Targa Miata
March 6, 2009 - I spent the afternoon at the local track, playing with the car.
It wasn't a completely satisfying day, as I was having trouble getting the handling just the way I wanted it with the stiffer springs. I'm really torn as to whether I should use the current setup or the Targa setup at Laguna Seca in a couple of weeks. Really, I need the extra stiffness for the track. And I probably could have used it in Newfoundland as well. I'll probably take it as-is and then stick the extra springs in the truck for a Saturday evening change if desired.
My biggest problem was getting the balance right. I think if I put the thinnest rear sway in my collection in the rear, that will do the job. The car was a little tail-happy with the current 14mm bar hooked up. My lap times were inconsistent, with a fastest of about 1:05.2 - a half-second slower than at the Open House just before the race. An ambient temperature in the 50s instead of in the 90s may be a contributor, as is the fact that the track isn't getting used much at all in the winter. I did spend a bunch of time trying to get that right rear wheel to hook up on corner exit. Again. Not liable to be a problem at Laguna though.
Janel took the wheel for a bit. She's not a huge fan of driving the car, it turns out. She's happier in the navigator's seat. The Targa car is just a bit overwhelming. The amount of information was a bit of an overload and the car was just too responsive. Her turbo Miata (which I compared to the race car back in August) is a little softer and a little mellower. Everything happens a bit more slowly and gradually, and that's more to her liking. At least, right now it is.
At one point, she was back in "her" seat watching my feet to see how I heel-toed on downshifting. She didn't feel the need to look up at all, as she was totally relaxed despite the fact that we were circulating the track fairly quickly. This is the result of the Targa.
And on a similar note, I have to say the Targa has spoiled me. I've got hundreds of laps at this track. I know it pretty well. And today it was all just kinda blah. The same dozen corners, over and over again. After you've come over a blind crest at 100 mph with your foot pinned to the floor because your navigator says it's clear, or changed your approach mid-corner because there's gravel at the apex, circulating around the same track over and over just doesn't carry a thrill. I'm sure it would be different if I was running wheel-to-wheel with someone, but we have to get back to the Targa. Janel feels the same.
tags: suspension