5250 High Performance Dyno Shop Blog

Dyno Shop | Ready for the Track | not so fast speedracer

[fa icon="calendar"] Jun 8, 2017 10:15:00 AM / by Mike Wiener

Snip20170608_1.pngSo you think after spending big chunks of money on power / suspension upgrades, you now have a race car.

You've modded the engine and now it's putting out 150hp more than stock. You've upgraded the suspension with coilovers and chassis stiffening braces and sway bars. You've fit the widest wheels and tires for the most grip. Your new brakes are HUGE!

  • The race track is a great place to push limits, feel G forces, and have enormous fun that isn’t realistic on the street. There is no comparison.

So that's it, it's a racecar. You're ready to hit the road course and be the fastest guy out there. Well, not so fast. If you were to actually go run some laps, you might find out that all those mods don't do what you expected. Ask yourself the following:

  • Did you build the cooling systems to handle full power pulls for 55% of a lap?
  • Did you upgrade the oil cooler to a real cooler (not the factory one)?
  • Are the brake pads selected for the temperatures of a track day

A race track will always show you where your build falls short, it also shows the quality of your build. You cannot lie to the race track, it will keep you honest. Excuses do not matter, lap times do.

The first issue you might run into is that once you push it (after a few warm up laps) your car overheats. Most engine upgrades don't take into account the high heat loads of sustained track driving. On the street, you'd be lucky to hold the car at full throttle for more than 30 seconds at a time. On a 2+ mile road course, you may spend 1.5 minutes at full throttle per lap.

On the street, you can sustain a speed of 60+ mph, giving the radiator lots of air for cooling. On the track, you alternate between full throttle and full brakes, slowing to 25mph or less. This lower speed and lower airflow doesn't give the engine a chance to cool.

  • Your upgraded engine power puts you into the turns at very high speeds. but you're not worried, you have big brakes and a kick ass suspension.

Well, did you put high temperature brake pads in those calipers? On the street, high brake temperatures means 600 degrees. On the track, 1000-1500 degrees are possible. Our approach is to get temp paint on calipers and rotors to test, vs. ‘it’s good enough’. Every brake system is different, make better choices with good data.

The wrong brakes pads will quickly overheat and fade, you won't slow down enough, and off the track you go. We can match brake pads / rotors to any application.

  • Did you corner balance and properly adjust the dampening settings of those coilovers?

If you didn't, they may actually cause the car to be unbalanced and corner worse than stock. If you're not measuring lateral G forces, you don't know if you've made an improvement or not.

There is such a thing as too much tire. The wider the tire, the more the weight of the car is spread out. One of the factors of grip is the amount of pressure each tire pushes down on the ground with.

  • As you widen a tire, the pounds per square inch decreases. At a certain point, the weight of the vehicle will be spread out far enough that there isn't enough downward pressure for the tire to utilize it's compound. You'll actually lose grip if you go too wide.
  • A wider wheel is also a heavier wheel. Heavy wheels lead to increased unsprung weight which will cause the suspension to work harder and decrease cornering speeds.

Dyno Shop Colorado | As a shop that takes its customers to the track for coaching and testing, ask yourself: If you want to make sure your car will be fun to drive on the track, make sure you use the right components. If you are unsure what these are, we're here to help.

We will work with you to find the right combination of parts to reach your driving goals. In some cases, this may mean getting a different vehicle. A highly modified Subaru might be faster in a straight line than a corvette, but lap after lap, a corvette will be seconds faster, and cooler.

  • Interested in a track day at High Plains Raceway?
  • Interested in getting race car training to be a faster, safer driver?

    What are your goals? Heading to the race track is quite inexpensive these days for some serious lapping. We recommend that if you are going to have serious horsepower, get the rest of your car ready to handle it, it may save your life someday.

Keep it safe & fast

Topics: Building Horsepower

Mike Wiener

Written by Mike Wiener