After a long, long wait that began last year in July after 4th gear on my 6spd shot its teeth everywhere, I finally got to get back on track...the REAL track. Since that incident last July at PMI, I have been on a mission to prepare the car for REAL competition this year in both SCCA auto-x and NASA time trials. Here's the list of things that I changed over the winter in preparation for the 2007 season along with kudos to those awesome vendors who helped me get there:
- Shepherd Racing
built 5spd conversion from 6spd - the trans performed FLAWLESSLY during the entire event with not even a hint of grinding or notchiness. This trans is beautiful.
- Exedy Twin Carbon clutch
- In concert with the awesome trans, this amazing clutch allowed me to shift as fast as I wanted whenever I wanted at any rpm and at any point on the track. Again, no grinding, no notchiness, no overheating - nothing. It also held all 400+wtq (Dynojet) with tons of load in 4th gear coming out of slow corners without a single slip.
- Gerrard-spec Ohlins
package with Ohlin R&Ts, Works/Whiteline bushings, and Perrin endlinks
- 18x9.5 Enkei NT03+M
+40 race rims with 285/30-18 Kumho Ecsta V710s
. I don't know what's more impressive with this combo - the beauty or the performance. The grip was insane from this setup, yet it looked hot in action.
- VIP Garage Brake Kit
- Centric slotted rotors, Teknafit SS brake lines, Hawk HP+ pads, and SuperBlue ATE fluid. My brakes were SUPERB through the whole weekend. I was a little worried how well they'd hold up knowing that I'd be MUCH faster into every turn due to the increased grip and improved suspension. I was carrying about 5 more mph down the straights, but my brakes not only worked, but they EXCELLED. Despite doing 9 laps on one session, I had 0 fade whatsoever, and I tend to go in very hot with hard braking, so it's not like I wasn't pushing them. Thanks to VIP for getting everything to me in a timely manner and always being able to supply things whenever I need them.
- Evo IX turbo
- replaced my VIII turbo with a used IX turbo. In the process, I removed the ported/coated hotside from my VIII and placed it on the IX. I gained 25whp on the same dyno, so I'm sure this helped get around the track faster.
- Buschur TBE
- I replaced my Megan TBE with the Buschur, w hich allowed me to save 10.0lbs exactly and probably accounted for 5 of the 25whp that I gained on the dyno, since I changed both this and the turbo between dyno tests. The Buschur TBE has a true 3" test pipe while my Megan had a resonated test pipe with 2.5" inner diameter
- Revolutions Performance Install/Dyno
- thanks to Revolutions Performance in Colorado Springs, everything got installed/tested/dyno'd in time for this first event, and everything performed wonderfully. I couldn't do it without these guys.
So, as you can see, this was a LOT to do over the winter, but I planned it well, got all the parts, got it all installed, got it dyno'd, and got it on the track. I couldn't have done it without all of the aforementioned sponsors:
, Revolutions Performance
, Buschur Racing
, Shepherd Racing
, and Exedy!
So, I started off on Saturday in HPDE4, and I turned in all my paperwork for time trials so that I could get evaluated by the regional director. I went out for the first session, which was cold in terms of the cars, the track, and the ambient temp while using my street tires to get a feel for things without going all out. I got loose on my 2nd lap, so I started braking earlier into everything and taking it easy. When I came in from the session, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had run a 1:44.5, which was a full second faster than my best ever time from last year, which was on RACE TIRES. So, with the new suspension and other mods, I was now faster on street tires than last year on race tires - good start! Oh, also, I didn't get a completely clean lap, so that 1:44 included at least one pass.
Next session, I put on my race tires, and holy crap...night and day difference. I was able to divebomb into every turn, hold my line, and power out of everything without hesitation. There was no pushing, no tailwagging, no scrubbing - it just gripped and ripped. However, I had tons of traffic through every lap, so when I came in and saw my 1:43.xx, I wasn't too excited. I knew the car was WAY faster, but I couldn't get free. What was happening was they were lining up the TT cars up front in order of their times, but then HPDE4 had to start behind the slowest TT car. Not a problem, since those guys were competing, and my times meaned nothing, but I still wanted to see what I could do.
Well, on the 3rd session, a car spun and hit a wall on t he 1st lap, so we lost that session. That left me with session 4 at the end of the day when it was much warmer outside (75*) than in the morning (40-50*). I again had to start behind the TT cars, but this time I was able to get free on my 6th lap. By then, the V710s are not at full grip, and of course the engine is down on power - mainly due to heatsoak with my stock FMIC probably. Well, I came in and saw that my best lap was that 6th lap, and it was a 1:41.6!!! Awesome, over 1.5 seconds better than last time, and a full 4 seconds faster than my best race tire time last year. I was satisfied with this, but in the back of my mind, I was pretty sure I could drop another chunk of time if I could get free on my first 2 laps.
After everything ended, the regional director told me I had passed my evaluation and would be able to run time trials on Sunday. This led to a near sleepless night as I envisioned being 1st ouf ot he blocks in TT with nothing but wide open track in 50* weather!!! I had grandiose plans of doing a quick warmup lap, then hammering it immediately for laps 2 and 3. Well, the morning came, I lined up #1 amongst the TT cars, then took off. Coming around 9, I went ahead and hit the gas a little to get some momentum for turn 10 before the straight. I set myself for the best entry, then hammered it, but dohhhhh, sputtttttteerrrr, then BOOST. Crap, my copper plugs had fouled out overnight I guess, so anytime I was at full boost, I was sputtering. I didn't hold back, though. I kept going and romped through 3 straight free laps without traffic, then after hitting traffic and doing another lap, I came in. I knew I wasn't going to go faster, and I needed to change my plugs. Lo' and behold, I had dropped another _2_ full seconds despite the plug problem. I had run a 1:39.6
followed by a 1:39.8 on the first two full speed laps. Holy cow, a full 6 seconds better than last year on a track where anything under 1:40 is SMOKING fast.
As the rest of the day went on, it got warmer and warmer, and although the plugs got changed and worked perfectly, I could never beat my best time. I kept having trouble all day long with my shifter cables popping off the underhood bushings right in the middle of shifting, so it really put a damper on my quest to beat my 1:39.6. In my 2 later sessions on the race tires, I ran a best 1:40.3 and 1:40.5, respectively, which was still very good and faster than any other TT car, but it also told me to chill out and be happy with what I got. I went ahead and put the street tires back on and got ready to head home. I was very happy with how things went, but I knew I needed to fix a few things before the next event in April. I'll need some aftermarket underhood bushings and hopefully an aftermarket FMIC w/LICP - all from Buschur, I hope.
I unfortunately had a lot of trouble with my camera, so all I got was one lap when the helmet cam was mounted. It's still pretty cool, but it wasn't one of my fast laps or anything. I'll try to do better with that in April:
NASA-RM 2007 Event 1 - PMI, Pueblo, CO
Full download that can go fullscreen (72MB)
And some pics: