04/20/12 Big day - D1's first real track outing, with Karl at the wheel. The goal for the day was to just run it for a few laps and see how things work. There are lots of new solutions, technologies and parts so we need to crawl, then walk and only then run. This was the crawl. The weather ended up cooperating better than expected and we got what we came for - see quick video here. The car shows huge promise and we'll be stretching its legs quite a bit further shortly.
We did come up with a list of maintenance items that need to be taken care of before the next event. All but one are done as I type this two days later and that we'll get done tomorrow. Next track test is the day after. Stay tuned.
04/24/12 The first of many days like this to come - a test day at ORP. As recently as yesterday the weather forecast looked iffy but what we ended up with was a perfect day, weather wise. We now have the transport part of the equation down to a routine. Even though the D1 is longer than the D4, we can still fit one of each in our 20-foot trailer with some room to spare.
Once at the track we quickly set up and the testing begins...
The main objective is for Karl to drive the D1 and test several tweaks that we have put in place. A typical lap is illustrated in the video. This is fun but it's also a lot of work. The encouraging thing is just how fast and easy to drive the car is. Even just taking baby steps using less than half available power it's already setting respectable times. Of course there are many challenges ahead - squeezing this much power in such a small package does have a cost. It's a tough job but someone's got to do it :)
Amidst the D1 testing I also managed a few laps in the D4 to move development ahead on that front as well. The changes have primarily to do with the flatshifter and power commander. We'll be doing more work on that as well as evaluating suspension changes in the future. Also after some feedback I specifically focused on evaluating the steering feel and I now agree that lighter steering would benefit the car. So that's one of the things that will get implemented shortly...
05/08/2012 Another ORP test, and a very satisfying one.
We had made several changes (installed Pikes Peak shocks/springs, made the blip on downshifts less aggressive and modified the oiling system a bit). All of them worked very well. Consequently we've moved the test procedure to the next level, consisting of 6-8 lap sessions as opposed to one-lap runs we did previously. Pearl went out as the pace car (still have to keep the D1 revs down during the break-in) and we were able to get some car-to-car video. Tristan and I switched cars back and forth a few times to gather data and compare notes. Even had time for a quick photo session, results are below.
The car looks very purposeful in raw carbon but as was pointed out to us (and is evident in the video), it blends with the pavement and is hard to see on the track. So a more contrasting paint scheme is in order down the line. For now, we still have a lot of items on our test list and more mods to make. Stay tuned.
01/26/13 The main reason there hasn't been much D1 activity is that Karl has generously lent us his Hartley V8 for the Pikes Peak effort when the 4-cylinder turbo wasn't ready in time. The engine powered us to the 2012 Unlimited Class win and we learned a lot in the process. Now, we are implementing everything we've learned in his car.
Karl is our D1 Lead Customer and as part of the package he gets all the upgrades that we deem necessary from a performance, safety or reliability standpoint. His D1 will get a completely revised set of cooling systems (water, oil, transmission and brakes), improved thermal insulation, updated steering, latest generation suspension boxes, some aero tweaks and a host of other features.
In the meantime the engine just came back from Hartley with a full refresh and several important internal upgrades bringing it up to their latest production standard (this was a very early unit and Hartley, like ourselves, have learned much since).
All the work will take place concurrently with our other projects so it may not go as quickly as it would if it were the only thing on the schedule, but we are still targeting completion by mid-spring. It will be an even better, more reliable and likely even faster car when we're done. Racing really does improve the breed!
04/30/13 It's time for the D1 to get back on its wheels and turn them in anger. Karl is flying out for or west coast trackday tour (also see today's D2 post):
ThunderHill May 10th
Streets of Willow May 12th
Sonoma May 14th
ThunderHill May 17th
Laguna Seca May 19th
So we're putting his car back together with all the updates that we've learned from Pikes Peak. The bodywork is off getting a coat of paint (should look sharp!) while Tristan and Jay are reassembling the chassis.
Tomorrow I get to mess with the wiring, right after I finish machining the new generation floor mounts. Thursday the plan is to go to ORP for a shakedown, minus the bodywork. Look for an update shortly after.
05/18/13 Finally had a chance to render and upload some video of Karl in the D1 following Jonathan Frost in the D4 at Sonoma. In all the haste we forgot to charge the cameras so this is the only clip we have but it shows the cars pretty well :)
I have to say I really like the D1 in color - it is exactly what I envisioned when I created the design. It looks good out on the track too and was right at home among all the fancy machinery.
Yesterday was another event, this one a TrackMasters day at Thunderhill. Karl ran two sessions at the end of which we were busted for sound - 106db. This means we have no chance of running the D1 at Laguna Sunday which is a 90db day. Will have to engineer bigger mufflers later but for tomorrow it will just have to be a static display. Bummer. On the plus side the sound check for D2 and D4 came in at 88 and 89.5 db respectively so we're good there.
11/01/13 The weather has decided to surprize us with another beautiful, no-wind, 60 degree day at this late time in the year. Naturally we jumped at the chance for another ORP outing - we hardly ever get to drive anymore when we go out with customer cars, so this was our own private day to do as we please. Which is relax, have fun driving the cars (not worrying about lap times) and get some pictures along the way.
It is not a coincidence that both cars fit in our trailer at the same time - the trailer, at 20' long, was chosen with that in mind. For next year we'll need a longer one of course now that we have to think about transporting D2s as well. But for now, this works beautifully.
I haven't had much seat time in the D1 (or anything lately) so my laps were 'sunday drives' just playing with the power on the straights but not pushing in corners or braking. Of course I couldn't resist tweaking things and took some time to adjust the Geartronics shifter parameters to quicken the shifts a bit more. Learned a few more things in the process, too. It's cool to go out for a couple laps, come in, have my laptop handed to me, make a change and go back out again.
The day started with clear sky but by late afternon some clouds began to form. Still no wind and comfortable temps, we really couldn't have asked for better. Click on the frst picture below for a larger version.
At the end of the day, a few photos before we load up to go home...
We'll be back :)