Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

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PeteH
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Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by PeteH » Tue Apr 12, 2016 2:49 pm

I've finally decided to take the plunge, and turn my 2005 RX-8 into a track car. I've given it a lot of thought (I've had the car for about 6 years!), and I've decided to have a bash at Time Attack in 2016. This is primarily because I'm a wimp, and don't fancy "real" racing against "real" people. I'm actually in awe of people like Liam and Clive. I've been following their posts, and watching the in-car footage of them racing. I have huge respect for that level of skill. For me it's about preparing the car as best I can, and then trying to do justice to the car by driving it as well as I can (whatever that might turn out to be....).

I'm going to see if I can do something slightly different in this blog. I have a little background in vehicle dynamics, and the RX-8 is a perfect car to play with some of that knowledge. It is very adjustable, and has a great range of aftermarket stuff to help optimize the car for the track. I'd like to get a bit technical (if that's OK?), and describe exactly how I've gone about setting up the car for the track. I hope to post various bits to describe the suspension, brakes, chassis, etc. I hope that might be interesting. I'll also try to answer technical questions, if I can, so please feel free to ask.

For the moment, I'll just mention that the car has already been to the 2016 Time Attack test day (which went well, although the car did exit the trailer all by itself, and proceeded to rapidly roll down the paddock towards many expensive race cars :oops: ). I'm told this may be the first RX-8 to tackle Time Attack (please correct me if you know different), so it should be interesting. The first proper event is at Cadwell on 24th April. Unfortunately I think this clashes with JapFest, but it would be great to meet some of you at Cadwell if you can make it. This is what the car currently looks like. It's not quite as standard as it looks, but that's for later....
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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by brix79 » Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:07 pm

Excellent, I'll be watching with interest Pete. I'm sure that whatever else happens you'll have great fun with it. :D
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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by Neil B » Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:05 pm

I have singed up for time attack in mine but I'm having a few probs with the car and work has got crazy busy but ill see how many rounds i can get to

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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by PeteH » Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:09 pm

That's great Neil. It would be fantastic to have a couple of RX-8s out. Do you know what class yet? I'm going for basic Clubman.
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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by PeteH » Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:28 pm

A quick update. This is the current spec of the car:

- Tein Mono Sport coilovers, with my choice of racing springs.
- Racing Beat rear anti-roll bar, with standard front bar (I will explain why later....!)
- Pirelli Trofeo R 235/40x18 semi-slick tyres. Pirelli Trofeo Rs are the mandatory tyre, and I found them to be great on the test day
- Camber set to -1.5deg all round. Tried to anyway, but the front left camber bolt is seized (I've read the thread..... :-) )
- Toes set 1/4deg out at the front, and 1/4deg in at the rear
- EBC Yellowstuff pads and slotted discs
- Goodridge brake lines
- Motul 600 brake fluid
- ABS and DSC left active
- Cobra race seats (By regulation I need 2)
- Stripped out as far as the regulations will allow, which is not all that far, but I've lost about 100kg I think.

The engine and transmission are fully standard for now.
That's it for the moment. I've a few things planned as the budget allows, but I'm trying to stay focused on things that really add performance.
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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by Liam22 » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:01 pm

Good luck! Looking forward to learning about ARB tuning

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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by PeteH » Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:18 am

I thought it might be useful to jot down how much it costs to go racing in Time Attack. This would have been helpful for me when putting the budget together. Of course, it depends on many factors, such as what you already have, what class you want to enter etc., but I'll do my best to give a rough idea based on my experience. The items with # are mandatory in Time Attack, so if it doesn't have a # you can manage without it. Also please note that these are only approximate. You may choose to spend much more than this, or you may get deals and sponsorship which means you can spend less. So please treat these as indicative budget costs only.

- # Tyres are one-make Pirellis, so you should budget up to £1000
- # Championship fees £2000
- # Race license £50
- # Race clothing (suit, gloves, boots, helmet) £800
- # Safety kit (extinguisher, towing eyes, 4 point harnesses, etc.) £500

So I think you can go racing in Clubman class for about £4500. Additional costs will be:

- Trailer (can hire, but I bought for the same price as 1 years hire) £700
- Tow hook (sounds silly, but if you don't have one it's a significant cost!) £500
- Incidentals (fuel, consumables, hotels) £500

My car prep costs (so far...) are now listed, although these are clearly down to you, and how competitive you want to be:

- Suspension (coilovers, arbs, etc.) £1500
- Brakes (discs, pads, fluid, hoses) £500
- Competition seats £0 (Yay! I had a couple in my garage)

So I am expecting my total budget for the first year to be in the order of £7000. Clearly not cheap, but I think it is one of the more cost effective ways to get competitive on the race track.

For reference, if you go up to the Club class you will need about another £1500 (not including extra car prep):

- # Competition seats £500
- # Rear light £150
- # HANS device £500?

If I was going to Club I'd put aside at least another £5k for car upgrades. But I'm not sure it would be possible to keep it competitive without going FI, so the step to club could actually be more like £15k.

Only in the Pro class do you need a cage, and by that stage these minimum costs will be tiny compared to the cost of preparing the car!
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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by Rotary Revs » Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:39 pm

Your not kidding. Roger Clarke Motorsport's spent 6 figures building gobstopper 2! if any of us had it though we would ;)
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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by rameshr » Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:06 pm

I would love to get into this, will take a while to get my car ready though. Good read, look forward to updates. Good luck.

Which time attack series do join?
AEM Intake
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Tein S springs
Dwell timers adjusted
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Braided Brake + Clutch Lines

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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by PeteH » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:06 pm

Thanks Ramesh. I'm entering Time Attack UK (I think it's the only UK series). I believe there are also series in other countries, but I don't have the budget for that. There is also "World Time Attack" in Japan, for the very serious guys. I'd probably need a 5 rotor, 4 wheel drive RX-8 before considering that..... :-)
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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by PeteH » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:16 pm

Quick update. I fitted my second seat at the weekend (it's mandatory to have two seats). No particular issues, and the passenger seat is actually easier than the driver's seat because the front inboard mounting is more straightforward. I'm leaving the brackets unpainted until the scrutineer has signed them off. When I've painted them I'll take some pictures.

I also finished bleeding the brakes, after fitting the Goodridge braided hoses last week. I was getting worried about the soft pedal, despite having lovely, fresh, bubble-free fluid coming out of the calipers, until I decided to bleed the master cylinder..... I turns out the master cylinder can hold a remarkable amount of air! Now the pedal feels better than it ever has.

Just a bit of polishing to do now, and I'm ready for this weekend. Hope I'm not too rubbish [-o<
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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by PeteH » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:23 pm

OK, I did promise some technical stuff... I'm going to kick off the explanation for my suspension tuning choices. Sorry about the sums, but there may be some people who want to know exactly what I did, and perhaps do the same calculations for their own cars.

The first decision to make was to choose the ride frequencies. This defines how "firm" I want the suspension, which is a balance between being firm enough for good handling control ("primary dynamics" to use the technical term), and soft enough for good wheel control ("secondary dynamics"). A typical saloon car would have front and rear frequencies of around 1.2Hz to 1.5Hz. A road going sports car may be a little higher, at around 1.8Hz. Race cars tend to be over 2Hz, and aero race cars can be well over 4Hz. My choice was to aim for about 2.8Hz on the front axle, and 2.5Hz on the rear axle. I went about as high as I thought I could so that I could reduce the body roll to maintain good camber angles between the tyre and the road, while still keeping reasonable ride compliance for best grip. I also wanted the rear to be a little softer than the front to promote a little understeer.

Now for the sums!

Ride frequencies can be calculated as follows: (1/(2*pi))/sqrt(wheel rate / mass)

The mass is the total "sprung" mass on the axle, i.e. the mass supported by the main springs of the car, so it excludes the mass of the wheels / tyres / brakes / etc. I have estimated the total unsprung mass of the RX-8 to be 60kg for the front axle, and 75kg for the rear axle. I have weighed my car, and it comes in at 724kg on the front axle, and 636kg on the rear axle (including the driver and half a tank of fuel). Incidentally, I will explain how I measured the mass in a future post. (I got myself some corner scales for less than £40...!)

Putting those numbers into the equation above means I am looking for wheel rates of:
Front: 102.8N/mm, Calculated by ((724-60)*(2.8*2*pi)^2)/2000
Rear: 69.2N/mm, Calculated by ((636-75)*(2.5*2*pi)^2)/2000

Note that this may not be the spring rate that I need to choose, because the springs can act through a "lever ratio". With the RX-8 the front spring is mounted part way along the lower arm, so when the wheel and lower ball joint move a certain distance the spring and damper unit moves a smaller distance. I have not actually done the measurement (lazy of me), but I estimated that the lever ratio was about 0.85 (the damper moves 0.85mm for every 1mm of vertical wheel travel). For the rear suspension it is easier because the spring and damper unit is mounted directly to the upright, so the lever ratio is very close to 1. Now for something a bit odd, to calculate the spring rate you have to divide the wheel rate by the square of the lever ratio, not just the lever ratio by itself. So my required spring rates are:
Front: 142.3N/mm, Calculated by 102.8/0.85^2
Rear: 69.2N/mm, (No calculation required because the lever ratio is 1)

The final oddity is the traditional convention used for car suspension springs; the rates are always quoted in "kg", which is strictly wrong because kg is the unit of mass, not stiffness, but never mind. When a spring is described as being (for example) 6kg it means the spring will deflect 1mm if a load of 6kg is applied to it. To convert from the correct units as used above (N/mm) to kg, simply divide by 9.81, so the springs I will need are:
Front: 14.5kg
Rear: 7kg

This is where choosing the right aftermarket parts can pay big dividends. I choose Tein coilovers, because I knew I could order from a wide range of springs. I decided to fit 14kg springs to the front units, and 7kg springs to the rear units.

I was interested, and slightly concerned, about whether these would feel too stiff (i.e. poor ride leading to poor grip), but am pleased to report that during the initial test day at Cadwell Park the ride actually felt very good, so I'm happy with the choice.

There will be experienced folk out there who may be thinking that there is quite a large difference between the front and rear springs, which could lead to a poor handling balance. I don't think my set up does lead to understeer, and next time I will explain how I set up the handling of the car to achieve good balance.
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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by Liam22 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:31 pm

FWIW, my spring rates are *very* similar!

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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by PeteH » Mon Apr 18, 2016 6:20 pm

Thanks Liam. It's worth a lot! I'm trying to do it with "sums", but you've been out there doing it for real on the track. Your experience is worth a thousand equations.
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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by Broomer » Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:30 pm

Wow those calculations are an interesting read although the equation's a bit over my head! :lol:

As your front spring rate's pretty much double the rear does that mean whatever rates you choose the front should always be roughly twice what the rear is to keep the balance or doesn't it work like that?

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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by Clive » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:24 am

Good luck for the season Pete,

Never mind the calculations ;) , how did the car feel with the stock front bar and Racing Beat rear.

If you remember I did not want to sell you the rear bar without the front, that is until I found out exactly why you was carrying out this particular suspension set up.

As you know, we both went down a different path which potentially will achieve the same results.

If I can help with any advise surrounding the rest of the car feel free to call.

Have fun out there :mrgreen:

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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by Nerdstrike » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:59 am

Hi Pete, can you point me to a derivation of the ride frequency? I can't easily see how pi gets in there (but then pi always turns up).I'm tempted to run the numbers backward for my own car to see what went through Toyota's collective heads.

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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by zippyonline » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:15 am

PeteH wrote:OK, I did promise some technical stuff... I'm going to kick off the explanation for my suspension tuning choices. Sorry about the sums, but there may be some people who want to know exactly what I did, and perhaps do the same calculations for their own cars.


Expnaation and suuuums.

Thanks for including this Pete, I enjoy reading stuff like this. Image Do you have the "baseline" stock figures for an RX-8 for the purposes of context and comparison? I think that would be a good way to start getting my head round the numbers and how they relate to reality and what my bum feels. Image
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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by PeteH » Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:00 pm

It's great that people are interested. This is such a positive forum. :thumleft:

Broomer. Unfortunately it doesn't quite work like that. All I've done so far is set up the ride frequencies. In future posts I will cover car balance. If you took a standard RX-8 and put on front springs that were twice as stiff as the rear springs you could expect it to understeer quite badly. There are quite a few things to consider (all captured in the calcs!).

The first one is that because I have stripped out my car quite a lot, and most of that mass has come off the rear, I now have a more forwards mass balance than a standard car. You can see from the above numbers that it's not 50:50 any more :(

The next thing to consider is the roll stiffness balance. This gets complicated, and I will cover it later.

The final thing to consider is that I'm creating a track car, which has very different requirements to a road car. I wouldn't want to run these ride frequencies, or this ride balance, on a road car.

Some more explanation will follow when I answer Zippy's question (sorry, I don't know people's names...)
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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by PeteH » Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:59 pm

Hi Clive. Good to hear from you. I was hoping you might look in. You did absolutely the right thing in questioning my using a RB rear bar in isolation. It's good that you won't just sell things to customers if you think there is a potential issue. Many dealers are not so scrupulous.

I'm happy I managed to persuade you that I might know what I was doing! I have to say that entering my first lap in a car with a suspension system tuned entirely by spreadsheets and guesswork ( ;) ) was quite nerve wracking. But I'm happy to report that by the second flying lap the car had shown itself to be really quite nice to drive. It feels well balanced, and doesn't seem to have any vices or nasty habits. I can brake into apexes with only a gentle amount of understeer, and 3rd and 4th gear exits are full-throttle neutral. Only in 2nd gear exits is it capable of oversteer, and even then it's pretty controllable. I've left DSC active, and it only wanted to intervene if I was over-aggressive on those 2nd gear exits. I wasn't sure I was going to leave DSC on, but it's more of a help than a hindrance. A good system.

In short, I'm happy with my choice of Racing Beat rear bar on my car. But I would always recommend anyone else to fit both front and rear Racing Beat bars, unless they really know what they are doing....

Incidentally, I wasn't really aware of your car when we talked, but I've been reading your posts. If I had your 400bhp I might want more understeer than I currently have in my car!

I will certainly be knocking on your door soon. I need more power (who doesn't!), and the first step will probably be a full sports cat exhaust, and REVi intake.
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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by Clive » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:15 am

Pleased to see its all going well Pete,

I see you have Teins fitted so you you should be able to dial out your under steer via damping adjustment or tyre pressures.

You will find as you get to know the car more that because Mazda removed the B pillar and had to put strength into other areas of the shell you have a very stiff chassis and as well you will know this shows by making suspension operate more effectively.

Because of this excellent chassis you will happily find the RX-8 will find change characteristics with only minor changes once your in the ball park geometry wise.

If budget allows have a look at the Tein EDFC damping adjustment system I have fitted as this is a staggering piece of kit.

You can either adjust manually on the fly or set it into full GPS more where it will learn the track and self adjust for fore and aft, yaw and braking plus adjust many other parameters in between.

http://www.racingbeateurope.com/bnew-rx ... 1996-p.asp

As for the DSC System, don't forget McLaren had exactly the same type of independent brake system banned in F1 when they got caught with a rear disc glowing :mrgreen: personally I have found that if it is interfering then you are not smooth enough and smoother is quicker, in other words let it teach you.

I had a talk with an ex BTCC driver one day at Snetterton who did not realise the RX-8 ran such a sophisticated stability control system, it will even take the throttle away on like a soft boost cut if your in real trouble, indeed I have even let my road/track day car carry out this function in the wet to good use in certain situations on race tracks,

As I put it to him turn off the DSC and you have just made the car into a conventional front engine rear wheel drive car like an old MK 1 Ford Escort #-o ;)

I know some can't get on with the system but it is worth persevering as it may well make your car faster :thumleft:

Hope this helps.
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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by Clive » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:23 am

p.s. As for the exhaust, have a look at running our resonated mid-pipe and race back box as this will give a you a 3" system , pass noise regs and more importantly, dump a huge amount of weight out of the car.
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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by Liam22 » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:30 am

Clive wrote:dump a huge amount of weight out of the car.
6.9kg

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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by dern » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:49 am

Is there any information available as to what the stability and traction systems are doing on the RX8 that i can read through. I must confess that when I drove my wife's car on the road I found it a bit intrusive and now I've got my own my instinct is simply to turn it off. The point made though that it'll cut in when you're being too aggressive and to use it as a learning tool rather than just a safety net is an extremely good point that hadn't occured me before. Would like to know more about what it does though.

Good thread, thanks.
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Dead - Red 231 with Haywards stage 2 engine, Tein Mono Sport coilovers with EDFC2 controller, stripped out interior, sunroof delete and racing beat anti-roll bars
Sold - Blue standard 231
Dead - Silver standard 231

Antz41
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RX-8: 231
Colour: Winning Blue
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Re: Pete's RX-8 Time Attack project

Post by Antz41 » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:50 am

Makes me wish I still had the DSC fitted


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Team Altima / AlphaSport's 2004 Winning Blue 231 Race Car
Building a NA 231ps for a popular Saloon Car Championship in 2016! All help and assistance welcome!

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