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I had a grand time at the Club111/GGLC Track Day last Monday (10/18). Despite the on/off wet track I came away impressed with the ability of the Sport Pack car.

Some of the lessons learned in my first outing in an Elise with Sports Pack:

1) When cold the Yokohama A048s have limited grip. I tested this on the first lap of my 2nd session coming onto the front straight. I apexed a bit earlier and was running out of track on the exit. I lifted ever so slightly hoping to tighten my line, The rear rotated with lift throttle oversteer, I caught it but the rear came around the other way, and then the other way and then the other way! A tank slapper on my first lap!
2) The Yoko A048s are quite. They don’t make a lot of noise as the breakaway. Much like a race tire there’s no tire squeal.
3) The Sport Pack is very neutral, even in low speed corners with the right entry speed the Elise will turn-in. Compared to the standard car the Sport Pack allowed you to drive a bit deeper, carry more speed through the corner and accelerate sooner & harder off the corner.
4) The Sport Pack wheels and tires have a lot more grip than the Standard Yokohamas. Steering loads up in hard cornering and communicates exactly how much grip is being generated.
5) The brakes got better with heat.
6) Used 26/28 for tire pressures, checked when cold. Only went up 2-4 lbs when hot due to cold track and ambient temps. There was no tread rollover even with hard steady state cornering. I may try dropping a couple pounds and got to 24/26 psi when hot.

One lap of Buttonwillow with the Elise:

Sunset
On the front straight I accelerated up through 3rd getting on cam and shifted up to 4th near the start/finish line. I was hitting about 110 before shutting down and braking for Sunset. I was being conservative and would start braking just past the end of the pit wall. I’d drop back to 3rd and hit a nice late apex and accelerate out.

Esses
Out of the Sunset I accelerated through 3rd, shift into 4th with the shift light (8000 rpm) and get up to about 105-110 setting up on the left edge of the track to enter the Esses. I did a brief lift to turn the Elise into the first of the esses and then feathered the throttle to hold about 90-95 mph through the left-right-left. As I clipped the final right of the esses I was getting on the brakes and continued braking past the final ess and entered the Sweeper.

Sweeper
The entry to the sweeper was 4th gear going through the esses. I dropped back to 3rd and used a double apex. Being conservative I made use the car was nice and stable turning into a late exit apex and accelerating to track out. I went back up to 4th before the dogleg right leading to “Lost Hill”

Lost Hill
The crest at the top of Lost Hill made me alter my line a bit, I wanted to have finished turning before cresting, so I used a late and conservative entry. This was the only place on the track that I didn’t get completely comfortable with and knew I was leaving lots of time. However, exiting Lost Hill it was easy to pick-up speed through the dogleg and get over to the right edge for the entry to Riverside.

Riverside & Truck Stop
Riverside is a banked sweeping constant radius turn. I was going around 100 mph entering Riverside. I breathed the engine ever so slightly and then held a constant throttle in 4th doing around 85 mph. I continued the arc into the Truck Stop doing a late apex and staying to track left on the exit of the Truck Stop to set-up for the Bus Stop.

Bus Stop
A couple cars spun at the Bus Stop during the day. It required a late turn in and late apex as the berm on the left on corner exit kept you from entering the corner too fast. I dropped to 3rd as I braked and set-up for the Bus Stop and then up shifted to 4th leading into Club Corner.

Club Corner
I accelerated through Club Corner in 4th. I notice most of the folks were braking entering, which allowed me to make a lot of time on them. Clipping the apex and allowing the Elise drift all the way out to the berm on the right track edge. I continued to accelerate over a crest leading into the Grapevine.

Grapevine
The entry into Grapevine is slightly downhill and then the track gains camber through the corner as the track rises. I found I could carry 4th gear into Grapevine, do a quick but firm jab on the brakes, turn-in, get back on the throttle just before the apex and carry lots of speed up the hill toward Cotton Corners.

Cotton Corners
Cotton Corners is a combination of 3 corners; the first is a cresting left, followed by a steep drop into a tight right, then quick left. The first left and right hand corners have to be taken with a very late apex since there is not enough room or time to get the car back over to get set-up for the next corner. I dropped into 3rd gear and used a late entry into the cresting left, exiting on track left, did a tiny lift to turn into the right, exiting on track right and then powered through the last left. The Elise is fantastic through this complex and I was making big distances on the others cars.

Off-Ramp
There is a short straight between Cotton Corners and the Off-Ramp. I stayed in 3rd and wound it up to redline before braking for the Off-Ramp. As you can see from the track map the Off-Ramp is a reducing radius corner. What you don’t see is the crest and elevation change as you reach the “toe” of the Off-Ramp. I played conservative with this corner, focusing on getting the exit correct. This meant getting the Elise slowed (2nd gear) and back onto the power before apexing and accelerating through the right hand dogleg exit.

Sunrise
From the Off-Ramp I accelerated and up into 3rd gear. Then braked fairly early for Sunrise, got turned-in and started feeding in the power before hitting a late apex. Sunrise is the most important corner on the circuit since it leads onto the longest straight, but it is also quite deceiving in that it appears to be much more open and faster than it is.

So, that’s it, one lap of Buttonwillow #13 counterclockwise!

I didn’t take any lap times, my goal was to have some fun, learn the car and stay on the tarmac. From what I could see the Elise held its own against the WRXs and EVOs. One our GGLC members in his highly modified Europa passed me (basically a racer). I know I left a TON of time on track because I was being really conservative (stayed hooked up 100% of the time, and feathered the straights). Call me a wimp if you like, but I really didn’t want to have to make a call to my wife to explain breaking the new Lotus with only 1300 miles on it!

Cheers!
Kiyoshi

P.S. We need more Club111 & ETalkers at the next Track Day!!!
 

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i'm running in config 1 w/ star mazda on monday. my car is standard suspension but with kodiak wheels and A048s. Will post my impressions afterwards. I will also be taking it fairly easy this first time out.
 

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Remember that this car is all about momentum. So, the way I drive it is to brake late and deep, turn in and then mash the throttle and steer with it. Your right foot is your friend in this car. Learn how to drive with it. The car can also carry lots more speed into corners than you are used to. It takes time to learn this.

This my experience in the Exige and it can't be much different than the Fed car.

PS - Yes - the 48s need to be up to temp to work well.
 

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Nice write up. I will try to make the next event.

Looks like I will be going to Buttonwillow very soon. I was asked to be an instructor for SVTOA this next weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Randy Chase said:
Looks like I will be going to Buttonwillow very soon. I was asked to be an instructor for SVTOA this next weekend.
Maybe I should bring my SVT Lightning and learn somethin'!!! :D

It was very fun... Can't wait for the next event!
 
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