November 11, 2010
Every year towards the end of October, teams from around the world gather together in Auckland, New Zealand to start the 5 day Dunlop Targa Rally. The Targa Rally is a grueling test of man and machine that takes place over closed country roads that would normally be open to the public. The roads get closed down for just a few hours, just long enough to funnel 100+ “rally” cars through. Competitors arrive in all types of vehicles, from a Ferrari F430 World Challenge race car, a Maserati and a few Porsche GT3 super cars to WRC-prepared Subaru and Mitsubishi rally cars, and even the older classic cars come out in force, like the old Mark 1 Escort’s and even a Datsun 240Z with a supercharged LS2 engine and sequential gearbox. 2010 however was the year of Godzilla.
In the 2010 running of the New Zealand Dunlop Targa Rally there were four Nissan R35 GT-R’s competing in the actual race, and one GT-R competing in the Targa “Tour”, an event which takes place on the same closed roads and along the exact same route as the actual rally, the only difference being the Tour drivers are limited to a much lower top speed and do not compete for any sort of winner’s prize. The four GT-R’s this year were piloted by some of the most experienced Targa Rally competitors, including Tony Quinn. Tony has won 3 Targa’s now and competes in Australia and New Zealand with his GT-R in numerous different Targa’s each year. Steve Millen took the STILLEN-prepared GT-R to the event Read more
October 29, 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 Read more
October 29, 2010
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!
Last night I was walking through the parking lot and noticed a car on a trailer covered by a tarp Read more
October 28, 2010
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.
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. Read more
October 27, 2010
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.
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 Read more
October 26, 2010
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! Read more
October 25, 2010
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!!! Read more
October 19, 2010
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 Read more
August 25, 2010
Nick is an avid Nissan enthusiast and he and I have been sharing emails back and forth for about a year now as we helped him take his standard Altima Sedan from stock to one-of-a-kind. Nick has done a lot of work to this car and his passion shines through in every way! We are extremely proud to say that a lot of the parts Nick has on his ride are STILLEN original parts or one of the many great vendors we carry.
This Altima has been transformed from front to back and top to bottom! Proving that even the smallest, subtle changes can make big impacts! Here is the long list of modifications performed to the Altima. Read more
August 19, 2010
NZ Autocar magazine is the premier automotive magazine covering all things cool in the automotive world of New Zealand, and this month the STILLEN GT-R graces the cover and a full 8-page feature with performance testing.
With the STILLEN GT-R down in New Zealand for both the Speedshow (NZ’s largest auto show) where it was on display with the matching orange STILLEN Ford GT, and the upcoming Targa New Zealand Rally, it was the perfect opportunity for Read more