A cardinal mistake you often see in the upper levels of Time Attack is doing too little in a short time. Instead of following the rule of three, don’t change more than three things at once. Then you test. Often, people throw parts at a car, hoping it will go faster instead of a planned approach with TESTING behind it. In this write-up, I’ll pick up where I left off “INCREMENTAL IMPROVEMENTS” with the Cavalier, searching for speed/pace. I’ll also shed some light on my thought process behind each modification.

Seat change

The first thing I knew I wanted to do was change the seat in the car. Bracing myself off the footrest so that I don’t slide around gets exhausting when you are a fluffy person like myself. What I’m saying is I have a decent amount of mass to stop from moving around. Being hugged by a proper racing seat cures most of it. Unfortunately, I don’t have a rollbar in the Cavalier yet, so I still have to brace myself from sliding forward. An additional benefit of having a racing seat is that it enhances your sense of feel. It makes it easier to sense the car sliding or hear the grass you mow while sailing off-track. The seat I chose for the Cavalier is one from my previous wheel-to-wheel C5, which you can read about here “Part 1: Bondurant Corvette.”. The last good thing about race seats is that they look cool. Let’s be honest, for some of those are half the battle. I’ll fully admit I’m a safety snob. That’s why I won’t buy anything that’s an unknown name brand.    

There are some negatives to having a bucket seat in your street car. If you have a full containment seat like this one, it creates a blindspot. If you have a small car like a Cayman or an S2000, it’s okay. You can still see everything in the mirrors. For some larger vehicles like a transmarobird, it could be an issue. The other thing is comfort, I recently took a 6-hour road trip in the Cavalier, and by hour 4, it was starting to get rough. The seats fit me snuggly, so I had little room to move around and breathe (fellas, you know what I mean). Most seats also get damaged easily and get filthy quickly. If you plan on driving daily with one in, take note of anything that rubs on the edges of the head area and side bolsters. That’s where I see things come apart most often—lastly, a safety concern in case of a rollover. Race buckets aren’t meant to collapse. If you don’t have a roll bar, you could crush your spine if you roll over and the roof collapses. OEM seats are meant to collapse flat if this happens. That is why I think you must also have a proper rollbar when you put race buckets in. 

Changing Bias

At Autobahn, I wanted to have the car understeer a bit more. The Cavalier currently oversteers when you are approaching the perceived limit. I choose to go with an Eibach Front sway bar. Eibach sway bars are typically made from high-quality materials, such as heat-treated steel or sometimes even lightweight alloys like titanium. They are engineered to increase stiffness compared to stock sway bars, which helps minimize body roll and improve overall stability. A stiffer front sway bar relative to the rear sway bar will generally result in a more understeer-biased handling characteristic. I will wait to change the rear sway bar now to avoid doing too much at once. I am running a different alignment, though. Adding a 1/16th of toe-in on the rear. 0 toe in the front. For the camber, I’m running -3.5 in front and -2.5 in the rear. Before, I had 0 toe all around and -2.5 all around as a baseline. Circling back to the top of this article, testing and seat time to see what works for you. 

Some things to consider before changing your sway bars are the vehicle’s weight distribution, tire grip, suspension geometry, and intended driving dynamics. Manufacturers typically tune the sway bar setup during the design process to achieve a balance that suits the vehicle’s intended purpose and target audience. Usually, sports cars get pretty damn close, but you have to remember that when you convert a street car to a race car, you have to beat the daily driver out of it. Usually, the sway bars are in that equation. 

The Boring Stuff

Now to the boring stuff, changing rotors because I cracked my last set. Don’t use drilled rotors, friends but guess what? That’s basically the only option you have for the Cayman. Correction, the only option you have for rotors that are sub $100 per rotor. Porsche tax on parts is a real thing. I also reviewed everything, ensuring it was all torqued to spec, and nothing surprised me. When giving things a once over, you look for anything that doesn’t look normal. Something wet that wasn’t before. New holes that look shiny, as almost if there was a bolt there. 

Same Shoes, Different Soles

I finally corded the tires that I bought the car with. The second level Cordes at that, so I had to change them. Decided to go with the V730s. I heard that they were pretty fast and consistent. In my testing phase, I don’t need the fastest per se. Not to mention that the V730s were the cheapest in the 200tw category. I’m also the idiot that drives his track tires around all day. In fact, I drove 700 miles to Kentucky and then to Michigan the same day I bought these. Am I heat cycling tires right? 

Upcoming events

With my new rubber on, it’s time to set out to my second baseline track. Gingerman Raceway in MI. The premier Time Attack Track in the country. There are only two realistic outcomes that can happen. I can run sub 1:40 or be dog water and run higher. Let’s talk about it next time. 

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