Closing out the driving season for me was one final day on Summit Point Main Circuit with PCA Potomac. And it rained. Again. Seven events. Seven washouts.
Continuing the theme of recent posts this soggy summer, here’s a wet lap of the Summit Point Extended Jefferson Circuit. The most challenging part was the new turn 4 which is the transition from the old circuit to the new(ish) extension. There isn’t enough grip to get enough weight transfer to turn-in, so you end up turning in early and just managing your way through the apex. You also had to be careful about getting back on the power at the top of the hill between turns 6 and 7. If you had any steering input still in when you got back on the power, the car would sort of slide off the top of the track to the outside. Some of the data inserts are a little funky, like one corner shows corner speed of zero. Still loads of fun though. Here’s the lap:
Track season is just starting to get into full swing so I thought I’d share a lap of Summit Point in the rain. Newly repaved for 2018, the surface as fairly good grip and no more of the inconsistencies from water on seam sealer. The surface is less crowned than before. Water run-off is mostly good, but there are some areas where small streams of water cut across the full width of the track, especially in the exits of turn 2 and 9, both heavy acceleration zones.
I had the MINI at Summit Point this past weekend on the extended Jefferson circuit and it ran great. I really like the new Bilsteins. Very predictable weight transfer, good grip, and nice ride-height. Currently riding about 40mm lower than stock in the back and 50mm lower than stock in the front. Could go another 10mm lower but don’t see the need currently. (Interestingly, the current height is 20mm lower than H&R Sport Springs on Konis.) The car isn’t slammed and the tires aren’t rubbing, but it is fairly low. I did have to not use the 5mm spacers I normally run on the street to avoid rubbing the rear arches (the wheels are 17 x7 with offset 37.)
Here’s a lap I filmed behind a student.
I finally got a couple of days this past week where the temperature in the garage was above 45 degrees so I started to prep the MINI for the upcoming track season. No major changes are planned this year, just routine maintenance items. First up is to inspect the brake calipers and change the wheel studs. For the brakes, I’m checking the condition of the brake lines, cleaning the calipers and carriers, inspecting the piston dust boots, and torquing all of the bolts to spec. Track pads will come later. [And since someone will ask, the rotors at the top of the post are not cracked. That’s just discoloration from the brake pads contacting the rotor when the parking brake is engaged.]
Because my car is outside most of the time, I like to replace the wheel studs every other year. This has been an especially harsh winter so they are really very corroded. The process is not difficult, but getting good leverage in a tiny garage without a lift can be a challenge. Here’s the method that works for me.
Remove the caliper, carrier, and rotor. Remember support the caliper by something other than just the brake-line (like a hanger or box.) If you’re removing old wheel studs, you’re going to need some leverage to overcome the sheer force needed to get them moving. Wheel studs don’t need to be tightened to high torque levels, but by using Loctite, they can be a pain to remove. I find that I can usually remove them using the double-nut method if I heat the hub first with a torch. You don’t need to get it red hot, but if you heat the area around the stud first, then block the hub from spinning, you can usually get the stud to start moving with a quick hammer blow on the wrench against the top nut. (If I had a lift and was working at shoulder height I might even get it to move just by pulling on it, but I’m working on jack-stands and sitting on the floor.) There are a couple of ways to approach the double-nut job. The right way is to thread the first nut upside down, then put a spacer washer on the stud, and thread the top nut the right way. If you plan to use these nuts on your wheels, this method will protect the cones. If you’re using nuts you plan to get rid of (like me), just thread them together. Put a little red Loctite on each stud and torque 16-20 ft lbs (using double nut method again.)
I’m using Apex Studs and they put together a little video explaining the process.