Get Your Race On

 

 

Get Your Race On

 

 

The 2014 SCCA Majors race season kicked off for the west coast at Autoclub speedway which most people know as that place they race Nascar and Indycar in California.  What most people do not know is the track also runs an infield circuit aka sports car course which the SCCA uses for events.

Autoclub Speedway - CorkSport Mazdaspeed

 

The fun thing about Autoclub is I have never raced there before so all I had to familiarize myself was watching youtube videos of people running the track.  I had to skip the Friday practice and qualifying so my first time on the track was the second qualifying for 15 minutes on Saturday morning.  I was careful to make sure I was behind the other 2 B-Spec cars which were attending the event so I could follow them to #1 and get a measure of their speed and #2 see how they were taking lines on the track to use later.

If you have never driven on an oval before it is crazy at the angle you sit at on the actual oval sections of the track.  You mind say you will slide down the track if you are not moving.   When you are at race speed you have to tell yourself that you will not slide up the track doing over a 100 in a corner.

For the first race I qualified 2nd and was a Mazda 2 sandwich between the Honda fits.  At the start of the race both Honda jumped in front of me but I was able to pass 1 of the cars to get back behind the faster red car.  I had paced the 1st place for for a few laps and I found sections where I was faster and could make up time against him.  The race was going to be 13 laps based on the time we had for the event so on lap 11 I got a great run at the Honda and passed him on the corner of the oval to take the lead.  I was able to hold him off for 2 laps to take the first win of the season for CorkSport and Mazda.  During that race I also happen to set a new B-Spec track record at 2:09.8 which put me on the pole for Sunday’s race.

CorkSport Mazdaspeed

On Sunday I was able to jump out in front at the start and keep both of the Hondas behind me for the duration of the race to take the second win of the weekend.

The next Majors event was at Inde Motorsport Ranch in Willcox Az.  Willcox is about 1 hour east of Tucson which is the middle of nowhere.  The track there was incredible to race on and very technical in contrast to Autoclub where HP rules aka Inde is a great B-Spec track.

 CorkSport Mazdaspeed

Saturday started out with a quick practice session with a mixed group of the really fast cars aka GT1 etc and the slower cars aka B-Spec etc.  When you drop the really fast cars with the slow cars it becomes and exercise in watching your mirrors at all times to not get run over which I happen to excel at based on previous races.  I learned that the race was going to be won or lost on the exit speed of corner #1-2 on to the main straight.  You mess that up you will find yourself behind by seconds by the time you hit the end of the straight.  After a quick qualifying session I found myself in 2nd by a few hundredths of a second behind once again the red Honda fit.  The race started off like they normally do with the first lap chaos which saw a STU class RSX hit a H Production Spitfire and spin him out in the middle of corner #2 right before the straight which caused everyone to take some evasive moves.  Both Honda fits were able to put a few cars between them and myself.  I slowly worked around cars and was able to pass the black fit to start working on running down the red car.

CorkSport Mazdaspeed

By lap #16 I had caught up the red fit when the 1 to go sign came out which meant I had to get past him now.  On the main straight I was able to get right up on the fit and close up with some late braking into #7.  Right at that point two faster STU class cars caught up and dropped right into the corner on top of us.  There was a BMW Z3 who went into the corner too fast and I had to drive off the track to avoid getting hit.

CorkSport Mazdaspeed
My re-entry onto the track and the guilty BMW

I was able to catch back up to the BMW in the corners but the two faster cars were not able to get around the Honda fit to give me a chance to catch him before the finish so I had to settle for second place (I was not a happy driver).

CorkSport Mazdaspeed
I caught up to the “faster car” that ran me off 2 corners later

 

Determined to not let that on track experience ruin my weekend I focused on where I could improve my times by looking at the data from my Aim Solo DL.  There were several spots on the track that could be better so I focused my energy on the one spot which would give me the most benefit for the next day.

On Sunday there was a short practice session which I went out on and I was able to turn a fast lap which I was happy with and could count on making myself competitive for the race with.

The race was full of adventures as they always are and in the end I came out in first place.  Instead of making you watch a 7 minute full race video check out the condensed version with the highlights above.  There is plenty of good stuff.

 

With the three first place finished and 1 second I am in the lead for the Western Majors Conference for B-Spec for the year.  The next two events are in April at Thunderhill in willows California and two weeks later at Button Willow.  Both of those tracks I have experience at and there is rumored to be 3 new cars to race against in B-Spec.  If anyone is near one of those tracks we always welcome customers and friends of CorkSport to stop by the track and say hello.  Feel free to contact me if this is something you think you would like to do.

-Derrick

New Product – Max Flow Pump Internals

Gen-6-999-10--FB-blog

CorkSport Max Flow Fuel Pump Internals

Todays the day, CorkSport is releasing the High Pressure Fuel Pump system to the public. The demand is high, people have been asking us for weeks when these are coming. To get yours, click here and order yours today. They will be shipped first in first out so get in line soon to get yours.

CorkSport-HPFP-Internals-Fuel-Pump-600a

In case you missed our 5 part blog series here are some great points.

PART 1 – (Go to Part 1)

“… Most aftermarket fuel pump upgrades consist of changing the internal parts of the factory pump with an enlarged piston and sleeve. By enlarging the piston, you increase the volume of the pump; thus creating more flow and the ability to maintain pressure at higher power levels.

When you first start taking the fuel pump apart, the first thing you are met with is the sight of a strange black deposit in the cap of the pump. Shown above are the deposits common to most caps. The bottom is a machined surface that should be clear of debris. In order for us to more clearly understand the situation we sent the cap out to undergo chemical analysis.”

Black residue on Fuel pump internals

Go to Part 1 for more …

Part 2 – (Go to Part 2)

“Does size matter? When looking at the stock piston on the factory fuel pump you can sure say that it does matter. If you increase the piston diameter you increase the flow of the pump. We have decided to compare the similar internals first and then compare the APR pump afterwards.”

Go to Part 2 for more …

Part 3 – (Go to Part 3)

“Now that we have a good understanding of the basics for these high pressure fuel pumps we can start to really dig deeper into the specifications. One of the items we were really curious about were the materials used in the construction of these pumps. We decided to have the hardness tested and ascertain the materials used. The factory pump internals do not use any coating, the hardness test showed us that the internals went through a hardening process as the core was significantly softer than the surface. Because of these hardness requirements, many other aftermarket internals use a coating of some sort to decrease friction between the piston and the sleeve. As for what the stock internals are made from, we answered that. Except for the hardening procedure, according to their chemical breakdown, they match a common die steel, so nothing too fancy.”

Corksport dyno testing of fuel pumps for Mazdaspeed 3

Go to Part 3 for more …

Part 4 – (Go to Part 4)

“ … We then built all the internals available in SolidWorks and tested the efficiency of them all for flow design and volume. This was merely the beginning of our design phase but helped us realize many great ideas (as well as a few not so great ones). We ended up with a design unlike any other on the market that, according to the data, would be more efficient than anything on the market.”

Fuel pump piston

Go to Part 4 for more …

Part 5 – (Go to Part 5)

“After choosing a very strong alloy for our internals, we then machine their tolerances to an incredible 6 microns! To make sure the tolerances are paired for life, we serialize the parts to prevent any issues and to track the life of the pumps. We then surface treat the pumps to achieve the alloys maximum strength; only after the maximum hardness is achieved do we apply our surface treatments to bring the overall durability to an even higher level”

Numbered Fuel Pumps from CorkSport

Go to Part 5 for more …

Order your HPFP today.

How to Keep Your Mazda Healthy

How to Keep Your Mazda Healthy…

CorkSport Mazda

As a car enthusiast, I always want to make sure that my car maintenance is up to date. In general Mazda’s are very reliable but, whether modified or stock, the life of your car depends on maintenance. Taking good care of your car today can help you avoid paying out more in the future on repairs. Here are the top tips I’ve collected over the years and have applied to keep my Mazda in tip-top shape. Hopefully, they’re as helpful to you as they’ve been to me.

Gasoline – Find What Works for You

To find out what octane your engine needs, first check your owner’s manual. The recommended level is often 87octane. Some models have high compression engines that are designed to utilize the octane levels of 89, 91 or higher. Ordinarily, your vehicle will not benefit from using a higher octane than is recommended in the owner’s manual. If your engine knocks or pings at the recommended octane level though, you may need higher octane gasoline.

Improve gas mileage with the Mazda 3 Short Ram Intake

Knocking may occur under certain conditions. A small percentage of vehicles may knock because of variations in engines of the same model due to manufacturing tolerances, or because of an unusual build-up of engine deposits. Other factors such as extremely hot weather, changes in altitude or hard driving conditions may also cause knocking.

Are you planning on running alternative fuel for your modified car? More often than not gas alternatives for modified vehicles require tuning. Every owner/tuner has its preference, but keep the following information in mind when choosing between E85 or race gas:

·         E85 will generate significantly more power than your typical recommended octane gas, given the same amount of fuel. The burn rate with E85 is faster than standard 87 to 95 octane, plus you get lower temperatures and more power. The downside is that you will get worse fuel economy, and your Fuel Pump will need more regular cleaning.

·         The best thing about any race fuel is its consistency. You can count on the performance of the fuel and then tune accordingly. It makes things like elevation changes, ambient temps, etc, easier to incorporate into different maps.

Oil – Change it Religiously

Change the oil in your Mazda every 3,000 – 5,000 miles depending on the type of (regular, synthetic) oil you use. If most of your miles come from highway driving (driving at a set speed for long intervals of time), you may be able to change the oil every 5,000 miles, but if you do most of you’re driving in a city or suburban area, check your oil every 2,500 miles just to be safe. If the oil appears completely black, this is a sign that you need to have your oil changed.

If you change the oil yourself, remember to change the oil filter as well. If you take the car to a mechanic to have the oil changed, he should change the filter when he changes the oil. I always recommend the OEM oil Filter and Full Synthetic oil of your preference.

Tire Maintenance – Keep ‘em Rotated

Rotate your tires every 10,000 miles to prevent uneven wear (this means the back tires should be moved to the front wheels and vice versa). Also, keep a very close eye on your tire pressure. Mazdas use tires with a very soft tread, which means your car grips the road better, but its tires are more prone to leaks and breakage.

 Look in your manual to see what the tire pressure of your front and back tires should be, and check all four tires’ pressure once a month to make sure no leaks have appeared.

Air Filter – It May be Cleaner than You Think

Mechanics will often try to convince you to change your air filter every time you change your oil. However, you shouldn’t have to change your air filter more than once every 20,000 miles unless it’s excessively dirty.

To learn about high-performance air filter’s go to:

·         The Best Power Mod for a Mazda –  //corksport.com/blog/the-best-power-mod-for-a-mazda/

·         High Flow Panel Filter –  //corksport.com/blog/product-release-corksport-high-flow-panel-filter/

Transmission Fluid – Keep an Eye Out

To protect your transmission and keep your car running for as long as possible, have the transmission fluid checked every 40,000 miles. In general, you don’t need to replace it until you hit 100,000 miles, but if you don’t check it and the fluid does burn out, it can ruin your transmission, a job that can cost more than a couple thousand to repair on a Mazda.

To learn about a related transmission topic go to Transmission Inserts at:  //corksport.com/blog/the-best-power-mod-for-a-mazda/

Battery – Inspect it When the Time is Right

As long as you are careful not to leave the light or any other battery-operated extras such as the stereo turned on when your engine is not running, your Mazda’s battery should last approximately three to four years. When approaching the five- to six-year mark, be sure to have it inspected. It is better to be prepared than to have your battery die unexpectedly when you need to be somewhere.

To learn about the ECU Relocation Battery Box, go to:  //corksport.com/blog/increase-room-in-your-engine-bay-with-a-new-battery-box/

What If?

As a longtime Mazda enthusiast, I’ve seen the company evolve in many innovative ways. Most recently, Mazda has focused its attention on improving the current Skyactive Technology lineup, including the SKY-G 2.0-liter gas and SKY-D 2.2-liter diesel engines.

This technology is great for those looking for good fuel economy and better engine output. But what about the enthusiast who, instead of seeking MPG, is drawn to a fun, high-performance vehicle they can enjoy driving 24/7?

Here’s what I’m thinking.

Sure, the 2.3 MZR engine had its ups and downs and can be improved by the enthusiasts who own them. But, I imagine something beyond what we have now. Consider this. What if the next lineup of Mazdaspeed 3’s had a 2.5L MZR engine with an upgraded turbo and a High-Performance Fuel Pump (HPFP) to help with the volume and pressure to produce an ideal 320 HP beast that will scare your competition away?

But let’s not stop there. Let’s address the torque steer under acceleration with an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. An AWD Mazdaspeed3 was shelved years ago; the automaker said the high price point wouldn’t be saleable and the hatchback style wouldn’t be attractive to consumers. But now, hatchbacks are growing in popularity and perfectly positioned to rival any competitor. This creates a great opportunity for Mazda to introduce this next generation vehicle. With that in mind, I ask that today we raise our fists in solidarity for this type of Mazdaspeed innovation.

Mazda. “It Just Feels Right”

Jose Rivera – Mazda Community Blog

Check out the latest Mazdaspeed 3 performance parts

Mazda takes the Skyactiv 6 racing

There’s an old car saying that goes “win on Sunday, sell on Monday”. Mazda has always been dedicated to racing, more so than companies 10 times their size; this weekend at Daytona however, they’ll be putting their money where their mouth is with an oil burner. That’s right, the Mazdas in the Grand-Am class at the 24 Hours of Daytona won’t be rotary coupes; this year everyone will be looking at the taillights of a Mazda 6 with a new Skyactiv diesel. And just like the old saying, much of that engine will be sold here (not on Monday, but soon).

Mazda 6 24 Hours of Daytona Race Car

The new cars will use much of the technology in the consumer Skyactiv diesel 2.2L engine that is coming to the states shortly in the 6 and later in the CX5. Mazda will be fielding three cars at Daytona, and there will be no missing them. The #25 Freedom Autosport car will be painted bright green with a giant eagle’s head graphic, the #00 Visit Florida Racing/SpeedSource/Yellow Dragon car will be yellow and orange, and the #70 SpeedSource car will be red and black.

The 24 Hours of Daytona starts January 26th at noon PST. If you want to see the future of racing and Mazda, you won’t want to miss this!!!

So you want to be a race car driver…

I have always had the itch to go racing on the track over the years but the price to do so always seemed like a number that was too high. I decided late last year that if I was going to hit the track I needed to get going on my dream. This is the beginning of the adventure I am taking to achieve this dream.

The best choice to get the license that I can find in our area was to race at Portland International Raceway with the SCCA. To get out on the track requires getting a SCCA novice permit. There are a wide range of things needed to get the permit. First thing you need is a race car. Since I had planned on going racing we have been preparing a car to do this but it was not ready to meet the challenge yet. After a few phone calls I came up with an intriguing option. The Oregon Region SCCA created a local class called IT-J. What do the initials stand for you ask? Well IT stands for “improved touring” and the J stands for “junk”. Yes I said junk. The local officials recognized the popularity of the Chump Car and Lemons car series so they made a class just for the junkers people race. The cars do need to pass an SCCA tech inspection like every other racecar out on the track but the budget building of the cars is taken into consideration so there are some things which are overlooked in the styling department.

My race car was loaned to me by several members of rotary power northwest, a local rotary enthusiast group. I was a guinea pig of sorts to test out the recently installed brakes and brake cooling system after an event showed the system to be a weak point in Chump Car racing.

With the racecar part of the puzzle out of the way, I had to get a physical with a specific set of SCCA forms to be filled out by my doctor, turn in my novice permit application, and get some safety gear.

The novice permit is straight forward as well as the doctor visit to get the forms filled out but the safety gear has a huge range of choices. It is required in the SCCA GCR (General competition rules) to have a fire resistant driver suit, gloves, shoes, baklava (sock for your head that fits under your helmet), helmet, and a HANS (head and neck support) device. Even shopping for the best prices the total bill on the safety gear came out to ~1700. The safety gear lasts for years if properly cared for so this is a large upfront cost you will only have to make once. A tip if you are purchasing a HANS device and helmet, make sure the helmet has the holes pre-drilled for the mounting point for the HANS. This saves you having to measure and drill your helmet. I purchased a bell helmet which had the points pre-drilled which made the installation of the mounting points a snap. The finished safety display of items is below.

Yes, I know, I look like they guy who died jumping a jag off the end of an aircraft carrier but there is a reason I went with the colors I did. Black is a color which works well with about any color and driving a race car is dirty which is hidden well on black.

Once you have all of your docs in order, your race car, and safety gear you get to wait for the event. I got lucky; the Oregon region SCCA school was a two-day affair with all of the required track time smashed into two days. This made it better than attending two schools to get the novice permit issued. In this case after passing the novice permit you get to race the same weekend at the 1st region SCCA event immediately after the school.

First things first, getting the car through the tech inspection. When you don’t own the racecar you are using this was a bit nerve-racking. I had an inspection done but it was found that the harnesses we expired at the end of 2011. There is nothing like a scramble to find a set of harnesses on a Thursday evening while you are in a drivers class which runs until 9pm. At 8:30pm a set of harnesses magically appeared in the driver seat of the car. By the time the class was over, I drove home and installed the new harnesses, it was midnight. With the words of one of the driving school instructors in my head saying “be there by 6:45am if you don’t have your tech sticker already” ringing in my head and “make sure you get plenty of sleep” I sacked out.

5 hours later a gently reminder to wake up blasted away to get me moving to the track to meet the time the teacher set out. I arrived early and got the car to the tent to await my tech inspection. The vehicle was remembered by the tech from the previous night so after a quick check of the harnesses the vehicle was passed for the school. Another quick check of my safety gear done and I was given an inspection sticker for my helmet and one for the car. I was ready to go.

After a quick drivers meeting where we all got a quick run down of the morning events everyone got suited up and we hit the track for some simple driving techniques and a trip around PIR to receive a preview of the track and what and where everything is. Next up was a drive and follow with several of the instructors to work out the driving line for everyone. Somewhere along the way I lost my instructor and another student to the pits for technical issues. I got to continue practicing turn in points and hitting the apex on the corners for another 20 minutes. Turns out the other student was busted for the 103db sound limit for the track. Moral of the story there is a vette with side pipes is REALLY loud, even louder than an Rx7 I was driving with a header and a pair of straight through mufflers.

After a drivers meeting and a quick lunch we headed out on to the track for another 120 minutes of track time to practice our lines, hitting markers, and learning the track. One of the items the instructors wanted us to learn is the turn markers and braking points. The reason for this is they had set up cones marking everything for us to learn and the cones were not going to be there the next day.

A sample of my instructions in my head for driving the track “turn four hit the late apex and head towards the small bleachers, quick on the brakes to set the outside tire and turn in to five. Aim for the orange climb through for the apex in five, a quick jab on the brakes to set the car for turn six which you need to stay in the middle of the track to start the turn and hit the next apex.”

After working on this for an entire day and some input on some tweaking of the car from one of the instructors I felt pretty good about driving around the track. The last driver session we got a surprise, the advanced drivers were put onto the track with us to give us the experience of much faster cars on the track at the same time. The advanced drivers were running a pair of Spec Miatas, a Porsche turbo, and a Viper challenge racecar. The Porsche and the Viper were insanely fast. You would see them in the rear view starting down the back straight. I was ¾ of the way down the straight and they would catch up to me by the end of it and pass me (and all of the other students) in the corners and disappear again for a lap or two. It is a very humbling experience to get blown past by those cars on the track.

At the end of the first day I had completed 260 minutes on the track and I was beat. Unfortunately I had an off the track incident while passing a 240z which required some minor repair work to the brake ducts on the front of the Rx7 and a quick inspection of the front brakes to see how everything was holding up. After 2 hours of work making sure the car was in good shape I got some much-needed rest.

The next morning the classes started up at 8:15 for a drivers meeting and hitting the track for four thirty minute driving sessions with a five-minute break between each one. In the Rx7 this meant I had to stop and get fuel after two sessions. It had rained all night so the track was really slick. After a brief meeting we headed to our cars and off onto the track. The 1st session was a get yourself up to speed and a last chance to memorize the track before the marker cones were pulled. On the first lap out I had an instructor spin out in front of me, several other students spin out, and another student blow completely off the track in turn nine and ten and end up against the tire wall. That black flagged the session so we all headed to pit row for them to clean up the mess. We were cut loose again on the track to finish out the session.

Session number 2 had more people going off the track along with our friend who went way off the tracking getting a chat from the instructors which I can guess was probably not a pleasant conversation.

The third session was a race just like what we would see in a normal SCCA weekend. All of the students were on the track with instructors and more advanced drivers at the back of the pack. I was stacked up with several other IT-J Rx7s towards the back of the pack in the starting grid. The green flag dropped and it looked like everyone was waiting for the car in front of them to go. I took off to the right with the Miata in front of me and passed eight cars by the time I hit the first corner. (I was next to the silver Rx7 in the picture below).

I was pretty proud of myself for the first racing start and getting past eight people. I managed to work myself past several others through the field until the faster drivers at the back of the field caught up later in the session.

For the last session of the day we had the advanced drivers out joining us again. By this point the track was really drying out and I was able to push it as fast as I felt comfortable in a borrowed car. I found myself checking glancing at the rear view mirror often with the threat of the Porsche and viper catching up to me and I wanted to make sure I was ready for them to go past.

We all headed off the track and went to the last drivers meeting. There were a few violations handed out (someone had pass on a yellow flag which is major no-no in racing) by the stewards for the day then we got what we had all come for, the novice permit signed off. Some of the students immediately signed up for the practice session to race in the region SCCA event the same weekend. My prize for the weekend is the novice permit and the office certificate granting stating we passed the school.

So what is next in my path to racing? Like I mentioned earlier CorkSport is building a racecar to compete with. I will divulge more on that project later but we need to have it together by April 28th and 29th for the double regional event. With two regional events under my belt I can apply to get my regional SCCA racing license and move up from the novice permit.

-Derrick