Targa Miata
April 1, 2013 - Canards!
After fixing the alignment problem, I decided to stick my canards on and see how much difference they made. The answer is: lots. All of a sudden the car had lots of turn-in grip, diving into the corner instead of feeling a bit soft. VERY nice. The front/rear grip was better balanced - in slow corners, the car still pushed a bit but above about 50 mph it was great.
There's one corner on this track that is a long, climbing right turn. I was taking it at full throttle in 4th, accelerating through the whole thing as the car just stuck and stuck and stuck and the track appeared over a crest at the top of the turn. So much fun, and the car showed great balance.

So, big thumbs up to the canards.

During the third session, I was starting to get a bit tired - it had been a hectic day already, with 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off the track, working on the car. Just as I started to think about cutting the session short, the McLaren caught up and I waved him by.
If you ever get the chance to follow an aggressively driven supercar on the track, I recommend it. We were well matched in the corners and I was hugely entertained by the antics of the rear spoiler and the car dancing at the limit. However, once we got on the back straight, the difference between a 400 hp Miata and a 616 hp supercar became quite apparent. The modified Porsche turbo that had been running with the McLaren also powered past me at this point, so I sat back to watch the two of them play. On every straight, they'd move off a bit more. But wow it was fun.
Unfortunately, as we can down through that chicane again, the engine revs suddenly spiked and I lost drive. I tried some other gears to no avail. I'd lost drive. There was no noise, so it wasn't a driveshaft. I was right by the pit entrance so I dove off the track with enough speed to coast through the hot pits, around the corner and back to the trailer.
Looking under the car, the outer CV boot on the driver's halfshaft and the inner CV boot on the passenger's halfshaft are ruptured and threw grease everywhere. So I'm assuming that one CV joint failed with the second one following immediately afterwards thanks to the diff transferring the entire power load over to it. I have a suspicion as to what the cause might be but I'll keep that to myself until I have a chance to confirm that this is exactly what failed. It was an unfortunate end to what was proving to be a very fun and productive day.
entry 1077 - tags: aero, halfshafts, damage, canards, testing
May 3, 2013 - Let's hear it for rally cars.
Nearly five years ago, I added some small ramps to the bottom of the control arms to protect the lower AFCO adjuster. Last weekend, they did their job. In fact, all of the skid protection worked as designed. The plates just behind the front wheels took a beating, as did the engine skid plate. The differential protection really shows a lot of scarring, but the differential itself is untouched. Almost nothing touched the ground that wasn't designed to touch the ground. The car was built to fail well, and it did.
entry 1088 - tags: damage, crash