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NASA-SE HPDE 1 Track day #1 2014.5.17-18

Discussion in 'Racing Forum' started by Phil II, May 18, 2014.

  1. Phil II

    Phil II Cone Destroyer Staff Member

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    I did a track day this weekend and had a fantastic time at Carolina Motorsport Park (CMP), which is 14 turn road racing course near Kershaw, SC- meaning the boondocks, hosted by NASA-SE.

    Track Map:
    [​IMG]
    Preparations:
    I tried very hard to get a new tune with another custom CAI prior to this, but-short version- life got in the way. I took a risk and ran the car anyways on old tune. As expected, the car was running really rich with AFR 10.5-11.5 down the straights. I brought spark plugs just for this. I ended up changing three plugs at the end of Saturday. Some were really clean which I chalk up to the water injection.

    I brought spare engine oil, atf (trans and PS), brake fluid, brake cleaner and a whole lot of tools too.

    On Friday night at the track with a friends help I was swapped to Carbotech brake pads and blank rotors. I was using XP12/XP8 F/R. They were worth every penny and performed great, repeatedly hauling ~3400 pounds of hurtling metal from 120 mph without any brake fade. Fantastic initial bite. The seat belt would hurt a little at turns 1, 8, and 14.

    The Event:
    I was doing what's called High Performance Driving Experience. There are four tiers, with DE-1 for beginners. Entering DE-1 guarantees an instructor, which I like very much. HPDE is not racing, but learning how to get around a race track at speed. The DE program is designed with safety and fun, and can lead to wheel-to-wheel racing or Time Trial. Though its not racing, you're going very fast, and I was very near other car's rear bumper.

    The HPDE stuff is mixed into a weekend schedule filled with time trial, practice, qualifying, and racing sessions. For DE-1 there are 4 twenty minute sessions on both Saturday and Sunday. That's a total of an hour and 40 minutes of driving bliss.

    I mentioned instructors. I think they're mostly NASA drivers, however I had the very good fortune to be paired with a gentleman named Pat Smith. This man has been driving fast since before I was born with SCCA, NASA, and some other organizations. He's the chief instructor for CMP, and has an incredibly intimate knowledge of the track. There is a heck of a lot going on to make one smooth lap, and I would have made little to no progress without him.

    Seat-time:
    If I had a video, I'd post it here. Instead I'll substitute words. I'll gladly accept donations to the get a go pro fund or the get roll bar, seats, and harness fund

    Previously I had driven around the track for lunch time pace laps while corner-working for SCCA. Last time I did that I was shown the fast line. I also watched several videos of some friends driving around CMP to understand what I'd be doing. I think this helped limit the overwhelming sensory over-load.

    Its kind of nuts, especially the first two times out. I didn't have anything better than a guess as to where my braking zone would start, or what the ideal turn in point is in my car, or what kind of steering angle I should be using at turn-in.......Pat really made it much more manageable. At first I was puppet, he was the master. On Sunday his input was less about puppet mastery and more about good habits, such as looking ahead/through a turn, minding the corner workers. The most emphasized thing was to drive smoothly. After each session we would discuss theory, technique, what I was doing wrong, and evaluate the car.

    Performance:
    A friend of mine was working corners, and was timing me on his phone across the start/finish line. On Saturday I did a best of 2:07. On Sunday I did a 1:59- this one may have been faster but I lifted when I saw the checkered flag go out. In the DE-1 group there were some faster cars, a recent model WRX, a GTR, and a Porsche. Otherwise I got to be a front runner.

    I traded places with a BMW 3 series a couple of times, then put him behind me. It wasn't necessarily because my car was faster, but quite possibly because I was prepared with race pads that did not fade the entire weekend. I am kind of happy that my blown car did get past his twin turbochargers. I also had a lot fun with the driver of an Audi S5. It was really neat as its powered by a blown v6. In some ways its remarkably like my car, but then its heavier with luxury, huge stock brakes, active damping, dynamic torque splitting.....I'm envious. He arrived on stock everything, and I really hope to see him again with race pads on.

    Constructive Criticisms:
    I did well for my very first track day. I have lots of room for improvement. Some of these things are:
    - over-braking into turns 8 and 14, usually I got turn 1 right or close to it. this cost me corner exit speed, which can have a huge impact on lap times

    -staying on the track edge before turn-in- this is a generalization that means it better to start a turn at the extreme opposite edge of the track than closer, theres a natural tendency to drive to the corner, which dramatically sharpens the turn.

    -shifting- especially down shifting. I've been driving manual for a couple of months now, and I've not yet learned how to heel-toe downshift. This technique could really smooth the braking and help the car more settled. I ended up relying on what's called compression braking. It worked, but its hard on the drivetrain and locks up the rear tires briefly, causing a fluttery sensation in the rear. Upshifting is no problem, and the MGW makes it very satisfying

    -consistency- this is big. the more consistent I drive, the easier it will be to use the subconscious for driving and the superconscious won't be so exhausted in 20 minutes, and I'll be smoother.

    The Stang's Condition:
    The mustang did really well. I did not have overheating issues. The water injection was very effective. It did consume ~30 gallons of fuel and ~10 gallons of water in three days. Two spark plugs were blackened with carbon.
    -but-
    Sometimes during the straights at WOT the motor would "cough." This was occurring in third and fourth gear around 5300 rpm, always past the 5k. My limiter is at 6k, so this is too soon. Normally I'd shift. If I kept the throttle on the car would starting accelerating more. This happened both days, so I'm ruling out spark plugs. I suspect either there is a moment of spark blow-out, or the computer is pulling timing. It could also be the coil pack giving up.

    And now I'm more tired and hungry. I'll answer questions.
     
    getsidewayzdrift and Brent like this.
  2. getsidewayzdrift

    getsidewayzdrift one- wheel peelin!

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    :thumbup:awesome man, sweet write up, sounds like it was an awesome time.
    I can't wait to get my car solid, time and money lol I would constantly be worrying about my car being that I'm broke as hell hah
    and as far as your engine cough, out of the things you said I would think the coilpack going bad would happen more often throughout the rev range not just around 5k like you said or I :uhh:could be completly wrong.... Lol

    sweet though reading this makes me more excited to get stuff done
     
  3. greensteeda

    greensteeda Retired Speed Racer Mod. Suck It!

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    Glad to hear you had a good time and I hate it that I couldn't make it out. Any plans to come down to RA in June? I will be racing but a very good friend of mine will be instructing and driving in a Mach 1 so he can really help you learn to sling a heavy car around that track.

    Don't beat yourself up too much on braking. That is the last skill any racer truly masters. I have been doing this for years and still can't remember a lap where I was 100% satisfied with every braking zone. Just part of the fun of chasing that perfect lap.
     
  4. fasterthanyou

    fasterthanyou Active Member

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    Sounds like fun! whats your engine and suspension setup? I wouldn't be upset about brake zone timing and whatnot. Lap times will drop with practice.
     
  5. Phil II

    Phil II Cone Destroyer Staff Member

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    I paid for this past event with a coupon from the one I signed up for last year. I also have one weekend of workers credits. I may come with my friend, who worked corners while I was driving. He has two weekends credits and wants to drive RA. He wants to drive VIR more, but so far he hasn't found anyone interested in trading. If that works out I'll be working corners and counting pennies.

    I was relying on ABS too frequently. I'm glad it saved me from flat spotting a tire, the RE-11s still aren't cheap. I think that carrying more speed through turns 8 and 14 could've dropped my lap time by maybe 5 seconds.


    Today I am very sore in my legs, left knee, hands, and forearms. I did stretch the fingers while on the straights, but I did not realize till today the grip I must've been exerting on the steering wheel. The knee is a little wore out from keeping me in the seat during the carousel. Until the seat belt locked up tight my whole body would get pinned against the door. My head was at a very awkward angle. Tall people problems.

    Pat highly recommend investing in seats, harnesses, and either a harness bar or roll bar. At the moment its a question of money. I'm very certain the MM 4 point roll bar will work well. I need to go to test fit some race seats.
     
  6. Phil II

    Phil II Cone Destroyer Staff Member

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    It was incredibly fun!

    Engine stuff:
    4.3 long rod, big custom cam with .6 lift, ported m112 pushing 11 pounds of boost, imrc delete, ported heads with custom valve train and valves, ID1000 injectors, Ba5000 MAF, water injection pre-blower. I don't have dyno numbers to share, but I expect its north of 300 horses and ft-lbs

    Suspension stuff:
    Everything here, except I'm using the k-member for sbf and am not using the strut tower brace. I added an Eibach front sway bar. The coil-overs are the HD bilsteins with 375/275 #/in front and rear.
     
  7. Phil II

    Phil II Cone Destroyer Staff Member

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    Could the motor cough be caused by water injection ramping on too quickly?
     
  8. greensteeda

    greensteeda Retired Speed Racer Mod. Suck It!

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    You have the same thing happen to you that happens to everybody. After the first real track day, they understand how important proper seats/harnesses are not only for safety, but to free up your muscles to do the important things and not worry about keeping you in the seat. Happens to EVERY student I have ever had.

    Being sore is completely normal and it takes a long time to loosen your grip of the wheel. The harder you hold on, the less feeling gets transmitted from the wheel to you.
     
  9. getsidewayzdrift

    getsidewayzdrift one- wheel peelin!

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    dude my left knee was sore for about a week of having my car after not driving a manual in 6 years lol
     
  10. fasterthanyou

    fasterthanyou Active Member

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    depends on what you consider motor cough. is it like a light sputter or a definitive misfire? best bet would be to datalog when it coughes and watch the wideband sensor. its hard to pinpoint problems without some data from various sensors. post up a datalog of your maf, o2 sensors/wideband, engine rpm and engine load.

    also look at the spark plugs, check the gap, check the color of them and make sure theres no speckles on them from detonation. copper plugs are the best plugs for racing since copper is more conductive than platinum but copper wears out faster. gap should be around .035
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
    getsidewayzdrift likes this.
  11. Phil II

    Phil II Cone Destroyer Staff Member

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    fasterthanyou the cough was abrupt and very short. I do want to datalog it. Trouble is doing that on public roads is way too fast. I don't recall seeing this behavior in first or second gear, which are pretty short, but third gear goes past 100 mph.

    Spark plugs are NGK TR5 v-power. Two were blackened with carbon and dry. One was a dark to medium brown. The remaining three were rather clean, light brown and very little carbon build up. I think I gapped the plugs a little more than .035, maybe .045 Before the next event I'll bring it down to .035"
     
  12. Phil II

    Phil II Cone Destroyer Staff Member

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    Yesterday I chose to reconfigure the front control arms to the upper mount on the k-member. I've been wanting to do this a long time and I finally decided to get it done. Took way more work than I expected.

    Also included photo of front brake rotor showing the coloring due to bedding the pads and heat.
     

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  13. Phil II

    Phil II Cone Destroyer Staff Member

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    This weekend at CMP the SCCA-CCR will be hosting two days of club racing and on Monday the course will be split into a time trial/ pdf and an autocross

    I will be flagging for the races and then do the PDX, which is turns 1-9.
     
  14. LilRoush

    LilRoush Rare Roush Collector

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    HPDE is definitely a great way to work into wheel to wheel. I love doing them down here. Seat time is everyone's best friend when it comes to corner carving.