Greg at the Track (on the job training)

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Greg at the Track (on the job training)

Postby Greg @ GWR » Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:30 pm

Hi, this is Greg, the newest member of the Goodwin Racing family. I am a novice at track days and also at autocross. Years ago (I mean YEARS ago) I rode motorcycles and crewed for bike race teams. I got my novice license and even raced in some endurance events. I never raced cars competitively, but I love to go fast. 4 or 5 years ago I went on the track for the first time and was hooked. What I hope to accomplish in this thread is to talk about the goings on of performance driving from the perspective of a driver starting out into the world of track day/autocross with all the ups and downs. Hopefully I can help other newbies figure out how and what to do to survive and GO FAST in this world of speed.
I have already participated in some events under the Goodwin Racing banner. I'll be talking about those and then giving some insights into my past track events as we go along.
Thanks for listening,
Greg
Attachments
Greg_CVR_Mar2018 (1).jpg
Greg with his '05 MSM
Last edited by Greg @ GWR on Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
The Only Speed is Mazdaspeed
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Re: Greg at the Track (on the job training)

Postby Freescopesdad » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:34 pm

Welcome Greg. I got hooked with tracking Miatas nearly 20 years ago, when Brian and I were young men (well maybe Brian :mrgreen: ), and I'm still going strong. I told my wife a few years ago that I would not die until the Cubs won a World Series, but I've since revised that to until they stop making Miatas.
Ron Petrich
http://www.sacramentoareamiata.org
2016 ND GT 6MT|ZII/NT01|Ohlins|Progress|OFT|HDDDM4
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Re: Greg at the Track (on the job training)

Postby Greg @ GWR » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:28 am

Well, I'm not exactly a young man anymore myself, but I'm still love to play with cars!
On March 10th I went to Chuckwalla Raceway as a tag-a-long with Brian Goodwin and Ryan Passey. They entered the Roadster Cup series with our Budget Project NC. I drove there in my MSM. It was a learning experience that would eventually became a fun day.
I feel one of the keys to starting out is knowing your limitations. I have only had 8 days of track time under my belt before this day, and the last one was last May at Fontana. Since I had arrived to Chuckwalla with Brian & Ryan, race control put me in the advanced group with those two fast guys (which meant in with all the other fast guys). Here is where I'd like to think I was smart. I went to the organizers and simply let them know I was nowhere skilled enough, and they agreed to put me in the "Low Intermediate" group. That was one step up from the bottom(first-timers, novices). I felt much more comfortable...until my first session.
The Goodwin trip to Chuckwalla was a last second decision, made after we cancelled our open house. The day before we left I installed a BBK from Stoptech on the front of my MSM, a set of prototype sways, and for tires I had an old set last run last May. Old, hard, little tread, and sitting out for 9-10 months. Perfect.
My group contain what seemed like a million Hondas. They were there for the VTEC Club competition. The first session I'm trying to remember which way the track went (only other time I've been to Chuckwalla was last March) and I was swarmed by these Hondas buzzing me. I spent the whole session watching the rear view and pointing by all these racer Hondas, who were trying for fastest lap. I accomplished to lock up the front right and flat spot the tire, and get in everyone's way in that first session. Except one car. I did pass 1 car. I wasn't happy when I came in. Too much body roll, no good feel for the new brakes, a lap time that shall never be mentioned. Recipe for a lousy day. But it got better.
My sway bars were on full soft, so I had time to tighten up the front one. I have prototype sways I trialing on my MSM, so out of four holes of adjustment I went to one hole away from full tight. Didn't have time for the rear.
My second session was much better. With the sway adjustment I had much better control of the steering inputs, and the body roll was significantly lessened. I also got a little better at my braking points. I was still pointing by Hondas like I was in the middle of a locust swarm. When I came in Brian knew right away I had a good time because he said he could see my smile while I still wearing my helmet. Turns out I shaved 4 seconds off my time.
Between 2nd and 3rd sessions I tightened the rear bar from full soft, (3 holes of adjustment) to the middle hole. I did this because the rear still felt unsettled, hard to describe. It hadn't been sliding, just still rolling at the rear, kind of felt like the inner rear wheel wanted to lift at turn in. I know, sounds like a fwd car, but that's how it felt. The rear sway adjustment calmed that down a bit.
For the third session the car felt better, I got the feel for the brakes a little more, and I passed a few guys. Still though, I was pointing by Hondas. We were left out on the track a lot longer than we were supposed to be, so the extra time really helped my time I feel. I came in and learned I had shaved another 3 seconds. Yes, going in the right direction.
I made no changes for the 4th (and my last) session. A lot of other cars had quit running, so the track was fairly clear. I started to tap the brakes a touch to settle the pads and get pedal feel before I used them in the braking zones. I learned later that I should have been doing this from the beginning to settle the pads to the rotors on this BBK before the braking zone AFTER the day was over. Anyways, it helped my braking feel, but I was still braking too early and still occasionally locking a wheel or two. It was decided in our pits that my old tires probably had something to do with the braking issues, handling issues, and any other issues I could blame on them. Best news out of the last session is I dropped another second!
Bottom line is I went to the track with old tires, new front BBK with no real time using them, prototype sways, and only 8 days of track time spread out over 4 years. I had a blast, kept it on the track, and dropped 8 seconds. I was still very slow, but I got quicker, which is always good.
Attachments
Main pic 1st fix newsletter.jpg
Greg at Chuckwalla
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Re: Greg at the Track (on the job training)

Postby Joe Miata » Tue Mar 19, 2019 11:09 am

Hey Greg I'm following your foot steps, I just had my 2nd track day 1 @ Buttonwillow and 1 @ Laguna Secca. I have a 2014 Boxster and I had the time of my life!! I just bot a 2000 Miata and I'm going to make that my regular track car. I just put Miester R club race coil over on it next is new wheels and tires and roll bar. What do you reccomend?
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Re: Greg at the Track (on the job training)

Postby Freescopesdad » Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:18 am

Sounds like a good start with the coilovers Joe. But with just 2 total days on track, you probably would benefit from more seat time and instruction before spending $$$ on more upgrades. While at the track (or your local Miata club - don't know where you live) see what the other Miatas owners have done. If the organizer offers free instruction, take it at every opportunity.

If this NB is going to be primarily a track car you will eventually also want to upgrade the sways, brakes (at least pads and fluid) and get a good performance alignment. And that most important rollbar. You mentioned wheels and tires. Will the car also be street legal? Are you planning on 200 TW tires for both street and track?

But don't forget that instruction and seat time. And welcome to the dark side.
Ron Petrich
http://www.sacramentoareamiata.org
2016 ND GT 6MT|ZII/NT01|Ohlins|Progress|OFT|HDDDM4
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Re: Greg at the Track (on the job training)

Postby Greg @ GWR » Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:32 am

Hi Joe. I'm running 15x8 wheels with 205/50 tires. With this wheel size you will need -1.5 degrees of camber or better to get that tire size under the stock NB fenders with out rolling the fenders. Since you have coilovers this camber adjustment should be easier for the alignment techs to achieve when the car is lowered. If you run this tire at close to stock alignment is will hit the fender, and at full compression the tire can grab the fender and pull the lip down. This is ugly, ask me how I know.
If the car is tracked and not a street car, our alignment recommendation is to go -2 in the front with as much postive caster as the tech can get (reaching the camber number is more important thing) and -3 in the rear. To get more neg camber in the front you can use the extended lower ball joints to get up to -3 in the front.
Toe in is another alignment spec to set. At the front, if you autocross the car you want some toe out to help get into the tight corners that are typical in autocross courses. A 1/16th" to 1/8" total toe out is good. The car will feel like it wants to wander (tramline) on the freeway. It's a trade off on what you feel is important. For track and the street we recommend zero toe at the front (I use zero always. This will work at autocross too if you don't like the tramline feeling) At the rear try zero toe in up to 1/16th" or 1/8" toe in to help the rear turn in.
With lots of negative camber and the fenders rolled (mine are) I'm told by Brian I can run a 15x9 with a 225 tire. So that is on my wish list. When/if I get that setup I will write about it.
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Re: Greg at the Track (on the job training)

Postby Joe Miata » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:48 am

Thanks guys for the feed back I appreciate it.
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Re: Greg at the Track (on the job training)

Postby Greg @ GWR » Wed May 01, 2019 11:14 am

Sunday was autocross day!
My third crack at autocross was in the Goodwin Racing ND2 in C stock class this past Sunday. It was a "4 runs and your done" format. No practice, unless you were instructing the day before at the SCCA Novice school. I'm a novice, but I did not attend. I went to one 10 years ago...that's still good, right?
I was in the first half dozen to go out in the morning, so I was helping sweep the course, and also warming the tires up for Ryan to use later.
My first run was so slow they took down the clock and put up a calendar to clock me. My second run saw me drop .5 of a second. I was excited. Plus, the course was easy to remember so I hadn't killed any cones.
Run three saw me drop 3.1 seconds. Now I was really having fun. I was figuring out where I could go fast, where I needed to slow, and that the car is quicker without traction control(it was on for my first run). And the tires were actually getting warm now!
Fourth and final run saw me drop another two seconds. No more calendar, they actually needed the clock for me!
I was far from being quick in my class, however I did drop 5.5 seconds from my first to my fourth run. I am happy that I can improve with a few tries.
Attachments
autox427.3.jpg
At the grid
autox427.2.jpg
Ready for FUN!
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Re: Greg at the Track (on the job training)

Postby Dunmore » Tue May 07, 2019 3:24 am

"My first run was so slow they took down the clock and put up a calendar to clock me." this line killed me, Greg. More power to you, man. I really enjoyed reading about your experiences. Keep the updates coming!
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Re: Greg at the Track (on the job training)

Postby Greg @ GWR » Tue May 07, 2019 1:30 pm

My next adventure is something I have done several times. Next time is coming soon.
Anyone hear of The Silver State Classic Challenge? This race, and it's springtime sister race, The Nevada Open Road Challenge, occur outside of Ely, Nevada. They are basically high speed road rallies on a lonely stretch of two-lane highway in Northeastern Nevada. I have participated several times as the navigator for my good friend Wally Stevens. Starting last year the Open Road race is 60 miles one way, turn around and another 60 miles back for a total of 120 miles. I've been doing the spring race with Wally last couple of years. Previously I did the fall race.
We have competed in a supercharged '02 Miata, a supercharged C6 Z06 Vette, a C7 Z06, and a Lambo Gallardo. It's great to have a friend with cool cars. The most fun ride was in the '08 Z06, doing 160 mph down a two-lane highway in the middle of nowhere...surreal. The Miata had a hard top and felt like we were in a tuna can. The Gallardo had a speedometer wildly inaccurate from 110 to 125 mph. Both Vettes ride so smooth it feels like we're cheating.
There are several speed classes. The object is to cover the course in the amount of time required for your speed class. The closest to perfect time wins. We have been under .4 of a second from perfect several times using just a stopwatch and only have second place trophies. There are competitors with computers and GPS gizmos. Using one system or the other, there are racers finishing a few thousandths of a second from perfect, after going 90 miles at triple digit speeds, in classes like 140, 150 mph and up.
I'll be driving to Ely to meet up with Wally. Its about a 575 mile trip each way, so I get to road trip in my MSM again. For me 575 miles is a mere jaunt, that includes a gas stop (and maybe lunch) in Vegas baby! I feel the NB is great for a weekend trip, there is plenty of room for two carry-on size cases, and a backpack. If you're solo, room for your helmet!
Attachments
281leeresized-3.jpg
Looking like the pros
IMG_7055.jpg
Me & Wally in downtown Ely on Parade Day
imagejpeg_1oo.jpg
Wally & me in the Gallardo last year.
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