Sunday, December 13. 2009
I'm moving my 944 spec blog to here
Sunday, November 8. 2009
Worked on the car during this weekend. I changed the oil and oil filter to 15w50 mobil 1. The brake pads are replaced (Hawk Blue) and the brake fluid is flushed.
I added the nomex Simpon shifter boot which is secured using aluminum strips with self tapping screws. I still need to make the refueling 5 gallon tanks for fast fill of 10 gallons per stop.
I just ordered AMS Oil racing oil 15w50 which I'm buying as insurance for the engine. 9 hours at Road Atlanta is a long time so I'm wasting the mobil 1 fill I did this weekend but it's cheaper than rebuilding an engine. Amsoil dominator 5000 is about 11 bucks per quart for reference.
I just need to add some u clamps to stop my outside driver net from slipping, do the gas tanks and I think I'm as done as I can be. The Nitto NT01 tires are arriving this week too hopefully. 245/15/50 at 140 bucks per tire. One set should last the whole race.
Sunday, September 27. 2009
Changed transmission fluid to Swepco 201 Posted by Billy Newport at 16:40
I figured it's time to change the transmission fluid so I bought two gallons of Swepco 201 not realizing it only takes about 3 quarts. It's 50 bucks a gallon so oops. Anyway, I raised the left side of the car and removed the fill plug and drain plugs. The old fluid looked in good shape. Some dust particle sized shavings in it but thats ok. We then replaced the drain plug and then with the car raised, used a hand pump for gas to pump the fluid from the container to the tranny. Once it was 'full' then we slowly lowered the car and the excess fluid came out of the fill plug. Then raise it again and replace the fill plug. Pretty easy operation with the hand pump.
Sunday, September 27. 2009
Lindsey fuel lines installed Posted by Billy Newport in Modifications at 16:38
Eric and I installed the Lindsey Fuel lines today. I switched for fire safety reasons.
Wednesday, September 9. 2009
A Porsche 944 driver was killed in a fire at Daytona a couple of weeks ago and there are some lessons to learn from that tragedy. First, apparently his safety pin was not removed from the fire system meaning it didn't even go off which might have helped. Second, apparently he underestimated the fire and kept going to the next corner station rather than stopping and get out. Lesson here is just get out of the car as fast as possible. It looks like he had a fuel fire but because he kept the car running, the fuel kept pumping in so I guess hit the kill switch when you notice a fire which stops the gas being pumped in to the engine and feeding the fire.
Next, the inside of a car is flammable. The rubber boot on the shifter covers a big hole to under the car where the fire is likely traveling so I'm replacing that with a Nomex Simpson shifter boot which would improve over that a lot in keeping fire outside. Next, I'm probably removing the dash as it can burn. The problem with that is the car isn't SCCA ITS legal anymore once I do that so it's just PCA and NASA only as a result.
Find and seal all holes in the engine firewall and floor. I'm going to try to reduce the wiring inside the car also, it's just more plastic to burn.
Wednesday, September 9. 2009
I just did two days with BIR Performance at Brainerd. They used the club configuration which adds in a new infield. This configuration is much better than the old one. It's slower at the top but much more exciting. The old one is boring, maybe two miles of it was just straight aways. The new infield in a blast. The keyhole or carosel where turn 8 used to be is a high G turn. Once through there then its flat the rest of the way to the bus stop or turn 12. After the keyhol then it's flat, get close the the right hand wall and then turn in to get the car on the left side pronto. Then flick right and you're blasting down towards turn 12. Very nice and flows well. My car had an extra seat in it and my wife riding with me so it was about 2850lbs but I was running my Hoosier tires that I use for SCCA ITS. My best time was a 1:55.6 which I think is respectable. Looking at the data I can see about another second off that next time I'm there. Mostly in T5 and trying to avoid scrubbing speed through T1 and T2 as well as braking later in to T3. I think I can carry a little more speed through the carosel also which I'd then get the benefit off all the way to T12.
Anyways, car was reliable, weather was good and the track fun. Could be a lot worse. Only issue with the car is I'm finding it hard sometimes to downshift especially in to the T12. I need to check the transmission fluid and maybe fix some synchros.
Video of a session running 57s and 58s
Monday, June 1. 2009
We just got back from two days of racing the Porsche 944 sp1 in an SCCA ITS class. The car isn't competitive in ITS but it is fun to race with Spec miatas etc. The fastest car in ITS did a 2:42 and I was managing 2:55s. Mark Repka has the record in a 944 sp1 and he managed a 2:46 which I haven't a prayer of doing for now. But, most of the Miatas were around my pace so while class racing is out, the SM guys are lots of fun to race with.
The weekend was 4 sessions. A qualifying and a race each day. The race is 10 laps and qualifying was 40 minutes. First qualifying went well, I did a 2:55 which is 8 seconds faster than 3 weeks ago and I put that down to line adjustments and a fresh set of tires which had a lot more grip. My RA1s from 3 weeks ago are hard and had little or no grip. I ended up 4th in class. Rob had a gravel excursion in Canada corner and banged up his belly pan so we had to straighten that out and reattach to the car.
Saturdays race was fun. The grid procedure was pretty easy and Rob was maybe 6 spots behind me. It was pretty uneventful for myself, I managed a 2:57 in the race mainly because of traffic. Rob had a spin trying to pass me in to T5 and then wrecked the car in Canada when he was brake checked by another car, he put his outside wheels off the track and it looped him and threw him in to the inside wall and then he bounced across to hit the outside wall also. The car is bent and is a parts car now. He went to hospital with a sore neck and was released later that day and cleared to race.
Sunday was the same format. My qualifying was disappointing, I was hoping to do a 2:52/3 but I got held up by a car and only managed a 2:57 in the end. That moved me down the grid for the race but I had a lot of fun racing and did a 2:55.4 in the race which was quicker than the previous day. I'll post video when I get it all updated.
Overall, aside from Robs bad luck, it was a great weekend and I've two more races in the bag.
Monday, June 1. 2009
3 weeks ago at Road America I noticed my water temperatures were about 2/3s (late dash) and my oil pressures were between 2 and 2.5 sometimes which made me nervious enough to pit and check things. I bought some DEI Header wrap and wrapped the front and rear headers. I also used DEI cool tape on the fuel lines which cross over the 3 header in my car.
I was back at Road America this weekend racing with SCCA. The water temperaturs were about 1/3 in more or less similar driving conditions and the oil pressure was around 3 mostly so the tape looks to definitely improve things.
Sunday, May 24. 2009
Doing some maintenance on my Porsche 944 Posted by Billy Newport at 17:36
Changed the oil and cleaned the air filter. The oil filter needs 14 ft/lbs of torque when you put it on. My air filter was filthy, covered in rubber tire pieces. The inlet is inside the driver front wheel well and it appears to pick up rubber debris from the track. I've ordered a new K&N filter which I'll have on Tuesday and the right driver wheel bearings and seal will be here also tomorrow.
I had to put over 6 quarts of 15W50 oil in it when I did the change which seems like a lot and no, there isn't a puddle under the car.
Sunday, May 24. 2009
I'm racing next weekend again with SCCA in ITS in my Porsche 944 sp1 car. I'm checking the car and the front right wheel looks to have some bearing play so it's time for new bearings. Everything else looks good but the tires (the original RA1s) look finished so I'm going to try get new tires for the weekend.
Sunday, May 24. 2009
I just did a NASA 3 hour enduro race at Road America. I ended up 4th in class and 10th overall out of 22 cars in all classes. The 944 sp1 competed at an E2 car and thats odd with that class is that tires are open. So, I could have driven on slicks and still be legal. The car used about 30 gallons of fuel during the event and performed pretty much flawlessly. I ended up running 'slow' 3:06 average times with a fastest of 3:03. The winning car in my class had a 2:58 with about a 3:00 ish average so I was happy with what happened.
Wednesday, April 8. 2009
First event this year is a double SCCA regional at Mid America Motorplex. 1:50.1 is the record I think on RA1s for an sp1 944 there. ITS which is the competition I'm entered in has a lap record of 1:44 for a ITS prepared car. Most horse power and slick tires. Not to worry though, there are always people to race against. There are some spec miatas so the cars are competitive. Don't have much to do to prep the car. Bleed brakes, switch to water for the radiators as no antifreeze allowed in race cars. Tires are good and I have another set of pads and R888 tires. Leaving next Friday to get the car teched and then it's two races. I'm hoping to do the NASA Road America Enduro the following weekend. 3 hours of track time at Road America, pretty awesome. That'll wear at least a set of tires.
Monday, June 23. 2008
PCA DE with Nordstern at Brainerd, ... Posted by Billy Newport in HPDE at 05:45
It was a funny weekend for me. I almost lost the car on Saturday. The car was very loud over the bumps in the pit out but it sounded like it did every other time. This turned out to be a big problem. Riding over the curbs in T3 the car felt very wierd. and wouldn't turn right after it. I got a pointed flag at me and I pitted. The right front wheel was showing a ridiculous amount of camber. After I got back to the stall (slowly) we jacked it up and the nut on the right shock securing it (tightens the shock against the camber plate on top) was missing. The whole shock was inside the wheel well on that side. The left hand shock nut was still there but loose.
The banging was the shocks bouncing up and down because the nuts were loose. The problem looks like the original nuts are lock nuts BUT with the locking washer AND the camber playes there isn't enough thread for the lock threads to grab so it's loose.
A trip to Ace Hardware found a replacement nut, an M14 with fine thread but they didn't have a locking one so I got blue loctite also. We removed the locking washer on the surviving shock and then blue loctited both nuts and impacted them down. If you didn't know already, if you need bolts/nuts etc then don't bother going anywhere other than Ace.
My brother (mechanic) says with a metal monoball that all the vibration goes through the nut and it wouldn't have enough thread to lock with a locking washer and camber plates. He says you need to check those all the time as it's easy to vibrate the nut loose with a metal monoball.
The adjuster knob was bent over at like 45 degrees from being in the well and the threads on the inside of the shock were flattened from rubbing up and down against the camber plate with the nut loose but the shock seems to work fine. Least now I know what a loose front shock sounds like, I didn't before. I think they have been loose for a while now.
Lap times wise, I didn't do anything special. I mostly rode around on my own and ended up with a 2:07 flat on the logger. Not much of an improvement (2 seconds) but I found it hard to get two fast laps together with traffic. The theoretical improved for me from a 2:07.9 to a 2:05.4 (holds up to the couldnt get two fast laps) and I can see myself carrying more speed in T2 and through most of the turns. I spun the car in T10 trying to trail brake and almost did it in T3. It's easy to use a little too much pedal and then around it went. It stopped pretty fast with both feet in and then I screwed up when I turned the car around (i.e. pointed in the right direction). Trouble now is I can't see the corner worker at T10 to tell me when to go.
T10 has new pavement on the inside which means you can take it in 4th now (for the brave) so it's going to improve lap times. A lot of us were still using the old line though. I started taking T7 in 4th instead of 3rd and it does help carry more speed through T8/T9 but you need to be fast to avoid bogging the engine down.
Hotel wise, the Rodeway Inn on highway 210 and 371 is ok I'd say. More motel than hotel, no internet. It's not somewhere I'd book with the family but for 80 bucks a night, it's fine for what it is. The rooms were clean and I'd stay there again.
The transmission was acting up also. Sometimes, I can't get it in to first but it shifts between all the other gears just fine. If I'm not moving then it will go in to 1st just fine. But, on the track it's not an issue. I'll drain the tranny to look for pieces of metal regardless.
My hawk blue pads look like they will last forever wear wise. I may try a set of Hawk Blacks on the front next time though. It's hard to trail brake with the blues and the black may be easier to modulate.
Happy enough with the weekend. Could be a lot worse...
Thursday, June 12. 2008
SCCA regional license approved Posted by Billy Newport in Racing Schools at 17:20
I just checked the SCCA site and my status has changed to regional license so thats cool. So Bondurant gets you a regional license. I'm waiting now for it to show up in the mail and then I'll apply for the PCA license.
Monday, June 2. 2008
Bondurant Gran Prix Racing school 4 ... Posted by Billy Newport in Racing Schools at 15:23
It's done, I completed the 4 days on Friday and it was pretty good. I learned a lot and hopefully am a little smoother and faster now. The total cost was 4200 for the 3 day school which I extended to 4 days at 4800 USD. I paid 300 dollars for insurance (still a 6k deductible!). Hotel was the Wild Horse Pass Sheraton at a Bondurant rate of 130 a night and this is a nice hotel. Looks like Disney designed it. I flew there on Sun Country for 340 bucks return.
Day 1 was class room, braking drills, lane change drills and heel and toe drills. No track time but drills. This was annoying me at the time because it looked like no track time till after lunch on day 2 and that didn't strike me as a lot of track time. The drills were basically illustrating steering the car with brake and throttle inputs, spin recovery in the special Caddy and getting used to the car. They also have an oval with an increasing radius turn and a constant radius turn for practising heel and toe and trail braking. Bondurant is huge into trail braking and when you see the instructors do the oval then it's pretty impressive.
The cars were 08 C6 vettes with < 100 miles on the clock. Very fast (430bhp) but almost completely stock except for corbeau seats, a 4pt harness, performance friction high temp pads and good year eagle tires. The stock pedal position meant I couldn't heel and toe at all well in them. The throttle pedal is in a different zip code than the brake and is 'high' when you're on the brake. I had a lot of trouble down shifting as a result. Most people were managing just fine so I think this was just me as far as pedals go but I'd use sneakers rather than racing shoes no matter what.
Skid car day and this was fun. Driving in an oval pattern, and a figure of 8 as the instructor using the outboard wheels to induce varying degrees of oversteer and understeer. The importance of vision and smooth pedal inputs were pretty clear here and it was fun all around.
We went to the oval in the morning but I almost wrecked the car in a tire wall basically because I over focused on downshifting and given my difficulties and having the instructor in the car with me, I brain farted and was lucky to escape with just a dusting. I switched to my clogs (Keens, I kid you not) in the afternoon and shifting was much easier than in my racing shoes.
We went to the track in the afternoon on the medium circuit with the carosel and the lake loop and now it becomes a lot more fun. The racing suits that are provided are kart suits which were uncomfortable in the heat. I used my Sparco XL suit on the following days and it's a TON better and for the money, I guess it should be.
The afternoon sessions are where the drills before started to make sense. I needed to smooth the pedal inputs and trail brake more. I was focusing on my turn in point rather than looking through to the apex. This meant I was overslowing the car and then was unable to trail the brakes most of the way around to the apex. I improved at this steadily but I'm no where near as good as the instructors who drive the vette like a momentum car in to the turns. Pretty cool
They did some skid car again and then ran the same circuit as the day before. They opened the full track in the afternoon which is pretty manic. Couple of elevation changes and you can almost get to 4th gear. The vette is a pretty powerful car and you can definitely start to feel the whole car under your right foot exiting corners. I got better at vision, lighter braking into turns for higher entry speeds and extending trail braking times. I got better opening up the steering at apex and then using the throttle to push the car out to track out etc. This became a lot of fun after a while. We got around 5 hours of track time this day. I was doing a lot better towards the end and was hanging with a PCA instructor doing laps so it was fun seeing where he was catching me and where I was pulling away and it evened out of course as the laps piled on.
Switched to a Formula Ford 1600 (1200lbs, 110bhp) and then just did laps again for the whole day. Maybe 6 hours of track time on day 4. Cars were very fast through the corners and you can use all the gears on the full track but I didn't try to grab 4th and just worked on better trail braking, carrying more speed in to the turns and going faster out of turns with gas. The instructor again was wicked fast, sometimes a gear higher than even the fast guys in the class. We did two race starts and a restart in the afternoon to do all the SCCA stuff.
Class wise, I was in the middle part of it I think. There were 3 guys from Bridgestone (tire test drivers) who were very fast. Then there was an older guy who could hang with them. Then there was myself and 2 or 3 others and we were about the same. The class was 12 people altogether.
My grade as the end was a 3.5/5.0. Darl Jr and kart guys have the highest rating ever which was 4.5/5.0 so I'll take a 3.5. The course qualifies me for an SCCA regional license which I'm about to send the paperwork to Topeka for so I could be able to race NASA, PCA and SCCA now.
Is it worth it? I think so. I was frustrated on day 1 but once we started hitting the track then it became a lot more fun and I found myself remembering the drills on track as I tried more stuff to go faster/smoother. So in hindsight, the drills were frustrating but they were valuable.
What didn't I like?
I didn't like the 4 pt harnesses in the vettes. I don't feel safe in them. The Formula cars also were 4pt and I found myself having to push myself up periodically because you slide down. 6pt belts would be appreciated. Windows are down but there are no window nets. There isn't a lot of runoff on some places on the track. You need to be careful. I'd prefer more runoff just so you can try stuff out and not destroy a car.
The vettes are a very fast car. 430bhp and the thing just pulls like a son of a gun out of turns. An eye opener for a 60k car. The car has full stability management enabled. This works well. I'm a fan of these on the track, keeps people of out trouble. If it's coming on then mostly it's the driver screwing up. Most people that turn these systems off end up in the wall. I think with a high enough skill level it becomes an issue but the instructors can throw these cars around the track with no issues so when a student can drive at the same level with it on then look to turn it off. The advanced racing school allows it to be changed by the student to competition mode and finally all off.
What did I learn?
Vision is huge. Look where you want to go. Looking further ahead lets you go faster, smoother. Trail braking is a very fast way to enter a corner and keep the car balanced even in a car that understeers like the vette. Opening up the wheel lets you use the gas to position the car out to track out. Using the pedals to 'steer' the car became more natural as the school progressed. Vision is actually the biggest deal. I'm looking further ahead and hitting apexs, entering corners faster becomes a lot easier once you look out to the next point. I need to be smoother releasing the clutch downshifting and smoother getting on the gas at apex. But, it's not 944 spec car, right? Of course it isn't but it is a front engined rear transaxle car so it's similar to a 944, more similar than a 911. The school has a heavy emphasis on momentum driving so I'm happy what I learned can be applied in the 944.
I think I'll head back in the fall for the 4 day post grad course so it must have been alright
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