NSX files, project Germany:
Track day at
Anneau du Rhin 29.07.2005
(24 MB video mix of that day is here -
Attention! You need QT 7 to watch it)
What a long boring time: It lasted
about three months after the previous track
Hockenheim until we thought we could try once more because
the car lastly seemed to work fine again. In the meantime we
cleaned and fixed the whole Vtec system of the engine, an oil
was added together with an oil pressure gauge, a better radiator
in for the water cooling together with a high speed fan in front
stock fan stayed in place behind the radiator) and the car was on
dynometer three times. Result at the third time: No more
and about 306 PS crank power - great! Of course, after nearly a
full of engine and cooling problems I only believe the good news
it works in real life - which means on a hot track day.
The Fastvoice NSX in the hairpin
start/finish line behind a BMW M 3 and a Wiesmann roadster with
my girlfriend and me)
Therefor we took the opportunity
participate at a free training day of Swiss Autoracing Club (SAR)
the french track "Anneau du Rhin" about 100 miles away - really
of the best and safest tracks in the world but I didn't want to
failure on tracks like Spa-Francorchamps
Magny-Cours which are much
away and where my mechanic can't just jump in if something's
always, good and bad surprises where side by side.
The new Dimex oil cooler in front of
radiator (left) and a beautiful Alpine A 110 with big street
The good news: The weather stayed
fine and dry for nearly the whole day (about 30 degrees C), our
group was relatively small with less than 20 cars which means
space on the track for extensive testing, I obviously found a
place for the AIM My-Chron light laptimer infrared transmitter;
connection between transmitter and receiver was fine for the whole
(an experience I never had before on this special track).
The Fastvoice NSX leaving the track
dive braking before the hairpin.
The bad news: The preparation of
car was less than optimal. The front hood was not mounted
there was a (new) gap between hood and nose (you may see it at
the pictures), the little arm to hold the hood in open position
there, when I checked the engine compartment I noticed that the
was loose - the screws were not properly fixed, the driver's side
window didn't work without manual help, the additional oil cooler
not mounted at the place I proposed (inside the right side vent
the engine) but in front of a part of the water radiator. This
relatively big cooler seemed to take away about one third of the
airflow from the radiator - not recommended in my humble opinion.
Porsche 964 and a BMW M3 (all three not the
newest models of their kind).
Anyway, I gave it
try at the first stint of the day, starting with a reconnaissance
in a convoi plus half an hour of free track time (at least that
plan). When the engine was warmed up I checked the engine power in
high rpm region above 7000 and smiled: Yes, this thing pushes much
better than the last time at Hockenheim!
of the hairpin before the start/finish line I was able to
spin the rear tires in 2nd gear into a slight drift (which would
big deal with street tires but requires much more power with warm
slicks) and my smile was even bigger. Two corners later, at the
short straight my smile disappeared: The check engine light (CEL)
on when I had the foot on the floor in 3rd gear and the engine
into some kind of emergency mode, cutting off at about 7000 rpm -
Ford GT 40 (RHD as you can see by the bubble in the roof) and
a Lotus Motorsport Elise.
I returned to the pits, read out
error code 22 which indicates a Vtec failure for the front
bank. After resetting the electronic control unit I started the
again - no CEL, so I could have tried again. Unfortunately the
the stint was red flagged in the meantime because one of the cars
into the gravel - this was the first of too many run offs or
obviously there were some drivers that didn't know the track very
or even had not much clue about track driving at all. Sometimes it
really funny to see the weird lines of some cars I followed (very
carefully, because the drivers didn't use the rear view mirrors as
Once again the GT 40 and a
modified VW Beetle on big shoes.
In the other run group similar
happened: A Opel Astra OPC crashed after the fast S-combination in
forest just before the opposite hairpin, the front was destroyed
dangerous mixture of oil and coolant fluid came on the track for
hundred meters. The driver had a lot of luck and stayed unharmed
portion of the track was closed until it could be cleaned. So for
next stint of our run group only the short track was open,
with another reconnaisance lap (you see this different track
also in a part of the video mix).
The Fastvoice NSX and a Wiesmann roadster -
totally different design philosophies.
I gave it a hard try: Driving
the CEL came up again (after about
one lap), ignition off on the straight to reset the emergency mode
push again. This way the next problem could happen: Water
went up - gauge was in the red region after about 4 laps whereas
oil temperature stayed relatively cool (80-90 deg. C). Suddenly it
seemed starting to rain, I had to use the windshield wiper to
a clear view. But, no, it was no rain, it was coolant water
from the radiator through my vented hood onto the windshield. Once
again back to the pits, checked the radiator, saw some water there
no apparent leak.
and VW Golf 2 GTi (watch the right rear
wheel in the air!).
it was time for the usual call to my mechanic in Germany who had
planned to come anyway. When he arrived he inspected all hoses and
lines and his first diagnosis was: Both caps of the cooling
the radiator and the overflow bottle in the engine compartment,
bad. New caps had been already ordered but not yet delivered.
diagnosis: Oil pressure is obviously not sufficient to operate the
whole Vtec camshaft adjustment for both cylinder banks. Solution
diagnosis one: Stealing rubber seals and hoses from our street
improvise dense caps. Plus: Bleeding and refilling of the whole
beautiful prepped Honda Integra R and a Renault Clio V6.
Solution for diagnosis two:
in half a litre of Liquy Moly Visco
Stabilizer which should prevent the oil getting too thin when it's
This should lead to a bit more oil pressure - at least for a short
time. In the long run my mechanic advised to use oil with another
viscosity range - maybe 20W50 race engine oil. This Vtec issue
course also be a bad switch or valve in the system, this will be
checked in the next weeks. For the next stint (the long track had
reopened again) we mounted a digital thermometer on the window
engine and passenger compartment so my mechanic and co driver
watch the numbers during driving, the sensor was mounted at the
Two Donkervoorts (Lotus S 7
and a Mazda RX on sports tires with chameleon paint.
Visco stabilizer seemed to work - this time no CEL but the water
temperature went higher and higher while the oil and cylinder bank
stayed in the 80-100 degrees C region. I was able to push the
above 7000 rpm but I felt a lack of power. The best laptimes were
1:31, which was way better than last
this track when I only
could lap a bit more than 1:34 (without working Vtec), but also
slower than my best time of under 1:30 (nearly two years ago when
no engine issues). After about 4 laps the CEL came again, so the
procedure started again: Shutting off the engine on the straight,
restart and go on. Of course that made me so slow that some usualy
weaker cars had no problems to pass me - what a bad presentation
A Bimmer at the limit and
after over the limit in the gravel trap of the hairpin.
After this session my mechanic had
leave so I drove the last stint
alone - still with a CEL for nearly every lap but the engine
too hot this time, mainly because it became more and more cloudy
some rain drops began to fall. The session should have lasted an
but after the half it really started to pour down and made it too
dangerous to drive with slicks. Shortly after I drove off the
was like a waterfall from the sky, from one second to another some
spun in the same corner and the session was red flagged.
8 and the beautiful Lotus Motorsport Elise with matching
most dangerous moments of the day were after we left Anneau du
thunderstorm had hit the region, with an unbelievable number of
flashes, heavy rain (sometimes we couldn't driver faster than
km/h), hail and even a small Tornado that damaged about 40 houses
village nearby. Not far from our route the hail lumps were so big
they crashed through car windows and made big dents in roofs and
Luckily we had no damage on both cars so this day had not only bad
surprises for us.
110 and a race prepped Fiat 500 which was the
loudest and slowest car of the day
(but made nearly no track meters due to mechanical problems).
Wiesmann (just click on the pic to see that
scene in a QT 7 video) and behind the Porsche 964.
For the next weeks we have planned
once more a lot of researching,
fixing, remounting and testing. If all seems to be okay we give it
another try in the middle of next month - again at Anneau du Rhin
because - as you already know - that's not too far for my mechanic
for us when we have to return after the first session because
goes wrong again ;-) . For the latest news and schedules just
click here for the News page.
Mantis which spat
some oil or water in the pitlane and another fast
VW Golf taking the
corner on 3 wheels.
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