Round 3 was a real blast. We had a blazing fast course to challenge our survival instincts and Solo Storm to show us some data. Huge thanks to Warren L. for designing a course that had us running in 4th gear for the first time, resulting in a 50 second course around the whole west lot! We ran the car in the exact configuration from last time, but that was not the best idea. What I've noticed is that the additional clicks on the rear dampers we love for the SE lot, resulted in a very loose car on the West lot. So there's a pro-tip for you, don't expect one damper setting to work on every course(duh).
Another thing I learned is that SoloStorm is awesome! You can have the two drivers fastest laps play over each other, showing exactly where one line is faster than the other. I was faster in the first part of the course and Patrick was faster in the second half. We analyzed the data between runs and knew exactly where to make changes. Patrick had the lead at first with a 50.5 then I took the lead on my 3rd run with a 50.3. We looked at the data and hit the course for our final runs, sadly though we both kept sliding too wide at section 8 losing vital exit speed for the fast finish. So I was stoked that I finally beat Patrick, but a few days later the results were posted and apparently I hit 3 cones on my fastest run(really?!). My video doesn't show it and unfortunately video alone is not enough proof for the SCCA. So I lose again, but at least its not by much this time haha!
2017 (C50) vs 2018 (C60)
So now we've had 3 events to get acclimated again and to gauge how the C60 and weight reduction has changed the car. Lets look at the PAX results from this time last year after 3 events, but keep in mind I had a Cusco LSD(5 speed) and fresh Hankook R-compound tires:
105th....not great but who cares right. Ok now lets look at the 3rd event of 2018:
100th...and this run was a half second slower than my fastest, supposed 3-coned run. Without their mistake my Pax would have been 98th, 7 spots faster than last year.
With this information I believe its safe to say that the C60 is in fact faster, even without an LSD. I'm aware 3 events isn't enough to judge a whole season by, but its at least a good preview. We will all get faster as the season progresses and then we can get a better idea of how the car has improved with the C60.
Our next event is the 2018 Tire Rack SCCA San Diego Match Tour on April 6-8, and we have another talented co-driver signed up... Robert Stangarone. I've talked to Cusco and attempted to order an LSD, but there are no parts available for the C60 right now and it will be on backorder until late April. Instead of just being on stand-by, I dropped the car off at Yawsport for a full inspection and corner balancing to ensure the car is at its absolute best. There aren't many people I trust to work on my car aside from Bret. If you take a look at his history you'll understand right away.
Take a look at our video from Round #3 below:
Before purchasing this set of Winmax brakes, the only other aftermarket pad I have tried was the Hawk HPS. I did a couple years of autocross and 2 track days on them, along with a ton of daily driving. They were fine I guess, they did their job but didn't have a noticeable difference from the OE pads. I had worn the Hawks down to 3mm right about when everyone was raving about the Winmax W3's. So I contacted a Winmax representative and let them recommend a full set for my application. They decided on the W4 pads for the front and the WRS-1 shoes for the rear.
The install for the front pads is pretty standard; use a new or resurfaced rotor, clean and lubricate the pad carrier and sliders, install the pads properly, compress caliper piston and install, then torque fasteners. I already have the stainless steel braided brake lines and flush in new DOT3 fluid annually, the car is very light so no need for the DOT4 or higher. I have another write-up HERE for installing the rear shoes if you're interested. Once your done handling the hardware its time to go out and do the bedding procedure below:
The first thing you will notice about these W4's is the bite. The W4 is designed specifically for circuit racing and has performed flawlessly for me the past 2 years, and there is still 6mm of pad left! They are by nature a more aggressive compound, so expect to see some dust, hear some noise, and only be able to use the rotors once. These pads will wear down the rotor surface creating a lip on the edge and make some squealing noises when driving on the street. Everyone that has driven my car is blown away by the braking performance, and cant believe I'm still using OE size rotors and rear drums. The Winmax brakes have showed you don't always need a BBK, but just a really good pad set. My car recently ran back-to-back sessions at Willow Springs Raceway with 2 drivers, and not one issue arose from the brakes...or anything else really. You can see the video HERE.
If you study the chart above you'll see the circuit W4 can withstand just a bit more heat than the W3, but still have a similar profile to a "sport" style pad. You can also see here that there are many other tiers you can choose from to suit your needs. I've had nothing but powerful and reliable performance from this Winmax brake system, and I fully recommend these products to everyone. Contact a dealer in your area to order a set for yourself! Check out the video below to see exactly how the pads looked after a full autocross season and a track day.
I've installed Whiteline bushing sets on a ton of Subarus, but never on a Toyota. So naturally I had no experience in doing the job or what to expect as the end result. You can purchase these bushings from many different sources and expect to pay around $130 total for the SMALL and LARGE set. The differences are obvious right away, the rear bushing has a lot less soft material while still leaving an opening for flex. Both bushings have reduced the bolt hole in the middle to the smallest possible size, and this is probably the major reason for buying these.
This install requires the removal of the lower control arms, a press, and some patience. The Yaris ball-joint stud is hidden under the axles, so a standard removal tool will not work. I remove the lock-pin and castle nut, then pry apart the hub and control arm while hitting the hub with a hammer. Once it separates, remove the two bushing bolts and then the arm is free.
Now you need to mark the control arm where the openings line up in the big rear bushing, so that the new bushing gets pressed in the same way. The small front bushing is the hard part, there is no way to get this part of the arm into a press so you need to get some big sockets and a long bolt like this:
Once you get the original small bushing out, then apply the provided lube to the contact surfaces and push in the new Whiteline parts. Now your control arms will be ready for installation.
Installing the arms back onto the car is where it got tough for me. This kit comes with 4 locating washers for the rear bushings, and they leave no room for subframe misalignment. I had to loosen all of the subframe bolts and re-center it to get the rear bushing bolts to go back in. The rest of the install is easy, but be sure to get an alignment after.
This is where I noticed a big difference. Before installing these bushings my car always had more caster on one side, then after the bushing kit install my caster matched EXACTLY on both sides. Thats really the only thing I noticed, the car didn't feel any more harsh and it hasn't made a single noise in the 2 years Ive had them. I inspect these bushings all the time and there are no tears or deformities yet, Im very impressed with these bushings and I definitely recommend them for street and track.
The Sparco Sprint 5 was my very first racing seat, and until my first track day back in 2015 I had no idea just how good they are. Before going to Thunderhill Raceway for the first time, the only racing I had done was autocross. Back then my car wasn't exactly fast either, I was running the car in STF class with the original engine and auto transmission. The main thing I took away from driving the 5, 15 minute sessions on the track was; "my arms hurt!".
#1 - FIA Approved
When you purchase a racing seat, the idea is that you are installing it into a vehicle used for racing. (I know, crazy huh? ). There are safety testing standards a seat must meet to be approved for competition referred to as FIA . Many racing organizations require you to have your seat, restraints, suit, and other equipment meet standards similar to this. TheSprint 5 is FIA approved with fire retardant fabric and has holes for the 5th and 6th harness points.
#2 - Affordable
Most FIA approved seats are not cheap, but you can get the Sprint 5 for half the cost of any other Sparco seat. There are only a couple other FIA approved seats in this price range; The OMP FIRST and the MOMO START. Even so, the Sprint 5 is still the most affordable FIA approved seat I've found.
#3 - Easy Install
The sprint 5 has a tubular frame with 8 mounting holes for either side or bottom mounting. This means you can mount the seat directly to the base for that lowest possible seating position or attach the Sparco side mounts to dial in your perfect height or recline. If you purchase the Sparco base for your vehicle, the sliders, side mounts, and seat will all work together and result in a seamless install. You may want to contact Sparco to check availability on your specific base, mine had to be made and took 4 weeks to arrive.
Things to consider...
There are 2 size options for the Sprint, medium and large. My seat is a medium and it fits my 32inch waist perfectly, but if you have a 36inch or larger waist you may need the large. The Sprint obviously does not have a halo, so this seat may not be suitable for all types of racing. You will also need to purchase a harness to go with this seat, the factory seat belt in your car will not hold you properly while racing due to the raised bolstering at the hips and shoulders. The fabric has held up really well in the 2 years I've had it, no tears at all and it is comfortable enough for a race seat.
Overall it's a great piece and it really holds you snug in the hips and shoulders. It does not interfere with shifting, my helmet, or neck support but it is quite difficult to reach around the cabin. I recommend this seat to everyone but be sure to test fit a seat before buying it.
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