GRIDLIFE Fall Special - Gingerman Raceway - October 5-6, 2019
Yay back to reality to give you guys an update post on what was probably my most fun driving event since I've started this train ride. Gridlife always knows how to put on a show, and while the Midwest festival is just an insane overall experience, the Fall Special (Used to be called Round 5) is a homecoming event that puts everything back to it's roots. Along with that comes an event that people are at to just have massive amounts of fun driving at. And while having fun while driving is what I did, I also ran faster than I ever have before at Gingerman, and learned a hell of a lot while doing it.
The first choice of the weekend was to either get there on Friday night, or leave WAY early on Saturday morning. The low of the night was in the mid 40s, so I decided camping on Friday sounded less than ideal. My two buddies and I left at 6am for the trek across the state to the track. Timing worked out SUPER perfectly in the sense that we met up with our other buddies within' 5 minutes of us getting there so we all got to park our cars up and setup shop for the weekend.
First session out was before noon and the car ran flawlessly. The RE71rs had SO MUCH GRIP and supplied more confidence than a double Jack and Coke on last call. Right off the bat I ran my fastest time at Gingerman, by about half a second. I knew I was ready for a hell of a weekend and stepped out of the car pumped up and ready to rock.
My other good friend was hitting the track for the first time ever in his V7 swapped bugeye we put together earlier in the summer, and I think watching him race and having him a part of our little track crew made me even happier, like things were SUPPOSED to be going this way.
More sessions went by, and every time times dropped, even with passengers in the car. I took my buddy's girlfriend out for a ride for her first time on the track and, while we got absolutely GAPPED by a GT3 RS my times were almost 3 seconds faster than earlier in the summer at Gingerman. That was the last session before the sun went down and the night sessions began...
...but so did the rain. I was set to grid up at 8pm, however is was sopping wet, not pitch black, and I decided having already raced before at night, the added rain and not pitch blackness wasn't enough of a new experience vs the risk. Probably a weaksauce move, but I had been up since 5am, needed food and had to drive the car home. Another time.
Watching the wet night sessions was amazing, and seeing the Touring cars all fly into turn 1 during there race with all of their underglow and lights and staying clean with fireworks going off in the background was just amazing. Someday soon that'll be me I hope.
Typical cold track shenanigans ensued after all that, and me and my light scooter went for a nice lap around the track with some friends. Talking about lines and seeing the minor imperfections, inclines and off camber curves of the track you wouldn't otherwise be able to see flying by at 100mph are all things that makes us more intuitive driver's.
Day 2 came fast, had a morning session around 8AM and again went faster than ever before. I'd have to wait until 3:30 or so for the next couple sessions so I went into analytical mode. First thing's first, I had worn through the front set of Endless pads (so much for being endless). I slapped on my own Hawk DTC-30s I had knowing I was likely going to use the others up. I decided to just swap the fronts. I took a drive to the gas station to fill up on gas (tank #2, was getting about 6.8MPG) and bed the pads in. The bias was a bit wonky. The Hawks took a moment to come up to their friction, where as the Endless rear pads were more ready to go off the hop. The rear was a bit squirly until the Hawk's got warm and their friction came up and pulled the bias frontward. Took me a bit too get used to on the track, but it was better than zero brakes. I also started looking at some logs (car was developing a bit of a stumble), which i found the car pulling ~ 2 degrees out of timing for what seemed like no reason. Not a deal breaker by any means, just annoying.. I think a lot of oil was being sent over to the PCV system since I had overfilled it a tad and that was causing a bit of knock. ECU took care of it no issue, just a small torque blip in a certain section.
Supporting my other friends during this time, and eventually I hopped back in the car for the nuttiest couple laps of my life. A bunch of Time Attack and Touring cars snuck into the HPDE Advance session and things were just CROWDED. I couldn't get even a moment to myself, so I decided to pull in and cool down. I learned there were 42 cars out on the 2.2 mile circuit, which was waaaaaaaay too many to deal with. The run group size was 20 cars at full capacity.
TA and touring cars going out was quickly put to an end.
Next session, my last for the weekend I finally was able to kick everyone out trying to ride in the car and I went out and saw my times working themselves down and then I ran myself a 1:45.49, fastest time ever, and over 4 seconds faster than my last event.
SUPER happy with the performance of me.
Let's have a picture/caption break and then get into the performance of the engine/chassis.
About to get gapped by a Supra
Gapping an old 5 series
Holy hell I need stiffer springs...
Some pictures taken by my friend to capture the hustle and bustle off track:
When your friend comes into the paddock with coolant up their hood scoop, because his alternator rubs on his upper coolant hose, you help him. (Literally every event this happens to him. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME)
When your friend can't come to the racetrack because all of his race cars are broken, you bring him anyways!
My other ride is a Disney Princesses light up scooter. Fact.
Alright, back to technical analysis.
So my oil pressure logger seemed to work a charm.. albeit it doesn't come bearing amazing news. I hooked it up to check out the correlation of lateral G to oil pressure. The good news is that I saw no correlation to lowered oil pressure due to higher lateral G forces, however the bad news is that I saw a correlation of lower oil pressure to higher RPM. Weird.
Full Log of 3 runs: datazap.me | equinox92 | GRIDLIFE FallSpecial 2019
(note: The AEM Wideband signal is the oil pressure in Bar. Don't ask, just accept. It's easier. I promise)
Highlights of the logs:
Little bit tough to see since the data SEEMS to be all over the place (not a big scale to damp small changes), but the trend is downward as RPM increases, and I am seeing as low as ~ 3.94 bar (57 psi) at 7200 RPM. Oil temperature was no more than 105*C. 5w50 Castrol Synthetic.
Seems a bit... and my logging of the absolute value could be off, however the downward trend would still reign true even if the value is off.
Concerning for sure, but I have not seen ANY physical signs of bearing wear... and obviously the car ran like.. two full days like this with what seems like no issue.
Car cruises at ~5.5 bar at 75*C. Seems a little lower than most people's 207s... and friend's and a few others have shown their 207s staying nice and happy around 6 bar even at high RPM. My gauges also read like this, so once again I don't believe it to be a data acquisition artifact.
To combat this: I've ordered a new Defi sensor, I'm gonna pull the pan off and inspect the pickup and all that while also putting a new pan on (mine has a little BABY tap on the bottom and no use to put back on the "bad" one), I can also inspect the oil pump and go from there.
Basically, I have no idea what's going on. So we will see.
Engine timing is also pretty damn flat at higher RPM, which gave me a lack of power in some corners that really needed the revs without a shift point. In my logs we can see this, and I've purposefully done this as a safety effort.. but I think it's time to bring it up, definitely something that can be improved, and I have the data to show it.
Other than the little hiccups mentioned above, and the oil pressure the engine did FANTASTIC and I was able to drive the car home. More than I can say about this event from the past!
Chassis needs some improvement. Stiffer springs will be on the way once I can do the math to figure out what makes sense. Other than that, the driver is the only thing that needs vast improvement. My virtual time was in the 1:42s so I know I run MUCH faster in this car. With the chassis/engine improvements I could see me getting maybe a bit lower. Only time will tell.
I had so much fun at this event and I think next year I am going to take the dive into Time Attack. May as well... may also have a different chassis (Not Subaru) soon too..
Will post more updates on all things oil, engine and racing related later.
Here are some videos I currently have uploaded:
Buddy's girlfriend with a helmet cam (also includes exterior shots and extreme gappage by the GT3 RS):