Basic Setup For Touge

Published on August 25th, 2009

As with many new things in life, it is largely considered to be a big step to start something, or anything, new, to be able to have the guts and panache to venture out of one’s cocoon or protective shell, otherwise known as the “comfort zone”. To boldly come out of one’s comfort zone to try or start something new can be scary, it can be intimidating, and for quite a few people, they usually stutter or retreat back into their comfort zone before they can even begin to take their first step at trying something new. These conflicting feelings and hesitative thoughts are no different when it comes to the challenging and trying world of ‘touge’.

Touge (, tōge) is a Japanese word that literally means “pass.” It refers to a mountain pass or any of the narrow, winding roads that can be found in and around the mountains of Japan and other areas that are geographically similar.

Placing a series of s-corners and bends in steep roads that provide access to and fro the high altitude of mountainous and hilly areas are intended to be of safety measure, usually to prevent drivers from attaining dangerously unstable high speeds that can lead to fatal accidents. It is therefore ironic that these same steep roads and passes have become highly popular with street racers and motorsport enthusiasts over the last two decades, providing a dangerous yet thrilling, and therefore challenging course where nightly competitions become urban legends.

There are 4 types of ‘touge’ battles, cat and mouse/sudden death, straight up, random battle, and last but not least, time attack or ghost battle.

The cat and mouse/sudden death ‘touge’ battle is where the lead car wins if the space between the competing cars is considerably big, while the following car wins if the gap between them stays the same, which shortens from start to finish, or if the following car is able to execute an overtaking manoeuvre over the lead car and then successfully pass. If any of the cars spins out or crashes, the other car automatically wins the battle.

This ‘touge’ battle is used when the road is narrow, but if the car in the lead does somehow get overtaken by the car that is in pursuit, then the car that is overtaken automatically loses.

Straight up is an interesting type of ‘touge’ battle. If the road is wide enough which is usually not the case, this type of ‘touge’ battle will come into play. Instead of the lead and chase type of ‘touge’ battle run, the straight up ‘touge’ battle involves two cars lined up next to each other at the start. If there is a handicap in power for one of the participating cars, a rolling start would be enforced for both cars up until the 1st turn. The car that is in the leading position at the end of the straight up ‘touge’ battle is declared the winner.

Random Battle is a challenge that takes place when two drivers communicate with each other to duel through the use of their cars hazard lights. Then according to the road, the use of one of the two prior types of battle will then take place.

Time attack, or ghost battle is a challenge where one car is timed from start to finish, and the opponent or challenger will then attempt to beat the other driver’s clocked time. The opponents do not actually race at the same time, but usually one after the other.

There have been misconceptions where ‘touge’ is concerned, and these misconceptions stem from an increase in popularity of ‘touge’ battles and runs The term ‘touge’ has at times, been pirated and misused by overzealous motoring and performance car enthusiasts to erroneously describe almost any event involving street racing, even when there are no mountain or hillside roads and passes involved.

Another common misconception is the association of drifting with ‘touge’, some go to the extent of implying that at times, the words supposedly share a common definition. While drifting is considered by many to be a style or form of performance driving, ‘touge’ does not necessarily have any connotation or relationship to motorsports. Drifting can be used during ‘touge’ battles to prevent the chaser from following the lead car’s racing line of driving or from attempting an overtaking manoeuvre. For instance, if there was a chasing car and the lead car were to drift, the lead car would eliminate the possibility of the chasing car overtaking, forcing the chasing car to choose predictably slower driving lines. By doing so, the lead car will undoubtedly force the chasing car to slow down so as to avoid colliding or crashing into the drifting lead car in front, which might cause further complications for the chasing car, due to the inherent need in keeping the rpm’s high to maintain the engine’s powerband and the car’s traction, as well as all other variables to consider in slowing down for a corner.

At first glance, ‘touge’ seems to be all about fun and excitement, but once the art or practice of ‘touge’ is committed to, most of the time one can end up with regret in the back of one’s mind while reluctantly proceeding ahead thanks to adrenaline and a craving for something bold and exciting. One’s informal, basic guide of sorts, or rather reference to ‘touge’, are usually Initial D and Hot Version videos from the land of the rising sun, where ‘touge’ originates from. One of the most important questions that beckons answering when venturing into the realm of ‘touge’ is;

What is the basic set-up for a ‘touge’ car?

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A car that is to be driven for ‘touge’, or rather a mountain pass run, must be upgraded and modified to be able to cope with and withstand such grueling and potentially dangerous, yet exhilarating high-speed driving through narrow, windy and tricky roads from ground zero to hundreds of meters above sea level. This is a rather general guide for those who are interested in taking up ‘touge’. This is not a fail-safe guide to ‘touge’ but rather an informal introduction, a starting point for preparing a car for a ‘touge’ run.

A car’s basic set-up for ‘touge’ starts here with:

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1) Tires. Tires are an integral, vital part of a car that more often than not, is ignored and neglected at an alarming and worrying rate and trend most of the time. Tires are the moving bits of the car, the only part of the car that is supposed to have direct contact with the road surface. Off course many car enthusiasts and budding fast drivers cannot afford high end performance tires, but what is more important is the tires used are in good condition and properly inflated with the correct tire pressure.

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The front tires must be constantly monitored and kept in good shape as these tires are the ones that are being steered and maneuvered for turning. To go full blast at touge, tires must have at least 60%-70% thread left and be in good condition. Tires that are old with hardened rubber, or those with cracks or tears are dangerous and should be replaced immediately. For ‘touge’, it is best if the tires are slightly wider as more tire contact with the road surface translates to more and better grip.

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2) Another part of the car which is very important is the brake system. A car’s brake system that is in a good condition will ensure for not only a better and more enjoyable drive but also increase safety. If a car is being used for ‘touge’, then regular checks and maintenance of a car’s brake system is necessary, as a well-maintained and good set of brakes can save lives, and assist in achieving faster driving times. Modern safety and driving aids like ABS (Anti Brake-Locking System), EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) and BA (Brake Assist) are good additions in a car, although if a car does not boast such a line-up of modern safety and driving aids, then a well-maintained, lubricated and oiled brake system coupled with a good set of brake pads should be sufficient enough for a car to be used for ‘touge’.

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Always make sure that the brake pads are in good shape and not worn out, and the brake fluid is sufficiently enough before taking the car out for a high speed run. It has to be noted that brake fluid should be changed at least once or twice a year. But do take note, it is pointless if a car has a grippingly good braking system but the driver does not know how to use the car’s braking system properly and when necessary.

3) Another important part of the car that is essential for ‘touge’ is the suspension system. A car’s suspension system or set-up provides balance for a car’s handling and determines a car’s manoeuvring capabilities and flexibility in executing high speed manoeuvres through bends and corners.

Suspension systems serve the important purpose of contributing to the car’s handling and braking for good active safety and driving pleasure. The best suspension set-up for ‘touge’ would be a fully adjustable suspension system with high-low and soft-hard adjustable settings. However, the problem with such a suspension set-up is that it is costly. Adjustable suspension systems do not come cheap, even second hand.

A good, brand new fully adjustable suspension system can cost anywhere from RM3.5k to RM70k even, depending on the brand, type, make and model. Another option that is cheaper would be to use semi-adjustable suspension systems, such as a soft-hard adjustable suspension system with adjusting available for damping only. The cheapest option would be to use a good quality set of lowered sport springs coupled together with a good set of absorbers that have stiffer damping.

4) Chassis reinforcement. When driving a car for ‘touge’, the car’s body and chassis is exposed to a lot of strain and pressure from all the accelerating and braking which make up high speed driving and manoeuvring through s-corners and bends.

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Strengthening a car’s chassis and body will improve control of the car while ensuring the car’s chassis and body is able to cope with the strains and pressure exerted during ‘touge’ battles. The adding and installation of strut tower bars and strut stabilizer bars is a means of reinforcing a car’s chassis and body strength.

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Front strut stabilizer bars for example provide for better cornering stability. For better handling and stability, a car’s stock anti-roll bars could be upgraded to aftermarket ones that have been specifically designed to enhance a car’s ride and handling especially during high-speed driving and manoeuvring.

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Spot-welding a car’s chassis is another way in stiffening up a car’s chassis, although such a measure is quite costly and time consuming.

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5) Engine power. Performance from the car’s engine is vital for a fast and spirited drive. Fast engine response to accelerate quickly out of s-bends and corners is also important in the quest for a car to post quick times and triumph in a ‘touge’ battle.

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Basic engine modifications and upgrades for more power and better response are such as swapping the stock air filter for an open pod aftermarket air filter complete with heat shield and a cold air intake funnel to channel cold air from the outside directly to the air filter, and changing the stock and restrictive exhaust system to that of a usually noisier, complete aftermarket one which optimizes the engine’s response and power.

Other, more serious and extensive engine modifications and upgrades that can be carried out are such as installing high-performance camshafts with adjustable campulleys, installing lightweight aluminum crank and underdrive pulleys, porting and polishing the engine head and intake manifold, installing an oversized throttle body, swapping the stock engine head gasket for a metal one, installing a high flow fuel pump with fuel surge tank and higher capacity fuel injectors together with an adjustable fuel regulator for a higher fuel flow to feed the engine , blueprinting and lightening the engine’s internals and the list can go on and on.

There are a host of engine upgrades and modifications available that can be carried out to improve a car’s engine power output and response, but at the end of the day, it all depends on the car owner’s financial strength and willingness to spend money on modifications and upgrades to go the distance in the quest for more power.

6) A small but vital possible part of a car that is mostly misunderstood is the aerodynamics of a car’s body kit. It has been proven to be true that a car’s body kit that has been designed with proper aerodynamics in mind can make a car not only lighter, but slightly faster as well.

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Most types of car body kits on sale from aftermarket providers and accessory shops merely function to accentuate a car’s aesthetics instead of enhancing a car’s aerodynamic function and qualities. Good quality, aerodynamic body kits are available but can be very expensive and not readily available for all types and makes of cars. In Formula One, a race car is designed aerodynamically to increase a car’s downforce so that the car is more stable and handles better at high speeds. For ‘touge’, downforce from an aerodynamic body kit can make a car go faster while decreasing the possibility of a mishap happening, as downforce can enable a car to go through corners faster without having the driver risking too much at the same time.

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7) Other racing parts and accessories that are most welcome in a car set-up for ‘touge’ are like bucket seats, safety harnesses, rollcage, engine cut-off system, fire extinguisher, and fog lights. These items, if installed, will make a car safer for the driver and other possible occupants.

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8) Lastly, regular maintenance and checks for a car at the workshop by properly trained and experienced mechanics will not only ensure the car is in good condition and will not break down, but also provide for a smooth and better drive while enabling the car to perform to its limits. A car that is used for ‘touge’ must be in good working condition. A car owner who intends to use a car for fast, performance driving must also carry out personal checks on the car, such as checking the car’s tire pressure, radiator water or coolant, and engine oil levels by ones-self before taking the car out. Ignoring all these could lead to unnecessary and unwarranted problems.

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It would actually take a couple of sessions and discussions among experienced ‘touge’ drivers to discuss and further address the finer details and points on ‘touge’ battles. This is basically a rough, informal guide to ‘touge’ that is to be digested with a pinch of salt and weighed upon with an open mind. Experimenting on different set-ups is necessary, vital even, to find the perfect balance in a car’s set-up that will ultimately suit one’s driving style and needs. Off course, sharp and potent driving skills are an important criteria for those interested in taking part in ‘touge’ battles and runs. Last but not least, all the best and good luck to those who plan, or are taking the first steps towards taking up ‘touge’.

text: Abu Bakar Fahmi & Azdee Amir  pix: Farul Azri & Click Syndicate

Comments

  1. Posted by Steel Charger on August 25th, 2009, 21:15

    Good story and article Abu Bakar Fahmi, a pat on the back for you.

  2. Posted by Azuri on August 26th, 2009, 01:25

    nice article.. let’s go touge..! 😀

  3. Posted by Traffic Mag on August 26th, 2009, 02:19

    you have to wait for the vectra to be out of the workshop first. the slowpoke green machine is not up to the standard since it’s not in its top form too… but then when la? :p

  4. Posted by kura2 on August 26th, 2009, 14:08

    good one! jom touge, i’ll follow with my e-shirty(cruise mode)

  5. Posted by Azuri on August 27th, 2009, 02:16

    dear traffic author.

    we’ve already know the potentials of the spoken vectra.. and it is a damn beast..! hahaha..

  6. Posted by Traffic Mag on August 27th, 2009, 22:55

    so azuri, another touge session in the near future i’d say…errr.. after the vectra’s out of the workshop tho… :(

  7. Posted by azuri on September 2nd, 2009, 06:48

    if there’s any.. i’ll definitely will let you guys know.. 😀

  8. Posted by shalie on September 10th, 2009, 22:49

    hahaha…. this is a veryyyy…veryyy familiar rides… 😀 so my car xnk amik pics ke? 😛

  9. Posted by oreedo on September 15th, 2009, 13:27

    JOOOOMMM TOUGE!!!

  10. Posted by bogonz on September 15th, 2009, 13:53

    talking bout tires, what is the most recommended tire pressure for touge. say, tire size is 205/50/16 on a fwd car? thx

  11. Posted by shalie on September 26th, 2009, 13:07

    Sorry for spamming guys, bout the tyre pressure theres no specific PSi or kPa for it, for me, 29-32 is good enough and i’m running on yokohama parada spec 2 195/50/R15. More likely it’s a personal preferences. Some may like it hard and some may like it soft. Depending on the driving tech/speed and the way you want your ride to behave on the touge. Reed, this time aku tak nak miss da fun anymore :(

  12. Posted by Traffic Mag on September 26th, 2009, 22:19

    no prob shalie… sharing is caring. mine is 30-31 and running on falken zeix 205/35/18.

  13. Posted by Crunchy Ahcock on September 27th, 2009, 05:45

    TOUGE…??? aduh…. x larat beli tayar dahhh

  14. Posted by kultuih on September 28th, 2009, 17:31

    jgn beli tayar, sewa ja dr budak2 autoshow buahaha

  15. Posted by Crunchy Ahcock on September 28th, 2009, 23:19

    sewa??? wahkahkahkah!!!!!!

  16. Posted by shalie on September 29th, 2009, 15:27

    autoshow kete wat frame dlm kotak kaca… nanti tayar mahal tu rosak(abestu tayar tu bukan untuk dilenjan ke?).. dah buruk nk tayang kat orang…wakakaka… but actually kan, bout this tyre pressure thingy, mmg berbeza ikut tempat. kelawang, KKB, genting-sempah all need a different tyre pressure… 😀 for 15″ rim dudes yg malas nak tuka2 pressure, 29-30 dah cukup 😛

  17. Posted by enche ariel on September 30th, 2009, 15:48

    Salam,

    Mine running on 195/55/15 Yokohama Advan Neova…front pressured at 31psi, rear at 28psi. Suited for most of Klang Valley touge venues.

    Wassalam

  18. Posted by Crunchy Ahcock on September 30th, 2009, 22:14

    I’ve noticed that we have a lot of drifters in malaysia (from most car & motorsport club in m’sia) But why there’s so little crowd at the event??? No support? ??????????

  19. Posted by Traffic Mag on October 1st, 2009, 01:35

    malaysians have yet embraced the motorsports culture as in other countries. apart from that there is little effort to raise the awareness of these events hence the lack of support from the masses and corporate sectors.

  20. Posted by shalie on October 6th, 2009, 15:04

    the featured GTi was stolen yesterday… Damn thief dunno when to quit. Kete member aku utk touge pon nk kebas! some notes from the owner mr ezanie:- salam,kereta satria gti saya wmn 886 telah dicuri 2.30 pg td.cuba mengejar tp tkdapat.info terakhir menghala ke kajang.mintak tlg klu dpt info hubungi saya 0127918073 @polis.thanks.

  21. Posted by Traffic Mag on October 7th, 2009, 15:00

    my condolences to the owner. i feel your pain bro.

  22. Posted by tuah on April 20th, 2010, 23:54

    195 55 15 T1R 30psi(F) 30psi(R)

  23. Posted by lan4048 on April 21st, 2011, 17:27

    salam sume!
    sy noobs di sini..
    mcm best je tgok korang touge..
    actually sy pn ada beberapa org kwn yg kdg2 suka isi mase lapang men-Touge kan kereta masing2..tapi bkn la tiap2 mggu..dlm sebulan tu slalu nye 2-3 kali..xtentulah..
    hmm kitorang baru berjinak2 dlm Touge ni..nk blaja lagi lah..
    korang sume slalu lepak mana ye? boleh x nak join n kongsi2 ilmu?
    noobs here =)

  24. Posted by Traffic Mag on April 26th, 2011, 15:43

    bro…. you can always join us at bukit putus charity challenge this coming saturday. a number of org lama will be competing as well. as for us traffic crews, we’ll be there from firday onwards. see ya there.

  25. Posted by jhelo on August 30th, 2011, 07:14

    guys me u join your group plzzzzzzzzzzzz?

  26. Posted by pomen_gtr on October 28th, 2011, 12:16

    yup…agree with ppl who use parada have to use higher front tyre pressure to counter softwidewall of that parada tyre….

    me 260kpa front and 240 rear…just nice and during extreme highspeed run as my shortwheelbase car the handling turns into manageable 4wheel sliding…..

    bang for bucks…..

  27. Posted by bubbles shooter on January 12th, 2012, 09:06

    Basic Setup For Touge Traffic Magazine Online was saved like a favorite :), I really like your site!

  28. Posted by service link on June 26th, 2012, 22:32

    Basic Setup For Touge Traffic Magazine Online has been stored like a favorite :), I like your site!

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