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2013/08/22 Fourth Droid and Friends of the year at Thunderhill, and Brake Toasting #2
π 2013-08-22 00:00 in Cars
Mc Laren worked on upgrading my steel braking system since last time, and one of their staff who happened to be professional racer back in the day, came with me to see whether I was mistreating and/or overdriving the car, or whether the brakes really couldn't hold up at thunderhill.
To be honest, I wasn't sure whether I had done something wrong last time, I wondered whether when doing left foot braking I had been holding the brake by mistake, or something else. On our first session out (no left foot braking), I drove reasonably hard since it was still cool, just to see how the brakes would do with the new slots and cooling, but after just 5-6 laps, I found out that they were overheating again (pedal firm, but felt like wood). With pretty much no warning, just before 14, I got almost no stopping out of them, and got too close to a friend of mine and his car.
After getting over the "that was a bit too close of comfort, and apologizing to my fellow driver", I had a chat with my instructor and he agreed that I didn't do anything obviously wrong, he commented that I was faster than what he had expected, and that the brakes just couldn't take the heat. It was really annoying because effectively the brakes did worse than last time when they only started giving out in the afternoon :(

I did consider going straight home at that point, but he kind of half convinced me that it may not have been worth throwing he day away just over that and that I could just brake earlier, so I elected to do that. The people I gave rides to sure didn't seem to mind :)
One of my first laps in the morning gave a 2:01, which was encouraging since I wasn't fully in the zone yet, and I typically shave time off after a few sessions when I do a better job driving consistently, but obviously with the brake issues, I didn't get anywhere close to that, and dialed it way down to a 2:06-ish on most laps (with the bypass in 5).

In the afternoon, I had considered doing one last session and heading back since I knew hotter temps were just going to make things worse, and while I could have stayed the rest of the day just to give laps to people, I didn't want to push my luck. But eh, just as I was discussing this with my passenger while doing laps, and being quite careful keeping track of the feedback from my brake pedal, braking earlier, and making sure not to tailgate anyone in the section of the track that is punishing to my brakes, they turned to wood again with pretty much no warning and I overran 14, and barely stopped the car before getting to dirt.

Nothing bad happened, by then I was being quite careful anyway, but clearly it confirmed that I should never have taken the steel brakes for that, and opted for the Ceramic brakes instead. Staying longer gave us useful temp data, including the fact that the calipers were not overheating until that last session, whereas the pads definitely were. This means that it wouldn't be an easy fix of just changing pads and that the system was too small to handle the heat. So my car is going back to the dealership for a CCM upgrade now.

Attila's new ride, I'll have to worry about him when he learns to drive it :)
Attila's new ride, I'll have to worry about him when he learns to drive it :)

Dave and my Stuart, instructor for the day
Dave and my Stuart, instructor for the day

Great R8, Martin should kick ass with it once he learns to be faster in it
Great R8, Martin should kick ass with it once he learns to be faster in it


Attila told us about the new DnF merlin point system over lunch:

And the last bit of the last lap:

Grr, they said they filled my tires with nitrogen. That sure looks like air to me
Grr, they said they filled my tires with nitrogen. That sure looks like air to me

Dito took more nice pictures of us:

Martin seemed to be having a good time
Martin seemed to be having a good time



You can see the heat in the background
You can see the heat in the background

2013/08/11 GoKart Racer for Xav's Bachelor's Party
π 2013-08-11 00:00 in Cars
Frank took a few of us to GoKart Racer because I think Xav was not allowed to have a stripper party :)

It was all good for me, I hadn't gone karting in forever, and I'm not that good at it compared to track driving, so I definitely need more practise. We signed up for a practise session and then a race with qualifying on the supertrack.




In the end, I did well, arguably too well (I finished with a 29 second lead on our best 2nd) and somehow did a better time with people blocking the track than I did during practise laps earlier. While I know I was doing better the 2nd time around, there may also be a chance that my kart may have been a bit faster.
That said, all of us did great during the race, and passed the other people they threw on the track as rolling roadblocks. It was much fun to have the challenge of passing them.

For fun bits, either click on youtube to get the video full screen with comments and time offsets, or here they are:

  • 5:00 Passed #4
  • 6:40 Passed 43, 31, 30
  • 9:00 Passed ?
  • 10:50 Passed #4
  • 11:45 Passed #30 after he rammed me twice instead of letting me pass (thanks)
  • 12:20 Passed #31
  • 14:50 Passed #4 for the 3rd time!
  • 15:15 Passing #43 and some unknown person spun on the left (43 threw me into a corner though, I got lucky to get out. I should have anticipated that and waited a bit farther back to pass him at a safer place for me)
  • 16:30 I was about to pass Yoshi (#?) but got yellow flagged to get out since my race was finished.
  • 2013/08/10 Visiting the Exploratorium in San Francisco
    π 2013-08-10 00:00 in Sciencemuseums
    I often go to science museums in cities around the world, and I enjoy demos that make science look cool to others, outside of a cool "science, it works bitches" :)

    Well, I have to say that the Exploratorium in San Francisco is the clear winner so far. They have hours (4H+ for us), of cool demos and science related exhibits, most of which I've never seen anywhere else. If does not make science cool to others.


    fun with magnetism
    fun with magnetism

    the slingy that goes doewn forever, cool idea
    the slingy that goes doewn forever, cool idea

    the plate turned and the challenge was to draw a square on it. I failed.
    the plate turned and the challenge was to draw a square on it. I failed.

    this was cool! Seeing decomposition of a rat fed to a beetle colony after a few weeks.
    this was cool! Seeing decomposition of a rat fed to a beetle colony after a few weeks.

    very nice aquaphobic plant
    very nice aquaphobic plant

    I had never seen termites before, cool
    I had never seen termites before, cool

    example of fractal-like figures in nature
    example of fractal-like figures in nature

    you could see a live chick embryo in an egg
    you could see a live chick embryo in an egg

    special cool looking fish bred by humans
    special cool looking fish bred by humans


    grow your mushrooms at home. Yeah, I do that :)
    grow your mushrooms at home. Yeah, I do that :)

    sublimation of frozen liquid nitrogen
    sublimation of frozen liquid nitrogen

    not sure why this was there, but whatever :)
    not sure why this was there, but whatever :)

    Since we were in San Francisco, and had paid the lovely parking fee which can go over $30 now, we walked around Fisherman's Warf and Pier 39.

    $40 parking is full, great...
    $40 parking is full, great...




    2013/08/08 Anniversary Dinner at The Sea by Alexander's Steakhouse
    π 2013-08-08 00:00 in Dining
    Yep, it's been 4 years already. While Alexander's Steakhouse might be a bit expensive at times for their offering, it's good stuff, so I figured we'd try their Sea restaurant on El Camino. The tasting menu wasn't cheap but the food was actually quite good, and we sure didn't come out hungry :)






    If money isn't too much of an object, it's a good place to go.


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