On Track Testing
Backtracking somewhat, Dick had gone to Orlando Speed World the previous Friday and tested the car with Dalton and with his tried and true setup. They had recorded lap times in the mid 14.1s at best and Dalton reported that the car was very good and consistent. In fact, Dick had said to me that he had never seen the car work so well at this track as it did in that test.
Once we got to the track the following Wednesday, February 1, we set tire pressures on the same tires that now had about 50 laps on them. A very good lap time here when other cars are running and the track is clean would be in the 14.10s and 14.20s on previously run tires and 13.6s and 13.7s on stickers. Most cars practice in the 14.30s and 14.40s.
The first run had us with two 14.15s and a 14.08. We came in and checked the front tire temperatures for camber. After making small adjustments to the LF and a bigger one to the RF, we went back out. This time the lap times were in the 14.0s with a 14.05 and a 14.06. This is right out of the trailer in two runs and we are already quick.
With the car down on the bellows springs, we also measured and adjusted the front cambers.
The car was a little tight at mid-turn and the RR tire was some 30 degrees hotter than the RF tire. This was partially due to the tight middle causing a loose off, but also due to the stiff spring we were running in the RR. I was surprised at how close we were to balance with that spring and the zero roll setup. I quite frankly didn't know what to expect. During the first couple of runs, we felt that the antisway bar was loading a lot when the car was down on the bellows springs, so we changed to a 1.25 medium antisway bar. We also reduced the rebound in the LR shock to help with a loose off condition we noticed and that was creating heat in the RR tire. After several more runs and small camber adjustments, the times stayed in the 14.0s consistently, but the car continued to be slightly tight at mid-turn. It was here that we suspected the tires might be a problem and we had brought with us a brand-new set of Hoosiers. We installed the new tires and made a sticker run turning in the mid 13.70s and low 13.80s.
It was at this point that I remembered the crossweight being three percent higher than the software suggested and we then decided to go with the equal roll setup by replacing the RR 410-ppi spring with the 275-ppi spring and droppping the crossweight to 53 percent.
On the next run the car was very neutral in handling, and was noticeably rotating nicely through the middle. The RR tire was also 25 degrees cooler than previous runs and was now almost equal to the RF tire temperature. The lap times stayed in the 13.80s throughout the next three runs of five laps each. We then decided this test was over in order to save those tires for a test planned for New Smyrna Speedway the next week.
The attitude at Orlando was exactly what we desired and basically what most of the teams s
Dick was very pleased and even amazed at these results. The fact that we came with a totally different and untested setup, were running on the equivalent wheel rate of 1,300 ppi (you have to add the bellows spring wheel rate to the big spring wheel rate since they are in parallel, not in series), a green track and used tires that resulted in being almost two tenths quicker than what he considered the best his car had been in the Friday test. I just wanted to make note here to the readers about the car. This particular car with Dick and other drivers has won numerous races in the past few years at this track and so having him participate in this test with this car was significant and valid. And, Dalton has proven to be a very fast and consistent driver as we have noted.