NSX files, project Germany: Track day at
Some surprises in sunny Spa
A good track day is when you don't have a single boring moment the
whole day. Assuming this I had an excellent track day at Spa with the
german Pistenclub. The weather
was dry and mostly sunny with maximal temperatures a bit over 20
degrees C, well over 100 cars appeared in 2 run groups, each group with
nearly 4 hours total time for free practice on one of the last
non-artificial racetracks. Despite this number of cars and participants
the organisation and catering was absolutely excellent and seemless - a
big hand to this relatively young club!
Some of the (mostly red)
participants in my run group and the Fastvoice NSX on the trailer in
After I unloaded the trailer and rolled the Fastvoice NSX into the pit
I had some time to check the other cars: About a dozen 360s from the
current Ferrari challenge, one of it driven by Vanina Ickx - daughter
of the belgian driver legend Jacky Ickx and usualy the fastest 360
driver on her hometrack -, as usual a lot of Porsches and - hidden in a
pit: A black Porsche Carrera GT, a very rare and expensive bird that
had its first humble racetrack mission with licence plates (I erased it
on the pics) and street legal tires. His co driver told me after the
event that this MR car reached a top speed of about 280 km/h before the
braking zone at "Les Combes" - which is extraordinary for a street
The new Porsche Carrera GT on
the track and in the pit
Ferrari challenge female
driver Vanina Ickx and her extremely fast car
A big surprise waited for me behind the pits: The famous "sport auto" JGTC NSX that GS motorsport
prepares for this year's 24 hours of Nurburgring was rolling out of a
truck - representing a worth of about 600,000 Euro. So there where 2
NSXs at this event - which is about double the number of other
non-NSX-Club-events. As GS team boss Georg Severich told me they had
booked this day at the latest moment to do a shakedown test. The
weekend before at a test day on the Nurburgring some oil came out of
the gearbox, the team discovered that a seal between tranny and
driveshaft had flown away and repaired the damage. The first test
afterwards was under secret circumstances (not on a racetrack, I won't
tell more) that could not fully reveal the success of the operation so
this short test in Spa on transport tires (slicks with a very hard
compound) was necessary to check the gearbox under heavier load.
The "sports" run group with
a Ferrari F 40
360 with Gaffa tape and plastic sheet "protection"
I had to do another test: My technician added some selfmade side flaps
at the front to get more downforce there. This seemed to be necessary
to keep up with the additional downforce at the rear with the NSX-R
style carbon fibre rear spoiler (see the story
here). As we have no wind tunnel there is only one good way to
check it: Lap times. Last year my best time in Spa (a bit over 0
degrees C and some snowflakes) was 2:50,88. This year the conditions
where a lot better, I had a brandnew set of Yokohama A 005 tires so
there would have been no excuses if I couldn't break the 2:50 barrier.
To cut a long story short: My best lap time was on lap No. 14 with
2:52,28 - bummer! What went wrong?
Different NSX side flaps: Left
picture shows the fastvoice NSX in the pit looking a bit like the
right picture shows the front of the
"sport auto" JGTC NSX. Guess which flap solution works as it should...
The new flaps seemed to work more as airbrakes than as downforce
makers. On one hand I had a bit less understeer in fast corners like
Raidillon, Pouhon and Blanchimont (about 200 km/h!), on the other hand
my top speed at the end of the long straight before "Les Combes" was
only a bit over 230 km/h which is nearly 10 km/h less than last year
without the rear spoiler and the side flaps. This lack of speed costs a
lot of time.
In addition I had another little problem that has never occured before.
In the 3rd of the 4 stints (each run group had about 55 minutes
practice time per stint) I noticed a lot of understeer in right
corners. I checked the tire pressures and in the front left tire it had
dropped to a bit over 1
bar - about half of the usual pressure! No, I didn't ruin the tire
itself, the cause was a bad valve insert. Of course I have always a
bunch of tools and spare parts with me but never this special little
thing I need (watch also my Hockenheim
story with a similar experience). A friendly guy from the
Pistenclub (many thanks again!) helped me by lending me the special
tool to remove the valve insert and replace it by the insert of a valve
from my Bridgestone tire set.
Next surprise: When I tried to fill the tire with my Bosch battery air
pump all 2 rechargable batteries where empty although I charged them
both before the event. Now, some days later, I know the causes of this
bummer: The charger didn't charge any more and one of the 8 NiCad cells
in the 2nd battery had gone bad. Good
luck for me that Georg Severich was still there. He was in the same pit
as a belgian BMW team of the Belcar series and he asked them for me to
help me out with their air compressor. I slowly drove my X to their pit
and 20 seconds later the flat tire wasn't flat any more - a big thank
you to Georg and his belgian friends! With their help I could drive
some laps in the 4th stint until all my gas reserves where empty
(needed about 120 litres for 340 km).
The Fastvoice NSX in Eau Rouge
chasing a sportscar prototype. What you don't see in this pic
is the sweat of fear on the coward
that is driving the NSX in this extremely challenging corner.
Pictures don't really judge the sight for the driver: It seems like you
have a wall in front of you.
I could then constantly drive below 2:53s but was not able to even come
close to my last years time. I have to admit that I did not get the car
to its limits in some fast corners - a driver with less fear may have
cracked the 2:50 barrier. Besides that it was a lot of fun to make a
little race with a 360 challenge Ferrari (obviously not with a
professional driver) that has about 100 hps more than me but was just
able to follow me (faster on the straights but slower in the corners).
Usualy this cars are able to drive my dry lap times in the rain! Their
dry times should be a bit over 2:30 which is another world. Georg
Severich told me that he can run a stunning 2:22 with his 600hp Belcar
BMW, going flat out through Eau Rouge and reach a speed of over 270
km/h at the top of this curve which is about 90 km/h faster than me at
Small "chateau" near the race
track on the terrain of the Royal automobile race club of Spa - now that
would be a good homebase for
the Fastvoice NSX and it's owner! No postcard, that was one of the
first test pictures with my new Minolta Dimage Z-1 digital camera -
'til then I was still analogue.
Until our next event at Magny-Cours on the 5th of june my new side
flaps will fly into the garbage. Instead we will frankly try to copy
the flap solution of the "sport auto" JGTC NSX. Maybe this will give me
more downforce without reducing my top speed too much. The ultimate
solution is still not ready: A custom built scooped and vented front
hood to use the airflow through the watercooler as an additional source
for front downforce. Maybe we'll take a carbon fibre hood from the new
JDM NSX-R (fixed headlights) and modify it to fit at my older model
with retractable headlights. If there's any news on that you'll read it
on this site. Two other things will be changed: The new custom made
water cooler will hopefuly be ready (update: No, it wasn't, look here) and the anti-sway-bars will be
a bit stiffer because I felt a bit too much sway in some fast corners.
Every other modification (brakes, clutch etc.) and the car itself
worked fine despite the heavy duty mission of Spa - only the driver had
experienced some lacks in braveness and physical condition.
> to the next event at Magny-Cours
> more pics of the "sport auto" JGTC NSX
< back the former event at Dijon
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