Version 2 S2000 Rear Brake Ducts Are Live!!

After customer feedback and over two years of track testing on 100+ S2000s, I have updated the design of the S2000 rear brake ducts. Upgrades include:

  • Over 25mm slimmer than the old design. This will make them last dropping a wheel in the dirt or having a 4off situation.

  • Underbody seal which makes the lid unnecessary. Having the duct fully sealed helps extract full performance and negates losses

  • Improved strength. The cross section is now thicker and grain direction has been reversed to go against where most failures occured

  • Less parts so duct is now lighter and easier to produce/install

Version 1 rear brake duct owners get 50% off when upgrading. Email me for discount code.

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Old vs. new

Old vs. new

Installed view showing the slim profile

Installed view showing the slim profile

Installed view showing duct routing

Installed view showing duct routing

Baero BBK Do-It-Yourself Wilwood Kit - Group Buy

A few S2000 forum members have reached out to me to develop a DIY BBK kit for our S2000. I have done with for a few cars already in the past so I know the logistics of making it happen. For the money it is a great kit and gives the power to the consumer. Many companies make a profit by operating as the middle man, so that would be eliminated and transferred to you.

In order to make a batch, we need a group of 10 people to get pricing to work. A set of rotor hats and brackets would be provided, then you would piece the rest of the kit together. The rotor hats and hardware are $400 for a set. This includes mounting hardware. The kit would work as a pre-order so payment will be required up front. Since this requires a large batch to get good pricing, this kit will not be for sale on my website full-time, but offered as a one-time batch.

This kit is designed for the following parts:

Calipers: Wilwood Forged Superlite - $350 - https://www.summitracing.com/parts/wil-120-11130

Brake Lines: Wilwood Brake Line Kit - $73 - https://www.summitracing.com/parts/WIL-220-9199/

Rotor Rings: AP Racing 325x32mm Rotors - $500 - https://www.essexparts.com/ap-racing-j-hook-rings-32532LH ; https://www.essexparts.com/ap-racing-j-hook-rings-32532

Rotor Hat Hardware - AP Racing - $50 - https://www.essexparts.com/10bolt-disc-hardware-kit

Pads - Hawk DTC60 (as an example) - $153 - https://www.ebay.com/itm/Hawk-DTC-60-Disc-Brake-Pads-HB521G-800/182281914687?epid=220194371&hash=item2a70d9493f:g:OAYAAOSwYIxX2e7X

By buying the consumable parts yourself, this kit is ~$500 cheaper than comparable sets on the market. This is the kit I have ran for over 10 years on numerous cars and it works flawlessly. I am on the end of year 2 on the same set of rotor rings (~60 track days so far). I just changed my pads for the first time in 2 years. Wilwood uses a 20mm pad shape which is super common. They last a long time and are really cheap. I use the 1.38" piston diameter calipers, but the beauty of this kit is you can buy the bigger pistons if it suits your platform better.

The rotor hat and bracket will be made of 6061-T651 aluminum. The bracket will have helicoils installed so you don't have to worry about ruining the threads with steel bolts. 

Group buy slots:

1.

2. hawkeyegeoff

3. jlee

4. spaded_racer

5. ncrx

6. nate_tempest

7. joey_nguyen

8. mpoganski

9. Zer0ne

10. nb12

Assembly view with Wilwood Superlite Caliper and 325mm Rotor:

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3D Model of Mounting Bracket:

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3D model of Rotor Hat:

Rotor Hat.JPG

If you’re interested or have any questions, feel free to comment or email me directly!

ApexPro Track Coach Review

I recently reached out to ApexPro to try/rent their driving coach and wanted to provide my thoughts. Just as a disclaimer, they are not paying me to do this review nor do I have any affiliation with them whatsoever. I just want to improve as a driver any way I can and have seen numerous guys at NASA events that run them. I have used it for a total of 3 track days, all at Gingerman Raceway, and all with the same car setup. I’m going to divide the review into three segmants: hardware, software, on-track - followed by my overall review with suggestions.

What I am mainly using as a comparison is my AIM Solo2 since that is what I use as a lap-timer and data-logger.

Hardware:

Being a mechanical engineer by trade, the first thing that I noticed was the hardware. In pictures it doesn’t look anything special since it’s just a rectangle with lights, but in person it’s actually a pretty impressive piece. The button on the side is very easy to use and just requires a simple click. I did not have a hard time turning it off/on while on grid and wearing my driving gloves. GoPro cameras can learn from this on how difficult they are to function when you’re all strapped up.

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By far my favorite feature of the entire package is the quick release mount they use. Maybe other products use this and I’m just out of the loop but I haven’t seen it before. It magnetically sits into the two rods and is very easy to remove and reinstall, while keeping a firm grasp. This is something I wish both my GoPro and Aim Solo 2 used. I freaking love this mount!

Software:

The software is where I have the majority of my pros and cons. I’ll start with the good. First and foremost, it is very easy to get setup and ready to go. Once the mount is on the dash or windshield (windshield mount included) then the last step is just opening the ApexPro app and calibrating the device. This only takes a couple of seconds. It recognizes the track automatically and faster than both Harrys, Racechrono, and my AIM Solo do.

You can setup a profile so that you can track your best times with online leaderboards and brag to your friends. This is becoming a popular feature with other laptimers so it’s nice that it’s included.

Google image to show an example.

Google image to show an example.

I grabbed a screenshot from Google to show what the phone recorded data looks like. It gives you an overall score on your session, along with standard laptimer features.

The session review software is VERY easy to use and much more intuitive than others that I have used. It took me a little time to know how to use my AIM Solo software and requires my laptop to come with, or that I look at data post track day. It was nice to be able to see my data right after a session and take that knowledge with me to my next session. I know I can have this if I bring my laptop but I like to bring as little as possible to a track day. I was very impressed by this and believe that they should advertise this part of their product a little more.

Now onto the bag things about the software, and this won’t relate to everyone. The app is iOS only, so no desktop or Android support (for now at least). While this won’t affect everyone, it did affect me. I had to borrow an iPhone from a friend (reason why I grabbed a Google image above) in order to datalog. You can still use the lights on track without datalogging, but it does not record any data without the phone. This is a bummer for me because I am not willing to buy another device that I have to charge/bring with me to a track day, and there is no way I will switch to iOS. They are a fairly new company so I hope Android or desktop support comes down the line, but this was a major pitfall for me.

On-Track:

My first time out with the ApexPro installed I forgot all about it. I am a very audible person and didn’t register the lights at first. As you can see below I have it mounted to the left of my steering wheel where I have an A-pillar blind spot. I have a shift beeper installed and rarely look at my gauges, speedo, tach. I usually rely only on sound, therefore it took some getting used to.

Once I made a more conscious effort I started to notice the benefits. It was pretty cool seeing a visual indicator whenever I would push a brake zone, or when I would carry more speed into a corner, etc. It took a few laps to calibrate itself to my driving but after that it was pretty accurate. It also took a few sessions for me to understand what lights before, during, and after a corner meant and I had to refer to their guide a few times before I got it all. It’s a pretty sophisticated tool and really does help.

Usually I get this feedback from the car or the +/- on my AIM Solo and it was pretty in sync with both of those options. The light colors and brightnesses are customization to your preference. I could definitely see this allowing you to improve as a driver, especially if you want instant feedback. Morning sessions are usually the fastest so having feedback for the later/hotter sessions isn’t very useful sometimes.

I was using a used unit, but the battery did die on me. I had it fully charged before the weekend and it died after four sessions. I would turn it on at grid and off once I turned the car off, so about 100 minutes of driving time. That was a little disappointing since I did not have the means to charge it and had to resort to not using it for the rest of the weekend. For comparison, my AIM Solo2 was at 65% of charge during the same usage period. I usually charge the Solo2 before a track weekend and never touch it again. I also have a hardwired charger in the car for emergencies, so I would have to do the same for the ApexPro.

Overall Impression:

In conclusion, I would both recommend and not recommend the unit depending on your personal situation. If you do not currently have a dedicated lap-timer and own an iPhone, then I would recommend getting this unit. The price seems steep at first, but it does have value. It will give you tips on how to improve real time, and those tips are accurate. The datalogging feature seems like the best I have seen thus far, and the social aspects make it even more fun.

If you do not have an iPhone or already own an AIM Solo or something similar, then I don’t think the Apex Pro offers enough to justify the cost. Without the datalogging, there isn’t much meat to justify the cost. Then if you own an AIM Solo, like in my case, it does a lot of the same things, but by using two different devices. I like as little things as possible as everything needs to be charged, setup before a session, and monitored. I think their way forward should be having a timing display below the lights and packaging it into one unit. Then I could just replace my AIM Solo, but I am not going to go back to running both a phone and the APEX Pro.

I hope this is helpful and helps on your purchase. If you have any questions, feel free to post or reach out to me.

FR-S vs. S2000 Track Review

I finally got around to taking my daily driver Scion FR-S to a track day. This car is regularly compared to the S2000 so I figured I would give my thoughts/opinions on how the two compare and which is the better car. Initially I thought I would compare the two only on track, but I want to give my insight on how both fare as a daily driver as well.

I have owned my AP1 S2000 since 2011 and daily drove it completely stock for at least 5 years. I tracked and autocrossed it stock as well so I think I have a fair gauge on it’s capabilities. I also took the car to the Tail of the Dragon several times. This past weekend at NYST S2KTakeover I also drove my student’s stock AP2 and it really reminded me of just how capable these cars were stock.

Here is a picture of my car at the dragon from 2014.

The FR-S I bought around a year ago now. It currently has 30,000 miles and is a 2014 model. It only has one modification on it being Feal 441+ Coilovers. I bought the car with lowering springs installed so I swapped them out for the coilovers. Other than that, the car is completely stock. Tires were 245/40/17 square Hankook V12 Evo’s and Powerstop track day pads.

The track day I attended with the FR-S was at NASA Mid-Ohio, running in the HPDE4 group. It is quite obvious that the car lacks power compared to the S2000, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is not capable. My initial reaction was how easily the car was to drive. I’m used to the S2000 being super edgy and on rails, but this was quite the opposite. The car definitely tends to understeer, whereas I don’t think I’ve ever felt understeer on my S2000. I felt push on almost every corner, except the sweeping turn 1 and turn 11 being high speed corners. The car definitely started to rotate a bit more at high speeds, which is the opposite of what my driving style likes. I prefer low speed oversteer and high speed understeer if I could have my choice.

The steering feedback is better in the FR-S, which makes sense since it’s a decade newer. The stock seats were also very capable and I never felt like I was moving around a lot. I have a Sparco Circuit in the S2000 so I was expecting to feel like I would barrel around. The stock brakes were also awesome. I had ATE 200 fluid and Powerstop pads installed, and I only felt fade at the end of sessions. Mid-Ohio also only really has one tough braking zone so I’m not sure if I could give an accurate review of the brakes at this point. From what I felt, they seem very capable and do not need to be upgraded.

Being a momentum car, the car did feel slow on any sort of straight-away. However, the S2000 has never felt like it needed more power to me. I find it to be the perfect blend of speed. It’s fast enough to be able to embarrass other cars, but slow enough that it’s not going to get you killed if you run out of talent. I find the FR-S to be slightly outside of that fast enough threshold and do wish it had a little bit more to give.

Here are some sweet track shots:

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With all that said, I was super surprised that I did a 1:47.x with the FR-S. The TT5 winning times were in the 1:40ish range and I am sure I could have done that if I was also on Hoosiers and actually prepped the car. When I got home I immediately ordered new sway bars to be able to adjust the balance. If I could dial out some of the understeer and get this car to rotate it would be a monster.

I may be a bit biased being a diehard S2000 fan, but I do find the S2000 more fun in almost every way. On track it is way more fun, but also much harder to drive fast. On the street it is way more fun since it is a convertible, but also much louder. The gearing on the FR-S is also much better suited for a daily driver. It feels snappy and has low-end torque. I am a big ND Miata fan and am already planning on how to get on in the garage, only for the reasons that I like to daily drive a convertible.

The one big thing that I think the FR-S has over the S2000 is the back seats. I am a roadster guy through and through. I never have people in my backseats, but the ability to bring an extra set of tires to the track is HUGE. I have Hoosiers at home for the S2000, but still haven’t run them because I don’t have a way to transport them to the track (I don’t have a truck/trailer). I fit 4 loose tires and 4 loose wheels in the FR-S without even touching my driver’s seat. I can fit 4 track wheels, my jack, tools, and luggage for a track weekend in the FR-S without compromising me or the passenger. I am very envious of that fact and I think it is a big thing to consider if you’re cross shopping these cars.

Both are awesome cars. If I could have one, it would take me about 2 seconds to pick the S2000, but the FR-S is truly great and I love it as a daily/occasional track car. Here’s a video of one of my laps from Mid-Ohio for you guys to enjoy.

Voltex Type 7 Baseline Results

I’ve had a few guys ask me to run analysis on the Voltex Type 7 wing as it’s really hard to find CFD data online. Finally, I’ve had some spare time to actually work on this and the results are actually pretty good. The plots also show that there could be significant improvement from better endplates. You can see the pressure leaking out by the small endplates in the surface plots.

The main credit for this has to go to Rick and his beautiful NASA ST4/TT4 S2000. He provides all of the measurements and photos I needed to model up the wing. The analysis is mainly to improve the performance of his car as he gets ready for the upcoming season. I can’t wait to see what the actual track data will show and his impressions.

Also, fair warning, I only worked on the baseline results tonight and decided to post ahead of time. I haven’t started actual endplate development yet, but the hard part is done!

Customer car the endplates are being designed for

Customer car the endplates are being designed for

First thing I’ll go over is the model generation. I got hand measurements from Rick and tracings of the airfoil, endplates, and mounting holes. With this I generated my 3D model, as seen below.

Model.PNG

As for the gurney, a potential customer was very curious if a gurney would be beneficial for this wing. Voltex sells an optional gurney, but does not provide data. Kind of weird if you ask me, but whatever. I couldn’t even find a picture of the product they sell. So what I did was just added a vertical 7mm gurney to the wing.

I guess now I can dive into the numbers. I am going to post plots of the downforce vs. speed/AOA, as well as drag and L/D for the same parameters. I only ran the gurney at 0 AOA, but at the various speeds. The plan was to run more if the results were promising, but I think we can agree that it’s better to just leave it off.

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As you can see, the increase of AOA results in a pretty linear increase in the three parameters. The wing is definitely more efficient at lower angles of attack as can be expected. The performance of the gurney isn’t so hot, however. I would pass on that option.

I was surprised the wing produces more downforce than the 9Lives wing, although it is not as efficient.

Here are some other plots of the results, including the cut plots, surface plots, and the streamline.

Cut plot at the center of the wing.

Cut plot at the center of the wing.

Surface plot of the pressures. I think bigger endplates will serve this wing nicely.

Surface plot of the pressures. I think bigger endplates will serve this wing nicely.

Flow trajectory through the wing.

Flow trajectory through the wing.

Sometime in the next two weeks I’d like to be able to release my endplates for preorder. My goal is to be able to reach 10AOA efficiency at 0 AOA with my endplates installed. I have a feeling this wing will react well to trapping more of the high pressure air on top of the wing. It seems like it is leaking out a bit and reducing downforce. I plan on rerunning with the gurney and new endplates as well. The trailing edge isn’t seeing much pressure so maybe the gurney will be more useful with different endplates. Right now it is a little above the endplate itself.

Stay tuned!

How to get into SimRacing!

I’ve gotten several requests to detail my SimRacing setup so I thought I’d create an informative piece on how to get started. Before I begin, I spent a lot of money on this setup. That doesn’t mean you have to match it, this is just what I thought was the best for the money and met my requisites. It is neither the cheapest nor the most expensive setup on the market, but in my opinion it’s the best.

First thing to get started is what system(s) you would like to build this for. If you’d like to play on PS4 or XB1, it’s much cheaper, but you do sacrifice some of the higher end perks such as high frame rate (kind of needed for racing games), VR, and triple monitor support. However, the main drawback to consoles is the game selection. They have Forza, GT, and others, but PC really shines because of mod support. One of my goals is to practice tracks that I will actually race on. Forza is the only console option that has Sebring, VIR, Road Atlanta, and most other US tracks, but the physics in the game are pale compared to others. Right now I am racing with Assetto Corsa, which has all of those tracks available through user created mods. I am mainly practicing Mid-Ohio for NASA this year. Once I get a little more serious I’ll look into iRacing.

Once you decide your system, then decide on a cockpit. For this choice, I’m going to go out on a limb and say there is not a single product better than what I’m going to recommend: GT Omega Cockpit.

The one I bought is here.

I got the top of the line Supreme cockpit with the RS9 seat. You can save some cash by going with the RS6 seat and with a single monitor if you’re using it with your TV or VR. I am doubling down this cockpit as my computer desk, so I went 3 monitors. I did some searching online and there is nothing of this quality in the $700 range. This includes tax, shipping, the seat, and everything seen in my pictures. It is predrilled for almost all setups on the market so installation is easy. When I was putting it together I frequently couldn’t figure out how they’re making any money. Everything is steel, powdercoated, and hand welded. It’s expertly designed in ways that allow easy installation and adjustment. They’ve really thought of everything on this one. It has extensions for tall people as well. In the standard configuration I (5’11”) and my girlfriend (5’5”) was able to sit comfortably with the pedals and wheel. I’ll explain some more of the features individually in the pictures.

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Overview of my entire setup. The posts behind the seats are for computer speakers, which I have not gotten yet. The shifter can mount on either RHD or LHD sides. It’s a very modular setup with easy configuration. You can also pass on the monitor stand if you’re putting this in front of a TV.

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The keyboard drawer slides/rotates out of the way when racing, but can be brought back quickly when in PC mode. At the top left of the picture, that is a static shelf for a main speaker.

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Rear view of the monitor stand. Everything looks complicated, but it can be broken down quite easily and without any tools. I wouldn’t be worried about moving this if I were to move again.

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The seat has a slider and recliner just like a regular seat would. Both work very well. The seat is a really nice vinyl. Looking at the back of the seat, a lot is made of hand turn setscrews so it’s really easy to take apart and readjust without tools. Top right corner shows the cupholder, not even my S2000 has that!

All in all I very much recommend this cockpit. I don’t think there is a better one for the money. Please send me the link if you find one.

Now I’ll get started on the electronics. This is where things get a little complicated as there a multiple manufacturers and options. Before I dive in, when you nail down what you plan on buying, look on your local classifieds and see if anyone is selling. These things are like treadmills where half of the people buy and never use it. It’s an easy way to save some money.

From my research the quality goes Logitech -> Thrustmaster -> Fanatec. Fanatec is by far the best stuff on the market, but pricey for sure. I tend to buy higher end stuff so I went Fanatec. I wanted something as close to a real car as possible as I want to practice during off weeks.

What I ended up buying was the Fanatec CSL Elite bundle (S700) found here. I bought the PS4 F1 version as I wanted the option to play on my PS4 if the need arrived, but I doubt I will ever do that. One thing to make sure to buy is something with the loadcell equipped. This makes braking very realistic and you have to actually stomp the pedal. For a little more money, you can piece the CSL wheel and the Clubsport V3 pedals, which are superior. If I were to start over, I would go that route over buying the CSL kit with the added loadcell upgrade. This is the upper middle class of racing wheel setups before getting into the $1k+ range. The force feedback is very realistic as is the wheel weight. It changes for every car and road surface. Going over rumble strips will shake your soul just as in real life. It’s a really top class setup and I have no regrets going this route. I went with the F1 wheel because I’m a F1 fanboy, but the circular wheel works just as well. They are swappable should you want a few.

If you have a quick release on your wheel you’ll know exactly how to operate this setup. Everything is expertly constructed and metallic. There is a reason this stuff is this price, it’s not your average plastics. The wheel is real suede, just as my Personal wheel in the car.

Here are the pedals with the loadcell kit. The bushings are replaceable so you can fine tune your brake pressure. Everything is machined aluminum, then powdercoated.

I also bought the Fanatec shifter. This might be my favorite piece of the setup. Paddles are included in the wheels, but I like to practice rowing gears and heel/toe. This thing is incredibly high quality. Metal gates, push down for reverse and 7th gear. It comes with not one but two real aluminum shifters. I plan on putting the taller one in my S2000 as I’ve been looking for something taller anyways. The shifter turns into a sequential with the flip of a switch and also has adjustable shifter tension.

To give an account of how realistic this is, my girlfriend is using the setup to learn how to drive stick. You can stall, and the wheel shudders as the car would when you’re not smooth enough. This would’ve been awesome when I was 16. In the short time I’ve had this, I have already gotten much better at heel/toe. I had it down on the S2000 but would have some trouble in cars I wasn’t familiar with. I can now do it on demand even driving around town. Highly recommend adding this to your setup ($200).

Comes with two anodized aluminum shift knobs. Really makes you appreciate the price as that is $100 alone.

Shifter 2.jpg

With the turn of the knob you can change the height of the shifter position and slide it futher toward/away from you. This is great for having friends over and everyone being comfortable.

The final thing I want to go over is if you want to get into VR. I think this adds a great dimension to the setup and I really enjoy it. It’s not perfect since racing has such fast frames, but it’s a nice to have. It’s an easy way to entertain guests as well. The current requirement is a GTX 1060 graphics card. I run a GTX 1080 so I would recommend getting something a little future proof. I am using a Microsoft developmental VR headset, but if I were to buy I would get an Oculus. The sensors/controllers aren’t needed for racing games. Here is a video of me playing in VR:

If you have any further questions feel free to comment or email me directly. I usually research like crazy before buying so I have a lot of knowledge stored up. If my article helped in your purchase, please comment with the setup you decided on and why. Knowledge sharing will benefit us all!

Happy (sim)racing from Baero!

9 Lives Wing vs. The Competition

This past season I decided to change my APR GTC200 wing for the 9 Lives Racing version. My main reasons were the extra supports on the trunk, to be able to get increased downforce, and because I was pretty bored! Finally, I have had the time to run the same analysis on this wing as I did on the APR and Voltex wings.

This was done using the same setup. 0 angle of attack, 100MPH condition. Just the wing and endplates for all cases. All done on the same computer, using the same file. I want a direct comparison between the 3 without any extra variables. Everything was done to scale. This is for the 68” version of the 9 Lives wing.

Just as I suspected, it produces much more downforce than the others. Here are a few snips that I took, the first being a cut plot right in the middle of the wing showing pressure distribution.

The stock endplates are actually decent vortex generators. I can tell from the cutplot they are actually a little too small and could be positioned better. Some 3D endplates would go really well with this wing, but most organizations won’t allow it.

Here are a few graphs to showing my overall results. I included stock APR and Voltex, plus versions with Baero endplates in comparison to the 9Lives wing.

Same plot, except showing drag. If this was done on a full model, the 9Lives would do better than the others since it is in higher, cleaner air. Also, it is the only 2-D wing of the bunch. Even so, being on par with that much more downforce is impressive.

Drag Compare.JPG

Lift/Drag efficiency plot:

As you can tell I left a Baero 9Lives position wide open. I want to contact 9 Lives first and see if they are okay with me producing endplates for their wing, as I know they have other suppliers that do that sort of thing for them. Regardless, I will be making some for my own car, so stay tuned for results!

Update on Baero + Happy Holidays!

First and foremost I’d like to apologize for the lack of updates. I’ve had a few people ask for news on the 917 car and the shop. Don’t worry, they’re not going anywhere, sort of. Turns out I am moving from Orlando, FL to Detroit, MI. That’s right, motor city! Thanks to this site and all of my great friends/supporters/customers I was offered a position at Pratt&Miller as an Aero Engineer for their Corvette racing program. It is well and truly my dream job that I’ve wanted since I was a young teen. Therefore, orders for the next 1-2 weeks will be slightly delayed, but I definitely try and get them out ASAP. I want you guys ready for the 2019 season!

I’ve already learned a ton from my short time there and I can’t wait to be able to incorporate that knowledge on the 917 S2000 and offer even cooler parts for our cars. I already have some under splitter diffusers in the works. Since I installed the 9lives racing wing I have been lacking some front end grip. I could dial out some front sway bar, but my goal is to keep adding front grip to neutralize the car. Front dive planes and more will be added to the front splitter diffusers. I can’t wait to be able to share these products with you all! Give me a few weeks to get settled and I’ll be able to publish my results. I even got a better rig now, so the complexity will get much more serious!

I would also like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, whatever! Take this time to really enjoy spending time with your family and friends. My move has definitely put a lot of things in perspective for me and really appreciate the people around me. As independent as I am, I wouldn’t be who or where I am today without them. It sounds cheesy, but customer support really does make a difference to small business owners like myself. There is nothing cooler than showing up to an event and seeing someone sporting my stickers or rocking my products. It is a truly humbling experience and I would like to thank you all for everything.

Make 2019 even faster!

Hand drawn version of my car from CarSplashART. Great prices and great results!

Hand drawn version of my car from CarSplashART. Great prices and great results!

VIR with NASA Mid-Atlantic

Sorry for the late update everyone, it's just been a really hectic month. I made the treck from Orlando to Virginia for the August 25/26 VIR event with NASA MA. I am trying to knock out all of my favorite childhood tracks one by one! PS: wait until you see which one is next.

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I don't own a truck/trailer so I had to drive the S2000 up. I was a little bit worried of the 10hr drive because the car isn't very comfortable at this point. The loud Tomei exhaust coupled with a Sparco containment seat aren't fun for long periods of time. However, as we began the trek, it actually wasn't that terrible. The excitement began to set in and time ended up flying by.

 I installed the Tomei silencer, which made the car as quiet as stock, but I think that's the issue for what's to come. For some reason, with the silencer installed the car would not engage VTEC. It would just sit at that RPM and burble. Removing the silencer proved that to be the problem because suddenly VTEC was back.

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Once at the track though, all of those struggles were forgotten. Even disregarding the track, VIR is gorgeous. Everything was a lucious green, the weather was beautiful, and the people as friendly as ever. Even if I wasn't driving I wish I could go back and soak it all in again. 

The track itself was tricky during my first session. A Mustang owner wrecked so it got cut short after only a handful of laps. It took me 2-3 sessions in order to get my bearings on the line, but after that I was doing pretty well. I spent a lot of the weekend giving ridealongs to others that made the trip with us so I don't have any accurate representation of my pace. I was complaining about power loss to my friends because the car was going in and out of VTEC and the engagement point would change from lap to lap. With all that said, I managed a 2:18:x with passenger and loss of power. I don't think that's too bad for my first time there! 

 However, late Sunday evening things suddenly went South. I was out on my recon lap when I had no VTEC at all on the back straight. Going about 110MPH and the car would not accelerate. Couple seconds later and BOOM! Oil everywhere, smoke everywhere, metal chunks flying in my rearview mirror and the car turns off. I park on the side of the grass and have to be towed to the pits. My 185k AP1 block finally gave way.

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When tearing apart the motor, I believe the issue to be a failed rocker. The VTEC rocker on intake cylinder #3 had sheared. Therefore, I only had VTEC on three cylinders (hence me complaining about my power loss). That coupled with me continuing driving the car led to the failure. 

 However, a month later and I'm back on the road! This time with a good condition F22! I opted to keep my AP1 transmission as that combo sounds really enticing to me. Keep and eye out for a Sebring post next month to hear my thoughts!

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If you guys want a tutorial on how to do a motor swap on this car let me know and I will make one. It actually isn't too bad when you know what to do.

Voltex/J's Racing Endplates

After the success of the Baero APR custom endplates, I've been asked to repeat the study for Voltex Type 2 / J's Type 1 wings. I first started out by getting a template of the airfoil and endplate from a friend (Thanks Steve!). I used this to create a CAD model ready to be able to start my CFD analysis.

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The first thing I wanted to do was analyze the stock wing. This not only gives a benchmark to compare results to but also I was curious how it performed compared to the APR wing. The Voltex airfoil is definitely more efficient, but it does not produce the same downforce as a 3D APR wing, as expected. Below I will plot the surface plot and air trajectory on the stock wing, but I'll summarize the numerical results at the end. All results were done at 100MPH and 0 angle of attack.

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Just looking at the surface plot on the leading edge it's obvious this wing will respond well to a more aggressive angle of attack. There is a big high pressure zone that I would want to relocate to the top surface of the airfoil by adjusting the AOA. This will add a little bit of drag but the tradeoff will be worth it.

Next I added my Baero APR endplates to the mix. I really wanted to make the same shape work to be able to benefit from lowering manufacturing costs, but it would not have it. They performed terribly. The Voltex wing did not like the notch at the top and the 12"x12" size was not performing well.

I then started with a base 12"x12" endplate and maneuvered it every which way to get optimal placement. Downforce spiked, but so did drag. The good news is this showed me I was able to scavenge more downforce from this wing. I then began to adjust the shape to be able to keep my downforce but reduce the drag levels. Here are the plots of the final wing design:

The results of the new endplates ended up even better than I expected. Downforce was increased by ~33%, drag by only ~3%, and a whopping ~30% increase in efficiency. Here are the final charts to show a few different results I got. These will be added to my shop very soon!

Palm Beach with NASA

Less than a month before I blew the cylinder head at Sebring I was able to attend another NASA event - Palm Beach International Raceway (PBIR). I was a little worried before the weekend because I barely got to drive the car and test it out. I ended up installing a mint AP2 head onto my AP1 block, but while I was in there I did a new Koyo radiator and upgraded to head studs. A couple little things were added too: like a catch can so I don't smoke screen people and I did the throttle body coolant bypass.

It turns out my worries were a little exaggerated as the car performed flawlessly. I drove 3 hrs down to the track, did 8 total sessions over the weekend, and drove it right back without any hiccups. With the refresh the car is so much more lively. No longer are other S2Ks pulling me on the straights and it feels genuinely faster. Thankfully I have AP2 valve spring retainers now so I have a little money shift insurance.

Here is a picture of Dave and I having fun:

This next one is my favorite photo of the weekend. Dave, Jeff, and myself went out together to have some fun. It felt like we were running an S2K train passing everyone.

The next adventure will take us to VIR at the end of August. It will be a mighty long drive, but another bucket list item will be crossed off!

Splitters - Size Does Matter!

You know what they say: bigger is always better. Turns out that's exactly the case for front splitters. I recently got tasked with a project for a good friend of mine - find out the best splitter size. I currently have a 2" front splitter on my AP1 and it worked great when the car was dual purpose. But now that it is a dedicated track only car, I thought 2" wasn't going to cut it. After further research that's exactly the case.

To give a little more background before I get to the nitty gritty stuff, the main purpose is to find the best splitter that complies with NASA Time Trial rules (specifically TT4 in this case). This makes it easy on my end since they only allow perfectly flat splitters and it can only extend 4" past the body. I do plan on doing some research on how much benefit spats and winglets do, but for the time being the variable in question here is size.

First thing I did was scan my front end. I only show my bumper here, but I have a scan of most of the car at this point. I would have loved to do the whole thing, but it takes about a half hour to just analyze the bumper and it's dangerously close to crashing my graphics card. Here are some shots of my model:

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What I did was initially run my CFD model with just the bumper by itself. These are the numbers that I am using as my baseline. Don't take stock into the numbers themselves, but only the differences. Once that was achieved I took measurements at 2", 2.5", 3", 3.5", and finally 4" past the bumper. The thickness of the splitter is kept constant throughout.

Here is a cool shot I took showing the air path and surface plot on top of the splitter. You can see the highest pressure is right in front of the bumper! I tried to show the trajectory around the entire bumper but my computer crashed! I can really only render small pieces at a time.

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Now the results are displayed below. As you can see, as the size of the splitter is increased so too is the downforce. The good part is the added drag is pretty much negligible as you increase size, so the only downsides are a little bit extra weight, and it's much harder to get the car on the trailer. What I plan on doing is creating quick disconnect brackets for my splitter, so I don't have to touch the front bumper to take it off. This will allow me to keep it off the car while trailoring and put it on the car once I am at the track in only a few minutes.

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4" splitter here I come!

Sebring Summer Sizzler

Just a weekend after Road Atlanta, I attended another NASA event - this time at Sebring International Raceway! Even with the hot Florida summer attendance was full. The car was definitely down on power in the heat, but it was still a really fun weekend. Here are some photos:

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Unfortunately my luck ended on the last session of the second day. I miss-shifted after turn 7 going from 3rd to 4th gear. Turns out I went to 2nd for a split second, causing an overrev. The pics below illustrate exactly what happened to 6/8 of my intake retainers. You can also see my bent valve on cylinder 4. My compression numbers went from 240 across the board to 120/210/180/0. As soon as I ran compression I knew I had bent valves, even before I popped the valve cover off.

The good news is I did not drop a valve. After taking off the head this past weekend the pistons have no scars and cylinder walls are buttery smooth. A spare head is in the mail as we speak. Turns out the car will only be down for a few weeks. VIR at the end of August is still happening!

While I'm down there I'm going to go ahead and do a few upgrades: ARP studs, new Koyo radiator, and a full gasket kit.

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A new challenger appears!

Now that the S2000 is a full track car I really needed a more livable DD. I was driving a crossover to work and it was getting really boring. I hate automatics and wanted something fun and easy to drive. I had narrowed my search down to either a ND Miata or FRS/BRZ. Another goal of mine was to have a backup track car if I ever have issues with the S2K (knock on wood). 

I think I hit all of my checkboxes. Ended up getting a 2013 FR-S in "Whiteout". It is very tastefully modded by another track enthusiast: Wilwood BBK, lowering springs, Enkei wheels with Hankook RS3's, and lastly an oil cooler to make sure it does not overheat at the track. I actually like it a lot more than I thought I would. It's a perfect daily driver and it's added practicality has already come in handy. If this platform had a screamer like a F20/F22 it would be a game changer.

If you hadn't guessed, parts for this platform will soon be in development! Keep your eyes peeled.

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Road Atlanta

What a weekend! Went up to drive Road Atlanta this past weekend with some good friends. I ended up driving a friend's track prepped AP2 S2000, rather than my own. Maybe that was a bad idea because I now wish my car was setup the same way! The two things that really stuck out to me is the lower VTEC engagement point and how much better his braking is. He is running the Stoptech ST40 kit, while I am on a Wilwood BBK. I am swapping to a more aggressive pad setup (DTC-60s up front) to see if I can replicate it. If I keep having soft pedal issues and extreme pad taper, then I am going to ditch my Wilwood setup. The lower VTEC is a must as well, especially since I have an AP1 with longer gearing.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the weekend. If you've never driven Road Atlanta I highly recommend it. It's a whole different animal than the FL tracks I'm used to since there are mid-corner elevations changes, blind corners, and a lot of high-speed flat turns. It was a blast to drive. Even after a 2-day weekend, I was ready to go back on Monday morning.

My favorite shot of the weekend. This is at the bottom of Turn 12, going down the mountain(!!) of a hill to the front straight.

My favorite shot of the weekend. This is at the bottom of Turn 12, going down the mountain(!!) of a hill to the front straight.

Point me by please..

Point me by please..

Now that's better

Now that's better

Test and Tune Weekend

Went to the FIRM again this past weekend to get the car ready for a busy summer. I am driving Road Atlanta with NASA SE on June 16/17 and then Sebring with NASA FL on June 23/24. I wanted to make sure the car is exactly how I want it and it didn't let me down.

I recently sold my SSR GTV02 (17x9+45 square w/ Dunlop Star Spec V2) to my brother and mounted the Wedsport TC105N (17x9+49 square) that I've had sitting in the shed. I was kind of on the fence about the blue/teal color, but I love how they look on the car.

I managed to scoop up the Kumho V720 that were on clearance on Tirerack. $300 for 255/40/17 200TW tires had me excited. My expectations were low, but they're going to be a fun tire for a few events. While they don't have the same grip that my Star Specs or RS4s did, they were very predictable. It was easy to sense what the car was doing and corrections were simple. I could hear and feel when they were on the edge. I slid way more running these tires, but I was having a blast. I was 2 seconds slower on these compared to the Star Specs, but I was fighting air in my brake lines all day, and I was not running my hardtop this time. The lack of aero was evident on the one session I ran with the top down.

Here are a few pics of the weekend:

The Case of the Bent Trunk - Solved!

I've had a few guys message me if I can try and prevent their trunks from bending when they install a Voltex, or other, wing. I didn't know this was a thing but apparently mine has the same problem. My APR wing has ever so slightly bent the sides of my trunk.

Therefore I began to look into this problem a little further. Research on the internet speculates that the added downforce bends the trunk, but I am skeptical that the downforce produced by our cars can cause this. I had a friend send me his rep Voltex hardware to get some measurements from. It turns out the baseplates they provide are perfectly flat. This is a problem because the trunk is not flat at all, but has a complex curved surface. When tightening the baseplate on the trunk one of the two will deform to fit the other. The axial strength of aluminum is much lower than a FRP composite so of course the trunk deforms to fit the endplate.

I took some measurements of my trunk and put together a simplified stress model to see how the trunk reacts under downforce. This is not a 100% accurate model, but it serves it's purpose to show the load path and some results to determine paths forward.

I setup my model using 6061 aluminum for the trunk, rubber for the trunk supports, and FRP for the endplates. I constrained it in the y-direction on the rubber stoppers and also constrained the trunk where it mounts to the frame. I added 400lbf of downforce to the endplates since I could not find online how much the Voltex wing generates.

The results can be seen in the pictures below, but the displacement is low as I expected (.006"). The max stress is 12ksi. However the max displacement is right where we are seeing the bending in the above picture, so maybe there is some merit to the study.

 

My plan is to redesign the baseplates and wing stand mounts to better distribute the stress across the trunk. My goal is to reduce max stress from 12ksi to 4ksi and more importantly provide a profile that fits the trunk.

I was also not a fan on how the baseplate to wing stand brackets are in a single shear condition. This seems like a very weak part of the wing design that I plan on fixing with my new baseplates. I was to change it to a double shear condition and remove the hardware from a direct shear load.

UPDATE:

After spending some design time, I think I have the solution to the problem at hand. The goals I initially set to achieve (reducing stress by 1/3 and matching the trunk profile) have both been achieved.

Here is the new stress plot. As you can see the peak stress was reduced from 12.18 ksi to 3.62 ksi. That's just over 70% reduction in stress on the trunk! More importantly, the stress concentration when the bends were seen have been eliminated.

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Below is the new displacement plot. Max displacement was reduced from .0062" to .0025", a reduction of over 40%!

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Here is a look at the profile of the bottom of the baseplate so that is can sit flat on the trunk. I printed a test piece and it sits perfectly on the bottom of my trunk. Most of the bending is from installation since the original Voltex baseplates were perfectly flat. These will not cause the trunk to conform to it, therefore preventing bending.

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To take it one step further, I think proper installation should also be followed. The trunk should be loosened from the frame mounts so that is completely unstressed. Then I would hand-tighten all of the new baseplates bolts, stand bolts, and wing bolts in stages (think a cam install). So handtighten everything, then go in 5 ft-lb stages until you get to the final torque. We want to easy the trunk into it's final shape to prevent any strain.

My next steps are to bring these into production. Since they are in direct sunlight I cannot fab them out of PLA. I am going to do some tests in PETG and ABS and have them sit in the sun for a few days. If they pass the test, then they will be put up for sale.

Here's a view of the final shape:

 

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Endplates: The Making Of

It's always amazing to see designs come to life.

After putting up my blog about my end plates, I reached out to a very talented friend of mine to help in the building process.  Mike and I used to work together and he was up for the task of cutting out my end plates.  He did an incredible job and I could not be happier with the results.

I'd highly recommend subscribing to Physics Anonymous to see more.  They're hobbyists at it's finest.

Finished Endplate Study

The endplate analysis is finally done. I've been spending the past week trying to find a machine shop to mill my low quantities. I tried cutting them on my desktop CNC, but it's not quite stiff enough to cut 6061 aluminum. I then cut one by hand with my angle grinder just for test fitment. The car felt much more planted on the highway, and I really like how aggressive the car looks with the bigger endplates. Once I find someone that will produce them at a reasonable cost, I will add them to the site for purchase. I'm trying to keep them as cheap as possible. I really doubt I'll make any money off of them.

Anyways, I'll get around to posting my results now. I began by taking the downforce/drag on the stock endplates. I am going to post my data related to these since they don't have much bearing on their own. The numbers will change slightly depending on the car the APR GTC200 wing is mounted to and the height that it is installed at. I don't have the riser's yet, but I need to get them after going to my new endplates.

All calculations were done at a velocity of 100mph and 0 angle of attack. I am going to have another post that shows stock vs. my endplates at different angles of attack. One of the main benefits of bigger endplates is you can reduce the angle of attack, effectively reducing drag, while still having adequate downforce.

The design ideas that I explored, even though not all are shown, were:

  • Endplate Size
  • Endplate Location
  • Fillets/chamfers on corners vs. square
  • Notch, notch shape, notch location
  • Slots, slot location, slot size
  • Gills, gill location, gill size
  • Numerous combinations of the above

It would be quite cumbersome if I posted all of the data, so I boiled it down to the results that had the most impact. I'd like to think I covered all of my bases.

Here is the flow plot and vortex of the stock endplates. L/D for the stock endplates was 3.65.

Stock endplate flow plot (these are the "old" APR endplates and wing, since that is the wing I have on my S2000.

Stock endplate flow plot (these are the "old" APR endplates and wing, since that is the wing I have on my S2000.

Vortex generated by the stock endplates.

Vortex generated by the stock endplates.

The first thing I did was just change the dimensions of the endplates to 12"x12" (this is the maximum size allowed by many racing organizations, like NASA).  You can see the surface plot is less than ideal. There is a high pressure area right at the frontal area of the airfoil resulting in tons of drag. With just the 12"x12" endplates, downforce increased by 10.35% but L/D dropped to 2.92 (a 20% decrease in efficiency). 

Surface plot of 12"12" endplate with 2" fillets

Surface plot of 12"12" endplate with 2" fillets

Flow diagram of the 12"x12" endplates with 2" fillets on each corner

Flow diagram of the 12"x12" endplates with 2" fillets on each corner

I was extremely let down by the initial data, so I began to play with the location of the endplates a little bit. This is where the surface plots really come in handy. We want the max pressure to be right on top of the airfoil and the min pressure right below it. This will create the maximum amount of downforce.

The next thing I did was move the location of the endplates incrementally aft until my L/D stopped increasing. Just doing this kept the downforce of the larger endplates, but removed the drag penalty. This resulted in L/D climbing to 3.90 (a 6.9% increase in efficiency). I was quite shocked just a small change in placement could have such a dramatic effect on the wing efficiency, especially with an endplate so large.

Before I start looking into some of my other ideas, I decided to maximize efficiency just by playing with the location. Playing with dozens of combinations, I ended up with a maximum L/D of 4.09 (a 12.19% increase in efficiency).

The first design idea I implemented was the rear notch. This not only is good for decreasing drag, but it will reduce the weight of the endplates. I think they look really cool too. I tried different combinations such as shape, square vs. chamfer, fillets vs. no fillets, location and got the best results when the notch is inline with the aft most point of the airfoil. Adding the notch dropped my downforce increase ever so slightly, but improved drag by a decent amount. This jumped the efficiency to 12.5%. Not a huge increase from before, but I'll take anything I can get that also drops weight.

Square notch with fillets

Square notch with fillets

Chamfered notch

Chamfered notch

I also played with a few different designs for slots. I was really optimistic about the slots as they play a big role in vortex generation. With optimal slots I was able to increase the efficiency to 12.63%, which is a small improvement. I did not deem them worthy enough of the machining costs to keep them in my design. Also, if I end up making ABS versions I do not find them stiff enough at higher speeds. Therefore, even though the slots were benefitial in the long run it does not justify the costs in my mind.

Medium sized slots

Medium sized slots

Higher slots

Higher slots

Top view of flow with the added slots

Top view of flow with the added slots

Vortex generation by added slots. The higher velocity can be seen compared to the plot without slots

Vortex generation by added slots. The higher velocity can be seen compared to the plot without slots

The final idea I want to go over is adding gills. This is kind of a weird concept because it allows the high pressure air above the wing to evacuate, which is NOT what we want. We want to keep the higher pressure above the wing to produce more downforce. However, many F1 teams have found great success pairing gills with slats so I have always wanted to give it a try. I don't think these would be legal anyways since they increase the wingspan (10mm is max allowed endplate width), but I was curious.

Having just the upper gills I was able to reduce drag, but it also reduced downforce resulting in a lower efficiency than previous designs I've covered.

Adding slots to the gill design further decreased drag, but I wasn't able to get downforce back to where I wanted it to increase the efficiency. Therefore no gills and slots were added to the final design.

Added gills above airfoil

Added gills above airfoil

Gills working in conjunction with lower slots

Gills working in conjunction with lower slots

Taking all of my findings I kept playing with slightly different geometries to get my final design. I wasn't a big fan of having a mostly square endplate with a notch, so once I got the required results I was trying to make them look "cooler" without sacrificing performance. 

I printed a fitment piece and found it bolted right up to the drivers side, but I needed the hole slightly shifted to fit perfect on the passenger side so I added a slot to the rear mounting hole so it can have a little adjustment. The airfoil has inserts in the composite and installing them isn't very accurate so I wanted to account for that in my design.

With the final design, at 100mph and 0 AOA the results are:

19.10% increase in downforce and a 13.18% increase in wing efficiency. Not bad at all!

Final endplate shape

Final endplate shape

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AP2 Cooler Ducts are Finished!

I made these for a friend of mine that is planning on running an intercooler on each side of his bumper (Porsche GT2RS style). These take air from the front bumper, just like our brake ducts, and funnel that air into your cooler. These are perfect for putting an oil cooler inside of your fender liner so that you don't block off air from the radiator. They are super lightweight with a 0.15" wall thickness.

It ended up being the biggest piece I have ever made. It is much larger than my machine's capabilities (12"x12"x15") so I ended up printing it in 3 separate pieces. I then "welded" those pieces together using my soldering iron since the melting temp of PLA is around 200C. 

I can't wait to see how these look and function installed!

Here is when we test fitted them on his car. The Stoptech Trophy kit sure in beautiful by the way..

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CFD analysis I conducted at 100MPH, atmospheric pressure at outlet to see how the air would behave. This was an iterative process to get the best possible velocity field.

CFD analysis I conducted at 100MPH, atmospheric pressure at outlet to see how the air would behave. This was an iterative process to get the best possible velocity field.

Finished product

Finished product

Finished product

Finished product