Tuesday, July 26, 2011

[7/24/2011] SRTA #3 (DDT)

Event: Sigma Racing Time Attack #3
Track: Mosport DDT (CCW w/ 2 kinks), Bowmanville
Weather Conditions: 23°C cloudy morning, 26°C sunny afternoon

I woke up feeling great for SRTA #3 and the weather was perfect! Not humid at all, unlike the past week. This time we had a nice little convoy cruising to Mosport! Vinh in his Team Lexus IS300, Peter in his '84 Jetta (inside the black trailer), Francis (pit crew) in his Genesis, Alan in his FD, James in his newly acquired S2K, and Pat in his newly acquired FC.

Test & Tune

With the addition of the swaybars, the car was much more confident through every turn. Since there was less body roll, my tires didn't rub at all! The car felt "softer" through the turns, less pushing and understeer. Definitely more available grip. The rear end felt GREAT. At first I was worried about setting it TOO stiff, but getting the car to rotate was important.

Brake Pads:
With the RC6E race pads in the front and DS2500 in the rear I found I had to trail brake more to get the car to rotate. Sometimes I would lift off the throttle to get the rear to rotate on the uphill at T7. The braking performance of the RC6E pads was good. They seemed to stop better after they got warmed up a little. I was able to stay on track much longer than with the DS2500's. They weren't invincible though. Fade would kick in if I stayed out too long (10+ hot laps) but this was infrequent and the amount of fade was way less than with the DS2500's. Because I stayed out longer, I brought a ton of heat onto the rotors and calipers. My caliper paint finally turned "brownbo" colour and rotor hats turned purple.

Also, since I cut my dust shields in half, my brake lines were exposed to more heat when parked in the pits. I realized this when sitting in the pits for 5 minutes, my brake fluid started to boil. Might have also had something to do with me pressing on the brakes a few times. So I started to do 2 cool down laps instead of 1... DDT is too tiny to get away with 1 cool down lap after prolonged hard driving.

Run 1 - Dampers +25/+25 Best Time: 1:09.65
Video contains off-roading, a battle with Fred (Echo) and catching up to MajesticBlueNTO (MS3)
Cold tire pressures 32F, 33R, hot 40F/37R. Started the morning with a great run, already beating my personal best from SRTA #2 of 1:09.85. Had a moment of "cutting the grass" after powering out of T4 too early. I ended up with all 4 wheels on the RH side of the back straight. I kept calm while driving straight, and tucked back onto the tarmac about halfway down the straight when it was clear :o

Run 2 - Dampers +31/+31 Best Time: 1:10.16
Video contains some AWD drifting, chasing down Purple Integra, Ken (Civic), and Silver Mazda3
For the hell of it I cranked my dampers to max minus 1 click. The car was sliding around just a bit too much.

Run 3 - Dampers +29/+29 Best Time: 1:10.85
Video contains more AWD drifting, battle with Silver BMW, Red 240, Black GTI
By this point it was getting to the afternoon and the sun was coming out. Temps were rising and everyone I spoke to was complaining that they were slower.

Run 4 - Dampers +29/+29 Best Time: 1:09.73
Video contains battle with Red 240, Eric (Civic) he's FAST
I bled 2 psi off each corner for a pit temp of 36F/34R, hoping to achieve the 40F/37R balance I had in Run 1. The car was getting a "skipping" feeling coming out of corners though, especially through T4 and T5. This is the same "chugging" feeling I described in SRTA 1 & 2. It feels like the car is rocking back and forth on corner exit and I can't put power down to the road. It's very frustrating because I just want to GO!!!

Run 5 - Dampers +20/+20 Best Time 1:09.80
Video contains battle with Raymond (Green Prelude) he's REALLY FAST, and catching a GT3RS
Getting even more hot outside. Dropped tire pressures again, but more in the front to increase oversteer a little. Went with 34F/36R on warm pit tires. Overall these settings gave me less of the "chugging" feeling and more confidence. I just noticed after editing all these videos that my tires were probably worn down by this point.

Run 6 & 7 - Dampers +25/+25, +23/+23 Best Time: 1:09.92
No video.
Decided to keep tire pressures constant and again, fiddle with the damper settings. I did a few laps on +25/+25 and didn't like it, so hopped out and changed to +23/+23 and went back on. I didn't like those either and it was almost time for the compeition so I just went back to +20/+20 for the time attack.

Official Time Attack

My goal for SRTA #3 was to podium. Since Jeff Pippy and his Sinister Evo X didn't show up, Pat was getting used to a new RWD car, and a bunch of other Stage Four Motorsports guys missed the registration, my chances were very very good. I volunteered to "move up" to Group A. Although Group A is supposed to have faster cars (in their factory form) the reality is that it's less crowded and less competitive. I'm not the only one who noticed this though. James, Vinh, and Neil all moved up to Group A... and all were doing 1:09-1:10's which meant it was going to be a tight battle!

Well, not so tight afterall. The rest of the OTA was just a blur. I did my warm up lap, and then decided to push really REALLY hard on my first hot lap. I made the conscious decision to brake late after the main straight into T2. I made T2, but didn't have enough tires or enough braking room for T3. The rest you can watch in the video... final result was DNF.

If I had driven as consistently as I was doing all day long, who knows what might have happened. But the reality is I took a risk that was 100% unwarranted and I paid the price. My tires may have been losing grip but I won't accept that as an excuse, as I should have adjusted for it.

Props to my friend Vinh for taking 1st place in Group A!! The guy on the right is James, the guy who wins Group B every time lol. He's damn quick in that Type-R...

Final Thoughts

I wasn't disappointed with the DNF but I was a bit disappointed by my decision to drive risky during the time attack :mad:. I'm lucky I didn't do any damage to my car or myself. But at the same time I'm proud of the fact that I drove the shit out of my car that day... the Test & Tune footage was extensive this time!! Hope you guys enjoy it ;)

I was happy to stay in the top 5 all day long and that I was able to consistently lap in the high 1:09's; 1.2 to 1.5 seconds faster than my average test & tune lap times at SRTA #2 :)

How do you guys like my consolation trophy?

For Next Time:
Fix the power out chugging on corner exit. It's bothering me a lot
Gotta inspect my tires. I think the tread might be donezo.