G-Force Motorsport

Boris Gadasin: I was thrilled with the new car's performance...

Wednesday, 18 March 2009 01:00

The new G-Force Motorsport team took first triumph already on its first international appearance when their leading crew of Boris Gadasin and Vladimir Demyanenko won the first round of the FIA Cup for Cross-Country Bajas. And while Boris himself was expected to be favourite on his home soil, his new wondercar with a 7-litre petrol engine, which was built in Europe from a Chevrolet Corvette power unit, was a dark horse before the event. Could the car survive its first race? But our team proved all skeptics wrong - Boris successfully made it to the finish!


Boris, why did you suddenly decide to build a new car? Even previous modifications of Nissan are still winning races...

Борис Гадасин

Boris Gadasin: I was eager to find a car which would allow me to show very high results. I was quite satisfied with the first Nissan car I bought. It was a works-spec car built in 2001 specially for the manufacturer's Finnish star - Ari Vatanen. I did really admire it. It had a fantastic suspension, was very well balanced and had a perfect weight distribution. It was me to catch up with that car's capabilities, but already in a few years I understood the power of its engine was not enough for me. There was an opportunity to change the car to a more up-to-date one which seemed to be more advanced at that time - the 2006 year-built Nissan. I was using it for the past two years. It was also a works car, but built for the local South African championship. It had a powerful 4-litre engine, but the philosophy behind the car's main features was to simplify its parts and service. Thus said, it was good for the local series, but couldn't keep up with best works cars. I faced such situation last year when behind the wheel of that car it was all but impossible to fight against the factory crew who were head and shoulders ahead from the engineering point of view.

Was the difference so huge? What was the reason?

Boris Gadasin: The main reason was the engine. It's a powerful petrol engine, but it has a lower torque, and by that moment almost all factory teams had switched to high-torque diesel engines. The difference in engine performances was especially evident on those events where the semi-works X-Raid team took part, which possessed a perfect factory diesel engine. It was clear that we had to improve the balance of our car, its weight distribution; the steering seemed too "stretched" for me. On my previous car a shorter steering was installed, and it was easier and more pleasant to drive. The modified steering from a standard Toyota on the 2006-built car, instead, was stiffer and harder. On twisty roads like in Portugal and Spain it was really difficult to drive. I used to often discuss that issue with the Overdrive company which sold us that car, but their business was in selling and renting cars, so they were not really interested in introducing serious upgrades to the basic vehicle. And by the end of last year we decided to imply our own method if we were not to lose another season. We planned several steps of improvements for my car. The first one was replacing the engine and changing transmission characteristics, because it was evident that the increased power would lead to serious changes in transmission. We also moved the engine deeper to the wheelbase and put it lower, which favoured the weight distribution. We worked out and introduced some other changes, including gear ratios. There are more steps planned for the year ahead. For example, we're going to introduce some interesting engineering solutions to the front sway bar, we'll also install a new lighter and easily adjustable steering.

And in the end it paid off?

Boris Gadasin: We drove the car for the first time just four days before the race, so we had no time to make all necessary settings. But I was thrilled with the difference between the original vehicle and the car we got in the end. And it was not only about the engine power, its whole performance was just amazing, I hadn't expected such an effect! And only do now I understand why it was so difficult for me to fight against factory cars last season. The engine of Nasser Al-Attiyah's BMW has a similar torque to what we have now, and I can see now how big his advantage was. And not only have the power and torque changed, the weight distribution also improved, it's close to perfect now, approx. 50x50. The car jumps and lands perfectly, handles much better and is easy in rotations around the weight centre. That is what I tried to extract from my previous car but failed to do due to the manufacturer's lack of interest.

What happened during the race? What broke?

Boris Gadasin: Oh, yeah, it's a very interesting story about the propshaft which supposedly failed to endure the power load. But really there was no mistake in our engineering calculations, of course. As I mentioned earlier, we've considered the influence of the increased power since the beginning, and we did introduce necessary changes. What let us down was politics. Everything's simple: our suppliers failed to deliver. We ordered two new propshafts, similar to those installed in the '06 Nissan. After the roll in Hungary our car didn't drive anymore, and it had to be revamped and repaired in Europe. But it turned out that repairs were made only to the bodywork, and nobody even touched the transmission! One of the propshafts (yes, that one) was damaged and had its crosspiece broken. We didn't intend to use it on the Northern Forest Baja, that's why we ordered new items. But when the company's representatives came to the race, it turned out that they just had happened to forget to bring them... We faced the situation and from that moment on it was the question of not whether it would break but when it would fail. It happened five kilometres into the first Saturday stage, and if not for Ruslan who lent us a propshaft, we would have driven a front-wheel drive car for the whole race and wouldn't have fought for prizes. I want to thank Ruslan one more time for his help. His competition spirit proved to be more important for him than back-door fights. He didn't follow some "good" advices and gave us his spare parts, even though he could probably need them for himself. Even despite that propshaft had been used on Ruslan's car before, it was still fresh, though had a little free play in the crosspiece.  That's why we still tried to preserve the car. We also took note of the situation with our supplier, and now it's clear that regarding spare parts we can count only on ourselves. Seems like that Overdrive was just not very happy to see their standard cars being beaten by our. Now we order strengthened propshafts without involving them. Those propshafts are designed specially for our engine, and in Italy we will drive the car that we can rely on.

You managed to repair the car during service. What happened next? How did the race evolve for you?

Boris Gadasin: After the failure we lost 3.5 minutes to the leader, and our aim was to catch up as soon as possible. Soon we found out that we were three minutes faster over the stage. It meant that the car had such an advantage that there was no point in driving close to the limit, and it made sense to take care of the car instead. That's why on "Northern Forest" I learnt more how to ease off rather than how to push. With my previous engine I had only two options for acceleration: it was either "pedal to the metal" or "no gas at all". All intermediate positions were useless due to the narrow effective range of that engine. Now we can play the 7-litre engine like a violin (or, judging by its sound) better said a double-bass. A bit more push, a bit less, you just have to step the pedal to use the opportunity - the torque allows it. During the race we didn't want to push too much as we risked losing the rear drive. For example, on 6th gear we didn't push more than 4000 rpm, it was about 140 km/h. But it was more than enough to comfortably increase our lead and take the much-needed victory. Our car not only won the first round of the FIA Cup (which was held in Russia), but also showed its big potential...

Ahead is the second round of the series - the Italian Baja. You prepared a great vehicle, which is able to fight against best factory cars. But for some reason there're no works entries on the list...

Boris Gadasin: Yes, we put much efforts and expenses into the new car. And I'm a little bit disappointed that the man to challenge whom I did all that unexpectedly won't come to the race in Italy. Of course, I'm talking about my long-term rival - the driver from Qatar Nasser Al-Attiyah. Moreover, now he's a member of the Volkswagen team, which doesn't take part in the FIA Cup for Bajas. I expected to challenge him on the Italian tracks again as we have some "unsorted business" from last year... (smiles) Now we have to catch him somewhere else. We'll probably compete in "Transsiberico" which is a round of the World Cup and where most of the factory teams should be present, both semi-works BMW and Volkswagen. Besides, we want to devote participation in this race to Jose Megre who put a lot of his energy into the event's organisation. Last time we met in Portugal a year ago, he invited us to his house where we got acquainted with his marvelous museum. Really pity when such great people pass away, and we deem it our duty to pay tribute to the memory of our friend Jose by attending races that he put his life on.

Who will be your rivals in Italy?

Boris Gadasin: We won't have time to rest in Italy - there're strong competitors on the list. The Dutchman Van Dejine, the Czech Miroslav Zapletal, and some local drivers (it's not by accident they have their ASN's priority) are gonna put a good fight on us. And while we'll miss Nasser Al-Attiyah and other works crews, we can't relax. We'll keep on testing our car; we'll play with settings, because the Italian route (5 laps over the same stage) allows it. It's a perfect opportunity for checking our technical and engineering decisions, for finding right set-ups. If we don't face any technical problems, and in motorsport nobody is secured from them, our rivals won't have an easy life there, because our car is more advanced than those entered in the race.

There's a lot of water on the Italian route. Is your new car ready for water splashes?

Boris Gadasin: By the way, one of the improvements made to my car is the protection from water. And the lack of such was one of my complaints about the '06 model. It had the air intake close to the windscreen; and placing a snorkel, according to the manufacturer, heavily restricted the 4-litre engine's performance. Last year it was in Italy where we had big difficulties due to the lack of snorkel. We had to replace wet air filters at every service. The new engine allowed us to change the air flows. Now the air filter is placed not in front, but in the rear in a special groove, which all but excludes possibility of water coming into engine. In addition, there's no need in snorkel anymore. As for electrics, I can only say that we don't have an experience of driving this engine in conditions of big humidity, but our European partners, whom we prepared the new engine with, do have such. I'm very delighted with what we have achieved.

Let's "come home". Why don't you compete in the Russian Championship?

Boris Gadasin: There're great drivers and strong rivals in the Russian Championship, but no factory teams and powerful cars. We want to compete on equal terms. If they appear on our home ground, we'll be interested in fighting against the machinery similar to our own vehicle. It shouldn't be in vain that we paid so much attention and efforts to it. Probably we'll test our car in some local events, but it depends on many factors. Firstly we'd like to show off another "secret weapon" - Isuzu D-Max of the Production (T2) category. That is the car in which Rui Sousa won the International Cup last year and took the glory of "Transsiberico" in Group T2.

Is it decided who will drive this car?

Boris Gadasin: We have two potential candidates who'd like to try out the car in Karelia, where we're going to present it. The car is fully prepared for races. And if for some reasons those people can't take part in the race, most likely I will drive it. It's important to show that this is the best available car in the category, and we'll try to expose all its capabilities...

The new T2 vehicle, the new crews, among which Alexey Denisov and Dmitriy Kozhukhov who all but won the Production category on "Northern Forest" and retired after a "mechanical problem". It's all subject for a separate article, and we'll return to the subject soon after Boris Gadasin's return from Italy.

Interview by team PR director Alexander Lesnikov
International presentation by team manager Igor Chervonny
Photos: Lina Arnautova, Andrey Chursinov, Alexander Lesnikov, Grigoriy Garbuz

Comparative characteristics:
Nissan G-Force
BMW (diesel)
Engine power (bhp)
285 400 280
Max. torque (kg/m)
42 64 65
Restrictor 32 mm 37,2 mm -
Acceleration to 100 km/h 7,5 sec 5,5 sec -
Max. speed (km/h) 187 215 200