Sunday, October 12, 2008

MG Car Club Sprints - Sandown Motor Circuit

Today was my first time at Sandown as I had finally plucked up the courage to try this track. It was a great day - the weather was kind to us, MG Car Club are a great bunch of people who run events very well and lots of fun was had by all.

Thank you to Ray, Ying, Dan, Tran, Mugsee and Charger for coming to watch and support. Big thanks to Ray for doing the lunch run, that chicken rice was great. Thanks Ying, Jas and Mugsee for taking pics too! Also thanks to Jason, Shaun, Drew, Laura, Adrian and JimJim for the moral support. Without you guys participating, I doubt I'd be out there alone having a go.

Circuit map:

Speed vs Distance graph for lap where I reached 197kph and my best lap:

- I still need to figure out the line to take as well as braking and acceleration points for turns 6, 7 and 8.
- I need to work on braking from close to 200kph while downshifting two gears.
- I need more power to keep up on the straights with the Exe counterparts who have turbos. Razz
- The proximity of the walls scare me.

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4
1:33.5700 PB

More results:

Photos courtesy of Mugsee, wokstar, senk9 and UnCo.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

EXE Dyno Day - Pro-tek Automotive

Dyno'ed the car for a second time since stock, this time with the addition of the plenum spacer.

Result: 167.3 rwkW
Specs: 2006 350Z | 221kW VQ35DE | K&N Panel Filter | Motordyne Intake Plenum Spacer

For comparison, here are the stock graphs. There was only a slight gain in power from 5000RPM to redline. Torque was improved throughout the whole rev range.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Small update

31st August 2008

Installed a Motordyne 5/16" plenum spacer. This is meant to allow more air into the engine, especially the front two cylinders which are normally starved of air due to the angled design of the factory plenum. Mid range to top end response should be improved. First impressions are that there is no real discernable difference in how the car pulls. I'll be happy if the dyno and acceleration results prove the claims correct.

13th September 2008

Bypassed the throttle body coolant by rerouting it through a metal L piece pipe. Thanks for getting it for me Silas.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

On The Run Motorsports Track Day - Winton

I went into this track day with the focus on:
  • Maximising corner exit speed
  • Increasing my speed through the double apex left hand sweeper
  • Braking hard without activating ABS

I think I ended up concentrating too much on these things and losing sight of the big picture, neglecting my racing line and overall technique. I was therefore off the pace and still 1.4 seconds off my PB. Silas sat in with me for one session and at least I can take a few of his tips away from the day, so not a total loss. Thanks Silas. Now it's time to regroup and make my efforts count next track day.

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Session 5 (Wet)


Thursday, August 7, 2008

[Video] Sacrilege!

  1. Leaning on someone else' car while walking past.
  2. Opening his car door into the adjacent car.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Classic Skylines Australia Track Day - Winton Raceway

My aim for this track day was to keep doing what I was doing before and use RaceChrono data logging to see where I could improve. Due to the poorly run day, I only managed two sessions. I think that if we had the opportunity for more sessions, I could have performed on the fly analysis of the data and evolve my driving style with each successive session.

Practice Session
Due to the traffic in this session, I did not get one clear lap. Therefore, I am discounting the times for the session.

Session 1
The track still felt slippery despite being mid afternoon, and the track had not been swept enough like it would have had there been morning sessions. I also felt that the tyres were not getting enough heat into them either. I only managed to get with half a second of my PB of 1:43.600.


Session 2
This session felt much better, the track surface was grippier and the tyres felt like they reached optimal temperature within a couple of laps. However, I still only managed to come within 0.15 seconds of my PB.

1:43.7500 *BEST LAP BUT NO PB

Below is a map of the track with speeds at each corner:

My speed vs distance graph with numbers on graph corresponding to corner numbers in the track map above:

Silas' speed vs distance graph for comparison:

After comparing my speed graph to his, Silas suggested that I'm braking too late on some corners. In particular:

- Turn 1: ~80kph (me) vs ~60kph (Silas)
- Turns 4, 5 & 6: I should take turn 5 slower in order to take turn 6 faster and get a faster exit on to the straight before turn 7.
- Turns 7, 8 & 9: I have corner speeds approximately 10kph less than Silas on each corner so I'm either braking too much or braking too late and then suddenly needing to apply more brakes than required.

Therefore, I must remember the slow in, fast out rule for rear wheel drive cars and try harder to get faster exit speeds on to longer straights.

Full results:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

AutoSports Track Day - Wakefield Park

The weather on the day was perfect - cool, dry and sunny. This made the trip up to NSW well worth it. This was my second time at Wakefield and I was keen to try out the newly resurfaced track for the first time and also set a new PB seeing as I had more experience under my belt.

Congratulations to AutoSports for running a smooth and well structured track day.

Tyres: Yokohama A048 235/40/18 all around
Brake pads: Project Mu Type HC+ front, OEM Ferodo rear
Brake fluid: Motul RBF600
Camber: -2.5 degrees front, -1.5 degrees rear
Toe: Neutral front, 1.5mm toe in rear
Remainder: Stock

Session 1
As I didn't have enough time before session 1 to change to my semi slicks, I decided to try out my street tyres (OEM RE040). This is something I absolutely do not regret doing and it was serendipitous that I did. It proved to be a very valuable experience as I finally saw the difference between street tyres and semi slicks. I now have an idea of the limits of street tyres and I definitely have much more practice to do to extract more out of them.

1:16.9460 *STREET TYRE PB

Session 2
My first session with semi slicks saw me beat my previous PB (1:15.8). I had a renewed appreciation of the benefits of semis, it's always good to get that kind of refresher. I had too much confidence in the semis though and tried to get on the throttle too early after the "dog leg" corner and spun into a shallow pool of mud. Embarassed


Session 3
No success in getting a better time here - I was still figuring out my braking point before the "dog leg" corner and when to power out. I got on the gas too early again resulting in another spin. Embarassed Embarassed


Session 4
No spinning this time, but I was still not there yet. So after this session, I compared my RaceChrono logs with Silas' and he pointed out where I could go faster. I needed to brake after the "Kink", not brake when going uphill and try not to coast.


Session 5
With Silas' tips in mind, I set out again and tried for a faster time, and it worked! Thank you again Silas for your help. I know there are still many places where I can improve and having a look again at the logs on my phone, I have spotted some things already. I can't wait to gather more data at Winton this Saturday to compare.

1:12.5700 *SEMI-SLICK PB

Session 6
This session saw me get stuck behind a Lotus Elise whose driver was a little stubborn to say the least. He was slower around corners than me, but his car out accelerated mine on the straight and he wouldn't let me pass. Therefore, a disappointing session without any clean laps.


Full results

- Left hand side tyres bubbling much more than right hand side.
- Wakefield's new track surface is more slippery than Winton.
- Wakefield's corners are faster than Winton as they are more sweeping.
- Track drivers in NSW (in general) are a very different breed to those in Victoria. The etiquette seems different - they seem unwilling to let you pass even if they are slowing you down. They also seem to think that it's a race rather than a track day where your only competitors are yourself and the clock.

The Funny Shit & Other Stuff
18th July 2008
I get to Silas' place at 11:55am with the intention of quickly loading my semis into the back of Jally's car and leaving soon after noon. That was everyone's plan. When I got there, Shaun says to me "Silas just woke up... and he still needs to change to his street rims". I look at Shaun in dismay and knew that it was going to a long long long day. We ended up leaving Melbourne just after 5pm and arrived at Wakefield at 1:30am.

On the drive up to Wakefield, I also witnessed the scary trailer drifting caused by bumps in the road as Shaun struggled to contain the beast known as Doris the Cressida.

19th July 2008
Our plan was to leave the villa by 7am to go and get petrol. Shaun woke up at 7:15 and walks out of his room and asks me how much time he has to get ready. I say to him "negative 15 minutes", the expression on his face was one of drowsiness, confusion, indifference and amusement.

20th July 2008
The drive back to Melbourne was epic. About two hours into the journey, we appeared to cross between the "not raining" zone and the "raining" zone. The rain just started and it rained all the way back to Melbourne. It even washed the mud off my car from when I spun on the track. The scary part was when it was so heavy that we couldn't see more than a car length ahead of us. This was compounded by trucks passing us with massive amounts of water spraying from their tyres on to our windscreens. Visibility was then reduced to zero momentarily. Shocked

Monday, June 9, 2008

Exe Crew Track Day - Winton Raceway

This was another track day packed with new experiences. First of all, I was trying out my OEM 18" rims with Yokohama A048s. Secondly, this was my first time driving on a wet track. Thirdly, I wanted to try some different lines and braking to see the differences from last time.

Session 1
A drizzle was starting and the track was becoming slightly damp. I was apprehensive about going out and drove very cautiously. I was also getting used to the new tyres and the extra weight of the 18" rims. I felt like I had to brake earlier and that the A048s were less grippy than the RE55s.

Session 2
The rain was coming down steadily now and the track was soaked. I took it extra slow and braked much earlier than usual. Feathering the throttle around corners helped maintain the grip. On some corners, I turned to aggressively and the tail of the car flicked out slightly, but the lower speeds allowed me to recover safely. After getting home last night, I read some advice from DavidM and was glad that I did something right.
DavidM wrote:
"Most important thing is to brake early and smoothly, and also slow the car down for corners more than you need to, and then pick up speed through the corners and you'll be fine.
If it's wet, and it's a new experience for you, then it'll be a good learning experience as rain/wet rewards smoothness."

1:56.2700 *WET PB

Session 3
The track started drying up in this session but it was still quite damp. I tried pushing a little bit more, but it felt unsafe. The day appeared to not be going well for me. The weather seemed like it was taunting us with patches of rain and then allowing the track to dry up partially only to begin raining again. After this session, I was just hoping that the rain would hold off and let the track keep drying. As the group E cars went on for their third session, it looked promising and my hopes were raised.

Session 4
The track had dried up nicely and I figured that this was my one and only chance to attempt anything remotely close to a PB. After a few laps of trying a higher corner speed through the double apex sweeper and later braking on the main straight, rejoice! 1:43.6 - 0.2 faster than previously. A very marginal difference, but I was happy that I matched it again.
1:43.6000 *NEW PB

Session 5
I took Jally out for a leisurely drive. Hope you enjoyed it.

Full results:

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Track Day Preparation

25th May 2008
Changed engine oil.

1st June 2008
Brake bleeding part 1 - Bled the brakes and added some fresh Motul RBF600 with the help of Shaun. On the drive home that night, the "bite" point of the brake pedal felt lower than it was prior to bleeding. I thought that was strange as we used a one way bleeding hose. After discussing with Shaun, we realised that at one point, the brake fluid reservoir had become empty and some air may have entered the top of the master cylinder. Thanks Shaun for all your help. I monitored the brake pedal feeling throughout the week and the bite point seemed to become a little higher. I don't know for sure whether this was a placebo effect or not.

7th June 2008
Brake bleeding part 2 - Just to be on the safe side, I bled the brakes again with the aid of Sheepo's foot. Thanks Sheepo. All calipers were fine except for the front right which had a couple of bubbles.
Also chucked on a set of fresh (slightly used) Yokohama A048's - 235/40/18 all around.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Circuit Club/Exe Crew Track Day - Winton Raceway

The weather was perfect, the temperature was in the 20s and it was comfortable inside the car and out. My PB for Winton is 1:43.8 and my intention for this track day was to get consistent 1:43s. I am currently doing consistent 1:44s.

There were a few minor differences in my car's setup this time:

  • Neutral toe at the front as opposed to 4mm toe in previously
  • Project Mu Type HC+ brake pads at the front as opposed to OEM Ferodo pads

Here is the break down of my sessions:

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

In session 1, it was only me in the car. For the first half of the session, I was stuck behind a certain pewter grey S15 who appeared to be a first timer. It finally let me pass and I was able to get a clean lap in, netting my best time for the day.

Session 2 saw me taking Kam for a ride because he wanted to observe how I drive. Kam, my amateur driving skills should be taken with a grain of salt. Once again, I was stuck behind the S15, and this time he decided to not let anyone pass on the straights. Three cars were stuck behind him - 350Z (me), S2000 (TAAXED) and an E92 M3. All three of us tried backing off and giving the S15 half a lap leeway, but we all caught up to him within a lap! To make matters worse, when TAAXED tried to pass him, he swerved in front of TAAXED! Very ungentlemanly IMO. Session 2 was basically a write-off.

I promised Ying a ride in Session 3, so she came along for the sedate KTHL experience. She said she didn't feel like chucking up afterwards, which means I may be too conservative in my driving. Anyway, once again I caught up to the S15, and I backed off in the middle of the session to get a couple of clean laps. It still wasn't a consistent session though.

Session 4 - The S15 got moved to a slower group - YAY!!! This was a completely clean session. Brendan (Brenno) sat in with me and I was able to lap a few 1:44s.

Alas, my best time for the day was 1:44.2, so pretty much on par with my PB. As always, my technique can always be improved and I was a little disappointed that I couldn't improve a little. I have spoken to Shaun (SenK9) about my racing line and braking and acceleration and he has suggested a few things that I would like to try next time. Below is the line I take. The cyan marks my braking and the green marks when I get on to full throttle. During the corners, I am feathering the throttle to keep the car from understeering. Any suggestions you can make to help me would be appreciated. Thanks for reading.

Overall results:

Monday, March 10, 2008

EXE Track Day - Winton Raceway

This was a scorcher of a day - 37 degrees. I was extra paranoid and kept an eye on my water temperature while out on the track. I also kept checking that none of the other fluids were boiling or overflowing after each session.

My car's setup was the same as its previous track outing in November 2007, so my aim was to break into 1:43s because I knew I was still holding the car back last time.

Here's a break down of the sessions:


Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

In session 1, I was alone in the car but couldn't match my PB of 1:44.1. I guess I was still getting into the rythm and all I could manage was my usual consistent 1:45s... -_- Then, in session 2, I took Jorge with me as passenger. It was getting quite hot as it was past midday and I pushed harder and managed to match my PB with a 1:44.15. I was just annoyed that I was only 0.05 seconds off beating my PB and still didn't manage to get into 1:43s. As the afternoon continued to get hotter, I decided that the remaining sessions would be just for fun and I took Sheepo and Jeremy out in sessions 3 and 4 respectively. I was happy that I did consistent 1:45s in the heat. I'll be back next time with more negative camber at the rear to try for 1:43s.

EDIT: The practice session times were uploaded and I found out that I managed to break into 1:43s - 1:43.8.

On a side note, the Brembo logo on my front calipers changed from red to a very dark brown from the heat. I asked another Z owner (DavidM) and the same thing happened to him. It's happened to other drivers too:
I just found it quite fascinating. Razz

Specs for the day:
  • K&N panel air filter
  • 17" Nismo LMGT4 with 225/45/17 Bridgestone RE55S
  • Cusco front upper A arms with -1.5 degrees camber
  • Motul RBF600 brake fluid

Overall results:

Individual results:

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Weigh Bridge

Went to weigh the car together with SenK9, Flameboy and ES. I had a full tank of petrol, spare tyre and interior trim.

The things that were different from stock were:

  • Rays forged wheels (8.45 kg per wheel) vs Stock (11.07 kg front / 11.7 kg rear)
  • Carbon fibre side skirts (lighter than stock?)
  • Spoiler (heavier than stock)
  • Cusco front upper A Arms (heavier than stock?)
  • Plastic boot lid liner removed

Nissan quote the 2006 350Z Track model's weights as follows:
Curb: 1542 kg
Tare: 1485 kg

My car's reported curb weight was 1540 kg, so it's still on par even though some changes have been made to it.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Rays Engineering Wheels

A few weeks ago, I bought these rims from Silas. Thanks man!
They are the factory option rims for the Z and are forged by Rays Engineering. Normally, the front rims are 8 inches wide and the rears are 8.5 inches. However, the set that I have are all rears, so that's 8.5 inches all around. I could still use my stock tyres though, so that's 225/45/18 fronts and 245/45/18 rears. The front tyres are now more stretched as the stock front rims are 8 inches wide.

The specs for these rims are 18 x 8.5 +33 and they weigh 8.45 kg each.
The specs for the rims meant for the front (which I don't have) are 18 x 8 +30 and weigh 8.25 kg each.

It's track day time again, so I have also set my front wheels to maximum negative camber as usual. Demon camber for me too!