Fiesta ST First Track Report

Discussion in 'Fiesta ST Road Racing' started by was-an-M, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. was-an-M

    was-an-M Member

    I just got back from a weekend with the BMW CCA at Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia. As always it was a great event with awesome folks and some great driving.

    This was my first weekend with my FiST after a season of events in my E46 M3. I float between the intermediate and advanced group depending on the number of people, this weekend I was in intermediate and it was an interesting mix of cars. Mostly BMW's but also an F430 Scud and a 996 GT3 (more on those in a moment).

    My FiST is slightly modified. I have a Cobb Stage 1 tune (93 octane), Poterfield R4 pads, SS lines, and Motul 600 fluid. I also had OZ Ultraleggera 15" wheels w/ 205 Nitto NT01's. I ran the car in sport mode saturday and full traction control off sunday.

    So first the good...
    The car was a hoot for the sole reason of here's this little 1.6L Ford running down a fair few number of cars out on the track. I passed the GT3 a few times and held off the F430 Scud for about 6 laps. Summit is a pretty technical course that rewards drivers over horsepower which is the only reason I stood a chance.

    The torque was great out of corners and I really was about to pull away.

    Body roll wasn't bad. I was expecting it to be much worse but it corners pretty flat. The seats were awesome. The steering feel was pretty good. And the grip was pretty good thanks to the tires.

    Now the not-so-good...
    The car is pretty unstable under high-speed braking and also does some odd things at turn-in (namely fighting and wanting to dart away from the direction of turning). Coming down the main straight from about 115mph the car twitches...a lot. And then (for those that know Summit or pull a map) between turns 2 and 3 it twitches so much that on one lap I dropped 2 wheels off and then went 4 off. No biggie, just cut some grass, but still not a great tendency.

    Part of it is me trying to correct it (the squirm) and also the short wheel base, but I had 1 instructor and 1 racer drive it and both thought it was fun but not a good track car. For the reasons noted.

    Generally the brakes aren't 100% up to task. I boiled the Motul on one session to the point where there was fluid in the engine bay and the brakes were smoking. It was when I was using the sport mode so I suspect the traction control was working the calipers without my input because once I turned the traction control off I didn't experience any more boil-offs like that. I also melted a brake piston seal and the calipers look pretty smoked.

    Maybe someone can chime in here and tell me they've had this issue, and even better they know a fix. It's almost like the car moves the bias to the rear for a moment then sends it forward. Or maybe it's a combo of the Nittos and the race brakes up front.

    A lot of this is just me debriefing and I tend to pick on the cons more than the pros. For what the car is and what it cost and what it "should" be able to do it really made a good showing and I got a lot of props.

    So hopefully people get something from this. And hopefully someone can comment on the squirm and how they may have resolved it.
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  3. sourskittle

    sourskittle Member

    Really great info.

    And yea... That loose rearend under hard braking at 90mph+ is hard to "get used to".

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  4. was-an-M

    was-an-M Member


    I'm glad to know it's not just me, but it's really not pleasant and uses up a fair number of "brain cycles" managing it when. Maybe someone from the aftermarket will find a fix...maybe bushings? Don't know.
  5. razorlab

    razorlab Active Member

    Are you using R4's all around or just the front? If you are running them just on the front, it's probably too much pad on the front and too little on the rear and it's upsetting the car more than usual.

    What are your alignment settings?

    How where the NT01's on the FiST? Thinking of picking a set up.
  6. was-an-M

    was-an-M Member

    As far as I was aware Porterfield only made a run of front pads. Though Hawk makes race pads that fit the rear (only) of the FiST so I had a mind to try putting those on there. But really, pulling more bias rear I don't think will help the squirm...if anything it could make it worse.

    Alignment is stock.
  7. razorlab

    razorlab Active Member

    Might want to check if your toe is zero all around. The R4's might be too much pad for the front. I've had that issue before on my Evos. Too much pad on the front makes the rear end a bit to handle under hard threshold braking on track. Especially with R-Compounds because you transfer all the weight to the front.

    Also, the suspension might be too soft now that you are using race pads and race tires, which will also not help with it nosing over.

    Basically what I'm trying to say, is if you don't want to make other changes, you might need less pad.
  8. was-an-M

    was-an-M Member

    razor, you're probably spot on. I'm not sure I'll have time to get pads changed before my next event. I do wish there were more pad options...

    I suppose I could try going back to the OE lads but given that I are half a set of race pads in a weekend I don't think the OE pads will last.

    At the very least I'll go by the performance shop near my office and have them tweak the alignment.

    The FiST is my daily and sort of an interim track car while I finish my enduro car. So I don't want to get too nuts...just a little nuts :)
  9. razorlab

    razorlab Active Member

    Balancing it out a little with higher friction rear pads could help. For sure check alignment. Even putting some more weight in the rear could help in the interim.

    BTW, I knew the OEM front setup would be too little for fast track use. I have a set of Wilwood DP6 Caliper, 12.19" GT spec rotors going on my FiST in the next couple weeks.
  10. was-an-M

    was-an-M Member

    If the car were going to be my only track ride then brakes would be a must. I'll be interested to see the result of bigger brakes up front and the OE setup out back.

    I am going to see about rear pads that more closely match the fronts and check the alignment and go from there.

    For those interested, attached is what my caliper looked like after the 4th 20 minute session yesterday.

    Attached Files:

    Mr UFO likes this.
  11. razorlab

    razorlab Active Member

    Also check out Torque RT700 brake fluid. Little bit more than Motul 600 but seems to work better.
  12. MLKN

    MLKN Active Member

    I ran the car completely stock and did not have any brake issues at Sears Point. I did have a number of disturbing scenarios under hard breaking with nose diving and losing rear control. This was especially apparent when cresting the hill just before the carousel.

    I ran the car very hard and went through a whole tank of gas in 100 minutes of track time.

    See my more detailed reviews in my autocross and track threads but I agree with most other posters. You probably made the front rear balance worse with good pads up front. Imagine pulling the front break on a bike and jumping. That is kind of the dynamic
  13. maybe_fiestast

    maybe_fiestast New Member

    So did you feel like you would crash or was it manageable?
  14. MLKN

    MLKN Active Member

  15. McRib 1s Back

    McRib 1s Back Well-Known Member

    I'm running a similar brake setup -- Motul 600, SS lines, and race compound Porterfield pads up front. My only complaint is that the brakes are very grabby until you get used to them, but they are rock solid. Oh yeah, get a spare set of rotors to keep on hand. This pads win that battle. :)

    I don't experience any instability hauling down from 120+. What I can say is that until I had my coilovers just a couple clicks away from full-hard up front, it wasn't very composed in any transition. I think this has more to do with R compound tires, big grip, and induced body roll/movement. I'm running -4 degrees camber up front (and actually thinking about a little more). The car is good now, but it took me a while to get it there (blew half my day at SoW this way).

    Did I miss your alignment settings? What's your total toe-out? Maybe you're just a good alignment job away from stability under those conditions?
  16. was-an-M

    was-an-M Member

    I think fuel consumption is likely very track specific. 100 minutes of track time seems pretty good out of a tank. I was burning a little more than 1/4 tank per 20 minute session at Summit. But there are a few sections that are very WOT so I think that's a major cause.

    I had the same thought about rotors after I was at the track. I'll pick up a set for my next event.

    I am running on stock suspension and since the Fiesta is my temporary track weapon and funds are wrapped up in the enduro build the stock setup will just have to do. But I think you're right...the stock setup can't handle the amount of weight transfer that results from the pads and the sticky tires.

    The car is on the stock alignment but I am going to swing by the local tuning shop near my office this week and see how much they can do with the stock suspension. I know they can't get much camber but maybe it just needs some toe adjustment. I may also throw some more aggressive pads on the back to see if that helps any.

    I appreciate all the feedback. I'm not ragging on the FiST even if it seems like I am. It surprised a lot of people with the pace "we" managed. But with the stability sorted I think it will be a ton better.
  17. McRib 1s Back

    McRib 1s Back Well-Known Member

    Before I had coilovers, I ran camber bolts. You can get up to -3 that way. It's cheap and easy, and something to do before you get it aligned. We have a couple threads on this and associated alignment settings. My intuition says your fix comes here! In SOCAL, West End Alignment is tops. I've had my FiST aligned twice, and we spent about six hours doing it (2nd time with corner-weight balancing and tweaking). I'll never see an alignment shop the same way again!

    You don't seem the slightest bit negative; t's silly to think our "budget racer" is perfect -- it isn't, but it's damn good. You've found a group of people interested in open and genuine conversation about the strengths and weaknesses of the FiST. Mostly, we like talking about the strengths. :)
  18. was-an-M

    was-an-M Member

    McRib, which camber bolts were you running?

    Mind sharing your alignment specs? Not sure if they'd be transferable to my car since I am running OEM suspension?
  19. Cesso

    Cesso Member

    I never got the sense that you were ragging on the car, more that you pushed it to the absolute limit and found some flaws. I never expected a car this cheap to perform so well to be honest. Thank you for your detailed analysis, it will help everyone know what works and what doesn't and allow us to maximize the potential of the chassis.
  20. McRib 1s Back

    McRib 1s Back Well-Known Member

    Sure thing -- no secrets there. There' s a full thread on this, however; I didn't want to hijack this one. In brief,
    I managed -2.8 degrees of camber up front using SPC camber bolts (great quality bolts, and I got them from FSWERKS). 1/8" toe-out. I bought two sets originally, but only used a single set. I have some tips to share if you PM me.

    Presently, I'm running -4.0 up front with the same 1/8" toe-out. The car is also L/R 50/50 corner-weight balanced.
  21. razorlab

    razorlab Active Member

    I'm using the SPC camber bolts too. Well I should say, I will be, as soon as I install my coilovers.

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