Monday, December 31, 2012

Chumpcar "Chumpionship" Nationals - Wrap-Up.

With my 2-hr stint complete, I handed the car over to our 4th driver who would finish out the day.  Things were going about normal.  I believe we were around 12th still; within 5 laps of the top 10 even with all of our fuel pickup issues and pitstops to fix. 
After some downloading of information to the team including how the car was handling with the vibration issues and recalling what other teams driving simply sucked - I got changed and we started to pack up the pit area a bit.  With a close eye on the laptimes, I took the time to visit with a few other teams and discuss what I thought about Chumpcar in general.  Relaxing and whatnot.  About this time I realized I hadn't seen our car in awhile!  With about 25min left in the day, our car was nowhere to be seen so I started heading back to our pits.  On my way I grabbed a steward and he said there was a car coming in on the wrecker and I had a bad feeling it was ours.  Turns out it was.  Nearly 7.5 hrs into the 8hr day and 15.5 hr race weekend our race was over.  SEE PIC.

Engines aren't supposed to have holes in the block!  With a broken car, our race weekend was over.  On the upside, all of our drivers ran a full stint on Saturday and when the car broke; it was one of the co-owners behind the wheel.  I believe we retired in 13th place overall.

fwiw; the top 8 cars or so were all BMW's at the end of the 15.5 hr race weekend.  BMW e30's mostly with a few E36's.  How the E36's qualify as a $500 car I have no idea personally.  Our old beater had more pull on the straights but the braking sucked and all those smaller BMW's could corner a lot better and faster.  We were holding around 11th before the first of the issues came up; I think with no issues it was at best a #8 placed car judging by the laptimes.

Chumpcar was a pretty cool experience.  The talent level is a bit lower than what I was used to in NASA, but everybody is nice to each other and helps out especially in the pit area.  Enduro's on the whole are neat as there's so many different levels of strategy involved even if you aren't in contention for the overall.  Fun stuff.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Chumpcar "Chumpionship" Nationals - My Stint!

Around 1pm I went over the pitwall and into the car!  We had recently came in to fix the reoccurring fuel pickup issue and topped the car off, so we didn't need gas.  I was held at pit-out for our mandatory 2min timeframe and I was away!  I quickly realized the car was not 100%.  The vibration issue driver #2 complained about was really bad under braking and off-throttle.  Really bad; violently shaking the steering wheel actually.  I did was I could to learn to drive around it and tried to get my bearings on track. 

The competition...  I nearly got ran off the track 3 times in the first 20min (of my 2hr session).  Twice because the driver I was overtaking had no track awareness and the other time because I was severely brake-checked as the other driver apparently had no idea what speed to take T1.  And I was giving a LOT of room up to that point.  After that I pretty much made all my passes setup coming out of turns on the straights to avoid issues.  Never got a point-by even once - although I gave tons of them to other cars I knew were faster.  Driver skill was an issue; which I knew it would be to a degree.  But this was the 'Chumpionship' so it was supposed to be a much higher level - therefore I'm afraid of a regular regional event.  The other 3 drivers on our team never mentioned an issue like this at all so either it's normal or they drive the same way!  lol.

About that time there was a spectacularly awesome blow-up on the main straight that brought out the Yellows are awhile.  I was about 5 car-lengths behind the car and seen the hole thing happen!  Lots of fluids to be cleaned up.  Once that was finally cleared, I found myself in a nice little niche with open track for the most part and started banging out laps.  I had learned to deal with the severe braking shudder and just enjoyed my time.  About 2/3's of the way into my stint I started having partial-throttle issues which I learned was the fuel pickup/foam issue.  A quick roll into the pits fixed that and I was back out to finish the rest of my stint with no drama (except for some continued horrible track awareness from others).  I later turned over the car in the same condition I got it - aka NO damage - to driver #4 to finish out Day #1....

Monday, December 24, 2012

Chumpcar "Chumpionship" Nationals - Day #1

Ah, the smell of exhaust early in the morning; it's a distinct smell that means RACE DAY!
When I arrived at the track early Saturday, everyone was moving their gear into the pit area.  I got a better look at all the other cars with some having some pretty exotic paintjobs or 'styling'.  lol.  Welcome to Chumpcar... 

There were about 40-50 cars altogether at the start.  Most were in the same class, with a few running in a higher 'EX' class and not in the actual competition.  This might sound like a lot, but I knew there would be a lot of attrition; especially so when you factor in Chumpcar's by rule need to start out as a $500 car.  There were several BMW E30's, a few fast BMW E36 models, some Civics, a Taurus, a few Neon's, etc.

During the driver's meeting all the rules were explained.  Pretty basic really.  I realized pretty quick with my NASA background that I was one of the more qualified drivers out there (more on this during my stint).  Shortly thereafter we were off and racing!  Our car was running laptimes around 2:04 with the leaders running about 2:00 flat in the early going.  We settled in around the top 10; ranging from 8th-11th due to an early pitstop to fix our radio as the connection fell out.  The general thought was if we could finish top 10; it'd be a victory as we knew the car didn't have the ability for the overall.
We were holding around 11th when the first of our fuel pickup issues started.  Apparently the fuelcell in the car had some issues with the foam getting sucked up and clogging the in the fuel filter.  We ended up pitting periodically to fix this issue and it became a routine 5min stop!  We were losing a few spots and laps with the unscheduled pitstops, but not too bad.
Our 2nd driver was in and running around 2:07's as the tires were pretty tortured during the first stint; along with the brakes.  The overall leaders were around 1:58.  A complaint of a vibration under braking brought our car in so switch out a rotor and rotate the right-side tires.  The vibration improved but never went away the rest of the day.  I think it was collateral damage from the hard laps from the first stint.

As I was up next, I grabbed a little food around noon and got suited up.  My stint was to be 2 hours like the others; from around 1pm - 3pm.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chumpcar "Chumpionship" Nationals - Pt 2

Upon arriving at the track Friday afternoon, I got a look at the car we'd be piloting.  It was a 1983 BMW 635 with ~240hp when new.  It's been traded around STL a few times with varying paint jobs and names but 'Dark Shark Racing' and Chumpcar has been it's home for awhile.

I got a chance to sit in the car and even take a lap around the parking lot!  Just enough time to acclimate myself with the clutch, shifter, mirrors; etc.  I also took the time to get belted in a few times with my helmet on - basically practicing the driver exchange process.  I was looking forward to the event.

I learned I'd be in the 3rd stint, probably going in the car somewhere around 1pm on Saturday as the race was schedule from around 9am-5pm on Day #1.  Although I wanted to, we didn't really talk strategy or anything.  I was told to just drive the car and keep an eye out for other cars and minimize any potential contact.  Being a 15+ hr race; it wasn't going to be a sprint every lap!

After the meet-n-greet with all the team, drivers/crew/owners, we all took off.  A few of us were at the same hotel and decided to find some food & drink before retiring.  7:30am call in the morning...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Chumpcar "Chumpionship" Nationals - Pt 1

Back in September I was offered a seat in the Chumpcar Nationals at Heartland Park - Topeka (HPT) raceway.  I had never ran in the Chumpcar series, but having literally just sold the Evo and feeling pretty good about that situation, I jumped at the arrive-n-drive opportunity. 

The event was to be held at HPT Sept 22-23rd.  It a 'Heaven and Hell' race that was 777 minutes on Sat and 666 minutes on Sunday for a total of about 15.5 hrs in all.  We were to have 4 drivers; each with a 2hr stint on Sat and a bit less than that again on Sunday.  I had no idea who else was driving, but I knew of the car and 1 of the owners (4-way share I guess).

Either way I slapped down my deposit and packed all my racing gear; having not been on the any track since July 1st and planned out my nearly 6 hr drive through the middle of nowhere to Topeka, KS.  I was last at HPT in 2007 - keep in mind I did run my first track event untuil 2006; so this was a long long time ago.  Hell, the track had been slightly redesigned since I was last there, making it faster for the SCCA as it was then hosting the SCCA Runoffs pretty regularly.  Anyways, I was excited. 
I took off on Friday around 8am, stopping once for gas and once for food - got caught in a homecoming parade in Topeka and arrived at the track around 3:30pm for gear check.  There was a practice day, but our team - Dark Shark Racing - was not running.  The car was there going through tech when I arrived and everything checked out including my safety gear.  More to come...

Friday, November 30, 2012

Blog update... In Progress!

I have spent some time updating the blog layout.  The goal is to rearrange things a bit to better represent the new angle we will represent.  Since inception of this blog it has been about owing, prepping, maintaining and racing mostly my former racecar - 2006 Mitsubishi Evolution IX.... and it is now sold!  There were a few other events that I either switched rides with someone or perhaps rented on occasion and I did cover those as well.

Now the #929Evo is gone; may it live long and visit a track near you!  But the adventure still continues, and there was already 1 event I have competed in that I will be detailing shortly.  Enjoy the updates...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Next Chapter...

After a 2 month gap, I have decided to bring back the blog! 

While the #929Evo has been sold, we are not done racing!  The content angle will change a bit, and I have no plans to OWN a racecar in the immediate future.  However, I have several plans to DRIVE racecars still!

Stay tuned for more updates and an updated main pic at some point!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

NASA Nationals - It's that time again!

This week will bring together racers from across the nation to compete in the yearly NASA National Championships at Mid Ohio.  I was lucky enough to have the time, funds and a competitive car to make the trip last year for my first entry and it was a great experience.  There was the good (a podium finish), the bad (competitor rule violations) and the political (excessive adherence checks) throughout the stretched out 4-day competition.  I learned a ton from the standpoint of competition at a National level, and the level of differing commitment throughout the racing community especially from the financial aspect of it.  Some years the fields are stacked deep with competitors, and other years the competition can be very light in your class - you just don't know until you get there how deep the entry sheets will be.
In the end, like a normal regional competition weekend, I will miss parts of it but not all of it!  Below is a rundown of the last few National Championships:

2013 - ?
2012 - (Mid Ohio - Ohio) - Will not attend.
2011 - (Mid Ohio - Ohio) - Finished on the podium in TTA from a class packed with 14 competitors!
2010 - (Miller Motorsports Park - Utah)  Did not attend.  Initially it was in the plans, but a mid-year switch from TTB to TTA regionally for increased competition left me with a car short of optimized for the ruleset.
2009 - (Miller Motorsports Park - Utah) - Did not attend.
2008 - (Mid Ohio - Ohio) - Did not attend as this was just my first year of competing in NASA Time Trials.

Friday, August 24, 2012

EBAY - Round #2.

I decided to relist the Evo on EBAY.  It's pretty easy since I already ran the ad, I can pretty much copy all the same settings via the old ad and just make some tweaks where necessary.  So I modified the wording a bit, altered the price, etc.  This will only run for 7 days; so it'll expire next Thursday 8/30.

Started it out at $5k this time.  1 day already and 250+ views, 6 watchers and 1 initial bid. 

EBAY Auction Link here.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ebay Auction - Did NOT sell.

The Ebay auction ended around 9:30am CST with the price not meeting the reserve.  We really did not think the car would sell on Ebay, at least not with the first auction listing but thought it was worth a shot to stir up and gauge some interest. 

In all we had 42 total bids with 20 watchers and 2371 total views.

Next step is to decide whether to relist the car or not on Ebay.  Perhaps with a tweaked price, ad wording, pictures, with the trailer, who knows.  In the meantime we still have it appearing in a few magazines along with several different forum listings.  There has been a slow but steady stream of inquiries about it, and finding the right buyer for this more or less 'niche' car is the hard part!  I am confident the next owner will be very happy with their decision!

Friday, August 17, 2012

#929 Evo - Ebay listing Update!

Another update on the For Sale process on the #929 Evo.  I listed it on Friday 8/10 at .01 (yes, a penny) with a reserve and over the first 2/3 of the auction it has 1700+ views, 18+ watching and 36+ bids. I went in again and lowered both the Buy-It-Now price and the reserve in hopes it will sell quickly. The auction ends on Monday Aug 20th around 9:30am CST.

We've had a few new bidders enter in the past 2 days which I think is great news.  Bid early; bid often - someone is getting a terrific car and deal.  Don't forget, extra tires/rims and an 18' all aluminum trailer are also available!

Click HERE for EBAY Link.

A pic below taken last week in my garage:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

#929 Evo - Listed on Ebay!

Update on the For Sale process on the #929 Evo. We've had some interest here and there in the car, both outright and a few trade offers as well as some showing interest IF I choose to fix up the damage. So I figured before I order new parts I'd list it on Ebay 'AS-IS' at a lower price; and lower reserve.

I listed it on Friday 8/10 at .01 (yes, a penny) with a reserve and over the first 1/3 of the auction it has 1100+ views, 15+ watching and 30+ bids. I've actually went in and lowered the reserve since in hopes it will sell quickly. The auction ends on Monday Aug 20th.

Bid early and often...

Click HERE for EBAY link!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Evo Cage / Interior Pics

I was taking some updated shots of the Evo Interior showing the cage and all for some of my For Sale posting and thought I would share them here.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 6, 2012


Back in late June, the #929Evo Team crested over 10,000 views here on the blog.  Thanks everyone for their help and patience along the way.  I hope people have enjoyed reading the good times and bad times here, along with the pics and vid posted.

At last look we're close to the 12,000 view mark, as the initial For Sale posting bumped up the exposure!  An update on that process has the Evo still safely resting in my garage with a few parties interested to this point.  In the meantime, I have been quickly unloading all the extra stock, parts, spares, OEM bits, fluids, tires/brakes/rims, etc the past few weeks.  That means lots of trips to the local Fedex store to be sure!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Updates/Upgrades - Thx to GP Racing

As I've noted previously, prior to our last event, GP Racing took the car for an array of upgrades, updates and maintenance.

One of the big updates involved a new custom brake ducting solution.  This involved sourcing some Fiberglass headlight deletes and running larger ducts down to the upgraded brake duct inlets.  Everything came out looking great too!
Along with the headlight deletes, we also removed the front crash beam (14+ lbs) and relocated the front tow hook.

Probably the most time consuming update was a corner-balance.  As seen here, the fire suppression bottle was relocated to the trunk area and several plates were fabricated and bolted into the spare tire well to help with ballast and weight distribution.
All very time consuming efforts, and all aiming at pulling weight off the front of our AWD beast.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mounted pics - BFG R1's

Found my camera and pulled the pics from my last weekend at Mid Ohio. Pics of the fitment from running 265/35-18 BFG R1's on my 9.5" Volk LE28 rims. First set of BFG's I'd ever tried. Tight fit; ended up rolling the front fenders after quals.

I went to the BFG R1 - like a lot of other NASA racers - because their contingency is now a ton better than Hoosier if you're racing. BFG offers nothing for TT though, but I hope that will change as I think more people would run them and would try the brand new stickier BFG R1-S which is supposed to compare to the Hoosier A6.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

#929 Evo - FOR SALE!

Hard to believe, but the #929Evo is currently for sale.  It has been a tough year to find time to get it out to the track with some crazy family issues taking up a lot of time.  Throw in the fact we are trying to start a family and there just is not enough time throughout the year and something has to give - let my loss be YOUR gain!

Let this post serve as the official FOR SALE listing.  You can select the '2012 car setup' link to the right or click HERE to get a solid description of all the aftermarket upgrades currently on the car.  Beyond that, please contact me (pitchn at gmail dot com) for further information, pricing details, spares, truck/trailer combo's etc.  The vitals are a 2006 Mitsubishi Evo IX with 25,000 miles, caged and ~390whp @ 3000 lbs for $23k.  Email:  pitchn at gmail (dot) com

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mid Ohio - 7.1.2012 Race

After qualifying on the pole with a decent 1:34.2, we had another long break until the race; 3+ hours I think. I took the time to drop in the Hawk DTC70 front pads I had just picked up as I wanted to see if they would hold the brake system hold up better throughout the race. They are a touch high torque than the DTC60's I've been running mainly for the past 3 years.

Besides setting the ballast & fuel load, there was really nothing else the car needed. I started to pack up what I could as I'd be heading the 7+ hrs home right after the race and the day was heating up; already well into the 90's.

At the noon driver's meeting I got to stay behind as I was 1 of the 3 pole-sitters for the 3 waves we'd be having. A first! Being on the pole, I was told to maintain the speed of the pacecar after it pulls off all the way to the green flag - which would be 35mph. This is a very difficult thing to do with all the anticipation around you too!  The plan after Sat was to be more aggressive with passing and lap traffic - although there were already some close calls during the warmup & qual sessions!

The Race
Coming out of the keyhole after the pacecar pulled off we were in the 35-40mph range as expected. I had just downshifted to 2nd but was pretty high in the rpms, and as expected our speeds started to creep up just a little. I didn't want to touch the brakes and 'brake-check' anyone (maybe I should have) so I was trying to decide if I should shift into 3rd or not - right about the same time the green dropped and I was NOT ready. So I got a horrible jump; and would be chasing once again!
Just like the previous day, I was right on the tail of the leader and got a good run out of T1 (1:30 in the vid) only this time he blocked the inside line so I couldn't get in there to pass. I jumped outside instead to try and preserve all the momentum I could, but was definitely out-braked and gained nothing.
I'm not sure what the difference was, but for the first several laps I would be fighting some 4-wheel skidding; mostly started from understeer and backing out of the throttle. I'm not sure what caused this, the only difference was I had a bit less ballast in the rear since I came in 50lbs over my min after the Sat race. This definitely didn't help my chasing cause and led directly to an off in T11 that lost me a good bit of time.

Around the 6th lap my pedal started getting long. I pushed really deep into T1 at one point before it caught and caused ABS to kick in I think. I then did some quick pumping on the next straight to bring it back - same on the backstraight. On the next lap or so - #8 I think - I was weaving through traffic and around a cone going into T2 (aka The Keyhole) and not sure if I braked a bit later than normal since I was offline and couldn't directly see my brake point or what, but the pedal just wasn't there. If you brake too late into this corner, you miss the uphill section and then it transitions to downhill through the corner - and I couldn't slow down enough to make the turn. This is about where I ended the video as the next part wasn't good... Offtrack, through the sand to the right a bit and the rearend caught the tirewall. DNF. With damage to the driver's side of the car, most predominant in the rear quarterpanel. Sucks.

It also turned out the lead PTA car in front of me - that was ran off between T1 & T2 (9:30 in my vid; on the far left) had cooling issues from that off and had to nurse it around to the finish, so I would have gotten around him quite easily.  Sucks too; Traffic!

For an idea on closing speeds into some of the corners, check out the 6:25 mark and tell me WHEN you seen that car!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

7.1.2012 - Mid Ohio - Race Qualifying

This is vid from Qualifying on Sunday morning with the camera out back.  Love the audio on this!  Buschur tuned and catless Buschur exhaust with their small rear muffler.

We were gridded for quals based on our warmup times - which I had a high 1:35x and was slotted first.  We leave the pits to an immediate green flag, so I run about a 7/10's lap trying to heat the tires and maintain a decent gap but w/o catching the rear of the field. 
Nailing it right away on the BFG R1 tires wasn't ideal, but I didn't really have a choice with 50+ cars in the field there was never going to be clear track.  I had a skid right away in T1 that cost my .7 seconds in looking at my data.

I think the first lap was a 1:34.2 - if not for the skid in lap #1 it'd been a mid 1:33; and a low 1:33 had I not had to let off right at the end to dodge the black car.  Lap #2 was worse; a 1:35x so I pulled it in after that.  Man how I was missing the open track of TT at this point!  My time still took pole position by a 1/2 second.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

PTA Race @ Mid Ohio 6.30.2012

After arriving at the track around midnight ET Friday without much drama, I had a few short hours of off-and-on sleep and started unpacking the car early Saturday as it had a total of 10 tires (mounted and unmounted) inside the car.  As I started to prep it as the rain creeped in and after the driver's meeting the rain ended and I decided to mount the rains for warmup.  I wanted to feel out the differences in the car after the corner-weight and the suspension tweaks as well as bed in the new pads and rotors all done by GP Racing.  And I'd yet to run the set of Hoosier WETS that I picked up from a fellow Evo guy.  With the track still soaked and slick I didn't take too many chances with all the slower cars in our rungroup, but the times from warmup would set the grid for Qualifying.  We'd be racing with 50 other cars including 30+ Spec Miatas and 5-6 Honda Challenge 2 cars that would all be running at best 10 seconds a lap slower; some would be 20-25 seconds a lap slower so you can imagine the closing speeds down the straightways we'd be seeing!  Overall I ran a 2:07 and would be gridded 7th for quals.

I mounted up the new 265 BFGoodrich R1's for qualifying and really made no other changes.  I new with all the cars in our group, it'd be difficult to get a clear lap after the first 1-2 laps so I'd need to hit it immediately which isn't ideal for tire pressures/temps - especially on brand new tires!  Exiting the pit lanes for Quals, we have an immediate green track so I easily passed the 5 SM's in front of me prior to T2 and then modulated my speed enough to stay clear of them and setup for my qualifying laps.  I ran about an 80% lap and all felt good until the first turn combination (T13-T14) where the car emitted a horrid high-pitched screech until throttle and I knew something was wrong.  I wasn't sure if it was in the engine or the tires rubbing badly but I knew I wasn't going to improve on the crappy 1:42 I ran so I came in.

I opened the hood and pulled off the new undertray and started checking all the intercooler coupler connections - thinking that was the leaking screech sound.  Everything up top looked good, but there was a loose connection with the LICP and that would be the issue - a simple one!  So we fixed the LICP and tightened everything else up.  I also took the opportunity to change the oil which was on my list to do that evening.  And while we were at it we rolled the front fenders a bit at the DS showed some rubbing.  We had about a 4.5hr gap before the race so there was plenty of time - it only got hotter as the day went on!

For the race itself I would be gridded 3rd overall in the first wave of about 10 cars.  Wave #2 would be the SM's and the Honda Challenge guys would be 3rd; I think with a possible standing start.  The start on the backstraight went fine, I was able to take 2nd and get right on the leaders butt.  Coming onto the S/F straight I got a good run through T1 and took the inside line into T2 and the position.  I led for about 3-4 laps I think as we started hitting the slowest of the traffic.  My lead went away several times because of traffic and we actually traded the lead a few times working through traffic until around lap 8 when I made a bad traffic decision and was passed on the inside of T1 and then was gapped by more traffic slowing me down.  Around lap #10 or so the pedal got a little soft; the brakes had been great until then - but nothing I couldn't work with.  Oil temps were above 285 pretty much the entire time.  The tires held well for the first 1/2 of the race, but the 2nd half my turn-in was crap.  Race pace was 1:35-1:36 the entire way unless traffic slowed us which is just flying imo.
There were a few local yellows that I picked up some time through and about 6 cars off in 3 consecutive turns when I was gaining but a very very slow SM held me up and they checkered the race right after than on lap 14 and I'd take 2nd.

So we learned a ton from the race and how the car would change throughout the laps at Mid Ohio with respect to the tires and brakes.  Traffic was horrible as you can see in the vid - and I knew that traffic management would determine the winner.  David and I (1st and 2nd) both finished on the podium in TTA at last year's NASA Nationals so we knew each other's pace would be fierce.
Inside the car was; HOT.  I'd been debating a coolsuit and wish I'd pulled the trigger.  Ambient was low-mid 90's with zero clouds and racetime was 2:50pm.
All 3 of my ACD lights came on again; maybe 3 laps in and I think that was affecting rotation (or the new ballast in the trunk).  The car itself ran great with respect to the Buschur tune - nothing to complain about there!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

New BFG Rubber!

Finally - new rubber!

Recently got some new rubber to be mounted up for this weekend's event at Mid Ohio. Going to try out the BFG R1 tire, both because they're cheaper than Hoosier and they're race contingency is a lot better (Hoosier upped the min starters to 5 this year).  The only downside is in the NASA PTx/TTx classing system they actually are counted as a higher pt tire; taking more 'pts' to run them and less to prep the rest of car.  Nevertheless, we're giving them a shot!

Since my car is at GP Racing between events, I had everything shipped there for mounting. Check out the pic with Ryan being probably forced to be the photo model here!

Now let's just hope they fit with minimal rubbing/scraping as they seem to be helli-wide...  They'll be mounted up and running on the car all weekend!

Thursday, June 28, 2012 -->

There's a few forums I visit pretty regularly, and one of them is  Scott and crew have been nice enough to give me a sub-forum there to post pretty much anything I want related to the #929Evo setup, racing, pics, vid, advice, questions, etc.  A few weeks ago they made a pretty big announcement that I wanted to share:
"As most of you have seen, over the last 4 years and some change - the Forum has continued to grow and evolve. The latest change to the newest version of VBulletin, new style, and dedicated server are all part of a continuing evolution we've been working on. We've always aspired to be more than just an outlet for information and more of a family. We've always prided ourselves on being true to our members and give honest, no pulled punches answers. No matter what the topic, we want you guys to know you are getting the best forum experience possible. Well, we figure - it's time that we invite everyone to have the same experience. That's right - we are shedding our MidwestEvos title and going National!

On June 28th we will be changing our title to

Why the name? Well obviously we can't keep "midwest" in the name if we're branching out to every nook and cranny in the nation- but we also wanted to choose a name that reflected what we strive for day in and day out- and that's being a true community and not just a forum. There are a lot of other forums out there and over the last few years we've noticed they've either become corporately owned and have lost their "soul" or have become terribly biased towards one vendor or another. We will not let that happen! This is an environment where ideas and experiences will be welcome and bullying and flaming will not be tolerated. As one of the last remaining enthusiast owned evo forums- we hope to take back some what is rightfully ours and ALL OF YOURS- this community and it's integrity."

You can read more about the changeover decision and process directly on the forums HERE.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Updates from GP Racing!

Here's an updated look at the car, as it sat earlier this week in the GP Racing garage.

Most noticeable are the headlights deletes that I had to scavenge around to find.  Also in work are a new set of DBA rotors and the brake cooling updates as well as new rubber in the background.

There's some other updates still in the works and still many more ideas down the road - especially if we jump classes again in 2013.  The goal right now though is to get it setup and balanced to run the second-half of the season in PTA/TTA and compete in the 2012 NASA National Championships.  I'm eagerly awaiting delivery this weekend at Mid Ohio!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Install: DBA Rotors

New DBA rotors will be on the car for the next event.  Thanks to Ken @ KNS Brakes for his recommendation in trying these out.  Ken also shipped me out my first set of Hawk DTC70's as well which will be on the car.

Previously I've been running PowerSlot rotors which have done fairly well.  I did have one crack on me pretty quickly this year, but I firmly believe that was some collateral damage from a faulty caliper I had back in April. 

Either way, I took Ken's advice to try out something from DBA.  They also have some paint on the top of the rotor itself that will turn a different color once a certain temperature is achieved.  Information like this helps you figure out if you're running the right brake pad compound as well as if your cooling is sufficient.  I'll be sure to report back after my first event with them!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Race Prep - with GP Racing Products!

So now that the #929Evo has a full race weekend under it's belt, it's time to charge forward with an updated plan!  While the plan last weekend at Gingerman was just to survive, learn, and burn up the rest of the 2011 leftover tires, it's time to take all that knowledge and make the appropriate updates to charge forward.  

Thanks to a new partnership with GP Racing Products, the #929Evo is going to get some much needed updates.  If you recall the name, when I ran the Enduro at Putnam I rented from Jason & Ryan of GP Racing.  They're pretty much a 3-person shop that currently support 3 top running Spec Miata's with another that's currently for sale that they rent out.  In addition Jason used to be an Evo owner so there's some additional familiarity right there. 

All in all, there's just some things you can't do without a 'proper' race preparation shop - and that's where the partnership with GP Racing came from.  In addition, GP Racing offered to take my Evo home with them directly from the track and we'd work out a timeframe for me to retrieve it; with the option of delivering it back to an upcoming track event!  This option made a world of difference being they're located just outside of Milwaukee, WI which is a solid 5 hr drive.

Included in the list of work on the #929Evo, most notably is the fact that since the 140 lb cage install we've yet to put the car back on the scales for a corner balance!  We've also been w/o a working boost gauge since the cage install, which has been annoying if nothing else.  Also since the Putnam event in May when the rear exhaust hanger weld broke, we've been using wire and supporting zip ties to hold everything in place (which has worked great actually).  Add some tire mounting, a host of other small items and phase II of the brake cooling upgrade project and GP Racing is really going to fine tune some issues on the car.

We're also striving to pull as much weight off the front end as possible prior to the corner-balance.  I think I've got nearly 31 lbs coming off the front.  In all, for our PTA legal post-race weight of 3263 lbs, we could be adding around 85 lbs of ballast to the car - definitely not in the front!

Friday, June 15, 2012

929 Evo - Race #2 of weekend - Gingerman 6-10-12

After a long 35min timed race on Sat - I was happy but insanely hot and exhausted.  It was pushing 90 with 0 clouds all day and all that sun/heat was taking the toll on my energy level to be sure.  Sat evening I went over the tires and tried to strategically rotate to get the best tread in the right spots - but everything moved very very slow!  The brake pads looked to be around 50%, wearing less than I feared they would in the race.  I knew they'd be good for the day but might start to get low and run warmer.

Sunday morning started very early due to a mandatory quite time of 10-12pm at this track.  So the first cars were out at 8am with our race group scheduled for 8:20.  This session would be qualifying, with the grid based on yesterday's best race lap.  I was making some other updates including switching out my ACD unit and last track of time.  I made it to grid in time, and the session was hot!  I quickly discovered I missed a few things:
1) There was something rolling around in the car (later found a 10mm socket)
2) I didn't torque my wheels - only as tight as my rechargeable drill got them
3) I neglected to plug in my ACD after the switch
4) I neglected to put up my driver's side window net!

Apart from all the above, I just ran like 2 laps quickly and safely and came in.  I managed a 1:41.5 which was slightly better than my qual time from Sat while still taking it pretty easy.  I weighed 3266 I believe; having made 0 changes to weight since yesterday's race when I was claiming 3244.  Meaning I was probably 4-5 laps to the good after Sat's race but I was also coasting into the corners to work with the higher than normal oil temps.
I checked over the car and realized my passenger rear that was previously showing some spots of cord decided to let go and wasn't really safe to run for a race.  Maybe I could have flipped it and run it for a short session but that's not the safest to do.  So it was time to switch to my other set of even more HC'd 245 Hoosier R6's and change forms.  With a huge gap, there was plenty of time to take care of that and pull all the ballast I had put in the previous day.

The forecast for Sunday's race would be about the same.  Right around 90 and solid sun.  After happy to literally survive and finish on Sat, I was determined to push everything today and see how it turned out.  I started in the same spot; 9th out of 12 in the first wave.  After watching my vid, I was again not aggressive enough getting in line for the start.  I held with all the leaders for 2-3 laps this time and settled into a pace of 1:42x (compared to 1:45-46 Saturday).  The car slided a lot more but also rotated better, probably due to the combination of having less tire and less weight.  Around lap 10 the brake pedal started getting longer, so I backed my pace down and did some LFB prior to the bigger braking zones just to make sure everything would be there.  This slowed my pace enough that the CMC cars were difficult to get around (see pics above) as I didn't trust the brakes nearly enough to stick my nose down to the inside.  And I definitely learned the CMC guys cornering speeds sucks on those Toyo's!  Next time I'll know that my car can stick much better in the turns and make the pass more aggressively, so all good information.

This race was scheduled for 25min, so I knew it'd be less than the 17 laps from yesterday.  There were a few local yellows again, but nothing to slow us down.  There was more attrition than Sat with a few cars pulling off full of smoke; 1 catching the ground on fire nicely.  I believe 14 laps was the total.  The Evo pulled through with flying colors in this race; just the pads wearing down about 3/4 of the way through but that wasn't unexpected given the width I started with and only having 2" ducting still.

I was called in for weight as I finished 3rd of 4th and made weight easily.  So I got my first podium in a Sprint race.  But there's work to do and it's time to get serious!  I pulled off the passenger side from tire to do a little TLC to the fenderwell and found an issue:

Overall my mind was racing with data.  While I had oil temps on Sat just over 280 and I babied the rpm's, I pushed it hard on Sun and it never really went higher.  I was also able to run 4 seconds faster consistently on even worse tires which was also a good sign.  With the old saying that new tires are worth 2 seconds; I'd been knocking out 1:40's on better tread which is what most of the class had listed for their fastest lap actually.  Keep in mind; I'm running 1 class higher that my setup too!  So there's a lot of positives and a lot of small changes I can take away from the weekend.  Which honestly was the entire plan from the beginning.
I've gotta thx Buschur Racing for a quality tune that was put through it's paces all weekend.  It's been great this year so far!  Also thanks to AMSOIL, KNS Brakes & ACD Tuning.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

1st ever Sprint Race - 6-9-12 @ Gingerman!

After arriving about 10pm and drinking until 2:30am - morning came quick and I made the registration switch from PTA over to ST2 already.  I knew I didn't have a chance in ST2 w/o at least good tires but I wanted to be in the faster rungroup and get used to the traffic.  My goal was simply get the car through the weekend successfully and see how everything felt and reacted over the course of an entire race.  I prepped the car and went out for practice on street tires to feel out the brake updates.  Everything felt solid, although the car pushed hard on the street tires - which it has all year since the cage went in - I ran a 1:47 and had a car spin in front of me and 2 of us had to split to miss it in the track which was fun.  I was weighed afterwards and started doing to the math for the ballast I'd need.

I switched rims to the last of my leftover 2011 255 Hoosiers and stuffed the car full of fuel until it ran back out!  I only ran a few laps and qualified with a 1:41 trying to save the tires as they were pretty beat up from running hard TT sessions last year.  Last year pushing hard on the tire setup I ran a 1:38.8 (current TTA record) so I was in the ballpark.  I made weight, but not by much, so we definitely would need to add ballast.  Another issue was the oil temps.  In my effort to fix the brake cooling issue I admittedly borrowed from the oil cooler flow as well as fixing the hole in the rubbed fenderwell by adding a chunk of plastic.  I think the latter made things worse so I removed it and then worked up a special duct from the 'faux hole' around to the oil cooler.  I was fairly confident this would make things at least manageable. 

With a 3hr gap before the race I had some prep time.  I had a tire that was starting to cord, so I replaced it with an another used 255 I had.  I also was able to secure the ballast I needed, with the help of Jason from GP Racing we secured 25 lbs in the passenger side and another 30 lbs in the trunk.  I'd already topped off every fluid container in the car (oil, radiator, drink bottle, windshield fluid, fuel, etc).  Not knowing how much fuel the car would burn I errored on the heavy side as I didn't want a DQ.

The race went pretty well overall.  All of the ST cars lined up in the 1st of 3 waves; I was 9th of 12 in that group and started on the inside of a very tight T1.  I got a good jump, but all the big V8 N/A cars in front of me pulled harded off the line.  I also realized from my vid I should have been up closer to the car in front; so I'll learn.  I took T1 pretty slow trying to stay clean and dropped below boost in 3rd so I lost some momentum there.  I ran a few 1:42's and after that settled into a pace around 1:45-46 carefully eyeballing my oil temps the entire time around the 280-285 range.  I babied the car, avoiding the high rpms when I could by shifting early and pushing the clutch in to coast into braking zones - all tricks that I know help the oil temps.  Brakes felt good throughout and the tires stayed underneath fairly well since I wasn't pushing hard.  I picked up a few overall spots from traffic and I picked up the pace on the final few laps just to see how the car felt and the tires were giving up for sure.  In all the race lasted 17 laps and I covered about 43 miles.  As for the fuel, after the race I had exactly 1/2 tank but was not weighed.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Brake Cooling Project Update #4

Ok, I've got a setup that I feel descent about now. It's not a finished product, but it's something I can finish up at the track and get through this weekend. I don't have a good set of tires to use this weekend, plus the turnout is pretty low so my goal is just to get the car through 2 races and finish. Then take all that information and modify. I plan to install the larger hoses with the new custom inlets and I think stepping up a brake pad too.

Here's some quick pics including the routing I took care of last night. I ended up cutting up my stock LICP and using that for now.
  • On one passenger side, it's the same size as the ducting hose I was using before; but it eliminates 2 of the sharp bends and part that was pinched behind the existing LICP - so better. I eliminated about 8" of hose too. Then I thought it needed more, so I modified a NACA duct I had to try and funnel in more air. It needs a bit more TLC but it's definitely an upgrade.
  • On the driver's side, the inlet is about 2.5" which is larger than I had before. Then my hose connects to it and runs nearly straight back. I'm not sure if I'll whip up another NACA duct on this side, but I've got the supplies to piece that together that I'll take with me. Again, I eliminated about 8" of hose.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Brake Cooling Project Update #3

The latest update has me going crazy....  I've had a few ideas; pretty much everything has failed. The failing reason has been constant; there's just not enough room in the front of the car to run adequate ducting on the OEM IX bumper. My larger upgraded FMIC blocks the middle, the piping blocks the little 'faux' holes. 
I have an old pic from I think an 03 Evo where they ran NACA ducts in the front bumper of the car for what I assume is brake cooling ducts. I'm not sure if the oil cooler is in the same spot, but I know this car did NOT have the ACD pump on the driver's side to deal with.  This post details my attempt to either run from the headlight holes - custom covers would be needed to block out the rest of the headlight gaps obviously, or from the top corner of the bumper. 

The problem with that idea on my 06 Evo is that the ACD pump clogs up the right side. Besides the duct routing issue, I think there's room to put the inlet duct in the mesh actually and not have to cut into the bumper at all. The ACD pump is an issue either way, but I think there's room to route behind and around it. You just get a quick downward bend unfortunately. (see 1st pic).

On the passenger side, I really don't see a good spot to jam the duct in really. The front bumper crash beam is a bit in the way, but you can probably still find room and/or remove it. You'd probably have to cut into or push the top rear corner of the oil cooler ducting a bit to find room to route the ducting. Or another option (like I show it below) is behind the oil cooler; this probably isn't as good an option but was easier to route quickly for a picture. Again, this side is doable I think but you get another quick downward bend unfortunately. (see 2nd pic).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Brake Cooling Project Update #2

Prior to my last event at Putnam Park, I made some small updates to help aid in brake cooling.  I did not run in the racegroup at Putnam, only in Time Trials where we run a much shorter time period so I did not get a chance to fully test the updates.  However, the brakes felt good and there were no issues noted with fade.  After the event I pulled the tires off to inspect everything and there were no signs of excessive heat damaging anything.  The DEI wrapped ABS lines looked fine as well as the bushings around the steering knuckle.  I'm calling these minor updates a success.

While the small changes helped, they weren't going to solve my issue completely.  I still do not feel safe pushing the car hard for an entire 30min race.  Next up was my plan to run larger brake ducting from the front bumper back to the caliper itself.  I have been running a 2" ducting but the car simply needs more.
I purchased some 2.5" NACA ducts and hose and finally got time this week to set about installing these new ducts somewhere in the front of the car.  The only issue - space is severely limited!

To the right are some pics of the openings in the OEM Evo IX bumper.  The first pic is a 'faux' hole that most people route a cooling duct through.  The only issue is if you upgrade your intercooler (like me) the larger piping further restricts the inlet - plus a near immediate 90-degree bend is needed to go under the blue radiator/frame support. 

The 2nd pic is further to the left showing where a lot of production cars run their ducting from which is the corners of the bumper.  Here you see the oil cooler sitting in the back; which itself needs as much air as it can get to keep the engine oil cool especially when you run consistently high rpms. 
The patch job forward from the oil cooler is a previous attempt to route in a brake duct that proved to raise the engine oil temps by nearly 30 degrees. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

929 Evo's Custom Jack Rails!

During the cage build, Izzy seen the beat up pinch weld area from all the times I've used a jack on the car.  He suggested a custom jack rail and I really like the idea.

Here are a few pics of the finished product currently in use.  We ran them about 3-4 feet behind the front tire on each side.  Each time I jack up the car I get a smile on my face because of these. 

They're easy find and support the jack w/o worries.  Best of all, I never have to bend down to double-check the position of the jack or worry about the base/handle scratching the side of the car since it sits so low. 

If you ever have the opportunity, I recommend something like this!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Evo Oil & Driveline Fluids!

And the round of mid-season maintenance continues.  After the tow truck, next up was the oil change for the 929 Evo.  Nothing special here, business as usual with AMSOIL 'Dominator' 15w50 going in.  I've been running AMSOIL exclusively in the engine since early 2009.

Also included in this mid-season maintenance are the driveline fluids.  Transmission and ACD fluids are currently draining as I type this - with AMSOIL going in there as well.

More maintenance coming...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tow Truck - Oil Change!

Maintenance is ever on-going.  That includes not only the racecar, but everything else in the garage especially the tow truck.  My Nissan Titan was due for an oil change, creating over 35,000 miles recently with a good portion of them towing miles - along with it being my Daily Driver.

Since I got the truck, it's been running AMSOIL 5w30.  It's always ran and shifted smooth and I've no complaints.  One side effect of the mileage (I assume it's the age) is that the fuel consumption has gone down.  The truck has been getting about 1mpg more across the board in 2012; both back-and-forth to work and when towing.  Keep it coming!

Next up on the schedule is a full round of fluids for the 929 Evo.  All AMSOIL products going in, everything from engine oil to transmission fluid.  I'll post up some pics when I get to it. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ACD-Tuning Review

One of the hardest things to get rid of in an Evo is understeer - or push. Like most cars from the factory, the car is front heavy and is setup to understeer once you turn up the wick. You have to drive the car pretty hard to find this barrier, but once you do it will drive you crazy!
In mid 2010 I was so fed up I decided to jump classes and upgrade the rear diff. I chose Shep's version which is a 1.5 way 12-plate. Oh my god; the car freakin rotated now!  I was now able to better control the car, and hold a 4-wheel slip angle.  Instead forcing the rear to come around with tricks, I could get rotation with just the gas pedal.I was able to Especially in the wet, the car was so much more fun and controllable. At my first event, I could carry a small drift ~80mph for over 100ft w/o drama! The car now rotated through the turns and I could pick up the gas soooo much quicker. Times dropped and no side-affects. I did a lot of refining the car and really liked where I had it sitting at this point.

After awhile though, as I put on wider and stickier tires, my speeds continued to increase and some of the push came back. I had heard about ACD updates a few years ago but never really believed anything about them. This was one of the reasons I got the Shep unit originally and not some fancy software that did not have a lot of feedback out there, at least not from many people I knew. 
But I heard something about a newer company - ACD-Tuning - and I started researching them in late 2011. I talked awhile over email with Matthew and I explained how the car has progressed and what would make it better. We decided to team up and I quickly received an updated ACD unit for testing. I have to say it came quickly and was packaged very tightly - A+!

Now I've received a lot of offers to test products in the past. Some are new, some are proven, some have been offered at a discount and some even free. A majority of the time I do my homework and end up going a different direction. Meaning just because it's free, I'm not slapping it on the car. The same goes for stickers/decals. I keep the car pretty clean and prefer it that way. But this ACD-Tuning I really wanted to see if it could help so I pulled the trigger.

Test weekend #1 - Road Atlanta
In March 2012 I made my first trek to Road Atlanta. I ran Day #1 with my normal setup using 245 Hoosier R6's and had a time of 1:32.8 I think. For day #2 there I swapped in the updated ACD unit and ran it in map #1, which had the smallest change as compared to the factory Tarmac mode. Overall I did not notice much of a difference. I only ran a few sessions that day given the 11hr drive but I did better my time to a low 1:32x. The good news is that the updated ACD unit did not cause me any problems or issues at all. There was no bind-up, no loss of grip, no crazy understeer or oversteer, no wheel spin or wheel hop or anything negative. Now being a new track I only ran about 8/10's so I didn't push the car incredibly hard or drive 'on the edge', so the ultimate decision on the ACD-Tuning software would need more testing.
I talked with Matthew about the event and Map #1 and he assured me it was the smallest change and said everything was good. He recommended to start with Map #2 next time, especially since I'm running Hoosiers and all. So that was the plan!

Test weekend #2 - Autobahn.
Although a small facility, a lot of people know this place as Redline and GTA and One Lap have all been here. It's actually one of my closest tracks and a great facility. The track is pretty wide and mostly smooth with some difficult corners and a few oddly placed bumps - and is known to be hard on brakes. I ran the first day with Map #2 on the same tires and the car rotated well but felt a little 'skaty'. In retrospect, I attribute this to some other factors including the new 6pt cage I had installed, and the fact I was pushing hard on a familiar track with skinnier tires than my last trip. The car still rotated well.
With day #2, I switched classes and bolted up my wider 255 A6's from the previous year. In my first hotlap I ran a new personal best of 1:31.9 (vs 1:32.1 in April/2011) on Map #2. The car felt great. It was so much more stable and sure-footed on the wider stickier tires and it again felt like my 2011 setup - the rotation felt good and I even played around with Map#3 which Matthew put on there for insane drifto! Even that map wouldn't turn the car into a drift-machine which is actually good. I didn't want to sacrifice grip in the front in order to gain it in the rear. I wanted the whole system to work together... just better - and it was.

Test weekend #3 - Putnam.
Back to another track I know well - running those same 245 R6's which was nearing the end of their useful life! I ran the car in my favorite Map #2 and tossed down some low 1:17's. Despite a gearing change from 2011 the altered my shiftpoints for the worse, everything felt great. Putnam has 2 long L-hand sweepers that can be torture to run - especially T4. They used to be torture with understeer frankly, and I've seen many a RWD car have trouble getting the power down here consistently.
Leaving the car in Map #2 all weekend - as the grip from the tires got worse, the car dynamically changed in T4. Keep in mind, that because of the reduced grip I was pushing really hard, close to 10/10's and the car was a handful with lots of steering inputs and corrections needed to keep it literally on-course. As the weekend progressed, the rear was beginning to rotate more and more in T4 specifically and it was great! I never adjusted my line, I just kept my foot down and adjusted the steering angle by opening up the wheel earlier as the rear rotated more and more.

Now I wouldn't really call my car overly developed or refined. It's running a ton of factory OEM parts still and some off-the-shelf items. There's no trickery and nothing really custom on it. I'm saying this so anyone reading this can put themselves in my shoes with regards to how the ACD-Tuning has helped further refine and aid the rotation in my car.
Now what I can't tell you, is how much the ACD-Tuning will help a car on the stock rear diff. I can only guess, and that guess would be enormously! With my car already having an upgraded rear-diff, coilovers, an aggressive alignment and setup to rotate well - it only made it better, more controllable and more predictable.

Customer Service:
Matthew has been very easy to work with. We exchange a lot of emails as I send him my thoughts on the car along with turn specific information and video. He takes all that in, and I believe they are continually refining their tuning solutions to help the entire market get an even better product. They even offer an exhange program, but no worries as our Evo's work w/o the ACD unit in them anyways if you're in a pinch for time.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Putnam Park Videos - 5.13.2012

Here's video from day #2 at Putnam Park - Sunday 5.13.2012.  If you've read my previous post, you'll know that by the time Sunday rolled around there wasn't much grip left in our old heatcycled-out Hoosier R6's.  Still we managed to put down a sloppy 1:18.1 to take first in class.

Below are some vids of those sloppy, challenging and really really fun laps!  The first is from Session #1 when I was having a lot of fun sliding the car.  The first lap is from a trailing car, then you get that same lap from my point of view.

The 2nd vid is from Session #2 with the camera pointed backwards.  A 302 Mustang is behind us and the tires just won't hold so I point him by after a very fun lap.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Putnam Park - 5.13.2012 - Drifting into 1st place!

Saturday evening I rotated the tires; X'ing the front backwards. I figured the LF would be nearly bald - and it was. But the RF was worse! Sunday was going to be interesting with no grip in the rear, but I was thinking since the fronts looked ok that I'd at least be able to turn like I could early Sat.

(Pic):  Left side tires from Sat evening. Front on the left; rear on the right. I rotating the bald ones to the rear....

I made more suspension tweaks, rolling back the changes I made late Sat in hopes it would help the car grip more. I had some pulsing in the front end under braking on the out lap. I figured something was stuck to the rotor and/or the tires were flatspotted from sitting all night as I had reset my pressures to my normal morning starting pressures. It seemed to go away with some really hard jabs so I put it out of my mind and hit it hard. I ran 6 laps with a best of 1:18.2 which the car was no longer sliding, but rather drifting today! Jeff's Evo was behind me this session and got some good vid; check it out below.

For S2 I bettered my time to a 1:18.1 but that's all I could get. The rear was drifting around so much that I had to do more than countersteer, I had to get out of the gas some which is a killer for times. This is the session I put the camera on the rear and had a Mustang 302 behind me. My overall times were better than his, but in this session I just couldn't get the power down and after drifting through T4 and getting out of the gas I simply pointed him around.
When done, I looked over my tires carefully to see how bald the rears were now and to verify nothing was corded. The tires passed inspection, but the LF rotor did not. Check it out:

While I had a spare, it was 12:30pm at this point and very hot. With basically 0 chance to improve my times and only to play around more, I decided to forgo the fix and just pack things in and go surprise visit my Mom with it being Mother's day and all. It'd only add about 45min to my overall trip. With all the crazy turmoil with my wife's family recently; I've been trying to take the extra effort with regards to visits and calls and whatnot. I was actually going to cancel this event but the wife told me to go and enjoy the distractions. So I watched the start of my friend's race after packing up and took off.

Overall the car did great. No mechanical issues, just the broken exhaust bracket which was no biggie, the broken rotor which is a wear item and my boost gauge is still broke (so no, I've no idea what boost I was running). Oh, and my time easily held up Sunday for first in TTA once again.

After looking deeper at all my GPS data, everything is pretty cut and dry.  An 8/10's lap from 2011 on wider A6's yielded a nearly identical laptime to this year's lap at nearly 10/10's on skinnier R6's. Nuff said.
Braking force with R6's is crap compared to an A6; I had data confirming this already. Cornering G's were about the same but that's the 8/10's vs the 10/10's thing to allow that. I was able to push my brakezones a bit which is good and the car rotated great w/o hardly any understeer given what front grip I had at least.

The 2012 setup vs the 2011 setup to me feels better with regards to power and rotation. I'm really happy with how smooth the car idles, and I don't even notice the Synapse BOV thx to Buschur's tune (he assured me it'd be smooth; he's right). The differences being a Buschur tune on the engine this year and an ACD-tuning update in the ACD unit. Also different on this track were taller tires and a taller 4th gear as compared to May/2011 - both of which hurt my laptimes as the car was previously geared incredibly well for Putnam. With less speed on corner entry from the ****tier tires and the gearing changes I was actually forced to downshift twice more per lap to keep the turbo spinning. So factor in all those changes and running 1.3 seconds behind my blitzing 2011 time of 1:15.7 and I'm feeling pretty good about the car.

Video's coming...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Putnam Park - 1st in TTA - 5-12-2012

After running the Enduro on Friday afternoon/evening, I awoke at 6:45am Saturday tired and sore.  I still had to unload, unpack the car, and do some prep but that was about it.  Our warmup wasn't until after 10am so it was relaxed.  For the warmup I lined up around grip spot #3 I think and after waiting 1 lap for things to come up to temp I put down an easy 1:17.9 to earn #2 in grid.  I then went to tech and got weighed since I still had no solid idea of what the car weighed post-cage.  It came in at 3198 lbs; which was about 50 lbs over what I was claiming for the day so I was pretty happy with that given the current fuel load. 

Session 2 was at noon and I made no changes and fired a 1:17.0 which slotted me first in class and first overall.  I hit traffic very quickly as there were 44 cars in TT on Putnam's 1.7 mile course.  Also someone nailed the hay bails in the final turn so we had a few sitting on the exit of T10 which was right in the line - and after 2 laps of that I seen the double yellow.  I was probably going 130mph when I seen it, closing in on 2 lower classed cars probably going 95-100mph but I made the passes safely before the flagstand and tucked in behind the traffic.  Oddly though that traffic was another car giving pointby's that was off pace.  By the time I realized it I'd been re-passed by a few cars - I think this confused some cars as other passing from other cars ensued and only 1 was called in for passing under double-yellow.

For S3 I made a few small tweaks and ran a best of 1:17.2 but the car was really starting to slide at this point.  Wasn't sure if it was the heat - sunny and around 85 - or the tires giving up.  I figured a bit of both.  I know I was starting to drop 1-2 tires into the dirt in multiple corners on exit as the car just wouldn't hold and would slide.  It made 'catching' the slides a bit interesting and fun but I knew this wasn't going to be faster.  I was also given the pleasure of the 'meatball' flag and when I came in was told my exhaust was rubbing and throwing sparks.  This shocked me as there was no audible difference.  When I got back to my paddock spot I seen the brace by the rear axle had broken and it was hanging low and would need a bandaid!  I recently had another bracket re-welded and perhaps with that being tighter, me dropping tires and that rear brace being rewelded back in 2009 - the extra pressure caused it to break again.  Either way I had 2 hours to fix it, and with my idea and some help from a friend it was pretty simple.  (see pic)

For S4 I adjusted the suspension a touch to try and aid rotation/grip assuming things would be worse if the tires were the problem.  I had my answer in the first lap; it was the tires!  I ran 3 hard laps right around 1:18.3 until I hit traffic, then I played for another 1-2 and drifted.  I actually had a few people ask who left the drift marks in certain turns as I was at least having fun!  At this point I new the tires were shot, having 12-16 Heatcycles each.  Also good news was that our exhaust fixed had held up just fine.  My time from S2 would hold to land me 1st place in TTA by about 3 seconds - but I was 1.3 seconds off my record from 2011 when I was on wider stickier rubber.  But considering the tires I came with I thought the car did very well - running times right where I thought we would.  Power was smooth and rotation was great with no understeer; just an overall lack of grip especially at turn-in from the worn tires. 
Vid from Sat; A lap each from Sessions 2 & 3 from different angles:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Putnam Park 3hr Enduro Podium Finish!

On Friday I split a 3hr Enduro with a Jason P. from GP Racing Products in one of their Miata's.  I drove past the halfway point, to a total of 66 laps.  Accomplished everything I wanted to do.

Around 20-25 cars in total I think with 8 in our E3 class.  Being our car wasn't in 'Spec' Miata form, we were faster than all the other SM's and right on par with the top 2 944's judging by laptimes.  Then there were 3+ a lot slower and 5+ cars that were considerably faster.  So really a good mix of traffic imo with passing some and being passed some as well.  So I was able to accomplish everything I wanted with regards to traffic management.  I was also able to settle into a groove and click off consistent laps w/o having to think about it which was a huge goal of mine.

I started out running 1:26's.  Trying hard early with a FULL fuel load I got a few 1:25's before settling into a groove.  Then we were forced to pit with a clutch issue that Jason quickly jumped into the car to fix by adjusting the pedal a few inches - then I was back in and we were off - but about 5 laps down.  So back to work....  Some open laps then some passing back-and-forth and some chasing I netted a few high 1:24's before settling into a groove with consistent low 1:25's which made me very happy.  Best of 1:24.6 I think.
I wasn't getting too tired really and was calling out my fuel load over the radio every so often and saying everything was good (with regards to the clutch issue fix).  I was having fun with the car, and the combination of less fuel and me driving about 1.5 seconds faster really livened up the corners for me with a decent amount of 'dancing' which kept it interesting and funner still.

About 1 hr and 45 minutes into the 3hr timed race, I was called in for the driver change pitstop.  This went very very well as we did the switch and a 5 gallon fuel dump and Jason was off to finish things up.  I think we were sitting in 4th at this point.  A combination of a pitstop and Jason's pass got us up into P3.  He was clicking off consistent high 1:23's and chased down P1 and P2 in class and after 2 long battles was able to get around both with a best of 1:23.3 I think.  We're pretty sure had it not been for the clutch issue we'd have been on the lead lap and in our class lead at that point. 

Overall finished 3rd out of 8 in class - and ON the podium!  I was pretty happy with the way I drove.  I know I was giving up time in the braking zones as I was paranoid about locking up the tires w/o ABS and cording something.  Jason isn't the fastest in the world, but he's damn consistent and to be about 1.5 off his laps when he was running less weight in fuel I feel pretty good.  
This was an arrive-and-drive deal with GP Racing and the experience couldn't have gone better.  The whole team is so relaxed and that really helped, especially being my very 1st race and very 1st Enduro.  They regularly crew for 3+ cars including 8hr Enduro's so they've quickly become pro's.  Highly recommended...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Putnam Park weekend - Enduro kickoff!

At 4pm today, the 3hr NASA Enduro at Putnam Park kicks off.  After suffereing an engine failure in my first attempt at an Enduro before I got a chance to drive my stint in the car I was eager to give it another go.  This time I'll be splitting the drive with Jason and GP Racing in a SM (Spec Miata) build again running in the hotly contested E3 class with 8+ entries.

This time I'll be taking the first stint and the weather looks great for Friday.   With me and Jason luck!

And after the Friday Enduro, the normal NASA Sat/Sun schedule will take place with HPDE, Time Trials and Sprint races.  I'm currently signed up for TTA.  I set that TTA track record here last year with a 1:15.7 and hope to drop a similar time down on older tires and the updated Buschur tune.  I was working on updating my APR splitter and Kognition rear wing, but I don't think there will be time to make it all legal to fit into my TTA class and still be functional.  So more fabrication and planning is needed for that setup!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Brake Cooling Update Project!

In an attempt to keep the braking system cooler, I've got a series of projects to undergo before I line up for another sprint race!  With my next NASA event being this weekend, here's what I did have time to undergo...

I pulled the caliper & rotor off.  Then I unhooked and removed the dust shield, which I am planning to leave off.  I've really only left them on as I've been worried about them protecting the ABS sensors.  So taking the advice I've got, I wrapped the ABS sensor and lines in the DEI wrap that's frequently used for exhaust or header wrap.  You wet it down, tack it in place and spray it with the associated spraycan. 

Below is a pic of the nearly finished ABS line wrapped, coated, and ziptied up.  If you follow it to the bottom, that is the location of the actual sensor which has a separate chunk of wrapping protecting it. 

This should prevent the rotor from retaining as much heat as it has been.  Next up after this weekend of running TT at Putnam Park will be the planned new run of larger cooling ducts including new openings in the bumper.  I've got everything I need to undergo this project and just need to figure out where and how much to hack up the front bumper!  Wish me luck at Putnam and then later with my crappy Fabrication skills!