Friday, May 18, 2007

Info Overload

So you buy all these fancy expensive parts. The forums say this part is sweet and so is that. All your friends say thats cool. All the slower guys say they would be faster than you if they had parts too.

Here lies the problem with all these cool parts. Unless you can effectively make everything work well together, as a system, you are no better off than had you stuck with a simple setup.

I'll give you 2 current examples.

1) Dan made 2 big changes in his setup this year. He added some rear spring rate and actually bought some NEW tires for autocross. His car was pushing last year and adding rear spring was a good option to improve balance. We all know sticky tires are our bestest friend, so no explanation there.

The results for him this season have been very good. He is spending lots of time on improving his driving and his efforts are shown here on the blog. The MaxQ fell into his lap and is definitely adding another level of driver analysis, while being relatively easy to digest.

2) Jay (me) spent a bunch of cash on some new parts adding a 40/60 Center Diff, new coilovers, new spring rates and a rear bumpsteer kit. I thought all these parts would make everything better.

In addition I've been doing a lot of reading to try and make heads or tails of the whole vehicle dynamics gig. Even having an engineering degree does not make this stuff easy to digest. There are so MANY variables it is completely insane.

So, I set out to try and measure some different things on the car. Somehow I think all these tiny incremental changes will help. In the end it's a bunch of rudimentary data that took a whole bunch of time.

All of it has really gotten me nowhere, but confused. It's like trying to make heads or tails of binary. I haven't been concentrating on driving, mostly on collecting little bits of data to add to the confusion! On top of it I blame the car, like a weeny, when I don't drive well.

So the moral of this story is....concentrate on your driving skills. Put your ego aside and let the fast guys drive your car. Setup a codrive for the season with a friend and run some data acquisition. In the end that will pay dividends beyond adding fancy go-fast bits.

PS: It's sexy and I like it.