Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

For you to showcase what you've done to your car and give other members ideas and inspiration.
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MightyCondor
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Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:13 pm

I think it’s about time I started a thread here. Initially I didn’t think there would be any point, as I probably wouldn’t be doing that much to the car and whatever I did would pale in comparison to some of the inspirational project threads on here. A year of RX8OC membership has consequences and I’ve done more than I was expecting and for my own benefit it seems worth recording what I’ve done. Plus I already have a thread for my new RX-7 on FDUK, so it seems unfair on the 8 not to have one here. Given that I’m struggling to fit everything in my signature, now seems like a good time.

So here it is my 2005 Winning Blue 231 (with some curious Spanish dogs):

Image

Here’s what I’ve done:
• Uprated starter motor
• X-car link Bluetooth & Aux Mod
• Lowered driver’s seat
• Project RX-8 refurbished engine mounts
• Axial Flow short shifter (from the Apr 14 Group buy)
• K&N panel filter
• Racing Beat dual resonated decat (with a Rotechniks cat retained for MOTs)
• Fujitsubo Legalis-R exhaust (previously installed a Cobra at the same time as the decat)
• Brake depot 40G disks with yellowstuff pads
• Vredestein Ultrac Sessanta’s 235/40/18
• Had some scratches removed by Revive mobile paint repair.
• Swapped the nearside wing for one in better condition.
• Stainless rotary crest and strakes
• Rotary Revs D585 ignitions coils (from the Dec 14 group buy)
• Dwell timing mapping by Phil Bate
• Replaced damaged or scuffed interior parts: heater vents, centre console, ski hatch.

Next up, I'll do a series of posts to catch up to present day. Stay tuned.
Last edited by MightyCondor on Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2004 Sunlight Silver 231 Impulsive Panic Buy Rotary Shed & lesser seen RX-7 FD3s
2005 Winning Blue 231 - Loved and set free (sold) :(
2004 Winning Blue 231 - Lost at the hands of a careless BMW driver

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MightyCondor
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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:17 pm

I owned my first Rex for a little over 4 years before it was rear ended while stationary by a brainless half-wit who didn't have his eyes on the road (instead down in his passenger foot well while retrieving a map apparently) and ploughed in to the back of me. I was the filling in a BMW 5 series and Nissan Murano sandwich. The damage to both ends didn’t look too bad, but was enough to write it off.

Image

I was quite attached to that car, and given the horrendous depreciation, having recently bought a house and having a baby on the way, I didn't exactly have a car budget to throw on top of the meagre insurance pay-out. Not that I would have wanted anything other than another Rex anyway.

After a few months without a car, some of my friends planned a road trip to Europe, stopping at the Ring and hitting many well known Swiss and Italian mountain passes. The car shopping began and I bought a 2005 Winning Blue 231 with under 29,000 on the clock in August 2013. In hindsight, I rushed a bit and probably should have skipped the road trip and waited for the right car to come along. My car has a very strong engine, with compression in the high 7's - low 8's, but I have had to address various other issues since buying it that have been somewhat expensive, if not unusual.

In many years of owning my first RX-8, I had never been tempted to modify it, beyond installing an Auxmod and switching to Vreds, changing coils and installing an uprated starter etc as and when needed under normal servicing. That was my intention for the replacement car, but then I started actively reading the forums before paying up as a member. Some of the build threads are very impressive and temptation crept in. My resolve finally broke during the Axial Flow short shifter group buy and it's been snowballed from there.

But we'll come on to that later....
Last edited by MightyCondor on Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2004 Sunlight Silver 231 Impulsive Panic Buy Rotary Shed & lesser seen RX-7 FD3s
2005 Winning Blue 231 - Loved and set free (sold) :(
2004 Winning Blue 231 - Lost at the hands of a careless BMW driver

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MightyCondor
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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:30 pm

So here's the story of my first few months with the car. Unfortunately I had some early teething troubles.

The road trip wasn't exactly a success. In fact I drove much of it without any power at all after my cat disintegrated. You can see my friends blog on 350Z UK of the trip here. I was worried that I might have caused myself permanent engine damaged by driving for quite a distance under those conditions, especially after the coolant overheated going up a mountain pass, but all appears fine luckily.

After coming back, I handed the car over to Rotechniks, who replaced my CAT, provided some good compression test numbers and were quite complimentary about how well the motor was running. Coils had been done by the previous owner, and I had been in to have the leads and plugs changed shortly before the road trip.

I purchased an uprated starter motor off the forum (the start of a dangerous habit), and having no real mechanical experience, I let my friend Richard install it for me in exchange for a few beers.

I decided to upgrade from an Auxmod to an X-Carlink Bluetooth (although the Auxmod is still installed).

I'm 6"5 and my Rex has a sunroof. To avoid my head touching the roof, I was sitting in a very reclined position. The seat lowering mod was therefore essential. It was really easy to do, so I had a few attempts at getting it as low as possible while still being able to slide the chair backwards and forwards without it catching. I was able to lower the back nearly 2 inches, although as the front remains in the same position, the benefit to me is less, but still enough to make a difference. I still have to sit in a slightly reclined position though, but it's perfectly comfortable.

Rotechniks had identified a collapsed engine mount, but I wasn't willing to pay them for OEM mounts plus labour immediately after a big CAT bill, so after a few low mileage months, I used a nearby(ish) work client visit to pop over to Steve at Project RX-8 to have him replace them instead. He also switched the Italian mountain spring water in my coolant tank to FL22. It's a shame I'm too far away to use him as my go to guy for servicing, because I would happily recommend him. Afterwards I got to enjoy a long vibration free drive home :)

Other issues that came with the car were poor tyres (Zeta's if anyone's ever heard of them) and a couple of vandal scratches. I also hadn't noticed a dent in the base of the passenger wing when viewing the car. Damn! I decided that with one scratch also on the wing, it might be better to swap it entirely and sourced one off eBay. This was installed using all the available daylight on a November Saturday. I had my dad assisting, but we got stuck for a couple of hours trying to get the screws out of the trim that runs along the underside. Eventually we got there. It's not perfect, as the paint colour doesn't match particularly well where the wing meets the passenger door. It'll do for the time being though.

That's 2013 done. In 2014 I properly got the bug...
2004 Sunlight Silver 231 Impulsive Panic Buy Rotary Shed & lesser seen RX-7 FD3s
2005 Winning Blue 231 - Loved and set free (sold) :(
2004 Winning Blue 231 - Lost at the hands of a careless BMW driver

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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:35 pm

I don't really consider any of the above to be performance mods, really just routine maintenance to keep the car running well and looking good (apart from the X-carlink). It had never been much of an interest to me previously as I viewed it a bad value for money. Why not just save the money for the next car (assuming that will be an upgrade). However as previously mentioned, my views had softened. The Axial Flow group buy came along and I jumped on-board. It was an easy install and I justified it by thinking that if I ever sold the car, it would be a pretty easy part to sell for a small loss (not that I have any intention of selling).

As with most of my car jobs, this didn't go quite to plan. My gearknob broke and I couldn't unscrew it. Failed at the first step! Luckily the OC forums came to rescue and I was able to yank off the old one and my WTB request got me a tidy replacement a few days later. Given my impatience by the time it arrived I had already been driving around without a properly attached knob for a few days very much enjoying the bolt action rile feel of the Axial.

Image

So I now had a modified car. I was on a slippery slope leading towards the kind of ugly body kits that I've always hated, loud anti social exhausts (see below 8) ), wheels that don't fit inside the arches and a car that cant clear a speed bump. Well actually no I wasn't, but I had caught the bug a bit and drew up some entirely sensible plans.
2004 Sunlight Silver 231 Impulsive Panic Buy Rotary Shed & lesser seen RX-7 FD3s
2005 Winning Blue 231 - Loved and set free (sold) :(
2004 Winning Blue 231 - Lost at the hands of a careless BMW driver

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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:50 pm

After the failure the previous summer, my car owed me a successful European road trip. Plans were already underway for another. I wanted to make sure my car was up to scratch for it, so the ditch finders were to be swapped for Vredesteins, my discs and pads would be changed (although not strictly necessary, I felt like a small upgrade), and just to make sure that my cat wouldn't fail me again, I would buy a decat.

That was the initial plan but things when further as a small modding war broke out between the various attendees on the trip.

I was in the right place at the right time when a K&N panel filter came up for sale on the forum, so I jumped on it. I had no idea what condition my existing one was in, so it seemed like a good idea at the time, even if they don't offer anything in the way of improved performance. I declined the opportunity to buy the Toyo decat from the same seller. I didn't want a decat that could drone. Who knows, I might have wanted to buy a more sporty cat back at some point.

So mere weeks later I opportunistically brought one. Having continued my decat research and decided that I would buy a Racing Beat Dual resonated decat, I didn't exactly have a catback budgeted, especially given that I wasn't interested in the Toyo sonic assault gear. However, Carl (MadTaz) put a virtually unused Cobra up for sale, and as someone who likes a bargain, it was a cheap way to get a part that I was genuinely interested in (I would have preferred a RacingBeat, but beggars can't be choosers). I then immediately went to Mazda Rotary Parts and ordered the decat. I also ordered some zinc plated 40G grooved discs with yellowstuff pads from Brake-depot. Expensive weekend.

I had intended to do all the fitting myself but a bathroom renovation and family life meant that I struggled to find the time. I was determined to do the brakes but paid to have the decat and cat-back done at the same time at JD Modified while I was working at a client site next door to them. Initially they were loud, and I mean too loud, that I was almost regretting my decision. However, with a few hundred miles on them, they quietened down to what I would consider a near ideal level. It hums nicely at low rpm and only really comes alive when the car reaches the more spirited area of the rev range. Then it sounds angry. I liked it a lot.

During the same week I also had 4 new Vredesteins fitted and had the remaining vandal scratches fixed by one of these mobile repair services. Another big week for the car.

I did the brakes myself over a couple of consecutive evenings. The brakes were slow to bed in, but then I had to wear through the zinc coating, and I tried to follow the EBC bedding in procedure to the letter. This meant gentle use for the first 200 miles before doing a succession of hard near stops. Time was against me though as I installed the discs and pads less than 2 weeks before the roadtrip. Maybe I shouldn't have bothered. This idea of driving around Europe without fully functioning brakes was not a pleasant one. So I packed my old Mintex pads in with the rest of my holiday packing and off we went….

Image
2004 Sunlight Silver 231 Impulsive Panic Buy Rotary Shed & lesser seen RX-7 FD3s
2005 Winning Blue 231 - Loved and set free (sold) :(
2004 Winning Blue 231 - Lost at the hands of a careless BMW driver

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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by brix79 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:07 pm

It is quite amusing how quickly those who decide to keep it 'standard' end up straying. Even just a little bit! (Myself included :D )

I'd like to do a project thread, but I've accumulated quite a lot of (albeit unspectacular) things to go in it, so never quite get around to it.
Also, it is a good way to document the things you do to it. like an RX8OC service record.. :D
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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:56 pm

Just go for it. Having originally thought that it wouldn’t be worth it, I’ve now got to a stage where I couldn’t see the point in continually putting it off.

Totally agree with it being like a service record. Many of my entries will definitely be unspectacular but I still feel they should be recorded.

I remember when I was new to the site I read tonnes of project threads and it gave me plenty of insight in how to look after these unique cars and make them more fun.
I’m aware that almost everything I’ve done on my car has been done already by countless others in their own threads. Given that I don’t have the resources to make an awesome boutique Rex like Exiled Viking or the mad scientist skills of someone like Phil Bate my thread will hardly be inspirational, but I think that’s beside the point.

It’s nice to see lots of active threads of enthusiasts enjoying their cars in their own individual ways and I don’t mind contributing to that. :)
2004 Sunlight Silver 231 Impulsive Panic Buy Rotary Shed & lesser seen RX-7 FD3s
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2004 Winning Blue 231 - Lost at the hands of a careless BMW driver

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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by brix79 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:11 pm

Absolutely, it's all useful stuff, and we all like seeing what people are up to even if it's for our own mad ideas!

For me it's just that it'll takes ages to write it all up!
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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by phil1 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:12 pm

How do you find the exhaust?

I really like the refined sound of it, especially at 1:02 below

[youtube][/youtube]
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MightyCondor (Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:19 pm)
Braking on track should be like doing a really nice poo...tapered ends and fat in the middle.

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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:25 pm

phil1 wrote:How do you find the exhaust?

I really like the refined sound of it, especially at 1:02 below
Refined is certainly the right word to describe it. It's actually quieter than I was expecting, being not that much louder than stock. Having come from a Cobra that made instant noise at virtually any engine speed and really howled in tandem with my decat, it's quite an adjustment. It was nice to have a drone free trip back along the M4 after Ramp-it-up.

It does produce a real quality sound when you wind it up, especially if you have the windows down :)
2004 Sunlight Silver 231 Impulsive Panic Buy Rotary Shed & lesser seen RX-7 FD3s
2005 Winning Blue 231 - Loved and set free (sold) :(
2004 Winning Blue 231 - Lost at the hands of a careless BMW driver

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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:46 pm

brix79 wrote:For me it's just that it'll takes ages to write it all up!
I can relate to that. It took me ages to write it all up. I still have a similar amount of posts to add which are already drafted, but I can't be bothered to upload and link in all the pictures/videos tonight, so it can wait.
2004 Sunlight Silver 231 Impulsive Panic Buy Rotary Shed & lesser seen RX-7 FD3s
2005 Winning Blue 231 - Loved and set free (sold) :(
2004 Winning Blue 231 - Lost at the hands of a careless BMW driver

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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Sun May 10, 2015 10:46 pm

Given that so many of the mods on my car were done with this summer road trip in mind, it seems only fair that I give it a decent write up. This has taken some work, especially getting videos on to Youtube, hence the long gap after my initial wave of project thread entries.

This was a 9 day trip in which we would catch a ferry to Santander, drive across the Pyrenees and then up the French coast to Nice. After that we'd spend a day on the Route Nepolian before playing in the Alps and crossing in to Switzerland and spending a day doing numerous mountain passes. Next we'd head north to Germany and the Ring via Strasbourg and some Autobahn. Once at the ring we'd do some laps in hired Suzuki swifts and do a Ring taxi ride before returning home.

The road trip line up was the same as last year minus one passenger but plus one diesel Audit A3 aka the sensible car:

• RX-8 231 – Me
• Nissan 350z – Rich
• BMW E46 M3 – Chris
• Lotus Elise 111S (with Honda K20 engine conversion) – Mark
• Audi A3 - Ryan

Here’s a pic of all the cars:

Image

Many of my aforementioned mods were done with this road trip on mind. In all honesty we got a little competitive with each other. The M3 already had a big brake kit and an amazing sounding induction setup. Rich in the 350z added sport cats, followed by a remap to an estimated 330bhp and replaced his tyres and brake pads. Mark in the Lotus won the arms race when he went nuclear and sent his Lotus in for a K20 engine conversion, putting his car in league of its own. I'd need a bridgeported supercharged engine to get anywhere near that power to weight ratio. Not going to happen. My focus was to have a car that grips, brakes and shifts well, wins on tunnel noise and shoot flames at any one who got too close. Forgetting the Audi, I was down on power compared to the others, but knew that I'd be having just as much fun

See below for a day by day write up.
2004 Sunlight Silver 231 Impulsive Panic Buy Rotary Shed & lesser seen RX-7 FD3s
2005 Winning Blue 231 - Loved and set free (sold) :(
2004 Winning Blue 231 - Lost at the hands of a careless BMW driver

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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Sun May 10, 2015 10:48 pm

Day 1

The trip started at an ungodly hour on a Saturday morning. As he had only picked up his re-engineered Elise Type R from Essex at 3am, Mark wasn't ready at 5 am so I diverted to his place and helped him store his hardtop. We were supposed to meet the others at a Tesco filling station in Winchester at 6am to get to the ferry in good time. Leaving Reading at 5:35 wasn't ideal, but we got there less than 10 minutes late, which was pretty good going. Convoy established and off we went to Portsmouth.

Image

It sucks when you get up early for a ferry, only for it to leave late an immediately break down. It become obvious that it was moving slowly when the Isle of Wight failed to disappear from view. We spent about 5 hours anchored a few miles of Bournemouth while an injector problem on the ship's engine was fixed. This meant that we were 7 hours behind schedule and would have to forgo any fun roads on our first day in Spain.
2004 Sunlight Silver 231 Impulsive Panic Buy Rotary Shed & lesser seen RX-7 FD3s
2005 Winning Blue 231 - Loved and set free (sold) :(
2004 Winning Blue 231 - Lost at the hands of a careless BMW driver

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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Sun May 10, 2015 10:51 pm

Day 2

Image

So we got off the boat in Santander at 7pm and had a 4 hour trip to our hotel for the night. Here we discovered that my exhaust set up is too loud for Motorway driving. In my month of running around with a Cobra and a resonated decat, I hadn't been on the motorway. Unfortunately with an open throttle it was very noisey approaching 4000rpm. So much so that the rest of the convoy could hear my car over their own (and none were stock setups, except the Audi of course).

This did allow me to make the following noise:
[youtubewide][/youtubewide]

The later than planned docking meant we had to cut a lot of fun roads out of the plan and head directly to the hotel. We still had a few enjoyable sections, but it was a brief first day of continental driving. Even then we didn't arrive at our hotel until 11:30pm.
2004 Sunlight Silver 231 Impulsive Panic Buy Rotary Shed & lesser seen RX-7 FD3s
2005 Winning Blue 231 - Loved and set free (sold) :(
2004 Winning Blue 231 - Lost at the hands of a careless BMW driver

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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Sun May 10, 2015 10:57 pm

Day 3

Image

After eating perhaps the best croissants I've ever tasted at breakfast, we set off on what was a great day of driving following the N260. It started eventfully as our Lotus driver hadn't mastered positioning his car correctly (despite 3 years of ownership) and was regularly driving too far to the left. This resulted in him making contact with a concrete barrier while going around the outside of a motorhome at about 20mph and, taking out chunks of fibreglass from the front and rear arches and ruining his lovely new paint job. Here's a picture of the heartbreaking damage:

Image

Following that the M3 blew a 60amp fuse controlling it's SMG gearbox. This had happened last year, which resulted in a flatbed recovery and a delay leading to us doing the Stelvio pass in the dark and pouring rain, which was pretty epic. This time Chris was prepared and had a spare, so it was only minor delay while we mocked his car mercilessly.

The others quickly realised that they were better off in front of me given that the decat made the road behind me smell of an oil refinery (I premix too!). During the trip there were many comments along the lines of my car giving everyone cancer etc. On the plus side, I was making some good flames.

We had some good tunnel runs this day. So many in fact that we got a bit bored of making loud noises. My lack of power became obvious, with even Ryan in the diesel Audi commenting that he didn't think he was much off me on straight line pace. However it's all about the twisties. Every time we hit them the Audi disappeared from view.

Although tunnels may have got a tad repetitive, this canyon was sublime:
[youtubewide][/youtubewide]

The day ended with a full on blast up a mountain pass and was the first true test of my new brake setup. I had already done a bedding in run on my Yellowstuff's but I'm guessing that they weren't 100% as the punishment here made the rear right smoke and stink, and they faded on me for a few minutes at a time until I let them cool. Rich in the 350z was also running new Yellowstuff's and neither of us were particularly impressed with them. We cooked them again the next day but after that mine did improve a bit, although they seem to lack initial bite and I couldn't say that they work much better than the considerably cheaper Mintex pads that they replaced.

The coolant temp also got a bit high towards the end of the climb and I had to back off when it got over 110 degrees and the needle started to move. This happened quite a lot on the mountain climbs, but then given the altitude and that the car was being driven constantly in the power band and beeped several times a minute, it's not really that surprising. The best driving was right at the end of the day and bar the odd cow in the road we were very impressed with the Pyrenees driving.
2004 Sunlight Silver 231 Impulsive Panic Buy Rotary Shed & lesser seen RX-7 FD3s
2005 Winning Blue 231 - Loved and set free (sold) :(
2004 Winning Blue 231 - Lost at the hands of a careless BMW driver

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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Sun May 10, 2015 10:59 pm

Day 4

Image

After a brief bit of fun driving out of the mountains, the majority of the day was a motorway slog across Southern France to Nice. Not the most interesting, but necessary to join up the awesome dots. My Rex did some great MPG this day. Given that the Lotus Tyre R had a considerably smaller fuel tank than me, he needed to stop earlier than me. I used 44 litres in 235 miles, which would have had me on course for membership of the 300 mile club. I'll do it one day! We arrived in Nice and immediatly cursed our planners decision to drive into crowded city centres, as we couldn't stop in front of the hotel and had to ditch our cars in a horrendous underground multi-storey which had ramps guaranteed to scrape off the underside of a sports car.

Spending the night in a city centre was otherwise a good idea, as it provides a good relaxing contrast to just driving everywhere.
Last edited by MightyCondor on Mon May 11, 2015 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
2004 Sunlight Silver 231 Impulsive Panic Buy Rotary Shed & lesser seen RX-7 FD3s
2005 Winning Blue 231 - Loved and set free (sold) :(
2004 Winning Blue 231 - Lost at the hands of a careless BMW driver

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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Sun May 10, 2015 11:05 pm

Day 5

Route Nepolion:

Image

The roads were somewhat crowded which was unfortunate, as the route itself was impressive; initially rising with a stunning view of the Med and then progressing into canyons, forests and many many twistie roads.

It was on this road we encountered a crazy foreign driver in a Peugeot who overtook the slow procession of traffic that we stuck in while driving through a village and then subsequently held us up, while having just enough straight line speed to make overtaking him challenging. We managed though. Personally, I had been stuck behind another vehicle and was playing catch up when I came off a bend onto a long straight and found the others completing their overtakes ahead of me. As I was carrying some speed I put my foot down and closed a pretty big gap to get the job done (in 4th).

[youtubewide][/youtubewide]

A good morning of driving was rewarded with Crêpes at this delightful town:

Image

On the subject of having difficultly overtaking cars that you would assume to be slow, we later encountered a Land Rover defender which was keeping pace with the convoy. It surely wasn't stock, but the speed it was carrying around the mountain pass was amazing. The driver became the hero of our trip. Rich got past it in what must have been the most awkwardly long overtake in history, but he really shouldn't have bothered.

This day required a lot of overtakes. Some of our group made easier work of it than others. It's pretty easy of overtaking on a hairpin if you can see to the one beyond, but doing that must look reckless to the people in the car being passed (especially when you shoot flames in the process). Personally all of mine were well judged, but Rich especially had to abort a few and got some dirty looks in the process. He won the title of most risky overtaker in our roadtrip awards...

On this day I had a minor car niggle. My ABS/Traction control light came on as soon as the car started about 1 in 2 times. After this day It didn't come back and the suspicion is that I had a dirty sensor tripping the light. I was also noticing some judder from my front right on tight left handers. This remains unresolved.
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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Sun May 10, 2015 11:07 pm

Day 6

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We crossed into Italy via a couple of ski resort towns and then into Switzerland, driving by the locations where my trip last year got from bad to worse (car overheating and being stopped by the Italian police for a prolonged routine check). It went much better this time going the reverse direction and there was some stunning scenery.

It feels odd the I don't have too much to write about this day, as we covered some great roads and there were stunning scenic views. Like this one facing Mont Blanc:

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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Sun May 10, 2015 11:29 pm

Day 7

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The day started with 5 mountain passes in a row before lunch: San Bernardino Pass; St. Gottard pass; Furka Pass; Grimselpass; Sustenpass). The roads were often clear and, and the endless hairpins made an excellent play ground. Again I had some uphill overheating issues, but this was the day we had all been looking forward to and it didn't disappoint. I spent much of the day on the tail of the Lotus, while the 350z and M3 drove off a bit. By this stage of the trip we were all driving a lot quicker than we had been earlier in the week. This was a truly epic morning.

This is the top of Furka:

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All the passes were quite different to drive. The Furka is quite narrow and very windy near the top on one side, while the Grimselpass is like a well engineered A road. Much of the driving however was like this video coming down from the top of the San Bernardino Pass:

[youtube][/youtube]

Having had no joy acquiring a Vignette for the Swiss Motorways the day before, we managed to buy them at lunch and then spend a horrendous few hours crossing the country. It seems the Swiss had decided to rebuild there entire network at once, so there were a lot of roadworks. It chucked it down as we got towards Basel and we got separated when the 350z and the A3 took a wrong exit. It took a long time to get around Basel. Overall impressions of the Swiss motorway network then were poor.

Luckily after that we hit the German Autobahn and had a bit of fun, that was until we hit another set of roadworks and lost another hour. After that though we made good progress and I managed to do a V-Max run on the Rex hitting 147 on the gps (152 speedo), a figure which I managed equal the next day. It's a sensory over load driving at that speed for the first time. I was leaving very large distances to the cars ahead of me just to be safe. The wind noise was noticeable and the wail the brakes make from those kind of speeds is pretty eye opening as well.

[youtube][/youtube]

We stayed in the centre of Strasbourg that night and encountered a monsoon entering the city. Luckily the car parking experience was slightly better than Nice, and although we struggled to find parking, we didn't have to relocate after checking in to the hotel.

As we had a more leisurely day lined up after this, we were able to enjoy a few beers that night and have a decent look at the city centre the following morning. It's a really pretty old city around the cathedral.
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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Sun May 10, 2015 11:31 pm

Day 8

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As we had ended up in different car parks after being separated the day before, we met at a petrol station 10 miles outside of Strasbourg. It was here we inspected the destruction on the wheel arch liner on the Lotus, which turns out hadn't been attached in the garage. We then headed towards the Nurburgring in convoy. The convoy was broken when we crossed back into Germany and had another Authobahn blast. The Audi couldn't keep up, and we spent a good hour doing average speeds way above 100mph. The road was never really straight of quiet enough for me to have a proper attempt at raising my V-max record of the day before, but I matched it a few times. I never had a chance to throw it into 6th and see if I could get a few extra mph on top. The others reached about 160mph. We were all put in our place by a Ferrari (612 I think) which had so much acceleration that it simply disappeared from view when I let it pass me while myself accelerating above 120mph.

We got to the Ring at lunchtime. It was raining by this point and we walked from our hotel near the Nordschielf entrance, via a bar to the GP visitor centre. There has been some racing on that day and we saw many of the cars being loaded on to trailers before stopping at Sabine Schmitz's restaurant Pistenklause for dinner. It's known for doing steaks on slabs of stone, and I can confirm that it was very tasty indeed.
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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Sun May 10, 2015 11:34 pm

Day 9

After a disturbed night's sleep (thanks drunk Germans), we went to collect our Suzuki Swift hire cars from Rent4Ring at 7am. These were their "Stage 2" stripped out Swifts with sticky tyres, uprated brakes, Ohlins suspension and a full cage (which I discovered was good for attaching a GoPro to). We had 2 cars (one LHD and one RHD) with 6 laps for each car. I also had a pass for 3 extra laps that we could use if needed. Rich took the LHD car and I rode shotgun. Given the recent rain, the track was damp and there was the odd hairy moment. After that I did my first ever lap on track, which was fun, but taken very cautiously. It took some getting used to, especially being aware of the numerous BMW's and Porsches that would appear from behind without warning and blast past. I'm not a great passenger and Rich made me a bit nervous when he pushed harder towards the end of his 2nd lap. He's clearly a worse passenger though as he decided not to go out with me for my 2nd. Instead I took Ryan, who seemed not to be too fazed by my driving. I put in quite a tidy lap really and felt much more comfortable second time around. Looking back at my GoPro footage I did start off a bit slow, and compromised my lap a bit by being too generous to passing traffic, but we're not being competitive here anyway.

Chris is by far the most talented and experienced track day driver of our group and got the Swift round in a flat 10 minutes. The rest of us were all within about 10 seconds of each other in the low/mid 11s.

I wanted a 3rd lap, but didn't get a chance as Rich understeered off at the final corner next time around and clipped a barrier, damaging the bodywork slightly and also bending the rear axle. The car was still drivable and it didn't require a track closure. The excess on the cars was EUR 3,500. With some negotiating by Chris, Rich effectively paid £2,000 for the damage. This picture shows how minor it looked:

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After this, we had some lunch and waited for our lap in a Ring Taxi. It was delayed slightly by another track closure, but was worth the wait. I would compare a lap of the Ring in the back of a BMW M5 to the best roller coaster that I've ridden. Okay, so you don't go upsidedown, but there's more of an adrenaline rush due to the very real sense of danger. The M5 was very impressive. I could really feel the car working and it gripped perfectly in the damp conditions. The driver went round in about 8 a half minutes, so wasn't hanging about.

Sadly that was it for the holiday fun. All that was left was a slog back to tunnel, then to put up with massive delays, before finally driving on to a train and coming home.

The Rex threw a CEL in Belgium. This was the first decat related light since it had been fitted over 2,500 miles earlier. Not bad going really.
Last edited by MightyCondor on Sun May 10, 2015 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Sun May 10, 2015 11:44 pm

Road Trip Summary

Overall this was a great trip, and I'm sure we'll be organising another at some point. With 7 countries in 9 days it was pretty hard core, but a great route. The Rex performed admirably really, only beaten on trip reliability by the Audi, and all issues being pretty minor. I learnt a few things:

* Yellowstuff pads perhaps weren't a great choice but they did the job.
* My Cobra is too loud for Motorways with a decat attached but also sounds epic at the right times. However I did decide to look for something a bit quieter in the following months.
* Having a decat doesn't endear you to people who have to spend a whole day behind you (although no one complained about the decatted Lotus)
* I probably need to look at my cooling system before doing another trip.
* The Rex can only just about keep up with the upgraded Lotus, Z and M3 on the twisties when being driven at 100% (by me at least) on certain roads, but has no hope in a straight line.
* The RX-8 is an awesome GT car and very comfortably place to sit in for a long week.
* Autobahn speeds are crazy, yet I still want to go faster!
* Torque for Android automatically records route maps with gps speed data (the red on the routes is the max for the day so anywhere between 80-140mph). That was a pleasant surprise.

So if you ever get the chance to do a trip like this, I thoroughly recommend doing so (unless it sounds like your idea of hell, in which case we have less in common than I would have hoped on a car enthusiast forum :D ).
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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by Phil Bate » Sun May 10, 2015 11:54 pm

Brilliant, thanks for the write up =D>

One thing though - all the youtube videos are set to private!
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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by MightyCondor » Mon May 11, 2015 12:10 am

Bugger. I've just shut down my pc for the night, so I'll fix that in the morning.

Edit: Should now be working. Android Youtube app to the rescue.
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Re: Condor's Mighty Blue #Winning

Post by brix79 » Mon May 11, 2015 12:27 am

Meant to say the same thing, I'll catch up on the vids later! Did have a sneaky look at the Autobahn, it looks intense!!
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