Photography & Motorsports
7.601 Elapsed time at 175.16 mph
I have always known and felt confident that this RX-8 had the ability to run consistent 7 second ET's. What I didn't know was just how long it would take to get there. Well finally after two seasons and a final test session of 2006 at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Bradenton, Florida that confidence played out to a very surprised local crowd and a few friends.
I made the trip down to Florida for two reasons. One was to attend this year's PRI Show and the second was to test at the renown 1/4 mile drag strip that so many Pro teams test at during the off season.
On Saturday morning with the help of Chassis Builder extraordinaire, Hector "Tito" Medina (the guy who built this car) of Tito Chassis Shop, we drove the back roads from his shop in Lake Hamilton to Bradenton. Why Bradenton you ask? Because he said this was a great track to test as it is always well prepared, no matter who is racing or what event it might be. That was so true for my first experience at this track.
Having made absolutely NO major changes to the car (didn't even disassemble the engine) following the seasons final event in Pomona other than change the oil, repair the 2-step (or so I thought) and put in 4 new NGK spark plugs, I made the first pass straight down the center of the right lane. No time was displayed on the board so we waited until we retrieved the time slip from the tower and it was a pass right out of the trailer. Encouraging!
Here is the time slip:
Although the 1/8th mile speed was good, I discovered I still had an issue with my 2-step re-engaging for a second after the launch thus effecting the 60 foot time and the entire pass for that matter plus it was still way too rich.
Once again, the superior ability of the Powertrain Controls Solutions (PCS) D200 Dash - Logger to collect and store just about every bit of data on the car including the Electromotive TEC3R engine management system proved to be extremely valuable. It was obvious that I had not solved my 2-step issue.
Tito and I went through the 2-step wiring, made a change by series connecting the 2 relays I had installed and physically checking the 2-step in the pits. It worked, made 30 psi and sounded great. I also removed 2% out of the fuel map and prepared for the second and final pass as the track was about to close at 2pm for the day.
Tito lined me up again after a good burnout then staged for what would be my fastest and quickest elapsed time ever. This time, the track tower displayed the numbers on the board and from what I was told, there were a lot of surprised people with the 7.601 @ 175.16 mph pass.
When I was nearing the end of the run just before I deployed the parachute, I knew it was a fast run because things were passing by really fast in my peripheral vision then the chute filled and the negative G's were a new experience. Again, the 60 foot time was effected by the 2-step malfunction which can be seen in the data screen shot below. The magenta color line that drops to zero and then comes back to normal is exactly one second in duration and "corrects" itself after the 100 foot mark. It is also during this time is when I shift from 1st to 2nd gear and the problem clears. Another item of interest is the RPM is limited to 8200 during this period as well.
After grinning from ear to ear for a while and the results settled in, I felt so relieved that this car is without question "on the right track" and headed for a serious championship contention in 2007. We will be making a few minor changes to the chassis during the off season to stiffen up the front of the car and taking care of whatever is the cause of the 2-step malfunction.
Again, I owe a great deal to everyone who assisted me this year, even through the bad times when I blew up 5 engines and a bunch of other parts. A very special thanks goes out to Russ Turner of PCS for the absolutely best data acquisition/boost controller (and a bunch of other functions) that I believe is on the market today. My season turned around in Denver after I installed this terrific tool. I will be composing a separate article about this product because it is worthy of just that. Everyone needs to know how good this is to a serious racer.
Stay tuned for an update and the progress of the car, another new engine and a couple of other surprises in the new year.
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