R1DSO’s first track day

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R1DSO’s first track day

Post by R1DSO » Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:27 am

I thought I’d do a quick write-up with some notes from my first track day in the RX-8 at Brands Hatch yesterday. Technically, it was an evening session (not a full day) and I’d driven a few laps of Silverstone before, but many years ago and in vehicles owned and operated by a track day experience company. Nothing that hasn’t been said before, I’m sure; but, here goes nonetheless...

First up, I’ve got to say a big thank you for all the knowledge and advice I got from everyone on this forum. Without a doubt, this was instrumental in ensuring I had a car that was ready for the track and in optimal running order before each session. By contrast, my mate had to call it a day after blowing the turbo on his TT on the 3rd lap :shock:!

Secondly, I was really impressed with how well a (properly maintained) virtually stock car (bought for the affordable budget that RX-8s demand) performed on track. There were not many cars that were slower than me, however the RX-8 held its own and never looking out of place.

The automotive calibre of the group was also higher than I was expecting for a ‘no race car’ session. The field included a McLaren MP412C, an Ariel Atom, a Caterham, a Mercedes C63 AMG, cars on trailers, whining supercharges and several stripped-out purpose-built track machines with cages, performance tyres and those high performance brakes that squeal at low speeds when not at optimal temperature.

Having said that, for a car that felt so taught on the road, the track is a great place to highlight potential areas of improvement. A key one being my own personal driving ability. Forza 7 is great for learning the track, racing line and gear changes, but nothing beats the real thing. I’m looking forward to more track day practice.

As suspected, the other most noticeable drawbacks were my brakes and tyres. My rear discs were only slightly lipped and it turned out the garage I bought the car from fitted Brembo pads, so I think they should be OK for now. But, my front discs are lipped more prominently and appear to have pads made out of chocolate.

In the 30 degree heat yesterday, my brakes were making nasty noises and juddering the car under hard braking within a couple of laps of each session. I don’t think it was the ABS coming on, and I wouldn’t describe it as brake fade; it was almost like going over a rumble strip. I initially worried that this was the metal calliper on the disc, but there’s pad left and the symptoms went away (briefly) when the brakes were cooler. Anyway, that was enough of a warning to make me take things a little easier when braking. I will start looking into new front rotors and performance pads.

I was running Contisport Contact tyres on the front and Pirelli P Zero Nero GTs on the back that all came with the car. They were a few years old and the fronts were close to the legal limit. The tyres were predictable, but a bit slidy and they just didn’t have the traction of other cars you’d expect the RX-8 to out handle. I did a fairly good job of cooking them. Time for me to explore 19” tyres that can do road and track well, or whether I do the whole 18” thing and fit more track-specific track day-only rubber.

The one time my traction significantly came unstuck was hugging the RHS of Paddock corner to let a McLaren pass on the left. Even though my speed was 10-20 miles below the c70mph I knew the RX-8 would take the corner at, there must have been some low traction off the racing line as the backend end came out. I felt the DSC apply the rear brakes and stop the slide before I’d even thought about correcting it.

Body roll wasn’t bad, but slightly more than I was expecting. Once I have improved my skill level with a few more track sessions under my belt, I will have to think about whether I go down the stiffer ARB and shorter springs (or coil-overs) route, the performance benefits of these mods and whether they are doable without ruining the relatively civilised on-road manners of the car.

Whilst keeping within track db limits, I think I would benefit from a louder exhaust. My RB race pipe/high flow cat helped. But, with my tight helmet blocking my ears and the windows cracked open 25%, I couldn’t hear my revs clearly over the wind noise at speed to heel/toe rev match. I had to put the windows up and cooked. I’ll be fitting an RB header shortly, which will up the noise, along with the heat. If the latter becomes an issue, I’ll get a heat shield. I expect an RB cat back will be on the shopping list latter down the line, too.

Across 2.5 hours track time, I got in 5 or so sessions. The marshals decided my iPhone (which was very securely locked in place with a Brodit phone holder) was a safety issue, so I wasn’t able to monitor temps via DashCommand after the first couple of sessions :roll:. So, I started with 5 laps and built up to around 15mins or so on track for the last couple of runs.

By the time I got back in the pits (after each cool down lap), DashCommand informed me that the coolant and cat temps were both at acceptably low levels, but I gave the car 15 mins to cool down to be safe whilst I torqued my wheel nuts, let down my tyre pressure and topped up on oil.

Consumption wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. After my track time and a 90 mile round trip from Surrey, I still had a quarter of a tank left and I went through about half a litre of oil. The RX-8 seemed to appreciate the track time too, if anything, running sweater and with slicker gear shifts than ever after its leg-stretching.

The drive to/from Brands reminded me of why the RX-8 is such an attractive package. After ripping it up on the track, the car was happy sitting on the motorway with the comfort of cruise control, air con, a half decent sound system and 4 comfortable seats for family outings. I can’t think of any other RWD sports cars that will do all of that as well for anywhere near the money.

Yes, it didn’t escape my attention how easily the RX-8 could be outgunned on the straights. But, I suspect there’s plenty of headroom to make up for that in the corners with additional driving talent and some light modifications. And, after that, there’s always the apex seal-destroying route of forced induction, or the more sensible option of a dedicated track steed, such as a turboed MX-5 :lol:.
6CDD88DF-9CE2-4136-AAD6-2010C9BBC00D.jpeg
C9121E3E-2F7E-472D-A466-DB8BEF559AA5.jpeg
...and here’s an open lap towards the end of the evening, taking things easy on corner entry with my cooked brakes (which you can just about hear at Paddock). I probably should have cleaned my windscreen :D:

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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by New Duke » Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:52 am

Glad you had a good time and completed the session. Your experience sounds exactly on the mark for a first time :thumleft:

I'm sure you'll find plenty of opinions on here for any changes you want to make. And before long you'll find many of those 'faster' cars become slower than you across a complete lap.

Yeah rollcages etc weren't supposed to be at your event, but other people always seem to get away with breaking the rules even if you never will. It's par for the course. This was the view outside my garage at Snetterton last week for a public 'totally-not-a-test-day' track day.... basically a full on test day for mostly race teams:
DSC_0775 reee.jpg
I found a good way to evaluate my pace was to book trackdays with other RX8 members :unibrow:
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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by R1DSO » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:42 am

New Duke wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:52 am
Glad you had a good time and completed the session. Your experience sounds exactly on the mark for a first time :thumleft:

I'm sure you'll find plenty of opinions on here for any changes you want to make. And before long you'll find many of those 'faster' cars become slower than you across a complete lap.

Yeah rollcages etc weren't supposed to be at your event, but other people always seem to get away with breaking the rules even if you never will. It's par for the course. This was the view outside my garage at Snetterton last week for a public 'totally-not-a-test-day' track day.... basically a full on test day for mostly race teams:

DSC_0775 reee.jpg
I found a good way to evaluate my pace was to book trackdays with other RX8 members :unibrow:
Looks like a couple of NASCAR teams turned up to your day at Snetterton there :shock:. Interesting to know that the rules often get flaunted.

And, yes, definitely looking forward to getting involved in some of the club track days. Will get some bookings in once I’ve got the car sorted and know my availability with work :thumright:.
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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by Ranjan » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:26 am

Guys have a heart when it comes to race teams sharing the track days with you, it is just a way for the less financially well-healed teams to try to create a level playing field.

The rich teams can afford to hire the entire circuit to test but the poorer teams have to find a way to get as much testing as possible in as a cost effective way as they can and that means using public track days. They really do not want to do it this way but have no other option.
Go talk to them, badger them for passenger rides, get parts off them cheap (like used slicks).

Use them to find out how fast your car is.

And R1DSO definitely come to some forum track days, a great way to progress and have some fun.

Ranjan.
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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by warpc0il » Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:31 pm

It's only to be expected to find race teams testing on open track days.

However, many tracks also offer "no race cars" sessions, where these cars aren't supposed to be allowed, and then they go and ignore their own rules [-X

A few years ago one of the trackday insurance providers, at the suggestion of the track operators, started to offer cover at a lower premium for "no race car" only sessions. However, they pulled the offer as they found that those same operators weren't stopping race cars from testing in those sessions, so the risk wasn't any less.
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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by New Duke » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:13 pm

I wasn't whinging about race teams being at track days per se. I was complaining about them using public track days as test days... which public track days are not.

Out-braking other cars and cutting inside to push someone out on the apex, openly timing, blocking other people's garages in the pitlane because their race car can't reverse, and 'being a tit' in general. It's behavioural, not about the physical nature of the car. It was constant red flags last week and almost every one was the race teams pushing too hard. It's unsafe mixing people who are there in the spirit of the track day with professional race teams trying to scrape a hundredth off a sector. They're going to kill someone.

TDOs like MSV host specific test days for this exact reason. They have their own days set aside for multiple race teams. No need to rent a whole track. I spoke to MSV (a couple of times) on the day and they explained that they don't want race teams there behaving like that, but it's hard to limit which bookings are race teams. They just have to hope that they'll play nice. So when the vast majority of cars turn up from race teams, Mr MSV said they have their hands full just keeping them in line.... or trying to.

He suspected that most of the event sell outs at the moment are down to race teams hoovering up all the public track days in a rush to catch up.

Rant over. Sorry for that R1DSO!
Last edited by New Duke on Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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R1DSO’s first track day

Post by GreySilver Beast » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:24 pm

Haydn and I had more fun in the afternoon after the Race Teams had packed up for the day from about 2pm onwards =D>

@R1DSO : We got a few trackdays coming up that aren't sold out yet, so book them and come and join us on the day :thumright:

We can't offer Buddy Drivers for now, but we could offer a system where by you follow one of our members going around the track at a reasonable speed to see where the best track lines are for the RX-8 or RWD car to cope with :thumleft:

Glad you overall enjoyed your Evening Trackday =D> =D> =D> =D>


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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by casey » Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:03 pm

Good write up - glad you enjoyed your first track outing in your RX-8!

My first outing in my RX-8 on track was also an evening session at Brands, but back in 2007 ;) My only previous experience of track driving was a couple of "Nigel Mansell Race School" half days at Brands in the early 1990's.

Like you, my RX-8 was a factory spec car with road tyres back then. I think I was lapping the Indy circuit at around 68 seconds (post event camera timing, never live timing). Here we are 13 years later, and around 80 trackdays later, with many track oriented mods and a laptime in the cold December months of 58-59 seconds.

The cheapest and quickest way to knock off several seconds is a decent set of semi-slicks. The Federal 595RSR in 235/40 R18 can be got for around £80 a corner and I love them for trackdays. I've found them fine for road use in the dry, but are very wary in the wet ,especially when down to 3mm tread or less. After that, probably stiffer roll bars and suspension mods are the way to go, if you want to splash out to enhance your track driving experience.

Also, see if you can sign up to join our big group for our annual Brands Hatch trackday outing with Mazda on Track in December:

viewtopic.php?f=100&t=81002

where you'll have plenty of opportunity to see and compare with many other RX-8's on track, and generally very few race cars to be seen, apart from Clive's ~500bhp RX-8 race car that is!
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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by Ranjan » Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:15 pm

New Duke wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:13 pm
I wasn't whinging about race teams being at track days per se. I was complaining about them using public track days as test days... which public track days are not.

Out-braking other cars and cutting inside to push someone out on the apex, openly timing, blocking other people's garages in the pitlane because their race car can't reverse, and 'being a tit' in general. It's behavioural, not about the physical nature of the car. It was constant red flags last week and almost every one was the race teams pushing too hard. It's unsafe mixing people who are there in the spirit of the track day with professional race teams trying to scrape a hundredth off a sector. They're going to kill someone.

TDOs like MSV host specific test days for this exact reason. They have their own days set aside for multiple race teams. No need to rent a whole track. I spoke to MSV (a couple of times) on the day and they explained that they don't want race teams there behaving like that, but it's hard to limit which bookings are race teams. They just have to hope that they'll play nice. So when the vast majority of cars turn up from race teams, Mr MSV said they have their hands full just keeping them in line.... or trying to.

He suspected that most of the event sell outs at the moment are down to race teams hoovering up all the public track days in a rush to catch up.

Rant over. Sorry for that R1DSO!
Wow Haydn,

You have had some bad experiences with race teams; may I take this opportunity to apologize for our collective behaviour (I have been guilty of this in the past) and say that we will try to be better in the future.
You say that there are plenty of scheduled track days for race teams; you will find that that is exaggerated as I, especially in the UK, had loads of trouble finding appropriate days on which to test. So public sessions were our only option.

Ranjan.

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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by Vj4sothername » Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:27 pm

A new business venture idea perhaps Ranjan?
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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by nightfire10 » Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:38 pm

Vj4sothername wrote:A new business venture idea perhaps Ranjan?
Perhaps down south ImageImage

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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by Ranjan » Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:43 pm

Still keeping my eyes open for Mallory Park; if that ever comes up for sale again it is MINE.

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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by V8 Power » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:01 pm

Make them an offer they can’t refuse.......
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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by Ranjan » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:28 pm

If only it was a simple matter of money.
I am sure if I offered Jonathan a sack full of money for Bedford he would gladly accept but the small circuits like Mallory and Combe are owned by enthusiasts and for them it is not a question of money; I know if I had managed to get Mallory the first time round no amount of money would entice me to sell it again.

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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by qwakers » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:25 pm

maybe you could buy some land in the southwest and build another racetrack. tracks down here are badly needed, and theres plenty of old airfields.......

go on, y’know it makes sense!
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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by warpc0il » Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:29 pm

There was all sorts of conspiracy theories around Mallory 10-12 years ago when local residents were encouraged to make complaints about noise from the track.

Apparently someone was trying to buy the land for redevelopment.

The purchase didn't go ahead but the impact of the restrictions following the complaints are still being felt.

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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by R1DSO » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:10 pm

GreySilver Beast wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:24 pm

@R1DSO : We got a few trackdays coming up that aren't sold out yet, so book them and come and join us on the day :thumright:

We can't offer Buddy Drivers for now, but we could offer a system where by you follow one of our members going around the track at a reasonable speed to see where the best track lines are for the RX-8 or RWD car to cope with :thumleft:

Glad you overall enjoyed your Evening Trackday =D> =D> =D> =D>


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Yes, I’ve definitely got the bug and will get involved in the club meets whenever I can :thumleft:. I’ll sort the brakes/tyres out and see where things land work-wise, then get some dates booked in.

My industry is one of the ones that has not faired well (understatement :lol:) with Covid, so I need to give it a couple of weeks to see where things net out from an availability perspective as I’ve noticed that all the track days are on weekdays (presumably, due to pro race weekends).
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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by R1DSO » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:22 pm

casey wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:03 pm
Good write up - glad you enjoyed your first track outing in your RX-8!

My first outing in my RX-8 on track was also an evening session at Brands, but back in 2007 ;) My only previous experience of track driving was a couple of "Nigel Mansell Race School" half days at Brands in the early 1990's.

Like you, my RX-8 was a factory spec car with road tyres back then. I think I was lapping the Indy circuit at around 68 seconds (post event camera timing, never live timing). Here we are 13 years later, and around 80 trackdays later, with many track oriented mods and a laptime in the cold December months of 58-59 seconds.

The cheapest and quickest way to knock off several seconds is a decent set of semi-slicks. The Federal 595RSR in 235/40 R18 can be got for around £80 a corner and I love them for trackdays. I've found them fine for road use in the dry, but are very wary in the wet ,especially when down to 3mm tread or less. After that, probably stiffer roll bars and suspension mods are the way to go, if you want to splash out to enhance your track driving experience.

Also, see if you can sign up to join our big group for our annual Brands Hatch trackday outing with Mazda on Track in December:

viewtopic.php?f=100&t=81002

where you'll have plenty of opportunity to see and compare with many other RX-8's on track, and generally very few race cars to be seen, apart from Clive's ~500bhp RX-8 race car that is!
The video I posted looked to be around the 1 min 6 mark, albeit with chocolate brakes :lol:. It’s amazing how accurate Forza 7 is as I was getting around the Brands Indy circuit in a stock RX-8 “virtually” in just under the minute mark, close to what you got in real life in December.

However, it’s a bit different when you’re using a gaming pad and can rewind when you cock up a corner vs facing the prospect of buggering the diff and body work of your pride and joy with a tractor tow out of the soft verge :lol:. That’s some impressive IRL times casey =D>.

Thanks for the tyre recommendation. At more than half the price of 19” road tyres, I can see why R3 owners drop down a size for the track :shock:. I’m interested as long as they can drive me to/from the track safely. Although, I guess things could get interesting if you turn up with a set of Federals fitted and our great British weather unexpectedly reverts to rain.

I did notice the Mazda track day at Brands. I’ll make every effort to make it if I can [-o<. I would also very much like to see Clive’s race car!
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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by casey » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:34 pm

By coincidence, Clive was testing his car at Brands today, clocking an impressive 53.8 on full slicks!

Thread here: viewtopic.php?f=104&t=44482&p=1272149#p1272149

I usually drive to the track with my choice of tyres for the expected conditions (wet or dry) but have, on occasion, loaded the alternate set of 18" wheels on the back seats. They are a snug fit and I have to put my normal seat position forward a smidgen, but it can be done. I have found the Federals surprisingly good on track in the wet, but ONLY when full, or near full tread.However, the Rainsport 3's are in another league in the wet!

Be great if you can make the December trackday :thumleft:
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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by R1DSO » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:36 pm

Ranjan wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:26 am

And R1DSO definitely come to some forum track days, a great way to progress and have some fun.

Ranjan.
I certainly will. I’m also pretty keen to see your NA turbo build in the flesh Ranjan :D.

I had my heart on doing a turbo MX-5 DIY and had put a couple of offers in on rust-free NAs, before I bought the R3. I also read all 3 of Keith Tanner’s Flying Miata workshop books.

The fact that the RX-8 could take an isofix baby seat, meaning that I could use the car for the occasional family trip (when not in my Landy) swung it for me. Although, I would like to get myself an NA at some point in the future as well. Knowing how badly they suffer from sill rust, perhaps when I have some more garage space, though :lol:.
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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by R1DSO » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:53 pm

casey wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:34 pm
By coincidence, Clive was testing his car at Brands today, clocking an impressive 53.8 on full slicks!

Thread here: viewtopic.php?f=104&t=44482&p=1272149#p1272149

I usually drive to the track with my choice of tyres for the expected conditions (wet or dry) but have, on occasion, loaded the alternate set of 18" wheels on the back seats. They are a snug fit and I have to put my normal seat position forward a smidgen, but it can be done. I have found the Federals surprisingly good on track in the wet, but ONLY when full, or near full tread.However, the Rainsport 3's are in another league in the wet!

Be great if you can make the December trackday :thumleft:
Thanks for the thread link. I’ve subscribed for future updates :thumright:.

Love that squeezing in a second set of wheels/tyres on the back seat :lol:.

Thanks for the wet tyre compound reco too. Lots of wheel/tyre research for me to look in to and weigh up the stock 19” track-friendly road tyres vs keeping the 19s for road only and getting into some ‘track day only’ 18s.

Interested to hear about tread depth. I read (albeit with no 1st hand experience) in one of the Keith Tanner books that track tyres are rated to a certain number of heat cycles, so they can lose grip whilst they still have sufficient tread left.
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Re: R1DSO’s first track day

Post by R1DSO » Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:54 pm

I bought a couple of the on track shots, which are now available. Sparkling Black looking good in the sun 8).
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