Monday, October 10, 2011

Road America - End of Season

The last event of the season couldn't have gone any better! Two first place finishes and a new track record!

This was our first time at Road America, and it was quite the track. First, there is the scale of the track, 4 miles track on almost 650 acres of land. Then there is the intensity and speed of the course. Three main straights which we were reaching 140mph or more followed by tight 60-80mph corners. 

Friday was a test and tune day. So, we just spent the day learning the track and building up speed. The car felt great. The power band was amazing with our smoothed out tune from last time, the rebuilt transmission was shifting buttery smooth, and the Hoosier tires were sticking like glue.

Saturday, we started off first thing in the morning with Time Trials being the first run group out at 8am for a warm-up session. Four laps later, we set a 2:33.716 lap time, almost 3 seconds faster than the rest of the TTB group. We were shocked by how fast the car was running, as was everyone else. After a quick post-session meeting and a short break, we were back on the track. This time we were even faster, we posted a 2:32.894 and setting a new TTB track record! The next session of the day was a hot one, nobody was able to beat their previously posted lap time. Now since this was the last event of the season, and the championship banquet was that night, NASA split Saturday into two events. Saturday morning being the first event and the afternoon being the second event. This was so the final championship points could be earned and added to decide the winners before the banquet. So, the first session of the afternoon event, we posted a 2:34.748. Not quite as fast as we were in the morning, but still enough to put us at the top. At this point, the track was hotter, the car was hotter, and the tires had taken quite the beating. Road America is very tough on the cars. The second session of the afternoon, last of the day, we pushed as it as fast as we could. We put down a 2:34.350 and squeezed out first for the second event, with second place putting down an almost identical 2:34.354. 

Check out the pictures and videos pages as they have been updated with stuff from Road America

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Transmission Rebuild - Update

It's been a while since the last update to the blog. That would be due to the fact that the car has been in the shop this whole time without any real updates, until now. The good news is that the transmission is finally repaired and working better than ever. The bad news is that due to unforeseen engine problems, we missed this past weekends event at Autobahn.

After the transmission was rebuilt and put back in the car mid last week, we strapped it to the dyno to check things out. We found that the car was running really low on power, about 50whp and 70tq lower. Diagnostics and troubleshooting ensued. Unfortunately we didn't find the problem in time, but believe the source of the problem has been found and should be resolved tomorrow. For now though, we are all set on making it to the last even of the season at Road America.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Transmission Rebuild

Yesterday we brought the car over to RS Motors to start tearing out the transmission and begin the rebuild. This will probably take a few weeks however as transmission is taken apart and inspected before we order any replacement parts. The next event is not until mid September though, so we should have enough time to get everything worked out in time to make it there.

We're looking forward to getting back out on the track and really putting the new Hoosiers and BC Racing Suspension coilovers to the test. For the brief time on the track at the last event though the car felt terrific with tons of grip and amazing handling. Once the car is back together we have no doubt the car is going to run very strongly.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Weekend at Autobahn Raceway

The weekend started with a bang. We arrived at Autobahn around 5pm and found a nice grassy spot of paddock to setup on. We quickly walked over the the HAVOC Motorsport trailer to find our two new sets of Hoosiers waiting for us. Luckily we were able to get our new tires mounted up Friday evening rather than having to rush to get them done Saturday morning. After that we setup our tent and did some last minute camber adjustments to the car.

Saturday began as any other race weekend. An all-hands meeting followed by a quick TT group meeting before heading out onto the track. We rolled onto the pre-grid at 9am with our new tires, suspension, and new tune on 110 octane excited to start the day. While going full-throttle down the back straight on the first hot lap, the car briefly hesitated and threw up a CEL while instantly jumping into limp mode. Obviously that session's lap times were shot. We come in and reset the ECU after the session and check on everything trying to figure out what happened. The second session followed the same course as the first. After that session we decided to try and get a hold of our tuner at RS Motors in MN. Thankfully we were able to get him directly on the phone and started troubleshooting the car. Pulling the codes we found our car was hitting the overboost threshold for some odd reason. He quickly retuned our map and emailed it over so we could do a reflash on the fly at the track. Big kudos to Ron at RS Motors for working with us over the phone to figure out our problem, reflash the car, and get us back on the track! Unfortunately we missed our third session while getting the issue of the morning worked out, but were plenty ready to hit the 4th session and put down some good lap times. The 1st hot lap into the session went great. Our tune problems from the morning all gone, and the car running with full power again, we were pushing it hard! As we rounded corner 9 in 4th gear and got back on the gas, it suddenly popped out of gear. Quickly slamming the gear back in place 4th gear popped out again. Trying again once more carefully ensuring it was fully in gear only resulted in the same. 4th gear was dead. With 4th being a primary gear at Autobahn, our weekend was shot and our lap time from our 1 hot lap of the day just wasn't enough to hold up against our toughest competitors.

A transmission rebuild is now in order and we're not sure yet which path we will take to accomplish that, or how long that will be. The next event on the schedule is at Autobahn the weekend of September 17-18, which we will try to make happen. So in the  mean time, we will continue to post any updates as they happen. Also, there are more pictures from this weekend posted over on the Pictures page.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Suspension Install

Old strut (top) vs new strut (bottom)
Well, our new suspension arrived just in time for the holiday weekend. Thankfully just in time for next weekends event at Autobahn too. All the pieces were safely packed inside one big box, with each piece being individually labeled. We jacked up the car and started to get to work Saturday afternoon. The old coilovers came out without giving us any trouble. Disassembly went just as easily, but took some time as we had to screw each of the three locking rings off the threaded body of the shock. Then we carefully pulled out the new shocks and springs and proceeded to rebuild the coilovers with the new components. The rebuild was without any surprises, and extra time being taken to make sure we set the ride height the same. Now we just get to wait for next weekend to test these bad boys out!

A few more pics over on the pictures page

Friday, June 10, 2011

New Setup

Well after our weekend at Gingerman, we put a lot of though into where we could save a few mod points. After reading through the TT rule book a few times, and doing a few calculations, we found a new winning recipe. Our big points saver was from our suspension. According to NASA TT rules, inverted monotube struts/shocks, and struts/shocks with a piston diameter greater than 39mm take additional points. Well our suspension fit right in with that description. Now even though we were happy with how our current suspension was performing, it needed to be replaced for us to be allowed to run r-comp tires. So, we gave BC Racing Suspension (the brand of our current coilovers) a call to see if they could help us out. They gave us some recommendations, and set us up with a new set of non-inverted monotube struts and springs with custom valving and spring rates suited to our car's configuration. Now with the new suspension on the way, and our mod points in check, we ordered up some new tires; a fresh set of Hoosier R6's.

There's some work that needs to be done to get the car prepared for the next upcoming event, but it's going to be a fun one!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Gingerman Raceway with NASA TTB

This weekend at Gingerman was a fun, but eye opening experience. To start, this was our first time being at Gingerman Raceway. We really liked the course. We enjoyed the fact that it is much more technically challenging than you would guess from a look at the track map. Also, the elevation change and the multiple blind corners made the course pretty fun and a bit edgy as well.

Up to this point, we have been running max performance summer street tires. We knew we were at a disadvantage to our competitors who were running r-comps, but we had hoped our much wider street tires would close some of the gap. It's worth noting that, we stuck to the street tires since we had maxed out our modification points for TTB. This weekend showed us the fault in our logic because the majority of Gingerman is very long radius corners, which really benefits a stickier compound.

The majority of Saturday was spent learning the course and progressively dropping our lap times. With the sun constantly beating down and temps rising into the upper 80's throughout the day, it kept getting harder to lower our lap times. Even though we were pushing the car as hard as possible, we never came close enough to the lap times our r-comp sporting competitors had. We had to settle with a 4th place finish. Sunday went about the same as Saturday; except, the weather was a bit cooler. So, we were able to post some quicker lap times (as well as everyone else). The day ended with a 3rd place finish.

This weekend made us re-analyzing our game plan and how we can rearrange some points so we can get rid of these lap time killing street tires and get some decent rubber.

Monday, May 23, 2011

First Weekend in NASA TTB at Brainerd International Raceway

This was our first weekend racing in Time Trails with NASA. Overall, the weekend went better than was expected. Although, it wasn't without its hairy moments. Being that this was our first time in TT, both of us were under provisional status, and we would have to go the weekend without any incidents to be checked off for our official TT licenses. Even though we do not normally have an issue with keeping all four tires on the track in the right direction; Saturday was solid rain for almost the entire day! This made it much more "interesting" to try and set a hot lap time without sliding off into the grass. After a few sessions in the rain, we softened up the suspension, which really helped the car settle around corners better in the constant rain. Finally in the late afternoon, there was a break in the clouds and the sun came out. We left the suspension settings we made for the rain and went out for another session, thinking that the track wasn't completely dry yet. That decision almost cost us the win for Saturday because the track had dried up quickly, the suspension being softer, and grip increasing exponentially, we pulled off a lap time that was a second and a half behind our competitors. Thankfully there was one last "bonus" session for TT at 5:20pm. We quickly tightened the suspension back up and hoped the rain would hold out. The last session ended up being the best of the day for everyone out on the track. We ended up taking the win for TTB and setting a new track record for the class with a 1:49.527 .

Sunday started off as a much better day with mostly clear skies and sun but a little cool. Within the first two sessions, we cracked off a lap time of 1:49.966. This time put us close to Saturday's time and in the front of TTB. By the time the 3rd session rolled around after lunch, rain clouds had rolled in and drenched the track once again, and it continued for the rest of the day. This was the end of our first weekend in TTB with NASA at BIR. We left with two 1st place finishes and a new track record.