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Old 05-12-2017, 03:42 PM   #36
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continued from above

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The #JankyStick did show real power this weekend, tho - these two cars above got pictured with it: the Miata blew up the motor, and the Acura had all sorts of running issues all weekend. It is with great power comes great responsibility... :D

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TWS is only run in this configuration now: the 2.9 mile CW circuit. There used to be other configurations and even the CCW direction, but due to the track "winding down" for some years now there haven't been repairs needed to run the other configs. So this is it.

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And rumor has it that our October 27-29 NASA event here will be the last... but they've been saying this for the last 3 years. Who knows; they stopped doing real maintenance on this track long ago.


It was spitting rain when we arrived early to the track Saturday morning, which normally is a good excuse to skip a TT session. But that session is used to grid us up, and there were a LOT of cars, so I went out in the TT Warm-up session with the Hoosiers and wipers on.

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Was looking for a time here to get a good grid position but we didn't even get a full hot lap before the session was black flagged. One TT driver didn't latch his hood - which flew up and smashed into the windshield at the end of pit out. And then one of my TTD competitors (new guy from out of region) in a Honda had a big off after turn 8 and got stuck in the mud. With two wreckers dispatched in the first lap they called the session off before there were any usable lap times.

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Since nobody had times the first "real" TT session was a crap shoot at grid. I managed to get there early and finished 14th quickest of the session and also ran my quickest time of the weekend - a 1:58.172. That was surprising because it was still spitting rain on the out lap, but it was drying quickly. It took me a few laps to get heat into the tires and clear some slower traffic ahead of me (TT3 M3) but the ambient temps were still cool and that usually means "good times" are possible.

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This video shows the new TTD lap record at TWS - note rain on windshield

That was a new track record by almost a second, so I was happy with that. It was overcast, windy, and cold and Amy could have made some laps but she decided to wait and drive the car on Sunday when the sun was supposed to come out. New record means I was sent straight to scales, where it weighed 3246 pounds - about 40 pounds over our declared weight.

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The AiM was showing a 1:57.95 lap but the AMB and TrackAddict timers were both showing slower times in the 1:58.1 range. After looking at the video closely I have manually marked the Start/Finish line for TWS about 100 feet later than reality on the AiM. I probably set that up 4-5 years ago, so I'll purge the "manual map" I made for TWS and download one from AiM with a more accurate S/F line.

I went out in the 3rd session but was again stuck behind the same M3 - slow in the corners but motored away on the straights. At TWS there are a number of big straights, too. He finally let me by but it took many laps crowding his mirrors. Backing off to build a gap didn't help, as I'd be in the way of cars behind me. I skipped session 4 due since it was warming up so much.

Fellow TT racer Mark showed me his Track Addict data and app setup and convinced me to try it on my phone. I ran it in a couple of sessions that day, and with the settings tweaked right was pretty accurate. The times were within a tenth of the AMB loop, which on this track was more accurate than my AiM lap times.

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The video it produced was super-shaky-cam due to a RAM X-grip mount that "rocks" in use. It was nice seeing the instant feedback of lateral g, speeds, etc. I ordered a new mount plus a OBDLinkMX wi-fi and Bluetooth module to both datalog and stream data to my phone. If I can get the phone to record video smoothly I might switch to this for lap videos - it sure is easier than recording video on a vidcam, logging data on the AiM, removing via RaceStudio2, merging video and data in DashWare or RaceRender, then editing the final video in Pinnacle Studio.

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Left: The $45 RAM X-grip mount is TERRIBLE for taking video. Right: This $15 "squeeze" mount produces rock solid video.

Just ordered an array of cheap suction cup phone holders + RAM bolt-down ball-mount bases and arms to hold a phone in a race car. I'll try these plus the OBD data module and Track Addict app on my phone at our next track event, and might switch to my old faithful Sony VidCam mounted on the new roll bar too.

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We stuck around for the NASA party, ate bar-b-q and received our 2016 Regional TTD championship (attendance?) award, plus the trophy for winning the TTD class of 3 on Saturday. We didn't set a single TTD track record in 2016 but we're 2 for 2 in 2017, showing the progression of our E46's capabilities. Its just so easy to drive now that even a hack autocrosser can smash class records.


Got too the track early to help Costas prep his GT1 car. He had run a 1:40.914 TTU lap record and win on Saturday and logged wins in both SU races as well - and he did the same thing on Sunday, even fighting some small issues.

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Went out in the first session at 55F, again cloudy and cold, and stuck in traffic the entire session where I only managed 1:58.336 - passing 2 cars on my best lap. The BMW had a bit of a "push" all weekend but I didn't run enough sessions to get to dialing it out - I kept blaming it on a green/cold track. Several other racers noted the same thing - but there were still new track records times in many classes.

Sunday results:

After my first TT session I came in, Amy hopped into the right seat and we went out in the HPDE4 session - where she actually rode for two whole laps before she had enough! ;) This hasn't happened in years - she hates riding with me. I was taking some tame 2:01 laps to show her the lines, braking points, and grip levels.

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We came right back in and went to grid and switched seats, then she drove the HPDE3 session - 3rd session in a row for the car, back-to-back. With some coaching she got down to a 2:05 lap pretty quickly and ran that consistently. The places where I had time on her in the car were all in high speed braking sections. She's just not yet as comfortable in this car as I am, as she has a fraction of the laps in the E46 as I do.

She took the rest of the HPDE 4 sessions that weekend and had a blast. She even did some lead follow laps with one of our customers, showing him the line. The brakes did great with all of this hot lapping, and the Powerbrake pads still have 3/4 pad life left after ~14 months of track abuse.

Lessons Learned: I managed to come in from the track "hot" once in this crazy sequence of driver swaps and that let the pads sit on BAKING hot rotors for a few minutes, which put some pad deposits onto the rotors. Once back on track that now feels like warped rotors. We need to get this stuff off (turn the rotors) or replace the Powerbrake rotor rings, soon. Always need to do a cool down lap to shed brake heat, with any kind of brakes.

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With -3.8 camber up front we're still seeing significant bodyroll - maybe time for more spring rate

I also noticed some significant front tire lock-up on the LF tire when braking into the high speed left hand Turn 1, slowing from 125 mph in this off camber corner. It shouldn't do this with ABS, but as you can see at full tilt cornering the inside tire is barely touching the ground. We are seeing 1.3-1.4g lateral loading and its causing more bodyroll than I think is appropriate, even with 600F/750R spring rates. I will have the crew here crank up the swaybar settings, but it might be time to jump to higher spring rates, especially once we add aero and/or wider tires to this car (more on a potential "class jump" later). We ran 750F/900R on the blue 330 on 285 Hoosier A6 tires before and it worked great.

I also felt too much tire rub on the rear fenders in several corners (T1, T4, T9) due to excessive suspension travel and insufficient fender room. Its time to flare this car, and if the parts had shown up in time this would have been done before this event. I will show this "next major mod" next time.

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Left: Jeff's Miata in our trailer and Right: driving our E46 to Dallas

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: After Amy ran the last HPDE4 session we were going to put it into the trailer, but one of our TT competitors (Jeff) blew the motor in his NB Miata, and he had no way to get it back 3+ hours north to Dallas. So another racer loaned us street wheels/tires and those were mounted to the E46, which he drove back while his Miata was in our trailer. Not really the street use we had in mind for this "daily driven track car" but he said it was a comfy ride, radio cranked and AC blowing cold. He commented "I'd daily this setup" and "It makes a lot of torque."

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Left: Saturday end of day TT results (unsorted). Right: Sunday end of day TT results (sorted)

Overall the results from this NASA race weekend were good - Day 1 we won by 8 seconds, day 2 by 5. So we're not really getting pushed anymore, which is frustrating. And with less than 5 competitors in TTD once again we failed to win any tires. We seem to be stuck in a pattern now, but maybe that changes next time, who knows?

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We were once again fastest for TTD class and quicker than TTE, which is pretty strong in our region. Without "maxing out" the car for TTD I'm happy with that.


At this TWS event TT4 class once again "made a class" (5 min) with 5 cars (mostly S2000s). A win there both days would bring home 4 free Hoosiers. Heck at most events this class has enough (7+) to bring home 1 tire for 2nd place each day, too. Granted they were 5.4 seconds ahead of us, but its a logical transition. TT4 would allow a splitter, wing, LSD, 275mm tires, and more power... gotta run the numbers and see if it makes sense. But our "not-maxed-out" TTD car is already ahead of many of the TT4 cars at most events now...

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The TT-Number classes are much more likely to stabilize, whereas the TT-Letter classes have had rules changes and disappearing classes.... they will all be gone eventually. There is just too much points gaming you gotta do to be fast in TT-Letter, and it often pares the potential candidates down to few or even one chassis. We would have a LOT more freedom to show "what we can build" in TT-Number classes, and the E46 would be a LOT faster, too. Winning TTD and setting track records is nice, finally, but having to race in a car that is this slow relative to the rest of the field... is. Killing. ME.

For now we tenatively plan to keep this car in TTD for NASA @ COTA May 26-28 and NASA @ Hallett on June 24-25. If we keep doing well in TTD we might wrap up the Texas region class championship by then. So... maybe during the summer break we could make the switch? Its a possibility, and I'm itching to make this car a lot faster. Jumping up 2+ classes and losing the "points" handicap could allow this E46 to speed up.


On the long drive to Dallas the power steering pump broke once again (3rd time!) so we researched a better brand replacement and installed that. We also received the E46 Non-M 2-door flares from HARD Motorsport, and those were installed. I'll show that work next time.

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We just did an SCCA Club Trials event on May 7th at MSR-Cresson running the 1.7 course CW, which is backwards from what most groups do. I drove the 330 there, instructed 2 students, plus drove 3 other cars. Busy weekend, but again excellent results. I will cover what we learned there next time. And now we have less than 3 weeks until NASA @ COTA, so we will go over the car carefully before we run at this HIGH speed track. There are also a few "mod wish list" items we might try to tackle, too.

Until next time,
Terry Fair - Owner at Vorshlag Motorsports Phone: 972.422.7170
S197 Development Thread + C4 Corvette + 69 Camaro + S550 + more project builds in the Vorshlag Sub-Section
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