Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
8/7/13 2:59 p.m.

With any new project, track testing should be done before any major modifications. Without testing the car’s limits, it’s impossible to know what needs to be changed. It’s also nice to be able to give objective information afterward about the effect the modifications had.

Unfortunately, the clear skies we started with on the 2-hour drive to The FIRM completely eroded by the time we got on track. Though there was standing water everywhere, we did manage to get a feel for what our Nissan does well—and poorly.

The standout issue? Tires. The 350Z is still riding on cheap Chinese tires. It’s a lot of fun without any traction, but not exactly fast. And though there was barely any traction, the weak (and most likely original) clutch lasted only a few laps before slipping and smelling distinctly of failure.

Compared to these two issues, the suspension was a distant third. Still, though—the car needs new bushings and shocks, at the very least.

On the bright side, the factory viscous limited-slip worked well enough, and the Z had plenty of power. More is always better, though. We’ll be addressing engine upgrades in the future.

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