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You wax...I'll race
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Discussion Starter #1
So many things to go wrong and to worry about:
  • COVID19
  • Social distancing
  • Forecast called for 80% chance of rain for both Saturday and Sunday for the last two weeks
  • Learning my shift points in the new T-56 Magnum-F
  • Trying to advance to Yellow run group
With all the above, even more goes wrong. I worry substantially in general. Not even I could come up with everything to worry about this weekend.


Day 1

Some items which went right: Weather for the weekend turned out to be relatively nice track conditions. Saw several drivers who I chatted with last time this weekend. And TDE did an excellent job of appropriate measures for social distancing. A “COVID-19 CHECKLIST FOR ALL INDIVIDUALS” PDF was sent ahead of time which needed to be checked off and signed during morning check-in. Seemed thorough to me, but best not to post online.

Some goals for the weekend:
  • Stay on the track (supposed to rain this weekend and spun off track last time in the rain)
  • Learn T-56 shift points
  • Track awareness (which I screwed up badly at one point)
  • Advance to Yellow
So previously I advanced to Blue Solo while fighting tire / wheel issues. Did not post a report like this online, yet I should have. Took lots of notes, and was an emotional roller coaster ride. Fought mechanical issues all weekend, and advanced to Blue Solo, yet the car finally broke down so badly that I had to call a friend for a ride home abandoning the car there for the week until I could get down there next weekend with another buddy to get the car back up to Houston. But that is another story.

Back to this weekend, after politely asking for a Yellow checkout ride, my request was granted. Went well. I listened to the instructor and he said during the ride that they already felt I could move up.

On the last lap I hear something in the back possibly flying up into the wheel well. I try to lie to myself and convince myself that it is just marbles flying up. Yet I know my car. And I know there ain’t that many marbles on the race line. Do not see anything in my mirrors. And do not say anything to my instructor.

As pulling into my pit, a driver hollers out saying my exhaust is hanging down. Now I am relieved. This ain’t new and I know how to fix. The Corsa Catback x-pipe falls off the hanger sometimes. Can just lift it back up…when cool of course.

So let it cool a little, yet still to heavy for me to lift, which was not an issue previously. Good thing I brought my small 2-ton floor jack. While packing I considered leaving it at home. But it is a small jack and the stands do not take up much space either. Jacked up the muffler and got the exhaust back on the hanger. No problem. Noticed that the other side had hose clamps on the hanger such that the exhaust cannot fall off the hanger as easily. So went out to a Mexican restaurant for dinner and then O’Reilley’s to get some more hose clamps for the side which fell off. Easy to install late at night just before dark in the hotel parking lot. Pix to follow.

Referring back to the restaurant, when I pulled into the parking lot the car had a giant “60” on both sides in blue painter’s tape, no front plate and a tow hook (the mount for the plate doubles for a tow hook receptacle), huge tires and a rumble from the Corsa Catback x-pipe (properly installed!) A nice family asked if I race so I told them about MSR. We were seated outside so they saw me pull up and upon leaving asked me to do a burnout or something. I smiled and politely declined. We are here to learn, improve, and increase safety. As tempting as it was, I can get it out on the track and not the street. Especially after 1.5 margaritas and no front plate.


Day 2

I missed a black and yellow! How stupid could I be? My first session ever in Yellow run group and I miss black and yellow flags saying we need to come in.

Later I apologized profusely without the following explanation / excuse. I committed the cardinal mental sin. I was in the middle of the pack in my first time out in Yellow, and I ain’t backing down. I can run with these drivers. I am fighting for position. Which is not what we are supposed to be doing since this is a school…not a race. At this level, the proper response is to find open air, not fight for position. Specifically, take a slow ride thru the pit to find open air without cars all around. But I committed an idiotic mental sin in trying to pass Yellow drivers. In the process, I missed black and yellow flags out telling everyone to come in.

Several cars in front of me have their left fist at a 90 degree angle out the window by the roof saying “I am going into the pits”. So I think maybe we are all going in. But some cars stay out. Split decision. And I make the wrong one. I stay out with the other cars immediately realizing the black and yellow. Now I have to drive all the way around the entire track knowing what an idiot I am and for everyone watching to also know what an idiot I am.

Around the track and into the pits, get a firm yet well-deserved talking to by the Pit Manager Dean. “This is not good for your first time out in Yellow”. All I can say is “Yes sir”.

The Yellow class on dampeners (do not call them shocks!), springs, and sway bars (um…anti-sway bars?) was outstanding. The instructor said this was the first time he presented this. The class attendees were engaged. Hope they don’t kick me out of Yellow for my previous oversite.

The second session was so much better. It felt good. What is “it”? The T-56 shift points. Car control. Track awareness. And passing cars. I got passed by #8 GTI. But that is OK. Control of my vehicle is the goal. After the session I met Driver 8, and learned from him.

A couple neat happenings this weekend at TDE: Had two C8 Corvettes there. When I saw the first I did not even know what it was. Thought it was a McLaren. And I rode shotgun with a buddy Jeff in a little Gator track car. When I find the link I will post here. And quite important: Socialized with drivers met previously: Chris, Stephanie, Kevin, and Jeff, among others.

So how do you end a weekend at the track in an extremely highly modified GTO? As posted separately on this forum, the GTO has massive body work with custom fender flares all the way around now sporting 315’s up front and 335’s in the rear. Looks tight. Yet after adjustments from the body shop, no rub whatsoever under any conditions.

So I hear rub. Slow down and take corners easier. No rumble strips. Rub gets worse. Now tire smoke is coming into the vehicle cabin. Got off the track safely. Let cars around. Got my left fist in the air at a 90-degree angle near the roof. Safely exit track to pit road to my pit.

In the pit, see the passenger rear rubbing. Seems the inner plastic wheel well is all worn. Fasteners are easy to reach. Jack the car up and remove. Fixed? Sure! Drive around the pits (slowly and safely watching for other cars). Not fixed.

Limp to the hotel to get my stuff and limp home, listening to the rub the whole way. Knowing from experience that the rub is probably safe to get home on, yet not for the track. The most disappointing part is knowing that if certain people found out about this, how happy they would be to see me fail. It pains me with the knowledge that my efforts are not only disrespected. But also my issues on the track and with the GTO are nothing but a source of extreme exacerbation to the point of absolute hate.

So now that my overly emotional outbreak is complete, we can now address the one aspect of the entire weekend which some GTO people on this forum really want to know about the most: The T-56 Mangum-F with Mantic 9000 clutch, Hinson shifter, Tick Performance master cylinder, and one-piece carbon fiber driveshaft.

Flipping awesome! To summarize: comfortable and at home. Natural. This is the way it is supposed to be. A4 is OK. I shifted as if a manual anyway. But it ain’t got no physical clutch pedal. Of all the stupid mistakes on my part this weekend and all the mechanical failures, some solvable and one weekend ending, at least the T-56 took my canning (to use an Australian term).

Clutch pressure when depressed was fine. I am slightly small: about 150 pounds. Holding the clutch down was fine. Yet the release thru upshifts was the beautiful part. For downshifting, JessterLSX sent me two excellent homemade videos on rev matching. Upshifting is easy. Rev matching while downshifting is an art. And several methods to accomplish. None of which I really did. I downshifted thru the gears, which felt wonderful! Yet I did not reach the throttle to rev match. Per my younger experience, I slowly released the clutch to allow the revs to increase up to the flywheel (I might be phrasing this wrong).

Needless to say it took time to learn shift points. Yet not that much. On Diamond’s Edge, after going down to third ending the straight, I can break and downshift in a straight line to second, purposefully do not apex the first turn, apexing the second so that have a nice launch into the Front Straight.

Yet at Sugar and Spice, do not need to go down all the way to second. Again, can sacrifice the first corner, carrying enough speed thru both corners to keep all the way up in third.

Then into The Launch, break and downshift mostly in a straight line (mostly…this is not a binary process). Then downshift again down to second prior to Keyhole.

All the while the T-56 was natural and at home. This is where we are supposed to be. A4 to M6 swap is uncommon. The speed shop Peitz Performance delivered. The GTO is still broken down now with the wheels rubbing. But at least the transmission, stood up.

So we (me and goat) limped home. Saw the rear passenger side wheel pushed up against the rear wheel well. Seems to be a suspension issue to me, not body work. Took and sent pix to Peitz. Spoke on the phone. We agreed probably suspension. Unfortunately they cannot get me in right away.

The next TDE is 27-28 June 2020. Already paid. Hope to get the goat fixed by then. Yet we do not fully know the issue with the wheel hitting the wheel well. Probably suspension. But we do not know.

Hope we can make it. And I really hope that someday my goat does not breakdown so much. Unbeknownst to this forum, I bought that car new in 2006 and put so much into it. As we all know, when modding, we are only chasing the next weak point. Hopefully if I put enough into the GTO, we can decrease enough weak points so that it will take my canning on the track. If you analyze the some of the pix which will be posted in “Pictures of your GTO on the track” section close enough, you can see the thrashing referred to.
 

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Performance Addict
2005 PBM, 6 Speed, corner carver
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Excellent write up and all in all successful. The fun of running an underdog is you have to take the bad and good. You are pioneering a trail few have taken. Glad to hear the T56 delivered.

What is the clearance like on the drivers side? Are you still running stock cradle bushings on the rear? Sounds like one of them may have given Up causing the cradle to shift for the right.

The pictures of the car on the track looks fantastic. The GTO looks like it belongs there.
 

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You wax...I'll race
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128 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
@keitho64

Appreciate the compliments. And thanks for the technical analysis of the suspension. I do certainly enjoy customizing the GTO to make it my own and being the underdog against more expensive and lighter track built purpose cars.

Most of the suspension is aftermarket Pedders Track II including polyurethane bushings. I believe cradle bushings are included. About a year or so ago, found many of the Pedders bushings were torn. Had them replace with Whiteline.

Now that I look at the driver's side rear, it might be pushed back as well See below five pix...
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You wax...I'll race
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128 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
The speed shop who installed the T-56 did not have time to get the GTO in, yet the body shop which did the body work did. Need a couple little things from him anyway. We threw a jack under and a jack stand for safety, and crawled under. The body man said the subframe might be damaged. See below pictures.

Marked up and sent pix to the speed shop, and they said “…while it is hard to see, it appears as though the bushings may have pulled through. It would be unlikely for you to break the subframe unless you had been in a severe impact…”

Going to the speed shop for in-depth analysis early next week.

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Performance Addict
2005 PBM, 6 Speed, corner carver
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Did the lower control arm bolts walk out, or were not put in, and the arm rock against the cradle? It is hard to tell but my guess in the lower control arm mount on the cradle is messed up. Thankfully that is not a major problem. They could weld it back or replace it

If it is just the cradle I found this on ebay


Were there any bolts present? My gut reaction is the bolts were not there and the constant movement bent and broke the mount.
 
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You wax...I'll race
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Discussion Starter #8
@keitho64

The body shop asked the same if any bolts were present. If bolts walked out, they were left on the track now…

Link to the rear crossmember is greatly appreciated. We will assess in detail on Tuesday when we put the GTO up on the rack for a thorough review on Tuesday.

Thanks for your input. I can use it.
 

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You wax...I'll race
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Discussion Starter #9
Major update: Really really bad news and really really good news.

Bad news first:
I broke the subframe. In reading up briefly, I believe subframe is accurate terminology and not crossmember. Please correct me if I am wrong.

The comments received were greatly appreciated. By all accounts, this was basically the worst-case scenario. And by most accounts, this can only happen by severe impact. By most accounts. With rather major modifications, excessive beating on the track, and additional tread in the back (335’s), it probably wore over time and broke under stress with the new body work and excessive tread.

I ride the kerbs. Yet at no point in time was there any real impact. As we all know, once we start down this rabbit hole of modifications, chasing the next weak point it is never ending.

Now the good news:
The body shop already found a replacement part for a reasonable price and is installing now. During my site visit to the body shop today, we see that the polyurethane bushings are still in good shape and can be utilized on the new subframe.

So the GTO will be ready with plenty of time for the next track event 27-28 June 2020. Then I will also have time to determine a couple future mods for strengthening the rear suspension, starting with the Harrop read dif cover. Several other recommendations have been made as well, so I will probably be reaching out to various forum members for ideas.

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Performance Addict
2005 PBM, 6 Speed, corner carver
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Thankfully that can be repaired.

Did the shop say if they can weld in some strengthening plates where the lower control arms bolt into the upper cradle mount? I wonder if that would help in the future?

as for the Harrop doff cover I am running it and love it. I also ordered the BMR subframe connectors Friday and hope to have them on next week. If you are interested in getting them let me know. I spoke to BMR last week and can give you some more advice.

Do you have a data recorder in the car? I’d love to know what kind of G force you are pulling in the corners. It has to be way up there!

Are you running stock rear toe bars? I have the Spohn bars on mine and that also helped stiffen the rear.

Thanks again for sharing your story!
 
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One more comment. It looks like the passenger side rear tire is very worn on the inside. I assume this is due to the suspension failure and not initial alignment.
 
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You wax...I'll race
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Discussion Starter #12
@keitho64

I was looking for aftermarket parts for the upper cradle mount. Your idea to ask the body shop to do so custom might be better. If they can create custom fender flares all the way around, then well, this might be easy for them. Subframe connectors are on the list of near future modes also.

No data recorder / computer / camera yet. To me, these are future mods which will come after required repairs. But yeah, if you look at the pictures on the track closely, the GTO is often relatively level, the outside tire is mashed down, but the interesting part is the inside tires contact patch consistently decreasing. Would really be interesting to know the G's.

The rear tires are worn inside in large part due to addition negative camber. As soon as the GTO came out of the body shop from the body work, drove it straight to the performance alignment place. For fit-up, had to add a little extra negative camber in the rear at -2.5. Nice for the track. Yet I had to drive 500 city miles to brake-in the new Mantic 9000 clutch first. So that is part of why in the insides on the rears are worn.
 

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Don't over do the negative in the rear, while it helps with cornering, it takes a way from straight line acceleration and braking. I think I'm using at most 1/2 neg in the rear but my GTO is a daily driver and need good tire wear. I even run into this problem with a cambered rear solid axle in my autocross Camaro.

The best way to really tune the rear if your going to be a 100% track car is with a pyrometer. Tire temps don't lie :) .

Question, how did the brakes do? When I first used my GTO for some track days on the long course at Sebring and Homestead Miami speedway, I quickly found I had to use slotted rotors due to gas buildup. Did the drilled rotors have any gas buildup? The slotted made the GTO very happy to hard brake all day long [along with Motul 650 brake fluid].
 

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Thats not good advice^

The gto suspension has very little camber gain and you will need as much static as you can get. I dont know what spring rates you are running but I'd bet no where stiff enough to offset all the compliance and body roll in a corner.

Also the rear tires will be doing very little of the braking work due to weight transfer and a brake system not designed to provide the best braking performance possible mixed with way different tires than spec (chances are your bias is way more fwd then it should be but you have no way to adjust it).
 

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You wax...I'll race
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Discussion Starter #15
Don't over do the negative in the rear, while it helps with cornering, it takes a way from straight line acceleration and braking. I think I'm using at most 1/2 neg in the rear but my GTO is a daily driver and need good tire wear. I even run into this problem with a cambered rear solid axle in my autocross Camaro.

The best way to really tune the rear if your going to be a 100% track car is with a pyrometer. Tire temps don't lie :) .

Question, how did the brakes do? When I first used my GTO for some track days on the long course at Sebring and Homestead Miami speedway, I quickly found I had to use slotted rotors due to gas buildup. Did the drilled rotors have any gas buildup? The slotted made the GTO very happy to hard brake all day long [along with Motul 650 brake fluid].
Hey CP46,

Lots of questions / comments / opinions on drilled versus slotted versus pads only:
Cross-drilled 14" Brembo's are phenomenal.

Thanks for input on pyrometer. Any suggestions on the best one to get?
 

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You wax...I'll race
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128 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Thats not good advice^

The gto suspension has very little camber gain and you will need as much static as you can get. I dont know what spring rates you are running but I'd bet no where stiff enough to offset all the compliance and body roll in a corner.

Also the rear tires will be doing very little of the braking work due to weight transfer and a brake system not designed to provide the best braking performance possible mixed with way different tires than spec (chances are your bias is way more fwd then it should be but you have no way to adjust it).
Aftermarket adjustable suspension with custom body work so can get plenty of negative camber: up to 2.5 degrees. Pedders adjustable coilovers as well.

You are right about the no bias control. With the Brembo's, no brake uses so brake bias is not on my list of future mods. Yet probably a good idea for many GTO setups.
 
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