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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I did a track day at Sonoma Raceway (formerly Infineon and Sears Point) 2 weeks ago in my new C7 Z51 with manual trans, perf exhaust, magnetic suspension, 2LT. Some video is below – best watched in HD. Further below this are my notes, as well as one IMPORTANT pointer for all of you who plan to track your Stingray.


It was a blast overall – had a huge smile on my face the entire time. I beat my personal best lap time (as expected) but this car is capable of 10 seconds a lap time faster and I prob was at 80% of the car’s limit. It has a super responsive throttle, strong brakes (never felt any fade), smooth shifting, never came close to losing traction, no odd understeer/oversteer tendencies. Basically it goes where you point it and it grips like crazy.

I am used to heavier, less stable, less powerful Camaro SSs and Mustang GTs, so I had to push myself to exceed the track limits that those other cars had burnt into my muscle memory. The Stingray is also much different than the Camaro and Mustang in that it sticks and the tires are quiet. In these other cars, I was sliding like crazy and the tires were shrieking.

In terms of “mods” all I did was follow the track prep guide to: upgrade oil to 15m-50 Mobile 1, brake fluid to Motul dot 4 with high boiling temp, and also lowered tire psi to 26 cold. That’s it. Once on the grid, I turned on active rev matching, the seat fan, the HUD, and put it into Track mode Sport 2. In the center console, I had PSI showing so I could keep an eye on this during the day. I also adjusted seats and mirrors for the track, inl extra lumbar support.

ONE KEY POINTER – I screwed up my Track settings for the first session so be careful with this. My intent was to turn off traction control and Stabillitrak. So under “track” I went to the PTM sub-settings, moved it over Sport 2, then clicked the button. Well, unknowing to me, this last click actually reset the setting back to traction control and Stabilitrak *on* and this was a big problem on the track. The engine was not responsiveness when I wanted it to be, and it would rev when I did not want it to. Not good at all and actually dangerous when you are at the limits. I figured out the issue by glancing down when the engine was bogging and I saw the yellow “on” light for Stabillitrak flashing. So somehow it was still on. So I re-did the PTM procedure to get into Sport 2 but this time I did *not* click the button at the final step. I just left it alone and on its own PTM went into Sport 2 mode w/electronics off. I quickly confirmed this by glancing down and seeing the yellow “off” icons for both traction control and Stabillitrak. Once I had these turned off, then the Vette really became fun, fast, and much safer.
 

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Looked like you were blowing everybody away on that track!
 

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thanks for posting joe1111. Appreciate the back story and great video. :cool:
 

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Nice video! Now its time to shop for new tires. :(
 

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Joe; Nice video! Did you have any indications of "over temperature" in either brakes or engine after your runs? Did you install the brake cooling rings prior to your runs?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Joe; Nice video! Did you have any indications of "over temperature" in either brakes or engine after your runs? Did you install the brake cooling rings prior to your runs?
Some more background is that the air temperatures were in the 90s that day so the track was over 100. I only checked the oil/coolant temps a few times and they were fine. And no overheating warning light ever came on. No brake cooling rings either. That said, I estimate I was only at about 80% of the car's potential. I plan to push it closer to 90% down the road and that's really when the car (esp brakes) will get tested....

Per a prior comment, I may have been one of the faster guys out there, BUT I was in the Mixed group, not the Advanced group. The Advanced guys were running laps up to 5-10 seconds a lap faster (they included some race prepped Ferraris, modified GTRs, etc) so if I had run with them, the footage would have been reversed w/them passing me!
 

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Looked like a ton of fun! Where did you pick up your 15W-30? I've been looking around for it with no luck.
 

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joe1111... very cool. Always had a desire to drive that track. Attended the NASCAR race there in 2006... anyway... one thing I noticed that you do (and the way that I was taught by instructors at Summit Point Raceway) is shuffle the wheel in your hands. I was always instructed to try to maintain the 9 and 3 hand position when IN a turn (not cross wrists). So when I was in the "carousel" at Summit (constant radius for the most part and just over 180 degrees of rotation) my hands were at 9 and 3. I was surprised that the folks at the Ron Fellows school told me not to do this... to maintain hand position past ninety degrees of steering input (and cross wrists). They said that 'shuffling' could cause you to jerk the wheel. I am still not sure that I agree. Any thoughts? Like the camera angle. Having the camera outside the car enhances the exhaust note too!
 

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That looked like it was a blast! I can't wait to take mine out on the track as well. How many miles do you have on it? I'm assuming more than 1500.


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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Looked like a ton of fun! Where did you pick up your 15W-30? I've been looking around for it with no luck.
It wasn't 15w-30. Per the Corvette Track prep guide, it was 15w-50 Mobile 1 which is very common. My repair shop down the street had it in stock, as should any local auto parts store and Amazon.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That looked like it was a blast! I can't wait to take mine out on the track as well. How many miles do you have on it? I'm assuming more than 1500.


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Something like 1100 miles. I did follow the Corvette Track Prep Guide about minimizing revs when the car is new, burnishing the brakes, etc. But I just could not wait until the 1500 mileage limit :)

For what it is worth, a diff poster (link below) talked about how the Stingray owners driver school (Ron Fellows) breaks in their cars right on the track. Not a best practice but it alludes to the point that you can cut corners on the track prep guidelines to some degree
http://www.stingrayforums.com/forum...s/3530-stingray-owners-driving-school-11.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
joe1111... very cool. Always had a desire to drive that track. Attended the NASCAR race there in 2006... anyway... one thing I noticed that you do (and the way that I was taught by instructors at Summit Point Raceway) is shuffle the wheel in your hands. I was always instructed to try to maintain the 9 and 3 hand position when IN a turn (not cross wrists). So when I was in the "carousel" at Summit (constant radius for the most part and just over 180 degrees of rotation) my hands were at 9 and 3. I was surprised that the folks at the Ron Fellows school told me not to do this... to maintain hand position past ninety degrees of steering input (and cross wrists). They said that 'shuffling' could cause you to jerk the wheel. I am still not sure that I agree. Any thoughts? Like the camera angle. Having the camera outside the car enhances the exhaust note too!
The rule I was taught by NASA and Hooked on Driving instructors is to keep your hands at 9-3. The exception is a sharp hairpin where in advance of the turn you go to 12-6 to avoid your hands crossing over. There are two of these turns at Sonoma Raceway. I did not totally follow this, as you can see my hands moving around on the wheel. I think having to deal with the shifter with my right hand subconsciously led me to move my left around more than it should have. Anyhow, it still beats hand-over-hand shuffling which I was taught is a no-no. I am not advanced enough to disagree with the Ron Fellows gurus...but their advice to cross wrists seem odd/unnatural to me!

Lastly, the enhanced audio is a result of an external mic I use which is taped over the rear license plate. I drilled a hole in my GoPro case to accommodate the audio cord. The mic is a simple Audio-technica ATR3350 lavalier mic. I used to use a Audio-Technica Pro 24-CM mic but it was too heavy to safely tape to the rear of a car.
 

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joe, that was a great run, steady hands no jerking of the wheel, smooth in and out of the corners. Outstanding video coverage of you, Vette, and the course. I've never drove on a track before, but I will when I get the chance. I have a few questions about your run.
1. When passing another vehicle, do they wave you on or do you just go for it?
2. I have an automatic, but what gear were you running in?
3. Is it costly to track your Vette, lap or time on track?
4. I saw the helment, do you have to have aftermarket shoulder belts or will stock seat belts work?
5. What kind of camera and how did you mount it to your Vette?

SF
Rick
 

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Rick, I instruct with a couple of organizations and can answer some those questions for you:

For a typical HPDE, with no experience, you will start in their beginner group with an instructor riding shotgun with you. Passing rules will be very strict in these beginner groups and require what is a called a "point by" from the car being passed and additionally will be limited to certain locations on the track (i.e. the longest straightaways). The passing rules will be relaxed as you do more events and move to more experienced run groups, possibly to the point of completely open passing.

Entry fees for these events aren't cheap, but you will probably spend just as much if not more on consumables like gas, oil, transmission and differential fluid, tires, brake pads, and brake rotors depending on how often you do events and how hard you are on your equipment (hint: braking early and lightly will save you a lot of money while costing you little time ;) )

Stock seat belts are fine for most HPDE organizations. Race seats and harnesses will only be required once you start competing, sometimes even only when that is wheel to wheel competition for position (versus competing on lap times).

I believe Joe said he is using a GoPro. Not sure which version, but any of the Hero3 or Hero3+ versions should do the job. He appears to be using a suction cup mount, which GoPro sells as an accessory, to keep it attached to the outside of the car.
 
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Stock seat belts are fine for most HPDE organizations. Race seats and harnesses will only be required once you start competing, sometimes even only when that is wheel to wheel competition for position (versus competing on lap times).
Also note that many HPDE organizers require competition belts for the passenger too if you install them for the driver. It's all about keeping the instructor as safe as the driver. Most, if not all HPDE's are fine with stock belts.
 
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Enjoyed the video nice job driving you made it look easy. It's nice to be blue to ale a car like yours out drive it competently and enjoy it.


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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
joe, that was a great run, steady hands no jerking of the wheel, smooth in and out of the corners. Outstanding video coverage of you, Vette, and the course. I've never drove on a track before, but I will when I get the chance. I have a few questions about your run.
1. When passing another vehicle, do they wave you on or do you just go for it?
2. I have an automatic, but what gear were you running in?
3. Is it costly to track your Vette, lap or time on track?
4. I saw the helment, do you have to have aftermarket shoulder belts or will stock seat belts work?
5. What kind of camera and how did you mount it to your Vette?

SF
Rick

Answers below. I wrote them before seeing FormulaRedline's answers (which are spot on) so they may be a bit redundant. BTW, I hope you (and all other C7 owners) do track your Vette! It is incredibly fun & it also has the benefit of teaching you how to control your Vette at high speeds which can help with safety when on normal city streets. It is easy for newbies to get started - use Google to find local track day clubs and most clubs offer free instruction. You likely have NASA or Hooked on Driving in your area.

1. Totally depends on the rules of the race club, as well at which group level you are in. For the beginner groups, often point bys are limited to straightaways, have to be on a certain side of the track, and the car in front *must* point-by the car behind them. These rules get relaxed as the group skill levels increase. At the most advanced levels, no point bys are required and you can pass anywhere on the track (my Sonoma run group had these sort of open passing rules - point bys were optional but not required)

2. 3rd gear as the default as it has a long powerband. You will hear me go into 2nd once and up to 4th like three times. I have tracked plenty of stock, automatic C6s and Camaro SSs (same engine as the C6) and it is the same deal where 3rd was the default and occasionally I go up and down a gear.

3. You pay the track day club an event fee for the full day. The fee depends on the club, the track, the day of the week, etc, but usually it is $200-$350 for 80-120 minutes of track time. The other main costs are gas/tires/brakes which do add up....esp the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires on the Z51! Other posts elsewhere give estimates on the life of tires/brakes. And Google will give you tire costs. IMHO, the costs are well worth the fun factor...plus there are more expensive hobbies one could have :)

4. Stock belts works fine. Also, I have a 2LT so the lumbar adjustments in the seat do help hold your upper body in place. You still do have to use your legs to brace yourself more then I would like.

5. GoPro Hero2 with the Motorsports package. This includes the suction cup mount which I used to mount it on the rear right side window. Per a prior post, I also used an external mic taped above the license plate for better audio....otherwise you mostly would just hear wind.

Have fun on the track!
 
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So I did a track day at Sonoma Raceway (formerly Infineon and Sears Point) 2 weeks ago in my new C7 Z51 with manual trans, perf exhaust, magnetic suspension, 2LT. Some video is below – best watched in HD. Further below this are my notes, as well as one IMPORTANT pointer for all of you who plan to track your Stingray.


It was a blast overall – had a huge smile on my face the entire time. I beat my personal best lap time (as expected) but this car is capable of 10 seconds a lap time faster and I prob was at 80% of the car’s limit. It has a super responsive throttle, strong brakes (never felt any fade), smooth shifting, never came close to losing traction, no odd understeer/oversteer tendencies. Basically it goes where you point it and it grips like crazy.

I am used to heavier, less stable, less powerful Camaro SSs and Mustang GTs, so I had to push myself to exceed the track limits that those other cars had burnt into my muscle memory. The Stingray is also much different than the Camaro and Mustang in that it sticks and the tires are quiet. In these other cars, I was sliding like crazy and the tires were shrieking.

In terms of “mods” all I did was follow the track prep guide to: upgrade oil to 15m-50 Mobile 1, brake fluid to Motul dot 4 with high boiling temp, and also lowered tire psi to 26 cold. That’s it. Once on the grid, I turned on active rev matching, the seat fan, the HUD, and put it into Track mode Sport 2. In the center console, I had PSI showing so I could keep an eye on this during the day. I also adjusted seats and mirrors for the track, inl extra lumbar support.

ONE KEY POINTER – I screwed up my Track settings for the first session so be careful with this. My intent was to turn off traction control and Stabillitrak. So under “track” I went to the PTM sub-settings, moved it over Sport 2, then clicked the button. Well, unknowing to me, this last click actually reset the setting back to traction control and Stabilitrak *on* and this was a big problem on the track. The engine was not responsiveness when I wanted it to be, and it would rev when I did not want it to. Not good at all and actually dangerous when you are at the limits. I figured out the issue by glancing down when the engine was bogging and I saw the yellow “on” light for Stabillitrak flashing. So somehow it was still on. So I re-did the PTM procedure to get into Sport 2 but this time I did *not* click the button at the final step. I just left it alone and on its own PTM went into Sport 2 mode w/electronics off. I quickly confirmed this by glancing down and seeing the yellow “off” icons for both traction control and Stabillitrak. Once I had these turned off, then the Vette really became fun, fast, and much safer.
Joe1111, I really loved your video. You are the first person I have seen that really pushed the car I watch it over and over. I am sure you have gotten to know the car better by now. If you have more videos please post. Your fan Cowboy.
 
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