Saturday, April 16, 2005

Carvakan Materialism

So I haven't been on much lately. Sue me, I don't get paid for this, and it won't get me laid, so excuse me if it's rather low on my priority list.

Starting to really hate NSXs. I mean really, really hate them. It's given that I really hate Skylines (any team that runs a Skyline just has too much goddamn money). I couldn't give two shits about any of the European grand touring cars...those guys are all a bunch of poor bastards, trying to lug around a bunch of family sedans. Except for the Mercedes-Benz CLK car, I really hate those guys. And everyone I'm hating just happens to be the guys that have been kicking my ass.

We can't afford to fix some of the things that are wrong with our car. We can keep it running, but major modifications are out of the question. We're limited to 600-hp, which is really a lot, but nowhere near what any of these teams can make out of their engines. So the goal is to make a peak of 600 as close to the torque peak as we can manage, and to keep the horsepower lines and the torque lines as horiztonal as possible. In other words, make a lot of power everywhere along the tach. Very doable, with such terriffic engines. We could be doing that a lot better, if we had some more money to play around with. And I mean a lot more money. But we don't. Winning races doesn't help; we don't get paid money for that. We get money from sponsors, from pasting little stickers everywhere on our car. If I could put a sponsor's decal over the entire windshield, I would. I'd never win a race, and have to sort of bump around the course until I finished. With the mandatory restraints, HANS head and neck restraint system, helmet, and the car's cramped interior, it's impossible to stick your head out the side without undoing all the restraints (which gets you fined big-time), and then removing or tilting up the steering wheel. I'm lucky, my steering wheel just pops off once you twist a little bolt, just like the rich Jap bitches with the Nismo-Xanavi 350Z, the Motul-Pitwork 350Z, and the Motul-Pitwork Skyline GT-R. The ones that only tilt up are a real pain in the ass to squeeze out of, even for racers (who are, almost without exception, just the tiniest, skinniest guys on the team).

It's funny...we've got no money to buy a new engine or anything, but every time we step off the plane, and after we get the car and the truck (sometimes trucks, if it's a really big-deal race) of equipment to the track, it's always back to another nice hotel, always at least three stars, four a lot of the time, and once in a while, a really posh five-star. The entire team then proceeds to make long-distance international calls to their families, while I go get a massage, and charge it to the sponsors. Then I go to the bar and order expensive drinks and let TRD pick up the tab. Many times, I buy drinks for women there, some of them old enough to be my mother, if they had me in high school. What do I care? Someone else is paying the tab, and I don't get paid enough as it is. So I might as well cover the gap between what I am getting and what I should be getting in alcohol, massages, dinners, so on and so forth. Many times, on my next visit to Tokyo, me and the higher-ups will have a nice little discussion.

JAPANESE GUY: How could you possible drink [checks bill] thirty-eight Long Island iced teas?
ME: There was a nice woman there.
JAPANESE GUY: How could she possibly drink thirty-eight Long Island iced teas?
ME: She had friends.
JAPANESE GUY: So you tried to sleep with all of them?
ME: No, just the one. But I wasn't about to leave anyone out in the cold in terms of drinks. That would be ungentlemanly. And besides, they weren't my type.
JAPANESE GUY:Mr. Red, if I've learned one thing from these bills, it's that you don't have a type.
ME: Of course I do. I don't like ugly chicks.

Heh-heh. Jack Red, male chauvinist pig. No, I'm just looking for my kicks, since my kicks are about all I've got left. The Carvaka school of Indian philisophy were materialists. They said that hell was a life of boring, mundane pain without a purpose, rhyme, or reason. Instead, they said, one should pursue pleasure within practical limits...fine food, drink, music, and sex.

And I, for one, agree.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Broken Cars

Sorry I haven't been on in so long. Been coasting around a couple different places. Came really close to beating the Xanavi-Nismo GT-R (which would have been an enormous upset). Unfortunately, the car broke, and broke badly. The driveshaft snapped like a toothpick at practically peak RPM, overspun the engine, blew out the tranny. Didn't completely destroy the thing, just screwed it up to the point where we said "Fuck it" and threw it away. And the turbo threw a bearing in all this. Finally, this happened in the middle of a turn, and it spun the car out. The right rear tire hit the red-and-white curbing with enough weight pushing down on that tire that the strut blew out.

Fuck me. Till I die.

So we got a DNF on that race, and then had a crazy-ass drive-through-the-night-and-try-and-fix-the-car thing. Just crammed our wreck of a vehicle into the trailer, and the crew guys went to work. They can jack the thing up on a lift back in there, and work under it. It's wide enough that for the car to fall down and crush them, it'd have to punch through the sides of the trailer. But it's not going to do that because it's locked and chained in place. Swap the tranny in two hours, fix the turbo in forty-five minutes, driveshaft in half and hour, and another thirty minutes for the strut.

And we're back in action. Cost: More than a small European car. Well, a couple small Europeans cars.

We're back in Europe. Again. Competing in some damn championship or another, a small touring one. World championship, all cars of all GT classes. Pretty much every central European coutnry that makes cars: France, Italy, and Germany. And you know, not one of them makes decent food.