NASA East States Championships

Posted: September 21, 2016 in Uncategorized

Just a precursor to the upcoming event. This is my first championships I’ve driven in 5 years. I’ll be racing in ST3 and I’m praying for rain on Sunday to slow others in my class down so that I may not finish last. I went and redid my class forms and got a valid dyno (no more 10% modifier that I had to use before). With 125 whp and a class weight of 1,825 (empty) I’m at a 16.5:1 weight to power ratio (modifiers are included in this). My class form with penalties give me 15.6:1 weight to power. As the class I’m running in is 10:1 I am way under powered and still running stock suspension and brakes. There’s definitely room for improvement with my wallet but it has run thin as of late.

I also hope to get to talk to Mazda representatives and confirm their support for Exomotive’s chassis.

Race Updates with Exocet

Posted: July 28, 2016 in Uncategorized

The car has been finished to a point where it is ready to run just not race legal (need fuel cell). It’s initial debut was in Time Trial at NJMP Lightning in May this year. I did not get any video or data but just was running the car and feeling it out. A great feeling to drive it hard for the first time. I was also running RA1 full tread tires so not a lot of stick. I have to run TT3 / ST3 as my lowest class due to tube frame chassis. Not competitive as running stock suspension, full tread RA1 tires and 130 whp. During the weekend I had my suspension acting in a dynamic manner as mid corner the tired old eccentric bolts slipped changing geometry. I also found out I’m very slow on the straight as the drag from all the surface area really takes a toll above 80 mph. Running with SM and PTE Miatas I was a good 5 miles per hour slower on the straight. In addition, the 1.6 open diff had a lot of trouble getting its power down so I had to run more of a modified FWD line.

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Ready to Play

The second event was able to run in June at NJMP Lightning. For this event I was able to source a 4.10 differential (and all swap bits needed), 6 speed transmission, and get the alignment set with new eccentric bolts all the way around. Again ran only Time Trial as car did not have a fuel cell yet. I also broke a fender tab. I was lucky as we ran in the Champ Truck event and someone had a welder. I paid in beer for the help. I also had the O2 sensor fail and run the engine lean so I shut it down and didn’t run on Sunday for fear of damaging the engine. Sort of a bummer that weekend but that’s the breaks with a new build and pushing the chassis and bits like never before.

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My third event was in July at NJMP at Thunderbolt. Here I had a fuel cell so could actually race and new O2 sensor with a modified tune. Also bought a set of Maxxis RC-1s to give them a try. Unfortunately over the first 2 days, I had 3 fender tabs break as fatigue set in on them and had to repeatedly go to a local competitor who had a welder. I was able to run some Time Trial on Saturday and Sunday I did the first race in the car and finished. Strategy was stay off curbs as much as possible and keep out of everyone’s way as I have to run in Thunder group (big bore). That means running with high power cars and a lot of Hoosier clad aero BMWs which makes them fast. Paid for welding help in Jose Cuervo.

My fourth event I made it out to Palmer Motorsports Park. This time I had the fenders reinforced with braces between the two mounts, and put on some 15mm spacers to move the wheels away from the car. Still running stock Miata offset wheels. I had no issues with the fenders so was extremely happy I was not chasing down that problem. I even tested it well as I had a high speed off in Saturday’s Thunder race and a big ramp over the new curbs that are quite abrupt. However Palmer has a 100 db limit this year so after trying to do a downturn to my exhaust I had to add a muffler – from Napa and it is so quiet that I was hitting redline and didn’t know it as couldn’t hear the engine. Now I need a shift light to run here next time. I’m going to mod up a bolt on muffler with a flow master I have at home so I can run Lime Rock / Palmer and if I do so – get it street legal (not sure on that still as race prepped). Paid for welding assistance in Cabo.

Here are some links below.

Saturday Race 1 Main Camera

Saturday Race 1 Side Camera (ouch)

Sunday Race 1 Main Camera

Sunday Race 1 Rear Camera

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Next up is Watkins Glen in August then possibly running East States Championships in September at the same location.

Exocet Part 21: Race Prep & Fuel Cell

Posted: May 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

Now with a track weekend under the belt it’s time to start some major improvements. There were several key areas of concern and improvement needed. I brought the car to EFI Logics in Bethel, CT to get the work done as I started a bathroom renovation (down to the studs) at home that is sucking up all my free time.

First – Fix the suspension geometry issues. That is easily handled with a kit of new eccentric bolts and some extended lower control arm ball joints to reduce working angle (makes for longer lasting ball joints). Also replacing the tie rods as both boots were torn. Fresh alignment and will adjust during the weekend as we will check tire temps and wear. We also added a rear jack bar (but also attaches lower rear subframe which later Miatas get).

5.11.16 Extended Ball Joints

Second – Make it race legal. This involved ordering an ATL 10 gallon fuel cell (Sport Cell) with metal crush structure. This will address safety and fuel starvation concerns. I still do not have a fuel gauge but may have a solution using the stock float valve.

Third – Traction. I was able to score a Torsen (4.10) rear end (axles & driveshaft too) along with a 6 speed transmission to swap out the 4.30 open rear end. EFI Logics had these at their shop so was super easy for me. As my next event was the ST3 class and likely out running with the big bore group I need to find a lot more speed and an cheap effective way is tires. I looked through the various tire contingencies for NASA Regional Racing and centered on Maxxis. What I like about them is they support both racing and Time Trial and have a cost effective tire. So I ordered a set of Rival RC-1 tires and will give them a try (new tire to me as I’ve never driven on them).

Exocet Part 20: April NJMP TT3

Posted: May 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

Was able to get the car out to the track last month. Engine was broken in and running well. Next up is to check out the car and get some laps to feel out the car. I brought it to Heinlein Racing Development for an initial alignment and corner balance. We started with a Spec Miata standard alignment as I’m very familiar with how it feels. The issue we ran into was the ride height and how to set it as most are done based off the frame rail whereas the Exocet we had to measure subframe height.

First impressions – it understeers quite a lot and trying techniques to set the front for best grip was an issue. In addition ever corner where I crested a hill I had traction issues with the open diff as I can hear the inside wheel spinning but the car was not loose. Further exacerbating traction issues was the fact I’m running full tread RA1s that are about 4 years old so they don’t have the best grip. Also running FM Classic suspension (stock) which has quite a bit more squat than I like so had to spend time transferring weight before being able to really brake hard / turn. One thing noted is the lack of weight really reduces tire wear (I’m running 205/50/15s) and takes time to get heat into them. In addition, throughout the first day as I pushed harder the car felt like it was getting worse especially with one session where the steering wheel required significantly more input than the lap before to run the same lines. Well, that was because the eccentric bolts on the lower control arms stretched and were moving giving the much fun in corner alignment changes! I was happy that I pitted next to EFI Logics who was supporting the Spec Miatas the same weekend, so we tightened them up and Sunday the car was much better.

As I have no idea of how much fuel the car holds I rolled across the scales at 1814 and 1796 (low fuel). So I think with full tank the car weighs 1850 lbs. I’m a tall guy so I add quite a bit of weight. My best lap times I could get was in the high 1:19s where the fastest Spec Miatas were running 1:17s and TT3 cars were running 1:10s. Not too shabby on essentially street suspension and some old full treads.

I plan on running Super Touring the next event I need to get a fuel cell installed as the stock fuel tank covered only by a fiberglass cover that cascades down towards the passenger compartment does not make me feel safe.

4.15.16 NJMP

You can tell some toe issues with the front. Will be fixed by the next event in May.

Exocet Part 19: Motor Install

Posted: March 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

Have a ton of updates to post but the car is running / driving / tuned now. All bodywork has been fitted and all electronics up and running. I’ve got some small odds and ends but pretty much ready to start test and tune.

The motor was installed in late January and we are using the stock Miata harness (90-93) with the Flyin Miata 1.8 conversion kit and new motor mounts. We installed a Megasquirt PNP Gen 2 to make it as plug and play as possible. One issue going this route in a 1.6 car is the manual 1.6 TPS sensor only gives a full throttle reading otherwise it does not give voltage. There are ways to work around this by installing an TPS from a 1.6 auto that plugs into the stock harness so you can still use the 1.6 throttle body. The other method is to adapt a bmw TPS to fit and wire in, or switch to the 1.8 TPS and recalibrate the Megasquirt. These TPS sensors give varying voltage over fully closed to fully open. I’m going the route of swapping back in an NB1 (’99-’00) throttle body as I have a ’99-‘intake and head. Car ran well but the stock tune was pretty bad as the fuel / timing / ignition maps were all over the place making the car run rough. I took the car to Evans Tuning in Mt. Bethel, PA to get it up and running and we were really surprised with the result (even with an improper 1.6 TPS not working right).

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No onto the Dyno (not too shabby for a low compression motor):

Dyno 1

Exocet Part 18: Motor Completion

Posted: February 1, 2016 in Uncategorized

Odds & Ends installed now including alternator / water pump with proper pulley (you learn a lot doing a 1.6 to 1.8 swap). Flyin’ Miata came through with getting needed items such as a 1.8 fuel rail for their big fuel kit (1.6 fuel rail won’t fit 1.8 injector as spacing of injectors on intake manifold is different); 1.8 motor mounts; cable throttle bracket to use 1.6 cable, some additional wiring, EGR block off for ’99-’00 head.

Exocet Part 17: Motor Swap

Posted: January 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

Last November was able to get the car up and running with the stock wiring / ecu and 1.6 motor from a former Chump car. The engine ran strong and I was able to drive it down the street several times. However the water pump had a major leak and the driver front brake line was leaking badly so could not drive hard. Note to self – driving without a hood and no helmet with a coolant leak s not a good idea.

Eventual goal is to add an supercharger or turbocharger to run a conservative 180-190whp required to run ST3 with NASA Northeast and NASA East Coast Championships. But for now – it’s get the car running, driving in order to work on the platform (suspension, brakes, chassis).

The engine is completely rebuilt with a ’94 block, 8.5:1 wiseco low compression pistons with K1 rods and ARP bolts, and a cheater SM head. In addition, adding an M-tuned coolant reroute kit to keep consistent cooling through the block and a Megasquirt MSPro PNP for the car – easy to tune and add power. To get power transferred to the wheels it has a Competition Clutch Stage 4 with resurfaced flywheel. For the time being it has an open 1.6 differential. Will have to add a torsen later which requires driveshaft and axle swap.