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Saturday, February 11, 2012

SuperMiata aero

Some pics from Streets of Willow today. Testing the SuperMiata Cup Car spec aero wing and air dam.Balance is good, height is just right. Doesn't look to shabby either. 

OGK 2.0 engine

This is the engine we built for the OGK last year. Finally got it into a car. Making 182whp on CA91 with a rough tune. Still a few more things to adjust and test. Should make close to 200whp when we're done. Then we'll add a C30-94 Rotrex and aim for 400whp. Should be fun.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Daily driver gets a new heart

The 95R package we picked up for $750 two years ago finally got it's makeover. The goal was a clean looking daily driver that should pass emissions testing in every state. Current weight is about 2150lbs with a splash of fuel. 147whp on CA91.

We fitted Xida-S with 700/400 rates. RB 1.125" #54105 front sway bar. Rear is the OEM 12mm with urethane bushings for street, 14mm bar for track use. Prothane control arm and diff bushings, SuperMiata end links. Diff is the stock 4.1 type 1 Torsen.

Brakes are OEM Sport Brakes with our two piece rotors and XP10's up front, XP8's in back, stainless lines all around with Motul RBF600.

The car has an NB front subframe, spindles and depowered steering rack.

We blueprinted an NB2 motor with Supertech 11.0:1 83.5mm pistons that were shaved down to create 10.5:1 compression. Supertech valve springs, SCAT forged rods and ACL race bearings. The rest is 100% OEM parts. Head and bottom end is otherwise stock. 5W30 Amsoil. Magnaflow Metal core cat. Exhaust we built is a bit too loud so we're putting a Racing Beat midpipe and Powerflow muffler on it. ECU is a special Adaptronic 440 ECU configured just for this type of conversion. Thread on the ECU here http://forum.miata.net/vb/showthread.php?t=403239

  As an experiment, we initially built the car with an EUDM header and heatshield to retain a full OEM appearance and functionality. We also kept the OEM NA8 airbox and NB2 MAF. With all that OEM hardware and a cat, we squeaked out 126whp on CA91.

  Next we experimented with a few different intakes and settled on a K&N 60-6900 CARB legal kit. With that kit installed we made 147whp after wrapping the crossover pipe in thermal sheet and adding a Racing beat header. With the header, our CARB emissions compliance went out the window.

For now the car has no oil cooler but we'll add a very small Setrab with -10 push on hoses and Mocal thermostatic sandwich plate. Koyo 37mm radiator and Koyo cap with M-Tuned reroute.

6 speed trans running Amsoil MTG. Clutch is a clutchnet stage 2 for 1.6 (200mm), organic sprung hub. Lightweight 8.8 lb Cr-Mo flywheel. 15x9 6UL's on 225/454 RS3's running about 26psi. I painted the wheels Ford tungsten gray code T8.

Miscellaneous bits
Harnesses are G-Force 5 pt camlocks. Seats are OMP Grip with custom made fixed brackets. Bar is a Hard Dog HC DD. Wheel is a Momo 350mm mod 78, NRG 2.5 QR and Momo hub.

We added V8 Roadsters subframe braces for added torsional rigidity. We'll some E-Code 55/65 halogen lights so we can actually see where we are going once the sun goes down.

John did a partial wire tuck under the hood. The relay box and ECU are behind the pax airbag cover.

Driving it
  It's a blast! Amazing throttle response and torque way down low. The gearing and light flywheel let it zip through the gears like a kart. One can short shift at like 2500rpm and still keep way ahead of traffic from a light. In 6th gear at 45mph, it still has enough torque to squirt into spaces in traffic. The ride with the 700/400 Xida-S is very firm but not harsh at all. Feels a bit lumpy at very low speeds but smooths out and begins to glide once you start hammering it. Brakes feel amazing. Super sensitive, tons of power. The XP's dust quite a bit but that's typical of the XP's.

We took it to round 1 of the 2012 Miata Challenge at buttonwillow Sunday Jan 29th. Clocked a 2:02.813 which is almost 2s faster than the Spec Miata lap record, and we did it on "street" tires.Very happy to have a concept, piece it all together tune it and have it turn out even better than I envisioned. These cars just so much fun to play with.

Friday, January 27, 2012

2011 Thunderhill 25 hours - Winnage

  It's taken me a while, perhaps too long, to sort of assimilate the win and what it means to me. In a word; huge. Certainly my greatest motorsports accomplishment. I say "my" with the significant qualifier that we had a 20 person team that made it possible. It's traditional for a team owner to offer some thanks to the team, "job well done" and all that, after a big win. In this case, it's simple, the team held us together when the shit hit the fan. The team fixed stuff that they hadn't trained for. The team went far above and beyond to ensure we had the best chance of winning. We would not have won if our team had not been the walking talking action heroes they are. There are forum posts sprinkled around the web by team members recalling their stories so I won't even try to tell them all here. Here are at least a few brief insights into the level of commitment and admirable skill displayed by everyone:

Good to the last drop
 The two fuelers, Manny Rodriguez and Murat Guruz were scheduled to switch off roughly 6hr shifts fueling. Early in the race they figured out that they could knock 12~15s off our pit stops by doubling up and fueling together. So, entirely of their own accord, decided to stay up the entire 25 hours in order to increase our chances of winning. Those guys moved 3000 lbs of fuel into the spec 5gal jugs. Filled both cars all week and made about 28 flawless fuel stops during the race for both cars. Not a drop spilled. To see the guys at 3am in full fire retardant fueling gear, helmet on, visor down, sleeping under a blanket in the pit right next to the wall.. inspiring. None of us wanted to let them down.

Hell Hour
  Between about 12:30-1:30am, we had a successive rash of failures and mechanicals on both cars. For an hour our crew was literally sprinting from the pit back across the wall to the paddock spot to perform emergency repairs. Shouted commands, tools clanging, guys diving under cars, frantic calls for spare parts. That some of the mechanics were asleep when the cars came it added to the confusion. Just before the chaos, we at about the halfway point in the race with a unassailable 10 & 12 lap lead over P3. Killin' it pretty much.

  We had a wheel fall off of Enzo after the improperly installed wheel studs sheared off. This after an unscheduled stop for front pads. A few laps after that, Crusher had a big brake fade sending William off the top of T9 onto the hillside. As it turns out, there is an access road there. Good thing because by the time he got the car slowed down, he was about 200' from the track edge. The in car video shows him about 100' up on the hillside above the track. He crept along about 1/4 mile down to T11 to rejoin. A lap later the brakes failed completely, just before the pits. He managed not to stuff it into anything and limp into the pits brakeless. Crew jumping on the hood to stop it.

When the dust settled around 1:30, the two cars were back on track, running fast but about 11 laps down on P1. Crusher spent more time in the pits so Enzo inherited P2.

   Just after the frantic repairs and getting the cars back out, our team collectively had a short phase of well, dejection. It was easy to get discouraged. A big lead evaporated, confidence in our entire effort seriously shaken. Me and a few key members made an effort to rally the guys back on point. The reality was that we easily had enough time to regain the lead considering our pace and track position before the mechanicals. The somber air was short lived. Everyonne quickly realized we were very much still in the race for the win. From there on out we all had this unspoken feeling that we were just plain going to win it. As if the mechanicals were some sort of test we had passed. Are we worthy? Damn straight we are.

In the end, we finished 1-3 in class and 8th overall. What's blew us away was that we beat every other class except ES. Huge.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wet weather testing

Wet weather testing at Buttonwillow. Partial dry conditions here, dry line forming. Feeling out where the grip is. Open test day so no rescue on site. That means flipping it in the mud is not a great idea as it might be an hour or two before anyone digs you out. Thus, a wee bit tentative on the out lap. Also a brand new race car built for T25 so wadding it into a ball trying to be a rain meister on an empty track would be, ah embarrassing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

More T25 testing

A few pics from the Speed Ventures event at Buttonwillow Oct 22/23, 2011. We went to test some new ECU maps, tire configurations and make some tweaks to the suspension settings.  Sonny, one of our super fast T25 team drivers, was there to get used to the new car and share driving duties. As it was hot and the coolsuit wasn't installed yet, it was nice to get a break every hour or so and rehydrate while he flogged the car around collecting data and testing configs.

   We started the weekend with a sick transmission, hoping it would last long enough to complete testing. Trans died around 4pm Sunday. John and I called it good, loaded up and went to Chipotle for much needed beer and mega burrito.

We're now tuning on Hennessey's Dynojet next to our shop. Quite convenient being able to drive the race cars 150ft across a parking lot for that. John and I are re-familiarizing ourselves with Megalogviewer, Tuner Studio, VE analyzer and MS in general. We're also able to make quick tests of different race car parts as well as new products, make a tweak in the shop and go right back to the dyno in minutes.This defeats the wallowing time suck we had before of loading a car in a trailer and driving an hour every time we needed to test anything on a dyno.

Catching a little air over Cotton Corners
Testing 205 Star Specs on 15x8 6UL's

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Thrash

John, working on the oil cooler
 Anyone who has been racing very long knows of the thrash. It's that insane last week working first 12 then 18 then eventually 24hrs a day to get the car ready for the upcoming event. This while juggling your day job, kids, wife, school, drug habit, whatever. When John Wing came on board August 3rd, he asked me which car I wanted built first. I said the enduro car. He asked when the next enduro was and I said Oct 8/9 but didn't think he could get it built in time. At that time, the car was a bare tub, not a single fastener or part attached. Boxes of parts around the warehouse for it. Oh yes, and a bunch of experimental stuff we have never done and custom fab work to do. Stuff like an ABS system with a proportioning valve and a switch for the driver to disable ABS at a whim. An electrical system that does not have any fuses or relays, only a prototype Smartwire programmable solid state switching system from Racepak. 11" long 5000 lumen headlights mounted in the behind OEM lenses and two more on the nose. Experimental alpha code software for ECU. John's answer to my doubts about getting done by Oct 8 was, "I can do it". I nodded, stepped out of his way and started ordering parts.

Getting aligned and corner weighted
 He made stellar progress up until it started to look something like a car. That's when we started hitting major roadblocks. Engine arrived about a week late. ECU wouldn't see crank angle sensor. various unforseeable problems. So the last week, john worked pretty much non-stop. As in did not go home non-stop. I pitched in the last few days. Two missed dyno appointments later and we finally had a car that moved under it's own power and sorta acted like a race car. We left many things unfinished as we just plain ran out of time. John pulled 149 hours of work in 11 days at the end. Are there even that many hours in 11 days? Jeebus.

Joe Perez helps us track down an issue with the MS3 Alpha code 1.14

Shawn Church doing his thing
 So, working on about 4 hrs sleep in the last 36, we loaded up and drove to the NASA enduro Oct 8/9 at Buttonwillow at 6am, arriving at the track around 11am. If you are wondering why it took 5hrs to get from Lake Forest to BRP (a 2.5 hr drive) we had to stop to sleep about a half hour after leaving the shop. Bad form to roll the rig and trailer with a brand new race car in it. If John and I were to survive such a catastrophe and the car didn't, I surmise he would quickly discover a way to kill me with his bare hands. Slowly.  By the time we got to the track John had pretty much cracked. He wandered around like a zombie. I tried to act like a team owner and marshal the dozen or so drivers and crew into a lean mean enduro winning machine. OK, mostly I yawned, pointed out the obvious and got in the way whenever the opportunity presented itself. I did manage to get muster enough focus to drive in the PTD race and a one hour stint in the enduro later on.

  Having arrived late in the morning Saturday, we of course missed both PTD, enduro, ST2 practice and qual..So the very first time the car was driven more than short burst to 50mph in street in front of our shop, was the formation lap of Saturday's PTD race. The car worked! It turned, stopped and went. Well the "went" part had a snag actually. Turned out we dynoed the car with the vacuum line disconnected from the brake booster. We later found it before loading onto the trailer, connected it and through being way tired and faulty communication, didn't think to check the ECU map. The result was a lean misfire. I adjusted to it in the first race by short shifting at around 4200rpm. I say around 4200rpm because ah, we didn't actually have a functioning tach. We did, however have GPS speed courtesy of the Racepak IQ3 so I used that to set my new shift points. Later, with the ECU map issue fixed, it went like stink. That is until a fuel system configuration error caused the fuel pressure to drop when it got hot. We of course picked up another lean misfire. Argh. Bad choice on crankcase venting config resulted in a bunch of oil all over the underside of the car and drivers side of the engine bay. Yuck.

 The rest of the day pretty much went like that, trouble shooting, drivers adapting to stuff that wasn't working quite right. Our regular car, the red 99 Miata known as Enzo, is a well proven E2 car. Currently leading the 2011 WERC E2 points race and setting lap records at both Thunderhil and BRP in the process. That was our chosen weapon for the points battle with hot shoe team drivers Nick Buchanan and Oscar Jackson Jr at the wheel. They did win by the way, by two laps. Meanwhile Crusher saw 4 different drivers get some valuable night driving experience in preparation for the Thunderhill 25hrs. Those were myself, Richard Gray, Jim Tway and Nick Buchanan. Sunday, I got to within .1 sec of Nick's time in Enzo while driver Crusher with a slight misfire and alignment missing about -5° camber all around. Very happy with that.

Back to the shop Monday, did a leak down, compression test and borescoped the cylinders. All happy in BP land.

So in the end, we made it. Put 6 hard hours on the car during the weekend. It didn't blow up or catch fire. Yay.

Wee hours, the day of the first race

John talking up a storm on the way to the race. Clearly he's really excited and can't wait to get to the track.
Me and Oscar Jr battling (getting our asses kicked) in ST2
Running hard in the enduro
Post race. Tire boogers, oil stains, stone chips, dirt, love.