Vorshlag S197 Development Thread

Discussion in 'Vorshlag Motorsports' started by Vorshlag-Fair, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    FORWARD, 7/31/2015: When we first added this thread to S197forums we had a "quick overview of the first 2 years" and left out 83 of the initial posts, going back to 2010. It was posted in the corner-carvers section, and later - when we became a sponsoring vendor - they created this sub-section for us. So now I'm finally going back and posting the entire build thread here, even the first two years of posts - which has over 1086 entries and counting.

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    We had done S197 suspension parts and development since 2007 (with the 2006 GT above, which has competed in STU and ESP ever since), but didn't really get serious about these cars until after I drove a 5.0L powered 2011 GT in summer of 2010 - then immediately custom ordered one. We've learned a lot in the past 5 years with our red 2011 GT (below), had some frustrating times in STX ans STU autocross classes, a little success in ESP class, then we moved our car to NASA TTS and TT3 and notched up a lot of wins and track records. We sold this car last month (July 2015) and will miss it. We briefly had a second S197 in 2013-14 (2013 GT), but some rules changes made that build not feasible for our business and we tested some other things then sold it in 2014.

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    Our 2011 GT which we raced from 2010-2015, which we called big red, will not soon be forgotten!

    We have been fortunate and a lot of folks liked what they saw in this S197 thread and have brought us countless Mustangs to work on, upgrade, and make faster. There's usually a number of Mustangs in our race prep/service shop, every day, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.


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    Even though I don't currently have a "shop" S197 car at the moment, two of our team both own and race S197s - Jon's green 2006 GT (above left) is a CAM-T contender and Shannon's 2011 GT is an HPDE terror. We still work on a lot of customer's S197s and prep them for track, autocross and street use, so we will keep this thread going as long as we're a sponsor for S197forums. Thanks!

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    Project Introduction: November 12, 2010 Some of you guys know us here at Vorshlag. We're a suspension design and manufacturing shop, making the world's best camber plates as well as numerous other items for various modern sports/sporty cars, such as: competition motor and transmission mounts, competition wheel studs, wheel spacers, and even our popular E36 LS1 swap kit. We're also an AST shock dealer and we sometimes work with AST-USA on developing new shock models and valving. We're also racers... running our test cars in SCCA Solo and NASA Time Trial, among other venues.

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    2011 Mustang "Boss 302R" race car

    It helps us in suspension development to periodically acquire and build-up new cars. About once a year we get a few new cars in the stable, and this time we've focused on the 2011 Mustang GT 5.0. We already have 2 versions of camber/caster plates for the S197 chassis Mustang ('05-11+), but we've only sold a few of them and haven't really pushed suspension parts for this chassis yet. Its been foolish of us, because its a HUGE market (avg sales are 200K units/year) that has a large percentage of owners who are enthusiasts and that auto-x/HPDE/race these cars. I've only driven a few of these S197 cars but have personally owned and raced previous generation Mustangs (7 in total) in the past, and raced in those for many years. I was never a fan of the "mod motor" 4.6L V8 in the 1996-2004 Mustang models, however, which is the main reason I haven't owned one of these already. When GM was making their sports cars with the legendary LS1, Ford was trying to match the power with smaller displacement motors that were still massively bigger and heavier. Only the supercharged Cobras and GT500s could keep pace.

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    But when the all new Ford "Coyote" 5.0L DOHC V8 engine was announced in ~2007 I took notice. When we found out it was going to debut in the 2011 Mustang, along with an all new Getrag 6-spd transmission, we went and test drove one right after they came out in May 2010. It took about 60 seconds of driving it before I was sold... Ford had finally built a Mustang that had some serious potential and was worth comparing to cars costing 2-3 times as much! The brakes rocked, the transmission shifted better than the almighty T56 Tremec, and the motor... oh the motor was perfect. We borrowed a new 2011 "Brembo" GT for a day, took lots of measurements and weights (see below). As heavy as it is its still hundreds of pounds lighter than the other modern muscle cars - the 2010 Camaro or Challenger - and was on par with the latest BMW M3 V8, 335i and many others. Modern cars are heavy!

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    This was the weight of a loaner '11 Brembo GT back in June - 3605 with 1/2 tank of fuel

    Sure, as a 4-valve-per-cylinder V8, the Coyote 5.0 revs to 7000 rpm effortlessly, but more important: it has a LOT of low and mid-range torque, something the previous Ford 4.6L motors really lacked. 390 ft-lbs of torque and 412 hp is what these are rated at, but in reality they are making closer to 385-395 wheel horsepower, which means they have even more power at the crank than that. The power is what really sold the car for me.

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    The new Mustang 5.0 was quickly matched up against some heavyweight sports cars, and the obvious E92 M3 V8 vs Mustang 5.0 magazine match-ups popped up everywhere (see spec sheet comparo above). But unlike most of the "numbers only" comparisons, the new 2011 had some serious improvements in a lot of areas (interior quality, Sync voice control, sound system/NAV, and the suspension/brakes), and was winning the hearts of most jaded auto journalists. Sure, the Mustang ran blistering 12 second 1/4 mile times and did 0-60 mph in the low 4 second range, but for once the Mustang was as quick on a road course as the $70K M3. And you could get a 2011 Mustang for $29K retail, and the 14" Brembo brake package was only +$1600.

    So we custom ordered our 2011 GT in June of 2010. With SO many optional rear gear ratios (3), and dozens of other options, dealers were loading the cars up with crap that we didn't want. We got it with just the "standard" 3.31 rear gear (for a "longer" 2nd gear in autocross situations), the Brembo brake/suspension/wheel package, and my wife insisted on the expensive and frivolous "electronics" package (boy am I glad she did - the system is incredible). The car took over 3 months to be built, and there were further delays once it arrived, but we finally picked up the car on Oct 29th.

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    we've been playing with wheel fitment this week... and photoshop!

    So far the Mustang is still bone stock, but it won't be for long. We are planning on making various parts for the car, such as revised camber plates, motor mounts, and some other bits and pieces as we run across them. What better way to test the car than autocross and track use? So we had been planning on building it for autocross use around an as-yet-undecided autocross class, then running it in NASA TT in whatever class it fell into (the 2011 is still not classed as of this writing but it will likely fall into TTB). The obvious choice for SCCA Solo was E Street Prepared... that means virtually any suspension mods (no changing pick-up points), intake/exhaust/tuning mods, racing seats, and giant Hoosier A6 "DOT" R compounds. With the 5 time ESP National Champion in our SCCA region we wouldn't be starved for serious competition, either.

    But after a year of racing in another "SP" class, and trashing lots expensive Hoosier A6 tires, I had second thoughts. We had run in Street Touring classes from 2004-2009, and we kind of missed racing there. The "ST" category allows for almost the same level of mods as "SP" but uses much more cost effective tires (lower grip/longer wearing) - basically they have to be 140 of higher treadwear. Racing in this category is lots of fun and its the only category outside of "Stock" that allows you to keep your car emissions legal and still be competitive.

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    This is the weight on our '11 Brembo GT with no fuel - 3563 lbs sans 12.7 lbs of "trunk junk"

    Where to run this hefty Mustang? We have seen exactly one S197 Mustang run in STU before (one of our testers - and he moved quickly to ESP), but the thought of battling against the AWD boost buggies in there in a 3600 pound Mustang, even with wider 285mm tires, would be almost pointless. Well since its under 5.1L of displacement its legal to race it in STX, as long as we stick to a maximum 265mm wide tire and 9" wide wheel. So that's where we'll start.

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    Stage 1 testing is to verify our OEM perch/camber plate solution

    To see if this is even a remotely competitive car we plan on doing several stages of prep and testing before spending the bucks for full out suspension and weight saving mods. Stage 1 will be fairly simple: little more than swaybars, Vorshlag camber plates, and maybe lowering springs.

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    This will be the "Stage 2" prep level for our S197 Mustang - AST 4100s and Vorshlag plates

    After we test camber plates on the otherwise stock suspension for a few weeks we'll jump right into Stage 2: AST 4100 coilovers, plates, lightweight 18x9" wheels and 265mm tires (max widths allowed in STX) - then get to an autocross! There's several Nationally competitive STX cars in our region including multiple E36 328is BMWs, several RX8s and some WRXs. Sure, we'll have double the power of the rest of the class, but the Mustang has a solid axle and LOTS of extra mass to throw around. We'll know pretty quickly if the car is going to be competitive, and if so we'll go to the 3rd stage of prep - looking for every pound we can save, and adding AST 5200GA remote reservoir (the same style AST shocks being built for Continental GRAND AM and World Challenge).

    That's another key area of testing we'll perform - to see how much weight we can get out of the car. We'll weigh everything that goes on or off this car and track every pound. The 2011 GT gained about 100 pounds over the 2005-2010 GT, due partly to the new engine, the new 6-spd transmission, and some extra sound insulation Ford added (all S197s got the extra insulation from the GT500, in 2011, according to Ford engineers we met at the 2010 SEMA show). The stock 19x9" wheels and tires weigh a considerable amount also, and we're already testing lightweight wheels/tires on our car that most of the Mustang aftermarket either ignores or doesn't know about.

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    Test fitting 18x9.5" ET20 wheels (needs more like ET45 offset to fit that wheel) with 275/35/18 tires

    As always we're going to post regular updates on several forums for this project, and we'll share everything we do and learn. We're all about "bringing the tech". We'll start with posts on Vorshlag forum, SCCAforums and Corner-Carvers. Please let us know of other forums we should post on! Each forum will get the same updates from us. A lot of our car projects and ideas are crowd sourced, and tapping into several thousand brains is always a help. I freely admit I'm out of touch with the Mustang chassis, and we're learning as we go, but some of you out there will obviously have more experience in these and we welcome your suggestions.

    One small note: Feel free to ask any questions or post helpful tips on the thread, but remember: there's potentially hundreds if not thousands of other people reading the same thread (one of our project threads from last year had 250,000 hits in 12 months). Seeing 1,000 "me too" or "cool car!" posts don't really add anything to the discussion, nor does asking the same question that's been asked and answered on that same forum thread already. Remember: if you want to subscribe to a thread you can just go to "thread tools" and click "subscribe to thread". This will keep the thread chock full of useful discussion and save everyone time when reading. :)

    Next post: wheel testing!

    Thanks,
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015
  2. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    I will also post a few key replies to reader's questions that are in the original thread on Vorshlag's Forum.

    November 12th, 2010....

    We are looking at the potential for helping design/market a new wheel to fit the S197, yes. It would have to be "significantly different" than the hundreds of other S197 fit wheels out there to be worthwhile... lighter, wider, proper hub bore/bolt circle/caliper clearance without spacers, etc. As we're seeing there are a lot of heavy wheels, and a few Nissan/Honda/Subaru/EVO wheels that can be made to fit these cars, but not any real lightweight wheels that are truly made for the S197 (other than the $637, "20 pound" BBS being sold by Rehagen Racing - see below, right).

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    Left: D-Force 18x10" wheel is 18.7 lbs and $309 retail. Right: This is the only lightweight 18x10" we could find truly built specifically to fit the S197

    There's probably a good place to build say.... an 18x10.5" wheel (under $350 and less than 21 lbs) that would fit the S197 correctly and accept wider than 275mm tires. We'd partner with D-Force Wheels, of course. Then again, as soon as we spent the capital to make this new wheel, a company that sounds like FirePack would just copy it with a Chinese built offering and sell it for $10 less... :rolleyes: D-Force is also getting into forged and multi-piece wheels - we'll know more about their added capabilities after the 2010 PRI show next month. The Mustang is one car that really needs a dedicated, racer-owned/run, small wheel company like D-Force in its corner making lightweight racing wheels, and Vorshlag has worked with D-Force intensely since 2007 developing new wheel fitments for the BMW community.

    Ha! For once there is a car out there with a motor worthy enough to NOT need an LSx swap! :D

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    Va-goosh!
     
  3. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    November 16th, 2010...

    The stock rear suspension set-up looks pretty good, for a solid axle RWD car, from a basic geometry perspective. The 3 link and panhard bar are so much better than the "opposed 4 link/quadra-shock" mess that SN95/Fox3 was stuck with for nearly 3 decades. The S197 rear suspension is much more "Camaro-like" (3rd/4th gen Camaro) than Mustang-like. Not surprisingly it weighs similar to what the 4th gen Camaro did, and can fit similar wheel/tire sizes. And makes similar power. Really, the 2011 is pretty much an updated 4th gen Camaro (what GM should have built, not the 3800 pound parade float with zero visibility and IRS!).

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    I need to read up on the solid axle allowances in ST*, but I think they are similar to SP, right? Torque arm, panhard, watts link are all allowed. If anything we'll look into the watts link. There's some other tid-bits we have planned on the rear suspension we'll talk about soon as well.
     
  4. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    Project Update for Nov 17, 2010: We've had a huge amount of responses (some that I've replied to) on the 4 forums where I have posted this thread on so far, so some of this might look familiar on the thread you're reading. Adding the RoadRaceAutoX.com forum was a big boost in ideas/questions (thanks guys).

    Autocross and Time Trial Classing - We've had a lot of folks question my sanity on the decision to run STX for SCCA Solo classing. Not sure what this class is? Read the STX rules here on Jason Rhode's STX blog page. Speaking of that...

    http://www.rhoadescamaro.com/build/

    Go read that blog and see another racer who's bucking the trend in STX - by using a V8 powered RWD solid axle '67 Camaro Z/28! If you thought our build was crazy, he has pretty good reasoning for his similar-yet-different V8 RWD chassis decision there. Now his 1st gen Camaro STX build, when all is said and done, will likely be 300+ pounds lighter than our 2011 GT, so he might really be onto something. And remember: he beat all the Civics in STS back in 2006 using a RWD Nissan 240SX, so don't just assume that being competitive in STX is impossible in a powerful RWD car. He's proven that winning in unconventional cars is possible, if you develop it well enough. Very cool build, mad prop's to J-Rho! We've been tossing ideas back and forth on both of our cars, and he has clued me into some great ideas already.

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    Also, our foray into the ST category with the S197 Mustang GT isn't unprecedented. We had a Vorshlag tester (KentK) that helped us in the development phase with our S197 camber plates and AST shocks for this chassis. Somehow Hanchey and I convinced him to try it in STU. He ran the same Enkei NT03+M 18x10.5" ET30 wheels (the rears needed more backspacing) we ran on the EVO X, and he had the STU class limit 285mm wide Dunlops, with the above mentioned AST/Vorshlag suspension. It wasn't half bad in the handful of races he ran in STU, against the Texas STU crowd here, but he didn't stick around long enough to develop it. He moved to ESP class, with big 315mm Hoosier A6 tires, where its done well Nationally - and is still doing well there. The prep level he has on the car now would have sure helped his chances in STU, way back when. So for our 2011 GT in STX... sure, its going to take a lot of testing and prep, but we think its got an outside shot at being competitive. Stock for stock, the '11 GT has +100 whp over the '05-10 GT chassis Kent used in STU, too.

    For NASA Time Trial use (where we should have better luck using the proposed 450 whp we think we can make in STX legal trim) we'll use a wider wheel (18x10" or 18x10.5") and a wider tire (285mm) with something like 140-200 treadwear. The 2011 GT was just re-classed in NASA from TTC (2005-2010 GT) to TTB (2011 GT), and has a race weight of 3770. We'll have to ballast up to make that, and it will likely end up in TTA with the mods we have planned. Ugh. We'll talk more about TT prep in a later post - we won't have a track test day even planned until after at least the "Stage 2" (AST 4100) suspension and the "big" wheels are on.

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    Factory undertray has a flip-down trap door over the oil filter. We changed 8 qts of Mobile1 and Wix filter goodness

    Wheel Testing - this has been most of what we've done with the GT the past week, other than the initial oil change @ 250 miles (the stock oiling system takes 8 qts of oil - that's kind of encouraging, actually. Went with 10W30 Mobil1 + Wix filter). I started asking about wheel options before we bought the car, back in this massive Corner-Carvers thread about the Coyote 5.0 motor/2011 GT. The beef I brought up there was the lack of wider, lightweight 18" wheels made for the S197. In my early measurements I could see that the standard GT's 18x8.5" and even the '11 Brembo GT's 19x9" (ET42) wheels were small for the size and weight of this car - and there was tons of room for wider wheels going inboard. The stock 19x9" wheels/tires are boat anchors (57.2 lbs per corner!) and the factory 255/40/19 tires are super tall, too (27.2" tall!).

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    Left: Stock wheel/tire is 57.2 lbs. Right: factory wheel is 19x9" ET42... that's made in China

    The problem we quickly noted was that the aftermarket was pushing blingy, heavy, yet narrow wheels for the S197. Most of the Mustang drivers on the non-race forums were choosing cheap, "replica" wheels that are hideously heavy. Or Shelby GT500 wheels (18x9.5"), also very heavy. The only "real S197" direct fit wheel we found in 18x10" that wasn't a Chinese replica was the expensive BBS 18x10" shown below...

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    Above: The "Boss302R" 18x10" BBS wheel Rehagen sells is 20+ lbs and $637; Its used on some Continental GRAND AM S197 race cars

    TireRack lists a bunch of heavy aftermarket stuff for these cars, too: 18x8, 18x8.5", 18x9.5" and a bunch of 19" rubbish - all of it heavy. I won't have a car that uses 19" race tires, no way. There's no reason to have 19" wheels on this car, period. 18"ers clear the brakes, and the tire choices are MUCH better in that diameter, so 18" it is. 19's is simply a styling move, and one I hate. Some of the reason we haven't found many wider 18" options yet, I think, is because the 2011 Brembo package is still "new" and the larger 14" Brembo front brakes are somewhat unknown - not all 18" wheels will clear the big caliper, as we found out.

    Where were the Enkeis, Team Dynamics, Volks, WedSports, OZs and the many other lightweight aftermarket wheel options?? Well, digging deeper we noticed that they were all out there, just not listed under the S197 Mustang. Nissan (350Z), Mitsubishi (EVO), Subaru (WRX/STI), and Honda (S2000) all use the same 5 x 4.5" bolt circle (they call it 5 x 114.3mm). And most of the aftermarket wheels use an oversized hub bore, so we can make hub-centric adapter rings to fit the Ford's 70.5mm hub bore. That's good news.

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    So last week I tried to fit Stuart at AST's 18x10" CCW Classics (6.75" backspacing) from his '05 GT (above, left) onto our '11, but they didn't even come close to clearing the huge front calipers. The Classics aren't known for their awesome caliper clearance, but it did have me a tick worried. Next we pulled an 18x9.5" ET20 (6" backspace) Rota "Grid" Matte Bronze wheel and 275mm tire off of [email protected]'s 350Z (above, right) to see if that cleared the brakes and fenders, but I had my doubts due to the 20mm offset... (sorry for posting this pic twice, but it is more applicable here/now)

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    (yes, that is photoshopped to be lowered... this is the actual pic)

    That first test was pretty enlightening. The gold wheel didn't look that bad on the car, either, but that was not the point. This Rota 18x9.5" ET20 doesn't fit inside the S197 fenders, as feared; the tire was sticking out past the fenders (about 1/2" out back - see below), but it was a good reference point and let us measure the inboard clearance to the suspension. After measuring the 18x9.5" Rota on the car it looks like we could go inboard by 2.5" in back and over 2" in front... meaning an 18x11" up front and 18x12" in back could just barely fit, if you played your offsets right. With enough camber, rolled front fender lips, and a different style front swaybar end link (more on that later). It should be easy to fit an 18x10 on both ends, though. Backspacing of 7-7.5" on the front and 7.5-8.5" on back looks to be ideal for 10"+ wide wheels, from my measurements.

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    I then borrowed an 18x9.5" ET45 wheel (a TireRack branded Subaru-fit wheel) with a mounted Dunlop 275/35/18 tire from Paul M's '95 Impreza/STi swap project last weekend. Tested it on the GT this past Sunday and it fit much better than the same size'd wheel in ET20 we tried before (under the fenders at both ends). If I had to choose a street wheel without the need for maximum width/grip or goofy class rules that limit us to little 9" wide wheels, the 18x9.5" ET45 would be the obvious choice for the S197.

    So the Subaru/Nissan 350Z fitments are what we ending up searching on, as there seemed to be many more wheel choices from companies like Enkei. Hub bore is different, but like I said, we can make a hub-centric adapter ring. I'm trying to get an 18x9" in at 18 lbs or less, so Enkei is the first obvious option we're looking at (NT03+M, RPF-1 or PF01 models). Matt found an Enkei RPF-1 in 18x9" ET35 (6.4" backspace) which might just barely fit (18.4 lbs), and they also have a PF01 (new for '09) with ET45 (6.77" backspacing) that's sub-19 lbs (the 18x8.5" shows to be "18 lbs", no weight on the 9"). The ET45 will fit inboard better, obviously (nearly identical to the stock '11 Brembo 19x9" ET42 wheel). In the 18x10" size the choices got much slimmer... the most backspacing we could find was 7" (18x10 ET38) for this bolt pattern. So we ordered one of the 18x9" ET45 in the Enkei FP01 and one 18x10 ET38 in the Enkei RPF1 yesterday from TireRack and we'll test fit them when they show up next week and report back.

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    We talked to the nice folks at Team Dynamics, who were willing to custom make the 5x4.5"/70.5mm hub bore in one of their 18x10 wheels in one of 3 offsets (ET40, 52 and 56 - all Porsche fitments normally in 5-130mm), all of which would fit much better ion the rear but might require a small spacer up front. Weight was the killer - 28.5 lbs for the 18x10s.

    Tire height is the next issue. The stock Mustang 255/40/19 tires on the 19" wheels are a staggering 27.2" tall. The 265/35/18 we're thinking of using for STX class is only 25.3" tall, which is a huge difference (for gearing, CG height, etc). Not many choices there, as most of the ST-legal/competitive 265s are all this same size. For the street a closer match to stock is a 285/35/18 tire, which is 25.9" tall. Those probably will go on the 18x10" wheels for street/track use. For a variety of reasons (racer recommendations, price, compound, & sidewall style) we're looking at the Hankook RS-3 tire for initial testing. After being out of ST category for a year a lot has changed... we probably need to test the same sized tire in Yokohama AD08, Dunlop, Kumho XS, and Toyo R1R, if not more. I doubt many/any of these have been tested on a car this heavy, either.

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    Last night I worked late on SolidWorks and revised our Vorshlag S197 camber/caster plate drawings (rev 3 for all of the main parts), so we're having a short run of these made in steel. It will eventually be released as an aluminum plate, after I have time to add the "Vorshlag" logo, model engraving, hash marks, and crunch the numbers. We'll test the plates on the stock springs/suspension next week, then try it with Eibach lowering springs (I think that's going to likely become a popular and affordable S197 package - Eibach springs and Vorshlag plates). I'll rate the stock '11 GT Brembo spring rates on our Longacre spring rater, too (see this Spring Archive for similar data).

    I'll stop there for now. We've got a lot more to share., and keep those suggestions, questions and ideas coming.

    Thanks,
     
  5. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    Update for Nov 19, 2010: Not a lot of "work" to update on here, but we did get the baseline dyno run completed so I figured I'd share that, plus some bench racing on the exhaust, and some more wheel weight testing.

    The guys at Dallas Performance were kind enough to squeeze in a quick 3-pull dyno test on our GT late yesterday. This was using their state-of-the-art, 2008 model, Dynojet® "Eddy Current", loaded in-ground 224xLC chassis dyno. They just moved to a new (and massive) location where they've built a dedicated dyno cell. Its as clean as a surgical room in there - and everywhere else in their shop. It is literally the nicest looking, most well equipped tuner/fab shop I've seen in all of Dallas/Ft Worth. They do some amazing high powered builds there, with 1000-1400 whp twin turbo V8s and V10s being the norm.

    Our 2011 GT was the first stock Coyote 5.0 powered car they'd dyno'd so far. They told me that the most power they'd seen from a bone stock 2010 Camaro V8 was 345 whp, and a 370 whp pull from a stock 6.1L Hemi Challenger was the highest of any modern, stock "pony car" they have tested to date. Well the numbers from our 2011 GT beat all of those pony cars... :cool:

    Here's the video & dyno chart (all pulls within 3 whp):

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    Click for baseline dyno video


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    We were a little disappointed with the peak 378 whp figure, as we'd seen a number of '11 GTs post 385-395 whp pulls, bone stock. We tried to rationalize the number on the low mileage on the motor (580 miles at the time of the test), or the fact that I drove the car around all day and didn't let it cool down before we dyno'd it (heat soaked), but in reality I screwed up and told them to dyno it in the wrong gear! For consistency and the least drivetrain loss, you typically dyno a car in the 1:1 gear, which is usually 4th gear in most 4, 5 and 6 speed transmissions. All Tremec T56 cars ever built had a 4th gear of 1:1, which is normal. But of course the 2011 GT doesn't have a Tremec, it has the Getrag MT82 6-spd (see the specs on the 6-spd).

    6-speed manual transmission (MT82 Getrag) gear ratios:

    • 1st = 3.66
    • 2nd = 2.43
    • 3rd = 1.69
    • 4th = 1.32 (oops! We dyno'd in 4th, thinking it was 1:1)
    • 5th = 1.00
    • 6th = 0.65
    • Final drive 3.31:1

    So not using 5th might account for maybe... -3-8 whp or so? A small but measurable amount. We'll dyno it in 5th after the next round of mods, and we'll do a 4th vs 5th gear pull to see the difference, then. We have the headers we want to use picked out and we're rounding up parts for the custom after-header system we're going to build in-house so hopefully this won't be too long from now.

    We have a ways to go on the 450 whp goal, but I still think its doable. Tuners are finding 10-20 whp on otherwise stock 5.0's, just in air/fuel/spark tweaks, too. DP is looking into getting the software for HPTuners or one of his other tuning packages to be able to tune our car, but I won't bother until after we have the updated I/H/E or at least the underdrive pulleys. Nobody else tunes our cars but Taylor @ DP. He programs powerful yet reliable tunes. We'll raise the rev limit at that time to 7500 rpm, up from the 6800 rpm the car is stuck with now (was supposed to be 7000 stock).

    The I/H/E mods (intake/headers/exhaust) currently planned include some sort of aftermarket cold air intake (need to research the various 2011 offerings available) and of course full length headers + custom exhaust. A biggest single gain will likely be found in the headers - the stock exhaust manifolds units are short, tortured messes of tubes. There's a lot of 2011 GT header offerings out there already, but I plan on using American Racing Header's stainless steel full lengths:

    [​IMG]

    Luckily they have some of the best header products on the market and their 2011 GT 5.0 full length header options are amongst the best. They claim a 32 whp increase, using the stock mid-pipe/mufflers/no tuning. So somewhere around 410 whp is what we'd be looking at after installing just their headers, without any tuning or other exhaust mods. The baseline number they had was almost identical to ours, 379 whp, and they reached 411 whp with the headers.

    The problem I see with using theirs or anyone's full length header design and catted X-pipe is the location of the converter. Here's the STX/STU specific rule:

    Here's the stock converter location on our 2011 (there's only 2)

    [​IMG]

    So my thought is to buy the headers, throw some header wrap on them, then mock them up in the car. Take the measurements and see where the cats can be placed. Then we can build our own after-header exhaust with high flow cats further upstream, maybe even modify headers/collectors a bit if needed. We can then push the high flow cat exactly 6" back from the stock unit. Its more work, and less than ideal for ultimate power gains, but its the rules. We'll at least save weight on the custom X-pipe and rear exhaust portions over the pre-made units from the aftermarket, which always use heavier wall tubing.

    [​IMG]

    On the custom X-pipe and after-cat portions of the exhaust system we'll be using thin walled, 20-22 gauge stainless mandrel bends & tubing, with a few V-bands in there to make everything easily removable. I thought briefly about making an aluminum after-cat exhaust, for the lightest possible weight, but the longevity would be severely compromised and it would be significantly louder. Need to keep the tested sound number under 100 dB (SCCA limit), but with cats it shouldn't be a problem. We'll do our own before-and-after exhaust sound tests here, as usual.

    Not sure what mufflers to use, yet. Just read Andy Hollis' "Sounding Off" muffler test article in the Dec 2010 issue of Grassroots Motorsports and the best results came from the Burns mufflers, so I cannot ignore those pricey little buggers. I really like Flowmaster's products and tend to use their mufflers on a lot of our builds, but I want to keep it very light and all stainless. With the cats required in STX it won't need as much muffler to meet sound regs as we used in DSP on the E46, so we might go with some sort of lightweight race muffler instead of FM's larger chambered style or the new glass-pack style Hushpower units. Since there's 2 big spots for the stock mufflers all the way at the back, that's likely where we'll end up with ours. Meaning: a full length exhaust (not a dumped/shorter run). If we can use a bullet style muffler we could place them where the stock resonators are, and use turn-downs for a shorter/lighter system.

    [​IMG]

    The first two real "test wheels" purchased for the Mustang also arrived today. Both Enkei wheels were immediately weighed, with some surprising results:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    So the 18x10" RPF1 was lighter than the 18x9" FP01. Weird, right? But we knew the FP01 would be heavier in the same size, just a bit surprised that a one inch wider RFP1 would be almost a pound lighter. Still, at 19.3 lbs the FP01 is already at least 7 pounds lighter than the stock wheel.

    My wife stole the Mustang today so we'll test fit wheels later this weekend and post up about if/how they fit next time. I have a feeling the more curved spoke FP01 will have substantially more caliper clearance than the flatter spoke RPF1.

    OK, I'm going to get back to work. Until next time,
     
  6. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    Project update for Nov 22, 2010: I'll start with some replies to questions, some requests for ideas/advice on upcoming mods, then I'll move on to the wheel test I did yesterday on the 18x9 and 18x10 test wheels.

    Agreed. At least the STX and STU classes can do away with 4 cats and replace them with 2, of any type (not OE/CARB stamped units of the same number as stock, like in ST/STR/STS classes). There are rumbles of making STX/STU adopt the lame cat rules in these lower classes, but that's not until 2012, at the soonest. I hope.

    Agreed. I've owned many Mustangs over the years that had oppressive exhaust drone, and I'm also getting old. And my wife daily drive's the Mustang (but she's pretty a dedicated racer, so she has mucho tolerance). When I worked at a Mustang tuner shop over a decade ago for a short stint the head tuner there (Sen-Roy, who used to post here a lot) would do tricks with varying the muffler case size on each side of a dual exhaust Mustang. It usually killed the drone. If it gets bad I'll swap out one muffler and try that.

    Yea, I think coating and wrapping a stainless header is probably overkill. Now I'm leaning towards just using header wrap on the stainless headers only, and not blowing $250-350 (and weeks of time!) on coating.

    [​IMG]
    http://www.summitracing.com/parts/DEI-010130/

    I have this 100' x 2" roll of DEI header wrap in my "shopping cart" as well as stainless steel zip ties, DEI exhaust wrap (for wiring), some long front wheel studs (for potential wheel spacer use up front - see more below), and a pair of these mufflers:

    [​IMG]
    http://www.summitracing.com/parts/FLO-843048/

    I did some searching and found, for the first time, real stainless steel chambered Flowmaster Series 44 mufflers. There isn't room for a small/resonator style muffler before the axle, so I might as well go with a "real" chambered muffler out at the rear bumper (these don't have packing that burns/wears out). I don't want this car stupid loud with $600 worth of Burns mufflers and dumps before the axle, either. Sure, it'll cost us a few more pounds to go with a chambered style muffler and full length tail pipes, but these FM 44's are shown to be only 7-8 pounds each (not 13 pounds like the much larger case sized Flowmaster Series 50 I used on my E36 M3). We'll see how they sound, test the sound levels, test the performance hit with and without them on the dyno, and weigh the mufflers before they even go on. These 3" type 44's are smaller than the stock mufflers so they should easily fit in the stock locations. The stock over-the-axle pipes are so compromised and crimped down to clear the panhard support (by inches) that we should hopefully see some small gains here, as well.

    [​IMG]
    Stock muffler case is 15.5" long. The FM type 44 muffler case is 13" long

    [​IMG]
    http://www.summitracing.com/parts/ARP-100-7722/

    If anyone has experience with these wheel studs, please chime in. These ARP 1/2-20 x 3.3" long studs show to be made for 2005-2010 Mustangs ("front only"), so its a gamble if they'll fit the 2011. And at $11.36/each they are just a wee bit pricey. Probably not enough market to make it worthwhile to make our on wheel studs, though. We might need these long studs for use with the 18x10" track wheels (see below).

    Thanks - we are always trying new stuff here, and I'm sure some of it won't work and we'll have to back up and try again. I like having the input from lots of experienced racers, because it limits the "dead ends" a good bit. :)

    Yea, I have heard a "muffler delete" exhaust on Kent's ESP-prepped S197. Its still pretty loud. With full length headers and a 7500 rpm redline on this Coyote motor, it might get a bit too loud. I don't want to be "that annoying guy with the loud car" at events.

    Ahh, some real power numbers from an S197 tuner. Thanks for replying. I noticed when we dyno'd the car it wasn't really losing power yet at 6800 rpm, so I could see it gaining a bit more up top with the right tweaks. I'm still planning on an eventual 7500 rpm redline. With the right tire choice (we've been looking at so many) in STX it could mean a 73 mph 2nd gear speed. Virtually assured to never have to shift. :)

    We cannot do the 1-piece driveshaft (the stock unit is a huge 2-piece unit that looks very heavy), ported heads, or the lightweight clutch/flywheel, but the rest is fair game. We need to look at the CAI offerings soon, as I'm getting tired of how quiet, stock and slow this car is already. :D If anyone has experience with a Cold Air Intake on a 2011 GT, especially with before/after dyno numbers, please chime in. I saw a couple at SEMA already, but many weren't ready yet.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    OK, onto the latest round of wheel testing.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The two Enkei test wheels arrived Friday but I didn't get a chance to test them on the GT until Sunday. The 18x9" ET45 FP01 fit fine. This wheel bolted right onto the front and rear, with ample clearance to the caliper and strut (front) and to the inner sheet metal (rear). Even without any camber and this 4x4 ride height the outer lip of the 18x9 wheel fit within the stock fender confines.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    As they should - they are almost the same width/offset as the stock 19x9 ET42 wheel. In fact these Enkei 18x9's will be 3mm more inboard than stock, which is good - I like to run narrow track widths for autocross cars when I can, to make slaloms that much easier to navigate. Its worth a little time, as we've seen in testing where we time a car through a set gate length slalom, then again with wider cone offsets by just a few inches. You can see the big end link stud that interferes with some wheel/tire clearance when you push the wheel inboard. If it comes down to it we'll just cut/shorten this stud.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    So the 18x10" ET38 Enkei RPF1 wasn't quite as easy to fit. The flatter spokes of the RPF1 didn't clear the caliper on the front, as we kind of expected, and some of you warned about.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Not a huge shock - so I tried it on the rear and it looked good. There's a good 1.5" more inboard room, too.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    So back to the front with the RPF1 18x10". I didn't have any 5x4.5" wheel spacers, so I started stacking washers to get the proper clearance. Turned out about 7mm of spacer is all that's needed to clear the caliper with the spokes on the RPF1 up front. Then I counted turns on the lug nuts and had just a hair over 10 threads of engagement... which equates to 1/2" (which is 1 diameter). That's just barely enough, and still only afforded about .040" of clearance at the caliper (but the stock wheel only has about .050" clearance here). Hmm.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Then there was the outer fender clearance. With the already wide 18x10" and now a 7mm spacer. It looks... well, its damn hard to tell if it will clear at full droop and with no camber, even hard to show in pictures. With the stock ride height and stock camber, I'd guess no. But we're going to be lowering the car a LOT (2-3"), which will inherently add negative camber and tire clearance. And then with some more camber adjusted in at the plates, that's more outer wheel clearance we'd be adding.

    So for now we'll punt on the 18x10" wheels, and retest this wheel again once we have the car lowered and a 285mm tire mounted to it (I've got plenty of dead Hoosiers in this size we can mount and test with). It looks like we'd need a spacer of some sort, which I can draw up and machine easily enough if it comes to it. So I'll get the longer wheel studs installed, just in case. We'll also get the remaining 3 wheels in the 18x9" set, then order the tires (I'll discuss the size and model in an upcoming post). I'll be buying all of the stuff mentioned in this post in the next 24-48 hours, so if you have suggestions/alternatives, speak up now.

    Thanks,
     
  7. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    Project update for Jan 6, 2011: Crap, more than a month since my last update?! Well we've been busy and have done all sorts of testing and multiple camber plate and spring installs on the Mustang since then. Plus we installed the long wheel studs and some other bits. I was going to break this into 3 smaller posts, but I'm so far behind on so many threads I'll do one big brain dump to catch up here

    [​IMG]
    Initial check of the stock alignment - click to enlarge


    First, on December 10th, 2010, we got a "snap shot alignment" at COBB Tuning Plano to check the stock alignment specs. See the pic above. These guys were super fast and efficient - its THE place to get a performance alignment in north Dallas. Anyway, the front had about -0.5° camber and +6.7° caster, as delivered from the factory. Not too shabby; that's a lot more caster than I thought it might have, and about all I suspect it will need.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Next we installed the 3rd version of the S197 Vorshlag camber plates and some OEM style upper spring perches (one of our existing BMW-based perches works perfectly, and this allows us to use the double row radial bearing on an OEM style spring - win!) onto the stock struts and springs, to verify that the ride height was unaffected (it didn't alter it even 1/16" of an inch from stock), and the car got down to -2° camber up front.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    We could easily add more caster (I didn't feel the need) and a tick more negative camber at this ride height (maybe 1/2 a degree more). To reach the extra camber range we'd needed a smaller "normal" height and diameter M14-2.0 (goofy thread pitch we don't already stock) locking nylock nut, as the stock nut limits inboard camber travel. I've got them on order and will offer these for use on OEM struts with our plates, like we do for most others. The stock strut top nut is a MASSIVE thing that takes up extra room.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Next we put the brand new 2011-specific Eibach Pro Kit lowering springs on the car on December 20th, and man... what a difference that made. This dropped the Mustang a hair over 1" at both ends, and the drop naturally bumped the front camber 1/2 a degree more negative (to -2.5°), with the same camber plate top setting as before. We rated the stock rear springs as well as the Eibach rears, and of course the lowering springs were progressive. I need to make a fixture to located the MASSIVE diameter of the bottom of both the stock and Eibach front springs onto our spring rater, in order to hold them secure while rating. But trust me (after compressing both multiple times to do camber plate installs), the fronts are both SUPER soft. I'll post up the stock & Eibach spring rates/weights/length numbers when I get caught up.

    [​IMG]

    Of course the Mustang looks a LOT better with this lower ride height... duh. But it still rides nicely, too (the rates on these are still pretty soft - your grandmother wouldn't even complain). After driving it around for several weeks my wife says drives almost exactly like stock (it should have been an optional spring set from the factory!), with of course an inch less bump travel. I drove it again today (I almost never see this car) dropping off some late order deliveries, and I was LATE as hell so I was driving it like a complete a-hole. I managed to bottom the rear suspension just once, just slightly, and I was driving over some nasty bumpy roads (not always on 4 wheels). So it was highly unusual conditions, heh. I would recommend these Eibach lowering springs to anyone on a budget with a 2011 GT that wants to get rid of the 4x4 look - you can't spend ~$260 in any other way and make a bigger visual improvement on these cars, period. It won't make the car faster on a race track, other than the lower cg, but it will make it "look right". We sell these springs, so I figured we'd test them before going onto coilovers - and I'm glad we did.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Somewhere in there the longer (and expensive) ARP wheel studs were installed in the front hubs. This is in preparation of installing some ~7mm wheel spacers, to test fit the 18x10 RPF-1s properly. Woo, the first "racey" looking parts!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    AJ pulled the hubs off the car and did these the right way, using our hydraulic press. About 45 minutes of work. We've also had the brake lines off the car, twice, getting stainless braided lines built to order. They look so money, and fit perfectly. I had the rear lines made 1" longer than stock, since the stock rear lines were being yanked a bit at full droop, from the factory (facepalm). We will make one more refinement to one bracket and offer them on our website for all 2005-2011 Mustangs, soon. Did I mention they are red and blingy? Pedal feel is of course excellent. I'll post up pics when I've had time to upload the studio shots.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Put those shiny bits on the left.... onto that car on the right... do it now!

    The S197 AST 4100 coilovers are going on next. Hanchey at AST-USA is putting the magic valving tweaks on our set (after they get back from Daytona GA testing) and we should have these beauties installed early next week. The Hypercos we're trying out first (somewhat soft, at both ends) are here and ready to go on as well. And our complete set of 18x9" Enkei FP01 wheels and 265/40/18 Yokohama AD08 tires (remember: STX class limits tire and wheel widths) should be here on Monday. Hopefully we'll have time to get everything on, and the car re-aligned, before Costas and I bomb down to Harris Hill Road for the NASA instructor clinic track day event next Saturday.

    I'm so excited to get back on track! I haven't raced anything since October 16th - even though I was at the SCCA TMS road course event on the 17th, I didn't get to run the 330 before "someone" blew up the motor - and I'm going INSANE. We'll grab some data via the DL-1 and some in-car video with the new auto-x tires and AST suspension on. I love that little track, even if it is a bit bumpy these days (not that we'll notice much). We'll post up more data and vids shortly after. The first official 2011 NASA Texas track event is in 3 weeks, at MSR-Houston, and there's a Pro Solo and SCCA National Tour in Texas coming up rather quickly. I haven't even bought my "now STX legal?!" giant rear wing & splitter, or nasty full length headers yet, either. Lots to do!

    Cheers,
     
  8. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    Project Update for Jan 11, 2011: This is a quick one, and its all about bling (preserving the factory finish and headlight glass). Costas came by last week and installed a full XPEL clear film paint protection kit, since the Mustang was still showroom fresh and unscathed by cone damage or rock chips. He installed the rocker panel kit, the "bikini" hood and front fender kits, the side mirror film, the under door handle film, and the door edge guard film kits.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Me and AJ did some Meguiers Quick Detail clean-up and let Costas take over

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Costas is a master of patience, having never installed a film kit to this chassis it all went on and off several times before he locked it down

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Once the clear film was on and dried its hard to even see where it starts/stops. Invisible protection.

    After finishing the body protection film Costas installed the headlight cover kits.

    That are tinted.

    ...Yellow....

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I know its not going to please everyone's tastes... but it will keep the rock chips from the glass housings, and it is distinctive. We had a generally very positive response to the yellow XPEL headlight covers on the EVO X, so I figured... what the hell? And in ALMS the yellow XPEL light covers signified a different class of race cars, which was helpful in night races. So it has... a racing tie-in, sort of. :)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Amy and I did the headlight install on the EVO, dry, which still took us ~90 minutes. Costas made it look so easy this time

    It looks a bit unusual in this indoor/fluorescent lighting, but in person it is more subdued and kinda... neat. I dunno.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Costas said "the red and yellow matches your shirt", so somehow that made it ok?

    Just didn't want to distract you guys when you saw pics from this coming weekend's track event, with the yellow headlights... Just get the "Ahh! what have you done!" complaints out now. :D

    [​IMG]

    Stuart @ AST-USA put the magic valving on our 4100 AST kit today and its being installed tomorrow. The wheels/tires are scheduled to arrive tomorrow also. Next thread update will be much more technical, with 90% less bling.

    Thanks,
     
  9. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    Project Update Jan 18, 2011: We got a lot accomplished on the Mustang over the past week, including installing the first set of AST 4100s, our first set of Hyperco springs, another set of Vorshlag camber plates, and the 18x9" Enkeis and 265/40/18 Yokohama ADVAN AD08s. Then we had the car aligned again at COBB and got it ready to take to the track for Saturday Jan 15th, where Costas and I ran it at the NASA Instructor clinic. Busy week... let's catch up.

    AST 4100 on S197 install gallery = here

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Stuart at AST-USA put the valving mojo on this set of 4100s, based on the spring rates we discussed and experience he has on his own S197 with ASTs. We picked them up Wednesday and AJ started the install on by getting the Mustang on the lift. He quickly removed the stock front struts assemblies (these had the Eibach lowering springs + Vorshlag plates - which we left intact) and then started on the rear, so I could make a spring perch adapter for the back.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Normally this AST 4100 S197 set comes with a machined black Nylon rear spring adapter, but they were out of stock and only had this set of shocks on hand from a previous test set. No worries, I got the measurements and machined two spring adapters on the manual lathe. Took me too long but I finally got the 3" OD Nylon cylinder whittled down to size, and they slide over the alignment cups on the rear axle. The AST adjustable ride height platforms fit over the Nylon adapter pieces, and the 2.5" ID x 8" x 200#/in Hyperco springs fit onto those, and slide inside the upper OEM spring alignment stub.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    As convenient as the inverted rear single adjustable shocks are to adjust on the current 4100 S197 sets, we're working on a new set-up with AST-USA that will go to a standard arrangement + the body will get shorter; this all will give us more stroke at a lowered ride height. We set-up the ride height at the rear to 15.5", same as with the Eibach Pro lowering springs, for now.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Up front we went with a 60mm x 7" x 450 #/in Hyperco spring and a set of our camber/caster plates + 60mm double row bearing upper perches, all placed on the standard 4100 S197 strut. We set the ride height at 15", same as before. We're also working with AST-USA on a new 4100 strut arrangement that will keep the same stroke but allow a 1" lower ride height up front, as well as a double adjustable that is completely different. Look for several more AST shock designs to be tested on this car throughout 2011.

    Once the ASTs were on we mounted up we scheduled an alignment check at COBB Tuning Plano for Thursday. I took the car by there and they were amazed that AJ had eyeballed the caster, camber and toe almost spot on. They just had to tweak the toe and we were done in minutes. The car ended up with -2.8° camber, +7.2° caster, and 3/16" total toe out (that was probably a bit excessive, in hindsight, and we'll bring it in to 0" toe for future track events). The ride quality was exceptional, as always, even with radically more front spring rate. We left the rear rates low on purpose, to hopefully help put power down for auto-x use. We might end up with two different spring rates for track and auto-x use - testing different rates at both types of events will show us more, which we'll share.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    (click alignment sheet thumbnail above to see larger version)

    When I got back from the alignment the tires and wheels had arrived from Tire Rack, and I only had to get one loose tire mounted to the "Test fit" wheel we had ordered earlier. AJ got those mounted up and they looked good.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Click the wheel and tire pics for larger versions

    Friday I dropped off dealer orders around town in the Mustang to hopefully get the silicone mold release off the tires, then drove an hour across town at days end to head to Costas' place - they weren't very scrubbed but oh well, we'd get them good and scrubbed in at the track... right?

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Wrong - it rained for the next 24 straight hours. It started raining as soon as I arrived at Costas', and we had to load the car onto his borrowed open trailer in the rain. Since we had a simple "in state" tow of only 4 hours, and we weren't bringing much in the way of gear/tires/spares (1 day event), we just used his buddy's open trailer and Costas' truck to tow down with - instead of hauling out my 38' enclosed gooseneck or his 28' enclosed tag trailer for this simple day at the track. Saves a ton on gas and towing with a little 18' open trailer is a total BREEZE compared to either of our big enclosed rigs. We could have driven the car down, but with so many new parts we didn't want to risk some silly failure sidelining us, and we had to be back in Dallas by 6 pm that day.

    So we left DFW at 4 am Saturday morning and got down to San Marcos at 7:45am, unloaded, and were ready for the NASA instructor clinic by 8. It rained the entire way down and all day at Harris Hill Road, plus it was cold as balls. We still had fun, even if we didn't get any meaningful testing/data/video on the Mustang, due to the crappy conditions (standing water in most turns, visibility was poor, and grip was non-existent). Costas was an "instructor trainer" and I was there as an instructor trainee, hoping to get signed off for NASA (which could potentially give me a little flexibility at NASA events to take people for ride-thrus). The event was a blast (event write-up located here; picture gallery here) and we both got some good (soaking wet) track time in the Mustang.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Costas took around his trainees in the first 2 of 3 training scenarios in the car while I rode with "mock students" in their cars during the same tests, trying to point out their driving errors (on purpose), proper lines, etc. In the 3rd scenario I drove a "mock student" (Costas) around at 80% speed in my car to show the proper lines, techniques, etc. It was easy and fun, but just not that exciting due to the severely reduced speeds (rain + training). Luckily, after lunch they let us all loose on the track for a fun session, which ended up being about 35 minutes of quicker lapping in the rain. That session made the day!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    The Yokohama AD08s were extremely planted in the wet

    The Mustang was a blast to drive, even in the wet. 4th gear around the whole track (3rd just caused wheel spin), and with the AD08s and ASTs the car could seemingly pass anything out there. Lots and lots of fun. Big thanks to Costas for towing the car down, shooting so many pictures (430?!) in the rain, and for signing me off on the instructor deal.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    There were no fewer than six 2010-2011 Mustangs at H2R that day

    So next up - we've got the first real NASA Texas TT/HPDE/race event in 2 weeks (MSR-Houston), which we plan to attend, but the first Dallas area autocross we can make isn't until Feb 27th. We're looking at everyone's schedule and there's literally 4 autocross groups with events the same weekend as the first NASA event - damn it, why does this happen every year??

    Anyway, lots more changes are in store for the Mustang. The splitter we're using is supposed to be available in about 2 weeks, and we have several other (STX legal) aero parts planned during the same time frame. Then headers + exhaust + cold air + tuning.

    Stay tuned,
     
  10. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    Project Update for Jan 24, 2011: The first NASA Time Trial event we're running in is this weekend at MSR-Houston, so its time to look at TT classing for the Mustang. Of course we had been keeping track of everything in our spreadsheet for this car, but I wanted to share it with everyone, hopefully to help people see how "Easy" it is to class a car with NASA TT. ;) The rules and classing for NASA TT are a bit confusing, some would even say very confusing, but the basic classes go like this (from slowest to fastest): TTF -> TTA. But its nothing at all like SCCA classes/categories. Its.. "simpler"... you just find your base class, add up points for every mod you've done, and figure out where the car goes.

    So to start the classing process, we have to know where we begin. Each car is assigned a "base classing", some with penalty points already assessed, and then you can count the additional "points" for any modifications done. Each class has 19 points worth of mods you can do, then you bump up to the next class at +20, and if you keep adding points you might go to the one past it. There's a set power-to-weight ratio limit within each class, and all sorts of modifiers for the power-to-weight number, too. Once you bump out of TTA you go up into the TTS>TTU>TTR classes, which do away with all of the "points" and are strictly power-to-weight ratio based classes. Clear yet?

    Let's start out with the base classing for the "S197" chassis (2005-2012+) Mustang GT:

    • '05-06 Mustang GT is TTD**
    • '07-10 GT is TTC
    • '11 GT is TTB

    The two asterisks after the TTD class above means the '05-06 GT starts out in TTD class but begins its tally with +14 penalty points (each asterisk are worth +7), so that car can only do +5 worth of mods before going up to TTC.

    So the 2011 GT with the new 412hp 5.0L got bumped up a full class from the 2010 GT, and the minimum race weight jumped dramatically to 3770 lbs (with driver). That series of base classing changes, to me, seemed to coincide with the power and suspension updates that the Shelby GT350 had for '07-08, which was an optional package those years. So the full class bump (a huge change) for the '11 GT had to include the power + the Brembo brakes, right?

    Wrong. I got the bad news on the NASA forums today about more points assigned to our Mustang. This little tid-bit isn't even in the class rules, but is noted at the bottom of an online form for TTA-TTF classing:
    Somehow after 4 years of NASA TT racing I had missed this little note on the classification form about "factory options". This means that the following factory installed but optional bits on my 2011 GT will be assessed "points" for NASA classing - even if they are just cosmetic changes.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Left: The optional Brembo brakes are +2 points. Right: This front grill insert is is +3 points

    Factory installed options, not on the "base trim level model", that will now count for mod points

    • Rear wing delete = +4
    • The optional 4-pedestal factory GT rear wing = +4
    • A 71" wide multi-piece CF wing with a huge cord, up to 8" above the hoodline, and 12" tall end plates = also +4?!
    • Brembo brake package = +2
    • GT500 rear valance (now optional on all GTs) = +1 (planned)
    • CS/GT front lower grill insert (now optional on all GTs) = +3 (planned)
    • Boss302 LS front splitter = +6 (with the CS grill insert included)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Left: This is the base GT rear "wing". Zero points. Right: Ordering without that is +4!

    Here's our current list of what I consider "real modifications:

    • 265/40/18 Yokohama AD08 = +2 (for 140-200 treadwear)
    • AST 4100s = +3
    • Coilover Springs = +2
    • Camber plates = +0

    But we have many more mods planned, which was pushing us to the limit of TTB. Now add in the cosmetic changes we had planned and we're going to be well into TTA. This new twist is pretty crazy, and I'm pretty disgusted with the NASA TT rules at the moment, but that's the way it is written. Now every time I hear a NASA racer make fun of the SCCA's thick rulebook, I can point out how retarded it is that a factory optional wing delete counts the same number of points as a massive CF race wing. ;)

    All of these planned mods are legal for STX class, plus many more - and that class is essentially the slowest of all Street Touring classes (ie: STX cars still get beat by '89 civics with 100 hp). Doing some basic shocks + springs + these "factory option" mods above would kick the car up into TTA... which is home to C5 Z06 Corvettes on Hoosiers, and highly modified cars like supercharged Miatas with giant aero, at least here in Texas. So now at least we know all we need to account for to stay within TTB, right? Oh no, there's more.

    There's the set power-to-weight ratio limit for TTB that we have to stay under

    • Minimum Competition Weight for 2011 Mustang GT: 3770lbs with driver
    • Tested Wheel Horsepower: 367 whp (corrected) It tested 378 uncorrected, but that doesn't matter. It was a chilly day. :)
    • TTB Min Weight/Power Ratio: 10.25 lbs/hp


    The Mustang currently weighs 3563 lbs, with zero fuel. Add +200 pounds for me and +50 pounds for fuel, and its around 3813 lbs. That gives me 372 whp before it would have to go up to TTA. Are we done yet? Nope.

    Then there's the adjustment factors... see Appendix C (page 52-54)

    • For running a smaller tire 275-250 mm DOT = +.4
    • For having a competition weight 3800-3899 lbs = +.65
    • Total adjustments = -1.05 (they show + when they mean -, but their example calculations show it correctly)
    • 10.25 lbs/hp - 1.05 = 9.2 adjusted lbs/hp ratio.
    • At 3813 lbs / 9.2 = 414 whp max for TTB for this car


    And I assure you, someone will contend something in all of those calculations and rule interpretations in this post. "Its so easy" that it takes spreadsheets and multiple interpretations of rules to even class a car in TT. So now I see why the SCCA ruleset is made by a committee and is very carefully worded. There's less room for interpretation and the try to close these odd loopholes where a giant wind tunnel tested wing counts the same as a stock rear spoiler, or no wing at all. I have a new respect for the SEB today, after seeing this mess. You won't hear me singing their praises often, either.

    So we've got some thinking to do. Every single mod we have planned has to be assessed for STX legality, NASA TT points, and if anything lowers the weight or ups the horsepower at all, we have to re-check the power to weight ratios. We know its unlikely that the 3800 pound race weight RWD Mustang is going to burn up the STX class, but TTA? We'd get killed on little 265mm street tires against typical TTA cars. Sure, going to TTA would give us another +19 in mods before we'd kick up to TTS, so we could go to a wider wheel and tire package, like go to giant Hooisers, just for TT use. Two sets of race wheels/tires, one of which is a gumball Hoo$iers? Then we could run a "Real Wing" for NASA and different aero bits for STX. And on and on...

    The slippery slope begins. Fun, fun! :)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I was talking with Stuart from AST-USA today, who has an '06 GT (above, left), and his car starts at TTD** (as does Kent's shown above, right) so he could do a HUGE amount of suspension/wheel/Hoosiers/aero mods to his '06 and still stay in TTC class, whereas I've got to be really careful or my car bumps into TTA - even on street tires. So check your base classing, read the rules, and have the TT director check your classing form. And still, just be ready to have someone to contest it. One of our customers had a car that set some TT track records... never had a competitor protest, until a NASA director saw it and assessed something like +12 points to the front bumper, which was an aftermarket but purely cosmetic piece. All of his records and results were expunged. So sometimes, you never know where you should be classed with NASA.

    Sorry to piss and moan so much in this "update", I'm just really frustrated with the TT rules and classing at the moment. I'm seriously looking at other cars to run in TT this year, like the E30 V8 or the E36 M3. The '11 Mustang GT is pretty much boned beyond what we've done now, and this is hardly the final set of mods we had planned for the car.

    Cheers,
     
  11. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    January 26, 2011...

    Exactly my point...

    Well, its a pretty half-hearted attempt at "equality", in my view, when no rear cosmetic spoiler = huge CF wing. The whole note about "optional parts not on the base trim car have to take points" isn't even in the NASA TT rules, its a note attached to some online form. Seriously.

    NASA TT is unique in that it has one person is making all of the base classing, modification point assessments, and rules, so we naturally get rules made from one person's point of view only. I wasn't the only one in the dark about this, so I (and others) have been trying to point out the absurdity of a factory spoiler delete having the same points as a full on race wing, over on the NASA Forum thread where this was pointed out to me. The Nat'l TT Director responded with this:

    And my reply:
    Figured I'd share that here, just to show everyone where I'm coming from (and I've had a lot of PMs, along the same lines). So with all of these points for OEM options on our car, its clear to me that staying in TTB with any 2011 GT that isn't ordered at the most basic, Spartan trim level - with no zero cost options whatsoever - is almost an impossibility. I've counted over 12 points worth of TT mod points that my car could have just with OEM options. So I'm going to say "to Hell with it" and just do the mods that are legal in SCCA STX class and "run whatever TT class it falls into", like I had originally planned. :)

    To that end, today I ordered a bunch of parts that will hopefully add something to the car (with respect to aero) for NASA or SCCA use. First was the (optional on the 2011 GT) CS lower valance (+3), then a 2011 GT "optional" 4-pedestal OEM rear wing (for STX use only, and totally legal there), and an APR Performance GTC-300 wing (67" wide, 3D airfoil shape) for TT use. Plus some other bits I'll show later - but I did not get the (now optional on the 2011 GT) lower rear GT500 valance, as it wasn't worth the cost ($270 shipped) or NASA points, and did nothing for performance (it was purely cosmetic). For the GTC300 wing we'll make the uprights and endplates to fit the TT rules, and use it only for TT. Since I'm already taking 4 freagin points for "no wing" I'm going to have a real wing, by Damn! :D

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Left: The 2011 "base trim" GT lower front valance. Right: The 2011 optional "CS" lower front valance

    The CS valance above ($240, shipped) should be here by Friday morning, so we'll get the front end pulled off and ready, and have it installed before we load the car into the trailer and head down to Houston for the NASA event his weekend at MSR-H. We've still got points to spare within TTB, at least for a little while longer (we don't even have swaybars or any exhaust work on the car yet), so that +3 won't hurt us much right now, and we can't do a splitter (again, for TT) on the front w/o this flat bottomed CS lower valance.

    Sorry for all of the complaining and moaning about NASA rules - they are what they are, and the situation won't change anytime soon, so - oh well. :) I'll just go out there and try to have fun, and see where the car's at for now. I've never even run at MSR-H, so I don't have much hope for matching the TTB track record there (1:42.675, set by an BMW E46 M3 in Jan-09). Even with all of this drama, I'm still pumped to get back onto a dry track - its been too many months.

    We now have all new NASA regional leadership in Texas, and they seem like really nice folks (from the Rocky Mountain region), so hopefully the event will run more timely than in the past - that's the plan, at least. They've already added more event dates for the Texas region (8 so far), which is up from the previous 6 we used to have. And hopefully my HPDE students won't kill me on track, ha.

    Doing some final track prep on the Mustang today and tomorrow. I just picked up the trailer, AJ already reset the Mustang's front alignment, and I'm about to go out and slap on the class numbers & letters. Tomorrow we need to mount the two transponders and the CS valance on Friday morning - if it shows up in time. I'll post up with times, pics and such after the event, on Monday.

    Getting close!
     
  12. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    Project Update for Jan 27, 2011: Well, just wrapping up prep for the first "real" track event of 2011. Got some funny news last night - apparently our 2011 GT is contagious. An old friend/racing buddy Paul M drove our car once... that's all it took. He tried to order a car earlier this week, and we had his build all worked up on the computer: Brembo package, CS lower valance, GT500 rear valance, the 4-pedestal wing, 401A interior, Kona blue, SAT/NAV - all of the optional performance, functional, and cosmetic bits he wanted that aren't too tacky.

    Then he saw this NASA "OEM options adds points" silliness...

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    So instead of getting the car he wanted, he found a car that fit NASA TT better. The car he bought was equipped with the "base" trim level GT wing (saves 4 points), base front and rear lower valances (saves 4 more), but still had Brembos (+2), had the NAV/SAT/Sync (I cannot overemphasize how AMAZING this system works), and was at least the color he wanted (and gorgeous). Its got the 400A leather interior, not the 401A kit like he wanted (different materials/dash), as well as the HIDs - but it was close as he could get. With this car he's now only starting with +2 points for NASA in TTB, instead of +10 like he would have been with all of the (cosmetic) options he wanted. Lesson learned. (more pics)

    Anyway, Paul's car is still bone stock and looks pretty TALL parked next to mine... Attack of Godzilla!

    [​IMG]

    It looked even more exaggerated in person. We measured the height differences back at the shop, and it was 2.0" in front and 2.25" in back, at the same points on the body. Some of its in the the coilovers, the rest is in the tire height differences (265/40/18 vs. 255/40/19 = 1" shorter tire, so 1/2" lower CG). The overall effect, visually, is huge. Our car isn't "Stanced-out" or anything, and you can't argue that a lower CG isn't better for grip and aero. :)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Left: Old and busted. Right: New hotness

    Paul already has a SMod Subaru GC project underway, which will be his dedicated autox/TT car when it gets done (someday!), but for now the Mustang will step in and hold him over for track use + make for a fun street car. He traded in his '08 Subaru STi (TTA prepped) yesterday for this Mustang, which was probably a good idea seeing how much warranty work the Subie needed under his heavy right foot (engine problems - it go boom). We'll really see how strong the Coyote 5.0 and Getrag MT-80 are with Paul driving them, heh.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Anyway, Paul is building this car up a bit differently than mine, as Solo use and SCCA classing is not a concern for this one. He will instead focus on NASA TT use and build it to the limit of TTB... with no SCCA rules and autox compromises to limit it for TT use. But its still his primary street car, so its not a full-out track-only build, by any means. This will probably be closer to what a lot of you out there might do a 2011 GT, really.

    We're going to first swap in some Eibachs springs (+2), Vorshlag plates (+0), and get lowered down by 1.5" next week - just for openers. ASTs will go on soon enough, but it will likely be using the new bits we're working on with AST. Then he's going to sit back and watch my car's on-track performance, and then see how the new aero bits and exhaust system planned work out, before moving much further into more mods. Should be a fun street car. Welcome to the Dark Side, Paul! :D

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Just a few pics of installing the NASA TT required numbers (10") and class letters (4") on my car, before we load it onto the trailer tomorrow. NASA Texas is cracking down on number requirements in TT this year, and stated "no more taped numbers!", which is fine by me. Its hard to tell much about the car your passing (or being passed by) when they don't have proper numbers/class letters. This decal set-up shows class and number on the front, rear and sides, as well as SCCA classing on the sides (we're adding the required NASA decals at the track, plus a shout-out to GRM with their decals). Its just a temporary decal set-up, as we have our own vinyl plotter coming soon - so expect a more wild, completely tasteless graphic set-up soon. :D

    NOTE: If anyone out there is a good graphic designer and can help us come up with new and unique Vorshlag livery for this car (that scales up to others car models - like our E30 & E46, plus some tester/customer cars), please PM me. Since we're getting a plotter we can try more stuff without racking up hundreds of dollars in vinyl bills anymore, until we get the look perfectly tasteless.

    Thanks,
     
  13. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    Project Update for Feb 3, 2011: A little late, but here's the report from the track event last weekend (NASA @ MSR-Houston, Jan 29-30).

    Pictures: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    On Friday morning we mounted two AMB transponders to the car: one wired transponder was registered for me in TTB as #193, and a second wireless transponder for Amy was entered as TTB #93, mounted straight to the front grill. The battery powered AMB mounted to the grill had a straight shot down to the ground, with no metal in its path. The wired unit was mounted to the inner fender, behind the strut on the RF corner, and also has a straight shot at the ground. We made an aluminum panel for the lighted switch panel that worked nicely.

    AJ loaded up the car into the trailer Friday and Amy and I left at 3 pm; we made it from Dallas to MSR-Houston in about 5 hours, at a hair under 300 miles for the tow, of course with some traffic in downtown Houston. Somehow we managed to snag a good pit spot, in the dark, then unhooked the trailer and unloaded the car, and took it through tech at 8:30 pm Friday night. We got a logbook for the car and met a few NASA people while waiting in line, several of which mentioned reading this thread build-up. Reloaded the car in the trailer than went to find our hotel (luckily nearby - the race site is fairly remote).

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Next morning at dawn we finally got to see the facilities at MSR-Houston, and they were pretty impressive. Lots of buildings, nicely paved parking pit areas, a concessions stand, several buildings of garages, Sunoco fuel pumps, and even an active kart track that was running all day Saturday. The weather was a bit chilly off and on, but not bad, with overcast skies most of the day. We had our drivers meeting for TT and then another for instructors, and I was assigned an HPDE2 student. He didn't have a passengers seat (CMC2 race car) but he already knew the track well, and pointed out some areas to me to watch out for, since I'd never seen the track. Other than checking in with him all weekend, and keeping an eye on him when I was riding through with other students, there wasn't much for me to do there. This let me work with Amy directly most of the weekend.

    The Time Trial group was merged with HPDE4 for the weekend, which made for a 27 car session (24 TT drivers). Ken O had his very well prepped TTB E46 M3 out on Friday testing, so he was very quick in Saturday's TT session one, running a 1:44.049 on Hoosier R6s, which was faster than all other TT cars except one (and his fastest time of the weekend). We only got 4 timed laps that session, due to session scheduling catch-up (the NASA folks did a great job of keeping the event on schedule), and the best I could get in traffic was a 1:58.907 (11th fastest). Since I was an instructor I was able to take Amy out and let her see the track while I ran that session, which let her see the track before she drove it.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Amy took the Mustang out in HPDE3 all day, but their small run group (about 8 cars) was combined with HPDE 1 & 2, just for the first HPDE session. This was a mess, as a very slow going HPDE1 student held up the entire field for the whole session, with 17 cars trailing in a train at parade lap speeds. This was because they forgot how to give a point by - and so did his instructor (we brought this up at the instructor meeting shortly afterward). We even came into the pits, waited, went back out, and still caught the train in 2 corners. Wasted session, but by session 2 they had HPDE3 all on its own, and Amy had clean laps the rest of the day.

    [​IMG]
    Video of me driving in Session 2 - click to view


    After the first session, T&S had times for everyone in TT so they were able to grid us up in order of lap times (fastest first, slowest last), which made it easier to get cleaner track time - well, as much as you can get with 27 cars in the session. It helped a little, and I managed to knock off over 7 seconds to a 1:51.199 in session 2, and managed a 1:50.503 in session 3. I was still 6 seconds behind the TTB leader Ken O, which is an eternity. Without real tires I suspect the car always will be. There were several other 2011 GTs out there, but all of them were in TTA running on Hoosiers or Continental Challenge slicks, and one of them was pretty damn quick at a 1:44.502 (TTA #50, shown below)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I was gaining less time per session, but I was still learning the track and getting the tires and shocks dialed in. The Radical that was holding me up a bit in the session 2 video found some serious speed in session 3 so he was ahead of me on the grid for session 4 (and considerably faster on track). Since he wasn't getting quicker times, Ken O switched to his Dunlop Star Specs for this session, so I gridded up behind him. I got some clear track time but Ken slowly pulled away from me this session. His best time on his street tires was 1:48.314, and I managed to meet my goal of "running in the 1:49s" by ticking off a 1:49.999 on lap 7, my last hot lap of the day. So Ken was still a solid 1.7 sec quicker in the M3 on similar tires in the same session, but at least it was no longer 6 seconds, which didn't completely crush my ego. :) For Ken on that day, his 275/35/18 Hoosier R6s were worth 4.3 seconds per lap. That's a huge chunk of time for one mod, but that's why its +11 points for his TT classing.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    TTB was around 8 cars, and I was still 2nd quickest in class for the first 3 sessions, but that black Exige might have slipped past my best time in session 4 Saturday? Its hard to tell where I ended up, because the online event results that NASA uses (MyLaps) do not show class, car, or anything other than the driver's name, number, and lap time. These are without a doubt the worst online event results I've ever seen for any competitive event I've entered in the past 23 years. I mention this because at the event you could go up to T&S and beg for a copy of the printed results after each session, and these results showed the class and (sometimes) the car listed. For some reason this data just doesn't make it to into the MyLaps listings. Seriously - look at these EOD results for TT for Saturday and tell me who won what class: http://www.mylaps.com/results/showrun.jsp?id=1778791. You need a secret decoder ring (a printout from the event) to figure out who is in what class, and what car they were in. Event results should stand on their own, always. Other than this complaint, in my eyes the NASA folks did an excellent job, and kept the event on schedule, even with lots of racers pulling some on track shenanigans.

    Amy improved throughout the day Saturday during her four HPDE sessions, and I pushed her in the 2 sessions I rode through with her and instructed. She got down into the 1:55 range with my hand timed laps, as MyLaps only captured her times on Sunday when she ran TT (HPDE isn't supposed to be timed). She was nailing every heel-toe downshift like a pro, and only lacked a bit of confidence to get into the gas sooner. I was using the Costas method of yelling "Gas! Gas! Gas!" at every corner exit, and pretty soon she had it down. ;) Still, staying in the throttle all the way to at the end of the long straights (into Turns T13, T6 and T2) were the only things holding her lap times back. As she gets more comfortable in TT I'm sure she'll be right on my times, like she is in autocross.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Saturday night the NASA folks had a great party at the track, with a nice meal and cold beer, and the 2010 Texas Region Class Winners were announced. We got some good rest that night and made it back out Sunday morning, to the beginnings of a rainy day. For Sunday's first TT Session, Amy ran the car in TT (her first official TT session) and I rode along. It was starting to spit rain, and times in TT were markedly slower. Ken O was quickest, running a 2:12.574 on the Hoosiers, and Amy was 10th quickest at a 2:24.551. After that session it really started to rain and the track started to get slicker than snot.

    I ran session 2 of TT in a downpour and only got a 2:27.572, which was 3rd quickest in the session. I did have a slight issue at the exit of turn 17, after making a pass coming in to this turn. I got a last second point-by from a slower car (otherwise I would have waited to pass) and braked deep into T17 over a patch of standing water, where I managed to put the car into a slide that... ahh.... turned into a gentle 360°. I stayed on track and never lost momentum (slid it in 1st gear when the car was backwards, and slipped out the clutch and back into throttle when the car was pointed back straight - the car never stopped moving forward on track), but this is technically called a spin, and a spin or an off gives any TT driver a DQ for that session. At least I gave the crowd something fun to watch in this session, heh.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Since we aren't planning on staying in TTB in this car too long (and therefore don't need to try to bank points for a shot at an annual NASA regional class win - not that anyone is going to beat Ken O again this year), and we both felt like we wrung out the times we were going to get back on Saturday, we loaded up the car for the trip home later that day. Soaked to the bone, and dead tired. This means I got no official session time for Sunday, of well. The rain didn't let up for hours, but I stuck around to help with instructing and we watched the Spec Miata/Spec 944 race and then the CMC/AI race, both of which were entertaining in the rain!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    In Sunday's HPDE session 3 I was assigned a new student, an HPDE2 entrant, who wanted some tips for running in the wet. He was trying to move up though HPDE ranks so he could hopefully get his Comp license later this year (he's building a Spec 944 race car), and we worked on some rain driving techniques. He was an autocrosser and had some track experience in Germany at the 'Ring. He picked up on my rain driving tips quickly, and I signed him off to HPDE3 with permission of the Chief Instructor.

    After session 3 the sky looked as bad as ever, and the crowd was thinning out considerably, so we headed back to Dallas and made it back in 4h 45m, driving through some rain and a hail storm (?!) at one point. Apparently it dried up at the track considerably for the 4th session, and the TT guys all went much quicker, which changed up the results considerably for Sunday. Again, if you can make any sense of these results, you're a better man than me: http://www.mylaps.com/results/showrun.jsp?id=1778792

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    So that was our first "real" competition track event in the Mustang. We had a blast and really enjoyed the event, even with the rain on Sunday and the utter trouncing we took in TTB at the hands of Ken O (he's a Vorshlag/AST tester, so its all good. Congrats on setting the TTB track record!). Hope this post wasn't too wordy and boring. Since its getting a bit long, I'll post some specific observations about the car in another post to follow.

    Thanks,
     
  14. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    Update for Feb 4, 2011: After looking at my notes and in-car videos, I've compiled a list of ten observations about the 2011 Mustang GT and its on-track behavior. I've heard rumors of overheating, oil usage, and questions about the stock brakes. After our 2 drivers beat the crap out of our 2011 all weekend, one day in the dry and another in the wet, I figured I'd comment on the cooling, oil usage, fuel consumption, and track worthiness of the stock Brembo brakes (some of this might look familiar to one forum, but I've expanded this considerably since I posted that).

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    1. The water temp never got over "the middle of the gauge" warm. Sure, its a stock gauge, and I'll replace it soon with a trio of real oil/water/pres gauges, but so far I'm pleased with the results of the OEM cooling system (I may be singing a different tune around June here in Texas). It got a little warm outside on Saturday and Amy and I were running it in back-to-back sessions, for 8 total sessions on Saturday.

    2. Oil consumption was minimal. We checked it after every other session and I added 1/4 qt of oil each day. That's minimal, and nothing like the 1 qt a day usage most of my LSx powered cars use on a typical track day. Not bad.

    3. Fuel consumption on track was 6.8 mpg all weekend. On the street it has been averaging 19 in town, about 23 on the highway. Not bad, especially considering how I've been driving it (like it was stolen). On track consumption was not stellar, but it only drinks 93 octane, so it was cheap to fuel up at the track compared to the guys paying $8.75/gallon for Sunoco 98 or 110 octane. We accidentally let it get down to under 1/8th of a tank on track and it never fuel starved, not once. That's a relief.

    4. The brakes were very impressive and confidence inspiring, and the ABS worked like a champ in both the wet and dry. They are bone stock other than the stainless braided lines we built for it. One of the other 2011 Mustang GT TTA guys had beautiful 2-piece ($800/pair) rotors up front, mostly for weight. He also had the CS lower valance on with ducting to the front rotors (see pics, below). Not a bad idea. Still, I think the stock rotors, pads and calipers worked fantastically at this track, at least for the current grip and power levels of the car. People that have driven with me say I am a pretty abusive to brakes (lots of left foot braking, trail braking, and late braking on track) yet I was pretty happy with the stock brakes all weekend. You'd think with 2 drivers running the car double duty we would have cooked the things, but the pads took a beating and kept diving deep into each corner. I complained once on video of a bit of smell from the brakes, but that was it. I don't know what pads these Brembo cars come with, but I like them. Minimal dusting, too.

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    5. Overall handling and balance was good with the AST 4100s and Hyperco rates we chose, but I had some trouble with rear traction. Many of the higher speed corner exits were tricky in 3rd or even 4th gear in the dry (and this is with the tallest available 3.31 final drive ratio), and we were running wider and stickier than stock 265mm Yokohama AD08s. I guess that's to be expected with a factory 380 whp. We've more than tripled front spring rate but rear rates went up only 63%: Hyperco 450#/in front, 200 #/in rear. The stock spring rates on the 2011 GT are 122 #/in front, and 154 #/in rear. The added front rate really cut down on brake dive and is helping control roll and heave from the over 1000# per front wheel. The relatively soft rear rate was chosen (with the help of AST-USA) to help rear traction. We have some more spring rates to test with (350# front, 250# rears), but I don't know if I want to lower the front rates much, and increasing the rear may make it have less corner exit traction.

    Both track events we've run in the GT so far were noticeably bumpy: Harris Hill Road had several bumpy corners and straights and was wet, and MSR-H had lots of bumps going into turn 13 ("The Launch"), where braking would have been compromised without quality monotube dampers, especially in the wet. Once I figured out where to brake into T13, I was able to run down a lot of cars by staying in the throttle longer and braking later, whereas I noticed some other cars were skipping and hopping over the same patch of track. The shock valving we're testing with felt great and took only minor knob adjustment to get the car sorted.

    This set-up still has a bit of understeer mid-corner, so we'll play with the set-up a bit more, but we haven't even added aftermarket swaybars yet, which should help us make quicker adjustments at the track.

    I was wishing I had a rear wing installed, and in the wet the tendency to lose rear traction was comical (we were using 5th on the straights a lot to avoid wheelspin). We've got a couple of OEM wings here already to test with (don't expect them to do much), and a big CF race wing on the way. The car could benefit from real race tires, like Hoosiers R6s, of course. Watching video we were losing the most ground to the faster TTA and TTU cars in the big corners, like the Carousel (T2).

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    6. Tire wear was excellent - wearing the tread evenly from inside to out. This was with -3° camber up front, using our Vorshlag camber/caster plates. The roll control from the increased spring rate also helped in this area. Tire wear shows we're definitely in the right ball park.

    7. Also, the rear axle fluid was spewing from the vent on top of the right rear axle tube and spraying everywhere... the underside rear of the car is douched with lube, and some even made it out to the right rear wheel, and made a mess of that. Need to find a solution for that. From the many comments on corner-carvers it looks like a remote catch can and hose is pretty much a requirement on Ford 8.8" solid axle cars that are tracked.

    8. The stock exhaust is incredibly quiet for a car that makes over 400 hp. I was on the pit straight garage balcony watching one of Amy's sessions and all you could hear when she flew past was the car cutting through the air... wooooooooooooosh! There was zero intake noise when coming at you, and no exhaust sound when going past - this was at around 100 mph. Freaky quiet! You can actually hear more on the inside via the intake sound tube ported to the interior. The exhaust engineers at Ford earned their money on this car, but I'm certain there's more power to be found in the exhaust. I have the full length headers and high flow cats picked out, but the after-cat exhaust is still a stumper. Do I do the traditional dual 3" exhaust with the two 409SS FM Series 44 mufflers already acquired, or go for a lighter single 3" rear exhaust, like the one Buschur came up with? They are claiming a 65-75 pound reduction with their single exhaust.

    9. I'm now even more impressed with the Getrag MT-82 transmission and stock shifter Ford came up with after running at at MSR-H, which took 9-10 up+downshifts per lap. The transmission never gave me grief with all of the gear rowing we did, never balking at the gate, and shift throws were short, quick and smooth. I am not looking to add an aftermarket shifter or knob to this car, for once. The transmission ratios are closely matched up, so we used 3rd, 4th and 5th gears a good bit on track, maximizing acceleration from the tractable Coyote engine. We could have used 2nd briefly in one spot (T5-T4-T3, "The Diamond's Edge"), but the added torque was too much for the rear tires when I tried to use that gear there. I wasn't trying to abuse the engine so I upshifted on most laps at only 6000 rpm, pushing the revs up to 6500 for shifts on laps where I had clear track. In the wet on Sunday, shift points were lowered to 5000-5500 rpm, otherwise the rear tires would just spin more.

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    Left: Stock 2011 GT "400A" seats are flat as can be. Right: Boss 302 Leguna Seca has Recaros, which look a tiny bit better

    10. The stock seats are worth jack squat for driver control at the track, even with the street tire grip levels we're at now. Sure, they look pretty and are comfy for street and highway driving, but after a day at a dry track we're done with them. Amy and I are bruised and sore from slamming against the center console and door panels, and hanging onto the steering wheel. With the softer Eibach spring rates (nearly stock) on track (as we ran it at Harris Hill) it was even worse, even with only wet levels of grip. So much more brake dive and roll with the softer spring rates. Maybe the Recaros in the 2012 Boss 302 Leguna Seca will be a bit better, but it puzzles me why Ford went with a tilt-back Recaro in the Boss 302LS - as it doesn't even have a back seat? Must have been rollover concerns, without a roll bar or cage. Nothing beats a fixed back race seat on track. We've got a pair of Cobra race seats from my E46 that will find a new home in the Mustang very soon, which should help the driver experience immensely. The loss of ~100 pounds from the OEM power seats won't be a surprise here, either. We'll put in a suitable harness and harness bar at the same time. Its hard to "feel the car" when you're flying around inside like a rag doll.

    Well that's all ten. Just wanted to throw that list of observations on here as a separate post to the already cluttered event recap, posted previously. I will say this: definitely get the Brembo package on any 2011 or 2012 GT if you are going to ever track it. Ford did the brakes right. And plan on getting real monotube dampers (ASTs), more spring rate, and a lot more camber (Vorshlag plates) if you want your tires to last and the car to stay flatter in the corners - even with street tire levels of grip. This is story from this weekend worth repeating: we had an HPDE4 driver move up and join us in TT on Saturday. He had a quick E46 M3 with a nice set of Pilot Sport Cup tires, but his otherwise stock suspension (massive body roll) and a total lack of negative camber up front combined to shred his tires down to the cords - in a single day. Save yourself the hassle and cost of ruining a set of tires at the track by tackling the suspension first.

    Cheers,
     
  15. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    Feb 5th, 2011....

    Good point. While the inside of the Right Rear wheel was a bit greasy, nothing was noticed on the tires or that wheelwell. I crawled under the car to check, and again on the lift when we got back.

    The wheelspin was indeed through a corner...the slightly off-camber corner going onto the long back straight (The Sweeper, T7), and the wheelspin was fairly brief... top of third, a little in 4th. The RR would have been the inside tire, so not the loaded on in that corner.

    Maybe a real diff would have helped, and a real wing would have as well, but the car does have a bit more power than grip at the moment.
     
  16. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    Project Update for Feb 21, 2011: We've been busy working on several things on the Mustang, such as adding the CS front lower fascia, adding the rear trunk panel cover, doing our first drive-by sound test on the car, and taking it to the drag strip to get a base line 1/4 mile time. Let's start with the Mustang's base line sound test.

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    Click the above pics for the sound test video

    The sound test was quite revealing. I've complained about how quiet the car is at the track, and this test proved it. We had a Vorshlag tester come by on Feb 12th to test his car for sound (Ken O's E46 M3 with new BW race exhaust, which knocked down a 101 dB test run), so we left the equipment set-up to test the Mustang. Amy drove and Paul M helped snap some pics. It only peaked at 82 dB! This was driving by at wide open throttle in 2nd gear with the sound meter only 25 feet from the car, "A" weighting, fast sampling. We'll "fix" this issue soon enough (full length headers + new exhaust).

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    The CS lower front fascia became an option on all 2011 Mustang GT's mere weeks after we ordered ours, so we scooped up one of these bolt-on inserts to replace our plain jane lower piece and AJ here at Vorshlag installed it last week.

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    The entire front bumper cover has to come off to install this, but its not difficult, just time consuming. Looks great and now we have two nice 3" OD cooling vents we can tie into hoses to blow cooling air at the rotors with, too.

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    The rear of the 2010-up Mustang has always seemed a bit boring to me, and it bugged me having a GIANT fake gas cap (FGC) out back. I saw this panel from CDC and it was only around $100. Looked good in their video and it removes the FGC. Showed it to Amy and she hated it. So I bought it anyway. She can't always get her way, you know?! AJ & Matt got the old bits off and AJ & I installed the panel. Getting the FGC off took the most work, as its held in place with some seriously strong adhesive. The new panel went on in 30 seconds, with its pre-installed 3M adhesive.

    We have a pictorial installation gallery for both of these items located here. The CS fascia is an obvious hit with everyone who has seen it and given feedback so far, but the opinion on the CDC rear panel is about 50/50. I think it will look even better back there with a rear wing installed.

    This post is already too long, so let me cover the drag racing event in the next update.

    Thanks,
     
  17. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    Project Update for Feb 22, 2011: Drag racing action! Here's the pictures, videos and time slips from our trip to the drag strip last weekend.

    Amy had wanted to go to the track for months, not only to see what the Mustang could do in stock trim down the 1/4 mile, but also to practice reaction times and 60 foot times for the upcoming ProSolo we are entering next month, right in our own back yard (this SCCA event is mirror image, dual course autocross, with a drag race start using a real ".500 tree"). At the Pro here she's working registration, I'm the Impound Chief, and Vorshlag is sponsoring the Saturday night dinner, so we can't really miss this event! We're both running the Mustang there, where she'll be in the Ladies class (L1 or L2?) and Costas and I are running it in STX. Since we will be running the Yokohamas at the ProSolo, we mounted them up the morning of the drag race and just drove out there on them. Its still just a street tire, so we do occasionally drive on the street with them. :)

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    We met for breakfast with McCall and Duck, then headed out to Kaufmann, TX to Dallas Raceway at around 10:45 am. First time some of us had been to this new facility and it was surprisingly nice, as McCall had told us. 100% concrete 1/4 mile drag strip, very new facility, and an all-concrete parking/paddock area! This got the autocrosser in all of us wishing they'd rent the facility to the SCCA and other solo groups... but at $5K per day to rent the parking lot, none of the auto-x groups can afford it. Oh well, at least we have brand new and beautiful drag strip about an hour away. We paid our entry ($15 to watch, $25 to race) and unloaded our helmets, cameras and junk.

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    Deane was already there in his modded C5 Z06, and he even had some Nitto Drag Radials mounted, so we knew which car would be the quickest in our little group of autocrossers. He was car #1, so he got there right as they opened the gates, and already had some timeslips. We were there at 11:30 am and the place was still pretty much dead. After a quick trip to the restrooms we returned to see the Mustang surrounded by locals, all of whom had Mustangs themselves, and all of them wanting to run the flashy red Mustang with all of the decals. :D They told us about the other 2011 GTs that had been out to the drag strip already, and those had only ran high 13s or even 14 second ET's. Yikes...

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    We got McCall's TrailBlazer SS and our Mustang into the staging lane to be teched. That was the easiest tech ever - never even opened the hood. Didn't want to see our helmets and told us not to bother wearing them "unless we see you run real fast and then we'll tell you to". OK, works for me. He was quickly running on track against anything that would line up against him. The video above shows him against a supercharged CTS-V (LSA V8 motor, not "LM7" as I added in the title) that ran high 11's.


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    Amy, wearing a RedBull/Vettel/F1 shirt and confusing the locals, made several runs and got into the 13.6 range, many of them at 106-108 mph trap speeds. The trap speeds alone indicated that a 12 second ET was in the car, but she was focusing on the Reaction Times more than anything and not really launching the car perfectly. The 2.2 to 2.3 second sixties were a bit off the pace of what I'm used to getting on street tires at a drag strip, so we need to work on this in a test session at a later date where we can ride together. Like many skills needed when racing, you cannot teach yourself the skills - it always helps to be shown them first hand, and coached when you try it. Having done 1000+ drag strip runs on street tires I kind of had an advantage.

    McCall continued to rip off a string of [email protected] runs in the TrailBlazer, which he would continue to do all day with extreme consistency. He had just taken this vehicle to GSS Speedshop to have Louis put a tune on the LS2, which came with Stainless Works full length headers, SW true dual exhaust, and a cold air. It made 367 whp and Louis fixed some lean-out and knocking issues in McCall's new-to-him SUV.


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    After Amy took a gaggle of runs we let it cool down with the hood up (10-15 mph head wind made quick work of that, but likely held back our ultimate times and trap speeds). I hopped in an took 3 quick runs, back to back, with a 13.6 against Deane's Z06 and his [email protected] (3rd gear balked a little on me), then another pass where I missed 3rd completely and backed out, then a final "by run" where I clicked off a [email protected] mph. That run had a 2.0 sec 60 foot time and perfect shifts. I was pretty happy with that time, especially considering that we were still driving into a steady head wind, and turned the car back over to Amy.

    Deane, Amy and McCall continued to take runs back to back for the next hour and a half, since there was almost no waiting in the staging lanes. Amy and Deane lined up several times, but the Z06 always prevailed. Paul M arrived and then got in line to start getting his runs in. He was having trouble launching and kept hitting the rev limiter, but he got in some solid 13.6 runs @ 104 mph, but seemed to hit a wall and ent no faster. He was frustrated and really wanted to go quicker so I told him I knew what was holding him back - and held out my hand for the keys, mostly in jest. He threw them to me and I hopped in, took two quick runs, knocking down a [email protected] with a 2.0 sec 60' time. I told him the RPMs I was launching at and he got in and knocked off a [email protected], still bogging the motor a bit launching. After we left the track that day he realized that he never turned off the traction control, which is probably why my times in his car were quicker. He's ready to go back and redeem himself, soon.

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    At the end of the day Paul (who had been talking smack all week with McCall) finally lined his bone stock '11 Mustang GT up against the TrailBlazer SS, and it was a definitive win... for the 4500 pound SUV! We even have an after race interview, complete with excuses. :D

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    Crazy trucks at the drag strip. What can I say, this is Texas after all.

    By then it was 2 pm and the staging lane was 20 deep, and more racers were (waking up and) pouring into the track every minute. We all had what we felt were our best times already run, so we packed up and headed out to lunch. I was very happy with 12.9's on our Mustang, especially considering the coilovers with stiff springs, lowered ride height, and -3° of front camber - none of which make a car faster at a drag strip.

    Good times - we have to get more autocrossers together and do this again later this year!
     
  18. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    Project update for March 28, 2011: Prepare for a huge update! This should have been posted in at least 4 or 5 separate thread updates, as I've raced in 8 separate events over the last 4 weekends since my last thread update; 7 times in the Mustang and 3 times in the E30 V8. Each event had hundreds of pictures and videos that had to be cropped/uploaded - the pictures are up for now. March was an extremely busy month for the business as well as for the prep of our cars, too, so I'll try to cram the updates all into one mega post for both projects, so I can get back to work (might have to break it apart if I exceed forum limits for a single post). I'll try not to get so far behind next month, which thankfully doesn't have 8 racing events crammed into 4 weekends, like March did.

    March 6 - BMWCCA Autocross (E30)

    After re-writing this event coverage I realized I had already covered this event in this post - damn my memory. Anyway, it was good to get the E30 running again after a winter of hibernation and neglect. The month of March began with frantic prep to our E30 V8, with another Camaro V6 T5 being offered up to the Gods of Torque, as well as loads of other prep to get it ready for its first autocross in 6 months as well as its first ever on-track excursion and a NASA Time Trial event.

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    After this autocross on March 6th we spent the next week on prep work on the E30 and the Mustang, prepping the 5.0 for its first autocross event as well as a NASA TT event for both cars. After seeing how badly the car handled in a parking lot we quickly scaled up the track prep on the E30, and the prep on the Mustang was scaled back considerably. We went to the NASA event and SCCA autocross with minimal updates to the Mustang - the same 265mm AD08 street tires, same spring rates, same shock valving, and same brake pads. This set-up was still under-prepped for both TTB and STX classes.

    The E30 got a real alignment (first ever) and we noted a lot of wacky numbers, most of which are not adjustable (rear toe or camber) yet. Still, we know where it is now, so we can cut/weld/hack up the rear control arm mounts to get it in the ballpark we want. And... of course we fixed the front toe. We also swapped in stiffer springs all around - 800# in front and 950# in rear (up from 500#/630#). Since we now have sticky 285mm A6 Hoosiers, a wimpy OEM front bar (12mm?) and no rear bar, we needed much more spring rate to keep bodyroll in check. Ride height was lowered substantially as well. The external water temp gauge was also finally wired-up, which was a relief.

    March 11 - MSR Test Session (E30)

    First track outing in the E30, so I was a bundle of nerves. It was SO bad at the autocross the weekend before but we had made a LOT of updates in the days proceeding. On Friday afternoon I went out to MSR-Cresson with the E30 in tow, joining Hanchey (AST-USA), who took his ex-World Challenge Subaru out there for the first time since he bought it and his crew went through the car stem to stern. Since we both had untested set-ups we watched each other's cars from the hot pit area on the initial outing in each. He went out for a few laps while I watched, came in for some checks, then I did the same, and once we were certain both cars had no errant fluids or loose bits, we took them both out for some chase/follow laps.

    Hanchey led and I filed in close behind (with video - I'll edit/upload it "soon"), but after a couple of laps I got a point by - which I hadn't expected - and then motored away. Considering the E30 had 60mm more tire per corner, 100+ more horsepower, and 600 pounds less weight, it shouldn't have been a surprise... but this was still a $2000 hoopty (with some better wheels and shocks thrown on) in my eyes, so I was ecstatic. The brakes still sucked, but were at least better (and consistent) than before with new PFC-01 track pads front and rear. We had an hour (from 5 to 6 pm) that we could run laps in, and we used nearly every minute on track. The E30 proved to be quicker than I had hoped, for as cautious as I was driving its first time out - with no tachometer. Or fuel level gauge. Or cooling fan. Pretty much all of the OEM gauges/switches were dead. Hmm...

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    After the hour of track time expired I was smiling from ear to ear and had logged a good amount of miles on track in the car without any drama. Sure, the gauges didn't work (other than the external water temp gauge that we finally hooked up) so I had to guess at the RPMs, but it didn't seem to matter - it was fast. Hanging out in the well equipped AST-USA trailer was nice. DL-1 data from Hanchey's car showed 1:24 laps on the 1.7 mi CCW course, and the E30 was a bit quicker than that. After applying a gaggle of decals and waiting in the long tech line I managed to get a NASA logbook for the little Bimmer that night (with an admonishment to "please get a seat back brace" for the aluminum seat, which we've since ordered). Leaving tech it was pitch black out, so I turned on the headlights - AHA! - the stock gauges worked again. I had a functional tach & fuel level once more, so long as the lights were on. Something tells me the wiring for the recently connected external gauge hook-ups might need a second look? I loaded the E30 back into the trailer, unhooked the truck, and headed for Costas' house.

    March 12 - NASA Time Trial (Mustang and E30)

    We crashed there that night and Amy, Costas and I went back to the track Saturday morning for the first race day of the NASA weekend. Even after thrashing all week on his own GT-1 car, Costas ran out of time and ended up driving another racer's GT-1 Camaro in "SU", Super Unlimited. The car owner, Mike Countryman, ran it in "TTR". Amy ran the Mustang in TTB again, and I entered the E30 V8 in TTU. The event weekend was to be run on the traditional 1.7 mile MSR loop in CCW direction, but the Time Trial group was so numerous that they couldn't fit all of us on the track at once. Somehow the NASA Texas folks managed to get the TT group onto the 3.1 mile course, which was really cool since I had never run this configuration (but had run the 1.7 and 1.3 mile courses, which combine to make the 3.1).

    Since NASA had never run the 3.1 there, that meant not many NASA racers had run this layout. So the first session on Saturday was simply to be a "practice", and lap times would count for nothing more than grid position in session 2. So I took it easy in the session, looking for the bumps (mentioned at the driver's meeting) where the two courses joined. Sure enough, it was pretty bumpy at both junctures. These bumps combined with copious grip form the 285mm Hoosier A6 tires and ample torque from our 5.3L V8 combined to do a number on yet another transmission. On almost the last lap of the first TT session I was building up speed and applying a lot of throttle on the semi-straight where the 1.7 joined the 1.3, heavily in 3rd gear...

    The bump sent the car skittering every lap, and this time I unfortunately still had my foot in the throttle when it landed... BOOM! 3rd gear exploded from the on-off shock loading and hot, grippy Hoosiers. I didn't know what had happened, it sounded like the driveshaft or a U-joint had exploded (or so I hoped!). I pulled off line immediately and off track at the next corner station, at the bottom of the 1.3 mile course, and hopped out for a look. The grass blocked my view of the driveshaft but I noticed no fluid trail or errant parts on track. I was about to try to start it up again when the tow vehicle arrived, so I went back on the hook. As I piled out I noticed my transponder wasn't attached - damn! No lap times. My AMB transponder was charging inside my truck. I have no idea what times I ran, but I followed some TTA cars for several laps that were running somewhat quick times (2:28 times).

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    After returning to the pits I had to quickly jump into an HPDE1 student's car, so I didn't get a chance to look at the E30 for a while. Turns out it was only 3rd gear that let go, same as before, so it could have made it back to the pits in 4th. Oh well, it was done for the day. Meanwhile Amy was having fun in TTB in the Mustang, and ended up pulling down some times in the 2:40 range range. She ran 3 full TT sessions and tossed the keys to me at days' end, so I got to run in the 4th. Thanks, Amy!

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    I had a blast in the Mustang, as did my DE student who rode along, and I managed a 2:39 lap. I quickly noticed that the brakes were less than stellar in the session, which she had stated several times that day. I guess the stock pads were finally done. My DE student's EVO X could out-brake the Mustang handily (with similar Brembo brakes and weight... but race pads), so I decided then and there to order up some race pads on Monday. Costas finished the day with 2 wins in SU after making some patient passes and careful laps in the borrowed GT-1 car. VTPP tester Paul Magyar ran his 2011 GT in TTB for the first time on some 275mm Dunlops and did well. Hanchey ran just two sessions in TTB (spending the afternoon tuning some autocross cars at LSP) and pulled down 2:32 times, very respectable for just a 225mm tire and Legacy GT power. Vorshlag/AST tester Ken O finished with a win and new lap record in TTB in his E46 M3, running a blistering 2:24.9, and on Sunday jumped up to TTA for another win and the TTA track record for the weekend. Nice work!

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    March 13 - Texas Region SCCA Autocross (Mustang)

    The next day we had entered the Mustang in Texas Region SCCA's autocross #1 for the year, held out at Lone Star Park. Costas and I were to run it in STX and Amy in the PAX factored "W" class. The course was somewhat tight and the unsealed asphalt surface comes apart badly, making for low grip conditions, so we went out for our first autocross in the Mustang with little more than cautious optimism.




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    Costas and I noticed that the Mustang wouldn't stop from higher speeds in 2nd gear well at all, and we couldn't get it to rotate without coming in hard on the brakes. So we fought the car all day, cursing the worn-out stock brake pads and pushy front end. We finished 2nd and 3rd in STX, probably better than we deserved for such a completely unsorted car. In 5 runs Costas ran a best of 52.395 and I ran a 52.357, less than .040 sec apart, .5 sec behind Ledbetter in his well prepped STX 328is - Hanchey had spent the previous afternoon tweaking this car at this same site as well as Mark Berry's FP Evo. We PAXed 22nd and 23rd out of 109, which was not good. Brad Maxcy drove Ladbetter's car in STU class, running a 51.224 run earlier in the day on a slightly-less-gravel-covered course, showing us how far back we really were. Amy was almost a second back from us in W, placing 2nd as well.

    We knew the car needed some serious test time, more grip, some major braking improvements, and a race seat + harness installed, as the stock seat was not keeping us in place. But we had no time for autocross testing, as the next 2 weekends had a National Tour and a ProSolo in store. Not typically the events what you enter a completely untested car in, but they were in our back yard so we had to go to help get the entry numbers up.

    Since the E30 was down for a while (we're now looking for yet another T5) we spent the next week in a mad scramble of parts buying and prep on the Mustang. We ordered Hawk DTC-60 race pads for front and rear, 2nd day aired via FedEx to get them in time for my Wednesday night departure for Houston. We also ordered some Toyo R1R tires to arrive at a friend's shop in Houston on Friday, after seeing some back-to-back testing between Hankooks and Toyos at Sunday's autocross on Su and Stan's STR Miata.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I also borrowed a race seat from Paul M to take a look at the bracket he bought for his Mustang and EVO3 seat + Sparco slider, and I made one similar for our car + slider + Kevlar Suzuka seat. The seat bracket took me about 6 hours to make, using 3/16" thick x 1.5" wide steel plate. AJ and I put the lap belt part of a 6-point harness in, a stock seat belt buckle, the seat bracket + Sparco slider + Cobra Suzuka seat installed by 4 pm Wednesday. The slider allowed for 18+ inches of fore-aft travel, but without my co-drivers present that day (Costas and Amy) I had to guess where to put it (ended up being too far rearward). And yes, I know - going on track with a fixed back seat and no 28 point roll cage is a bad idea... instant death... spontaneous combustion... yes, I know. Save your typing. ;)

    The front DTC-60s arrived but the rears missed their delivery (you suck, FedEx!) and we went to the track with the new track pads on the front only. Oh well, hoped it would be better. Cleaned it up and loaded into the trailer.

    continued below
     
  19. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    continued from above

    March 17 - TX2K11 (Mustang)

    Amy and I left north Dallas at around 8 pm Wednesday night and made it to downtown Houston before midnight. Some serious traffic there on I-45 considering the hour, and we had no less than 6 vehicles pass us at 100+ mph near downtown, with two different trucks at different times drifting across 3 lanes and nearly taking the front of my truck off. Somehow we survived that parade of death race entrants and got to the middle of nowhere, 30 miles south of Houston, at 12:30. We arrived at nearby Grandsport Speedway Thursday morning at 7:30 AM and prepared to run the TX2K11 Time Attack event. This event was part of a 4 day festival of speed that started 10+ years ago mostly as a big Supra meet, and has grown to include a number of other imports, Vipers, Corvettes, Lotus Elises and other cars. People come from all over the country, even other countries, to enter TX2K events. Thursday was their track event (HPDE + Time Attack), Friday was the dyno day, and Sat-Sunday were the drag race portions of the event. We only entered the Time Attack, as we had the SCCA National Tour event to enter on Sat-Sunday, and a test-n-tune to run on Friday.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    This TX2K event was on our calendar months in advance and I had planned to run the E30 and Amy the Mustang, with Costas running his GT-1 Camaro as well. Since the E30 was down, I switched entries to the Mustang and Amy and I both ran it in alternating sessions, and all 3 of us instructed as well. It was a very busy day! The track was 1.3 miles of twists and turns on super smooth asphalt, with gentle curbing and good places to pass on the front and back straights.



    The new DTC-60 brake pads up front REALLY helped - I could brake later/deeper than almost anything in my session (only one GT-R and the GT2 Porsche could stop with the Mustang). I fared well early on, and I took the 3rd fastest times in the morning A1 session, but ending up with only a slightly quicker 1:06.3 best lap time after my three 30 minute on-track sessions, which was 9th fastest at the end of the day (using a rented Westhold transponder). Amy also ran 3 sessions in the same car and knocked down a 1:07.3 lap time, 10th fastest overall (we had the same transponder so she isn't listed separately, but we tracked her laps after her session). Not too bad considering the 100% stock power and somewhat narrow street tires - against a gaggle of 500-900hp GT-Rs and Supras, Vipers, Corvettes, an Aerial Atom, and a 911 GT2. Costas drove in only 2 sessions and nabbed FTD and the win with a 58.9 second lap. The GT-1 car was brutally fast and was a handful to drive on the smallish road course - he only used 2nd and 3rd gears, and only part throttle.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    With a serious array of high-powered and exotic hardware on hand for this event, the 40 or so entrant's skill levels were all over the place. There were some very good drivers there, even some SCCA + NASA racers, but plenty of lots of noobs that needed in-car guidance, and even some of the proverbial "That's how I drive - flat out!" folks. My student was totally new - a complete first timer on track - but went from spinning twice on his first lap to confident and quicker by day's end, as did Amy's two students and Costas' as well. They needed more instructors than they had on hand, really. Being new is fine, but being a squirrel driving over your head is frustrating and dangerous. I saw some on-track issues that would have had many drivers booted from most HPDE events. Anyway, nobody was killed, so I guess that's good. ;) I'll get off my soap box and just keep this all in mind in mind before entering again.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    We eventually ended the day a session early due to "some exuberant driving by one individual" (it had to do with one of those "driving Flat Out" people), so they called the event to an end early at 3:30 PM and had a trophy presentation for Costas at our trailers - with 2 photographers, a videographer, and an on-camera interview. That was pretty cool. We then broke down Costas' massive covered paddock structure, loaded up both cars & trailers, and headed out by 5:30 pm... only to sit in Houston traffic for 3+ hours, just trying to make it 60 miles north to my friend's shop to retrieve the Toyos. After stopping for a quick bite hoping traffic would subside, we got there at 9:30 pm, but only 2 tires were delivered. Frantic calls to Matt here at Vorshlag and some investigations on his end showed that 4 tires had indeed delivered, but the genius FedEx driver dropped off 2 at some random address clear across Houston, and they were now closed. This is one more reason why Vorshlag NEVER SHIPS FEDEX.

    So we ate a second dinner with our friend then blasted back across Houston with the trailer all the way to Baytown, arriving there around midnight, exhausted from a long day racing, standing in the sun, and Houston traffic.

    March 18 - SCCA Test-N-Tune (Mustang)

    Friday was the registration / set-up / test day for the National Tour weekend, which included a test session where you could buy laps for about $4 each. We had planned on doing DL-1 data logged runs on the Yokohama AD08s then running out and swapping the wheels to the Toyos, but the second 2 tires were still MIA by mid-day, as was our co-driver and his data logger. So we just made 5 runs each runs on the Yokohamas, testing tire pressures and shock settings, and getting a feel for the new brakes. It felt OK, and the brakes seemed to be a LOT better at this lower speed event. The practice lap times were close to the STX cars I could see, but who knows if they were making good runs on the times I saw? We had set up our vendor table, unpacked the car, and finished our laps by 3:30 pm, when we finally had word that FedEx had picked up and redelivered our missing two Toyo tires, so we dropped everything and raced 70 miles across town again to our friend's shop. We got there by 4:30, then drove to a Discount tire and paid an enormous amount of money to have 4 tires mounted and balanced (grumble... crooks!... grumble). Trying to stay ahead of Friday 5 pm traffic we somehow managed to get back all the way to Baytown by 6:30, and grabbed 5 gallons of 93 octane on the way. The car was on jack stands so we mounted the wheels with the fresh Toyos on them, put in the gasoline, and had the car ready to race by 6:45 pm. The past several hours of frantic driving at 85 mph in Houston traffic behind us.

    The welcome party that Vorshlag had sponsored was going until 7 pm, and people were walking the course for tomorrow's event... we showed up in time but they had run out of food literally 5 minutes before we found the caterer. While we were looking all over the paddock for the food, the Saturday autocross course was also quickly taken down. Wait, what??? Well we found out that it was because there was a drag race event that night here at the HRP facility, like every Friday night, and they needed the parking lot for the racers starting to show up. Oh well, at least the concession stands were open and had hot burgers for sale. For cash only - and I had a whopping $2 on me. Amy had pocket change. WTF?! I had like $200 the day before, but somehow burned it all on transponder rentals and track food at Grandsport, and bags of ice and snacks along the way. Our luck was failing miserably today.

    So we walked to the SCCA trailer and checked in for the National Tour event, drove the Mustang into town to scrub the new R1R tires in, and got some cash - and dinner. Went back out to HRP, found some friends and saw that several autocrossers were entering the Friday night drag racing...

    Friday evening - Houston Raceway Park drag racing (Mustang)

    For only another $20 cash we could run down the fastest dragstrip in the USA from now until midnight. Hell yes! I've run down this dragstrip hundreds of times in the past, and always seem to get my best times here (good surface + sea level track = fast). We still needed to scrub in these new 265/35/18 Toyo R1R tires anyway - with burnouts and launches! So I made two quick passes right off the highway drive in from town and cracked off two 12.96 second runs at 109+ mph, and on that 2nd pass I accidentally stayed on the rev limiter in 3rd gear for at least 2-3 tenths of a second. Oh damn, if I could clean up my shifts that would mean that a mid 12 second ET was in store?? I was also checking the on-board data logger I had just picked up - a new G-Tech Pro RR - against the track's clocks. It was spot-on at 60', 1/4 mile ETs and trap speeds. It has g meters and a GPS sensor, graphic LCD display, SD memory, windshield mount, with a built in lap timer, segment timer, and predictive lap timer. Neat little $300 gizmo I'll talk about more in future posts.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Amy wanted to make some passes so she got in and made some 13.5 second runs while me and a dozen of the SCCA entrants for the weekend taunted our fellow autocrossers trying to make 1/4 mile passes. Amy handed the keys back to me and I made 2 more runs, and I left the hood up between them as the staging lane started to get backed up - the locals don't really show up until after 9-10 pm. I cracked off a 13.1 second run and on my last run I was paired up with a 4th gen LS1 Firebird with some work done. I had pushed it to the line hood up for 15 minutes, letting the engine cool all the while. This helped and I got to the line with a nice cool motor. We lined up and the Firebird tree'd me, and in my haste to catch up I spun a little in 1st gear (2.1 sixty), but managed to nail my shifts and ran him down and passed him, and the clocks showed a 110.2 mph trap speed - the best ever in the car. Pretty good for 100% bone stock drivetrain! Gotta take the little victories where I can.

    March 19-20 - SCCA Houston National Tour (Mustang)

    Saturday and Sunday was the National Tour event, and Amy ran in STXL while Costas and I ran in STX. We started the day with overcast skies and cooler temps, which the Toyos supposedly favor. STX had 7 entrants and I started "off the pace", and in my 3 runs never really strung a good one together. Times were erratic and I ev3en DNF'd; I was driving very poorly. The event was all erratically paced slaloms (and "wall-oms") with one big turn around at the end of the lot, none of which were the strong suit for this car. The brakes at least worked better, but we struggled in the slaloms and the car pushed heavily in the turn-around, costing us time. Acceleration was just an exercise in wheelspin. Strangely we all got a 4th run, which was timed but not scored (a "fun run"), and it was then that I pulled my head out and put a good run together (proper slalom timing), running a solid 1.2 seconds faster and finally closer to the faster cars in STX class. Costas had similar trouble on his first 3, and also a fast 4th. Amy ran later in the day, after the sun was out, and ran times a tick quicker than both of to us, and also much faster in her 4th (unscored) run. The tires felt grippier than the AD08s, but with no data collected on the AD08s Friday we couldn't tell by how much.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Sunday was more of the same (almost identical course, with 2 small changes), but at least we drove better. All 3 of my runs were within a tenth of a second and they all felt a lot smoother - I didn't get so behind on the many slaloms. Costas had prior event he had to help run and couldn't race on Day 2. Amy was about 1 second off my times this day. She was running lower tire pressures than I recommended and it didn't help at all - I was working on course and couldn't help her when she ran, either.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    We learned several things at this event: Don't ship FedEx. Houston traffic sucks no matter the time of day. The Mustang isn't putting power down well. Or turning all that well. Slaloms are a mess. I put the seat to far back for my co-drivers. This car needs much more development. Oh well, this event offered up 28 more autocross runs between us - more testing never hurts with a new car, even if its losing badly at an SCCA National Tour.




    So we bombed 300 miles back to Dallas and somehow logged 1000 miles for the weekend - meaning we drove just inside the Houston city limits for a solid 400 miles. Did I mention I hate Houston traffic? Monday we unloaded and prepared for yet another short week and a 3 day weekend of racing, this time at the SCCA ProSolo in Mineral Wells, TX. Before this event we slapped on the rear DTC-60 brake pads that arrived and bled the system with Motul 600 fluid. We had been testing an all new, non-inverted single adjustable rear shocks were found over at AST-USA that we wanted to run, and they had been working great the past week. With some custom machined bushings out back they fit the S197 very well - adding more bump travel. AST now wanted us to try some new super-digressive pistons in the rear shocks that sounded like what we needed to control the excessive brake dive/rear axle rise. We also re-mounted the seat forward 2 inches and it fit Amy and Costas much better - no pillows needed! Since Mineral Wells just chews up race tires and street tires like a meat grinder, I had the still new Toyo R1Rs removed from the 18x9" wheels and mounted the Yokohama AD08s again. Cleaned up everything, reorganized the trailer completely, and loaded up for a Friday morning tow out to the event site 2 hours across Dallas and Ft. Worth (somehow this is still a local event for us).

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    continued below
     
  20. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor

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    continued from above

    March 25-27 - Mineral Wells SCCA ProSolo (Mustang)

    Amy and I got to MW around 10:30 Friday morning after picking up McCall, who was coming out to the site to help out the local SCCA region set-up for this National ProSolo event. We were soon joined by Costas and the 4 of us pitched in to work the gate, set-up the region trailer stuff, the Vorshlag vendor table, and try to lend a hand wherever needed. Amy and I had entered in the EVO school, which was just some classroom coaching on the event format (its been years since we ran a ProSolo), and then several test starts on the .500 drag race tree.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    A ProSolo is a unique event combining a pair of mirror imaged autocross courses and a drag race start, with your best times from each side added together for a total time in class, and we had 6 runs on each side over 2 days to get it right. Reaction times count and you can red light or cut a slow reaction time, which can hurt your run times or DSQ the run (red light). Drag race starts with a nice straight at the beginning of each run. Lots of power... runs 12s stock. Should be a good fit for the Mustang, right?




    Well, when the straights are a good 1000+ feet long, sure, it helps... But on this course set-up this time the starting straights barely took up 1st gear in the Mustang before the first turn, and we lost out badly to the AWD cars (2.2 sec 60 foot times in the Mustang vs 1.8 sec in the AWD VW in our class) and barely matched the RX8s and BMWs in class. So any hope for advantage was just not there.

    We quickly noted a new problem with the brakes on Saturday - ABS Ice Mode. When the brakes were pressed quickly the ABS system freaked out and you lost 50% or more of the braking power, and we all blew many turns on course because of this. We don't know what it was, but the only change since the previous weekend when the brakes worked SO well was a swap to DTC-60 race pads out back and the change back to AD08s, but we had run these tires before. The surface was different as well, but I have run at Mineral Wells dozens of times over the past decade, never seeing anything like this. WTF??

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    We ended up switching from "drive into the corner on the brakes to load up the front tires, just so it will turn" method of driving this plowing pig, to more of a "momentum/Miata" driving style, trying to reduce the time under braking and maximize lateral grip and slalom speed. Driving into a corner on the brakes is a work-around for a pushy car, and Costas and I have used this on many Pony cars in the past, but it just wasn't possible when the brakes were not there. The momentum method sort of worked, and kept the car out of ABS and Ice Mode, but sure was frustrating as all hell. We were dead slow in the big sweeping corners and we knew it.

    After our 4 dismal runs per side Saturday were over, I put the car on jack stands and yanked off the rear wheels and brakes. The pads looked... weird. Discoloration and weird build-up of material in the grove in the pad, especially strange for a brand new set of pads. The rear pad swap was the one main variable that changed, so I wanted to change back to a more normal street pad out back, hoping it would get the ABS computer out of the Ice Mode tendencies under heavy braking. So I took the pads to a local O'Reily's parts store in town hoping to match up with a set of pads they had in stock. The 2011 was too new for their catalog but they had 2009 Mustang GT listings, and we found a match for pad shape. ThermoQuiet house brand Ceramic/metallic pads, which AJ has used on a dozen cars with no ill-effects, so I gave them a try. I wanted less braking power out back, not more.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I got back to the event site and realized I needed a caliper piston retractor tool and a caliper compression clamp, so back to town I went. By the time I had all of the right tools and the rear pads swapped it was getting dark, so I drove out to a nearby highway and tried to bed the pads in, after many stops. The stopping power was still very diminished, and easily getting into the "ABS freak out mode". WTF? I came back to the site and pulled the pads back off for a look - they weren't bedding in well. Then I took the G-Tech data logger and went out and did some 60-0 mph braking tests, with what looked like poor results (157 feet??). Then I took Paul M's STU-classed and Brembo equipped 2011 GT (stock pads/rotors on 275mm Dunlops), and it was stopping just as poorly. I did some 0-60 mph test in both cars as well, pulling a 4.5 sec time and .65g in 1st gear in my car and 5.3 second run and .58 g in his car. So they were closely matched, even with his car's 3.73 vs my car's 3.31 gearing. By then it was pitch black out, I ate some of the food at the party we sponsored and drank some beer, then we hit the hotel for some shut-eye. Tried to stay awake and watch F1, but my eyes wouldn't have it.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Since I was Impound Chief for the event, on Saturday I managed to get the Mustang on the scales... haven't weighed it in a while. Showed 3479 lbs with 1/8th tank of fuel in the car. Much better than before but still a solid 55% on the front tires.

    Sunday's driving was more of the same frustration, even with the new rear pads - no heavy braking possible or it went into Ice Mode. On this day the ambient temps went from sunny and high-70s/low-80s from Friday and Saturday to overcast, mid 40s, with a BRUTAL wind all day. Most racers brought clothes and shorts for Spring weather but were under-dressed for this late winter cold front. A few racers still picked up some time in the last 2 runs per side, but Costas and I only got a tick faster each. Amy was slow in her class as well. At least she and Costas BOTH cut one perfect .500 reaction time each (I was cutting consistent crap lights). Costas and I were 2.6 and 2.9 seconds off the class winners for both sides, ending up in 5-6th out of 11 according to the results on site, but the posted results show a driver ahead of us that DQ'd himself for driving the course during set-up. No matter - the results still stunk, and we were slow.

    We couldn't ever get a complete, good run in without hitting Ice Mode or fighting lots of mid-corner understeer. Tire pressures and shock changes were not enough to counter this massive push, and the wheelspin on corner exit was again ridiculous. Did we simply have too much power and weight for a 265mm street tire? Is all hope lost? Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I think not. We keep seeing bad tendencies in the data and the close-up pictures of the tires. I think we've been in the completely wrong ballpark on tire pressures, the rear spring rates need to drop, and the brakes need more attention. We've probably run into some pad compound cross-contamination issues with the rotors, so we've ordered a whole new set of rotors and another set of autocross pads (Hawk HP+). We'll cut the existing rotors and re-bed them with the DTC-60 track pads and swap between the matched sets of pads and rotors from autocross to track events - these pads have VERY different cold bite characteristics, as well as different coef of friction, dusting & noise parameters.

    We're also awaiting our initial stocking order from Energy Suspension bushings, with some much needed polyurethane bushings for the Mustang being made to order. The OEM front LCA bushings are the softest I've ever felt on an OEM suspension, and as big around as your fist. Soft - like a Nerf football soft. That bushing is deflecting under load and losing lots of camber in corner, and the rear control arms and panhard bar are just as soft, causing who-knows-what out back. We've also noted a side-offset of the entire axle, also due to the panhard bar's fixed length and lowering of the back. We need to start developing a Watts Link for the car. We also still have the stock, non-adjustable swaybars, so we're getting a set of Eibach adjustable/tubular front swaybar set coming ASAP (the 2011 has been "in development" for far too long and I'm tired of waiting). AST is also working with us on this new rear shock and the front strut is getting a revalve as well - we'll get this thing to carve cones, by damn!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    We've tested several more wheels in the past week, including an 18x10.5" Enkei with a 285/30/18 Hoosier mounted, which is more appropriate for NASA TT use. But the 285/30 is too short, so we're looking at the 275/35/18 and a Pirelli 305 race tire as well. Another set of 18x9" wheels is on order to help test the many 265mm tires needed for STX autocross use back-to-back; so many choices available, and we need to test most of them. And power never hurts on track, so the headers + custom exhaust bends are going to be ordered soon, and the Steeda cold air + SCT Tuner is already en route.

    The E30 isn't forgotten, either. We've ordered a 2nd aluminum seat and two I/O port seat back braces for this thing, as well as another 6-point harness. We need to adjust the rear control arm mounts for adjustable toe and camber and get that sorted. The wiring issues are also being addressed now. And of course we need to find a transmission that can last more than 2 events (we've broken 2 transmissions in 3 events). We have some home-brew aero tricks up our sleeves as well, mostly for on-track improvement. And the ride heights and fender openings will again be lowered/trimmed further, until they are right. We also need to design and build a low-buck adjustable rear swaybar - from scrap metal and used parts (ugh).

    Somewhere in this crazy month of March our lead tech AJ managed to replace the tie rods on the E36 M3, align it, pull the transmission, install the shifter/spring kits, a new clutch/pressure plate/TOB, reinstall the trans, fix the shifter, and tidy up a number of things in the process. The car drives like a DREAM now, and is ready for sale finally. More on that in its own thread soon.

    Meanwhile I'm going to take a weekend off in April - this weekend - well, one day at least. Already burned out and the season has just begun. There's a Lemons race at ECR I'm driving in (hopefully not crashing in! I've been at the gym for 2 months trying to get ready) and a NASA track event plus 2 or 3 autocrosses, and a test day at the track scheduled. We're trying to set-up a mid-week autocross test day with the AST-USA folks as well. Lots to do.

    More soon,
     

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