Marc's Public Blog - Cars


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Below is a recounting of various car events I've attended along the years, from car club meets, autocrosses, track events, and enthusiast drives.

Table of Content for cars:

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2004/05/25 Thunderhill picts
π 2004-05-25 23:00 by Merlin in Cars

Current Music: Paul Van Dyk - That's Life
Current Mood: Fair

I got some pictures back from my car at Thunderhill last week. Here's a cool one:


Watch the penguin hanging from the windshield and see how sideways it is (it usually hangs straight down), that'll give you an idea of the cornering speed :)

Today, I was also supposed to go to Speedring for some karting with coworkers, but the organizer didn't make reservations (ok, that I can understand since they ask for money up front), but neglected to even call before we headed over there, so we went there for nothing because they were booked for the afternoon. Grrr....
(I was both really disappointed because I was very much looking towards doing this, but also very annoyed at having wasted my time due to very poor organization. One phone call to check they had spots wouldn't have been too much to ask... I guess that's what I get for trusting other people :)
At least I won the fastest drive from work to speedring and back, but whatever, that one wasn't really hard to "win" (not that it even was a race, but what can I say, I had my mind set to it and didn't get it...)
2004/05/19 New Brakes / Thunderhill
π 2004-05-19 23:28 by Merlin in Cars

Current Music: Björk - Big Time Sensuality
Current Mood: Good day

So, at the very last minute (7 hours before I left), I received my new compound E brakepads from Wilwood and ended up installing them around 19:00 (a bit behind schedule, but I was just not feeling that great, and really needed a nap when I came back from work)
After swearing in different languages untorking my lug nuts with the cheapo wrench that comes with the car, and pushing the pistons back in, I put in the new pads (took less than 30mn, not too bad considering how under-equipped I was :) I went to try them in the neighborhood. Holy crap, did they make a world of difference, I could almost lock my tires instantly because how well they gripped.

I ended up heading for Thunderhill around 20:10, somewhat behind schedule, but got there in about 1H55mn (163 miles) and the funny part is that I passed both John who left 20mn before me, but from Fremont by 680/580 (about 30 miles ahead of me), but the better part is that I also passed another 10 or so thunderhill bound miatas on the way, including the BAMO guys who had left from Milpitas an hour before me. The only hitch was that by running a full boost on 505 (about 135mph), I ate up a lot of gas (funny how that works) and barely made it to willows on my full tank of gas (11 galons, 163 miles, that would be under 15mpg, ooops, my car used to do up to 26mpg when driven nicely)

The next morning I pretty much felt like a trainwreck when I got up (well, it was also the fact that it was 06:30). Maybe the caffeine or being on the track helped, but by the time I was on the track, I was feeling a bit better.
As I expected, I wasn't doing too well on my first times out (2:24 lap times), and even got my car very sideways several times, although I amazed myself when I was able to save the car every single time (i.e. I didn't spin out or even layed a single wheel off the track). Group A had a couple of seriously fast miatas though (a white one with blue stripes was actually running a good 15 to 20 seconds faster than me apparently, it had a big turbo (much bigger than mine apparently), and also a very fast driver)
I also rode with "Maniacal Engineer" Matt in group B, thanks to whom my car was in running order, and he didn't need a lot of instruction from me. On his second time out, I really didn't have much else to tell him. He pulled a 2:25, which for his second time at Thunderhill in an NA car is seriously impressive (I don't think I'd have done a whole lot better in his car, and I've ridden thunderhill a few more times than him).
By lunchtime, the adrenaline that was keeping me alert wore out and I went to crash somewhere, I was absolutely dead. My first session out in the afternoon was just not good, I was feeling really weird physically, still feeling the effects of that stupid cold, and was actually apprehensive about doing something stupid while on the track.
I had another caffeine drink, and somehow pulled out of it, so that by my last session, and especially open track, I was finally doing better again, bringing my times down to 2:21, and finally under 2:19 during open track (maybe 2:18, but that's on my stopwatch, so I might have been off by a second). This is mostly by improving my times through turns 1, 5, and 8, realizing (thanks to Char) that was sometimes being too conservative in 9, and doing my last laps under very light rain (WTF, where did that come from?)

While my brakes were fine, I could really use some heel and toe shifting skills as I'm now losing too much time braking and trying to pop the clutch back in without unsettling the back end too much, but on the equipment side, I've really reached the limit of my Toyo T1-S tires. I was really driving the car sideways in sweepers, at the very edge of what those tires would do, and that wasn't nearly as fast as some other people can do with slicks (surprise, surprise). That said, it was cool to see how far I could push them and flirting with the edge (mmh, reminds me of something else, bug I digress ;). I however stayed conservative on turn 1 and 8 (85mph and 90mph max respectively) as screwing up on those yields really bad outcomes, and my balls are only so big (at some point the will to survive kicks in :)
I was pleasantly surprised by how well my car performed under stress, both in handling, and turbo-wise. It got warm (oil reached 150°C and coolant reached about 108°C according to my Tec-II readings), but that was within acceptable numbers (luckily the day wasn't too warm, which is why things worked so well). I also have some pad left on my brakes, about 2/3rd, which is nice, and while they were dusty as expected, my rims weren't entirely covered with dust by the end of the day.

On the way back (2H flat to sunnyvale), I drove a bit more conservatively as the day being over, I really got hit by fatigue (to the point that I was close to pulling over as I was afraid to fall asleep at the wheel), but just this once, it actually subsided. On 505, I was able to pull a top speed of 139mph which was a new personal record for the car :)

All in all, I was really worried about today considering my physical condition, but somehow, my brain and reflexes pulled through while I was on the track, and I had a great day (and no tickets on the road, which is always good)

Here's the relevant link to miata event page as well as a link to the pictures
Comments:
sweet ass!! :-)
posted by goaliegirl : 20 May, 2004 02:34

2004/05/19 T.E.A.M. Track Event at Thunderhill
π 2004-05-19 00:00 by Merlin in Cars
Man, 7 months since last time at ThunderHill already? Time flies... :(
Thanks to Bonni from T.E.A.M. Racing for organizing this event again, it went quite well, and it was fun to meet up with the The BAMO crew at the track again.
The best part, is that for a second time in a row, my car performed flawlessly, I didn't overheat, my compound E brake pads worked quite well without actually being 100% worn by the end of the day like the D compound ones
I managed to improve my skills throughout the day, I was able to get my laptime under 2mn 19 secs on my last time out (actually another cool part is when I was not doing so well in the morning, I almost lost my car 5 times, but each of those times, I was able to react quickly enough and save it without leaving the track)

The picts are here

[picture]

2004/05/18 Car work before the track
π 2004-05-18 13:22 by Merlin in Cars

Current Music: Les Misérables - Fantine's Arrest
Current Mood: feeling better yet?

"I will see it done", "but Mr le maire...", "I will see it done", "but Mr le maire...", "I will see it DONE!"

Ok, so first thing, Matt absolutely rocks, when he says "Maniacal Engineer", he isn't kidding :)
So, I was really feeling uneasy about going to thunderhill and driving 320 miles plus racing my car at the track with a possibly flaky crank position sensor.

From what I can tell, my sensor did "see" the teeth in the trigger wheel, but the difference in measured resistance was just not a lot, so I think my Tec-II ECU barely saw the teeths (which gets in the way of knowing when to trigger the spark plugs or send gas and air to each cylinder). My guess is that my recent "breakdown" about a week ago was due to heat expansion causing the sensor to be slightly too far from the teeth and the computer then not being able to see the engine position.

Anyway, the fix was to upgrade the magnetic sensor from the default 3/8" to a bigger half inch. My checked it out before installing it, and indeed my ohmeter was showing that it could "see" the teeth from a much bigger distance, and that the resistance differential in ohms was much larger (i.e. a lot easier for the ECU to pick up).
So, great, it's was "just" a matter of drilling a bigger hole in the sensor holder, and putting the new one in, except... that there wasn't enough spare metal around the hole to safely widen it.


But a puny detail like this is not what's going to stop Matt, we were at OSH in no time, he picked some random metal bits, and before you knew it, the half inch sensor was installed and working

and the best part is that I was able to drive my car home with that :)
The remaining pictures can be found here


The part that wasn't as great is that I found out why I didn't feel too hot when I got home. It's because I was (fever stroke again). I'm still hopeful to be able to drive to TH tonight (160 miles) and be on the track tomorrow though

For that matter Wilwood finally returned my front caliper, and the racing pads I had ordered. Talk about last minute... (their fault, I did ship and order all this two weeks ago, and they kept sitting on it. They then swore I'd get it yesterday, and when I called them today, they couldn't find the tracking number. Tss, how lame...)

How well, I guess I'm going to go to work for a few hours, get home, pack my stuff, install my new pads, and head for TH.

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