360 Thoughts after tracking my car - Ferrari Life
 
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post #1 of 17 Old 04-26-2013, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thoughts after tracking my car

I had the great pleasure of taking my car to Willow Springs last week to run the "big" track. It was a private, all-day event with only about 20 cars, so there was basically unlimited track time available with little to no congestion. there were 6-8 corvettes, a few mustangs, S2000's, NSX, WRX, etc.

Overall I felt like I was pretty competitive, except for the Vette's and cars with more race-style tires, who were clearly faster than me; I turned times of 1.40-1.44, where the fastest times were in the high 20's and low 30's. for those who know the course, I was carrying abot 120 mph going into turn 8, and maintained about 110-115 through the corner. I was 120-125mph down the front straight, and carried about 80-83 through turn 1.

One of the things I have noticed with my car when I did autocross, and which reappeared at the track, is that my car does not let me put on the brakes hard when there are lateral G-forces. My first inclination is that it is the ABS, but I don't feel the brakes pulsating, and the feel on the foot is different, it almost seems to "lock up" to the point that it will just not let me apply enough pressure to get the brakes to work as hard as I want them to, approximatly 40-60% of full stopping power.

I am curious as to who may have had a similar experience and if there is actually an issue with the ABS system. One other potential indication of a problem is when we measured the heat of the brake discs, the rear discs were hotter by about 30% (360 vs 290).

Any thoughts? As always, thanks for the input and taking the time to reply.

Last edited by Mortonl; 04-28-2013 at 09:10 AM.
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post #2 of 17 Old 04-26-2013, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
 
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PS. I ran my stock tires, Hankooks V 12's in the rear, and Bridgestone in the front (not matched as I was try to determine which I liked better) and overall I would say they performed pretty well, but after riding in a Mustang with Nitto NT 01's, I definately felt like a better tire would have allowed me to push the car quite a bit harder. I did conseder buying track tires, but took some advice to run my stock tires, which was fine for the first time, although part of me wished I had bought better tires.

Because I enjoyed the experience so much, and because I am concerned with the potential damage to my car, if I go back, I will probably rent a purpose built race car which I can drive harder and not have to worry about so much.

As an FYI, most insurance policies do not cover any damage done at a track.
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post #3 of 17 Old 04-26-2013, 10:53 PM
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I am not familiar with Willow so my comments are pretty general. At Laguna the brakes and the traction control get a real work out. There in a 550 from the exit of 2 to the entrance of 5 the traction control never stops working.

The traction control system not only modulates the power delivery but also applies rear brake to prevent tire spin. It is possible you are driving into the traction control intervention zone enough that it is manifesting itself as higher rear brake temps. I can imagine a driving style that could fit that scenario.

Also if the computer sees that you are very near the limit of your traction budget it is just not going to allow a great deal of brake application.

I dont hear you saying anything that cannot be explained by normal operation.

Does the car have stock tire sizes? Non stock sizes can create havoc by creating input data the system is not expecting to see.
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post #4 of 17 Old 04-26-2013, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
 
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Brakes

Yes, stock tire sizes. Re the normal operation, that is what I am trying to assess, if what I am experiencing is in fact normal? BTW, if I straighten the car up, the problem does not exist it only presents itself is when there is a significant amount of lateral force. Interesting that your analysis might be the cause of the higher rear temps?

Thanks.
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post #5 of 17 Old 04-27-2013, 10:16 AM
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Morton- Try it with ASR off and take it easy until you know how she feels. When cornering hard with ASR off, be very gentle on the brakes since the car will tend to oversteer/spin when the brakes are applied. If you drive an F430 on the track with stability control still activated, the E-Diff will often overheat, so you are seeing the 360 equivalent of the same phenomenon.

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post #6 of 17 Old 04-27-2013, 02:23 PM
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Morton,

That sounds like a lot of fun. Was that your first time taking the 360 to the track?

That's one thing I hope to do soon, take the F355 to the tracks...

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post #7 of 17 Old 04-27-2013, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the help as always Taz, I am going to go to a parking lot and try that.

Yes, first time at a big track, but did autocross 2x's. In hindsight, probably more enjoyable to rent a race car you can push harder and not worry so much about potential damage. I have now heard multiple stories of significant damage even for minor get off's in the dirt, to complete totals. I love my car too much and would be heartbroken if I did serious damage.

I guess it really depends on your driving style, and if you can just cruise around the track at 80% of your and the car's capabilities, or if you are going to push towards 90% or more. If you are like me, and get caught up in going fast, you may inadvertently be pushing your luck? I guess it also depends on your bank account. Personally, I am a poor man's Fcar owner.
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post #8 of 17 Old 04-27-2013, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mortonl View Post
Thanks for the help as always Taz, I am going to go to a parking lot and try that.

Yes, first time at a big track, but did autocross 2x's. In hindsight, probably more enjoyable to rent a race car you can push harder and not worry so much about potential damage. I have now heard multiple stories of significant damage even for minor get off's in the dirt, to complete totals. I love my car too much and would be heartbroken if I did serious damage.

I guess it really depends on your driving style, and if you can just cruise around the track at 80% of your and the car's capabilities, or if you are going to push towards 90% or more. If you are like me, and get caught up in going fast, you may inadvertently be pushing your luck? I guess it also depends on your bank account. Personally, I am a poor man's Fcar owner.
Some "Track Wisdom" by Peter Krause...


“Tenths,” and their appropriate use on the track...



When I describe "tenths,” or the system of assigning a relative speed, level of concentration or demonstration of car physics on-track to someone, it usually follows these definitions.



3/10 is driving on a flat, straight and level road with no distractions.



4/10 is driving on a gently curving Interstate with low traffic density at a higher rate of speed than at 3/10.



5/10 is driving quickly, but efficiently and at the speed limit on the street, more concentration required due to more "hazards" present.



6/10 is a standard DE lap or an out lap early on in a race weekend, for me. The purpose may be to re-familiarize myself with the race track, enjoy a relaxed lap or just "cruise" around and, in particular, designed to take NOTHING out of the car. This is also the level of driving quickly on the Interstate with a fair bit of traffic at higher speeds.



7/10 is a more aggressive DE level, designed to begin to "move the car around" and just a little more taxing on the car. Also, 7/10 can be an out lap later on in a race weekend, usually the result of greater confidence and familiarity. Relatively wide variation in lap time depending on traffic and concentration.



8/10 is an easily sustained level, requiring high levels of concentration, generally attained after the first few laps of a race or enduro when the dust settles and you slide into driving quickly and accurately, but are not locked in a battle that is external to you and your car. The car is sliding, but only at the beginning or the end of a corner and not at all corners and not on all laps. Generally laps are within .8-1.5 seconds apart and relatively consistent. This is the level I am most comfortable taking people around the track. Plenty of "headroom" and margin for error or changeable track conditions.



9/10 is driving pretty hard, but is sustainable, repeatable and the driver is still relatively accurate in their placement of the car. The car is now sliding much of the time, the driver is focused on catching someone or staying ahead of someone but is maintaining control and discipline of their own mind and of the car. At this point, the driver is using most of the width of the road, but not much curbing, and is focusing on drawing large arcs with the path of the car. The rhythm is such that the lap times are generally within .2 -.8 seconds apart, barring traffic or mistakes. This is my limit for one or two "hot laps" with someone riding with me.



9.5/10 is driving hard. More sliding, slightly quicker laps still than at 9/10. Less margin for error, a lot more work being done by the car. The driver is now "guiding" the car on a path selected well in advance. The car is sliding from turn-in, through the apex and is using the entire width of the paved track, plus the inside curbs. Cannot generally be sustained for more than five or six laps. I would not drive a car at this level with a passenger in it...



10/10 is when the skill level of a substantially experienced and supremely confident driver meets the competence level of the car nearly perfectly. The car is sliding nearly the entire lap. Slip angles of 7-12 degrees (DOT radials, less on radial slicks) are sustained through the entire length of most of the corners. The entire width of the road, plus the inside and outside (if available) curbing or pavement extensions are used, every corner, every lap. The previous lap is at 9 or 9.5/10 so that the "hot" lap is started at the greatest possible speed and with the highest possible concentration.



Typically, I drive 10/10's for one or two qualifying laps and my first few laps of the race to build a "gap" to the rest of the competition. I also drive 10/10's to experiment with changes made to the car or to evaluate tires in practice, not to mention putting in a "flyer" to achieve the psychological advantage of being on or near the top of the time sheet <grin>.



I may not drive 10/10’s more than a few laps during the weekend, but I pick and choose the time to do it. I feel like the car and I are balanced on a tightrope and I am constantly making tiny little corrections to adjust it's trajectory, with each correction making a difference... I'm not sure this level can be sustained more than two or three laps at a time. In order to be successful at the highest level of most organized competition, you must be able to drive at this level.



11/10's is when your talent runs out! <very big grin>




Krause & Associates LLC
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post #9 of 17 Old 04-27-2013, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MC355 View Post
That's one thing I hope to do soon, take the F355 to the tracks...
Mike,

You should do just that. Look into DE events near you. Your regional FCA chapter should be able to assist you.

Barry
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post #10 of 17 Old 04-27-2013, 09:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mortonl View Post
... did autocross 2x's. In hindsight, probably more enjoyable to rent a race car you can push harder and not worry so much about potential damage.
I have a friend who didn't have the roll cage finished for his track car for his SCCA Race License School, so reluctantly rented a spec Miata. He loved it. Worth considering even for plain track days. Additionally, as you may already know, a good coach is a tremendous asset.

My daughter and I took my 308 QV to autocross for the first time last weekend. I'm used to E30 BMWs. The Ferrari handled so differently, I feel like I left less confident in pushing it than I did before I started. It takes a long while to become familiar with a car.

I like Peter Egan's line that "racing makes a heroin addiction look like a vague craving for something salty," and I think it applies to track days in general. Good fun.

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post #11 of 17 Old 04-28-2013, 06:07 AM
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Good wisdom from Krause.

Stablemates: 06 F430, 95 M3 Track, 08 M3 Vert, 04 Cooper S, 08 M5 - All with 3 pedals, of course.
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post #12 of 17 Old 04-28-2013, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
 
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Spec Miata is what I am potentially looking for at the moment for many reasons: inexpensive, large classes, lots of parts, many cars to choose from and a great racing experience. Will not substitute for the pride and feeling of owning a beautiful Ferrari, but would allow me to keep my 360 beautiful!

Interesting racing analysis. In contemplating Taz and Krauses' comments,, I realize that I was probably driving at 11/10's, but the traction control saved me from sliding off the track. This is much easier to see a week later, as compared to when I was at the track.

Last edited by Mortonl; 04-28-2013 at 09:15 AM.
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post #13 of 17 Old 04-28-2013, 08:33 PM
 
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7 years ago, I did the racing school at Thunderhill with SCCA. At the time I had a BMW 328 track car but it didn't pass the inspection for some stupid reason and I rented a spec Miata just at the track. It was the best three days. The car handled like a go-kart, I could carry so much speed getting of the turns that underpowered engine never felt weak. I strongly recommend Miatas to anyone who wants to do track days.
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post #14 of 17 Old 04-28-2013, 09:09 PM
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You drove with mismatching rubber? With traction control on too?

Wow...that's a formula for disaster. Not only will it completely throw your balance out of whack but it will heat cycle out your brakes in no time. And when that happens, you're going to have a tough time stopping.

When you take a turn at speed the key to not sliding off is to maintain traction ie not to let off the throttle too much which is the first thing most track newbies do. That's why you brake hard before entering a turn not during a turn, so you can get back on the throttle to carry / grip you through the exit.

Be safe out there, please consider taking some driving classes before driving hard on the track. Unsafe tracking puts everyone around at jeopardy, not just yourself.

And track spec Miatas are great learning tools. Just this past weekend, I had extreme difficulties keeping up with a guy in a Testarossa who tracks extensively in his track spec miata. It will definitely teach you the basics like how to keep throttle through turns. He was easily outpacing even guys in 458s, not bad for a Testarossa & 6-speed to boot!

Last edited by alwin; 04-28-2013 at 09:23 PM.
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post #15 of 17 Old 04-29-2013, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
 
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Alwin, thanks for your comments, but please know that i was safe and never jeopardized anyone's safety. There were limited vehicles on the track and we were never racing side by side through the corners.

I'm sure your comment on the rubber is because you are assuming different traction characteristics between the front and rear which would make them not be in sync with each other? My thought is that the tires are close enough to not make a difference, but maybe it is too subtle to notice?

As an FYI, I was trying to break in a straight line before the turns to do as you explained, only turn 5 at Willow presents some challenges to do this, which was the only place on the track I had any problem with braking, and it was only 1-2 times until I learned how to straighten the car up to set up for the corner

Again thanks for the input
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post #16 of 17 Old 04-30-2013, 03:18 AM
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Alwin, thanks for your comments, but please know that i was safe and never jeopardized anyone's safety. There were limited vehicles on the track and we were never racing side by side through the corners.

I'm sure your comment on the rubber is because you are assuming different traction characteristics between the front and rear which would make them not be in sync with each other? My thought is that the tires are close enough to not make a difference, but maybe it is too subtle to notice?

As an FYI, I was trying to break in a straight line before the turns to do as you explained, only turn 5 at Willow presents some challenges to do this, which was the only place on the track I had any problem with braking, and it was only 1-2 times until I learned how to straighten the car up to set up for the corner

Again thanks for the input
Not only was I referring to the traction characteristics but also the composition of the actual tire compound. Because of the makeup, different tires evolves or degrades over heat & time in their own way on the track. Just because they have a similar tread doesn't make them similar.

Pirellis for example once out of their optimal window or grained, just goes completely off like a cliff whereas Michelin tends to gradually feel "greasier" as it goes off.

Another thing that might be causing you to experience the issues you called out on straightening the car in the braking zone is your brake fluid. Over time moisture gets into your brake fluid compromising how firm and how much pressure/bite you can achieve on the brake pedal. That's why it's recommended to flush out your fluid before a major track day. On the track, temperatures get really high & the oem stuff that the dealers put into your car isn't great, it's always best to get 650 rated at the bare minimum...I think the castrol oem stuff is only 380?
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post #17 of 17 Old 04-30-2013, 07:06 AM Thread Starter
 
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Makes sense...I can see where the extreme pressure of the track could make the tires perform differently.

I did have the brake fluid flushed and upgraded for the track, do I do not believe that is the issue. I think Taz has it right, I just have not been able to get the car to a parking lot or street to test out he theory yet. It sounds like running traction control on the track puts undue strain on the car, so in hindsight I should have turned it off and gone slower, I was just having too much fun pushing the car with it on and it provided me a safety net.

As I believe I may have said, when I autocrossed the car, I definitely turned it off as it was intrusive to the driving, which I could not differentiate at the track, which is also one of the reasons I left it on.

Anyway, live and learn...
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