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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
It's a nice article. The Viper "won" on track time but not on driving enjoyment. They tested the cars at Buttonwillow on the East and West Loops and included instrumented test data and segment times, speeds, g-forces.

Basically the Elise could outdo the Viper when it was not power limited. So on the straightaways the Viper would gain lots of time. In some parts of the course the Viper could do over 10 more MPH. And on corner exits it always had enough oompth. On some of the sweepers the Elise could be floored but could not reach it's cornering limit whereas the Viper could. So in those sorts of corners the Viper could corner harder than the Elise. In the tight stuff and with transitions and hard braking the Elise came into it's own. So for exampe the Viper might make up 0.5 seconds on a straightaway and then the Elise might gain 0.2 seconds in a corner.

If the Elise had the same displacement versus weight (with driver and a full gas tank) the Elise would have a 4.9 liter motor!! They said that the Elise felt like a race car while the Viper felt like a very fast street car. They felt the Elise had more driver appeal.

Here's a picture of the track summary data. The Viper and Elise were stock, the Elise had the sport pack.

 

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Comparing price, I'm very pleased with the results. Comparing gas mileage, I'm even more pleased. Comparing insurance cost, I'm shining.

Thanks for posting the article.

I'd like to see the same test after Mean TT has his turbo installed.
 

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I guess this dispells the myth that American cars don't handle well.

I figure this would be a very close call because in the Road & Track issue that compared the Elise with the Viper, GT3, and Modena, the Viper's handling abilities are close to the Elises.

Did the Elise in the test have the LSS?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
>>>I guess this dispells the myth that American cars don't handle well. I figure this would be a very close call because in the Road & Track issue that compared the Elise with the Viper, GT3, and Modena, the Viper's handling abilities are close to the Elises.<<<

Track time is not handling. It's an 8 page article and they talk about this a bit. The Elise is more rewarding and composed to drive hard. The Viper is no slouch, but it's main tool is limitless torque. It hits 60 MPH in 4.1 seconds on a mediocre surface. Including a time delaying shift into 2nd gear at 59 MPH. If that shift could be avoided, that's another 0.4 seconds that could be chopped off the time. That's a 10% drop!

Look at it another way. Look at the 68.6 VS 71.2 MPH slalom speed they found which favored the Elise. If you calcuate this out over the 700 foot slalom, the Elise would finish about 0.26 seconds faster or about 25-27 feet ahead of the Viper. For standing start acceleration the Elise could stay ahead of the viper until about 50 something miles per hour. This is due to the off the line traction and a drag race start.

The lap times were only about 2% different. Kinda amazing given the huge differences between the cars and "collosal differences in horsepower, tires and price".

The low PSI turbo kit won't be able to match the straightaway speed of the Viper. I mean if you loaded in a Mustang 4.6 liter into the Elise you'd still be behind on liters/pound of car. And there is a chance that some of the driving joy they speak about might diminish with a turbo, even if the lap times decreased a bit. Again handling is not = skidpad + slalom or whatever. It has to do with things like feel, response, controllability, limit behavior and so forth for which no numbers are posted.

They mention that in a few laps with the Elise and you are up to speed. But that you have to be much more careful with the Viper and that the latest version is worlds easier to drive and better handling than were earlier models.

Note that some of the time the Viper makes up on the Elise happens exiting fast turns. It's not just on the straightaways. With the Viper you can control the throttle well enough to keep the car right at the cornering limit when exiting a fast turn entering onto a straight. Meanwhile the Elise is floored for long periods and is not using all of it's cornering grip because it's at a lower speed at that portion of the track and the only way to get up to the limit speed would be with more motor. If you add more oompth with a turbo, the driver's ability to use that extra oompth to reach the car's cornering limit and keep it there may be compromised a bit. Hence some of my posts about throttle response and lag.

That's not the sort of thing that we are able to easily measure, but that the driver can experience. Some turbo cars need to be driven with an anticipating throttle foot, and with left foot braking to help balance things out.

The last paragraph of the article: "Where does that leave us? For fun go light. For speed, go might." It's a good read and I'd encourage readers of this post to pick up a copy of SPEED.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
>>>Anyone have any idea how a Viper GTS compares to an SRT-10 ??<<<

They made allusions to earlier Vipers but did not get very specific.

For example: "...judicious management of the gas pedal is the key to not only going fast, but also keeping it pointed in the right direction. (My comment: SRT-10 = harder to drive than the Elise) Enormous tires certainly help.....as does a much improved chassis. Unlike it's predecessor, which could be a beast in the turns, the latest generation Viper tackles them with more composure. It still requires a patient right foot exiting corners, but now it's going a lot faster through them."
 

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transio said:
Anyone have any idea how a Viper GTS compares to an SRT-10 ??
If I recall correctly, the GTS had really, really bad brakes, which was one of the main improvement focuses on the SRT10. I think the older Vipers had the same breaking distance as a Durango.
 

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I mentioned that I've had people who have rode in my car and a 600+hp Viper (with a great driver) back to back. They always say that my car is much more fun than the Viper.

Those tracks tested really play to the Elise - no long straights. The difference in the cars gets worse the longer the straights. I don't know about the Fed car, but my car gets up to 100mph really quick and then the acceleration starts to fall off. The Viper just keeps pulling though.

At Road America I will be going down the straights at 130-135 and the Vipers and Vettes fly by at 160-170mph. Big difference!
 

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Cool article! My guess is that the average enthusiast could pilot the Elise around that track faster than the Viper as it would appear to be much easier to drive near its limits than the Viper.
Agree with meat re Road America, Viper would win there, even with a mediocre driver.
 

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My Viper ('95 RT10) had 600+hp and was hand full at the track. That being said with the right pads and coilovers it was also pretty dominant.
 

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Stan said:
>>>Anyone have any idea how a Viper GTS compares to an SRT-10 ??<<<

They made allusions to earlier Vipers but did not get very specific.

For example: "...judicious management of the gas pedal is the key to not only going fast, but also keeping it pointed in the right direction. (My comment: SRT-10 = harder to drive than the Elise) Enormous tires certainly help.....as does a much improved chassis. Unlike it's predecessor, which could be a beast in the turns, the latest generation Viper tackles them with more composure. It still requires a patient right foot exiting corners, but now it's going a lot faster through them."
when I took the ultra-high performance driving class recently at skip barber, we drove the viper on the autocross course. Several people spun the viper exiting turns by being too agressive too soon with the throttle. Personally I did not find driving the viper anywhere near as enjoyable as the elise...
 

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Genjuro said:
Comparing price, I'm very pleased with the results. Comparing gas mileage, I'm even more pleased. Comparing insurance cost, I'm shining.

Thanks for posting the article.

I'd like to see the same test after Mean TT has his turbo installed.
Didn't you know, according to STAN the turbocharger will make the Elise SLOWER than it is normally. That's right, more power makes things slower.



Just kidding. :p
 

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JimK said:
Cool article! My guess is that the average enthusiast could pilot the Elise around that track faster than the Viper as it would appear to be much easier to drive near its limits than the Viper.
Agree with meat re Road America, Viper would win there, even with a mediocre driver.
I don't agree with this. An average driver doesn't know how to corner - they will tiptoe through the corners and then mash the throttle. They also don't know how to threshold brake, so they will start braking at 500'.

Cornering and braking is where the Elise shines. You need this to keep up with the Viper.

Mashing the throttle is easy and if the Elise isn't carrying speed through the turns it can't compete with the Viper's grunt.

My $.02
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
>>>Didn't you know, according to STAN the turbocharger will make the Elise SLOWER than it is normally. That's right, more power makes things slower.<<<

I haven't said this. Reread my posts.

SPEED magazine makes some of the same fundamental points I have made about the Elise. Perhaps they are wrong too? Check out the entire 8 page article. I'm talking about the subjective characterisitics of the Elise, what it feels like, how it behaves at the limit. This was emphatically praised by the driver of both of the two cars being compared. If you would like to boost the power of the Elise, it would be my suggestion to do this in a way that does not *take away* from existing and wonderful strong points of this machine. So that you don't take a step forward in one area and a step back in another. Perhaps some don't want more overall goodness, but rather, a very different set of compromises. That's up to them of course.

If you want to match the broad acceleration capability of the Viper with a Turbo in your Elise, you will need *much more* than 5 PSI of boost. But you'll have lag that the Viper does not experience. And the change in the nature of the power delivery from stock has the potential to harm some of the known strong points of the Elise. Lotus delivered a very well balanced, tuned package to us. Not sure how to say this more clearly.
 

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By adding power to the Elise you may/could have brake issues from carrying higher speeds into corners. But, the FI isn't going to make the car turn any faster or brake any better.

It may also upset the ability to steer the car with your right foot so easily.

People usually say my car needs more power down the straights and then they see the laptimes and then they don't say that as much.

Sure, if you want to dragrace and stoplight race going FI is great. But, that's not the car's strongpoint - get a Viper if that's what you want to do.

A Miata with 120hp is one of the most fun cars you can drive - sure you aren't going fast, but the car control you learn is second to none.

If you want to go faster around the track - go to racing school, get lots of seat time, use instructors at track events, be smooth, upgrade the suspension and be smart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
>>>By adding power to the Elise you may/could have brake issues from carrying higher speeds into corners. But, the FI isn't going to make the car turn any faster or brake any better. It may also upset the ability to steer the car with your right foot so easily. <<<

Yeah, what he said. An extreme case would be a Nitrous Rig. Adds power right? But you can't control it in the twisties. It's a straightline thing only.

About a month ago I was teching cars at an SCCA event and a newbie had an EVO with everything money can buy on it. After he tied down the dangling battery cables (battery was relocated, and the stock wires could move and touch nearby metal) he came back to have the car looked at again and the inspection continued. Oh oh NOS in the trunk. Not only did he have to yank the tank, but the rules preclude the tank from even being on site, so the guy had to bring it home. If the tank is just sitting around it could fall and become a rocket, or explode, get run over by someone parking their car, get hot in the sun etc. That's the first time someone showed up with NOS at an autocross that I have come across. All the regular EVOs beat the guy by quite a bit even though he had lots more power even without the Nitrous.

Miatas are wonderful cars for learning car control.
 

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I liked the format, with the test track, corner weights etc.
That is doing your homework, like EVO magazine does.
If they keep that up, I might subscribe, but I won't hold my breath.
m
 
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