GHIT 0063: Car to Race Car Conversion Priorities
Priority and Sequencing Towards Dialing In Your Car
Our team now has a new race car build about to begin. Long Roof for Life: Project Codename: Godzuki!!! It is a new to us Honda Civic that we are converting into an endurance race car after this season. Since we know our “Mr. Honda” we will have backup knowledge to assist us as we go. Our plan is to build this car as a demonstration project for our listeners. Do you have any ideas or thoughts, and suggestions on what we should do? If so, please let us know within a podcast review or on our email at [email protected].
On this GHiT Team focused episode this week, we covered what we have been up to in the garage recently. Lots of HPDE and NHMS race weekend prepping on all counts. Vicki has been obsessed with car detailing for the past two weeks on her turbo 1999 NB MX-5. Inside, outside, in the engine bay, adding decals, etc. Alan avoids the Capri with everything else that could possibly be worked on. Bill is working on the 4 HPDE cars for Watkins Glen. Plus two additional race cars this week (The cheap Boxster is trying its best to avoid remaining cheap). We also get into the Race Truck brake issue and our path forward; still not sure we have a plan. Vicki makes her point that we could use an additional team member with mechanical skills, but…. We still do not know how to find our missing skill set.
We cover how to go about converting a streetcar into an endurance racing car and in what sequence.
Our general priority is to first make sure it is safe by stripping it down and making sure what is structural is sound and repair as needed. After this, we add in safety features like the roll cage, racing seats, racing harness, and fire suppression systems etc. Do not forget to address the brakes and braking system with good racing pads and racing fluid. Also, we will likely improved brake rotors and calipers. Please review our episode #59 with Wendy from Porterfield’s if you would like much more detail in this area. Tires and brakes are probably the biggest performance bang for the buck improvements you can do.
The next priority we like to follow is to improve our driver skill and the durability of the car towards the abuse it is about to receive. This would include better grades of the various fluids, better suspensions, oil coolers, radiator improvements, transmission coolers, differential coolers, etc. Potentially adding a better clutch etc. as they fail during racing.
As far as driver improvements, we really like HPDE events for the type of racing you will be doing, for instance NASA HPDE for road racing, EVO School for Autocross, etc. Really any type of coaching will usually lead to significant improvement, especially if early in your racing career. Do not forget to use your daily driving time to help practice and improve several aspects of your driving skills, like heel and toe, hand positioning and movements, and long range vision etc. At this point you have a good solid foundation and you can work to dial in the car further and continually improve.
Once solid, we start looking at better clutches, improved drivetrains by adding in an LSD or a Torsen or even a locked/mini spool type etc. and avoid the open differentials where you only drive one of the wheels. The costs of these improvements tend to be a bit higher than the earlier steps.
Nice/Next level additions to have at some point would include:
- Telemetry and video analysis to allow you to compare driver styles and performance via the data collected.
- Engine power increases can be a very expensive path unless you swap out the engine
- Suspension improvements like lowering the car, improving handling with springs, sway bars, coil overs, etc. Lightening the vehicle.
- Aero is also another great path to improve performance at a reasonable cost.
- Do not forget alignment is a great bang for the buck potential improvement, especially a good alignment and then a racing camber and toe adjustment.
We ended with Vicki’s Tool of the week for use with vinyl decals, stripes etc.: It is called Knifeless Tape and it allows you to cut any designs and shapes needed into any vinyl to make your desired edge designs.
And finally, Vicki volunteered to list several of our cars for the “we” of our team. “We” shall see.
Again any questions, suggestions, movie references, and/or car purchases, please contact us at our email at [email protected] and or even better within a podcast review.