Mohd Azad Jasmi

By: Azad Jasmi

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Friday, 4-Jul-2008 08:07 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Who is Nobuhiro Tajima - Suzuki Sport

Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima (Shinjitai: 田嶋 伸博, Tajima Nobuhiro?, Japanese nickname Monsuta Tajima), is a hillclimb racer, tuning shop owner, rally team manager and former rally driver who is best known for his involvement of Suzuki's involvement in rallying and also is largely best known for his association in Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, mainly through his car's appearances in video games.

Tajima made his race debut in 1968 in the All Japan Dirt Trial Championship which he won his first race and his first involvement in WRC was in the 1981 Lombard RAC Rally.

In 1983 he established Monster International a motorsport preparation shop. In 1986, he sealed his association with Suzuki when he established Suzuki Sports, its in-house motorsport division and returned to the World Rally scene when he competed driving a Suzuki Cultus in the Olympus Rally.

In 1987, he in the Olympus Rally which he took his first class win, finishing 15th overall and returned again for the following year which he finished 7th and another class win and as well as this, he competed in the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship.

As the Junior World Rally Championship project took off in 2002, he decided to retire from rally driving when he was competing in the Asia Pacific Rally to become its team manager, he has continued to compete in Hillclimbing which he best known for, first on his debut driving in the Unlimited category in 1992 with a specially built twin engined Suzuki Cultus, then again in 1995 with a rebodied twin engined Suzuki Escudo. For the following year, he would make its debut in a car he became famous for, the V6 Suzuki Escudo which he used it to compete in Pikes Peak, finishing second, only to lose to Rod Millen's Toyota Celica that broke the course record two years before and would make it first win in the 1998 Queenstown Gold Rush International Auto Hill Climb and another two for the following years.

Suzuki XL7 at the 2007 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb during the record breaking runIn 1999, his car became famous when it debuted in Sony PlayStation driving game Gran Turismo 2, which due to its gigantic horsepower, it became the game's best loved car by gamers and would appear in all subsequent series.

In 2006, at the Geneva Motor Show, he announced his plan for Suzuki Sport to form the Suzuki World Rally Team, fielding a Suzuki SX4 in 2007, but with World Rally Championship calendar changes Suzuki will now debut in 2008. Tajima would take in Pikes Peak that year with a newer version of the Vitara, despite crashing during practice he took another overall victory in a race that was shortened by rain. In all he has taken nine All Japan Dirt Trial Championship title, four WRC championship class wins, two class wins in the Asia Pacific Rally championship and seven Race to the Sky overall victory. He also scored four points in the 1988 World Rally Championship season and finished 4th in the 2001 Asia Pacific Rally championship for drivers.

On July 21, 2007, Tajima bested Rod Millen's thirteen year old course record at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in his Suzuki Sport XL7, becoming the fastest man in the history of the race, with a time of 10:01.41.[1]

Friday, 4-Jul-2008 07:58 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Suzuki WRC - Interview with Najima

The WRC is the pinnacle of production-car-based motorsports. There are lots of closed-circuit competitions like the Formula-1, but they’re all for dedicated racing vehicles specially prepared for the purpose from top to bottom. In the WRC, our challenge, champions are those who can get their machines, based on cars with over 25,000 units in production and with only limited modifications allowed, to run, compete, survive and win in all kinds of natural settings, every type of tough conditions from icy roads in Monte Carlo, snow-covered minus 30 Celsius climates in Sweden to hot 30-to-40-degree conditions in Greece where temperatures inside the vehicles can reach 60 degrees. It doesn’t come easy, but I’m ready to give it my best, around the clock and all through the calendar.

We accepted the challenge, and we’re determined to win no matter what it takes. Easier said than done, naturally. Hopefully, with all our hard-working staff and with the precious support of our fans around the world, we’ll be moving ahead toward reaching our goal.

The SX4, firstly, has excellent body rigidity; I think it’s an outstandingly tough body in its class. Another good thing is, because it already has large-size tires in production form for stable driving performance, the wheelstroke is quite long to begin with. We have lots of room for tire movement up and down, and that’s a big advantage in developing it for the WRC, in terms of providing better traction after big jumps, and driving performance over depressions on rough courses.
I’d like to mention one technical detail. The front pillars on this car are deeply inclined, and by fitting the roll cage in a way that it runs down along these pillars, it reaches the front suspension top mounts in a straight line, and as a result, the loading inputs to the front suspension can be delivered from the top mounts through the roll cage to the entire chassis in a well-dispersed manner, by which they are more effectively absorbed, This allowed us to come up with a very good roll-cage design. This is just an example of how the original SX4 body is wonderfully suited as a basis for manufacturing a World Rally Car.

Compared to its rivals, the SX4’s big advantage is its compactness. Looking at all 16 WRC rounds, maybe in the really high-speed courses, the big-body machines might have an edge in handling stability and so they might have some advantage over us. However it is more common for rally events to be decided by how well you do at average speeds of around 100 km/h. At that speed range, the main factor is cornering performance. Under WRC regulations, the SX4, due to its short body length, has a 30mm-narrower tread compared to its rivals. We can make use of the SX4’s compactness to clock better times through corners, which should make us fully competitive against our rivals in overall time, too.

The regulations specify a minimum weight limit of 320 kilograms for the body shell (body in white) with safety features added. Our car has large reinforcing sections in its production version, so we have a lot of weight to cut to get it down near the minimum weight figure. Regulations don’t allow much in the way of changing materials and reducing thickness, so we look for parts we can remove, like unnecessary brackets, etc. Then we take the remaining, definitely necessary sections and build the body shell, welding and assembling the component pipes in a manner prescribed by safety, strength and rigidity concerns.

Our body-shell construction starts with the roll cage, as it is mostly pipes and plays a major factor in maintaining safety and rigidity and keeping our machine as close as possible to the minimum weight limit.

The SX4 engine is naturally aspirated with 4 cylinders and 2-liter displacement in its production form. We add a regulation turbocharger, change bore and stroke, and tune the engine to deliver lots of torque from the lowest rpm and maintain a flat torque curve through high rpm. The turbocharger naturally takes in more air as its rotating speed increases; however, the air-intake volume is restricted by regulations, so when it exceeds a certain rotating speed, negative pressure sets in and cuts down the intake air flow. The most important requirement for a World Rally Car engine is to bring out as much torque as possible before the onset of negative pressure.

World Rally Cars can also be converted to 4-wheel-drive. Specifically, the regulations allow us to make cut-outs on the floor panel to make room for a 4WD gear box, cut-outs on the partitioning wall between the engine and chassis, and tunneling cuts-outs on the floor for the propeller shaft. The regulations also permit big changes in space layouts to make room for 4WD differential arrangements which is different from a conventional front-wheel-drive layout. Also because of the rear differential, the regulations permit extensive modifications related to the allowed use of strut-type rear suspension.
In short, the SX4 WRC is based on a front-engine, four-wheel-drive vehicle and fitted with specially prepared gear box, propeller shaft and differential systems incorporating modifications allowed under WRC regulations

Every maker and team is working busy at their wind-tunnel testing facilities to streamline their vehicles’ aerodynamic performance. Demand for aerodynamic-performance upgrades come in various forms. Not often mentioned, however, is the cooling aspect. The objective is to boost cooling performance efficiently, that is, you need to improve cooling performance while also making sure the design generates good downforce, that is, preparing front and rear aerodynamic devices to create air flow that keeps the vehicle pushed down and well-connected to the ground as much as possible. The requirements for cooling, downforce, front/rear balance, all have to be satisfied while also keeping a low drag as possible. Since aerodynamic designing involves all such demands, we spend lots of time at wind-tunnel-testing facilities in our search for the most effective machine shape and aerodynamic devices.

With competition machines, the first step, determining basic specifications such as vehicle layout and performance potential, is of extreme importance. Make errors at this stage and we get bogged down with problems later on. And so we specified for the highest possible, ideal performance figures within the modifications allowed under WRC regulations. We are at the stage of considering whether our car can really function properly at such specifications, looking for possible errors in our performance estimates. As soon as we have those cleared, we’re on to the next phase, checking the car’s durability, whether it can withstand the rigors of competitions intact. That plus maintenance issues, serviceability in actual rally conditions. WRC events comprise three days of tough running across huge distances that have to be run with only little allotted servicing time. If anything breaks, it is of paramount importance that it can be properly replaced, maintained or repaired in short time. This needs to be checked very carefully, and we are also working on that right now. It’s still the early stages of development, so all our work is still done in Japan. We’ll continue testing in Japan, much of it at Suzuki test courses, until we feel that it’s shaped up to be ready to be tried out by European drivers.
We hope to be ready to go to Europe sometime before the end of year or the start of next year, and begin in earnest the job of tuning the car to winning specs. Until then, we’ll be busy in Japan looking for any potential problems, taking care of them.
We also have a surprise announcement – though it will probably be officially announced by the time this interview is uploaded. Michel Nandan, as technical manager, and Nino Frison, as chief designer, have joined our team.
We regard Michel-san as the European engineer most qualified to help us in moving forward with our WRC project. He has had lots of success in various teams including Toyota and Peugeot, and we are certain his rich rally experience will greatly add to our team performance. There is simply no one more fit for the task than him. He and I have good chemistry; he’s a great character, a person driven to winning, someone who has much experience and lots of fresh ideas. And since we have many suppliers in France, we are also counting on him to represent us and improve our communication in Europe. We also look forward to his help in communicating with FIA, as the FIA headquarters is also located in France, in Paris.
Nino-san also has rich experience, in a whole range of top competition categories including WRC, F1 and DTM. We are particularly impressed with his machine-building expertise. I remember there was a time when we used to think of working skills like welding and processing techniques to be a strongpoint of us Japanese. Together with his construction expertise, we will surely be valuing his advice in selecting methods for getting the best results within FIA regulations, as he has an intricate understanding of WRC. We asked Nino-san to join because we believe his experience and expertise will be indispensable in making our new World Rally Car construction a success.
With the team capability now greatly boosted with the joining of Michel-san and Nino-san, we are keen to develop the SX4 WRC into the world’s best WRC machine in the near future. With our experience coupled with their experience, I have no doubt we will be able to make our car the most competitive on the field. Towards that goal, we’d like them to join us in working hard, and in keeping our spirits and fitness high to endure such hard work.

Friday, 4-Jul-2008 07:55 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Suzuki Swift - Photos

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Friday, 4-Jul-2008 07:49 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Suzuki Swift Sport 2008 - Episode II

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Friday, 4-Jul-2008 07:44 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Suzuki Swift Sport 2008 - Competition Parts - Episode 1

Carbon Bonnet
Racing Tow Hook
Carbon Cover
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