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Advice please....

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  • Advice please....

    I am a track day junkie, currently using an Elise as my track car, but have long had a Caterham on my radar. I have priced out a 7 CSR with the 260HP motor from Caterham, and it looks to be about the same price as the upcoming Elise S (supercharged version) so I am weighing the pros and cons of each car, and would like to get some feed back from owners here.

    The car will only be used at the track. I do about 3-5 rack days a month, usually about 200 track miles each outing - roughly 5,000 track miles a year. I would almost certainly trailor it to and from the track, as I'm not sure it is a car to sit on the freeway in after a long track day - even the Elise is pretty wearing on the drive home!

    What are the problems that could show up in the chassis or the drivetrain?
    How reliable is the Duratec motor if you are constantly flogging it at the track? Are there any tips or wisdom that you guys to share with me to help my decision making.
    macfly
    LA CA

  • #2
    After a session @ the Streets of Willow in my 7 I was given a ride in an Elise. Nice enough car, but I found myself to be frequently looking behind us to see if we were pulling a trailer. It seemed a little slow after getting out of a car weighing less than 1300 pounds.

    The Cosworth duratec should be just fine. Mine is a zetec and never misses a beat.

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    • #3
      There should be quite a few 7s @ Thunderhill in Willows, CA during the weekend of August 12th; if you want to get a feel for what happens when the 7s meet on track just show up. As a prospective 7er you will be welcome. If you bring a hat you may get a ride from Michael or Pierre. Most unfortunately for me, I will not be in attendance.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the info...

        It certainly seems that the 7 would be faster since it has more power and less weight, but it is the ease of life with a CSR 260 that I'm really trying to figure out. Remember that the '07 Elise S is a 240hp car (supercharged) so it will be quite a bit livelier than the current one you drove.

        On the Elise side of the coin the pluses are the -
        1. The indestructible Toyota heart
        2. The relatively strong/safe tub
        3. Ease of getting it serviced

        On the CSR side of the coin -
        1. Best very best handling track day car ever.
        2. Evo's favorite handling car.
        macfly
        LA CA

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        • #5
          Jon Stokes @ Stokes Performance Tire in Santa Monica has a Cosworth duratec 7 that does a lot of track weekends. He could answer a lot of questions about the cars and the motor. Good luck!!

          Hope to see you in a 7 one day soon...

          Comment


          • #6
            Concerning rigidity, safety etc.....If you are doing that many track miles (are you Bill Gates by the way?) you should consider a cage. There are outfits who can build you a custom Seven (Caterham based or other) for all-out track performance at many $$$ less and better performance than a run-off-the-mill CSR.

            The choice of the engine might rather be a performance issue. A medium tuned Duratec is comparably cheap and if you break some components, no catastrophy.

            Gert
            Last edited by slomove; July 18, 2006, 06:53 AM.

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            • #7
              Thanks for the info!

              The CSR I was looking at is a dedicated track car, with a cage already in place. I'm not Bill Gates, if I was I'd have as many cars as Jay Leno, and I'd buy a couple of tracks too!!
              macfly
              LA CA

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              • #8
                The SV is more liveable that the real 7 (:D) on the streets, or at least I think so. Magnus has one so perhaps he'll chime in.

                You've stated that you're looking at a dedicated track car but are wondering about "ease of life" w/ a CSR. These may be mutually exclusive depending on how much you'd drive the car on the streets (I use mine on the road a little but not much anymore. A 7 is just too damn fast for the public way). If you mean trackday "ease of life" I can say this:

                My Duratec has been utterly reliable up to this point, knock on wood. I had a failure of the aftermarket underdrive pulley that was put on the engine by the dealer and my replacement of same in turn caused another minor issue w/ the alternator mount that was self-inflicted. Otherwise, no problems, engine or otherwise. Note that my car is an early Duratec installation.

                The torque makes the thing so driveable.

                The CSR will be significantly faster than the Elise S full stop. Significantly.

                Personally if I were to build another track day weapon I'd opt for the new R400 spec on offer from Caterham and then meat up the 2.0L engine from there. I prefer the size and weight of the original (some would say the "real") se7en. Imo any advantage given by the IRS and inboard front suspension of the CSR can be equaled in a well setup DeDion car. It'd be somewhat less expensive than a CSR too I think. Besides, windshields are for pussies:D

                Tell me, just where is it that you're looking at a track prepared CSR anyway?

                In any case, Good Hunting!
                Chris
                ------------
                A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted

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                • #9
                  The back end of the CSR is hugely improved in comparison with our De Dions. It gets the power down to the track in a completely different way than the older design. It would not surprise me if tha CSR is actually faster than a narrow body Superlight with the same power/weight ratio since the former is simply more focused in its handling. The removal of front end lift at high speed also makes the car more precise at speed (I've heard).

                  If you are going to drive your car at all on the street, I would go for an SV body (CSR or old style) where you can actually shift your legs without pressing down a random combination of the clutch, brake and gas pedals.

                  If the choice for a track weapon is between a narrow body or non-CSR SV, I would probably go for the narrow body since you simply sit tighter in it with the sides of the car keeping you from sliding around in the seat. Please note that I may change my opinion on this after installing MOG seats in my SV.

                  Brad's Superlight feels lighter than my SV with supercharger and fibreglass pieces on it, but we are fairly equal on the track and I think that the perceived weight difference will diminish when I go Duratec (which is lighter). Brad's car is also more nervously setup (less caster/toe-in I guess), which gives it a quicker turn in than mine and adds to the lighter feel. How you want this is a matter of taste and adjustment.

                  Please note that all the comparisons above takes place about a mile above the Elise in all aspects except comfort. I also have a Nissan 350Z which I've just given up going fast in since I consider it an obese boat. Nice car, lovely gearbox, sweet engine, but just too big for any serious fun. Same with the M3, which I've chased (while honking at it to get Mr Moose to step on it) and also driven on the track.

                  When you hit the straight on the Streets of Willow in the Caterham you barely have time to work your way through 3:rd gear until it is time to move far left for turn 1 a few seconds later. In the M3 I considered turning on some light jazz music while crawling across the same stretch of asphalt. It's just an intensity difference in speed, G-forces and noise that cannot be described.

                  If you are ever in the OC, swing by me and we'll go for a ride. My car looks like shit right now, but it still hauls pretty well.

                  /Magnus F.

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                  • #10
                    Jeez. I guess that's the last time I ever let you drive my car :D

                    Yes, bigger cars are definitely not made for the Streets of Willow (the stereo sounded great when I was lapping there btw, and the air con really made for comfortable, moving chicane cruising:D). In fact, they're not really made for the track at all. Understeer is dialed into most street cars bigtime. Liability concerns dontcha know.

                    Now, if we're talking about a little sturm und drang auf der (die das whatever) Autobahn I'll take the M3 every time. At speeds over 125 mph it's weight and handling characteristics and power transform from liability to asset. It felt really planted at a buck fifty. I had the chance to drive an M3 CSL on my last trip to Germany as well and that my friends is a purpose built car - a sub 8 minute lap on the Ring (not in my hands of course) does not lie.

                    The driver's seat is important. I reckon the difference Magnus perceives between a Series III car and the SV will disappear once he gets a proper track seat in his SV.

                    As for lap times between a good S3 & a CSR on an apples to apples basis, well, get one and we'll be able to see!
                    Chris
                    ------------
                    A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks so much for the info!

                      I've been doing a ton of research, but in the end I have decided to go with the car below for my next purchase. I was looking at race ready CSR from Chris Tchorznicki <[email protected]> as he has one of only two coming into the states. I also looked at and droveand the Radical from Radicalwest which I liked a lot, but it was a bit too frantic for me. I then checked with Lotus, and they confirmed that I can order the new Circuit Car with the 240hp supercharged motor thru my local Lotus shop, and they can do all the service work, so I decided to go with it.

                      Thank you all so much for the info and feedback, it is very appreciated, and I really look forward to trying a 7 one day. I mostly run at Buttonwillow, WSIR & Spring Mtn, so hopefully se you guys there.
                      Attached Files
                      macfly
                      LA CA

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have that car as wallpaper on my computer. I just love the way it looks. As a longtime Lotus Guy I've been very tempted myself.

                        Good call! See ya on-track!
                        Chris
                        ------------
                        A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted

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