: Track day report (with videos): Shenandoah Circuit, 5/16-17/2010



AAIIIC
06-19-10, 02:20 PM
I'm a little behind in posting this, but just went to another track event in mid-June, so I figured I'd better get caught up. In mid-May I went to the Shenandoah Circuit at Summit Point (WV) for a 2-day track event with TrackDaze.com (https://www.trackdaze.com/). The last time I ran with these guys was back in late ’07, as I changed duty stations to WA shortly thereafter. I moved back to the East Coast just a couple months ago and was glad to see TrackDaze still runs well-organized, safe, competitively priced events. Highly recommended for anyone in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Here's a view of the track.
http://www.submariner.org/thepno95/Pictures/Mustang/Shenandoah%20Sep06/Shenandoah%20Circuit%20map.jpg
(We ran this format, but did the bypass at turn 18 rather than running the Pit Straight. Actually, I don’t think they use the Pit Straight at all anymore for HPDE type events.)

My first event of the season was at VIR back in April in my Subaru. Unfortunately, the Subie started showing signs of leaking head gaskets on the second day of the event, something I’m not planning to fix any time soon. It’ll do for daily driver duties, but trying to track it would end up killing the engine, so the CTS-V got the call for this event.

The only change from the last event(s) I ran (back in August ’09 (http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/2004-2007-cadillac-cts-v-general/180721-track-day-videos-pacific-raceways-portland.html) out in OR and WA) was the addition of 2-piece Racing Brake front rotors. They worked just fine, but Shenandoah is a pretty easy track on brakes, so I’m not too surprised; it’ll be interesting to see how they handle the VIR Grand course two weekends from now and the Summit Point main circuit for V Day 4. I also went with track pads in the rear (Hawk DTC60s) to match the DTC60s up front. I have some DTC70s for the fronts, but elected to use up the 60s that I had run back in the fall rather than installing the new pads. In the end, that cost me the final session of the weekend, as I wasn’t sure I wanted to try another session on the front DTC60s – they were getting pretty slim.

I started off the event with an unwelcome anomaly – a bad ABS sensor/harness. (Warning: Long story ensues. Skip to next paragraph if you don’t care.) Earlier this year, before I moved from WA, I had installed adjustable swaybar endlinks up front. I had to drill the control arms and swaybars to install the parts, so I unclipped the ABS harness on each side and gently moved it out of the way. The day after I did the work, I got a Service Stability System warning. :mad: I checked all the connections, made sure the harnesses were visually OK, but kept getting the same warning, so I finally took it to the dealer. They told me both the left front sensor and the harness were bad, and needed to be replaced to the tune of $800 or something like that. I said, “Thanks, but no thanks,” figuring I would just replace the ABS hub/sensor assembly myself at some point. After leaving the dealer, though, the problem never recurred, so I figured the tech had maybe cleaned the connector and fixed whatever intermittent contact there had been. Woohoo! :)

Fast forward a couple months, including a 5500mi road trip, still no issues with the ABS sensor… until Saturday morning at the start of a 2-day track event. You’ve gotta frickin’ be kidding me!!! :mad: It came on when I drove to the track, but then when I went out for the first session it didn’t immediately come on. About halfway through the session, though, while braking over a crest, I locked up the front brakes as the car got unloaded. My instructor (I had requested one for a “check out” ride since I hadn’t been at Shenandoah in a few years) and I both said, “That was strange, there was no ABS!” A couple seconds later the Service Stability System light came on. :( From then on it normally came on as soon as I started the car, but on a couple occasions it waited until I was out on track. In those cases, I had some intermittent traction control issues and uneven braking, in one case enough that I went 4 wheels off (fortunately in one of the few spots on Shenandoah where you can do that without having to worry about hitting anything!).

The first session went pretty well, really nothing of note. At the start of the second session, apparently someone had laid some coolant down, because it was extremely slick out there. I actually got about 30 sideways going through the Hammer, which is basically the first turn, so I wasn’t pushing the car in the slightest – the rear just started floating out on me as I was going maybe 60% through the corner. :eek: Before we had even made it halfway around the first lap, the black flags were out, and that session was done. :( Bad news to lose a session, but coolant on track is very bad, so it was good they stopped the session immediately and took care of the problem. I made use of the extra free time to go spend some time on the wet skidpad, which was pretty fun. Very hard to balance the car in a drift; in hindsight, I probably should’ve tried doing it in 3rd gear, as 2nd gear was just too quick to respond to throttle inputs, making it very easy (too easy) to snap the rear end around on the slick pavement. One of the other event attendees chose to take his tow rig (a Ram Cummins duallie) out on the skidpad and demonstrated how it’s done. :p Here’s a sweet video of it (http://www.submariner.org/thepno95/Video%20clips/Shenandoah%20May10/Cummins%20duallie%20on%20the%20skidpad.wmv) to go along with the picture.
http://www.submariner.org/thepno95/Pictures/CTS-V%20pics/Auto-x%20and%20Track%20Days/Shenandoah%20-%20May%202010/Ram%20skidpad.jpg

And video of me on the skidpad (http://www.submariner.org/thepno95/Video%20clips/Shenandoah%20May10/Skidpad.wmv).

After they got the track cleaned up, the third and fourth sessions of the day went off without a hitch, and the car performed great (other than the ABS sensor).

Things continued much the same way on day 2. In the morning I rotated my tires front to rear to even out the wear, and bled my front brakes. I kept a close eye on the front pads, as they already had 3 days of wear on them prior to this event. I probably could’ve done the last session on day 2, but it might have been pushing my luck, so I elected to pack up early and head home.

All in all it was a pretty good weekend. The weather was just about perfect, and as I said before TrackDaze runs a very good event. The V was not really in its element on Shenandoah, which is a very tight, technical course; there were a few spots where I could really feel the weight. I think I spent about 80% of each lap with the tires squealing – gotta love street tires for providing that excellent aural feedback of how close to the limit they are. :p I gave lots of point-bys over the course of the 2 days, as there were plenty of cars in my run group that were better suited to Shenandoah. I have no problems whatsoever backing way off to let a low HP car by, particularly if I know we’re approaching a section of track where I’ll just be slowing them down. Since most of my track days have been in my N/A Subaru, which has seen a peak of about 210hp, I’ve definitely been on the other side of the equation, and know how frustrating it can be to repeatedly catch the big HP car in the twisty bits, only to watch them rocket away down the straight again. :rolleyes: I try not to be “that guy”.

This video is a few laps (http://www.submariner.org/thepno95/Video%20clips/Shenandoah%20May10/A%20few%20laps.wmv) from day 2, session 2. You can tell by the sound of the tires under braking that the ABS was dead – I was actually pretty happy with how well I was threshold braking without having the electronic nanny to back me up. I locked up a few times during the weekend, but between the pedal feel, the seat-of-the-pants feel of how the car was decelerating, and the sound of the tires, I was generally able to brake very hard without locking up.

Here’s another video from later in that session, just a quick clip of being caught up and passed by a Ferrari F430 (http://www.submariner.org/thepno95/Video%20clips/Shenandoah%20May10/F430%20fly-by.wmv). He was running full Pirelli slicks (not R-compounds, actual slicks) and was damn fast.

Here's my nav screen as I left the track on Sunday. :)
http://www.submariner.org/thepno95/Pictures/CTS-V%20pics/Auto-x%20and%20Track%20Days/Shenandoah%20-%20May%202010/track%20map%20on%20nav%20screen.jpg
Obviously I was lost - I just kept running in circles! :lol:

And the obligatory golden caliper shot:
http://www.submariner.org/thepno95/Pictures/CTS-V%20pics/Auto-x%20and%20Track%20Days/Shenandoah%20-%20May%202010/golden%20calipers2.jpg

Twitch
06-19-10, 03:02 PM
Exact same view I had of my nav screen. Tons of bread crumbs, and about 7mpg.....now I need to read that long assed post.

thebigjimsho
06-19-10, 03:33 PM
The V is certainly not the best car for Shenandoah but I really enjoyed the technicality of the track. In just all out track layout, how do you enjoy the circuit, Pat?

ahahnu
06-19-10, 05:02 PM
:highfive:

AAIIIC
06-19-10, 06:45 PM
In just all out track layout, how do you enjoy the circuit, Pat?
It's fun, but it's not in my top 5. There are some sequences that seem to be there just for the sake of having more corners, and take away from the flow of the course. I've never run the Range Esses, or heard of an event using those, but that's an example of how the track just seemed to have been designed to cram as much stuff into a confined space as possible.

crankedupforit
06-19-10, 08:05 PM
Nice job Pat. The skid pad looked like a blast. Great report!

thebigjimsho
06-20-10, 02:26 AM
It's fun, but it's not in my top 5. There are some sequences that seem to be there just for the sake of having more corners, and take away from the flow of the course. I've never run the Range Esses, or heard of an event using those, but that's an example of how the track just seemed to have been designed to cram as much stuff into a confined space as possible.
Yeah, we didn't run the Range Esses at V-Day, either. We also didn't run the Downhill section as shown on the track map you gave. My V really seemed to like to drift a little through the Hook. And it also seemed to like the Karussel and the Corkscrew...especially with the big V2s running up my backside. The V1 can pull away from a V2 in those tight sections...

soflarick
06-20-10, 12:41 PM
Great information and videos. Thanks.

What pads were you running before changing to the DTC pads? I am referring to the street pads? Did it feel like the track pads were overpowering the tires too much?

How low did you allow the fuel to get during the event? I recall a post stating the V needs at least 1/4 tank to prevent fuel starvation.

AG'S-V
06-20-10, 01:55 PM
Great stuff!

LOL at the dually drift...

UnsafeAtAnySpd
06-20-10, 03:02 PM
How long is that track? I may have missed it on the map.

AAIIIC
06-20-10, 07:24 PM
What pads were you running before changing to the DTC pads? I am referring to the street pads? Did it feel like the track pads were overpowering the tires too much?
For street pads I've run Ferodo DS2500s in the past and I'm now using Stoptech Street Performance pads (or whatever they're called). For track pads I've used Ferodo DS3000s, Hawk DTC60s, and now DTC70s (with 60s in the rear). I don't think the track pads were overpowering the street tires too much. Up until my most recent event (VIR last weekend) I've always run street tires with the track pads and haven't had any issues.


How low did you allow the fuel to get during the event? I recall a post stating the V needs at least 1/4 tank to prevent fuel starvation.
Since I lost or skipped a session on both days I didn't get down that low on fuel. I think during previous events I've been down below 1/4 tank, though, but honestly I'm not sure.


How long is that track? I may have missed it on the map.
It's something like 2.2 miles, I think.

soflarick
06-20-10, 10:10 PM
Did you do anything to the rotors when you swapped the street for the track pads and back again?

AAIIIC
06-21-10, 07:41 AM
In the front I swap out the rotors and pads together. In the rear I didn't do anything.