|Dave and Joe heading out|
|Dave working on his tan|
|Dave is a happy engineer|
This test loop is a great place to tune ride quality as it has many different conditions and road surfaces that challenge a car. Most people believe that CA roads are smooth - in fact they can be very rough. They can be pretty unforgiving to many cars that were not tuned for these conditions. Dave and Joe drove together with some tools in hand and made adjustments to the Fox Racing shocks and even a slight tweak to front toe. Street testing is done at civil speeds and lots of boring steady-state speeds. This allows Dave to really feel what is going on with the car. After several hours, they landed on settings that I would then get to try out.
Some of Dave's comments about the car included that the car was not as 'buzzy' on the road as he thought it might be. The LS3 is not hard mounted to this chassis so the car remains smooth. He also commented about how flat the car handled as it sways very minimally with almost no perceived squat or dive. The suspension compliance is really remarkable and makes the car very comfortable. It does not have the stiffness you might expect in a car that is designed to be so elemental and pure. We think this along with the flat cornering will be very much appreciated by our clients.
Naturally I needed to test out Dave's work. So I decided to drive the car up one of my favorite mountain roads: Mt.Palomar. This road is frequented by sport bikers and has plenty of tight turns and elevation change. You may recall the humorous video we made years ago at Palomar.
|Gas cap is in the center!|
The car ran through the bumpy roads comfortably. The suspension simply soaked up the irregularities. This car is a torque monster and I was able to go up the 'slow' side in 3rd gear. It had enough power to pull the car from each corner exit without necessitating a downshift. The grip levels were very high and fully confidence inspiring. The rear of the car could be convinced to come out under power but only if you provoke it. Steering effort builds as the wheel is turned and provides excellent feedback. The steering needs some effort but is so direct that you feel truly connected to the road. We had requested that this effort get reduced and Palatov responded with a geometry change that works nicely on the road as well as track.
Dave's tuning really made for a compliant ride. Dare I say it may be the most comfortable sports car in our stable? This is a testament to Dave's tuning but also the basic suspension design by Palatov. The Fox shock dampening and soft spring rates were selected by us from our track testing and I think they really work well on the street. This chassis is essentially the same raced by Palatov this year at Pikes Peak - they took the win in the Open class. The Palatov D2RS runs heavier springs but is basically the same chassis as our Drakan.
|Sportbikers love light sports cars!|
Other niggles that I noted included side view mirrors that vibrate a bit, the lack of a dead pedal and the need for grip tape on the clutch pedal. The side view mirrors will soon get thicker metal on the base plate and should help stabilize the mirrors. A dead pedal is in the works and adding grip tape is simple enough.
|What's with the different spoke count on those HREs?|