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Asphalt_Gundam Reader
6/16/22 7:08 a.m.

Autocross, drag, road course. Most of the Auto X runs in the video for a comparison of shock/tire adjustment between runs.


Asphalt_Gundam Reader
6/23/22 9:06 a.m.

Brake brackets replaced and replacement caliper installed. Went with 5/16 plate this time around vs the 3/16 bracket that failed.

In other news the local Shaffer's oil dealer (my old highschool shop teacher) is sponsoring me for the year with any product I need. I've been buying oil for the car from him for a few years now. 

Haven't gotten much else accomplished beyond going to a car show at Black River Motorsports Park (now officially able to hold events) and doing a complete nut and bolt check on the car. Found a fuel line that was getting bad and added a little bit of camber to the front end since tire temps taken at Gingerman suggested that it would be better.

Off to GridLife @ Autobahn tomorrow morning.

Asphalt_Gundam Reader
6/28/22 11:11 a.m.

Autobahn was a good weekend. Despite starting with some rain Saturday morning we were able to get out on track on time. Since it was actively raining it was open grid for time attack and way more of us went out than expected. I enjoy driving in the rain and it was a busy track with everyone that opted to. I ran for a solid 30min just getting familiar with the track again and learning that rain line.... which had surprisingly high levels of grip in the corners and by the end of the session I was running laps only about a second off some of the AWD that are typically several seconds faster in the dry.

After that it quit raining and the sun came out for the rest of the hot track hours. 2nd session was partially wet and I only put in a few laps getting down to about a second off last year's best before I lost power steering. I was trying to think of why I might have lost another belt like at Blackhawk Farms on the way back to pits but upon inspection found this...

Yup, sheared off the factory welds on the rack that attach the slave cylinder rod ends. I was able to locate a welder but needed to wait as it was in use. So I prep'd my stuff and then waited while the whole crew over at ASM was making repairs to Ronnie's car in order to make race 1. Big thank you to Andy for letting me borrow the welder while he was literally getting ready to hop in his own car for GLTC race 1. I was able to get my rack put back together...not pretty but it held the rest of the weekend.

Then I went out for session 3 and it didn't go well. Track was as good as dry but I was a little out of sequence from doing well earlier in the day and the Tesla behind me was also not in a proper speed spot. Tesla didn't leave himself enough gap and instead of waiting to go around me on the back straight where it would have been an easy pass and not mess up my lap he suddenly goes into my blind spot in 9. I don't turn in on the race line and wave him by since this just blew both our laps. I still mange to pick up a couple tenths and get on with a second flyer lap. Which was really good until the throttle cable broke at turn 7. I knew I'd never make it to put with causing a problem for everyone else so I just parked it behind corner station 8. At the end of to be session I was able get it rolling at idle and limp back.

After attempting to salvage the crimp (which didn't work) I came up with a solution. Cut the frayed end, use an electrical butt connector as a new crimp, and then put something under the throttle to not over stretch the cable/stress the butt connector.  Which ended up being a block of wood, zip ties and a hose clamp.

Which worked and got me through the weekend.

Going into session 4 I was now out of sequence slow because everyone else picked up a couple seconds the previous session. But I was gridded number 3 so I figured I could just give myself a generous gap and be ok. 

Well... it wasn't enough. Everything that follows here is 100% my fault, I knew it at the time and still managed to make (in hindsight) the wrong decision. Anyway...I left a good 20 car gap to the S2000 ahead but was all over the back of him by turn 6. Didn't have closing speed to pass between 7&8 and wasn't going to even attempt in 9/10 due to how I felt with the Tesla earlier. Come out of 10 onto the back straight and I had closing speed, split second desided to commit to passing. Problem was we evened out in speed and before I realized it and could back out it was time to brake...which I, off line and without a brake marker, overshot and went off in the grass. Feeling like and idiot and ashamed of putting the other driver in a less than ideal spot (though he was fine) I quickly rejoined and went in the pits to get looked over. Car was ok and I got let back out. Made sure I was all by myself on the out lap but still caught the Fit train before finishing a flyer. Now frustrated with myself for throwing away the whole session on a dumb decision I'm waiting for a place to pass the Fits. Then suddenly in T5 the lead Fit is sideways, #2 dives to the grass, #3 brakes hard as do I right behind, then I glance in the rear view to see FULL of blue Fit for a split second as it dives to the grass to miss me. (Thanks Pete for not rear ending me). #3 and I continue on and I pass before T8. I go back to full pace knowing this session is shortened and hopefully for just one more flyer now that I have nobody in front of me for half a lap. No checker so get on with it and redeam myself with a 1:38.7 (2 second improvement). Happy about that but still mad at myself I park the car and immediately go find the S2000 driver to apologize. He was worried he did something wrong but we talked it out and I felt a better about it after finding out I didn't mess up his lap any and hadn't crowded him in my poor pass attempt. Lesson learned I hope.

Sunday morning I was back to being in sequence at least and the weather was looking good for the day. This probably was theost comfortable weather day at Autobahn in the 4 years of GridLife here. Improved to a 1:38.4 first session and had to drop the tire pressure after by a few psi now that the sun was out and heating the track up more. 

Second and third sessions I ran my best time of 1:37.57 picking up nearly a second. The optimal time dropped in the third sessions and I knew I could find some time by staying off the curbs in a few corners but after a cool down lap and starting another flyer I had fuel starve in T4 and just backed it down and came in to finish out my weekend.

I did get some coverage on the live stream and did a quick little pit talk after running my fastest lap. They're really stepping up the quality of the live stream, even since Festival a few weekends ago. It was fun to have friends and family sending messages about it over the weekend.

Asphalt_Gundam Reader
6/28/22 11:52 a.m.

Action shots from the weekend!


Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/28/22 12:04 p.m.

Great to meet you and see the car in action at gridlife!

tperkins Reader
6/28/22 1:05 p.m.

This car is so awesome. Looks wrong for a g body to be lifting the inside tire in a corner, looking so flat. 

Asphalt_Gundam Reader
6/28/22 1:21 p.m.

In reply to Robbie (Forum Supporter) :

Was nice to meet you and nocones last weekend. 

Asphalt_Gundam Reader
6/28/22 1:21 p.m.
tperkins said:

This car is so awesome. Looks wrong for a g body to be lifting the inside tire in a corner, looking so flat. 

My first reaction to that picture was "oh damn...is that tire off the ground"

TurnerX19 UltraDork
6/28/22 11:16 p.m.

In reply to Asphalt_Gundam :

If all 4 tires are on the ground in a corner you are too slow!

Asphalt_Gundam Reader
7/7/22 8:23 a.m.

I ran identical lap times in two different sessions which made for an interesting comparison about which corners I did better, worse or no difference in timing delta.


And if anyone is interested here's the full wet session that kicked off the weekend. More cars than expected out for Time Attack but half hour straight of track time. I start out slow and over cautious as there was little grip in lots of places. Later on in the session I figured out where there was a surprising amount of grip in other places, mainly the outside of most corners. Was surprised afterwards to learn I was only a second or two off some of the AWD cars and was placed significantly higher than I would end up when things dried out. Not the first time this has happened either so I guess I can drive in the wet decent.


Asphalt_Gundam Reader
7/15/22 11:25 a.m.

Spent last Sunday and part of the week doing maintenance on the car. Change out the front caliper seals because each had a sticky piston causing taper to the brake pads, new pads, coolant system flush, oil change, top off the transmission fluid, and repair the rack and pinion. The at the track repair welds to the rack were surprisingly good quality despite looking like complete garbage on the outside. Used some thicker material for the tabs and widened them for more weld to hold. 

Found myself with an extra day after work before a customer job comes in so I decided to take plunge at some more front end aero. We are allowed up to 4 canards on the front end in Street Mod and there's no specified size restriction so I figured go big and try for a noticable difference.

The 5" from body line as viewed from above was the only restriction and easy enough to match up since the splitter is that as well. I had no plan going into this and just took an old beer box and started eyeballing stuff until something looked ok. Ease of fabrication and installation created a few more dots I could connect. Those dots being a former inner fender bolt location for the rear and the small gap between the body bottom and fiberglass bumper top for the front. At 6" above the splitter this seemed like enough and the gradual and exponential curve upwards to the fender bolt looked acceptable.

Moving over to the driver's side I quickly realized that my splitter was all kinds of crooked. It was at different heights side to side as well as angles. It has survived a few hard offs and I did last minute mount it before the show back in March and never really put much attention to it after that. I raised the driver's side up to match and needed to adjust the angle as well with the splitter rods and rear side mount. It shouldn't be a surprise that the Professional Awesome quick releases made this easy and the function better now too with things lined up.

Since I was just winging this I was back and forth about what to do for an end plate. Originally I was thinking just a chunk of angle aluminum made into a curve for adding stability and air containment. Fabrication would have been easy with a shrinker but I don't have one. Settled on an aluminum sheet that would be a large endplate providing air containment above and below the plastic sheet of the canard. It also would stiffen the whole assembly significantly by getting support from the splitter end plate. I notched the rear most portion thinking that any low pressure under the canard wouldn't be much good as the splitter tried to build pressure at it's rear with the gurney. Perhaps some external air introduction will separate them??? 

I'm sure it's draggy but it should do something. They do support a significant amount out weight pushing on them so expect them not to fail at speed. Also designed to be easily removed so I can try some A/B testing at Mid Ohio in a few weeks.



Asphalt_Gundam Reader
8/10/22 12:49 p.m.

Did GridLife Mid Ohio last weekend. This was the big trip for the year with essentially a full day of driving each way but was really 2 days with stops, visits and sleep in between. Got there late Thursday night and had to setup camp and unload in the dark before a quick walk around then sleep. 

Friday morning humidity was already off the charts and temp in the 80's made for miserable conditions for this guy from Minnesota. My first laps around Mid Ohio went well and I quickly cut down lap times during the first session.

Car was in a good baseline spot so I didn't make any changes but before second session the rain came.

After the torrential downpour eased up I went out for a couple laps just to see what all the "Mid Ohio is slick in the wet" was all about. Which was quickly confirmed when I had a long, at full steering lock slide coming out of T2 and the next lap witnessed a slow crash into the wall ahead of me followed by 2 cars off in T6. 

It dried out later in the day and I was able to improve a bit. Front of the car was hooked up and the rear was getting a little loose so I added some rear wing angle and made a shock adjustment for Saturday morning. 

Conditions were still excessive heat and humidity Saturday morning and wouldn't change all weekend. With the changes the car felt more stable and I was able to improve some more but on a few tenths this time. Second session it was noticeably more difficult to find time but another couple tenths was there.

Evening session was just too hot to gain anything being about a half second slow of my best. Sunday wouldn't be any better with a partial damp track and probably the hottest conditions of the weekend and neither the car or I was happy about it. A fresh set of tires was futile too, as I could be 3-4 tenths up through T1 and 2 but the front end just wouldn't bite the rest of the lap and I bled away the gains until it was 2 seconds slow at the line. Second session of Saturday ended up my best lap with a 1:39.71 scored. This placed me in 11th of 14 and just shy of 11sec off the class winner which was Jackie Ding who was entered in GTA at NJMP for the weekend but with a commanding gap to second place drove the 500 miles to Mid Ohio for Sunday to get one session in and take the class win and track record at BOTH events. Heck of an achievement there!

My overall impression of Mid Ohio is dampened significantly because of the weather conditions. My body wasn't doing great much of the weekend when sitting still was resulting in sweating the most I can recall in my life. Beyond that it's a track that demands focus and planning because if you don't have 4-9 figured out before braking into 4 it's just not going to workout the way you want. Every corner of the track has quirks and they need to be actively thought about to get right. Trying to autopilot and "just drive" the car wasn't the fast way around because almost every corner has tradeoffs or even completely different lines that could be used. I probably would have a lot more fun in cooler conditions. The 2 days of recovery to feel normal really took it out of me.

On the up side the car was great all weekend. The canards seem to be working as there was plenty of front end grip until the track/tire temps just got too high to do anything with. Switch the tires out as the first set this year has reached its life span. Was tearing chunks out of the surface on the fronts. It was about the same number of events last year on a set of tire but I got way more hot laps this year thanks to the suspension improvements. 

Impressive though was this trailer tire surviving the trip when I saw it bulge the sidewall a little before getting half way to the track. Looked like this when I pulled it back at home.

And with the air out....


Check out the 3 wheeling action over Madness though!


Racebrick Reader
8/10/22 1:25 p.m.

This car is badass.  I am close enough to you that we will cross paths one day, and I will come say hello.  Keep up the good work.

Asphalt_Gundam Reader
8/11/22 1:23 p.m.

The social media photo posts are coming in. This batch from Rob Wilkinson and crew with Gridlife. So many good ones I ordered the full package!

And these from Alex of wicked.visions


AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/12/22 5:07 p.m.

Your stare and the car outline makes me think of Harry Gant.......

Asphalt_Gundam Reader
8/12/22 11:25 p.m.

Tried doing a Vlog this trip. 


former520 HalfDork
8/12/22 11:54 p.m.

Great build and looks like a lot of fun. Please keep up the updates, I am sure I am not the only one living vicariously through it!

Asphalt_Gundam Reader
8/13/22 12:19 a.m.
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) said:

Your stare and the car outline makes me think of Harry Gant.......

I had to look it up...but I can see a similarity around the eyes....BTW I was exhausted all weekend I'm pretty sure I looked it...

Asphalt_Gundam Reader
9/12/22 10:56 a.m.

Alright... finally was back at the track and have updates! 

The car has largely sat since Mid Ohio other than taking it out for a few drives. I have a list of things I want to do but I've been trying to knock out a list of projects around the house and get the 61 Bel air in my shop finished up for the customer. It's been a huge project and I'm getting close but still a couple body mounts to replace and tune the EFI.

I had to repair the chassis side splitter mounts and just so happened to get some prototype Professional Awesome splitter mounts that are longer but more importantly they are taller. I had space up the old style in order to not have the mount get crashed into the trailer during loading or remove them every time.

With the new mounts I was able to raise the chassis side by half an inch while also removing the spacers I had on the splitter. The longer length also is going to improve ridgidity has made install a bit easier since the splitter is flexing a little less.

I went over to a test day a Black River Motorsports Park over Labor day weekend. Thrashed on the car for autocross runs now that they've got a timing setup. Mostly just played around until things got serious when I ran a 40.17 and made goal to get in the 39's. A few runs later I went 39.5 but clipped the very last cone at the finish. Went round and round trying to make a clean 39 run but it just wasn't to be. Great fun for the day and I had wound up making over 35 runs in all. It was good practice for Proving Grounds part 2.



Asphalt_Gundam Reader
9/12/22 12:12 p.m.

Proving Grounds part 2 this previous weekend had it's highs and lows. For starters a few weeks ago the Central Wisconsin Spots Car Club (CWSCC) who runs the Auto X, HPDE, and TTS events at Proving Grounds was looking for volunteers to work. I offered since I usually help out during autocross anyway. Ended up getting picked so it made an already budget friendly track weekend even better. 

Headed over to BIR Friday morning to make sure I had camp set up and the car ready before I had to work. I worked Grid for heat 1, drove in heat 2 and chased cones for heat 3 keeping me busy for about 6hrs straight. Car was handling fantastic after a couple shock adjustments and even on a course setup that favored smaller cars I was able to drive the Cutlass to my best finish yet of 9th in class (out of 44) and 24th overall (out of 140+).

Saturday morning I went over to the road course to get some practice laps in. Session was cut short when there was a crash pretty early on. Things looked promising though because I ran a 8/10ths lap until they threw the yellow in t9 and backed off to still only be 4 seconds of my PB. Took out a friend's E46 M3 a while later just the shake down it for him with a fresh 6 speed swap. Went well but it felt soft/not very comunicative. We adjusted the shocks but I later found out that it was too much and the car wanted to snap oversteer with any more aggressive inputs than slow and steady steering. I think his springs are too stiff because only the bottom 1/4 of the shock range seems to be useable. Things for him the think about for next time at the track and I now have a real appreciation for just how good the Cutlass really is.

While he was trying his best to wrangle the M3 I was swapping the Cutlass over to a drag setup and getting the first part of TTS out of the way. I went with just a click more weight transfer settings on the shocks and 15psi in the rear tires vs 18psi back in the spring. Was able to make my best drag pass yet in this car with a 13.85 at 101. Also finally put it together that the reason the car dies in the burnout box every time is the rev limiter is just shutting the car off.... I'm not sure what I have setup wrong there but it'll need looking into.

It was back to working the course for autocross heat 1 then a short break to swap the car back to autocross setup before grid work on the road course. Then hurry back to autocross to make my TTS runs. My sighting run was pretty good and the course more high power car friendly than Friday's. I had plenty to improve and looking at a good finish position by the end but halfway through my second run the passenger side lower ball joint broke in half. Car was still rolling so I moved it off course but wound up damaging the wheel. Fender was ok right up until trying to load it on the trailer and it got folded in when the valance caught and twisted back.

This could have been a lot worse and I'm glad it was at 20-30mph in a parking lot and not 100+ that morning or anytime in the future where walls would have been involved.

My guess is it was stressed and weakend at Mid Ohio. Specifically the 4-5 times the front end got very light over Madness and the wheel jerked around hard when grip came back. I was concerned enough to inspect the front end at the time but could spot anything amiss. 

I should have repairs made before the weekend and be ready for the Waumandee Hill Climb on the 24th.

Asphalt_Gundam Reader
9/16/22 10:53 p.m.
nocones GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/16/22 11:41 p.m.

That looks really fun.  The paving he was able to do on the wall removal really seems to of opened up some great options.  

I had talked to him about bring the Subaru up to make some content but spring just didn't work this year.  Maybe next year.  

Asphalt_Gundam Reader
9/19/22 9:07 a.m.

In reply to nocones :

Yeah it opened up another 20ft or so of pavement width. There's enough room now to play around with different layouts for autocross and has the ability to have some pretty good speed in places.

There may be another event in October. Hopefully one open to the public. I think being able to put people in cars for rides will go a long way in building interest and support for more events.


In Cutlass news I had the tires swapped over to the other set of wheels and changed out the ball joints. Uppers we're ok but the driver's lower was also bent/cracked. 

I went with +1" uppers over the +.5" as I have more outer edge tire wear than the inner. More dynamic camber gain should help that.

Asphalt_Gundam Reader
9/21/22 10:31 a.m.

Needed to go back a step and put the old +.5" upper ball joints back in. I don't have enough clearance to the coilover to reach full travel as it is and the upper A arm was hitting the spring in high loads/soft shock setting. The +1" ball joint makes it worse and I realized I'm not getting anywhere near the bump stop to limit the travel/increase the rate to stop it hitting. A temporary fix is a different bump stop (nothing I find is a perfect fit) but with only 2 events left this year I'd rather just fix it right next month by moving the upper coilover mount down and inboard. This will get me more clearance and a little more droop travel. I can modify the upper control arms for more clearance at that time also. 

Moving the upper mount down about an inch and back will free up some clearance to the A arm but it's really tight with the vertical support. Modification ov the support could free up more room or I could just redesign it entirely.

Here the o-ring is at ride height and bump stop placed at contact between spring and A arm. With a 3 bump stop I could have about 3/4" of engagement but it wouldn't "stop" before contact. Plus IMO that's just a waste of suspension travel. With changes I'll be able to increase droop, run a shorter than 3" bump stop that actually does what it should (and use it as a tuning item), all while not loosing any compression travel... actually probably increase it which could lead the way to running at a lower ride height.

I already have over a half page of things to change this winter despite my wanting to be focused on the other chassis this winter. A lot of it is things I thought I would have had time for during the summer but didn't. Others are more involved like improving the suspension more or have come up as additional safety improvements that should be done simply because they can be. 

Asphalt_Gundam Reader
9/25/22 11:46 p.m.

Another great weekend doing the Waumandee Hill Climb this year. Course change from last year due to some resurfacing work on the return road. Shorter but still a blast to drive. Car was great all weekend for the 4hr drive there other than coming up a few miles short on my gas estimate but I had a full jug with me. Then on the way home we took a longer scenic route and lost all the electrical in the middle of a busy tourist town. Got a helping push out other street and found a slightly loose connection that seems to have been the problem. Made it the rest of the way home without issue.


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