View Full Version : Vorshlag 2011 Mustang 5.0 GT - track/autocross/street Project

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08-16-2013, 12:34 PM
Thread Added - August 16, 2013: Hey guys, Vorshlag just joined this forum as a supporting vendor. I went back and reformatted, copied and edited 3 years worth of our S197 Mustang development project thread updates to DFW5.0s forum, so you guys can read from the beginning. The 10K character limit here made for a lot of editing and posts to add - 181 posts were ported over, in total. I spent almost a full day getting them on here, so I hope yall enjoy them.

We have learned a LOT about the S197 chassis in the past 3 years, working on our own cars as well as customer's S197s. If you read the earliest posts you can see us stumbling into new problems and finding solutions along the way. Please read through the August 2013 posts before commenting or asking questions about some of my earlier entries, as we might have figured out some of our failures, fixed some bad choices, or answered your early question along the way.

After you've read through the current posts, feel free to chime in or ask about anything along the way. We're here to help in any way we can, and we also learn a lot from your guys. Thanks. :)


Project introduction - Nov 11, 2010: Some of you guys know us here at Vorshlag. We're a suspension design and manufacturing shop, making the world's best camber plates as well as numerous other items for various modern sports/sporty cars, such as: competition motor and transmission mounts, competition wheel studs, wheel spacers, and even our popular E36 LS1 swap kit. We're also an AST shock dealer and we sometimes work with AST-USA on developing new shock models and valving. We're also racers... running our test cars in SCCA Solo and NASA Time Trial, among other venues.

2011 Mustang "Boss 302R" race car

It helps us in suspension development to periodically acquire and build-up new cars. About once a year we get a few new cars in the stable, and this time we've focused on the 2011 Mustang GT 5.0. We already have 2 versions of camber/caster plates for the S197 chassis Mustang ('05-11+), but we've only sold a few of them and haven't really pushed suspension parts for this chassis yet. Its been foolish of us, because its a HUGE market (avg sales are 200K units/year) that has a large percentage of owners who are enthusiasts and that auto-x/HPDE/race these cars. I've only driven a few of these S197 cars but have personally owned and raced previous generation Mustangs (7 in total) in the past, and raced in those for many years. I was never a fan of the "mod motor" 4.6L V8 in the 1996-2004 Mustang models, however, which is the main reason I haven't owned one of these already. When GM was making their sports cars with the legendary LS1, Ford was trying to match the power with smaller displacement motors that were still massively bigger and heavier. Only the supercharged Cobras and GT500s could keep pace.


But when the all new Ford "Coyote" 5.0L DOHC V8 engine was announced in ~2007 I took notice. When we found out it was going to debut in the 2011 Mustang, along with an all new Getrag 6-spd transmission, we went and test drove one right after they came out in May 2010. It took about 60 seconds of driving it before I was sold... Ford had finally built a Mustang that had some serious potential and was worth comparing to cars costing 2-3 times as much! The brakes rocked, the transmission shifted better than the almighty T56 Tremec, and the motor... oh the motor was perfect. We borrowed a new 2011 "Brembo" GT for a day, took lots of measurements and weights (see below). As heavy as it is its still hundreds of pounds lighter than the other modern muscle cars - the 2010 Camaro or Challenger - and was on par with the latest BMW M3 V8, 335i and many others. Modern cars are heavy!

This was the weight of a loaner '11 Brembo GT back in June - 3605 with 1/2 tank of fuel

Sure, as a 4-valve-per-cylinder V8, the Coyote 5.0 revs to 7000 rpm effortlessly, but more important: it has a LOT of low and mid-range torque, something the previous Ford 4.6L motors really lacked. 390 ft-lbs of torque and 412 hp is what these are rated at, but in reality they are making closer to 385-395 wheel horsepower, which means they have even more power at the crank than that. The power is what really sold the car for me.


The new Mustang 5.0 was quickly matched up against some heavyweight sports cars, and the obvious E92 M3 V8 vs Mustang 5.0 magazine match-ups popped up everywhere (see spec sheet comparo above). But unlike most of the "numbers only" comparisons, the new 2011 had some serious improvements in a lot of areas (interior quality, Sync voice control, sound system/NAV, and the suspension/brakes), and was winning the hearts of most jaded auto journalists. Sure, the Mustang ran blistering 12 second 1/4 mile times and did 0-60 mph in the low 4 second range, but for once the Mustang was as quick on a road course as the $70K M3. And you could get a 2011 Mustang for $29K retail, and the 14" Brembo brake package was only +$1600.

So we custom ordered our 2011 GT in June of 2010. With SO many optional rear gear ratios (3), and dozens of other options, dealers were loading the cars up with crap that we didn't want. We got it with just the "standard" 3.31 rear gear (for a "longer" 2nd gear in autocross situations), the Brembo brake/suspension/wheel package, and my wife insisted on the expensive and frivolous "electronics" package (boy am I glad she did - the system is incredible). The car took over 3 months to be built, and there were further delays once it arrived, but we finally picked up the car on Oct 29th.

we've been playing with wheel fitment this week... and photoshop!

So far the Mustang is still bone stock, but it won't be for long. We are planning on making various parts for the car, such as revised camber plates, motor mounts, and some other bits and pieces as we run across them. What better way to test the car than autocross and track use? So we had been planning on building it for autocross use around an as-yet-undecided autocross class, then running it in NASA TT in whatever class it fell into (the 2011 is still not classed as of this writing but it will likely fall into TTB). The obvious choice for SCCA Solo was E Street Prepared... that means virtually any suspension mods (no changing pick-up points), intake/exhaust/tuning mods, racing seats, and giant Hoosier A6 "DOT" R compounds. With the 5 time ESP National Champion in our SCCA region we wouldn't be starved for serious competition, either.

But after a year of racing in another "SP" class, and trashing lots expensive Hoosier A6 tires, I had second thoughts. We had run in Street Touring classes from 2004-2009, and we kind of missed racing there. The "ST" category allows for almost the same level of mods as "SP" but uses much more cost effective tires (lower grip/longer wearing) - basically they have to be 140 of higher treadwear. Racing in this category is lots of fun and its the only category outside of "Stock" that allows you to keep your car emissions legal and still be competitive.

This is the weight on our '11 Brembo GT with no fuel - 3563 lbs sans 12.7 lbs of "trunk junk" (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5518/1087126975_9VEcJ-M.jpg)

Where to run this hefty Mustang? We have seen exactly one S197 Mustang run in STU before (one of our testers - and he moved quickly to ESP), but the thought of battling against the AWD boost buggies in there in a 3600 pound Mustang, even with wider 285mm tires, would be almost pointless. Well since its under 5.1L of displacement its legal to race it in STX, as long as we stick to a maximum 265mm wide tire and 9" wide wheel. So that's where we'll start.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/617258817_eg6mi-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Vorshlag-Camber-Plate-Product/DSC5418/1068927219_97orm-S.jpg
Stage 1 testing is to verify our OEM perch/camber plate solution

To see if this is even a remotely competitive car we plan on doing several stages of prep and testing before spending the bucks for full out suspension and weight saving mods. Stage 1 will be fairly simple: little more than swaybars, Vorshlag camber plates, and maybe lowering springs.

This will be the "Stage 2" prep level for our S197 Mustang - AST 4100s and Vorshlag plates

After we test camber plates on the otherwise stock suspension for a few weeks we'll jump right into Stage 2: AST 4100 coilovers, plates, lightweight 18x9" wheels and 265mm tires (max widths allowed in STX) - then get to an autocross! There's several Nationally competitive STX cars in our region including multiple E36 328is BMWs, several RX8s and some WRXs. Sure, we'll have double the power of the rest of the class, but the Mustang has a solid axle and LOTS of extra mass to throw around. We'll know pretty quickly if the car is going to be competitive, and if so we'll go to the 3rd stage of prep - looking for every pound we can save, and adding AST 5200GA remote reservoir (the same style AST shocks being built for Continental GRAND AM and World Challenge).

continued below

08-16-2013, 12:35 PM
continued from above

That's another key area of testing we'll perform - to see how much weight we can get out of the car. We'll weigh everything that goes on or off this car and track every pound. The 2011 GT gained about 100 pounds over the 2005-2010 GT, due partly to the new engine, the new 6-spd transmission, and some extra sound insulation Ford added (all S197s got the extra insulation from the GT500, in 2011, according to Ford engineers we met at the 2010 SEMA show (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SEMA-Show-2010/)). The stock 19x9" wheels and tires weigh a considerable amount also, and we're already testing lightweight wheels/tires on our car that most of the Mustang aftermarket either ignores or doesn't know about.

Test fitting 18x9.5" ET20 wheels (needs more like ET45 offset to fit that wheel) with 275/35/18 tires

As always we're going to post regular updates on several forums for this project, and we'll share everything we do and learn. We're all about "bringing the tech". We'll start with posts on Vorshlag forum, SCCAforums and Corner-Carvers. Please let us know of other forums we should post on! Each forum will get the same updates from us. A lot of our car projects and ideas are crowd sourced, and tapping into several thousand brains is always a help. I freely admit I'm out of touch with the Mustang chassis, and we're learning as we go, but some of you out there will obviously have more experience in these and we welcome your suggestions.

One small note: Feel free to ask any questions or post helpful tips on the thread, but remember: there's potentially hundreds if not thousands of other people reading the same thread (one of our project threads from last year had 250,000 hits in 12 months). Seeing 1,000 "me too" or "cool car!" posts don't really add anything to the discussion, nor does asking the same question that's been asked and answered on that same forum thread already. Remember: if you want to subscribe to a thread you can just go to "thread tools" and click "subscribe to thread". This will keep the thread chock full of useful discussion and save everyone time when reading. :)

Next post: wheel testing!


08-16-2013, 12:36 PM
Project Update for Nov 12, 2010: What about wheels?

Terry, just a thought: You have found some rims that would clear the calipers that either come in the right widths but wrong offset or vice-vice versa. Given the volume of the SN197 aftermarket (and its likely growth), I wonder if a company making one of those rims could be talked into producing some with the correct offset and the widths you want. Perhaps a retailer such as Vorshlag could commit to selling and promoting them? Just a thought.
We are looking at the potential for helping design/market a new wheel to fit the S197, yes. It would have to be "significantly different" than the hundreds of other S197 fit wheels out there to be worthwhile... lighter, wider, proper hub bore/bolt circle/caliper clearance without spacers, etc. As we're seeing there are a lot of heavy wheels, and a few Nissan/Honda/Subaru/EVO wheels that can be made to fit these cars, but not any real lightweight wheels that are truly made for the S197 (other than the $637, "20 pound" BBS being sold by Rehagen Racing - see below, right).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/240795299_FD2bb-S-1.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/BBSRE1282sm/1086038451_8Rwnj-S.jpg
Left: D-Force 18x10" wheel is 18.7 lbs and $309 retail. Right: This is the only lightweight 18x10" we could find truly built specifically to fit the S197

There's probably a good place to build say.... an 18x10.5" wheel (under $350 and less than 21 lbs) that would fit the S197 correctly and accept wider than 275mm tires. We'd partner with D-Force Wheels, of course. Then again, as soon as we spent the capital to make this new wheel, a company that sounds like FirePack would just copy it with a Chinese built offering and sell it for $10 less... :rolleyes: D-Force is also getting into forged and multi-piece wheels - we'll know more about their added capabilities after the 2010 PRI show next month. The Mustang is one car that really needs a dedicated, racer-owned/run, small wheel company like D-Force in its corner making lightweight racing wheels, and Vorshlag has worked with D-Force intensely since 2007 developing new wheel fitments for the BMW community.

Let me guess......this car will not have an LSx put in? ;)
Ha! For once there is a car out there with a motor worthy enough to NOT need an LSx swap! :D


08-16-2013, 12:37 PM
Project Update for Nov 17, 2010: We've had a huge amount of responses (some that I've replied to) on the 4 forums where I have posted this thread on so far, so some of this might look familiar on the thread you're reading. Adding the RoadRaceAutoX.com forum (http://www.roadraceautox.com/showthread.php?t=32159) was a big boost in ideas/questions (thanks guys).

Autocross and Time Trial Classing - We've had a lot of folks question my sanity on the decision to run STX for SCCA Solo classing. Not sure what this class is? Read the STX rules here (http://www.rhoadescamaro.com/build/?page_id=260) on Jason Rhode's STX blog page. Speaking of that...


Go read that blog (http://www.rhoadescamaro.com/build/) and see another racer who's bucking the trend in STX - by using a V8 powered RWD solid axle '67 Camaro Z/28! If you thought our build was crazy, he has pretty good reasoning for his similar-yet-different V8 RWD chassis decision there. Now his 1st gen Camaro STX build, when all is said and done, will likely be 300+ pounds lighter than our 2011 GT, so he might really be onto something. And remember: he beat all the Civics in STS back in 2006 using a RWD Nissan 240SX, so don't just assume that being competitive in STX is impossible in a powerful RWD car. He's proven that winning in unconventional cars is possible, if you develop it well enough. Very cool build, mad prop's to J-Rho! We've been tossing ideas back and forth on both of our cars, and he has clued me into some great ideas already.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag-Test-Pilots/Kent-Ks-2005-Mustang-GT-STU-or/DSC1899/506693731_HKADB-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag-Test-Pilots/Kent-Ks-2005-Mustang-GT-STU-or/DSC1853/506693583_khLVQ-S.jpg

Also, our foray into the ST category with the S197 Mustang GT isn't unprecedented. We had a Vorshlag tester (KentK (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag-Test-Pilots/Kent-Ks-2005-Mustang-GT-STU-or/)) that helped us in the development phase with our S197 camber plates and AST shocks for this chassis. Somehow Hanchey and I convinced him to try it in STU. He ran the same Enkei NT03+M 18x10.5" ET30 wheels (the rears needed more backspacing) we ran on the EVO X, and he had the STU class limit 285mm wide Dunlops, with the above mentioned AST/Vorshlag suspension. It wasn't half bad in the handful of races he ran in STU, against the Texas STU crowd here, but he didn't stick around long enough to develop it. He moved to ESP class, with big 315mm Hoosier A6 tires, where its done well Nationally - and is still doing well there. The prep level he has on the car now would have sure helped his chances in STU, way back when. So for our 2011 GT in STX... sure, its going to take a lot of testing and prep, but we think its got an outside shot at being competitive. Stock for stock, the '11 GT has +100 whp over the '05-10 GT chassis Kent used in STU, too.

For NASA Time Trial use (where we should have better luck using the proposed 450 whp we think we can make in STX legal trim) we'll use a wider wheel (18x10" or 18x10.5") and a wider tire (285mm) with something like 140-200 treadwear. The 2011 GT was just re-classed in NASA from TTC (2005-2010 GT) to TTB (2011 GT), and has a race weight of 3770. We'll have to ballast up to make that, and it will likely end up in TTA with the mods we have planned. Ugh. We'll talk more about TT prep in a later post - we won't have a track test day even planned until after at least the "Stage 2" (AST 4100) suspension and the "big" wheels are on.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5539/1087129713_Z7Ac7-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5540/1087114209_wrBZN-S.jpg
Factory undertray has a flip-down trap door over the oil filter. We changed 8 qts of Mobile1 and Wix filter goodness

Wheel Testing - this has been most of what we've done with the GT the past week, other than the initial oil change @ 250 miles (the stock oiling system takes 8 qts of oil - that's kind of encouraging, actually. Went with 10W30 Mobil1 + Wix filter). I started asking about wheel options before we bought the car, back in this massive Corner-Carvers thread (http://forums.corner-carvers.com/showthread.php?t=39943) about the Coyote 5.0 motor/2011 GT. The beef I brought up there (http://forums.corner-carvers.com/showpost.php?p=871890&postcount=1264) was the lack of wider, lightweight 18" wheels made for the S197. In my early measurements I could see that the standard GT's 18x8.5" and even the '11 Brembo GT's 19x9" (ET42) wheels were small for the size and weight of this car - and there was tons of room for wider wheels going inboard. The stock 19x9" wheels/tires are boat anchors (57.2 lbs per corner!) and the factory 255/40/19 tires are super tall, too (27.2" tall!).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/IMG1863/1086061077_deFP4-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5637/1091702516_uCGJm-S.jpg
Left: Stock wheel/tire is 57.2 lbs. Right: factory wheel is 19x9" ET42... that's made in China

continued below

08-16-2013, 12:47 PM
continued from above

The problem we quickly noted was that the aftermarket was pushing blingy, heavy, yet narrow wheels for the S197. Most of the Mustang drivers on the non-race forums were choosing cheap, "replica" wheels that are hideously heavy. Or Shelby GT500 wheels (18x9.5"), also very heavy. The only "real S197" direct fit wheel we found in 18x10" that wasn't a Chinese replica was the expensive BBS 18x10" shown below...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/BBSRE1282sm/1086038451_8Rwnj-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/2011-Mustang-GT/2010Boss203R/1066195652_DASry-S.jpg
Above: The "Boss302R" 18x10" BBS wheel Rehagen sells is 20+ lbs and $637; Its used on some Continental GRAND AM S197 race cars

TireRack lists a bunch of heavy aftermarket stuff for these cars, too: 18x8, 18x8.5", 18x9.5" and a bunch of 19" rubbish - all of it heavy. I won't have a car that uses 19" race tires, no way. There's no reason to have 19" wheels on this car, period. 18"ers clear the brakes, and the tire choices are MUCH better in that diameter, so 18" it is. 19's is simply a styling move, and one I hate. Some of the reason we haven't found many wider 18" options yet, I think, is because the 2011 Brembo package is still "new" and the larger 14" Brembo front brakes are somewhat unknown - not all 18" wheels will clear the big caliper, as we found out.

Where were the Enkeis, Team Dynamics, Volks, WedSports, OZs and the many other lightweight aftermarket wheel options?? Well, digging deeper we noticed that they were all out there, just not listed under the S197 Mustang. Nissan (350Z), Mitsubishi (EVO), Subaru (WRX/STI), and Honda (S2000) all use the same 5 x 4.5" bolt circle (they call it 5 x 114.3mm). And most of the aftermarket wheels use an oversized hub bore, so we can make hub-centric adapter rings to fit the Ford's 70.5mm hub bore. That's good news.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag-Test-Pilots/Stuart-Maxcys-2006-Mustang-GT/DSC5590/619767887_jHf6D-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag-Test-Pilots/Matts-2008-Nissan-350Z/DSC5761/626355722_k75x4-S.jpg

So last week I tried to fit Stuart at AST's 18x10" CCW Classics (6.75" backspacing) from his '05 GT (above, left) onto our '11, but they didn't even come close to clearing the huge front calipers. The Classics aren't known for their awesome caliper clearance, but it did have me a tick worried. Next we pulled an 18x9.5" ET20 (6" backspace) Rota "Grid" Matte Bronze wheel and 275mm tire off of [email protected]'s 350Z (above, right) to see if that cleared the brakes and fenders, but I had my doubts due to the 20mm offset... (sorry for posting this pic twice, but it is more applicable here/now)

(yes, that is photoshopped to be lowered... this is the actual pic (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5573/1086815552_oAnnf-M.jpg))

That first test was pretty enlightening. The gold wheel didn't look that bad on the car, either, but that was not the point. This Rota 18x9.5" ET20 doesn't fit inside the S197 fenders, as feared; the tire was sticking out past the fenders (about 1/2" out back - see below), but it was a good reference point and let us measure the inboard clearance to the suspension. After measuring the 18x9.5" Rota on the car it looks like we could go inboard by 2.5" in back and over 2" in front... meaning an 18x11" up front and 18x12" in back could just barely fit, if you played your offsets right. With enough camber, rolled front fender lips, and a different style front swaybar end link (more on that later). It should be easy to fit an 18x10 on both ends, though. Backspacing of 7-7.5" on the front and 7.5-8.5" on back looks to be ideal for 10"+ wide wheels, from my measurements.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5568/1086815964_Rz2Sv-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5635/1091702556_NNmeC-S.jpg

I then borrowed an 18x9.5" ET45 wheel (a TireRack branded Subaru-fit wheel) with a mounted Dunlop 275/35/18 tire from Paul M's '95 Impreza/STi swap project (http://vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6964) last weekend. Tested it on the GT this past Sunday and it fit much better than the same size'd wheel in ET20 we tried before (under the fenders at both ends). If I had to choose a street wheel without the need for maximum width/grip or goofy class rules that limit us to little 9" wide wheels, the 18x9.5" ET45 would be the obvious choice for the S197.

So the Subaru/Nissan 350Z fitments are what we ending up searching on, as there seemed to be many more wheel choices from companies like Enkei. Hub bore is different, but like I said, we can make a hub-centric adapter ring. I'm trying to get an 18x9" in at 18 lbs or less, so Enkei is the first obvious option we're looking at (NT03+M, RPF-1 or PF01 models). Matt found an Enkei RPF-1 in 18x9" ET35 (6.4" backspace) which might just barely fit (18.4 lbs), and they also have a PF01 (new for '09) with ET45 (6.77" backspacing) that's sub-19 lbs (the 18x8.5" shows to be "18 lbs", no weight on the 9"). The ET45 will fit inboard better, obviously (nearly identical to the stock '11 Brembo 19x9" ET42 wheel). In the 18x10" size the choices got much slimmer... the most backspacing we could find was 7" (18x10 ET38) for this bolt pattern. So we ordered one of the 18x9" ET45 in the Enkei FP01 and one 18x10 ET38 in the Enkei RPF1 yesterday from TireRack and we'll test fit them when they show up next week and report back.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/RPF-1/1086841530_VDSj5-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/PF01/1086841532_nmGMA-S.jpg

We talked to the nice folks at Team Dynamics, who were willing to custom make the 5x4.5"/70.5mm hub bore in one of their 18x10 wheels in one of 3 offsets (ET40, 52 and 56 - all Porsche fitments normally in 5-130mm), all of which would fit much better ion the rear but might require a small spacer up front. Weight was the killer - 28.5 lbs for the 18x10s.

Tire height is the next issue. The stock Mustang 255/40/19 tires on the 19" wheels are a staggering 27.2" tall. The 265/35/18 we're thinking of using for STX class is only 25.3" tall, which is a huge difference (for gearing, CG height, etc). Not many choices there, as most of the ST-legal/competitive 265s are all this same size. For the street a closer match to stock is a 285/35/18 tire, which is 25.9" tall. Those probably will go on the 18x10" wheels for street/track use. For a variety of reasons (racer recommendations, price, compound, & sidewall style) we're looking at the Hankook RS-3 tire for initial testing. After being out of ST category for a year a lot has changed... we probably need to test the same sized tire in Yokohama AD08, Dunlop, Kumho XS, and Toyo R1R, if not more. I doubt many/any of these have been tested on a car this heavy, either.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/IMG1887/1093634151_W5hsb-S-1.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5632/1091701256_2Qd5w-S.jpg

Last night I worked late on SolidWorks and revised our Vorshlag S197 camber/caster plate drawings (rev 3 for all of the main parts), so we're having a short run of these made in steel. It will eventually be released as an aluminum plate, after I have time to add the "Vorshlag" logo, model engraving, hash marks, and crunch the numbers. We'll test the plates on the stock springs/suspension next week, then try it with Eibach lowering springs (I think that's going to likely become a popular and affordable S197 package - Eibach springs and Vorshlag plates). I'll rate the stock '11 GT Brembo spring rates on our Longacre spring rater, too (see this Spring Archive (http://www.vorshlag.com/tech_springrates.php) for similar data).

I'll stop there for now. We've got a lot more to share., and keep those suggestions, questions and ideas coming.


08-16-2013, 12:48 PM
Update for Nov 19, 2010: Not a lot of "work" to update on here, but we did get the baseline dyno run completed so I figured I'd share that, plus some bench racing on the exhaust, and some more wheel weight testing.

The guys at Dallas Performance (http://www.dallasperformance.com/DPdyno/index.htm) were kind enough to squeeze in a quick 3-pull dyno test on our GT late yesterday. This was using their state-of-the-art, 2008 model, Dynojet "Eddy Current", loaded in-ground 224xLC chassis dyno. They just moved to a new (and massive) location where they've built a dedicated dyno cell. Its as clean as a surgical room in there - and everywhere else in their shop. It is literally the nicest looking, most well equipped tuner/fab shop I've seen in all of Dallas/Ft Worth. They do some amazing high powered builds there, with 1000-1400 whp twin turbo V8s and V10s being the norm.

Our 2011 GT was the first stock Coyote 5.0 powered car they'd dyno'd so far. They told me that the most power they'd seen from a bone stock 2010 Camaro V8 was 345 whp, and a 370 whp pull from a stock 6.1L Hemi Challenger was the highest of any modern, stock "pony car" they have tested to date. Well the numbers from our 2011 GT beat all of those pony cars... :cool:

Here's the video & dyno chart (all pulls within 3 whp):

Click for baseline dyno video (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/14599286_Vm7eU#1097011596_rVqQw-A-LB)


We were a little disappointed with the peak 378 whp figure, as we'd seen a number of '11 GTs post 385-395 whp pulls, bone stock. We tried to rationalize the number on the low mileage on the motor (580 miles at the time of the test), or the fact that I drove the car around all day and didn't let it cool down before we dyno'd it (heat soaked), but in reality I screwed up and told them to dyno it in the wrong gear! For consistency and the least drivetrain loss, you typically dyno a car in the 1:1 gear, which is usually 4th gear in most 4, 5 and 6 speed transmissions. All Tremec T56 cars ever built had a 4th gear of 1:1, which is normal. But of course the 2011 GT doesn't have a Tremec, it has the Getrag MT82 6-spd (see the specs on the 6-spd (http://media.ford.com/images/10031/2011_Mustang_GT_Specs.pdf)).

6-speed manual transmission (MT82 Getrag) gear ratios:

1st = 3.66
2nd = 2.43
3rd = 1.69
4th = 1.32 (oops! We dyno'd in 4th, thinking it was 1:1)
5th = 1.00
6th = 0.65
Final drive 3.31:1

So not using 5th might account for maybe... -3-8 whp or so? A small but measurable amount. We'll dyno it in 5th after the next round of mods, and we'll do a 4th vs 5th gear pull to see the difference, then. We have the headers we want to use picked out and we're rounding up parts for the custom after-header system we're going to build in-house so hopefully this won't be too long from now.

We have a ways to go on the 450 whp goal, but I still think its doable. Tuners are finding 10-20 whp on otherwise stock 5.0's, just in air/fuel/spark tweaks, too. DP is looking into getting the software for HPTuners or one of his other tuning packages to be able to tune our car, but I won't bother until after we have the updated I/H/E or at least the underdrive pulleys. Nobody else tunes our cars but Taylor @ DP. He programs powerful yet reliable tunes. We'll raise the rev limit at that time to 7500 rpm, up from the 6800 rpm the car is stuck with now (was supposed to be 7000 stock).

The I/H/E mods (intake/headers/exhaust) currently planned include some sort of aftermarket cold air intake (need to research the various 2011 offerings available) and of course full length headers + custom exhaust. A biggest single gain will likely be found in the headers - the stock exhaust manifolds units are short, tortured messes of tubes. There's a lot of 2011 GT header offerings out there already, but I plan on using American Racing Header's (http://americanracingheader.reachlocal.com/) stainless steel full lengths:


Luckily they have some of the best header products on the market and their 2011 GT 5.0 full length header options are amongst the best. They claim a 32 whp increase, using the stock mid-pipe/mufflers/no tuning. So somewhere around 410 whp is what we'd be looking at after installing just their headers, without any tuning or other exhaust mods. The baseline number they had was almost identical to ours, 379 whp, and they reached 411 whp with the headers.

The problem I see with using theirs or anyone's full length header design and catted X-pipe is the location of the converter. Here's the STX/STU specific rule:

STX, STU Any high flow catalytic converter(s) are allowed, but
must attach within six inches of the original unit. Multiple catalytic
converters may be replaced by a single unit. The inlet of the single
replacement converter may be located no further downstream
than 6 along the piping flow path from the original exit of the final
OE converter.

Here's the stock converter location on our 2011 (there's only 2)


So my thought is to buy the headers, throw some header wrap on them, then mock them up in the car. Take the measurements and see where the cats can be placed. Then we can build our own after-header exhaust with high flow cats further upstream, maybe even modify headers/collectors a bit if needed. We can then push the high flow cat exactly 6" back from the stock unit. Its more work, and less than ideal for ultimate power gains, but its the rules. We'll at least save weight on the custom X-pipe and rear exhaust portions over the pre-made units from the aftermarket, which always use heavier wall tubing.


On the custom X-pipe and after-cat portions of the exhaust system we'll be using thin walled, 20-22 gauge stainless mandrel bends & tubing, with a few V-bands in there to make everything easily removable. I thought briefly about making an aluminum after-cat exhaust, for the lightest possible weight, but the longevity would be severely compromised and it would be significantly louder. Need to keep the tested sound number under 100 dB (SCCA limit), but with cats it shouldn't be a problem. We'll do our own before-and-after exhaust sound tests (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Exhaust-Sound-Testing/) here, as usual.

Not sure what mufflers to use, yet. Just read Andy Hollis' "Sounding Off" muffler test article in the Dec 2010 issue of Grassroots Motorsports (http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/articles/) and the best results came from the Burns mufflers, so I cannot ignore those pricey little buggers. I really like Flowmaster's products and tend to use their mufflers on a lot of our builds, but I want to keep it very light and all stainless. With the cats required in STX it won't need as much muffler to meet sound regs as we used in DSP on the E46, so we might go with some sort of lightweight race muffler instead of FM's larger chambered style or the new glass-pack style Hushpower units. Since there's 2 big spots for the stock mufflers all the way at the back, that's likely where we'll end up with ours. Meaning: a full length exhaust (not a dumped/shorter run). If we can use a bullet style muffler we could place them where the stock resonators are, and use turn-downs for a shorter/lighter system.


The first two real "test wheels" purchased for the Mustang also arrived today. Both Enkei wheels were immediately weighed, with some surprising results:

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5657/1097024447_BaBfa-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5659/1097024434_DmAtD-S.jpg

So the 18x10" RPF1 was lighter than the 18x9" FP01. Weird, right? But we knew the FP01 would be heavier in the same size, just a bit surprised that a one inch wider RFP1 would be almost a pound lighter. Still, at 19.3 lbs the FP01 is already at least 7 pounds lighter than the stock wheel.

My wife stole the Mustang today so we'll test fit wheels later this weekend and post up about if/how they fit next time. I have a feeling the more curved spoke FP01 will have substantially more caliper clearance than the flatter spoke RPF1.

OK, I'm going to get back to work. Until next time,

08-16-2013, 12:49 PM
Project update for Nov 22, 2010: I'll start with some replies to questions, some requests for ideas/advice on upcoming mods, then I'll move on to the wheel test I did yesterday on the 18x9 and 18x10 test wheels.

Either allow headers or don't. I don't see how they picked the number 6. Why not 7, 10, or 14? Floorpan stampings and engine combinations can leave plenty or no room at all. Why not use a number that allows most any effort the same opportunity in fitting a long tube header?
Agreed. At least the STX and STU classes can do away with 4 cats and replace them with 2, of any type (not OE/CARB stamped units of the same number as stock, like in ST/STR/STS classes). There are rumbles of making STX/STU adopt the lame cat rules in these lower classes, but that's not until 2012, at the soonest. I hope.

You might consider whether any (muffler) choice greatly increases drone. There are plenty that don't. There are also plenty that do. Maybe I'm getting older, but I much prefer a quieter system that emits a simple, deep, burble, as opposed to an all-out wail.

Yup. I'm old.
Agreed. I've owned many Mustangs over the years that had oppressive exhaust drone, and I'm also getting old. And my wife daily drive's the Mustang (but she's pretty a dedicated racer, so she has mucho tolerance). When I worked at a Mustang tuner shop over a decade ago for a short stint the head tuner there (Sen-Roy, who used to post here a lot) would do tricks with varying the muffler case size on each side of a dual exhaust Mustang. It usually killed the drone. If it gets bad I'll swap out one muffler and try that.

A quick word on coatings....if you coat, don't wrap. (his coater) said it would not help and would not be good longterm for the coating. Check with your coater and see what they say.

cars and such...
Yea, I think coating and wrapping a stainless header is probably overkill. Now I'm leaning towards just using header wrap on the stainless headers only, and not blowing $250-350 (and weeks of time!) on coating.


I have this 100' x 2" roll of DEI header wrap in my "shopping cart" as well as stainless steel zip ties, DEI exhaust wrap (for wiring), some long front wheel studs (for potential wheel spacer use up front - see more below), and a pair of these mufflers:


I did some searching and found, for the first time, real stainless steel chambered Flowmaster Series 44 mufflers. There isn't room for a small/resonator style muffler before the axle, so I might as well go with a "real" chambered muffler out at the rear bumper (these don't have packing that burns/wears out). I don't want this car stupid loud with $600 worth of Burns mufflers and dumps before the axle, either. Sure, it'll cost us a few more pounds to go with a chambered style muffler and full length tail pipes, but these FM 44's are shown to be only 7-8 pounds each (not 13 pounds like the much larger case sized Flowmaster Series 50 I used on my E36 M3). We'll see how they sound, test the sound levels, test the performance hit with and without them on the dyno, and weigh the mufflers before they even go on. These 3" type 44's are smaller than the stock mufflers so they should easily fit in the stock locations. The stock over-the-axle pipes are so compromised and crimped down to clear the panhard support (by inches) that we should hopefully see some small gains here, as well.

Stock muffler case is 15.5" long. The FM type 44 muffler case is 13" long


If anyone has experience with these wheel studs, please chime in. These ARP 1/2-20 x 3.3" long studs show to be made for 2005-2010 Mustangs ("front only"), so its a gamble if they'll fit the 2011. And at $11.36/each they are just a wee bit pricey. Probably not enough market to make it worthwhile to make our on wheel studs (http://www.vorshlag.com/index.php?cPath=1_4_158), though. We might need these long studs for use with the 18x10" track wheels (see below).

Terry, I really enjoy your perspective. You stated your goals, continue to research, make sound and logical choices, then verify results. Keep up the good work and I hope the car is capable of meeting your demands.

Thanks - we are always trying new stuff here, and I'm sure some of it won't work and we'll have to back up and try again. I like having the input from lots of experienced racers, because it limits the "dead ends" a good bit. :)

continued below

08-16-2013, 12:49 PM
continued from above

To save some weight you may be able to get away with just the cats. When I had the '05 GT I had a muffler delete exhaust with stock headers and cats and was never above 93dB at the local autocross course. I know it's a different engine and exhaust configuration but there is also a big difference between 93 and 100 dB.
Yea, I have heard a "muffler delete" exhaust on Kent's ESP-prepped S197. Its still pretty loud. With full length headers and a 7500 rpm redline on this Coyote motor, it might get a bit too loud. I don't want to be "that annoying guy with the loud car" at events.

We have been spinning our car past 7500 with a 8000 rpm limit. The car only picks up power beyond 7000 with a good CAI (we have a JLT) and just an off road H-pipe we see over 400 SAE on the cars we have tuned.

The shop car has; CAI - ported heads - long tube AR headers - X-pipe - resonator delete - flowmaster mufflers - 1 peice DS - RST clutch and flywheel. With SCT software we have gotten as much as 435 RWHP SAE.
Ahh, some real power numbers from an S197 tuner. Thanks for replying. I noticed when we dyno'd the car it wasn't really losing power yet at 6800 rpm, so I could see it gaining a bit more up top with the right tweaks. I'm still planning on an eventual 7500 rpm redline. With the right tire choice (we've been looking at so many) in STX it could mean a 73 mph 2nd gear speed. Virtually assured to never have to shift. :)

We cannot do the 1-piece driveshaft (the stock unit is a huge 2-piece unit that looks very heavy), ported heads, or the lightweight clutch/flywheel, but the rest is fair game. We need to look at the CAI offerings soon, as I'm getting tired of how quiet, stock and slow this car is already. :D If anyone has experience with a Cold Air Intake on a 2011 GT, especially with before/after dyno numbers, please chime in. I saw a couple at SEMA already, but many weren't ready yet.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5693/1099519020_GvJfU-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5717/1099560910_xJiy7-S.jpg

OK, onto the latest round of wheel testing.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5682/1099507359_7AtsQ-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5683/1099506831_P5mnj-S.jpg

The two Enkei test wheels arrived Friday but I didn't get a chance to test them on the GT until Sunday. The 18x9" ET45 FP01 fit fine. This wheel bolted right onto the front and rear, with ample clearance to the caliper and strut (front) and to the inner sheet metal (rear). Even without any camber and this 4x4 ride height the outer lip of the 18x9 wheel fit within the stock fender confines.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5686/1099508644_rUerz-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5688/1099508706_xBtVn-S.jpg

As they should - they are almost the same width/offset as the stock 19x9 ET42 wheel. In fact these Enkei 18x9's will be 3mm more inboard than stock, which is good - I like to run narrow track widths for autocross cars when I can, to make slaloms that much easier to navigate. Its worth a little time, as we've seen in testing where we time a car through a set gate length slalom, then again with wider cone offsets by just a few inches. You can see the big end link stud that interferes with some wheel/tire clearance when you push the wheel inboard. If it comes down to it we'll just cut/shorten this stud.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5707/1099511901_zArRg-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5657/1097024447_BaBfa-S.jpg

So the 18x10" ET38 Enkei RPF1 wasn't quite as easy to fit. The flatter spokes of the RPF1 didn't clear the caliper on the front, as we kind of expected, and some of you warned about.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5689/1099518715_NRCW6-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5690/1099519241_2AWHr-S.jpg

Not a huge shock - so I tried it on the rear and it looked good. There's a good 1.5" more inboard room, too.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5697/1099558910_b7Pwp-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5698/1099559196_J6WRa-S.jpg

So back to the front with the RPF1 18x10". I didn't have any 5x4.5" wheel spacers, so I started stacking washers to get the proper clearance. Turned out about 7mm of spacer is all that's needed to clear the caliper with the spokes on the RPF1 up front. Then I counted turns on the lug nuts and had just a hair over 10 threads of engagement... which equates to 1/2" (which is 1 diameter). That's just barely enough, and still only afforded about .040" of clearance at the caliper (but the stock wheel only has about .050" clearance here (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5718/1099560724_FMAuc-M.jpg)). Hmm.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5713/1099564460_gX8Bd-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5715/1099566136_Uw8Sh-S.jpg

Then there was the outer fender clearance. With the already wide 18x10" and now a 7mm spacer. It looks... well, its damn hard to tell if it will clear at full droop and with no camber, even hard to show in pictures. With the stock ride height and stock camber, I'd guess no. But we're going to be lowering the car a LOT (2-3"), which will inherently add negative camber and tire clearance. And then with some more camber adjusted in at the plates, that's more outer wheel clearance we'd be adding.

So for now we'll punt on the 18x10" wheels, and retest this wheel again once we have the car lowered and a 285mm tire mounted to it (I've got plenty of dead Hoosiers in this size we can mount and test with). It looks like we'd need a spacer of some sort, which I can draw up and machine easily enough if it comes to it. So I'll get the longer wheel studs installed, just in case. We'll also get the remaining 3 wheels in the 18x9" set, then order the tires (I'll discuss the size and model in an upcoming post). I'll be buying all of the stuff mentioned in this post in the next 24-48 hours, so if you have suggestions/alternatives, speak up now.


08-16-2013, 12:50 PM
Project update for Jan 6, 2011: Crap, more than a month since my last update?! Well we've been busy and have done all sorts of testing and multiple camber plate and spring installs on the Mustang since then. Plus we installed the long wheel studs and some other bits. I was going to break this into 3 smaller posts, but I'm so far behind on so many threads I'll do one big brain dump to catch up here

Initial check of the stock alignment - click to enlarge (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/alignment-baseline-121010/1121544984_Tragc-O.jpg)

First, on December 10th, 2010, we got a "snap shot alignment" at COBB Tuning Plano (http://cobbtuning.com/info/?id=5444) to check the stock alignment specs. See the pic above. These guys were super fast and efficient - its THE place to get a performance alignment in north Dallas. Anyway, the front had about -0.5 camber and +6.7 caster, as delivered from the factory. Not too shabby; that's a lot more caster than I thought it might have, and about all I suspect it will need.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/S197-Mustang-camber-plates/DSC6024/1134744600_2QZnW-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/S197-Mustang-camber-plates/DSC6028/1134745647_Hu96q-S.jpg

Next we installed the 3rd version of the S197 Vorshlag camber plates and some OEM style upper spring perches (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/S197-Mustang-camber-plates/) (one of our existing BMW-based perches works perfectly, and this allows us to use the double row radial bearing on an OEM style spring - win!) onto the stock struts and springs, to verify that the ride height was unaffected (it didn't alter it even 1/16" of an inch from stock), and the car got down to -2 camber up front.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/S197-Mustang-camber-plates/DSC6050/1134750312_k4wZv-S-1.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/S197-Mustang-camber-plates/DSC6051/1134750777_jFWge-S.jpg

We could easily add more caster (I didn't feel the need) and a tick more negative camber at this ride height (maybe 1/2 a degree more). To reach the extra camber range we'd needed a smaller "normal" height and diameter M14-2.0 (goofy thread pitch we don't already stock) locking nylock nut, as the stock nut limits inboard camber travel. I've got them on order and will offer these for use on OEM struts with our plates, like we do for most others. The stock strut top nut is a MASSIVE thing that takes up extra room.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/S197-Mustang-camber-plates/DSC6052/1134751579_ctb3N-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC6121/1133695702_hJWmK-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC6014/1134710142_CVi6w-S.jpg

Next we put the brand new 2011-specific Eibach Pro Kit lowering springs (http://www.vorshlag.com/product_info.php?cPath=141_142_179&products_id=345) on the car on December 20th, and man... what a difference that made. This dropped the Mustang a hair over 1" at both ends, and the drop naturally bumped the front camber 1/2 a degree more negative (to -2.5), with the same camber plate top setting as before. We rated the stock rear springs as well as the Eibach rears, and of course the lowering springs were progressive. I need to make a fixture to located the MASSIVE diameter of the bottom of both the stock and Eibach front springs onto our spring rater, in order to hold them secure while rating. But trust me (after compressing both multiple times to do camber plate installs), the fronts are both SUPER soft. I'll post up the stock & Eibach spring rates/weights/length numbers when I get caught up.


Of course the Mustang looks a LOT better with this lower ride height... duh. But it still rides nicely, too (the rates on these are still pretty soft - your grandmother wouldn't even complain). After driving it around for several weeks my wife says drives almost exactly like stock (it should have been an optional spring set from the factory!), with of course an inch less bump travel. I drove it again today (I almost never see this car) dropping off some late order deliveries, and I was LATE as hell so I was driving it like a complete a-hole. I managed to bottom the rear suspension just once, just slightly, and I was driving over some nasty bumpy roads (not always on 4 wheels). So it was highly unusual conditions, heh. I would recommend these Eibach lowering springs to anyone on a budget with a 2011 GT that wants to get rid of the 4x4 look - you can't spend ~$260 in any other way and make a bigger visual improvement on these cars, period. It won't make the car faster on a race track, other than the lower cg, but it will make it "look right". We sell these springs, so I figured we'd test them before going onto coilovers - and I'm glad we did.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC6115/1133689631_yp5KN-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC6175a-ride-heights/1132925302_HtaBP-S.jpg

Somewhere in there the longer (and expensive) ARP wheel studs were installed in the front hubs. This is in preparation of installing some ~7mm wheel spacers, to test fit the 18x10 RPF-1s properly. Woo, the first "racey" looking parts!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC6074/1127737978_ddSEu-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC6081/1127742453_AEPYR-S.jpg

AJ pulled the hubs off the car and did these the right way, using our hydraulic press. About 45 minutes of work. We've also had the brake lines off the car, twice, getting stainless braided lines built to order. They look so money, and fit perfectly. I had the rear lines made 1" longer than stock, since the stock rear lines were being yanked a bit at full droop, from the factory (facepalm). We will make one more refinement to one bracket and offer them on our website for all 2005-2011 Mustangs, soon. Did I mention they are red and blingy? Pedal feel is of course excellent. I'll post up pics when I've had time to upload the studio shots.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/AST-4100-Shocks/DSC1279/921904426_8awRJ-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC6175a/1132925121_qpvQn-S.jpg
Put those shiny bits on the left.... onto that car on the right... do it now!

The S197 AST 4100 coilovers are going on next. Hanchey at AST-USA is putting the magic valving tweaks on our set (after they get back from Daytona GA testing) and we should have these beauties installed early next week. The Hypercos we're trying out first (somewhat soft, at both ends) are here and ready to go on as well. And our complete set of 18x9" Enkei FP01 wheels and 265/40/18 Yokohama AD08 tires (remember: STX class limits tire and wheel widths) should be here on Monday. Hopefully we'll have time to get everything on, and the car re-aligned, before Costas (http://www.witchdoctormotorsports.com/) and I bomb down to Harris Hill Road for the NASA instructor clinic track day (http://www.nasaforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=37815) event next Saturday.

I'm so excited to get back on track! I haven't raced anything since October 16th (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/BMWCCA-Paris-Oct-16-2010/) - even though I was at the SCCA TMS road course event on the 17th (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-Road-Course-101710/), I didn't get to run the 330 before "someone" blew up the motor - and I'm going INSANE. We'll grab some data via the DL-1 and some in-car video with the new auto-x tires and AST suspension on. I love that little track, even if it is a bit bumpy these days (not that we'll notice much). We'll post up more data and vids shortly after. The first official 2011 NASA Texas track event is in 3 weeks, at MSR-Houston, and there's a Pro Solo and SCCA National Tour in Texas coming up rather quickly. I haven't even bought my "now STX legal?!" giant rear wing & splitter, or nasty full length headers yet, either. Lots to do!


08-16-2013, 12:50 PM
Project Update for Jan 11, 2011: This is a quick one, and its all about bling (preserving the factory finish and headlight glass). Costas came by last week and installed a full XPEL clear film paint protection kit, since the Mustang was still showroom fresh and unscathed by cone damage or rock chips. He installed the rocker panel kit, the "bikini" hood and front fender kits, the side mirror film, the under door handle film, and the door edge guard film kits.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/XPEL-film-install/DSC6401/1150373963_cAnvU-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/XPEL-film-install/DSC6402/1150374378_UHMXz-S.jpg
Me and AJ did some Meguiers Quick Detail clean-up and let Costas take over

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/XPEL-film-install/DSC6407/1150375639_qbhPz-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/XPEL-film-install/DSC6406/1150375252_mAu9B-S.jpg
Costas is a master of patience, having never installed a film kit to this chassis it all went on and off several times before he locked it down

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/XPEL-film-install/DSC6408/1150375997_Xdzgb-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/XPEL-film-install/DSC6405/1150374962_qhXqP-S.jpg
Once the clear film was on and dried its hard to even see where it starts/stops. Invisible protection.

After finishing the body protection film Costas installed the headlight cover kits.

That are tinted.


http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/XPEL-film-install/DSC6409/1150376600_KEXqQ-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/XPEL-film-install/DSC6413/1150376774_deiwa-S.jpg

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/XPEL-film-install/DSC6416/1150378383_6kSYR-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/XPEL-film-install/DSC6419/1150378609_rxsgf-S.jpg

I know its not going to please everyone's tastes... but it will keep the rock chips from the glass housings, and it is distinctive. We had a generally very positive response to the yellow XPEL headlight covers on the EVO X, so I figured... what the hell? And in ALMS the yellow XPEL light covers signified a different class of race cars, which was helpful in night races. So it has... a racing tie-in, sort of. :)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/XPEL-headlight-covers/DSC2127/517322989_aQACF-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/XPEL-headlight-covers/DSC2132/517327545_HN5LN-S.jpg
Amy and I did the headlight install on the EVO, dry, which still took us ~90 minutes. Costas made it look so easy this time

It looks a bit unusual in this indoor/fluorescent lighting, but in person it is more subdued and kinda... neat. I dunno.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/XPEL-film-install/DSC6420/1150379562_iYvwv-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC6500/1154723550_xgMbv-S.jpg
Costas said "the red and yellow matches your shirt", so somehow that made it ok?

Just didn't want to distract you guys when you saw pics from this coming weekend's track event, with the yellow headlights... Just get the "Ahh! what have you done!" complaints out now. :D


Stuart @ AST-USA put the magic valving on our 4100 AST kit today and its being installed tomorrow. The wheels/tires are scheduled to arrive tomorrow also. Next thread update will be much more technical, with 90% less bling.


08-16-2013, 12:51 PM
Project Update Jan 18, 2011: We got a lot accomplished on the Mustang over the past week, including installing the first set of AST 4100s, our first set of Hyperco springs, another set of Vorshlag camber plates, and the 18x9" Enkeis and 265/40/18 Yokohama ADVAN AD08s. Then we had the car aligned again at COBB and got it ready to take to the track for Saturday Jan 15th, where Costas and I ran it at the NASA Instructor clinic. Busy week... let's catch up.

AST 4100 on S197 install gallery = here (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/AST-4100-install-on-S197/)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/AST-4100-install-on-S197/DSC6502/1156710717_X53mp-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/AST-4100-install-on-S197/DSC6503/1156710848_ZB358-S.jpg

Stuart at AST-USA put the valving mojo on this set of 4100s, based on the spring rates we discussed and experience he has on his own S197 with ASTs. We picked them up Wednesday and AJ started the install on by getting the Mustang on the lift. He quickly removed the stock front struts assemblies (these had the Eibach lowering springs + Vorshlag plates - which we left intact) and then started on the rear, so I could make a spring perch adapter for the back.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/AST-4100-install-on-S197/DSC6508/1156715650_kP3ut-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/AST-4100-install-on-S197/DSC6514/1156788299_EeUHU-S.jpg

Normally this AST 4100 S197 set comes with a machined black Nylon rear spring adapter, but they were out of stock and only had this set of shocks on hand from a previous test set. No worries, I got the measurements and machined two spring adapters on the manual lathe. Took me too long but I finally got the 3" OD Nylon cylinder whittled down to size, and they slide over the alignment cups on the rear axle. The AST adjustable ride height platforms fit over the Nylon adapter pieces, and the 2.5" ID x 8" x 200#/in Hyperco springs fit onto those, and slide inside the upper OEM spring alignment stub.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/AST-4100-install-on-S197/DSC6518/1156789640_a7g2B-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/AST-4100-install-on-S197/DSC6519/1156789984_LJUtp-S.jpg

As convenient as the inverted rear single adjustable shocks are to adjust on the current 4100 S197 sets, we're working on a new set-up with AST-USA that will go to a standard arrangement + the body will get shorter; this all will give us more stroke at a lowered ride height. We set-up the ride height at the rear to 15.5", same as with the Eibach Pro lowering springs, for now.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/AST-4100-install-on-S197/DSC6510/1156786426_8ri8z-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/AST-4100-install-on-S197/DSC6511/1156786395_BxKaa-S.jpg

Up front we went with a 60mm x 7" x 450 #/in Hyperco spring and a set of our camber/caster plates + 60mm double row bearing upper perches, all placed on the standard 4100 S197 strut. We set the ride height at 15", same as before. We're also working with AST-USA on a new 4100 strut arrangement that will keep the same stroke but allow a 1" lower ride height up front, as well as a double adjustable that is completely different. Look for several more AST shock designs to be tested on this car throughout 2011.

continued below

08-16-2013, 12:52 PM
continued from above

Once the ASTs were on we mounted up we scheduled an alignment check at COBB Tuning Plano for Thursday. I took the car by there and they were amazed that AJ had eyeballed the caster, camber and toe almost spot on. They just had to tweak the toe and we were done in minutes. The car ended up with -2.8 camber, +7.2 caster, and 3/16" total toe out (that was probably a bit excessive, in hindsight, and we'll bring it in to 0" toe for future track events). The ride quality was exceptional, as always, even with radically more front spring rate. We left the rear rates low on purpose, to hopefully help put power down for auto-x use. We might end up with two different spring rates for track and auto-x use - testing different rates at both types of events will show us more, which we'll share.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/IMG2330/1160876523_Skr2E-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/alignment-011311/1160943805_AFd69-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/alignment-011311/1160943805_AFd69-O.jpg)
(click alignment sheet thumbnail above to see larger version (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/alignment-011311/1160943805_AFd69-O.jpg))

When I got back from the alignment the tires and wheels had arrived from Tire Rack, and I only had to get one loose tire mounted to the "Test fit" wheel we had ordered earlier. AJ got those mounted up and they looked good.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC6534/1156708676_VPy6B-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC6530/1156699450_DfFCv-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC6530/1156699450_DfFCv-L.jpg) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC6528/1156699526_8zQdU-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC6528/1156699526_8zQdU-L.jpg)
Click the wheel and tire pics for larger versions

Friday I dropped off dealer orders around town in the Mustang to hopefully get the silicone mold release off the tires, then drove an hour across town at days end to head to Costas' place - they weren't very scrubbed but oh well, we'd get them good and scrubbed in at the track... right?

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/IMG2338/1160903443_bdFzG-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-Instructor-H2R-011511/DSC6536/1159869044_2uFBv-S.jpg

Wrong - it rained for the next 24 straight hours. It started raining as soon as I arrived at Costas', and we had to load the car onto his borrowed open trailer in the rain. Since we had a simple "in state" tow of only 4 hours, and we weren't bringing much in the way of gear/tires/spares (1 day event), we just used his buddy's open trailer and Costas' truck to tow down with - instead of hauling out my 38' enclosed gooseneck or his 28' enclosed tag trailer for this simple day at the track. Saves a ton on gas and towing with a little 18' open trailer is a total BREEZE compared to either of our big enclosed rigs. We could have driven the car down, but with so many new parts we didn't want to risk some silly failure sidelining us, and we had to be back in Dallas by 6 pm that day.

So we left DFW at 4 am Saturday morning and got down to San Marcos at 7:45am, unloaded, and were ready for the NASA instructor clinic by 8. It rained the entire way down and all day at Harris Hill Road, plus it was cold as balls. We still had fun, even if we didn't get any meaningful testing/data/video on the Mustang, due to the crappy conditions (standing water in most turns, visibility was poor, and grip was non-existent). Costas was an "instructor trainer" and I was there as an instructor trainee, hoping to get signed off for NASA (which could potentially give me a little flexibility at NASA events to take people for ride-thrus). The event was a blast (event write-up located here (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7823&page=2); picture gallery here (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-Instructor-H2R-011511/)) and we both got some good (soaking wet) track time in the Mustang.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-Instructor-H2R-011511/DSC6725/1159968620_wLuJ5-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-Instructor-H2R-011511/DSC6635/1159880802_ux8tS-S.jpg

Costas took around his trainees in the first 2 of 3 training scenarios in the car while I rode with "mock students" in their cars during the same tests, trying to point out their driving errors (on purpose), proper lines, etc. In the 3rd scenario I drove a "mock student" (Costas) around at 80% speed in my car to show the proper lines, techniques, etc. It was easy and fun, but just not that exciting due to the severely reduced speeds (rain + training). Luckily, after lunch they let us all loose on the track for a fun session, which ended up being about 35 minutes of quicker lapping in the rain. That session made the day!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-Instructor-H2R-011511/DSC6563/1159871560_5sgEG-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-Instructor-H2R-011511/DSC6802/1159973500_Uk4ej-S.jpg
The Yokohama AD08s were extremely planted in the wet

The Mustang was a blast to drive, even in the wet. 4th gear around the whole track (3rd just caused wheel spin), and with the AD08s and ASTs the car could seemingly pass anything out there. Lots and lots of fun. Big thanks to Costas for towing the car down, shooting so many pictures (430?!) in the rain, and for signing me off on the instructor deal.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-Instructor-H2R-011511/DSC6702/1159917360_bciEv-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-Instructor-H2R-011511/DSC6827/1159975709_pPeGs-S.jpg
There were no fewer than six 2010-2011 Mustangs at H2R that day

So next up - we've got the first real NASA Texas TT/HPDE/race event in 2 weeks (MSR-Houston (http://www.nasaproracing.com/event/1202)), which we plan to attend, but the first Dallas area autocross we can make isn't until Feb 27th. We're looking at everyone's schedule and there's literally 4 autocross groups with events the same weekend as the first NASA event - damn it, why does this happen every year??

Anyway, lots more changes are in store for the Mustang. The splitter we're using is supposed to be available in about 2 weeks, and we have several other (STX legal) aero parts planned during the same time frame. Then headers + exhaust + cold air + tuning.

Stay tuned,

08-16-2013, 12:53 PM
Project Update for Jan 24, 2011: The first NASA Time Trial event we're running in is this weekend at MSR-Houston, so its time to look at TT classing for the Mustang. Of course we had been keeping track of everything in our spreadsheet for this car, but I wanted to share it with everyone, hopefully to help people see how "Easy" it is to class a car with NASA TT. ;) The rules and classing for NASA TT (http://www.nasa-tt.com/Rules) are a bit confusing, some would even say very confusing, but the basic classes go like this (from slowest to fastest): TTF -> TTA. But its nothing at all like SCCA classes/categories. Its.. "simpler"... you just find your base class, add up points for every mod you've done, and figure out where the car goes.

So to start the classing process, we have to know where we begin. Each car is assigned a "base classing", some with penalty points already assessed, and then you can count the additional "points" for any modifications done. Each class has 19 points worth of mods you can do, then you bump up to the next class at +20, and if you keep adding points you might go to the one past it. There's a set power-to-weight ratio limit within each class, and all sorts of modifiers for the power-to-weight number, too. Once you bump out of TTA you go up into the TTS>TTU>TTR classes, which do away with all of the "points" and are strictly power-to-weight ratio based classes. Clear yet?

Let's start out with the base classing for the "S197" chassis (2005-2012+) Mustang GT:

'05-06 Mustang GT is TTD**
'07-10 GT is TTC
'11 GT is TTB

The two asterisks after the TTD class above means the '05-06 GT starts out in TTD class but begins its tally with +14 penalty points (each asterisk are worth +7), so that car can only do +5 worth of mods before going up to TTC.

So the 2011 GT with the new 412hp 5.0L got bumped up a full class from the 2010 GT, and the minimum race weight jumped dramatically to 3770 lbs (with driver). That series of base classing changes, to me, seemed to coincide with the power and suspension updates that the Shelby GT350 had for '07-08, which was an optional package those years. So the full class bump (a huge change) for the '11 GT had to include the power + the Brembo brakes, right?

Wrong. I got the bad news on the NASA forums today about more points assigned to our Mustang. This little tid-bit isn't even in the class rules, but is noted at the bottom of an online form for TTA-TTF classing:
Proceed to calculate your vehicles modification points assessment for up-classing purposes. Fill in the blanks with the number of modification points assessed for each item that affects your vehicle. You may leave the lines blank next to modifications that your vehicle does not have. Proceed to Page 2, and calculate all modification points assessments, then fill in total points below. ALL Factory Options and Parts Not on the Base Trim Model Must Be Assessed Points!!!
Somehow after 4 years of NASA TT racing I had missed this little note on the classification form about "factory options". This means that the following factory installed but optional bits on my 2011 GT will be assessed "points" for NASA classing - even if they are just cosmetic changes.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/2011-Mustang-GT/DSC0205/893273053_XALRT-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/2011-Mustang-GT/GTfascia-1/1065220863_zUskz-S.jpg
Left: The optional Brembo brakes are +2 points. Right: This front grill insert is is +3 points

Factory installed options, not on the "base trim level model", that will now count for mod points

Rear wing delete = +4
The optional 4-pedestal factory GT rear wing = +4
A 71" wide multi-piece CF wing with a huge cord, up to 8" above the hoodline, and 12" tall end plates = also +4?!
Brembo brake package = +2
GT500 rear valance (now optional on all GTs) = +1 (planned)
CS/GT front lower grill insert (now optional on all GTs) = +3 (planned)
Boss302 LS front splitter = +6 (with the CS grill insert included)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/2011-Mustang-GT/DSC0211/893277452_mVw4j-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/2011-Mustang-GT/DSC3041/1066139265_toJed-S.jpg
Left: This is the base GT rear "wing". Zero points. Right: Ordering without that is +4!

Here's our current list of what I consider "real modifications:

265/40/18 Yokohama AD08 = +2 (for 140-200 treadwear)
AST 4100s = +3
Coilover Springs = +2
Camber plates = +0

But we have many more mods planned, which was pushing us to the limit of TTB. Now add in the cosmetic changes we had planned and we're going to be well into TTA. This new twist is pretty crazy, and I'm pretty disgusted with the NASA TT rules at the moment, but that's the way it is written. Now every time I hear a NASA racer make fun of the SCCA's thick rulebook, I can point out how retarded it is that a factory optional wing delete counts the same number of points as a massive CF race wing. ;)

All of these planned mods are legal for STX class, plus many more - and that class is essentially the slowest of all Street Touring classes (ie: STX cars still get beat by '89 civics with 100 hp). Doing some basic shocks + springs + these "factory option" mods above would kick the car up into TTA... which is home to C5 Z06 Corvettes on Hoosiers, and highly modified cars like supercharged Miatas with giant aero, at least here in Texas. So now at least we know all we need to account for to stay within TTB, right? Oh no, there's more.

There's the set power-to-weight ratio limit for TTB that we have to stay under

Minimum Competition Weight for 2011 Mustang GT: 3770lbs with driver
Tested Wheel Horsepower: 367 whp (corrected) It tested 378 uncorrected, but that doesn't matter. It was a chilly day. :)
TTB Min Weight/Power Ratio: 10.25 lbs/hp

The Mustang currently weighs 3563 lbs, with zero fuel. Add +200 pounds for me and +50 pounds for fuel, and its around 3813 lbs. That gives me 372 whp before it would have to go up to TTA. Are we done yet? Nope.

Then there's the adjustment factors... see Appendix C (page 52-54)

For running a smaller tire 275-250 mm DOT = +.4
For having a competition weight 3800-3899 lbs = +.65
Total adjustments = -1.05 (they show + when they mean -, but their example calculations show it correctly)
10.25 lbs/hp - 1.05 = 9.2 adjusted lbs/hp ratio.
At 3813 lbs / 9.2 = 414 whp max for TTB for this car

And I assure you, someone will contend something in all of those calculations and rule interpretations in this post. "Its so easy" that it takes spreadsheets and multiple interpretations of rules to even class a car in TT. So now I see why the SCCA ruleset is made by a committee and is very carefully worded. There's less room for interpretation and the try to close these odd loopholes where a giant wind tunnel tested wing counts the same as a stock rear spoiler, or no wing at all. I have a new respect for the SEB today, after seeing this mess. You won't hear me singing their praises often, either.

So we've got some thinking to do. Every single mod we have planned has to be assessed for STX legality, NASA TT points, and if anything lowers the weight or ups the horsepower at all, we have to re-check the power to weight ratios. We know its unlikely that the 3800 pound race weight RWD Mustang is going to burn up the STX class, but TTA? We'd get killed on little 265mm street tires against typical TTA cars. Sure, going to TTA would give us another +19 in mods before we'd kick up to TTS, so we could go to a wider wheel and tire package, like go to giant Hooisers, just for TT use. Two sets of race wheels/tires, one of which is a gumball Hoo$iers? Then we could run a "Real Wing" for NASA and different aero bits for STX. And on and on...

The slippery slope begins. Fun, fun! :)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag-Test-Pilots/Stuart-Maxcys-2006-Mustang-GT/DSC5590/619767887_jHf6D-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag-Test-Pilots/Kent-Ks-2005-Mustang-GT-STU-or/DSC1899/506693731_HKADB-S.jpg

I was talking with Stuart from AST-USA today, who has an '06 GT (above, left), and his car starts at TTD** (as does Kent's shown above, right) so he could do a HUGE amount of suspension/wheel/Hoosiers/aero mods to his '06 and still stay in TTC class, whereas I've got to be really careful or my car bumps into TTA - even on street tires. So check your base classing, read the rules, and have the TT director check your classing form. And still, just be ready to have someone to contest it. One of our customers had a car that set some TT track records... never had a competitor protest, until a NASA director saw it and assessed something like +12 points to the front bumper, which was an aftermarket but purely cosmetic piece. All of his records and results were expunged. So sometimes, you never know where you should be classed with NASA.

Sorry to piss and moan so much in this "update", I'm just really frustrated with the TT rules and classing at the moment. I'm seriously looking at other cars to run in TT this year, like the E30 V8 or the E36 M3. The '11 Mustang GT is pretty much boned beyond what we've done now, and this is hardly the final set of mods we had planned for the car.


08-16-2013, 12:54 PM
While it is nice to switch to the stock parts to avoid the points. It doesn't seem all that fair or encouraging that if I remove a spoiler and upgrade my brakes from stock to cobra pieces. I now have the same point assessment as someone with a G Stream rear wing and baer 6-pot brakes. Yet, the point assessment is the same.
Exactly my point...

The problem with rule sets is that vagueness seems like its encouraging until someone really figures it out. Everyone runs what they brung until someone shows up with their brilliant flavor of the week, and now no one is having fun. This is why spec classes are so popular.

Its the price you pay I guess for a proper attempt at equality.
Well, its a pretty half-hearted attempt at "equality", in my view, when no rear cosmetic spoiler = huge CF wing. The whole note about "optional parts not on the base trim car have to take points" isn't even in the NASA TT rules, its a note attached to some online form. Seriously.

NASA TT is unique in that it has one person is making all of the base classing, modification point assessments, and rules, so we naturally get rules made from one person's point of view only. I wasn't the only one in the dark about this, so I (and others) have been trying to point out the absurdity of a factory spoiler delete having the same points as a full on race wing, over on the NASA Forum thread (http://www.nasaforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=37240&p=289577#p289577) where this was pointed out to me. The Nat'l TT Director responded with this:

How about this---a driver takes off the OEM wing for the higher speed tracks that have less turns requiring rear downforce and more gain from less drag, and puts it back on for other tracks where the wing results in better lap times due to the need for more rear downforce. There is clearly a performance gain by doing this "modification". The amount of that gain would/could be different for each of the 800+ different car models possibly competing. So, we are back to "If the modification costs more points for your particular vehicle than it is worth, then don't do the Mod."

And my reply:
I get that, and I'm now not saying that removing an OEM style wing should be free... but +4 points? Its the severity of this penalty that sticks in my craw.


Let's look at an example: The race wing shown above (G-Stream CF) as used on the Boss 302S race cars are +4 points, is adjustable, and produces real downforce. It can be even bigger for the same points in TT: as wide as the car (71"), up to 8" above the roofline, and limited to 12" tall end plates. No chord length limits. So a giant CF race wing is the same points penalty as removing a cosmetic OEM wing? That's my point.

Almost every OEM wing ever produced is not producing much down force, and is built for styling/cosmetic reasons. Even the "big" wings on STis and EVOs produce very little down force. One of the few cars that had an adjustable, down force producing wing were some adjustable units used on Porsche GT3s. If there was a slight tweak to the wing rule, maybe stating...

"Any OEM wing (or exact replica) made for the same model series/chassis can be used, or none at all, for +1. Any OEM wing that has adjustable angle of attack is +4"

Just a thought.
Figured I'd share that here, just to show everyone where I'm coming from (and I've had a lot of PMs, along the same lines). So with all of these points for OEM options on our car, its clear to me that staying in TTB with any 2011 GT that isn't ordered at the most basic, Spartan trim level - with no zero cost options whatsoever - is almost an impossibility. I've counted over 12 points worth of TT mod points that my car could have just with OEM options. So I'm going to say "to Hell with it" and just do the mods that are legal in SCCA STX class and "run whatever TT class it falls into", like I had originally planned. :)

To that end, today I ordered a bunch of parts that will hopefully add something to the car (with respect to aero) for NASA or SCCA use. First was the (optional on the 2011 GT) CS lower valance (+3), then a 2011 GT "optional" 4-pedestal OEM rear wing (for STX use only, and totally legal there), and an APR Performance GTC-300 wing (67" wide, 3D airfoil shape) for TT use. Plus some other bits I'll show later - but I did not get the (now optional on the 2011 GT) lower rear GT500 valance, as it wasn't worth the cost ($270 shipped) or NASA points, and did nothing for performance (it was purely cosmetic). For the GTC300 wing we'll make the uprights and endplates to fit the TT rules, and use it only for TT. Since I'm already taking 4 freagin points for "no wing" I'm going to have a real wing, by Damn! :D

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/2011-Mustang-GT/DSC3047/1066137419_9iCjG-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/2011-Mustang-GT/DSC3045/1066140337_E5nYb-S.jpg
Left: The 2011 "base trim" GT lower front valance. Right: The 2011 optional "CS" lower front valance

The CS valance above ($240, shipped) should be here by Friday morning, so we'll get the front end pulled off and ready, and have it installed before we load the car into the trailer and head down to Houston for the NASA event his weekend at MSR-H. We've still got points to spare within TTB, at least for a little while longer (we don't even have swaybars or any exhaust work on the car yet), so that +3 won't hurt us much right now, and we can't do a splitter (again, for TT) on the front w/o this flat bottomed CS lower valance.

Sorry for all of the complaining and moaning about NASA rules - they are what they are, and the situation won't change anytime soon, so - oh well. :) I'll just go out there and try to have fun, and see where the car's at for now. I've never even run at MSR-H, so I don't have much hope for matching the TTB track record (http://tinyurl.com/4bzvue4) there (1:42.675, set by an BMW E46 M3 in Jan-09). Even with all of this drama, I'm still pumped to get back onto a dry track - its been too many months.

We now have all new NASA regional leadership in Texas, and they seem like really nice folks (from the Rocky Mountain region), so hopefully the event will run more timely than in the past - that's the plan, at least. They've already added more event dates for the Texas region (8 so far), which is up from the previous 6 we used to have. And hopefully my HPDE students won't kill me on track, ha.

Doing some final track prep on the Mustang today and tomorrow. I just picked up the trailer, AJ already reset the Mustang's front alignment, and I'm about to go out and slap on the class numbers & letters. Tomorrow we need to mount the two transponders and the CS valance on Friday morning - if it shows up in time. I'll post up with times, pics and such after the event, on Monday.

Getting close!

08-16-2013, 12:55 PM
Project Update for Jan 27, 2011: Well, just wrapping up prep for the first "real" track event of 2011. Got some funny news last night - apparently our 2011 GT is contagious. An old friend/racing buddy Paul M drove our car once... that's all it took. He tried to order a car earlier this week, and we had his build all worked up on the computer: Brembo package, CS lower valance, GT500 rear valance, the 4-pedestal wing, 401A interior, Kona blue, SAT/NAV - all of the optional performance, functional, and cosmetic bits he wanted that aren't too tacky.

Then he saw this NASA "OEM options adds points" silliness...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag-Test-Pilots/Paul-Magyars-2011-Mustang-GT/DSC7074/1169715302_rBsCR-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC7077/1169720296_DTwS7-S.jpg

So instead of getting the car he wanted, he found a car that fit NASA TT better. The car he bought was equipped with the "base" trim level GT wing (saves 4 points), base front and rear lower valances (saves 4 more), but still had Brembos (+2), had the NAV/SAT/Sync (I cannot overemphasize how AMAZING this system works), and was at least the color he wanted (and gorgeous). Its got the 400A leather interior, not the 401A kit like he wanted (different materials/dash), as well as the HIDs - but it was close as he could get. With this car he's now only starting with +2 points for NASA in TTB, instead of +10 like he would have been with all of the (cosmetic) options he wanted. Lesson learned. (more pics (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag-Test-Pilots/Paul-Magyars-2011-Mustang-GT/))

Anyway, Paul's car is still bone stock and looks pretty TALL parked next to mine... Attack of Godzilla!


It looked even more exaggerated in person. We measured the height differences back at the shop, and it was 2.0" in front and 2.25" in back, at the same points on the body. Some of its in the the coilovers, the rest is in the tire height differences (265/40/18 vs. 255/40/19 = 1" shorter tire, so 1/2" lower CG). The overall effect, visually, is huge. Our car isn't "Stanced-out" or anything, and you can't argue that a lower CG isn't better for grip and aero. :)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/506689214_rxb9q-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag-Test-Pilots/Paul-Magyars-2011-Mustang-GT/DSC7078/1169717235_UXmdS-S.jpg
Left: Old and busted. Right: New hotness

Paul already has a SMod Subaru GC project (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6964) underway, which will be his dedicated autox/TT car when it gets done (someday!), but for now the Mustang will step in and hold him over for track use + make for a fun street car. He traded in his '08 Subaru STi (TTA prepped) yesterday for this Mustang, which was probably a good idea seeing how much warranty work the Subie needed under his heavy right foot (engine problems - it go boom). We'll really see how strong the Coyote 5.0 and Getrag MT-80 are with Paul driving them, heh.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag-Test-Pilots/Paul-Magyars-2011-Mustang-GT/DSC7069/1169714845_uZrpt-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC7072/1169719113_G8zKW-S.jpg

Anyway, Paul is building this car up a bit differently than mine, as Solo use and SCCA classing is not a concern for this one. He will instead focus on NASA TT use and build it to the limit of TTB... with no SCCA rules and autox compromises to limit it for TT use. But its still his primary street car, so its not a full-out track-only build, by any means. This will probably be closer to what a lot of you out there might do a 2011 GT, really.

We're going to first swap in some Eibachs springs (+2), Vorshlag plates (+0), and get lowered down by 1.5" next week - just for openers. ASTs will go on soon enough, but it will likely be using the new bits we're working on with AST. Then he's going to sit back and watch my car's on-track performance, and then see how the new aero bits and exhaust system planned work out, before moving much further into more mods. Should be a fun street car. Welcome to the Dark Side, Paul! :D

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC7035/1169717958_Qx8oz-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC7080/1169720088_hfukv-S.jpg

Just a few pics of installing the NASA TT required numbers (10") and class letters (4") on my car, before we load it onto the trailer tomorrow. NASA Texas is cracking down on number requirements in TT this year, and stated "no more taped numbers!", which is fine by me. Its hard to tell much about the car your passing (or being passed by) when they don't have proper numbers/class letters. This decal set-up shows class and number on the front, rear and sides, as well as SCCA classing on the sides (we're adding the required NASA decals at the track, plus a shout-out to GRM with their decals). Its just a temporary decal set-up, as we have our own vinyl plotter coming soon - so expect a more wild, completely tasteless graphic set-up soon. :D

NOTE: If anyone out there is a good graphic designer and can help us come up with new and unique Vorshlag livery for this car (that scales up to others car models - like our E30 & E46, plus some tester/customer cars), please PM me. Since we're getting a plotter we can try more stuff without racking up hundreds of dollars in vinyl bills anymore, until we get the look perfectly tasteless.


08-16-2013, 12:56 PM
Project Update for Feb 3, 2011: A little late, but here's the report from the track event last weekend (NASA @ MSR-Houston, Jan 29-30).

Pictures: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC7082/1173513485_oM2jN-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC7084/1173514544_BtYkt-S.jpg

On Friday morning we mounted two AMB transponders to the car: one wired transponder was registered for me in TTB as #193, and a second wireless transponder for Amy was entered as TTB #93, mounted straight to the front grill. The battery powered AMB mounted to the grill had a straight shot down to the ground, with no metal in its path. The wired unit was mounted to the inner fender, behind the strut on the RF corner, and also has a straight shot at the ground. We made an aluminum panel for the lighted switch panel that worked nicely.

AJ loaded up the car into the trailer Friday and Amy and I left at 3 pm; we made it from Dallas to MSR-Houston in about 5 hours, at a hair under 300 miles for the tow, of course with some traffic in downtown Houston. Somehow we managed to snag a good pit spot, in the dark, then unhooked the trailer and unloaded the car, and took it through tech at 8:30 pm Friday night. We got a logbook for the car and met a few NASA people while waiting in line, several of which mentioned reading this thread build-up. Reloaded the car in the trailer than went to find our hotel (luckily nearby - the race site is fairly remote).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/DSC7086/1173575285_Hkgxu-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/IMG2369/1175805718_T2GQJ-S.jpg

Next morning at dawn we finally got to see the facilities at MSR-Houston, and they were pretty impressive. Lots of buildings, nicely paved parking pit areas, a concessions stand, several buildings of garages, Sunoco fuel pumps, and even an active kart track that was running all day Saturday. The weather was a bit chilly off and on, but not bad, with overcast skies most of the day. We had our drivers meeting for TT and then another for instructors, and I was assigned an HPDE2 student. He didn't have a passengers seat (CMC2 race car) but he already knew the track well, and pointed out some areas to me to watch out for, since I'd never seen the track. Other than checking in with him all weekend, and keeping an eye on him when I was riding through with other students, there wasn't much for me to do there. This let me work with Amy directly most of the weekend.

The Time Trial group was merged with HPDE4 for the weekend, which made for a 27 car session (24 TT drivers). Ken O had his very well prepped TTB E46 M3 out on Friday testing, so he was very quick in Saturday's TT session one, running a 1:44.049 on Hoosier R6s, which was faster than all other TT cars except one (and his fastest time of the weekend). We only got 4 timed laps that session, due to session scheduling catch-up (the NASA folks did a great job of keeping the event on schedule), and the best I could get in traffic was a 1:58.907 (11th fastest). Since I was an instructor I was able to take Amy out and let her see the track while I ran that session, which let her see the track before she drove it.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/IMG2372/1175807467_2Hb42-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/DSC7149/1173594086_HMRJG-S.jpg

Amy took the Mustang out in HPDE3 all day, but their small run group (about 8 cars) was combined with HPDE 1 & 2, just for the first HPDE session. This was a mess, as a very slow going HPDE1 student held up the entire field for the whole session, with 17 cars trailing in a train at parade lap speeds. This was because they forgot how to give a point by - and so did his instructor (we brought this up at the instructor meeting shortly afterward). We even came into the pits, waited, went back out, and still caught the train in 2 corners. Wasted session, but by session 2 they had HPDE3 all on its own, and Amy had clean laps the rest of the day.

Video of me driving in Session 2 - click to view (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/VIDEOS/4882794_PPm2C#1177759013_7uPse-A-LB)

After the first session, T&S had times for everyone in TT so they were able to grid us up in order of lap times (fastest first, slowest last), which made it easier to get cleaner track time - well, as much as you can get with 27 cars in the session. It helped a little, and I managed to knock off over 7 seconds to a 1:51.199 in session 2, and managed a 1:50.503 in session 3. I was still 6 seconds behind the TTB leader Ken O, which is an eternity. Without real tires I suspect the car always will be. There were several other 2011 GTs out there, but all of them were in TTA running on Hoosiers or Continental Challenge slicks, and one of them was pretty damn quick at a 1:44.502 (TTA #50, shown below)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/DSC7128/1173583043_M8p3z-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/DSC7135/1173585710_2Xi4M-S.jpg

I was gaining less time per session, but I was still learning the track and getting the tires and shocks dialed in. The Radical that was holding me up a bit in the session 2 video found some serious speed in session 3 so he was ahead of me on the grid for session 4 (and considerably faster on track). Since he wasn't getting quicker times, Ken O switched to his Dunlop Star Specs for this session, so I gridded up behind him. I got some clear track time but Ken slowly pulled away from me this session. His best time on his street tires was 1:48.314, and I managed to meet my goal of "running in the 1:49s" by ticking off a 1:49.999 on lap 7, my last hot lap of the day. So Ken was still a solid 1.7 sec quicker in the M3 on similar tires in the same session, but at least it was no longer 6 seconds, which didn't completely crush my ego. :) For Ken on that day, his 275/35/18 Hoosier R6s were worth 4.3 seconds per lap. That's a huge chunk of time for one mod, but that's why its +11 points for his TT classing.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/DSC7206/1173661893_gAKFX-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/DSC7195/1173645162_2yZSh-S.jpg

continued below

08-16-2013, 12:56 PM
continued from above

TTB was around 8 cars, and I was still 2nd quickest in class for the first 3 sessions, but that black Exige might have slipped past my best time in session 4 Saturday? Its hard to tell where I ended up, because the online event results that NASA uses (MyLaps (http://www.mylaps.com/results/showevent.jsp?id=624303)) do not show class, car, or anything other than the driver's name, number, and lap time. These are without a doubt the worst online event results I've ever seen for any competitive event I've entered in the past 23 years. I mention this because at the event you could go up to T&S and beg for a copy of the printed results after each session, and these results showed the class and (sometimes) the car listed. For some reason this data just doesn't make it to into the MyLaps listings. Seriously - look at these EOD results for TT for Saturday and tell me who won what class: http://www.mylaps.com/results/showrun.jsp?id=1778791. You need a secret decoder ring (a printout from the event) to figure out who is in what class, and what car they were in. Event results should stand on their own, always. Other than this complaint, in my eyes the NASA folks did an excellent job, and kept the event on schedule, even with lots of racers pulling some on track shenanigans.

Amy improved throughout the day Saturday during her four HPDE sessions, and I pushed her in the 2 sessions I rode through with her and instructed. She got down into the 1:55 range with my hand timed laps, as MyLaps only captured her times on Sunday when she ran TT (HPDE isn't supposed to be timed). She was nailing every heel-toe downshift like a pro, and only lacked a bit of confidence to get into the gas sooner. I was using the Costas method of yelling "Gas! Gas! Gas!" at every corner exit, and pretty soon she had it down. ;) Still, staying in the throttle all the way to at the end of the long straights (into Turns T13, T6 and T2) were the only things holding her lap times back. As she gets more comfortable in TT I'm sure she'll be right on my times, like she is in autocross.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/DSC7197/1173648681_eC8Uh-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC7203/1175846104_uLuyX-S.jpg

Saturday night the NASA folks had a great party at the track, with a nice meal and cold beer, and the 2010 Texas Region Class Winners were announced. We got some good rest that night and made it back out Sunday morning, to the beginnings of a rainy day. For Sunday's first TT Session, Amy ran the car in TT (her first official TT session) and I rode along. It was starting to spit rain, and times in TT were markedly slower. Ken O was quickest, running a 2:12.574 on the Hoosiers, and Amy was 10th quickest at a 2:24.551. After that session it really started to rain and the track started to get slicker than snot.

I ran session 2 of TT in a downpour and only got a 2:27.572, which was 3rd quickest in the session. I did have a slight issue at the exit of turn 17, after making a pass coming in to this turn. I got a last second point-by from a slower car (otherwise I would have waited to pass) and braked deep into T17 over a patch of standing water, where I managed to put the car into a slide that... ahh.... turned into a gentle 360. I stayed on track and never lost momentum (slid it in 1st gear when the car was backwards, and slipped out the clutch and back into throttle when the car was pointed back straight - the car never stopped moving forward on track), but this is technically called a spin, and a spin or an off gives any TT driver a DQ for that session. At least I gave the crowd something fun to watch in this session, heh.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/DSC7208/1173664978_nMmzi-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/DSC7209/1173666615_yWuYz-S.jpg

Since we aren't planning on staying in TTB in this car too long (and therefore don't need to try to bank points for a shot at an annual NASA regional class win - not that anyone is going to beat Ken O again this year), and we both felt like we wrung out the times we were going to get back on Saturday, we loaded up the car for the trip home later that day. Soaked to the bone, and dead tired. This means I got no official session time for Sunday, of well. The rain didn't let up for hours, but I stuck around to help with instructing and we watched the Spec Miata/Spec 944 race and then the CMC/AI race, both of which were entertaining in the rain!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/DSC7253/1173736927_MvqkX-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/DSC7341/1173845633_L9wUe-S.jpg

In Sunday's HPDE session 3 I was assigned a new student, an HPDE2 entrant, who wanted some tips for running in the wet. He was trying to move up though HPDE ranks so he could hopefully get his Comp license later this year (he's building a Spec 944 race car), and we worked on some rain driving techniques. He was an autocrosser and had some track experience in Germany at the 'Ring. He picked up on my rain driving tips quickly, and I signed him off to HPDE3 with permission of the Chief Instructor.

After session 3 the sky looked as bad as ever, and the crowd was thinning out considerably, so we headed back to Dallas and made it back in 4h 45m, driving through some rain and a hail storm (?!) at one point. Apparently it dried up at the track considerably for the 4th session, and the TT guys all went much quicker, which changed up the results considerably for Sunday. Again, if you can make any sense of these results, you're a better man than me: http://www.mylaps.com/results/showrun.jsp?id=1778792

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/DSC7122/1173582137_yUVQa-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/DSC7111/1173580648_9UrJ4-S.jpg

So that was our first "real" competition track event in the Mustang. We had a blast and really enjoyed the event, even with the rain on Sunday and the utter trouncing we took in TTB at the hands of Ken O (he's a Vorshlag/AST tester, so its all good. Congrats on setting the TTB track record!). Hope this post wasn't too wordy and boring. Since its getting a bit long, I'll post some specific observations about the car in another post to follow.


08-16-2013, 12:57 PM
Update for Feb 4, 2011: After looking at my notes and in-car videos, I've compiled a list of ten observations about the 2011 Mustang GT and its on-track behavior. I've heard rumors of overheating, oil usage, and questions about the stock brakes. After our 2 drivers beat the crap out of our 2011 all weekend, one day in the dry and another in the wet, I figured I'd comment on the cooling, oil usage, fuel consumption, and track worthiness of the stock Brembo brakes (some of this might look familiar to one forum, but I've expanded this considerably since I posted that).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC7202/1175845898_EYCnv-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/DSC7345/1173845971_kfYUB-S.jpg

1. The water temp never got over "the middle of the gauge" warm. Sure, its a stock gauge, and I'll replace it soon with a trio of real oil/water/pres gauges, but so far I'm pleased with the results of the OEM cooling system (I may be singing a different tune around June here in Texas). It got a little warm outside on Saturday and Amy and I were running it in back-to-back sessions, for 8 total sessions on Saturday.

2. Oil consumption was minimal. We checked it after every other session and I added 1/4 qt of oil each day. That's minimal, and nothing like the 1 qt a day usage most of my LSx powered cars use on a typical track day. Not bad.

3. Fuel consumption on track was 6.8 mpg all weekend. On the street it has been averaging 19 in town, about 23 on the highway. Not bad, especially considering how I've been driving it (like it was stolen). On track consumption was not stellar, but it only drinks 93 octane, so it was cheap to fuel up at the track compared to the guys paying $8.75/gallon for Sunoco 98 or 110 octane. We accidentally let it get down to under 1/8th of a tank on track and it never fuel starved, not once. That's a relief.

4. The brakes were very impressive and confidence inspiring, and the ABS worked like a champ in both the wet and dry. They are bone stock other than the stainless braided lines we built for it. One of the other 2011 Mustang GT TTA guys had beautiful 2-piece ($800/pair) rotors up front, mostly for weight. He also had the CS lower valance on with ducting to the front rotors (see pics, below). Not a bad idea. Still, I think the stock rotors, pads and calipers worked fantastically at this track, at least for the current grip and power levels of the car. People that have driven with me say I am a pretty abusive to brakes (lots of left foot braking, trail braking, and late braking on track) yet I was pretty happy with the stock brakes all weekend. You'd think with 2 drivers running the car double duty we would have cooked the things, but the pads took a beating and kept diving deep into each corner. I complained once on video of a bit of smell from the brakes, but that was it. I don't know what pads these Brembo cars come with, but I like them. Minimal dusting, too.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/DSC7136/1173586301_VvM3p-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/DSC7137/1173586724_zUsVP-S.jpg

5. Overall handling and balance was good with the AST 4100s and Hyperco rates we chose, but I had some trouble with rear traction. Many of the higher speed corner exits were tricky in 3rd or even 4th gear in the dry (and this is with the tallest available 3.31 final drive ratio), and we were running wider and stickier than stock 265mm Yokohama AD08s. I guess that's to be expected with a factory 380 whp. We've more than tripled front spring rate but rear rates went up only 63%: Hyperco 450#/in front, 200 #/in rear. The stock spring rates on the 2011 GT are 122 #/in front, and 154 #/in rear. The added front rate really cut down on brake dive and is helping control roll and heave from the over 1000# per front wheel. The relatively soft rear rate was chosen (with the help of AST-USA) to help rear traction. We have some more spring rates to test with (350# front, 250# rears), but I don't know if I want to lower the front rates much, and increasing the rear may make it have less corner exit traction.

Both track events we've run in the GT so far were noticeably bumpy: Harris Hill Road had several bumpy corners and straights and was wet, and MSR-H had lots of bumps going into turn 13 ("The Launch"), where braking would have been compromised without quality monotube dampers, especially in the wet. Once I figured out where to brake into T13, I was able to run down a lot of cars by staying in the throttle longer and braking later, whereas I noticed some other cars were skipping and hopping over the same patch of track. The shock valving we're testing with felt great and took only minor knob adjustment to get the car sorted.

This set-up still has a bit of understeer mid-corner, so we'll play with the set-up a bit more, but we haven't even added aftermarket swaybars yet, which should help us make quicker adjustments at the track.

continued below

08-16-2013, 12:57 PM
continued from above

I was wishing I had a rear wing installed, and in the wet the tendency to lose rear traction was comical (we were using 5th on the straights a lot to avoid wheelspin). We've got a couple of OEM wings here already to test with (don't expect them to do much), and a big CF race wing on the way. The car could benefit from real race tires, like Hoosiers R6s, of course. Watching video we were losing the most ground to the faster TTA and TTU cars in the big corners, like the Carousel (T2).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/IMG2370/1175806141_qXMe5-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/IMG2371/1175807004_5YoVF-S.jpg

6. Tire wear was excellent - wearing the tread evenly from inside to out. This was with -3 camber up front, using our Vorshlag camber/caster plates. The roll control from the increased spring rate also helped in this area. Tire wear shows we're definitely in the right ball park.

7. Also, the rear axle fluid was spewing from the vent on top of the right rear axle tube and spraying everywhere... the underside rear of the car is douched with lube, and some even made it out to the right rear wheel, and made a mess of that. Need to find a solution for that. From the many comments on corner-carvers it looks like a remote catch can and hose is pretty much a requirement on Ford 8.8" solid axle cars that are tracked.

8. The stock exhaust is incredibly quiet for a car that makes over 400 hp. I was on the pit straight garage balcony watching one of Amy's sessions and all you could hear when she flew past was the car cutting through the air... wooooooooooooosh! There was zero intake noise when coming at you, and no exhaust sound when going past - this was at around 100 mph. Freaky quiet! You can actually hear more on the inside via the intake sound tube ported to the interior. The exhaust engineers at Ford earned their money on this car, but I'm certain there's more power to be found in the exhaust. I have the full length headers and high flow cats picked out, but the after-cat exhaust is still a stumper. Do I do the traditional dual 3" exhaust with the two 409SS FM Series 44 mufflers already acquired, or go for a lighter single 3" rear exhaust, like the one Buschur came up with (http://www.modularfords.com/forums/showthread.php/167310-Buschur-Racing-single-exhaust-prototype)? They are claiming a 65-75 pound reduction with their single exhaust.

9. I'm now even more impressed with the Getrag MT-82 transmission and stock shifter Ford came up with after running at at MSR-H, which took 9-10 up+downshifts per lap. The transmission never gave me grief with all of the gear rowing we did, never balking at the gate, and shift throws were short, quick and smooth. I am not looking to add an aftermarket shifter or knob to this car, for once. The transmission ratios are closely matched up, so we used 3rd, 4th and 5th gears a good bit on track, maximizing acceleration from the tractable Coyote engine. We could have used 2nd briefly in one spot (T5-T4-T3, "The Diamond's Edge"), but the added torque was too much for the rear tires when I tried to use that gear there. I wasn't trying to abuse the engine so I upshifted on most laps at only 6000 rpm, pushing the revs up to 6500 for shifts on laps where I had clear track. In the wet on Sunday, shift points were lowered to 5000-5500 rpm, otherwise the rear tires would just spin more.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/2011-Mustang-GT/DSC0212/893278070_NJNDD-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/2011-Mustang-GT/Recaro-Boss302/1178085542_4wojR-S.jpg
Left: Stock 2011 GT "400A" seats are flat as can be. Right: Boss 302 Leguna Seca has Recaros, which look a tiny bit better

10. The stock seats are worth jack squat for driver control at the track, even with the street tire grip levels we're at now. Sure, they look pretty and are comfy for street and highway driving, but after a day at a dry track we're done with them. Amy and I are bruised and sore from slamming against the center console and door panels, and hanging onto the steering wheel. With the softer Eibach spring rates (nearly stock) on track (as we ran it at Harris Hill) it was even worse, even with only wet levels of grip. So much more brake dive and roll with the softer spring rates. Maybe the Recaros in the 2012 Boss 302 Leguna Seca will be a bit better, but it puzzles me why Ford went with a tilt-back Recaro in the Boss 302LS - as it doesn't even have a back seat? Must have been rollover concerns, without a roll bar or cage. Nothing beats a fixed back race seat on track. We've got a pair of Cobra race seats from my E46 that will find a new home in the Mustang very soon, which should help the driver experience immensely. The loss of ~100 pounds from the OEM power seats won't be a surprise here, either. We'll put in a suitable harness and harness bar at the same time. Its hard to "feel the car" when you're flying around inside like a rag doll.

Well that's all ten. Just wanted to throw that list of observations on here as a separate post to the already cluttered event recap, posted previously. I will say this: definitely get the Brembo package on any 2011 or 2012 GT if you are going to ever track it. Ford did the brakes right. And plan on getting real monotube dampers (ASTs), more spring rate, and a lot more camber (Vorshlag plates) if you want your tires to last and the car to stay flatter in the corners - even with street tire levels of grip. This is story from this weekend worth repeating: we had an HPDE4 driver move up and join us in TT on Saturday. He had a quick E46 M3 with a nice set of Pilot Sport Cup tires, but his otherwise stock suspension (massive body roll) and a total lack of negative camber up front combined to shred his tires down to the cords - in a single day. Save yourself the hassle and cost of ruining a set of tires at the track by tackling the suspension first.


08-16-2013, 01:16 PM
Project Update for Feb 21, 2011: We've been busy working on several things on the Mustang, such as adding the CS front lower fascia, adding the rear trunk panel cover, doing our first drive-by sound test on the car, and taking it to the drag strip to get a base line 1/4 mile time. Let's start with the Mustang's base line sound test.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Exhaust-Sound-Testing/DSC7476/1194907977_t6Eqt-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Exhaust-Sound-Testing/DSC7477/1194908334_VtnJq-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Exhaust-Sound-Testing/12871330_8BLAa#1194917562_6g82G-A-LB)
Click the above pics for the sound test video (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Exhaust-Sound-Testing/12871330_8BLAa#1194917562_6g82G-A-LB)

The sound test was quite revealing. I've complained about how quiet the car is at the track, and this test proved it. We had a Vorshlag tester come by on Feb 12th to test his car for sound (Ken O's E46 M3 with new BW race exhaust, which knocked down a 101 dB test run (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Exhaust-Sound-Testing/12871330_8BLAa#1194907411_6PbWR-A-LB)), so we left the equipment set-up to test the Mustang. Amy drove and Paul M helped snap some pics. It only peaked at 82 dB! This was driving by at wide open throttle in 2nd gear with the sound meter only 25 feet from the car, "A" weighting, fast sampling. We'll "fix" this issue soon enough (full length headers + new exhaust).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Mustang-fascia-panel-install/DSC7647/1194715825_48WYZ-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Mustang-fascia-panel-install/DSC7646/1194714491_GqZRF-S.jpg

The CS lower front fascia became an option on all 2011 Mustang GT's mere weeks after we ordered ours, so we scooped up one of these bolt-on inserts to replace our plain jane lower piece and AJ here at Vorshlag installed it last week.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Mustang-fascia-panel-install/IMG2439/1194724237_wjTSu-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Mustang-fascia-panel-install/DSC7615/1194710757_E8sU5-S.jpg

The entire front bumper cover has to come off to install this, but its not difficult, just time consuming. Looks great and now we have two nice 3" OD cooling vents we can tie into hoses to blow cooling air at the rotors with, too.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Mustang-fascia-panel-install/DSC7625/1194720745_afZ9Y-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Mustang-fascia-panel-install/DSC7637/1194715441_yAGkr-S.jpg

The rear of the 2010-up Mustang has always seemed a bit boring to me, and it bugged me having a GIANT fake gas cap (FGC) out back. I saw this panel from CDC and it was only around $100. Looked good in their video and it removes the FGC. Showed it to Amy and she hated it. So I bought it anyway. She can't always get her way, you know?! AJ & Matt got the old bits off and AJ & I installed the panel. Getting the FGC off took the most work, as its held in place with some seriously strong adhesive. The new panel went on in 30 seconds, with its pre-installed 3M adhesive.

We have a pictorial installation gallery for both of these items located here. The CS fascia is an obvious hit with everyone who has seen it and given feedback so far, but the opinion on the CDC rear panel is about 50/50. I think it will look even better back there with a rear wing installed.

This post is already too long, so let me cover the drag racing event in the next update.


08-16-2013, 01:16 PM
Project Update for Feb 22, 2011: Drag racing action! Here's the pictures, videos and time slips from our trip to the drag strip last weekend.

Amy had wanted to go to the track for months, not only to see what the Mustang could do in stock trim down the 1/4 mile, but also to practice reaction times and 60 foot times for the upcoming ProSolo we are entering next month, right in our own back yard (this SCCA event is mirror image, dual course autocross, with a drag race start using a real ".500 tree"). At the Pro here she's working registration, I'm the Impound Chief, and Vorshlag is sponsoring the Saturday night dinner, so we can't really miss this event! We're both running the Mustang there, where she'll be in the Ladies class (L1 or L2?) and Costas and I are running it in STX. Since we will be running the Yokohamas at the ProSolo, we mounted them up the morning of the drag race and just drove out there on them. Its still just a street tire, so we do occasionally drive on the street with them. :)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/DSC7654/1194663811_5hK3f-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/DSC7661/1194665634_Hr6wa-S.jpg

We met for breakfast with McCall and Duck, then headed out to Kaufmann, TX to Dallas Raceway at around 10:45 am. First time some of us had been to this new facility and it was surprisingly nice, as McCall had told us. 100% concrete 1/4 mile drag strip, very new facility, and an all-concrete parking/paddock area! This got the autocrosser in all of us wishing they'd rent the facility to the SCCA and other solo groups... but at $5K per day to rent the parking lot, none of the auto-x groups can afford it. Oh well, at least we have brand new and beautiful drag strip about an hour away. We paid our entry ($15 to watch, $25 to race) and unloaded our helmets, cameras and junk.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/DSC7653/1194663446_hqZWZ-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/dean-v-fair/1195425797_6D7yu-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/15928641_XCRrp#1195425797_6D7yu-A-LB)

Deane was already there in his modded C5 Z06, and he even had some Nitto Drag Radials mounted, so we knew which car would be the quickest in our little group of autocrossers. He was car #1, so he got there right as they opened the gates, and already had some timeslips. We were there at 11:30 am and the place was still pretty much dead. After a quick trip to the restrooms we returned to see the Mustang surrounded by locals, all of whom had Mustangs themselves, and all of them wanting to run the flashy red Mustang with all of the decals. :D They told us about the other 2011 GTs that had been out to the drag strip already, and those had only ran high 13s or even 14 second ET's. Yikes...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/DSC7666/1194669416_y7MQV-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/mccall-vs-ctsv/1195392968_ZgBgn-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/15928641_XCRrp#1195392968_ZgBgn-A-LB)

We got McCall's TrailBlazer SS and our Mustang into the staging lane to be teched. That was the easiest tech ever - never even opened the hood. Didn't want to see our helmets and told us not to bother wearing them "unless we see you run real fast and then we'll tell you to". OK, works for me. He was quickly running on track against anything that would line up against him. The video above shows him against a supercharged CTS-V (LSA V8 motor, not "LM7" as I added in the title) that ran high 11's.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/amy-v-mccall/1195463862_GnJ6i-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/15928641_XCRrp#1195463862_GnJ6i-A-LB) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/DSC7655/1194664238_c3dpA-S.jpg

Amy, wearing a RedBull/Vettel/F1 shirt and confusing the locals, made several runs and got into the 13.6 range, many of them at 106-108 mph trap speeds. The trap speeds alone indicated that a 12 second ET was in the car, but she was focusing on the Reaction Times more than anything and not really launching the car perfectly. The 2.2 to 2.3 second sixties were a bit off the pace of what I'm used to getting on street tires at a drag strip, so we need to work on this in a test session at a later date where we can ride together. Like many skills needed when racing, you cannot teach yourself the skills - it always helps to be shown them first hand, and coached when you try it. Having done 1000+ drag strip runs on street tires I kind of had an advantage.

McCall continued to rip off a string of [email protected] runs in the TrailBlazer, which he would continue to do all day with extreme consistency. He had just taken this vehicle to GSS Speedshop to have Louis put a tune on the LS2, which came with Stainless Works full length headers, SW true dual exhaust, and a cold air. It made 367 whp and Louis fixed some lean-out and knocking issues in McCall's new-to-him SUV.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/fair-1292-run/1195437093_nsizp-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/15928641_XCRrp#1195437093_nsizp-A-LB) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/DSC7698/1194687613_qVLFz-S.jpg

After Amy took a gaggle of runs we let it cool down with the hood up (10-15 mph head wind made quick work of that, but likely held back our ultimate times and trap speeds). I hopped in an took 3 quick runs, back to back, with a 13.6 against Deane's Z06 and his [email protected] (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/15928641_XCRrp#1195425797_6D7yu-A-LB) (3rd gear balked a little on me), then another pass where I missed 3rd completely and backed out, then a final "by run" where I clicked off a [email protected] mph (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/15928641_XCRrp#1195437093_nsizp-A-LB). That run had a 2.0 sec 60 foot time and perfect shifts. I was pretty happy with that time, especially considering that we were still driving into a steady head wind, and turned the car back over to Amy.

Deane, Amy and McCall continued to take runs back to back for the next hour and a half, since there was almost no waiting in the staging lanes. Amy and Deane (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/15928641_XCRrp#1195478412_VoA2X-A-LB) lined up several times, but the Z06 always prevailed. Paul M arrived and then got in line to start getting his runs in. He was having trouble launching and kept hitting the rev limiter, but he got in some solid 13.6 runs @ 104 mph, but seemed to hit a wall and ent no faster. He was frustrated and really wanted to go quicker so I told him I knew what was holding him back - and held out my hand for the keys, mostly in jest. He threw them to me and I hopped in, took two quick runs, knocking down a [email protected]05 with a 2.0 sec 60' time. I told him the RPMs I was launching at and he got in and knocked off a [email protected], still bogging the motor a bit launching. After we left the track that day he realized that he never turned off the traction control, which is probably why my times in his car were quicker. He's ready to go back and redeem himself, soon.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/paul-at-dragstrip/1194688502_GPG2M-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/McCall-v-Paul-plus-interview/1195545425_HEP8x-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/15928641_XCRrp#1195545425_HEP8x-A-LB)

At the end of the day Paul (who had been talking smack all week with McCall) finally lined his bone stock '11 Mustang GT up against the TrailBlazer SS (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/15928641_XCRrp#1195545425_HEP8x-A-LB), and it was a definitive win... for the 4500 pound SUV! We even have an after race interview, complete with excuses. :D

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/DSC7682/1194676517_x6Qvk-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Dallas-Raceway-021911/DSC7669/1194669985_vovjt-S.jpg
Crazy trucks at the drag strip. What can I say, this is Texas after all.

By then it was 2 pm and the staging lane was 20 deep, and more racers were (waking up and) pouring into the track every minute. We all had what we felt were our best times already run, so we packed up and headed out to lunch. I was very happy with 12.9's on our Mustang, especially considering the coilovers with stiff springs, lowered ride height, and -3 of front camber - none of which make a car faster at a drag strip.

Good times - we have to get more autocrossers together and do this again later this year!

08-16-2013, 01:17 PM
Project update for March 28, 2011: Prepare for a huge update! This should have been posted in at least 4 or 5 separate thread updates, as I've raced in 8 separate events over the last 4 weekends since my last thread update; 7 times in the Mustang and 3 times in the E30 V8. Each event had hundreds of pictures and videos that had to be cropped/uploaded - the pictures are up for now. March was an extremely busy month for the business as well as for the prep of our cars, too, so I'll try to cram the updates all into one mega post for both projects, so I can get back to work (might have to break it apart if I exceed forum limits for a single post). I'll try not to get so far behind next month, which thankfully doesn't have 8 racing events crammed into 4 weekends, like March did.

March 6 - BMWCCA Autocross (E30)

After re-writing this event coverage I realized I had already covered this event in this post (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?p=56386#post56386) - damn my memory. Anyway, it was good to get the E30 running again after a winter of hibernation and neglect. The month of March began with frantic prep to our E30 V8, with another Camaro V6 T5 being offered up to the Gods of Torque, as well as loads of other prep to get it ready for its first autocross in 6 months as well as its first ever on-track excursion and a NASA Time Trial event.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/BMW-TMS-030611/DSC8069/1208039772_Z2Lgp-S-1.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/BMW-TMS-030611/DSC8141/1208103027_HhP7z-S-1.jpg

After this autocross on March 6th we spent the next week on prep work on the E30 and the Mustang, prepping the 5.0 for its first autocross event as well as a NASA TT event for both cars. After seeing how badly the car handled in a parking lot we quickly scaled up the track prep on the E30, and the prep on the Mustang was scaled back considerably. We went to the NASA event and SCCA autocross with minimal updates to the Mustang - the same 265mm AD08 street tires, same spring rates, same shock valving, and same brake pads. This set-up was still under-prepped for both TTB and STX classes.

The E30 got a real alignment (first ever) and we noted a lot of wacky numbers, most of which are not adjustable (rear toe or camber) yet. Still, we know where it is now, so we can cut/weld/hack up the rear control arm mounts to get it in the ballpark we want. And... of course we fixed the front toe. We also swapped in stiffer springs all around - 800# in front and 950# in rear (up from 500#/630#). Since we now have sticky 285mm A6 Hoosiers, a wimpy OEM front bar (12mm?) and no rear bar, we needed much more spring rate to keep bodyroll in check. Ride height was lowered substantially as well. The external water temp gauge was also finally wired-up, which was a relief.

March 11 - MSR Test Session (E30)

First track outing in the E30, so I was a bundle of nerves. It was SO bad at the autocross the weekend before but we had made a LOT of updates in the days proceeding. On Friday afternoon I went out to MSR-Cresson with the E30 in tow, joining Hanchey (AST-USA), who took his ex-World Challenge Subaru out there for the first time since he bought it and his crew went through the car stem to stern. Since we both had untested set-ups we watched each other's cars from the hot pit area on the initial outing in each. He went out for a few laps while I watched, came in for some checks, then I did the same, and once we were certain both cars had no errant fluids or loose bits, we took them both out for some chase/follow laps.

Hanchey led and I filed in close behind (with video - I'll edit/upload it "soon"), but after a couple of laps I got a point by - which I hadn't expected - and then motored away. Considering the E30 had 60mm more tire per corner, 100+ more horsepower, and 600 pounds less weight, it shouldn't have been a surprise... but this was still a $2000 hoopty (with some better wheels and shocks thrown on) in my eyes, so I was ecstatic. The brakes still sucked, but were at least better (and consistent) than before with new PFC-01 track pads front and rear. We had an hour (from 5 to 6 pm) that we could run laps in, and we used nearly every minute on track. The E30 proved to be quicker than I had hoped, for as cautious as I was driving its first time out - with no tachometer. Or fuel level gauge. Or cooling fan. Pretty much all of the OEM gauges/switches were dead. Hmm...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-C-031211/DSC8258/1223734193_mumEu-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-C-031211/DSC8286/1223778089_mt9hR-S.jpg

After the hour of track time expired I was smiling from ear to ear and had logged a good amount of miles on track in the car without any drama. Sure, the gauges didn't work (other than the external water temp gauge that we finally hooked up) so I had to guess at the RPMs, but it didn't seem to matter - it was fast. Hanging out in the well equipped AST-USA trailer was nice. DL-1 data from Hanchey's car showed 1:24 laps on the 1.7 mi CCW course, and the E30 was a bit quicker than that. After applying a gaggle of decals and waiting in the long tech line I managed to get a NASA logbook for the little Bimmer that night (with an admonishment to "please get a seat back brace" for the aluminum seat, which we've since ordered). Leaving tech it was pitch black out, so I turned on the headlights - AHA! - the stock gauges worked again. I had a functional tach & fuel level once more, so long as the lights were on. Something tells me the wiring for the recently connected external gauge hook-ups might need a second look? I loaded the E30 back into the trailer, unhooked the truck, and headed for Costas' house.

March 12 - NASA Time Trial (Mustang and E30)

We crashed there that night and Amy, Costas and I went back to the track Saturday morning for the first race day of the NASA weekend. Even after thrashing all week on his own GT-1 car, Costas ran out of time and ended up driving another racer's GT-1 Camaro in "SU", Super Unlimited. The car owner, Mike Countryman, ran it in "TTR". Amy ran the Mustang in TTB again, and I entered the E30 V8 in TTU. The event weekend was to be run on the traditional 1.7 mile MSR loop in CCW direction, but the Time Trial group was so numerous that they couldn't fit all of us on the track at once. Somehow the NASA Texas folks managed to get the TT group onto the 3.1 mile course, which was really cool since I had never run this configuration (but had run the 1.7 and 1.3 mile courses, which combine to make the 3.1).

Since NASA had never run the 3.1 there, that meant not many NASA racers had run this layout. So the first session on Saturday was simply to be a "practice", and lap times would count for nothing more than grid position in session 2. So I took it easy in the session, looking for the bumps (mentioned at the driver's meeting) where the two courses joined. Sure enough, it was pretty bumpy at both junctures. These bumps combined with copious grip form the 285mm Hoosier A6 tires and ample torque from our 5.3L V8 combined to do a number on yet another transmission. On almost the last lap of the first TT session I was building up speed and applying a lot of throttle on the semi-straight where the 1.7 joined the 1.3, heavily in 3rd gear...

The bump sent the car skittering every lap, and this time I unfortunately still had my foot in the throttle when it landed... BOOM! 3rd gear exploded from the on-off shock loading and hot, grippy Hoosiers. I didn't know what had happened, it sounded like the driveshaft or a U-joint had exploded (or so I hoped!). I pulled off line immediately and off track at the next corner station, at the bottom of the 1.3 mile course, and hopped out for a look. The grass blocked my view of the driveshaft but I noticed no fluid trail or errant parts on track. I was about to try to start it up again when the tow vehicle arrived, so I went back on the hook. As I piled out I noticed my transponder wasn't attached - damn! No lap times. My AMB transponder was charging inside my truck. I have no idea what times I ran, but I followed some TTA cars for several laps that were running somewhat quick times (2:28 times).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-C-031211/DSC8229/1223698319_FRQef-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-C-031211/DSC8237/1223711966_9aFrk-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-C-031211/DSC8221/1223685776_t7reG-S.jpg

Results: http://www.mylaps.com/results/showevent.jsp?id=632206 (of course they aren't up on the NASA website yet; check back in 2012)
Pictures: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-C-031211/

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-C-031211/DSC8318/1223788983_ajxTa-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-C-031211/DSC8264/1223736384_FpWXb-S.jpg

After returning to the pits I had to quickly jump into an HPDE1 student's car, so I didn't get a chance to look at the E30 for a while. Turns out it was only 3rd gear that let go, same as before, so it could have made it back to the pits in 4th. Oh well, it was done for the day. Meanwhile Amy was having fun in TTB in the Mustang, and ended up pulling down some times in the 2:40 range range. She ran 3 full TT sessions and tossed the keys to me at days' end, so I got to run in the 4th. Thanks, Amy!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-C-031211/DSC8290/1223779500_NvNun-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-C-031211/DSC8429/1223815466_fWNq3-S.jpg

continued below

08-16-2013, 01:18 PM
continued from above

I had a blast in the Mustang, as did my DE student who rode along, and I managed a 2:39 lap. I quickly noticed that the brakes were less than stellar in the session, which she had stated several times that day. I guess the stock pads were finally done. My DE student's EVO X could out-brake the Mustang handily (with similar Brembo brakes and weight... but race pads), so I decided then and there to order up some race pads on Monday. Costas finished the day with 2 wins in SU after making some patient passes and careful laps in the borrowed GT-1 car. VTPP tester Paul Magyar ran his 2011 GT in TTB for the first time on some 275mm Dunlops and did well. Hanchey ran just two sessions in TTB (spending the afternoon tuning some autocross cars at LSP) and pulled down 2:32 times, very respectable for just a 225mm tire and Legacy GT power. Vorshlag/AST tester Ken O finished with a win and new lap record in TTB in his E46 M3, running a blistering 2:24.9, and on Sunday jumped up to TTA for another win and the TTA track record for the weekend. Nice work!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-C-031211/DSC8624/1223977282_KjUnf-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-C-031211/DSC8282/1223777275_4xGhg-S.jpg

March 13 - Texas Region SCCA Autocross (Mustang)

The next day we had entered the Mustang in Texas Region SCCA's autocross #1 for the year, held out at Lone Star Park. Costas and I were to run it in STX and Amy in the PAX factored "W" class. The course was somewhat tight and the unsealed asphalt surface comes apart badly, making for low grip conditions, so we went out for our first autocross in the Mustang with little more than cautious optimism.

Results: http://autocross.com/tr/2011_1_final.html
Pictures: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-031311/

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-031311/DSC9040/1217516104_6HgWs-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-031311/DSC9011/1217494864_2HJWx-S.jpg

Costas and I noticed that the Mustang wouldn't stop from higher speeds in 2nd gear well at all, and we couldn't get it to rotate without coming in hard on the brakes. So we fought the car all day, cursing the worn-out stock brake pads and pushy front end. We finished 2nd and 3rd in STX, probably better than we deserved for such a completely unsorted car. In 5 runs Costas ran a best of 52.395 and I ran a 52.357, less than .040 sec apart, .5 sec behind Ledbetter in his well prepped STX 328is - Hanchey had spent the previous afternoon tweaking this car at this same site as well as Mark Berry's FP Evo. We PAXed 22nd and 23rd out of 109, which was not good. Brad Maxcy drove Ladbetter's car in STU class, running a 51.224 run earlier in the day on a slightly-less-gravel-covered course, showing us how far back we really were. Amy was almost a second back from us in W, placing 2nd as well.

We knew the car needed some serious test time, more grip, some major braking improvements, and a race seat + harness installed, as the stock seat was not keeping us in place. But we had no time for autocross testing, as the next 2 weekends had a National Tour and a ProSolo in store. Not typically the events what you enter a completely untested car in, but they were in our back yard so we had to go to help get the entry numbers up.

Since the E30 was down for a while (we're now looking for yet another T5) we spent the next week in a mad scramble of parts buying and prep on the Mustang. We ordered Hawk DTC-60 race pads for front and rear, 2nd day aired via FedEx to get them in time for my Wednesday night departure for Houston. We also ordered some Toyo R1R tires to arrive at a friend's shop in Houston on Friday, after seeing some back-to-back testing between Hankooks and Toyos at Sunday's autocross on Su and Stan's STR Miata.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC9779/1232391096_5d5hv-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC9146/1225993511_55nL2-S.jpg

I also borrowed a race seat from Paul M to take a look at the bracket he bought for his Mustang and EVO3 seat + Sparco slider, and I made one similar for our car + slider + Kevlar Suzuka seat. The seat bracket took me about 6 hours to make, using 3/16" thick x 1.5" wide steel plate. AJ and I put the lap belt part of a 6-point harness in, a stock seat belt buckle, the seat bracket + Sparco slider + Cobra Suzuka seat installed by 4 pm Wednesday. The slider allowed for 18+ inches of fore-aft travel, but without my co-drivers present that day (Costas and Amy) I had to guess where to put it (ended up being too far rearward). And yes, I know - going on track with a fixed back seat and no 28 point roll cage is a bad idea... instant death... spontaneous combustion... yes, I know. Save your typing. ;)

The front DTC-60s arrived but the rears missed their delivery (you suck, FedEx!) and we went to the track with the new track pads on the front only. Oh well, hoped it would be better. Cleaned it up and loaded into the trailer.

March 17 - TX2K11 (Mustang)

Amy and I left north Dallas at around 8 pm Wednesday night and made it to downtown Houston before midnight. Some serious traffic there on I-45 considering the hour, and we had no less than 6 vehicles pass us at 100+ mph near downtown, with two different trucks at different times drifting across 3 lanes and nearly taking the front of my truck off. Somehow we survived that parade of death race entrants and got to the middle of nowhere, 30 miles south of Houston, at 12:30. We arrived at nearby Grandsport Speedway Thursday morning at 7:30 AM and prepared to run the TX2K11 Time Attack event. This event was part of a 4 day festival of speed that started 10+ years ago mostly as a big Supra meet, and has grown to include a number of other imports, Vipers, Corvettes, Lotus Elises and other cars. People come from all over the country, even other countries, to enter TX2K events. Thursday was their track event (HPDE + Time Attack), Friday was the dyno day, and Sat-Sunday were the drag race portions of the event. We only entered the Time Attack, as we had the SCCA National Tour event to enter on Sat-Sunday, and a test-n-tune to run on Friday.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K11-Grandsport-031711/DSC9174/1225392951_tuEig-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K11-Grandsport-031711/DSC9288/1226736083_eRtYR-S.jpg

This TX2K event was on our calendar months in advance and I had planned to run the E30 and Amy the Mustang, with Costas running his GT-1 Camaro as well. Since the E30 was down, I switched entries to the Mustang and Amy and I both ran it in alternating sessions, and all 3 of us instructed as well. It was a very busy day! The track was 1.3 miles of twists and turns on super smooth asphalt, with gentle curbing and good places to pass on the front and back straights.

Pictures: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K11-Grandsport-031711/
Results: Who knows? this is the best I can find (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K11-Grandsport-031711/TX2K11RRResults/1232296762_5J76F-L.jpg)

The new DTC-60 brake pads up front REALLY helped - I could brake later/deeper than almost anything in my session (only one GT-R and the GT2 Porsche could stop with the Mustang). I fared well early on, and I took the 3rd fastest times in the morning A1 session, but ending up with only a slightly quicker 1:06.3 best lap time after my three 30 minute on-track sessions, which was 9th fastest at the end of the day (using a rented Westhold transponder). Amy also ran 3 sessions in the same car and knocked down a 1:07.3 lap time, 10th fastest overall (we had the same transponder so she isn't listed separately, but we tracked her laps after her session). Not too bad considering the 100% stock power and somewhat narrow street tires - against a gaggle of 500-900hp GT-Rs and Supras, Vipers, Corvettes, an Aerial Atom, and a 911 GT2. Costas drove in only 2 sessions and nabbed FTD and the win with a 58.9 second lap. The GT-1 car was brutally fast and was a handful to drive on the smallish road course - he only used 2nd and 3rd gears, and only part throttle.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K11-Grandsport-031711/DSC9275/1226730131_dbkuH-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K11-Grandsport-031711/DSC9418/1226786060_tgLiK-S.jpg

With a serious array of high-powered and exotic hardware on hand for this event, the 40 or so entrant's skill levels were all over the place. There were some very good drivers there, even some SCCA + NASA racers, but plenty of lots of noobs that needed in-car guidance, and even some of the proverbial "That's how I drive - flat out!" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7iUKaPlBl8) folks. My student was totally new - a complete first timer on track - but went from spinning twice on his first lap to confident and quicker by day's end, as did Amy's two students and Costas' as well. They needed more instructors than they had on hand, really. Being new is fine, but being a squirrel driving over your head is frustrating and dangerous. I saw some on-track issues that would have had many drivers booted from most HPDE events. Anyway, nobody was killed, so I guess that's good. ;) I'll get off my soap box and just keep this all in mind in mind before entering again.

continued below

08-16-2013, 01:19 PM
continued from above

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K11-Grandsport-031711/DSC9210/1226267016_PWL9G-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K11-Grandsport-031711/DSC9164/1225389110_tZTof-S.jpg

We eventually ended the day a session early due to "some exuberant driving by one individual" (it had to do with one of those "driving Flat Out" people), so they called the event to an end early at 3:30 PM and had a trophy presentation for Costas at our trailers - with 2 photographers, a videographer, and an on-camera interview. That was pretty cool. We then broke down Costas' massive covered paddock structure, loaded up both cars & trailers, and headed out by 5:30 pm... only to sit in Houston traffic for 3+ hours, just trying to make it 60 miles north to my friend's shop to retrieve the Toyos. After stopping for a quick bite hoping traffic would subside, we got there at 9:30 pm, but only 2 tires were delivered. Frantic calls to Matt here at Vorshlag and some investigations on his end showed that 4 tires had indeed delivered, but the genius FedEx driver dropped off 2 at some random address clear across Houston, and they were now closed. This is one more reason why Vorshlag NEVER SHIPS FEDEX.

So we ate a second dinner with our friend then blasted back across Houston with the trailer all the way to Baytown, arriving there around midnight, exhausted from a long day racing, standing in the sun, and Houston traffic.

March 18 - SCCA Test-N-Tune (Mustang)

Friday was the registration / set-up / test day for the National Tour weekend, which included a test session where you could buy laps for about $4 each. We had planned on doing DL-1 data logged runs on the Yokohama AD08s then running out and swapping the wheels to the Toyos, but the second 2 tires were still MIA by mid-day, as was our co-driver and his data logger. So we just made 5 runs each runs on the Yokohamas, testing tire pressures and shock settings, and getting a feel for the new brakes. It felt OK, and the brakes seemed to be a LOT better at this lower speed event. The practice lap times were close to the STX cars I could see, but who knows if they were making good runs on the times I saw? We had set up our vendor table, unpacked the car, and finished our laps by 3:30 pm, when we finally had word that FedEx had picked up and redelivered our missing two Toyo tires, so we dropped everything and raced 70 miles across town again to our friend's shop. We got there by 4:30, then drove to a Discount tire and paid an enormous amount of money to have 4 tires mounted and balanced (grumble... crooks!... grumble). Trying to stay ahead of Friday 5 pm traffic we somehow managed to get back all the way to Baytown by 6:30, and grabbed 5 gallons of 93 octane on the way. The car was on jack stands so we mounted the wheels with the fresh Toyos on them, put in the gasoline, and had the car ready to race by 6:45 pm. The past several hours of frantic driving at 85 mph in Houston traffic behind us.

The welcome party that Vorshlag had sponsored was going until 7 pm, and people were walking the course for tomorrow's event... we showed up in time but they had run out of food literally 5 minutes before we found the caterer. While we were looking all over the paddock for the food, the Saturday autocross course was also quickly taken down. Wait, what??? Well we found out that it was because there was a drag race event that night here at the HRP facility, like every Friday night, and they needed the parking lot for the racers starting to show up. Oh well, at least the concession stands were open and had hot burgers for sale. For cash only - and I had a whopping $2 on me. Amy had pocket change. WTF?! I had like $200 the day before, but somehow burned it all on transponder rentals and track food at Grandsport, and bags of ice and snacks along the way. Our luck was failing miserably today.

So we walked to the SCCA trailer and checked in for the National Tour event, drove the Mustang into town to scrub the new R1R tires in, and got some cash - and dinner. Went back out to HRP, found some friends and saw that several autocrossers were entering the Friday night drag racing...

Friday evening - Houston Raceway Park drag racing (Mustang)

For only another $20 cash we could run down the fastest dragstrip in the USA from now until midnight. Hell yes! I've run down this dragstrip hundreds of times in the past, and always seem to get my best times here (good surface + sea level track = fast). We still needed to scrub in these new 265/35/18 Toyo R1R tires anyway - with burnouts and launches! So I made two quick passes right off the highway drive in from town and cracked off two 12.96 second runs at 109+ mph, and on that 2nd pass I accidentally stayed on the rev limiter in 3rd gear for at least 2-3 tenths of a second. Oh damn, if I could clean up my shifts that would mean that a mid 12 second ET was in store?? I was also checking the on-board data logger I had just picked up - a new G-Tech Pro RR (http://www.gtechpro.com/rr_fanatic.html) - against the track's clocks. It was spot-on at 60', 1/4 mile ETs and trap speeds. It has g meters and a GPS sensor, graphic LCD display, SD memory, windshield mount, with a built in lap timer, segment timer, and predictive lap timer. Neat little $300 gizmo I'll talk about more in future posts.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Houston-Tour-031811/DSC9430/1224317813_pdyv7-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Houston-Tour-031811/DSC9487/1224384755_woAMW-S.jpg

Amy wanted to make some passes so she got in and made some 13.5 second runs while me and a dozen of the SCCA entrants for the weekend taunted our fellow autocrossers trying to make 1/4 mile passes. Amy handed the keys back to me and I made 2 more runs, and I left the hood up between them as the staging lane started to get backed up - the locals don't really show up until after 9-10 pm. I cracked off a 13.1 second run and on my last run I was paired up with a 4th gen LS1 Firebird with some work done. I had pushed it to the line hood up for 15 minutes, letting the engine cool all the while. This helped and I got to the line with a nice cool motor. We lined up and the Firebird tree'd me, and in my haste to catch up I spun a little in 1st gear (2.1 sixty), but managed to nail my shifts and ran him down and passed him, and the clocks showed a 110.2 mph trap speed - the best ever in the car. Pretty good for 100% bone stock drivetrain! Gotta take the little victories where I can.

March 19-20 - SCCA Houston National Tour (Mustang)

Saturday and Sunday was the National Tour event, and Amy ran in STXL while Costas and I ran in STX. We started the day with overcast skies and cooler temps, which the Toyos supposedly favor. STX had 7 entrants and I started "off the pace", and in my 3 runs never really strung a good one together. Times were erratic and I ev3en DNF'd; I was driving very poorly. The event was all erratically paced slaloms (and "wall-oms") with one big turn around at the end of the lot, none of which were the strong suit for this car. The brakes at least worked better, but we struggled in the slaloms and the car pushed heavily in the turn-around, costing us time. Acceleration was just an exercise in wheelspin. Strangely we all got a 4th run, which was timed but not scored (a "fun run"), and it was then that I pulled my head out and put a good run together (proper slalom timing), running a solid 1.2 seconds faster and finally closer to the faster cars in STX class. Costas had similar trouble on his first 3, and also a fast 4th. Amy ran later in the day, after the sun was out, and ran times a tick quicker than both of to us, and also much faster in her 4th (unscored) run. The tires felt grippier than the AD08s, but with no data collected on the AD08s Friday we couldn't tell by how much.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Houston-Tour-031811/DSC9527/1224419943_hFH9g-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Houston-Tour-031811/DSC9605/1224896050_N7ZYb-S.jpg

Sunday was more of the same (almost identical course, with 2 small changes), but at least we drove better. All 3 of my runs were within a tenth of a second and they all felt a lot smoother - I didn't get so behind on the many slaloms. Costas had prior event he had to help run and couldn't race on Day 2. Amy was about 1 second off my times this day. She was running lower tire pressures than I recommended and it didn't help at all - I was working on course and couldn't help her when she ran, either.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Houston-Tour-031811/DSC9692/1224954723_T5FQ8-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Houston-Tour-031811/DSC9693a/1224955410_XjWCE-S.jpg

continued below

08-16-2013, 01:20 PM
continued from above

We learned several things at this event: Don't ship FedEx. Houston traffic sucks no matter the time of day. The Mustang isn't putting power down well. Or turning all that well. Slaloms are a mess. I put the seat to far back for my co-drivers. This car needs much more development. Oh well, this event offered up 28 more autocross runs between us - more testing never hurts with a new car, even if its losing badly at an SCCA National Tour.

Results: http://www.scca.com/popup/raceresult.aspx?event=17098&file=1278
Pictures: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Houston-Tour-031811/

So we bombed 300 miles back to Dallas and somehow logged 1000 miles for the weekend - meaning we drove just inside the Houston city limits for a solid 400 miles. Did I mention I hate Houston traffic? Monday we unloaded and prepared for yet another short week and a 3 day weekend of racing, this time at the SCCA ProSolo in Mineral Wells, TX. Before this event we slapped on the rear DTC-60 brake pads that arrived and bled the system with Motul 600 fluid. We had been testing an all new, non-inverted single adjustable rear shocks were found over at AST-USA that we wanted to run, and they had been working great the past week. With some custom machined bushings out back they fit the S197 very well - adding more bump travel. AST now wanted us to try some new super-digressive pistons in the rear shocks that sounded like what we needed to control the excessive brake dive/rear axle rise. We also re-mounted the seat forward 2 inches and it fit Amy and Costas much better - no pillows needed! Since Mineral Wells just chews up race tires and street tires like a meat grinder, I had the still new Toyo R1Rs removed from the 18x9" wheels and mounted the Yokohama AD08s again. Cleaned up everything, reorganized the trailer completely, and loaded up for a Friday morning tow out to the event site 2 hours across Dallas and Ft. Worth (somehow this is still a local event for us).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC8191/1225993903_RgMYj-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC8210/1225994488_9kwpU-S.jpg

March 25-27 - Mineral Wells SCCA ProSolo (Mustang)

Amy and I got to MW around 10:30 Friday morning after picking up McCall, who was coming out to the site to help out the local SCCA region set-up for this National ProSolo event. We were soon joined by Costas and the 4 of us pitched in to work the gate, set-up the region trailer stuff, the Vorshlag vendor table, and try to lend a hand wherever needed. Amy and I had entered in the EVO school, which was just some classroom coaching on the event format (its been years since we ran a ProSolo), and then several test starts on the .500 drag race tree.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/IMG2638/1232430976_qtqE8-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-MW-ProSolo-032511/DSC0169/1232550902_NtXgs-S.jpg

A ProSolo is a unique event combining a pair of mirror imaged autocross courses and a drag race start, with your best times from each side added together for a total time in class, and we had 6 runs on each side over 2 days to get it right. Reaction times count and you can red light or cut a slow reaction time, which can hurt your run times or DSQ the run (red light). Drag race starts with a nice straight at the beginning of each run. Lots of power... runs 12s stock. Should be a good fit for the Mustang, right?

Pictures: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-MW-ProSolo-032511/
Results: http://www.scca.com/popup/raceresult.aspx?event=17167&file=1279

Well, when the straights are a good 1000+ feet long, sure, it helps... But on this course set-up this time the starting straights barely took up 1st gear in the Mustang before the first turn, and we lost out badly to the AWD cars (2.2 sec 60 foot times in the Mustang vs 1.8 sec in the AWD VW in our class) and barely matched the RX8s and BMWs in class. So any hope for advantage was just not there.

We quickly noted a new problem with the brakes on Saturday - ABS Ice Mode. When the brakes were pressed quickly the ABS system freaked out and you lost 50% or more of the braking power, and we all blew many turns on course because of this. We don't know what it was, but the only change since the previous weekend when the brakes worked SO well was a swap to DTC-60 race pads out back and the change back to AD08s, but we had run these tires before. The surface was different as well, but I have run at Mineral Wells dozens of times over the past decade, never seeing anything like this. WTF??

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-MW-ProSolo-032511/DSC0015/1232495969_ARxKx-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-MW-ProSolo-032511/DSC0108/1232526156_5NKdJ-S.jpg

We ended up switching from "drive into the corner on the brakes to load up the front tires, just so it will turn" method of driving this plowing pig, to more of a "momentum/Miata" driving style, trying to reduce the time under braking and maximize lateral grip and slalom speed. Driving into a corner on the brakes is a work-around for a pushy car, and Costas and I have used this on many Pony cars in the past, but it just wasn't possible when the brakes were not there. The momentum method sort of worked, and kept the car out of ABS and Ice Mode, but sure was frustrating as all hell. We were dead slow in the big sweeping corners and we knew it.

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08-16-2013, 01:21 PM
continued from above

After our 4 dismal runs per side Saturday were over, I put the car on jack stands and yanked off the rear wheels and brakes. The pads looked... weird. Discoloration and weird build-up of material in the grove in the pad, especially strange for a brand new set of pads. The rear pad swap was the one main variable that changed, so I wanted to change back to a more normal street pad out back, hoping it would get the ABS computer out of the Ice Mode tendencies under heavy braking. So I took the pads to a local O'Reily's parts store in town hoping to match up with a set of pads they had in stock. The 2011 was too new for their catalog but they had 2009 Mustang GT listings, and we found a match for pad shape. ThermoQuiet house brand Ceramic/metallic pads, which AJ has used on a dozen cars with no ill-effects, so I gave them a try. I wanted less braking power out back, not more.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/IMG2642/1232432260_2QniX-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/IMG2643/1232431930_UwWxs-S.jpg

I got back to the event site and realized I needed a caliper piston retractor tool and a caliper compression clamp, so back to town I went. By the time I had all of the right tools and the rear pads swapped it was getting dark, so I drove out to a nearby highway and tried to bed the pads in, after many stops. The stopping power was still very diminished, and easily getting into the "ABS freak out mode". WTF? I came back to the site and pulled the pads back off for a look - they weren't bedding in well. Then I took the G-Tech data logger and went out and did some 60-0 mph braking tests, with what looked like poor results (157 feet??). Then I took Paul M's STU-classed and Brembo equipped 2011 GT (stock pads/rotors on 275mm Dunlops), and it was stopping just as poorly. I did some 0-60 mph test in both cars as well, pulling a 4.5 sec time and .65g in 1st gear in my car and 5.3 second run and .58 g in his car. So they were closely matched, even with his car's 3.73 vs my car's 3.31 gearing. By then it was pitch black out, I ate some of the food at the party we sponsored and drank some beer, then we hit the hotel for some shut-eye. Tried to stay awake and watch F1, but my eyes wouldn't have it.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/IMG2645/1232432653_fBE28-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/IMG2641/1232392544_Ye3Zy-S.jpg

Since I was Impound Chief for the event, on Saturday I managed to get the Mustang on the scales... haven't weighed it in a while. Showed 3479 lbs with 1/8th tank of fuel in the car. Much better than before but still a solid 55% on the front tires.

Sunday's driving was more of the same frustration, even with the new rear pads - no heavy braking possible or it went into Ice Mode. On this day the ambient temps went from sunny and high-70s/low-80s from Friday and Saturday to overcast, mid 40s, with a BRUTAL wind all day. Most racers brought clothes and shorts for Spring weather but were under-dressed for this late winter cold front. A few racers still picked up some time in the last 2 runs per side, but Costas and I only got a tick faster each. Amy was slow in her class as well. At least she and Costas BOTH cut one perfect .500 reaction time each (I was cutting consistent crap lights). Costas and I were 2.6 and 2.9 seconds off the class winners for both sides, ending up in 5-6th out of 11 according to the results on site, but the posted results show a driver ahead of us that DQ'd himself for driving the course during set-up. No matter - the results still stunk, and we were slow.

We couldn't ever get a complete, good run in without hitting Ice Mode or fighting lots of mid-corner understeer. Tire pressures and shock changes were not enough to counter this massive push, and the wheelspin on corner exit was again ridiculous. Did we simply have too much power and weight for a 265mm street tire? Is all hope lost? Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC0402/1232514710_6Eiku-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC0407/1232516254_H7Fh9-S.jpg

I think not. We keep seeing bad tendencies in the data and the close-up pictures of the tires. I think we've been in the completely wrong ballpark on tire pressures, the rear spring rates need to drop, and the brakes need more attention. We've probably run into some pad compound cross-contamination issues with the rotors, so we've ordered a whole new set of rotors and another set of autocross pads (Hawk HP+). We'll cut the existing rotors and re-bed them with the DTC-60 track pads and swap between the matched sets of pads and rotors from autocross to track events - these pads have VERY different cold bite characteristics, as well as different coef of friction, dusting & noise parameters.

We're also awaiting our initial stocking order from Energy Suspension bushings, with some much needed polyurethane bushings for the Mustang being made to order. The OEM front LCA bushings are the softest I've ever felt on an OEM suspension, and as big around as your fist. Soft - like a Nerf football soft. That bushing is deflecting under load and losing lots of camber in corner, and the rear control arms and panhard bar are just as soft, causing who-knows-what out back. We've also noted a side-offset of the entire axle, also due to the panhard bar's fixed length and lowering of the back. We need to start developing a Watts Link for the car. We also still have the stock, non-adjustable swaybars, so we're getting a set of Eibach adjustable/tubular front swaybar set coming ASAP (the 2011 has been "in development" for far too long and I'm tired of waiting). AST is also working with us on this new rear shock and the front strut is getting a revalve as well - we'll get this thing to carve cones, by damn!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/IMG2627/1232393007_8nb5e-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC9814/1232844641_A9rpk-S.jpg

We've tested several more wheels in the past week, including an 18x10.5" Enkei with a 285/30/18 Hoosier mounted, which is more appropriate for NASA TT use. But the 285/30 is too short, so we're looking at the 275/35/18 and a Pirelli 305 race tire as well. Another set of 18x9" wheels is on order to help test the many 265mm tires needed for STX autocross use back-to-back; so many choices available, and we need to test most of them. And power never hurts on track, so the headers + custom exhaust bends are going to be ordered soon, and the Steeda cold air + SCT Tuner is already en route.

The E30 isn't forgotten, either. We've ordered a 2nd aluminum seat and two I/O port seat back braces for this thing, as well as another 6-point harness. We need to adjust the rear control arm mounts for adjustable toe and camber and get that sorted. The wiring issues are also being addressed now. And of course we need to find a transmission that can last more than 2 events (we've broken 2 transmissions in 3 events). We have some home-brew aero tricks up our sleeves as well, mostly for on-track improvement. And the ride heights and fender openings will again be lowered/trimmed further, until they are right. We also need to design and build a low-buck adjustable rear swaybar - from scrap metal and used parts (ugh).

Somewhere in this crazy month of March our lead tech AJ managed to replace the tie rods on the E36 M3, align it, pull the transmission, install the shifter/spring kits, a new clutch/pressure plate/TOB, reinstall the trans, fix the shifter, and tidy up a number of things in the process. The car drives like a DREAM now, and is ready for sale finally. More on that in its own thread soon.

Meanwhile I'm going to take a weekend off in April - this weekend - well, one day at least. Already burned out and the season has just begun. There's a Lemons race at ECR I'm driving in (hopefully not crashing in! I've been at the gym for 2 months trying to get ready) and a NASA track event plus 2 or 3 autocrosses, and a test day at the track scheduled. We're trying to set-up a mid-week autocross test day with the AST-USA folks as well. Lots to do.

More soon,

08-16-2013, 01:21 PM
Project update for March 30, 2011: The Quest For Wheels!

As you may have noticed in several of my thread updates, we've been fairly well stymied on our search for lightweight wheels on this car. Here's the parameters we've had:

1. They have to clear the stock front 14" Brembo brakes. This means some 18" wheels will fit, but definitely not all.

2. 17" wheels are out, as are 19" wheels. Seventeens won't clear the brakes, nineteen are too heavy and race tire selection/weight/cost sucks.

3. We need two distinctly different sets:
A) A set of 18x9" wheels for STX autocross use
o Something with an ET45 fits easily
o Even an ET38 will fit
o Lightness is important! We've already lost ELEVEN POUNDS PER CORNER but could lose even more
B) A set of 18x10 (or 18x10.5") for track use (when we move up to NASA TTA)
o We've found that there's really not one backspacing that fits properly front and rear (the GRAND AM teams use 18x10's with slightly different offsets front and rear)
o The 18x10.5" ET38 fits on the front with camber, but not the rear
o The 18x10 ET38 Enkei RPF-1 fit the rear "fairly well" but needed 7mm of spacer to clear the brakes

4. As much as I'd love to run 18x9.5" wheels - they are MANY more choices in this size - these aren't legal for STX and are too narrow for my needs on track.

5. Cost matters, too... Something under $400 a wheel would be ideal. Weight matters more than cost

6. Looks matter a very small mount. I don't want hot pink wheels or blingy chrome, but I'm pretty open on the rest. Form follows function.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5657/1097024447_BaBfa-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC9008/1216515367_KA9Lh-S.jpg

Right now we've got these 18x9" Enkei FP-01 wheels (see above) in ET45 and they are 19.3 lbs each. They clear the front brakes and front fenders and front struts by a mile - they have fairly curved spokes - and the are tucked inside the fenders a good bit (that's how we were able to fit the 10.5" wheels on the front) With similarly shaped spokes they could go outboard another 10mm and still fit inside the rear fenders.

We need another set of 18x9" wheels to better test the various 265mm "ST" legal tires. I was going to order another set of these and had a set on order, but I'm holding off for now. I want to try something new, and hopefully lighter. Please post more suggestions for 18x9 wheels in 114.3 bolt parttern that are under 19 lbs and under $400 each! Thanks.

As for the wider track wheels... well we've got one each of these:

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5659/1097024434_DmAtD-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC9738/1225987645_Je4MN-S.jpg

I love the weight on the 18x10" RPF-1, but it only fits the rear (front needs big spacer to clear the brakes). Love the width of the FP-01 in 10.5" but it only fits the front (sticks out on the rear, and its a bit on the hefty side). Hell, I might just use the 10.5" on front and the RPF-1 10" on the back, and get one more of each. Not pretty, mis-matched, and the rears are less than ideal (they really need an 8" backspacing) but it works... well, poorly. This option kind of sucks, but you can see the fit of this mis-matched set with 285/30/18s below.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC9791/1232818219_K6ELi-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC9798/1232828418_7xwvh-S.jpg
18x10.5" ET38 on front... 18x10" ET38 on back

We are eventually going to try to make an 18x10" wheel that fits this car correctly, and clears these brakes, and is even lighter - soon. But I need wheels to race on later this month (NASA @ TWS) and I'm tired of waiting.

The alternative is CCW Classics. $2380 for a set of race 18x10" versions, take at least 4 weeks to make, not exceptionally light (figure they'd be 22-23 lbs) but they look good and are at least serviceable. Again, anyone who thinks a 3-piece 18" wheel are light has never accurately weighed one. Lots of bad data out there. LOTS. Accurate scales don't lie. There are many 1-piece cast wheels that are significantly lighter than the same sized 3-piece. The modularity and customization of a 3-piece wheel is the benefit, not the weight. Yea, your brother had a set of 3-piece wheels that were super light. SHOW THEM ON A DIGITAL SCALE. I only believe wheel weights I can take myself, period.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag-Test-Pilots/Vorshlag-E36-M3-STU-prepped/m3amynats06/303245759_yGytC-S-1.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/E30-V8/DSC7831-2/1207822190_TeVDe-S.jpg

Hanchey's 17x9.5" CCWs from the E36 (above left) were a staggering 20.4 lbs each and the 18x11" CCWs on the E30 (above right) are much heavier.

Sure, with custom built 3-piece wheels I could then get two different offsets (front and rear), but these Classic centers aren't known for clearing big calipers without adding spacers. So they still might need maybe... 7.5" to 8" backspacing + a big spacer on the front to clear the calipers. That backspacing would fit under the rear fenders better and then with a ~1/2" spacer up front to clear the calipers. Might be the easiest solution for now, but neither affordable, quick to build, nor lightweight. Pretty bad option, really. Already have long wheel studs up front for this very purpose, though.

Alternatives? A 1-piece 18x10" wheel with an ET50 or so and under 19 lbs would be ideal!

08-16-2013, 01:23 PM
Project Update for April 1, 2011: No April Fools silliness in here, just some thread questions, my answers & the logic behind them.

First off, I don't mean to be argumentative or sound like a know-it-all, because I surely do not. Let me try to explain why I keep saying a wheel that "fits" or "doesn't fit". I strongly believe using as much tire width as you can possibly fit, and sometimes even more (flares), when the class allows it. And to use the proper wheel width for a given tire, if not more. So I go to great lengths to maximize wheel and tire width on my cars.

I have been test fitting, measuring and weighing race wheels for 20+ years, and have amassed a lot of data, so I just cannot believe almost anything I read on the interwebs about wheel and tire data. As we all here know, most of the "facts" posted on most forums are just regurgitated crap someone else read somewhere. You see it enough times and it becomes fact, even when its bunk. Even data published on websites (especially wheel weights) or from wheel retailers is often incorrect. Its shocking to me how few of the population knows how to weigh a freagin wheel accurately. I've sent more than a couple of sets of wheels back for a refund when their published/promised weights were off by 3 or more pounds (I warned them up front and they agreed to that stipulation each time). I'm not prejudicial about my skepticism - I simply don't believe anybody. :) I have to see it with my own eyes. I might as well be from Missouri... since you have to show me.

So if someone says "this wheel fits" or "this wheel weighs about X", I need to see a picture. Or a dozen. And then measure the wheel for myself to verify width, backspace and weight. Huge skeptic. Then I'll still want to see the car raced (load the suspension up and see if the tire touches) and look at the wheelwells for tire residue or watch for smoke. I've posted about certain tires not fitting a given car and than seen the inevitable "I race on that giant tire and it fits!" posts. Then later see them at an autocross or the track and watch as plumes of tire smoke pour out of their car. Or watch as they crawl around at half speed, so they never load up the suspension or tires. So my definition of "what fits" is probably different from someone else's.

And different racing conditions have different tire clearance requirements. A typical autocross car sees only spikes of G-loading (slaloms and small turns) but on a road course everything happens SOOO SLOOOOWLY... with loooong turns... so you tend to load the suspension up laterally for much longer periods of time, and see higher g loading. If you touch the curbs at all that can load the suspension even further. If a tire rubs a bit on an autocross car, what's the worst that can happen? You're never on course for more than 60 seconds, and you can check for the the tire rubbing and residue after each run when in doubt. On track you are out there for 20+ minutes, and a lot can happen in that time if you have a tire touching a fender...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-E46-330Ci-DSP-Build/DSC8877/811236455_djRGJ-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/BMW-E46-fender-rolling/DSC8800/813371560_ePwAh-S.jpg

When we stuffed 18x10" wheels and 265/35/18s on my E46 330 (above) it worked fine on the street and even autocross, but when I ran it at the track in TTD the rears would rub the outboard upper section of the fenders BADLY. It took hours of massaging the rear fenders - and proper tire testing with the shock on the bumpstops without a spring installed - to clearance it fully for track use.

So, let's see some pics...

How much better do you want them to fit? JBS Motorsports Boss 302R with the BBS wheel, no spacers on the rear. Photo stolen from Rehagen website, I assume taken by Wes Duenkel

Hmm... OK, from that angle that wheel looks like it fits... its a little close in the rear, but it would probably work. So are you telling me the GA cars use the cast BBS wheel? I've heard (there I go using second hand info!) that there's another 18x10" mesh wheel that BBS makes (at double the cost) for the GA teams that has a different offset for the rear. Of course if you're going to GRAND AM races and working at Rehagen then you'd know this to be true or false better than me, so I will defer to you. What's the skinny - is there indeed a street version of this 18x10" BBS wheel, and a different GA wheel?

And as for the 7.0" backspacing claim I made, I trusted the interwebs and look - its burned me again. The early data I found on Rehagen's website about the cast 18x10" BBS showed that it had a 7" backspacing and weighed 20-21 lbs. I literally cut and pasted that data from the website right into the caption on this picture (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/2011-Mustang-GT/12468679_TVPQb#1086038451_8Rwnj), last year. And of course there's the $637 cost.

Since then I've tested an 18x10 with 7" backspace on the rear and it stuck out on my car a bit more than I liked. But if its now showing to be a 7.2" B.S. wheel, that would indeed fit better out back (barely), and that is also the most backspacing you can get away with on the front before losing clearance to the strut. So if its now showing as a 7.2" backspacing then that's probably pretty darn good. But did someone say you still have to use a spacer up front to clear the caliper?? That seems like an odd requirement for a $637 wheel...

But If I was going to spend over $600 on a 18x10" wheel it damn sure wouldn't be a heavy-ish cast wheel. CCW monoblocks are only $700 each (ha! only), and can be custom made to your specs. Very strong, might even be light (depending on who you believe - I believe calibrated, digital scales, but have yet to see these wheels pictured atop one). And if I was going to to make a custom set of wheels for this car for track use, I'd make them 10.5" front and rear, and maybe even 11" on the back. If I wasn't running NASA TTA with its imbalanced points penalties for tire width, I'd put as much tire under this fat-assed Mustang as we could fit. Probably 295 fronts and 315 rears. But tire width is heavily penalized in NASA Time Trial... anything more than a 285mm and I'm looking at a class bump up to TTS, so that's not going to work. Since I can only afford the class points for a 285 (grumble) then a 10" wheel is sufficient, therefore its easier to make a single wheel fit front and rear. And therefore not really beneficial to make a custom set of wheels. And hence why I'm spinning around in circles trying to find an 18x10" or 10.5" 1-piece wheel that's off-the-shelf and under $400 each.

And I think my comments were misconstrued (and poorly written) about lightweight wheels - the autocross set I need (18x9) can afford to be very light, as running over cones in a parking lot doesn't take the same strength of wheel as track abuse. But even on track this car isn't raced W2W (only TT + HPDE), so it doesn't see the "fighting for the lead" type of abuse the Continental GA cars would normally, so it can probably afford to be a bit lighter than what the GRAND AM teams use. :)

continued below

08-16-2013, 01:23 PM
continued from above

Its the way to go really.....

18X10.5 in the front: *sorry, best I could find*

18X10.5 in the rear: *there is over 1" or so clearance on the inside*

The fronts fits about perfect, and without fender mods, I don't think you will get more. These are 30mm Offset....
Kent - sorry, but those 18x10.5" ET30 Enkei NT01+M's don't fit on either end with anything close to perfection, at least to my standards. The poor lighting and odd angle on those pictures you posted (especially from the back) don't really show the situation clearly. Costas and I looked at your car and those very wheels & tires in person at the National Tour event 2 weeks ago and both the front and rear tires stick out past the fenders. A lot out back. Sure, "it works" for autocrossing and is common for the category, I'll grant you, but its not what I'm looking for. Madderash's F-Body wheels stick out as well.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC9785/1232808364_TMw7b-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC9794/1232822206_awfGY-S.jpg
Left: 18x10.5" ET38 (7.2" backspacing) fits up front - BARELY. Right: Same wheel on back sticks out a ton

As you can see above, we've fit an 18x10.5" ET38 (another 8mm inboard than Kent's) on our car with little 285s and they just barely cleared in front but stuck way out in the rear. These have a measured 7.2" of backspacing and have about 3mm of room inboard to the AST strut. Not any room to be gained up front, so nothing wider would "fit" in my book, without flared fenders.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC9748/1232852218_w4Pr4-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC9793/1232821497_M9sAF-S.jpg

The rear on this 18x10.5" ET38 wasn't even close to fitting - it stuck out more than 1/2" - and this is why I'm still somewhat curious how an 18x10 with the same 7.2" backspacing would fit really well. The rears need to go inboard another inch, if not 1.5". As you can see in the picture above, right, there's a good "three fingers" of clearance inboard to the unibody with these 10.5" (7.2" B.S.) wheels on back. Using something like an ET60 would be a good place to start (8.1" of backspacing). But then you'd need a good sized spacer up front (nearly an inch thick) to have a set of wheels that rotate easily (and yes, ideally I'd want that - as would most track guys). That's a lot of spacer, so realistically a rotatable set of 18x10.5" wheels isn't possible... but an 18x10" set is.

For a properly fitting 18x10" set, in my eyes, I'd want to have the front end up at 7.2" backspacing, but I'd be happier with 7.5" B.S. on the rear, or a 10.5" with 8.0". So I might (if I have to go custom) build an 18x10" to 7.5" B.S. and use a ~1/4" spacer up front. That's if I have to resort to a custom set (CCW). Don't know yet... still looking at some Porsche rear wheels...

Good news on the 18x9" wheel search, thanks to BRODA's suggestion about the WedSport. Found one of our dealers that had a set in stock and they made us a significant;y better deal than $620 each, so a set is incoming. This will be for autocross use (only) for the 265/35/18 Toyo R1Rs. They claim to be 16.9 lbs but I'll snap a shot on the scale and post it up when they arrive, next week. For reference here's a Speedline C5 Z06 17x9.5" wheel that Costas brought by and we weighed today. Not bad for an OEM wheel, but Speedline is very weight conscious.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/Part-Weights/DSC0454/1236104514_jSYMj-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC0462/1236102424_szp32-S.jpg

Also as you can see above, we have the Mustang torn apart awaiting more parts. New rotors and Hawk HP+ pads are going on and the front struts are being revalved at AST-USA today. Trying some new spring rates and I'll report back how they work in a little over a week (two autocrosses that weekend). Also, we weighed the stock front and rear rotors, which can be seen below.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/Part-Weights/DSC0452/1236103802_QmQww-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/Part-Weights/DSC0449/1236105088_rxnkX-S.jpg

Wow. The front rotor weighs more than the wheel. That's... just, wow. And no, we're not paying $800 for the 2-piece Girodisc rotors that are on the market, but we will be doing something about that. I bet there's 10 pounds in the front rotors alone that could be lose. The hat section of the stock front rotor is THICK steel.

You know CCW does a lot of monoblock wheels for Corvettes, Vipers, 911s, etc., right? Maybe they've got something that would work for the Mustang. They list their C10 as 24.3 lbs for an 18x13 on their website.

Yea, the CCWs are definitely on my short list for the 18x10" wheel set that we need for track use.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/CCW-Classics/1236376453_AcST6-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/CCW-monoblock/1236376491_VikCG-S.jpg

I've had many sets of the 3-piece CCW Classics ($575) but the 1-piece monoblock CCWs look intriguing as well ($700 each). If I keep striking out on a 1-piece wheel that fits correctly (and hopefully at a lower cost), then I'll call CCW back once again.

More next time...

08-16-2013, 01:24 PM
Project Update for April 11, 2011: We had a lot going on the past 2 weeks (prep on 4 of our cars and very busy Vorshlag business) but we still managed to make several changes to the Mustang and then autocross it this past Sunday. Let's take a look at the latest round of mods in this post and talk about the autocross in a post to follow.

First up was the Steeda Cold Air kit that finally arrived, along with the SCT Tuner. This combo-package from Steeda was chock Full Of WIN.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC0626/1241307077_yytWL-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC0613/1244766455_B9QFH-S.jpg

The stock 2011 GT's air inlet box is pretty typical - lots of restrictive accordion style tubing, a closed-element air box, a flat paper element air filter, and weird sound muffling chambers in the inlet tube. There was also the separate "sound tube" silliness that piped sound from the inlet track into the passenger compartment. The stock car is so quiet (81 dB wide open, as tested at an SCCA event!) that this helps you hear the choked up engine sound. The Steeda cold air kit consisted of an all new aluminum MAF housing, a new air inlet tube/elbow all the way to the throttle body, a heat shield that tied into the lower air inlet scoop, a larger lower air scoop piece, and the conical/open element high flow air filter. The kit came with instructions and everything we needed to install it.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC0614/1244767018_hYmBK-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC0615/1244767820_9KEm7-S.jpg

I was impressed with the craftsmanship. I've made most of the "cold air" kits on my own personal race cars in the past 20 years, but this car looked a little more complicated with the integral MAF housing in the OEM plastic tube. And with a new higher flowing MAF comes the need for a tune - this has been the standard for Mustangs since the earliest MAF equipped Mustangs 5.0L Mustangs I raced in back in college (MY1986-up). This Steeda kit was not an inexpensive kit, and I am leery of high priced parts that are heavy on the bling and lacking in performance, but this was money well spent. The inlet bell for the MAF housing was a beautifully machined and welded part, and much nicer than I had expected to see (or than I would have made!), with a smoothly tapered inlet bell that has to help air flow. The aluminum heat shield was also very well made and fit perfectly to the new MAF housing, lower inlet scoop, and to the chassis.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC0631/1241304362_aMqmc-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC0630/1241315295_VFwCm-S.jpg

AJ had the stock parts out and the new bits back together fairly quickly, but Matt and I snapped some pics of the parts and the install while it was going together. He cleaned up the stock inner fender section under the OEM airbox while it was out (I like my engine bays uber-clean), and it all fit together perfectly. Since its STX-class legal and holds in a little engine heat we removed the plastic OEM "5.0" engine cover piece as well - then cleaned up the hoses and looms underneath. Looks good under there and has less clutter. We did not re-install the OEM inlet air "sound tube"; I consider that part of the OEM cold air system, so its STX-class legal to modify/remove it, in my eyes. That stupid tube weighed less than 1 pound and is more of a marketing gimmick than performance anything. Plugged the hole in the Steeda inlet tube with a a big rubber plug and hose clamp. Again - less clutter under the hood.

Will it be too quiet now without the sound tube artificially pumping engine sound into the cabin? Not hardly! This car SOUNDS GOOD now, and external sound testing shows about a 9dB increase in sound at the SCCA Pro Solo (between my Mustang with OEM airbox and Paul M's identical Mustang with this Steeda cold air) 2 weeks back. See the in-car autocross video below for sounds. We'll plug the 30mm hole in the firewall with some grommet plugs, that Paul found and ordered online, when they arrive.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC0654/1241305439_sCpuF-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC0705/1244763274_BpjZv-S.jpg

The SCT Tuner was loaded with a custom Tune Steeda developed for Paul's car as well, which has a more linear throttle response for the drive-by-wire throttle body. Paul was the guinea pig on this mod - he bought this same package and had Steeda tweak the tune a couple of times and we just had them load the same tune for our SCT programmer, as I had driven his car with the same cold air and SCT tune and REALLY liked the improvement. Uploading the tune via the OBD-II port was easy, if not a bit time consuming the first time around (its not nearly as quick as say... a COBB AccessPORT upload, but it has a few more customer-tweakable settings, too). The adjustable speedometer feature (for gearing and/or tire height changes) is a nice feature on this programmer, as is the adjustable rev limit. The OEM limiter is around 6800 rpm and I raised it to 7400 for autocross use (quick bursts up to that limit to avoid a 2-3 shift on some courses), which is plenty safe (the new Boss302 has a 7500 limit). Lots of '11 "Coyote 5.0" Mustang racers are revving stock motors higher than that, but I won't push it further. This ain't no M54.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC0645/1241320098_xAMVX-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC0647/1241318677_XNqyr-S.jpg

We then put on a heavier part up front - an Eibach 2005-2010 Mustang GT adjustable, hollow swaybar. They supposedly have had a 2011 GT swaybar kit (with 1mm larger front and an adjustable rear bar) coming out since SEMA 2010, but all we have heard after 6 months of trying to buy one is delays and excuses, and I was tired of waiting, so we ordered the adjustable front '05-'10 bar (but not the matching rear, as it wasn't adjustable; we might make our own rear bar at some point to work with some other mods we have planned). Now this front bar is still 35mm OD, which is the exactly the same as the stock 2011 GT front bar, but as you can see the Eibach tubular unit is 3.4 pounds heavier than the stock non-adjustable front unit, so it has to have thicker wall tubing, which means it should be stiffer at the stiffest settings. And it feels as stiff or stiffer than stock in the "middle" setting we started at - but we need to test this properly and post the numbers up. We'll test the settings on the bar on course at a test-n-tune event later this month. I made sure our tech got the bar installed with no bind in the chassis mounts, which I checked to have "pinky finger effort" to rotate with the end links off. Perfect.... well, almost.

continued below

08-16-2013, 01:25 PM
continued from above

We also switched the 2.5" ID x 200 #/in Hyperco rear springs to a longer 2.25" ID x 175#/in rate Hyperco, and I machined the AST rear ride height adjusters (made for 60mm and adaptable up to 2.5") down to fit the 2.25" ID springs. Problem was there's not a lot of lengths or rates available in 60mm ID or 2.5" ID, but TONS of choices in 2.25". We do this on all sorts of cars when the choices move us to the smaller ID spring. The 2.25" spring is lighter, but costs more than 2.5" or 60mm, and we usually stock and sell 60mm Hyperco springs if possible (most AST struts are made to fit 60mm springs). We have played with no less than 5 different rear springs in the past few months and we finally got a winner in a softer rate with the 2.25" ID that works with the new rear shocks, rate and lower ride height. A lot of trial fitting went into this. Long story short - we now have 3 different rear spring length/rate packages that should please a wide range of the autocrossers and track guys, and we're trying more front rates as well.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC0666/1242583719_rhewF-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC0677/1244732710_Uy6Dm-S.jpg

The new lightweight WedsSport TC105N 18x9" ET50 wheels (http://www.vividracing.com/catalog/weds-sport-tc105n-wheels-18x90-5x1143-p-63324.html) arrived from Vivid Racing this past week. I immediately weighed one wheel, and at 17.4 lbs on our scale it came in only 1/2 pound more than the claimed 16.9 lbs, which is better than normal for claimed weights, from our experience. With their high prices its easy to understand the confusion, but upon inspection I noted that the WedsSports were simply a one-piece "flow formed" wheel (like D-Force, SSR, some BBS and others) and not a "forged wheel" as some folks like to think. I mounted the 265/35/18 Toyo R1Rs to this set for the coming autocross weekend and weighed them together; the wheel and tire package came in at a scant 43.1 lb per corner.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC0674/1242589181_Hoab5-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC0675/1242589807_GyRzp-S.jpg

Putting these pricey WedsSports on for the first time was a pucker moment - the spokes only cleared the Brembo front caliper by about .040". It was a close one but it works, and we've run with wheels this tight to this caliper in the past. It definitely fits inside the stock fenders with inches to spare - this is definitely NOT HellaFlush. :D For an autocross car I prefer a narrower track width, as this makes the car easier to navigate (and faster though) a tight slalom and allows the rear differential to work more efficiently. For road course use I'll let the track width push wide as you please, well, hopefully without disrupting aero (which will if the wheels push out past flush).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC0701/1244764501_GepNd-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC0704/1244763964_nrmjs-S.jpg

The wheels are fairly simple but very well made looking, and look damn good on the car, and so does the now lower rear ride heights. We tried these heights on 150#/in rear springs (and even 1/2" higher) and it bottomed the shocks (and nearly touched axle to frame) too often on the street, so we're scratching that one off the list of rates we recommend. The 175#/in rates worked well for daily driving and autocross both, and we're VERY happy with the performance improvements. You'll see this in the autocross pictures in my next post - its finally squatting well under acceleration (from the new ride height + new spring rate + new shock length + new piston and valving).

This WedsSport+Toyo package is now 13.8 pounds lighter per corner than the 56.7 lb OEM 19x9" wheels and tires (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/16391742_rusLW#1232851395_ZsHqC), and remember: this is both rotational and unsprung mass. That's... just HUGE. We could possibly get the front rotors 10 lighter, too. We'll get the lead out of this Pony Car, by damn! The 18x9" Enkei FP-01s are still mounted with the 265/40/18 Yokohama AD08s (and weigh in at 48.2 lbs (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/16391742_rusLW#1156699450_DfFCv), or 5.1 pounds heavier than the Toyo/WedsSport combo) which we'll test back to back with the Toyos at an upcoming test day, and we'll share what we learn here.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC0467/1239636285_xUDWK-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC0465/1239633499_6Djo4-S.jpg

We also had AST-USA put in some more compression in the base valving in the front struts, which was very noticeable and more matched the new rear shock valving added earlier. We weighed the AST + Vorshlag + Hyperco bits from the front suspension while it was off, and AJ cleaned up the rear of the chassis which had been covered in rear axle lube (new aluminum catch can and bracket parts are here and will be installed soon).

Costas asked what changes were in store for this coming autocross on Sunday, which he was scheduled to co-drive the Mustang in. I rattled off that we had new rear spring rate (450F/175R) and lower ride heights (14.5" F&R), new front strut valving, new adjustable and stiffer front swaybar. New cold air and SCT tune, with probably +35 whp if not more, a new rev limit 600 rpm higher, lighter 18x9" WedsSport wheels with a slightly narrower track width, and went from the taller Yokohamas at the last event to shorter and stickier Toyos. We also had planned on running 10 psi more tire pressure front and rear. "So... not so many changes?" :D

Race write-up is next...

08-16-2013, 01:25 PM
Project Update for April 12, 2011: This is the autocross recap from Sunday April 10ths SCCA event at Lone Star Park.

The LSP site with an asphalt parking lot surface and lots of weird hills and valleys, and the surface comes apart badly if you even look at it funny. Not my favorite place to race but that's where the competition was this week. The Texas Region event workers work diligently to clean the racing line before the runs begin but it doesn't matter much - it starts dirty and ends VERY dirty, with bad marbles evident offline after just a handful of runs.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/DSC0742/1248076704_XQL5w-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/DSC0764/1248086953_DopGn-S.jpg

Still we had lots of parts and set-up changes to test, and this event would have good STX class competition in the form of Chris Ledbetter and his co-driver Brian in the white E36 328is below (VTPP Tester, AST 4200s, car has placed at Nationals) as well as the debut of Brad Maxcy's black E36 328is (AST 5220s, also very fast driver), among others. Costas and I were to drive in STX and Amy in the PAX-factored "W" women's class. We had been placing pretty far behind both Brad and Chris (both driving in Chris' STX Bimmer) so far at the 3 autocross events we've done in the Mustang, and Amy had yet to place well in "W" in the car either. With all of the changes to the Mustang from the last 2 weeks we wanted to see where we now stood.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/DSC0815/1248154171_czB8f-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/DSC0829/1248158642_rcdWz-S.jpg

STX ran in the first heat so we lined up first in the 2 driver lane. Costas was one of the first cars on course, but with cold tires we knew that run wouldn't be his best. Even still, he was hopeful and our times were on par with the class. But he mentioned a loud BANGING that was evident in transitions. Hmm, that was worrisome. I made a run and noticed the same banging up front. Spooky loud. I pulled back around and we ran to the trailer for tools. Asked for a "mechanical" and we pulled the front wheels off. Costas noted a loose wheel bearing nut - very loose. The wheel would rock in-out by 1/4". WTH? That hub hasn't been off in many months (when we installed the long wheel studs).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/DSC0760/1248086285_LD6Lb-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/DSC0765/1248087299_BCB9m-S-1.jpg

http://autocross.com/tr/2011_2_final.htm - Final Results
http://autocross.com/tr/2011_2_pax.htm - PAX results

We managed to get the 36mm wheel bearing nut sort of tighter (with all the wrong tools) and figured "that had to be the noise". Costas made his run #2, then so did I. Noise still there and VERY loud. We asked for a 2nd mechanical, pulled the front wheels back off, and checked more things hurriedly. Nothing evident. Costas took half of a 3rd run and aborted it from the sounds and a touch of ABS ice mode into one turn (only happened once all day and only in the worst of the gravel). I took a tentative 3rd and felt just as uneasy. We decided it was wise if skipped our 4th runs and avoided any potential damage. Drove the car back to the trailer and began a thorough tear down, hopefully getting the car repaired before the 3rd heat when Amy was to make her runs.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/DSC0767/1248087709_hLB6T-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/DSC0783/1248097228_EfBGK-S.jpg

Impressions: My driving had lots of mistakes I can see on the videos, but I felt like the car was handling better than ever before. The brakes finally WORKED again, even on this gravel covered lot. The Toyo R1R tires seemed to like the new, higher tire pressures we were running (42F, 38R) and we ran the shock adjustments much higher per Brian at AST-USA's suggestion. That made the various transitions feel faster (but WOW the noise it was making) and front brake dive (and rear rise) was also down dramatically. The rear of the car was squatting well under acceleration (softer rear springs) and it was putting power down much better, but driving the car still involved varying degrees of wheel spin. Fun, and to be expected of ~400 whp on 265mm street tires. The new Steeda cold air made the engine sounds much nicer and finally audible to the driver, and the higher redline (7400) from the SCT Tuner was a welcome addition - all 3 drivers touched the higher rev limit just a tick on course, so we would have been shifting to 3rd with the original 6800 rpm limit.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/DSC0784/1248141251_RdALx-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/DSC0785/1248141517_VU9Fj-S.jpg

Costas and I both noted some understeer at the two 180 turn-arounds, but Amy said it was a LOT better for her, so maybe the swaybar repairs we did fixed that. She said the car pivoted beautifully, which was not what we felt, as we were both resorting to "driving into corners on the brakes" to get it to understeer less at low speeds. At higher speeds the car was very neutral for us, though. All 3 drivers sprayed the tires with water after every run except the very first - we saw ambient temps of 88F in the afternoon. That seemed to work fine, which was surprising given the weight of the car and the heat.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/DSC0789/1248142798_zYZCe-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/DSC0857/1248165210_MiFnZ-S.jpg

So before our run heat was even over Costas drove us in his B4C Camaro into glorious down town Grand Prairie (sarcasm) to find an AutoZone. We located a 36mm socket (needed to properly tighten the wheel bearing nut), and a few others we were missing. This allowed us to tighten every nut and bolt on the front suspension, and that's when Costas found the swaybar chassis mounts painfully loose. The brackets were shifting up and down under load, which explained the loud clunking in the slaloms. Wasn't really hurting anything but it wasn't allowing the swaybar to do its job properly, either. I had a talk with our tech here about the importance of tightening nuts and bolts properly on Monday morning, of course.

After we had everything tight and double checked half an hour later we went for a test drive to see that we did indeed fix the glitch. We had maybe 10 minutes of down time when we ate so by the 3rd run heat the car was prepped and ready for Amy. She worked course in heat 2 and we were assigned to course in heat 3, so as I passed her during a worker change and told her "Its fixed - drive hard, go fast, and let us know how it goes!"

She did just that, and put a solid second on the both of us in her last run. The car looked even better in the turn-arounds and she said it pivoted around them perfectly. Damn, wish we could have driven it like that. Oh well, she showed finally us that the Mustang has potential in STX. She won the "W" class and her raw time in her last run (where she ran over the base of a cone) would have placed her 2nd in STX, .3 sec back. She said she was pushing the car harder each run and was amazed at how well it handled transitions and the tight stuff, as well as the brakes finally being right again.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/Terry-Run2-LSP-041011/1249943237_ZUWJF-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/16569937_VrQY2#1249943237_ZUWJF-A-LB) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/still-close-run-2/1248165343_4Npvi-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/still-close-run-2/1248165343_4Npvi-O.jpg)
Click these two pics above for in-car video (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/16569937_VrQY2#1249943237_ZUWJF-A-LB) and Runs 1 & 2 result analysis (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/still-close-run-2/1248165343_4Npvi-O.jpg)

Since we were working course in heat 3 we didn't get a single picture of Amy driving, and she never turned on the video camera (doh!). Costas and I got a couple of our runs on video, and the quickest is linked above (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/16569937_VrQY2#1249943237_ZUWJF-A-LB). We were within a few tenths of each other, but Costas only took 2 full runs, and all of our drives were before we fixed the clanging and banging swaybar. As you can see in the "results analysis" (linked here (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-041011/still-close-run-2/1248165343_4Npvi-O.jpg)) we were still in the hunt after 2 runs, but the rest of STX class got quicker in runs 3 and 4, as we fumbled in the pits trying to find the source of the banging. Ledbetter had a 47.9 (+1) and his co-driver Brian had a 48.0. Brad Maxcy had a 48.5 and Amy had a 48.3 (+1) and a 49.0 (clean). She didn't have any noises or issues to deal with and all of her runs were quick, but she felt like there was more left.

So we feel like, even as bad as we did in STX class, with the bolts and nuts all tight the car has potential. Amy proved that for us on her runs. Costas and I will autocross the car at an event (and maybe two) this coming weekend and report back again. This time I'll make sure every bolt that has touched on the car is tight, and we'll use Costas' DL-1 to data log the runs.

More soon,

08-16-2013, 01:26 PM
Project Update for April 20, 2011: So we don't end up with 8 events and a lot of modifications in one thread update, I'm trying to do them more quickly. Over the last week we only did one suspension update to the car, but it took a sizable amount of work over 2 days. Then I took the car to a local autocross last Saturday. That was a train wreck for me, with a course layout that was super tight/narrow, and the Mustang was a bear to fit through the gates. Pretty much wasted a day, but I did get some cold and warm weather data on the Toyos (none of it flattering). Then this week we've located some 18x10" track wheels, bought another set of STX tires to test with, and another new part for the Mustang arrived. Read below for more.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5520/1093534953_k8EoY-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Eibach-poly-LCA-bushing/DSC0901/1259247707_FGQQ7bf-S.jpg

The front suspension on the S197 Mustang is pretty basic stuff: McPherson strut, spring mounted on the strut, with a beefy steel Lower Control Arm (LCA) that has two big rubber bushings. These bushings are very mismatched in size, with the rear unit being as big as a beer can and the front somewhat smaller, but they are at least lined up on the same axis. This means they are single axis of rotation bushings, which is a good place to use poly or nylon materials, especially if the bushings are large, rubber, and soft.

Our durometer hasn't arrived yet so I wasn't able to measure how soft the LCA bushings were, but the OEM rubber depressed easily by hand. Feels like a giant marshmallow, and I read somewhere that it was full of fluid as well. This is great for ride comfort and quiet, but will deflect badly under load, and we had noted some wheel deflection in some close-up pictures of the suspension under heavy loading. Toe change, camber loss - its never good for dynamic suspension geometry and overall handling to have super soft, large, compliant suspension bushings on a car. We began to look at solutions for the LCA bushings and more bits of this chassis months ago.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Energy-Suspension-Bushings/DSC0652a/1259286899_VwJ3TLq-Th.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Energy-Suspension-Bushings/DSC0652a/1259286899_VwJ3TLq-M.jpg) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Energy-Suspension-Bushings/DSC0649/1259292261_gV5J29J-Th.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Energy-Suspension-Bushings/DSC0652a/1259286899_VwJ3TLq-Th.jpg) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Energy-Suspension-Bushings/DSC0650/1259293875_Fg5JcPq-Th.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Energy-Suspension-Bushings/DSC0650/1259293875_Fg5JcPq-M.jpg) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Energy-Suspension-Bushings/DSC0651/1259295901_kkRvNLB-Th.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Energy-Suspension-Bushings/DSC0651/1259295901_kkRvNLB-M.jpg)
S197 poly Mustang bushings we now carry (click thumbnails for larger images)

Since there was almost no model coverage overlap between Powerflex (which we already stock/sell) and Energy Suspension, we went ahead did a buy-in with Energy a few months back. The initial stocking order had all of their S197 Mustang bushing kits in it, and they finally arrived a week ago. Energy had no idea if their "2005-2007" Mustang bits and pieces fit the later cars, so we bought everything to check for ourselves. We have been testing these bits on our 2011 and I can report this so far: Their front LCA kit works on the '11 GT, as does the track bar kit (panhard bar bushings), and it looks like the upper rear control arm kit might work (but we might go another route there). The shifter bushing kit most certainly does not fit the new Getrag 6-spd on the 2011, however.

Poly LCA Bushing Install - http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Eibach-poly-LCA-bushing/

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Eibach-poly-LCA-bushing/DSC0899/1259246180_d92ZmrQ-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Eibach-poly-LCA-bushing/DSC0909/1259250069_xZhKfBZ-S.jpg

So the lone modification we did to the Mustang last week was the bushing replacement on the front LCA. Let me tell you up front - this was not a quick, easy or fun job to perform. Our tech AJ fought with this install for part of 2 days, and we had the right tools, a lift, a press, had all done poly bushing installs many times - everything stacked in our favor. The OEM Mustang front LCA bushings (especially the fluid-filled, gigantic back ones) are some of the nastiest I've ever seen.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Eibach-poly-LCA-bushing/DSC0904/1259249149_PKXxgwd-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Eibach-poly-LCA-bushing/DSC0914/1259254642_j8dkKLp-S.jpg

Just getting the LCAs out of the car took a good bit of work. The front bushing bolts are blocked by the giant electric power steering unit, which had to be unbolted and slid forward (he left the steering shaft installed). Even then the bolt barely came out. For the bushing swap, we followed the Energy's instructions. This says to "apply heat to the outer shell", to break the bond of the rubber to metal, but we resorted to cutting and burning the bushing out of the outer sleeve. Then cut the bushing remnants from the inner sleeve (both sleeves are re-used). Nasty, messy work. The damn fluid was under pressure, too. We used heat, then fire, then drills and a saws-all. Maybe spent 5+ hours getting the first LCA done. The second LCA went a lot smoother...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Eibach-poly-LCA-bushing/DSC0937/1259262610_JVmZtLV-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Eibach-poly-LCA-bushing/DSC0935/1259264013_txPT6TJ-S.jpg

This time AJ and Matt teamed up and used more heat and brainpower than we did the first time. With the LCA held in the vice, one of them used the torch on the metal while the other pulled on the bushing housing (with a water bottle nearby to put out the small flash fires that flared up). This process took some time but eventually, with enough heat and pulling, the outer sleeve pulled clean off the bushing. No time wasted cutting the bushing up or cleaning up the outer sleeve. The inner sleeve worked almost the same way, with careful heat and pressure.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Eibach-poly-LCA-bushing/DSC0932/1259289396_bmftDhG-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Eibach-poly-LCA-bushing/DSC0955/1259268854_3Dm7qMS-S-1.jpg

The inner sleeve has a knurled section that has to be sanded off, as the bushing slides over that when its installed. We also went the extra step and, after the bushing was pressed into the outer sleeve (only) we drilled a hole and tapped the outer sleeve for a grease zerk. Then installed the inner sleeve (which can stay pressed onto the LCA the whole time). Now we can go back and grease the bushings easily - to keep them from squeaking later (a common complaint on poly bushings when the original grease gives out). We don't show the front bushing in this install gallery but it was smaller and easier to swap.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Eibach-poly-LCA-bushing/DSC0957/1259272054_m5WDVK9-S-1.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Eibach-poly-LCA-bushing/DSC0956/1259271144_JFktjQK-S.jpg

After a quick check of the toe (nothing changed) AJ and I loaded the Mustang into the trailer by 8 pm Friday night, ready for the autocross the next day.

April 16th NTAXS Autocross

We had found a local autocross on Saturday I could attend (co-driver's Amy and Costas were both out of town) so I tried to enter on Thursday... but it was full at 65 entrants already. I said as much on FB and within 2 minutes (gotta love the internet) had a friend willing to sell me his entry (thanks Jason!), so I was in. NTAXS is what remains of an S2000 autocross club, and they cater to mostly S2000 and Miata drivers. This event was to be held at Texas Motor Speedway bus lot (slick sealed asphalt I've autocrossed on at 40+ events in the past, so I know the surface well), and normally Jarrett J sets up their courses - who does most of the local autocross courses for other clubs as well (and does an excellent job).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NTAXS-TMS-041611/DSC0960/1259279477_D8WJrNT-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NTAXS-TMS-041611/DSC0958/1259275361_QCpGDxq-S.jpg

So I towed out there early and it was pretty cold in the morning, mid 40's and 10-20 mph winds. The surface was going to be slick, but it was predicted to get into the mid 70's that afternoon. With 4 runs in the morning and 4 more after lunch, I'd at least get some varied track temperature runs on the Toyos. Walked the course with Chris Ledbetter and we both groaned at the extreme tightness of some gates and oddly tight corner layouts... this course was made for a NARROW car. Sure enough, another course designer had set-up the course (his first), an S2000 driver, who ended up hitting cones on 4 of his 8 runs himself. Lots of DNFs, lots of cones felled, etc.

continued below

08-16-2013, 01:27 PM
continued from above

So long story short, the wider Mustang wasn't well suited for this course. At all. I was driving my ass off and just could not get the car to put any power down on this cold, slick surface. The uber-tight turn-arounds were also killing time, too. The tires didn't work worth a damn in the cold temperatures, yet after my first 4 runs (which are run in quick succession) the tires were badly overheated - front and rear. Tire pressures crept up by over 10 psi. Yikes. Another Toyo equipped STR Miata had similar troubles - no grip - and their tires made equally loud noises compared to the others (and they were uncharacteristically off the pace).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NTAXS-TMS-041611/DSC1069/1259437988_QMFRgX3-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NTAXS-TMS-041611/DSC1077/1259449516_fjJ8DPn-S-2.jpg

Watching cars in the 2nd heat of the morning, while I was then working course, they looked quicker as the track temperature began to rise. Sure enough, Ledbetter and Ken O were both running almost 3 seconds quicker than my heat 1 times. Not good, but not surprising.

After the lunch break the temps were in the 60's for heat 3, when I ran again. This time I moved my spray bottle, air gauge and gear over to the exit of the course, where I'd have about 60+ seconds between runs waiting in a short line, to pile out and spray tires/check pressures. Luckily I had some help this time (Ledbetter's co-driver Sherrie) and she bled tire pressures down while I sprayed and sprayed the quickly overheating Toyo R1Rs between runs. I held up the flow into the start line a bit, waving them around, but these tires were just boiling hot after each run - even with ambient temp still in the 60F range. Rear wheel spin was still ridiculous but with lower pressures (dropped to 35 F/32 R for this lower grip lot) I could at least get some forward motion going on these runs. Still had some push in the tight turn-arounds but with this back-to-back run format there's no time to make real set-up changes (other than pressures and shock knobs, which I did). To me, running an event "the SCCA way" (with time between runs to make adjustments) makes for a more useful use of the time.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NTAXS-TMS-041611/DSC1081/1259455483_8wQgnKd-S-1.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NTAXS-TMS-041611/DSC1084/1259460032_VQrBDvc-S.jpg

My 4 afternoon runs were 2 full seconds faster than my morning 4, which is an unusual gain for me at this site, even over that much ambient/track temperature change. I guess after 23 years you'd say I'm "a seasoned autocrosser" and don't tend to pick up huge amounts of time after my first 3-4 runs, so I chalk that 2 sec gain up to the set-up changes (lowering tire pressure), tire spraying (lots of water!), and warmer track temps. Still, I was well off the afternoon pace. Ledbetter's later 4 runs got .8 sec faster than earlier, and Ken O was almost 1 sec quicker as well. That left me still pretty far back from both...

Pictures: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NTAXS-TMS-041611/
Results = http://www.s2000.org/nts2koc/autox/2011_0416.htm

When I checked times on the computer and print-outs throughout the day there were only 3 cars in class 3, which I led to the end. It appears some Honda looks to have been moved into the class. Who knows? I couldn't hear a thing from the announcer that was useful - just a bunch of clowning. Just look at the the times from Chris Ledbetter (STX BMW 328is) and Ken Orgeron (STU legal E46 BMW M3), the only other competitive STX and STU RWD cars. They were both on different tires (Chris on 255mm RS3s and Ken O on 285mm Dunlops) and ran in hotter times of the day (heats # 2 & 4) but both of them crushed my times... Ledbetter was 1.7 sec quicker and Ken was 1.1 quicker. I worked course when they both ran and they looked so much more stuck down - still skating somewhat on the slick TMS surface, but not the excessive wheel spin and loudly squalling tires like the Toyos were doing on the Mustang.

Lessons Learned: My times on that tight-assed course were a bust, but I learned that Toyo R1Rs are not all that in the cold, yet they can easily overheat - even in cooler temperatures. I won't make a run on these ever again without massive water spraying afterward. We'll get more accurate (pyrometer) data on this phenomenon at the big tire test we're going to do in 2 weeks. I left my video camera mount at the shop, so I couldn't take any in-car video - which would have been good for a laugh. ;) We now have an extensive "trailer load list", with this and many other items listed and checked before each event. Also, bring a co-driver or find a helper at autocross events that have back-to-back runs like this, if you hope to check tire pressures and spray tires between runs, or if you'd like to make even the smallest of set-up changes. Lastly - know who the course designer is up front, or find a course map before you go to the trouble and expense of making an event. The NTAXS event folks always put on a great event, but this particular course really didn't work with this 71" wide car (several other "wide car" drivers said the same).

What's Next?

The latest things we're working on include finding some man-sized track wheels (18x10" or wider) and better track-worthy tires (not street tires). Not wasting any more time running NASA TTB class on skinny street meat with the rest of the class on wider Hoosiers. We've finally stumbled upon some 18x10" wheels that came off of a GRAND AM Mustang FRC500, shown below.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/speedlines/1259303443_FQkbn4c-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC1159/1259519178_GN5Jvmp-S.jpg

I've purchased seven of these 18x10" Forgelines but I need to get them from North Carolina to Dallas, TX - anyone that wants to make some $ delivering the wheels from I-95 in NC to I-20 in Dallas, please PM me. UPS is pretty spotty on delivering wheels to me that aren't boxed properly (these will likely have tires) so I'll either try to find space on an existing traveler's truck or call a freight company. Thanks!

We'll check, measure, and possibly rebuild these 3-piece wheels after they get here and hopefully they fit the 2011 with some wider tires. I'm going to try the 275mm Continental slicks or something similar (R6), which will allow us to stay in TTB and hopefully lower lap times a good bit.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC1157/1259506732_fC6wQJX-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC1158/1259514764_jQs65t9-S.jpg

We also got in a set of 265/35/18 Hankook RS-3 tires to test with in STX. I'm not too fond of the Toyos after that fiasco last weekend. Figured since we have 2 set of 18x9" STX wheels, a private auto-x test coming up, and the Toyos and Yokohamas, why not try the Hankooks at the same time? I've even managed to borrow a set of 18x9.5" wheels with 275/35/18 Dunlop Star Specs mounted... we'll test those and ponder those numbers as well. This will be as scientific of a test as we can manage: durometer, pyrometer, data logging, and timers with 3 competitive drivers over many runs. I will share this test as a tech article. Yes, GRM does a very nice series of autocross tire tests almost every year, including one on the "140-200" hot street tires, but they always seem to use light, small cars with narrower sizes than the 265mm we need. And from the rumors I've heard some of the ultra-small sizes have "unique compounds" that are softer than the wider tires we use have. Our autocross data seems to sometimes prove some long standing data inaccurate, which is mostly based on the narrower sizes. So....we'll see. May the best tire win!

Last but not least, the APR GTC-300 CF wing arrived yesterday.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/E30-V8/DSC1162/1259512003_Zn2BqnW-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/E30-V8/DSC1163/1259515653_ztsLXbD-S.jpg

I'm working up a set of stands that will fit the Mustang and another to fit the E30. This wing could be used at track events like the UTCC in July (E30?) or for NASA TT events (Mustang). On the Mustang, in TTB I'm already taking a +4 point hit for a "non-OEM wing configuration" (the OEM optioned rear cosmetic wing delete), so with this carbon 6 foot wingspan perched up above the roofline, I will bloody well get my 4 points worth. :D

Sorry if I seem a bit grumpy in this post, but well... I am a grumpy old bastard. ;) The bushing install made a total mess of the shop and took longer than it should have. At least we know the shortcuts for this one, now. And I can't disguise my disappointment in the results from the autocross, and the course layout was far from my favorite. I'm sure the predominantly S2000 & Miata guys loved it, as it worked great for those cars. And being that the club caters to those cars, I can't fault them for that.

Until next time,

08-16-2013, 01:27 PM
Project Update for May 9, 2011: So since my last post we've learned a lot, made significant changes in the set-up, found a ton of time on autocross courses. And we've decided to never track the Mustang again.

*** No more NASA TTB for the Vorshlag 2011 GT! ***

I know some of you will be disappointed to hear this, but please let me 'splain.

First, dual purpose autocross/time trial cars are always at the mercy of one set of rules, and that was very much the case here. Building around NASA TTB was severely limiting our choices in the STX autocross class. Over time I've come to realize that NASA has put this car into a poor base class (TTB) and with the high base weight (3770) its saddled with + the "points" system for modifications, it is crippled into uncompetitiveness in TTB or TTA, and cuts out fully half of the available suspension and power mods we could legally do in STX. No two ways about it - we cannot get enough tire under the car in TT for the weight it has, nor can we get anywhere near the power-to-weight limit and still stay within TTB, or for that matter, TTA.

I had thought about buying wider 18x10" wheels and going to Hoosiers for TTA, but the numbers just don't look very good. The typical TTA type cars will all be hundreds of pounds lighter, and this car simply cannot get there with the points left for that class. I'm not blaming anyone or going to stop racing in NASA TT, mind you, just coming to the realization that this chassis isn't classed or suited for TT.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/DSC7128/1173583043_M8p3z-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/DSC7155/1173594784_qsXL5-S.jpg
We will run our 2011 GT in TTB (or TTA) no more...

The ruleset in the SCCA's Street Touring category, however, allowed us to do SO much more to the suspension and horsepower mods on this chassis than NASA TTB or even TTA allows, which is pretty funny considering STX is one of the slower ST category classes. STU and STR are both faster, and sometimes ST and STS are as well - STX itself could not only be the slowest ST class, but is often the slowest class at a given autocross event. But hey, its a different ball game in autocross, and a different set of rules. Its not like the 2011 GT is going to be an overdog in STX, not hardly, but it has a much better chance there than in TTB. Took me too long to finally come to this conclusion.

We came to this realization over time, after running the car at several track events this year and after looking at dozens of cars in TT classing. Just last week after a friend asked us to help him work up the TT classing for a 1998-2002 Camaro LS1 car. This car - which has a similar stock power to weight ratio as the 5.0L powered S197 - has a base class of TTD* (TTD +7 points) and a base weight of 3439 lbs, allowed to run fully 331 lbs lighter. After some more searching we quickly realized that every iteration of the S197 Mustang (its classed in 4 base classes, depending on year and engine) is fighting a losing battle in TT due to poor base classing compare to this otherwise very similar Camaro, among other cars - like the TTB BMWs that are currently winning that class handily. We helped him put together a TTC build sheet for the 4th gen LS1 F-Body that looked pretty unstoppable, and on paper (and from personal experience owning/racing in these) it would be faster than we could hope to get our 2011 GT in the "faster" TTB class. Just one example, but you get the idea.

Building for TT competitively means you need to be able to hit the power-to-weight max for the class, and still have enough points for a large enough R compound (Hoosier) tire for your (stipulated by NASA) given minimum chassis weight, and the '11 Mustang just doesn't work out that way no matter how you build it. Not trying to say these cars aren't fun and fast on track - they are - just that for NASA TT, they are too far out of the hunt to be not worth the expense, the risk, the effort, or the limitation to our STX prep any longer.

Second, Time Trial use with a new $35K car, that is still under the factory drivetrain warranty, is unwise. Tracking any car you cannot afford to write-off after an accident is pretty short sighted, and since I cannot control all of the variables that can cause an accident on track (other people's fluid spills, others' diving mistakes, etc), this car is going strictly to autocross/street duty. I've seen some nasty crash videos lately that made me re-think tracking heavily in this the cage/rollbar-less car. I tell friends and customers literally every day this same mantra - don't track your only street car, or any car you're making payments on, or any car you cannot afford to crash. And having a full cage in a street car is not safe without a helmet.

But look at it this way - pulling this car out of NASA TT will let us concentrate on making a competitive shot at STX class, which hasn't seriously been attempted in a V8 RWD car like this. This also unleashes many potential mods we couldn't do because of TT points, and this car looks more favorable in STX after we found some MAJOR performance gains in set-up changes in the recent autocross test-n-tune event (see below).

I am already looking to acquire another S197 chassis for a competitive W2W track car, in a class that is much more balanced with similar cars like the 4th gen F-Body. If you know of a 2010 Mustang V6 or GT that is a salvage title/flood car/affordable car, please drop me a line. That's a whole different story for another day, another thread.

Latest Mustang Mods

We've done two things in the past weeks to the Mustang. The night before the Test event (see below) we built a fixed seat bracket and the 2nd Cobra Suzuka kevlar race seat was finally installed. So there's another 30 lbs dropped. Its a fixed mount floor bracket that puts the passenger Cobra seat as low and far back as we can get it - the passenger sits almost 2" lower than the driver's side and even tall passengers can't reach the firewall with their feet. Perfect. Since we're not tracking it anymore, nobody can complain that we have fixed back seats in a track car without a roll bar - for parking lot events it matters not one iota. Car's don't flip over in parking lots.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-45NvQfG/0/S/DSC1548-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-xvkZsMn/0/S/DSC1551-S.jpg

We've also taken all of the NASA decals and class/extra number markings off the car, and although the de-cluttered look is certainly appealing, its only temporary. I spent an evening cleaning the car up after these were removed, using the clay bar to get the adhesive off and getting the car free of cone marks as well. Long overdue. We're still looking for the right "Vorshlag theme" to apply to this and our other 4 race cars, so graphic designers that want to show their stuff, please send me a note. Thanks.

This got pretty long so I'll cover the Test-N-Tune results below.

08-16-2013, 01:28 PM
Project update for May 10, 2011:

So, back to autocross performance of this 2011 GT. To say we have been struggling with the car in STX this season is an understatement: We've been getting beaten badly at both Regional and National SCCA events. The car started with off-the-shelf AST coilovers, our camber plates, 18x9" wheels, a 265mm street tire, and we just started autocrossing it. We've made a lot of updates since then but the results haven't been improving much. Sure, its faster, just not remarkably so. From day one we've been fighting to keep the rear tire spin under control - it was always a real motherf*cker to drive in a parking lot. As in - harder than anything I've autocrossed in the past decade. Rear traction under acceleration always severely limited every aspect of an autocross run. We also fought some other issues, but it always drove like it had 600 whp and 225mm mud and snow tires. It didn't matter how smooth you were on the throttle - it was always in a constant state of power oversteer, but we just came to accept that.

Costas, Amy and I got used to dancing that sideways dance, tip-toeing on the throttle at every corner exit, for months. On a road course (where you are in higher gears, and usually either WOT or almost completely off throttle most of the time) it was much easier to deal with, but in an autocross situation - where we are using part throttle so much more often than full throttle - we're slipping and sliding around like a greased pig. Also, on wet road courses it was also VERY difficult to control the back end of the car, and I had lots of oversteer issues in slow corners at both MSR-H and HHR in the wet.

April 29, 2011 - Riverside Annex Test-N-Tune

Pictures: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/

Come to find out, we needed another set of drivers that hadn't been driving it since day one to give us some much needed perspective. Another set of eyes/hands/feet to see the issues clearly. We got that and more at this private test day on April 29th (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/). Todd F set up this event with AST-USA and we got the invite, as did 5 autocross cars. This was an intense day of testing, on concrete, with AST's shock valving trailer on site to make valving changes to test and verify on the spot. Couldn't have asked for a more ideal situation, and we're thankful Todd and AST let us join them. We brought lots of tools: DL1 data logger, Chase cam video aimed at the front tire, timers, durometer, pyrometer, and more. This degree of testing on this car was long overdue, and much information was gained - I'm still sorting through the data. I'll give a highlight of what we learned in this post and follow up with more data and video as time permits.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/i-GCDwxsS/0/S/IMG2839-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/i-G86WtCN/0/S/IMG2840-S.jpg

The Course

The site was the Riverside Annex, and the area was the 4-10 split, and the surface is concrete. The course laid out was typical for our Test-N-Tune events. It was 30 seconds in length, with a constant radius sweeper on one end, a decreasing radius on the other, with one long side of slaloms (60' spacing) and big offsets on the other side's length. The Mustang was only at WOT for maybe 2-3 seconds per run, so it was not a power course. To simplify testing it was run as a continuous circuit, with a start/finish line where we could mark consecutive laps, and each driver usually made 3-4 laps at a time with a running start. This minimized starting/launching variables, minimized driver learning curves, and made for quicker testing. So the driver would make a half lap before the start, then lap/lap/lap, then come in to look at times, adjust pressures, check data, and we'd shag any cones knocked down.

We used to hold 2-3 of these private Vorshlag autocross test-n-tune events for our own cars and VTPP testers every year, but haven't held one in 2 years, and it has showed. Our DSP run last year in the E46 was a train wreck, as was our untested E30 autocross set-up at the 2010 GRM challenge. Its hard to learn enough in a 4 run autocrosses to make speedy set-up progress or test things back to back, but when you can make 70 runs in a day (like we typically do at our test-n-tune events), you can learn and test a lot of variables much more rapidly. We had about 60 runs logged in the Mustang at this event, and we learned an enormous amount in only 6 hours.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/i-vdS2xwt/0/S/DSC1348-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/i-fcxpKdr/0/S/DSC1427-S.jpg

So we got down to the site at around 9:30 am on that Friday, quickly unleaded the trailer, and helped set-up then mark the course - half of which was already up when we got there. We had 3 sets of wheels and 4 set of tires we had on hand to test (we ran out of time and didn't get the Hankook RS3s mounted or tested that day), plus we wanted to try some new shock settings and maybe even new base valving. As anyone running in Street Touring knows, there are a LOT of tires in the 140-200 treadwear range to test, and for this particular class & car there are at least 7 different potentially competitive tires we could choose from. We have very limited outside test data to rely upon for this somewhat unique STX car (heavier and more powerful than anything else run in ST so far) and max tire size (265mm), as we've been running in other classes (on Hoosier Rs) or on 245mm tires in STU for other cars in the past few years. Also, the ST tire tests done in GRM the past few years have been on smaller and lighter cars (Miatas and Civics), and the tires that are fast on those don't always "Scale up" to the bigger and more powerful cars like our 3600 pound mustang with 400 whp. :D

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/i-nxDCmvG/0/S/DSC1330-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/i-3W5ptNN/0/S/DSC1332-S.jpg

Baseline Set-up Testing

Before we could start putting the various tire brands to the test, we needed to play with a few things on the baseline set-up, and make the big shock adjustments. Before that, we had to get the driver familiar with the course, the site, and the existing set-up. A quick note about the existing setup: It has been a constant blur of changes, with never more than a few runs without some variables changed radically. That's pretty much a nightmare. We have never been to an autocross event where at least 3 or more major things had not been changed. Costas would jump in the car to make his run and if we were lucky, Amy and I might get a few miles around the block to test the latest round of changes. At the last event Costas drove the car at he had to quickly learn to drive with these changes: new Tires/Pads/Wheels/Front Swaybar/ECUmap/Coldair/etc. Whew! We were all very much looking forward to getting more acquainted with the car with a lot of runs today.

We came with 2 drivers, myself and Costas, but I had just run a LeMons endurance race the weekend before (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7930) where I think I fractured a rib (3 weeks later it is still very painful). Long story short after one half of a lap on the 30 second autocross test course I was doubled over in pain and out of the car for the day. The race seat was digging into the injured rib on left turns, so this meant that one more variable would be removed from our testing - the driver. Costas took over as the main test driver for the day and I was on stop watch/tire pressure/durometer/camera duty. This would actually speed up our testing, as one driver could minimize the driver learning curve more quickly than two, and he's already shown to be super consistent, and we've typically been no more than .1 sec apart at most events.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/i-kt2jM8G/0/S/DSC1387-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/i-fPkjhk9/0/S/DSC1386-S.jpg

So Costas ran half a dozen warm up laps to familiarize himself with the car and course, and his times quickly stabilized to within .1 sec between most runs. We then started "Baseline testing" the shock settings and tire pressures on the Yokohama AD08 tires, which are a very known quantity for us having run them on another ST car in 2009 and at most events this year on the Mustang. We also had Brian Hanchey and Stuart M of AST-USA on hand to closely watch the car as Costas got acclimated to the course and the Yokohamas, and Brian noticed something weird going on straight away. He made some shock adjustments and the car was a tick quicker, and we made some tire pressure adjustments (trying some radically new pressures) and found a few tenths more, but it was still the usual handful to drive.

Hanchey then hopped in and took a few laps, to see how it felt first hand (invaluable), fought it the whole way, then hopped out and said "How in the F*** are you DRIVING it like this?!!" We then asked Stuart to make some laps and he felt the same way, and has a 2006 GT that he daily drives and tracks as well. Later that day, former F Stock champion Casey Weiss took a few runs in it also; he's been running in S197 cars the past 3 years in F Stock. Same observation - the throttle is WAY too sensitive, car is too hard to drive.


08-16-2013, 01:29 PM
Hanchey has two decades of experience, as does Casey and Stuart, and they were all 2 seconds off the pace even after a few laps. That's not a knock on their driving - no, its showing that this mess of a set-up is that hard to get used to. I've co-driven with Weiss and Hanchey many times over the past 20+ years, and they can usually hop into any car and go fast as Hell within 1-2 laps. But when proven, fast drivers like these hop in the car, and it still takes a significant learning curve. Luckily we've already been "learning" this for months. Given another dozen laps they would have been right on pace. Even after 5+ autocross events in the car and dozens of laps, its still difficult. Costas was literally making throttle changes with his toes thru thin racing shoes - not the typical ankle movements - its that sensitive.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/i-nqQH8Vm/0/S/DSC1389-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/i-HBddT9s/0/S/DSC1400b-S.jpg
Left: Costas during one of our many tire changes for the day. Right: Hanchey working with some F Stock racers on ASTs in a 2007 Shelby

They all felt that because of the very abrupt power application the car was nearly undrivable, and certainly holding us back. Hanchey was convinced the car had serious throttle tip-in/mapping errors. This was a 30 second test course run entirely in 2nd gear, nowhere near redline but always in the meat of the powerband on every corner or transition exit. Hanchey said to "try a run in 3rd gear" to prove his point. I told him that was crazy, but we humored him. Costas made 3 laps in third gear. It was ~2000-2500 rpm lower than in 2nd gear at every spot on course. He came in and said "No way, that felt SLOW", but it was .3 sec faster - best run of the day so far. WTF?! Yes, there is a problem with power application and this proved it.

Now it wasn't faster on every lap. He took 3 laps like that to get used to it, and the first lap was slower, the second lap was even, and the last was a bit quicker then all previous laps. It was the change in power application, but also a *large* change in lines he took through the cones. Very different line could be utilized with the less sensitive throttle. More of a "momentum" line than a point and shoot line. But in the end, it was faster cutting back on the power by running the higher gear through the course.

Why is that? Let's explain - modern fly-by-wire throttle systems have the ability to tweak the throttle response (correlation between % pedal opening and % throttle body opening) by both the OEMs and tuners. The "trick" is to make the throttle mapping much more "falling rate" or digressive, which make the cars "feel faster". This means - the first small percentage of pedal opening makes for a LARGE percentage of throttle opening. So when you barely give the car a little gas pedal, its opening the throttle very aggressively, and it FEELS FAST. Which makes it very difficult to delicately adjust throttle, which is all you do in an autocross with a powerful car. That's been the case all along with this car, both with the stock tune and the aftermarket tune we added via the SCT Tuner. This is actually the 2nd throttle mapping we've tested and its still MUCH too aggressive.

Throttle Mapping Issue = Found!

What we actually need, to make the car easier to control at lower speed events like autocrosses, is a rising rate throttle map as described and charted on page 36 of Neil Robert's excellent "Think FAST" book (http://www.vorshlag.com/product_info.php?cPath=254&products_id=458). And I quote, "A rising rate throttle... provides fine control over the lower power end of the throttle range. That helps you blend cornering into forward acceleration smoothly and early". An example of this from the 1960s was the uber-powerful and light Can Am cars, another quote, "Jim Hall said that a rising rate throttle linkage was an absolute must on the big block Chevy (1000+ hp) Chevy-engined Chaparral Can Am cars to make them anywhere close to being drivable." We don't have a 1000 hp big block underhood but we are trying to take 400 whp V8 and power it through somewhat narrow street tires, and do so in a parking lot, in lower gears, with abrupt power transitions.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/i-M6pSZKN/0/S/DSC1346-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/i-pFQLzRx/0/S/DSC1356-S.jpg

So the throttle mapping is a big thing that needs to be changed, and throughout the day I kept asking Costas to make a run or two in 3rd gear, every hour or so. And every single time, on every set of tires, and every permutation of shocks, the car was as fast or faster in 3rd, a higher than optimal gear, because it was so much more drivable. Matching those times in 2nd gear took extreme control and wasn't nearly as repeatable. The shop that is providing our custom SCT tunes for the Mustang was called and we described the issue in great detail; we were already on a supposedly less aggressive throttle map, but now a third custom tune was created, and Paul M and I just loaded it to the Mustang this evening. We'll be testing this in anger this coming weekend at a SW Texas Divisional series 2-day event.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/i-FGNgxS5/0/S/DSC1371-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/i-G9BcK79/0/S/IMG2841-S.jpg

The next big revelation was in shock revalving. We had already had AST-USA revalve the fronts but the rears were still pretty much "off the shelf". Hanchey had a suggestion, we asked them to try the valving change he thought would help, they revalved the shocks on the spot, and it made a huge difference in times right off. It has us thinking about some even more radical shock ideas to test in the near future- which, for business reasons, I'm going to test before we explain these plans.

After this significant jump in times was from the shocks verified on several more laps with the Yokohamas we moved on to the Toyo R1Rs, then the Dunlops, each time re-verifying the shock settings front and back as well as the tire pressures that worked best on the Yokes. So which tire won? Well, it was pretty close between two of them, and I don't want to spill everything just yet (need time to crunch numbers and edit video), but the Toyos are for sale...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/i-7HwsQCg/0/S/i-7HwsQCg-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/i-ngnWvLG/0/S/i-ngnWvLG-S.jpg
Fresh set of 265/35/18 Toyo R1Rs ..... now FOR SALE!

These R1R tires are still full of tread and have less than 20 total autocross runs on them, all in the last 6 weeks. Still very fresh, great durometer numbers, so how about $600 + shipping? Probably make great track tires for somebody (and I will keep them for just that if I only get low-ball offers). They won't be going back on this Mustang for STX use, that's for sure. We do really like the Dunlops, even these 3 year old former street tires we tested with. I bet you will see a fresh set on our car soon, for testing head to head with the Hankooks and Yokohamas, and possibly in some unusual sizes. We learned some things that day that we want to verify with even more testing.

We didn't have time to run into town and have the Hankooks mounted - the 265/35/18 Hankook RS3. So we've already mounted those and they will be run this weekend at the SW Divisional here at TMS. But as the day was winding down we did re-mount the first set of ours - our control set, the Yokohamas. We noticed only a slight uptick against the original times, so the temperature creep didn't account for more than .1 sec of our overall gains, from beginning of day to end.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-GN5Jvmp/0/S/DSC1159-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-jQs65t9/0/S/DSC1158-S.jpg

OK, so what did we learn? How much time did we gain, if any? From the beginning of the day, starting with shock and tire pressure settings we'd refined so far this season, to the end of the day, we found 1.1 seconds on a 30 second course. That's.... a lot. This was between testing some unusual tire pressures, the various tire testing, and most of all the shock changes (valving changes uncovered almost a second alone - you can't tell me "shocks don't matter much"). And this is still with 2nd gear power application almost impossible, and the car quicker in 3rd gear. Will this latest round of improvements + a new throttle map translate to a more competitive car on a full SCCA sized course? We hope so.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/i-SzSGhDV/0/S/toyo1-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/i-sprHTVc/0/S/Yoko1-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/i-KWv7HHb/1/S/IMG2846-S.jpg

THere's a couple of stills from the "tire cam" videos (that I still need to edit/upload) showing sidewall deflection; the Toyo was compared to the Dunlop & Yokohama. Costas also managed to replicate that unusual "limp mode" error icon on the dash (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911/i-KWv7HHb/1/M/IMG2846-M.jpg) that I ran into event last month. It happened 3 times during the day, but he wasn't allowing any more wheelspin than normal, just the same massive amount we always see in 2nd gear. He'd notice an abrupt lack of power, abort the run and come in to show the icon; I snapped a picture of it. To clear the error you have to turn the key off and restart the car. Odd.

More soon,

08-16-2013, 01:29 PM
Project Update for May 18, 2011: There was a 2-day SCCA Divisional autocross last weekend here in Ft. Worth (Texas Motor Speedway asphalt bus lot) and I just got finished with the video edits and picture uploads. I haven't had time to do the "tire cam" videos or DL-1 data maps from the tire test from the last update - sorry! But we did so some more "tire testing" this weekend, by running the 265/35/18 Hankook RS3 tires in the event. And in case you haven't heard the latest news - AST bought Moton! (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7945)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/i-NwJScGq/0/S/DSC1581-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/i-JnLDgPL/0/S/DSC1618-S.jpg

Results: http://autocross.com/tr/2011_swdiv_1_final.htm#STX
PAX: http://autocross.com/tr/2011_swdiv_1_pax.htm
Pictures & Video: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/

Since Costas had a work thing come up this weekend he was out, so it was Amy running in the Women's PAXed class (instead of a bunch of 1-car Ladies classes the women in our region have put together a combined PAXed class similar to ProSolo's L1/L2) and me running in STX. We walked the course and it was BIG and had LONG straights, which should suit the higher powered Mustang in STX. Armed with a perfect course (thanks, JJ!) and what we learned at the Riverside Test-n-tune 2 weeks ago (new shock valving, perfected settings and tire pressures, lighter set-up with 2 race seats) I was feeling better about our chances this weekend. Well, other than the fact that neither Amy nor I made a single lap at the Test-n-tune due to her not being there and my fractured rib. So... hopefully my notes and talking with Costas about his "revised driving style" from that event would help? And we had a new throttle map from Steeda that we loaded this week, so it should be "easier to control" the rear tires this time. Right?

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/i-fJtv2sv/0/S/00202-amyday1run2-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/17053912_9NjFzj#1294754905_fJtv2sv-A-LB) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/i-XNsxbJM/0/S/00206-amyday1run4-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/17053912_9NjFzj#1295854918_XNsxbJM-A-LB)
In-car videos from Amy's Day 1 runs; left is run 1, right is run 4

Yea... not so much. Amy ran first and she said wheelspin was horrible. The new throttle map was just as aggressive. Ridiculous. Needless to say I'm looking for a local SCT-capable tuner that can work with us on this. So Amy went into "crutch mode" and made the rest of her laps almost entirely in 3rd gear. She dropped 3 seconds just by sticking it into 3nd gear on her 2nd run. Its sad, but this cuts power down yet lets the car still accelerate well enough. You then have to modify your line and "momentum drive" it like a Miata. Well, a 70" wide Miata. She was also battling with COLD track and tire temps also, with ambient only in the high 40s but 20+ mph winds that kept us all shivering. She knocked some time down and had a .25 sec lead over W (mostly STX cars) at the end of her first day's 4 runs.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/i-JQKVjhh/1/S/DSC1653-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/i-2tHh8CQ/0/S/DSC1681-S.jpg

I ran in the next heat, where it warmed up a touch. I had bumped my injured rib up against a fence while taking pictures of Amy during her runs, so I now had serious, bone-deep pain - and no pain killers with me. I could barely breath while belted into the race seat, and was frustrated with the jacked up throttle map, leading to some pretty impressive looking (driftoro!) but otherwise slow paced runs for me. Excuses: I've got plenty!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/i-2r75XnD/0/S/DSC1682-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/i-bMjxSFP/0/S/DSC1685-S.jpg
That sideways crap is deep into 3rd gear. The course workers were RUNNING for their lives, but I never hit a cone all weekend

So it was back to the same old power oversteer antics, lots of 2nd gear rev limiter, refusing to upshift when the tires were spinning, trying all sorts of stupid lines, pushing my braking zones too far, choppy lines, not driving smooth - nothing worked, and I was in massive pain the whole time. Long story short, after my 4 runs I was 1.3 sec back from Ledbetter's STX E36 328is, buried in 6th place out of 8. And as poorly as I drove, I wasn't surprised.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/i-4k8XFNN/0/S/00207-terryday1run1-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/17053912_9NjFzj#1295726504_4k8XFNN-A-LB) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/i-rk89h9q/0/S/00211-terryday1run4-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/17053912_9NjFzj#1295646739_rk89h9q-A-LB)
In-car video from Terry's Day 1 runs. Left is run 1 (sideways), right is run 4 (not much better)


08-16-2013, 01:30 PM
continued from above

Day 2 started off a lot better for both of us. It was the same course, run backwards, but it drove smoother/flowed better this way for some reason. The big decreasing radius right hand straight/turn became an increasing radius left hand straight/turn, which allowed for a lot more traction and speed in this RWD car. I had also watched our Day 1 runs on video and saw where Amy was going too slow/too smooth and where I was too aggressive/driving too deep into corners. Our straight speeds looked 15-20 mph different!

I asked her to push it more on corner exits and try to use a little more 2nd gear (and do a lot of up/downshifts), while I toned down my corner exits dramatically, also making as many as four 4 upshifts/downshifts per run. Any place where I had wheelspin I would upshift to 3rd, then go back down to 2nd into the next turn. Kept the feet busy, but it worked. Amy had some runs where she kept using 3rd on much of the course but was all much more aggressive. Our modified driving style on Day 2 paid off - with zero set-up changes we were both faster relative to our classes/field on this day.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/i-knfqW4w/0/S/00217-terryday2run1-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/17053912_9NjFzj#1295940140_knfqW4w-A-LB) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/i-LGhcsRc/0/S/00221-terryday2run4-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/17053912_9NjFzj#1295646739_rk89h9q-A-LB)
In-car video from Terry's Day 2 runs. Left is run 1 (quick out of the box), right is run 4 (.3 sec faster)

After her 4 runs Amy was .75 sec ahead of the next closest W class entrant after both days, looked significantly faster, and was only .7 slower than me for Day 2 (again running on a colder part of the day). I had a quick first run (51.3, almost Ledbetter to within .003), which was still more or less still 2nd fastest after my 4th run improved slightly (51.0), again almost exactly tied with Ledbetter for Day 2 and only .2 sec behind his co-driver. That felt good, and if the event had been a one day thing and Ledbetter didn't have his 4th run, I would have almost called this a victory. :D

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/i-99PpQV6/0/S/DSC1984-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/i-CKKSD4T/0/S/DSC2045-S.jpg

So Ledbetter was already the winner for the weekend by the time he came to the line for his 4th run, and then he busted off a pressure-free time that was a solid .7 sec faster than me for the day. Damn.... you gotta kick a brother while he's feeling good?! Heheh... Nice job Chris! He's a Vorshlag VTPP tester and has been on fire this year. :)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/i-BFB9pQ9/0/S/DSC2023-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/i-RcvWNMT/0/S/DSC2024-S.jpg
As you can see, on day 2 I was still a bit "exuberant" with the throttle...

So after 2 days of runs I was 1.9 sec off the pace at our little Divisional. Not good, but Day 2 felt a lot better after I had some time to adapt to the new suspension set-up and driving style. Toning down my asshat driving antics made the biggest difference; masking the throttle issues by upshifting also helped, but doesn't fix the root cause. I think I still need more seat time to get used to the set-up, and to further smooth my inputs, and we all still need a rising rate throttle to be able to control the wheel spin issues. So instead of dropping $1900 (on fuel/hotel/entry fees/food) and missing 2 days of work we are not going to attend the double-header Pro & Tour in Lincoln, NE over Memorial Day weekend in 2 weeks. That sucks, but we just are not "in the hunt" right now and can better expend our time & resources at another test day (where we can get 70+ runs, not 4, and try more set-up changes) and then follow up with more local and Divisional head-to-head competition before we start traveling to more "big autocross events".

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/i-dmQqZCv/0/S/DSC1969-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div-TMS-051311/i-P4QjHPk/0/S/DSC1932-S.jpg

We also still have a LOT of areas on the car untouched - just scratched the surface. And since the car is no longer held back by NASA TT class limits, we're going to explore them all. We've already got more parts in hand to test with this week - things which directly should help with rear traction. There are still 100 pounds left to remove legally, if not more. And I've got leads on some SCT tuner shops that are local to us (Dallas) that I'll go see about this whacked out throttle map.

How about the Hankooks? We also need to verify the performance of the 265/35/18 Hankook RS3s vs 265/40/18 Yokohama AD08s (control tire) vs 265/35/18 Dunlops vs "another set we're going to be testing", at another test day soon. Lots of runs, figure out the best tires, then play with the IR tire array and get the ideal camber and pressures. Once we finalize the tires (too many choices!) we can start hacking away at the other many variables. After 16 runs on them between the 2 of us we like the Hankooks so far, and they seem to make good grip, but "they didn't feel as consistent or turn-in like the Yokohamas" (quoting Amy). She's won big on Yokohamas, and I guess have done my best on them as well (a 2nd at Nats), but we're going to reform our opinions based on lots of back-to-back testing on the current generation tires and try to ignore the internet chatter and our own past experiences.

We're also still shooting to get to 450 whp in STX, and somehow we've going to get it to the pavement. Stay tuned - we're not giving up!

08-16-2013, 01:31 PM
Mini-update May 20, 2011: Pictures DO say a thousands words. A buddy of ours (STX competitor and VTPP tester Brad Maxcy) took some great shots of the Mustang at the Divisional last weekend. He has an awesome camera/lens and is also not a total photo hack like me.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-msw3b9C/0/S/amy-div-5-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-4vPCv49/0/S/amy-div-4-S.jpg

These close-ups show that the car looks pretty composed in most corners, well, at least when Amy is driving (when I'm behind the wheel its nothing but jackassery). Loaded up laterally like this it looks to be cornering pretty flat, outside front wheel still shows negative camber, and the inside front is just barely staying on the ground.


The outside rear wheel is definitely going into positive camber under load. We need to see what we can do about that. Could be all of the sloppy rubber bushings in the rear suspension all loading up....

More soon,

08-16-2013, 01:32 PM
Project Update for June 2, 2011: We dropped the Mustang off at True Street Motorsports (http://www.truestreetmotorsports.com/) in McKinney, TX today and they fixed all manner of things + diagnosed some other quirks we've run across. I finally found a good tuner shop (just 6 miles north of our location) that can custom dyno tune the 2011 GT via the SCT tuner we have, and they already have a great reputation. The owner of the shop also owns a 2011 Mustang 5.0 GT, which they've modded and tuned already.

Their tuning guru Sean Burt (who, as luck would have it, tuned our 7.0L Alpha car's new motor when it made 488 whp, back at LG Motorsports in 2009) started out by getting a baseline dyno run in the car with the existing custom tune + the Steeda cold air installed, which was 389 whp right at 5000 miles on the odometer. This compares to the initial dead-stock dyno pull (on the same style DynoJet 224) of 367 whp at 500 miles on the odometer (uncorrected it was 378 whp - it was a cold day) on Nov 18, 2010 (see bone stock dyno chart below).

This was the corrected bone stock dyno number at 500 miles back in Nov 2010 (uncorrected print-out is here (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/2011GT-baseline-uncorrected/1096797107_Ecu4J-M.jpg))

I explained to Sean in painful detail what I wanted: more control, not necessarily more power. Probably one of their only customers asking for a custom tune but not wanting more peak power. I talked about tip-in throttle, falling rate vs rising rate throttle response, and the massive power-modulation issues we were having in 1st and 2nd gear, on corner exit in autocross events. I asked him to drive the car to see if he can feel the difference, before, during and after his tweaks.

After talking to some other local 2011 Mustang GT owners I was also curious why the car feels like it has a 200 pound flywheel. I made some calls earlier this week and according to the folks at Fidanza the OEM flywheel is only 21.5 lbs. They were the only place I called that had an answer - because they make a lighter 2011 GT aluminum flywheel (12 lbs) and had weighed the stock unit. We cannot use an aftermarket flywheel in STX, but I just wanted to know what the stock unit weighed to see if it would explain the sluggish nature of engine revving - it didn't.

This afternoon when I went to pick up the car Sean had a lot of great information for us, as well as two new tunes loaded to our SCT unit and three color print outs of the various dyno pulls. That seems trivial but when you pay for dyno tuning you sometimes have to ask for printouts. They even videoed the dyno pull. Great service! They are also familiar with HP Tuners and other software packages, and I noticed several LSx powered cars as well as an SRT Challenger in their shop for tuning that day.

They tinkered with our Mustang off and on for several hours, made some calls to some other SCT gurus, even to some folks at Ford. Here's what they relayed to me:

1. There is a very weird steering feedback issue we had noticed but didn't mention to him, as we thought it was just a bad wheel bearing (we already received a new pair to install, next). He brought this up after driving the car... the explanation he had was bizarre, but it makes perfect sense. Its possibly a programming issue (that he cannot alter), so once we test this theory to verify his conclusions I will post up about it. Don't want to spread bad information if this isn't the cause. Its something we've been noticing for a while, but had not mentioned here yet.

2. The "heavy flywheel effect" is all in ignition timing. The OEM tune adds 66 degrees of ignition advance in "engine deceleration mode" (off throttle, falling RPMs), which slows the engine responsiveness. He changed this to a normal 12 degrees and wow, what a difference. The engine response is SO much more lively! Its easier to rev match downshifts, too. I had no idea that could be in the programming.

3. Sean says they've used 7700-7800 rpm redlines in these new Coyote 5.0 engines without issue. Yikes! The dyno pulls show that the motor is starting to lose power above 6700 rpm, so it doesn't make sense to go to these stratospheric revs unless its in an autocross situation where we're barely touching those high revs, to avoid a 2-3-2 shift on a short straight. Anything we can do to avoid a lot of shifting is a win, especially after the last autocross (where I needed 4 separate 2-3-2 shifts per run!). We'll keep an eye on the harmonic balancer (check for slipping) and oil usage, but we've gone ahead and moved the redline on our car to 7700 rpm, up from our previous 7400 number, and way up from the stock 6800 redline. Zing! I'm already looking at aftermarket SFI rated balancers, for long term durability.

4. So last, but not least - the throttle mapping. Again, everything is all new on 2011s, as they can tune 2005-2010 throttle mapping easily. Sean tried to alter the correlation of pedal to throttle like I asked for, but there are something like 3 separate data tables/variables necessary to drive this interface, and he said if he altered all 3 the computer would "throw a wrench" error code on the dash. He says he has tried this on 2011s and it keeps "relearning around the tuning". He did try something very novel on our "track tune" and it might be effective - more than just running the car in a higher gear (our autocross testing showed Costas to be faster in 3rd gear rather than running in 2nd - which was such a kludge of a fix we'll try anything). Again, this tuning trick might be a flop so we're going to hold off on explaining about what he did until I can prove that it works. We will be testing the new tune at two autocross events this weekend. He loaded another identical tune without this throttle tricking tweak as our "street tune", which I can switch to in 90 seconds if the other doesn't work out. This "street tune" in fact makes more power... but again, we cannot use the power we're making in autocross situations, so this unusual "track tune" might indeed be faster.

Today's final 2 tunes with a peak number of 392 whp, corrected

So where are we now? 4500 miles later with one single bolt on part (cold air) and a custom tune we're at 392 whp, up +25 whp and +28 wtq on the new "street tune" over stock. That's pretty damn good power for an STX legal car with an air filter and "some 1s and 0s". A tiny part of the increase in peak numbers is the rise in the redline, as the bone stock dyno pull was just barely still going up at the stock 6800 rpm fuel cut. But the shape of both the new power and torque curves look nearly identical to stock, with the numbers up across the board, and the new power peak is only at 6700 rpm. So the cold air + the tune = a win.

Talked to an exhaust supplier yesterday and I'm anxious to get their full length 1-7/8" header set-up coming. Picking that larger header primary diameter to help kill some more low end power while giving a little more on top - unless the new tune is magic, in which case I'll go with their 1-3/4" primaries. Until now, adding any power anywhere would just make the car slower in autocross, so if this new "track tune" allows us to modulate throttle and corner exit faster then we can finally go ahead and look at more power, which is there for the taking. Then we can focus the rest of the season on more suspension bits.

Next up! Two autocrosses this weekend, including Saturday's National Street Tire Challenge and Sunday's Texas Region SCCA Autocross #3, both being held at the massive Mineral Wells complex. Amy and I are driving the Mustang in 2 different classes at each event, and we might even be running on different tire packages as well. We do have a strange, new wheel and tire package we're testing this weekend, which is funny looking and sure to draw some laughs, but it might help cure some of our power issues. If it doesn't work, I won't mention it in my next post, photoshop them out of the pics, and deny we tried it if asked. :D

More soon,

08-16-2013, 01:32 PM
Project Update for June 13, 2011: We had two autocross events on the weekend of June 4-5, where we tested the new engine tuning (throttle mapping) and some new wheels/tires, with the first real promising results for the car in STX class to date. Let's start with the new rear rubber first, then cover the two very different autocross events separately.

17" Rear Wheels and Tires

After the very positive results we had with some very worn and borrowed 18" Dunlops at our Tire Test in April (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Test-n-Tune-Annex-042911), we wanted to try some fresh 265 Dunlops. We thought about just plopping down for another set of 265/35/18s but instead we tried something different...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-tRZZMmR/0/S/DSC2193-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-9GmbnDj/0/S/DSC2191-S.jpg

Dunlop has the only ST legal/competitive tire that is a 265mm max width for STX in a 17" diameter. This might be one of the only STX cars that can physically fit these 265/40/17 Dunlops under OEM fenders, too. (I've seen these used on an STX classed E36 or two, but those cars had massive compromises in ride height to clear these uber-wide tires) I'd love to run 17" diameter wheels and tires on the Mustang at all 4 corners, but the Mustang's (optional) front 14" rotors and Brembo calipers don't allow this. Up front. But on the rear...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-G5bVwqx/0/S/DSC2225-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-5LMSNjL/0/S/DSC2274-S.jpg

Hell yes! The rear brakes are small enough to allow a 17" wheel to clear, so we bought a pair of wheels and got some 265/40/17 Dunlops mounted to them. The wheels are lighter (TireRack calls them "15.9 lbs") but the mounted 17" wheel and tire (45.0 lbs) is 3 lbs lighter than the 18x9" Enkei FP01 and 265/40/18 Yokohama (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC6530/1156699450_DfFCv-M.jpg) (48.2 lbs) but is 2 lbs heavier than the 18x9" WedsSport and 265/35/18 Toyos (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC0677/1244732710_Uy6Dm-M.jpg) (43.1 lbs). The Toyo R1Rs are way too soft for use on these big cars, so that lighter tire has its drawbacks. Keep in mind the OEM 19x9" wheel and 255/40/19 tire was 57 lbs (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC9773/1232851395_ZsHqC-M.jpg), so its still 12+ pounds per corner lighter than that. The 265/40/17 Dunlop is actually .1" taller than the 265/35/18s we had been running, so we don't lose any tire height or alter gearing this way.

But we didn't go to the 17" Dunlop for "lightness" - we did it for increased sidewall height and lower cost. The dollars and cents are easy to understand: its $100 per tire cheaper to get the same exact Dunlop Star Spec in 265/40/17 vs 265/35/18. That's $400/set, and hard to ignore. But we've wasted $3K testing various tires and wheels on this car this year, so cost is pretty much thrown out.

Corner Exit Acceleration is the biggest aspect we need to improve on this car (and most autocross cars, for that matter), and we had a long way to go on the Mustang. Throttle mapping was part of it but we're looking for other ways to improve this acceleration direction. The thought that a taller sidewall could reduce some of the shock load to the rear tires crossed our minds. Going to the 17" tire allows for more sidewall height and potentially less spring rate in the tire sidewall.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-fQbx47J/0/S/DSC2220-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/i-qBNCbXn/0/S/IMG3013-S.jpg

There are "rules of thumb" regarding sidewall aspect ratios and in one book (ThinkFAST (http://www.vorshlag.com/product_info.php?cPath=254&products_id=458)) race engineer Neil Roberts (Costas' close friend, and an old college racing buddy of mine as well) claims that he likes to use nothing shorter than 40 series tires. Sometimes we don't have a choice, but this time, we did. So we tried it. Looks goofy with 19" wheels on the front and 17s on back (above left), but the 18/17 combo (above right) doesn't look quite as jacked up. We've seen other autocrossers mix wheel diameters front to back, and even OEMs do it (but usually the other way around). So I had planned on running the 17's on back during the first 3-4 runs of the NSTC event and switch to the 18s for the last half. The best laid plans...

National Street Tire Challenge, Saturday June 4, 2011

Note: I've re-written this NSTC event summary several times, trying to be less negative of the course layout and the event in general. This is considerably "dialed-back" and as "PC" as I can make it. I do appreciate all of the hard work that went into putting on this event, and my main gripe is really just the uber-tight course. This is my brutally honest assessment from a 24 year veteran of SCCA autocrossing. Remember - I'm also driving in a very wide car with lots of power and limited rear grip - the proverbial bull in a China closet on a course like this - so that paints my views in a certain light. I wasn't alone in my harsh criticism of this course.

70 cars were there for Saturday's NSTC event, which was an autocross strictly for street tire equipped cars (140+ TW). Great idea for an event, as I'm a big supporter of the various ST classes and feel they are pushing racers out of dated and to some extent broken classes, like Stock and SP. For this series (4 events in 2011), run by the Milwaukee SCCA Region, they have 4-5 classes (all PAX based - my least favorite way to create a class), prizes for each class, and a free set of Bridgestone tires to the top PAX time of the event. Well.... except for any of the Street Touring Shootout class cars - they were not eligible for the PAX ranking or tires. That wasn't spelled out very well (none of the classes/rules were very clear to some) and some competitors felt a bit slighted by the way they handled that. Oh well, now we know - don't enter the PAX-combined ST class if you want to win the tires. And don't show up without an AWD car, either.

We noticed some serious issues as soon as we walked the course. The course... the course was BAD. It was not representative of anything I would call an "autocross", as it was more akin to a gymkhana course, with lots of stopping, crazy tight turns. The course drove over the dirtiest parts of the event site, with 2-3' tall grass over many sections - they needed a lawn mower on this thing. Not kidding. It "walked" so tight and un-flowing, but it drove tighter than Hell. It is hard to describe how bad this course flowed, you just had to drive it. I came to a near stop about 6-7 times on each run, there were never two corners that flowed together, every slalom cone and offset was spaced/timed differently from the one before, and the course was heavily biased to narrow cars as well as AWD cars. For having 40+ acres of asphalt to play with, and for making a 100+ second long course, to never get over 50 mph? That's just wrong. It was dubbed "The Milwaukee Beast" by the Miata drivers. Yes, the Miata guys thought it was a big, long, tight, nasty mess.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/i-wKpZW67/0/S/scan0144-S.jpg http://autoxmax.smugmug.com/Other/Mineral-Wells-NSTC-2011/i-5b99FPB/0/S/B61G00071-S.jpg

After making my morning runs I couldn't understand how our local course designer JJ could have made such an abortion of a course. I found out later that JJ had almost no say over the layout this time; the NSTC event organizers walked the course and made changes to every corner, insisting that it be super tight. A good 90% of the drivers I talked to hated the course and vowed to never to go to another NSTC event.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/i-frTp6DR/0/S/IMG3019-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/i-kdWW57P/0/S/IMG3020-S.jpg

The throttle mapping WAS much better, but this course made everything feel bad. A go-kart would have felt big and cumbersome in this mess. It was also very hot outside, and with such a long damned course the rear tires got greasy halfway thru the run if I allowed any wheelspin at all. I was spraying the rear tires 3 times after each run, fighting for rear traction through the many tight corner exits. It felt pretty loose and disconnected on the 17" Dunlops and almost as bad on the 18" Hankooks (which I ran up front all weekend and out back after my 4th run Saturday). I did a quick pit stop tire change after run #4 of 6 Saturday, and was faster on the 18" Hankooks, but its not a fair test - this course shouldn't be used to judge anything about any car's handling. The results from the rear tire testing really have to be thrown out, this time.


08-16-2013, 01:33 PM
continued from above

http://autoxmax.smugmug.com/Other/Mineral-Wells-NSTC-2011/i-xD6LB4v/0/S/B61G0084-S.jpg http://autoxmax.smugmug.com/Other/Mineral-Wells-NSTC-2011/i-kr2ttbN/0/S/B61G0092-S.jpg

Many racers that day were so disgusted with the course that when they heard that Sunday's SCCA Regional event was supposed to run the same course backwards the next day, they decided to back out on their paid entries. We even had a large number not show up for their afternoon runs Saturday - they simply abandoned the event. Some of the local SCCA folks had to work extra corner assignments to cover for all of the missing folks. It was that bad. And it was damn hot - I think I saw 97F Saturday. We lost more than a couple of folks to heat exhaustion.

http://autoxmax.smugmug.com/Other/Mineral-Wells-NSTC-2011/i-W6p9S3p/0/S/B61G0249-S.jpg http://autoxmax.smugmug.com/Other/Mineral-Wells-NSTC-2011/i-4wCNGGB/0/S/B61G0327-S.jpg

There are "Class Results (http://autocross.com/tr/2011_nstc_tx_final.htm)" and even "PAX Results (http://autocross.com/tr/2011_nstc_tx_pax.htm)" - I guess you can call them that. The classing was all PAX based, and I'm not a fan of the black magic voodoo they use to make up these PAX factors. The problem here was that its not applied evenly, as you could only use stock class or street prepared PAX factors. Also, the "ST Shootout" cars (ST, STS, STX, STR, STU) have some bogus mega-PAX handicap so they are at the bottom of the PAX results. Just... ignore the PAX results I guess.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/i-prP28MC/0/M/NSTC-Run5-00226-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/17421379_nQsnvs#1327753677_prP28MC-A-LB)

NSTC Run 1, Terry (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/17421379_nQsnvs#1326929589_dQLSvpH-A-LB) - First 4 runs were on the 17" Dunlops out back
NSTC Run 2, Terry (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/17421379_nQsnvs#1326936545_nf6jzPJ-A-LB) - Missed a gate and DNF'd
NSTC Run 3, Terry (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/17421379_nQsnvs#1326932905_h8b3zNL-A-LB)
NSTC Run 4, Terry (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/17421379_nQsnvs#1326956053_TNZSRQQ-A-LB)
NSTC Run 5, Terry (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/17421379_nQsnvs#1327753677_prP28MC-A-LB) - first run on the 18" Hankooks on back

You can hear me cursing on almost every in-car video run from that event, linked above, so of you watch the videos make sure you keep the volume down or call "earmuffs" for the kids. On a positive note, Vorshlag sponsored the beer at Saturday night's party, which was frosty and delicious. The burgers and beer were a win, as was Bidgestone's road crew bringing out their mega-trailer, tire changing equipment, and crew (below, left). I was a little embarrassed that they drove across the country to sit in this miserable heat for 3 days and have only 70 people show up. Still, Kudos for Bridgestone for sticking with us all weekend!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/i-tJmLZgh/0/S/IMG3024-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/i-8rFt6rh/0/S/IMG3023-S.jpg

In an astounding bit of irony, Andy Hollis won the random drawing for a free set of Bridgestone tires at the end of the event (above, right). Ha!

And again, as negative as this write-up is, I do appreciate the hard work that went into setting this up, I thank the various sponsors, the local SCCA region people who spent 3+ days at Mineral Wells getting this set-up, etc. I'm sure someone liked the course - the fellow that won the tires surely did. ;) Also, big thanks to Brad and Jen Maxcy for doing so much work to help set-up the SCCA's portion of this event and for taking these great pics (more at autoxmax (http://autoxmax.smugmug.com/Other/Mineral-Wells-NSTC-2011/)). I barely had time to snap any pictures at all, but here they are (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/).

Texas Region SCCA Event #3, Sunday June 5, 2011

The course designer that was unfairly blamed for the NSTC course (by me and others - sorry JJ!) announced in the afternoon Saturday that "Sunday's SCCA course will look nothing like this", and he stood by his word. With only about an hour of tweaks (and 2 hours of sweeping) Saturday night, still following the same general layout as before, the Sunday course flowed so MUCH better. The stupid tight, herky-jerky mess that was the NSTC course was completely gone. Unfortunately the Saturday event scared off many of our pre-registered Sunday racers (the entire Austin, TX contingent left, as did many other Dallas area regulars) and our attendance dropped to only 54 on Sunday. That's a shame, as it was a lot more fun running this more "normal" course and they really missed out on a fun event. But it was hotter still - we saw 103F when we left.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/i-NQZpckm/0/M/SCCA-Run4-00231-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/17421379_nQsnvs#1330943171_NQZpckm-A-LB)

Class Results: http://autocross.com/tr/2011_3_final.htm
PAX Results: http://autocross.com/tr/2011_3_pax.htm
SCCA Run 1, Terry (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/17421379_nQsnvs#1329400881_kD7tk3K-A-LB)
SCCA Run 2, Terry (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/17421379_nQsnvs#1329402635_7sC7sPW-A-LB)
SCCA Run 3, Terry (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/17421379_nQsnvs#1329405084_MB2TGr6-A-LB)
SCCA Run 4, Terry (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/17421379_nQsnvs#1330943171_NQZpckm-A-LB)

Amy ran in the "W" PAXed Womens class in the morning "A" heat (3 runs in the morning, 3 in the afternoon), but with 1 other STX ladies driver there wasn't much "PAX effect" on the results. She knocked down some blisteringly fast times in her 3 attacks at the course, even with a migraine headache that started Saturday afternoon - she said her head felt like it was going to explode wearing her helmet on Sunday. The heat was a big factor in this, but she still managed to put up the 5th fastest PAX time for the event in those 3 runs and clobbered both W and the STX open class. She passed out inside the timing trailer after she made her 3rd run and didn't drive in the afternoon at all.

I ran in STX with the usual suspects - Brad Maxcy and Chris Ledbetter in their AST/Vorshlag/Hankook equipped 328is BMWs, plus Ledbetter's co-driver Sherrie. We ran the "B" group and were running very similar times to each other, trading off the lead almost every run - we finished our 3rd runs within .1 sec of each other. I was feeling better about the performance of the car, especially considering that Amy was over 1 second quicker at a 78.040 sec run. I went to her and asked what she was doing differently - in her migraine daze she said she was smooth, attacking the offsets, stepping on cone bases, and just driving well. She also managed to do the whole course in 2nd gear, where I was shifting to 3rd in the back section. I think the excessive shifting was slowing me down, so in the afternoon I left it in 2nd and tried to be smooth.

http://autoxmax.smugmug.com/Other/Mineral-Wells-NSTC-2011/i-LPZGN2X/0/S/B61G0411-S.jpg http://autoxmax.smugmug.com/Other/Mineral-Wells-NSTC-2011/i-42Dcs4t/0/S/B61G0207-S.jpg

After my 4th run I was quicker by a few tenths and in the lead (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NSTC-SCCA-MW-060411/i-36GScXP/0/L/Image1-L.jpg) again, at least for a short time. Maxcy and Ledbetter got quicker on their 4th-6th runs, so I was back in my normal 3rd place by day's end - but closer than ever (.391), and Amy was still quicker then all of us, in the same car in only 3 runs, and ran the course when it was dirtier. The throttle response was markedly improved and the car was handling better than it ever has in an autocross. So I was excited with the performance of the car overall - its finally showing some promise. STX class beat STS, STR and STU that day, with Lebetter PAXing 7th, Maxcy 8th and me back in 12th.

http://autoxmax.smugmug.com/Other/Mineral-Wells-NSTC-2011/i-6RHPczF/0/S/B61G0157-S.jpg http://autoxmax.smugmug.com/Other/Mineral-Wells-NSTC-2011/i-CrnkLm4/0/S/B61G0161-S.jpg

So we left Mineral Wells Sunday night sweaty, dehydrated, in pain, and generally dead tired from being at the event site for 3 days. We weren't out there as long as some others, but it was still a bit of a whipping.

Up next: Our new autocross timing system has now arrived (big thanks to SPS!) as well as a bunch of new cones, so we have everything needed to hold our own private autocross tests now - so expect to see some more tire testing, soon. We talked to the guys at Bridgestone and they were keen on possibly getting us a set of RE11s to go head to head with the Hankooks and Dunlops. We will see. Next event: 2-day Divisional Autocross this weekend in San Antonio.


08-16-2013, 01:34 PM
Project Update for June 22, 2011: Amy and I ran the Mustang at the 2-day SCCA SouthWest Divisional # 2, hosted by the SASCA and Spokes regions, and held at the Retama Park horse track facility in San Antonio, TX. We towed from Dallas down to San Antonio on Friday, pushing through some ugly traffic on I-35, and once down there we saw an ambient temperature of 105F that afternoon. Oh boy, summer was in full force in south Texas! We rolled up about 6:30 and the welcome party was going full swing, with a Carl's Jr Burger Bus cranking out great food (Vorshlag sponsors the SW Div series welcome parties; this sure beat cold pizza!). We checked in, teched, and walked what looked to be a rather nice course, for the size of lot they had. Hat tip to Vivek on smooth, flowing, and very different course designs for both days.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/i-TK4sDjm/0/S/DSC2505-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/i-K59s4BT/0/S/DSC2589-S.jpg

Results: https://axwaresystems.com/axorm/files/SOWDIV/sw%20divisional%202fin.html#STX
PAX Results: https://axwaresystems.com/axorm/files/SOWDIV/sw%20divisional%202pax.html
Picture Gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/
Videos: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/17687759_qRtm4B#1349836350_Rg3dnJ3

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/i-Q665frh/0/S/DSC2577-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/i-XFdHgwf/0/S/DSC2521-S.jpg

First off - the SASCA club put on a great event for their first Divisional! The weather was warm but with only 82 entrants we were done early Saturday and Sunday, both. The largest class was XP with 14 drivers - with V8 Miatas and all sorts of cool rides - and they were all smokin' fast. The region put on a great Saturday night dinner/party inside the Retama Park facilities (*air conditioned!), where we put away two kegs of cold Shiner beer and lots of delicious Bar-B-Q. A huge number of us stuck around that night for about 4 hours, talking and drinking, bench racing and lying. This is why 2-day autocross events are so much fun.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/i-7V8DXXb/0/S/DSC2821-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/i-LhvWRLP/0/S/DSC2825-S.jpg

So how'd the Mustang do? It was driving great, as it has been ever since we got the throttle mapping sorted. The Hankooks took the heat (with ample tire spraying after every run - especially the rears) and dug through the dirty asphalt surface fairly well. We didn't make any radical changes at this event - for once - and just used the shock and tire pressure settings we used at the last event.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/i-cgSqNh9/0/S/DSC2856-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/i-5qVsrZq/0/S/DSC2703-S.jpg

So the course Saturday was a bit twisty, with 3 "turn-arounds", and walking it I could predict that the AWD cars would do very well - and they did. John Hale (https://axwaresystems.com/axorm/files/SOWDIV/sw%20divisional%202fin.html#STU) put a second on the STU field (and 2 seconds per day on the other ST classes) in his STi over both days... FTW (see above). The R compound and slick-clad cars also PAXed well, I think due to an abundance of big, sweeping turns on Sunday's course? Amy and I PAXed 19th and 21st out of 81, but we straight timed ST, STS, and were darn close to STR (Amy almost beat the class), so I felt the Mustang did well despite our somewhat mediocre PAX finish this time.

For our class results I won STX (that's a first) and Amy took 2nd in the PAX'ed "W" class, losing by a scant .3 sec to a CP Mustang driver. Amy was faster than me overall, driving smoother as usual. We just about tied on Saturday (.04 apart) but she straight timed me on 4 out of 4 runs on Sunday, with a .3 sec gap ahead of my combined times over both days. I've watched all of the videos and analyzed the pictures (300) and she's smoother on braking inputs, throttle inputs, and maintaining more speed through transitions than I am. My runs have much more brake dive, more power oversteer, more choppy driving. I need to work on being smoother on the inputs, again. Did I mention I was hung over BADLY Sunday morning? :D That didn't help. We also we need a new data logger that we can look at driver data between autocross runs. MaxQ is out of business, so what's the next best, PDA-based (or included LCD readout), easy to view, 10 Hz GPS+Acclerometer data logging option???

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/i-Bmk9RwV/0/S/DSC2810-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/i-2H9X6WD/0/S/DSC2678-S.jpg
me = too much Hooning, too abrupt on the brakes

Again, due to the small event turn-out (I'm talking to you, Texas Region SCCA racers who skipped this event. We had only 7 folks from our massive region there!) we finished early both race days to beat the heat; even with 4 runs, we were wrapped at 12:30 am on Saturday and 11:30 am on Sunday. It was 86F one day and 90F the next after the last runs, but crept up past 103-107F in the late afternoons. We spent Saturday afternoon in the pool at our hotel - my kind of autocross weekend.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/i-tFgpKb3/0/S/DSC2633-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/i-K8vBKps/0/S/DSC2601-S.jpg
Dust, dirt and marbles were in abundance, both on and off-line

After we wrapped up Sunday we loaded up and headed back up to Dallas, but within 15 minutes were pulled over by Texas DPS for a "road side truck and trailer inspection". They hit thousands of trucks+trailers that weekend, apparently, but we had all of our paperwork and passed easily. 2 hours later we pulled over to finally eat lunch, then I heard a big leak on a truck tire. Nail in the tread. We were parked 75 feet from an NTB and even though they wouldn't plug/patch the tire (Discount Tire did on Monday) they helped us put the spare on. A scant 5 hours after leaving San Antonio we were back to Dallas - whew!

In-Car Videos

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/i-gqfxzhR/0/S/TerryDay1Run3-00237-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/17687759_qRtm4B#1349839070_gqfxzhR-A-LB) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/i-dfD76md/0/S/AmyDay1Run4-00239-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/17687759_qRtm4B#1349876852_dfD76md-A-LB)

Terry Day 1 Run 1 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/17687759_qRtm4B#1349836350_Rg3dnJ3-A-LB)
Terry Day 1 Run 2 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/17687759_qRtm4B#1349833284_CqRBbSX-A-LB)
Terry Day 1 Run 3 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/17687759_qRtm4B#1349839070_gqfxzhR-A-LB)
Amy Day 1 Run 4 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/17687759_qRtm4B#1349876852_dfD76md-A-LB)
Terry Day 2 Run 1 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/17687759_qRtm4B#1349860537_GdmjHXq-A-LB)
Terry Day 2 Run 2 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/17687759_qRtm4B#1349866014_th9n4p7-A-LB)
Terry Day 2 Run 3 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/17687759_qRtm4B#1349868661_q9zn3MW-A-LB)
Amy Day 2 Run 2 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/17687759_qRtm4B#1349940421_d3kzLRG-A-LB)
Amy Day 2 Run 3 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-SW-Div-2-Retama-061811/17687759_qRtm4B#1349941514_HchJmpx-A-LB)

The month of July gets a little nuts for us, as after the July 4th weekend we have 3 weekends booked with autocrosses. 2 Tex Region SCCA events sandwich another SW Divisional event (College Station - on concrete), with Costas back on board co-driving in STX at most or all of these. I have a few new bits for the Mustang in-bound (JTL oil separator, not much else worth discussing) and at some point in July we're going to try to get our next private tire test in (Vorshlag's new timer system and pylons have arrived).

Stay tuned,

08-16-2013, 01:37 PM
Project Update for July 6, 2011: Lots of little things going on with our Mustang since the last post. Apologies in advance for the pictures - I left my Nikon at McCall's on Friday (working on his Z3 LS1) so I took all of these with my iPhone. Let me catch everyone up...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-Nrw6HRH/0/S/IMG3143-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-LXR8mwV/0/S/IMG3145-S.jpg

FCS1219311: 2011 MUSTANG WORKSHOP MANUAL @ $180.00/set (http://www.helminc.com/helm/product2.asp?Make=FRD&Model=MUST&Year=2011&Category=&class_2=FRD&mk=Ford&yr=2011&md=Mustang&dt=&module=&from=result&Style=helm&Sku=FCS1219311&itemtype=N)

The 2 volume Helms Ford Factory Manuals were finally printed for the 2011 Mustang, and we got ours last week. Now we can hopefully find all of the little fixes and tricks to maximize everything. I looked in the power steering section - zero diagnostics help.


As you can see above we have added some underhood silliness, above... I'm normally not one for "bling" but most of this round of mods has a purpose.

I'm sure the blue coil covers will get some "ricer!" grief, but oh well. So I started by removing the coil covers (they pop off in seconds), then cleaned them with soap/water, then wiped them with alcohol. Next came five sprayed on coats of Rust-oleum "Ford Blue" high heat engine paint and then a couple of coats of Rust-oleum "High Performance Wheel Paint" clear coat. It was super easy to get these off and on, and only took about 30 minutes of work (plus drying time). This blue matches the 2012 Boss 302. Yea, its just flash, and all of the guys here at Vorshlag were hating on this mod, as was my wife Amy ("What next, a Superman cape?!"), but its an authentic tribute to the new Boss 302, so screw you guys! :)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-Z2qvhw3/0/S/DSC3052-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-F6qGVVr/0/S/DSC3053-S.jpg

Next up was the JLT oil separator (http://jlttruecoldair.com/ZenCart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=357_359&products_id=397) catch can kit for the 2011-2012 5.0 and Boss 302. We picked the the "Passenger Side Kit" ($119) and it installs in literally seconds. Two squeezed clamps (which you can un-snap by hand) to remove the old vacuum tube, then the kit pops on in place - the hose from the intake to the passenger side valve cover. During high RPM use (and really the subsequent "high vacuum" period on engine deceleration) it will catch the oil vapors (separates and traps it in the catch can) instead of burning it inside the engine. I've seen guys track these 5.0s start pushing oil out into the air cleaner, but its usually people that live on the rev limiter. Last up is the Redline Tuning Gas Strut hood lift kit (http://jlttruecoldair.com/ZenCart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=357_360&products_id=101), which I also got from JLT. This simple to install $84 kit comes with all of the goodies to replace the stupid stock hood prop rod. If you park into the wind and leave the hood up (which we do often at the drag strip, road course events and autocross events) the hood can rattle and flop around, even fall off the prop rod. Now that we have real hood struts, these issues are resolved.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-JhZ3hLj/0/S/IMG3140-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-pgrk8Ns/0/S/IMG3141-S.jpg

Last up, the video of the "Electronic steering shudder" feedback issue we've run into on our car:

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-Dd8vBKg/0/M/Mustang-2011-steeringtest-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/14599286_Vm7eU#1369860258_Dd8vBKg-A-LB)

This video describes what we're seeing and shows in in great detail. If you know anyone at Ford and would like to send them this link (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/14599286_Vm7eU#1369860258_Dd8vBKg-A-LB), please do! Also, anyone road racing the new Boss302S (with the same electric steering) - have you seen this?

We're not trying to blame Ford for a poor design, just want to find the sensor or broken wiring or whatever is causing this horrendous cyclical feedback in the steering. Its actually pretty dangerous... once it happens you have to pull over and almost come to a complete stop to get it to stop. And its getting worse; it happened to me yesterday twice, on the highway, going perfectly straight.

Yes, we might have inadvertently done something to cause this - I'm looking for the solution, and I'm willing to pay for new parts if its our fault. We've pulled out the "excessive" negative camber up front (that someone suggested as the cause), and zero'd the front toe, but so far nothing has fixed it. Any suggestions or "its happened to us too!" experiences are welcomed.


08-16-2013, 01:38 PM
Mini-update for July 8, 2011: Just a few pictures of the first prototype S197 Mustang, D-Force/Vorshlag, 5-spoke 18x10" wheel shown on our 2011 Mustang GT. This is the first stab at getting the offsets right, and we know we might be going back and tweaking the numbers slightly. We wanted to get a grasp on weights (18.7 lbs) and caliper clearance on this first 18x10" set before we ask for changes to the molds.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-sH3wC43/0/S/DSC3120-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-mPhn37R/0/S/DSC3119-S.jpg

They clear the front Brembo 14" rotors and calipers by a huge margin up front, and it looks like the offset we have might just work front and rear. Its hard to tell without tires mounted, and just slapping them on at full suspension droop. On Monday we'll mount up some tires and post more pictures.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-2pSxFzd/0/S/DSC3131-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-kW3WW5F/0/S/DSC3132-S.jpg

The rear can go inboard another inch, and we might move the wheel inboard 5-7mm to gain fender clearance out back. Again, we'll know more when we get tires mounted and have the whole set on the car. If they fit we'll start street/track testing them right away.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-zxm3b85/0/S/DSC3124-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-8pKWxFv/0/S/DSC3126-S.jpg

So far I'm very happy with the initial test fit - stay tuned for more information about this wheel. And yes, we're trying to make it fit GR chassis Subarus as well (which shares the 5x114.3mm bolt circle). Costs should be "affordable" (read: sub-$350) given the quality, light weight, and somewhat narrow market range for a 10" wheel like this, with ETA for production at 12-24 weeks. This is an exclusive D-Force wheel offering that will be stocked and sold by Vorshlag.


08-16-2013, 01:39 PM
Project Update for July 13, 2011: Just some minor updates here, and last weekend's autocross report. Let's see, we had the car at an SCCA Texas Region autocross event last weekend, this time with some real STX competition again and a good course design.

Competitive drives put in by Brad Maxcy in his 328is and Chris Ledbetter and Brian Buchanan in Chris' 328is gave us some solid times to compare to. Costas co-drove the Mustang for the first time since April, blowing out the cob webs and trying to learn the new throttle mapping - with some other fun, new "challenges" to drive around.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-071011/i-kLBCMjb/0/S/DSC3212-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-071011/i-pKJxbNS/0/S/DSC3213-S.jpg

I get to the event and unload the Mustang from the trailer (scraping both the nose and the tail on the trailer ramp - new 74" long Race Ramps ordered from SPS and should here by this weekend), go to set the shocks at our normal race settings, and... one of them is stuck. Damn! This can happen to any shock if its dropped, which might have happened last week when removing, reinstalling, or taking the shocks to be dyno'd (explanation why at bottom). This should not have been found while at a race, of course, and we had a talk about "checking all shock settings immediately after they are installed" in our Monday morning meeting at Vorshlag. So we've got a single rear shock stuck, either full soft or full hard. How much could that affect the handling? This sounds like a great test in the making. :)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-071011/i-Vq59pVV/0/S/DSC3136-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-071011/i-BKTng9j/0/S/DSC3180-S.jpg

It turns out, it affects handling a lot. Reinforces my "Shocks matter" mantra. Remember, this shock was still functioning properly, just with the adjustment stuck, as it turns out at full hard (stiff) in the Rebound range. The lateral grip was very different left to right, as a result. Made it a challenge on this somewhat tight autocross course today. Watching Amy and Costas drive through a particular offset compared to the 328is STX cars was dramatically different. Left turns were just a royal b!tch all day.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-071011/i-tq53ZJp/0/S/DSC3253-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-071011/i-Jtvm3ns/0/S/DSC3254-S.jpg

We also had a LOT of tire heat to deal with, especially Costas and me running back to back in STX class in heat 3. You see it was 100F, and Amy ran in heat 2 by herself. She sprayed the tires after her 1st, 2nd and 3rd runs, to keep the tires within operating temperature for her next run. After her 4th run she was in 2nd place, a scant .053 sec behind Jen Maxcy, both running STX cars in the PAXed "W" class. She didn't spray tires - why would she? She was done for the day.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-071011/i-cbPFGvq/0/S/DSC3231-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-071011/i-cFwP5cp/0/S/DSC3261-S.jpg

Immediately after her last the final run, heat (3) of the day started, and it was an abnormally small group. This meant that the 2 driver cars had little to no time between runs. Well the tire sprayer decided to die that day - it wasn't holding pressure and water just dribbled out of the spray tip. No jokes, please. So we started with hot tires and couldn't ever get the tire carcass or tread cool enough to even touch, and with just 2-3 minutes between 1st and 2nd drivers it was a thrash just to get the driver and numbers changed, much less splash a little water on the tires. So from our first runs on, we had boiling hot tires - especially the rears. Makes putting 392 whp through 265mm street tires on a sealed asphalt surface that much more impossible.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-071011/i-tpTM4kC/0/S/DSC3189-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-071011/i-f8br9kc/0/S/DSC3195-S.jpg

Costas and I both also heard some hideously LOUD noise in one turn, which spooked us both, so we had to investigate. We took a 1 minute "mechanical" to peek underneath, but we didn't see anything at the time. It wasn't leaking or obvious, so we drove thought the noise. Turns out we had two issues with things rubbing. First, a tire was rubbing on the inner fender well at full steering lock and full cornering load, which we saw in one corner only. No big deal. Second, the OEM end link bolts were dragging on the inner frame section at full droop, which was LOUD. The Eibach front swaybar we used was the 2005-2010 bar, so maybe the ends are slightly more inboard than the 2011? Whatever, we are fixing that in the shop now. And the steering shudder was ever present at any corner above 35 mph.

As you can see in the STX class results (http://autocross.com/tr/2011_4_final.htm#STX), I started out "in the hunt" after Run 1, just a few tenths behind Ledbetter and Maxcy. I found some time, but Brad Maxcy found a lot more (and PAXed #3 for the event), and had me by 1.3 sec at day's end. Ledbetter and his co-driver (2nd and 3rd in class) also got faster, and were in the same second as me after 4 runs, but still well ahead, PAXing 10th and 11th, with me in 15th in PAX and 4th class. Ugh. Costas was trying to learn the new throttle/power parameters of the car after 10 weeks away from autocrossing, and eventually managed to put in a time good enough for 5th (with a scratch time that was closer).

more below...

08-16-2013, 01:40 PM
continued from above

We were not happy with the day's results, at all. You can hear that at the end of my Run 3 video. But when you add up the comic amount of things going wrong - steering shudder, the full stiff rear shock, the massively overheated tires, and loud suspension noise up front - I guess we couldn't expect more than we got. We did see another data point in an ongoing trend at this SCCA event - AST shocks were on all 5 of the top 5 in PAX results, and 11 of the top 15, and these were all Vorshlag/AST testers.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-071011/i-hw8wR84/0/S/TerryRun3-071011-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-071011/18011272_BMkmDc#1382152433_hw8wR84-A-LB) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-R8NrbHD/0/S/CostasRun2-071011-S.jpg

Results: http://autocross.com/tr/2011_4_final.htm#STX
PAX Results: http://autocross.com/tr/2011_4_pax.htm
Picture Gallery and Videos from event: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-071011/
Video: Terry's run #1 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/14599286_Vm7eU#1382040605_PWVZ4Kk-A-LB)
Video: Costas' run #2 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/14599286_Vm7eU#1382061620_R8NrbHD-A-LB)
Video: Terry's run #3 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-071011/18011272_BMkmDc#1382152433_hw8wR84-A-LB)

So we have a lot of new parts here this week to install and test, and another 2-day Divisional autocross this coming weekend. We've got to see some serious improvement in the car, and soon, or it will be a blood bath at Nationals and we might have to wait until we get the car further developed before we take it to Lincoln. But I'm not giving up just yet - just look at what's going on the car this week:

ARH full length 1-7/8" primary headers and X-pipe with cats, good for 30 whp everywhere. Those are going on today (giant pain in the ass install). See picture, below right
New PCM tune for the added power and exhaust flow from the headers
Moton Clubsport double adjustable monotube shocks with remote reservoirs and custom valving, plus custom upper rear mounts (to mount these "eye to eye" shocks in the stock location). This is why we had the custom valved ASTs off - to verify valving ranges for the new Motons to match
D-Force 18x10" wheels with 265/40/18 Yokohama AD08 tires (for street testing and some test-n-tune autocross runs, as these are not STX legal) - see picture, below left

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-hh9M7RD/0/S/DSC3133-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/ARH-Header-install-2011GT/i-HTw8PxK/0/S/DSC3295-S.jpg

We've also taken the car as close to "stock" as possible this week, so we could swing by the Ford dealer to have them try to install that so called "fix" for the electronic steering (TSB 10-16-4). So we put the stock airbox back on, the stock tune, pulled ALL of the decals off, slapped on the stock wheels, and took it to the local Ford dealer. They couldn't get the EPAS program to stick on our 2011 GT, and then we found out this TSB's software update only works on the 2011 Mustang GT500's EPAS module. They also "couldn't duplicate the steering shudder issue", and left the car with all sorts of AdvanceTrac fault codes (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-nt3ZRBB/1/M/IMG3171-M.jpg) lit up (that they cleared, after I pointed them out).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-T585ZjR/0/S/DSC3262-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-rsKMDDH/0/S/DSC3263-S.jpg
De-stickered and back to "stock", at least for a day

Frustrated, I brought the car back and did some more digging. It appears the "new" EPAS programming issued in TSB 10-16-4 will never fix this issue on our GT at all - from what this article says (http://www.corral.net/index.php/tech/articles/199-2011-ford-shelby-gt500-review), this TSB is simply turning the "Active nibble" programming ON for short build run of 2011 GT500 Mustangs that inadvertently had it turned OFF at the factory (see more here (http://www.corral.net/index.php/tech/articles/199-2011-ford-shelby-gt500-review)). I'd rather have this active electronic nonsense in the power steering turned off completely, but that's a fight for another day.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-GMR4bkm/0/S/SteeringShudder-2011GT-071211-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/14599286_Vm7eU#1381991988_GMR4bkm-A-LB) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-nt3ZRBB/1/S/IMG3171-S.jpg
Steering Shudder Test #2 - click for video (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/14599286_Vm7eU#1381991988_GMR4bkm-A-LB)

In the mean time I did some more road testing and now can make it go into "shudder mode" at will, and made another video showing this on the way back from the dealership (their techs were all at lunch when I picked up the car). I sent them this video (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/14599286_Vm7eU#1381991988_GMR4bkm-A-LB) (above left) and hopefully they can get to the bottom of this. Again, this is the only problem we've seen on the Mustang, nobody else with a 2011 GT has had it do it this badly, and we may have done this inadvertently, ourselves, while performing other work on the car. This seems to be a problem unique to this car, at least to this degree.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/ARH-Header-install-2011GT/i-V4CqF3r/0/S/DSC3312-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/ARH-Header-install-2011GT/i-jrjfmcz/0/S/DSC3316-S.jpg
Header install is easier with the entire K-member out of the way

Since we had the stock airbox and tune on for the day, we did WOT and 45mph drive by Sound Tests with that set-up, then 2 more with the Steeda cold air and custom SCT tune back on. We'll do another 2 tests with the new headers on, later this week or next, then I'll post up all of those Sound Test videos/results. I'll throw another update up soon, maybe after we have the headers and tune on and have more dyno numbers to report, or after this weekend's Divisional - depends on how busy we get. The long tube header install is well underway, with the K-member completely out of the car to gain access to the stock headers. Supposed to be a "5 hour job", but we'll see.


08-16-2013, 01:41 PM
Project Update for July 29, 2011 (1 of 2): Go grab a drink, pull up a chair, and get ready for a long update on the Mustang project. Some of this is a bit tardy, as I've been buried in demolition and construction work at the new Vorshlag shop (we should hopefully be moved in there by mid to late August), and there's a lot of ground to cover so I'm going to post two updates to cover it all. Some of the forums I cross-post this thread onto (namely roadraceautox) have post count limits, so it might turn into 3 or 4 posts on those, but so be it.

Let's touch base on the latest batch of new parts that have been added (or are in the process of going on), that was amassing before my last thread update:

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/ARH-Header-install-2011GT/i-MdtRCvN/0/S/DSC3306-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/ARH-Header-install-2011GT/i-hwk3HmM/0/S/DSC3313-S.jpg
New full length headers + cat pipe weighed 44.5 lbs; the stock bits were 49.6 lbs

The ARH full length 1-7/8" primary headers and X-pipe with cats were installed, and boy are they nice - but a whipping to install. Two of our guys here were working in 105 inside our (old) shop, and that kind of heat. Still, even with a lift and the right tools it took about 10 hours to install these headers. Not the most fun job. The problem is getting access to the stock headers... we saw no less than 3 methods for this car, but the most straightforward was "just pull the front crossmember out". So the engine was held in place while the car was raised on the lift, the steering shaft was disconnected, as were the strut tops, and the K-member was lowered from underneath. ARH swears you can just "partially remove" the rear of the K-member and save time, but we did it this way instead.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/ARH-Header-install-2011GT/i-JwWtVFp/0/S/DSC4149-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/ARH-Header-install-2011GT/i-jCFxtTW/0/S/DSC4151-S.jpg

Not much to see there, I know... but the sound is better, though still eerily quiet. I guess the stock mufflers are still keeping the sound well under control. At least it made some good gains on the dyno. We took the car to True Street Motorsports in McKinney for a re-turn with the new headers and they found some good gains. The new track tune's "404" whp peak number is +21 whp, which doesn't seem like a huge jump, but you have to take several factors into consideration: this is using the new "track" tune with the wussy throttle map, which before only made 383 whp (vs 392 whp for the "street tune" with the berserko, stock throttle map). Also, it was 107F when they did the dyno pulls! We were pressed for time so they didn't do a "street tune" pull, but I suspect it will make another 10 whp, like before. And when it cools down? Yea... it won't suck.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/ARH-Header-install-2011GT/i-jCBZ78D/0/S/DSC4148-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-whRsXjb/0/S/scan0151-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-whRsXjb/0/XL/scan0151-XL.jpg)
Click dyno graph (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-whRsXjb/0/XL/scan0151-XL.jpg) above for larger image

It has been crazy hot in Texas for the past month, and even with "SAE correction" factors, dyno numbers still suffer in this kind of heat. He said it was pulling timing on every dyno run, due to the high temps. Picked up power everywhere above 2600 rpm. We'll re-dyno the car with the new mufflers, when temps are more sane, and I suspect we will see a bigger jump. It sure feels a lot faster. The build quality of the entire system was TOP NOTCH. If you'd like to get some American Racing Headers for your domestic car, let me know - Vorshlag is an ARH dealer now.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Exhaust-Sound-Testing/i-3zjH9F4/0/S/Mustang-stock-WOT-87dB-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Exhaust-Sound-Testing/12871330_8BLAa#1384038233_3zjH9F4-A-LB) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Exhaust-Sound-Testing/i-WTRpLCX/0/S/Mustang-stock-45mph-75dB-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Exhaust-Sound-Testing/12871330_8BLAa#1384046026_WTRpLCX-A-LB)
WOT and 45mph drive-by sound tests with "stock everything"

So that same week we did six sound tests; two tests (WOT in 3rd gear and drive-by at 45mph) for each of three configurations of parts. The First set-up was a re-test with OEM airbox/exhaust (WOT = 87 dB, drive-by = 75 dB ), then with the Steeda Cold Air and tune (WOT = 87 dB, drive-by = 80 dB ), then with the Steeda Cold Air + ARH long tubes and cat X-pipe + tune (WOT = 93 dB, drive-by = 75 dB ).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Exhaust-Sound-Testing/i-c9cMfNt/0/S/Mustang-CAI-WOT-87dB-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Exhaust-Sound-Testing/12871330_8BLAa#1384058319_c9cMfNt-A-LB) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Exhaust-Sound-Testing/i-3cvnk84/0/S/Mustang-LT-WOT-93dB-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Exhaust-Sound-Testing/12871330_8BLAa#1384094770_3cvnk84-A-LB)
WOT with Steeda CAI and another with the Steeda CAI + Long Tube headers

As you can see & hear in the 93 dB test video, the car is still damned quiet at Wide Open Throttle with the new headers, and we're putting the sound meter much closer to the car than the SCCA does at Solo events. The steady speed drive-by tests show no sound increase at all over stock, and driving the car on the highway, it is still absurdly quiet.

I went back and looked at our February sound tests (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Exhaust-Sound-Testing/12871330_8BLAa#1194917562_6g82G), also with the car totally stock, and it was only 82 dB (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Exhaust-Sound-Testing/12871330_8BLAa#1194917562_6g82G). These tests were made with the same car, same tires, same sound meter, on the same road, meter located in the same location, and it was 5 dB quieter. Can't explain that one. Later this year, possibly after the Watts Link is in (because it adds new exhaust routing challenges), I'll build a custom axle-back exhaust. This will shed some pounds, un-cork some exhaust flow, and probably sound a good deal better. Its still just... too quiet.

more below...

08-16-2013, 01:41 PM
continued from above

We just got the custom re-valved Moton Clubsport shocks yesterday, but haven't put them on yet. I will cover that in a future update - the guys here have been working on the 330 motor swap and our massive influx of orders, and I'm buried in the new construction, so these Motons won't go on the car until sometime in August, probably after we've moved into the new shop. Any higher end shock set-up with remote reservoirs and hoses takes a bit of extra time, care, and planning to install properly. Add to that the copious pictures we'll be doing for an installation gallery. We've ordered and received the custom rear upper mounts needed for these shocks and for this chassis, as well as high-end rubber grommets bulkheads for the hose pass-thrus, but there's still a good 8+ hours of wrenching, drilling, reservoir bracket/mounting, bushing machining, and four corner set-up to perform. Never rush an install on high end shocks.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Moton-Club-Sport-Shocks/i-RX94VfQ/0/S/DSC3066-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Moton-Club-Sport-Shocks/i-QQN9zxj/0/S/DSC3064-S.jpg

These double adjustable monotube shocks have remote reservoirs, and were customized with both new pistons and new valving from AST/Moton USA. After they dyno'd the off-the-shelf S197 Club Sports they saw the need for some valving changes, and we will work with these guys to get these set-up for autocross and track use on the S197 Mustang over the coming months (the new Vorshlag shop will be 200 feet from AST/Moton USA's facility, so that helps). The custom upper rear mounts converts Moton's "eye to eye" shocks to "eye to pin", but I'll still need to machine some bushings on the lathe to fit these mounts and upper sphericals. This is common on race car shocks, BTW. Vorshlag will stock the rear mounts and supply the custom bushings, plus the front Vorshlag camber plates, allowing customers to buy a Moton shock kit from us that more easily bolts-onto this chassis. The picture (above right) of the rear shock does not show the screw-on spherical upper end, nor the eye-to-pin adapter mounts that we have acquired.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-ZtWTCnp/0/S/DSC3358-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-TfWpQ9p/0/S/DSC3361-S.jpg

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-cQRp3W5/0/S/DSC3367-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-CkcLzdv/0/S/DSC3363-S.jpg

The prototype D-Force/Vorshlag 18x10" wheels have been mounted with an extra set of (track abused but still deep tread) 265/40/18 Yokohama AD08 tires, and we've been bombing around on the street for a couple of weeks on these without incident - well, other than the many lustful stares the car now gets rolling on these big meats. They look... frakking awesome. The fit is perfect - we nailed the offset exactly. All of that wheel testing paid off! Spoke to caliper clearance is ridiculous - there's almost an inch between the inside of the spokes and the big Brembo 4-pot. There's more fender room outboard up front and inboard out back, but movement of the wheel flange in either direction would require spacers up front or cause the wheels to poke out in the rear... this is the best "bolt it onto either end of the car and it fits" offset, which most people want. Sure, two separate offsets could allow another 1/2" of width, but most folks don't want a different front and rear wheel. This allows for one wheel to fit anywhere, and easy tire rotation. Stay tuned for more information about the initial pre-purchase specials we will offer on the production batch of S197 18x10's; these wheels will be available exclusively form Vorshlag.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-PqhwFd6/0/S/brailleautoalmountl-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-GkwRWfm/0/S/680billetlg-S.jpg

Last up, the Odyssey PC680 battery. We picked up one of these 14 pound AGM batteries (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC9768/1232392021_AJ3Ry-L.jpg) months back but finally got around to ordering a battery mounting bracket to help install this thing. We ordered a Braille unit for $76 from TireRack (http://www.tirerack.com/accessories/detail.jsp?ID=36). CNC machined, black anodized, beautifully built, but it is made for a Braille battery. Didn't fit the Odyssey, at all, so we found another battery bracket from West Coast Batteries - right from the Odyssey website (http://www.odysseybatteries.com/accessories/billet.htm). $55 and it looks as good if not better than the Braille. Why we didn't see this one and order it first, I cannot explain?! That's now on order and we'll install it soon.

That's it for the latest parts - the coverage of our last autocross (SCCA SW Divisional #3) is below.

08-16-2013, 01:42 PM
Project Update for August 2, 2011 (part 2 of 2): Sorry for the delay on "part 2", but the construction at the new Vorshlag headquarters is eating up every minute of my day. This past week the demolition inside the new space was finished and electrical work is finally getting back on schedule. Let's finish the July updates for the Mustang while I have a few free minutes.

SW Div Autocross #3 - Our most recent event in the car was a 2-day autocross in mid July, where Amy and I drove it (Costas had work stuff pop up). This was the 3rd of 3 SCCA Southwest Divisional Series events, run on a pair of Roger Johnson courses across the biggest patch of concrete around, in College Station, Texas. I went to school there (TAMU!) and ran with the college sports car club for many years (TAMSCC!), and even setup dozens of courses there myself as autocross chairman over the years. The area they had acquired for this weekend was the most prime real estate available at this old air force base, and most importantly it was our first real race in the STX Mustang on concrete , making a great test of the car, just a month before Nationals.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/i-rBzF8bw/0/S/scan0158-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/i-rBzF8bw/0/XL/scan0158-XL.jpg) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/i-7jTRd6S/0/S/scan0159-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/i-7jTRd6S/0/XL/scan0159-XL.jpg)
(click thumbnails of course maps to enlarge)

The courses were... very narrow-car-centric, very tight, and very busy. And long - it took 25 minutes to walk the damn things. Cones frakking everywhere. They were very challenging to drive, as is evidenced by the large number of cones hit and DNFs over both days. It looked to me that the small/narrow cars did disproportionally well, due to the narrowness of some transitions (where it was a 3 transition section in wide cars, but a straight in a Miata), but "that's autocrossing". Not knocking Roger, as this is what we see at Nationals from some course designers, and he was probably just prepping everyone for what they should expect. Just can be very frustrating in a wide car like the S197 Mustang.

Results: https://axwaresystems.com/axorm/files/SOWDIV/div3_2011_fin.html#STX
PAX results: https://axwaresystems.com/axorm/files/SOWDIV/div3_2011_pax.html
Pictures: www.vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/

It was also damned hot - Texas is in the middle of over 30+ days of 100F heat, and this weekend in July was no exception. The SW Divisional Steward (Todd!) had brought out two massive swamp coolers and a big tent, and we hung out there during our "off" heat on Sunday, which was a life saver. I was also lucky to score a prime work assignment driving the chase car, picking up the cone sheets between runs, so I shouldn't complain about the heat. Vorshlag being a SW Division sponsor doesn't hurt, I guess! But it was so hot that it became another tire-boiling event, with Amy and I running in the same heat, back to back to back.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/i-X2qTpTX/0/S/DSC3377-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/i-QgfcSQT/0/S/DSC3442-S.jpg

This time we brought a new tire sprayer (20X better than the last!), and used melted iced water from the cooler to spray the tires, hitting the rears 2-3 times between runs - and boy were they hot, especially after my runs. Since the run order had us running close together, we had a 5 minute clock on us between runs (grid was very well run), which made driver changes pretty hectic again. I guess the car handled as well as we could expect given the course design, excessive heat, and horrific steering shudder. We had the new ARH headers and cat-X-pipe and custom tune, with 21 more hp at the wheels across the rev range for this event as well. Rear tire spin was again a serious issue, but its just another element we have to work with until we can get the Watts and a better differential (lots more fab time and testing needed). I'd rather have too much power than not enough, but if I was smarter I'd have too little weight and less power, as that is what SCCA Solo rewards. Like, say, a 1900 pound ST car in STX. That would be fast! :D

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/i-bXQkZmf/0/S/DSC3380-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/i-D8DtxtF/0/S/DSC3382-S.jpg

Our regular, faster STX competitors from the Texas Region were not at this event - the Maxcy's, and Ledbetter's 328is BMWs stayed in Dallas this weekend - so we didn't have much to gauge our performance on, except each others times, STR/STU times, and PAX. Not to knock the two STX competitors who were at this Div, who were in a stone stock RX8 on the OEM tires driving their guts out; they had a lot less prep on their car for the class. My drive in STX class was bad, frustrating, and I coned my fastest runs on both days, which were 1.4 seconds quicker on Saturday and 1 second quicker on Sunday, than my clean runs. I cannot explain this huge gap in my clean vs dirty runs, other than I drove like a hack. I haven't been leaving that much time out there, even in this "difficult to drive car". This was almost as frustrating as the STU Nats win I threw away in 2005 with cones on 2 different runs (as did my co-driver). So this weekend I had 3 cones in 8 runs over 2 days (whereas Amy hit 7 over both days, but never on her quickest runs!), which was still a fairly low cone count for this event (some normally quick drivers had upwards of 3-7+ cones per run and cone counts in the teens for the two days - it was a busy course), but those cones cost me dearly. Even without those cones, and 2.4 seconds quicker times, my PAX placing would have still been "meh". I was 6 seconds behind STR and STU over both days as well - not a good finish.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/i-D6QXzKJ/0/S/DSC3410-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/i-F7knjmN/0/S/DSC3435-S.jpg
Left: Terry, driving around a dirty sweeper sideways, like a jackhole. Right: Amy, driving in the same corner, was smooth and fast

more below...

08-16-2013, 01:43 PM
continued from above

My dirty driving and her smoothness allowed Amy to "skirt" me pretty badly for both days - around .9 sec. She had me by .4 sec on Saturday and .5 sec on Sunday clean. It was already frustrating enough but then every announcer in each run group on both days had to rub that it in continuously. "Terry's getting skirted!" comments were popping up every 5 minutes, even in the 2 heats we didn't run in... Ugh. Here's a tip - don't co-drive with your wife if she's fast and you have thin skin. ;) Amy was a good sport and didn't kick me while I was down, at least.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/i-B6TsL5q/0/S/DSC3428-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/i-JwsTt9t/0/S/DSC3480-S.jpg

Amy drove some solidly quick runs but still barely won the PAXed "women's class" at the event (a class we have in this Division to avoid having a dozen 1 car entry Ladies' classes), and the win pushed her to the 3 event Division Series W class championship. She had to fight for it, beating some quick drivers/cars. My STX class win did the same for me, but with the Maxcy & Ledbetter STX cars not in attendance at 2 of the 3 SW Div events, it was a hollow victory. More important - our PAX times were NOT good (https://axwaresystems.com/axorm/files/SOWDIV/div3_2011_pax.html), slotting us well down in the 29th and 34th places. Yeesh... This again points clearly how far back the car still is, better than anything else. We weren't keeping up with the two fast STX cars/drivers at regional events, and not PAXing well at these Divisional events, so why would we take this car to Nationals?

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/i-cnKkBH9/0/S/DSC3489-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/i-r9CB5W4/0/S/DSC3440-S.jpg

Long story short - we aren't going to take it to Nationals this year. Its more than just the poor performance of the car (which has been consistently slow over 3 drivers, all of whom have trophied or won at National SCCA events) that's keeping us from bringing the red Mustang to STX/Nationals this year. There's lots of other reasons, but the lack of performance in the car with 3 somewhat proven drivers, and the wacked out steering problem we haven't nailed down yet, are reason enough.

I'm also swamped for the entire month with moving Vorshlag into its new building. What I thought would be 8-10 days of construction is looking more like 20-25, including days, nights and weekends. We had to gut the commercial space to make the layout work for us, but at least now we'll have a pretty big shop - that's air conditioned. When its 100-107F outside its still 100+ inside a non-climate controlled shop. Everyone here will be glad to get out of this crushing heat and into a well lit, spaceous, and air conditioned shop space.

I could point to a bunch of other reasons, like the continued allowance of the ST>STX "upclass jumping" (aka: poaching), which is finally supposed to end in 2012. Then there's the expense of going to Nationals; we'll drop $3000+ in entry fees, fuel towing to/from Lincoln from Dallas, hotel rooms, and food + each of us will lose a week of work. Mostly its the performance of the car and the timing with our shop move.

More preparation needed - Costas and I would consider the car about "half-prepped", at best. We still have the single adjustable shocks on there, and however good they may be, they are still single adjustable shocks and can only get us so far if conditions change or we need to alter the set-up. We do have the Moton Club Sport doubles revalved, and pretty much ready to go onto the car, as of last Friday - but its going to take 1-2 days of testing to get the car reliably fast, possibly including a revalve of the shocks, and we just don't have the days to attack that this month. We're out of time, and the car is just not ready.

We've had a dozen people say "just slap some Hoosiers on it and run ESP", but there's a lot more to ESP prep than big gumball tires, and I'm not fool enough to think we'd keep up with Madderash, Merideth, or Strano in an STX prepped car with Hoosiers thrown on at the last minute.

We're not giving up on the Mustang. I agreed up front to give it 2 years in STX, and that's what we plan to do. Next season we will have time to make a better lateral locating device for the solid rear axle, like a Watts Link, which the car needs for several reasons. Plus there are lots of rear suspension tweaks in STX, unique to a stick axle car, we can still exploit that we just haven't touched. We also never got a chance to swap in/tune/test with an aftermarket differential, which any autocrossed car with over 400 whp desperately needs, especially one that comes with a craptastic clutch-style diff like this car. The electronic steering "issue" is also pretty massive, getting worse, and Ford cannot seem to fix it at the moment. You don't take a broken car to Nationals. And the car isn't even competitive locally, yet. It's as simple is that, and all 3 drivers were in agreement for this year. We ran out of time with respect to testing and additional parts development, and just were not seeing the results we needed to see in the last 2 months of running events to then invest thousands of dollars to go get ~30-40th place in STX at Nationals, especially when ST cars were allowed to run in STX that weigh half as much as ours'.

I hate excuses, but we do have quite a long list amassed this time. :D We've had several choice co-drives offered for Nationals for Costas, myself, and Amy, and as much as those are appreciated, the business construction/move work is really where we need to be spending our time this month. So we'll spend August setting up the new shop instead of last minute testing, parts installation, and a week in Lincoln. We have the $2011 Challenge to prep for in just 2 month's time as well, and our crapcan E30 V8 needs a lot of repair and set-up work to get ready for that. After that event in early October, we'll jump back to the Mustang (and also the TTD 330 with it's new motor, the E46 LS1 Alpha car development, the black E36 M3 LS1 car, and many other project cars in the Vorshlag shop). Its a bitter pill to swallow, and I'm going to miss being at Nationals this year, but I've been enough times in a row to afford to skip this year.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/i-w4x6c2F/0/S/Amy-Day1-Run2-SWDiv3-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/18123888_QVbvvf#1413366601_w4x6c2F-A-LB) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/i-HSqrJrw/0/S/Terry-Day2-Run4-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/18123888_QVbvvf#1413668534_HSqrJrw-A-LB)
Click the thumbnails above for HiDef videos from Day 1 (Amy (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/18123888_QVbvvf#1413366601_w4x6c2F-A-LB), left) and Day 2 (Terry (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Div3-Riverside-071611/18123888_QVbvvf#1413668534_HSqrJrw-A-LB), right) from the Divisional

An opportunity popped up and we will have the Mustang in a booth at the Yellow Rose Classic car show (http://yrcs.ntmc.org/) Aug 13-14th in Ft Worth, if you happen to be going stop by and say "hi". Look for us right across from the SCCA Texas Region folks. I don't know if I'll be there both days, but the car and someone from Vorshlag will be. :)

Since we won't be at the Solo Nationals, please go here to request Vorshlag decals (http://vorshlag.com/blog/?p=97) for your car. We can make them to order in a few different colors, but already have lots of 24" decals ready to mail out in black, silver and white. VTPP Testers at Nationals need to be running Vorshlag decals, per VTPP agreements. AST/Moton will have their trailer at Nationals and will have a limited number of Vorshlag decals on hand.

Good luck to all of the drivers at Nats this year!

08-16-2013, 01:51 PM
Project Update for Nov 23, 2011: To our USA friends, Happy Thanksgiving! After over 2 months off from autocrossing in the Mustang (GRM Challenge, a NASA track day, a Hankook Arrive and Drive, plus some other events were jammed in there) Amy and I managed to get it to the last Texas Region SCCA autocross of the year this past Sunday, the 20th. It was run at the Lone Star Park horse track parking lot, my "not so favorite" local autocross site. The site is big, less than an hour from my house, has some cool elevation changes and on-site restroom facilities, so I should love it. It just has a lower grip surface that comes apart badly. It makes for a very narrow "clean line" that you have to stay on at all costs.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/i-4FWrHph/0/S/DSC6053-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/i-t3FVT2h/0/S/DSC6074a-S.jpg

Last 2011 Autocross

Overall, it was actually a very fun day, surface degradation notwithstanding. Jarrett Jan laid out a pretty fun course that was technically challenging, plenty long (60 seconds), yet well marked. The hard working SCCA crew spent some serious time cleaning the course surface before the first runs, using brooms and air blowers to move hundreds of pounds of gravel off line. So the first run group has some clean course runs. :) The weather was looking very iffy (high chance of rain), and due to a site-forced re-scheduling, the event was moved a week back from its original date, so we were expecting a very low turn-out - but 82 racers made it out and we had a great event, running in STU and STU-W.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/i-cSQrpKV/0/S/DSC6078-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/i-RJTLxwB/0/S/DSC6084-S.jpg

New Tires, Wheels, DDP pistons in AST struts

So yea, if you were paying attention just then we didn't run in STX. Let me back up a bit to explain why. In July of this year Amy won a random drawing for a free set of Bridgestones at the NSTC event. One of those "fill out this survey" deals. Whatever the reason for the tires, Amy already had a great relationship with Bridgestone for several years, after winning a National Championship (STU-L) on them in 2007 and being sponsored driver in 2008. So we were excited to be running their tires again, no matter how we got them. :) They sent us a set of 275/40/18 RE-11s (the biggest 18" size they made, by the way) and a big box of decals, and we mounted them up on the D-Force 18x10" wheels on Friday before the autocross. I gladly put on all of the decals they sent - give me $1400 of free tires and I'll damn sure run your decals!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-cGWdHHb/0/S/DSC6005-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-8RdgZJ3/0/S/DSC6030a-S.jpg

We've got pallets of these 18x10" wheels (5x114.3 mm PCD, fits '05-up Mustang and '08+ Subaru Impreza; I'm almost 100% certain it fits the RX8 as well - will know soon!) arriving at Vorshlag right around the end of this year ($300, 19 lbs!) so I really wanted to do an autocross and a track day on the wheels first, and fit them with something wide like these 275s - which fit the 10" wheels perfectly. Sure, a wider tire would work even better, and for a more serious STU effort we would go with a 285mm tire. It was just that the widest RE-11 was this 275, so that's what we asked for and received. We'll use them for street use, drag racing, maybe a random track day, and this last autocross of the year. Good test miles on the D-Force wheels, for sure.

I was really impressed by these RE-11 - I think its just as fast and as competitive as the Dunlop, Hankook, or Yokohama. We drove that day in the cold and later when it warmed up a bit, and it was ripping up pavement. I think the RE-11's higher price and "lemming effect" of the online community has given this tire a bad rap. I'm going to start keeping the RE-11 on my "go to" list for Street Touring choices. Also street drove on them Monday in the rain and I was able to use 100% full throttle in 1st gear. That's never happened before on this car... the Pirelli's are a joke in the wet. These RE-11s are stupid good in the wet.

These wider/taller tires fit the 10" wide wheels and the car PERFECTLY, with the tall 40 series sidewall making for great ride quality on the street. Filled out the big wheel openings and were only 1/2" shorter than the mammoth 255/40/19 tires it came with. Anything we can do to lessen the effective rear gear ratio (3.31) is a plus, extending 2nd gear speeds even higher - into the mid 70 mph range @ 7800 rpm.

So I was curious if the wider and significantly taller tires would be a significant performance improvement, going from the 18x9" wheel and 265/35/18 Hankook RS-3s to the 18x10" wheel and 275/40/18 RE-11s. The 265 Hankooks had so much shorter and stiffer sidewalls, I felt the 'Stones would be a big improvement. And I was right.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-WNtvKWf/0/S/DSC6031-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-6bLNcmB/0/S/DSC6028a-S.jpg

We also got to try out some brand new shock pistons from AST - their new Double Digressive Pistons, or DDPs, were installed into our 4100 front struts a few weeks ago. We have Moton Clubsport doubles ready to install for this car but have been waiting to try the DDP equipped (and renamed) 4150 AST shocks at both autocross and track events first, before we switch to the Mo's.

I'm glad we waited! These DDP pistons are amazing - they ride even better on the street than before, but when you turn up the knobs they make some SERIOUS rebound forces. This piston is a game changer, and starting in 2012 all 4000 series ASTs will have these pistons (and a new shock name). Be prepared for a slight price increase on the AST 4000 series on Jan 1st 2012 - but the added costs will include these DDP pistons, improved top guides, upgraded seals, aluminum shock bodies, and several other innovations - all things learned from racing in GRAND AM in 2011 (where ASTs took 28 of the 30 podium positions in GS for the year!). The new 4150 is coming soon...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/AST-4100-Shocks/i-PCVBBK6/0/S/scan-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/AST-4100-Shocks/i-PCVBBK6/0/L/scan-L.jpg) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/AST-4100-Shocks/i-HqN8tKq/0/S/ddp-scan-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/AST-4100-Shocks/i-HqN8tKq/0/L/ddp-scan-L.jpg) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/AST-5200-Shocks/IMG2204/1127709224_56F6B-S-1.jpg
(click 2 left images for larger sizes)

This was also our first "normal" autocross event running with the additional ~30 whp from the ARH full length headers. We picked the larger 1-7/8" primary headers with their cat equipped X-pipe, and it added a very noticeable bump in power across the entire RPM range, but strangely added no additional outside noise (as measured in our WOT and drive-by sound tests - see previous thread entries here). The car feels so much quicker, but I was worried it would be even harder to control wheelspin on corner exits.

more below...

08-16-2013, 01:52 PM
continued from above

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/i-cmV26p8/0/S/DSC6117-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/i-gvqGq88/0/S/DSC6116b-S.jpg

Boy was I ever wrong. The other changes (wheel, tire, and DDP pistons) must have combined to do something magic to the car - it had corner exit grip in 2nd gear like NEVER before. As long as I kept the outside/loaded tires on the clean line it was clawing out of corners, and the car was FAST. I was running in STU since it was +10mm out of spec for STX, but I still compared times to the serious STX we have in our region, with some outside region drivers arriving as well (Paul Carrig's DSG/AWD VW). So STX ran in heat #2, and I ran in heat #3, at the end of the day when the course was the dirtiest possible (there were piles of gravel just offline). Still, for the first time all year I was able to beat Ledbetter and his co-driver Brian in their 328is, and was only .018 sec behind Maxcy in his 328is STX car. That was nice, and we have still barely scratched the surface of the prep on this car. Amy won the PAXed "Womens" class, having to put an extra 1.1 seconds on Jen Maxcy in her STX car to win by a scant .075 sec on PAX, since the STU factor is so much worse (Jen won the W class for the year - congrats!).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/i-CGghxLw/0/S/Terry-run4-LSP-112011-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/20202873_m6ZXQt#1599543248_CGghxLw-A-LB) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/i-46NnjNT/0/S/Amy-run4-112011-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/20202873_m6ZXQt#1599632616_46NnjNT-A-LB)
Left: Terry's Run 4 in-car video (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/20202873_m6ZXQt#1599543248_CGghxLw-A-LB) Right: Amy's 4th run (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/20202873_m6ZXQt#1599632616_46NnjNT-A-LB) (timer borked). Her 3rd run is here (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/20202873_m6ZXQt#1599772199_TQNLqr3-A-LB), which won "W".

So in the end, I PAXed 13th overall, which was my best PAX finish in a long time; Amy PAXed 31st, which is far from her best. She was a full 2 seconds back from my times but I think the unexpected corner exit grip, lateral grip and braking traction from the new tires/shocks/wheels threw her way off. She needs more seat time to adjust. The car just WORKED like it never has before, and my spaz-monkey driving style of throwing the car on its nose under heavy Left Foot Braking and being super aggressive on the throttle on exit finally worked for me. It was just... hooked up. I dunno. I was also extra careful to keep the outside tires on the clean line (driving on gravel with the inboard tires, and she seemed to get caught out in the marbles on one showcase turn on every run. We don't know what she ran on her 4th run (timer error) but I hand timed the video at a nearly identical 62.3 sec time, so there was no hero run lost for her.

Two odd things didn't happen at this event: the steering never got into its feedback loop on me, and the brakes are completely ICE mode free, and I pushed the HELL out of the brakes. Amy said she noticed one steering shudder moment coming out of one slalom but that was it. The HP+ pads were rock solid but are getting below 1/2 pad thickness. I noticed some brake pedal squishiness in runs 3 and 4, and mention it in the video (I remind myself of these things in verbal "notes" when I am driving on camera; had totally forgotten about that until I watched it today). We will bleed the brakes soon and keep an eye on the fluid change intervals (Motul600). Still gong to keep working on a steering rack solution, which will happen over the winter (probably just buy a new electric steering rack and stick it in the car).

Results and Links

Final Results: http://autocross.com/tr/2011_9_final.htm
PAX Results: http://autocross.com/tr/2011_9_pax.htm
Photo Gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/
Videos: Terry Run 4 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/20202873_m6ZXQt#1599543248_CGghxLw-A-LB) (60.404), Amy Run 3 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/20202873_m6ZXQt#1599772199_TQNLqr3-A-LB) (62.347), Amy Run 4 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/20202873_m6ZXQt#1599632616_46NnjNT-A-LB) (no official time; hand timed at 62.3)

Obviously an STU car should have been a full second quicker than STX, but this was still a monumental showing, and I have plenty of excuses! :D One, this is hardly maxed out for STU - I'd be running an 11" wide wheel with a 285mm tire for that class. We also didn't have the race seats in for this event (took them out for the winter), which hurt us sitting in the barcalounger stock seats. Lastly the front camber was set to minimum on one side, which really didn't help. Long story there: basically there was a very busy week at the shop and the Mustang didn't get any pre-race preparation this week except for me mounting the wheels/tires and adding Bridgestone decals when I came into the shop for a bit on Saturday, between other fires I worked on that day. We had removed one corner of the front suspension this past week to take measurements for an all-new S197 camber plate design, and we never re-set the camber on that corner. Doh. It was set on -2.0 on the RF and -3.2 on the LF, so it cornered better one way than the other. I guess we push my cars down to a lower priority due to increased amount of customer service work. ;)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/i-jL6RhBq/0/S/DSC6088-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/i-6FGxGhN/0/S/DSC6087-S.jpg

Anyway, it was an encouraging event when compared to STX and other classes with very talented drivers in them, more than the "near win" autocross in September, which was on the freagin TMS Road Course (where I should have easily won STX with the +200 hp advantage, but drove like an ass). These STX cars I'm running against are FAST, and a good gauge. We had Mark Sipe in his STX RX8 there as well, running in "X" class (with a 60.5+1), and fast STS drivers running in the 59.5-60.0 range (also in X). So we are at least "in the ballpark" of where I think we should be, for STX. If we can get the rear suspension tweaked to put power down like this on the 265s, we might actually have a shot in this big pony car pig (40 series 265s).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/i-6Z3bPpZ/0/S/DSC6097-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-112011/i-9CTBWqj/0/S/DSC6146-S.jpg

Oh! We finally got the 3" 304L mandrel bent exhaust bends built and in stock this week, so we're busy building our first customer dual 3" mandrel stainless exhaust with the new bits. Ryan has TIG welded up a nice system so far, and I can't wait to let him loose on the Mustang here, which still has the OEM heavy/restrictive/stupid quiet "after cat" exhaust. Once that is on I will take the car back to True Street Motorsports for another custom dyno tune, and finally get the "street" tune" we didn't have time for before. I think it will exceed 430 whp, in STX legal trim (last dyno pull was done in 107F August temperature). It could be knocking on the door of 500 crank hp, which is pretty cool. We're going to hit the 1/4 mile dragstrip right after that, and I better see some low 12 second ETs @ 115 mph (it ran [email protected] mph in bone stock trim). Then we have LOTS of rear suspension development and even some STX legal aero bits to build for the car over the winter. Hankook just came out with a big 265/40/18 RS-3 that needs a look and I still have yet to test on the rear 17x9/265/40/17 Dunlops.

I'll check back into this thread as soon as we have something new to show... probably December. There's also a track at at ECR on Dec 10th we might take this out for a few laps in. PRI is Dec 1-3, and a LeMons race Dec 17th.. its looking like a hectic month.


08-16-2013, 01:52 PM
Project Update for Dec 9, 2011: There's an ECR track day this Saturday (ECR Toy Run) and AJ and Ryan have been wrenching this week on both our 2001 BMW 330 and the 2011 Mustang, to take these two cars out for one last blast around the track for the year. The BMW hasn't been on track or autocrossed in over a year, but its been running around with its fresh 2005 motor for a couple of months and and we've finally found all of the clunks and bangs and repaired them (the ball joints in fairly new front control arms had already sh!t the bed! Lesson learned: don't buy cheap, no-name replacement parts).


Before we got started on the exhaust, I had AJ swap the race seats back in, then align, corner weigh and corner balance the Mustang. The weights were looking good - this was before the exhaust work lined out below. The weight above (3483) was with the trunk junk still installed; it was 3472 lbs with low fuel (autocross weight) and the junk out, so it is slowly getting lower. Not too terrible for this big pig - the car started out life at 3563 lbs w/o fuel (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5515/1085736908_6Z2ki-M.jpg), and we've seen over 3600 lbs stock, with some gas in the tank. The 18x10's and the 275/40/18 tires are a bit heavier than the normal 18x9/265 tires we run, so knock off another 40 pounds out for the "STX" autocross weight. And we're going to get some weight out of the exhaust, today...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-59TXtXw/0/S/DSC6310-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-gb5mnLc/0/S/DSC6311-S.jpg

The Mustang is getting a new, 304SS, 3" mandrel bent, "after-X" exhaust here at Vorshlag today. It has been running around with the ARH 1-7/8" primary full length headers, the ARH catted X-pipe, but the stock rear exhaust section from just after the X. The drive-by sound test numbers didn't go up at all with the headers, which meant the stock mufflers were choking the the exhaust noise and flow down considerably. The stock mufflers looked heavy, too, and the over-axle section and resonators are "factory crushed" with crazy crimps and "clearance" bends. Its been bugging me for months, and we finally found time to attack the Mustang after our fabricator finished with McCall's Z3M dual 3" exhaust (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?p=56910#post56910) (which is incredible). Did I mention that Vorshlag is offering custom mandrel bent exhaust fabrication now? :D

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-767t7jc/0/S/DSC6307-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-8krNJ28/0/S/DSC6302-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-cZ8MP9D/0/S/DSC6312-S.jpg

I was right about the Mustang's stock mufflers - they are 25 pounds each! The after-X exhaust section with mufflers was 75 pounds just by itself. Factory exhausts are ALWAYS crazy heavy, and restrictive, and too quiet. We'll fix that!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-HztDp96/0/S/DSC6320-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-ZJnt9Wf/1/S/DSC6316-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-ZKjt4MR/0/S/DSC6318-S.jpg

While Ryan was TIG welding up the exhaust AJ was swapping to the dedicated set of track rotors and pads, plus giving the car a brake fluid flush.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-RTP2j2S/0/S/DSC6330-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-Xd4NvWS/0/S/DSC6332-S.jpg

This is the final routing, above. It gets within 2 inches of a fuel filler line so we wrapped that part of the exhaust with header wrap, just to be extra safe (there was zero issue with it after 2 drivers tracked it all day). To see how much weight the new dual 3" exhaust shed, we did a quick scale check as it came down - 3442 lbs. So it lost exactly 30 more pounds just in the rear exhaust. Most of that was in the mufflers, but some was in the larger diameter 16 gauge pipes, too.


After we got home that night, before we went out to grab some dinner in the Mustang, I shot a little video (below) of Amy in the Mustang starting it up, idling, and a little blip of the throttle. It sounds pretty subdued at idle and cruising around, but at WOT it is definitely "easier to hear the engine" now. :D

click for video of exhaust test (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/14599286_2tnnDT#1629250266_bVR6w7M-A-LB)

Next week we'll take the Mustang back to True Street and have it re-dyno tuned, and finally get the damned "street" tune, that takes out our weaker "autocross" throttle mapping. I will do another thread update after the dyno runs, with a report of how the track event went (Mustang was great!), what times it at ECR, etc.


08-16-2013, 01:53 PM
Project Update for Dec 21, 2011: So much has been going on with my racing schedule in the past 2 weeks, sorry for the delayed update. Dec 10th I drove my 330 BMW (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?p=56916#post56916) and our 2011 Mustang GT at the ECR Toy run on the 10th, then did a 4 hour karting enduro at DKC (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8010) Dec 13th, then dyno'd the Mustang on the 15th, then drove 275 miles worth of laps in a 15 hour LeMons race at ECR Dec 17-18th (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8011). And December is usually a slow month on our race schedule?!

So the pertinent bits for this thread are the dyno number and the ECR track day in the Mustang. Yes, I said I wasn't tracking the Mustang anymore, but we had sold Amy's 1997 M3 already, she wanted something to run at this event (we both run it each year), and I wanted to get one more track day in with the new AST 4150 style DDP pistons and valving we were working with AST-USA to verify. The street ride on full soft was better than ever with the new pistons/base valving, and it worked extremely well at the last 2 autocross events. If we could get one track day in, with the knobs turned up, it would be a great data point. And not to mention, ECR is very bumpy. So I broke my promise to myself - we tracked the Mustang again. And OMFG, I'm so glad we did! :D

Track Day in Mustang + BMW

As I already posted about in the BMW 330 project thread (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?p=56916#post56916), the folks who run the 2.5 mile road course at Eagles Canyon Raceway always put on a good "fun" track day every December. Its only $50 + a toy + some canned goods to run, makes for great donations to local families in need, and which brings out all sorts of casual racers that want to run on track for lower costs + a few serious track guys/racers that want to squeeze in a track event at the very end of the year. I guess we fell into the latter group, but barely. :p

Pictures and videos are here (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/ECR-Toy-Run-2011/).

ECR put on another great Toy Run event, with 90+ cars in attendance on a cold 30F wintery day. The track was mostly dry from previous rains and the weather warmed up into the mid 50s that afternoon, so we had a great time, peeling layers of clothing off as the day warmed up. The plan was to for me to primarily run sessions in the BMW 330 in Red group, logging its first track miles on the "new" 2005 M54 longblock, and its first miles driven in anger in over a year. Brought the transponder charged up, had sticker 285 R6s mounted (which we can just barely squeeze into the build for TTD use), so I planned on putting in a mild first session, coming in and checking everything. Then go out and pound out a lot of laps in it, steadily pushing the car and trying to put in a quick time.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-7DP8svT/0/S/DSC6356-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-NJWJKMb/0/S/DSC6394-S.jpg

Amy was to drive the Mustang in the same group all day, and just have fun. Towards the end of the day I was going to swap cars with her for the last session (each group had five 20 minute sessions on track scheduled), slap on the transponder, and see what the Mustang would do, too. I've driven literally hundreds of laps at ECR since my first NASA TT event there in 2008 (where I set the TTU record, and fastest TT time in the old E36 LSx Alpha car), so I knew the track and it would give us a good baseline for the Mustang. When we put the very-revised/DDP equipped/updated Moton Club Sport doubles on the Mustang (soon), we'll go back to ECR and re-test the Mustang with the same wheels/tires/power and see where we pick up time.

If you wanted to, the 275mm tires could be vaporized like this all day - in 3rd gear

The best laid plans... first of all they did not have the AMB timing system turned on, and wouldn't. It was a long shot, but I had hoped they would. So no "real" times. Damn it - should have pulled the trigger on that new on-board lap timer/data logger. Oh well, I figured I'd find someone to hand-time both cars for me towards the end of the day, when it warmed up and we'd be quicker anyway. So we both went out in Red, which was the very first session on track at 9 am, and it was frakking COLD. I warmed up the BMW's tires, trying to scrub them in, and put in about 9 trouble-free laps over 20 minutes in it. Never saw Amy in the Mustang - she was on the other side of the track each lap, running about the same times as me. The 330 felt fine, but there was some unusually SLOW traffic in this group (one of which was moved down to Blue group later, some to Yellow), so I just took it easy, shifted the motor early (5500 rpm), and just tried to scrub in the tires and not abuse the brakes. The HP+ pads on the 330 were fairly thin (the replacements we had ordered weeks before arrived the next Wednesday), so it wouldn't stop 100% for more than 1-2 lap bursts.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/ECR-Toy-Run-2011/i-LhG2JJj/0/S/IMG4360-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/ECR-Toy-Run-2011/i-DRxtp37/0/S/IMG4365-S.jpg

Got in-car video (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/ECR-Toy-Run-2011/20562450_5vNBCC#1630806568_728d69d-A-LB) driving the BMW in this first session, but only ran a 2:07, with plenty of mistakes. Meh, not very quick, but that was already 3 seconds quicker than its previous best, which was a NASA TTD record. So it wasn't a totally wasted effort.

Came in the pits and the BMW had developed a tiny leak at the coolant reservoir. Freak thing, where the OEM bracket flexed and let the tank rub a pulley, and didn't start to leak until I was already off track, and just a trickle at that. Long story short - it went onto the trailer. Amy had a blast in the Mustang, said it was working great, so I took the 5.0 out during the next Yellow group and she stayed running in Red, so we doubled up sessions in the same car. Car didn't care... just asked for more fuel, and more abuse!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-xL3NHNR/0/S/DSC6405-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-wHStZwT/0/S/DSC6424-S.jpg

Getting into the Mustang and driving it on track for the first time in 6 months... man, I had missed THAT! And now the car had more power than at any other track sessions before (we had 100% stock dreivetrain/power mods on it before). Every track event I've done since driving the Mustang last were in LeMons cars, the BMW, or something else with a lot less than 430 whp. Driving the Mustang on track with the newly added horsepower (ARH full length headers + ARH X-pipe + cold air + Vorshlag x-back exhaust + tune) and 275mm grip on the 18x10s and new AST 4150 DDP pistons was a BLAST, even if it was on Amy's full street/daily driver set-up.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/ARH-Header-install-2011GT/i-HTw8PxK/0/S/DSC3295-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-k2LZ63c/0/S/DSC6331-S.jpg

The new Vorshlag built dual 3" exhaust behind the ARH 1-7/8" full lengths sounded GOOD, and we had several drivers, spectators, and corner workers walk up and tell us that "that thing is the best sounding car on track today!", and it was. Sweet, sweet V8 sounds, but not terribly loud. The sound it made from 5000-7000 rpm... oh, it made my man parts tingle. I opened the hood in grid and a swarm of people came by to gawk at the clean, tidy engine bay. Got a lot of "That thing blew by me like I was STOPPED!" comments from Yellow group drivers.

more below...

08-16-2013, 01:53 PM
continued from above

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/ECR-Toy-Run-2011/i-GpxPpgq/0/S/IMG4374-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/ECR-Toy-Run-2011/i-dPZMcDn/0/S/IMG4381-S.jpg

So Amy and I kept taking it out in Red & Yellow and I led some "Lead-Follow" groups during a few Green groups as well (hazards on, about 60% pace, for to show the proper line to n00bs without freaking them out). All we needed for the car was fuel - but it averaged 11.8 mpg, running some hand timed 2:03 laps. Amy had some low 2:10s, and with a little coaching she'll find every ounce of speed I had. So yea, the Mustang on street tires was 4 seconds a lap faster than the TTD prepped BMW 330 on 285mm Hoosiers. Horsepower. 'Merca!

Current track impressions: This Mustang probably still needs some dedicated brake cooling ducts, as I could get the DTC-60 Hawk pads a little warm if I was pushing the brakes 100% for a couple of laps, but it still STOPS. Might switch to a Porterfield pad someone has put me onto. Some added aero wouldn't hurt, as it has the ample power to convert into some downforce. The car was pretty much just flawless on track, and too damned much fun. No temperature issues at all, even with 2 drivers driving it back to back to back. I could hoon it in 3rd gear in slow corners, or drive it nicer and put down some decent laps. Played with a certain hot TT driver's E92 M3 on similar tires and the Mustang came out ahead. I had it all on video, but all of the in-car from the Mustang was borked when we looked at it the next day. Gah! It was so good, with a passenger hooting and laughing the whole time.

So, I think any more power in the Mustang and it would be begging for Hoosiers... Hell, its already begging for Hoosiers. I gotta quit tracking this still too-new car. Its just so much more fun to drive than my "dedicated track car" BMW with M54 power!

New Tune + Dyno Number

So we had hoped to get the Mustang over to the local tuner shop we use for this car (True Street Motorsports (http://www.truestreetmotorsports.com/) in McKinney, TX) and have them put on a fresh tune for the car, now that its not 108F outside like it was last August (where it made 404 whp) + we had the new rear exhaust on (which might add a little power) + make us the "Street Tune" version we ran out of time in August for, which uses all of the throttle travel all of the time (we have had an RPM-based throttle stop / traction control built into the EFI programming for autocross use for many months).

Their shop was super busy and they couldn't squeeze us in until after the ECR Track Day, so we took the car by after the event. They pulled it in off the street and it made 426 whp on the old "traction control" track tune. Wow, that call got me excited! They fiddled around a bit and settled on 430 whp / 406 wtq, still with the limited throttle track tune (shown below). Didn't take much work. That's still a 100% STX class legal + street legal set-up, with cats, and mufflers. Too bad its still 3400 pounds and limited to 265mm tires for this class, which is far too heavy to be a threat there.

the August "hot as hell in the dyno cell" 404 whp run is shown under the more realistic but still corrected 430 whp dyno pull

This Coyote 5.0L V8 motor will RUIN you - 100% stock longblock, just a few bolt-ons and a pump gas tune, and its making 430 wheel??? It still gets great mileage, idles quietly, and pulls hard to 7000 and beyond. Its making more than 400 whp from 5200-7000 rpm. With the Boss302 intake manifold it would keep making more and more power up to 7500 (those intakes are amazing), but sadly that intake swap isn't legal in STX. But it is for ESP, if you were to build a Boss302 engined Mustang for that class. Mmmm, big grip and even more power - it sure is tempting.

So TSM made a street tune for me as well, with the "crazy throttle" mapping that comes with it from the factory. I've been driving around on that, and its definitely more "frisky". This tune makes even more power than the Track map, but I don't have that dyno print-out yet (it made an additional 11 whp before on the "street" map). I'll post that up later when I can go get a copy of it from the TSM guys.

What's Next in the Mustang?

I'll post up more about the Mustang when we make changes, over the winter. So much going on I can't even get it all down on the screen. Still have a good plan for attacking STX next year - its all about getting the power to the ground. There are some new 265mm 140+ treadwear tires I want to test, and I have major rear suspension updates planned, with some additional weight loss, and of course - more horsepower. Too much is never enough! >:D

PS: I love driving this Mustang on track so much I'm looking for another S197 chassis to build into a dedicated track car here at Vorshlag. I'll go into more detail when/if we find a car for the right price. If you have a line on a lower cost/theft recovery/stripped/drivetrain-less S197 Mustang (2005+), please drop me a line. Just don't tell my wife! A rolling chassis with no interior or drivetrain is OK, and even front end damage is fine. The stock drivetrain, front sheetmetal, hood, trunk, glass, brakes, wheels, interior, and lower K-member are all going away. V6 or V8 cars.

Plenty of 18x10" Mustang Wheels Still Available for Pre-Order

We are still trying to get the word out about the first batch of 18x10 ET43 wheels I ordered from D-Force for the S197 Mustang and GR Impreza chassis. It has been two weeks since we made the product announcement (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8008) post and started taking pre-orders. We had high expectations for these wheels and thought they'd be met by the Mustang and Subaru enthusiast community with a warmer reception, even though this batch is being sold as a pre-order and not a direct sale straight from inventory.

The reasons we thought these wheels would be more popular are:

This is an 18x10" size and offset that nobody else makes
Makes for a square set-up, front and back, which is a very good thing
Still a very lightweight wheel
$309 is a very cost competitive price compared to Enkei, SSR and others (none of which make the right offset and bolt pattern)
This 18x10" wheel is already both race and street proven, on hundreds of BMWs + our 2011 Mustang
Direct fit for both the Mustang and GR Subaru - no spacers needed, no "poke", no rubbing.

We understand that there is a somewhat unknown economic outlook right now, and in the U.S. here there is the added pressure of presidential election news craziness, but this is still a very well priced wheel for what it is. This is the first 18x10" wheel made for this car that fits and doesn't cost over $600 per corner. It is less than HALF the price of the BBS wheel, which you cannot even find in stock at most times. The prototype set has been thoroughly tested on the street, autocross course and track.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-JctWxTd/0/S/DSC3360-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/D-Force-Wheel-Gallery/i-wPStcdK/0/S/DSC5899-fixed-S.jpg

If you are reading this Mustang thread then you probably care a little about what we do here at Vorshlag. We're trying to innovate, create and make better suspension & in this case wheel products that fit the enthusiast market needs. Ordering the huge number of wheels necessary to get an 18x10" direct-fit wheel made for S197 Mustang and GR Subaru chassis (and I've been told by very reliable sources this size + offset fits the RX8 as well) was a big risk for us. Future new wheel product offerings will depend on how this experiment goes. We do not need to pre-sell all of the wheels, but we had hoped that more people would be stepping up after two weeks than we have seen.

Please, if you or anyone you know has a 2005-up Mustang or 2008-up Subaru STI, please point them to this Product Announcement (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8008): http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8008 Use your social media outlets as well - Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

We are in love with these wheels. They are so light, so big, fit these cars so well, and I want them on all of my own cars. I can just only use so many myself, you know? Or order a set for yourself - you deserve a set of proper 18x10" wheels that do not weigh 30 pounds each! :)

Thanks for your help.

08-16-2013, 01:54 PM
Project Update for Jan 26, 2012: Well we've been getting busier back in the shop area, performing various fabrication work, repairs and upgrades on customer cars. We have managed to sneak in some work on our 2011 Mustang since the last update, which I'll cover here briefly (we've also worked on our E30 V8 and our E46 330 recently, both of which need project thread updates). Hmm, after putting it all down there's actually a lot to show in this update - I probably should have broken this up earlier into 2 posts (and on some forums where I cross-post this thread its going to be 3 or 4 segments, so keep reading).

Exhaust V 2.0

First, the custom dual 3" exhaust we built here at Vorshlag has been heavily revised. The various 3" mandrel 304SS bends we had on hand the first time did not include a 120 bend, which is very helpful when making the over-the-solid-axle routing. Now that we stock a LOT more bends we were able to route it better and have lots more clearance at full bump travel. We confirmed the routing with the springs removed and the axle at full bump travel, then added even more room. The 3" tubes are routed over and through the panhard bar and structure with space to everything surrounding them.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-g4P6LsB/0/M/DSC7396-M.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-hFm5hqk/1/M/DSC7391-M.jpg

It is crowded under there, but Ryan made it fit great and look beautiful with ample clearance everywhere. There's so much more room to the fuel line than before that this version didn't need header wrap insulation there. You can see how the left and right tubes are asymmetric - that's due to the panhard mounting and the fuel line differences side-to-side.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-RxfZgV5/0/S/DSC7354-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-gFdkVgS/0/S/DSC7355-S.jpg

The two pre-axle "slip-fit joint" clamps were removed and a pair of flanged V-band clamp joints were welded in their place. This ensures a leak-free connection at this location. Much quieter now after driving the car - we will never use a slip-fit exhaust joint in this shop again. It was a test, after other shops had said they have used them successfully, but we're not going to do it again. V-bands or nothing.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-k2LZ63c/0/S/DSC6331-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-txXrBw5/0/S/DSC7390-S.jpg

The 409 stainless steel (it is magnetic so it has to be a 400 series) Flowmaster Series 44 mufflers came new with a silver painted finish (see above left pic) - it looks like the same coating they put on their carbon steel mufflers. Well of course this burns off and makes a stinky mess. While the exhaust was off for this re-work we used some Scoth-Brite pads and paint thinner to get the rest of this silver gunk off, which left the mufflers in their natural "bronze" finish (after several weeks of use). Don't know why they bother painting them - next time we use these FM mufflers we'll remove the finish completely before putting them on a car.

Boss302 Leguna Seca Splitter

So we've been looking at this OEM piece for some time and figured, what the hell? Let's try putting one on our Mustang and do some track testing to verify if it is working (adding downforce/lowering times). We'll use the aero test procedure detailed in Neil Roberts' ThinkFAST book (http://www.vorshlag.com/product_info.php?cPath=254&products_id=458), of course. These LS units sell for $700-750 and "bolt on" with the CS lower valance we added (that became optional mid-2011 model year).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-Qfvqwdg/0/S/DSC7329-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-r9KpnvL/0/S/DSC7369-S.jpg

Well it took some time to install it - figure 2 to 3 hours to be safe. The whole front bumper cover has to come off, more than once. The LS splitter is indeed made to fit this CS lower valance, and it shows, but the install was tedious with so many bolts/clips and the test fitting to line up the support strut "through holes". Once finished and put together for the first time, it can then go on and off in 2-3 minutes (which we might do to ease trailer loading/unloading and prevent an "oops!" on the street). We were missing 14 pieces from the hardware kit, so figure in a trip to a specialty hardware store if you get this thing. The counter-sunk mounting hardware is all M6-1.0, so are the 22 qty nut-clips they mate to; our kit was 14 clips short but Ford is supposed to be sending an extra hardware kit "soon". Zero instructions, so AJ looked online for some tips (not much help) then figured the rest out on his own. We might make an instruction guide for this in the future.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-JNpTNkj/0/S/DSC7345-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-rVq69J2/0/S/DSC7344-S.jpg

Of course we weighed everything before it went onto the car. Looks like the ABS plastic splitter itself (which is thick!) is 12.2 pounds, sticks out past the bumper 5" exactly (American Iron class limit), and the hardware and bolt-on strut mount for the splitter weighs another 5.5 pounds. So will this thing produce enough downforce to offset the $700 cost and 17.7 pounds of added junk? I don't know - what do you think? The AI class 2010+ Mustang racers seem to use this thing, as do the pro racers in the S197.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-BhtjS6X/0/S/DSC7372-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-GHpG4VV/0/S/DSC7362-S.jpg
Shazam! That thing is big. But no, I wouldn't stand on it...

We've street tested it today and it works fine there. Only one light scrape on a very steep parking lot entrance incline that Amy had trouble with before the splitter, so we'll be extra careful there. If she scrapes it up too much in street driving we'll pull it off and only use it for track events, and install it at the track. Its not too low for street use even at our lowered ride height, really, if you drive carefully and have half a brain. Again with an electric impact it only takes 2-3 minutes to swap it on/off now that all of the brackets and nut-clips are installed.

Brake Pads + Cooling

After the track event last month at ECR, AJ swapped the rotors and pads from the Hawk DTC-70s back to the HP+ pads and the street rotors. The DTCs were melted to slag and are in the trash bin. The HP+ pads don't look much better. Me thinks these Hawk pads are full of filler - it would explain their low price point, and their low threshold of abuse.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-K2GzP2p/0/S/DSC6489-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-4J4wKgL/0/S/DSC6488-S.jpg

I was only getting 2-3 hot laps on the DTC-70s at ECR before I noticed significant brake fade and had to take a cool down lap. We're going to switch to a higher cost set of race pads before the next track event. PFC 01, Ferodo R4S, something. We're also going to make a brake cooling kit for the car. After reading about the issues with installation on the Ford kit, plus the added hassles of making something that is STX legal (cannot cut the fender liners for cooling hose), we're going to take a stab at it here. According to many, cooling air to the rotors via the two 3" ducts on the CS lower valance helps tremendously when used on track.

more below...

08-16-2013, 01:55 PM
continued from above

Wait... Track Events???

Yes, track events. I am breaking my own, very sensible rule of no longer tracking this "still too new" car yet again. It just rolled 10,000 miles today, so I guess the new has worn off!! Hehe. I'm going to try to hit several NASA Time Trial events this year in the Mustang - I just had too much fun driving it on track with the extra grip and new horsepower in December. Due to the massive restrictions of the base classing that NASA levies against this car, I'm moving it out of TTB, skipping TTA completely (I added up 64 points of mods from aero, shocks and tires alone!) and slipping right into TTS (8.7:1 pounds per hp) - which is a simpler power-to-weight class. It probably won't do well against the modded Corvettes and other creations that show up in TTS but at least I won't be counting every point, taking 4 points for having no OEM wing, 2 points for the stock brakes, etc, etc. I could literally build an STX classed autocross car, still on street tires, that was up into TTS class on points alone. I know I know... those are the rules for TT, but I'm just going to bypass all of that and go have fun.

With the 315mm Kumho gumballs, the current 430 whp, and the added aero bits in store we might not be that slow, but who knows until we track it? I'm ALWAYS fast when bench racing! :) The car is under the power-to-weight limit with 3650 pounds (with driver) and 430 whp - but only just. I'll have my dyno chart and classing work sheet ready at the next NASA event, in case I screw up and stumble upon a competitive set-up. Bad part is that I'm missing the first two NASA Texas events, due to scheduling conflicts, which sucks (MSR-H and MSR-C). I'm not happy about this AT ALL but these two were unavoidable. I will be at the April TWS event and should have two more track test days before TWS (TK2K12/GSS and Pro-Touring/HHR). NASA Texas has 9 events planned this year in this region so we could have plenty of chances to go have fun in TTS.

315/35/18 Tires on 18x10 D-Force

If we're running in TTS we could use wider tires, right? We also had several S197 Mustang autocrossers ask if we knew if 315mm tires would fit the car on our new D-Force 18x10" wheels. I had my doubts about using a tire that wide on "only" a 10" wide wheel, but I gave it a try. Ordered a set of 315/35/18 Kumho V710 R compounds to see...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-BFH6kVD/0/S/DSC7337-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-KNPNhbr/0/S/DSC7361-S.jpg

This set actually came free from Kumho - our spoils from winning the $2011 GRM Challenge (and our E30 V8 is on the cover of the next GRM mag! (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/E30-V8/i-97959sz/0/S/grm-cover-S.jpg)). So yesterday I took one of the 18x10s and mounted one of the 315mm Kumhos, which is shown above. It looks a bit squeezed on the wheel, to say the least. For me, I'd want an 11" wide wheel for a tire that big, or maybe an 11.5". But for some autocrossers, this is fine (look at some of the crazy squeezed stuff Stock class guys do). Today we stuck them on the Mustang, starting with the front and using a 5/16" spacer we had...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-MPXVjJt/0/S/DSC7368-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-nJJzVwZ/0/S/DSC7365-S.jpg

Monster room up front, both inboard and out, with this 5/16" spacer (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-WD3N4tq/0/M/DSC7377-M.jpg). It would work with as little as a 1/8" spacer, but to be safe I'm going to recommend a 1/4" spacer when using this massive 315mm tire up front with these wheels. If you stick with a more sensible 275 or 285mm tire it still needs no spacer on these wheels, front or rear.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-NgzvDQm/0/S/DSC7374-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-7PN3wJz/0/S/DSC7373-S.jpg

Checked them at full lock, room for days. Now this is with -3 of camber up front, but that's not much in my book. That's what we use for the street on this car. Now on the rear it wasn't as ideal, but still "good enough for auto-x (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-Dr9HL8r/1/M/DSC7382-M.jpg)" in most people's eyes. So I would say "these tires fit" but I won't be running these 315s on a 10" wheel. Stick with 285s or smaller, as those tires fit the 10" wheel width properly - no squeeze.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-5VXfWVv/0/S/DSC7378-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-qC6TJFT/0/S/DSC7387-S.jpg

I'm now pulling the 315mm test tire off the 18x10s and re-mounting the 275/40/18s. Damn, we need a tire machine here at Vorshlag. It would pay for itself in one racing season. On the prowl for a deal. So now I've got these massive tires with no wheels to use them on. So... once we get the panhard and upper control arm on later this week we'll measure for 18x11 front and 18x11.5" rear 3-piece wheels. Forgeline, CCW, something. These should fit with fairly different offsets front and back. Can't let these tires go to waste, and it sure would make for some monster TTS grip.

Rear Suspension Fixes - Quick and Dirty

Our first autocrosses for the Mustang are in early March, with a track event in mid-February, so we've got some new rear suspension bits to install and test before then. I feel that much our our low speed traction problems in this car center around the compromised rear suspension geometry. When you lower the car with this 3-link rear suspension the pinion angle on the axle gets out of whack.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-mB7LXcg/0/S/DSC7413-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-XDpP4qK/0/S/DSC7416-S.jpg

Solid axle RWD cars have so many limitations when compared to an IRS set-up that the SCCA Street Touring rules give the stick-axle vehicles all sorts of leeway, and we're going to finally attack these issues. We did a lot of looking, thought about making our own stuff, then looked at the calendar and bought the Spohn Performance's upper control arm and panhard bar as a stop-gap solution. Their adjustable length upper control arm allows us to adjust the pinion angle properly at the lowered ride height. The adjustable panhard bar lets us center the axle relative to the car, when lowered. Each piece features their optional "Del-Sphere" joints , which allow for high angular movement without bind or noise, at least on paper. These are basically giant spherical joints made inside forged steel ends with Delrin material surrounding the steel ball joint. They are rebuildable - we bought the tool to do that. Seems like a neat little joint that could give you the best of a rod end but without the metal-to-metal street nightmares. Once these new arms are installed we will set the pinion angle for our lower ride height and do some before and after acceleration data logging. I'm hoping for some help in 1st and 2nd gear for STX use - keep hope alive!

Non-NASA Track Events?

The first event of the year we're trying to make is Feb 17th at Harris Hill Road in San Marcos, being hosted by Pro-Touring.com. It includes an autocross, speed-stop event, and a timed track day, with a trophy for the combined winner? At least - we think so. Details are sketchy at the moment, but it looks like fun. The problem is they have one rule - tire treadwear limit is 200 - which rules out damned near every tire we have for the car (all four sets of our ST legal stuff on hand is 140-180 treadwear).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-tRZZMmR/0/S/DSC2193-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-G5bVwqx/0/S/DSC2225-S.jpg

The Dunlop Star Spec tires are 200 treadwear and I've had great luck with them on track before (in the EVO X, at April 2010 Tire Test we did, the December ChumpCar event, and my 265/40/17 rears that I've barely used in this car) and there are two other 200 TW tires that could be fast for this series (they use the Optima Challenge rules), including: Falken RT-615K (http://www.falkentire.com/Tires/Passenger-Car/Azenis-RT-615K-14) (275/35/18 @ $275 or 295/40/18 @ $300) and the Nitto NT05 (http://www.nittotire.com/Tire/nt05) ($275/35R18 @ $213, 275/40R18 @ $202, 285/35R18 @ $223, 295/35R18 @ $243). I don't really want to spend $800-1200 on tires to run for one event (and they'd be pretty much useless for anything else other than street use - which I have the fresh 275/40R18 RE-11s for), so I might beg/borrow/steal a set. So if any of you have some fresh 275/35/18 Dunlop Star Specs or any of these other tires in the sizes listed you'd like to loan me for 2 days, please speak up! :D (I have a line on some 275 Dunlops, but they are anything but fresh) In a pinch I might use that pair of 17x9's and 265s we have for the rear, but I'd really like something wider in 18" that we could put on the D-Force 18x10s.

We've still got some work to do before then, including the brake cooling, the Spohn parts, and some rear aero. Anyone have a good used 2010-up Mustang trunk for sale?? I'll post up with an update when we've tackled that stuff. We plan on a before/after test of 2nd gear acceleration on a control set of tires (probably the 265/35/18 Hankook RS-3) when the Spohn parts are installed.

More soon,

08-16-2013, 01:57 PM
Nice upgrades to the exhaust.. i swear i can hear my slip on axle backs leaking.. but its too late now!

Have you considered adding hood vents for front end grip also? The new functional hood vents for 2013 reduced lift in front significantly from what the engineers have told me. No more hood trying to bow up in the center and rip off over 150 MPH. I'm looking for a simple way to cut the hood and add in the 2013 vents.. watch the Boss 302R in car footage from the 2012 Rolex race, that hood is bowing up when Ian James hits about 150MPh
Yea, we've got some rules restrictions that are holding me back from opening up the hood and reverse ducting the radiator. SCCA STX doesn't allow me to do any aero I want - but we can use "any" OEM front aero, so anything that came on a 2005-up S197 Mustang or that is in the Ford "Appearance" catalog (not Ford Motorsport catalog, after a rules clarification). This means OEM parts like the CS lower fascia and the Leguna Seca splitter are legal. I could switch to the 2013 GT500 front bumper cover, but I'm not sure about the hood. Is a hood considered aero by the SCCA? It is something I need to ask about. The SEB is like a bunch of Republican congressmen - all they know how to say is "No!". :D

I don't know if you guys are interested or not, but I weighed my 2012 base GT with manual trans and no options other than front plate bracket. With everything in the car as it comes from Ford and a full tank of fuel it showed 3608 lbs on the scales.

Just taking the spare tire and associated junk out along with the floor mats and dropping 10 gallons of fuel would get it down to about 3500 lbs. I know the Brembo brakes add a bit, but I'm guessing the premium model adds some weight relative to the base model too.
Wait... spare tire? Hmm, my car doesn't have s spare. Does your car come with the Brembos and 19" wheels, or 13" brakes and 18" wheels? I suspect the 18" wheel/non-Brembo package is a good deal lighter. I measured the "trunk junk" weight and fuel its not actually 100 pounds of fuel and trunk junk, on my car.


Gasoline is a little over 6 pounds per gallon, so that's about 60 pounds if you drop 10 gallons. Add in the trunk junk and you've lost about 73 pounds, so around 3535 or so.... but yea, its getting down there. :) If you do have a spare tire that will weigh more, of course.

This was the weight of a loaner '11 Brembo GT back in June 2010 - 3605 lbs with 1/2 tank of fuel

After weighing this Brembo / 19x9" equipped loaner we borrowed from a Ford dealer we custom ordered our 2011 GT with all sorts of options I didn't want (my wife - oiy!) and it came in even heavier. We ran it out of fuel, removed the "trunk junk", then weighed it at 3563 lbs baseline. I always try to weigh them with nearly no fuel, or show the fuel gauge to account for fuel weight.

This is the weight on our '11 Brembo GT with no fuel - 3563 lbs sans 12.7 lbs of "trunk junk"

Sounds like your '12 is a little lighter than our car - probably different options and such, or the brakes. We've been on a quest to lose weight from this S197, and here's where we have it now with 18x10" wheels and 275/40/18 tires:


Not much left we can remove or lighten and remain SCCA STX legal. Again, we're building this around two very different class rules, SCCA STX and NASA TTS, but using the SCCA ruleset when one set limits the other. Most of the cars we are racing against in STX are 2800-3000 pounds, but have the same tire width limits we do, which puts the Mustang at a disadvantage - but I knew that going in. If I could just find a "265" tire that was magically 11" wide... well, I came close. I've got one that is 10-3/4" wide. I'm not telling which brand it is though. :D


08-16-2013, 01:57 PM
1) Have you looked into 2 piece rotors? Are these allowed? Full-Tilt boogie racing's rotors are affordable and shed some decent unsprung weight.

Yes, I'd like to do this but there have been rumblings about changing the brake rules in Street Touring to mandate that stock weight rotors be used. It would be just my luck to spend $800 on 2-piece rotors and have them take-back this rules allowance (they are known for doing that). I have never heard of affordable 14" rotors for the Mustang... got a link? Girodisc is $800 a pair.

The stock 14" Brembo rotors are a staggering 25.4 pounds each!

2) The tiger racing vented hood is also a pretty big weight savings (10 lbs for CF, 20 lbs for Fiberglass, vs. ~35 lbs for OEM hood).

Yep, not allowed in SCCA ST. :(

3) How bout an aluminum or carbon fiber drive shaft? That would net another 15-30 lbs of weight reduction.

I'd love to do a 1-piece driveshaft, in aluminum or carbon. Again - not ST legal. :(

4) I'm sure you've considered a dry-cell battery (Odyssey PC680 weighs 15 lbs vs. 30 lbs OEM).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-k8xRhhN/0/S/DSC4232-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-race-battery/i-svXpk9w/0/S/DSC9768-S.jpg

Already installed. Gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-race-battery/

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-race-battery/i-VWFRxGF/0/S/DSC4259-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-race-battery/i-CSSvbVN/0/S/DSC4262-S.jpg

5) Removing sound deadening? This would probably net another 30-40 lbs.

Again - not ST legal. :(

In all, the above probably shave another 75-80 lbs from the car getting you into the 3300 lb category. I believe the Boss 302S cars weigh a svelte 3000 lbs with a single race seat and no interior.

With the rule set I'm working with I'm pretty limited on further weight loss. This is also a daily driven street car, so pulling all of the insulation and such would not be as streetable. But I like the suggestions! I'm still looking for pounds... the 2-piece rotor thing is going to happen soon, one way or another.

Affordable is subjective, but Fulltiltboogieracing.com sells 2-piece rotors for $675 + shipping. That is the cheapest price I've found:

Yikes. Yea, that's a bit of coin. OEM replacement rotors from Brembo are under $60 each.

Can you tell me more about the mounting plate and bracket you used for the Odyssey battery? Is this a production piece? Any issues with cranking amps? I've been pleased with Odyssey batteries in the past.
Zero issues in the past year of street driving, autocrossing and tracking the Mustang. Amy drives it to work every single day.

If you go back in this thread to post #92, I describe who's battery mount we used, and the other bracket and bits we fabricated to make it bolt into the Mustang without having to drill any holes.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-E46-330Ci-DSP-Build/DSC9245/831096000_BrxZL-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/E30-V8/DSC4459/1034574571_e33fu-S.jpg

I have PC680 Odysseys in 3 of my personal cars. Only car I have any issues with is one of my BMWs, which has a known battery draw when parked - and draws down the battery after about 5 days of non-use (no matter the battery). We keep it on a Battery Tender and its fine. One of these days we'll chase down the voltage leak...


08-16-2013, 01:58 PM
Ok guys, I'm looking to buy some new wheels and tires and I keep going back and forth. Now I'm considering the D-force wheels too. You're saying they will work front and rear without spacers, but is that with a normal strut/spring setup? What's the biggest tire you guys have tried with them (diameter)?

The reason I ask is because I'm looking for just street tires right now and I'd rather not run smaller diameter tires...trying to keep fender gap to a minimum and I'm not lowering much. I think a 285/40-18 would be ideal, but there's a good deal on some 275/45-18's right now (with a 10.1" tread width). Those are some pretty big tires, actually a bit larger in diameter than the factory rubber...maybe too big, but I did find someone that's actually running them on a 18x9.5 et40 wheel.

We tried a 285/40/18 tire and it looks ridiculous...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC8165/1216186680_NqdWK-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC8174/1216186220_cP6xC-S.jpg

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC8183/1216184766_WeRwX-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/DSC8180/1216184820_4k92m-S.jpg

These pictures don't show how silly this giant, tall tire looked up front. We all turned our noses up.

I get that you don't want a lot of wheel gap, and these cars apparently do respond well to running taller tires... but within reason. The stock stuff is 27" tall, which is enormous. There are no 18" tires that match the 27" tire height of the stock 255/40/19 tires. After much testing, calculations, and trial fitting we went with the 275/40/18 tire on the 18x10" wheels - that's the best fit for the car and the wheels. They look the best out of the many sizes we have tried, fit the wheel nicely, fit the car nicely, and were 26.4" tall. The closest we could get, without going over the stock 27" tire height.



08-16-2013, 01:58 PM
On my car, I installed some Steeda sport springs and different shocks/struts, now I'm already wishing I had AST's! I got that stuff cheap just as a temporary measure, so depending on what happens I might end up getting some AST's for this car at some point.

Yea, you are int he same position a lot of folks find themselves... they install lowering springs with stock length struts and shocks, and the ride suffers greatly. This isn't because the springs are too stiff (they aren't), or the shocks aren't damping (they might be), its because you've lowered the car but have the tall stock length struts and shocks - and they are simply running out of "bump travel".

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC6115/1133689631_yp5KN-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC6175a-ride-heights/1132925302_HtaBP-S.jpg

I've been there and done that. ;)

This is partly why the ASTs ride so much better than most set-ups like yours at these lower ride heights - AST shocks are shortened appropriately and thus have the proper amount of bump travel at a lower ride height. Then there's the fact that they are adjustable monotube struts with killer pistons and customized valving... so even with more spring rate and a lower ride height they usually ride as good as or better than stock.

As for wheels, I was gonna go really cheap but I'm leaning towards picking up the D-force set from you guys now. My car is black...wish you had the D-force in gunmetal color! Might just go with flat black for now and see how it looks.

Yea, the temptation to use some of the cheap replica wheels avilable for this car is huge... just know that they are horrendously heavy - which impacts ride, handling, braking and acceleration - and many are made for the SN95 chassis, and just simply don't fit these cars. If you need something quick just find some OEM take-off GT500 wheels (18x9.5" or 19x9.5"), but if you can hold out another month or two our 18x10s should be here and they are light, they fit right, and are a full 10" wide. :)

08-16-2013, 01:59 PM
Project Update for Feb 17, 2012: We've been buried in work in the shop, but we took a couple of days off from customer work to attack the Mustang (while doing an M52 longblock swap on an STX prepped E36 328is, shown below). We are cutting it a little close (I leave for the track event down in San Marcos in about 4 hours) but the last few bits are going in the car now (seats and new 6-point harness mounts) and it should all be wrapped up by AJ and Ryan in time to load at 1 pm...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-TNT7pds/0/S/DSC7826-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-KvxqbZd/0/S/DSC7827-S.jpg

Rear Suspension Updates

We've installed the Spohn upper control arm and Panhard bar, both of which are equipped with their Del-Sphere joints (Delrin encased spherical). And yes, this is all legal in SCCA Street Touring - thanks to copious allowances for solid axle RWD cars - since none of these have proven remotely competitive in any ST class. Basically STX and STU have the same torque arm/upper control arm allowances as ESP.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-Dp5dcgf/0/S/DSC7795-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-JvVT7cF/0/S/DSC7819-S.jpg

So all of this has been installed, and yes, the non-adjustable OEM upper control arm made for a wacky 0 pinion angle at the lowered ride height. Basically FUBAR for a solid axle car. You want pinion to be at 0 under acceleration loads, so you try to shoot for -2 to -3 at the pinion at rest and at ride height (according to Spohn and many others). At the lowered ride height the fixed length OEM panhard bar resulted in axle offset, which we also corrected with the adjustable Spohn piece.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-T2dFLhD/0/S/DSC7793-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-52Tqcjk/0/S/DSC7798-S.jpg

Can't say enough nice words about the Spohn UCA and Panhard hardware - its top notch. These Del-Sphere joints are super slick - they rotate and pivot with almost no resistance - so no binding - but are still wrapped in Delrin for less crashing than an all-metal spherical. Plus they have grease zerks and are fully rebuildable. I'll see how it rides with these in the UCA and Panhard shortly.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-q9QkhZW/0/S/DSC7801-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-G8GbtmJ/0/S/DSC7802-S.jpg

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-kThmgSV/1/M/DSC7814-M.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-VpZNcz4/1/M/DSC7816-M.jpg

Weight differences between the OEM UCA and Panhard vs the Spohn hardware looks like a wash. We also used a new bolt-in UPR Products upper chassis mount - made of plate steel vs the stamped steel of the OEM bits. Yes, its STX legal - we can go hog wild on the upper control arms. I am now more worried about the factory lower control arms - they are far from parallel at ride height, and this plays hell with the Instant Center. We're going to measure that and come up with a solution to test soon (likely offset bushings).

Safety Gear Upgrade

I have been skimping a bit on safety for the various track events we've attended. For autocrosses in 2011 we have been using the fixed back race seats with 3" harness lap belts only - not a big deal when driving around a parking lot. We did most of the 2011 track stuff with OEM seats and seat belts (which is safe), but I admit to doing one track day in December with the race seats and lap belts. I did double-up with the OEM 3-point seat belt, but that's still pretty hinky. So for this weekend's track event I wanted something a little better...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-rssKsDq/0/S/DSC7749-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-tzFh6KX/0/S/DSC7828-S.jpg

That is a Corbeau harness bar I picked up from Stuart at AST/Moton. Nicely built piece, pretty hefty tubing used, and better than mounting harnesses on the lower rear seat belt locations. No, I'm still not running a 4-point roll bar, and likely won't ever do that to this car... don't want to mess-up the rear seats to make that fit. I'm sure some of you will reply with the "you are going to spontaneously combust!" safety concerns, and yes... I hear ya.

Again, this is not the perfect safety solution... so "don't try this at home". :) But this is NOT a race car, its a daily driven street car that I don't want to cut up for a roll cage. If the only other alternative is OEM seats and belts, then I'm going to stick with my FIA approed seats and 6-point SFI approved harnesses hung from this 1.5" dia piece of DOM, and mounted to the floor with proper G-Force clip-in floor anchors.

Hey, if business keeps exploding like it has been since our move to the new location I'll push forward with my S197 chassis race car plans later this year. Keep buying shocks and camber plates from Vorshlag, folks, so I can go American Iron racing in a proper race car! :p

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-z9Jnv6p/0/M/DSC7830-M.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-g6n2jQ8/0/M/DSC7829-M.jpg
Left: Here are the seats, about to go in. Right: All of the various pads we've got to test

I put a picture up above showing the various brake pads we've got for the Mustang. Going away from the Hawk options (HP+ for autox and DTC-60 for track) and moving to Porterfield (R4 for track and R4S for autocross). The R4s are on the car now for the first time so I will report back with my impressions from Harris Hill Road's tricky little road course.

We also bought a bunch of 3" high temp brake duct hose, and made some quickie brake ducting for the car that ties into the CS Lower Fascia, but its not complete so I'm not going to show all of the work this time around. Making brake ducting that is SCCA ST legal is damned near impossible - they have reworded the rules in such a way as to make it incredibly complicated to stay legal. Might just order a 2nd set of fender liners that we can modify for proper ducting installation and just swap this on/off for autocross events. Thanks SCCA! :D

click for video of 0-60 testing (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/14599286_2tnnDT#!i=1711868758&k=mh3vndq&lb=1&s=A)

I did a "before" acceleration test this week. I made three 0-60 sprints on concrete with the 275mm Bridgestones and the OEM UCA and Panhard, + the AST 4150 shocks. Best of 4.41 seconds, with a 4.45 sec and a 5.0 sec first blast (wheelspin). Once the weather clears I'll do an "after" test on the same tires but with the new Spohn gear and proper pinion angle setting. I'll post that and the video from this weekend's Pro-Touring track event / Time Trial. I've got to run on these 275/35/18 Dunlops, which have seen better days. These tested great in April of last year, so hopefully they won't suck on Saturday. And hopefully it doesn't rain - I'm bringing the Bridgestones just in case.

Oh! We are having an Open House here at Vorshlag on March 10th, all day. Tour the facilities, see our new capabilities, and check out some cool race cars. The Texas Region SCCA is having their annual Solo Inspection here that day as well. Check our Vorshlag Facebook page for more details about the open house. First autocross is the next day, March 11th.

More soon,

08-16-2013, 02:00 PM
Project Update for Feb 24, 2012: It took me a week after the "track event" last weekend to write this update - needed time to get that disaster weekend behind me, I guess. This event was the first of 2012 for me, called the "Run To The Alamo", held by the ASCS / Pro-Touring folks, with the track portion of the event to be held at Harris Hill Road. The event was also a "qualifier" for the Optima Challenge, held each year in Vegas after SEMA. This RTTA event was supposed to be a 3 day competition event with a timed autocross, "speed stop event", and track day as well, but the autocross and speed stop portions were cancelled at the last minute (they didn't secure an autocross venue). They did have a car show, cruise-in and dinner Friday that I missed ("darn"). The somewhat lack of organization, problems with timing equipment, WEATHER, and a sick wife that tagged along combined to make for a full on "Charlie Foxtrot" event for me (clusterf*ck).

PICTURES: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/RTTA-HHR-021812/
"RESULTS": http://americanstreetcarseries.com/?page_id=751

So in my last update I covered the thrash by Vorshlag technicians AJ and Ryan. They wrenched on the Mustang for 2 days to get all of the new suspension bits installed and adjusted, brake pads/rotors on, harness bar and harnesses in, seats swapped, brake ducting built, car washed, oil changed and everything double-checked. We have been getting buried in customer fab/service work and we could only squeeze the Mustang in at the end of the week. This was the first competition event in the car since mid December, so everything need to be looked over.

The crap started with loading the trailer. I sold my 38' enclosed trailer in January (and just bought another one late today (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/Trailer-Pics-July-25-2009/9059680_zVj7MN#!i=1347761543&k=6QPt8s4)) so I borrowed a buddy's open trailer for the weekend. I was trying to leave Dallas by 1 or 2 pm, in a failed attempt to avoid Friday's "leaving town" traffic. I was also worried about the splitter making it harder to load, but with my nearly 12 feet worth of ramps (Race Ramps + the trailer ramps), it just cleared. Right as we started loading the car the weather went from sunny/nice to raining...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-VnBvG9w/0/S/IMG4869-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-Wq4HhLs/0/S/IMG4870-S.jpg

And the rain didn't let up for almost 48 hours. My wife, who normally co-drives our race cars and always goes to races with me, was going to come along as track side support and to help with driving to and from the event. Since we were only taking one car, and since I'm done trying to "double up" on track events in one car, she was just along to help. Too much abuse, and too hectic, to run 2 people in one car. Friday morning she was starting to get sick, and I knew from experience it wasn't going to get better anytime soon. I called McCall, he dropped everything and agreed to run down to San Marcos with me for the next 2 days to help. When I told my wife she was off the hook, she insisted she was going to go along to help, even when I begged her to stay, so we left about 3:30 pm and McCall was off the hook instead (this proved to be a huge mistake). She had set-up a blanket and pillow in the back seat of the MegaCab and proceeded to make a cocoon and slept back there the entire way. 6 hours of driving through crap traffic and steady rain the entire way... with her coughing and hacking from the back seat (later we found out she had full blown bronchitis). Oh joy.

So the drive down from Dallas to Austin/San Marcos was a nightmare, from weather and health reasons, but the truck and trailer worked fine (other than two hub caps coming off of the trailer along the way, which is $90 I need to replace now). The hotel she had reserved was very nice, full of high school cheerleaders (no joke), and we got there early enough to go out and get a real meal, but with a sick wife I stayed in and ordered room service food. She was up all night, throwing up and coughing. I almost convinced her to blow off the event and head home, since she was a mess, but she convinced me to stay. It rained HARD all night - rain pounded on the hotel window and kept waking me up, too. This all night downpour was not a good sign...

American Street Car Series "Run To The Alamo", aka Pain in the Rain

The ASCS guys said the track portion was to start at 7:30 am sharp, so "be there with cars ready for tech on time". We got up early and drove to the track by 7:40, just a tick late thanks to terrible directions by my sick navigator (heh!) and a "deep water crossing" we had go across at a bridge near the track (bad sign #2). We got to HHR and it was utter mayhem there, trucks and cars parked willy nilly, trying to unload cars in their postage stamp-sized upper parking lot. We finally figured out where to park (lower lot) and unload the car. It was raining pretty hard and it never much let up all day. Unloading a car from an open trailer in the rain SUCKS.

The main guy running the event showed up around 8:45 (oiy!), registration finally got started about 9:30, then we sat around watching the Daytona GRAND AM race in the clubhouse and kept seeing the rain come pouring down. Track owner said it had rained for going on 3 days in a row, and even though they were "in a drought" the area around the track was super saturated and "it will be draining across the track all day, even if it stops raining" (he was right). All the surrounding land drained into and across the property that the HHR track is placed on, and it was soaked.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/RTTA-HHR-021812/i-8GKhgFc/0/S/DSC7839-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/RTTA-HHR-021812/i-PpzSHD4/0/S/DSC7876-S.jpg

Around 10 am they finally started had a driver's meeting ... that became a sponsor thank-fest that lasted a good 1/2 hour. By 10:45 am we had our RFID transponders installed (more on that) and a few of us finally lined up to get out on track. They wanted to do "some lead follow" laps to "sort out the drivers into groups" (never happened), and these laps lasted for almost 45 minutes, 2 laps at a time. Two drivers spin off track and proceeded to get good and stuck in the mud, during lead-follow laps. So yea, it was one of those kind of track days. I think by day's end we had 7 or 8 cars go off into the mud, needing a tow.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/RTTA-HHR-021812/i-DPVNkHD/0/S/DSC7852-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/RTTA-HHR-021812/i-q6Cp5wj/0/S/DSC7853-S.jpg

Watch this "highlight video" and you can see how much the weather and track conditions sucked...

in-car video showing "the opposite of track enjoyment" (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/RTTA-HHR-021812/21560627_7fvkgB#!i=1720353467&k=JfZNQ63&lb=1&s=A)

There was a serious water crossing on the track, where you had to slow WAY down, and it made for 20' rooster tails whenever you crossed it. There were another 7-8 "rivers" crossing the track all day. This track has MAJOR drainage issues - not the fault of ASCS but it sucked all the same.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/RTTA-HHR-021812/i-x5xqNP9/0/S/DSC7846-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/RTTA-HHR-021812/i-pXpXLzR/0/S/DSC7847-S.jpg

...see part 2 below...

08-16-2013, 02:00 PM
...part 2 continued from above...

The ASCS group did have some timer teething issues (with their brand new RFID track timer system they were breaking in), but Brian Finch of DSI was super helpful and worked with me several times to get my transponder to read. It took 2 transponders, moving them 3 times, re-adjusting the track side receiver, and me losing about half my laps to get it to finally work on my car. Any of you looking at RFID track timing systems, beware: they might be cheap, but they are far from idiot proof. Range is very limited and the angle of the transponder to receiver is critical, too. Maybe this Hardcard Systems unit was being messed with from the rain, I don't know - it just needed a lot of tweaking to work. By about 1:30 pm I got to where I was almost running over the receiver to make sure it read. Receiver blew over into the track surface and into the driving line once, too. Once we mounted it on the side window, aimed parallel to the receiver, it worked "pretty well". You can see the little little stick-on/disposable transponder on my right side window, below (this is the same stuff used to track groceries and other consumer goods).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/RTTA-HHR-021812/i-MWRnXXs/0/S/DSC7920-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/RTTA-HHR-021812/i-7673WKT/0/S/DSC7902-S.jpg

On a positive note, I did finally get to see better in-car video from my 1080P vidcam, mounted properly on the harness bar, and not stuck right to the windshield with the old suction cup mount. Bad news is the rear view mirror and my ugly mug are now shown. I need to play with placement and maybe tweak the rear view mirror location, but it works better than before. I also managed to finally get my G-Tech Pro RR Fanatic (http://www.gtechpro.com/rr_fanatic.html) data logger + lap timer to work properly in Road Race mode.

I fought with this damn G-Tech thing for a couple of events last year but never got it out of the "SS" (drag race) mode. This time, after but sitting in the pits in the rain waiting to get out on track, I messed with it long enough to figure out that the "scroll wheel" is also a push button for "select", and that did it. I also figured out how to make it work for continuous lap timing, predictive lap timing, how to add segments, and even how to make a separate start and finish (for hill climb and autocross). So now this $299 data logger display finally paid off - because now it works as advertised! I need to make a "how to video" for this thing because the instructions it comes and that they have online (http://www.gtechpro.com/rr_fanatic.html) with are terrible. It has software I can download to data mine the laps and maybe... maybe place these onto the video??? We'll see.

What else... oh yea, I guess I tested the new Porterfield R4 brake pads, which worked fine on track but it was raining all day. They are still on the car now, and after a week of street driving there's very little brake dust, they don't make too much noise, and they work fine cold, so it might work for autocrossing, too (I bought R4S pads for that, though). With the DTC-60 Hawks, the wheels would be BLACK after a DAY of street driving, they sucked cold, and after a week the noise would make you want to drive the car into a tree. I couldn't tell jack squat about any "new rear grip", other than I had none. The new 6 point harnesses worked out nicely, and the harness bar was rock solid. Nobody wanted to ride in the Mustang - guess it wasn't cool enough? There was some pretty crazy hardware there, the weather sucked, and a lot of cars went off into the mud - not too shocking.

This event is supposed to be run on 200 treadwear tires, which I never mounted. You see I had borrowed a set of well worn 275/35/18 Dunlop Star Specs mounted on 18x9.5" wheels, but with less than 3/32" of tread on these things I wasn't going to risk those on a wet track until it dried off a bit - which it never did. So I ran the "cheater" full tread 180 treadwear Bridgestone RE-11 tires all day, but they saw that at tech noted this on my times for the competition event portion (before they revised the results). Again, the plan was to switch to the Dunlops once it dried off, then tell them to wipe out the old times, and start my timed runs over... but with 2-3" of water running across the track in 7 or 8 spots, it just wasn't safe to run on nearly bald tires. Even with nearly full tread RE-11s it was a frakking handful. I couldn't accelerate in any gear past about 3000 rpm or it would result in instant wheel spin. Even the "straights" were a handful, as most of them were curved or off-camber, so I was short shifting and using mostly 4th and 5th, and it was miserable.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/RTTA-HHR-021812/i-GXMj76g/0/S/DSC7894-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/RTTA-HHR-021812/i-LF66Fpk/0/S/DSC7897-S.jpg

Most sane people would have just packed up and left, but damnit I wanted to wait it out and post some good times when it dried out. This was a qualifier for the Optima Challenge event, you know? One person from the "top 5 times" would be chosen from this event, plus "one more hard charger", at the series organizer's discretion. So I "hard charged my ass off" and put in over 80 laps in this slop, worked on my rain driving some more at HHR (it rained all day when I ran the Mustang here in Jan 2011, too!), and put in (according to my data logged times on the CW morning runs) the fastest times in the morning rain session. Burned a tank of fuel putting around, and getting sideways. Kept coming into the pits to check on my wife, who was sicker and sicker (running a 101-102F fever all day), and finally at 3:30, when I wasn't getting any faster and the rain let up for a few minutes, I loaded the car back onto the trailer and headed north back to Dallas. It rained the entire way back, too.

So of course, about 30 minutes after I left, there was a break in the weather right around HHR, the track dried up considerably, and lap times fell by 15-20 seconds. Figures. Again, with a sick wife and the better part of 2 days already wasted, I made a judgement call, cut my losses and bailed. Maybe if I would have stayed until dark, swapped on the Dunlops, I could have hung with the top finishers? Who knows. Should/coulda/woulda. I was in the top 1-2 in times during the rain by the time I left, so I'll have to be happy with that. Which I am not. :p


more below...

08-16-2013, 02:01 PM
continued from above

If you look at the results above, it shows my name but not times. Earlier this week it did show my best wet time of 1:59.2, which was still 9th quickest - not bad considering I left well before the track dried out, and these guys were driving until dark (the fastest lap of the event was the very last lap of the event, apparently). For some reason they deleted even that time, no idea why. I don't know why, for some reason them deleting all of my times now, after posting them before, is really pissing me off - especially since I made at least 2x or maybe even 3x as many laps as anyone else there. There were periods of 20-30 minutes where I was the only car out there - some guys made only a handful of laps in their high dollar Pro Touring cars. I get that, too. My time listing, before it was deleted, did have the little **not on 200 TW tires** noted, and I was ranked in order with the rest, but now my times are wiped off the results, so I guess its like I didn't even make a lap.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/RTTA-HHR-021812/i-Hvhwtvm/0/S/IMG4893-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/RTTA-HHR-021812/i-PWKFGgN/0/S/IMG4886-S.jpg

What a bunch of jokers. I will never go to another ASCS event after seeing all that went wrong here - not even considering the terrible weather and piss poor track drainage. They spent more time talking about what was for lunch than what was at stake from the competition. Its just... not the same as a NASA Time Trial, or something else equally as competitive. Heck, my local marquee BMW autocross club takes the competition more seriously. Even the TX2K11 event I went to last year, which was a total train wreck, dangerous, disorganized, and which I vowed to never attend again was more on the ball and had better results than this. Maybe if the track had been dry, where I would have immediately switched to the Dunlops, then they would have no basis for throwing out my times - then maybe I would have had more fun? I almost never have much fun at non-competition events, and that's what this became - plus miserably wet. But then again, I have already signed up for TX2K12... so I guess I should never say never. :D

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/RTTA-HHR-021812/i-Fbm7Bh6/0/S/DSC7915-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/RTTA-HHR-021812/i-VWq9mJm/0/S/DSC7841-S.jpg

Pictures I have posted from the event will show you some seriously nice muscle car hardware, and many of you will recognize a these cars from the pages of Popular Hot Rodding and the Pro-Touring scene. Neat cars, a LOT of money invested in many of the, and I was impressed with how many of the owners weren't afraid of throwing them off the track and into the mud. I can think of only one car there that wasn't driven on the wet as hell track. There was no real damage done, luckily, but it could have been ugly if a car had spun off sideways and gone shiny side down. Oh yea, the "Detroit Speed Inc" 53' 18 wheeler transporter was chock full of kickass cars, any of which I would be proud to own. They are doing something right - that transporter was nicer than some NASCAR team's units (and may have been an ex-NASCAR Cup teams' setup). The DSI owner was a super nice guy, and worked his butt off to help me get my timing issues sorted - big thanks to Brian for that. He's apparently an owner of the new ASCS series, so maybe he can help guide them into a more organized competition series.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/RTTA-HHR-021812/i-WmpL228/0/S/IMG4877-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/RTTA-HHR-021812/i-bqfD6w6/0/S/IMG4878-S.jpg

So, overall my thoughts on the ASCS Run To The Alamo = "meh". Needs more organizational work.

Dry 0-60 Testing

Of course our Mustang was completely filthy when we got it back to Dallas, from driving through that slop for the full day + towing it home on wet roads. AJ worked his magic and got it cleaned up this week, the weather cleared up, and I took the Mustang on another set of four 0-60 test blasts on the same roads as a week ago. This was to test the dry traction with he new rear suspension parts and pinion angle setting...

Click for video of 0-60 testing in the Mustang with the new rear suspension bits (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/14599286_2tnnDT#!i=1723054302&k=qhR7FXP&lb=1&s=A)

So that was pretty much "the suck". The damn thing was slower 0-60 in all 4 tests, by 2-4 tenths. I am not a complete noob when it comes to drag racing on street tires (have made on the order of "thousands of runs" at the drag strip in similar cars), so I want to think it wasn't driver error. This testing was performed on a closed course with professional drivers driving around me, of course. It only looks like residential streets - its a TV thing. After speaking with a few more solid axle savvy friends they all think we're running a bit extreme on the pinion angle we started with (-2.5, straight from the Spohn directions), so we're going to back it down quite a bit, do iterative testing, and inch our way to the best pinion angle. Its a grind, but this needs to be done.

What's Next?

Next event for this car is March 11th, which is the first Texas Region SCCA autocross. Local concrete lot, pretty tight, so its usually my worst event site for a car like this. I'm looking in the shop at 3 of the sets of 2011 tires we ran in STX class last year and none of them are fresh enough to re-use for this event, except the 265/35/18 Toyos R1Rs, which I wasn't at all happy with (these were the worst in our April 2011 tire test). Been trying to sell these Toyos for almost a year. So I've been looking at buying fresh tires this week, and I have it narrowed down to the 265/40/18 size in the Yokohama AD08 and the Hankook RS-3. The RS-3 is new to this 40 series size, and of course they are not in stock yet (I keep calling our guy at TireRack). I think I am going to hold out and wait for this one, as it handily won the dry autocross test that GRM / TireRack did last year, but the AD08 was right on its heels and fastest in the wet.

If we can arrange it in time I am going to hold a private autocross test before this March 11th event, but things have been so damned busy that all of my plans are going sideways lately.

New Track-side Support Vehicle

The weekend wasn't a total bust. On Sunday the weather in Dallas was picture perfect... literally not a cloud in the sky, 70F, just beautiful. Son of a B! I took this time to go pick up my new golf cart-sized "track vehicle project" (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8052), which isn't a golf cart at all. Taylor Dunn, Gas powered BG-150 "utility truck". Think "Austin Powers" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLKR9tCiwvA), but not electric, and with a front cab and box on the back. The rear box is coming off for a 2nd row of seats and a flat load floor. The TD is very narrow and should fit nicely in the front section of my new enclosed trailer, next to the built in aluminum work bench and cabinets.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Yard-Kart-Pit-Vehicle-Pit-Cart/i-FRBX3Cp/0/S/IMG4896-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/Trailer-Pics-July-25-2009/i-9rqfprV/0/S/IMG3026-S.jpg

Vorshlag Open House March 10th

Also, Vorshlag is having an open house along with hosting the Texas Region SCCA's Annual Solo Tech event, Saturday March 10th from 9 am until 4 pm. Feel free to come by our facility that day for a tour of our shop, meet our guys, see what we can offer in terms of fabrication/service/set-up work as well as products we build, stock and carry. Free burgers, drinks, etc. Join us here (http://www.vorshlag.com/contactus.php)!

08-16-2013, 02:02 PM
Project Update for March 14, 2012: Last week was a hell of a lot of work and activity and this week is worse. This will be a quick and dirty update - we're about to load the Mustang into trailer and then Amy and I head to Houston later today for a track event Thursday and a National Tour autocross on the weekend. If I flub any spelling or grammar, please know that this was written quickly.

So the first track event of the year (RTTA) was a bust, what with the terrible rain, my erased times, Amy's illness cutting our trip short to the point where I missed the late afternoon dry session, and the overall level of disorganization of this event. I was hoping the first autocross of the year would avoid the rain, but I was wrong. It started raining the day before, which was when we held the Vorshlag Open House and SCCA Annual Solo Tech Party, held at Vorshlag on March 10th...

Open House and SCCA Tech

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-new-Shop-Build-up/i-8wBXszS/0/S/DSC8233-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-new-Shop-Build-up/i-2qdNFHM/0/S/DSC8256-S.jpg

I won't bore you with all of the pictures (you can see more here (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8058)), but we thrashed for weeks getting the shop and front office areas of Vorshlag HQ in tip top shape for this event. The Texas Region SCCA Solo group needed a place to hold their annual tech and we needed an excuse to have our open house party (we've been working at our new location for 6 months!). So we put in a lot of late hours and weekend days, spent a little bit of money, and we got the place looking pretty good.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-new-Shop-Build-up/i-ZBGZvvZ/0/S/DSC8257-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-new-Shop-Build-up/i-dZFct7V/0/S/DSC8253-S.jpg

A customer's engine swap turned into a 3 week mega-thrash after some front chassis rot was found and corrected. That put us a bit behind on shop clean-up, which started about 7:30 Friday night before the Open House event. Ryan (with help from Cameron and AJ) had been building tables for several days and those were wrapped up, thankfully. We were also down a man all week, as Jason was Crew Chief for Brianne Corn's rally Subaru that ran in the WRC event in Mexico last week. It was the perfect storm of variables that made Friday night a 2:15 am night... but we got the shop and front offices cleaned up and looking great.

The first 3 hours of the Open House and Tech went off without a hitch, and right as we started grilling up burgers and brats it started to rain and kept at it all day. We still had over 100 people show up and 37 cars were teched, so it was still a great event. I didn't sit down all day and felt like I talked to 1000 people and gave 200 tours of the shop - people liked the place. Towards the end of the day Ryan and AJ put the Mustang on the lift, I took the 18x9" WedsSport wheels and got the new 265/40/18 Hankook RS-3s mounted (our new tire machine is still down), the guys checked out everything, re-adjusted the pinion angle a bit, mounted the Hankooks to the car, and we loaded it into the new enclosed trailer (purchased 2 weeks before) still dirty, while the rain came down. I was running around this week getting the out of state title on the trailer transferred, DOT inspection, weigh station check, and paying for tags and taxes, too.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/Vorshlag-Trailer/i-JZVGKx3/0/S/DSC0526-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/Vorshlag-Trailer/i-GHHkXF7/0/S/DSC8491-S.jpg

Tex Reg SCCA Autocross #1 - First Autocross of 2012

On Sunday the 11th Amy and I took the trailer on a short tow across town with the Mustang loaded inside. This was a test of the trailer before our longer tow the following week (happening in about 2 hours), as we could have driven to the site only 45 miles away. Still, I'm trying to keep the STX autocross tires off the street and reduce heat cycles, so it will likely be towed to all autocross events this year. I'm glad we had it - as it rained all morning, and the trailer became a good dry spot to sit inside of.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Penn-031112/i-GK9Gfg6/1/S/DSC8446-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Penn-031112/i-sd2cmsQ/0/S/DSC8488-S.jpg

Made a few small mistakes this day, such as not scrubbing the tires in before the first run (silicon mold release + wet surface = slippery first few runs!), I didn't load the "autocross" throttle map tune via the SCT (so it had the bezerko street tune map - not what we needed in the wet), we left the Porterfield R4 "track" pads on (ran out of time), and we had the loose shoulder harness belts clanking around on the back of the seats (I only use a lap belt for autocrossing - lets me move my upper body around and I can see better out the side windows, which happens when you're going sideways a lot).

Anyway, we started with fairly low rebound settings on the AST 4150s and lower tire pressures, to soften the reactions as much as we could for the wet conditions. Amy and I worked the 1st of 2 heats, where it rained off and on until about 11:30, when it finally stopped. The skies were overcast and the wind was nil, so it didn't dry off much at all during our runs in heat 2, as you can see here on our first runs...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Penn-031112/i-8pVHbc6/0/S/SCCA-Penn-031112-Amy-Run1-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Penn-031112/21899745_p6bcsC#!i=1749609699&k=8pVHbc6&lb=1&s=A) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Penn-031112/i-QPkMzH7/0/S/SCCA-Penn-031112-Terry-Run1-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Penn-031112/21899745_p6bcsC#!i=1749609790&k=QPkMzH7&lb=1&s=A)
Left: Amy's 1st run Right: Terry's 1st run

As you can see it is not raining but it is still pretty damned wet. We both ran in STX open class, as I don't have another co-driver this year so we'll both run "open" until Nationals, where she will likely move to STX-L. Since we had a 2 driver car, had to adjust the seat and belts significantly, swap numbers, check tire pressures, and reset the video between runs, and the smaller heats made for quick driver changes, we ran 1 run each, then did runs in 2s... so Amy, then me, then Amy, Amy, me, me, Amy Amy, me, me. Even with faster changeovers we were running behind and I was one of the last cars to make my a run - and in fact I put myself on a 5 minute timer from my 4th to 5th run. It turns out that Amy stopped for a downed cone on her 2nd run, which they threw out, but she didn't know they gave her the re-run so she didn't take her 5th run. That sucks because she would have likely dropped more time.

The sun had just peeked out and it was a tick drier, but if you watch my 5th run you will see that the actual driving line was still wet, due to the cars dragging water from some drainage onto the line. It was the only lap where I tip-toed the throttle and braked early, so I wasn't too surprised that it was 1/2 second quicker than my previous best. It "felt slow", which usually means its fast... you know?

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Penn-031112/i-G7kMRW9/0/S/SCCA-Penn-031112-Terry-Run5-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Penn-031112/21899745_p6bcsC#!i=1749610923&k=G7kMRW9&lb=1&s=A) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Penn-031112/i-xwkcfcj/0/S/SCCA-Penn-031112-Amy-Run3-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Penn-031112/21899745_p6bcsC#!i=1749636288&k=xwkcfcj&lb=1&s=A)
Left: Terry's 5th and quickest run (37.5). Right: Amy's 3rd and quickest run (38.2)

Let's see where that put us...

Final Results: http://texasscca.org/2012_solo_results/tr12_1_final.htm
PAX Results: http://texasscca.org/2012_solo_results/tr12_1_pax.htm
Sound Meter Testing (it was close to 100 but not over!): http://texasscca.org/2012_solo_results/2012_1_sound.pdf

We had 8 cars in STX, pretty good for a wet event with only 67 entrants. Ledbetter got first in his newly restored BMW 328is... we installed a fresh longblock and repaired the chassis the weeks before this event (that was the 3 weeks of work that got us a little behind). It was his first outing of the year and with a fresh set of Dunlops and the added horsepower of the fresher motor (old motor had 230K!) he was fast, as was his co-driver (his mom) who got 3rd in class right behind me. The three of us were the only cars in the 37s, and I felt good only being .5 behind him. That BMW looked hooked-up in these nasty conditions, and this was the tightest lot we race on in Dallas/Ft. Worth - which is usually worst lot for the Mustang. Brad Maxcy (on fairly bald RS-3s) was in 4th and Amy was hot on his heels in 5th, both within tenths of 3rd place. Amy and I were both clean in all 10 of our combined runs so we didn't "cone test" the splitter yet (whew).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Penn-031112/i-p6hjGHN/0/S/DSC8471-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Penn-031112/i-3qsXjR3/1/S/DSC8406-S.jpg

more below...

08-16-2013, 02:02 PM
continued from above

We loaded up and headed back after the event (then went to Fuzzy's Taco with the Maxcy's and to see JOHN CARTER OF MARS after eating). I am pretty happy with the results considering the tight course/tiny lot, the wet conditions, and the fact that I forgot to load the "soft throttle map". Amy liked the way the car handled after we made some tire and shock adjustments (after our first runs), but she said the throttle map was making it hard to accelerate. The new, full tread Hankooks worked admirably in the wet but we were definitely fighting serious wheel spin. After watching all 10 runs on video, I have also finally come to the conclusion that I have been creating some braking problems all on my own. The "ice mode" ABS issue that I complain about on 4 of 5 of my runs only comes when I stab the brakes as the rear tires are still spinning, from my typical over-driving. Why didn't I noticed this before? The new video camera location made for better video and easier to turn it on/off, and I took video of more runs as a result - which made the ice mode situation obvious. I am an idiot and have got to calm down and quit over-driving this car.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Penn-031112/i-HpWzHsr/1/S/DSC8396-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Penn-031112/i-pRd6dBF/1/S/DSC8375-S.jpg

The PAX results (http://texasscca.org/2012_solo_results/tr12_1_pax.htm) were also better than normal for this car, to date. 9th place in PAX for the big, heavy, over-powered and under-tired Mustang was pretty good considering the tight course and wet conditions. We'll see if that trend continues in this weekend's Texas National Tour event, where STX has a huge class.

New S197 Mustang Camber Plates + New Aero?

So I had an ad out there for a new draftsman (ended up hiring 2 folks), as I was needing some drafting help to help catch up on some camber plate revisions, new designs and other product development. Since I spend too much time on forums I can't get all of my design work done. ;) Got 40+ resumes but found the perfect guy to help out for the short term. He is a great SolidWorks guru and racer; he and I worked several late nights last week and got the drawings done for an all-new Mustang camber-caster plate.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Development-Pictures/i-cHHsvgB/0/S/Assembly4-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Development-Pictures/i-fV7c7xP/0/S/Assembly3-S.jpg

This one is easier to adjust camber (loosen the 4 strut top nuts and slide the assembly in-out) than before, it has 3 caster settings (like our BMW E36 design), has a pointer and hash marks for camber setting reference, and is now using an aluminum main plate and an all-new bearing holder design. A lot of work but he did an excellent job.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-fcxNNSQ/0/S/DSC8513-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-KmhQNfB/0/S/DSC8503-S.jpg

I took those 3D files, output them in the proper format, uploaded them to a website that makes stereo lithography parts, and 36 hours later these Rapid Prototype nylon parts arrived. Woo! We tapped the holes, pressed in a spherical bearing, installed a snap ring, and assembled the new camber plate.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-Zv6jvXf/0/S/DSC8507-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-Z5XSJdD/0/S/DSC8512-S.jpg

We just test fit this into the 2011's LF strut tower today and it adjusts perfectly, with more camber change than before and a lot more caster adjustment than the previous two revisions. So now we will have a production batch made and skip the normal machined prototypes we normally make. Should see these in 3-4 weeks. Woo! Right about when the AST 4150s arrive for this S197 Mustang chassis (and many other 4150 models).

FYI: The 25 sets of 18x10" D-Force/Vorshlag wheels for the Mustang and Subaru chassis are on the water. They should be here in 3-5 weeks. We've pre-sold over 20 sets of the 25 coming in, so if you are on the fence... ?

The aero part mentioned above... I am running out of time so I will make a post about that soon. Working with a composites expert, we now have a composite splitter to fit the 2010-2012 Mustang. Looks similar to the Leguna Seca Boss 302 part that we bought for our car, but instead of the 12 pounds of flimsy ABS plastic for the element, this one is 3 pounds of high density foam core wrapped in glass weave and structural resin. Much more rigid than the LS plastic piece, too. We still have some work to do before this goes to market, but we think it will have a significantly lower cost (with the mounting kit) when compared to the $750 price for the Leguna Seca splitter. I will show pictures and talk more about this in a future post. I am running TX2K with the Leguna Seca piece so hopefully it will have a bit more front bite on this (hopefully dry) track than before.

Loading Up

So before we head off to MSR-Houston for the TK2K event tomorrow I mentioned some noise form the Mustang's rear end. Howling on the right side, so Ryan popped the rear cover, pulled the C-clips, and took a look at the axles.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-MX8hMrJ/0/S/DSC8498-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-TTrs4b6/0/S/DSC8493-S.jpg

Everything looks fine - the outer bearings, the axle shafts, the ring and pinion, no metal or shavings int he fluid - weird. The fluid smelled a bit burnt so we'll see if the fresh fluid helps any. Maybe it is the inner bearings in the diff carrier - I'll order the Wacetrac LSD I wanted to try out and new bearings and we will get that installed soon.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-hXWMkMr/0/S/DSC8501-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-Ccg33zb/0/S/DSC8499-S.jpg

Before we loaded up the car it was pushed outside, put up on jack stands, and the fender wells and underside got a much needed washing. It was nasty under there. We mounted up some 275/35/18 Hoosiers A6s to the 18x10s for TX2K, so maybe it will have some grip.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-8vbcc2w/0/S/DSC8515-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-m7mCnbR/0/S/DSC8517-S.jpg

The National Tour is Fri-Sunday so its going to be a long weekend and a lot of towing across Texas. And there's more events the following weekend, so I might wait until that weekend is past before my next update.

We are running MSR-H's 2.4 mile course clockwise for TX2K12 tomorrow, supposedly

More soon,

08-16-2013, 02:04 PM
Project Update for March 22, 2012: Sorry it took me nearly a week after the last double-header event weekend to get this update up, but we've been slammed at Vorshlag and with a 3 day work week last week I'm still way behind. I was also hoping that the TX2K12 folks would have some sort of results posted for the track day, but alas - the only results up a week after their event weekend are for drag racing. I checked the usual forums that have TX2K threads (which usually have more info than the Tx2K website), but they are just full of street racing stories, videos showing who had the biggest burnout at the "street meet", their "dyno day" numbers, and other things I don't care about. ;)

My pictures and videos from TX2K12: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-C5RxMMD/0/S/IMG5092-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-f22m6nj/0/S/IMG5093-S.jpg

So let's back up a tick. Where we last left off here the Mustang was being hurriedly prepped, washed, and loaded into the trailer. There was some wheel bearing noise I noticed at the Harris Hill Road track event (RTTA) and it was louder at the last autocross earlier this month. Ryan and AJ pulled the rear axle apart, yanked out the right side axle shaft, and we inspected the bearings, shaft, and differential for wear. It all looked perfect. Was I hearing the noise correctly?? I know it was from the right rear... or was it? Weird.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-hRdN7kW/0/S/IMG5095-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-c2K5ZCZ/0/S/IMG5096-S.jpg

We had found some 275/35/18 Hoosier A6 (autocross compound) DOT tires to mount to the D-Force 18x10" wheels, which were to be used at the MSR-Houston track event held by TX2K12 last Thursday. Our newly repaired tire machine was finally ready to use for the first time... but one more little issue cropped up (fixed this week!) so we took them to Discount Tire once again. I hadn't run the Mustang on track with anything but street tires up until now so some R compounds were long overdue. I could have thrown the 315/35/18 Kumho V710s on there but... I just had a bad feeling about the event and didn't want to burn up brand new tires at this one. That was a smart move.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-5RDdFbH/0/S/IMG5116-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-NvVrRzs/0/S/IMG5117-S.jpg

The 275/35/18 is super short and looks ridiculous (to me) on the Mustang, but hey, its the spec tire for the GRAND AM Mustangs so I went ahead and tried it. Meh, it works I guess, but has a ton of wheel gap at the fender. A little skinny for an 18x10" but it had some grip. We got the car loaded up, strapped in, and AJ and Ryan loaded out the trailer with the toolbox and all the track gear for the first time. First long tow with the trailer, and no spare wheel/tire to be found. Oh well, wish me luck! We left Dallas around 5:30 pm (rush hour traffic = FML) but got to Pearland around 10 pm and crashed out.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-425p6TX/0/S/DSC8519-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-8HZF7tz/0/S/IMG5113-S.jpg

The next morning we got to MSR-H early and set-up our trailer next to Costas & Anna's set-up, right next to Track Entrance where NASA normally grids... but with only 40 cars split amongst 4 sessions, there were very few cars to grid, so it worked. Great trailer/paddock location, whatever - thanks Paul! :) We went to the driver's meeting, turned in our self-tech forms, and made sure they had our AMB transponder numbers registered. It was clear that Peter and the TX2K crew had stepped up their game for 2012; this event was better organized, safer, and more enjoyable than in 2011. Costas and I were put both in group Advanced 1 (A1) which had 8 cars, there was an A2, and we had to work with beginner (B1, B2) drivers all day.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-vWkBx3d/0/S/IMG5115-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-gn7VH8H/0/S/IMG5101-S.jpg

I took a GT500 Mustang driver around the track in my first A1 track session with the 275s at all 4 corners and he had a BLAST (you can see his GT500 in the bottom right pic). He'd never done a track day, autocross, nothing - so his eyes were huge as we bombed around MSR-H on Hoosier A6s, drifting the rear out of most corners - these tires had been sitting for over a year before I bought them, so I was "cleaning off old rubber". :D Managed nothing better than a 1:49.48 lap in this session (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-5RDdFbH/0/M/IMG5116-M.jpg), going the ClockWise direction, meh. I was shifting around 6K to keep from hurting anything, as it makes peak power around 6200 anyway. The laps felt slow, and it was loose as hell out back. Was the splitter actually helping front grip and the lack of rear wing hurting the overall balance? All I knew was that it was loose in high an low speed corners. And the track was BUMPY... coming out of turn 10 there's a huge dip, so if I do any more track events in this car the 175# rear springs (which work great for autocross) we might need to bump up a tick in rate, to keep the rear from bottoming out on tracks like this.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-546K6jH/0/S/IMG5119-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-gxRc9HP/0/S/IMG5111-S.jpg

continued below

08-16-2013, 02:04 PM
continued from above

The wheel bearing noise was getting loud in session #1 and sounded like it might be the right front tire, and not the right rear as I had thought? We came in after our 20 minute session and I took a look - tire pressures went up to where they should be but the RF wheel bearing felt tight when I rocked the RF wheel, while it was in the air. I took Amy out with me in A1 session #2 and we didn't make it 100 yards before we knew something was WAY wrong; came right back in after one lap for a better look. Click the video below (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/22036080_bGvFcK#!i=1760584739&k=ZhP7pdN&lb=1&s=A) and you can hear the loud WAH! WAH! WAH! noises above the wind noise, but it was VERY apparent in the car that something was BAD wrong with the TIRE now. Steering wheel was shuddering like mad - and it wasn't the electronic gremlins this time, it was the tire. Sure enough, the RF tire had grown about 3" in diameter on one part of the inside shoulder; it was grossly out of round. This happened during the half hour of down time after I had re-checked hot tire pressures and wiggled the RF wheel bearing immediately after session #1. WTF? Costas :" Oh yea, that tire has popped some cords".

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-ZvxnHW6/0/S/DSC9210-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-HdgddhG/0/S/IMG5108-S.jpg
Click either pic above for in-car video and hear the RF tire doing its death howl (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/22036080_bGvFcK#!i=1760584739&k=ZhP7pdN&lb=1&s=A)

The tread looked fine but the carcass of that Hoosier was toast; luckily I had a back-up plan and brought along a pair "vintage" 305/30/18 Hoosier A3S5 autocross tires with a DOT stamping date of 2005... so that's like 7 year old tires. I had used these early on with the E36 LS1 Alpha car, so they were good back then... but "then" was around 2007. Amy and I pulled the Right Front and one Rear wheel off, took them to the MSR "Office Shop", and they swapped on the 305s for us (sure wish I had my Taylor Dunn track vehicle up and running at this point! That was a lot of walking around with wheels and tires). We put these 305s on the back and moved two of the better 275s up front for a non-square set-up. Not ideal, but it was what I had for spare R compound tires in the trailer. Went out in session 2 with Amy riding along again (mistake!). Here's that highlight video...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-DHZxqG2/0/S/TX2K12-MSRH-Terry-Mustang-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/IMG2369/1175805718_T2GQJ-S.jpg
Click for video from my A1 Session #3...mistakes and all (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/22036080_bGvFcK#!i=1760369192&k=DHZxqG2&lb=1&s=A)

So I had one warm up lap where I took it pretty easy, trying to scrub the rear tires in - they really did have some OLD rubber that needed to go away. Come around for my first hot lap and got sideways under braking and had a quick off and on. I managed to steer around the curbing and saved the splitter from curbing crash testing, but Amy was still pissed. This was her daily driver, she bemoaned, and "you are never tracking my car again!". Well, crap... so I took it easy for the rest of session #3 but still managed to go 2.2 seconds quicker with the old 305mm rears, running a best lap of 1:47.26 lap (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-NvVrRzs/0/M/IMG5117-M.jpg). The rear was still a bit loose in high speed corners but it was clear that the car responded quickly after having a wider rear tire... All of you that think I'm crazy for wanting more than a 275mm tire, well, I beg to differ. :) I do wish we had found a trunk in time to make a wing mount (I have a 68" wide CF APR GTC-300 wing sitting here waiting to be mounted to something), as I think it could have gone much quicker with some rear down force.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-Bvt2prJ/0/S/IMG5121-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-qhBHNmt/0/S/IMG5118-S.jpg
Left: The RF tire #2 gave its life to the MSR-H gods. Right: The 305 looked right at home

So we came in after she said she had "had enough", checked the tires and found another RF tire that had been destroyed. WTF?! There was only one corner on the track where you really load the RF going clockwise, but it was the fastest turn there. Was it a combination of a bad wheel bearing and this corner? Too much negative camber? Something else? We checked the RF wheel bearing again (it now had some serious resistance when spun - took a lot of force to turn the hub by hand; not good), and the camber (-3, right where it should be). I think we're done for the day... not going to kill a 3rd tire to maybe squeak out another second or two, if I'm lucky. The higher powered cars at TX2K12 were far quicker than I was going to get to today - Costas GT-1 car had the top spot but some race prepped big power GTRs, a couple of Vipers and Z06s, and a Supra were all several seconds faster than the Mustang. I wasn't going to make the Top 5 Time Trial shootout, so Amy and I mounted the 18x9s and RS-3 Hankooks for the upcoming National Tour on Saturday and loaded up the car.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-x78tVSH/0/S/IMG5104-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-qcSVbSw/0/S/IMG5120-S.jpg

Costas had a pretty good day - his GT-1 car ran great in 3 sessions, putting in more trouble-free laps all day than I've seen that car do in the last few events combined, where I saw it run. He was pushing the car harder each session but taking it pretty easy; he had a small deficit going into the Time Trial but was confident the car had more time in it. Sure, he had an off in session #1 on some older/harder tires, but we gave him sufficient quantities of grief. GT1 Lawn Service, "We cut your grass fast!". It was on FB before he had even un-belted; by the time he had his helmet off there were 3 more "captions" for that pic. ;)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-DfxV8Cp/0/S/DSC8738-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-bgjDqmq/0/S/IMG5123-S.jpg

So his GT-1 car, 3 GTRs and a Viper went out for the Time Trial Shootout at the end of the day. 3 hot laps later a GTR was on top - wish we would have had used his helmet/pit radios so he would have known to push it on lap#3. There was some potential blocking by the first place car but he didn't mind and still had a great day - anytime you get to bust off a lot of trouble-free laps in a GT-1 car on 14" wide slicks, its a good day.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-khCFDbQ/0/S/Tx2K12-TimeTrialShootout-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/22036080_bGvFcK#!i=1760650165&k=khCFDbQ&lb=1&s=A) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/i-dw3DRDK/0/S/IMG5126-S.jpg
Click the above left picture for the Time Trial Shoot-out Compilation Video (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/TX2K12-MSR-H/22036080_bGvFcK#!i=1760650165&k=khCFDbQ&lb=1&s=A)

After we left the MSR-H site we went and ate some kickass Mexican food at Los Cucos, then made it back to our hotel and crashed. We had another busy 3 days ahead of us....

...Texas National Tour continued in part 2, tomorrow...

08-16-2013, 02:05 PM
Project Update for March 25, 2012: Took me a bit longer to finish this post, sorry for the delay. Went to the Dallas Auto Show (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Car-Shows/Dallas-Auto-Show-2012/) Friday and was at Cobb Plano's Shop Expansion Party (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Car-Shows/Cobb-Re-Opening-032412/) all day Saturday, then watched F1 Malaysia this morning... so this is the soonest I could get back to the shop and finish the Mustang update.

Let's see... we left off with last weekend's "four days of racing" and we were leaving the TX2K12 track day at MSR-Houston. The event had great weather and we had a lot of fun there, even if we did kill two Hoosiers in the process and only managed two full track sessions in the Mustang. We left our hotel Friday morning and stopped by HK Racing Engines in Houston, dropping off an aluminum LS1 block to be built-up for an in-house turn-key E36 LS1 we're building to sell. Then we went to breakfast with Erik and Gary of HK and discussed this engine as well as one for the Alpha E46 LS1, then headed to College Station while towing the race trailer.

SCCA "SunBelt" (Texas) National Tour Autocross

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-3XFm6Q6/0/S/DSC8744-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-CjHXxJ5/0/S/DSC8747-S.jpg

Once we got to the Riverside Annex we set-up our trailer and sponsor table next to the AST/Moton trailer and unloaded the Mustang once more. Already had the Hankooks and 18x9's installed so Amy and I headed to the test-n-tune course. The course was a slalom, a crossover, a 180 corner, back through the crossover, into some offsets and then the finish. I watched some other STX, STU and STS drivers' times and noted that a 30.4 sec run would be fast. Here's some practice runs...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-sDSdS2P/0/S/TexasTour2012-Prac-Run2-Terry-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/22027905_NW5RXz#!i=1761510180&k=sDSdS2P&lb=1&s=A) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-kms5pLW/0/S/TexasTour2012-Prac-Run4-Terry-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/22027905_NW5RXz#!i=1761510160&k=kms5pLW&lb=1&s=A)
Left: Video of Terry's 30.4 sec practice run (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/22027905_NW5RXz#!i=1761510180&k=sDSdS2P&lb=1&s=A) (low pressures). Right: Video of Terry's 29.9 practice run (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/22027905_NW5RXz#!i=1761510160&k=kms5pLW&lb=1&s=A) (higher pressures)

Sure, I'm pushing the car hard, but that's the only way I have found to get the best times out of the car. The rear tires are the limiting factor to the performance of this car set-up for this class, so I'm always giving the car as much throttle as it can take (or more). As you can see in the videos, bumping up tire pressures 5 psi front and back dropped times half a second on this 30 second course. See why testing is important? Concrete => more grip => add more pressure. These 8 brief laps of testing barely scratched the surface of what is needed, too. That 29.9 time was quicker than the other STX cars I saw running at that time of the day, but practice courses don't represent a whole course. I've "won" a lot of Nationals on the practice courses. ;) Amy put in a respectable 30.1 time on her 4th practice lap as well.

We took the car through tech, slapped on the decals we didn't have, killed some time, and once the Day 1 course was open we walked this 1+ mile monster twice. Oh my feet. The course was set-up by Vivek and it was very busy, with a lot of transitional elements - more than normal? The finish was painfully tight as well. "Technical and challenging" is the term. :) Basically there was nowhere for the Mustang to stretch its legs and I felt like I'd be on the back foot on Saturday. I was, unfortunately, correct.

Texas Tour - Day 1

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-b7HKnSv/0/S/DSC8758-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-b89kqmN/0/S/DSC8759-S.jpg

We arrived early Saturday morning to walk once again, then I worked the sound meter (busy - couldn't watch the course much), and Amy ran STX-Ladies in heat #2. She made her three runs all within the same tenth: 69.694, 69.649(+1), and a 69.689. Consistent! She was 2.5 sec ahead of the rest of STX-L (3 cars), but her runs looked a bit timid on video and she felt like she left some time out there. Here's her fastest Day 1 run:

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-L9h8qFP/0/S/TexasTour2012-Day1Run3-Amy-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/22027905_NW5RXz#!i=1761510317&k=L9h8qFP&lb=1&s=A) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-f7CHBTx/0/S/DSC8752-S.jpg
Video of Amy's Day 1 Run 3 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/22027905_NW5RXz#!i=1761510317&k=L9h8qFP&lb=1&s=A) with an STX-L winning time of 69.689 sec

She drove smoothly and consistently, but after comparing videos and times of our Day 1 runs, we both felt like she was not giving the car enough throttle on corner exit - that's the only thing the Mustang does better than the lighter cars in STX: Accelerate. Play to your strengths.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-8qSpXBx/0/S/DSC8801-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-sSpBHVT/0/S/DSC8807-S.jpg

Before my first runs I was comparing the day's STX car weights. From what I can gather we had a 2650 pound RX8, a 2750 pound E36, 2950-ish pound MZ3 and '08 WRX, and a 3200 pound R32. Our 3500 pound Mustang seems a bit piggish in this flyweight field, and all of those cars except the AWD R32 and WRX can run the same 265mm width tire as the Mustang, and all are considerably narrower. Hey, at least the 1900 pound "STC" Civics finally got booted out of STX, so we weren't looking at a 50% weight handicap anymore. An 800 pound deficit doesn't seem so bad now. Still, on paper the Mustang is pretty outgunned for STX class - duh, that's what everyone has said since the beginning of this crazy plan! But do I ever listen?? No.

The one thing the 5.0 Mustang does have in abundance in STX legal trim is horsepower - about double what the rest of the STX class makes (excluding the turbo cars, which are considerably closer). But we all know that in autocrossing power is the least important thing... but to me its the best part of driving - power management. :D I don't like driving "momentum" cars as much, which is just a nice way of saying "under powered", but that doesn't mean they are slower. They aren't. Driving these cars just doesn't do it for me - maybe I'm wired wrong.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-NnZbNf7/0/S/TexasTour2012-Day1Run3-Terry-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/22027905_NW5RXz#!i=1761368445&k=NnZbNf7&lb=1&s=A) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-SZfJ53p/0/S/DSC8831-S.jpg
Video of Terry's Day 1 Run 3 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/22027905_NW5RXz#!i=1761368445&k=NnZbNf7&lb=1&s=A) with a time of 68.743 sec - good enough for 4th

So on Day 1 heat 3 I strapped in, fired up the vidcam, and went out and drove aggressively on Run 1. Too aggressively; I DNF'd at a gate to avoid plowing over a cone and possibly damaging the factory Mustang Leguna Seca splitter, which so far has only taken glancing hits when Amy has hit a cone or two. I have yet to hit a cone with the splitter installed (knock on wood... err... ABS?), so maybe this $700 plastic protrusion hanging 5" off the front of the car is a good thing for my driving? Fear is a great motivator. I drove a bit cleaner and was quicker on Run 2 and you can see my best Day 1 Run 3 video (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/22027905_NW5RXz#!i=1761368445&k=NnZbNf7&lb=1&s=A) above, which was a whopping .007 seconds quicker than run #2. WTF? I was driving my ASS off and that's all I could find? Seven lousy thousandths.

...continued below...

08-16-2013, 02:06 PM
continued from above

Driving that car on that course Saturday was... challenging. Exhilarating? Tiring! When I looked at the times it was more... frustrating. That word pretty much sums up my feelings after 3 runs on Day 1. I was now sitting .748 sec behind Sipe's RX8 (below left), and fell from 2nd to 3rd to 4th place at the end of the day, behind Wilson in the WRX and Roberts in the MZ3. I expected to be trailing the RX8 and maybe even the E36, but I didn't see the other two until it was too late. Ledbetter in the BMW 328is had some quicker times but coned them away and was placed behind me on Day 1, for once.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-bBx23pH/0/S/DSC9047-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-mXbxpKX/0/S/DSC8974-S.jpg

All night at the (Vorshlag sponsored) Saturday night Bar-B-Q dinner, I discussed my frustration with driving on street tires and too much power. Going from 305mm wide Hoosiers on track Thursday to skinny 265mm street tires on the same car the next day was a big change - and is making me think twice about STX. It was fun tracking the Mustang on R compounds and still being almost 8 tenths back after driving to the limit of my ability on Saturday was driving me nuts. It didn't help sitting next to F Stock drivers Doug Willie and Casey Weiss as well as ESP driver Mark Madderash that night. They all drive on Hoosier/smoke the R compound crack pipe... "Go to ESP!" they all said. After that day's walloping, and several beers, I was giving it serious thought.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-SFchDs7/0/S/DSC8871-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-b5fNSB8/0/S/DSC8859-S.jpg
Bad influences from the Hoosier clad FStock and ESP drivers

Texas Tour - Day 2

We woke up early Sunday morning (still dark) and drove the Mustang off site to a nearby gas station, just to add a couple of gallons of go juice. Not being on course at Wide Open Throttle to disguise it, the RF wheel hub was making a HUGE amount of noise driving above 40 mph. Oh... wow, that was LOUD. We wondered: "Do we continue to drive this car today?" and risk a wheel hub failure/wheel coming off? We gave it a serious thought, and Ledbetter graciously offered me a co-drive in his 328is. That car was looking good with the fresh motor, new tires, and new DDP pistons in the rear AST 4200s. This offer was very tempting... but I was more interested in how the car could do in class than how I could do in class, so I stuck with the Mustang for all of my runs. I re-checked the wheel hub in the paddock and it still felt tight, but there was no denying that the hub noise sounded terminal.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-2DX8HTD/0/S/DSC8966-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-ckD9dMt/0/S/DSC8962-S.jpg

Sunday's course was the same thing, but backwards. Technical, busy, some very tight spots, lots of slaloms. I walked it another 2-3 times and didn't see much help for my big, tire-limited car, except maybe in a few places where cars might hit higher terminal speeds, which would then favor the Mustang's "long legs" in 2nd gear (about 74 mph @ 7850 rpm) - that proved to be true, and lots of drivers either rode the limiter in 2nd or had a lot of 2-3-2 shifts to manage.

(http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/22027905_NW5RXz#!i=1764294275&k=8GZGnPZ&lb=1&s=A)Video of Amy Day 2 run 3 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/22027905_NW5RXz#!i=1764294275&k=8GZGnPZ&lb=1&s=A) with a 65.945 sec lap

Amy went out again in heat 2 and put another 3.3 seconds on STX-L for an overall win of 5.9 seconds over 2 days. Ouch! She looked a lot faster on Day 2, both from the outside and on the in-car video, so she found her inner bad-ass and harnessed her aggression on Day 2. Instead of being nearly a second back from me like on Day 1, she ended up barely 0.5 seconds behind me for Day 2's runs (she's beaten me more times than I care to count, so I have to savor these little inner-team wins when I can!). We had watched Day 1's videos the night before and I talked to her about driving a bit more aggressively and I guess it worked. She also listened to music coming to the line and throughout her runs, which works for her. I leave the radio off but talk to myself when I drive; its kind of funny listening to myself on video afterwards...

So heat 3 rolls around and I'm almost dreading it. I felt like I'd fall back from the leader another second or more and end up with a huge deficit and a mid-pack finish, or worse. That's not what happened though. With no changes other than the course direction and a good night's sleep, I came out on run 1 and the car and/or I was just... faster. The various "straight-ish" sections drove quicker and I was bumping near the rev limiter in 3-4 spots, which probably equates to 70-74 mph into a few corners. Nothing else that I know of in STX can do 74 mph in 2nd gear, so I felt like this might be a good day for the big red boat?

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-qG4MRKG/0/S/TexasTour2012-Day2Run1-Terry-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/22027905_NW5RXz#!i=1760894424&k=qG4MRKG&lb=1&s=A)
Video of Terry Day 2 Run 1 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/22027905_NW5RXz#!i=1760894424&k=qG4MRKG&lb=1&s=A). This was a 66.901 sec run with lots of mistakes

Run 1 was pretty messy (see video above) but on run 2 all the stars aligned and I had another nearly perfect drive (well, perfect for a hack like me), and the announcer said my 65.468 second run put me into the the lead... Wait, the WHAT?! This is a National Tour, in the 3500 pound pig, and was .75 sec back on day 1! I was unsure of what to think just then. Suddenly I was on the hot seat and was ready for a "just kidding!" from the announcer. Amy left the vidcam on for like an hour, filled the SD card up, and the vidcam shut-off right as I got to the line, so there's no video of my fastest run, which was run # 2. Trust me, it was frakkin magic. :D

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-7mmhDNm/0/S/TexasTour2012-Day2Run3-Terry-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/22027905_NW5RXz#!i=1761405159&k=7mmhDNm&lb=1&s=A)
Video of Terry Day 2 Run 3 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/22027905_NW5RXz#!i=1761405159&k=7mmhDNm&lb=1&s=A) with a 65.827 sec lap (run 2 was best @ 65.468 sec)

Well, that was short lived, as Sipe cleaned up a dirty run #1 and put down a 65.808 sec run # 2 (which ended up being his best). Hey, I was still in second and had the fastest time of the day for STX, so I was cool with that! James Wilson ended up with a fast 2nd run that was a hair slower than mine, but still bumped me to 3rd place based on his faster run from the day before. Going into my 3rd run I was hoping for a few more tenths to maybe regain 2nd, and 3/4 of the way through my 3rd run it was going great. I was deeper into the revs sooner than my fast run 2, so it was going to be faster, but with more speed in the braking zone I botched the entry into a slalom and put the car sideways, barely missing a cone and losing a lot of time. I might have been a few tenths quicker, might have regained 2nd, but threw it away. James Wilson, the last driver in STX, put down a smoking fast last of 65.384 seconds and re-took fastest STX time for day 2, with my 2nd run less than a tenth back. Gotta congratulate him on that - he made it a close race in STX with only .087 seconds separating Sipe and Wilson in 1st-2nd over 2 days. I ended up in 3rd and took comfort in my "2nd fastest on Day 2" time - gotta take the good news where you can find it.

Photo and Video gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/
SCCA Event Results: http://scca.cdn.racersites.com/prod/assets/2012%20Texas%20Sunbelt%20TireRack%20National%20Tou r%20Final%20Results.pdf
My cropped and highlighted STX + STX-L Results: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-WwMKWCZ/0/O/results-STX.jpg

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-WwMKWCZ/0/M/results-STX.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-WwMKWCZ/0/O/results-STX.jpg)

None of STX PAXed well, which must have been course dependent, as the runs I could see looked clean and quick. C Prepared driver Todd Farris (the Divisional Steward who set-up most of the event logistics) took the Top PAX honors for the event in his AST equipped 2nd gen Camaro, which was pretty cool.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-GRq5Xjm/0/S/DSC8945-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Texas-Tour-2012/i-qmT9XBw/0/S/DSC8944-S.jpg

more below...

08-16-2013, 02:08 PM
continued from above

What's Next?

So after Day 2 there were some highs and lows, and on the drive home in the truck Amy and I discussed several options for the rest of the year. We were waiting for this National Tour to see where we were and now we know. I felt like I pushed the car to the limits of my driving ability and came up in 3rd place at this event, which to me was another disappointment. But I had lots of people congratulating me for the 3rd place trophy placing, which I guess... was actually an accomplishment? We haven't placed this high in STX open against Nationally competitive drivers before, so after thinking about it for a week I am a bit more encouraged with this car once again - keep hope alive!

Adding up the numbers, having an 800 pound handicap is pretty ugly on paper. Maybe ESP, with a much wider (315mm) and stickier (A6) tire, and much more similar cars in class (heavy Mustangs and Camaros), is a better place to test suspension parts for this S197 chassis Mustang? On the 3+ hour tow back to Dallas I downloaded a new copy of the 2012 Solo rules to the iPad and we made a list of all of the STX legal and ESP legal mods left to do on the car. Everything we had left that's legal for STX was also be legal in ESP, and that list is still sizable. Lots of little things but most importantly - exploiting every rear suspension allowance that we can. This could unleash some badly needed rear grip. I wish I had a team of engineers and mechanics "back at the factory" that could jump right on that, but we really only work on the Mustang when we aren't swamped with customer service work at Vorshlag. Our 2 month work schedule is on a 6' x 4' whiteboard and its pretty full at the moment, but I am putting the Mustang on the board for next month!

ESP vs STX Preparation

Some of the things that are legal in both classes are becoming a higher priority. We really need to make a 2-piece lightweight 14" front rotors, to rid the car of the 25# all steel anchors that are on there now. We could lose 10 pounds of un-sprung and rotating weight from the front rotors alone. I was hesitant to delve into this earlier because it seemed the STAC was about to write another Take-Back ruling and make all brake upgrades have to weigh as much or more than stock, but so far they've held off on this. Our new draftsman has made aluminum brake hats before so we will jump into that project next week and get some hats modeled and machined before they are deemed illegal, as I am not spending $800 on two lightweight front rotors (from Girodisc). I could step down to 13" rotors (as the base GT comes with 13's) and also lighter calipers, but I really like the braking feel and stopping power of the 14" front Brembo 4-pots, on track and in autocrossing, so we'll stick with 14's and the factory Brembo's for now.

The rear suspension bits that have been bouncing around in my skull for over a year have got to be developed and turned into metal, as I am not buying an off-the-shelf Watts link or Torque Arm for this car. The stuff out there for this chassis looks nice, but is either too heavy (bolt-on) and/or made to work with LCA relocation brackets (not STX or ESP legal), so we will make an SCCA-friendly set-up that is lighter and weld-on where needed to save maximum weight.

Some of the ESP legal bits look like FUN, though. Big R compound tires (as big as you want!), 10" tall rear spoiler (rear downforce), and MOAR POWER! The Boss302 intake manifold (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Car-Shows/Cobb-Re-Opening-032412/22101383_MdjPhb#!i=1764070661&k=qfCGq5m) is a relatively cheap $430 mod (less than a cold air) that adds more top end power (I've seen dyno plots with power peaking over 7K), beyond where this STX legal set-up falls off (6500 rpm). There's all sorts of other Boss 302 and Leguna Seca-specific bits that SP update/backdate rules makes available, but I refuse to remove the A/C from this car (this is still a daily driven car, this is TEXAS and we see some HEAT).

Wheels and tires are the biggest part of differences for ESP, so maybe we show up at a couple of races on the big 315mm Kumho V710s and see how we do? We have the fastest ESP driver in the country right here in town, so that's a good gauge. If we are even remotely close then maybe we go further? We'll see. Right now I'm focused on getting to the rest of the STX legal mods as well as getting the dang Moton Motorsport Doubles that I bought many months ago onto the car. Just have to make the time.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-nQvVdQs/0/S/DSC9157-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-XRffbgv/0/S/DSC8516-S.jpg

In the days after we got back, AJ here at Vorshlag pulled off the factory center grill mounted foglights, which is both STX and ESP legal. These fogs are plastic so they don't weigh enough to matter, but pulling the LF foglight uncovered the factory engine air inlet, which was stupid of me to keep covered up for all this time. Free Ram Air! Hehehe... Ryan is making a mesh grill covering / deflector for both foglight openings to keep rocks and tire debris from smashing the evap core and he will see if we can extend the inlet to the "cold air" allowed mod a bit. More soon on that.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-hRBbGJN/0/S/DSC9256-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-VKWpv24/0/S/DSC9257-S.jpg

As soon as we got the car back and unloaded from the trailer we knew we needed to replace the RF wheel hub. The car only has 11K miles but this hub failed prematurely due to installation error back when the ARP long wheel studs were installed 10-12+ months ago. Its a long story but the tech that pulled the hub failed to torque the nut to 340 ft-lbs, and Costas and I fixed it after our first runs ("WHAT ARE THOSE LOUD NOISES!") at an autocross last spring.

The Ford Motorsport kit shown above was the best bargain for wheel hubs + studs and was a perfect solution to our bad wheel bearing issue. It includes two new Timken wheel hub bearing assemblies with new 3" ARP wheel studs already installed. The $230 price wasn't bad considering that's roughly $90 worth of wheel studs and $150 worth of hubs, and it saves us the effort of pressing the short studs out and new ones back in. The kit even comes with new wheel hub nuts, which were torqued properly this time. The RF hub had indeed killed the inner race (parts of it shown above), but the other hub looked fine, so it will be kept in the trailer as a spare.

So the 4 days of racing were indeed hectic, but we learned a lot. I learned how much fun it is to track this car on real R compounds, even with a blown front wheel hub - that probably slowed the car down and possibly contributed to the two RF tire failures. I learned that the car needs some rear aero to balance out the splitter, especially at higher track speeds (I don't have any good, legal options in STX thanks to the aero Take-Backs of 2011). I learned that we still haven't fixed the rear suspension / traction issues and need to keep working on that to do well in STX or ESP. Stay tuned as we keep working on this car for STX and maybe sneak in a few events in ESP, just with bigger R compound tires and wheels.

More soon,

08-16-2013, 02:09 PM
(I am posting this on SCCA forums (http://www.sccaforums.com/forums/forumid/8/threadid/426301/scope/posts) as well as on the Vorshlag forum)

So after 18 months of ownership we finally pulled the GIANT foglights off of my 2011 Mustang GT that we run in STX (ignore the "STU" markings in the lower left picture - with the new ST classification rules we cannot run this car in STU on wider tires any longer - its STX or nothing; I'm not complaining, just explaining). They don't weigh much, but hey, every little bit helps. Removing them uncovered the factory air inlet for the engine. Doh! That LF fog light has been blocking that opening from day 1, so its never going back on. So this would end up being sort of a "ram air" inlet... MOAR POWER! (just what this car doesn't need)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-JDv6g5J/0/S/DSC6410-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-nQvVdQs/0/S/DSC9157-S.jpg

Now looking into this opening there's going to be more air going in via this hole. How well can I seal this to the air inlet, which is 4-5" behind the foglight opening? I mean, does the allowed "cold air" modification extend into the foglight hole?


C. The air intake system up to, but not including, the engine inlet may be modified or replaced. The engine inlet is the throttle body, carburetor, compressor inlet, or intake manifold, whichever comes first. The existing structure of the car may not be modified for the passage of ducting from the air cleaner to the engine inlet. Holes may be drilled for mounting. Emissions or engine management components in the air intake system, such as a PCV valve, or mass airflow sensor, may not be removed, modified, or replaced, and must retain their original function along the flow path.

Notice the bolded part in 14.10.C above, which is where I am concerned. We are allowed to remove the foglights (via 14.2.C (http://scca.cdn.racersites.com/prod/assets/2012_Solo_Rules_February_reduced.pdf)), so can my allowed cold air extend to the opening of the foglight hole? And if so, is drilling a hole to mount the "air horn" an allowed modification? I'd think the wording "Holes may be drilled for mounting" kind of covers that.

My goal is to make some sort of sealed tube that goes into the foglight opening for some sort of "ram air" effect. Again, not critical at autocross speeds but when we're bombing around a big road course at 150mph+ it doesn't hurt. I also want to make a fog light "mesh grill" for both fog light openings, to keep rocks and track debris from smashing into the now uncovered evap core / radiator behind the foglights (this car get's tracked a lot and being sprayed with rocks isn't unheard of) This mesh would be more of a "comfort and convenience" mod, via Stock class rule 13.2.A, and not in any way performance enhancing. Right?

Lastly, when we make the foglight mesh grill covers, for the RF foglight hole I'd like to make a little air deflector to direct air from that opening towards the evap core/radiator as well... but I can't see where that mod is allowed, so if not it won't happen.

waiting to see...

08-16-2013, 02:10 PM
Project Update for April 3, 2012: Forgive me if this post is a bit incoherent today - I'm on several medications trying to shake a cold or sinus infection and can barely see straight, plus the tornado sirens are going off constantly (insane storms in Dallas/Ft Worth today). Amy and I ran a Texas Region SCCA autocross last weekend in the Mustang in ESP class. You can read more about the results and our impressions below.

Photo and Video Gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-040112/
Final Results (ESP): http://texasscca.org/2012_solo_results/tr12_2_final.htm#ESP
PAX Results: http://texasscca.org/2012_solo_results/tr12_2_pax.htm

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-040112/i-QhcgKLK/0/S/DSC9351-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-040112/i-j9SVFfZ/0/S/DSC9366-S.jpg

TMS Bus Lot was the site for this past weekend's autocross, which is a sealed asphalt lot very similar to Heartland Park. This is the slipperiest lot in all of Dallas/Ft Worth and on top of that there is now highway construction nearby with a 3' tall berm of soil at the southern edge of the lot (behind a concrete barrier that you do NOT want to hit). Add in the heavy rains north Texas has seen of late, washing dirt onto the racing surface, and we had a dirt covered slippery parking lot. You can see the plumes of dirt in the pictures above and we all felt it on about half the surface all day.

STX Class Results


Even though Amy and I ran in ESP, we still watched STX closely since they ran in the same heat as we did, with a large, healthy class that day. You can see the class results cropped out of the total results sheet above and they were quick. Maybe the unusually dirty surface explains the times they ran that day? Cars on treaded tires seemed to do unusually well in the PAX standings (http://texasscca.org/2012_solo_results/tr12_2_pax.htm) (2nd, 4th, 6th, 9th, and 10th), but the STX crew drove their butts off too. Brad Maxcy was about .8 sec back from my 2nd time for most of the day, but he dropped a lot on his 4th run and got within a tenth of my ESP time - yikes! Ledbetter was also in the same second in his STX car in 2nd. AST/Vorshlag equipped cars were also well represented in PAX results, with 1st-5th + 8th-9th of the top ten.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-040112/i-nsJmQNs/0/S/DSC9465-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-040112/i-6Wg73Vz/0/S/DSC9494-S.jpg

Sipe and his co-driver in the Texas Tour winning RX8 seemed to struggle on this surface, as did the 325is E30 (below). Maybe this was a good day for us to not run STX, as we could have been pretty far down in the standings. ;)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-040112/i-6PvWW6r/0/S/DSC9541-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-040112/i-2jt3w5B/0/S/DSC9505-S.jpg

How's it Feel to Have Hoosiers??

The Mustang on R compounds was A-MAZ-ING! I cannot describe how much more fun and how much EASIER it was to drive this car on sticky race tires, even on this dirty, slick parking lot. It hooked up in 1st at the launch, it was hooked up coming out of corners, it turned and slalomed like it was on rails. And yes.... "Duh!", right? Everyone has been telling me to try ESP in this thing from Day 1, and I have to admit - once you have that R compound needle in the vein, its hard to stop. Kids... Don't do drugs!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-040112/i-p4jdTMs/0/S/DSC9538-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-040112/i-pTPnFnW/0/S/DSC9491-S.jpg

We were lazy and left the crappy old Hoosier 275/35/18 A6 fronts and 305/30/18 A3 rears on the 18x10s, replacing the one corded 275 with the last A6 I had left. The A6s were only 2 years old but the A3s were 7 years old, so I wasn't expecting to see miracles. But even so... the car was still pretty quick, PAXed 8th, and compared well relative to other cars on R compounds that day that had solid drivers/well prepped cars, such as: ASP, BSP, CSP and SS (see my class mash-up, below).

So my best run straight timed the quick SS and CSP drivers, but trailed the ASP and BSP winners, which wasn't a huge surprise. I've seen 1-2 seconds gained on the same day just going from 1 year old tires to fresh sticker tires, so how many seconds in bench raced results are 7 year old tires worth? :D Bench racing is fun and all, but next time we'll have the sticker 315s on the car. Next time is the Mineral Wells Pro Solo, where Madderash and Todd Farris are driving the 7 time Nationals winning ESP Firebired. That should be a better gauge for how competitive (or not) this STX car is on R compounds.

more below...

08-16-2013, 02:11 PM
continued from above


Looking at close-up shots of the tires under load it appears we were a bit low on tire pressures, even for this lot. I was guessing and ran 36 psi front, 32 psi rear. I should have been closer to 40 psi from the carcass deformation seen above. This new set-up might need some additional spring rate as well. A real test day with a box full of springs is probably needed.

In-Car Videos + More Race Analysis

The weather was perfect with temps in the 70's to high 80s, breezy and cloudless. We worked 2nd heat and ran 3rd (last heat), so we had the cleanest course of all heats - but it was still pretty dirty. Amy and I both ran in ESP class and alternated driving every 2 runs. She took a rider on her first run and I forgot and left the shocks at full soft, so it was 3 sec slower than her best run. I also noticed that the LF tire had corded on the outer edge by the time she came in after that run, not good. Oh well, we would just have to know it would be pushy and have less grip in right turns - luckily there was only really one big right-hander.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-040112/i-DSGjhGk/0/S/SCCA-TMS-TerryRun2-040112-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-040112/22233147_Rh9XbK#!i=1777140701&k=DSGjhGk&lb=1&s=A) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-040112/i-pvT8dQM/0/S/SCCA-TMS-AmyRun4-040112-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-040112/22233147_Rh9XbK#!i=1777748500&k=pvT8dQM&lb=1&s=A)
Left: Video of Terry's Run 2 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-040112/22233147_Rh9XbK#!i=1777140701&k=DSGjhGk&lb=1&s=A) (ESP winning time). Right: Video of Amy's 4th run (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-040112/22233147_Rh9XbK#!i=1777748500&k=pvT8dQM&lb=1&s=A) (2nd in ESP)

So the video from our best runs are linked above. Amy is a bit less aggressive on the throttle but is amazingly smooth (as she always is) and managed to get a 42.2 sec run. That's pretty good considering she was doped up on the same medications that I am now on, since she had this same cold/sinus/whatever thing that day (I started symptoms that night). So, kudos to her for driving well with a splitting headache and coughing fits. My 1st run was a 41.5, my 2nd run (my fastest - fail!) was a 41.0, and I ran 41.1 on 3rd, and a 41.0+1 on my last run. I edited and uploaded video from my 3rd run (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-040112/22233147_Rh9XbK#!i=1777140763&k=Q4KBrkC&lb=1&s=A) because the first sector (our region like many others has sector timers) was 0.5 sec quicker than my best run. I had a huge mistake going into the last 2 corners that blew the run - and still almost matched my best time. Combining my best sectors gives me a theoretical 40.6, which would have been 5th in PAX instead of 8th. Meh. I was consistent (running within the same 5 tenths on all 4 runs) but not exactly "Blisteringly Fast".

Watching all 5 of my runs (my 1st look at the course I stopped for a downed cone + errant course worker) I am making lots of mistakes, and mostly driving the car like its still on street tires. I'm not pushing hard enough in slaloms and corners, and I'm tentative on the throttle (paranoid). There's also a front end push in steady state corners that needs to be dialed out (testing/spring rates/square tire set-up?) as well. All of the rear traction issues seem to be completely gone/hidden with 305mm Hoosiers, which wasn't much of a surprise either. The old "R compound crutch"?

Yes, we enjoyed running in ESP but we're going to keep the car legal for running car in both STX and ESP for a bit longer, and keep working on rear traction improvements (which will be more evident on street tires). I will resist the temptation to add ESP-only mods for now, like the Boss302 intake manifold. Yes, it needs more power if we stay in ESP, as there there were almost no traction issues on this 2nd gear course, even with these old R compounds.

After leaving the event our trailer had a blowout on a busy tollway that took out the fender and some aluminum paneling, which kinda sucked. And the trailer had no spare so we made some hasty road-side repairs to remove the bad wheel and limped on 3 wheels to a parking lot of a tire store a few miles away. Stupid not to have a spare or the proper tools to do a trailer tire extraction quickly - mistakes that were all mine. We got there right at 5 pm (closing time) on Sunday, so the only open tire store around had nothing in stock and no way to get the right tire until the next day. This all made for an interesting evening, but we managed to get unhooked and still made our dinner plans (a bit late). On Monday morning returned to the trailer with a pair of new BFG Commercial T/A E-rated truck tires. Now I'm searching for nicer aluminum 16" wheels to replace all 4 steelies with (and turn 2 into spares). Never a dull moment.

Next Up?

There are two big competition events we plan on attending in this car in April: The Mineral Wells (TX) Pro Solo April 20-22 and the TWS NASA weekend April 28-29. We have a 2nd trunk that just arrived so we'll make an ESP legal rear spoiler for that. Eventually we want to make wing uprights for this trunk to mount the GTC300 wing for use in NASA TTS, but I don't know if we'll have time before TWS. I'm having a coughing and sneezing fit so I'm going to stop now before I choke to death at my desk. Medic!

More soon,

08-16-2013, 02:15 PM
Quick Update for 4/13/12: According to our latest update, the batch of 100qty D-Force 18x10" wheels is due to arrive any day now with April 20-25th being the arrival window. I know a lot of you have been very patient and we thank you... this production batch took months longer than we expected and I have clumps of hair missing, from sweating this shipment. However, these will be well worth the wait and fit both Mustang's and Subaru's (and potentially even more cars).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-ZtWTCnp/0/Th/DSC3358-Th.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/D-Force-Wheel-Gallery/i-GddkKmP/0/Th/DSC6023a-Th.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-hh9M7RD/0/Th/DSC3133-Th.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/TechArticles/Subaru-GR-Wheels/i-c4pNsTP/0/Th/DSC5896-Th.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/TechArticles/Subaru-GR-Wheels/i-pTkd7Dx/0/Th/DSC5892-fixed-Th.jpg

After seeing how well the car responded to bigger R compound tires in ESP, I went ahead and ordered a custom set of even larger race wheels to work with the set of 315/35/18 Kumho V710 R compounds we got back in January. Obviously I can't show up and run ESP on 7 year old crap tires again - that was just a quick test to see how the car handled and get my wife on board. It worked on many levels, and everything was much improved. Driving this car was a lot of fun in ESP, too. So the Mustang will be at the Mineral Wells ProSolo in a week on a more ESP-appropriate set of race wheels and tires, that should just barely fit inside the stock fenders. We spent some hours and found every last millimeter, I believe. I'll post pics of the new rolling stock during the ProSolo event next weekend (find then "like" Vorshlag on FB to see the pics days before I update this thread again), but just know this: this set is frakkin big.

So yea, I am bench racing a few other things that would be class legal if the car were to move into ESP say... more permanently. Some of you here reading this are more hooked into the "Mustang parts scene" than I am, so I'll run this one by you guys first.

One car that we're already using for the "update/backdate" bits (ESP) is the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 Leguna Seca (whew, that's a mouth full). The OEM front splitter from that car is legal on the '10-12 Mustang in both STX and ESP trim, as are some other bits for ESP use.

Need to find these bits above

That next potential "update" to our car that could come from the Leguna Seca and would be ESP legal is the rear seat delete. I have come up short trying to find out more information about the X-brace, but I did see this entry online (http://www.americanmuscle.com/seat-delete-kit-05.html) today for a "rear seat delete kit" at $149. Its made of wood (bah!) and carpet, so not a copy of the actual OEM Leguna Seca kit. The customer reviews are nearly all bad. Its 40 pounds lighter, which I cannot ignore. This $149 kit would be legal for StreetMod (where you can pull the rear seats in any 4 seat car), but not legal for ESP. To be legal in SP we would need the factory X-brace and the factory rear upholstery bits from the Leguna Seca as well.

Question: Anyone here got a line on the "real" Leguna Seca X-brace and rear upholstery kit? Please send me a PM if you know, thanks.


Some SP legal rear spoiler parts just arrived minutes ago. These are some stock car parts - nothing fancy or expensive. We'll modify them a bit to use a taller Lexan rear spoiler element. This saves us time in making the spoiler brackets, hopefully.

Again, only OEM update/backdate legal aero bits (none of which are worth a damn) or a up to 10" tall rear spoiler is allowed in ESP. I can't have that big LS front splitter without some sort of rear aero, so we'll get a rear spoiler installed next week before the Pro Solo event. The second trunk we got from an '11 GT matches perfectly and will be the one drilled for the spoiler.

I'll post up pics of the new wheels and rear spoiler during the week after the ProSolo, but on FB during the event.

More soon,

08-16-2013, 02:17 PM
Project Update for April 27, 2012 - Part 1: A lot has happened in the past week and a half so this might be a long-ish update. I will break it into two parts - ESP preparation work from a week ago to get the Mustang ready for the ProSolo last weekend. Part 2 will cover the ProSolo results and a list of new issues that cropped up. I posted some of these pictures below on the Vorshlag Facebook page over a week ago - I put previews of upcoming thread/blog posts on FB first, so follow us there!

ESP Rear Spoiler

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-3dDF84R/0/S/DSC9845-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-S5RbQw8/0/S/DSC9850-S.jpg

In my last "quick update" from 4/13/12, I showed a picture of some rear spoiler bracket and element parts we got from a circle track supplier, as well as some machined washers and struts. We didn't use that bracket or the spoiler elements - they were too tall for use on the Mustang trunk. The manufacturer's website didn't have any dimensions so we took a gamble and it didn't pan out. Oh well, the rear support struts and the machined washers were useful. Instead, we made an all new rear spoiler from scratch using some 1/4" thick plexiglass we bought locally and some aluminum sheet we had at the shop. If you haven't been following along, SCCA Street Prepared rules come from pre-historic times and still do not allow a rear wing, only a rear spoiler. It can be as wide as the widest part of the car (excluding side mirrors) and can extend 10" away from the body in any direction.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-6nzWqCs/0/S/DSC9915-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-tjs645Q/0/S/DSC9942-S.jpg

This spoiler was built to fit a spare red Mustang trunk we located a couple of weeks ago - one we weren't afraid to drill into for the ESP-legal rear spoiler or for the upcoming TTS/AI legal rear wing. The trunk was set up on a bench at the same angle as it sits on the car, so it could be built while it was off the car. Some of the scrap aluminum we had at the time was anodized, which made it a royal b!tch and a half to weld to, so it wasn't the artwork-like welds you typically see coming out of our fab shop. No worries - it was strong, worked great at the ProSolo, and was built to an insane deadline in only a day and a half. It looks pretty good for a prototype made out of scrap, but the next one we make will use some virgin aluminum.

The spoiler bracket bolts to the trunk using four "nutserts" installed into the trunk metal with a special rivet gun. The four points are shown above, where the black lower strut supports are placed. This aluminum spoiler bracket extends past the trunk and covers the width of the rear of the car, to about the edge of the sheetmetal. It could be another 4" wider per side (to extend out to the rear fender lips), but we felt this was wide enough to make plenty of rear downforce to match the Leguna Seca front splitter. The lower sections where it overhangs the rear fenders was later trimmed out so it wouldn't rub the paint and some Xpel paint protection film was added to the fenders "just in case".

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-GcgtzTF/0/S/DSC9945-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-NvdZ29T/0/S/DSC9932-S.jpg

Once Ryan had the bracket laid out and tacked up, he and the guys made a cardboard template for the spoiler element itself. It is 10" tall and laid back at about a 65 angle. The next step was transferring the template to the plexiglass sheet and carefully cutting that out. There's a trick to cutting plastic with a saw - too fast and it melts back together behind the blade, too slow and it won't cut cleanly. My cheap "one speed" jigsaw (he had to pulse it on-off-on-off) was a nightmare to work with and it eventually burned up the motor after about 40" of cutting. A trip to Lowe's produced a variable speed Bosch jigsaw that worked like a charm and cut the 1/4" plexiglass sheet like butter. Drilling holes in plastic also takes ... patience. They managed to get everything cut and drilled without cracking the plexiglass. The machined washers are placed on both sides of all bolted joints in the plexi and held up after a weekend of ~30 autocross runs.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-ZfrK9Jk/0/S/DSC9948-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-pgWJGN9/0/S/DSC9956-S.jpg

The plexiglass spoiler element was simply bolted in place - it was flexible enough that it did not need to be heated and bent to follow the curvature of the trunk or the two "bends" at the edges, where it meets the rear fenders. The struts hold the element well enough, but we might go back and mount two tension rods to the widest points of the spoiler, with the rods attaching at the forward edge of the trunk. A little testing (and video aimed at the spoiler at speed) will tell us if that is needed.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-SQk75jD/0/S/DSC9951-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-ZqkxkX8/0/S/DSC0045-S.jpg

The rear spoiler was finished up minutes before the car was loaded into the trailer Thursday night and it definitely got a lot of looks at the ProSolo. This was the first time we'd made a rear spoiler here at Vorshlag and we learned a lot. The guys were very careful during mock-up and construction (lots of painters tape used!), there were only 4 holes drilled for this part and not a single scratch was added elsewhere in the paint. Good stuff.

more below...

08-16-2013, 02:17 PM
continued from above

Bigger Wheels

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-gjBMfHw/0/S/DSC9581-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-HZvK6tW/0/S/DSC9582-S.jpg

Another new ESP modification we added were 315/35/18 Kumho V710 R compound tires mounted to Forgestar F14 wheels (http://www.forgestar.com/v2/wheelsf14.php) in 18x11" (front) and 18x12" (rear) sizes. We had been eying Forgestar (a division of iForged) for a while now and decided to give these wheels a try for larger widths like these. We called the guys in California there and they knew about Vorshlag and our Mustang, and our propensity for using big wheels. After speaking with them for a bit, they wanted us to become a dealer. So now we are a Forgestar dealer - if you see anything in their catalog you like, we sell at their MAP price.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-KdXL9rX/0/S/DSC9935-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-C6tqTL8/0/S/IMG5469-S.jpg

They did a super-rush build and made these wheels (from flow-formed/semi-forged blanks they keep in stock) in an extremely short time frame for us. These were machined to our 5x114.3 bolt pattern, hub bore, and backspacing. We have done a ton of testing to see how far we can push wheel widths on this car and we sent them our specs... and no, I'm not sharing those with you. If you want wheels that fit like these, call us and we'll be glad to sell you a set. :) It's the only piece of the puzzle we can hold onto, and we've spent a lot of time and money learning these wheel specs on this chassis.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-rCHqm8V/0/S/DSC9923-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-Bxtv7qs/0/S/DSC9931-S.jpg

Even being careful as we measured for backspacing, then calculated offset, we still missed the numbers a hair in the rear and had to add a small spacer. So ... that meant longer wheel studs in the rear were needed. AJ pulled the rear axles out and used our new 30 ton press to remove and install the studs. Now we have ARP long studs on both front and rear axles (and the front/rear studs are different spline diameters and part numbers, so don't just order 20 of one part). All of this final wheel fitting was happening as the spoiler was being built and other race prep work was being performed, all while we had customer cars coming for service and orders were being built and flying out the door. It was a hectic week to say the least.


That final rear spacer tweak got us to this fitment with 11's in the front and 12's in the rear. The front is too tight for 12's under stock contours, hence the 11's, but the rear has the room for a race application (I wouldn't recommend either of the above for a pure street car). I'm very happy with the wheels, which have insane amounts of front brake caliper clearance and a pretty low weight. I will talk more about Forgestar costs and weights in a future post - after we do some more testing on them. They worked flawlessly at the ProSolo and next we'll see how well they do at a banked/high speed track tomorrow - with a NASA time trial at Texas World Speedway.

Delays and Improvements

Now here is the part I hate. Many of you reading these posts have pre-purchased or put your "name in line" for some products we've helped develop on this very Mustang, including D-Force 18x10" wheels and AST 4150 shocks. Both of those products, which Vorshlag ordered in large quantities in 2011, are over 3 months late being built and delivered to us. We have already refunded many of our pre-purchase wheel customers due to the continuous delays. AST stopped giving me dates and we received news this week that the D-Force shipment was delayed yet again. That's after we were told that the container was already here in the USA at port! Now they're saying May 14th. I'm pulling my hair out in chunks! I just want to apologize here to anyone waiting on parts, and I did so publicly in this blog post (http://www.vorshlag.com/blog/?p=339) yesterday.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Development-Pictures/i-MvcJHwf/0/S/DSC0200-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Development-Pictures/i-96mPkB3/0/S/DSC0205-S.jpg

In that blog post I also talk about several improvements we've made to the Vorshlag branded products that we can better control deliveries on, such as several coating and plating upgrades we've made to various parts in our Vorshlag camber plates. Also, we finally received the machined and laser cut parts for our all-new S197 Mustang camber plates, which went to the electro-plater yesterday. I need these for my own Mustang and we have lots of patient customers waiting for these unique camber plates, so that was exciting. These should finally start shipping next week. So that's some good news to go with the bad. :)

08-16-2013, 02:18 PM
Project Update for April 27, 2012 - Part 2: So the update above covered last week's preparation and this update will cover the ProSolo event. We bombed out to the 2012 SCCA ProSolo which was being held at a "local" site on Friday morning - Mineral Wells, TX, only 2 hours away. We arrived at 1 pm so we could help with registration or whatever else the event co-chairmen (Brad and Jen Maxcy) needed. Since we were a sponsor to the Texas Region SCCA for this event (we put up $ for Friday night's welcome party), we got to set-up our trailer and vendor table near the Lincoln Welcome Center trailer/Tech line and next to the giant "shade tent" that was being set-up late Friday. Only had to move our trailer 3 times to make room for everything there, heh. Weather was PERFECT after a brief rain shower Friday at noon, with temps in the 60s-70s all weekend and sunny skies.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-HWKkS6S/0/S/2012proartworksm-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-HH5x743/0/S/IMG5459-S.jpg

Once we got the Mustang unloaded, Amy went to work getting people to sign waivers at the front gate while I got the car prepared for tech. Several sponsor decals later the car passed tech and I got in line for practice starts on the tree. A ProSolo is an unusual autocross format where there are two mirror image courses run simultaneously with a drag race style "Christmas tree" start. You reaction time at the tree does factor into your course times, so "cutting a good light" is critical. The slower your reaction time, the slower your lap time is because the timer starts as soon as the light goes green, not when you cross the start beam like in most autocross events. It's not uncommon to lose 1 or more tenths of a second at the tree, so you strive to cut perfect .500 lights (or at least lights in the .5xx-.6xx range).


I took four practice starts on the new tires and had some pretty blah 60 foot times (2.2-2.4 sec) and reaction times all over the place, but I had one .510 light (a .500 is perfect, but anything .499 or quicker is a red light and you get no time... kind of like a DNF). This was after lowering tire pressures a good bit. Since our car was the only one at the event (160 entrants) on Kumho R compounds, I didn't have much good intel on proper tire pressures to run. I had raced on V710s in the past and remembered that after testing we ran pressures really low... like sub 30 psi, down to 25 even. ESP guru Mark Madderash agreed and said he remembered pressures being that low on this tire, but not many people have run them competitively in Solo in 5+ years.

Vorshlag ProSolo Picture and Video Gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/

Practice time was running out so I went and grabbed Amy so she could take some practice starts, while we continued to play with tire pressures. She was having a helluva time with the tree and kept red lighting, so I bought her more tickets. After 10 practice starts she had the tree down and was popping off some mid-.5xx lights (she has cut perfect .500 lights at Pros before), but still struggling with sixty foot times (2.4-2.8 sec). We talked through the launch, which was quickest for me at 1800 rpm. I guess I have a slight advantage over her with literally thousands of dragstrip starts on R compound and street tires (a bunch of us used to drag race our street/autocross Mustangs in college, using our autocross tires). So I can't give her too much grief for that. I wasn't exactly setting record sixty foot times myself (my best all weekend was only a 2.20 - the best in ESP was a 2.0 seconds and Madderash cut 2.1-2.2).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-LLQBCmd/0/S/DSC0146-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-NWWsHXd/0/S/IMG5462-S.jpg

Friday night we stayed out at the event site late, grilling burgers and hot dogs for 100+ hungry racers for the Welcome Party. I manned the grill for 4 hours and still smell like smoke a week later. I met a lot of new folks from out of state that came in for the Pro, a surprising number of which said that they follow this build thread and loved our little Mustang. Grilling on the open-top little portable grill we brought was no match for this hungry mob, so for Saturday night's party another Texas Region racer brought a 2nd grill, and together we grilled hundreds of chicken, brats, dogs and burgers until 10 pm. We killed 3 kegs of Shiner beer over the weekend, as usual. :)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-WtNhrZM/0/S/IMG5476-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-HqSzfNz/0/S/DSC9965-S.jpg

Saturday morning many of us hurt - from eating too much food, from so much walking, from excessive beer intake - but we walked the courses one more time and then I headed out to work the course in the first heat. That was when Amy ran in L1 class, so she was on her own for set-up and had no help with tire pressures between runs. :( The tires crept up almost 10 psi over her 4 runs, so that didn't help. She looked timid behind the wheel, which I kind of expected from her hopping into our STX prepped car just with some big R compounds and a rear spoiler slapped on. It takes her a couple of events on an all-new setup to adjust, but I was hoping 12 runs this weekend would short cut that learning curve.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-QwPV6Tn/0/S/DSC0006-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-z83DZwt/0/S/DSC0010-S.jpg

She was fighting some fast women drivers in L1 and managed to snag 2nd place after her first 4 morning runs (2 left, 2 right). She drove her fastest runs of the weekend that morning, but one of them had a cone penalty - which she cleaned up that afternoon, but she never matched her best raw times from that morning. I don't have a single picture of Amy driving as I was working course when she ran. Unfortunately this was a pattern I mimicked, also running my fastest runs of the weekend in my first Saturday morning race heat (which you can see below in this 6 minute video - my 2nd left and right side runs there were my quickest).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-wzd7TjM/0/M/Terry-SatMornRuns-042112-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/22647356_BkQxnq#!i=1814845262&k=wzd7TjM&lb=1&s=A)
Click here (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/22647356_BkQxnq#!i=1814845262&k=wzd7TjM&lb=1&s=A) for Terry's 4 runs in heat one

Amy conveyed the tire pressure creep, and since she worked 3rd heat and I ran 2nd, she could help me with tire pressures between runs all weekend (hugely helpful). My first run was on cold tires and was a total throw-away - learning the course, learning the new grip limits of Rs on this car, driving off line in the heavy klag that this site's surface turns to in short order, and having no heat in the tires. By my 2nd left side run the tires had some heat, and the Mustang felt like it was one rails. It had an AWFUL steady state push, but still managed to put down power very well and on the final straight after the giant sweeper it was hitting the rev limiter in 2nd, so that's in the ~75 mph range. Brakes worked well, but it did get into the "funky steering feedback loop" issues towards the end of my last run. I could also feel the limited slip differential starting to slip badly in my 3rd and 4th runs, which I note in the video if you listen.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-qTsbJ3L/0/S/DSC0153-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-WnvxCnN/0/S/DSC0029-S.jpg
Left: We have spring rate changes already underway to prevent this! Right: But it happens to others...

more below...

08-16-2013, 02:18 PM
continued from above

After these first 4 runs (of 1 we take for the weekend), I was inexplicably leading the ESP class - ahead of the 7 car field that included CP Nat'l Champion Todd Farris and 7-time ESP Nat'l Champion Mark Madderash. Huh?! I mean, sure... the car felt quick, but it had all sorts of understeer, no testing, the wrong tires, the rear diff was letting go, and was still just an STX prepped car with a spoiler and Kumhos. Even the heat 1 announcer Andy Hollis was shocked, and sounded incredulous when he made the announcement of who was in the lead after my last run. That was pretty exciting, and we had dozens of racers come by that morning and congratulate us on "finally finding the right class for the Mustang!" I was hooked on grip once again so I doubt we'll ever run this car in STX again - it just fits better here!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-DcXGzQQ/0/S/IMG5472-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-DcXGzQQ/0/L/IMG5472-L.jpg) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-BqPJfVs/0/S/IMG5480-S.jpg
Left: ESP class results after round 1 - I was in the lead! Right: ESP results after all 3 rounds, I was in 2nd. Orange line shows Super Challenge cut-off

Official Event Results: http://scca.cdn.racersites.com/prod/assets/results/Mineral%20Wells%20Sunday%20Results.pdf
PAX Results: http://www.sccaforums.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=1TdiT5g0YIM%3D&tabid=62&mid=381&forcedownload=tr

Unfortunately, that was the high point of the weekend, and the rest of the ProSolo event went pretty much downhill for both of us. The car developed some funky "Service AdvanceTrac" fault, the steering feedback jitters were rampant, and the poor stock limited slip devoured itself completely - by Sunday it was an open diff; we never got close to our Saturday morning run times. I was trying everything I had on every run, and my final two Sunday morning runs were .7 to 1.0 sec slower than my Saturday morning left and right side runs. Looking at my 12 class runs I cut five .5xx lights, five .6xx lights, had one .4xx redlight, one in the .7xx range, and a pair of cones. Meh, I never claimed to be a ProSolo expert; in 24 years of autocrossing (I uh... started racing when I was 2!) I've only attended 7 ProSolo events, and it never really suited my driving style (I just don't get much better over the course of 12 runs on the same course).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-JF9jJH2/0/S/IMG5464-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-dkdRnGb/0/S/IMG5479-S.jpg
Left: If you don't show up on 315's in ESP, don't bother. Right: "SERVICE ADVANCETRAC" fault

With the car's performance falling off like it did I was lucky that my Saturday morning times were still good enough to hold onto 2nd in ESP class for the event, and put me at 12th place in PAX standings. That was a bit of a shocker. Madderash slapped on a sticker set of Hoosier R6s Saturday afternoon (I would too, if I had them) and looked faster everywhere, dropping a second per side on his final two Saturday afternoon runs, which were his fastest of the weekend. I ended up .4 / .6 sec off of him per side, so a total of 1.007 sec back for the weekend. He got 2nd in PAX overall for the event, by a mere .002 sec, so he was driving very well. I was still VERY happy with my results and look forward to more battles with Mark and the other ESP racers in the future. :)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-PxFkD5f/0/S/DSC0024-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-M2DNK4n/0/S/DSC0030-S.jpg
Everyone had a bit of push in this corner, it seems

Amy's Saturday morning times weren't enough to keep her in 2nd in L1, however. After two of her L1 competitors improved dramatically on their 11th and 12th runs of the weekend (with sticker tires Sunday) that bumped her to 4th place out of 9 cars in class on the last Sunday runs. Not unexpected, considering how far off my times she was and how the car was sort of imploding. Here's the video of Amy's Challenge runs (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/22647356_BkQxnq#!i=1814560759&k=TkVxhnW&lb=1&s=A) - which was the only in-car video we got from her all weekend. She was about 3.5 sec off of her own pace, ugh. My Sat afternoon and Sunday in-car videos contain so much foul language (from me fighting with the car - and losing ) I cannot post them, heh!

Somehow both Amy and I made it into the Challenges - she into the Ladies Challenge (http://scca.cdn.racersites.com/prod/assets/results/ladies%20challenge.pdf) and me into the Gumout Super Challenge (http://scca.cdn.racersites.com/prod/assets/results/Super%20challenge.pdf). Amy's times were way off of her "index times" from Saturday morning and she went out in round one. Mine were similarly "off" from my best, and I was paired up against #1 seed Andy Hollis - oh boy. Still, I gave him a run for his money and cut a .514 light on one side and even beat him back to the line on one of the 2 runs (I think he had a mistake), but he beat me enough on the other side to advance. As I came through the lights on my first pass the AdvanceTrac fault light was on and I had mere seconds to get to the staging lights - not enough time to "reboot" the systems, so run 2 was plagued by a wacky throttle (it kept cutting out and flashing lights). Oh well, just making it into the Challenge was a first for both of us, so that was cool. :)


I got a quick weight on the Mustang at full ESP prep using the SCCA scales, and it came in at 3467 lbs (car is on the scales backwards so ignore corner weights). The 4th gen F-bodies in class are 3200-3300 and the lone 3rd gen is 3100, so we still have the heavyweight in ESP class - but its nothing like the weight discrepancy we saw in STX class (with 2600 lb RX8s and 2750 lb BMWs). With ESP rules we can lose more weight now, too. After the trophy presentation we helped clean up the site (hauled 20 bags of stinky garbage to the dumpsters) then loaded up and headed home by 7 pm. Thus ended our exhausting 3 day race weekend, which we are still recovering from now as we load up for another race weekend. :)

Many Upgrades in Store

We have a laundry list of things to fix before our next ESP outing, and our guys here at Vorshlag have already tackled most of them this week including: more rear spring rate, rear differential rebuild (carbon disc upgrade - before we finally pull the trigger on the Torson or Wavetrac), and more. I will show the guts of the original factory diff, which was indeed coming apart. The steering rack has got to be reprogrammed soon, so we're trying to schedule a 2 week window of no events so we can pull it and send it off to Ford. There aren't many 2 week gaps in our schedule for months, so we might bite the bullet and buy a 2nd $1000 electric steering rack to have programmed. Ugh.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-HZvH72x/0/S/DSC0142-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-gbpDFdF/0/S/DSC0170-S.jpg

So overall it was still a great weekend, I was just a little disappointed at how the car's performance (and our own) peaked early, then fell off quickly. The tires still feel fine, but they are no Hoosiers. We are going to use them for track events from now on, including NASA's Time Trial event this weekend at TWS. Before we run in ESP again the car will be on fresh 315/335 Hoosiers (there's even room out back for 345s). As expected every single car in ESP that weekend was on 315mm tires front and rear, including: four 4th gen Camaros, one 3rd gen, and two S197 Mustangs. I was the lone driver on Kumhos and two driver's were on Goodyears (that were sticker tires Sat morning but wore down to cords after only 25 total runs - these things are way too soft!), with the rest on Hoosier A6s - the default DOT Race Tire in Street Prepared.

Check back next week and I'll talk about the prep for this weekend's NASA event (rear wing uprights, full brake ducting, etc), which is wrapping up this afternoon up as I post this (I need to be on the rode to College Station right NOW). By next week we should be shipping any backorders on S197 Camber Plates, we might actually have a more solid date on the long overdue D-Force Mustang 18x10s (agh!!), and we can work on fitting the Moton Motorsport Pro 2-way shocks on our car with the new VM Camber Plates. We have 3 race weekends in June, including another Optima Challenge event - so that's another set of $1200 street tires (200TW) we need to buy. I might open a used tire store here, since I have like 7 or 8 sets of half-tread 140-200 TW tires from racing the Mustang in STX for so long.


08-16-2013, 02:20 PM
Project Update for May 1, 2012 - Part 1: The day after the MW ProSolo we got to work on the Mustang prepping it for the NASA Time Trial event at TWS the following weekend. In this two part update I'll show some new mods done to the car for better track worthiness (Part 1) as well as talk about the TWS event (Part 2).

Front Brake Cooling

For a while now there has been one item we've been meaning to design and fabricate for the car, which is the front brake ducting. It is something I highly recommend to all S197 Mustang owners who track their cars. Now Ford Motorsport (FRPP) has a kit that they sell for the 2010-2012 Mustang GTs that is made to work with the optional CS lower fascia we have (pulls air in from the lower foglight holes). The problem with that kit is that the backing plates included have a tubing diameter that is too large to fit inside the common 3" high-temp brake duct hose. Users end up having to hack the hoses to pieces to make them fit. It also requires modification to the inner fender liners to route the hoses they include, which is not legal for STX.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-jQThmg9/0/S/DSC0230-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-p6T3nkp/0/S/DSC0234-S.jpg

For the longest time we held off making our own front brake ducting because of the STX rule limitation, but I decided - to Hell with it. We change rotors and pads and now rear aero/trunk configurations between autocross and track events. How much harder is it (if necessary) to pull the brake ducting off? So Ryan and AJ built the brake cooling set-up above using some steel tubing we had (in a diameter slightly bigger than the brake hose), welded them to the OEM backing plates, then routed the ducting to the CS lower fascia foglight openings and through the fender liners - without cutting them. We found a gap between two liners we could use legally in ESP and routed them there. We zip-tied them to the swaybar - which moves up and down with the wheel, pointing the ducting to the back of the rotor. We checked it at ride height at full lock with the 18x11's on the front and it just barely cleared.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-JpH89Kv/0/S/DSC0249-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-thgPtMt/0/S/DSC0248-S.jpg

And man, did that help! Running at TWS you do get some extra brake heat after coming off the banking and bombing into Turn 1 then stabbing the brakes, in excess of 140mph. The brakes felt GREAT and I was very happy with the extra cooling added. If someone sees something here that is not SP compliant, please speak up - but it looks legal to me. And its not like we need brake cooling in an autocross, so we can take it off if need be. We've made similar one-off brake cooling solutions before, so this was fairly easy for us.

High Speed Aero

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-zWBPpgR/0/S/DSC0547-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-SQk75jD/0/S/DSC9951-S.jpg

The rear spoiler (shown above, now painted black and weighing 9.3 lbs) we made for ESP class autocross use really has no business on a proper road course and was only made to be used at sub-70 mph speeds seen in autocross. It was also made to meet the somewhat arcane rules of SCCA Street Prepared. The Wright Brothers had more advanced aerodynamics in 1903 than the SCCA allows in many classes in 2012, but hey - the rules are what they are. So that 10" tall rear spoiler is basically a big parachute that does provide some downforce at low speeds, but at the expense of drag. This style spoiler is not at all efficient above those parking lot speeds. I know they use similar parts in NASCAR... see my comments above about antiquated rule sets. :)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/E30-V8/i-ChWq3Sb/0/S/DSC1161-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/E30-V8/i-ztsLXbD/0/S/DSC1163-S.jpg

I had this "3D" APR wing (GTC-300), a 67.5" wide carbon fiber monstrosity that we purchased a while ago (we've been an APR dealer for many years). I think I got it for the E46 TTD car, but we re-did our TTD class points with the current tire size (285mm Hoosier R6) and realized we didn't have enough points to do any aero. Then I talked about sticking it on the E30, then decided that putting a $1200 wing on a $2000 car was nuts. So it was just sitting here.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-DvDTSWH/0/S/DSC0182-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-TXgWTqZ/0/S/DSC0191-S.jpg

The 3D wing shape is really made for use with coupes and sedans to sit lower than the roof height, where the greenhouse adds an aero blockage in the middle of the car and the airflow is compromised behind the rear window. So this style wing kicks up in the middle, behind the greenhouse, to try to capture air flow coming off the roof. Mounted 2 to 12 inches off the trunk floor (under the roof height) it is ideal for this type of situation.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-sqftN6m/0/S/DSC0227-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-4PXf4d6/0/S/DSC0240-S.jpg

When we looked at using it on the Mustang this year, we checked the rules for classes where other S197 Mustangs play - NASA TTS and NASA American Iron (as well as SCCA Street Modified). We noticed that in each of these classed we can stick the rear wing well above the roofline (8" above in AI/TT, 6" in SMOD!) and a 3D wing isn't necessary if you can mount it up that high. But we had this wing on hand, so we made uprights to fit it to the car anyway. This would allow us to see how it would work and to verify the upright design that we had been tinkering with. We have since found out that we can get a flat style CF wing from APR for a good price and will likely go to that style wing at a later date. This 3D wing will be used in the future on another car where it will be mounted below roof height.

continued below

08-16-2013, 02:21 PM
continued from above

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-G2ZtC5t/0/S/DSC0250-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-TXxpHh3/0/S/DSC0247-S.jpg

The 2nd trunk we acquired for the ESP spoiler was re-used and can now be quickly switched from spoiler to wing and back. An outside designer who is an aero specialist that has worked on professional road race teams as well as Bonneville record holding cars, helped us with the wing placement and upright design. After making wooden uprights to test the design and verify fore-aft placement (Tuesday), we took the 3D designs and turned them into engineering drawings (Wednesday), then had water jet cut parts made (by Thursday). Our fab team tweaked and welded up the bases and uprights, then shortened some adjustable rod end struts for the wing adjustment, and fitted the wing to the car Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. We trimmed the wing at the lowest angle of attack, loaded it into the trailer for TWS, and we were on the road by 4:45 pm - this made for a hectic few days of drafting and fabrication work in the shop.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-TWS-042812/i-2f2RQxR/0/S/DSC0463-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-TWS-042812/i-s69Xr22/0/S/DSC0413-S.jpg

We kind of neglected one variable (what's under the base, in the trunk structure?) and so we had to move the mounting bases rearward about 4" from where we had first laid them out. The back of the wing now sits behind the car by more than the amount allowed in AI - but it's still TTS legal. We're even street testing the wing this week - just to see how well the mounting base and uprights hold up to regular use (not that anyone would be crazy enough to drive on the street with something like this). Once we get our hands on another straight style wing (not "3D"), we will modify the mounting uprights for proper height, improve the adjustment range, and tweak the rearward placement of the wing to stay within AI rules. No, this car is never going to AI, but we want the wing to be AI legal as well.

Other Wing Examples

Some people wondered why we simply bolted our wing mount uprights onto the trunk lid, so I shot several examples of other wing mounts at the same NASA TWS event. Many uprights passed through trunks and bolted to frame rails, others bolted to trunks directly, but had supports underneath to the trunk. Like our car, others simply sat right on the trunk lid structure only. This is how we had to do it to not modify the trunk or to add structure underneath it so we can avoid running afoul of ESP rules even with the wing removed. We did see some flex in the rubber bumpers that locate the rear of the trunk (height) at the back, which we will replace with custom Nylon bushings before the next event where we use the wing.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-KwzLD7k/0/S/DSC0471-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-kJKJG8p/0/S/DSC0492-S.jpg

Here's a Corvette with the wing uprights bolted right to the trunk panel, braced underneath. Above right is a G-Stream wing on a factory Boss 302S Mustang race car - also bolts to the trunk.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-Qnb4gbr/0/S/DSC0468-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-P6rCkxB/0/S/DSC0480-S.jpg

Above we have a Fulcrum Wing on Mike P's 4th gen F-Body American Iron car, which won both AI races Saturday - handily. It bolts to the frame and passes through the trunk lid. Another wing is shown on a multiple time NASA ST2 winner's SN95 Mustang - this one with a wicker bill/Gurney flap, bolting right to the trunk.

Rear Diff Rebuild

During and after the ProSolo event (and looking back, at some previous events as well), I noted considerable problems with the OEM Limited Slip Differential - the Ford TractionLok, clutch-style diff. After the 30+ runs at the ProSolo with 315mm wide R compounds, it was finally toast. We had a handful of days to get a functional diff in the car before NASA at TWS, so instead of gambling on getting a WaveTrac or Torsen T2R in time, we went with a known fix and ordered the Ford Racing "Carbon Clutch" rebuild kit - M-4700-C (http://www.summitracing.com/parts/FMS-M-4700-C/). This is one of two kits that FRPP still offers for the 8.8" TractionLok and the "C" version comes with upgraded carbon fricton material and different steel plates for a whopping $108 (http://www.summitracing.com/parts/FMS-M-4700-C/). The non-carbon kit (M-4700-B (http://www.summitracing.com/parts/FMS-M-4700-B/)) retails for for $70 and even comes with the friction modifier, but the Carbon kit is the one to use for best performance. It's even SCCA F-Stock legal, thanks to a TSB from Ford - we installed one of these in a 2007 Mustang Shelby for FStock class autocrossing a month ago.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-9FJHc2F/0/S/DSC0224-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-NKrShL3/0/S/DSC0219-S.jpg

As soon as they pulled the old diff apart, it was obvious that the clutches were done since the friction material was coming apart. The new discs were soaked in the fluid, then the discs and steel plates went in and the rear end was topped off with fresh 75W140 gear oil and friction modifier. OMFG that stuff stinks something fierce! The shop reeked of gear oil smell for 2 days.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-w7WpFfK/0/S/DSC0221-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-XhzKdV4/0/S/DSC0220-S.jpg

We didn't have time to do much testing on the rebuilt diff, other than a few laps around the parking lot. "Feels good!" I said and onto the trailer it went.

Please check back tomorrow below for Part 2, where I talk about how all of this worked at the TWS Time Trial event...


08-16-2013, 02:22 PM
Project Update for May 2, 2012 - Part 2: This entry will cover the NASA Time Trial race we attended in the Mustang test mule last weekend. The lap times were somewhat mediocre for most of my sessions with the Mustang only making about a dozen hot laps all day, but we had fun and learned a lot. This entry is sort of long, just so I can keep track of all of my thoughts for a later date. If that unimpressive opening hasn't put you to sleep, then keep reading. :D

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-TWS-042812/i-chMVw34/0/S/TWS-trackmap-29-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-TWS-042812/i-chMVw34/0/X2/TWS-trackmap-29-X2.jpg) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-TWS-042812/i-jV84njq/0/S/DSC0281-S.jpg
Couldn't find a decent track map of TWS so I made this from a satellite image - click to enlarge (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-TWS-042812/i-chMVw34/0/X2/TWS-trackmap-29-X2.jpg)

We had planned on only running one day for the NASA 3-day weekend, since we had just done a long and tiring 3-day race weekend the week before and had other plans on Sunday (a non-race event, for once). Originally we planned on bringing two cars: our TTD E46 (for Amy to race - and this car is finally ready for TT use again, after a long hiatus from NASA events!) and the Mustang (for me to race), which was now bumped up to TTS class. This was due to the massive tire, power and aero changes since our last TTB event in 2011. With our little 36' enclosed trailer we cannot fit 2 cars inside, but I found an open trailer to borrow - just not a second truck. We could rent one, then drive 2 trucks and two trailers down... twice the fuel and driving? Nah. Amy has never run the TWS 2.9 mile course and had only run the smaller infield-only TWS course back in 1994? I told her about the speeds she'd see on the 2.9 and she decided to pass on TWS in the E46 and just go along to help drive the trailer and take pictures. So I got a track helper and towing buddy, yay!

Vorshlag picture and video gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-TWS-042812/

It's now 4 days after the event and they still don't have results posted yet (color me shocked, heh). I can only go by the printed results sheet from session 2 on Saturday that I "liberated" during the event (it was an extra!). I have learned over the years that if you want to ever see class results for a NASA Texas event, you have to take matters into your own hands. For a group that runs such an awesome event, maintains schedule, and has excellent safety, they have crap results. Even after they are eventually posted (via the "MyLaps" site), you won't see all of the info that these results sheets show. I've bemoaned the poor NASA Texas race results before and will continue to do so until it improves, as a sort of Public Service Announcement. ;)

Sat, TT, Session 2 Results: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-TWS-042812/i-3jXdKzJ/0/X2/NASA-results-042812-ses2-X2.jpg

Amy and I arrived at the track late Friday (after 9 pm), due to leaving late and hitting 5 o'clock traffic in Dallas. I said 'hi' to a few folks, unhooked the trailer, then headed to dinner and the hotel. Saturday morning we got to the track at 7, unloaded the car and had it annual tech'd. Afterwards, I went to an instructor meeting at 7:30, the TT meeting at 8, and HPDE meeting right after. Since I was only there for Saturday, I got switched to a Saturday-only HPDE1 student, who also had a 2011 Mustang GT. Luckily she knew the track well, but not having run with NASA before it was an automatic DE1 placement (I signed her off to HPDE2 after 3 sessions).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-TWS-042812/i-czJSGcJ/0/S/DSC0464-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-TWS-042812/i-2f2RQxR/0/S/DSC0463-S.jpg

Our Mustang had several changes since our last NASA outing, where we ran it in TTB. This time we had the new stupid-high-mega-wing, the LS splitter, new 18x11/18x12 wheels and still-somewhat-fresh 315mm Kumho V710s (that we ran at the ProSolo). It was so far past TTB prep that it moved all the way past TTA and into TTS - which is the first of the "power-to-weight" classes in TT, so at least we don't have to nit-pick every point per modification. There were some other Mustangs in TTS already, including David Armstrong's well prepped Boss302 on AST 5200s and a real Boss302-S race car.

Relearning Texas World Speedway

After seeing the track briefly while riding along with my HPDE student in her first session, I quickly realized that I had forgotten all of my visual cues and lines from past outings at this track. Grass had overgrown the curbing, the surface was very different from my last time on track, and I had forgotten everything. Thinking back I really haven't run this track much in almost... 20 years? I co-drove the E36 Alpha car for 2 sessions with Hanchey back in 2008, where we got check out rides to get our TT Comp licenses. Before that I had run it a bit in the mid-1990s, but it was a completely different track configuration where Turn 3 joined with Turn 10. In the late 1980s/early 1990s I had run this 2.9 mile layout while still in college, but man... that was a LONG time ago.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-TWS-042812/i-W3rhktr/0/S/DSC0347-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-TWS-042812/i-djtbnKj/0/S/DSC0349-S.jpg
Allan and Ken's tandem E46 M3's were both fast, equipped with AST 4200s + Vorshlag parts and prep work

I knew it would take a bit to blow out 20+ years of cobwebs, so I gridded up behind AI speed demon Mike, from AST/Moton. HE knew this track very well so I figured I'd follow him for a few laps and... WHOA! He took off like a freagin man on fire, right on the warm up lap. So I got some heat in the tires, look back, and the E46M3 TTB Terror Twins KenO and Allan Page are right on my bumper. OK, OK, you guys go around... I'll follow them for... dang, mirror has more cars behind me, etc. Just trying to get my bearings but these TT guys are ready to RACE, like right NOW. I spent the first few laps of this session letting people go around me as a rolling roadblock and didn't get a single lap in unobstructed from the front or back. By lap 4 the car felt really loose on slow speed turns, and I smelled gear oil smoke and had a traction control fault, so I brought it in. I felt like an idiot out there, fumbling around trying to find some sort of visual cues on each corner. Ran an abysmal 2:01 best lap, which gridded me way back in the pack for session 2. Great.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-TWS-042812/i-Wtfcngh/0/S/DSC0336-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-TWS-042812/i-MMqLzTr/0/S/DSC0407-S.jpg
Here I am - the rolling roadblock, holding up the field :(

The first TT session was at 8:40 am and the sky was overcast, so the track was still stone cold. Turn 3 had no grip due to a Spec Miata that popped a motor there on the Friday 3 hour enduro, and it never felt good all day. Turn 10 (the carousel) was slippery as always. But the rest of the corners was mostly just... my crappy driving and generally terrible memory. Also, with completely new track set-ups and radical parts changes you inevitably have teething problems, and I quickly found one.

As I pulled into the paddock, the car reeked of gear oil. I jacked the rear end of the car up and it had gear oil all over the right axle tube, fuel tank, right muffler, and right rear tire. A-ha, that's why it felt squirrely and was smoking! We had just rebuilt the TractionLok the day before and the old "loop of hose" that was attached to the OEM axle vent wasn't enough to keep oil from filling the hose and coming out, especially after just topping off the 75W140 the day before and running on the insanely steep banking at TWS. Oil + tires = no grip! Talked to other racers with stick axle cars who had seen similar problems before - "keep driving it and it'll burn off enough fluid eventually!"

Luckily the Session 1 times for TT don't count for anything other than grid spots in Session 2, so I cleaned off the mess as best as I could - managing to get most of the gear oil on me. Ahh, gear oil - the world's worst perfume. I had to burn that shirt. Then I hopped in my student's car for her 2nd session and afterwards I went out in the Mustang again in TT session 2. This time I was gridded 16th out of 28 cars when I went out, and behind cars I know and was faster than before when we ran in TTB on street tires. Ugh, this session was going to be some work. I got some heat in the tires on the out lap and the car was responding better to the increased track heat (10:45 am) and a little better driving. I quickly caught and passed several cars gridded ahead of me (hence faster than me in session 1). My in-car video, a compilation of a few "offs" from other cars + my best lap (lap 4) is shown below.

Video from Session 2 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-TWS-042812/22727810_PdtNFf#!i=1822211419&k=rgnXqgv&lb=1&s=A)

continued below

08-16-2013, 02:22 PM
continued from above

That lap # 4 in the video above was a 1:56 lap, after which I noted yet another AdvanceTrac fault and came in to reset it and check for more diff oil spewage on the rear tires. A sub-2 min lap was more in-line with what the car should do but still off the pace a bit. For example, KenO ran a 1:55.8 in a TTB car and Allan Page was right behind him, so of course I should have driven faster. David Armstrong managed a 1:53 in a TTS car, so I was still 3 seconds off the TTS pace (which is an eternity). Yes, there are several driving mistakes I made on that lap - but with this being about my 8th lap on this track in 4 years, with an all new aero package and all new grip levels, I wasn't too worried. Excuses... I gots em! :D

Since that session was cut short, I came in and re-checked the diff leakage - and it was once again wet with fresh diff fluid on the undercarriage and on the RR tire. Crap! I jacked it up, mopped up the mess again, then went out with my student once more. There were several after-session HPDE meetings and instructor/TT meetings and I talked to like 50 people I hadn't seen in forever, so it was a busy day. I wanted to show my student some changes to her driving line, so I took her out for a couple of 8/10ths laps in session 3 (taking a passenger is allowed in TT but it DSQs your times in that session, as does an "off" if you are solo) and we made it two laps before seeing more faults. With the student I ran a 1:59 lap and was hardly pushing it at all - I was working on my braking and line into and through T1 (which is tricky coming off the banking at 140-150 mph) and my apex kept getting closer to where it should have been into T4 and the T7-T9 complex... With more laps under my belt, I quickly realized where I was butchering all sorts of corners earlier. It just took a while to come back to me.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-TWS-042812/i-96ZxRHH/0/S/DSC0306-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-TWS-042812/i-K5RfVx6/0/S/DSC0353-S.jpg
Right: Mike's AI car was putting down 1:55 laps and he walked away from both Saturday AI/CMC races

Most of the TT guys went slower in Sessions 3 (and did again in 4), as the ambient temps climbed up to 90F, so I wasn't going to find a stellar lap in session 4. By then I was also tired of the continuous computer faults and worried about more oil hitting the back tire (although I didn't see a drop under the car after session 3 - I guess it burned/burped off enough excess), so I let the car cool off, and talked to Amy. I was doing good to not have put a tire in the dirt in the 3 truncated sessions so far, given the oil on the rear tire, so I counted my lucky stars and we called it a day. We had a 4 hour tow back to north Dallas ahead of us and Amy was already bored after taking 200 pics, but not racing in TT herself. We packed up after my student was done (and checked out for solo in HPDE2) and hit the road right as the TT group was going out for their 4th and final session of the day.

Overall it this day at the track was a LOT of fun, and we learned a good bit about the new set-up (its faster than me on this track!). I had forgotten how much more stressful it is to run on the big banked turns at 140+ mph compared to the tighter, more technical, and slower road courses we run elsewhere in Texas - such as ECR, MSR-C, MSR-H, Harris Hill, TMS infield, and GrandSport Speedway. Still, we have VIR in July to contend with so I need to bring my game up at higher speed events pretty darned quick! :D

How Were the Upgrades?

As I stated in yesterday's update, the extra front brake cooling really worked. The brake ducts we added + the Porterfield R4 track pads Costas and others suggested (thanks!) were spot on. I only caught myself giving it a bit more brake pedal on one lap (lap 4 in session 2 - I'm talking to the damn video camera about it! I don't even know I'm doing this), after a mad dash into T1 at high speed (braking from 140+ to around 70-80). The rebuilt TractionLok just flat worked, even through the tighter/twisty turns like T3 & T4, T7-9, and the other tight turns before the front straight (T11-15). Even so, this car is still getting a better diff before the next big autocross (Spring Nationals) to deal with the tighter turns we see in autocrossing.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-TWS-042812/i-sfZdwVC/1/S/DSC0362-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-TWS-042812/i-T9z9mVk/0/S/DSC0369-S.jpg
Looking at the front camber it seems... barely enough (-3.8). Gonna add more soon

I never felt the urge to adjust the rear wing angle of attack. We had it trimmed out at the lowest setting and it felt... very balanced. According to the CFD data it can generate 600 pounds at the highest AOA, but we had it trimmed down to much lower settings and it felt fine. This was hardly a proper aero test with barely a dozen hot laps run all day, so I will play with this the next time I have more track time. I really want to get a flat "2D" wing on there before we do any real aero test work though. For now... the wing seems to work, and other than the oil on the rear tires, the car worked fine (like in session 3 when it stopped puking on the rear tire). We had bumped up rear spring rate from 175# to 200# (that's the only stiffer spring we had on hand in this diameter and length).

What should the car have run? Well a 1:53 would have been more in line what several people feel the car was capable of - with a better driver. I tend to agree with them, and I know I was way off the pace for what the car should have been doing. If we had run Sunday and found some cahones ... maybe. I need more seat time at TWS to reach this car's potential, for sure. Put me at a track that I know better and I can get closer to the potential, I think.

Other Updates & Upcoming Events

I just talked to the folks at APR and there is indeed going to be a straight horizontal "2D" carbon fiber airfoil in 61", 67", and 70" widths, with an optional dual element 2D style wing. The pricing will be "more competitive" than the 3D wing (its probably easier to make) and these should be out sometime this year. I told them I want a 70" wide unit and that's what we'll perfect our wing design to use. Until then we'll keep this 3D wing on there with the current uprights for track events, goofy as it looks.

There are several events in May that we plan on taking the Mustang. Going to run the NASA TT event May 19th at Grandsport Speedway, located way south of Houston. This is an unusual "HPDE and TT only" NASA event, which makes sense on this smallish track. This will be the first time NASA has ever run there, so all TT class winners will set new track records. Hopefully I can find a little bit more speed (in the car and in myself!) and tighten the gap to the top TTS finishers. This is a tight little 1.3 mi track that I have run before (more recently than 20 years ago) so power and slippery aerodynamics (ie: Corvettes) won't be as big of a factor as it was at TWS. On May 20th there is another Texas Region SCCA autocross at TMS I'm going to attend, so that makes for a busy double-header weekend with a few hundred miles of towing in between. I plan to run both of those events on the Kumhos, so at least it won't take much prep changes between Saturday and Sunday.

Memorial Day weekend has a massive "Spring Nationals" SCCA Solo double-header weekend in Lincoln, NE. Friday and Saturday is the ProSolo while Sunday and Monday is a National Tour. The ESP class is already chock full of good entrants. We have to go to this one to see where we are, and we need to be on fresh Hoosier A6's by then, hopefully with some extra power and a real diff.

We have to have the updated programming for the steering rack before any of these events, as I'm tired of seeing the same nagging computer errors and steering wheel feedback. Now that we're confident this programming is SCCA legal I'm going to get it done. We will be pulling the rack out of the car this week to send it to Ford Racing, as the replacement $1000+ 2011 GT racks is on national back-order. Apparently there's a 3-4 month build date window where all of the early 2011 GTs are having similar "issues". Ford is not doing a recall yet, but probably will "eventually". If you are seeing this type of steering shudder CALL YOUR FORD DEALER and demand a recall/TSB. If you don't want to wait, call Ford Racing in Detroit. All of the World Challenge and GRAND AM Mustang's run this update programming, and it supposedly fixes the steering feedback loop shudder and related Traction Control system faults. We'll find out and report back soon!


08-16-2013, 02:23 PM
Project Update for May 18, 2012: We've made some additional changes to the car and had an autocross since my last update after the TWS NASA Time Trial event. After we received the new Vorshlag camber-caster plates and the re-valved Moton Club Sports, we scheduled time to install all of it onto the Mustang, then went looking for an event to test the new set-up at...

New Parts for our Mustang

The newly revised Vorshlag camber-caster plates were finally complete at the electro-plater a week ago and after we fulfilled customer back-orders, we built a set for our own S197 Mustang (shown below).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Vorshlag-Camber-Plate-Product/i-LCP5CtM/0/S/DSC0631-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Vorshlag-Camber-Plate-Product/i-Hh29wbJ/0/S/DSC0633-S.jpg

I was looking forward to the much easier camber adjustment these new plates would allow us. Plus we could potentially use the added range of positive caster, if we felt the need to add more than the +6.4 the car came with stock. The next bits that were finally ready to install were the Moton Club Sport 2-way coilover shocks. The AST 4150 prototype coilovers had served us very well the past year, but we were really pushing the envelope on grip levels in an S197 Mustang with 315mm R compounds at all 4 corners. Adding compression adjustment would be a tuning improvement and the additional fluid from the remote reservoirs would also help stabilize performance on longer track stints.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Moton-Club-Sport-Shocks/i-RX94VfQ/0/S/DSC3066-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Moton-Club-Sport-Shocks/i-Ld74c5S/0/S/DSC0704-S.jpg

These Motons had been purchased a while ago and were a bit unique in that they were built before the Moton acquisition and were an old design. The front struts had lower mounting flanges with massively slotted upper holes, which are not part of the current Moton S197 spec. I'm not a fan of slotted mounting holes as it reduces wheel/to-strut clearance and can allow the lower setting to slip under hard cornering. So after test fitting the front struts and new VM plates to check the available camber range (more camber travel than before), Ryan filled in the slotted holes.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Moton-Install-Mustang/i-TP2TTG6/0/S/DSC0693-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Moton-Install-Mustang/i-MWNsv6T/0/S/DSC0697-S.jpg

There was enough range in the camber plates and strut tower opening that we could actually use the stock sized upper strut mounting hole on the Moton struts, so the slot was filled with a steel "slug", fully welded, then ground smooth (on all four slotted holes). Again, this isn't something that needs to be performed on this S197 strut any longer. Moton-USA also installed custom valving and their new DDP digressive pistons for some extra rebound force at low speeds.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Moton-Club-Sport-Shocks/i-SP9Z7vX/0/S/DynoPlot-CS-Front-S197-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Moton-Club-Sport-Shocks/i-qdTB9cp/0/S/DynoPlot-CS-Rear-S197-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Moton-Club-Sport-Shocks/i-SP9Z7vX/0/X2/DynoPlot-CS-Front-S197-X2.jpg)
Click to see the full sized dyno plots for these. Left = front struts, right = rear shocks

Well, if you know much about dyno plots, those actually make a LOT of extra rebound force at low shaft speeds! That area from 0-2 in/sec shaft velocity is crucial in both autocross & track use, and being able to alter those numbers to this extent with the turn of a knob makes for better racing performance and a much more comfortable street ride after rebound is turned down. These DDP pistons are evil - we had them in the AST 4150s on this car before and loved them! Now with these double adjustables we can adjust low speed compression as well, for more tuning ability.

Vorshlag's Step-By-Step Moton S197 Install Gallery - http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Moton-Install-Mustang/

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Moton-Install-Mustang/i-Cmsz7Sz/0/S/DSC0714-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Moton-Install-Mustang/i-CF8fKJ6/0/S/DSC0720-S.jpg

Installing the Motons and their accompanying remote reservoirs, then aligning and corner balancing the Mustang, took the better part of ten hours. About two hours of that was the fabrication work Ryan had to do on the slots, but that's still eight solid hours of install and set-up work. These were far from a "just take it out of the box and bolt them on" affair - just like all remote reservoir shocks, which add their own mounting complications.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Moton-Install-Mustang/i-P8Jjfwq/0/S/DSC0730-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Moton-Install-Mustang/i-3kpPmgM/0/S/DSC0726-S.jpg

The front strut installation was relatively straightforward and didn't require any cutting or surgery since the hoses were long enough to route under the frame rail next to the brake hard lines. This allowed the remotes to mount right up into the engine bay with no fuss. The struts were bolted up to the Vorshlag plates with stiffer 550 #/in Hyperco springs (up from 450 #/in) and went in fairly quickly. Of course we fabricated custom front and rear reservoir mounts, like we've done on some other installs here recently (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Service/suspension-setup/22893928_BHShWJ#!i=1838712908&k=pv3zFPR). These brackets bolt to existing factory holes and keep the remote reservoirs away from engine heat, but keep the compression knobs accessible.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Moton-Install-Mustang/i-pJPs4mD/0/S/DSC0995-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/Moton-Install-Mustang/i-WpLcnTG/0/S/DSC0735-S.jpg

The rear shock on this Moton kit is a standard for race cars - an "eye-to-eye" shock. That means it has a spherical eye mount on both ends, unlike the stock shock which used an eye lower and pin upper mount. To make it fit the S197 chassis without modifying the upper mounting hole, we found some "eye-to-pin" adapter mounts made for the S197 from Ford Racing. These mounts bolt to the upper eye mount, along with some bushing adapters from Moton, and then slide into the hole in the stock sheet metal. The lower eye mount also has bushing adapters (included in the Moton kit) to fit the stock lower hole.

We had several options for routing and mounting the rear shocks' reservoirs. I wanted them away from exhaust heat/rocks/rain/debris and since there is no spare tire with this car, I decided we should mount them in the spare tire well inside the trunk. We routed the hoses through sheet metal, so there was some cutting involved with the rear reservoir pass-through hole. This is the first cutting or drilling we've had to do to the chassis, so we took great care (Amy does not want us cutting or drilling on her street car!). We like using these 2-piece "Seals-It" brand grommets for reservoir mounting. They can be unbolted and the entire reservoir can pass through the hole in the chassis when removing the shocks, without having to discharge the nitrogen and remove a hose. Even with "quick connects" (a very costly option) you still have to discharge the nitrogen in a monotube shock with remotes. If installed the way we did them, you don't ever have to discharge the pressure and potentially lose fluid when removing the rear shocks. We tested the fit of these seals at the autocross in the rain and not a drop made it into the trunk. Perfection.

Other New Bits Coming?

While we were doing this Moton CS install, AST Holland was posting Facebook pics of the new and improved but much-delayed AST 4150 coilover strut housing for the S197 Mustang. They let the cat out of the bag (or the wooden shoe out of the closet?), so I am going to repost at least one picture. Now we could be seeing the first 4150 test sets for this S197 chassis, the BMW E36, BMW E46, and the Subaru BRZ at Vorshlag before too long. We will be contacting local Dallas/Ft. Worth testers (so we can install them here, to verify that everything fits perfectly) for all of these cars when we have the first 4150 shocks on hand. Once we've verified these fitments, AST-USA can have AST Holland proceed with full scale production. Don't hold me to any dates, because so far I've been failing miserably on ETAs for these shock models.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/AST-4150-Shocks/i-S433dLL/0/S/AST4150-S197-001c-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/D-Force-Wheel-Gallery/i-qfd5Sc6/0/S/DSC0986-S.jpg

Speaking of overshot ETAs on new products, we finally have a gaggle of D-Force 18x10's for the S197 chassis now in hand. There have been a dozen sets sold and shipped so far and I've been seeing pictures on social networks of them on cars - very cool. We only have a few Flat Black sets and plenty of Silver sets in stock - give us a buzz if you are interested. They were 19.5 lbs exactly when weighed here, just as predicted.

continued below

08-16-2013, 02:24 PM
continued from above

Autocross Test - NTAXS Event #3

With the Moton Club Sports and new camber-caster plates finally on the car, it was time to test them out before switching to Hoosiers the following week. With the Moton install completed over Thursday and Friday (May 10th and 11th), the car was loaded onto a trailer and Amy and I autocrossed it on the 12th. This NTAXS event was a non-SCCA club that is run by the SCCA regulars, with the same course designers we see at Texas Region SCCA events. They used the same sealed asphalt "TMS Bus Lot" site we test at often. They do have twice as many runs in a given day (4 morning + 4 afternoon runs), so it's great event for testing.

Results: http://www.vorshlag.com/documents/NTAXS-051212-results.htm#3R
Photo and Video Gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NTAXS-TMS-051212/

The day started off with a freak rain storm that wasn't on any forecast or radar and caught everyone off guard. Nobody was set-up for wet conditions, including the event organizers, and a small percentage of people left the event after getting soaked during the course walk-through. They delayed the start by 15 minutes and got all of the equipment dried out, while attendees dried off and made adjustments for the rain. The Mustang was still running on the 18x11/18x12 Forgestars mounted with tread-less 315/35/18 Kumho V710s, so we knew we'd be slipping and sliding until it dried out - if it dried out.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NTAXS-TMS-051212/i-jhsJHSm/0/S/DSC0741-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NTAXS-TMS-051212/i-rQ4dKZB/0/S/DSC0767-S.jpg

Luckily, we worked the first heat when it was totally soaked and continued to sprinkle a bit more, but when we made our four morning runs in the second heat it was beginning to dry. It was so wet somebody still managed to take out a timer at the finish. This club is a bit more informal than SCCA and you can grid up in paddock on your own, with the folks more experienced with this club wisely waiting until the very end of heat 2 to make their runs. Then they take 7-8 cars to the starting area at a time to make all four runs back to back. I wasn't so smart and was one of the first cars to the line, driving in slopping wet conditions. And yes, we left the wing on the rear since this wasn't an SCCA event.

It was wet as can be when I ran and my 4 runs and they were all terribly slow, including a spin on my first run. I have video from these runs, but they aren't worth watching. Amy was smarter and ran a bit later in this heat when it was quite a bit drier - and she was 5 seconds faster than me in our morning runs. The people running at the end of heat 2 were getting an even drier course and were that much faster than her.

Thankfully it was completely dry in the afternoon heats 3 and 4, and we all got some better runs in. Unfortunately Amy left the vidcam on for 2 hours after her final morning run and killed the battery, so all we have are videos from the morning session. In the video below I was riding with Amy on her 4th morning run, and continually admonishing her to PUSH the car harder. She wasn't being aggressive enough with the throttle, but during my morning ride-along she managed to drop another 1.5 seconds.

(http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NTAXS-TMS-051212/23010331_RLWBgb#!i=1854416811&k=Lxfjtr6&lb=1&s=A)In-car video on Amy's morning run #4 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NTAXS-TMS-051212/23010331_RLWBgb#!i=1854416811&k=Lxfjtr6&lb=1&s=A) (she was 7 seconds quicker in the afternoon!)

The afternoon runs were a bit better, but I didn't learn from the morning sessions and ran in the first sub-group again. The course was dry, but now it was dirty from all of the mud that washed onto the course from the nearby construction. There was about one third of the course that was covered in dirt when I ran, which had markedly less grip. Amy wised up and waited until the end of heat 4 to make her runs and was the last car on course at the end of the day. She made her fastest run on her last, beating the entire 3R class, and set the 2nd fastest time of the day. Nice! The only car quicker was a BSP-prepped E46 M3 driven by KenO, who is one AST/Vorshlag's super-testers. :)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NTAXS-TMS-051212/i-F5wqzMn/0/S/DSC0759-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NTAXS-TMS-051212/i-DmGpJMG/0/S/DSC0920-S.jpg
Terry (at left) was sliding around but Amy (right) was doing nothin' but winning.

In the dry afternoon runs Amy punished me by 1.3 seconds, so I was mired back in 4th place behind some SCCA regulars in SS Corvettes. But my placing didn't matter much to me - I was excited that the car was doing this well on a completely untested, new set of Motons. Getting skirted happens when your wife is this fast, and I'm used to it. :D

Observations from this Event

What good is going to an individual event if you don't learn something? At this NTAXS event we learned a lot about the new parts we had installed (Motons, spring rates), re-learned to never come to an event without proper rain tires (even the 275 Bridgestone RE11s would have been better on my first 4 runs than the bald R compounds), and I learned that if the club has "optional gridding" that you wait for the optimum time to make your runs! I also found out that if I over-pushed the Kumhos on 4 back-to-back runs that the tires can overheat and get very greasy. Again, watching more experienced folks that run with this club, they were pulling out of line to spray their tires with water to cool them off, something I needed to do. Oh well - live and learn.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NTAXS-TMS-051212/i-k3pRGK8/0/S/DSC0917-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NTAXS-TMS-051212/i-2ZvRCMZ/0/S/DSC0906-S.jpg

One thing we could see from the spring rate and shock change was the front brake dive was less than before, as was front bodyroll. The extra 100 #/in front spring rate and increased compression and rebound settings we used (in the afternoon) helped there (ran the compression full soft int he wet session). Also, the new camber setting of -4.0 up front seems to be edging in to the proper amount, after looking at high resolution pictures of the outside front tire under cornering. As you know, a radial tire works best with a little bit of negative camber when fully loaded, so this picture is almost perfect. A tick more and I think we're there. I will keep an eye out at the next event (a week later at the same event site), when we've switched to fresh Hoosiers and see if it ever gets into to positive camber. If it does, we will add more static negative.


We've always run a lot of negative camber on this car, as learned from testing. Even with street tires it responded best with over -3.3 of front camber. Some folks like to argue that S197 Mustang's don't need this much camber, but I disagree. Again - as a camber plate designer, this is one of the only things I really know well. :p Pyrometer data, pictures showing the tire loaded, and tire wear trump theory and internet wisdom, in my book. The S197 is not magical - it is just another strut car to me. And like many other McStrut cars we've raced and designed suspension parts for, this one needs more static camber the higher the grip levels go. With 315 R compounds up front we're seeing more grip than a GRAND AM or World Challenge race car, and we keep adding more negative camber than those race teams run to keep this big tire as close to vertical when loaded.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NTAXS-TMS-051212/i-MQkcRxD/0/S/DSC0918-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-6xDfGtF/0/S/DSC1015-S.jpg

Another of the tests we did at this event was to look for any indicator of downforce at speed. I manged to snap the picture above when Amy was hitting over 60 mph on course and as you can see, the trunk was deflecting a good bit even at a low AOA on the rear wing (we can always make a LOT more rear downforce with a wing than a splitter can hope to match up front). We knew the culprit - the factory "trunk bumpers". These little rubber bushings are what set the height of the trunk at the rear when it is latched, and we knew from the TWS event they were deforming at speed.

We had a solution in mind and the day after this NTAXS event Ryan made up a replacement set of bushings from some round Nylon stock I had purchased the week before. Chucked them up in the lathe and made a drilled and tapped hole on the underside to mount them to the mounting plate. After tweaking the length to get the trunk height set properly, they were bolted down and now we have no more deflection there. The wing uprights sit right near the edge of the trunk lid (which has structure underneath) and this should now be a more firm mount, and still stay within the SCCA Street Prepared ruleset (normally you build bracing from the trunk floor to the wing mounts, but that's a no-no for ESP class).

My next update will go over the next week's prep, which included a change to Hoosiers and a gamble on rear tire size choice... using the largest A6 tire that Hoosier makes. I rolled the dice, so check back to see if that choice paid off!


08-16-2013, 02:25 PM
Project Update for May 23, 2012: We've done a bit of work to the car since the last update, and had another autocross to test changes before the Lincoln "Spring Nationals" event this weekend.

The defacto R compound DOT tire in SP is a Hoosier A6, but we had been doing well with a Kumho V710. The Kumhos have plenty of life left but work better as a road course tire than in autocross, so we pulled the V710s off of the 18x11/18x12 Forgestars and ordered some HoHos...

Go Big or Go Home!

Looking at the 2012 Hoosier Tire Listing (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-cL2TDvN/0/X2/Hoosier-Tires-2012-X2.jpg) for the A6, the obvious choice up front is the 315/30/18 size, which has 11.8" of tread width and 12.5" of section width. The problem is the height, which is only 25.6". That's short for this car, and even with our "tallest Ford made for it" 3.31 rear gear ratio, this height shortens the speed range in 2nd gear significantly. The goal is to at least be able to reach 70 mph in 2nd, and with the relatively short 2.43 ratio in 2nd, this means we have to watch rear tire height closely. When we ran STX last year (*twitch! shudder!*) we saw noticeable improvements going from 265/35/18 tires to a taller 265/40/18 size, which softened the rear ratio and extended 2nd gear speeds a noticeable amount.

The real goal for me is to avoid EVER having to go to 3rd gear in an autocross run (which inevitably means another downshift to 2nd), as the up/down/up shifts cost so much time. Gear the car right, including tire height, and you never leave 2nd. This 5.0L engine has torque everywhere so even if it doesn't have as much "snap" at lower speed corners it still has "more than enough". So, all that said...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-PnknpLN/0/S/DSC1000-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-H8hmDFP/0/S/DSC1014-S.jpg

I picked a pair of 345/45/18 Hoosier A6 tires for the rear and a 315/30/18 for the front. The 345 is the biggest 18" tire Hoosier makes in the A6 and has 13.25" tread width, massive 13.9" section width, and a big 26.8" tire height (the stock tires are 27" tall on this car). That's a 14" wide rear tire... the same relative size that CP cars use. This tire height allows for an insane 77mph top speed in 2nd gear at 7800 rpm, and 75mph at 7500 rpm. No more 3rd gear in a parking lot with this tire, ever.


Trying to fit a 14" wide tire under factory sheet metal car sounds insane... and went against my own better judgement as well as the recommendations of others. But I've taken some leaps of faith on this build using the "bigger is better" mentality that have paid off already. The car was also experiencing enough wheel spin in slow speed autocross corner exits with the 315mm Kumhos that I was willing to give this larger 345 mm wide tire a chance out back. Of course this tire would never fit up front without major fender surgery, so I went with a non-square 315F/345R combo - again, against my own recommendations. We had to space the 12" rear wheels outboard another 10mm to have the same clearance to the rear swaybar and inner fender structure as the 315 had on the same wheel as before. It was a gamble but I tossed the dice, hoping we could make them fit.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-qKwVTzq/0/S/DSC1017-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-xZKsZp8/0/S/DSC1019-S.jpg

Yea, not a chance. These things are redonkulous. HUGE. So now the rear tires needed more spacer and protruded past the fenders a solid 1/2 inch, which I dislike both aesthetically and functionally. First, it widens the rear track, making the differential work that much harder and making slaloms/transitions that much more difficult to navigate. Secondly, it adds a potential rub point at the outer fender lip itself, if there is enough roll movement in the rear of the chassis to let it roll over and touch the tire. I was hoping that this wouldn't be a problem, and with a known amount of axle movement in cornering it could even tuck under the fender lip on the outer tire in turns. I also hoped the stiffer 275#/in rear and 550 #/in front springs (installed when we put on the Motons a week earlier) would keep the roll down enough to keep the rear tire away from the outer fender lip.

Other prep this week before this SCCA autocross was a swap to the rear spoiler (wing isn't legal in this series/class), and we could uncover the hidden SCCA stickers (something NASA requires). I didn't even add any fuel to the car from the last event - we loaded it into the trailer Thursday night and it sat there until the race on Sunday.

This next autocross would tell us a lot about this round of changes...

Texas Region Autocross # 3 at TMS

We're trying to make as many of our local "Texas Region" SCCA events this year as we can, and using each event as a test session. Amy was out of town on business this week, so I ran this event by myself. Hey, maybe I could win this time! ;) Just like the autocross a week before, this event was set-up in the same sealed asphalt "Bus Lot" at Texas Motor Speedway, with the same course designer, but this time with the SCCA region running the show. This is my favorite group to autocross with - they put on an excellent event, every time. Well organized, great courses, good competition, great announcing (except when they let me do it, ha!), and final results are posted within hours. Things run smoothly, safely, and consistently. Its no coincidence that our Solo REs are also the event masters for the 2012 Solo Nationals - Jen and Brad Maxcy. (Jen whipped some ass on Sunday in their STX BMW, beat Brad, and PAXed right on my tail in Heat 1, with Brad 3rd in PAX for the heat)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/i-W5gSLcF/0/S/456279393368439112815503676553-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/i-T5c5BSj/0/S/DSC1025-S.jpg

Here are the event particulars:

Pax Results: http://texasscca.org/2012_solo_results/tr12_3_pax.htm
Class Results: http://texasscca.org/2012_solo_results/tr12_3_final.htm#ESP
Course Map: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/i-7C96dZb/0/O/course.jpg
In-car Video for Run 1 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/23107435_Q3mjwJ#!i=1862642791&k=VQ2z2Jx&lb=1&s=A)
In-car Video for Run 2 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/23107435_Q3mjwJ#!i=1862642755&k=HFX6X7F&lb=1&s=A)
In-car Video for Run 3 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/23107435_Q3mjwJ#!i=1862642874&k=W5tcSxZ&lb=1&s=A)
In-car Video for Run 4 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/23107435_Q3mjwJ#!i=1862644111&k=J7RT4sG&lb=1&s=A)
In-car Video for Run 5 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/23107435_Q3mjwJ#!i=1863689817&k=tw36MCS&lb=1&s=A)

The results don't tell the entire tale, of course. This is where I begin my excuses. :D So, as I've said before, this TMS site currently has construction happening right at the edge of the lot surface, with Jersey barriers holding back a mountain of fine, silty dirt from the lot. Every time it rains (which has been often here lately) it washes this dirt/mud mix onto the surface of the lot. So early drivers get to clean off the driving line, mid-day drivers get a cleaner line with some added track temperature, and afternoon drivers tend to see the cleanest line but the most track heat. If its a cooler day the afternoon runs are quickest. If its a warming day the mid-day drivers are fastest. That last scenario happened on this day - 2nd heat drivers were fastest by a good margin. It helped that our top National drivers ran that heat also!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/i-HFX6X7F/0/S/Terry-TMS-run2-052012-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/23107435_Q3mjwJ#!i=1862642791&k=VQ2z2Jx&lb=1&s=A) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/i-tw36MCS/0/S/Terry-TMS-run5-052012-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/23107435_Q3mjwJ#!i=1863689817&k=tw36MCS&lb=1&s=A)
Left: Run #1 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/23107435_Q3mjwJ#!i=1862642791&k=VQ2z2Jx&lb=1&s=A) was quick. Right: Run #5 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/23107435_Q3mjwJ#!i=1863689817&k=tw36MCS&lb=1&s=A) was my fastest

I ran in the first heat along with about 1/3rd of the 109 racers. The first run in Mustang was with the stickers still on the tires, but that didn't seem to slow the car down at all. On that run I had trouble with braking in all of the higher speed stopping zones (super hard pedal - no power assist?) but put in a respectable run. My 2nd through 4th runs were either slower or not much better, with continued braking problems. My 5th run I finally adjusted my braking zones back significantly, went slower into most turns, and dropped 3/4 of a second from my first run. It wasn't pretty but it was faster. This was the only 42 second run of the heat and put me #1 in PAX for that 1/3rd of drivers as well.

This was short lived, as Heat 2 drivers put in some phenomenal times and I dropped to 18th in PAX. There were two significant problems in my runs, and one "missing" problem. Well, other than my regularly crap driving, which goes without saying.


08-16-2013, 02:25 PM
continued from above

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/i-4dScV5c/0/S/IMG1726-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/i-t7dPxJR/0/S/IMG1779-S.jpg

The first car issue was a broken vacuum line from the JLT oil separator that was added in 2011. This part helps catch oil residue coming from the heads (that would normally pump back into the intake manifold) caused during high RPM use (7800 rev limit? Yea, that qualifies!). The problem was this JLT kit it came with plastic fittings and inflexible plastic vacuum lines that are prone to breakage (http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/2011-mustangs-354/804791-jlt-oil-separator-repair.html).

After my first run it I opened the hood and the catch can lay there askew, with the line or fitting obviously broken. I grabbed some zip ties an secured the unit but with this line wide open I was losing vacuum. A-ha! This is why I was losing brake booster assist after any long straights, hence the hard pedal. Eureka! I've been complaining of this issue at autocrosses for many months, back into 2011, so there's no telling how long ago this fitting cracked (see below for "the fix").

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/i-vK76r9M/0/S/DSC1075-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/i-t3ChD99/0/S/DSC1149-S.jpg

Another issue was, as you can see above, the tire rub (then tire smoke) shown above. The 345/45/18 rears were both taller and significantly wider than the 315/35/18 Kumhos, and rubbed at two locations on the inside of the chassis - on the body at the forward section of the frame rail where it curves outward and on the rear swaybar. I would turn in, the car would take a set, where the axle would slide over and the tire would move relative to the rim, and the inner sidewall would start to "catch and release" the rub points - hop hop hopping through the long turns. This caused enough rubbing that it would smoke heavily. I kept an eye on it but there was little I could do other than drop out or keep going. I kept going.

So I had miscalculated a bit on the 14" wide rears. They need to go out another 1/2" and then they'd look like Bubba going to the Drag Strip. We have the rear ride height compromised enough as it is for extra clearance and Amy said a firm "NO!" to flaring the rear of the car. So... when this set is gone we'll switch back to the 315 and tuck it all under the rear fenders. Again, I'm a fan of a narrow track for autocrossing, and this is very much "not narrow" at the moment.

The one problem that was missing was... the traction control faults and steering feedback shudder. WTF? This is a mystery but I have noticed that the more wheel spin we see the more problematic the steering is and the more faults we trigger. With 345mm rear A6s and a fresh LSD out back there was dramatically less wheel spin. This is good, because both the OEM replacement and the FRPP race re-programmed steering racks (M-3200-EPAS, $1249) are on national back-order until June 23rd. We found one in the country after calling dozens of places, and they were saving it as a spare for their GRAND AM race team. Wouldn't sell it to us for any amount of money. So... we cross our fingers and hope this steering rack and traction control fault issues take a hiatus. :/

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/i-nd75PmC/0/S/IMG1681-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/i-66LVz7B/0/S/DSC1147-S.jpg

We had been running with -4.0 front camber and I also noticed several pics showing the outside front tire loaded up at almost vertical, and not positive camber. Again, we're not using too much negative, and could even use a hair more possibly.

Updates After The Autocross

In preparation for the upcoming 4 day weekend of racing in Lincoln we knocked out these updates and repairs. First up was replacing the hoses/fittings and improving the mounting of the JLT oil separator.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-QHmjKL6/0/S/DSC1532-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-6DCB8xC/0/S/DSC1617-S.jpg

Ryan made the bracket out of aluminum and bolted it to open flanges on the valve cover, then bolted the catch can to that. He had one of our vendors make the lines and fittings and buttoned that up quickly. Looks like how it should have been from Day 1 - I knew better than to let that aluminum can hang from plastic hoses and fitting. Its funny how these obviously poor parts can come back and bite you in the ass... no idea how long this has been broken. Hopefully I'll have a better brake pedal from now on!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-HjJHZ8J/0/S/DSC1614-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-sdNqVbF/0/S/DSC1603-S.jpg

Next up was the catch can installation for the rear differential fluid overflow problem we've been fighting at track events and even some autocrosses since day 1. Remember the fiasco this year from TWS, with oil spewing onto the rear tires? The little vent cap thing in the RR axle tube is a joke, and oil can and will come spraying out when it gets hot - and it will get hot at a track day. I bought this billet catch can and mount in mid 2011, and we finally got around to installing it. The factory vent was removed and a new fitting and custom made lines were fabricated by our hose vendor (who's a good friend of mine). Ryan bolted the catch can to the rear seat bulkhead and routed both the vent line from the axle and the "overflow" line from the catch can through a factory grommet in the trunk floor, on the driver's side just behind the back seats. Fixed!


Some wider spacers were procured and the 18x12 wheels and 345 tires went more outboard, and look just terrible. If we could massage the inner fender areas we could make this tire fit, but that's a big no-no in the SCCA, so out goes the wheel. With a custom swaybar (legal) and 45 minutes with a sledge hammer (not), these wheels would tuck inside the fenders. GRR.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Service/suspension-setup/i-nMPhjKM/0/S/DSC1590-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Service/suspension-setup/i-j9WQ4M3/0/S/DSC1594-S.jpg

Last up was foglight opening "grills". We had a customer's Boss 302S race car in the shop this week to do some suspension set-up work and we saw several great ideas on the car, including how they mounted the wire mesh grills in the foglight opening. These are functionally necessary to keep rocks and balled up tire rubber from hitting the evap core or radiator fins when lapping the Mustang behind other cars. The lower grill opening is also wide open from the factory and the evap fins on our car are already smashed up a good bit, and starting to happen behind the now missing foglights.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-MhfsDgk/0/S/DSC1619-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-HmcXwMk/0/S/DSC1620-S.jpg

Ryan took the tighter stainless mesh material we picked up a few weeks back and made some round sections slightly larger than the foglight openings, then painted them black. Then he drilled a series of VERY small holes around the round rear openings in the grill. Last he tied stainless safety wire thru these holes to hold it in place, just like how the 302S does it. Sometimes seeing something done simply makes a solution so obvious. Looks good, functions great, no more smashed cooler fins. The grills are almost invisible at this rez above, but clearly visible in person or in higher rez pics (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-HmcXwMk/0/XL/DSC1620-XL.jpg).

Oh yea, the under-trunk carpet was reattached (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-hTcg49Q/0/M/DSC1612-M.jpg) so we'd be extra-legal for the upcoming dual SCCA events.

Many Upcoming Events

There are several competition and track day events we have planned in the near future for our Mustang test mule. This weekend in Lincoln is the SCCA "Spring Nationals", with a ProSolo Friday-Saturday and a National Tour Sunday-Monday. After that we have a weekend off, followed by 3 straight weekends of racing in June:

May 25-26, SCCA Lincoln ProSolo - ProSolo autocross
May 27-28, SCCA Lincoln National Tour - Autocross
June 8-9, Optima Face Off at the HOT ROD Power Tour (http://www.optimainvitational.com/FINAL%20HOT%20ROD%20Schedule.pdf) - Autocross + Speed/Stop + Time Trial track event (ECR + Ball Park at Arlington)
June 14-15, Mid-American Ford Meet (http://www.midamericafordmeet.com/Left_nav/Schedule.htm), track event (Hallet Motor Racing Circuit)
June 23, Five Star Ford Track Day (http://www.eaglescanyon.com/2008/docs/5StarFord.pdf) (ECR)

Looks like we have a busy month of testing ahead. Click any of the links above to find out about coming to watch or to enter any of these events. We'll have the Mustang at all of them listed above, and we will give ride-alongs on any run we take, if they allow it. Just bought a special set of 200 treadwear tires for the Optima event, we'll be running the big A6s in Lincoln one more time, and the 315 Kumho V710s for the other two track day events at ECR. I'll talk more about each of these events in future thread updates.

Trailer is loaded, 11 hour tow to Nebraska tomorrow...


08-16-2013, 02:27 PM
Project Update for June 2, 2012: Amy and I spent 5 days in Nebraska autocrossing at the SCCA's "Spring Nationals", with a ProSolo on Fri-Sat and a National Tour autocross on Sun-Mon. We also spent about a day (11 hours each way) driving from Texas to Lincoln and back. Completely wiped us out and I'm still playing catch-up. This was a great test for us against 10 of the top ESP cars in the Pro and 18 ESP cars in the Tour.

2012 Lincoln ProSolo

Amy and I left Dallas early on Thursday morning and towed north for 11 hours to Nebraska, driving straight through. We got to the event site at about 5:15 pm, minutes after they had stopped selling tickets for practice starts. Meh, we had 12 chances to see the starting line and had done the Mineral Wells ProSolo not long earlier. We were too tired to care. Unloaded, added more event sponsor decals, teched the car, checked in with registration for both events (moving Amy out of a 1 car ESP-Ladies class for the Tour and into ESP Open), ate food at the welcome party, saw a bunch of friends, walked both the left and right ProSolo courses, then finally made it to the hotel at about 9:30 PM and CRASHED. That made for a very long day.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/i-QqfKBTN/0/S/DSC1624-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/i-6Rc5hsQ/0/S/DSC1623-S.jpg

SCCA's News Write-up: http://www.scca.com/solo/news.cfm?cid=51024
Results: http://scca.cdn.racersites.com/prod/assets/2012%20Lincoln%20Pro%20Solo%20Revised%20Final%20Re sults.pdf
Reaction Times + 60 Foot: http://scca.cdn.racersites.com/prod/assets/2012%20Lincoln%20Pro%2060ft_RT%20revised.pdf
Pictures and Video (both events): http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/

Friday morning Amy was running first in "L1" class (one of three PAX factored Ladies classes) and did OK, finishing the morning in 4th (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/i-kKFRrzj/0/X2/IMG5603-X2.png) out of 13. Amy was having trouble at the starting line and her 60' foot times were off the pace. She also complained loudly about understeer in the tight 180 turn-arounds.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/i-Dc5894M/0/S/DSC1630-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/i-TvdVgTL/1/S/DSC1644-S.jpg

When I made my Friday morning ESP class ProSolo runs I knew what she was talking about, and the rest of that day we were chasing the set-up trying to dial out this push. I was still only cutting 2.1-2.2 sixty foot times, which was frustrating considering the big Fat Boy rear tires we had just started running. The launch RPM from the 315mm Kumhos was only about 1800, but with the 345/35/18 A6s it was now up to 3200 rpm... yet the 60' times were barely better than at the Mineral Wells Pro. WTH?

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/i-LLXHWWn/0/S/IMG5600-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/i-mWFG754/1/S/DSC1685-S.jpg

I started out pretty fast on the right side (2nd fastest, behind Marky-M) in the morning but had nothing quick on the left side. The courses were poorly marked visually (lots of DNFs, some lost driver course-cross-over-close-calls, lots of cones) but if you could find the line it still flowed well and had some of the fastest peak speeds of a National Level event I had ever seen. I didn't mind - with the 2011's transmission, 3.31 gears, and uber-tall 345/35/18 rear tires we could hit 77 mph in 2nd gear - and we hit that for a second or more on the "back straight" (which had huge offsets in it, actually).

Unfortunately we weren't really helped much with our uber-2nd gear terminal speeds, and with nothing fast on the left I was mired down in 5th place. Amy finished her afternoon runs with only about a .2 sec total improvement, and mine weren't much better, either. She had fallen down to about 6th, and I was still in 5th.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/i-2ZwFwkW/0/M/Lincoln-Pro-Day2-Terry-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/23244217_TDqhnQ#!i=1878816322&k=2ZwFwkW&lb=1&s=A)
IN-CAR VIDEO: Terry's fastest Day 2 runs (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/23244217_TDqhnQ#!i=1878816322&k=2ZwFwkW&lb=1&s=A) from the 2012 Lincoln ProSolo. Rear spoiler removed.

The first Friday work session we had ran long, due to all of the lost drivers and DNFs, but our second work session was an eternity. Due to continual timer "network problems" (which are unfortunately not uncommon at ProSolos) we were stuck on course until 8:15 at night, working 3 hours in the heat, then the rain, then the cold, then the increasing dark. It was nuts, but finally the event was over just before full dark.

On her Saturday morning runs it was cooler and Amy found a half second on the left side but coned it away, then found a tenth on the right. Her L1 competitors, many on fresh tires for Saturday (we need to learn from this pattern) were all much faster and moved her all the way down to 9th out of 13. Yeesh. Her best runs were both 44.6 sec, and on my final two runs I managed to dip into the mid 43s on both sides. For a moment there I was announced to be up in 3rd place, just after my last left side run - so that felt good. I found time on my last right side run as well but the announcer said I was now in 4th, barely in the trophies. That was short lived - by the time 2nd drivers made their runs I was bumped down to 5th (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/i-htLT8Gg/0/X2/IMG5610-X2.png), .025 sec out of the trophies. That's... mid-pack!? Three Firebird/Camaros took the podium spots with McGeorge in 4th in his beautiful '12 Boss302.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/i-L2K4svt/1/S/DSC1686-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/i-g34npbL/0/S/DSC1679-S.jpg

Knowing pretty early on that we were off the pace, we used all of our ProSolo runs for testing. This was still only our 6th autocross in ESP and we're still a long way from getting the proper R compound set-up down for this car. Other than tire pressure and shock changes, one significant set-up change we did Friday night was the front toe settings (which were still set-up for track events), hoping for better turn-in. It was better but after Amy's Saturday morning runs she said the push was still there, so I made a Hail Mary pass... I pulled off the rear spoiler.

In theory this would make the car push less, at least in high speed turns, and THAT IT DID. The damn thing was squirrely as hell in the higher speed sections of the course, like the "back straight". What I was able to take flat footed before was really loose on my 1st and 2nd Saturday runs. I had to pedal back a bit on my 3rd and 4th runs, so that "stupid rear spoiler" is very much working at higher autocross speeds. Removing this had no affect on the lower speed turn-arounds, which was the issue we were trying to address. Without a rear bar adjustment or spring change, nor time to change anything in my last 2 runs, I was stuck with it. I still found a total of 5 tenths on my final two tries, but it was simply from finding the proper lines in the last 2 segments and a good light - the same sections Amy and I both had botched badly during the whole event.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/i-gfVNzbc/2/S/DSC1726-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/i-FzN36wT/1/S/DSC1683-S.jpg

So the Pro was a bust, as I was 2 seconds behind Madarash, Amy was 2 seconds behind me, and neither Amy nor I made the Challenge. Did we take a step backwards? At the MW Pro we both placed higher - I was only 1 second back from Mark over both courses and finished in 2nd place out of 7, ahead of some of the same drivers that were beating me at this event. So it seems that the switch to Hoosiers was a bust, and the 14" wide 345mm rear tire was causing a big understeer problem. Oh well, now we know.

"Bigger isn't always better" - this idiot :(

2012 Lincoln National Tour

Sunday rolled around and it was time for the Tour - and we were already dead tired from spending 3 days on site. I don't remember what weather we had on which day, because it was changing wildly from day to day, yet was ALWAYS WINDY. We saw 98F heat, rain, cold, fog, even the threat of hail and tornadoes. There were several storm systems that grazed the event site and a few that dumped some of the wet stuff. We saw it all in Lincoln! :D

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continued below

08-16-2013, 02:28 PM
continued from above

The other thing we saw after so many racers made their 12+ runs at the 2 day ProSolo was tons of "OPR" - Other People's Rubber. And the tar that fills the seams in the concrete was coming up as well. It was nice when the ProSolo courses "rubbered in" on the 2nd day, as it helped you find the hard to see courses; there were many fewer DNFs on Day 2. The problem was at the following event - the Tour - which had two separate courses on the same surfaces as the Pro. The Tour courses were also a little "undermarked" in my opinion, with lots of places to get lost... especially when you went across or towards one of the rubber-covered Pro corners, like this:


You'd be zipping along, see the rubber laid down from 2 days ago, and get lost. I watched all of my National Tour run videos and caught myself hesitate more than once when near one of these rubber-lined ProSolo corners. Oh well, we all had to drive the same courses, and many folks found their way better than others. On Day 1 of the Tour I ran first and Amy was 2nd driver, and she laid down a smokin' fast first run (good enough for 2nd in class)... but coned it away! My first run was pretty quick, and good enough for 2nd, but that didn't last long. Mark Madarash cleaned up his coned first run and quickly jumped into a big lead. I whittled away at my 1st and 2nd run 62.6's and found a 62.19 on my 3rd run. Amy's 2nd run was considerably slower than her first and had 2 cones. So she needed to dig deep on her 3rd run and get a clean one in. Her 62.2 first run raw time would still put her in the trophies if she could just clean it up. We were all parked directly into the wind with our hoods up, some already done and sitting in Impound, but the 2 driver cars were waiting their turn for 2nd drivers to make their last runs. Bunch of ESP drivers were gathered behind our Mustang (the big rear spoiler acts as a wind break and we can at least hear each other talk standing there). Winds were 25+ mph all day but we kept seeing short wind gusts that were taking hats off all day.


We're about to get Amy helmeted up and in the car when... WHAM! We look over and see the hood of our car completely vertical. Oh no... the wind had gusted, got under the hood, and ripped loose the hood struts and sent it smashing into the windshield! Glass was EVERYWHERE inside, as it shattered both the inner and outer layers of safety glass.

In an instant, without saying a word, the entire swarm of ESP drivers jumped into action. Madarash and another driver were rolling up duct tape and picking up small glass particles from the dash and seat. Another ESP racer went to find Amy a full-faced helmet to borrow. More hands helped me quickly assess the damage ("I see a broken hinge and two hood struts flopping under there - lets just TAPE IT CLOSED"). A grid worker jumps in and says "OK, I assume you want a ten minute mechanical!", then ran to tell the rest of the drivers in Impound/Grid to close hoods. We had the hood back down and taped it closed across the fender at the right rear corner, where the hinge was ripped in half. Mark and I were taping the lower 1/3rd of the windshield to keep it intact, both inside and out. Another driver was helping tape the outside and got cut his hand, so he backed away to stop the bleeding and another took his place.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/i-s4QhfQR/0/S/IMG5616-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/i-6psTLwc/0/S/IMG5617-S.jpg

In something like 3 minutes we had the hood closed, the windshield taped up on both sides, Amy strapped in the car with a borrowed helmet, and ready to race - she didn't even miss the 2nd driver rotation. It was awesome! What a kickass group of racers... I can't thank everyone that helped enough. Man, its times like these I really appreciate what a great group of folks we race with - some of which I didn't even know.

SCCA's News Write-up: http://www.scca.com/solo/news.cfm?cid=51025
Results: http://scca.cdn.racersites.com/prod/assets/2012%20Lincoln%20National%20Tour%20Results.pdf
Pictures and Video (both events): http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/

Amy's last run after that mayhem was slower, mostly from the big, borrowed helmet that was slipping down over her eyes. ;) Oh well, she made it around safely and got a clean run, but her first run was still quicker with the cone. That put her way down in like 14th place out of 18, ouch. I started making calls to about a dozen local windshield repair places but being Memorial Day weekend I came up dry. Another ESP racer called a contact at a Ford dealer and he told us what the windshield places had told me - there isn't a windshield for this car in Nebraska, maybe they could get one by Wednesday. Well, looks like we'd be racing Monday (Day 2 of the Tour) with the busted windshield!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/i-W8P7nRc/0/S/DSC1804-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/i-XhDDMtN/1/S/DSC1852-S.jpg

continued below

08-16-2013, 02:30 PM
continued from above

Monday rolled around, I was down in 5th place, and Amy in 14th. We had picked up a roll of clear packing tape and covered all of the many vertical cracks that we had missed the day before. The duct tape was still in place on the lower 1/3rd of the windshield and across the back corner of the hood, which we didn't open until we got back to Texas (after asking in Impound if anyone wanted to see under there once again). My first run was quick, the 2nd fastest in class, and it moved me all the way up to 2nd place. Mark was already 1.7 seconds ahead for the day, but he and I (plus 3 more ESP drivers) never improved on our first runs.

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Madarash (above left) stayed well out in front of ESP but I eventually fell down to 3rd place out of 18 when Newcombe made a smokin' fast 3rd run - the only driver to get in the 64s other than Mark that day. Moving up from 5th with a busted windshield and heavy understeer, I was happy just to salvage a trophy out of this Tour. Amy fought the car all day and was fully 2 seconds off my pace - I think her height made it more difficult to see through the "portal" of visibility I found above the tape line and between the cracks. Still, she moved up 2 spots to 12th, but wasn't happy about that at all. She's always a lot closer to me when we co-drive and this weekend just didn't go her way.

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We learned a lot at these events: never underestimate Nebraska weather (pack for EVERYTHING), bring lots of tape, a non-square tire set-up can cause a push, and we still have a lot of work ahead if we want to narrow the gap to the Titan of ESP. One step forward, two steps back - the gap to Mark has doubled since the MW Tour, so we need to re-assess our changes and do more serious testing. Another set of tires is going on the car soon for a dedicated test day where we will try different spring rates and shock/bar/tire pressure settings. We also have too much lateral movement of the rear axle (rear fenders were digging into the top edges of tire tread), and the 77" wide rear track made the car harder to navigate through the many transitions and slaloms. I also felt the rebuilt/upgraded LSD starting to slip so we have got to step up to a better diff (T2R).

Video of Terry's Day 2, Tour, Run #1 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Spring-Nationals-2012/23244217_TDqhnQ#!i=1878188037&k=Ctgnf3m&lb=1&s=A) You can see the view from the driver's seat

Looking at the Tour results you might think we did well, nabbing 3rd place out of 18. We did not. I was fully 4 seconds back over 2 days, which is an eternity. Again, we learned a lot and now we know how much we need to make up.

Upcoming Events

We have adjusted our June race schedule to sneak in a private test day, and also to get one more weekend off. We were almost about to register for the Mid-America Ford Meet track day at Hallet but the other folks we were going with decided to cancel, so we did as well.

June 8-9, Optima Face Off at the HOT ROD Power Tour (http://www.optimainvitational.com/FINAL%20HOT%20ROD%20Schedule.pdf) - Autocross + Speed/Stop + Time Trial track event (ECR + Ball Park at Arlington)
June 23, Five Star Ford Track Day (http://www.eaglescanyon.com/2008/docs/5StarFord.pdf) (ECR)

The windshield is replaced, the hood is repairable, and only the hinge itself is torn. Easy fixes, considering. We're going to add a "hood tether" so that the hood can be raised (to cool engine between runs, impound, etc) unsupervised. I still don't want thehood prop, as its always in the way when you're working under the hood and we've almost lost the hood in high winds with that as well. The below left picture shows the tire rub we're still seeing with the 345/35/18, even spacing them out 1" wider than we had the 315s on the same 12" wheels. Way too much rub. So yea, I'm going back to 315s out back; not going to play around trying 335s, as the 315s at all four corners WORKED and the car could ROTATE. I might even go back to Kumhos and run a set head-to-head against the Hoosiers. The V710 seems a lot more tolerable of temperature than the A6, so far. We had to spray the crap out of the Hoosiers at the Tour.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-69jZ7np/0/S/DSC1960-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-MSHjgbp/0/S/DSC1969-S.jpg

Also shown above is the 295/35/18 Nitto NT-05 tires we bought for the Optima FACEOFF at the Hot Rod Power Tour next weekend (plus a set in 275/40/18 we got for a customer's new D-Force 18x10 wheels). This was the best 200 treadwear tire we could find any real data on. Mounting these on another set of the new 18x10" Vorshlag/D-Force wheels which we will use for this 2 day event, then pull them off and sell the set (sort of have a buyer lined up).

Someone from Speed TV called Friday to see if we were going to the event, and they are gonna be there filming. Friday at Quick Trip Park is the Speed Stop and Autocross, then Saturday at ECR for the Time Trial. Not really sure how this event is going to be run or scored - hopefully its not a 100% "subjective event" and its a real competition. Come out and watch to see some epic cars! There will be a huge variety of big dollar, magazine famous rides that will completely overshadow out little 2011 GT. Still, with both venues being very familiar to this driver and car, maybe we will get lucky and place well? Time will tell...

More soon,

08-16-2013, 02:31 PM
Project Update for June 13, 2012: I am still recovering from last weekend's Optima Faceoff at HOT ROD Power Tour series of competition events. Wow, what a crazy two days! So much to talk about, the TV coverage was insane, and we did really well - considering all of the things that went wrong with the car and set-up. I have spent the last two days just cropping pictures and editing videos. I am still trying to wrap my head around the results (official results won't be out for "at least a week"), the car/set-up issues we ran into (all of which were my own damned fault), and the event itself.

More Event Prep

Let's back up and show some of the last minute prep work done before this event - a lot of little things piled up in the days before the Optima event. I figured there would be a lot on the line (and even more than I had bargained for!), so we wanted to get the car set-up, reliable, and ready. We did a pretty good job, but made some key mistakes - again, mostly from my tire selection and poor set-up choices.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-43c8dVk/0/S/DSC1973-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-5d8wrxP/0/S/DSC1983-S.jpg

The 295/35/18 Nitto NT-05 tires were mounted on the D-Force/Vorshlag 18x10" wheels, which were mounted on the car - and they looked great. To improve the front track width a bit for the track day, we went with 7mm spacers up front... it wasn't needed, but it "looked better" with them. I kinda knew there would be some TV coverage so vanity won out (and there was a LOT more TV crew than I had ever dreamed of). This 295 tire mounts on the 10" wheel beautifully and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a 295mm tire for these D-Force wheels now. We've tried a 315mm race tire on these wheels and it was way too much, but this 295 fit great. The height was a little short but it was workable. This set of mounted and balanced wheels and tires is for sale! $1800 + shipping and they are yours ($2650 retail, mounted and balanced). Used for two days, still have tons of tread.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-V7prh6w/0/S/DSC1988-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-xJ7WLJv/0/S/DSC1990-S.jpg

As you can see in the first pictures we also pulled off the big "93" numbers and "ESP/TTS" class letters from the side doors and front of the car, as Optima has their own decals and numbers for these events. Part of the repairs from the "windshield incident" required two new hood hinges, as we noticed when pulling the hood that both of them were torn to shreds (as seen above, right). We had the local Ford deliver those, painted them in red to match, and put the hood back on. Well, not before some PDR guy came by to look at the hood damage, who promptly man-handled the bent rear corners so badly that he cracked the paint. Never even tried to use the heat gun to get the paint warmed up. "uhhh... thanks?"

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Since we had planned on running both the rear wing (track) and rear spoiler (autocross + speed-stop) at this weekend of events we did some tweaks to both rear aero packages. For the wing base plate mounts that bolt directly to the trunk structure, Ryan made some new lower "shims" (above left) that better match the curves and contours of the trunk, which turned out nicely. For the rear spoiler, two additional "struts" were added to the outer edges, which mounted forward to existing holes in the trunk (to some wing base plate mounting holes). These two front struts joined the existing 4 rear struts to make for a much more rigid structure. Now you can really push on the ends of the spoiler and it doesn't deflect.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-MQJrnk6/0/S/DSC1974-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-KPKQJrQ/0/S/DSC1999-S.jpg

Like we do before each track event or autocross (and for customers, now that Vorshlag is a NASA Approved HPDE tech shop (http://www.vorshlag.com/services.php)), the car was given a good pre-track inspection. Ryan began by swapping over to the track pads (R4) and rotors and flushing the brakes with Motul RBF600 (which we now stock and sell). He noticed a bit of wear on all of the caliper and pad mounting hardware, which isn't a surprise considering how many times we've swapped rotors and pads (autocross set vs track set). The dust seals were FRIED and had burned to a crisp. So new caliper bolts, pad retaining pins, and dust seals were ordered. The dust seals had to come from Italy so those would have to wait, but the hardware was swapped along with the track set of rotors and pads before the event. These R4 track pads take a bit to get up to temp, so I had to be mindful of getting the brakes hot for the speed-stop and autocross events (this would bite me in the ass later).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-shsWh5j/1/S/IMG5659-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Fluids/i-XZLZrQv/0/S/DSC1002-S.jpg

An odd safety item we needed for this Optima event was a fire bottle "mounted in the car with a metal bracket". We called a fire extinguisher supplier and had two Halon bottles (one for Mustang, one for the E30) with roll bar mounts ordered over a week before the event. Of course these didn't arrive in time (and still haven't, two weeks later), so Ryan had to fab something up the morning of the event. It's a cheesy little 2.5 pound "BC" type bottle mounted to a metal bracket with a quick release (hitch pin), but it met the letter of the rules. The mount was plenty strong, but a little hinky looking - still better than some other set-ups we saw.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-GfQvbG4/0/S/285634101518390343650781856847-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-srGJ2SK/0/S/542995101518390346300781158432-S.jpg

One car actually caught on fire at the track event as it was leaking transmission fluid onto exhaust all day, pouring smoke out while on track, and it finally was enough to burn. The track personnel couldn't get his fire bottle out quickly enough and they had to use one from the paddock. So there was a solid basis to this rule. We will chuck this 2.5 pound extinguisher (the bottle was on the harness bar upright) and mount the real 5 lb Halon bottle into the Mustang if/when it arrives.

Well this portion has already gotten long... I will start another update tomorrow.

08-16-2013, 02:32 PM
Project Update for June 15, 2012: With all of the pre-event prep and changes made to the Mustang (see my last thread update, above) to tackle an autocross, speed-stop, and track event all in one weekend we loaded the car into the trailer Friday morning and headed to QuikTrip Park for the Friday events during the Optima Challenge Faceoff. We saw lots of cool hot rods and muscle cars on the highways, as the week long Power Tour was wrapping up at the same location... across the street in the parking lot for the at the horse track called Lone Star Park.


I was ready for autocrossing on the surface at LSP, as I had raced there many dozens of times and new how the site would bite. When we rolled up and saw what looked like thousands of cars parked all over the giant open asphalt lot at LSP, I was confused. I asked the guy at the gate: "Uhhhh... Where is the event!?!" "You see the small parking lot across the street? That's it." Oh damn. The lot used to park cars for the minor league baseball field (QuikTrip Park) and neighboring Verizon theater (which had some high school graduation going on) was our lot for the day. It was a much smaller, sealed asphalt surface, and I didn't know this site at all.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-QTP-060812/i-bcBC9Z7/0/S/DSC2001-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-QTP-060812/i-NBx4zFd/0/S/DSC2010-S.jpg

Oh well, no home court advantage today (but I knew the ECR track better than any other track I've raced on - hopefully that would pay off tomorrow!). We wound our way through the barricades and finally found a spot to park the truck and trailer. While Amy unloaded the Mustang I went over to registration, which was already well underway. The organizers had several huge trailers set-up, including this massive multi-level rig Optima brought they called Optima Prime. It really was like some massive Transformer, with all of these swiveled and rotated and flipped out sections on this 53' trailer, and both air conditioned space and a shaded upper level observation deck. Very cool.

Picture Gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-QTP-060812/
Top 3 Results: http://www.optimainvitational.com/optima_faceoff_at_hotrod_power_tour.html
Detailed Results: http://www.optimainvitational.com/Faceoff%20at%20HRPT%20Results.pdf

K&N, Bowler Transmissions/Royal Purple, RideTech, Wilwood, and others also had their big display trailers set-up, there were bleachers for spectators to sit in, (hundreds of people came by to watch the events) and TV cameras EVERYWHERE - on man lifts/cranes, crews walking around with 2 SpeedTV hosts, mobile lipstick cameras they put in and on cars, and more. I was blown away by all of this pageantry and spectacle for an autocross - in 24 years of competing in this sport I had NEVER seen anything like it! After I shook my head, pinched myself and was positive this was real, I made it up to the registration platform inside the Optima trailer. I got checked in, signed all sorts of insurance and release forms (TV stuff), they handed me an event T-shirt + a gaggle of decals, and I went back and got the car "stickered up" and ready.

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Amy did her magic and put the huge Optima side decal boards, Optima numbers, and Optima windshield banner decals on perfectly (as usual we laid them up wet - you shoulda seen some of the other decal installations!) Drove the Mustang over to the pre-grid area where all of the entrants were lining up and started talking to some folks. Damn fine cars here, including the LG ZR1 and numerous magazine featured cars I had seen before or knew of. Wow, there was some serious hardware in the 40 car field! After snapping some pics of several of my dream cars, I began to walk the tight autocross course several times, and also talking to some friends I knew that were entered. There was a driver's meeting at the Optima Prime trailer, then we were split into 2 groups, and my group was lined up for the Speed Stop Event.

Wilwood Disc Brakes Speed-Stop Event

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Now remember: we had just mounted these brand new Nitto tires, rolled the car onto and out of the trailer, and then driven it 100 feet to the grid area. So yea, the tires were covered in silicone mold release. Also, the R4 brake pads and dedicated rotors were swapped on, but not in the perfect order from the last time they were used, also with zero driving. Guess where I'm going here? The tires were not scrubbed in and the brakes were not bedded, so I had NO grip and NO brakes on my first 3 speed stop attempts! Blew right out of the stop box every time.

This also wasn't a straight forward "accelerate then brake" deal, due to the size of the lot. We had a decent little acceleration zone (I saw a peak of ~60 mph), then a pirouette cone lined in water barriers, then a super tight offset slalom (35' apart with significant offsets) into the 20x40' stop box. And there was water seeping up through the parking lot at the front of the stop box, which never stopped all day (from heavy rains the day before). Not complaining - we all had to drive the same thing - it just wasn't a straight "go and stop" kind of deal. You had to set-up for the turn-around and subsequent slalom to get a good time. The acceleration box from the standing start was also pretty bad until it rubbered-in, later in the day.

Lined up for the Start-Stop event in front of another crowd of spectators

Right before the Speed Stop event was to start they had pushed our group temporarily over into the autocross line for 1 run (while some cars were moved in the Speed-Stop area), which also felt like driving on greased ice. My first 3 Speed-Stop runs were pathetic, and I blew through the stop box each time, pressing like mad on the brake pedal. After those first 4 attempts to do anything was losing my mind. I noticed I had no fuel left, and I was drenched in sweat already - and had no water or ice in our cooler, and it was already hot (95F day). I had to get out of here and get fuel, water, ice, scrub the tires and bed the brakes. I asked for a fuel break, was told where to exit, and I got out of that parking lot. About 1 mile away was a RaceTrac gas station, and in that mile of driving I broke more traffic laws than I can count. It must of looked like somebody was driving a car full of sting-crazy bees - I was swerving across three lanes, accelerating like mad, then panic stopping. But when I got back 10 minutes later the brakes were bedded and those tires were scrubbed in. :)

Ride-Tech Street Challenge Autocross

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So with the silicone off the tires the the brake pad surfaces matching the rotors, I went back in line to wait for my group to start the autocross portion for the next hour. We had 4 straight hours of racing (with one 15 minute break where we went back to pre-grid), and each hour we'd rotate from S-S to Auto-x. My first auto-x run on the greased-up tires was a 35.6 sec run. My next run an hour later on the now-scrubbed tires was a 33.2. Then I had a string of 32s, then five runs in the 31s. I was getting faster and the announcer noticed...

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By the end of the day I had taken about 12 autocross runs and managed to run a 30.8 and a 30.5 second pass. We thought those might be in the top three but since they were not posting times we didn't know how close we were. The announcer was calling out times over the speakers, but these were pointed away from the grid and towards the crowd. By around 4 pm I had two buddies join us (McCall and Ed, the two nose-pickers shown below) that were helping with tire pressures, tire spraying (these NT-05s were boiling in short order), keeping me hydrated, and this let Amy go across the event site to the Optima trailer and listen for our times (which she would text to us after each run).

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With 40 cars moving through the line it made for a little wait between each run, and the camera crew used those periods to do on-camera interviews with drivers. I was interviewed 3 times during autocross & Speed-Stop events, and you can hear one of the interviews at the end of my autocross video, below.

Click for in-car video of one of my 31 second autocross runs + an on-camera interview with Bill Goldberg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-QTP-060812/23493074_FRxPb5#!i=1904036794&k=h7XxwbF&lb=1&s=A)

more below...

08-16-2013, 02:33 PM
continued from above

Even though this was a super tight autocross (where I was at steering lock 6 times per run) and there were smaller cars there that could navigate the course better than this wide Mustang (EVO, three MR2s, etc), somehow we did all right and our little Mustang ended up with the fastest time at the end of the day! Whew... Of course we didn't know this until the end of Saturday, because they kept the results final secret - hey, it was part of the drama of TV, so I get it. The look on my face when they announced me as the autocross winner must have been pretty funny... because I was totally shocked! :D

Click for in-car video of my Speed Stop Run #7, 14.4 seconds (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-QTP-060812/23493074_FRxPb5#!i=1904036046&k=H5f48gC&lb=1&s=A)

Unfortunately I never made a good showing at the Speed-Stop event all day. My run in the video above was my best on that course and it was a solid 0.9 second off the Todd Earlsey's Evo, who placed first in the event (and 2nd in the autocross - he had lots of good points already racked up going into day 2). They only announced the top 3 finishers after the Saturday awards ceremony so I didn't know where exactly I ended up, but now that the final results (http://www.optimainvitational.com/Faceoff%20at%20HRPT%20Results.pdf) are up it looks like I ended up way down in 9th (this placing utterly killed my chance at the overall win). I took about 8 runs over 2 hours on that S-S course and never really got a good stop or turn-around in, with a massive front end push in the turn-around and the brakes just not working.

The start box rubbered-in after a number of entrants made big smoky burn-outs and I could finally leave the line on these street tires at about 1800 rpm late in the day, but that was the only improvement I saw. The pedal was hard as a brick at the braking zone into the pirouette cone, and just as bad into the stop box. I had no power assist with the brakes; I was jamming that pedal down with all my strength with very little affect. We tried to diagnose the booster and vacuum lines on site but could not find a vacuum leak big enough to leak down the booster - it just didn't have any pedal assist after any high RPM sprint. Something was broken. We also had a major push that we couldn't dial out, even with a crazy alignment, tire pressure tweaks, and radical shock changes.

Roshambo?! (Autocross Shoot-out)

At the end of the day we had a special non-points event in store. By now it was 6:30 pm and time for the "autocross shoot-out", with the top 16 drivers doing a head-to-head "race to the line" sort of deal. They called it Roshambo, but many of you would know it as a "double-cross". They called the top 16 drivers' names, where I was the last one to be called, and they pulled me to the front of the line (didn't know at the time, but this was because I had won the autocross). When they described the event at the driver's meeting they were wrapping up extending the course between the formerly separate finish to the start lines, with a short and TIGHT section of course. I listened to the driver's meeting instructions... as I walked this new section of course 30 yards away. Three times. Nobody else that I could see walked it, and therefore didn't know how tight it was.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-QTP-060812/i-5bpv5FM/1/S/540469101518359604400781847805-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-QTP-060812/i-bDmrJfx/0/S/538321101518358856950786735403-S.jpg
Left: Lined up with eventual Roshambo winner Brian Finsh. Right: Lots of sparks (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-QTP-060812/i-jfhhGKx/1/M/576613101518452802050786644457-M.jpg) from the rear brakes (see more here (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-QTP-060812/i-jfhhGKx/1/M/576613101518452802050786644457-M.jpg))

This extra course knowledge paid off in my first round heads-up match, as I blazed through this newly added section of course to make the continuous lap and I won my first round by over a second. One thing that was unique was that any driver that hit a cone was eliminated - and if both drivers hit a cone they were BOTH out. So during the first round's 8 match-ups there were some cones, and a pair of drivers who both hit cones. That pair that coned out made for a "bye" run for me in round 2 - but I still had to make a clean cone-free run. It was a slow parade lap, of course. In the 3rd round I was lined up against the 1971 Camaro of Brian Finch. Now he had an unusual advantage - not only is he a series regular (and a great driver!) but he entered 2 cars in the event, and both cars were fast enough to get into Roshambo... so he had twice as many looks at the new course by the 3rd round (his 1970 Nova had been bumped out in his 1970 Camaro). When we ran heads up I got behind in the slalom and lost a lot of time, and was not surprised when he beat me back to the line. He ended up going onto the 4th and final round against Louis Gigliotti, and Brian won the Roshambo shootout. Didn't count for much more than bragging rights, but its a cool event - especially since there was only one class of cars racing.

End of Autocross Day

So after all of that I had to look back and ponder... this really was an AMAZING day of autocrossing. I can honestly say I have never seen anything remotely like this. Cheering crowds of spectators, pumped up announcers, and TV cameras everywhere. At an autocross. Insane!

So by now its closing in on 8 pm and we still had some work to do. Hot, tired, sweaty, and tired. I went to try to find out if there were any printed results for the autocross, but they weren't telling so I had to stew all night after the Roshambo loss, not knowing how I did in the timed event. With Ed and McCall's help we swapped the spoiler for the wing to use on the drive over to ECR in the morning and at the track, and also to show some more parts we had designed and built. Loaded the car into the trailer and drove to Costas' to crash out for the night, after grabbing some dinner at Fuzzy's Taco, then watched some F1 practice. Long, hot, exhausting day - and we had another hot long day lined up for Saturday.

Project Update for June 19, 2012 - Part 1 of 3?! Finally getting to the write-up covering Track portion of the Optima Faceoff event. This has become embarrassingly long. These write-ups take more time than you might imagine, and sometimes it grows beyond my expectations. There was a lot going on this weekend!

When we left off above, the Friday Autocross, Roshambo, and Speed Stop events were wrapped up and we had loaded up and towed the rig to a nearby friend's house to crash for the night. We were supposed to meet back at the same parking lot at QT Park at 6:30 am the next morning for the drive over to ECR...

Detroit Speed Road Rally

The deal was they wanted everyone (that could) to drive from the QT Park area to ECR, which was a 70+ mile drive. This was to show entrants that were real "street cars", and successfully making this trip gained you 5 points in the competition. With the three main events worth up to 25 points each, and the one other "Design" competition worth another 5, every point mattered (we didn't learn the final point tallies or event break-down until a week after the event). And if there was ever a car that was easily capable of street driving, it was our emissions legal, stock-motored, daily driven Mustang GT.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-QTP-060812/i-s7CRDqg/0/S/IMG5679-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-QTP-060812/i-PJT8NXr/0/S/IMG5680-S.jpg

We rolled up to the Lone Star Park parking lot at 6:30 am to unload the trailer, but Optima Jim was quickly turning everyone around. Apparently there was a scheduling mix-up on the parking lots we were supposed to meet at? Jim was pointing the HOT ROD Power Tour Long Haul guys to one spot for their scheduled group picture and telling the Optima Faceoff drivers to meet at a nearby auto parts store parking lot for the group drive to ECR. We went to the same RaceTrac gas station that I had fueled up the day before, unloaded the Mustang, then drove it next door to the gathering spot for the group drive to the road race track for the day's events.

Two other Dallas locals and I talked about the route from this parking lot in south Arlington up to ECR and came up with a perfect route - simple, fewest turns, no toll roads, and bypassed the interstate running right next to Texas Motor Speedway, which had an Indycar race scheduled that day (epic traffic!). We talked to the lead car driver Optima Jim, he liked the idea, so one of the locals in a C6 (Robert Wilson) led the entire group and I brought up the rear to catch any stragglers. The hour and a half long drive went off without incident, the group stayed together, nobody got lost, and the camera car was busy the whole time filming the 40+ cars. This group of stickered up muscle cars was quite a sight driving through Dallas that day, I assure you!

more below...

08-16-2013, 02:34 PM
Eagles Canyon Raceway - BFGoodrich Hot Lap Challenge

This was the main event of the weekend and the one I was most worried about. Once we arrived at ECR I found that Amy, who had left 15 minutes before us, had already arrived and set-up our truck/trailer in the perfect spot: right next to the track in the paddock area. We quickly set-up the new roll-out shade, which then became a popular spot for many competitors to hide from the sun throughout the day. I had the front toe set at 5/16" total out for the autocross, to help this pig to turn, so I reset the toe at the track to 1/8" total out (which is what we normally run for track use). We reset the tire pressures to 35F, 30R, bumped up the compression and rebound a bit on the Motons, and re-checked camber (-4 up front). The oil was topped off and everything was checked; after the first session the front tires had gotten up to 47 psi, so we lowered them to 37F/32R hot.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-jKTTpQs/0/S/IMG5684-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-nFpBt9S/0/S/DSC2083-S.jpg
Left: Vorshlag trailer was an oasis of shade. Right: Picture of the Mustang from the ECR clubhouse deck

There was a driver's meeting at 9 am and one of the race organizers approached me about talking about the track, after they went over flags and passing rules. There were six of us in attendance that had driven ECR before, but somebody told them that I had more laps here than the others. I guess... maybe I did? I ran TTU in the first NASA event at ECR in 2008 (setting the fastest TT time and a TTU record in the E36 Alpha car, which has long since been smashed), had run two LeMons endurance races there in 2011, and dozens of other events over the past 5 years at this 2.5 mile road course. So I got up there and spoke to the racers for 10 minutes about the layout, the various turns, pit in/out, runoff areas, places that can get you, where corner stations were, etc. Basically: ECR is a great track with a bunch of tight turns joined by a variety of 1000-2000' straights, and the fun feature of 70' elevation changes in some areas. It's hard on brakes, bumpy in areas (good shocks help), horsepower pays off on the straights, but there is no high speed cornering and you rarely see cars exceed 125 mph. I talked about lap times as well: 2:15 is what Spec Miata runs, and a 2:00 flat is FAST for street tires and R compounds alike (AI record is 2 flat).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-Time-Trial-Eagles-Canyon/ECR-Map-2-1-08/393436166_t9sFy-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-Time-Trial-Eagles-Canyon/DSC7493/392435684_7sPpH-S.jpg
Left: ECR Track Map. Right: Running the Vorshlag E36 LS1 "Alpha" car at ECR in Oct, 2008 (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-Time-Trial-Eagles-Canyon/)

After the driver's meeting I ended up talking to a dozen more folks about tires, the course, and the surface. People came by the trailer all day to discuss set-ups and I was glad to help. Our car was far from the ringer that day, as there was some SERIOUS hardware that I knew would be fast, and a few of the locals were worth watching out for: Louize Gigliotti in the LG-prepped ZR1 and Todd Earlsey in the Evo Dynamics prepared EVO were two. Todd regularly runs in NASA TT and Louis sees all sorts of track events in crazy cars all the time. I talked a bit with Dave Michaels, who was driving the Lingenfelter (LPE) prepared 5th gen Camaro, which sounded pretty gnarly as well. There were several 500-800 whp cars in attendance that could be spoilers, but I was hoping that ECR track experience would pay more dividends than brute horsepower.

Picture Gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/
Top 3 Event Results: http://www.optimainvitational.com/optima_faceoff_at_hotrod_power_tour.html
Detailed Results: http://www.optimainvitational.com/Faceoff%20at%20HRPT%20Results.pdf

Well, it turns out that having both didn't hurt! :) The ZR1 had me worried because of his experience, skill, the fact that it started out as a $120K ZR1, the 345 Michelins I noticed it was riding on, and the fact that LG had prepped the heck out of this one (this is Lou's personal car). LGMotorsports knows Corvettes and this was no run-of-the mill ZR1, having a fully built motor, ported blower, custom splitter and wing, track-worthy suspension, carbon ceramic brakes, and lots of other modifications they have made to it for hill climb competitions (it recently dyno'd at 755 whp and 820 wtq). So yeah, our daily driven Mustang GT with a stock engine and some bolt-ons was a bit out-gunned on the horsepower front. I felt like our Mustang wasn't probably going to hang with these crazy muscle cars, 600 whp GTRs, Lambos, ZL1 Camaro, C6 Corvettes and ZR1s if they were driven halfway well.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-NmJmXVp/0/S/DSC2082-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-qwN9J2H/0/S/DSC2067-S.jpg
Left: Ed talking to race control, getting me sorted before going out on track. Right: A beautiful Cuda making laps, the ZR1 coming in.

I was also a little iffy about my tire choice, as the Nitto NT-05s were prone to overheating in the little 30 second autocross runs the day before. How would these handle track sessions in Texas summer heat? The answer is... they didn't. I will go ahead and say something that a few HPDE gurus won't agree with: Nitto NT-05s suck. These tires are greatly inferior to Yokohama AD08s, Bridgestone RE-11s, Hankook RS3, and Dunlop Star Specs that I've tracked and/or autocrossed with on this same car. The problem is - all of those other tires are under 200 treadwear, except the Dunlop, which has a maximum size of 275/35/18. I wanted more tire for this car, because when I ran ECR in December 2011 in the Mustang (with quicker lap times) on 275/40/18 Bridgestone RE-11s it was very "rear traction limited". My hope was that these wider 295/35/18 Nitto NT-05s would better take the heat and abuse that the Mustang would dish out. Bad call on my part.

After making a few slow parade laps behind a pace car I came in and waited in grid for the first real timed session of the day. This was about 10:30 am, which ended up being the coolest session of the day (where fastest laps were turned by many). After being told by the race director and camera crews to move to the front of the line, I ended up being the first car out (with I think Luis' ZR1, the LPE Camaro, and the Todd's EVO behind me). I mistakenly thought (from reading the Optima event regs) that we would only get 2 sessions all day and that each hot lap (3 laps per) would count cumulatively (like at a One Lap of America event). They had said that any off could DSQ you for the session, too (also sort of like OLOA). So this meant I had to make every lap count, right out of the box, and have zero mistakes. When every lap counts you drive differently, and I hoped my prior ECR experience and aggressive driving would pay off.

So... the posted event regulations weren't actually how they ended up running the track portion. Instead it was all about getting one golden lap for the day, like any normal NASA Time Trial. That makes a lot more sense, and we finally confirmed this "just try to get one good lap" strategy by the 3rd session on track. Live and learn, and never trust the pre-published event regs (because to this point, few of them applied to this actual event). After seeing how much this series had grown in 2012, and how this was the first "big TV show" versions of the Optima Qualifier events, it wasn't a surprise that they would be tweaking the format as the weekend progressed. Its all good.

Click for in-car video from my first of seven on-track sessions of the day - and my slowest (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/23493089_WTFHGL#!i=1904005794&k=dDRTVkM&lb=1&s=A)

So the in-car video from my first session is shown above. They lined me up first, with a group of 3 or 4 cars, with a scheduled 3 hot laps. They wanted to figure out spacing, camera panning, etc - eventually they had groups of 5 to 8 cars on track at once. I never saw anyone else in the first heat (except the EVO parked on an access road, after it blew off an inlet hose). I have to admit that it was a bit nerve racking having 2 bullet cameras added to your car (one pointing at me, one exterior) in addition to my own in-car video set-up, plus half a dozen manned and elevated camera stations around the track. The TV crew told us at the beginning of the day that they were trying to space us far enough apart on track so that each camera station could follow each car through the corners separately, for nearly 100% on-track video coverage for each driver. These camera stations were hard to miss, too - it was WEIRD having guys way up on cranes with mounted SpeedTV cameras tracking you through a corner around Eagles Canyon. I've never been filmed from multiple TV cameras like this and it made me a bit nervous at the beginning of the day.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-5L4gT8R/0/S/DSC2122-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-xnWDdcT/0/S/DSC2096-S.jpg
While many cars had problems, our little Mustang kept pounding out lap after lap

more below...

08-16-2013, 02:35 PM
continued from above

So how was the Mustang on the NT-05s? It was terrible, the tires overheated quickly, and they made a LOT of noise. I was told by many folks they could hear me from a mile away, just due to the howling of the tires. In my first session where I went 10/10ths on every lap I only managed a best of 2:05.9. I could get a half of a lap of hard driving before the rears would start to boil and I had to back-pedal coming out of 3rd gear corners. I had to watch out for overheating on my out lap. 2nd gear was completely unusable on the exit of Turn 11, so I left it in 3rd and skated around delicately. The car had a MASSIVE push all day (even after lots of set-up changes), especially after the right front got hot, so the car would just push push PUSH worse if I didn't take a cool-down lap.

The same steering feedback shudder we've been fighting for a year was still present (new steering racks are still on national backorder until the end of June), and the brakes sucked. It took me the first two track sessions before I figured out that the booster just wasn't working at speed, and I had to brute force the brake pedal to get it to stop. It made heel-toe downshifts tricky, and I did a lot of left foot braking to be able to press hard enough (and would swap feet mid-braking zone). By my 3rd session I could finally get into threshold braking on all corners. After I figured out the work-around for the busted brake booster, and once I finally listened to JasonM, Ed, Mike and Amy (thanks for coming out to help guys! It was huge) about taking one hot lap followed by one cool down lap, I started dropping time. 2:04s were followed by a lone 2:03.9. Here are some abbreviated results, but all are linked here (http://www.optimainvitational.com/Faceoff%20at%20HRPT%20Results.pdf).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-Sb9B7VV/0/S/DSC2182-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-xxqjnQ9/0/S/DSC2201-S.jpg

Name..........Fastest Time.. (Car)
Louis Gigliotti.........1:59.772 (LG ZR1)
Dave Michaels.....2:01.904 (LPE 5th gen Camaro)
Terry Fair...............2:03.967 (Vorshlag S197 Mustang)
Todd Earlsey........2:05.756 (Evo-D EVO-9)
Brian Finch...........2:06.052 (Royal Purple 71 Camaro)

So my 2:03.9 lap ended up being the 3rd fastest time overall, which was a bit of a surprise. That is slower than I've run in the same car on narrower tires here before, but it was the best I could muster that day. Maybe it was the conditions, the heat, the NT-05s, and a bunch of broken parts (steering rack + booster), but I still wasn't happy with the laps in the Mustang. I also regretted the 550 #/in front 275#/in rear springs, which have done nothing but make the car push since we put them on (when we added the Moton Club Sports). Those have since come off and we've gone back with the previous set-up of 450F/175R. It always rotated better, put power down better, and didn't have this awful push. (I'll retest this set-up this weekend at ECR).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-RbSLQ3s/0/S/DSC2218-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-dxjZQnt/0/S/DSC2225-S.jpg

During the last few later afternoon sessions the heat was rising and the times were too - nobody was going fast. I knew I wasn't going to find much if any more time and the rear tires were cooked. I had been talking to Ed during my sessions, who was relaying to me the announced times lap by lap. The Ford "Sync" system linked to my iPhone via Bluetooth works VERY well, and we had some of the best 2-way on track comms I've ever seen at ECR. Ed would call me before I went out on course, I'd answer, and just cranked up the radio speakers. With a full face helmet he could hear me talking back to him, too. He spotted traffic for me, told me lap times, and most importantly - calmed me down when I was over-driving the car. That's when we managed the 2:03 lap time - with a strategy of cool down laps then hot laps.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-PcfR965/0/S/DSC2214-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-3Vp4FH6/0/S/DSC2237-S.jpg

They allowed competitors to run on track almost as often as they liked, and each time they announced "we have an empty grid" I would scramble up there, if I wasn't already in line. So after six track sessions (?!) I was pretty burned out and had spent very little time out of the car and out of my driver's suit. The crew that was there was keeping me hydrated between sessions, and the camera guys were constantly adding and removing cameras to the car between sessions. The handful of minutes I stepped out of the car I was peeling off the driving suit and damn near passed out in our trailer - out of the sun. I still ended up doing another 3 or 4 on-camera interviews, as the crew figured out that I was running top 3 times, and since we did well enough in the autocross to possibly be an "overall" contender. Goldberg was super nice and really liked the car, and kept encouraging us to keep pushing it out on track. So I kept going out, over and over, pouring more and more fuel into the tank.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-vbBRZtV/0/S/DSC2252-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-7RXn7kS/0/S/DSC2249-S.jpg

I inadvertently left my Sony HD video camera on after my 2nd track session (stupid!) and killed both the battery and filled up the SD card after, so I didn't get much in-car video of my own. This week I purchased a mega-over-sized battery and two more SD cards, plus a wired remote from Sony so I can control and see when the damn thing is recording.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-xKKNdjN/0/S/DSC2061-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-wTjXGMj/0/S/DSC2076-S.jpg
Some of the many TV cameras set-up at the ECR portion of the Optima Faceoff

more below...

08-16-2013, 02:36 PM
continued from above

My last two sessions the lap times simply weren't there. Ran some 2:04s, lots of 2:05s, but it was just too damned hot. There was a camera crew by the pit wall and a crowd was gathering, including the TV host Goldberg... and with the rear tires overheated, I started hooning. A lot. They were loving it, waving for more, so I kept stepping the tail out in turn 11... and then into 3, and 7, and basically in front of each big camera station on course. I was hooning my ass off - cameras make me stupid. I also had Ed on the phone telling me that the announcer and the crowd were eating it up, and they were betting how much I'd hang it out each lap, so I gave them more and more, and started kicking the car all the way through 11 sideways.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-vwm2Vj3/0/S/DSC2330-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-6bn6Np4/0/S/DSC2245-S.jpg

Now I still don't condone the "sport" of drifting, but if "driving a little loose" gets me on TV, I'm gonna do it. It's not hard - we used to mess around after autocrosses back in college (TAMSCC!) and set-up these impromptu drift sessions. This was long before the Drifting "sport" became a fad, before the e-brakes and the banged up cars, and decades before Ken Block and funny shoes. We were just a bunch of autocrossers "practicing". So if this event makes it into a TV show some of this clowning might get shown. The camera guys kept telling me "this is great stuff!", and the car wasn't getting any faster, so who knows?

Lingenfelter Performance and Design Challenge

One more "competition" for the weekend was a "performance and design" subjective thing. Again, I thought this was for a full 25 points, but it ended up only being a 5 point deal so it didn't alter the results too much. Compared to the crazy hardware that is typical at these events, our car is pretty plain and I figured we'd do poorly in this part of the challenge.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-DKphxD5/0/S/DSC2150-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Optima-Faceoff-ECR-060912/i-TBStwqv/0/S/DSC2197-S.jpg
Left: The winner of the Design Challenge, Rodney Moore. Right: The Design Challenge judges talking to me about the Mustang (it got 5th place)

The top guys from Lingenfelter, Optima and Wilwood came by and checked out the car and asked several questions. The point of this judgement was visual improvements, of which we have done very little. I told them, hey, this is our suspension test mule so it's not about looks... but we've made this rear wing set-up, the rear spoiler used on Friday, added this LS splitter, these "Vorshlag" wheels are ours, and most importantly these are our camber plates and other suspension bits. I guess it helped and the Mustang scored the last point in 5th position.

Top Ten Track Shoot-out

This was another non-points event they held, run after the day's "BFG Hot Lap Challenge" track time was done. The ten fastest cars were called up to the grid, lined from fastest to slowest, and they wanted us to make a 5 lap sprint to the checkered flag. The announcer said it was all about getting to the flag first, and I tried to ask someone on pit road if this was indeed the case. Ed was talking to me on the phone during the whole session again, and passing along lap times, announcer's and crowd's feedback, etc. As far as we knew it was about working your way up through the pack and getting to the finish line first. They lined up Lewis' ZR1 in front, then the LPE Camaro was supposed to be 2nd (but it caught on fire late in the day, then was pouring transmission fluid onto the exhaust by now and wasn't allowed to run) so they moved me up from 3rd place. The rest of the field was behind me, but all I had eyes for was the ZR1 Corvette. They sent us out 15 seconds apart, and we were supposed to NOT pass on the out lap (yellow flag out lap were the rules for the day), but after the green flag dropped it was on.

I tore ass through pit-out and was catching the ZR1 by turn 3. I knew how each of the top 10 cars were performing from running so many sessions that day - everyone was running hot, taking cool down laps, or only making 1-2 lap sessions. I felt like I could push the Mustang 10/10ths on a 5 lap sprint without slowing down more than a second from my fastest time all day. Driving Flat Out for each lap wouldn't make for the fastest peak time, but it could allow me to pass faster cars. And the only one faster left was the ZR1. So on the out lap I hauled ass, caught up to Loise's Corvette, and painted his mirrors red with Mustang. I wasn't going to pass him on the warm up lap, but I was letting him know I was back here. "Hi, Louis!" He saw me swerving back and forth, as I was baiting him to push it hard on the out lap. That boosted ZR1 had about 1 fast lap in it, but the Mustang could lay down 5 heaters...

He fell for it by turn 5, put the hammer down, and we were in a sprint race on the out lap! Come on, heat soak that intercooler! By the time we were at the green flag I think there was 8 or so car lengths between us and he was hanging it out trying to gap me. I pushed as hard as I could on the first timed lap and ran a 2:04 to Lewiz's 2:00. On lap 2 the ZR1 was cooking, the intercooler was heat-soaked, and I got a hasty point by into turn 3, which I took with a smile! Ed was hooting and hollering, saying that the announcer and the crowd was going nuts! "Pass him! Pass him!" I got around the ZR1 and opened up a huge gap. The ZR1 slowed to a 2:38 on lap two. Now that I was in the lead I drove like a man possessed, pushing to the limit, and the tires quickly overheated.

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Left: the field got bunched up like this after a couple of laps, a good half lap behind me. Right: Pulling in first felt good!

I didn't care - these tires sucked and I'd NEVER be driving on them again, so I was eager to sacrifice the set. Ed told me that my gap was big and nobody was catching up, the crowd was going nuts, so I started pushing too hard... and hooning a little. Then started hooning a LOT. The crowd on pit wall was waving and shooting video, and I think I was waving back while going sideways. By the 5th and final lap I had a big gap on the field and was catching the last car, and still yawing through any turn that had a camera. I took the checker, then a much needed cool-down lap. Damn, I wish my camera was working during that session... that was THE most fun I've had behind the wheel in my life. Pushing the car, passing the ZR1, hooning for the crowds and cameras, and Ed egging me on via bluetooth. That was a smile that took hours to wear off!

Goldberg giving me the thumbs up after I made it to the checkered flag first. Parc ferme, P1!

I pulled into pit road and Goldberg was telling the TV crew, "I want Terry's Mustang RIGHT HERE, in front!" (Amy was standing next to him). I pulled up to where they wanted me, climbed out, and was drenched in sweat. I thought I had won the "top ten shootout", but they decided to award the win to the fastest lap driven, which was the ZR1. Again, by now we were all used to the "fluid nature" of the event structure (there was some interesting radio chatter, arguing one way or the other, even after the checkered flag was thrown). Fair enough. The camera crew went to interview sponsors, the LG crew, and others. Of all of the events during the weekend, this was where I felt I did the best. I knew who got through 5 laps fastest and had a huge blast doing it. :)

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Left: LG crew being interviewed after winning the top ten shootout. Right: Me, Lou, and Louis talking after the top ten laps.

After we were done with the cameras, Loueis made a crack about the out lap "All I could see in my mirrors was red, you ass!" We all had a good laugh waiting for the cars to cool down and the final camera work to wrap up. I've known the guys at LG for over a decade and Louis is a friend of mine, so all of my wise cracks (like misspelling his name!) are in good humor. They brought one damned fast car to this event and clearly had the fastest lap time all day, and in the top ten shootout, and I begrudge them nothing. I've owned and raced multiple Corvettes myself and wish dearly that I could own one (I don't race Corvettes for business reasons, but that is all), especially a ZR1 as badass as theirs!

Overall Placement

Once that little pit row gathering ended, I took the car back to the trailer and peeled out of my driving suit, then started guzzling water (Amy and I were laid up all day Sunday with the after-effects of dehydration). The guys took care of the car and got everything shut down. Our whole crew piled into a truck and drove up the hill to the awards presentation at Optima Prime.It was 6pm on Saturday and we still had no idea how our car had placed. I still had no clue that we had won the autocross, nor did I know I placed so poorly in the Speed Stop. I knew fairly well that we were 3rd fastest in the track portion, but that was the only thing concrete. The big questions was: who was the overall winner, and who would get the invite(s) to the BIG Optima Shootout in November? (held right after the SEMA show)


08-16-2013, 02:37 PM
continued from above

That once-a-year street car shootout has been televised on Speed for a while and that was the goal: get an invite. They had warned us that the invitees were more about the "spirit of the event" and not necessarily the fastest cars, but we held out hope.

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Left: one of my on-camera interviews with Goldberg, "I don't know what to do with my hands..." Right: After the Top Ten Shootout

They rattled off the top 3 finishers in each category, with the Speed Stop winner (Todd's EVO), Track day winner (Louis' ZR1), the design competition winner (Rodney Moore's beautiful 1970 440-six pack Cuda), then they rattled off the autocross winners... I wasn't third, I wasn't second, then they rattled off "with a time of 30.5".. hey, didn't I run that time? "Terry Fair". Whu.. hey, that is me?! I was completely FLOORED, as I thought all along I had done no better than 3rd place in the cone carving. On stage they asked me, "How did you get through that tight course so fast?" I said something like "I tried to make the car as narrow as I could!" Did I mention that cameras make me stupid? I probably looked like Ricky Bobby in this clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqhkdHlCHLk) for every TV interview I did. "I felt like I was in a space ship..."

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After they did the complicated math for the 5 scored categories, the overall placings were: Todd's EVO in first, L3w1z' ZR1 in second, and my Mustang + Brian Finch's Camaro tied for third. The two invitees to the "big show" in November ended up being two excited entrants with interesting stories (both of whom did the "Long Haul" for HOT ROD's Power Tour) that weren't too terribly close to the top of the time sheets in any given event. Again, "spirit of the event" and all. Heck, after finding out that I placed 1st in the autocross and 3rd overall I was so relieved that I didn't care about not getting an Optima Ultimate Street Car Shootout invitation. Not much, anyway. ;)

The Optima Qualifier Events - Should You Enter?

It's hard to describe how insanely fun and different this event was. The same mega-trailers that were at QuikTrip Park were relocated to the top of the hill at ECR in the early hours of the morning, again - I had never seen an autocross or track event of this magnitude, with this level of sponsorship support and camera coverage, especially at our little club track! The various crews of Optima series folks outdid themselves on Saturday with big man lifts and cranes out on course with manned TV cameras covering 90% of the 2.5 mile road course. They had AMB transponders; portable lipstick cameras on several cars in each session; multiple radio channels for TV crew, race control and corner workers; and the SCCA corner workers did an excellent job flagging, as usual. Lunch was delicious catered Bar-B-Q, free to all entrants, and the TV hosts + Optima folks + race control crew were all super friendly and professional all weekend.

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Left: Our crew getting the car ready between sessions. Right: The plague of grasshoppers did a number on the cars!

This Optima series is run like nothing I have ever seen in the SCCA, NASA, or any HPDE group. Even pro level road racing series don't have crews that work like this. Amazing, slick, punctual, professional and well worth every penny of my meager entry fee. I got so much track time, tons of autocross and speed stop runs, a cool T-shirt, free food, an unforgettable experience, and we might even see the little red Mustang on TV if we're lucky. Not bad for 230 bucks! After reading this, if you thought this sounds like fun, and you have an Optima Qualifier event (http://www.optimainvitational.com/2012_OUSI_qualifier_results.html) near you - by all means, do it! Sure, running on 200 treadwear street tires can be a buzz kill, but everyone is on the same type of tires (here's a hint: use the Michelin PSS!). Yes, there are some tuner shops' crazy cars and a few semi-professional drivers that are regulars in the series - but as you can see, three local NASA regulars did pretty well in the overall results at this one.

Just be prepared for a little more emphasis on the TV show aspects than the straight forward competition events you may be used to, but it was still very competitive. Not knowing the standings from each event in real time was frustrating, but all part of the show! Go in with the right mind-set and you will have a blast. And who knows - you just might end up on TV (they will be filming at several Optima Qualifiers and making a series of shows leading up to the November shootout; I'll post up when we know when/if this event's show goes to air).

What's Next?

Man, its been a week and a half since this event and I'm still smarting from the poor placings in the Speed Stop and Track portions. I will look back, remember all of the things wrong with the car, and just shake my head. There was nothing we can do about the steering rack for the past few months (short of pulling one from a wrecked 2011+ car), but the brake booster issues, crappy tires, spring rate/set-up problems, and unscrubbed tires and brake pads were all bone-head mistakes that could have been avoided. I didn't take this event serious enough to do any testing on the NT-05s, where we could have made some adjustments. Knowing how much TV coverage this event got I wish I could go back and do some things differently. Hindsight is 20:20...

It's hard to follow that crazy event with a lowly track day or autocross, but that's what we've got planned. Luckily we had two weeks and a weekend off of any sort of racing, to recover. Ryan has already rebuilt the Mustang's front calipers (dust seals, hardware, new brake line, new fluid, etc), swapped out to the softer springs, and fixed a number of little things that plagued the Mustang over the Optima weekend - I'll cover this in my next thread update. The Mustang has a few more track events to attend this year before we move it to a more dedicated ESP-autocross-only preparation plan for the remainder of 2012. We're taking it back to ECR again for an HPDE "fun track day" Saturday, June 23rd. For details on how to sign up, click here (http://www.eaglescanyon.com/2008/docs/5StarFord.pdf) ($150, unstructured track day - join us!). We'll run the 315 Kumho V710s, the "old" (softer) spring set-up on the Motons, and I will play with rear aero Angle Of Attack (AOA) at this event (we started to tweak this at the end of the Optima event).

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Hopefully with these fixes and real R compounds the Mustang can crack the 2 minute mark (I ran 1:57s back in 2008 with a junkyard 5.7L in the E36, having zero track experience at ECR). The American Iron track record is 2:00 flat, so beating that is the goal. Amy is bringing our E46 330 "TTD" car (shown above) for some laps on fresh 285/30/18 Hoosier R6s to try to outrun our existing TTD track record, which was a 2:12.9 (set by Paul Costas in our BMW 330, 2 years ago, on crapped-out Yokohamas). This car has been getting worked on lately, and is now streetable again (new high flow cat). Sunday I will swap out the rear wing for the spoiler and Amy and I will run the Mustang at an SCCA autocross at Texas Motor Speedway, testing the spring set-up changes on a known site and the known-good Kumhos. After that we have a 2 week break we will try to use to design and build some new rear suspension bits.

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We've also started to finally attack another in-house project car, specifically with the goal to be able to enter these "wide open" street car type track events, like the Optima Challenge, TX2K, OLOA, UTCC, and more. This is using our white E46 BMW 330Ci chassis, a big nasty LS motor, with goals of light weight, lots of tire, and some custom aero. Check our BMW E46 330 LS1 "Alpha" build thread (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7939) soon for more details. We couldn't ever really find a good racing class to build this E46 LS1 swap mule for - everything we came up with had some goofy limitation or classing restriction. Building the E46 Alpha for these unlimited street car events let's us show some more of our race prep services (http://www.vorshlag.com/services.php), tests our production E46 LSx swap parts, and yet keeping it streetable (working windows, wipers, lights, defrost, ABS) helps us relate to more of our customer's needs. It also lets us enter a variety of street car competition events with it. We've begun tearing into this car this week for a full-on "track terror / still streetable / no rules" build. Because if I do another Optima event, I'm not going to take a knife to a gun fight again! :D


08-16-2013, 04:10 PM
Project Update for June 26, 2012: Part 1 of 2... In my last series of updates after the Optima Faceoff event, I listed a lot of little things that we realized were broken or set-up poorly on the car. In the two weeks after that we attacked each of these items, except one: the whacked-out electronic steering rack. This is STILL on National backorder. Good grief, Ford.

Some Repairs & a Quick Inspection

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One obvious area that needed to be addressed, and is a common failure point on any heavily tracked car, is the brake caliper dust seals. Caliper "dust seals" don't exist on real "race calipers", but are always found surrounding the outer edges of caliper pistons on production street cars. And when you get the brakes to the 800-1200F temps we have seen, these seals eventually catch fire and/or melt. It's not the end of the world - they just keep debris out of the caliper bores. Still, when damaged they can allow brake dust to migrate down the bores and past the piston's fluid seals, which can then get into the fluid. Our car gets a brake re-bleed every few weeks and a complete flush every couple of months, so it's not a huge concern. However, it is something you should always look at when changing pads, if you have factory calipers with dust seals.

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Ryan noticed the front seals looked rough a few weeks earlier, so we ordered new parts from Ford / Brembo. The dust seals had to come from Italy, but finally got here and weren't that expensive. He pulled the front calipers off and placed a thin block of wood between the opposing pistons (the front Brembo calipers have 4 pistons - two inner and two outer) and applied air pressure to the brake line inlet... POP! This pushes the pistons out enough to remove them, two at a time (keep your fingers out of the way!) Once the pistons were removed, he peeled away the burned remnants of the dust seals and inspected the caliper pistons and bores, which looked fine. All of square seals that keep the fluid pressure in (at the bottom of the pistons) looked good too. Everything was cleaned with brake parts cleaner and blown out with air. Make sure it is all CLEAN. New dust seals were wrapped around each piston and back in they went, slathered and assembled with plenty of fresh Motul brake fluid. It's a messy job that has to be done on the bench, so PROTECT YOUR EYES from spraying brake fluid, of course.

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Our stock motor has been buzzed to 7500-7800 rpm literally hundreds of times now, and this previous Optima event was no different (1st gear autocross, track event, etc). Just as a precaution I asked Ryan to pull a valve cover off for a quick top end inspection. With a new valve cover seal ordered from Ford and in our hands (cheap), Ryan pulled one side apart for a look-see. Everything in the valve train looked perfect: no obviously broken springs, errant metal or unusual wear. Those cam-phasers make for a complicated piece of engineering! It all looked perfect so I guess our religious changes of Mobil1 synthetic oil has paid off for the past 11,000 hard miles of use this Coyote 5.0 has seen. Good to know...

Some suspension set-up changes were made as well - we removed the 550#/in front and 250#/in rear springs in favor of the previous AST4100 set-up that used 450#/in front and 175#/in rear springs. It rides SO much better on the street with these rates (even with Moton Club Sports) and it always rotated better with those, too. I was hopeful that these springs would make for some improvements in the "death push" we saw at ECR with those Nittos two weeks ago. For the next few weeks of street driving the 295 Nittos were pulled in favor of the set of identical 18x10s with 275 Bridgestones, the winged trunk was swapped back for the stock one, but the race pads (Porterfield R4) and rotors stayed on. Amy drove it and commented on the improved ride quality for her daily commute, so the softer springs were better there too.

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Two days before the event last week, our 2001 BMW 330Ci went up on the lift for our usual pre-track inspection. It was also given a fresh two gallons (the normal seven quarts + one extra quart) of Mobil1 oil and WIX filter, an alignment check, basic nut-and-bolt torquing and paint pen mark-ups (so during later inspections any bolt rotation can be seen), a good washing, a brake bleed, and some small repairs.

The BMW was ready Thursday afternoon, so on Friday morning the Mustang went up on the lift to have the same inspection work and oil change done. The Hoosier A6s were already removed and the used 315/35/18 Kumho V710 tires were remounted and balanced back on the 18x11F/18x12R wheels again. The big wing and trunk went back on, a fresh nine quarts (we run an extra quart for racing) of Mobil1 10W40 went in (along with a WIX filter), and the alignment was re-checked. Once everything looked good it was loaded into the trailer for the ECR open track day along with eight extra wheels and tires (one set for each car).

Five Star Ford Track Day at ECR

This was the first track day event put on by a local Ford dealership, Five Star Ford in Plano, TX. They sell a lot of Mustangs and wanted to host a "customer appreciation event", and invited all sorts of modern Ford muscle (and anyone else that wanted to join them!) for a fun track day on June 23rd. There were lots of 2011-2013 Mustang GTs, 2012-2013 Boss 302s, and a bunch of other SN95/Fox/S197 cars. There was a large range of car prep and driver skill levels at the event, from "noob street driver" to "gutted race car on huge Hoosier slicks". Great variety of non-Fords as well with a Ferrari, some BMWs, a couple of Lotuses (Lotii?), a gnarly sounding C6 Corvette (Robert Baily, who ran in the Optima Challenge with me), and more.

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Our Mustang's preparation level was kind of in the middle of that array - an air conditioned full interior, emissions legal exhaust, stock-engined (with cold air and headers), daily driven street car running pump gas... but it was equipped with Moton doubles, race seats, lots of negative camber, a wing on the back, and 315mm Kumho V710s. It was not the most powerful or insanely prepped car of the event, but we did all right in it. For wild and crazy, Costas' GT-1 Camaro took care of that, where he once again brought a missile launcher to a gun fight. :D He should just write "BFG" on the side (old school Quake gamers will know what gun that refers to). Can't blame him - if I had a similar car I'd bring it, too. He still had less $$ in his track toy than many folks in attendance, which is often the case.

Our 36' trailer had ample shade, and we shared chairs, drinks, tools, and some spare parts with a number of event attendees. Met some nice folks!

We rolled up at 7:05 am and the paddock was already packed. Lots of new folks who had never done track days, that actually followed the instructions and showed up on time! Give 'em a few years and they'll be an hour late or more. ;) We found a good spot up top to park the truck & trailer, right next to the tech inspection shed. We unloaded the Mustang, set-up the sun shade awning/tables/chairs, and then got to work. Amy and I brought our Mustang and our TTD prepped 2001 BMW E46 330 coupe, so we had to change tires on the BMW since it was driven and not trailered to the event. This car hasn't seen real track action in two years, other than one short session here at ECR last December, right after the new motor went in. We dismounted the 18x10's with Yokohama AD08s and mounted the 18x10s with Hoosiers, after the Mustang was unloaded.

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continued below

08-16-2013, 04:11 PM
continued from above

Costas had driven this BMW at a NASA TT event in 2010 here at ECR and set the track record for TTD at 2:12.9, which is still intact, but did it at the time on some shredded 265/35/18 Yokohama A048s. Our goal this day was to see if we could beat that time on a better prepped version of the same car (it's now at the limit for TTD preparation for points). This Bimmer now has a fresh M54 motor, fresh 285/30/18 Hoosier R6s, but the race seats have been removed and an emissions legal exhaust has been added (3" high flow cat), so who knows? Amy and I planned on swapping sessions between both cars, but with only one video camera and one lap timer (the dreaded G-Tech RR) we would have to do some gear swapping.

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The driver's meeting was at 7:30 and immediately after they wanted the Advanced group to go on track - which Amy and I were both signed up for. Amy managed to get several laps in the BMW, but I was still mounting the video camera, wiring up the new Sony remote to that (which worked great! Now I can turn the camera on/off, record, zoom, and even snap pictures from this small remote that can be clipped to the E-brake handle - all while strapped into the race seat). I got out for one lap before the checkered flag, so I didn't bother to record that session.

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The ECR crew was running everyone in about 20 minute sessions, split between the Advanced, Intermediate and Beginners groups. A few weeks ago the pre-registered car count was pretty low, under 22 cars, so I started hustling up some attendance online, along with several others that were going. We saw some SCCA autocross regulars that heard about the event from my Facebook postings and e-mail bombardments, many of which had never done a track day before. After today they were now hooked! With about 30 entrants in the beginner class it was nice to see a lot of new folks trying out an HPDE track event for the first time. Fresh blood - This is what its all about! Now they know first hand how much they need camber plates and better suspension parts... :D

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Lots and lots... and lots of Mustangs. I think the final car count was 48, which was excellent considering that this was only one day past the Summer Solstice (longest day of the year, and we saw 101F temps!) and the first event put on by Five Star Ford. Excellent event, catered food, relaxed atmosphere, instructors, perfect SCCA corner workers, and the usual great ECR track crew.

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Costas (black GT-1 Camaro) had the field covered with his hardware and talent, bringing the lightest, most powerful, tube-framed race car with the largest tires. If you got it, bring it! His videos showed a best lap of 1:51, which is mind-bogglingly-fast, and betters the NASA TTR record by a good 4 seconds. He'd be foolish not to bring this car to the October NASA event to potentially get his name in the record books again. His buddy Mike brought his Gold/Orange GT-1 Camaro for some fun laps, but it's not nearly as wild and wooly as the black one. He's still having a lot of fun tracking it each time I see him out there.

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Brian Hanchey of AST/Moton USA brought out his new track toy, a 2005 GT with some go fast goodies and suspension. This was his first track event or any real outing in the car, so he and Moton-USA VP (and AI Camaro racer) Mike Patterson wanted to get some shake down laps in after it received a new motor and some other ex-World Challenge bits (big Brembos, engine stuff, Torson T2R). He arrived on some heavy 18x9.5" wheels and 255mm BFGoodrich 300 treadwear tires that came with the car, but I thought those skinny tires were holding the performance back a good bit. I had brought the 295/35/18 Nitto NT-05s on the D-Force 18x10s to show off and possibly sell, so we mounted them on his Mustang for one session. These were better enough to drop his best lap time by about 2.9 seconds - NT05s still are not my favorite track "street tires", but they are a damn sight better than 255 BFG Comp TAs! Once again we realized that tires matter.

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He got a lot of good laps in, blowing out the old track cobwebs and getting some good data logged on the car and set-up. He had to deal with some needless overheating issues at the event, but after checking data today he saw that it had a theoretical 2:06 lap (with merged sectors from other laps; this sector analyzing is done all the time) - which isn't too shabby for 200 treadwear street tires! Throw on some big fat R compounds and it is knocking on the golden 2 minute barrier. We've turned a few wrenches on this car (made custom race seat slider brackets + some exhaust mods), but most of the drivetrain work was done by a GRAND AM race team. The motor and exhaust sound MEAN on this car and once this hotted-up motor is dyno-tuned and running on real tires, this unassuming black GT will be a track terror. Brian really convinced me to quit screwing around and BUY the damned Torsen T2R, which he raved about in this car.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Five-Star-ECR-062312/i-4VPScrC/0/S/IMG5708-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Five-Star-ECR-062312/i-Q8V5GB2/0/S/IMG5709-S.jpg

Vorshlag BMW and Mustang - On Track Impressions

So the track day event ran super smoothly, but how about some lap times in our cars? Amy went out in the BMW for 3 sessions, where I timed her from pit wall during part of one session (I came in early - after the steering rack's "death shudder" started), but we were mostly out on track together at the same time - hence very few on-track pictures of any of our cars or others' in the Advance group. It wasn't until days later that I had the in-car videos rolling to know the lap times in the Mustang, but we never got times in the BMW.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Five-Star-ECR-062312/i-rjX2Tb4/1/S/DSC2468-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Five-Star-ECR-062312/i-SZRHMjT/1/S/DSC2454-S.jpg

She and I both ran the BMW on track at the same time as Hanchey's Mustang, who was running a new AIM Solo GPS lap timer ($399, or $699 with optional wired OBD-II data option). That little timer unit is nice, and I want one. The OBD-II data stream was quite impressive. The Solo has a great mount, easy to read display, on-board battery, predictive lap timing, it already had ECR in its memory, etc. If you are on the fence about what lap timer to get - just go to Bimmerworld (http://store.bimmerworld.com/aim-solo-gps-lap-timer-and-data-logger-p1656.aspx) (or your favorite AIM dealer) and get an AIM Solo and be done with it.

more below...

08-16-2013, 04:11 PM
continued from above

The BMW felt damn near perfect - brakes were awesome (just some HP+ pads on the stock rotors + good lines), handling was flat and grippy (AST 4200s + 285mm Hoosiers + Powerflex bushings throughout), and the power was surprisingly peppy and easy to put down (OS Giken diff FTW). This lower mileage M54 is a lot better than the original lump we raced with in DSP in 2009. Old blue was pretty darned quick and we both passed most of the cars in attendance while driving it. We can tell from looking at Hanchey's laps during the same session when he was running behind us that the BMW ran at least a 2:09 laps, and more likely 2:08s. This is little better than speculation, but I did manage to get a 2:10 lap timed on one of Amy's many laps. So it easily beat it's old TTD record, now that it is on big Hoosiers. Tires matter.

Here is Amy's best lap in the Mustang (2:03.2), with some footage of me in the BMW. Click for 720P video (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Five-Star-ECR-062312/23778642_rB325W#!i=1929367257&k=dvzcjhD&lb=1&s=A)

Here's Amy making laps in the Mustang. If you watch her in-car video above you will see me in the BMW, briefly, coming back on track. Yea, I uhh.... had an "off" in the BMW, but nothing got hurt, other than my pride. You see, I was dicing it up on track with Hanchey's Mustang for a couple of hot laps, was screwing around and got the rear tires REALLY hot drifting through Turn 4-5 (on accident!), then took Turn 6 as fast as before... but the rear tires had zero grip. Back end stepped out a little, which I counter-steered, added a little throttle. Didn't help. I added full lock and full throttle. Nope, still coming around. Felt like it was in slow motion, the whole time I'm thinking "What the hell, I don't EVER go off of tracks sideways!". Went for a ride, going off on the inside of the exit of Turn 6. Weirdest off I've ever had. No harm other than some grass packed in the tire bead (since fixed), no foul - except Amy drove by right after I got back on track, so she totally busted me. ;)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Five-Star-ECR-062312/i-7mQhmsK/0/S/unhappy-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Five-Star-ECR-062312/i-k8w5Xf8/0/S/IMG5710-S.jpg
Left: Amy's "look of displeasure" is obvious! Right: My driving talent on full display. I was merely "exploring an alternative line"...

Amy said she had a blast driving both cars, but really liked tracking the Mustang better. It's just always going to be so much quicker on any sort of road course, with nearly double the horsepower. With the same drivers, and on similar tires (R6 vs V710), suspension (AST 4200 doubles vs Moton Club Sport doubles), and preparation level (both cars have cold air/tune/header/custom exhaust) the Mustang was a solid 10 seconds a lap faster than the BMW. It is hard to ignore that. I enjoyed the hell out of the BMW, right until I drove it off track like an asshat. Embarrassing, but I share it all here on this thread. Great stress test for these well used and abused D-Force 18x10s... not a scratch. This set is 5 years old and has been used on 3 cars, including our E36 Alpha car, my M3, and this 330. Zero defects.

In-car video of Terry in the Mustang for three hot laps, 2nd session of the day. Best lap of 1:58.2. Click for 720P video (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Five-Star-ECR-062312/23778642_rB325W#!i=1928800982&k=KzNZBv7&lb=1&s=A)

OK, now that I've taken my licks, let's get to my good laps in the Mustang. This video above is from my first "full" session on the track that day (remember, I only got one "installation lap" in the first Advance session of the morning's session #1). The cooler temps we saw earlier in the day once again made for the best laps, but at least this time I put in a better drive early rather than late, unlike two weeks ago at the Optima event. Still, this was only my 3rd time tracking this car on R's, and the first time there weren't HUGE problems (cording/bloated front tires at MSR-H, diff fluid pouring on the rear tires at TWS). I still found some driving improvements in the later sessions, like using 2nd gear exiting corner 11, but the rising ambient and track heat negated any lap time improvements. Hanchey rode through with me in session #5 for two hot laps and he enjoyed it, but we only managed to run laps of 2:01.2 and 2:00.4 times.

The steering rack's death shudder reappeared this time, like at TWS, but unlike two weeks ago at this same track when I was running street tires. So the issue gets worse on sticky R compounds, as we've proven time and again. Driven hard enough for enough laps it would eventually go crazy and get into a violent shudder, plus sometimes trigger an engine fault as well, like it did in my video above after three hard laps. Shutting the engine off and back on would clear the engine fault/limp mode, but not the steering shudder. Only dipping below 45 mph would temporarily stop it, but it came back as soon as you crossed back above 45. When this happened badly enough (only to me, not Amy) I would just come in, shut it off, and pop the hood and let everything cool down and "reset". Even on normal laps it was still shaking pretty good - we've just gotten used to it. New replacement steering racks should be available from Ford and Ford Motorsport "soon" - after months of "it's still on back-order" (I have heard that Ford continues to find bad *brand new* electronic steering racks in the 2013 production lines, which is why there has been none to spare for Ford Motorsport or repairs. The word is they've fixed the QC issues at the Mexico plant that makes these units).

The Mustang's brakes worked flawlessly this time out, so that was a big plus! During the two weeks since Optima we replaced the original vacuum check-valve at the brake booster, which wasn't expensive. We weren't sure if the power assist would work until we revved the piss out of it on track. Well, once on track it was obvious - that fixed it! No telling how long this valve has been bad or "going bad", and leaking down vacuum, but hopefully this is the end of our "brick-like brake pedal" after long acceleration runs on track and in autocrosses. Keep this in mind if you run into similar a lack of brake assist.

continued below

08-16-2013, 04:12 PM
last one...

Our change back to 450F/175R spring rates was huge on track, just like it improved the street ride. The bad front end push we saw at Optima went away; now the car could turn-in easily and accelerate better, so this spring rate set-up stays until we find some reason to try the stiffer rates again. We had some serious rear tire rub in the rear with the 315s on the 18x12s... first from the tire to the fender lip with too much rear wheel spacer, then from the tire rubbing inboard on the stock rear swaybar with less spacer (I pulled 7mm of spacer off after the 3rd track session). The permanent fix here is to run less spacer and remove the stock rear swaybar - by making our own rear swaybar of an all new arrangement. The stock bar routing (and all aftermarket bars follow this) will always limit inboard wheel/tire room on this chassis. More on this in a future post!

Overall, I was very pleased with the performance of the Mustang this weekend, especially compared to the dismal performance on street tires just two weeks ago. The brake booster repair, the spring rate change, and the move to wider Kumho tires transformed the car - to the tune of 5.7 seconds faster per lap. Running my 1:58.2 lap in a heavy street car like this is pretty darned quick, considering the NASA TTS track record is 1:58.4, American Iron record is 2:00, and the CMC record is 2:04.2 - and those are set in October, when it's not 100 degrees, in real race cars.

I'm going to go ahead and say this, because it was obvious to anyone that watched laps at this event: our mildly tweaked Mustang GT was faster than anything else in attendance, other than Costas' 2200 pound, tube-framed GT-1 monster. Faster than the 2013 GT500, faster than the many Boss 302's, faster than the gutted race cars on Hoosiers (there were a surprising number on Hoosiers or Continental slicks), supercharged Lotus 7 on slicks, and on and on. Even with a girl driving. I don't get to say that often, as there's usually a bunch of prepped race cars at some events that can always beat a real street car like this. Having the fastest Mustang at a Mustang event was pretty cool - because we're not a "Mustang shop" per se, and don't have a big power set-up on this car. It's just a bone stock 5.0 motor with two bolt-ons.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-zhGZfsx/0/S/DSC6026a-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-5d8wrxP/0/S/DSC1983-S.jpg
On Monday the wing was removed, the street tires went back on, and Amy drove it to work with the AC blowing - like she does every week

So hopefully that statement doesn't offend anyone that was there, but... damn the red car was moving! Felt good to run a sub-2 minute lap at ECR again after all these years running in relatively slow cars at ECR since 2008. Major adrenaline rush, big grin for days, pulse pounding good time! And all of you reading this know exactly what we've got on this car - it is not crazy, the opposite of exotic, and we hide nothing. These 2011+ Mustangs really can get you to work and back and still haul ass on track, with the right mix of parts. Anyone could go buy a 2011-2013 Mustang GT (spend $20-30K), copy the parts we've used, and go just as fast or faster. It's easy. Call us - operators are standing by! ha! :D It really just boils down to running big enough and sticky enough tires (people that say 315s are too big for road course use on a 3500 pound car are misinformed), the right wheels to make those fit, the proper suspension parts (which we're still improving), a little brake cooling + good pads, and a few motor bolt-ons and a tune.

One thing to mention: both cars were easy to drive fast. We've got the brakes working very well on both and this is a brake intensive track. The handling and damping on both is exceptional, and this is a bumpy/shock intensive track. True, Amy and I both have many laps at this track (I probably have 20-25 hours on track at ECR) so that helps, but neither of us is some driving savant (look no further than my BMW mega-off at this event for proof of that). Sure, my times are a little quicker than Amy in the higher powered Mustang, but I have a lot more seat time in this car and just ran this car it at this same track two weeks ago; she has never run the Mustang at ECR. Racing these cars was relatively easy, and if it weren't for the lingering steering shudder (that only seems to affect our car this badly) it would have been a completely stress free drive. I missed having a good race seat to keep me planted in place in the BMW, and I let the Hoosier's tendencies to overheat in 100F conditions sneak up and bite me, but otherwise it was a breeze. I will also note that driving the Mustang on R compounds at a 1:58.2 pace was much easier than sliding around on street tires doing no better than 2:03.9! There was a complete absence of hooning in the Mustang this time around. Hooning is hard work...

What's Next?

We've cancelled all previously planned track and autocross outings for the month of July, for a few reasons. One, because it iss freagin' HOT in Texas from now until August; many of our local racing clubs stop having events from June-August. Today it was 108F in Dallas and it will be in the triple digits all week. Those are miserable conditions to race in. We could see 30-60 days of over 100, easily. Amy and I got a touch of heat exhaustion at the Optima weekend, and got another round at this past weekend's ECR events, so we need time to recover. We spent last Sunday in pain, trying to get fluids and electrolytes back into our systems. Once you get heat exhaustion it is too easy to "re-get it", so we need a break.

Also, there are some lingering repairs we might finally be able to fix on the Mustang - like the stupid freagin' steering rack! Just heard that these are scheduled to be back in stock June 29th - so we've got one on pre-order (along with a T2R!). Upon inspection on Monday, it appears that the rear brake caliper piston dust seals are now fried, too, but the fronts still look fine. We'll get some new rear seals coming and swap those. Considering how many autocross and track hours of abuse this car has seen in... coming up on two years, this is a pretty good lifespan for dust seals.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/i-vK76r9M/0/S/DSC1075-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-TMS-052012/i-t3ChD99/0/S/DSC1149-S.jpg
Tire rub sucks! I am damned tired of this condition making the handling intermittent and weird. We are finally going to remedy this.

Lastly, we have a list of new parts to design, build and develop for the S197 Mustang. Going to too many races lately has delayed this considerably. The stock-style rear swaybar flat will not work with a 315mm tire under stock fenders, and it has to be replaced. I refuse to go to smaller rear tires just because Ford routes the swaybar in an inefficient manner. If we can keep the car off of a race track for a few weeks we can build the custom, splined-tubular steel rear swaybar set-up we've been meaning to make for the last year (we now have pieces coming to make this). This will allow the 315mm rear tire to finally fit inside the fenders under heavy lateral loading (it has 1" of clearance now to the bar, but under load the tire is still hitting the rear swaybar). I cannot remember an event yet where the rear tires haven't been rubbing on something - that has to stop. We're trying to make a very tunable rear bar that can work for both semi-serious track/street cars as well as dedicated track cars, so there are some modular bits to work out. We also really want to make a better Watts link than we've seen offered - something that is beyond the "Bolt on Billy" crowd. No bling, less weight, just a new design that has better lateral location and tunable roll center without the need to be 100% "bolt-on".

It might be a month before I update this thread again. We have a LOT going on at Vorshlag HQ, including three job openings (http://www.vorshlag.com/jobs.php), and four other major project cars that have been getting worked on in the past month - and another LS1 swap chassis we're adding to the already large array of BMW chassis we've tackled. The E36 LS1 swap kits are selling like mad, with three kits sold in the past three days - and people still don't know about half the sub-system kits we've added in the past quarter (which aren't even on the website yet), not to mention the ones we're about to release.

In any case, I better wrap this up. Once again, thanks for reading!


08-16-2013, 04:13 PM
Project Update for August 30, 2012: I haven't updated this thread in two months, but we have been busy as ever here at Vorshlag in that timeframe, and a lot of work was done to the Mustang. After the two weekends of race events in the Mustang in June (Optima @ ECR + Ford Dealer @ ECR event) we took a break from racing that car and concentrated on other projects we had going on at the shop. We thrashed around the clock for 4 weeks, tested, and then went to Colorado to support Brianne Corn's Pike's Peak Subaru STi (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8124) at the 90th running of the PPIHC event. That month is a blur. We also started build projects on a 2013 Subaru BRZ (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8145), dove headfirst into a new 1999 Miata LS1 swap (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8142), made some strides in our BMW E46 LS1 project (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?p=57363#post57363), and prepped and sold our $2011 GRM Challenge winning E30 V8 (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?p=57338#post57338). We took on another turn-key E36 M3 LS1 swap, bought another car or two, and have been refocusing our service shop on the things we are really good at.

In my last post I was saying that we might not update this Mustang thread for a while because we needed to develop some parts to allow the big rear tires to fit. No, not the monster 345/45/18 Hoosiers (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/S197-Mustang-wheel-teesting/i-XpHc6n8/0/M/DSC1013-M.jpg), just the relatively tame 315/35/18 Kumhos (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Forgestar-Wheels/i-5MbgC9b/0/M/DSC9901-M.jpg) on our Forgestar 18x12" rear wheels. These wheels should fit within the confines of the stock rear fender contour and inboard wheel constraints (if lateral axle displacement can be kept in check), but the stock style rear swaybar mounting location is sticking right in the way (see lower left picture), and this is where we are seeing the rear tires rubbing time and again. Whoever thought this was a good routing was not a "car guy", who would immediately see this is the inner wheel width limit.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-GHFdhdn/0/S/DSC6313-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-PnknpLN/0/S/DSC1000-S.jpg

We have to add spacers to push the wheel outboard and then they can rub on the fender lips and/or cut into the tread. We've been fighting this all year. Why try so hard to make 315s fit inside the fenders of this car? Well because we have tried tires with these widths - 255, 265, 275, 285, 305, 315 and 345mm - and the car goes faster/is easier to drive/has more rear traction with each step up in tire width. We've determined the 345 tire was a bad call (too wide and too tall - yes, as many of you told us before I raced on them), but the 315 is still a great size to use both front and rear. I prefer the 315/35/18's tire height but Hoosier only makes a 315/30/18 in 18" diameter so that's what I went with for the Solo Nationals.

Mustang racing on 315mm Kumhos with 18x11 front, 18x12 rear wheels, rub free. 75 hp worth of graphics are missing?!

We also needed some unique suspension parts other than just camber plates and shocks (that we cannot get) to sell for the S197 market - Vorshlag is a business, after all. There are hundreds of shops selling the same old Mustang doo-dads and bolt-on bits, so we wanted to look for something new, unique and different - either that we designed and built ourselves or someone new in the S197 market could come up with. To make room for the rear wheels we had purchased components to use in the design and fabrication of a splined/NASCAR style rear swaybar, to move it away from the rear tires + to give us a cool new product that would have lots of adjustment and probably be lighter, too. As the splined bar, mounts and other parts are arriving I saw this S197 Mustang rear suspension photo on the Whiteline Flatout Facebook page...

Whiteline S197 prototype Panhard and rear swaybar

Hmm, there are a lot of new parts in that pictures. Whiteline UCA + mount, LCA arms + relocation brackets, Panhard bar and reinforcement, a new rear swabar, and big fat end links. I was staring at this picture for a second, not sure of what it was that caught my eye...then BOOM! The light bulb goes off: I yelled "They've routed the rear swaybar backwards from the stock bar! That clears up tons of inboard wheel room!!" Instead of hanging from the chassis via two stand-offs and attaching to the axle way out by the wheel, the Whiteline swaybar bolts right to the axle housing and has end links that grab the chassis. This routing now removes potential tire rub at the swaybar!

Matt heard me shouting in my office and ran over to take a look and to double-check my logic. Vorshlag was already on Whiteline's mailing list from several talks we had at SEMA and PRI, and we were talking all year about doing the buy-in to become a stocking Whiteline dealer. They make bushings, control arms, reinforcement brackets, swaybars and end links for lots of cars, and are the go-to brand for Subarus and EVOs, which are two car models we sell heavily to. But when I saw that their new S197 parts were finally coming out I did more digging. Then I saw their brand new Watts Link, which was unique from all other designs made for this S197 chassis, and I got on the phone, fast. This was another solution that we had a need for...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Whiteline-Suspension/i-5RtV5Qs/0/S/DSC1989-copy-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Whiteline-Suspension/i-xmj9MRG/0/S/DSC2136-S.jpg

Long story short, about two weeks ago we got our hands on the latest yet still pre-production S197 Whiteline Watts Link kit, their front and rear adjustable swaybars, and their rear upper control arm (UCA) and chassis bracket. We also picked up their new production S197 Panhard bar kit + reinforcement bracket, just for pictures and to keep in inventory. After that round of parts shipped they heard we were running this car at a Global Time Attack race at Texas Motor Speedway (http://www.globaltimeattack.com/events/) at the end of this month, so they sent us their rear lower control arms and relocation brackets to test for that race. These bits aren't SCCA ESP legal (well... we found a way to make them legal, but are not pursuing it just yet), so they are not going on before the SCCA Solo Nationals next week. At the GTA event this car will get the LCA bracket + arms, a lower rear ride height (finally!), and then we will have a 100% "Whiteline equipped" S197 (we will then shoot some on-track video at GTA which they can use in their SEMA booth). Look for that update late in September.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Whiteline-Suspension/i-XJ4vrxp/0/S/DSC1964-copy-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Whiteline-Suspension/i-gHMxmKS/0/S/DSC2151-S.jpg
Left: The rear swaybar (shown above) is solid and 27.5 mm dia. and routes very differently than any other. Right: Whiteline Endlinks are beefy!

The Whiteline parts look incredible, with materials, bushings, finishes and design aspects I'm not really used to seeing in the "Mustang Market". Why is that? Well my theory is that I think there are actually only a couple of real innovators in the Mustang aftermarket world, and then everyone else copies these one or two companies' products, and pretty soon it all looks the same. Then many times production goes overseas and it becomes a "race to the bottom" on price. I have also seen many older aftermarket designs from previous generation Mustangs (Fox/SN95) get re-hashed for the newer Mustangs (S197), too. Whiteline came in to this new (for them) market with fresh ideas from their other car markets, introduced an all-new Watts Link layout and design, and completely new swaybar routing. They have innovated instead of copied or rehashed, and fixed issues for me that I don't even know they intended to (more rear wheel room!). Again, this is my theory and I mean no offense to companies in the existing Mustang market. If you are at one of those Mustang companies and are reading this, I was referring to you guys as the only "real" Mustang innovators, OK? :D

continued below

08-16-2013, 04:13 PM
continued from above

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/S197-Mustang-Watts/i-rLZqZL8/0/S/DSC2108-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/S197-Mustang-Watts/i-FmShbq5/0/S/DSC2083-S.jpg

The Whiteline Watts kit is a 100% bolt-on affair, but it is still lightweight. Instead of being a giant stepladder (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/2011-Mustang-GT/P8200003/1134770994_epaim-M.jpg) bolted to the car, it is a slick, simple, beefy Watts unit that attaches in all the right places and uses the right materials. Because it is made with their well developed poly bushings it is SILENT in use, and it fit around our custom dual 3" exhaust with plenty of clearance. Will this bolt-on design hold up to the lateral forces of 315mm R compound tires? I was a bit skeptical, but these parts made it through roughly a year of autocross events (12 events x 4 runs) in a single day on 315 Rs, so I've got some confidence in their stuff now.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-p69DpWh/1/S/DSC8477-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-NS5Qz6X/1/S/DSC8446-S.jpg

The front swaybar was a pretty straight forward upgrade, and we went with this new "4 hole" adjustable solid 33.5mm diameter Whiteline bar over the old "3 hole" adjustable hollow 35.5mm Eibach swaybar (the stock 2011 front bar was also 35.5mm hollow non-adjustable, at 12.7 lbs). Sure, there was a bit of a weight hit with the WL front bar, but I'm sure they had a reason for going with the solid bar, so we went with it. It doesn't have a dip in the middle like the other two, looking at the picture below.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-WGrh426/1/S/DSC8426-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-CFfdJXc/1/S/DSC8424-S.jpg

Removing Suspension Noises

I haven't really spoken up about this but the last few months of street driving in the Mustang have sucked. After extensive testing, removing parts one at a time and replacing them with stock, we have finally isolated the noises to two components: the Spohn panhard and UCA parts + the UPR chassis mount we had on the Mustang have been making a lot of noise, starting just a couple of months after they were installed. Every bump was a rattle or bang, and it was not at all what I would consider streetable. It didn't happen right away, which was the mystery - they started off dead silent. We have re-tightened the UCA mount 5 or 6 times, which would quiet things down for a day or two, only to return and worsen with each iteration. The "Del-Sphere" joints that were supposed to be quiet were the opposite of that, at least on our car. The holes in the chassis mount did not match the holes in the Del-Sphere joints or bolt size, either, but even making custom bushings to fix that mismatch won't help. It seems to be in the joints.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-Dp5dcgf/0/S/DSC7795-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-T2dFLhD/0/S/DSC7793-S.jpg

In early August I had asked Ryan to pull the Spohn UCA to see if the noises would subside. The stock UCA with rubber bushing and the factory upper mounting bracket went back on and 50% of the noises went away. We still had the Del-Sphere equipped Panhard rod on - only wanting to change one variable at the time. My wife's daily commute in the Mustang is driven on super smooth concrete roads, but it was still banging and clanking over the tiniest ripple or seam, just not as loudly as before. When the Whiteline Watts link kit arrived (the Watts was delayed a bit but we kept hounding them and got an early release part - the first one outside of their own test car!) the Mustang got into our shop for that install + their rear swaybar.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-JvVT7cF/0/S/DSC7819-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/S197-Mustang-Watts/i-Bc9KJZs/0/S/DSC2088-S.jpg

Viola! With the last of the Del-Sphere joints removed ALL of the rear suspension noises were now gone. She street drove it like this last week and was very happy. Then one day this week the stock UCA with rubber bushing and the stock chassis bracket came back off and the Whiteline rear adjustable UCA + bracket and front swaybar went on. Again, it was 100% silent over bumps and articulation, which is exactly what you want on a street driven car.

So how do these parts work? So far the only thing I can say is "perfectly". We've pounded street miles on them for a week and then used all of it on the car at an autocross test yesterday with 38 laps of abuse. The new Watts Link kit came with a beautiful cast aluminum rear diff cover, which was a unique part to Whiteline kit. The bracket that holds Watts link "football" bolts to this new rear cover (which also has holes plumbed for a differential cooler), and the football mount can be adjusted up/down with 2 settings for rear roll center adjustment. Some kits have more settings, but I liked the compact nature of their kit.

With the new routing of the Whiteline rear swaybar installed the 18x12" Forgestar wheels can finally tuck inboard another 1/2" on each side and now we have no more tire rubbing swaybar. Woot! The swaybar is a big win in my book, because it lets us run bigger wheels. And this big car needs all the rubber on the road it can get.

Next up - Testing!

08-16-2013, 04:14 PM
Project Update for August 31, 2012: Before someone asks why we went to a Watts, hopefully I can explain this. I'll back up a bit and talk about the Fox and SN95 Mustang suspensions, the stock S197 suspensions, and then the differences between a Panhard rod and Watts link. Then I will cover the dedicated test day we did in the Mustang yesterday, to get the brand new Whiteline Watts link and bars dialed in, and then our last minute preparations and trailer loading for the 2012 Solo Nationals next week.

Why is a Watts Better?

There are several ways to laterally locate a solid rear axle assembly relative to the chassis in a RWD car like the S197 Mustang. The earlier Fox and SN95 generation Mustangs with solid axles used an opposing 4 link rear suspension that had the upper two control arms canted in at a severe angle, which made their intersecting arcs of travel automatically bind. The upper arms sort of worked to locate the axle, at least with a 4 to 5" window of lateral displacement (with R compounds we would commonly see that much movement!). If you put poly bushings in all control arm locations it would instantly bind up the rear suspension and eventually rip the mounts out of the car. Entire companies existed for a time replacing this car's terrible rear suspension with 3 links, Torque arms, Watts links and Panhard rod solutions. The IRS that came in the 1999 model year Mustang Cobra was a Big Hot Mess adapted from an earlier MN12 chassis (Thunderbird/Lincoln MarkVIII), with new toe links. It never really worked all that well, added weight tot he car (like IRS often does), and had pretty bad axle hop during straight line acceleration. And yes, a solid axle rear suspension is actually lighter than most IRS systems, but just more unsprung weight.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-g4hwjzx/0/S/fox-4-link-S.gif http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-qgP2xX7/0/S/99cobra-irs-S.jpg
Left: The Fox and SN95 solid axle Mustangs has this opposed 4 link. Right: 1999 Cobra introduced this parts-bin IRS

Things changed for the better on the 20056 Mustang "S197" chassis. The two most common laterally locating solutions for solid axles in use today are a Watts linkage and Panhard rod. Both of these do essentially the same thing, but in different ways and with different levels of complexity and costs. They provide a linkage which connects the axle to the frame and gives positive lateral locations, while still allowing fluid up-down movement of the axle. The locating device must be free to move in other directions so it does not interfere with the intended motions of the axle. When Ford began the S197 chassis design they used a Panhard rod and a 3-link, with 2 lower control arms and a single upper arm that are pointing directly fore-aft. Much improved, but not perfect. The rear suspension in the Crown Vic of the day was actually more advanced, as it had a 3-link and a Watts.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5523/1093536448_Pthc8-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC0467/1239636285_xUDWK-S.jpg
The S197 Mustang had an all-new rear suspension design for 2005, with a 3 link and a Panhard rod

A Panhard rod is commonly used by factories that still build solid axle RWD cars because it is simple and cheap. A Panhard rod normally runs across the entire width of the car, with one end pivoted on the axle housing and the other end is pivoted on the frame. Ideally the Panhard rod should be horizontal with the car at the resting ride height position. A Panhard rod does not provide true vertical motion at the end attached to the axle because it arcs about the end pivoted on the frame and there is a slight sideways motion of the axle through suspension travel - this is the big limitation. If the bar is long, if it is horizontal at normal ride height, and if the axle vertical motion is small, then the sideways motion is minimized and not too important, which is the case for most racing cars.

On a road car with soft suspension and a fairly large amount of wheel travel, a Panhard rod has downsides. The lateral axle movement allowed by the rod gives a rear-axle steering effect when the wheels rise and fall over larger bump travel. The bar can flex, the rubber pivot bushings can deflect, and when the static ride height is lowered the axle will displace laterally at rest (our car's axle was moved 3/4" to one side) - this is why all lowered cars need an adjustable length Panhard rod, to re-center the axle. Aftermarket Panhard rods usually replace the rubber pivot bushings with Polyurethane, Metal rod ends or some sort of plastic rod ends. Metal rod ends have lots of noise and accelerated wear, and as we have seen the Delrin sphericals seem to suffer the same fate: noise and wear.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Whiteline-Suspension/i-WWX5DD8/0/S/DSC2000-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Whiteline-Suspension/i-pGdg8Wx/0/S/DSC2002-S.jpg
Left: The black "football" shaped part pivots at the axle cover. Right: The chassis "tower" that the left side Watts link mounts to.

A lateral locating device without these problems is the Watts linkage, which is much more common to see on a race car with a solid axle RWD set-up. This design is more complex (2x as many arms and a complicated pivoting axle bracket called a "football") and takes up more space than a Panhard rod, so it is not always the best factory solution - more cost, more difficult to package. The geometry is inherently better, though, and it should be considered on any competition vehicle if at all possible. A Watts linkage consists of the two parallel lateral links plus a vertical link connecting them. If the horizontal links are parallel and equal length they will have the same amount of lateral motion as the ends attached to the vertical link. Because each lateral motion is in a different direction, this rotates the vertical link (football) through some angle, but the center of the vertical link is not affected. This center point travels in a true vertical path, and that is where the axle is attached - thus the axle goes strictly up and down, without the lateral displacement associated with the arc of a Panhard rod.

A Watts linkage can consist of tubing for the lateral links, using spherical rod ends for pivots or polyurethane bushings. On a true race car you use rod ends but for a quieter, street-worthy set-up polyurethane is much preferred. The vertical links should be designed to carry bending loads and the center football pivot is usually a rigid bearing on a post so it can rotate but not pivot laterally, often connected to the rear axle differential cover (many Watts kits come with a new cast aluminum diff cover that has rigid holes cast into it for a bracket to mount the football). The attachment between the Watts linkage and the axle is difficult and it must be designed strong enough to carry the side loads in cornering. I've seen some that clamp onto the cover bolts, but the styles that have an all-new rigid cover are preferred.

The improvement a proper Watts Link makes over the Panhard design is the rear roll center is fixed at the football, and does not move up and down with ride height changes due to braking, acceleration, and road undulation. This creates more consistent tire loading, more predictable handling, and especially improved transitional response. So in short, you definitely want a Watts Link system if you are competing in any form of motorsports that involves changing lateral loads, like autocrossing or road course racing. The more changes in direction (slaloms or esses), the more a Watts link is desired.

continued below

08-16-2013, 04:15 PM
continued from above

August 30th Private Autocross Test Event

We had not autocrossed the Mustang since the late May "Spring Nationals" at Lincoln, so yesterday we did twelve autocrosses worth of runs at a private test event. With the 315/35/18 Kumho V710s still mounted on the Forgestar 18x11/12 wheels from the late June track day event, and located farther inboard by 1/2" from before, we loaded the Mustang onto the trailer and crammed in all of our gear. We brought more tools and equipment than we ever have, with a generator and air compressor, air tools, multiple floor jacks, extra springs, and all of our normal gear + our Farmtech timing system. We were loaded for war!


Like on our August 2nd Test in Brianne's Pikes Peak Subaru (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?p=57340#post57340) where I got to drive that beast around an improvised road course at 130+ mph, we rented the "Mineral Ring" once again. Getting this 62 acre paved site on a week day is a breeze if you know the right person to call, so we headed out yesterday with the Mustang and our gear. Its 2+ hours each way from our shop to this facility in Mineral Wells, TX, and it always ends up being a battle to miss traffic across Dallas and Ft. Worth along the route. We hit 8 am traffic leaving and 5 pm traffic coming back, but we got a lot accomplished in about 10 hours.

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Once we arrived we set up the old "Hollis Test Course" that was painted on the site for the past 6 years or so. Laid out about 50 cones, set-up the timers, and unloaded the Mustang. Conditions for August in Texas were as perfect as they get: sunny and clear with 88F tempts and a nice 10-15 mph breeze all day. It crept up to 98F by 2 pm but it was still pretty comfortable, considering it wasn't 110F with a dead calm.


We started with a quick alignment check, setting front camber to -3.6 and toe to +1/8" out. Ride heights were already set fairly high, as we cannot lower the car as much as we like without knocking the rear geometry all to crap (those $100 relocation brackets work wonders, if only Street Prepared would allow them). Tire pressures were set at 35 psi front, 32 psi rear and the Moton ClubSport 2-way shocks were set at the middle rebound and compression settings front and rear. The Whiteline swaybars were set in their middle settings front and rear as well. Blue tape was placed on sections where we thought the tires could rub, the video camera was installed, and the new AIM Solo timing display was set-up for this course. Then I started taking laps....

Some early and some late test laps in the Mustang - click for video (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Vorshlag-Test-N-Tune-083112/25113107_xh7Wbp#!i=2059072167&k=XjnFzj9&lb=1&s=A)

This is a course I have driven hundreds of times so it usually doesn't take long before I am familiar with the course layout and my times stabilize within a tenth. Then we can make adjustments and check times - I let the clocks by the guide and not my "impressions". The AIM Solo was within hundredths of the Farmtek timers so I could see my laps real time. I took 2 hot laps at a time going clockwise on a course with a single start-stop line. In the video above you can hear me keeping notes, but Jason kept a full log of adjustments and lap times throughout the 3 hours of test driving I did. Ryan was busy all day making set-up changes to the bars, shocks, alignment and tire pressures. Plus we had one unexpected delay - a flat tire.

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A flat out at the Mineral Ring it shouldn't be much of a surprise, as we got a flat in Brianne's Subaru at the same site a month ago (which shut down our testing early that day), but this time we were prepared. Theoretically we are always learning from our past mistakes, right? So I had just gone out for a two lap blast but after the 2nd slalom cone I new something was "off". The car wouldn't turn right the the left front tire was howling under load - I waived off the lap quickly and got back to the trailer for a look. Yep, there was a pin hole in the left front and it was deflating fast. With a plug in the tire, the generator fired up and the compressor buzzing along, the tire was fixed, aired up, and I was back on course in about 3 minutes.

Over 3 hours of testing I made a total of 38 laps, and finished with blisters on my hands and a shoulder injury that was howling from some violent corrections I had to make using some of the wackier settings we tried, but we made it through the full sweep of component adjustments we wanted to attack. The new bars worked great and had more adjustments than many others out there with 4 holes per side. The rear tires were no longer rubbing and tucked inboard for a 1" narrower track than before. The Mustang was handling better than ever, especially in slaloms, where I could violently throw it back and forth. The pictures show that the lateral axle movement is much reduced from before (when we had a Panhard rod), and it was easier to drive. We had fixed some other long standing issue, too, but I forget what that was at the moment? It will come back to me.


After 3 hours in the car I was pretty hot, sweaty, sore and tired; so were Jason and Ryan, who did most of the heavy lifting with the test adjustments. My driving was starting to get sloppy by about lap 30, where I could only do 1 clean lap out of 2. The temps were climbing towards 100F so we called it a day. After we loaded back up, grabbed a late lunch, we headed back to the shop in Plano and made it back by 5:45 pm. We have a lot of new cut vinyl graphics and decals to install today that Jason has been working on for the past few days. The graphic design is all Amy's doing, and not at all my thing. If you see the car and have any comments, direct them to her! :D We are mounting up a sticker set of 315/30/18 Hoosier A6 tires, and I hope this is the right tire choice. I know that 335's would rub the fenders almost as badly as the 345s did, so I am staying safe with the 315s all around. It will likely always pushed with a non-square set-up anyway (it sure did with 315/345s!).

So now its Friday and we have to leave for the 2012 SCCA Solo Nationals on Sunday night to make it the 12 hours north to Nebraska by mid-day Monday. Might sneak out to Cars&Coffee Dallas on Saturday morning, as the Pikes PEak car will be on display. Amy and I are going to this Women of Solo Luncheon that Vorshlag sponsored on Monday, celebrating 50 years of Women in Solo. Then she and I race Tuesday and Wednesday, drive back Thursday and are back to work on Friday.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-ZdJskxf/0/S/DSC8761-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-wfpJV59/0/S/DSC4429-S.jpg
This is how the Mustang currently sits, ready for a fresh set of graphics and tires over the next few hours....

SportsCar magazine picked Amy to win ESP-L, and I hope they are right. In the past when she had a halfway decent car she has pulled off Nationals wins (2 times), and almost pulled it off in a super-heavy EVO X with a transmission going berserk in STU-L in 2009 (losing by .07 sec). This is the best prepared car we've ever taken to the Solo Nats, so who knows? We still don't have proper rain tires, as they just were not in the budget. We will bring some STX wheels and full tread street tires along for a Hail Mary if it rains, but it is a big gamble - I will just hope that it doesn't rain, and know that if it does it is our fault for not spending the $$$ on Hoosier H2Wets. The ESP open class is packed with well prepped cars and lots of talent, so I will just put in my best effort and see how I do.

I will give a post-event update on this thread, of course. You can "like" our "Vorshlag" Facebook page for live updates from Lincoln, and of course SoloLive will have results for the 1200 competitors all week.

08-16-2013, 04:16 PM
Project Update for September 8, 2012: We are back from the 2012 SCCA Solo National Championship and we have two new trophies with us. Amy took 1st place in ESP-Ladies and I managed 4th place in ESP open. I'm very happy with that result, especially after seeing how serious the competition was in the 33 car ESP class. Sadly, our daily driven car didn't look too serious among this crowd, but I kind of expected that.

New Graphics and Switch to Hoosier Tires

I really liked the 315mm Kumho V710 tires we have been running in ESP and for some track use, both because of the taller height (315/35/18) and better wear they give over the shorter lifespan Hoosier. The V710s fared pretty well at the Mineral Wells ProSolo in April, then we ran them at TWS with NASA, an ECR track day, and at some autocrosses. These tires still looked pretty good after all of this abuse, but our test event the week before Nationals tore the crap out of the front tires.

At the May Lincoln Pro and Tour events, we ran the gigantic 345/35/18 A6 Hoosiers in the rear and the 315/30/18 A6 Hoosiers up front. The rear tires rubbed everywhere (inside and out) and the fronts were almost completely destroyed after those two events (we brought these fronts to Nationals as "emergency spares"). The car pushed badly with the big front-to-rear grip imbalance as well. So whatever we chose for Nationals would be a "square" set-up with 315s mounted all the way around. We were more comfortable with this after the switch to the Whiteline rear sway bar, which gave us better rear tire clearance.

I thought about sticking with the Kumho V710 tire, but looking at event results proved that it really is no longer competitive against the latest gumball "DOT" Rs (Hoosier or Goodyear), so we begrudgingly made the jump to 315/30/18 A6 Hoosiers. It was the lessor of two evils: I know the A6 is very fast, but wears poorly. I also know the Goodyears wear terribly, but I was not convinced it could be as quick after seeing them at the April Mineral Wells ProSolo and the May Lincoln events. This Solo Nationals would answer that, as the Goodyears won in AStock and placed 3rd in ESP.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-kHsZpNW/0/S/DSC4437-copy-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-HsK35tF/0/S/DSC4438-S.jpg

Amy has been bugging for some damned stripes on the car for the past two years. She fell in love with the dual stripes she saw on some early Mustang Challenge entries and worked with JasonM here at Vorshlag. They came up with what you see below.


I thought this new graphic layout "was a bit loud", but surprisingly we had dozens of people come up to us and complement the new graphics at Nationals. I'll give the credit for this design to Amy and Jason, as I was against this new look from the start. It's starting to grow on me and I like the car without any graphics better, but we have to sell parts and this kind of look helps people know who we are. After street driving the car these few days after Nationals, the new look definitely attracts more attention from random people on the street than driving naked in a convertible. I don't know if that is good or bad, heh.

Once the graphics were finished being applied (wet) on Friday (Aug 31st), we left them to dry overnight and I came up to the shop on Saturday to finish up. I peeled the backing off and it looked... pretty good. I loaded the car in the trailer and got everything strapped down, then took the truck and trailer home to wait. After watching the crazy Belgium F1 race Sunday morning and getting packed for the week in Lincoln, we pulled out of Dallas at about 4:45 pm. We drove 10 hours north to Lincoln, arriving a little before 3 am on Monday. The 10 hour tow was completely uneventful, just like I like it. We made food on the way, never stopped for more than 10 minutes to refuel, and made great time.

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Left: Setting up our trailer in paddock. Right: I had to move the crapper, which was sitting dead center in our paddock spot

Once we got to the event site we parked in our paddock spot, slept for a few of hours, then set-up the trailer and unloaded at about 6:45 am. Grabbed the event decals we needed, applied those, and took the car through Tech. We then bought somebody's Test course entry ($45 for four 30 second runs = ouch) for 1 pm and headed over to the Test Course.

Monday - Nationals Practice

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It is always a good idea to take at least a couple of practice runs on the same surface as the courses before a National Championship event, to get the car adjusted for the new surface and conditions. We had also switched tires from Kumho to Hoosier, so a few runs could hopefully help us see any potential problems. Amy had never driven the Mustang on this "new Whiteline set-up", with the new Whiteline Watts link, UCA + mount, and front and rear sway bars. We happened to end up in the grid at the same time as Tim Bergstrom, a Vorshlag customer on AST shocks and Vorshlag camber plates who has a yellow 2007 GT (see above). He was running in ESP (with co-driver Britt Dollmeyer who eventually finished 2nd in ESP), and also in grid were two other ESP racers in a Boss 302, as well as Amy's lone ESP-L competitor. So at least we could see how she fared against some ESP competition - always a bonus!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/i-PZrLkTv/0/M/DSC4451-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/25242061_LfVLvT#!i=2076789427&k=NNZqZNZ&lb=1&s=A)
Click above to see the video from Amy's third run on the Test Course (30.5) - you can still see the Hoosier stickers on the tires in this picture.

Amy took three runs and I rode through with her twice to try and push her a bit. She was quick, running both 30.5 to 30.6 sec runs, which was exactly what the yellow GT was running and a bit quicker than the Boss302 and some others we saw in ESP cars. She felt good after three runs and let me take her fourth run, so I strapped in and pulled to the line, as the rain started to fall. Oh great! It wasn't that bad, but raining enough that I had to run the wipers a bit. The car felt GREAT and the timers showed a 29.7 second run, which was quicker than anyone in ESP was running that we could see. The run felt good. Dave Ogburn (ESP racer who finished 3rd, on Goodyears, in Sam Strano's old ESP Camaro) later told me he was running mid 30 second practice runs also, so I was running what I needed to in practice.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/i-L3pL79L/0/M/terry-practice-1-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/25242061_LfVLvT#!i=2076827632&k=L3pL79L&lb=1&s=A)
Click above to see the video from Terry's first and only run on the Test Course (29.7).

But looking back, I've "won a lot of Nationals" by looking at times from the Nationals practice courses, yet sadly these have never translated into actual Nationals wins, hehe.

Women of Solo Luncheon

After the practice event we parked at our paddock spot and got ready for the Women of Solo Luncheon, for which Vorshlag was the title sponsor. I couldn't go (women only), but Amy was there and Brianne Corn went as well. They had over 130 attendees at this two hour gathering, talking about the various contributors to women racing in SCCA Solo for the past 40 years.

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Left: Women of Solo Luncheon. Right: One week in Lincoln + copious amounts of beer + lots of boring rental golf carts = StreetModGolfCart!

Sadly it was decided that 2012 would be the first year at Nationals (in 40 years of running) where a minimum of three entries are needed to crown a "National Champion" for any class. This affected several Ladies classes that had only two entries, including Amy's win in ESP-Ladies. Mark my words: this three car minimum will be the end of Ladies classes. It definitely will be the end of Amy running in Ladies class, as we have decided to avoid this nonsense for 2013. We actually tried to move her into ESP open class on race day, but at 7:30 am Tuesday morning (when we finally found the new "three car minimum" note, buried in the event's supplemental rules) she was told "it was too late" to switch classes... even though late registration was still open until 8:30 am. Was it just lazy registration people or a legitimate restriction? Who knows. It doesn't matter - we should have known about this change to the minimum entrant rule beforehand.

continued below

08-16-2013, 04:16 PM
continued from above

SCCA Town Hall Meeting + Welcome Party

After the Women's luncheon, we both walked the West course a bunch of times and attended the SCCA Town Hall Meeting. This meeting, traditionally held on the Monday of Solo Nationals week, is where actual members get to talk face-to-face with SEB (Solo Events Board) and various category and class Advisory Committee members. I always go to this meeting if I am at the Solo Nationals to listen, to learn, and to ask questions (and since I write dozens of letters a year to the SEB, "they know me"... if not in a good way). The SEB opened with introductions for the five members in attendance. Then they began a lot of talk about the new 180 minimum treadwear rule for Road Tire class, as well as the plan to replace all Stock classes with RT classes in the future. I think it is a great idea - Hoosier A6 tire costs and the radical differences in performance from "real" street tires to R compounds make Stock class an expensive place to race, and not at all the "entry level class" this category was intended to be.

The SEB members had argued around 140, 180 and 200 treadwear minimums, but 180 was chosen for: more tire choices and a "progressive level of grip" from RT -> ST -> SP. After hearing their arguments, I agreed with their thinking and do hope the RT class continues to grow and eventually replaces the R compounds in Stock class altogether. I'm sure this will anger about three dozen people within the Stock class Solo community, but make hundreds of people happier.

Annnnd then on Thursday there was another open meeting about "the future of Road Tire", where I heard that Howard Duncan back-tracked everything the SEB had stated about the intention of RT classes (such as this was always a test with the goal to eventually replace Stock classes, Stock class moving away from R compounds in a few years, etc). So yeah, they caved to pressure from the loudest minority within Stock class. Hopefully this was just hot air and the SEB sticks by their guns.

The other big topic at the Town Hall meeting was the lack of ST classing for the new FT86 Subaru/Toyota chassis, but the unusual fact that it was classed in C Stock. The SEB said it will be classed right after Nationals - I and strongly suspect it will be placed in STR, and they basically confirmed that without actually confirming that. And were quick to say that it could then be moved to STX or elsewhere within 12 months or something. Personally I think this was a cop-out, and put in my two cents about this subject in our BRZ Project thread and privately to SEB and STAC members. Next, the theme of the meeting shifted to "we have too many classes" in Solo, where I again agree. That open "question and answer" portion gobbled up an hour so they broke up into groups, and Amy and I sat in and chatted with the SPAC (Street Prepared Advisory Committee).

I learned a lot about what the SPAC is thinking, with some members asking for more allowances and some asking for "SP-Light", with no fender cutting and emissions rules of ST. Another nugget was the fact that the RX8 is going to be moved to DSP "very soon". Interesting stuff. I have begun a big letter about my thoughts on the age old problems in SP (some extremely dated rules) and the weird overlap between ST, SP, SM and XP. I will talk more on this in a future post.

After the Town Hall meeting and some more course walks, we went off site to the Solo Welcome Party, where the food was once again awful. Your choice was a single soggy Sam's Club burger patty or a single dried-and-burnt hot dog, plus some beans and a cookie. And I knew better than to go there expecting decent food, as it's always sponsored, so it ends up being cheap food whenever it's a free welcome party like this. I don't mean to be a hater - Vorshlag has sponsored a number of these welcome parties at SCCA Tours and Pros, it can get expensive, and we haven't done a whole lot better. So I can't complain, but I can warn people ;). On the way out we saw some fellow Texas Region racers and convinced them to skip this free-food-fest, and we all had some great local beers and better food in the Haymarket area in downtown Lincoln. This is where we usually end up when eating in Lincoln, as there is a great variety of restaurants there.

Tuesday ESP Competition - West Course

Results: http://scca.cdn.racersites.com/prod/assets/results/2012%20Solo%20Nationals%20Combined%20Final%20Resul ts.pdf

Vorshlag Picture and Video Gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/i-5sbW857/0/M/2012-solonats-west-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/i-5sbW857/0/O/2012-solonats-west-O.jpg)
Click above for a larger version of the West Course map.

After working a hot and lengthy two hour and ten minute heat one (blame all goes to the "special needs" and slow response in grid from the junior karts), it was time for heat three where ESP ran. We lined up with 33 cars in our class, the largest Street Prepared class at the event. My first run started right about 1:15 pm where it was warm at 79F, and it only got hotter as the day progressed. The west course was set-up nicely by Karen Babb, with big sweepers and some faster sections, and frankly I thought this one would play to the strengths of the Mustang - some room to stretch the legs of this Coyote 5.0 motor. I also feared a shift to 3rd for many competitors. I was dead wrong on all counts...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/i-m2zj5BL/0/M/DSC4762-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/25242061_LfVLvT#!i=2076904030&k=kLZsgC9&lb=1&s=A)
Click above to see the video from Terry's first run on the West Course (59.803). The front looks like positive camber?!

Well that run was a bit of a mess. The course was easy to see and flowed well, but the large number of 90, 180, and 270 sweepers were not what the 3540 pound Mustang excelled at when compared to the many 3100-3300 pound competitors - almost all of whom were on the same 315/30/18 Hoosier tires. I didn't get lost or hit anything, but the course just "drove a lot slower than it walked" and I wasn't anywhere near topping out 2nd gear like I thought. I also made some errors in judgement about braking and under-drove the course a bit.


I was way off on the slalom timing, especially the final few before the finish. Some of my friends were watching the run and said it looked like I was coasting around the showcase turn (big 270 left-hander in front of the crowd) and that I was leaving two feet to the cones at the big offset gates in "double-down". The course had a LOT of left turns and the right side tires got HOT! I was kind of glad I didn't have a second driver. The car's orientation when parked in grid also kept the right side tires in the burning sun, so we sprayed those two tires after every run. My time of 59.803 was a solid second behind class leader Mark Madarash, but I was still in 4th place after the first runs were completed. I decided to push it harder in my second run by tightening up on the cones, focusing on getting on the throttle earlier, and try to stay ahead on the slalom cones.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/i-5LbdFQj/1/M/DSC4552-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/25242061_LfVLvT#!i=2076981396&k=NxDM76B&lb=1&s=A)
Click above to see the video from Terry's second run on the West Course (59.727).

Well my second run was sloppier than my first, now over-driven instead of under-driven. I was much more aggressive on throttle which made for some pushy corners, but I still managed to pick up a tenth of a second (59.727). It was quickly getting hotter and I was the only driver in the top 5 to improve on the second set of runs, with 2nd and 3rd place slowing down considerably and Madarash almost matching his first run. This gave me hope that maybe I could move up if everyone else stayed about the same. I usually run quickest on my 3rd run, so I had some hope. With so many mistakes on that second run, I knew there was more time in the car. I had the car crossed up hard in two places on course that I knew were costing me time. I was going to go for a hero run on my last shot at the course.

continued below

08-16-2013, 04:17 PM
continued from above

While I was standing outside the car trying to think, the AWD turbo Eclipse that was in our class was idling 15 feet away. With the wind blowing towards me, it was choking me with clouds of oil smoke. This car was a big hot mess, leaking oil from everywhere, covered in duct tape, and always trailing blue smoke. It actually won the ESP class at the ProSolo, launching incredibly well and eeking out the win over Mark Madarash. At the Solo Nationals, the two drivers only managed 13th and 27th spots. After its second runs on the West Course, it caught on fire.

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I was looking right at this smoking mess, using my mind powers to try and will it to turn off, when I noticed some dancing lights under the car. The driver was leaning on the left side door, about to get burned. It took me a second but I realized it was on fire, so I yelled "Hey, your car is on fire!" He looked at me funny.... "Yes! YOUR. CAR. IS. ON. FIRE! WE NEED SOME FIRE BOTTLES HERE, RIGHT NOW!" Flames are now licking up the door and it's really blazing. Two people showed up with extinguishers within 10 seconds and used them both to put the flames out, which kept re-catching. I crawled under while they were hitting it with extinguisher and noticed fuel pouring out of the tank onto the exhaust. "Shut the car off!" It finally went out, but it was dumping fuel on the grid, so we pushed it back 40 feet, away from the other cars. Then they ran over my foot and set the parking brake - "Get it off my foot! Get it off my foot!" Once my foot was free I limped back to my car and got belted up - because grid worker was ready for me to drive. Oh boy...

(continued from above)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/i-bQw763v/0/M/terry-west-run3-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/25242061_LfVLvT#!i=2077072637&k=bQw763v&lb=1&s=A)
Click above to see the video from Terry's third and final run on the West Course (60.146+1).

Well my hero run was anything but that. It looked okay until I got to the section called "Flop, turn and river", where I got behind and pushed wide. Then I murdered the "wallom" section called "Five cone draw", double-turning into each offset. I could also smell tire smoke and something burning, which meant the rear tire rub was back. This really drove me nuts and I let it throw me off in the last slalom, "Six the easy way". Hey, I don't make these names up, just referencing the map. The run was junk and I knew it, even before I heard the time. The run was a solid 4 tenths slower and I hit a cone in the final slalom.


My runs on West course felt like my worst driving in a single day at Nationals in quite a while. I just could not seem to put a complete run together on what I felt was the simpler of the two courses. Mark got a tiny bit quicker on his third run, but the big mover was Tim Bergstrom, who dropped almost a full second on his last run and bumped me down to 5th place for the day. Now I desperately hoped the East course was going to help with my placing. It looked like a gigantic cluster-f*ck of a course, hard to see with weird cone markings, and I noticed corner workers picking up lots of cones all day. For whatever reason I seem to do better when the courses are uglier, so who knows?

After my runs I went into "helper" mode and got the car re-gridded for Amy's ESP-L runs in 5th heat. We hung out in the idling Dodge with the A/C blasting on Max because it was creeping up to 100F outside and we were feeling the heat. With both of us working in a very long first heat, thrashing to get the car ready in the second heat, and running in the third heat with Amy assisting - we had forgotten to eat and had not been drinking enough water. After the heat and humidity of the long afternoon, we both felt like crap and were moving into the early stages of heat exhaustion. The tire rub issue? I was so over-heated I didn't even remember to fix this, other than a brief mention to Amy after my last run. We both sat in the truck for a solid hour trying to cool off, then Amy had to run...

Tuesday ESP-L Competition - West Course

Right before Amy got in the car to make her run, the skies opened up and it rained hard for about three minutes, it even dumped some hail. Only one driver made a full run in the hail and rain mess - Brianne Corn, the defending B Mod champion driving in an open car. The other driver's behind her got flagged off and had re-runs, because the hail was setting off the timers. Just look at this mess!

"Oh HAIL no!" ...Brianne Corn driving in adverse conditions

I am writing a letter about that because she was getting pelted by hail in an open car. I get that we "run in all weather" like rain, but they will stop the course when during lightning, high winds, or weather so bad that it stops the timers. I think hail should be an instant "lets hold off for a minute" break in an autocross. That's not asking too much, is it?

So Amy was feeling the pressure when the fifth heat finally rolled around and she was once again the very last car in the grid (just like at the Spring Nationals here in Lincoln).

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Not many competitors in ESP-Ladies - you're looking at the entire class.

Amy has had very little seat time in this new set-up - Remember, we made major changes to the car just one week earlier and she was unable to join us during the private test we held. I made 38 runs at the Mineral Wells test and one more at the Nationals practice. She made three runs at the Nationals practice and was almost 3/4 of a second off my pace.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/i-BhB4kJr/0/M/DSC4613-3-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/25242061_LfVLvT#!i=2077134202&k=4qS5Cv9&lb=1&s=A)
Click above to see the video from Amy's first run on the West Course (60.301).

Amy's first run looked pretty good. She came out of the box swinging and was six tenths off of my best time for the West course. Her second run was a hair slower with an almost identical time to her first run (60.301 then 60.381). She was overshooting some braking zones and she knew it, so on her third run she tried to dial those back a bit and nail a quicker time.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/i-WNXNQKX/0/M/DSC4605-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/25242061_LfVLvT#!i=2077192754&k=24SwxQ6&lb=1&s=A)
Click above to see the video from Amy's third run on the West Course (60.044).

Her third run (60.044) looked pretty darn good and she dropped three tenths, finishing up only three tenths off of my best time. This was probably one of her best drives all year. She was disappointed that it wasn't in the 59 second range, but a 60.044 run was quite respectable even in the ESP open class (would have been in the trophies for day one). Especially so considering the higher ambient temperature in the fifth heat compared to when ESP open ran (third heat) and her almost complete lack of experience with this new suspension set-up.


It was a long day. The East course had been wrapped up for a while before Amy's first run on the West course began, which the video camera shows was at 5:27 pm. It was 5:54 pm on her second run, 6:22 pm when she made her third, and 6:45 pm before they were released from grid. To say that West course was running late was an understatement! We were taking our first walk of the East course after sunset - what a long ass day.

Changes After Day One

One delay that kept us from walking the East course before dark was about 30 minutes we spent back at our paddock spot doing some repairs. Amy and I had both noticed the smell of tire rub on our Day One runs. I took a peek after one of my runs and yep, the tire was rubbing in the rear once more. We brought the 18x12" wheels inboard quite a bit after the switch to the Whiteline Watts link and re-routed rear sway bar.

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As you can see in the pictures above, the Hoosiers were rubbing through the rubberized insulation/liner at the rear and were getting into the painted part of the chassis as well. Even saw some rubber deposited on the FRPP upper shock mounts. This wasn't a problem with the same spacer/wheel set-up at our Mineral Wells test a week earlier, but the added grip of the fresh Hoosier A6s and the grippier concrete of Lincoln over the asphalt at Mineral Wells must have been enough to allow a tad more axle displacement under load. The West course featured a LOT of looooong sweepers, too. The tires themselves only showed some wear at the extended "rim protector" part of the bead - it was barely scuffed.

continued below

08-16-2013, 04:18 PM
continued from above

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In order to fix this, we pulled off the pair of thin spacers and put on some that were an 1/8" wider. A minimal change to the track width and feel of the car, but it was apparently enough as we didn't have any more tire rub on Day Two.

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Also, while the car was in the air we verified the rebound settings on the Moton Club Sports, which have to be adjusted with this little tool with the tires off. Then we used our RocksOff tire scraper to get the pebbles off the sticky A6 rubber. We didn't have a problem with "OPR" pickup, other than a few strands I could peel off with my hands. I guess the ESP car was heavy enough to scrub off the fronts and powerful enough to keep the rears clear of rubber pickup. I saw lots of stock class guys madly scraping their tires (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/i-3RHvDk6/0/X2/IMG6093-X2.jpg) between runs with cordless cutting tools and at night with torches and scrapers.

(continued from above)

Wednesday ESP Competition - East Course

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/i-pCzrBNk/0/M/2012-solonats-east-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/i-pCzrBNk/0/X2/2012-solonats-east-X2.jpg)
Click image above for a larger version of the Roger Johnson designed East Course.

After a late night walking the East course and an awesome meal at a place called "Toast", we hit the ground running at 6:30 am Wednesday morning. We walked the course at dawn, then unloaded the car to get it ready. We worked the East course in the first heat at a real cluster-f*ck corner where we shagged upwards of 40 cones. This "ring of fire" section was a real visual mess and lots of people took out 1-4 cones at a time in this section. I'm not knocking the course - it did exactly what Roger intended... caught people out and "separated the men from the boys". :D

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Once we got to grid in the third heat, it wasn't quite as hot and I was hoping some ESP drivers would fall for the many visual traps on Roger's course - and that I would not. Being in 5th place was not where I wanted to start the day, but I was hopeful that I could move up one or two places if I nailed this course.

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Left: Wednesday's 33 car ESP Grid. Right: Mark's racing secret Activia (http://www.hulu.com/watch/17002) yogurt is kicking in!

The plan was to go out and try to lay down a FAST first run, which I did... and promptly murdered the very last cone on course, in the very section where I worked the course!!!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/i-8vGWKFw/0/M/terry-east-run1-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/25242061_LfVLvT#!i=2083549906&k=8vGWKFw&lb=1&s=A)
Click above to see the video from Terry's first run on the East Course (69.034 +1).

Grr, I was so pissed at myself. The run time was great and it would have moved me right up into 2nd place according to the announcer, but then he heard the cone call. That "simple constant radius turn" in the "ring of fire" section of the East course was the hardest corner of the event, bar none. There were all sorts of visual tricks, the camber of the surface changed as you went around the corner, and you came into it all kinds of crossed up. I worked on this section all day, and after getting it mostly right on my first run I promptly got LOST in this section on my second run. FFS...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/i-P492VpV/0/M/terry-east-run2-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/25242061_LfVLvT#!i=2083607118&k=P492VpV&lb=1&s=A)
Click above to see the video from Terry's second run (69.802).

Actually I got lost in two places on that run, after getting through fairly quickly and easily on my first attempt. I let my "coned" first run mess with my head. On my second run, getting lost slowed me down eight tenths and moved me all the way down to 10th place in class. The car felt fine, but I just lost my way and really psyched myself out. After being in 4th place almost the entire first day, I was mired down in 10th place going into my last run of Nationals?! Oh man, was I sweating. It was "hero run time"...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/i-k82zfsn/0/M/terry-east-run3-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/25242061_LfVLvT#!i=2083692690&k=k82zfsn&lb=1&s=A)
Click above to see the video from Terry's third run (68.735).

I nailed my last run - Hot diggidy DAMN! I knew the run was good before I heard the time or placing, and I got out of the car shaking. Man that felt good! It was really only about 3 tenths quicker than my first run, but it didn't have the cone penalty. This run moved me from 10th place (outside of the trophies) into a solid 4th place overall, only .058 behind 3rd place. After watching some second drivers improve but not bump me lower, I stayed in 4th place. Dave Ogburn pulled off a quick last run and increased his lead over me to 4 tenths in 3rd place.

I was so glad to be done and to have moved into the trophies. I normally wouldn't be so happy with a 4th place finish, but after seeing the car builds and drivers in the top 10, I think I was pretty lucky to have done this well in an emissions-legal street car with A/C, navigation, big stereo, untouched fenders, and all that. And for as heavy as our car ended up being (more on that below). Here is a small sampling of the ESP competitors.

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Left: Eight time ESP National Champion Mark Madarash's '88 Firebird (on ASTs). Right: Second place finisher Britt Dollmeyer in Tim Bergstrom's '06 Mustang GT (on ASTs).

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Left: Dave Ogburn's third place '01 Camaro on Goodyears. Right: Opie Viets' 3rd Gen '84 Camaro.

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Left: Fifth place finisher David Feighner's '95 Cobra R. Right: David Gushwa's Mustang Boss 302.

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Left: Twelfth place finisher Mark Foley's '99 Firebird. Right: Dave Heinrich's Mustang Boss 302 finished in the trophies in seventh place.

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Left: Tye "Colossus" Jackson's '01 Camaro. Right: Sixth place Jonathan Newcombe trophied driving James Darden's '97 LT4 Z28.

Darden actually tied Brad Owen for the 9th and final trophy spot, down to the .001 second, so they looked at their next fastest times to break the tie, which supposedly went to Owen (but the official results show Darden in 9th?). They brought this up at the awards banquet and gave a free set of BFG tires in the size and model of his choice to Darden, to ease the pain. Pretty cool condolence prize!

During the ESP Impound, we all talked and joked around and nobody even hinted at being upset or protesting anyone or anything like that. The ESP group here at Nationals, many of whom I met at the Mineral Welss ProSolo or the Lincoln Pro/Tour in May, really is one of the nicest, most helpful, greatest group of racers I've run with in my 24 years running in SCCA Solo. We had 33 fierce competitors, but as we saw when the hood smashed into our windshield at the May event (against much of the same group) and again when the Talon caught fire, they are all quick to jump in and lend a hand to any fellow ESP competitor in need. Good stuff - thanks for being so welcoming to this ESP noobie this year, guys!

Wednesday ESP-L Competition - East Course

Texas Region racer and friend Wayne Atkins had pointed out that after my second East course run the left spoiler upright was coming loose. I didn't have tools in grid to fix it and they convinced me to stop worrying about it... it eventually came completely loose on my third run, for an unintended "DRS" spoiler effect (F1's "drag reduction system").

more below

08-16-2013, 04:19 PM
last one...

Before the fifth heat I motored back to the trailer, grabbed some tools, and came back to re-assemble the uprights. I can't blame anyone else, as I was the one that bolted it together last time. Doh!

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When the fifth heat finally rolled around we had Amy gridded up and the spoiler was back into the "fixed" configuration. She had a healthy 3+ second lead coming from Day One, so I wanted her to concentrate and try to get as close to my times as she could. Her first run was a mess, with a clean but off pace 72.333 run. She admitted to getting lost in several places and having trouble seeing past Roger's course's visual tricks. I had her look at the map and sit in the truck until her second run.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/i-Z8kK5C4/0/M/amy-east-run2-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/25242061_LfVLvT#!i=2083724447&k=Z8kK5C4&lb=1&s=A)
Click above to see the video from Amy's second run (71.007).

This run was an improvement thanks to finding her marks better, but she still under-braked into one section, which pushed her off line going into another section and messed up her rhythm. It was a clean run, but still 2.3 seconds off my last run. I tried to get her psyched up for a final "all out" run to drop more time, but she slowed down nine tenths and hit a cone (70.901 +1), but still managed to win.

Looking at her times compared to ESP open, she would have still placed 15th which was better than mid-pack. Her times on the West course were a lot more competitive, but these "visually challenging" courses seem to catch her out. It's something we need to work on for next year if she is going to run in ESP open.

Wednesday Awards Banquet

As usual the fifth heat on our side finished hours after fifth heat on the opposite course. After impound we still had to load the car into the trailer before heading to the Awards Banquet, which started at 5:30 pm. Once the car was in the trailer (in record time) it was after 5:30 pm, so we just drove straight there and skipped going to the hotel to shower and change, unlike most attendees. Of course we got there way early and none of the award stuff started until about 7 pm, so we should have stopped and cleaned up.

We sat with our fellow Texas Region racers and waited for the trophy presentation. And waited. And waited. Lots of non-competition awards and presentations, delays, and the banquet stretched on for a total of four hours, ending at 9:30 pm. During the ESP awards, which were very late into the banquet, people had started wandering off and looking at professional photographer's pictures and such. Then they forgot to announce to our group beforehand to "get on deck" and the first half of the trophy recipients never heard their names and didn't walk across the stage, including myself. I walked up and grabbed my plastic 4th place trophy that I don't want to think about how much money went into earning.

We figured out who was on stage and calculated when ESP-L would be called so Amy was there to get her "Class Winner" trophy, but she won't get another National Championship jacket or name in the rule book. Yay, this is the new "three car minimum" requirement in action, and the beginning of the end of Ladies classes.

After that marathon banquet we crashed out at the hotel, got up late, and hooked up the trailer. Then we blasted back to Texas on Thursday, getting home by 9 pm and ready for work on Friday. We would have loved to have stayed all week, but we both needed to work the next day. On the drive home we both bench raced some ideas and I calculated what I thought we would need to do if we wanted to be more competitive in ESP in 2013. Being 1.6 seconds back from the class winner was a huge gap to make up, and more than I think I can get with just chassis tuning and driving improvements. I had a feeling we were one of the heaviest cars in the top 10, but I had no idea how much so until we got back.

Mustang on the Scales & the Big Surprise

I didn't weigh the car at Nationals because we were pretty busy both days of competition and I hate being "that guy" that wants to weigh his car on the SCCA scales needed for Impound weight verification. I have scales at our shop and we had weighed it numerous times in the past, so I "knew what it weighed". Just for grins I had the guys throw it on the scales right out of the trailer, at the exact fuel load and race weight we ran at Nationals. Then I looked at the readout and did a double-take...


3540 pounds!?! WTF! I went to my computer and found all of the weights we had taken of this car, all the way back to when it was brand new (3563 lbs (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5515/1085736908_6Z2ki-M.jpg)). Holy crap - the car had gained 72 pounds since our last weighing at the Mineral Wells ProSolo earlier this year (3467 lbs (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/MW-ProSolo-042012/i-nnzBvp9/0/M/IMG5474-M.jpg)), and now it was within 20 pounds of bone stock! The lowest it ever weighed was 3442 lbs (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-92dqH8D/0/M/DSC6333-M.jpg), back in December 2011 when we ran it in STU form on 18x10's and 275mm Bridgestone tires.

Wow, this was an eye opener. We weigh it often, but let this 72 pounds kind of creep into the car without notice. I knew that Mark's winning '88 Firebird was about 3100 lbs and Tim's 2nd place '07 GT was 3260 lbs. This 3540 pound weight was way high. Now we know what to concentrate on - WEIGHT! We have since weighed some cars, pulled some parts and scaled them, and have a pretty good idea where all of the lard is. I will expand on this GREATLY in future posts.

Photo Credits and Car Impressions

About 95% of the pictures in our 2012 SCCA Solo Nationals Photo Gallery (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2012-SCCA-Solo-Nats/) were taken by me or Amy, with our Nikon D90, and a few with our iPhones. I also got a few from C Prepared racer Jeff Stroh, two from gotcone.com, and a few from Tom Reynolds. Thanks to all of you! I need these pictures to help me remember what happened & to better explain this crazy sport and these events. I can't say autocrossing is the most exciting sport to observe, but it is competitive and very intense. The pictures also help me see what our car is doing, what other's are doing, and they point to areas we can hopefully improve. Like this one Stroh took:

The Lean Machine

One thing that I noticed (and many other people pointed out!) looking at the pictures of our car vs the other top ESP drivers' cars is that our Mustang has a lot more LEAN, which also kind of crept up on us. The updates we made with the Whiteline bars, UCA and especially their Watts Link Kit added a lot of lateral stability and more grip, and the switch to Hoosiers from Kumho added grip, as did the concrete surface over our test site.

So yes, we are going to raise the spring rates from the current soft set-up (450F/175R) to a firmer set of rates (550F/250R). The soft set-up worked great for both road course and autocross events when we were dealing with other issues like lower grip tires (street tires all the way up to the V710s), the steering shudder (yes, which is gone), and a clunky Panhard rod set-up. These new springs are going on the car next week.

We also noticed that our car was sitting higher in the rear than most S197s, so we will test a lower rear ride height separately. Once we have the stiffer springs on it will be tested at the current ride height, then lowered and tested again. After watching the videos, the car seems to have a good bit of steady state push which we need to work on too. So we have a lot of work to do for next year.

What's Next?

In the short term we have a Global Time Attack event (http://www.globaltimeattack.com/events/) we will run in this Mustang on September 22nd at Texas Motor Speedway. We just ordered some fresh V710s that we will use for that event. The spoiler is staying on because my big APR GTC300 wing is still on Brianne's Pikes Peak car, which we will hopefully bring to the GTA event as well. The very next day we are autocrossing the Mustang with the Texas Region SCCA at a new concrete site in Crandall, TX, which is closer to the shop than any other Dallas/Ft. Worth autocross site. This concrete parking lot could become my new favorite site to autocross in Dallas, and I am asking them about renting it for private test events as well.

There's also a NASA Texas race weekend at Eagles Canyon Raceway on October 6-7th, where I will run the Mustang one day and the E46 330Ci the next, if everything lines up perfectly. After that... well, we have some surprises in store. We will be concentrating on a much more purpose-built ESP autocross-only Mustang for the 2013 season. Less weight, more tire, more power. Don't know a lot yet, but we have made budgets, parts lists, and extensive plans, but that's all I know for sure right now: more tire, less weight, more power. I'm not going to improve my driving enough to beat these guys, so I have to get more serious about the car! :D

Thanks for reading my epic 2012 Nationals post. I will post again after the GTA event and autocross in two weeks. Ciao!

08-16-2013, 04:21 PM
Project Update for September 20, 2012: This build thread entry might seem a bit premature since we have two events coming up this weekend that I will have to cover in another update next week (GTA and SCCA). But there have been a lot of things happening with regards to our S197 Project that we felt it was time for another update. Some of you that follow Vorshlag on Facebook already know about a lot of this, but there's new information in here as well.


Getting 4th place in ESP was a great accomplishment considering the many concessions we have made to this car so that it can still be a nice street car, stay emissions legal, and do fairly well on a road course. This car really is a jack-of-all trades, running in all sorts of events, and we even drag race it a little. We ended up with a great street car with all of the creature comforts, but this has led to some weight gain and compromises that don't help the ESP autocross performance one bit. It's also my wife Amy's car and she refuses to let me cut on it. That means no wheel flares allowed, which has led to a lot of work to make the 18x12" wheels and 315s fit out back. There is no way to run any wider tires front or back without cutting the fenders, but I do feel the car will be faster with more tire (every other tire size increase has always improved performance).

All that said about 4th place is great and all, but as a competitor I would much rather win in the ESP autocross class. I know now that this is going to take a dedicated autocross-only effort, like the cars in the first three places at Nationals this year, as well as many places below us in the finishing order. The air conditioning has to come out (weight), as does the radio and speakers (weight), and many cars are (cut and) flared to fit larger tires than we ran (315s are the small tire in grid - many ESP cars had 335mm rears). Others are also using the Update/Backdate rules to maximize performance.

Thinking, Planning, Scheming, Plotting...

What will it take? Like I said in my last post... less weight, more power, more tire. If we can maximize these three aspects and sort the handling, someone with my driving skills (or lack thereof) should be able to place higher than 4th. I can't buy driving talent, but I can build/tune/buy the rest!

After coming back from the 2012 SCCA Solo Nationals and weighing our car right off the trailer, I became fixated on lowering the weight on next year's ESP entry. At 3539 pounds, our red 2011 GT was 300-400 pounds overweight compared to the top 10 or so in the ESP class grid. That much weight is a massive deficit to overcome. JasonM and I stayed late several nights that next week doing research, weighing cars and parts, and just brain storming and bench racing ideas. Both of us have been autocrossing now for 25 years and we kind of knew that winning this class was going to take a serious, serious effort. We have had these discussions for the last 8 months, ever since we moved this car from STX (maximum of 265mm street tires) to ESP (unlimited width R compounds). With several National level events in 2012 under our belts, we had more data to work with and can better understand what we think it will take to win.

First day back from Nationals we borrowed and weighed a bone stock 2006 GT (thanks, StuartM (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag-Test-Pilots/Stuart-Maxcys-2006-Mustang-GT/)!) for comparison, and then found accurate weights on the 4.6 3V vs 5.0 4V motors and transmissions. I posted about this on S197forum this week (http://www.s197forum.com/forum/showthread.php?p=1515647#post1515647), and learned even more there. What we found out was the Ford 4.6L 3V motor weighs almost the same as a new 5.0L 4V motor.

5.0 Coyote motor weight - Fully dressed (minus the A/C compressor) and filled with oil, the new engine weighs in at 430 pounds.
Source: http://www.autoblog.com/2009/12/28/deep-dive-fords-all-new-5-0-v8/
5.0 Coyote motor weight - Shipping Weight 430 pounds, includes water pump
Source: http://www.mustang50magazine.com/techarticles/m5lp_1003_2011_ford_mustang_gt_50_coyote_engine/5_0_tech_specs.html
2005 Mustang Spec PDF - 4.6L 3V MOD motor weight - 421lbs dressed engine weight (dry).
Source: We found this on a Ford PDF, but the link no longer works. The FRPP catalog page for the old 2005 crate motor shows 435lbs dressed (see the S197forum post above for the page).

We will get a picture of the actual weight of the 5.0L from our 2013 GT when we pull it out over the winter. Uh-oh, Spoiler Alert! Keep reading, heh. The Getrag MT-82 is also shown to be very similar in weight to the Tremec 3450, from what we can find online. Again, we will weigh the 2013's 6-speed Getrag transmission when it is out for a clutch/pressure plate/flywheel combination or out for the engine work.

This S197 drivetrain weight research was to see if we could take an early S197 Mustang (2005-2007 or so), swap in the 5.0L, keep the 5-spd, use the smaller, early brakes, and maximize the update/backdate allowances of Street Prepared. We were hoping to find a magic 300 pounds somewhere just in the 5.0L motor and 2005 chassis swap, but this doesn't seem to be the case here. The SCCA's "UD/BD" rules are a little complicated if you come from outside the SCCA Solo world, but we understand them well. It allows racers to use "the best of the breed", usually putting engines and transmissions and major components from models within the same generation all together into one car. Nobody has built this "hybrid S197" yet, but it was discussed at length in the ESP grid and at the awards banquet at the 2012 Nationals. It has been on our short list all year for the 2013 ESP effort.


In the SCCA Appendix for ESP, all 2005-2013 Mustangs are "on the same line" for Street Prepared, so we can use some parts from the Mustang V6, GT parts from 2005-2010 or 2011-2013, Boss 302 and Leguna Seca parts (that's why it's legal to use the LS front splitter), and even GT500 parts (not that we would put the heavy, heavy supercharged V8 from that car into a lightweight ESP car; we already make plenty of power at 430 whp). As long as it is swapped as a complete component (like a complete engine - it's all detailed in the rules) and no cutting/drilling/welding is needed, then it is a legal swap in Street Prepared.

This UD/BD rule allows us to potentially make a lighter, more powerful S197 than anyone has done in the E Street Prepared class before. We were competitive in the 3540 pound car, but how would we do in a 3100 pound version making the same power and on the same tires? The first place ESP car is one of these "hybrid" builds with a Corvette-based motor from a 1992 Firehawk, a transmission from a 5.0L 5-speed Firebird, all in a 1988 Firebird shell. There's a bunch of these UD/BD builds in Street Prepared that have all the best parts from one generation, making a car that was "never really offered", but that uses factory drivetrain combinations that are unique.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag-Test-Pilots/Stuart-Maxcys-2006-Mustang-GT/i-bhrTbbF/0/S/DSC4775-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag-Test-Pilots/Stuart-Maxcys-2006-Mustang-GT/i-bhrTbbF/0/L/DSC4775-L.jpg) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag-Test-Pilots/Stuart-Maxcys-2006-Mustang-GT/i-wn242qM/1/S/DSC4781-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag-Test-Pilots/Stuart-Maxcys-2006-Mustang-GT/i-wn242qM/1/L/DSC4781-L.jpg)
Stuart's stock 2006 Mustang GT 5-speed with minimal fuel load weighed 3442 lbs. Of course we took the trunk junk out for that weight.

As you can see, this 2006 GT weighs 3442 with no trunk junk and low fuel. That is a 121 pounds lighter than our 2011 GT was when it was bone stock (3563 lbs, no trunk junk, same minimal fuel load) and 97 pounds lighter than our car was in ESP form at the 2012 Nationals (3539 lbs). The questions is - where does this ~100 pound weight difference come from?

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-4FxxjXQ/0/O/2006gt-front-disc-12.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-rNM82KZ/0/O/2011-gt-front-disc-13.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-8b7swtj/0/O/2011-brembo-front-disc.jpg
Size and weight specs on the three main front disc brakes for the S197 Mustang GT: 12.43" diameter, 13.22" front, and 13.96" (Brembo).

We think this weight differential is from a few sources, including the smaller front brakes (12.4" fronts vs Brembo 14"), 2-piston vs 4-piston calipers, a theoretically lighter insulation package, and some other bits that we will confirm as we go. After making spread sheets and doing multiple builds on paper with an early car and the late motor, it looked like a total nightmare - and offered almost no weight or cost savings over starting with a 2011-2013 5.0 GT. JasonM here at Vorshlag said it best, in a discussion on 'carvers...

continued below

08-16-2013, 04:22 PM
continued from above

I'm probably stealing Terry's thunder, but we looked at both the 4.6 and the 5.0 chassis as a home for a 5.0 powered ESP Mustang. The cost, weight and "unknown technical solutions" all pointed to starting with a Coyote chassis. The big worry was weight. Were we going to be saddled with some weight in the 5.0 chassis that the 4.6 chassis could get rid of? We sketched out two simple spreadsheets on the weights and the costs. The weights look like a draw and the costs look like an advantage for the 5.0 chassis. We'll see how it actually pans out, but I'm expecting to have this car up and running much quicker and without having to buy multiple wrecked donors to source all the parts we need for the UD/BD stuff that has to be done. There are also technical issues with trying to get the EPAS rack working with a non-EPAS harness that make it look like a full harness and switchgear swap would be necessary.

We also look like ballers building a brand new car into a dedicated no-compromises competition car. :p LOL

The wiring harness challenges necessary to remain ESP legal were extensive and daunting, and I cannot overstate this factor. I don't want to discourage readers from doing an early S197 car 5.0L swap, but I have read some builds already and it is much harder to pull off than you think. And to do it and stay SCCA SP legal would be much harder than the swaps we have seen done online, too.

So since we can't cut on or sell our red 2011, we started looking for another 2011 GT with an affordable price, but they just don't seem to exist. These cars are holding their value strangely well - as are many used late-model cars for the past 12-24 months (which is itself a long, complex subject). Even clean 2005-06 GTs were going to cost $12-15K (these were $25K new!) unless we wanted to start with a 150K mile beat-to-hell junker, which still cost in the neighborhood of $9-10K. Then we would need to also buy a totaled/rear hit 2011 GT salvage car to get the engine, trans, complete wiring harness, and the entire front sheet metal/hood/bumper cover/doghouse (to be able to legally use the 2012 Boss 302 LS splitter). The numbers just didn't add up - it would be cheaper and FAR easier to start with a new car.

Let's Buy A Brand New Mustang... And Cut It Up!

So I started looking for 2012 GTs still sitting on dealer lots, hoping to find a smokin' deal. Not much left other than weird option packages, convertibles, and automatics. They blew the remaining '12 inventory out months ago. I really wanted to start with a BASE model GT, without the $4000 Premium package and options so many dealers order. This means no navigation, no power seats, no rear view cameras, no wings or doo-dads - no budget or scale busting upgrades that would end up removed from the car anyways. We found jack and squat.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-H2gRRkH/0/S/IMG6121-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-j385cHT/0/S/IMG6124-S.jpg
We spotted this 2013 black beauty at Five Star.

I called a buddy Corey White, who is a big Mustang dealer at Five Star Ford in Plano. Corey is who I should have bought the 2011 GT from two years ago, but I didn't know about him back then. He organizes car shows and track days for Dallas/Ft. Worth Mustang owners, including the ECR event we went to in June (and another we're going to November 17th, also at ECR). Great guy, knows the cars very well, and people fly in from across the country to buy Mustangs GTs, Boss 302s and Raptors from him.

We had a hail storm a few weeks ago that only affected a tiny portion of our DFW Metroplex, and part of that was this dealership. Corey said there were some 2013 GTs they had not repaired yet and they were willing to deal...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-j7NTbLf/0/S/IMG6122-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-j7NTbLf/0/XL/IMG6122-XL.jpg) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-DmZ788g/0/S/IMG6125-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-DmZ788g/0/L/IMG6125-L.jpg)
Left: It is as stripper as they come! One option (3.55 gears) and a $31,490 MSRP. Right: One of many hail dents visible in the vented hood.

Last Friday afternoon, I was about to lose my mind looking at 2011-12 GTs and early 2005-2007 GTs and having zero luck finding the car we wanted. I was tired of theorizing and wanted to move quickly if we were to have a hope of being ready for the Spring 2013 National level Solo events. So Amy and I went to see Corey and within five minutes we were test driving the black car above. I pressed the magic button for five seconds to get into the "AdvanceTrac Off" mode and left the parking lot in a cloud of tire smoke.

This rental-fleet special was missing all of the leather coverings, lighted door sills, auto climate control, fancy shift knobs, navigation system, and integrated Sync. It had cloth seats with all manual adjustments, the base AM/FM/CD radio, the "small" 13.2" front brakes, skinny 18x8" wheels and little bitty 235mm all season Pirellis. OMFG these tires would spin for a city block! Absolutely atrocious for performance, but a riot for a test drive. I performed some of the most juvenile stunt driving maneuvers in this car, with Amy riding shotgun and laughing so hard she was crying! The stock marshmallow suspension was hilariously mushy and entertaining. She said at one point - "well we can't let anyone else have this car after what you just did on that test drive!" I couldn't argue with that logic.

(continued from above)

We went back and talked numbers with Corey. A $1500 rebate, big discount for the hail issues, and some more just because he rocks. In the end, the number was so low we couldn't NOT buy it. I felt like I needed a ski mask and gloves after the deal we got. Corey got the paperwork started and that was the quickest new car purchase I have ever seen. He had a Roush supercharged 2013 Raptor F150 warmed up and waiting for a test drive while the Mustang was being "make readied" for us, so we proceeded to go on the 2nd most hilarious test drive of my life, both of which were on the same day. I won't give away his crafty sales tactics, but after that ten minute test drive, all done by Corey, we both were AMAZED at the Raptor's off road capability and wanted one of these trucks. That's all I am allowed to say without giving Corey's trick away, but with 558 whp, Fox shocks, crackin' exhaust, and a suspension that can blow your mind... DAAAAMN that truck is a BEAST!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-PD3qXk3/0/S/IMG6128-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-Hq5Lwzc/0/S/IMG6130-S.jpg

After that hilarious Raptor test drive that Matt here at Vorshlag joined us on (the back seat is absolutely massive, BTW), the 2013 GT was fueled up and ready to go. We hit the streets in both the 2011 and 2013 GTs, with a light drizzle starting to come down. I was really psyched about the new car we just stole and continued my jackassery, then proceeded to whip Amy 2-0 in wet drag races from stop lights.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-9H7567t/0/S/IMG6139-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-zNJMdBR/0/S/IMG6135-S.jpg

The next morning I was still in shock from adding the 9th car to my fleet of sports car and got to washing off the previous night's rain. PaulM joined me with his 2011 GT and we washed both, then went with McCall and bought yet another car - something for a ChumpCar build, that I will start to chronicle next week (not a Vorshlag build, but we will make the roll cage). What a weekend!

more below...

08-16-2013, 04:22 PM
more from above

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-LQkbfwD/0/S/2013-weight-091712-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-LQkbfwD/0/L/2013-weight-091712-L.jpg) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-gvw2kPD/0/S/DSC4863-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-gvw2kPD/0/L/DSC4863-L.jpg)

On Monday I brought the car to the shop to weigh it, but with a full tank of fuel it was still a few pounds heavier than the 2011 GT was (with no fuel). I have calculated the low-fuel weight to be about 60 pounds lighter than the '11, stock for stock, both without the trunk junk. The 18" skinny spare in the 2013 is pretty slick and if we can find another it will make for a great drag race set of front runners (no "temporary use" or slow max speed listed). For those of you asking, I doubt this will fit over the 14" brakes, but we can try it. When I get a free moment, I will do an all-new thread on the 2013 GT ESP build and share even more. We've already begun ripping and tearing...

Whiteline S197 Parts Now Available

The North American Sales Manager for Whiteline USA, Reid Yoken, came by Vorshlag yesterday. He is in town for the Global Time Attack event this weekend and of course is stopping by to check up with all of his Whiteline dealers. He ended up staying for two hours and we discussed all sorts of new products coming for the S197 Mustang, the BRZ/FR-S, Subarus, BMWs, Miatas, and more. He promised to send us a few more new/pre-production parts for our Mustang and also our BRZ build, which was unexpected, but very cool.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-dccK67m/0/S/DSC4906-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-hbsSQKq/0/S/jpfDSC9316-copy-2-copy-S.jpg

Earlier this week the pricing was published for the new Whiteline Watts Link kit (http://www.vorshlag.com/product_info.php?cPath=141_142_179&products_id=526), which we have listed on our website now (http://www.vorshlag.com/product_info.php?cPath=141_142_179&products_id=526). Unlike some drop ship/resale operations that listed this and every other part known to man, we have actually used this Whiteline kit and know all of the tricks and tips for installation, tuning and use. We also stock some of their other S197 parts, like the Whiteline Panhard Bar kit (with the optional support brace) and some of their bushings. These Watts Link kits, Whiteline sway bars, and additional parts are available now. We will have another whole batch of S197 Whiteline parts coming for our 2013 GT soon.

Whiteline S197 Watts Link kit shown above, now available from Vorshlag

Our $899 price on the Watts Link kit's ($999 MSRP) is very reasonable considering all of the custom parts it comes with - a gorgeous cast aluminum differential cover with integral bearing loading studs, the bracket for the Watts "Football" mount, the cover's inlet/outlet ports for a differential cooler, and the various arms, brackets and hardware needed to mount all of this. It also comes with a unique cross-chassis brace, which is an optional piece on most PHB kits.

The OEM parts removed and replaced with the Watts Links kit installed.

We had Whiteline send us the production weight for their S197 Watts Link kit: "The entire Watts Link kit is 29 lbs, which includes 8.4 lbs from the differential cover and the associated hardware." Some of that weight is a wash, as you are removing a stock (or aftermarket) PHB, the stock cross-chassis brace (which is replaced in the Whiteline kit), and swapping the stock steel differential cover for their cast aluminum piece. We just weighed all of these stock parts we pulled off when installing the Watts on our 2011 and it all came in at 13.3 pounds. So in the end there's only a net ~15.7 pound increase for this Whiteline Watts Link kit. Not bad at all. In our upcoming 2013 GT purpose-built ESP build we will verify this to the tenth of a pound... and maybe look for ways to pull some weight out of the off-the-shelf Whiteline Watts kit, for those fanatics like us looking to save every ounce.

I discussed this on another forum earlier this week, but I want to make sure people who are racing the S197 realize how complete and high quality this Watts Link kit is. It works GREAT on a street car as well, without the banging and clanging of rod ends to drive you nuts. I will ask them if they want to make a rod end version, but if not we might modify their existing kit with rod ends for dedicated race car builds - we have already been asked. This always adds noise and new wear items, of course. Unprotected metal rod ends that are in high exposure areas are subjected to lots of salt, grime and road debris spray and should be given lots of thought before being installed on a street car.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5523/1093536448_Pthc8-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/DSC5523/1093536448_Pthc8-L.jpg) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/S197-Mustang-Watts/i-RHXmL2L/0/S/DSC2100-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/S197-Mustang-Watts/i-RHXmL2L/0/L/DSC2100-L.jpg)
Left: OEM rear sway bar routing ends very close to the rear tire. Right: Whiteline sway bar runs opposite of stock routing and has 6"+ to tire face (click to enlarge).

Another thing S197 racers should remember is that the Whiteline "axle mount" rear sway bar frees up a lot of inboard room for wider wheels and tires. This is unique to the S197 sway bar aftermarket and is one that cannot be overlooked. If you want to run more than a 10" rear wheel without cutting the fenders, you are going to need the Whiteline rear sway bar. Sure, you can buy it from us (we would appreciate it!), but whoever your Whiteline dealer is, this bar is the way to go for more tire room. Drag racers looking to run 15" or 16" diameter wheels can also look to this unique Whiteline sway bar style for the room they need to fit these smaller wheels. So much win!

last bit below...

08-16-2013, 04:23 PM
final piece...

Hankook Arrive & Drive


On Monday, the regional representative for Hankook Tires asked if I could come to their latest Arrive and Drive event (thanks Fabien!), which was about 30 miles from our shop. Any chance to thrash on somebody's cars and test new tires is always better than anything else I can think of on a regular work day, so I was in. Brandon went with me and shot some pictures of various attendees driving Hankook's Audi A3 and 2012 Mustang GT on Hankook tires. Super tight autocross course, no timers, just for fun.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Hankook-Arrive-and-Drive/i-R3sqLGr/4/S/DSC9476DSC9476-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Hankook-Arrive-and-Drive/i-zNm2vfx/4/S/DSC9587DSC9587-S.jpg

Hankook always puts on a good show and if you can swing an invite, by all means check one of these events out. We took some autocross runs, had fun, snagged some Hankook swag, and headed back to the shop. I'm a big fan of the Hankook RS-3 tire, which is one of the fastest 140 treadwear tires around. Great for track use and autocrossers in the Street Touring class love them as well. The new 180 treadwear minimum in the SCCA "Road Tire" category will keep them out of there, at least until they can make a 180 TW replacement. We will see if that happens. I will also ask them about making some "big Mustang" R-S3 sizes - something like a 305/35/18 or 315/35/18 would be ideal on a 11" or 12" wide wheel. But for a more rational 10" wheel, Hankook is one of the few companies that does make a 285/35/18 (http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Hankook&tireModel=Ventus+R-S3&sidewall=Blackwall&partnum=835WR8Z222XL&tab=Specs) size in the R-S3; this is a perfect fit with our 18x10" S197 D-Force/Vorshlag wheels (http://www.vorshlag.com/index.php?cPath=0_141_142_268).

SCCA Jackets for Class Winners

As I mentioned in my last update, Vorshlag teamed up with Solo Performance Specialties to sponsor the Women of Solo Luncheon this year, which was a big success. Dave made the commemorative embroidered polo shirts for all attendees, with the Vorshlag logo on the sleeve, and the ladies really liked them. Dave also runs SCCAgear.com, which makes various shirts/clothing/National Champion jackets for the SCCA.

Dave saw me complaining about the new three entrant minimum rule for crowning National Champions in my last Mustang thread post here, and he knew that I've pointed out in the past the lengthy process some new classes take to become recognized as a class at Nationals. So earlier this week he asked me to "put my money where my mouth is"... and I jumped at the chance.

SPS and Vorshlag have teamed up to provide a run of "SCCA Nationals Class Winner" jackets free of charge to all 2012 Solo Nationals winners who didn't get a National Championship jacket. They paid the same money, but only got half the swag. The recipients will include the winners in any of the unrecognized/provisional classes like "Road Tire" as well as some Ladies class winners who had fewer than three entrants. We made this press release (http://www.vorshlag.com/blog/?p=512) together and will contact these Class Winners about their jackets in the coming weeks (Dave will make these jackets with the same look and at the same time as the National Champion jackets).

I know minimum entrant numbers and provisional classing is a complex subject with a lot of good points one way or another and there is no magic answer. We just felt like recognizing these winners with a little something extra this year, since the 2012 Solo Nationals was the first time the new attendance rule kicked in. Anyone that won can opt out of the free jacket, of course.

GTA Event Prep

I finally remembered what I forgot to post in my pre-Nationals post. The steering shudder is completely and utterly gone now, thanks to this one little swap!


For one "easy" payment of $999, our electric steering rack issues are a thing of the past. It is simply a stock rack that has been reprogrammed to turn off all of the auto-nibble-correction silliness. No other way to get this new programming other than to buy the new FRPP rack, unfortunately (we tried). Well, it does come on a Boss 302-S. I recommend this FRPP rack to any 2011-2013 Mustang driver that is experiencing this steering shudder like what I have documented in the videos from our 2011 GT. If you are experiencing these issues, you can try to take it to your dealership for reproduction and hopeful replacement, but we didn't have much luck there... Here's a tip: the biggest common variable on cars with this shudder is an aftermarket front Lower Control Arm bushing. Change the bushings and be prepared for the shudder.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-GvBpt3B/0/S/DSC9813-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-g3qZpbD/1/S/DSC9718DSC9718-S.jpg

Other preparation for this weekend includes: new Kumho V710s, upped the spring rates to 550F/250R, added a new set of Porterfield R4 pads and new rotors all the way around (the last track set of rotors and pads were well and truly thrashed). The guys also reinstalled the front brake ducting for use at the GTA event.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-kKSrKCq/1/S/DSC9698DSC9698-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-VQZg2s3/1/S/DSC9735DSC9735-S.jpg

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Whiteline-Suspension/i-PRs73NR/1/S/DSC9311DSC9311-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Whiteline-Suspension/i-6dtSpvh/1/S/DSC9301DSC9301-S.jpg

What's Next?

We are loading the 2011 Mustang into our trailer now for the tow out to Texas Motor Speedway on Friday and Saturday for the Global Time Attack event. There will also be some XTC drift event running on the same course (separate heats, thankfully!) and the whole "Hot Import Nights" show/circus/scene going on. We are told to expect a big crowd for all of that and they will be doing a live webcast on the GTA website.

Sunday we are loading up and heading to the Dallas Dragway in Crandall, TX. This is the new, preferred autocross site that the Texas Region SCCA is using for Solo events. We can't wait carve some corners and dodge cones at this new concrete site. I will post a new update next week in this thread about the event.

Also, I will start a whole new thread on our 2013 Mustang GT ESP build. Why a second thread? Well... we discussed it and the 2013 build will be a lot different from this 2011 build. The 2011 was a real test mule for us and we ran it in a variety of events and classes, from NASA TTB to TTS, and SCCA STX to ESP, as well as street driving and the Optima Challenge and more. I like the fact that the 2011 can do a little bit of everything pretty well, but I want to WIN the ESP class next year. That will take a completely different build, a different mindset, and a different car. It is also not really a "test mule" type of build, so it will get its own build thread.

What else... NASA has a race weekend at ECR on October 6-7th, where we will run the 2011 GT in TTS and the 2001 BMW 330Ci in TTD. Then there's another Five Star Ford of Plano sponsored open track day at ECR on November 11th, which we will be at in the 2011 GT.

Don't worry - the 2011 GT will continue on it's own adventures, chronicled in this thread. Meanwhile here's a taste of what we have in store for the 2013 GT:


The one-off flares above are no longer available... but we will make something similar for the 2013. Gotta clear those bigger Hoosiers!

Stay tuned!

08-16-2013, 04:24 PM
Project Update for October 4, 2012: I am a couple of weeks behind on updates, so let's catch up on the 2011 Mustang's latest racing events and changes.

New Suspension Parts & Tweaks

I talked about most of the pre-GTA weekend preparation in my last post (brake pads, rotors, tires) and showed pictures of more stuff, but forgot to talk about the other mods. Whiteline had sent us some additional products to test at Global Time Attack, namely their tubular and adjustable Lower Control Arms with Synthetic Elastomer bushings and a pair of their bolt-on LCA relocation brackets. The LCA relocation brackets are an attempt to fix the rear anti-squat geometry on lowered S197 Mustangs and we wanted to see how this worked in both track and autocross conditions. The Lower Control Arms themselves replace the stamped steel stock pieces, which have big smooshy rubber bushings. For GTA there were no real rules or points to worry about, so we figured we'd give it a try. Long term they will probably stay on the red 2011 Mustang, since we're building the black 2013 GT for dedicated ESP autocross use. For the NASA Time Trial class, we are running the red car in TTS, which means we no longer have to worry about tallying modification points. Pretty much the sky is the limit (TTS/R/U classes mostly revolve around power-to-weight ratios and tire compound).


The new parts are shown installed above. We are now working with the existing Whiteline Watts Link kit, Whiteline Upper Control Arm and Mount, and Whiteline Front and Rear Adjustable Sway Bars + End Links, for a package covering 100% of their S197 Whiteline catalog. We have recently updated our S197 suspension products page (http://www.vorshlag.com/index.php?cPath=141_142_179) page to show all of these items along with the Whiteline Adjustable Panhard Bar, and we already stock and have sold some of these at Vorshlag. A lot of these parts were just released this past month and they made it on our website as soon as pricing was available. We are really liking what they have and I'm glad we picked up the Whiteline dealership (that's the last of the sales-y stuff, I promise!)


Other changes for this weekend of racing include a switch back to Kumho V710 rubber from Hoosier A6. Most people know the Hoosier DOT tire line-up: The R6 is more suited to track use (can withstand longer stints and more heat) and the A6 is for autocross use (heat up quickly, but tend to overheat on longer stints). The V710 is sort of like an R6, so we picked up and mounted two fresh Kumho's in 315/35/18 and ran two of our old Kumho's that have seen a lot of autocross & track use. These two older tires "looked" OK (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-wfpJV59/0/M/DSC4429-M.jpg) and I didn't want to drop $1600 on a whole new set of Kumho's after just getting back from Nationals and dropping $1600 on that set of A6's (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-mvWMxNX/1/M/DSC2035DSC2035-M.jpg) (which still looked pretty good, too - definitely worth running at a few more autocrosses).


Lastly, we upgraded spring rates due to the excessive lean we were seeing on the A6's at the Solo Nationals on that grippy concrete. These pictures really amplified how softly we have the car sprung and how little experience we have with the car in ESP use. I think we had four months of ESP preparation before Nationals? Compared to the 1.5 years we spent in STX on street tires, where the old, softer rates worked very well.

In the front we went to 550#/in Hyperco springs, up from the previous 450#/in rates. To match this change up front, we stiffened the rear rates from 175#/in to 250#/in, also Hyperco springs. We adjusted the sway bar settings a bit as well, on a hunch. With the normal track preparation came the rear trunk swap, ridiculously tall rear wing, fluids, inspection, and all of that. We loaded up and were ready to head out to Texas Motor Speedway for early Friday morning, as the GTA event was Friday and Saturday.

Global Time Attack, 9/21 to 9/22, TMS

TMS Infield Course Map

Results: http://www.globaltimeattack.com/2012-rd-5-texas-motor-speedway-sep-21-22-2012/
Picture and Video gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Global-Time-Attack-TMS-092112/
Moto-IQ Write-up: http://www.motoiq.com/magazine_articles/id/2724/global-time-attack--round-5--texas-edition.aspx

We arrived at TMS at 7 am Friday morning, with Ryan and Brandon from the shop accompanying me for track-side support and event photography. It was a work day so we didn't expect too many spectators, but we saw a few hundred there - to watch the XTC drift guys...


There is a lot more like that in our picture gallery for this event, linked above, if this is your thing. After looking at what they have to do to these cars ... it is just too much for me to process. They are a unique animal with preparation all their own. I respect their car control and I will leave it at that. Well...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Global-Time-Attack-TMS-092112/i-8kF4gmv/6/S/DSC2224-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Global-Time-Attack-TMS-092112/i-Ck4bLJf/2/S/DSC2209-S.jpg

The drifters did spend a lot of time off track and drug all manner of dirt and crap onto the racing line that the Time Attack drivers had to deal with. Luckily the TMS track workers cleaned up pretty well after each XTC session, before GTA took to the track. Pretty well. I am glad XTC worked with GTA (and Hot Import Nights) to get this joint-event to happen. So that's all I'm going to talk about the drifting.


We grabbed a prime paddock spot for the trailer, unloaded the car, set up our sun shade, dragged out the compressor, generator, and cooler and put out half a dozen chairs. Then we aired up the tires and wired up the video camera and AIM SOLO. NASA New Mexico sanctioned this event, so already having a NASA Log Book and Annual TT Tech for the car helped me breeze through tech inspection.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Global-Time-Attack-TMS-092112/i-3BKn6KL/5/S/DSC9846-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Global-Time-Attack-TMS-092112/i-Wp6GNPF/5/S/DSC9841-S.jpg

KenO was there in his E46M3 "TTB" street car and he helped me set-up the AIM and get a beacon set for start/finish. We went to registration when the GTA guys arrived, picked up all of our stickers, and got to work getting the proper decals applied. Ken showed me a trick to "remove some stick" from the big number board decals, since they needed to come off Sunday for the SCCA Autocross. Stick it on and pull it off your shirt a few times, then stick it on the car. Worked great!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Global-Time-Attack-TMS-092112/i-C7JNK5t/3/S/IMG6180-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Global-Time-Attack-TMS-092112/i-vn7z5VC/1/S/DSC1673-S.jpg
Left: KenO in the Enthusiast RWD winning E46 M3. Right: Me hand signaling Ken, "asking for a pass".

Ken was also a big help teaching me the proper line around this track, as he was the only driver entered who had ever run this 1.36 mile infield course (the "red" one in the track map below) in anger, driving in Corvettes at some driving school thing. I had run some of this course at a few Texas Region SCCA autocrosses, but that was MUCH slower, with slaloms on the main straight and weird offsets in all of the fast parts. After making a couple of recon laps, I realized my autocross experience on this layout helped me -0-. I did some lead follows behind Ken in the first day's second session and figured out where I was screwing up, royally. Then by the second day Ken's TTB E46 M3 on street tires was all kinds of in my way. :P

more below...

08-16-2013, 04:24 PM
continued from above

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Global-Time-Attack-TMS-092112/i-WMKC8D5/0/M/Day1Session3-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Global-Time-Attack-TMS-092112/25502108_Mt6CqK#!i=2130840349&k=WMKC8D5&lb=1&s=A)
In-car video from Day 1, Session 3 laps... best of 40.66 seconds.

The track layout looked simple enough - eight turns and very little camber change, but with the ample rumble strips and high speed offsets it was pretty tricky. Many GTA drivers had offs and there was even one pretty good sized crash (Mustang lost brakes and backed into a tire barrier, totaling the car). Ken and I were pounding out 15-20+ laps in each twenty minute GTA session, whereas the other Time Attack series regulars would take three lap stints and call it quits (warm up, hot lap, cool down). And when you see the insane turbo cars that GTA caters to, it kind of makes sense. In their unusual categories they have Enthusiast, Street, Limited, and Unlimited, with further FWD/AWD/RWD segregation in each class.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Global-Time-Attack-TMS-092112/i-TfN228Q/5/S/DSC2517-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Global-Time-Attack-TMS-092112/i-b7FCBcd/5/S/DSC2568-S.jpg
The Unlimited AWD and Overall winner, GST's "Subaru" with 670 whp and 2500 pounds with a composite body and lots of aero.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Global-Time-Attack-TMS-092112/i-ncB7wZk/5/S/DSC2567-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Global-Time-Attack-TMS-092112/i-rqT5wv5/5/S/DSC2573-S.jpg
Showing the GST's rear mounted radiator and diffuser, plus the massive driver & controls setback.

So what moves you up a class? Your tires. Almost 100% of the rules revolved around tire treadwear, something I have never seen before. That meant that the even the lowest preparation level Street & Enthusiast cars running on 140+ treadwear tires still had 600whp or more. I'm not making this up - these GTA cars are no joke when it comes to power. There isn't much difference in preparation/power from there to Limited and Unlimited, just the tire compounds. Limited was 60-140 TW and Unlimited was 0-60 TW. What did I bring? 40 treadwear Kumho V710s, which moved me all the way to Unlimited RWD. In a street car that weighs 3540 pounds... oh boy.


Well nobody else showed in Unlimited RWD, so I had a class to myself. But that meant there would be no payout for a win either. Still, I wanted to compare my times to the overall fastest, if I could be close. Surprisingly Ken and I weren't doing half bad on the first day, with the 2nd and 3rd fastest times in the earlier sessions (we ran more laps per session and I guess figured the course out sooner?). By the end of day one, I had fallen to 4th quickest time overall. The Mustang was VERY loose on all corners and I was chasing the set-up all day. Turns out all of these handling complications were from the tires. Two new tires up front overpowering the very worn out rears. I'm such a dummy... I know better than to run old tires with new tires!


After a big delay getting into the gate at TMS (they wanted to keep us out until 10 am!), we finally got back inside by 9:15am for the Saturday portion of the GTA event. I had stopped by the shop and grabbed the used 315/30/18 Hoosier A6's that Amy and I had run at the Solo Nationals a couple of weeks earlier. They were half gone, but still in better shape than the rear Kumho's, and laughably the A6's had a higher treadwear than the V710's! (using treadwear as an indicator of grip is a mistake, IMHO). So we were going to ask the "tire guys" that follow the GTA circuit to swap tires on the Forgestar wheels for us, but their machine would have trashed the lips.


Ed and JasomM instead took the wheels to a local Discount Tire, swapped the V710's for the A6's, and made it back with six minutes to go before our first session of the day. With air tools, two jacks, and many hands we got the wheels bolted on and took to the track in time to get in some quick laps.

I made three laps, came into the hot pits for a tire bleed... nobody was there. Crap! Drove into the paddock, bled the tires down, then had to wait in line to get back on track (since I left the hot pits). I finally made it back out and within a few laps I had busted off some 39 second runs. Woo! That was my goal - break into the 39's and I did it in the first session. I did another four or five 39 second laps just to make sure, then I came in. My original goal was once I ducked under a 40 second lap, I was going to stop for the day and try to preserve these semi-fresh A6's for some additional autocross use later this year, before we switch to the 2013 GT for our ESP thrills.

I felt great and was thinking I was sitting in 3rd place overall, against some crazy ass race cars. The GTA crew didn't have the official times displayed for another hour and right before session two was about to start, the printout was displayed for session one... and my name was nowhere to be found. WTF?!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Global-Time-Attack-TMS-092112/i-hDfL8jL/0/M/Day2Session1B-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Global-Time-Attack-TMS-092112/25502108_Mt6CqK#!i=2130839533&k=hDfL8jL&lb=1&s=A)
In-car video from my Day 2, Session 1B runs... which don't count, because the transponder was tuned off!

Oh no.... (lightbulb) Oh no! I quickly ran to the car, opened the hood, and immediately realized that I screwed up and left the wired AMB transponder turned off for the entire first session! GRRR! I was so mad at myself and had wasted the only cool track session on the A6's we would have that day. You see I had turned the transponder off overnight, while the car was parked in the trailer, to save the car battery. So none of my 39 second runs were timed by the GTA folks and I only had my in-car AIM Solo to go by. Well crap.

Then the transponder switch, which is backlit when "On", started flickering. Then it went off right before my eyes. I tapped it and it came back on. Tapped it again and it went off. The switch was dying?! So Ed quickly hot-wired the transponder literally seconds before the second session started. I got at the front of the line and waited. And waited. After 10 minutes they told us that a car had gone off and hit a tire barrier, and the flat bed was bringing it in.


Yeeesh, that looked ugly. The driver was fine, but the car was toast. The clean-up took the entire 20 minutes and the second session was cancelled. Meanwhile the temperatures climbed from the high 70's into the high 90's and we had our 1.5 hour lunch break. The whole crew piled into the MegaCab and we got some food a few exits down the highway. I was fit to be tied as I watched the temperatures climb. Matching that 39 second time seemed impossible as the track temps crept up past 120F, but I was bound and determined to get a sub 40 second lap. We got back from eating and I went out in session three and started using every inch of the track. Here's some of the last laps in that session, where I finally cracked off two 39 second laps! This was after three previous sets of three laps that resulted in a best of only 40.12 seconds. Whew!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Global-Time-Attack-TMS-092112/i-9LC66kC/0/M/Day2Session3-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Global-Time-Attack-TMS-092112/25502108_Mt6CqK#!i=2130985221&k=9LC66kC&lb=1&s=A)

That took everything I had and as you can see in the video, I was using the "Green Line" - with the inside two tires over the lipstick stripe and maybe even a tiny bit on the grass. Hey, we asked in the driver's meeting and they said "only one wheel has to be inside the lipstick", so I keep eeking wider and making my line at the start/finish offset straighter, and wasn't using as much "green" as one particular driver who shall remain nameless (cough... Ken... cough). I never got all four off (which would result in a DSQ for the entire session) and managed to squeak a couple of high 39 second laps in, with the results showing a best lap of 39.975 seconds. It wasn't as quick as I ran in the morning, even when I was taking no chances and barely touching the lipstick, but it was sub-40 and I was happy with that. The ambient temperatures were 100F and I knew I wasn't going to find more than a tenth better lap than that, with as overheated as I and the tires were both getting.


continued below

08-16-2013, 04:26 PM
continued from above

We came in and let the car cool off and the crew started breaking down the trailer equipment while I walked the Hot Import Nights car show area quickly. Wow... I cannot describe this scene at all. I felt like I was on another planet. Cars with 15 degrees of negative camber, "poking" and "tucking" and "thumping". I don't "get it", none of it, so I guess that means I am getting too old. I did see the local Enkei rep and got to talk about upcoming new wheels for the FR-S/BRZ twins, which was cool. By the time I had made a lap of the HIN show, the Mustang had the spoiler installed in place of the wing, was loaded in the trailer, and the sun shade was rolled up. I talked briefly with the Mustang driver that wrecked and had the worst kind of day, then we rolled out by 3:30pm. I wish I would have stuck around for the 7pm awards ceremony, complete with video/pictures/champagne, but Amy and I had another day of racing on Sunday and we needed to go home and collapse. We used that saved 3.5 hours to catch some ZZZZs.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Global-Time-Attack-TMS-092112/i-rM6qZzd/2/S/DSC2214-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Global-Time-Attack-TMS-092112/i-6Lkp3hq/1/S/DSC2221-S.jpg

(Continued from above)

Overall, the GTA event was intense and a lot of fun. We had a crowd watching and cheering, which is rare at any track event, even if they were mostly there to see the drifters (and I gave them some of that on Friday). I got to meet some cool racers, talked face-to-face with more of the Whiteline folks, did a video interview for them, and just had a great time. Before this event I was worried that I would be super slow and way off the pace, but the big 3500 pound Mustang did all right, placing 5th fastest overall and one of only five cars to break the 40 second lap barrier.

For the "class of one win" I banked $300 of Whiteline product credit, a pair of Oakley Sunglasses from FIAT, and get to go down in the record books as the Unlimited RWD track record holder for TMS (shrug). Congrats to AST/Vorshlag Tester KenO for his big win in Enthusiast RWD (he banked $800 in contingencies and the free sunglasses, too). Another local NASA TT racer with Vorshlag camber plates, Jeff Tan, managed to win Enthusiast AWD in his EVO X, also netting $800 in contingencies. I gotta give a big thanks to all the folks who came out to help crew - Ryan and Brandon on Friday, and Amy, Ed, Jason and PaulM on Saturday. The car was rock solid and had zero drama, doing nothing more than eating fuel and gobbling up more track miles.

SCCA Autocross, Dallas Raceway, 9/23

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-092312/i-LJpPb9g/2/S/DSC4908-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-092312/i-NK6Nk2B/2/S/DSC4922-S.jpg

After two days of brutal heat (99F), we were now supposed to spend a third day in the same heat at an autocross. These three day race weekends never work well for me and this time was no exception. Because we were already fried, we left the house late and arrived behind schedule, limiting us to one quick walk-through on a very complicated, busy, poorly flowing course (sorry JJ!) on a brand new event site that we were unfamiliar with. The site has drainage down the middle that fills with water and then algae, and this section is SLICKER THAN SNOT. The course that day crossed this section on the outside of a corner in an acceleration zone, which made for tail-happy driftoro. Then it got into it again during a heavy braking zone at the start of a tight slalom, which caught me out again many times.

Results: http://texasscca.org/2012_solo_results/tr12_7_final.htm#ESP
PAX results: http://texasscca.org/2012_solo_results/tr12_7_final.htm#ESP
Picture & Video Gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-092312/

Can you tell I'm setting this up with low expectations? After the wing was swapped for the spoiler (end of day Saturday at TMS), we kept the now well abused A6's on the car and just ran it in ESP as-is. Barely had time to adjust tire pressures and then we had to work first heat. I was the announcer and Amy worked the computer, which tends to run a bit long. We had to run over and grab the car and our gear, then hustle to get into the "two driver lane" in the very compressed grid area. By the time we pulled up they wanted us to run, so I hopped in and took a run. And promptly DNF'd.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-092312/i-Z4PfjpL/2/S/DSC4921-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-092312/i-N5qjc2h/2/S/DSC4972-S.jpg

OMG it was slick and the course was very ... quirky. Nothing flowed well, you came into turns all crossed up and pointing the wrong way, and the slaloms were tight. The 180 turn-arounds were also tight tight tight for this big car and I was fighting the course and the car all day. The "slick patches" also caught me out badly on four of my five runs. On my first run, the car got so crossed up that when it hooked up, it kicked the steering wheel back FAST. My thumb hooked on a spoke and when the wheel kicked back it ripped my hand so hard it damn near broke my left wrist. Two weeks later and it still hurts. So I finished my first run one handed and favored my right hand all day for driving. Excuses ... I gots em!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-092312/i-TQdkvd4/0/M/TerryRun3-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-092312/25575669_LqDwXL#!i=2129243059&k=TQdkvd4&lb=1&s=A)
In-car video of my 3rd run is linked above, with ample mistakes.

We also had to rush rush rush to get the driver & numbers switched and barely had time to check tire pressures and spray them a bit to cool them off (it was HOT). Luckily Ed from Pirtek was there and helped us after every run. And who else was running at this event? None other than Jason McCall and his BMW Z3M LS1, which made its debut race at this event!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-092312/i-tFzDrNt/2/S/DSC4926-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-092312/i-n7fnbsw/2/S/DSC4945-S.jpg
Jason McCall's Z3M LS1 - It Lives!!!!

continued below...

08-16-2013, 04:27 PM
last one...

Long story short, I drove like crap and wasn't well prepared for this event. Our 8 time ESP National Champion, Mark Madarash, was there in his flyweight Firebird and he schooled the entire ESP class, taking the win and setting Top PAX for the event as well, using only four of his allotted five runs. I fumbled my way through all five runs - getting lost, blowing corners, late into slaloms, DNF'd, double-apexing turns, and generally driving like a total ass hat. On my fifth run I almost put one together, but still lost the brake booster into two turns and blew my lines. Would I have caught Madarash with a miracle hero run? Probably wasn't going to happen, even with a better driver. Our Mustang is still 400 pounds too heavy and needs a lot more to keep up with that proven ESP winner.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-092312/i-QtZ9GQp/2/S/DSC4951-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-092312/i-Kv6WZ3j/2/S/DSC4953-S.jpg

The issues we had were also too numerous to count. The brake booster assist failure cropped up for me on all five runs, so that lovely problem has returned. We have yet another replacement vacuum check valve coming from Ford (and another as a spare!) as this seemed to fix the problem after the Optima event in June, where it was a big hindrance.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-092312/i-6GZkfQm/0/M/TerryRun5-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-092312/25575669_LqDwXL#!i=2129098898&k=6GZkfQm&lb=1&s=A)
In-car from my 5th and fastest run is linked above. It is still terrible.

Might not seem like a big deal - losing the vacuum assist - but in this car when the booster goes away, suddenly it really throws you for a loop and blows your concentration. The pedal works fine, but after a long straight with high rpm usage it would intermittently lose assist and you felt like you were stepping on a brick, the pedal doesn't move, and the car won't stop. It wasn't consistent, but it did happen to me on every run.

Looks like much less lean here than at Nationals thanks to the new, stiffer spring rates.

When this happened at the Optima Challenge I luckily had a dozen autocross runs to put one together, and many laps on track to adjust my braking zones. You have to press the brake pedal with both feet and PULL on the steering wheel to get enough pedal movement to stop. It was exhausting at ECR back in June, but after we replaced the check valve in the booster it went away completely at the next ECR event in late June. So... just like the S197 front wheel hubs (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-hRBbGJN/0/M/DSC9256-M.jpg) (we're on the third set in two years), the vacuum booster check valve has become a wear item, with spares to be kept in the race trailer. Live and learn.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-092312/i-9r8MnLD/0/M/AmyRun5-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-092312/25575669_LqDwXL#!i=2129098758&k=9r8MnLD&lb=1&s=A)
Amy's 5th and fastest run is linked above.

Amy had a pretty good day, finishing third in class and 25th out of 126 in PAX, but she was a solid 1.4 seconds back from me. Just not driving aggressively enough? She got caught out by the slick spots and slalom timing on her best run also, but as always she still looks a lot smoother and cleaner than my hack driving runs. She is adjusting from street tire to R compound grip, slowly but surely. We need to keep getting her more and more seat time - when we all ran in STU for years she would regularly be on the same half second as Brian and I.

I think I need to avoid racing on three consecutive 100 degree days. I never do well in that type of prolonged heat. By Sunday I was sporting a massive headache and muscle aches, which meant I was low on water and salts. Stupid mistakes were abundant. As well as I felt that I drove on Friday and Saturday, I more than made up for it on Sunday with terrible driving. I really wanted to run GTA and this SCCA event, but probably shouldn't have done both.

What's Next?

This weekend, October 6th-7th, is the annual NASA race weekend at Eagles Canyon Raceway - which is what I consider my "home track". We had planned on running the red 2011 GT in TTS and the blue BMW E46 330Ci in TTD, but alas, the painter was delayed and the E46 will not be ready in time. Sucks, because we had run times 3+ seconds quicker than the old record (set by Costas in this same BMW in 2010, on street tires) with the 285 Hoosier R6s we can run in that class. Oh well, we will run the black 2013 GT in TTB (and get slaughtered) and the red 2011 GT in TTS and just have fun. I could get lucky and beat the existing TTS record at ECR (1:58.2), as I ran almost that quick back in June on the old Kumho's with the steering shudder and the old clanking PHB, but who knows? If fast Corvettes show up or the existing 350Z record holder are there, I'm sure they will be shooting to beat that record, too.

After the NASA weekend is a SCCA Club Race and PDX event on October 13th-14th. We had entered both Mustangs for that HPDE-like event, but will likely run the 2011 and the blue BMW there instead. Once the blue BMW gets back from its fresh paint job and gets some on-track laps/video/data, we will put it up for sale. We never drive this car and with seven cars and only room for six at our home garage, we need to "reduce the fleet".

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-pnPnXdZ/0/S/DSC3150-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-MCdB78C/0/S/DSC5079-S.jpg

I also have to get caught up on some pictures and text for the initial 2013 GT "ESP" thread. We have already done a lot of weighing and planning, parts are some coming, we have 18x10s on the car, and camber plates are going on today.

More soon!

08-16-2013, 04:28 PM
Project Update for Oct 11, 2012: We drove both the 2011 and 2013 Mustang GT's at last weekend's NASA Time Trial event at Eagles canyon Raceway (ECR). I had planned to wait after this coming weekend's SCCA Club Race/PDX event but they cancelled it, so I will share what we have learned now instead. I'm still writing the 2013's first post in its own thread, but it is coming soon. We also did some dyno pulls on both Mustangs and the 2013 BRZ yesterday at True Street Motorsports, so I can share those as well.

Pre-Race Prep

As mentioned in my last post the '11 GT needed surprisingly little prep before this NASA race weekend. We had just run it at the Global Time Attack and a local autocross just 2 weeks prior and all of the then newly added Whiteline rear suspension bits were working perfectly - and with two weeks of silent street use we were all smiles. Other than two more new Kumho V710 tires, an oil/filter change, and the swap back to the winged trunk and race tires, it was an easy prep.


That shot above shows all of the Whiteline goodies. These changes + the slight bump in spring rates are all that were different from the car in June when we ran ECR and I knocked off a 1:58.2 lap, using Hanchey's AIM Solo in-car lap timer. We were back to running Kumhos again, and otherwise on the same suspension (Motons + Vorshlag plates) and running the same power level (430 whp) and aero (our custom mega wing + LS splitter).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-pnPnXdZ/0/S/DSC3150-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-bSC4bjh/0/S/DSC5052-S.jpg

The black '13 GT, however, needed much more track prep help - but we only had one day to do it, with the sudden change of schdule on our E46 BMW. While the '13 started out life 45 pounds lighter than the '11, it was much less equipped, and missing the much-loved 14" front Brembo brake package - which also includes wider wheels, and different shocks/bars/springs (we think). We had planned on taking our 2001 BMW E46 330Ci to run at ECR in the TTD class, but our painter needed more time so the car wasn't going to be ready, so we hurriedly put the 2013 GT into some sort of track-ready form.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-jn7z5hB/1/S/42MG5222-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-sDngLkQ/1/S/48MG5247-S.jpg

It was still bone stock, with the craptastic 235/50/18 all seasons, 18x8" wheels, stock non-Brembo brakes, stock pads/brake fluid, and stock base GT suspension (which I think is different than the shocks/bars that come on the Brembo equipped cars). I couldn't bare to run this car this stock, as it would shred the tires and be laughably slow, so we threw some parts at it on the Friday before the event. A set of Vorshlag camber plates took the front camber from 0 to -1.7 (with lowering springs the max negative number is closer to -2.8), threw the old Eibach front bar from the 2011 on, and slapped on a set of our Vorshlag 18x10" wheels and that old set of 295/35/18 Nitto NT-05s that I ran at the Optima Challenge.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-GJRCsDD/0/S/DSC5060-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-CHxgtJH/0/S/DSC5048-S.jpg

As you can see, switching from the skinny 8" wide wheels and 235mm tires to the 10" wide D-Force wheels and 295mm Nittos actually helped the car lose over 27 pounds of unsprung weight/rotational inertia. That is a huge win, but the +60mm of tire should add more grip, too. The crew here tried to convince me to get a set of track-worthy pads for the '13, but I veto'd the idea, as we are chucking the whole stock brake set-up into the trash very soon and I didn't want to waste $300+ on track-worthy pads for a single event. I said "Hey, they are 13" front brakes, how bad could they be?!" I also blew off flushing out the stock brake fluid with some better Motul RBF600 that we stock and sell. Turns out those were two crucial errors in judgement on my part...

NASA @ ECR, Saturday Oct 6

We loaded up the '11 in the trailer Friday night. JasonM made new number and class graphics for both cars and we applied those at about 6 pm - right as the weather went from 80F and sunny to COLD and overcast. Uh-oh... the forecast looked bleak but I towed the trailer out to ECR early Saturday morning, with Amy following me in the '13. Had to park in the gravel as the place was packed with NASA racers (something the SCCA club racers are sorely missing - more on that in a minute). The HPDE groups were loaded up, as was the Time Trial group, and three big W2W race groups. Pretty good, considering the crap weather and late event date in the year (over a month after the NASA Nationals).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-BDG7rPv/2/S/DSC5168-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-kbqprNs/1/S/DSC5166-S.jpg

We quickly unloaded and fueled up the 2011 and got our butts to grid. Amy was the lucky driver of the 2011 on Saturday and she ran in the TTS class against a very well prepped C5 Z06, an S197 Mustang AI car with big aero on Hoosiers, and many other quick TT racers. I was the unlucky schlub in the 2013 GT for the day, woefully under-prepped for TTB class - running against TTB fiend KenO and his Vorshlag/AST sponsored E46 M3; he already owned the previous TTB ECR track record at a 1:59.8, which he reset this past weekend by over a second - and he drives the car to and from the track, with a full interior. Anything sub-2 minute is QUICK at this track, too.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-CC3Gw9Z/0/S/2012-10-0595125139-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-ZW3nCcc/0/S/DSC5162-S.jpg

Let me back up a second - before the Saturday TT event even began I heard about a fellow TT competitor that crashed coming out of Turn 4 on Friday's practice event. A little tank slapper off into a 2000 pound hay bale that pretty much totaled the right side of this EVO X. So that's two totaled cars in two weeks from local Time Trial competitors - the Mustang at GTA and this EVO here. That sucks, but this is what can happen when you track a car at 10/10ths (or 11/10ths?) Don't forget the potential consequences, and don't short change your own personal safety. Luckily this driver also walked away unharmed, just lighter in the wallet. :(

Our Previous Lap Times at ECR

So back in early June I ran a 2:03.9 at the Optima Challenge on the 295mm NT-05 street tires, bitching about tires the entire time. The rears would overheat on the '11 within half a lap and I had to baby the throttle everywhere. That was with all of the same aero and the Moton Club Sports but an aftermarket PHB and the softer 450/175# spring rates. Then when we went back in June 23rd at the Five Star Ford track day I ran the big 315mm Kumho V710s, but otherwise the same suspension and aero, and turned a best lap of 1:58.2. Both June events had ambient temps exceeding 100F. That 1:58 time in June was actually faster than the old track record for NASA TTS class, which was a 1:58.4, set in 2011. So we had thought all either Amy or I had to do was match or better that time from June and we could set a new track record in our street driven Mustang.

continued below...

08-16-2013, 04:28 PM
continued from above


Amy went out in the first session, and in the Texas NASA Region the 1st TT session on Saturday doesn't count for the competition, only for gridding the cars in order of speed for Session 2. Kind of weird, but we all know it. Normally the quickest times happen early in the day, like this first session, due to excessive track temps. But this day was COLD, and it only varied from 47-50F during both days, so track temp wasn't a problem!
She went out and busted off a 2:01 in her first session, which wasn't bad. Then in the 2nd session (or the first one that counted for competition), with no changes other than driving she popped off a 1:58.8!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-qzjpQVC/0/M/AmyDay1Session2-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/25815746_MpS49F#!i=2143640816&k=qzjpQVC&lb=1&s=A)
Amy's best lap in TT session 2, at a 1:58.8

I was floored. She was leading TTS class over some other TTS drivers in real race cars, but in this overweight full street car. I asked her what she did different and she said "I pushed it a LOT harder!" She got out of the car shaking a little but with the BIGGEST smile I've ever seen. Oh man she was HOOKED on R compounds now. This was by far the fastest I've ever seen her run on a road course, and come to find out it was her very first time racing this car on R-compound tires on a road course (I kinda hogged the car at the previous events where we ran sticky tires). "I want some more..."

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-Z7h8WXd/2/S/DSC5188-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-ZV4vBRX/2/S/DSC5192-S.jpg

After her second session we made some lunch, then she hit the track again in session 3, but she only managed a 1:59 lap. We talked to Mike Patterson at lunch about a ride-along for some pointers for her. Mike is a long time AI racer, NASA race director, and one of the gurus at Moton/AST-USA. They went out in an HPDE3 session right after TT session 3 with Mike riding shotgun, giving her advice.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-68ktjZf/2/S/DSC5217-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-jjxvc5T/1/S/DSC5216-S.jpg

He knows pony cars and this track very well, and showed her a few places to tweak her line, where to track out farther, and some places to brake a tick later in the high speed braking zones. But overall he was impressed with her smoothness, ability to take advice and alter her driving quickly, and the car's lap times. He also raved at how well our 2011 GT soaked up some of the more notorious bumps at ECR, stating "That's the best handling street car I've ever ridden through turn 8 in at this track!" Gotta give credit to his own shop's custom Moton shocks (with DDP pistons + custom valving), and the new Whiteline S197 suspension bits.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-gXNvCk2/2/S/DSC5214-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-d5m3BKq/1/S/DSC5207-S.jpg

So after this 4th session for her that day she went back to the trailer and we fueled up the 2011 once again. She was ready to try some of the new tricks Mike taught her in TT session 4, and the weather was still chilly but otherwise conditions were unchanged. Her main rival in TTS for the day was in a yellow C5 Z06 Corvette had just busted off a 1:57.5 but she felt she still had some left and was going for it....

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-sxtTcFC/1/S/IMG6230-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-qgpTrmN/1/S/IMG6233-S.jpg

During her warm-up lap I saw her arm go up, signaling "pit in", and she came into immediately to the hot pits. I went over to see what was up and she said the rear brakes were making a horrendous noise - and I looked at the rotors, and both were split! It probably happened between her 4th session on track while the car parked down at our trailer, sitting in the cold wind cooling down. We had heard a slight noise going up to grid in TT session 4, so I got out, walked next to the car, and listened... then it went away. Couldn't see anything. But as soon as she braked hard once on her warm-up lap the rotor splits opened up. Just a single half speed lap like this wiped out the nearly new rear Porterfield R4 pads, too.

Saturday TT Results: http://www.nasatx.com/resultspoints/2012Results/ECR_Oct_6_Saturday_TT.pdf
Vorshlag Photo and Video Gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/

We quickly put the car in the trailer and bombed back across town to Vorshlag. Ryan met us at the shop with a pair of new rear rotors he picked up at O'Reilys and he swapped those + some used Porterfield R4S pads we typically used for autocrossing/street use, just on the back. The front 14" brake rotors and pads looked fine. We reloaded the car and got some sleep.

How About the 2013 in TTB?

Yea, about that. Well we had nobody there shooting pictures for us all day Saturday, so I don't have any "action pics" in the '13, and with only one video camera we didn't get in in-car vids of the '13 either. That's probably all for the best, as it was pretty terrible on track. I cannot describe in words how awful this car turned and braked. It was rather remarkable. Sure, the 5.0 Coyote V8 made boatloads of power, and the NT-05 tires worked "OK" in these frigid conditions (finally didn't overheat!), but the brakes were atrocious and the handling is best described as "boat like".

ECR is a little bumpy. OK, it is a lot bumpy, but with good shocks on our various track cars (ASTs or Motons) we don't notice the surface humps, heaves and bumps at this track almost at all. This 2013 GT was on the OEM shocks, and I'd swear they were 200,000 mile blown shocks and struts if I hadn't seen the odometer reading 600 miles with my own eyes. The front end was porpoising up and down about a foot all down the back straight. Even the corner workers we talked to at lunch remarked at how bouncy and floaty the car looked. First session best time was only a 2:10, but that session doesn't count for times.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-RqMkPPT/2/S/DSC5211-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-RJMV2rL/1/S/IMG6221-S.jpg

Even with maxed out camber, which did help me from shredding the outside edges of the front tires, this car was a hot mess. Like driving a guided missile - all kinds of power, but with minimal turning and no way to stop. The handling was like this: it would turn in, then keep rolling, then bounce through the corners and flail around, seeing both top and bottom of suspension travel several times per corner. Just awful. The base GTs must have a set of noodle shocks and springs. And we even had an Eibach front bar set at full stiff, to try to fight this massive bodyroll. And big 295mm tires on the thing, up from 235s. It was all "lipstick on a pig" with the stock suspension, though. This car needs better shocks and springs BADLY.

By TT session 2 the base GT's 13.2" front brakes were going away quickly, and by that session I realized the brakes only had ONE hot lap in it at a time, then needed a really slow cool down lap to get the brakes to come back. I was braking the '13 a solid 50 to 100 feet sooner than in the '11 but it was still barely staying on track. And one time, it uh....didn't.

I was coming down the back straight in TT session 2 at what the (second, borrowed) AIM Solo later said was 115 mph. I go to brake for turn 7, down shifting from 5th to 3rd... but there were no brakes. Pumping madly, nothing happening. I could say I was still "getting a feel" for the stock pads and braking system but I was abusing the crap out of the car, to try to make better lap times due to the abysmal handling. It was too much and the front brakes just didn't have anything left. I won't blame the equipment, because I bought the car on purpose without the Brembos, then left the craptasic stock pads and fluid on there, then over-drove it; I have to blame myself for not having the forethought to replace these critical OEM bits + the extra abuse I was laying on the car.

So in TT session 2 on Saturday I went WAY off the end of the back straight, still doing about 80 mph, even though the entry speed is about 50 mph (according to the data I was doing 123 mph and slowing down to 51 mph in the '11 GT - lots of braking). The corner workers had a good laugh at lunch. "We thought that car would never stop!" I was a good 100 yards off in the dirt, but the tall and soft 4x4 stock suspension at least soaked the off-roading up well enough. Only evidence was a little stalk of grass in the grill, and otherwise zero damage. I got off lucky.

continued below

08-16-2013, 04:29 PM
continued from above

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-vvjKTKJ/1/S/IMG6222-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-kqhcKRn/1/S/IMG6220-S.jpg

Turns out the front brake pads were done by the end of TT session 3, as shown above. Went from brand new full depth OEM pads to a hair off the backing plates in three sessions. Half of the pad material seems to be sitting there inside the front wheels, where I parked after coming off track! Since we had no times in TT session 1, and I earned a big fat DSQ for TT session 2, I had to go out and nail down something in TT session 3. Surprisingly, with much attention paid to the quickly fading brakes, I nailed down three laps in the 2:07s with a best of 2:07.33. By then my nerves were as shot as the brakes and I changed my role for the rest of the day to "Amy's support crew". I finished 3rd out of 4 in class, well behind KenO's 1:58.678. Oh well, not very shocking... since the car had no shocks! :P

I am glad I got to experience the nearly bone stock '13 on track, so I can be better informed when I talk about how important suspension upgrades are for this S197 chassis. After running in the beautifully handling '11 GT all day, Amy had zero desire to drive the '13 on track for Sunday, so we drove it back to the shop, following the truck and trailer pulling the '11 in for rear rotor replacement.

NASA @ ECR, Sunday Oct 7

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-z8pjSQp/2/S/DSC5259-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-nZGqN54/3/S/DSC5247-S.jpg

Sunday TT Results: http://www.nasatx.com/resultspoints/2012Results/ECR_Oct_7_Sunday_TT.pdf

Sunday we pulled up back at the track and quickly unloaded the '11 GT. I was driving it that day and Amy was support for the day - but secretly she hoped for a session or two in the car. She was still REALLY pumped after tracking it all day Saturday. We put in a little fuel and got to grid in time. The weather was again 47F and warmed up to a balmy 50, with a little less wind than the day before - but still plenty cold. The schedule showed the same cars entered, with Michael Perkins TTS C5 Z06 the biggest threat, who won Saturday's TTS class with a best lap of 1:57.5. TTA was a good 2 seconds quicker that day, so I was worried that a certain EVO might jump up to TTS to reset the track record in this class - but they weren't listed in TTS (yet).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-2D4GHWG/2/S/DSC5248-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-PCgz3S7/2/S/DSC5255-S.jpg

I went out and pushed hard in Sunday's TT Session 1 (http://www.nasatx.com/events_results.php?mylaps=type,run,runid,2502295) and got a best lap of 1:57.354, and was the quickest TT car in the session. Out again in TT Session 2 (http://www.nasatx.com/events_results.php?mylaps=type,run,runid,2502296) and ran two nearly identical 1:57.14 laps, only a couple of tenths faster. Mike Perkins took his TTS Z06 to a 1:57.390, so it was close! I didn't know at the time (they didn't get his class right until session 3 results were posted) but Josh Dunn's TTA classed gutted EVO had jumped to TTS for Sunday and was already running a 1:56.471.

For TT Session 3 (http://www.nasatx.com/events_results.php?mylaps=type,run,runid,2502297) I pushed a bit harder in a few spots and managed two more 1:57.11's, with one of those watching the AIM having a Forecasted 1:55.8 lap, right until I put two tires off exiting corner 11 onto the front straight. GRR! I knew the car had a high 1:58 in it but I couldn't even break the 1:56s in three sessions, which was very frustrating. It was in this session that Josh Dunn had cinched the TTS class with a 1:55.326, and the results finally showed him in TTS, so I knew I was out of contention for the day. Oh well, I took to TT session 4 (http://www.nasatx.com/events_results.php?mylaps=type,run,runid,2502298) with a vengeance, determined to get that 1:56 lap, just to make that personal milestone.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-tMnNT7p/0/M/TerryDay2Session4-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/25815746_MpS49F#!i=2139866926&k=tMnNT7p&lb=1&s=A)
Click the image above to see in-car video of Terry's best lap of 1:56.33

So the two hot laps from TT session 4 in the video above were hectic. I passed 3 cars in traffic to a 1:56.9 lap, then had a semi-clear lap of a 1:56.343, with a car spinning off track in front of me (I lifted a bit there to make sure he wasn't coming back on track). I talked to the driver of the black TTS S197 Mustang, and it is a soon-to-be-AI car but he was running on Hoosiers, makes 400 whp with a 351W, and the car was about 200 pounds lighter than our '11. It looks like I was only catching him under braking, and most of that into turn 7.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-Time-Trial-Eagles-Canyon/ECR-Map-2-1-08/393436166_t9sFy-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-wLc6L2X/1/S/IMG6240-S.jpg

By the end of the weekend on Sunday Amy and I were both utterly exhausted, but we both felt really good about our lap times. She wanted one more shot at the car on Sunday but after seeing how close to a 1:56 I was she let me take all 4 sessions. For Sunday I finished 2nd place to the EVO, a full second back, oh well. I beat the old TTS track record by 2 full seconds, so damn the new record! :D A 1:56.3 is still pretty darned quick for a full weight street car with good suspension, some aero, and two engine bolt-ons, I feel. We have had a lot of racers tell us the same thing in the past week, too. Mark Smith reset the American Iron track record at ECR with a 1:59.848, in a Boss 302-S, for comparison. The best ECR lap I had run prior to this was way back in 2008 in the E36 LS1 Alpha car, with a 1:57.2 in a gutted 2500 pound BMW with the same 315mm R compounds. We discussed our lap times and any ways to improve them in this car over excellent TexMex food from Fuzzy's Taco Shop in Sanger, TX, located at the interstate outside of ECR. This is the perfect post-race meal!

continued below

08-16-2013, 04:30 PM
continued from above

Explain The Gains

What made the 2 second improvement in this car since June 23rd? That is a BIG jump in time for a car that is otherwise unchanged, and one that we have driven so much at this track (I am not really "learning to drive the track better", having made many hundreds of laps here in the past five years). The only changes to the 2011 GT since our 1:58 laps were the slight bump in spring rates (which I detailed in my last post) and the addition of the full suite of Whiteline S197 components (http://www.vorshlag.com/index.php?cPath=141_142_179). I might sound like a broken record but this Whiteline stuff really has transformed the car, which we have noted at the Solo Nationals, GTA at TMS, and at NASA at ECR this past weekend. The Watts Link (http://www.vorshlag.com/product_info.php?cPath=141_142_179&products_id=526) is the big game changer, but their swaybars, LCAs and rear relocation brackets helped, too. This stuff works, and more importantly, it doesn't make any racket on the street.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Whiteline-Suspension/i-KrKS6fG/0/S/DSC2005-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/Whiteline-Suspension/i-TNnC6D4/0/S/DSC2128-S.jpg

I am very, very impressed with the Whiteline parts and apparently you guys are responding to our positive results, with a lot of Whiteline S197 (and BRZ!) sales in the past few weeks. Thanks.... because in the end, that helps us keep doing what we're doing: trying new products, designing our own parts, and racing on them to prove what works and what doesn't. :)

Dyno Testing

So on Wednesday of this week we took three of Vorshlag's project cars to True Street Motorsports (http://www.truestreetmotorsports.com/) in McKinney for some dyno testing.


Nothing earth shattering here, just a routine "check-up" dyno pull on the 2011 GT and a first "Baseline" pull on the still stock 2013 GT and Matt's 2013 BRZ. Weather kind of sucked, with 100% humidity plus spitting rain, and even with SAE standardized corrections the 2011 tested a tick lower than the 430 whp pull on the same dyno back in Spring, but still pretty close at 424 whp.


The 2013 also made exactly what I thought it would make at 376.9 whp - within 1 hp of the 2011 GT when it was in stock form (378.5 whp (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-xqcKjVW/0/M/2011GT-baseline-uncorrected-M.jpg)). Ford re-rated the Coyote 5.0 in 2012 with an additional 8 hp (412 -> 420) but it didn't show up on our dyno test. Me thinks it was marketing fluff.


Still, 377 whp is nothing to sneeze at, and most of the reason why the 2013 was able to knock down that 2:07.3 lap at ECR. Like I stated above, the only thing it had on track was horsepower, as the brakes and handling were pretty much crap in stock form, in my view. It was a big floaty missile, that once you got it pointed in the right direction would gobble up straight-aways, but sometimes fly off the end of them. We were a solid 4 seconds faster on the exact same set of 295mm street tires with just better suspension/brakes in the '11 GT, and the 47 hp difference between these cars wasn't where we made up 4 seconds. Then we were fully 11 seconds faster with the tweaked '11 GT on slightly wider R compounds. And driving the '11 GT was much easier and confidence inspiring.


The overlay dyno chart above is showing all three cars: the 2011 GT with headers and a cold air (plus a custom tune by True Street), the bone stock 2013 GT, and the bone stock 2013 Subaru BRZ. Look at the shapes of the dyno curves for the stock vs modded 5.0 GTs - they are remarkably similar. The big 1-7/8" Long Tube ARH (http://www.vorshlag.com/index.php?cPath=141_142_267) headers and the Steeda cold air added torque and horsepower EVERYWHERE, with zero loss of torque at any RPM. In fact there is an extra "torque hump" on the '11 at the extreme low end (2500-3200), which is very noticeable street driving both cars back-to-back. For the 2013 GT's headers I am again going with the bigger of the two primary options on the ARH long tubes (http://www.vorshlag.com/index.php?cPath=141_142_267), as it is simply a win-win over the 1-3/4" primaries (as ARH told me, the 1-7/8" full length units "make more power everywhere" than the smaller primary option).

The little BRZ made 167 whp, which was more than I thought it would. About right for a car rated at 200 hp (meh, so it is about a 16% drivetrain loss). And yes, our 2013 GT stickered ($31K) almost the same as the BRZ ($27K), but the GT was actually purchased for several thousand dollars less (with that $1500 rebate, + it is domestic and therefor they deal). But you don't buy a BRZ or FR-S for horsepower, you get one because it is a nimble RWD chassis that weighs almost 800 pounds less than the solid axle GT. Completely different animal. You can read more about our exploits with the "FT86" chassis in this thread (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8145) on VoMo forums, also located on NASIOC, 'Carvers, RRAX, and SCCAForums.

What's Next

I swear the 2013 is getting it's own thread very soon. We have been removing parts, weighing things and gathering all sorts of interesting data on this car, so the new thread will have some new information worth reading. Our 2011 GT project thread here will continue, as we plan to keep tracking and street driving the red car.

The next event for the '11 is the Five Star Ford track day on Nov 17th at ECR. Vorshlag will be there with our trailer and some of our race crew to help support the many Mustang drivers likely to attend. We can help check your alignment, help set tire pressures, and will be giving ride-alongs in the red car with me or Amy driving. That should be fun! :D

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-CQRTSDn/1/S/IMG6241-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-MCdB78C/0/S/DSC5079-S.jpg

The 2011 was back to street duty on Monday after a wheel swap. After we leaned on Wednesday that the SCCA PDX event was cancelled the crew here at Vorshlag swapped back to the stock trunk, too. The 2013 GT is badly in need of a bunch of suspension parts, to rid it of the 4x4 look and parade float handling. The uber-light brakes we will use are another three grand, and there's the LS back seat delete kit that is only another $900 more. Another set of custom Forgestars would be help, then we can get to cutting the fenders to make the big tires fit. I really need about five grand to build or buy what we need to get started. Hopefully my 2001 BMW E46 330 will sell for good money in the next couple of weeks (it just came back from the painter yesterday and looks flawless!) and I can use some of that cash to throw at the 2013.

I am almost done writing our "How To Build your 2011-2013+ Mustang for Track Use" article, too. Our entire crew is helping contribute to that one. We have had customers asking us for "the wish list" so we finally put it down on paper. Err... electronically. In that article we will finally list out which modifications we think help lower your track times the most, and in which order we recommend doing them in, with some budgetary numbers along the way. We also will list out what options to look for when ordering or buying a 2011-13 Mustang as well - "How to Buy a Mustang The Right Way".

More soon,

08-16-2013, 04:30 PM
Project Update for Nov 16, 2012: Wow, has it been a month since my last update to this build thread? We've been buried and posting on our other build threads, but I neglected this one. We had an autocross two weeks ago (last one of the year) and have a track event tomorrow that we're loading up for. And the eBay auction on my 2001 BMW 330Ci (http://offer.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewBids&_trksid=p4340.l2565&rt=nc&item=321020699183) is still going strong (ends Tuesday Nov 20th at noon!). Anyway - busy busy, so let's get caught up with a quick update.

SCCA Autocross, Crandall, Nov 4, 2012

Two weeks ago we had the last autocross for the year lined up. We had the 315/35/18 Kumho V710s still mounted to the Forgestar 18x11"/18x12" race wheels. Hmm, swap to the Hoosiers for this autocross or not? It was the last event of the year and I had the regional class championship wrapped up, so I blew off the extra work of swapping tires and had the guys here at Vorshlag leave those on the race wheels and the 315/30/18 Hoosier A6s stayed on the tire rack. If it was even remotely warm they would probably do all right, and I doubted Madarash would show up to two SCCA regional events in a row (my main ESP competition in this region - the reigning and 8 time ESP National Champion who is brutally fast every time).


Well, I was wrong... he did show up, but didn't run his car. Opie Viets brought his '84 3rd gen Camaro down from his region and ran with Madarash co-driving. And they ran Street Mod, in an earlier heat. Opie's car was similar to Mark's in many ways, and even had Madarsh's old double-adjustable Konis and some other parts of the set-up were the same. But it wasn't Mark's actual 3rd gen, and he told me this past week that it still needed some work. So yea, "I beat Madarash", technically, but it wasn't a real victory - it wasn't his car, running in the same class or heat. But.... I never get to say that much, so I gotta sneak it in whenever I can! :D

PAX Results: http://texasscca.org/2012_solo_results/tr12_9_pax.htm
Overall Results: http://texasscca.org/2012_solo_results/tr12_9_final.htm#ESP
Photo and video gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-110412/

Strangely I did place 2nd out of 112 in PAX, which was a first for this car. It was frakkin working WELL on those Kumhos!?! So Amy and I drove together in ESP and ran in the last heat of the day. Temperatures were mild all day and there was water on two parts of the course for everyone's runs. It was there in the morning and kept seeping up through some cracks in the concrete pad, so we all had to deal with it. Oh well, could have been in worse spots.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-110412/i-V8sZ8jt/2/S/DSC_5321-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-110412/i-SPmppqC/2/S/DSC_5324-S.jpg

The course was the same as two months ago for the first 1/4, then it had some tight turn-arounds with short acceleration zones coming out, with lots of tight TIGHT transitions. Walking the course I feared losing to street tired Miatas in STR or the narrow slalom buggies in STX, but luckily that didn't happen. Putting 2.5 seconds on STR and 4.5 seconds on STX was unusual for us, but it felt gooood. Even with a lot of tight stuff the big S197 did all right. :)


Everything seemed to work well that day, for once. The shocks worked brilliantly, as always, but so did the brakes. No "ice mode" or lack of power assist, like the last time we ran here (we put in the 2nd replacement brake booster vacuum hose grommet before the NASA event). The tires were pretty cool all day, but we finally got some heat in them after our 4th runs, which seemed to help. With the new stiffer spring rates we added after the Solo Nationals, and the stiffer swaybar settings that seemed to work best in our private test, the car corners flatter and transitions violently.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-110412/i-zc6KQ8D/2/S/DSC_5395-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-110412/i-78z8Nrz/1/S/DSC_5400-S.jpg

A nice surprise was Amy getting interviewed by a camera crew shooting for "Mobil1 The Grid". The interviewer even rode through with Amy and was all smiles after hopping out. They interviewed a half dozen racers so it might not "make the cut", but she put on some good runs and did great on camera, and the car looked and sounded great. She was a tenth off of Madarash's time, and a second quicker than the 3rd place ESP entrant, also a Solo Nationals veteran. The Mustang was just stinkin' FAST that day. So ... we will know if she made the cut when the show airs on Speed (or FoxSports1?) next March, I guess.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-110412/i-mXKGVN8/2/S/DSC_5329-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-110412/i-FHhH79k/2/S/DSC_5357-S.jpg

An old college buddy and my current engine builder (HKRacing Engines (http://www.hkracingengines.com/)), Erik Koenig, was in town delivering two LS1 engines to Vorshlag, so he stuck around and came to the autocross. We watched some of the event from atop the drag race bleachers then he rode through with me on three of my runs. He taught me most of what I know about autocrossing back from our TAMSCC college racing days, and was the first person I ever rode through with in an autocross run with on race tires - which totally ruined me, and led me to go to college at Texas A&M University in the first place! He used to race well against Madarash in ESP in the early 1990s, so he got to talk to him again after being away from the sport for the past decade. It was good to see him out again and I hope he gets one of his Mustangs back into autocross worthy shape soon. Big shout out to my buddy Ed from Pirtek, who came out to "crew" for Amy's and my runs. When you're driving with two folks in a small heat, with numbers to change, tires to check, shocks to tweak, passengers on every run, and a TV crew shooting video of all of that, this really helps - so thanks!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-110412/i-6rp52MF/0/M/Terry-Run5-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-110412/26400413_Sd7jbF#!i=2213295856&k=6rp52MF&lb=1&s=A)

Above is the in-car video from my fifth and best run. It had a huge mistake in one of the tight 180 turn-arounds, and I blew off the run after that. The right rear started spinning after that flub and I just matted the throttle, pissed off at my mistake, and just drove like an idiot to the finish. And dropped almost 9 tenths?! I am still scratching my head over that one. I guess all of my other runs were worse - and they all did have mistakes. I never claimed to be a good driver, but sometimes I luck into a good run. I didn't hit a cone all day and Amy was also pretty clean with only one cone, and we were stepping on cone bases. She managed 2nd in class and 11th in PAX, also a good placing for her.

continued below

08-16-2013, 04:31 PM
continued from above

This was our last autocross planned for the year. We have lots to work on over the winter to this car, mainly turning it into a more track-worthy car, with the compromises of running "autocross and track and street" down to just "track and street only", as the 2013 GT is getting closer to ESP set-up. We have another set of coilovers on hand for the '13 (AST 4200RR), as well as a Watts Link kit (Whiteline, of course), and some other bits and pieces that we will show in that build thread (I will link it from here when I start it).

Preparation for Five Star Ford track day


So that was two weeks ago and today we're prepping the 2011 GT for another track event. This is an informal HPDE put on by the Five Star Ford of Plano dealership where we got our '13 GT, and the dealer we got that car from is setting this up (Corey White). This is the same group that did this back in June. Weather for tomorrow looks nice and we should have 40-50 cars. Amy will be driving the '11 GT and Matt will be in his BRZ (which got 255 Hankook R-S3s on the 17x9" wheels, Carbotech brake pads, and an oil change today, too).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-4Wq3SSQ/2/S/_DSC3982-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-HfbHNfV/1/S/_DSC4003-S.jpg

One of the biggest changes to the '11 GT was a height reduction on the rear wing element. After hearing from several aero experts about the poor placement of our APR 3D wing element ("it doesn't work above the roofline!") we finally got around to shortening our custom built wing uprights. Ryan took 5 inches out of the height and the element now sits below the roof line.

Ryan, and our new tech that started this week Olof, got the Mustang and BRZ cleaned up, inspected, tires swapped, brake pads swapped, and the red car is being loaded into the trailer now. We will be out at Eagles Canyon bright and early tomorrow morning to put in some solid laps in both cars.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-PLxP49F/1/S/_DSC4214-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-VtJ8Qz3/1/S/_DSC4217-S.jpg

The differential in the 2011 GT is fried again, so we'll order another carbon clutch pack rebuild kit from Ford and get that installed in the coming weeks. The left rear outer axle seal is weeping a tiny bit of fluid, so that needs to be changed. The next event for this car is another ECR track event December 8th - the annual "Toy Run" event.

2012 Mustang Boss 302-S Prep

During the week of Nov 5-9th we worked on American Iron racer Mark Smith's Boss 302-S race car (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Mark-Smith-Mustang-Boss-302S/) here at Vorshlag. Figured I'd show this car, as it has some pretty cool parts and capabilities as delivered from Ford. I will show more on this car in a future post, too.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Mark-Smith-Mustang-Boss-302S/i-6jvbdtf/0/S/_DSC3008-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Mark-Smith-Mustang-Boss-302S/i-Pbh5X9h/0/S/_DSC3006-S.jpg

After setting a track record at ECR in October, he brought the car to Vorshlag for some more tweaks, updates, and repairs. We had discussed some weight saving items we could tackle for a good 75+ pound drop in weight. American Iron runs with a power:weight formula, and the 302-S can run a variety of restrictors to go up and down in power. With a lower weight he can run less power, then add ballast to use a larger restrictor for more power at bigger tracks. Flexibility...


The big update we made was a new custom mandrel bent exhaust, to replace the nearly stock parts that these cars come with. We left the stock exhaust manifolds in place, as much as it pained me, and concentrated on a lightweight, high flow race exhaust that included 16 gauge Stainless Steel mandrel bends, two 4" round Magnaflow stainless mufflers, and a custom X-merge, all made in-house here by our fab guru Ryan. The new system stopped just below the rear axle and the car dropped about 45 pounds - and picked up a lot of power.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Mark-Smith-Mustang-Boss-302S/i-3cZnhbt/0/S/jpg_DSC3426%20copy-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Mark-Smith-Mustang-Boss-302S/i-TSV4wGH/0/S/_DSC3210%20copy-S.jpg

The entire system is tucked above the bottom of the frame rails and shouldn't ever scrape anywhere, unless it runs over something off track that only hits under the middle of the car. Ryan added heat shielding to the tunnel near the tips, built custom hangers with poly mount bushings, and it looks and sounds amazing.


With the stock air filter/box in place and the stock exhaust manifolds, power jumped from 365 to 420 whp! The old number had a home-brew air restrictor in place, which was changed for a proper restrictor in the throttle body. LG Motorsports dyno'd the car with three different size restrictors and now it has 365 whp again, but a lot more torque than before. He can also run the car at three different weights now and has the dyno charts and restrictors needed for each AI legal set-up.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Mark-Smith-Mustang-Boss-302S/i-7544HpJ/0/S/DSC_5410-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Mark-Smith-Mustang-Boss-302S/i-jggWWgp/0/S/DSC_5411-S.jpg

Ryan built a custom bracket for this sub-3 pound battery Mark wanted to try - and the dang thing works! It charges fast and will start the car at least 5 times in a row with the same charge. Dropped 30 more pounds with this battery, and the old one can be swapped in quickly to add ballast or if the new wiz-bang battery craps out. New front wheel bearings, a strut repair, lots of clean-up work, new fluids in the diff/cool and trans/cooler, and a sound test rounded out our work for the week. Mark was very pleased with the car, the exhaust still managed to only blow 95 dB, and he did well at two races at NOLA last weekend.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Mark-Smith-Mustang-Boss-302S/i-wjpG8x3/0/M/Sequence%2002-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Mark-Smith-Mustang-Boss-302S/26299420_vtTPS5#!i=2203852200&k=wjpG8x3&lb=1&s=A)
Video of the drive-by in the 302-S with a sound meter at 50 feet.

A rear main seal leak (that we warned him about) became worse in those two races at NOLA and a slipping clutch ended his weekend early, after the second race. He managed to secure 2nd overall in AI for the year for NASA Texas, so he was happy with that (he only ran about half of the races). Next year - look out! I suspect Mark's 302-S will likely win even more AI races.

Anyway... this quick post grew a bit! I better sign off and help get the trailer loaded. Until next time!

08-16-2013, 04:32 PM
Project Update for Nov 30th, 2012: We had a track event in the Mustang since our last update and Amy set her new personal best lap at ECR. We've also finally modified the 2013 GT with real suspension bits, but that will be covered in that car's own thread. And after a considerable wait we finally have AST 4150s in stock for the S197 Mustang (and Vorshlag bought the entire order)!

Five Star Ford HPDE, ECR, Nov 17th

In our last project thread installment, we were preparing the 2011 GT for a Ford-centric track day at Eagles Canyon, our local 2.5 mile road course that is bumpy, but fun. This is where we do a majority of our testing and where Five Star Ford (a local Ford dealership - and where we bought our 2013 GT) had their first HPDE event back in June. This track is a brake intensive track, as I have mentioned before, and Amy drove the car exclusively all day and took the rear brake pads down to the backing plates. The pads were marginal when we got there and she still managed to get three HARD track sessions in before they started making racket and she brought it in.

Vorshlag Picture/Video gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Five-Star-ECR-111712/


Our photo guru Brandon went with us and took some great pictures, and Ed from Pirtek Plano South joined us out there as well. Matt brought his BRZ with our camber plates, some fresh 255/40/17 R-S3 tires and Carbotech brake pads and was tearing it up as well. I came out to watch, ride along and instruct, and to maybe take a few laps in one of our cars. In the picture above, I was riding through with Amy and it looks like I am yelling, but I'm probably saying "Gas! Gas! Gas!", to try to push her to faster lap times.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Five-Star-ECR-111712/i-sp9FC2L/1/S/DSC_5533-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Five-Star-ECR-111712/i-b2RRC8c/1/S/_DSC4331-S.jpg

Ed and I (above right) got Amy's and Matt's cars ready, plus helped a few racers adjust camber or fix some small issues. I rode along with a number of other racers, including Matt in his BRZ, another FR-S driver Stephen F, and Amy in the '11 Mustang. After my ride along with me that day, plus Mike Patterson's in-car instruction from the NASA event in October, and maybe with some help from the new (more effective?) rear wing location, Amy lopped a second off her previous best lap to the tune of a 1:57.7.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Five-Star-ECR-111712/i-38XmdMJ/0/M/Amy-session2-ECR-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Five-Star-ECR-111712/26609154_6gHbCb#!i=2225064724&k=38XmdMJ&lb=1&s=A)
Click above for in-car video from Amy's 1:57.7 lap.

This was again a pretty cold day (50s), very similar to the NASA event the month before, and she was pushing her braking zones and using more of the track on both corner entry and exit. She gave ride-alongs to Ed, me, and event organizer and Five Star Ford super dealer Corey White. Everyone had a blast riding along, the spectators loved watching/hearing her car on track, and she had the fastest car on track that day by a good bit. But as one onlooker said, "It ain't got that whistle!" :D

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Five-Star-ECR-111712/i-WfmF6dV/2/S/_DSC4283-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Five-Star-ECR-111712/i-sCdDwpd/2/S/DSC_5556-S.jpg

Vorshlag/AST tester Ken O and another Vorshlag/AST customer Jason had their E46 M3s out there in the Advanced group with Amy, both running Continental road race slicks (made by Hoosier). Ken normally runs 1:57s on Hoosier A6s, but could only get a best of 2:01 on these Conti's. I went out in a session in Matt's BRZ and had a BLAST, getting a 2:10.5 best after getting blocked on one of my few laps (AIM Solo showed a 2:09.5 predictive before that). Matt knocked off a 2:11.0, which was still damned quick especially since he hasn't been on track in about two years! That light, little RWD coupe is fun, with tons of grip and lots of brakes, but just very little power.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Five-Star-ECR-111712/i-7D6Dvtq/0/S/brandon-pic-brz-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Five-Star-ECR-111712/i-73Kk7zT/3/S/_DSC4968%20copy-S.jpg

At the end of the day, the rear brakes were finally used up and it looked like we had a rear axle seal leaking a little (it melted), so we loaded up the Mustang and headed home. Amy had a grin from ear to ear and couldn't wait to get back out on track! I think we've created a monster - if I could convince her to let us build her a W2W car, I would love to get her out there mixing it up with the AI boys. The next day I unloaded the car at the shop and went to buy a (basket case) '97 M3, for parts, then unloaded that, so it turned into an all around busy weekend.


Repairs from ECR

So at this event the Porterfield front and rear brakes got used up, and then some. We already had a compromised pad set-up on the car, as we wanted to get rid of all of the rest of the Porterfield pads we had on hand, and Amy took care of that. The rears were to the backing plates and the fronts weren't much better off at day's end, but they were worn to begin with. On Monday after the event we swapped on some street pads, turned the rotors, and bled the system.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-MzRqPD4/0/S/IMG_6429-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-vsHrrtq/0/S/DSC_5304-S.jpg

We have mentioned the Porterfields brake pads in the past, and we have had decent results from them, but when Ryan and the crew have switched from track (R4) to autocross/street (R4S) pads, the pads coming off tend to crumble and fall apart. This has happened to three sets of pads, which each had more than 50% pad life left... we pulled them out of the caliper and the friction material crumbled, fell off the backing plates, and were then junk. This was getting ridiculous and expensive, so we have now switched to another brand. We had even worse luck on Hawk brake pads. Not knocking these brands, just didn't work well on the Mustang.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Subaru-BRZ/i-8CHpvqQ/1/S/_DSC4181-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Subaru-BRZ/i-57SfJzF/1/S/_DSC4160-S.jpg
Carbotech pads going on the '13 BRZ

Before the November 17th ECR event, we ordered some Carbotech pads (XP12 front, XP8 rear compounds) for Matt's BRZ. The pads themselves LOOKED really good - and yes, you can see quality differences in brake pads. After driving the BRZ myself for a session at that event, beating on the brakes relentlessly, and then seeing the lap times and data I logged on this car under braking (1.4g!), I am a believer. The Carbotech pads didn't fall apart or wear the rotors funny either, like the Porterfields have been.

continued below

08-16-2013, 04:33 PM
continued from above

I liked Carbotechs so much we have since become a dealer. Now we have ordered their track pads for the 2011 and 2013 Mustangs and we'll see how these do next weekend. XP20 front and XP10 rear for the '11 (race tires, Brembos, ducting) and for the non-Brembo equipped (ugh) '13 we got XP12 front and XP10 rear (street tires, small 13.2" front brakes, stock power). We will see the results soon enough but I've had several American Iron racers tell me Carbotech were the best pads they have ever used. After seeing the results on the BRZ, I believe them.

So the '11 GT's front Brembo calipers have been rebuilt already, as the dust seals had burned and melted mostly away. They lasted almost two years under abusive braking on this FAT ASS car, at a lot of track and autocross events. After the latest ECR event, Ryan noticed the rear dust seals were melted, along with the caliper guide pin dust boots and rear axle seals. The rear calipers and guide pin dust seals have all been replaced and the rear axle seals will be swapped out for new ones next week, when we rebuild the Traction Lok differential once again. We debated going to a better aftermarket differential in the '11, but decided to "punt" on this decision (we won't race again until late January or early February) and instead ordered another $110 FRPP carbon clutch pack replacement kit. The '13 GT will get the better differential first (likely a T2-R), as it is more important for autocross use than on track.

AST 4150 Coilovers for S197 in Stock

After almost a year of waiting, they are here! The 4150 is a new shock model from AST that is a single adjustable monotube coilover strut/shock combination that we have been waiting for since late 2011. I won't bore you with all of the details, but the development and then initial production took longer than expected; the first sets arrived yesterday. I also won't bury you with too much sales talk, as you can see more details about the 4150 at this link (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8192).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/AST-4150-Shocks/i-tfK64BB/0/S/jpg_DSC5921%20copy-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/AST-4150-Shocks/i-KNLJqRx/0/S/crop_DSC5970%20copy-S.jpg

There I go over the history of the 4100, the changes to the 4150, and explain how Vorshlag helped in our small way to both develop and get these made. It turns out that Vorshlag was the only AST dealer who was patient enough and who believed in this product enough to put in the orders, and we just received all of the 4150s likely to be delivered in 2012. We have a number of S197 and BMW E36 models in stock, ready to ship.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/AST-4150-Shocks/i-gz2x7JJ/0/S/_DSC5978-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Instructions/AST-4100-install-on-S197/i-Zbtjv9n/0/S/DSC_6519-S.jpg

To allow for the maximum amount of travel in the rear of the S197, we had AST make the rear shocks completely different for us than what they normally do. We've tested these rear shocks three different ways and the configuration we went with allows for maximum total stroke and no in-board wheel interference. We keep the (replacement, coilover style) spring in the stock location, use some AST supplied adjustable rear spring height platforms, and machine our own Nylon adapters to make these platforms fit the S197 chassis. We're making these adapters in house now (I made the pair in the above left picture on our lathe yesterday) and supplying them with each 4150 kit at no additional cost. It is highly unlikely that you will see another AST dealer selling AST S197 shocks made to the Vorshlag spec.

Again, you can ready more about them in this link (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8192).

Prizes and Kudos

Just found out moments ago that our red 2011 Mustang won 1st Prize ($400) for the Street Prepared category in the "Black Magic Shine Awards" (http://www.scca.com/news/index.cfm?cid=51201) at the 2012 SCCA Tire Rack Solo National Championships. And can you blame them? That Mustang looks GOOD. :P


Also received all of the prizes from the Global Time Attack event at TMS. Ken O picked up my Ducati Limited edition Oakley Sunglasses, which are pretty sweet (below, left).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-cbZfg7F/0/S/DSC_5676-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2011-Mustang-GT-build/i-GqKrSZt/0/S/whiteline-sema-S.jpg (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Zz1WznBjIE&playnext=1&list=PLji7HP0GjDhzMO97AuhKsHeeC5pQknenZ)

We also won a $300 Whiteline product credit at GTA for the class win, which I put towards another Watts Link kit for my 2013 Mustang GT. They also made this video (click here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Zz1WznBjIE&playnext=1&list=PLji7HP0GjDhzMO97AuhKsHeeC5pQknenZ) or above, right) where they interviewed me at the GTA event, which they showed in their 2012 SEMA booth on a loop. Pretty cool surprise, even if I look like a bog dork on film.

What's Next?

We have another track event December 8th at Eagles Canyon Raceway once again, but this will certainly be our last track event of 2012. We are taking four cars out there this time: the 2011 GT, the 2013 GT (with a full "Stage 1" AST/Whiteline/Vorshlag suspension installed), Matt's 2013 Subaru BRZ (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8145) and the 1998 Firebird ChumpCar (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8171) for its maiden track voyage. This is their annual "Toy Run" event, which the owners of ECR hold in December of each year to raise money and get toys and foods for charity. It is also very very affordable for the racers: $50 + a $10 unwrapped toy + 2 canned food items. As you can expect, it brings out a LOT of people, and many of them are new to track events, or are autocrossers. We go to the Toy Run event every year and ALWAYS have a blast, seeing lots of friends that are track junkies and cone punchers alike. If you are in Dallas, come join in the fun!

MORE INFO........
Contact: Maggie Williams
Organization: Eagles Canyon Raceway
Link: www.eaglescanyon.com
e-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 817-992-9774

We also have been modifying our 2013 Mustang GT with what we are calling our "Stage 1" track setup. This car is now equipped with all of the most important bits we recommend in our "S197 Mustang Handling Guide" (which will be published soon). See details below.


Vorshlag S197 Stage 1 Suspension Set-up: AST monotube adjustable coilover dampers, stiffer rate coilover springs and a lower ride height; Vorshlag camber/caster plates and upper spring perches; Whiteline Watts Link kit; adjustable front sway bar; Vorshlag/D-Force lightweight 18x10" wheels mounted with 295/35/18 Nitto NT05 tires; Carbotech brake pads. All told this is about $6000 in parts, but it makes a HUGE difference in on-track performance. Ideally this car would have the 14" front Brembos but we are eventually turning this into an autocross-only car, so the big brakes were skipped on purpose. Anyone tracking an S197 would be FOOLISH to not get the 14" Brembos.

This set-up is 100% street friendly, with a great ride that should even get the "wife approved" status. Notice - we have made NO power mods to this Mustang at this stage. The 5.0L equipped S197s already makes 380 whp bone stock, so adding more power should not be in your first round of modifications to these cars. It will only make the car harder to drive until you step-up to larger R compound rubber. Ask me how I know this. Of course nobody listens to that, and modifies for more power first... Oiy! ;)

We will run my black 2013 GT equipped as shown above next weekend at ECR. With a data logger and on-board video we will see how much improvement (if any) we have made over the "baseline" set-up we ran in October (which was these wheels/tires + camber plates only, with a best of 2:07 laps). The Vorshlag crew is also going to be driving Cadillac CTS-Vs at COTA on December 7th - the new Formula 1 track in Austin - the day before the ECR event. Should be another fun weekend!

More soon,

08-16-2013, 04:34 PM
I've been reading this build for few days now, with some skimming and skipping I finally finished.

There are several weight reduction I haven't seen you try yet, BMR's K-member and arms(31 lbs), MMR tranny CF tunnel (they claim 75+ lbs), MMR CF trunk (25lbs), and if you're going hardcore, JPC offer ligher axles and final drive.
Wow, those are some pretty extreme weight saving mods. Let me address them each in order:

The K-member is not allowed in almost any SCCA racing class so we didn't look at this. I have installed tubular K-members on several Mustangs and they are not a perfect, no-compromise mod. The suspension geometry is often altered in these, and if the unit is built for weight savings (drag racing) it can even have more deflection under load than the stock steel piece. The road race versions are often only 10-20 pounds lighter, which isn't much considering their price, complexity, and time to install.
A CF trunk is also a costly one, and wouldn't work at all with any sort of wing mounted to it like we run on track. You would then need to brace the wing all the way down to the frame, adding structure and weight along the way. And CF trunk wasn't legal for the racing class we used to run in this car (SCCA ESP) so we couldn't do it. Now we could, but it is a costly mod for the weight lost.
CF Tunnel? What the.... you mean they cut out the stamped steel unibody floor and bolt or bond some CF replacement in there??? That sounds like a nightmare on many levels. First, you would lose all sorts of structural rigidity. I suspect this is for fully caged race cars only. That isn't at all what we have.
Lighter axles would probably mean weaker, too. Sure, you can probably get a gun drilled axle as strong as stock, but at what cost?

Few Questions:
-Have you done the rear seats yet?
-Since we can fit a 315mm tire on the 18x10 is there a need for an 11"? I see you didn't like the 345 because that was my plan.
Yes, the rear seat is under 28 pounds.


Seat belt hardware is also around 8 for a total weight loss potential of 35 pounds. But removing the rear seat adds a TREMENDOUS amount of rear axle and road noise. It kind of sucks on a street driven car. Have been driving my 2013 GT like this for 2 months and it sucks.


And mounting a tire to a narrower than optimal wheel is "possible", it isn't great for performance. Squeezed tires don't sit square on a narrow wheel, and the actual tread section gets cupped up on the ends, effectively making the tire narrower in use than it really is. The 315mm tire mounted to the 18x11" wheel (front) is even a bit squeezed compared to when it is mounted on the 18x12" wheel (rear).


08-16-2013, 04:34 PM
Quick Update for Jan 18, 2013: I've been waiting for something to be published before I posted again, so I'll hold off on a big thread update for maybe another week or two. A lot has been going on in the background.


NASA Time Trial classes had a bit of a shake-up for 2013 but it was only minor tweaks and things worked out in our favor, for a change. We've gone from TTS (now called TT2) essentially down one class to TTA (now TT3), and we can run now run this car at the limit of the power to weight ratio. No more "well, it was overweight/underpowered", it is maxed out. Apparently this new mix-up has made TT3 the most popular class, at least for this first NASA Texas event. We have 9 cars signed up in the TT3 class, so far.


We're loading up the trailer right now to take the red 2011 Mustang down to the NASA Texas event at MSR-Houston later today for races on Saturday and Sunday. Amy and I are splitting up the driving duties over both days. Will post a much more detailed pre-/post-race report when we get back. Well, then I'm flying to New Orleans for a couple days to drive on some new BFGoodrich tires, so it might be late next week or the following. Hoping to get some good intel on this new "Rival" street tire they are making (for autocrossers and track guys that need a 200+ treadwear tire) as well as bend the ear of tire engineers about the R1 and R1-S race tires.

More soon,

08-16-2013, 04:35 PM
Project Update for January 29, 2013 : We have a lot of ground to cover on the S197 Mustang thread. so look for several updates over the next week or two. Our last real S197 thread update was in November, and a LOT has happened behind the scenes since then - with respect to future competition in our 2011 and 2013 GT's in SCCA Solo ESP for 2013, plus several track events. We will also cover the new NASA TT3 classing and our first 2013 competition (with a track record + double-win), a track event in December with both of our S197s, the whole Watts Link/SCCA debacle, a new shock/spring set-up we've been testing on S197s, and then the BFGoodrich Rival tire launch event that I attended, where I got to test with four different types of cars and seven types of tires at the NOLA Motorsport park, including FR500S Mustangs (former Miller Cup cars). This set of updates will be broken up into multiple thread posts over the next several days, otherwise it will be too long and I won't get any sleep - and I've been on the road, racing various cars for four of the last five days, then sick with a stomach bug, so I'm beat. Let's back up and start with the preparation on the 2013 GT before the December track event first...

2013 GT Coilover Shock Install

The last time we took the 2013 Mustang to ECR, it was on the OEM shocks and springs and the handling was "frightening", to say the least. The car was hopping and flopping around, like a fish out of water. Lots of lean, roll, dive, and all that bad stuff we are used to on OEM sprung/damped S197s. Our long term plans at the time still included SCCA E-Street Prepared class preparations, but we would still do a track event or two before we got too far down the rabbit hole of autocross-only modifications.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-wQJsjwf/0/S/_DSC0600-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-4Bfd8hr/0/S/_DSC0581-S.jpg

Obviously a big improvement we could tackle that worked for both autocross and track use was to add our normal monotube adjustable coilover upgrade. Since Vorshlag sells AST and Moton monotubes, plus some others, we had several options that would work. We picked up some AST double adjustable coilovers with remote reservoirs for an S197 (AST 4200-RR), a custom test set made by AST-USA for a former employee. These were built with racing style "eye-to-eye" rear shocks, just like the Motons on our 2011 GT. On this car, however, I wanted to keep them "pin" style on top, to allow for the rebound knob to be located in the trunk for easy rebound changes (see above, left). An eye-to-eye shock tends to have the rebound knob located under the trunk floor and, like in the case of our Moton CS shocks on the 2011 GT, we have to remove a rear wheel to adjust rebound. It is a hassle, and that adjustment almost never gets tweaked. so we end up using the same setting for street and track use (which is a shame). So we asked AST-USA to re-work the rear shock shafts to have a traditional top pin and used it with the OEM style shock mount. They swapped out the shafts and adjusters to our favored eye lower/pin upper style and now the rebound knob is easy to access.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-5mJ63jL/1/S/DSC_6320-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-jzVxLkt/1/S/_DSC0591-S.jpg

Once these were built to our liking, Vorshlag fabricator Ryan fashioned some reservoir mounts for the rear shocks, and cut holes in the trunk floor "spare tire well" to route the reservoirs through without disconnecting the hoses (which is a PITA) - just like on the 2011 GT. I asked him to tweak the angle of the reservoirs to be able to see the knobs easier from behind, which he did. The reservoirs were mounted into the spare tire well using the 2-piece "Seals-It" brand grommets to make this hole water tight. He mocked-up the seals with temporary Clecos, then used small machine bolts and nuts to hold them in place. If the shocks need to be removed from the car, the 2-piece grommets can be unbolted then the reservoir can slide right through the now open hole... no mess, no fuss. The other mounting/routing option for shock reservoir hoses is to drill much smaller holes/grommets and add (very costly) quick-disconnects on each shock line. Even then you still have to bleed off the Nitrogen charge before disconnecting the hoses, and re-fill the N2 when reinstalling. We feel this "big hole/2-piece grommet" arrangement is easier to deal with in the long run, and it is less expensive - but there are a dozen ways to skin this cat.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-QHvvpG5/1/S/DSC_6306-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-Lz8zWsj/1/S/DSC_0624-S.jpg

The front struts were not that unusual, being a typical non-inverted 22mm shaft monotube with rebound knobs on the strut shaft top and the compression knobs on the remote reservoirs (just like the rears). The hoses were long enough to route underneath the inner fender structure and mount the reservoirs just about anywhere in the engine bay. Ryan made some additional reservoir brackets for the front struts, but unlike our 2011 GT this car still had the factory airbox in place (everything is still bone stock under hood, for the lower 380 whp output). This meant we couldn't mount the reservoirs in the same place as on the '11 (which was blocked on this car by the giant OEM airbox), so we thought about it and placed them vertically in the airstream behind the headlights.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-s8295XB/1/S/_DSC0606-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-GpJ22rv/1/S/DSC_0622-S.jpg

Shock reservoirs need to shed heat when they are working (they turn motion into heat), so we always try to keep them cool. Mounting them so that they get cool air from the front end seemed like the best idea. This location doesn't "show them off" as well as elsewhere, but so be it. I've seen some racers place remote shock reservoirs near the worst sources of under hood heat - like above a turbocharger (I've even done this myself) - but you really have to think about where you mount these things to keep them cool. A boiling hot reservoir will not allow the shock to perform nearly as well as one that stays closer to ambient temperature.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-MCdB78C/0/S/DSC_5079-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-cTPbzTK/0/S/jpg_DSC5854%20copy-S.jpg

As you can see in the "Before and After" shots above, the ride height on the 2013 GT is significantly lowered, with the front dropping 1.25" and the rear dropping nearly 1.75". This gets ride of the huge front-down rake these cars come with and lowers the CG significantly. The spring rates we used were somewhat mild, with 450#/in in front and 225 #/in in the rear. This makes for a very decent ride on the street, but still a sizable bump in spring rates over stock, for better track handling (well, at least the front rates). See the updated spring charts below for the base 2013 GT OEM springs, the 2011 "Brembo GT" OEM springs, and the '07-08 Shelby GT spring rates (equipped with the FRPP M-5300-P springs).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-fXj6wL7/0/S/spring-test-2013gt-nonbrembo-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-2013-Mustang/i-fXj6wL7/0/O/spring-test-2013gt-nonbrembo.jpg) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/TechArticles/Spring-Rate-Tests/i-7tQkC5q/0/S/spring-rates-2011gt-brembo-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/TechArticles/Spring-Rate-Tests/i-7tQkC5q/0/O/spring-rates-2011gt-brembo.jpg) http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/TechArticles/Spring-Rate-Tests/i-QrC8Sxk/0/S/spring-rates-shelbygt-S.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/TechArticles/Spring-Rate-Tests/i-QrC8Sxk/0/O/spring-rates-shelbygt.jpg)
Click the charts above for larger image... LEFT: 2013 Base GT. CENTER: 2011 "Brembo" GT. RIGHT: M-5300-P/'07-08 Shelby GT.

Since I first posted several OEM S197 Mustang spring rate tests, we noted two problems: first, we weren't compressing the springs nearly far enough. We were barely getting them compressed enough to even approach static ride height. So we upgraded our digital spring rater to a new "ram" to allow for 15" of spring compression vs the 4.5" it came with, which let us test over a wider range. These newly tested Mustang spring rates then become much more linear as we tested them over a wider displacement range. Second there was an error in our calculations for "rate at compressed height" that has also been fixed in our default spreadsheet. The measured force numbers never changed, just how we were showing them (rate of rate change vs rate at position). Sorry for the confusion.

So as you can see, we've upped the front spring rate considerably more than the rear on this car once again, which we have found - from a lot of coilover testing - works better with an S197, both on track and on the street. The bigger rate increase up front cuts down on brake dive, body roll and camber loss under cornering forces. It also reduces understeer caused by bottoming out of the front suspension. This 450#/in spring also makes the car transition much faster than with the ~100 #/in rates. Luckily the adjustable AST monotubes do a fine job of managing the 4.5 times increase in front rate. You won't see OEM-lowering springs in this spring rate range because the typical shocks these are used on (OEM style) cannot deal with those spring rates.

continued below

08-16-2013, 04:36 PM
continued from above

ECR Toy Run - Dec 8th, 2012

People sometimes wonder why we are based in Texas... "Your summers are so hot!", they say. And while we DO have 2-3 months of a little heat (okay, a lot of heat), we have 12 months of racing every year. This allows us to race and test every month, and we don't have an "off season" huddled away from the cold with nothing to drive. Sure, we had a couple of snow days around the holidays, but nothing that prevented us from missing a track day or autocross.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Toy-Run-ECR-120812/i-vwsqpxG/1/S/IMG_6525-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Toy-Run-ECR-120812/i-qQdTSqH/2/S/IMG_6527-S.jpg

Vorshlag picture gallery for ECR Toy Run - http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Toy-Run-ECR-120812/

So, we were racing in December and back on track again a few weeks later in January, like we do every year. I wrote about the December 8th ECR "Toy Run" event twice already: in part three of my December 28th post in the BRZ Project Thread (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?p=57517#post57517) and in my December 20th update on our Firebird ChumpCar project thread (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?p=57509#post57509) - some of which I have re-inserted here. All of us at Vorshlag had gone down to Austin and driven Cadillac CTS-Vs all day the previous day (Friday) at the new Circuit of the Americas F1 track. That event was a TOTAL BLAST, but when we finished we bombed back up to Dallas, grabbed the Vorshlag race trailer, grabbed McCall's truck and trailer to tow the ChumpCar, and drove two more cars to Eagles Canon Raceway before dawn for Saturday's annual "Toy Run" open track event. We got there and stacked our trucks, trailers and cars in a big clump and set up shop.


With four cars on hand we were a little busy - luckily we had Pirtek Ed there to help "crew chief" all of us (shown above talking to me in the black '13). He wrangled the five drivers and four cars and kept us all going all day, so... thanks Ed! Matt brought his BRZ, we brought the 2011 Mustang and Amy drove it all day, and I drove our 2013 GT on the new AST 4200-RR coilovers. Two of my racing buddies (McCall and Magyar) and I are also building a ChumpCar using a V6 4th gen Firebird (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8171) and we ran it for the first time that day. Since this was a charity event, they asked the instructors to take passengers for ride-alongs at $5 a pop, and for $10 donated we would ride-along with anyone and "instruct". Between me and about 7 other instructors we raised an extra $600 that was given to a local food shelter, and we gave some kick ass rides to people in some quick-ass cars. I lost count of how many times I went out on track in the '13 and the ChumpCar, or in other people's cars (I drove a GT500 Mustang at one point), but it was a LONG and busy day. Too much fun!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Toy-Run-ECR-120812/i-CHQBwtb/2/S/DSC_5742-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Toy-Run-ECR-120812/i-GWPt9Br/1/S/DSC_6016-S.jpg
Our 1998 Firebird V6 has been dubbed "F-Turd"... luckily it ran great.

The ambient temps were much colder than the November lapping day and Amy's and some others' lap times were a solid 1-1.5 seconds off their times at the Ford event, when the weather was a bit more favorable. Still, our black 2013 GT, which we base-lined in November, was a solid FOUR SECONDS faster with nothing changed other than the coilover shocks & springs (which were still pretty damned soft at 450F/225R). The same Vorshlag camber plates, same D-Force 18x10" wheels and 295mm Nitto NT-05 street tires, and same bloke behind the wheel (me). I have taken many hundreds of laps at this track since 2008 and wasn't "learning the line", but instead felt like I was wringing every millisecond out of this car. We went from a 2:07.7 to a 2:03.3. A keen observer will note that this 2013 GT, with no aero, bone stock power and the exact same set of wheels/tires, was faster than our 2011 GT was in June at the Optima Challenge event. A lot of that is probably the difference in temperature, but a lot of it was the fact that the car was easier to drive with less power. These Coyote 5.0 engines have plenty of go in stock form, so we would suggest upgrading the suspension, tires, wheels and brakes long before you start throwing more power at your track Mustang. Nobody listens to that, of course. ;)

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08-16-2013, 04:36 PM
continued from above

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Toy-Run-ECR-120812/i-D8T7fZ4/2/S/DSC_5981-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Toy-Run-ECR-120812/i-QKsTprR/0/S/IMG_0617-S.jpg

This was a pretty good suspension test, in my opinion. We know this track well and we ran this same car with the same set-up minus the shocks/springs a month earlier. Not only did we drop four seconds on a two minute lap, but we took the car from a bucking, portly pig that was rolling and brake diving and porpoising around this somewhat bumpy track and turned it into a calm, flat cornering car that was nothing like the OEM suspension'd Mustang any longer. I cannot repeat this enough: a bump in spring rate along with proper monotube adjustable coilovers will completely TRANSFORM these cars. The shocks that Ford installs are equivalent to $50/corner Autozone specials. Even the "adjustable" shocks that come on the Boss 302 LS are not good at all - Tokico adjustables are only a small step above the Autozone fare that comes on the GT's. The longer you run on track the more the performance in twin tube shock degrades in handling, as well.

Of course I couldn't resist a little hooning for the cameras... with the stock 380 whp, it's just too easy!

It isn't so much about how many adjustments the shocks have, or the reservoirs, but the type of damper being used. Monotubes are technically superior to twin tubes in every performance measurement, and their MUCH larger pistons can react to bumps much more rapidly and effectively. They tend to have more of an adjustment range and can deal with a wider spectrum of spring rates. We didn't make this a gut busting, over-sprung race car set-up (450F/225R), but instead mildly improved the front rates and kept the rear rates nearly stock. At the same time we lowered the car 1.25" or more at each corner, for a flatter "stance" and a lower Center of Gravity - which directly improves cornering grip. The lower ride height added negative camber, as it always does on McPherson strut cars, and this also helped improve front grip and lower front tire wear.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Toy-Run-ECR-120812/i-qgsMfmW/2/S/DSC_5960-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Toy-Run-ECR-120812/i-ZxrLcHR/2/S/DSC_6011-S.jpg
Andy Hollis giving the point-by from his OLOA race prepped CRX to Amy's '11 Mustang GT.

Amy had fun in the red Mustang and ran a bunch of 1:58 laps, sometimes with a string of 3 or 4 in a row within two tenths. Just couldn't get back down to the 1:57's she ran at the ECR event in November. These old Hoosier tires are just dead, and have "compounded out". We used and abused these for GTA, lots of autocrossing, and multiple track days. They still have tread left, and the wear is perfectly flat across the tread, but they are just getting ... slower. :( And we still used these same tires at the NASA event at MSR-Houston in January. Just like most folks, we have a fixed racing budget that isn't unlimited, so sometimes we gotta win some tires to get new ones. The rest of the car was flawless and the Carbotech brakes were phenomenal once again. The twice-rebuilt TractionLok differential is utterly gone but again, we need the budget to recover before dropping $700+ on a Torsen T2-R. Meh, we can deal with some imperfection - this is a stick axle pony car after all. :)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Toy-Run-ECR-120812/i-Vkk6FR6/2/S/IMG_6528-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Toy-Run-ECR-120812/i-CdbNW5k/2/S/DSC_5845-S.jpg

Matt had an uneventful, but fun day in the BRZ. We luckily didn't have anything explode, fall off or catch on fire in the ChumpCar Firebird. It was a big hot mess, and we uncovered some new issues in this fiurst track outing, but we made it through five sessions and three drivers and still drove it onto the trailer for the ride home. The 2013 GT suspension test was great and the 2011 GT was flawless all day. Overall, this ECR Toy Run event was a lot of fun and a very informative test. I have to thank the ECR track owners for putting this much-discounted event on for the 5th year in a row, and thanks also to Brad Flak for corralling the drivers and instructors. As usual, the Toy Run's ultra-low price tag attracted many first time track enthusiasts, including many local autocrossers. Hopefully this exposure to road course driving gets them a little more hooked on doing HPDE events. This worked in the past for myself and many other fellow (and many former-) SCCA autocrossers, like Vorshlag tester KenO - who was a blur around the track all day (above right and below left).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Toy-Run-ECR-120812/i-prBtRFJ/2/S/DSC_5762-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Toy-Run-ECR-120812/i-C7ZqbWZ/2/S/DSC_5776-S.jpg

Another Vorshlag tester, and BMWCCA LSR president MarkW, was also on hand in his 1M (above, right), pushing his Vorshlag 1M camber plates (http://www.vorshlag.com/product_info.php?cPath=0_1_78_165&products_id=535) and finally wearing front tires flat instead of chunking the shoulders. You 1M owners can thank Mark for the Vorshlag 1M camber plates. His constant stream of camera phone pics showing torn up front tire edges spurred the production of the OEM perches that make this fitment possible.

D-Force 18x10" S197 Wheel In Stock

Back by popular demand is the 5x114.3 bolt circle 18x10" D-Force Racing lightweight wheel. This ET43 offset wheel fits both the S197 Mustang (http://www.vorshlag.com/product_info.php?cPath=141_142_268&products_id=505) and GR chassis Subaru STI (http://www.vorshlag.com/product_info.php?cPath=66_100_269&products_id=506) without spacers. There are dozens of sets in stock in both Silver and Flat Black colors. These may not last too long, like last time, and will probably sell out before the next batch arrives. If you want a set, you can of course order them through Vorshlag. Thanks!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/D-Force-Wheel-Gallery/i-854KbZW/0/S/DSC_6327-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Product-Pictures/D-Force-Wheel-Gallery/i-qfd5Sc6/0/S/DSC_0986-S.jpg

That's all we have on this December ECR event and the prep leading up to it, but I have a lot more writing to do to get caught up on this S197 thread. We have several more posts for this thread coming soon, so stay tuned for more.

08-16-2013, 04:37 PM
Project Update for February 2, 2013: This thread update covers the first 2013 NASA Texas race weekend we attended in the red Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT. This January event is always held down south of Houston, but is sometimes plagued by poor weather (rain or cold). I was going to skip this event, but peer pressure worked and pushed both me and Amy to attend. I'm glad we did - the weather turned out to be extremely nice and we had a total BLAST running the red 2011 GT in the new TT3 class.

I will back up a bit and talk in more detail about the classing tweaks that NASA made for 2013, which I hinted at in an earlier post in this thread. This is the first significant classing change that I have noticed in TT since we started running this series in 2008. It looks bigger than it really is, as most of the changes were mostly to the class letters/nomenclature, but there were some substantial changes to TTA (now TT3).

2013 NASA TT Class Updates - Letter vs Number Classes

None of what is written below is official or approved by NASA, just our overview and interpretation of their rules. Don't take our word for it - read the rules (http://www.nasaproracing.com/rules/time_trial_rules.pdf) yourself if you want to learn how to class your car for NASA TT. These rules only span 54 pages and only parts of that will even apply to a given entry. If you get mired up in the classing though, don't worry - we're here to help. Matt and I at Vorshlag have helped class hundreds of new folks into NASA TT. We have our own "class configurator" that is normally more up-to-date than the one's NASA makes. Shoot us an e-mail and we can help get your car classed, free of charge: info (at) vorshlag (dot) com, with a subject of "Help with NASA TT Classing". We can help with SCCA Solo classing as well, but that might involve substantially more tortured logic. ;)

2013 NASA Time Trial Rules: http://www.nasaproracing.com/rules/time_trial_rules.pdf

NASA classes each Time Trial car into a "base class" and gives it a "base race weight with driver". Each base class has a "base tire width". Some cars have handicap points in their base class, denoted by one or two "stars". One star = +7 penalty points and two stars = +14 penalty points. Then modifications each cost "points", and you get 19 points to play with before you bump up a class. Running below your base race weight costs points (but heavier gains you points back). Running more tire width than your base size costs you points (but narrower gains you points back). The points for parts eats up most of your allotment, but whatever you change you can never violate the power-to-weight limit for a class. It sounds confusing, and it kind of is... but only because it is so unconventional. But this type of classing is also liberating, fun to explore, and competitors can "bench race" set-ups with different mods to play with their 19 points in class. Or you can go buck-wild and use more than 19 points and bump up a class... then you get a total of 39 points (or more) to play with. Make sense? You can keep adding mods or lowering weight or adding power to keep your car at the competitive limit for each up-class jump you make. This is how the new "letter" classes work (TTB-TTF)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Cresson-March-12-2010/i-dbLTmP7/0/S/DSC_8835-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/Harris-Hill-Road-Testing-NTEC/i-F44gJ2T/0/S/DSC_2572-S.jpg
Vorshlag built entries for NASA TTD and TTA classes.

Our Intro to NASA Time Trial article, circa 2008: http://www.vorshlag.com/tech_timetrials.php

This means you can have a Miata with wild aero, sticky Hoosiers, and a supercharger racing against a nearly stock E46 M3. And oddly enough, it works, as there is always the power-to-weight element... measured horsepower and measured weight reign everyone in. There are not "categories" to jump up, and anything can eventually be classed with almost anything else, if a given car gets modified radically enough.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/i-vw8VkHD/0/S/DSC_7086-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-012911/i-tpnnndV/0/S/DSC_7203-S.jpg

In 2012, beyond TTA were the top three classes which were always strictly power to weight based, with no more points to play with. I now call these the "number classes", but in 2012 they were TTS, TTU, and TTR. There are "modifiers" you can exploit, to get you a little more power or a little less weight, if you have say... a 4 door vs a 2 door, or use a 275mm or narrower tire, etc. Otherwise it is strictly power to weight based. When we first started racing our 2011 Mustang in TT (see above), it was in TTB, but since it came with the Brembo brakes (+2), no decklid spoiler (+4), and the CS front lip (+3), we had very few points left to use. If we had added R compound tires and any exhaust mods the car would be easily into TTA and then even into TTS on points alone, due to the SCCA class allowances and rules we were focusing on (STX then ESP). We ran a few TT events with our STX set-up and it was difficult to manage the the narrow-ish street tires (just like it was in autocross!), but our ESP set-up with 315mm Hoosiers or Kuhmo race tires worked pretty well, but bumped us clear up into TTS. We almost won the November ECR TTS class, until a TTU car bumped down their power and ran quicker and beat us. Oh well, we were still too heavy and/or underpowered for TTS, nowhere near the power to weight limit. It was what it was... we were building our car around SCCA rules and letting the TT classing fall where it may. Other than adding the transponder, a brake pad and rear aero change, our Mustang was still set-up around ESP autocross rules for most of the 2012, even when run at NASA events.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-Crandall-092312/i-NH4wmgp/2/S/DSC_5029-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-ECR-100612/i-z8pjSQp/2/S/DSC_5259-S.jpg

Let's look at the old vs new classes in NASA TT, of which there are still 9 classes total. Nine classes, not 427 classes, like in SCCA Solo. Just sayin'. Anyway, most classes had little to no change other than a more clear naming style (numbered classes are power to weight only, letter classes are still points based). Here are the changes from 2012 to 2013, mostly affecting just one class...

NASA TT Classing - Name and Ratio Changes
2012 ... 2013
TTR -> TTU (Unlimited Wt/Hp)
TTU -> TT1 (5.50:1 Wt/Hp)
TTS -> TT2 (Was 8.70:1 Wt/Hp but went to 8.00:1 Wt/Hp)
TTA -> TT3 (Was 8.70:1 Wt/Hp but went to 9.00:1 Wt/Hp) For TT3 only, non-OEM Aero is a 0.5 modifier (in effect requiring 9.50:1 Wt/Hp).
TTB - 10.25:1 Wt/Hp
TTC - 12.00:1 Wt/Hp
TTD - 14.25:1 Wt/Hp
TTE - 16.50:1 Wt/Hp
TTF - 19.50:1 Wt/Hp

As you can see, before there was some overlap with TTS and TTA both having the same 8.7:1 power to weight ratio. But TTA - TTF were still all "points" based as well as power to weight, whereas TTS was only power to weight. Modifications in TTS were relatively unlimited, with those modifiers for certain limitations. So in reality TTS and TTA had very similar on-track performance. Now with the new TT2 and TT3 ratios and the removal of points based modifiers, they have effectively made the difference between TT2 and TT3 more significant and it creates more places to run your car, and more time difference between the two classes.

In order to keep it interesting in TT3, they also let you choose between a 9:1 and a 9.5:1 ratio. If you keep "stock aerodynamics" you can go with the more attractive 9:1 ratio, but if you want wings, splitters or other aero changes you get the 9.5:1. Still lots of room to tweak and play ... and bench race. And since we are in TT3 now, we get to strategize and play with more aero vs more power. Kind of looking forward to testing this.


As you saw in my last "mini-post", we went with TT3 and we chose the 9.5:1 ratio with alternate aero. Hard to give up the big rear wing and front splitter after you've tried it. We had to add a few pounds, but with our most recent dyno of 424 whp, and the +.6 modifier for running over 3750 pounds with driver, we were able to get a race weight of 3775 lbs, with driver. Here's the math.

3775 lbs / 424 whp = 8.903 pounds per hp... +.6 modifier (for running over 3750 lbs) = 9.503:1

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08-16-2013, 04:38 PM
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So we were ready for TT3 and maxed out on the power-to-weight. How would we fare at MSR-Houston? Honestly, I didn't have high hopes. We would be running heavier than ever, and I don't know that track well. I've driven it twice before, but once was in the rain on street tires at stock power levels and the second time was last year at TX2K12, where we had massive tire problems (some used Hoosiers I brought kept popping internal cords and coming apart) and still nowhere near the preparation level the car had in mid-2012 to now. There were nine people signed up in TT3, the biggest TT class so far, and I was hoping to crack the top three if I put in a good run. The old TTA track record for MSR-H CW was a 1:44.3, but I couldn't remember what we ran there before going this direction. The tires we were taking were dead though, so I was very unsure of the performance potential. We were also going to share the car, with me driving one day and Amy the next, so we would only get about four sessions each. Time would tell...

NASA @ MSR-Houston, January 19-20th, 2013

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/i-PKTTLs3/0/S/IMG_2369-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/i-DvjJRjV/1/S/_DSC9186-S.jpg
NASA ran MSR-Houston's 2.38 mile course Clockwise this race weekend.

After making some new number and sponsor/product graphics for the 2011 Mustang GT, we loaded up the trailer and Brandon (Vorshlag's uber-photographer), Amy, and I left Dallas on Friday afternoon and towed 5 hours to the south end of Houston. We arrived at the track late, unhooked the trailer in the pitch dark, and headed to the hotel a solid 20 miles away.


Sunday, Race Day One

Next morning we got in before dawn, unloaded the Mustang and went to tech to get our 2013 Annual Tech sticker and renew our logbook ($10 for the year). We had NASA decals to apply, two transponders to mount and test, and a hundred other things. It was quite chilly, with temps in the low 40s, but the weather outlook was warming for the afternoon and predicted to be warmer still on Sunday.

Vorshlag photo gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/

The guys from Evo-Dynamics (http://www.evodynamics.com/) brought four EVOs and a GTR down from Dallas and hung out with us at the Vorshlag trailer all weekend (see our "foggy paddock" above). We had shade, lots of chairs, and lots to drink. Lots of fun was had with these guys all weekend, both on track and off. That's half the fun of a NASA race weekend - hanging out with fellow competitors and friends between race sessions, shooting the bull, bench racing, talking a little smack, and having fun.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/i-8R3s8TV/1/S/_DSC9827-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/i-qDKX8NP/1/S/_DSC9820-S.jpg

The morning was pretty hectic for me, as I was both competing in Time Trial as well as instructing, which meant I had to go to three meetings that morning: instructors (missed it!), Time Trial and HPDE, to meet my students. I had an HPDE2 student driving in a beautiful and well prepped Porsche Cayman S. I rode along with her for three sessions then picked up a 2nd student later that day and Sunday.

I was so rushed that morning that I forgot to turn on my transponder in my first TT session, which meant I got no time. Normally that's not a big deal, as the first TT session on Saturday in NASA Texas doesn't count for competition, just for gridding. So this meant I was at the back of the grid, mired in slower traffic, for all of TT session two. Never got even a remotely a clear lap, but was quick enough to move up to grid position 10 out of 44, based on those session two times. Then in TT session three I was quickest of the group, which was mainly because the TT1 guys sat out, which moved me up to P2 in TT session four. So surely now I could get a clean lap or two without traffic...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/i-VGbDL4J/0/M/Vorshlag%20MSR-H%20NASA%20Jan%202013-M.jpg (http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/27656170_ZDdggp#!i=2343981422&k=VGbDL4J&lb=1&s=A)
Click above to watch in-car video of two laps in TT session four, in 1080P.

So TT session four wound up being perfect for getting fast laps, eventually. After chasing John Gross' TT1 C6 Z06 for part of the first lap, I watched him take the "agricultural line" into the Diamond's Edge corner, while I was giving Josh's TT2 car a point-by. Diamond's Edge is a tricky, fast corner where I enter in 5th gear, tap the brakes at the brake markers, turn in, let the car corner hard, then get back on the gas and brake for the tight 2nd gear corner at the end of the sequence. Then you touch three curbs through a wiggle at the end and accelerate back down another long straight. There is a lot of time to be made or lost into the braking zone in this corner sequence and John just got a little overzealous. He wasn't the only one using more than the track allowed that weekend, but luckily I didn't add my name to that list.

Saturday Results: http://www.nasatx.com/resultspoints/2013Results/MSRH_Jan_19_Saturday_TT.pdf

Old track records for MSR-H (CW is slower than CCW): http://www.nasa-tt.com/Texas_Track_Records/p2046_articleid/11

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/i-qHJ57Qt/1/S/_DSC9240-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/i-2K8LXcq/1/S/_DSC9696-S.jpg

Of course, there was no contact or crashes of any kind in any TT session (there never is), and the only real carnage was John's ZR1 splitter (now a "6 piece unit") and a couple EVO motors were served up to the Gods of Boost. Some dirt and grass was killed, but nothing bad. There were a lot of E46 M3s in TTB (and one that got bumped to TT3), with KenO leading the pack once again, but winning by a mere tenth of a second over Allan Page. Three of these M3 racers all run the same AST 4200/Vorshlag camber plate set-up and a 4th entrant has our plates - and he wants shocks. All of these M3's are driven to the track and are still street cars. Very cool.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/i-xTwvF9k/1/S/_DSC9964-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/i-DZFF48P/1/S/_DSC9168-S.jpg

So my fourth session went well and I got a couple of clean laps, finally. After chasing Josh for two laps, I busted off a 1:42.1 and 1:41.5 laps, then caught the back of the field and came in after four laps. The tires were DONE and I didn't want to risk a spin and get a DSQ for the session. So when I came off track I was told to head to the tech shed for a weighing. No problem, I should be fine. Errr... the fuel level was lower than I had planned and I missed weight. Damn! That DSQ'd the session, but my times from previous sessions (1:42.0) were still fast enough for a class win, still with a nice margin and new track record. We went and re-weighed a few times that afternoon and added enough extra ballast in the car to be legal for Amy on Sunday. We overshot by 50 extra pounds, "just in case".

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08-16-2013, 04:38 PM
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Josh Dunn was fast in his EVO running in TT2, and he and I swapped best times with each other all day on Saturday, with Josh's TT2 drive edging me out by tenths at the end of the first day (and he went faster still on Sunday). At the end of the day's racing, there was a great banquet by the NASA folks and everyone stuck around to eat, drink, and hang out. There were trophies presented to last year's regional class champions, based on points earned over the 2012 season. Then we hit the hotel and crashed.

Sunday, Race Day Two

Each new day on a NASA weekend makes for a new Time Trial competition event, so all of our times on Saturday were now thrown out (except for grid placement in session one) and we had to start the day anew. Four more TT sessions were available to shoot for our best lap time in class. Amy was to drive the Mustang in three of those four sessions, under her new car number "197" this day (S197... 197... get it?), so I made sure her transponder was charged and mounted, and my wired unit was turned OFF during her sessions. To make sure there were a minimum of seven drivers in TT3 class for Sunday (to help "make the class" for better contingency payouts) I was going to hop in for one TT session, unless she was really on fire and wanted the car all to herself.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/i-c6TMdgj/1/S/_DSC9289-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/i-kG5XLNj/1/S/_DSC9292-S.jpg
Joe D's 2013 Mustang Boss 302 Leguna Seca.

Since I wasn't racing for most of the day I took on another student and worked with a customer/friend of ours in his 302 Leguna Seca. He made big strides and we bumped him up to HPDE3 by day's end, with HPDE4/TT probably only a couple of weekends away. In order to show the line to another student, I took the Mustang out in an HPDE3 session and made some 8/10ths laps, which he enjoyed immensely. Amy was struggling with grip and was mired in the 1:45s all day, with most of her laps only tenths of a second different from each other.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/i-T5pM5vZ/1/S/_DSC0125-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/i-PSHKGbq/1/S/DSC_0402-S.jpg
Mike P taking it 2-wide into Turn 17 during an AI race.

I spent most of my time Sunday as Amy's "track b!tch", or so she named me. ;) It was nice to spectate a bit and I got to watch some insane American Iron and CMC battles in their race group. Mike Patterson was "super-sized" and ran in both Time Trial and American Iron, with a 3rd in TT3 on Sat and 4th on Sunday, plus a win in AI on Sunday as well. Not bad for his first event since he returned from some mid-season repairs last season - congrats!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/i-57trqpW/1/S/_DSC9946-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/i-K66k9NG/1/S/_DSC0007-S.jpg

Sean Farrah (above left) was having a ball in his Scion FR-S, running in TTE (he normally races in a TT2 classed 350Z) with the new Enkei 17x9" wheels and some mild suspension tweaks. He placed a respectable 4th in TTE in his relatively stock FT86, only a couple of seconds back from class leader Ken Brewer. It was good to also see Pranav Patel (above right) in his LT1 powered 4th gen Camaro for the first time on track. This future CMC car did well that day and he was working on getting his comp license, running in HDE3.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/i-KgcSCbJ/1/S/_DSC9910-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/i-4qJXLkJ/1/S/_DSC9990-S.jpg
Left: We were quick enough to be gridded in P1 in a number of TT sessions. Right: Taking Amy for some recon laps on Saturday morning.

Like I said, Amy was struggling with learning the track and kept complaining about low grip. So when I went out in TT session three, I quickly found out what she meant - the tires, which had already seen a long hard life, had really degraded on Day Two. My best lap was a 1:42.536, fully 1 second slower than Saturday. I had clear track and felt like I had put in a good lap, but the car just wouldn't corner in the higher speed sweepers (Turns 2, 6 and 7) or transitional sections (Turns 8 through 13). Oh well, we got our money's worth and then some out of this set of tires.

Sunday TT Results: http://www.nasatx.com/resultspoints/2013Results/MSRH_Jan_20_Sunday_TT.pdf

Still managed a class win with 7 entrants on Sunday, which should be good enough for two more tires, for a total of four Hoosiers for the weekend. Can't wait to get these mounted up before MSR-Cresson event March 16-17th, where I think we are running the 3.1 mile course again (which merges the 1.7 and 1.3 mile courses for a big, technical course with a bunch of turns). And I just made a deal on a pair of 31 spline Torsen differentials - a new Torsen T2-R and new T2. So we'll have a real differential in the car for March, finally!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/i-wFQx7jT/1/S/_DSC9098-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-Houston-011913/i-cBKtjrq/1/S/_DSC9105-S.jpg

We wrapped up after the final HPDE sessions and before we loaded the Mustang into the trailer, Brandon took a few more pictures against a backdrop of a field with some electrical towers... Mmmm.


We said goodbye to our friends and competitors and hit the road for a long drive back to Dallas, stopping in north Houston for some damn fine Cajun food at a Pappadaux. Great weekend, lots of fun, but a bit hectic with the instructing and talking to folks stopping by to look at the Mustang. We had a few from the W2W groups stop by, after seeing the times we were running (again outpacing our American Iron race group, with the same power-to-weight ratios and carrying about 500 extra pounds). Most everyone remarked how little safety equipment we have in this car, and I agree - so we're pulling the trigger next week on a 4-point roll bar kit from Maximum Motorsports. This will provide a more secure cross bar to hang the shoulder straps from and give us some roll-over protection, "just in case". I am not a fan of full roll cages in street cars, and Amy doesn't like me cutting on her street car, so this will have to suffice.

What's Next?

After we got back to Dallas on Tuesday morning, I flew out to New Orleans for two days of fun at NOLA Motorsports Park, testing tires at the BFGoodrich Rival tire launch. I will post about that in my next thread update. We have the T2-R to install, the roll bar, and a few other suspension goodies that I will show once they are installed. We might have some new transmission mounts as well, if the prototypes show up in time. These could hopefully cure the shifting issues we're seeing, due to the body mounted shifter. When the drivetrain is loaded up mid-corner, it is sometimes impossible to make a clean shift. Amy and I both noticed we were early shifting or holding a gear longer, to avoid these mid-corner up-shifts. Just isn't possible for the drivetrain and shifter assemblies to synch up sometimes, when the big heavy motor + trans are loaded up and under power.

This was the weight with me in it, as we unloaded it from the trailer... with WAY too much hastily added ballast in the trunk. Needs to be 3775.

We are also going to work on a trunk-mounted, easy to adjust ballast system, so we can get the car closer to the 3775 pound minimum weight for our TT3 set-up, and swap known ballast amounts between Amy and I, since I outweigh her by a good bit. To get some additional rear bias, we are thinking of moving the small 14 pound engine-bay mounted battery to the trunk, and replacing it with a more sizable Optima Red Top. We are at 53% front weight bias (and 49.9% cross) in the picture above, but that is with a LOT of extra ballast in the trunk. We over-shot the minimum weight to be safe for both drivers using the same ballast. The roll bar structure will likely add 60 pounds mostly to the rear, and then the larger battery relocation, then whatever weight plates we need to make minimum will be in the trunk. Oh, check out the "motion capture" photo of the '11 GT that Brandon shot, using the new modular camera rig that he and Olof built. Pretty cool.


I just ordered a brand new tow vehicle from our buddy Corey White at Five Star Ford of Plano (http://www.fivestarfordofplano.com/), a red 2013 Ford F350 Diesel 4x2 DRW, which should be here at the middle to end of March. I think I just sold my 2006 Dodge Cummins MegaCab 3500 (http://www.vorshlag.com/cars-06dodge3500.php), so I might be truck-less for the NASA/Cresson event. If so, we'll have to drive the Mustang the two hours to the track and mount the Hoosiers there - oh, the horror! ;) I have two other posts started for this thread as well as the now very late BFG Rival review, so I need to stop here so I can get caught up. Going to work all weekend and write write write! With the shop closed and the phones ignored I can get a lot more done.

Thanks for reading,

08-16-2013, 04:39 PM
Just wanted to post the link to the Vorshlag BFG Rival Tire review (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8209). Took almost 2 weeks to write and edit this monster, and it'll take you a bit to read it. I go into a lot more than just the 2 days I spent in New Orleans driving this tire.

Start reading here: http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8209


We drove a lot of different BFG models (above) as well as tires from Hankook, Falken, and Toyo. There was even a secret test of the Dunlop Direzza ZII.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/BFG-NOLA-012312/i-M3MB76D/0/S/BFGoodrichRival166-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/BFG-NOLA-012312/i-tHbfZSQ/0/S/BFGoodrichRival071-S.jpg

Thanks for reading.

08-16-2013, 04:40 PM
Project Update for February 21, 2013: I've been dreading this update for more than two months, but I have to write it one last time here and then we can move on. I'm only putting this in the thread to explain why we are leaving SCCA competition for 2013, since that has been a part of this build since 2010 (and has been a part of my life since 1987). Once this is posted I am not going to "re-argue" this whole mess again - since I have already done that in other threads/forums. Please don't crap up the thread with more questions about why we are leaving the SCCA, or suggestions how we can get around the new, borked rule re-write that has now banned 80% of the Watts Links on the market for SCCA use. You can send me PMs or emails, but I won't likely get into it further. We've already been over this dozens of times with other folks inside and outside of the SCCA, and have wasted enough time trying to find a work-around. It doesn't exist - there is simply no way for us to race any of our S197s in SCCA Solo for 2013. Their ruling is final and nothing is going to change the SCCA's ways, other than continued membership attrition.

That first half of my thread update is pretty negative, but there's no way to dress it up nicely. Luckily the second half of this thread update is a bit more positive - we cover the current and future status of our 2013 Mustang GT, touch on a new letter we have written to the SEB about moving the S197 to STU class for Street Touring use, introduce some potentially big news for Mustangs and hopefully Vorshlag for 2014, and briefly discuss the next few mods we have in store for our 2011 GT in the coming weeks.

Let's get this first half over with. If you already know this story, feel free to skip to the second half. :)

SCCA SPAC/SEB Bans Alternate Differential Covers (and most Watts Link Kits) in Solo

As many of you reading this know, Vorshlag was one of Whiteline's first testers for their S197 Watts Link kit. We talked about their products in this build thread, installed and tested their Watts Link in August 2012, and then used it at the 2012 Solo Nationals and all competition events and street driving since. We have had excellent results with this kit and have been selling many of them since it went into production. Rock solid unit. One of the only units on the market that doesn't have metal rod ends, which gives this the Whiteline Watts kit a silent, street friendly function - but it still works extremely well in autocross and track competition with big 315mm R compounds and aero.

So after the 2012 Solo Nationals, someone with some pull in the SCCA piped up online and said "that Watts Link is illegal because it changes the differential cover!". Ludicrous, I said. The mounting is unrestricted and the most common mounting for any Watts Link propeller is to the differential cover. This is the way most factory units are installed and the vast majority of aftermarket units as well. It is the most logical way to mount the point on the axle that attaches to the lateral links and chassis for the Watts Link.

We didn't hear a single ESP competitor complain about any potential Watts Link illegalities at the 2012 Solo Nationals.

To clear this up before we spent upwards of $50K building our 2013 GT for ESP class and getting a silly protest at a National event in 2013, we asked the Solo Events Board (SEB) for a clarification. Big, big mistake. You see I felt like this was just a formality, because this style of Watts Link mounting is by far the most prevalent and has been in use for decades in SCCA Street Prepared. Logic would prevail, the clarification would be simple, and the obvious answer would remove any doubt about the legality of the Whiteline Watts link and the other seven brands for the S197 (Cortex, Griggs, etc) that also relied on an alternate differential cover for their kits. These units had many years of precedent in ESP class without issue.

But this is the SCCA, and logic often has nothing to do with their decisions.

This is the same group that argued about removing 0.5 ounce badges from cars, for two years. So I should probably not have been surprised when a 8+ week discussion took place within the Street Prepared Advisory Committee (SPAC) and then the SEB. And they finally ruled, "you know, we don't think the original rule writers meant that..." and they changed the rule, banned our preferred Watts Link kits (plus many other brands), and our next S197 ESP project was doomed.

To get a clear sense of the history of this rule and how this re-write went down, let's look at the original Street Prepared "solid axle" extra rule set that we felt clearly showed this and many other a Watts Link kits were legal:

15.I Solid axle suspension allowances:
1. Addition or replacement of suspension stabilizers (linkage connecting
the axle housing or De Dion to the chassis, which controls
lateral suspension location) is permitted.
2. Traction bars or torque arms may be added or replaced.
3. A panhard rod may be added or replaced.
4. The upper arm(s) may be removed, replaced, or modified and the
upper pickup points on the rear axle housing may be relocated.
5. The lower arms may not be altered, except as permitted under
Section 15.8.C, or relocated.
Methods of attachment and attachment points are unrestricted, but
may serve no other purpose (e.g., chassis stiffening). This does not
authorize removal of a welded-on part of a subframe or bodywork to
accommodate the installation.

That bit there about unrestricted mounting for lateral locating devices, to me and many others we have spoken with, meant unrestricted. You can weld, fabricate, unbolt and do pretty much anything necessary to make the Watts Link fit a solid axle car. UNRESTRICTED is a pretty damned forgiving term, and that wording has been in place for many years. Since the rule, as written, called out that you couldn't remove welded on part of the subframe or bodywork, then a bolt-on differential cover seemed like fair game. Remember - we had unrestricted mounting boundaries. And we had spoken with several competitors in ESP class at Nationals that themselves had alternate diff covers, simply because this rule so clearly allowed it. This has been the working interpretation by competitors for this class for ages.