Saturday, October 27, 2012

Season Wrap Up

YOY comparisons

2011 - pax standings - 53rd of 91, score 4502
2012 - pax standings - 55th of 92, score 4592

So I got almost 1% closer to the fastest cars out there, but so did everyone else! I also believe that the top cars got somewhat faster given the larger number of trophies brought back from nationals this year.

2011 - 2nd place, 2 of 13 drivers qualifying, 35 points
2012 - 2nd place, 6 of 20 drivers qualifying 38 points

So last year I was 2nd and last among drivers qualifying for a trophy (by attending 5 races or more), but this year I'm 2nd of 6. To some extent this is due to an enhancement of the lower end of the field however. The car that beat me last year got at least as much faster this year as I did, so I'm in no way closer to first place. But as mentioned many times previously, he's actually prepped his car to the max, and I'm a total slacker on that front, so no surprises there.

2011 - 2 firsts, 1 second, 2 thirds in 6 races - 4 trophies
2012 - 1 first, 2 seconds, 4 thirds in 9 races - 3 trophies

So I brought home a little less hardware this year. I blame my co-driver :) He stole it! (he beat me the last 3 events we raced! eek!

2011 - vs. Matt Neiman - I won 3 of 5 races in the season.
2012 - vs. Mat Neiman - I won 2 of 7 races in the season

Matt got his car sorted out this year, and it's got bigger tires, a properly installed sway bar, and is more or less fully prepped (except he needs a WING! :) ). 

As for vs. Russ Sigglekoe and his super-stock elise... I still haven't beat him, but I came within 0.1 sec once... Next year.... :)

2012 Highlights

The National Tour! I got my vehicle weighed (1877 lbs), got my vehicle stickered up, and got my butt handed to me by the car that eventually won 3rd place at nationals. I also got off line and into marbles and blew my best run on day 2. Oh well, still was a blast, and I didn't seriously expect to be competitive at the national level yet.

The Co-driver! David's been lots of fun to drive with, and is now providing me with excellent competition. No car prep level excuses anymore! Tires are now warmer on cold days, and the last race actually provided some evidence that perhaps I now need to guard against pressure rise due to tire temps...

The Wing! At the beginning of the season Experienced drivers said things like "I've never driven a lotus that was trying to kill me before" after driving my car. Now they say things like "Wow, this thing's fun!"

SSM has become one of the biggest classes at NER. Most of the cars are still woefully under prepared, but first you get people, then they start competing and the cars get better :). Several events SSM rivaled STX for attendance (though STX still has a better average driver skill level)

2013 Prognostications & Goals

  1. Dog-fight for placement with David! 
  2. More competition in SSM - Leafy is building an SSM miata, My co-driver as mentioned above, I'm sure Don will be back with his CRX, plus whomever else new shows up... Next year will be FUN. 
  3. Goal: Hang on to 2nd place. 
  4. Goal: Cut the average time diff between me and the CRX by 1 second. This season, excluding the event where their power steering puked all over and the car setup was unmanageable the average amount they beat me by was 1.2 seconds. Don may get a little faster as a driver, but I doubt that the car can get much faster. I suspect it's pretty much maxed. Given that don's a trophy winner at nationals, my driving probably has a lot further to improve than his, plus there's lots that can be done to my car
  5. Goal: Move the front splitter forward, add front downforce and perhaps move the wing back up to maximum deflection, stiffer rear motor mount to cut down on wheel hop at starts & put more power to the wheel (less into flexing the motor mounts).
  6. Stretch Goal: Improve the car with OS Giken LSD + lightweight flywheel & clutch. Still quite unsure about the ability to find the funds, but I did find a way to get the costs under $3k for the LSD now (previous estimates all put the labor price over 3k before any parts). All I have to do is learn how to get the tranny in and out and ship it cross country. The plus is that the install would be done by the same folks who built the 4 time national champion XP lotus, so one can be pretty sure they know their stuff. 
  7. Goal: Keep an eye on tire temps - an area for investigation next year. My pressures 5-10 min after the last run in the moss event were up over 4 lbs from initial temps. They might have been up another pound or more when I drove off course, given that there was a decent breeze. Furthermore, I definitely experienced a couple points at which the stopping power seemed reduced vs prior runs on the last run. David however had his best run immediately prior. Not sure if that means I'm just full of excuses, or if it means he put better heat in the tires on that final run. I've got a good tire gauge now so no reason not to be checking!


Wiley said...

Time for Evo School?

Gus Heck said...

Perhaps. Not sure if I'd be better served by taking instructors or evo school. Evo School is quite pricey and Of the 5 seconds per day that Jake Namer beat me by in the tour, I'm pretty sure that at least 50% of that is his car. This is further supported by the fact that drivers like Nate and PJ and Brian seem to shave about 2-2.5 seconds off my time when they hop in my car. There's no question that there is room for improvement in my driving, but it's also clear that vs a real SSM car, my car is at least as much slower as I am vs a real ssm driver. Can I make up for 10 less years of experience than the abovve mentioned drivers in a year or two... probably not unless I race every day of every weekend for the next two years. That would lead to a divorce. At this point an evo school, might help me clean up .1-.3 sec unless I am actually doing something horrible that I don't realize. I suspect that there is .5 seconds to be had by adding an LSD diff, and 1.5 seconds to be had by supercharging it, and another .5 seconds to be had from cutting the fenders and applying 275's on 10" rims. So I'm approaching the point where I really need to save some money and use it to improve the car. If I could take 5 evo schools in a row it probably would be a better investment, but 5 evo schools takes 5 years around here... My hope is that the seat time of an event can help me improve by .05-.03 sec, and that I will therefore pick up around .5 sec in my driving by the end of next year, and I'd like to pair it with .5 sec worth of LSD if I can. 2 day evo school is about 1/6 of upgrading the LSD if I remove and install the tranny myself (shipping it to the vendor).

Wiley said...

Evo School: $450? All those other things: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. I would imagine you'll get more than .1 to .3 seconds of time from attending a two-day EVO school. If you can get real time back for $450, that sounds like a pretty decent deal for me.

Gus Heck said...

I've done phase 1 once, phase 2 twice, and challenge school once already. Tried to sign up for phase 3 but they canceled it (which is how I wound up doing the challenge school).

So it's not like I haven't been told... at the end of the challenge school, my instructor told me that the main thing I needed was seat time. I guess that by the time it roles around next spring, it will be about 25 events or so. Perhaps I should go back and see what they say, but as to the $$$$$$$ point... well I do have to either ditch the lotus or spend the $$$$$$$ some day. I'm pretty sure it will take me a full year to re-learn the car after the supercharger (if/when I find the $$$) so my long range planat this point is LSD for 2013, Boost for 2014, Just drive it (evo + nats?) for 2015, and IF I seem to need it, 275's for 2016... finances willing of course.

If I'm not going to do that I need to think about getting a whole new car that is cheap but competitive in a slower class. That perhaps is a better road if all I want is a trophy, but problems is... I like my lotus :)

If I can squeeze in evo school too before 2015 I absolutely will, but I do need to get the car up to prep levels someday. It's no longer in production, and so given it's low production levels I expect that the aftermarket for it will wind down over the next 5 years. I already see the vendors shifting some of their focus to the Evora.