Lessons Learned from Our 2017 Track Day @ Laguna Seca - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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Lessons Learned from Our 2017 Track Day @ Laguna Seca

Today I took my tbird track car out to Laguna Seca for a track day. As some of you know, I take my tbird out for one 24 Hours of Lemons race and one track day a year. I went with the same group I've taken the car out with before (friend of a friend organizes it) and this year it seems like there were more everyday nice cars than there were exotics at this track day (previous times it would be Porsche Porsche Porsche Ferrari Ferrari Noble 12 Skyline GTR... and one 95 Ford Thunderbird). While there were still some Ferraris , an open wheel car, and some fancy Porsches like a GT3 present, most people brought Corvettes, Mustangs, and other more common performance cars. Of course, because one of the track day organizers is tied in with a Fiat Owner's Club, the number of Abarths and random interesting Fiats was higher than average.

I also got to test out a 360 camera that utilizes the DSP core my company licenses. The Evomotion ROD-1 can be bought in china for literally <$100 and works surprisingly well for it's price. Video resolution is 3K @ 30FPS but Youtube knocks it down to 1080p. The android control app is a bit weak but the image quality is pretty good (esp at this price point).

Since I already had a screw hole in my tbirds roof to secure the pipe from our last theme, I repurposed it as a mount for this 360 Camera. It's going to be awesome for our next lemons race.

UPDATE: I figured out how to use avidemux to trim the video and another tool to reinject the 360 cam era metadata



Observations
- Laguna Seca is a MUCH faster track in terms of speed than Sears Point (where we do our lemons race every year). There are more straightaways which means we needed to bleed more speed off to make the hairpins than at Sears Point. I was surprised but the corkscrew is much more scary in Forza than it is in Real Life.

- Good news: I did my best to really push the suspension to gain confidence in our car again and this was successful. These were dry conditions (compared to the damp/wet last race) but dialing back the rear sway bar seems to have made our car much more neutral vs prone to oversteer. Both me and my teammate Brett like it. Our new Halo seat has also worked out well although the slider tends to rock just a little bit when you go from WOT to full brake (I replaced the dual locking sliders with a single locking one).

- Our subframe braces ended up bottoming out in 2 of the corners and "clearanced" themselves. We ran our used set of 225/45-R16 Direzzas which dropped the car about 1/2" lower compared to the set of 225/50-R16 BFG Rivals we used in our last race. When looking at the car, you could see the two tabs I had welded to mount the braces to the frame rails were sticking out just a little low. After a few sessions though, we ground enough clearance so problem solved. We plan go to with 255/40-R17s for our next race which will give us enough ride height.

- Minor items found to solve: I need to increase the wire thickness going into the relay for one of my fan relays; we noticed between sessions that our puller fan was working but our pusher fan was idle. Luckily, oil temps never climbed above 255F (at the pan).

- Oil pressure seems a little low; I need to double check the formula I used for the transfer function on the new oil pressure sensor but it never dropped below 25PSI but never really climbed above 35PSI either (previously we used an electric autometer gauge vs a digital one). I suspect the programming of the digital gauge might have gotten messed up (it also forgot it's alarm setting). Either way, we'll test the oil and replace it with 6.5 qts of 20W-50 and 1qt of Lucas before our next race anyway just to be safe (We have an Accusump+oil cooler so our system capacity is 7.5-8.5 qts).

- KEY ISSUE TO SOLVE: At least for a racetrack like Laguna Seca, we need more braking capacity than we have today. I know MadMikey has always advocated us to do a 13" Cobra swap (over the PBRs we are rocking today) but not having enough braking power at Sears Point has never an issue for us in previous races despite the tbird's weight. This might have changed now that we are putting down a decent amount of power.

1) Going into this race, our front race pads (Porterfield r4e compound endurance pads @ ~$200/set) probably had 50% life in them. Our previous fancy brake pads (same compound) lasted 6 races but we haven't been making as much power reliably until now so we haven't been going as fast.
2) These were worn out (one bent and started crumbling halfway through yesterday's track day) so I had to swap the trashed pad with the best used one I kept from our first set.
3) Passenger side PBR calipers seemed to be toast (rubber boot around both pistons burned off and pistons look a bit deformed). I don't remember if these are the original PBR calipers I swapped in 7 races ago or if these are new ones I swapped in before our last race. Either way, this ones toast.
4) Rear brake pads/rotors were Ok but need to be replaced as well. The pads are nothing special Wagner PD599.
5) Net result is that braking throughout the track day felt a bit variable (sometimes the distance you had to press on the brake pedal seemed to vary and sometimes thec ar would pull slightly to the left under braking). Neither of these built confidence in our tbird's braking system for a race.

MY QUESTION
Since we will be rocking 17" rims for our next race, going to the 13" Cobra calipers becomes a possibility now (esp if I have to swap pads/calipers anyway).

If I do go with the 13" Cobra Calipers (or PBR calipers from a C5 vette since they won't carry the "Cobra premium"), I don't really have an interest in swapping the rear calipers to Cobra as well (esp since I'm sticking with the tbird bolt pattern anyway).
http://forums.tccoa.com/37-work-prog...ig-brakes.html

Q: Will having 13" Rotors and Cobra Calipers with stock tbird rear calipers mess up my brake bias and perhaps more importantly will the 95 tbirds's ABS still work properly? Or, will I need to install a proportioning valve to make sure brake balance is OK again? I'm not a masochist and having operational ABS helps us out brake a ton of other cars when we race despite our heavier weight.

I could rebuild things like I have now (replace pass front Mustang GT front caliper, new front r4e pads, new pads for rear) but I'm a bit worried that this isn't going to be good enough.
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Last edited by S4gunn; 11-01-2017 at 01:58 AM.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 05:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S4gunn View Post
MY QUESTION
Since we will be rocking 17" rims for our next race, going to the 13" Cobra calipers becomes a possibility now (esp if I have to swap pads/calipers anyway).

If I do go with the 13" Cobra Calipers (or PBR calipers from a C5 vette since they won't carry the "Cobra premium"), I don't really have an interest in swapping the rear calipers to Cobra as well (esp since I'm sticking with the tbird bolt pattern anyway).
http://forums.tccoa.com/37-work-prog...ig-brakes.html

Q: Will having 13" Rotors and Cobra Calipers with stock tbird rear calipers mess up my brake bias and perhaps more importantly will the 95 tbirds's ABS still work properly? Or, will I need to install a proportioning valve to make sure brake balance is OK again? I'm not a masochist and having operational ABS helps us out brake a ton of other cars when we race despite our heavier weight.

I could rebuild things like I have now (replace pass front Mustang GT front caliper, new front r4e pads, new pads for rear) but I'm a bit worried that this isn't going to be good enough.
I'm running 13" rotors and PBR's on my setup and I've swapped to Cobra rear rotors with SC rear calipers (no difference really). I don't have ABS in my model year. The general feedback from me and everyone else is that I need to remove the stock fixed proportioning valve and put in adjustable proportioning valves(s). I have way more braking in the front than the rear and it makes locking up the fronts very easy to do. It's on my winter time list of things to do.

I think the swap makes good sense for you and your use case, just address the brake bias and it should be fine.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 07:20 AM
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I don't think much of a difference in braking comes from the rear cobra rotors, so I think you will be fine with the stock proportioning valve. I have never run the cobra fronts with stock rears, but I have run cobra rears with GT PBR fronts, and the braking ability felt the same as with the stock rear brakes. Also look at how many Mustang guys swap the cobra front brakes on, but keep the stock rears, which are similar in size to ours. As a matter of fact, Ford themselves even did that with the Mach1, which uses the same front calipers and rotors as the cobra, but the same rear brake setup as the GT.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 07:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadMikeyL View Post
I don't think much of a difference in braking comes from the rear cobra rotors, so I think you will be fine with the stock proportioning valve. I have never run the cobra fronts with stock rears, but I have run cobra rears with GT PBR fronts, and the braking ability felt the same as with the stock rear brakes. Also look at how many Mustang guys swap the cobra front brakes on, but keep the stock rears, which are similar in size to ours. As a matter of fact, Ford themselves even did that with the Mach1, which uses the same front calipers and rotors as the cobra, but the same rear brake setup as the GT.
Maybe it's just the benefit of ABS but on my non-ABS car, the rear brakes are not getting used much at all and my fronts lock very easily since I've got the 13" fronts. The recommendation from the guys I race with has been to get a different proportioning valve setup.

"When the only tool you have is a hammer, suddenly everything looks like a nail."
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 03:44 PM
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Great video, Thanks!!
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 04:43 PM
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Gunn, that is a great video; I am So jelly!

I'd love to be able to drive that track; should I ask what that costs, lol?


I love the camera; I'll try to find one of those.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grog6 View Post
Gunn, that is a great video; I am So jelly!

I'd love to be able to drive that track; should I ask what that costs, lol?


I love the camera; I'll try to find one of those.

Track Day Costs (typical):
* overnight at a nearby hotel/motel so you can get to the track at first light: $75-100
* Fuel for Tow Vehicle: $100
* UHaul Rental (2 days + tax + insurance since we were going to a hotel vs straight to the track): $135
* Track Day Fee: We paid $300. Most track days are $175-400 if you bring your own car.
* Tires: we used a used 16" set.
* Brake Pads: we basically killed our front Porterfield R4e pads and had to switch one side to some spares. If we stick with the PBRs, this means we'll need to buy a new set of pads for our next race ($200).
* Fuel: we ran for 2 hrs on the track (6 sessions of 20min each) and burned maybe 20-25 gallons (how much is left in our car is still TBD as I haven't pumped the tank dry yet). Call is $100 worth of Fuel.
--

If you drive your car to the track, your cost will be less but I would budget $400-500 for expenses plus some portion of consumables for a track day.


We left a little early (mainly because we had found all of our issues and we were feeling less confident in what's left of our pads). If you watch the video, you'll see that if your brakes go out you are going to lose the car in most turns on this track. We didn't damage our car at all (or even go off track) but there's no sense in pushing your luck. If you overcook a turn and slap your rear end into a sidewall like that Ferrari Mondial in my video, this track day is going to be a bit more expensive for you.

-g

---
I'm not sure if this camera went into full production as it looks like they changed the physical packaging slightly (still powered by the Rockchip RK1108 chip though).
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Wund...833277564.html

Wonder360 S1 - $250 shipped or $110/ea in 100 unit quantities (so get 99 friends)

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Wund...834794930.html
http://evomotion.manufacturer.global...ion-camera.htm

Wunder360 C1 - $195/ea (or $90 ea in 500unit quantities so get 499 friends)
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Wund...833277564.html
http://evomotion.manufacturer.global...mic-Camera.htm

You gotta love the Chinese. Apparently, someone has knocked off the ROD1 and called it a NOD1.
I have no idea what SW it uses or what silicon powers it but it seems like the resolution is worse (2560x1280)
https://www.alibaba.com/product-deta...602596930.html

The Go Pro Fusion is coming out soon; we'll see how much better it is than these cheapie ones for a $699 price tag (5.2K video would probably be nice compared to the 3K video the EVOMOTION cameras can do). NOTE: the source video I captured before uploading to youtube is better than what i captured but not THAT much better -- still looks crappy than what a HERO from the past few years can do.

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Last edited by S4gunn; 10-26-2017 at 06:27 PM.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-27-2017, 01:40 AM Thread Starter
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Moved my brake questions to a separate technical thread. I'll keep discussion of the 360 cameras and the experience here.

http://forums.tccoa.com/45-brakes/18...-calipers.html

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-01-2017, 02:05 AM Thread Starter
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I figured out how to use avidemux and the spatial media metadata injector (https://support.google.com/jump/answer/7044297?hl=en) to edit down the deadspace in our videos.

Here are two more sessions if interested..


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