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first s197 track day. quick report and thoughts

Old 6/8/18, 12:10 AM
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first s197 track day. quick report and thoughts


PIR today with the BMW club.

My first time out with the Mustang. i've had it about four months now. it was a garage queen with previous owner, so this is all new for it. I Haven't been on any race track in about 8 years, so i was very rusty. Long story short: good times and this is going to get expensive fast.

The Stang is unlike any of my previous track cars. I had a mildly track prepped C4, which drove like a real race car. And a similarly prepped E46, that was just too slow to get into much trouble, but a great learning and momentum car.

Car is a 2012 Brembo car. P springs, Bilsteins, Steeda tune and panhard bar. 275/40 Summer tires on 9.5" wheels. That's it. I wanted something streetable and civilized. so far so good.

Out on the track.... big and fast. Those two words just ran through my head the whole day. Like the thing didn't really love dancing on he track, but by sheer force of will got around in a respectable manner. Needless to say, this is all about me learning to drive a very different car than i am used to. and much less about the car itself.

My my first session was embarrassing. I was running in way too hot. All my previous brake markers were wrong with the higher entrance speed. That combined with pretty slow steering and just adequate brakes, meant i was missing all my apexes. An overall bad scene.

The good news is that the cars runs hard. No problem with keeping up horsepower.wise with some pretty spicy Corvettes and M.Series cars in the Intermediate group.

OK regroup and get my head straight. i had an instructor with me for the first session, which was super helpful. By the end of the sesh, my braking points were better, and I was back to hitting my lines. Still felt clumsy, but better.

I went out in the right seat during the instructor session. super helpful. it's one thing to be told where to go, it's another thing to see it and feel it. My ride was in a very well driven Cayman S that was seriously modded. That thing moved like a race car. Not a rental car with some go fast stuff bolted on. know what i mean?

Next session much better. Traction control in sport mode. Things were starting to slow down in my head, and i was able to link some good corners. I didnt have to give any go arounds, and turned out to be one of the faster cars in the group. Yay me!

Lessons learned on the car... This thing is big and heavy and fast. It's all about being smooth and preserving the tires and brakes. Street tires lasted about 15 minutes before they began to go off. not bad at all. and not unexpected. i ended up at 42 psi hit which was way too much. Need to turn that down.

Brakes were my fault. I have some Hawk pads on order and will slap them on next time. Heat wasn't the issues. Street compound just doesn't want to go from 130 to 40 even once. Much less twice a lap. Who knew?

I have the base interior. Sucks. Slapped a GT500 wheel in there, which was nice. I am ordering up a set of Corbeau seats tomorrow. The bride will NOT be happy, but we'll get through it. Stock seats blow.

Oh, Sport mode isn't. Again, who knew? All stability control needs to be off to make time. Even in sport mode, it just cuts power too hard mostly coming off corners after the tires have gotten a bit greasy. this bums me out, as i was hoping to keep it on for track use. oh well...

I am honestly pretty happy with the total grip and general handling. The car just lacks precision of a real sports car. this isn't good or bad, it just is. and i am figuring out how to drive it how it needs to be driven. any advice in this area would be appreciated. perhaps a function of the electric steering, but i am having a hard time hearing what the front wheels are saying.

I am also going to get a set of track wheels and tires. i am thinking something about 295/35. These things seem to like a lot of rubber.

Thanks for reading along. if you haven't already, get out to a track day. super fun. and please, leave all ego behind, and learn from an instructor. As i like to say when i am teaching, "all men think they are born with the natural abilities to: shoot, drive, fornicate and fight. when in reality they need help in all areas."

:-)
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Old 6/8/18, 01:34 AM
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Great story and best of luck to you! I was on a road course one time and loved it. I also realized that It would be a WAY too pricey hobby for me to get into. It's highly addictive and shaving off 10ths of a second equals lots of cash which I don't have!
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Old 6/8/18, 05:26 AM
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Glad you had fun, and nice description of how the car acts on a track. I have never driven any other car on track but understand your descriptions.

What tires do you have now? For the 9.5" wheels, I would not go much wider than 275; 285 is really pushing it. Yes these big heavy cars do like a lot of rubber; if you are going to be into this you want lightweight wheels that are at least 10" wide and 285 or 295 tires. Or better yet 11" wheels (see Vorschlag) with 305's. Yes that does add up to some cash.

Agree the seats are one of the biggest limitations. having to brace yourself against the door and center console around every corner detracts from the experience for sure. But I am hung up on the air bags, don't want the light on the dash, and that's why I haven't got good seats yet.

Mustang Freak, you can have fun on track without spending a lot of money . . . check out SCCA "tracknightinamerica" for a relatively "casual" track afternoon for $150.
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Old 6/8/18, 07:01 AM
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Glad to hear it worked out pretty well. These cars are formidable on the track when driven well. And as always the best mod is the one to the driver :-)

True in any car, but particularly in the heavy fast Mustang: slow down before you turn in, so you can exit fast. I usually have a tendency to overcook my turn in, which doesn't help tires or lap times.

I also drive with stability and traction off. Best way to feel what the car is doing.

Some other things that may help:
1) Camber, I'm running -2 on the front and it really helps front grip mid corner. I can pull 1.2g with my current setup
2) 200 wear extreme performance summer tires are soooooo good
3) which Hawks are you getting? as you get faster they may not hold up too well. I like braking late and hard. I actually close the gap to a lot of cars in the brake zones.
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Old 6/8/18, 07:56 AM
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Thank you all for the super kind responses. Some additional thoughts and Qs. You know who you are.

. Yes. I am on 275s and 9.5s. About the limit. More wheel width is critical. Up to 10” can be reasonable. Beyond that gets pricey.

. Airbags and seats. The **** seats are going in. I blasted an email to Corbeau and Sparco this AM with tons of Qs. I would be very appreciative of any advice on a street suitable seat that will take a harness. I am liking Corbeau because of the optional sub cut they can do. I am also pretty confident, as much as I can be without tearing into it, that I can retire everything properly without the seat airbags. The passenger side with its weight sensing bladder being the problem child.

.Alignment. Good call. I am at about -1 right now with GT509 hats aligned to instructions. I would like to see -2. I was actually wearing across the tire pretty well. But perhaps camber and toe are places to look for a bit more steering precision and faster turn in. Any advice appreciated.

. Pads. No clue. I just know that whatever the previous owner had on sucked and were slippery. Stock ceramic I am guessing. Advice and experience appreciated here too. If I am lazy, I will just run the street/track pads. If I am feeling like swapping pads, which I should as it doesn’t take much... Some pretty smart people have advised that the Stang can run 60s, 70s and be very happy.

. Lap strategy. For me as a driver with this car for a whole one day session, which means exactly zero, I had best success with slow in and ENSURING I hit the apex. That let me use the power to best effect. I think of playing to any car’s strength, be it: Power, braking, or turning. At this point in me learning the car, my best play seemed to be ensuring I got the best drive out of a turn because if I overcooked, I was giving back seconds instead of tenths. Only my thoughts. So really just minimizing losses at this point.

Hey, don’t get me wrong, love the ride. Sure it’s a rental car at heart with some nice parts bolted.on, but darned if it didn’t impress the hell out of me and a bunch of expensive European toys in the highly prestigious (sarcasm) intermediate session.

I now face the challenge and the point I get to with all street cars. How can I make it more trackworthy without totally destroying it as a street car. And without my lovely bride killing me. I have crossed that line a couple times, and am trying to avoid that here because the thing is so stupid fun on the street.

Thanks again all for the feedback.
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Old 6/8/18, 08:15 AM
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And so the modding fun begins

How do you like the dampers? I hear good things about Bilsteins.

More camber will help for sure, some toe out may help turn in, but will affect the tire wear more so than just camber. I run 0 toe, and my plates allow up to -2.5 which I'm tempted to do.

In terms of pads I'm a fan of Carbotech/Gloc. I started out with R10/8 and now stepped up to R12/10 combo. DTC60s may be a bit too much for street tires, and 70s are for sure meant for use with slicks.
I leave the rears in permanently and swap the fronts before/after events. I have to change tires anyway so might as well.
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Old 6/8/18, 08:28 AM
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Thx 5point.

I appreciate the the input on pads. That seems very sage advice. I will explore that brand. I think your swap fronts and leave rears strategy is what I will do as well.

How do do I like the Bilsteins? Tough question. I am kind of a Bilstein fanboy, and have them on everything from our off-road Jeep to our 3/4 Suburban tow rig. The Track here is pretty smooth. Minimal elevation, so very little chance for significant suspension events. On the street, they control the P springs very well, with no inappropriate bottoming. Although that is at least as much a function of springs and driving. :-)

I am a set it and forget it kind of guy. Didn’t want to hassle with twisting ***** and worrying about being wrong. Bilstein is grab and go. I have never had to use it, but I understand their service is top flight.

Cheers all.
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Old 6/8/18, 05:53 PM
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One more thing to consider when purchasing new wheels. You really can't go much bigger than 285/35/19 on 10"wheels without using spacers on the front to clear the struts.
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Old 6/9/18, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by 759Rider View Post
. . .
I appreciate the the input on pads. That seems very sage advice. I will explore that brand. I think your swap fronts and leave rears strategy is what I will do as well. . . . .
I have similar setup -- Carbotech 10 in the front, 8 in the rear; swap the front out for their compatible street pads. Warning: the 8's in the rear do squeal a bit on light street braking. A few hard stops seems to quiet them down for a bit, but after a few gentle stops they start squealing again. Not nearly as bad as the front track pads, but it is a bit annoying.
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