Let me start with a little background. I've been autocrossing in Subarus (ESP class WRX, then ASP class STI) for about 12 years and just picked up an 06 Elise to replace the STI as my autocross toy. It just got delivered two weeks ago, and my first event in the car was yesterday with the Virginia Motorsports Club in Richmond, VA.
My Elise is an 06 sport pkg, non-touring, with the LSD/TC options. Shocks are DA Ohlins pulled off an Exige Cup Car, along with the front sway bar from the Cup car as well. It also has DS brace, Gpan, APR carbon wing, Technocraft carbon/kevlar seats, wheel stud conversion holding on SSR Competition wheels. The only tires I have for it at the moment are pretty worn RE-11s that came on it. The PO is sending a used set of R1Rs he had as well.
Unfortunately, I have no idea where the alignment is set. The PO used it for track and street, and even though he had it aligned just before shipping, I don't have the specs.
Yes, these things put me in SSM, which I intend on staying in for now. Yes, I know the car wont be seriously competitive without a supercharger and massive hoosiers under cut clams. Locally and maybe even regionally, I think I could place well without the Supercharger, running a light and slow package; and yes, I've heard this has been tried and not worked [nationally].
Ok, initial impressions. Weeeeeeee! It's very different from the 3300lb, 350AWHP STI on 275 Hoosiers. I have a feeling once I'm used to the car, though, and tweak the setup, the Elise will be faster. I had no idea where to set tire pressures, so was totally shooting in the dark. I started at 32F/34R and dropped it every run, ending at 26F/28R hot. The car felt better at the lower pressures, but my times didn't improve dramatically. Despite getting 5 runs, my times plataued quickly and I got stuck at the 45.0sec mark. I think this was probably the nut behind the wheel more than anything else. It is so totally different from what I'm used to, and I probably didn't push as hard as I could have in many areas.
As expected, the car was great in transitions. There were some subtle (small offset) lane-change elements that I probably could have taken flat out, but found myself lifting at times (or not flooring it).
In sweepers, the car had more push than expected. I never had oversteer, despite running about 2lbs more pressure in the rear tires than front all day. I suspect the push is from a couple of things: 1) the wing with no front aero to match, and 2) not enough front camber, though I have no idea what the current specs are, as I said. Maybe, 3) it's just these tires aren't great for the chassis, and are worn (though the fronts are far better than the rears), and/or I just had the pressures all wrong (I didn't bring a pyrometer).
The lot surface was quite rough in spots, with some big washboard type stuff. It wasn't comfortable to drive over at speed, but it never significantly upset the car either, so the Ohlins seem to be working well. I'll admit, though embarrassed, I don't know what the current settings are on them. This event was meant as a baseline anyway, and it's not easy to get to the shocks to toy with (the PO has the reservoirs mounted in weird places...thats for another thread or post, I think)
I talked to a guy there, Marc Portanova, who said he used to run an Elise at the national level (now is in a GT3) and he gave me a few pointers and things. Interestingly, he suggested running a bigger front bar (I guess the BWR hardcore bar - I'm not sure how big the current Cup car bar is). This seemed counterintuitive to me with the amount of push I was getting. Does this sound right? I'll have to go look for the spring rates on my shocks as I'm sure that comes into play here.
Lastly, and maybe where I most want some input, the car seemed to be running a little hot. It was by no means hot ambient temp for the area, with a high in the low 80s that day. After every run, the coolant temp was reading 212ish. This seemed a bit hot to me. On the road, it was rock solid at 189-192 on the drive home. On hotter days last week, the highest I saw with normal road use was about 203. Should I be concerned at 212 after runs, or is this about normal? It's got a brand new, but OEM, radiator put it right before I bought it.
PS - what are most people doing for numbers on cars that are still street driven? The painter's tape is annoying when you have to put "SSM" after the number too.
Thanks for any and all input. I'm sure there will be many more questions from me as I develop the car - apologies in advance for the inundation of newb Qs.