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  #1  
Old 04-15-2006, 11:17 PM
Siddhartha's Avatar
Siddhartha Siddhartha is offline
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Default Chapter 3, Sad Arthur Discovers Track Days

November ‘03
All I know is Autocross. My little CRX Si smoked the North Florida circuit in the mid 80's until I rolled it over a bus bench one night on Archer Road and totaled it. It was red with white wheels, debadged except for the hood where I replaced the Honda insignia with a V 12 emblem from an old XKE Jag. (12 valves, get it?). Memories of that car prompted Sad Arthur's color scheme, so now I have a new fast red and white fwd coupe. Slapping together an autocross kit, we venture out to the Oakland Coliseum for a day of cone bashing. Two factors contribute to a very unsatisfactory day: the aforementioned wheelspin, and my inability to memorize the twisty course from a walkthrough and study of the map. Consequently we oversteer and scald the inside front tire unmercifully and kill a bunch of innocent bright orange bystanders in the process. My times were so bad I didn't even go pick them up. I made three 2 minute runs that day and decided I'd lost whatever edge I used to have on the autocross course.

On the Ready Line
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Take off
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South Turn
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New Racing Livery (adds 10 HP at least!)
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May ‘04
Picked up some go-fast stickers to improve my times and try Auto-X again. No joy this time either. Another six minutes wasted. But another MINI owner tells me about a group that actually runs on real race tracks where you can get up to 2 hours of track time. Since I had such a good time at Sears Point (even though it was pretty expensive) I decided to check it out. At $180 for a day at Laguna Seca, it sounds like a good deal to me.

With visions of a dad ‘n’ lad race team in my head, I enlist #2 son, Dan, and we set off for Laguna to share the car. I feel like I’m doing pretty well on the highly technical course until I strap into the right seat for a ride with Dan in the afternoon. He’s driving the wheels off the MINI, passing Porsches and harassing Corvettes. He’s scary fast in this thing and I spend the whole ride hanging on and hyperventilating while Dan grins at my distress.

Dad 'n' lad at Laguna
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Entrance to Turn 8
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Corkscrewing the Porsche
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Dan with Sad Arthur I
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I vow to get better and sign up for what will soon become an unbroken string of track days stretching into a future none can see. Dan’s business demands too much of his time and the Some Punkins Race Team never happens, so I campaign Sad Arthur solo down through the summer at tracks around Northern California.

The Hard Life at Thunderhill (with Dan)
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Taping (with Chi-Boy, NinerCat, and Batgirl)
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Sad Arthur leads into Turn 4 at Thunderhill (then Chi-Boy, Bats and Niner)
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In the fall of 2004 comes the news that BMW has heard my plaintive cries and that MINI will introduce a limited slip differential as an option in January, 2005. Now I have a problem. How am I going to convince my wife that my 2004 JCW MCS with 17K miles on the odo is now obsolete and that I NEED a new ’05 to replace it? She’s dubious at first, but when I agree that this will be the LAST one (yeah, right! Have you seen that 207 R Cup Peugeot??), and throw in a trip to visit her relatives in Illinois and Iowa on the drive home, she capitulates and I put in another order with Bill Jacobs MINI in Naperville. SIX WEEKS later, my 2005 MCS is ready and we fly into Midway where a limo picks us up and drives us over to the dealership. A walkaround inspection reveals the options I asked for: JCW engine kit including exhaust, smaller pulley, bigger supercharger, bigger injectors, JCW two stage Cold Air Induction box, JCW springs and shocks and JCW brakes featuring beefier calipers, bigger rotors and improved pad compound. I’ve asked them to install braided steel lines and I see them in place.


Inspection 1
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Inspection 2
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On the way home we visit Cheryl’s folks and stop in Deadwood, SD as well, for a tour of Mann’s No. 10 Saloon where they finally got Wild Bill and where I see the kicker in his aces and eights poker hand: the nine of diamonds.


Deadwood ca. 1870
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Old No. 10 Saloon
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We pass the magic 1250 mile break-in mark in Sundance, Wyoming, and begin to wind it out through the gears. Very sweet. As the odo reads 2200 miles, I slowly roll Sad Arthur II nose to nose with Sad Arthur I for a glamour shot before they are separated, SA I going off to the mayor of El Cerrito. The neighbors don’t notice I have a new car since they are identical on the outside. Fine with me.

So here we are in the spring of 2006. SA II is proving to be everything I’d hoped for. The LSD is doing its job splendidly on the track and with the removal of the rear seat and the addition of some bright orange Kosei wheels and sticky Yokohama Advan 048 Competition tires, SA II is very close in spec to the much hyped JCW GP car and behaves very well on the track, habitually humbling high buck sports cars around Thunderhill, Sears Point and Laguna Seca.

Track days do it for me and I’ve pretty much retired from chasing the togue with it’s uncertainties and dangers and definitely from autocross. Driving fast on the track requires full concentration, but show me a car in front and suddenly a whole other side of my brain opens up as it begins to run the complicated ballistics equations that will let me first catch up and then go around this guy. It is absolutely fully engaging and provides a rush like nothing else in my life. I’m finding I have to do it at least twice a month, so I guess you can call it an addiction.

Last month I added a JCW carbon fiber wing for a little more downforce at speed. I’ve decided to keep it factory stock except for the braided steel brake lines and have yet to be passed on the track by another MINI street car while I’m flogging it. That day will undoubtedly arrive . . . maybe at Big MINI Day coming up on May 11th . . . or maybe not. Stay tuned.

I’ve been a MINIac for three years now, a contributor to NAM, MINI2, MINI OL, CarNut’s Garage, MotoringFile and Jalopnik. Motoring Underground is the first online group I’ve found who embrace going fast and each other. I like it here. I’m also a stringer for MC², Director Western Region of Phil Wicks Racing, and have just won a ride in Jacques Andres’ Bay Bridge Motors MINI enduro race car for a couple of races this year. Is it any wonder I tell people this is the best year of my life?
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Last edited by Siddhartha; 04-16-2006 at 05:00 AM..
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Old 04-15-2006, 11:26 PM
brownMINI brownMINI is offline
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Great story and great storytelling...

We've got a great core of track-heads out here in the northeast too. My first day of the season is coming up at Limerock in a few weeks.

I love explaining to people after a session on the track that my MINI is not the supercharged version and only has 115hp.
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Old 04-16-2006, 01:52 AM
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Siddhartha Siddhartha is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brownMINI
Great story and great storytelling...

We've got a great core of track-heads out here in the northeast too. My first day of the season is coming up at Limerock in a few weeks.

I love explaining to people after a session on the track that my MINI is not the supercharged version and only has 115hp.
Lime Rock was my first racetrack. I saw a Formula Jr. Race there way back in the day. Great place.

When the F355 guy came up to me at Laguna recently and asked me what the hell I had in that thing, I could truthfully reply, "Nothing. That's the way it comes from the factory."
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  #4  
Old 04-16-2006, 05:18 PM
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Siddhartha Siddhartha is offline
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ordering . . .
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Old 04-16-2006, 07:47 PM
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I look forward to the many new adventures of Sad Arthur II.

Here is to wishing you many years of track enjoyment.

I am interested as to why go for the new Sad Arthur, when Quaife had a LSD for the MINI?
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Old 04-16-2006, 08:59 PM
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Siddhartha Siddhartha is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollis3

I am interested as to why go for the new Sad Arthur, when Quaife had a LSD for the MINI?
". . .demands for a factory LSD (Quaife offered one at that time but it was $2K and voided warranty, no thanks.)"

It is a matter of economics really. A Quaife is around $2K installed. According to my reading, some people have had good luck with them, some have had trouble. The factory LSD is a $500 option and fully covered by my warranty. I have no quarrel with aftermarket tuners . . . as a matter of fact I am a SEMA member. But I have decided to keep Sad Arthur stock, so the only things I'll add are from the MINI and JCW parts bins. Next up:

JCW Brake Cooling Ducts
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Installing them in place of the practically useless foglights in my stock airdam will be an interesting challenge.
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Old 04-17-2006, 02:49 AM
brownMINI brownMINI is offline
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Please keep us posted on how the JCW brake ducts work out... I desperately need some brake cooling help.
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Old 06-14-2006, 06:44 PM
acitydweller acitydweller is offline
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what a wonderful post. Inspiring to say the least. happy motoring!
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Old 08-01-2006, 10:01 PM
sampsond sampsond is offline
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Default Brake Ducts

For track days, I have been looking at the ducts as well. What is the verdict?

Have you taken delivery of them? Installation?

Sorry for the barrage of questions, but I really want them. And for the price, I want to make sure they are worth it.
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Old 08-04-2006, 07:49 AM
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Ordering for Jess
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Old 08-04-2006, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siddhartha
Ordering for Jess
Huh?
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Old 08-04-2006, 02:38 PM
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way to mess it up ivan... he had the chapters in order...
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  #13  
Old 08-05-2006, 10:03 PM
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Siddhartha Siddhartha is offline
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Yeah, Ivan! Gaw! Now she might have to figure out what 1,2, 3 means!
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Old 08-15-2006, 05:46 PM
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Siddhartha Siddhartha is offline
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Installed by Bay Bridge Motors.

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No more Fog Lights


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Ducting air to the brake rotors


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On the Rise



They look good, but are as yet untested in the heat. I warped my previous rotors, so I'll get to try the ducts out with a new set at the end of the month at Reno-Fernley Raceway.
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Old 08-15-2006, 06:03 PM
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Very nice Sidd... Can't wait to see the actual effects of those things in action.
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