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Author Topic: Wakefield Park track day thoughts, a video and some map data  (Read 2883 times)

Offline flutes

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Wakefield Park track day thoughts, a video and some map data
« on: December 09, 2014, 11:26:14 am »
Well that was fun...

Did the track day yesterday. It was a very well set up day, with about 19 people and 15 cars at the start, but people seemed to drop out very quickly. By 2pm there were only a handful of people left, which was great.

The mix of cars was pretty interesting, my Abarth of course, a range of Porsches (a vintage 911E, 911 4s, Cayman S, Boxter S, 911 Carerra, a heavily modified race car) a couple of WRXs, a Maloo ute which was hilarious, a few Golfs (R36, R, GTI), Renault RS, BMW 328, Lotus Elise, Subaru BRZ, and a McLaren. Someone brought a bloody McLaren. That's cheating.

Oh yeah, a Radical as well. I tended to get off the track when he was on, scary fast, but amazing sound from the 2.8L V8!

The instructor was David Thomas, his site is drivingadventures.com.au Apparently an ex-highway patrol driver and advanced instructor, he was very good and was enjoying himself, especially in the McLaren.

My first few laps weren't terrible, but I was a bit all over the place. I was tending to brake not hard enough and turn in too early, not go hard at my braking target and brake harder in a straight line before turning in and getting on the throttle again. The instructor was able to keep the momentum up through the turns, he would brake half as often but twice as hard, if that makes sense. He was controlling the speed much more by just using the throttle, this was something I really had to learn over the day.

My best lap was 1:23, the McLaren was doing 1:13s, he would pass me on the straight like I wasn't moving. Top speed up the straight was about 150ish, this is pretty similar to most of the cars, some were a bit higher but you have to break heavily for the first corner so getting too much speed up can be problematic. My average speed around teh track was about 100kmh. The biggest surprise was the Maloo ute (GTS) which was nearly as fast as the McLaren down the main straight - they were hitting 200kmh+.

The track is a pretty short one, and quite technical - it's only 2.2km long, with a 900m straight, and one particularly nasty fish hook turn and a hairpin before the main straight.

I used Harry's Lap Timer, which is pretty good, except the user interface is confusing as hell and I managed to not record every lap. Here's some of the data overlaid on Google Maps, not sure why there are so few speed reference points and I can't figure out how to get the linear acceleration data to show properly...

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zpJCUPBfTuWA.kM0rjeXoFq48

So how did the little Abarth go....

Well, on this track I certainly didn't need any more power. It was plenty fast enough, and I could keep up with the Porsches much more than I thought I would. The biggest problem is the handling, in particular keeping the speed up through corners was a huge issue - I was scrubbing plenty of speed through understeer and then wheel spin as the car would pitch in - this track is predominantly right turns so the outside of my left wheel is a bit chewed up, not bad though. When the instructor was driving my car (his comment: "it's a spritely little thing isn't it") it was the understeer that was the issue, even when on "ideal" lines. We did have a chat about how much fun it is to drive! Under braking going in to corners I would feel the rear getting light, but from what others were saying driving behind me it was still looking planted, so no oversteer, even though it feels like it. The problem is the body rolling still, it's much better with the sway bar but still not great. You really can feel everything on the outside wheel and the tyre wear from the track reflects this.

By the end of the day it was just me, the Renault, a couple of Golfs and the Boxtser (which is one of the instructor's cars he rents to people) so the track was nearly empty - that was fantastic. It was also a good bunch of people, there were no heroes, everyone was having a good time and there were no egos. Very enjoyable.

I did manage to get a video from outside the car, unfortunately the GoPro I'd borrowed had some technical issues (most certainly not user error...) so couldn't get any in-car footage. The wind was picking up by now so you can't hear much, but you can hear the tyres squealing as I come around the bend before the main straight past the camera. My speed down the straight on this lap was about 147:



Lastly - this has completely changed my perspective on my car, and shifted my priorities on the next round of tuning. I'm of the opinion now that more power is a waste until I can make better use of what I have, I think I'll be looking at a suspension upgrade, something that is adjustable for road vs track. Possibly brake as well, even just steel brake lines.

I can't wait for another track day next year!
« Last Edit: December 09, 2014, 11:28:11 am by flutes »
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    Offline To abarth

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    Re: Wakefield Park track day thoughts, a video and some map data
    « Reply #1 on: December 09, 2014, 02:21:45 pm »
    looks fun   :) :) :) :) :)
    full custom exhaust, tmc induction kit.
    wish list s2ooo rear spoiler and forge dumpvalve.

    Offline flutes

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    Re: Wakefield Park track day thoughts, a video and some map data
    « Reply #2 on: December 09, 2014, 10:20:32 pm »
    Was hugely fun ... and everyone is interested in the Abarth as they still aren't very common.
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    Offline Kimusubi007

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    Re: Wakefield Park track day thoughts, a video and some map data
    « Reply #3 on: December 10, 2014, 10:12:27 am »
    Great to see you had a blast! 

    Can't wait to head down in an Abarthisti group!!

    The first time i went down (in september) i had already upgraded my suspension, brake lines and fluid etc....

    Now that i've done the engine, can't wait to feel the difference!
    Yes, kids and golf clubs do fit in an Abarth 500!!!

    Offline flutes

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    Re: Wakefield Park track day thoughts, a video and some map data
    « Reply #4 on: December 10, 2014, 08:05:05 pm »
    I'm really looking forward to that...

    The handling is so much better with the sway bar but it still needs a lot more.

    I can't wait to see how you go with all that power, tyres will be shredded!
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    Offline Kimusubi007

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    Re: Wakefield Park track day thoughts, a video and some map data
    « Reply #5 on: December 11, 2014, 04:04:08 am »
    There is a speed off the streets on Tuesday the 20th Jan.  (better option)
    There is a circuit club the next mondy the 26th, but will be busy as they usually sell out..
    Yes, kids and golf clubs do fit in an Abarth 500!!!

    Offline flutes

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    Re: Wakefield Park track day thoughts, a video and some map data
    « Reply #6 on: December 12, 2014, 02:18:36 am »
    20th Jan sounds familiar to me for some reason, not sure I'll be able to make that one. Will check...
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    Offline flutes

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    Re: Wakefield Park track day thoughts, a video and some map data
    « Reply #7 on: December 12, 2014, 03:16:20 am »
    My Abarth showing a BMW and McLaren how it's done...
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    500c Esseesse
    TD04L; Forge intake and elbow; DNA Rear torsion bar; HEL brake lines; G-Tech 550-ST and Le Mans exhaust with catless downpipe and 100 cell cat welded in; BC Racing BR series coilovers