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Thread: Project RX-8, "Serenity" - "The Road to Jersey" 5/20/11

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  1. #1 Default Project RX-8, "Serenity" - "The Road to Jersey" 5/20/11 
    Wednesday night the 18th, I swapped cars with Marc after work so I could take it Thursday morning to have the Kaizen Tuning logos put on by Alex at Driven Perfection. I arrived at the house to see some of the vinyl SCCA logos applied, as well as the Hoosier, Tire Rack, Mazdaspeed and Mazda sponsor logos on the car already, none of them being "just right" on the car as far as their positioning (sorry Marc ). I knew with Alex professionally installing the Kaizen Tuning logos that the rest would look even more out of place, especially the prominent Mazda logo on the rear quarters, so I actually had Alex recreate them and install them while I was there. With all the magnets and vinyls applied, I believe Alex said it best, "Now it looks like a race car."




    I also had the opportunity to help bed in the new Advanced Clutch Technology Performance Street Disc and Heavy Duty Pressure Plate and Black Halo Racing nine pound flywheel installed a few days prior. Along with the Techna-Fit stainless braided clutch line, this setup is money. Don't bother slipping the clutch, just let it up like a medium pace engagement after a gear change and you're off. I haven't felt an RX-8 (a.k.a. in my book, "torque-less wonder") take off or gain speed like this before. Simply an awesome setup and just as easy to drive as stock, but with better feedback and overall operation.

    Also, when I came out to the car that morning, the windshield had developed a huge crack in it and would need to be replaced in order to pass tech inspection. Unfortunately, I had to give the car back to Marc right when I arrived back in town from Driven Perfection so he could take it to Worcester for a replacement windscreen. I was looking forward to "making sure the suspension was dialed in" and "checking to be sure the custom tune didn't have any dead spots".

    Enough of me blabbering, below is Marc's tale of "The Road to Jersey":

    Driver's Notes:


    Dave, Ben and I drove down to New Jersey early in the morning, arriving to New Jersey at roughly 10:30am. After grabbing some breakfast at a local diner, we went to the stadium to pick a spot to paddock with the rest of the NER crew. The rain definitely put a damper on things a bit, but that didnít stop anyone from setting up and doing some practice launches later in the afternoon. I have never done a drag race event, let alone aggressively launch my car, so I really did not know what to expect. Thanks to the Evolution School Intro class I took, I got to take a few practice launches after learning the format of the entire event. I surprisingly had a much faster reaction time than I expected...And probably more than everyone else expected as well. I was getting a reaction time of low 0.5's during my practice launches, with the venue being fairly damp.



    I figure that if the most power is produced above 4,000RPM, especially around 5-6, then I would slip the clutch right between 4-5, that way when it would catch, I would be at just about 6,000RPM. After finishing my practice launches, I had spoken with the Kuehls. Brian unfortunately injured his shoulder very badly, so he could not drive his CRX with his father, Don. He had asked if I minded that Ben and him switch places, so that Brian would then be co-driving with me. Ben and I preferred if Ben stayed with my car so we could push it to the limits and see the full potential of the RX-8, but we did not want to leave Brian hanging, so we accepted. Needless to say, Brian is still a fast driver himself, regardless that he's used to racing a front wheel drive car.

    Jeff
    2012 Crystal White Triumph Speed Triple R
    2002 Jet Black Triumph Sprint RS 955i
    2007 Billet Silver Acura MDX Technology
    2011 Mars Red Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport 6MT
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  2. #2 Default Project RX-8, "Serenity" - New Meadowlands ProSolo Day 1 - 5/21/11 
    Driver's Notes:




    Day 1 of the ProSolo and what a Beautiful day out! It's about 80 degrees, with some hot pavement on the lot to work with, so plenty of grip. I managed to keep my very fast reaction times luckily, getting a .507 for my first run as well.




    It seemed that launching in the damp was about the same as launching in the dry, slipping the clutch and giving it gas right at the third light was the key while making sure the RPM's were between 4-5. The two courses were a lot of fun with a nice mix of transitions, a hard sweeper, then the end was all mostly late apex turns.




    Brian finished the day with 7th place while I took 8th right behind him. My best results for the day was a .507 reaction time on the left, .560 on the right, a 2.273 60-ft time, and a 33.410 on the left with a 32.254 on the right course. Brian bagged a .607 best reaction time on the left and a .556 on the right, with a 2.181 60-ft time, and a best time of 32.548 on the left, and a 32.021 on the right.




    Brian was progressively getting faster where as I seemed to be getting worse and worse. I'm not sure if it was the pressure or something else, but my afternoon runs were so bad, they may as well have just been red lights. Hopefully tomorrow I'll pull myself out of this slump and get back on track! Below is a video of one of my launches, as well as my two fastest runs for the day, and Brian's two fastest runs for the day.

    Videos:









    Jeff
    2012 Crystal White Triumph Speed Triple R
    2002 Jet Black Triumph Sprint RS 955i
    2007 Billet Silver Acura MDX Technology
    2011 Mars Red Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport 6MT
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  3. #3 Default Project RX-8, "Serenity" - New Meadowlands ProSolo Day 2 - 5/22/11 
    Driver's Notes:



    B Street Prepared Evolutions are what I've been aiming to chase for awhile now with this build, and though I still believe the car has the potential to catch them, even within a second of their time, I just am still not driving to that limit. I did much better in my last four runs, but still not good enough to move up in position, taking 9th out of 10th at the end of the day. Brian secured 8th as he got a little bit faster as well as he became increasingly more and more comfortable with the car.



    My fastest time on the left course today was a 31.975 and a 31.522 on the right. Big difference compared to yesterday, but again, not enough. Brian took home a 31.342 on the left, and a 31.594 on the right. Others were surprised that the car was even close to the times of the Evolutions, but unfortunately I wasn't able to overcome my road block.



    All in all, I had a blast for the three days I was here in New Jersey. I learned more as a driver, was pleased about the feedback of my car, and enjoyed the ProSolo racing format. Congratulations to many people from the NER crew who got to take home a trophy with them, especially since this was a first ProSolo for many of them.

    The next time I have some free time and spare money, you better believe I will be attending a ProSolo. The adrenaline rush and excitement is just unlike any other form of autocross. Seeing that my car had the ability in her, but not in myself, only motivates me to become a faster driver and learn to adapt to different venues quicker. By my next ProSolo I will have the final touches completed on my car and my skills will be polished enough to hopefully take home a trophy. Until then, time to head back home where I await my next race at Devens for this coming Saturday. Below are a few more launch videos, as well as Brian and I's fastest runs on the left, then the right course.


    Videos:











    Jeff
    2012 Crystal White Triumph Speed Triple R
    2002 Jet Black Triumph Sprint RS 955i
    2007 Billet Silver Acura MDX Technology
    2011 Mars Red Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport 6MT
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  4. #4 Default Project RX-8, "Serenity" - ProSolo @ New Meadowlands Stadium - Summary - 5/23/11 
    Driver's Notes:



    I just got back from my first ProSolo up in New Jersey over at the New Meadowlands Stadium. The entire event was absolutely amazing, and I wish ProSolo events were held locally more often. The atmosphere, the people, the format of the race, everything. I have plenty of pictures and videos from the event, but they don't give it justice. I highly recommend experiencing this at least once, even if just as a spectator. Check out the following links for some great photos of the event, thanks to AutoX4U, Vlad and Steguis. Below are links to the days posted, and then a description of how ProSolo works.





    Basics
    On day 1, you get four runs (two runs each side) in the morning and four runs in the evening. Day 2 you only get four runs in the morning, giving you a total of twelve runs (or six each side) between the two days. Your final time is a total of your fastest run on both sides between the two days. You also get to see your reaction times and 60-ft times, but it does not contribute to your score.

    After the morning runs on day 2 then has three challenges at the end of the day. The Gumout Super Challenge, where they take the winners of every class and have them compete against each other. Then they have the Ladies Challenge where they take the fastest female drivers and pit them against each other. Lastly, the Bonus challenge, where eight or sixteen people's names are pulled from a hat to race against each other.


    Event Specifics
    There are four Heats with two groups per heat. The groups consist of various car classes, going from slowest to fastest, and have to allocate for bump class. It also takes 5 entries to make a class. For example, Heat 3 had Group 5 and Group 6. Group 5 consisted of STU, R1 and R2, and Group 6 consisted of classes BSP and F125.

    You have a grid area and then a staging area just before the course. When your heat is coming up to run, you line up in grid, side by side (paired up as they call it) to another car in your class. The grid is numbered and you are given that number at the start of the event, so you know where to grid. As you progress throughout the day, your grid number will change based on your position in your class, so be sure to frequently watch the board for your results and grid position. In grid you can water the tires, check pressures, anything you need to do. Once they are ready for your car class from your group, they bring your entire car class forward to the staging area. If you were in grid on the left, you would go to the left course first, and if you were on the right, then the right course. If you get out of line and lose your pair, your car is done running. You can only take a 10 minute mechanical BEFORE you start running, so if something breaks, you have to either keep running or forfeit the rest of your runs.

    In the staging area, you CANNOT get out of your car. If you have a co-driver or a partner, they can check your tire pressures, adjust shocks, turn on/off your camera, but that is it...So it can be helpful to have a partner. As the cars move up in the line, you get your helmet scanned of your name, then move up to the timing lights (known as the "Christmas Tree"). As you're moving up, you have 20 seconds to do a quick burnout to warm up the tires if you want, and then line up with the staging lights.

    As you'll see in the videos, you have two lights you need to light up as you are lining up within the 20 seconds. The lights are pre-stage and stage, and are lit up based on your line-up across the beam of lights from the small metal boxes to each side of the car. The first beam is your pre-stage, followed by your stage beam, and the last beam is your starting beam. You want to make sure that you just barely have the stage light lit on the Christmas Tree, as you only have 17 inches between the stage light and the starting light. They allow you to reverse the car if you need to in order to get lined up properly. If you have small accents in front of the car, beware. The pre-stage light can become unlit since it can see past the accent piece (like my RX-8 because of the rotor accent in the front, so I had to line up at a very slight angle).

    From here, the 20 seconds finishes counting down, (unless it is a manual start, where the starter will point to each driver lined up to confirm the driver is ready to race) the lights will begin to go. 3 yellows, and then a green. If you pass the starting beam before the green light is lit, you get a red light and your run does not count. The best reaction time you can get when launching is half a second (.500) as that is exactly the time between the lights illuminating. Some people like to be conservative when launching so they do not lose a run by getting a red light. Most people tend to launch right as they see the third yellow light, that way after a small wheel spin, their car will accelerate forward just as the green light comes on.

    Once you go on the course and complete your run, you come off the course and go behind the staging area to crisscross over to the other side of the course. Again, you CANNOT get out of the car when you are in the staging area. Once you are done with your four runs, you pull away from the staging area to the dual driver grid area so that you can have your five minutes to switch drivers. Once he is done, or if you raced alone, you bring your car over to impound. Here, everyone opens their trunk and hood so everyone can make sure that all cars are class legal, and then wait for the class results. If there are no protests and everyone is okay with the results, you then can leave impound and head back to the paddocks.
    Jeff
    2012 Crystal White Triumph Speed Triple R
    2002 Jet Black Triumph Sprint RS 955i
    2007 Billet Silver Acura MDX Technology
    2011 Mars Red Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport 6MT
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  5. #5 Default  
    There were a few days that had events, I figured one huge post would have been too much?
    Jeff
    2012 Crystal White Triumph Speed Triple R
    2002 Jet Black Triumph Sprint RS 955i
    2007 Billet Silver Acura MDX Technology
    2011 Mars Red Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport 6MT
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  6. #6 Default  
    are all prosolo events 3 days?
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  7. #7 Default  
    It seems like it, first day was practice for those who hadn't started off a Pro Tree before or just needed the work, then two days of timed runs.
    Jeff
    2012 Crystal White Triumph Speed Triple R
    2002 Jet Black Triumph Sprint RS 955i
    2007 Billet Silver Acura MDX Technology
    2011 Mars Red Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport 6MT
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  8. #8 Default  
    Yes they are. This is the only one I missed, and it was in my back yard! I'm a Solo Safety Steward and instructor for this chapter. You guys should've let me know you were coming down. Coming to this years event?
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  9. #9 Default  
    Marc should be there again for sure. My travel may be somewhat limited this year so we'll have to see if I can make it.
    Jeff
    2012 Crystal White Triumph Speed Triple R
    2002 Jet Black Triumph Sprint RS 955i
    2007 Billet Silver Acura MDX Technology
    2011 Mars Red Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport 6MT
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  10. #10 Default  
    Nice. Note sure I'm going to make it this year either. Conflicts with another race.
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  11. #11 Default  
    Quote Originally Posted by monkeynutz View Post
    Yes they are. This is the only one I missed, and it was in my back yard! I'm a Solo Safety Steward and instructor for this chapter. You guys should've let me know you were coming down. Coming to this years event?
    There is no ProSolo event in NJ this year - the NJ Solo National Tour was moved to Devens, MA.
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  12. #12 Default  
    Lol. Devens isn't big enough:-(
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  13. #13 Default  
    Quote Originally Posted by monkeynutz View Post
    Lol. Devens isn't big enough:-(
    We've managed to hold National Tours multiple times in the past. I don't see how this year will be any different. Though I do agree that the Meadowlands has a larger paved area.
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  14. #14 Default  
    I've competed at Devens a few times. Size and surface not to my liking. But it's nice.
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  15. #15 Default  
    Damn NYC and crappy cell coverage!
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  16. #16 Default  
    Quote Originally Posted by monkeynutz View Post
    I've competed at Devens a few times. Size and surface not to my liking. But it's nice.

    There are a few cracks in various parts of the runway. I'm not sure about your size comment though. For course size at a small event, it's great. We have clubs that run here and setup courses that are over 2 miles and 2 minutes long. The trick with a national tour or other large event is balancing the size of the pit area with the size of the course.


    Which club(s) did you run with at Devens? Was it with the M3?
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  17. #17 Default  
    Not talking about the "cracks". M3, NESHO. It was a good time, a few years back. Now sticking mostly to the DC, PA, DE and NJ national circuit. Have recently switched over to wheel to wheel racing and instructing.
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