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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Have taken the Elise to 4 track days at the new San Marcos, TX track. I am still struggling to find more speed and faster lap times.

I am much faster in my M3 by at least 4 sec. I know the car can do much better and blame it all on my driving skills with the Elise. Not sure if I am intimidated by the engine layout and car dynamics but I am open to criticism and advice.

This is not a fast track and the Elise should be right at home. Only thing is that my laps are very consistent...within 1 sec.

Have been playing to ad nauseam with tire pressures (do not care for the Advan A048)...Found my RA1 on my BMW much better.

Shoot away please!

Here is the vid:
 

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my only comment is it seems you are driving VERY conservatively. by the audio it seems like you are letting your rev's dip waay too much in the corners (back to original comment), which is probably killing your time accelerating out.

but I cant clearly see the tach, and being unfamiliar with the track, take all that with a grain of salt.
 

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you are very smooth and consistent but it look like there is a lot left in the corners. This is a momentum car compared to the m3. have to tell yourself to brake less and carry more speed through the corners. Also try to stay in the powerband all of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That is what I tought after watching the vid

too slow in corners and under powerband. I also have to learn not to lift to much...Other cars more forgiving. Always learning!
 

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When the tires begin to squeal, you're beginning to start to use the car's range and ability. It's a nice, audible indicator that drifting starts fairly soon.

My recommendation is after you learn the track and are comfortable with it, begin to push the car to the tire's audible limits (at which point please do NOT lift-off the throttle).

My other suggestion is to keep RMPs always above 6000 which is pretty easy to do, otherwise you're getting about 25hp (see dyno chart). I wouldn't recommend this in day-do-day driving but on a track, that's what it's all about.

Lastly, where's your driving gloves? I can begin to express the benefits of some gel-leather gloves for vibration absorption and better steering grip(here: Compare Harley Davidson Torque Fingerless Gel Gloves. Soft Drum Dyed with Nylon Reinforced Stitching Extended Wear. Gel Padded Palms Shock Absorption. Side Entry And Removal. Leather Tab for Men Prices - Shop for Shoes at mySimon ). The leather perforations directly match the console nicely.
 

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I had the same problems with mine. It was an issue of learning on higher HP cars that can go in slow and come out fast. That doesn't work on the Elise nearly as well. Even in a slow corner where the Elise has tons of tq per lb, driving like that actually reduces the car's grip.

As another poster pointed out, as long as you're smooth, your tires will talk to you before biting you. So it's fairly safe to nudge your laptimes lower and lower until you can tell the tires are really busy - provided you trust your hands and feet to not do anything sudden. But that method alone won't get you optimal lap times in an Elise. Here's why...

Most cars understeer and that's a good thing. For all these pushy cars, you just go to a track and start going in hotter and hotter until you feel the steering go light. I prefer that to the listening method but they're both about the same. With most cars, even other midengined cars, this is when you can take a quick survey of your butt meter. If all is okay from the rear, use the throttle to feed in power *faster* rather than as fast as you unwind the wheel. You should try to match the extra throttle with the reduction in steering effort only if the car is balanced evenly front/rear. Since you're evaluating the situation as pushy (steering is light but your ass says the rear is hooked up) you want to trade the rear grip for front. Most cars will switch from push to balanced or a little loose with this technique. The benefit of that characteristic is that you can go in, safely touch the limits of the fronts and either push a little wide without much drama or save the day with the extra throttle. Unfortunately, as good as the Elise is, this just causes the Elise to push even more. And this tendency is also in effect if you go in really slow and try to use throttle before you start unwinding. That's a huge crutch for newbs. To go in at 8/10ths and use the relatively safe power-on exit to have fun and get used to testing the tires.

So with the Elise, you need to get your entrance speed up. Whatever you give up from the limit will carry over all the way out of the corner. If it's a 10 second corner and you enter 1 mph too slow, you'll stay roughly 1 mph too slow for the entire 10 seconds. That's a much bigger penalty than in a car where you can baby the car into the corner, feel it hook up, and use throttle to correct the car's attitude AND recover that lost speed early.

But high entrance speed is scary (let's be honest) and it also requires very good smoothness. Before testing your entrance speed, start braking earlier and do less of it. Get fully switched over from braking to [light] throttle and keep the car perfectly balanced until you feel the outside tires really digging in. Then start feathering in throttle but only after you get to that point where you can tell you're pointed toward the apex.
 

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I'm still waiting for you to finish what appear to be warmup laps. Still waiting...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks gents. Will try it on the next track day

xeeeejme, thank you...and keep waiting. When I grow up I might want to be like you.
 

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Nickel's worth of free advice?

Hitch a ride with someone who's driving closer to the limit and it'll be a real eye opener.
 
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