Last year was a big year for me, I really put my focus into moving forward with the PS13 project and put off any offers to take the Hilux out on track.
You have to understand that track days are not the easiest things to do, from the trade stand preparations that happen a month before the event, the car preparation, the trailer preparation, loading up, packing the tools and spares, fitting tyres to spare rims, filling up the fuel containers and then the travel component and imminent failures along the way. It all takes time and energy and it all happens in reverse after the event.
In total its like a month long black hole for progress in the workshop but when I am in the car its all worth it.
But when the Hilux is parked in the sun at a different angle than I usually look at it I get shivers because of its beauty, the travel and packup may be annoying but the event is just a good time!
I had two sessions allotted in my weekend demo schedule, the Hilux would be parked at my trade stand and then ushered into the hot pit for a 3pm session on the skidpad each day.
I was a little nervous (as always) because I feel this cars performance is a complete reflection on my mechanical abilities. When you build a car like this you have no one to blame but yourself. If it doesn’t work then the disappointment on those faces that came to see it in action would be evident.
I made some changes earlier in the year to the Hilux too, I added a new battery box to house the new 16V battery. I had a heap of issues with the Powermaster Alternator and with little room for anything else I decided to ditch it for good. I had been running alternator less for the last 3 or 4 drives but with the 12V setup I would start at 12.2 (at best) and then trickle down to 11.5V in 5 minutes of running. This made the response sluggish and the Racepack PDM unable to refire the car should I stall it.
My fix is a large XP1000 XSPower 16V battery, with the 16V HF615 charger these batteries charge up in no time to a peak of 17.2V and give me more than enough run time for a couple of sessions. My electronics package was all suited to 18V so it was really a straight swap. The fuel pump and fans run fairly hard and the mixtures are a little more rich at 17V but after a few sessions the voltage drops to around 15.5V and everything seems perfect. I changed the oil aswell, I don’t like it sitting in the engine for too long so some fresh 30W Red Line Race Oil gives me some piece of mind.
So I suited up for the first session and those recent changes were about to be thoroughly tested.
With a large crowd of onlookers, skeptics and supporters they lined the barriers of the skidpan, within two corners the nerves wore of and the good times began.
It’s still a surreal feeling, the grip, the flow, the response from everything is incredible, it sounds stupid but I feel completely at one with the car. It remains perfectly flat through the corners, the steering wheel has this insanely good feel about it, it drives from corners perfectly smoothly and handbrakes into the next at the exact same rate, it’s easy to pick the line I need and flows around the course without any dramas.
I mix up my lines and flow around the course peeking down at the dash to get an idea of engine temperatures, this course was all second gear but the sequential 6 speed gearbox just sings inside the cabin, with new Red Line fluids in both the engine and driveline I felt comfortable with way everything was working.
With each session lasting 5 minutes I had an amazing time in the car, the feedback it gave me left me with complete confidence in its ability to perform at shows like this, it doesn’t have 1,000hp or fancy big tyres that smoke the place out but it looks completely at home sideways like nothing I have ever witnessed before.
Many thanks to Red Line Oils, XSPower Batteries for the recent upgrades, my crew for helping me with the trade stand and a huge thanks to Dean Walters for these images, I really appreciate it.
I can’t wait till next time, thanks for reading.