Sunday, June 22, 2014

Final Prep Before Toledo ProSolo 2014

After the successful testing we had two weeks ago despite the ITB failure, I dropped Bumblestook off at Evans Tuning to have the ITB issue sorted out before the Toledo ProSolo. While it was at the shop, Karcepts released new spherical upper shock mounts. I've been wanting to replace the modified Tein top hats on my Motons for some time now so this was perfect timing. I assumed that my Moton Triples were the same dimensions as the Moton Club Sports so Brian Karwan at Karcepts sent me spacers for those shocks but when Jeff DeVos (JDV) at Evans Tuning tried to install it, we found they wouldn't fit. It turns out the triples were slightly different but thankfully after getting the new dimensions to Brian, he quickly fabricated a new part and shipped it to the shop overnight for perfect fitment and we were back in business. The new top hats a bit narrower and lighter than my previous ones so replacing them actually dropped the car all around for a super hellaflush look (temporary). The ITBs were fixed and reset and TPS recalibrated.

Measuring Shocks - Evans Tuning - 6/17/2014
Shocks back together after new spacers arrived
Evans Tuning - 6/19/2014
New Karcepts upper shock mounts installed
Evans Tuning -  6/21/2014
Super hellaflush - Evans Tuning - 6/21/2014
After picking her up from the shop, I dropped her off at SJF Performance for suspension tuning. First Steve took care of the brake bolts that I lost at DC. Robert Thorne sent me new spacers and bolts so he put those in for me..the clearances are super tight on this kit!

Brake bolts replacement - SJF Performance - 6/21/2014
Being paranoid about ProSolos, I had Steve change the diff fluid again to handle the abuse I'm about to put her through next weekend.  We also put on the competition set of tires I'll be using for the weekend.

Fresh diff fluid - SJF Performance -  6/22/2014
Then it was on to some serious business. First up, with all the weight reduction the car underwent after the NJ Championship Tour and the new top hats, we had to reset the ride height and corner balance. Dave Corsaro is the man for this job and we got the car up to near stock height where I like the car to be (raising all corners around 0.5") and got the corner balance spot on for absolutely perfect cross weights in race trim. With the help of some static weight reduction and running a lot less fuel, Bumblestook dropped a solid 66lbs in race trim from when we won at the DC ProSolo two months ago. On top of that, I dropped 9lbs so in total Bumblestook is now a significant 75lbs lighter than in DC.

Pre-corner balancing, no driver weight - 2556lbs
SJF Performance - 6/22/2014
Absolutely spot on cross weights - SJF Performance - 6/22/2014
Dave Corsaro setting up the scales - SJF Performance - 6/22/2014
Corner balancing in progress - SJF Performance - 6/22/2014
Once corner balancing was completed, it was back on the alignment rack for the third alignment of the season. With the ride height slightly altered (rear is a tad lower than before) and the rake set to about 1/4", we got some more caster back in the car (maxed out at around 5 degrees) and a tiny bit more front camber. I asked Steve to compensate by adding another 0.1 degrees of negative camber in the rear and resetting the rear toe back to 1/16" total toe in. Unfortunately, there's some wear in the toe adjustment bolt so it didn't want to set at 0.3 per side, so we kept it at 0.4 which is a tiny bit more than 1/16" toe in. I have to make sure to order new bolts before we realign for Wilmington next month. As always, Steve painstakingly got all the alignment perfectly to spec...and damn, she really needs another wash :(

Alignment #3 - SJF Performance - 6/22/2014

Finally to help manage tire pressure build up in between ProSolo runs, all the tires had the air vacuumed out and replaced with Nitrogen.

Nitrogen fill in tires - 6/22/2014
It was a long weekend but I'm glad that the car is as perfect as she can be for Toledo. Everything was checked and re-checked for 100% performance so it's all up to me to not screw it up. There are no excuses! The concrete and a fairly stacked SPA class will be a true test of how fast Bumblestook and I really are nationally so we can make adjustments if needed before Nationals in 2 months.

Monday, June 9, 2014

ITB Failure, Testing and Winning

After a month off from racing I was excited to get back out there and test the changes we made last month. Softer rear springs, re-alignment and weight reduction. The weekend didn't start off too well though. On my very first run, I got to the first set of corners when suddenly I had no power even at full throttle. I was able to limp her back to grid to inspect what had happened. The throttle linkage for the ITBs had somehow worked its way loose. I thought it was game over. I pulled the return spring out behind it since I was afraid it would fall down and get lost but after closer inspection and with the help of Steve Farkas (SJF Performance), we managed to get the linkage reconnected, leaving the return spring out (not easy to reinstall on the spot). The other return springs were stiff enough that the throttle body performance seemed ok so I took her back out again for a test run and all seemed well. Not wanting to lose a day of testing, I just kept monitoring it after each run and it seemed to be work fine so I continued with testing as planned.

Linkage back in - NNJR SCCA Autox - 6/7/2014

Aside from adjusting the suspension for balance with the new rear springs, I wanted to see how low she could go on fuel without fuel starve to save more weight. We started the event at 6 bars and ended on 3 bars, well under quarter tank and did not get any fuel starve. Surprisingly I didn't need to make too many changes from my previous setup. As expected, the 10% softer rear spring helped add some mechanical grip back there to make her more stable and easier to drive under throttle. I only had to pull some rear rebound and the balance was back to what I wanted and she could be driven hard under throttle in every corner for rotation without much drama. Despite the early mishap, I was able to get 5th in PAX out of 148 drivers and 6th fastest time overall. The new exhaust is definitely louder than before and sounds more "bee"-like but should be within the sound limits for the SCCA.

Low fuel testing - NNJR SCCA Autox - 6/7/2014

Meadowlands, NJ - 6/7/2014

Day 2 testing continued with MSNE in Lot J at the Meadowlands. It's a wavier lot with a bit less grip but there were a lot of good elements to do more testing with including some very fast high-G sweepers to continue my low fuel testing. Ran a quarter tank the entire time with no fuel starve. No changes were made to her settings from the previous day and she was absolutely a blast to drive once I figured out the bad parts of the lot to avoid which unfortunately forced me to take a less than ideal line. At the end of the day, I managed to put down Fastest Time of Day (FTD) overall out of 124 drivers resulting in me getting this ridiculously oversized trophy that I have no place for but more than anything I'm just super stoked that Bumblestook is feeling in prime shape before Toledo.

Bumblestook and I take FTD at MSNE Autox - 6/8/2014
Photo Credit: Jose Lozano

MSNE Autox - FTD
Meadowlands, NJ - 6/8/2014

She now has to go back to Evans Tuning this weekend to sort out the ITB issue, new top hats for the Motons I got from Karcepts have to get installed and new corner balance and alignment with the new reduced weight. She'll be ready for the Toledo ProSolo where I'll try to keep the momentum going and hopefully put up a solid fight against the 14 other drivers in SPA - Street Prepared Index A. It'll be our first event on concrete with the current setup and I hope we can keep it together and do well.