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Discussion Starter #1
This has probably already been covered so I apologize if I cause Deja Vu for some of you, but next month will be my first track day in my stock Elise at Laguna Seca.

I'm relatively seasoned and do about 7-9 track days a year. I used to track an FR Nissan that had substantial upgrades to the suspension and driveline with practically no power mods. Having a feeble stock powered car of 155HP/28XXlbs gave me (I would like to think) a higher learning curve and I was able to keep up (and pass :p) with the top of the pack sans straightaways pretty often.

Well, time to learn a new beast. Needless to say, the driving style I learned with my last FR platform was pretty aggressive in order to hold my own. As a reference point, my last track day at Laguna with my Nissan ate through roughly 30% of my Porterfields.

With that said, how will the stock brakes on the Elise hold up? I know there are a lot of variables, but just in general, I'd like to know whether some race pads are in order. What would you guys recommend?

As a rule of thumb since this will be the first track day with this car at such a "bite you in the ass" track, I am planning to take it 6/10ths in favor of my usual 9.5/10ths so I was wondering if changing out the pads could wait since this will essentially be a feeler for me and the Elise.

Thanks for any tips!
 

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Laguna is fairly hard on brakes in general. Having said that stock Elise/Exige brakes are fine overall. Even the stock pads will hold up, assuming you aren't on slicks.

Of course opinion differ as do braking technique. Do flush the brake fluid if it hasn't been done in the past year.

On occasion people have experienced "ice-mode" at turn 2. It has a downhill entry and you can trail brake into it which seems to occasionally confuse the ABS and throw it into ice-mode. Fortunately there's plenty of run off and deep gravel trap.

When are you going? What HPDE group?

Have fun! Laguna is very fun track.

Cheers,
Kiyoshi
 

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Stock pads, as long as they have a fair amount of meat on them will be fine. The Elise has very good brakes and with the light weight hold up well. More so that your starting out easy, wouldn’t worry about it. I went through two sets of stock pads before going aftermarket. Main thing is to make sure your brake fluid are fairly fresh... the usual type of prep work for a track day.
 

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Drive it stock with fresh fluids. You'll be amazed what this car can do bone stock. First thing will be a good alignment then you'll really be shocked!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Laguna is fairly hard on brakes in general. Having said that stock Elise/Exige brakes are fine overall. Even the stock pads will hold up, assuming you aren't on slicks.

Of course opinion differ as do braking technique. Do flush the brake fluid if it hasn't been done in the past year.

On occasion people have experienced "ice-mode" at turn 2. It has a downhill entry and you can trail brake into it which seems to occasionally confuse the ABS and throw it into ice-mode. Fortunately there's plenty of run off and deep gravel trap.

When are you going? What HPDE group?

Have fun! Laguna is very fun track.

Cheers,
Kiyoshi
Thanks for the reassurance. It makes me feel a lot better knowing that I can trust these brakes. I won't be running slicks, just entry level Star Specs for the time being. Or until I get more seat time in this car. And I agree, Laguna is a blast, but Infineon is still my favorite. I'm going November 3rd with Trackmasters, then off to Infineon two weeks later. :shift:

Stock pads, as long as they have a fair amount of meat on them will be fine. The Elise has very good brakes and with the light weight hold up well. More so that your starting out easy, wouldn’t worry about it. I went through two sets of stock pads before going aftermarket. Main thing is to make sure your brake fluid are fairly fresh... the usual type of prep work for a track day.
Thanks for the tips, as of right now, the pads still have plenty of meat and I was planning to bring my car to Rob or suspension specialists for a full fluid change and once over.

Drive it stock with fresh fluids. You'll be amazed what this car can do bone stock. First thing will be a good alignment then you'll really be shocked!!
That's great to hear, I look forward to it! Great reminder on the alignment too!

Thanks again for the reassurance guys! I haven't had the chance to test the capabilities of our cars yet since I've only owned mine for less than 2 months. I guess my trepidations stemmed from being used to my old 2800lb hog that I used to track. I've been very wary about brakes at the track because of that car since.
 

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Are you going with CFRA at Sears Point (11/18)? Became a member after running with them as a guest last year and am toying with making it out for that one (after I put a fresh set of pads on the rear). I enjoy Laguna but Sears Point is were our little cars really shine.
 

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One point. I wouldn't want to be caught on the track in the wet with stock pads. I wouldn't want to be caught anywhere in my Elise with stock pads. They work.... but it takes about 1/4 to 1/2 second before they do if there's water being thrown onto the brakes. Cure??? For me, EBC yellow. They're on the same schedule as me.
 

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One point. I wouldn't want to be caught on the track in the wet with stock pads. I wouldn't want to be caught anywhere in my Elise with stock pads. They work.... but it takes about 1/4 to 1/2 second before they do if there's water being thrown onto the brakes. Cure??? For me, EBC yellow. They're on the same schedule as me.

So on wet rotors your EBC Yellows respond immediately as they do dry.????
IMHO a bit of overkill on your description. Might also be new pads that are tight to rotors thus rubbing and therefore always being hot. Just sayin.
Put heat in during warmup lap and its a non issue. You are supposed to modulate application of brake pressure better in rain anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Are you going with CFRA at Sears Point (11/18)? Became a member after running with them as a guest last year and am toying with making it out for that one (after I put a fresh set of pads on the rear). I enjoy Laguna but Sears Point is were our little cars really shine.
Going with Trackmasters for Infineon as well. I'll give CFRA a look soon, but groups I usually run with are NCRC, Trackmasters, and the occasional Citytech and t.e.a.m. racing.

What brake fluid do you guys recommend? I've had nothing but good results from ATE Super Blue. Might stick with it.
 

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Get your alignment and if time permits install a set of s111 camber arms (max. negative possible is about -2 with these arms).

Robert
 

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You may already be well aware and or skilled enough that this is a non-issue but for me it proved surprising.

Watch the snap oversteer! I moved from a FR setup (Miata) to the Elise and it took me some time to adapt my driving style. If you ate brakes with your Nissan you may have been diving the corners late.... the Elise will bite you in the a$$ if you try to dive deep with heavy breaking and attempt any sort of turn in.

The old adage "slow in fast out" cannot be overstated with the Elise. Accomplish all (most...if trailbraking) in a straight line. Turn in and once you spot your track out spot... floor it. The rear end sticks beautifully underpower and with a NA car you don't have to worry much about power oversteer.

Its fun to late brake (cause you can... light cars rock) and catch up to the high HP cars. Initiate your turn and be back on the power while the heavy FR cars are still on their brakes or feathering in their throttle.

(however, it does suck when they catch and pass you in the straights:mad:)
 

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I wouldn't say "floor it". I've had traction control come on at Sears T7 and even Thunderhill T1! An NA Elise can absolutely spin the tires if you're pushing the chassis hard enough, especially on street tires
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ok, so I'm very glad you guys brought this up. I took a break from work to drive around and discovered this firsthand. I noticed that spirited entry and exit on on/off ramps proved to be a little nerve racking.

I come in like I usually would in my FR (finishing braking in straight line), take the turn, and when exiting while winding back neutrally the rear snaps into trajectory very violently and too much weight transfers. I am not intentionally or coercing the unwinding. It's all neutral steering, not to mention I'm already back on the throttle about 30-40%

Any thoughts or tips? This day at Laguna will be interesting...... :(
 

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Discussion Starter #14
In other words, I negotiate the turn, then when unwinding everything is good until about the last 30-45 degrees of the wheel return. A split second before the car straightens out, it fights and locks back at an exponential speed/rotation. Hope that makes sense.
 

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You should be fine for a DE day with stock pads unless you are hammering it. As a couple other mentioned, freshen/flush the fluid. At a HPDE, I managed to boil mine (back to back to back sessions), so upgraded to a higher temp fluid. Some recommend bleeding/flushing clutch system because they share fluid...FYI. Have fun at Laguna Seca.
 

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It’s a bit hard to help with this over a keyboard. More so for me, having driven mid-engine cars since the early ‘90’s. Coming from a 91 MR2 turbo have found the Elise to be very forgiving. It would be best to get to know a Elise on an autox course than a race-track. Guess the best advice I can give is the basic slow in and fast out, that allows you to get on the throttle earlier and deeper than your use to and actually plant the rear end of a mid-engine car fairly well. The flip side is once committed the cardinal sin would be to do a major lift.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You should be fine for a DE day with stock pads unless you are hammering it. As a couple other mentioned, freshen/flush the fluid. At a HPDE, I managed to boil mine (back to back to back sessions), so upgraded to a higher temp fluid. Some recommend bleeding/flushing clutch system because they share fluid...FYI. Have fun at Laguna Seca.
Thanks for the tip, I'm most likely going with ATE Super Blue again.

It’s a bit hard to help with this over a keyboard. More so for me, having driven mid-engine cars since the early ‘90’s. Coming from a 91 MR2 turbo have found the Elise to be very forgiving. It would be best to get to know a Elise on an autox course than a race-track. Guess the best advice I can give is the basic slow in and fast out, that allows you to get on the throttle earlier and deeper than your use to and actually plant the rear end of a mid-engine car fairly well. The flip side is once committed the cardinal sin would be to do a major lift.
I've owned a 91 NA and a 93 Turbo without problems, but then again, that was before I had 30+ track days worth of seat time. So I'm definitely far from an MR whiz. I was already anticipating/dreading my need to re-learn this format coming from my FR. But that's the fun part right? In all honesty, I should really check my air pressures too, I know for sure they're way under inflated.
 

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In all honesty, I should really check my air pressures too, I know for sure they're way under inflated.
What tires? If 048s go 26/28 hot. Don't get caught up in the common paradyme that says bump the PSI 5-10 over the manufacturer's recommendation. Stay at or just under what Lotus recommends.

Cheers,
Kiyoshi
 

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I use ATE in my last track car - worked fine for me but Jack is right about the boiling points. You can get Motul, Castrol SRF, Wilwood EXP, etc for a couple dollars more. The blue dye in ATE is nice for doing a flush, but then some folks don't like it because you never quite get the blue stain out. All are better than "regular" DOT4 stuff though.
 
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