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4 Jun 2018

[Video] Driving the Nissan GT-R Nismo at Circuit de Charade.

My first ever track experience was when I was a child and it was here, at Circuit de Charade... back in the days the Circuit de Charade has a section used as a public road. My parents sometimes had to go through this section of the track to see some dude of my family. I still remember my father going very slow on the kerbs driving the Peugeot 505. Now, my last track experience so far was in this typical race track, driving the silly Nissan Nismo GT-R, it was a bit emotional I have to say.  

It was VERY strange to see that car infront of my grand mother's house...

3 Jun 2018

[Video&Pics] 2500km+ with a Mx-5 ND Sport Pack.

So what more do we get from this Sport Pack edition (Sélection) ? In addition to the equipment available on the Dynamics and Elegance, the Selection offers some treats of high fly suitable for escape on winding roads as we will see later. Among them, Recaro Alcantara heated seats featuring an excellent Bose audio system, rear parking assist, an approaching vehicle warning system and exclusive 17-inch alloy wheels called "Bright Dark", that's all. ? Not really ... Add to this cocktail the mighty adaptive directional headlights whose traffic lights are managed automatically but also and especially a set of Bilstein Sport suspensions and a limited slip differential ... The tone is given!

In case you missed it. 


Under the hood ? To freshen up your memory, we have to deal with the 2 L SKYACTIV-G, a long-stroke (83.5 mm x 91.2 mm) direct injection engine with a variable valve timing for the intake producing 160hp at 6000rpm and 200Nm of torque at 4600rpm located in a midship layout position. As a transmission we find the same SKYACTIV-G as the 1.5L version. Yes, the same baby able to animate the 131ch is also responsible for transmitting power to the rear wheels of 2 liter! As a comparisons, this gearbox and final drive ratio has the same gear ratio as the transmission of a GT86 yet showing more than 200kg extra weight and a similar max torque perched 2000rpm higher than in our Roadster! In order to make the most of this promising mechanism, the rear axle is fitted with a limited slip differential. 


Small sting reminder on the ND, we find as it was the case on the previous MX-5 the now legendary layout called PPF (Power Plant Frame) brought up to date, a double wishbones suspension for the front and a multi-link suspension for the back. The massive use of aluminum alloy on suspension parts as well as the creation of a brand new rear cross member will have contributed to the economy of not less than 100kg compared to the old generation! Which by domino effect, has allowed the manufacturer to reduce the size of the brakes (280mm fr / rr against 290mm fr) and therefore lose more weight on the unsprung masses in addition to a return to the 4x100 PCD, as it was the case on the first two generations! Our selection Sport Pack benefits from exclusive Bilstein dampers allowing the Bridgestone 205 / 45r17 an optimal contact with the road in all circumstances. 

A the wheel !

My destination?  Monaco! Because of a short Timing, the first part of my trip was made on the highway until Grenoble where it was time to leave the too monotonous and expensive strips of highway asphalt in favor of the mountain passes much more aesthetic and fun. That said the paying parts of the trip allowed me to realize the quality of the Bose sound system built into the Recaro seats, it could not be better to discover the brand new Pusha T album. At legal speeds (and a little more), top down, we had plenty of time to enjoy the smallest details of production of this album without having to push the sound in its last entrenchments. But before that, in common with all the other ND, we were able to rediscover the pleasant sensation of the throttle pedal mounted on the floor, a detail perhaps, but huge gains of pleasure and comfort over long distances. For the record, the NC having been the first MX-5 to offer a "bywire" system for the accelerator, many aftermarket conversion kit to pass the pedal on the ground were available and it it would seem that Mazda was not insensitive to that ! Hat off Mazda ! For the rest, the comfort of the Recaro seats is flawless and keeps them irreproachable turned out to be a great ally in the appreciation of the chassis ... 

Mountain passes !

The twisty roads between Grenoble and GAP allowed me to realize that I was "at home", everything reminds me of the NA / NB, the handling of the gear lever, the reactivity from the steering but with the precision of a constant braking feelinf on top of that. In long climbs, I was surprised by the availability of the 2.0l that is full in all circumstances! No empty rev range, an angry temperament that we owe to a contained weight and a perfect gearing. The ESP on for the first kilometers allows me to feel the car and to play with its limits without scaring me so far, the long uphill curves prove to be a perfect judge about  the roadster stability driving sportively, while the hairpins call for braking which has never shown any sign of fatigue. Once in the Alps, the turns were tightening a little, but the density of  traffic did not allow me to print the desired rhythm. Never mind, the vocalizations of the SKYACTIV-G will give away to my playlist and we will give all the leisure to enjoy the aggressive panorama. Taken by the time, it is by the A51 hightway that I've join the regional natural park of Verdon. Until then I had an average consumption of 7.7L / 100km.

Joy !

Now, it was the time where the Sport Pack really made sense. We are in the Parc Naturel du Verdon, the night slowly begins to fall, clouds are as rare as onlookers and the ESP is now disconnected. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, the first kilometers are punctuated by long banking curves in which I throw the roadster from clipping points to clipping points with a joyable intuitive ease! The famous "Jinba Ittai" stands out here as ever, the brakings are more and more lates and the MX-5 continues to transmit the smallest information from its chassis via the excellent Recaro bucket seats. Still top down, the tires tells me wonderfully their states of mind indicating that I still have some margin. At the approach of the Lake of Sainte Croix de Verdon, the sequences are tightening and highlight the incredible reactivity of the adaptive directional headlights (unlike the auto management of the Beam lights). LED lighting, depending on the input on the steering wheel and the speed of the vehicle (among others) gives you a perfect visibility where you look at, an excellent ally for the night rides! The knowledge of the car confidence growing, allowed me to go beyond the limits of the roadster ... No tricky for a penny, as long as you do not entice you to maintain a hazardous drift on unknown territory, you can easily catch up with a slight counter-steering. An exhilarating gymnastics that you will like to repeat without ever getting tired of it... Despite the amount of late brakinks on downhill sequences, I never felt any fadding sensation or triggered the ABS. Likewise for the engine temperature which has never moved from its minimum operating range. A striking constancy that will give you the feeling of being able to run like this for ever until the gasoline indicator lights up in the middle nowhere... On these rather irregular and hilly portions of the road, the Bilstein damping offers you a pleasant confidence allowing you to use and abuse the machinary in its last entrenchments with a serenity as exhilarating as gratifying! And it was the same on these same wet roads I drove on the way back, offering you the luxury of being able to maintain your voluntary slides! It's as if the cream of Mazda engineers made the NA or NB of your dreams according to your own expectations, everything that was expected from previous generations is inoculated with success in this one.

Monaco :

At Monaco, in the midst of Italian and German supercars,I were able to see the sympathy of the Roadster, some onlookers even gave me a thumb up. Far from being ostentatious, its small size and its design mini F-Type like,  inspires more a passionate owner than wanker, which is not to disappoint me. For the record I've overtook a Abarthe 124 Spider on the highway greeting the owner, who responded with a certain enthusiasm, it was obviously the same with the few MX-5 I met on my journey. For the rest, the heavy traffic of Monaco during a GP Week-end allowed me to pester a few times about the navi joystick position. Indeed when your wrist starts to tire by going into neutral to benefit from the Start n Stop, it happens that you press the button unexpectedly, randomly sending you to another navigation , radio or other menu. Otherwise make sure you have at hand (in the door glove box) what you need most, because  if you opt for the central storage, you will need a talent of contortionist to reach them . The same is true for cup holders. Do not try to grab your drink with your right hand (for the driver), but with your left hand, which will make the maneuver much easier. Having run 95% of the time, I will admit that the parking aid was not very useful but no doubt about its relevance once the car is covered. 

If you plan to leave for many miles in the middle of the summer, you will be forced to refill the windshield fluid reservoir, the capacity of the tank is as short as the previous ones, so at each pause ahead and do not hesitate to fill it up! This same washer which, if you have the misfortune to trigger it while you face a side wind or ¾  front one, will not hesitate to come and refresh your ideas! Also fitted on the Dynamic finish, the lane departure warning will save you from too much intrusive "beep" in favor of a much more elegant solution. Indeed, it will just lower the sound of the speaker on the side you crossed the line, replacing it with the sound of a rough strip for a much more natural and less stressful feeling,very enjoyable on long journeys. If there is one point on which the MX-5 will not have convinced me, it is on its automatic management of high beam. Like many manufacturers (including the premium Lexus) this technology is almost random and will reward you with many calls from other users. The very low shape of the roadster does not helps at all, especially on national roads where the system will have even turned on the high beams while I were just behind a SUV, which, certainly upset, did not fail to leave like a frightened octopus in a typical shipped diesel engine smoked plume. That said, this option is fortunately dis-connectable and you will have all the time to operate the headlights manually. To finish on the points to improve, a touchier ON-OFF type steering wheel controls would have been a plus. I ended the trip with a 8,1L/100km with a very playful driving style all the way long. Scroll till the end to get the conclusion please ! 

This MX-5 in Sport Pack is neither more nor less than the dream of any MX-5 owner. Whether from the  engine, chassis, braking it's impossible to blame the NS. This latest version of the Mazda roadster seems to be the interpretation of the ultimate driving pleasure according to Mazda, or a "Fuck off"  to the "SUV Everything" whose current market is so fond of. At 32050 € TTC it is the best price pleasure ratio right now without any direct competition. Hell yes, for the bravest of you, my interlocutor at Mazda told me that a strongest version of 20 extra horses was about to be announced, business to follow ...

Price: 32050€ TTC

4 May 2018

The 183,8hp NA DOHC ZC.

Hi guys, it's not this often I write something about other cars here, but THIS... Is what can be done with the good old unloved DOHC ZC engine...

 Source: Yoshiaki Inoue

Quite popular around Osaka, Yoshiaki Inoue instead of swapping for a B or a Ksomething, decided to stick to the Vtecless long stroke DOHC D Series. A pair of GrA Mugen cams, high compression pistons, 4 throttle intake, a custom made titanium exhaust system and a rewritten OEM ECU later, here you are,183,8hp ! (186,5ps) 

 Source: Aslan Inc

Yoshiaki Inoue is a customer of what was still called Try Box when I visited them in Japan, they are now the builders of the fastest EVER front wheel drive car at Tsukuba TC2000. They have swapped the heavy sun roof from Inoue San EF3 for a 25kg lighter carbon fiber version and built the Dohc ZC.

Source: Aslan Inc

Here is what it sounds like on a cold start. Inoue San told me it was smooth when hot thought. Now we would love to hear it at full chat !

2 May 2018

4200 km Road trip with a Mustang in the USA [Part 1]

Ça fait un petit moment déjà que j'aurais dû partager cette expérience mais que voulez-vous, la puissance de la nostalgie et l'envie d'aller de l'avant sans se reposer sur le passé, font parfois qu'il est compliqué de se replonger dans d'aussi bons souvenirs. C'est principalement la nécessité de libérer de l'espace dans mes SD pour ce qui va venir cet été (MR2 et Civic) qui m'ont fait me motiver... (Suite sous la vidéo) 
It's been a while already that I should have shared this experience but damn, the power of nostalgia and the desire to move forward without relying on the past, sometimes make it tricky to go back to such good memories. It is mainly the need to free space in my SD cards for what will come this summer (MR2 and Civic) that made me motivated... (More under the video)

Sur ce, l'idée d'un road trip dans un pays qui ne m'a jamais vraiment attiré (autrement que par ses circuits) est née dans la tête de l'ami Jean-Christophe Pepino (dont vous pouvez voir l'ITW ici). L'idée était de partir du nord de la côte ouest des états-unis d’Amérique pour rejoindre le sud de la côte ouest avec un petit crochet par Salt Lake City. Cette aventure se devait d'être un voyage hors "bagnole", un genre de séminaire de detox automobile... Mais bon, vous le savez comme moi, chassez le naturel et il revient au galop, surtout au pays de l'oncle Sam (un ptit coup d'oeil sur la calandre et... ok ok, c'était facile) ! Et ça commence avec notre voiture de location, une Ford Mustang Cab' ! Ok, rien de plus cliché mais qu'importe, c'est toujours mieux qu'une Hyundai Accent.
On this, the idea of a road trip in a country that never really attracted me (other than by its circuits) was born in the head of friend Jean-Christophe Pepino (which you can see the ITW right here). The idea was to start from the north of the west coast of the united states of America to join the south of the west coast with a small hook through Salt Lake City. This adventure had to be a trip out of "car"in mind, a kind of car detox seminar ... But hey, you know it like me, chase the natural and it comes back at a gallop, especially in the country of Uncle Sam (a little peek on the grille and ... ok ok, it was easy)! And it starts with our rental car, a Ford Mustang Cab '! Ok, nothing more cliche but whatever, it's still better than a Hyundai Accent.

Une ville dont beaucoup de médias underground, progressistes à la hype certaine m'avaient vanté les mérites, mais pour tout vous dire, (certes, nous n'y sommes resté qu'un jour) mais j'ai plus été marqué par le nombre élevés de jeunes SDF dans la rue que par autre chose. Alors certainement qu'avec plus de temps à notre disposition nous aurions fait de belles découvertes, mais pour le coup la conversation avec une nana qui s'entêtait à m'expliquer que les blancs avaient eux aussi de gros pénis me restera en tête pour un bon moment (c'est qu'il fallait voir la conviction qu'elle mettait dans ses propos !).
A city of which many underground, progressives French medias with a certain hype had boasted the merits, but to be honest, (admittedly, we only stayed one day) but I was more choked by the number of young homelessness in the streets rather by something else. For sure with more time at our disposal we would have made some nice discoveries, but suddenly the conversation with a chick who insisted to explain to me that white guys also had big penis will stay in my head for a good time (You had to see to see the conviction she put in her words!). 

Après une courte nuit chez l'habitant rythmée par un concert de klaxon de trains américain si familier des amateurs de cinéma, il était déjà l'heure de prendre la route direction Spokane (que JC prononçait Spo ka né comme l'aurait fait un japonais). Seul bémol, la présence de violent incendies qui nous auront contraint à prendre un autre itinéraire en raison des routes fermées à cause d'épaisses fumées qui nous auraient de toute façon empêché d’apprécier le panorama. 
After a short night at a local chick with train horns as a company for the night, it was already time to head to Spokane (JC pronounced "Spo ka né" (as a Japanese would have done ). The only downside was the presence of violent fires that will have forced us to take another route because of closed roads because of thick fumes that would have prevented us from enjoying the panorama anyway.

A Spokane à l'heure du petit déjeuner, nous sommes tombés dans un meeting auto où visiblement, notre monture bien que toute d'origine aura fait sensation...
In Spokane at breakfast time, we fell in a car meeting where apparently, our bone stock 'stang mad a great sensation ...

Juste pour ajouter un tampon en plus à notre passeport (frimeurs que nous sommes), après un ptit dèj' digne de ce nom, nous sommes allé faire un saut au Canada.
Just to add a stamp to our passport (smugglers that we are), after a proper' breakfast, we went to Canada. 

Comme l'attestent les traces de pneus au sol, il semblerait que les locaux s'en donnent à cœur joie sur ces routes ! Et franchement, je les comprends !
As evidenced by the tire marks on the ground, it seems that locals are having fun on these roads! And frankly, I understand them!

 Cette calandre n'a rien à voir avec la photo précédente, promis !
This grille has nothing to do with the previous picture, I swear !

Outre le fait que l'on ait croisé des panoramas d'une rare beauté, les impressionnants changements d'altitude ne nous sautaient aux yeux que lorsque l'on croisait des panneaux nous en informant.
Aside from the fact that we have seen panoramas of rare beauty, the impressive changes of altitude were only obvious to us when we crossed the signs informing us about the height. 

Tentative vaine de manger sein... Même les légumes (aussi bons et transgéniques soient-ils) étaient noyés dans du gras (mais le gras c'est bon !).
Failed attempt to eat healthy... Even vegetables (as good and transgenic as they are) were drowned in fat (but the fat is good!). 

Ha ouais, depuis le 2nd jour nous traînions tout les deux un vieux rhume attrapé après avoir décapoté... Bah ouais #fragiles
Ha yeah, since the 2nd day we were both dragging an old cold caught after having put the top down ... Bah yeah #fragiles

Et encore un café dégueu qui mettait 50 miles à être buvable tant ils étaient servis chaud !
And again a terrible coffee that took 50 miles to be drinkable as they were served hot as f*uck! 

Panorama agressif très haut perché dans le Wyoming.
Aggressive panorama sitting very high in Wyoming.

Une petite excursion au Yellowstone National Park. Malgré ces photos exempt de toute âme, il y avait un monde fou ! Ce qui n'entache en rien la beauté des lieux.
A little excursion to Yellowstone National Park. Despite these pictures devoid of any soul, there was a crazy crowd! This does not affect the beauty of the place tho.

Avant de reprendre la route pour la partie (selon moi) la plus hardcore du périple (le trajet pour Salt Lake City), malgré la beauté et la nature des routes empruntées, nous payions de plein fouet nos rhumes respectifs et la fatigue accumulée. En fin de parcours la pluie n'aidant pas, nous nous sommes décidé à nous arrêter dans une petite ville pour prendre une pizza. He bien... Si JC aura eu la sienne, il en aura été tout autrement pour ma trogne étant donné qu'une coupure de courant ayant plongé toute la ville dans le noir complet, n'épargna évidemment pas les fours. En même temps heureusement, vu la taille de la première pizza servie !
Before heading back to the (to me) most difficult part of the journey (the drive to Salt Lake City), despite the beauty and nature of the roads we went thru, we paid cash our respective colds and fatigue. At the end of the rain not helping, we decided to stop in a small town to have a pizza. Well ... If  JC had his, it will have been quite different for me given that a power cut that plunged the entire city in the dark, obviously this did not spare the ovens. That was not a big deal though because of the size of the first pizza served ! 

Salt Lake City


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Welcome to the Papot's world ! I'm a track addicted driver, Motorsports enthusiast and traveler. You can follow here my evolving oldschool Honda Civic and my trips with it around the world on Papots-Garage blog. You can also follow the last Motorsports news or appreciate Motorsports stuff I like mainly focused about Japanese brands and scene on Papots Motorsports blog. #Enjoycarlife