After working my ass off this winter to get the car ready, I finally got a chance to try it out at Sandia Motor Speedway this past Sunday. It Is a very challenging circuit with lots of things to hit if you go off. Here's a lap video, it's a couple years old, but the track hasn't changed a bit.
I am now running on Hankook Z211 DOT Rs (C50 med compound) with koni struts, Whiteline "control" springs, and Noltec camber/castor plates. Holy cow !! What a difference
I wanted to run the track on my winter tires, to get a comparison, but I needed to change my swaybar settings, which is easier with the wheels off, so I just slapped on the track tires. I drove the course in November on a set of Dunlop Direzza's (tire shop mistake !) and was timing in the 1:49 - 1:51 range. My first session out, I ran 1:42s Subsequent sessions got me down to the high 1:40s. Because of the walls, and wanting to heat cycle the tires in properly, I didn't go full out. I never got the tires to talk to me much, but did get a couple of four wheel slides in the hairpins. I think that the grip is awesome, but I won't get much warning when I've reached the limits. I'll get a chance to find those limits on a track with some run-off.
The fellow with the black Porche 996 that's behind me in my avatar pic was there, and I can tell you, he won't be that close to me again this year. He's running the same tires too !! There were very few cars taking advantage of the track time for testing. A very quick '74 240Z with race slicks was the only car lapping faster than my little grocery getter. I took the test opportunity to get tire temps with a pyrometer, and of course pressures. I measured inside, outside and center temps. I haven't gotten an allignment, since the suspension just
went on, but by using marks on the cam bolts, I'm thinking that it must be pretty good from the evenness of my tire temps. Cold pressures of 38 & 35 didn't seem quite right so I ended up with 40 and 35. Coming off track they were 46 and 39 and felt good with no signs of roll over. My front brake rotors were at about 550 F after a cool down lap, but it was a cool day (45-50) and I think the brake ducts are doing their job.
I set the Konis right in the middle of their adjustment range, and it felt right for this track that has a lot of dips, bumps and banking. I'll need a lot more experience with those to get an idea where they need to be for different surfaces. I will be getting a full performance allignment next week from a shop in ABQ. They have corner scales so I am going to at least find out how much to compensate damping on the different wheels. I'll be getting them to set me for max positive castor. I'm hoping for 4.5 - 5 degrees, but don't know if the plates are good for that much. Camber up front, I'm going to ask for 2.4, rear 1.5 and no toe.
I am very pleased with the new handling, lap times bear out that it was well worth the effort, and with an allignment, should only improve. I will be ordering another set of the Hankooks in a C 30 hard compound for later in the season, when the tracks are hotter, and I don't think I'll get more than 3 or 4 weekends out of the first set. I hope there's more, but..... They are certainly a great deal at $110 a tire. Too bad that's a close out price. Thank god I had a chance to get out on track, before I lost my mind waiting for the season to start. I'll post some on track shots if my buddy got any that are usable.
Here's the wear after 3 15-20 minute sessions, not bad....