We’re BACK!

After a mostly unplanned 1 1/2 month hiatus from autocross we are back!!

Most of this was due to us working on the NB Miata’s clutch after the last event. As we planned to sell the NB, we found the clutch was slipping way too much to be acceptable for sale, and possible we’d take a big hit on the price. Rather than do that, we got a very affordable stock replacement kit on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001B5DS7K?). The simplicity ended there as we dealt with weeks of stripped and stuck bolts and parts. Highlights of the job included using quick steel to weld a socket and stripping bolt together to break it off, and using a truck to yank the bell housing off (which didn’t even really work). We finally finished the job on 9/13/15, as removing the exhaust manifold was the last key to getting the trans out. The clutch itself feels great, and now we can advertise that it’s got a brand new clutch with the sale!

In addition, as part of the agreement I was able to take the Z2SS from the Miata. While they already have 115 runs on them (compared to 177 on my tires) they are still really fresh. The Z2 non-star spec I ran last year only lasted about 120 or so good runs, and 150 runs before I got rid of them. Those tires heat cycled out before the tread ran down, most likely due to repetitive spraying. For the Z2SS, the Miata has been very kind to them – the outer shoulder wear is better after 115 runs than mine is after 50 runs on the Mini, and the inside of the tires look nearly brand new. I had SPS flip the tires, and I’m confident these will last at least another 50-100 runs easily. I’ve got about 40 or so more runs left on the Mini this year, and will probably carry these through to next year’s test ‘n tune, if not through the first few events.

The course was a fun course, a decent mix of power elements and momentum elements. It took about 2-3 runs to get back into it after my break from autox, but the time started dropping quickly. There was one new decently fast guy in the class driving an ’07 civic si (I believe previously an STS miata), and I was actually concerned in the beginning, but was able to beat him pretty handily by the end. The new-to-me Z2ss gives me a solid 0.3-0.5s advantage over the old RS3s I was using, was literally bolt on speed. I’m usually about 2.5s behind Adam, and was a solid 2.1s behind today. Actually, had Andy not run today in his Vette, today would have been one of my all time best events. There was definitely time left out there as I was getting used to braking zones and acceleration zones, but I’m really looking forward to wrapping up the season on these tires! Fastest run was a 53.018.

From careful review of the runs, it looks like the Mini actually is nearly neck and neck with the Evo after the wallom, thanks to it’s faster slalom speeds and higher lateral grip. From there though, the power of the Evo rocketing out of corners takes over. Excited to see how things develop when they’re both on RE71Rs.

Things to work on (Mini):

  • Better lines in certain spots, especially where the car will understeer, turn in earlier
  • Some areas, stick to slow-in, fast-out

Notes (Mini):

  • Full tank of gas
  • Ran 40/42-43psis
  • 115 +6 runs on Dunlop Z2’s (got from NB, just flipped)
  • 2.1s behind Adam

In an effort to make up for the last few weeks of missed driving, we decided to dual drive today, and give Matt a shot in the Evo before he left for Cali. While Matt got me in the Evo this event, I only had one clean run – and that run had a spin in it. Aside from that run and the very first run, all the rest of my raw times were faster. I hit a 50.8 twice, but kept hitting a cone here or there, usually just nicking it. Matt’s fastest was a 51.584, and that’s about where he hovered the majority of the event.

I think the balance of the car is pretty good, but it’s obvious from the understeer and oversteer that the car is just lacking some mechanical grip from new tires. As I may have previously mentioned, the Z1ss loses grip about halfway through it’s life, turning into a very hard material. Anyway, for now this is fine until I get new tires (RE71Rs). I have about 2s to make up to get to the fastest STU guy, and the RE71Rs should cover about 1s of that at least. There was definitely a lot of time left out there though. I need to take a few corners with a little more slow-in fast-out approach, as trying to carry speed in certain areas usually resulted in understeer. The line could definitely be tidier, and I’m leaving a lot out there in the a slaloms. The brakes are very good, but I need to be sure to be in a fairly straight line when using them hard. I also need to brake earlier, as there are a number of runs where I just try to go too fast on the throttle and don’t get to braking in time.

Matt:

Me, Inside View:

Me, Outside View:

Results here.

Things to work on (Evo):

  • Still getting comfortable in the car
  • Clean up the line in a few spots, closer to cones
  • Turn in earlier in some spots – more stable steering. A few areas where I turn, and then turn the wheel more to make the corner, already at the limit of grip and results in understeer
  • A lot of time out there in the slaloms
  • Slow in, fast out approach for a few corners – more patience in a few corners otherwise understeer
  • Brake earlier, and Gas only after the apex

Notes (Evo):

  • Full tank of gas
  • 15 from stiff is too stiff for gateway, should try 17 from stiff all around now next time (15 all around may be appropriate for Family)
  • Didn’t play too much with ACD settings, but middle setting is pretty good.
  • Car needs new to tires, more grip

2015 Run Count: 162 (+6 Mini, +6 Evo)

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