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View Poll Results: When taking your Elise on a track day do you.....
Install the hardtop 16 69.57%
Go topless & feel the air rush by 7 30.43%
Voters: 23. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-12-2012, 11:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Track Day, with or without Hard Top

For those of you that drive your Elise on the track for fun, do you drive it with or without the hardtop?

Thanks all...
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've done probably 60-70 days in my Exige since I've owned it and only once did I take the top off. While it was sorta fun it was more distracting than anything. Also pretty hot with the sun beating down and just too noisy for me. I also got a lot of buffetting when I reached about the 90-100mph mark.

I'd say it's totally personal preference. There are many clubs that won't allow you to run without it even though it's not a safety piece of the car at all.

If you've done 1-2 track days run with it on for sure. If you've done dozens and are just curious sure, run a session with it off. There is zero safety difference.
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Have only been twice so far and both times were with the top on. I imagine it being pretty awesome with it off though. Not that 90% of us are trying to squeeze that extra 1/10ths of a second, but I'd imagine a good amount of drag on high speed straights, no?
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I imagine it being pretty awesome with it off though
I thought it would be too but really it just wasn't - with a helmet on you don't get the open air feel like you'd think (at least I didn't). So at the end of the day it's just better with it on for me (mainly as you don't have the sun beating down on you).
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Easier to get in and out without it. On a really hot day topless is a pain, but on a nice fall day, especially at a slower track, it's great. Actually, I think it's quieter with a helmet and no top than with the hardtop, but it may be just how my Elise is set up.

Some of the people sponsoring weekends insist on a top, even a ragtop, to protect from hands flying around and getting crushed, or so they say. Locally, the BMW people insisted on it, while one of the Porsche clubs couldn't care less. Whenever I drove with a top this year it was the softtop.
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Old 12-12-2012, 02:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Soft top probably is the best because it reduces the center of gravity and still maintains smooth airflow to the rear if you have a wing or something.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Locally, the BMW people insisted on it, while one of the Porsche clubs couldn't care less.
Seems our BMW and Porsche clubs are similar but our BMW club requires the hardtop, can't run with just the softtop.

Quote:
Soft top probably is the best because it reduces the center of gravity
Uh, I doubt the ounces saved would make any appreciable difference - about the same as a haircut or not wearing a necklace
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I run tons of DE's and TT events (Won great lakes last year & second this year) and see some bad stuff with people taking safety for granted. $#it happens so get the most safety you can, period.

With that said, as some have mentioned it's really up to the club and what they require but I would recommend installing the hard top regardless. In an accident they both potentially will fly off...but why wouldn't you want a little bit more protection from that hardtop? Also, I wouldn't say there is zero difference as I have personally seen a few nasty Lotus wrecks with both installed and the hard top people have faired better.

Leave the soft top off for weekend drives on a nice day. My 2cents...
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by rosscarlson View Post
Seems our BMW and Porsche clubs are similar but our BMW club requires the hardtop, can't run with just the softtop.



Uh, I doubt the ounces saved would make any appreciable difference - about the same as a haircut or not wearing a necklace
Several members have weighed the hardtop to be about 25 lbs, soft top being about 10 lbs. More than a few ounces.

With the location of the weight being at the highest point of the car, it will be noticeable, if not appreciable. Obviously, like the APR wing debate, whether your driving can make the difference to save those tenths is up to you. Regardless, the tools and advantage is there to be used.

I believe the majority of the safety is handled by the rollcover, and nothing to do with the hardtop or windshield frame. So Im not convinced there is a difference in terms of safety whether you have a soft top or hard top on, unless you rollover onto a pile of jagged tall sharp rocks or something. Most tracks dont have those.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Does not make much difference if you are just there for fun. I have run with the soft top on and off. With the roof off you get extra glare from the surroundings and there is more around you to distract you I guess. The roof on keeps you a bit more focused since all you can really see is out the front/sides and mirrors. go with what ever your heart/mind desires on the day...
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:53 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6i9 View Post

I believe the majority of the safety is handled by the rollcover, and nothing to do with the hardtop or windshield frame. So Im not convinced there is a difference in terms of safety whether you have a soft top or hard top on, unless you rollover onto a pile of jagged tall sharp rocks or something. Most tracks dont have those.
Laguna Seca has nasty gravel traps designed to stop motorcycles. If you go upside down in one of those without a hard top, you will be eating those pebbles. Of course, the Elise's top may pop off pretty easily. I never saw a Spec Miata racer
without a hard top, even though I don't think they're required. If nothing else, the gain in aerodynamics is worth it.
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