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So Joe, David, Derrick, John Malptesa (sp?), and myself were at Limerock
yesterday. For the most part, everyone had a pretty good time. Not quite
as many exotics as the last event up at Pocono in August but still plenty
of cars to rag on! Joe was asked to instruct so he got to run in the
black group with all the instructors (and the jerks driving the 700+ HP
Nascar Craftsmen Trucks) I stayed in the blue group as it's much more fun
to stay in that group and harass the 'faster' cars as I learned later in
the day. It was an extremely long day for both of us as we both got up at
3AM and we both booked back down from the track to go to a bachelor party
in Hoboken. I don't know what time Joe got home and to sleep but I was
*DEAD* when I went to sleep somewhere around 3AM. The track is tiring
enough as it is.

My first session out, I noticed a *LOT* of cars in my group. There were
probably 40 cars in my group (maybe more) For Limerock, that's a good bit
as the track's not all that big and not *TOO* many opportunities for
passing. We went through our usual two yellow laps and then proceeded to
hot lapping.... well, sorta. It sucked because there was a huge train and
no one was pointing anyone else by. After the first lap, I pulled into
the hot pits to get some space. I also noticed a 3000GT VR4 that I had
ran with for an entire session at Pocono was pulling out. They let me out
onto the track but not before he had a good head-start. I tore through
Big Ben, the esses, no name straight, and was gradually catching him. If
I could get a good run on him in the downhill, I'd have him by the end of
Big Bend (I was taking it incredibly different from most people and
catching them easily) I was probably going about 90 or so in the downhill
and started to turn in and the car got a bit squirrely. Oops. Around I
went and it scared the crap out of me. I nearly lost it there two years
ago in the rain and know several people who have had bad experiences going
off there. Luckily the car didn't flip and I just put on a good show for
those watching (oh, and I accumulated some sand in and on the car)
Everything checked out and I was back out and playing again.
Unfortunately, I didn't bother to put the video camera on for the first
session since 'nothing every happens in the first session because you're
always taking it easy' Needless to say, I never caught up to the 3000GT.

My second session out, I lined up two cars behind a Porsche Slantnose with
some crazy turbo. Well, he was a pansy. We both worked out way through a
bit of traffic including an Integra that *HAD* to have had some sort of
crazy motor swap as I had very little for him on the straights and just about enough in the twisties to give him the idea to let me by. Probably
a damned good driver as well. I finally had about 3 or 4 clean laps glued
to this Porsche's butt (well, except on the straights where you can hear
his turbo spool, see him take off, see my hands go up in the air, me
cursing him out, and see him shoot flames out his exhaust as he backs off
way to early for every turn. After each turn, the same process would
happen. As much as I tried getting a run on him, it was usually just
about enough to get up alongside him to give him the idea when he punched
the gas and took off. That session I pushed the car *REAL* hard.
Eventually a newer (not this generation but previous?) modified M3 with a
really fast driver came up and I pointed him by. The Porsche pointed both
of us by. I got a nice, clean lap behind that M3 and pulled off a 1:09
After that lap, I looked down to see my temperature climbing rapidly! I
fired up the heat (it was already hot and in the 80s outside :( backed it
off for a lap, and took it easy. I got back on it for another lap and the
temperature instantly rose. So I took the remaining 3-4 laps slowly and
short-shifting to cool off the car. Luckily when I came in, there was no
evidence of overheating. That session I also faded my pads pretty bad.

My third session was a blast as well. As everyone who watched that
session noticed, everyone was pointing me by. I turned the heat on at the
start so my temperature didn't rise and we bled the brakes (in the crappy
gravel that they call a paddock at Limerock) between sessions. I also
short-shifted a lot more and tried to carry more speed through turns than
relying on the power to pull me out of the turns. It worked well and I
was one of the faster cars out there. I caught an M3 as he seemed to have
some aweful lines. He pointed me by and then proceeded to follow my line
and catch on. I could only pull about 2-3 carlengths on him per lap.
This was the guy that, unfortunately, hit the tire wall at the end of the
day when he bumped himself up to the red run group (I had discussed myself
going up to the red run group with him) I also have some pretty cool
video of catching a Gran Sport coming down the downhill and getting a
pointby by him as well as a Cobra Mustang. I split them down the middle.
I'll get it (as crappy as it may be) and post it somewhere for all to see.
There was also that same slantnose but he let me by this time (as I had
talked to him after the second session) At the end of the session,
pulling back into the pits, I saw John's NX two cars ahead of me. I had
been catching him all session... I saw him go out like 3rd or 4th and I went out like in the high teens. So I was happy about that... I was even
more happy when I found out it was Rick Lepore (a really experienced
driver... he actually instructed me when I first started this stuff)!

My fourth session I wanted to run with the red group as they're earlier
and it'd give me more of a chance to pack up and get out of there and back
down for the bachelor party. Plus, I'm just about ready for the red run
group. I obliterate just about anything out there in the blue run group.
I started off in front of some replicar cobra. Once we got the green, I
pointed him by. Every straightaway it seemed I was pointing by anywhere
from 1-5 cars! I felt like I needed to learn to drive again! The
difference in driver experience was night and day. So I got a big check
on my ego. Anyway, a few laps in, I was pushing the exit of Big Bend
wider and wider and catching the curbing on that side. Till, one lap,
with a Miata behind me (he was just about even with me in the twisties and
the straight - talked to him later on and he said he wasn't backing off of
me in the twisties and had a supercharger (hence being able to keep up on
the straights)) I went a little too wide and dropped a wheel. Around the
car went! This time I had it on video! But, it was pretty scary as the
car went off into the grass totall sideways and there was not much I could
do to correct that. I just let go of the steering wheel (I think) and put
the brake to the floor. The ABS pulsating... and then the pedal went to
the floor, dead! The ABS light came on and I finally came to a complete
stop. As I started back onto the track, there was an aweful scream from
under the hood. I pulled into the pits and checked everything out and it
all seemed ok. The ABS, I took the fuses out later, put them back in, and
the light went off... nothing since? The rest of that session, I think I
only caught and passed two other cars. Aside from that, everyone was
passing me! I still need to check some of my lap times on that session as
I'd suspect they dropped slightly being with faster cars.

David also had issues with overheating. He had to pull his car off
smoking after one of his sessions. They thought the car was on fire. He
put some water wetter in, we opened his thermostat a bit with the bleeder
screw, and I told him to run with his heat on. His next session he
managed to get through it. Looking at my video, I was leaving the car at
the top of third letting the tranny brake the car when I should've been
upshifting and using my brakes a lot more. Oh well... live and learn. I don't think Derrick had any real issues yesterday (aside from telling me
how sunburnt I was). Joe thought he fouled a plug. He pulled in as I was
getting ready to go out and his car was missing horribly. I came back
after my session and they had found that it was just a loose spark plug
wire.

Oh, and another thing... I drank water from their taps in the bathroom.
Only after drinking a full bottle of it did I see the sign that read
"Caution: Water is unsafe to drink" Oops. So if I drop dead and die in
the next week, I had it coming to me ;) So far, so good... my hair's not
falling out and my body's just sore from the driving yesterday.

Bottom line: we all continued the dominance of the SE-R within PDA!
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Here are three MPG's... crappy quality because I got them off my tv with
the digital camera. At least you can sort of see it

http://www.kieranlavin.com/pictures/LRP1.MPG

Splitting the Gran Sport and Mustang Cobra down the middle. I didn't
realize it but I guess I have a Sony dashboard ;)

http://www.kieranlavin.com/pictures/LRP2.MPG

Getting by the M3 that you see at the end of the first clip... and that
was the very next lap so I caught him pretty quickly through the twisties
and the uphill/downhill sections

http://www.kieranlavin.com/pictures/LRP3.MPG

My spin coming out of Big Bend. It's not quite as dramatic in this MPG as
it really was. On the video, you can actually see the dirt coming across
the lense of the camera and it clearly shows how sideways I was going
through the grass and how lucky I was not to have flipped! Both spins
were quite dramatic and violent.

I checked some lap times and I was running consistant 1:10-1:11 with the
exception of times I was in traffic. I did a cool-down lap (when the temp
gauge was rising) of 1:13 so I wish I had stayed on it through that lap
just to see. Oh well. After my spin, I went right back out with a 1:12
followed by a 1:11 followed by a 1:10 so the spin didn't intimidate me (I
thought it did!) The final session with the red group, I was running more in the range of 1:10 unless I had to let off to let a better driver in a 'slower' car by. The final lap, when I backed off as I took the checkered, I got a 1:10... wish I had stayed in it till the start/finish so I could've gotten a clean lap hopefully in the 1:09 range. Oh well, I did rattle off one 1:09 in an earlier session so I'm happy. The goal was 1:08 but I'll have to settle

Oh, and that rise on the uphill where it turns slightly to the right
(where that stupid Imprezza driver flipped two years ago) is awesome!
Unfortunately, only once did I get the RPM creep there as the load comes
off the front but lap after lap after lap I had to fight the urge to
correct the steering wheel when it became unloaded and the instinct was to
correct it.

Lots and lots of fun yesterday!
 

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Nice clips, and I see what you mean about the video quality, but it's good enough. That spin was really fast, looks like the car oversteered and when you tried correcting it already too late. What's your suspension consist of, and did you ever go to a track with the stock suspension? oh yeah, you got any pics of your interior with the roll bar/cage?
 
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barnoun said:
Nice clips, and I see what you mean about the video quality, but it's good enough. That spin was really fast, looks like the car oversteered and when you tried correcting it already too late. What's your suspension consist of, and did you ever go to a track with the stock suspension? oh yeah, you got any pics of your interior with the roll bar/cage?
That spin looked faster than it was. I was only going about 65-70 there. Still pretty terrifying to go off sideways though! What happened was the front left tire dropped off into the dirt and I brought it back onto the track too fast. The tire goes from very little grip in the dirt to extreme traction when it hits the track again and that screws up the handling of the car. The front left tire regained grip and that threw the back end around to the right. I stupidly tried to correct it and that's what got me in trouble. I really should've just slowly gotten that wheel back on track. Live and learn ;(

My suspension right now is AGX/ProKit. I'll hopefully be upgrading by this time next year. Bumping myself to the higher run group I learned a few things... I need a better suspension, I need to improve my driving skills really bad, and I need more power.

I don't remember if I've ever had my car on-track without suspension. I don't *THINK* so. A stock suspensioned car will still do fairly well though. Probably 75% of it is driver (as I've learned) I've seen people with a stock suspensioned Mustangs kick the crap out of SE-R owners.

For pictures look at these:

http://www.kieranlavin.com/pictures/roll foot zoom.JPG
http://www.kieranlavin.com/pictures/roll foot.JPG
http://www.kieranlavin.com/pictures/roll leg zoom.JPG
http://www.kieranlavin.com/pictures/roll leg.JPG
http://www.kieranlavin.com/pictures/rollbar.JPG
http://www.kieranlavin.com/pictures/rollbar1.JPG
http://www.kieranlavin.com/pictures/headliner.JPG
http://www.kieranlavin.com/pictures/hoop.JPG
http://www.kieranlavin.com/pictures/leg attach.JPG
http://www.kieranlavin.com/pictures/leg attach1.JPG

That enough? ;) If there's something specific you're looking for, let me know and I can take a picture for you. The rear seat's also recently been removed probably permanently. I also did a writeup on the rollbar installation:

http://www.nissanperformancemag.com/june02/rollbar.php
 

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Thanks for the pics and links:) That 65-70mph sure looks fast on video, guess it's because on road courses that's the speed at which you take turns, while on the street anytime you're going faster than 60mph it's usually in a relatively straight path. Can't wait to get out there on the track once I can afford it:D
 
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barnoun said:
Thanks for the pics and links:) That 65-70mph sure looks fast on video, guess it's because on road courses that's the speed at which you take turns, while on the street anytime you're going faster than 60mph it's usually in a relatively straight path. Can't wait to get out there on the track once I can afford it:D
It's funny how deceiving video can be sometimes. I've got video of going 130 or so in a straight line that looks like I'm only going 60! But you're right... you're not used to taking turns quite that fast on the street (or at least you shouldn't be!) Track time's not all that expensive. You're not too far from Laguna Seca... that's an incredible track! One of these days I'm going to get out there and check it out (and probably wind up wrecking a rental) I believe I remember hearing somewhere that some clubs rent it on holidays and get really good rates so that you can run there pretty cheap if you're willing to do it on a holiday.
 

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Yeah, there's a couple of tracks really close: laguna seca, sears point, thunderhill, and willow springs going further south. All these host lots of events for what seems like a good price, it's just the increased maintenance that goes along with running the car on the track and not having a manual tranny that's keeping me away. So far I'm only doing autocross, so it's not bad...but the track seems so much better(way more seat time). I'm also a student so income is really limited...I don't mind though.
 
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barnoun said:
Yeah, there's a couple of tracks really close: laguna seca, sears point, thunderhill, and willow springs going further south. All these host lots of events for what seems like a good price, it's just the increased maintenance that goes along with running the car on the track and not having a manual tranny that's keeping me away. So far I'm only doing autocross, so it's not bad...but the track seems so much better(way more seat time). I'm also a student so income is really limited...I don't mind though.
Yeah, I know of the others... just Laguna is a personal favorite. There's really not all that much increased maintenance with track events. Manual vs. auto doesn't really make much difference. Manual is better but it doesn't mean it can't be done with an auto tranny! I've done several track events out west with an auto rental. Makes it much easier to concentrate on turning the wheel and braking. I spent all day yesterday worried that I was downshifting into 3rd off the front straight above redline. Instead of picking up my braking points, I was looking at my tach to make sure I wasn't over redline and killing the engine. Other costs though are tires, brakes, oil/filter and that's really it. The tires (believe it or not) are chewed up less at track events than at autox events. I did a few autox events and they are so much more violent transitions whereas track events are more about being smooth. $ / HR in terms of seat time, you're right. You can still do it on a student budget... just less beer ;) We all started somewhere though... for me, it was right after I was done with college and started my job. This year, I've spent $1100 just for getting on track... that's not including travelling costs, hotels, gas, food, oil, brakepads, tires/rims, etc, etc, etc... I'd be afraid to add it all up. But it's all for a good cause - fun!
 

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Definately for fun! ...and you know that post you just put isn't helping me not mind, since now I'm really considering starting track events:D So besides changing brake pads/rotors and oil often, there's not much else concerning increased maintenance? Think it's safe to drive the car to the track without worrying too much about it breaking down from doing laps(if it's maintained of course)?
 
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barnoun said:
Definately for fun! ...and you know that post you just put isn't helping me not mind, since now I'm really considering starting track events:D So besides changing brake pads/rotors and oil often, there's not much else concerning increased maintenance? Think it's safe to drive the car to the track without worrying too much about it breaking down from doing laps(if it's maintained of course)?
There are other regular maintenance-type things. For example, you might tear a CV boot or something. But, chances are, that was going to happen anyway. Normal wear and tear type things happen one way or the other. Track-specific that's basically it though. It's pretty safe driving the car to/from the track. I've been doing just that for two summers now. The way I'm driving on (and sometimes over) that edge is getting to be stupid for me. Fortunately most tracks are at least *SOMEWHAT* close and I would be able to work something out if need-be. Personally, I'd go and check out an event or two as a spectator just so you know how everything works. You'll know all about the flags and basically how the day flows before you even get there for your first track event
 

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Thanks for the advice Kieran, it's been a great help:) ...and why has the way you've been driving on(and over) the edge become stupid for you lately?
 
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barnoun said:
Thanks for the advice Kieran, it's been a great help:) ...and why has the way you've been driving on(and over) the edge become stupid for you lately?
Cause it's my only car! I have to drive that car to the track, on the track, and then back home again! If I flip or wreck the car, I'm screwed! And the more experience I get under my belt, the more risk (and sometimes a stupid risk) I'm willing to take. Live and learn though. It'll probably take me flipping the car to slow me down a little ;(

I wouldn't really call it advice since I don't usually give advice ;) but if there's anything else you'd like help with or like to talk about regarding track events and stuff, let me know. I've been to a few (and even organized the one at the convention in 2001)
 

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Makes sense about the car...I remember seeing a clip of a guy rolling a subaru legacy. He was not happy(good thing insurance paid for the damage). As for the advice, fine then, I'll consider it a tip:D As for more questions, right now only about the brakes. What's your brake setup(you mentioned fading)? I'm thinking when I attend the first event I'll probably have basically the same setup I have now, stock besides ss brake lines and better pad material. How's your system hold up? You have to pit every couple of laps to let it cool down or can you last a 20min. session...
 
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barnoun said:
Makes sense about the car...I remember seeing a clip of a guy rolling a subaru legacy. He was not happy(good thing insurance paid for the damage). As for the advice, fine then, I'll consider it a tip:D As for more questions, right now only about the brakes. What's your brake setup(you mentioned fading)? I'm thinking when I attend the first event I'll probably have basically the same setup I have now, stock besides ss brake lines and better pad material. How's your system hold up? You have to pit every couple of laps to let it cool down or can you last a 20min. session...
I think that you might be referring to the Imprezza at Limerock? Was he following a Porsche and was it a sort of uphill turn that goes to the right? If so, that's Limerock and that's what ultimately made me realize I needed a rollbar. I was scared of that turn all day and left all sorts of time at that turn.

Although a few friends keep telling me my brakes are fine and I'm overly sensitive, I like to bleed my brakes quite often. Last event I bled them but wound up having to go from 80 to 0 ASAP with an NSX spinning in front of me. That boiled the fluid so it wasn't all that great before I got to Limerock. I did two sessions without bleeding because it's a dirt paddock and hard to get the car up on jackstands without it being a total pain. You probably wouldn't have much of a problem with brake fade for your first few times out. It's only when you really start pushing the car that you might have problems. One friend of mine keeps telling me that if *HE* is not fading his brakes *I* should not be (he's faster than me so it's reasonable)

I have NX calipers/rotors, SMC brakelines, NX master cylinder, and am running Carbotech Panther Plus pads on the track. I'm also running race rubber which helps quite a bit with grip when trying to brake so hard with aggressive pads
 

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Yeah, that's the same clip I was referring too. So it's at limerock huh, now I can see why you'd be worried about flipping the car:( You think the fluid might boil even with that motul 600 they sell and regular performance tires(I'm thinking bleeding brakes a lot is a hassle, I'd like to do it at home and be done with it)? Also, could it be that it's the race tires that are making the brakes work too hard and start to fade(with your help of course)? Maybe if you had street tires the wheels would lock before fade could set in...
 
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barnoun said:
Yeah, that's the same clip I was referring too. So it's at limerock huh, now I can see why you'd be worried about flipping the car:( You think the fluid might boil even with that motul 600 they sell and regular performance tires(I'm thinking bleeding brakes a lot is a hassle, I'd like to do it at home and be done with it)? Also, could it be that it's the race tires that are making the brakes work too hard and start to fade(with your help of course)? Maybe if you had street tires the wheels would lock before fade could set in...
Lots of people have had problems with that uphill turn. I started pushing that turn a bit but dropped a wheel at the edge on one lap and decided I'd better take it easy. If you go up the hill fast/hard enough you'll get an RPM creep from the front end getting light as it goes over the lift! I've never used Motul but it is supposedly resistant to boiling and I'm sure it is to a degree. But I'd be fairly confident in saying it could be boiled eventually. I don't really think the race tires are making the pads working any harder... maybe a bit but you really do want that extra bite out of the tires and the brakes when you're trying to slow the car down especially from 115-120 or so down to 45-50 to go through a huge 180-degree turn
 
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