Monday, April 2, 2007

moments of madness...

As I drove downhill towards the junction leading to the main road, I peered through the window at the midnight moon. It was there, in all its bluish white glory. The night was cold. And the cold dense air made the engine smoother with a nice low note grunt emitting from the tail pipe. I was doing about 140kph, easing the tacho to around 3500rpm in 5th. The car lazily walked itself on the undulating tarmac outside the imposing silhouette of the F1 track. In the rear view mirror, I noticed a pair of searing hot HLDs. “Oh, that must be Kris…” I said to myself. As I neared the traffic light at the t-junction, it went green. It was midnight and the road was bereft of vehicles and so I decided to take the 90 degree right turn like real men should, namely, at about 90kph. I tapped on the brake, slap the heavy double plate clutch to the floor and downshifted to 4th. As I de-clutched, the tacho jumped to about 5500rpm and the tailpipe exuded a low rumble, which would later change into a rhapsody of high notes screams…hmm…beautiful stuffs! As I de-clutched, I clipped the apex of the turn and my right foot feathered the accelerator until the car straightened itself at the left edge of the main road. Soon after, my right foot floored the accelerator and the car lurched forward to my normal midnight speed. I saw the bright bluish HLDs behind me doing the same. The night was beautiful, almost alluring.

And why not? I was in a beautiful car. The car which arrived at Bathurst sometime in the mid 80s. The car which made the Australians giggled at the thought of it racing with the mighty Ford and Holden V8s. The Japanese must have been mad, right? What was a 2.6 litre inline 6 car doing racing at Bathurst against the mighty 6 litres pushrodded V8s muscle? The car which soon won almost every race at Bathurst that year. The car on which was imposed a weight penalty but yet won almost every single race at Bathurst the following year! The car which was, the year after, banned from racing at Bathurst because of, erm…its ”undue advantage”! The car which is now exhibited at Bathurst Museum. The car which the Australians later, grudgingly loved and, for the lack a better term, called “Godzilla”!

I smiled as I recounted the history of the GTR in my head. Almost instinctively I suddenly turned my head to my right. I could almost saw Kris smiling at me in the dark. Within a second or two, his souped-up 535i breezed past and park it’s big fat ugly arse in front of my nose and pulled away. Bloody hell! I was doing 150kph and he just walked passed me! And he was fast pulling away. The naturally aspirated 3.5 litre inline 6 was not as loud as the GTR but with loads of low end grunt, it shredded the tarmac with its immense torque in whatever gear it was. The wide 6 lane and straight road beckoned…

It was time to have fun. And I was born to have loads of it! The Godzilla was not to be cowed by some German behemoth. I reached for the boost controller and pushed button number 3, which would cause the twin turbines to work at its maximum programmed boost, ie at 1.55 bar of boost. I looked at the speedo and it was about 150kph in 5th. I slapped the clutch to the floor and quick-shifted to 3rd. As I de-clutched, the tacho jumped to almost 6000rpm and I could almost felt the GTR’s deadly intent. The loud pedal was floored to the floor pan and with an almost masochistic growl, the car lurched forward fully intent of achieving warp speed in a second or two. In no time the tacho was rapidly climbing to 7200rpm, at which point the whole 603 bhp would be transferred to the rear wheels. At this point of time, the GTR’s electronic, sensing that the rear wheels would skid under the power load, would automatically transfer the power to all 4 wheels in a 4-wheel-drive mode and planted the car on the tarmac without any power wastage. Within seconds, the bright green LED in front of me was beeping, signalling that the rpm was at it’s programmed maximum of 8200rpm. It was time to upshift to 4th. Up to 4th it went and I was kissing the 535’s tail pipe. I was so close that the 535i was in real danger of being sucked into my intercooler!

We stayed that way for some distance until the road went uphill near the exit ramp where we would take a left sweeping turn on the ramp and entered the KLIA highway towards KL. That was a nice tricky point, in pure speedster’s book. The wide road would suddenly go uphill and before one reaches the top, one would not be able to see the ramp. In normal layman’s term, that’s a pure stupid and dangerous road design. When one touches the top of the hill, one would notice a downward ramp consisting of a long sweeping corner where an F1 car would normally do 240kph in 5th gear while the traction control would go into overdrive mode leaving the exhaust to pop and crackle like monsoon thunders. The Beamer’s brake lights came on and it was obvious that Kris was slowing down to downshift in preparation of taking that nice, luscious sweeping left downhill turn. I gave the 6-pot calliper some tight squeeze on the 14 inch rotor and the car slowed down so rapidly that my eyeballs almost came off their socket!

Downshifted to 3rd, de-clutched and the car roared with the tacho jumping to 5000rpm again. After going to the right of the tarmac, the car plunged itself downhill and I steered to the left while feathering the loud pedal all the way. As I steered to the left, the 4-wheel steering would cause the rear tyres to be steered 1 degree to the opposite direction to put the nose assuredly along the cornering line. The car hugged the inside (left) line all the way until we almost exited the ramp. While the car was hugging the sweeping apex, the inside (left) tyres began to slip. At this point, the limited slip differential sprang into action by taking away some power from the inside tyres and pushed them to the outside (right) tyres to prevent the inside tyres from losing their grip and cause loss of traction. The fat Beamer was still in front with my nose right at its derriere.

We entered the KLIA highway and both cars were deliberately allowed to be pushed by the g-force to the right lane. Just as my car straightened itself and sufficient grip was available, I floored the fun pedal in 3rd and I knew Kris was doing the same. The huge 3.5 litre powered to the front aided by its humongous low end grunt. The GTR instead took its time to build sufficient momentum before the turbines kicked in and propelled itself to warp speed. In a short straight battle, the GTR would always struggle to keep up with the large capacity Beamer. 3rd went to 4th. The tacho moved steadily from 5000rpm in 4th to about 7500rpm while the speedo was registering 200kph to 230kph. At this point the Beamer loses its breath and was struggling for air and oxygen. The GTR was just warming up!

Okay. Time for me to smoke the bastard, I thought. Coming from behind in 4th, I nailed the loud pedal flat out to the floor pan. The growl coming from the 6 inch tail pipe had to be heard to be believed. The twin turbines went into a frenzy. I could hear their impellers moving at unimaginable speed, sucking the air from under the bonnet through the air filters and pushing and cramping 1.55 bar of pressure through the huge GT intercooler into the intake manifold. One second, two seconds and moments later the GTR was beside the 535i and flew past it like it wasn’t there. At about 250kph, I upshifted to 5th. I looked at the rear view mirror and I could almost saw Kris giving me the middle finger. Hahah…suddenly I thought I saw reflection of a flash on my rear wing, not once, but twice. Oh shit, I had been filmed by the cops, I thought. Hell, it was midnight and the cops were there? My God, what story could I conjure to escape a summons, or even a night at the lock up this time?

Suddenly, my cell phone beeped. Instinctively, I took it up an answered. “Hello…”

“You know what, you had not only smoked me, you had flamed me! Art, I had seen the biggest and brightest tail pipe flames, the mother of exhaust flames from your car! Not once but twice!”, enthused Kris over the phone. And so, it wasn’t flashlights from the police’s cam after all. It was my car puking flames through the exhaust pipe! Phew….

“Eh Kris, you must be mad! We are doing 250kph and you are calling me from your cell phone!”, I remarked!

“Hahaha…”, laughed Kris aloud, “and you are answering this call…!”


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