End Of An Era

24681_410433849306_2164867_n1,000,000 kilowatts (or 1,340,000 hp if you’re a cave man).

Thats my conservative estimate of the power we’ve put across STM’s dyno over the 13 years it’s been in business. Couple that with no less than 5 world records and it’s safe to say its been a wild ride. Its delivered amazing highs and incredible lows.

I’ve learnt so much, made some incredible friendships, met some truly inspirational people and traveled to parts of the world I never thought I’d see. I’ve loved every moment of it and it’s made me a better person. But it’s time for a change.

243410_10150302531144307_7846658_oGiven this crazy ride, it’s hard to know where to start, and there is so much that really needs to be said. I make no apologies for the length of this blog post. If you’ve followed my career then I hope it gives some insight into the last 13 years and what makes me tick. If reading isn’t your thing then just check out the pretty pictures – they tell the story :) Otherwise grab a coffee (or a beer) and prepare to lose half an hour.

So the inevitable question – Why?

Continue reading

C’s Garage Mid Season Wrap Up

Here at STM we are honoured to rub shoulders with and help out some of the best in the game.  One such opportunity presented itself late last year, to get on board with the C’s Garage team for the 2014/2015 season.  One of the bonuses of such a partnership is we are able to bring you updates straight from the point of view of the team themselves.

So sit back and enjoy a mid season wrap up from Joel:

Round 1

Adams new SR22 setup had issues right from the start down in Manfield due to a faulty crank sensor. He was forced to borrow Troy Jenkins S15, which is a car we have helped setup right from the start. He felt comfortable right from the start in the S15 and took out his top 32 battle no problems. Adam then went on to win his top 16, top 8 and top 4 battle. However, in the top 4 battle, both Adam and his opponent Andrew Redwood felt that they tied, and overuled the judges decision so that they could re-run the battle. Unfortunately Adam lost this second time round, but won his 3rd/4th place battle giving him his first D1NZ podium for the season!

As for me, the car went great all through practice in the rain. It dried up for Qualifying and without having a dry practice managed to qualify 2nd. First pass of my top 16 battle went great, I laid down a good run and the judges ruled the advantage 9-1 to me. As I took off for my chase pass, I felt a miss from the engine and pulled out of the run early (as instructed we could in briefing). As I pulled up to the line I explained the miss and was told I could proceed to pits to take my 5 minute time out. Headed to pits, found the cause of the miss, and lined back up. Only to be told they made a mistake and it was ruled that I lost the battle. Very frustrating start to the season. Adams podium was a great offset however.

10694213_307014432819830_6479720155911366480_o

10628828_771792396200507_2138038883774225909_o

Round 2

The first night round for the year at Mount Smart stadium gained the biggest crowd I can remember at a D1NZ event. With Pro-AM competition up first my car felt great again all through practice and I managed to take away the top spot in qualifying. All through battles the car went great and I was really enjoying the track. I took out my top 16, top 8 and the semi final to go through to the final. I came up against Joel Patterson in the final, a driver I really enjoy driving with. After a heated battle I took away the win. 1st in qualifying and 1st overall, a dream event for me.

Adams round 2 was struck with issues from the start. With the engine going great and the trigger wheel sorted, the clutch decided to randomly let go in practice. After two clutch swaps he was able to get 2 laps in of practice before qualifying. No where near enough to get a feel for the track, he qualified mid pack. His lack of time on the track was shown in the first battle and he didn’t make it through.

Since this round the clutch has been replaced and the gearbox uprated to a 4-speed Jerico unit to make a bullet proof setup for the rest of the season. Both cars are being driven at many practice days during out time off before round 3 to insure all faults are gone and we gain loads of seat time.

10687506_323047584549848_3786440608726682945_o

1471281_692064420890131_2365502257276171723_n

Round 3

At Tauranga D1NZ ran their first ever ‘Team Competition’ at the end of the 1st day. We had new addition to the team Graeme Smyth (Current NZ kart champion and Trass Family Motorsport driver) finally get his car vinyled to tie his car in with the C’s team:

10856473_10153024403117359_7260909165232688410_o

We managed to take out 1st place in the team competition. An event that created a huge amount of exposure for us! With photos and videos still popping up all over the show from our team runs and the cars are even being used on the official D1NZ poster for round 4. We are excited to do it all again defending the title coming into the next round.

10499624_730319620397944_2797136563478809261_o

Individually, I qualified 3rd but was unfortunately knocked out after I made contact the the lead car on my chase. Adam had a great event, the car is going amazingly now and he drove strong all weekend. Qualifying in the top 10 and winning his first battle. After a re-run in his second battle he lost the second pass by what must have been only a point or 2 up against Kurt Whittaker, some of the best driving both Adam and the car has done so far this season, so we are looking forward to the next few rounds.

We are both looking good sitting around the top of the table points wise in both D1NZ & Pro-AM going into round 4. Adam sitting 9th/30, myself sitting 3rd/27.

So there it is.  Straight from the horses mouth, the reality of the ups and downs that is competitive motorsport.  We look forward to further updates as the season progresses.  In the meantime check out the photos the team have supplied courtesy of Maria Panova Photography and the team at S-Chassis:

STM/Racetech Customer Track Day 25/01/2015

P1000499

So Sunday the 25th saw the first of our hugely popular Customer Trackdays for the year,  which we run in conjunction with the team at Racetech and Playday on Track.

The day begun like all the others with an early start to travel from Wellington to Fielding in time to make drivers briefing on time.  The only difference this time was the temperature was surprisingly high for 6:00am in the morning and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky – I had a feeling today was going to be a good day.  The fact that we had spotted Fraser’s JGTC inspired NSX creeping down the motorway on the back of a trailer only increased my excitement.

P1000456

With our usual pit stop at BP Mana first on the agenda the day only continued to get better.  We were treated to a plethora of different performance orientated vehicles all on route to Fielding.  Once loaded with Red Bull and the obligatory coffee we tacked onto the back of a smallish convoy consisting of one of our customers Craig in his GTR and his friend driving a Porsche Carrera S.

Now some would think this would be an all out assault on the open road with vehicles like this however with the sun low in the sky it made for some great driving shots and some great scenery with such a clear day.  For this reason there was no need to speed, just sit back and soak up the amazing scenery made better by some automotive awesomeness in the foreground.

P1000470

On arrival we quickly said some hellos to the regulars and staff.  Then it was behind the camera again to get some shots before the cars got out on the track.

P1000540

From there the day continued with the precision and organisation we have come to enjoy working with the Playday team.  With clear skies and good conditions there were no excuses and regulars were using this to their full advantage.

P1000525

I have said it before, and will say it again, if you have not been to one of these days you are really missing out.  These are the best way to test your ride in a controlled environment without the risk of being caught which would happen if you tried similar things on the street.

P1000645

But hey, don’t take my word for it: Check out the gallery below and see how much fun the days look and then head on over to our website to register for the next event which is scheduled for the 23rd of May:

http://www.speedtechnz.com/Events/stm-trackday.html

Driftshifters 2014

IMG_0506

Cast your mind back to 2012.  Mad Mike Whiddett devised a plan to create a giant high-octane pin ball machine in the middle of Auckland city.  He invited drivers from all over the world and as they say, “build it and they will come”.  He pulled it off in typical Mad Mike style, however even though cars were brought in from as far as the US, I couldn’t organise my sorry arse to make it to Auckland to watch.  This was made worse by various people saying it was one of the best (automotive) events they had been too.

Fast forward to 2014 and it was announced that Drift Shifters was returning.  This time I was determined not to miss it, however life got in the way and with a hectic schedule coming up to the end of the year, I had reverted to sulking as I knew I was going to miss out again.

_MG_6663

Now as with every job, when you leave you get an oversized novelty card that everyone signs for you.  On my last day with STM I received one such card with some kind words wishing me the best of luck etc.  It was what was handed with the card that had caught my attention…..

That’s right my lovely wife and (the somewhat sneaky) Andre Simon had devised a plan to get me to Driftshifters as a last hooray and parting gift from the boys.

_MG_6192

The date rolled round quick and I was up bright and early waiting for Andre to arrive to catch the plane to Auckland.  Turns out the Koru lounge won’t allow you to drink before 8:00am in the morning now however this was not got to dampen the trip at all for me.

Once in Auckland we hurriedly made our way to the hotel that the lovely Mrs Simon had booked for us.  By pure chance (or extremely good planning) she had managed to book us into a hotel which was literally 2-3 blocks away from the action.

We got our shit together and ventured out onto the Auckland waterfront.  Immediately you were hit by the sounds sites and smells of 1000hp+ weapons lining up ready to get in some practice before the event had started.  For some reason the smell of burnt rubber really gets me excited and by the sounds coming out of some of the American cars I knew today was going to be something epic.

20141206_133329

Now I could talk about the cars and all of the drivers etc that had turned up however the actual experience of the event was what blew me away.  I have been an avid follower of Formula D for some years now with every event being a major in our household, so to see the likes of Ryan Tuerck and Chris Forsberg, just to name a few, I would be lying if I didn’t say I was going to get my fan boy on.  The fact that I could literally reach out and almost touch the cars as they slid past was amazing and you know what, who wouldn’t like to see bad ass drift machines sliding under a truck. Yeah it was cool to see these guys literally metres away from me however I was still in awe of the event.

_MG_6124

Mad Mike and the team had really created something special.  The looks on the people’s faces in the crowd just had to be seen to be believed.  Even people that had no idea of what was going on were just beside themselves when a certain Mobil One Camaro came sliding past at full song.

IMG_0374

With the Redbull flowing freely, the sun out, the sounds of drones flying overhead recording everything for the big screen located on the side of the course, it was a petrol heads dream.

Redbull must really be commended on how this was all done.  Albeit we had been looked after by Sarah from YHI who had managed to get us in with some VIP passes, the general public got treated to an amazing spectacle and it was all free!!  There were also plenty of earplugs being thrown out to ensure no damage was being done to the more sensible people in the crowd.

_MG_6870

Words don’t really sum up how amazing this event so with the help from Aaron at Maihem Media below is a bit of a gallery for you.  If you even remotely like drifting or just like all things automotive next time this event comes back beg steal or borrow to get to this event as you will not be disappointed.

Building Drag Cars – Part Two

Building Drag Cars Part 2:

Chris Anderson has been a long-term customer of STM and has slowly been building his Ford Courier Ute from streetcar with a 1UZFE to what is now a methanol breathing monster.  Chris has been busy over the off-season this year, however before that, a bit of background on the car will help.

21537_343409479306_1413577_n24551_361953774306_5418214_n

Chris originally wanted to attend the odd drag event and to help make the 1UZFE a bit more exciting, a nitrous kit was employed to give the ute a bit more motivation. A number of years back the call was made that to get a bit more serious a built engine would be the way to go. Before this was to happen though Chris decided we should investigate the limits of the factory internals. Turns out that with a reasonable shot of Nitrous and at about 350kw the standard pistons didn’t like life.  No big deal right? Well no, not really as this just kick started the engine build. JE Pistons, Kelford Cams etc were all ordered and the block disappeared into the STM engine building room to be reborn as something a little bit special.

170600_10150162083179307_4545915_o170542_10150165963039307_4685130_o265662_10150356814194307_7093799_o67436_10150096002029307_6907204_n

Moving forward another season and the ball was well and truly rolling.  With reliable suspension package, diff, wheels etc and a switch to E85 saw the vehicle now punching over 400kw with a shot of nitrous. The car now also looked the part with team livery. There really was no turning back now. Further revisions etc were made to the car and with the it now reliably running in the 10 second bracket you would think it would keep most happy for a while, not Chris. At this point in time the cost and availability of nitrous in the Wellington area was causing issues. There were conversations around how a couple of turbo’s would save money moving forward as they don’t need to be refilled. Even though some of this conversation was a bit of tongue in cheek it actually made sense.

1044495_10151981817024307_1195091263_n935241_10151981817194307_1088862372_n

This brings us to the end of the 2013/14 season. Being that Paul from NZ Performance and Chris are somewhat stable mates due to the fact we have been involved in tuning for both cars we put Chris and Paul together and before you knew it the deal was done, NZ Performance were on board to help out. Some more quick calls were made to Mike at Sinco Customs. The conversation went something like this:

“Mike, one of our customers wants a couple of turbo’s on his V8 drag ute. Are you interested in getting involved”

Mike didn’t hesitate to respond with a “hell yeah”

A box containing a pair of GT3582R turbo’s, Tial wastegates and throttle bodies from NZ Performance were on their way to Hamilton. A transporter was organized and from there it was just a matter of waiting patiently for Mike to work his fabrication magic.

P1050413P1050412image009image008

Sometime early in November the call to STM came from Chris to say the ute was on it’s way back and it looked amazing!!! The team at STM still had to be patient though. The car required the fuel system and wiring to be completed to suit the addition of the turbo’s, Motec E888 and EGT sensors etc. As soon as the car was completed the vehicle was loaded up and dropped to STM.

Once here the small last jobs were ticked off one by one until we were at a point to get it on the Dyno – This is what we were waiting for!! Now the only real part of the car that was retained from when it first rolled through the doors was the R154 gearbox. This meant it potentially was the weakest link so numbers were needed to be kept low to ensure this was kept all in one piece. We had estimated that we wanted to aim for around the 500kw mark to ensure Chris could get some seat time and the previously mentioned gearbox was given a chance. Chris (our tuner, not the owner of the car which makes things confusing) got it on the Dyno and we were blown away with the results with initial tune getting up to around the 580kw mark. The decision was made to pull the boost down, however from what we saw this engine package has the potential to see an easy 1000+hp when the driveline is up to task.

IMG_9626IMG_9624

 

IMG_9611IMG_9623

So from here the only thing to do is to hit a drag strip which will be happening on the 6th and 7th of December. We wish the Anderson Construction team the best of luck chasing down that 9 second pass this season. Also a special mention must be made to Paul from NZ Performance for helping out with pretty much all of the parts that went into this build, Mike from Sinco Customs for his amazing fabrication skills which produced a vehicle that not only looks amazing but also out performed our expectations. Last but not least was Richard from Advance Electrical who has always been there to lend a hand with wiring duties.