2015-16 Recap & Off Season Plans

What a fast year 2015 turned out to be — can’t believe how quickly time flew. Funnily enough, for the second year in a row I got in 33 events, though this time via dual driving, and managed to get a few more runs in as well. Big year of changes too —

Evo 2015:

  • Evo rear differential was fixed
  • Evo spring rates were fixed
  • Evo caster plates and rear sway bar installed
  • Corner balanced and aligned
  • First PDX/track experience ever
  • ACD tune by English Racing, lighter spec

A lot of off season changes were made for the Evo to make the car looser – all stemming from the issue of my springs being installed backwards 10/8 rather than the appropriate 8/10k. The rear diff was finally sent in to get the fill bolt fixed, an issue that I hadn’t taken care of for the last 2 1/2 years, but finally had the time and experience to. Car balance is slightly in the other direction now, with the car being looser on transitions than I’d like. I think a front sway bar will be key in fixing a lot of these problems – either the front sway bar or stiffer spring rates anyway – I’m thinking at this point that an FSB will be ideal – it will also reduce roll, maintain dynamic camber better, etc. If it induces too much understeer, the rear sway bar is still on it’s softest setting, and the ACD is usually raced on it’s softest setting too. However, the main plans to begin with for the Evo are

Evo 2016:

  • Get RE71Rs, probably 245/45-17
  • Clean coilovers, swap Ohlins springs with Swift springs
  • Maybe front sway bar or stiffer rates if necessary

2016 overall will be a reevaluation year to see, after i bump up the tire grip, what kind of changes will need to be made. My expectation for the Evo is that I slowly convert it into more of a track car while maintaining it’s autox duties. Plan on doing about 3-4 track days next year – at least another at Gateway, and one at the Autobahn in Joliet, and Blackhawk Farms, and possibly one more at Autobahn or Gateway depending on the schedule.

Mini 2015:

  • Stiffened up the rear bumpstops to get the car a little looser

The Mini was still to me a little too understeery for my taste. However, I did spend most of the year on tires that went from neutral/loose to total understeer after the 2nd run. Kind of explains a lot of my struggles this year, and after switching to the Miata’s Z2 star specs, that greatly improved, if only for a while.

Mini 2016:

  • RE71Rs, in 205/50-16
  • Trim front bumpstops if necessary

Again, will just be an evaluation of whether the car needs to be looser once the new tires are here. My guess is the car will behave fairly neutrally, enough for me to be happy with. Will probably leave it up to the following year to make any setup changes beyond this.

All other cars:

  • Bought a Miata, bought another Miata, and sold a Miata, and now trying to sell another Miata
  • Got a ’10 Fit for a daily
  • ’07 Corolla was in an accident, tie rod to be fixed.

Hopefully no changes for the dailys in 2016, and they keep running smoothly.

This was a decent year for me overall, though it wasn’t until the very end that I think I improved as a driver. Either coincidentally or not, this was right after my first track day in the Evo, which was a total blast. I dropped back in overall index by 1 to 18th, and only managed 2nd in class with the Mini – however, with the improvements I made at the very end of the season, I was able to beat the driver who had beat me for HS for the first time! High hopes for 2016 that, with the new tires, I will be able to make top 10 in index in the Mini for the very first time! With the number of clubs in the area, I will mainly focus on local events with the Mini – namely StlSolo & Boeing, while racing the Evo at Gateway AX events if I can make them, as well as at CCSCC. No PDX/HPDE for the Mini though – way too slow to be out there, and the Evo will handle that duty for me. 2016 is already shaping up to be an exciting year!

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