that the NSX fleet will not get fired up for the memorable race. However, despite the track being their home, the last time when an NSX won at Suzuka goes back seven long years to 2002. Nonetheless, No.18 ROCKSTAR DOME NSX (Ryo Michigami / Takashi Kogure) that finished second at the season opener as well as No.100 RAYBRIG NSX (Yuji Ide / Shinya Hosokawa) may very well get psyched up to climb on the top of podium.

No.21 ASTON MARTIN AKASAKA DBR9 that made its first appearance in the series at Okayama will not compete in the Suzuka race.

Battle of the winningest drivers and emerging young force; a lot of excitements are also offered on the drivers' side.
Yuji Tachikawa
Satoshi Motoyama

Newsworthy facts also lie in the drivers' aspect. Currently, Yuji Tachikawa (No.38 ZENT CERUMO SC430) and Satoshi Motoyama (No.1 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R) share the record for most wins in SUPER GT/JGTC at 10 wins each. In another words, if either of the two wins the race this weekend, the winner will be the sole record holder of the most wins, thus given all the rights to boast the mightiest in the SUPER GT series. Who would it be?

Takuya Izawa

Hiroaki Ishiura
It would also be interesting to see the battle among the younger generation of SUPER GT, including GT500 sophomores, Hiroaki Ishiura (No.35 KRAFT SC430) who was the second fastest in the qualifying at the season opener, and Takuya Izawa (No.8 ARTA NSX) who finished third in the race in Okayama, as well as the drivers spending their first regular GT500 season Koudai Tsukakoshi (No.17 KEIHIN NSX), Yuki Nakayama (No.32 EPSON NSX), Kazuya Oshima (No.35 KRAFT SC430), and Kohei Hirate (No.39 DUNLOP SARD SC430).

Attention please for '08 champion Z and '08 Suzuka winner RX-7!

The chaotic battle field of 2009 season applies to the GT300 class as well. Mid-engine machines showed great performances at the opening round. Race was won by No.19 Weds Sport IS350 (Manabu Orido / Tatsuya Kataoka) followed by No.43 ARTA Garaiya (Morio Nitta / Shinichi Takagi) at second, and No.11 JIMGAINER ADVAN F430 (Tetsuya Tanaka / Katsuyuki Hiranaka) started from the pole. It is most likely that these three will be consistent throughout the season, but with the unique characteristics of the track layout at Suzuka, anything can happen. For that, No.7 M7 MUTIARA MOTORS AMEMIYA SGC 7 and No.46 S Road MOLA Z may end up in the center of the stage. Winner of the last year's first round in Suzuka, No.7 RX-7 is looking good with a third finish at this year's season opener. On the other side, No.46 Z favors Suzuka, winning Pokka 1000km (in Suzuka) last season. Both teams saw new addition of proven drivers which gives them a spot on the list for the champion nominee of this season.

No.19 Weds Sport IS350

No.11 JIMGAINER ADVAN F430No.43 ARTA Garaiya

Who will win a triumph on the brand new podium at Suzuka Circuit? The excitement is just around the corner.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Why go?
Being the industrial and financial capital of China, Shanghai is the country’s economic shop window. An increasing number of western businesses have offices situated in the Bund district, with the result that the city has enjoyed double-digit economic growth for more than a decade.

Increased wealth has brought with it a relentless building and promotional phase, of which Shanghai International Circuit (SIC) is one such example. It is the benchmark against which all modern tracks are judged. The drivers enjoy its challenge and the spectator facilities are second-to-none.

Shanghai’s Pudong district, east of the Huangpu River, houses the major bars and clubs, while the aforementioned Bund is home to big business and the best shopping in China. However, don’t let all the development fool you. The city has lost none of its Oriental magic: the markets, architecture and 6.5 million cyclists remind you that you are still very much in the Far East.

“Everything about Shanghai is great,” says Renault team boss Flavio Briatore. “It’s a really wonderful city. One of the places I go to is the Bund; it’s a good place to have dinner and a bit of a party. The shopping at the Shanghai Tang is another must-do in Shanghai.”

Did you know? Shanghai International Circuit was built on marshland and required 40,000 stone pillars to stabilise it before building could commence.

Shanghai is the only city in China to have two international airports. Pudong, 30 kilometres south east of the city centre, is the bigger of the two, but Hongqiao in the western suburbs also handles some international flights.

The fastest way to travel from Pudong into the city is on the Maglev (short for ‘magnetic levitation’) train line. Its revolutionary technology means that propulsion comes from the track, not the train, resulting in low noise, speeds of up to 285 km/h and a journey time of just eight minutes.

Within Shanghai, there are two Metro lines and several more at the planning stages. Boat rides along the Huangpu River are another option for getting about.

The easiest way to get to the track is by car. By law, when renting a car, non-Chinese must also hire a driver. This is no bad thing, as your driver will not only be familiar with the city, but also with its occasionally erratic driving habits (compulsory driving tests were only introduced in 2004).

Alternatively, special buses will take you to the circuit from selected points around the city. Public transport to and from the track will be a future option because a Metro station is in the throes of being built at SIC.

Useful tips
The best viewing at Shanghai International Circuit is from the grandstands, and there are plenty of seats to choose from. The stand opposite the pits can seat 30,000 people alone, and several others come close. Prices depend on which grandstand you choose and how far back you sit.

Where to eat?
For a quick, authentic meal, try the snack stalls down one of the side streets. For a good restaurant meal, look no further than the Xintiandi district and for some of the best food in town head to the Bund, as Briatore suggested.

Where to stay?

Shanghai boasts more than 100 star-rated hotels. Most are aimed at business travellers, with the likes of Briatore and the management of RenaultF1 staying at the Four Seasons in Jing’an. The best budget deals are in the suburbs, with the Metro acting as an efficient link to the centre of the city.

Extended stay
Shanghai has enough to keep you occupied for weeks. To name just a few sites, there is the antiques market in Dongtai Lu, the Shanghai Museum, the original HSBC Bank from 1865, the Shanghai Exhibition Centre and the Confucian Temple. For something a bit different, why not check out the famous Laughing Buddha at Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou, just south west of Shanghai.

“If staying a few days after the race,” says Briatore, “Shanghai's a good place to stay, but also think about going to Hong Kong, another amazing city.”

China is, of course, a huge country with lots to see outside of its principal cities. The Great Wall is only a plane ride away. The most famous section is around Beijing, a two-and-a-half-hour flight from Shanghai.

Enthusiasts only
Shanghai International Circuit is the home of Chinese motorsport, but there is another internationally-recognised track at Zhuhai, a two-hour flight south of Shanghai, where there is racing most weekends. Rallying is also popular in China, with various national championships taking place throughout the year.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

BMW M3 (E46) GTR

An E46 GTR came to life on February 2001, powered by a 4000 cc V8 producing 444 bhp (331 kW; 450 PS) (race version—street version produced 380 bhp (283 kW; 385 PS). Unlike the straight-six powered M3 versions, which were outpaced by the Porsche 996 GT3, the racing version of the E46 M3 GTR 16 was very successful in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), entered by Schnitzer Motorsport. Rivals such as Porsche pointed out that this car was more of a prototype as no V8 engine was available in the road-going BMW E46, which is in violation of the spirit of Gran Turismo. In 2001, ALMS regulations stated that cars must be for sale on two continents within twelve months of the rules being issued. To fulfill this rule, BMW put 10 road going GTRs on sale after the 2001 season, for 250,000 euros (then $218,000) each, allegedly only available for select customers.

Due to this, the ALMS rules were altered for 2002 to state that 100 cars and 1000 engines must be built for the car to qualify without penalties. Although BMW could have raced the V8 with the new weight and power penalties under these new regulations, they chose to pull out of the ALMS, effectively ending the short-lived M3 GTR's career.

Two Schnitzer Motorsport GTR cars saw a comeback in 2003 at the 24 Hours Nürburgring, winning 1-2 in 2004 and 2005, as well as entries in the 24 Hours Spa. Onboard coverage recorded in 2004 Hans-Joachim Stuck, Pedro Lamy, Jörg Müller & Dirk Müller on the Nürburgring and Spa-Francorchamps.

Private teams (Scheid, Getrag, etc.) also have fit 4000 cc BMW V8 engines into the E46 body to race on the Nürburgring, winning some VLN races in the last years.

The M3 GTR is such a mean racing machine watch this video to find out yourself . BMW engine is no doubt very responsive and reliable. Thus, making the M3 GTR very successful in endurance racing.

* Guia Race; 5 wins (1987, 1988, 1991, 1992 and 1993)
* 24 Hours Nürburgring; 4 wins (1989 – 1992)
* Spa 24 Hours; 4 wins (1987, 1988, 1990 and 1992)