Over the last couple of months I’ve been working on the Great Danton, trying to refurb some of the problem and worn out areas of the car. It’s been a while since the car has had any down time and after all the track days and dailying it in Switzerland for a bit it became a bit of a mess; blowing turbo, ruined discs and some miss-fires.

The original sub-frame had seen better days, so I picked up a spare for which I could sand blast, zinc coat and powder coat. I then gave it a top coat of colour as I didn’t really want to keep it black, but didn’t really mind what colour.

The new sub-frame is mounted to chassis with Driftworks Poly Sub-frame Bushes. With the drop in ride-height the alignment went to shit (3 degrees of camber) so all the upper suspension arms, traction, camber and toe, have been replaced with Driftworks adjustable units. Lower arms have been kept stock.

And keeping with the Driftworks trend, the differential bushings have been replaced with solid units from Driftworks. I hope the NVH doesn’t become too unbearable. With the diff out of the car I also took the opportunity to replace the oil with Eni 80w-90 and also clean up some of the hoses after the oil cooler was removed.

After the overheating problems I had at Monza I inspected the rad and found it to be filled with crap. Instead of cleaning it out I decided to get a Driftworks Supercool aluminium replacement and also remove the A/C rad. So much cleaner and less cluttered at the front now.

Being four hours away from Monza now I couldn’t miss their JDM specific Speed Day event, which was held the 1st of Feb. This was to be the last track event before I stowed the Great Danton away for a bit of TLC, and boy is it necessary.

I had a bit of a mishap the coming week in some snow in Bern and kissed a curb with one of my Gram Lights, rendering it not track worthy. So I was forced to run stock wheels and tyres on the back as I couldn’t find replacements in such short notice. I decided to keep the 57C on at the front as I could always do with some extra front grip but at you can imagine it had a huge effect on the balance of the car. As fun as oversteer is, the previous proper set up was so balanced and stable that it was very confidence inducing, which would have been valuable on a high speed track like Monza. Non-the-less it was very enjoyable to wrestle the car through most turns.

The conditions were perfect; fresh and sunny, with a perfectly dry track. Despite the lack of rear grip my fastest lap was a 2:28.08, which I am quite pleased with.

SR20DET @10-12psi
Bridgestone Potenza RE002 245/40/18 Front
Bridgestone Turanza T001 205/50/16 Rear

The reason why I wrote 10 to 12psi is because I was having some issues. I had slight overheating problems forcing me to run a slow lap every 3 or 4 laps, which was probably caused by the clogged rad (which I discovered while removing it) and potentially the turbo elbow gasket problems. 2 of the turbo elbow bolts sheared, which then destroyed the gasket and caused quite a large exhaust leak in the engine bay. This could have increased the engine bay temperatures significantly adding to the cooling problem (as I had zero issues at Cadwell or any track day). This overheating problem was proportional to the over-boosting problem, which I think is due to the manual boost controller being so close the exhaust leak, causing the whole valve to overheat. But this is all speculation.

The car is now in my garage where I’m doing a reasonable overhaul, and the cooling system will be addressed regardless on top of the rear sub-frame restoration, braking system upgrades and turbo repairs I plan to do.

January 2, 2015

December 30, 2014

Back in Italy for the holidays.

Switzerland!

December 29, 2014

I have officially moved to Switzerland for work and have been here since the beginning of December. Awesome scenery and roads makes up for the lack of tracks in the country, but Monza and Nurburgring and a few other French tracks aren’t too far away! The Great Danton came down with me and is now living the daily life; hopefully for not much longer as I’ll find an Accord replacement.

Enjoy some Grindelwald and Bern area scenery.

Archie’s 325ti.

November 18, 2014

Halloween at Cadwell Park

November 7, 2014

Last Friday (31st October) I tackled the awesome Cadwell Park at a Javelin organised open pit lane track day. After watching a few onboard videos the narrowness of the track and some high speed sections seemed quite daunting, but its probably one of the best tracks I’ve driven on. Technical, full of character and interesting, and the Mountain proved to be as fun as I’d hoped.

My earlier post outlined some of the changes I’d made to the car and its current spec. Performance wise there weren’t any major upgrades, just a few changes.

It was great to be back on track with the Great Danton after so long but it was also a good opportunity to do some benchmarking. Cadwell Park is one of the tracks on the Time Attack UK calendar and this would allow me to see at what performance level both the cars and drivers compete at, as its a championship I would be interested in competing in. I know my car is close to stock in terms of performance, with nearly all the interior and leather trim still in the car, but it would allow to gauge what sort of work would be required to be competitive.

Next to my mates 318 ti.

Onto the highlights:

SR20DET T28 @10psi
Bridgestone Potenza RE002 Adrenalin 245/40/18
Approx. 1265kg wet weight

The fastest lap of the day was a 1:51.95 during my last session. The track was completely dry by that point after a bit of fog and dampness in the early morning.

The car went without a hitch all day, but I did finish the rear pads again like at Donington; down to metal. The rear pads were EBCs again but this time I went for the Red Stuff compound, which I thought would last longer but only did a couple of thousand miles on road and this track day. Not great. Some Ferodo DS2500 would be a better choice, which I have on the front, but they are nearly 3 times more expensive for the rear; the price difference for the front pads is much closer. I had some temperature strips on the front calipers which registered up to 188degC, which is fine for the brake fluid.
Overall I think I need to upgrade the braking system; not only do the bigger tyres offer more grip but they have a slightly bigger diameter thus reducing the brake performance. Future work on the braking department will be bigger discs at the front and to rebuild the front calipers, and get some 2 piston rear calipers (Z32) to balance the braking system.

Had some good battles out there with a TVR Cerbera, 330Ci and a racing Citroen AX. There were a few great cars that I’d hope to run with but we’d go out at different times or be on different ends of the track during a session, and it’s difficult to slow down to let them catch up when you’re having a blast. It’s the same thing when you reckon you should come in and rest the car: why should? I don’t want to stop! And then you end up on track for an hour and you’ve worked up a sweat.

The RE002 tyres performed very well for a sport tyre as they could easily hang with semi-slick draped cars in the corners, though for my next track day it’ll have to try the set of R888s I have. Such GRIP!

Time Attack UK
So I’ve posted a list of lap times around my fastest lap showing where the Great Danton currently sits among them; these times are from this year’s Cadwell round and only a small portion of lap times are shown.

– 1:42.097 – Club RWD – Mazda RX-7 FD3S
– 1:43.802 – Club 4WD – Nissan Skyline GT-R BNR33
– 1:45.093 – Club NA — Honda Civic Type-R FN2
– 1:48.380 – Club FWD – Vauxhall Astra Turbo
– 1:48.810 – Club 4WD – Mitsubishi GTO (600hp)
– 1:50.688 – Club NA — Ford Fiesta ST
– 1:50.706 – Club FWD – Vauxhall Astra
– 1:51.95 – Great Danton
– 1:53.213 – Club FWD – Alfa Romeo 155 V6
– 1:53.820 – Club NA — Peugeot 205

Overall I’m very pleased with how the car compares with the current crop of Time Attack machines. If I remove and/or replace the leather interior, tune to 270hp and slap some semi slick tyres on I think I could shave the 10 seconds needed to compete in the Club RWD class, given that a couple of seconds could have been saved by improving my lines and pushing a bit harder on the braking points.

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