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