Observations from Frankenfiesta's First Track day

Discussion in 'Fiesta ST Road Racing' started by meFiSTo, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. meFiSTo

    meFiSTo Active Member

    Location: Portland International Raceway, Portland, OR
    Weather Conditions: Cool, partial cloudy, dry (high was about 63 to 65 I'd guess)
    Club: Alfa Romeo of Oregon
    Event: Spring Lapping Day
    Date: 3/28/15

    Some 11 months after taking possession, I finally got my Fiesta ST out for its first track day last Saturday and had a great time. This car is just fun to drive. My setup is not entirely stock, but it is not extreme.

    Main points of modification:
    • MP215, mountune high flow induction hose, mountune FMIC, mountune quick shifter
    • Quaife LSD
    • BC Racing BR Type coilovers (6K/4K springs; set to 10 clicks under full stiff), camber bolts
    • Stock calipers and rotors; StopTech brake lines, Torque RT700 fluid, Carbotech XP8 pads
    • Nitto NT01 tires in 205/50-15 on Team Dynamics Pro Race 1.2 wheels in 15x7
    • 16 ounces of Torco per about 10 gallons of gas (shooting for rough 94 octane equivalence)
    • Water/water wetter and Mobil 1 5W30 oil

    Car handled almost like a go cart, although I could not really go all out in the curves (not enough rubber, minmial negative camber, top heavy, etc.). Nonetheless, it was easy to drive given this was a shakedown event for me in the car. I dialed back a little in the ABS braking zones (broke a little early and progressively), but as a result the brakes really held up. Here are a couple of photos of the pads after the event was over (3 15-minute morning sessions and 3 20-minute afternoon sessions).

    Passenger side front:


    Driver side front:


    Hardly even looks like I used them, although we probably need to get them off to really see. I experienced zero fade (on an admittedly perfect -- cool -- day) and when I needed more brake when standing on them later (usually pursuing another lapper), response was perfect. RT700 worked like a charm. I got into the ABS a few times at the bottom of the main straight as expected when closing on and getting set to pass a slower driver. PIR is mostly easy on brakes if you are not late braking like that. Carbotechs are a little more progressive upon initial stop request, but their ultimate stopping power is very good.

    The BC Racing coilovers did great -- set at what was really not that stiff of a setting (10 short of full stiff). The Quaife LSD performed flawlessly as far as I could tell. Only truly called upon LSD when exiting the chicane, and the little car pulled like a champ out of that slow sequence with virtually zero wheel spin. I never drove this car at the track with the open diff, so can't really compare. I did drive my prior FWD car with the open diff at the track, and the difference was noticeable once the Quaife went into that car.

    The NT01s performed as expected, holding lines and letting me build speed from lap to lap. These tires do not squeal, but they do break very progressively when asked to slip a little (in my case when aggressively exiting the PIR chicane).

    I am not a super aggressive driver in general, so I did not really test the limits of this car, the tires, or the brakes. Within the context of my minimally enhanced car and my recreational approach, this setup worked great and I had a ton of fun. YMMV.

    A couple photos taken by Charles White Photography at the event:




    And, if you made it this far, I have some paddock pics hosted at my google+ account.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2015
    Mr UFO, BlackBird, KKaWing and 2 others like this.
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  3. jeffreylund

    jeffreylund New Member

    Very nice write up, thanks! I'd say that you have some decent mods to make the car a better overall performer.
  4. CrookedRacer

    CrookedRacer Active Member

    I'm guessing your LSD might have reduced or eliminated the use of your front brakes for torque vectoring.

    Keeps the brakes cooler and the pads should last way longer, it looks like.

    Thanks for posting!
  5. RodMoe

    RodMoe Well-Known Member

    Front yes rears not so much
  6. Steve@Tasca

    Steve@Tasca Fiesta ST Network Sponsor

    Nice writeup Kim, I do have to ask, how are your lap times compared to your old SVT?

  7. meFiSTo

    meFiSTo Active Member

    I'm going to have to check the rears. My focus was on the front wear, cuz, you know, standing on the brakes wears them out.
  8. meFiSTo

    meFiSTo Active Member

    Unfortunately, I did not get any video from this day. Since there is no cage, I cannot do the same like I did with the old car. I have not yet purchased a GoPro, but might. I tried to use an iPod with Cantrell Motorsports Lap Timer Pro and an Emprum Ultimate GPS. Unfortunately, the GPS needed a little bit of reset/prep to help it get a Satellite lock since I had not used it before. I wish I'd investigated setup before heading to the track. Anyway, I downloaded the app the other day, did the reset procedure, and its working fine. I should be able to capture video along with synchronized data analytics going forward. My next visit to Portland is Sept. 4 with the Club Lotus NW kids. I'll get a reading on comparative times then.

    This is how it "felt":
    • On corner exit from low speed sequences into any kind of straight bit, the car seemed quicker. Coupled with the LSD and NT01s, the car really did well. Very stable and planted. The added low end torque seemed to help me get to speed quicker. Anecdotally, the BRZ and Miata kids did comment that they were surprised with how quick the car was breaking out from corners.

    • The top end was pretty comparable, but again I seemed to get there a little faster. I "short shifted" a little between 4th and 5th because the car tends to lose a little steam in the upper RPMs (at least that's how it felt) and getting into the mid-RPM range earlier seemed to help sustain speed on the straights (rather than letting it completely run out of breath).

    • Where there might have been a little disadvantage was in the mid-to-high speed turns.

      The old car was VERY stiff. The KWV3s were dialed to the stiffest setting recommended (not full stiff, but as stiff as was suggested by the KW folks). I had a 24mm bar out back and negative camber was about -2 deg front and back (not alot, but easier to set with the FSWerks plates). I think the tires were a wash. The old car performed best with 205/40-17 RA1s. Pretty similar to the 205/50-15s on this car. Maybe a little less flex. Whatever.

      Anyway, it felt like I had a more difficult time sustaining speed in the higher speed turn sequences. I also used to do throttle lift turn-in and trail braking to good effect in the old car, but this car seemed a little more touchy to that kind of approach (wobbly?). More experimentation is needed to get a better feel for how the car responds. Plus I'll dial up the stiffness and perhaps add a 4-point Pierce brace under the car. I'm not strapped with a 6-point harness into racing Recaros like I was in the Focus. The AutoX approach I'm using keeps me pretty locked down, but overall, it's not as connected. Plus I'm sitting up higher. It all contributes to a little less of a feeling of being plugged in.
    My best times in the old car were around 1:37 to 1:39 in the "new" configuration (new in 2007). Timing with a Flip was kind of vague (not down to tenths). It's hard to imagine I'm much slower (or faster) than that though. One place that I know I can add speed is at end of the back straight at PIR, by staying closer to the wall and then riding over the painted curb up to the grass on turn-in. That's how I used to enter that complex. When it's dry, that really straightens things out. In the wet, that's a spinout and a meet up with the far wall toward turn 11. That first image above shows how I stayed off the curbing this time. I was not very aggressive with this visit (getting to know the car), but next time (if it is dry) I'll push a bit more all around the course.

    Too much info, I'm sure, but I give you this stuff in lieu of: +/- 2 seconds (which is probably what we're talking about). I'll see in September. The CMP Lap Timer Pro/Emprum GPS setup should be much more accurate.
    Mr UFO and Steve@Tasca like this.
  9. Mr UFO

    Mr UFO Active Member

    Great write up! I live in Portland and track PIR, ORP and The Ridge often. We should meet up for a track day and have some Fiesta fun.
  10. meFiSTo

    meFiSTo Active Member

    Absolutely! That would be awesome.

    My next planned events are May 16 and 17 back to backs with Turn 2 and then Audi Club NW at The Ridge. It'll be my first time out there.

    I pinged the local kids on the other forum's regional subforum, but I don't expect too much interest. I'm talking to myself a little bit in the PNW forum.
  11. Mr UFO

    Mr UFO Active Member

    The Ridge is a blast!
    I hit PIR the week before you with HOD and ORP last weekend. I'm going to Laguna on May 24 so May 16 and 17 might be hard for me to break away from the family. Maybe The Ridge in June or July?!

    We have very similar mods:
    All the Mountune stuff with a tune.
    BC coils 7k/7k
    Kuhmo v710 rubber

    My brother has a FoSt and tried to organize a hot hatch trackday but there wasn't much response with the people in our area.
  12. meFiSTo

    meFiSTo Active Member

    Yeah, there's not a lot of interest in the PNW among this cohort for track days yet.

    Oh man. Are you trailering your car to Monterey. I'm envious. I'm not much of a road trip guy. I've been investigating car rental options for the bay area and have not had much success. Even the trek to ORP is just outside my enjoyment range. I can do Portland (also it has actual downtown stuff to do for dinner and such). Cantrell Motorsports MIGHT be able to haul me to CA. It won't be cheap and would not be in their semi trailer (car is too tall). Colin's got other options, but he seemed a little hesitant to offer them.

    Here are the events I'm considering for later this year:
    1. June 20 -- Turn 2 at The Ridge
    2. July 3 -- Cantrell Motorsports and Proformance Racing School at The Ridge
    3. July 29 -- Cantrell Motorsports and Proformance Racing School at Pacific Raceways
    4. Aug 21 and 22 -- Audi Club NW at The Ridge
    5. Sept. 4 -- Club Lotus NW at PIR (most likely of the bunch)
    6. Oct. 24 -- Afla of Oregon at PIR (least likely of the bunch)
    I'll be happy to do 3 or 4 of these events after the May 16/17 weekend. It'll probably be either June 20 or July 3, but not both (if something happens in that timeframe). I would like to get to Pacific Raceways one time this year and the CMS/Don Kitch events are always top notch. Club Lotus NW is my favorite club in the NW.

    Optimistically, maybe events 1 or 2, 3, 4, and 5. That would represent 7 separate events for 2015 and 8 total track days -- and is more than I planned at the outset for this year. It would probably mean fresh XP8 pads, brake flush, and fresh tires. Yeah = $$$$. Not sure I want to do all that. Most likely options are 3 and 5. Even doing those might require fresh pads and switching to my RE-11As for the PIR event to avoid buying more track rubber this year. Pacific Raceways is BRUTAL on tires.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2015
  13. Mr UFO

    Mr UFO Active Member

    Laguna's only a 12hr drive:) For me it's actually not as fun or interesting as ORP or TheRidge. I have some friends in San Diego and we meet in Monterey once a year for a track day reunion!
    I've actually never really wanted to go to Pacific because I've heard it needs serious maintenance.
    I just ordered the XP 10/8's. Can't wait to try them. Had them on my Evo and loved them
  14. meFiSTo

    meFiSTo Active Member

    Pacific Raceways is tough on cars due to the rough surface -- particularly in the Turn 8 exit. It eats tires up. Turn 2 is also rough. Otherwise, it'a a fun track. Having run it 30+ times from 2004 through 2011, I got a burnt out on it. In the same way, PIR is a once or twice a year thing now -- twice mostly because I can connect with friends in town. XP10s are probably a good idea up front if you like to late (and hard) brake. I just wish ORP was not so @#%%ing out in the middle of nowhere.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
  15. Mr UFO

    Mr UFO Active Member

    I'm fortunate-from Portland The Ridge and ORP is almost the exact same distance. Are you in Seattle?
    I usually only go to PIR once a year for a shakedown session. It's just not that entertaining anymore. Although it's nice to have a track so close when I need a quick fix and I'm far from mastering the t-10,11,12 sequence.
  16. meFiSTo

    meFiSTo Active Member

    Nearby, yes. 17 minutes northeast of downtown in the unincorporated nook right between Woodinville and Redmond.

    Two stories about 10, 11, 12:
    • My only true off was in 2005 in Turn 10 at a wet spring Cascade day. My back end came around, I tried to control it, got my nose pointing the right way, sliding sideways in the wet grass, coasting and steering. I almost made it, but met up with the rail barrier between 10 and 11 doing about 5 mph. The barrier stopped my car and did about $3000 damage. A mini had done almost exactly the same thing in the same spot in the session before mine, with much worse results. He hit straight head on. I probably should have either let it go around and stood on the brakes OR tried to feather the throttle to get some control, but oh well, neither and bam.
    • In November of 2004, at my second event at PIR, Randy Pobst was the "special guest" of the Audi Club (he was driving an A6 in the now-defunct Speed Challenge series at the time). He was demoing in some of the organizer cars during the day. At one point, we're in the paddock and hear a sustained squealing of tires sliding from Turn 11 through 12. Apparently it was Randy with one of the Audi club board members and his FWD TT flying through the turn. I think the guy was scared #@#$less. Everyone in the paddock was a little stunned, then chuckling.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
  17. Mr UFO

    Mr UFO Active Member

    I've heard Randy is a great guy. He was my friends instructor at PIR, maybe that same event?! My buddy said he was insanely fast in his STI.
    T10-12 is an easy place to leave a second or two on the table. Your experience sounds knarly. What kind of car was it?
  18. meFiSTo

    meFiSTo Active Member

    He is a very nice guy. He spoke at the Quattrofest (or whatever they called it) dinner between track days (2-day event). I have to admit dozing off. It was my prior FWD car. A Powerworks-enhanced 2004 SVT Focus. That thing had lots of other changes too. Here's a pic from one of its last events with me:


    It is now owned and tracked by one of he Audi instructors. It was a little more stock when it bumped the guard rail.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
    captainmorbid likes this.
  19. Mr UFO

    Mr UFO Active Member

    Very cool.
    Here's my former track toy (the Evo). I didn't have to worry about the backend coming around! ...at least not all the way around:) image.jpg
  20. meFiSTo

    meFiSTo Active Member

    Oooo. Sexy. Why in the world did you swap that for the little party car?
  21. Mr UFO

    Mr UFO Active Member

    It was a culmination of things. We had our second child unexpectedly and I wanted to cut back on my track day expenditures. The Evo is a fairly expensive car to track because of the weight.
    My son and I ride BMX skateparks quite a bit and it drove me crazy that the rear seats didn't fold down. Every time we wanted to ride I had to take the bikes apart. Strike two for the Evo +2 for the Fiesta.
    Lastly, being in my mid-forties I was getting a little tired of the cops following me around with my big wing and loud exhaust-lol
    That being said I'm on "the list" at two dealerships for the RS. I figure that will be the best of both worlds!

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