November 18th: Track Day

On November 18th, 2022, we went out to turn eight on the track to test our new suspension system. It's been taking a really long time to get all our gear prototyped, built, and tested, but we are really excited about all of it. So, we decided we were just going to go out on the track, and we didn't care where we qualified. We like running turn eight because it's a good opportunity for us to go out there and test the car in a test-friendly, non-competitive environment. Of course, we had a lot of things we were trying to set up and test, but one of those things was the steering feedback and rear suspension issue that we have been fighting for many months now.

Suspension, Steering, and Brakes

We've revised a lot of the front suspension with our partners, Verkline, who have done an absolutely amazing job, and I want to do a special shoutout to their engineer Michael who has been outstanding. He's taken a lot of our info and data, really listened to what we have to say, and incorporated those changes for us. 

Our problems have nothing to do with the geometry of the suspension itself, but the length of the coilover in relation to how much suspension travel we have compared to how much we're using. We had to machine— using 6061 aluminum— a billet spacer for the upper hat that would, essentially, make the coilover longer by extending that length to get proper travel, which works but we ended up getting a light on the dash that said

Steering effort increased. Please consult your dealer.

That was not something we'd see on the dash before!

It ended up being that this was due to the spherical bearings that we are testing currently. For the front suspension, we had changed the sphericals— both upper and lower on the caster and the control arm— to a very tight, tolerant, high quality bearing with a really nice lining in it.

But the steering effort for the electronic system was too much to handle, so the amperage output in ISTA was exceeding what it wanted to be. Well, so we decided we were going to take those really tight castor sphericals out and replace them with a spherical with less breakaway torque, that would still have that tightened feeling, but reduce the load on the steering system to see if we could get the electrical amperage load where it was happy for that system. Fortunately, this totally worked.

We like to drive this car to the track and back from the track because we want to show that there is reliability with this chassis, and on our way to the track, we noticed that we were wearing out the tie rod sphericals, which we thought was going to possibly be an issue. The brakes we had on the vehicle were a prototype brake kit from a Taiwanese manufacturer we've been working well with that retained the electronic parking brake system and we drove to the event with street pads in. Once at the event, of course, we 100% screwed up: We left the street pads on and totally forgot the track pads. But that's something that happens, especially when you have a checklist a mile long— things sometimes get missed. Or MAYBE, just MAYBE we actually thought the street pads would perform better! That's the story I'm going with.


Fuel System

Everybody has been asking about the fuel system. The fuel system was tasked, and tested, and we have our version one on this car. We can see major pulsations in the fuel system under transient throttle movements and it's causing a really bad harmonic. 

Quick diversion: For those of you who are running these flex fuel kits, and you're putting a flex sensor in line to your high pressure fuel pump, I just wanted to let you guys know that this is not The Way. If you examine the fluid dynamics, you're moving that fuel from a bigger orifice to a smaller orifice to a bigger orifice, which causes a major bottleneck and you aren't going to push nearly as much fuel as you think you should. Most people think that putting a hydro mat system in the car is good for it, and running more fuel pumps in the factory basket is good for it. I can tell you right now that neither of these is good for it. 

All of those things are detrimental to the fuel system.

We have physical, actual data of the low pressure fuel side using sensors where we monitored what the fuel system is doing. And it's not a good thing. I have people emailing me every week, "Man, I have a factory car, I'm starving fuel, and I'm not even at half a tank yet, and I'm getting fuel starvation."

We have a car here that's on a pure 850, and the guy wants to track his car, and he's questioning why the car only put down 450, or 60 foot pounds on 91 ACN pump. The high-pressure fuel pumps on all these cars are highly unreliable. Tuners can tune around this sometimes, but it doesn't address the underlying problem. 

We were able to take a bunch of this fuel data and talk to our partners, and we have a full fuel system coming out that's going to resolve a lot of this. Unfortunately the details are still hush-hush, and protected by an NDA, but I promise you this is good stuff and you're going to love it.

On the Track

We eventually did get out on the track with Cary Jordan, from Jordan Tuned, helping us and the power was just mind blowing. We were hitting speeds in excess of 140 MPH at the end of the straight. Braking was decent, but didn't have that bite we wanted. And we could definitely smell more brake than was desirable. On the fourth lap, we clocked something like a 157-three-something or two-something, which is blistering. Notably, we have no aero on the car except an Ing's front bumper. 

For the most part, we pick our own spot out there and we're pulling tires off and we're looking at everything. The new triples from AST with no aero were absolutely phenomenal and changing that spacer really helped improve a lot of things, especially with no aero on the car. We're running a little bit of rake, which I think has to do with the Ing's splitter design bumper helping front bite turn eight. 

We managed to lift very little and get right back on the throttle, which is phenomenal for turn eight. You can't do that in a factory car. You're not supposed to be able to do that in a car that has no aero with factory body and true coils. 

So we go out and somehow we qualify for turn eight in unlimited class because we're running triples and that instantly puts us in unlimited. 

There's an M4 out there— Blake from Blake's Garage— that's heavily modified. I think he's running a 305 in the rear and a 285 in the front, something like that, with full aero and stage two tune. Just a very fast car. 

Then there's an RCF— a brand new one, like 2020 or 21— very modified, running, I think, a 295 or a 305 square set up, and it's a hoosier.

And we're behind a Cayman that's heavily modified with aero and everything else. 

So we ended up qualifying fourth in the lineup. I had my wife in the car, and we go out for a warm up lap, and we're staying behind. We're about three quarters of the way through that lap, and the tires are giving me feedback that the car wants to go faster. I start pushing it, and I'm trying to get around all these guys because, well, if you remember, I know I have no brakes. I'm trying to momentum drive the car to preserve the brakes because we know they're no good. We clocked a 159.

So, second lap, we get around the Cayman, and it was on the straight. Right then and there, I knew that we had no brakes. Pedal absolutely went to the floor. 

Brake failure came up on the dash:

Pull over, consult your dealer immediately.

Really cool lights and things flashing that you typically don't want to see. Just as the tires were coming up to temp, the brakes were already starting to fade. I could feel them fading. And we weren't even, you know, done. We were just on our second lap and just starting to come up to temp on the tires. I could feel them really wanting to grip up, and we were starting to put a good pace on. We managed to pull off a third lap but the brakes were just done. So that's all we had. And that's how testing goes sometimes. 

But we took third, and we weren't even trying to podium or anything like that. I remember telling my wife that this was just for testing— and fun!— and rankings didn't matter. 

This was for data that we need as a company to improve this chassis, to make it what it can be and not sweep things under the rug that a lot of people are sweeping under the rug or that people are holding back on. So the brakes weren't where we wanted them to be because we didn't have the track pads in there. I believe that if we did have the track pads in there, it would have been a whole different story. 

Afterwards, upon inspection, the rotor is gone, and the pads are gone. Big lesson, everybody, and I should definitely kick myself in the back end for this. And maybe it should go without saying, but put in your track pads, even if you like to drive to the track like we do. 

And our main goal moving forward is to create a car that's road worthy, that is very bespoke in its own unique way, but that has credibility and strength.

We're grateful for the partners that we have. We don't know everything, of course, but our partners and the people around us have information and experience, and we collaborate with them to be a better company. With them, we can improve the sports car characteristics, the racing characteristics, and build the pedigree of this chassis using real physics, real data, and real experience. 

This chassis is only getting better from here. We're excited to bring this product to the market so that you can track your car, knowing that we're providing the most accurate data possible not just from our own engineering and tests, but also from our deep collaboration with our partners.

This is Doteki Auto Solutions. This is a boutique Supra parts shop and a boutique Supra builder. We're here for one reason and one reason only:

To build you guys fast cars.

See you out there! 

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