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Boy oh boy, Ive been running with a faulty PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) valve for the longest time, and thanks to the manufacturer’s manual, Ive been able to identify and fix this problem. If I had not, all sorts of things could have gone wrong. Keep in mind that current day engines still run PCV systems, but they vary from brand, model and whether its NA or FI. Even if its a fairly new car, you should insist it gets checked, and replaced if necessary.

You can check it up on Google, theres tonnes of sources, some are unreliable though. When it doubt, refer to your owners manual, that is the best place to look to.

It can happen to any D16Z6, even if its creating a healthy dose of power (like mine did).

Well, things that went wrong were:

1. Engine power would sometimes surge, especially with the A/C turned on

2. Idle can be normal, but may run slightly rough (hard to detect)

3. Increased engine oil consumption (noticeable)

4. As with above, it puts oil in your intake pipe, not just residue (which is normal), it pools!

5. In some cases, fuel consumption will increase (sometimes significantly)

Why the sudden urge to check you ask? My car is shit old and while browsing through the manual (and cleaning my air filter finding all that oil in my pipe), I realized I never ever payed attention to this part, or system. I then realized I must’ve never even changed that part before in 4 years! The recommended interval is 1 to 2 years, talk about overdue.

So I started looking for workshops to get this checked and fixed, since I had diagnosed that this was most likely the problem. However, 2 workshops adamantly declined that a faulty pcv valve would cause those problems and insisted that my engine was giving/dying out.

Ridiculous! I thought to myself, how could my engine be dying when it was pretty healthy and producing good power, putting down a 1min59s lap at Johor Circuit. I seriously doubted that a dying engine could provide enough power to get me that lap. Besides, if I eliminated the pcv variable, then they may well be right and I need to replace my engine. But until I did that, no way was I going to get it overhauled/replaced, insane waste of money and time.

The 3rd workshop I went to was also negative on the diagnosis, but they said if I insisted, they would replace it, they literally said “hey, you’re the boss.” The other 2 workshops said NO WAY, do you even know how a car works? Im quite sure how it works when the manual says so, right?

And the result? After replacing the old pcv valve (which was stuck closed), the car ran much better. I was right.

From here on, I will best describe how you can test for a faulty PCV system. Sufficed to say if you leave these symptoms unattended to, you can have all sorts of long term problems, the worst being blown oil seals and gaskets, ouch. Not to mention oil sludge.

What the PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) System does

The PCV System is mainly an emissions control system, but it does ensure the life of your engine and makes sure it produces the power it was designed to. It ensures that corrosive and harmful crankcase gases from blow by and whatever is in there gets evacuated to be reburnt in the engine, not out into the atmosphere. It also ensures that crankcase pressure does not exceed a certain amount, which could blow out oil seals and gaskets. If the harmful gases are trapped in there, it will also decrease the service interval of the engine oil.

As it says, the positive crankcase ventilation system is designed to VENTILATE the crankcase.

For all purposes this will describe the system on the D16Z6. It starts at the hose that connects to the air intake pipe BEFORE the throttle body. This hose allows fresh filtered air to be sucked/fed into the valve cover, down into the crankcase, and sucked out through the pcv valve by the vacuum from the intake manifold. The pcv valve regulates the amount of crankcase vapours to be scavenged depending on load and rpm.

If the pcv valve is stuck closed, which it does over time due to oil vapours and deposits, then the vacuum from the intake manifold cannot reach the crankcase, and this doesnt allow the air intake to feed the system fresh air. It is a cycle, a closed system. If the pcv valve happens to be stuck open, flow is unregulated, which can increase oil consumption and in the event of an intake back-fire, ignite the crankcase. Yes, boom.

What the old pcv valve looked like

This is what happened to the old valve, oil gunked it up, and so it got stuck closed and wouldnt open under vacuum from the intake manifold, resulting in a failure to scavenge crankcase vapours to be reburnt.

When replacing, make sure you get the right part number, because as simple as it looks, each valve has a flow rating to match each individual engine/car. Get the wrong one, and you’d be left with a new valve that is flowing too much, or too little.

Locating the pcv valve on a D16Z6 and testing

On the left, the black 90 degree elbow piece in the center is the new pcv valve the workshop put in place, its somewhere to the right of the intake runners between the injectors.

On the right pic, the bigger hose leading to the intake manifold is the one attached to the pcv valve. The intake manifold sucks in through the pcv valve from the crankcase.

To test if the pcv valve is working, Honda says to pinch that hose with fingers or pliers when the car is idle at operating temp. If you hear a clicking noise, it works, if not, replace it.

Sometimes its hard to hear it click with all that engine noise, but I didnt hear a click on mine which prompted me to get it replaced. Also check the hoses connecting to the pcv valve, those from the crankcase and to the intake manifold. Sometimes the hoses get clogged or collapse, even if the pcv valve is fine.

Another way to test

The pic to the left shows the hose connecting the intake pipe and the valve cover.

To the right, is the nipple the hose connects to on the valve cover (hose removed).

In my case, because the pcv valve was stuck closed, all that crankcase pressure had to escape somewhere. YEP~, out that hole and into my intake pipe, thus it collected oil.

To tell if the pcv system is working right, get the car to idle, remove the hose and check if the opening to the valve cover is sucking, or blowing. If its blowing, your pcv system is faulty. If its sucking, like mine, after replacing the pcv valve, then you are good to go.

Remember to adjust your idle speed after replacing because the faulty valve would have affected your idle before.

I hope I have been able to help anyone experiencing similar problems. Its not an expensive fix (definitely cheaper than a new engine), and on some cars, its easier to DIY. On the D16Z6 though, its difficult because its super hot in the engine bay and hard to access to.

You (or I) may not be automotive mechanics, but that doesnt stop us from analyzing the owners manual and flow diagrams. Dont believe everything the workshop says if you really think something is amiss (and your diagnosis is right). Imagine if I had believed them and overhauled/replaced my engine. A new engine would be there, with a still faulty pcv system, and the cycle would repeat.

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Track Day Prep Tips

I believe most people that like cars would also like to participate in a track day or two. Some eventually get hooked and make it a fortnightly affair, even weekly.

Unfortunately, many drivers are afraid, or unsure if their car can handle the abuse of a day at the circuit. I will give some advice about how to prep youself and your car for that track day. Truth is, you dont really need to modify your car that much, or at all, to drive it on a circuit.

Safety

This is basic, make sure you have a good helmet, gloves (dont want sweaty palms at the wrong place & time), and your seatbelt/harness is working. Make sure the helmet isnt too tight or you will get a headache. Take your time adjusting your sitting position. Always wear a pair of shoes that gives you confidence while driving. And no, you do not have to go out of your way to get a pair of driving shoes.

Visually inspect your tires, brake system (rotors, pads etc). If youre unsure, get it checked professionally.

Hydration/Energy Levels

This is important, make sure you are properly hydrated during the entire event. Isotonic drinks are great. Driving a car lap after lap quickly dehydrates you, even if its for fun. If you dont hydrate, you may find yourself dizzy or nauseous after getting out of the car, or even during your laps if you do long stints.

Drink before you get in and after you get out of your car. During breaks, eat stuff high in carbohydrates and yes, drink some more.

Lubricants/Fluids

Protecting your engine and any other component(s) that require lubrication is one way to save on expensive replacements. Use the recommended engine oil the manufacturer specifies, however if you find your oil temp gauge abit on the high side, its ok to use a high performance oil. Oil coolers are optional, if your engine is not modified, usually you dont need it.

Your transmission or LSD (if you have one) go through alot of abuse during a track day. It has to take all that torque from the engine, and also the grip of the tires. Make sure you use the right specification and dont be afraid to replace the fluids early just to be on the safe side.

Ensure that your cooling system is working properly, you definitely dont want your gaskets going BOOM while accelerating out of a hairpin.

Brake fluid is extremely important. Even if everything fails on your car, your brakes should not. Make sure to use a high performance DOT 4 or 5.1 brake fluid.

Modifications

Some minor modifications can improve your track day experience, but you dont have to get major modifications done before your car hits the circuit. A completely stock car can be run on a circuit, and depending on which car, your amount of laps can be limited. You may also need to manage everything a bit more. Some cars come out so well prepped from the factory you only need to make sure you use the right lubricants/fluids!

Important upgrades are tires and brake pads. Although its optional, having good brake pads front AND rear will definitely put brake fade at bay during hot laps. Good pads are extremely important at circuits where braking distances are long and time spent on the brake pedal is high. Good tires never hurt, but you dont necessarily need them, its all about maximizing their grip with your driving (tire pressures are key!).

You do not need to have any intake/exhaust upgrades, or a shiny new aluminium radiator, or a big brake kit. In fact, having big brakes in front and stock brakes in the rear ruins your brake balance. You also dont need fancy brake rotors, vented blanks will suffice. Just remember that the more aggressively you drive, the higher the oil and water temp will be.

Aftermarket suspensions do help, but its also ok to drive it on the stock suspension. Most drivers seldom experience the limits of their car, and a stiff suspension will only make him/her more prone to mistakes. For more experienced drivers, damper adjustable systems may help. For those wanting less headaches, buy those from reputable brands that come tuned for sports applications from the box. Do not lower your ride height too much, it ruins the suspension geometry and run the risk of bottoming out (always ensure you have sufficient suspension travel!).

Always test the car before deciding on any modifications. If youre having a problem at a particular part of a circuit, look at the driving before turning to changes in set up. More time can be gained by refining the driving.

Handy Items

Always bring along a tire pressure gauge and a stopwatch! A stopwatch is a must for those looking for an improvement. If you dont time your laps there is no baseline, with no baseline there is no progress. With recorded lap times you can sit down and think where you might have went right, or wrong.

I hope this post has been helpful! I will be giving driving tips next time!

Long awaited review (about time!) of the Potenza RE-11 that I have put off for so long.

Any comparisons with other tires are subjective due to driver preference and use of different cars.

Ive used the RE-11 on my car twice (Civic ESi), the 2nd set which I am still using, and also once with a friend’s Mazda RX-8. Ive used these tires daily and also ALOT on the circuit, so I have a pretty good idea what theyre capable of. This will also give readers a good idea if theyre interested in this tire versus others.

On The Road

Like every other extreme performance summer tire, its noisy, it has a stiff sidewall and fuel economy is not its strong point. However, most would agree that anyone who decided to buy this tire for its intended purpose/application would care less if it was too noisy, etc etc.

I have a tip regarding the stiff sidewalls which may give an uncomfortable ride. Whenever you go over a bump and you feel like the force is being shoved through the tires sidewalls and into your chassis, check your tire pressures!

Often when very high performance tires are just slightly under-inflated for road use, the tread will sink abit and any bumps you drive over will be shot up through the sidewall and into your back (lol). Inflate them correctly and you will feel that the tread will distribute load evenly, giving you a more comfy ride since the force of the bump is shared between the tread, sidewall and the air you pumped in. Of course, cold/hot pressures for a dry or wet track day will differ. For proper cold pressure inflation, always check your cars manual or door frame sticker, etc.

Back to why everyone bought this tire. Everyone who has tried this tire would agree it performs exceptionally well for daily use (assuming you like the race car feel). Dry grip, response and feedback is excellent, and it doesnt respond too quickly either, on the road it gives you stability and progressiveness. Its also strong when its wet or raining, assuming you have the safe amount of tread depth left. For a tire in this category, its wet grip is surprising! So dont worry about wet sunny Singapore even with this tire, it will make sure you get home safely even in the rain. I have yet to fully lock this tire on wet Singapore roads under braking, and the tire communicates very well when it is about to lock up too. So for non ABS car owners, look out for this tire!

On The Circuit

Its intended design and purpose was for the circuit, and rightly so. Who buys 180 treadwear tires for daily driving all the time? Tread design, compound and construction are all excellent for circuit use, Bridgestone has done a great job with this tire to blend circuit prowess and civility.

Not much to complain about here, maybe the Advan Neova AD08 is slightly better in dry conditions, but the RE-11 communicates better and is less edgy, a plus for wet conditions and newer drivers (it breaks traction progressively too). There is lots of grip, good response, superb feedback allowing for adjustments and staying near the limit. Braking traction is superb also, and again for non ABS car owners, this tire will definitely let you know when youre about to lock up, allowing for good braking modulation.

Compound is well suited to high temps and the eventual graining, I was able to use one set at Johor for 7 to 8 times with daily driving over 8 months before I had to swap them for new ones. I have no data on heat cycles though, so dont ask me if it works best during its 1st heat cycle, but I tend to think that they will, just like the AD08. Do take care, even though this tire is suited for circuit duties, tire management is still critical, otherwise youll be visiting the tire shop soon!

Tire pressure is important as well, after much testing, getting the right pressure for the conditions and your car will definitely help in terms of performance (as with any tire actually).

Never really got to drive these on a wet circuit until recently, Johor Circuit was drenched and I decided to have some fun anyway. Definitely too wet, a red flag wouldve been given for these conditions, but still the tire kept me safe, locked up a few times but it communicated that well so I was able to lift the brakes to allow the tires to spin again, preventing me from ploughing on. And after that I never locked up again because I remembered what the tire told me the last time!

If youre curious, the lap time for that crazily drenched Johor Circuit was 2:15.xx, and the only reason I stopped was because my windscreen was fogging up!

Best dry time at Johor? 1:59.82

Thoughts

I definitely would recommend these tires to drivers with high performance cars with 200bhp and above, where the increased power and chassis rigidity can fully use the grip. Perhaps that is the only “complain” I have, using tires like the AD08 and RE-11 on underpowered cars (like mine) can be a case of “too much grip”. Because the tire is so grippy, the rear of the car just kinda sits there and its limited to what you can do, especially with a front wheel drive car (and so understeer ensues). Use a slightly “lower performing” tire (like the RE001!) on a car like mine and you start to feel that the rear will be more responsive to your inputs, giving better overall front/rear handling balance while lap times wouldnt suffer much either.

Stay tuned for more updates! =)

After all that training, I was ready to race! I would have loved to take part in all the legs of the championship, but funding is limited.

For those needing a refresher, I am participating in the GT125 class, meaning 125bhp max at the wheels. There is the GT200 and 300 class as well for more powerful cars. I am driving a race prepped Ford Focus 1.8, opponents in my class are mainly SOHC VTEC Civics and I have 2 teammates in the same class as well.

Cars in the GT200 class are mainly DOHC VTEC Civics (alota power here), and in the GT300, a Nissan S15 + others and supposedly my instructor’s Mazda RX-7, however unfortunately he injured his back so he will not be participating.

The control tire for the GT125 and 200 classes is the Advan Neova AD08, while the GT300 cars are allowed to use ANY Yokohama tire. Some choose the older AD07s, some use the AD08 and some use either the A048 or A050 semi slick tires.

The schedule/format is like this: Because there are bike events happening as well, Saturday will only be practice sessions for the GT cars. Sunday will be qualifying AND 2 races, the Sprint (12 laps) and the main GT Race (18 laps). All classes will race  at the same time, just like the Japanese SuperGT series.

25 Sep 2010

Most of the Saturday was spent refreshing the driving, getting feedback through the data logger, and maybe testing a few setups. Since officially there was only 1 warm-up and 3 practice sessions, there wasnt a lot of time to test.

Warm-up session best: 2:03.26 (again nowhere near 2:01)

Practice sessions best: 2:04.xx

Something to note is that I am using the same set of AD08s I used for the 3 day training program, so they are a little worn out, and the team has said that through testing, the AD08s have the best grip in their 1st heat cycle (hint!). So they are saving a new set for use in the qualifying and the races on Sunday.

Technicalities aside, the team has observed that my line entering Bryans is too tight, and needs changing. Comparing the data from my personal best, I am a full second slower just in Bryans alone, ouch. So all the above mentioned times could easily be 2:02 or 2:03. It started to rain a little so the team has a meeting with the drivers to discuss wet lines and wet race strategy.

26 Sep 2010

Race day. There is no warm-up session before the qualifying run, so go means go. Its important that I get 1st in class for the qualifying, but the GT200 cars will definitely be ahead, which is fine. Unlike the smaller Clark Circuit layout in the past, Batangas displays the power difference between cars. So the GT200 cars will be well away after the 1st lap, giving me clear room to pull away if I were to lead in my class.

While discussing about the set up of my car, I was told that my car should have been set stiffer, but data said otherwise, apparently their engineer test drove my car and said “how does Marcus drive this thing?” Oh well. It just means I need to bring my driving to a higher level, quicker reflexes to handle a stiffer set up. Its a little on the soft side according to them.

Anyway, since the GT Race is 18 laps long, tire pressure selection is critical. So for the qualifying, they had me do a short stint, pit in, measure pressures AND temperatures and then go out till qualifying is over, and then measure again. The aim is to look at the data and select the right pressure for the longer race event. Everyone has to weigh in after the qualifying to make sure no one is underweight. After looking at the tire temperatures, the engineer tells me that I am trail braking too much causing the front tires outside treads to overheat a little. I need to make sure I dont trail brake , especially during the GT Race. For the Sprint its push all the way…

Results are out! I am 1st in class (6th overall) with a time of 2:03.02. I seriously thought I could get a quicker time but there was SO much traffic. 2nd in my class timed at 2:05, so if I get a clean start I should pull away easily. A quick drivers briefing before we line up on the grid.

Sprint Race (dry)

While waiting on the grid, the team advises me about the start, the line to take leading into Turn 1 and the race. Starting 6th overall Im on the inside line, so its a good position to have.

After the formation lap, the 5 red lights will count up and then go out (just like in F1). Everyones revving up when the 1st red light is lit, 2, 3, 4, 5, GO! I get a good start, no bogs, not too much wheel spin. I even get a tow from a GT200 car leading up to Turn 1. The guy behind me was not near enough, so I didnt have to defend. After Turn 1, the GT200/300 cars leave us in the dust, the power gap is huge! Its a straightforward race from here, I have to maintain my pace and steadily pull away until 12 laps are over. Along the way I lap slower cars, 12 laps is pretty long, in total it was a 25 min race.

I grab the chequered flag with the team in cheers, knowing full well I just won the Sprint Race in the GT125 class (5th overall)! My teammate Sean has finished 3rd, so a good result for the team. Unfortunately my other teammate Bobby mis-shifted and blew up the engine. My best lap of 2:03.541 wasnt too far off from my qualifying pace, so not too much to worry. The best lap of the race is 1:56.774, just shows how much of a performance gap the GT200 cars have!

After the weigh in, looking at the official results I am more than pleased. I had a very comfortable 40+ sec lead ahead of the 2nd place GT125 finisher (Im not lying look at the pics later!). His best lap was 2:03.127 (uh oh). We get a rather long break (+ lunch) before the main event.

GT Race (dry)

This is the real deal for us. 18 laps, and the weather seems to be getting hotter and hotter. The starting grid will be reversed for the GT Race, so all the quicker GT200/300 cars are right behind us, and all my opponents are ahead of me, so a good start is super important for me here since Im starting on the outside line this time (7th overall).

As the 5 red lights go out, I get another good start! Into 2nd gear, I out accelerate my “rival” on the way to Turn 1 and just as I try to close the line a GT200 car comes shooting up beside me (almost didnt see him)! 4 other cars and I take Turn 1 side by side, super close! Just shows how much space there is in Turn 1.

Because of all the jostling in Turn 1, the GT125 Sprint 2nd place finisher is blocked off, but I get an ok exit so I start to run away and now I have to focus on passing the other GT125 cars. I also need to look out for the faster cars and give way, no point fighting with them.

It was very messy, I wasnt sure which position I was in my class, so I kept pushing. Early on in the race I pass my teammate on the start/finish straight, out brake him into Turn 1, and just as I was about to turn in the GT300 car is alongside as well, so he passes both of us! But I keep my position.

Now at this point I was already leading in my class, but I didnt know (haha) so I kept pushing, trying to create a gap (or chase some unknown opponent).

An incident in Turn 2 (or also known as R Bend, its shaped like an R)! Apparently one of the front runners was bumped into a spin and is parked at the apex, yellow flags are waved frantically. Its dangerous because R Bend is slightly blind, so I slow down just a bit and I see him in time to avoid and drive around him. Unfortunately, he cant move because theres too much traffic behind him! Soon after he recovers and is lapping super quick. In just a few laps he is in my mirrors and I let him through safely to avoid slowing each other down, we are not fighting for position anyway. As he zooms pass me I realize that he is dragging his rear bumper along!

He gets the black flag with an orange disk in its center, so he has to pit to remove that bumper before he can continue. It did look like it was gonna fall off anytime, so I avoided following too closely. After he completes his pit stop, hes right on my ass, so I let him through, again.

18 laps takes pretty long, and the weather is getting hotter each lap. Every time you pass the finish line you get to see how many laps are left, and boy do they take some time to count down!

I finally see the chequered flag, but Im not sure if I won (like I said I didnt know!). Weigh in is all good. Results show that the team repeated the same result. Yep, I won again (5th overall)! Sean gets 3rd again too. My lead over the 2nd place GT125 finisher was only 16 seconds, so it was a good thing I maintained pace. Amazingly, the driver with the falling bumper still finishes 3rd in class (4th overall)! My best lap was 2:03.164.

I was extremely delighted to bag a double win, great result for us (my super supporting wife is always there), for the team and for my parents as well! Prize giving ceremony begins and the drivers are awarded respectively. TRS celebrates the bagging of 4 trophies so the winning cars are put in place for a team photo shoot.

All in all it was good development for me as a driver, especially during the longer race, since I get to experience how the dynamics of the car changed as laps piled on. The team too was happy with my progress. But I still had alot to work on my feedback when it comes to set up, very weak in this area.

Hope you enjoyed the post/pics! I will be back with more updates~

Link: http://www.tuasonracing.com/TRS/10.01.2010a.html

Super lazy me has took a long time to update this blog. From the last update, Ive been to the Batangas Racing Circuit and back to do the above + race in the 5th leg, plus to Johor Circuit, where Ive been able to record a new personal best! But that will be in other posts, back on track…

21 Sep 2010

Same car, same tire (Neova AD08), new circuit. Unlike the slower, shorter half distance of the Clark International Speedway, which by the way has become a super challenging 4+km circuit with a VERY long main straight, Batangas has a great mix of slow, medium and flat out corners. Uphill, downhill, cambered and off cambered, challenging. It is 3.7km long, as long as Johor Circuit.

To bring me up to speed, TRS drove me around to identify braking zones, turn in points, apexes and exit points (cones included). Part of their “grand plan” to improve my lap times in a faster way over these 3 days was to remove the power steering on the car. Physically Im quite weak, lol.

The lack of power steering seriously trains a driver to do the right thing, a mistake in pedal or steering input will translate into tremendous effort required to keep the wheel turned. Do the right stuff, and its like youre driving WITH power steering. It will improve your braking/accel inputs, racing line and exit attitude.

I wont go into too much about the training (it would take too long), so Im just going to cover key points, and my quickest lap times per session. All I know is that TRS does a great job of training drivers, see for yourselves, join their classes!

The Batangas Racing Circuit

I will start with a description of the Batangas Circuit. It starts on the main straight where you hit 4th gear and max speed before braking for Turn 1 is about 140+km/h. Turn 1 is a 2nd gear right hander. It is a good passing point, it has alot of space, and the angle is just right to block your opponents line if youre on the inside. Turn 1 leads to another pretty long straight up into 4th so exiting right is important or get passed at Turn 2.

Turn 2 is a downhill, off camber, and then cambered 2nd or 3rd gear right hand 180deg turn, serious stuff, extremely hairy when its wet here. Not bad of a passing point, but risky if you plan to dive in. Its easier to have made the pass exiting Turn 1 and getting alongside earlier, but if not, the entry into Turn 2 is braking while turning a little, so passing can be tricky. Speeds thru Turn 2 can vary alot depending on line, gear choice and inputs, very challenging turn. Exiting right is important too, as you CAN be passed entering Turn 3.

A short straight up to 3rd gear into Turn 3, a very slow left hand double A hairpin. Good passing point if you exit strong out of Turn 2, but most will defend. If you get the line wrong, or accelerate a little too late, you can lose some speed leading up to the most important part of the circuit, Turn 4, or also known as Bryans (the 1st person to have crashed there).

Leading up to Bryans in 3rd, almost to the limiter before braking, you can get passed here if you had a bad exit out of the hairpin, but you can defend by taking the inside early, however you do lose entry AND exit speed on the fastest part of the circuit leading to ANOTHER passing point. Almost everywhere on Batangas is a passing point, which makes it so challenging for the drivers and great for the spectators (and commentator). Bryans is a long uphill double A left hander taken in 3rd gear, flat just about the first A, up into 4th gear while exiting, hitting speeds of up to almost 160km/h while diving into a downhill braking zone into a slow, slow Turns 5 & 6. Getting it wrong in Bryans can lose you more than a second in lap time, and you also might be passed.

Turns 5 & 6, 2nd gear off camber right handers, Turn 6 being slower and more off cambered, so getting good traction here is very important, because it leads to another high speed section, you can lose alot of time here. Passing can be done, but risky due to high speed braking and the angle required to make Turn 5. Most drivers only attack here if they were nicely alongside exiting Bryans.

Exiting Turn 6 leads to a 2nd gear chicane, hard to pass, most drivers just follow along. Exiting the chicane is important again, it leads onto a 4th gear flat out Turn 9. Turn 9 is a long right hander taken flat in 4th, exciting stuff. Hard to pass unless side by side before the turn. Can lose up to half a sec if taken wrongly since taken flat.

It leads onto Turn 10 & 11, a rather quick 3rd gear right hander taken as 1 turn. Since an attacker will be following closely thru Turn 9, passing can be done here, but defenders can place themselves in the middle and take the inside thru Turns 10 & 11. Braking here is key to getting it right, cause entering too quick will leave you with truckloads of understeer. Getting Turns 10 & 11 wrong on the exit will mean defending like hell for Turn 1. Personally I dont like passing here, and usually will get a good exit to attack at Turn 1. I hope this description was fun and made you wanna drive on it!

Back to lap times, so here they are:

1st session best: 2:07.xx

2nd session best: 2:06.87

3rd session best: 2:05.xx

4th session best: 2:04.22 (I decided to have the power steering back on for this session, too tired =p)

22 Sep 2010

More feedback from the instructors thru the data logger, alot of mistakes to fix.

1st session best: 2:03.2x (lapping with Mike)

2nd session best: 2:05.xx (slightly wet, lapping with Bjorn)

3rd session best: 2:03.xx (lapping with both + practice start)

4th session best: 2:02.xx

5th session best: 2:02.3x (passing exercise with Bjorn)

6th session best: 2:01.9x (passing exercise with Bjorn)

It would seem pressure makes me lap quicker haha! Thanks Mike & Bjorn =)! With this lap time I will be competitive during the weekend, according to TRS.

23 Sep 2010

Run thru with the data logger again before heading out, always need to refresh.

1st session best: 2:01.02 (good session here, 8/10 laps were 2:01.xx)

Now that Ive got the driving down somewhat, we moved on to setting up the car for the weekend. TRS have been telling me I have a very smooth driving style which needs more aggression, otherwise I lose out in the low speed turns.

Tire pressure sessions best: 2:03.xx (it seems I was getting tired from 3 straight days of training)

Wider rear track session best: 2:02.xx (good rear traction here but lost too much front grip so bad exits)

Damper, alignment and ride height sessions best: 2:03.xx (Im tired, nowhere near the morning 2:01.xx)

I was told to take note that either I was very tired, or it could be that the tires were wearing out, or the track conditions could have changed, but 2 seconds is alot, so I concluded it was me with a sprinkle of external factors.

After all this training, I was shuttled back to Manila to rest for about a day plus before the race weekend. Hope readers enjoyed! Will be back with more updates~

Websites: www.tuasonracing.com

www.batangasracingcircuit.com

I recently went to Johor Circuit twice to get back in touch with driving on a circuit. I havent been practicing since July, and my race is coming very soon! Im flying off to Batangas, Philippines this coming Monday to participate in the Philippine GT again.

I had new tires (yes I know I havent given my review), new oil, had everything else checked too, so this time the car should be just fine. I had hoped the last brake binding incident wont happen again, and fortunately it didnt on both occasions!

7th Sep 2010

The first trip Adrian joined me as well. He also had new tires, Federal 595Evo, and was dying to test them out. Of course, I would be guiding him along to improve his lap times, and this time I was a little more diligent. I would log tire pressures in & out of the pits for both of us and get feedback from there while looking at the times. I would be changing my damper settings slightly to get some testing done. Wife Juliana will be recording times, tire pressures, damper settings and comments, like ‘brakes hot/faded’, ‘understeer’ or some other note that we can refer to.

We knew that from the last trip, Adrian was unable to pace himself, resulting in accelerated tire wear, a quick trip home, and a hole in his wallet.  So we decided that for the 1st run, I would lead him, and adjust the pace as we go along.

The run didnt go as planned, I thought he would be flat on the straights and relaxed thru the corners, but in the end, we were just waiting for each other! He was afraid he would rear end me -_- haha! And I backed off thinking he couldnt catch up! Ok so back into the pits, bleed tires, check times and… Not so nice (2’15s), but at least it was consistent.

This time he decided that he should lead. Boy do things change, he was only quicker on one lap (2’13) and the rest of it was faded brakes. He had a bad habit of braking and turning in late, common mistakes by newer drivers (including me in the past). So out he went again and did some pretty consistent laps (2’16s), but the times were slower than the ones I was leading in. Somewhere hes either pushing too hard or being too relaxed. Keep in mind that in these latter 2 runs, he was flat on the throttle, but on the 1st one where I led, he wasnt. I think he was slowing down too much in the corners. All in all, he was slower than our last trip in July! Damn, maybe its the tires?

I did some testing on my own as well, but being on new tires, I didnt want to chunk them too quickly, Johor is hard on tire wear. I also wanted to show Adrian how being passed was like, so I followed for one lap and then ZOOM! And I carried on with my own training. Back in, did some 2’05s and a 2’04, ok maybe a little too relaxed. Wife says PUSH, so I adjust the dampers because I was getting abit more understeer than usual and off I go! Much better now, 2’02s, 2’01, but theres this 2’03, hmmm… Record lap is 2’00″xx, shy of a second, maybe next time when the tires wear down more.

The rest of the day I decided to ride along with Adrian to guide him as he drives (good news, his tires wont shot). There were a few others on the track too, but for different reasons. One was track mapping/data logging, and the other was her 1st time in an Audi A3 1.8T. Her husband was guiding her around the circuit. He drove a Lotus Elise S, on semi slicks.

Towards the end of the last session the Elise S did some flying laps too, and passed Adrian while I was riding along. If only I was in my car. But it seems we would meet again……

14 Sep 2010

I came with my wife, Juliana, for more testing/practice. Adrian wasnt free this time. It just rained and some parts of the circuit are wet, have to be careful. This time I would be fooling around more with the dampers just to see what changes I get. I would start on the softer side and increase the damping force after each run (4 to 5 laps). 1st run was to test the track condition and adjust tire pressures, so back in with a quickest of 2’03, and its semi wet. Er somewhere in me is saying “its wet and you are matching times when its DRY?” I still have a lot to learn, and I hope the professional training will iron out these weird stuffs. This is not the 1st time Im doing wet times as quick as dry ones.

2nd run, same settings but just driving a little quicker now that Im more confident with the track conditions. Consistent 2’02s but I started overheating the brakes a bit (I could smell them!) so I quickly cool down the car. Before the 3rd run I increase the damping force (aka stiffer). The track is as good as dry now but its cool, its going to be easy on the tires and I get a little more on the straights… 2’02s and 2’01s, looking good but still nowhere near the 2’00 that I want to repeat. Im aiming for a 1’59 or 58 eventually.

1st session’s hour ends and I take a break. Before the next session starts, Elise S and Audi A3 from last week show up again! This is going to be fun. Recognizing each other, we wave in acknowledgement. Alright time for the cars to be on track, Audi A3 is out for her 2nd time on this circuit with husband guiding.  The weather has become really hot, and so has track temperature. I increase damping for the 4th run, apart from slowing down to pass the A3, Im getting understeer, maybe its the tires getting too hot (must bleed), and Im only doing 2’03s, sigh…

I reduce the damping for the 5th run, and this time the Elise is on track! Time to have a little battle. However, he lets me through early and decides to give chase. Times are identical to the 4th run, tires a little hotter too. Wife says Elise has similar times. Last run, I decide to increase the damping by alot, and I still do 2’03s, but its a little more consistent, plus the track is scorching hot, so I do wear out one tire too much, ouch~ I rotate my tires before each trip but this one is going to stick out like a sore thumb…

I think the conditions today affected my times alot more than the settings did, however I had more confidence and the car handled transitions better when the damping force was higher. On the other hand, softer settings helped in the longer, flowing turns and gave a bit more traction. Perhaps the testing in Batangas will help me understand damping more, just like the last time in Clark. Back then the Ford Focus responded well with having a higher damping setting in the front, but past tests indicate that my Civic responded better with equal or higher rear damper settings. I will be doing more testing when I return.

Elise S and I chatted for awhile, introduced ourselves, and he gives me his name card. I dont have one, dang. Apparently Alvin (I know 4 now) comes here quite often, so he says email him when I plan to come down, great! He has the same surname, so I think somewhere on the tree we’re related, somehow, haha.

Tire Change! 25/7/10

This post is super overdue, I was just too lazy… Haha

My previous set of Potenza RE-11 was worn out after just 8 months! But thats because I used it up in Johor Circuit about 7 to 8 times, personally I think it was worth all the tire management I put in. They were worn out to the point where it got quite hairy even on a daily basis. And besides I need a new set to continue practicing at the track!

I managed to get some good consistent laps out of them, Im happy with them, so I decided to get them again! (I still havent done my review on them…)

I called the tyre shop of my choice on Sunday to check if they had a set of them at 195/50R15, and fortunately, they had one LAST set remaining, so I told them to reserve and off I went!

The shop was so busy that even their family members had to help, and I had to wait sometime before they unmounted my worn tires. Here are some shots of the new, old tires and my car:

I needed an alignment too, but they were too busy and I had an appointment. So we arranged a weekday for the alignment to be done at the discounted price (when you buy tires) when theyre way less busy. And on the day of the alignment, I was the only car, haha…

Stay tuned for my review on the Potenza RE-11!