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Thread: Eagle's Canyon, February 10

  1. #1

    Default Eagle's Canyon, February 10

    Is anyone going to this open-track event? I'll be there instructing, as usual. But more importantly, this will be my new car's first event!

    -- Robert King

  2. #2
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    How are the track conditions these days? Details on the event?

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    I have not been to ECR yet. I would like to, but my understanding is that it's going to be CW in February. I want to start with the standard CCW configuration first. I'll wait until March.

    Do you know when the open track day will be in March?

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    Opps Posted in the wrong message.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by sammm View Post
    How are the track conditions these days? Details on the event?
    T6 has been ground down a bit, but still needs repaving, as does the back straight, No idea when that will happen.


    Quote Originally Posted by 865 View Post
    I have not been to ECR yet. I would like to, but my understanding is that it's going to be CW in February. I want to start with the standard CCW configuration first. I'll wait until March.

    Do you know when the open track day will be in March?
    I'd check their website.


    -- rk

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    Quote Originally Posted by RKing View Post
    T6 has been ground down a bit, but still needs repaving, as does the back straight, No idea when that will happen.


    I'd check their website.


    -- rk
    No help, I'm afraid. The calendar on the ECR web site has events listed for January 2018. There is nothing at all listed for February or March. Just a blank calendar.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by 865 View Post
    No help, I'm afraid. The calendar on the ECR web site has events listed for January 2018. There is nothing at all listed for February or March. Just a blank calendar.
    I get notified via Facebook because I follow the track's account. Here's a ink to their events page. Only the event on the 10th is listed, though.

  8. #8

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    OK, the event is now full. But there's another coming up in March. I'll post the details in a new thread, when I get them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RKing View Post
    OK, the event is now full. But there's another coming up in March. I'll post the details in a new thread, when I get them.
    Thanks. I'm going to sign up as soon as registration opens.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by 865 View Post
    Thanks. I'm going to sign up as soon as registration opens.
    Check their Facebook page. I believe registration is now open. I'll check later today and start a new thread if it is.
    Last edited by RKing; 02-12-2018 at 02:04 PM.

  11. #11

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    [OK, this is a long one. Better get comfortable...]

    TL;DR: It was COLD. I had three students, one was scared, the car did well, though I didn't push very hard. Have questions? Read on!


    Eagle's Canyon Raceway Event report:


    I thought I'd post a brief(?) report for the event.

    The overriding theme for the day was COLD. It was a cold, wet day Saturday. the weather guys got their timing WAY off. A cold front from West Texas that was supposed to roll through North Texas Saturday afternoon snuck in during the night when no one was looking. Temperatures were in the high 20's all day and with a heavy mist and light drizzle in the morning, everyone was having problems with ice building up on the windshields. Street cars with working defrosters and windshield wipers kept the worst of it at bay, but the racecars which had neither had a hard time. The concierge mechanics who normally are adjusting participant's tire pressures and checking lug nut torques were also kept busy keeping windshields de-iced and clean.

    The track itself seemed to ignore the freezing mist/drizzle and stayed dry with a surprising amount of grip. ECR's track surface is getting on in years now which means the asphalt on the driving line has become smooth and polished over time. When it gets wet, it gets pretty slippery. Fortunately this did not happen today, otherwise the organizers would have had to cancel the event. A slippery track and sub-freezing rain is No Fun.

    I was at the event as an instructor, and this event was a busy one for me, with four students. I had a guy in the blue group (slightly more advanced than the green group, but still considered novices,) who had rented a track-prepped NA Miata. (This basically meant it had been stripped, and a roll bar, racing seats, and 5-point harnesses installed. Everything else seemed stock, though I think the brake pads were probably track compounds -- they didn't work well cold, and they were very cold!

    I had three green students throughout the day. Typically I only work with one student in each group throughout the event, but today, I was acting as a pinch-hitter wherever I was needed. My first green student was a guy in an S2000. Not much to say except he did really well and listened to instruction. I got to drive the car for the first two laps of his session, and the S2000 is just like I remembered it. Rev-happy (SWEET motor!) with excellent brakes and good handling. I wouldn't mind having one, to be honest, be we can't have every car we like. Right?

    Right?

    My second student was the wife of a blue student, sharing his car. She was so nervous that the first session of the day she didn't drive at *all*. Her first instructor drove the entire session. So for the second session, I was swapped in. She drove (no more coddling, lady, you're here to drive!) albeit really, REALLY slowly. I've never had such a conservative student. But she was honest with me and herself, telling me what made her nervous, why she was doing what she was doing, and such. She was really nervous about rolling the car (a brand-new VW GTI -- nice car,) and we worked through it. I started off with getting her to drive the line, which she picked up on really quickly -- quicker than my blue guy who never quite figured out Turn 7. I then moved on to getting her to accelerate through the corners. She was really good about sticking to straight-line braking (something emphasized in the classroom sessions,) but would coast through the corners and then accelerate like she was driving to the grocery store. Slowly she got more and more assertive with the throttle, but I couldn't say she really got aggressive with it. Still it could have been worse. I've had too many students who thought the Fast and the Furious was a documentary and we all drive like that. I'll take a conservative driver any day!

    My last guy was driving an AN95 Mustang (probably a '96, it had the 4.3L 3-valve V8.) I'd forgotten how horrible these cars are in stock form. Big, heavy, under-braked, with soft, leather seats (like sitting in your grandfather's LaZBoy,) and an anemic motor. The car had decent brake pads, which was a plus ("Hawk-something" he said -- probably HPS, but maybe HP-Plus.) He also had a "cheap coilover" kit, which was awful. The car bounced all over the place -- clearly under-damped. The problem with this (other than ride comfort and grip,) is that as you power out of a bumpy corner and the chassis bounces *up*, the rear wheels unload ands spin. Then the chassis comes back down and all of a sudden the spinning tires find grip and you get an enormous shock load all the way through the drivetrain, which can break axles, explode diffs, break u-joints, etc...

    On to the important bit, MY CAR!

    I'd hoped to lay down a few clean laps to get a baseline before I start modifying the car. As soon as I got in the cr, though, I discovered I had a problem. I didn't fit with a helmet on! I actually TRIED THE CAR ON with a helmet at the dralership (both a '17 GT and '17 Club along with a '17 RF. I fit in the Club, but not the RF or the GT.

    What happened? At first I thought Mazda started putting the *slightly* thicker GT top in the Club, but looking at it, this doesn't appear to be the case. I think instead, that at the dr4alership, I had the seat farther back, or perhaps leaned back more than I did at the track. Moving the seat back let my helmet clear by moving it backwards in the car, behind the thick part of the top. But now I was too far from the pedals! So I moved up *just* enough to let me work the clutch pedal properly, and then leaned the seat back a notch or two. The gangsta-lean worked -- barely.

    Unfortunately I didn't figure any of this out until after my first session of the day. That session I ran with the top down -- in sub-freezing drizzle. And like an idiot, I didn't think to turn on the defroster! So after a couple of laps, the drizzle started to freeze on the windshield. The windshield wipers took care of most of it, but not all. (The second session I remembered to turn on the wipers *and* the defroster, which worked fine.)

    Still for the first session, I was freezing my butt off, my lap timer refused to download ECR, so it wasn't working, and I was running in the first session of the day, so no one knew what the track conditions were like, so I took things VERY easy, feeling the car out for any obvious problems.

    There weren't any. The car has great corner-entry turn in, is stable mid-corner (so far -- we'll see as speeds go up in March!) and puts down all 155 horses well at corner exit (one of the benefits of a low-power car!)

    Steering feel is a *little* vague, but I can live with it. No need to do anything about it, in my opinion. (The blue guy's NA had fully manual steering, which was nice, but I really didn't miss it in my car.)

    The brakes were excellent for a factory car. Remember I have the Brembo/BBS package, though, so I can't comment on the standard brakes. The Brembos worked well, of course, but could use a little tweaking for light track use. I'd like to see a pad with a little more initial bite. The factory pads (supplied by Brembo, I believe,) were a little soft on initial application, although they worked well hot (the never faded -- even a little -- though I wasn't beating on the car too hard that day,) and dusting seemed normal. The pedal is too soft for my tastes, which is more a statement about the rubber brake hoses than anything else. Certainly it wasn't caliper flex, though I won't rule out mechanical flex at the firewall at this point. Still, braided stainless steel hoses are on my very short wish list.

    Visibility with the top down was excellent, of course. On my second session, I had figured out my helmet-clearance problem as was able to run with the top up. Big difference! My upper half was actually warm, and the car was eerily quiet. I could talk to my passenger without using my helmet-to-helmet intercom. (I was taking my timid green student out to show her what hot laps were really like -- she had a blast and I think she's hooked -- couldn't stop talking about coming back in March!) However I now had a big blind-spot on both sides of the car. Still, it's only as bad as any other sedan. (Coupe's a are a little bit better since there's no B-pillar blocking your peripheral vision.)

    So, overall, I'll give the car a qualified A- on the track. The brakes could be a little bit more track-friendly, for *my* tastes. Steering is more than adequate, but I wouldn't call it excellent. Grip is good, though I never pushed the car to its limits, because of unknown track conditions in the first session and a passenger in the second. Ergonomics leave a little to be desired because of the car's small size. Helmet clearance required me to monkey around with the seat to find a position that put the helmet behind the thick part of the top and yet put my feet where they could fully depress the clutch and accelerator. Also, the car's not likely to pass the broomstick test (lay a broomstick on the top of the windshield and the top of the roll bar or rollover hoop. If your helmet hits it, you've failed the test,) unless your torso is on the short side.

    ( I spoke with Gary Shuhart from Track Dog Racing, who was at the event with his '17 Miata. None of the roll-bars that are top-friendly (i.e. they still let you raise the top.)_ They're limited to the same height as the factory roll-hoops. I need to think about that for a bit. I can put in a bar and fail the broomstick test (not all organizations require it, although they should.) I can pass the test by lowering the seat (I have Recaros,) half an inch to an inch, probably, though I don't know if the factory mounts are all that tall to begin with, there may not be any room there. Or I can look into getting a roll bar modified for a *removable* extension to an existing top-friendly bar to raise it an inch or two and still retain the structural strength to function properly in a rollover. I'll be talking to Track Dog racing, along with Vorshlag about this soon. I have some ideas, and I know a mechanical engineer at a defense contractor with access to all sorts of very expensive finite-element analysis software to test out ideas. :)

    That's it for now. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

    And I'll be seeing you guys at the track in March!
    Last edited by RKing; 02-12-2018 at 02:03 PM.

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    The Feb 10th day sounds like it was brutal, not just for driver's but for instructors, too. I hope March 10th turn out better.

    Thanks for the report on the headroom clearance on an ND. I have been thinking that some day I'll find myself in one, so I'm interested in other people's experiences and impressions. Not that I'm in any rush. I like both of my NCs. The top of my helmet clears the roll bar in my 2013 STR car by nearly an inch with my Sparco Evo II seats bolted to a custom-fabbed non-sliding fixed mount (Vorslag). I'm wondering if I could fit in an ND with a similar setup?

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by 865 View Post
    The Feb 10th day sounds like it was brutal, not just for driver's but for instructors, too. I hope March 10th turn out better.
    Well, we're out in it more. lapping in an enclosed car is fine, but that NA was *cold*.[

    Most cars out there were Mustangs, a handful of Corvettes, Camaros, and Miatas (both race-prepped and street, including at least 4 ND's including a nice grey RF), but there were a few more uncommon cars too: an Ariel Atom, an early Viper, and a new NSX.
    quote]

    Thanks for the report on the headroom clearance on an ND. I have been thinking that some day I'll find myself in one, so I'm interested in other people's experiences and impressions. Not that I'm in any rush. I like both of my NCs. The top of my helmet clears the roll bar in my 2013 STR car by nearly an inch with my Sparco Evo II seats bolted to a custom-fabbed non-sliding fixed mount (Vorslag). I'm wondering if I could fit in an ND with a similar setup?
    Its possible. I haven't taken a look at the slider setup, but there may be come room there. I'm taking the car to Vorshlag *sometime* to have them start on some suspension work. I'll see if Terry can take a look at the seat mount setup too. Even half an inch would be appreciated.

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