Infiniti FX Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
176 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just got back from a lapping day at Pacific Raceways driving with ProFormance Racing School. What a blast this was! Last year I took their High Perfomance Driving class and learned a lot. Once you get through that, they let you come and drive laps by yourself. A coach costs $100 extra so I got one.

It was a grey, overcast day, as is typical for the Pac NW, partly sunny, 70 degrees or so. The instructors and one Porsche driver recognized me from last year cause I'm the only FX that's been there. I don't know if that's a good sign or not.

I pumped up my tires to 37psi warm and at the end of one hour they were at 41. One thing they taught me last time was to severely steepen the angle of the seatback when I complained of not being able to see the right corner of the car. I ride with it like that all the time now. It's a wide car.

I shut off the VDC, of course. That thing thinks too slow for track driving and actually thwarts peak handling at those speeds. I even got some mild drifting going on later.

They would not let me run my iPod. 8)

My coach and I determined that between the weight and the high center of gravity of the FX, regular car techniques had to be modified a bit. He said "Endurance style driving is what works best for you and this car, not Sprints." One thing that means is that it works better to brake late and turn in when it feels right, not necessarily at the turn in cone, to smooth out a curve than to head for the apex to early. It also means to coast a half second or so to let the weight re-center itself after exiting one turn before braking in to another.

By mid afternoon I was able to confidently go in to turn 2 at 110mph, which is one of the anecdotal ways to determine your performance there. That's up 10mph from before. I didn't have a way to time laps. It works best to brake *at* the first braking cone giving it about 80% and let off smoothly before turn in. Then go deep and wide and turn in gently. It's a sweeper. The apex cone will appear from behind your A pillar about a second later than you'd expect. Once there, pound it and sweep wide out to the exit cone.

Turn 3a is a downhill hairpin and I could approach it fast and brake hard 2 cones late then ease up very slowly before making a sharp turn in. Somehow, this works in the hairpin but not later in 5a & b. It does set you up for 3b nicely, and you can ignore the middle turn in cone completely because you're already heading for 3b's. One smooth motion that eliminates one turn that everyone else makes. I even got to where I could gas it quick and not brake til the 3b turn in cone "disappeared" beneath my right corner. You almost stop at that point, you set all the weight on your front right wheel. Then turn hard for the apex and blast out wide. Check the mirror and wave those 2 Carreras past and set up for the downhill in to 4.

4 is sort of a nothing turn that you try hard to straighten out, brake, and soak up all that speed before winding through 5a, b and 6. This is a very hard to manage but very fun part of the track. It's also the exact opposite of what I said above. Here, you want to shed all the speed you need to before 4 and come out wide, turn in to 5a as close to the inside as possible because when you exit, the 5b turn in cone should be at the center of your view. You can't go real deep here because the weight won't shift to the other side fast enough. So, if you turn in early but still come close to the apex cone of 5b, you're in good shape to do the same at 6. You don't brake at all after 4 though, it's all throttle feathering. I hit these WAY too hot once and exited 6 so fast and wide that I dropped my front wheel off track and in to the dust. The resulting correction maneuver had me almost spun sideways, but I slid it back around and kept going. Scary. Thought I was going to roll for sure.

Which brings me to my next point. The FX has very little body roll for a car of it's height and weight. Even the coaches remarked on that. And it's not that hard to throw it around. It's not a nimble sports car, but it's respectable for what it is. I'm curious as to whether that strut bar would make a difference or not. The chassis is very stiff as it is.

Turn 7 is nothing, just a set up for 8. Turn 8 has your weight set on the outside wheels and you really need to brake hard before it. I found that I could turn my wheels straight and break hard *before* the weight re-centered. So I'm slowing and flattening out at the same time. Perfect to get both done in a very short time before turn in.

9 is an easy right and wave to the bleachers!

Observations:
Goodyear GS-As suck at the track. I found their traction limitations early. Granted, they are all seasons. I wore a lot of tread off in little melted rivulets along the tread grooves. You hear them flick off when you exit to the paddock. I'm totally getting some high performance summer tires even if there is only 2 offerings in our size. Not sure which yet though.

I don't know if I hit the rev limiter or not. I got above 6k. I do know that the V8 will bog if you give it too much gas at once. It's best to figure out the rate it can take it and feed it that way. You'll accelerate faster. It does seem to lose steam at about 110mph. Either that or I was running out of straightaway.

Track driving inspires you to want to drive faster on the streets, but more importantly, it makes you want to drive *better*. You start looking at every turn for it's entry, apex and exit and try to maximize every radius, whether it be just in your lane or changing lanes twice through a curve if there is room. Makes commuting fun!

I highly recommend a performance driving course and any track time you can get. The car can take it. You'll love it. If anyone wants to drive Pacific Raceway or Portland, I'll be happy to meet up with you there.

I now definitely need a radar detector.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,581 Posts
8) Sounds like a fun time 8)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,122 Posts
Sounds like it was a lot of fun.

Jim :lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
176 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Wow, it's been over a year.

But today was another track day. Since that first post, I got an STB, Eibachs and 20mm spacers. Unbelievable difference at the track.

I started out ln a cold track with 37psi in the tires and was sliding a lot. I had a controlled drift going on but not like Kenny the meet. :) I was kind of uneasy anyway, having forgotten many lines and reference points. One of the instructors said to drain a pound per tire and keep doing it til I got back to sticky. It only took a pound. I can control the car much better now with just wheel and throttle and a lot less brake.

Compared to stock, the mods virtually eliminate body roll but not that "I'm gonna roll over" feeling. It's lessened but still a concern. Way more stable and much easier to throw our massive weight around. It also feels like you don't have to throw it as far for the same effect and it returns to centered much quicker now.

I improved significantly. I learned better lines, one of which make turns 6,7, and 8 one big turn. Seriously, if you get the line right you can turn the wheel in one big progression and only brake 3 cones ahead of 8 and the cool thing is if you just hold the wheel where it is at apex for a second, it sets you up perfectly for the entry to 9.

I learned that 9 is NOT an easy right as I said before. It's the most important turn on the track because it leads to the straightway. The apex cone is hung on a fence above a concrete Jersey berm and you need to get as close to it as possible.

Unfortunately, I don't effectively slap shift so I was in auto mode today. I don't know if I'll ever learn to do that well. Conditions in Seattle don't lend well to aggresive driving in the city and suburbs.

I stand by my brake late and go deep recommendation. The stock brakes are pretty impressive. The stock tires are not. I don't know if I'm going to get high performance summer tires in the spring or not. Ventus maybe. I may just get a 350Z. I'd of course keep the FX.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,159 Posts
I just saw your first post from Aug '04- I have to comment on both your posts when I get more time. It's a lot of fun, ain't it?!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,642 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
176 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top