The Mustang Forum for Track & Racing Enthusiasts

Taking your Mustang to an open track/HPDE event for the first time? Do you race competitively? This forum is for you! Log in to remove most ads.

  • Welcome to the Ford Mustang forum built for owners of the Mustang GT350, BOSS 302, GT500, and all other S550, S197, SN95, Fox Body and older Mustangs set up for open track days, road racing, and/or autocross. Join our forum, interact with others, share your build, and help us strengthen this community!

S197 3V Apex3v's Road Race Build Thread Build Thread Profile - S197 Mustangs

Apex3V

Heel-n-Toe Enthusiast
There is truth that it does mentally prepare you for actual door to door racing, but it equally puts you on track with others that have a Competition License and that does ramp up intensity. It also gives you a bit of actual racing sense since chasing someone in your own class, feeling you are catching them, and then seeing proof from scoring validates your improvement. The other thing that I feel happens is you get a heightened sense of the drivers ahead/behind of you, and instead of waiting patiently for passing zones you start looking for areas where others are making errors, opening passing zones you can capitalize on. This is a key area to winning races once you begin to actually road race. I spent a full year doing this before I raced in SCCA Spec Miata, because we were building the car and it was not fully compeleted. The seat time and the closer proximity to other racers helped my comfort zone as well as helping me focus on other competitor's driving styles. Up to now your main focus has been on improving your skill, and that will always continue, but now your other focus will be directed on what others are doing. You will find faster lines from those that are quicker, you will spot openings others may see, and you will learn more about your own limitations while pushing your strengths. Think of Time Trials as a year of Prep School before going to College, and I think you will accelerate your comfort zone, instead of working to learn so much immediately in jumping right into folks inches off your door panels.

Been married to a wonderful woman for close to 43 years who used to race for awhile and she understands and supports my passion. You will find 90% of your friends envious you have a lovely lady on your arm who wants to drive fast too -------- it makes life even more enjoyable.

Congrats!
Wow that was a great response bill, I can tell you’re good at sales cause I’m definitely more sold in doing some tt now, also didn’t know that about your wife which is awesome, thanks a ton!
 

Apex3V

Heel-n-Toe Enthusiast
Weekend Rundown: Charlotte Roval TNIA
The summer time at southern race tracks is very warm experience, While it seems like nothing compared to a lot of the west coast members I've gotten used to just being uncomfortable from humidity than just heat alone. Because of this and a couple of other factors events in the summer are seemingly uncommon and can be treated like a miniature break during a season. The past years my car would change up a bit during this time because funding and opportunity to do the work to the car would become available to me but this year is a little different aside from the obvious. The car as it sits right now has most of what I want and need to race in Spec Iron, the big thing it is missing for racing to take place though is a roll-cage. The issue with getting a cage right now is transporting the car since driving a car with a full cage on the street is just plain irresponsible for myself and others. It is taking a lot of time, learning and trial and error to figure out a transportation method that will work for 2 cars that wont also destroy the bank but a solution is coming for this seemingly soon. During this time away from the track, lots of time was spent practicing different methods of driving and divulging into more technique and racing etiquette to further myself for when things got back under way.

This event was a bit of a reconditioning event that will help setup for the rest of the year for both my Girlfriend and myself as this will be her second event and second track and for me some time to knock away any rust and get back to work. The main thing I wanted her to work on and get proficient at during this event was learning new tracks. It is very important that she learn this skill early on as it will make her high performance driving experience more rewarding early on and allow her to spend time learning other things and make her a safer driver. Her car hasn't changed between events either which will be good to conduct learning and not introduce to many new variables to figure out.

At the start of the event you have an incentive to arrive early as there are first come first serve garage stalls for no extra cost. I've made the habit of showing up early for events as to not add any stress to the day and to have this as a small reward is nice, light rain was coming down for about half an hour before any sessions on the track but wouldn't be enough to raise any concern for the first session. Track Night in America runs a 3 session program that gives you a semi-decent chunk of time for the price you pay which will usually be just enough time to figure out a circuit and have a good time. During the downtime before the event would actually begin we swapped over tire's so we would be ready, conversed with some of the other drivers and observed the ford performance racing school on track.
4LTLLrh.jpg
anticipating a good time​

The time finally came for the first session, I led the miata for the out-lap and quickly jumped into a groove and began pushing what I could and trying to get re-acquainted with the track after a small hiatus. The main thing I forgot about this track was just how much grip was in the NASCAR turns, the first time I had come here a chicane was used on the backstretch but for this event was not used. I was hitting the highest speeds I had ever seen in my car entering NASCAR turn 3 hitting just above 140 mph. The session was an absolute blast for me and I really could see how I had improved from my last outing here just in my first couple of laps. Towards the end the tire's seemed to be over heated and were causing some odd behaviors so I backed off a bit, the brakes were phenomenal during this session when compared to my first time here. I was originally braking just in front of the start finish line and just barley making t1 comfortably but with this tire/brake combo I could start braking about where my rear wheels were on top of the finish line and much less pressure was needed to get it slowed down. During the cool down lap the LF tire seemed to have bit of a vibration which I had just deducted to loosing wheel weights but I would later find out was wrong.
0ycmw3M.jpg
I WANNA GO FAST!
After this first session the Miata Chic was not in a very good mood, lots of confusion was coming up from trying to learn the track and caused a lot of really bad frustration which is really destructive on her learning. We debriefed after the session and addressed where the issues were coming from and what we can try to fix it. I decided that I would help her find the ideal placement by doing a lead follow exercise so she could get a better visual and idea of where to put her car. This worked brilliantly for her as her whole mood and excitement level did a complete reversal and she was back on track with the event going as well as it can. After debriefing with her after the session we addressed some more area's to improve on and how to go about doing it, we observed on the bridge and pointed out some stuff that isn't as easily identifiable in-car on track that can be used to help.
xHVI3Dt.jpg
"Where I go I just don't know, I've got to got to gotta take it slow"
Before our last session the event has pace laps open to everyone so we quickly took advantage of this, I was able to ride in her passenger seat and instruct for her the way we both prefer. With this and the mixed low speeds it made this a perfect learning opportunity for how she can drive faster and with more confidence. Her spirit was high after the pace laps and she was ready for the last session. I was excited as well, the sun was covered from a lot of overcast and it was getting late so the track side lighting was turned on which created a cool experience of driving in the dark which I have been craving for a while. Pulling out of the pit's the track felt great, there was lot's of grip almost everywhere with the building tire temps going through my first lap. after about a lap and half in the infield portion I start a gentle turn in to a sweeping uphill turn and feel the left front lose grip as i start going into the turn. I quickly realized what was about to happen and scrubbed speed as safe as possible. about 3 seconds later I hear something knocking around under the fender going along with the wheel so I get down to the apron and limp around to the pits. in my head I thought it was a fender liner as I've had the issue this year, I asked the Marshall in the pits to check it for me and he said my tire was corded and my day was done. I accepted it and moved on from there, I was extremely relived that the situation didn't unfold in a much worse way and at a much higher speed, I was glad the car was in one piece so that's really all I could ask for.
eTJAJDD.jpg
no good (sorry for sideways phone shot)
Well since my 2 laps into the session were over I quickly got out the car and found a spot on the bridge so I could see how she would do this session. I was very happy to see that she implemented everything we had gone over and was visually and audibly faster than before. She was nailing her marks and showed a lot of confidence in car placement and throttle commitment. After her session was over and she came in the look of happiness was unreal and I was really glad I was able to help her during the event to make that happen in the end. Once both of our cars had cooled down we began swapping tires and loading back up which is where I discover how bad the tire really was. it looks to me like some of the belts let go on the inside shoulder as you can see (hopefully atleast) that the shoulder bulges out a lot and cant imagine any way that it could have expanded that way without that happening. this was a lesson for me that thankfully wasn't very expensive but I mainly took away that I need to keep a much closer eye on tires for stuff like this and not run them down that far if not necessary, this was probably the 7th event on these tires so that is asking way more than they were ever really intended for out of them.
As9Grfq.jpg
enjoy it while it last's
Now that this event has come and gone I can shift sight's to the next NASA SE weekend, really big and exciting things are going to be happening and I cant wait to share them here. On a very sad side note we lost a really good friend from the paddock which has been really unfortunate, he had been there for all of my time in HPDE and was always a great guy to learn new things from, chat with and just be a really friendly face. It took all of us by surprise as he was pretty young and healthy and no one ever could have seen it coming. It was a serious reminder to enjoy everything you do and live each day with no regrets.
SpvjcTh.jpg
Prodigy's of Peace
Now onto the next weekend...
 

Apex3V

Heel-n-Toe Enthusiast
Recap...
Well it has been some time now since I've updated this thread so I will give a brief rundown of what has been happening since my last post. After driving at charlotte I completed the NASA instructor clinic at Roebling Road and have been instructing for a year now! I have primarily been instructing my girlfriend and have really been impressed with the progress she has been making in her high performance driving career. since charlotte I've driven 8 event's at CMP, RRR, VIR, RA and Charlotte again, Duane, my girlfriend and I also used the skid pad for the first time. I've been making some serious strides finding the last couple of tenths in pace to match or surpass Spec Iron time's and have some good developments that have happened.

YssGV9k.jpg
instructor clinic (Blind-folded Driving!!)

During the June Road Atlanta event with NASA SE I suffered my first mechanical failure on track and destroyed my clutch, luckily for me we towed the Miata down so I had an easy way to get it back home for the tear down. Luckily (if you can say that..) for me I was already planning on tearing the car down because my car was scheduled to get a roll cage the second week of July so the dismantlement of the interior started and final detail of sound deadener removal were finished up. Fast forward 6 weeks and I pick up my car and start to reassemble the interior and wow was that a pain! I realize now this stuff comes out way easier than it goes back in (especially the wiring). I spent some extra time and set up gauges for the oil temp/pressure and water temp per recommendations. all was good and I got it all put back together, I went to go test drive the car before my shake down event and discovered some odd issues. The odometer, speedometer, fuel, water gauges in the cluster were not functioning at all or correctly and ABS was inactive. This confused me badly so I scoured the internet and ended up back on TMO at an old post from Chris w. about a similar issue and his solution was replacing the dash harness. I grabbed another harness and regained ABS but the gauges were still not functioning right, this was good enough for me to just be able to go shake down the car and find the issues and what needs to be fixed/adjusted.

kDVc2QA.jpg
off to get a cage!

Shakedown time! What better place to do this than at Hyperfest? I drove 2 sessions on full course and 1 session on patriot (FUN!!) and ironed out some issues. first was the brake booster not being completely tightened and causing a vacuum leak which led to delay in pedal response and was overall a bad situation, Dead pedal fell off 3 laps in and fumbled around my feet, tachometer does basically a full rotation of the sweep past 3k. overall the car felt more like it did with a full interior with the added weight of the cage and forced me to back up my brake zones by about half a car length or so, other than these issues the car felt great and I enjoyed my time, @Duane Black got to watch me learn Patriot course in real time and we pushed each other to HPDE greatness 😁

vBpfyWt.jpg
68, 86

eHvgNBt.jpg
now that the car is back I need to get this dash issue sorted before my next event in 2 weeks, any suggestions on the solution are welcome!! happy tracking...
 

Apex3V

Heel-n-Toe Enthusiast
Recap...
Well it has been some time since I last updated this blog, A LOT has happened since the last update ending at VIR in October 2021. First off I finally got to Comp school in November with NASA-SE at Carolina Motorsports Park and it was easily the most fun weekend I have ever had in my car. The sensation of wheel to wheel racing cannot be replicated to the full extent in any sort of track day environment and is a must for anybody doing this long term in my opinion. This event was my final for 2021 and would really leave a good impression on my future ambitions and current status as a driver.
IMG_7272.JPG
RaCe caR
2022 started off with a little bit of diversity beginning with some auto-x in a friend of a friends gutted Honda Civic, it was a comparatively different experience than most of what I've driven and a lot of fun, the week after I rode right seat with an aspiring Spec Iron driver and took him out for a session in his car to give him some pointers and perspective. About a month after this I got the chance to check out Atlanta Motorsports Park and really enjoyed that track, the weather was freezing with one session actually having snow come down. Nevertheless though the track was fairly technical as its short with a lot of corners, my favorite part of the track was the compliance of the curbs and most of the flow. One more event followed after which was an auto-x at Zmax Dragway with the Scca with @Duane Black as my co-driver/instructor, this event was very fun for the most part and I really enjoyed getting a different perspective on the cars setup, behavior, and technique as well as more education in a different discipline. This event would be the last for a while however as the car would not shift gears properly and led me on a bit of chase to truly fix it over the course of the last couple of months.
LmYPgvg - Imgur.jpg
AMP Cold AF
The issue that was happening with the car seemed pretty straight forward with only a handful of causes, The car would not shift between gears while the engine was operating. Knowing that all the gears still work, it shifts in all the gears when the engine is off, no grinding noises while in gear and no slipping narrowed it down in my mind to 3 things it could possibly be. Slave cylinder since the clutch was seemingly not disengaging, broken pressure plate or air in the lines. the clutch pedal beforehand felt lower than normal at the release point so I figured that air had to be in it somehow but after multiple bleeds "leg days" it clearly was not the problem. Pulling the trans. out the first time revealed and over extended slave cylinder that seemed to have lost the retaining ring on the end of it somehow. I assumed that was the issue since it was obviously damaged and ordered a new one and didn't think twice. after getting it all back together the same issue persisted which really baffled me, after a TON of researching online nothing was really coming up that really highlighted this exact situation, I knew the transmission would be coming back out again so 'i brought it to my good friends shop to at least make it a little easier this time. I decided to just replace the clutch system and start fresh to hopefully eliminate any gremlins from the unit, after pulling everything apart I found a minor heat ring on the pressure plate and a 1 inch fracture towards the outer diameter of the friction disc. This was not really concrete to me since I've seen much worse, but hey just gonna replace it and see at this point. Luckily for me once it was all put back together everything worked normally and really put my mind at ease.

I've been able to get the car ready for the remainder of the year now, I'll be racing at Rockingham speedway and Road Atlanta in the coming fall and could not be more excited, its been a drought of sorts this year between fixing the car, rising costs and business development outside the car world but the time away has helped me reflect a little and create even more appreciation than I already had for the sport and what it means to my life.e1pMuKC - Imgur.jpg
Ready Race 2022 edition
 

TMO Supporting Vendors

Buy TMO Apparel

Buy TMO Apparel
Top