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Old 03-09-2017, 10:52 AM   #1
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Default Barry, the track fiend

This is Barry, my 99 miata. I have owned him for about a year now and have tried to tailor him with racing in mind. I won't bore you with the backlog of maintenance performed, but pick up to where I think it's finally ready to hit the track. Currently sporting some 15x9 6UL's, Ohlins DFVs, GT3 rollbar, G-Loc R8 pads. First event will be March 18-19 at Road Atlanta. I've lurked enough in the race prep section enough to kind of know what to expect. Ultimately I would like to perform a motor swap for more N/A power on the track, but that may be a year away. Feel free to follow me on my journey to feed this addict.



Probably the most excited I've been to receive some wheels and tires. Absolutely love the setup and feel. Currently running the Nexen N FERA SUR4's, well because they were cheap and the RS4's weren't out yet. I wanted a sticky enough tire to learn on but still leave room so my mistakes can be shown to me.



I'm also taking this first event pretty seriously. Got into iRacing in order to get a feel for the track so I will be a very prepared DE1 driver. I really look forward to talking with the other racers next weekend in order to further my knowledge of racing miatas.

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Old 03-09-2017, 11:23 AM   #2
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Assume this is a street car and needs to be emissions compliant? If not, IHE + MS is the easy button for a bit more push. And lightening the car . . . lots of lightening.
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Old 03-09-2017, 11:34 AM   #3
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Assume this is a street car and needs to be emissions compliant? If not, IHE + MS is the easy button for a bit more push. And lightening the car . . . lots of lightening.
Yes it is, but luckily NC does emissions compliance based on County rather than State, so I will re-register it back at my other address which will require no emissions and only safety inspection. I have swapped out the header already with an 01+ header. I can also confirm that there are no restrictions in the exhaust whatsoever. I have been planning on building a MS3X next. Reading through the documentation on the forums have been a tremendous help.

What do you recommend for adding lightness? I do daily* this car so I'd rather not drop the PS or AC just yet. Depending how far I chase the rabbit hole, that may be inevitable.
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Old 03-09-2017, 12:42 PM   #4
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It's better to learn on less sticky tires because they talk to you more before they release and they release much more gradually.

You can take turn 1 faster than you think if you track all the way out on turn exit. And it's uphill so you will be losing speed from the apex onward.
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Old 03-09-2017, 01:33 PM   #5
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What do you recommend for adding lightness? I do daily* this car so I'd rather not drop the PS or AC just yet. Depending how far I chase the rabbit hole, that may be inevitable.
Well, things like that are where the big weight savings are.

In the end, I ended up getting another Miata dedicated to track duty. So, I've got a nice, comfortable turbo car that I daily along with a stripped TTD/SuperMiata beast that can pass most things on track. I'm out in a safety-inspection only county in Texas -- the beast is actually registered for the street which makes it convenient to drive 10 miles to my local track without the hassle of a trailer. For other tracks, I trailer it.

Good luck. Nice looking car.
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Old 03-09-2017, 02:32 PM   #6
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motor swap? that's crazy talk.

Car looks good, I have a soft spot for the 99-00 cars with the factory lip, sideskirts, and fogs.
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Old 03-09-2017, 04:20 PM   #7
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It's better to learn on less sticky tires because they talk to you more before they release and they release much more gradually.

You can take turn 1 faster than you think if you track all the way out on turn exit. And it's uphill so you will be losing speed from the apex onward.
Thanks for the advice on turn 1, i'll try and use that as an area to get faster if somehow I manage the other 12 turns.

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Well, things like that are where the big weight savings are.

In the end, I ended up getting another Miata dedicated to track duty. So, I've got a nice, comfortable turbo car that I daily along with a stripped TTD/SuperMiata beast that can pass most things on track. I'm out in a safety-inspection only county in Texas -- the beast is actually registered for the street which makes it convenient to drive 10 miles to my local track without the hassle of a trailer. For other tracks, I trailer it.

Good luck. Nice looking car.
Seems as if a lot of racers go this route.

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motor swap? that's crazy talk.

Car looks good, I have a soft spot for the 99-00 cars with the factory lip, sideskirts, and fogs.
To me, it's the closes thing that looks like a mini FD.
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Old 03-12-2017, 03:02 PM   #8
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Unfortunately I heard the iconic "clunk" coming home from work the other day. Rear eccentric bolts slipped on me. Don't know if they are old and stretched or just weren't torqued properly. I was able to use a 3/8 drive socket and tighten the nuts myself, all while on the ground with limited room, so I'm leaning more towards the latter. Gotta take it back for them to realign it. I'll then re torque the nuts when I get it back.

While I am still a noob at hpde, I'm still very competitive and love seeing progress being made. That being said, what lap times should I be happy with at road Atlanta for a first weekend out? I have set a goal for myself to break at least a 1:50, is this too optimistic? May not be able to accomplish this with an instructor, so hopefully I'll get a session or two alone. Thoughts, advice? Should I not even set a goal this time out?
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Old 03-12-2017, 03:39 PM   #9
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motor swap? that's crazy talk.

Car looks good, I have a soft spot for the 99-00 cars with the factory lip, sideskirts, and fogs.
Me too. The NB1 tupperware was so much more tasteful. Bummer my 00 didn't come with it.
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Old 03-21-2017, 12:08 PM   #10
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What an awesome weekend. Must thank NASA-SE for hosting such a smooth event. Hospitality and camaraderie were top notch. Barry was great, track was great, weather started out shitty but then turned out great, etc. etc. I was very surprised with how well the car performed.


Competition was fierce! I was a minnow in a sea full of sharks. My instructor, and friend, drives the mustang so this was a change of pace to stuff him in the miata. His instruction was great and he really knew the track well.



I progressed very rapidly on Saturday. I think having turned so many laps on the sim helped me learn the track fast. After my first session, with a wet track, I knew the track well enough to start gaining speed and momentum. As the day progressed and the weather warmed up, so did I. On my last session of the day I was able to put down a respectable 1:58 time with my instructor in the car. I was happy with that.

After talking with some other racers, my instructor, and watching my sessions over, I noticed I was shifting entirely too much and could cut down on a lot of shifts to save time. This was my goal for Sunday.

Sunday's weather was perfect. My instructor rode with me in my first morning session to see how much information stuck with me from Saturday. After that session he turned me loose to solo in DE1 and cleared me for DE2. With the extra weight savings now and a focus on shifting less I pushed for better times throughout the day. My times were steadily decreasing and finally on my final session I put down a personal best of 1:54.09, via track addict but will confirm with virb. I guess a goal of 1:50 was way too optimistic, but I am very happy with my progression overall. I still believe I can drop about another second from that time if I pushed my brake zones further. The G-Loc pads did fantastic and I quickly began to trust that they would perform as expected. The Nexen's performed well too. It would take the entire out lap for them to come up to temp and I could begin pushing as soon as I got back to start/finish. The Ohlins were good too, unfortunately I do think the spring rates are a bit too soft if I want to be competitive. I do believe I will have to venture to Xida's if I get really serious with tracking the car.



I'll begin to focus on sways next, as there was some considerable body roll. I am scheduled to get to CMP's event in May which will give me plenty of time to prep the car again.

Should have the video of my fastest lap up soon.
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Old 03-22-2017, 05:51 PM   #11
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Finally have the video up. So the Virb did something fishy with the stitching process of the videos and decided to cut about 10 sec. of video out leaving turn 7 and entering turn 9, but left the GPS data alone. I'll get with Garmin on that, but it was verified with TrackAddict too.

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Old 04-13-2017, 12:06 PM   #12
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We had a lot of rain here last week and the drain decided to clog up. Luckily I was leaving work over an hour early to find it like this. Dunno what would have happened if it were later in the day...



Back at it again with some minor maintenance items in order to prep for my next track event which is in May, noticed quite a bit of oil residue around the valve cover so I decided to refresh the gasket with oem and also replace the pcv valve too. Overall the top end looks relatively clean for ~150k miles.



While the VC was off I took the time to clean it up and give it a new look.



I rechecked my plugs too and it seems that #3 and #4 look a bit lean to me. I have no symptoms of any vacuum leak, so maybe I should run some injector cleaner through the car. Any additional thoughts?



My other track prep will include replacing the differential bushings and work on free cooling mods. Need to block off the sides of the radiator and and ensure the ducting is adequate. With the temps warming up around here I need to make sure I don't overheat on the track. I've been logging my daily drive, which is a relatively short 20 sprint, and have been seeing temps up to 206 F. I may swap out the tstat for a cooler one so it'll open up a bit sooner and keep temps in the 190 range.
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Old 04-13-2017, 12:30 PM   #13
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You might go a heat range step cooler on the spark plugs. Track work tends to get them warmer than regular driving. The little specks in the insulator (at least it "looks" like little specks in the photo) indicate that the plug is overheating.
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Old 04-13-2017, 12:42 PM   #14
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You might go a heat range step cooler on the spark plugs. Track work tends to get them warmer than regular driving. The little specks in the insulator (at least it "looks" like little specks in the photo) indicate that the plug is overheating.
Thanks for the info, looks like I'm running the NGK ZFR5F-11 plug right now, so I'll look for something within the 6 heat range.
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Old 04-13-2017, 02:35 PM   #15
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Still sad I missed that event at Road Atlanta, but life happens.

Your lap looks good! As you get use to the track you'll learn to use more and more of it. Mainly T1 and T5 based on the video you posted.
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Old 04-13-2017, 06:06 PM   #16
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Still sad I missed that event at Road Atlanta, but life happens.

Your lap looks good! As you get use to the track you'll learn to use more and more of it. Mainly T1 and T5 based on the video you posted.
Thanks, yea there's always next time. My instructor was hesitant with me getting on any gators especially while tracking out. I'm guessing mainly because he's never ridden with me and it was wet Saturday morning.

After watching some of you faster guy's laps, I've definitely got a new "line" drawn out for the next event in June. Any pointers leading up to the CMP event?
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Old 04-14-2017, 02:01 PM   #17
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Thanks, yea there's always next time. My instructor was hesitant with me getting on any gators especially while tracking out. I'm guessing mainly because he's never ridden with me and it was wet Saturday morning.

After watching some of you faster guy's laps, I've definitely got a new "line" drawn out for the next event in June. Any pointers leading up to the CMP event?
Yeah, that's understandable. The miata doesn't like the gators in the esses, but the exit of t5 is a must.

Cmp is a pretty straight forward track, a little dirty and a rough surface though. When you're going through the kink be sure to commit, don't lift after it since that will lighten the rear a little too much and then you'll find yourself mowing some grass.
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Old 04-18-2017, 04:37 PM   #18
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Yeah, that's understandable. The miata doesn't like the gators in the esses, but the exit of t5 is a must.

Cmp is a pretty straight forward track, a little dirty and a rough surface though. When you're going through the kink be sure to commit, don't lift after it since that will lighten the rear a little too much and then you'll find yourself mowing some grass.
Yea, I'll try to keep my mowing to a minimum. Messed around and didn't register soon enough, hopefully i'll get pulled from the waiting list to a confirmed spot.

Finished installing the delrin diff bushings over the weekend, not a terrible install with the right tools but it took a while. Also got the remaining cooling supplies I need on the way to do a full coolant flush and a 180* tstat. Hoping that and some slight ducting will keep my temps right at 200*.
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Old 05-01-2017, 02:28 PM   #19
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Finished the coolant flush and tstat install over the weekend. Everything went according to plan and with the new coolant mixture and 180* tstat my temps are exactly where I want them to be. I'll monitor them this weekend while out at CMP for my next track event. I've also replaced by spark plugs with a cooler temp range and will check them during and after this weekend as well. My previous NGK's were cooked to say the least.

I've been studying up on CMP's layout and Miata lines in hope I can put down a respectable lap this weekend. I'm sure it'll be slow going Saturday but hope by Sunday I'll be confident enough to push for a decent time. I'm kind of shooting for a time around the 2:00 minute mark, we shall see.
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Old 05-16-2017, 09:18 AM   #20
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Yeah, that's understandable. The miata doesn't like the gators in the esses, but the exit of t5 is a must.

Cmp is a pretty straight forward track, a little dirty and a rough surface though. When you're going through the kink be sure to commit, don't lift after it since that will lighten the rear a little too much and then you'll find yourself mowing some grass.
Marcus, I appreciate the ride along and instruction you gave me. Here's my fastest laps of the weekend before the mishap...



CMP was a blast! It's nice to have this track within 1.5 hours of me. It's far from the cleanest/nicest track but it has very technical turns and is set up for a low hp/momentum car. As far as Barry goes, he's doing good, taking the track abuse rather well. I can confirm that with a 180* tstat, water wetter/distilled water combo my temps are spot on. Throughout both days my temps stayed right at 200* on track. As far as the mishap I spoke about earlier, CMP's surface is terrible to say the least. I was having trouble keeping traction with the SUR4's on Saturday and kept bleeding off pressure to find the sweet spot. I finally found something that was working that afternoon and stuck with it. Sunday morning I recheck pressures and air the tires back up, proceed to do a session and adjust the pressure back to optimum hot pressure from which I found on Saturday. First 3 sessions Sunday were going well without a hiccup. My last session of the day, I managed to roll a tire off of the bead. Unfortunately I was rushed to get to the paddock for my last session and failed to check my pressure before going back out, I will not make this mistake again. Luckily it was a very gentle release and I was on the front stretch when I noticed it, otherwise it could have been a lot worse. I'm guessing that the low psi I was running, and possibly overheating the tires caused the sidewalls to heat/stretch and it finally gave out.

My next investment will be a nice pyrometer and gauge so I can learn to manage my tires better. Next event is back at Road Atlanta in June and I'd like to keep all of my tires on there.
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