NSX files, project Germany: Track days at Hockenheim GP 17./18. march 2005

(for a 56 MB H264.MP4 video (PlayStation 3 and Apple iPhone
compatible) click here,  more movie links are below)
Some serious society at season start trackmap

What the hell is this behind me? The Fastvoice NSX ahead of a Ferrari 360 GT race car who really didn't want to pass for a while - unbelievable...
All track pics: R. Lipp, still pics: me
What a big luck to start the season 2005: After a long cold and snowy winter the sun and warm temperatures came just in the week of our 2 days track event with the swiss Race Car Promotion in march, the NSX had recovered from a mysterious power loss and seemed to be well prepared for new adventures with a new cable between a camshaft sensor and the ECU (connnection has been broken during a previous head gasket renewal operation), a new windshield, some minor new parts for the suspension and optical finish, 4 new race slicks and fresh red paint for the 4 Brembo brake calipers. As nearly always at the Race Car Promotion events there where two run groups - one for the single seaters and another much bigger group for the rest - about 60 cars - street legal and race only - from Honda Civic over a lot of Porsches to some exotics like a Dodge Viper, a Callaway Race Corvette, a brand new Ferrari F 430 and - unexpected: One of the 400 existing Ferrari Enzos.

enzo  NSX2005
Two beasts waiting for the track: A Ferrari Enzo and the Fastvoice NSX - now without the previous front side canards.
And this is what they look like together exiting Sachs corner in Hockenheim (don't miss the incar QT video of this scene here):


As my run group contained so much cars we where given a bit more track time -  besides the usual 30 minutes stint we had another "long run" with one hour each day. The morning started with some warm up for the car and driver after the long winter break - it was dry but a bit cold so I started slow to gain confidence again in the car and the track. And of course I had to break in the new race slick tires and check if the car still has reduced upforce at the front without the side flaps of last year. Luckily it seems that the vented hood alone is just enough to keep the aerodynamical balance in fast corners together with the rear wing. On the first day there was a lot of space on the track to try things out because some of the other cars appeared only on the 2nd day. Everything seemed to be fine - but only for about 15 minutes. First bummer: Laptimer doesn't work. Second bummer: Water temperature did rise again way too high when I pushed the car for more than 2 laps - and we thought we had solved the problem. My techie wanted to join the party anyway so he had some work when he finely came to the track with a lot of tools, instruments, spare parts and ambition. He checked water temperatures front and rear, the hoses and tubes, the overflow bottle and it's cap, the radiator, the radiator fan, the thermostate, the cables and found no problem.

rat pack  H&R Porsche
The "rat pack": Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin (red nose) and Sammy Davis jr. (apparently black) duking it out in the Sachs corner (left pic).
The right pic shows Oprah Winfrey with some heavy spoilers and a loud turbocharged voice - one of the fastest beasts during the event.
This Porsche from the Alzen Brothers with 4WD and over 600 PS finished in the top 10 at the 24 hours of Nuerbuergring later in May.

While my techie worked on the overheating problem (with many efforts but without success) I checked my laptimer infrared receiver and display and saw - nothing. The two small batteries in it (very rare flat type) didn't survive the winter. Two days without lap timing? Unthinkable! So I begged my girlfriend to take the Ford, drive into town and search for some of these batteries. She needed about the same ambition as my techie but she had success after more than one hour of asking and searching. She had finally found the only store with the right batteries in this small town called Hockenheim - and they where cheaper than ever - miracle! In the 1st stint after the lunch break I tested the laptimer and the car. Result: Laptimer works great, car doesn't. I could only push the engine for two hot laps and then had to shift at about 6000 rpm instead of 8000 to cool the water down again. I even had still warm air from the air supply inside the car although we had disconnected the heater. And another good portion of warm air went through the Taitec CF vented hood to the outside as we checked later with the active radiator fan on the standing car - so that hood does it's job really well.

One of the many cool down laps for me - cruising behind a Dodge Viper which was usualy much slower than me in the corners
because it ran on street tires. Of course it always gained a lot on the straights.

So once again (for how many times now?) the engine did get too hot (and lost a bit of it's maximum power in my opinion), the driver did get too hot and I saw the result on the laptimer - way too much seconds on the display. The problem for a weekend warrior like me is: If you have only two hot laps in a row you can't get used to the car's behaviour when it's pushed hard. So you're not able to reach your personal 100 percent - you're stuck at maybe 95, at least after a 4 months track pause. Last year I was able to break the 2 minutes barrier on this track after nearly a whole day of trying, this year my best times where in the 2:04 region - still not that slow but a huge disappointment for me. That means again: Back to my techies R&D department to find the cause for the overheating. The next events on my track schedule will be cancelled until further progress. I'm just tired to drive with a car that worked nearly perfect for many years and now has such problems for the last 5 events or so.

NSX/P-car  Chevelle
Some veterans in the pack: A heavily modified Porsche 911 (left) and a Ford Falcon Sprint ahead of some P-cars and a Renault Clio Cup car.

On the other side it was not all bad during these 2 days: It was also some fun to cruise behind some slower cars and try my small new Sanyo Xacti Digital Movie C2 video camera for the first time in the NSX, fixed on a Hama suction cup mount. This tiny MP4 cam with built in stereo microphone stores on SD cards and works astonishingly well - I can record more than 45 minutes of TV ready quality on a 1 Gigabyte card - the only problem is that the small rechargable battery is down after a bit more than 30 minutes. So I have 3 of them to change during the day. Bummer that I can't show you the whole quality because the data amount would be too huge for the net so I always have to downgrade the edited movies drastically. You can see a 90 MB QT movie with some minutes of the track day here, a shorter movie with my car following the Ferrari Enzo here, a 56 MB movie in H264 compression and MP.4 format (compatible with PlayStation 3 and Apple iPhone!) with 12 minutes of pure driving here and a short 38 QT MB movie (less compressed with better audio and video quality) with one lap passing a Porsche here - have fun!

NSX/Challenge GT
That's about the maximum g force and body roll of the Fastvoice NSX - man, that's fun to show a race Ferrari what a Honda can do!

As the car burns up to 35 liters of 95 octane gas per 100 track kilometers I needed nearly 2 full tanks for this 2 days. Fortunately the gas station has reasonable prices so I didn't have to use my gas spare tanks. With a non street legal car you can't just drive to the next less expensive gas station in the town to fill up your tank - although I did that one time - with race slicks in a foreign country a long time ago - call it a youth sin.

Mustang  Sandwich
Another veteran: A race prepped Ford Mustang (left) and a "Sportscar-Burger" (right): A tasty NSX between two halfs of a P-car roll.
When you want to see a NSX passing a Porsche, you may watch this 38 MB QT movie with extended quality here.

To speak of some more positive things: Even after two days with multiple hard braking (e.g. from 240 km/h to 60 at the end of the long straight before the hairpin in each lap) the brake pedal felt still stiff and showed no signs of fading, the Yokohama tires had maintained their grip very well and I had no spin, only some small drifts (one a bit too wide but with no wall contact) exiting the hairpin because I was bit early on the gas - okay, I sometimes provoked it. Besides the overheating thing I had not experienced other technical issues - everything seemed to work fine - only the driver had lost some of his already small physical condition over the long winter break. After these 2 first days of the season I felt some muscles I already had forgotten that they where part of my body. Believe it or not: Tracking a car is not only hard for the car but also for the driver.

V8Star  sachseingang
A "V8 Star" car from a previous championship with big Rouch engine from USA and a Opel silhouette (upper left). The Fastvoice NSX
entering the Sachs corner, photographed from different angles (upper and lower right). A 3series BMW and a Renault Clio Cup car (lower left).

BMW/Clio  sachsfront

Exige  braking
A Motorsport Elise as it ran in a british championship (left) and the Fastvoice NSX braking before the double right hander before the finish straight.

One of my favourite pics: A lonely NSX under  the early morning sun on a long and winding road with no traffic
(the advertisement banner says: "Reward for success" - which driving a NSX definitely is, don't you think?).

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