Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011 Nissan Juke vs. 1971 Datsun 510, Dave Coleman's Rally Beater

By: Jake

The dream-team of automotive journalism, from the heydays of Sport Compact Car Magazine (SCC), has reunited. Dave Coleman, now Resident-Geek at MotoIQ, and Josh Jacquot, now Senior Editor for Edmunds Inside Line, have chronicled yet another completely irrational competition in their own special way. Dave's job was to haul his Datsun 510 (SCC Project Rally Beater) to put up against Nissan's latest Frankenstein-like creation, The Juke. Josh's job was to bring the shiny new Nissan and report back to the mother-ship on the happenings. Below is a brief video of the race for you all to watch, but I don't want you to stop there. Josh's full write up on the experience is reminiscent of the '90s articles in Sport Compact Car. The writing style, energy, and humor from Sport Compact Car (specifically when Josh and Dave were the head honchos) served as the inspiration for the Hamfist Racing blog.
2011 Nissan Juke vs. 1971 Datsun 510 Full Write Up, By: Josh Jacquot

Friday, November 25, 2011

Porsche Club of America - Zone 1 Autox Championship

By: Jake 

Local autocross veteran, Rich Wayne, offered a co-drive opportunity at the 2011 Porsche Club of America Zone 1 Autocross Championship. Our weapon of choice was a mid-engine 1999 Porsche Boxster. The tires of choice were 2007 vintage Kumho V710. The car was an absolute blast to drive. The featherweight Porsche felt like a Miata with the motor at the wrong end of the car. The car was bone stock. It could quickly and comfortably be brought to it's limit. Over-steer was effortlessly corrected. Under-steer was minimal and only shined it's ugly head if the driver made a big mistake.

The competition was held at the Tobay Beach autocross site. Temperatures barely broke into the 50's but the sun was shining and it was to be the last autocross of the year. We made the best of it. Our times (both raw and clean) were mere tenths of a second from each other run after run. We were constantly pushing those old tires and the 190+ hp engine to their limits. Rich and I finished 1st and 2nd in class, respectively.

Here are some pictures and a video from day 1, November 19th 2011. Until next year, have a Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2012 SCCA Solo Pax Index Figures Released

By: Jake
Thanks to dedicated SCCA Member and statistician-extraordinaire, Rick Ruth, the 2012 Pax Indexes have been set and released to the public. For those unfamiliar, The Tire Rack does a fair job at explaining the purpose of the Pax Index:
"The PAX index... is a commonly used handicapping system for comparing times of cars which are not in the same class. The index is composed of data from across the country, and tries to take the driver out of the equation and compare only the cars. These indices are based on cars prepared to the limit of the rules and driven by top drivers... The index is multiplied against your run time to provide the time you would have had if you had been in an A-Modified car. It is interesting to compare the index of one class to another to see how much time you should gain if you prepared your car to, for instance, Street Prepared rules. Look in the rule-book to find out where your car would be if you made modifications. You can also see that alphabetically, higher cars are not necessarily faster."
So with the latest 2012 figures posted, you can start planning your build now. Two big Pax "unknowns" were the new Street Touring F (STF) class, which had no data to base the index on, and the new ASP, since it absorbed the BSP Mitsubishi Evolutions and purged itself of the Corvettes. The STF index appears very light at first glance, dubbing STF officially the slowest class in solo.

Monday, November 21, 2011

iPhone Data Acquisition - MotorsportsNE Autocross in HamfistRacing.com Mazda RX7

By: Jake

These videos were taken using the iPhone application, Harry's Lap Timer, on November 10th, 2011 at the Meadowlands autocross, hosted by MotorsportsNE. The Hamfist Racing Mazda RX-7 won top honors, as the Fastest-Time-of-Day, with a lap time of 60.705 (click here for the complete results). Harry's Lap Timer integrates racing data-acquisition through the iPhone hardware (GPS and accelerometer) and iPhone high definition video to allow for video-data-overlay. The program is not bad for a $19 application. After this first go-round with the program, it became clear the sampling rate was too low to provide any useful data for autocross application. It needed additional hardware support so an Emprum GPS module was ordered. The new unit will provide 5 hertz sampling rate. This will take five times as many data samples as the original iPhone GPS internals (1 hertz - illustrated in the below videos). Keep tuned to www.HamfistRacing.com for updates and reviews for the Emprum accessory GPS module and it's integration to the iPhone application, Harry's Lap Timer in 2012. Hopefully this program can become a new tuning (and driving) tool for the Hamfist Racing team.

Note: Video #2 has an accelerometer error (reading force of gravity after reorienting the phone)

Friday, November 18, 2011

2012 National SCCA Solo/ProSolo Schedule Released

By: Jake 

Well folks, it's the time of year when you should sit down with your boss to explain, once again, why you will be away from work for sporadic days throughout your 2012 work schedule. The hard part is getting "that look" from your boss when you tell him or her that you'll be driving a big clunky trailer through the middle of nowhere on a day you are supposed to be at work. You know "that look". It's the one where you know he's thinking, "This guy is nuts." Without further delay, below please find the 2012 SCCA National Solo and ProSolo Schedule:

3/10 Dixie National Tour – Adel, GA
3/17 Texas National Tour – College Station, TX
4/14 Maryland ProSolo – TBA
4/21 Mineral Wells ProSolo -Mineral Wells, TX
4/28 San Diego National Tour - San Diego, CA
5/5 El Toro ProSolo – Irvine, CA
***CANCELED***5/19 New Jersey National Tour- East Rutherford, NJ***CANCELED***
5/25 Lincoln ProSolo – Lincoln, NE
5/27 Lincoln National Tour – Lincoln, NE
6/8 Blytheville ProSolo - Blytheville, AK
6/10 Blytheville National Tour - Blytheville, AK
***NEW EVENT***6/16 Northeast Devens Air Base National Tour - Ayer, MA***NEW EVENT***
6/30 Packwood Tour - Packwood, WA
7/7 Packwood ProSolo - Packwood, WA
7/14 Colorado National Tour – Fountain, CO
7/21 New Mexico ProSolo – Farmington, NM
7/28 Toledo ProSolo - Toledo, OH
8/4 Peru National Tour - Peru, Indiana
9/1 ProSolo Finale – Lincoln, NE
9/4 Tire Rack Solo Nationals – Lincoln, NE
10/27 Tri-States Championship – Blytheville, AR

More details at www.scca.com/solo

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Project SSM RX7 Update 2011 Season

By: Jake

After a successful run for a trophy finish at the 2010 SCCA Solo National Championship in Super Street Modified Class, the Hamfist Racing RX7 experienced a devastating blow to its progress and development. A combination of over-boosting, over-revving, maxing out fuel system capacity, and suspect octane levels, led to a not-so-unprecedented apex seal failure. The long trailer ride to Speed1Allentown was the start of a comprehensive, yet premature, powertrain overhaul that would bring the car into the pinnacle of Super Street Modified competition.

Speed1Allentown, aka KDR Performance, began the tear down and port polishiing – intake & exhaust – of the 13B rotary engine. Before the engine could be put back together, the entire rotating assembly, including a pair of new high compression Series 4 RX7 rotors and a lightweight RX8 eccentric shaft, were sent to Racing Beat in California. Racing Beat shaved material off the sides of the new rotors and balanced the entire assembly. The end product was a rotary engine that could scream effortlessly to 10,000rpm without losing balance or flow. To support the new mechanical limits of the engine both fuel and ignition systems were enhanced. KG Parts supplied the FPR, custom rail, lines and 1600cc secondary injectors while an HKS Twin Power ignition amplifier would spark the initial bang.

A blown motor has a funny way of taking things down with it. The upgraded HKS T04E turbo was one such bystander. Realizing this dangerously close to the first ProSolo of the season, I called fellow SSM competitor Andy McKee in desperation, hoping he was still selling his old turbo kit. Sure enough, it was sitting on his shelf, covered in cobwebs. Don't be fooled by the cobwebs, however, the turbo – a ball bearing Garret GT35R unit – had very light duty before Andy decide to try something else. An unmentionable shipping bill and Mr. McKee’s alacrity got the new turbo, tubular exhaust manifold, ceramic coated downpipe, and dual Tial wastegates to my door just in time for the New Jersey ProSolo. The setup was installed the next day and dyno tuned by Dave Barninger at Speed1. The car made nearly 400whp peak, but the biggest gains over the old setup were in the 3,000 to 5,000 rpm range. Here the ball bearing turbo shined, boosting both power and torque nearly 50 units. Thanks Andy!

With fresh Hoosier A6 rubber slapped on the 18x10 CCW wheels, the car made it's appearance at the SCCA New Jersey Prosolo, but not without further drama. A last minute, parking lot repair of a damaged pulley almost left the car without power steering. Thanks to the support of fellow SSM competitor Jason Becker (commonly known as the nicest guy around) and his Pop, the car was repaired in time. Elena would be the first to shake down the car in Ladies 2 class. Competition in L2 is based on indexed time, making it difficult to outrun cars like the Kugler’s featherweight EP Honda CRX. Next, I finally got to experience the benefit of all the time, sweat and tears since the motor failed. The car held together and took the win in SSM by the second largest margin of any class at the race, earning “top qualifier” prize money, two tires from Hoosier, and $200 from Mazdaspeed. Not too shabby, just don’t compare the prizes to the cost of getting the car ready.

The next weekend the RX7 was back in action at Dover International Speedway for the SCCA Solo Dover National Tour event. After some competitor shuffling, SSM became stacked with the top cars & drivers from the 2010 SCCA Solo National Championships, including the BSP national championship Mitsubishi Evolution, the ASP national championship Corvette, and the podium finishing SM Nissan 240SX. In addition to the stiff competition, the course in Dover was exceptionally long and the climate was very hot. After my first run, which was an impossibly fast time right out of the hole, I nearly fainted idling back toward grid. The competitive pressure and heat were overwhelming, but the car itself may have been to blame for the lightheaded feeling of euphoria and adrenaline. Under full boost the car pulls nearly as many G’s longitudinally as it does laterally. That is no small feat considering the RX7 is arguably the best handling chassis ever manufactured and this particular example is rolling on twelve inch wide contact patches of Hoosier’s top of the line DOT approved race rubber.

By the end of the weekend, the car finished on the podium behind the Nissan and the Corvette in open class. In SSM Ladies class, Elena was competing against more bumped up machinery, two CSP Miatas to be precise. The goal was to show the little Miatas who’s the big daddy in the Mazda family. Elena, now more familiar with the SSM RX7, was able to pull away from the roadsters by a substantial margin, bringing home the big win for the weekend.

Within a period of nine days the car had seen twenty-four national level autocross runs. Sure enough, the abuse caused a new failure. A drivetrain brace – known as the powerplant frame (PPF), which joins the rear differential with the transmission – had cracked in various places. The car needed a replacement PPF and a fabricator who could reinforce the unit to withstand the 400whp, R-compound shroud, drag-race launches. Back at Speed1, Dave Barninger sourced a takeoff PPF from a bastardized V8 swapped RX7 and reinforced the unit with quarter inch thick steel plates days before hauling out to the Oscoda Prosolo in Michigan, where the car was to face off against the RX7 of multi-time ProSolo Champion, Carter Thompson.

After the Oscoda ProSolo it became clear the car needed further improvements. The car finished more than a few tenths back from Carter Thompson’s monster RX7. With months before Nationals I naively thought there was sufficient time to upgrade and retune the suspension. Countless hours of research led me to Penske race shock builder extraordinaire Angelo Zarra of ANZE Suspension, in Long Island. ANZE worked with Joe Stimola assisting top-tier race teams custom engineer racing suspensions.

With Angelo’s help we selected a hybrid Penske 8100/7300 precision engineered coilover suspension. The front 8100 series are external reservoir double-adjustable monotube shocks. The rears adjust rebound only and have no reservoirs to install. The shocks used a clevis compatible upper mount for dynamic articulation. To mount the reservoirs ANZE provided their proprietary canister sleeves and brackets ensuring heat insulation and convenient bolt-on nature. After wrestling with spring lengths, spring rates, and shock body sizes, the suspension was complete.

The Penskes instantly provided superior feedback over the old Konis. The adjustability range was also drastically improved. Turning the knobs made big differences in the car’s behavior at speed! It was exciting but also presented many new challenges. I'd never really tuned such an adjustable shock. Trial and error was a big part of the learning process. For anyone testing and tuning similar set ups I recommend making one big shock adjustment at a time and comparing the driving characteristics.

In addition to the shock and spring improvements, the RX7 also received an upgrade from the OEM rear torsen limited slip differential to the formidable OSGiken 1.5 way Super Lock clutch type LSD. The new differential made the car feel much more composed under breaking since it allows the rear wheels to spin completely independently. And when throttle is applied, the diff locks fully, allowing for minimal wheel slip. This is especially helpful at corner exit. Speed1Allentown installed the rear diff with all new Mazda bearings, along with a new Tweak-It rear differential brace which provides more rigidity to the housing under continuous ProSolo drag launches.

The last piece of the puzzle was to bump up the rubber size once again. While the car felt amazingly responsive with rocket-like gearing sitting on 285mm rear tires, jealously struck over the success of the extraordinarily super-wide-tire’d, top performers like Carter Thompson and Mike Johnson. CCW provided properly sized rear wheels and a borrowed fender roller made mounting the monstrous 315/30/18 Hoosier A6s feasible. Clearances were tight at the rear trailing arm, so we installed aftermarket arms and offset the mount at the sub-frame.

After all was said and done, what was created, in theory, was a car completely capable for the task at hand… a National Championship. However, at this point, months of our time cushion had elapsed and Nationals was only weeks away. Due to other commitments and very uncooperative weather, testing the new wheel/tire/spring setup before Nationals was not possible.

We loaded up and proceeded on the endless drive to corn country in a borrowed Chevy Suburban (Thanks Sandro!) with the Mazda traveling in luxury on a trailer – rather than the typical protocol of tires dangling out the back of the hatchback, held in by bungee cords. Anxiety ridden throughout the entire trip since I didn’t know what to expect of the new setup, I tried to calm my nerves with endless stops for coffee and Redbull.

Nationals Update to Follow…

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

ANZE Suspension Has A New Home

By: Jake

Hamfist Racing marketing partner, and shock builders extraordinaire, ANZE Suspension has relocated to a brand new facility! Their new shop is located at 66 Glen Cove Road, Greenvale, NY, which is easier to get to and from and will offer a host of services. In addition to producing their championship-winning custom struts, they can also assist you with all your damper needs, design and fitment, dyno testing, service, rebuilding and sales or advice. Give them a try. You won’t be disappointed...

Monday, November 7, 2011

2012 NNJR SCCA Solo National Tour - Date Released!

By: Jake

The Northern New Jersey Region SCCA and the SCCA National office have booked a National Tour event at our favorite local proving ground for the 2012 season! The Meadowlands (aka Met Life Stadium) will host a tour event, rather than a ProSolo, this year, on the weekend of May18-20, 2012. I am sure the region is looking for volunteers to help plan and organize the event. If you are interested, please reach out to the NNJR SCCA core workers. See you there!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tow Vehicle Feature - VW Touareg V10 TDI

By: Jake

Are you looking for a tow vehicle to haul your heap of carbon fiber and engine grease to the nearest (or farthest) race venue? Do you want that truck to be comfortable, luxurious, capable and affordable? Enter the Volkswagen Touareg V10 Diesel TDI. With model years from 2004 to 2008, a used example can be had for less than $30k, provided you can find one. Few were manufactured, but if you can get your hands on one, the possibilities of towing stuff is endless. Need to move a 300,000 lbs airplane? No problem. Really! Watch the Fifth Gear video below.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mark Daddio - AMS/NOS Time Attack EVO X

By: Jake

Here is a quick throw back video from the days when hot-shoe-extraordinaire, Mark Daddio, piloted the AMS/NOS Time Attack EVO X. I'm not sure if AMS is actively pursuing time attack competition, but if they do, they better wise up and put the alien back in the cockpit.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Recommended Article: MotoIQ Project V8 RX7

By: Jake

This article series by the guys at MotoIQ.com discuss their Project V8 RX7. While V8 RX7's are nothing new, this series discusses the merits of the hybrid swap (debatable) as well as the intricacies of the E-Rod CARB/EPA legal LS3 kit.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hybird Pfff - 84MPG Internal Combustion FTW!

By: Jake

This lightweight chassis VW Rabbit with a properly tuned modern diesel motor drastically out performs every hybrid on the market. Dave Coleman and the team at MotoIQ.com take this VW Rabbit retrofit and break a lot of automakers' hearts.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Proposed F1 Circuit for 2013 Formula 1 Grand Prix

By: Jake

Below is the proposed 2013 New Jersey Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit spanning through Weehawken, NJ; not Jersey City as previously speculated. The event organizers should also host a Time Attack in conjunction with the F1 competition like an opening band for The Beatles. This is not a entirely unique concept. In 2008 the Long Beach Indy Grand Prix hosted a Time Attack in the streets of the great California city. There are many people who would jump at this once in a lifetime opportunity to run a city circuit with a NYC skyline back drop.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spotted: Team Polizei's M5 Interceptor Goes Sleeper

By: Jake

Hamfist Racing spies Team Polizei's M5 Interceptor: Alexander Roy's record setting road rally car, infamous for completing the highly illegal and dangerous Cannonball Run - NYC to LA - in less than 32 hours! The notorious car has gone sleeper. No more stickers. No more vinyl. Perhaps Mr. Roy is planning on setting another record - or breaking his own record. The stripped down, no frills car only has the bare essentials - night vision goggles, laser jammers, CB radios, sensors, radar detectors, etc.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Speedway Motors 2011 Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships Music Video

By Jake

Below is an excellent music video prepared by SCCA marketing partner, Speedway Motors. The video features the best of the best competing for top honors at the 2011 Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships in Lincoln, Nebraska. Don't miss the Hamfist Racing RX7 shooting a quick fireball from the exhaust at the 3:53 mark. Enjoy!

2011 SCCA Solo National Championships Run - West Course Hamfist Racing RX7 #197 SSM

By: Jake

Thanks to some inclement weather on the east course day 1, the final finishing position for the Hamfist Racing RX7 #197 SSM was 9th of 24 in class. Thanks again to my codrivers Dave Corsaro and Elena and my marketing partners, including ANZE Suspension, OS Giken and Park It NY.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Lincoln Nebraska Chamber of Commerce Hamfist Racing Interview: 2011 Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships

By: Jake

Below is an interview with Hamfist Racing (specifically Elena and I) by the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce regarding the 2011 Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships. I hope we were able to successfully promote SCCA's appreciation to Lincoln for hosting our championships and the symbiotic relationship that ensues. Thanks again to all our marketing partners/sponsors, without whom we would have never been able to compete in Lincoln - Park It NY, ANZE Suspension, OSGiken, Hoosier Tire, Mazda Motorsports and Speed1 Allentown!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thanks Park It NY & Marty's Auto Body!

Marty's Auto Body Service and Park It NY really came through in a pinch with last minute tire mounting services. The guys at Marty's, located at 500 West 25th Street in Manhattan, really got their hustle on and popped on a set of not-so-easy-to-mount 315/30/18 Hoosiers onto 18x11 CCW Classic Race wheels without much drama. In addition to being able to handle big rubber they also offer full service auto body and mechanical services. These guys have a good reputation and service the entire fleet of Zip Cars in the area.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Congratulations Andy Mckee! 2011 SSM Solo National Champion

Andy drove the A.R.E., SiasTuning, 7Parts RX7 absolutely stellar as evidenced by his videos from both East and West courses at the 2011 Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships which he shared on YouTube.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Third Time's a Charm?

by: David Corsaro

Chances are high that this old adage has been uttered by most of you reading this. Thousands of scenarios may summon this little phrase in times of much needed luck or good karma, usually when exhibiting a skill or talent. Even everyday tasks like closing a door, or walking your over-fed dog around the block more than twice trying to get it to... you know.

During these final days of August, Jake and I will be making our third visit to Nationals since 2009. In two prior visits, I have struggled trying to find my usual comfort zone. When I am not comfortable, I am not confident. When I am not confident, I am slow(er). The onboard video of my Nationals' runs last year were really uncharacteristic of my driving at every other event. Immediately after Nationals, I made some very simple changes to my car (and to myself) that allowed me to drive with confidence once again. Live and learn.

Jake, Elena, and I will be driving the Hamfist Racing RX7 at Nationals this year. I would like to thank Jake, once again, for letting me co-drive his car. I have made a few rogue passes with this monster, up and down an unnamed parking lot in New Jersey. The car is fantastic with the new setup and I am eager to compete with it.

We are all going into this, first and foremost, to have fun but also while leaving nothing on the table. Let this be the year for Hamfist Racing... third time's a charm!!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Double Post.

After last year's SCCA Solo National Championships, Speedway put together the below video compilation of the event. It was inspiring but viewed by all at the wrong moment. The season was over. The adrenaline was gone. I've RE-posted the video to further fuel the fire and enthusiasm for the fast approaching 2011 SCCA Solo National Championships, now only one week away! I hope this video helps you get through whatever hurdles you may have to overcome in preparation for the Championships.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Garage Love?

By: Jake
Do you have a Garage-Mahal or simply have garage-envy? If so, check out these two great websites showcasing the greatest treasures of every car guy's home, the man-cave. CarProperty.com showcases garage oriented real estate of all kinds - for sale, for rent, or just for show - including commerical & residential properties all across the country. GarageJournal.com is a blog style garage-centric forum that inspires and assists users in creating custom garage space for their machine of choice.

Above: Alan Jackson's Sweetbriar Estate in Franklin, TN Featured on CarPorperty.com with 20 Car Garage

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hoosier Win's GRM Tire Battle

By Jake

Grassroots Motorsports Magazine reports tire test results in their latest issue, the Hoosier A6 is one second faster than a Goodyear Eagle RS! The folks at Grassroots Motorsports graciously decided to test the Hoosier A6 tire versus the new kid on the block, Goodyear Eagle RS, to determine who's got the best D.O.T. legal rubber for autocrossers. Limited supply had prevented many from experimenting, but GRM came to the rescue releasing the results of the test just weeks before the Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships. The GRM Mazda MX-5 preppared for SCCA Solo competition in STR class was the test mule for the battle. The results were staggering. On a fifty-five second course the Hoosier ran over one second faster than the Goodyear. Our favorite home brewed American tire manufacturer emerged victorious. I know what I will be running at the Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hoosier Vs. Goodyear Battle Updates

By: Jake

It's nearly August. The 2011 SCCA Solo National Championships are a month away. I have yet to see - let alone drive - a Goodyear Eagle RS autocross tire at a single event here in the northeast. Activity in the west coast, however, is sending mixed signals. The results are up from the Packwood ProSolo in Washington state. SSM driver Andy Mckee, having won on Goodyears new Eagle RS tire early in the season, is shown competing on Hoosiers in Packwood very successfully. Mckee took the class win over nationally ranked SSM competitor Duke Langley and posted a near-top-pax-finish overall. Meanwhile Bump 1 and Bump 2 classes in Packwood were dominated by two cars (one F Stock the other Super Stock) sporting the new Goodyear stickies.

There is little time to test and tune for those who haven't experimented (east coast drivers, I am looking in your direction). It appeared that only after the 2011 SCCA Solo National Championships would we know who makes the best rubber in town; however, Tire Rack is working in collaboration with Grassroots Motorsports on a formal tire test will be on newstands mid August. Let's just hope that Championships are not determined by the "haves" and the "have-nots" since it seems getting your paws on a set of the Eagle RS tire is easier said than done.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

NJ ProSolo 97 SSM Hamfist Racing RX7 - In Car Video

This is in car footage of #97 SSM Hamfist Racing RX7 on Saturday afternoon runs at the 2011 NJ ProSolo.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2011 New Jersey ProSolo - SSM RX7 vs. SSM M Coupe

Sunday May 22, 2011

The full story from the New Jersey SCCA ProSolo to follow shortly. Hamfist Racing RX7 Final Position: 1st Place Super Street Modified.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Another STI vs. EVO Challenge

By: Jake

Maybe I am just stubborn, but I am sick of hearing about how the Mitsubishi Evolution is so great. Yeah, it's a good car. Yeah, I have lost to them on many occasions when I bring out the Subaru for Time Trials, Time Attack or SCCA autocross STU competition. But I like my Subaru a lot! After recently parting with my '04 Subaru STi I went ahead and picked up an '06 STi replacement, I think it's safe to say I will not be detoured. I've been tinkering with my '06 project lately and plan to really drive it home and take down the Evolutions once and for all. In the meantime, I will bask in the glory of James Wilson's success in destroying the Evolution in the latest iteration of Forum Wars. Enjoy the video below.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

2011 Tire Wars: Hoosier A6 vs. Goodyear Eagle RS

By: Jake

April is here, but signs of Spring have not surfaced yet. It's 40F outside and we have only had one autocross in the New York metropolitan area this year. The autocross season is here, but it's hard to take it seriously when Mother Nature doesn't cooperate. However, that doesn't stop many autocross nuts from casually browsing the internet researching the latest autocross happenings around the country.

In my latest browsing session, I found a bit of news that will certainly turn the autocross community on it's head. Goodyear shroud cars are dominating Super Street Modified AND - the very competitive - Super Stock classes at the 2011 SCCA San Diego National Tour event! Goodyear had been quietly testing its new D.O.T. compliant Eagle RS race tire in 2010 and the 2011 official release happened all too subtly. Just days before the event, SCCA announced the tire had met the requirements of Section 13.3 in the 2011 Solo Rules.

The event is only halfway complete, but autocrossers from around the country are taking note of the impressive preliminary standings of Andy Mckee (SSM), Gary Thomason (SS) and Jason Uyeda (SS), all competing on the new tire. Their registration information suggests these key players have been blessed with direct manufacturer sponsorships from Goodyear.

As a recent adopter of the Hoosier A6 for all my tarmac biting needs, I was shocked to learn there was a new game in town. I cannot remember a time when Stock and Street Prepared/Modified classes' tire choice was, well, a 'choice'. Granted I'm young and I've spent a lot of time perusing the Street Touring classes of SCCA autocross (140+ treadwear), but for as long as I've known the sport, the A6 was THE tire. Clearly, Goodyear has set out to change the status quo.

For the readers thinking how you wasted your hard earn bread on a fresh set of Hoosiers, remember this: When the wind picks up in that parking lot at the 2011 San Deigo National Tour, the drivers sporting Goodyears will also be sporting their SCCA National Championship jackets. In other words, these guys are some of the greatest autocrossers in the country and would very likely be winning their class on A6's or possibly all season tires - they're that good.

While the fresh Goodyears may be making a splash at their inaugural SCCA Tour event, don't think for a second that Hoosier fans will give up without a fight. Many sectors of motorsports experience tire battles, and given that autocross is one of the largest competitive motorsports in the world, expect your local arena parking lots to play battlefield to a great "Tire War".

Will Goodyear Eagle RS dominate the DOT compliant classes of SCCA and other racing organizations? The first bomb has been dropped and only time will tell who will be the victor in this "Tire War". What will be your weapon of choice?

NOTE: Early signs suggest Goodyear will NOT be offering contingency sponsorship to SCCA Solo Racing or NASA Time Trial Racing, and only to SCCA & NASA Club Racing.

Friday, March 25, 2011

400 WHP RX-7 on Speed1 Dynojet

Details on the engine build to follow. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Drift vs. Grip... Drift Can Be Fast & Hamfist Proves It!

By: Jake

Hamfist Racing driver Brian Goldstein has been under the radar for years on the racing scene. He is always just out to have fun. He doesn't run the national level autocross races, but when he races he destroys any cometition in his path. Greatly influenced by the drift culture and the recent Ken Block gymkhana videos, Brian has always had a penchant for driving sideways. However he doesn't compromise his speed like a lot of Formula D fanboys. So, in his search for the marriage of drifting AND speed, he explored new varieties of motorsports.

In the 08/09 winter Brian discovered Monticello Motor Club's winter driving series. The event was a "balls out" time trail rally on the private Monticello Motor Club racing circuit blanketed in ice and snow. The venue finally afforded him a place to showcase the speed in drifting his 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi. The first event Brian ran on all-season tires to get acquainted with the Ice-Age-like conditions. But it didn't take long to realize he was competing on the wrong rubber. By the second event, Brian had picked up a fresh set of dedicated snow tires and took to the rally race once again. The improvement was extraordinary. He was able to blast through every turn at full opposite lock with total control and lots of speed. The end result was an overall 1st Place - Fastest Time of Day. Check out the video below!

Monticello Motor Club disappointed the rally community over the 09/10 winter season by discontinuing the Winter Driving Series time trial races. Frustrated that he couldn't continue showcasing his drift skills in the snow, Brian began looking elsewhere. The drift scene was too much about show and not enough about being fast. Autox after autox you could hear Brian asking course designers to implement gymkhana elements and 360* turns around single cones. Finally, his requests were heard... sort of. NOPI and Hot Import Nights hosted a Gymkhana competition at Englishtown Raceway Park. Brian once again failed to disappoint, executing drifts and rotation far better than the rear-wheel-drive machinery in the mix. The spectators loved it! Check out the video below of his last run. Half way through the run the car fuel starved and turned off. I suspect that run would have been FTD if the fuel pump didn't start sucking air.

What sideways action will Brian get into next? Time will tell. But I suspect he is already having fun with his new RWD daily driver Miata in the secluded roads of some backwoods NY State Park.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

NJ Motorsports Park Filed Bankruptcy

The Daily Journal
Written by: JOSEPH P. SMITH

"MILLVILLE -- The fact that New Jersey Motorsports Park got through its 2010 season is a debt it owes, literally and figuratively, to the Millville Rescue Squad.

One result of the federal Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection motion the park filed Monday is that the privately owned park's financial picture is now public business. Everything from ownership portions, to mortgage structure, to outstanding vendor balances is disclosed -- or soon will be.

According to court papers, the Motorsports Park's largest local creditor is the Millville Rescue Squad. The park fell behind $520,035 on payments to the private nonprofit last year. The squad provides a range of emergency response services, without which the park cannot operate.

"As the debt was accruing, we knew that discontinuing service would stop track operations and cost people jobs," Rescue Squad Chief John Redden said Tuesday.

Last month, with the squad threatening to hold back its services for the 2011 season, an agreement was reached to repay the debt. The terms of the deal require a $200,000 payment to the squad by this Friday, and another $200,000 in July.

The remainder of that debt will be settled in monthly payments, along with concurrent 2011 payments, park and rescue squad officials said.

Among other details contained in the massive bankruptcy filing is the park's gross annual income. Since opening in 2008, it has averaged about $9 million annually from racing events and concessions, a sum an official said is less than projected. The park, which employs 250 full- and part-time workers, has spent more than $45 million on capital improvements, of which half was paid to contractors in Cumberland County, according to the court papers.

Joseph Savaro, a partner in the Motorsports Park, said the recession's impact on residential and commercial real estate depressed the park's earnings. Efforts to sell villas, or townhouses, at the park took a particularly hard hit, he said; only eight are sold.

"We still have faith in the project," Savaro said. "We'll get through this Chapter 11. A lot of companies have been through that."

Savaro said the proposed construction of a motocross facility, called the Field of Dreams, also is important financially.

"That clearly would have helped us," he said. "We tried to create critical mass and have diversity. We're still going to attempt things to turn it around, but the Chapter 11 helps us get on our feet."

Park owners want to restructure their debt and continue to operate the facility, including the upcoming season of scheduled races. But what happens next is up to the judge overseeing the bankruptcy proceedings.

Even the validity of the Motorsports Park deal with the rescue squad is now in question -- thanks to the bankruptcy filing.

An attorney the squad hired to sit in on talks with the park advised the nonprofit squad is in a "positive position" even if bankruptcy occurred, Redden said. And Motorsports Park officials said their attorneys advised the deal with the squad will stand despite court oversight.

However, the parties acknowledge there is a chance the presiding judge may disagree.

"It's in the hands of the court right now," Redden said. "We'll be consulting with an attorney to determine how we proceed."

Monday's filing lists the park's top 20 creditors -- that is, businesses to whom it owes money. Court documents indicate there are 150 creditors in total.

Topping that list is Merrill Lynch Mortgage Capital Inc., now part of Bank of America. The bank is owed about $30.54 million, although it has "knocked down" the amount to $20 million to aid the park in its reorganization plan, according to the filings.

Other area creditors include Henry Cifaloglio Inc. of Buena, at $14,003; Kavanagh, Kavanagh & DiLazzero LLC of Millville, $9,684; and Waste Management of New Jersey at $8,374.

Also owed money, but in a separate category, is the Cumberland County Empowerment Zone Corp.

The Empowerment Zone, which is federally funded, loaned $425,000 to the park at a 5 percent interest rate to go toward 2010 operating funds.

Jeannine MacDonald, the zone's executive director, said Tuesday the loan is guaranteed with personal notes from park investors Lee Brahin and Harvey Siegel. The bankruptcy proceedings should not have an impact on the debt, she said.

MacDonald said the park paid only interest on the loan through 2010. The principal was due this past December but has not been paid, she said. MacDonald said the park in January started making payments of both principal and interest on a 10-year amortization schedule.

"We are of course concerned about the local vendors and the long-term success of the park," MacDonald said. The zone has met with the park about the loan, but put further talks on hold to let the bankruptcy case proceed further, she said.

Savaro said Tuesday the owners have no interest in selling the establishment and that the park's managing partners remain Lee Brahin and R.J. "Dick" Valentine. However, the reorganization is affecting the ownership structure.

The reorganization plan calls for fresh capital of at least $2 million from an entity identified as NEI Motorsports LLC, a group headed by Valentine. NEI also includes some new investors.

In return for the $2 million, the papers indicate NEI receives enhanced ownership rights.

The filing states the $2 million is meant to meet the costs of the restructuring, including:"

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Unofficial Hamfist Racing Jack

*Don't try this at home.

Photo Courtesy of La Repubblica Italy

Monday, February 28, 2011

Rally New York USA | March 25-26

By: Jake

Rally New York USA is always full of gifted hot-shoes not afraid of a little cliff-side drifting. These guys were born in the dirt with a steering wheel in hand. If you're a fan of loose surface antics, Rally New York is as good as it gets, barring WRC stages! For the price of a tank of gas, you can experience thrills rivaled by WRC Vodafone Rally de Portugal, taking place simultaneously halfway around the world - estimated airfare $2,000.

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Circuit Only 2.5 hours from NYC Begins Construction 2011

By: Jake

Last year developer Louis J. Mascaro received final land use approval to build a "multi-functional, state of the art motorsports complex situated on 668 scenic acres... in Berks County, Pennsylvania" called Liberty Bell Motorsports Park. The site is a brief 2.5 hour drive from NYC. "The park will consist of 4 different racing circuits - two 26 foot wide tracks that are approximately 0.5 mile in length can be operated independently of each other or operate as a 0.84 mile road course. Both are served by their own pit/paddock areas and are designed for Karting, SuperMoto, MiniMoto and MiniGP... The two 40 foot wide, 1.5 mile courses can be operated independently of each other or combined to form a world class road course totaling 3.11 miles in length. All courses were designed with minimal concrete barriers... [and] incorporate massive run-off areas, many larger than football fields. The absence of tunnels or bridges minimizes the damages encountered by these structures. This modern technology ensures being able to safely compete in events while greatly minimizing the chances for driver injury or damage to equipment." The park will also include extensive campground facilities and a car museum. Construction is poised to begin this year.

Liberty Bell Motorsports Park website

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Supporting Vendor Section Thanks Mazda Motorsports

By: Jake

We have added a supporting vendors list to the website. In recognition for all of Mazda's support to the Hamfist Racing fleet over the years, www.MazdaMotorsports.com is now our first official supporting vendor! We hope to be racing Mazdas for many years to come with continuation of the Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development program. Readers can keep an eye out for new supporting vendor updates. Please remember to support vendors that support racing.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New 2011 SCCA Solo Racing Contingency Program

The SCCA released the 2011 contingency sponsorship programs for Solo & ProSolo racing last week. The roster includes the usual suspects, including some of our personal favorites including Mazdaspeed, Hawk Performance, AST Suspension & Hoosier Tire. Hamfist Racing would like to thank each and every sponsor. You are all in good form and understand what it takes to successfully market and promote your products!

SCCA Official Release Statement Feb. 18th 2011:

"With the season-opening event for the 2011 Tire Rack SCCA National Solo season just a few weeks away, participants should register now to be eligible for the thousands of dollars in contingency payouts.

Tire Rack SCCA ProSolo National Series

As part of its across-the-board Platinum SCCA contingency program, Volkswagen offers both event and year-end prizes for drivers finishing in the top three in either class or Gumout Super Challenge competition. Drivers taking a class win in one of 16 eligible classes earn $400. Should they take the Gumout Super Challenge, they win $800. Year-end class winners can also garner another $1,000 for doing it in a Volkswagen, with the year-end Challenge winner grabbing a $5,000 prize.

Honda, also a Platinum contingency sponsor, will pay $500 for a Super or Ladies Challenge win in each event, and $150 for a class win. Year-end class and challenge champions could take home $500 from Honda.

Longtime SCCA supporter Hawk Performance offers up $100 in product credit to any class or Gumout Super Challenge winner displaying Hawk Performance decals.

Bridgestone will post $500 for a Challenge win, as well as cash for a top three finish in any Street Touring class. Win a season-long class or Challenge title, and take home another $1,000.

Toyo Tires matches Bridgestone’s posting for Tire Rack ProSolo Street Touring® participants with its Silver level Contingency program.

Hoosier, Kumho, Mazdaspeed and TRD each post Bronze level programs, meaning registration and redemption are handled through those companies directly.

Kumho offers product credit for class and Challenge wins at events, including a $600 credit for a win in the Street Touring category. Hoosier offers two tires for a class win and one for a second-place finish. Event Gumout Super Challenge, year-end point Champions and Finale class winners each take four tires with a win.

Mazdaspeed will again pay out class, Challenge and year-end awards ranging from $200 for a class event win to $800 for a point championship. Likewise, TRD will pay class and year-end awards ranging from $200 to $1,000 for competitors in Toyota vehicles.

Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Tour

In Tire Rack Solo National Tour competition, Volkswagen will pay up to $500 for a class win and $300 for second place for VW drivers in any of 34 eligible classes.

Bridgestone, Toyo and Yokohama will each pay out top three finishes in the Street Touring Category, with $300 going to the winner.

AST Suspension continues as a contingency sponsor, offering the top-three finishers in eligible classes product certificates, with a $500 award going to class winners.

Like AST, Hoosier and Mazdaspeed also offer Bronze packages. Winners on Hoosier tires win a pair of tires, with a single tire going to second-place finishers. Mazda will pay a National Tour class winner $200 for a win and $100 for a second place finish.

Kumho Tires offers product credits to top-three in class finishers, rewarding the Street Touring Category with $600 in credit to champions, and $400 and $300 for second and third. All other classes receive $300, $200, and $150 in credit for a top three finish.

In addition to the National program contingencies, Bridgestone and Toyo Tires have also posted programs for the Tire Rack SCCA Divisional Solo Championships that matches their National Tour payouts.

For complete details on all of these contingency programs, visit www.scca.com/solo and click the “contingencies” link. A link for online registration is available there as well.

The 2011 Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Tour begins March 12, with the Dixie National Tour in Adel, Ga. The Tire Rack SCCA ProSolo National Series begins with the Mineral Wells Pro Solo, March 26, in Mineral Wells, Texas."

2011 SCCA Solo contingency registration forms and additional info available HERE