So continuing from yesterday’s post:
So what exactly makes the Tarzan G Box different than the standard Do-Luck unit, as well as the units offered by Midori Seibi? Obviously, it’s the fact that racing driver and World Time Attack champion Tarzan Yamada worked for several months with Do-Luck’s Ito-san to create a device that, while replacing the stock analog G-sensor, works with the ATTESA computer to actually change the characteristic of the car in a way that Tarzan himself thinks is appropriate. So the question is, exactly how is the car different from the standard or stock set-up?
When I posed this question to Ito-san, he told me that there were several things that are different but that the most noticeable differences would be under severe braking as well as accelerating out of a curve.
First, however, I wanted to know why I wasn’t convinced of the utility of the standard Do-Luck G-sensor. I mentioned my experience at Dunlop Corner at Fuji, but also that strangely, the torque meter needle was no longer moving up and down as aggressively. Ito-san explained that the more accurate unit means the application of power to the front wheels is also more accurate and smoother. As for the needle, well it’s not necessarily accurate…hmm. Starting to make sense I guess?
Anyway, back to braking at the limit: Under severe braking, the ATTESA unit sends power to the front wheels in order to help stabilize the car. As the ATTESA ECU is wired into the ABS unit and its sensors, the more accurate and faster G-sensor allows the ABS to work to its maximum potential in conjunction with the ABS sensors. This is true for both the standard Do-Luck G Meter and the Tarzan G Box, but the Tarzan G-box gets the ABS sensors to “work faster” and hence the ABS to be applied more accurately and linear in a severe braking situation (and this is where I should have asked more questions, but basically at this point I didn’t believe him.).
Tarzan then explained it to me this way: the second generation GT-Rs have a tendency, under full braking and ABS applied, to unload the rear a bit, causing some instability. With the Tarzan G box installed, he confidently told me that under full braking, the car would be absolutely stable, with none of that tail shake wiggle that GT-Rs are known for. And not just on the track, but in the rain on the expressway for example, as well.
As for accelerating out of a curve, Ito-san and Tarzan both explained to me that you can get on the gas much quicker simply due to the more “sensitive” programming.
So what to make of this? As I had just learned the track on the standard Do-Luck G Sensor, I decided it was time to head back out and explore what the difference was for myself.
The result? When I took the car out on the track at full speed on the straight, and then braked HARD - I mean really hard, activating the ABS - I could NOT believe it, but what they said was true! So I found myself braking harder and harder, finally mindlessly stomping on the center pedal , and having the car SLOW DOWN but without any drama whatsoever - in fact it made me so confident of the car's braking capacities that I found myself being able to think about the upcoming curve, its apex, while shifting down to take it in second -but it felt like slow motion! In other words, while I might normally get flustered on a new track (even after a few warm up laps) trying to process all various sorts of information, having such incredible braking meant one less thing to worry about. Stomp away at full force, shorten your braking distance, and have enough mental breathing space to actually think about that corner!
And what about powering out of that corner? Yes, on tight corners I could still get the tail to swing out in the classic FR style, but when I wanted to clip the apex and accelerate for maximum speed, I would feel the rear slip a bit but then the ATTESA would activate to pull me out and forward REALLY quickly! So I guess it was somewhat 4WD but without the understeer? But somehow really intuitive and natural. This was the first time I had my car where I could claim this, as before the tail would slide and would require lots of steering lock to recover - here I just kept calm and pointed where I wanted to go, it seemed.
I then spoke to Tarzan himself about some of the things I had experienced driving. His response to me was, "I'll show you, let's go for a spin" - in the stock R32 GT-R that Do-Luck had brought. So off we went...
Here is video of Tarzan with Dino in the passenger seat, driving poorly on purpose to demonstrate how the Tarzan G Box makes it easy to fix a slide (well, easy for him!)
And when we were done with the white R32, I then asked Tarzan if he wouldn't mind driving MY car - first with the standard Do-Luck G sensor, and then swapping over to the Tarzan G Box. I plan to, in the near future process the video in the camcorder and show the full length video, but for now here is what I got on my iPhone, from the passenger seat!
And here are some photos - as we head out:
And then of us at speed. What you can't see are my knuckles turning white as I grab the passenger door grip handle, nor my flailing back and forth (the reason I gave up on the iPhone video).
So in conclusion: this is one mod I will definitely have to get in the future (no, I did not get a free one). It would be silly not to! Not only does it make my car easier to drive, I feel like a better driver because it makes the car so much more controllable and predictable. And while of course I have not had a chance to test it on the street, I see no reason why it would not work well there either.
Tarzan was concerned that because of his image as a racing driver, people would be afraid to buy the unit, thinking it would be more than they need. OR that it would super aggressive, for track/racing drivers only. This is absolutely not the case – while it is true that this device allows track savvy drivers to explore the limits of their car, it makes the car safer on the street, where it is unobtrusive Heck if someone like ME could feel and enjoy the difference, then this device will work for the average driver as well, on the street.
Ito-san also wanted me to let everyone know that the Tarzan G Box is fully compatible with the "ATTESA Controllers" that wire in to send more signal up front. In fact he mentioned how the controller installed in one of the ATTKD BCNR33 track cars had reached its adjustability limit, but when after installing the Tarzan G Box, was able to reduce the setting to half-way!
Please feel free to leave a comment or question, my write up has probably left some stuff out!
Thanks for reading!
Video of Tarzan driving my car; some comments