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NickD
NickD HalfDork
9/12/15 2:20 p.m.

Before long it was May 2nd. What was the significance? The first event of the CNY SCCA chapter Solo season. I headed out there with 2 goals: don't break the car and don't make an ass of myself. While I have ridden plenty of autocross laps, I have never actually driven any, so it was sure to be a learning experience. I made sure to check the car over the night before, get there early, get signed in, walk the course a bunch of times and talk with other racers.

This was the first event at a new venue, Cayuga Community College in Fulton, so it was a bit of an unknown to everyone there, kinda putting everyone on level footing. The good news was, the pavement was very smooth (even the cart drivers were saying so) and the course was very large.

Went through tech and talked about what class my car was. I read the SCCA classing guide but it made my head hurt. They put me in N-STS. Car technically isn't STS legal but they said being a novice I probably wasn't going to light the world on fire (They apparently knew my driving skill) and it wasn't a National-level event anyways, everyone is just there to have fun. And have fun I did.  photo CCC Auto-x 2015 3_zpsh5hkg0pi.jpg  photo CCC Auto-x 2015_zpshej2qmd6.jpg  photo CCC Auto-x 2015 2_zpsr0nwalmw.jpg

I think I have some body roll though. In the end, I accomplished my goals. Never had an off course and didn't murder any cones and I didn't break the car or crash (An FR-S managed to find a light post). And somehow managed to get 4th out of 7 in the Novice class

Chris Gifford's #11 STR S2000 is one of my favorite cars in the chapter and the man is a demon behind the wheel

Leo's D/M Lotus Sabre 7 sounds absolutely amazing

This new WRX had FTD by a matter of seconds over even the shifter carts. Completely mental. And the plate is brilliant. This '95 was leading the STS class up until recently. Very nice, well set-up car and the owner is pretty cool. Is there some rule that Miatas can't have matching hardtops?

Stealthtercel
Stealthtercel Dork
9/12/15 7:38 p.m.

Nick, thanks for that extra info! This guy sounds like he'd fit right in around here.

NickD
NickD New Reader
9/13/15 9:44 a.m.

In reply to Stealthtercel:

Yeah, I wish I coulda got the guys name. I'm sure there was more fab and parts-swapping than I could possibly remember.

NickD
NickD New Reader
9/14/15 5:44 a.m.

The next auto-cross was coming up on May 30th, so I was hoping to get a little more horsepower (And get rid of all the rattley heatshields) so I placed an order with Racing Beat for one of their headers. The stock manifold came out without a fight. I was surprised to see that the stock manifold was of tubular construction, although with extremely short primaries

 photo Header vs. Manifold_zpsyj6yosz2.jpg

Installation was a snap, with everything lining right up as it should.  photo Header Installed_zpsznvvta4c.jpg As for the improvement, well, I didn't really notice a whole lot. Certainly nothing power-wise. There were a lot less rattles though and the car was louder from idle to 3000rpm

Then I took it to the gorge just below Cazenovia and zipped around there for the better part of a day.  photo Version 2 Gorge_zpsybmdttxk.jpg  photo Version 2 Gorge Side_zps06hqk222.jpg

NickD
NickD HalfDork
9/14/15 6:48 a.m.

I also decided to replace the stock turn signal lights with Jass Performance's Stealth turn signal intakes (I optioned the LED lighting because I have a weakness for LED lighting). My stock turn signals were leaking and frequently filled with condensation and I wasn't a fan of how they looked anyways.

Little bit of before and after comparo.

Much better.

Also, I swapped in Jass' vintage window switch panel. I had an issue with the power windows (slow or wouldn't go up at all) that I originally thought was the regulator, but I found out was the stock switch.

NickD
NickD HalfDork
9/14/15 9:14 a.m.

The Friday before the next autocross, I got to take the Miata to lunch and notice a weird noise from the exhaust. Hmmmm. I figured it was a gasket leak from the header install or something. Put it up on the lift after work and walk the exhaust a few times and the converter sounds like a coffee can full of marbles. Apparently the 25-year old converter didn't like the new header and said "Farewell, cruel world." Ordered a high-flow converter from Flyin' Miata but it certainly wasn't going to arrive in time. Not wanting bits of the catalyst bed to get in the muffler and make a more permanent rattle, I took the converter out, and knocked the stuffing out of it. Fired it up, and not only did it sound absolutely atrocious, but goodbye low-end throttle response. Oh well.

So, this time I made sure to pre-register for the autocross, just so I had less to do when I arrived. The event this time was out at Cherry Valley Motorsports Park in Lafayette. Don't be fooled by the grandiose name, it's really just a shifter kart track and that's it. And it's a rough, run-down shifter kart track at that. This was also a doubleheader event, with a day event and a night event. I chose to skip the night portion for a few reasons: A) Cherry Valley is a notoriously unforgiving track, according to the gray beards, and I really didn't want to be racing on it for the first time at night B) It's an hour and a half drive there and back and to get there in time I would have to get up at 5AM. The night event was slated to end at 10-11PM and I didn't want to be up from 5AM to midnight trying to drive home. C) The weather was slated to be bad (It ended up downpouring an hour into the night session)

Once again, the rules I set for myself were: Keep the car together, don't look like an idiot, and HAVE FUN.

Hanging out with the other STS Miata. What function for the pits really sucks at this track. It's a rough, grassy, STEEEEEP sidehill.

The body roll this car had makes me laugh. (At this point I hadn't seen the photosfrom the first event, so I had no clue how bad it was)

 photo Cherry Valley Auto-X_zpssxb8ssmf.jpg

Karl Hughes is riding shotgun, giving me some instruction here. He has a 266,000 mile E30 that he autocrosses and runs in Chump Car up to Watkins Glenn  photo Cherry Valley Auto-X 2_zpsaquvheee.jpg A Factory Five 818 showed up packing a stout EJ257 on 21psi of boost, making this car fearsome out on the course. ABS issues kept it from showing it's true potential but it's going to be lethal once sorted out This is Tom Celica. He has a bunch of different drivers, but he always looks like this in the corners. Nice to see an AW11 Mister2 out and about. Those are pretty rare in CNY. I was running faster lap times than this car by a few seconds.
At the end of the day the Miata was still together and I was 7th out of 11 in the Novice class. There were a pair of accidents though. A 300hp rotary-swapped Miata ate the wall after he locked up the tires coming into a corner. And a C6 Corvette sideswiped a barrier after he understeered off course on a blazing lap. Both cars only had superficial damage, fortunately

NickD
NickD HalfDork
9/14/15 12:30 p.m.

I finally decided that I had enough of the front bumper on my car. The terrible repaint it had received was badly faded and chipped and was no longer glossy, it had a pair of whole drilled in it where somebody had bolted a license plate right to the bumper and the Eternal Flame badge always looked tacked-on to me.  photo Old Bumper_zpshhukqqbv.jpg I was a little bit afraid of what I'd fin d under there, considering how bad the car had been wrecked at some point. Nothing horrible though  photo No Bumper_zpslrgmdar8.jpg Zapped the new bumper on and installed a Track Dog R-package front and rear lip kit. I was amzed by how much these changed the car's appearance.

 photo New Bumper R-Pack Lip_zps4tgvsqbr.jpg

NickD
NickD HalfDork
9/15/15 10:00 a.m.

Things got very interesting for the end of June. June 26th and 27th I planned to go to Formula D New Jersey again, as I had had such a good time the year before. June 28th was an autocross at the NY State Fairgrounds and this event was being described as the "Highlight Event Of The Season" so I wanted to go to that.

So, first things first, New Jersey. I left Friday morning and drove the 5 hours to Wall, NJ. It was 80+ degrees out without a cloud in the sky. Qualifying was great, with drivers giving it their all and then some (including Mike Essa, who slammed his Camaro into the wall on his 2nd qualifying pass and destroyed the back half of it. They would thrash it back together for eliminations the next day but it was clearly off pace). Was a little disappointed that Mad Mike and RADBULL weren't there though, as he was back in England at Goodwood.

The next morning I woke up to go to Top 32, and it's gray out. By the time I got in the gates and found place to seat, it had already started drizzling. Problem is, like some sort of genius, I never brought a jacket or pants, so I'm sitting in the rain in just a T-shirt and shorts. And it's cold. But I paid money and drove 5-hours to watch some drifting, so I toughed it out. And it was worth it. Watching the 800+hp cars claw for traction and bounce off the rev limiters as they tried to keep any forward momentum and scrabble their way out of turns was amazing.

Masashi Yokoi's 2JZ-powered S15 looked great out there and was a serious threat with him behind the wheel. The rain didn't seem to affect him much, as he was constantly hounding his opponents and maintaining ridiculous proximity.

Somehow forgot to take a lot of pictures, so note that a lot of these aren't mine.

Kyle Mohan's screaming turbo 20B RX8 has one of the craziest livery on grid. I was surprised to hear that he builds all his own engines. I'm a huge Ryan Tuerck fan and was hoping that he could take the trophy. He came in 3rd but while that closed up the gap in the standings, it wasn't enough to get into 1st. The new Nameless Performance FR-S looks great in the old TRD livery and has evil anti-lag sounds. I got my photo taken with Chris Forsberg at half-time. That was pretty cool.

In the end, Fredric Aasbo and the Rockstar Energy/Papadakis Racing TC was victorious again, and Aasbo pulled solidly into the championship lead.

It was 6:30pm by the time things wrapped up. As soon as the last pair ran, the rain let loose. And I still had to drive 5 hours home. I ended up getting in at midnight after driving through a downpour. And then had to get up a 5AM to get ready for the autocross.

NickD
NickD HalfDork
9/15/15 10:59 a.m.

Wake up at 5am and it's still raining and 60 degrees out. Joyous. If I hadn't paid and preregistered, I may have considered skipping out. Grab breakfast, make sure to grab a jacket and a Red Bull and head out to Syracuse. I get there and I'm surprised to see more people there than I would have expected.

This was also a joint meet with the Finger Lakes Region chapter, so there were a lot of different cars there that I hadn't seen before. Right before first car off, the rain stopped, or at least dropped to a minimum. The course was also an excellent layout with a ton of room to play.

After my 4 runs, it was obvious I was way off pace. I'm blaming lack of sleep and the fact that I never dropped my tire pressures from the roadtrip the day before. And the fact that I'm just not a wonderful driver. After my 4 runs, i got stuck out on coursework with a guy from the FLR region who was a real jerk. Shows up in a 911, with his friend driving his "backup Porsche" Cayman there and his wife in a Land Rover. Then proceeds to spend the entire time either A) trash-talking our region and how they run things B) telling me about his 4 car Chump Car team that he runs and manages and how he has wrecked a couple new cars racing at the Glenn and everyone should do that as a learning experience (Gee, wish I had your money) C) yelling at the timing tower or other courseworkers for redflagging whenever a car spins out. Yeah, real great guy.

Eat lunch and head back out for the afternoon session and the rain really starts coming down. Strangely, I went a second and a half faster in the pouring rain over the relatively dry conditions in the morning. That's not saying much though, because I believe I was near the bottom overall and I think dead last in my class.

Yeah, it was wet out there. I also learned that with a helmet on, my head hits the top on the car.

This E/P CRX was really fighting for grip in the rain on those slicks

The other STS Miata running hard. Wish I had a hardtop for this event. My softtop still has some leaks

This C/SP Miata was from the Finger Lakes Region and was extremely quick, although it had an appetite for cones. It also ran top down the entire time, which had to have been miserable.

jimbob_racing
jimbob_racing Dork
9/15/15 11:01 a.m.

I'm really enjoying your thread and the car looks great!

NickD
NickD New Reader
9/15/15 11:25 a.m.

In reply to jimbob_racing:

Thanks. Always good to hear that people are enjoying my exploits.

NickD
NickD HalfDork
9/15/15 11:49 a.m.

Between the 300ish miles in the rain and then racing in a dirty, rain-filled parking lot, the Miata looked liked it'd been through a War by Sunday evening

NickD
NickD Reader
9/15/15 2:26 p.m.

Sometime after all of this, my friend in TN (The one with the matching Miata) and I got discussing when I should come down. I didn't want to go to Fall IA again, as it was a crap show the year before and I realized I had outgrown all that nonsense. So we got bouncing around ideas and Miatas At The Gap came up. Alright.

Before I left for that though, the car needed a few things done. First of all, when I was down to NJ, I had put the handbrake on at one point and the RR caliper locked on. Got it disengaged but it would lock up whenever I used the handbrake. So I ended up having to replace the rear caliper (none of the stupidity I had before when I had to replace a caliper) and the rear pads also, as it had dragged the hell out of them and near gone metal-to-metal. Thankfully the rotor was okay.

Also, having spent 2 years in TN, I knew how hot it is down there in the summer. And I know how marginal the Miata cooling systems are. So, I figured some upgrades as a safeguard probably wasn't a terrible idea. Fortunately, Good-Win had a package deal going on with a Koyo radiator, Koyo radiator cap and Samco silicone hoses. Bingo.

It looks so nice. Too bad the Koyo logo is hid behind the condenser.  photo Koyo Radiator_zps4pu6lxyg.jpg It fit like a glove, only taking about 2 hours to install. The only thing I had to modify was to drill out the provided brackets, as the stock bolts did not fit through them.  photo Koyo Radiator Installed_zpskwyj0zsq.jpg After the radiator install, I got everything bled out and got it warm and then shut it off. Next thing I know, there's coolant dripping on the ground. Hmmmm. It seemed to be coming from one of the hoses that come off the bottom of the thermostat. Turns out, the hose clamp was loose and had been for a while. I had had to replace the water pump AGAIN after it went bad in April (Only had 7000 miles on it, grrrrr) and I must've never tightened the clamp and the old cap didn't make enough pressure to cause a leak. But the new cap had boosted the system enough that it was spraying out. Well, that was easy enough.

NickD
NickD HalfDork
9/15/15 5:31 p.m.

While there were a few other things wanted to get done to the Miata before I left (particularly sway bars) I ran out of time/money. So, July 21st, right after work, I got in and put the hammer down. About 2 hours in my cruise control called it quits (something with the switch I think. Haven't really looked into it), which was irritating. But, I made good time and stopped at Mannsfield, Ohio for the night, which is about the halfway point. Got up early the next morning, put the top down and kept the pedal down and arrived in Nashville at 2:30ish. While waiting for traffic to get a move-on at the I65-to-I24/I40 interchange, it starts absolutely pouring rain. Now, my Miata is not exactly as waterproof as Mazda intended it to be originally, so this is a slight problem. Finally get to Murfreesboro and its still pouring, my passenger side seat is soaked and there are huge ponds in the road. Hit one of those and the Check Engine Light comes on. Oh E36 M3. Thankfully didn't hydrolock and 5 miles down the road, the light goes back off. That's all I needed was to be 940 miles from home and junk the engine. Get to my friend's house and we send the night playing Forza Horizons 2 and Goat Simulator.

The next day was spent getting supplies for our trip to Deal's Gap, dodging more rain showers (His car has some water-proofing issues as well, despite only 40K miles on it) and playing more Forza Horizon 2. That evening was spent drinking at a killer bar in Murfreesboro, The Big Bang. Highly recommend it to anyone in the area. We also did the logistics and realized there was no way we could arrive at Deal's Gap to join the group for the drive to Tellico Plains without leaving at like 5am. So we ran the numbers and decided that if we left at 7:30am, we could take the scenic back route and arrive in time to meet everyone at Tellico Grains Bakery.

Got up the next morning, loaded up the 2 Miatas, ran over and picked up our friend Becca who was riding shotgun with Chris and then hit the road. Things were gray when we left and I was hoping that the whole weekend wasn't going to be a washout. The Brothers meet again. He added a Hard Dog roll bar to his and plastidipped the daisy wheels white, but other than that and his FM brake kit from last year, it's all stock.

I forgot what the name of the area was where this out look was, but the view was insane

Arrived in Tellico just in time to grab lunch with the group. The food was excellent, although the venue was a little bit too small and the employees seemed a little bit irritated by the amount of people suddenly mobbing them.

Then it was back to Blind River Falls. A real nice view. Excellent drive, although I was itching to stretch the Miata's legs and not everyone was up to the pace.

We departed the group a bit early to head back over the Skypass and get back to our hotel in time to check into our room and drop off our gear before the dinner run to Franklin, NC.

Becca got a nice shot of my car in the chase position as we raced back along the falls road.

We checked in, unloaded the cars, fueled up and then joined a small group headed to Franklin that had a decent pace. After dinner at Fat Buddies BBQ, which was excellent, we joined another small group led by a guy in a white Miata with the license plate LITESABR (He also had a Chewie for 2016 shirt), who set a ripping pace back to Fontana. At the dam, everyone decided to head to the dam but I decided to make a solo trip up to the Dragon at night.

A third of the Miatas at Fat Buddies

Let me say that driving the Dragon at 10PM is an absolutely amazing experience. Very challenging and very exhilarating. But also dangerous. An NB that I let by me at the motorcycle resort ended up going off the road on my way up and I ended up helping him get back on the road. Car was pretty much okay, just a few dents and scratches. On the way back down, I saw another car getting pulled back up the bank by a wrecker. That was a bit sobering and I cut things back to 6/10ths and headed back to the hotel.

logdog
logdog SuperDork
9/15/15 5:35 p.m.

This thread is AWESOME!!

NickD
NickD Reader
9/15/15 5:39 p.m.
logdog wrote: This thread is AWESOME!!

Thanks. Means a lot to hear that. Glad to see people are enjoying my little adventures!

NickD
NickD HalfDork
9/16/15 10:28 a.m.

So, the three of us got up early the next morning, went up to the lodge and grabbed some breakfast. Mmmm, Southerners do know how to do breakfast right. Then we headed down to the general store to check out some of the vendors and the other car son display down there.

The K-Miata guys brought out their demo car. Cool swap but I doubt I could ever afford it

The Tom's Turbo Garage Miata had one of the most clean OEM-looking LS swaps that I've seen.

First ND spotted in the wild

This NB may be a bit stance-y, but it was still damned cool.

Talked to the Superfastmiata guys for a while. Now here's an engine swap I can afford.

Then it was off to the annual Dam Photo. Over 250 cars in attendance.

This NA caught my eye in particular in the photo

Rocking Turbo Trans Am wheels and an Autokonexion widebody, this was certainly a different look

After the photoshoot, I heaeded up to run the Dragon some more, while Chris and Becca headed back to the hotel room. Unfortunately, this was around 11am, so traffic was starting to pick up. Got some good clear roads though and was blown away with how much faster I could go with the Miata than last year. And no more brake fade!. Ended up rejoing Chris and Becca on the Dragon and we got a few more good runs in, then headed back to the lodge for dinner. After dinner we walked around some more, then went to the raffle and beer swap. After that, me and Chris decided to head to the gas station to get some dranks. But the station was closed and somehow that turned into us going out on the Dragon at night. I even let him take the wheel for a spurt. Then we went back to the hotel. The next morning we packed up, checked out, bid Fontana Village a fond farewell and headed back to Murfreesboro.

A shot of my car leading the way back.

Got back to Murfreesboro, dropped Becca off, went swimming, went out to dinner and had a few drinks and then retired early. I had to leave the next morning.

NickD
NickD Reader
9/16/15 2:17 p.m.

I just realized, I need to go on Killboy's website and get some photos of my car zipping around the Dragon.

Monday morning I got up, packed the car and said my goodbyes, then dropped the top and hit the road, making tracks at about 80. My GPS was saying I would get home at 10:30PM Eastern time. Awesome. Was gaining time as I went. And then I hit Louisville. There must have been an accident because I got booted off I-71 and got stuck on backroads inching along for miles and miles. Ended up losing 2 and a half hours of time. Threw the whole schedule off and I ended up stopping in Erie, PA for the night and getting home at noon the next day.

Spent the next week or so financially recovering from the trip. But, I knew that I needed sway bars. Badly. I kept looking at those photos from the first autocross and going "Holy E36 M3". PLus, when I was pushing it hard on the Dragon, my RF tire kept rubbing on the fender. So. I ordered a set of way bars from Flyin' Miata and threw them in at work. No photos of it, but nothing real exciting. Definitely bigger and beefier than stock. Also, finally put a real alignment. It was running stock specs and I set it to -1.5 of camber all around and 0 toe. I actually did all this literally the day before the next autocross.

This autocross was an out-region event with the FLR chapter, so it was a 2 hour drive to Monroe Community College in Rochester. I would've skipped this event but I had missed an event while I was in TN, so I wanted to not miss another.

I arrived expecting to find other CNY racers, but my Miata, Mark Mangicaro's Z3 M Roadster and Chris Gifford's S2000 was all that was there to represent the CNY contingent. Huge event though, with over 80 cars. I strangely don't have any photos from this other than that one and Mark wasn't taking photos either.

Honestly, after the jerk with the Porsche kept talking up the FLR region and how they ran things, I was rather unimpressed. He talked trash on our wired timing equipment, but this region's fancy wireless equipment cost about 45-60 minutes of the day. The course walk was just a guy going "Yeah, you turn here. Then turn left here, etc. etc. etc.". The people they had doing registration were pretty clueless. I repeatedly told the women I signed in with that I was a non-SCCA member and hadn't raced with the chapter before but she wasted 20 minutes trying to find me in the chapter archives and the SCCA membership list.

Also got really irritated because, seeing as how I was running Novice, several drivers kept insisting they had to ride with me. Now I don't mind getting some instruction but this one older fellow kept getting in my passenger seat, riding along and offering no guidance afterwards, essentially serving as ballast. The third time he tried this stunt, I told him in no uncertain terms to get lost.

Don't remember my times or ranking, but I know I was pretty bottom of the pack. FLR does have a number of very good drivers. Probably my least favorite event overall. And then found out, that due to low CNY attendance, it didn't count in the CNY points chase. Wonderful.

NickD
NickD Reader
9/17/15 9:55 a.m.

Driving impressions of the car have been strange. The car feels slower, but in my mind I keep reminding myself that it is actually faster through the corners. Funny how body roll makes a car feel faster. That being said, the car still has a good amount of body roll. Not sure what springs it has in it, but they seem to be made of marshmallow.

NickD
NickD Reader
9/17/15 3:20 p.m.

Eventually, I decided I really should turn some attention to the interior. After all, that is the part that I spend the most time looking at.

Here's what I had to work with. The M-Edition Nardi knob had replaced my big Grip Royal piece at some point and I was perfectly happy with that. The stock leather steering wheel and leather shift boot were pretty deteriorated though. And the silver tombstone and console had some bad paint chips, as well as not matching the rest of the car.  photo 100_5817_zpskabmemwu.jpg  photo 100_5818_zpsdwah6blr.jpg

The fix came in the form of a Nardi Deep Corn, which is 20mm narrower than the stock wheel, freeing up some leg room, on a Works Bell 7" adapter, a Redline Goods black Alcantara shift boot with blue stitching and a quick spray paint job on the console and tombstone

 photo 100_5823_zpshb8fihcu.jpg  photo 100_5821_zpszqp9libl.jpg Much better. Although I wasn't real happy with my paint job. That will probably get redone this winter. But, works for now.

NickD
NickD HalfDork
9/18/15 8:48 a.m.

Somewhere in this time frame, I also scored a set of Bilsteins off a 10 Anniversary Edition NB for $100. I haven't installed them yet, and further pondering has me thinking that I'll probably try and flip them on craigslist and get coilovers. Unsure at this point.

 photo 100_5824_zpssic0wx05.jpg

NickD
NickD HalfDork
9/18/15 10:01 a.m.

August 29th was the next autocross, this time back at Cayuga Community College, and I had a feeling this was going to be a good one. The weather was excellent, the course was devious (A number of optional parts to the course that left everyone trying to figure out the fastest route) and small attendance that meant everyone got plenty of runs. And, there was even a magazine present: Apex Automotive Magazine They're a free magazine about CNY car culture. Pretty cool.

The Apex booth They also brought out a serious Audi S4 with the twin-turbo V6. It's a caged track rat that runs up at the Glen and they had never autocrossed before. It had slicks, big Stoptech brakes, a gutted interior and a full cage.

 photo 100_5827_zpsiu2j8foa.jpg  photo 100_5828_zpsyrjhyrpn.jpg

Ted Barubuto brought out his freshly painted Miata for STS. We got talking and he was impressed that I did all the work on my car myself and there's a strong possibility I might be doing some work on it this winter for him  photo 100_5829_zpsb5mvrhgs.jpg

Paul Grover once again brought out his very nice NC. It was stock at the beginning of the season but now has a header, cat-back and strut brace. I love the silver paint with terra cotta top and interior

The Abarth brigade was in full force, with Scott Newton's on the left and Jay Cartini's on the right. Scott usually runs shifter carts but he just had back surgery, so that was out of the question.

Tom Celica was busy doing his best tricycle impression again

Always cool when a Cobra shows up to get thrashed on. Even cooler when said Cobra has a 5.0L Ti-VCT Coyote engine

 photo 100_5833_zpswvvijt0r.jpg

Despite the 260+K miles on the clock, Karl Hughes' E30 shows no signs of slowing down

Chris set FTD, PAX and took the points lead in his guided missile of an S2000

My car threading the tight section coming of the optional-direction 70ft circle

Got some brake dive there

After the event, there was time for some fun runs. I got Scott to take the wheel of the Miata. I had kept getting my lap times down to a certain point and could not get any lower for the life of me. I was curious to see if I was running out of cars or skill. With Scott doing two laps with me riding shotgun, I can say that the car has plenty left in it. Scott said he was blown away by the amount of grip my car has in it, although he did skid the living hell out of the brakes (Forgot I didn't have ABS).

I managed 4th out of 7 in the Novice class, same as the last time I raced at CCC. And amazingly, I got enough points to move me into a three way tie for first in class. Here's hoping the other two guys are no-shows for the last two events.

NickD
NickD HalfDork
9/18/15 3:42 p.m.

So, for right now, the Miata has kind of hit a plateau, I guess you could say. Basically all the low-hanging fruit has been picked and any sorts of improvements will require either significant investments in time or money or both. Fortunately winter is coming, so that's a good time to work on the car.

The three major things that need addressing are power, handling and paint/body.

Power: The 1.6L certainly isn't a bad engine by any means and it makes enough power for what the car is, but I would certainly like to make a few more ponies. I've tried the basic bolt-ons (Header, high-flow converter, cat-back exhaust, drop-in air filter) and haven't noticed any difference. I've been looking into bumping timing ahead and the Randall intake for now.

In the long term, I would reeeeealllly like an old Jackson Racing supercharger kit. IF there's any area of the powerband that the 1.6L really needs help at, it's the bottom end and I think a good ol' fashioned positive displacement blower is just the thing. As for the whole "they don't make power" complaint, I'm an "Area under the curve" guy, not a "Peak Numbers" guy. The downsides are that the 1.6L kits seem to have evaporated and the clutch would definitely need replacing (Honestly, it probably needs replaced. Unknown mileage and condition). Any help locating one of these kits would be greatly appreciated though.

Handling: This is simple: my springs suck. Don't know what they are but they must be made of marshmallow. And Tokico blues are crap shocks. Planning on FM VMaxx coilovers. And probably oughta put framerails and a rollbar in.

Paint & Body: The paint looks okay on this car in photos but it's absolute crap. It's badly faded and chipped and been touched up in the wrong color by a previous owner. And there are lots of little dents and the panel gaps are wonky. The big problem here is that, if I get it painted now, I'm concerned about rock chips (tires throw rocks at the fenders like crazy) and if I change body panels (Really want an RB Type II nose) or have it flared (I'd like to) then I'm going to have to go back and have stuff redone. Also the color is vexing, there are other colors I'd like (like Scion Cement) but I always hear from people how rare Mariner Blue is

I have considered vinyl wraps but I hear bad things about moisture. Anyone have any experience with that? If I get it wrapped it'd be temporary until I commit to paint. My friend is trying to convince me to get it wrapped in either the Renown livery or the old IMSA GTO RX-7 scheme. I'll also admit that I have considered an itasha wrap, but I'm afraid people won't get it.

So, if anyone has any advice, suggestions, ideas on any of this, I'm listening and willing to discuss.

NickD
NickD Reader
9/22/15 8:54 a.m.

Finally ordered some photos from Killboy from the trip to Miatas At The Gap  photo img_3714_zpsaeuwhvrq.jpg  photo img_4888_zpsisg6mncs.jpg

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Chris and Becca following me

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And leading  photo img_5291_zpsfx3syg47.jpg

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Don't know who had the NC with the Super20 flares but this thing was awesome. Just didn't care for the blue wheels. I hate contrasting color wheels.

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Also, started to really like NC Clubs  photo img_5031_zpsjo2zopvh.jpg

NickD
NickD Reader
9/22/15 1:31 p.m.

The Miata has developed an unusual "pop" noise in the RF suspension at low speeds and only over bumps when turning left. Well, this oughta be fun to diagnose. Hopefully it's just a bushing that's dry. If it's a ball joint or a tie-rod (Seems like they would make noise outside of that specific criteria) that could be problematic, as I have a race this weekend.

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