:. Racing .:. 2005/02/27 - Second Creek
This past Friday, the weather was great, so I took off from work early, and took the Radical out to Second Creek Raceway to shake it down a little bit.
In a word: WOW! *This* is what I always wanted the street cars to be like - what an astonishing amount of speed and grip. The engine is fantastic, and the chassis response is amazing. The thing that'll take the most getting used to is the brakes.
As first outings with a newly rebuilt car go, this one was pretty uneventful - nothing loose, broken, or otherwise, other than the super-leaky tops on the master cylinders (how to fix this?), an apparently dead speed sensor for the Stack dash, and a clutch that wasn't disengaging *quite* all the way on fast downshifts.
Biggest Observation: As it turns out, this "downforce" thing you folks are always talking about actually exists, and boy can you brake harder at speed than you can after slowing down. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way after flatspotting the RF tire - oops. At least it was an old stone at least a year old - no big loss. Been a while since I've driven a non-ABS car...
Biggest Mistake: Not having a fuel gauge can cause a small amount of embarassment when you get caught up chasing the Formula Mazdas (I doubt they were even aware of being chased... ) and run the car out of gas just past the start/finish line...doh. newbie mistake there.
I had a lot of folks tell me that I was going to scare myself silly the first time out on track. Far from it - it was quite the opposite. Whereas the 'vette would feel a bit light and floaty at high speeds, the Radical just settled right in, and you can *really* take some of the higher speed corners at pretty ludicrous rates.
I can't wait to start pushing the envelope even more. It's a delightfully easy car to drive - very easy to catch it when the tail steps out a bit. The Radical differential certailny seems to work pretty well at putting power down out of the slower corners (like Spectator, for those that know the track)
I had the car set up for "maximum understeer", with the softest rear bar setting, lots of wing, and the shocks set down quite soft on bump/rebound - wanted to make sure the day was safe, especially after seeing a Spec Miata do a 2x barrell roll at about 80MPH coming out of Kamikazee .....yikes.
Now I guess the learning curve begins. I think the Second Creek DSR track record is around 1:06 or so, and I had a best of 1:11 on the day, so there's a long ways to go. Biggest gains will be in going faster in the fast corners, I'm sure (there's that downforce thing again...) Should be great fun!
Anyway...just excited to finally be out on track, and it's amazing the kind of fun you can have in these cars. It's going to be a *great* season!