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Old 08-29-2016, 09:01 AM   #29
Egon

 
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The problem I see when instructing Novices at our regional SCCA events is that many have made extensive modifications to their cars in order to go fast but they didn't know what they were doing and the car is an absolute mess. The parts either do not work as they believe they do, they are set up wrong or they got bad advice without knowning. Now they have wasted thousands of dollars on modifications that make everything more difficult and they are discouraged and upset over the entire thing. Or the modifications have placed them into a category where they are the only driver in their class at the regional level or their car is totally uncompetitive and they will never come close to winning and that is important to them. All of these cases lead to driver frustration and ultimately they quit and never come back.

I don't think we are at odds in our thinking, but you are assuming that new drivers are making intelligent decisions on their modifications. If that is the case then I don't see the harm, but the reality in most situations is different and they end up with an expensive mess that could have been avoided with some education and a more gradual immersion into the sport. Some SCCA rules may contribute to these issues and again it is an information thing. I also think that SCCA has made some changes to their rules to accommodate this with the introduction of the CAM (Classic American Muscle) class and I think they would be well served to also make one for imports with the same basic rule set as CAM.

The issue with the CAM model is that it gets very expensive very quickly especially if someone is trying to make a non optimum car fast. This is why I love the Stock classes since it keeps investment relatively low and that is why I encourage people to start there and as they grow into the sport they can decide to move to a different class if they wish and intelligently build that fast car they want to drive.

I have only run in F-Street, and my car is bone stock with the exception of using Hankook RS3s instead of the stock Goodyears, neither of which are the best tire available for competition. Despite that disadvantage at our last event I was able to squeak out a win against a guy from a neighboring region with a well prepped S550 who runs at our events 3-4 times a season and beats everyone by a wide margin. He also competes at Nationals every year, autocrosses just about every weekend and he was running Bridgestone RE-71r's. And while I started with a car that is good for autocross I believe the reason I was able to win by just over 1 tenth this time was because of lots and lots of seat time over the past 2 years and not because of mods of which I have none. Because I am racing on a budget my only planned change is switching to the RE-71r tire (when I can afford them) now that they make them in my size and see where that takes me. Also if I decide to make other changes to the car I now have a good knowledge base and practical experience to guide me on what needs to be changed.
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Old 08-29-2016, 09:22 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Egon View Post
The problem I see when instructing Novices at our regional SCCA events is that many have made extensive modifications to their cars in order to go fast but they didn't know what they were doing and the car is an absolute mess. The parts either do not work as they believe they do, they are set up wrong or they got bad advice without knowning. Now they have wasted thousands of dollars on modifications that make everything more difficult and they are discouraged and upset over the entire thing. Or the modifications have placed them into a category where they are the only driver in their class at the regional level or their car is totally uncompetitive and they will never come close to winning and that is important to them. All of these cases lead to driver frustration and ultimately they quit and never come back.

I don't think we are at odds in our thinking, but you are assuming that new drivers are making intelligent decisions on their modifications. If that is the case then I don't see the harm, but the reality in most situations is different and they end up with an expensive mess that could have been avoided with some education and a more gradual immersion into the sport. Some SCCA rules may contribute to these issues and again it is an information thing. I also think that SCCA has made some changes to their rules to accommodate this with the introduction of the CAM (Classic American Muscle) class and I think they would be well served to also make one for imports with the same basic rule set as CAM.

The issue with the CAM model is that it gets very expensive very quickly especially if someone is trying to make a non optimum car fast. This is why I love the Stock classes since it keeps investment relatively low and that is why I encourage people to start there and as they grow into the sport they can decide to move to a different class if they wish and intelligently build that fast car they want to drive.

I have only run in F-Street, and my car is bone stock with the exception of using Hankook RS3s instead of the stock Goodyears, neither of which are the best tire available for competition. Despite that disadvantage at our last event I was able to squeak out a win against a guy from a neighboring region with a well prepped S550 who runs at our events 3-4 times a season and beats everyone by a wide margin. He also competes at Nationals every year, autocrosses just about every weekend and he was running Bridgestone RE-71r's. And while I started with a car that is good for autocross I believe the reason I was able to win by just over 1 tenth this time was because of lots and lots of seat time over the past 2 years and not because of mods of which I have none. Because I am racing on a budget my only planned change is switching to the RE-71r tire (when I can afford them) now that they make them in my size and see where that takes me. Also if I decide to make other changes to the car I now have a good knowledge base and practical experience to guide me on what needs to be changed.
I don't assume anything about people that modify cars. I make my living fixing them
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Old 08-29-2016, 09:28 AM   #31
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These guys know what they are doing. They knew what they wanted their 5th Gens to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy10mm View Post
Wild past few days.

I've got 3-day mountain/back-road driving trip lined up with a friend of mine who still instructs with the BMW CCA and lives out in Omaha. He'll be flying in for this trip and we're going to do it in the 1LE of course, it comes up in a few weeks.

I wanted to dial the understeer out of this car prior to his visit so I contacted Justice Pete at JPSS and set up an appointment. Problem was, I needed Chevy to replace my front struts (front-end bang noise) before making the trip down to Pete. Got the front right strut replaced last week and they didn't do an alignment after the work. Spent the weekend with my car pulling hard to the left.

Dropped the car off with them Monday to get the left front strut replaced and informed them that they need to align the car afterwards. Got the car back after work on Wednesday at 5PM which was just in time for me to go home, pack a quick bag, then head off on a 540 mile trip to Martinsville, VA to JPSS.

Left the house at 8PM or so. Reclined the seat for a 1.5-hour nap around 2AM. Got to JPSS 10 minutes before Pete showed up. I was aimlessly walking around in the street brushing my teeth at the time. Met the crew, saw the bevy of cool cars in the shop, treated Pete to a gourmet breakfast, got a tour of Martinsville, and got treated to a late gourmet lunch.

Finished up the car, started heading home around 5PM. Pulled over around 8PM and took a three hour nap which my wife woke me up from when she called to check in on me. Got back on the road and then got off again for a 4 hour nap from 2AM to 6AM. After that it was a straight shot home (another 4 hours or so).

Work Done:

Interesting Tidbits:

We got the Before alignment numbers, the one my local dealership did the previous day, the one I never got a spec sheet for.

Front camber (L/R): +0.21/+0.33 [yes, that's completely out of min/max spec]
Front toe (L/R): +0.26/+0.15 [yes, that's completely out of min/max spec]
Rear camber (L/R): -0.78/-1.20 [in spec, but half a degree off left-to-right]
Rear toe (L/R): +0.03/+0.05 [about the only decent job they did]

Clearly, my local Chevy dealer does not provide a dead on balls accurate alignment. If you don't know what that means, don't worry, it's an industry term. http://www.urbandictionary.com/defin...&defid=5953920

On the trip down to Martinsville, I had a single uninterrupted tank of gas that produced the following (I have photo proof) according to the DIC:

69mph Average Speed
24.4 Miles Per Gallon
406.2 Miles Covered

It took 17.069 gallons of gas to refill that tank which means the DIC is optimistic with it's fuel calculations and we really only got 23.79 MPG assuming the distance is accurate.

In the interest of self-preservation, I consumed 2 coffees, 4 20-oz bottles of Coke, 2 64-oz bottles of Snapple, a 16-oz can of Monster Energy (red), a 12-oz can of Barq's Root Beer, and a few bottles of water (one of which I used for teeth brushing duties). Following the submission of this post, I'm going to find myself an endocrinologist to treat the Diabetes I contracted on this trip.

I would love to give everyone a driving impression of the car. But I can't. The 540 mile ride home was all interstate, and the only hard lateral events I was able to muster were tempered by a primal fear of Virginia police officers and a desire to approach the new traction limits gently, so-as not to find myself heading in a direction I did not previously intend. While I fully appreciate a neutral car and desire some liveliness out of the rear-end; Chris Harris or Tanner Foust I am not. Please also consider that I had slept for only one and a half of the previous 36 hours, and that I was having a tough time remembering which of the three pedals did what, much less the handling nuances of the car prior to the work.

What I can confidently say is that the car turns in much more readily now, with the rear-end feeling as though it's rotating a bit to help the car turn. And there's less bump steer, a lot less. I wasn't expecting this and didn't really get to feel this until I hit a few bad sections of interstate, but the wheel is much more stable now when something tries to upset it.

If the weather permits, I will enjoy the car a bit the weekend and have a lucid report to follow.
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Originally Posted by Billy10mm View Post
Okay. So just got back from an hour's worth of play time with the car on roads that I know and a large, empty parking lot.

The short answer:

In the right hands, this thing will be seconds faster per lap, regardless of track, than a standard 1LE.

The long answer:

You can drive around most of the 1LE's factory understeer. Trail-brake towards your apex, or abruptly lift-off the throttle, and you are rewarded with a car that neatly tucks the front-end and nicely rotates to point you towards your apex. You can then use that aluminum mill under the hood to keep the car in that attitude through the corner. Notice though, that both of these methods are deceleratory in nature. They work, but aren't remotely ideal.

With these improvements, the car now rotates at will, and there's no need back off the gas to get the front to tuck. You can enter the corner faster, put as much power down as the OEM configuration, and drive out of the corner with more speed. You can turn in much more quickly now. In my favorite local corner, a nice 100 degree on-camber right-hander you can see all the way around, I almost drove the car into the inside curbing as I got too aggressive with the wheel and was rewarded with a car that listened more intently to my command than I expected.

I spent a few minutes in the parking lot seeing how ham-fisted I could get before it would spin. You have to do some pretty stupid things to get it to spin, but the OEM configuration tolerates that level of stupidity and would likely keep you in line. If the tires are howling and you abruptly lift without unwinding some of the steering, you'll be looking at where you just came from in short order.

The car REALLY wants to turn under braking now. You can just feel it. The slightest movement of the wheel during heavy braking results in the front end begging to go that direction like a dog panting heavily with its tongue hanging out. Get too aggressive with the wheel while braking though, and you can find yourself looking straight ahead at what was previously behind you.

To put it in a single word, the car is "lively" now. It dances with the wheel. It changes direction more like a mid-engined car than any front-engined vehicle has a right doing. The rear end gets into the action now, which is completely missing from the OEM setup without prodigious use of the go-fast pedal.

It's not scary though. As mentioned in a previous post, I'm no Rhys Millen, and it's very controllable to me. There's not even a hint of snap-oversteer. It's just a nice, controlled rotation of the rear. Stay throttle neutral and the car just points and goes. Get hard on the gas and the rear just sticks and propels you forward. You just have be careful when you've got the front-end loaded, and keep the hands loose.

On a track, where the completion of a corner can take a long time and a driver can drive around the factory understeer to a degree, this setup is much faster. On an autocross, where there isn't as much time or room to drive around the factory push, this car will dominate all other stock-suspended 1LEs. It would be like cheating.

I had a very specific goal when I reached out to JPSS. As a daily driver, I wanted to retain this car's current ride quality and ride height, but dial as much of the factory understeer out as possible.

This was a resounding success.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormcloak View Post
So, my last (scheduled) road trip of the year for me took place this past weekend. Friday morning I set out from NY to Virginia, for the HPDE event at VIR on the 20th-21st.... time to see if I learned anything from my first event back in April, and what difference the recent brake upgrade had on the car.

The trip down was uneventful, but for the love of god, why do most drivers south of NJ just sit in the left lane, passing absolutely no one, often doing a few MPH under the speed limit? Unreal. I think I set an EPM record (expletives per minute).

Anyhow... I eventually ran into the Blue Ridge Parkway... beautiful scenery in this area, though I was only on this road for a brief section of it.



Arrived at the hotel around 8, and tried to get some rest. The next day was an early one at the track.





I opted to rent a garage bay for this visit, which was a good move, because it was hot and humid the entire weekend. The bays here are excellent and extremely clean, with plenty of room, ceiling fans, ac / power, etc. Well worth the extra coin IMO unless you have a trailer setup.



I brought a bunch of tools with me as I normally do, and didn't need any myself, though I was able to lend them to someone else who was in a pinch, which was nice.

There were a lot of drivers here for the weekend (300+), with some really nice cars floating around, including one of the Lambo Super Trofeo cars here for testing, and a Ford GT that was running in HPDE 3 or 4 I think:



Pretty cool looking wrap:





My instructors car... a Factory Five Cobra, 500+ hp, carbureted, a dogbox transmission, no ABS. I think this is what they mean by death on 4 wheels:



I only saw one or two other Camaros at this event, one of which (I am told) suffered some sort of engine failure early in the weekend. :(

So the track itself... VIR is a really nice mix of technical sections along with all out speed. It's also forgiving in the sense that almost any off-track will put you in a grass field, away from anything that would do a *ton* of damage to you or your vehicle. Having said that, while I had no incidents myslf , I did have a lot more "oh shit" moments during this weekend than I did at WG in April, and there were quite a few other cars that went off track (some repeatedly).

To me, the uphill esses are the most fun section of this track, and the braking section for turn 1 is the most intimidating. I almost never felt like I had this corner down, never really getting the brake point correct for the speed I was going. On the rest of the track I felt like I had a better handle on things.

And as the weekend progressed I continued making improvements. We did go over a driver assessment, and I was able to run the last two sessions solo, as well as moving up to HPDE 2 for the next event. Still, I have so much to learn and get more consistent at...

Sunday night after the last session, it was time to head back to the hotel, to get as much sleep as I could. Monday proved to be a longer day than I originally anticipated.

Monday morning, up at 5, checked out of the hotel at 6am, and then headed over to JP Superior Solutions at 7am to get caster locks, Z28 RUCA bushings, a 32mm rear sway bar, and an alignment.

This is a very cool, tucked away shop with some interesting history to it. Quite a bit to look at, of course including the monster Camaro's that were also hibernating there:





Tons of pics of this car's build are available on the JPSS site and Facebook pages... it is absolutely off-the-wall, and I'm glad I was able to check it out in person. I don't think there's a square inch of this car that hasn't been scrutinized and either beefed up or removed in some manner.



TJ working on my car:


My old 1LE sway bar..


vs the JPSS one. Quite a difference, especially at the ends:


Old vs. new radius arm bushings. Mine were showing wear / compression even after only 7k miles:


Caster locks installed, sorry for the shitty picture:


Z28 RUCA bushings ready for install. The sharp eyed among you will notice that GM decided this was a good week to continue sniffing glue, and they sent over 4 left side bushings, two of which were in RH boxes. This was remedied by a stop over to a machine shop to get my old RH bushing pressed out, and a Z28 one pressed in. Problem solved and schedule kept.





After these parts were put in, and all the suspension bits given a once over, it was time for lunch. This unassuming little joint makes THE best onion rings I've ever had, not to mention a really tasty burger. Go to Fenders. Order rings. And smile.



After lunch, it was time for the alignment.



At this point, it was time to start heading home. I took a slight detour from what would have been my normal route to stop in Maryland, and meet MSull16 from these very forums, to acquire a set of stock SS rims for winter tire use. We chatted briefly, and I was back on the road. One short nap at a rest stop about 2 hours away from home, and I eventually landed in my driveway at 3am.... a 22 hour day. 1633 miles logged for the whole trip, including laps, and a whole lot of fuel, coffee, and water consumed.

I met a lot of very nice people throughout this trip. Pete and his crew were fantastic to hang out with for the day, and they really do fuss over every last detail to get things done correctly. This is a top notch shop to work with, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.

Lastly, driving impressions after the mods:

I got much of the same sort of work done that Billy10mm did, and I can say that much of my assessment is similar. I drove home with a loaded vehicle on mostly highways, so could really only notice the difference in steering feel. Not only does the car now have a more distinct on-center feel, but the steering itself is also a bit heavier off center, which I prefer. The car absolutely rolls over bumps and things like expansion joints now, where prior the car would want to twitch, especially if these were approached on an angle.

I did do a brief back-road jaunt this morning with the car properly free of baggage. The rear bar definitely makes the rear of the car more lively, but not in a way that is going to catch you off-guard. It's a bit tough to explain , but I notice now that the transition from initial turn in to having the car settled into that corner is now almost imperceptible, which was not the case before.

To summarize, it steers FAR better, is far more confidence inspiring, and is absolutely more balanced. If I had been smarter with my scheduling, I should have had this work done prior to the track weekend. Ah well.
Drive one of these and you'll never want to sit in a stock 1LE.
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Old 08-29-2016, 09:29 AM   #32
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Thanks, Egon.


On the matter of an import car counterpart to CAM . . . wasn't the whole point of the Street Touring category to bring in owners of sporty import cars that were lightly modified but at least supposedly fully street-legal? I'm looking back 15 years or so here.


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Old 08-29-2016, 10:02 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by JusticePete View Post
These guys know what they are doing. They knew what they wanted their 5th Gens to do.
Precisely that ↑↑↑ , which comes from having at least enough experience to be able to describe what the car was doing differently than before. And emphasized by a careful approach to the new limits that you won't see in most refugees from the straight line stuff to hard cornering.

Quote:
I would love to give everyone a driving impression of the car. But I can't. The 540 mile ride home was all interstate, and the only hard lateral events I was able to muster were tempered by a primal fear of Virginia police officers and a desire to approach the new traction limits gently, so-as not to find myself heading in a direction I did not previously intend. While I fully appreciate a neutral car and desire some liveliness out of the rear-end; Chris Harris or Tanner Foust I am not. Please also consider that I had slept for only one and a half of the previous 36 hours, and that I was having a tough time remembering which of the three pedals did what, much less the handling nuances of the car prior to the work.
...

Quote:
Drive one of these and you'll never want to sit in a stock 1LE.
I think having his own comparison will help StormCloak, knowing what it felt like at a track day before, and then after. That's something that can't be bottled or successfully described in words by somebody who does understand to anybody who doesn't.


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Old 11-15-2017, 02:16 PM   #34
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You can't beat the driver mod. Listen to them.

You did change your wheels and tires and are running 275/315 staggered setup with the old style rear bar. The smoothest driver is going to experience a lot of push, understeer. The cheapest fix is to find a takeoff 1LE or ZL1 rear 28mm bar and get a set of new OE lower rear control arms. Your 2011 Camaro will be much easier to drive. MUCH. If you want to see even greater change, my 27mm front and 32mm bars.

There is much more you can do and change. None of them will have as big an impact as sway bars with your 275/315 setup.

sorry to jack this thread but...
Pete what would you suggest if car is a 2015 with stock sway bars ridetech 2 coil ovesr same tire sizes currently on it -2.4 total front camber but have had real issues with under steer coming out of the apex during autoX thanks
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Old 11-27-2017, 08:43 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Bretts View Post
sorry to jack this thread but...
Pete what would you suggest if car is a 2015 with stock sway bars ridetech 2 coil ovesr same tire sizes currently on it -2.4 total front camber but have had real issues with under steer coming out of the apex during autoX thanks
We start with a smaller front or larger rear sway bar. The JPSS 32mm rear bar is obviously my first choice.
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Old 11-28-2017, 08:02 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bretts View Post
sorry to jack this thread but...
Pete what would you suggest if car is a 2015 with stock sway bars ridetech 2 coil ovesr same tire sizes currently on it -2.4 total front camber but have had real issues with under steer coming out of the apex during autoX thanks
What are your toe settings? If the car has conservative toe in front and rear, it won't have eager turn in. I did an event with about 0.1 degrees front toe in each side, and a little more out back, and the car did not like to change direction. I basically zeroed the toe, and it was a whole new car the next event. Running about -2.3f -1.3R camber for reference. I also have the 5mm stagger in bar size Pete was talking about, ss bar up front, 1le bar out back.
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Old 11-28-2017, 08:54 AM   #37
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What are your toe settings? If the car has conservative toe in front and rear, it won't have eager turn in. I did an event with about 0.1 degrees front toe in each side, and a little more out back, and the car did not like to change direction. I basically zeroed the toe, and it was a whole new car the next event. Running about -2.3f -1.3R camber for reference. I also have the 5mm stagger in bar size Pete was talking about, ss bar up front, 1le bar out back.
For a low speed event, 0 toe in the rear is OK. For a high speed event, we need some rear toe IN. Rear Toe IN provides high speed straight line stability. Upfront 0 toe or Toe OUT is highly desirable. How much Toe OUT depends on you threshold of pain for tire wear.
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