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Had a track day at Watkins Glen yesterday. Instructor's car wasn't working so he drove mine and for 20 minutes and with five minute drive change, we went back out with me driving for 30 min. No problems, no shut down, no brake fade.

Two other RS at the event, one experienced brake fade and two rear diff shut downs.

 

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Why do you think they had issues and you didn't? driving technique? did you see them doing anything drastically different than you and the instructor?
 

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In the spirit of honesty and reporting what I observe...

I was wrong... or at least I am pretty sure I was wrong. I was out at our track again, in similar temps, similar lap times... and I could just not overheat my awd system. I could just not get it to shut off.

I was a bit mentally fatigued, and maybe not at my peak, but after 20 minutes of hard lapping at about 28 degrees Celsius, I had to slow down to rest my brain from the speed and intensity. It took at best 11 or so minutes of hard lapping to shut the AWD system off last time.

This is not scientific, but I take it back. Oil temps still got to 3/4 (never above), but no awd shutoff. No steering shutoff either after 20 minutes of hard lapping (being slowed by some traffic now and then), followed by a more relaxed final 10 minutes of lapping (so there is your 30 minutes).

I did change my driving style to minimize turn entry understeer, but i was on the gas earlier as a result, and using the awd more than before if anything. I was more obstructed by traffic, providing some cooling time, but I still felt like I was in the ball-park for comparison.

My only explanation is that Ford built in a computer defined protective break in for the drive-train. At over 2k miles (vs 1.2k last time), it makes sense. Or maybe i was just off my game (and i think i was due to mental fatigue). But still, the first time out it took 8 laps to disabled it... Even when i did not feel i was pushing overly hard.

Sorry about that folks. If I caused some fuss, I guess it is a good reminder not to believe all that you read on the internet.

The car seems to just be fast. For those that may have passed on their order out of fear of the awd heat "problem", at least you can console yourself that the car is hard on tires. Enjoy your STI or Golf R.

Two times a charm?

Another local RS with 12,000kms (?9K miles) was out at our track two weeks ago also. Different driver, 23oC, but he edged my best time by near 0.2 seconds after three sessions. At those temps I was originally able to shut the AWD off with 6 unobstructed hot laps. He had no such heating issues, however he was on a busier track and was often held up by slower traffic.
I want to say you are right I was at auto x my first week I owned the car, and I had just did over 1k miles to make sure break in was good. I duel drove with a buddy and we beat on the car all day.

On the final run when he parked the car he shut it off so I asked him to turn it back on to let turbo oil cool and it threw up awd off error. Let it cool for 5 mins and almost a year later I have never seen this message again.

Just this weekend I did 6 20 min sessions at button willow and granted it is a much faster track That probably doesn't work the diff as hard I have to say I am happy that it looks like ford sold us a car that will take 20/30 mins of beating.
 

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And fun is really what it is all about. Passing expensive cars with a family car is just so much more fun too!! The Focus RS is fun!

The flip side of that it the overheating. Cars that go into some form of limp mode half way through the session you paid good money for... is not so much fun. I friend sold a Benz for that reason... then got a M4, then a M2. The benz was fast, but the heat issue cut his fun short.

The trick with the RS at our track will be to relax, enjoy it, drive it at 6-7/10, and then do things at speed in short bursts. That way, I am sure I can make it last longer. Plus, as my day went on, despite track temps going up, I was able to get it to go longer before overheating (from 6 to 8 hot laps), so part of it may have been my driving technique adjusting to becoming more mechanically sympathetic to the needs of the car.
Thank you for the great write up ... I very much enjoyed it and the detail is fantastic.
I think you'll find that your "relax" comment is may be key. I've been doing HPDEs for 20 years doing a minimum of 8 days a year; I'm an instructor/coach for a number of clubs and I have driven and coached a bunch of cars in all classes; and I raced for a number of years as well.
My long term race car is a Spec Miata with a bit over 92 WHP. Transitioning to the RS on track has been interesting and I can tell you for sure that driving style is a huge contributor to the cars track behavior. Like you I am not a pro and at my age that is not in my future... I have only seen other RS's at one event and I didn't have the same issues driving that they reported - the same you documents sans the steering issue.
I have only had my RS for 8 months and I have less than 5K miles. I have completed 14 track days so far and never (knock wood) had my RDU cut out. The other RS drivers did. Both of the other RSs came from high HP cars to their RS. Miatas are all about momentum and maintaining speed and I drive the RS alot like a Miata - but I now have HP! I've had success with the RS trail braking into the turns to a speed where I am not overwhelming the fronts then lifting to quickly pivot and back on throttle to sit the rear powering thru the apex quickly on to WOT when tracking out. Most of the California courses have good portion of straights and that is certainly different than your course. I am not easy on tires by any means but when I drive more aggressively into the turns I don't see a bettering of times and I do see cupping on the fronts with the temp variation between front and rears going way up - I am typically less than 15-20 degrees between front and rears. The other RS's were over 40 degrees different. As to fuel, at the Fontana Nascar Roval course I went thru over 1/2 a tank each 25 minute session and I wore thru half my Toyo R888Rs in two days there (with rotations.) And like you I was up to about 3/4 on the oil temp and a bit over a 1/2 on the coolant gauges but never higher and I was over 100 mph for over a 1/3 of the track with a top speed of 132 mph going into turn 1. It is clear from the other folks posting here with great track experience that your issues are very real and I agree with the comments that this is not a race car as well. It is, as you noted, really fun to track and it certainly has room for improvement. I look forward to seeing what Mishimoto can do with their RDU cooling effort and they and Ryan's oil cooling designs as I am looking to help my RS live a long life. I'll be curious to see how (or if) your times, RDU behavior, and tire wear change as you experiment with different driving styles.
 

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Whew!!! I quit reading after the first couple of paragraphs! Surprised you're not doing F1 with all your experience.

Unfortunately, our RS, as delivered, will not be the car most of you all want it be. It's a great daily driver but if you really want it to perform like a WRC Fiesta get ready to spend some real money. The rdu problem is not going to be fixed cheaply or at all. I'm sure you can plug a diff cooler into the main housing but the real issue is keeping the clutch packs cool and they're sealed. Maybe the smart money should be invested in a Quaife lsd.

You mentioned a rhd Caterham Academy car- some of the fasted Caterhams have been built by a good friend of mine. At 70+ years, he joined the factory boys at the 24hr. of Nelson Ledges and out qualified them The reason I bring this up is because I've seen what happened when you start trying to make a lot of HP with these engines and components. One needs a lot of support from the big boys to get the RS up to expectation and I doubt that most of us can't afford that.
 

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Thank you for the great write up ... I very much enjoyed it and the detail is fantastic.
I think you'll find that your "relax" comment is may be key. I've been doing HPDEs for 20 years doing a minimum of 8 days a year; I'm an instructor/coach for a number of clubs and I have driven and coached a bunch of cars in all classes; and I raced for a number of years as well.
My long term race car is a Spec Miata with a bit over 92 WHP. Transitioning to the RS on track has been interesting and I can tell you for sure that driving style is a huge contributor to the cars track behavior. Like you I am not a pro and at my age that is not in my future... I have only seen other RS's at one event and I didn't have the same issues driving that they reported - the same you documents sans the steering issue.
I have only had my RS for 8 months and I have less than 5K miles. I have completed 14 track days so far and never (knock wood) had my RDU cut out. The other RS drivers did. Both of the other RSs came from high HP cars to their RS. Miatas are all about momentum and maintaining speed and I drive the RS alot like a Miata - but I now have HP! I've had success with the RS trail braking into the turns to a speed where I am not overwhelming the fronts then lifting to quickly pivot and back on throttle to sit the rear powering thru the apex quickly on to WOT when tracking out. Most of the California courses have good portion of straights and that is certainly different than your course. I am not easy on tires by any means but when I drive more aggressively into the turns I don't see a bettering of times and I do see cupping on the fronts with the temp variation between front and rears going way up - I am typically less than 15-20 degrees between front and rears. The other RS's were over 40 degrees different. As to fuel, at the Fontana Nascar Roval course I went thru over 1/2 a tank each 25 minute session and I wore thru half my Toyo R888Rs in two days there (with rotations.) And like you I was up to about 3/4 on the oil temp and a bit over a 1/2 on the coolant gauges but never higher and I was over 100 mph for over a 1/3 of the track with a top speed of 132 mph going into turn 1. It is clear from the other folks posting here with great track experience that your issues are very real and I agree with the comments that this is not a race car as well. It is, as you noted, really fun to track and it certainly has room for improvement. I look forward to seeing what Mishimoto can do with their RDU cooling effort and they and Ryan's oil cooling designs as I am looking to help my RS live a long life. I'll be curious to see how (or if) your times, RDU behavior, and tire wear change as you experiment with different driving styles.
I was fortunate enough to track my car on COTA yesterday. That course taught me a lot about the dynamics of our cars. You're dead on about trail braking, it loves to rotate! It can be difficult to transition smoothly into throttle fast enough (and in the appropriate gear) to stay within the torque band. I hit about 120 on the long straight and was very hard on the brakes to slow down to 40 mph or so for the next corner. The brakes were great, and were holding up better than my bravery! In fact, the only thing that I've done to my car is Catrol SRF brake fluid. All of my temperatures were similar to the ones you mentioned. I didn't use my tire pyrometer because we didn't have a lot of room since we staged either side of the pit.

The Michelin PSS were probably tied with myself as far as the weakest link; but even still, that suspension is too stiff even in normal mode. I had to track in and out from my line to find smooth pavement in some areas.

All in all it was a great time and it's amazing to be able to do this sort of thing with a nearly showroom stock vehicle!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I track a 2016 RS. Upgraded the radiator, oil cooler, heat extractor hood, but still had high oil temps after two hot laps at NCM and MidOhio. Installed a dedicated oil temp gauge as OEM runs off an algorithm (using rpm and boost) and not true measurement. Ford has not responded despite several requests as to a coding fix for those of us who have taken steps to adequately cool the engine. The car is a treat to drive on the street, but useless for the advertised track days.
 
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