Ahhhh…. now I can draw a sigh of relief. This has been ever so such a long time coming, essentially a year actually since this car hit the scarred tarmac of the Nurburgring and it’s finally returned, and this is my story.
This is a long story, and I’ll make it has brief as possible, but the summary is the car was purchased back in 2009 in August and whilst it was a super clean and (as we discovered later in May this year) literally 100% geometrically straight, it had mechanically needed quite a lot of work doing to get it right. I had sold my totally reliable MK2 1.8iS MX-5 as the need for power was itching hard, and the idea was to build the PS13 in to a super fast track car that had lots of lock if I wanted to go drifting. I wasn’t interested in Time Attack being the ‘fastest’, all I wanted was something reliable, powerful and RWD. The plan was simple, buy the car, service it, take it to the Nurburgring and beat my 8:38.8 that I set in my MX-5 early on in 2009 in perfect conditions.
The car had a good few shake downs at various UK tracks and did plenty of miles but as anyone who knows anything about the Nurburgring knows, that means nothing. A car can do thousands of hard road miles and not show any weakness, but within 8 laps of pounding round an empty October Nurburgring the engine had rattled itself to bits. However, this turned out to be the start of an epic rebuild that brought the car back to a near shell rebuild to turn it into the car it is today, thanks entirely to the UK’s best RWD Nissan specialist Garage-D in Watford.
I won’t go into all the detail here in a blog post, but to summarise: The S14a engine that had rattled itself to bits was taken out and thrown away, and a more faithful and track orientated 180SX red top engine was put back in. There is a very comprehensive rebuild in the Driftworks project section if you ever get bored and fancy a long read here! And so the car was built up and had a huge amount of work and parts put into including:
Tomei Trax Differential.
Driftworks CS2 coilovers and tension rods, 5 stud and Skyline brake conversion all round, Garage-D arms and lock modifications.
Silverstone FTZ Slick tyres in Endurance compound (road legal, just).
Custom bespoke Garage-D arms and steering lock modifications plus a Nurburgring / Fast road specific Wheels in Motion alignment.
And some Works wheels, just to polish it off. And no jokes about the ride height, I’ve heard them all. 😀
And before you could say ‘Gantry’, I was heading back out to the ‘Ring. Alas though, it was not to be, and the car didn’t even make it to the track – a rouge upper piston crown had gone, a freak defect, but meant the car was unable to lap and needed rebuilding. Back to Garage-D it went.
Not to be beaten by a stupid Nissan and it’s sheer cheek of exploding twice and denying me yet more lapping, I went full bore and forged the engine. Well, I say I did, Julian Smith from Garage-D actually did, I just paid him money (worth every penny).
The car was checked over nut for nut to make sure it was perfeect, and it was so. The car was then sent to master mapper Greg Gush at ProTuner who put in a very generous amount of time getting the map right as I was quite specific about what I wanted.
I wasn’t interested in total power, I wanted reliable reliable reliable, and Greg produced this. We could be more aggressive with the timing, but there is no need for now, the car hits it’s top speed quite quickly anyway so that’s pointless on track, and I can’t get any traction even with slicks in 2nd anyway. There is a bit of wheel spin on this graph too, so perhaps it’s a realistic 318-320bhp at the moment.
And now, here we are, October 2010. With Garage-D’s Nurburgring masterpiece. I’d already been out to the ‘Ring twice this month, but I wasn’t going miss this chance to take a fully completed car. I’d been hired by Volvo to film the promo for a new 430bhp AWD C30 they’re releasing next year and we were going to have a private track to ourselves so it seemed an ideal opportunity to do some lapping whilst chasing a mad Swedish racing driver round.
As you can see, it was quite foggy – which was good for us as the design brief wanted moody – large scale film shoots pay thousands of pounds to get this kind of mist! We spent quite a lot of time here – which is the industry pool entrance where all the prototype cars hang out – fifteen years ago this was also the Touristenfharten entrance for normal tourist driving, when there may have only been 60-100 cars on any day, not the 600-800 cars today.
We were working alongside Greg Pajo who is fast making a very big name for himself in the car photography industry, and he was shooting the promo photos when I wasn’t videoing the car.
This is the car in question, the Polestar C30 – this is THE weapon to have if you’re in the market, this car is totally nuts. Yes, I know it’s going the wrong way up the track but we were doing this scene about 5 times and this is the car on its way back up to the start point.
As you can’t photograph and film moving cars at the same time, I was surplus to the shoots needs for an hour or two, so I decided to spend it driving round and getting a few fast laps in on a full length empty track.
The car is awesome. It’s fast, it’s capable, it’s brake are keen and full of feel, (if a teeny little bit rear biased, nothing an AP bias valve can’t fix), the CS2 suspension works SO well because it’s pliant and matched well to the body of the car and the tyres once they were scrubbed in showed signs of superb grip.
It was never fully dry the whole shoot – greasy perhaps at best so it was only natural that a little bit of drifting HAD to occur, and even though it was grippy in some parts, wet in other and generally unpredictable lap to lap the car never scared me once and never felt out of balance.
I did video two laps, one of them was fast, but in the pitch dark (yep, I did my first ever full night lap!), and also in the foggy grease, I’ll post up some highlights of the greasy lap at some point – but there is no point putting the night lap up because it looks like this:
See what I mean? 😀
So that’s basically about it. Driftworks is starting a new branch of car love – TrackCulture.com which is a place for all of us who love the track, not just drifting. Please check out my build thread here, ProTuners website here and Garage-D here.