21st June 2013 – history in the making?

Last friday and in fact most of last week, was definitely a unique event in Singapore’s history, first haze this bad ever, 401PSI and *fingers crossed* hopefully never again.


21st June was also another moment in Competition Tyres history..

sgining oslo talks

We signed our rental agreement for our new home

Starting July we’ll be moving into our new home at 4870 Beach Road, inside the Caltex Petrol Kiosk. We’ve got a mad rush ahead of us, in time for the soft launch.

Since 2005, we have been working out of numerous locations across the island, some of them ours, and others belonging to friends and industry partners. July 2013, we will finally have a place to call our own!

Thanks for the memories.. Competitiontyres@Maximus Racing~ April 2012- May 2013.

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Radical Chassis Solutions -RCS suspension now availble from Competition Tyres

Another trip to RCS,

over the past well now, 2 years, Ive been making little trips down to RCS in KL.

Alittle background, RCS was formed by these ex-lotus engineers who built and designed suspsension and chassis for Lotus. In their spare time, they also tinkered and designed their own suspension systems which they used successful in Rally competitions across Malaysia when they returned from overseas.

Trip to RCS

Turns out that piston design of their system worked very well also on the circuit and through the Merdeka Millenium 12 hour Endurance Race, they proved their suspension design on the Type R’s that took part.

Initially I was abit skeptical, having used various Japanese suspensions over the years on my own Type R and then on my own MX5 and then I loved the MX5 1g setup from Mazda, however these I found to be lacking in finesse perhaps, the car drove great on windy smooth roads, but it was a little jumpy, nervous when the car drove over abit of broken road, with the tail stepping out occasionally, especially when I hit a bump or a rut in the road.

Enter the RCS suspension
– over the past 2 years together with the help of close mx5 buddies, we worked very closely with RCS developing the Mx5 suspension, going thru different valving settings finding that balance of comfort, control and confidence, together with their race experience and my own input, we put together a suspension set for the Mazda Mx-5

Trip to RCS
one of the cars that helped test out settings and fitments.

Trip to RCS
Suspension being revalved and assembled.

Trip to RCS
Alittle tinkering before the big night!

time attack dec 2012, Mx5Dec time attack 2012, Sepang Circuit, in the night and in the wet! Thanks RCS!

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Just blowing off steam, on a trackday

Work at the workshop has been abit frantic especially in the weeks leading up to Chinese new year.

Taking a break with just a few friends, we headed to the Johor circuit, also known as the PG circuit, just to let off some steam. Especially with the current state of affairs with LTA officers every where, I think we all felt almost ‘under siege’ and really needed to let our cars loose, on the one place I know there isnt officers dressed in white, waiting to strike terror into our hearts.

The PG circuit I often describe as being similar to a roller coaster ride, with its crests and dips and perpetually pulling high g’s.
This circuit often catches out newbies, not realising how many laps they have done, and once the fatigue starts to set in, a momentarily lapse of concentration can lead to disaster or heart break.

On the other hand, the mx5 feels just perfect on the PG circuit, riding through the car’s torque band up and down, in and out through the corners of the circuit.

Having too much fun, these two were the only two photos I managed to take of our time there.

PG 27th Feb 2013, miata club

PG 27th Feb 2013, miata club

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one of my favourite mods on automatic gearboxed MX5 NCs

2012-08-24 13.15.12

Just this week, I installed into another MX5 NC automatic, a 4.4 final drive with an OEM lsd..

Its one of my favourite modification on automatics. Especially enjoyable for owners who use the manual gear selection alot on their automatic mx5 nc.

The mx5 NC comes already with an automatic gearbox befitting sports cars. despite being a torque converter gearbox, it changes up and down gears crispy and cleanly. Quite intuitive too and in manual mode, its one of the few automatics, that allow the owner to actually hit the rev limiter without changing up a gear by itself.

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Mazda 313 Drive – Great Singapore Sale 2012

Helping our buddies from Mazda Singapore,  a bunch of us from the the miata club volunteered our cars and ourselves to do a drive around Orchard Road to signal off the start of the Great Singapore Sale 2012.

Yup there were many surprised shoppers seeing our mx5’s in Orchard 313 livery
mazda 313

orchard road may2012
not to mention, many surprised motorists, seeing our cars add to the evening traffic!

313’s theme this year for its GSS campaign is “Great states of Happy”, what I’m told is that “313 is the happiest place to be during this GSS sale with exciting performances and great deals to jump for joy”.


oh well, ok from my perspective, it was all good fun, getting all stickered up and parading down Orchard road, suddenly getting all the attention was abit of a surprise for me.

The weather was pretty good too. And since everyone drove top down (except me =) ), we were worried about the birds taking a poop into one of our cars, especially what happened to my car just over lunch 2 hours earlier. (in another post)

One complete loop around Orchard Road in our cars and we were back in 313.

I even managed to catch the flash mob in action too!

Looked like theres a few vacant holes in their formation. Someone took an MC today? =)
flash mob 313 may2012

A few minutes later and the mob dispersed as quickly as they appeared!  Way too cool.
flash mob 313 may2012 b

thanks guys! it was a great friday afternoon.. now for me to plan my route of attack for the great singapore sale!

Here’s some photos of what happened behind the scenes for our drive around Orchard Road,

All our cars gathered at Mazda on Alexandria Road for the sticker guys to stick up our cars.
Kudos to them, that circle motif isnt the easiest of sticker shapes to apply.
great states of happy may2012

1030pm and the sticker guys managed to complete half the cars, when someone realised that those round circles looked remarkably abit like the ‘SUBARU Challenge’ crossed with a game of ‘twister’, so up we went, all hands in the circles!
mazda challenge

Finished at last!
all stickered up may2012

Horror of horrors, the next day, I met ET and EA for lunch at Meepok at Marine Crescent Blk 59, alamak when I returned, the car was COVERED in bird poo.. COVERED…

and guess what.. the birds seemed to be aiming for all the circles! ……

a bulls eye for the birds.. Birds 1: Me 0
bulls eye may12

oh yes! I almost forgot! Thanks Concept Shine for polishing the car twice in 2 days! *Thumbs Up for you!*

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A gearbox at last!

Nov 19 2011

OK so EricT called and they said they checked the clutch and they said it was okay..
but when they drained the gearbox fluid…
there was lot of broken bits coming out. YIKES!

gearbox 1

Many calls to local scrapyards were to no avail, as there just werent any spare gearboxes around.
I decided against rebuilding the gearbox as I figured with all the bits bouncing around, all the gears were screwed. Its just not cost effective to replace all 5 and reverse gears.

gearbox 3

A call to some friends in the USA, working with Mazda Motorsports, they found me a freshly built, motorsport spec 5speed gearbox! hurray!

Foolishly, I put the gearbox onto a ship that sailed from Florida, down through the Panama Canal, then to Singapore.. a 45 day journey! I should have just paid for Fedex airfreight….

gearbox 2

Just in time for the February TCC trackday shake down!
Sepang here I come!

sepang 1

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Bus ride home

Nov 17 2011 (continued from previous post)

the next day, whilst waiting for EricT to get back to me what was wrong with the car, we checked out our usual favourite restaurants in KL. but yes as you can probably guess, the mood’s all gone and we decided to book some bus tickets back to Singapore, the day after.

I’ve always passed all these big coaches along the north-south highway on the way home. and yes a few did nearly scare the living daylights out of me when they changed lanes.

I’ve always wondered what it was like onboard a coach. looking down on these cars zooming past. Guess today I found out.
We booked our tickets with Transtar Travel as their pickup point was along Jalan Imbi, just a 3 min taxi ride from our hotel, and they also had a “first class” coach, i guess given my mood, I definitely needed some cheering up.

Checking in was a pleasant surprise and kudos to Transtar, they tried their best to emulate the experience of boarding a flight, from the check in counter to the waiting lounge which was just a little room in the back, but somehow the whole experience actually mirrored that of catching a flight back home, albeit maybe a budget flight? =p

On board the ‘flight’ back home.. wah the seats. its actually more comfortable then my car! ok granted most cars are more comfortable then my car too.


look at that legroom!

3 movies later and we were crossing the border! a 5 star experience

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Nov 12: Race Day

Woke up this morning, excited! It’s Race day today, its been awhile that Sepang has excited me. I guess thats what happens after 6 years of tracking monthly..

The afternoon is the Ignition.my trackday and also my a practice session for me as its my first time on the Sepang North Track. Tonight’s my first race with Saturday Night Fever (SNF).

Last night, I managed to catch some SNF Sepang North Track videos on youtube but most werent very clear and I had no idea what to expect out of the new Sepang Turn 7&8.

Tweaking my suspension damping setting to something I tried out the week before, I guess the tyre temperatures and pressure readings taken last week might not have been so accurate as the tyres were very ‘green’ the week before. This week they are ready!

Heres’ my team support crew. Think she’s playing a driving game too!
nov 12 team support

The difference between the Sepang North Track and the Sepang full track is the new Turn 7 & 8 which brings me back to the Sepang front straight again.

My first impressions are that it is actually tougher on the brakes because the car carries a higher speed through the new turn 7 & 8 compared to full track Turn 15, which in turn means a higher top speed along the front straight. Instead of redlining in 4th gear before braking into turn 1, now, I’ve gotta shift into 5th before braking.

My last practice outing, I thought I will try out a few different approaches into turn 7 & 8 and compare it on the laptop. I figured with the right line, I could be on throttle out of the corner very early.
racelogic data

Screenshot of the Racelogic Videovbox Lite data page… now where to find another 3 more seconds?

On my final practice run for the day, well I wont spoil the story, and I’ll let the video do the talking.

yup.. thats right.. I limped back to the pit garage… and tried to identify the problem.
Resigned, I called a tow truck and had the car towed to a friend’s place, EricT Racing to have the car checked out. I’m out of the race even before it started.

nov 12 tow truck on a tow truck headed to EricT Racing in PJ, KL.

On the bright side, the mx5 has been incredibly reliable, lasting me 45 plus trackdays these past 4 years. In these 45 trackdays, this is the first time I had to call tow truck. a pretty good record.

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on the 11th hour on the 11th day on the 11th month

I took a moment out at 11am this morning to just remember all those who gave their lives in wars past so that we can have the freedom we enjoy today. Thank you.

After that I started the engine and drove off towards KL for this weekend’s Saturday Night Fever race. I’m abit anxious as last weekend’s TCC trackday, with the setup adjustments I’m still struggling to get enough pace. All the mods and I’m still driving around slower then previously. Argh.

Saturday Night Fever’s organised by the Malaysian Ignition.my, it’s a clubman level race, that has just gotten AAM approval. Currently for this year, the only requirements are a firesuit, helmet and gloves, Next year, the requirement goes up one step with participants needing a half roll cage and possibly a fire extinguisher and an electrical cut-off switch.

Oh yeah and its a night! I’m also wondering if I should have installed foglights in the car too. drat, too late now.

oh well lets see how I fare.

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Wheel Alignment Rants

I think in the last 6 years generally I have had less changes to the kind of wheel alignment that I run then I do changes to my rims or exhaust or other settings of the car in a typical year.

my old civic EG6

I think during the era of my first proper car for the track, my old EG6, some gurus handed down to me some secret wheel alignment settings only which in 20 odd trackdays, did I tweak ever so slightly

Alittle toe in on the rears to help the braking, 1 degree less camber on the rear than the fronts so that the car could still slide around or be chucked into a corner. but that was about it.

My point that perhaps I still havent quite reached, is that why are we so fixated with all these arbitrary numbers for our wheel alignment, everyone I know seems to run some sort of stagger on their wheel alignment, in nice round numbers too, most people seem to be running a 1 degree difference between the front and rear, be it a Honda Civic or an Evo or an STI,

From a theoretical stand point, the reason why we run more negative camber on the track, is because a tyre actually has the most grip when it has 0′ degree camber. However, when a car corners, the inner wheels (meaning the wheels on the inside of the turn, Left turn, left wheels) begin to decamber (becomes positive camber). Therefore we run some negative camber so that during a turn the inside wheel becomes 0’degree camber.
positive, negative and zero camberCars running on stock suspension (soft with little negative camber and probably lots of body roll) will see excessive tyre wear on the outer shoulders and probably some understeer wear on the fronts.

tyre wear 1

tyre wear 2

Having said all that above some modern asymmetric tyres are designed to have more grip on the outer shoulders, so a little bit of lean outwards might prove to be alittle quicker around the track, of course not so much til the shoulders wear out!

asymmetric tyres

How do I know how much camber I need to run?

well besides listening to the guru’s,

Start by measuring your tyre temperatures, ideally after a quick cleanly driven hot lap around the circuit, not doing a cool down lap and coming straight into the pits to measure the temperatures. And measure it with a tyre pyrometer and not an infra-red gun that I see so often, a pyrometer reads the core temperature inside the tyre, not the surface temperature as that is not a good measure of how hot the tyre compound is.

Once you’re done measuring, quickly head out to finish that cooling down lap.

Ideally we should be looking at as small a temperature spread between the inner shoulder, middle and outer shoulder, with the inner shoulder being the highest, getting slightly cooler to the outer shoulder. This is because in the end we can not avoid running on the slightest bit of front camber and due to the long braking zones on Sepang, alot of heat is built up on the inner shoulder.

Based on the heat in the tyres, camber should then be adjusted for more or less negative camber. Tyre air pressure and suspension settings should not be changed too much in this time.

Ok I have to end here cos looks like we’re crossing over into the realm of car suspension setup which will leave me here on my computer typing for weeks!

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