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Unread 05-02-2012, 09:20 AM
applesauce683 applesauce683 is offline
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Default Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

Could you elaborate on what Ford is doing with the steering rack? I installed BMR A-arms and now I am experiencing the same steering wheel shudder that you are.
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Unread 05-03-2012, 11:36 AM
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Default Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

Project Update for May 2, 2012 - Part 2: This entry will cover the NASA Time Trial race we attended in the Mustang test mule last weekend. The lap times were somewhat mediocre for most of my sessions with the Mustang only making about a dozen hot laps all day, but we had fun and learned a lot. This entry is sort of long, just so I can keep track of all of my thoughts for a later date. If that unimpressive opening hasn't put you to sleep, then keep reading.

Couldn't find a decent track map of TWS so I made this from a satellite image - click to enlarge

We had planned on only running one day for the NASA 3-day weekend, since we had just done a long and tiring 3-day race weekend the week before and had other plans on Sunday (a non-race event, for once). Originally we planned on bringing two cars: our TTD E46 (for Amy to race - and this car is finally ready for TT use again, after a long hiatus from NASA events!) and the Mustang (for me to race), which was now bumped up to TTS class. This was due to the massive tire, power and aero changes since our last TTB event in 2011. With our little 36' enclosed trailer we cannot fit 2 cars inside, but I found an open trailer to borrow - just not a second truck. We could rent one, then drive 2 trucks and two trailers down... twice the fuel and driving? Nah. Amy has never run the TWS 2.9 mile course and had only run the smaller infield-only TWS course back in 1994? I told her about the speeds she'd see on the 2.9 and she decided to pass on TWS in the E46 and just go along to help drive the trailer and take pictures. So I got a track helper and towing buddy, yay!

Vorshlag picture and video gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-E...SA-TWS-042812/

It's now 4 days after the event and they still don't have results posted yet (color me shocked, heh). I can only go by the printed results sheet from session 2 on Saturday that I "liberated" during the event (it was an extra!). I have learned over the years that if you want to ever see class results for a NASA Texas event, you have to take matters into your own hands. For a group that runs such an awesome event, maintains schedule, and has excellent safety, they have crap results. Even after they are eventually posted (via the "MyLaps" site), you won't see all of the info that these results sheets show. I've bemoaned the poor NASA Texas race results before and will continue to do so until it improves, as a sort of Public Service Announcement.

Sat, TT, Session 2 Results: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-E...12-ses2-X2.jpg

Amy and I arrived at the track late Friday (after 9 pm), due to leaving late and hitting 5 o'clock traffic in Dallas. I said 'hi' to a few folks, unhooked the trailer, then headed to dinner and the hotel. Saturday morning we got to the track at 7, unloaded the car and had it annual tech'd. Afterwards, I went to an instructor meeting at 7:30, the TT meeting at 8, and HPDE meeting right after. Since I was only there for Saturday, I got switched to a Saturday-only HPDE1 student, who also had a 2011 Mustang GT. Luckily she knew the track well, but not having run with NASA before it was an automatic DE1 placement (I signed her off to HPDE2 after 3 sessions).

Our Mustang had several changes since our last NASA outing, where we ran it in TTB. This time we had the new stupid-high-mega-wing, the LS splitter, new 18x11/18x12 wheels and still-somewhat-fresh 315mm Kumho V710s (that we ran at the ProSolo). It was so far past TTB prep that it moved all the way past TTA and into TTS - which is the first of the "power-to-weight" classes in TT, so at least we don't have to nit-pick every point per modification. There were some other Mustangs in TTS already, including David Armstrong's well prepped Boss302 on AST 5200s and a real Boss302-S race car.

Relearning Texas World Speedway

After seeing the track briefly while riding along with my HPDE student in her first session, I quickly realized that I had forgotten all of my visual cues and lines from past outings at this track. Grass had overgrown the curbing, the surface was very different from my last time on track, and I had forgotten everything. Thinking back I really haven't run this track much in almost... 20 years? I co-drove the E36 Alpha car for 2 sessions with Hanchey back in 2008, where we got check out rides to get our TT Comp licenses. Before that I had run it a bit in the mid-1990s, but it was a completely different track configuration where Turn 3 joined with Turn 10. In the late 1980s/early 1990s I had run this 2.9 mile layout while still in college, but man... that was a LONG time ago.

Allan and Ken's tandem E46 M3's were both fast, equipped with AST 4200s + Vorshlag parts and prep work

I knew it would take a bit to blow out 20+ years of cobwebs, so I gridded up behind AI speed demon Mike, from AST/Moton. HE knew this track very well so I figured I'd follow him for a few laps and... WHOA! He took off like a freagin man on fire, right on the warm up lap. So I got some heat in the tires, look back, and the E46M3 TTB Terror Twins KenO and Allan Page are right on my bumper. OK, OK, you guys go around... I'll follow them for... dang, mirror has more cars behind me, etc. Just trying to get my bearings but these TT guys are ready to RACE, like right NOW. I spent the first few laps of this session letting people go around me as a rolling roadblock and didn't get a single lap in unobstructed from the front or back. By lap 4 the car felt really loose on slow speed turns, and I smelled gear oil smoke and had a traction control fault, so I brought it in. I felt like an idiot out there, fumbling around trying to find some sort of visual cues on each corner. Ran an abysmal 2:01 best lap, which gridded me way back in the pack for session 2. Great.

Here I am - the rolling roadblock, holding up the field

The first TT session was at 8:40 am and the sky was overcast, so the track was still stone cold. Turn 3 had no grip due to a Spec Miata that popped a motor there on the Friday 3 hour enduro, and it never felt good all day. Turn 10 (the carousel) was slippery as always. But the rest of the corners was mostly just... my crappy driving and generally terrible memory. Also, with completely new track set-ups and radical parts changes you inevitably have teething problems, and I quickly found one.

As I pulled into the paddock, the car reeked of gear oil. I jacked the rear end of the car up and it had gear oil all over the right axle tube, fuel tank, right muffler, and right rear tire. A-ha, that's why it felt squirrely and was smoking! We had just rebuilt the TractionLok the day before and the old "loop of hose" that was attached to the OEM axle vent wasn't enough to keep oil from filling the hose and coming out, especially after just topping off the 75W140 the day before and running on the insanely steep banking at TWS. Oil + tires = no grip! Talked to other racers with stick axle cars who had seen similar problems before - "keep driving it and it'll burn off enough fluid eventually!"

Luckily the Session 1 times for TT don't count for anything other than grid spots in Session 2, so I cleaned off the mess as best as I could - managing to get most of the gear oil on me. Ahh, gear oil - the world's worst perfume. I had to burn that shirt. Then I hopped in my student's car for her 2nd session and afterwards I went out in the Mustang again in TT session 2. This time I was gridded 16th out of 28 cars when I went out, and behind cars I know and was faster than before when we ran in TTB on street tires. Ugh, this session was going to be some work. I got some heat in the tires on the out lap and the car was responding better to the increased track heat (10:45 am) and a little better driving. I quickly caught and passed several cars gridded ahead of me (hence faster than me in session 1). My in-car video, a compilation of a few "offs" from other cars + my best lap (lap 4) is shown below.

Video from Session 2

That lap 4 was a 1:56 lap, after which I noted yet another AdvanceTrac fault and came in to reset it and check for more diff oil spewage on the rear tires. A sub-2 min lap was more in-line with what the car should do but still off the pace a bit. For example, KenO ran a 1:55.8 in a TTB car and Allan Page was right behind him, so of course I should have driven faster. David Armstrong managed a 1:53 in a TTS car, so I was still 3 seconds off the TTS pace (which is an eternity). Yes, there are several driving mistakes I made on that lap - but with this being about my 8th lap on this track in 4 years, with an all new aero package and all new grip levels, I wasn't too worried. Excuses... I gots em!

Since that session was cut short, I came in and re-checked the diff leakage - and it was once again wet with fresh diff fluid on the undercarriage and on the RR tire. Crap! I jacked it up, mopped up the mess again, then went out with my student once more. There were several after-session HPDE meetings and instructor/TT meetings and I talked to like 50 people I hadn't seen in forever, so it was a busy day. I wanted to show my student some changes to her driving line, so I took her out for a couple of 8/10ths laps in session 3 (taking a passenger is allowed in TT but it DSQs your times in that session, as does an "off" if you are solo) and we made it two laps before seeing more faults. With the student I ran a 1:59 lap and was hardly pushing it at all - I was working on my braking and line into and through T1 (which is tricky coming off the banking at 140-150 mph) and my apex kept getting closer to where it should have been into T4 and the T7-T9 complex... With more laps under my belt, I quickly realized where I was butchering all sorts of corners earlier. It just took a while to come back to me.

Right: Mike's AI car was putting down 1:55 laps and he walked away from both Saturday AI/CMC races

Most of the TT guys went slower in Sessions 3 (and did again in 4), as the ambient temps climbed up to 90F, so I wasn't going to find a stellar lap in session 4. By then I was also tired of the continuous computer faults and worried about more oil hitting the back tire (although I didn't see a drop under the car after session 3 - I guess it burned/burped off enough excess), so I let the car cool off, and talked to Amy. I was doing good to not have put a tire in the dirt in the 3 truncated sessions so far, given the oil on the rear tire, so I counted my lucky stars and we called it a day. We had a 4 hour tow back to north Dallas ahead of us and Amy was already bored after taking 200 pics, but not racing in TT herself. We packed up after my student was done (and checked out for solo in HPDE2) and hit the road right as the TT group was going out for their 4th and final session of the day.

Overall it this day at the track was a LOT of fun, and we learned a good bit about the new set-up (its faster than me on this track!). I had forgotten how much more stressful it is to run on the big banked turns at 140+ mph compared to the tighter, more technical, and slower road courses we run elsewhere in Texas - such as ECR, MSR-C, MSR-H, Harris Hill, TMS infield, and GrandSport Speedway. Still, we have VIR in July to contend with so I need to bring my game up at higher speed events pretty darned quick!

How Were the Upgrades?

As I stated in yesterday's update, the extra front brake cooling really worked. The brake ducts we added + the Porterfield R4 track pads Costas and others suggested (thanks!) were spot on. I only caught myself giving it a bit more brake pedal on one lap (lap 4 in session 2 - I'm talking to the damn video camera about it! I don't even know I'm doing this), after a mad dash into T1 at high speed (braking from 140+ to around 70-80). The rebuilt TractionLok just flat worked, even through the tighter/twisty turns like T3 & T4, T7-9, and the other tight turns before the front straight (T11-15). Even so, this car is still getting a better diff before the next big autocross (Spring Nationals) to deal with the tighter turns we see in autocrossing.

Looking at the front camber it seems... barely enough (-3.8). Gonna add more soon

I never felt the urge to adjust the rear wing angle of attack. We had it trimmed out at the lowest setting and it felt... very balanced. According to the CFD data it can generate 600 pounds at the highest AOA, but we had it trimmed down to much lower settings and it felt fine. This was hardly a proper aero test with barely a dozen hot laps run all day, so I will play with this the next time I have more track time. I really want to get a flat "2D" wing on there before we do any real aero test work though. For now... the wing seems to work, and other than the oil on the rear tires, the car worked fine (like in session 3 when it stopped puking on the rear tire). We had bumped up rear spring rate from 175# to 200# (that's the only stiffer spring we had on hand in this diameter and length).

What should the car have run? Well a 1:53 would have been more in line what several people feel the car was capable of - with a better driver. I tend to agree with them, and I know I was way off the pace for what the car should have been doing. If we had run Sunday and found some cahones ... maybe. I need more seat time at TWS to reach this car's potential, for sure. Put me at a track that I know better and I can get closer to the potential, I think.

Other Updates & Upcoming Events

I just talked to the folks at APR and there is indeed going to be a straight horizontal "2D" carbon fiber airfoil in 61", 67", and 70" widths, with an optional dual element 2D style wing. The pricing will be "more competitive" than the 3D wing (its probably easier to make) and these should be out sometime this year. I told them I want a 70" wide unit and that's what we'll perfect our wing design to use. Until then we'll keep this 3D wing on there with the current uprights for track events, goofy as it looks.

There are several events in May that we plan on taking the Mustang. Going to run the NASA TT event May 19th at Grandsport Speedway, located way south of Houston. This is an unusual "HPDE and TT only" NASA event, which makes sense on this smallish track. This will be the first time NASA has ever run there, so all TT class winners will set new track records. Hopefully I can find a little bit more speed (in the car and in myself!) and tighten the gap to the top TTS finishers. This is a tight little 1.3 mi track that I have run before (more recently than 20 years ago) so power and slippery aerodynamics (ie: Corvettes) won't be as big of a factor as it was at TWS. On May 20th there is another Texas Region SCCA autocross at TMS I'm going to attend, so that makes for a busy double-header weekend with a few hundred miles of towing in between. I plan to run both of those events on the Kumhos, so at least it won't take much prep changes between Saturday and Sunday.

Memorial Day weekend has a massive "Spring Nationals" SCCA Solo double-header weekend in Lincoln, NE. Friday and Saturday is the ProSolo while Sunday and Monday is a National Tour. The ESP class is already chock full of good entrants. We have to go to this one to see where we are, and we need to be on fresh Hoosier A6's by then, hopefully with some extra power and a real diff.

We have to have the updated programming for the steering rack before any of these events, as I'm tired of seeing the same nagging computer errors and steering wheel feedback. Now that we're confident this programming is SCCA legal I'm going to get it done. We will be pulling the rack out of the car this week to send it to Ford Racing, as the replacement $1000+ 2011 GT racks is on national back-order. Apparently there's a 3-4 month build date window where all of the early 2011 GTs are having similar "issues". Ford is not doing a recall yet, but probably will "eventually". If you are seeing this type of steering shudder CALL YOUR FORD DEALER and demand a recall/TSB. If you don't want to wait, call Ford Racing in Detroit. All of the World Challenge and GRAND AM Mustang's run this update programming, and it supposedly fixes the steering feedback loop shudder and related Traction Control system faults. We'll find out and report back soon!


Last edited by Fair!; 05-03-2012 at 06:40 PM.
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Unread 05-18-2012, 07:09 PM
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Default Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

Project Update for May 18, 2012: We've made some additional changes to the car and had an autocross since my last update after the TWS NASA Time Trial event. After we received the new Vorshlag camber-caster plates and the re-valved Moton Club Sports, we scheduled time to install all of it onto the Mustang, then went looking for an event to test the new set-up at...

New Parts for our Mustang

The newly revised Vorshlag camber-caster plates were finally complete at the electro-plater a week ago and after we fulfilled customer back-orders, we built a set for our own S197 Mustang (shown below).

I was looking forward to the much easier camber adjustment these new plates would allow us. Plus we could potentially use the added range of positive caster, if we felt the need to add more than the +6.4 the car came with stock. The next bits that were finally ready to install were the Moton Club Sport 2-way coilover shocks. The AST 4150 prototype coilovers had served us very well the past year, but we were really pushing the envelope on grip levels in an S197 Mustang with 315mm R compounds at all 4 corners. Adding compression adjustment would be a tuning improvement and the additional fluid from the remote reservoirs would also help stabilize performance on longer track stints.

These Motons had been purchased a while ago and were a bit unique in that they were built before the Moton acquisition and were an old design. The front struts had lower mounting flanges with massively slotted upper holes, which are not part of the current Moton S197 spec. I'm not a fan of slotted mounting holes as it reduces wheel/to-strut clearance and can allow the lower setting to slip under hard cornering. So after test fitting the front struts and new VM plates to check the available camber range (more camber travel than before), Ryan filled in the slotted holes.

There was enough range in the camber plates and strut tower opening that we could actually use the stock sized upper strut mounting hole on the Moton struts, so the slot was filled with a steel "slug", fully welded, then ground smooth (on all four slotted holes). Again, this isn't something that needs to be performed on this S197 strut any longer. Moton-USA also installed custom valving and their new DDP digressive pistons for some extra rebound force at low speeds.

Click to see the full sized dyno plots for these. Left = front struts, right = rear shocks

Well, if you know much about dyno plots, those actually make a LOT of extra rebound force at low shaft speeds! That area from 0-2 in/sec shaft velocity is crucial in both autocross & track use, and being able to alter those numbers to this extent with the turn of a knob makes for better racing performance and a much more comfortable street ride after rebound is turned down. These DDP pistons are evil - we had them in the AST 4150s on this car before and loved them! Now with these double adjustables we can adjust low speed compression as well, for more tuning ability.

Vorshlag's Step-By-Step Moton S197 Install Gallery - http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instruct...stall-Mustang/

Installing the Motons and their accompanying remote reservoirs, then aligning and corner balancing the Mustang, took the better part of ten hours. About two hours of that was the fabrication work Ryan had to do on the slots, but that's still eight solid hours of install and set-up work. These were far from a "just take it out of the box and bolt them on" affair - just like all remote reservoir shocks, which add their own mounting complications.

The front strut installation was relatively straightforward and didn't require any cutting or surgery since the hoses were long enough to route under the frame rail next to the brake hard lines. This allowed the remotes to mount right up into the engine bay with no fuss. The struts were bolted up to the Vorshlag plates with stiffer 550 #/in Hyperco springs (up from 450 #/in) and went in fairly quickly. Of course we fabricated custom front and rear reservoir mounts, like we've done on some other installs here recently. These brackets bolt to existing factory holes and keep the remote reservoirs away from engine heat, but keep the compression knobs accessible.

The rear shock on this Moton kit is a standard for race cars - an "eye-to-eye" shock. That means it has a spherical eye mount on both ends, unlike the stock shock which used an eye lower and pin upper mount. To make it fit the S197 chassis without modifying the upper mounting hole, we found some "eye-to-pin" adapter mounts made for the S197 from Ford Racing. These mounts bolt to the upper eye mount, along with some bushing adapters from Moton, and then slide into the hole in the stock sheet metal. The lower eye mount also has bushing adapters (included in the Moton kit) to fit the stock lower hole.

We had several options for routing and mounting the rear shocks' reservoirs. I wanted them away from exhaust heat/rocks/rain/debris and since there is no spare tire with this car, I decided we should mount them in the spare tire well inside the trunk. We routed the hoses through sheet metal, so there was some cutting involved with the rear reservoir pass-through hole. This is the first cutting or drilling we've had to do to the chassis, so we took great care (Amy does not want us cutting or drilling on her street car!). We like using these 2-piece "Seals-It" brand grommets for reservoir mounting. They can be unbolted and the entire reservoir can pass through the hole in the chassis when removing the shocks, without having to discharge the nitrogen and remove a hose. Even with "quick connects" (a very costly option) you still have to discharge the nitrogen in a monotube shock with remotes. If installed the way we did them, you don't ever have to discharge the pressure and potentially lose fluid when removing the rear shocks. We tested the fit of these seals at the autocross in the rain and not a drop made it into the trunk. Perfection.

Other New Bits Coming?

While we were doing this Moton CS install, AST Holland was posting Facebook pics of the new and improved but much-delayed AST 4150 coilover strut housing for the S197 Mustang. They let the cat out of the bag (or the wooden shoe out of the closet?), so I am going to repost at least one picture. Now we could be seeing the first 4150 test sets for this S197 chassis, the BMW E36, BMW E46, and the Subaru BRZ at Vorshlag before too long. We will be contacting local Dallas/Ft. Worth testers (so we can install them here, to verify that everything fits perfectly) for all of these cars when we have the first 4150 shocks on hand. Once we've verified these fitments, AST-USA can have AST Holland proceed with full scale production. Don't hold me to any dates, because so far I've been failing miserably on ETAs for these shock models.

Speaking of overshot ETAs on new products, we finally have a gaggle of D-Force 18x10's for the S197 chassis now in hand. There have been a dozen sets sold and shipped so far and I've been seeing pictures on social networks of them on cars - very cool. We only have a few Flat Black sets and plenty of Silver sets in stock - give us a buzz if you are interested. They were 19.5 lbs exactly when weighed here, just as predicted.

Autocross Test - NTAXS Event #3

With the Moton Club Sports and new camber-caster plates finally on the car, it was time to test them out before switching to Hoosiers the following week. With the Moton install completed over Thursday and Friday (May 10th and 11th), the car was loaded onto a trailer and Amy and I autocrossed it on the 12th. This NTAXS event was a non-SCCA club that is run by the SCCA regulars, with the same course designers we see at Texas Region SCCA events. They used the same sealed asphalt "TMS Bus Lot" site we test at often. They do have twice as many runs in a given day (4 morning + 4 afternoon runs), so it's great event for testing.

The day started off with a freak rain storm that wasn't on any forecast or radar and caught everyone off guard. Nobody was set-up for wet conditions, including the event organizers, and a small percentage of people left the event after getting soaked during the course walk-through. They delayed the start by 15 minutes and got all of the equipment dried out, while attendees dried off and made adjustments for the rain. The Mustang was still running on the 18x11/18x12 Forgestars mounted with tread-less 315/35/18 Kumho V710s, so we knew we'd be slipping and sliding until it dried out - if it dried out.

Luckily, we worked the first heat when it was totally soaked and continued to sprinkle a bit more, but when we made our four morning runs in the second heat it was beginning to dry. It was so wet somebody still managed to take out a timer at the finish. This club is a bit more informal than SCCA and you can grid up in paddock on your own, with the folks more experienced with this club wisely waiting until the very end of heat 2 to make their runs. Then they take 7-8 cars to the starting area at a time to make all four runs back to back. I wasn't so smart and was one of the first cars to the line, driving in slopping wet conditions. And yes, we left the wing on the rear since this wasn't an SCCA event.

It was wet as can be when I ran and my 4 runs and they were all terribly slow, including a spin on my first run. I have video from these runs, but they aren't worth watching. Amy was smarter and ran a bit later in this heat when it was quite a bit drier - and she was 5 seconds faster than me in our morning runs. The people running at the end of heat 2 were getting an even drier course and were that much faster than her.

Thankfully it was completely dry in the afternoon heats 3 and 4, and we all got some better runs in. Unfortunately Amy left the vidcam on for 2 hours after her final morning run and killed the battery, so all we have are videos from the morning session. In the video below I was riding with Amy on her 4th morning run, and continually admonishing her to PUSH the car harder. She wasn't being aggressive enough with the throttle, but during my morning ride-along she managed to drop another 1.5 seconds.

In-car video on Amy's morning run #4 (she was 7 seconds quicker in the afternoon!)

The afternoon runs were a bit better, but I didn't learn from the morning sessions and ran in the first sub-group again. The course was dry, but now it was dirty from all of the mud that washed onto the course from the nearby construction. There was about one third of the course that was covered in dirt when I ran, which had markedly less grip. Amy wised up and waited until the end of heat 4 to make her runs and was the last car on course at the end of the day. She made her fastest run on her last, beating the entire 3R class, and set the 2nd fastest time of the day. Nice! The only car quicker was a BSP-prepped E46 M3 driven by KenO, who is one AST/Vorshlag's super-testers.

Terry (at left) was sliding around but Amy (right) was doing nothin' but winning.

In the dry afternoon runs Amy punished me by 1.3 seconds, so I was mired back in 4th place behind some SCCA regulars in SS Corvettes. But my placing didn't matter much to me - I was excited that the car was doing this well on a completely untested, new set of Motons. Getting skirted happens when your wife is this fast, and I'm used to it.

Observations from this Event

What good is going to an individual event if you don't learn something? At this NTAXS event we learned a lot about the new parts we had installed (Motons, spring rates), re-learned to never come to an event without proper rain tires (even the 275 Bridgestone RE11s would have been better on my first 4 runs than the bald R compounds), and I learned that if the club has "optional gridding" that you wait for the optimum time to make your runs! I also found out that if I over-pushed the Kumhos on 4 back-to-back runs that the tires can overheat and get very greasy. Again, watching more experienced folks that run with this club, they were pulling out of line to spray their tires with water to cool them off, something I needed to do. Oh well - live and learn.

One thing we could see from the spring rate and shock change was the front brake dive was less than before, as was front bodyroll. The extra 100 #/in front spring rate and increased compression and rebound settings we used (in the afternoon) helped there (ran the compression full soft int he wet session). Also, the new camber setting of -4.0 up front seems to be edging in to the proper amount, after looking at high resolution pictures of the outside front tire under cornering. As you know, a radial tire works best with a little bit of negative camber when fully loaded, so this picture is almost perfect. A tick more and I think we're there. I will keep an eye out at the next event (a week later at the same event site), when we've switched to fresh Hoosiers and see if it ever gets into to positive camber. If it does, we will add more static negative.

We've always run a lot of negative camber on this car, as learned from testing. Even with street tires it responded best with over -3.3 of front camber. Some folks like to argue that S197 Mustang's don't need this much camber, but I disagree. Again - as a camber plate designer, this is one of the only things I really know well. Pyrometer data, pictures showing the tire loaded, and tire wear trump theory and internet wisdom, in my book. The S197 is not magical - it is just another strut car to me. And like many other McStrut cars we've raced and designed suspension parts for, this one needs more static camber the higher the grip levels go. With 315 R compounds up front we're seeing more grip than a GRAND AM or World Challenge race car, and we keep adding more negative camber than those race teams run to keep this big tire as close to vertical when loaded.

Another of the tests we did at this event was to look for any indicator of downforce at speed. I manged to snap the picture above when Amy was hitting over 60 mph on course and as you can see, the trunk was deflecting a good bit even at a low AOA on the rear wing (we can always make a LOT more rear downforce with a wing than a splitter can hope to match up front). We knew the culprit - the factory "trunk bumpers". These little rubber bushings are what set the height of the trunk at the rear when it is latched, and we knew from the TWS event they were deforming at speed.

We had a solution in mind and the day after this NTAXS event Ryan made up a replacement set of bushings from some round Nylon stock I had purchased the week before. Chucked them up in the lathe and made a drilled and tapped hole on the underside to mount them to the mounting plate. After tweaking the length to get the trunk height set properly, they were bolted down and now we have no more deflection there. The wing uprights sit right near the edge of the trunk lid (which has structure underneath) and this should now be a more firm mount, and still stay within the SCCA Street Prepared ruleset (normally you build bracing from the trunk floor to the wing mounts, but that's a no-no for ESP class).

My next update will go over the next week's prep, which included a change to Hoosiers and a gamble on rear tire size choice... using the largest A6 tire that Hoosier makes. I rolled the dice, so check back to see if that choice paid off!


Last edited by Fair!; 04-03-2014 at 05:38 PM.
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Unread 05-23-2012, 08:14 PM
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Default Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

Project Update for May 23, 2012: We've done a bit of work to the car since the last update, and had another autocross to test changes before the Lincoln "Spring Nationals" event this weekend. Let's get right into the new stuff.

One of the changes we had planned to delve into if the car seemed to be ESP competitive was proper race tires. The defacto R compound DOT tire in SP is a Hoosier A6, but we had been doing well with a Kumho V710. The Kumhos have plenty of life left but work better as a road course tire than in autocross, so we pulled the V710s off of the 18x11/18x12 Forgestars and ordered some HoHos...

Go Big or Go Home!

Looking at the 2012 Hoosier Tire Listing for the A6, the obvious choice up front is the 315/30/18 size, which has 11.8" of tread width and 12.5" of section width. The problem is the height, which is only 25.6". That's short for this car, and even with our "tallest Ford made for it" 3.31 rear gear ratio, this height shortens the speed range in 2nd gear significantly. The goal is to at least be able to reach 70 mph in 2nd, and with the relatively short 2.43 ratio in 2nd, this means we have to watch rear tire height closely. When we ran STX last year (*twitch! shudder!*) we saw noticeable improvements going from 265/35/18 tires to a taller 265/40/18 size, which softened the rear ratio and extended 2nd gear speeds a noticeable amount.

The real goal for me is to avoid EVER having to go to 3rd gear in an autocross run (which inevitably means another downshift to 2nd), as the up/down/up shifts cost so much time. Gear the car right, including tire height, and you never leave 2nd. This 5.0L engine has torque everywhere so even if it doesn't have as much "snap" at lower speed corners it still has "more than enough". So, all that said...

I picked a pair of 345/45/18 Hoosier A6 tires for the rear and a 315/30/18 for the front. The 345 is the biggest 18" tire Hoosier makes in the A6 and has 13.25" tread width, massive 13.9" section width, and a big 26.8" tire height (the stock tires are 27" tall on this car). That's a 14" wide rear tire... the same relative size that CP cars use. This tire height allows for an insane 77mph top speed in 2nd gear at 7800 rpm, and 75mph at 7500 rpm. No more 3rd gear in a parking lot with this tire, ever.

Trying to fit a 14" wide tire under factory sheet metal car sounds insane... and went against my own better judgement as well as the recommendations of others. But I've taken some leaps of faith on this build using the "bigger is better" mentality that have paid off already. The car was also experiencing enough wheel spin in slow speed autocross corner exits with the 315mm Kumhos that I was willing to give this larger 345 mm wide tire a chance out back. Of course this tire would never fit up front without major fender surgery, so I went with a non-square 315F/345R combo - again, against my own recommendations. We had to space the 12" rear wheels outboard another 10mm to have the same clearance to the rear swaybar and inner fender structure as the 315 had on the same wheel as before. It was a gamble but I tossed the dice, hoping we could make them fit.

Yea, not a chance. These things are redonkulous. HUGE. So now the rear tires needed more spacer and protruded past the fenders a solid 1/2 inch, which I dislike both aesthetically and functionally. First, it widens the rear track, making the differential work that much harder and making slaloms/transitions that much more difficult to navigate. Secondly, it adds a potential rub point at the outer fender lip itself, if there is enough roll movement in the rear of the chassis to let it roll over and touch the tire. I was hoping that this wouldn't be a problem, and with a known amount of axle movement in cornering it could even tuck under the fender lip on the outer tire in turns. I also hoped the stiffer 275#/in rear and 550 #/in front springs (installed when we put on the Motons a week earlier) would keep the roll down enough to keep the rear tire away from the outer fender lip.

Other prep this week before this SCCA autocross was a swap to the rear spoiler (wing isn't legal in this series/class), and we could uncover the hidden SCCA stickers (something NASA requires). I didn't even add any fuel to the car from the last event - we loaded it into the trailer Thursday night and it sat there until the race on Sunday.

This next autocross would tell us a lot about this round of changes...

Texas Region Autocross # 3 at TMS

We're trying to make as many of our local "Texas Region" SCCA events this year as we can, and using each event as a test session. Amy was out of town on business this week, so I ran this event by myself. Hey, maybe I could win this time! Just like the autocross a week before, this event was set-up in the same sealed asphalt "Bus Lot" at Texas Motor Speedway, with the same course designer, but this time with the SCCA region running the show. This is my favorite group to autocross with - they put on an excellent event, every time. Well organized, great courses, good competition, great announcing (except when they let me do it, ha!), and final results are posted within hours. Things run smoothly, safely, and consistently. Its no coincidence that our Solo REs are also the event masters for the 2012 Solo Nationals - Jen and Brad Maxcy. (Jen whipped some ass on Sunday in their STX BMW, beat Brad, and PAXed right on my tail in Heat 1, with Brad 3rd in PAX for the heat)

Here are the event particulars:
The results don't tell the entire tale, of course. This is where I begin my excuses. So, as I've said before, this TMS site currently has construction happening right at the edge of the lot surface, with Jersey barriers holding back a mountain of fine, silty dirt from the lot. Every time it rains (which has been often here lately) it washes this dirt/mud mix onto the surface of the lot. So early drivers get to clean off the driving line, mid-day drivers get a cleaner line with some added track temperature, and afternoon drivers tend to see the cleanest line but the most track heat. If its a cooler day the afternoon runs are quickest. If its a warming day the mid-day drivers are fastest. That last scenario happened on this day - 2nd heat drivers were fastest by a good margin. It helped that our top National drivers ran that heat also!

Left: Run #1 was quick. Right: Run #5 was my fastest

I ran in the first heat along with about 1/3rd of the 109 racers. The first run in Mustang was with the stickers still on the tires, but that didn't seem to slow the car down at all. On that run I had trouble with braking in all of the higher speed stopping zones (super hard pedal - no power assist?) but put in a respectable run. My 2nd through 4th runs were either slower or not much better, with continued braking problems. My 5th run I finally adjusted my braking zones back significantly, went slower into most turns, and dropped 3/4 of a second from my first run. It wasn't pretty but it was faster. This was the only 42 second run of the heat and put me #1 in PAX for that 1/3rd of drivers as well.

This was short lived, as Heat 2 drivers put in some phenomenal times and I dropped to 18th in PAX. There were two significant problems in my runs, and one "missing" problem. Well, other than my regularly crap driving, which goes without saying. The first car issue was a broken vacuum line from the JLT oil separator that was added in 2011. This part helps catch oil residue coming from the heads (that would normally pump back into the intake manifold) caused during high RPM use (7800 rev limit? Yea, that qualifies!). The problem was this JLT kit it came with plastic fittings and inflexible plastic vacuum lines that are prone to breakage.

After my first run it I opened the hood and the catch can lay there askew, with the line or fitting obviously broken. I grabbed some zip ties an secured the unit but with this line wide open I was losing vacuum. A-ha! This is why I was losing brake booster assist after any long straights, hence the hard pedal. Eureka! I've been complaining of this issue at autocrosses for many months, back into 2011, so there's no telling how long ago this fitting cracked (see below for "the fix").

Another issue was, as you can see above, the tire rub (then tire smoke) shown above. The 345/45/18 rears were both taller and significantly wider than the 315/35/18 Kumhos, and rubbed at two locations on the inside of the chassis - on the body at the forward section of the frame rail where it curves outward and on the rear swaybar. I would turn in, the car would take a set, where the axle would slide over and the tire would move relative to the rim, and the inner sidewall would start to "catch and release" the rub points - hop hop hopping through the long turns. This caused enough rubbing that it would smoke heavily. I kept an eye on it but there was little I could do other than drop out or keep going. I kept going.

So I had miscalculated a bit on the 14" wide rears. They need to go out another 1/2" and then they'd look like Bubba going to the Drag Strip. We have the rear ride height compromised enough as it is for extra clearance and Amy said a firm "NO!" to flaring the rear of the car. So... when this set is gone we'll switch back to the 315 and tuck it all under the rear fenders. Again, I'm a fan of a narrow track for autocrossing, and this is very much "not narrow" at the moment.

The one problem that was missing was... the traction control faults and steering feedback shudder. WTF? This is a mystery but I have noticed that the more wheel spin we see the more problematic the steering is and the more faults we trigger. With 345mm rear A6s and a fresh LSD out back there was dramatically less wheel spin. This is good, because both the OEM replacement and the FRPP race re-programmed steering racks (M-3200-EPAS, $1249) are on national back-order until June 23rd. We found one in the country after calling dozens of places, and they were saving it as a spare for their GRAND AM race team. Wouldn't sell it to us for any amount of money. So... we cross our fingers and hope this steering rack and traction control fault issues take a hiatus. :/

We had been running with -4.0 front camber and I also noticed several pics showing the outside front tire loaded up at almost vertical, and not positive camber. Again, we're not using too much negative, and could even use a hair more possibly.

Updates After The Autocross

In preparation for the upcoming 4 day weekend of racing in Lincoln we knocked out these updates and repairs. First up was replacing the hoses/fittings and improving the mounting of the JLT oil separator.

Ryan made the bracket out of aluminum and bolted it to open flanges on the valve cover, then bolted the catch can to that. He had one of our vendors make the lines and fittings and buttoned that up quickly. Looks like how it should have been from Day 1 - I knew better than to let that aluminum can hang from plastic hoses and fitting. Its funny how these obviously poor parts can come back and bite you in the ass... no idea how long this has been broken. Hopefully I'll have a better brake pedal from now on!

Next up was the catch can installation for the rear differential fluid overflow problem we've been fighting at track events and even some autocrosses since day 1. Remember the fiasco this year from TWS, with oil spewing onto the rear tires? The little vent cap thing in the RR axle tube is a joke, and oil can and will come spraying out when it gets hot - and it will get hot at a track day. I bought this billet catch can and mount in mid 2011, and we finally got around to installing it. The factory vent was removed and a new fitting and custom made lines were fabricated by our hose vendor (who's a good friend of mine). Ryan bolted the catch can to the rear seat bulkhead and routed both the vent line from the axle and the "overflow" line from the catch can through a factory grommet in the trunk floor, on the driver's side just behind the back seats. Fixed!

Some wider spacers were procured and the 18x12 wheels and 345 tires went more outboard, and look just terrible. If we could massage the inner fender areas we could make this tire fit, but that's a big no-no in the SCCA, so out goes the wheel. With a custom swaybar (legal) and 45 minutes with a sledge hammer (not), these wheels would tuck inside the fenders. GRR.

Last up was foglight opening "grills". We had a customer's Boss 302S race car in the shop this week to do some suspension set-up work and we saw several great ideas on the car, including how they mounted the wire mesh grills in the foglight opening. These are functionally necessary to keep rocks and balled up tire rubber from hitting the evap core or radiator fins when lapping the Mustang behind other cars. The lower grill opening is also wide open from the factory and the evap fins on our car are already smashed up a good bit, and starting to happen behind the now missing foglights.

Ryan took the tighter stainless mesh material we picked up a few weeks back and made some round sections slightly larger than the foglight openings, then painted them black. Then he drilled a series of VERY small holes around the round rear openings in the grill. Last he tied stainless safety wire thru these holes to hold it in place, just like how the 302S does it. Sometimes seeing something done simply makes a solution so obvious. Looks good, functions great, no more smashed cooler fins. The grills are almost invisible at this rez above, but clearly visible in person or in higher rez pics.

Oh yea, the under-trunk carpet was reattached so we'd be extra-legal for the upcoming dual SCCA events.

Many Upcoming Events

There are several competition and track day events we have planned in the near future for our Mustang test mule. This weekend in Lincoln is the SCCA "Spring Nationals", with a ProSolo Friday-Saturday and a National Tour Sunday-Monday. After that we have a weekend off, followed by 3 straight weekends of racing in June:Looks like we have a busy month of testing ahead. Click any of the links above to find out about coming to watch or to enter any of these events. We'll have the Mustang at all of them listed above, and we will give ride-alongs on any run we take, if they allow it. Just bought a special set of 200 treadwear tires for the Optima event, we'll be running the big A6s in Lincoln one more time, and the 315 Kumho V710s for the other two track day events at ECR. I'll talk more about each of these events in future thread updates.

Trailer is loaded, 11 hour tow to Nebraska tomorrow...


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Default 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

continued below

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Default Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

continued from above

2012 Lincoln National Tour

Sunday rolled around and it was time for the Tour - and we were already dead tired from spending 3 days on site. I don't remember what weather we had on which day, because it was changing wildly from day to day, yet was ALWAYS WINDY. We saw 98F heat, rain, cold, fog, even the threat of hail and tornadoes. There were several storm systems that grazed the event site and a few that dumped some of the wet stuff. We saw it all in Lincoln!

The other thing we saw after so many racers made their 12+ runs at the 2 day ProSolo was tons of "OPR" - Other People's Rubber. And the tar that fills the seams in the concrete was coming up as well. It was nice when the ProSolo courses "rubbered in" on the 2nd day, as it helped you find the hard to see courses; there were many fewer DNFs on Day 2. The problem was at the following event - the Tour - which had two separate courses on the same surfaces as the Pro. The Tour courses were also a little "undermarked" in my opinion, with lots of places to get lost... especially when you went across or towards one of the rubber-covered Pro corners, like this:

You'd be zipping along, see the rubber laid down from 2 days ago, and get lost. I watched all of my National Tour run videos and caught myself hesitate more than once when near one of these rubber-lined ProSolo corners. Oh well, we all had to drive the same courses, and many folks found their way better than others. On Day 1 of the Tour I ran first and Amy was 2nd driver, and she laid down a smokin' fast first run (good enough for 2nd in class)... but coned it away! My first run was pretty quick, and good enough for 2nd, but that didn't last long. Mark Madarash cleaned up his coned first run and quickly jumped into a big lead. I whittled away at my 1st and 2nd run 62.6's and found a 62.19 on my 3rd run. Amy's 2nd run was considerably slower than her first and had 2 cones. So she needed to dig deep on her 3rd run and get a clean one in. Her 62.2 first run raw time would still put her in the trophies if she could just clean it up. We were all parked directly into the wind with our hoods up, some already done and sitting in Impound, but the 2 driver cars were waiting their turn for 2nd drivers to make their last runs. Bunch of ESP drivers were gathered behind our Mustang (the big rear spoiler acts as a wind break and we can at least hear each other talk standing there). Winds were 25+ mph all day but we kept seeing short wind gusts that were taking hats off all day.

We're about to get Amy helmeted up and in the car when... WHAM! We look over and see the hood of our car completely vertical. Oh no... the wind had gusted, got under the hood, and ripped loose the hood struts and sent it smashing into the windshield! Glass was EVERYWHERE inside, as it shattered both the inner and outer layers of safety glass.

In an instant, without saying a word, the entire swarm of ESP drivers jumped into action. Madarash and another driver were rolling up duct tape and picking up small glass particles from the dash and seat. Another ESP racer went to find Amy a full-faced helmet to borrow. More hands helped me quickly assess the damage ("I see a broken hinge and two hood struts flopping under there - lets just TAPE IT CLOSED"). A grid worker jumps in and says "OK, I assume you want a ten minute mechanical!", then ran to tell the rest of the drivers in Impound/Grid to close hoods. We had the hood back down and taped it closed across the fender at the right rear corner, where the hinge was ripped in half. Mark and I were taping the lower 1/3rd of the windshield to keep it intact, both inside and out. Another driver was helping tape the outside and got cut his hand, so he backed away to stop the bleeding and another took his place.

In something like 3 minutes we had the hood closed, the windshield taped up on both sides, Amy strapped in the car with a borrowed helmet, and ready to race - she didn't even miss the 2nd driver rotation. It was awesome! What a kickass group of racers... I can't thank everyone that helped enough. Man, its times like these I really appreciate what a great group of folks we race with - some of which I didn't even know.

Amy's last run after that mayhem was slower, mostly from the big, borrowed helmet that was slipping down over her eyes. Oh well, she made it around safely and got a clean run, but her first run was still quicker with the cone. That put her way down in like 14th place out of 18, ouch. I started making calls to about a dozen local windshield repair places but being Memorial Day weekend I came up dry. Another ESP racer called a contact at a Ford dealer and he told us what the windshield places had told me - there isn't a windshield for this car in Nebraska, maybe they could get one by Wednesday. Well, looks like we'd be racing Monday (Day 2 of the Tour) with the busted windshield!

Monday rolled around, I was down in 5th place, and Amy in 14th. We had picked up a roll of clear packing tape and covered all of the many vertical cracks that we had missed the day before. The duct tape was still in place on the lower 1/3rd of the windshield and across the back corner of the hood, which we didn't open until we got back to Texas (after asking in Impound if anyone wanted to see under there once again). My first run was quick, the 2nd fastest in class, and it moved me all the way up to 2nd place. Mark was already 1.7 seconds ahead for the day, but he and I (plus 3 more ESP drivers) never improved on our first runs.

Madarash (above left) stayed well out in front of ESP but I eventually fell down to 3rd place out of 18 when Newcombe made a smokin' fast 3rd run - the only driver to get in the 64s other than Mark that day. Moving up from 5th with a busted windshield and heavy understeer, I was happy just to salvage a trophy out of this Tour. Amy fought the car all day and was fully 2 seconds off my pace - I think her height made it more difficult to see through the "portal" of visibility I found above the tape line and between the cracks. Still, she moved up 2 spots to 12th, but wasn't happy about that at all. She's always a lot closer to me when we co-drive and this weekend just didn't go her way.

We learned a lot at these events: never underestimate Nebraska weather (pack for EVERYTHING), bring lots of tape, a non-square tire set-up can cause a push, and we still have a lot of work ahead if we want to narrow the gap to the Titan of ESP. One step forward, two steps back - the gap to Mark has doubled since the MW Tour, so we need to re-assess our changes and do more serious testing. Another set of tires is going on the car soon for a dedicated test day where we will try different spring rates and shock/bar/tire pressure settings. We also have too much lateral movement of the rear axle (rear fenders were digging into the top edges of tire tread), and the 77" wide rear track made the car harder to navigate through the many transitions and slaloms. I also felt the rebuilt/upgraded LSD starting to slip so we have got to step up to a better diff (T2R).

Video of Terry's Day 2, Tour, Run #1
You can see the view from the driver's seat

Looking at the Tour results you might think we did well, nabbing 3rd place out of 18. We did not. I was fully 4 seconds back over 2 days, which is an eternity. Again, we learned a lot and now we know how much we need to make up.

Upcoming Events

We have adjusted our June race schedule to sneak in a private test day, and also to get one more weekend off. We were almost about to register for the Mid-America Ford Meet track day at Hallet but the other folks we were going with decided to cancel, so we did as well.
The windshield is replaced, the hood is repairable, and only the hinge itself is torn. Easy fixes, considering. We're going to add a "hood tether" so that the hood can be raised (to cool engine between runs, impound, etc) unsupervised. I still don't want thehood prop, as its always in the way when you're working under the hood and we've almost lost the hood in high winds with that as well. The below left picture shows the tire rub we're still seeing with the 345/35/18, even spacing them out 1" wider than we had the 315s on the same 12" wheels. Way too much rub. So yea, I'm going back to 315s out back; not going to play around trying 335s, as the 315s at all four corners WORKED and the car could ROTATE. I might even go back to Kumhos and run a set head-to-head against the Hoosiers. The V710 seems a lot more tolerable of temperature than the A6, so far. We had to spray the crap out of the Hoosiers at the Tour.

Also shown above is the 295/35/18 Nitto NT-05 tires we bought for the Optima FACEOFF at the Hot Rod Power Tour next weekend (plus a set in 275/40/18 we got for a customer's new D-Force 18x10 wheels). This was the best 200 treadwear tire we could find any real data on. Mounting these on another set of the new 18x10" Vorshlag/D-Force wheels which we will use for this 2 day event, then pull them off and sell the set (sort of have a buyer lined up).

Someone from Speed TV called Friday to see if we were going to the event, and they are gonna be there filming. Friday at Quick Trip Park is the Speed Stop and Autocross, then Saturday at ECR for the Time Trial. Not really sure how this event is going to be run or scored - hopefully its not a 100% "subjective event" and its a real competition. Come out and watch to see some epic cars! There will be a huge variety of big dollar, magazine famous rides that will completely overshadow out little 2011 GT. Still, with both venues being very familiar to this driver and car, maybe we will get lucky and place well? Time will tell...

More soon,

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Default Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

Project Update for June 13, 2012: I am still recovering from last weekend's Optima Faceoff at HOT ROD Power Tour series of competition events. Wow, what a crazy two days! So much to talk about, the TV coverage was insane, and we did really well - considering all of the things that went wrong with the car and set-up. I have spent the last two days just cropping pictures and editing videos. I am still trying to wrap my head around the results (official results won't be out for "at least a week"), the car/set-up issues we ran into (all of which were my own damned fault), and the event itself.

More Event Prep

Let's back up and show some of the last minute prep work done before this event - a lot of little things piled up in the days before the Optima event. I figured there would be a lot on the line (and even more than I had bargained for!), so we wanted to get the car set-up, reliable, and ready. We did a pretty good job, but made some key mistakes - again, mostly from my tire selection and poor set-up choices.

The 295/35/18 Nitto NT-05 tires were mounted on the D-Force/Vorshlag 18x10" wheels, which were mounted on the car - and they looked great. To improve the front track width a bit for the track day, we went with 7mm spacers up front... it wasn't needed, but it "looked better" with them. I kinda knew there would be some TV coverage so vanity won out (and there was a LOT more TV crew than I had ever dreamed of). This 295 tire mounts on the 10" wheel beautifully and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a 295mm tire for these D-Force wheels now. We've tried a 315mm race tire on these wheels and it was way too much, but this 295 fit great. The height was a little short but it was workable. This set of mounted and balanced wheels and tires is for sale! $1800 + shipping and they are yours ($2650 retail, mounted and balanced). Used for two days, still have tons of tread.

As you can see in the first pictures we also pulled off the big "93" numbers and "ESP/TTS" class letters from the side doors and front of the car, as Optima has their own decals and numbers for these events. Part of the repairs from the "windshield incident" required two new hood hinges, as we noticed when pulling the hood that both of them were torn to shreds (as seen above, right). We had the local Ford deliver those, painted them in red to match, and put the hood back on. Well, not before some PDR guy came by to look at the hood damage, who promptly man-handled the bent rear corners so badly that he cracked the paint. Never even tried to use the heat gun to get the paint warmed up. "uhhh... thanks?"

Since we had planned on running both the rear wing (track) and rear spoiler (autocross + speed-stop) at this weekend of events we did some tweaks to both rear aero packages. For the wing base plate mounts that bolt directly to the trunk structure, Ryan made some new lower "shims" (above left) that better match the curves and contours of the trunk, which turned out nicely. For the rear spoiler, two additional "struts" were added to the outer edges, which mounted forward to existing holes in the trunk (to some wing base plate mounting holes). These two front struts joined the existing 4 rear struts to make for a much more rigid structure. Now you can really push on the ends of the spoiler and it doesn't deflect.

Like we do before each track event or autocross (and for customers, now that Vorshlag is a NASA Approved HPDE tech shop), the car was given a good pre-track inspection. Ryan began by swapping over to the track pads (R4) and rotors and flushing the brakes with Motul RBF600 (which we now stock and sell). He noticed a bit of wear on all of the caliper and pad mounting hardware, which isn't a surprise considering how many times we've swapped rotors and pads (autocross set vs track set). The dust seals were FRIED and had burned to a crisp. So new caliper bolts, pad retaining pins, and dust seals were ordered. The dust seals had to come from Italy so those would have to wait, but the hardware was swapped along with the track set of rotors and pads before the event. These R4 track pads take a bit to get up to temp, so I had to be mindful of getting the brakes hot for the speed-stop and autocross events (this would bite me in the ass later).

An odd safety item we needed for this Optima event was a fire bottle "mounted in the car with a metal bracket". We called a fire extinguisher supplier and had two Halon bottles (one for Mustang, one for the E30) with roll bar mounts ordered over a week before the event. Of course these didn't arrive in time (and still haven't, two weeks later), so Ryan had to fab something up the morning of the event. It's a cheesy little 2.5 pound "BC" type bottle mounted to a metal bracket with a quick release (hitch pin), but it met the letter of the rules. The mount was plenty strong, but a little hinky looking - still better than some other set-ups we saw.

One car actually caught on fire at the track event as it was leaking transmission fluid onto exhaust all day, pouring smoke out while on track, and it finally was enough to burn. The track personnel couldn't get his fire bottle out quickly enough and they had to use one from the paddock. So there was a solid basis to this rule. We will chuck this 2.5 pound extinguisher (the bottle was on the harness bar upright) and mount the real 5 lb Halon bottle into the Mustang if/when it arrives.

Well this portion has already gotten long... I will start another update tomorrow.

Last edited by Fair!; 06-13-2012 at 07:04 PM.
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Default Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

Project Update for June 15, 2012: With all of the pre-event prep and changes made to the Mustang (see my last thread update, above) to tackle an autocross, speed-stop, and track event all in one weekend we loaded the car into the trailer Friday morning and headed to QuikTrip Park for the Friday events during the Optima Challenge Faceoff. We saw lots of cool hot rods and muscle cars on the highways, as the week long Power Tour was wrapping up at the same location... across the street in the parking lot for the at the horse track called Lone Star Park.


I was ready for autocrossing on the surface at LSP, as I had raced there many dozens of times and new how the site would bite. When we rolled up and saw what looked like thousands of cars parked all over the giant open asphalt lot at LSP, I was confused. I asked the guy at the gate: "Uhhhh... Where is the event!?!" "You see the small parking lot across the street? That's it." Oh damn. The lot used to park cars for the minor league baseball field (QuikTrip Park) and neighboring Verizon theater (which had some high school graduation going on) was our lot for the day. It was a much smaller, sealed asphalt surface, and I didn't know this site at all.

Oh well, no home court advantage today (but I knew the ECR track better than any other track I've raced on - hopefully that would pay off tomorrow!). We wound our way through the barricades and finally found a spot to park the truck and trailer. While Amy unloaded the Mustang I went over to registration, which was already well underway. The organizers had several huge trailers set-up, including this massive multi-level rig Optima brought they called Optima Prime. It really was like some massive Transformer, with all of these swiveled and rotated and flipped out sections on this 53' trailer, and both air conditioned space and a shaded upper level observation deck. Very cool.
K&N, Bowler Transmissions/Royal Purple, RideTech, Wilwood, and others also had their big display trailers set-up, there were bleachers for spectators to sit in, (hundreds of people came by to watch the events) and TV cameras EVERYWHERE - on man lifts/cranes, crews walking around with 2 SpeedTV hosts, mobile lipstick cameras they put in and on cars, and more. I was blown away by all of this pageantry and spectacle for an autocross - in 24 years of competing in this sport I had NEVER seen anything like it! After I shook my head, pinched myself and was positive this was real, I made it up to the registration platform inside the Optima trailer. I got checked in, signed all sorts of insurance and release forms (TV stuff), they handed me an event T-shirt + a gaggle of decals, and I went back and got the car "stickered up" and ready.

Amy did her magic and put the huge Optima side decal boards, Optima numbers, and Optima windshield banner decals on perfectly (as usual we laid them up wet - you shoulda seen some of the other decal installations!) Drove the Mustang over to the pre-grid area where all of the entrants were lining up and started talking to some folks. Damn fine cars here, including the LG ZR1 and numerous magazine featured cars I had seen before or knew of. Wow, there was some serious hardware in the 40 car field! After snapping some pics of several of my dream cars, I began to walk the tight autocross course several times, and also talking to some friends I knew that were entered. There was a driver's meeting at the Optima Prime trailer, then we were split into 2 groups, and my group was lined up for the Speed Stop Event.

Wilwood Disc Brakes Speed-Stop Event

Now remember: we had just mounted these brand new Nitto tires, rolled the car onto and out of the trailer, and then driven it 100 feet to the grid area. So yea, the tires were covered in silicone mold release. Also, the R4 brake pads and dedicated rotors were swapped on, but not in the perfect order from the last time they were used, also with zero driving. Guess where I'm going here? The tires were not scrubbed in and the brakes were not bedded, so I had NO grip and NO brakes on my first 3 speed stop attempts! Blew right out of the stop box every time.

This also wasn't a straight forward "accelerate then brake" deal, due to the size of the lot. We had a decent little acceleration zone (I saw a peak of ~60 mph), then a pirouette cone lined in water barriers, then a super tight offset slalom (35' apart with significant offsets) into the 20x40' stop box. And there was water seeping up through the parking lot at the front of the stop box, which never stopped all day (from heavy rains the day before). Not complaining - we all had to drive the same thing - it just wasn't a straight "go and stop" kind of deal. You had to set-up for the turn-around and subsequent slalom to get a good time. The acceleration box from the standing start was also pretty bad until it rubbered-in, later in the day.

Lined up for the Start-Stop event in front of another crowd of spectators

Right before the Speed Stop event was to start they had pushed our group temporarily over into the autocross line for 1 run (while some cars were moved in the Speed-Stop area), which also felt like driving on greased ice. My first 3 Speed-Stop runs were pathetic, and I blew through the stop box each time, pressing like mad on the brake pedal. After those first 4 attempts to do anything was losing my mind. I noticed I had no fuel left, and I was drenched in sweat already - and had no water or ice in our cooler, and it was already hot (95F day). I had to get out of here and get fuel, water, ice, scrub the tires and bed the brakes. I asked for a fuel break, was told where to exit, and I got out of that parking lot. About 1 mile away was a RaceTrac gas station, and in that mile of driving I broke more traffic laws than I can count. It must of looked like somebody was driving a car full of sting-crazy bees - I was swerving across three lanes, accelerating like mad, then panic stopping. But when I got back 10 minutes later the brakes were bedded and those tires were scrubbed in.

Ride-Tech Street Challenge Autocross

So with the silicone off the tires the the brake pad surfaces matching the rotors, I went back in line to wait for my group to start the autocross portion for the next hour. We had 4 straight hours of racing (with one 15 minute break where we went back to pre-grid), and each hour we'd rotate from S-S to Auto-x. My first auto-x run on the greased-up tires was a 35.6 sec run. My next run an hour later on the now-scrubbed tires was a 33.2. Then I had a string of 32s, then five runs in the 31s. I was getting faster and the announcer noticed...

By the end of the day I had taken about 12 autocross runs and managed to run a 30.8 and a 30.5 second pass. We thought those might be in the top three but since they were not posting times we didn't know how close we were. The announcer was calling out times over the speakers, but these were pointed away from the grid and towards the crowd. By around 4 pm I had two buddies join us (McCall and Ed, the two nose-pickers shown below) that were helping with tire pressures, tire spraying (these NT-05s were boiling in short order), keeping me hydrated, and this let Amy go across the event site to the Optima trailer and listen for our times (which she would text to us after each run).

With 40 cars moving through the line it made for a little wait between each run, and the camera crew used those periods to do on-camera interviews with drivers. I was interviewed 3 times during autocross & Speed-Stop events, and you can hear one of the interviews at the end of my autocross video, below.

Click for in-car video of one of my 31 second autocross runs + an on-camera interview with Bill Goldberg

Even though this was a super tight autocross (where I was at steering lock 6 times per run) and there were smaller cars there that could navigate the course better than this wide Mustang (EVO, three MR2s, etc), somehow we did all right and our little Mustang ended up with the fastest time at the end of the day! Whew... Of course we didn't know this until the end of Saturday, because they kept the results final secret - hey, it was part of the drama of TV, so I get it. The look on my face when they announced me as the autocross winner must have been pretty funny... because I was totally shocked!

Click for in-car video of my Speed Stop Run #7, 14.4 seconds

Unfortunately I never made a good showing at the Speed-Stop event all day. My run in the video above was my best on that course and it was a solid 0.9 second off the Todd Earlsey's Evo, who placed first in the event (and 2nd in the autocross - he had lots of good points already racked up going into day 2). They only announced the top 3 finishers after the Saturday awards ceremony so I didn't know where exactly I ended up, but now that the final results are up it looks like I ended up way down in 9th (this placing utterly killed my chance at the overall win). I took about 8 runs over 2 hours on that S-S course and never really got a good stop or turn-around in, with a massive front end push in the turn-around and the brakes just not working.

The start box rubbered-in after a number of entrants made big smoky burn-outs and I could finally leave the line on these street tires at about 1800 rpm late in the day, but that was the only improvement I saw. The pedal was hard as a brick at the braking zone into the pirouette cone, and just as bad into the stop box. I had no power assist with the brakes; I was jamming that pedal down with all my strength with very little affect. We tried to diagnose the booster and vacuum lines on site but could not find a vacuum leak big enough to leak down the booster - it just didn't have any pedal assist after any high RPM sprint. Something was broken. We also had a major push that we couldn't dial out, even with a crazy alignment, tire pressure tweaks, and radical shock changes.

Roshambo?! (Autocross Shoot-out)

At the end of the day we had a special non-points event in store. By now it was 6:30 pm and time for the "autocross shoot-out", with the top 16 drivers doing a head-to-head "race to the line" sort of deal. They called it Roshambo, but many of you would know it as a "double-cross". They called the top 16 drivers' names, where I was the last one to be called, and they pulled me to the front of the line (didn't know at the time, but this was because I had won the autocross). When they described the event at the driver's meeting they were wrapping up extending the course between the formerly separate finish to the start lines, with a short and TIGHT section of course. I listened to the driver's meeting instructions... as I walked this new section of course 30 yards away. Three times. Nobody else that I could see walked it, and therefore didn't know how tight it was.

Left: Lined up with eventual Roshambo winner Brian Finsh. Right: Lots of sparks from the rear brakes (see more here)

This extra course knowledge paid off in my first round heads-up match, as I blazed through this newly added section of course to make the continuous lap and I won my first round by over a second. One thing that was unique was that any driver that hit a cone was eliminated - and if both drivers hit a cone they were BOTH out. So during the first round's 8 match-ups there were some cones, and a pair of drivers who both hit cones. That pair that coned out made for a "bye" run for me in round 2 - but I still had to make a clean cone-free run. It was a slow parade lap, of course. In the 3rd round I was lined up against the 1971 Camaro of Brian Finch. Now he had an unusual advantage - not only is he a series regular (and a great driver!) but he entered 2 cars in the event, and both cars were fast enough to get into Roshambo... so he had twice as many looks at the new course by the 3rd round (his 1970 Nova had been bumped out in his 1970 Camaro). When we ran heads up I got behind in the slalom and lost a lot of time, and was not surprised when he beat me back to the line. He ended up going onto the 4th and final round against Louis Gigliotti, and Brian won the Roshambo shootout. Didn't count for much more than bragging rights, but its a cool event - especially since there was only one class of cars racing.

End of Autocross Day

So after all of that I had to look back and ponder... this really was an AMAZING day of autocrossing. I can honestly say I have never seen anything remotely like this. Cheering crowds of spectators, pumped up announcers, and TV cameras everywhere. At an autocross. Insane!

So by now its closing in on 8 pm and we still had some work to do. Hot, tired, sweaty, and tired. I went to try to find out if there were any printed results for the autocross, but they weren't telling so I had to stew all night after the Roshambo loss, not knowing how I did in the timed event. With Ed and McCall's help we swapped the spoiler for the wing to use on the drive over to ECR in the morning and at the track, and also to show some more parts we had designed and built. Loaded the car into the trailer and drove to Costas' to crash out for the night, after grabbing some dinner at Fuzzy's Taco, then watched some F1 practice. Long, hot, exhausting day - and we had another hot long day lined up for Saturday.

Read about the ECR track event below...

Last edited by Fair!; 04-02-2014 at 03:42 PM.
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Default Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

Project Update for June 19, 2012 - Part 1 of 3?! Finally getting to the write-up covering Track portion of the Optima Faceoff event. This has become embarrassingly long. These write-ups take more time than you might imagine, and sometimes it grows beyond my expectations. There was a lot going on this weekend!

When we left off above, the Friday Autocross, Roshambo, and Speed Stop events were wrapped up and we had loaded up and towed the rig to a nearby friend's house to crash for the night. We were supposed to meet back at the same parking lot at QT Park at 6:30 am the next morning for the drive over to ECR...

Detroit Speed Road Rally

The deal was they wanted everyone (that could) to drive from the QT Park area to ECR, which was a 70+ mile drive. This was to show entrants that were real "street cars", and successfully making this trip gained you 5 points in the competition. With the three main events worth up to 25 points each, and the one other "Design" competition worth another 5, every point mattered (we didn't learn the final point tallies or event break-down until a week after the event). And if there was ever a car that was easily capable of street driving, it was our emissions legal, stock-motored, daily driven Mustang GT.

We rolled up to the Lone Star Park parking lot at 6:30 am to unload the trailer, but Optima Jim was quickly turning everyone around. Apparently there was a scheduling mix-up on the parking lots we were supposed to meet at? Jim was pointing the HOT ROD Power Tour Long Haul guys to one spot for their scheduled group picture and telling the Optima Faceoff drivers to meet at a nearby auto parts store parking lot for the group drive to ECR. We went to the same RaceTrac gas station that I had fueled up the day before, unloaded the Mustang, then drove it next door to the gathering spot for the group drive to the road race track for the day's events.

Two other Dallas locals and I talked about the route from this parking lot in south Arlington up to ECR and came up with a perfect route - simple, fewest turns, no toll roads, and bypassed the interstate running right next to Texas Motor Speedway, which had an Indycar race scheduled that day (epic traffic!). We talked to the lead car driver Optima Jim, he liked the idea, so one of the locals in a C6 (Robert Wilson) led the entire group and I brought up the rear to catch any stragglers. The hour and a half long drive went off without incident, the group stayed together, nobody got lost, and the camera car was busy the whole time filming the 40+ cars. This group of stickered up muscle cars was quite a sight driving through Dallas that day, I assure you!

Eagles Canyon Raceway - BFGoodrich Hot Lap Challenge

This was the main event of the weekend and the one I was most worried about. Once we arrived at ECR I found that Amy, who had left 15 minutes before us, had already arrived and set-up our truck/trailer in the perfect spot: right next to the track in the paddock area. We quickly set-up the new roll-out shade, which then became a popular spot for many competitors to hide from the sun throughout the day. I had the front toe set at 5/16" total out for the autocross, to help this pig to turn, so I reset the toe at the track to 1/8" total out (which is what we normally run for track use). We reset the tire pressures to 35F, 30R, bumped up the compression and rebound a bit on the Motons, and re-checked camber (-4 up front). The oil was topped off and everything was checked; after the first session the front tires had gotten up to 47 psi, so we lowered them to 37F/32R hot.

Left: Vorshlag trailer was an oasis of shade. Right: Picture of the Mustang from the ECR clubhouse deck

There was a driver's meeting at 9 am and one of the race organizers approached me about talking about the track, after they went over flags and passing rules. There were six of us in attendance that had driven ECR before, but somebody told them that I had more laps here than the others. I guess... maybe I did? I ran TTU in the first NASA event at ECR in 2008 (setting the fastest TT time and a TTU record in the E36 Alpha car, which has long since been smashed), had run two LeMons endurance races there in 2011, and dozens of other events over the past 5 years at this 2.5 mile road course. So I got up there and spoke to the racers for 10 minutes about the layout, the various turns, pit in/out, runoff areas, places that can get you, where corner stations were, etc. Basically: ECR is a great track with a bunch of tight turns joined by a variety of 1000-2000' straights, and the fun feature of 70' elevation changes in some areas. It's hard on brakes, bumpy in areas (good shocks help), horsepower pays off on the straights, but there is no high speed cornering and you rarely see cars exceed 125 mph. I talked about lap times as well: 2:15 is what Spec Miata runs, and a 2:00 flat is FAST for street tires and R compounds alike (AI record is 2 flat).

Left: ECR Track Map. Right: Running the Vorshlag E36 LS1 "Alpha" car at ECR in Oct, 2008

After the driver's meeting I ended up talking to a dozen more folks about tires, the course, and the surface. People came by the trailer all day to discuss set-ups and I was glad to help. Our car was far from the ringer that day, as there was some SERIOUS hardware that I knew would be fast, and a few of the locals were worth watching out for: Louize Gigliotti in the LG-prepped ZR1 and Todd Earlsey in the Evo Dynamics prepared EVO were two. Todd regularly runs in NASA TT and Louis sees all sorts of track events in crazy cars all the time. I talked a bit with Dave Michaels, who was driving the Lingenfelter (LPE) prepared 5th gen Camaro, which sounded pretty gnarly as well. There were several 500-800 whp cars in attendance that could be spoilers, but I was hoping that ECR track experience would pay more dividends than brute horsepower.

Well, it turns out that having both didn't hurt! The ZR1 had me worried because of his experience, skill, the fact that it started out as a $120K ZR1, the 345 Michelins I noticed it was riding on, and the fact that LG had prepped the heck out of this one (this is Lou's personal car). LGMotorsports knows Corvettes and this was no run-of-the mill ZR1, having a fully built motor, ported blower, custom splitter and wing, track-worthy suspension, carbon ceramic brakes, and lots of other modifications they have made to it for hill climb competitions (it recently dyno'd at 755 whp and 820 wtq). So yeah, our daily driven Mustang GT with a stock engine and some bolt-ons was a bit out-gunned on the horsepower front. I felt like our Mustang wasn't probably going to hang with these crazy muscle cars, 600 whp GTRs, Lambos, ZL1 Camaro, C6 Corvettes and ZR1s if they were driven halfway well.

Left: Ed talking to race control, getting me sorted before going out on track. Right: A beautiful Cuda making laps, the ZR1 coming in.

I was also a little iffy about my tire choice, as the Nitto NT-05s were prone to overheating in the little 30 second autocross runs the day before. How would these handle track sessions in Texas summer heat? The answer is... they didn't. I will go ahead and say something that a few HPDE gurus won't agree with: Nitto NT-05s suck. These tires are greatly inferior to Yokohama AD08s, Bridgestone RE-11s, Hankook RS3, and Dunlop Star Specs that I've tracked and/or autocrossed with on this same car. The problem is - all of those other tires are under 200 treadwear, except the Dunlop, which has a maximum size of 275/35/18. I wanted more tire for this car, because when I ran ECR in December 2011 in the Mustang (with quicker lap times) on 275/40/18 Bridgestone RE-11s it was very "rear traction limited". My hope was that these wider 295/35/18 Nitto NT-05s would better take the heat and abuse that the Mustang would dish out. Bad call on my part.

After making a few slow parade laps behind a pace car I came in and waited in grid for the first real timed session of the day. This was about 10:30 am, which ended up being the coolest session of the day (where fastest laps were turned by many). After being told by the race director and camera crews to move to the front of the line, I ended up being the first car out (with I think Luis' ZR1, the LPE Camaro, and the Todd's EVO behind me). I mistakenly thought (from reading the Optima event regs) that we would only get 2 sessions all day and that each hot lap (3 laps per) would count cumulatively (like at a One Lap of America event). They had said that any off could DSQ you for the session, too (also sort of like OLOA). So this meant I had to make every lap count, right out of the box, and have zero mistakes. When every lap counts you drive differently, and I hoped my prior ECR experience and aggressive driving would pay off.

So... the posted event regulations weren't actually how they ended up running the track portion. Instead it was all about getting one golden lap for the day, like any normal NASA Time Trial. That makes a lot more sense, and we finally confirmed this "just try to get one good lap" strategy by the 3rd session on track. Live and learn, and never trust the pre-published event regs (because to this point, few of them applied to this actual event). After seeing how much this series had grown in 2012, and how this was the first "big TV show" versions of the Optima Qualifier events, it wasn't a surprise that they would be tweaking the format as the weekend progressed. Its all good.

Click for in-car video from my first of seven on-track sessions of the day - and my slowest

So the in-car video from my first session is shown above. They lined me up first, with a group of 3 or 4 cars, with a scheduled 3 hot laps. They wanted to figure out spacing, camera panning, etc - eventually they had groups of 5 to 8 cars on track at once. I never saw anyone else in the first heat (except the EVO parked on an access road, after it blew off an inlet hose). I have to admit that it was a bit nerve racking having 2 bullet cameras added to your car (one pointing at me, one exterior) in addition to my own in-car video set-up, plus half a dozen manned and elevated camera stations around the track. The TV crew told us at the beginning of the day that they were trying to space us far enough apart on track so that each camera station could follow each car through the corners separately, for nearly 100% on-track video coverage for each driver. These camera stations were hard to miss, too - it was WEIRD having guys way up on cranes with mounted SpeedTV cameras tracking you through a corner around Eagles Canyon. I've never been filmed from multiple TV cameras like this and it made me a bit nervous at the beginning of the day.

While many cars had problems, our little Mustang kept pounding out lap after lap

So how was the Mustang on the NT-05s? It was terrible, the tires overheated quickly, and they made a LOT of noise. I was told by many folks they could hear me from a mile away, just due to the howling of the tires. In my first session where I went 10/10ths on every lap I only managed a best of 2:05.9. I could get a half of a lap of hard driving before the rears would start to boil and I had to back-pedal coming out of 3rd gear corners. I had to watch out for overheating on my out lap. 2nd gear was completely unusable on the exit of Turn 11, so I left it in 3rd and skated around delicately. The car had a MASSIVE push all day (even after lots of set-up changes), especially after the right front got hot, so the car would just push push PUSH worse if I didn't take a cool-down lap.

Continue below for part 2 of 3...

Last edited by Fair!; 06-20-2012 at 03:41 PM.
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Default Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

Part 2 of 3....

The same steering feedback shudder we've been fighting for a year was still present (new steering racks are still on national backorder until the end of June), and the brakes sucked. It took me the first two track sessions before I figured out that the booster just wasn't working at speed, and I had to brute force the brake pedal to get it to stop. It made heel-toe downshifts tricky, and I did a lot of left foot braking to be able to press hard enough (and would swap feet mid-braking zone). By my 3rd session I could finally get into threshold braking on all corners. After I figured out the work-around for the busted brake booster, and once I finally listened to JasonM, Ed, Mike and Amy (thanks for coming out to help guys! It was huge) about taking one hot lap followed by one cool down lap, I started dropping time. 2:04s were followed by a lone 2:03.9. Here are some abbreviated results, but all are linked here.

Name..........Fastest Time.. (Car)
Louis Gigliotti.........1:59.772 (LG ZR1)
Dave Michaels.....2:01.904 (LPE 5th gen Camaro)
Terry Fair...............2:03.967 (Vorshlag S197 Mustang)
Todd Earlsey........2:05.756 (Evo-D EVO-9)
Brian Finch...........2:06.052 (Royal Purple 71 Camaro)

So my 2:03.9 lap ended up being the 3rd fastest time overall, which was a bit of a surprise. That is slower than I've run in the same car on narrower tires here before, but it was the best I could muster that day. Maybe it was the conditions, the heat, the NT-05s, and a bunch of broken parts (steering rack + booster), but I still wasn't happy with the laps in the Mustang. I also regretted the 550 #/in front 275#/in rear springs, which have done nothing but make the car push since we put them on (when we added the Moton Club Sports). Those have since come off and we've gone back with the previous set-up of 450F/175R. It always rotated better, put power down better, and didn't have this awful push. (I'll retest this set-up this weekend at ECR).

During the last few later afternoon sessions the heat was rising and the times were too - nobody was going fast. I knew I wasn't going to find much if any more time and the rear tires were cooked. I had been talking to Ed during my sessions, who was relaying to me the announced times lap by lap. The Ford "Sync" system linked to my iPhone via Bluetooth works VERY well, and we had some of the best 2-way on track comms I've ever seen at ECR. Ed would call me before I went out on course, I'd answer, and just cranked up the radio speakers. With a full face helmet he could hear me talking back to him, too. He spotted traffic for me, told me lap times, and most importantly - calmed me down when I was over-driving the car. That's when we managed the 2:03 lap time - with a strategy of cool down laps then hot laps.

They allowed competitors to run on track almost as often as they liked, and each time they announced "we have an empty grid" I would scramble up there, if I wasn't already in line. So after six track sessions (?!) I was pretty burned out and had spent very little time out of the car and out of my driver's suit. The crew that was there was keeping me hydrated between sessions, and the camera guys were constantly adding and removing cameras to the car between sessions. The handful of minutes I stepped out of the car I was peeling off the driving suit and damn near passed out in our trailer - out of the sun. I still ended up doing another 3 or 4 on-camera interviews, as the crew figured out that I was running top 3 times, and since we did well enough in the autocross to possibly be an "overall" contender. Goldberg was super nice and really liked the car, and kept encouraging us to keep pushing it out on track. So I kept going out, over and over, pouring more and more fuel into the tank.

I inadvertently left my Sony HD video camera on after my 2nd track session (stupid!) and killed both the battery and filled up the SD card after, so I didn't get much in-car video of my own. This week I purchased a mega-over-sized battery and two more SD cards, plus a wired remote from Sony so I can control and see when the damn thing is recording.

Some of the many TV cameras set-up at the ECR portion of the Optima Faceoff

My last two sessions the lap times simply weren't there. Ran some 2:04s, lots of 2:05s, but it was just too damned hot by that point. There was a camera crew by the pit wall and a crowd was gathering, including the TV host Goldberg... and with the rear tires overheated, I started hooning. A lot. They were loving it, waving for more, so I kept stepping the tail out in turn 11 more and more... and then into 3, and then into 7, and basically in front of each big camera station on course. OMFG I was hooning my ass off - cameras make me stupid. I also had Ed on the phone telling me that the announcer and the crowd were eating it up, and they were betting how much I'd hang it out each lap, so I gave them more and more, and started kicking the car all the way through 11 sideways. I have to admit - that was fun.

Now I still don't condone the "sport" of drifting, but if "driving a little loose" gets me on TV, I'm gonna do it. It's not hard - we used to mess around after autocrosses back in college (TAMSCC!) and set-up these impromptu drift sessions. A group of us that drove V8 RWD cars at the time used this to practice car control, and we all got pretty good at it. This was long before the Drifting "sport" became a fad, before the e-brakes and the banged up cars, and decades before Ken Block and funny shoes. We were just a bunch of autocrossers... "practicing". So if this event makes it into a TV show, I suspect... some of this clowning might get shown. The camera guys kept telling me "this is great stuff!", and the car wasn't getting any faster, so who knows?

Lingenfelter Performance and Design Challenge

One more "competition" for the weekend was a "performance and design" subjective thing. Again, I thought this was for a full 25 points, but it ended up only being a 5 point deal so it didn't alter the results too much. Compared to the crazy hardware that is typical at these events, our car is pretty plain and I figured we'd do poorly in this part of the challenge.

Left: The winner of the Design Challenge, Rodney Moore. Right: The Design Challenge judges talking to me about the Mustang (it got 5th place)

The top guys from Lingenfelter, Optima and Wilwood came by and checked out the car and asked several questions. The point of this judgement was visual improvements, of which we have done very little. I told them, hey, this is our suspension test mule so it's not about looks... but we've made this rear wing set-up, the rear spoiler used on Friday, added this LS splitter, these "Vorshlag" wheels are ours, and most importantly these are our camber plates and other suspension bits. I guess it helped and the Mustang scored the last point in 5th position.

Top Ten Track Shoot-out

This was another non-points event they held, run after the day's "BFG Hot Lap Challenge" track time was done. The ten fastest cars were called up to the grid, lined from fastest to slowest, and they wanted us to make a 5 lap sprint to the checkered flag. The announcer said it was all about getting to the flag first, and I tried to ask someone on pit road if this was indeed the case. Ed was talking to me on the phone during the whole session again, and passing along lap times, announcer's and crowd's feedback, etc. As far as we knew it was about working your way up through the pack and getting to the finish line first. They lined up Lewis' ZR1 in front, then the LPE Camaro was supposed to be 2nd (but it caught on fire late in the day, then was pouring transmission fluid onto the exhaust by now and wasn't allowed to run) so they moved me up from 3rd place. The rest of the field was behind me, but all I had eyes for was the ZR1 Corvette. They sent us out 15 seconds apart, and we were supposed to NOT pass on the out lap (yellow flag out lap were the rules for the day), but after the green flag dropped it was on.

I tore ass through pit-out and was catching the ZR1 by turn 3. I knew how each of the top 10 cars were performing from running so many sessions that day - everyone was running hot, taking cool down laps, or only making 1-2 lap sessions. I felt like I could push the Mustang 10/10ths on a 5 lap sprint without slowing down more than a second from my fastest time all day. Driving Flat Out for each lap wouldn't make for the fastest peak time, but it could allow me to pass faster cars. And the only one faster left was the ZR1. So on the out lap I hauled ass, caught up to Loise's Corvette, and painted his mirrors red with Mustang. I wasn't going to pass him on the warm up lap, but I was letting him know I was back here. "Hi, Louis!" He saw me swerving back and forth, as I was baiting him to push it hard on the out lap. That boosted ZR1 had about 1 fast lap in it, but the Mustang could lay down 5 heaters...

He fell for it by turn 5, put the hammer down, and we were in a sprint race on the out lap! Come on, heat soak that intercooler! By the time we were at the green flag I think there was 8 or so car lengths between us and he was hanging it out trying to gap me. I pushed as hard as I could on the first timed lap and ran a 2:04 to Lewiz's 2:00. On lap 2 the ZR1 was cooking, the intercooler was heat-soaked, and I got a hasty point by into turn 3, which I took with a smile! Ed was hooting and hollering, saying that the announcer and the crowd was going nuts! "Pass him! Pass him!" I got around the ZR1 and opened up a huge gap. The ZR1 slowed to a 2:38 on lap two. Now that I was in the lead I drove like a man possessed, pushing to the limit, and the tires quickly overheated.

Left: the field got bunched up like this after a couple of laps, a good half lap behind me. Right: Pulling in first felt good!

I didn't care - these tires sucked and I'd NEVER be driving on them again, so I was eager to sacrifice the set. Ed told me that my gap was big and nobody was catching up, the crowd was going nuts, so I started pushing too hard... and hooning a little. Then started hooning a LOT. The crowd on pit wall was waving and shooting video, and I think I was waving back while going sideways. By the 5th and final lap I had a big gap on the field and was catching the last car, and still yawing through any turn that had a camera. I took the checker, then a much needed cool-down lap. Damn, I wish my camera was working during that session... that was THE most fun I've had behind the wheel in my life. Pushing the car, passing the ZR1, hooning for the crowds and cameras, and Ed egging me on via bluetooth. That was a smile that took hours to wear off!

Goldberg giving me the thumbs up after I made it to the checkered flag first. Parc ferme, P1!

I pulled into pit road and Goldberg was telling the TV crew, "I want Terry's Mustang RIGHT HERE, in front!" (Amy was standing next to him). I pulled up to where they wanted me, climbed out, and was drenched in sweat. I thought I had won the "top ten shootout", but they decided to award the win to the fastest lap driven, which was the ZR1. Again, by now we were all used to the "fluid nature" of the event structure (there was some interesting radio chatter, arguing one way or the other, even after the checkered flag was thrown). Fair enough. The camera crew went to interview sponsors, the LG crew, and others. Of all of the events during the weekend, this was where I felt I did the best. I knew who got through 5 laps fastest and had a huge blast doing it.

Left: LG crew being interviewed after winning the top ten shootout. Right: Me, Lou, and Louis talking after the top ten laps.

After we were done with the cameras, Loueis made a crack about the out lap "All I could see in my mirrors was red, you ass!" We all had a good laugh waiting for the cars to cool down and the final camera work to wrap up. I've known the guys at LG for over a decade and Louis is a friend of mine, so all of my wise cracks (like misspelling his name!) are in good humor. They brought one damned fast car to this event and clearly had the fastest lap time all day, and in the top ten shootout, and I begrudge them nothing. I've owned and raced multiple Corvettes myself and wish dearly that I could own one (I don't race Corvettes for business reasons, but that is all), especially a ZR1 as badass as theirs!

please see part 3 of 3 below...

Last edited by Fair!; 06-21-2012 at 11:42 AM.
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