When I was a little kid, I played with dinky cars. I was never a ‘sports-watching’ kind of a guy but I’d always watch a race if it was on. In high school during spare periods, I would pour over car magazines with my closest friends. We could recite quarter mile times, 0 – 60 times, skid pad g’s, and top speed on every exotic sports car and… well pretty much every statistic was memorized regardless of the car! At the age of 19, I got my first dream job: car jockey for a Toyota dealership. The passion of driving fast cars (and even slow cars) fast was cemented.
I’ve had three hobby cars in my past (82′ RX-7, 89′ CRX Si and 04′ Saab 92-x). My latest project car is an 09′ GTI. I originally wanted the BMW 135 but unfortunately I went with plan ‘b’ after losing a tidy sum in the markets – Doh! Expensive education. That said… now I want to eat 135′s for lunch!!
With each hobby car I’ve always dreamed about driving on a race track. I would swear I could’ve been a professional race car driver if only I had the opportunity. Watching F1 more regularly in my adulthood years, I knew the fastest driving lines on the most famous tracks in the world! I finally lived the dream of driving on a world famous, former formula one race track in Canada. Fortunately, I’ve also been driving the streets of Toronto for a long time and know many fun driving spots to expose cars to incremental spirited speed through on and off ramps. I never break the posted highway speed limit however and safe conditions are clearly judged. How’s that for disclaimers! When I showed up at Mosport on May 24, 2010, and the marshall asked me if I have the experience to drive on the ‘big track’, I didn’t hesitate to say, ‘yes’. Gran Tourismo and the likes helped too of course… especially Mario Kart!
In the video clip below, the opening shot is of me doing a lap behind a Porsche that is driving pretty conservatively. I’m just learning the track on this day so I’m going about 70 percent all-out pretty much around the track. The last two corners before the front stretch are the most comfortable for me. The off-camber left on corner 3 is very unnatural feeling and SCARY to carry speed through. Corner 4 is very comfortable – I’m good with the flat stuff. Hair pin is a double appex and takes practice to get on and off the gas after 6 into 7. There’s a point where I’m racing some Japanese cars on the back stretch and I have the power and speed to walk them but elect to let off, drift to the back of the pack and continue to learn at my own pace. No ego here; especially when you’ve invested so much into the project!
I had these intstalled on my car sat morning. I’ve done a lot of driving including a 2 hour drive to haliburton… Cottage in Ontario. Front and rear were set to med. I plan to go both hard then both soft then try front hard, rear soft and vice-versa before deciding where to leave. I immediately love them as they instill confidence in high speed corners on even ashphalt, I.e. Not a bumpy road. On bumpy roads they seem to eliminate the advantage of independent suspension; an apparent “con” to the set up. This is the first suspension mod on my stage 2 motor. The body roll is dramatically eliminated on corners from speeds of 50 kph to 160kph on long sweepers. It instills confidence with less white knuckling thanks to eliminated body roll. However, it magnifies the rubbery feel of the rubber bushings on the control arms. For example, when i swing out to the left (aggressively) to pass a car, on single lane highways, I find im having to rebound on the steering input by going about an inch past neutral to the right (to make up for the rubber bushings retarded – time delayed – action) to my steering input just to stop the left motion and bring the car to a forward straight motion. This sucks; you have to be a better driver the faster you go to make up for this difficiency.
So to conclude, the sways inspire confidence and definitely tighten up handling on the weak springs that came stock on our cars (Canada has the worst of the mkv’s – raised to pass side impact tests with flying colours). I’m now convinced my next mod will be to return to H2Sport to get their proprietary replacement of control arm rubber bushings with friction free ball bearings… This will make steering more precise, i.e. No shitty rubbery feel on the steering wheel.
Part two of suspension upgrade coming next month after the control arm fix.