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Nice pics! How did your two exibition run times match up with others? You didnt get to walk the course I assume...but Im still interested.

Also, that looks like a SUPER parking lot! Big course. :D
 

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shay2nak
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awesome! You passed your break-in period already? Did you lower the car a bit?

damn, the car looks better further away.
 

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Most courses here are over a mile long and we often get chastised for the speed we reach in "parking lot racing." :)

My times sucked a little. I did not walk the course, and only took two runs, and everyone else had 4 runs. If I compare my times to the first two runs in SS, then it might not be so bad considering I was the Yokohamas and class winners were on Kumhos and Hoosiers.

My first run was embarrasing. I tried a high rpm launch for giggles and to get some heat into the tires. LOL. I only ended up causing the clutch to slip. Then I was all over the course with the car having major oversteer issues. I backed it down on my second run, and drove much more conservatively, and did a clean 62.677 second run. In looking at the results, that was about as fast as any other SS classed car in their second run. BUT... a better comparison would be Leslie Cohen running in the Open PAX class in her Z-06 and her FIRST run was a 61.794 and her fourth run a 59.289. Note also the SS Viper running in open pax by Jeff Cawthorne. He did 60.181 on his second run and got down to a 59.119.

I really have to get used to this car on a course like this. I struggled with a few issues. The Yokohamas are NOT Hoosiers. Nice tires, but a little more slippery. The car was pretty tail happy, specially when given a lot of throttle. If the cam change over happened in mid-corner, things became interesting.

I can't say for sure, but I think the car really needs an LSD for this. I kept inducing throttle oversteer and the could not floor the car coming out of turns.


Actual results-
http://www.sdr-scca.com/solo2/results/results_08-22-04.htm
 

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Well, you didnt walk the course,oly got two runs, you're not used to racing this car yet, it was on tires IMHO that arent suited for autocross ( dont heat up fast) so I'd say thats not too bad at all!

I was worried about the LSD issue....and it does now look like it is going to be an issue from your reports. Hopefully we can find a good fix, from lotus or otherwise. :)

We had planned on running the lotus tires on the autocross course just to "use" them...but Im thinking now it sounds like if we want to be competative we'll need the Hoosiers. I hate to buy a new set of Hoosiers this late in the season though. Our season ends in October. Also, we'll need some time for proper break in etc...so its running late in the year for us. I'd would at least like to get some Hoosiers on it and see how it does before shelling out for an LSD...decisions decisions.
 

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shay2nak
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what the hell are these things on the tailpipes?

 

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Agreed with AndyKeck... looks like a Supertrapp exhaust. The plates help restrict exhaust flow thereby increasing torque at the sacrifice of horsepower. The plates are basically a tuning tool to allow you to help move the powerband around by increasing/decreasing exhaust restriction.

Bob
 

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I ran Supertrapps on my previous car. We have strict sound limits and that Stradale is often running into noise issues.
 

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Is it a Stradale? Seems to be missing a few elements. Might be a gray market car.
 

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Edit to say Challenge car.
 

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Hey Randy, if the car is both tailhappy and has wheelspin, maybe a stiffer front swaybar is in order before resorting to the LSD...especially if you end up on race tires with less front/rear width difference than stock.
 

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Well on the front bar swap idea to help with corner exit wheelspin...seems to me it would matter whether the inside front is lifting off the pavement or not at the same time. Since if/when you do get such a lift, stiffening the bar won't do anything. If the front has both wheels down and the inside rear is spinning, then more front bar might be worth a shot. There's more to it than that, and things like alignment, corner balancing and damper characteristics also matter.
 

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WHAT...no vid?? Com'on...Chase-cam...where's the vid? :D

I like the way your region strips the last name from the posted results to keep prying warranty companies in confusion. I think I will suggest it for our regional results.
 

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Funny coincidence. I had to take my Maserati Spyder into service today after having a flat tire on the way to work and this very 360 Ferrari was trailered in just as mine was unloading. Wonder what happened at the autocross? The exhaust was pretty awesome!
 

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Brak said:
WHAT...no vid?? Com'on...Chase-cam...where's the vid? :D
Heck, where was my helmet? I had no intention of running. It would have been a good video. Next time!


I like the way your region strips the last name from the posted results to keep prying warranty companies in confusion. I think I will suggest it for our regional results.
Yep. I think it's worth doing to avoid search engines.
 

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Randy, questions for you

Randy, If I'm not mistaken, you are the only person to report having autocrossed an US Elise. Didn't you autocross one at So. Lake Tahoe, as well? That time you had favorable comments about its performance. How were both cars equipped? Did either have LSS?

I understand that you've had considerable experience autocrossing and I'd appreciate your giving us a summary of your experience (please don't think that I'm being critical of you, quite the opposite, I'm always appreciative of anyone with experience sharing his thoughts on a car or on the autocross experience). I've had ten years experience autocrossing, locally, with a Caterham Super Seven and a 2000 sport package Miata but have plenty of room to improve. But I haven't had any experience autocrossing a rear engined or front wheel drive car.

Obviously stickier race tires will help the Elise but the So. Lake Tahoe car had street rubber, too. It's clear, from your description, why the front tires are narrower than the rears, to balance out the oversteer. But it seems that even with LSD, which should help the oversteer a tad, the car will need to be balanced out with adjustable shocks or a stiffer front anti-sway bar. Does anyone even make them for the Elise? Are Hoosier, Goodyear or Kumho autocross tires even available to fit the Elise wheels?

As good as the Lotus engineers have been in the past and may be now in setting up suspensions it is clear that they have not had an awareness of or interest in autocross. Their response to the concern about a lack of LSD and the comments that the car handled worse with it support that concern. Given the small autocross customer base it's unlikely that they will seriously address autocross handling issues.

So my concerns about making class legal mods to the Elise to make it competitive in a Stock autocross class are amplified.

It certainly is a fun weekend drive car, but having had a Seven I know how impractical, and dangerous, driving a car this small is in normal traffic, it's got to have greater thrill potential for me to justify it (and I sold my Seven to buy one). Again, a reason why I want to know how to maximize the autocross potential of the Elise.

So your further thoughts on the autocross performance and potential is gretaly appreciated. Thanks.
 

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Re: Randy, questions for you

LeftyS7 said:
Randy, If I'm not mistaken, you are the only person to report having autocrossed an US Elise. Didn't you autocross one at So. Lake Tahoe, as well? That time you had favorable comments about its performance. How were both cars equipped? Did either have LSS?
Someone else just autocrossed one also, and I have talked to the people that tested the car for Road & Track, etc. I did autocross the one car at Lake Tahoe, so it's cool I know have some experience with LSS and non-LSS in battle. My car has LSS. Probably one difference was expectation. I knew going in that the street tires on the non-LSS tires would not be that great and the Lake Tahoe surface would be a little slippery. The car did very well in spite of that and because I drove accordingly. With my car and the A-048s at Qualcomm Stadium, I drove it at first expecting Hoosier like grip, which of course was silly. The car was all over the place.

The performance is still quite good, but I can see some things that should be looked into.


I understand that you've had considerable experience autocrossing and I'd appreciate your giving us a summary of your experience (please don't think that I'm being critical of you, quite the opposite, I'm always appreciative of anyone with experience sharing his thoughts on a car or on the autocross experience). I've had ten years experience autocrossing, locally, with a Caterham Super Seven and a 2000 sport package Miata but have plenty of room to improve. But I haven't had any experience autocrossing a rear engined or front wheel drive car.
I have been autocrossing since 1990 in Toyota MR2s. Just about every version of MR2 made. I worked a lot to research and develop the setup on MR2s back in the early to mid 90s. The car was infinitely faster than my capabilities. :) I became faster and my set up became better, around 1997 I started competing nationally. I achieved my goal of a National Championship in SCCA ProSolo in 2000 and then sold the car. Since then I have played with shifter karts and OPCs (Other Peoples Cars). I have tried to do well in a newer Toyota MR2 Spyder, but it's lack of limited slip was it's achilles heal and I concluded it was not the car for it's class.


Obviously stickier race tires will help the Elise but the So. Lake Tahoe car had street rubber, too. It's clear, from your description, why the front tires are narrower than the rears, to balance out the oversteer. But it seems that even with LSD, which should help the oversteer a tad, the car will need to be balanced out with adjustable shocks or a stiffer front anti-sway bar. Does anyone even make them for the Elise? Are Hoosier, Goodyear or Kumho autocross tires even available to fit the Elise wheels?
Kumho and Hoosier tires will fit on the rim and under the car's front. The question is only now about how well they work under loading and wheel well clearance, but there have been some reports from overseas that the Hoosiers worked well. There needs to be a progression of tuning to be done, I would like to look at it more like an engineering exercise. Step one is to put the tires on it I will need to win. That can be Kumho or Hoosier. I will be happy to run A048s locally, but nationally, no way.

Then do some runs and test how the car handles. Test the oversteer and understeer and limits. The options that I will first look at will be-

1. Alignment. Cheap and easy. Perhaps a little more toe in on the rear? Can I get a little more negative camber?

2. Swaybar. A stiffer front bar MIGHT help. It could reduce a lot of the rear wheel spin. I might be looking at Saner Performance to make a custom hollow bar for the front.

3. Shocks. Custom valved and adjustable external reservoirs. Not cheap though.

And note I don't go into any of this thinking I can do better than the Lotus engineers. But I am also aware that cars are rolling compromises and what you do for safety and streetability may detract from utlimate performance, and what I do with the car, may be a little different than the intent of the engineers.


As good as the Lotus engineers have been in the past and may be now in setting up suspensions it is clear that they have not had an awareness of or interest in autocross. Their response to the concern about a lack of LSD and the comments that the car handled worse with it support that concern. Given the small autocross customer base it's unlikely that they will seriously address autocross handling issues.
I agree that early on, it was totally off their radar. "Some guys in the States playing in parking lots with cones?" I don't think that is true anymore though. I hope I, and others, have convinced them of that. Over 60,000 people actively autocross in the USA. It's a huge sport. We have one of the largest championship events in any motorsport with over 1200 drivers coming to Kansas in September. We have involvement by many car manufacturers and tire companies such as Subaru, Dodge, Toyota, and more. Those companies think it's important enough to get involved. This car is like the ultimate autocross car and I think it's very important for Lotus that it can do well.

Having said that, I still think there is perhaps a little disconnect. I would love to get an engineer like Nick Adams over and take him for some rides and let him try autocrossing, specially on concrete with Hoosiers. See what happens to the inside rear wheel when you have that much grip.



So my concerns about making class legal mods to the Elise to make it competitive in a Stock autocross class are amplified.

It certainly is a fun weekend drive car, but having had a Seven I know how impractical, and dangerous, driving a car this small is in normal traffic, it's got to have greater thrill potential for me to justify it (and I sold my Seven to buy one). Again, a reason why I want to know how to maximize the autocross potential of the Elise.

So your further thoughts on the autocross performance and potential is gretaly appreciated. Thanks.
I am very pleased that they did listen and will be offering the LSD, even if they they shake their heads doing it. :)

It comes down also to classing by SCCA. Is this an AS or SS car? I really don't know yet. If my two runs trounced SS, then it would have been no question. But I was 2.5 seconds back. How much of that was because I had not walked the course, I was on A-048s? I don't know. More testing is needed. If the car was in AS, I think it will do very well. Does that worry SCCA? Maybe. Will people be bothered to find out their "giant killer" is not classed with the Z-06s? I would not, but some might.

We will know more very soon.

P.S. Lotus UK.... what would be very cool, is to see direct involvement from the factory with autocrossing. I fully intend on doing some tuning... but I expect the guys in the UK would and could do it far more effectively than I ever could. Have Hethel buy some Hoosiers and do some testing. Make an autocross course on the track. Then see what the car needs. And talk to us that are involved. Talk to Pat Salerno, Robert Puertas, and me. Understand what the legal options we have in SCCA are to enhance the car's handling. Offer them, heck they could make some money if they did.
 

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Randy,

Thanks for your prompt response.

I don't care what class the car is placed in by the SCCA but I do want it to be competitive.

Having questioned you about Hoosiers I should mention that I used the 04 steel belted radials this year on the Miata and hated them. They corded after 6 autocross days with two drivers. The one tire which did not cord leaked air. The Hoosier expert on-line had recommended them over the 03s and had told me to run 41# of pressure, that they needed more air pressure than the 03s which I had used many times in the past on the Miata and on the Seven. The car had NO grip and, finally, when I worked my way down to 37# it began to grip but then the tires were corded (on the outside edges, not the middle) so I couldn't try less air. I replaced them with the 03s and was much happier but the 03s have since been discontinued. Friends using the 04s have not liked them as much as the 03s, I don't know if they work better on heavier cars but I have my doubts as to how well they'll work on the Elise.
 
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