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STILLEN Event Tracking

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Formula Drift Round 1: The Streets of Long Beach

April 1, 2017

By Richard Fong

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On the streets of Long Beach, April 1st was no Fool’s Day. Drivers waged fierce battles in the first round of the Formula Drift Championship, leaving no room for anyone faint of heart or too timid to push beyond the limit.

 

Now in its fourteenth year, Formula Drift kicked off the 2017 season on a moderate spring day in Long Beach. The weather could not have been more conducive for a day of tire-smoking fun and enjoyment for all. Attendees could walk through the competitor pits while also checking out the expanded vendor row that occupied the area adjacent to the pits as well as the infield behind the bleachers with the AutoCon Car Show.

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Bye, Bye, Bye

As fans of drifting, we were bummed about the number of bye runs that kicked off the Top 32 eliminations. The top five drivers enjoyed automatic advances into the sweet 16 round for a couple of reasons. First, the usual attrition that comes with drifting, K-rails and tire barriers and, second, a reduction in the number of qualified drivers on the Pro roster. There just weren’t enough to fill a field of 32. We are hopeful that more drivers will see the opportunity to compete and fill the driver list in the near future.

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Upsets Abound

Despite the number of bye runs, the 2017 season kicked off with a shake-up of the norm as numerous upsets throughout the eliminations by up-and-coming drivers sidelined veterans and champions alike. Top qualifier Vaughn Gittin Jr. faced elimination in the Top 16 round at the hands of Dean “Karnage” Kearney.

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Former champions Dai Yoshihara and Michael Essa faced off in the first round. Yoshihara suffered an unfortunate mishap when he snapped a power steering belt just before finishing turn 10. This caused him to straighten out and almost collide with the K-rail, suffering a loss.

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The 2015 champion Fredric Aasbo competed in his new Toyota Corolla iM drift car as if he’d been driving it for years. After his first round bye run, he beat Kristaps Bluss to move on to the Great 8 against Alex Heilbrunn. Heilbrunn also enjoyed a first round bye before beating Juha Rintanen to advance to his match up with Aasbo. Heilbrunn upset the Norwegian Hammer and advanced to the Final 4.

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Three-time champion Chris Forsberg defeated Alec Hohnadell in the first round before facing Ken Gushi in a too-close-to-call second match. Forsberg and Gushi delivered a great battle that many felt could have gone for a one-more-time rebattle, but the judges ruled in Forsberg’s favor to the dismay of the crowd, who chanted a chorus of “One-More-Time” as the judges’ decision was posted on the Jumbotron. Forsberg faced elimination by the number two qualifier, James Deane in the Great 8. Deane enjoyed a bye run before defeating Essa on his way to face Forsberg. Deane’s victory over Forsberg put him into the Final 4.

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First Time Finalists

Bakchis has competed for seven years and podiumed six times, while Tuerck has thirteen years in Formula Drift competition and twelve podiums to his credit, according to driftstats.com. By comparison, Heilbrunn has just one year in Formula Drift Pro2 and one year in the Pro Championship. Deane competed at four rounds of Formula Drift competition back in 2010 and returned for the first time since to compete in the USA at Long Beach. Bakchis paired with Heilbrunn while Tuerck matched up with Deane.  The sophomore drivers each prevailed, putting both into the finals for the first time. When the smoke cleared and the contenders lined up in front of the grandstands, the judges awarded James Deane his first Formula Drift event victory as Heilbrunn proudly claimed his first podium as runner up. Since Tuerck qualified higher than Bakchis, he was awarded third spot on the podium.

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With the first round in the books, Formula Drift and its roster of drivers prepare to make the trek across the US of A to Round 2 at Orlando Speed World. On the weekend of April 28-29, the state of Florida will feel the thunder as both the Pro and Pro2 divisions lay down rubber to the tarmac. This season is already shaping up to be an exciting one so be sure to keep your eyes focused on the Formula Drift Championship!

AutoCon LA 2017

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March 25, 2017

Images Courtesy of Tyler Lee @ CarNinja

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The Los Angeles Convention Center hosts some of the most epic automotive events in the nation. On March 25, 2017, AutoCon filled the halls with a few of the finest machines from across the country. Crowds came in droves, lining up outside the convention hall for hours, waiting for their chance to file into the grand halls of the Convention Center. For an event held on a Sunday afternoon from 1pm-to-8pm, thousands of attendees waited in lines that snaked all the way out the front of the convention hall as interest in the event and the excitement of anticipation built up to a fever pitch.

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Once inside, the fans were greeted by a balanced presentation of high quality vehicle builds ranging from vintage rides and domestic muscle to aggressive imports and European exotics. AutoCon attracts a strong following of quality builds, ensuring that everyone in attendance experiences the finest in vehicle construction. There was no shortage of eye candy and inspiration for the car lover in us all.

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Slammed chassis, custom paint, aggressive aerodynamics and numerous engine swaps could be found throughout the vast convention halls. Eye catching machines showcased the latest trends and delivered a good idea of what is popular in the scene. The bolt-on overfender styling of Rocket Bunny, Liberty Walk and RAUH-Welt BEGRIFF (RWB) continues its foothold in the scene as platforms ranging from the accessible FR-S/BRZ up to the more exotic GT-Rs and Ferraris featured wide over fenders and aggressively offset wheels.

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The “slammed and stanced” trend continued as some machines had so much negative camber that the car was rolling on its inner side walls while the outer shoulder of the tires never touched the pavement. Note the daylight shining through?

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Honda chose this particular venue, rather than a traditional main-stream auto show like Detroit or Los Angeles to debut its entry in the hot hatch category: the 2017 Civic Type-R. This machine just captured the FWD track record at the N?rburgring Nordschleife Circuit from the previous record holder, the Volkswagen GTI Clubsport, with a lap time of 7 minutes 43.8 seconds. (Check out the video on YouTube)

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As the night drew to a close, the grand exodus of these machines formed a procession of horsepower leading out of the halls and onto Downtown Los Angeles’ streets, a sight to truly behold. We can hardly wait for next year.

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You might be wondering… When it’s time to replace your brake rotors, should you upgrade your brake rotors or just replace them with identical OEM rotors? One tip the STILLEN brake experts offer: consider how you use your car.

Is it a daily driver used for commuting and errands? Are you an enthusiast who lives for the open road and canyon carving? Or maybe you participate in autocross or track days.

Regardless, there are many choices in rotors, and one way to shop for replacement brake rotors, as well as brake pads and brake fluid is with a Good- Better – Best approach.

For more info about this approach, check out this how-to video from STILLEN expert Mark.

 

Brake Rotor Upgrade Level: GOOD

Drivers seeking a good rotor that offers a performance and durability upgrade from OEM rotors should consider upgrading to STILLEN OEM replacement brake rotors.  They are well suited for aggressive driving and the occasional track day.

Features include straight cut vanes, zinc coating, chamfered slots and precision ground friction surfaces.  Multiple machining options are available, from slotted to cross drilled to the popular hook slot hybrid finish.

Available for virtually any passenger vehicle on the road today, STILLEN sport rotors are proudly Made in USA.

Brake Rotor Upgrade Level: BETTER

For hard core enthusiasts and track day fans concerned with high temperature heat management, a better option might be the DBA 4000 series brake rotors. These discs offer more sophisticated metallurgy for longer life.

They also feature DBA Kangaroo Paw vane technology. These vanes are multi-directional, meaning they draw cooling air in from any direction.

This improves heat dissipation and also permits the rotors to be mounted on both driver and passenger side hubs. Another stylish touch is the available gold rotor vanes and hats.

Brake Rotor Upgrade Level:  BEST

The ultimate brake rotor upgrade could be the DBA 5000 series.  Suitable for frequent track use, these rotors offer the Kangaroo paw vane technology and improved metallurgy of the 4000 series, but add a two piece design.

The rotor hat is a separate assembly that is bolted to the brake rotor. This helps isolate the wheel hub bearings from excess heat, reduces brake vibration caused by rotor warping under heavy use, and offers weight savings as well.

One indicator the DBA 5000 series are meant for serious drivers is the brake temperature paint applied to the rotor edges. These indicators help drivers ascertain the temperature range their brake system is operating in.

This in turn helps determine proper brake pad and brake fluid selection for track use.

Brake Pad Replacement and Upgrades

It’s always advisable to replace brake pads when mounting new rotors. STILLEN Metal Matrix brake pads offer a nice blend of bite and power along with reduced dust and noise. This makes them ideal for street and occasional track use.

Other brake pads might be better suited for full-on track use, such as the Hawk HPS 5.0s or Ferodo DS2500 HP.

Brake Fluid Replacement

When you’re considering brake system upgrades, it’s essential to include brake fluid replacement in the thought process.

One popular opinion is that it’s best to upgrade to racing brake fluid.

As STILLEN brake expert and all-around good guy Mark explains, this is a common misconception.

While your OEM brake fluid does have a limited heat capacity, so does your OEM brake system. Upgrading your rotors and pads does give you a higher threshold, but your calipers still have a limit.

If you upgrade your brake fluid past what the calipers can handle, you could exceed your brake systems operating envelope without knowing it. Should it occur, brake fluid boiling is an indicator that your brake system is overheating.

Going with a little bit of an upgrade is fine, but you don’t need to go with a full-on race brake fluid.

While shooting the how to video for brake upgrades, Mark installed the DBA 4000 series rotors and STILLEN Metal Matrix brake pads on his Subaru BRZ and had the following to report:

“After we finished the install on the brakes, we moved onto the bed-in procedure then onto our test drive and you could really feel the difference. Our stopping distances were much shorter, our initial bite was much better and brake fade was much less apparent as the brakes heated up so this is an awesome upgrade for the BRZ or for any vehicle. You can really improve your driving experience.”

Questions About Brake Rotors?

Our brake experts are standing by and will stop at nothing to help you in quest for better braking. Take a brake from whatever you’re doing and call them at 866-250-5542!

STILLEN is a company that is proud to be owned and operated by automotive enthusiasts. This week’s employee spotlight is on one of our veterans here.

Dean Doan

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Dean has been a performance specialist here at STILLEN since 1999. Coming from the tuning scene, Dean’s platform of choice was a G35 Sedan. Obviously working here he had his G35 STILLENized within no time. Last year Dean decided to pull the trigger on a new 2015 Subaru WRX.

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STILLEN had already been looking into entering the Subaru tuning market and Dean’s purchase made it that much easier. Dean said he has always been a fan of the WRX, but with the new design and its improved chassis, updated looks, and more mature interior design he was sold! Immediate plans went into the modifications that would be done and what kind of parts we wanted to make as a company. Dean’s WRX was used for testing and developing both our Hi-Flow Intake and our Performance Exhaust System. The 2015 WRX is an impressive car and seeing how it responds to tuning upgrades is amazing. Dean says he loves the power delivery and the handling. The car was good from the factory, but between STILLEN and some of our industry partners we have really transformed this Subie!

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Dean’s Build List:

Dean still isn’t finished with his build. He plans to do a full turbo back exhaust system, upgraded intercooler, and a full custom tune. To reign in all that power, the plan is to upgrade to the new AP Radi-CAL by STILLEN Big Brake Kit. Subscribe to our blog for further updates on Dean’s build.

ANNOUNCING STILLEN’S ALL NEW SCION FR-S / SUBARU BRZ BODY KIT

STILLEN FR-S Body Kit

Continuing STILLEN’s long-standing heritage of producing OEM-quality polyurethane body kits, we’re excited to release the highly anticipated body kit components for the new Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ.

These OEM-quality body components are the result of a community-sourced design contest publicized on Facebook.

After a two month open entry period, top finalists were picked by STILLEN’s staff from over 100 design entries. The top contestants were then voted on by STILLEN Facebook fans. After a tight race between Greg Thompson and Mohammed Irfendy, Thompson took the win as people’s choice.

The parts were sculpted at STILLEN’s modeling shop in Costa Mesa, CA. Final production pieces are manufactured out of OEM-quality polyurethane in-house at the STILLEN headquarters and manufacturing center. Polyurethane has many benefits for aftermarket automotive applications, the most obvious is it will maintain an OEM-quality finish without cracking, as opposed to composites like fiberglass or carbon fiber.

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STILLEN FR-S Body Kit shown without Roof or Rear Deck Wing

Components are available separately, as well as packaged together as complete kits. The components include:

POLYURETHANE FRONT LIP SPOILER
This clean yet aggressive lip spoiler has a strong visual effect on the front of the FR-S. Installs over the OEM fascia, and has body lines to ease in painting the piece a 2-tone for additional effect, or can be painted completely body color as well. Front lip spoiler fits FR-S only.

POLYURETHANE SIDE SKIRTS (ROCKERS) WITH REAR CORNER ACCENTS
This 4-piece kit includes both passenger and driver-side side skirts, and also includes rear corners for both sides. Like the lip spoiler, there are body lines present to incorporate a 2-tone paint scheme if desired. Side skirts replace the OEM skirts, and the rear corner accents cover the OEM rear fascia.

STILLEN FR-S Roof Wing

POLYURETHANE ROOF WING
A unique element which rounds out the body kit, seeming to extend the roof line into the rear window. Installs at the top of the rear glass, designed specifically to match the contours of the vehicle.

STILLEN FR-S Rear Deck Wing

POLYURETHANE REAR DECK WING
This simple design element adds a surprisingly large amount of character to the rear trunk. Easily installed and does not require drilling.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT OUR NEW WEBSITE AT WWW.STILLEN.COM

It’s official the Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ has the aftermarket industry in a buzz and although we would LOVE to get our products out on the market as soon as possible, we always make sure the products do what they should before you put them on your vehicle. Case in point the STILLEN designed intake for the Scion FR-S.
Dyno Testing a Scion FRS at the STILLEN Performance Shop

Here’s a quick teaser vid of the FR-S putting the intake to good use… We can’t wait to hear a customer scream by the building as soon as they get theirs installed.

Make sure you visit our website or give us a call for more information on STILLEN SCION FR-S and SUBARU BRZ goodies.
www.STILLEN.com

STILLEN
(800) 834-0376

Most people immediately associate STILLEN with everything Nissan, while we do pride ourselves on our extensive knowledge of the name plate that was the corner stone of our founder Steve Millen’s racing career. We also, pride ourselves in our knowledge of just about every other make and model as well. We treat every car that comes into our performance center with extreme care and respect. From routine oil changes, to motor swaps, to brake jobs, there is never a corner cut or a shortcut taken in the work we do for our customer vehicles.  We are glad to see that word of this commitment to quality is spreading faster than ever,  a quick snapshot of the vehicles in our Performance Center today further illustrates this.

This customer is blending the line between street and track with an amazing suspension set up and a front and rear set of AP RACING brakes for his Subaru WRX STI

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A different customer brought in his 2012 Chevrolet Camaro to get a Cat-back exhaust system installed in order to unleash the power and the sounds of his 6.2L  L99 Camaro SS.

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We have a beautiful Nismo 350z in the corner of our shop getting a tune up and a Stage 3 Supercharger installed.

On our alignment rack we have a 2011 GT-R getting some angle dialed into it’s suspension in order to make it handle even better on the street and track.

 

If you happen to own a specialty vehicle and feel it deserves to get the respect and attention you put into it by a PROFESSIONAL mechanic. Please don’t hesitate to give us a ring. 1-866-250-5542 One of our specialists will gladly set up and appointment for you and make sure your ride gets the attention it deserves.