Thursday, May 26, 2011

May 2011 - "Config #2"

After running March-April in 'Config #1' (look at May 10th entry for details) I was ready for further testing.  I showed up at my May Putnam event in 'Config #2'. I removed the front APR splitter and bolted my sweet AMS FMIC back on. I was actually expecting another package, but the vendor somehow misunderstood my next event date which I think is completely BullShit myself as I stated it several times. Anyways...

Weight wise, this is pretty much a trade. Both configs have nearly the same weight hanging out over the front of the car; equally crappy but that's how it goes.  I didn't expect too much of a difference as my thoughts were the front splitter wasn't installed at the ideal angle given the NASA rules I have to contend with - and the rear APR wing wasn't really huge or anything.

Track Testing!
I had ran a 1:19.5 at Putnam back in March using 'Config #1' on street tires and pump gas. My previous best there was a 1:17.0 last fall in TTA form on old tires; stock aero, a tune from 2008, etc. Meaning not ideal.

I ran a 1:18.0 in the warmup session and was happy with that. I did cord a tire; which I knew could be a problem at Putnam as it's a track that calls for a LOT of camber. Like -4 in the LF perhaps! But no changes for me, so I'd have to deal with it.  1:16.7 in S2 which set a new track record for TTA!  Through the first 2 sessions the car felt a bit pushy in off-camber corners. This is normal, and off-camber corners are a-plenty at Putnam. I wasn't 100% happy with how the car felt as I didn't push it as hard as I wanted. I felt some changes needed to be made. But again; (as my suspension guy tells me) Mid Ohio is the goal for setup perfection; not Putnam.

For S3 I bolted up new tread and fired a 1:15.7 which was my best of the weekend (and new TTA track record).

So is 'Config #2' a winner? I'm not sure.
Putnam is a bit of a wildcard - although it does have a nice log straight where I reach 132mph; over 95mph in 6 spots.  Mid Ohio I topped out at 143mph (over 108mph 4 times).

I'm still debating the 'config' thing......I think 'Config #2' needs more testing!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Updated Graphics!

Got some updated stickers and graphics on the car I wanted to show.  Besides the obvious name addition, I've been sporting some additional 'MWE' aka graphics. 

Thanks to Scott and the whole group over at that read, support & root for me.  If you haven't been to the site, you should really check it out.

Friday, May 20, 2011

NASA - Putnam Park - Day #2

Having won my class and set a new track record on Saturday before the rain set in; Sunday we woke up to more rain.  It wasn't a hard rain; more of a spray/mist that held out the entire day.  I mounted up the street tires - my 3yr old Dunlop Z1 StarSpecs - and went out for the first session in my #2 gridspot behind the 500hp TurnInConcepts (TIC) Subaru.  I made no suspension changes.  Putnam just blows in the wet; the pavement is like 13 years old and most of the turns are pure ice when wet.  I was figuring something under the 2:00 would be good! 

Like the TIC car, I was able to spin all 4 on the out lap in various spots testing out grip - which is very very rare for me.  The session was pretty much a follow-the-leader deal for about 3 laps before some of us all got daring enough to start passing.  I ran a few laps in the 1:54-55 range with a ton of skidding including a 2-turn combo through T9/10 when I was a full opposite lock for awhile.  I kept turning laps and kept saving the car in turns and was having fun until I was in the wrong spot for T8 and when I went for the brakes there was nothing.  So I had my first off-course excursion of the year.  I just went straight off as I could turn or brake at that point, through some grass, through a small gravel trap, through some more grass, up a few small hills - it literally felt like offroading and I was told I had the car airborne at least once.  I came back and jacked up the car and nothing looked broke.  There was dead grass everywhere; all over the front bumper, inside the wheel wells, jammed on the intercooler, on top of the LICP, all over the wrapped downpipe, etc.  The worst of it was the gravel knicked up the far right of my lower bumper; that's it.  Pretty lucky.

While my S1 time of 1:54.0 would have been good for 4th in grid, I had to start from the end of the pack because of the 4-wheels-off.  I new I'd have to pick my way through traffic and search for a descent lap.  On the straightaway on the 1st lap I think I passed 4-5 cars.  Ended up with a 1:51 in that session and the track actually seemed a little better as that was much less sideways!  Back up to 7th in grid which is much better to work with!

3 hr gap until the 3rd session.  Hoping for dry, I remounted the A6's.  Actually a lot of the guys were running A6's in the earlier sessions too - some on streets - some on fancy Hoosier wets!  The rain slowed to a mist and there was a racegroup in front of us so I knew the track would definitely be better than before at least.  I was gridded 7th overall; just behind the TTA leading Corvette.  I matched my pace with his for a few laps, got around him and ran a 1:34x - about 2.5 seconds ahead of the Corvette.  The time held out for 1st in class and I came away with the 2-day sweep in TTA!  Thx for AMS Performance for the ever incredible tune and Forgeline Motorsports for the new rims (see pic).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

NASA - Putnam Park - TTA Track Record!

Headed to Putnam Park this weekend for a NASA MW/GL crossover event that has been sold out for a few weeks.  After a very long week at work, I got to the track about 8am (ET) local. I knew that I had to install that new exhaust clamp that I have overnighted - and that was finished w/o drama - all good. The forecast was about 50% chance of showers throughout the day but it was holding off to this point.  So, I had about 40 minutes till our 1st session, and decided to change tires and put on the Hoosiers.

Went out for the practice session, ran a 1:18.0 cautiously. I had to break in new brake seals, pads & rotors! The car pulled right a few times under braking, the wheel vibrated hard a few times, but I just kept driving through it. In the end, I had corded the LF tire. Not the first time... and Putnam is horribly hard on the RF.

With only 45min till the next session, and my 2nd set of rims still waiting to have new tread mounted up, I decided to take a chance and rotate that corded tire to the RR and try to get just 1-2 laps in the next session. Knowing the rain was on the horizon at any time and there might not be another dry session as we had a 3hr break, I took a chance. It paid off..

I fired a 1:16.7 and eeked out a new track record! Ran just 2 laps that session. The RR came through ok. But the tire I rotated to the LF.... it corded. Now I had corded 2 tires in 2 sessions; both in the LF (Driver's front). I definitely need more camber for this track! The car just isn't setup for this track; as we're concentrating on Mid Ohio for Nationals.

Anyways.... 3 hr break - and the rain held off! I mounted up the new Forgelines (see pic), went out for just 2 laps to try and not punish the new tread too much. Fired a 1:15.7 bettering my previous track record by a full second and setting the 2nd fastest time in TT out of 41 cars trailing only the highly modified Subaru of TurnInConcepts. I was done for the day (to save the tires). No matter... it rained the rest of the day.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Replacement Part Needed!

Breaking stuff... it's inevitable. You try to do as much accelerated maintenance as you can, keep everything greased and lubed, buy and use quality parts, use skilled companies for tuning, etc. But shit can, will and does happen.

Besides the above mentioned reasons, there's a few more that'll bite you as well. Like simply being tired or in a hurry. The latter is what bit me this week.
A week of longer days at work and final prep to the car meant my schedule was tight. I had to get the car loaded no later the Wed (don't like to fire the car up late with neighbors and all). So around dusk on Wed I was loading the car and since I removed the front splitter (moving onto Config #2....) I figured I would not need to use the extra 2x12's to load the car. Well, the front didn't scrape, but something else did! The low point in the middle of the car obviously being my exhaust, with a clamp right in the middle. (see pic)

Being I run a Buschur exhaust, I got ahold of them early Thursday morning to find a replacement fitting. With my plans to leave Friday mid-afternoon for the drive to the track we decided to have the part overnighted to my Friday night hotel. So a big thanks to Buschur for working with me and the Holiday Inn Express for (I hope) for accepting and holding my package.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

March-April 2011 - "Config #1"

I spent a LOT of time over the winter researching Aero.  Wings, Splitters, Diffusers, Canards, etc.  And I still feel like I have a very miniscule knowledge on the subject.  It also seems like there are a lot of people that offer advice that they can't confirm - mostly because they are churning out the same supposed 'expert' principles they've read somewhere on the internet and never tested anything themselves.

So, I took the knowledge I could get and decided to test some on my own.  My Evo comes with pretty large wing from the factory as it is - and it's really pretty well balanced in sweepers with regard to predictability.  Now if you upset it, it'll push or come around but there's no crazy snap oversteer or understeer at least with any of the suspension setups I've ran (5 in total).

In balancing a few factors including $, NASA 'modification' points, balance and ease of assembly I decided to start off the year with a used setup consisting of a front APR splitter and rear APR GTC-200 wing with extended mounts.  I nicknamed this 'Config #1'.  After running 6 days with this setup, I feel I've had enough seattime to make some logical conclusions. The sucky part is 3 were at a new track; 1 day was all rainy and all of this was with a brand new suspension and alignment.  However, there's only some much tracktime I can get in a year so you can't isolate everything!

I did get to run 1 session at Mid Ohio with no wing at all! That was beneficial in feeling how no wing felt in combination with the front splitter. My instant conclusion was the rear wing helped but it wasn't making as huge a difference as I had thought. Well either that or the splitter was just f'ing everything up and actually creating lift instead of downforce. But the car wasn't exactly slow...I did break the track record.

Fortunately I ran full speed (9/10's) at Autobahn at my last event and have some good comparable times with the aero. My goal for that weekend was to switch to a 'Config #2' the 2nd day.  Essentially I would have been trading some aero benefits for hp & torque.  But like I said in previous posts; due to the weather we didn't get a chance to test 'Config #2'. But again; the car wasn't exactly slow...I did break the track record.

Conclusion???  Next Steps???  Stay tuned....

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New Rotors & Pads!

The front calipers are ready to go back in; new seals and dustboots are in place.  Along with them, a new set of Hawk DTC60 pads and Powerslot rotors going in as well - and a good bleed/flush with fresh AMSoil DOT4 brake fluid. 

With this preemptive maintanance, we should be close to good for the rest of 2011 with the entire front & rear brake system.  Depending on the total # of track days, we might need another set of pads, but with the factory Brembo setup, those can be switched in very easily!  I like to plan ahead!

I think preemptive maintanance like this between events is what keeps the car on track - collecting data and getting faster at events!  Instead of on jackstands or the trailer early in the weekend...

Here's a pic of the driver's side put back together -->