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Unread 01-15-2015, 03:30 PM
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Default Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

Project Update for January 15th, 2014: This was supposed to be part 3 of 3 of our "lead up" + SEMA2014 + OUSCI coverage. This segment was going to be devoted to our coverage and personal impressions of the 2014 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) event. I took audio notes each day there and I've been transcribing that and trying to write this for over 6 weeks, and its complete. It is huge, it is in depth, but its brutal and extremely negative. if I posted this it would only make a small percentage of entrants and the organizers very angry, so I'm not - I can't see what good will come of it. Long story short: OUSCI was very frustrating to our entire group that went, which were all racers.

I wrote 60,000 words about this event - that I will likely never publish

I've written bad reviews of events in the past: The 2012 ASCS event which was a joke. The dangerous way the track event for TX2K events was run. I've posted about or trials with pig headed rules makers in SCCA. Some of you get something from this, but mostly it makes me hated by more and more people. In the end, its bad for our business, and there are 7 other people that rely on Vorshlag for their income. Nobody wants to hear the truth (not my "no holds barred" version of it).

Instead this will be a short S197 project update, where I will show some newly finished work on our 2011 GT, which is still for sale (and I've lowered the price) with a new listing on eBay. At the end of this I will cover what we are racing in 2015, which is an all new race car build that we started working on only 8 days before it's first outing. All happy news, all the time.

Vorshlag TT3 Mustang : New Updates and Lower Price

This image is one of my favorite views of this car, and in original resolution is my current desktop background

Right before SEMA/OUSCI we made a lot of changes to our 2011 Mustang, most of which were cosmetic but they also included some real aero updates - like the rear new wing uprights and end plates shown in the image above. Normally we would have reinforced the trunk lid to take all of these new, bigger loads - but we ran out of time and went with it "unsupported" for the SEMA show and OUSCI. This is what we did on a similar AJ Hartman carbon fiber wing element we made uprights for on Jamie Beck's ST3 race car, shown below.

A couple of weeks after we got back from OUSCI in November I asked Ryan to duplicate the trunk reinforcements he made for Jamie's ST3 Mustang - to put on our car. He started with some aluminum plate reinforcements that bolt to the bottom side of the trunk (including some through-holes to the mounting uprights) attached with stainless M6 button head bolts, as shown below.

The round aluminum tube design used was the same as the previous versions on Jamie's car. Ryan added riv-nuts to the bottom side flat edge of the tube structures, then machined custom Delrin bushings on the lathe and bolted them to the flats at the base of the trunk tubes.

These hard bushings press the trunk lid down onto a strong, sheet metal structure of the back of the trunk surround. This way the aero loads push the trunk down, with loads passing through these aluminum tube reinforcements, that then pass to the chassis structure. It seems unusual, and on a pure race car the wing uprights often bolt through slotted holes in the trunk and down to the frame, but we've used this design in the past and it works.

The finished trunk reinforcements make the entire trunk / wing struture more rigid and it closes more easily now, too. We're going to leave the tubular reinforcements in raw silver on this car. Looks good and goes well with the red and black on the car for the trifecta of "Vorshlag colors" (red, black, silver)

These pre- and post-SEMA updates took some time and a bit of cash. Replicating these front flares and fresh paint would have been about $6000 to the normal guy. The custom wing uprights, larger end plates, and trunk reinforcement work would cost another $2000. With all of that included we felt like it justified the $48K price we were asking for the car. Well, the car hasn't sold so we're going to eat a lot the costs of these updates and lower the price to $44,500.

New eBay ad with buy it now price of $44,500: http://www.ebay.com/itm/321643064787

The purchase still comes with the buyer's choice of tires and wheels (we have two matching sets of Forgestar 18x12" wheels, one with a fresh set of 335mm BFG Rivals and the other with fresh 335/345mm Hoosier A6 tires), and of course Vorshlag set-up and parts support to the buyer. If you know of anyone that's looking for a unique, fast, well sorted, and beautiful Mustang like this, please send them our way. If this for sale page is still up, then the car is still for sale. We've stopped racing the car, it is now being stored in my home shop, but its ready to go for the 2015 racing season. If interested, call Vorshlag and ask for Terry... Thanks!

What's Next?

As much as I'd like to take the 2011 Mustang back to the USCA event in Texas in March, they have banned all of the things that made it fast. We've also proven all of the theories and parts we wanted to test on this chassis in NASA TT3 competition, so that car is in storage awaiting its sale. Again, check the For Sale page here or the eBay auction through Feb 4th. We kept this test mule for over 4 years, which is twice as long as we tend to keep any chassis here at Vorshlag.

Having this car for sale and no new race car ready for the 2015 NASA racing season left us with few options for this year. I was going to sit on the sidelines and watch until after the 2011 Mustang sells, then we could finally finish our LSx swap E46 BMW build that is started. That car is just at the point where it needs a five figure cash infusion, to pay for the motor, transmission, wheels and shocks, so its "on hold" until the Mustang sells.

In the last week of December a friend of mine made a change in his race car plans. He wanted to get out from under a C4 Corvette track build we had been brainstorming for the past 3 years and move to a newer chassis, with fewer hassles. Can't blame him but I also couldn't let him just part it out and get rid of it. He had already done so much work to this car that it would be a shame to let it go in pieces, and, it was the exact right year and model for where it was classed.

So I bought this 1992 Corvette LT1 ZF6 car from him for a GOOD price and we put together a very low buck project plan with a very compressed time frame race prep. We had about 3 weeks to take it from a gutted interior car with no safety gear to a safe, reliable race car that could be competitive in a NASA TT class. We could have gone nuts with a TTB build but decided to keep it simple and build it for TTC, which is the base class for 1992-96 LT1 Corvettes. This project was initially announced on the forums as a "mystery chassis" and we had some hilarious guesses about what we were building, after giving about a dozen clues.

Today, as I write this post the Corvette has a custom roll bar, race seat, harnesses anchored, ballast box built, Hoosiers mounted, brakes upgraded, shocks replaced, it has lost 400 pounds, 150 pounds of ballast has gone back in (on the floor in the middle of the car), the car is at the tuner's geting dyno'd and some new livery decals are being cut. This was all done in a WEEK AND A HALF, 8 days at the shop, and our crew knocked it out of the park. We should just barely make the deadline for this weekend's NASA race at MSR-Houston, Jan 17-18th. We will continue to refine and tweak this project all season. Our class this weekend has a good variety (Mini Cooper S, Mazda RX8, and this 24 year old Corvette!) so I've got my fingers crossed that we can pull out a win and hopefully start the beginning of a string of new TTC track records. At the end of the season this car will (hopefully) be sold and help fund and finish our nasty TT1 V8 BMW monster for 2016. If a body in white S550 arrives soon enough that might change our plans, too.

Why a 24 year old Corvette, you ask? Well to start with its already 800 pounds lighter than the S197, when both are without ballast. It has a far superior OEM suspension set-up (forged aluminum A-arms, aluminum IRS), nearly perfect weight distribution (still 51%F/49%R with all of this weight removed), excellent brakes/ABS, and much less drag. We're racing it in a "lower" class and it won't put down the lap times the TT3 Mustang did, but its something new, something different, and we cannot afford to keep racing the same car year after year. Its bad for business.

We have torn this car apart, modeled all of the suspension bits, and measured for 18x11" wheels at both ends (see above right)

We also have been working on the new S550 chassis in earnest, measuring and modeling parts to help build new camber plates, shocks and wheels. We have already sold a bunch of 10" and 11" wheels for this chassis and the first set of prototype MCS TT2 shocks are due here in a few weeks and will go on the Dusold Designs 2015 Mustang shown above, who is helping us test these suspension goodies and wheel sizes. Look for more updates in our S550 thread located here.

Vorshlag is still working on a lot of S197 and Coyote powered cars, of course. With our new CNC machine room we have the ability to make more new products for this chassis, and there are many on the schedule already. I had planned on showing some new custom fabricated bits we have made recently for some customer S197s, but this post got out of control, so that will happen next time.

And don't worry - this "project build thread" will not go away. If we get another S197 chassis for a Vorshlag build, or do anything new to any S197, it will be featured here. Until then...

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Unread 03-05-2015, 01:14 PM
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Default Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

Project Update for March 5, 2015: We have been crazy busy here at Vorshlag for the past month and I'm way behind in all of my forum build thread updates, including this S197 thread. Spent last weekend working on this update a little, between working on other stuff I'm behind on. It has been over a month since my last S197 update here, and it was a pretty short and sour post. We have worked on a number of S197s in the shop since then, plus we have some events lined up for our 2011 GT in March, so here goes.

Mustang Didn't Sell (Again) + Mustang "Treason"?

The eBay auction for our 2011 GT from last month had a lot of traffic (6600 views) and shout-outs from two websites for "best eBay ad of the week" kind of things, but ultimately the auction ended without a winner. So I decided to keep the car and had planned another class to race it in... then I got my hopes up again when another buyer called all hot and bothered, arranged to come look at it a couple of weeks ago. Then.... *poof*, he disappeared.

So I guess we will start racing it again, while keeping it for sale. Racing in NASA TT3 is what it was made for. In 2015 both the USCA and SCCA CAM classes banned virtually all aero (more on that below), so it cannot compete in those "unlimited" series without changes now. But I suspect it could still tear up TT3 class - so it will see some NASA events again this year.

The number of cars I currently own (above) now borders on ridiculous, so the Mustang won't be the primary race car - but it will get raced. Amy is going to run it at upcoming local Goodguys (AAS), USCA (GT) and SCCA (CP) events, and we're both driving it at COTA this weekend, with a few changes (mainly just removing the wing).

Look for this car at the 2nd USCA round for 2015 - with Amy driving!

Its a shame that we let it sit out of NASA events since June of last year, but we thought it was sold back then. And while I'm not going to try to preserve some perfect paint job, we will get a clear film paint protectant added to key areas. This Mustang has been a LOT of fun to build and race, but selling it has been a real head scratcher (it is still listed for sale here). I'm just not willing to give it away for pennies on the dollar.

Two Corvette Builds + One BMW Build

Since we thought the Mustang was sold, we have moved onto other builds. I have apparently irked some die-hard Mustang folks after we built the C4 Corvette in January (above), but the truth is I'm just not car model or brand loyal, and never really have been. I have never kept a car as long as this Mustang before, and my need to create an all new car(s) has been growing. Vorshlag covers a lot of car markets and just as some folks don't like that we're building non-Mustangs, others are tired of seeing just Mustangs, too. Just like with our V8 swap kits - we will use whatever brand parts fit the need: the 1999 Miata LS1 kit we're building has a Mazda chassis, GM and Ford uprights and brakes, a GM V8, a Mexican built Tremec T56 Magnum, and a Ford IRS differential. Blind brand loyalty only ensures higher costs or a very limited selection of choices.

As I noted in my last post, we already selected another TT car to race this season - you can read more about Project #DANGERZONE here, but in short: its a base model 1992 Corvette 6-spd we hastily built, and I talked a decent amount of trash before its race debut. Luckily we won both days on its first race weekend, reset the TTC track record at MSR-Houston by 7 seconds, and have more left to develop (we've barely scratched the surface). Its probably going to be re-classed next year, though...

Building the cage on the 1992 Corvette this week required cutting the roof off - temporarily

For as stock as the C4 was at the January NASA event, it was still very fun to drive. We've been working on it again this past couple of weeks, with Ryan finishing the cage (above) and doing some other tweaks in time for the next NASA event at MSR-Cresson March 14-15. And to make my "Mustang treason" even worse - we're preparing Mark Council's track-oriented C5 Corvette (below) and I'm racing it at the Texas round of USCA events at the end of March. Like they say - if you can't beat em, join em!

Mark's 2002 Corvette is has a lot of upgrades - and we're taking it a step further this month

Last but not least, we have a brand new Vorshlag project that just kicked off this past weekend -our "Team Vorshlag" endurance BMW build, Project VorshlaggenWagen. This '99 E46 328i is going to be a race car that everyone that works at Vorshlag builds, drives and crews. We'll be covering this build on various forums (listed at this link) and running it in NASA GTS2, WRL GP2, and some other wheel to wheel classes and series.

Since these pictures were taken we have removed 435 pounds from this car - in two hours (much of the interior)

Yes, We are Running Optima Series Again + 2015 USCA Rules Changes

So I've had some time to cool off after our rather frustrating experience at the big Optima event in Vegas last November. Sure, there were some big mistakes made but they have gone to great lengths to fix them. The biggest issue I had were timing and scoring problems, but the report for many racers that ran the first 2015 USCA event at Thunderhill was very, very good. Timers worked flawlessly, they posted times after every run, and had printed times posted at the end of each day. They even had the official, final results posted online within minutes of the trophy presentation. Huge, huge improvements here and in other aspects.

I've also spoken with several folks from USCA and Optima about the Vegas issues and they took our feedback well, even when I was being an ass. They obviously have infinite patience to take my kind of feedback, heh. So I'm going to give them another shot by entering the March USCA/Optima event here in Texas. And to help them gain some exposure for the Optima series in front of a bunch of race fans, I'm going to drive our Mustang at COTA this weekend during the Pirelli World Challenge race weekend, taking VIPs around for laps on the F1 circuit between race sessions. We leave today (Thursday March 5th) for Austin and the guys are finishing the prep on the red Mustang now - should be fun!

After posting the big "roll call" picture above, of the nearly 100 entrants from the 2014 Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge to Facebook - asking for folks to think about signing up for the Texas event, a big comment sh!tstorm started. It was only about 3 folks that got really worked up about the series rules, car requirements, and sometimes the exclusion of their personal race cars. And yes, this series is fairly unlimited but some aspects are very tightly controlled - like the tires, aero, and such.

As many of you know, defining what a "street car" is a very tricky proposition. The 2015 USCA rules changes help better define that and to exclude some radical race cars and/or aero buggies like our Mustang. And I get that. I was part of a group that created a regional autocross class in 1990 for "street tire" street driven cars and we had a total of 5 rules. It was a simple class idea that was nearly all-inclusive to all street cars, and yet fairly unlimited. When compared against the messy set of SCCA Solo classes at the time it quickly became THE most popular class in our region and often had 1/5th or more of the autocross entrants in this one class (and 25 years later - it still is the most popular class at that autocross club). Of course it got out of hand and we had to MAKE MORE RULES in upcoming years to keep purpose-built race cars from dominating.

Left: No longer USCA legal. Right: Frumpy butt version is totally legal - even with the splitter

That's what happens to ALL series that start with a simple set of rules - if they get popular, racers dream up wacky things to make an advantage, there is some general push back from the majority, and the rule book grows. It happened in NASA, it happened in ChumpCar, it happened in WRL, and it happened in the GRM Challenge. The USCA and Optima have done that as well, with the banning of tube framed kit cars a few years back (which I applauded) and with some additional rules updates in 2015 to reduce the "Raciness" of some entrants. My own Mustang had its "wings clipped" this year, and I was none too happy with that change - but I understand why it needed to happen, and in the long run I think it will be better for the series. Unless you write some very tight rules around aero (meaning: pages of rules), racers will find a way to sneak in ALL SORTS of downforce enhancing tricks.

The USCA series keeps almost everything else in check with the 200 treadwear rule - which was the same as our number one rule in our 1990 class called Super Street Modified. You can't USE a lot of horsepower without grippy tires OR without big downforce. Now they have both under control so it becomes a little more of a drivers series (well, other than AWD - which is SUPER emphasized in their standing start events like Speed Stop and Autocross, but don't get me started on that).

As for our 2011 Mustang GT, once the rear wing is removed it really does look like more of a street car - which it still is. It has a full interior, Air Con, sat nav, stereo, 8 airbags, and all of the factory interior panels and carpet. Sure, we're giving up some weight to more purpose built Optima cars, but that's OK. Sure, some folks with dedicated W2W race cars sometimes "drive on them the street", too, but there are limits. And some folks show up with gutted interiors to USCA events - and they get punished in the "scored" design and engineering segment. There are points automatically deducted for missing side windows, missing carpet, missing radio, etc. And they say they are not going to let some of the troll-ish street car aspects slide like last year - such as plugging a jam box into the dash and calling it "your radio" or sticking some floor mats in and calling it your "carpeted interior".

Anyway, if you get a chance check the schedule for USCA this year and if there's an event near you, enter and drive. If you are in Texas, sign up for the Texas Motor Speedway event. This is a somewhat unusual road course venue for some locals around here (not our traditional" road course tracks like MSR-C or ECR) but it is also the only place in Dallas/Ft. Worth that can house an event with this many competitions. In 2014 the autocross and the speed stop events ran simultaneously on Saturday, and the road course was held on Sunday. There's also a ChumpCar race at almost every stop on the USCA calendar during the same weekend. Makes for a lot of fun racing to watch and enter!

I said it last year and I'll say it again - the USCA qualifier events are the best bang per buck in motorsports, in my view. Two days of racing, 5 categories, lots of swag, only $250 for first timers, and almost anything that is street driven is eligible. OK, so how to save: There are some DISCOUNT CODES to use. Enter "FIRST" in the order notes to get a 50% refund on your entry fee, for first time USCA entrants. It takes a few days but it will be refunded. Next, if you are coming to the Texas event, please enter VORSHLAG in the order notes for a 20% price reduction (does not add to the 50% off tho). This applies to other USCA events as well - with 3 or more people signing up using the same shop name in the order notes, the 20% kicks in and applies. Again, its a refund after you enter.

We can park in the NASCAR garages for the TMS event, which is super convenient (climate controlled, electricity, well lit, etc). The Optima folks are super friendly and really try to make sure everyone is having a good time. Again, I'll be racing Mark's 2002 C5 Corvette and Amy racing will be in our 2011 Mustang with these folks at TMS in March. We have about 10 customers and friends signing up as well. Should be fun - come join us! And if you are at the World Challenge race at COTA this weekend, look for our red Mustang motoring around with OPTIMA decals all down the side. Gotta help spread the word.

continued below

Last edited by Fair!; 04-19-2015 at 02:29 PM.
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Default Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

continued from above

Before I wrap up this post I wanted to share some other S197 work we're doing in this thread, other than just our red Mustang. While I don't like our company being branded as a "Mustang Shop", we do have a number of these cars come through our doors for race prep and suspension upgrades, so screw the labels. This time I'm going to feature two customers who's cars we have worked on in our race prep shop. Lots of pictures below. But first, check out my latest "This Week at Vorshlag" video below to see some of these S197s as well as some other stuff we're working on at Vorshlag.

VIDEO: This Week at Vorshlag Feb 25, 2015

The past 3 months have been a bit crazy with our shop move, building out the new shop space, adding CNC machines, and learning to use those. We've also worked on a number of cool cars, some of which can be seen in the 8 minute video above. I haven't done one of these "This Week At Vorshlag" videos since last September, but with the construction wrapped up and CNC parts finally flowing, I took a few hours to make this video.

Other Cool S197 Work

If you watched that video above, one of the recent S197s upgraded here is James Meeker's 2014 Roush Stage 3 Mustang. This car already had an Ford Aluminunator (forged internal) 5.0L crate motor and big supercharger, but after he got the HPDE bug he found Vorshlag last year and we have done a lot of upgrades to it beyond what Roush installs.

James both daily drives and tracks this car all over Texas. His first "want" was more grip, so one of the first things we did to it was a wheel/tire upgrade + our Bilstein StreetPro suspension. The 18x11" Forgestar CF5 wheels are wrapped in the "big" 295/35/18 BFG Rivals, and they fit well under stock fenders.

The brakes have been upgraded to slow this big car down, with our GT500 14" rear rotor upgrade, Carbotech pads at both ends, our 4" oval ducted front backing plates, and custom 4" front inlets hidden behind the Roush lower grill.

It is explained better in the video above, but basically we made something like our 3" dia front inlets ducts for the '13-14 GT/GT500, but customized them for the Roush grill as well as to be 4" in diameter.

It is a tricky routing on this car, which has an intercooler, radiator and pump in the way as well as routing of oil lines for the massive oil cooler we added.The windshield washer bottle also makes routing of these big 4" brake hoses tricky, but it works and brake temps dropped dramatically.

Next, as with most Mustang owners, he wanted more power. While its the last thing this car needed, I really can't blame him. Horsepower is addictive. As usual, the header install isn't fun but it was knocked out in a day and the ARH catted X-pipe was tied into the OEM center section and the Roush rear exhaust. It was loud before but now IT WAS LOUD!

A supercharged engine will always run hotter than the NA versions on track, but we've done a great deal to keep heat in check - and we're still improving it. First up, we had the guys at Trust Street tune the motor after we added the headers to be "road course safe", avoiding any lean conditions at all times.

Next, we ditched the Boss302/Track Pack "oil heater" set-up and added a massive Setrab air-to-oil cooler to make a stack of heat exchangers four thick (engine radiator + intercooler + air con condenser + oil cooler), and that helped quite a bit. After his next track day he is coming back for the Mishimoto radiator upgrade as well as a Seibon carbon hood which is vented - and we will duct and vent further. I'll show that in another post.

It wasn't long before James decided to embrace track days and he outgrew the Bilsteins and lowering springs, so he took the plunge this winter to go to MCS RR2 double adjustables with remotes. We kept the spring rates on the soft side since he still drives it on the street and to track events across Texas, and the ride is surprisingly good. The remote reservoirs are all mounted on custom brackets we fabbed up and have cushioned clamps holding them down, with the rears passing through 2-piece "Seals-It" grommets for a weather tight trunk.

We also added Whiteline "everything" during the MCS install, with their Watts Link kit, LCAs, LCA brackets, and swaybars + end links at both ends. This set-up kept the Vorshlag camber plates from the StreetPro suspension, which has since gone onto his son's 2014 GT, and now we have the suspension pretty well sorted.

I showed pictures of the custom front splitter we built for this car in my last update. It's a stout, 6061-T6 aluminum plate unit like on my own car, but this time made to fit up against the Roush lower valance or "air dam" section. It was all hand built - carefully laid out on a template then transferred to aluminum and fitted to the car. No fancy high tech CNC anything here - just skill, time and a steady hand.

The black plastic Roush lower valance bit is flat on the bottom (necessary for a splitter) but unlike the '13-14 Boss302 lower valance, this one is fairly affordable and a bit longer front to back. We'll start using this Roush lower valance on '13-14 GTs that need a splitter from now on.

The bracket for splitter struts is hidden behind the Roush lower grill; it was tricky to make but required no big holes in painted bodywork (unlike my car). Very tidy.

Tow hooks are a good idea for any track car, but the bolt-on kits I've seen offered for the Mustangs are a bit kludgey and heavy. Likewise, the Ford Racing weld-in kits are a bit simple and require cutting holes in the painted bodywork to mount them. We've done several custom front and rear tow hooks on S197s and managed to make them work without cutting holes in painted bumper covers. We place them so they mount right to the bumper structure. In the rear we can just drill a hole in the black plastic rear lower valance piece (replaceable) to have it pass through the body. Likewise on the front, the tow hook mount is cantilevered off the front bumper and passes through the lower grill.

Other safety aspects include the addition of a roll bar and harnesses. For the 4-point roll bar kit we always go to Maximum Motorsports, who makes the best kit for an S197 by far. These kits come in pieces and have to be fitted and tack welded together in the car, then removed and fully welded. We always order them with the optional diagonal and harness bars. We removed James' rear seats and installed the Laguna Seca X-brace and seat delete kit at the same time, which we had bead blasted and all powder coated the same metallic silver as the body.

Schroth 3" cam-lock 6-point harnesses round out the safety gear. We have the lower anti-sub belts custom made to work with the factory Recaro seats (which don't have openings in the seat bottom) and it works like a champ. We made special brackets to add anchors for the lap belts and anti-sub belts also.

The custom exhaust we built was a good bit of fab work and I could devote a whole post to that, but here are the highlights.

If ever there was a Mustang that needed dual exhaust, it was this car! It was already making 600 whp with the 1-7/8" ARH long tubes and the blower, but it seemed a bit choked to me and it was crazy loud. A lot of what eliminates sound on a car is the shear size and interior volume of the muffler case. The Roush mufflers are itty bitty and only a 2.5" inlet/outlet. The rearmost MagnaFlow mufflers we added are huge in comparison, which you can see above, and have a 3" inlet and outlet. They flow more exhaust while eliminating more noise.

We added bigger 3" resonators ahead of the axle as well, to replace the squashed OEM resonators that Roush equipped this car with (the entire rest of the exhaust other than just the mufflers + tips was stock when it shipped from Roush).

The X-pipe had to be modified to get the most room for the 3" V-band clamps we added. After the X-pipe was tweaked and the 4 muflers mocked into place, then the 3" mandrel bends were spliced together to make the best routing for chassis and car clearance. The rear exhaust was tricky and was built with the axle tied up at "full bump", with the springs removed. We do this to ensure clearance when the rear suspension goes through its full range of travel.

It was a tricky bit of work but in the end it was worth it. The sound levels are MUCH lower yet the car picked up 33 whp with the new exhaust.

We also made a rear axle catch can system, which is plumbed from the top of the Whiteline rear cover and the "Vent" is vented outside of the trunk, through a small air filter. Keeps the fluid where you want and the smells out of your trunk.

Jamie's ST3 Build

Jamie Beck has been having a lot of fun on track in his 2013 GT that we modified last year for ST3/TT3. Recently it was in for a false floor and a digital dash install.

We're an AiM dealer and Ryan has installed these in race cars before. What we installed on Jamie's car was an older AiM Pixa unit that he picked up second hand. These are CAN bus driven and it wasn't all that difficult to install and wire up. It was about 3 hours for mounting, wiring and programming to get it to talk to the Ford ECM - and now any OBD/CAN channel can be displayed on the dash, with multiple programmable and selectable screens. Works like a charm and is has a built in GPS transponder so lap times and predictive timing are all in the same unit. It data logs as well.

The false floor was a pre-made unit that we modified to fit around the roll cage. It provides a flat floor surface above the oddly shaped stamped floor pans, with an air gap to the floor. If the floor ever gets hot from the nearby exhaust header the air gap to this false floor keeps that heat away from your feet.

What's Next?
  • March 6-7 - Lapping rides at COTA. Running the '11 Mustang (Terry and Amy both driving)
  • March 14-15 - NASA @ MSR-Cresson. Running both the '92 Corvette in TTC + '11 Mustang in TT3
  • March 22 - Goodguys AAS at TMS (200 treadwear) Running both the '02 Corvette (me) and '11 Mustang (Amy) in AAS class on Sunday
  • March 28-29 - USCA @ TMS (200 treadwear) Running both the '02 Corvette (me) and '11 Mustang (Amy) in GTS class

More soon,

Last edited by Fair!; 03-08-2015 at 06:28 PM.
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Default Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

Project Update for April 23, 2015: Over 6 weeks since my last post, and while I have been too busy to post an update, we have run our TT3 Mustang at a number of events (and I drove 2 other cars as well). As I posted last time in the "What's Next?" section, we did some "VIP ride-along" laps at COTA during the Pirelli World Challenge weekend, and showed the car in the Optima booth. Then Amy and I both ran the Mustang during the NASA @ MSR-Cresson race weekend, racking up another pair of wins (I also raced our C4 Corvette). The Goodguys event was rained out, but the following weekend Amy ran it at the Optima/USCA event at TMS (while I ran a C5 Corvette). I'll try to cover as much of that here, as quickly as possible, plus some work done to make the car legal for Optima. We have also done more work on some other Mustangs to show..

CNC Machines Roaring at Vorshlag

Much of why this update is so late is due to the fact that I've been feeding metal into our new CNC machines all day every day for the past 2 months. I have a laptop out there just to check emails, but with short cycle times and 3 machines to tend to I often don't have 30 seconds free every few minutes. Its crazy, but its part of the ramp-up needed to become more self-sufficient in our CNC parts supply, at least until we add more staff to cover this.

Not only have we made batches of S197 Mustang camber plates we are running most of the 20 other models we make as well. And we have to make the fixtures (tooling) to make the parts. And sometimes tools to make the tools to make the parts. And there are many weeks left before I get much relief - only reason I had a break to write this quick S197 update was we ran out of material last Friday, then had an autocross school we taught at on Saturday, but was free on Sunday for the first time in weeks. Whew!

During this whirlwind of activity, Vorshlag engineer Jason managed to design and machine our first set of S550 camber plates in 48 hours, from start of measurements, design work, final CAD drawings, CAM programming and machine work. We had some pieces laser cut overnight and Olof fabricated some parts as well. These went on Aaron Sockwell's 2015 GT from Dusold Designs and he ran the Optima event in this car with a podium finish the next weekend.

These are our prototype Vorshlag camber-caster plates for the 2015 "S550" chassis

We also installed the first MCS coilover kit for the S550 chassis on his car that same week, which was built from Vorshlag drawings by MCS in short order. This set of TT2s and the spring rates we chose, combined with the 18x11" wheels we helped spec and the camber plates we supplied, have transformed this already quick pony into something that can seriously compete with the best of the S197 Mustangs. Good stuff.

The first MCS coilovers for the S550 chassis were made from our drawings, fit great, handled awesome and rode perfectly.

We are working with MCS to make a batch of these S550 coilovers but we still need to complete the rear spring platforms, as well as make a batch of the S550 camber plates, then design the OEM spring perch solution for those. Lots to do...

Other Build Thread Updates (Corvettes!?)

I managed to sneak in an update on our TTC prepped 1992 Corvette (#DangerZone) since my last Mustang post, which shows the prep before the recent NASA @ MSR-C event. I will have a race report from this event below, covering this TTC car and our TT3 Mustang (I drove both).

Lots of cage and suspension work was done to this car, which is also detailed in this March 12th "This Week at Vorshlag" video.

Also kicked off a new project for Mark Council's 2002 Corvette which is now being built with an eye towards NASA TT2.

I raced Mark's C5 with almost no updates at the Optima TMS race, which I will cover... next time. The C5 build thread can be found here and we will post links there for other forums where we will update this one as well.

I'm really close to doing a build thread update on the Scion FR-S LS1 swap (shown above right), as it is almost done. We have also made some major headway on the much more comprehensive and complicated Miata LS1 swap (shown above left) as well. Will update those threads soon, if I can squeeze in an hour or two next week.

Driving around COTA during PWC race weekend with Optima, March 6-7

As much as I complain about the rules, I really do like the Optima "Ultimate Street Car" shootout and the USCA qualifier series they started last year to finally allow racers to WIN their way into the big show. We've done 4 or 5 of these qualifiers over the years now, as well as the the OUSCI shootout last November. And while I had some issues with that event, they took racers' feedback and made some big changes. So when they needed some former Optima racers at their booth during a World Challenge race weekend, Amy and I said we'd be there.

North Texas had some FREAKY weather the day before we left to go to this PWC event, as shown above. Snow, and lots of it, in March. I've lived here off and on since 1978 and I've never seen snow here in March. Made for an interesting drive to work in the truck and trailer, but the guys got the Mustang prepped and loaded as this mostly melted off before we blasted the 5 hours down to Austin Thursday afternoon.

Getting to take some laps around COTA is a good draw, as were the free pit passes. And no, this wasn't a "competition event" for our Mustang, more of a car show and a few fun laps around the F1 track.

We did have fun there on that Friday and Saturday of the Pirelli World Challenge weekend and met a lot of new folks there who follow this build thread. We helped round up three other cars for the Optima trailer display in the PWC paddock area (thanks Tim and Costas!), after some car owners flaked out at the last minute.

I'm glad we went to this, as it gave us a chance to talk with more of the Optima folks, as well as meet some other great vendors like the Recaro people and others. I happened to give the head of Recaro a ride around COTA in our 2011 Mustang, on street tires with NO REAR WING, and it was a handful. Amy drove the car Friday during the lunch break and I took laps both days; on Saturday I was in our car and on Friday I borrowed a racer's 2005 Mustang for some laps.

I have video of both days but these were more "80% pace" fast-ish parade laps and not as entertaining as a full-tilt video I would normally share. Such a beautiful track, and I wish more groups could afford to race here, but the track rental costs are still just way too high. When/if NASA ever has a race weekend here, then I'll come back and run this in anger.

The lack of rear downforce (Optima asked us to take the wing off to better represent what their 2015 rules allow) was abundantly clear, and I decided then and there that we needed to make a rear spoiler for this car if we were going to run it in the Optima at the TMS event. Having the car get LOOOOOSE mid-corner at 100+ is not fun! The car was also running pretty rough when I drove it, and Amy mentioned the same thing. Would clear up at WOT but part throttle was bad. Hmm.

We had hundreds of folks stop by and gawk at the Mustang, and it looked good sitting still as well as blasting down the back straight at "whatever we did" (not admitting to the speeds we drove when out of eyesight of the pace car). The PWC classes were also fun to watch practice, qualify and race, especially GT3 and GT4. The 2 minute video below shows the variety and awesomeness of the big GT3 class.

Turn up the volume for this bridge fly-by video of the GT3 cars

With virtually no spectators we could go anywhere and see everything, even on the bridges. I had friends racing in TC and several racing in B-Spec, and the hot pit passes Optima provided gave us full access to everything and everywhere. The B-Spec race race was... well, strangely entertaining? These are THE slowest pro race cars I have ever witnessed but they all seemed to be having a good time.

Sunday's weather was predicted HARD rain all day (which it did), so the Optima folks told all 5 of the folks showing cars at their trailer area that if we wanted to bail before Sunday, they didn't mind. So we packed up Saturday evening and headed back to Dallas. The tow home was less eventful than our tow down on Thursday afternoon, thankfully.

We watched some great pro racing, met a lot of cool people, took some fun laps around this track, the weather was reasonably calm and cool while we were there, and the Optima folks treated us great. We had free food all weekend in the PWC hospitality tent, which was REALLY good.

Mustang Prep Before NASA @ MSR-C

The shop was so busy working on customer cars and our 1992 Corvette that the 2011 Mustang got very little attention prior to MSR-C. We didn't even decide to enter TT3 until just 5 days before the event, after some things I had seen on the Corvette, so we had to scramble a bit to get the car ready.

I got 99 problems and.... not having enough tire storage tires is one of them.

Tires were a problem. The last set of four Hoosier tires I won in 2014 got botched and we received 4 rears (345) but no fronts (335). That was long after we had "sold" the car so I didn't worry about it, but when the sale fell through (3 different times) and we had this event pop-up, we had to go for a used set of fronts and some fresh A6 rears. Fronts came from last year's April TWS event, where we had a hard weekend with 2 drivers beating on the tires. We had another a new pair of 345 A7 rears, but with nothing but worn 335s for the front, I didn't want to make that big of a grip imbalance.

Fresh fluids went in, including 15W50 Mobil1 oil (not 10W30 as shown!) and Motul RBF660 brake fluid

I almost went with scrubs out back as well, but we are going to move to A7s soon so I wanted to use up the last of the sticker A6s. This car is also a real bear to drive with no rear grip, so we went with old fronts + new A6 rears, knowing it would probably make the car understeer or "push" a little bit - which it did. Calculated risk. Pads/rotors looked good so our guys changed the oil and pushed some fresh Motul 660 through the brake system. MSR-C is easy on brakes.

The wing went back on, of course, and Jon made some new TT3/197 decals for the side and Hoosier decals for the fenders. Other than that, this was the same set-up we ran at Optima back last November with almost no changes other than the tires. Since we would be running Optima soon, I had them keep the 2nd set of 18x12" Forgestars mounted with the BFG Rivals mounted on that. We brought a spare front and a rear (used) Hoosier tire along in case we had one go down on us and figured we could have it changed at the track.

The funky engine running issues were thought to be fouled spark plugs, as we haven't really driven the car in many months other than to move it out of the shop to work during the day. A new set of Bosch Iridium spark plugs were installed and it seemed to run fine, so maybe that was all it needed? Amy cut some red vinyl sheet and placed it in front of the fender flares at all four corners, to protect the new paint. Need some clear PPF applied....

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

continued from above

Pretty minimal pre-race prep, considering we haven't done a NASA event in this car since last June. So with the tires we had I wasn't expecting much better lap times than last year, when I ran that 1:17.3 TT3 record lap on the first weekend ever to try the 335/345 Hoosiers. That 2014 NASA Cresson event was a hectic weekend with Traction Control troubles but the car was blisteringly fast on the new "big tire" set-up, and probably my best showing in NASA during the 2014 season. The 1.7 mile course really favors aero so we hoped the new wing mounting and "lower drag" front flares might be an improvement? How close could we get to those 2014 times on two scrub tires?

Could we beat the 6 other cars entered in TT3 this time? Could Amy push hard enough to win the class on her own - when she had only ever mustered as close as a 2nd before (behind me)? She is closer to me at ECR but hasn't run the 1.7 mile course at MSR-C much, and never on the 335/345 Hoosier set-up. At least we wouldn't be running the dreaded 3.1 mile course, which is nothing but a giant traffic jam.

March 14-15 - NASA @ MSR-Cresson. Running the '92 Corvette in TTC + '11 Mustang in TT3

Since we brought and I drove 2 cars for this weekend, this portion below will be shared in both the TT3 Mustang thread and the TTC Corvette thread.

Vorshlag Event Photo Gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-E...-MSR-C-031415/

We were pretty far behind on prepping the Corvette, and we saw some issues inside the motor with the oil pan off that worried me a great deal. Luckily I had signed our team entry "Team Vorshlag" up for a double entry with two cars (paid twice). This meant that Amy and I could both drive both cars in TT that weekend. So in case she wasn't winning in TT3, I could hop in the Mustang for a session and give it a go. Or if the Corvette had problems, which I suspected it just might, I could still get some seat time in the Mustang.

We didn't quite get the C4 prepped by the deadline I had hoped for, but our techs only work on Vorshlag owned cars when we have time between customer cars. Since we were slammed we had to squeeze in some time, but it was neither long enough nor soon enough. Since there was no time to track test the C4 after this big round of changes, this event would be the first time running this car with a brand new cage/nets, new spring set-up/ride heights, and then some items were unfinished. There were also some potential problems uncovered when we replaced the leaking rear main seal and oil pan gaskets.

You can see a lot of the C4 prep in this "This Week At Vorshlag" video from March 12, 2015

Scoring in the bottom of some cylinders was evident. A thick coating of metallic grit was in the bottom of the oil pan, which was magnetic so that meant it was ferrous. Likely this meant we had smoked a piston ring or two (or eight). But when the oil pan and trans were buttoned up, the car ran fine and had no smoke. More importantly, ALL of the oil leaks were gone.

The cage work was rushed and we ended up installing the SFI padding while loading the car onto Mike M's trailer at 5:30 pm, then loaded the TT3 Mustang into our trailer, and left the shop at 6 pm - about 6 hours later than I had hoped. It had been spitting rain all day but the predictions were clear for Sat-Sunday. We knew that this weekend was going to be crowded and both Mike and we were trying to get good paddock spots. Turns out it was a record attendance for ANY event at MSR-C with 220+ entries, many of whom got there early Friday to test, so we were parked in the grass when we arrived Friday evening. This made loading/unloading more difficult and we had to watch the splitter for scrapage on the paddock road, plus hot Hoosiers always got covered in dead grass when we came in off track.

We got Mike's 2012 Mustang and the Corvette unloaded off his open 2 car trailer, then our Mustang unloaded from our trailer right before dark. We then reloaded the Corvette (no side windows) into our enclosed trailer, since it looked like rain might hit over night. Amy, me and Mike unhooked the two trailers and we went to dinner in Granbury at the 1890, best restaurant in town. Amy and I stayed in Granbury at the Hilton Garden Inn, 15 miles from the track but it is worth the drive - not to mention the one hotel in Cresson fills up months in advance for race weekends.

I'm glad we brought both cars. We got to the track early, then scrambled to get both cars ready without any crew to help (mistake). TT meeting was brief, check tire pressures and fuel levels, then I suited up and climbed into the C4 while Amy got ready in the Mustang. I went to grid and started mid-pack for the "Saturday Practice" session, which doesn't count for TT competition but the times are used to establish grid position. Scrubbed in the used R7 tires from the January event and they felt great. I got into a group with the front cars that quickly pulled away on the first hot lap, with nobody behind as far as I could see.

The C4 felt FAST and the handling was much improved with the new spring rate set-up, but there was a LOT OF SMOKE coming out of the exhaust. I knew it wasn't the RMS or oil pan, and it wasn't leaking oil, but definitely out of the exhaust and only when under power. I took 3/4 of this hot lap at speed and no oil was getting onto the tires so it felt fine, but I knew I'd get a black flag. I feared there was something seriously wrong inside the motor - broken piston ring or ring land? - and excessive blow-by was pumping out through the PCV system, into the intake, burning it in the combustion chamber, then sending it out the exhaust.

I was driving my own line but watching the mirror for the exhaust smoke and watching the corner workers for black flags, thinking "Not AGAIN!", I lifted for the last 2 corners and coasted into the pit entrance way off the pace. This was somehow still a 1:25 lap, beating the old track record by 2 seconds. Coasting. GRR!

Video of the C4's first "throw-away" lap - which was the fastest it ran all weekend, and 2 sec ahead of the TTC record?!

After the Warm-up session my half-aborted 1:25.097 lap was was 9th fastest overall in TT and I was somehow in the lead over 5 other TTC cars in class, but the next closest car was only 1/2 second back. I knew this was going to be short lived and the time wouldn't stand because it was during the "practice" session.

I figured we could fix the issue and make it back out later that day. After getting fuel (filled up after every session to maintain weight - even through it never got weighed), I came back to paddock and climbed out of the car (wearing the HANs was torturing my back on the way out of the cage each time). Amy pulled up, also in from the session early? She said the engine was cutting out BADLY, just like at COTA.

So great.... now I had two broken cars to fix, when traditionally we have had near perfect performance week after week in the past 4 years. I started to think and remembered two years ago when the Mustang ran poorly at ECR in 2013 - it was a bad Wide Band O2 sensor. The front two O2 sensors are Wide Band and help the engine tune itself as it runs. The after-catalyst O2s just make sure the cats are working and don't do anything to the performance or tune.

We had replaced both of these wide band O2 sensors before, but it had been 2+ years. So we changed out of racing suit and gear, started up the F350 and ran into Ft. Worth looking for parts. We rounded up a new Wide Band O2 at Ford Dealer (after trying 3 parts places), paying too much but happy to find it. Then stopped at Wal-Mart to get more Mobil1 for the C4, then at a NAPA on the way to get parts to try to make a remote breather/catch can for it as well.

By the time we had gotten back TT session 1 was underway, but we had work to do. Parked in the grass we drove the Mustang up on the Race Ramps and I changed the O2 sensor, which was a back breaker, but it fixed the issue completely and it has run fine ever since. Initially I had hoped the C4 smoke was maybe a weird stuck PCV issue, so we pulled it out of the system and plumbed the crankcase to a big external breather. Sure enough, short test drives on city streets showed it was smoke free. After lunch on Saturday we took both cars out again, and Amy was fine but the C4 smoke was back, and worse than ever.

Amy was flying away from me as I took a single lap in the C4, immediately smoking. I came through Ricochet sideways at 100 mph, with a tiny bit of oil dripping out of the breather and getting onto the right rear tire. Doesn't take much! I immediately slowed down and pulled off line, waving drivers by. The smoke stopped but I was still getting waving black flags, telling me to come in for a "look". Pretty scary, horrible lap coasting and getting out of everyone's way. Called it quits for the weekend for the Corvette, as there was no fixing it track-side (needs engine internals).

My temporary "breather mod" only made matters worse, so I shut it down after less than a 1/2 lap. "....MEH..."

Amy went out and got it done, winning the class and two tires for the day. She let me drive a couple of laps in the Mustang in the final TT session at the end of the day, but it wasn't needed, and she won TT3 all on her own Saturday, with just one session driven in anger.

Amy likes using the curbs, eh? I kept calling her "Curby McCurbison", but there was zero damage

We put the Corvette back in the trailer since it looked like it might rain again, which was difficult due to the now lowered ride height of the C4, the angle of our paddock spot and the condition of my back. Lots of wood, ramps and cursing later we got it loaded.

The Saturday night NASA party started at 6pm and we all had some great food and drinks while they handed out trophies, took pictures with the NASA trophy girls, and all that. We also got our 2014 Regional TT3 championship trophy, since we missed the NASA banquet a few weeks earlier due to a different March ice storm (Thanks to Al Gore!)

Sunday we got to the track at 7:30 am. Unloaded the C4 again to make room for people in the trailer that day (great shelter from wind and sun) and we got Amy ready for TT session 1 in the red car. We forgot to refuel after her stint so I went to grid in TT session 2 with less than 1/2 tank, making it fuel starved badly. With the downforce the car makes and speeds in Big Bend and some other corners making for lots of lateral g-loading, we have to run 3/4+ tank of fuel, minimum. I fumbled my way to a 1:19.8, fuel starving for 3 laps.

After I fueled up the car fully, I went out again in TT session 3 after lunch, when the conditions were a bit worse. I ran a 1:19.1 in two laps before catching traffic, but by then the front tires were DONE and it was pushing badly. These well used front tires were not good enough for two drivers both days, so I was almost 2 seconds off my 2014 pace (on sticker tires). That's rule # 1 in racing: TIRES MATTER MOST!

I had a 1:19.4 on day 1 and got it down to a 1:19.1 on tires beyond "end of life" on day 2, so I guess that's some progress? Amy went out in TT session 4 but the tires were all gone by then and the times were off pace. We loaded up both cars onto both trailers by 5 pm and were on the road home by 5:30, tired but happy to have won the class both days. Amy got her first legitimate TT3 win on Saturday, so she was ecstatic. I was bummed about the C4, and my "practice session" 1:25.0 time (good enough for 2nd by only 2 tenths, and it was an ABORTED lap!) was bounced since it was the lone practice session, so I ended up down in 5th place on Saturday using my "smoking, limping, black flagged lap" in TT session 2 on Saturday, bah.

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

continued below

So that means no worthwhile points for the TTC entry, but two solid "100 point days" for our TT3 entry, if we end up having the Mustang all season (it's still for sale). Four fresh Hoosier A7s (in the right sizes this time, yay) were won here, so we'll have fresh tires on the Mustang at TWS in April. The original set of 245mm R7s still only have about 8 laps on them in 2 race weekends and look great, so we'll run those on the C4 again at the next event (only won 2 new tires at MSR-H in this car).

So the smoking issue and metal in the oil pan can only mean one thing: the the 24 year old LT1 motor needs to be rebuilt. That's two events in a row smoking and/or leaking oil in the C4, and I don't want to get a reputation for that nonsense. I want the motor rebuilt, back in the car, re-dyno tuned, and a track test day completed before #DangerZone goes back to a NASA event.

The Mustang must have been weighed 4 or 5 times all weekend, but it was never close to being underweight. We gained some weight somewhere, as it was always about 70-90 pounds over the 3802 pound minimum all weekend, but I kept taking ballast out until we were closer. The C4 only made two laps, in two sessions, so it never had a chance to get called to scales. It was well over the 3203 pound minimum, as I kept topping off the fuel tank and the added mass of the front cage section was also present.

Left: Saturday TT Results. Right: Sunday TT Results

Official Results: http://timingscoring.drivenasa.com/N...MSR%20Cresson/

Last up, some in-car video from the Mustang, shown below. This was with a suction-cup mount on the windshield, instead of the roll-bar mounted I/O Port mount usually located behind the driver. I moved that to the C4 and should really just buy another one to keep in the Mustang. It makes for a better view and shows the driver issues (flailing around like I usually am).

In-car video of the TT3 winning lap in the Mustang

The lap timer fell off it's windshield mount, so I was driving "blind" without predictive lap times. I hate that, and never want to drive on track without the predictive timing from the AiM SOLO. That 1:19.1 lap was a solid 1.8 seconds off my 2014 pace here (1:17.310, still the TT3 lap record) in the same car, but that could just be the difference between a sticker set of Hoosiers vs a very old and worn set. It was still enough for the win in TT3 and 4th fastest for the day in TT. We had 6 cars in class on Saturday and 5 cars in TT3 on Sunday. Amy was quick Saturday but was off the pace Sunday, when the front tires fell off. Glad she let me take 2 sessions in the car, because we needed it. Still won by nearly 2 seconds but it would have been a tenth or two short with her late Sunday times.

On the photos - we took pics with our Nikon and my potatocam phone, but thanks to MohFlo photography for the shots they got (bought the digital files) and also to Jason Toth for the images he shot. Their stuff was way better than anything Amy or I took (maybe the one above was OK, which was from my potatocam). And the next time I want to bring to cars to race and DON'T bring any Vorshlag crew to help, somebody kick me in the head? That weekend was a lot of scrambling around, and I'm too old for this crap.

Prep for Goodguys and Optima

We were looking forward to this event, and I really wanted to test out Mark's 2002 Corvette before Optima at this event. As usual prep on anything I drive runs behind scheduled customer jobs, so the C5 didn't get much attention other than the new 18x11 wheels and some 295/315 Rivals mounted, but that was enough.

Above: Construction of custom splitter version number 3, AKA: the "C Prepared" Splitter

Ryan also made a new front splitter for the Mustang that Amy wanted to test. The new rules for USCA/Optima disallow any rear wings worth building, and we ran out of time to make a rear spoiler (that we'd likely never use again), so I asked the guys to make a "short" splitter to reduce front downforce. I had also looked at possibly running some SCCA autocross events and the only class that the car remotely fits in was C Prepared, with no wing and a short splitter (or SMOD). So we followed the CP ruleset for the "shorty splitter" and it follows a "top-down outline" of the OEM bumper contours. Short and sweet, with no need for the four support struts, this version allows for more street use; it has better ground clearance with the lower overhang.

Left: Custom splitter version number 1, used at Miller in 2013, was 10.25" long. Right: Custom splitter version number 2 was only 6" long

This makes the third splitter we've made for this car, starting with the original 10.25" we ran at Miller in 2013, the 6" splitter we've run all through 2014, and then this 2" splitter for CP/Optima use. It looks weird without the wing, to me, but the new rules just forced us to do this.

So we had the same set of 335mm BFGs we used at OUSCI last November, which we kept mounted on the second set of 18x12" Forgestars. That's what she'd run at Goodguys and Optima. Not that we had any choice, as BFGoodrich was out of virtually ALL sizes of the Rival and the Rival-S was massively delayed. So it was a "run what ya had stashed" weekend. The C5 got a pair of 315s that I had run in early 2014 at Optima @ TMS, and some throw-away 295 Rivals a customer gave us (well worn). Couldn't buy any Rivals to fit the C5 for any amount of money, what do ya do?

March 22 - Goodguys AAS at TMS (200 treadwear) Running both the '02 Corvette (me) and '11 Mustang (Amy) in AAS class on Sunday

The typical Goodguys weekend works like this. There's a schedule of activities for their Friday-Sunday weekends with all sorts of events for vintage cars. Swap meets, car showing, and all of that. The Autocross competition is what we care about, but their main show is Friday-Saturday with the 1973-older cars, which run in 3 or 4 classes now. On Sunday they have the only thing we can usually run called "All American Sunday" autocross. This is the one day they allow newer, but domestic built/domestic powered cars to compete.

The Sunday "AAS" autocross is a good bit less formal than their Fri-Sat event, but the prize package is the same - and includes a free set of BFG tires to the winner. I've entered this three times and scored a 2nd the first time and have won it the last two times, and its a nice bit of cheddar. More importantly I needed the seat time in Mark's C5 and Amy needed the seat time in the Mustang on street tires with no wing.

We had some real competition signed up this time, too. Our order desk manager Jon was going to run his MCS/Forgestar/Rival equipped 2007 Mustang GT (below at left) in the AAS event as well. He's already a top competitor locally in SCCA's CAM-C class, and could take the win at AAS if I wasn't on my game. But bad weather rolled in Friday night and soaked the track. I had a bad feeling and decided to go into work and machine parts until I heard from Jon (you can show up right until about 11 am and still compete - its VERY laid back).

Jon had pre-paid for this event and was there early. He texted me from the track and said that it was still wet, but the organizers refused to do anything about it. When it rained Friday night they had the Vintage competitors drive around the course at 1/2 speed to help dry the line. Not so on Sunday, and by 11 am I knew it was a bust. Jon stuck around until they called the AAS autocross CANCELLED just before 12 noon, and he left that track none too happy about how this was handled. Can't really blame him, but I warned him up front that Goodguys was run "like no other event I've ever seen" in 28 years of doing autocrosses. It's just... how it is?

That cancelled event meant that we would have ZERO testing for the C5 or Mustang on new set-ups before the Optima event the following weekend, though. Crap!

March 28-29 - USCA @ TMS (200 treadwear 5 event Challenge!)

Wow, this post got really long. I'm going to push this Optima race coverage until next time...

Other Mustang Work + Multiple "This Week At Vorshlag" Videos

One of the more troublesome parts that I try to get Mustang racers to avoid are tubular front crossmembers (aka: front subframes) and front lower control arms. This is a critical area for suspension loads and chassis rigidity, but it seems that in the 1990s there were companies playing the "who can be lightest and cheapest" game with tubular crossmembers and it spun out of control, with the end result being that most of these began being made out of overseas sweat shops. Another area that people went chasing weight was tubular lower control arms. I've seen too many cracked or failed aftermarket tubular arms and K-members to count.

As you can see, the Fox Mustang aftermarket tubular crossmember above is all cracked-up and about to explode, heh. Luckily this 1993 Mustang owner brought this track-only car (built by someone else) in to Vorshlag for a track inspection before this Chinese built subframe could come apart completely. We contacted the folks at Maximum Motorsports, who still make their robust designs here in the USA, and got this new subframe straight from them.

Installing and squaring a crossmember to the chassis takes some time to get right (see this video). While we were in there we replaced the solid motor mounts with some poly versions, replaced a cracked steering rack with a rebuilt SN95 unit (the steering shaft coupler is different on Fox vs SN95s, BTW), and even swapped in some BBK long tube headers in place of the old school shorty headers.

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

continued from above

I had Olof add 3" stainless V-band flanges to the collectors, because I absolutely hate ball-and-socket and 3-bolt collectors, and now they won't leak nor restrict flow. He also built a whole new exhaust, but kept the original mufflers, per the customer's request...

With a 3" Magnaflow X-pipe section, 3" mandrel bends, and 3" stainless tubing the new system won't rot and fall off and it isn't 2.5" anymore. It also sounds NASTY, but in a good way. Now the motor (with AFR heads and cam) can actually breath and it picked up about 50 whp on my "butt dyno", heh. It amazed me in the 1990s how many Fox Mustang guys cheaped-out and went with shorty headers, based mostly on bad information or lazy installers. Upgrading to full length headers with a free flowing exhaust is the best bang-per-buck power upgrade on virtually any V8, this side of NAWSSSSS!!!!!one11!

Also built a short splitter/aluminum undertray/air dam, added a rear tow hook, cut open the upper grill area for more airflow. Then we added stainless steel mesh to all of the openings - the upper and lower grill plus the brake duct holes, to keep the big grasshoppers out. This time of year we get swarms of the little buggers here in Texas. This Fox Mustang work is partially covered in a "This Week At Vorshlag" video - April 13, 2015

Left: Factory 2014 aluminum hood with faux hood scoop = 35.2 pounds. Right: Seibon "Carbon" hood = 32.1 pounds

Next up is a hood vent job we did for a supercharged, open track Mustang. Lots of underhood heat and 4 heat exchangers, but nowhere for the BTUs to go, so we came up with a plan to add some serious extraction. The customer really wanted a "carbon" fiber hood, but we warned him there would be little or no weight savings. As you can see it saved 3.1 pounds, which is about what I expected. While still a quality part, the Seibon branded hoods like this are a "composite" construction of fiberglass with a layer of carbon weave on top, as are virtually ALL "carbon" hoods.

Jason and I put our engineering hats on and looked at the shape of he hood, some data of these cars tested in wind tunnels, available space underhood for airflow, then came up with where and how large to make the opening. This is essentially where the a GT500 hood vent gors, but about triple the size. Olof cut the hole then built an aluminum frame to match the hood contours using a lot of shrinking and stretching, welding and grinding, sanding and fitting. Customer wanted this to look NICE so extra time was spent on the finish work.

The final frame and louver assembly looked amazing, and the top edge (which was to be bonded to the hood) was left rough for better adhesion. Every other surface was sanded and perfected to a brushed finish. Lots of hours but it was worth it. To keep from having visible hardware on the carbon hood surface, the frame was bonded to the underside of the composite with the appropriate epoxy. This was held in place with the green tape (above right) while the epoxy set-up, which was kept clamped for 48 hours.

Four "Quik-Latch" brand quick release hood pin kits were added and the OEM secondary hood latch was kept as a backup. The finished result is pretty amazing and this, plus a lot of other work we've done to the car, helped the owner place well in the Design and Engineering competition at the Optima event in March.

These changes helped keep the temps down and he was able to really push the car around the TMS infield road course during the Optima event, placing 6th in the Time Trial portion in the GT class competition. If you click the above right image you can see the "heat plume", with waves of heat pouring out of the hood duct. The car is back in again for some underhood "relocation" of the two coolant reservoirs, moving them back to the OEM battery location (and the battery to the trunk), which will open up even more room for a proper radiator duct to the hood. Will show that next time.

There are a few more "This Week at Vorshlag" videos we've added since my last post, and they are all now on our Vorshlag Youtube Channel, since our SmugMug gallery site seems to butcher videos on mobile devices.

Mustang Prep for NASA @ TWS

Wow, this post is getting long, so I'm going to try to wrap it up.

So the Mustang sat in the trailer after the Optima event, because the shop got so backed up with cars and work. We finally brought it in this week to prep it for next weekend's NASA @ TWS event. This will be the last NASA event ever at Texas World Speedway, as it is being bulldozed in the fall to make way for more houses in College Station, Texas. This saddens me, even if I have complained about the degrading facilities there in recent history. I ran my first HPDE there with the PCA back in 1988 and my first Time Trial event there the same year with TAMSCC (Aggiecross!). I also worked at the track over two years and have a lot of memories of this place. It will be missed... and this NASA event already has 300+ entries. Wow!

Left: The Mustang as it ran in Optima trim, sans aero. Right: Yesterday as they began prepping it for NASA TT3

The last NASA event this car was entered in was a last minute "insurance" policy against the C4 breaking (which it did). Even after sitting out of NASA competition for over 7 months we hopped right back in and won with it, but it was closer than I liked and we had a few issues to deal with. This time we know the C4 is not going to make it to TWS so we prepped the Mustang more seriously, assuming 2 drivers were going to use it all weekend.

The brakes needed the most work. We had a caliper "de-thread" at the mounting holes at the Las Vegas Optima event. I wrote about it... well, in the ranting race update that I'll never post. We also had a front rotor issue there, so some Autozone replacements went on. They didn't last two weekends (NASA @ MSR-C + Optima), but the cheap stuff usually never does. So a new set of Centric Premiums went on along with a fresh set of Carbotech XP20 pads front and rear.

If this were gong to an autocross I would have had the guys keep the pads on, as they had about half pad depth left. But for a NASA event at Texas World Speedway? Where we might be going into a braking zone at 150+ mph? No, I don't want to ever risk brake failure again like last year at RA. So we went with fresh pads, fresh Motul RBF660 fluid, fresh Alcon caliper temp strips, and fresh rotors. We even put on a fresh set of Brembo calipers up front as well. Look at the image above and you might guess why.

Slowing down 3802 pounds of Mustang (with driver, fuel and ballast - to reach TT3 power-to-weight limit) isn't easy, even with massive 4" brake ducts and good fluid/pads. It takes its toll after 5 years, and this is now our 2nd set of worn out calipers. The dust seals were fried and the were just ready for a rebuild. The scratches in the upper sections were from gravel picked up during the "off" at RA and ground between the calipers and wheel barrels. The inside barrels of the front wheels got similar rock rash but had already been replaced.

Instead of a messy, time consuming caliper rebuild, it is just cheaper for us to buy new calipers from our Ford source, which we use in our 14" Brembo upgrade kits. One of the old calipers had already been heli-coiled (Vegas) and the other was showing signs of worn threads. We didn't want to risk more abuse so they are now new, as are the Brembo clips and pins with new bits.

The NASA TT3 aero package came out of the upstairs storage room and was bolted back onto the Mustang, including the rear wing and the 6" splitter. These were off for the Optima event, but they swap back quickly.

One of the aftermarket motor mounts we installed a year or two ago failed, which was noticed when Olof was putting the splitter back on. The rubber (rubber?!) bushings had collapsed and the main structure plate was badly bent. This let the passenger side of the engine drop a good 1/2" and a header tube had been hitting/resting on the frame rail, ugh. This was found the day before we were to leave for TWS, so we had to just find a fix for it.

This is what happens when I'm lazy and don't bother to make a proper part for a car we're racing. I went with something else and it failed. Bah. Oh well, we gathered up a lot of the polyurethane and Nylon bushings we use in our BMW motor mounts and we found some better materials to use.

Olof and I tested out the cutting speeds on the lathe and he whittled down a pair of 95A durometer red poly bushings and rebuilt the passenger side motor mount. The main plate was straightened in the press and it went back in better than ever. We will look at making a proper motor mount for road course use in the S197 next.

We had the crew from Pro-Tect Mobile come by and install some clear PPF on the leading edges of the flares, hood, front end, and along the lower rockers. They did an excellent job and now the fresh paint is protected before we screw it up, heh. Jon removed the decals in the way of the PPF and then took off all of the rest of the black decals as well. He then cut new white graphics and put them on the car.

Last but not least - fresh set of Hoosiers. This was the set of four we won at the March NASA event and they are 335/40/18 front and 345/35/18 rear Hoosier A7s. Again, this is the last TWS event we will ever do with NASA and the lap record set this weekend (if our old one doesn't stand) will stay in the record books forever. And with 10 signed up in TT3 already (and a record 60 signed up for TT) we will have to bring our "A Game" to pull it off this weekend!

Olof just bedded in the brakes, then after those cool down he'll install the Alcon temp strips and we can give the car a good washing. Jon has some more graphics to install, and one decal he put on as a joke to remove (you can probably guess). Then we will load up the car in the trailer and head down to TWS later tonight (Thursday night), to try to secure a paddock spot before 300 other racers signed up beat us to the best spots.

What's Next?

Here are a few likely events we will be attending in the coming months with our red Mustang.
  • April 24-26 - NASA @ TWS
  • May 2 - Cars & Coffee Dallas
  • May 3 - SCCA autocross @ TMS Bus Lot
  • May 9 - Five Star Ford Track Day @ ECR
  • June 13-14 - NASA @ Hallett, "Summer Shootout"
  • August 23 - SCCA Solo at Lone Star Park
  • September 4-6 - NASA @ VIR - Eastern States Championships

That's all for this time. Gotta get ready to head to TWS!
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Default Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

Project Update for May 13, 2015: After returning from the last ever NASA race weekend at TWS a couple of weeks ago I started writing "a quick recap" of the last two race weekends for our S197 build thread (Optima and TWS). I started writing, got really busy, but finally attacked the March Optima @ TMS post since it was long overdue. Well we had gathered a lot of good pics, brought 11 cars plus had some other friends there, so this Optima event recap ran long. Then we ended up doing 2 more competition events in the Mustang after Optima, plus two other events, but I will have to cover those next time.

We made a tactical decision before entering Optima @ TMS to put Amy in the Mustang in their GT class while I borrowed a customer's C5 Corvette to run in their GTS class, and I will explain why below. This Optima event write-up will be in both the S197 Test Mule and the C5 Test Mule forum build threads.

Plus I have a new plan to sell our 2011 TT3 Mustang that I will explain at the bottom of this thread update. This is sure to get a buyer - because I have lowered the price until it hurts, and will keep sweetening the deal until it sells. Gotta fund the next build, and I don't want to inadvertently hurt this pretty car by continuing to race it. I've also noticed that I'm holding back on my driving of this car, since its for sale (but it still keeps winning - other than with Amy at Optima). Read below for more details, pictures, video, and more.

March 28-29 - USCA @ TMS (200 treadwear 5 event Challenge)

So my comments about prior USCA/Optima events have been all over the place, especially after the cluster-truck last November with the "OUSCI event" in Vegas after SEMA. I couldn't even post my review of that event, it went so far off the rails. This is a big series with all sorts of complications - a wide variety of cars, drivers of all skill levels, and various sponsor and TV obligations - and some rules I won't always agree with, but it is also televised and I can't ignore that for the potential exposure for our business. Fortunately they made a LOT of changes and improvements (new competition rules, timing equipment, and policy changes) in 2015 and it showed at this event back in March. Big improvements, and now the Optima series is back to the fun filled event I knew they could put on.

Since there was a $3000 cash bounty on hand for "new Optima entrants" to win the GT class in a Mustang or Challenger (put out there by Camaro driver Ken Thwaits), we stuck Amy in our 2011 Mustang in that class. Why? Since I'd already run an Optima event before, I wasn't eligible, but I won this class in this car, and even against this particular driver. So since she had a shot at three grand, and she's a good autocrosser and licensed Time Trial competitor, we stuck her in big red. Jon from Vorshlag was also giving the $3000 cash prize a shot in his Legend Lime 2006 GT (above right) as well. Engineering intern Shannon (below right) was also entered in GT class along with her mother Jan, both driving in S197 Mustangs (but they ran Optima last year, so weren't eligible for the $3000 bounty).

Since I wasn't going to be driving our Mustang I rented frequent Vorshlag customer Mark Council's 2002 Corvette (aka: the "eBay special") that I entered in the GTS class (above left). Neither Amy or I did all that well, but we still had a lot of fun and are both glad we went. There were a total of 11 entries from Vorshlag, from employees to customers, and we all had fun at this event. Remember that when reading my rants below that all of these issues were caused by the car I borrowed, which was untested and modified in weird ways. We've since fixed almost all of these ills, but we only had a few days before this event to repair some broken parts, and I took it with just a quick wheel/tire upgrade that we put together.

Funny thing happened - When I signed up the C5 Corvette in GTS class (for 2 seat cars + AWD cars, over 3200 pounds) there were only 6 in class and 5 were novices, and no AWD cars. This was only a week before the event. Well somehow the GTS class grew to 16 cars, with some cars moving up from GTL, and 7 of the late entries were AWD cars. Those types of cars compete exceptionally well at the standing start Speed Stop and Autocross events at Optima, especially the way that they set up their courses. That influx of late entry AWD cars was an unexpected surprise.

This made winning the GTL class no longer "shooting ducks in a barrel", as some seriously fast AWD cars were now balanced between both GTL and GTS classes, with some hot C6 Z06 entries in the mix in both as well. The 4 seat, 3200+ pound GT class was also stacked, and the vintage class (GTV) had some of the nation's top Goodguys competitors. There would be no easy wins this weekend!

Overall Results from Optima @ TMS: LINK

Amy was always going to be fighting a tough battle, as the top 3 cars in the 26 car GT class were serious, dedicated race cars built only for ONE purpose: racing in the Optima series. Ryan Matthews' 5th gen Camaro (below) is prepped by Detroit Speed; its a gutted and caged race car with a big nasty motor, real aero (with a new spoiler and rear diffuser to meet the 2015 aero rules) and a pro driver in it. Ken Thwaits somehow entered two 5th gen Camaros into this event, who was formerly a pro driver as well. Both his 1LE and Z/28 have radical motors, the same 2015 aero work, good suspension, and more. These 3 cars were in a class to themselves, and it showed in the results.

Let's just breeze past the fact that pro drivers aren't allowed to compete (rule 24), or that participants may not register more than one vehicle per event (rule 22). The rules in USCA are more like suggestions or guidelines. There's a movie quote in there, I think? After the things I've seen over the years, I have stopped getting worried about the rules at Optima events - makes for less stress.

This event was a packed with 72 cars - a record for any USCA/Optima Qualifier event - but they handled the extra volume of entrants well. Compared to last year, where this TMS Optima event had but 32 cars (8 of which we brought), this was a nice improvement in turn out. Thanks go out to the Texas shops (Evo-D, Dusold Designs, Robert Jack's crew) and Texas racers who came out and entered and brought customers with them. Vorshlag brought the most entrants and they noted this several times during the event, but more importantly, Texas entries were a big percentage of the overall entry list - which is how these events are supposed to work.

Brian Matteucci (above) is an old college racing buddy and fiend - who sold me the smoking C4 Corvette (project #Dangerzone) I've been running in NASA this season - was also there in one of his two blue C5 Z06 Corvettes. The car he brought this time was his "track rat" that he had recently purchased for NASA TT prep. This car came with a worn-out smoking motor, on its last legs, but with a fresh LS block already in line to be built by HKE. Brian did really well at this Optima event in GTL class, especially considering it was a bone stock C5 Z06. He is an experienced autocross and road racing driver, and he proved that "skill > parts" once again. His Z06 was running on 275mm Bridgestone RE71R tires, which don't suck but were significantly narrower than the 295/315s I had on the 2002 Corvette.

I point out his times to show how badly the "eBay" Corvette I drove did in comparison. Brian and I have known each other and raced together for 25 years, and we have co-driven lots of cars together. Our driving styles and general times are usually very close, so keep that in mind when you see his Autocross and Speed Stop times in a stock C5 Z06 vs the times I was able to lay down in a "modded" C5, using a lot of parts that are "popular on the forums". I only bested him in the Hot Lap challenge, but that was because he only took like 6 laps, due to the excessive blow-by and smoke from his worn out motor.

As I mentioned, another GT class competitor going for that $3000 bounty was Vorshlag's own Jon Beatty. His 2006 Mustang GT was on MCS TT2s, 18x11" Forgestars and some 295 Rivals - which is a package he uses to terrorize local autocrosses in CAM-T class (where he almost always wins).

Vorshlag's Optima Event Gallery: LINK - pictures taken by Brad Maxcy, my S4's #potatocam, or from others posting on Facebook

Doug Willie brought his "F Street" prepped 2013 Camaro autocross car to give this event a try also. Doug did really well and took 4th in the GT class autocross in a stock 2013 Camaro 1LE on skinny 285mm Hankook RS-3 tires (he was saving his 305 Hankooks for an upcoming National Tour). So once again skill > parts, at least in the autocross.

So when it came to our two primary cars, Amy had to run the autocross in the morning Saturday while most of us ran the speed stop. She was shown in 2nd place at the autocross in GT class after the ~3 hours of morning runs, but as the course "rubbered in", the afternoon cars went much quicker and she fell down to 6th place in class (Jon got 5th while Doug got 4th behind the 3 race cars that swept the podium). Bummer. She had never done a Speed Stop event before but persevered and took a whopping 18 runs on that course (next closest was 13 runs). She scored her best time (10.9) on her LAST attempt, placing 6th in class for this event. The chances at that $3000 prize weren't looking good.

And it continued to worsen as Amy's worst event in the Mustang was Sunday in the Hot Lap challenge (time trial), where she struggled to get 9th out of 26 in GT class on the road course. Why? Several reasons. She had never run the 1.1 mile TMS infield road course before, had never run this car on course with street tires and NO aero, and she said the car was WICKED loose. When all you are used to in your car for the past 3 years are 345mm Hoosier A6 tires and big downforce, it can be hard to adapt to no downforce and street tires. Lack of rear grip kept her cautious all day, but I was trying to motivate her and kept telling her to PUSH IT.

Well she did push it, and on the opening laps of her 4th session on track (we all had 6 different 15 minute track sessions on Sunday) she spun it into the infield, shown in this short video, shot from Matteucci's C5 (with a potato for a camera, #potatocam). I couldn't get her to record any of her own video in the car but she managed to have one of the AiM Solo's that recognized this track, so she at least had lap times. And her spin was in good company, as Jon and Doug from our crew both had spins, and as you'll see below, so did I.

It was a tricky, dirty track surface with ChumpCar running the day before. The track management had just added some tar repairs to cracks in the asphalt on the road course and parking lots, but in the heat those were coming up all weekend, making for lots of "OPR" stuck to your tires. It got so bad that it often felt like you'd thrown a wheel weight and people were coming in early to scrape it off. This was also an issue on the autocross, to a smaller degree.

I fought the eBay Corvette all day Saturday in the Speed Stop then the Autocross event, cursing up a blue streak and even making up some new words. The Koni 3000 series dampers are way too long and only work at really TALL stock ride heights. With a 1/2" of lowering on the previously installed aftermarket spring bolts the car had virtually no rear bump travel (1/4"!) and would bottom out simply under acceleration, as well as whenever I hit any actual bumps or dips on course.

Handling was flat TURRIBLE, but the braking was a big hot mess as well. The Hawk HP+ front pads were overpowered by the racier (Hawk HTC?) rear pads it had installed, and this threw the brake bias off so much that not even the C5's ABS could keep up with. This video is my 8th autocross run of 9 attempts, and one of the few where I managed to point it between the cones correctly. From the clutch to the shifter, brakes and handling, what a total MESS this car was. Of course it should have been tested before Optima, but as I wrote in my last C5 thread update, we didn't have the time to do any testing or change any significant parts. We ran what it had + the 18x11 Forgestar CF5 wheels we spec'd and had rush built, shod with some used 295F/315R BFGoodrich rival tires we had around the shop (Rivals were completely out of stock at the time, and this was the best we could come up with on short notice).

Somehow, even in the worst handling car I've driven in a decade, the ebay Corvette still managed 3rd out of 16 in the GTS class for the Autocross, with AWD cars (unsurprisingly) in 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th. That finish result was shocking knowing how slow I was compared to Matteucci in the stock C5 Z06. My best time was a 44.995 and Matteucci ran a 42.638, on stock sized wheels and 275 tires compared to my 18x11's and 295/315s. Yes, you CAN make a C5 handle worse than stock, to the tune of 2 seconds, if you choose the wrong parts. So this ended up being a good test, to show which mods to not choose.

continued below

Last edited by Fair!; 05-20-2015 at 08:58 AM.
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Default Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

continued from above

This C5 did have some good parts on it when Mark bought it (harness bar, seats, harnesses, headers) and the one thing we added helped (18x11's and bigger tires), but it was still full of what I call "eBay parts", the lowest cost options sold by shops that don't have hands-on experience.

My perspective is that there is a lot of "group think" that comes from internet forums, some of which is led led by shops and parts sellers, but most of it by like minded folks. Because of a strange set of circumstances the worst parts available (the cheapest) end up being the ones most people buy. Why? Because people are convinced they need a lot of parts (many that don't really help) and they want the best deals. So a lot of folks end up buying the cheap option that everyone else recommends. They then shout about the new parts' positive qualities while ignoring the obvious problems, to help justify their purchase. This process is how low end parts are often touted as the best parts, without the buyer realizing the compromises inherent in them. "Most Popular" doesn't equal "Best". We see it in every market, and the Corvette world is no different. Sure, some folks know about proper dampers and choosing quality parts, but the racers at the front of the pack don't usually share their setup secrets as freely as the Internet Forum Experts. /EndOfRant

In the end, all of the issues I noted in this car were created by a few upgrades that just didn't work well together or with the rest of the car. Some of these parts may work in some special circumstances, or with specific other parts. The Konis that were too long might work fine at bone stock ride heights; the cam that is too big and wrecks the power curve would probably work great in a bigger motor with more rev potential; something goofy happened in the tune (more explanation in the C5 thread) but it could have been from a part installed after the previous shop programmed the ECU; a grabby twin disc clutch that made it impossible to launch smoothly is often needed at power levels much higher than this car has; and the loud flashy quad-tipped exhaust makes the car miserable to drive. The mis-matched brake pads that made the rear tires lock up were just a bad decision on my part - I should have insisted on a new set of pads be used at both ends, in a compound/brand that we trust, instead of using random stuff that came with the car. Honestly, a bone stock 2002 Corvette would have been faster than this combination of parts, and a damn sight easier to drive.

The Saturday events also included the Design and Engineering challenge, which tends to have real "hit-or-miss" scoring on the judging. The 3 judges can spend anywhere from 2 minutes to half an hour on any given car. They are supposed to check off items from a list for "streetability", which accounts for 15 of the 25 points. Glass, interior/carpet, HVAC/interior electronics, exterior lighting and "ergonomics". Then they look at unique engineering and modifications, fabrication work and "car show stuff" for the remaining 10 points. I saw one entrant who had a power point presentation on his laptop hog 25 minutes of the judges time; others would rattle on and on about stereos, fake roll cages, and all sorts of non-performance stuff I don't care about. Like my general disdain for car shows, this is my least favorite element of Optima, but its a necessary evil and it is't ever going away for this series.

It is also where they are supposed to weed out the "dedicated race cars" with no interiors, but that doesn't always happen, either. So we had washed Mark's Corvette before this event, but after nearly a day of driving it was dirty so I cleaned up the exterior and interior quickly while waiting in the very long line. I ended up cleaning a few of our other cars in line as well.

At least we spent some time actually trying to apply the many Optima series + sponsor decals on Saturday morning, and we washed our cars (some did neither), so I guess that helped our scores. The C5 ended up in 5th out of 16 in GTS class, behind only two dedicated race cars, so I guess washing the car helped. Amy's Mustang got 2nd in this category in GT class and our customer James Meeker (supercharged Roush Mustang) got 3rd. Both of those cars have all the street gear and LOTS of mods we've done, so I was pleased with that outcome. But since this is the only competition event that isn't scored by your "ranked" placings, the last placed car in GT class (a gutted race car) still had 17.4 points, whereas the first placed GT car had 20.3 points.

Moral of the story is don't be afraid to BRING A RACE CAR. This is not meant as a critique of how USCA scores this sub-event, just a warning to potential competitors to help them focus on what matters and ignore what does not. The three driving competitions are scored differently - your actual best lap time gives you a ranking in class, and your rank determines the score (1st = 25, 2nd = 22, 3rd = 20 points, and so on). It becomes obvious that placing well in these 3 driving events in your class is CRUCIAL to winning the overall with all 5 events' scores tallied up.

The Speed Stop was the other event on Saturday, and my experience in 4 former Optima events probably helped bolster my times, but it still didn't keep me from getting beat by even some Novice AWD drivers in GTS class. This is THE event where AWD really shines, and the top 5 times of this class were EVOs, GTRs and STis.

Amy got a decent time for GT class but as you can see below, I ended up way down in 7th place for Speed Stop with my 10.584 second time on my 9th and final attempt. Same issues in the autocross fought me here on the C5: grabby clutch made launches difficult and the mismatched pads made for ICE mode stops, so I had to brake at about 8/10ths to avoid rear lock-up and axle tramp.

After the 6+ hours of driving in the Autocross and Speed Stop events, plus the other hours spent prepping, walking course, or getting judged on Saturday, we were all exhausted. I was pretty disgusted with my driving and the handling in the C5, and was dreading having to drive it 70+ miles around town on the "Road Rally". This is where cars have to prove their worth by following a path on city streets, usually in traffic and on secondary roads with lots of bumps. This C5 was driving me nuts and wouldn't idle, wouldn't start smoothly from a red light, and the exhaust note was maddening.

I ended up leading 6 other cars from our group at the track to the Rally party, so we only went to the marked checkpoints (beginning and end) on the map and cut out the crazy route they had chosen. Why? Because as we have found out in multiple Optima events in the past, it doesn't matter - they don't have hidden checkpoints and half the field skips the route and just goes to the end. I have complained about this loophole before, but with over half the competitors short cutting the rally and nobody else seeming to care, I quit worrying about it and finally just took toll roads and nice highways all the way to the final checkpoint, at the Pole Position indoor karting facility.

Our entire group was hungry when we arrived, with most of us skipping lunch due to the long lines in grid and at all three Saturday events. The more competition runs we chose to take meant we could place better, and Amy and I both got some of our best runs at the very end of the day (and in the Speed Stop we both nailed it on our FINAL run). Stopping for lunch was a luxury we couldn't afford. So by the time we made it to the Karting center we were pretty hungry, but it was going to be an hour and forty five minutes before they served dinner, so many folks just checked in for the rally and then left.

Too bad for them! Several of us burned time buying a "3 race package" that turned into 6 races and we ran the karts all night. The food was Bar-B-Q from Rudy's that was EPIC. With about half the 100 people not there we all got TONS of food, going back for seconds and thirds. The racing action was pretty fun but somebody kept putting me, Jon, and Aaron from DuSold Designs back on the "next up" display, and we kept taking laps. Lots of fun, but I was thoroughly exhausted by day's end after 5 or 6 sessions of karting - on a full stomach, after an exhaustively hot day. It was shorter distance to just drive all the cars home than take them back to TMS and leave them in the NASCAR garages overnight, so we headed for the house. It was 9:30 before we got back home, and Amy and I immediately crashed out while Matteucci was soon snoring in our guest room.

Speaking of Aaron, he did DAMNED well in his 2015 Mustang PP, which we've used as our test bed for S550 suspension development. The first MCS coilovers, the first Vorshlag camber plates and the first Forgestar CF5 18x11s were fitted and tested on this car, and the results were pretty amazing. This car goes, stops, turns, and rides better than a similarly equipped S197. I'm not kidding - its pretty amazing, and if you didn't know it was a Mustang on the outside, it might fool you into thinking it was a BMW by driving it. Ford nailed it on this one and we got it right on the spring and damping for the suspension.

Aaron drove well and with this car's bone stock brakes/pads/fluid, stock power (it has an axle-back exhaust), and the other performance mods we've helped develop he placed 3rd overall in GT class, behind the 3 race cars. Initially he was ranked as 4th, but a mistake in calculations put him ahead of one of Ken Thwaits's two Camaro entries in the final tally. Aaron scored 4th in Speed Stop, 7th in Autocross, and 5th in the Hot Lap portion. Dusold Designs has done other mods to this car including a custom grill, tow hook, rear spoiler, custom splitter (not in place for Optima) and other updates.

So Sunday was the Time Trial portion, and I explained Amy's issues above. She just didn't have confidence in the set-up, with the change to street tires and no aero making the car very different. She put it in the trailer after her big spin. Matteucci took all of 6 laps in one session and the exhaust smoke screen got so bad that he ended the day early. I am stubborn and kept trying to battle my way to a better time with the C5, but only took 14 laps in two track sessions before calling it a day. I've never found a car I couldn't "drive around the problems" in, until the eBay Corvette.

The clutch was no longer an issue on the road course, unlike in the Speed Stop or Autocross, but the rest of the parts mismatch problems were amplified at the higher speed road course event. The TMS infield isn't a traditional road course and the short course length surprises many with the higher speed corners and treacherous off course potential. There are tire barriers and concrete walls aplenty, but it is what it is - there is no other road course site in Texas that has the room to run the Autocross and Speed Stop simultaneously, this side of COTA ($$$).

We went out on track in the first session but Danny Popp's GTL classed C6 Z06 entry only made it about 50 feet before something in the transaxle exploded, and the Expert 2 run group got a black flag. He laid down a little oil but the track workers had it cleaned up in about 10 minutes and off we went. Popp also had a set of BFGoodrich Rival-S tires, along with Kyle Tucker, but since those tires wouldn't be available for normal folks for weeks or even months, these two cars were moved to Exhibition Class. That was the right call by USCA and I applaud them for following their rules about excluded tires.

Danny wasn't the only one who suffered mechanical issues, as the newly built tube framed 67 Camaro of our friends at Dusold Designs also had some teething troubles. Mike was FAST on the autocross course in this lightweight machine but when a control arm pick-up point failed, they had to run back to their shop in Lewisville to build a replacement. They weren't 100% confident in the fix, so after Mike drove the car on the Road Rally they called it a weekend. Didn't want to see this wild but mostly untested creation wadded up on the road course on Sunday.

My first track session in the C5 was full of traffic but uneventful, other than I was cursing at the car for being such a mess to drive. By session two the track temps were up in the right range, and I knew I needed to lay down a good time NOW. Unfortunately the car just would not stop, turn or corner worth a damn. The non-Z06 C5 gearing is weird, and every corner and straight was right between 3rd and 4th - so it was either making NO power in 4th or revving to the top of the range in 3rd. The brake pad mismatch made the rears lock constantly, sending the rear axle hopping and making it loose. The lack of bump travel in the rear made the rear loose over bumps and in heavily loaded corners. And the peaky cam made the motor come on hard and spin the rear tires.

The video above shows parts of 6 laps in Session 2, including my fastest on lap 3 - a 42.574 - while passing two cars off line. Traffic was brutal in the morning sessions but because of the spin I had at the start finish line after 6 laps during session 2, I called it a day. I'd already driven a borrowed car harder than I felt comfortable with and I wasn't going to wad it up in a concrete wall. I might have found some tenths in later sessions, but the 39 second laps I did last year in the Mustang were nowhere to be found in the eBay Corvette.

continued below
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Unread 05-13-2015, 07:13 PM
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Default Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

continued from above

I was frustrated with the C5, physically tired, and the car now needed a major bath. So did I. But somehow, even with all my complaining and car troubles, this event was still a TON of fun. All of these frustrations were my own damned fault - for bringing a completely untested car with questionable parts to a televised event before we had a chance to fix the many wrongs done to it. Amy also had a struggle in the Mustang, driving in events she had never done, a course she had never driven, and on tires and an aero set-up she was very unfamiliar with. But she and I had several on camera interviews, we met a lot of cool folks, and got to see a lot of kick ass cars. The Optima/USCA folks took care of everyone and made sure we were having fun.

Unlike some previous USCA/Optima events, they were very good about posting times up during the event, even had live timing up on Sunday, all of which was a welcome change. Since my driving felt so terrible I had no illusions of placing well in class. Of course there were still some surprises at the results ceremony at the end of Sunday.

Wow, these cellphone pics have major #potatocam filter going!

As I mentioned above, Amy's Mustang finished 2nd in the Design and Engineering competition against one of Ken Thwaits' two entries and our customer James Meeker got 3rd - both cars have been featured in this S197 build thread many times (we have Meeker's car in our shop now for more cool updates, which I will share next time).

As you can see in the results above, James did well at the Hot Lap track event, (using the MCS RR2 doubles + Vorshlag camber plates + Whiteline everything + 18x11 Forgestars) taking 6th place right behind Aaron Sockwell's 2015 GT (which has MCS TT2 shocks and Vorshlag camber plates + 18x11 Forgestars). As I mentioned before, Aaron's 2015 looked good out there and we weren't surprised when he took 5th in the Hot Lap event (somehow a 2 seater 2006 Corvette snuck into the GT class to take 3rd?) and 3rd overall in GT class. Amy, Doug, Jon and even Shannon were all in the hunt on the road course, too.

Matteucci's 2nd place Autocross and Speed Stop times were good enough to put him into 2nd overall out of 12 in GTS class, fighting against the lightest and fastest cars at this event - in a stock C5 Z06 with a worn out motor (this was the last event he ran in this car before pulling the tired LS6). Ronnie Soliman took 1st in the Autocross, Speed Stop and Hot Lap challenge in his 2006 Evo, which was very light and well built. Those AWD cars are still the overdog cars to watch out for in GTS - and since they combine all the classes for the main OUSCI event, also a threat to win it all in Las Vegas. If I were a betting man that's what I'd pick for the finale after SEMA.

As bad as it felt, somehow the eBay Corvette earned 3rd overall in GTS class, surrounded again by AWD buggies. This was a complete shock to me, as I felt like my Speed Stop times and Design/Engineering score would keep me off the podium. But hey, I'll take 3rd in this mess of a car. Just going .04 seconds quicker in the Speed Stop would have put me in 2nd place in GTS class, but I was a long way from 1st. That was taken by our friend Todd Earsly in his EVO. Todd made a concentrated effort to focus on Optima events about a year ago, running NASA events in TT1 class on street tires just for the practice, and its really paying off - this GTS class win gets him a spot in the 2015 OUSCI event. Congrats to him!

The Optima folks worked hard all weekend to keep everything running smoothly, and I'm happy to report that they did a nearly perfect job. Well worth the time and entry fee, so if you see one of their events coming to a road course near you, GO AND ENTER. As Matteucci showed, a stock car on decent tires can still do as well (2nd place with a busted motor) in even the toughest classes, if you can drive well enough. And my entry showed that even a terribly handling mess can still podium sometimes, too. Sure, it helps to have a fully prepped race car in GT class, but so what? Aaron's 2015 Mustang is a real daily driven street car and he took 3rd overall with stock power and just good suspension and wheels/tires (18x11 Forgestar CF5s and 315 Falkens). I'm going to drive Aaron's car soon at ECR event and see how much we improved the stock lap times with the new MCS and Vorshlag parts (I managed a 2:06 in it at ECR when it was bone stock).

I'm glad our Vorshlag entries that had never done this event before trusted me and entered, and they ALL said they had a blast. We even had several in our group that had done this before (Shannon and Jan) and I'm glad they came back with us again.

Selling our TT3 Mustang FOR REALS

So my plans to sell this Mustang have not gone as I had expected. There's a dozen reasons - from a market that just doesn't value a Mustang chassis as much as another, to a "cost threshold" that had been surpassed, and on and on. It has been negotiated and "sold" 3 times so far, and yet none of these guys ever even showed up to look at the car (nor pay for it). That's what I need - a buyer that can be bothered to show up and look at this thing in person. Whatever, I've dropped the price from $48K, to $44.5K, to $42K and now I'm going under forty....

Painfully Detailed FOR SALE web page: http://www.vorshlag.com/cars-2011-TT3.php

Yes, I'm losing my shirt at this price, but I really don't want to keep racing the car because - with my 11/10ths driving style, anything could happen. Right now the car has the brand new new clear paint protection film applied ($750) and a lot of fresh parts. These include new Brembo calipers, new rotors, and new Carbotech XP20 pads. The 18x12" wheels on the car have a fresh set of Hoosier A7s in 335 and 345mm sizes, with a handful of laps at TWS on them. Its set-up and ready to race TODAY. We win with it EVERY TIME WE GO TO THE TRACK and always bring home 4 brand new Hoosiers at a NASA weekend. We just won again at TWS and set the 15th track record with this car, then set FTD and Top PAX time at a Texas Region SCCA autocross (162 cars entered) a week later with zero changes.

So please, take this unstoppable TIRE WINNING MACHINE (when raced with the proper tires and aero it was designed to use, in both autocross and road course events) and get on with it! Call our shop and ask for Terry - I will take your call if you want to come look at the Mustang. The first looker usually buys any car I sell, but damn if I can't get somebody serious to stop by and LOOK.

As I will cover in my next update here, we won the biggest TT class at this past NASA event (11 cars both days) and I only needed a single hot lap on Sunday. Sets and resets track records every time it goes out on fresh tires. This past weekend I didn't turn a single wrench, didn't lift a finger other than to turn the key and drive it. We had a known issue with something in the Watts (since fixed) so even through I I was under-driving the car by 2 seconds per lap this car won with a 4.2 second margin over 2nd place. That's how well this car works.

Want a very complete Spares Package? Well for an extra $2500, the car buyer gets an second set of 18x12" Forgestar F14 wheels with 335/30/18 BFGoodrich Rival tires mounted (just durometered at 58, so FRESH). I will also include the second "street friendly" splitter, as well as a BRAND NEW sticker set of 335/345 Hoosiers we won at TWS (a $1683 value). I will have them ship us a set of R7s for this set, so that set should last a while. If you run NASA TT its just gonna keep winning 4 more per weekend if you have at least 5 in class. This spares package also includes the original ABS module, any spare brake rotors or pads we have, some spare calipers and hubs, and whatever else we can find that goes with this car!

We couldn't replicate this car for $80,000 right now (car + parts + labor), so this is a steal at $39.5K as it sits, or $42,000 with the spares package. I don't think it will last long at this price, so I've likely driven the last race in the legendary Vorshlag TT3 Mustang...

What's Next?

We did a number of events after Optima that I have write-ups started on, plus repaired the Watts after Amy's spin at TMS. I will cover these and more in my next update. Here are the highlights of what's coming up:
  • April 18th - TX Region SCCA 2015 AutoX School @ Lone Star Park
  • April 25-26th - NASA @ TWS
  • May 2nd - Cars and Coffee Dallas
  • May 3rd - SCCA Solo @ TMS
  • May 30th - Five Star Ford @ ECR (HPDE event)
Some of those are events we've already done (and won) but I'll cover them next time, plus additional updates we've done to our TT3 Mustang as well as several other S197s that have come through the shop of late.

We've already done some real work to the "eBay Corvette", including a new QUIETER exhaust (side exit), a dyno tune at True Street (car picked up +25 whp and +23 wtq after the exhaust + tune), and MCS shocks are being built this week. I'll cover much of this in the next C5 Test Mule thread update in the next 48 hours or so. We're also working on a number of other interesting projects...

This Week at Vorshlag video for May 8, 2015

Click above our my latest "This Week at Vorshlag" video, linked here. In that I cover many of the other projects going on in our shop that week, so watch that or check out our Facebook page or Blog to see what we're working on outside of the Mustang world. I write more insanely detailed forum build threads for all SORTS of cars - not just this S197.

Thanks for reading!
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