This week my father and I were able to attend a quick evening track "day" at Utah Motorsports Campus. A truly great facility, with a really really high quality track. While we just had one session each, it was just the right amount for a shake down of the track-prepped hatch.
First off, let's go through the mod list:
IS38 Turbo w/ Eurodyne Adjustable Tune. 19psi peak, taper to 15psi @ 6900. Tuned for 90 octane.
3" Turboback Exhaust , Modded Stock Intake
WaveTrac LSD , paired with Southbend Stage 2 Endurance Clutch
BC Racing BR Coilovers w/ Swift 8K front, 9K rear springs
ST 25mm Rear Sway Bar
Carbotech XP12 Front & EBC Yellow Rear, ATE200 Fluid
17x8 et35 Enkei PF01 wrapped in 235/40-17 Maxxis RC-1
This is only the second time I've been out on track with this suspension, and the first time with these tires and brakes. Holy crap did those last two transform the car. On the street, the car really likes to rotate and the oversteer bias is strong on lift-off. However, on track with Maxxis RC-1, the car felt completely balanced. There was strong initial turn in, and thanks to the LSD, you could hold your line under power out, too. Even in 2nd gear, this car hooks now. No questions, no spinning. Lift off will give you oversteer, but a "gentle" predictable amount of rotation. The kind that lets you save the car when you've gone in a little hot, or maybe missed that apex and need to correct. It's very forgiving to drive.
The brakes. My god, the brakes. On the street, just breathing on the pedals will engage ABS, but on track, it feels paired perfectly to the R-compounds. ABS is still attainable, and biased to the front, making the car predictable. I don't think I even once hit the brakes where I should have because the car could stop so much better than before. There was absolutely zero fade, despite minimal brake cooling, near 100F temps, and 110-50 mph brake zones. These Carbotech's are worth the money. More over, what is even better is the wear. While it was only 2 sessions, there was literally no visible wear on the pads. I'm hopeful at this rate I should get ~6 track days out of this set.
Oooo my, and the RC-1. To address these more specifically, the RC-1 are one of the most predictable tires I've driven. They feel like a street tire almost, liking a low slip angle, and are very vocal at and near the limit. It makes the car very easy to drive, especially since they start talking BEFORE they break away, unlike many other R-compounds I've driven, such as R888. The best part is, they don't grease up. This FWD machine loves to eat tires, and the whole session, despite 100F temps, they just kept on gripping. Seriously impressive given the conditions. I can't wait to see just how much more time I can extract out of the car with this new setup, but I'm confident it's at least several seconds.
As for the car itself, I found my next mods. It seems 8000 DA and 98F don't bode well for the stock cooling system and PCV. Oil temps hit 277F on the 3rd lap out (granted, second session back-to-back). Along with it, the damp coolant gauge also finally moved, peaking ~250F. Ouch! I took the rest of the session extremely modestly, keeping temps ~260F oil and ~220F coolant. Still, not a happy place. Oil cooler needs to be next! Additionally, the stock PCV (which has been replaced once already), did not do its job. Under hard braking, it would pick up a bunch of oil, and rather than separating it, it would dump the oil back into the intake. The result? Plumes of white smoke upon acceleration after hard braking. Due to that, we lost nearly 1 qt of oil in just 50 minutes of driving.
However, I want to leave this article on a positive note, because, I think it's a little unreasonable to assume a stock cooling system can handle high-desert heat in race-like conditions. The point here is the rest of it. All the modifications really paid off to take this car from a lively street car to track focused machine. It's a car I can tell will take my driving to the next level, and I can't wait to see where we go together. While I doubt we'll be winning any time attacks, it will be interesting to start seeing the pace of things, how both myself and the car stack up against the competition. While the 2017 season may be nearly over, 2018 will be a good year!