Targa Miata
September 7, 2007 - Track test for the new suspension.
This was an informal and short window of opportunity, but it was enough to take the car out with the new setup. I spent some time on the phone with the suspension engineers and learned about bit more about how my valving worked.
On the track, the car felt pretty good. It took a few laps to discover where the difference lay. The first hint was the chicane area. There are some big berms here and the car is usually dancing around due to the kerbs throwing the car around and the nature of the entrance to the turn. Not today. The car was just swallowing any bumps, including ones where it was off balance before hitting the kerb. Coming down the hill into the tough braking zone, I discovered that it was impossible to upset the car. I started provoking it, coming in off-line and hitting berms when the car should have been vulnerable. Nothing. It just stopped. I think the endless rear travel kept the rear wheels on the ground no matter what, adding greatly to the car's stability.
A bit of experimentation with compression damping helped balance the car a bit better and gave it more composure in the corners. At the end of the day, the car was forgiving and able to deal with just about any imperfections I could find on the track. Imperfections like dropping off the outside of kerbs on corner exits, or cutting corners so that I'd drop inside the kerbs, or hitting kerbs under hard braking. It isn't quite the super-playful Miata yet but I have some ideas for extracting the last bit of fun.Maybe a little more front camber and a front bar to encourage faster turn-in and a slightly flatter stance. I don't want too much of a wayward tail for the Targa, though. On the street, the car feels good.
There's a set of 8" 350/275 lb springs on the way along with some rubber snubs to limit the travel a bit better than my rough-and-ready bumpstop arrangements. The spring rates are closer to what I'd like to run on the Targa, although the way things are working right now I'm not sure how critical that will be! They're also an inch longer than my current setup so I can get a little more ride height, and throw some relatively soft sways in there as well.
Tomorrow, Targa 2007 starts. Good luck to everyone!
tags: suspension