KyushaShoes on Instagram Quentin Osborne on YouTube qatqrgarage on twitter Quentin Osborne on Facebook Quentin Osborne on linkedin Quentin Osborne on GooglePlus

Control Capacity

February 6th, 2016 by Quentin Osborne

Control capacity.

I think a lot of people really don’t get it, but raw speed does not interest me much at all. Formula 1? I’m more interested in vintage touring cars. Downforce equipped super car on R comps? Nah I’d rather a 150hp lightweight on skinny street tires. 4WD 3 LSD rally car light on ice? A RWD boat seems more to my liking.

Last post after an SASC winter school, I mentioned that our IS300 was a pretty enjoyable car on snow and ice. In the fun and relaxed setting of the day, it had no problem chasing other drivers down. I wondered how it would do against a car I knew to be pretty fast with a driver who was actually attacking.

The answer was: not great. Andrew’s WRX is quite capable of running away from it. He is chasing in the video above, and as you can see, has little problem keeping up. When the Lexus follows with a camera on the bonnet, he is a fading blue dot in the distance.

The difference is perhaps not as drastic as I make it out to be. The RWD car always seemed to gain some advantage on corner entry, but then it always loses on exit. With the conditions being 100% polished ice, the AWD advantage was probably even greater than I experienced the first time I drove the car, when snow was thick.

Behind the wheel though, the IS300 is relaxing. The WRX is a fight. While the speed may not always be there in the Lexus, the car always has the right attitude. Steering and throttle are equal tools for creating and adjusting angle. The WRX is a 20lb sledge that you wrestle to raise above your head and smash to the ground destroying everything in front of you once the coast is clear.

Sure sometimes things work out beautifully in the WRX… but sometimes they start beautifully and then the back tire catches a grippy patch of snow and you are sent to understeer purgatory until the corner ends. Humiliation and failure. My driving probably has a few more steps to make… but why would I bother to learn when the RWD platform makes me feel like a hero today?

Driving Rear Wheels Only

January 5th, 2016 by Quentin Osborne

firstdayoniceYay for a short break from wheels.

Winter has come and I finally got a chance to try the IS300 out on the ice. My expectations for the car were not high. It is a great daily driver, and from what I have experienced on the street, very well balanced and behaved. However, on glare ice with Subaru’s breathing down my neck I expected that the biggest engine ever to come out of Japan sitting over the front axle, and the inability to power the front axles would really leaving me wanting more from the car. Nevermind the double wide brake pedal and lack of control that lends…

The car however was fantastic. After three hard years of training the spazz out of myself it was for the most part a very smooth controllable ride where the car did basically what my will commanded. The flat engined cars I had an opportunity to drive that day, felt insanely fast in comparison, but that may largely have been the audio assault of wastegates, BOV’s and boxer rumbling. In the cabin of the Lexus, there is a soothing straight six growl, not a squeak, rattle or clunk from the suspension or interior pieces, and every set of taillights that appears in the windscreen (or often side window) slowly gets bigger and bigger until signal lights flash and a new target appears.

No I didn’t have the opportunity to chase everyone down that I wanted to… but the car was certainly not slow despite all its short coming. The only caveat is, that if I blast Daft Punk out on course as per usual Subaru attack, I end up backwards every corner.

I’ll add more after having a chance to drive the Lexus back to back versus a properly prepped WRX, after Andrew gets ours back on the road… for the third time. I expect the WRX will smash it… but not without some frustration and envy.

One Down

December 6th, 2015 by Quentin Osborne

kyushashoes_updateIt’s winter… and I’m all out of green so spending time on the computer. Kyushashoes got a big update… and I’ve decided to make greatly expanding the database there my winter project.

… along with re-vamping this deprecated old place.

A New World

November 29th, 2015 by Quentin Osborne

roboraceThis is the emblem of the latest FIA race series… and it’s appropriate that it looks like it belongs on the mast of a pirate ship, or taped to a lamp post in a dark alley. Those who plot the end of the world need not an arsenal, but a single device… or in this case… a race series. More info on the official Formula E page here.

For the last two years, I’ve wanted desperately to like Formula E. Nevermind that it’s the only race series where race cars are designed NOT to go the full race length (when racers pit, they switch to an entirely different car with fresh batteries) I like the idea of electric cars. In comparison to internal combustion engines, electric drivetrains offer enormous flexibility in terms of packaging. Motors are small. Batteries can be arranged a variety of ways. Cables bend and twist around corners, and send current to individual wheels at… the speed of light. It’s a fantasy world. Yes, the technology still has a long ways to go… but that’s what Formula E is about.

Or I thought that’s what Formula E was about.

But instead of trying to develop a race car that can last a whole race, they have decided to build a race car that can drive itself… yes NO race car driver… again presumably for half a whole race.

Racing just got a whole LOT more boring. Think robot wars are lame… consider watching robots whizz around a race track, appearing momentarily and then disappearing out of site for a minute and a half… again and again. Let’s face it, racing in general seems to be walking a very fine line these days… Action in Formula 1 for example is so minimal that many times the highlights of the race itself are the radio communications between over confident drivers and cautious team management. That… or drivers throwing hats at each other post race. The last time Siri did anything to rouse my interest was… never…

Some of us think the idea of a “stig,” the ultimate, emotionless, race car driver is fun and awesome. I’m telling you it’s hell.

But all this reportedly comes in the name of road going autonomous vehicle technology. That may well be fine and good… but I’ll tell you now, it won’t be long before another flag is flying from the antenna of lifted 12V Cummins trucks, taped to the backside of dingy, greasy gas pumps, stickered in vinyl on the back windows of old american muscle or 90’s sport compacts.

Under Cover of Darkness

November 20th, 2015 by Quentin Osborne

ToHeaven683You know the car is only so interesting to drive, when I’d rather play with the camera. This is my Canon sitting on a bench with exposure time set to 8.0 seconds, me pushing the button then walking into the frame. Looks like photoshop but feels like magic.

That said, for the sake of trying to get my wife interested in this car, you may notice that I found a used TRD front lip. After installation she has noted nothing about the appearance of the car, but complains that she hits the front end on parking blocks. Sounds like I need to build a proper sturdy splitter/undertray to protect the new muscular look.

foggymorningI also picked up some Sparco Terra’s and studded Hankook’s. My four year old thinks they are cool, but again my wife noticed nothing except tire noise on the highway.

I’m sure that the TRD springs and dampers currently on the boat from Nihon-land will turn her around and wake her up to how fun and awesome this car really is. If not… at least it is turning into something that I really like having around.

Everything You Need To Know About Badlands Motorsports Resort

November 19th, 2015 by Quentin Osborne

BADLANDSMOTORSPORTSRESORTRENDERIt’s been almost two years since the Badlands Motorsports Project lands were re-zoned from “agricultural” to “direct control”, but other than minor updates from their website, we haven’t heard very much from them. That has led to all sorts of rumours from people “in the know” or people “familiar” with how developments like this go. I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time recently with with those directly involved with the project, so I feel like I’m in a good position to clear some of these rumours and insights up. The truth is, everything you need to know about BMR is on their website: From what I hear at the pub, it doesn’t seem like many people read it.

First off… let’s stop referring to it as simply a racetrack. It’s not a racetrack in the conventional sense. It will not host large races. It is not a spectator destination. Calling it a race track creates all kinds of connotations that not only don’t resonate with what the developers have in mind, they make the local residents think that only people named Ricky Bobby will visit the area. If you are looking for a place to run your Spec Miata, this will still be a great place, but don’t expect Indy or Superbike or anything of the like. That intention instead is for a family getaway zone. Parks, homes, other sports facilities, restaurants etc are all part of the plan. It will be a full service community rather than a standalone road course that adds comparatively little benefit to the surrounding community.

BMR_morethanjustaracetrackThe current economic climate in Alberta may have created some unanticipated challenges, but on the other hand with falling oil prices comes a need for non-energy related developments. Badlands Motorsports Resort is a non-energy related development, and a big one. While our new provincial government has done well to raise the ire of many Albertans, some of their initiatives and mandates do align very nicely with a project like BMR: diversity, infrastructure, tourism. Construction prices have fallen. Unemployment rates have risen by 2% in the past year. The timing is right. Those suggesting that this a project that only benefits a few motorsports enthusiasts haven’t truly grasped the depth of what is planned. Projected cost of the development is not just a couple million dollars. We are talking hundreds of millions of dollars for construction, likely thousands of jobs, and then an influx of tourist dollars for decades to come plus a top notch facility that locals can take advantage of… motorsport enthusiast or not.

Environmental considerations are always extremely important for developments of this size, and while the lands that contain the development are beautiful, they are not so sensitive that they should not be developed. In fact, the Hamlet of Rosebud is working on a development west of the BMR site right in the Rosebud River Valley.  Environmental considerations for the BMR development certainly are comprehensive and involved, and careful design and planning has been needed to ensure that standards can be met… but they can be.  If restrictions were so severe that they prohibited development then the BMR Area Structure Plan, and Land Re-zoning by-laws would not have passed.

But they did pass, so what is the hold up?

BMR-siteBefore construction can commence, BMR and Kneehill County must finalize a Development Agreement that looks at all aspects of the project in great detail. As I said, it’s a big project. There are a lot of details. The good news is that the folks at BMR have completed basically all of the analysis and studies required, and on their end are ready to complete the Development Agreement with Kneehill County. Unfortunately, bureaucracies often move quite slowly. So while many Albertans stay home or collect EI benefits, and heavy equipment sits idle in yards and shops, the BMR project sits at the bottom of someone’s desk drawer.

To this point the project has seen a lot of “support in principle” from council members, mayors, and provincial politicians. It’s time for them to step up and actually do something to get shovels in the ground.

Cleaning Out The Garage…

November 18th, 2015 by Quentin Osborne

GDASplitterRender… and moving things to the hard drive.

My shop is full of all sorts of home-brew contraptions: some of which were never useful, some of which fulfilled their purpose and now sit tucked in a corner waiting for future opportunity. Amongst that pile was an old splitter from my WRX. Although the car is now gone, I had saved the splitter (though it was slightly damaged) hoping that Andrew might want to use it again on the car that it came from, or at least use it to make a shiny new one. Instead, he has gone with a much less fashionable, protective aluminum undertray. I spent an hour with a tape measure, and then moved the old splitter into the trash pile.

My first creation of the splitter, was done with 12mm aircraft grade birch plywood (SEE HERE). I wrecked on the lake one day and blasted a basketball size hole in it. The second version was constructed from a balsa and fiberglass sandwich. This was a helluva lot of work, and ultimately heavier and flimsier than the straight wood piece.

Wood on a car gets a lot of hate, but as I’ve noted in the past, it works quite well and is an obvious choice for how little it affects your bank balance and for how easy it is to work with. Guys who don’t get that will try poly-metal, alumalite and other composite aluminum sandwich plates. From my experience, those products are either heavier than birch plywood or no where near as stiff. Spending a meaningful amount of money… honeycomb core carbon fiber or FRP sandwich is lighter and stiffer, but in no case does anything that performs comparably take a beating like wood can. Formula 1 uses wood. It’s perfectly cool on your car.

GDASplitter2drawingwebI’m convinced… and if I ever own another GD Impreza (which I almost certainly will someday) I’d do it all again. This piece fits very nicely to the stock U-brace, bolting at the back to two existing M8×1.25 holes in the crossmember, and three existing holes in the U-brace underneath of the rad support. The drawing describes a front radius that fits the Bugeye bumper and a Prodrive V1 lip nicely. If I had a kouki or chouki car it would be easy enough to cut the back section out and leave the front edge square and mark a new leading edge on the car to fit a different bumper. Also, should I want to make the leading face any larger, I would probably add some additional bracing or mounting points. Perhaps a couple turn buckles from the front bumper beam forward. Perhaps a couple bolts through the splitter into the rear corners of the front bumper.