Friday, April 29, 2011

Brembo Caliper Maintenance.

I had to pull the rotors & pads off last week as I was working on a big comparison test (coming soon). So I didn't stop there.

I thought about my schedule and I already have 6 days on track in 2011. I usually run 16-18 per year so I'm nearly 1/3 of the way complete! And since I skipped redoing the caliper seals this winter; I figure why not now! Yeah...  Better to take care of it now than have an issue during a track weekend or even worse; at Nationals in September!

I mean hell, the calipers were already unbolted - they have to be to get the rotors off. So I grabbed the 9/16" and loosened the brake lines on each side and tore into the calipers.  The Evo's stock brembo's are very easy to switch out pads, and not too hard to do the seals.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

NASA - Autobahn - TTA Track Record!

Sunday morning the TT group was the first ones on track at 8:30!  I decided to go out and defend my gridspot - as we grid by time and all the Sat times were in the 2:03-2:35 range. So I asked a buddy to go with me for the hell of it because I like to scare people! As it was in the 40's it took a bit for the tires to warm up, so the rear was pretty loose for several laps which is quite fun! Eventually we played a few laps of cat-n-mouse with a TTB 350Z and had some fun running mostly 1:38's to keep at the front of the grid.

S2 I went out and hammered it. The car felt good but I was getting held up by a TTR C6 Z06 (check out the vid below). Unfortunately he ruined 2 of my laps and after that the tires were out of their prime. I did manage a 1:33.5 to regain the #1 gridspot so I'd be in front of that C6 Z06 the next session! I was also just .2 off my TTA track record from 2010 and knew it was well within site.

S3 was probably going to be my last as there was a 2.5hr gap afterwards and it'd been a long cold weekend for the wife and dog. I led the group out, took 1 lap to warmup everything and ran a pair of 1:32's with the last being 1:32.1 and breaking my own TTA track record from 2010.

Apart from a few sloppy lines; that was pretty much everything this current config had in it. That in itself was some great knowledge to have. I only wish we could have done all that on Saturday instead of Sunday. As I had a different config I wanted to test; but it'll have to wait.  All in all I ran 1.1 seconds faster that last year and reset my track record. I also had FTD both Saturday and Sunday over the entire TT group.

With zero changes to the suspension, the car is already rotating better on the setup than it ever did last year.  I have to thank Aaron from Winning Formula for the setup, AMS Performance for the power delivery and Sheppard Racing for the trick rear diff.  Enjoy the vid...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

NASA - Autobahn - 1st Place in the Rain!

I had big plans for this weekend. I know Autobahn pretty well and I planned to test 2 different configs in 2 days - weather dependent...

We drove up Friday night after work. And by 'WE' I mean myself, my wife (married 6 months ago) and our 3 yr old puppy. It's about 3hrs to Autobahn up by Chicago, IL. The plan was to camp out Fri & Sat at the track. With Severe Weather Warnings and Tornado warnings just behind us, we trekked the 3 hrs N to Joliet, IL and setup the tent in 30+ mph  It was the start of a cold, windy and rainy night!   

Saturday we get up, cold and dry at least. The forecast was for rain most of the day; maybe clearing up late afternoon...maybe. Having the Dunlops mounted I head out for several drift-athons and have fun. I'm at the front of the entire TT pack; but with street tires and AWD and some nerve; it's not all the difficult. The rain broke around noon; just in time for the lunchbreak so we ate in just wind (no rain). TT was first up after that and I literally had 1/2 a lap of no rain before it kicked back up. At this point I had a best lap of 2:03x - still the top of TT but nothing fantastic. I think I ran a 1:57 last year at the Redline Time Attack event in a downpour so I wasn't killing myself out there.
We had 2 sessions left in the late afternoon yet. Checking the radar there was a small break so I decided to mount up the newest Hoosiers (I carried 2 sets in). I figure I'm already in the lead with the rain setup; might as well prep for possible dry conditions right! While I'm loosening lugnuts the rain comes; then the sleet; then the snow. No joke; right about 2:30pm. Keep in mind NASA does not shut down for this and there's a race going on during this crap!

Once again checking the radar and forecast we see nothing better for the next few hours. We also see Sat night dipping into the high 30's so I say screw camping and we book a hotel! The time for our 4th session comes and being it's still raining and I now have slicks mounted I skip it. No change for the 5th session so I painfully skip it and we head for the hotel and a warm shower.

My time held up for 1st in class as well as first overall in TT!  Thanks to AMS Performance for a tune that works in a broad range of temps and weather and Shep Racing for an awesome tossable rear diff!  Unfortunately we did NOT get to test what was planned, but we still were able to secure 1st place and FTD in TT altogether!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

NASA - Mid Ohio - TTA Track Record!

Sunday it was wet; again, as it rained overnight. I skipped S1. In S2 I put down a 1:39.4 and slotted into 2nd as the Corvette in front of me broke the track record! S3 I had planned on being my last of the day as I had a solid 7.5hrs home but I had issues. Basically I was late to grid because I was waiting to switch in the wing mounts (remember I'm sharing them so we keep frantically switching them from Mark's ITR onto my car and vice-versa). I only got 1 hotlap in as I had a 2 lap penalty and had to work through the slower traffic and play nice; no improvement.

I stayed for S4 - and ran a 1:37.6 re-breaking the Club Course track record! The time held up and I got my first record of 2011 at Mid-Ohio. Vid Below.

I've got to thank AMS Performance for fixing some boost leaks and retuning the car. It's running even smoother than before and hitting 143mph on the backstraight. I beat on the car to the tune of 210 miles this weekend with no issues. Also to Aaron @ Winning Formula for the alignment and setup on the new suspension - and also for taking some tire temps for me Sat. The car feels great; but we have a laundry list of potential tweaks already!

Overall; Mid Ohio is a lot of fun. It's super technical and it's faster - a dangerously fun combination. Blind corners, off-camber turns - and combinations of each! Plus a huge backstraight, and if you're running the Pro Course I'm assuming an equally huge frontstraight. I unfortunately had 2 car-buddies find the wall this weekend and they have some repair work!

Video -->

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

NASA - Mid Ohio - 1st in TTA!

After 7.5 hrs and 466 miles (over 2 days) I pulled into Mid Ohio very early Friday morning. I ran the testday mostly in the rain; we were running the Club Course all weekend. My best lap of 2:10 in the rain and a 1:55 in the last session when the track was a bit drier. Knowing the class leading times would be nearly 20 seconds faster over the weekend...

Saturday morning at Mid Ohio was foggy and a bit cold - but worlds better than the Friday testday that was full of rain and 48 degrees for a high.  In S2 I had a 1:42 on my first hot lap just as things were warming up. But on lap #2 I went wide into T8 and spun it. Fortunatley I stayed on track and nothing was damaged. With NASA you lose your times if you spin or go offtrack, so I had no official time at this point.

We had a decent break over lunch and we decided to change the AoA on the ARP wing I was running. Here's where things went wrong... Not sure if it was hosed before or during our adjustment attempt but we had the adjustable rod screw break off inside the nut. We tried drilling it, pounding a hammer into it, pounding a screw into it, using vicegrips to turn the hammer/screwdriver - nothing. It was hosed. I did have a close neighbor (Mark; aka Brad) with a sweet ITR and the same wing! He agreed to let me borrow the supports when our schedules worked out. So we had a plan! But first was S3 and I had no time to switch the mounts so I figured I'd do some 'testing' as to running wingless! Let's just say the car was a bit loose! Braking down the backstraight from 140+ was very loose and any corner entry was loose. So I adopted the brake - get back on the gas - then turn in - method and pulled a 1:43.

S4 & S5 I was able to switch in the borrowed mounts and run with the wing! simply used whatever angle Mark had which was a lower flatter angle and what I was planning on switching mine to anyway. And the track was pretty much dried out except for a few key spots (namely T1 under the bridge). I mounted up the stickered Hoosiers and tossed down a 1:39.9 and climbed into 2nd; sandwiched between 2 Corvettes. I reset the tire pressures for S5 and put down a 1:38.8 taking 1st for the day and just .4 off the track record.

Sunday results to come...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Teched and Ready for 2011 NASA Season!

Talked things over with my pit crew (the wife and sometimes the puppy) and the advice was to put the rains back on the car in preparation for the Mid-Ohio forecast this coming weekend. At the time it was showing mid 50's and 30% chance of rain on Friday. Knowing I HATE to change tires in the rain; the advice was to show up on the rains/streets.

So I made the change, tightened things down and loaded the car on the trailor this weekend. I then made the trip to my get my Annual tech inspection for NASA. Doing it early keeps me out of the long long lines at the track - and being an Annual it means I'll be free from tech the rest of the year!

So I again hit my new goal of having the car on the trailor the weekend BEFORE the event. Awesome feeling to not be rushed. Here's a pic of it stuffed in the garage. 

The 2011 NASA season starts this weekend at Mid-Ohio!  This will be my first ever trip there.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Initial Track Day Testing!

After my alignment @ Winning Formula on 3/25, I got about 4hrs of sleep and was at Putnam Park Saturday morning - bundled up and unpacking the car! It was downright cold and windy in the morning with a high of about 37 degrees that day. Temps under 40 definitely bring up a host of additional issues! I was probably going to be running street tires all day and definitely needed to turn the boost down!

I got everything unloaded and was out on track early. I wanted to check out the updated 100oct tune from AMS Performance, my new AST Coilovers, my new alignment and my new Aero. Lots of new stuff! I ran maybe 8 laps at about 6/10's and everything felt good and solid. Nothing broke, cracked, fell off and all the gauges looked good.

My 2nd time out I took Aaron who aligned the car the previous day for some feedback. Running about 7/10's, my GPS data (even with a passenger) claimed 130.45 mph on the main straight which was a personal best. I think the boost leaks have been remedied! Thank you so much AMS for the new gaskets and the updated tune!

After the 2nd session and about 20 laps in all the car was nearly out of fuel. We came in - I filled it up with 93 oct and switched the maps and cranked the boost even lower. Turns out it wasn't low enough as when it's 36 degrees out, I can't turn down my MBC low enough to prevent boost cut on my 93oct map! It took me 3 different occasions to verify this was infact the issue and nothing else was wrong with the suspension or the tune. I had the new A/F gauage and it was pegged straight to 10 during one of the boost cuts. What a pain... My remedy was to run at partial throttle the rest of the day - so I did so and worked on learning the suspension/aero more.

By the end of the day I dipped into the 1:19's. I got more daring with the car and tried to force some oversteer and understeer and it wouldn't do it! Meaning that not only is the car initially balanced, but I can definitely raise the cornering speed.  In all I put on 114 miles which equates to around 60-65 laps at Putnam Park. I'll be back here in May with NASA! Before then, hell before my next event we've got a ton of GPS data to wade through and a host of minor changes to make.

Video! Here's a few laps from around 3pm. Still on my 245 Dunlop Z1 StarSpec's and running about 3/4 throttle to prevent boost cut: