We’ve been working on the Wagon rear control arms. They have been lightened, strengthened, bushings replaced with bearings, and set up for coilovers.
Archives for December 2009
***This car has Sold*** (ed. update)
Here is a great deal for someone, think of it as that Christmas present you were planning on getting for yourself.
One of my racing buddies, Mike, is selling this Datsun 1200 race car for the unbelievably great price of $3500! This is a perfect first race car or a real “Racing on the Cheap” race car. It was built as an SCCA GT Lite car, and could be raced with some Vintage clubs or with SCCA/NASA. Car specs – A12 race engine by Stirtz Machine, Weber 45 dcoe carbs, Comp intake, Comp header, dry sump system, 4 wheel Wilwood brakes, Panasport rims, fiberglass body, logbooks and notebooks, plus many spares. Contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org Let him know I sent you 😉
The ABCs of performance driving: Acceleration, Braking, and Cornering.
As the 2009 season comes to a close, preparation for 2010 begins. For veteran drivers and car owners, it’s a couple months to rebuild a motor, replace the wheel bearings, or get a fresh coat of paint on. For those who’ve been on the sidelines, it’s time to get ready for your first driving school. So here’s a few tips to keep up your desire over the winter, and to give you some ideas on getting ready for the track.
Keep in mind that cars and drivers alike only have a 100% capacity. If you are using 80% of your traction for braking, you only have 20% left over for cornering. If you’re using 80% of your traction for cornering, you only have 20% left over for acceleration. Likewise, if the driver is using 80% of their attention towards steering inputs, they will only have 20% of their attention left for speed adjustments. To push the limits while driving, we need to adjust our street driving techniques for the track. Remember, just like while skiing, you go where you are looking, so you need to look as far down the track as possible to remain smooth and in control. Also, always keep your hands at the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock position, except when shifting. Your car talks to you through your steering wheel, so listen with both hands.
Remember ‘Rubbing your belly and patting your head’? There are also two different activities going on while cornering a car: steering inputs and speed control, and we must learn to handle them together. So let’s start with some basic definitions. Every corner has three parts: the corner entry (or turn-in), the apex, and the corner exit (or track-out).
Corner entry (turn-in) begins at the end of the straightaway when your first turn the steering wheel. This should be made from the far opposite side of the track from the direction of the turn. If the turn is to the right, corner entry should be made from far track left.
The apex is the mid-corner point where the car meets the inside of the track. If the turn is to the right, this is when the car is far track right.
Corner exit (track-out) is where the steering input is removed and the car is now once again going straight. If the turn is to the right, corner exit should be far track left.
The objective when cornering is to use the entire track so the turn will have as large a radius as possible. The tighter the turn radius, the slower the car speed will be due to decreased traction and increased drag caused by increasing tire slip angles. Another objective is to minimize the number of steering inputs so as not to unsettle the car’s suspension throughout the corner. The perfect corner would be one smooth steering input to get the car from corner entry to the apex, and one smooth unwinding of the steering wheel to get the car from the apex to corner exit.
While the ‘correct line’ around a corner remains the same for different driver skill levels, the speed will certainly be higher with more advanced drivers. An entry-level racecar driver needs to keep throttle and brake inputs simple so as to have the best possibility of handling the necessary speed adjustments throughout a corner. ALL braking should take place while the car is still going straight, thus the brakes should be released at the corner entry. To use the maximum traction capabilities of the tire, it can’t handle braking and turning duties at the same time. The car will therefor be at its slowest speed in the corner at this point so that the tire can handle maximum side loading. This also allows the driver to concentrate on just one task at a time. Light throttle application will occur from corner entry to the apex while the tire and driver are at their highest workload. From the apex to corner exit, throttle application will smoothly increase to maximum as steering input is decreased and tire traction capabilities increase. The advanced technique of trail braking (braking after turn-in) should be saved for a later time.
Proper cornering technique–
Lift – While driving in a straight line, look ahead and smoothly lift off the throttle.
Brake On – Smoothly and progressively apply the brakes while in a straight line. Keep in mind, not all turns require the use of the brakes.
Downshift – Using the heel-toe technique, downshift to the appropriate gear to accelerate out of the corner. Keep in mind, not all corners require downshifting.
Brake Off – Looking ahead to the apex, smoothly release the brakes prior to corner entry.
Turn in – Look where you want to be, not where you are. Smoothly turn the steering wheel to initiate the turn.
Accelerate – After initiating the turn, smoothly apply light throttle to keep a little weight off the front tires and allow them to steer. Progressively increase the throttle as you pass the apex and head for the track-out point.
Driving tips review–
Braking and shifting should be done in a straight line. Braking should be completed by turn-in, upshifting should be done after track-out.
Do not lift off the throttle while in the corner. Use light throttle to keep the car settled to the apex, and then increase the throttle towards corner exit.
Use the brakes to slow the car, not the transmission. Downshifting is to put the car in the correct gear for accelerating, not for slowing the car.
Keep your throttle, brake, and steering inputs smooth yet decisive. Avoid jerky actions that could unsettle the car.
Don’t coast, you should either be on the gas or on the brakes.
Ask your driving instructor lots of questions, be polite to your fellow drivers, and remember why we’re all at the track – to have some fun! So this winter, do a little internet research or buy a couple books about high performance driving, and get ready for the first driving schools next Spring.
Christmas came a little early to my garage this year, I must have been on Santa’s “nice” list for a change. My race prepped Mikuni 44s arrived from Wolf Creek Racing. Todd Walrich does a fantastic job building and prepping these carbs, and he’s very helpful with your questions to get them setup right on your race car. I had him build a set for my 240Z a few seasons ago, and they were the most trouble-free carbs I ever used. I also picked up my L20b Comp-style headers from Ermish Racing. Troy Ermish did a nice job designing a set of headers for the taller L20 motor that are based on the Nissan Motorsports Comp L16/L18 headers. And it’s worth every extra penny for the ceramic coating on the headers, especially on a non-crossflow cylinder head. The reduced underhood temps not only keeps the entire fuel delivery system cooler, but helps improve the lifespan of all componentry in it’s vicinity.