Thursday, April 12, 2012

First Autox of 2012

Last weekend I had the opportunity to do a proper shake down of the recent changes on the Elise
at Devens Airfield. As in my previous post the car had undergone significant suspension changes
during the winter, not to mention a new race seat + harness to keep me connected with the car
and road.

Ofcourse as one of the disadvantages of New England i woke up to a light snowy day, a bit of a late
april fools joke! The situation did not get any better as we were forced to autox in almost freezing
temperatures, but atleast the light snow had stopped by early morning.

But luckly i had some good company with me. Ryan and Ian (fellow iracers) were also at the
event, and this time Ryan had brought his new miata he had recently purchased this winter to its
first event. I quickly found out that Ian also had replaced his miata with a much better one as-well.
So it was a bit of a shakedown for them as-well...with their new cars.

Both of them did a great job. Ryan was getting comfortable with his left foot braking and his new car, while a few ride alongs with Ian showed the "smoother" side of Ian... with a bit of aggresion he was
easly able to do 108.x on his last run but he took out a few cones. It sucks because i had mounted
my camera on his car during that run but later we found out the battery had diea.

Anyways getting back to suspension changes, what i wanted to do the first test day was to keep the suspension at baseline as suggested by Nitron, but through out the day i really could not get a good feel for the new setup as the cold temperatures made it almost impossible to generate any tire temps to allow for any grib. My tires are barely street legal and quite soft which makes them like a brick in the cold...

With the cold tire temps, the car had significant understeer...compared to before.Also i think next time i will try softening up the front sway bar a little bit, as with the new stiff suspension the car is completely flat on any corner! :) Which means i really can't do proper weight transfer...

Not to mention, because the suspension is soo stiff now, i also struggled putting enough weight
on the front tires under braking, which did not help with the understeer.

My plan is to perhaps soften the sway bar, and do another test day when the temperature is not
freezing, this will allow me to see the true potential of the baseline setup. Then from there i should
be able to fine tune further.

Here is the 102.8 run from that day:

Tomorrow, i'll be heading to 24 Hours of Lemons @ New Jersey Motorsports Park and will be
racing the mighy 95hp Fox...! Looking forward to seeing my team mates,which i have not seen since last year! More to come on that after i get back...