Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Buying a friend's Bride

As mentioned previously, my friend Kam is parting out his Zed. As a result, I not only purchased a couple of his wheels but also his passenger side Bride seat; a Stradia II Sport to be exact.

So firstly, out with the factory seat...

Then in with the new seat, with modified fire extinguisher bracket to match (thanks Jim).

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Girls like handbags, I like wheels

I'll admit that this is one of my obsessions - wheels. The TE37 is a timeless wheel design in my opinion. An opportunity arose where my friend Kam (Kammo.Reloaded) had decided to part out his 350Z and sell it. Upon perusing the catalog of parts Kam had at his disposal, my attention was drawn to a couple of things; one of which was his pair of TE37 SL Black Editions (18 x 10J +20).

After a quick test fit at the front of the Zed, the two wheels had found a new home.

As they are currently fitted with Hankook Z221 285/30R18 semi slicks, I'm planning to test these wheels on the front at the next track day.

Thanks for the wheels Kam, and thanks for the pics Rebecca.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

[Video] Best Lap at Winton 12-Oct-2014

Sorry, the white balance on my camera wasn't adjusted properly. Thanks to JimJim for adding the telemetry.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Exe Crew Track Day - Winton Motor Raceway

12th October 2014

Yet another Exe Crew track day rolls around and we make our way back to Winton to attack those times. This time the car doesn't have a broken wheel bearing anymore but it did have some bits of road kill (fox or kangaroo?) under the car courtesy of the Hume Freeway.

Unfortunately, a combination of factors conspired against my attempt for a faster lap time...

Session 1
I had a short session because I didn't check my tyre pressures before starting, leading to my ABS malfunctioning. I locked up the tyres a couple of times and end the session early, lesson learnt.
2:04.2530 1:46.6890 2:14.0940

Session 2
Getting back into the groove of driving at Winton.
1:58.4920 1:45.7440 1:42.6360 1:42.3630 1:52.3290

Session 3
The temperatures (both ambient and track) were rising by this point.
1:53.3980 1:42.2200 1:41.3670 1:42.5950 1:43.1260 1:42.1100

Session 4
At this stage, it was really quite hot and I pushed hard, but obviously not hard enough. I would get my best time of the day here.
2:00.1560 1:41.6860 1:40.9280 1:40.6320 1:41.0570

Session 5
I decided this would be my last session and confirmed that I was tired and it was too hot.
1:49.6670 1:43.7320 1:41.0670 1:43.3590 1:41.2550

Looking at the speed comparison to my personal best lap, I would say that my slowness this time was due to me not pushing as hard as before, especially before turn 10. I can't say how much the heat contributed to this, but I can say that I definitely need to remember how to drive at Winton.

Left: 1:39.33   Right: 1:40.63

I also managed to kill my two front tyres when I locked up the brakes in the first session. #notmaxvalue

I'll get you next time Winton!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

[Video] Sandown BONUS VIDEO

Note: Track day rules were NO overtaking on corners

Friday, September 26, 2014

AROCA Sprints - Sandown

21st September 2014

Thank you to Ying for this photo.

It's been a very long time since I last drove at Sandown, more than 2 years in fact. I was keen to get back to Sandown as the Z has changed in terms of its setup, so I signed up again for an Alfa Romeo club track day. Compared to last time, the Z is running soft Hankook Z221's and has the 1.5 way LSD, so theoretically should be faster straight away (all other things being equal).

The results of the day are below.

Session 1
This was a practice session and untimed. RaceChrono reported that I did a string of 1:29.xx laps.

Session 2
Achieved a new personal best lap time of 1:27.69 although the lap itself was not optimal as I had to overtake a Skyline off the racing line before a corner. See the video in my previous post.
1:51.0322 1:29.7741 1:28.8864 1:32.4086 1:31.9004 1:31.1671 1:28.5430 1:27.6940 1:28.2113 1:31.6460

Session 3
Too much traffic and couldn't find a clean lap.
1:52.2643 1:30.5932 1:32.0691 1:28.7007 1:31.8187 1:28.9151 1:29.6133 1:30.4816 1:28.6240

Session 4
Due to another car coming off the back straight and crashing into the barriers, the sessions in the afternoon had to be run under yellow flags at the corner after the back straight (possibly because the safety barriers were damaged). Thus we all couldn't run at 100% pace through that corner, resulting in me being about 3 seconds off the usual pace.
1:59.9605 1:35.0703 1:32.2190 1:33.0796 1:32.1231 1:34.0424 1:30.3375 1:30.6891 1:30.1433 1:33.2398

Even though there was at least one more session in the afternoon, I decided to call it a day and conserve tyres for Winton next month.

Looking at the comparison of speeds between my previous PB lap and the new one, we see that:

  • The new setup helped to find speed through turns 4 and 6.
  • The speed into turn 9 was affected by having to overtake the Skyline off line.
  • I need to shift gears faster going up the back straight.

RaceChrono reports that I have a theoretical best lap of 1:26.6 so there is more potential in the car's current setup if I can get cleaner laps.

Left: 1:27.87 Right: 1:27.69

Monday, September 22, 2014

[Video] Best Lap at Sandown 21-Sep-2014

New Sandown PB - 1:27.69. Plenty more time to be gained, need to find laps without traffic. Thanks to JimJim for adding the telemetry.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hit F5 to refresh

Some parts hoarding has been occurring. Pictured here are some parts for Kam and me - rear hubs, rear wheel bearings, front and rear wheel studs, lug nuts and some other supporting bits.

I'm going to refresh my rear hubs and wheel bearings. Little did I know that the new hubs come with studs included, so now I have an excess of rear wheels studs.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

[Video] Best Lap at Winton 04-May-2014

Video of my best lap from the EXE-Crew track weekend, a little bit messy. Plus the camera needs to be mounted higher I think.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Exe Crew Track Weekend - 3rd/4th May 2014

The Exe Crew track weekend has become somewhat of an annual event at Winton Raceway. Our last one was in November last year and I was signed up again for the track weekend this month - two days of sprints!

Leading up to the weekend, I monitored the weather report and initially rain was forecast in the region for both days. It didn't look good but despite this, I had one goal for the weekend - to drive as hard as I can without destroying the front tyres through plow understeer. To me this meant that I had to focus on smoother entry into the low speed tight corners with a slow-in/fast-out approach.

Photo courtesy of Andy Szeto

The day started off wet, the rain had stopped but the track was very damp. In the first session I forgot to turn off the stability control and the system did not like the combination of wet track, semi slicks and aggressively locking diff. The system decide to give up and my dash warning lights lit up indicating that I had not stability control and no ABS. I drove around cautiously and pushed to about 70-80% of how I normally drove. I clearly need more practice driving with no ABS as I locked up the brakes twice, flat spotting one of the front tyres. In the second session, there was a dry line forming but the track wasn't completely dry yet. Although, I turned off the stability control, the ABS malfunctioned again leading me to drive around tentatively. Fortunately in later sessions, the ABS behaved normally with stability control off and I was able to start pushing the car harder as the track dried up. I ended the day with a 1:41.6, still a whole two seconds away from my PB lap time. My front tyre management approach did work and I managed not to make the car understeer at the hairpins.

Lap times
Session 1 - 2:20.2440 1:55.0890 1:50.0080 1:53.4550 1:51.9970 1:58.2900
Session 2 - 2:07.2980 1:53.2420 1:49.2170 1:47.2280 1:44.9140 1:44.6280
Session 3 - 2:06.1380 1:52.1900 1:45.4130 1:45.1110 1:43.8290
Session 4 - 1:53.6270 1:42.7330 1:41.9970 1:45.0540 1:41.7000 1:41.6100
Session 5 - 1:59.9630 1:43.9200 1:42.6270 1:43.5950 1:42.2070 1:42.4310

During the day I also installed my harness using eye bolts obtained at the last minute. Thanks for the help and sourcing eye bolts, Jim.

Exercising too much restraint...

The weather was much better on Sunday as it was completely dry from the beginning. There was a bit of sunshine too. I went straight out in session 1 and attacked, keeping the tyre management and corner entry in mind. I managed a 1:40.6 in the first session, which I was happy with for a start. Session 2 was red flagged and by the time session 3 rolled around it was past midday. 1:40.5 was the best I could do for the day and I felt the track was going off by session 4. There were at least two more sessions to go but I decided to call it quits as I was a little bit worried about the noise coming from the rear of the car while cornering to the right at high speed after the sweeper. I think the rear left wheel bearing has died so the car needs a bearing and hub refresh before the next event.

Lap times
Session 1 - 1:52.0950 1:41.0370 1:42.2750 1:43.9980 1:40.6060
Session 2 - 1:57.8720 1:43.2640 1:42.2120
Session 3 - 1:54.6040 1:43.0260 1:42.0500 1:42.4270 1:41.0060 1:40.5110
Session 4 - 1:57.5730 1:43.9760 1:40.7350 1:42.7050 1:41.7480 1:46.8330

A comparison of the best lap for the day versus my PB lap shows that I was of course slightly slower through most corners. However, it looks like trying to drive smoother resulted in getting on the throttle earlier out of turns 6 and 7.

Finally, thanks must go to Andy Szeto for these brilliant photos, and there are more in his photostream.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

[Video] PB Lap at Phillip Island 05-Apr-2014

Thanks to JimJim for the use of his camera and adding the telemetry.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

AROCA Sprints - Phillip Island

Almost one year since I was last at Phillip Island, I was back determined to have a proper run without the hindrance of rain as was the case last year. Luckily, the rain held off and it turned out to be a sunny, mildly cool day.

The only thing different in the car set up from last year were the tyres. This time the front were new Hankook Z221 soft 265/35R18 and the rear were Hankook Z221 soft 285/30R18, which had done three track days.

With the weather being favourable, I was able to get the feel for the track again and drive with much more confidence compared to last year's wet conditions. By session 2, I had already bettered my personal best (set back in September 2012). Session 3 was just before 1pm and it saw the biggest gain - almost three seconds faster than my personal best. By session 4 the track was already cooling down and I could no longer push as hard. Session 5 was just for fun and practice as the group was combined with some slower cars and there was too much traffic on the track.

Session 1: Practice - Not timed
Session 2: 2:12.7648 1:54.9371 1:54.4560 1:55.3011 1:55.2154 1:56.5899 1:57.9512 1:54.2569
Session 3: 2:12.9146 1:54.2369 1:55.8751 1:53.1393 1:57.7032 1:52.8028 1:51.7633 1:52.4508
Session 4: 2:15.5999 1:58.2297 1:58.1459 1:56.9567 1:53.6962 1:53.3893 1:54.8491 1:55.9287
Session 5: 2:14.1687 9:16.3568 2:13.4531 1:58.7033 5:22.7493 2:04.7040 1:59.3946 1:56.3093

Looking at the speed graph and comparing the new and old PB laps, we see that in my new best lap I:
  • slowed down too much at turn 2
  • didn't complete turn 4 (Honda) as nicely as previously.
  • was faster through turns 8 and 9.
  • lifted off at turn 12

Looking at the sector times for the best lap, we also see that each individual sector time was not the fastest out of all times for that sector. The theoretical best is also a massive 4.8 seconds quicker than my PB, which is promising because now I know there's so much more left in the car's abilities.

A very big thanks must go to JimJim who gave his time to help me work on the car and also attending the sprint as a driver.