Targa New Zealand Rally 2011: Racing Day 4

October 28, 2011

Fourth day down and one to go!  New Zealand Targa rallies are generally ran in both wet and dry conditions.  It is extremely rare for the entire rally to go completely dry, however last year it did happen!  This year however, the weather has arrived and brought with it some more carnage.

Hopper has officially retired from the rally.  We found out last night that the car may be a total right off.  Initial conversations were that it wasn’t too bad but apparently the car endoed and the coil overs were relocated through the hood!  I’m sure we’ll see Leigh back next year though.  The white Maserati performed some its own air show this morning.  The story is the car went flying off the road completely missing a turn.  According to reports around the rally the driver said they flew a solid thirty feet in the air and the car kept going for about 200 meters down a hill before coming to rest at the bottom of another hill….thanks to the assistance of a tree stump!  Apparently the car isn’t too bad though and may be back in the morning if they can find a new radiator.  Best of luck to them!

Inkster also had a couple of moments today with one or two spins and a slide off the road and into a bank which re-designed the right rear corner of his Mitsubishi.  No worries though as Inkster comes from a gravel rally background where these situations are common place.  The crew pulled out the hydraulic spreaders and bent it back into shape again.  He didn’t miss a single stage and is still running strong.

Today we traveled to the town of Marton which is home of the infamous “cop corner.”  A few years ago a local police officer decided to blow the road closure after the sweep car went through but before the rally cars started.  The story goes that the rally organizers tried stopping him but he informed them of his official position in the region and took off anyways.  He ended up getting his just deserves as he blew through the 90 degree left hander and launched his car into the paddock beyond…Hence the name “cop corner.”

This corner can be tricky in the best conditions but the local council just laid down new tarmac last week.  Apparently the term “laying down new tarmac” in this region means…opening a giant bag of rocks and dragging it from one side of the road to the other!  It was nothing but gravel!  Add to that the wet weather conditions and you can imagine how tricky this corner became!  The drivers ran the stage twice today.  The first time around a Ford escort panel wagon about three cars in decided to park it in the grass/fence.  So all of the upcoming cars had to slow way down to avoid them. (Video Below)

A WRX (drivern by Leigh Hoppers helicopter instructor, not kidding!) performed a perfect job of parallel parking as he slid directly between the Escort and the armco for the single lane bridge.  With the assistance of the all wheel drive in the Subie he was able to get right back on the road and continue on.  The Escort meanwhile had to be pulled out after the stage had closed. (Video Below)

After the cars had gone through the first time we heard a report that Proctor was being towed down the transit stage on the back of a tow rope.  Rumor has it he has blown his transmission…Which is a HIGHLY modified unit.  He missed the repeat of “cops corner” which was the last stage of the day.  Hopefully his team can repair the car and get him back out in the morning.

Steve and Jen are doing a great job of pushing hard and doing their best.  We didn’t get off to a great start with the differential issues we had early in the week and that put us in a hole which has been basically impossible to climb out of.  The team is doing well though and we are coming up with new ideas on how to prepare the car for next year!  The car is running well and we had a nice team dinner tonight to celebrate Jen’s birthday.  These races are a lot about competition and winning but the biggest thing is having fun and bringing the car and drivers home safely.

 

Last night more footage was added to the video capturing Steve Millen racing the STILLEN GT-R against Leigh Hopper and his helicoper as well!

Footage from local spectators is beginning to hit the web as well, here’s a quick shot of the STILLEN GT-R rounding a corner on Day 1

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JntzIFKCnkY

 

 

All 2011 Targa New Zealand Coverage

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Targa New Zealand Rally 2011: Racing Day 3

October 27, 2011

We are officially past the middle of the week and the car is running very well!  Tonight we swung by a local auto shop to do some simple service work.  Just an oil change, brake pad replacement and general inspection.  Everything looked great and we can’t wait to see how Steve and Jen do the next two days.  Today consisted of a lot of running around and trying to help the service crew and I wasn’t able to get on any stages.  However, i assure you there will be more photos coming in tomorrow.

There’s no lack of support for Steve Millen, as shown by his youngest fan, his grandson Braeden!

There have been quite a few interesting developments over the day.  Quinn was experiencing a damaged oil return line from one of his turbos but that is/was a pretty minor repair.  The car is back in overnight parking now and ready for tomorrow.  Glenn Inkster in the Evo 6 Mitsubishi is still going strong, actually had a bit of an off today on one stage damaging his hood and front bumper.  Nothing too major though as he only lost 15 seconds on the stage!  Rumor is that he actually spun one or two times after that stage and is still able to continue taking time off the leaders!  man, this guy can drive!!!

Leigh Hopper, the guy dad raced in the helicopter yesterday, apparently though he was still in his helicopter…The story is he tried doing a barrel roll on the fifth stage of the day before realizing his car doesn’t fly quite like the chopper…Haven’t seen the car yet but apparently it was on its roof.  Hopper, always in good spirits, was sited on the side of the stage throwing rocks at the Giddy car, good friends of his, as they went by!  Best of luck to team HTR in getting the car back out in the morning.

Overall the car and the team are working well.  Steve and Jen are doing their best and we’re hoping for a good result!

More photos and updates to come tomorrow!

Another angle of yesterday’s GT-R vs. Helicopter drag race

 

Quick interview with Steve Millen at 3:00 in on the official Targa NZ daily recap

 

All 2011 Targa New Zealand Coverage

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Targa New Zealand Rally 2011: Racing Day 2

October 26, 2011

Well we had an eventful day today!!!  I wrote last night’s first blog post from the hotel room prior to everyone else arriving.  Conrad and I got there a bit early so we checked in and started getting things organized for the rest of the teams arrival.  Once Steve and Jen arrived we ran down to the town they were in and went straight over to the local Nissan dealership who were kind enough to offer the use of their facilities so we could go over the car after the first days events.

Steve had lost considerable amounts of time because the car was going into limp mode due to high transmission temperatures.  We wanted to inspect everything and see what was going on.  As soon as we dropped the diff fluid, we knew we had found the culprit.  Inside the diff fluid there were clear signs of metal wear.  The fluid had taken on a metallic shimmer.  We inspected the transmission fluid and it looked fine.  For those of you who don’t know, the GT-R rear differential, transmission, and transfer case all share one big assembly.  So, we figured that the differential was getting so hot it was cooking the transmission as well.  The only thing we could do was pull out our spare assembly and install it.

Normally, if we were in a GT-R certified dealership working with the right tools, this would be a 3-5 hour job.  However, this was not a certified GT-R dealer, and we did not have all the tools!  After a lot of swearing, some busted knuckles, and some frustrating moments, we finished the swap….at 5:15 a.m. this morning!!!  We went back to our hotel rooms, got an hour of sleep and packed up to take on today’s adventures.

That was a lot of work and a real pain but boy was it worth it!!!  Steve was pushing hard today and according to early reports finished second in a couple stages.  Had he been able to push harder yesterday like he did today we would be in a much better position!!!  Unfortunately, we’re a little out of luck as it is what it is, but that’s racing!

Attrition is already showing on some of our competitors cars!  Dodson blew up one of their gear boxes yesterday and was having more issues today, keep in mind their transmissions are HEAVILY modified and far from stock.  Proctor cracked three wheels yesterday and arrived to the parking garage this morning with a brand new set on all four cars!  A couple of cars have gone off but fortunately nothing major and everyone has been able to carry on and make the necessary repairs.

While it was awesome to see Steve and Jen pushing hard today and making big strides, it was even more exciting when Leigh Hopper challenged Steve to a bit of a drag race at this afternoon’s extended stay lunch stop on an airport strip.  Normally these stops are only an hour or so, but to avoid the evening traffic crossing the bridge in Auckland the organizers set up a three hour event at Sunny Hills airport in Warkworth.  Leigh challenged Steve to a drag race in the GT R….against his acrobatics helicopter!!!  It was insane!  Leigh is an amazing pilot and was performing some amazing aerial acrobatics, including sliding his helicopter along the grass for a good 100 feet or so.  They raced twice and Steve won the first time but Hopper took the victory the second go around. Check out the video on-board to see the race!  The GT-R’s ECU has been set with a top speed limiter of 200km/hr, which is the maximum speed allowed in the rally.. Leigh’s helicopter doesn’t have such a limiter!

All in all, it was an awesome day!  However, as you can imagine, I’m exhausted!!!  Enjoy the pictures and video, I’m going to bed!

 

All 2011 Targa New Zealand Coverage

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Targa New Zealand Rally 2011: STILLEN GT-R Back in Action!

October 24, 2011

Well, we’re back in New Zealand for the Targa Rally.  Today was the first official day of the event and it started with scrutineering in the viaduct in Auckland Harbor.  Last night was pretty exciting as the All Blacks (New Zealand rugby team) won the world cup!  Today was a bit busy in Auckland as they shut down the main streets and had a ticker tape parade for the team.  GO ALL BLACKS!!!!!

Once we got down to the scrutineering location we let Steve and Jen (more on Jen later in this post) do their thing with the organizers of the event.  Mark and Joe (you know them from years past) have to follow up with their crew meeting.  Conrad and I cruised through the park ferme (parking area) to check out some of the competitors cars.  The BS has already started as some of the other GT-R teams are telling us they aren’t running as much power as we know they are….That’s OK…we’re not going to tell them everything we’ve done either!!! Read more

STILLEN Obtains 50-State Legal Status for Nissan 370Z / Infiniti G37 Supercharger System

September 7, 2011

For over 25 years STILLEN has been recognized as a leader in Nissan/Infiniti tuning. With a history of setting “first time” milestones in the aftermarket for these great vehicles, STILLEN has established themselves as the company to follow when it comes to Nissan and Infiniti product development. STILLEN was the first company to develop the HICAS eliminator system for the 300ZX Z32 platform. When the Z33 350Z was introduced, STILLEN was once again the leader with the first forced induction solution, as well as the first to offer CARB legality, and AGAIN the first with a 3-year/36,000 mile engine warranty.

Well, STILLEN has done it again as Team STILLEN is proud to announce the CARB approval of the Nissan 370Z (Z34) G37 Supercharger Kit.

STILLEN has not only been the first company to achieve CARB legality of a forced induction solution on the VQ37, we have also been the first company to achieve such an accomplishment while tuning through Nissan’s sophisticated ECU with larger injectors. This is a major accomplishment for Team STILLEN and one that will join the many other first time landmarks STILLEN has achieved in the Nissan/Infiniti tuning world.

CARB (California Air Resources Board) is the division of the California state government that controls all aspects of air quality and standards. With standards getting stricter it is getting more and more difficult to achieve CARB legality. CARB is recognized as the toughest emissions control in the country and is therefore recognized in all 50 states as an emissions standard for all performance parts. If a performance part achieves CARB legality, it is recognized as 50-state legal.

The power the STILLEN Supercharger system delivers is dramatic, taking the factory 3.7L V6 from 332hp to over 500hp! The system is designed to work with both automatic and 6-speed vehicles, including convertible and AWD models.

The STILLEN VQ37 Supercharger features a new cast aluminum intake manifold engineered specifically for this kit, complete air-to-water intercooler system, and boost is derived from a Vortech V-3 Supercharger unit. The V-3 features a quiet V-belt design, and a self-contained oiling system for easy maintenance.

In the past year STILLEN has shipped supercharger systems around the world. Fantastic reviews and reports are coming in from:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • Russia
  • Thailand
  • Korea
  • Canada
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • France
  • Unite Arab Emirates
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • United Kingdom

Not to mention all of the kits that have been installed with great success across the United States at Nissan/Infiniti dealerships and performance shops. This is a bolt-on system, capable of being installed by any qualified ASE-certified automotive performance shop, or at hundreds of Nissan and Infiniti dealerships across the country, or right here at STILLEN at our in-house install facility.

Once again, STILLEN has successfully accomplished all of its goals with another great forced induction solution for the Nissan/Infiniti vehicles.

STILLEN 3.7L Supercharger System Features Include:

  • Vortech V-3 Centrifugal Supercharger Unit
  • STILLEN purpose designed cast aluminum intake manifold with long runners for increased torque
  • Installs under the stock hood – No modifications needed
  • Complete system includes pre-assembled Vortech V-3 supercharger assembly, air intake with polished air charge pipe and genuine K&N intake filters, fuel injectors, air-to-water intercooler, UpRev ECU Tuning cable/software and detailed installation instructions.
  • Optional 3-year/36,000 mile powertrain warranty
  • Made in the USA
  • 50-State Emissions Legal (E.O. Number D-436-17)



About STILLEN
STILLEN, located in Costa Mesa, CA, is a premier manufacturer and distributor of a select line of high performance products for late model import and domestic vehicles — developed by enthusiasts for enthusiasts. Founded in 1986 by renowned professional driver and race car builder, Steve Millen, STILLEN incorporates cutting edge race proven technology and advanced aerodynamic designs into the company’s proprietary performance and appearance product lines. Millen is known worldwide for achieving the greatest number of wins in IMSA GT history during the course of an impressive racing career that spans 30 years and numerous wins in series around the globe – from Le Mans to the 24 Hours of Daytona. Still family owned and operated, STILLEN branded products include exhaust systems and components, superchargers, fuel systems and components, brake kits and components, and urethane body styling products. The company’s race heritage and continued participation in motorsports has added special focus on motorsports proven R&D, manufacturing processes and materials, and expert, enthusiast-based customer support, distinguishing STILLEN in the field of performance manufacturers. In addition, STILLEN is an online reseller of many high performance products for late model cars and trucks, import and domestic, and creator of unique, one-of-a-kind performance project vehicles.

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