last updated 02/19/2011 1:12pm (will get updated as I think of more stuff 🙂 this has kinda turn into the story of my life more or less… lol. be sure to click the like button if you have enjoyed my little story!!
I’m sure G.SPEED Racing will bring back the memories of all the OG Honda internet people… G.SPEED was originally created in early 1995 as an online parts dealer for HKS, TRUST, and RAZO products making it one of the internet’s earliest online parts retailer. Not long after I added the classic Z.SPEED Racing Performance products as soon as I saw the product line… at the time Z.SPEED were imported by Dave Hsu at Group-A Autosports. It turns out recently Dave Hsu, founder of Skunk2 has finally begun to talk about the Z.SPEED connection. It’s actually a pretty good video so check it out. http://cms.skunk2.com/id/642/HHQ-The-Story-Behind-Z-Speed-Part-1/
Then shortly after Z.SPEED would turn into skunkworks racing project, and then Lockeed Martin threatened a lawsuit against Group-A Autosports as well as G.SPEED (I should’ve kept the paper for fun haha) because we were their only internet dealer at the time. This was why Group-A changed the product line from skunkworks to Skunk2. http://cms.skunk2.com/id/617/Hard-Hitting-Questions-Origin-of-the-Skunk2-Name/4/
During the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s Dave was extremely against the internet for user information/discussions. The domain name skunk2.com was registered by me and I could’ve tried to sell it back to him for extra cash but I never did. I sold it back to him for the exact cost of the domain registration fee. I’m just a nice guy like that. 🙂 While Dave had incredible drive and vision for Skunk2, I’d have to say he was hardly a nice guy to work with/for. Many people felt used and abused by him and Dave hardly ever gave any credit to his earlier employees. I bought and sold decent amount of Skunk2 products over the years and I defended his company on various forums over and over many times during 1997-2002 but he never really treated me with respect or appreciation. He was just pure business. Whatever floats his boat I guess. It’ll be interesting to see what else he’ll have to say about the Z.SPEED story. Because I certainly would love to hear “his side” of the story. I called him up in 2006 to talk about it but he did not want to discuss it at the time. And in time, I’ll have a few REAL hard hitting questions for him. I don’t know if he’ll be ready for that. Haha…
Not long after the inception of g-speed.com I created a section of technical information site called Powered By Honda/YAHP (Yet Another Honda Page). It was one of the earliest collections of useful technical specs and informations available on the internet. It contained information contributed by members of the original HP-L aka Honda Performance List as well as various information I gathered from random sources. Dynojet was still very new then, and PBH hosted a dyno results section, as well as a drag racing (ET/MPH) registry. All of this was well before the proliferation of automotive online discussion forums.
Back then in my family we also had the 1992 Nissan Infiniti G20 SR20DE 2.0 liter 5 speed manual sedan. This was the best handling FWD car for many years until the 1998 Acura Integra Type-R finally took the crown from it. I was also quite active in the SE-R/G20 email list which was where I met several of the Nissan nerds. Mike Kojima, and Jared Holstein for example. So my exposure to SR20DE was fairly early as well. Nissan cars are really good too, just not quite as refined as Honda’s of the same period back then.
I have always been, first and foremost a dedicated motoring enthusiast. My interest in Jr. High and High School was Porsche’s. I used to read VW & Porsche (a really damn good magazine) religeously. The incredible technologies of the Porsche 959, the affordable mid engined 914, and ever lasting evolution of 911’s, the ultra classy, beautiful and timeless 356… Of course another fantastic beast of that time period was the Ferrari F40. 20 years later its pureness (nearly 500bhp and sub 2500 lbs dry weight) is still hardly challenged. The only car that beat it is probably the legendary McLaren F1. My interest in Porsche back then introduced me to a mutual Porsche fan, a little nerdy dude name Pete Stout (don’t kill me Pete, haha). We used to bus home together after school and talk about Porsche’s and VW’s. Guess what, he is now the publisher of Excellence! A magazine dedicated to entirely to Porsche. I guess he has the dream job now.
I loved to study these cars but they were clearly out of my reach. Another brand that attracted me since Jr. High was Honda and it was the first generation CRX! I used to stop by the local El Cerrito Honda dealership and talk to the sales people and I would tell them I’m getting a CRX as soon as I get my drivers license at 16. I already knew about Jackson Racing back then. They were the SCCA ShowRoom Stock Champions. They also had frequent appearances in Road & Track magazine with their yellow CRX. They had at one point adopted ITB’s for CBR1000 to the CRX. The CRX slalomed at something ridiculous like 71mph way back then. And also pulled a bit more than 0.92g on the skid pad if my memory recalls correctly. The late 80’s, early 90’s was the time of the awesome Yokohama Advanced Vehicle Systems series of times available in dry, intermediate, and wet compounds. Yokohama also offered the A008R and A008RS gumballs which was superior to anything else on the market for quite some times… ahh the history. 🙂
Since being a enthusiast is hardly money driven, G.SPEED was never fully commercialized and remained a niche service little firm and continues as a privately held company. In addition to performance parts G.SPEED Racing also got involved in active motor sports participation in 1995. SCCA Solo 2, as well as countless days spent in high performance education drivers training programs with many clubs through out California. I started to instruct in 1999 after mostly training myself at all the California circuits. My very first track day was at Sears Point (aka Infineon Raceway) in 1995 and it was an incredibly wet and memorable weekend. As fate would have it, a well known Porsche instructor Hank Watts turns out to be my instructor. I would not learn about Hank’s long history with Porsche until many years later. At the very first track day, I also met Roger Foo. His student had a BMW E36 M3 Coupe and in one of the sessions Roger gave me a ride in it. The ride was fun but at the same time it was umm, how should I put this, Roger made driving look easy and I totally thought, hey I could do this. My butt G-o’meter was pretty decent already despite only my first day at track. I could feel everything Roger was doing at the time, slight correction as he powered out of the tight T11 hair pin. (to be continued…)
In 1997 at importracing.com (only the real OG’s will have participated there) I met TheOldOne aka Larry Widmer of ENDYN – Energy Dynamics in Fort Worth, Texas. In addition to continue to research on many fronts of automotive technologies and theories Larry constantly challenged me with ideas and critical thinking. This was very helpful. I hand archived many of Larry’s posts and discussions from importracing.com forum. I also created the entire http://www.theoldone.com web site and maintained it for several years before finally handing it over to Larry. The layout of it today is still very much the way I designed it back in the late 1990’s. Many people give ENDYN little credit because the hugely hyped up Super Charger kit never came to fruition. Well, it was ahead of its times, and some things were out of Larry’s control. Maybe he was a bit too optimistic back then. But to this day he is still one of the more knowledgeable person I know when it comes to combustion engines. He owes me a motor for my contribution to theoldone.com and some day in the near future I will cash in on it. 🙂 I just spoke to him days ago and he is busy as ever! Also good to catch up with one of my mentor.
Early on before Hondata products was still in early developments G.SPEED was involved in beta testing the Hondata hardware and software (I still have the OG stage 1 plastic box in my garage some where). I know them from the good old golden days of the HP-L list. Look at how far they have come!! Two little geeks from the Southern Hemisphere and now Hondata is the number 1 software/hardware platform for tuning Honda’s.
As early as 2002 we recognize the value of affordable data acquisition and we were one of the first USA dealer for the now world famous Race Technologies (England) DL90 units. We were overstretched and even offered 30 day satisfaction guarantee for customers. Unfortunately for me couple of guys took advantage of this offer and kinda screwed me on it. Ahh well, live and learn. Can’t be too nice to people.
In 2003/4 Skunk2 and Z.SPEED were parting ways and James at Z.SPEED contacted me. I would end up working with Z.SPEED from 2004 to 2007. I acted as the over seas sales manager for Z.SPEED. Dave at Skunk2 had warned me about some of James’ less than ideal business ethics but I thought perhaps there was more to the story than the surface. In the end, I drew my own conclusion that I thought both side were at fault a bit. There were lot of conflict of interests and it was not exactly happy times for lot of players in the industry then. It was a tug of war on many fronts and the battle ensued for several years. OmniPowerUSA, BLOX, AKMEE. Out of these three companies my little project AKMEE was the smallest as I tried to stay away from doing same products as the rest of them. Thus, AKMEE only mainly had the SOHC VTEC products available. Our chief product engineer was/is Luke Workman, aka LiveForPhysics. He was still in school back then, and could not dedicate any real time for real product development back in those days… we did however, achieve a little bit of global international fame because we were instrumental in getting Charlie TOP SETUP’s EG6 into the filming of American Touge in 2004. To date, this was probably one of the best grass roots builder taking on the pros story ever!! AKMEE Engineering is alive and well. Luke has since then graduated from college with triple degree and he’s all over the electronic revolution right now. AKMEE Engineering will be involving itself in the exciting new era of oil free vehicles!!
I’ve had plenty of opportunities to make money, but never cashed in. Why? Because I was never about making money. This was just about doing something I loved… and will continue to love until the day I die. Passion is what drives me. Timing was also a key element which I never got the opportunity to create products that I thought the market would appreciate. However, this time, in 2011, everything is coming along at an incredible rate. It seems like all my previous efforts in multiple discipline and all the people connections I built and maintained over the years is finally about to pay off. I’m really excited about 2011 and on wards. Hopefully I will be able to track and juggle multiple projects in a timely fashion. Wish me luck. 🙂 Discipline, Passion, Drive. The slogan of G.SPEED Racing? “Pure Passion, Pure Performance”.