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Racing Archives - Kohler Created

2016 Texas Summer Shootout at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit

By | Automotive, Neil, Racing | No Comments

2016 Texas Summer Shootout at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit – Another great event this year!

The Texas Summer Shootout is a dual event with National Auto Sport Association Texas region and Central region. That means a lot of cars and a lot of racing!

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Packing up Friday is a hustle as usual. I have to leave pretty early because it takes around 7 or so hours to get down to Hallett Motor Racing Circuit, and I like to get there well before sundown.

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Loading up the Z

Arrived and got settled with the group and got a great sunset view.

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Unloading and a great sunset

It has been a year since I raced at Hallett and it is a superb track with lots of elevation change and lots of challenging character in the track. Definitely a track that takes a long time to master.

Saturday

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Schedule

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Morning Coffee

Waking up early to some welcomed coffee in the JetBoil.

So the goal of Saturday was to first get re-acquainted with the track, to resume tuning my new suspension, and finally if possible to improve my lap times from last year.

2015’s best time looked to be right around 1:32:32.

Saturday

First session of the day was horrible. I was on new Toyo RR racing tires and had them set at completely the wrong tire pressures, the car felt like it was on ICE and the times reflected. The best I could muster was around a 1:37!

Second and third session went much better after the tire pressure fix. Got into a decent groove and was able to get some good laps down.

By the end of Saturday I had made some suspension adjustments ant noted them and got a time of 1:31:9x already besting my 2015 time. I was pretty happy, but I knew that I could crack below 1:30.

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Logging my times and my suspension settings

Saturday night was full of good food, good drink and a lot of laughs. It is always great to sit down with some of the more knowledgeable racers in the NASA Central community and talk about racing, get great tips, and soak up the experience.

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My digs for the weekend

My digs for the weekend

Sunday

So it was do or die for the sub 1:30 on Sunday. The first session of the day I decided I would have a friend ride with me and give me any feedback he could to assist me in my goal. This was a great choice! He spotted some of my mistakes going into turn 8 and 9 (dubbed “The Bitch”). I was braking far too early into turn 8, and not cutting the inside apex near close enough.

With these two adjustments I was able to carry much more speed into turn 9 and instead of downshifting before turn 8 I was also now downshifting from 4th to 2nd in the braking zone of turn 9.

Success!

Success!

Laps in session 2 certainly felt faster and after checking my logs, they were! Not just one lap under 1:30, but three consecutive laps!

So I went home pretty happy with the results. More track time at Hallett, more tuning done on the new suspension setup, and bested my old time by over 2.5 seconds!

If you want to check out more pictures and videos, check out the pictures from the weekend, and my YouTube channel. Want some other racing posts? Check out my racing section!

Thanks for reading, see you next time at High Plains Raceway in September!

4/9/2016 – Gateway Motorsports Park – NASA Central Time Trials

By | Automotive, Neil, Racing | 2 Comments

Gateway Motorsports Park 2016

Let the 2016 season begin!

I will be running Time Trials with NASA Central starting out this year at Gateway Motorsports Park.

But first, lets briefly recap what happened over the winter!

1. Fixed axle back exhaust leak on my Motordyne Single
2. Installed Tomei Titanium Y-pipe (sounds awesome and weight savings like woah)
3. Installed New Motordyne ART pipes to fix blown test pip resonators (sound awesome by the way)
4. Got TCKline Koni DA shocks rebuilt by Proparts USA
5. Installed TCKline Koni DA’s on Nissan Motorsports T2 13k linear springs
6. Installed whiteline urethane bushing on lower control arms that OEM were shot.
7. New Trans, diff fluid
8. Flushed brake fluid with Motul RBF600
9. New Gates drive and accessory belts
10. Oil change

So not as much as I had goals to get done, but not too bad either considering everything else that needs my time right now.

So if you read carefully you would see I basically put on brand new suspension. The new Koni DA’s I had rebuilt and dyno matched have both compression (how much resistance the shock has in compression) AND rebound (how fast the shock pushes back out after it was compressed). This allows me to tune not only how stiff the front and rear are, but also tune how the car reacts to hitting bumps or transitioning weight side to side or forward to back.

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Needless to say its largely a process of trial and error. Make a change, go out on track, come back in and adjust due to how the car behaved.

I decided to start out at almost full soft (3 clicks compression, 3 sweeps rebound both front and rear). The car was SCARY at that soft around the oval and pretty tail happy.

So I moved into the paddock and switched to:

First Adjustment

Front: 6 clicks compression, 4 clicks rebound
Rear: 4 clicks compresssion, 3 clicks rebound

Next session was better, but still getting some over steer and the oval still seemed pretty scary.

Second Adjustment

Front: 8 clicks compression, 5 clicks rebound
Rear: 5 clicks compression, 4 clicks rebound

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Next session over steer was pretty much dialed out except for at the edge, which I like, rather than under steer (push).

Quick primer in the difference between over and under steer to any non racing types or novices.

So I decided to stay at these settings since they felt good and just focus on getting faster on the track. And that I did. Even on 30 some heat cycle Nitto NT01’s I improved my best lap time at Gateway by ~3 seconds! Going home with a best lap time of 1:12:85.

The car definitely feels more sorted now. It does not over steer near as badly and skip over bumps, the new setup feels soft over bumps but transitions and rolls in a predictable manner. I feel that I still need to go a bit more stiff both front and rear, but not by a whole lot. More tuning time on track is needed!

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Unfortunately first event of the year bugs did hit my video setup and I was unable to get video of most of my time on track and sadly not my fastest laps, however I did get a good couple laps, enjoy below!

KK and Jes come along!

Another big deal is that Jes and KK came again this year and it was fun to see the difference a year makes. Last year she could not walk and was mostly confined to the stroller and the car seat. She had a great time walking around the paddock and track, and lots of fun playing with the gravel.

KK 20 months at Gateway Motorsports Park from Kohler Created on Vimeo.

Thats a pretty big change versus 2015 below!

What’s Next?

So where does that leave me now? Well going solo up to Raceway Park of the Midlands next month is very much up in the air. 50/50 chance and this point. It would be a great track to get some more tuning done and see what time improvements the new setup yields up there, but there is a LOT going on in May.

Otherwise we are going to hit up Hallett Motor Racing Circuit in June! An epic track and a great facility. More pictures coming soon! I will update via social media when that happens, so follow us!

September 2015 NASA Central at Kansas Speedway

By | Automotive, Family, Neil, Racing, Travel | No Comments

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I’ve come to the conclusion that Kansas Speedway is simply better than Gateway Motorsports Park as far as roval (oval tracks with turns inside the oval) track goes. And here is why…

  • It does not have Gateway turn 1 and it does not have Gateway turn 7. That should automatically peak any driver’s interest that has experience at Gateway.
  • If you go wrong at Kansas Speedway you are not guaranteed to hit a solid object. Now, it’s no Mid-America Motorplex where you have miles of cornfield, but it is certainly much more forgiving.
  • Its infield turns are simply more challenging and interesting in my opinion. Turn 1 is just as scary as Gateway turn 1, but not because it feels like you car is going to spin out of control because of the transition out of the oval, but because you are going FAST at Kansas Speedway, and the turn is a challenging turn to get perfect.
  • Even with my measly 270hp at 3000lbs I achieved 140+mph in the oval, with much faster cars hit some incredible speeds…How cool is that?!
So now that we have that out of the way, how was the weekend?

A great quality of Kansas Speedway is that it is only two hours away from home making it possible for both Jessica AND KK to come along. It is also in a great location with many eateries, hotels, and things to do around it. We were able to book a nice hotel within walking distance from the track. This is rare in Midwest tracks!

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This was my first time at Kansas Speedway and while on paper it does not look like a very challenging track I came away knowing that a couple of the turns will take me a bit to get right consistently.

Lets look at Kansas Speedway turn by turn!

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Turn 1 is particularly challenging as you are coming off of the oval going at least 130mph in even some of the most lower powered vehicles and if you go in too hot and blow the corner, it is not very forgiving to under steer and track out, you are pretty much in the dirt.

Turn 2-3 is a quick flick back and forth with turn 4 being a standard skid pad in which you can either double apex, or late apex. I chose to late apex simply because there is a good straight before 4 that allows you to come in very quick to 4 and I like carrying that speed outside.

Turn 5 is a sweeper that you pretty much hold flat out and turn 6 is pretty interesting tight left hander in which I feel that different vehicles could have very different lines through.

NASA set up a small cone chicane after turn 6 to try to slow down cars that would achieve insane speeds by the end of the oval. However this little cone chicane proved to be not much more than line it up and flick the car right. In my car I could go flat out on this. It was fun though and took me back to my autocross days!

Lastly the oval, pure insanity and I pretty much took this flat out all the way around topping off 5th gear at around 140mph before braking zone into 1.

Sorry about the lack of data on my video, my logging app was acting up because of iOS 9 update 🙁

So at the end of the day I feel that I got a pretty good grasp of Kansas Speedway, but I definitely have a long way to go. I ended up taking second place in Time Trials TTU and had a blast with NASA Central!

I hope that I get to race on this track again next year!

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Interested in some awesome professional photos?

Courtesy of Max Lo Automotive Photography

Spect 2015 NASA Central at Kansas Speedway

Weekend Peek - Kohler Created

Weekend Peek

By | Automotive, MK, Racing, Weekend | No Comments

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A few pictures from our weekend. Neil was off racing in Oklahoma and Kaitlan and I were holding down the fort at home.

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I had hoped to piggyback of Neil’s solo weekend while I was at Regionals and get out a bunch with the stroller, but we were hampered by weather. When it wasn’t raining, it was so humid it might as well have been raining. I was hoping for some stroller and park time and possibly even a long walk and dinner downtown, but it was just gross.

So we settled for swim lessons and plenty of movies, games and books. Still kind of a bummer…but on the upside…

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Um yeah, she pulled to a stand, and then proceeded to do it on everything all weekend, especially her little Poang chair. She is also *this* close to clapping her hands, and she will now hand me books to read if I ask her to pick one. Nuts!

Neil endured similar weather at the track, but had a great time racing and hanging out with the guys:

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Hallett looks amazing, he said it’s one of his favorite tracks to date. Hopefully once KK gets a little bigger, we can all go as a family. Look for his recap soon!

How was your weekend?

4-11-2015 Gateway Motorsports Park with NASA Central Region

By | Automotive, Neil, Racing | One Comment

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Gateway Motorsports Park with NASA Central Region kicked off the Kohler Racing 2015 season last weekend and despite some challenges actually GETTING to the track, the weekend was a huge success; for a few reasons.

First, everyone came!

Yup, that’s right, both Jes and our 8 month old KK came along for the weekend in St. Louis. I thought this would be the best test to see how these track weekends go because the drive is only 2.5-3 hours.

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Hanging in the hotel!

All in all, it is a long day to spend 8 hours at the race track, so we tried to limit it down to closer to 4 to 5 hours and it seemed to work well! She was pretty happy, and even took some naps in the stroller. Jes wrote up some tips on her post here for next time! So it was a big relief that she had a good time because I enjoy having her and Jes along with me when possible.

Second, I got approved and moved up to HPDE4

HPDE4 is the most advanced driving education class and it is where you begin to learn passing, racing with and around other cars and how to competitively drive. This class is a prerequisite to competition school to acquire a racing license.

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Third, faster lap times at Gateway Motorsports Park!

I continue to shave time off (got into the 1:13’s!) my laps despite the large number of cars on the course with me, we had over 20 on a 1.6 mile course. It was busy and I do have a few things to work on still. More on this later.

Waiting in the pit

Waiting in the pit

And lastly, more data overlay!

That is right, I got a hold of a Bluetooth OBDII reader and overlay-ed the information on the new videos so you guys can see my current gear selection, my RPMs, throttle input, and engine/fuel stats! I went with the GoPoint BT1 and it was a snap to configure. It also can scan trouble codes and clear them so this can be used on your daily drivers for valuable information if you ever get that check engine light!

Check out the new video overlay!

4/12/2015 – Gateway Motorsports Park – NASA HPDE4 – Lap 3 from Kohler Created on Vimeo.

4/12/2015 – Gateway Motorsports Park – NASA HPDE4 – Lap 25 from Kohler Created on Vimeo.

Takeaways…

So after a long weekend, 80 minutes of seat time in HPDE4, and a plan put in place to get me competing in Time Trials, there are still some things I need to work on at Gateway, and my driving in general:

  • Keep my head up, and look further down track. I am getting in the habit of early apex-ing some turns which causes me to not be able to carry enough corner exit speed.
  • Turn in a bit later on Gateway turn 1 and not cut the cones as closely.
  • Get in to 4th gear through turn 3a-3b at Gateway and carry much more speed through that transition instead of red-lining 3rd gear and coasting.
  • Tune my suspension a bit. I believe that I may be too stiff on the rear which is causing some over-steer and wheel spin issues.
  • Begin to move to wide open throttle around the oval. If you haven’t ever driven an oval, wide open throttle just takes confidence.

Those items I believe could cut of a few more seconds off my lap time and get me to a lap that would be competitive for my car.

What is next?

Hallett Motor Racing Circuit in June! Yeah it is a couple months off, but Hallett is an epic track. Last year I went and it was my first time; I had a blast and I plan on getting these lap times solid there too!

Between now and then I have a few maintenance items on the car, and a couple things to fix and tune, but for the most part everything is ready to go!

Want to see some more videos?

I got ya! Check out my Vimeo or YouTube for more laps added all the time!

6-21-2014 Hallett Motor Racing Circuit – NASA HPDE3/4

By | Automotive, Neil, Racing, Technology, Video | No Comments

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So this post is about a month late, but I was waiting for the photos from the on site photographer to do a recap. Now that I have those, lets talk about Hallett Motor Racing Circuit!

So I made the 7 hour trek to Hallett Motor Racing Circuit to run with the National Auto Sport Association HPDE3/4. Hallett is about 30 minutes west of Tulsa, OK. I decided to go further than I usually would for a track weekend on the advice of a few friends that Hallett is in their top 5 tracks in the USA and would be something not to miss.

Never a welcomed sign when towing

Never a welcomed sign when towing

Almost rear ended these people when a huge storm came down and there was zero visibility and everyone was stopped, very scary moment. Thank you trailer brakes

Almost rear ended these people when a huge storm came down and there was zero visibility and everyone was stopped, very scary moment. Thank you trailer brakes

Hello Tulsa

Hello Tulsa

Finally at the hotel

Finally at the hotel

The long drive down I44 and through toll roads ($10 hauling a car one way?!) makes you a bit skeptical if the trip is going to be worth it, but Hallett proved that wrong.

The track opened up in 1976. A clip from Wikipedia:

Hallett Motor Racing Circuit is a road course about 35 miles (56 km) west of Tulsa in Northeastern Oklahoma, USA. The track has 10 turns in 1.8 miles (2.9 km), and over 80 feet (24 m) of elevation change. The track can also be configured to run both clockwise and counter-clockwise, yielding two distinct race courses.

Wait…. 80 feet of elevation change? Yeah, that’s right. Okay I see now why this track could be a lot of fun.

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The weekend was called the “Summer Shootout” which had both NASA Central region AND NASA Texas. The paddock was absolutely packed as I arrived early Saturday morning. I barely was able to find a spot!

Squeezed into this spot

Squeezed into this spot

I ran with the HPDE 3/4 group and since I have never been on this track the first session out was a bit sketchy. Running with other people who are familiar with the track and very fast can be really nerve racking when you are trying to learn the track while keeping a good pace so that you are not in everyone’s way.

Got a few people behind me, but keeping the pace!

Got a few people behind me, but keeping the pace!

However after a couple sessions I was really getting into the groove and feeling out this track. Talk about a hoot. There is so much to say about this track, but here is the short and skinny:

Turn 1:

A turn that you come into from the back straight quite fast, however this turn is slightly banked which allows you to take it fast… a lot faster than you think, and over the day I kept going faster and faster on this turn with much success.

Turn 2-3:

A very slow turn that you have to get right otherwise you really add on a lot of time, slow in, fast out on these guys.

Turn 4-5:

The first of your uphill turns that were a bit scary at first because I am not really used to dealing with the car getting light weight at the top of a hill while turning.

Turn 6-7:

Really fun turn, stay way outside and turn in a bit later apex, hammer it down and just hold on.

Turn 8:

Another uphill apex. Take this as a straight line, know where the apex is and no problem. Keep in mind the weight upset of cresting a hill.

Turn 9:

Labeled “The Bitch”. Rightfully so, coming in quick on this turn downhill makes for quite a turn that is already a bit tight, I stayed outside and apex this late and hammer it down as there is plenty of track out room.

Turn 10:

Double apex or stay outside and apex late, the rumble strips here are a bit scary, track exit room is pretty good, so fast, fast, fast out.

Here is a video of one of my laps, check out how smooth the new GoPro Hero3+ is! Soooo much better than the iPhone camera. Also I can now do Picture in Picture! More on that in a bit:

6-21-2014 – Hallett Motor Racing Circuit Lap 6 from Kohler Created on Vimeo.

Originally the reason why Jessica did not come with me this time (I was flying solo) was because of the heat and typically track weekends are not very forgiving. Most of the time you are sitting on asphalt and the only recourse to heat is an umbrella and a bunch of water.

Little did I know that Hallett has excellent facilities! Hot showers, an air conditioned cafeteria, a small gift shop, and a legit camping site! Really great facility. Jessica could have come had I known this.

The lunch line in the cafeteria

The lunch line in the cafeteria

Gift shop!

Gift shop!

Uh oh...

So about that new camera. I could not handle the vibrations of the iPhone camera any longer. It was getting to the point where the videos were un-watchable.

So we decided to get a GoPro. These little guys are really useful for a lot of things that we do. Hiking, Camping, recording workouts or lifts to check form, and it has a 10 megapixel camera as well just for snapping photos.

This also gives me the option to still use the iPhone camera, but as the smaller Picture In Picture. What do you think I should have for the second camera? Driver view? Behind the car? Feet view? Suggestions?

Panorama of the view from my parking spot, click for larger version

Panorama of the view from one of the spectator stands, click for larger version

In the end I feel that I just got a basic handle on Hallett after 80 minutes of seat time. I will definitely be returning next year to this track with Jessica, and perhaps Kaitlan. It has the proper facilities to accommodate both Jessica and Kaitlan and I want more time on this track.

If you are considering Hallett, you really should go the extra mile, or miles to experience it. It is now my favorite track!

Want to see more pictures and videos?

More videos over at Vimeo!
More of my photos, and photos from the Hallett Foto Shoppe
How about a video of our race group?

4-26-2014 Mid America Motorplex NASA

By | Automotive, Neil, Racing | No Comments

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Coverage from the weekend elsewhere on the web:

Videos from the cockpit
Photos by John Hiatt
I even made the NASA Central Feature Driver Profile!

Another familiar sight and another track weekend! This time we were headed to one of the further tracks that we go to: Mid America Motorplex in Pacific Junction, IA (20 minutes south of Omaha, Nebraska) for Mid America Motorplex with NASA (National Auto Sport Association) in HPDE3.

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3+1 came along!

Even with a 5 and 1/2 hour drive and pregnant, as usual Jes came along with me to be my support. I am very lucky to have her there! A race track is an exciting place to be for me, but for many racer’s their spouse would be less than enthused to spend the weekend there.

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Hey look, the pups Matilda and Clive even came too!

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If you do not recall, I went to MAM last year and it was definitely an experience that left me feeling like I had to come back to this track again and get more seat time on it.

So this particular weekend’s goals were to:

A: Become more comfortable with Mid America Motorplex
B: Get on the throttle much sooner on the apex of turns rather than too late
C: Get used to open passing in HPDE3 and HPDE4

And by those goals the weekend was a pretty big success. By the end of the day I was feeling much more comfortable on the track and was getting most of the turns right and whittling away at my lap times.

If you watch some of my videos it is also quite apparent that I was getting on the throttle much sooner into the apex rather than coasting through most of the turn.

The only downside at all is that HPDE3 was put with the HPDE1-2 groups so there were quite a few slower cars on the track at the same time and we were not allowed to open pass with the HPDE4 guys so my only gripe on the weekend would be that I did not get much passing experience. Next time!

The only issue of the day was a bit of a slide going into turn 9 on one of my laps. I think I may have went in a bit hot, and then slightly lifted to bring the back end around, however I recall it just feeling “slick” in that area, so I do not know what happened. In any case I was able to recover quickly without any drama.

4-26-2014 Mid America Motorplex NASA Central HPDE3 Lap 20 from Kohler Created on Vimeo.

After a pretty breezy and hot day I got my 80 minutes of track time and the Z performed very well. The car just keeps on performing well considering how much track time it has seen the past couple years. I work to keep this up by keeping fresh fluids in it and all of the performance safety items as possible to keep the motor in good health. I also try to drive smoothly and shift with accuracy and confidence as to not upset the drivetrain.

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The rest of the track time was just pure fun. I was lucky to have John Hiatt on the track, a professional photographer, taking photos of the car, and here are some great ones!

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So what is next?

Well MAYBE Hallett Motor Racing Circuit in Jennings, Oklahoma (Near Tulsa). I have never been on this track before, so a big challenge of both learning the track as well as my pursuit of getting into HPDE4 and doing some open passing practice.

3-29-2014 Gateway Motorsports Park NASA HPDE

By | Automotive, Neil, Racing | No Comments

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Coverage from the weekend elsewhere on the web:

All videos of laps from the weekend 
Photos from the weekend!

FINALLY!

After a very, very long winter it is finally here: my first track weekend of 2014! The opening weekend just happened to take place at Gateway Motorsports Park in Collinsville, IL. I am very familiar with this track. I have more seat time at GMP than any other track as you can see here, and here.

This year I will be more closely following the National Auto Sport Association Central (NASA Central) division because NASA will be eventually where my car fits in best to compete and the staff, instructors, and volunteers are just a great bunch of people to be around.

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All packed up and ready to go!

Saturday:

Saturday was downright COLD! Temperatures at the track at 8:00AM were in the 30’s, and with no sun to be found it was quite a precarious morning. Tarmac temps were low too and considering it was most people’s first time back in the driver seat since 2013, everyone was being real conservative on the track.

Jessica spent most of the day sequestered in the car, reading books and taking naps. I don’t blame her. When I was not in the driver seat I was in the car too trying to get feeling back in my hands.

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Despite the cold temperatures, it was great to be back behind the wheel and the car felt great! Last season I had to replace my wheels due to one of the old ones cracking, so new Enkei RPF1 18×10.5+22 wheels and brand new Nitto NT01 tires (275/35/18) were on the car. The car performed very well and only a minor suspension adjustment was necessary due to the tire rubbing the inner fender lining. The morning sessions were nice and slow to shake off the cobwebs and get used to the new shoes, but by the afternoon I was back in the groove and back on my racing line.

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Sunday:

All was not lost on Saturday, because I registered for both Saturday and Sunday sessions. The forecast for Sunday looked to be nice and sunny so after a long chilly day on Saturday we retired back to the hotel in Collinsville to relax and recharge for day two!

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As you can see it was still frosty even on Sunday. The good news is that the sun was out and heating up the track, and the air was still cold. This combination of warm tarmac and cold air resulted in many cars breaking track records. I could certainly feel it as well, and Sunday ended up being a much faster day than Saturday.

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This was my first weekend in the HPDE3 group (What is HPDE?). This group allows more open passing and is paired with HPDE4, which is the most advanced group  to participate in before considering the next step of a competition license.

It was a really good learning experience having all of those experienced drivers around you on the track and the experience of people passing you, or you passing others freely. I was definitely much more aware of what was going on around me and I think that overall it kept me more focused on driving. While my lap times were not my best, I was definitely getting my line down and while getting used to others moving around me.

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Thoughts…

So after 180 minutes of seat time in one weekend I can say I came away with a lot learned. The car has a lot left in it when my driving catches up so that is nice. Pretty much my biggest issue at the moment is not getting on the throttle at the apex, rather, I am getting on the throttle way too late into corner track out.

Taking video of yourself is quite amazing because when you are in the car everything feels so fast, however coming home and watching the video after the fact it is obvious that I had plenty of grip left to get on the throttle much sooner. So that is going to be my main goal for the next track weekend.

Here is a video of one of my faster laps of the day on Sunday.

3-30-2014 Gateway Motorsports Park HPDE 3/4 – Lap 12 from Kohler Created on Vimeo.

What’s up next?

On April 26th I will be racing at Mid America Motorplex in Omaha. That track has many, many more turns and is a much more challenging track. Should be fun!

More videos of laps from the weekend
Check out all of our photos from the weekend

How-To: Upgrading OEM 350z brakes to OEM 350z Brembo brakes

By | Automotive, How-To, Neil, Racing | No Comments

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A lot of 350z owners will find themselves desiring better braking performance, either because they are the occasional track junkie, weekend warrior — or just want the peace of mind of having a great performing setup for their daily use.

There are many, many aftermarket options for big brake kits, however the OEM Brembo kit that came on the 350z track editions is a great setup. Finding a set lightly used can be relatively cheap ($1000-$1500 for all 4 wheels commonly).

I will go over a bit briefly about the process and what you will need to upgrade your basic brakes on your Z to the OEM Brembo kit. It is ALMOST bolt-on, but lets go over it now.

Tools you will need:

  • Basic ratchet/socket set
  • Basic wrench set
  • Breaker bar. 3/4 inch is fine, or whatever fits your sockets
  • PB blaster or other penetrating lubricant
  • Brake Bleeder wrench, or other wrench the size of the bleeder (10mm).
  • Tin snips
  • Safety Glasses
  • Respirator rated for lead (when working on brake pad parts it is smart so you do not breathe in lead dust)
  • Rubber Mallet
  • 2x – Jack Stand
  • Car Jack

Optional:

  • Nissan 350z Factory Service Manual
  • Torque Wrench
  • Brake Cleaner
  • Disk Brake Quiet
  • Wire brush
  • Brake Service Kit – You may need this to push the brake piston back into the Brembo caliper if they are not already compressed
  • Motive Power Bleeder (Or other bleeder system, but if you are bleeding fluids often, these are excellent investments)

Parts needed:

  • 2x – Front Brembo Rotor (I recommend Centric blanks, or Disk Brake Australia brand)
  • 2x – Rear Brembo Rotor
  • 2x – Front Brembo Brake Pad (I like Hawk or Carbotech, this highly dependent on your needs)
  • 2x – Rear Brembo Brake Pad
  • 3x – Brake Fluid (I recommend Motul RBF-600)
  • 2x – Front stainless steel brake lines for Brembo (I recommend Technafit. NOTE: you may as well upgrade your OEM rubber lines now. If you already have stainless steel brakes lines for your OEM brakes you CAN get a new banjo bolt from the brake line manufacturer made for the Brembo calipers and still use those lines.)
  • 2x – Rear stainlsess steel brakes lines (NOTE: You can also get new banjo bolts for these if you already have them for the OEM brake kit to fit the Brembo caliper)
  • 4x – Rear caliper bolts for Brembo calipers – Nissan Part #: 080412351A (The rear calipers require new bolts as they are different sizes. The front are the same size)

Process:

    1. Loosen lug nuts and jack up the front or rear of the car and place on two jack stands with the jack securing another point for safety.
    2. Remove wheels.
    3. Now is a good time to remove the OEM brake lines if you are replacing them. Careful to wipe up any brake fluid as it is very corrosive to painted surfaces. You will see one end connected to the caliper and the other on the inner wheel well. See below.

 

    1. You will see behind the OEM calipers there are two bolts that attach them to the wheel hub. Hit these with some PB Blaster and let soak for a few minutes. This is also where the breaker bar comes in handy, these can be a bear to remove. See picture below for the two bolt holes where the caliper attached.

 

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    1. Remove calipers.
    2. Hit the exposed rotors with the rubber mallet at 12 o’clock, then 6, then 9 and 3 o’clock to knock them loose and they should slide right off the wheel studs.
    3. Now you will need to use the tin snips to cut back the dust shield as small as possible. This will allow you to install the much bigger rotors of the Brembo kit. See picture below to see how much I took off.

 

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    1. Use your wire brush to clean off the hub surface that the new rotor will sit against. Not a bad idea to hit this with some high temp silicon lube if you have it so the rotor will never rust against the hub.
    2. Install your new brake pads into the Brembo Caliper and use the Disk Brake Quiet on the back of the pads if you want them quiet. If the pistons of the caliper are not compressed you may have to use your brake service kit here.
    3. Install the new rotor, then the Brembo caliper exactly in reverse of how you took off the OEM calipers. Torque everything down tight. Refer to Factory Service Manual for exact numbers.
    4. Hook up your new brake line to the Brembo caliper. NOTE: Be sure to be gentle connecting the line to the rotor, do not over torque (15ft/lbs or so). Refer to Factory Service Manual.
    5. Do the same for the front or rear depending on where you started. The process is exactly the same!

 

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    1. Brake fluid flush/bleeding time. I may do a tutorial on how to bleed with the Motive bleeder, but for this post I will link to a video of both how to bleed with the Motive bleeder, as well as traditional. NOTE: The front Brembo calipers have TWO bleeders and you will want to bleed from both.

 

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Video with Motive bleeder:

Traditional bleeding:

  1. That is it! Now time to take the car for a test drive around the block giving it a few good stops and then check for leaks. Next you will need to make some time to a proper brake pad “bed in.”

Enjoy your new non-fading stopping power and great looks!

 

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8-21-2013 Gateway Motorsports Park SCCA PDX

By | Automotive, Featured, Neil, Racing | No Comments

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Another track day down! And boy this was a good one!

This time the track day was a 1/2 day event that began around 3:30PM and ran until dark. I have never done one of these half day events but I have to say there are a few benefits to them over a full day.

First off you do not really need to get a hotel because you do not have to be on track until 2:30-3:00 so that is nice on the wallet. The down side? Well you are packing up around 8:00PM, tired and dirty and still have a long drive back home hauling the car; exhausting and makes for a late night.

So I do kind of like the 1/2 day events, but they do feel like more of a rush than a full weekend event.

In any case… The reason why the event was such a good one is because it was the first time that as a driver I felt like I really started to push this car’s limits and I was not the only limiting factor. I think going to Mid America Motorplex in May really helped me with my confidence. Feeling the car on a much different track and getting a lot of solo seat time let me really connect with the car and start to test and feel its limits.

The track times agreed. Overall I improved my lap times between 6 and 8 seconds on average between this event and the last event in late April! That is huge to scrub off almost 10 seconds for my fastest lap.

8-21-2013 Gateway Motorsports Park PDX Lap 4 from Kohler Created on Vimeo.

As you can see in the video I was really moving and keeping very smooth throughout the track. I was very happy with the car and it was giving me great feedback on what was going on.

I decided this time to break up the videos into laps in order to make them easier to flip through and digest for a viewer. Here are a couple more good laps:

8-21-2013 Gateway Motorsports Park PDX Lap 28 from Kohler Created on Vimeo.

8-21-2013 Gateway Motorsports Park PDX Lap 12 from Kohler Created on Vimeo.

And if you cannot get enough and want more laps I have created a group for this event and you can check them out here:

8-21-2013 Gateway Motorsports Park PDX

The day was not without some tribulation. I did experience my first time going off track. I have gotten pretty sideways and out of control before but I have always managed to stay on the track. Well this time was a bit different.

Coming into turn 5 I was really moving. Most of the day I was tracking out very wide out of turn 5 and almost clipping the track out cone. This time I hit the turn 5 apex a bit too early, coupled in with carrying a bit too much speed into the turn which caused my track out line to move wide. Coming out of turn 5 the car got a bit sideways and then grabbed after I did a bit of throttle modulation. After grabbing it pointed me even further wide and my rear tires hit the rumble strip paint and lost traction again. Instead of fighting it and perhaps spinning or shooting back across the track I decided to let it track out into the grass. A good and safe bet.

I did however kill a cone and do a pretty good amount of paint damage on the front bumper. No biggie really. Paint is easy and relatively cheap to have re-painted. No structural or parts damaged and to be honest I was not really even disappointed in myself at all. The only reason it happened is because I had been getting faster and faster and just pushed the edge a bit too far. Nothing stupid, nothing silly.

The aftermath:

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And on to the video of the off track adventure:

8-21-2013 Gateway Motorsports Park PDX Lap 7 – Went off track from Kohler Created on Vimeo.

I ended up getting right back on the track and hitting some more laps that session.

At the end of the day I did learn a lot during the sessions. I learned a couple new lines on some corners and more so I gradually kept pushing my limits while keeping things smooth and I do not believe I ever once was caught “over driving” the car, a problem I sometimes run into. That all came together with much smoother and faster laps.

A great ending to the day was when my instructor and the Chief Steward both agreed that I was ready to drive solo and move up to the advanced group. I usually do not ever get prideful in myself but it did feel good to get that nod.

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I have one more event this season going to Heartland Park Topeka with NASA and then the car goes back in the garage for maintenance, improvements and some hibernation. Next spring I aim to work with NASA(National Auto Sport Association) Central and go to Competition Driving School and get my comp license. A dream of mine coming in to reality.

If you got this far, thanks for reading! Let me know what you like or do not like or what you would like to see more of about my automotive hobby. Here are some more links to albums and videos of the day.

Full Flickr Album
My YouTube Channel