An experince to remember.

Discussion in 'Motoring' started by TekHousE, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. TekHousE

    TekHousE
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    Well!

    I have had some serious fun in the last 2 days. Let me explain..

    Yesterday one of my clients, a large international tyre company, invited me to test their new winter series tyres at a test facility here in Finland. So I took one of my employees (TJ my brother smile.gif ) with me and we got to race cars around a very cool test track.

    It was ALL on snow and ice. We did short slalom with a chicane at the end, the chicane taken nearly flat out, through a long right hand sweeper to stop. Then a LONG slalom, ending with a full throttle approach to a braking area, around a 'bus stop' and then stopping at a 'gate' (witches hats). Next was a right hand sweeper ALL ICE, taken sideways opposite lock, onto deep powder snow and then back to the start..

    TALK ABOUT FUN! I was driving a brand new black 1.6 FSI GOLF manual. We were on track for maybe an hour. TJ got to drive the new Jetta 2.0.

    OK, so that was pretty cool...Ah the benefits of owning your own company.. LOL

    But today was SOMETHING ELSE! WOOHOO!

    I mate of mine who is also a client, called me last night. He raced rally in Finland and abroad for nearly 20 years. He has over 110 wins in his career. Thats OUTRIGHT wins too! Anyway, he is retired now (well as retired as someone who still owns 4 rally cars can be) but mainly he now advises, teaches and manages young drivers. my mate came up in rally in Finland driving from juniors with the likes of Marcus Gronholm. OK so he has some knowledge..hehe

    He asked me if I wanted to attend a 'shakedown' test of a group N Mitsubishi EVO VII. Well..

    HELL YEAH I DO! :)

    We travelled about 40 KMs from where we live to a very typical winter rally location. If you can picture a very narrow (maybe 2 car widths maximum at times) road, lined on both sides with snow banks and spruce trees, the 'typical' cut tree logs on bends of corners, small cottages, ROCKS! etc. then you get the idea.

    So we got there early. Drove the 3 km track in the Audi we drove up there. My mate was driving and being a standard 2.7 T Audi with multitronic, he didn't push it..oh yeah, it wasn't his car as well..hehe..OK to be honest we might have pushed it a bit... :)

    Then the driver turns up towing his EVO..Now down to business...

    The car is N spec. Minor changes to suspension (no geometry changes allowed), race exhaust system, full cage, carbon fibre where allowed, rear seats gone. Sparcos up front, boost, oil, temp guages in dash, race strengthened gear box, seam welded body. Putting out probably 350 horses and PLENTY of torque.

    We all say hi shake hands talk some guy crap..really wanting to get in the car and race.

    Anyway, I finally get asked to strap in.

    I work my way into the co-drivers seat. It is set back a bit from the drivers seat. I have a carbon foot well insert, it allows me to rest my feet on it as the G-Forces are huge and the MOTEC computer is sitting behind it screwed into the firewall. The car is LHD.

    The gauges all look standard...more on that later.

    I hook up my 5-point harness. Damn it is a tight fit around the 'lower' area of me..I must have big...:)

    I pull on the race helmet, connect the comms up. No..we didn't use TS.. LOL

    The helmet is a sound supressor. I can hear my breathing, the cars engine at this stage is idling away.. barely can hear it. Juha, the driver, gets in and hooks up his harness. He jacks into the comms and i can hear him breathing too! Good, we are both breathing normally..at the moment. He looks at me with a BIG smile and says.."First time in a group N?"

    "umm..Yeah mate!" :rolleyes:

    He checks my harness one more time. I rip down on the shoulder tabs just to make sure..I am now GLUED into the Sparco..I'm also breathing heavier now..harness too tight?? NAH, Im just bloody excited! :)

    Last chat to one of his crew..the doors been open while i got ready, it is minus 10..car is COLD..but I can smell the AVGAS (racing fuel) and there is a heat shimmer coming out of the cars hood scoops. Please picture me with a HUGE smile on my face..

    The drivers door closes, someone closes mine too. I don't know who it is. I am now focused on what is about to happen.

    Juha selects first. He eases the car away from the cars behind us then stops again. This is a 'closed' road. He has permission from the farmer who owns the road. On every junction coming onto our 'track' there is another mate of Juhas or his crew. They have parked their cars across the road to stop any traffic getting onto this road during testing. There won't be anybody..it is now 17.00 the road is silent, the countryside is quiet..well except for the urgent idle of the EVOs' engine. He winds the window down, a crew member tells him all roads are blocked, the end is blocked 3 km down the track, it is time to GO!

    First again..ease a little further down the road..this is so we don't hurt the guys standing behind us. Our tyres are full rally spec winter. They are narrow, tall profile and have some of the meanest looking spikes you can imagine sticking out of them..They look like the guy out of Hellraiser.. ;)

    Now second..and away we go..well..not. Car refuses to select 3rd. we stall..fix a few things..start again..STALL. No 3rd gear. Car not sounding great now. STOP. crew comes up, hood goes up, people dive in..TURBO hose is not fitted properly..no pressure, no turbo, no GO!. FIXED!!! Took them about 5 minutes.

    Again...

    First, and my head is thrown back into the Sparco..., 2nd, again i go back..in fact it slams me and now my chest is vibrating..I can feel every rev. 3rd..3rd..no 3rd..FOURTH! No worries, car hesitates for a millisecond..then lunges forward. We are FLYING..no..I really mean it..we TAKE OFF! The road is twisty, and has some HUGE jumps and crests.

    The scenery is moving so fast past the side window that it nearly makes you sick..Look out the front window, everything happens fast..This boy can drive..he is consistently in the top 10 in the national group N series.

    We stop..the end of 3km's in maybe a bit over a minute. He handbrake turns..revs once..and says to me..hold on! Apprently the first run was slow..The boost gauge was maxxed for most of the run!

    Now we ARE moving! The car acts like it should, Juha fights it a little..you have to make a 4 wheel drive car go round corners..it takes some effort. I look at the speedometer..only 85??!!! It sure seems faster that that..I remind myself to ask him if it broken when we get to the end..

    We stop again..this time the car is really ready to go..it is hot, I can feel it. I can smell it..the brakes are smoking..I ask him about the speedo...OH, what do you mean? He tells me it is in MPH not KPH..LOL

    So we did this for about 45 minutes. Juha gets the car WELL into the air many times the best of them all is when we launched sideways over jumps landing crossed up and then taking a sharp corner right away. Through the straight section..100 on the speedo..

    "Maybe 3rd gear is not so necessary?" I ask him about it..

    "Nah he says, I am really missing it, I need 3rd gear at least 5 times on that track, if I had it we would have been really quick!"..

    Our top speed was 110 MPH! Thats 177 KMH on a small country road..on SNOW! I now wish we had had 3rd gear too..

    Ok, I got to end it here..I could go on..there is about a million things that I saw worth mentioning but its probably boring you guys already.. I will end saying that I have new respect for rally drivers..Honestly FORGET F1, those guys are pussies. The road we were on changed EVERY time we drove it today. We drove it BOTH ways, which makes it twice as hard to get right. AND, we walked away with not a scratch on the car or US. Now F1 doesn't give you those sorts of variables...

    Now..if I can just find myself a neat and tidy old Escort... :devil:
     
  2. Daddy k

    Daddy k

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    so lets arrange a lads weekend at yours!
     
  3. Monty Burns

    Monty Burns
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    Awesome!!!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

    I gota sort a stag night soon, your place ok? - umm you and your mates bring the cars, we will bring the beer!
     
  4. TekHousE

    TekHousE
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    I'm seriously looking for land this summer..My aim is to have a little piece of forest that I can tear through in summer and winter conditions. And if possible...carve out some of the flat area and make a dirt go-kart track for summer....Now it will be just convincing the significant other... :)
     
  5. Monty Burns

    Monty Burns
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    and then when your not, you can play Paintball to!
     
  6. TekHousE

    TekHousE
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    hey you're right..I can sell it to the 'boss' as a TEAM BUILDING facility for our company.. ;) Might turn out to be a tax deduction too..LOL
     
  7. Daddy k

    Daddy k

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    if i win the lotto on a very big win i will defo have to open a lil rally track,with a lil tarmac track too, and possible a banger racing track too, then obviously the rally track will double as paintballing land ;)

    when im bored at weekends ill set up my own dukes of hazard style stunts ;)
     
  8. TekHousE

    TekHousE
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    imagine how many LOSERS would simply INVEST the money.. hehe
     
  9. Monty Burns

    Monty Burns
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    :eek: Money SH^T!! I thought they were Beer vouchers!!!! :oops:
     
  10. Daddy k

    Daddy k

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    ill invest it!

    in my own greed and self satisfaction ;)
     
  11. MartinImber

    MartinImber
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    What was his full name?
     
  12. TekHousE

    TekHousE
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    The driver?

    Juha Sipilä.. This is him and the car..
     

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  13. mcfarfs

    mcfarfs
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    What a beast.....
     

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