Track Attack Thunderhill

Well, the Javelin survived another track day. This time it was Thunderhill. I’ve been there 3 times already this year in my Vette so I’m pretty comfortable with the track. I did my usual drive up to Willows the night before and stayed at the Baymont. I screwed up when I booked the room and just got a regular (full?) sized bed. I’m 6’5″ so that means about 12″ of me was hanging off the bed. I tried to do the corner to corner thing but it didn’t really work. I find it hard to sleep in hotels and I ended up getting my worst night’s sleep of any of my tracks days so far this year.

Despite that I got to the track bright and early and got a nice spot under the awning nearest the club house. My father-in-law and his wife came out for the day as well so I had company. My father-in-law rode shotgun for 4 of the 5 sessions I ran. I think he had a blast. He’s been on the track before in his road-racing kart but never in a full sized car.

First session was just getting comfortable with the track again and figuring out how the Javelin felt on it. The session was black flagged after just a few minutes due to a couple of spins. After sitting in the pits for a few minutes we got back out for a couple of laps. Second session also got black flagged for spins?! In the first session I had one corner where I locked the front right brake for a second and then, coming into turn 14 I really got on the brakes to the point where you could smell them. Well, after that I started getting a really pronounced vibration under braking. Talked to some guys in the pits and someone mentioned warped rotors. I’m just not hard enough on the brakes for me to believe I could have warped a rotor. Since getting home I’ve done a little research and I’m pretty sure the issue is that I didn’t get the brake pads properly bed. I did try to bed them but the bedding procedure is a pain in the ass if you don’t live out in the middle of nowhere. I was on the San Rafael / Richmond bridge doing hard stops from 65 to 25 trying to bed the damn things. Problem is they want 8 to 10 of those stops and I ran out of road without traffic behind me to do more than 3 of those stops. What I read was that if they are not bed properly and then you get them hot they can transfer material to the rotor and that can create a high spot that will cause vibration. You can’t see this at all but you really feel it. The posts I read also said that if you didn’t really cook the brakes that you may be able to sand off the transferred material with garnet sand paper. So I’ve bought some garnet paper and will try to clean up the rotors before my next track day.

Well, I didn’t know any of this during the track day so I ran the rest of the sessions lifting early and braking lightly… The Javelin takes more effort to run than the Vette and between that and not really sleeping the night before, after the 4th session, I was just spent. I had to sit out the 5th session. I recovered a bit and did go out for the 6th and final session. Then I drove the 2+ hours home. It was a hard day but I have to call it a success since the trusty Javelin got me to the track, let me beat on it for 5 sessions and then got me home. Oh, one other note. I’ve been thinking I was highting a rev limiter at 5500rpm so I switch my MSD chip to 6500. But, the engine was still making the noise that I thought was the rev limiter at 5500… we’ll, duh, I don’t know why I didn’t put 2 and 2 together sooner but I have a dyno sheet from back in 2001 (same engine that’s in the car now). the dyno sheet clearly shows that at 5500 rpm the motor just dies… so, I guess the sound I’m hearing is valve float? whatever, I now know the engine is done at 5500 so I’ll be shifting at 5400 from now on. I was starting to do that anyway in the last couple of sessions.

Next up is another 2 day outing with NASA on August 21st/22nd. I’ve got 2 videos this time. The first is my “standard” music video. and for the guys that don’t like the music videos I’ve got a plain old one lap video with just the audio from the GoPro camera. Enjoy!

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