Opinion: Race Car Ruminations


I sat in front of my arch-nemesis, gazing intently at his visage. His face does not reveal any motor racing secrets I so desperately yearn to uncover, to use and spring against him in the races and battles ahead. What I see is this: He is definitely older to me, and a whole lot wais to boot, as he is the proprietor of a successful auto repair business in my locale.

Hence, my visit. I’m experiencing needless delays with its current stewards. We are of the opinion that a more astute and punctual workshop would best serve our motor racing pursuits.

This guy – let’s call him “Raffy” –  is the current fastest front-wheel drive racer in our discipline. He knew who I was. Having an overpowered Korean car gets you recognized.

“The last time I saw your car, it was running well,” he said. That was two years ago, I relayed. That was before the confounding calamity that was my Clark trip, the trip that rendered the Elantra immobile in a plume of smoke.

“But let me tell you something. I had a Wagon that I goosed up with a good engine. I tried hard to make that car work on the races. Despite my efforts with it, I couldn’t progress much. I got rid of it, got myself a common Hatchback, gutted it, asked the engine builder to concoct a powerful yet reliable powerplant for it. And I started winning.

“I’m happy with the car. It hasn’t broken down on me yet. You join the races, and all you want to do is to go racing. You don’t want to go to the venue and have to wrench on your car. I can now focus on driving. I couldn’t do that before, what with my unconventional platform and all.

“Maybe you should get another car that would be easier to work on. It worked for me.” After saying all these, he stepped out and attended to yet another well-heeled customer.

I chewed on what Raffy said. The man does have a point there.

It will take more than logic and rationale, ample amounts of which I do not possess, to give up on the Elantra. There is that emotional attachment one has for it. Fudge the money – that and the Titanic are already sunk. I would be surprised we will even see a quarter of that back should we sell the car on.

Who will adopt it and take it on? There is not one iota of demand for kludged Korean race cars like it. We tried putting the car for sale on OLX. Not one response from 573 views as of this writing.

The entire powerplant has to be redone, and yet another iteration of turbo piping fabrication to be comissioned. All to get it back to the way it was. It was ludicrous when it was street-tuned a couple or so years ago. I want the inane awesomeness back.

Even when the car is built up again, we realize that things will continue to break. It was the owner of another shop that told me, “You race a car, you break it, you fix it, you race it again. That’s how it goes. If you can’t afford to fix it when it breaks, you can’t afford to go racing.”

There are parts coming in from across the pond, sets of wheels waiting with fresh sticky rubber, wrenches and power tools to ratchet furiously, overalls ready to be slathered in grime and grease. It’s not if the car’s gonna revive, but when.

I am reminded of a scene in Wangan Midnight where a young car mechanic, after becoming BI’d by glimpsing the Devil Z and the Blackbird, cleared out his bank balance and bought himself a Skyline GTR. He tuned the hell out of it, gave up financial security, his wife and unborn child, and a dream to start his own business, and went racing on the expressways with the two other loony bins.

Things are falling into place. My time to zero out the passbook is worryingly near. May this idiocy of my youth pass swiftly.

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