Oct
21

Juha Rintanen ja Formula Drift USA debyytti 2014

Hei kaikki nopeasta autourheilusta tykkäävät lajiin katsomatta!

Nimeni on Juha Rintanen ja olen yksi suomi-Driftingin pioneereista. Olen ollut mukana lajin parissa jo toistakymmentä vuotta kuljettajana, sekä olen myös ollut mukana lajia kehittämässä järjestäjien kanssa. Rakastan lajiamme sekä koko moottoriurheilua. Rakastan sitä kuinka näyttävää, erilaista, nopeaa ja tarkkaa työskentelyä auton hallinta vaatii. Vielä tänäkin päivänä Drifting aiheuttaa paljon keskustelua ja väheksyntää muissa autourheilupiireissä, mutta tästä huolimatta me harrastajat ei olla luovutettu. Päinvastoin tämä on saanut meidät yrittämään kovemmin tuoda lajille sen vaatimaa arvostusta!

Myönnettäköön että ensivaikutelma yleensä jää ihmisille lopulliseksi mielipiteeksi ja siksi Driftinginkin kannalta ensivaikutelma voi mennä pahasti pieleen. Sarjoja on maailmassa varmasti satoja. Autojen taso sekä kuljettajien taso vaihtelee aikalailla, mutta niinhän se on muissakin lajeissa. Tietämättömän on hankala valita juuri sitä oikeaa paikkaa, mutta kunhan sen ensimmäisen oikean kilpailun löytää, niin siihen vauhtiin, tunnelmaan ja koko kilvanajoon on erittäin helppo jäädä koukkuun.

Tehdäämpä pieni kuvitelmaleikki jolla ainakin omasta mielestäni on ollut helppo saada ihmiset ajattelemaan mistä lajissa on kyse.
Otetaan esimerkkinä vaikka Ahveniston moottorirata kaikkine nousuineen ja laskuineen. Auton valinta on vapaa kunhan se on siis takavetoinen. Kuinka monta kierrosta vaatisi että pystyisit ajamaan koko radan kyseisellä autolla hallitussa sivuluisussa luiston katkeamatta mutkien välillä mutkan vaihtuessa mutkasta toiseen?
Entäs jos lisätään haastetta ja sanotaan että joka mutkassa sekä radan kohdassa auton perä täytyy pitää maksimissaan 30cm etäisyydellä radan ulkolaidasta KOKO ajan, oli reuna sitten kanttarin reuna tai radan kaide?
Muista että renkaina autossasi ei ole ne 155 leveät 5 vuotta vanhat koppurat, vaan ihan kunnolliset 265 leveät nipin napin katulailliset semi sliksit miedoilla paineilla jolloin vaudit oikeasti nousee osassa rataa kovaksi.
Lopuksi lisätään soppaan vielä toinen auto yhtäaikaa radalle. Eikä ihan mihin vaan, vaan kuvittele pystyisitkö ajamaan radan vielä samallatavalla tarkasti radan reunaa, nyt vielä toista autoa seuraillen mahdollisimman lähellä. Sanotaan vaikka että alle metrin etäisyydellä? Ahveniston stadionin mutkaa kun lasketaan alas isossa luistossa on vauhti kuitenkin reilusti yli toistasataa. Siinä saa todella toivoa, että edelläajava auto ei tee suurta virhettä.

Pitkään harrastaneena meillä on ollut kyllä paljon vastoinkäymisiä, mutta paljon on saatu myös tulosta. Suomessa ollaan oltu sarjaykkösiä, NEZ mestaruus, lukuisia suuria ulkomaan kisavoittoja sekä suurimpana Drift Allstars Euroopan sarjan mestaruus vuosi sitten.

On toukokuu 2014 ja kilpailukausi on jo käynnissä, mutta me ei olla vielä oikeastaan päätetty mitä tänävuonna ajetaan koska sponsorikuviot eivät ole meneet toivotulla tavalla eteenpäin. Muutama yksittäinen kilpailu on käyty jo ajamassa mutta ei muuta. Kaverini ’maajussi-Mikon’ kanssa teemme lopulta päätöksen hakea amerikkaan Formula Drift lisenssiä kesken kauden, vaikka tiedämme että kerkeämme ajamaan vain 4 viimeistä sarjakilpailua. Lopulta saamme myöntävän vastauksen lisenssiin kansainvälisten saavutusten kautta ja tuleekin jo kiire pistää auto konttiin.

Drift-LOGO on lajin suurin ja arvostetuin sarja. Kilpailuja on seitsemän ympäri yhdysvaltoja ja sen kilpailuja voi seurata livenä netin kautta tai jälkeenpäin NBC Sports kanavalta. Lajin suosio amerikassa on edelleen valtavassa nousussa ja lähes joka kilpailussa onkin yli 20 000 katsojaa.

Päätimme, että tätä me olemme jo pitkään halunneet ja nyt sen vihdoin teemme, saimme me ne sponsorit tai emme. Pistetään itsemme likoon ja toteutetaan unelmamme! Parin viikon päästä ensikeskusteluista autoa lastattiinkin jo konttiin kotikaupungissamme Hämeenlinnassa.

Onneksi meillä on aiemmilta reissuilta paljon tuttuja kontakteja myös yhdysvalloissa. Niiden avulla saimme logistiikan sielläpäässä järjestymään kohtuullisesti vaikka välimatkat kilpailujen välillä ovatkin meidän mittakaavalla aivan järkyttävän pitkiä.

Alkoi suuri hyppy tuntemattomaan.

Euroopassa auton kilpailukohtainen alustasäätö on ollut varsin vieras käsite kun autoon on kerran hyvät säädöt löytynyt. Suurinosa radoista on suht samanlaisia, eikä isoja säätöjä kilpailuiden välillä tarvitse tehdä.
Suuri osa Formula D:n radoista taas ovat erittäin nopeita ja niissä on JYRKKIÄ kallistuksia Nascar radoista johtuen ja tämähän oli meille aivan uusi tuttavuus.

Euroopassa radat ovat yleisestiottaen varsin tasaisia. Toki niissä saattaa olla mäkiä suuntaan jos toiseen, mutta pitkät kallistetut mutkat vaativat auton säädöltä jotain aivan muuta. Esimerkkinä viimeisen Irwindalen kilpailun ensimmäinen mutka. Nopea alkukiihdytys noin 120kmh tunnissa ja nelivaihteisesta Nascar laatikosta suurin vaihde silmään ja auto poikittain vallin viereen. Moottorin kaikki 860 hevosvoimaa tulivat varmasti tarpeen takarenkaiden pyöriessä noin 260km/h pitkin kallistettua radan reunaa! Toki auton todellisesta nopeudesta voi ottaa noin satasen pois, kun muistetaan että takapyörät lyövät kuitenkin jonkunverran joutavaa.

texasmotor

Ei ole helppoa.

Amerikasta jäi loppupeleissä tänävuonna käteen vain se luu. Ensimmäisessä kilpailussa raju törmäys valliin. Toisessa kilpailussa radan suuri nopeus sekä kallistettu Nascar tyyppinen rata pisti pojjaat takaisin koulun penkille alustansäätöjä opettelemaan. Kolmas rata Texasissa oli eniten eurooppalaistyylinen ja siitä syystä parhaimmat kokemuksemme jäikin sieltä. Pistimme tämänvuoden Formula D mestarille semmoisen vastuksen, että niistä vedosta vielä jutellaan pitkään. Meillä oli säädöt sen verran kohdallaan, että nykyisen mestarinkaan vauhti ei sitä riittänyt vastaamaan ja hetken tilanne näyttikin jo lupaavalta. Loppupeleissä toisin kuitenkin kävi.

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Suurimmat kompastuskivemme tänävuonna olivat nimenomaan auton ratakohtaisten säätöjen löytäminen, sekä henkiset menestymispaineet. Drifting on siitä erikoinen laji moneen muuhun verrattuna, että huipputasolla ei tarvitse tehdä kuin se yksi pieni virhe kesken kilpailusuorituksen ja homma on paketissa. Oli todella haastavaa ajaa Amerikassa. Ympärillä ovat juuri ne ihmiset joita olet seurannut monen monta vuotta internetin välityksellä. Kyllähän meidät kuitenkin siellä tiedettiin, mutta silti olimme Suuressa maassa, uudessa paikassa ja uutena tiiminä. Viivalla ajatusten pitäminen kurissa oli hankalaa, varsinkin kun tiesin että meillä monella on tässä iso osa omaisuutta kiinni ja kaikki oli kiinni vain minusta..

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Mutta ainakin me voidaan sanoa että ollaan ajettu!
Ensimmäinen suomalaistiimi Formula Drift sarjassa on jo saavutus sinänsä. Käykääpä koittamassa!

Myös amerikassa sarjan taso on noussut kyllä huimasti ja kilpailutilanteissa näkee aivan ilmiömäisiä pariajoja. Kyllä, tämä on se paikka johon kaikesta huolimatta tekee mieli mennä uudestaan! Tämä on se paikka, jossa me vielä näytämme Suomalaista osaamista!

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Olen tyytyväinen, sillä mielestäni todistimme kuitenkin itsellemme muutaman pointin:
Vaikka Driftingissä vauhti ei suoranaisesti ole voiton tae, se pieni nopeusetu saattaa helpottaa ajoa ja sekä auttaa pysymään vastustajan lähellä pariajotilanteessa.
Paljon meitä peloteltiin amerikan nopeista autoista ja että sen takia meillä tulisi olemaan hankalaa.
Silti vauhdillisesti olimme maailman kovatasoisimmassa sarjassa helposti kärjen tuntumassa, ellei jopa nopeimpia.

Ja sen että ne omat idolit, maailman parhaat, ne on ihan oikeasti hyvänä päivänä kaikki voitettavissa!

ajo LAR_6127

Kiitos kaikille jotka ovat seuranneet meidän koitoksia tänävuonna sosiaalisen median sekä Vastaheitto.comin kautta. Katsotaan mitä ensivuosi tuo tullessaan. Nyt olemme paljon viisaampia auton säätöjen kanssa, enkä usko että kovin moni sarjaa ajanut tulee meitä kovin paljoa ali-arvioimaan.

Kiitos myös tiimimme sponsoreille sekä yhteistyökumppaneille:
BCracingFi Finjector_logo_4 Forge_Logo siliconhoses achilles_malli aerokit
teollisuuspalvelutkp_print www.hevosvoima.com

Kiitos kaikille!
-Juha Rintanen #200

 

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Oct
04

Formula Drift Round 6 | Showdown

Round 6 | The SHOWDOWN

The travelling becomes more easier after few repeats since we already know the drill. Only thing that we do not control is the transportation of our race car and all the tools and parts.
After Seattle we decided to add some more power to the car since some of the US tracks are faster than in Europe and as we still have the stock differential it is difficult to change gearing to suit the track perfectly.

I talked to our sponsor from Turbo by Garrett in Seattle and we found out an easy solution for turbo upgrade so we decided to go for it. We did realize, that the change would effect on our awesome low end torque since we even don’t have a stroker engine but we still wanted to try.

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So when we landed Dallas, the next day our trip started with a Dyno. To our disappointment the dyno didn’t have good brakes so it is hard to tune this kinds of high powered cars properly. Since that dyno was our only option to get the car tuned, we still decided to try and just so some pulls against the handbrake.
Our tuner Pekka Nurmentaus from PIM Engineering got the car dialed in and we were good to go to the track.
The low end did suffer a bit from the bigger GTX3582R turbo, but we did manage to raise the power from 700 to 860 horsepower! That should be plenty to spin those 123S Achilles around the Texas motor speedway and very good compromise to get some more power.

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The first time we arrived near the track on Thursday we couldn’t believe our eyes. I bet the Speedway in Texas is one of the biggest in the world since it was HUUUUGE! The stands just continued and continued and the BIG buildings hotels or whatever looked so tiny in the middle!

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First practice started but we found out that our rear brakes were gone completely so no handbrake also. The pulls in the dyno had destroyed our brakes. Pads and discs were totally glazed and the other disc was even cracked from the heat.
Thank god our friends in the US, we found some new but very affordable discs and pads quick enough from a local parts store and the training continued.

I had waited for this track quite a long time, since it reminds a lot of the tracks we have in Europe. Fast track with snappy transitions, but no banking so you could really go full on all the time!

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Training looked promising and we heard we even had the highest entry speeds! The clipping points were a bit too close on the track so even if you stayed on the tarmac and on the correct line, you could still hit the cones and it wasn’t a deduction.
That was ok, but we did lose some of the skirt panels, bumper parts etc during the days :)
We had PRO2 series qualifying on day 1 but somehow did not get the runs we got in practice and was placed 8th on the grid.

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sitting

Day 2 it was raining. Our car was perfect on the wet and the runs we did were precise and still fast and lots of angle with the amazing Wisefab steering kit. All the training was on wet and after that started the PRO qualifying and it started to shine and dry.
When it was our time to qualify it was all dry and we already got used to the wet track. I did try my best but somehow the grip from the track was too much. I heard this from other drivers too that for some reason in the US, sometime this happens after a soaking track gets dry the grip levels get so high it is weird. I did get OK run but because of the grip I had to use a lot of handbrake to reach the clipping points. That and since we were one of the first ones qualifying the judges rated us quite low.
The second run wasn’t any better. Waiting on the track for hour and a half and then do one pull is hard to concentrate and get an awesome run. This really is a mind game.
Still this time we placed 31st and it was enough for the main competition!

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After the qualifying started the final PRO2 practice and we had some good runs again. Until..
A fellow competitor in a GT86 spun before me when I was following up close. I didn’t have anywhere to go and I rammed his passenger door with my front. We did few more practice runs and somehow the car was understeering always at the same spot at the track and I couldn’t figure out why. Soon after that the PRO2 competition started and I had to run against my friend Brandon Wicknick.

First I ran in front and the run I did was ok, but on first fast right turn the car understeered a lot again. The correction was small so I don’t think anyone noticed it too much but I did lose some speed by doing that.
Second run I followed Brandon.
From the start I went close to Brandon and I got through the understeering problem somehow. After that I went very close again. He was a bit slower than me and he got huge angle to the last turn. I braked and stayed on his door but he straightened and I hit his rear bumper which after we continued to drift but he’s line got way too out and I passed him using the correct line.

Decision was that the judges didn’t see him straightening and decided it was my fault so that’s that. We placed maybe 9th overall.

ajo

Saturday was the main competition day and we still were in the game so no time to worry about PRO2.
In the morning we did few checks to the car and we found a misalignment from one of the tires which had caused the whole understeering issue.

Last PRO training went well, but we didn’t get many follow runs and when we did, the leader did something that ruined our follow run. So actually I didn’t have any good follow runs during the whole weekend.
We were against Chris Forsberg, one of the championship contenders so I really needed to do GREAT to get the win from this one.

It was time for TOP32 and we started with a follow on Chris. He left the line Fast and I couldn’t quite stay behind him at from the start line. Because of that I had to cut the line a bit for the second corner and on the next turn I was right on his door the whole way until the end.

vschris

Second run and we were leading. Chris kept close before the first turn but after that he had no chance. Our line was great, angle was good and we left at least 3 car lengths to Chris.

force2

We really had a chance and once we got the results it was one against two for the judges and they granted Chris the win.
I would have hoped at least for a one more time, but no.

tuomio

Mentally this really is tough, but on this weekend we really proved a point. We proved that when we have good runs, even former or future Formula Drift champions can’t stay close to us. Even for the whole weekend there wasn’t a single run that someone would have driven on our door!
The BC Racing suspension with the Wisefab is really doing the trick! We actually weren’t even on our most aggressive setting on speed so we can still make it a bit faster if necessary :)

Also imagine that we are driving on these highly gripped Achilles Radial 123S semi-slicks and we still run on stock differential! I think the only reason the diff is holding all the power is the Driveshaft shop rear driveaxles which really are strong! We keep all the play minimum when it comes to drivetrain.

osia

Last round is at Irwindale 9.-11.10.
We were informed by FD that we can’t participate the PRO competition since team has to attend 4 rounds prior to Irwindale and we have only done 3 :(
A Big misunderstanding from us but that really raises our motivation to show what we can do in PRO2. We are not giving up just yet. Although the year has been hard for us we still have a lot to show to the American drift scene.

Thank you all for supporting and following.

 

The Flying Finn
-Juha Rintanen

Jun
25

Formula Drift Round 4 | The GAUNTLET

Hi all Juha Rintanen Racing and drift supporters. Our mission this year is to drive the Formula Drift USA Professional drift series rounds four to seven.

Round 4            Wall Speedway – Wall, NJ                                            June 20 – 21
Round 5            Evergreen Speedway – Monroe, WA                          July 18 – 19
Round 6            Texas Motor Speedway – Fort Worth, Texas             September 12 – 13
Round 7            Irwindale Speedway – Irwindale, CA                          October 10 – 11

Round 4 | The GAUNTLET

We sent the car towards New york harbour about 4 weeks ahead and it was estimated to reach NY on Tuesday 10th of June. Our trip started with flights to New york on the following Friday and we planned to make all the final preparations for the car on that weekend.

We brought a front bumper with us in the airplane and we had connecting flight in Paris which successfully managed to lost our precious package. The bumper did eventually arrive next week.

When we got to New york we drove to Philadelphia where our container should arrive with the race car and all of our tools. Our friend and fellow Formula Drift driver and a former Judge of FD Tony Angelo then informed us that the container hasn’t arrived yet and is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday. Tony helped us for place to work on the car and as well transport the car to Wall stadium. This pretty much mixed all our plans, but we did collect all kinds of necessary parts needed for the time being.

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On Tuesday the container did arrive around noon and we unloaded the car and all the tools to Tony’s trailer and drove to his garage. We then immediately started to work on the car since there still was things to do before the event. We fitted the new front bumper, attached a lot of new stickers/vinyls on the car, changed the onboard fire extinguisher, changed the new BC Racing suspension, changed new Driveshaftshop.com heavy duty axles added a nozzle for the fire extinguisher near the fuel cell and a few things more needed to be done.

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On Thursday it was the paid practice day for Formula Drift. Tony delivered the car at the track and we immediately asked for a mandatory Tech inspection from the FD officials. We were pretty sure everything was ok, but it wasn’t. We needed to add one bar for the rollcage, lower the rear subframe, cut the rear wing ends smaller and since our car was a bit too light for 255mm tire, we needed to add about 60 lbs of ballast (about 27 kg) even to use 255mm Achilles Radial 123S. Most of the teams use 265mm or 275mm tire, but they have to make the cars even more heavier and we wanted to stay as light as possible. Total weight now With driver and full tank is 2760 lbs (1252 kg).

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So because all of this we were denied of Thursday practice so we started to work on the car. We were the last on the track and also first on Friday morning trying to get in from the gates which were still closed.

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Eventually the gates opened and the work continued. We got the car in Tech 15 minutes before training and we got the green flag. Time for some practice on this crazy track!

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Our Gold club members on the rear window!

We had been talking about taking it carefully for a few laps just to feel the changes in the car and see how the new track was. I accelerated in the first corner and initiated into drift and at that exact moment one of the rear tires debeaded and came off the wheel. We have formerly driven with 265 or 275mm tire with these wheels so we figured the 11″ wheel was too wide for 255mm tire running relatively low air pressures.

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We then added pressure on the rear tires and it was time for another go. I drove behind another car and I left a safe gap so I could just practice on my own. The moment I initiated I felt how grippy the rear end was. I floored the gas to stay in drift, but in a few seconds I was already closing the gap with the lead driver. I’m not entirely sure what happened, but maybe I lost my focus on the track while realizing the gap was getting shorter and the back of the car touched the Wall and then threw the front end also into the rails. It was a pretty drastic moment in my mind because we had been talking about this that we can’t let it happen on first runs but I still did.

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Car was transported to pits, clock was ticking and the work begun. There were only 1 hour of practice so we knew it was over for us, but we still had time for the qualifying. Damage that didn’t look so bad was worse than we thought, gladly we brought a lot of spares! We changed some Wisefab suspension arms, steering rack and straightened the Forge intercooler ends. We were the first car to qualify and we had to be there in time or we missed it and sadly we did. This meant we had only one qualification run to get enough points to be in the TOP32 of all 50+ drivers. They all had practiced on thursday and friday and we had ZERO full laps on the circuit. It would be a miracle if I could pull this off. A lot of the other FD drivers and their crew were amazed that we were even trying to fix the car, but dispite that our team worked hard and we got the front end back together and aligned approximately right with tape measures.

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Time for our only qualifying lap. I tried to concentrate not to get zero points under no circumstances and I couldn’t crash, but I still had to push it to be able to be in TOP32. The car didn’t yet feel the same it was before and what I had was a good run, but a bit too safe for TOP32. The Level in FD is high and you really need to stand out if you want to compete in the race. We just had no practice at all, crazy track and all this misfortune for us during the week. 57 points out of 100 and barely out of the TOP32 bracket. Our race here was done.

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On Saturday we arrived at the track, it was still competition day and time for the fans. The event itself was Very entertaining. All tickets were sold out so the venue had massive amount of people stacked into it. During the pauses the crowd walked the pits and we presented our European car, sponsors and the team for them in the best manner. We had also made small posters for the fans for the autograph session and we made a lot of new friends and contacts during the event! It seems people really liked what we were doing and they treated us well.

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The race itself was a spectacle. Weather and the event was very crowd pleasing and everyone was cheering for the drivers as they fought their way ahead in the ladder. The race was eventually won by Fredric Aasbo, who has driven in FD about 5 years already and this was his first win ever.

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After the race we started packing the cars to a huge trailer which was towed by a Dodge Ram. Nothing like that can’t be seen in Europe as the trailer was almost the length of a full sized Semitrailer in Europe! Our help for the rest of the competitions goes by the name Brandon Wicknick and he is a Formula Drift rookie as well. Trailer ate both of our cars, all our tires, wheels and tools and also some other merchandise.

We were probably the last to left the track again, maybe around midnight but we still went to eat and talk our season plans together at the nearby diner.

Overall dispite of our bad luck, we had made a lot of new acquaintances, contacts and friends. Our new buddy Brandon will help us align the car properly while we are away for the next competition. We saw how the FD event runs and now it is much more easier to head for Seattle and really show what we do best. Time to fly back home.

Thank You for supporting us,
over and out,

The Flying Finn
-Juha Rintanen