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Track Report

Road America Raceway

 Elkhart Lake, WI
October 18-19, 2003

Click the here to go straight to the videos.

Okay, we are back from the semi-annual MFBA track weekend at Road America. It was an excellent event, as usual.

I believe that the main thing that attracts everyone to Road America over and over is a high caliber of contenders, excellent track organization and of course the track itself with its high-speed straightaways and high-G turns that follow. This type of track really puts to the test the car's power, handling, endurance and the driver's guts.

The 3/S community was represented this time by the legendary Jack T in his Battleship Mitsubishi, Rudy Arias in his recently acquired Stealth R/T, Jack's friend Aaron in a 1st gen TT who came for day two, and truly yours with Jon Wieman as a co-pilot.

I think it would not be an exaggeration to say that we really made a serious statement this time by running alongside of some of the fastest cars there. We passed many of them, and those few that passed us really deserved praise. We will get them next time because Jack and I will make sure that it happens.

I improved my lap times by at least 8 seconds over April. I ran 2:43 on Saturday and Jack ran 2:30 on Saturday. We passed everyone in Group B and moved into Group A on Sunday. There I felt right at home and ran two 2:42 laps. Jack T humiliated many by passing them as if they were at a standstill. One of the Lou Gigliotti guys asked for a ride with him after he saw that Jack was passing everyone at such a high speed.

Most of my improvement came from... (guess what?)... brakes! And some from the suspension too. I was *NOT* babying my brakes this time as my Supercar Engineering 35-mm wide front rotors and 13" read rotors ran relatively cool. I mashed the brakes as hard as I needed to, Jon, my co-pilot, can contest. Once I was braking for a late apex turn and saw a Camaro behind me lighting his tires up in smoke trying not to rear-end me. I also caught up to and passed a few cars by outbraking them.

I think I was a little too harsh on the brakes though. I had no extra cooling and I warped the rotors a little by the end of day one, just like I did with the stock rotor back in April. I got good use out of my brakes though this time and I am sure they would have lasted both days if I had brake cooling or used them with some finesse. But the brakes still worked light years better than stock. Bigger is better when if come to rotors. I installed the stock rotors back for day two and faded my brakes in three laps, and that was with Panther XP pads that are good up to 1350 F. I then proceeded to perform some off-tracking and missed one turn because I could not slow down enough to make it.

I had my tender springs, just like at Gingerman the month before, but this time I installed 1100 in-lbs springs in the front and 783 in-lbs springs in the back to try out what happens. This setup ran very well, especially for such a fast track as Road America, although it was a little bumpy driving back home. These stiff springs installed with the tender springs felt like the original JIC setup on the street. I love my tender springs and I will never go back. I get more traction and a more neutrally steering car. There is no brake oversteer, very minor power understeer, high and consistent traction and a smoother ride.

I was tuning the handling, trying to achieve a neutral setup. This time I was approaching it from the safe side with a minor understeer in the beginning and then adding the oversteer with an increased front negative camber. I ended up with -2.5 deg camber in the front and -2.0 in the rear.

Jack's firebreathing beast ran very fast. It was throwing flames and smoke but it was overheating a little too early. He had a HUGE new PPE Engineering radiator and he ran the heater all the time (me also) but that did not seem to be enough.

Rudy Arias chased some Porsches in Group D. He ran my street Axxis Ultimate brake pads and had no braking problems, which was just one more in the series of pleasant surprises from these excellent value-priced pads.

Aaron's TT had some brake fluid boiling issues, probably due to an incomplete brake bleeding procedure, but he seemed to have had lots of fun too at the track.

Jack and I are firmly committed to make these cars go fast on the open track. Jack knows all the secrets of big power already. He will also figure how to solve the overheating and I will figure the brakes and the suspension. Then hold onto your pants all supermodified Corvettes, Porsches and Vipers!

Philip
http://supercar-engineering.com


Videos:

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Video 1 (wmv, 20 min, 64.6 MB) <-- One Saturday track session, following Jack T, passing many cars.

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Video 2 (wmv, 20 sec, 0.8 MB) <-- Warming up my cold rear tires on the first lap.

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Video 3 (wmv, 7 min, 0.8 MB) <-- Two laps of fast but horrible driving on overheated front tires and faded brakes with stock rotors. At the end I am missing turn 5 and then go off track in turn 8. These two laps were 2:42 laps. That was a 9 second improvement over April!

Links:

http://www.roadamerica.com  Road America Raceway

http://www.speedseekers.com MFBA at Road America

 
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