Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Another Lotus Shifter Attempt

Well it has a been a few years since we attempted to develop a more comprehensive fix to the Achilles's heel of the Lotus: its shifter mechanism.  We have made some nice improvements to various components within the shifter and sell them as our SMOOTHoperator but the weak, flexy shifter mechanism really needs a redesign.  Earlier attempts with partners and internal reinforcements just did not get commercialized for various reasons.  We even offered, for a split second, a sequential shifter mechanism from Ikeya Formula - which proved to be too hard to adjust.

Mitch, a previous engineer of ours, moved back home and started work at B&M Shifters.  While here at Sector111, he developed our MRbearings and other goodies.  Mitch had also tried to create some boxed in reinforcements that we tested in the Art Car - see above.  Unfortunately this did not prove to work within a stock center console.  He has now been at B&M for a couple of years and gained some great knowledge about shifter designs and contacted me to see if I was ready to take another shot at a shifter.  Naturally I said yes with the condition that it must bolt into the car and fit within the stock center console.  We are trying to keep the price under $500 but I have told him to use the best materials and components to ensure the feel is the best it can be within the physical constraints of the console.

Our first step was to get a stock mechanism measured.  Mitch placed it into a Coordinate Measurement Machine and defined all the critical measurements.  See pix below.

We debated some creative new cable routing ideas but came back to the need to keep it a benign mod that would allow the owner to return to stock if required.  We will test out the shifter in our Elise and keep you updated.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Drakan Spyder (Project Dragon) Update #14: Dyno Tuning

We took the Drakan down the road to our neighbors at Cunnigham Motorsports the other day to get a bit of tuning done. Out of the box, the GM E-ROD runs really well with our setup. We were not looking for more power from the tuning. We mainly wanted to verify that our tune was not negatively affected by our intake or exhaust solutions and the it was safe enough for the abuse this car will see on the track. Also, GM claims the E-ROD makes 430HP at the crank but we were very curious what our car was actually putting down to the ground via those big 315mm R888s. After a couple of runs, we found that the GM tune is actually pretty good but the guys at Cunningham were able to clean up the air-fuel ratio a bit as well as find us a few more horses. The final peak RWHP number was 412 hp and final torque was 411 lb-ft. To put this in perspective, the very fast 2015 Z06 has about 575 RWHP and weighs in at 3524 lbs, this gives the 'vette a power to weight ratio of 0.16. Not bad, but the Drakan beats it handily with a ratio of 0.21.  Of course adding more reliable power to an LS is easily done...not that it needs it!
Drakan Dyno Sheet