Thursday, November 12, 2015

A little catching up to do.

     For whatever reason it has been difficult for me to get stuff written this season.  So lets play a little catch up...

     Back in August I went to Thompson with NASA for a single day event.  It was the only event I could make in that time frame due to work, so I just went to get some driving in.  Much to my surprise the track had been repaved again since my last visit.  That coupled with never running there with aero made for a weird day.  I was really light on sleep (surprised?), and after about 1 session it became apparent it was a throw away day.  There was very little grip in the track.  I upped the wing angle a little and it helped, but I was still well off my old pace so I just kind of phoned it in for the day.  Even managed to tear my oil temp gauge wire somehow...

     Never bothered pulling the data or video

     Didn't have any events lined up in September so I did some autocross in the S2000 to hold me over until the NASA season finale in October.  Also spent the time to put some more power in the car thanks to the gift of E85.  The car is a whole different beast now.  The E85 makes it feel peppier everywhere in the power band and really really works great with the stock turbo.  I was very interested to see how it would work out on track.

     Got denied a vacation day so I had to work all day Friday and then start the long haul down to NJMP.  We wound up arriving around midnight, got unloaded and tried to sleep...yeah right. 

     Saturday was a nice day, got reacquainted with the car and Thunder and everything seemed to be going as planned.  Just got to drive which was nice.  Sunday proved to be a decent bit colder to the point of requiring some tire pressure changes.  Had a nice Sunday drive, car handles, performed etc...until I looked at the data and found out I was 2.5 seconds slower than when I was there in June.

     This was obviously not the way I wanted to end the season.  The car felt so comfortable and controlled that it was one of those "I feel slow so I must be fast" moments.  In trying to figure out what happened, I can only guess that I either didn't set the wing back to the proper angle since the car had some under steer in a specific high speed right hander on the track.  The only other potential is that the front spring change I made over the summer didn't show the small upset in balance it made at Lightning due to the style of track.  Here's the video:

[url=][img][/img][/url][url=]WSPS-NASAFALFIN2015-HPDE Groups-0694-(ZF-2373-52076-1-001)[/url] by [url=]Nathan Bookbinder[/url], on Flickr

[url=][img][/img][/url][url=]WSPS-NASAFALFIN2015-HPDE Groups-0740-(ZF-2373-52076-1-002)[/url] by [url=]Nathan Bookbinder[/url], on Flickr

     My winter upgrade list wasn't to extensive for this year.  Some cooling upragdes and minor suspension tweaks.  Now they've gone and reworked the TT3 rules so I'm going to have to rethink a few things...

I'll update as we get a little deeper into the offseason.  I think I'm most upset tat I didn't reach my goal of getting a TT license by the end of 2015...sigh.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A little behind on things...

     For whatever reason it's been difficult for me to write anything, life, whatever....brains in other places almost constantly.  I've fallen behind and I now need to catch up on the last two events.

     At the end of July I was at NJMP lightning with NASA.  It was HOT...I don't just mean warm, I mean f*cking hot, asphalt was 120-130 degrees.  With an all paved paddock that sucked.  The only change to the car since being at the same track the month before was finally putting in my 10k front springs.

     Oil temps were an issue as usual, managing to run in the 240 to 250 degree range all day both days.  It didn't help that on Saturday I mowed some grass.  In an effort to find some time on track I was backing up my turn in point for turn 3 and eventually backed it up too far leading to short cutting turn 4 because I immediately realized I would never keep it fully on track, and the 2-3-4 complex is the WORST place to go off on this track due to wall proximity.  No harm no foul, but the oil cooler ate some debris and dinged up a few more fins.  Other wise the car felt good, but still had a slight push in some turns which may have been me slightly over driving the street tires in the heat.

     Midway through Saturday I started hearing a weird ticking/tapping noise at full speed down the front stretch which was odd, but sounded like a slight rub or something.  Few laps later...tick, tick, BOOM there goes my left front fender liner flying 30 feet up in the air down the front stretch.  After the session all looked fine but I decided to swap over to my BFG R1's just as a precaution since the bottom edge of the fender liner contains a metal bar that could have damaged the tire.  I have little experience on the R1's but the car seemed to handle them well and I was able to match my street tire best but not go faster as I am still learning the limit of those tires. 

     The final session on Sunday was one of the best I have ever had.  Was still on the R1's which were great with heat tolerance, and got to play around with some very high end cars/drivers...until I overcooked it in 7.

     Overall, managed a new street tire best of of 1:17.3, which was 1.5 seconds faster than the month before with the front springs being the only change.

     Unfortunately my traqmate memory was full so I don't have an actual data file for the 17.3 lap, only a 17.6.  I've since sold my traqmate and upgraded to an Aim Solo.

More to come...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Just trying to find a balance.

     Like Atmosphere says it "trying to find a balance, trying to build a balance".  In this case its an aero/suspension balance.

     After running my small original splitter with the kognition wing it was quickly obvious that it was not enough.  So I used that splitter as a template and built a nice 5 inch one with some endplates that in my head actually do something.  Loaded up on the trailer and headed for a 2 day event at NJMP during which I'd be on both tracks.

     Day 1 was Thunder (no chicane) and it rained the night before/most of the morning.  This didn't bother me because 1)rain is fun 2) it helps you visualize aero.  Spent the morning tooling around and playing in the rain while backing down the wing angle each session as it dried out.  On street tires, the car felt great finally!  Made a couple click adjustment on the rear shocks and was lapping very comfortably and going faster in some sections of the track than I ever have.  The car actually had some front end grip, although still felt like there was a weird mid corner wash out.  Ended the day with a 1:33 on street tires with the TT3 record being 1:26...that looks like progress to me.

Day 2 was Lightning, and it was going to he hot and dry all day.  Started the morning on street tires and quickly noticed the balance was again pretty good.  Turn 5 up over the crest really tests the setup, and that is where i discovered a serious mid corner washout with the front end (more on that in a minute).  The last session before lunch a very "smart" bmw driver lost his coolant in turn 3, spun off the track, started reversing back onto the track as I came through and caused a black flag all.  It then took 20 minuted to get him towed because he didn't drag the brake which led to the cable winding itself around one of his wheels and ripping off his front bumper.  
     For the afternoon I bolted on the new set of wheels I bought that were shod with BFG R1's (not the R1s).  Not gonna lie, I was nervous about trying out a tire that has next to no communication of letting go.  First session out I made sure to get them warm over 3 or so laps and then started getting progressively faster.  Was quite interesting and luckily uneventful but I was able to set a new PB on lightning of 1:17.98, which is slightly faster than on street tires.

     So remember that mid corner push?  I was running too soft a front spring for both the aero and the new tires.  I ordered a set of swift springs a month prior to the event and was lucky enough to have the box show up missing a spring.  3 weeks of fighting with the place I ordered from as well as swift and calling my credit card company, the second spring showed up the day I got back from the track.  The other issue was oil temp.  In 85 degree ambient temps with some humidity I was seeing temps in the pan of 235F+.  Increasing cooling is now a major priority.  I will be back at Lightning at the end of July with NASA.  I'm slightly getting bored with the same track all the time, but it is invaluable for testing purposes and improving the car.

     The ride to and from the track was MUCH more enjoyable this time with my new trailer....until i ripped my brand new splitter getting loaded up to go home...

     I will try and get some more video edited and some more pics from my dad.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Where Do I even Start?

This is how I felt living in the Northeast...

     Holy hell was it a long winter.  It feels like I did absolutely nothing but worked (as usual right) and bombed around in the Subaru through mountains of snow.  I guess I have to confess at the time I wrote this I've already done 3 track days this year...

     You call it lazy I call it writers block so whatever...March rolled around and it was time to start prepping the car as April was looking pretty fun.  Basically just did fluids, injectors and a retune around them (which still isn't 100% complete) and mounted the splitter.  "well you can't run a splitter without a wing" says everyone...well let's get right down to that saga.  I ordered a Kognition wing the weekend after Thanksgiving (That means November you turkey's...haha get it?).  After countless messages, excuses and generally terrible customer service Mike@Kognition finally got my wing to me in the middle of April...FUCKING APRIL.  Oh and he forgot to send me end plates.  So after missing his promised delivery date I completed two track days without aero and then put all the aero on for my first ever trip to the Glen, complete with Walmart cutting boards I made into wing end plates.

     So 3 track days on back to back to back weekends...lets see what I remember:

Lime Rock 4/11 - This was the first event out using DTC60's on the rear of the car.  Between sim work over the winter, and just experience at Lime Rock at this point I was pretty much up to speed first session matching my old personal best.  Thanks to my new traqmate system I was able to quickly see i was losing 1-2 seconds.  Temps were cold and windy, but the car was flawless as usual and i drove it to a new PB of 1:03.1.

Lighting 4/17-18 - It was an uneventful but fun weekend.  Bailed early on Saturday because they wound up combining group 1 and 2 which never works for me.  It was obvious I needed to ask for a check ride since I was lapping at the front of group 2 consistently.  Got my opportunity on Sunday and was finally bumped up to group 3!  Last session of the weekend I got to run around in a combined 3 and 4 session...and hot damn was it fun.  I learned more in that 1 session being around faster cars than I did all last season.  Didn't achieve my goal of a sub 1:20 lap but it' coming...

     Between traqmate issues and forgetting to start the camera a few times I don't have any great video to edit...may post the full last session at some point.

Watkins Glen 4/28-29 - This was bucket list level shit.  I have dreamed of running this track and it finally happened...and damn did it turn out to be EVERYTHING I had hoped.  I stupidly threw on the wing and splitter for this event having never been on the track.  Cool and damp the first day so used to to find my bearings etc, and again thanks to the sim work over the winter I was right up to a decent pace.  Next day brought 60 degrees and sun, which allowed some extra pushing and a 2:18 lap time.

     I removed the OEM oil cooler duct to make installing my brake ducting easier with the splitter.  This taught me an interesting lesson...pressure=cooling.  Even in 60 degree ambient temps I was easily seeing 220+ oil temps.  At the time it wasn't an issue, but when we hit 80-90 ambient at NJMP in July I think I'm in trouble.  Planned work is below:

- Rebuild front calipers (dust boots causing piston to stick = bad vibration)
- All driveline fluids are due for change
- Increase front spring rate (multiple pictures show way too much roll)
- Build bigger splitter
- CSF radiator + dual puller fans + front mounted oil cooler so I can start playing with more aero.

Next event will be autocross with the s2000 in two weeks which should be pretty interesting.  After that Evo should be back on track end of June at NJMP...may wind up on r comps...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Good end to a So So Season.

     I almost forgot about this place....

     Thats ok though, because I've barely been on track.  Last weekend was the NASA Northeast season finale at NJMP thunderbolt.  Long story it was an uneventful weekend.  Fun...but uneventful.  I was in group 2 with a bunch of familiar faces from other events this season.  First session I had Marc (an ex evo friend) ride with me to fulfill the first session instructor requirement, and he immediately said that he knew exactly what we were going to work on.  I'm quite familiar with the track so within two laps I was up to speed but I suck at braking according to Marc.  Over the course of the day that became even more obvious as I kept being way under speed in turn one almost every lap.
     Sunday morning I had another evo frien/instructor ride with me.  He was please with my speed (I'm still known as the slow guy).  Halfway through the session he asked how many point by's i had gotten so far, and when I though about it I realized I had been making a lot of passes.  Turns out I was just about the fastest guy in the group.  Moving up to group three was discussed after that.  After I spoke the group leader, I was educated that the biggest difference between group 2 an 3 aside for 20$ more speed is that you have to be able to pass off line.  Thats something you dont get in Group 2 since it is a lot more controlled.  Being the end of the season and it be an event with group 3 and 4 combined I decided to stay in two until next year.

     As you'll see in the video below a fast lap for me is quite uneventful.  I wanted to dip into the 1:3x's desperately but traffic stopped me.  The car was great as usual.  I borrowed a friends AiM solo data logger at the recommendation of my group leader, and was actually quite surprised to see that I was able to generate just over 1g of lateral acceleration...pretty damn good for a street tire car in my opinion.  This was also the first event with the roll bar/seat/harness.  WHAT a ifference...I think it was ABSOLUTELY worth time on track.       (Click for vid)

     And now it's winter...time to start writing the same giant ass list of wishful upgrades I do every year!  As of right now:
-cabin filter
-injectors $500
-bumper quick release $150
-install bumpsteer bush
-refresh rear LCA's
-rear trailing bush (w0594) $50
-baffled oil pan $400
-heat tape
-STM front bumper beam $200
-remove rear bumper beam
-f/r rotors $300
-rear dtc60s $150
-WING $800-1500
-DATA $1000


     Who knows how much I'll get done.  I also really need to get on the dyno and dial in my tune, my 5th gear boost was all wacky all weekend.  The big one on the list as I'm sure you can tell is the wing.  I think I've finally made the decision to add aero this winter in the form of splitter and wing (still undecided on wing) and possibly build a rear diffuser if I get around to it...I think I'm ready.  I'm good on tires for a few events still but I think once I get an event of two with aero under my belt the next step will probably be NT01's.

Now I just have to decide what to do with the s2000...

Here's some pics of me riding off into the sunset.  Already dreaming of next season!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

I owe everyone an apology.

     And by everyone, I mean the 2 people that read this.  For the astute readers who may have realized a did a track day back at the end of August and never wrote about it....I'm sorry.  I've been very life busy.  Went down to my parents house the weekend after the track day for a night, then came back to RI to work all week and then went down to NJ for my best friend's bachelor party.  It never Ends!

     On August 23rd I returned to Thompson with NASA.  This was a DE only day (no racing like last time) which meant plenty of track time and the group 2 participants were quite similar to last time also.  This is good because it put me in a position to know who was quick and who to avoid etc.

     Lap after lap the car felt good, felt like I was finding time and learning some things.  At on point i was turning some pretty good laps when i noticed a blue corvette come up behind me which happened to be driven by an instructor.  So obviously I tighten the belt and focus to try and lay down some good laps.  Probably some of the best fun I've had on track yet...until my brakes went soft.  

     Well not really soft, I had a firm pedal that felt slightly long but appropriate for pad wear, so I took a little trip down the turn 1 run off...whoops.  I braked a  marker earlier than normal because 3 turns back it felt not normal (but definitely bad) and as soon as I hit the pedal I knew I wasn't slowing down fast enough, it felt like ABS started to kick in as I pressed harder and I made the decision to go straight off instead of risking a hot entry and going off into the grass.  My dad said they called "37 silver 4 off" over the radio, which is lame because I went down a paved runoff!  Never left the racing surface.

     I borrowed Filthy Joe's AiM Solo lap timer for a few sessions.  It is quite amazing how you can quickly use a tool like that to gain time.  In 1.5 sessions I found almost 3 seconds...yes 3, to find myself in the 1:26's on street tires.  I'm still waiting for Joe to send me the data file so I can overlay some video.  Until I have that done here's some pictures from my dad as well as a ride along in Jordan's track evo (in case you don't recall he is NASA NE head instructor).


Oh and I finally took a major step...

Sunday, June 29, 2014

No, I'm not dead.

     ...I've just been doing that little race related activity.  And it makes me sad.

     It's been a rough year track time wise so far and doesn't look like it's going to get much better.  Back in May I went to a bachelor party in Miami and spent the equivalent of 3 track days money wise...ouch.  It was a good time for sure with good friends but directed A LOT of funds away from the cars.  I had a wedding to attend in Maine on what would have been my next available track weekend, and other than that it just seems like I work.

     Finally June 21/22 rolled around which meant it was time for NASA NE's inaugural event at Thompson speedway (only half an hour from my house!) and also my birthday.  My parents came up to visit for the weekend and so my dad could come hang at the track with me as usual.  Got the car prepped in basic fashion in the week prior, just brake pads and such and took another guess at tire pressures for the damn z2's.

     Got to the track Saturday morning and was tech'd and ready to go un almost under an hour, it really is quite nice being able to empty the car out at home!  Even though I was running Group 2 as usual we were given instructors for the first session, since the instructors had been there on Friday to learn the track.  Picked up the line quickly (EVERYTHING is late apex and TIGHT) and the day was off an rolling. 

     We had a very good group at this event.  Lots of respectful driving and courtesy on track, and we all picked up speed quickly.  A lot of people didn't like the track due to being so short and tight, but I kind of liked it since the tight corners and slow exits seem to fall in the favor of the evo.  I was VERY rusty having not been out since April, but I was able to keep up with the group and we were all turning laps in the 1:27 to 1:33 range.  What was also really nice was that the group leaders car had full motec data acquisition so we were able to review video/data in the classroom of him following us.

 Interesting chasecam view from a buddy in his Evo X.  Ignore the speed on his overlay as he was staying in 4th gear down the front stretch.

Here's in car video.

     I've also got a helmet cam view, but haven't converted it yet.  The worst part of the weekend?  We were tearing up the asphalt to the point that they are going to have to make some major repairs/changes.  There was talk that they may have used the wrong grade asphalt...

     I think that I am finally at the point that I'm going to give in and spend a huge chunk of money on safety equipment:
- Autopower roll bar
- Schroth Profi 2 ASM belt with 6 point conversion
- Buddy club bucket seat (going cheap on the seat for now to allow for purchase of new helmet and HANS)

     Other than that no big plans, the car is working well.  I had made a mental decision to change the front spring rate but i wound up getting misinformation and buying a set of used springs that were the wrong diameter for my ohlins...oh well.

Next Event: Probably Thompson again August 23/24.  Trying to figure out if in the middle of all the other crap going on I can squeeze in my first trip to the Glen at the end of September.  Also still trying to find some time to autoX the s2000.