Sunday, March 31, 2019

Double Header - TnT and First Win of the wet!

I'm a bit exhausted now but it's been quite a weekend with an NNJR SCCA double header starting with a test and tune on Saturday and a race on Sunday. We couldn't have asked for more perfect weather for a test n tune. It was sunny and perfect temperature (mostly in the 60s with a high of around 72F) making it possible to do almost 20 runs without having to spray the tires much.

Getting ready for the TnT - 3-30-2019
NNJR SCCA - Meadowlands, NJ
I started off the day by increasing my rear bar. After reviewing my notes from the MSNE event last week, I didn't feel I had the right balance so I moved the bar to the 3rd hole from full soft (one notch up from last time). As a note for myself, it's a 15mm and 17mm socket/wrench Steve, stop fumbling around! I really wish this bar was easier/faster to adjust like the famous Karcepts bars I have on Bumblestook but if these are good enough for a GT3, then these are good enough for a lowly Cayman.

Rear bar increased to 3rd hole

The next order of business was to do a full sweep of the damper settings to see how the car would behave. I already knew the car was underdamped just driving around on the street but until you do proper testing subjecting the car to different kinds of transitional elements, you'll never really know what the knobs should be set to. Turns out I had to crank the shocks up quite a bit to achieve the right balance of compliance with undulating surfaces and fast transition speeds. She's finally no longer sluggish in slaloms and has pretty good balance coming out of corners so I can get on the throttle and put the power down. The final settings for my notes are:

Compression: 10
Rebound: 10
Tire Pressure: 29

Compression: 10
Rebound: 11
Tire Pressure: 31

I'm sure i'll be refining this further in the upcoming months but now I think we're really at a good starting point. While the car was feeling pretty great, my driving was pretty "meh". I'm not the kind of driver that can just hop into a new car setup and be comfortable to push hard. I need to know what the car is going to do before I provide the input. Now that I've found a good setting that matches my driving style, I'm hoping to focus on improving my driving quickly. The TnT ended with my times being about 0.7 seconds off pace with Wally who I'm using a benchmark since he's been prepping and driving his 350Z in STU trim for years now and I felt if I could be within 1 second of his time, the car would be within the ballpark of being competitive once I figure out how to drive her properly.

Rain starting - Race Day - 3-31-2019
NNJR SCCA - Meadowlands, NJ
Today was race day and there was a threat of rain but you couldn't tell in the morning since the sun was up and it was pretty comfortable. First heat got away running in the dry but as my run group (2nd heat) started, the skies opened up and it was very slick conditions. Although I'm not a big fan of rain events especially in the cooler months, I figured this could at least be a good day for me to practice good car control and get comfortable driving Kay past the limit of grip.

Rain and wind getting stronger
I left PSM (traction control) off as usual to let the OSGiken diff work and first started with Sports mode on for maximum performance. After the first run it was clear that Sports mode needs to stay off in low grip conditions such as rain. The throttle is just too sensitive and I found it hard to modulate the power to get smooth power delivery out of corners. By my next run I was able to put in a fast time that was good enough for the win in STU. With worsening conditions, it was hard to find more time so while I'll take this win as a win, in the dry I've got an uphill battle ahead. I'm really happy though that Kay's working really well. I may refresh her brakes since I feel that she could slow down a bit quicker but I'm leaving that as a question mark for now while I do research. Also happy that finally all my cameras and solo storm are working as they should so I at least captured my fast lap today. I'm really loving the visor camera (Cambox Mkv3). It's a bit dizzying to watch by itself but overlaid to other in-car video, I can really tell if I'm moving head is moving around as much as I should to look ahead.

NNJR SCCA - 3-31-2019

STU Results - 3-31-2019
She came out of this weekend pretty filthy so I'll have to get her washed next week but this weekend turned out to be very productive and vital to doing well at the NJ ProSolo in a month. I still haven't figured out how to launch her yet though. At lower RPMs you just get a bunch of wheel hop which is very bad for the transmission so I've just been leaving the line "normally" so I don't break anything.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Out of Hibernation for 2019

It's been a long 4 months since I put Bumblestook under wraps for the winter and it felt great to put on her summer tires and let her warm up a bit again.

First start up of 2019 - 3-24-2019
I got a chance to install her new Antigravity ATX-30 5lb battery. It's a bit bigger than the Deka battery I had on previous years but weighs half as much. I was a little concerned when I first put it in because I thought it might be too wide but it actually fits perfectly between the holes where the J-hooks go for the tie down.

Antigravity ATX-30 Battery - 3-24-2019
Unfortunately, I was racing Kay so I didn't have the time to actually go take her out for a proper drive. She could also use a proper cleaning since I forgot that I had to put her away early last year because of the early snow/salt. It doesn't matter though. I'm just really happy she's out from under the covers and is ready to run hard again this season.

Finally getting sunlight - 3-24-2019

Sunday, March 24, 2019

First Test of 2019 - MSNE Autocross

It's finally Spring and with the weather a comfortable 60F, it was off to give Kay her first test in full STU trim. I frankly wasn't sure what to expect since I made so many changes over the winter plus I'm super rusty so at the very least I was hoping to scrub the tires before next weeks test 'n tune and at most I was hoping to find some settings that would give me a decent baseline for that test.

MSNE Autocross - 3-24-2019
Well she definitely turns in better this year as I can attest from the many (very many) cones I hit today. I got one clean run I think (video below). She was initially a bit loose and I dialed in a bit of understeer as her starting point for next week. Overall she feels really amazing. It's incredible what proper suspension, alignment and a real differential will do to a car. We've got a lot of work left to do though. I'm happy she at least feels in the ball park of where she needs to be. Once these tires are properly broken in, I can really try to extract some speed. I also have to adjust my driving. My timing was way off with her new cornering abilities and when I did back off a bit to get a clean run, I was totally off my marks. Looking forward to really learning how to drive her now.

MSNE Autox - 3-24-2019

Setup Notes:

- Pressure: 29psi
- Compression: 4
- Rebound: 8

- Pressure: 31psi
- Compression: 2
- Rebound: 8

Video Notes:
- Need to make sure my helmet camera is angled upwards
- Don't put the mic too near to the exhaust, it clips audio badly (video uses the helmet mic instead as external exhaust mic was unusable)

I also got a chance to put in the new Antigravity Group-48 (9.6lbs) battery. It's really insane how light it is for its size and cranking power.

Antigravity Group-48 battery - 3-24-2019
Last year I also thought I had crazy valve issues with the engine after one event but it turned out to just be dried up leaves that got into the intake. I figured I'd prevent that this year because I'm already paranoid enough with everything related to the engine of this car so I put on Zunsport side grills while I was waiting for our heat to start.

Zunsport side grills - 3-24-2019
I'd say overall it's a successful start to the season. Car feels pretty awesome and everything is working as it should. The driver (me) definitely needs lots of improvement and getting comfortable driving the way Porsches are supposed to be driven. If you trust the car and plant the throttle, it really hooks up nicely out of corners and rotates very predictably. I think the car is a bit oversprung for Lot J at the meadowlands but it might fare a bit better in Lot E. The bumps just really upset the car. It almost feels like I'm bottoming out the rear in some of the more severe bumps. From my experience with Bumblestook though I think the spring rates are going to be perfect for concrete and Nationals is really our goal so that's where the setup focus needs to be.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Got STUpid?

It's been about two and half months since I decided to make the switch from running BS (B-Street) to STU (Street Touring Ultra) and the build is now complete and Kay is ready for her first event later this month. Although I've covered a lot of this in previous blog posts, I thought I'd consolidate the build details into a single post for easy reference later. I also got a chance to do a quick photo shoot this morning before work with a real camera so I thought I could make some gratuitous use of those photos.

Ready for the 2019 Autocross Season - 3-14-2019
Comparison from last year's BS trim - 7-29-2018
(Eeeesh that rear wheel gap)
The guiding philosophy of the build was to try and put together a competitive 987.1 Cayman S while keeping the car clean and "almost stock" looking as possible. Inside, I wanted it to still be comfortable to drive long distances. Whenever possible I stuck with OEM Porsche parts unless an aftermarket performance option was significantly better. It's built to the limit of the rules without overdoing it (for instance, getting seats I really wanted versus the lightest possible seats the rules allowed). Most importantly, it was top priority to make choices based on what would really enhance the driving pleasure for me.

Build Summary

I'm going to just bring up the performance/STU specific related mods here (including stuff carried over from BS) and not bring up the little insignificant cosmetic mods and maintenance items to keep things clean.

  • 2007 Cayman S w/ 6MT
  • Atlas Grey
  • Sports Chrono
  • PASM (deleted - see below)
"Almost Stock"
Power Adders
  • aFe Magnum Flow - Pro 5R intake filter
  • Soul Performance street header with HJS 200-Cell Cats
  • FVD Brombacher exhuast
  • FVD Tune

  • Rennline HD engine mount
  • Function First V2 transmission mounts
  • GT3 lower control arms (for front)
  • MCS 2-Way Non-Remote dampers with 600/700lb HyperCo springs (PASM delete)
  • Elephant Racing eccentric rear toe arm bushing
  • GT3 front sway bar w/ Tarett Engineering drop links
  • GT3 rear sway bar w/ Tarett Engineering drop links

  • OSGiken Super Lock Limited Slip Differential
  • Numeric Racing short shifter

  • GT2 Carbon seats
  • DMC harness bar
  • Brey Krausse sub strap bar
  • Schroth GT3 6-pt harness (driver side only)

  • Yokohama Advan Racing GT Premium forged wheels
    • 18x8.5 +50 (18.6lbs)
    • 18x10 +40 (19.2lbs)
  • Titan Wheel Accessories 5mm wheel spacers all around
  • Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R
    • 255/40/17 front
    • 265/40/17 rear
  • TPMS delete

Misc Performance / Reliability Enhancements
  • FVD baffled oil pan
  • Porsche Motorsports Air Oil Separator
  • ERP under-drive PS pulley
  • TuneRS motorsports PS cooler
  • Stainless braided brake lines
  • Antigravity Group-48 24Ah 1000CCA Lifpo4 battery (9lbs)

Big thanks to Bryan and his team at Speed Sport Tuning, Lee at Hybrid Motors, Steve at SJF Performance, Bryan from Karcepts, Jonathan from OSGiken, and Alex and his garage for helping me get this build completed on schedule.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Ride Height, Alignment and PS Pulley

Events are on the calendar for the end of March already so time is up. I needed to finish off the remaining mechanical items still left on the build check list so I dropped Kay off with Speed Sport Tuning in CT again this past weekend. Bryan and his team were kind enough to slot me in right away and get the car back to me in just a few days.

New ride height - 3-13-2019
It's been about a month since SST installed the coilovers and LSD and I've driven close to 500 miles since then so the springs have adequately settled. Now it was time to really set the ride height. I opted for a bit more reverse rake and lower the rear an additional 15mm. Not only does this look better but  I was advised that Caymans like having the weight biased like this. It looks pretty good with the stock 19s but the Advans on a 255/265 18" setup is a smaller diameter so the gaps will appear "stock" to the untrained eye once I put those on. I then had them re-align the car back to the original spec I gave them since the springs settling shifted some of those value.

ERP under-drive pulley and smaller serpentine belt - 3-13-2019
While they had the car anyway, I had them also install an under-drive pulley and smaller serpentine belt for the power steering pump. This one's made by ERP and sold by Tarett Engineering and includes a new OEM pulley bolt. I already helped improve reliability by installing a power steering cooler early on in the build, but installing this under-drive pulley also prevents the PS pump from over-spinning at high revs and causing all kinds of well documented power steering issues. The added benefit is that it also frees up some power so it's a win-win all around.

The days are getting longer, the temps slowly warmer and the snow and salt are all but gone so I think it's time to put the summer/competition wheels and tires on and get her fully ready for her 2019 debut.

Maintenance Updates:

Mileage: 34,760
- Under-drive PS pulley
- New serpentine belt

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Ceramic Coated Wheels

Today was supposed to be Kay's 2019 maiden event but with the weather still being pretty crappy, I decided that standing in the rain in 40F degree weather isn't something I want to do. Instead, I made the most of the day selling a set of Bumblestook's extra wheels to Darian of Performance Detailz in East Earl, PA while taking the opportunity to have him ceramic coat the Advan GT wheels.

Advan GT Premium wheels getting coated with
Kamikaze Stance Rim Coat - 3-10-2019
JDM wheels should be coated in JDM ceramic coating right? Darian hooked me up with his private stash of Kamika Stance Rim Coat made in Japan haha. That should keep the wheels nice and fresh.

He did two layers on each wheel inside and out. This was the perfect time to do it since they're still new and off the car. It obviously won't protect against rock chips but it should keep brake dust at bay and make it super easy to get clean again.

Advan GT Premium wheels getting ceramic coated - 3-10-2019
Advan GT Premium wheels getting ceramic coated 3-10-2019
I still think pictures don't do this wheel justice. Looking forward to finally putting them on and getting some seat time though. All this prep work without any testing is no fun. That'll have to wait a bit longer though. I dropped Kay off at Speed Sport Tuning yesterday to get her ride height adjusted and re-corner balance and aligned as well as take care of a few more odd ends on the build sheet. We should still be on target to make the NNJR SCCA TnT at the end of this month. 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

New Tail Lights and More

Admittedly, I'm getting to some pretty dumb stuff in this build since the car is for the most part done in the performance department. It's nothing bad, but I'm just doing little cosmetic things because I can't leave anything alone apparently. Last year as soon as I got the car I put on Porsche OEM all red tail lights. As far as OEM lights are concerned, I preferred the all red look. However, as I've spent more time than I care to admit looking at Caymans, I decided to switch to LED rear tail lights. I'm pretty sure they're all pretty much made by the same place in Taiwan so the brand doesn't matter too much but I made sure that it had an OEM like appearance. I also wanted OEM connectors and have integrated resistors so I wouldn't get any errors that my lights were out or have them flash unnecessarily fast. I opted for these "Rosso Burgundy" lights by VIPMOTOZ through Amazon.

OEM all red (left) vs LED tail lights (right)
Unlike the Depo ones I had seen online these have an OEM like finish with no crazy exposed wires in the back and a plug-n-play OEM connector. Very nice! Who knows how long they'll last but I kept my OEM ones aside anyway just in case.

New tail lights have OEM like connectors and mounts
It's super easy to swap out rear tail lights in a Cayman so it only took a few minutes for each side and I think it really changes the way the rear looks for the better. Took her out for a test drive. Now errors and blinkers are normal speed. I also put a camera on a tripod so I could make sure all the lights were operating properly and it looks like they do so I'm satisfied.

LED tails (left) vs OEM Red (right)

Both LED lights installed - 3-3-2019

Video of tail lights working - 3-3-3019

I also finally put in the Lloyd's black with yellow stitching floor mats in. They had originally sent me the wrong mats but the new mats fit perfectly. Yes, I'm continuing with the "splash of yellow" theme for the interior.

Lloyd's mats installed
Since I don't wear a HANS device for autocross, I still wanted some comfort when wearing the harness so I just got the 3" wide harness pads from Schroth (obviously I still use the OEM 3-pt on the street for safety).

Schroth 3" harness pads
And lastly as a maintenance item, I changed out the wiper blades. The last time I drove her in the rain, the old ones were squeaking pretty badly and I have no record when they were last replaced so might as well put in fresh ones. The car is 12 years old after all. Ignore the dustiness of the car, she really needs a good wash soon.

New Bosch wiper blades
Maintenance Updates:

Mileage: 34,664
- Change wiper blades with Bosch 582S (OEM style replacements)