Monthly Archives: October 2010

Racing Day 5 Wrap Up!

I am in my hotel room writing this before Steve and Phillip get into the wharf for the final destination.  They have both done an amazing job and the entire team is very proud of the effort and hard work put in by all!  Steve pulled out some pretty miraculous skills this week and showed that he hasn’t lost his edge.  Steve competes in very few of these rallies and really doesn’t get much time to get back into the racing lifestyle anymore, so it took a day or two for him to feel fully comfortable with the car, but I’ll tell you once he was in the zone he was a machine!  The in-car video footage and the photos tell the story better than I ever could!

The car has performed flawlessly all week and Mark and Joe have done a great job maintaining the car and making sure Steve and Phillip have exactly what they needed all week.  Jodi and Vivian (Phillip’s wife) have been great team moms and looked after the service crew and the drivers better than anyone could have asked for.  We are all very happy to come home with the drivers and car all together in one piece and with a very strong finish!  I am pretty sure this is Steve’s best finish in a Targa Rally and the competition is fierce!  Tony Quinn is a great driver and has a lot of Targa experience with his GT-R having competed in three New Zealand Targa’s as well as others in Australia.  Glenn Inkster is a very talented driver and will surely make a name for himself in the Rally scene.  Watching him flick his Evo through turns is a thing of beauty!

Finally, what is with this weather?  It was sunny and dry pretty much all week.  It’s been chilly but I have never even heard of a Targa rally being pretty much dry for the entire week!  Heck, last year it was hailing and snowing in Wellington!!!  In 2008 they had to cancel a stage because the waves from the ocean were coming up over the stage road!

Well, I’m off to meet Steve and Phillip and join the festivities!  Thanks for following along this week!  We’ll definitely have a ton of photos and in-car video footage and a final recap!

Follow all of the coverage of the 2010 Dunlop Targa New Zealand Rally

Wellington is a lot like it normally is…Cold…Windy…and a high probability of rain!  Not a huge surprise yet very welcomed!  We are holding strong in third place and Steve drove hard today and won a couple stages chipping away time at Quinn and Inkster.  Inkster fought hard and also had a great showing and we are expecting tomorrow to bring an awesome battle!  All three vehicles are running strong and working hard!

Steve Millen STILLEN R35 GT-R Targa NZ 2010 Day 5
Click here for larger version

Last night I was walking through the parking lot and noticed a car on a trailer covered by a tarp.  Usually this can only mean one thing so we went up and checked it out.  Sure enough, the car had a big off and won’t be returning to the rally.


It was kind of funny because the driver and co-driver initially asked if they could work on the car and possibly get it back in the race…looking at these pictures, you can see they were pretty optimistic at first and then realized shortly there after that their rally was done!

Clark Proctor has decided to hang around on the Targa rally and is following around on a borrowed Harley.  His automotive luck isn’t shining this week as I walked through one stage and saw the Harley…along with a trail of oil coming from the oil tank leading to the chain guard, frame, and other areas of the bike.

Dodson had a pretty impressive turn around today.  Coming up surprisingly and winning a stage!  This was especially impressive considering he celebrated his 50th birthday last night!

Some of the two day Wellington cars have joined the rally and are pushing hard!  We’re looking forward to seeing what they can do!  Some of the cars that have shown up are VERY impressive and well sorted out.

Speaking of which, Mark, Joe, and I had dinner tonight and drew up a few ideas of what we can improve on for next year.  It should be very exciting and I think some of our ideas will be pretty surprising!

1 more day of racing!

Modern Class Results after Day 4 – October 29, 2010

# Driver/Co Driver Vehicle Class Total Event
997 Tony Quinn/Naomi Tillett Nissan R35 GT-R 9 04:39:14
945 Glenn Inkster/Spencer Winn Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6 9 04:42:48
975 Steve Millen/Philip Adamson Nissan Stillen GT-R 9 04:43:27
926 Jason Gill/Jody Somervell Mitsubishi EVO9 GT 9 04:44:59
998 Harry Dodson/Glenn Cupit Nissan GT-R35 9 04:46:26
917 Glenn Smith/Andy Lowe Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 9 04:56:21
947 Brian Green/Fleur Pedersen Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X RS 9 04:59:13
944 Rick Giddy/Joel Giddy Subaru WRX STI 9 05:02:35
670 Gary Murphy/Terry Rouse BMW M3 6 05:03:05
820 Richard  Mehrtens/Stephen Howard MercedesBenz CLK63 AMG Black 8 05:03:18

 

Follow all of the coverage of the 2010 Dunlop Targa New Zealand Rally

We have made it to New Plymouth and I am writing this update from a Beaurepairs Service Center.  Tonight we went through the car for a mid-week check up, went through the oil change, checked brake wear, tires, etc.  Also the guys are having to fix the front lip after a local at one of the lunch stops guided Steve straight into the curb when he was trying to get into the parking area for lunch.  They had stacked up some blocks of wood to get over the curb and with three guys watching they guided him straight into the curb and pushed the front lip back!  Mark and Joe have had a pretty easy week though compared to Newfoundland so I guess it’s good to keep them up for a night.  All is good on the car and the teams spirits are high.

Steve Millen STILLEN R35 GT-R Targa New Zealand Manfield Race Track

We came to the service center to rotate the tires on the rims.  Today was another hot day and we saw some pretty serious tire wear occurring and we want to stay ahead of it as tire consumption is a big part of the strategy on the Targa rallies.  On the Targa we’re only allowed six tires, including the four we start with.  We figured we would be wearing out fronts more than rears as that was the case in Newfoundland however with the warm weather and lack of rain Steve is able to really toss the car around and because of that, rear tire wear has become the focus.  Fortunately the fronts are wearing perfectly so we’re crossing our fingers that we’ll be able to make it all week on the fronts!

Today was actually a pretty big shake up day.  We learned this morning that Inkster, currently listed in second place, is the champion of the Taranaki tarmac rally series.  Which more than likely played into his favor as the last two days were spent racing in guess where…the Taranaki’s!  Fortunately we drove out of that region today and into a more level playing field and Steve and Phillip were able to steadily chop away at their times and make some serious gains!  Now they’re only one second behind Inkster.

The big shake up came on Stage 2.  Conrad and I were standing on a pretty famous corner where the cars come through a short straight away, come to a hair pin left hand turn and accelerate up a mild incline.  It is very slippery (mossy road surface) in this area and usually catches a few people out.  This year all of the competitor’s went through cleanly however we noticed Proctor’s rear lower valance hanging off and rear fascia about ready to come up off completely.  It was pretty clear that he had an event somewhere along the stage.

Then, as Conrad and I were walking back to the car we saw a huge cloud of smoke coming up the motorway.  It turned out to be Proctor again.  Unfortunately he had blown the engine on that stage and his rally has ended early.  We’re disappointed to report that as he is always a joy to watch and really hangs the car out there.  We’re looking forward to seeing Clark and the Metalman crew back in 2011.

The last stage of the day was run at Manfield Race Rrack.  Steve and Tony Quinn set identical times around the track of 8:18.  It was a struggle for both drivers as they were on the track with slower traffic at times that were absolutely holding them up.  No worries though, we’re looking forward to the next two days and we’re hoping to take some time off Quinn and see how things lie in the end.


I have added some photos of the Delrin skid blocks we use on the bottom of the GT-R.  We design these blocks to be sacrificial pieces that take the abuse rather than damaging the factory under trays or cross members.  Judging by the blocks, you can’t say Steve and Phillip aren’t trying!


I keep thinking the same thing every time I am standing on the rally roads.  This is probably the coolest event in the world.  Every type of car is on display here from Fiat Abarth’s to FOUR GT-R’s, a Ford GT in the Targa tour, old Porsche’s as well as new.  Evo’s and Subaru’s literally flying through the roads and letting loose.  You don’t get anything like this anywhere in the world.  Heck, there is even a Maserati and a Ferrari F430 Challenge!

The Targa New Zealand rally is awesome and needs to be on every car enthusiasts “bucket list”.

Modern Class Results after Day 3 – October 28, 2010

# Driver/Co Driver Vehicle Class Total Event
997 Tony Quinn/Naomi Tillett Nissan R35 GT-R 9 03:27:29
945 Glenn Inkster/Spencer Winn Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6 9 03:31:58
975 Steve Millen/Philip Adamson Nissan Stillen GT-R 9 03:31:59
926 Jason Gill/Jody Somervell Mitsubishi EVO9 GT 9 03:32:56
998 Harry Dodson/Glenn Cupit Nissan GT-R35 9 03:35:23
840 Martin Dippie/Greg Ball Porsche GT3 RS 8 03:38:55
917 Glenn Smith/Andy Lowe Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 9 03:39:56
947 Brian Green/Fleur Pedersen Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X RS 9 03:43:41
775 Barry Hare/Nigel Parr BMW mini Cooper 7 03:45:08
670 Gary Murphy/Terry Rouse BMW M3 6 03:45:22

 

Follow all of the coverage of the 2010 Dunlop Targa New Zealand Rally

We are in our second night at Palmerston North and have some good news!  Steve is really enjoying the car and having a great time.  He pushed hard today and caught some ground on Proctor in the Metalman car but unfortunately another car caught more ground and squeaked ahead of us by a few seconds.  So, currently we’re running 4th overall but making gains on the competition.

Steve Millen STILLEN R35 GT-R Targa New Zealand Day 3

Something I did not include in yesterdays update is the great sportsmanship on this rally.  People work hard to help each other and teams competing against each other have been known to lend a hand and help their competitors to get them back on the road a little sooner.  Last night both Proctor and Dodson developed leaky CV boots so our teams headed over and gave a few pointers on how to get it done.  You may remember from our Newfoundland recaps, Mark and Joe both have quite a fair amount of experience when dealing with leaky CV boots on a targa rally!

Today was another beautiful day.  Great weather and great stages.  There were only four stages today but they were pretty massive!  One stage was raced on the forgotten highway to Whangamamana (phong a mama nah.)  It is a small little town that has a 40 kilometer highway leading in and only one other small road leading out.  For the targa they shut down the main “forgotten” highway and let the cars have at it.  It is a great stage and one that I remember vividly as it is where I earned my nickname of “Ralph McPukin”.  Phillip appears to have a stomach more suited to navigator duties and was able to keep his breakfast under control.

Before Stages 3 and 4 the guys raced through a pretty famous stage that has a series of three jumps.  Most of the cars take it fairly carefully through here as it the jumps have been known to rip out oil pans, damage suspensions, and unsettle cars enough to launch them into nearby farmers paddocks.  The big surprise of the jumps was the Ferrari F430 challenge car leaping for the sky and getting some good air!  Steve took it easy through this area as he did not want to hurt the car.

Quinn showed why he has won races as he flew his GT-R off the jumps!

Overall, today was a great day and the team is very excited for the rest of the week.  Steve and Phillip are doing a great job maintaining the tires and the Dunlop’s are wearing very well!  We have confirmed that last year Quinn took 8 tires and those final two tires can cost you a lot in time!  So, with that in mind, our goal is to keep to the 6 tire plan and not be forced to take any time penalties with additional tires.

UPDATE:  Video of cars jumping a section and interview with Kyle Millen from Taranaki Daily News

Wish us luck as we push on!  Here’s some additional photos from the day:

Modern Class Results after Day 2 – October 27, 2010

# Driver/Co Driver Vehicle Class Total Event
997 Tony Quinn/Naomi Tillett Nissan R35 GT-R 9 02:36:21
957 Clark Proctor/Tony Callaghan Nissan GT-R35 9 02:38:25
945 Glenn Inkster/Spencer Winn Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6 9 02:39:57
975 Steve Millen/Philip Adamson Nissan Stillen GT-R 9 02:40:11
926 Jason Gill/Jody Somervell Mitsubishi EVO9 GT 9 02:40:49
998 Harry Dodson/Glenn Cupit Nissan GT-R35 9 02:43:18
917 Glenn Smith/Andy Lowe Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 9 02:43:24
944 Rick Giddy/Joel Giddy Subaru WRX STI 9 02:44:55
840 Martin Dippie/Greg Ball Porsche GT3 RS 8 02:45:06
947 Brian Green/Fleur Pedersen Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X RS 9 02:48:35

 

Follow all of the coverage of the 2010 Dunlop Targa New Zealand Rally

I am writing this from the hotel in New Plymouth.  The good news is, the STILLEN GT-R is running very well and Steve and Phillip are doing very well and working great together!  Steve took it kind of careful today as he wanted to see how the tires were going to fair.  These Dunlops are looking great and are showing hardly any wear.  We are very excited to see how they work through the week!


(For a larger version, click here)

Today was unusually tough as the weather was uncharacteristically warm..  The roads were hot and we really expected the tires to start wearing heavily.  However, The GT-R is running strong and working very well! We’re getting some great in-car footage that I am very excited to bring home and post up soon!

There have been a few off road excursions made by a few cars today.  Most cars were pulled out of trouble and will be back tomorrow, but we’re not so sure about one competitor in the Mazda 3 MPS.  It had a pretty serious off and rolled.  Fortunately the driver and co-driver made it out without injury.  I have been traveling with Conrad Healy today as we went from stage to stage getting photos and what not.  Here’s just a couple photos from today’s events, and as you see above, including Steve going a little wide through an acute right turn. More photos to come soon..

Modern Class Results for Day 1 – October 26, 2010

# Driver/Co Driver Vehicle Class Total Time
997 Tony Quinn/Naomi Tillett Nissan R35 GT-R 9 01:29:04
957 Clark Proctor/Tony Callaghan Nissan GT-R35 9 01:29:05
975 Steve Millen/Philip Adamson Nissan Stillen GT-R 9 01:31:16
945 Glenn Inkster/Spencer Winn Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6 9 01:31:17
926 Jason Gill/Jody Somervell Mitsubishi EVO9 GT 9 01:31:47
917 Glenn Smith/Andy Lowe Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 9 01:32:02
998 Harry Dodson/Glenn Cupit Nissan GT-R35 9 01:33:16
716 Mark Whyte/Tracey Lance Toyota Alteza 7 01:33:24
944 Rick Giddy/Joel Giddy Subaru WRX STI 9 01:34:10
840 Martin Dippie/Greg Ball Porsche GT3 RS 8 01:34:18

 

Follow all of the coverage of the 2010 Dunlop Targa New Zealand Rally

Well, I am sitting in the hotel room in Manakau (man-ah-cow) and I’m a bit confused about this week in New Zealand with the STILLEN team competing in the Targa Rally.  In 2006 I packed some board shorts, t-shirts, shorts, a couple pairs of jeans and a light wind breaker.  I immediately went down and bought myself a heavy jacket, jeans, and some rain gear.  In 2008 I was optimistic and brought down a pair of board shorts, couple pair of shorts and some t-shirts along with a heavy jacket and jeans.

Upon my arrival I dumped the T-shirts, shorts, and boardshorts at the house as I realized I wouldn’t need any of it for the week.  Just stuck with the jeans and jackets and was good all week.  This year when I packed I laughed when I saw my clean boardshorts sitting in the closet, grabbed all my jeans, my heavy jackets, and one pair of shorts and a few shirts.  Now I’m convinced that New Zealand is messing with me.  We haven’t had a drop of rain or even a menacing cloud and the weather reports are good for most the week with some rain possible towards the end of the week.  Just my luck!!!

As normal, Prologue day was spent with a couple of shake down stages just to get the cars sorted and the drivers and navigators on the same page.  This year Prologue was held at Hampton Downs, a beautiful new circuit about 30 minutes outside of Manakau.  Just like 2008 we’re keeping the car at the Telstra center.  During the down time we took a look at the competitors GT-R’s and I must say, they are well prepared!

Metalman’s GT-R looks very well prepared and appears to be well sorted.  Also, Clark Proctor seems to have a good handle on the car and was doing a good job pedaling around Hampton Downs.  Harry Dodson in the Dodson Motorsports GT-R arrived with a long list of light weight carbon fiber goodies and power adders.  Harry was quick around the track and put on a good show!  Tony Quinn is never someone to overlook with more GT-R targa experience than any of us and is always competitive!  Overall we’re excited for a fun, competitive week and look forward to seeing it all unfold.

Not much to report today so I just wanted to shoot some pictures over and give you a brief update on how we’re all doing.  Steve is liking the car and Phillip is getting comfortable in the passenger seat.  Joe and Mark didn’t have to do too much today.  We took advantage of the repeatability of the race track and tested out different tire pressures and different suspension settings.  Steve was able to find his sweet spot and preferred specifications and get the car dialed in.

Here’s a Ford GT, which is an great reminder of the bright orange STILLEN Ford GT that we last ran here at previous years of the Targa New Zealand!

What’s that? Never seen a furry Mitsubishi Van?  Now you can check that off your bucket list..

Daily updates to come!

Follow all of the coverage of the 2010 Dunlop Targa New Zealand Rally

Well, it’s that time of year again.  Every year around this time we prepare for Steve Millen to send the race car to some far off country or island where we will race for 5 days straight and cover nearly 2,000 miles.  In 2009 the team took on the challenges of Targa Newfoundland for the first time and brought home a first place finish in the modern division, first place finish for the manufacturers, and put down some new stage records on the public streets of Gander and others.  It was an amazing journey that saw the unveiling of the STILLEN GT-R in Targa rally competition.

If you’ve been following the STILLEN GT-R race-car you’ve seen that upon completion of the Targa Newfoundland rally the car was immediately driven by Steve and his wife Jodi back across the border to Maine, where it was picked up by Fedex vehicle transport and shipped to Texas for the National Z convention.  From there it was sent straight to Nissan headquarters in Tennessee where it sat on display in the lobby and Steve even drove it through the assembly plants in Smyrna!  After a few weeks of traveling around the country the car came back to Costa Mesa where the guys at STILLEN had just enough time to wash it, put it back on a transporter and send it to SEMA show where it was put on display in the BASF booth.  Since then the car has been on display at the Toronto auto show, numerous local car shows, the cover of DSPORT Magazine and the team even had time to test some new parts up at Spring Mountain and the Highway 341 Challenge.

2010 sees the return of Steve Millen to the Targa New Zealand rally.  In years past Steve has driven numerous different cars at the Targa rally including 6 cylinder Ford Falcon’s (basically a Taurus), a wild turbo inline-6 all wheel drive Focus that would have been an awesome car had it been able to complete all of the stages before retiring mid-week with mechanical troubles, and all the way to the Ford GT supercar that we campaigned for two years in 2006 and 2008.  The GT was a blast but it was no match for the all wheel drive Subaru’s, Evo’s, and GT-R’s.  So, Steve fixed that… Now we’re bringing an all wheel drive GT-R of our own.

At the end of June Steve and the crew competed in the Spectre 341 Hillclimb Challenge and just two days after competing loaded the car in a container and sent it on its way to New Zealand.  The car needed to leave a little earlier than normal this year because it was going to be the feature vehicle of the largest automotive show in New Zealand.  With a great showing at Speed Show and a few magazine’s writing stories about the car Steve came home and began the work out routine to keep himself in shape for competition.  He also began working closely with his new navigator and letting him know what he was looking for and what he wanted to hear.  This year Steve is throwing Philip Adamson in the passenger seat of the GT-R for the navigator duties.  Philip has co-driven in Targa events before and has some experience in what the driver needs to hear.  Good luck Philip!

I (Kyle Millen) will be leaving next Wednesday with Mark Ungles and Joe Nagy.  Mark has been a part of the Targa rally team since 2006 and Joe came on board in 2009 for Targa Newfoundland.  You might remember Mark and Joe were the Mcgyver mechanics in Newfoundland when they were able to hold a CV boot together with RTV silicone before a replacement could be sourced!!!  I will be heading down again to follow along the rally and send back nightly updates on our progress.  Check back in a few days as I plan on writing a couple of updates on the car and work we’ve done before competition begins.  We can’t wait to get started and hope you enjoy the action!

Follow all of the coverage of the 2010 Dunlop Targa New Zealand Rally

During the product development process at STILLEN, our designers and engineers come together to make products that marry form and function to create durable parts that enhance your cars looks and performance. Here’s a sneak peek at how we make body kits and body components for cars like the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

With the goal of enhancing the Genesis’ body lines in mind, our design team sketched several variants of a front lip spoiler. After the best concepts were selected, the engineering staff reviewed and revised each mock up, narrowing the ideas down to the most aerodynamically sound and aesthetically pleasing.

Inside STILLEN’s modeling shop, our veteran modelers fashion the first physical version of the 2D mockup to reflect the mock-up penned by the designers. This process is all done on an OEM bumper, which makes for perfect fitment every time.

After taking meticulous measurements and addressing slight changes to contours of the lip spoiler, one side is completed:

…and it can be symmetrically replicated on the opposing side:

Check back soon for more updates on the process of creating a lip spoiler at STILLEN, including the first urethane mold, mounting, and the final product.

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