Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Buttonwillow Results + Prep, Tuning & Coaching

We had great results at the second Lotus Cup race weekend at Buttonwillow. We managed to secure two Open class victories and one overall win.  We also secured the fastest lap all weekend again - beating the entire field including the 211s that we're attempting to compete against.  Our driver Glen is doing a superb job along with the team in prepping the Art Car.  We also had help from our friend and driving coach Dave Thilenius.  

The weekend did not run 'issue-free'.  We suffered from an electrical cut that killed the car on the first day during practice.  Patrick managed to figure out that one of the wires in our ignition was loose and secured it.  We have kept the stock key and start button on our car.  Glen's knees are quite close to these wires and he believed his knees were brushing the wires causing the cut out.  Unfortunately for us, the problem cropped back up on the second race - while we were in the lead, on the last lap!   Luckily Glen had a clear enough mind to wiggle the wires under the steering column and get the car started.  He managed to get in behind Andy and secure the Open Class victory and second place overall.  Eliminating this wire is now high on our list of reliability improvements.

AiM Data Coaching
We're big advocates of using data to lower lap times.  We also use it as an R&D tool as we develop our products.  At Buttonwillow we were graced with Dave T's presence and benefitted from his extensive expertise with coaching via data.  Reviewing the data allowed Glen to adjust his shifts, braking points and more in order to achieve the fastest lap of the weekend.  Our friend Andy has used data to secure LCU championships with his 211 and is one of the fastest drivers in our series.  We have a new AiM product that makes getting into data much more affordable and practical for track day enthusiast and racers alike.  See the new Solo DL.

The guys were taking tire temps and pressures and adjusting pressures and camber.  Amazingly we are running less than -2deg of Camber with this kit and getting even tire temps.  Typically these Yokos require -3deg.  We also softened the High Speed Compression to improve our grip over the curbs.  In doing so, we stiffen the Low Speed Compression as well to quicken the turn-in.  Buttonwillow is a much bumpier track than Chuckwalla so a softer set-up is ideal.  Our new raceUPRIGHTs are running beautifully and allowing for an amazing low ride height.  We kept our ride height at 103mm/110mm to insure we did not bottom out.  These ride heights can not be achieved in an Elise or Exige with stock uprights.  We are now conducting our Set Down process to see how the raceUPRIGHTs are fairing.  I peeked at them and they remain in great shape after 5 track days.  Expect another Blog posting reviewing the condition in more detail.
Car Prep
A key tool that we use to prep and insure our car is running well are simple Checklists.  We use these lists to confirm that we checked critical areas on the car before it leaves for a practice session, qualifying or race.  Every time - not just at the beginning of the day.  It takes a bunch of time to run through these checklists but we've found it is a key way to ensure our car runs as well as it can.  Since we are running with the LCU leaders, we can't afford to make mistakes with the car prep.  If any of you would like copies of our Checklists, let us know.  They are an effective tool for the casual track day enthusiast to the hardcore racer.

What's Next?
We can't be happier with our results so far this season.  We have some work to do before the next race - including a Lexan Optic Armor windshield that should shave another 16lbs from our Art Car.    Infineon is the next race in mid May and we will be competing against a bunch of NorCal locals who know the track well.  We'll need to bring our 'A' game to keep our track record as it will be very competitive!

 Now watch Glen turn the record lap...

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