Sunday, December 4, 2016

Going Wider

One thing I haven't done to Bumblestook because she was already working well was to try to go with wider tires up front to make it a square setup and increase front grip. With the significant gap we had to the Mazdaspeed Miatas at Nationals, I really have no choice but to try and extract every bit of performance I can get within the limits of the rules. Now that the season is over, SJF Performance was finally able find the time to work on this.

Circuit Garage S2000 front overfenders - 11/26/2016
We mounted the 315/30/18 Hoosier A7s on the 18x11 front wheels leaving the 315/30/18 Hoosiers on the 18x12 in the rear. I previously had 295s up front which were slightly stretched on an 11" wide wheel so the 315s are actually a better fit anyway. I technically don't need 18x12 in the rear but if I can't get the car to balance the way I want on the square setup, I'm leaving the option to go to 335s in the rear. I used to also run 10mm spacers in the front to get maximum clearance and to try and compensate slightly for the wider tire, I went to a 15mm spacer this time. To accommodate the extra tire width, I decided we should cut the OEM fenders some more and add overfenders so I picked up a pair of Circuit Garage S2000 front overfenders. Sadly these overfenders cost about as much as pre-made wider OEM style fenders but since those aren't Street Prepared legal, I had to go this route instead.

Make more room up front - 11/26/2016
It was clear early on that these overfenders had pretty bad fitment and would probably take a body shop a fair amount of time to mold properly to the car. Rather than use the entire overfender, we decided to just cut them up and just use the portion that overlays with the top of the OEM fender. I had my OEM fenders previously widened professionally by a body shop so they were shaped really nicely but unfortunately they were only nice because the shop used a fair bit of bondo to sculpt it into form. Some of the bondo cracked while cutting the fender away. Not a big deal but this was definitely going to end up being a case of function over form.

Front over fenders mocked up - 11/26/2016
Since I didn't know if I'd end up just destroying these fenders after a few events I was reluctant to have them professionally painted so I found a company that sells OEM color paint in spray can from ( They give you a can of base coat, medium coat and clear coat each of your car color. I was a bit skeptical especially since Spa Yellow is often hard to match but SJF and I were both surprised at how well the color matched (at least from a reasonable distance away). Since we were going to color match the front fenders, I opted to also paint the rear over fenders the same color after we cut them up a bit more for extra tire clearance in the rear as well.

Automotive Paint - 11/26/2016
Over fenders painted - 11/26/2016
At the last run of the final event this year, the passenger side front fender got ripped out completely. Luckily I was able to get a pair of brand new ones for a steal from Dan who had it lying around in his garage so SJF installed the new one.

New passenger front fender installed and trimmed for tire clearance - 11/26/2016
The new square setup and the wider front track is going to completely change the balance of the car. Unfortunately, the Gendron front bar and Ankeny rear bar I've been running for years now don't have sufficient adjustment for this setup so I replaced both with a fresh set of Karcepts sway bars instead. I'm running the largest front bar Karcepts makes for the S2000, 1.375" OD with 0.25" walls. For the rear I'm using the standard Karcepts S2000 rear sway bar used by the STR cars (which I also have on Lupa). SJF also noticed that the tabs on the rear subframe used for rear toe adjustment had been warped from all the rear grip so he straightened them out again.

Karcepts 1.375" OD, 0.25" wall front sway bar - 12/4/2016
Karcepts S2000 rear sway bar - 12/4/2016
After we got back from Nationals, we also noticed that the offset camber joint was leaking so we replaced both sides as well with a fresh set. I want to run Solostorm next year for data logging but didn't want to have a tablet mounted in my field of vision so I picked up an NVidia K7 Shield K1 tablet along with a RAM Tablet mount (RAMHOLTAB12U), RAM Diamond adapter (Ram-B-238) and RAM V-Base strap clamp with 1" ball arm which we hard mounted behind the passenger seat.

Tablet mount behind passenger seat - 11/26/2016
We also drained the remaining E85 in the fuel tank and put in pump gas again for winter storage. We still have a few things left to do over the winter to get her ready for next season but thankfully a lot of the major work has been completed.

Front overfenders - 12/4/2016
Color matched overfenders - 12/4/2016
Painted rear overfenders with weather stripping - 12/4/2016
Front overfenders viewed from above - 12/4/2016

Thursday, October 20, 2016

End of Year Maintenance

Lupa did pretty well this year putting down some miles. Despite not really racing her past early this season, she did go to Lincoln and we drove up to Vermont and New Hampshire to catch some Fall foliage a few weeks ago.

Driving up Route-100 in Vermont - 10/2/2016
Before tucking her away for the end of the season I wanted to make sure she gets a good once over. I took her over to SJF Performance where we change the engine oil and diff fluid. Glad to report the diff fluid still shows up as nice and clean. I then got her aligned because I wasn't sure if the alignment shifted after competition miles on concrete.

Alignment - SJF Performance - 10/15/2016
The alignment slipped a little bit but overall still in good shape. The rear camber bolts were starting to get a bit hard to adjust so we replaced the rear driver side bolt, nut and washer and will do the same passenger side next time. I also somehow gained camber in the rear despite the ride height not changing. Not sure what's causing that other than me having fresh tires but we couldn't get it less than -2.3 so the final alignment settings were:

-3.3 camber
5.6 caster
0 toe

-2.3 camber
0.06 per side toe in (1/8" total)

I also installed the Science of Speed hood dampers, new PIAA wiper blades (18" driver, 20" passenger) and removed the Valentine One radar detector wiring since frankly I never use it. I also replaced the USB cable going from the head unit to my phone with a flat one so I could route it better and replaced the phone holder with a RAM mount X-Grip version.

Science of Speed Hood Struts - 10/14/2016

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Final event for Bumblestook in 2016

It's been a long grueling season for Bumblestook and she's performed her best this year in the 4 years I've been campaigning her in BSP. After last event I came down with the flu and was planning on not being able to make it today but thankfully I recovered relatively quickly. We took her for her final runs in 2016 with the NNJR SCCA to burn off the last remaining Ethanol so she can be filled with pump gas for Winter hibernation.

Ready for her final runs this year
NNJR SCCA - 9/24/2016
It was the most perfect Fall day. Started out cloudy with some showers but by the time we ran, the course was dry and the sun eventually came out to heat everything up. Unfortunately due to the lower than usual turn out, we were almost hot lapping the cars for the 2-driver cars in Pro class making tire and engine cooling a bit problematic. Thankfully with the temps in the low-70s that helped make things a bit more manageable.

NNJR SCCA Autocross - 9/24/2016

Hez ended up getting taken down in PAX by Jeff Hurst in Tamra's DSP RX8 but was able to take FTD of the "normal cars". I think this further extends Hez's lead into the driver's championship in NNJR and should be enough to hang onto it even if we just run Lupa in STR for the final event in late October. I think I was finally happy with the way I drove her today. Maybe it's because I've been stuck at home all week or because I just feel super relaxed but I just felt I could push her and she'd push back and all would be good. I ended up 7th in RAW and 7th in PAX. What a great way to finish up her season.


I got to drive Dan's 997 911 for one run today. It was fun but very different from a S2000. Not sure what I was expecting but it definitely requires a different approach to driving. I think after this car gets fully developed it's going to feel awesome. Thanks for the drive Dan!

Steguis driving Dan's 911 - 9/24/2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Before we left for Nationals, the Hyperblack Advan RSII 17x9 +63 wheels I had ordered for Lupa finally arrived. Since Clyde would be making a long trip, I didn't put the wheels on until we got back. I ordered a fresh set of 255/40/17 Bridgestone RE-01Rs that I had SJF Performance mount on these wheels upon our arrival. I think it's really put the finishing touches on Lupa. I think Lupa can still look low key with these wheels on and with a weight of only 15.6lbs, they are also highly functional.

New Shoes - 9/18/2016
New Shoes - 9/18/2016

SCCA Solo Nationals 2016

Clyde drove Lupa to Lincoln from NJ and arrived on Labor Day. We had some Test and Tune time scheduled the following day and I also invited James to codrive with Clyde for Nationals. James would fly in with his dad on Tuesday. It was the first ever trip to Nationals for all three.

Clyde and James at the Practice Course
Lincoln, NE - 9/6/2016
We went straight to work tweaking the car for concrete. From my experience doing the practice course and what I felt during the ProSolo, the car would have to be set up with some slight push in order to work effectively on the competition surface. They did 3 hours of testing on Tuesday and on Wednesday, it started off with quite a bit of rain that ended up in drying conditions so they were able to get a feel for the car in all conditions. They did 2 more hours on of practice on Wednesday for a total of 5 hours.

More practice - 9/7/2016
Next day was day 1 of competition. STR would be competing on the West course. James coned his first run but was subsequently able to find more time on his next two runs. Clyde coned his first run, set a time on his second but lost it on his 3rd run for a DNF.

SCCA Solo Nationals
Photo by: Perry Bennett
On day 2 they ran on the East course where James put out the same performance as the day before with a cone on his first run and finding more time with each subsequent run finishing up in mid-pack in the very large and competitive STR class. Clyde went for broke, spun his first run getting a DNF, coned twice on his second run and then finally setting a clean run on his last run. Luckily for STR, they all managed to get their runs in before the intense rain that would wreak all kinds of havoc with Nationals this year.

Overall, we really didn't have any expectations for Nats. Both Clyde and James were new to the car and she hadn't undergone nearly the same kind of development as the rest of STR. That being said, Lupa finishing mid-pack out of 64 drivers was beyond what I could've asked for. More importantly the guys had fun at their first nationals and I expect both will be back again next year.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Bumblestook is back! NNJR SCCA FTD and Top PAX

Thanks to SJF's efforts, we were able to get Bumblestook back out on Saturday to do a local autocross event. This was a joint event between the NNJR SCCA and the NNJR Porsche Club of America.

Ready for testing - NNJR SCCA - 9/17/2016
We still had tons of OPR and other crap on the tires on the car so that would prove to be a bit challenging for the early runs as we were sliding around everywhere. After a few runs, all of that cleared off and we finally got back onto the actual race compound. She felt fantastic again. That characteristic fast turn in and being able to get power to the ground everywhere was back. I was definitely having difficulty adapting back from the high grip surface of Lincoln to the relatively slicker asphalt of the Meadowlands and coning a lot of my runs. Hez went off to set Fastest Time of Day (FTD) and Top PAX on his final run besting all 110 cars/drivers by a good margin with a flyer 45.1 second run. Let's just say Hez got a little extra excited after that run lol.

NNJR SCCA/PCA Autocross - 9/17/2016

Friday, September 16, 2016

Making Bumblestook 100% Again

After coming back from Nationals we discovered several issues with Bumblestook after dropping her off with SJF Performance. We have another NNJR SCCA event this weekend so I wanted to see if we could get her sorted before then and SJF was kind enough to work on the car while I was at work.

Steering rack out - SJF Performance - 9/15/2016
We had to replace the steering rack bushings and normally I'd just get solid bushings. Unfortunately that's not allowed in Street Prepared so I ordered a set of Mugen steering rack bushings from King Motorsports which are made of a stiffer rubber but created in the OEM mold for perfect fitment.

Mugen steering rack hard rubber bushings - 9/15/2016
I had ordered a new set of tie rod ends before heading out to Nationals since they started to have some play in them so he replaced those while the steering rack was out anyway.
New OEM Tie Rod Ends - 9/15/2016
In the process of replacing all this, SJF also noticed that the J's Racing offset camber joint was starting to leak some grease so I'll have to add this to the list of items to replace over the winter. It's fine for now but I can't leave it like this for next year.

J's racing camber joint with torn boot - 9/15/2016
The cracked exhaust also got welded up as a temporary fix. I'll likely have to figure out a better way to drive Bumblestook into the storage unit without scraping on the concrete floor on my way up the ramp and then replace this piece altogether.

Rewelded exhuast pipe - SJF Performance - 9/15/2016
The diff fluid was flushed as I always do after a big event. Fluid looked good so at least for now I think this diff is in decent shape though I'll likely be getting a new one and make this my spare over the winter. The clutch packs are starting to slip a little, allowing for wheel spin.

Changed diff fluid - SJF Performance - 9/15/2016
Lastly, she went back up the rack to reset her alignment. Everything got finished and we're all set to be at the Meadowlands again this Saturday to give her a shake down.

On the rack getting ready for alignment - 9/15/2016

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

SCCA Solo National Championship 2016

We had a 3 day break after the ProSolo Finale where I got some testing done on Bumblestook to make sure the new axle worked fine. Power delivery through the drivetrain felt normal but I did notice that the steering wheel was slightly crooked when going straight so perhaps the toe had slipped in the front. I didn't think much about it at the time since there really wasn't anything I could do about it.

First runs starting - Day 1 - 9/8/2016
Photo By: Clyde Siazon
It was a nice sunny day for day 1 of competition and we got scheduled to run in the first heat so we got there early to get ready and grid up. First day would be the East Course. The course looked fast and fun with a few slow speed digs that would prove to be our undoing. The tires we were running for Nats was the fresh set we scrubbed in at the last NNJR SCCA event but we may have taken a few too many runs and got them too hot as I noticed some purple discoloration on the outer shoulders.

Getting Ready - 9/8/2016
Photo by: Clyde Siazon
On my first run I focused on trying to push hard and get the tires up to temp and scrub off the outer layer and carried too much speed into the curved walloms (eyebrows) and almost lost it. I somehow managed to avoid spinning and came in with a decent first driver time.

Day 1 - East Course - 9/8/2016
Photo by:
Second drivers then went out and put down flyer first runs with Anthony Porta putting in a killer first run in his Mazdaspeed Miata putting an early 1 second lead over the rest of the field. Hez put in a good time slotting him in 3rd behind Chris Edens in the 26 Motorsports Mazdaspeed Miata. Anthony and Hez would not improve on their first runs but Chris would find some time and take the load over Anthony on his last run. Greg Hahn in the BSP S2000 from Florida found time too on his last run and slotted in 4th after day 1 just 0.2 seconds behind Hez. I struggled stringing the corners together and ended up having to settle for 10th after day 1. We simply didn't have the power to weight ratio needed to pull out of those slow digs like the MazdaSpeed miatas did.

Focusing on the course - 9/8/2016
Photo by: Clyde Siazon
Day 2 started with some heavy overcast that gave way to sun. When I took the photo below of the BSP grid there was some nice sunshine. Only 15 minutes later and just 15 minutes before we'd begin our runs, clouds started to roll in and we had a serious threat of rain. Jose, James and Clyde hurried off to paddock to get our Hoosier wets in case the skies opened up. Thankfully we were saved and the ominous clouds moved on without so much as a drop of rain come down on us.

BSP Grid - Day 2 - 9/9/2016
We'd be running day 2 on the West Course and although it looked a bit funny as we walked the course both Hez and I actually enjoyed driving it. The corners seemed to flow quite well and we had no trouble negotiating the course. Unfortunately, the MazdaSpeed Miatas would continue their domination on this course and extend their lead. Anthony took the lead over Chris on his 2nd run and despite Chris finding time on his final run, it was 0.3 seconds short and Anthony would take the BSP jacket this year.

Day 2 - West Course - 9/9/2016
Photo by:
Despite enjoying our west coast runs, the odd steering behavior started to plague us badly and the usually crisp, precise steering we've come to know so well from Bumblestook wasn't there. It required too much input for her to change direction which was really unusual. Greg took over 3rd spot from Hez who was now sitting in 4th and I dropped on more spot to 11th after spinning in my first run and running over half a second off Hez's time on my last run.

Hez on Day 2 - West Course - 9/9/2016
Photo by:

SCCA Solo Nationals - East Course - 9/8/2016

SCCA Solo Nationals - West Course - 9/9/2016

Hez was able to end up in the trophies with the 4th place finish, taking his first national trophy and would be the highest position Bumblestook's taken in BSP since I started to campaign her in 2013. Despite this, it's a bit disappointing that her overall pace wasn't enough to really put up a fight against the Mazdaspeed Miatas. We'll keep working at it and come back even faster next season.

BSP Trophy Winners for 2016 - In order left to right
Chris Edens (2), Brian Burdette (6), Michael Bright (5)
Anthony Porta (1), Hezron Laluces (4), Greg Hahn (3)
Hez taking 4th place - 9/9/2016
Photo by: Clyde Siazon
Overall I'd still say this has been my most memorable and fun trip to nationals yet. Both Bumblestook and Lupa were there and it was great seeing both of my cars out there racing and spending time with great friends.

Enjoying a good Nebraska dog and lemonade
Photo by: Clyde Siazon
Bumblestook and Lupa in paddock
Photo by: Clyde Siazon
When we got the car back to NJ, we took her straight to SJF Performance to get her on the lift. Aside from a cracked exhaust, we found the source of the steering problems. Worn steering rack bushings were causing the entire steering rack to shift as much as 1/4" when we turn the wheel. The sway bar had also somehow come a bit loose. We'll have to get this fixed and get started on the 2017 setup now in case I need to get some more stuff over the winter.

All done - 9/9/2016
Photo by: Clyde Siazon
Solo Nationals 2016 Done - Ready to go home - 9/10/2016
Photo by: Clyde Siazon

Sunday, September 4, 2016

ProSolo Finale 2016

This weekend was the SCCA ProSolo Finale. Hez was coming into the finale tied for the BSP points lead with Anthony Porta from California in his Mazdaspeed Miata and it would be the first time the two cars/drivers would go head to head this year. On Friday I had taken Bumblestook out on the practice course and found her to be a bit too pushy. Normally she should be pushy on the practice course for her to be good on the competition course surface but I felt it was a bit more pushy than normal. I opted to make a some tire pressure changes and she felt a bit more balanced.

BSP Grid - Day 1
Lincoln, NE - 9/3/2016
Saturday started off fairly nicely but with storms looming in the horizon.  We got our morning runs done in the dry and Porta was quick out of the gates. Bumblestook was feeling a bit loose which prevented us from putting down a good time. Hez's left side run and my redlight left side run were only about half a second from Porta's time and after reviewing the video we easily left time out there. On the right side Hez got into cone troubles from the car being loose and I was struggling as well. The morning ended with me having no usable left side times and Hez having no usable right side runs and we were stuck in 3rd and 4th position. No worries though since we'd have both afternoon runs and morning runs the next day to make it up.

Changing to Hoosier Wets
Lincoln, NE - 9/3/2016
We reset tire pressures back to what we normally run at Lincoln to tighten the car up a bit for the afternoon. Before we got to run, the skies opened up and we found ourselves standing in pools of standing water. There was no way we'd be able to go faster so we switched to our wet weather tires to at least do some rain testing and make the most of it. Thankfully the event was instead suspended until the next day so we'd get nice dry runs in the morning. That didn't work out either since on Sunday morning, the course was still wet from some more overnight rain. The conditions could best be described as "drying". The only thing we could hope for was to clean up our runs on our "dirty" sides and try to put in a decent time. Hez was able to find some time on the right course to move up into 2nd but was still off pace. I found time on both sides and coned away a run that would've bumped me into 3rd so ended up 4th, 0.01 seconds off Lee Piccione after the morning session on day 2. This was decent improvement but in the afternoon once the course fully dried we knew we'd be able to make up the lost time as it was fairly obvious reviewing our videos where we had made mistakes and could extract lots of time on both courses.

Broken driver side axle - 9/4/2016
Unfortunately, in the afternoon runs, the perfect conditions for grip also were perfect conditions for finally causing Bumblestook to fail. On Hez's left side course launch, the driver side axle gave way and that ended the event for us. Thankfully no one else found more time so the positions remained as it was from the morning and Hez was at least able to salvage the 2nd place position for the season.

Hez takes 2nd place in BSP for the ProSolo 2016 Season
Lincoln, NE - 9/24/2016

SCCA ProSolo Finale - 9/3-9/4/2016

I always carry spare axles with me to big events so big thanks to Steve Farkas (SJF Performance), Chris Carmenini and Mark Valera for helping us get the axle replace. Bumblestook was back in driving condition and ready for Solo Nationals for this coming Thursday before the day ended. As long as the weather cooperates and we no longer have mechanical issues, I know we can put up a fight this week.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Final testing before Nationals 2016

One of the biggest differences between Hoosier A6 and A7s is that the A7s aren't fast right off the bat. They need to be scrubbed in to get maximum performance. Today, during our final local event before heading out to Nationals we did just that. We slapped on the fresh tires we'll be using for Nationals to give them a good scuffing and heat cycle.

Scrubbing in Nationals tires - 8/28/2016
Not surprisingly, a large number of drivers showed up to today's event in hopes of having one last bit of testing/practice before heading out to the big show. A total of 150+ drivers were in attendance and there was no shortage of top level national drivers present. The course featured two extremely sharp 180 turn arounds that put Bumblestook squarely at a disadvantage as we lack the torque to rocket out of these slow speed corners.

RAW Results - NNJR SCCA - 8/29/2016
PAX Results - NNJR SCCA - 8/28/2016
Despite this, Hez and I managed to end at 3rd and 6th overall in RAW times and 6th and 9th in PAX. Given the way the course was laid out and the fact that the top 10 drivers PAX times were all within a very tight 0.5 second spread, I'm very happy with this result. The tires are now in prime condition for competition next week. Also, the 0.2 second gap between Hez and I is the closest we've gotten at a local event which validates that we both have sufficient pace to put up a fight against the rest of the BSP cars in the country.

NNJR SCCA - 8/28/2016

We're coming into nats in the best form we've ever been. The car is 100%, we're 100% but we know we'll have to give 110% to make it all count in Lincoln.