Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Front-Engine, Rear-wheel-Drive Sport

or FR-S for short......I pulled the trigger a few days ago and put a deposit down on a 2013 Firestorm Red Scion FR-S with the 6-speed manual transmission. My new car just arrived in America and should be at the dealership in the next few days for me to pick up. It took me well over a month to find a 6MT FR-S in a color I wanted. Red was my top choice and I finally found one that happened to be allocated to Putnam Toyota in Altus, OK. I never thought I would be buying a car in Altus, OK but Kim at Putnam was great to work with and found me the car I wanted! Putnam Toyota is about 250mi from San Angelo so I will be making the trek after work one day with Ali to pick up the new whip....I can't wait.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Adios Miata....

I've been talking about selling my Miata for about a year and a half now....but I finally did it. I listed the Miata for sale last month and now it is on it's way home to an autocross in Virginia (go figure!). Corey lives in the Norfolk area and will be autocrossing with all of the Tidewater guys, so he will be racing against a bunch of folks I used to race against!

Here is the car right before he started the 1,500mi journey home:

I am going to miss this car - the great Miata chassis and steering coupled with the responsive Turbo engine was great fun. Now for the fun part though.....what to replace it with??

ESP Camaro Testing in College Station, TX

 Lane and I packed up and ready to test in College Station

Lane Borg and I did a two-day "Solo Nationals Prep" test in College Station, TX in his A-Stock Corvette and my ESP Camaro. The test days were hosted by the Texas A&M Sports Car Club (big thanks to these guys!) and we had the help of our friend and co-worker Josh Pu'u. Josh helped us swap parts on the cars, take tire temperatures and generally helped run the test. He was a huge help and neither of us would have gotten as much done without out him. Also in our posse for the weekend was our buddy Yama. He brought his rad Porsche Cayman R for some HQDA (high-quality dicking around) and drifting. He also took all of the photos you see below...except for the photos you see of him drifting his Cayman (wouldn't that be a neat trick). I took those photos with his camera.

Quick Spoiler Change

As for the testing, Lane and I both had very productive weekends. I tested 7 different combinations plus many control re-runs evaluating the new rear spoiler, UMI 2-pt. subframe connectors, twin-tube rear dampers, and monotube rear dampers. The spoiler was a significant lap time improvement on our test course - 0.2-0.3s consistently on a 33s lap. Obviously the time gain here is very course dependent, but that is what it showed on our test track that we set up to simulate the speeds of a National Tour SCCA course. The spoiler improved peak grip in high-speed corners and improved average slalom speed and made the car very progressive in transients. It did induce a bit a of understeer in high-speed offset slaloms, but it really allowed me to hammer it through standard slaloms. The subframe connectors improved average lap time by about 0.1s on our 33s test track with improved turn-in especially in slaloms. It made the front end more direct feeling and allowed me to carry a bit more speed on corner entry (less understeer). My damper tuning was less of a time gain and more of a learning experience - I learned which damper settings I liked and didn't like from a driving feel point of view. Lap times were similar but the monotube dampers made my lap times more consistent because the transient balance was more predictable and they produced less brake hop on corner entry of the hairpin corners. 

Yama's drifting sequence:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

ESP Camaro Spoiler Project Update

Measure....measure twice


 Check fitment

Make brackets and rivet to the Camaro

Spoiler mounted to Camaro minus support struts

Rear view of mounted spoiler

These are the Longacre spoiler supports that I will be using to support the top-side of the spoiler. As you can tell, the spoiler is way too tall. The blue line that can be seen drawn on the plastic is where I will be cutting the spoiler down to the 10" limit specified by the rules. This 10" maximum will be measured from the top of the trunk lid which will give me less usable height compared to some of my competitors due to my factory spoiler. Also, the spoiler looks weird because the plastic protecting film is still on the lexan. It will be nice and clear after I finish the project.

Thanks Josh and Lane for all the help!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rear Spoiler Mock-Up for the ESP Camaro

My friends Lane and Josh helped me mock-up a rear spoiler for the ESP Camaro tonight. Lane and I will be testing his A-Stock Corvette and my ESP Camaro for two days in College Station, TX this weekend and aero testing will be part of my test plan. I am looking forward to see the result. I'm sure it will require some further suspension tuning to accommodate the rear downforce generated but it should a good "proof-of-concept" test for my car. I will post more pictures of the spoiler build as we finish it up this week. The final test spoiler will be made out of Lexan or Acrylic plastic.....not cardboard.

The office chair graphics on the spoiler are pretty hot.....

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


My new obsession:

Here is my favorite video review of the car so far.....dorifuto (correct spelling according to authentic Japanese drift-master).

This is a car built for enthusiasts, racers, drifters, etc. and I choose to support Toyota/Scion/Subaru in their effort in hopes that "my vote" shows car companies that this is the type of car people want. Here's to hoping more RWD affordable sports cars will come from competitors in response!