Auto Club Speedway 1/10/2015

Prepping and driving your Midlana at an autocross or trackday event.
Midlana1
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Auto Club Speedway 1/10/2015

Postby Midlana1 » 06 Jan 2015, 10:17

Not my favorite course but fairly convenient. It's a high speed NASCAR oval with some twisty bits in the infield. The infield part doesn't bother me as much as the oval. It's big - real big - big enough that the fastest stock Corvettes are hitting 175-180 mph down the front straight. The track is so smooth and wide that the speed isn't that apparent, until you approach the similarly huge left turn, which suddenly seems rather tight at that speed. Then there's the constant presence of the concrete wall along the right edge of the track, designed to stop 200mph+ NASCARs from flying off the banked turn, into the parking lot.

Because my ECU controls boost open-loop, it can't be counted on to not overboost in cool conditions, so for reliability, boost will be backed off and the water/methanol injection left enabled. It'll be interesting to see how fast I run through 5 gallons of the stuff... My brother will be there with his 400hp+ Stalker, as well as a buddy doing shakedown testing of his Malock, sort of a heavily modified Lotus Seven/enclosed wheel formula car sort of car. We're doing the "pass anywhere" run group thus I expect to get left behind by Z06s and anything else aerodynamic, at least on the oval. I have some concern about overly agressive drivers possibly cutting to the inside under braking. I hope everyone understands that there's no national championship on the line, no million dollar sponserships, not even any $10 trophies.

Eventually Midlana will be switched to a flex-fuel-capable ECU so any fuel can be used, so that E85 can be run on-track and the water/meth system removed. E85 works great in turbocharged engines with its higher effective octane, cooling ability in both the intake and exhaust, and more power. But that's for later.

WickedOne
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Re: Auto Club Speedway 1/10/2015

Postby WickedOne » 06 Jan 2015, 16:27

I've run the TMS Roval several times in my S2000 with the Z06 club and the Porsche club. TMS always slows down the speed a little by putting a chicane at the start finish line, you may find that track does too to limit speed and accidents.

I wouldn't worry overly much about being passed because what I found was that I got so far ahead of all the Z06s and most of the Porsches that they were only catching up to me at the S/F line and the chicane dropped them back a considerable distance to buy me breathing room till we hit the infield again.

Light and agile was really a plus.

There's also the fact that the sensation of the oval artificially limits speed for most participants unless they pushed themselves.

I found that until I thought about it I was only going about 100 thru the turns. It felt funny with the downforce. Once I noticed it I immediately sped up through the corners, although it took powers of concentration to force myself to speed up, and I would pull far enough ahead that they didn't even catch me at the S/F line.

In other words it's not so much the power of the car, but rather the limits of the driver. This doesn't feel like people are used to.

I've done the oval in a Indy car and found the exact same issue. Only this time I was looking for the issue and sped up after the very first set of corners. I averaged 159+ around there in the Indy car.

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Re: Auto Club Speedway 1/10/2015

Postby bgkast » 06 Jan 2015, 19:06

Have fun, looking forward to pictures!

Midlana1
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Re: Auto Club Speedway 1/10/2015

Postby Midlana1 » 08 Jan 2015, 08:12

I've run Midlana there once before and there was no chicane to slow people down at start/finish. Midlana got up to an honest (GPS) 148 mph and I expect it'll be north of 150 this time. My brother should be deep into the 150s, if not 160, though he has worse aero.

Speaking of aero, on my car the panel below the engine's still off. I came up with a clever way to have removable sub-panels but outsmarted myself. I thought it would be best to have them sit above the main panel, which means slipping them through the holes they cover. That's fine in theory but there's too much stuff in the engine compartment to allow me to slip them in at an angle before laying them flat - it was a wasted day. So with nothing below the engine it's an unknown what's going to happen at 150 mph. I'm a little concerned that enough air may come up from below that it may put a lot of pressure on the rear curved panel of the car, risking ripping the rivnuts out of the bottom tube. For that reason I may run without the top cover as well, hoping that any pressure differential will be equalized. Still, short term, I need to strengthen the lower attachment point of the rear panel before Saturday.

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Re: Auto Club Speedway 1/10/2015

Postby Midlana1 » 12 Jan 2015, 15:35

Below is a cut and paste of what was posted on the Midlana site:

+++

First event of 2015 was again at Fontana Autoclub Speedway, with about 100 cars including my brother with his LS3-powered Stalker and my buddy Lee and his Mallock. Both were out for their first track tests (my brother's first track event since the engine transplant, and Lee's first track drive with his car). Lee signed up for the race group while I and Scott signed up for the "pass anywhere" group. To be honest, I was a little uncomfortable doing so, having never run in this type of group, not so much for me and my car, but others. If you've ever driven on-track, you know about the "kill mode", the I-must-catch-that-car-in-front-of-me switch in you brain. That's fine when championship points are on the line, or million dollar sponsorships, but there's none of that here. Nothing, not even $5 plastic trophies. So while that should mean that no one's going to dive-bomb you into a turn, things can get clouded in the haze of war. Then there's the not-so-little detail of the likely consequences should a sedan bump into my essentially open-wheel car, which would probably end badly for me more so than them. That said, both my brother and I are tired of how obviously slower drivers don't always point you by - a requirement for any passing in typical track day events. You're all over them, making it very clear that you have the faster car, yet they either don't see you (a problem in itself) or they've just decided they deserve to be ahead of you. Worries aside, the day went fine, Midlana did well, nothing broke or fell off, though things could have gone a little better. The issues:

Either I don't know how to operate the GoPro 4 or it has some quirks - probably both - so I didn't record nearly as much as expected. Sometimes it wasn't clear when it was recording and when it wasn't. Some of the "scrap" video snippets found during editing showed me puzzling over the camera, saying "I can't tell if it's recording" yet obviously it was. Not seeing any activity (no blinking LED or LCD indications) I kept messing with it, and after finally seeing an indication, I headed out since I'd configured it for "one-button record", which turns it on and starts recording immediately. Push the button again and it stops and powers down. It worked during testing but later I found that the first session was completely missed, me thinking that it was recording when it was not.

I got it running for the second session, but during editing I found two videos from the session. Apparently hitting a small bump on-track caused it to start a new clip.

For the third session, the GoPro appeared dead as if its battery was done. However, when I got home and downloaded the videos, the camera reported that it still had 75% battery life... grrr.

Other issues. The way the track event was run confused me. I heard the call "10 minutes to pre-grid", got my gear on, headed over and got in a very slow line where a guy was asking each driver if they had a transponder (so the cars could be grided according to expected time). By the time I got in position, it slowly dawned on me that the line was for the next run group and that I'd wasted half of my track time. It happened again for the next group but this time I thought "Fine, I'll just run with these guys and get a full session." That worked well, passing everyone left and right .

The bright spot of the day was that the dry sump worked great. The last time here, oil temperature got as high as 250 degrees F. Due to that temperature and the resulting thin viscosity, oil pressure dropped to as low as 45 lbs at-speed. This time oil pressure stayed right around 60 psi and better yet, oil temperature stayed much lower, 205 degrees maximum. There was a small leak in one oil fitting but it wasn't a big deal, apparently it's a defective AN-10 coupler since tightening it didn't stop the dripping.

The water/meth worked fine, until it didn't. The controller has adjustable thresholds for both too-much and too-little flow. For some reason it kept tripping on "too much flow", which disables the system. Unfortunately I forgot the cable necessary to reconfigure it, so boost had to be backed off to keep the engine safe. Sigh, oh well, another day. In my mind though, it's just another reason for going to a flex-fuel ECU, closed-loop boost control, and no water/methanol.

My brother's LS-powered Stalker was very fast, hitting 160 mph down the front straight, though of course I claimed that his speedometer was way off. He was fastest in our group, though when he tried backing his car out of the garage for the third session, it wouldn't go into gear. Something in his clutch circuit had failed, either the master cylinder, slave, or clutch itself. He's really hoping it's the master cylinder because getting at the slave is a real bitch, an internal unit that's built into the throw-out bearing and means pulling the engine and transmission to gain access.

Lee got one session in and seemed fairly happy with the Mallock, though it may have worked too well. The rear section of floor panel pulled away from the chassis(!) due to generating more downforce that expected, and they spent the rest of the day working on that. I asked why they were working on it there instead of calling it a day, since it was supposed to rain on Sunday. Lee said "What!?": he didn't see the same forecast that I had checked. As I type this on Sunday it does say it's raining in Fontana so I don't know if they're still up there or not.

Speaking of rain, it started raining at the start of the third session, not a lot, but enough to make me wonder if I really wanted to take the car out - answer: sure. If you haven't tried it, driving on a wet or damp track is an excellent way to find out at relatively low speed how it would handle at much higher speed. It was very educational balancing it through the turns, front/back/front/back slipping slightly. Of course I was unwilling to try that in Turn 2, the 130 mph left hander with its very solid concrete wall along the top right edge. Having the unexpected rain reminded me that I need a bottle of Rain-X to be in the box along with the other supplies...

My brother bought a "Stig" key chain. To keep it from rattling around and getting in the way, he stuck it onto his ignition key and headed out on-track. About half way through the session his ignition cut off unexpected. Apparently the cornering load was enough to cause "Stig" to switch off his ignition - we though that was pretty funny. (Either that or an electrical issue that'll become more apparent with time...) Here's my video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrFV...ature=youtu.be and my brother's, https://www.youtube.com/watch?vkzJfLrX9P4.

Notable cars at the event included an AMG Mercedes SLS ($221K base price!), a Tesla(!), the 999 custom racer, and the always very diverse types of cars which show up which is why I enjoy track day events.

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Re: Auto Club Speedway 1/10/2015

Postby carlm » 12 Jan 2015, 15:56

How did the Tesla do on the track? I saw a Model S on southbound 125 in La Mesa on the way home from work today and it looked...potent.

Midlana1
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Re: Auto Club Speedway 1/10/2015

Postby Midlana1 » 12 Jan 2015, 20:45

The thing about being a track day participant is that unless a car's in your run group, there simply isn't time to watch other cars. The whole day goes by dealing with little things and prepping for the next outing rather than much sight-seeing.


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