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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
tl;dr
First time at WSIR. Mr2 Spyder, <2,000lbs, ~130whp. 1:39.4
Criticism encouraged.
*Note, you cannot hear it due to wind, but I am braking into #1 at or after the second cone.

Representative lap (to be replaced by actual best lap footage once uploaded)

Chasing down some Nissan 370zs

Being chased down by a c6 Vette

An example of how not to point someone by...

Rhetoric and hyperbole

At first I was angry. It's 12:00 a.m. and I am awoken only 3 hours after falling asleep by the sound of hollering and laughter. Calling the police was out of the question because having a party on a Friday night isn't a sin, and how could my neighbors be expected to know that I have a big day tomorrow? I decided to do passive damage control; I popped some melatonin, adjusted my ear plugs--which didn't work to begin with--and attempted more sleep. I get only one more hour of sleep before waking up at 4a.m. to begin my drive to Willow Springs International Raceway. Even at this early hour my neighborly neighbors are still laughing and hollering. I can only find such dedication to the task inspiring and feel no anger at this point. Nevertheless, I'm starting my day with only 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep, not the best start in the world.

Then I found the battery in my 4Runner depleted for no apparent reason. My AAA membership expired long ago and even if it hadn't, I didn't have time to wait for a jump. I decide to pull the Deka etx9 from my MR2. The 6 lb battery has only 120cca, and I've already used it to start the MR2 about 5 times. It's never been charged since its first use and I wasn't sure how much power it had left before it would fail to crank a motor. I prayed to the Gods of battery voltage and turned the key. The 6 cyl motor cranked over and came to life immediately. Small miracles indeed! Later in the day the Deka cranked my MR2 easily. I am submitting that battery to the white house to receive a medal of valor.



Willow Springs International Raceway is a big track. It dominates its smaller neighbor, Streets of Willow, and Horse Thief Mile up in the hills is infinitesimal in comparison. This is my third track day and my second road course, the first road course being Streets of Willow. If tracks have philosophies then WSIR has the opposite philosophy of whatever SOW has. SOW aims to do more with less while WSIR is about excess (speed). I don't quite know what to expect at WSIR because the track is new to me and I've never driven my car, or any other car, at the speeds I expect to reach here.

There was this girl I dated for a few months some years ago. We hit it off really well and became familiar with each other in the way that makes relationships worth it. Then she dumped me and I didn't see her for a year or two. Then, randomly, we meet up and hang out for a bit. We easily slipped back into our familiar interactions, as if no time had passed at all. Then, finally, I ask if she wants to go back to my place, and without thinking about it she agrees. I haven't driven my MR2 since November '11, at SOW, and I expected my reconnection with the car would be similar to my reconnection with old romances where every nuance and line is familiar. What I did not count on is that my memory would be skewed by my wandering lusts. I've watched too many videos of Miatas and Corvette's since November, and my perception of my car's handling characteristics have been altered. When I got out onto WSIR for my first session, the entire experience was alien and terrifying.

You see, an MR2 Spyder handles nothing like a Miata or a Corvette. It understeers where Miatas and Vettes oversteer, and oversteers where they spin out and burst into flames. I also remember my brakes working much better than they actually do and I find myself going too hot into corners. I also begin the session having a problem with target fixation: the phenomena where one stares at where one desperately do not want to be (off track) and therefore that is where one goes. Midway through the first session I begin thinking to myself that I am not having fun: I am being terrified, I don't want to die, but I don't want to be slow either. Maybe I chose the wrong hobby. Maybe I run out of talent when speeds above 70 mph come into play. I will never be competitive. Maybe I should take up a safer hobby such as golf. Maybe I can remove these shit stains with lysole. Then the first session ends and the results are out. My first lap was in the 1:50's. OK, that is to be expected: I was relearning the car, staining my undies, and following someone to learn the line (I ended up learning what not to do). Best time for the first session: 1.41.xxx. Hmmm, not bad. My target time for the day is 1.38. I can shave off 3 seconds...

Later through the day the car becomes familiar again. I get used to going wide open throttle all the way from turn 5 through turn 8 and into 9, reaching my maximum speed of indicated 113 mph. I realize that WSIR is not a technical track for slower cars like mine. For example, turn 2 is supposed to be a double apex but when your speed tops out at around 95 mph it's one big sweeper, and I hug the inside all the way through with very little drama. It is, instead, a track that tests courage. I only improved 2 seconds through the day from my first session, putting down a best lap of 1.39.4, indicating that I have a lot more courage that I need to find. I am content with this. Courage comes with familiarity with one's limits and applying that knowledge to new situations. Familiarity comes with experience. I am inexperienced, still a baby in the world of motorsports, cooing googly eyed at new tracks, finding out how my hands and feet work, and putting everything in my mouth that will fit.
 

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Entertaining read. You have a gift of written self expression.

What mods are you running on your 1ZZ?
 

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Nice driving my friend, those high speed corners must certainly make the heart pump faster.

Btw I made my Spyder almost as light as yours. I've reached 1995lbs with about 7 liters of fuel left in the tank, but there are some more lbs left if I remove AC and a few more stuff here and there. I believe I can reach 1957 pretty easily, any suggestions ?
 

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one comment, one question....

Comment: Looks like you are sawing the wheel a bit. I know it is bumpy, but it still looks a little like you could do to try calming your hands down a hair. Anything more than acknowledging the force feedback from the bumps will slow you down, and you don't have the HP to make up for it. I know a few of those were just the bumps, and a few were good correction twitches too, but my hunch is not all of them. For me personally, this advice was what increased my speed the most on the higher speed parts of the track (in the context of higher speeds, constant micro adjustments are a necessity at low speed on technical courses, which is where I got the "bad habit").

Question: What's the deal with your rear view mirror mount?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Entertaining read. You have a gift of written self expression.

What mods are you running on your 1ZZ?
Thanks. Mods that make me faster are in my sig.

Nice driving my friend, those high speed corners must certainly make the heart pump faster.

Btw I made my Spyder almost as light as yours. I've reached 1995lbs with about 7 liters of fuel left in the tank, but there are some more lbs left if I remove AC and a few more stuff here and there. I believe I can reach 1957 pretty easily, any suggestions ?
I embellish in my stories, but I was not embellishing in describing my terror. Heart beating faster is an understatement. I eventually did get more or less comfortable by the end of the day. Removing everything under the dash, including the heater core, will net you about 25lbs. The AC, core, compressor and lines will net you about the same. I suggest those things.

one comment, one question....

Comment: Looks like you are sawing the wheel a bit. I know it is bumpy, but it still looks a little like you could do to try calming your hands down a hair. Anything more than acknowledging the force feedback from the bumps will slow you down, and you don't have the HP to make up for it. I know a few of those were just the bumps, and a few were good correction twitches too, but my hunch is not all of them. For me personally, this advice was what increased my speed the most on the higher speed parts of the track (in the context of higher speeds, constant micro adjustments are a necessity at low speed on technical courses, which is where I got the "bad habit").

Question: What's the deal with your rear view mirror mount?
I wondered myself about the sawing. I think you are correct and a fair bit of it was unnecessary. I was 1. nervous and uncomfortable for most of the day, driving hyper alert to every twitch and shudder, and probably over compensating; and 2. the Spyder is unnaturally responsive and twitchy to begin with and becomes more-so when you make it lighter. I have a feeling the next time I am out there I will be going fast enough to warrant the constant adjustment mid corner.

The mount you see is for the go-pro. It tucks the camera right under the center mirror. The videos where all you see is the hood were taken from that position.

I think you did pretty good for your power level. What tires were you running?
Thanks. Hankook RS-3 225's all around.
 

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I wondered myself about the sawing. I think you are correct and a fair bit of it was unnecessary. I was 1. nervous and uncomfortable for most of the day, driving hyper alert to every twitch and shudder, and probably over compensating; and 2. the Spyder is unnaturally responsive and twitchy to begin with and becomes more-so when you make it lighter. I have a feeling the next time I am out there I will be going fast enough to warrant the constant adjustment mid corner.
Every adjustment scrubs speed. As you get faster, I adhere to the line of thinking that says you will do away with the corrections because there will be less and/or smaller errors and running wide a hair rather than scrubbing speed is net faster. I suggest you ask a someone or two you know and trust about your planned approach of making better use of the corrections next time, if you want to get faster, faster :D
 

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Every adjustment scrubs speed. As you get faster, I adhere to the line of thinking that says you will do away with the corrections because there will be less and/or smaller errors and running wide a hair rather than scrubbing speed is net faster. I suggest you ask a someone or two you know and trust about your planned approach of making better use of the corrections next time, if you want to get faster, faster :D
That's what I thought too, then I watched videos of Manly driving his Elise. BUT, Manly is on the hairy edge all the way around. 1:39.x is good, Seth. I think I was running the same times on Saturday.
 

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I think Manly makes too many corrections

Willow spring is that bouncy. Turn 8 is probably where a lot of the bumps were.

Jack Olsen is probably the best example of how to drive that track.

 

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I think Manly makes too many corrections

Willow spring is that bouncy. Turn 8 is probably where a lot of the bumps were.

Jack Olsen is probably the best example of how to drive that track.

I've never been anywhere near that track, but that looks a lot better to me too :D Most of the hot lap, you can see the sort of steering wheel movement that just sort of follows the track vertical undulations with the logical release and reapply that comes from different grip levels. I see few corrections, and the line looks good.
 

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For an Open top MR2 with no aero, 1:39 on that track is very good. Get a hardtop and add a couple of aero items and can take another couple of seconds off.

My first time at that track I did a 1:44 in a 1zz MR2.

My best time ever at that track is 1:39 in a 2300lbs widebody 200hp turbo spyder. A NASA Honda Challenge driver got in my widebody spyder and did 1:36 on his 3rd lap without trying very hard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
For an Open top MR2 with no aero, 1:39 on that track is very good. Get a hardtop and add a couple of aero items and can take another couple of seconds off.

My first time at that track I did a 1:44 in a 1zz MR2.

My best time ever at that track is 1:39 in a 2300lbs widebody 200hp turbo spyder. A NASA Honda Challenge driver got in my widebody spyder and did 1:36 on his 3rd lap without trying very hard.
Hmmm, if you put it that way, I am a little happier with my time. My goal was 1:38.x but I knew that was optimistic for my first time out there plus I was holding back a bit because I was worried about rolling the car before going to BW next week, which I've already paid for.

I don't know if it is fair to say I have no aero mods though. The front hood is vented but without ducting, and there is no good way to tell if it's doing anything short of borrowing someone else hood for a session. Same goes for the rear Luxury Parts lip. On the other hand, my front wheel well liners are trashed, and all the underbody panels (except the front-center) are gone, which is hurting me. If there is anyone who wants to do a parts swap next time I'm at WSIR (front hood + rear bumper) I'd be happy to do some testing.

My next few mods will be to add improved aero and create a little more down force while reducing drag. I expect my car will remain unchanged through the rest of 2012 and through most of 2013 so that I can improve as a driver, have a few shots at each of the so-cal tracks, and establish a baseline to measure all future mods against. Summer of 2013 will be exciting because that's when the magic will happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
This thread, now with peektures!

Look at all that rake!


Lifting front tire without the help of a sway bar.


'What is THAT behind you? Holy shit! Is that an orange wall?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Great pictures, car looks really good.

You run no sway bars?
No sway bars, all spring. I run very high spring rates. 11kg/mm front and 9kg/mm rear. This setup worked well for WSIR, which is a relatively smooth track compared to SOW, which is not smooth. I am debate dropping the front down to 10km/mm and the rear up to 10kg/mm or 11 kg/mm when I switch of the Silversprint's coilovers some time in the future. I feel these changes will cause more oversteer under acceleration. At the moment it understeers under acceleration a bit much for my tastes.

Then again, I need to begin considering what I want to do as I add aero/downforce as that will mess around with my rates a bit.
 
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