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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sepang International Circuit with my Fiat Coupe 20VT+

Life is suppose to be great and I love living it. I believe human are suppose to live to enjoy life, and that has been my life philosophy ever since However, nothing is free in this world. As I grow older and started to climb the career ladder, everything slowly becoming more affordable and my dream life started to come true. One of my hobby is car and everything start from the ownership of Alfa Romeo 147. I've been eyeing to get a chance to drive in the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) since then, but it needs a very deep commitment and also expensive preparation.

I didn't have a chance until 4th of February 2012. RCA organised a Prosperity Track Day at entry fees of RM350 for each car & driver, I grab the chance and register myself with my Fiat Coupe.

Sepang International Circuit is the home of the car sport in Malaysia, and I think everyone should try it at least once in their lifetime. I did my 21km marathon here last year with Energiser Night Race, but it's totally different kind of adrenaline rush standing on the paddock with my driving shoe than my running shoe. The track day start from 4.00pm till 7.00pm and we got 3 hours to burn our tyres. Great.

Reaching the track, we are brought up to the media room in 1st floor for briefing and registration. Safety briefing is given and within minutes, we are done and ready to roll.

I parked my coupe along the pit entrance and that's my taxi buddy riding together with me. He did the track once with his Civic Type R, so he is here to teach me =)

I earlier mentioned that track day is a very expensive event, but maybe only for average joe like me. Putting the entry fees of RM350 aside, I also spent a lot preparing my coupe for the day. There is nothing wrong with my coupe but under-going the extreme continuous push in the track, I'm reminded to check and changed everything to avoid mishap / surprises.

What I did is the following:

1. Full synthetic engine oil
2. Flush brake fluid and upgrade to DOT 4 performance brake fluid
3. Flush radiator and top up coolant
4. Upgrade my front disc and brake pad to Tarox
5. Upgrade my rear disc pad to performance type
6. Upgrade all my spark plugs to colder plugs for performance
7. Clear off the fuel tank and pump V-power racing continuously for 2 full tanks to clear remnants
8. Prepare spare 1L of engine oil and 1.5L of water
9. Finally, bought a cheap SIRIM certified helmet and gloves

Lots of thing done, and it's not cheap, but it's necessary to protect the car when undergoing track day.

After some 20 minutes observing how others did it at the pit, I eagerly put on my cheap helmet and gloves, and off we go to wait at the starting line preparing to burn some rubbers. There are 3 fiat coupes that joined including myself. Most are experience drivers and only me is newbie, that's why I rope in my friend to help.

As the traffic is cleared, my turn is up. The experience is incredible. The Sepang Circuit is huge and with my full throttle of 220hp, there are still lots of room to play with. Of course I'm new, so I don't know how to maximise my racing line. With my friends shouting for me to push harder at each corner, the G force is so strong that my body is throw around the bucket seat provided by the coupe. No wonder everyone upgrade their seats with 4 point harness. Make sense.

Did a quick timing count, and I did a single lap in mostly below 3 minutes and 10 seconds. That's not a good timing for a 200hp car, but it's fun. I did around 5-6 laps and off the track for a good rest. I'm keeping a close eye on the car error lights and temperature gauge to ensure the car is running good.

As we are resting in the pit area, my friend ask me to release at least 3-4 PSI from each tyre as it would have heated up and over pressure. That will affect the performance, crazy detailed. I thought come to just have some fun, but others are doing it as well, I follow suit. Seriously I don't know what difference it made, I'm just not that sensitive to find the tyre are over pressure that can affect my car performance. Zero sensitivity ...

Other 2 fiat coupes that's also resting after a good lap in the Sepang Track =)

This is my gungho friend that race in the Sepang Circuit with his Civic Type R earlier. Crazy driver and he thumbs up without looking at me, obviously not thumbing it for me! damn ...

Posing at my coupe with my cheap helmet and glove =)

After a good rest, I'm so excited and went for another few rounds. Continue pushing the coupe and my best timing is only 3 minutes 3 seconds. I just couldn't get any faster no matter how I push. After some laps, our IA club sifu is free and I managed to grab Raitag and Redd to be my instructor. Thanks to them, finally I'm learning how to tame the Fiat Coupe. Both of them owned a coupe so they know the racing line and the car very well, and they teach me precisely where the throttle and where to brake. All I hear in the car with them is, "wait wait wait, now!" or "flat out! flat out! flat out!" or "hold the line, hold the line" and etc. Like commando, hehe. The experience is great. I drive much smoother after that but still couldn't beat my best timing record, but I do see lots of area that I made mistake and can be improve. It shouldnt be a problem to do below 3 minutes in next track day =) Not to mention the penalty weight beside me, that gungho fella =P

Got a near miss though. Growing too much confidence, I got into turn 3 too fast, and the coupe just keep sliding towards the left side due to G force even with my full throttle forward. I couldn't pull the car back and it slide into the grass area. I quickly steer it back onto the tarmac, the car swerve and I throttle and steer it back. Luckily nothing bad happened, so I continue push while my friend stared at me, haha. Then he tell me, now you can tell people that you have tracked Sepang, as everyone would have run into the grass / gravel on their 1st attempt in track, crazy.

This is another reason why track day is expensive. After some extreme session on the hot track in Sepang, the rubber is basically melted. Stones are stucked onto the rubber and thread / wall suffered heavy damage. I'm going to need a new rubber very soon =( More money ... My tyres are less than 6 months old, and that's all left on the thread =(

There are cars that ran into gravel, crashed, leak coolant and water boiled splashing out during the 3 hours session. I believe my extensive preparation helped in avoiding the above and glad that everything is in good shape for my coupe. Worth every cents.

Sunset by nearly 7.00pm and some drivers are still running in full blast enjoying every moment on the track.

Another shot of my coupe on the Sepang Circuit before heading home. My coupe resting after an extreme workout in Sepang, glad that nothing bad happen to him. Sitting there beautifully.

My milestone mark of my life, driven in Sepang International Circuit and clocked 3minutes 3 seconds in my 220hp Fiat Coupe =)

I am definitely going to track my coupe again, it's so fun and I'm learning how to drive all over again. For those that have not track the Sepang before, it's like infant haven't learn how to walk yet. It's hard to explain the adrenaline rush, you just got to try it someday.

We went for McDonald's in LCCT after that, so hungry =P


Anonymous said...

cool, awesome!!! definitely one of proud thing to tell your son when he grows up haha...


KVINLIM said...

i wont bother to tell him, i will bring him =)

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