Thursday, August 18, 2016

Back at the track

The weather has been cooperating and I've been spending pretty much every Monday evening at St-Eustache (thanks Alex!). It was another hot day and in my first sessions, I was having trouble trying to get me lap times into the low 1:02 range. After noticing some pretty severe chunking on my front right tire (the one that takes the most abuse at St-Eustache), I decided to flip the front tires on the wheels so that what was the outside right would become the inside left. I measured the hot pressures at 38 psi (cold at 29 R, 31 L) and after three sessions, there was no new chunking. I need these tires to last!

I was using my new Qstarz bluetooth GPS, exactly the same model as I had borrowed from Rob, and it worked exactly as well. In my first session, I enjoyed myself trying to catch a Mazda RX8 that was quite far up the road ahead of me. In my second session, I drove with the RX8 behind me for most of the session. Near the end, I let him by so I could follow him for a while, but the checkered flag came out.

As regular readers of this blog may recall, the Mazda RX8 was one of the cars I was considering before buying the Civic. I was curious to see what modifications the owner had made to the car. The owner (named Sylvain, if memory serves) was very friendly and showed me around the car. He had identical tires to mine, and a few bolt-ons and some suspension. I was impressed that such a mildly modified RX8 could keep up with my Civic, but it did. Still, to put together an RX8 with those modifications would have cost quite a bit more than what I have spent on the Civic so far. Also, as pointed out by the owner, there is not much more he can do to make it quicker without spending big money on a complex engine swap or forced induction. The Civic, on the other hand, can be made faster for quite a bit less money, with a couple of quality bolt-ons, a proper tune and a limited-slip differential.

In my third session, I tried unsuccessfully to keep up with some of the quick Hondas, and managed my best lap of the night, a 1:02.21. I have noticed that with the Hankook's, you have 3 or 4 laps to get in a good time, after which they fall off by about half a second per lap. If you take a cool down lap in the middle of the session, you can get a couple more decent laps out of them, but still not as quick as at the beginning of the session.

I think that with some cooler weather, I will be able to dip into the 1:01 range. I don't know if there is anyway to go under 1:01 without any other modifications, but I will do my best!

Here again are some great photos taken by JAG Imaging.

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