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Took the Maranello to the track

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by Texas Forever, Feb 29, 2004.

  1. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Apr 28, 2003
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    Texas!
    I went to the Italian-Pantera festival at TWS yesterday (pics later) and got some time on the track before the rains came and thought I'd share some driving impressions.

    First, TWS is a very technical track for a converted NASCAR track. For example, Turn 1 consists of a dive off the embankment into a deceasing radius turn that feeds into a very sharp left hand Turn 2. Very interesting. I definitely recommend using an instructor for anyone who hasn't been on the track before. You'll learn all about the Red Box, the Third Pole, the Water Tower, the Black Spot and so forth and so on.

    The Maranello is a hoot once you find its groove. You drive this car just like a motorcycle. Line out on the outside edge, brake hard while standing up, pitch the car towards a late apex, the steer with the throttle all the way to the corner and track out all the way to the outside edge of the exit. You use the entire track in this car. Indeed, the only time the car fought me was when I'd tried to take a tighter line on the exit.

    I'll concede that a 550 is not the best track car. This is instead a long-legged car that was born to run. It has so much torque that it just loves to munch exits. If fact, I was staying in 4th the whole way around the circuit. I wasn't ready to power up to 5th on the straight like Maranelloman, and I didn't really need to drop down to 3rd on the hairpins.

    But, once again, you get this car into a groove on a track where you can really power out of some exits (TWS has three short straights, and one long straight away), it is a lot of fun to drive smooth and fast. In fact, traffic is somewhat of a pain because you have to throttle back and wait till you see daylight and you can run away from people.

    On a side note, this track day has jelled some ideas that have been rolling around my head. Namely, I need to save my high speed driving for the track. But racing an expensive Ferrari doesn't make a lot of sense, at least not financially. There were a bunch of Spec Miates running the track and these folks were having almost more fun than the law allows. Plus, with a drive out price in the $20s, you could wad the entire car for less dollars than what one bad get off in the Maranello would cost. If any of you have any experience with Spec cars, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'm particularly interested in whether there will be a Spec Mini class.

    Also, I'm thinking that I need to go back in time for my street driving. The Maranello is just too damn good. At 3,500 RPM in 6th gear, the motor is just barely ticking over, but you are running 100 mph. Bump up to 4,500 rpm, and you're going 120. From here to 160 in the Maranello is a piece of cake. You could have Granny in the car, and she wouldn't even notice.

    The problem, of course, is that the radar never lies (yeah right). Given the growing aggressiveness of the revenue enhancers, driving this hot rod is gonna cost me some money. Indeed, while I ran the track yesterday afternoon, the rest of the group got busted in mass while doing a run. (I'm told that no animals or Democracts were harmed during the run, but Johnny Law nonetheless was having a bad hair day.)

    So here is what I'm thinking --- (1) Get a Spec car and drive like there is no tomorrow at the track, and (2) Get a vintage Ferrari and have mo fun under 100, than over 100.

    Your Thoughts?

    DrTax
     
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  3. KMS

    KMS Formula Junior
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    Dec 22, 2003
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    Some of the spec cars Ive seen run here at Button Willow and Willow springs are Miata's, old RX 7's, old Nissan z's and old Mustang GT's. I would favor the Ford just because of the V8. I was actually thinking of getting into shifter karts myself.
     
  4. Dave328

    Dave328 Formula 3

    Nov 24, 2002
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    Hey Dale,
    You got a full track day with all hoses intact?!? YEEHAAAAW! ;)

    (Sorry buddy couldn't resist, out cars have mingled fluids after all) LOL!

    Dave
     
  5. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Texas!
    LOL. I hope you used a rubber, Dave!

    Do you ever get out to No Problem raceway very much? I'd be interested in knowing what kind of spec classes they run out there.
     
  6. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Texas!
    Well, I was talking to a guy who promotes Spec Miatas (He, of course, also builds and sells them.) His take was that the Miata class is taking over because (1) It is a cheap car, (2) You can't kill them even if you want to, (3) They handle better than anything else because they have independent rear suspensions, and (4) The better driver wins every time. That is, because it is a momentum car, one mistake, and you're toast.

    But I'd love to hear about anybody else's experiences.

    DrTax
     
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  8. WJHMH

    WJHMH Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Sounds like a blast Dale, Dave has helped me alot with TWS, the Maranelloman is the best person to help you with your driving skills. How did you do on turn 1? Not many folks favorite turns due to the high speed but some like the inside line. I'm still working on it myself. I can't wait for MSR event, little cars rule that course. :)

    Sorry I couldn't make it, just too busy with family. Looking forward to your pics. I'll try to get down there to visit my H twn buddies.

    Be safe.
     
  9. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Texas!

    Well, I was taking it easy in the dry yesterday. First time on this track and whatnot. I doubt that I was doing much more than 110 or so by the end of the straight. In the Mary-Nello, this is a piece of cake.

    I waved off today because of the rain. I don't have that much rain experience in this car and it is heavy and expensive to fix.

    I did see one Viper who was doing maybe 140 wave off at the last second and go onto the oval. He wasn't breaking and apparently didn't feel comfortable pitching that sucker down the embankment. Can't say that I blame him.

    A good friend of mine has been racing Ducatis at TWS for years. He said that he has meet God at Turn 1 several times. Life gets up close and personal on a bike.

    Take Care, Dale
     
  10. GrigioGuy

    GrigioGuy Splenda Daddy
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    Nov 26, 2001
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    Hey DrTax

    Spec Miata info is here: http://specmiata.com/

    Spec RX7 is popular also. Rob, RonR and some others on the board run Spec7 here in Texas. There's a discussion board at http://www.spec7.org

    Both SpecMiata and Spec7 are running at MSR next weekend.
     
  11. Victory

    Victory Formula Junior

    Jan 28, 2004
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    Agree, better be safe than be sorry!!

    Bet you had your fun.
     
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  13. WJHMH

    WJHMH Two Time F1 World Champ
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    I've spun in turn one.
    Guess what, It wasn't fun.

    That track is challage in the rain, I driven it at a EDP RACING event back in January. Turns 4 & 7 can be scary too. (if your running the 2.9 mile course) Also the fun "S" curves tend to flood.
     
  14. mbarr

    mbarr Karting

    Jan 11, 2004
    220
    If you want more speed there is always formula mazda, or if you want fenders and a V8 there is the Panoz which is what I run and is a blast. Not very expensive to fix and very easy to work on. I ran the first motor for two full seasons w/o rebuild.
    Matt
     
  15. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    7,057
    There are about as many lines through T1 and T2 as there are drivers. One line, through, exits the banking rather low right after the end of the pit lane barrier. This gets rid of all the chassis movements. Then light braking all the way across the flat while steering in a big decreasing arc, such that you scrub down from 150 to 93 while balancing the car and avoiding the grass out near the orange rectangle. You should be back on maintance throttle by now. I find the F355 about 3 feet off the edge of the track here. Do this right and you can progressively add throttle all the way into apex and use all the FIA strip at track-out. I take this whole turn and the next straight in 4th gear, I would be running out of gear between apex and trackout in 3rd with full cornering in process.

    Yes, indeedie, save the stupidly fast stuff for the track.
     
  16. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    I don't know if the 100% fastest line, but what I need is consistency lap after lap. Finding a far off tower for me isn't entirely consistent. TWS T1 I use the pit out merge line. I take a mid-high line off the bank and turn in so my left side is on that merge line. As that line disappears I track out to the outside and about then I'm back on the gas through T2 into T3.

    I've already told you what I think, which is Spec Miata if you want to race. If you just want a good track car to have fun, that could be driven on the street (insured), and also raced, then I would consider a Factory Five cobra. Not too expensive and you can race it with both SCCA and NASA.

    FC user Mark McKenzie and his dad have a couple of them. Here are videos from our dyno run, if this doesn't get you excited, then nothing will. :)

    http://www.ferrarichat.com/videos/mark348dyno.mpg (310 RWHP)

    http://www.ferrarichat.com/videos/markcobradyno.mpg (400 RWHP)

    If you're racing I don't recommend anything but a spec car to start as you want to concentrate on driving, not wrenching. I don't recommend formula cars either because there's still quite a bit of "setup" wrenching and the G's are really hard on you.

    Glad you got the 550 on the track, sounds like a blast.
     
  17. yesod

    yesod Formula Junior

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  18. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Texas!
    I assume that this is a SCCA formula class? Might be a bit much for a beginner like me. Interesting though because they had a Panoz at this meet. First one I have seen live. It was black and the guy was asking $35K for the car. How do these cars handle? It looked a little high for a track car is why I'm asking.

    Thx, DrTax
     
  19. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    My instructor told me that they deliberately teach everybody very late apexs around TWS, except for T12. (This is also where they put the cones.) He said that most Green drives naturally apex too early which means that they tend to run out of real estate on the track out. Apparantly, this is particularly true at TWS.

    What do you think about the T7-T8-T9-10-T11 series? This looks like where time is really lost or won because they set you for the last series before the straight.

    Thx DrTax
     
  20. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    You might be interested in knowing that Mandy had her challenge car out today getting some rain practice. This is exactly the line she was taking. Interesting enough, it is the same line that the bike racers take.


    Rob, you need to get over this thing of thinking that people actually listen to what you say. :) Actually, my instructor heads up the ALARA company where they do turnkey "arrive and drive" deals. Sounds like the ticket for an old fart like me.

    However, I'm wondering if anyone is going to start a Mini S spec series. These cars are like overpowered go karts, and I'm thinking they might be more fun than the Miatas. I think the Miatas are roughly 100 HP, and the Mini S approaches 200 HP.


    Yeah, the DE events are the probably the best for this car. Hitting traffic gets you off your groove. My instructor said that some cars are swords and some are boardswords like the Maranello. As long as you can safely use all the track, it really rocks. But if you have to zig and zag, ah, that's beyond my abilities at this time. It really makes me admire those cars who race them. I realize that the racing version is so much different from mine. But they still are big cars. Kinda like Smoking Joe Frazier (a Maranello) versus Ali (A 360).

    When are you coming down here again?

    DrTax

    ps I'm working on it. I'm working on it. :)
     
  21. mbarr

    mbarr Karting

    Jan 11, 2004
    220
    http://www.panozauto.com) Esparante GTS. It has ben placed in the SCCA GT2 class and will smoke a challenge car (the ones I raced against). Approx. 450hp with a weight of 2800 lbs(w/o driver). The cars will turn a low 1:50 or high 1:40 on the long track @ TWS and a 1:12/1:13 on the short track. Most cars that are raced have been lowered.

    Matt
     
  22. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Oh, okay, I get it now. What I saw today was the roadster. That GTS is one mean looking machine. Wow, 1:50 on the 2.9. Friends, that's moving.

    Thx
     
  23. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    That's really good news, the car wasn't competitive in GT1. Yes, much faster than a 355 C at 1:54-:56. I think the 360 C's are under 1:50.
     
  24. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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  25. mbarr

    mbarr Karting

    Jan 11, 2004
    220
    Sure would like to run one of those 360 c. Maybe the one on Ebay will do!
    Matt
     
  26. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
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    RIght, the line I gave is for the mature yellow or beginning red drivers; blue and green should concentrate on getting around the track.

    Long track 2.9 T7-T11:
    When you finally comit to T7 you find yourself carrying so much speed you invariably miss the braking zone for T8 (first couple of dozen times). Anyway, Braking on the outside you want to peel into T8 such that you end up parrallel to the road 30-40 yeard befor the balck box. I turn into T9 just before the black box (6 feet?) and use all the apex concrete patch in T9 and carry a nice arc through T9 and into the setup for T10. Braking heavily just before the rise then lighter after the rise into T10, I hug the inside of T10 and fiddle with the throttle to get the rear tires where I want while getting the front pointing on the line into T11. In my F355, there is a particulat throttle setting in T10, any more induces oversteer, any less also induces oversteer.

    Short track 1.8 T7-T11:
    You enter T7 (carrosell) on maintanence throttle (after a short stab at the gas between T6 and T7) and try to get the car to parallel with the FIA strip at the exit of T7 feeding in some throttle from 3/4 through T7, you are fully throttled as you flick the car left through T8. I run out of revs right at the end of the T8 FIA strip and do a lazy upshift into 4th. This carries me into T9 without a lift with a deliberate line into the gravity cavity and just barely staying on the road before braking into T10. T10 is very late apex parrallel and right on the FIA strip. I like to carry more speed through T11 than most. IN T12 the trick is to use all the flat just before it converges back into the banking to shoot yourself down the straight not up the banking. Its both faster and less disruptive to the suspension.

    Time is made in 3 places at TWS long track), a) carrying all the speed off the banking and across the flat in T1, b) carring all the speed that is possible into T7 (long track) and c) carriying all the speed possible into T12 (T9 short track), d) exiting T15 with all the speed T13-T14-T15 can carry. Do none of these but drive a good line and you end up in the 2:13-2:15 range, do these and drive a good line and yo end up in the 2:03 range on street tires.
     
  27. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Texas!
    Mitch, it certainly sounds like you have spent a lot of time going around and around TWS! I don't have that much track experience, but it sure seems like TWS is a very interesting track. My goal is to get to where I can put together 5 perfect laps on the Green line AND watch the corner workers at the same time.

    Driving the Mary-Nello around TWS is like square dancing... swing your partner round and round. Hitting a late apex and tracking ALL the way out feels so right in this car.

    For example, in T10, my instructor - Alara, had me braking hard on the outside edge and then pitching in for a very late apex so that I could feather the throttle to end up on the right edge of T11 and then gun it into T11 for a rocket ride down to T12. Take an early apex in T12. Run to a very late apex to T13 and and then steady power on through T14 and T15 where the beast just loved to munch some real estate. Ah, torque is God!

    Take Care, Dale
     
  28. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Apr 28, 2003
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    Texas!
    Will, care to share what where you driving and what line you took? Or is this the stuff of nightmares?

    Thx Dale

    ps How is FW working out? Is your mom okay?
     

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