4 Laps at Buttonwillow (13CW) - Mazda3 Forums : The #1 Mazda 3 Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 03:53 AM Thread Starter
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4 Laps at Buttonwillow (13CW)

Had the chance to take the SkyActiv 3 out for a spin at Buttonwillow. Here are my notes:

1. Car had a Mazdaspeed 3 rear anti-roll bar. Other than that it was completely stock, including stock brake pads and stock 16" grand touring all season tires. Car is also an automatic.

2. I ran a total of 4 timed laps. The first was warm up, the second was a 2:32.4 and I was blocked at the end of the lap by a S2000, the third was a complete waste since the S2000 wouldn't give me a point by, and the fourth was my best at 2:31.55. (I was running in a pretty low run group for fun.)

3. By the 4th lap the stock brakes were cooked and the pedal was getting long.

4. None of my laps were anywhere close to optimal. The lines I usually use were not the best for the 3 as the 3 just does not have any corner exit whatsoever. That's not surprising since the car is 155 hp and FF. This is also my commuter so I was being careful not to risk anything. I left multiple seconds on the table that should be easily attainable.

5. The transmission has a delay on upshift, so it's best to ask for a higher gear about 500 rpm shy of redline. Downshifts were nice and fast and rev-matched.

6. With the speed 3 bar, the car is nicely balanced. The car will rotate with trail braking. The suspension soaks up bumps nicely. More low speed damping would be nice as the car can be a little snappy during transitions such as through Cotton Corners.

7. Going forward the 3 might see a couple more trackdays in the dead of winter when the temperature is low enough that I don't want to take the Lotus. I plan to fit some 3s brakes and appropriate fluid to try to cure the fade. Since this is a commuter, track pads are out. However, I have a feeling a mild sport pad like the HPS might be enough to survive. I also have a set of NC wheels that will be shod with some ultra high performance all seasons so that should improve grip.

8. Overall, the car was surprisingly fun to drive. It was like playing with a puppy.


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Last edited by LionZoo; 11-10-2013 at 03:55 AM.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 07:04 PM
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Street pads with a high temp tolerance should be OK for mild track work as long as you continue using relatively slippery tires. If you go to stickier tires, then any street pads start to get borderline with the small rotor size of the 2.0L 3.

A brake duct scoop on your LCA will probably help preserve whatever front pads you buy, and shouldn't take too much effort to install. Some Speed3/Focus ST guys have tried Porsche parts, surprisingly not that expensive either.

I'm not an expert on racing lines for a large track but with only 155hp my gut instinct is to go for a minimum distance exit rather than the "traditional" strategy. Start wide, throw the car into the corner but point the car immediately at the next corner to maximize the use of your meager power.

I need to go to the track at some point too, my car is built up and tuned for fast canyons but there's no opportunity on the street to really let the car loose -- like you said, it's just like a puppy and needs some obstruction-free space to have fun safely.


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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-14-2013, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by color0 View Post
Street pads with a high temp tolerance should be OK for mild track work as long as you continue using relatively slippery tires. If you go to stickier tires, then any street pads start to get borderline with the small rotor size of the 2.0L 3.

A brake duct scoop on your LCA will probably help preserve whatever front pads you buy, and shouldn't take too much effort to install. Some Speed3/Focus ST guys have tried Porsche parts, surprisingly not that expensive either.

I'm not an expert on racing lines for a large track but with only 155hp my gut instinct is to go for a minimum distance exit rather than the "traditional" strategy. Start wide, throw the car into the corner but point the car immediately at the next corner to maximize the use of your meager power.

I need to go to the track at some point too, my car is built up and tuned for fast canyons but there's no opportunity on the street to really let the car loose -- like you said, it's just like a puppy and needs some obstruction-free space to have fun safely.
First off, I'd like to say that I'm sure your car would work better at BW than mine! I had fun with mine, so I can only imagine that you'd really enjoy the track as well. I was definitely wishing I had a manual!

My cars tend to be built for the canyons first. A fast canyon car will be fast on the track. A fast track car may kill you in the canyons.

As for the brakes, I think there's a common misconception that all fade is the same and that a linear processing for curing brake fade is better pads -> better fluid -> braided lines -> rotor upgrade. In fact, there are two types of brake fade: 1. pad fade and 2. fluid fade.

Pad fade is when the temperature limits of the pads are exceeded. In these situations the pedal is firm, but the car doesn't stop. A better pad would of course help in this situation, but so would a bigger rotor, at least marginally, by lowering the operating temperature of the pads. Braided lines and better fluid will not make a difference here.

Fluid fade is when the thermal limits of the braking system are exceeded. In these situations your pedal starts getting softer and softer and it takes more brake travel for the brakes to bite the same amount. Due to heat, your fluid has started to boil and bubbles are now forming in your lines. In this situation, a better brake fluid would help as would bigger rotors to reduce operating temperatures. Braided lines will not help if bubbles are forming, though they will help if the rubber lines are softening at the same time.

For fluid fade, better pads would not help. This can be surprising to a lot of people, but it's because brakes work by converting kinetic energy to heat through friction. A set amount of heat is generated for a set amount of speed scrubbed. For example, slowing down from 90 to 50 will always generate the same amount of heat. Better pads can stop you faster and they'll resist pad fade better, but they will still put in the same amount of heat into the rotor as a worse pad, provided they get you to the speed you want. Since I was experiencing fluid fade (soft brake pedal), a better brake pad is not going to cure my problem, which is that my braking system's thermal capacity is being exceeded. I need better fluid and/or a bigger rotor (for more heat capacity to lower operating temperatures).

A brake duct scoop will help my problem, absolutely. However, considering how cheap it is to upgrade to 3s brakes, I'm going down that route first to preserve the OEM-ness of my car for the time being, but scoops may be tried in the future. Interestingly, the bubbles in my brake lines were from the rear, not the front as I suspected.


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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-30-2013, 11:34 PM
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change the brake fluid. I boiled the fluid on my 2012 MS3 with my EBC yellow front pads. I switched to Castrol SRF (pricey but for a DD it's worth protecting the investment) and love it

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