Race Jazz by Karan Malik
I chose the one of most unlikely platforms to make into a track ready monster in a world full of Suzukis and VWs. I already had the Jazz and all around the world people were racing them in one make series as well as open competitive events like Autocrosses and Time Trials with great results. The indian car had was quite different though, a slow microvan with a lot of body roll on skinny 175 tires.
Power isn’t everything. Even though power does make a massive difference it was quite out of budget to start with. So, I decided a family trip to Japan would be the best time to start working on handling with some small but effective parts. The handling had potential because the 4 wheels were at all corners with barely any overhangs. First, the body roll and high-speed stability needed attention so I got a set of Tein S Tech springs and a Cusco rear ARB. The rear ARB was something I discovered in the states at a few local AutoXs and found it to be one of the best budget mods for a understeering FWD car. A small budget, and with the aim to eventually switch to coilovers I stuck with the stock dampers for now.
I also swapped out the shitty stock Michelin XM1 tires which had done 60,000 kms but still not showing their age. Clearly they weren’t very grippy so I swapped them out for a set of Yokohama S-Drives. I landed up getting 205s in the search for Indonesian make tires as opposed to Indian ones. Though the ideal size would be 195, the S-drives with their super hard sidewalls dont flex that much even on the narrow stock rim. The Jazz was still not very fast but was now at least an able handler.
Even though power hadn’t increased, the better handling meant I could also hold higher speeds through corners and the next best place to shave off some time was the brakes. While in Japan I picked up a set of Project Mu B-Spec brake pads for the front. I was looking at a number of aftermarket brake discs but finally settled for a new set of OEM discs because of the massive price difference. Being a relatively light car at 1070kg, the pads made a massive difference to stopping power and I could as a result brake very late at the end of the back straight.
Time for Testing – 4 BIC Track Days & an Autocross
With all these parts, it was time to finally test the setup out. On a hot summer day the Jazz made its debut on BIC. While others thought it wouldn’t crack the 3 minute mark on this 5.2km long circuit the Jazz barely just managed with a 2:59. First time on the track I think the car held up really well. I was still a novice at trackdays and felt very kicked at that stage. The next trackday meant learning more about the car as well as the the track and the time dropped by another 2 seconds.
Finally along comes winter and with it better track temperatures and denser air for the little 1.2. By now, I had figured out the line around some of the trickier corners and pushed the car pretty hard and managed to do a 2:53. Massive 6 seconds faster than my first time with just some more practice.
Now very confident in the car and on the track, along comes a Trackday in February 2016, right before the end of winter. I decided that this time I would give it my all and see how much time I could extract out of the car and whether I could get under the big 2:50 number. Look at the video below for my fastest video recorded lap (2:50.6), after which the GoPro failed on me.
After waiting till the end of the session a look at the timesheet meant victory. A sweet 2:49.x is what the BIC timesheet said! I couldn’t believe it and neither could quite a few of my friends.