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    Thread: Beating Narain Karthikeyan's Audi, Mini, BMW, Merc, Jaguar, Volvo, Porsche lap times - in my Laura TDI VRS

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      Beating Narain Karthikeyan's Audi, Mini, BMW, Merc, Jaguar, Volvo, Porsche lap times - in my Laura TDI VRS

      Beating Narain Karthikeyan's Audi, Mini, BMW, Merc, Jaguar, Volvo, Porsche lap times - in my Laura TDI VRS


      March 2015:
      Almost a year and half ago, I'd set out to the track in my Laura TDI L&K. I was running a 180 HP remap by TuneOTronics, and had installed 225/45 R17 tyres. Other than that, the entire car was stock. I had set out with a very ambitious goal of beating Narain Karthikeyan's lap time in a Laura VRS. I was in my Laura TDI. At the end of the day, I not only managed to beat that, but I'd gone fast enough to beat the new Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI's time. I was extremely pleased with how the car behaved on the track, and I was extremely pleased that I had gotten the maximum out of myself as a driver.

      Read about that here:
      213 WHP Laura TDI-VRS| Tons of mods (only OE parts)| Won Drags,AutoX,Sprint| Clocked 2:05.69 at MMRT


      November 2016
      Fast forward 1.5 yrs. from then, I had spent significant amount of time and resources on the car. We had managed to upgrade the car with only OE parts on all fronts - with upgrades going into the Engine, Suspension, Brakes and Wheels. In these 1.5 years, on this car, I had won many drag events, the sweetest memory being beating the BMW 530ds and winning the Diesel Open. I had also won a few Tarmac Autocross and Sprint events - and had managed to come 3rd in the 'Indian Open' in both type of events - in my family diesel sedan, racing against fully built race cars.

      To understand how I've built the car, and to understand everything that's in the car, please take a moment to read my thread here:
      https://gearheads.in/showthread.php?...-05-69-at-MMRT

      A major chunk of upgrades came in recently, and if you'd like to just skip ahead to those, you could start here, and read on through to the last page:
      https://gearheads.in/showthread.php?...l=1#post544064

      Now, all these upgrades had to mean something, right? How do you measure the impact of all of these upgrades - together'? I had to justify to myself first that all the time and money spent was worth the effort.
      The only way to fully measure the impact of all these upgrades together was to go to the track again, and see what kind of lime time I would be able to do. I had made up my mind.
      This time around, I set myself a reasonably difficult target to go faster by 3 seconds, than last time, meaning I was hoping to improve from 2:10.6 to a 2.07.x lap time.
      I was now running the 405NM, 203BHP street/daily tune - about 23 BHP higher than last time. I estimated a gain of 1s with increase in power. I was going to use the same tune on the track.
      I also estimated a gain of 1s each for suspension and brake upgrades - that's how I arrived at my hope of improving by 3s.

      Accompanied by fellow BHPian Nikhilb2008 & Vivek from TuneOTronics (who had cars to remap at the track), we set off from Bangalore on a clear Sunday morning. The track wasn't too hot, about 30 degrees ambient. We paid the fees, and setup, it was 2pm and time to go onto the track. This time, I was carrying my friend's SJCAM 4000, and of course the Vbox from TuneOTronics. Though I still remembered the track very well, I decided to first get used to how the car behaves on the track. I was going to take it very easy. I needed to understand the car and the track first. So with Vivek accompanying me in the car, I set about warming up and decided to put in some banker laps.


      At the track:
      I would be on Tiptronic full manual mode always, upshifting and downshifting with paddles. On my first 3 laps, I clocked between 2m:14 to 2m:19s. I'd only spent my time understanding how much grip I had, and mostly just figuring out my braking points. Then, I came back to the pits, and now that the tyres were hot and had spiked in air pressure, I reset all tyre pressures to 31psi hot. I was feeling very confident with the car, and was already loving how it had behaved so far. I should keep going faster now. So, I set out solo on a fast lap, and straight away managed a 2:08.7. Already 2 seconds up on my lap time from last year. I felt that there was much more to be had. I should improve further...

      At this juncture, I decided that I was going to do one cool down lap between every hot lap. And till I was completely in tune with the car and track, I was only going to use 4000 revs. I'd leave that last 500~1000 revs as buffer till I wanted to go all out. I wasn't sure how much time I was going to spend at the track, and I wanted to be as easy on the machinery as possible. After all, I intend to drive another lakh kms. on the car ;-). So, after a cool down lap, I went at a hot lap again, and clocked a 2:07.96. I was getting closer to my target! Another hot lap, and I clocked a 2:07.7! Whohoo, I had achieved my target. I was insanely happy with the timing. I came back into the pits, wanted to rest the car, and spend some time analysing the video.

      To my dismay, as I came into the pits, and disconnected the camera from my helmet mount, I found that the camera had switched off. I wasn't even sure what it had recorded. It had barely lasted an hour and half. Maybe, I had overestimated the battery life. So, I put the camera on charge, and looked at the captured videos. It had captured everything till my 2:07.9 lap, and had switched off during the cooling down lap post that. This was bummer! I left it on charge on my laptop and proceeded to analyse the video, but the camera was charging really slowly, and had to give up on it.

      Though I'd achieved my target, I knew I could go faster, quite a bit faster.

      Improvise, and Improve:
      Since the next few laps aren't on video (the camera took an hour to charge 20% on my laptop. I gave up and went back to the track), let me try and explain the various changes I made to go faster still:


      • a) I was feeling some amount of flex as I lean into corners, and I suspected it was due to the 225/50 profile (vs a 225/45 profile that I used last time). So I decided to eliminate the flex by going higher on tyre pressure, and hence equated all 4 tyres by 3psi higher to 34psi hot (hot after a couple of decent laps)
      • b) At this juncture, I realized I was still running with the traction control on. Hmm, I had never realized it till then since I'm usually very smooth on the throttle and I think I had a decent feeling of grip available, so I really never wheel spun out of turns, maybe a little, but not enough to upset the car or cause TC to cut power.
      • c) I'd made few mistakes in the 2:07.9 lap, which I was able to mentally make note through the video. I could improve my lines on the track, also use the track and the kerbs some more.
      • d) Personally, I felt I could also go deeper on the brakes in some of the turns, and pick the throttle up earlier in some other turns, and use a lower gear in couple of turns as well.
      • e) And remember, I wasn't using all the revs yet, now I would unleash everything. If you looked at the dyno graph on my thread, I was making peak BHP at 4250 rpm, and was flat till 4500rpm.


      I set out again to do some more hot laps, with tyre pressure at 34psi. I wanted to approach this methodically. I decided I would incorporate each of the improvement areas I'd identified in stages, not all once. Focus was important. For the first hot lap out of the pits, I just incorporated (b), basically traction control off, just to see if the systems were interfering with my lap time. I clocked a 2:06.6. I'd gained one full second with TCS off. This was awesome, and heading in the right direction.

      After a cool down lap, I decided to incorporate (c), correcting the mistakes I'd made in the 2.07.p lap on video, in terms of the lines I took on the track, and using the kerbs some more.
      This time, I clocked a 2.06.4. Awesome!

      After another cool down lap, I decided to incorporated (d), go deeper on the brakes and pick up the throttle earlier. I made mistakes, overcooked some of the corners, and had to abort the lap half way, I knew the limits now, and on the next hot lap, I did a 2:05.9. Could I possibly go any faster? COME ON!!!

      After another cool down lap, I decided to incorporate (e), use all my revs. I would unleash everything. Momentum was on my side.
      AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! I screamed, this was it. Come on baby, we can do this!!! Go! Go!! GO!!!!
      I clocked a 2m.05.69s I was so pleased with the time, I cannot tell you. I had gone 5 full seconds faster than the last time I was at the track!
      I still had time to clock some more laps on the track, but this lap felt like everything had come together. I did not want to push the car unnecessarily anymore.
      So, I took 2 cool down laps and came beaming into the pits to share the experience with Vivek.


      The icing on the cake:
      There was an IJTC, full prepped race car, also belting around the track with me. I spoke to the driver, and the best time they'd achieved (mind you a super lightened, fully race prepped engine, suspension, brakes, and on full slicks) was a 2.06.6. I had gone 1 full second faster than the IJTC race car . I had driven the entire track day with everything still in the car as I use it every day (except my spare wheel), on road tyres.


      Narain's laptimes:
      I came back home, and the first thing I wanted to see was which cars driven by Narain on the same track, had I managed to beat.

      Here are all the lap time set by Narain on this track.
      Click image for larger version. 

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      See spreadsheet below comparing my lap times in the Laura to other ‘street’ cars in which Narain clocked his laps.
      Click image for larger version. 

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      See the last 2:07.9 lap time the camera captured before it died. Thankfully the Vbox and Ipod lasted the entire session, and I was able to capture telemetry from the entire track day session, and of course that particular lap as an overlay on top of the video:




      See the VBOX graph of my 2:05.6 lap, in comparison to the 2:10.6s lap from last time.
      Click image for larger version. 

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      See the VBOX graph of my 2:05.6 lap, in comparison to the 2:07.9s lap from the video
      Click image for larger version. 

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      See the VBOX graph of comparing the fastest laps of the session - basically how I progressed through the day
      Click image for larger version. 

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      Kudos to Tune-O-Tronics for the absolute sublime, immensely consistent and reliable 203 BHP remap they gave me for this car. The engine always urged me to continue pushing the car, and it was butter smooth.

      Kudos to Vyshak (from Adiga Automotives) for beautifully sorting out all the upgrades on the car. The car always felt exactly the same on all the laps. It was incredibly reliable and consistent throughout, and not one single bolt came out of place, ever.

      After the track day, I put my spare back in, and drove home. Never once did the car felt like it had done a track day. It was as smooth and comfortable as ever.

      The only damage from the track day were some lacerations on the front left tyre only (all the other tyres are peachy), and some scrubbing on the front rotors. That's it, and I can't feel any side effects of these today.
      Click image for larger version. 

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      I said the same thing last time - and I'll say it again. I will cherish this day forever. Most teenagers hang posters of hot babes on their walls. I will make a poster of the VBOX graph of the 2m:5.69s lap, and hang it on my wall, and look at it with equal amount of desire, despite me being 36 yrs. old.

      Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did putting it together.

      P.S: Happy to do another track sometime, and go faster, on video.
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      Laura TDI: 455NM/213BHP | Rapid TDI: 381NM/153BHP
      Race Wins: Kari Memorial|Drag Wars|Valley Run|Tarmac AutoX|Roaring Champions|ILRC Sprint|ILRC 1/4 Mile|Vroom
      |Drag Fest|INDRC

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      Cool

      Great, you must be very few people in India to mod the performance of your car. In total how many laps times you did driving full throttle.

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      Killer stuff!

      Quote Originally Posted by kryptonite View Post
      There was an IJTC, full prepped race car, also belting around the track with me. I spoke to the driver, and the best time they'd achieved (mind you a super lightened, fully race prepped engine, suspension, brakes, and on full slicks) was a 2.06.6.
      The IJTC cars are far from fully prepped. Stock engine with only exhaust and ECU. Even brakes are stock. The full race prepped ITC cars do 1.52.xx.
      Low-end torque is great, but a screaming top end is magical.

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      Quote Originally Posted by KimiRaikkonen View Post
      Great, you must be very few people in India to mod the performance of your car. In total how many laps times you did driving full throttle.
      I'm pretty sure many have modded their cars in this country. Did you mean to say something else?

      I was on full throttle for 10 of the 22 laps, wherever I clocked a 2m:19.x or lower.
      I was pushing engine, suspension and brakes - basically everything to the max for 7 of the 22 laps, wherever I clocked a 2m:08.x or lower.

      By the way, Kimi, if you run into Seb, could you please ask him to go full throttle? He seems to have found a lot of extra time to talk on the radio nowadays ;-)


      Quote Originally Posted by Yakuza View Post
      Killer stuff!
      The IJTC cars are far from fully prepped. Stock engine with only exhaust and ECU. Even brakes are stock. The full race prepped ITC cars do 1.52.xx.
      Fair enough. I will ask the mods to rephrase to read:
      'Race prepped car weighing 837kgs, stock brakes, stock engine with ECU & exhaust mods, race suspension, racing slicks, and mechanical LSD'.

      Cool ;-)?
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      Laura TDI: 455NM/213BHP | Rapid TDI: 381NM/153BHP
      Race Wins: Kari Memorial|Drag Wars|Valley Run|Tarmac AutoX|Roaring Champions|ILRC Sprint|ILRC 1/4 Mile|Vroom
      |Drag Fest|INDRC

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