Track Day Experience - Brakes/Cooling/Handling, in other words, everything
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Track Day Experience - Brakes/Cooling/Handling, in other words, everything

This is a discussion on Track Day Experience - Brakes/Cooling/Handling, in other words, everything within the Focus RS Discussions forums, part of the Focus RS Forums category; I am posting this on the general forum as it deals with multiple topics and I felt it fit better here. PLEASE NOTE: Everything below ...

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Thread: Track Day Experience - Brakes/Cooling/Handling, in other words, everything

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    Track Day Experience - Brakes/Cooling/Handling, in other words, everything

    I am posting this on the general forum as it deals with multiple topics and I felt it fit better here.

    PLEASE NOTE: Everything below is based upon my experience and my opinion. Please take my opinion in the spirit I have offered it, to help others and to further the huge base of knowledge in this forum. Many of you, unknowingly, have helped me a lot through your various posts. I hope to do the same here. If you don't like my opinion or doubt my experiences, well I guess you just have to bite my shiny metal a$$! LOL!

    I will try to keep my experiences and opinions short, but I have a lot to cover so the post will be long, deal with it.

    This post will cover my preparation and first track day in the FoRS.

    To hopefully help to understand the why behind my opinions, a bit of my background. I am 51 years old, live in the south suburbs of Chicago (go Blackhawks!). I road raced motorcycles with AMA, WERA, CCS from approx 1985 to 2000. Worked forced me to stop, then marriage and kids prevented me from restarting. For the last ten years, my friend and I have attended track days, autox's, and slowly built and developed our first track day car a 1981 Trans Am, which currently has an LS3, T56, 3.43 Ford 9in worm gear, full cage, race seats, full coilover, rear fiberglass leafs, watts link, manual Wilwood W6A with Carbotech XP12's and bias adjuster, Racing Brake 2-piece rotors, running 18in Hoosier R7's. I recently ran in the SCCA Time Trial event at Gingerman Raceway 4/21-22 and took the overall win, second in sat autox, first in Sun autox, and fastest timed lap at 1:40.612 (even with the bad front shocks, haven't gotten around to rebuilding them yet). I am an HPDE instructor for cgimotosports (www.cgimotosports.com) and Grid Life (#GRIDLIFE) both great groups. I am not saying this to brag as I know many, many drivers better than me, and I am by no means the most experienced or best driver. I am letting you know my experience so you can determine the importance of my opinions to you. I always look to improve my driving by working with others; but, I feel I have a lot of experience upon which I have based my opinions below.

    I recently (Nov 2017) purchased my 2017 FoRS as my new daily driver after a lot of research. I went into it knowing about the head gasket issue, potential ride issues, etc., but felt I had the chance to buy an instant classic and enjoy it. I have not made many mods to my FoRS as I have and will continue to use year round upon our wonderfully maintained, billiard table smooth Illinois roads and for approx half dozen or so track days a year (have to drive the Trans Am sometime). For the track day on 5/14 at Gingerman Raceway, the car had the following mods:

    • K&N type filter
    • Stock Intake/Air box
    • Stock exhaust
    • Stock motor - No chip or mods
    • Warranty head gasket repair
    • Removed plastic top engine cover
    • Felt undertray made into fiberglass w/ 2 qts resin
    • Stock suspension
    • Ford 19in forged wheels & Michelin Cup 2's
    • Stock rotors, calipers, pads
    • Clutch spring mod (menards)
    • Mounttune Short Shifter
    • Mounttune shifter bushings
    • Mounttune steel braided lines
    • Mounttune rear motor mount
    • Schroth 4-point buckle-in racing belts


    I made a few other mods, detailed below, but I wanted to get a baseline on the FoRS performance to determine what, if anything I would need to upgrade from failure. From reading through the forum in depth, I felt I needed to monitor and address three major areas, suspension compliance, PTU & RDU overheating (limp mode), and brakes overheating/failing. As an aside, I would deal with tire pressures after trying the suspension in both soft and hard. Based upon my experience, I knew I could take a few steps to mitigate two of these issues (brakes, PTU/RDU) without having to drop a ton $$ and only with my elbow grease.

    First, although the forum has seemed to reach a consensus the RDU does not cause the limp mode issues, I felt a little help with extra cooling couldn't hurt. I too scratched my head as to why the rear diff has cooling vanes blocked by the cross member, but you play the cards you are dealt. One $90 Cooltech RDU cooler, a little extra piece of mind. I would monitor the RDU temp and if it didn't overheat, then I would remove it and try it without to the cooler to see the difference on the next track day. Next, I felt Ford had the right idea to integrate the oil and PTU cooling with the existing engine cooling to simplify use and maintenance. I felt I could maybe make the system more efficient. Upon review the engine upon the service diagrams, I found Ford installed a two layer metal heat shield over the PTU & one under the turbo (which sits above the PTU). I figured I could improve the heat shielding by adding some stick on aluminum heat shield. $24 bucks from autozone, presto, improved heat shielding. (I will upload pictures later, they are too big to post and I will deal with it later, I got one to fit though).
    Attachment 300090
    I put one layer on both the inside and outside of the stock shield and made sure to leave the air gap in the middle of the shield unobstructed. On a side note, you can remove and reinstall the PTU shield without major disassembly. I removed the plastic intake pipe which routes around the oil pan then wiggled it out and back in. It has three 10mm mounting bolts, the one on the driver's top, left is a @#$%^& to get loose, but I managed to get it with a 10mm ratcheting box end with the adjustable elbow. Didn't mount the top screw back either, without issue. Next, I determined the coolant intake line routes from the junction on the motor's front over the top of the transmission, then behind the transmission, following the back edge of the oil pan until it reaches the PTU connectors. Well this coolant intake line is sitting right next to the hot motor. A little extra fiberglass exhaust wrap I had left over and some zip ties, presto again, the coolant line should absorb less heat from the motor before it gets to the PTU. Next, the coolant from the engine also cools the PTU and runs through the same radiator. Without starting another large thread on coolants, water is the best cooler, but its surface tension prevents it from working efficiently on very hot surfaces (ever see the large bubbles which form and get stuck on a pan of almost boiling water? The bubble puts air at the hot spot, which absorbs heat eight times less efficiently than water. Same thing happens if you ran straight water in your engine.) By lessening the surface tension, the coolant remains in contact with the metal and absorbs more heat more efficiently from the motor and sheds it more efficiently in the radiator. I used my stock coolant and added a full 10oz bottle of Water wetter. This reduces the surface tension in 50/50 coolant and should improve cooling efficiency and therefore PTU cooling. Lastly, if use a flashlight, you can see the center naca duct leads directly to the PTU and Ford put a little ramp to direct air flow to the PTU vanes. Unfortunately, Ford chopped the ramp almost in half to, IMO, stop in from vibrating an hitting something because the undertray is felt. Well, I turned my udertray into hard fiberglass by painting and soaking on 2 qts of resin. A small piece of sheet tin, a few rivets, and I recreated the full ramp and now the air will not spill off it and will blow directly on the PTU vanes.
    Attachment 300082
    After making these mods, and daily driving, I noticed the oil temp gauge was reading approx 25 degrees cooler at any given time (even during highway cruises). And I do now the oil gauge is only an estimated temp, but I looked at the decrease, not the temp itself. On an interesting note, after my track day sessions, I noticed the oil temp gauge reads approx 20 degrees warmer than when after I first made the changes. Don't know if the sensor changed due to the extra heat caused by tracking the car, or dirtier oil doesn't cool off as quick (checked the radiator, no damage or bent fins). I will monitor it after my next oil change.

    Second issue were the brakes. We went through three different full brake systems on the Trans Am before we got the current setup working. The Trans Am weighs approx 250 lbs less than the FoRS. FoRS has slightly larger rotors, pad area basically the same FoRS has taller pads, Trans Am longer pads. I can regularly hammer the Trans Am on the brakes, even at a place like Road America with no brake issues using the XP12's and 2-piece rotors. IMO, I had a hard time believing people were having XP12's fail and overheat, but since I was using the stock rotors and pads, I'd sure find out! But I would try to mitigate the issue. I would need to change fluid. I use Pentosin Dot4 Low Viscosity fluid in the Trans Am (never had it boil) so I knew it would work here. It's cheap, $15 from pepboys, and has a boiling point of 547F. Next was better cooling. The Tran Am uses a 3in brake cooling duct we made to replace the high beam headlight then go down to a plate we made to direct the air directly to the center of the rotor. IMO, you have to get the air to the center of the rotor to provide the most efficient cooling. We tried different caliper setups and cooling the rotor face, but they never really provided sufficient cooling. Once we made the plate for the Trans Am, cooling improved dramatically. Easy on the Trans Am, hard on the FoRS due to the existence of the front drive shaft and hub. I planned to try to manufacture one myself, but then I came across a setup from Advanced Auto Fab AAF Ford Focus RS Brake Cooling Kit ? Advanced Auto Fabrication I spoke with them in depth about it, and I felt it was the best compromise solution I could find to direct the air into the center of the rotor. The backing plate has a "T" ridge which sits close to the rotor face and allows the air entering from the hose to travel to the rotor center. Overall the kit was of high quality (especially the aluminum pieces). The backing plate did need some finagaling to install and fit correctly and I had to seal up some holes in the part which would hold the hose with some hitemp silicone. Also, my kit did not have any spacers. You will need spacers to install the backing plate so it sits very close to the rotor (I got mine within 1 mm or so) to force all the air into the rotor center. I used two 1/2" and one 3/4" chrome spacers from menards. Had to drill the centers to allow the bolts to pass through and needed two extra washers to get the exact fit. Then you need to bend the plate a bit to get it to fit right. It may scrape a bit on the rotor face when driving, so you just have to bend it a bit more so it doesn't. The new duct which attach to the bumper are 3D printed and significantly allow a straight flow of air down the hose. You will have to use better double sided tape. The tape which came with the ducts had very little tackiness to it. I replaced it with some extra sticky 3M double sided tape I keep in my toolbox. After the new fluid and ducting, I felt I had done everything I could to mitigate the cooling based upon what I knew worked from the Trans Am.

    To monitor temps, I would use my laser pyrometer and Torque Pro with the ELM327 bluetooth OBDII. Once I set the PTU and RDU gauges on Torque, I calibrated the sensor by measure actual temp with the pyrometer and adjusting the formula until it matched the pyrometer. for the PTU temp the settings ended up:

    OBD2 Mode: 221e3f
    Long Name: PTU Oil Temperature
    Short Name: PTU Temp
    Min Value: -60.0
    Max Value: 300.0
    Scale Factor: x1
    Unit Type: F
    Equation: ((signed(A)*256)+B)/2
    OBD Header: 703
    Overides PID: Does Not

    For the RDU the settings ended up:

    OBD2 Mode: 221e8a
    Long Name: RDU Oil Temperature
    Short Name: RDU Temp
    Min Value: -40.0
    Max Value: 215.0
    Scale Factor: x1
    Unit Type: F
    Equation: ((signed(A)*256)+B)/224
    OBD Header: 703
    Overides PID: Does Not

    With the OBDII plugged in, I could instantly check PTU/RDU temps during cooldown lap then follow it up with pyrometer readings rotors and calipers as soon as I got off the track. I had a student this day, and the track sessions ran advanced, intermediate, and novice. I would run in the advanced group, wait until the end of the intermediate group and adjust tire pressures, second seat my student in novice group, then right into my car for the advance group. Each dry session I got 8-9 laps, with first lap or so as warm up, then full speed for the remainder. Car uses only 3 & 4 on the track. Track day temps ended up approx 70, but we had a very wet morning and a dry afternoon. Little or no wind. Humidity was high. I ran all sessions in Race Mode with ESC completely turned off. I ran with the soft suspension in the wet morning sessions and hard suspension in the afternoon. I use the track days also as testing days. I try to only change one thing at a time to determine the real effect. For example if I changed tire pressure and from soft to hard suspension at the same time, I would not know if the pressure change or the suspension change made the difference. This is why I only ran soft suspension in wet and hard in dry. I then adjusted my tire pressure to what I felt as optimal. I did not baby the FoRS either in the wet or dry. I would regularly bump into the rev limiter before my braking into corner three, and once I get the videos posted, you can see the car was awesome in the wet and I was going around the rear wheeled cars like they had an anchor and I also caught faster vettes and BMW's under braking and through better corner speed while in the dry. The FoRS did not have the fastest straight away speed, but it was by no means slow. I was going to use Harry's Lap timer to keep track of my session, but fore some reason, everytime I tried to start the session, it never recorded any data. I will try to fix for the June session. So, on to the important part, what I experienced and my opinions about it.

    Tires
    I set the tires at 40/38 to start the day before at 70 degrees, knowing I would be driving to the track the next morning and couldn't set the cold pressure then. Wet sessions, don't count for tire pressure, but they were fun (videos will be posted later after I get them edited together and posted on youtube). In the dry session, my first session resulted in a very large increase in tire pressure, upward of 25%. Tires were underinflated at 40/38. subsequently continued to air up tire through remaining two afternoon sessions. Ultimately, when tires cooled down the next day, and based upon my driving impressions from the last session, I would set the tires at 46/43 with the hard suspension. I feel this would provide my target 12% tire pressure increase from cold to hot with good looking rubber wear (nice small waves, like miniature sand dunes, with little or no rubber buildup on the block edge). I plan to repeat the process with the soft suspension on a dry track to see if the pressures will vary. When you read below, my guess is the pressures will be different with the soft setting.

    Suspension
    Regarding the suspension, IMO, Ford missed it a bit with the hard setting. Because of the weather, I didn't get a chance to evaluation the soft setting in the dry (next time), although it seemed ok in the wet (maybe still a little stiff). With the hard setting, the rebound seems good. I didn't get any issues with acceleration chatter and the wheels seem to return to the pavement after a bump without issue. IMO Ford set the compression damping with the hard setting too stiff, especially in the front. I experienced understeer when entering most corners at speed which would disappear once I began accelerating. IMO the hard setting was not letting the car lean over and transfer weight to the front wheels to allow the tires to grip and they were sliding over the pavement. Also, through 9 & 10a at Gingerman (a very fast double-apex, increasing radius, flat left hander, through which you accelerate throughout) the car definitely seemed to want to skip over the bumps. Again, IMO, the suspension would not compress when hitting a bump when turning and the car would not lean over to allow the right side tires to bite. The car would skip off the bumps, the suspension would unweight, then recompress when it reloaded. With softer compression, the suspension would be more supple over the bumps, absorbing them without unweighting the car over the bump and having to recompress after the bump and car could lean over a bit more, transfer a bit more weight, and allow the tires to grip better. I also feel this too stiff compression also led to the higher tire temps & pressures. Because the compression was not absorbing the bumps and allow the car to lean and weight the tires, the tires instead slid across the road (ie: understeer), increasing the wear and the heat in the tires, thus increasing the pressures. I am interested to see what the soft setting does to tire pressures and the understeer. The soft setting should absorb the bumps better and allow more weight transfer to aloow the tires to grip. Understeer should decrease and well as tire pressures and wear. As an interesting side note, the understeer really allowed you to feel the AWD and torque vectoring working. It worked in all corners; but, for example, in 10b, the haripin (a downhill entry, uphill exit, slightly positively cambered, increasing radius turn, no bumps) in the rear wheel drive Trans Am, when I initiate my turn at my turn in point, I would not get understeer, I generally had to maintain a neutral throttle until I hit my apex point, then I would have to slowly accelerate to make sure I could hit my exit point, then I would go to full throttle approx at my exit point. With the FoRS, I would initiate the turn, get understeer, wait a touch to make sure it wasn't too bad and I wouldn't run wide in the corner, then I would go to full throttle well before my apex point with a little extra turn in. The AWD system would redirect the power front/rear and the torque vectoring would route a crapload of power to the outside rear wheel, the understeer would disappear immediately, the four wheels would wiggle and squirm for grip and I would rocket out of the corner, with a very large grin on my face! In fact my corner exit speed was so fast I would regularly put 3+ car lengths on any car behind me when exiting, even the fast vettes in the advanced group. I feel the FoRS could do with a suspension change, less compression and possibly softer and/or more progressive springs. I don't plan on changing the suspension on mine as almost all of them result in a lower ride height which I do not want to do. I may try the new shock module, but hard to justify at $1200. Most likely I will see how suspension softens as it ages, may actually age into a sweet spot.

    PTU/RDU
    The three afternoon sessions ran slightly damp, dry, and dry & hot respectively. Regarding the RDU, when checking my temps with Torque Pro immediately after the three afternoon sessions, while still on the track on my cooldown lap between corners 2 & 3, the temps showed temps of 155F, 162F, and 167F. I felt these temps are more than reasonable. I will remove the RDU cooler for next session in June and see if the temps change. IMO with these temps, the RDU would not cause any limp modes due to heat. This may change once I try the FoRS in drift mode. Once I complete my testing in race mode with ESC off, I will do the same testing in drift mode. Regarding the PTU, when checking my temps with Torque Pro immediately after the three afternoon sessions, while still on the track on my cooldown lap between corners 2 & 3. The temps showed temps of 264F, 272F, and 274F. Although these temps are not necessarily low, they are not high either. Also, the last session I ran definitely faster than the previous two as I because more comfortable with the car and the track warmed up. The fact I only saw a 2F increase from the second to third session indicates a positive trend of heat reaching a plateau. I feel the PTU shouldn't overheat when I track the car at higher ambient temp (ie:90F), although I do expect an increase from 274F. My guess would be approx 285-290F. IMO the mitigation I took to keep the PTU temps down did have an effect. I plan to further mitigate the cooling by putting the extra heat shielding on the stock turbo shield and also using it on the intake and return cooling lines to and from the PTU to the junction box. I also have a high speed, high CFM server computer fan which I may try to rig up over the square hole in the undertray to forcibly exhaust the hot air out from behind the PTU. Will see what happens after the hopefully hotter June session. IMO, I can only come up with two reasons others have had PTU overheating issues, ESC in normal or sport mode and driving style. I consider myself a smooth driver. I learned this from racing motorcycles. You can't muscle and force a racing motorcycle to go were you want, you have to finesse and carrass it, and often let it do its own thing, to coax it to do want you want. The smoother you are with your braking, turning, and accelerating, the better chance you have of success. The FoRS electronics are amazing (I used ESC sport in the wet), but they could easy compensate for a driver with less skill. If I left the ESC in normal or sport, I could have braked hard into a corner and just pitched the FoRS into the turn and mashed the throttle right away and let the computer brain keep me from going off track and it would have; however, using the ESC and trying to muscle the FoRS around the track under constant computer control would forced the PTU and RDU to constantly have to engage and disengage to redirect the power front/rear and side/side. IMO, this constant action could very easily overheat the PTU and even RDU. My Trans Am runs without a single driver aid, even the brakes aren't boosted. I feel you need to track the FoRS in the same manner. The smoother the better! I will monitor the PTU again in the June session and report back.

    Brakes
    Regarding the brakes, as stated above, the only mods I made to the brakes were steel braided lines, fluid swap, and AAF brake cooling kit. I ran stock calipers, pads, rotors; and the pads had 5k miles on them too. I did bring an extra set of stock front/rear pads to the track in case I cooked the first set (I had to drive the car home). But I never needed the new pads. Through all three sessions, the brakes worked great. Initially I noticed the brake pedal softened a touch after a few hard laps in the first afternoon session, but then it never got any softer. It was like the pad compound had to bake at high temps, like tempering steel. In the second and third sessions, the brakes never got any softer. Braking effort was medium light with good feel. Initial bite on the stock pads was very soft, you had to push the pedal down a bit before you notice braking power. Pads stayed consistant through all three sessions. The wear on the pads was great. I don't think I wore they pads more than a few mm's. They did create a lot of brake dust though. I did notice the ABS still works even with the ESC completely off. I don't know if anyone can find a setting in ForScan to turn ABS off completely, I would like to try it if someone can find it. I don't normally take a car into lockup (Trans Am does not have ABS), but try to get it right to the line of lockup where the tires are squealing and squiriming. I did however go into ABS maybe 7-8 times during the three afternoon sessions total, and I was not in ABS for long. Even though the FoRS was slightly heavier than the Trans Am, I felt more confident on the brakes and actually was able to brake later than I do on the Trans Am on the full slicks. Part of this may be due to fact the Trans Am may be carrying more speed at the end of the straight, but I don't know for sure with the lap timer not working. The few times I glanced down at the speedo, it seemed I was about the same speed on the back stretch, approx 127-130mph. I can say the Cup 2's have no issue under braking (or cornering or accelerating for that matter). After the sessions ended and I completed the cooldown lap, I immediately checked rotor and caliper temps with the laser pyrometer, before I even took my helmet off. When I run my cooldown lap, I usually run approx 45-60 and enter corners without using my brakes. See the temps below

    Rotor Outer Edge 505F 517F 521F
    Rotor Inner Edge 484F 492F 497F
    Caliper 239F 247F 250F

    As you can see, the temps were not bad at all. I know the rotors would shed heat during the cooldown lap, but I would not be sheding 1000F on one cooldown lap. The Trans Am runs XP12's (good to approx 1800F) and sees rotor rotor temps only a 100 degree higher on the rotor and 30 degrees higher on the caliper than the FoRS. (Maybe I should drop down to XP10's, LOL!) I would guess the rotors got up to approx 1000F and the caliper to 325F during the hottest part of the session. I drove the car home on the same set of brakes, and I am still using them today. I will probably run the same pads for the next two track sessions. As stated above with the PTU. IMO, having ESC in normal or sport and driving style has a large effect upon brake performance. If you leave the ESC on and huck the FoRS into corners, the ESC must use the brakes to save the car from leaving the track. If a driver regularly gets the FoRS into this situation, the brakes will never get a chance to cool. The driver would hammer the brakes while braking for the corner, then hammer the brakes while driving through the corner and only allow the brakes to rest on the straight parts. What happens at a place like Gingerman where turns 5-6 and 7, 8, 9, and 10a are back-to-back, with a very short straight between 6-7? The FoRS brakes would never get a chance to cool down. IMO, utilizing the ESC will increase brake temps. Further, IMO also hammering the brakes into ABS while hucking the FoRS into corners will dramatically increase brake temps. IMO constantly using full ABS is not the fastest way to brake. IMO, softly applying the brakes to prevent initial lockup and steadily, but quickly, increasing pedal pressure until you are at the lockup point, but not over, creates the best linear braking keeping the car stabilized and braking at its hardest. IMO, when using the ABS all the time your pads are constantly releasing and grabbing so each release/grab forces the initial high heat bite only into the edge of the pad instead of allowing the heat to soak into the pad and dissipate as each grab of the pad is at the highest possible force (and thus the highest heat) the caliper can generate instead of the linear increase in force and heat upon the pads when not using ABS. You can see this at work when driving a large screw into a piece of wood with a two speed drill. Using either speed, the drill uses the amount of force necessary to overcome the grabbing power of the wood and drive in the screw; however, when you insert the screw on the faster setting it uses a higher force than the slower speed, and the higher force generates more heat. IMO a similar event occurs with the brakes. When constantly using ABS, you are using the highest force possible to stop the car and generating the most heat, when I can use less force, stop the car just as fast without using the ABS, and generate less heat. Once again, IMO, smooth driving equates to fast driving and less wear and tear on the car. Everyone should track a car with no electronic aids what-so-ever. When you do, you learn really quickly how to drive smooth and fast. Then when you get back into a car with driver's aids, you realize how much the computers cover up bad driving. IMO the FoRS does not need a new brake system. I feel my mods mitigated the only weak points I could find in the system based upon my experiences with the Trans Am. I expect I will see higher temps when the ambient temp increases to 90F, but I do not expect the brake system will overheat. I know I could never overheat XP12's in the FoRS as I have never overheated the XP12's on the Trans Am, even at Road America where I regularly go from 160+mph to 65mph multiple times per lap. IMO, it has to be the regular use of the ESC and ABS to control the FoRS which overheats the brakes.

    Driving impressions
    In one word, amazing. As an HPDE instructor I have driven many of my student's high end sport cars on the track, from porches, vettes, bmws, STI's, EVO's Mazda 3's, etc. (no ferrari's yet though). I can say the FoRS brakes, handles, and accelerates like the best of them. The FoRS inspires confidence when driving by providing great feedback. It communicates when it begins to understeer or oversteer, allowing you to control the amount of oversteer and understeer through the throttle. It never snaps or bites you with sudden changes in dynamics. (you will be able to see this communication once I post the wet laps, as the FoRS would start to oversteer and I could bring it back by slightly releasing throttle). It is extremely stable on the brakes. Even though I would periodically get into the ABS, I felt I was only using 70-75% of the braking power. It would be crazy the stopping power of this car on slicks. The transitions from left/right and right/left has good control and weight transfers didn't upset the chassis or grip levels (Trans Am less inspring, have to pay attention or the weight transfer could cause snap oversteer). The one area which really brought a smile to my face was the corner exit. Even compared to other AWD track cars,the FoRS amazed me at how quickly I could get back to full throttle in a corner and motor out. Before the apex in every corner!! The torque vectoring is the bomb! The one area in which the FoRS underwhelmed was top speed power. I felt the FoRS had low end grunt exiting corners (although a little more wouldn't hurt), but its top end power was lacking. The 3+ car lengths I could pull on all cars exiting a corner....if you were in a vette, mustang, camaro, BMW, etc., you would have clawed those 3+ lengths back long before the end of the back stretch. Now I'm comparing a 2.3 turbo four pot to 5-6 liter V-8's so its not bad, but it could definitely use more. Overall, more than happy. And the best part, loaded all my gear back into it after the session, set the cruise at 80mph, turn on the A/C and had a comfortable ride home.

    Other Observations
    Few other observations. Gas mileage wasn't too bad. Reset the trip meter after I filled up on track arrival. Whole day (with a few miles of street driving) came in at 10mpg. Notice after track day both brake and clutch pedals initial engagement points were lower at rest, approx 1/2", but no change in feel or engagement. Brake pads would squeal a bit at very low speeds (compound changing after high heat), but no change in feel or stopping power. The oil temp change I referenced above. Strangely enough, the engine runs quieter and smoother, but the exhaust seems a bit louder. Also strangely, but welcome, I am getting approx 1+mpg better gas mileage while street driving.

    Told you my post was long and addressed a bunch of issues. I hope you the above helps for those of you looking to track you FoRS. Post or PM me if you have any questions.
    Last edited by JAK167; 05-23-2018 at 07:18 PM.
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    2017 Ford Focus RS - Black
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    RS Master mboles2's Avatar
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    I don’t want to discount your extremely thorough, helpful post but you’re using oversteer where I think you’re meaning understeer. Can you doublecheck? Your post might serve as a roadmap for members trying to understand some of what they might expect on a track day and I don’t want them second guessing their experience and responses.
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    Thx. In my mind I reference as to what I'm doing with the steering wheel. Makes more sense to me, but I guess I should have clarified or used the standard def.
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    Great job OP!
    I was in B group last year and let my HPDE instructor drive my car for half a session around the track. It is amazing what the RS will do in the hands of an experienced driver. Most owners have not or will never experience the full capabilities of what this car can do. For $40K Ford did an amazing job in spite of the complaints for seating height, stiff suspension for DD, and head-gasket (which Ford is taking care of).
    Last edited by hyracer; 05-25-2018 at 06:54 AM. Reason: revised sentence to make sense

    2014 ST1: Mojave Mile, Miller Motorsports Park, Grass Valley Raceway, PIR Raceway, The Ridge Motorsports Park
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    "The one area which really brought a smile to my face was the corner exit. Even compared to other AWD track cars,the FoRS amazed me at how quickly I could get back to full throttle in a corner and motor out. Before the apex in every corner!! The torque vectoring is the bomb! The one area in which the FoRS underwhelmed was top speed power."

    Totally agree. That is why a good tune is needed to help the upper end (no substitute for cubic inches). Torque vectoring is amazing and every corner is a big smile especially when the BMW M4 driver gives you a point-by while in the esses.
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    Great wright up JAK, with plenty of excellent tips. I'm close to your age, ex-bike racer, and owned a few 2-stokes back in the day (RD350/RZ350/RG500/RGV250!).

    My experience with the RS pretty much matches yours; all good except the suspension. I switched my dampers for Fortune Auto coil-overs, which have much stiffer spring rates than OE (~400/300 f/r) but feel much softer than stock. Strangely, the car seems even better balanced with this 'soft' rear setup. The camber plates allow me to run -2.6 camber at the front, and the grip I gained is incredible. In fact, I'm going to -3 when I get the opportunity. I suggest you find a way to add neg camber even before adding power. I think the torque vectoring masks a lot of the RS inherent understeer, and neg camber corrects it.
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    Excellent write-up. Do you know if your car is a "2017.5"? My understanding is that the front shocks were revised halfway through the 2017 model year and made it onto the 2018s. When I first purchased my 2018, I had a lot of concerns about the stiff suspension but they were unfounded. Back to back in my friends 2015 Corvette Z51, the 2018 RS is actually softer and does not pogo. If you are looking to stay away from coilovers, perhaps you can upgrade to the new shocks, assuming you don't have them already?

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    Quote Originally Posted by seniorgeek View Post
    "a big smile especially when the BMW M4 driver gives you a point-by while in the esses.
    Yup. Had a couple of BMWs and vetts have to point me bye. They were faster at the end of the straights but the corners and corner exits I would be crawling all up their backsides.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ansibe View Post
    ex-bike racer, and owned a few 2-stokes back in the day (RD350/RZ350/RG500/RGV250!).

    Yeah me too, the two strokes we great, idolized those guys back then, Rainey, Spencer, Mamola, Roberts, Schwantz. I have a roberts edition rz350 and a project rz500 (currently a running and rolling chassis, still needs new carbs, intakes, bodywork and electric). Could clog up a bunch of threads talking old two strokes!

    My experience with the RS pretty much matches yours; all good except the suspension. I switched my dampers for Fortune Auto coil-overs, which have much stiffer spring rates than OE (~400/300 f/r) but feel much softer than stock. Strangely, the car seems even better balanced with this 'soft' rear setup. The camber plates allow me to run -2.6 camber at the front, and the grip I gained is incredible. In fact, I'm going to -3 when I get the opportunity. I suggest you find a way to add neg camber even before adding power. I think the torque vectoring masks a lot of the RS inherent understeer, and neg camber corrects it.

    More negative camber, especially in the front, would definitely help; but, since this car is my daily driver, really would need a way to switch back and forth between track camber and street camber. Fortunately, when I had my car aligned after purchase, the factory got the camber relatively straight. -1.7 driver & -1.3 pass. I think the BMW's have some easily adjustable camber plates, but I haven't seen any for the FoRS. Would need to have some way to switch back and forth with only simple hand tools. Roads suck around here. -3 camber as a daily driver, the FoRS would be darting around like a waterbug! LOL!

    RE the suspension, I agree some changes needed, not major, but needed. Unfortunately, again, I don't really want to lower the car due to daily driving it. I've already lightly skimmed the bottom of the spoiler lip on a few steep business entrances and a parking garage. I could live with a 1/2" lower, but most kits seem to be 1 1/2" or more. I haven't tried the soft setting on the dry track yet, hopefully I will get good weather at 6/18 HPDE day. I think stiffer and more progressive springs with soft setting may be the best compromise without having to completely replace the whole struts/shocks/springs. Also thinking about the shock module, but man that $1200 price is a killer.
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    1985 Yamaha RZ500
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    Quote Originally Posted by sushibug View Post
    Excellent write-up. Do you know if your car is a "2017.5"? My understanding is that the front shocks were revised halfway through the 2017 model year and made it onto the 2018s. When I first purchased my 2018, I had a lot of concerns about the stiff suspension but they were unfounded. Back to back in my friends 2015 Corvette Z51, the 2018 RS is actually softer and does not pogo. If you are looking to stay away from coilovers, perhaps you can upgrade to the new shocks, assuming you don't have them already?
    My build date was January 2017, so I don't know if that puts me before or after the 2017.5. I do seem to have the pogoing, but it doesn't seem to be as bad as others are describing. You notice it, but not bad. If I'm before the 2017.5, I thought about swapping them out. Just have to figure out how to have a leaky strut to get the warranty to pay for it. ;-)
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    "Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please." - Mark Twain

    2017 Ford Focus RS - Black
    2016 Ford F150 Lariat
    1985 Yamaha RZ500
    1984 Yamaha RZ350
    1987 Yamaha YSR50

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