12 hour Endurance Racing at Ebisu Curcit - 28th August. - GT-R Register - Official Nissan Skyline and GTR Owners Club forum

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Old 30th August 2010, 04:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
Miguel - Newera is surrounded by GT-R's.
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12 hour Endurance Racing at Ebisu Curcit - 28th August.

Thought I'd share with those in Japan - what we got up to this weekend.
Some of you know Aki & I started TGR about a year ago to help introduce racing to people here. 5 of us have each bought 20% of this car and we race it together, with occasional guest drivers joining us.

In a little over a year we've produced a competitive car from what started out as a very clean, but near standard Prelude Spec S and the fun's getting better every time

We're often looking for additional drivers especially when an owner can't attend for any given reason. Next event's in November, a 6 hour race, then there will be another in Spring, Summer & Autumn of 2011...

Watch our progress on TGRacing Datalog.

Dino, you might be interested to hear Yoshi had his own race team there too.
They were driving a white 180SX... But I;ll leave him to tell his story at our next meet at his restaurant (Put up a thread about this soon - 2nd Wed is coming up!)

This weekend's event been one of our greatest races so far, bettered of course by our previous 1st placed finish by Simon, Tom & Mike in June – but no less eventful for it.
I think we’re all pleasantly surprised at how well our Prelude Spec S has developed (touching wood as I write this..!) and how it’s taking the punishment in it’s stride.
Simon commented during the race that Honda’s top brass should attend one of these races and see how many 10-15 year old V-Tecs are used in this series and note the following and enthusiasm their performance cars have and I think he’s right. TGR sticks out like a sore thumb as the single foreign team in addition to driving the only Prelude amongst a sea of EG6 Civics, DC2 & DC5 Integras, Mazda Roadsters, Silvias, etc.



As the Prelude Spec S is considered a heavier car than the lighter Civics and there’s a lack of tuning parts in Japan for it (Many of our parts were imported from the USA) it’s unlikely other teams will follow suit, but we have every intention of making our car even more competitive... possibly at the risk of upsetting a few of the more competitive Japanese teams. The further modifications will come not only before November, but also in winter whilst we have more time to work on the car. If all goes to plan, by Spring we’ll have finished the development on this car as we’re running out of things we can do to it, being an N (Road registered) classed car but I’m sure we'd all like to see it become the fastest Group N car we can possibly create.



For this event James, Simon & Sumi mostly took care of the preparation and fitting of tyres, pads, oil changes, etc., whilst Mike and I were away to avoid the August heat & humidity.
I returned home the night before leaving for Fukishima, to drop off my wife and daughter. Friday morning I packed up our Toyota Hiace Diesel with a full compliment of tools & supplies and cruised 400km to Koriyama, to meet Mike and James for around 6.30pm. Arriving an hour or so too early – I drove around till I found a large Cainz home centre and bought the things I needed for that night’s work on the car… James had volunteered the task of driving up in the Prelude – a brave task getting out of Tokyo in the raging August heat with 70% humidity & no air conditioning! Everybody on the team except Sumi & myself had wisely invested in a cool shirt and Mike had made a cool iced water pumping system with a clever way to remove the water and replace with ice blocks. That night, in the Hotel car park Mike fitted it, whilst I put safety nets on the window frame of each door.
We now had a properly prepared car for endurance racing in the heat..

With our Spec S Prelude’s handling finally improved to the point it’s wayward under-steer & tyre wear problems have been banished forever and wearing a much better set of suspension springs, I was looking forward to driving a well sorted car. It had been over a year since I last participated in a race, having only driven our Prelude a few laps since when I came to be team manager in November last year. Looking back it’s come a long way, as has TGR and so I was looking forward to this whilst praying nothing would go wrong!



Mike didn’t manage to sleep at all, but did admit to finding the porn channels (Again)! I woke up at 3am and couldn’t sleep any more either. At 5am we all met at the hotel’s reception. Overnight, Simon had arrived from his business trip to China and Sumi had “launched” himself all the way from Tokyo direct from his office. We turned up at Minami Ebisu circuit at nearly 6am with full tanks of fuel and loads of blocks of ice. We immediately unloaded and begun preparing our pit for the day ahead. The car was still filthy from it’s last race so Jil, James and I gave it a quick once over with some wet cloths and gave it a polish to remove the rubber marks all over the bottom line. In the 7am driver’s meeting I found my T-shirt was soaked through with sweat already. It was going to be a very hot & sticky day…



At 8.30 Simon went out and set a scorching 1.13 lap, putting us just in front of the middle of the grid. With 37 cars out there all trying to set their fastest lap, that was about as quick as Simon could have gone in all that traffic in front of him.



Some of the entries were a lot slower and there were some stupidly inexperienced drivers out there.



Quite a cocktail, considering there were some professional drivers in other teams such as Rire Racing and Yashio Factory.



Simon came into the pits at about 9am having scalped his first victim. Our neigbouring pit’s Westfield 7 had tried to cut into his racing line at the top of the main straight just before the right hander and collided with our Prelude’s rear wheel when he ran out of braking space We had a graze on the rim and some easily removed rubber on the paint, but the Westie was never to be seen again – already retired before the start of the race from suspension damage. They did have a well prepared matt black DC5 as a second entry, which went on to complete the race, so it wasn’t all bad.



Simon said he loved the new ice cooled shirt –he’d felt almost cold whilst driving round the track! James also commented it was the best thing he'd bought yet for racing with.



At 9.30am Simon started the race,putting in a steady & fast pace to get us into the top 4 cars in our class.



James, Sumi & Mike each drove their stints for 90 minutes. Some of our drivers were slower, Mike set the fastest lap of the day at 1.12.8 and did some consistently smooth & fast laps.



Even in the dry I was amazed to see cars going off the track and getting stuck in the dirt. Once every 90 minutes or so the race would be slowed to a crawl with the safety car out whilst the tow-truck went out to clear the carnage and we’d take the opportunity where we could to refuel and change drivers – to save on lost laps. This meant some people lost about 15 minutes of their drive, but it was worth the sacrifice. We had a few missed opportunities during other safety car sessions where we could have used the time to better our advantage – but endurance racing’s also about strategy and knowing when to make pit stops and it’s important to have good car to pit communication – which was almost non existent for this race. Lessons were definitely learnt!



(Mike takes a well earned rest before his first stint).



Come my turn at 3.30pm the first 6 hours were already over so the tyres were changed super quickly whilst I strapped myself in, oil was checked and topped up, car refueled, Traqmate memory changed & reset. With a toot of the horn to get errant pedestrians out of the way - I was off!



At first it took me a few laps to re-learn the circuit and get into the groove – then I began putting in consistently smooth laps whilst trying to keep the car cool and preserving the tyres. Some of the other drivers were really slow, so I worked out that by switching on my head lights and applying full beam when I wanted to overtake, I’d get them to move. The indicator helped show which way I wanted to go, but wasn’t reliable, as I’d usually apply it when going over one of the chicane berms and be sliding slightly sideways whilst approaching a car in front very quickly, so no time to look at the dashboard. Just pulled the lever back and looked for a gap to open. The marshalls would usually notice the urgency too and wave a blue flag to the slower cars.



(The eventual race winner - Yashio Factory's B class S15 Silvia).



I found that by making the chicane as straight as possible, with just a quick dab of brakes before entry, I could make up a lot of ground on other cars which were taking much more of an S to avoid the berms upsetting their car. By momentarily coming off the throttle in the transition through the S, I could make the back end a little lighter and reduce the chances of under steer coming out of it onto the back straight. As I got to the bottom of the hill I’d be carrying a lot of speed, but could out brake most cars whilst occasionally triggering the ABS – and with headlights on full beam they’d usually stay to the left, giving me a tight entry to the hairpin before exiting wide and accelerating strongly up the hill. I also noticed when exiting widely I could come on full throttle right away without any under steer. Car felt good! The next hairpin was a doddle, just had to make sure nobody was sneaking up the inside. If they were, I’d slow to be right up their chuff, then take a tighter exit before acceletating down the hill on the outside and usually cutting into the 4th gear kink to straighten that slightly off camber corner as much as possible, where the car would slide nicely sideways without getting flustered, before hardish braking up to the bottom of the hill. I also noticed it was easy to be misled and brake too hard for that corner – it’s actually faster than it looks, especially as the steep uphill section actually helps slow the car down before putting the power back on. I never did try a 3rd gear entry in Tom’s style, preferring to accelerate harder in 2nd to just before the rev limit and changing swiftly to 3rd to continue up the hill. A couple of times I had cars drive me wide to the right, putting a wheel on the grass briefly – but I’d do my best stuff them up the inside of the next corner at the top of the hill. The horn definitely helps..

Lots of slower traffic to overtake, but I had some good tussles. Like Mike, I was surprised to find our car was quicker than the white Rire Racing B class Roadster and a lot quicker than many of the EG6 Civics.



The car I'd really wanted to dice with was a beautifully prepared & driven B class Toyota Levin AE111. We were very evenly matched so a good scrap was possible, but I was dissapointed when eventually he waved me by... I'd intended to scalp him fairly!



As it started spitting rain during my stint I began to wonder if the Prelude’s hard suspension mixed with all the rubber on the track - now being wet would make the Prelude nervous, but it turned out the tarmac was so hot the water would instantly evaporate and there was no noticeable loss of grip! Our car was quicker through the corners (Especially the fast Chicane and fast kink) than the matt black (Very fast) Integra Type R from our neighbouring pit, but would lose out on the uphill straight…
The Traqmate was working on my stint – as James had changed the memory card during the pit stop, so I could tell my lap times were in the 1.12 & 1.13’s mostly – which in this heat and with so much traffic still out there, I was happy enough with. Like everyone before me, I came in feeling the car was very well sorted and had a great time out there... Thanks to James for lending me his (Still soaking wet!) cool shirt and for the ice donation from Mike and the others, I was comfortable for most of my stint. I’m a convert and take back every disbelieving thing I said about these. I want one, maybe even one for my helmet, as it was soaked by the time I came in at 5pm!!
It’s possible I didn’t get a full tank of fuel before going out – I was running on below half a tank within 40 minutes and the orange reserve light came on as my session finished, but I didn’t have to slow down – so all good…
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Old 30th August 2010, 04:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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There were a few bigger crashes, but no injuries. There was an N/A N classed MR2 which hit one of the B classed Civic 1.5 V-Tec Hybrid race cars. Looked nasty and took a long time to clear.



Quite a lot of cars retired through the day, especially in the 2nd half of the race, due to mechanical failure and accidents. The Yashio factory S15 was very fast and made going quick look effortless. The 2nd from Pole Integra Type R DC5 sadly retired towards the end of the race with mechanical problems, as did an awesome sounding white EK9.



Rire***8217;s MR-S and Mirror finished Roadster B class cars were both taken out from off-roading excursions, despite having boasted a lot of professional race drivers on their team.
It just serves to remind us no matter how good and well prepared, none of us are invincible out there..



Sumi drove well, but also had a second prang on exactly the same panel at the uphill hairpin at the bottom. He***8217;d ben spun out by another car as he pulled into the racing line, but managed to stay on the black stuff. Just a dent and in the same place, with a bit on the door too, no structuralharm done, thankfully. At the end of his 2nd stint he came in & the exhaust was noticeably leaking too ***8211; getting louder with each passing hour, but it sounded awesome! Turned out to be the flexible mesh pipe, which we***8217;ll have to repair too.





At 6.30 pm having had 3 hours***8217; sleep and sweated buckets I was getting tired thirsty and hungry again, so I got a lift from my friends Andy & Emily who run Power Vehicles of G1-GP fame up to their garage overlooking the circuit.
They had a BBQ on the go and I couldn***8217;t resist an ice cold Asahi from their fridge! On the way there Emily told me Andy had recently proposed and proudly showed me the diamond on her finger, which was the perfect way to raise my spirits. So happy for them ***8211; if you know these two you***8217;ll understand!
Suitably refreshed by 7.30, I borrowed their quad to get back down the hill, then planning to head back to their place after the race, I packed the Hiace up with all my tools, spare wheels, jack, axle stands, spares, etc. to kill time before my last stint.



Just before 8.30 we called Mike in - and now was time for my last session. The others checked told me we were just 2 laps behind 3rd placed car in our class and to drive hard. As Mike pulled up he yelled ***8220;No fuel needed!***8221; as he was still on just above half a tank and this was a 45 minute session... I checked the tyres and there was still plenty of tread on the fronts, so no need to change even the outside one either. We were in with a fighting chance!
Simon helped strap me in quickly and I left the pits as hard as the car would go. For the first lap I took it a little bit easy, so the new tyre***8217;s release coating from the mould would wear off, then the hammer dropped. Not knowing exactly what No 7 (3rd placed car) looked like, I just went for it in every gap and overtook anything in my way driving very obviously aggressively. I would hit full beams and burn the necks of any driver in front who dared be in my way. I***8217;d hit the downhill chicane as hard as I dared and didn***8217;t care if the car was sliding, I***8217;d just keep the power on as I exited. Tyres would take the punishment for 45 mins. Once as I took on too much berm, the car***8217;s inside wheels jumped into the air & the back end came out wide. I veered towards the grass on the other side of the tarmac on opposite lock, but the car regained it***8217;s composure and lost not a lot of speed... The black DC5 behind me backed off ***8211; knowing I was on a mission and I was never challenged by him again. At one point I was overtaking a slower metallic blue EG6 Civic on the outside and he forced me onto the grass on the downhill section after the chicane. My choice was to either slow and miss the opportunity to overtake and try and avoid spinning out, or keep the pedal pinned and use the Diff***8217;s lock to keep the momentum & acceleration being transmitted through the front wheel on the tarmac. Not having much time at that speed I overtook with the car bumping over the rough grass and cut in front of him in time to begin braking for the hairpin & throwing up dirt at his windscreen.
Everywhere I could I***8217;d take another car and another and another, in the hope it was the car in front that we needed for 3rd place. I still had no idea which car I needed to catch so I was doing my best to overtake everybody.

***8230;Then the 350Z safety car came out***8230; Oh crap!



(Yet another team taking advantage of the safety car's 10 minutes of race stoppage).

As we circled every 3 minutes or so the errant Silvia on the grass finally disappeared & I began to get ready for another onslaught. The safety car was going quickly now then slowed again and waved all the traffic by by as he prepared to go into the pits and let the race resume, but that ridiculously slow Silver Pulsar wasn***8217;t sure what to do***8230;. Not seeing a yellow flag in the marshall***8217;s hut I overtook him before firing up the hill and noticing a yellow flag still being waved. The DC2 behind me had also overtaken the Pulsar***8230; I wondered if we***8217;d be docked some laps for that slight error of judgement. In my mind I prepared myself to argue the case if I had to, then the hammer dropped again and the race resumed.
On each lap I***8217;d try to go faster. I***8217;d stuff myself into the top corner, always getting the inside line, being at the top of another hill, I found I could actually enter the corner faster than expected, then lift off the throttle to help the rear pivot round slightly before firing out of the apex then quickly positioning the car straight for making as straight a line as possible through the chicane without actually getting the inside wheels onto the concrete sections.
At the bottom of the hill I***8217;d usually have overtaken a car or two then accelerate hard with just a touch of under steer at the apex before banishing it with engagement of the diff and powering to the outside of the short hill. I***8217;d make it very clear I was taking the inside of the corner and anybody in my way was going to have to fight for it and most would usually just give way. If not, I***8217;d stick to their rear bumper going into the hairpin, stick close to the edge of the track and get the outside of the next straight before cutting across and getting the next apex. I could see a flash going off from above each time I went through that hairpin and figured it must be one of our team. Felt good to know someone was watching the battle I was in to get a better position.
On that same hairpin I also found I could clutch-kick once as I exited to help get the revs up and into V-Tec, ready to power down the slight downhill incline to the outside before short shifting to 4th and taking the inside line at the kink, to try and make the corner as straight as possible. The car would be sliding gently sideways as I hit the brakes approaching the uphill right and I made a mental note each time to brake less than my brain was telling me to and enter the corner faster & more smoothly.

I watched the car***8217;s dashboard mounted digital clock and saw 8.30 come and go whilst looking for the chequered flag at each lap. I had no idea if we had secured 3rd place, but my reserve warning light was now solidly on and I reckoned I had maybe 3 or 4 more laps I could do before I***8217;d probably splutter to a halt. I could feek the exhaustion creep in now and wanted it to be all over soon. Then at about 9.35 the white and black flag was finally out. I slowed it down for the last lap and as I came into the pit lane the path was crowded with a happy crowd. I reved the engine to let people know I was coming through. I saw Mike waving me into our pit, so I stopped and called for the chocks. Sumi put those in and as I got out of the car drenched in sweat the team was there to meet me with a round of applause. We***8217;d gotten within only 23 seconds of catching the red number 7 Civic. I knew we were faster, but they***8217;d done less drive changes and better planned their pit stops. Had the safety car not gone out and the race not been extended 5 mins, we***8217;d have gotten 3rd place, but there are always so many ways to lose time.
No worries - We***8217;ll get em next time.



Apparently the team had thoroughly enjoyed watching that last stint. Our Prelude was the only car with red hot front discs as it went past the pits and the holed flexible front pipe of the Mugen manifold was letting in air, making the exhaust backfire as I changed down for the top corner. James excitedly told me I***8217;d done several 1.10 laps in the dark. Collectively, we felt a sense of relief we'd finished so well!

We***8217;d all driven a great race and our Prelude has now done over 48 hours of racing, with no serious problems. Fantastic. Thank you Honda, for making such a reliable, forgiving & rewarding car to drive hard!



We learnt a lot and everybody finished the night with a smile. As I drove to meet Andy & Emily after the race, I felt that sense of serene exhaustion and happiness. I was buzzing and called Yuko, my wife to share our result.
This is what racing***8217;s all about to me and most of us can***8217;t wait till November***8217;s event. We***8217;re aiming for a podium finish next time and this time we***8217;re intent ontaking no prisoners...

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Last edited by Miguel - Newera; 30th August 2010 at 04:32 PM..
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Old 30th August 2010, 04:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Video footage will probably follow when Tom & James sort out the footage off the Traqmate logger. Unfortunately in our rush to get me off for the last stint, we forgot to change the full SD card, so no footage of the last of the night sessions, but I think James managed to shoot some external footage. Lighting was pretty poor though, so we'll see what comes out if anything...
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Old 30th August 2010, 05:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Great pics and awesome write up
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Old 31st August 2010, 01:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Nice job driving and write up, Miguel! Complete and total victory is clearly within reach!
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Old 31st August 2010, 08:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
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excellent, wish i had the time and resources to do this in the u.k.

thanks Miguel for shareing
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Old 1st September 2010, 02:50 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Finally a well detailed report of this car. Well done Miguel & Co.

So the car had two tire swaps through out the whole race? I see Neova's on the front & RE01R's on the rear in the one photo.

Have mustered a personal best of 1:12 this past spring in the Silvia. Though against the heat I cant see it being that good. Well see in the fall
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Old 1st September 2010, 03:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks Adam. TBH it's much the same write-up as on the TGR blog & I wrote it primarily for our all drivers while it was fresh on my mind, to share my experiences & what I learnt on how to get slower cars out of the way, etc. It's easy to forget the finer points between races and this way we can refer to our experiences in future.. sortof!

I haven't reported here all the changes we've made over the last year which involved lots of detailed work to make it handle so much better, as well as lightening and well thought of fabrication to maximise cooling for oil and brakes, so we can run as hard as we do for 12 hours without our (standard) brakes failing prematurely, etc.

We're using Dunlop Starspec Z1's all round. Larger width (235) on the front, with 215's on the back, with a wider track on the front to further help reduce understeer.

From memory most cars seem to be around 2 seconds slower in summer than in the spring and autumn. If that's the case, then in dry conditions our quicker drivers should be averaging 1.10 - 1.11's's on the next race and getting closer to 1.08 - 1.09 mins for the all out assaults.

That said - with your car not being prepared to the same level and running on much smaller width used tyres & off the shelf suspension 1.12's very respectable!

Maybe you should hook up with Yoshi and use your S14 for the November event with their team. Their 180SX is crying out to be used for a matsuri and turned into a drift missile & replaced with something a little more fuel efficient and reliable!
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Old 1st September 2010, 03:20 AM   #9 (permalink)
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BTW, yes - the car ran the same rears throughout the race and only had the fronts changed at 6 hours. Suspension and tyre width changes have definitely worked to preserve the rubber. After the last onslaught, the car was driven 300km back to Tokyo, with still legal tyres.

In the beginning we were blistering the fronts and finding the outside front needed changing every 2 hours. The handling was nowhere near as good as now. I love this Prelude. It's a hardcore car now... still room to improve it and we'll be making more changes between now and Spring 2011.

Once we finish developing this car, we're thinking it would be nice to create a second TGR car. Perhaps something N/A and RWD to develop. An S2000 would be nice if the team wants to make the investment ...
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Old 1st September 2010, 06:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
Austrian GTR is working hard for his money
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Great effort mate

Next time you'll get em
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Old 1st September 2010, 11:31 AM   #11 (permalink)
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great pics!!

apart from spiderman, that creeps me out for some reason..
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Old 5th September 2010, 12:46 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Here's a video of the event made by James, one of the drivers. For various reasons, including music copyright, we've not streamed this on the public internet.
Save then play with Media player.

Enjoy!

Name: TGR_1_Year_On...m4v

Size: 71 MB

https://files.me.com/gibbonsjames/jmqnw4.mov
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Old 13th September 2010, 10:36 PM   #13 (permalink)
Miguel - Newera is surrounded by GT-R's.
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Nr. Tokyo, Japan
Cars owned: Techno Pro AE86, 280 bhp E30 M3, 500 bhp Knight Sports RX-7, Prelude S BB6-2010 Ebisu Endurance Champion. RC51 VTR SP2 - Tuned.
Posts: 2,266
Now on Youtube:

TGRacing Datalog: James' video of Ebisu 12 hour race!
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Matty 32 is Newera's GTR Register Official Trader. PM him for your inquiries on tuning & cosmetic parts.
I am a sponsor of the GTR Register!
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