Friday, March 30, 2012

Back from Infineon - 24 Hours of Lemons

Had a great time with Team Sex Pistons and the nimble 1978 Triump Spitfire last weekend.
The Spitfire comes with only 65 hp but sticky handling allows it to keep up with the big boys
on the technical parts of Infineon.

I have to thank the team captain Colin for the seat and oppurtunity, they have a very solid operation
and a great bunch of people! Not to mention the team had extra parts for almost everything, engine,
transmission, you name it.. But the car was well kept and ran like a clock the whole 14 hours
considering old British cars are known for being a pain in the $@#$#@!

Also the most crowded race in Lemon's history was to take in heavy rain on Saturday.I was
really looking forward to experiecing 172 other cars on the track racing in the rain with me.. :)
But as it turns out our car had no wipers. Having a plastic windshield also meant RainX would
not work, and we were left racing on Saturday under heavy rain almost blind. I got some footage of
that at begining of my video to give a was quite scary as we could not see where we were going
and i actually had to count between turns in my head, memorize and turn-in blindly..! :)

But after a penalty free wet Saturday, Sunday the clouds cleared...and we had dry tarmac ahead.
The Spitfire came to itself in the dry and we were dicing with some of the Class A and B cars all day.
I have to say the team kept it clean and the momentum going...which ultimately led to a 4th in Class
position at the end of the weekend. I hope to be able to race with Team Sex Pistons again in
the future...!

Some video, mostly Sunday from my perspective dicing with traffic: :)

Tomorrow I'll be taking the Lotus for its first shakedown autocross after the recent suspension ugrades.
Since i live in New England, i just found out freezing rain and snow is it's going to
be a interesting day for sure with my cold tires :) More to come on that in the following days...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Black Art of Suspension Tuning

Recently i had the pleasure to work with the Services Director Steve from Aston Martin of New England & Lotus Motorsports dealer which happens to be only 3 miles away from my house. Considering that there aren't many Lotus dealers in the country, i can say i am quite lucky...and more lucky to have these guys in reach for not just the quality & timely work they do on the cars, but because they are also very reachable and responsive to any sorts of questions.

And plenty of questions did i have :) My plan for 2012 season was more local autox and track days. The biggest item (both from budget and proabbly bang for the buck) on my todo list was to get a Nitron 46mm Race Pro 3-way adjustable racing suspension upgrade.

Although the Elise comes with a proper "sport" suspension, it still is not up to par with it's brothers (Exige and newer Sport pack Elise). Furthermore i know from my friends who regurarly track their Lotus's that a proper adjustable suspension is needed to take full advantage of the chasis.

Ofcourse adjustability is a double edged sword... You have to know what you are doing. That's why some call it the "Black Art of Suspension Tuning". There is no magical recipe, one needs to adjust and fine-tune the suspension not just for the track, but also for the conditions and even the driving style. Having 3-way adjustable settings per each wheel + ability to adjust the height of the car means only one thing = i'm proabbly way over my head :) But that is fine..this is a great way to learn.

Steve was kind enough to send me pictures of the upgrade process. We also reached out to Nitron folks in UK, and got base-line settings. I was suprised how responsive Nitron was to. Working with Steve & his team has it perks,, they spent a good hour explaining and demosntrating the tuning mechanisms, diffrent knobs, etc as-well...

(top: stock, bottom: nitrons)

I also replaced my current seats with Tillett B5 racing seats from UK(carbon + handmade). But they only had one in stock, the passenger seat is on its way. Steve also went the extra mile getting the seat fit in the Elise, as there was some design flaws from Tillett factory which made it impossible to install... So they had to manchine a few parts for this! But now i think i'll be more connected with the car for the first autox of the season which is coming on March 31st :)

There was a few more upgrades to the car...but this is the time i have for now. Next weekend i'll be racing in 24 hours of Lemons with Team Sex Pistons @ Infineon, need to focus on that :)