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Discussion Starter #1
Now, I know it's all about fun and experience, but going faster and getting better is still a primary objective at HPDEs I think.

I'm a relatively seasoned guy with 30+ track days under my belt. I started on a 1995 Nissan 240sx. It only had a pop charger and catback in terms of "power" mods. Everything else went into suspension, drivetrain, and controls. I had lots of seat time and dialed that thing to a T. Although I wasn't setting records of any sort, I was hauling ass with that thing and gave 90% of the cars in my group a run for their money. Not bad considering I only had 155hp/160tq @ 2800 lbs to play with.

/humblebragover

/eatsomehumblepie

Fast forward, I the got the Elise (NA) to supplant my Nissan as my track toy. My idea was to get something that didn't need modding. Something that was just ready. Track registration, tires, and gas; done. I've done about 5-6 HPDEs since. None of which have been very impressive. On average (across three different tracks), I'm actually about 5-10 slower than my Nissan.

There are a few immediate issues that I face driving this car:

-I don't redline cars at the track (or at all for that matter). This is probably the biggest self imposed problem in terms of getting better times given the NA Elise really needs to be wound up to 8k each time (so I've heard/seen).
-I can't seem to master heel and toe in the Elise with the lack of spacing (center divider) and awkward pedal spacing/depth/distance.
-I'm still trying to alter my driving style and lines from being super aggressive in my low powered FR, to the MR style/lines. I can't seem to get the same entry or exit speeds as before. I noticed that I spend most my time braking and slowing my momentum down approaching turns.
-So far I've been having a lot of issues with traction. Although a lot can be attributed to learning the MR idiosyncrasies, I can't seem to find that happy median/equilibrium. Either I feel comfortable but am going too slow, or I'm going the speeds I want, but it feels very unsettling and sometimes will hop or lose traction as a warning sign.

Car is 100% stock with the exception of a Lowtush splitter. Currently running OEM sized street tires, Dunlop Z1.

I'm really at my wit's end with this car. I still love it to death and love driving it, but if I'm not enjoying it to the capacity that I should at the track, its main goal isn't being met. What would you guys suggest?
 

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The heel and toe complaint is a common one - check out http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f271/pedal-adjustment-heelntoeing-82044/ . Your solution will differ depending on if you have an '05 (DBC) or '06+ (DBW) car, but you've got plenty of options.

If you're not shifting at 8k+ you're losing an awful lot of what little power you have, especially when you fall off the cams after shifts.

If you're worried about power but won't redline the car, you should look into a Lotus Sport ECU or BOE's "Torque200" tune which move the high-cam engagement point down to the 5.5k range (from 6.3k).

I'd get an instructor who's familiar with a light MR car if at all possible. They'll teach you how to brake hard and extra, extra late to exploit the car's light weight. I'm 4 track days in on this car and I still feel slower than I did before too, but having an instructor who knew what to do helped me out a lot.

Also, check your alignment setup. The factory alignment is pretty tame especially in the camber department and adding negative camber front and rear will help you around the turns.

If you don't have updated toe links you should absolutely buy some as soon as possible. They're cheap insurance.
 

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all good suggestions. Whats the thought behind not redlining the car? So you can say you took it to a track but never redlined it? Worried that the car will 'report' you as an abuser should you decide to sell? Seems odd to ask how you can go faster but say you won't rev to redline in the same breath.
 

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I had a similar experience when I moved from an M Coupe to an Exige. First thing is definitely get your alignment checked as I had crazy understeer before I got things dialed in. The second thing is get rid of those Direzza's as they can't possibly provide enough traction to work with the setup of the car. Go to Toyo R888's or the stock A048's and dial in way more camber in the front and the car will feel 100 times better and more confidence inspiring. You may need to get the sector 111 control arms to get even more camber up front but it's truly night and day once you get the suspension sorted. I was able to pickup 3-4 seconds a lap with new tires and alignment without changing my driving style. On the track ... the biggest thing to remember is the Elige is a momentum car ... so maintaining as much speed as possible into the corner and using the cars extremely high traction to scrub the extra speed off. Hope that helps!

Cheers,
Zoomby_U
 

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What is your time for thunderhill and laguna seca?
I have a hard time believing the Elise is slower than the 240sx when the Elise is more powerful and lighter than your old car.

I only did 2 track days in the Elise so far, but i'm about 5 seconds faster than my old semi-track prep NB miata.

I have an 06 Elise and I think the pedal placement is perfect for heel toe, but I heard the 05 Elise is different.

Maybe a good alignment will help.
 

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as with most mid engine cars. alignment is sensitive. why do you find yourself over braking with slow entry speeds? is the car wanting to oversteer out of corners? won't turn in? are you able to find a little understeer on turn in and a little oversteer to drift to track out? everyone has their own preferences and styles... but for me, i like to enter with a little throttle and so as to have balance control with the right foot, and also plant the car through entry and add more throttle - rather than switch to throttle around the apex... no idea if those tires are any good on the elise on the track though.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The heel and toe complaint is a common one - check out http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f271/pedal-adjustment-heelntoeing-82044/ . Your solution will differ depending on if you have an '05 (DBC) or '06+ (DBW) car, but you've got plenty of options.

If you're not shifting at 8k+ you're losing an awful lot of what little power you have, especially when you fall off the cams after shifts.

If you're worried about power but won't redline the car, you should look into a Lotus Sport ECU or BOE's "Torque200" tune which move the high-cam engagement point down to the 5.5k range (from 6.3k).

I'd get an instructor who's familiar with a light MR car if at all possible. They'll teach you how to brake hard and extra, extra late to exploit the car's light weight. I'm 4 track days in on this car and I still feel slower than I did before too, but having an instructor who knew what to do helped me out a lot.

Also, check your alignment setup. The factory alignment is pretty tame especially in the camber department and adding negative camber front and rear will help you around the turns.

If you don't have updated toe links you should absolutely buy some as soon as possible. They're cheap insurance.
Great suggestions. I'm in the stage where I want to refrain from modding the car too much. I'm still a bit on the fence on whether it's the proper match in terms of useability for me. Alignment is a definite must though. That's one thing I haven't tinkered with for this car. My buddy always implores me to get ride-alongs with other Elige guys. I think that's a must at this point the next time I go out.

all good suggestions. Whats the thought behind not redlining the car? So you can say you took it to a track but never redlined it? Worried that the car will 'report' you as an abuser should you decide to sell? Seems odd to ask how you can go faster but say you won't rev to redline in the same breath.
Fair question to ask. As bizarre as it sounds, in addition to everything you said, I just don't like redlining cars. I'm weird enough to say that I don't trust "modern engineering" enough to redline cars day after day, session after session, turn after turn. I don't know, it's a problem I know. I never hear the end of it from my brother (my instructor) and track buddies. But based on differences in powerbands and driver preference I'm beginning to believe I made the wrong choice as opposed to something with more low end like a Cayman S or BMW with S54 (E46 or E86). I.E. I never had that issue with my last car because I changed the ring and pinion for lower gearing. Even though I never redlined that car, I had no problems holding my own in different sectors.

I had a similar experience when I moved from an M Coupe to an Exige. First thing is definitely get your alignment checked as I had crazy understeer before I got things dialed in. The second thing is get rid of those Direzza's as they can't possibly provide enough traction to work with the setup of the car. Go to Toyo R888's or the stock A048's and dial in way more camber in the front and the car will feel 100 times better and more confidence inspiring. You may need to get the sector 111 control arms to get even more camber up front but it's truly night and day once you get the suspension sorted. I was able to pickup 3-4 seconds a lap with new tires and alignment without changing my driving style. On the track ... the biggest thing to remember is the Elige is a momentum car ... so maintaining as much speed as possible into the corner and using the cars extremely high traction to scrub the extra speed off. Hope that helps!

Cheers,
Zoomby_U
Thanks for the suggestions. I thought about my last ditch effort as getting R888s and some pads/rotors. Like I previously mentioned, I went into this with wishful thinking that maybe I wouldn't have to get any upgrades, but that concept/stubbornness is diminishing fast. As for the Dunlops, I was running the same for my Nissan, but with much more contact patch (245s) all around. I sometimes wonder if I misplaced my trust in those tires not considering/ignoring overall sizing.

What is your time for thunderhill and laguna seca?
I have a hard time believing the Elise is slower than the 240sx when the Elise is more powerful and lighter than your old car.

I only did 2 track days in the Elise so far, but i'm about 5 seconds faster than my old semi-track prep NB miata.

I have an 06 Elise and I think the pedal placement is perfect for heel toe, but I heard the 05 Elise is different.

Maybe a good alignment will help.
My times for T-hill in the 240sx were always around 2:16. Obviously I lost a lot of time on the front straight, back straight, and going down the hill after 9 in that car; but when I say I was hauling ass, I was really hauling ass throughout the rest of the sectors. For the Elise, I'm always hovering around the low to mid 2:20s. I'd have to look at times for Laguna and Infineon, but it's the same disparity across the board.

as with most mid engine cars. alignment is sensitive. why do you find yourself over braking with slow entry speeds? is the car wanting to oversteer out of corners? won't turn in? are you able to find a little understeer on turn in and a little oversteer to drift to track out? everyone has their own preferences and styles... but for me, i like to enter with a little throttle and so as to have balance control with the right foot, and also plant the car through entry and add more throttle - rather than switch to throttle around the apex... no idea if those tires are any good on the elise on the track though.
I find that to be the case often. I can't enter turns with the same speed or confidence. As I throttle through the turns, I find myself needing to be a lot more gingerly than with my FR Nissan. Which is expected, but maybe not to the level that I'm doing it now. In other words, I feel like I'm going fast enough because the car communicates that, "I can't hold on any longer!" But guys fly past me and my times don't lie. I'm put-putting along.

Another thing to mention is that when I'm at any track, it "feels" like I'm at the limit. And by feel, I mean the motion and weight transfer of the car. The back feels like it's going to swing out before the tires even begin to howl excessively. It's a very off putting feeling.
 

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You gotta shift around 8000 to stay "on cam" into the next gear.

Maybe ride with someone who's learned this car. Feel the dynamics for yourself.

And these can be driven plenty fast without the suspension being tuned up nicely. With different brands of tires front and rear. Stock brakes.

Fix those toe links and test her bravery. She won't disappoint.
 

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The Lotus can stop amazingly fast. Rule of thumb, don't touch the brake until you start to pee yourself; your lap times will improve. At Inde motorsports track, I don't have to brake until after the last brake zone warning marker on the main straight. (This is with Hoosier R6 slicks). You need to get comfortable with the limits of your car. It can do far more than most people believe. I always considered the acceleration above 65 the Achilles heel of the car; it is why the supercharger was added. You are nowhere near the limits until you have spun the car at over 60MPH; you found it then.
 

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I came from track days in several different Miata's with the last being a supercharged R-package. I could do just about anything with the Miata. Trail braking, no problem. Rotating the car, no problem. I always felt like I was in complete control of that car. An extension of myself.
Fast forward to my 05 Elise. Scared to death of lift throttle oversteer, trail braking, you name it, scared to death. Had a proper alignment with a Max of -1.4/6 negative camber up front, 2mm toe in rear and -2.5 camber. Still took about 4-5 track days to really feel comfortable with the car. My last track day of the year 9/13 I started to feel the way I did when I was in the Miata?
Trail braking, rotating the car, tracking out all the way to the wall, no problem. It just takes seat time. I was 8-10 seconds slower in the Elise for the first 3 track days. I'm now 3 seconds faster and expect to be 5-6 seconds faster by the end of the season.
The car is amazing and very rewarding. Very few cars get a point by??
Stock 05 with Toyo R1R's. Moving to Ethos wheels and R888's for this season.
Here's a very informative video from Skip Barber (Just ignore the shorty shorts. Lol)
http://youtu.be/xQRmYMlmdqM

Going through the book right now.

Let us know how it turns out for you.

Chris
 

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After you're done watching that video, peruse through the 500+ posts in this thread. Watch the top drivers and pay attention to turn in, throttle/brake inputs and track out. You'll learn a lot from that thread. Many of the drivers have some type of telemetry displayed.

http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=120041
 

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Suggest attending the Saturday session of the upcoming GGLC Double Laguna Track Day on March 14 & 15. I'll be there on Saturday and would be happy to sit in the right hand seat.

If you have an 2005 you can adjust the brake pedal higher so that when you're full on it's level with the throttle. Makes a huge difference.

Cheers,
Kiyoshi
 

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If you have an 2005 you can adjust the brake pedal higher so that when you're full on it's level with the throttle. Makes a huge difference.

+1
My pedals are adjusted perfectly for heel/toe.

Love my 05 pedal box?
 

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One more comment... This likely isn't you, but more often than not most Elise/Exige folks I've driven with tend to over drive the corner entry (wait too late for brakes and then apply them too hard and for too long). You end up understeering into the corner and then having to wait forever to get back on the power. Don't think in terms of mastering one corner and then the next. But, think of how you can maintain your momentum over the entire course, how you carry speed in one corner and then how that will affect how you carry the speed through the next.

Cheers,
Kiyoshi
 

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... You are nowhere near the limits until you have spun the car at over 60MPH; you found it then.
The good drivers rarely spin. They may hit the outside wall, but they do not need to spin.


...
-I can't seem to master heel and toe in the Elise with the lack of spacing (center divider) and awkward pedal spacing/depth/distance.
...
Having the brilliant 05 style peddle box, I can only imagine...
Either go somewhere, or dig into it yourself.
Fit is one of the most important parts... (Seat, wheel, pedals, all of it.)
It takes some time, but it is the cheapest mod to make.


-I'm still trying to alter my driving style and lines from being super aggressive in my low powered FR, to the MR style/lines. I can't seem to get the same entry or exit speeds as before. I noticed that I spend most my time braking and slowing my momentum down approaching turns.
The brake bias is not great in these cars.
I have heard people say that "because the car is light it stops quicker", but from a theoretical point of view, the theory doesn't hold up.
Stopping power is predominantly determined by brake bias and traction... the other mods only give you a longer time before the brakes fade.


-So far I've been having a lot of issues with traction. Although a lot can be attributed to learning the MR idiosyncrasies, I can't seem to find that happy median/equilibrium. Either I feel comfortable but am going too slow, or I'm going the speeds I want, but it feels very unsettling and sometimes will hop or lose traction as a warning sign.
Well you probably do not need more power if you have traction problems.

I lashed out with a big spend-up on wheels and tires. (TMRs and Khumos)
And then on shocks (with some second hand 2way Ohlin's)
And it is pretty good.
The 300 wear rating Drizelleas may have an AA grip rating, but they may not have the "Cinderella holding" like a 60 wear rating khumos with the same AA grip rating. (Or A048, DZ03, R888, etc)


-----
(Ignoring power) From your list it appears to be:
1) you
2) the fit
3) the suspension
4) or the tires.

Personally I would sort out the fit and talk someone into a wheel/tire swap the next time you are out.

You may get insight from an instructor to take you around in your car.
That would at least let you know where you are at, and where the car is at.

And insight by going around in someone else's car.
That may let you know where your car is at, and well as where you are at.
 

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Sticky tyres may make you a bit faster but they do not teach to drive better. I say don't bother changing tyres yet, rather learn to be faster on them now and get even more benefit when you switch over.

Toyota had our engine rev limited to 8300 rpm, around this RPM the oil pump starts cavitating which has knock on effects, short bursts up to 8500 is acceptable hence Lotus limits to that. If you want to be safe and not rev the car too much then rev it to 8000 only, just saying. Do you ever get your shifts wrong and "money shift"? If not then I don't see why you afraid to operate in the upper rev range. Just don't Rev it as hard as a Rental...

I agree with holmz and the Problems are in correct order even:
1) you (find 85% of your time you want to gain)
2) the fit (see Above, ties in with that)
3) the suspension (Suspension and tyres will give you the last 15%)
4) then the tyres.


Find somebody to go with that knows the track and is good at driving/racing (not that powerslide/drift nonsense), see how they go through the corners, what gear they use and where they braking and start trying to use that as a guide line...

Or fly to the UK and take the Lotus Driving Academy tuition, they will help you get much faster a lot quicker since they know exactly where the cars limits are...
 

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have you had the alignment gone through? id string the car and align it - a lot of what you are saying sound like either inconsistent or not desirable set-up. (not enough rear toe and not enough front camber likely). the car should feel planted and be controllable with some slip angle at either end.
 

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Cam switchover 5800-6100, Max HP at 7800 RPM, Redline 8500.


Just use the extra 500 RPMs for over rev between corners if necessary.
 

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Despite that everyone else here will disagree with me, I think getting a supercharger would be a huge benefit. It will allow you to take some corners a gear higher, and lets you shift pretty much whenever you feel like it. If you're not having to obsess over your tachometer and shifting less, it frees up a lot of mental resources that can be used to focus on your racing line/braking points/etc.
 
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