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Buttonwillow Saturday, April 10

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  • Buttonwillow Saturday, April 10

    I'm going to take my car out to the track for the first time next Saturday, April 10. The event is at Buttonwillow with Speedventures:

    http://speedventures.com/events/eventdetail.aspx?id=279

    I'm curious to see how the new car with more horsepower, but on a soft suspension and street tires, stacks up against my previous car which had a good suspension and good tires. I'm guessing the Avon CR 500's won't be that bad on the track, but still would give up some time to the Kumho's. And the softer suspension may or may not be a problem. It is the standard superlight suspension, and I think the test car that they used in Europe had the upgraded dampers. Anyway, I can't wait to play with this thing! Would love to see some other sevens out there.

    Justin

  • #2
    My car is in the shop due to some electronic bug but if nothing comes up I'll probably come out and watch/visit for a bit (live close by).

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    • #3
      Would be great to see you, Kirk. It looks like it might be a bit windy, but I like the cool spring and fall days much better than the summer!

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      • #4
        It was nice seeing the car in person. And watch you picking up speed every lap... moving to the fastest group even though you were supposed to take it easy today;)
        Found some pics of front wings like we were talking about

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        • #5
          Covered before but worth mentioning again. Caterham took a car to a wind tunnel and did some experimentation w/ a wide variety of devices to see what could be done to improve the aerodynamics of the car. Short answer is: not much. The CSR front wings (shown in the photograph) were a result of their findings, as are the little chin whiskers that are on offer. And that's about all. The rear diffuser that's available in the aftermarket actually hurt the car's performance. In other words, the front wing in the photographs are awesome if you're a member of the Fast n Furious fashion show set but otherwise just add weight to what is essentially a brick, aerodynamically speaking.
          Chris
          ------------
          A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted

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          • #6
            Chris - what about putting a little splitter right under the nose? I was wondering if even a small piece of fiberglass parallel to the ground would help redirect some air.

            Thanks for coming out, Kirk. I love your car - hope we get a chance to get out on the track soon.

            Here's my review so far:

            What a great little car! Very well balanced, and a lot of fun!

            Compared to my last Caterham superlight, the suspension is very soft. I'm not sure yet whether I'll stay with this suspension or go to something stiffer. It's easier to ride up on the berms midcorner without getting unsettled, but braking on the berm going into turn one is a disaster - almost pulls you off track! The transitions over the hills are very slow, but pretty smooth. I'll probably stay with it for a year or so before I think about changing anything.

            The CR500 tires are not nearly as grippy as the Kumhos I was using before, but not that bad. I couldn't carry as much speed through the corners, but they did hook up nicely coming out of corners. I'd rate them about even with yoko a048's. They did show considerable wear, though, so I agree with the assessment that I've seen on blatchat - very effective street/track compromise tires except for the longevity. The biggest downside with these after using stickier tires was much longer braking distances before corners. And since this car can reach much higher speeds on the straights, I had to carefully plan the braking points.

            The power was actually much more controllable than I thought it would be. Able to break traction easily, of course, but also very easy to manage. The car drifts effortlessly, so I had a little fun on some of the low speed corners! There were a few high horsepower cars in the race group - a couple of 600 hp+ vipers and turbo porsches. I noticed that coming out of corners I would gain on them until about half way down the long straights, when they would start pulling away. This makes sense, since at low speeds the power to weight ratio is more important, and at higher speeds the horsepower and drag become more significant. I couldn't be happier with the drivetrain, though - shockingly good acceleration, smooth power, great transmission and shifter, nice solid short clutch and brake pedals.

            As far as lap times, I was down to about 2:04 on #13 CW. This is a couple of seconds faster than my last car. I was taking grapevine, riverside, and lost hill slowly, so I expect I could get a few more seconds without too much trouble. The speedometer is almost worthless since it is digital and the numbers are small and buried in an array of other information, but when I did see my speeds at riverside, it was only about 80 mph! The ACES change up lights are wonderful - the lights are right in your field of vision, so you can't help see the yellow then red shift lights. The oil pressure, oil temp, and water temp are easier to see on the stack display than the speedometer, and the car never heated or lost pressure.

            My one dislike of the car is the keyless ignition. I'm getting better at it, but it is not easy to restart the car once it's been shut down. What seems to be working for me is to take the sensor fob away from the car between starts.

            Overall I'm just thrilled with the car!

            On a side note: It was very dusty out on track, and there is dust all over the engine compartment and underbody. I blew off as much as I could with an air hose, but it is still very dirty. I was going to try to use Brad's rule of never getting the car wet, but I may have to wash it down. How many of you guys use water to wash the underside of your cars?

            Thanks,

            Justin

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            • #7
              Justin

              I've used water to wash down most of the car at one time or another. No other way to get the dust, dirt, rocks out.

              Get rid of the banner battery. Just my humble opinion after one leaked. It was brand new too.

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              • #8
                I second the motion about the Banner......just replaced mine with the Odyssey PC680. No worries now about acid spills or vapor etching.
                With Best Regards,
                Jim F.

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                • #9
                  I forgot to say wipe it dry as the bare ali will water spot.

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