Destination SSM One Miata's Journey through Hell


Month of Slow Progress

I haven't posted much in the last month because, well, not a lot has happened.  I've been mostly just driving the car at events and playing with setup ideas while planning the next phase of the build.  I've now ordered a full set of custom control arms and spindle modifications with a 1" drop from Jon Brakke.  They won't be finished until after nationals, unfortunately, but that's what I get for not ordering anything until this late.  He's seen the pictures of the failed EPMiata arms and couldn't believe how underbuilt they were, so it'll be interesting to see how much stronger his will (hopefully) be.

Due to my dad running over the old hardtop at Lincoln this spring, I've also ordered a new CF hardtop from Axis Power Racing before realizing that they possibly weren't legal (it's a bit of a grey area, apparently.)  There's a proposal out to make them explicitly legal, which will hopefully pass, or else I'll have to use the top on a time attack car or something...  I also finally picked up the FM Little Big Brake Kit which required minor clearancing of the calipers to fit on the 9" rotor with the 15x10 6ULs, but is giving quite a bit better braking between them and the SS lines I finally added to the rear.  The V8Roadster Bump Steer Kit finally arrived as well, but I haven't had a chance to put them on the car yet.  Hopefully in the next week or so.

In the last few events, I'd been noticing that the traction control seemed to be getting increasingly invasive, so last weekend at a practice, I tried turning the TC system completely off, and was still getting massive misfiring coming out of corners (getting on the gas early.)  I tried replacing my 3 remaining Chinese Toyota knock-off coil packs with genuine Toyota ones, and, shockingly, my misfire problem disappeared, which was a welcome development.  At this point, it suddenly seems like I can put a lot more power down than I thought I was able to, so it will soon be time to up the power by quite a bit.  I keep finding myself floored and waiting coming out of slow corners.  Even with ~220 ft/lbs at the wheels that low in the powerband, I'm getting killed out of those corners by Bob Bundy, who has more like 350 ft/lbs down there, so I think some power bumps are in order for next season.

The only major issue the car's had for a while now was last weekend, when an apparently undertorqued crank pulley bolt came loose and bent/embedded itself into the crankshaft, while simultaneously allowing the supercharger to shear off the woodruff key and spread the keyway wide open on both the crank and the pulley boss.  Oops.  So much for that crank.  I picked up a new crank from Coop's Miata, got bearings overnighted from Flyin Miata, rebuilt the motor Thursday and Friday, threw it back in the car, and towed up to Canada for the VCMC Super Challenge this weekend.

The event went pretty well.  The course was an uninspired set of 7 very tight corners, each connected by either essentially a straightaway or a 180 degree sweeper, which isn't the greatest set of elements for the car -- all the grip in the world isn't terribly useful when you still are floored for 2-4 seconds out of every slow corner.  The event format was really neat, though.  At the end of the event, they take the top 30 drivers on PAX, add 10 randomly drawn drivers, and everyone takes a single run.  The bottom 20 PAXed times are eliminated, they change the course, and repeat.  Halve two more times, then the last group of 5 run for the final finishing order.  It's an interesting variation on the ProSolo challenge idea and really forces you to be both consistent and fast.  I managed to finish 4th overall, which was several spots higher than I was expecting.  Our current tires are up to ~50+ runs and the course was not well suited to the car in it current state, so doing this well was an unexpected surprise.  I also tried some Hail Mary setup changes between Saturday and Sunday which helped a fair bit (the car was very loose Saturday.)

Looking ahead to Solo Nationals, I've organized a local test and tune for Friday, where I'll finally have my first chance all year to really mess around extensively with shock and pressure tuning.  Unfortunately, with how absurdly busy I've been the last few weeks, the 2-driver reg deadline for the Pro Finale came and went without us noticing, so we're now on the waitlist.  If we don't get in, we might not even bother making the journey.  The idea of spending 8 days and a few thousand dollars of gas, hotels, food, and general costs for 5 minutes of  racing time on an unfinished car isn't the most appealing thing in the world right now.  As annoying as it would be to work toward this all year and then not go, it may be the right decision to make when the time comes.  In the meantime, we'll stare at the waitlist and hope.

Posted by David de Regt

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