Friday, March 30, 2012

Izzy's Custom Cages - Update #1

Scott from Izzy's Custom Cages has been nice enough to keep me posted as he makes progress on the cage for the #929 Evo.  Although I did remove a large portion of the interior - down to just a single mounted seat and an unbolted dash, Scott had more to do.  Here's some pics of the initial gutting and prepwork from Izzy's.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cagework Time - Izzy's Custom Cages in STL

It's official, we're going w2w racing!  I've further gutted the car during the winter, and finished up most of that after the Road Atlanta trip.  All of this is prepwork before the new weld-in cage goes into the car.  I've attached some pics to show what's left in the car, and it's not much!  The pics are of 1) The roofliner 2) the driver's door and 3) view from the passenger side.

3 big weight items were removed after Road Atlanta including the passenger seat, harnesses & bracket, the spare tire and the Autopower 4pt rollbar.  All together they total about 135 lbs.  Add to that more plastic panels removed, both front door 'skins' and other various extra and the total was probably around 150 lbs.
That total is in addition to the earlier weight removed from the car including 20lbs from the A/C, about 15 lbs from the speakers and misc sound deadening and probably another 10lbs in extraneous dash parts including bolts and plastic pieces. 

So with the car nearly empty, the dash unbolted once again but sitting in place, I loaded up the car and took it to my cage builder of choice; Scott from Izzy's Custom Cages in St Louis.  I'll pass along the details and pics as I get them...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Road Atlanta - 3.11.12 - Day #2

Day #2 at Road Atlanta started dark and slow. With the time change in the ET zone; it was pitch dark when I got to the track and nearly that for our morning meeting. Then a screwy schedule had me waiting around for about 2 hours. I really had no changes to make, other than remounting my camera and GPS and putting in a little fuel. I'm tuned for 100oct; and having used all I brought I was using a cocktail of 98 unleaded and 110 leaded since that's all they had (well had 112 leaded too). Oh, I did get my AFR guage hooked back up as the wire had come out. Lastly I had installed a different ACD in my car as I had planned on doing some testing on a reflashed ACD unit from ACD-Tuning. We talked over the winter and Mathew hooked with up with a unit with 3 special maps; each more aggressive than the stock Tarmac map.

When our first session finally came, I had the inevitable slow-down from a new track on a new day and not being aggressive. I also had overestimated the tire pressures so everything was high - which I could tell by the reduced grip. I took it easy on the tires and ran a some mid 1:35's. Watching the AFR down the long backstraight in 5th gear 'planted', I seen 10.5 - 10.6 on the new Buschur Racing tune with the 98/110 cocktail.  As for the updated ACD unit, I completely forgot about it until the session was done - which is good. Nothing detrimental at all to say about the map, no locking, no confusion, nothing at all that slowed me down. However, I didn't really notice any huge changes either which could mean I needed a more aggressive map or I simply wasn't pushing hard enough to tell - probably a combination of both.
I checked my data afterwards and I finally cleared 150mph on the backstraight!

Again - screwy schedule, so I had a big break before the next session. I had already started packing up, and continued that just in case I were to leave after this next session. Changes were small, reset the tire pressures was about it. I did decide to move my ACD to map #2 as I did not feel anything really different with map #1.
Finally around 12:30pm I lined up for session #2 - where I was up to 5th on grid I think. Knowing I had a 10hr drive home, I really just wanted to better my time from yesterday primarily. No sense in putting the car in danger with over-aggressive driving or torturing the tires (given the 2012 Hoosier contingencies). I ran a pair of 1:34's including my best of the weekend - a 1:34.1 - with a nice drift through T10A at the end of the long backstraight. Besides a few key areas, I was getting about as much out of the track as I could with the tires I had. I believe the time held for 1st place again in TTA and the 4th best out of 37 cars in TT.

Given the screwy schedule - I had 2:20 until my next session - I decided to head homeward. If we drove straight though I could be home around 12pm.
Gotta give huge props to David and crew at Buschur Racing for all the updated work on the car, installation of parts and most notably the new tune. Also thanks to AMSOIL, Forgeline, ACD-Tuning, KNS Brakes & Andrews Racing. The trip home was long and tiring. I'm thankful my Dad was with me, he drove the middle 4 hours of the trip probably and I ended up home about 2:30am ET. And yes I was at work Monday...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Road Atlanta - 3.10.12 - Day #1

 The day started with a 7am meeting. The TT group was first out at 8am. I went out on street tires with a goal to learn the track, stay out of the way of the locals, and try to set a fast enough time to stay towards the front of the grid.
The track was... pretty fun. Nothing too crazy. I was motoring down the backstraight and glanced down to see the odo approaching 140 really quick. Damn! Got past that; through the 'S' curve and then I went under the bridge and down the hill into T12. Holy sh1t; it was like the Log Ride - seemed like it was straight down. This was going to take some getting used to...

For S2 - I went back out on the street tires again. I was picking up the track, but definitely coasting down the latter part of the backstraight and down 12 (the huge hill) I netted a 1:39 still on street tires! I was actually pretty proud of that.

For S3 - I bolted on the Hoosier R6's. 2 were new; the other 2 were used so I'd need to scrub everything in. I tried to keep my track positioning in the first 2 laps and control the inevitable skids - which was fun. After a 1:37 I reset my tire pressures and was ready for S4 to hammer it.

S4 - Traffic! By now I was working my way through some of the TTS cars that are 1 class above me and run more HP. I'd catch them in the first part of the track but they could pull away down the long backstraight and down the big hill in T12. Track positioning is definitely important for a flying lap in TT. Best of 1:36.5.

S5 - I was up to 7th on grid by now, but as not everyone went out I was actually 3rd. This proved to be my best track position and allowed me to hammer w/o having to worry about navigating any traffic in front or behind. I had my best laps of the day; with the overall best of 1:34.8 that netted my 1st place out of 3 in my class of TTA and 5th out of 38 overall in TT.

The day turned out great, the Evo made it through it's first track event of 2012 with flying colors, which included a new tune by Buschur Racing. No problems over the ~100 miles on track including a top speed of 149.87 mph on the backstraight and around 130 on the front!
So I quickly rotated the tires and checked the car over before Then off to the NASA awards ceremony just off the main straight.  Above is a good vid from Session #2 looking backwards to demonstrate some of the elevation changes at this track.  Enjoy!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

The trip to Road Atlanta...

Thursday night I headed the 2 hours SE to my pick up my Dad who would be my co-pilot for this trip.  We figured this out on Tuesday night, so sort of a last minute thing but I was grateful for the company even if it did add about an hour of driving each way.

We left his house about 6:15am CT.  Plan was to drive to Road Atlanta; stopping when we needed - no rush - and unload the car at the track that evening.  Then a decent meal.  I was thinking around 10 hours plus the time change.

An early gas stop - the truck drinks E85 towing and we were on the interstate shortly.  Next stop is a spot I like to stop when whenever we're headed to Kentucky Lake - as it's one of the last spots to buy liquor!  A bathroom stop and topoff the tank in Metropolis, IL!

Next stop was food.  Arby's was the choice.  Just across the road was an oddly named gas station though.  I honestly don't get it:

The next stretch through Tennessee was the fun stuff.  Hills.  We had a couple miles of 6% downhill grades.  I had the truck in 3rd gear and had to occasionally brake to keep the speed safe.  Traffic wasn't too bad here - and I've probably logged near 25k with this trailer so everything went smoothly.

After that my Dad took over for what would be the final stretch from Chattanooga around 3pm and into Atlanta dreadfully right around 5:15pm ET.  Needless to say traffic was horrid and we lost about an hour going 0-20mph.
And around dusk; finally Road Atlanta!  I unloaded and unpacked the car as the sun had already set.  I found someone to get my 2012 tech sticker (no more tech for 2012!) and we found some BBQ and beer.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tires Mounted & Ready

Tires; beyond outright HP, probably the single most important factor setup on a racecar.  From the obvious factors like fitment, offsets, rim size & width, you have to choose between brand, size, compound, new vs used, price, contingency, class legality, availability, etc.  My point being it's not a part or choice to be taken lightly and I've spent many hours debating different options with regards to tires on the Evo.

Last week I packed up new and old tires and had 5 tires mounted at a local shop - Wilkerson's where I had an excellent experience btw.  For the past few years I've been running 2 sets of rims, both the same size & offset so I can mix-and-match if needed.  For 2012, I'll be back to running 2 different setups so I had to get everything straghtened out which meant moving 1 good tire from my Forgelines over to my Volks.  Kind of a pain, but all will be simpler going forward.

I've both more tires to mount, including my rains but I've got what I need for this weekend's first event.  I can gaurantee I'll be visiting Wilkerson's again in the future to finish out my setups.

In the pic to the right you can see a mixed stack of new & old Hoosiers.  In the foreground are my Dunlop Z1 StarSpecs that I'll be using to start the weekend out to save HeatCycles off the much more expensive Hoosiers!