Initial Setup

The last couple weeks have been a bit hectic.  I’ve been swamped between things around the house, and some family stuff.  Its a good thing I got the car “done” two weeks ago.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t have had the time to finish and I’d have missed the day at the track tomorrow!

Busy-ness aside, I managed to make it down to TeamMER yesterday and get the initial setup put on the car.  It was kind of a nervous thing, because I didn’t know if they were going to find any major problems…and was already out of time to fix before Saturday.  I’d planned on going LAST saturday..which would have given me a week to fix any issues.  Since that was not the case, I was a little nervous when he first put it on the scales.

It didn’t get better when his first comment was “wow, that’s pretty far off!”  Initially, the weights/heights were all over the place, RF camber was 1.1 degrees, and there was 1/2″ of toe-in on the LF, and 1/5” on the RF.  However, after he got the heights under control and fixed the RF camber…things started looking better.  The car behaved as he expected it to, and the weights redistributed.

The car ended up with 2.8* on RF/LF, and 2.6* RR/LR.  He said that the camber is NOT maxed out…there is quite a bit of adjustment left available.  I’ve got street performance tires on the car right now, so he didn’t want to put any more camber into them than he did.  Plus, I’m not running the 99 hats.  He thinks that after I switch to the hats (and FCM kit) and race tires I should be able to get 3.5*+ on the front, and 3.0″+ in the rear.

The great news of the day is that nothing is bent, or all bound up in any funky way.

I was also nervous because it is the first time that anyone who knows anything about racecars has seen my work up close in person.  Since I’ve never built one before, and I don’t REALLY know any other builders (in person)…I’ve done everything based on my own mechanical sense, and by following guidance from the web.  Anyway, Shannon was there and he poked his head all around the car.  The setup guy also had several comments.

Everything was positive about the work that has been completed.  They suggested a few more things, like the 99 hats.  Nothing that wasn’t already on the list. I just haven’t had the money or time or both to do EVERYTHING to make the car w2w race ready.  Super school isn’t until December anyway.  I intend to enjoy the process and learn HOW these changes affect the car’s handling and performance.


So, the car weights 2354 with a full tank of gas (60 lbs) and driver+gear (195).  There’s still about 20 lbs of balast on the driver that needs to come off (my flesh weighs 180…150 would be good, but 160 is more realistic :-)).  In addition, I still have the stock exhaust: 20 lbs different from SD.  And, I have a passenger seat in the car (20 lbs).  So, dry weight, no driver, full race trim means the car weighs roughly 2060.

I’ve read that 2040 is a good target for a 1.6.  I did a few things during the cage build that probably account for that 20 lb difference.  The AA cage is 1 5/8″ tubing, and is known to be several pounds heavier than a minimal cage could be.  I conciously chose the AA cage knowing that it is a smidge heavier, but is quite a bit stronger.  In addition (also part of the cage) I used 1 5/8 tubing for the harness bar.  I ran it the full width of the main hoop.  Also this bar is 0.125 wall, because that is all I could source locally.  This is several more pounds.  The passenger seat mount is also more beefy than maybe it needs to be.  That is probably the bulk of the extra 20 lbs.

So, removing the 60 lbs of gas, the 20 lbs for the stock muffler, and 20 lbs for the passenger seat (and belts), puts the car+driver at 2254…allowing for 25 lbs of balast (leaving a touch of margin).  If the driver can drop another 20 lbs of LARD…that would leave room for 45 lbs of balast.

However, I also don’t have a fire-system in place…or a cool suit-cooler.  These obviously are going to add weight back.  Ideally, it would be good to find some more weight to remove.  Especially from the left-front.

The current corner weights are:

Front: 620 | 597.

Rear:    596 | 542.

with 50.7% cross

So, the RR is very light (by 54 lbs to the next closest corner).  20 lbs out of the LF and placing the firesystem over the RR would make a big difference in the weight balance.  But, I have no idea where to find 20 lbs in the whole car, let alone in the LF!!!!

Finally, he put the car on the rack and did a full inspection, and nut&bolt check.  I’d already done this at home, and he  didn’t find any loose fasteners.  He did take the time to remove some rocks from the LCA pickup points.  And he pointed out how much faster the red SS brake lines were going to make the car :-D.  All in all, it was great service.  I enjoyed the time hanging out in a real race shop, learned a few things, and now have a few new things to ponder.

AND….the car’s not bent!  A good day.

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