Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build
Project Update for June 2, 2012: Amy and I spent 5 days last "weekend" in Nebraska autocrossing at the SCCA's "Spring Nationals", with a ProSolo on Friday-Saturday and a National Tour autocross on Sunday-Monday. We also spent about a day (11 hours each way) driving from Texas to Lincoln and back. Completely wiped us out and I'm still playing catch-up at work and on sleep. This was a great test for us against 10 of the top ESP cars in the Pro and 18 ESP cars in the Tour. Let's jump right into the event re-caps.
2012 Lincoln ProSolo
Amy and I left Dallas early on Thursday morning and towed north for 11 hours to Nebraska, driving straight through. We got to the event site at about 5:15 pm, minutes after they had stopped selling tickets for practice starts. Meh, we had 12 chances to see the starting line and had done the Mineral Wells ProSolo not long earlier. We were too tired to care. Unloaded, added more event sponsor decals, teched the car, checked in with registration for both events (moving Amy out of a 1 car ESP-Ladies class for the Tour and into ESP Open), ate food at the welcome party, saw a bunch of friends, walked both the left and right ProSolo courses, then finally made it to the hotel at about 9:30 PM and CRASHED. That made for a very long day.
Friday morning Amy was running first in "L1" class (one of three PAX factored Ladies classes) and did OK, finishing the morning in 4th out of 13. Amy was having trouble at the starting line and her 60' foot times were off the pace. She also complained loudly about understeer in the tight 180° turn-arounds.
When I made my Friday morning ESP class ProSolo runs I knew what she was talking about, and the rest of that day we were chasing the set-up trying to dial out this push. I was still only cutting 2.1-2.2 sixty foot times, which was frustrating considering the big Fat Boy rear tires we had just started running. The launch RPM from the 315mm Kumhos was only about 1800, but with the 345/35/18 A6s it was now up to 3200 rpm... yet the 60' times were barely better than at the Mineral Wells Pro. WTH?
I started out pretty fast on the right side (2nd fastest, behind Marky-M) in the morning but had nothing quick on the left side. The courses were poorly marked visually (lots of DNFs, some lost driver course-cross-over-close-calls, lots of cones) but if you could find the line it still flowed well and had some of the fastest peak speeds of a National Level event I had ever seen. I didn't mind - with the 2011's transmission, 3.31 gears, and uber-tall 345/35/18 rear tires we could hit 77 mph in 2nd gear - and we hit that for a second or more on the "back straight" (which had huge offsets in it, actually).
Unfortunately we weren't really helped much with our uber-2nd gear terminal speeds, and with nothing fast on the left I was mired down in 5th place. Amy finished her afternoon runs with only about a .2 sec total improvement, and mine weren't much better, either. She had fallen down to about 6th, and I was still in 5th.
IN-CAR VIDEO: Terry's fastest Day 2 runs from the 2012 Lincoln ProSolo. Rear spoiler removed.
The first Friday work session we had ran long, due to all of the lost drivers and DNFs, but our second work session was an eternity. Due to continual timer "network problems" (which are unfortunately not uncommon at ProSolos) we were stuck on course until 8:15 at night, working 3 hours in the heat, then the rain, then the cold, then the increasing dark. It was nuts, but finally the event was over just before full dark.
On her Saturday morning runs it was cooler and Amy found a half second on the left side but coned it away, then found a tenth on the right. Her L1 competitors, many on fresh tires for Saturday (we need to learn from this pattern) were all much faster and moved her all the way down to 9th out of 13. Yeesh. Her best runs were both 44.6 sec, and on my final two runs I managed to dip into the mid 43s on both sides. For a moment there I was announced to be up in 3rd place, just after my last left side run - so that felt good. I found time on my last right side run as well but the announcer said I was now in 4th, barely in the trophies. That was short lived - by the time 2nd drivers made their runs I was bumped down to 5th, .025 sec out of the trophies. That's... mid-pack!? Three Firebird/Camaros took the podium spots with McGeorge in 4th in his beautiful '12 Boss302.
Knowing pretty early on that we were off the pace, we used all of our ProSolo runs for testing. This was still only our 6th autocross in ESP and we're still a long way from getting the proper R compound set-up down for this car. Other than tire pressure and shock changes, one significant set-up change we did Friday night was the front toe settings (which were still set-up for track events), hoping for better turn-in. It was better but after Amy's Saturday morning runs she said the push was still there, so I made a Hail Mary pass... I pulled off the rear spoiler.
In theory this would make the car push less, at least in high speed turns, and THAT IT DID. The damn thing was squirrely as hell in the higher speed sections of the course, like the "back straight". What I was able to take flat footed before was really loose on my 1st and 2nd Saturday runs. I had to pedal back a bit on my 3rd and 4th runs, so that "stupid rear spoiler" is very much working at higher autocross speeds. Removing this had no affect on the lower speed turn-arounds, which was the issue we were trying to address. Without a rear bar adjustment or spring change, nor time to change anything in my last 2 runs, I was stuck with it. I still found a total of 5 tenths on my final two tries, but it was simply from finding the proper lines in the last 2 segments and a good light - the same sections Amy and I both had botched badly during the whole event.
So the Pro was a bust, as I was 2 seconds behind Madarash, Amy was 2 seconds behind me, and neither Amy nor I made the Challenge. Did we take a step backwards? At the MW Pro we both placed higher - I was only 1 second back from Mark over both courses and finished in 2nd place out of 7, ahead of some of the same drivers that were beating me at this event. So it seems that the switch to Hoosiers was a bust, and the 14" wide 345mm rear tire was causing a big understeer problem. Oh well, now we know.
"Bigger isn't always better" - this idiot
...see part 2 for the Tour recap, below...
Terry Fair - www.vorshlag.com
Vorshlag project cars: $2010 GRM Challenge E30 V8 + E46 DSP Autox Build + 2011 Mustang GT autox/track car
Last edited by Fair!; 06-02-2012 at 06:39 PM.
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