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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Pretty much always. The RE-71Rs don’t like the heat. I hear the new Falken RT-660s are much better. That will probably be my next tire choice once these are done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
POINTS EVENT 5, June 27

81798


67 drivers on the books today, down a little from before. Several competing events in neighboring regions, and a forecast of rain all week, kept registration numbers down. But those who came were gifted with one of the most exciting course designs we've seen all year.

Only 4 cars registered in XS today: myself, Pete's 03 Spec V, a WILD 06 Forester, and a scrappy turbo NA Miata.

Course was designed for speed, plain and simple. The designer stated that he really wanted to explore the limits of the space, and the course delivered. Several cars broke, with a lot of spins, drifts and brake lock-ups.

As usual, I was able to spectate for heat 1 and make estimates for how I might fare. My guess was solidly in the high 27-second range, with a pie-in-the-sky goal of 27.5.

First pass was a little sloppy - I absent-mindedly shifted into 3rd gear coming into the first element instead of holding second, so I had to downshift about 10 seconds into the run. Stayed in it for a so-so 28.482. Pete was hanging in there in the Sentra with a 29.3, but the car was showing signs of mechanical problems.

Second pass was much better, a 27.777. Just a couple more tenths to meet my goal. The middle section of the course was so fast, I was hammering the rev limiter for a second or so, and I wondered if it was worth the time to shift to third and carry more speed, or if the upshift/downshift would cost me more time than running on the limiter. I tried it on my 3rd run, but biffed another element, crossing with a lame 28.030.

Things came together for run 4; still hammering the rev limiter, but staying in the throttle a bit more through the corners, for a 27.393. Run 5, the last of the morning heat, was an okay 27.622.

Reviewed some video over lunch break, and found that my max indicated GPS speed was 54mph; right in line for the top of 2nd gear. Could I have hit 60 in third? Maybe I should try it in the second half. Pete retired the Sentra after the first session for misfires after throwing a series of 30-second-plus runs. He co-opted a friend's FS Mustang GT for the remainder of the day, just for yuks.

I was sitting solidly in first for XS going into the final heat of the day, and 21st in overall raw times. So I turned my attention again into making it into the top 20. Margins were razor-thin on such a short, fast course, so it would be a fight for every millisecond. Temps were VERY high in the back half, and lots of tire-spraying was going on. Only 3 runs in the afternoon, so I closed out the day with 27.979, 27.777, and finally bumped myself up into 19th overall with a 27.374. The ND Miata in 20th was only 0.002 behind me!

Video of that final run, with some brap-brap-brap at the halfway point:


DRIVING NOTES:

The tiny chicanes on either side of the first big sweeper felt a little clumsy; the car didn't want to change directions briskly, it seemed to wallow a little. Next time I'm upping the compression in the rear dampers to try and firm that up. I wish I'd thought to do that yesterday in grid, but there was so much happening, my brain wasn't functioning, LOL.

OVERALL XS RESULTS:
  1. 1999 Cougar, 27.374
  2. 2006 Subaru Forester, 28.262
  3. 2003 Sentra Spec V, 29.358
  4. 1996 Miata, 34.667
FINAL STANDINGS:
19th in raw time, 35th indexed.
70 drivers registered, 67 recorded times.

Sunday's event was postponed until later this season - a welcome development, as 4 events in 3 weeks, all in 90+ degree temps, was pretty grueling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Time for a zetec final drive
Ha, you know, it would have definitely been a help this time - but I don't think it would be good the other 90% of the time. I do like my power out of hairpins from that 4.06; the car still really surprises me with how hard it pulls on the low end.

Do they make a Zetec final drive that you can turn on and off with a switch? 😂
 

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Do they make a Zetec final drive that you can turn on and off with a switch? 😂
And thus, a million dollar idea was born...
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
POINTS EVENT 6, July 11

81856


Rain in the forecast kept registration numbers low - only 50 drivers on the books today. It had rained all night the night before, but the morning was clear, despite all the puddles on the lot. A shower popped up during tech inspection hours, but blew over quickly. So there was no falling precipitation when the first heat started.

6 drivers in XS today, and the class was in the first run group, so I gridded up near the front of the row. The course was short and fast again, with a couple of stretches open enough to touch the rev limiter.

Left the tire pressures a little lower (36F, 33R) and stiffened up the rear dampers considerably for this course. On the first shake-down run, the car was finding some good grip in the corners, so I was able to push a little harder than I expected on the damp surface. 27.647 on the first pass, and I was looking forward to pushing a little harder next time. That put me in 4th overall after the first rotation - and then the skies opened up...

Second run was in full-on rain conditions, but the RE-71R's were still hanging on well in the corners so I pushed on. I set the car up for the first slalom, rolled into the throttle, and immediately lit up both front tires and pushed straight ahead, blowing the line entirely, resulting in a DNF for run 2. Pete's Sentra threw a throttle sensor and defaulted to 3000 RPMs, so he could only stand on his first shake-down run; that's 2 events in a row with mechanical problems; sigh, modified cars.

Run 3 was clean, but still very rainy; live timing failed, so I don't have a number for that run. The first heat ended after 3 runs, so it was time for a break.

Heat 2 was also very rainy for the other classes, so I was still P4 overall at lunch break, but the rain had stopped and the course was starting to dry up a little. The Street Touring classes were sure to make a resurgence later in the day.

The second session was much better overall, and I was able to shave off nearly a second and a half for a personal best of 26.289 - good enough for a P1 in XS. Later on in the day the tires were starting to get greasy, so the car was sliding around a lot more. Luckily it was a very neutral, predictable slide, but not at all the fastest way to get around a corner. I didn't bring the tire sprayer since I figured it would be wet all day, so I just dropped the pressures a little and sent it.

Video of that PB run with some questionable TrackAddict data. I'm still learning about how to sync up the data with the GoPro video; this one was not perfect, but pretty close. As usual, the video really emphasizes where I'm chickening out on the throttle. Also note - the car redlines at 54 MPH. I mis-typed the time at the end as 27.2 instead of 26.2; oh well:


DRIVING NOTES:

Still really impressed with the grip levels of these Bridgestone RE-71R's, even with a couple of seasons of wear on them. Wet cornering and braking is terrific, even if they sometimes want to let go under throttle. Brakes were frustrating me a little today; I was able to touch the limiter at the end of the slalom, but ended up taking longer than I liked to whoa it down in time to make the corner afterwards. My Hawk pads are still plenty thick, but maybe they are glazed - or I just need a larger rotor/caliper combo to stop like I want to. I've got a TCE Wilwood 12.2 kit on my shopping list for next season, regardless. Saving all that unsprung weight is always a good thing, too...

OVERALL XS RESULTS:
  1. 1999 Cougar, 26.289
  2. 2006 Subaru Forester, 26.579
  3. 1989 Honda Prelude, 26.867
  4. 1988 Toyota MR2, 27.109 (XS-B)
  5. 2003 Subaru WRX, 28.482
  6. 2003 Nissan Sentra, 29.406

FINAL STANDINGS:
14th in raw time, 26th indexed. 8 of the 13 cars ahead of me were in the stock class; that's what kind of region we have around here, and speaks to how capable and well-engineered modern stock cars are with just a good set of tires.

Another event on the books for next Sunday, so no time to rest. Hopefully the rain holds off this time...
 

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A Subaru Forester!? That's a new one on the list for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
A Subaru Forester!? That's a new one on the list for me.
Indeed, that's DEFINITELY something you don't see in the cones. The older generations like this one were still relatively small by today's standards, and this one's all been brought up to STi-spec and then some, with a very low ride height, very wide tires, and a TON of power. All-wheel-drive is definitely a benefit on a damp track, too. The car was initially only set up as an insane street car built to embarrass Camaros and Mustangs in 3-honk freeway pulls, but the guy has recently fallen for the cornering bug. It's definitely capable.

This is the one:

81858
 

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Ok I’ve never been much of a fan of those but that’s a cool build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
XS brings out all the weird stuff. People say the same thing about the Cougar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Won the class again this past weekend - but still need to be faster. Haven't pulled the video off the GoPro yet, so hopefully I'll get that done tonight and do a write-up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
POINTS EVENT 7, July 18

81872


Great registration numbers this week - 89 drivers on the books. A sunny, but not hot, Saturday. Mid-80's in the afternoon, and a scorching UV index. The course seemed simple on the walk, but was deceptively technical with plenty of rope out there to hang yourself.

Only 4 drivers in XS today (mostly relative novices), and placed in the first run group, so it was a hurry-up-to-grid once the driver's meeting ended. So I didn't have a lot of time to check my tire pressures, set up the GoPro, and do all the other pre-driving rituals I have.

I flailed my way through the shakedown run, taking note of all that aforementioned rope out there, and crossed the line with a lackluster 33.501 - but I had left plenty of time on the table to make a dent in that throughout the afternoon. I cleaned it up for the second run, fixing a few of my mistakes, and logged a 32.907, knocking off over half a second. But as the times kept coming in across the grid, it was clear I still had a long way to go. By the third run I was really finding my rhythm, and knocked off another 8 tenths for a 32.169. The fourth run was the last of the morning heat, and everything seemed to click, and I made it into the 31's - 31.910!

Many of the rest of the XS entrants seemed to be struggling with the technical aspects of the course, with a few DNFs and a lot of cones. Second place at the break was a 2015 boosted BRZ at 33.164.

At afternoon break I realized that I had run the entire morning session with all 4 dampers set to zero - in all the morning hustle I had completely forgotten to set up the shocks. I figured I would be able to make up a ton of time in the afternoon with a little more rebound. But as it happened - no. I rounded out the day with a 32.175, a BADLY OVER-DRIVEN 32.659, and a final 32.165. Couldn't quite get back the magic of the early session; not sure if it was from the increased track temp, or just my own brain.

Video of the PB run, with shockingly bad lines. I should probably watch these over lunch break, so I can see first-hand just where I'm completely blowing the run:


OVERALL XS RESULTS:
  1. 1999 Cougar, 31.910
  2. 2015 Subaru BRZ, 33.164
  3. 2006 Subaru Forester, 34.443
  4. 2003 Subaru WRX, 36.523
Pete's Sentra was still broken from the previous event last week, so he wasn't able to compete. Hopefully it's back on the road by August 1!

FINAL STANDINGS:
Pretty lackluster 27th in overall raw time, 44th indexed. Must get faster. Hopefully I'm learning how to get there, little by little...

FINAL EVENT OF THE YEAR in 2 weeks, on August 1. I have the XS class win locked down, so I'm going to try and have fun.
 
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