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.