Life is Great with a 6.0-liter V8
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  • On-Track Video Reprocessed

    Posted on May 11th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    After processing the video from a recent track day at the Autobauhn Country Club, I was a little disappointed with the results. I couldn’t figure-out a good way to do the track map… so gave-up. I did clipping back/forth between the various video feeds, but it resulted in a hard to follow video.

    After some additional thinking… and nearly 20hrs of processing (boy I need to get a desktop for doing my video work) I have something I’m happy with:

    I still have one more camera worth of video that I could add… maybe a unique shot for the session (driver’s feet, front/rear wheel, etc.). I’m thinking I could make the rear-view camera smaller and have a third video at the top… but I guess I’ll have to play around a little more in the future. At least for now I know I have a decent plan for when I hit the track!

  • HOD: Autobahn Country Club

    Posted on May 2nd, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    Participation in track days are one of my main goals once I get back home, so when I heard a few G8’s were going to be attending an event an hour outside Chicago… I had to attend!

    Hooked on Driving, one of the groups that puts on driving events in California, was running this Track Day… and it turned-out to be a great way to learn about what is required when doing track days.

    HOD rented-out the Autobahn Country Club, a 3.56 mile 19-turn road course. There is little elevation change on this track, but the wide variety of corners makes it quite challenging.

    I only took one lap around the track as a passenger, but I would imagine it would take me quite a while to learn the track. Fortunately there are cones that help with the process… marking turn-in, apex, and turn-out… and I thought they were just there to get in the way when I’m taking photos!

    One of the reasons I wanted to attend this event was to see what others were doing at the track when it came to preparation for the event. The equipment people are using, tools people bring, etc. I was able to get quite a few ideas about harness bars, brake cooling, etc. I was actually quite surprised to see that most people drove to the track on the tires/brakes they used on circuit… I really figured I’d see more people changing these items out in the pits before the day started. I definitely learned a bunch spending the day in the pits!

    The other reason I wanted to attend the event was to get some data! I’ve done some data logging on public roads, but have never done anything on a race circuit. I’ve really wanted to learn how to process data with laps, sectors, etc. I was lucky to have a G8 owner (CntryClub007) who allowed me to hook-up my gadgets to his car!

    I’ve hooked-up the Race-Technologies DL1 to my car before, just with some Velcro on the dash, but had some difficulty on the super clean (and protected) dash of CntryClub007’s G8. Fortunately I had some of the stick-on mounts for my GoPro cameras… and with a little modification, I had a new mount made for the DL1. I’ve even ordered another suction cup so that I have a portable mounting solution that doesn’t require sticking something to a dash.

    I had hoped on gathering data from multiple cars, but that didn’t work-out. Regardless… there is more than enough data to keep me busy for a while!

    In addition to the data logger, I also had my GoPro video cameras mounted in/on the car.

    I tried some new angles this time, but still think I need to find a few more to add some variety to the resulting videos. It is also quite difficult to clip together video/data from multiple track sessions to make an interesting video. I also had some difficulty getting the track map data from the data logger integrated into the video… I eventually gave-up this time, but I hope to figure it out.

    My most difficult challenge this time was the audio! For some reason, when the car I was filming reached higher RPMs the audio recorded by the GoPro just went crazy. There was a high pitched “tinny” whistle sound. It turned-out that I had to remove selected frequencies from the audio… fortunately I have access Soundtrack Pro, which allowed me to pull-up a spectrum of the tones. I was able to match the noise to a set of harmonics starting around 1k Hz… and once I removed them, it sounded much better.

    I have to say that I learned all sorts of things from today’s activities. I can’t wait to get home and put all of this to use with my car on-track!

  • CHC: Texas Roadhouse

    Posted on May 1st, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    I’ve been spending some time in the Chicago area, and after the 3rd snowiest blizzard in history (dropping over 20″ of snow in a 24hr period) the weather has finally started to warm-up. As the weather gets better, all the “garage queens” are starting to make their way out onto the roads.

    The Chicago Holden Connection (CHC), the local G8 and GTO car club, has started their weekly meets. Despite not having my G8, and being stuck in a Ford Explorer for a rental car, everyone has been very welcoming of me.

    Today I worked from 2am to 2pm then drove an hour to the meeting location… a Texas Roadhouse. I knew I was going to be late for lunch, but I wanted to get some video footage of the group. Before everyone else finished eating I took some time to get video of each of the cars there… nothing too fancy, but just some details, etc.

    Once the guys finished eating we headed out on a short cruise to get some photos/videos. The road wasn’t very photogenic… basically two lanes of traffic. I had pair of cameras mounted on the back of my rental car and another one on the front. I was able to get a few clips, but the cruise was a bit unorganized… I found myself at the back of the pack and separated from most of the other cars after a few traffic lights.

    After a pit-stop to regroup we headed off to a park for some photos. I was able to keep myself towards the front of the group and it allowed me to get some good footage of the cars I hadn’t shot earlier. There was also a brief stretch of “winding” roads that looked really good on video.

    I’m going to a Track Day in the area tomorrow, so decided to get a hotel room out here… rather than driving back/forth to the city. I figured after the long day… sleep would be a good thing, and I was right. The hotel worked out well, but for some reason I just couldn’t help staying-up way too late putting together a teaser video.

    I plan on attending a few more events with the CHC, so hopefully I can put together a nice video for them.

  • Better late than never: Mt Hamilton Videos

    Posted on April 15th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    Almost a year ago a few of the NorCal GOATS got together for a cruise up Mt. Hamilton. Recently another group of GTOs headed up Mt. Hamilton, and it motivated me to finally process the videos I recorded on the first cruise.

    Part 1:

    Part 2:

  • Mines Road Redux

    Posted on March 28th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    One of the most convenient and fun roads to drive in my area is Mines Rd. I have driven it many times in several different vehicles.

    Previously I drove the G8 on the road with my GoPro and DL1 data logger. That run was before all of my modifications, so I was very interested to see how the car does now that the modifications have been performed.

    In summary… Wow!

    It was difficult to tell how much faster I was while driving, but the can felt so much more composed around the corners. There was very little body roll and it allowed me to carry much higher speeds through the corners… as well as to get back into the throttle quicker upon exiting the corners.

    I was trying to “push” to a similar level as I did on the previous run, and the comparable lateral G-forces (top graph) from the two runs are evident of that. What was exciting to see is that I was able to enter the corners faster (bottom graph) and keep the speed up (2-3mph) through the corner. Exiting the corners I was able to accelerate quicker and achieve higher speeds (5-10mph) between the corners. As a result, in the 2.785 mile section displayed above I was able to trim 11.4 seconds from my time!

    I am very happy with how the modifications have transformed the G8. I am sure I will surprise a few people with just how quick a dour-door sedan can be around a track!

  • GoatRun 2010

    Posted on September 20th, 2010 tcorzett No comments

    GoatRun has turned into a staple event on my calendar. This year I have spent much of my time traveling for work, but even before I started the job I put in my time for this weekend off.

    My trip to GoatRun started with a flight home from Utah, followed by the early morning meet-up for the 500 mile drive to Vegas. This year my father wasn’t sitting in the passenger’s seat, which made the trip seem a little longer, but the talk on the two-way radios made the trip enjoyable.

    It was great to have another G8 in the pack this year, even if we had to wait a few minutes for him to show-up for the start (something about a car being towed). His passenger was even nice enough to snap the above photo of my car on the road.

    We took the same route as last year, minus a few of the unscheduled gas stops, and made good time. This year I had my GoPro Cameras, so took a few videos of the drive down to Vegas… even had a Dodge Charger that wanted to play:

    The group arrived in Barstow and met-up with the folks from SoCal and headed towards Vegas. Again, like last year, the group wasn’t very organized and broke-up quickly (a couple CHP officers didn’t help the situation). Fortunately this year a few of the NorCal GOATs stuck together and made the drive much more enjoyable. I stayed in the same hotel as last year (can’t knock free hotels!), so went and checked-in before heading to the Palace Station for the Meet n’ Greet.

    At the Meet n’ Greet there was a bit of a surprise… the organizer of the event planned a really great proposal to his (now) fiance. We arranged GTOs on the top of the parking structure to spell-out “Marry Me”. I was fortunate to be involved as the photographer and videographer. It was really fun to setup my GoPro cameras in hidden locations around the room (no reason to spoil the surprise) and capture the moment.

    The Meet n’ Greet was dominated, for me, by the proposal… but I did get to spend a little time talking-shop with a few of the other people.

    Last year Saturday was spent at the drag strip, but this year there was no drag racing. Instead, the Car Show filled the afternoon. I was able to get a proper chance to check-out the other cars and pick-up a few ideas for my own. For some reason I didn’t apply and sun screen and found myself hiding in the shade looking like a boiled lobster. Speaking of lobster… I made a trip back to Joe’s Crab Shack for a ‘traditional’ GoatRun dinner (minus the companion).

    My favorite part of GoatRun ’09 was the cruise to Red Rock Canyon. This year the cruise was not nearly as exciting. After a 15min drive on the freeway we drove out a road (not a bad one) and then back. I kept asking myself “when are we going to get to the cruise”… eventually, I realized it was the cruise. Fortunately I had setup my cameras on cars before leaving the hotel so captured some good footage.

    One of the nice things about not having a passenger along for the cruise was that I could push the G8 a little harder than I would have with someone else in the car. The G8 really handled the sweeping corners well, and I even passed a few GTOs along the way! I had wanted to have the modifications to my G8 finished by GoatRun, but it didn’t come together (and I wasn’t going to rush it).

    Sunday night a few of the NorCal GOATs headed back to the Hofbrauhaus. This year was a little more reserved than last, but there were still quite a few shots (and the required paddling). This year several of the wives/girlfriends came along, so rather than the crazy walk of the strip from last year… the guys took the ladies out to the theater. I didn’t want to participate in that activity, so decided to head back to the hotel after dinner.

    Monday was the brunch at the Bellagio, which was incredible again… before the long drive back home. Before the brunch a few of us were going to drive out to Red Rock Canyon for some photos/videos, but it didn’t work-out. After brunch the group had an uneventful trip back up to the Bay Area.

    In the end, I was a little disappointed with GoatRun this year. I’m sure much of that was because last year was so incredible! I think the biggest let-down was the cruise… I really would have liked something more interesting/involved… I figure when people are getting together from many states (as from as far away as Missouri) that the cruise would be more involved than an hour long drive out/back on a single road. There has been some talk that this might be the last GoatRun for a while, but hopefully it returns again next year… If it does, I know I’ll be there!

  • DL1 + GoPro = Win!

    Posted on September 10th, 2010 tcorzett No comments

    In preparation for my future Auto-X and Track Day activities, I picked-up a Race Technology DL1 Data Logger.

    The DL1 collects data using GPS, two accelerometers, and a connection to the vehicle’s OBDII port. Everything is compiled into the analysis software in various graphic views. Here is an screenshot showing the GPS path (with satellite images), a graphical representation of the speed and lateral G-force over time.

    Things get really powerful when you start comparing multiple laps together… in this case speed over distance for four trips over this route.

    Looking at the speeds, G-forces, steering angles, etc. from run to run should be very valuable at the track.

    One of the really fun things about the DL1 is the ability to generate graphic overlays that can be integrated with the video footage I record using the GoPro HD cameras!

  • 2011 Mustang (305HP v6)

    Posted on August 28th, 2010 tcorzett No comments

    I was able to get a Saturday away from work so decided to head-out with the 2011 Ford Mustang rental car to shoot some video. This is the road that I drive to/from work each day:

    The Mustang has a 3.7L 4V Ti-VCT V6 producing 305 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque. The balance and handling of the car is very predictable (or maybe it’s because I’ve been driving this road every day for three months). In the twisties I really wished there was some more torque to get the rear-end to rotate through the exits of the corners, as it is the ‘Stang tends to push a little more than I would like (the 225 all season tires I’m sure don’t help). I know the car is down on power being between 5226ft and 6535ft over this pass, so having the V8 from the GT would make the drive really interesting.

    Video was shot over multiple runs using a pair of GoPro HD cameras and then clipped together using Final Cut Pro video editing software.

  • Mt. Hamilton Cruise

    Posted on May 14th, 2010 tcorzett 1 comment

    Having spent the last few weeks on the East Coast for work, I was really excited to get back to the Bay Area and the G8. To take advantage of this trip home I hooked-up with a few GTO owners today for a spirited drive up to Mt. Hamilton near San Jose, Ca.

    View Larger Map

    I have been wanting to make this drive for some time, but have always been a little leery of doing it on a weekend. This is a road that the crazy cyclists come to test their muscle, and it can be quite busy when the weather is good. Fortunately, Friday turned-out to be a perfect day to make the drive… there were zero cyclists on the road!

    The group met-up in San Jose and headed up towards Mt. Hamilton. I lead the cruise, not like anyone could have become lost, and it turned-out to be a good thing… the road conditions were less than ideal and having the car with the most tire sidewall up front paid-off. To the best of my ability I tried to radio back when I hit a big bump, but I don’t think it was enough sometimes… there were several occasions where the GTOs had to slow down to avoid the rough roads.

    As we made the climb up Mt. Hamilton we came-up on a Toyota 4-Runner, which normally would have been holding us back, but it turned out he was a local who likes to drive! At the top of Mt. Hamilton is the Lick Observatory. The driver of the 4-Runner was heading to the observatory and had obviously driven the road quite a few times… he was actually giving me a run for my money up the mountain!

    At the top of Mt. Hamilton we stopped at the Lick Observatory for some photographs and sightseeing. I had never been to the observatory, so being able to walk around and look at some of the memorabilia was very cool. They even have an original seismograph from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake! Before leaving we had to take advantage of the scenery and take a few photographs.

    Rather than just driving back down the road we had just driven, we decided to head out towards the Central Valley and drive on San Antonio Valley Rd. and then out on Del Puerto Canyon Rd.

    View Larger Map

    The descent from the Lick Observatory down San Antonio Valley Rd. was just spectacular! This is a smooth section of road that through a series of switchbacks drops almost 2000′ in less than 4 miles (at up to a -11% grade). If this road wasn’t in the middle of nowhere I’d drive it every day. What better way to explain… than a video!

    The G8 really handled this stretch of the drive well, no matter how hard I tried to push it. The driver of the GTO behind me commented that he could smell my brakes as he was going through the corners! There were several times where I was locking-up a wheel or two… and I know if I had not been using the transmission to help slow down into corners I wouldn’t have been able to be as quick. I can only imagine how this road will be after I do my suspension upgrades!

    After the wonderful descent from Mt. Hamilton we headed out into the middle of nowhere. The only thing you’ll find out here are some farms and the occasional cow, but it does lend to some nice “relaxing” driving roads. San Antonio Valley Rd. leads out to the crossing point for three roads at “The Junction”. Mines Rd. leads to Livermore, Del Puerto Canyon Rd. heads out towards the Central Valley, and San Antonio Valley Rd. to the Lick Observatory and San Jose. The Junction is also the home of a little bar, named “The Junction” (big surprise huh?). We stopped there to catch our breath, and after spending some time with the locals we headed back out to finish-up the drive.

    The day turned-out to be a great outing. I had hoped to have a few more cars, but I think it worked out better than we only had the four of us… it allowed us to push things a bit harder. I wished I’d been able to spend more time with the G8, but it was great to get out and romp around while I had the chance!

  • CCG8CC Skyline Drive

    Posted on April 11th, 2010 tcorzett No comments

    So work has lead me to spending some time on the East Coast again… and away from my G8. I’ve been living in Maryland for the last few weeks and really been missing the company of fellow car nuts. Fortunately, I’m lucky to be staying only a few minutes from another G8 owner and in one of the most active G8 communities in the country. The Capital City G8 Car Club (CCG8CC) was nice enough to let me tag along at their spring cruise to Skyline Drive in Virginia.

    A total of 13 G8’s (YES! Thirteen!) gathered in Virginia to head down Skyline Drive. Not having a worthy car (the Toyota Camry rental just wasn’t up to the task) I found myself a passenger in a G8 for the first time. Also, not having a car of my own I was forced to mount my video cameras on other people’s cars to get footage.

    In the end, I had a total of 12 hours of video footage that I needed to process and clip together from this cruise. I was really impressed by the numbers the G8 community in the Mid-Atlantic region is able to pull-together for a cruise. I was really glad that I could put together a couple of videos of their activities.