Monday, February 22, 2010

Katana2 Track Testing at Big Willow

We have been busy working on a new Katana package that we will be submitting for CARB approval. I stated the goal of delivering a street legal supercharger kit at the launch of the Katana and after many years of trying - we believe we have a solution. Track testing was the last part of this development. This is an excellent place to run a car at high rpms, speed and actual loads to determine how well the car is tuned. Project Nirvana Elise has been our test mule for this new kit. Tuning was conducted by our friends at Secant Vehicles. I am happy to report the Elise ran smoothly and swiftly this past weekend at Willow Springs with the Lotus Challenge Series.

We secured the services of our good friend (and recent Daytona winner!) Dave Thilenius to run the car hard on track. Nirvana was running with old R888s but Dave still managed to crank out a bunch of laps under 1:38 with the best being 1:35.94. A new GUT aero kit was also added to Nirvana since we last ran on track. We subjected the Katana2 to a total of 10 run sessions from Friday through Sunday.

Riding shotgun with Dave on a session was Steve from Secant Vehicles. Steve is a mechanical engineer with over 15 yrs of engine calibration experience. He has worked for Roush, Bosch and even Lotus Engineering in calibration positions. Steve has taken many cars & aftermarket power kits through CARB and knows the process well. He has tuned our new Katana2 kit to meet these standards. If you seen his work on the Secant Type I you can attest to the OE-like quality of his work. Steve has also developed our Atom2 tune and are very happy with their work.

I also enjoyed driving duties when we started track testing on Friday. Steve monitored the electronic equipment and data logged engine parameters as I ran through his commands; go slower, hit the rev limiter, try to detect second cam, and go faster! By the end of the day, we landed on a tune that ran wonderfully and safely on track. I had my friend Jack Fried - an accomplished LCS racer and 211 owner, drive the car late in the day. Jack has owned many of the Elise variants and has tons of track seat time in them. He was very pleased with the performance and commented that it ran even better than the Katana that was on our last Exige.

The car runs very nicely with an excellent idle and around town manners. The mornings were in the low 50s and warmed up to the high 60s. Getting a car to run well on the street AND track while still meeting emissions is a significant challenge. The car accelerates very smoothly and the second cam is hard to detect.

All out power is not our goal with the Katana2. Again our plan is to secure a CARB EO number so that our customers can run their cars on the street. The biggest difference with this kit is that we have added a new airbox. Since supercharged cars are more sensitive to intake changes than exhaust changes, we required a new tune. Our original Katana tune was tested but did not pass all the CARB required emissions tests. We are now preparing our CARB application....stay tuned for updates!

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