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Lx Road Course Preparation!

133705 Views 452 Replies 55 Participants Last post by  Trump_Rises
This thread is an attempt to round up all the good information to help you prepare your LX car for running a Road Course! Many THANKS to MattRobertson, X E Ryder, TTMR and the other great forum members who helped me round up all this information, while I'm preparing myself and my car for my first trip to the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course! :thumbs_u:

Update: Even though I've traded the Charger for something faster, this thread still applies to all LX vehicles, and just about everyone else who is getting started in the addictive sport of amateur road-course track days!

(New information still gets added here, so check back for updates, edits and re-takes!)

*Check with the track you will be going to for their regulations concerning Driver Attire and Safety Equipment! Most tracks require at least: full shoes (no sandals or open-toed shoes), long pants, and a Snell SA2005 Approved helmet (minimum). Long sleeves, gloves and fire-retardant gear is highly recommended, especially when you start becoming competitive with your lap times!
**Some tracks specify an SA2005-rated helmet!! An M2005 helmet may not be allowed!!


Few realize that adding go-fast goodies should also result in selecting stop-just-as-fast goodies...
Do NOT leave stock brake pads on for a track day, they can't take the heat and will turn to goo, and your rotors will look like you spread peanut butter and jelly on em afterwards! :doh:

Use brake pads rated for higher temperatures, but even then be aware of the brakes fading. When they do, Do Not just keep pressing harder on the pedal! Instead do a slow, full lap without using the brakes, to cool them off, and either pull in, or see if your pedal is back. This should allow everything to cool and you will not ruin them, hopefully.

*You can run some track pads on the street for everyday use, but be advised they are a little messy, and if you drive mellow they will start squealing - a couple hard, hot stops will usually bring em back in line though. The squealing comes from being used at too low a temp for awhile and they get a sort of buildup going.*

It takes a little practice learning when your brakes are "going away" and all the little things like, when you pull in, do not use your brakes if you can-- shift to neutral and coast to a stop in the pits if possible. Do not set the parking brake, and after a few minutes, push your car 18 inches or so to get the part of the rotor out of the caliper area to avoid hotspots on the rotor. Do this a few times.

You can use the Wilwood BSL6 calipers and SRT rotors. The SRT rotors are the "El Cheapo" alternative that give you big brake kit performance (14.2") with the peasant price ($65 or so each). THEN you can get some serious pads on.
You want the Wilwood H pads, and you put them on at the track. They will trash your rotors otherwise but there is nothing like them for hi temp performance. I have a set that have lasted two full days at Laguna Seca and are good for one more. And they work no matter what.

The W6A Wilwood caliper is far better than the BSL6 but I don't think it fits under an 18" wheel...?
Down the road, get stainless lines and you will get a nice pedal feel out of it.

I used the Wilwood 570 fluid in 2 very different cars, and it worked great for my driving style. ** Here is a fantastic chart from our very own MattRobertson with all the stats you'll ever need for brake fluid! Be sure to read the information below the chart, to help make sense of it all. :thumbs_u:

That's the poor man's brake upgrade: fluid, pads and lines. :thumbs_u:

When you get in after a track session, NEVER just stop the car and park! Right when you get off-track, do the 'paddock parade' or something like it: Drive around slowly (at idle is fine) staying off the brakes and the accelerator. Do this for about 3-5 minutes. Longer is better. What it does is let the rotors cool off and keeps the pads from hot-spotting the rotors when they are worst-case hot. It might help cool the motor too since you will have fluids circulating with no load.
You will probably see many other drivers doing the same thing themselves. Just remember your car is bigger and heavier and you are generating more heat, so if they go in and park you stay out for a minute or three longer.


The Ultimate LX Cooling Guide: FRANKENCOOLER!!
http://www.lxforums.com/board/showthread.php?t=56863 :cool:

Note: Some of the steps below are specific to the 5.7 and 6.1L V8's, and are not applicable to the V6 engines.
(But we might figure a way to work around that, anyway...)

More Cooling Info. Here:

1. I'd do the p/s cooler no matter what. Its cheap and the problem is known and could be catastrophic. * See below for JoelVan's fix!
2. If you haven't done a tstat, put in a 180.
3. Read your tranny temps at the track (Aeroforce Interceptor Guage or DashHawk can display temps, unless the EVIC reads it). If they go high, get the franken-tranny cooler. Autocross will probably not be bad enough to show a problem. No matter what put the stock cooler and the aux-cooler in series with the aux in first position.
4. Do the Mopar oil cooler. Its like $150. Without a gauge this is a bit of a crap shoot but for $150 its tough to beat. (Does not fit the 3.5L engine)
5. Monitor your water temps. Are they too high now that you are dumping heat into the motor thru the oil cooler? Look at Severe Duty II radiator to fix that. Its a big bump up in capacity. Before you go to the Maximum Duty you need to really, really want it and need it and the SevereII is probably fine.
6. If the oil temp. is still too high (I'd put in a gauge first) add in the frankencooler.
All 6 steps above are way extreme and a lot of money but once you are done you are looking at 190-degree temps across the board, pretty much. I would think most folks who hammer their car would be fine after Step 4 and an immediate oil change after a full on track day (an Autocross is no biggie).

JoelVan's Power Steering Mod:

The PS pump on the LX cars takes a beating... and frequently loses. It has been found that high-rpm + high cornering load = blown PS pump. :(
(I blew one in my '07 SXT, too, so it's not just the V8 guys!)
This addition from JoelVan helps to alleviate the pressure experienced by the pump by relocating the pulley, and changing to a larger size. It will require a new belt, about 2" longer than the standard belt.

Road Course Wheel Suggestions:

Thanks to bobsmyuncle!


Newly expanded tire section: Not to confuse anyone, but here's some of the tires that have been tried and used at various times by various people! Some are Race-Only, others are "trackable" street tires- for those who only run a track event occasionally, and don't drive like MattR! LOL As we gather more info. on tires, I'll try to get it listed here. Listed here are some examples of tire sizes and pressures used. The effectiveness of tire pressure VARIES according to temperature and condition of the track AND the tires! What works one day, may not work the next... even as one day goes by, you may need to adjust the pressures!

Also- if you get a dedicated set of Track Tires/Wheels, you should consider upgrading your stock (cheap) Lug Nuts to something better:

Hoosier A6
BFG G-Force R1
Bridgestone RE-050A Pole Position
(MattR- 255/35/20 with 36 psi cold on a 60 degree day, with hot pressure having a 44 psi target.)** See Note from Willi below. **
Nitto Invo
Toyo Proxes 4
Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar
Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3
Vredestein Ultrac Sessanta
(xevilpetex review in the rain:http://www.lxforums.com/board/showthread.php?t=171800 )
Yokohama Parada Spec-X
(Ron380 on SXT/AWD Charger. 255/45/20 Wear is good, traction "okay" at Mid Ohio. 45psi in all 4.)
*More tire-tests to follow in 2009!*

For 20" rims, 255/35/20 tires seem to be the best size so far for our cars.
For 18" rims, 245/40/18 has worked well for some.

*I will be testing Sumitomo HTR Z3, 245/45/18's in '09 on my stock rims! More to follow...
** Update: I ran the HTR Z3's at two road course events (NJMP- Lightning and Mid Ohio), as well as a 2-day EVO School (autocross). With the smaller diameter and stiff sidewalls, these tires handled very well on my AWD Charger! They grip well, and are predictable and easy to work with. They do not make much noise when they're nearing or passing the traction threashold, it's more of a "feel" for the car starting to get loose. Combined with my suspension upgrade, the car handled many times better than it did before! Our first session at Mid Ohio was on a wet track, too, and they handled well in the wet, also, considering the slower speeds we were going due to the rain.

**Has anyone else tried different width tires of the same brand, and noticed any particular (or "peculiar") differences with regard to wear, traction, etc. ?? We'll need to keep an eye out for this!

"Basic rule here, more pressure = better steering response, the car will be crisper as it changes direction as the tire deflects less as you turn. Less pressure = more overall traction as more tire is on the ground. Too high pressure = progressively less controllable! All you need to do is find the happy median!"

One problem we are going to have is sidewalls. We have too much weight flying around for our sidewalls to hold up. Watch that. Especially since you will be sticking and thus dishing out more lateral g forces. Some folks are running 50 psi in the front, 40-45 psi in the rear.

One Engineer for Yokohama has stated that, "UTQG is a better measure of lateral stickiness than traction rating, as traction rating is not a real-world measure but rather is a measure of lateral wet-road braking capability. A low UTQG tire is stickier, but will wear out faster."

Matt Robertson has recommended the Bridgestone Potenza RE050A Pole Position that had rating of 140.

I ordered the tires from Tire Rack which specified the 140 rating and the 280 showed up at my door WTF?

I spent about 30 minutes on the phone with the Bridgestone engineer and......

The rating on the tire is now 280 but is the EXACT compound and everything else as the 140 tires!!!!!

Just thought you all might like to know

And I went with the 275/30/20 XL :thumbs_u:

The Official Lap Timer Thread!


Where To Mount a Lap Timer in an LX Car!

Fire Suppression System:

Highly recommended for anyone who's getting serious with Road Course, Track Days and serious Power-Adding on their drag-racers! I've been getting more interested in these kits and will be finding out more information about them. Here is one example:
Considering what we've paid for other mods, and the fact that a system like this could save your life, I think the price is not bad at all! It's also installed in the car, so you can't "forget it at home", either. I'm not up to this point yet myself, but here is some information for those who are running with the big-boys!

More Road Course Info:


MVP Track Schedule:

What Should I Pack For A Track Day?


Bear in mind that these are wide, heavy cars, and it will take a lot of work to run with the little, fast cars on an open road course. If you're just going to run a Track Day once in a while for fun, at the least upgrade your Brake Pads, use Synthetic Motor Oil, and change your oil, power-steering fluid and possibly Transmission Fluid soon after the day at the track!

Here's what it looks like when it all comes together! http://www.lxforums.com/board/showthread.php?t=143370

Enjoy, Be Safe and Have Fun! :pepper: :racing: Turn that wheel!! :mrgreen:
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Looks good so far there Ron!

I will add a note on the tires, I'm the one running the BFG slicks, and yeah they stick, but I will be going wider on the next set. I have found that 47psi is the MINIMUM that I can run in the fronts. 36psi seems to work very well for the rears. Now if you are running on a track and not just in a parking lot, ala SCCA, then the fronts need to go up to 50 and my AWD felt most balanced with 40 in the rear.

So how do you find the proper tire pressure? This is what has worked well for me:
1 Start too high, it will be easier to work the pressure down than up
2 Many ultra high performance and competition tires have guides on the side wall, these will be small triangles, you want the wear patch on the tire to go to, but not over that mark.
3 Drive the car and note the wear on the tire, if it's a really good tire you will be able to see wear very quickly
4 Drop the tire pressures in small increments until the wear just hits the mark.

What can you do if you don't have those marks on your tire? Simply get some chalk and put a few, 3 works well, marks from the tread up onto the side wall. After you run look and see where the chalk line ends, most cases you will be looking for some where in the neighborhood of 1/16-1/8 inch of chalk worn off the side wall.

Basic rule here, more pressure better steering response, the car will be crisper as it changes direction as the tire deflects less as you turn. Less pressure more overall traction as more tire is on the ground. All you need to do is find the happy median!
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For what it's worth, yesterday at the auto-x I had to run the fronts all the way up to 60. I'm getting more comfortable with the car and I pushed it a lot harder actually resulting in a few scuffs on the wheels due to sidewall deflection. The good news is a stock suspension LX was actually in the lead for a little while.
Yesterday sure was a blast and I cant wait to do it again! As Ron said the hot brakes were the only issue I had, at the black flag on my first session (the wrecked Ferrari) I had noticeable hot spotting on my rotors, this was after about ten minutes of track time. Here is a picture from the end of the day after around 80 minutes on the track.

I'm not sure how well it shows but the rotors are blue now. I had horrible judder in the brakes when they were hot but once cooled they went right back to normal. The only place the brakes held me back was coming off the long back strait away at 115+ I had to brake early and softly to avoid having any real issues with my brakes.
I had to make no adjustment to my front tire pressures as the 60 cold warmed up to 64 hot and was spot on, they only rolled when I slid them. My rears however were folding at 40 cold 45 hot so I took them up to 50 hot and that issue was resolved.
I got to spend about half a lap on Ron's tail as I caught him right towards the end of the passing zone, and he was doing quite well. He was driving good lines and pushing the car right to the edge. Watching him run I really got an appreciation to how neutral the AWD cars are on power, he just slid a bit a few times and the front and rear were stepping out the same amount. That said, having a year of auto-xing under my belt and slicks on all four corners I was MUCH faster so I played around and set myself up to make the passes I could have made if they were allowed.
As for myself I learned a lot, my instructor cut me loose to solo after my second session and as much as I learned from him I just really wanted to get out on my own, with out him as a safety net. I'll be taking an instructor with me the next time I do this as there is so much more I could learn, but I just had to solo out there!

For the record the instructor was VERY impressed by the magnum's capabilities. He drives a 2.7L 300 and said he never would have guessed that such a similar car could do so well.
Have a couple more pictures of the event.
My pit, and fun neighbor

Here's Ron's charger and my maggie after the event

PS: Passing Ferraris is fun!
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True, the third time I went around the yellow Modena he sure seemed unhappy about it. I never passed him twice in one session but that third time he had gridded up only one car behind me.:Na_Na_Na_Na:
True, I should have put "ala auto cross" as it is what I meant. I have found that I have three sets of pressures, 50f-40r for parking lot auto cross, 60f-40r for on track auto cross and 60f-45r for tack days.

These are cold pressures on the BFG slicks
Thanks for the input! At this point I'm undecided on what to do to my brakes. Do I get some yellow stuff pads and be happy with the rotors and calipers I have or do I just buy a complete set from you, choices choices!

I also have a plan that I need to put into action on cooling the suckers down.
Think I'm going a little more hog wild than that. Now if I could just get off my butt and do it!
Thats why I think more people should auto cross! It was not how fast I was that impressed my instructor, it was how smooth. Auto crossing was the key. The solo events are always violent and jerky feeling, even when driven right, but if you can make one of those events relatively smooth then when you get out on a track the smooth comes easy.
It also come in handy out on the street. I can't tell you how many times the extra car control I learned auto crossing has helped out. Just as an example a couple of weeks ago I hit a pot hole on a high way interchange that sent the car sliding sideways at 70mph. It was my solo experience that made it a real non event. I hit the gas, not the brake and the AWD pulled me right out, no sweat. I feel that these SCCA events have made me a MUCH safer driver than I was before, it's important to know how to drive your car for all it's worth. In my pilot training I had to learn how to fly the plane at maximum performance because some day I might need it, this holds true for cars too. I wasn't at max performance going around that interchange, but I sure was after I hit that pot hole. I'm thankful that I had the experience to react correctly with out having to stop to think.

I think that this brings up what is probably the biggest thing for road course prep, YOU! The loose nut behind the wheel is the most important link in the chain. Most of us, and me for sure, are holding the car back, not the other way around. Seat time is the key, and the SCCA solo events are a great place to get it, it's cheap and the car can handle it in stock form even if the tires will hate you for it.

WOW, I sound like Auto-x's pimp!
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It's all good Walt, don't worry about it. If I could hit the track more often than once or twice a year I probably wouldn't auto-x either. I just gotta get my racin' fix some how!
Ok so a front strut brace might be a little more mandatory than I first thought. I was at an auto-x today running on my street tires, and I broke the drivers door window defroster vent. It just popped and landed in my lap. Guess that dash is flexing a little, I would hate to see what might have happened if I'd been on the slicks, but I knew I wouldn't have time to put my streets back on and still make it to the airport for my trip to Knoxville.
Ron left the best part out, I WON! But with Ron only a few seconds behind me I need to be on the ball to stay ahead of him next year!

I also have a question for you Matt, do you have dents in your roof from the car flexing or is it just me?
I can't even blame the slicks for the defroster vent, that popped out with my A traction rated Cooper all seasons installed. I just went from left to right in a slalom during the solo event two weeks ago and well the left window vent landed in my lap. I'll glue it back in after my strut bar shows up. Yeah, I broke down and ordered a Razors Edge unit last night after putting two more dents in the roof on Sunday. I think I might also install this http://www.razorsedgemotorsports.com/raedmochmabr.html over the winter.

I can see what the tire engineer was getting at saying that the car should flex to keep the tires on the ground, but isn't that what the suspension is for?
Camber change?

Note: that tar line is the low point of that section of track
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Oddly the way my car is set up (read stock) that bump was advantageous on my line. I drove the front end into it just as I needed lots of front traction. It really pitched me around the corner, in a violent sort of way, but it worked.
Aye, that thar be an autocross! Arrrrr!
Talk like a pirate day was last Friday, you're just a little late there
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OK and you guys are wondering why **** is flying off your car and you have dents showing up in the body? Go ask your wife to smack you in the head, please.
Hey, the vent came out on flat ground with street tires, and the dents in the roof, well some of them might be from that, but not all.

You think I could afford to race if I weren't single?:roll:
Ok I just installed the Razors edge front strut bar, the difference is amazing. Any one thinking of road racing should give thought to this or a similar product. I'll let you guys know how it performs at the races the next time out.
Ooooo Baby, I want some! Todd, I know we spoke about this before, how can I determine if these babies will clear my AWD 18s?
My stock brakes have proven to be more than good for autocrossing. They never get a chance to get hot and they have enough "whoa" to lock my slicks.
Whoops, sorry I missed this one Ron!
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