Targa Miata
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August 19, 2007 - After that first session, everything dried up and I got faster.
My best lap on the first session had been a 1:12.049. I was concerned that the wheelspin on exiting hard right corners and a banging noise was due to a possibly bad shock, so I bumped up the damping a little to see what would happen.
The results? No real change in the behavior of the car, but then again the track conditions were quite a bit different. The tires were biting now on turn-in, and the combination of excellent initial grip and no sway bars made for a car that required a fairly light touch. I let Bill Cardell from Flyin' Miata take the car out as well and we agreed that the lack of traction on corner exit was probably a wheel lifting. The Torsen differential used in the car is nice when both wheels are on the ground, but once one lifts it acts like an open diff. The lack of sway bars and resulting body roll meant I was getting a lot of droop on the inside rear wheel, and the short Ohlins shocks didn't have a lot of droop to provide. This is something that could be solved by lowering the car - not good for the Targa - or by limiting the roll a bit more. I did test, and the car dealt very well with big bumps such as driving over the kerbs in the chicane.
My time dropped to 1:08.527, mostly due to the dry pavement. This picture was taken on the most difficult part of the track, as I'm accelerating hard downhill towards a braking zone that has the car up on its toes. On my first hard lap, I didn't have the car properly settled before nailing the brakes, and I was rewarded with a spin. Right, no sways and 2050 lbs instead of 1300. After reminding myself of that, I was able to take the late, gutsy option without drama. This corner is an excellent one for dialing in brake balance.
tags: suspension