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Yesterday I went to a track event - Track Night in America, hosted by the SCCA. The event was at the Atlanta Motorsports Park, a private country club for cars that rents the facility out occasionally for small events....and marketing.

The Event was run very Socially Distanced and if I was the type to be overly concerned, I would have been comfortable. Although it did creep into my mind....if I have an off track and get hurt, I would have to ride in an ambulance to a hospital where every other person in there has the Covid or is sick as hell and thinks they have it....shake it off. I take bigger risks getting on the interstate everyday...right...

These are great events because they are low key, they dont allow full race cars (unless you get a waiver). The point is to get street cars out their with people that are new or not highly experienced on track. The SCCA does a good job at these events coaching novices, getting them comfortable and there is no pressure to go any faster than you want to. I highly recommend them. They are also cheap ($150) and you only get 3 sessions and a couple of parade laps. Three sessions is about all I can handle. I was exhausted after words. I should note I did not push the car really hard for complete laps, just a few corners at a time and then back down to 80 or 90%. Just wanted to get a baseline and feel the car out, re acquaint my self with driving.

Positives
  • It was a very positive experience!!
  • The car ran trouble free
  • The coolant temp was great! (I was shocked)
  • The Oil temp was great! (I was shocked)
  • The new larger brakes were wonderful - absolutely no fade or hint of overheating, feel was pretty good but not perfect - caveat this track is not particularly hard on brakes
  • Tires - cheapy Federal 595 were surprisingly good, they rolled rubber kind of like a race tire, fairly predictable, held up pretty well
  • Mid Engine Wow! First time on track with a mid engine, the balance is neat, the boundaries are farther out for sure.
  • The engine oil light pressure light never flickered - kind of surprised there, good to know I have a little more room in the Gs before that is an issue.
Negatives (overly strong word)
  • Tires - never felt comfortable really pushing them, may have been more set up related. Also concerned if they got too hot. I did not play with pressures or check tire temps.
  • Suspension - As I suspected I felt it was too soft. When you really start leaning on the car on the track it wants to roll over a bit more than I would like. A little stiffer would go along way toward my comfort with pushing I think.
  • Helmet room - super tight, the track would not allow me to run with the sun roof up, I had only tested helmet room in the roof in the up position. I had to pull the seat forward and lean the seat back. I made it work but I am definitely going to look at a race type seat for future track events to see if I can get closer to the floor.
  • Seat Support - the cornering limits on these cars is way to high for the seats - I figured the way the cockpit is you were all cocooned in there and it would not be a big issue - spent a lot of energy and focus trying to control sliding around.
  • These cars are really a lot faster in a straight line then the suspensions and brakes are up to. Holy smokes do they get down a short straight when you get off the corner with the Turbo at full boil! Then when you reach the other end not sure the car is up to it. I guess most cars fit that on a race track. I just thought a "Super Car" would do a little better.
  • Getting passed by countless Hondas and Miatas. Oh and four door BMWs that are not M cars, WTF those things are fast!!
Final thoughts, I dont think I will do another track day until I can get the seat and harness I have installed and add some stiffer springs and fresher shocks.

The seat is not a big deal but the harness will be a challenge to install with out possibly unacceptable chassis modifications.

The suspension is a budget thing. I dont think my wife would approve the finances during the current health concerns.

Had a wonderful time, so many people came by and cooed over the car, and most of these folks had cool cars! Enjoyed talking cars and Esprits with everyone. Hoping to do another track event this fall.
 

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Sounds like you had a great time! You really do have to increase the tire pressures. I had mine up to 36 and probably needed a little bit more. It would have stiffened things up and improved the grip and kept the tires cooler. It also greatly reduces the chances of rolling the tires off the rims in the turns.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Good on you and good that you had pleasure with the car driving at the fun end of the scale.
Cheers,
Redfox
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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@Sanj could tell you how to set up the interior, seats, and a shoulder harness mounting.



Yeah, the Esprit will roll more than 'modern' cars (I bet you had the only car on track without a rear roll bar...throw THAT in their faces). BUT all four corners will 'do their bit' in road holding. The cars are just SO balanced.

The best way to determine proper track tire temps is to use a contact pyrometer. Cheap ones are at Harbor Freight. (They are good laser cat toys, too!) :giggle: Your S4 will require less rear pressure than David's V8.

Have you checked coolant level since the track outing? Those high revs and G forces are good at purging the last bit of air from the cooling system.🥴

CONGRATS!
 

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Thanks for the post. Thanks for going to an SCCA event. The more people go to a biologically successful event, the more the SCCA will open things up. You make it sound as if you didn't even check your tire pressures before you went out on track....really? The best way to find out what might need fixing is take 'em out on the track. Congrats. You appear to already have the right attitude vs. being impatient - which is expressed by the phrase: Speed will come.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I did check temps, I started out about 40 warm and dropped down to about 38 hot. They were clearly not rolling over but there may have been some small gains to be had playing with pressures.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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Isn't 'tire rollover' an outmoded measure of proper track-tire inflation?

In these days of thin sidewall, 'rubber band' tires, I thought that even temps across the tread was most desirable. (And on ovals, consistent L to R temps)

But not to put too fine a point on it, just be consistent and have fun!
Speed will come.
👍👍👍
 

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Sweet, she is in her element! (y)

That Honda was no doubt highly souped up, probably a sleeper. In any case he probably was pushing hard to pass so he didn't have to look at that beautiful Esprit anymore and wishing he was driving it instead... :D
 
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Wingless Wonder
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Don't belittle the capabilities of a Honda.

At one track day a couple years ago, my first-time student in a CR-Z Hybrid routinely outperformed an owner of an '89 Esprit with 5 HPDEs under his belt! o_O :unsure:
 
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Discussion Starter #11
Not hating on Hondas, its more that a FWD people hauler can spank a 90s mid engine sports focused car (with this driver). Probably driver is biggest problem :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Just to be clear, pretty sure both hondas in the run group I think were turbo, LSD, race tires, stripped interior, barely street legal.....still
 

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Race tires alone would make a huge difference. I painfully learned that my Europa needed a baffled/gated oil pan AND an Accusump when it made the transition from street use to racetrack on slicks, with no other suspension mods...did I mention spun rod bearings due to oil surge from high cornering force? 🤯
 

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Discussion Starter #15
yeah, i would like to get some DOT slicks for the Esprit eventually as I have done with previous track cars but I am concerned if the Gs get too high i will have oiling problems.

Although looking at pics of the Esprit oil pan it looks like some thought went into oil control.

Might look at Accusump at some point.
 

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Don't belittle the capabilities of a Honda.

At one track day a couple years ago, my first-time student in a CR-Z Hybrid routinely outperformed an owner of an '89 Esprit with 5 HPDEs under his belt! o_O :unsure:
If you can drive, like you said, many Hondas are very capable. Years ago I was co-driving a 87 Honda Civic "2 door wagon" and we went to a Porsche club HPDE and I did very well, a Porsche 928 driver was not sure why I was lapping him.... :D
 

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yeah, i would like to get some DOT slicks for the Esprit eventually as I have done with previous track cars but I am concerned if the Gs get too high i will have oiling problems.

Although looking at pics of the Esprit oil pan it looks like some thought went into oil control.

Might look at Accusump at some point.
Along with the modified pan it seemed to do the trick on the Europa, saved the expense and complexity of dry sump. Lotus pans (V8 and I4) seem much better in that respect than the stock Renault, so you might be OK with just the AccuSump.

1263683

1263684
 
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Wingless Wonder
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Lotus pans (V8 and I4) seem much better in that respect
Lotus sold a 'baffled' oil pan for HDPE use for the 4 cylinders, even after increasing the oil pan capacity around the late SE timeframe.

When I was tracking my older Esprit, community wisdom was to overfill the older sumps by 1/2 qt. for the event.
 
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