“My Girlfriend’s” Miata: Part 6 – Gingerman Raceway Baseline Test


 RaceChrono is an amazing little app and it’s the little things that make me enjoy it so much. Built in splits, optimal lap times, high and low speeds for turns and straights, being able to export the data to a PC or Mac and Bluetooth sensor datalogging in an easy to use package. 10/10 would recommend for all car enthusiasts.

Just because I was so impressed with it, a little more detail is required for RaceChrono. To start off, RaceChrono has about every track in the world already in its database, with splits built in. This made it as simple as selecting Gingerman as my track and hitting start on my phone when leaving the pits to get lap times and data. I purchased as high quality of a sticky mount as I possibly could to hold my phone on the windshield and the combination of high accuracy GPS and my Note’s oversized screen made it very easy to see if I had improved my split and lap times during each session. A green screen meant good and red meant I hadn’t gone as fast in that sector. At the same time RaceChrono can use the phone’s built-in camcorder to record video of each lap for future playback, but that’s not all. The app exports to Vbox’s Circuit Tools Mac/PC app with full G-force and split data. This can be reviewed within the RaceChrono software on the phone, but pulling it up full screen on a laptop makes for a better user experience while looking for ways to improve performance. I didn’t get to use all the features as it can datalog OBD-2 info via Bluetooth and on top of that you can datalog other sensors wirelessly as well. We will be taking full advantage of that and documenting it in a future article. This little app can be the backbone of an incredibly advanced datalogging system that previously would have cost thousands of dollars to build.


Even on used all-season tires purchased under questionable Craigslist circumstances, the Miata has significant body roll with a peak lateral grip of around 1.0 G. This was noticable from the driver's seat, but not seemingly detrimental to performance although we did notice some excess wear on the outside of the tires after the weekend.

Back to the track, the Miata, on mismatched all-season tires, could be coaxed to spin tires pretty easily in the wet, but was controllable and smooth. Lap times started at 2:39, with little traction to be had anywhere. As the day went on, the track quickly began to dry and the Miata really started to come into its own. On the street the OEM Bilstein suspension is too stiff for my tastes. It crashes over bumps and really highlights how noodly the rigidity of the chassis is. On the track though, it’s another story. The suspension feels at home and quick to react to inputs. The loosey, goosey chassis is barely noticeable and the car is honestly fun. The only real complaint is the engine. While reliable, with so little power, Grant and I had time to discuss the positives and negatives of Keynesian economics on the straightaways. On top of that, driveability isn’t as nice as one would think an 80 horsepower engine would be. I had to be extremely careful on tip-in throttle or I could upset the car’s balance in high speed turns.

How did the modifications on the car end up working out? In a word, flawlessly. Starting with the Blackbird Fabworx roll bar and Elise seats, they did exactly what they should do. Got us through tech and held us in place comfortably on track. The Lotus seats do get a little tiring for interstate driving, but they were meant to be a compromise and performed admirably on track.


Gingerman is known for being very tough on brakes and a perfect place to test our Good-Win-Racing/DBA brake system. Before the Professional Awesome Evo was the Professional Awesome Evo, it saw many track events at Gingerman and may have even experienced brake failure once or twice.
Worry not though, despite spending some time at the beach, we always managed to dust ourselves off and get back on track.
There was no such experiences with the Good-Win-Racing and DBA brake system. We have yet to find any flaws with our braking and this is very confidence inspiring, allowing me to push hard for faster lap times.

More easily quantifiable were the brakes and cooling system. The Good-Win-Racing and DBA brake system was extremely good and worked better than I could have asked for. In the cold and snow on the drive up they were perfect with no noise or reduced performance. Without any changes or adjustments, the brake system was excellent on track as well. The pedal stayed rock hard, with no signs of brake fade, even after 3 hours of track time in a single day. A 30-40 F day might not be the perfect condition to test the absolute limits of the heat capacity of a brake system, but let me tell you that Gingerman is extremely tough on brakes. I’ve personally experienced failure from overheating the brake fluid on the V1 Professional Awesome Evo and may have done some landscaping in the process. To sum it all up, Good-Win and DBA know what they’re doing!

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