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Thread: Blackbird Fabworx Atom Aero Package

  1. #91
    Ion
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackbird Fabworx View Post
    Richard is testing today @ Chuckwalla valley raceway, and from what I heard from him so far, the results are not too shabby
    I am awaiting the full report, just like the rest of you.
    Yes, indeed, the results were good. Eye-popping, even. I was there. A 4 second improvement with the wings v. no wings. The stopwatch conclusively proves that on Richard's car your aero produces substantial downforce and improves lap time by a bunch. And they look good, to boot.

    But, and it's no small but, Richard's car is upgraded to ~350 whp from the stock SRA's power of a claimed 200. That makes Richard's car 75% more powerful than stock and what your aero will do for a car with much less power than Richard's is still uncertain.

    Richard didn't have data so although we know that overall the aero improved things hugely, we don't know any particulars such as what it cost him in top speed. SRA's in stock trim are severely aero and gear limited. Richard says that they top out at 126 mph in 5th gear and acceleration at much over 100 mph is somewhat leisurely. Top speed actually drops in 6th gear, he says. Therefore, drag is much more of a concern for stock SRAs than it is for Richard and at some point would be counterproductive.

    I don't know the answer as to what either of your kits would do for the much lesser powered car that is the stock SRA. I do know a few things, though:


    • Improving lap time by 1 second can easily cost more than $2500 so $10k for a 4 second improvement is likely a reasonable deal. Perhaps a steal.



    • $10k is for most of us a huge amount of money.



    • Even if folks are able to pay the $10k, most are willing to do so only if they know how the parts are likely to affect their car.


    I think that stock SRA owners still don't know much more than before about what your aero will do for a stock SRA, though on short, fussy, relatively low speed courses where drag and SRA gearing is less of an issue, my guess is that your aero would yield considerable improvement. I'm told that you do a lot of Miata work, aero and otherwise, so you likely know more about aero on lower HP cars than most. What do you think are the differences between your aero on a 350 whp car v. a 200 whp car?

    The bottom line for stock SRA owners remains: unless spending $10k is no big deal even if what it buys doesn't help much or at all, then not enough is known about your aero package to just write the check and hope for the best. But, it sure is tempting.

  2. #92
    Fermion Blackbird Fabworx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix Atom View Post
    Yes, indeed, the results were good. Eye-popping, even. I was there. A 4 second improvement with the wings v. no wings. The stopwatch conclusively proves that on Richard's car your aero produces substantial downforce and improves lap time by a bunch. And they look good, to boot.
    Yes, and according to him with a bit more tuning and additional practice driving with so much extra grip, he would've found a couple seconds on top of the 4.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix Atom View Post
    But, and it's no small but, Richard's car is upgraded to ~350 whp from the stock SRA's power of a claimed 200. That makes Richard's car 75% more powerful than stock and what your aero will do for a car with much less power than Richard's is still uncertain.
    You got it a bit mixed up, the car puts down 312 RWHP, so ~350 flywheel ponies, not wheel.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix Atom View Post
    Richard didn't have data so although we know that overall the aero improved things hugely, we don't know any particulars such as what it cost him in top speed. SRA's in stock trim are severely aero and gear limited. Richard says that they top out at 126 mph in 5th gear and acceleration at much over 100 mph is somewhat leisurely. Top speed actually drops in 6th gear, he says. Therefore, drag is much more of a concern for stock SRAs than it is for Richard and at some point would be counterproductive.
    The improvements are always going to be in the overall lap times as the downforce comes with a drag penalty, so regardless how much downforce you're making the top speed is expected to be slightly lower.
    If my memory serves from my conversations with Richard about the subject (which admittedly were a while ago), the SRA comes with a rather lazy final drive ratio to start with and never was really hot in sixth gear even before the wings.
    Seeing that the car departed from SRA spec it would probably be a good idea to put all the numbers into a gearing calculator (many available online) and find out what can be done to improve things.
    I'm not as familiar with the Honda transmissions that bolt to K-series engines, but from running a Honda with a B-series a number of times in the past, the car was upgraded from the grocery getter trans to one with closer ratios and the result was WELL WORTH the hassle.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix Atom View Post
    I don't know the answer as to what either of your kits would do for the much lesser powered car that is the stock SRA. I do know a few things, though:


    • Improving lap time by 1 second can easily cost more than $2500 so $10k for a 4 second improvement is likely a reasonable deal. Perhaps a steal.



    • $10k is for most of us a huge amount of money.



    • Even if folks are able to pay the $10k, most are willing to do so only if they know how the parts are likely to affect their car.


    Point by point in the same order -
    • Yes, especially if you consider the fact that Richard thought that this would really be 6 seconds with a bit more practice.
    • Our DF500 kit costs less than $8k and will offer a significant improvement in lap time as well.
    • That is your opinion which I do not share. You're asking for guarantees that are rarely available from any aftermarket brand, big or small. Seeing that even the greatest minds in F1 can sometimes try and design things with seemingly unlimited budget and nearly unimaginable resources and still get it wrong, I honestly think that your expectations are unrealistic.
      Have you tried asking your engine builder to guarantee how much faster your lap time will be with a new engine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix Atom View Post
    I think that stock SRA owners still don't know much more than before about what your aero will do for a stock SRA, though on short, fussy, relatively low speed courses where drag and SRA gearing is less of an issue, my guess is that your aero would yield considerable improvement. I'm told that you do a lot of Miata work, aero and otherwise, so you likely know more about aero on lower HP cars than most. What do you think are the differences between your aero on a 350 whp car v. a 200 whp car?
    The 2 aero packages we designed will offer significant advantage on the Atom, regardless of how much power it makes.
    I do a lot of aero work on much lower powered cars, Miatas included (I race one too), we consistently find many seconds at every track and any platform.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix Atom View Post
    The bottom line for stock SRA owners remains: unless spending $10k is no big deal even if what it buys doesn't help much or at all, then not enough is known about your aero package to just write the check and hope for the best. But, it sure is tempting.
    Again, this is your opinion which I do not share.
    The results of testing the wings back to back are beyond conclusive, 4 seconds are an eternity in terms of racing, and potentially there are a couple more left on the table.
    Richard took a leap of faith and saw the results, you can be next

  3. #93
    Electron
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    I don't have any on track captured data; my video4 unit just gave up that weekend and yielded nothing reliable. Boo! The transponder doesn't lie though, first I ran the car without the wings all day 1 and 2 of 5 sessions on day 2 (after all this was the first time back in the car in 16 months and after a complete engine rebuild) then with wings for last 3 sessions on day 2.

    Results
    • without the wings (though with the vertical mounts attached) best lap: 1.55.06 (lap 13 of 39 laps without the wings on) running a consistent 1.55.5 otherwise.
    • with wings best lap: 1.51.64 (lap 9 of 17 laps with the wings on, session 4 cut short by my off)


    So ~3.6 seconds faster based on 39 laps without the wings and 17 with. That is a HUGE difference. It surprised everyone, me included. After coming off track I actually was not sure it would be that much faster because it felt far less chaotic and drama free that it felt slow.

    Caveats:

    I know I could do better and tune the car set-up some more for timing without the wings, I actually set that time on day 1 session 2 on old R7 front tires with some balancing issue on the front right, I swapped to brand new SM7 up front after session 2 and tweaked damper settings but the track just got slower all weekend (higher winds, more dust on track.)

    My wing timings were inconsistent, I was still figuring things out on track (trying faster lines, different gear changes, adjusting brake bias) and only really tried to get down 3-4 good laps during the last three sessions, I added the second element to the front for the final two sessions but I was also exhausted from the whole weekend (mentally and physically) and went off one time in session 4 (lost the backend pushing it too much) and lost 5th gear in session 5. I think with practice and tuning there's easily another second in there, probably two.

    Final Thoughts:


    So yes obviously the wings "work". They create plenty of downforce (my fastest lap was actually while only running only the single element on the front too and with no thought to tuning anything) what was a nice surprise was that previously with the stock SRA K24 (~200whp) I could fell the drag at Buttonwillow (which is a generally fast track) but now with my car putting down 312whp the increased drag felt negligible, now Chuckwalla is mostly a 4th gear track with only 3-4 places where grabbing 5th is really possible and getting over ~115mph is a struggle (even with my power) so the territory above that is still unknown. AutoClub Speedway will be the place to test effect on pure top end speed.

    Will they make the stock SRA turn faster lap times? I have to say it depends. It depends on track but it also depends I think a lot on the driver; with the wings the car is a different beast, it's stable and more forgiving and inspires confidence in you that I think if you're a less aggressive driver will yield you faster times most places. If you're truly maxing out the SRA then I'm not sure the loss in top end speed will be compensated for in increased cornering speeds especially at fast tracks with long straights, for a smaller tighter track where you're barely if ever in 5th gear it's more likely to yield better overall times.

    On a SC/Turbo Atom 3 with > 300HP it's far more of a certainty, with the limited data so far I can't say that with 100% confidence but I'm feeling good that the wings are going to help most places (again Chuckwalla is not a tight track and not a high speed track; it's a good medium so a 3.6 second increase is pretty huge.)

    All that said, the car really feels different and faster times or not if you prefer a car that inspires confidence and feels more like a formula car then it could still be a good investment.

    Car is off to the shop (again) to fix clutch again inspect the transmission, hopefully I'll get it back soon for more testing at more tracks.

  4. #94
    Electron
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    i'm in the market for a wing setup, i'm making enough power to lift the front of my atom on the straights, i didn't read all the posts, just flipped through, saw some ranting, some technical discussion, and then the pictures- and then the PRICE.....the aesthetics alone kill it for me, the price buries it

  5. #95
    Ion
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackbird Fabworx View Post
    • That is your opinion which I do not share. You're asking for guarantees that are rarely available from any aftermarket brand, big or small. Seeing that even the greatest minds in F1 can sometimes try and design things with seemingly unlimited budget and nearly unimaginable resources and still get it wrong, I honestly think that your expectations are unrealistic.
      Have you tried asking your engine builder to guarantee how much faster your lap time will be with a new engine?


    The 2 aero packages we designed will offer significant advantage on the Atom, regardless of how much power it makes.
    I do a lot of aero work on much lower powered cars, Miatas included (I race one too), we consistently find many seconds at every track and any platform.


    The results of testing the wings back to back are beyond conclusive, 4 seconds are an eternity in terms of racing, and potentially there are a couple more left on the table.
    Richard took a leap of faith and saw the results, you can be next
    I don't ask for guarantees. Just some evidence of what my money will likely buy. To some extent, one always pays their money and takes their chances. On the other hand, evidence that the money will buy something substantial is always a good thing.

    With Richard's car putting down only 312 whp rather than the 350 I originally mentioned, he still has at least 55% more power than a stock SRA. Sure, your aero helped his car immensely and that's great but we still don't know if it will help a low (relatively speaking) HP car. Richard is the only person with laps in both a stock SRA and his much enhanced SRA and notes in his most recent post that he's not so sure your aero will help in stock trim due to increased drag.

    Your aero may well help a stock SRA gain several seconds on a given track. No one knows. And that's my point. Spending $10k or even $8k when so little is known about the product is just not feasible for most folks. Writing a check and hoping for the best worked out in spades for Richard. And maybe it would for a stock SRA owner. I hope someone does it because if it helps a stock motored car like it did Richard's, then I think you'll start selling kits.

    I don't think my expectations are unrealistic. Get a kit on a stock SRA and see what happens on several different types of tracks (low speed, meduim and high speed). Then your aero will not be an unknown quantity.

    Regarding your engine builder comment: an engine builder most certainly will not guarantee increased lap times. But he' going to tell you how much power, more or less, his newly built engine will put out. Few people would spend many thousands of dollars on an engine if the engine builder said "I'll build you an engine but I don't know if it will put out more power than what you have and it could even put out less power...just write me a check and we'll see what happens."

  6. #96
    Ion
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkthomps View Post
    i'm in the market for a wing setup, i'm making enough power to lift the front of my atom on the straights,
    Holy cow! Just how much power does that take?

  7. #97
    Electron Lane's Avatar
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    There's something I don't understand here. A person buys an SRA car to compete in that spec class, correct? If that wasn't their intention, they likely wouldn't have specifically bought the SRA car.

    Knowing nothing about the class, I'm assuming that a set of wings probably wouldn't be allowed when competing in that spec class so the agerage Atom owner to be interested in these probably wouldn't be one with an SRA car.

    Someone please enlighten me.
    Ariel Atom 2, Ecotec 300, owner since 2007. Drive, Detail, Improve, Repeat. Visit my website.

  8. #98
    Ion
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lane View Post
    There's something I don't understand here. A person buys an SRA car to compete in that spec class, correct? If that wasn't their intention, they likely wouldn't have specifically bought the SRA car.

    Knowing nothing about the class, I'm assuming that a set of wings probably wouldn't be allowed when competing in that spec class so the agerage Atom owner to be interested in these probably wouldn't be one with an SRA car.

    Someone please enlighten me.
    No, not correct. But you're right that aero and almost all other mods are not allowed in the SRA series. Although the SRA series is fairly big on the east coast, it is less popular elsewhere. Some of us buy SRAs because they are relatively cheap to buy, very reliable, have relatively low operating costs and offer much speed for the dollar. But if you live where there isn't much in the way of the SRA series, you need to do other things with your SRA. Like track days or competitive events with NASA or other sanctioning bodies.

    And then there are guys who track their street Atoms and want the added performance of aero, many of whom have the ~200 hp Honda motors.

    So if you have the power output of most Atoms and want to turn competitive times at track days (even if you choose to not run in wheel-to-wheel classes) or in actual competition, you necessarily think of aero. The factory aero apparently is all show so that isn't an option and one must look elsewhere.

  9. #99
    Electron
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lane View Post
    There's something I don't understand here. A person buys an SRA car to compete in that spec class, correct? If that wasn't their intention, they likely wouldn't have specifically bought the SRA car.
    Lane this definitely not the case, TMI have sold something like 80 SRAs yet the East Coast series sees maybe 12 competitors per race, so there's lots of demand for the SRA as a race car package outside of that series, especially as a similarly equipped Atom3 is $15K or more to buy instead.

    As a ready to run racecar package I don't think there's a better deal than an SRA in the $30-60K price range, I'm hugely surprised more people don't consider them.

  10. #100
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    I agree with Buckingham. I bought an SRA and have no intention of racing it. I drive about 20+ HPDE a season. The options for track cars are $$$$$ Porsche/Ferrari etc that are not just stupid expensive to buy but the consumables are frighting. You could buy a C5 or C6 Z06 which are great track cars for money BUT they are expensive to run as well as they burn through pads/rotors/tires. Also they seem to have some glitches you have to sort through. You could get a Radical, super fast and really cool but the Hybusa motors are strung out so tight they explode way too often and cost $8k to rebuild. So along comes an SRA, used they are south of $40k, consumables are a non issue. Honda motors are bullit proof . Oh yea in the hands of a decent driver they are really fast on track. We have 19 turn track with relatively short straights and they can run with anybody. I tracked a Dodge Viper then a Lotus Elise (two cars that proved to be way to expensive to track due to availability of parts). I then built a Track Prep 350Z, super car and very reliable. Problem was it was a little heavy for HP and struggled to keep up. So I repeat, the SRA is the best track car for the money.

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