Destination SSM One Miata's Journey through Hell

21Jul/15Off

Spring Nationals

After Crow's Landing, I was so drained from the mad rush on the car that I basically didn't touch anything for a couple weeks. I did a regional prosolo and normal autocross event combo for one weekend, where my only competition's car broke badly and so I ended up driving to an easy class win.

IMG_3536After that, I got back to work for some finishing touches. Doug and I designed a simple but effective splitter. We decided that the whole floating mounting mechanism that made the Miata splitter so easy to install and remove, but so hard to properly/reliably measure, wasn't going to work here, so we hard-mounted it to several places on the chassis. Better yet, I can even tie the car to the trailer with the splitter on, which saves a ton of time before and after an event.

IMG_3539Next, I got a smaller supercharger pulley from BOE and we spent a day trying an E85 tune. We, of course, ran into even more problems with the tuning software, which killed several hours, but eventuall managed to come to acceptance that something was definitely wrong with my setup. We managed to get 340rwhp on E85, but it should have been quite a bit higher -- high 300s. Nothing to be done about that, but still happy with the power bump, we gave up for the night and I headed home with the car.

2015-05-18 - AlignmentThe only other change to the car was that I removed a bit of front camber. From the wear pattern on the A6s at Crow's, it looked like I wasn't getting quite enough surface usage, so I went down from 3.4 to 3.1 on both sides, after buying some more shims to even let me get that low (the original 3.4 numbers were because that was as low as it would go on the stock shims.) The rear toe ended up having drifted a fair bit too, so we corrected that while we were in there.

11082420_10153342562077258_5343026237577062966_oI picked up a codriver (for likely the rest of the season), Russell Mayer, who towed the car out to Spring Nationals for us in exchange for a codrive. We had an uneventful first day of racing, leaving me a fair ways back from Erik Strelnieks and Randall Willcox in 3rd. On concrete, it was immediately painfully obvious how down the car was on power compared to our competitors. The 3rd session found us with a broken shifter cable, apparently a common failure on these cars (that I'd never heard of before, unfortunately) that must have actually broken at the end of the previous session. Unable to shift into second, this nuked all of our day 2 runs, so I was left in 3rd overall. Amusingly, this was still good enough for 4th overall in PAX.

Magically, being in the middle of nowhere, BOE was actually only a few hour drive away with a replacement cable, and Phil was super nice to stick around on a day off for us to grab it. I tore the car apart to get it ready for the new cable while Russell headed down and picked up the replacement. When he got back, we got about half the work done before they closed the site for the night, and the rest of it the next morning right before the NT started.

19419_681601957148_3643610247789309043_nThe NT was one of those annoying events largely determined by rain. On day 1, the session started out soaking wet but quickly drying. Everyone went out on wets for their first runs, then switched to dries for second runs and barely improved. Third runs came around and the course had dry spots, so line choice was crucial. Second drivers had a huge advantage over first drivers, and so 3 of us went out to put down our only run that mattered and ended up with a big lead over the rest of the pack, including Erik, who got screwed as a first driver. When it all settled, I was in 3rd, 6/10 out of first. Day two was dry and I drove fairly poorly, but held on for 3rd overall again. Due to the rain and general crappy driving, this was 66th in PAX.

After the event, I decided that something had to be done about the power issue immediately, and Eric Anderson generously drove the car on A6s through a rainstorm down to BOE's shop outside Kansas City on their way home to Tennessee while Russell drove home to Seattle with an empty trailer (that ended up losing a bearing half way home anyway, so that was good timing!)

Posted by David de Regt

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