For the past 13 years STILLEN has proudly held a Customer Appreciation day car show. Earlier in 2009 we decided that we would be unable to put together our annual car show as well as offer the Targa Newfoundland prizes and prepare the STILLEN GT-R for the rally. That in itself was a lot of work to prepare for and maintain and doing both would have severely hampered our ability to put on a caliber of show that our customer’s have become accustomed to.
Because we were not going to be hosting the open house event we were also excited of the possibility of our supercharger kit for the VQ37 being ready for unveiling and later in the year so we decided to move the show to October 17th. Well, we are getting closer and closer to October 17th and we have to regretfully inform our customers that we will not be able to host the event in October either.
We have received requests from some major automotive manufacturers to build and prepare vehicles for display at this years SEMA Show. Also, we were delayed in developing our supercharger kit for the VQ37 because of the development on the GT-R parts and race-cars. We really want to have the supercharger ready for unveiling or at least a sneak peak of the finished kit and we know that October 17th is not a realistic time frame for that.
Because the weather is going to start becoming unpredictable we will be postponing the event until May 2010. We hope to have a VQ37 supercharger release date and unveiling announced soon that will occur prior to the Customer Appreciate Day.
Thank you very much for your understanding, and we look forward to having a TON of things to show you in May!
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Sorry for the delay in getting the final day’s wrap-up onto the site, we took some time after the rally and celebrated with the rest of the Targa folks. It was then up first thing to get the car situated, and everything packed up for shipping back to STILLEN HQ, while Steve and Jodi drive the GT-R all the way back to Maine.
We’re proud to say that we finished up winning our division. The results speak for themselves in regards to the overall scores. This rally is without question designed to be won by classic cars. We knew there would be handicapping, but it would seem there is no way that a modern car can win. We won the majority if not all of the stages by putting down the fastest times but we still lost. In one of the stages on Friday, Steve and Mike actually passed three cars, and still missed their goal time and incurred a penalty.
The main reason for Team STILLEN coming to Targa Newfoundland was to race our Nissan GT-R. We knew that this was the first race for the car and we knew that it would do well but we really had no idea that the car would do so well! If it weren’t for that CV boot we would have only needed to fill the car with fuel and check tire wear all week long. We could not be more excited about the fantastic performance of our Nissan GT R as well as our team.
We are happy that we came and competed in the event. We met some great people and saw a beautiful part of Canada that we otherwise would have never visited. It was a pleasure watching some great drivers artfully handle their cars, especially Sprongl in the Audi. He was a blast to watch! I wish I could say that we’re excited to come back next year but I really don’t think we’ll be coming back unless there is a serious overhaul of the timing and scoring.
Also, we had a great time with Seth and Glenn, our sweepstakes winners. They were a lot of fun and true race/rally enthusiasts. Seth, let’s get that Z going and ready for the rally bud!
Road & Track also has additional information, interviews with Steve and Mike, and all kinds of content back to the build of the GT-R, and is located here: http://www.roadandtrack.com/stillen
NOTE: We have tons of video, including in-car camera coverage of virtually every stage of the rally. Check back next week as we begin to edit and upload this video!
Well, it’s Thursday night and we have some great news! We’re in the hotel room at 9pm! The new CV boot swap the guys made last night worked perfectly today and the car ran flawlessly.
We were back on the road a few hours after getting back to the hotel but it was worth the effort. The crew have been absolutely amazing this week and they are doing an incredible job!
There have been a few mix-ups today and the scoring situation is a bit odd. We’re currently being shown in 5th overall and the first modern but it says that we have more than a 20 second time penalty. So, we’re going to look into that and see what that’s all about.
Look how tiny the road is!
Today went very well. The car ran great and Steve and Mike were able to meet nearly all of their goal times. We’re still a bit confused about the goal times as we are consistently the fastest car on the road yet we’re ‘losing’ to cars who have goal times 30+ seconds slower than ours. But, I guess that’s the unique rules of this event and we’re just trying to live with it. It is very frustrating though.
So last night I mentioned that there are some very interesting stories here. Story one: The red Porsche 911 that was here on day one broke on day one. The owner of the car is also the owner of the Halifax Porsche dealer. He called his wife and told her to bring out the Boxster. Well, she was able to make the last ferry over and arrived in time for the guy’s to carry on in the GT touring class.
Story two: The Audi (not the rally spec. Audi) from day one wrecked hard on day 2 in the early stage. The co-driver broke his arm and we all thought their week was over. Well, morning the following day came and they arrived in a rental (red Dodge) car that they picked up and have re-entered the rally in the GT Touring class as well! Can’t stop these guys from racing!
The white Subaru that rolled a couple of days ago had a “yard sale” sign out front of it the other day. The driver and co-driver are already talking about coming back next year.
I am going to try to download a video tonight and email it off but I’m not sure how it’s going to work. Hope it turns out well, worst case scenario, I will be back in the office on Monday and we will have the videos up shortly thereafter!
[EDIT: Videos didn’t work, the source files were very large, but below is some video that Road & Track have put together for both Leg 3 and Leg 4!]
Well, we have officially made it through the first half of the week. As expected the GT-R is running very well and if it weren’t for the worries about the CV boots, the only service we would be performing to the car would be filling it up with fuel. This car is truly incredible. Steve is having an absolute blast and after each stage has a huge grin on his face.
Mark and Joe are really doing a great job and working hard. They had a bit of a problem today when the service van started filling with the fumes from the fuel and was messing with their heads a little. We have taped off the back half of the van with clear drop cloths and a lot of duct tape so it should be well sealed from here on out.
Mike, Julie, Jodi, Steve, Kyle, Joe and Mark – Team STILLEN / Road & Track Photo courtesy Marc Urbano / Road & Track
Now for the updates. The original CV boot which has been patched and massaged a couple of times has held up well. Fortunately we received the correct replacement this evening and the boys worked late to put it on. It’s past 1am as I write this and I’m still down at the center with them as they finish up. We have all decided that when we get home we will be getting that CV boot bronzed and building a mahogany display case for it. We can’t believe it held up to four days (three rally days and the proglogue.) We’re all going to sleep a little easier tonight knowing the new boot is on there.
Today went very well, as you might already know we took a six second penalty today. Steve and Mike were doing so well in the first two stages that they had to slow way down towards the end of the stage so they did not exceed their 135 KPH stage average. Because of this they took Stage 3 a little easier and unfortunately a little too easy. They ended up doing really well the rest of the day and cleaned every other stage. No worries, Mike and Steve have agreed that from here on out they just go flat out and see what their time is like at the end of the stage and slow down if they need to. I’m actually curious to know how they estimate the times for these stages based on the class.
One thing that we are extremely proud of is the fact that we are one of the few if not the only top ten team who is driving everywhere. A lot of the teams are packing up every night on trailers and towing to the final parking area. You might remember that our car drove from Bangor, Maine to St. John’s Newfoundland and when the rally is over Steve and Jodi Millen will drive the car back to Bangor, Maine. This thing is a driver!!!
There are a few interesting stories about some teams who are really persevering and show true Targa spirit, continuing on in rental cars or helping out other teams after their cars crash out or break down. Unfortunately it’s a bit late tonight and I’m really tired so I’ll have to share those stories tomorrow. Plus, Mark is telling me they need a hand.
Hope you enjoy today’s pictures I was able to get:
Well today was eventful. There were eight stages in total, one of which was canceled due to a problem with crowd control (good call by the organizers!). We were able to get some great video footage of the car coming through two stages as well as photography through Stage 8.
Stage 8 is insane! This stage takes place in the middle of a housing district. Imagine the largest neighborhood in your area. Now block of the roads and run a train of rally cars through it. It was incredible. Mike and Steve did a great job through here and really hustled hard. Unfortunately they caught the Subaru early in the stage and weren’t able to get by because the roads were so tight.
Catching the Subaru and the subsequent delay by not being able to get by meant that the guys missed the goal time by 6 seconds. Which means we incurred a 6 second penalty. Kind of bogus really considering they were by far the fastest car through the stage and even beat the unlimited cars. But, that’s the way their scoring/timing works here so Mike and Steve will just have to push hard the rest of the week and hope some other competitors make some mistakes. I’m hoping to have further explanation of the timing tomorrow night when I can borrow one of Mike Monticello’s route books which clearly list the goal time of each stage for each type of vehicle.
Photo courtesy Marc Urbano / Road & Track
There were a couple of notables on the day. First off, one of the Subaru’s from the UK had a pretty eventful day. They had a pretty big off and rolled the car a couple of times before going end over end. The Driver and Co-Driver are fine and the only injury was a broken wrist. Steve told us at dinner that the Co-Driver was a great guy and he’d like to send his best wishes for a speedy recovery!
The car is doing very well. Mark and Joe did a great job last night and their patch/seal/fix has held up. We were hoping to get the new CV boot tonight but it won’t be arriving until tomorrow. Their repair work last night worked extremely well and there was not a drop of axle grease lost all day. They were able to catch the last part of Stage 8 and got a great video of the STILLEN GT-R chasing the Subaru across the finish line with glowing red rotors and flames shooting out of the exhaust. These guy’s worked extremely hard last night and did an amazing job. They were awake again early this morning with only a few hours of sleep and worked hard all day servicing and preparing the car.
I focused on video today so I wasn’t able to get a lot of photographs but I hope you like the ones that I was able to get. As soon as we return home we will get the video process rolling and start putting some of the films up there. The guys from Road & Track have been able to get some videos up and they look great. I wish I had their knowledge when it came to this stuff. EDIT: Road & Track just sent the link to today’s video: Targa Racing Day 2
I would like to really quickly say that I have never had the desire to come to Canada. No good reason really, just never had the urge. Maybe it’s because it’s just another part of North America, maybe because it’s not some exotic foreign country, I really don’t know. But, my opinion has now changed. This country (well, the island I’m seeing) is amazing. Beautiful country side and amazing views. It is a pleasure being here and we are all having a great time. The people of this country are fantastic. Extremely friendly and hospitable. They always seem to be smiling and offering a helping hand.
Last night we were told that the overnight parking garage would be closing at midnight. We weren’t bothered at all the entire time and around 1:15 a.m. a very kind gentleman came by and introduced himself as the guard for the night. He said that he saw a few teams struggling to make the midnight cut off so he had just gone for a walk and let us all work. He just wanted to come by and have a chat about the car. We saw him here again this evening and he was just as friendly and happy to see that the car had made it through the day’s events.
Here are some more photos from today:
Please Note: The reason I am including the pictures of the wrecked Subaru is not for jokes or for the horror factor. I am doing it to prove a point. Motorsports are dangerous. There are risks involved. But this car was properly prepared. The roll cage, without question saved their lives. I inspected the damage afterward and the body was crumpled in around the cage but the cage did not move at all. Also, the only injury in this huge wreck was simply a broken wrist. That’s nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Well, we have mostly good news and some bad news. Good news is we are getting some awesome video footage and I can’t wait to bring it home. Steve has been doing a great job operating our in-car video system so we should be able to get some great footage.
Photo courtesy of Marc Urbano – Road & Track
The guys from Road & Track and I spent the day getting deep into some of the stages and getting video footage as well as photos. I will send some of the photos tonight but the video footage will have to wait until I get home. For those of you who know me, I’m not the best when it comes to modern technology.
More good news! Steve and Mike are doing great! Steve has reported that he is feeling comfortable with Mike and the calls he is making which means they can push hard! They came roaring through Stage 2 with some very impressive times and so far have no penalties.
My earlier blog post which explained the scoring system used here in Newfoundland left out one key part. I forgot to mention that it doesn’t matter how fast you go through the stage (without exceeding the 135 KPH average speed limit) as long as you arrive under the “goal time.” Then you basically score a 0 (zero). Points or penalties are added to your score if you take longer to complete the stage than your goal time allows. The good news, Steve and Mike have said that they are well under the goal time for each stage so far. [EDIT: Confirmed from Targa Newfoundland Results – Tied for 1st with other competitors running a perfect day with no time penalties: Targa Newfoundland Results] This is a good sign for the week and we’re hoping they keep up the great work!
Even more good news! Team Subaru is back. After a pretty hard accident during the first lap of the two lap prologue stage they have rebuilt the car and they’re ready to finish out the week. Good luck guys! We’ll have a beer ready for you on Friday night at the Keg!
Here’s a video courtesy of Road & Track featuring Mike Monticello and Steve Millen talking about the day, and some footage of the car in action. Be sure to head to Road & Track for all of the ongoing footage.
Now for the not so good news. When we were working on the car yesterday we found a small, pin-hole sized leak in the driver’s side CV boot. What does that mean? Well, that means that the grease has been slowly coming out. To remedy the problem Mark Ungles (our long-time Targa rally technician) and Joe Nagy (Senior Technician for Nissan North America based at Nissan’s “proving grounds.”) needed to be resourceful. They had to apply some RTV silicone around the boot in hopes it would hold. More good news! IT’S WORKED SO FAR! We have been working very hard to get some new boots in today and more good news! They came in! So the guys stripped apart the front end and started to prepare for the swap. Now the bad news, the boot we received is the wrong one! Fortunately they didn’t want to take any risks so when they took apart the original boot they were very careful. They have cleaned everything up and tried again with the RTV in hopes that it can get us through until we can get another new boot which is looking like Wednesday night.
The plugged boot got Steve and Mike through the day today, let’s hope it holds up tomorrow and Wednesday.
I took a lot of photos today while I was traveling with the Road & Track guys and I hope you enjoy them. By the way, while we were traveling we were able to get into some of the stages early and run through them a little bit before they closed the roads in hopes of finding some good viewing areas. We were able to get through Stage 2, which is the hardest stage of the day, and I must say… the rally organizers and competitors are NUTS!!! I was driving the Nissan Murano at safe, city speeds and I could not believe the roads we were going through! You have to see the in car video footage, these stages are seriously intense!
Well, I’m off for the night. It’s a little after 12am and the boys are still working on the car. I’m down here with them but more for morale support, food and parts runner than actually working on the car.
Hope you enjoy the updates, I’m trying to update our Twitter account as much as possible but cell service is pretty spotty up here so there are no guarantees!
Day 2 of the 2009 Targa Rally featured a two stage prologue, which the GT-R was able to run one of the stages, and things look really good.
2:05pm NDT (9:35am PST)
Standing in a field in Newfoundland with the STILLEN Sweepstakes winner Seth and his cousin Glenn. A Suburu went off bad in a Prologue Stage.
Here’s Seth and Glenn later on in the day with the STILLEN GT-R:
3:02pm NDT (10:32am PST)
Steve and Mike just crossed the line after Stage 2 of the Prologue.. all went well.
4:10pm NDT (11:40am PST)
Well the first day has gone very well. Today was just prologue which had the official release at “the keg”, the local popular steakhouse on the wharf. All of the cars were sent to Flatrock where they ran the Prologue Stages 1 and 2. Unfortunately the Subaru of North America rally car had a big off and rolled. Time will tell if we see them back this week.
There are some pretty awesome cars out here. Everything from old Novas and Camaros to Mini Coopers and Porsches. The people here are extremely friendly and very nice. Everyone is very excited about the GT-R and were getting a lot of good reactions.
Today I spent the day with the Road and Track guys and tomorrow I’ll be with them again. I have gotten some pretty cool footage so far and I hope to get more soon.
Because today didn’t count the guys were taking it pretty easy. But Steve has reported that the GT-R reached 196 kph pretty easily. This should be a fun week!!!
Founded in 1986, STILLEN is recognized as one of the premier tuners in the world. With Engineers and a full R&D department on location, STILLEN has long been engineering big brake kits with Brembo and AP Racing, developing superchargers with Magnuson, Edelbrock, Whipple, Vortech, and under the leadership of championship race car driver Steve Millen, trusted by thousands of enthusiasts, manufacturing STILLEN branded products and upgrades, as well as wholesale distribution and retail partners.