Track Day 8 - Buttonwillow CW1 and Putting the Hurt on Porsches!

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The next track day with the NC Miata was to take place at Buttonwillow CA. Thus, this would be the first track besides Streets of Willow this car had ever been on and my GF had ever driven the car at.

Modifications going into this track day were two fold:

First: We removed the rather meh Amazon sport seat from the car and installed two sport seats. These seats are of a much higher quality and now allows the passenger to also benefit from the Takata 4 point harnesses we installed. Unfortunately, the seats did increase the occupant height yet another inch from even the Amazon seat, bringing the seat that much higher than the OEM height. Still thought, the seats are vastly superior both in comfort and driver support. Added bonus: The seats look pretty snazzy as well.

Second: I installed hood vents on the car. If anyone asks what's the most shoddy job I've ever done on a car... this would be it. I barely measured and then eye balled the vents into place. Overall, looks good and I think I got pretty luck there. I cut the sections in for the top of the vents no problem, but when it came to cutting through the bottom part of the hood... I just couldn't find any tools that could access it to cleanly cut it... so I used a sawzall.

The hood vents were installed mostly to increase cooling on the car, consequently helping increase it's reliability and durability. This car is about getting my girlfriend and others onto the track, along with serving as a backup car for others. As an added bonus though, this should slightly increase the aerodynamic performance of the car as air entering the engine bay can exit through the top and not the bottom, reducing lift.

How the track day itself went

My girlfriend hopped in the car with an instructor for most of the day, and overall it went pretty good. The instructor was able to be nice and secure with the 4 point ASM setup, and my GF was also quite comfortable and secure in the vehicle as well.

While the lap times my GF set were not exactly record setting, they were fine for a first time driver on this track with under a years experience track driving and driving a manual in general.

Takeaways for the next track day are that my Girlfriend needs to focus on shifting and heel toe pedal operating. She stayed in third gear for most of the track, avoiding going to 4th gear, as her instructor encouraged her not to due to slow shifts and not knowing how to heel toe. This in turn reduced her top speeds which in turn notably dropped her times.

With heel toe shifting in place and being able to shift quicker and with confidence, I would expect her top speeds to increase significantly and consequently her times would also drop.

Modifications wise, the car won't be seeing anything going into the next track day beyond basic maintenance. The front brake pads are likely zapped at this point and in need of replacement. The rear brake pads I would expect to be fine, but since I've got them if they are even remotely close I'll just replace them anyways. Tires are all good on the car and the oil level is fine, so I'll be leaving all of that alone as well.

The only modification I may perform is that I have wheel well vents I can install. This will help reduce lift from the wheel well, and I personally found it helped with brake cooling on my C5 corvette.

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