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#21
Tom Hampton

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This should be telling you something.
J~


Fair enough.

I did have that thought (who doesn't?)...everyone wants to think its the equipment, not the nut...right? But, I bet you could have turned better laps, in my car, with those tires, yesterday. So, what would you have done differently?

I'm happy to blame the tires and my initial pressures. I can make the setup changes that Dave recommends. Perhaps the setup I have now is more tuned to the street radials, because they clearly worked better than the RA-1s (although I do want to look at the data from session 4, before I flat-spotted the tire). Those things are all easy things to correct.

I just didn't want to leave the driver stone unturned due to a desire to think I didn't do anything wrong.

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#22
Johnny D

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I think if you would have asked a SM driver at the track, he would of said what we said. tire pressure, etc.
If they were still junk then you would of know then and could of tried something different.

Having him drive is a great idea, as long as he doesn't crash it.

I don't buy "my cars setup for street tires"
IMO, if your street tires are faster than "R" tires there's something wrong with the tires.
Just because they have tread even 2/32 ~ 4/32's doesn't mean there not junk after heat cycled out.
:twocents:
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#23
Tom Hampton

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I think if you would have asked a SM driver at the track, he would of said what we said. tire pressure, etc.
If they were still junk then you would of know then and could of tried something different.

Having him drive is a great idea, as long as he doesn't crash it.


That I DID try to do. KVerges was the only SM driver there...lots of Vettes and Mustangs, an Ferrari 458, Ford GT, a few other random cars...seemed like a Ford club day mostly. I went looking for Kieth after session 1 to ask what I was doing wrong. I couldn't find him or anyone that knew him. The only time I saw him (after the driver's meeting) was on the track as he absolutely smoked his RF tire getting into turn 1. Musta left a black mark 100 feet long, and a HUGE cloud of tire smoke. He dissappeared after that. Saw him drive straight back to his garage...never again.

I don't buy "my cars setup for street tires"
IMO, if your street tires are faster than "R" tires there's something wrong with the tires.
Just because they have tread even 2/32 ~ 4/32's doesn't mean there not junk after heat cycled out.
:twocents:
J~


The street tires weren't faster...they were AS fast with me behind the wheel...within 1/2 second best-lap to best-lap...probably slower by ~1 second comparing best 3-lap averages. But, I doubt that materially changes your statement. I don't know how much good Ra-1s should be worth at this track...but, I'm gessing more than 1 second.

Thanks, J~. I feel like we've been arguing without my intention to do so. I do appreciate your feedback.

I've been wanting to get Keith to drive the car for several months, as the suggestion was made by one of the other partners in the business. He owns this school...sometimes he's there sometimes he's not. With the 7 sessions yesterday I thought I might have a chance to ask him about it during lunch. Obviously not....

-tch
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#24
Johnny D

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Just trying to help, not argue.
Welcome to SM, you don't know, what you don't know. :)
J~
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#25
Tom Hampton

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Truely. I've learned enough to know where the holes are, though. I don't know if that makes me smarter or dumber.

When I was 17, there were no holes...anything I didn't know didn't exist...so, I knew EVERYTHING. Now, not so much.

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#26
Keith Novak

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I'll be conservative on entrance and aggressive on exit with the throttle trying make the car under-steer to get heat in the front tires. Sounds like you got "flustered" early on and never re-gained full confidence in yourself or the car. I've been there myself. Make sure nothing is majorly wrong with car, get some 4/32" RA-1s and get back on the horse!


I do something similar when it's either slick or I'm learning a different car. I'll change my line to tighten the turn radius for a bit while I feel out the grip. Tighter radius = lower speed and more runout room. Then you can turn into the corner a bit too hard to see where it wants to understeer and press the throttle a bit too hard earlier to find out where it wants to oversteer, get some heat into the tires while you learn about the grip and when you find where it lets go, you're not inches from track out which makes regaining control much easier.
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#27
FTodaro

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My first thought would be those take-offs are trashed too but make sure to check your pressure gauge off another one. More than one person has chased horrible tire issues to find somewhere along the line, after being dropped for whatever reason the gauge they've been using is now 10psi off.

+1 on the Gauge, We were checking tire pressures on a car when we were at Road Atlanta using different gauges and you guessed it different pressures by a few pounds.

Frank
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#28
Cnj

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Tom,

First and foremost, kudos to u for asking for advice publically. I was never that smart...

I instruct a lot at MSRC and have raced there several times and so know it well under most conditions. A few comments (Some duplicates of other posts before me):

1. Chill. I suspect that you lost confidence by your second spin and your head beat you from then on. It's hard to drive a tricky car/conditions and harder still to overcome stunted confidence. Perhaps the most important lesson of the day - only you can say though.

2. Your tire pressures were way low to start with. In the cold at that track start out at 32 or 33 at the speeds your are currently running and come down to 31 when you get faster. On CCW runs the RF will run 1psi hotter in general. A few drivers choose to run RA-1's at low 30's hot but the general consensus is 36-38.

3. The first 2 morning sessions are always slippery at MSRC and so expect to slide a lot. This is aggrevated on RA-1's versus street tires. Paradoxically the only way you will get good grip is to heat the tires up by going fast. Catch 22. In any event don't expect good track grip till the third session.

4. Your set up sounds generally close. Most cars in the SW run with zero tow front and back. Your post suggests you took the car to a normal setup place for adjustment. While I know you are on a budget, spend the money to take it to someone who is really good at this. Team MER (at MSRC) could nail it for you or you could wait till Ed Gilfus next comes to a Dallas area race and have him do it at the race.

5. Maybe your tires are fine, maybe not. I run tires at MSRC till they cord with no problems. On the other hand if the tires are old they will be no good. As MPR noted, I had a minor problem with 3 year old tires at TWS last year and ended up sitting in the lake (yes there is one at TWS) on my out lap. Spent 3 hours pulling grass and other evil smelling stuff out of the car while others (like MPR) snickered. It's OK though, I'll be waiting for him at the finish line in March :). Let's see him get his car down to 2400.

6. I am happy to provide some input on your video. If you want, you can meet over at my office in Addison after work or at lunch time and we could take a look. This would be a lot better than trying to comment via the forum.

Cnj.
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#29
Ron Alan

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One thing that hasn't been mentioned on your tires is if the areas with no "lines" have rubber left. Before the RA1 will cord it goes through a casing layer...basically looks no different but is definetely harder with way less grip. If your set up is ok, the area that will generally loose grip rubber first is the 2nd 1/4 of the tire. Divide the tire into 4 sections and call the outside of the tire 1 with the inside 4. The 3rd quarter will almost always be the area with the last line and the most rubber. But the valley of death(2nd 1/4)that can occur, which is where you need the most rubber, will really affect grip as it gets to the casing. Finger nail is the cheap tool to check this :D but there are better ways.

My guess is, as many have said, was that your tire pressures were not good...then things just snowballed!

Ron

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#30
MPR22

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Tom,

First and foremost, kudos to u for asking for advice publically. I was never that smart...

I instruct a lot at MSRC and have raced there several times and so know it well under most conditions. A few comments (Some duplicates of other posts before me):

1. Chill. I suspect that you lost confidence by your second spin and your head beat you from then on. It's hard to drive a tricky car/conditions and harder still to overcome stunted confidence. Perhaps the most important lesson of the day - only you can say though.

2. Your tire pressures were way low to start with. In the cold at that track start out at 32 or 33 at the speeds your are currently running and come down to 31 when you get faster. On CCW runs the RF will run 1psi hotter in general. A few drivers choose to run RA-1's at low 30's hot but the general consensus is 36-38.

3. The first 2 morning sessions are always slippery at MSRC and so expect to slide a lot. This is aggrevated on RA-1's versus street tires. Paradoxically the only way you will get good grip is to heat the tires up by going fast. Catch 22. In any event don't expect good track grip till the third session.

4. Your set up sounds generally close. Most cars in the SW run with zero tow front and back. Your post suggests you took the car to a normal setup place for adjustment. While I know you are on a budget, spend the money to take it to someone who is really good at this. Team MER (at MSRC) could nail it for you or you could wait till Ed Gilfus next comes to a Dallas area race and have him do it at the race.

5. Maybe your tires are fine, maybe not. I run tires at MSRC till they cord with no problems. On the other hand if the tires are old they will be no good. As MPR noted, I had a minor problem with 3 year old tires at TWS last year and ended up sitting in the lake (yes there is one at TWS) on my out lap. Spent 3 hours pulling grass and other evil smelling stuff out of the car while others (like MPR) snickered. It's OK though, I'll be waiting for him at the finish line in March :). Let's see him get his car down to 2400.

6. I am happy to provide some input on your video. If you want, you can meet over at my office in Addison after work or at lunch time and we could take a look. This would be a lot better than trying to comment via the forum.

Cnj.


I already pulled the dash and began scraping all the stuff i left behind on the original build, all sorts of extra wires are coming out, switching to smaller fire bottle... all counter acted by the 10 lbs i put on gorging on Christmas goodies. Back to the drawing board.

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#31
Tom Hampton

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Craig-

Thanks. I can't be the only one wondering, so I figure what the hell...

1. Yeah, my confidence was a little stunted. But it was more confusion about what to fix, and frustrated because I couldn't find anyone to discuss it with in real time. That's ok, I don't mind self-reliance. It was my first day at a track where I was totally without guidance. Even that teaches you something. Confidence is no worse for the wear, once it was said and done. Always a good lesson. Its funny how many times you have to learn that lesson. Every new venture results in a "flap your wings little birdy" moment. Besides, I got a lot of time chasing the rear-end around the track. I might not have gotten the experience I was after (driving harder, learning more limits, etc)...but, it was experience all the same---good Stone's tune.

2. Check.

3. I've noted the same thing about the track in early sessions, particularly around the tombstone-horseshoe complex. I knew that much about getting heat in the tires, but had never though to ask about the mechanics. I'd figured go fast, let 'em squirm, keep up with the rear-end until they get sticky. Maybe there's more to it than that.

4. Agreed. My setup was done at MER. I'll discuss the suggestions with them, my experiences driving the current setup, and see what they think about the right direction to go. The current suggestions (rake + rear-bar bias - rear toe) seem like they would loosen the car up. When I first got the setup both bars were full-soft. After my first day on the setup, I felt it was a little insecure in the back, asked what they thought (drive it more, make a change, whatever) and they recommended upping the front to medium. I've been quite happy with it since that change. Instructors have all commented on how well balanced they though the car was.

5. I'm going to get another set (maybe some more takeoffs and a fresh set of 4/32s), and keep these as spares. I'll probably give them another try. I'm staying out of the smack talk, for now...except when it comes to Dave Stevens because he seems to want some of my paint, but hasn't brought me a car to put it on...an apex cone beat him to it.

6. That would be awesome. I work in Greenville (so lunch would be tough), but I'll PM after its all uploaded to Vimeo, and we can work something out. Its pretty easy to do an early departure.

-tch
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#32
Tom Hampton

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One thing that hasn't been mentioned on your tires is if the areas with no "lines" have rubber left. Before the RA1 will cord it goes through a casing layer...basically looks no different but is definetely harder with way less grip. If your set up is ok, the area that will generally loose grip rubber first is the 2nd 1/4 of the tire. Divide the tire into 4 sections and call the outside of the tire 1 with the inside 4. The 3rd quarter will almost always be the area with the last line and the most rubber. But the valley of death(2nd 1/4)that can occur, which is where you need the most rubber, will really affect grip as it gets to the casing. Finger nail is the cheap tool to check this :D but there are better ways.

My guess is, as many have said, was that your tire pressures were not good...then things just snowballed!


Interesting. I mounted these tires with the most remaining rubber (side with deepest groove) to the outside. All 4 tires still have the outside groove around the full circumference (except for the wear-bars)...but, no depth markers left.

-tch
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#33
Keith Novak

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5. I'm going to get another set (maybe some more takeoffs and a fresh set of 4/32s), and keep these as spares. I'll probably give them another try.


I'd suggest trying a new set before more takeoffs. Last time you learned you didn't like the combination of tires, pressures, conditions, track, and driver. You might benefit from establishing a baseline with a decent set of tires. Then you can compare how they do against tires with varying amounts of wear.
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#34
Tom Hampton

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I'd suggest trying a new set before more takeoffs. Last time you learned you didn't like the combination of tires, pressures, conditions, track, and driver. You might benefit from establishing a baseline with a decent set of tires. Then you can compare how they do against tires with varying amounts of wear.


Yes, good point. I omitted the word "eventually" from that last sentence.

-tch
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#35
Ron Alan

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Interesting. I mounted these tires with the most remaining rubber (side with deepest groove) to the outside. All 4 tires still have the outside groove around the full circumference (except for the wear-bars)...but, no depth markers left.


Well, essentially, you "flipped" the tires from their original orientation more than likely...which is not a bad thing! Infact many do this to ad life to the tires...but that first session out on flipped tires can be a dozy!! Another lesson learned! BTW...running to low a tire pressure will eat the outside edge of the tires prematurely and they can cord there when the rest of the tire is still good. You can always tell walking around the paddock when RA1's are under inflated and or not nearly enough camber in the car...they get rolled more round on the edge and no perpendicular groove lines are left.

Ron

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#36
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Tom, my first race since my single race of the 06 season was early Oct. this year at Blackhawk Farm near Rockton, IL. New 90 car similar setup to yours. Maybe 50* with hot tire at 38ish. Had one set of new 3/32 RA1's & one old as hell set of RA1's. The new tires felt great, the old tires were scary LOOSE, did 5 laps & thought, that's enough of that. Didn't want any part of trying a second session with the old tires thinking they would wear off some rubber & get better. Not attempting to do anything that weekend except get seat time.

New tires.

38ish psi hot if the tires are RA1's.

When doing a rake, sway bar, tire psi change make it a big swing so you notice the difference. As you have more seat time with this car & good tires you'll be able to make smaller changes & still be able to notice the difference.

^ :twocents:

At this time my car has more than I'm capable of handling. I'll catch up.:yep:
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#37
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Tom,

Your first experience on the Toyos sounded very similar to mine at SCCA Driver's School early 2011. See my blog post here:
http://blog.miatarac...ace-driver.html

This was my rookie season and the main thing I struggled with for about half the season is tires and understanding how to get the most out of them. As others have said, your tire pressures were too low starting out. Be religious about checking tire pressures HOT immediately after each session and adjust them up/down as needed. If you have tires with more tread (like 6/32nds that I started with) they may like higher than 38 PSI. My 6/32nds like ~39-40 PSI for good grip. Now that they are down around 2 or 3/32nds they like ~38 PSI.

Your tire pressure issue was compounded by the cold track temps. When it's colder out and takes more effort to get them up to temps.

Your setup seems fine as a starting point. I sincerely doubt that was the issue. You generally don't want to shift "mid-turn". Trail brake when needed. Don't bother when not.
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#38
Tom Hampton

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Thanks, Alberto. I couldn't get to your blog...just got a blank page. Maybe server maintenance? I'll try again in the morning.

-tch
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#39
Jason J Ball

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As everyone has said, tire pressures are too low especially in the cold. There is no way you should be running lap times, even with dead RA-1's, close to street tires. What were you running for lap times? The fast guys run that track in the 1.25's. I've run that track in the 1.29's and I usually see 5-6 PSI gain. Confidence is a big thing in the car. Sounds like your confidence was shaken by some off's and you never regained it. Adjust your cold tire pressures up and get back out there.
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#40
Tom Hampton

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First off...thank you to everyone who has taken (or does take in the future) the time to respond. I really appreciate all the feedback. I was really surprised, I expected more "that was dumb" comments. I don't think there was even one.

Best lap on RA-1s 1.34.3, street tires 1.34.8.

My times have been coming down about 2 seconds per visit to the track. Eg, last time I was at the track PR was 1.36.5-ish, time before that 1.38.5-ish, etc. Of course that will slow down as I approach the limit of the car and me. I'm not very consistent, but I try to experiment a lot out there and figure out what works best looking back at the data. Then go back and try what I've figured out, and again try and do better. I have a G2X with predictive lap times, and use that where I can in real-time...but, I can't see every 1/10th while on the track. Even if I could, I don't think I can assimilate ALL that information in real-time, yet. It does take time to learn how to do everything the same "every single lap" and then just change one thing to see the impact...all while maintaining the needed SA around the track.

I've been thinking about the confidence comments since yesterday. I honestly don't think that my "confidence" was rattled. I never really thought there was something wrong with me or the car. I always thought it was the tires...or how I was treating / driving them. Without any prior experience (direct or vicarious), I really didn't know what to expect. I was unsure if I was driving them too hard, or not hard enough to get the heat in them. So, I didn't know if my experiences were NORMAL or unusual...or how to adjust to compensate. Perhaps that is a lack of confidence, but I didn't/don't see it that way...I saw it as a lack of knowlege or experience that kept me from being capable from making an INFORMED decision.

I never thought about (but, maybe should have) the proper procedure for getting heat into the tire. I've read everything that anybody here has ever said....and its always pretty much, get out there and drive hard on the cold tires to get the heat in them..with to expressed purposes: 1) it gives you a chance to get some car-control seat time while they are so squirmy, 2) you just have to in order to get the heat into the tire. I knew that much going in. I'm not afraid to wiggle, but obviously its not the goal. However, if / when it happens I'm confident that I can catch it..if its catchable.

Last year when I posted my spin at Eagles Canyon, I got a little bit of heat (and deservedly so) for giving up on the spin too soon (two feet in). Something that would have created a risky situation on the track had there been other cars near me. further, it wasn't a concious choice with the KNOWLEGE that I was all alone and therefore 2-feet-in was the safest choice (versus going 4-off).

I took that feedback to heart, and haven't done so since. I've chased and caught a number of hefty slides since, and haven't let a car go ever. Not to the inside anyway....I did give up on the 4-off, but that was a judgement call that I wasn't going to keep the car on the track: I was too hot entering, and I was either going to walk the car off the track sideways (or worse) chasing the rear-end, or let it run straight and recover. That area is flat and clean, so I opted for the latter.

So, based on the information that I had I went out there expecting lots of wiggling, and just be ready to keep up with it....I expected to be able to (and was not afraid to) do so. It wasn't until the third session when I decided to try something different. That wasn't due to lack of confidence, but was experimentation due to a lack of knowlege. I'd tried the approach twice without success...might as well change SOMETHING.
If someone had said (after session #2 and spin #3), bump the pressures up to 33 psi, and try the same approach again....I would have had no trouble doing exactly that without a second thought. I guess that's why I don't see a loss of confidence. There was never a "fear" component, just confusion.

It was always about problem solving. "this is what's happening"....what do I need to do to fix it? I never felt like "what's wrong with me." I'd bumped the cold pressures to 31 for session #2, When I came off the track from session #2, my temps were 34 psi (after a cooldown lap). that seemed to suggest that the cold pressures were close.

-tch
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