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2011 Evora S - Chasing lap times, while not destroying everyday's qualities (too much)


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  • #84 changed the title to 2011 Evora S - Chasing lap times, while not destroying everyday's qualities (too much)

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So, why an Evora S?

A reflection I've made many times after I joined the Lotus community six years ago is that what is seen as a lightweight alternative to a 911, some of the super sedans, or even one of the later quite capable pony cars, is often seen as a comfortable GT, or even a poser car compared to the more hardcore Elises and Exiges.

For me, the starting point was that I realized that I had reached the end of the road with my Alfa Romeo 155 Q4 as a road legal track day car. It is one of the last built, March -96, so it is a Series III (often called wide body) and I was told there were only 67 built. I've had mine since new, so it was not an alternative to do a GTA, or DTM, replica, or any other crazy mods. The two main issues with that car for track day usage is the limited frontal area for cooling and the tiny wheels (205/45-16 standard).

As a petrol head you always have plenty of cars on your wish list and the Evora definitely caught my attention when it was launched. A few years later, 2011, I actually went to the closest Lotus dealer (Copenhagen) and considered to go for an Evora NA as a daily driver. The immediate result was that I realized I needed an Evora S to not be slower then the 155 Q4, the second result was my wife move to go for a Fiat 500, so I had to be the one driving around in a family car. Shit. Well, I already had three enthusiast cars, so...

My heart have since I bought the 155 in the late 90's been with Italian cars and Alfa Romeo in particular. Therefore it came natural to put the 4C on top of the wish list when it was presented as a concept. Then, when it finally was launched and in many ways were amazing and kind of an affordable Ferrari, I was quite disappointed that it wasn't offered with manual transmission and that it was more impractical than I expected. So, since it is still a a lot of many and it is not exactly what I wanted it to be, I tried to figure out what I really wanted.

Two things stood out. 1. I realized that I wanted to once in my life have a really nice and fast car in which I could also bring my family for Sunday drivings, or smaller trips. 2. I had struggled to find time to finish my historic racing projects, since my other cars always had taken too much time. So, I wanted a track day car that I could just change wheels and brake pads on and take to the track, without spending my project budget on modifying it.

Well, that was in May 2015, my daughters were 7 and 9 and did fit in the Evora. Now, it's kind of different and also the Evora has become a project car¬†ūüôąūüôČūüô䬆

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Interesting journey, I'll enjoy your updates :)

 

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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Thanks!

Next mini-chapter: This is what the car looked like when I bought it in May 2015:

image.png.1438bcdd2e2dcdcecfd2aef57c7f26f7.png

It was just about to turn over to 30 000 km and the dealer who delivered it to its first owner in March 2012, Sportivo Leipzig, got it back by the end of 2014. The factory options, as I understand it, was the Premium Pack and the Tech Pack. The dealer did for some reason deliver all their Evoras by default without rear clam badges and with 12 mm spacers all around. I agree that it looks just right with the spacers.

Much later I realized that even though the exhaust tail pipe is the standard trapezoidal, it was actually the Lotus Motorsport silencer.

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3 hours ago, #84 said:

So, why start modifying the car?

I think my top three reasons are:

  1. The engine has been out, repaired twice, then replaced. And since I by nature cannot just put things together without improving them as well, it is not so standard anymore. So, the ball was already rolling…
  2. I like the car, it ticks many boxes and I plan to keep it for some time and can therefore motivate to invest time and money that is hard to get back when selling the car.
  3. Sorry to say, but it is just not good enough to produce decent lap times from a chassie perspective. But it might be.

With regards to the last reason, it is of course not only about the car. Driving a mid-engine car on the limit is definitely more challenging than for example to be on and above the limit in a FWD car. So, that might play a certain role and I have been¬†elaborating on both driving style and settings. But nevertheless, I realised in 2017 that at Kinnekulle Ring (https://www.racingcircuits.info/europe/sweden/kinnekulle-ring.html#.YOg4P0yew2w), where I‚Äôve been instructor many times, I did exactly the same lap times with the Evora with exactly the same types of tyres that I did 10 years earlier in my 155 Q4. The difference is that the 155 ran on 205/45-16 all around, weighs 70 kg more and have 50 hp less - and is built on a Fiat Tipo chassie¬†ūüôą. On that track and on Mantorp Park (https://www.racingcircuits.info/europe/sweden/mantorp-park.html#.YOg5OUyew2w) I checked against a stock BMW M2 with CUP 2‚Äôs and both on g-forces, curve speeds and by looking at body movement on film, there is no way the Evora could keep up. That was with standard chassie, optimised geo and Kumho V700‚Äôs - which should be faster than the CUP 2‚Äôs. The last example is that I have tried to increase the curve speeds gradually on a well known track and up to 1,2 G is fine, then at 1,3 G it starts to blister the tyres, mostly front, but also rear on the outer edge. With that said, I said to myself, either I do something¬†serious to increase the curve speeds, or I sell the car. In worst case I spend time and money and fail.

And what is the goal?

Keep the car comfortable enough to enjoy driving it once or twice week, going for weekend¬†trips, or to remote track days at N√ľrburgring, Spa, or so. Other than that, make it as fast as possible on the track, but try to¬†keep the looks of the car relatively standard, not too spectacular.

This makes me feel slightly better about my relative performance level (on old Yokohama / Avon tyres) round Snetterton in my Evora S vs some of the tricked out hot hatch specials on track tyres a few weeks ago! 

What chassis mods are you planning on doing 84? 

2010395290_CH-210429-SN-Cars-Evening-0748copy.thumb.jpg.5a0dbe8f363f75f55a4829dd12d02c62.jpg

 

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@jerzybondov I am in the middle of coil over + drop links + adjustable Anti Roll Bar make over. I will return with more details soon.

What I missed to say above is that the car was equipped with Yokohama Advan Sport V105 front and V103 rear - and still is. I have done two quite intense tack days with those tyres on and what I can say is that the V105's (TW240) seems indestructible. It is difficult to say about the V103's (TW180) since I couldn't resist playing around on the test track when we did some TV shooting at work a few years ago. But despite that, they seem to wear a bit quicker in general, which the TW marking also indicates.

The bottom line is anyway that if you want to do occasional track days on a high performance road tyre, the Advan Sport is probably a strong candidate since it is relatively cheap, it is very good even though not best in overall performance - BUT you do not risk to destroy it.

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I will try to soon start describing more ongoing activities, not just historical modifications. Track day tyres is an upcoming hot topic, so lets start with my first expenses, the only ones I actually planned before buying the car and what I count as absolutely minimum if one is going to explore the limits on track.

Rims: Braid Fullrace FF 8,5"x18" / 10"x18"

Tyres: Kumho Ecsta V700 K61 / K91

Brake pads: Performance Friction PFC08

This is how it looked at the shake down of this new stop:

IMG_4307.jpg.6d7354acc5d61cbb7f26fa95e01a109e.jpg

Rim selection. I wanted as light and strong wheels as possible, realized that forged wheel would stretch the budget a bit too much and found the by then brand new Fullrace FF series from Braid, utilizing the so called flowforging technology. With new tyres on, comparing to the standard wheels with half worn rear tyres, it saved 10 kg all around. It was a pleasure to deal with Braid and their Swedish distributor, Mocomp, who supplied drawings for approval and iterated on ET etc.

Tyre selection. Tricky choice. The rim supplier have worked with Kumho V70A/V700 for many years, supplying to several race series and meant it is a real racing tyre with the additional benefit of being available in various compounds. I went on K61 (Medium) front and K91 (Hard) rear on their recommendation. On my previous track day car, the Alfa 155 Q4, I never got the V700's to work, they couldn't cope with the load even in Hard compound and I finally switched to Yokohama A032R to make it work.

I still cannot say how they perform on the Evora compared to any alternatives. Fact is that I gained 4,6 s on a 60-65 s lap vs the Advan Sport street tyres. I might have pushed the limits a bit more on the V700's, with that in consideration, the difference should still be >3 s a lap.

The medium compound front tyres wear quicker and I blistered both of them when I explored the very limit on my 4:th track day. The rear wheels are pretty worn, but have still made 7 track days and about 2000 km commuting to the tracks. Given how the tyres looked after the first shake down on Sturup Raceway (looks like they had been attacked by a beaver high on LSD ...) it is amazing how long they have survived:

IMG_4310.thumb.jpg.efb2e9a5638ca6a65cc5966896758406.jpg

Brake pad selection. The availability is bit limited. I was quite happy with yellow Pagid RS-19 on my Alfa, but were even more impressed by the Performance Friction floating discs and the service from the Swedish distributor, PEAN Sweden. I ask them for advice and ended up on the PFC08 pads. The downside according to the distributor is that they are made for endurance racing and to move the wear from the pdf to the disc. So instead of consuming three sets of pads in 24 h and have lets say 30 % left of the disc, they wear out the disc completely and reduce the pad consumption to two sets. With that said, not optimal from an economical point of view, but the friction from cold is just brutal.

- That about that.

Side topic. Sturup Raceway (https://www.racingcircuits.info/europe/sweden/sturup.html#.YOqu4C2HLuQ) started as a rallycross track, mixed gravel and tarmac, then got a full tarmac circuit 1990 with a  layout more like a rollercoaster than a race track. They arranged a karting race that year, with Formula A (100 cc) and Formula E (250 cc) which must have been one of the crazier races in modern history. The speeds in Formula A were not of this world. Unfortunately it was both the first and the last time and I didn't start with Fomrula A until the year later. Unfortunately, in 2015 the tarmac was still extremely coarse and it is/was not so clever to go there with 100 TW tyres. It says that they have new tarmac there today, that should be more civilized. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

And now to the ongoing modifications.

I thought I could reach decent performance on track just by elaborating on the wheel angles. That proved to be really wrong. I have no direct comparison between the first wheel alignment and before it, but the 2017 setting didn't save the tyres, so I tried to maximize the camber in 2020 and gained - NOTHING. At least not on the stop watch.

Two comments are in place. 1. The car has been standing still for long time periods; Aug 2015 - Aug 2016, Sept 2017 - April 2020, so it is not easy to compare. 2. The wheel alignment guy was totally convinced that 1 deg negative camber was maximum for the front wheels. I found out later that he only played with the rearmost excenter.

I searched TLF and the factory settings for inspiration while elaborating, but when I finally went for Hofmanns Nitron Race 46 (1-way) I went for Chris recommended settings, only deviation was that I couldn't get full 2,5 deg rear camber.

image.png.c5c2a1709cf48f4b9ccf48790f8c968f.png 

More on the status of this in coming posts :)

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What's it like on the road with that negative camber dialed in? Do you find it tugging and wandering a lot?

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@TdM¬†Going from 1 to 1,5 in negative camber on the front wheels, made¬†a substantial difference in how sensitive it is to worn roads.¬†It definitely wanders and I have to be alert to keep it going as intended.¬†I normally only drive it half an hour / 45 km to work - and back - and then it is fine. Going to a trackway on semi-slicks is awkward anyway ūüėČ

@dogtag114 I made five trackdays on the first setting, two each on the following two settings and so far one on the more aggressive setting. In total, up to beginning of last season I drove the car less than 10 000 km and on the last two settings less than 5 000 km and I haven't seen any extreme tyre wears. The rear left one have currently 1,5/1-ish/1-ish/1,7 in thread depth in its four grooves and the inner section is chamfered the last 2 cm's - which is typical when you scrub the inner shoulder of the inner tyre while cornering.

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I realized that I missed the Powerflex Anti Roll Bar (ARB) bushings in my summary and that the rear toe wasn't actually changed last time. We ran out of time and the difference vs. Hofmanns recommended 0,33 (1,5 mm per side) and the 0,25 in total toe isn't that big. So, revised table:

image.png.550e84365a56505c88bf4bd1c891ce5a.png

So, I went for the hardest power flex bushings, since I wanted the feeling as firm as possible - and I couldn't really see that i should harm the comfort that much. I think I was right.

It was just time and laziness that stopped me from swapping all around last season. Rear is straight forward to change, while front is not. I expected the 2 pillar lift in my workshop to be available later last season, but off course it didn't happen. Too many projects..

Impression? Well, honestly I couldn't feel much difference when just shifting on the rear ARB. On the front yes, but on the other hand I also stiffened up the springs+dampers a lot.

IMG_9175.thumb.jpg.9f15a9267d619da2612719cfa94280b2.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

A lot of things have been going on with the car the last weeks, but let's start with two of the least complicated.

To speed up the work in general and at trackdays especially, I made this lift bar for the rear end. A bit overkill, but it is black galvanized and I made a 30 mm hole punch to make holes in the rubber mat for the washers for the engine bay under tray :) 

IMG_9593.thumb.jpg.603980fd5072474cca371a4fe5f66e48.jpg

IMG_9594.thumb.jpg.419d22f8dfe3990d946ad81ca21a31db.jpg

Yes, I know, I should clean it from glue rests ... Just so boring.

Then it was time for track day yesterday and since they promised rain I had to make the call to fit new rear tyres. It was 3 and a half hour drive, so it was about getting home as well. I have considered to try another brand/type for a while and had almost decided for Yokohama A052, but was a bit uncertain about which sizes that would fit. So, since there was no time to order any other tyres and since I had two new Kumho Ecsta V700/70A K91 laying on the shelf, it was and easy and probably the best choice.

IMG_9560.thumb.jpg.328fbda420b48f6fb130305346b9b867.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

So, what's next. Well, I thought I finished a very nice and weight efficient HiFi upgrade, but as soon as I started the engine I realized the S/N ratio was terrible and something with the grounding isn't right. So, lets park that topic for now.

I've done two track days within 11 days and elaborated a lot with chassi settings with kind of good results. This is it:

Since I found the standard chassi setup to be very nice but quite incapable of producing good lap times I considered a lot of options last summer. I finally, but a bit late, decided for the Hofmanns Nitron Race 46 kit. What I mean with a bit late is that I got the coil overs in September and it then was raining for several weeks and I didn't fit them until this spring.

First of all I must say the Nitron's are just gorgeous. The finish is amazing and the color scheme is so nice. I know, who cares, but I cannot resist good looking performance parts. Sorry. Next thing worth mentioning is the weight difference. 

Item Front Rear
Original 5070 g 5800 g
Nitron 3220 g 3043 g
Nitron corrected (helpers + spacers) 3461 g 3043 g
Difference 1609 g 2757 g

So, all in all there is a weight reduction of 8732 g. To that one can add that I replaced some screws, spacers and washers with at least 150 g.

What I went for was the Nitron 1-way kit both for installation convenience, adjustment efficiency and since I didn't expect to play around that much with all the settings - and recommendation. After some discussions I went for the most race oriented 900 F / 1100 R lbs/in springs.

Below you find a few pictures of the work. The front axis upper spring mount looked a bit dull, so I glass blastered them and varnished them in two layers to keep them nice looking. I considered to make new mounts since the upper spring mount is redundant with aftermarket coil overs. You do only need the upper attachment hole for the damper. Well, time...

I also started to replace all floor screws that have started to rust and to dig into the aluminium sheet with shorter stainless steel ones (hole drilled!)¬†with plastic washers. I know one can buy those washers, but there is a certain feeling to make them by yourself¬†ūüėá

IMG_9210.jpg.5910a3b8ed1c199b95b0e67c4b283e47.jpgIMG_9167.jpg.2a7ce217e5cbe6d2a228884bc3e1906f.jpgIMG_9168.jpg.81ee99571551baa5bdc3086044ff20f7.jpgIMG_9169.jpg.fdf7eaf8c70624f91acad29fbc4684f9.jpgIMG_9216.jpg.ccc5b09136b2b4adfdb095a87d090321.jpgIMG_9178.jpg.e62f3c987db3b5235c80ae401e7d2d4c.jpg

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Interesting figures. I have mine down to 1400kg with stock 19/20 forged wheels and Nitrons. I think I could lose another 20-30 kg with aftermarket forged wheels and a little more if I changed to Ohlins. That includes 74 kg of driver plus half tank of fuel.

 

 

 

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Good questions. I started a bit late to take notes on the weight difference of all components I've changed, but these are the min changes:

Item Weight [kg]
Measured 1381
Engine bay floor + diffusor + HiFi head unit (Guess) +5
40 % fuel +18
Standard wheels +10
New tyres +1
Standard battery  +13,4
Standard speaker system -1,6
Standard exhaust system (Guess) +5
Standard air intake (Guess) +1
Standard vs Nitron suspension (incl some screws) 8,9
Removing wheel spacers and longer screws -0,7
Sum 1441

So, that is 4 kg from the listed 1437 kg (Right?), which is reasonable for the navigation and reverse camera + some trim options.

@Bruss What have you done to remove that much weight?

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