Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Onward and outward

Ok so I've been lazy about posting here again. A quick recap and on to next year...

2015 was a sub-optimal year. At the start of the year the new LSD forced me to spend some time learning how to control my overly binary right foot. This is the sort of thing that was good for me but not good for my times. The best part of the year came right around the Evolution Performance Driving school, where I seemed to drive particularly well. I also did well at the Renegade Miata event mentioned in my last post. At SCCA events through out the year, I was having new co-drivers every event, and while all of them were excellent, nice helpful people, my own internal psychology left me self conscious, and there were some badly handled first runs, including one with the e-brake partly engaged. Generally, I calmed down by 2nd or 3rd run, but my times suffered since the first run or two didn't really give me a feel for the course.

Even worse, by the end of July and middle of August, the adhesive capsulitis of my shoulder that had started with an injury in March progressed to the point where it was interfered with my race prep and possibly my driving. By September, I could hardly lift my arm to 45 degrees to the side and I was getting cortisone shots instead of lap times. I had to miss my first SCCA event in 5 years. With several weeks off and the start of PT, I managed to come back for the Stirling Moss Finale event, and an NCR porsche event before parking it for the winter.

In the last couple events at the end of the year there were some rays of hope. I started softening up my front sway bar, and discovered that that helped greatly with turn in at high speed. At the Moss event I was relieved to be back racing and with the perspective of having missed some driving, I really just wanted to drive. As a result I finally didn't give a crap about what my co-driver might think, and I was really pleased to be able to post a faster official time and a faster raw (+1) time than my very skilled co driver who has many more years of experience (but no prior seat time in my car).

And so for next year...

I'll be moving outward... well my tires will be at least. Next year I will have 10.5" rims with 275 wide Hoosiers. These should be the last major non-power change to my car. For the previous seasons, I have been running 205 fronts on 6.5" rims and 245 rears on 7.5" rims. This is the setup that the super-stock elises use, which is limited by their inability to change the wheel width. The result is a fairly pinched setup, and 20% less rubber on the road than is allowable in SSM. I'm hoping that the new tires will make the car at least 1s faster... maybe more.

To offset weight gain from the wheels and stave off fuel starve I hope to add a lightweight Aluminum gas tank, sometime early in the season. Between the 9lbs savings there and fiberglass, mudflaps and fender liners that will disappear or be reduced with the new wheels, I hope to keep the weight close to what it was last year, perhaps even make progress if I find the time to install a rear-oil cooler setup (eliminating all the piping that runs from the front to the back and 2 heavy oil coolers (and the oil they hold). Most of the lotus community sees these oil coolers as an over-design by lotus, and some replace them because they are not happy with the low oil temperatures they cause.

There are a few more mods around the chassis, but not much significant after this. There is probably some tuning to do, and at some point it's likely I'll need new shocks which will be a big ticket item, but hopefully next year it will be time to start on adding power to the engine via head work and tuning. Since this is a minimum weight focused build, I feel the car should be nearing a competitive form in the class, and a trip to nationals or national events will be worthwhile. I wouldn't be expecting the car to win at nationals yet, but if me or my co driver can nab trophies that would be a nice start. I think a really top driver might threaten the podium in my car in the coming year, but that will probably take more talent than I am likely to show just yet.

The primary obstacle to this plan is transport since I don't have a trailer or tow vehicle. Therefore, any co-driver that can provide transport to national events, can drive for free at SCCA events (local and national) through the full 2016 season.

No comments: