Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Blue Car Testing @ Laguna Seca

The next round of Lotus Cup took place at Laguna Seca. We brought our Elise out for additional testing:
  1. Oil Cooler lines
  2. KATANA265
  3. Brake Relocation: Carbotech pad test
  4. Larini 8" (ultra quiet)
  5. FuelSafe Fuel cell
The boys had to swap out the trans after our last trackday and refitted the conventional gearbox with the Jubu 3rd,4th & Final Drive with the OS Giken LSD.

Oil Cooler Lines: We ran these lines again this weekend and had no problems. Our kit uses Aeroquip's Startlite hose with BSP fittings and a novel clamping system. Our clamp is very clean and compact which will make installation much easier. Our independent lab testing and the 6 trackdays has made us confident that our solution is ready for sale. We should have them available within a week or two.
KATANA265: Another three days of full throttle track use has us pleased with this solution. The AFRs & EGTs are looking safe and we believe we are ready to release the kit.

We believe that Hp north of the KATANA265 will result in problems with a stock transmission. We've witnessed another racer's 300+hp Exige lose 3rd gear at Laguna. We recognize that the allure of big Hp is hard to resist but we hope that folks will recognize what they are getting into. We are still waiting for a reply from Jubu/Drexler on the status of our Dogbox failure from the Fontana event. I think trans failures will become more common as the cars get more power and run slicks on the track.

Front Brake Caliper Relocation: I ran the car with the Carbotech pads and was very pleased with the XP12 & XP8 in the rear. The car did not have any of the nervousness that I had experienced at Willow Springs during our initial test. The pads work well and can be trail braked easily. They are not very grabby and allow a smoother release. I think that a more aggressive pad can be tried on the rear for sure. We'll get to that next time!

Larini 8" ULTRA Quiet: We ran a stock Exige S muffler to start our weekend to make sure the car was very quiet. Laguna has a very strict noise limit which has resulted in many racers trying different muffler contraptions: see previous post. Our car has several upgrades that would add to the noise like the HKS intake, Larini header/straight pipe and Jubu Final Drive. But with the stock Exige S muffler we blew a 88dB - so were well under the limit. The car felt a bit slower possibly because of the added restriction. We brought a new Larini 8" ULTRA Quiet with a special wrap that quiets the system over a standard Larini8"by an additional 2-3 dB. I wanted to test this system to see if it might be close. We installed it before the last session and went out for a sound check. The car sounds much better but I also knew right away that it was too loud! The car felt much faster going up the hills than before but ultimately blew a 98dB!!! Well, they black flagged me pretty quickly and I returned to the pits. Sound can be a difficult thing to measure properly in track conditions but we are so far over the limit that this muffler will not likely work for other heavily modified cars. This muffler will work perfectly with a NA car and possibly with an Exige S with stock intake/header/cat.

Fuel Safe Fuel Cell: We continued to run the car with the cell. Everything worked fine with the exception of one discovery. The system baffles the fuel in the fuel pump cavity too well. This results in the fuel gauge reading a higher amount than what is contained in the whole tank. Essentially the car can be down to a couple of gallons of fuel and system will trap it in this cavity that holds the pump and the fuel level float. The float will assume that the tank is higher than it actually is. The stock fuel tank has a bleed so that the fuel can slowly level itself when the car is sitting. We've contacted Fuel Safe to see if there is a good solution or drivers will need to monitor their fuel consumption.

Overall the weekend was a great success. We supported two Spec Elise clients along with Blue. None of the cars broke down and I was able to get my times down to 1min43s. I made one shock change that felt like an improvement but did not have much time to tinker with settings. With some coaching (and some new tires)I think I can carve another couple of seconds - maybe even break 1min40. That 'll have to wait till next year or my dreams! Our AiM data collected plenty of great info including the fact that car pulled 1.5gs - so I know we continue to stress the various products well. We have many more items in our pipe so this arduous testing must continue....8^)

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