Saturday, August 18, 2012

Screeching to a halt

Life stepped in and decided it was best for the family if I back off of Racing for a while, and get our finances a little bit more in order.

Sold the WRX, yep, sure did. Still can't believe it some days. It was a GREAT car for about 4 of the 4 1/2 years of ownership, including the last 3 years straight without an issue.

I will say that I don't enjoy driving it as much as I did the ol' BMW... And so, here is it's replacement.

1999 BMW 328i Sport Package w/ 125k on the odometer. Got it for about $3k below bluebook retail with a few issues. It needed some cleanup, a drivers side window lift, and has a door ding in the passenger side about the same size as the WRX had, ironically.

Took a week off of work, cleaned it up, replaced the the window lift, removed the tint, banged out most of the dent, Autocrossed it, Tracked it, and then had to replace the belts, and belt tensioner. Still seems like a good buy.

Not sure if it will be a good STX car or not. It's hard to find these things without sunroofs, so I'm just going to go with the flow on that. The problem also with this car is the Diff is generally open, and it's hard to find, if not impossible to find, a limited slip in a 2.93 ratio. May have to have it custom made. It may have a diff issue right now, so it will probably get replaced one way or another anyway.

It will at least get Koni's, 17x9 D-Force's and 255 star specs for some RTR/STX class action soon.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2012 Mineral Wells Pro-Solo, Spokes event #3, SASCA/Spokes event #4

Well, the wheels are back on, but literally, the rubber is off them now.

Learned some things about excessive Toe-out and daily driving, namely, it destroys tires.

As the car has never been aligned since the suspension install, and now camber plate addition, I finally checked the Toe again after James had said at the Nat. Tour that it's "a bit too much"

My measurements with crude home built toe plates came out to nearly an inch of toe out at full camber, which is negative 4 degrees plus. I'd guess that at race camber (-3) we were still at 1/2" toe out, which is WAY too much.

Adjusted the toe down to zero at the middle of the plates which is about -2 degrees camber. With that, we ended up with pretty close to 1/8" toe out for the Pro-Solo. Unfortunately, running the car daily with that much toe, caused the insides of the front tires to be pretty close to corded when we got to the event.

With the tires that far gone, we we're probably at a mental dis-advantage, worrying about them.

The first day's morning set of runs ended up being my best with a 47.7 on both courses in my second runs on both sides. I suppose the tire degradation may have been getting us by this time, but the front tires were, for the most part, fine. James, was doing just about as poorly as I was, but I think we ended up 5th and 6th after the first day. He fought back to 4th on the second day, but I'll have to update this since our local club is about 10 times faster at posting race results than the SCCA is. Getting real tired of their website "upgrade"

Locally, the added camber has evened things out between Todd and I. We're still extremely close, but I've been able to pull one nasty run out of each of the last two races to end up on top. I'm pushing much harder at the local races than I can seem to make myself go at the big ones, but the car still needs a bit more work, and of course, new tires.

2012 SCCA SunBelt National Tour

My second National tour was yet another learning experience. Co-Driver James Wilson proved that the car can be competitive, which was important. The money tree needs to start bearing fruit soon, so the power upgrades can be made. The camber plates were a big help, proven by catching up to Todd at the local events. I actually ran 5th, and only a couple hundreths of a second off Mark Sipe's fastest clean run on the second day.

Ended up 6th out of 9 in STX. James missed winning STX by less than a 10th of a second over two days runs. Overall, ended up 1.3 seconds out of 1st, and only 0.9 seconds out of the trophys. I never felt like I put together an "all or nothing" run. I know when I'm pushing the car, because I hit ABS when I brake, and I don't think I ever hit ABS. I don't trust my braking, or the car's ability to "un-bog" itself. More power will help with that.

The Spokes Hotel 

 Tech Trailer

James, the co-driver, and Todd, the competition (He took 4th in the MS-3!)

"The Road to Lincoln" Trailer

I love the smell of burnt rubber in the morning...

Vitek's Banshee, and Federico's Alpha Boxster

Monday, March 5, 2012

SASCA Event #3

Well, the wheels seem to be falling off now. Not losing any hope yet, but suffered the second consecutive loss.

Had another difficult time with tight turns and bogging. Also gave away two runs by somehow forgetting to turn off the traction control both of my first two runs. There was a really tight turn at the finish that took me totally out of boost and left me pushing into the outside cone if I tried to carry any speed. I tried shifting to first there on the third run, but it didn't seem fruitful.

I think with the lack of camber, a tight corner at the end of a course is going to find me with over-heated tires and just not enough grip to carry speed.

I'm taking measurements myself and ordering the camber plates tomorrow. Never heard back from Eibach.

Sold my iracing/CCNP study computer to pay for the camber plates, so I'm experimenting with Win8 right now, on the living room entertainment PC, so I don't have all the pics, and vids from the last race yet uploaded to this computer.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Spokes Event #2

Well, first loss of the season had to come eventually. Total domination wouldn't have been as much fun though, and Todd's catching up will mean we'll be pushing each other harder, which should pay off with dividends in the Big Races, versus the non-Spokes competition.

It looks like in comparing to one of the pacesetters, I may have had a slightly off race driving-wise, going from -3.65% off his PAX time to -4.64%. It's possible that the car may do worse on longer, more open courses.

This will likely mean I'm going to HAVE to come up with some scratch for Camber plates ASAP. This course had more slaloms, and the first one was a double with an offset in the middle of it, so I think the camber would help there. With the Wife's birthday coming up, and a friend coming to town the week before the National Tour, it doesn't look promising. Next after camber plates would be the downpipe and tune, which should help with the longer courses by adding power and turbo spool up.

The ugly truth...

Warning. For those that cannot stomach cone abuse, skip the first video. I'd like to say that no cones were harmed in the filming of this video, but I'd be lying if I did...

Much better, but not enough to catch Todd

Monday, February 20, 2012

Statistics allude to good things coming ?

I'm in the process of converting these statisics to percentage of certain pacesetters times, so as to compare my results to those that will likely be in my class at the big races. So far it's looking pretty good, but I'll be close.

This was done to help me decide if I probably need to invest in the camber plates, and downpipe and tune. And it looks like I probably should as soon as possible, and it may actually allow me to be competitive for a National tour trophy if I don't choke...

My time the last two races has been at 103% to 104% of my pacesetters time.

The STX competitors I'm comparing myself to have been very close to that range or worse, all in trophy positions, so if this extremely small amount of data can be attributed to anything then I might do well. Unfortunately, almost every one I race with are engineers of some sort with solid grasps on statistics, and tend to remind me of the many outside factors that can come into play, ruining my little ray of sunshine here.. ;-)

I probably need to get to 102% to 103% of pacesetters time to be solidly in the trophy's at a tour, So that's the goal. Mark Sipe, an RX8 driver is at that pace, and is registered for the event. I'm going to have to pick up some time in the next couple local events to get close to him.

On a 30 second course, that's going to mean picking up a half second to only be a second behind the pacesetter. Tall order.

SASCA Event #2

Finally, a dry race course.

Ended up with a good result but no gaudy 2nd place in PAX. Most of the National Contenders were there this time and I got man-handled, especially by the STR guys, and ended up 9th in PAX.

Good things... I ended up only 0.5 secs in PAX time off the top time of the day, my best result so far, and 1.3 seconds in Raw time behind my coach and pacesetter, J. Hale.

STX wasn't very well attended and I was in front of the mis-classed 2009 WRX by 3+ seconds.

Pax is getting brutal, with the top 12 on the same second at this event. Extremely happy to be there myself with this list of competitors.

Haven't got the hang of the GoPro yet.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Well, to say that the Lemons race didn't go well would be an understatement

We had fueling issues the entire two days that didn't allow us to run more than 2 laps without fuel cut-out over 3000 rpm, and TWS is a fast 3rd and 4th gear track with several places that allow for triple digit speeds.

We replaced pretty much every sensor in the car at some point and all the injectors with some known good ones. TPS, MAF, Camshaft PS, Fuel pump, etc. and couldn't ever get the car to run right.

Billy is thinking at this point that there are possibly too many systems missing from the car for the stock ECU to function properly at this point and it's limiting revs possibly for some reason.

A bummer because even with the cutout, Billy ran a 2:14 lap and the Fast lap was a 2:02. I think with it running decent and warm tires, we could have got down to 2:05 or so.

I've got a bunch of Auto X to do over the next couple months, but, hopefully they'll let me join them again at some point later in the year. I enjoyed hangin' out with them and BS-ing car talk, learning from their impressive amount of knowledge, and they never gave up on the car.

This Vid is actually of me in the WRX during the track day on Friday. I'm coming down off the oval into turn 1 at around 125mph, and hit 100+ in several places at this track. A fast track for my first track experience.