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Matt93SE

SCCA Divisional Race Nov 7-8, 2020

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First weekend at the "new" ECR..   WHEEEE!  This track is a blast!

They moved STU and Spec Boxter in with Big Bore (GTX, 1, 2, 3, Touring 1,2, etc) so my little 2.0L 4 banger was in the ring fighting around GT3 cup cars, Maseratis, and Corvettes.  As you can imagine, it borked our races somewhat on both days..  some of that's just dealing with traffic, but some is also completely unnecessary.  I did request a split start for the slower cars and they gave us one, so STU at least had a few laps of clear track before we ran into the run-and-park guys.

On Saturday, Billy Roberts was on pole and I was 2nd in our slow guys in a fast group..   He got a good start and led the first few laps, with me tugging on his tail hoping I could distract him..  About lap 3 or 4, a T1 Corvette that started in the first pack spun in T13 and re-entered the track right behind Billy Roberts and I.  Being the only T1 in the race, he didn't have to mess with our bumper-to-bumper-flag-to-flag STU race.  But yep- it took him a few laps but he shoved his way between us on a straight and then parked in the turns, borking our exit speed and breaking us up.    After a few laps he got around the other one and held us both up.  it was a matter of who could out-chess and out-protect the other one as we both diced in this guys' smokescreen.  at one point between 12 and 13, he took the normal line and left a hole on the inside of 13.  I stuffed it in there and took the lead, and held it for the rest of the race.  A couple laps later, Billy spun trying not to hit me in the braking zone of T3 because I had to check up and brake so early to keep from hitting the Vette.   never close enough on the straights to get under him into the turn because 2x the horsepower.  but he sure sucked in the turns.   So Billy spun and be must have backed off cause I lost sight of him in the mirror.  Instead of risking wrecking the guy in the Vette (and myself), I backed off and let him hack his way through the race and I maintained a safe pace until the checker, watching my mirror for an angry yellow MX5. 

Kinda good that happened though, cause I ran out of fuel going up the hill to T3 right after I took the checker!   had I not backed off the last 5 laps, I likely would have run out during the race and DNF'd!

Best time of a 2.09.55 and new track record for the class!  (it will be short-lived..)

 

For Sunday, Billy and I both found a little more speed in qualifying- I got down to a 2.08.95, but Billy dropped to a 2.08.16, putting him 3rd overall in the GT group in an MX5...

The field was a little smaller due to attrition, and I also asked for a larger gap between groups so I might be able to avoid what happened on Saturday and we could have some fun.  The steward agreed to the request and I also saw him talking to the Vette prior to the start- hopefully he got some edumacachun on staying out of other classes' races if you don't have one of your own.

As happened on Saturday, Billy got a good jump on me at the start (who knew a 2.3L MX5 had torque HAHA!) so I chased him around for the first few laps.   I got by him under braking into T5 and took the lead for a few laps.   Had an early-apex-wide-exit bobble coming out of 5 a couple laps later, and that closed the gap for him to get me back.  I don't remember where now, but he got around me and I chased him again.   another few laps pass and we catch a Spec Boxter in 8-9-10 and he kinds borks the exit onto the back straight.  I saw it coming and lagged back a little at 8 so I created a gap and got a better run out of 10.  it worked and I was able to use both cars for a draft and passed them both on the back straight to 11.   (FYI, going 3-wide into braking at 11 is NOT a smart idea but I made it work!)

So I got the lead for a few more laps.   I pull away a little and then make another bobble at 5 again and Billy closes the gap.  with about 4 to go, the overall leader (Porsche GT3 Cup) all out by his lonesome decided to stuff his nose in at T15 instead of just wait 1 turn and blow by us both on the front straight..   He forced me to take the wide entry and PARKED in the middle of the turn, then Billy stuffed his car into the gap under me and got a good run while I had to downshift to 2nd behind the Porsche..  we went up the hill on the front straight side by side and neither budged.  I had the inside line for 1, but he was inside for 2 and got a better dig out of the turn because the outside was full of gravel.  going up the hill to T3, he had about half a car on me and "thought he had room", forcing me off track into the gravel.  He got maybe 10 cars on me by T3, and I was never able to pull in the gap until the checker.

During the race, I dropped my time to a 2.08.54, but Billy lowered the new track record to 2.08.25.   It will stand there for at least a year until the next SCCA race, but it *should* be in the 2.04 range with a more optimized car for the class.  I was fighting a nasty push all weekend so there was at least a couple seconds since I was off pace from 9 and 10 and all the way down the back straight.  I also need to work on my line through 6,7,8 once I can trust the front end of the car to stick to the track.  Everywhere else, I think I got the line pretty well down, but was just mired by the grip.

Definitely looking forward to going back again!!

 

I have some video on my gopro, but will have to process it.   The camera died sometime on sunday and I haven't pulled the video yet.  I'll upload what I have and you can critique me skillz. 🙂

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Saturday video is uploading.

 

After I fiddled with RaceRender and AIM data for a while, I thought I was good.   Then I processed the whole damn thing and realized the lap time and lap counters never worked, and the data is off by about 1/2 second from the video.  ugh.  oh well.   I'll work on Sunday's data later.  still have to download it from the AIM.

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Matt: LOL at the 2nd Thunder Roadster...wheee!! Looks like I was driving it! LOL You had some great passes there, that was a great one getting around Billy and the Boxster!! The T1 Vette should've been LONG gone...guess he's new to it...so...WTF...the checker and the white flag for the last lap? Um, the checker means it's OVER...unless I missed something...take a look at your video in case you missed it...but I swear that the starter is holding the checker and the white flag...and then you come around and take just the checker...what was going on with that?

 

 

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Ya, I'm not a fan of the Thunder Roadsters.  they're close in lap times, but depending on the drivers they do it in different spots.  as you can see they have tons of straightline speed, but then they stop in the turns.  they run a Hoosier, but it looks like an oval or vintage treaded tire with the little \/\/\/\/\/\/\ grooves in it..   Either way, a well driven one is pretty fast.  the not-so-well driven ones are in the way a lot. (kinda like a T1 vette!)

Corvette guy was his first actual race- I chatted with the chief steward about my "challenges" as seen in the video, and he said that he'd just given the guy a logbook and he'd just got his comp license.  This was a "regional" race, so I have no qualms about that, other than he landed the middle of the STU race after his mishap in the canyon.  I requested a larger split on the start for Sunday, and the steward wound up moving the thunder roadsters up to the front group.  The only thing left in the split for our Sunday race were the 4x STU cars, so it was a pretty clean race for us and all of the T1, SPB, and Thunder roasters all fought with each other for track space.

The starter holding the white and checker was because the overall leader (Charlie Barnes- GT2) was about 100ft behind me when I came by for the white flag- the leader took the checker just a second behind me.  There was also Boxster right behind me on same lap as me, otherwise I would have pulled offline and slowed to let the leader lap me so I could end my race a lap earlier since it wouldn't change the results.  I had misjudged my fuel and knew I was close to running out (last few laps were below E on the gauge) and I actually ran out of fuel going uphill to T3 after the checker but had just enough fuel to run/coast/run/coast back to the pit.  WHOO that was close! haha

 

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So.....when I first was looking at getting a race car...I actually thought about a Thunder Roadster (remember, I didn't know a THING about road racing, still don't LOL!)...I even went out to TMS for the weeknight Legends races, talked to the promoter/owner of the series, etc...very glad that I did not get one. Would've been interesting though.

OK, understood about the Checker...that just confused me LOL!!

Yeah, cutting it close on fuel!!

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LOL  we all gotta start sometime.   Being a regional race, this is where they should be.  With a little time and coaching, everyone will be fine.  often a friendly conversation about being aware of other classes racing together is all it takes.  If you spin your [big fast car] early in the race and find yourself surrounded by 3 Porsche Boxters or a couple 4 bangers giving no quarter, these are not the droids you're looking for.  either get on the gas and get outta there, or just let them go, sit back, and enjoy the show.  

If it's just one other car out there and you're not going to affect anyone elses race?  by all means, race the guy you can.

 

I'm rendering the sunday race now.  it was a little more fun with Billy and I, but my GoPro ran out of battery with about 1.1 laps to go.   finishing position didn't change, but I threw some [failed] hail mary's in the last lap trying to catch him.  it was fun watching.   Will post link when it's done.

 

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Sunday race video is uploading now..  Give it a little time on my slow arse DSL connection..

 

 

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ECR continues to frustrate me...

Didn't practice. showed up on Saturday morning having to do some little stuff, ended up finding a broken LR caliper I had to replace, no big deal, got on track for practice on time on garbage pile scrubs, only about 2-3 seconds off pace, feeling pretty good.

Qualified P3.  One guy is smoking the field but amongst the rest,  we're all pretty tight.  

In the race I went out in P3, we got a gap, and then weirdly the car just got crappy. Binding up like crazy, couldn't trailbrake, just a mess.  Got passed for P3,  and on that same lap I was running right behind the guy who just passed me when I realized that we take veeerrry different approaches to T8,  I ended up coming in way hot, realized I was on my way to hit him, locked up, and punted him.  Ran a few more laps to see if the car was okay (still shit) and brought it back in thinking maybe something was wrong.

Realized We were rubbing the chassis, springs, and even sway bars with the inside of the tire.  wtf.  Checked ride height, camber, both checked out,  Put spacers on the front wheels, wen out for warm up on Sunday morning, all good, didn't seem to be hitting anymore (put some tape down so we could tell).  Qualified P4, but I still wasn't all that thrilled with my lap.  P2-7 were covered by .2 sec, to give you an idea of how tight it was.

In the race, same shit.  Started well, then the car became a binding up handful.  Dropped from aiming towards P2 to P6 I think when it was all said and done.  Checked and yup- we were rubbing thing again.

Weirdly since my last tough weekend at ECR I've had two trouble free weekends.  Seems that ECR is either exposing blown shocks or a bent subframe.  Hopefully we'll get it figured out before NASA next month.

Heres a video of race 2 from Lee Thomas, who I had a great scrap with until my car went away.  Been using this to try to diagnose stuff.  Looking at data most of the time loss even on my good laps is under braking from the guy who dominated the weekend.  Literally all of it was made under braking... same braking point, same minimum speed through corner, he just gets there at .2 less G's braking than myself.  Really educational.

Hopefully I can get ECR figured out next month.  Got a regional championship riding on it. It's a really tough and technical place and I'm not gonna lie, it's not my favorite as of now... but it can certainly change my mind once I get my car figured out!

 

 

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Vinnie - how are your hubs/bearing? Just a thought - any play there? Surprised that, as a miata guy, that you're not in love with ECR...it's cool with all the SM buzzing all over the place! 94 on the back straight though...do y'all make coffee on the back straight? Just for comparison - I was testing the Full Monte out - not sure what lap times it was running - just verifying that all was good on the motor/ignition/electronics...136 mph on the back straight...wheeeeee!!! LOL

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112mph was the highest I saw on the data.  need to find the missing 30hp at the dyno shop between this engine + tune vs. the previous setup.  of course it's hard to calculate the difference, but another 30hp should net me lots of MPHs on the back straight.

Also need to fix the understeer so I'm carrying more speed through T8-9-10 instead of pedaling it around the turn trying not to push off the outside of the track and down the hill of tire-eating sharp things.  haha.

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I've got the same issue too, tweak your line a little bit, that helps...to a point.

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Yep! Check bearings after every session...

Back straight is actually pretty busy for us, if you coordinate well leaving T10 you can get a bump in, and if not T11 is the best passing zone on the track so its a pretty hectic straight!

T8-9-10... all I know for sure is to cheat waaayy right all over the rumbles at 9.  Even if i get back track right before 10, if I track too wide the chassis to too upset and I scrub momentum diving into 10.  Sometimes when I got that right it was magical.  I take T8 way differently than most because I come into it really hot and apex earlier than most, using more exit curbing during most.  Kills me between 8 and 9 which is a throwaway to me anyways.

I can definitely see me enjoying ECR once I have a good weekend there!

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I tried a few variations on that theme during the weekend, hoping to see the difference on the data and choose which one was better.   well I didn't ever see the difference while I was at the track since I was busy trying to find and fix the more critical understeer issue. 😕

 

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On 11/18/2020 at 7:51 AM, Matt93SE said:

I tried a few variations on that theme during the weekend, hoping to see the difference on the data and choose which one was better.   well I didn't ever see the difference while I was at the track since I was busy trying to find and fix the more critical understeer issue. 😕

 

See if that critical understeer is still present at MSRH.  

 

When we were at ECR on Toyos, everyone was throwing the kitchen sink at their car trying to correct understeer.  Raising rear ride heights like monster trucks, adjusting bars that hadn't been touched in 2 years.  It was just a track thing.  Was worlds better on Hoosiers, but I am straight up dreading gong back on Toyos in a couple weeks.

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It was pushing at MSRH both races earlier this year, but I was on older tires and not adjusting the handling until I put good rubber on it.   I had newer (1 runoffs qual) tires on it this time around, and it was still pretty awful.  can't hear it in the videos, but several times going through 6 and 7, the front end washes out and I'm just playing with the wheel trying to find where they hook up again and the tires are howling in pain.  (how often do Hoosiers make noise?!) 

I currently have -3.5 camber in the front end, and some of the faster guys say they run -4.5 to -5 in these cars to get the front end to stick.  Touring class is stuck with -3.5 max per rules, and they dial back rear grip to keep the car balanced- I'd rather find more front grip and go faster 😉   I have some camber bolts on order which will get me into the -4-5 range on camber and I will try again.  next step is control arms and possibly adding some caster, but I really don't want to fork out $1200 for SPL arms and I've heard the electric power steering doesn't like caster and lots of grip since it overloads the motor and puts it into error (shutdown) state mid-turn.  fun.

It was bad on slower sections (turns 3, 8, 14, 15), but worse on the faster stuff (6, 7, 9, 10), so I believe some of the issues to be aero induced.  The car had a lot of wing dialed in, but it was as low as the adjusters would go.  I need to shorten the adjusters to take more wing out, but I didn't have the tools at the track to do it properly.

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But that only slows you down! 🙂

Yes, the car turns in wonderfully under trail braking.   it's when I'm on throttle that it's really bad- corner exit and around sweepers/ maintenance throttle where I run out of front end grip.  particularly turns 6,7,9,10,14 were painful.

I did OK on entrance to 3, 5, 8, 11, 13, 15 because the nose was stuck down under trail braking.

What's crazy is that this car is like 60% front weight already-- most people would call it nose heavy- but it seems to want more weight up there to turn well.   This was something the Sprehes mentioned to me a while back-- they're using an OEM size battery in stock location just behind the RF wheel whereas I have a 10lb Braille.  They tried a light battery there to save weight but it hurt the handling of the car.   I also have a huge honkin supercharger and intercooler on the front of the car so......

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If you don't trail brake on a TA2 car it's going to plow plow plow...and then plow some more...especially with a Detroit Locker...the key is to get it rotated quickly and then get on the gas as soon as you think you are going to make it! LOL...speaking specifically of a TA2...they are very softly sprung and there is a lot of movement on the platform...this thing turns more with the pedals than many folks realize...there are situations when i've got weight on the nose (left foot brake) and I'm still on the throttle (right foot)...it really helps...at least me.

On the gas....

IMG_3609.thumb.JPG.00c3a1e05384811f44114f2b6d2e75d4.JPG

Under braking...a LOT of movement!

IMG_0476.thumb.JPG.12df7a7c5e92a637967cdf1290df2aa4.JPG

 

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Yep.   but you also drive what's essentially a dirt car with bias tires and a bigass wing.   😛

brakes to rotate in appropriate spots are certainly a practice, but not when you're trying to accelerate out of a corner!  for example look at 14:05 in the Saturday (top) video above.  you can see me lift early in the turn and pedal the throttle while sawing at the wheel trying to find some semblance of grip.  it just wasn't gonna happen! LOL

 

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LOL....hey, we run radials now!! They look like bias tires though...there are really sweet tires! Get your turning done earlier, diamond/square it off...I dunno...buy a vette? LOL!!!! Ha!!

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Yep but looking at data versus the guy who was smoking us all this weekend, I've gotta do more.

 

All of the time was being lost under braking.

Looking at speed trace- were braking at same time, same min speed at corner, but my speed is coming down at a sharper angle

looking at Long G's I'm braking .2 gs harder than him.

Definitely need to be softer and lighter on brake to roll more speed through the braking zone. I think trailbraking is gonna have alot to do with it.  And for the record I am (at least I thought I was) a very competent and deep trail braker.

 

Thats what I love about spec miata.  Driving matters! Details matter!

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