Keep Racing Fun Part 3, Redline Time Attack Season Finale


Redline Time Attack Cal Speedway 2010
My first outlap with the ABF Tech Division ECU reflash was mighty impressive, the car was a rocket.  I knew I was going to win until a few turns later that is when my left foot braking caused the ECU to dump the boost…

The car was pretty darned fast and handled and braked well except the electronics were annoying.  I could feel the EDLC activating the front brakes to reduce wheelspin which would make the car understeer.  When I really got into the throttle the DTC would cause a bogging sensation and the DSC kept the car in a state of continuous but annoying understeer.  Now don’t get me wrong, although I could feel all of this stuff hampering me from doing my job, the overall feel was much smoother and more transparent than many other vehicles equipped with such stuff.  I would always leave these controls on for street driving and they did allow a slight degree of rowdiness.

This Golf R32 smoked me.

In my second session I turned off all of the aids or so I thought.  The car’s electronics seemed to fight my desires to get some oversteer.  I complained to Dez only to find that I had to hold down the DTC button for around 30 seconds to switch off the DSC system as well as just the DTC and EDLC.  Duh.  In my third session I was ready to be serious with all electronic aids deactivated and me ready to rock like a racer.  The car rocketed away on the ultra fast NASCAR oval section of the track, reaching over 125 mph and me having to feather in NASCAR two due to cold tires, wow I was thinking, this might just turn a sub 2 minute lap on street tires.

Redline Time Attack Cal Speedway 2010
Mods for Redline’s Enthusiast classes are limited but the near stock Mini was a joy to drive except for the hiccups with the error codes and boost dumping that were my fault.

Then more electronic weirdness struck.  In the 180 degree turn 5 I started to use some left foot braking so I could rotate the car while leaving my foot to the floor, my usual FWD driving trick.  As soon as I hit both gas and brakes, the ECU went tilt, triggering a huge check engine light to dominate my electronic dash display and dumping about half the power. 

This was due to an idiosyncrasy of the Mini’s wastegate control.  In order to help with lighting of the catalytic converter in cold starts, the Mini’s wastegete is controlled by vacuum instead of boost.  This allows the ECU to completely open the wastegate, bypassing the turbo and speeding cat light off.  It also allows the ECU to completely dump all boost if it thinks something is wrong. By going tilt I was left driving a 2700 lb 1.6 liter NA car with probably about 100 hp considering that the exhaust had to breathe through a restrictive inactive turbo.  Not conducive to fast lap times.  I think I turned a pathetic 2:14 lap.

Redline Time Attack Cal Speedway 2010
Once the boost went away, the only places where I could hold my own were the tight turns on the infield part of the course.


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