As most of you know my personal car is a Nissan 350Z that I bought last summer. I searched for months to find a 350Z that met my standards and eventually found one at a large dealership in South Georgia. It was a 2004 Touring Edition equipped with the six speed manual transmission with 32k miles on the odometer. The car had one previous owner who had bought the car new from the same dealership that she traded it into for a new Challenger SRT8(this was a multiple manufacture dealership) and it had a perfect Carfax report showing regular oil changes at the dealer. The car was exactly what I was looking for and the perfect track day project for me to get started with HPDE events.
For the past 10 months I have left the car in stock form except for Carbotech brake pads and constant fluid changes using Motul products. Last summer I was able to drive the car 10 days on track and decided instead of tossing aftermarket performance parts at the car to produce faster lap times I wanted to learn the car and become a better driver. I made a promise to myself I was not going to modify the car until I was able to do a 1:39 lap time at Atlanta Motorsports Park, which is a tall order for a noob driver as myself. With some help from my friend Ed, basically calling me a bitch and telling me I needed to man up(is this how all driving instructors operate?!?) I was able to click off a few 1:39.XX lap times during my last event of 2012. This was done with a stock 350Z on all season tires, I was pretty proud of myself.
Now that I had achieved my goal I finally felt as the car being stock was holding me back and it was time to install and aftermarket part or two. The issue with this is I did not have the funds to just casually toss money at the car, so I had to be smart and get some help from friends in the industry when and where I could. Without them this would not have been possible so I want to take a minute to give out a few thank you’s that are very deserved:
-Melissa over at Competition Clutch for hooking me up with their Stage 2 Clutch Kit and Ultra Lightweight Flywheel. This set up has taken a ton of track abuse over the past six months. Awesome product from a local Atlanta company, it doesn’t get any better than that. Thank you so much Melissa.
-Scott at Konig Wheels for getting me a set of their Konig Milligram wheels for the Z. The Milligram is actually made using Enkie’s M.A.T. Technology Wheel Process so they are super strong and very light! My wheels are 18×9.5 and come in at 19.6 lbs each! That is lighter than the Work Emotion Kai, BBS RGR, Weds Sport SA55M, Gram Lights 57D, Work XD-9, BBS LM, Work Meister S1, Enkie NT03 and many more. This is a huge deal as we all know rotational mass is a naturally aspirated 350Z’s worst enemy…and it doesn’t hurt that it is a damn good looking wheel. Thanks again for everything Scott.
-Ryan at Topspeed Motorsports for making sure any parts I needed got to me at a fair price and being patient with me as there were times I changed my mind and needed different parts or wasn’t able to always instantly order parts. Thank you Ryan, you’re a good friend.
-Dylan at Countersteer Motoring for too many things to list! Thank you so much for all your help. Countersteer Motoring was able to come through for me so many times on last minute installs, advice and help. Dylan is an extremely talented technician and my car wouldn’t be as solid as it is right now without him.
-Mike at Adams Classic & Collector Cars for the matte black roof vinyl job and always fixing my paint after I destroy it doing track days. If you need your car detailed don’t even think twice about taking it anywhere else.
-My friend Robert for hooking me up with his factory R35 GT-R catback exhaust which has made my Z the best sounding VQ35 car I have ever heard. Thanks Robert, you are the man!
-Richard for staying up till 6am working on my car, thank you. Dragon run soon, I promise.
-Daniel for all the help, thank you Sir.
-Austin and Kevin, I appreciate the last minute alignment guys.
With all those thank you’s, you would assume that my car is a fully prepped racecar 350Z and I’m sorry to disappoint you but my goal for this car was to keep it a somewhat mild mannered dual purpose street/track car. I wanted something that was clean yet clearly performance oriented without the unnecessary large wings and crazy aero that has become popular as of late on street cars. I think I was able to achieve that goal with the right choice in aftermarket modifications:
-Tein Street Flex Coilovers
-Stillen Sway Bars
-Stillen Rear Camber Kit
-SPC Rear Toe Bolts
-Konig Milligram 18×9.5 +25 x 4
-15mm Z1 Motorsports Spacers/Extended Studs(Rear)
-275/35/18 Michelin Pilot Super Sport x 4
-Napa Blank Rotors
-Carbotech XP10 Front/XP8 Rear Brake Pads
-Stoptech Stainless Steel Lines
-Torque RT700 Fluid
-K&N Drop In Air Filter
-Wrinkle Black Intake Plenum
-Z1 Motorsports Plenum Spacer
-Momentum Performance Cat Delete Y-Pipe
-OEM R35 GT-R Exhaust
-Competition Clutch Stage 2 Clutch and Ultra Lightweight Flywheel
-Kirk Racing 4 point Roll Bar
-Sparco Pro2000 Seat
-Schroth 6 point Harnesses
-Forged Performance Shift Knob Powdercoated Matte Black
-Matte Black Center Bumper Section and Roof
-Rolled Rear Fenders
-Chadbee Photography “CB” Decal (Best mod EVER!)
This winter I’d like to get my hands on a set of OEM Brembo brakes and install and aftermarket steering wheel.
I know the car isn’t a huge build but I really am enjoying the car a lot more now and am looking forward to getting it out on track soon. Because I am so happy with the way the car turned out I had to charge up my camera battery and take the car out for some proper photos. Enjoy!
My friend John recently contacted me with the news that him and another member of Atlanta Motorsports Park were about to take delivery of their brand new Caterham SP300.R track vehicles. For those that are not up to date on Caterham’s newest creation here is a quick rundown from Motortrend:
This extreme track-only model will be limited to 25 units a year, roughly half of which are expected to sign up to a European one-make series, while the other half will be put to use as expensive toys. It’s aimed at owners of track-biased road cars, such as a Porsche 911 GT3 RS or Ferrari 430 Scuderia, who want to take their hobby to the next level and still have enough dollars left over for some plush everyday transport.
Tipping the scales at a featherweight 1320 pounds, the SP/300R’s power-to-weight ratio is in Bugatti Veyron territory. You slide into the steeply reclined driving seat, hook up the six-point harness, and flick a toggle to awaken the 305-hp, 2.0-liter supercharged Ford Duratec unit behind your head. You then hold the neutral button on the F1-inspired steering wheel, dip the clutch, and pull the right paddle to engage first, before releasing the clutch slowly and making a jerky getaway down the pitlane.
I spent last Monday at Atlanta Motorsports Park photographing two Caterham SP300.R’s as the owners were assisted with car set up and started to get used to the transition from track cars to what is basically is a racecar for the track day enthusiast. Here is a few of my favorites from the day….
I was contacted last week by the guys over at Velgen Wheels with a request to shoot a local IS250 that is rocking their VMB5 wheels in the beautiful matte gunmetal finish. Of course the date we scheduled the shoot for it just happened to start raining within a few minutes of me meeting up with Tung, the owner of the IS, so we retired our shoot to a local parking deck. Enjoy the photos!
A few months back I got an email from my editor over at Honda Tuning telling me he had an unusual car he wanted me to shoot for a magazine feature. My interest was peaked and I had to inquire what the project was, when he told me it was a Honda Insight with a J35 V6 VTEC engine from a Honda Odyssey swapped into the hatch area and converted to rear wheel drive my jaw almost crushed my desk. What neither one of us knew was while the car had already been approved for the feature that did not stop the owner from continuing to modify the car. By the time I contacted the guys over at Mini-Tec, the people responsible for this mad creation, they told me they had to get it retuned because they just added a 35R turbo to the swap! Within a few weeks the “Frank-Insight” was tuned and was now pushing 400whp to the rear wheels and ready for its feature shoot. Little did I know this would be one of my favorite cars I had ever shot yet also one of the most difficult. While this car is incredibly cool and badass, it also is still an Insight and not the most photogenic car on the road, haha. Regardless I think photos came out pretty well and I know the guys over at Mini-Tec loved the shots. When you get a chance, make sure to pick up a copy, check out the photos and read the article because the story behind Frank-Insight is pretty amazing.
The layout in Honda Tuning Magazine:
As most of you are aware, I left Atlanta bright and early on March 13th to start my journey to Houston Texas for what I consider to be the best automotive based event in the world, TX2k. This four day event is basically heaven on earth for the performance automotive enthusiast where you are able to see, experience and compete against some of the country’s fastest street cars.
The Omni Hotel, which is basically TX2k’s fortress, is THE place to be through out the weekend if you were not at an organized event. The Omni was a 24 hour car meet, party and of course a great place to find a few runs in “Mexico” if that is your thing.
Thursday morning I arrived at Texas World Speedway for the TX2k13 HPDE and Time Attack event. This has always been an impressive event filled with some incredible machines piloted by some very talented drivers. While most people in attendance were participating in the HPDE to just go enjoy their cars on track we also had a brave group of individuals ready to go to battle against each other and the clock. The highly competitive and talked about Time Attack started with all drivers strapping transponders to their cars which would record their lap times. When the dust settled our six fastest drivers would move on to the finial round of competition.
Congratulations is in order for the top fastest drivers of the day:
Paul C – tube frame Camaro racecar 1:45.62
Nathan C – (TopSpeed Motorsports GT-R) – 1:48.21
John M – (GT-R) – 1:50.378
Greigh K – (GT-R) – 1:51.705
Khib K – (GT-R) – 1:52.389
Jeremy R (SSP GT-R) – 1:52.428
On Friday Hennessy Performance once again hosted the TX2k dyno day and car meet. This event always brings out the biggest vendors and an always impressive collect of vehicles to be strapped to the rollers.
Later that night Lonestar Motorsports Park opened its gates for the TX2k13 night meet. Activities included a burnout contest, live music from local bands, lots of alcohol and the bikini contest.
Saturday and Sunday was when all the big boys came out to play for the Tx2k13 Drag Race Event. This notorious event brings competitors from all around the US and puts some of the most fierce machines against each other for two days. While it was clear to see the heavy GT-R influence this year the Supra, LSx and Mustang guys still represented to the fullest and we saw more than 20 8 second passes made during the event.
After the event was over, me and the guys from GT-R Heritage, AMS, Topspeed Motorsports got together for a couple quick photos before we were kicked out of the track.
Polivoks’s 4.4L Alpha 10, Tim Sanders legendary Alpha 12, and the 1600whp AMS Alpha Omega! Count THAT horsepower in one picture!
ATL GT-R’s TSM Built Alpha 12, which took home first place in the GT3 Unlimited Class and the AMS Alpha Omega which brought home honors of the highest trap speed of the event, crossing the 1320 marker at 172.9 MPH.
FOR THE FULL GALLERY OF 100+ PHOTOS ***CLICK HERE***
This morning I crawled out of bed at 8am and made a fashionable late appearance at Caffeine and Octane, which is Atlanta’s premier automotive enthusiast get together. This month I took a very casual approach and spent 95% of my time socializing with friends, which was a extremely refreshing change of pace. Keeping that casual attitude, I’m not going to give you 8 paragraphs about how amazing this event is, I’m sure you already know, and if you don’t then that isn’t my problem =P
Here are a few random photos that I did take this morning:
***ALL PHOTOS TAKEN WITH MY IPHONE***
My friend Daniel and his beautiful girlfriend, Julia recently got engaged. Naturally, they requested me to be the official photographer for their special day. Part of the process of photographing their wedding is the traditional engagement photo session. We chose Stone Mountain Park as the location for their photographs, as this place is very special to them. This is where they went on their first date and have spent many wonderful days there since.
Congratulations Daniel and Julia, I hope you enjoy the photos!
Here is a small sample of some of the images from their engagement session.
I have been buying and modifying cars for 15 years….but I have always been that guy that bought a car, did mods, drove it for a 6-12 months and sold it. It was never a big deal to me, it is just a car. I even went this route with my 2004 track edition 350Z back in 2006.
About 8 months ago I bought another Z. A mint condition, one owner, low mileage 2004 Silverstone Touring. I bought it because I wanted to get involved with HPDE Events. I replaced all the fluids with Motul goodness and slapped on some NAPA blanks and Carbotech XP10 and XP8 pads in my single piston calipers. I did 9 HPDE events last summer like this, on all season tires and was faster than the majority of street car Porsches.
Today it was just PERFECT weather here in Atlanta and while the rest of my friends had to work or were just lame I was not going to let it go to waste. I Spent the day with my Z in the North Georgia mountains. It was a beautiful day in the high 60’s and sunny. We cruised, we drove hard, took pictures, and left a S2000 CR edition in our dust. Tires squalled, Carbotech brake pads left the rotors pouring smoke and went through an entire tank of gas. The Z also hit 40k miles on the way home. It was a very memorable experience with a car that I just absolutely adore…the 350Z is a truly amazing sports car when driven hard the way it was meant to be.
For the first time in my life, I feel a real true emotional attachment to a car. I love my Z.
Iphone pics from today, it looks stock, but that doesn’t bother me.
I recently had a local up and coming performance automotive shop known as Countersteer Motoring book me to do a feature video of the production of their steering knuckle for the S Chassis drift cars that allows more angle mid-slide. The result is a very interesting concoction of grinding, sparks, welding. Check it out and share with friends!
Yesterday I left my house to go for a short drive in my 350Z and somehow ended up at my favorite place: Atlanta Motorsports Park. Upon arrival I instantly spotted what is in my opinion the best car in production, currently, and possibly ever. It is clear I have a major crush on Porsche’s GT3RS4.0. It is without a doubt the textbook example of the perfect drivers car and I was very pleased to see it being put to use the way the manufacture intended instead of sitting in somebodies garage being a showpiece.
I decided to make a desktop wallpaper for myself and others but I couldn’t decide on which image so this is what I ended up with: