3rd vs. 2nd gear corner exit rumination

Discussion in 'Fiesta ST Road Racing' started by meFiSTo, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. meFiSTo

    meFiSTo Active Member

    Hey road racer folks. I am waiting for my car in the damp Pacific northwest and ruminating on a probably late summer track day (April car arrival, summer break in period, blah blah). Anyway, I've been lurking these forums and have noticed in various videos (like the exhaust clip videos) that there's often a lot of wheel spin in second gear from low speed startups. This got me to thinking about the corner exits on a couple of local road circuits here in the PNW.

    In my old (now gone) Powerworks-supercharged SVT Focus, I would drop down to 2nd coming out of the chicane (turn 2) at Portland and the very slow turn 3B at Pacific raceways. With the roots SC, the pull was very linear with that car. I'm seeing something different with the Fiesta STs. Especially with the various tunes I'm seeing (Cobb, mountune), it seems like the TQ comes on strong at relatively low RPM.

    Makes me think that I might be better off holding 3rd exiting those low speed turns, even though I'm only doing like 25 mph. I do figure to do some testing, but just chewing on this as I await the actual car build.

    Any thoughts here from those that have (or for that matter have not) taken this little thing out for track days? Thanks.

    Here are the maps for reference:


    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
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  3. ST-in-Mich

    ST-in-Mich Member

    In 2nd there is a limit on torque unless you have a different ECU flash, such as the one from the COBB Accessport V3. So you might be better off holding 3rd if possible. (Please note, I am not a racer, and haven't raced. Just thoughts on the car in general.)
  4. D1JL

    D1JL Well-Known Member

    It is very difficult to speculate as to how a car react without testing it.
    In addition a car will hold a very different line depending on tires and suspension.
    The ECU tune will also make a profound difference.

  5. Cligedy

    Cligedy Active Member

    I agree that it is hard to say how the car will behave in that corner, but 25 in 3rd would put you out of the powerband, and 2nd is likely going to give you wheelspin. Throttle modulation is probably the answer; there is a learning curve with the turbo.
  6. meFiSTo

    meFiSTo Active Member

    All great points. It'll boil down to doing some live testing. The two track situations are really pretty different, with the exit speed being the only true similarity.

    The old SC'd SVT was fully caged and gutted with a KW V3 suspension adjusted to a fairly stout setting; it ran on NT01s (could not afford real R compounds), sat on custom FSWerks camber plates (with a couple of degrees of negative camber), and had a 24 mm rear bar. The Fiesta will be basically stock with something like an MP215 setup and something like Ecsta XS street rubber. So, yeah, hard to compare. Just looking for some thoughts from anyone that's tested their car at the track. To tell the truth, the SVT liked 2nd gear coming out of those turns both before and after the addition of the Powerworks charger. But that whiner was very linear in the way it delivered power.

    I bet there is. Sigh. I guess that's the fun part!


    Hmmm. I thought it would be useful to look into the way back machine to the long gone SVT Focus. Worth doing. For your entertainment, my old momemtum car at the local circuits:

    Pacific Raceways

    Hah. Looks like I am going more like about 30 to 35 at the bottom of 3B, but I do still go for 2nd.


    Turns out exit speed from the chicane (first set of turns you see in video) is more like 45! My memory is terrible. I stick with 3rd here with the RPMs never dropping below maybe 3200. Hard to see. Anyway. It's a moot point.

    A local Viper guy bought that thing in 2011 (and eventually sold his Viper in favor of the econobox). I'm hoping he's still running it so maybe we can chase around a little bit. Focustein and meFiSTo on the same track. Hah.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  7. moshaholic2

    moshaholic2 Active Member

    Does my old dark blue 2.3L turbo Focus still run up at Portland International? I sold it to a Nike employee up there.
  8. wash

    wash Active Member

    If you have to feather the gas a lot, higher gear might make sense but I think you need to look at the next shift, if you're going to fourth, that means you're pulling third all the way through the rpm range and that is probably not as fast as staying in second so you shift to third at a higher rpm. If your next corner is a third gear corner, it might make sense. If you're going down to second next, probably not.
  9. meFiSTo

    meFiSTo Active Member

    Don't really know. I have not been out to Portland (or anywhere) since Fall 2011. Car sold in Spring 2012. If you're wondering what happened to your old car , perhaps check with the folks over at the NW regional forum of focaljet.com. They're nice folks. I tracked with a couple of them along the way. There was a kid with a dark blue turbo'd hatch. I don't think he was a Nike-ite. Not sure.

    With the old car, it was mostly WOT out of these particular turns. At Portland, I do recall going for 2nd out of the chicane on occasion, but having to do a quick upshift to third exiting the next little (WOT) bend at turn 3. Then, running out of RPMs before turn 4, having to go to 4th briefly, then back to 3rd for all the turns through the "back side" of the track (4-7). I usually did this if I was chasing a slower driver and wanted to make them yield when we got to the back straight (for groups that did not allow passing in the turns). If I held third through the chicane, I exited slower, but I reached the RPM shift point for 3rd to 4th sooner and was able to achieve higher top speed heading into turn 4. I still would drop to 3rd, but I think I got more out of being in 4th (and ultimately, marginally faster lap times...according to my video logs).

    it'll be fun to see how this car differs from the old SVT.
  10. MLKN

    MLKN Active Member

    Keep it second, and feather the gas as needed. You will need that extra pull as you straighten out to go fast. The best analogy I have heard is imagine a string tying your foot to the steering wheel. As you straighten the wheel you can apply more throttle and vice versa.
  11. meFiSTo

    meFiSTo Active Member

    Thanks for the reminder. While I *know* this, I did not always apply it. I think I'll have to be more conscious about doing this with this car that with the prior car.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
  12. McRib 1s Back

    McRib 1s Back Well-Known Member

    I'm coming in late on this one, but I completely agree. There are plenty of similar corners at SoW and HTM, and I prefer 2nd gear (even with my lower gearing). Real-time speeds are posted on my video overlays. I'm faster in 2nd gear at those speeds than 3rd. At Horse Thief Mile, it amounted to a second or so per lap.
  13. meFiSTo

    meFiSTo Active Member

    I think I'm incrementally faster by going to second out of the chicane at Portland as well, but if I'm not trying to drive for fast time (or chasing an Elise), holding 3rd seems much more settled.
  14. McRib 1s Back

    McRib 1s Back Well-Known Member

    In re-reading this thread, I'm reminded that this is where I leave the most time on the table. It's worse when I'm being overly aggressive (but really not quite red mist!). :) I am very conscious about being in a FWD track car and needing to unwind the steering wheel more -- I just don't do it all the time. It's like being a bit absent minded on a turn and blowing the line for no good reason. That stuff gnaws at me and makes me want to drive better!

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