Desperate to make the Nissan GT-R’s 3.3-second 0-100kph time lower, Mines has releases a number of performance upgrades and modifications for the new supercar.
Following two test events in Corsica and Great Britain last year, the Suzuki World Rally Team now embarks on its first full season of world rallying with two new drivers: Toni Gardemeister from Finland and Per-Gunnar Andersson from Sweden, the reigning Junior Rally Champion with Suzuki.
The first of the 15 rounds that make up the 2008 World Rally Championship is the legendary Monte Carlo Rally, the oldest and most prestigious event of the series. Just like the roulette games played in the Principality’s famous casino, the outcome of the rally can be a lottery. Conditions can vary many times in the same stage, and it is not uncommon for a stage to start off in bright sunshine and end with snow and ice.
For the second consecutive year, the Monte Carlo Rally will start off in the town of Valence, in the Ardeche region of France, with two night stages on Thursday evening. The route takes in 12 more stages in the area on Friday and Saturday, before moving down to Monaco for four classic stages over the Col de Turini and a super special stage using part of Monaco’s famous Grand Prix circuit. The prize-giving ceremony will take place in front of Monaco’s Royal Palace on Sunday at 15:30 (CET).
As usual a wide range of conditions are expected on this year’s event, making Monte Carlo one of the most difficult rallies on the entire calendar. As well as varying weather, crews face a huge variety of road conditions: from bumpy, broken asphalt with reasonable grip to sheet ice like a skating rink. In total, the rally consists of 365.09 competitive kilometres.
Car news — Suzuki SX4 WRC n.11 (Gardemeister) and n.12 (Andersson):
This will actually be Suzuki’s seventh Monte Carlo rally, thanks to a successful Junior World Rally Championship campaign that resulted in two titles, but it is obviously the first time in the Principality with the all-new SX4 WRC.
The SX4 WRC sports a striking new white and yellow livery for 2008, and it has already racked up a number of testing kilometres in the region following a pre-Monte Carlo test at the end of last year with both drivers. Using the valuable experience gained from the two test events in 2007, the SX4 WRC features new differential and suspension settings for Monte Carlo, as well as a raft of other improvements under the skin.
Like all the other cars, the SX4 WRC will run on Pirelli’s all-new control tyres introduced for this year. These tyres are not permitted to have anti-deflation mousse, and only one type of tread pattern and compound is allowed per event, in order to reduce costs. However drivers are permitted to hand-cut the tyres to help disperse water or loose gravel, and for Monte Carlo a short stud can also be used if necessary, to find grip in icy conditions.
The entire Suzuki team is eagerly awaiting the unique challenge of Monte Carlo, and the whole 2008 season.
For the first time, the Suzuki World Rally Team will run two cars, as it will over the rest of the season. The 32 year-old Toni Gardemeister starts his ninth Monte Carlo Rally this year, and it is one of his favourite events. The Finn was on the podium as recently as 2006, and he has finished in the points on five occasions. His co-driver this year is Tomi Tuominen, who knows the SX4 WRC well after partnering Sebastian Lindholm on the Rally GB last year.
Gardemeister said: “It’s fantastic for me to be back in the World Championship with Suzuki, and if things go well for us in Monte Carlo I think we can come away with points. The car is still new, so we’re not going to be on the pace of the frontrunners yet, but the overall set-up and reliability is good.
The SX4 has a very compact wheelbase so it changes direction quickly, which will be very useful on the fast and twisty roads of Monte Carlo. This is always an unpredictable event, but I think that mixed conditions could actually work in our favour. I’m particularly looking forward to the Col de Turini stages on Sunday: these are unique stages and I’ve always had a very good feeling with them.”
For 27 year-old P-G Andersson, co-driven by Jonas Andersson, Monte Carlo will be his first-ever World Championship event in a World Rally Car. The young Swede has completed around 500 kilometres of testing with the SX4, so he still has to climb a steep learning curve. Nonetheless, the Monte Carlo Rally is not entirely new to him as he competed on the event in 2004 and 2005 with an Ignis Super 1600.
“I can’t wait to get started!”, said P-G. “Obviously getting to the finish and gaining more experience will be the priority for me. Going from a Super 1600 car to a World Rally Car is quite a big jump as everything happens so much quicker. It’s also important to get the pace notes right: there are some corners that you wouldn’t even bother noting in a Super 1600 car but in a World Rally Car you really feel them!”
For the entire Suzuki team, the Monte Carlo rally opens a new chapter in the manufacturer’s prestigious history. New arrivals at the team this year include Shusuke Inagaki as technical director and Akira Kawada as team manager. Prior to the rally, the team will take part in this year’s official World Rally Championship launch on Sunday 20 January in Monte Carlo before the drivers start the recce.
Nobuhiro 'Monster’ Tajima, principal of the Suzuki World Rally Team, commented: “As we embark on our full first season, our goal is to make steady progress by taking one step at a time. Results are obviously important, but we cannot get ahead of ourselves either. In our debut year, it’s only natural to expect a few minor problems and we’re grateful to have a driver of the calibre of Toni Gardemeister to help us improve.”
Whereabouts are you from?
I was born in Canada, then moved to NZ and used to live on a farm up in Warkworth. Now I live in Auckland.
You look familiar — where have we seen you before?
I won Miss Drag Masters 2006 and also the 4 & Rotary bikini comp in 2005, plus I’ve been doing heaps of promo work lately.
Which Hollywood star can you identify with the most?
Cameron Diaz, 'cause she’s really gumby just like me.
You have to leave now to a deserted island and can only take one person and three things, what are they?
My boyfriend, my bikini, a chapstick and a jumper.
What do you look for in a guy?
They have to have a great personality, be active, very sporty and adventurous.
What would we have to do to get you to go on a date with Ed?
Nothing! I’d just go anyway. (S**t I’m in! — Ed)
So what are you driving at the moment?
A Subaru Impreza WRX that I own with my boyfriend.
A WRX is a quick car! ever managed to talk your way out of a speeding fine?
No, I’m not a very good talker! I always get the ticket!
Do you have any hidden talents?
I can play the guitar, and my boyfriend who is an electrician is currently teaching me how to wire up houses.
What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?
Well I won the 4&Rotary Nationals bikini comp wearing only a Super Liquor plastic bag. My car got broken into at the show, and all my gear got stolen out of it. How’s that for Kiwi ingenuity!
How about an embarrassing moment?
I’m always embarrassing myself doing things like walking into glass doors and mirrors! it happens all the time.
Model: Shannon @ Allure Promotions
Photos: Quinn Hamill
Hair & Make-Up: Evana Patterson
Styling: Amanda Carter
Pink bikini-Supplied by model
All Clothes supplied by Route 66 Newmarket
Get your own photoshoot by the professional team at Parkside. Click here to find out more.
Name: Hannah (aka Lil’ Han)
Occupation: Model/Law Student/Erotic Novelist
Hi Hannah, how are you doing today?
You listed your occupation as 'erotic novelist’ among other things. Really?
Well it’s more of a personal joke really, but who wouldn’t want to write about engorged members and heaving bosoms for a living?
Yes, I often wish I had chosen a career path that allowed me to write words like 'turgid’ and 'supple’. A lot of our readers have probably seen you around before. Have you done a lot of modelling? Where might we have seen you?
I’ve been doing promo work for a few years now, so I’ve appeared in NZPC a fair few times. Otherwise I have done shoots for mags like FHM, Ralph and Maxim.
Have you had any bad experiences with modelling? Wardrobe malfunctions, seedy photographers or journos — apart from us that is?
Oh no, you guys are great. But yes, I have definitely had my fair share of seedy photographers, but that’s just part of the job. As for 'wardrobe malfunctions’, I am pretty comfortable with myself, so things like that don’t really bother me at all.
When you’re not hanging around workshops in very little clothing, what do you like to do for fun?
Mostly I surf! Otherwise I’m a big fan of reading the newspaper, and I’m sorry to say this, but listening to Newstalk ZB. And, of course, there are few things I just can’t mention in this magazine!
Saucy! Now, I have to ask, do you have to work really hard to look as amazing as you do, or are you one of those freaks to whom it comes naturally?
Why thank you! It’s a bit of both to be honest. Sure, I go to the gym, I look after myself and all that, but I’m not obsessed with it. I don’t wear make-up unless I have to and I think I am relatively down to earth.
You still eat though, right?
Like a horse, man, like a horse.
Good. So if a guy wanted to, say, take you out for a meal, what sort of restaurant should he be booking?
Well, your choices are limited to basically one thing: sushi. As it turns out, I’m allergic to most foods. Plus, it helps that I can’t really spill sushi all over myself, as I’m spectacularly clumsy at times.
Today we have been shooting at Boosted Performance. Have you ever worked in a workshop, or are you not fond of getting your hands dirty?
I’m not a huge fan, no. I am studying law at the moment, so I’d rather be behind a desk or in front of a camera.
So you’re a girly girl then. You must lead a charmed life, filled with shopping, sun beds and pillow fights in your undies.
Yes, I guess you could say that. I’ll often have my friends over, just to put on some lingerie and smash each other with pillows until the whole room is filled with feathers and sweaty, half-naked girls.
I detect a hint of sarcasm!
Well aren’t you just a super sleuth!
I like the cut of your jib, it’s so sassy! So, are you into cars at all?
Oh sure, cars are great. I’m a big fan of speed.
What do you think makes a good car? Raw, powerful race cars like this one you are sitting in front of, or a showy, flashy machine with chromes and leather?
Wait, this is your car isn’t it?
Well yes, but that’s not the point.
Oh, in that case I like your car — it’s so hot right now!
Although I sense your slightly patronising tone, I’ll take that one. But seriously, what takes your fancy?
Well, I’m not a big fan of useless, flashy modifications. I like either super-expensive exotica, Mazda RX-7s, or cars like your Mark II, something tough with plenty of power and which can burn some serious rubber.
Good answer! Most girls I talk to just want the chrome and big ballin’ bling. Why do you think that is?
Well, I think for girls, cars are like the clothes or the jewellery we wear. We have these possessions for one reason, to make us look good, which in turn brings us more attention. Most guys, on the other hand, are just after the adrenalin kick of a fast, noisy car.
Now, just recently I’ve been introducing the boys here at Boosted Performance to the wonderful world of internet sites like MySpace and Bebo. Are you on there, just like everyone else in new Zealand?
Of course I am! I’m very careful with who I add though; I can’t have just anyone being my 'friend’. There are so many creeps online and heaps of weird 40-year-old divorcees from Wisconsin asking for my last name and odd things like that.
I’m so going to add you when I get home. What do you think my chances are?
Slim to none.
Oh! You’re cutting me deep right now, but fair enough. Thanks for your time Han!
Not a problem guys.
Thanks to Boosted Performance for the use of their workshop.
Photos: Quinn Hamill
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I have a street registered 180SX drift car that I want to add a whole heap of adjustable suspension parts to. It already has certified coil-overs, but the things I want to change are stuff like rear upper camber arms, toe control arms and pillow tension rods. All these parts are bright blue, aftermarket Japanese-made ones with rose joints, etc. So I’m sure they’ll catch the WoF testers, aye! Are they legal with no cert, or are there any cert guidelines I should know about? Thanks in advance.
Sorry Lee, but it’s out with the cheque book again! All of the common modifications that have been agreed between LVVTA and LTNZ as not requiring a cert have been identified, and recorded within a document called the 'LVV Modification Threshold Schedule’. This can be found on our website, so any Performance Car readers can check up to see if their mods need a cert or not. It’s available free of charge on www.lvvta.org.nz. The information in this document has been integrated into the LTNZ document that the WoF guys use, so everyone is getting the same information. Unfortunately for you, the componentry you’re going to be fitting isn’t on the LVV Modification Threshold Schedule, so a new LVV cert is going to be required. To be honest, it’s not a bad thing — there’s a huge variation in quality in the aftermarket parts industry, ranging from beautifully-built stuff that will breeze through the cert process, to absolute rubbish that your typical Kiwi car guy in his shed at home would be embarrassed to have his name attached to. The certifier will want to ensure that the materials used (type and size) are appropriate, that weld quality (if applicable) is up there, and the quality of the rod ends is right.
I have a 1990 Toyota Soarer with the 1G-GEU, which I’m planning to turn into a bit of a drift beast (got to be different, right?!), I’m ditching the factory engine and want to run with either a 1JZ or 2JZ engine. Obviously there’s a bit of a difference in price and availability between the two motors, so I was wondering which you think would be my best option? If I went down the cheaper 1JZ route, what are the best modifications I should go for? Ideally, with either engine, my goal is around 450hp — which I’m hoping will be enough power to skin tyres with little encouragement! Any information would be appreciated.
As far as I’m aware, you need more than just horsepower to make a good drift car. Suspension and chassis tuning is right up there on the list too, so don’t just think an engine is all you need. I suspect a 1JZ engine conversion wouldn’t be all that hard to do. I would make sure that you get the whole package:â€ motor, ECU loom and gearbox. If you slap on some of the 2JZ turbos you will get plenty of response, which is what you’re after, but having a boost threshold of 6000rpm won’t do you a lot of good when you back off.
First of all; last month’s mag was wicked. It’s great to see that the usual performance car reputation still lives strong. I have just brought a 1997 Mitsubishi Legnum, which — as you are probably aware — has a 2.5L V6 twin turbo engine. What I want to know from you guys is my best option for modifying the engine with only a couple of grand to spend? It is as standard as they come at the moment. Keep up the great work guys. I’m looking forward to next month’s mag.
Michael Upton, Auckland
Unfortunately you’re not going to be able to do much with only a couple of grand. Basic mods like a good air filter, an intake pipe setup and an exhaust will take up most of the budget with maybe a little left over for a blow-off valve. What everyone out there needs to understand is that you won’t get big gains without spending a bit of money. You also need to be realistic with what you’re after and don’t go expecting Pro Import performance with 30mpg fuel economy. It just doesn’t happen.
I just brought my dream car, a 93 Supra RZ and am currently in the process of slapping everything at it, as fast as I can afford it. I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction regarding my factory computer with all its fuel cuts, etc. Should I piggyback it, or save for an aftermarket ECU? Basically, I want the most out of the engine, whilst running low boost (to prolong the standard turbos just long enough until I can get that single turbo set up). I really would appreciate it if you could help me out. I’m a big fan of the show and mag.
There are many things to pick from in the marketplace, so I’ll start with a piggyback that I’ve had good results with — MAPECU. These devices are used on many Supras in the USA, with very good results, but better still is that they’re user-friendly. My other pick for value is A’PEXi’s Power-FC. These have been produced by the Japanese tuning company for many years, and are 'plug and play’ to a certain extent. However, any unit is only as good as the person doing the tuning, so make sure you get someone who knows their stuff.