Archive for July, 2013

What the Hell Did I Get Myself Into?

Posted: July 25, 2013 in Rants

As you may or may not know, I’m rather excited to be signed on to participate in the 24 Hour Optima Batteries Chump Series race at VIR this year, on the Grand West Course – considered by many to be the hardest course in the country and by some to be the hardest course in the world

Here are some highlights from prior years.

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24 Hours of Nurburgring

Watkins Glen

 

 

1991 Mazda Miata (#2)

Posted: July 7, 2013 in My Cars
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Guess I didn’t learn my lesson the first time around . . .1991 mazda miata hard top

1991 Mazda Miata, red, hard top, 1 owner car.  Let’s see how this turns out.

Order new wheels and tires on a Monday.  They arrived Tuesday at 1 p.m.  Go TireRack!

kosei k1 mazda miata

They look ok.

1991 mazda miata kosei

I decided this car is going to be a “Street Fighter” so in that philosophy, it’s time to start removing weight and adding power.

First step was the RX-7 AFM.  Installed with a K&N cone filter, I definitely felt power pickup over 6,000 rpm – where the car used to fall flat on its face, now it rips all the way to 7,200 and revs freely throughout the rpm range.  I did have to open the AFM up and play with the clockwork inside to add some fuel under WOT, because the O2 sensor determines the AFR under part throttle closed loop, but under full throttle, it’s open loop determined by the box in the AFM.  This was a pain in the ass and took a lot of trial and error.  I wound up moving it 6-clicks rich.  The internet says this is good for 5 whp over 6,000 rpm.

Next, I decided to remove the soft top, since I’ve never used it, ever.

miata 1
I wound up taking out the passenger seat, carpeting, soft top, and junk in the trunk.  I estimate I took out about 100 lbs from the car, and added 40 back in with the hard top.  I have driven it around with the hard top off – I’ve been hard pressed to have as much fun for as little money.

It’s a Miata Party.

 

 

 

I want one, yet I don’t want the responsibility of owning one.  What a horrible, terrifying car to drive – and so completely awesome.

RUF CTR Yellowbird at the Nurburgring

 

 

2004 Mazda RX-8

Posted: July 2, 2013 in My Cars
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I done bought another one because I”m rotarded.

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My friend (and fellow Mazda Motor$ports Development driver) and I packed into my Jetta and took the trip to the middle of bumfuck nowhere to pick this car up from some dumb 19 year old hick kid.  Seriously, in the “secret” storage compartment we found something like four or five condoms.  Who the hell uses those things anyways?

Let me back up.  I had been looking at Lotus Elises and E46 BMW M3s.  The Elises’s weren’t depreciating to where I wanted them to be and the M3s, while very powerful, felt like driving a tank.  So, after losing a bid on eBay for a heavily modified 2001 BMW M3 (which I later received a second chance offer on) I capriciously bid on a Mazda RX-8 for many many thousands of dollars less than market rate.  I figured, at this price, if I have to go to Pettit Racing and purchase a brand new rebuilt rotary, I’d still be in the green.

So, we pick the car up, it is definitely fucked.  There is wiring everywhere because this kid had a sweet “system” in the car, plus all sorts of hackjob electronics work which I proceeded to immediately unfuck.

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I shit you not I probably took 20 lbs of wiring out of the car.  Not bad considering the reason I purchased this car was because it was a no sunroof / cloth seat vehicle – no frills, low weight.  Some folks have been getting them down to 2,750 lbs or less in relatively stock trim.

Speaking of cloth seats, I fixed the undisclosed rip that came in mine.

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Bet you didn’t know I had mad sewing skills in addition to my sick driving talents.

rx-8 ssv repair

Fixing the SSV valve due to a check engine light and loss of mid-range power.  What a whore to get at.  Found out it had been out of the car before . . . and bent?  Apparently the car was previously owned by a complete neanderthal, who also happened to be a date rapist.

I had a set of 18″ x 9.5″ Corvette “Wagon Wheels” lying around in my garage, leftover from the Firebird.  These are big, and pretty light weight.  My friend won a set of tires from BFGoodrich at an event, so he hooked me up and I went with the GForce Sport Comp II in a 255/40/18 for pure street use, and mounted them to these wheels.  Everything fit!

And despite the fact that I told myself these tires were only for street use, I autocrossed the car.

rx-8 autocross corvette wagon wheels

And proceeded to get my ass handed to me.

But everything was not lost!  A friend offered me up a set of Kumho V710s (for free) that I couldn’t say no to.  225/40/17 front, 245/40/17 rear.  I purchased a set of Enkei EMK3s for $200, mounted the tires up.

My friends then lended a hand and in only 14 hours we installed a giant 33 mm Hotchkis adjustable front bar and Koni Yellows.

I went to the last autocross of the year and took 6th/49.  My codriver took 3rd/49.  Not bad.  The car pushes but that’s probably because I overdrive, because the bar is huge, because the tires aren’t square, and because I don’t have an aggressive alignment.  Mostly probably because I overdrive.

During the off-season I commissioned a custom aluminum exhaust which you can read all about.

I also purchased some Hankook 245/35/18 Z214 C71 compound tires. They grip well but my co-drivers have been thrashing the shit out of them.

Over the winter, the car went to a local shop to get some basic maintenance and a sporty alignment.  Having campaigned an RX-8 in Grand Am I assumed they knew what they were doing.  They wound up having to replace the front bushings in order to make any adjustments, and gave me an alignment with 1/16th toe out, 0.8 degrees of negative camber, 6.5 degrees of caster up front, and 1/16th of toe in and 2.0 degrees of negative camber rear.

The result of course was a car that probably was nice and safe on a track, but really hated to turn in autocross.  So, I realigned it to no toe anywhere, 5.5 degrees of caster and 1.3 degrees of negative camber up front, and 1.3 degrees of negative camber out back.  We’ll see how things turn out.

My aluminum exhaust also failed half-way through the season.  So, I commissioned a new stainless exhaust that wouldn’t break apart at the welds.