: Took my V on the track - my thoughts on the car



Z06ified
09-18-10, 11:58 AM
Just got back from taking my '10 CTS-V on the track for the first time yesterday at Monticello Motor Club. I ran with NASA/PDA, HPDE Blue group (3). This is the third time I've been to Monticello, but the first time using my V. My normal track car is a '02 Z06, which I love, but I wanted to see what the V would do by comparison.

There was a thread earlier (which I can't find anymore), asking the question is the V a good track car? From a performance standpoint, I would say ABSOLUTELY!! The V rocks on the track. It really does. I'm absolutely thrilled with the way it drove at the limit on the track. It shines in just about everything. My two biggest complaints were: 1) the pedal positioning just sucks for heel-toe downshifting. The brake pedal sits too high relative to the gas pedal. I could do it, but man, it is very difficult. I screwed up a throttle blip downshifting to 2nd once, and locked the rear tires up, but I was able to correct it. Still, these pedals are way too lawyer-friendly for such a high performance car. 2) the differential needs a cooler. I got the differential overheat warning every session, within 15-20 minutes of hot lapping. I had changed the diff fluid too after break-in at 2,000 miles, so I know it was at the right level. Ambient air temps were only 55-60F, so a relatively cool day. I think the diff would overheat even faster is it was a hotter day out. Granted, I was working the car very hard, hitting 147 mph on the back straight just about every lap, but still, this is a V series, right? Interestingly, I noticed the fleet of about 5 or 6 CTS-V's that the Monticello Motor Club has (I think Cadillac sponsored them), all were equipped with external differential oil coolers. There was a red one that went by in the parking lot, and I could hear an electric fan in the back of the car, and I could see a black metal shroud underneath the car which I assume houses the cooler and fan assembly. I will take the V on the track again, but not without investing in a cooler first. I'm a little ticked GM didn't include one on the car, as they certainly knew about the overheating issue in testing. I guess the way they saw it, you wouldn't run into the issue in one lap on the Nurburgring in 7:59 :halo: Still, I was a little annoyed having to pit in 5 minutes early because the diff was overheating.
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=68481&d=1284821380
Other minor complaint: this thing drinks gasoline at an incredible rate on the track. I averaged 4.8 MPG LOL. My Z06 averages 8.7 MPG on the track. With a 16 gallon tank, I had to get gas after only two sessions!
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=68482&d=1284821715
Now for the good stuff about the car in the next post...

Z06ified
09-18-10, 12:45 PM
Now for the good parts (there are many):

* Power: Nothing that you guys don't already know, but this thing hauls the mail big time! I would say the V is slightly slower from say 20-90 mph than my Z06 is, but after 90, the V pulls harder without a doubt. There were very few cars I came across that day that could pull faster than my V in the triple digits on the back straight. And there seemed to be almost no stock cars there (mine is bone stock). Even modified cars that pulled hard at slower speeds, like Evo's, STi's, Mustangs, etc., seem to fall flat on their face after 100, while the V just kept pulling and pulling. I would typically hit 143-145 in my Z06 on the back straight, while the V was hitting 145-147. I'm sure I could hit 150 with it if I improved my exit speed on the previous turn on to the straight. For reference, a Ferrari 430 Scuderia can hit 156-160 on that same straight. Not too shabby for a 4,200 lbs. 4 door luxury sedan!

Handling/chassis: Those magnetic ride control shocks are simply amazing! They damned near defy the laws of physics, and help make you forget you are driving a 4,200 lbs. car. I tried both Touring and Sport mode on them, and there isn't much of a difference, but I think Sport mode is a slight bit better on a smooth track like Monticello, as it dialed out a bit of the body roll which is present on this car. The car definitely rolls more than my Z06 does, but it's not a problem because the contact patches on the tires remain put from the individual damper changes in real time. The chassis is very well balanced, and very forgiving. Easy to drive fast. There is definitely some mild understeer, but it's easily balanced out with throttle induced oversteer. The engine and throttle sensitivity (easy to modulate the 556hp), work very well with the chassis and steering to rotate the car with the throttle whenever you want. Bottom line: it is very easy to drift this car, and it's a ton of fun. It's much more forgiving than my Z06 is if you go a little too oversteer - just back off the throttle, and it will come back in line. In some of the funky off-camber blind apex high speed turns that Monticello has, the car's MR shocks work wonders keeping the car planted. No float at all, EVER. It's a very confidence inspiring feeling. Even cresting a hill with a turn at 125 mph, the car just seems to suck itself down as if it just grew a big spoiler. Apparently, the Nurburgring has a few turns like this, and the engineers worked hard at making sure the car stayed planted. Their work paid off big time!

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=68483&d=1284824599

Steering: Again, superb steering in this car. Great feel, feedback, nicely weighted, good ratio, sharp turn in. No complaints at all about the steering, and it's 100 times better than the numb steering in my C5 Z06.

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=68484&d=1284824599

Brakes: These brakes work very well. Incredibly well considering the weight. Along with the suspension, chassis, and power, the brakes again help you forget you're driving a 4,200 lbs. car. Pedal effort is very high, but they have tremendous stopping power. Braking from 147 mph to about 50 in a pretty short distance requires a heavy foot on the pedal, but the brakes bite hard and work well, and they're easy to modulate. There's not much bite initially, but as you press harder, they grab progressively, and very linear. I only detected a slight bit of fade after 15-20 minutes of hot laps, but nothing significant, and I think it may have been the stock fluid I was running rather than the brakes themselves. These brakes have to work very hard though. The extra 1,000+ lbs. of mass over my Z06 is readily apparent in how hot the brakes get. The brakes smelled strongly after every hard stop, and they were smoking for several minutes after I parked the car. All this heat didn't seem to affect their performance however. Still, my Z06's brakes seem to run much cooler, but then again, the Z06 brakes are smaller and have to deal with only 3,100 lbs. Braking distance and overall stopping power I have to give to my Z06 though, especially now with the Hawk HP+ pads I put on it.

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=68485&d=1284824599

Tires: I run Michelin PS2's on my Z06, in slightly different sizes, so basically the same deal here. The tires seem to squeal more loudly in the V, probably because of the weight. I was surprised at how well they held up on the track - I thought the extra weight in the V would chew them up much faster than on my Z06, but they were about the same wear I would estimate. I was also surprised at how much grip they have, considering the extra weight, and they're actually slightly narrower tires than my Z06 has. Still, my Z06 definitely has more grip in the turns, and can pull higher lateral g's. I wonder what the V would do with the Pilot Sport Cup tires, or an r-compound. As it was, I was cornering at higher speeds than many cars equipped with full race slicks.

Driveability: I think I understand now when one of the Car & Driver or Motor Trend writers said he thinks the CTS-V is a better driver's car than the Corvette. While it's overall performance is slightly less than a Corvette (or significantly less than a Z06 or ZR1), the steering feedback, balance, chassis composure, and incredible MR shocks, makes it a more rewarding and entertaining drive. I still love my Z06 for different reasons, but the V is incredible. Also, I noticed how refreshed and comfortable I was after a hot lapping session in my V. When I get out of my Z06 from a hot lapping session, I feel cooked, scrambled, tired, and just beaten up. Completely the opposite coming out of the V, and I was actually driving it faster!

The car is also a trip messing with people's heads. Those who aren't familiar with it, can't believe a 4 door luxury car, especially a Cadillac, is so fast on the track, especially if their car was heavily modified and prepared for the track. A couple of people almost wiped out in front of me because they were trying to shake me off, until they finally relented and gave me a point pass by.

Bottom line: I highly recommend you take your V to a HPDE near you. Get a differential cooler, and have fun, the way the engineers of this great machine intended. Because you really can't explore anywhere near this car's potential on public roads. Driving the V on public roads is like taxiing a fighter jet.

snzuloz
09-18-10, 12:53 PM
Great post, looking forward to get mine out one day, looks like after winter though.

hulksdaddy
09-18-10, 12:54 PM
Great write up bud! Very concise, fun read.:yup:

I have an 08 Z, have a V Coupe on order. Can't wait to compare the two.

Z06ified
09-18-10, 12:55 PM
A few more pictures of my V at Monticello Motor Club. I think they left these cool flags there from the CTS-V challenge that was hosted there earlier.

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=68488&d=1284825219


http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=68487&d=1284825210

Vcoupe11
09-18-10, 01:16 PM
Great write up.
I have not mastered how to do hell toe with the way these pedals are designed, yet. Will have to modify how I drive on the track instead I guess. Change up braking and down shifting process.

Would have been nice if the differential cooler was an order option. This is on my list of things to add.

Saving up my gas money now :)

Gary

radix
09-18-10, 01:33 PM
Awesome write up !

Why did you change to the HP+ pads (front only?), any other mods ?

Did you do any track work with the stock pads ?

garfin
09-18-10, 03:17 PM
Great write-up and description! I definitely share many of your observations - especially when they are coming from someone who is used to tracking a sports car and at the same time can appreciate the incredible capabilities the V has!

I had to chuckle at your comment about getting out of the V at the end of session feeling "refreshed and comfortable" as compared to feeling "scrambled and beaten up" after a session in your Z06. This is exactly how I felt after driving my V on the track at Mosport when compared to my Camaro SS on the same track! "Scrambled" is an excellent word to describe that feeling! I am usually drenched in sweat after 20-25 min. on the track in the Camaro - not so in the V.

Also appreciate your comments on the comparison between the brakes on the V and your Z06... not that I had an issue with the V's brakes on the track (yet). I've run with a number of C5 Z06s on the track and they are truly an amazing track car! I have C5 Z06 brakes on my Camaro, (which weighs about 700 lbs. more than your Z) and even with that extra weight, they don't fade or get spongy on me. Having never driven a C5 Z06 on the track, I can only imagine how those brakes perform on a car with so much less weight - especially with the aftermarket pads. Most any car would be hard-pressed to match the braking ability of that Z06.

Gotta agree with you as well as far as the pedal placement is concerned. I was not comfortable enough to attempt heel and toeing in June when I had the V on the track. Besides, Mosport is a very unforgiving venue and if you do happen to go "agricultural", there's an excellent possibility you'll hit a wall.

I would also echo your thoughts about encouraging V owners to find a way to get their car out on a track so that the full potential of this car's capabilities can be realized and enjoyed. For me, doing that has virtually eliminated any temptation to try and find a car's limits on public roads.

Thanks again for sharing your day's experience!

Best regards,

Elie

newcadman
09-18-10, 05:05 PM
Great write-up and description! I definitely share many of your observations - especially when they are coming from someone who is used to tracking a sports car and at the same time can appreciate the incredible capabilities the V has!

I had to chuckle at your comment about getting out of the V at the end of session feeling "refreshed and comfortable" as compared to feeling "scrambled and beaten up" after a session in your Z06. This is exactly how I felt after driving my V on the track at Mosport when compared to my Camaro SS on the same track! "Scrambled" is an excellent word to describe that feeling! I am usually drenched in sweat after 20-25 min. on the track in the Camaro - not so in the V.

Also appreciate your comments on the comparison between the brakes on the V and your Z06... not that I had an issue with the V's brakes on the track (yet). I've run with a number of C5 Z06s on the track and they are truly an amazing track car! I have C5 Z06 brakes on my Camaro, (which weighs about 700 lbs. more than your Z) and even with that extra weight, they don't fade or get spongy on me. Having never driven a C5 Z06 on the track, I can only imagine how those brakes perform on a car with so much less weight - especially with the aftermarket pads. Most any car would be hard-pressed to match the braking ability of that Z06.

Gotta agree with you as well as far as the pedal placement is concerned. I was not comfortable enough to attempt heel and toeing in June when I had the V on the track. Besides, Mosport is a very unforgiving venue and if you do happen to go "agricultural", there's an excellent possibility you'll hit a wall.

I would also echo your thoughts about encouraging V owners to find a way to get their car out on a track so that the full potential of this car's capabilities can be realized and enjoyed. For me, doing that has virtually eliminated any temptation to try and find a car's limits on public roads.

Thanks again for sharing your day's experience!

Best regards,

Elie


GARFIN: Have any pics or vids (like ZO6ified) that you can post of you driving your V at the famed MOSPORT track?

Z06ified
09-18-10, 10:53 PM
Awesome write up !

Why did you change to the HP+ pads (front only?), any other mods ?

Did you do any track work with the stock pads ?

Thanks! The HP+ pads were just put on my Z06 (all 4 corners). The V is running stock pads, stock everything. I only have 7,300 miles on the V.
I did run the Z06 with stock pads up until now. The stock pads worked well, and were a good compromise pad, but I was looking for something a bit more aggressive for the track, but still streetable so I didn't have to swap pads everytime I went to the track. The last track session I did 2 weeks ago at Pocono, I wore the pads all the way down to the backing plates on the rears by the end of the day, and almost all the way down on the front pads. I just put the HP+ on my Z06 about 2 weeks ago, and haven't run them on the track yet, but I can tell just driving on the street that they bite MUCH harder than the stock pads, and they can engage ABS at only 33% of the pedal pressure I needed to with the stock pads. Only downsides I've seen so far is they squeal like crazy on the street when you're not braking hard, and they dust like mad too. Well worth it though. Can't wait to try them on the track. I don't know if I would run them on the V though, because I don't think the noise they make is fitting for the luxury car character of the V. The stock pads work well enough, and they're quiet. Unless you want to swap pads when you go to the track, then that's another story.

baabootoo
09-19-10, 02:05 AM
Nice writeup. That's odd about the differential temp too. It's like some cars are cursed with it and others have nothing. I've worried while running hard in the 90s and 100s, but nothing yet! I'm going to Road America in a few weeks and will check it with my temp gun after a few runs. Maybe some sensors are just off?

MReiland
09-19-10, 08:52 AM
Per Ed Piatek, the Diff Cooler is recomended for people sustaining high speeds for extended amounts of time. The Export V's come with it installed (And a price increase to match) The GM version can be installed by the dealer to maintain full warranty, or there are additional options from D3 and W4M.

Z06ified
09-19-10, 12:49 PM
Per Ed Piatek, the Diff Cooler is recomended for people sustaining high speeds for extended amounts of time. The Export V's come with it installed (And a price increase to match) The GM version can be installed by the dealer to maintain full warranty, or there are additional options from D3 and W4M.

Can you install the GM version yourself and maintain full warranty? Or must the dealer do it?

Researching it a bit further, the cooler I saw on the Monticello Motor Club's V's was definitely the GM one, as it is the only one that has the black metal shroud around it. I like that design as it protects the cooler and lines from rocks and debris that may get kicked up by the tires.

baabootoo
09-19-10, 03:56 PM
Since they don't come with one, the warranty will still be intact (for the car). I guess if you have doubts about the install, have someone else do it. I'm still looking into another, simpler/cheaper alternative. It really only needs a heat exchanger and a pump. I think the price/fan is overkill myself. That sucker could cool it down from 500 degrees! Maybe a small finned cooler, in the air flow some where, and an inline pump. Maybe an external fuel pump would work ok too.

backup
09-19-10, 10:10 PM
I glazed my stock pads pretty bad on a track with slower top speeds. Felt like I was pushing it pretty hard though. I am surprised you didn't see some glazing with 145 speeds. Just curious, what is approx 1st corner entry speed at that track? (how much speed is scrubbed off). Concur on most else you mentioned, thanks for the writeup.

Domsz06
09-20-10, 09:52 AM
I'd love to get the diff cooler but I don't track it yet so no real point. plus not for 2500 bucks...

awesome right up and I can't wait to take mine to the track.

Z06ified
09-20-10, 11:26 AM
I glazed my stock pads pretty bad on a track with slower top speeds. Felt like I was pushing it pretty hard though. I am surprised you didn't see some glazing with 145 speeds.

I did get rotor glazing (pad material fusing to the surface of the rotor), but it didn't affect braking performance that much. Mostly, the brakes made more groaning sounds when on them hard, and the rotors were discolored, but they still worked fine. I'm still de-glazing the rotors by just driving it on the street, and they're about half cleaned up now. The same thing happens on my Z06 with the stock pads.


Just curious, what is approx 1st corner entry speed at that track? (how much speed is scrubbed off).

Coming off the back straight, about 55 mph. So I was braking from 147 down to about 55, then again shortly later down to about 35-40 for a slow F1 style double kink turn.

There are two front straights too, which involved braking from 125 mph down to about 45.

RapidRob
09-20-10, 07:31 PM
I'd love to get the diff cooler but I don't track it yet so no real point. plus not for 2500 bucks...

awesome right up and I can't wait to take mine to the track.

I'm surprised BigJimsho hasn't jumped in here - but before anyone spends big bucks on the diff. cooler, why not try the AMSOIL rear diff. synthetic oil + GM's limited-slip additive first. Jim uses the AMSOIL product with no diff. cooler, and has been to a couple of track events with no warning lights. Seems like it's worth a try before spending the bucks on a cooler ...

Rob

Z06ified
09-21-10, 10:30 AM
I'm surprised BigJimsho hasn't jumped in here - but before anyone spends big bucks on the diff. cooler, why not try the AMSOIL rear diff. synthetic oil + GM's limited-slip additive first. Jim uses the AMSOIL product with no diff. cooler, and has been to a couple of track events with no warning lights. Seems like it's worth a try before spending the bucks on a cooler ...
Rob

I don't see how just changing the diff oil would prevent an overheating diff. I know AMSOIL is good stuff, but it doesn't perform miracles. The GM LS diff fluid specified for the V is a synthetic too from what I heard.

As to why some people experience the overheat warning on the track and some don't, I think has more to do with the individual track, driving style, and ambient conditions. Not all tracks have enough high speed straights in them to heat the diff fluid enough to trigger the warning. Slower, technical tracks, with few or short high speed straights are less likely to trigger a hot diff warning. Also, not everyone drives the snot out of their cars on the track. If you're not pushing the car to its max, you're also less likely to overheat the diff. If this was my first time out on the track, and I had little track experience, I probably wouldn't have been driving the car hard enough to trigger the diff overheat warning.

CruzanTom
10-29-10, 10:43 PM
>The car is also a trip messing with people's heads. Those who aren't familiar with it, can't believe a 4 door luxury car, especially a Cadillac, is so fast on the track, especially if their car was heavily modified and prepared for the track. A couple of people almost wiped out in front of me because they were trying to shake me off, until they finally relented and gave me a point pass by.<

Exactly! On one recent track day I kept passing Zs and Corvettes. One Corvette kept stalking me and I gave him a point by on the front straight away and he was so surprised that he spun in Turn 1. :-) I chuckled as I went around him and he never had a chance to get a point by again.

Tom
09 CTS-V