Driving the Daytona Rolex Course 2018 in GT350R (new video added)

Discussion in 'Shelby GT350 Mustang' started by Tomster, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. Tomster

    Tomster Beware of idiots

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    #1 Tomster, Jan 6, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
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    The first weekend in December, the Audi Club gets together with Hooked On Driving and they rent the Daytona International Speedway for a 3 day track event. People from all around the country convene on Daytona with every kind of track focused car you can think of for the love of track driving as well as the experience of driving the Rolex 24 course at Daytona.

    Each Driver is assigned to one of four groups. Group 1 is for Pros and Racers, group 2 is for instructors, group 3 is advanced/intermediate, and group 4 is for beginner/novice. This year I was assigned to group 2 and was assigned a student who had his act together. He had a lot of track experience, but just hadn’t driven Daytona before. We went over all the nuances and particulars of the track, specifics pertaining to his car (alignment, tire pressure, etc), general rules of the road, and safety info that is particular to this event. Overall, he did a great job for his first time at Daytona.

    In the time leading up to this event, I began to prep my car about a month out. Things like oil change, brake pads, rotors, transmission fluid change, differential fluid change, alignment, torque verification (lug nuts, oil pressure sensor, oil filter canister), new Cup2 tires mounted and balanced, and trakk tape were applied to the front end and impact areas. I was very busy at this time with family and work, so this process was stretched out over the course of about a month.

    For those not familiar with my triple yellow R model, HR361 (click here) is stock with a few exceptions. Modifications to the car include a Watson 4 point roll cage, Schroth 4 point ASM harness (driver and passenger), Cooltech belt clips, tear away front windshield film, Vorshlag camber plates, ZL1 titanium front tow hook, Steeda jacking rails, Bob's passenger side catch can, Airaid dry air filter, complete brake fluid swap with Castrol SRF, and a 100% complete Xpel clear bra wrap. To keep it all looking nice for when it's all said and done, I prep the car with Trakk Tape on the front end, A pillars, hood, roof, and wheel impact areas before each track session. I have an MGW shifter that I am yet to install, but time permitting, will be completed before next track session. Other than the above, these cars come from Ford (Performance) without really needing much in the area of modifications. The GT350R is without a doubt one of the best naturally aspirated track cars ever built in this price range.

    The event kicked off on November 30th. On November 29th (the day before), everyone was allowed to trailer in. I was there at the crack of 1 and stopped by registration to pick up my documents and credentials. I settled into my garage (I rent one), and a tech inspection of my car was accomplished. Of course, it was found satisfactory. A window sticker was placed on my car to show tech approval and compliance. New people to the track have the opportunity to take a tram ride of the track to show general driving lines and orientation.

    Day 1 started with a driver meeting in the morning. This is in a very large conference room where driver participation is mandatory. All the important information is briefed and at the end I received a sticker to put on my windshield to demonstrate that I attended the meeting.

    This year, the weather was pleasant on Friday. Saturday, weather came through and it rained off and on making some turns of the Rolex course a little sporty. Sunday was quite warm. Most run Daytona with the windows up due to the high speeds and associated noise. The environmental heat as well as the heat generated by the car make for a hot cockpit. Despite running the fan at full blast it gets quite warm. This is me finishing a session in the afternoon on Sunday (soaking wet).

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    Day 1 for me was busy. I had an issue with the oil pressure sensor leaking. This happened to me last year and despite me making sure it was tight this year, it happened again. Once I figured out the problem, I decided to let my dealership handle it. The car is under warranty, so I didn't want to own the problem. My dealership accommodated me right away, so I only lost half the day’s track time. This is a common problem with the GT350 on the track and it has been well documented here on M6G. Here is a photo of me taken by John Vallo trying to initially isolate the source of the oil leak. The good news is that hardly any oil was lost before noticing the problem.

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    Day 2 was a slow track day. The track was wet due to rain and at times it would be dry enough to go out and take it easy. Various turns were precarious and led to some cars losing control and crashing. This year, I know first hand of a Camaro and a GT350R sustaining major damage. I went out and had some fun, but the car was definitely loose on any wet painted surface (like the bus stop corners) with cup2’s.

    Day 3 had favorable weather conditions that allowed me to have a lot of fun. At this point, my student was signed off and on his own, I had some time to drive the Rolex course myself, and I was also able to give rides to enthusiasts who were either part of the Audi Club family or people who were really fascinated with the GT350R. I have always been a Ford guy all my life and I saw this as an opportunity to show people first hand what that car is capable of. I received many compliments after the rides were over and many stated that the GT350R was their favorite car based upon all the other rides they had that day.



    During lunch break, some instructors were invited to drive the NASCAR oval course at the Daytona International Speedway (no inside course or bus stop on the backstretch). I was fortunate enough to be invited. THANK YOU Craig, John, Paul, Hans, Tom and everyone else who gave the thumbs up. My impressions..... It was interesting and had a different perspective of the speedway. At high speeds, those banks (as steep as they are) only seem to be neutral from a steering perspective at about 140 MPH or so. Go screaming into those turns at 170+, and be ready to add a significant steering input as well as the imposition of significant lateral G's to keep from going into the wall. This session was cut short for a yellow because someone had an issue.



    Daytona 2018 was a great time. I look forward to next year and with any luck, I will have a GT500R as well as the GT350R out on the Rolex course of Daytona. The extra top end speed combined with the rumored track enhancements of the 500 should make for a formidable track weapon.

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    I edited the video above to include a rear view facing camera. Kinda neat, so I though I'd share.

     
  2. honeybadger

    honeybadger Just don't care

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    Thanks for sharing! Can't wait to drive Daytona someday!
     
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  3. chedder

    chedder Well-Known Member

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    What tire pressure were you running (cold) when you went you on the wet track. Sounds like you're playing just right. You need to come back to the NW some time friend!
     
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  4. TexBB

    TexBB '18 GT350 Leadfoot Grey

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    An awesome video driving the 24hr course!! Although mine isn't an R, it really is cool to see a familiar interior, with the sound of that 5.2, doing so well. At the end of the banking, what RPM were you seeing in 5th?
     
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  5. OP
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    Tomster

    Tomster Beware of idiots

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    Cold temps vary depending on the ambient conditions. What matters here is hot temps, but you have to start somewhere. With roval courses (road and oval), tire pressures are staggered as well as alignment settings. The worst of Daytona is right at the exit of turn 4. I called Michelin and was put in contact with their race division. We had a long conversation about the various perils associated with that particular track. It was refreshing to converse with someone else who was on the same page as me with the same concerns. (working off memory) It was recommended that I run hot pressures of (PSI) 39 on the right rear, 37 on the right front, and 36 on the whole left side. This is because the right rear, running the high speed oval banks, bears most of the load and is typical of tire delamination (blow out). As a rule of thumb, you can estimate that your pressures will increase about 8 PSI from full cold to warmed up. Adjust your cold start pressures accordingly and adjust as necessary.

    See the attached document. I know this document is for old cup tires, but the data is relevant to the cup 2s as well.
     

    Attached Files:

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  6. OP
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    Tomster

    Tomster Beware of idiots

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    I received some more photos today. Ill start with this one. I'll add more as I go. Daytona banks.jpg
     
  7. Bullitt40

    Bullitt40 Active Member

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    Great Videos Tom. It was good to see you again on Sunday at Daytona. I enjoyed my sessions that day and my track pak performed flawlessly for me again. That was my 3rd Daytona track session and I was a lot more comfortable this year than last. No video but do have a couple of pics. Daytona resize.jpg Daytona Resize 2.jpg
     
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  8. honeybadger

    honeybadger Just don't care

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    TY is such an underrated color. SCREAMS race car and is exceptionally photogenic. Love it
     
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  9. OP
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    Tomster

    Tomster Beware of idiots

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    And another..... turn 1.jpg
     
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  10. OP
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    Tomster

    Tomster Beware of idiots

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  11. tedj101

    tedj101 Well-Known Member

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    Here are a few of my car at Daytona.

    Best,
    <TED> 8X11M55_1945.jpg 8X11L50_1502.jpg 8X11M55_3563.jpg
     
  12. OP
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    Tomster

    Tomster Beware of idiots

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    ^^^^ Ted, reference your first photo...... Someone is going to have a hard time getting back on track next time. It seems thier meeting sticker is attached to your front grill. My solo sticker suffered the same fate. Mine went bye bye during some of the rain.
     
  13. OP
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    Tomster

    Tomster Beware of idiots

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    Sorry, I missed your question. You top out at Daytona in 5th gear right at 8250 on the front and back stretch (if you want to push it that hard to obtain top speed). I set my shift indicator at 7k, but there were times you would take it into the 8k range (I set the HUD at 7k to have 1K of buffer).

    This year, I did experiment with 6th gear briefly and found that although it's not a pulling gear that you would use to get going quickly, it would sustain high speeds and slightly accellerate. I remember people commenting a while back that 6th was too tall for this car to do anything on the track with, but I found that if you reached a high speed you would like to maintain, it would do a good job of doing so. I guess what I am saying is that if you want to go all out, plan to regularly be in and out of the 8k range, however if you want to take it easy on the car doing fast parade laps, 6 could be a very useful tool in the bag.

    I wound up using 6th a bit on my cooldown laps.
     
  14. tedj101

    tedj101 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I lost both the Solo and Meeting stickers in the rain. They gave me new ones, though....

    <TED>
     
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  15. OP
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    Tomster

    Tomster Beware of idiots

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    Dave, yes it is always nice to see friendly faces each year I go back. I just noticed you install your trackk tape vertically on your front end. That would go a lot faster than the horizontal method I use. I'm going to try that way next time. Those track packs are great cars. I really miss mine.
     
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  16. Next Phase

    Next Phase Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for sharing Tomster! Great videos and post.

    Your R is set up almost identical to mine and I'm prepping for the 2019 season.

    Can you share what alignment specs you are going with? (My home track is VIR)

    Also, getting ready to swap transmission and rear diff fluid. Any insight to share regarding any nuances specific to the R? (I just received my trans and diff fluid + rear diff additive).
     
  17. OP
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    Tomster

    Tomster Beware of idiots

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    Yes, absolutely!

    We are at a pub in London right now, so let me get you that info maybe later or tomorrow. Have a look at the document I posted by Michelin. They have. Lot of great insight. I can put you in touch with one of the Michelin specialists who can further consult with an engineer if you have further questions.

    Cheers! 20190113_105954.jpg
     
  18. Ninjak

    Ninjak Posting from the Shadows

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    Really really nice. Man your car is screaming down that back stretch. Sounds really good. You have LT's correct ?

    I hope I can do that one day. I want to go to daytona one year for sure.
     
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  19. Bullitt40

    Bullitt40 Active Member

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    Thought maybe you were taping up the grill for a little more downforce>>>>
     
  20. OP
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    Tomster

    Tomster Beware of idiots

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    The Michelin guide has very good information and recommendations for each type of track scenario pertaining to alignment and pressures. If you'll be running VIR, that's more of a high speed road course with lots of WOT runs mixed with maneuvering. Generally speaking, negative camber is beneficial for grip during maneuvering but at the same time can reduce braking effectiveness. Unless you know someone who runs VIR regularly, I'd start with the recommended settings and adjust as necessary using instruments such as a tire pyrometer and a good air pressure gauge. What I'm looking for with a pyrometer is overall temps and a difference from outer to inner of no greater than 15 degrees. It all comes down to what performance you are looking for vs tire wear you can accept. Guys running huge negative camber will typically see premature tire wear for the added performance of maneuverability. So for Daytona, I run the recommended R alignment settings and that gives me very even tire wear and overall consistent temperatures. I stagger the pressures as indicated in the earlier post.

    Trans and diff fluid is easy. Jack the car at 4 points so the car is level (or use a lift). Get two seperate fluid pumps (one for each type of fluid). Drain the trans fluid by removing the drain plug. Reinstall drain plug. Measure what you drained, but fill until fluid runs out the fill hole. I do this for comparison only. This step is more important with the differential. So, with the trans full, install the fill plug snug. Run the car for 2 mins to make sure the cooler and line gets filled. Remove fill plug and top it off.

    The differential is easy. Use a small screwdriver to pull the bottom differential cooling line retaining pin and pull the lower cooling line out. Catch and measure the fluid. It should be about 52 ounces or so. Replace line and retainer clip. Remove fill hole and pump diff fluid in. I premix the friction modifier and replace the same amount as you took out. Full is 9mm below the fill hole. Filling to the fill hole will overservice the diff and you could wind up venting fluid from your vent during hard turns. That gets all over your right rear wheel and into your brakes. Measure the capacity with a wire guage. Full is 9mm below the fill hole. Get the fluid warm with a spirited drive and then use forscan to run the cooler pump. Verify full again and you are done.

    Guys that do this a lot generally find that if you replace what you take out, you are about done. That quantity is about 52 ounces.
     
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