May 20, 2012

Another test at ORP, this time increasing the power and speeds but still not going all-out. David came out for this one. There are several goals - first, to get David familiar with the car and get his feedback. Second, to see how the various subsystems (cooling, suspension, brakes, AWD drivetrain, aero) deal with increased power output and how they respond to speed.

The Pikes Peak bodywork is now ready for paint and we've fitted it to the D1 chassis for the test, in case some last minute tweaks are needed.

The day started just getting David familiar with the car and the track - the latter being very important because to go fast here you have to KNOW where it goes - so much of it is blind. We progressively worked up the RPM range and power. Towards the end of the day we were shifting at around 8K rpm (redline is 10.5K) and hitting 143 mph on the relatively short front straight. We took some video which illustrates the experience pretty well - you can view it HERE. The video is 'unlisted' and generally intended for sponsors only but you can share the link with friends if you like.

David was impressed with the car. He is especially enthusiastic about the Geartronics paddle shifter - 'UNREAL!' was his first comment. It allows him to better focus on placing the car on the course and on its dynamics. The AWD system is also working extremely well and accepts power very early in turns. The car starts out with a mild understeer when tires are cold and transitions to completely neutral after a couple laps. With 2g sustained cornering David quickly realized he'll need a neck strap for the race!

Even with the short-shift limitations and the fact that we're still only doing a couple laps at a time to keep an eye on heat and other systems, he did a 1:40 which is only 2.5 sec off the overall lap record at this track. David feels there's easily another 10 seconds in the car and I tend to agree.

The next step is to transfer all the components to the actual Pikes Peak frame which will happen this week. The bodywork is off to be painted and lots of other items are in progress. Next test is June 4 at ORP and then June 8,9,10 on the mountain in Colorado. It's coming right up!

May 31, 2012

All the systems are now installed on the actual D4 PPS frame. We are working on a few details and refinements such as additional cooling for oil, gearbox and brakes, in preparation for our next ORP test on June 4. After that we're off to Colorado for first tests on the Mountain.

The bodywork is now back from the painters and we're currently working out the graphics scheme and best ways to arrange sponsor logos. Additional aero testing will take place in June so the wing and other bits may change still before the race. We're learning a lot as we go!

June 5, 2012

The plan has been to put everything together and test at ORP on Monday, June 4, before heading out to Colorado. That was until the forecast started changing the closer we got to the date, deteriorating to 100% rain by Sunday. At first Tuesday looked OK-ish so we thought we'd just test a day later and keep going from there... No such luck. Rain. Wouldn't get anything useful from running in this. So we made the best of the extra two days and did some more fine-tuning on the engine management, the Geartronics shift controller and a number of other items. Also fitted strain gages to the suspension so we can directly measure the downforce.

Yes, all the fluids are in for the above shot, and they stay in :) That's how we put the floor on. The turbo 4 is not ready yet so we're doing this test with a V8. Power is about the same, weight is about 100 lbs more. Should be pretty relevant.

Even did a quick test of the gages - they work quite well. Not calibrated in pounds right now but as long as we log the voltage we can always post-process later. The data will be very educational to review.

The trailer is now loaded and we're just waiting for the rush hour traffic to calm down before we get on the road. It is nearly a 24 hour drive and we are planning to do it straight through. It will be interesting. Wish us luck!