Tuesday, February 25, 2020

CRX records and teardown


So its been a good while since i posted a blog entry. Quite a bit has happened so ill run through it all as best as I can, it'll be a shorter one in preparation for a longer one coming shortly after. 

Firstly, I sold the tow rig and bought a Futura trailer. Tow beast was awesome, I loved it.. but I really wanted to get a trailer that I could load not having to totally disassemble the CRX's front end. The only solution that i saw was to spend the $$$ and get a lowering trailer. My particular model is the 'Supercar' that includes 4 inches of extra width which enables me to load with the splitter on. I also sprung for the wench option and outer track to make the tie down process much quicker and easier. 

Now, with this new trailer, I don't need race ramps and can have the car fully assembled on the ground to strapped down on the trailer ready to go in about 10 mins taking my time.
This is especially nice after a long weekend in the sun when you don't feel like spending 30min strapping a car down. I basically now just wench it on and do 4 pre-sized straps and done. It also tows so nice a quiet that i fully forget its back there. last couple trips I got 15 MPG towing with my GX470 v8, thats pretty great!

My next event since the last post was going to be Chuckwalla Valley Raceway for the Narita Dogfight Attack Challenge. It was held during a vtec-club weekend and would be run in a special session as a shootout style attack event. I didn't do many changes to the car from the last event except some basic maintenance.


I showed up midday on Saturday for the Sunday event to run a session and get myself re antiquated with the track. I unloaded the car and was on track in a feeler session a half an hour after pulling in. It was the heat of the day and I was just warming up but i still managed to run a 1:57.2- a really really quick time and about a second faster than my previous PB. I knew that the AM session the next day would be the golden time to put one down.  I made some small changes and was ready for the timed session the next morning.
Loving the new red

106 MPH corner, chassis looking controlled. 

The next morning I got on track in the beginning of the very first session I noticed it was sandy from the wind the previous night. I worked on my shift points and waited for the other cars to blow the majority of the sand off of the surface before I went for a real flier. I ended up running a 1:56 flat on lap 5. This ended up being the fastest time for a FWD car around Chuckwalla raceway... NA or Forced induction. I was totally stoked that the car had worked so well and I had accomplished a goal of mine for this iteration of the cars build.  Later in the day as the temps rose the track got a bit slower and in the timed session for the NDF challenge i was able to secure a second place behind a v6 swapped Miata with aero. Really, the car just needs more power and it would be unstoppable.

AIM data for the record. 
 Video here of the lap..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MegGAtSKo0

After getting home I decided to do what i could to try and reduce drag even more. I made up some spats for the front wheels out of carbon that i riv-nutted to the inner fender wells.

 These should help reduce a bit of drag on the front end. Every little bit helps. 

A couple weekends later I was back at Chuckwalla for a CCW event that was also an HFF challenge weekend.  I loaded up the car like before and made the drive out. 


Weather was much cooler and calm, pretty much idea conditions for Chuckwalla raceway, if only it was like this year round.


Learning from the previous event I made some small changes and put on a new set of tires. This time out the first session on track I took a full second off of the record and my previous PB and ran 1:55's back to back to back... Best being a 1:55.1 on official timing. AIM showed a 1:55.2 and my Hotlap app with Garmen booster showed a 1:54.9. I really felt like I was coming to grips with the car and was able to drive full session and really figure out where to make improvements on my line or shifting points. There was maybe 3-4 tenths left in it if I was able to run a golden lap but i was extremely happy with how the car was reacting. With more power I'm totally sure i can get down to the very low 50's. Exciting. lateral G's on the banking are already 2.4G's sustained. Thats just crazy in a production car form the 80's and i started to worry about the chassis pulling itself apart. This is something that I want to try and head off before it happens.

Check out the video, Flat entry into the bowl is fkn terrifying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8VXNh9e9Tc



After bringing the car home from Chuckwalla I had a few weeks until I was going to run Narita Dogfight Attack Challenge again at Buttonwillow raceway. It had been a while since driving the CRX at BW and really had my sights set on getting the 1:53 lap. I knew it was very possible with the right conditions but it would all depend on a bunch of stuff coming together perfectly at the right time. After the last few events I was in talks with a few people and was starting to formulate plans to address the power issues of the car. I could have done it with B series but it was pretty clear for reliability and TQ numbers i wanted to run Id be much better considering a K swap into the car. After the last few events I had pretty much settled on the swap and was already gathering parts (ill go into this further in later posts). Knowing this would be probably one of the last events I was going to run with the B-series i wanted to see what it was capable of around the benchmark track in socal.

In preperation I re-weighted and aligned the car and added some small tweaks to the underside and splitter.

Air deflectors in front of the rear wheel well.

Some fences on the engine belly pan.

And some sealing on the bumper to splitter transition.

I didnt get any picture of the event myself but theres a video of the attack challenge here-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHJYMteI_gw


Early on in the day I started to have transmission trouble which on the last corner costed me my low 1:53 predicted lap. It was super frustrating to have a mechanical issue hold me back from what would have been another goal I had for the car, but that's how this goes.   I was able to hold the broken transmission together long enough to run the NSF attack session and place second behind the same v6 powered Miata as i did at Chuckwalla.
Cool awards from the NDF Challenge

Now that I was home from the event and the transmission was toast knew I wouldn't be driving it on track anymore as a B series for sure. I decided to pull the car apart for the next phase.

I took out the stock b18 motor that had kicked so much ass for all this time.



I also started to completely stripped down the interior for some new cage work and what will be a full rewire and layout.


Also, in preparation for going back to fabrication and in the vein of weight savings I decided to finally remove all of the under coating off of the car. I had put doing this off forever but now was a good of a time as any.



As well as removing the coating I removed the seam sealer so that I could have the chassis stitch welded for additional rigidity and keep it from pulling itself apart with the new motor power.

This is always a HUGE pain in the ass to do and every time I do it I swear it will be my last time.

Underside was the absolute WORST. I cant thing of a dirtier job to do on a car. 

Each section took me at lead 4-5 hours to do over the course of a week or so.


The rear especially sucked with all the awkward curves and contours.

But I really think stitching and reinforcing the control arm points will pay off in the end for stability and chassis longevity.






After a week and a half of laying under a car with a torch, facemask, full tyvex and a corded drill I had burnt and scraped the whole bottom. After collecting what i could and putting it in a bag I weighted the soot and ashes that came off and found that this alone was about 15lbs. Actual on-the-car weight was probably more like 35-40 lbs as most rubberized material burnt into soot and smoke while blasting it with a torch. 


Next step was to rearrange some corner balance where i could. The new motor was going to be a bit heavier than the B18 so i would do well to spread the weight further out towards the back. I looked into my notes and found my previous corner weight specs.  I saw that the overall balance could be helped by moving everything i could to the rear of the car.

To this end I moved the battery, fire suppression system and some wiring as they are the heaviest movable things. This of course means that ill eventually need to re-plumb and rewire everything for the new locations which is worth it when looking to improve mechanical grip.


You may also notice that with the new motor im deciding to make the jump into the 21st century and use the latest technology. That being said I have picked up some solid state battery kills that will go along with the Cartek motorsports PDM. This means, instead of fuses and relays ill be able to run the car with smart electronics for a much cleaner and efficient install. I'll get more into this as i get further along in the build, but suffice to say this stuff is super trick and im excited to get started.

Next thing I needed to do was figure out what interior layout I would move forward with. I'll be reusing nothing from the previous builds wiring in this version, including gauges and dash set up.

After installing the new shifter box and reinstalling the seat I was able to rough out where i'd want to put the new PDM driver interface.


After planning out where it should go I decided to make a false floor that will hold the ECU and PDM module and be the central hub for the wiring that i'll need to make.
To do this I started with creating a cardboard template that I would then transfer over to some aerospace grade carbon sandwich plate I have. This stuff is not cheap so I refined the template over and over until I got the shape fit just right.


I then laid it out on the carbon fiber plate and carefully cut it.

Turned out pretty much perfect. Running this removable false floor will allow me to build and wire the majority of the stuff outside the car then transfer it all into the car with wiring attached and simply plug everything in.

I then created a template of a holder that I am going to have made in dry carbon. It will house the PDM and master kill switch. This will all be accessible while i'm strapped into the drivers seat and raised to stay outside of any water that may pool on the floor. This carbon piece is already being built and im excited to get it and start to get further along on the fitting.

That's pretty much all for now on the CRX there is quite a bit of things that need to happen in order to move this thing along. Unfortunately I am waiting on some other stuff to finish first before i'm able to continue the build. It shouldn't be too too long but well see how that goes. I already have a literal storage unit full of parts waiting to go and cant wait to get started.  

Friday, August 9, 2019

Red hot CRX


I really don't wanna write this but things are stacking up everyday- and the longer i hold off the more it feels like writing a term paper. Ugg. 

Before I start on the CRX here's an article that came out about the Spoon Sports car-

https://www.drivingline.com/articles/the-real-deal-spoon-sports-honda-accord-euro-r/


OK- So where we left off all that time ago I was about to get the CRX back from a 6 month tip to fabrication. the hiatus was a good and bad thing- obviously not a lot i can do on a car when its a couple hours away but it gave me some space at home to to work on the Spoon car.  It also gave me time enough to gather the parts I wanted. 

When I had initially brought the car to Chris we talked through the best way to attach the new aero bits. It was pretty obvious that the OEM bumpers and fenders had been chopped to pieces over the years and were not really in any shape to be modded again.  I also knew I wanted the option to run a bigger wheel and tire and doing so would be hard to do with the front end I had now, it started to make more and more sense that i just replace the worn out oem stuff with a new 3 piece. 

I got one of the very few kits on the market, although it was made for drag racing seemed like it would fit the bill. I could've had one custom molded, but i didn't really want to take the time unless I had specific plans to build to from, as of now the car was still in 'best guess' aero mode. So until i pay big bucks to an aerodynamicist to draw me plans to build to, this one will do.  

testfitted, old wheels. looks awful.

Once the new front end arrived the mock up for splitter height and mounting could begin. All the work that had been done in the past on the mounting locations an design was getting thrown away with the old bumper and fenders. This one was not only more sturdy, but would made quite a bit more down force. Chris figured out some quick disconnects that would allow for fast and easy bumper and splitter removal so I could get it onto the tow truck for transport. 


The rear diffuser and flat floor would also need to get redone.. the main focus this time around would be adjustability.  I had Chris build the diffuser on quick disconnect and hinge system so I'd be able to adjust the rake and trailer approach height.  I was future proofing the car for maximum adjustment without having to do a full fabrication rebuild. The plan that i don't think i've touched on is to step-up to data acquisition and install a real sensor package on the car. I have taken the car about as far as i want to with seat-of-the-pants type testing, I now feel that extracting the maximum potential will require actual number analysis, and everyone knows; to really take advantage of data you need to be able to make changes and see what works and what doesn't.

I have a package picked out and purchased, should be a game changer, ill go more in depth with that stuff on a future post.

Anyways, back to adjustability..
Hinged diffuser w/quick disconnect
Rear adjustment w/quick disconnect

In a further step to future-proof I've been toying with the idea of getting rear tire warmers for the winter. Ideally i'll eventually be able to get on track with a warm rear set so it would only take a half a lap to be ready for a flyer. Like I've said in the past- it takes some pretty hairy outlaps in this car to get temperature in the tires. Normally, it also means gridding at the back and fumbling through slower traffic once up to temps. With a rear Jacking point added I'll be able to easily have the car jacked up a couple inches, warmers on waiting for the grid call.

Another thing I had wanted to do this time around was to adjust the new 5 inch side skirts as far into the chassis as possible. The initial plan i'd discussed with Chris was to hang the flat floor lower and scavenge air off the splitter to help draw stagnant pressure out of the wheel wells. I, however, had not counted on the very limited ground clearance with the 15" wheels. If I were on 17's I would've had the room to lower floor and more ideally place the wheel well venting inboard.  In reality- the frame constraints, jack point placement and ride height needed for trailering on a non-flat bed meant we just couldn't pull off some of the ideas I was toying with. This is something I plan on re evaluating in the future when/if i decide to add more power and can make the case for a set of 17 inch wheels and appropriate clearances. 

This time around we managed to add about another 4 inches inboard of the side skirt (to about the tire center) not bad, not great.
top down
We also extend the side splitters to help keep air from disturbing the low pressure zone we hoped to create with the new flat floor. 
rear view
Once they were finalized I added some carbon fences to help channel the air out of the wells


After getting the tire to fender clearance numbers after a mock up- I took a deep dive on wheels and tires to narrow down what sizes i would run. I created a spread sheet with what was available wheel-wise then the sizes and spec of the tire i would be able to run.
This is a pretty critical job, by selecting a mis-sized wheel or offset it can limit or define what tires you'll be able to run on your car. You need to choose something that doesn't only fit- but also something that you'll be able to consistently get that will deliver performance and price you're ok with.  After doing a bunch of research i decided that I would upgrade to a 15x10 wheel, this is easier said than done when you're looking for a 4 lug 15 inch wheel. I was able to find a company that had just started producing an appropriately sized wheel. Luckly, I knew a really fast car that had already been running on them. I reached out and asked and they reported back no quality issues.  I decided I'd give then a try too. As far as the tire I decided on Hossier A6's. They are pretty much the zenith in the r-compound category, they have a reasonably good distribution network and made a size above and below the width that i'd spec'ed. This would be helpful in case I needed to make an unforseen change. The 'downside' is you get what you pay for- they are not cheap. They also don't last as long as you'd hope. Double wammy. This was sort of a realization that the CRX had leveled up into a pretty specialized machine. Gone were the days of running whatever tire i could find.  Once the chassis was set up for this tire I couldn't easily go back to a 'lesser' tire without making some pretty significant adjustments to alignment, pad compound and suspension knobs. 

15x10 next to a 15x9

The new Hoosiers mounted on the wheels headed over to the first test fit

Meanwhile Chris was busy with other things on the car.. Here's an example of the types of schematics id send over to Chris to illustrate what we were discussing over text.

He'd then send me picture of the ideas actualized. I admit that I'd see something or add something in some cases after he had started to finalize a design. It could derail progress now and then, but i would be able to spot something that i could see being a problem as we went. Luckly Chris was understanding and wouldn't get to upset at me.  


Because I replaced the old hacked OEM front bumper the duct that fed the air box had to be relocated. For ease of bumper install we moved the intake pick up into the front light and modified the filter box.



Much more straight forward than before.



After a few months of this passed the car started coming together. Unfortunately it was right in time for the weather to start heating up again. I'd be getting ready to get back on track right as the summer heat started to kick in.



 New flat floor was added. This was pre-naca duct additions. Also under the floor is a super light weight titanium exhaust.

Obligitory "standing on splitter" shot.
 Loaded up and ready to go home. You can see what i mean by tow bed clearance.  The tow truck has a dove tail where the kink stops about 1/3 the way back. Once the car is pulled on, the transitional kink takes up about an inch of ground clearance and comes really close to the flat floor. When towing on the freeway the CRX bounces and compresses over bumps and the flat floor can come really close to hitting the deck of the tow bed. Not ideally this is the reason I have to stay above a certain height with the floor unless i want to mess around with wooden wheel platforms and such.



Once back at home I still had quite a bit of small things to do before I could get the car on track.

Firstly, I'd need to do some general maintenance on things I'd been meaning to check.
I started with the steering rack. I had put in some new tire rod inners when installing the quaife rack and i wasn't to-to happy about their quality. I had waited on some back ordered ProForged parts to show up and they finally had. Since I needed to do a corner balance and alignment before any track time I would want to do all changes to the suspension before hand.

You can see how much beefier the new parts are than the old ones.


Next up was the Honed Racing steering rack kit. With the new sticky rubber and increased the scrub radius of the new wheel and tire, the car was going to likely be much harder to turn on track. In fact while pulling it out of the shop I started to get concerned that I would need to fit some sort of electronic power assist to the steering to cope. Steering effort under 20mph was increased by about 80% over what it used to be. In the end I decided to wait and get it on track to see if it was manageable at speed before throwing money and complexity at one of these systems. What i did know for sure was that any deflection i could get out of the rack now that i had this bigger set up was going to be for the better as far as steering feel.

Unfortunately i found that the kit from Honed was made for the CRX's of the Australian market, which come with power steering. My car has a 100% manual rack. Because of this I had to leave off the clamp bushing and reused the poly one that I had been running on the car. I did change out the bolt-through bushings, which will definitely make a positive difference.
Manual vs power clamp bushings



Once the rack was all sorted I wanted to add some sort of heat shielding to the alumilite on the underside as it sat closer than before to the new titanium exhaust.


I picked up some DEI heat barrier. I've used the product in the past and have always been quite impressed by it's performance.


I removed the under tray and applied the shielding directly to the alumilite with provisions for the naca ducts.

I also added more shielding to the exhaust pipes around the fuel cell itself.

And even more to the undertray.

Below is the 'turn up' that v-band clamps to the end of the exhaust. It points the exiting exhaust gasses up and out into the same path as the diffuser flow. This should help add energy to the laminar flow under the car and promote lower pressures. 




I then had a few small fit and finish details to add like adding thick neoprene bumpers to the air ducting that sits against the radiator.  Things like this move and shake on track basically turning into a oscillating cutter. 



I also cleaned the exchanger element and pre charged it with oil before putting it back on the car.

Ducting reinstalled.

In the downtime I'd picked up a Nitrogen refill canister kit for high end shocks. I've since used it a few times to check levels and the levels on some friends cars. So far, everyone's shocks that I've checked have been about 100psi under recommended specs. Public service announcement. Don't assume your shock pressures are good.

Sure enough, the CRX were low on all four corners. I inflated them to the upper end of the range per JRZ spec. You can actually use pressures to make adjustments to what would be your effective spring rates. I wanted to start at the high end and bleed pressures down as i saw fit.

Another thing that I wanted to do was adjust the rear camber on the car. I was seeing the inside shoulder getting the majority of roll-off from the tires outside edge. This let me know that in some corners I was liking seeing positive camber values on the rear under load. I'll increase the rear camber until I see an even wear surface across the face of the tire. I already run a lot of rear camber on the car- but clearly its not enough.
Inside shoulder on right -->

Lastly, after adjusting the alignment I corner weighted the car with to compensate for the new changes. I took 50lbs off the car, which is impressive having added the new structures as attachment points for the flat floor. Most of this weight came off in the form of the rear hatch that I'd replaced with a molded carbon one. More pics of this later on in the post. 

This is with 200lbs of drivers weight as ballast.
After corner weight and alignment I built a reinforcement plate for the gurney flap that's attached to the new hatch. This adds some rear structure for the hatch to ride on and keep it from buffeting at speed.
Add caption
Also built these seats for the hatch to rest on.

 The new front end being fiberglass took a bit of 'finishing' to get it all to line up correctly. This really is the type of stuff i hate doing. 



Thats what we call "good nuff" for a racecar

It was starting to come together. Every night I was wrapping up some odds and ends because I was in a hurry.  I had an event at Streets of willow coming up and was hustling to get the car ready to go in time.

Side skirt detail.

One of the last thing I wanted to do was get more air to vent out of the bay. Now that everything was sealed up the heat soak was becoming really hard on transmission, fuel and Intake air tempatures. I was actually noticing this even before the new aero and floor was put on.

  In fact, the car had become so sensitive to heat soaking on the hot grid I had to remember to shut off the engine until the last possible second before they let us out.

I could always get the water and oil temperatures down pretty quickly once moving but anything inside the bay that wasn't ducted would start to bake. this included the air intake box and the transmission case. After a session you couldn't even put a finger on the case without burning yourself. I really wated to try and help this by moving the heat. I got some of the largest carbon vents I could find and added them to the hood.

That should help, hopefully.



 Now that the car was ready to go to the track i nervously loaded it up and crossed my fingers that it wouldn't but itself to the ground when i got there.

The event was at Streets Of Willow for HFF challenge. This was going to be a shake down run for all of the new aero and tire package. I mildly stiffened all of the shocks to help cope with the new compound I also put back on my aggressive race compound pads up front. With a lesser tire i was just locking up the wheel into every corner, with the new set up I should have the grip needed for this compound to do its job.

I took the car off the trailer and drive it around the pits. This was the first time I had done anything but idle it up to temps in my driveway. When driving it around i realized that it was really smelling badly. I assumed the new exhaust parts were 'burning in'; this is to be expected whenever adding parts on the exhaust or parts close to the exhaust- there's always a certain amount of stuff that will burn off and smell weird until its gone. Its always a fine balance to know when to worry and when to not worry.  I decided not to worry and removed the lexan windows before the session so i can have a steady supply of fresh air in the cabin.

Grid-up and get on track, first lap is at 70% pace i put down a 1:23.8. Wow, ok, nice.

The car was still smoking in the cabin as much as before but i decide it was probably ok to run another lap- I watched the corner workers for a meatball flag to let me know if was on fire or not. 

Second lap- I come around full blast. 

Car feels great, turn in grip is amazing and I definitely feel like I'm leaving quite a bit on the table.



I come across the start finish and see I managed a 1:21.7 which is a new SOW na FWD record. In fact, I had reset my old record by a full second. vid below.



In the video you can see I was still in 'feel out' mode, not attacking as hard as i would've once i was comfortable in the car.

 When I crossed the start finish I noticed the smoke was billowing into the cabin from the floor itself. I parked it and let it cool down. after inspection i decided that i would park it for the rest of the day and wait until i got home to see what the deal was.  After really only running one lap at speed I still set the record. I cannot wait to go back when its a little cooler and I have all of the small gremlins sorted out.

Later at home, It turns out that i was literally cooking the under coating off of the bottom of the chassis and baking the paint off the inside of the car. I melted part of my racing boot and was very likely heating up my fuel lines.
Heat blistering on the inside of the 'trans tunnel'

Here's a really cool picture that was done by someone at the event. Seriously rad.


I ordered somemore lava mat and header wrap.

Once the floor was off I saw two things, the exhaust had shifted left and was burning the rubber exhaust hanger and I'd also cooked the rubberized under coating till it was brittle and dry. I'm thankful that there wasn't a flash ignition, with how buried this stuff is under the car it would have probably meant that the entire thing would have gone up in flames.



I pulled off the exhaust and cleaned it with alcohol in preparation of wrapping it.

For maximum heat insulation opted to do double layering of the wrap over the entire tube section. Just make sure if you're planning on doing this- wear gloves and long pants.
Done and wrapped


Next I took a few days to lay under the car with a wire wheel and electric drill. I probably got the dirtiest that i've ever been. This undercoating is the devils dandruff. It. gets. everywhere. Its like sand, but and melts when you get it to body temperature. Even after wearing throwaway overalls and a hoodie I ended up having to shave my head because it was all clumped into my hair. I had black eye boogers for a week afterwards. This was all in preparation for the heat shielding layer I was going to add to the bottom of the car.


I also decided to over kill the wrapping on the fuel cell. Like I said I have a feeling that I am still heating up the fuel pretty considerably.

New wrapping on the fuel cell. Should do a better job tha just the gold foil tape. 

 After a hell-week of getting this done i prepped the metal for rust and applied the heat shield.

From what wasnt stuck on my hair and clothes i managed to sweep up about a pound of rubberized under coating. Probably about double this came off the bottom of the car in total.

I cut and shaped sections and applied to the bottom of the car. It takes longer to do this than you think it should, but remember, take your time and be conscious of the way you cut the sections so they can lay flat.


Once I re installed the shiftier I also gave a shield to the delrin shift bushings that are exposed to the heat of the exhaust, they looked to be in good shape after the few laps but to add to their longevity i figured why not.


Once it was all applied I re installed the newly wrapped exhaust and replaced the rubber hanger with a metal hose clamp safety wired in place (You can kinda see it at the bottom of the picture)



After that non-so-fun project was finished I had a couple days to prep the car again for Buttonwillow. I wanted to see if what i had done was going to make a difference. it was also probaly the last track day until October that would be cool enough to set a decent time.  I loaded up on a Friday night and trucked it out. Even by now the weather was getting warm, 85* forecast... but with a chance of rain. I decided that i'd know within session if what i'd done was working. I figured if it started raining id just cut the day short.
Quiet night camping before the trackday. 

Next morning I grid up and head out on track. The morning weather was pretty mild and the car felt decent,  after two laps to re aqaint myself with the car on BWcw13 I ended up snagging a 1:54.4 despite some major blockage by some Porsche's. The other good news is that the billowing smoke issue was gone but the floor was still getting hot, especially under my shoes. 

CRX right up there with the big boys- 130k cars with more triple the HP. I cant say i was to bummed about that. I knew there was a 53 in the car that day but it just wasn't meant to be. I am about a second away from my goal for the car.




Unfortunately, and probably due to the aforementioned heat build up i blew a band off of one of my axles and it spewed thick CV grease all over my engine bay. I have done this twice now and it sucks everytime to clean up.  Once I saw the CV was done i decided to load up the car and call it after two sessions. I was pretty happy all things considered. 

Its like melted icecream mixed with honey and dogshit.


As if on cue the rains rolled in from the north and we got walloped with some showers.

 I was really wishing i had a fun RWD car to enjoy the wet track with (foreshadowing)


When driving over the grade the 5 freeway got hit with a mini-burst of rain, literally there was 3 inches of standing water on the Tejon pass. I was SO happy to not be trailering, but rather driving a 6k lbs+ Dually.


Next week was spent scooping CV grease off of everything. Yuck.



I also noticed that while I track that interior was getting a lot warmer than it'd gotten before. I cut some more heat shielding and laid it where possible along the path of the exhaust pipes.


Hopefully this helps a bit going into the summer months.



I also decided to use a carbon floor plate that I had been hanging onto for a while. I carefully notched it for the roll cage and dead pedal then ordered various different height vibration dampers.

I riv-nutted threaded sockets onto the floor and depending on the height needed I threaded in different length vibration spacers so that i could end up with a level plane for the floor plate.


The floor plate is a nice dry carbon part from Hendrix NASCAR that weighs like 2 ounces. Its got rolled edges and has just a slight amount of 'give' to it. The whole idea is create an air gap between my heels and the floor.

Looking good installed,I used some shallow head allen bolts as hardware. This should now keep my racing shoes from melting. I added some grip tape in the center for traction where i pivot my heel.


On inspection I also noticed that I was dragging the rear tire across the diffuser. I assume this was happening when the tires were cold and low on pressure. Since I have to start the Hoosiers around 22psi i'd imagine there is a substantial amount of tire lean before they get appropriately firm.

You can see where the tire was rolling over onto the diffuser. I had Chris cut them as close to the tire as possible.
I trimmed off about 1/2 inch on each side to get better clearance for that in the future.


The next thing I wanted to do was add some sort of air moving around in the cabin. I was feeling uncomfortably warm after about 10 or so min on track. A while back in a trade I had gotten a scoop off of a USAF Reaper drone from someone that was doing composites for the government . This is a really REALLY cool piece, you can tell its military aviation quality. 


After looking around to see where to put it on the car i noticed it fit perfectly in the OEM fuel door. The curved body of the scoop matched identically to the CRX's rear quarter panel radius. The 3 inch outlet only needed minor trimming to fit in the now unused fuel filler hole. 

After cutting I used edge lining to finish the hole.  
3inch vent now installed. 

Once I had the vent in place I got some 3 inch flexi-racecar hose with stainless spiral wire and hooked one end to the new scoop. I fed it through the cabin and attached it to provisions i had welded onto the cage with some plastic ties.





The blower end was fit into my center net so it would pipe air right under my helmet and on my chest for maximum cooling and to keep my glasses from fogging up.

For a while I'd been thinking about changing the color of the crx - especially after changing the front end. I was annoyed that the new naked white fiberglass fenders and bumper didn't match the pearl paint that was on the rest of the car. There were also few spots on the rear quarter that needed some correction. Not that I really cared about that type of thing but i figured that it would be kinda cool to have a new color on the car.   After some debate i decided on going with a formula red similar to my NSX. I really like red cars and figured with the carbon fiber accents it would look especially mean.  

A friend of a friend, Bao, did it over the course of 5 nights. Every night he'd work until like 5 am when i was asleep, id come out in the morning before work to have a look and get more and more excited with the progress. 


Once it was all finished he came over with a real camera and got some really cool shots of it before i had a chance to screw it up on track. 






You can see here in this top down shot the new carbon fiber hatch I was mentioning earlier in the post.


Right after the color changed me and Amir from RS-Future got the car up to the Balcony at WSIR for some testing. We'd noticed in the the data from the Streets Of Willow record lap that there were a few things worth looking into. Brakes, for one, were WAY down on maximum G's. I was able to consistently able pull 1.3+ sustained G's, but I was maxing out braking at around .6-.7G's which was lower than it should've been. We suspected some hardware issues or maybe just not having enough confidence in the car yet to brake harder.  To sort this out we coned up much of the skid pad to verify that the data we were seeing from the on track session was in fact reliable. 

Short video from Amirs channel on the testing here.

In the end I ran 100+ laps on the skid pad and did quite a bit of  threshold braking from 70mph. We also took data on temps and pressures for correlation later. The bummer is this time of year are really hot months. its hard on people and equipment, especially when running short tracks with not a lot of opportunity to get good airflow. We got a lot of usable data but had to wait on some other stuff too. Once the tires were corded we resolved to come back when it was cooler with a fresh set and get the remaining data we need.

Tires after the test day and about 5 sessions of track time total. 

I was going to take the rest of the summer off in the CRX, wait for cooler weather, then continue with testing.  Like I was saying in the beginning of the post the car had become so sensitive to heat that anything over 80* i could count on it being a few SECONDS off its normal lap time. 



Fast forward a month or so later- I get a call from Duane. He was running the annual 'FF battle' event for Super Street magazine. Basically they run two competition classes- Street and Race. There are typically about 40 or so cars that are invited to sign up. "Street" has a 200 tread wear rule and "Race" has a 100 tread wear rule- all other mods are open. Like I was saying; I had not planned on driving in this event, or any event for the next few months when Duane called and asked if my car was ready. The car was technically 'ready' as long as i got some tires that fit the rule set. Duane offered to mount up some AR1 Nankangs at a discount so that would be eligible. 

  "Uhh ok."  Guess I was going to drive. We mounted the tires and I basically only checked the oil. 

Now I knew there would be a some differences going from a 40TW tire to a 100TW tire but I had no time to do any sort of changes to the car. Sure I could turn a bunch of knobs and change alignment but i had nothing to base any potential changes off of. The second hurdle was that the morning session would be the fastest and at 9am it was already supposed to be 95+... the forecast had heat peaking at 107* around 1pm. Gulp.  
 Cold pressures, hot pressures, shock setting and driving style  are all needed to pull the most out of a tire, and at the very least you'd need a handful of sessions to even start to figure that stuff out.   In this case i would have to go out on track cold, in a car that had been set up for a 40tw Hoosier on a new tire and cross my fingers that everything was going to translate.

First session was indeed hot and after a brief wait on the hotpit we were released on track, i dropped the hammer and blasted up the pit exit- I could already feel the "lap 3 lazy" groan in the car, its similar to standing up out of bed the morning after an intense workout, you can manage, but you're definitely not in peak performance.  As far as the car, things just don't feel as peppy. Heel toe shifts aren't as crisp and as usual and even the down hill full throttles blasts felt lazy and labored. Its interesting how all this steel and oil has a personality.

I did a warm up lap just to see how the tires felt and they actually felt OK. Next lap around was 'it'. Cross start finish and blast up the hill, First sector was decent.  i turn into the back right and into the part of the track where the CRX normally excels.. -shit- someone had knocked a cone right into the middle of the track and i had to juke offline to not wack my new aero full blast. I spend the next few laps trying to keep the car and tires cool, not revving it until i crossed the start finish line. I'd do the first sector and cross my fingers that someone else had knocked the cone off line, when rounding the corner i'd still find it in on line and abort the lap. Normally I would have just pulled off track and called that session a loss- but in this event format and the weather we were expected to have i knew i needed to stay out and make the most of it. After 4 or 5 laps of false starts like this my on board clock told me this next one would be my last chance to put down a time. My oil temps were high, water temps were on the warning light and my water pressure warning was flickering- meaning i was starting to blow off the radiator cap's pressure.  I figured it was now or never and i would do at LEAST one lap. I came around the back corner and sure enough the cone was still right there in the middle of the track. I adjusted my line slightly and whacked it right on the right side of the front splitter. I expected damage to either the splitter and/or the new bumper and was rather annoyed that i found myself in this position. I finished the rest of the lap with some sloppy lock ups and a non revving car.

Sure enough my last lap was my fastest with a 1:23.7. (I only found out after checking the times since timer wasn't registering the start finish line.)
 Compromised line, hot car, broken splitter end pate and tires that had soared to 36psi (about 7psi outside of the recommended 'fast' pressures) I actually should've been pretty happy to have pulled off a 23.7 on mystery tires in the 100* heat- but in reality i was more annoyed than anything.

I had to wait until lunch to go find the part that cracked off my splitter. 

 In prep for the next session I tried to adjust pressures so they would peak at 29PSI when hot, after coming in so high from the last session i had to lower them substantially to be in-window. The plan for session two was to go out for a recon lap, one flyer, then come into the hotpit. Billy in the hot pits would check pressures and if needed bleed them down, i'd then go out again and try and set a lap- id have a hot car from waiting on hot pits for the pressure check, but at least id have ok tire pressures.

  Session 2 came 103* temps. I went out, did recon and immediately started a flyer. I got close to my first session time, "ok" i thought "not bad".. I did a quick in-lap to the hot pits as planned. Billy read the pressures and stuck his head back in my window and said "Fronts are at 24PSI.." "WTF" i thought.  Why are these so low... I knew if i wanted to have any chance i'd need to add air. I looked at my clock and did some quick math. I could make this work.

 I used the cut through from the hot pits and chirped to a stop in front of my truck. I had Regan use my portable compressor and air the tires up 28psi while i stayed strapped in the car.  Sessions were scheduled to be 30 min- so we should be good for this adjustment and to get back on track and set one lap. 

  While Regan filled the tires Amir put a gallon of fuel in the car.
 Once done I jammed back to the hot pit to get released back on track, my clock said i had 7 min left which would be plenty of time for an outlap and one flyer. Looking at the track there was one car on it. "Here we go" i thought.

As i pull up to the line and motion to the grid flagger i needed to get out in the session, she walks up and says. "Can you hold on a second i need to take this person to the turn one flag station."... "..UMM WHAT? I only have 7 min to do two laps!.."  im yelling and flailing to her through my lexan window, window net, helmet and nomex balaclava, she oblivious. She gets into a car and literally drives 5mph up to turn one... Meanwhile im cussing at the top of my lungs. I watch as she excruciatingly slowly makes the 3pt turn to come back. Once she leisurely gets out of her car and walks back to the line i see i only have ONE MIN left to go in my session... ARE YOU KIDDING ME.

She points to me and gives me the flag to get on track.  I think for a second and figure 'Well, fuck em." ill do my out lap and just use the checker lap to set my time.  Checker is supposed to be a cool down but whatever. This is a private event, I'll explain to anyone who cares later.  First lap outta hot pits obviously don't count, you gotta cross the start/finish before the timer starts.. as i'm coming around to break the beam on what is supposed to be the start of my my checker lap (that i'm about to use as a hotlap) I see this same lady releasing the next session of cars into the track..

 WWTTTFFFFF!?!? Grid worker Incompetence totally fucking torched my session.

The temps were already high and the car already felt slow- so who knows what i coulda done. I *do* know that that was my best chance at getting into the 22 which is what it would have taken to win.


Obviously hot and annoyed at everything by this point, i knew i wasn't going any faster from that session onward. I parked the car and waited in the AC of the Streets building for the awards and then the magazine photo shoots. It was still cool to hang out with friends but i knew i could have and should have done better. The days winning time was a hell of a lap done by Jon. Frustrating for me, because i know my car has run consistently at the pace of the winning time on a similar tire in the past. Oh well, It didn't work out for me this day for whatever reason.  "That's racing" as they say.  Congratulations to all the competitors.   





Coverage of the event here:

http://www.superstreetonline.com/event-coverage/motorsports/eneos-spec-clutch-ff-battle-11-race-class/

This one is long enough for now. I have quite a bit more to post about something else but ill do that later.