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Old 04-15-2010, 10:53 PM   #1
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 2450
Join Date: Sep 2000
Chapter/Region: BAIC
Location: SF Bay Area
1996 2005 Subaru STI

Default Cameron Benner: New Jersey Race Racap

This weekend’s Redline Event at New Jersey Motorsports was trying for the Cobb Tuning Motorsports Team. We began our weekend running consistently the fastest times in Street Class Overall, posting a 1.12.1 on the 1.9 mile Lightening Track Configuration. Saturday’s track temperatures were great for the car; we were making great horsepower at out 25 psi map, and track temperatures gave us the levels of grip we needed to confidently begin dialing in the new coil-overs. Brian Hanchey of AST Suspension was trackside to help us continue setup development on the #21 Subaru, as the AST 5200 series suspension was now on the car.

The first session on the new suspension was definitely an experience! The car finally felt like it was properly sprung, the high-speed carousel was immensely fun as the new suspension allowed for increased entry speed as well as mid-corner stability. Our times dropped continuously over the course of the day on Saturday, and we managed the 1.12.1 late Saturday as track temperatures had started to drop.

While we had a comfortable 1+ second lead on our competition, it was late in the day Saturday that we first identified an issue with the waste gate on the car. Our logs showed over-boost peaking at above 2.0 Bar; a quick survey of the engine bay by car chief Brian Marsteller and lead tuner Tim Bailey revealed the initial problem. A line fitted to the waste gate had become loose and the threading on the waste-gate housing was stripped. Car chief of the COBB Tuning GTR, Dustin Harris, lent a hand in mending the issue and soon it was back out of the paddock and onto the track.

We ran Sunday’s first practice session in confidence, until our over-boost issue re-appeared in our second session of the day. With boost levels peaking somewhere above 30 psi, it was clear that we would have to come up with a solution to prevent potential engine damage. Tim and I discussed several options, settling on the decision to run our boost controller off the intake manifold. While this approach would prevent potential engine damage, it left us with a boost ceiling of about 20 psi, or around 390 whp. These numbers were significantly lower than our main competition, which at this point had presented itself as both an Evo XIII and Evo IX. Our strategy was to run smooth, consistent laps on the 19 psi map, with hopes that we would still manage a podium finish.

The final practice session of Sunday proved that this was going to be a struggle. As the car was down on horsepower, the suspension tuning we had sorted the day before, when running 460 whp @ 25 psi, was now working against us. The higher horsepower levels we were running Saturday allowed me to use throttle input to help rotate the car in the tighter section of the course, turns 1-5, and the rebound compression settings were setup for a car at those power levels. We bumped up rear tire pressures, took some of the rake out of the rear wing, and disconnected the front sway bar, with hopes that we could get the car to rotate better and be more responsive mid-corner.

Redline Time Attack made available section timing, allowing us to compare our times from both the tighter 1-4 complex and the carousel with the front straight, against the times of our competitors. Timing showed us off first place by a mere 2/10s in the tighter portion of the track, but a whopping 9/10ths in the wider carousel and front straight portion, where horsepower is critical.

The subsequent changes we made were a gamble; with a mere hour before our first Time Attack session we were doing what we could to make up for our loss in horsepower. When times were posted from our 3rd practice session, it was clear that we needed more setup time at the lower horsepower setting. We needed time that we didn’t have. We went on to run the setup from practice session 3 in the first Time Attack session; the lack in horsepower combined with our setup changes netted us a disappointing 1.14.1, nearly 2 seconds off our fastest lap the day previously. With input from both Brian and Tim, we made the decision to revert our setup back to what we were running late in the day Saturday, and run the 25 psi despite the over boost issue, for the second Time Attack session. It was a risk, but having discussed the situation with Tim and Trey, we were confident that two hot laps in our 2nd timed session wouldn’t pose a significant risk to the engine.

The times achieved by our competitors in the second Time Attack session re-affirmed our decision. The Evo IIX took first place with a 1.12.1, frustratingly mere 100ths off our time best time Saturday, the Evo IX managed a best time of 1.13.3 with us squeezing in front of them and into 2nd place with a time of 1.13.1.

While the New Jersey weekend was marked with major issues for both the STi and the GT-R, it also showed us the potential of our own performance. Coming from a point in the weekend where we thought we were looking at possibly two DNF’s to a resounding 1st Place Overall and a 2nd Place in Street Class justified our persistence and diligence and really showed us what the team is capable of. A new waste gate in addition to new tires will be fitted for the Las Vegas event, and with our over-boost issues resolved, we’ll be able to use the two test days prior to the event to continue dialing in the new AST suspension. Our consistent podiums show me that our approach to car setup is working and that we have the formula needed to be at the top of competition at every event.

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