Sierra Sierra EVO 8 Test 7/9/2009

A couple weeks ago I drove up to Buttonwillow to meet up with Sierra Sierra for a couple days of testing. What a lot of people forget is that the SSE EVO 8 is still a new car. Already the SSE EVO is being compared to some of the fastest, more highly developed cars, but its only competed in only one time attack and has only been on the track three times in it’s life. So while the guys at SSE built a good car to begin with (and Cosworth builds a good 4G63), no ground up built unibody race car rolls off the trailer without any teething issues. On top of that the goal was to make some significant improvements in the car’s handling and lap times. NOTE: this post is just an update on the car. I’m not at liberty to discuss what improvements were done to the car in detail to improve it’s performance since it’s not my car.

We have been fighting oil temperature problems since day one, but finally sorted the problem out even in Buttonwillow’s 100+ degree heat. Some testing included Bomarito driving the car like this:

Without the hood and bumper, Bomarito said that there was virtually no aero (obviously), but it also drove like it had a giant parachute in the front. Either way we learned how to control the oil temperature and it was the first time that Bomarito got 12 laps in a row in the car. Building a rhythm is critical for a driver to help develop a car’s handling. Up to now Bomarito has only been able to get in 2-3 laps at a time. Lap times will only get quicker from here.

Some suspension tweaks and tire changes were made to improve the car’s handling. While one of the Dynamic Suspensions shocks were out, I snapped this pic. Coming from the street car world I’ve never had the opportunity to use 4 way adjustable shocks. I still haven’t actually (not my department on this EVO), but they sure look cool as hell.

SSE also installed a Pi Omega dash for the ultimate in driver display information and massive datalogging capability. This is the first time I worked with the Omega dash and it was pretty simple to setup (very un-Pi like). Connected to a Pectel ECU, it can be fully configured with the ECU controlling the display with up to 4 pages of information for the driver. It’s not the cheapest dash on the market, but it’s definitely one of the more powerful ones.

We are deciding on whether to continue with the active diff controller or to go with a mechanical unit. While it may be obvious to some that active is better, it’s a bit of a long story with this car. Since it uses a hybrid Subaru/Mitsu diff control system, it’s a pain in the ass. I have taken over the duty of CDC control until the decision is made. Off the shelf mechanical center diff or custom code from Pectel ($$$ or I should say £££)?

During the test at Buttonwillow, a Formula Atlantic team was also there testing. One of the drivers was Malcom in the Middle (Frankie Muniz). Formula Atlantic uses Cosworth engines too so Jeremy from Cosworth was there for track support as well. Jeremy is a dirt head off road guy at heart, but race cars are basically race cars. It was actually Jeremy’s idea that helped to solve the EVO’s oil temperature problems so it was a good thing he was there. Also at the track were two (I’m guessing) mid 80’s Porsche IMSA race cars. One was a 962 GTP car and the other was a 911 GTO car. The GTP car sounded nuts with the massive turbo compressor surge. I took some video and will put it up one of these days. The 962 was a treat to listen to on the front straight.

Anyhow, I’m typing this from my hotel room in Lebanon, Tennessee. I’m out here for the Redline Time Attack at the Nashville Super Speedway happening Saturday and Sunday (7/25 and 7/26). Come out and watch if you’re local. I think the SSE EVO should whip some ass.

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