Tuesday, June 28, 2011

[6/26/2011] SRTA #2 (DDT)

Event: Sigma Racing Time Attack #2
Track: Mosport DDT (CCW w/ 2 kinks), Bowmanville
Weather Conditions: 21°C, mix of sun and clouds

I can't believe that it's only been 1 month since SRTA #1... it feels like so much longer because of my insanely busy schedule both on and off the track. Two track days at TMP, Cayuga and a week in California with no time to rest! But it's back to business. SRTA is the reason I'm posting so let's get to it :cool:

Test & Tune

The only difference in my setup between SRTA #1 and SRTA #2 was tire size. I went from 235/40/17 RA-1's to 235/45/17 RA-1's because that's the only size I could find (used take-offs). The tires I had this time round also had a bit more tread. Since I didn't know how much the tire size would affect my handling I decided to start off with the same damper settings I had success with at SRTA #1. +20/+20 and tire pressures of 32 psi front, 33 psi rear. This translated to 37-39 hot front and 35-37.5 hot rear after cool-down in the pits.

Balance through corners (no passengers) was perfectly neutral with a bit of trail braking to aid the initial turn-in. If that wasn't enough then I was able to get the car turning with throttle modulation (mainly on the uphill through T7). This is exactly how I wanted it to feel. What I could use more of was higher maximum grip, less compression, and more rebound. Grip could come from newer and/or wider rubber. But with the BC Racing coilovers I can't increase rebound without also increasing compression. Overall I could probably use some more spring rate/wheel rate too as I notice some body roll on transitions. I'm just a bit worried about losing suspension independence (aka tripoding) if I install bigger swaybars, though arguably my coilovers are already bad for that...

Despite these flaws, I managed to set a personal best of the day at 1:11.13 (best T&T time at SRTA #1 was 1:11.37). This run was with a 250 lb passenger on-board and there was a noticeable difference on left turns (understeer) and stopping distance.

I also made some significant changes to my driving:
Taking the kink through T1 and T2 flat out
Braking later for T2
Taking T8 flat out while exiting on the LH curb (thanks PH)
More confidence through T9 and keeping tighter to the RH on exit
Braking earlier for T1, T5 and T10

I didn't play with tire pressure settings as I found the 32/33 psi setting to work well, but I did try different damper settings once. I bumped it to +25/+25 but my best was only 1:11.26 with a lighter passenger. I noticed the car pushed a bit more with this setting, likely because of too much compression. Since I was slower with a lighter passenger, I went back to +20/+20.

Interesting to note is that my Litespeed X-Brace was quite loose on inspection last week. I tightened it significantly the night before SRTA and during my runs I could tell that the brace was doing something in the rear because of the popping sounds the cables made on loading/unloading through hard turns. How much of an effect did this have on my lap times? No idea.

Also, the brake fade issues I've been having were back, although not as pronounced as TMP since DDT is a smaller track. Still, I had to take a cool down lap every 4-5 hot laps to get confidence back into the brakes. I measured surface brake temps out of curiosity in the pits right after a run and the front calipers were 250°C and pads 450°C. Rotors were easily > 450°C (pyrometer couldn't read that high). And this is after cool down ... must be significantly hotter on the track. I have wobbletop's old brake ducts waiting to be installed, and a few more goodies from Chris @ Touge Tuning. I should definitely have those on the car by SRTA #3.

Lastly, I had rubbing issues in the rear due to the 5% sidewall increase. I tore those rubber protection thingies off and that got rid of some of the rubbing, though not all...

Official Time Attack

My goal for OTA was to break into the 1:10's since I had no passenger as ballast. I knew from the last event that I had to make sure the tires were warm for my timed runs. I had a strategy this time. It involved booking it HARD on the warm-up run to get as much heat into the tires as possible, then doing 3 hot laps (flying cooldown) and then cool down outside the DDT park after OTA was over.

My plan nearly backfired through T3 on the warm-up since the tires didn't have full grip yet LOL .. but I willed through the DNF and pushed hard for the rest of the OTA!

For the OTA I was behind Pat B. and I recall a thick cloud of dust at T8 on my first hot lap. I almost expected to see a spun out civic on the other side of it but Pat is too good for that ;) I flew through the dust cloud WRC style and the rest of the OTA was literally just a blur. I actually lost track of how many laps I did and someone told me I exited the track after Lap 3 ... must have been because I was too excited about the 2 laps I had just put down: 1:09.85 and 1:10.38 respectively. I was totally floored by the times and at he same time ridiculously happy about it LOL!! Final standing was 4th place in Group B, 6th place Overall.

I definitely exceeded my goal of breaking into the 1:10's :D The theme of "becoming a better driver" is really starting to take shape...

Other Stuff

danwizzle it was nice to meet you dude. Sorry I didn't see your PM to cruise up but maybe next time since we live pretty close! Hope you had a good time. At least your ball joints didn't explode this time right? :P

Lord_Sid hope your trip from Windsor was worth it! You're welcome to crash at my place for SRTA #3 ;)

MIBAgentQ funny how we never really saw each other during the day despite cruising up together lol. Your "strategy" for the OTA definitely backfired way worse than mine LOL. PS. thanks for remembering the gas!

For Next Time:
Fix the hot brakes, seriously
Roll the rear fenders
Figure out how the hell I pulled those times in OTA and be more consistent with them
Other small improvements to the car as necessary

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

[6/05/2011] CSCS #1 (TMP)

CSCS was pretty much an epic fail for me.

I thought I was arriving early at 9:30AM but turns out it wasn't early enough. By the time I got registered and into the pit area there were no spots left. I had to go to the very end, but still ended up in someone's spot. One of the drifters was kind enough to lend me his spot while he went for qualifying though. It was a start ... at least I had a place to change my tires lol.

Since I was in such a scramble to get my car set up, and was all the way at the end of the pit lane I totally missed the drivers meeting (despite having full intentions on going to it - I was running down the pit to make it to the tent but just missed it when I got there). This set the pace for the rest of the day ... I basically had no idea what was going on and it was super packed and super hot outside :o

Lapping run #1, on the first hot lap, one of the cars ahead of me blew his engine right before T2 and spewed white smoke and oil all over the track. I cut speed and then slid on the slick track surface going into T2. I also noticed a bit of rubbing noise with my taller 235/45/17 RA-1's. Lapping session #1 was pretty much a write-off because of the oil on the track so I pitted early to adjust some of my settings.

Lapping run #2 was a little better but not by much. I forgot to record it on my camera. For most of this session I was stuck behind a blue R32 who was driving like a jackass and not letting me pass. He fish tailed every corner and a few times I had to slam on the brakes to avoid rear ending him from his spin... then on the main straight I would pull to the right hoping to pass him, but he had more power than me and would not let me pass despite being blue flagged :mad: I was hoping the "experienced" lapping group wouldn't have people like this but I was wrong.

Lapping run #3 was also cut short when I overheated my brakes going into T10 right after the double chicane. I slammed on the brakes but -- nothing. I went straight off into grass cutting mode and then exited the track shortly after to check for damage. Luckily, none. But by this point all the weeds/grass that I caught in my dust shields were starting to smoke up :o I cleaned them out quickly with a long screwdriver and then hopped in my car to try and get some air flow to them. The problem was... it was so packed with spectators I literally couldn't get anywhere LOL. Driving up the pit lane on the main straight and back must have taken me 10 minutes! Ridiculous...

Anyway, at this point it was time for lunch. It was hard to find parking with 6000 people walking around and a pit lane that was 150% booked so I parked in parallel to the staging lanes with my 2 RH tires barely on the tarmac (plenty of space for people to still drive by me). Fast forward about 1.5-2 hours later and this infamous event happened:

Took them a while to clean it up but basically it was now time for drifting, and then the actual time attack. During the drivers meeting for time attack I was actually quite shocked to see that no lap times were taken at all during the day - despite an RFID lap timer being applied to every car that registered in time attack. I questioned how they were planning on staging the heats so that the pace could be maintained. Then my question was answered -- they expected us to form our own groups, based on our own best estimates of how fast we were ... honestly this was a big WTF moment for me

So I went around trying to meet people to make a group of 5. I approached about 4-5 different groups but all of them already had 5 (thanks Kyle for trying to squeeze me in as a 6th haha) or were running WAY faster times than I knew I could handle (low 20's, my best is 28 flat). I bumped into Ana from SGR and she mentioned the Stage Four guys were looking for a 5th. Cool. So I went walking down the pits to find these guys. Figured it'd be cool to run with them since they were also at SRTA. But no luck, I couldn't find them...

By then I was at the end of the pit lane near my car so I decided to get inside and drive back to the start to keep looking for a group. Then one of the marshals approached me and asked if it was my car. "Yeah" I said... and then I was greeted by "Are you a f***ing idiot? What the f*** were you thinking?" proceeded by an entire 5 minute scolding (and about 15 f-bombs) of how I parked my car blocking the staging lane for lappers, how he was gonna kick me out of the park and not let me participate in lapping, etc... Not gonna go too much into the details of it, but apparently he was calling out for me on the PA system as the "Silver STI" to move my car. You can figure out why I never clued in.

Anyway... I was pretty put off by this, and honestly didn't feel like looking for a group for the time attack anymore. I was upset with how the whole event had turned out so I just packed it in and went home. No sense pushing my car to the limit while angry and in a really bad mood (not to mention drained from the heat). Congrats to all the winners and everyone that actually enjoyed it. I for one will not be going to any of the other CSCS events. Also a thank you to StE who took some awesome action shots of my car during the limited time I had on track Sorry no cool track videos this week :p

Coles Notes:
- No live leaderboard
- Drivers had to organize their own heats
- Got yelled at for parking in the wrong spot
- Apparently my car is a Silver STI
- DNS for the Time Attack
- Brakes still overheating - need ducts badly
- 2nd weekend in a row for a safety incident at TMP