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post #1 of 17 Old August 26th, 2015, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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Cone 502 Racing - 2015 Mustang GT/PP Build

Time to open up a new chapter in Cone 502 Racing's book. As some of you know, the 2015 Mustang GT arrived on the 18th of August and this last weekend (22nd and 23rd) there was a pre-nationals Test'n'Tune and the Solo Points 6 event. The car was by no means "prepped" but it was necessary to get the seat time in the car even. The pre-event scramble to get things done for the car began on Wednesday. I contacted the folks I trust to mount and balance tires and attempted to get my RE71R's off the SVE Drifts they were on and have them mounted to the stock wheels. That didn't work out. I didn't do the camber mod in time because of work and there were no parts for the 2015 waiting to be installed. BMR's swaybars were not expected until after Nationals so no use worrying about that!


The Test'n'Tune
The T'n'T course was pretty basic. Some sweepers, some slaloms, some eyebrows, pretty basic course but plenty of necessary practice on elements I need work on. The first run showed exactly what I figured the car was going to do. It pushed. With tire pressures at 32 psi all around this was going to be an inevitability but I opted to leave the pressures the same for the next run for a number of reasons. The biggest of which was the previous run was THE FIRST run on those tires. The only miles on the tires were the 2 days prior to the event I drove them on the street and the drive to the event the morning of. The first run also exposed just how short the second gear on these cars really is. It's short.... like shift to third in some places... short. There were two places on this T'n'T course where 3rd was not only faster but a necessity. The shift back down to second was was relatively easy.

The second run on the Test'n'Tune course was much like the same... until the end. The very end was an increasing radius sweeper that mandated a shift to third. Well I shifted to third... the back end stepped out and I carried the drift through the timing lights, past the finish cones and then promptly spun the car, not once, but twice around. No harm, no foul, car didn't even stall!

The rest of the test'n'tune involved bleeding front tire pressure down to 30 PSI and letting the rears climb to wherever they went. The car's handling balance still involved a push but it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. I would end up running about 20 runs in the car to get used to it and it's quirks. Note, still no front camber... front tires would show their hate for this type of driving by the end of the day.


Here is a list of observations about the chassis:
1.) Overall, car balance is a hair to the pushy side in tight stuff and in faster stuff.
2.) Cars with real power are not forgiving of abusive relationships with the throttle pedal.
3.) Brake pedal works, although the initial bite is large, the middle of the pedal is kind of soft which makes modulation easy.
4.) Dat body roll.... it exists, but is overall quite controllable.
5.) Corner-to-Corner porpoising sucks and the GT/PP needs better dampers. Overall though, compared to the 2009 stock... no comparison, the 2015 is flat out better.
6.) When people say the car "drives" narrower than it is, they would be speaking the truth!
7.) Track Apps is a lot of fun to play with. Max lateral G today was 1.16, max braking was 1.01, max acceleration was .76
8.) The car could use an aftermarket rear swaybar... BMR bars incoming with a slight possibility of showing up before Nationals.
9.) Grip + Speed + Shifting = Need for Harness... harnesses ordered already!
10.) Overall speed: This car is fast and runs good times!

Solo Points #6
The event was held on a more complex course than the Test'n'Tune and looked to be very fast. Lots of VERY fast transitions mixed with some tighter turns. I really felt like the course was an absolute riot to drive. The high speed stuff did exacerbate some of the pushyness of the car but overall I didn't think there was a huge issue with the way the car handled in relation to the course design when driving the correct line. Like I said above, the car's brakes work and a brief brush of the brake pedal allowed the car to really take a bite into the corner. Transitionally, the car is slow to transition. While the stock shocks are tolerable, I miss the quick transitions of my 2009 on coilovers.


My first run actually came in with some ridiculously high time. This was due to a timing error from cars finishing too close together. A re-run was granted and I took every bit of an advantage from that. A free look at the course never hurt anyone!

Anyway, run #1, I left the car's tire pressure where they were at from the previous day which was probably a touch low. That's ok. The tires were starting to wear in and feel better. First run of the course was mildly timid. I had no idea where the shift points would be, if there were going to be any. In the first run I didn't find the rev limiter so no issues there. That said, it wasn't as fast as it could have or should have been. The first run was a 53.921 which was .3 slower than the other 2015 Mustang GT/PP on site but still good enough to be in 3rd or 4th of ten.


Run #2 set forth little in the way of changes to anything but driving. The run found .15 seconds to drop the time to 53.750 but the other competition was improving faster than I was. By this time the tires were hot, like properly hot.


Run #3, I bled the air pressure down to where they were for the test'n'tune. This course was open enough that those tire pressures were working. Still pushy, but not so bad that it couldn't be driven around. The fronts were most certainly hotter than the rears which is not a surprise given the car's balance. I knew that changes in tire pressure were not going to be a permanent fix to this problem as it was a far larger handling adjustment needed than tire pressures could allow. Of course, lazyness doesn't help either and I was that! This run dropped some time and ended with a 53.417. I was not getting fast enough to take over first place but I was dicing around the first 3 slots in F-Street up to this point. The other 2015 GT was running just a few tenths faster in the 53.3XX range and I new I needed to beat that.


Run #4 was more of the same from the previous run. I new there were places out there to make up time out there so I went out there and tried my damndest to find it. It didn't pay off as I lost time through some rather big mistakes. Go figure right? Get a little bit of red mist going and that's all she wrote! Final time was a 53.652.


Run #5 started off with the news that the other 2015 GT/PP had dropped time down into the 52's with a 52.906 run. I was hell bent on finding the 52 that I knew was out there. Big driving line mistakes in the previous run showed a few places to really push harder as I was underdriving. The left hand sweeper going into the back offset slaloms was one area and the quick "kink" after the long right hander before the finish as I was slowing down too much. This was an area at Spring Nationals at the T'n'T course where I found some good time. It paid off, at least partially. Aggressiveness where due really shaved some time off. I think that had I had one more run on the course I would have dropped a little more time. The final run came in at a 52.904. That is .002 faster than the GT/PP in the lead at the time of my run.


So that was good enough for the win right? I sure thought so! Then I found out that our local Shelby GT driver and frequent attendee of Nationals ran a smoking 52 flat time. Well that just sucks the wind right out of the sails doesn't it! Still, second place in an under prepped car against prepped competitors wasn't a bad place to be. I finished 14th overall, which given the talent pool of the rest of the people wasn't too bad either.

You can view the full results here:
http://nrscca.com/files/results/1150...ts6Results.pdf

And the PAX results here:
http://nrscca.com/files/results/1717...PAXResults.pdf


So what happens now? Last night I did the F-Street legal slotting of the stock struts. I also pulled the lateral link of the front lower control arm out and pushed the strut tops in to take out any tolerances there. Preliminary measurements indicate that this gave me approximately -2.3 of camber. Yesterday I also had the wheels and tires swapped over so I'm F-S legal for Nationals. An official alignment is coming on Monday to give real numbers. I think I'll tweak the rear camber out a half degree and even it out side to side. Zero out the toe. If the BMR bars show up, I'll throw the rear bar on and we'll go from there.

Scrothe Rallye 3, DOT approved 4 point Harnesses are also on the way from Solo Performance Shop and will be here before Nationals too!

Stay tuned for that update after labor day! Thanks for reading and watching!



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post #2 of 17 Old August 26th, 2015, 04:11 PM
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I have been waiting for this report eagerly.
You said 2015 is flat out better than 2009. Is it mostly from rear end geometry or front end? or it feels more composed and balanced because of all these fancy electronic stability and stuff?
Just curious you are not planning to change the shocks before nats?
Btw personally I felt a slight toe out in front makes it turn seriously better. I know that you have always used zero toe. May be you want to give toe out a shot.



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post #3 of 17 Old August 26th, 2015, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gopalendu123 View Post
I have been waiting for this report eagerly.
You said 2015 is flat out better than 2009. Is it mostly from rear end geometry or front end? or it feels more composed and balanced because of all these fancy electronic stability and stuff?
Just curious you are not planning to change the shocks before nats?
Btw personally I felt a slight toe out in front makes it turn seriously better. I know that you have always used zero toe. May be you want to give toe out a shot.
The 2015 is better for a number of reasons. Better dampers (although they still aren't the best), better front and rear traction and higher limits, better brakes, more power and torque. The things I don't like about this chassis are pretty "minor" and mostly design choices by Ford that I don't necessarily agree with (rear spring location, front control arm length, wonky rear shock mounts, stock damping choices) but none of them are damning. I ran without any electronic controls on. Steering was in sport mode, AdvanceTrac completely off.

Nope, running stock shocks/struts. There are no off the shelf strut options and the off the shelf shock options wont be here in time for me to feel comfortable running them. Strano has a strut option available but it requires custom fabrication and it most certainly wont be here in time for Nats. The good news is that while I don't like the stock valving on the dampers it could be a lot worse than it is. At least the chassis is 90% controlled and the other 10% is manageable enough to drive around.

I've used zero toe more for the tire wear related issues... and actually, when I set up the 09 the -3.0 of camber setting had some toe out. I'll use zero toe both front and rear as a preliminary setting and tweak from there.



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post #4 of 17 Old August 26th, 2015, 07:27 PM
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Interested in hearing what the changes are able to do for you.

Do you think your old car would have run a faster time on the same course?
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post #5 of 17 Old August 27th, 2015, 02:41 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Austin View Post
Interested in hearing what the changes are able to do for you.

Do you think your old car would have run a faster time on the same course?
Uhm... I think it would have been close. I never ran my 2009 on the RE71R tire and it would most certainly have been quicker on them than it was on the RS3V2's. Thing is, the 2015 comes out of a corner much harder and faster than the 2009 did. More power and shorter gearing will do that though!



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post #6 of 17 Old August 27th, 2015, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiskey11 View Post
The 2015 is better for a number of reasons. Better dampers (although they still aren't the best), better front and rear traction and higher limits, better brakes, more power and torque. The things I don't like about this chassis are pretty "minor" and mostly design choices by Ford that I don't necessarily agree with (rear spring location, front control arm length, wonky rear shock mounts, stock damping choices) but none of them are damning. I ran without any electronic controls on. Steering was in sport mode, AdvanceTrac completely off.
very cool. Good to see that finally it is a controlable beast.

Quote:
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Thing is, the 2015 comes out of a corner much harder and faster than the 2009 did. More power and shorter gearing will do that though!
It might have to do a lot with IRS too. I totally agree based on observing S550s autocrossing. It comes out of the corners so strongly and confidently.



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post #7 of 17 Old August 27th, 2015, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiskey11 View Post
Uhm... I think it would have been close. I never ran my 2009 on the RE71R tire and it would most certainly have been quicker on them than it was on the RS3V2's. Thing is, the 2015 comes out of a corner much harder and faster than the 2009 did. More power and shorter gearing will do that though!
It will be interesting to see what the 350R is capable of in the same scenario. I wonder how many guys will ever take that car to an autox.
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post #8 of 17 Old August 31st, 2015, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Well, official alignment is done and here are the final numbers:
Front Camber: -1.9 and -1.7
Front Toe: Zero
Front Caster: +7.8 and +7.2
Rear Camber: -2.2 and -2.2
Rear Toe: Zero

Not sure how all the rest of you F-Street guys got into the -2.0 and more negative range but I guess you are the lucky ones and the factory stamped your struts differently!

Factory alignment was pretty far out of whack with regards to rear toe... total toe was fine (.22 in) but the split was absurd (.03 on the driver side and .19 on the passenger side)Issue resolved and zero thrust angle so the IRS is at least square to the chassis.

Here is the before and after:


Ohh yeah! Also these:



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post #9 of 17 Old August 31st, 2015, 09:09 PM
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I want to know more on the belts please.....


'00 Mustang 266hp 305 ft/lbs Sold
'14 Mustang premium with track package
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post #10 of 17 Old September 1st, 2015, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sam03rc View Post
I want to know more on the belts please.....
They are Schroth Rallye 3 Harnesses. They are mounted in such a way that I wouldn't use them for street driving but they'd be fine for autocross duty. Biggest issue is the way the rear mounting point is angled. If it was at less than 45 degrees it wouldn't be an issue.

On the S550 chassis the rear upper mount for the seatbelt is actually a redirect and the actual reel is down near the base of the seats. Those mounting points are unsuitable for a harness mounting point so I mounted the lap belt points to the rear seat anchor points (which is fine) and the rear shoulder strap points to the lower seat belt anchor points.



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post #11 of 17 Old September 14th, 2015, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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2015 Solo Nationals update time! As you all already know, the 2015 Solo Nationals has come and sadly has gone. For those that have never been, you really need to go to understand what it is about and I hope to see you in 2016! Nationals is one of the times in the year that I get to see my friends that I only see once, maybe twice, a year. It is like one giant party on the great concrete beach. You don't go to Nationals JUST to compete... you go because it is a damn good time.

Anyway, enough harping on “good time this and that!” On to the meat and potatoes! My 2015 Solo Nationals started on Sunday when I showed up on site to get the stickers I'd need to pass tech on Monday. This car was “virgin” so it needed them all. The TireRack banner, SCCA wheel, Nationals sticker, Bridgestone stickers, and the Grassroots Motorsports stickers were all applied. The only other sticker on the car is the in-transits!

Monday morning I woke up and drove back to Lincoln. There is no running on Monday, just tech, check in, and the Test'n'Tune course. After checking in, I drove to tech and got the car teched. I don't know who was working tech but one of the guys made comment about the car still having in-transits on it. The tone of his voice was pretty condescending and judgmental but I figure if shit isn't broken in by the time I got to the first event at 250 miles, they WONT be broken in, ever, they'll just be broken. At this point the car had just over 1,000 miles on the odometer.


I went up to the T'n'T course to see if Mark Walker needed any help up there or doing anything else. If you've ever spoken with Walker at Nationals, you'd know that he has a laundry list of things that need to get done that adds stress. I also knew that the T'n'T was packed full for all the run times so I thought maybe I could bribe work for T'n'T runs! Turns out there was help needed which I gladly gave. I spent the next 4 hours shagging cones on the T'n'T course in the rain and shine while folks ran! At lunch time, the Rebels Auto Club out of Lincoln was looking for people to give rides to some of their members after the T'n'T shut down for the night. I was asked and gladly accepted the offer as it would provide me with some much needed seat time with the recent changes to the alignment of the car.

So the only things that I changed going into this event was the alignment, and tire pressures. The alignment change was discussed in a previous post but the front struts were slotted the 2mm allowance which produced -1.9 of camber on one side, -1.7 on the other side. The rear suspension was set to -2.2 of camber. Toe was zeroed out all around. The rear alignment drew A LOT of criticism and comments about the car not needing it and it making the car handling worse because of it. I set tire pressures at 38 all around.

Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate. By the end of the T'n'T run times all the Rebels club wanted to do is go home. No one wanted runs and the Lincoln Air Park's concrete patching crew was hell bent on fixing some of the damaged concrete on the T'n'T course. That's all good! I can use the exercise and don't mind helping out.

F-Street was slotted to run on Tuesday/Wednesday starting on the East Course and finishing on the West Course. The weather was predicted to be raining earlier in the morning but it was supposed to stop before we ran.

The East Course

Click for East Course Map

Well... the weather in Nebraska is rarely accurate... and.... well it was accurate. The rain had began at o-dark thirty in the morning and stopped just prior to my departure for the site at 0600hrs. I arrived on site and promptly began cleaning the water spots off the car. Rule #1 you know... if you can't beat them, at least look better than them! I then went and walked the course. You see, on Monday I walked the west course three times thinking it was the east course. Thankfully the east course was not overly complex. There were a few places where line choice was critical to doing well but it wasn't like the course was a mess of transitions where you could get lost on course easy. While the rain had basically stopped, the sun was not fully up and the pavement was no where near dry. By the time runs started the course was STILL wet.


As you can see, lots of sweepers, lots of power and some pretty healthy digs. Transitions were not as complex. This course would be a course for the Mustangs... except... that... the course was wet. The moisture would complicate things drastically and the fact that it wasn't raining still meant the conditions would be changing throughout the runs. The whole event was going to be determined by the final runs as the course dried out.

Boy would that hold true...

Run #1:

There is always a level of caution on the first run and then there is added caution from it being wet. I literally have no seat time in the wet with this car so this would be a first for me. I also had no seat time with the recent changes so that too would complicate things some. The gas pedal was next to useless at anything resembling WOT. Had the course been dry I KNOW I would have been in third in multiple places on the course but because it was wet there was some speed changes as I felt the car's grip out. Front end traction was fine, transitions were tolerable but rear end traction was non-existent. I'd come in with a 65.112. This run would put me just outside the trophies (about 15th place IIRC) after everyone was done with their runs.

Run #2:

I bled down the rear tire pressure 2 PSI in an attempt to bring the rear end under control. The car felt balanced and could carry speed in the sweepers but power down was still an issue. The course dried out a little bit but was still properly wet. Conditions were changing and people were getting faster. On course the rear end calmed down but it was still very loose. Throttle application was touch and go depending on the location on course and the finish was still a very sloppy and wet mess. After I came in on this run I was supposedly in fourth place. With the drying conditions I knew it wouldn't last but it felt good to know that I was at least in the hunt. Time was a 63.293.

Run #3:

I bled the rear pressures down another 4 PSI (to 32 PSI) in an attempt to utilize what power I had. The front end of the car was still really hooked up but on the previous run the power down was actually pretty solid. Better than I remember it being at the first event. The rear alignment didn't seem to really make the car push bad and I knew there was plenty of time on course for me to find. The run initially felt good. A combination of the dryer conditions (driest of all three runs) and pressure changes made the car feel good. I could use the power and it seemed to rotate fine off power. The problem came after the first big turn around. I'm not sure if the rear tires just got more grip or the fronts lost theirs but the car started to push, badly, mid corner. I ended up clipping two cones on this run and my raw time without the cones actually slowed down. How annoying! This dropped me from 18th place (where I was prior to 3rd runs) down to 29th. Time was a 67.608 with the two cones (63.608 scratch).


Day 1 ended kind of bitter sweet. I knew that in the dry I could hold my own as that is where all the seat time I had in the car was and where I knew the car would actually be able to utilize the power it had. The problem is the Day 2 course was transition heavy and not exactly booming with power spots. Lots of speed maintenance and transitions... I was HOPING for a better Day 1 finish to go into Day 2 in better positioning but reality didn't work out. Turns out I wasn't the only one having troubles. Eschantra and his co-driver in the #24/#124 car were not having the best day either. Truthfully it turned out very few of my friends were having good day 1's!

The weather definitely helped the lower powered cars out. The M3's benefited the most and Heitkotter put on a good school for the rest of us. Knowing the west course would favor the M3's more than any other car in the class, I anticipated a large number of M3's in the trophies. That wouldn't be wrong.

The West Course

Click for West Course Map

The west course was a transition heavy course that was just flat out busy from inside the car. So busy that I think if we run it locally, I may encourage the event master to pull some of the cones out to open it up slightly. It was an incredibly fun course even though it was busy and mildly frustrating. There was really one corner that I felt was the most important. That'd be the Teddie's Ring of Hell Fire into the finish. Why? If you didn't get the offsets at “Pants'd in the Hallway” right you were behind for the entire rest of the course. I worked corner 4 and watched so many people get Pants'd wrong and end up over slowing to make it through the 414-424 cone complex and then ending up trying to make the time up at the exit and not making it into the “Wet Willy” correctly.


Going into the West Course I knew that in the dry, which the weather folk said it would be, the car was going to need some help with rotation. I set the front tire pressures at 34 PSI and the rears at 38 PSI. This is because the rear swaybar wasn't here from BMR yet and neither was the front bar. I did try and modify the rear bar over the course of the night between Day 1 and Day 2 but ran out of drill battery to do so and only got one side done. I opted to leave the front swaybar alone rather than running that staggered setup.

Run #1

The car felt surprisingly good on Run #1. If anything, maybe a touch of high speed push but nothing that wasn't manageable with driving changes. The car was putting down power exceptionally well but the lack of damping in the stock PP shocks and struts made this a difficult course to drive fast. Simply put, the stock dampers are not up to the task on a transition heavy course like this. The weight just takes too long to transfer from side to side to really attack the transitions. It doesn't help that I'm always a tad timid with the go and woah pedal on the first run and I forgot to really backside all the cones on course. This is most evident in corner four where I over slowed for the 414-424 cone section because I didn't backside the cone enough. This run was a 69.518 which was slower than it should have been by about three seconds. Only consolation prize on this was that I did run a faster time than Heitkotter did on his first run (he ran a 74.051, I think he spun or something).

Run #2

For tire pressures I kept them at where they were for the first run. Solid choice and it worked well enough the first time and this time both. The high speed push through the Ring of Hell Fire slowed the car down some but the car was otherwise balanced in steady state. Given the rear alignment change I really thought the car would be more pushy. One thing the car WAS doing well was putting down power. When the car stepped out it was silly how controllable it was compared to my 2009. There were a couple of “unexpected” cones where I damn near ran over them but saw them just in time to avoid them and I cleaned up the 414-424 cone section some and found time. This dropped my time down to a 67.770 and put me in 28th overall.

Run #3

I dropped the front tire pressure down 2 psi and took my run. Car felt great through the opening part but I clipped a cone in the opening transitions. By the time I had gotten through corner 3 I was getting flagged down by a corner worker. I stopped on course as instructed and would be given a re-run. The driver in front of me took out some cones and I think spun. I hustled back to the grid and the clock began. For those who aren't familiar with Nationals, re-runs are given at EXACTLY 5 minutes after returning to your spot. They don't care where they are in the run order, if you are getting a re-run, a guy is standing at the hood of your car with a stop watch giving you each minute and then telling you to go. When it was my turn to get my re-run I went out there with the intent to find time and to clean up the run. My free look at the course's opening section told me that there was PLENTY of time to be found and had in the opening transitions. I decided to get aggressive with them and really attack all the transitions. I lost some time in the first transition as the back of the car stepped out slightly but it worked out in the end. I found some time out there and improved on my final run and kept it clean. With a 67.584, I solidified my 28th position out of 46 drivers in attendance.


And that run concluded my Nationals runs. At the end of day 2 I knew exactly where I stood. I knew that my runs were solid midpack runs but a rainy and bad third run on day one really brought the final placement down from where it should have been. I am not at all disappointed with the car's performance or my own driving and think that 28th isn't a bad place to be given how little seat time in the car I have and how far from prepped it is. There were some big names that finished behind me and some not far ahead of me and that feels good.

So at the end of it all I've learned more about myself and my car and had a good time. I know the pace is there even with my hack driving to be a solid mid pack finisher. I identified one key area where I need to improve (back siding cones) and a few other more minor areas to improve (throttle application and braking points). I know that the car is in dire need of a new set of dampers and a swaybar (no surprises there!) among the need for more wet run seat time. By this time next year I am going to get myself deep into those trophies in a prepped car!

Speaking of: Tom Reynolds (third place 2015 GT/PP) was kind enough to put his video on the Tube of You's so I pulled it down and made a side by side comparing our fastest runs on the West course. You can see I lose a lot of time right after the second turn on the course in the fast transitions. Every transition after that seems to lose a few tenths in all the major elements. Scary thought how fast time disappears when you don't backside cones or aren't aggressive enough with the throttle or brakes!


So what next? Well, next is getting the car prepped as best I can for Spring Nats next year! Swaybars are already on the way and I need to test both the front and rear bars and figure out which one it really needs. Pictures say rear as the inside front is damn near off the ground at corner exit on the power but more than a few people whom I trust with car setup advice are saying front bar is still the way to go. I plan on testing both to see which I like more. I know why both will work and I'm not afraid to test them since both bars are on the way anyway.

Dampers are a big question mark right now. There are no available front struts that I'd trust or that don't require extensive modification and Koni has listed the new Mustang as a priority. I'm sure that means sometime in the near future, but we'll see. I also need to figure out the front alignment issue and see if there is anything else I can do to get more negative camber within the rules. There is probably a burr holding the bolt up from it's full sweep in the strut ear.


Outside of that, I don't think the alignment needs tweaked any further. The rear camber could probably use a little more negative camber in a world where both bars were open but for now I think we'll leave it as is.

Anyway, thanks for reading! I hope you to see some of you next year at Spring Nationals and Nationals. We have one more event for this year on the 20th of September so expect at least one more event after action report this year before winter sets in!




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post #12 of 17 Old September 14th, 2015, 03:23 PM
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DAMN AT THE WRITE UP! Congrats on the car! Cant wait to see the build finished!

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How did this gorilla stuff even get started in a thread about me taking it hard in the ass?
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post #13 of 17 Old September 14th, 2015, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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DAMN AT THE WRITE UP! Congrats on the car! Cant wait to see the build finished!
Is a car ever "finished"? What this car needs big is a new set of shocks/struts. I'm not sure if I'll keep the car in F-Street that long though. If I can get the car into ST-Pony I'm going there, and FAST.



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post #14 of 17 Old November 14th, 2015, 08:10 PM
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It's been a month, how's it feel?
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post #15 of 17 Old November 14th, 2015, 10:38 PM
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It s beyond me how you can see where to go at speed. I know there must be tire marks but that would just be reactionary. Looks like a hoot! How far away are the spectators?
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post #16 of 17 Old November 16th, 2015, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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It's been a month, how's it feel?
You know, I really enjoy this car. The more I drive it, the more I find some of it's finer quirks to be enthralling. What I mean by that is the car does so well for it's weight that I can't complain. I did some things with it that are kind of questionable (more rear camber, bigger front bar) and have drawn my fair share of criticism about doing so but the car has just worked well for me with modifications it shouldn't be working well with.

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It s beyond me how you can see where to go at speed. I know there must be tire marks but that would just be reactionary. Looks like a hoot! How far away are the spectators?
You get used to driving the course. Walking it before the runs helps and looking ahead makes a huge difference! I don't even see the tire marks or chalk marks at the edges of the course any more. I just drive around the cones. Took me two years to really be able to read a course without a bunch of walks.

Spectators are usually near the start line, so at some points on the course they are about 40-50 feet, at other points they are a quarter mile away. Just depends on the course!



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post #17 of 17 Old April 26th, 2016, 04:15 AM Thread Starter
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At the end of last year I ended the year with a new respect for the car and my (limited) driving capabilities. I had a solid idea of what the car did and didn't do well and what needed to happen to address those issues. I also found that I really suck at driving in the rain which ultimately lead to a poorer finish than I wanted.

Having made some decisions on bar choices after Nationals (BMR front swaybar went on for the last event of the year for the Nebraska Region as well as a Des Moines Valley Region event at Adventure Land) the only thing that really remained was the shocks/struts. After Nationals I made some calls to various manufacturers and distributors to entertain the idea of replacing the factory shocks and struts with some serious hardware. At a cost of about $3200 I could get a set of MCS shocks and struts and really transform this car and then later upgrade. Great I thought, I even had the money, but the wait time was astronomical with no guarantees of availability before the season started. I opted instead to hold out for the Koni Sports that were due out "any minute." When the Koni Shock sale started and The Tire Rack had the 2015 Mustang Koni's listed as available I jumped on the first order! Thus began the biggest journey of this build so far... when would they arrive?!

Before we get there, lets talk about the car. After Nationals I installed the front swaybar in the stiffest setting. I knew this would be A LOT of work to make it work out perfectly right and boy could I not be any more wrong. We ended up running a modified version of Roger Johnson's west course in which the bar actually helped out A LOT. About the only real change tot he course was a squaring off of Teddie's Ring of Hell Fire. Tire pressures on the Bridgestone Potezna RE71R were a 32F 34R setup which helped the car rotate fine. One thing I noticed, with the help of my soon to be 2016 Co-Driver was that the full stiff position on this bar actually destroyed the front bushings on the bars.

After chatting with Kelly Aiken at BMR Suspension about the issue he told me that BMR never really anticipated the bar being run at full stiff and seeing the deflection it was seeing on my car. He sent out a bunch of new bushings and told me a full rework of the bushing design was going to be done to eliminate the problem (which was due to the grease fittings thinning out the top too much). I did notice a touch of push in the car and had plans to drop the bar down to the middle position anyway. I replaced the bushings and prepped for the DMVR event at Adventure Land in Des Moines Iowa (well Altoona, but same difference).



The DMVR event was a real eye opener for me on just how fast these cars accelerate in a straight line. One of the biggest features of this course was a very long basically straight section. The end of said straight was a curb, ditch, fence, and ditch away from a major road so it turned into an abrupt left hand turn... well.... like normal, I bonzai rushed the corner after making an epic exit to the turns at the beginning of this "straight". Nothing says frightening like 435 HP, 400lb*ft of torque and stupid short gearing going 70+mph in 3rd gear in the parking lot of an amusement park with the "screwed up" zone being a very totaled car and possibly seriously hurt me! It was a great event for me and a real confidence booster. I met some new friends and saw some old ones and in general had a blast!

If you'd like to see the videos from either of those events, head on over to my YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/user/UrPeaceKeeper

Enough yabbering about the "distant" past, on to the "present"!

April 10th, 2016 - NRSCCA Solo #0 (Non Points)
So having ordered said Koni Yellow shocks and been given several different shipment dates for them, I came to the realization that nothing will have changed from the previous year's setup for this event. The only change I made was adding my co-driver who is former ESP 1998 Cobra driver Justin Eckles. Justin co-drove with me at the end of last year after we talked about co-driving together in 2016. He wanted to save some money and not beat up an otherwise very nice Cobra by running it in ESP. I was and still am glad to have him on board! Having only run in the car once, he'd still be learning the car. I was too so this was going to be a lot of learning! To compound the continued learning of this car was the addition of data in the form of SoloStorm and it's connectivity package.

If you aren't familiar with SoloStorm and what it entails, let me explain it to you in better detail. SoloStorm is a data acquisition program for Android devices. It uses a Bluetooth OBDII reader and Bluetooth GPS receiver in conjunction with the accelerometers, and camera to provide a fairly comprehensive picture of what you and the car are doing on course! Setup is extremely easy and for the most part is intuitive in it's use. It is a GREAT investment and the ability to compare my runs to Justin's runs to anyone else who drives the car's runs is extremely powerful. I am finally able to see where the fast guys are kicking my butt! On that same note, Justin can see exactly where the few places are that I'm actually faster than he is!



The course was a first time design from one of the up and coming locals driving a NC Miata. It definitely had all the makings of a Miata course but was ridiculously fun! I know I'm going to love the courses he comes up with in the future. I just hope he learns to open them up a bit more though as this course was pretty tight for a sight on the Nationals concrete! The car really felt great out there aside from the complete lack of shock control from the factory shocks. The car wasn't pushy and put down power well in the places it could be used. Justin would go on to place first in FS, I'd go on to place 5th of 10. One second covered the spread from first to fifth place.

Here is my best run:


And Justin's best:


The take away from this event was quite simple... while our lines are very similar (SoloStorm had some massive GPS drift and it makes it look weird) Justin was using more throttle sooner and in just about every location. This resulted in a one second improvement in time. This was the largest difference between our runs. There was some minor line differences, but for the most part it was within the noise. The one area I was beating Justin was the start, but as soon as the first corner came around it was game over as his more aggressive throttle use took over any small gain I had at the start by the time we had both exited the first major corner.

And this is the power of SoloStorm. But it gets better too. I can break down each section of the course and find out just how different we were. It will display the distance both of us traveled, it will display the average speed, the fastest speed, the time and a slew of other variables for the section. It will also show bar graphs of throttle usage, speed, and many other things. I'm usually not one for over analysis of every run, but it is nice to know some of these details to know of areas I'm giving up time to other drivers!

A new to me face showed up at this event that carried enough of a name to perk the ears of some of the competitors. Brian Meyers has graced the Nebraska region's events in his 2016 Mustang GT/PP. He is unbelievably quick and a great guy too! I'm glad he is becoming a fixture at events to set a high benchmark for Justin and I to reach for.

April 23rd, 2016 - NRSCCA Test'n'Tune

As with all NRSCCA Test'n'Tunes at LAP-N, they are surely going to be interesting. To add to this, the Koni's showed up and were installed the weekend before. Let me say this, if it wasn't for a few things, the install wouldn't have taken 8 hours... but as it is, Ford has done some things that are frankly insane. The most annoying aspect is the fact that the front spring perches are super small but the perch guard is massive.... so massive that the rented spring compressors do not fit properly around it and as you compress the spring is digs into the paint on the struts. The rear shocks require drilling out the upper shock mount to a half inch. The change in the car's attitude and behavior was massive though.

During the test'n'tune, Justin and I took our time to come to decisions on what changes we were making. We had 4 hours and were honestly only limited by tire life, fuel life and our desire to do it. We started with the shocks completely soft and the front bar in the middle position. Interestingly enough, after some 18 total runs, we decided that a turn up from the softest position in the front and full soft out back was the best feel.

Brian, Justin, and I did a bunch of car swapping. After driving Brian's car, we both decided that the full stiff rear bar he was running was simply too much rear bar and it hurt our driving even though our times were basically the same. Justin ran essentially the same time with the front bar in the middle position. Brian also drove my car and he had some positive things to say about the way the car transitioned and changed directions but really hated the slight mid corner push the car had. Given that this test'n'tune course was unusually tight for a nationals level course, we didn't feel like changing the bar setting at all. Brian also had some good tips for my own driving and I appreciate his feedback and I even put it to good use later in the day!



April 24th, 2016 - NRSCCA Solo Points #1

The weather for today was supposed to be rainy. I woke up and it was spitting here but wasn't raining. What little moisture did fall was sporadic at best. I was dragging two new guys with me to the event and spent a lot of time helping them out with their first event. As Solo Novice Adviser for the Nebraska Region, that was kind of my job! With the settings set at the same position as the T'n'T the day before, I had a good feeling about the course. The course was a slightly modified version of the T'n'T course but run in reverse. I had high hopes for doing well because the course was so similar. Really the only changes were to add a less straight start to the course... in the process of doing so they made a really tight decreasing distance slalom straight off the start followed by some "quick offsets" that lead into a left hand turn, a few more quick offsets, a 180 followed by, you guessed it, more quick offsets, into a bunch of sweepers until the finish. Simple course.

Yeaaah.... not so much. So on the drive to Lincoln the wind was blowing the car around so I put it in comfort steering mode to save the wear and tear on the arms.... my first run was ruined by this decision. By the way, comfort mode is awful, absolutely awful, for autocross. It speeds up and slows down the steering assist based on what it feels is appropriate... I got it turned off before the second set of quick offsets. It completely ruined my run. The car was pushing something fierce in this direction. All of the opening radius corners that made the T'n'T course fun and worth driving turned into decreasing radius pains in the butt. This course definitely favored a much looser car setup than we had. We were hedging our bets on National style courses and that hurt us. We played with tire pressures and shock settings once again, finally settling on 1.5 turns from soft up front and a half turn out back.

My best run was my last run... here it is:


I apparently completely forgot how to drive between the T'n'T and this event... I stopped backsiding cones in the slalom, I stopped backsiding critical cones that would have decreased time by a lot and my position suffered as a result of my head-up-rear driving. Go figure right?

Justin did better:


One of the biggest differences between Justin and I in these runs (aside from him kicking my rear!) was in the third set of quick offsets, I was on the rev limiter for a solid 3 seconds, Justin had a big lift in the middle of what was a solid WOT run for me. I think he lost some time there and that cost him first place. His last run was actually his fastest run by a few hundredths of a second but I was in the car and there was some discussion during the run that is too distracting. He was definitely going faster than what his final time was but had a big slide in the third set of quick offsets that caused him to basically shut down the car and ruined what was most likely a class winning time.

Brian was kind enough to send me a link to his video on YouTube. I'll post it here for you guys to compare the runs:


Justin finished second to Brian, I finished fifth, again, with seven in class. Hopefully the next event in May for the Nebraska Region will have a much better course design that is more like the National level courses we are used to rather than these tight gymkhana style events. One other aspect that was negatively influencing our performance this weekend was the hot lapping we were doing. The turn around time for us in a two driver car was between a minute thirty and two minutes. Basically enough time to swap drivers and numbers and maybe check tire pressure. When we upped the rear rebound it looked more like a NASCAR pitstop than an autocross event. This put A LOT of heat into those tires that wouldn't be there at a National level event.

Also, the tires for this car are getting really heavily worn. The fronts are at the wear bars and lack anything resembling a shoulder. The rears look better and have a shoulder but honestly are close to being on their way out too. I have a set of 285/35/19 RE71R's on order that will hopefully be here before Spring Nats. The fresh tires and better course design will be extremely beneficial to our driving! I can't wait at all!

Until next time!



2015 Mustang GT/PP Autocross Build Thread:
https://www.moddedmustangs.com/forums...-pp-build.html
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