During the off season I hope to get the car to a more competitive level. There is quite a bit to consider in doing this. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing through the process. What do I mean by that? I have a dual minded approach to modification. Form and function battle it out with wallet to try to accomplish the mod. But, the main thing is to go faster. To do this I need three areas addressed. These three areas are brakes, handling, and power- obviously.
For the brakes I need to change the fluid, rotors, and pads. So, let’s start with fluid. I have seen more Motul references than any other brand when it comes to racing. My fluid choice will be Motul 5.1 race brake fluid. This fluid will withstand the rigors of road racing heel toe much better than OEM.
The rotors are Power Stop drilled and slotted. They were a game time decision. I don’t expect these to last the season. I am looking at the Talon rotors from Hawk for a mid-season change.
Hawk HP pads. I was introduced to Hawk by the National Auto Sport Association as a member. They are a sponsor of NASA and have an excellent track record of producing great results.
This is a really big area of improvement consideration. The issues are mainly how to not go backwards, not spend uneccessary money, get optimum results with less error in the trial. To improve handling I am changing the suspension, tires, rims, and balance.
The Altima Coupe handles itself very well as it sits. Being a strut type of suspension it has limited travel. This increases the risk of mistakes in setting it up. However, the rise on acceleration and dip and roll on brake and turn can be improved with the right coilovers. The 2011 has limited options. I am leaning on Godspeed Project 52mm 16 position dampening adjustment coilovers. They are mid range priced at $630. I am going to start with 400lb rate front and 300lb rate rear with a one inch lower front and rear at a 12 dmpening setting. I am also starting with factory alignment in relation to camber and caster. This may change with the track tire and rim selection.
Tires and Rims
This is a tough one. Rim width and offset along with your suspension all impact the geometry of your slip angle, scrub radius, over/understeer, center of gravity, center mass, and on and on. If a mistake is made in not matching these, I will go slower. I am hunting a place to try on the widest lightest rim possible to give me the best possible traction, inertia dynamics, and minimize the impact on scrub radius without compromizing steering or intoducing fender rub. I have found an 18×9.5 45mm rim that is only 18lbs. It is a little tough on the budget for something that is likely to take abuse.
Tires are looking like the Yokohama Advan A052. It offers twice as much traction as the Firestone Indy 500 tires I am running now and doesn’t get into the $300 per tire range. But, this will not fit on my rim. I will have to have a street set and a track set of wheels and tires. This complicates away track travel.
Not the tire balance. The car balance. This is the setting up of the spring tensions to provide the most balanced suspension settings possible for the car. This involves putting the car on scales under each tire and adjusting the rates around the car, with the driver in, to get as close 50 50 weigh distribution as possible. I hope to get Z1 in Carrollton GA to do this while I am getting an uprev tune. The problem is the first track day is next weekend and the brakes aren’t here yet! It will be tight to get them on and seasoned before I hit the paddock at Barber January 12th. I will llet you know how it goes!