Targa Miata
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April 20, 2014 - First track test!
Finally, a chance to let the big engine off the leash. And of course, it was raining in the morning. Yeah, that was a big slidy adventure with the slick RA1s.
But eventually, the track dried. And the car woke up. Let's get the fun stuff out of the way: it's a beast. No surprise. But holy cow, it's everything it should be. On the second gear corner exits, throttle modulation is the name of the game - or big black stripes on the pavement as an alternative. But hit third, and it'll hook up solidly and turn into a rocket. Third gear is awesome in the true sense of the word. The car just teleports forward.

This led to my biggest problem of the day - brakes. Thanks to the changes in traction levels, it took me a while to discover that I was set up with far too much front bias on the proportioning valve. That's a sign that my previous setup was definitely struggling. But even when I dialed it back, I was still having trouble getting the car slowed. Why? Because my braking point on the front straight had moved back by 40' or so, to the point where I was actually having to brake before the start/finish line. That's about the same place where Brandon was slotting third in his 1.6 Miata. I couldn't get past that, and kept trying to brake later followed by more big black stripes on the pavement.
I did manage to put down a 1:02.905, followed by a 1:02.908. Then I started overdriving and slowing down, eventually flat-spotting some tires as I tried too hard. So it didn't get any faster. I'm a bit disappointed I didn't manage to match my previous best, but that was a fast day when everyone was setting personal records. I'll spend some more time fine-tuning the brakes and go through the whole chassis setup, then we'll see what happens next time.

Mechanically, the car was solid. The engine never missed a beat and proved to be really easy to modulate. So that's a big success.

Video! This was one of the fastest laps.

tags: testing, brakes, video