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Puff Daddy
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well I've been lurking around here for 4 years now and have had the Elise for 2.5 of it... and yesterday was the FIRST time that I really realized what this car is all about :panic:

I've done a bunch of autocross events... but those don't even come close to comparing to a full road course IMHO. :eek:

I had a ton of seat time yesterday. My friends and I rent Arroyo Seco raceway once a year and hold a private track day. Luckily a couple of my friends are instructors so I got some nice tips from them. I got 86 laps in :crazyeyes for a total of over 2 hours of actual seat time. The Elise performed FLAWLESSLY and I now know what it was designed for :D

I started by running 1:28-1:30 lap times on the TIGHT 1.4 mile road course which is hardly stellar. By the end of the day I had pulled off a 1:22 lap time which I was very happy with. My instructor was able to do a 1:19 with the Elise :crazyeyes



Thoughts:

- The Elise is FAST going straight... I passed a C6 Corvette and a 6.0 liter GTO on the straight sections. My friend with a radar gun clocked me at 112-114 mph down the small back straight. The GTO was only doing ~98 (Vette was @ 105... 114 with an instructor driving).
- The Elise is FAST in the tight sections... nearly the entire field pointed me by except for the "A" group cars on slicks (they were making me point them by)
- The Elise gets horrible fuel mileage on track. I got 9 mpg doing hot laps.
- Inside wheel spin seems to be a problem in tight corners... I'm hoping a BWR front swaybar will fix that problem.
- The Elise sounds GREAT with the Larini/PPE header combo. I won the "best sounding car of the day" award :D
- The R888 at full tread depth feel kind of weird when fully loaded. I don't know if the tread is squirming or if they are just wanting to push (I have 205/245 combo).
- I set the alignment before I left at 1/8" total toe out in front (1/16 per side). I maxed the camber out in front (-0.9 right, -0.7 left) and did 1/16" total toe in in the rear. I left the rear camber at -1.5 degrees. Does this sound about right?
- The car is extremely fast as-is and I'm *maybe* extracting 70% of what it has to offer.
- I have a lot to learn.

Anyway, here are some pics:







A KG Elise showed up!

Ok that's about it! Thanks for reading my long-winded post.
 

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big tracks are fun...its like driving a really big go-kart video game that costs a bit more:shift:
 

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...looks like a lot of fun...

...you make a very good point about the driver being the greatest limitation on stock cars - i believe the fastest lap time at harris hill road is an unmodified naturally-aspirated elise on track tires...
 

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yup - i agree the cars are plenty fast. alot of speed to be gained by driving it, doesn't really need more hp.

i also agree that it great to drive it to the track, track it, drive it home and never change tires, or brakes, or... its a brilliant package.

at VIR there is only one corner (up the hill after the bridge on the north coruse) where i would get inside slip. considering the slip i have induced in the 100 mph esses... i will take the tight corner slip @50mph for the predictability @100mph. Something to think about. (if your a very quick witted driver go for the LSD, if your ham fisted, stick with the open diff)

imo - front toe is more of a prefference than ultimate performance, i lhave my car at zero now. i like a little in (stock) or zero - i don't like toe out (JMO) i like a little weight and a little more progrssive feedback with the slip, and i am willing to give up a bit of turn in for that, but that just me, a lot of people liek a little toe out. i would leave rear toe in at factory reccomendations, unless you have really good reason...

i have heard the same about the r888, and i have seen them get "saw tooth" tread, proving they squirm and wear in a squirmed geometry. but i ahve never driven them myself. i heard peolpe like them, but not perfect, o good compriomise - if your pushing them they look to only last one weekend at the track, but thats pretty much true for anything. fyi - i am no great driver on the track and don't take my word!! haha

my first track day i was very suprised i was blowing by the c6 vetts, and c5 zo6's as well... didn't expect that! of course driver, and tires is everything but just in general terms, a stock elise is no slouch except thrust petters out after ~110mph. however i like this though... with a street safety equiped car, i don't want to be going much faster than that anyways. - i would rather have fun in the twisties at ~70mph and there is plenty of power to balance the car there. "you can never have enough power - untill you back it into the wall" so i think right now... i have enough power, i would like a bit more on the top end sometimes - i like the N/A power though.

thanks for the report! glad you had fun! its an amazing car and i allways say the people that sell them allways say "never tracked"
 

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Welcome to the club! Of course with that adrenaline rush comes turning your wallet inside out... ;)

- The Elise gets horrible fuel mileage on track. I got 9 mpg doing hot laps.
Actually, that's pretty darn good for a track car. I usually get around 7-9mpg (w/ S/C) on mine. Most V8s net 2-4mpg, and turbos like STis get around 3mpg.

Bane said:
- Inside wheel spin seems to be a problem in tight corners... I'm hoping a BWR front swaybar will fix that problem.
Unfortunately, the one-tire fire is something you're going to be largely stuck with. Even with DAs and a FASB, you'll still light it up. So you need to manage it as best as possible with your dampening settings and adjust your line to open up the wheel as quickly as possible. That or get an LSD...

Bane said:
- I have a lot to learn.
That's the right attitude - there will always be something to learn. Even after 7 years of tracking and instructing, I still find something new to learn - whether it be through experimenting, riding with friends, making adjustments to the car, and/or driving under different conditions.
 

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sounds like alot of fun. i gotta make myself go to one of these. im so lazy but i know ill love it.
 

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That track looks fun!...maybe akin to Streets of Willow we have out here in the west - nice technical track.

When you say that your front camber is maxed, what degrees are you at...the front arms can be machined up to 2.5 degrees.

I'm surprised you're beating Vettes on the straight, however, in looking at the track if you're going clockwise, how fast were you going around the carousel? If your speeds are faster in this turn then your faster exit speed into the straight would explain why your quicker in the straights.
Nice job!
 

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Great that you had an opportunity to drive Arroyo Seco. It is fun, tight and relatively safe, just lacking in elevation change. Which direction did you guys run it?
I have seen you run at least one autocross and your skill was quite apparent. The KG Elise is a member on this board from Silver City, NM.
 

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Puff Daddy
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Discussion Starter #10
That track looks fun!...maybe akin to Streets of Willow we have out here in the west - nice technical track.

When you say that your front camber is maxed, what degrees are you at...the front arms can be machined up to 2.5 degrees.

I'm surprised you're beating Vettes on the straight, however, in looking at the track if you're going clockwise, how fast were you going around the carousel? If your speeds are faster in this turn then your faster exit speed into the straight would explain why your quicker in the straights.
Nice job!
Thanks, it was really fun :)

It's maxed by simply pulling all of the shims (including the ABS one). Sadly it wasn't very symmetrical as the front right has around -0.9 degrees and the front left was -0.7 degrees (with me in the car). I thought about putting a shim back into the front right to balance it out but my alignment guy said he didn't think it was necessary. I have access to a machine shop so I can remove some metal from the arms... I may do that the next time the car is going to be down for service.

We were running counter clockwise. I was definitely carrying more speed getting onto the straight and it was short enough for the Elise to not hit the aero-wall it's notorious for. Maybe it was just right in the sweet spot for the car?

Plastique/John: Are you guys running an LSD gearbox? If so, does it cause more understeer? I'd like to install the Celica 6th gear along with an LSD sometime in the future if it doesn't promote understeer.

azac: It was not my intention to call anyone out. I removed the lap times but left the picture up since it was posted by the owners of the track on the Arroyo Seco website. I know he has vastly more track experience than I do and has done the Lotus performance school.
 

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Plastique/John: Are you guys running an LSD gearbox? If so, does it cause more understeer? I'd like to install the Celica 6th gear along with an LSD sometime in the future if it doesn't promote understeer.
Not sure about Eddie, but I don't have an LSD. I will likely swap out the open diff when I rebuild my tranny at some point later this year, as I have always driven on track with an LSD, but it will also require some serious suspension changes to account for the understeer. I don't have a formula for this yet - and I don't think anybody does just yet. I suppose I am just benchmarking my perspective on what I've seen in the LCS from certain drivers and their cars.
 

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I am glad you got your car on track! Keep me in mind next year so we can get more Elise/Exige out there.
 

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I can still see the twisted face of a Lotus engineer when an interviewer asked about LSD. He was quite offended by the suggestion. In the context of track use.

I know it's been debated, but I just can't forget the guys reaction, it was great.
 

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Puff Daddy
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Discussion Starter #14
I can still see the twisted face of a Lotus engineer when an interviewer asked about LSD. He was quite offended by the suggestion. In the context of track use.

I know it's been debated, but I just can't forget the guys reaction, it was great.
So what is the Lotus solution to eliminating the "inside tire fire" that occurs under heavy acceleration out of a tight corner? Fix the driver? :D

I was able to eliminate some of that with my previous MR2 by installing a stiffer front sway bar. I was hoping it would have a similar effect on the Elise.

I'm also loading up the suspension pretty heavily...



The transitions seemed a bit lazy but it could be due to my tires (R888).
 

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The BWR swaybar will help big time. There is a tight hardpin at Sebring.
Before the sway bar I would get real loose on exit. I added the sway bar and can mat the gas now no problem. It also helped with turn in, real nice.
 
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