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Thunderhill Track Day

 
Old 09-06-2015, 08:53 PM
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2015 C63 AMG S Edition 1, 2015 GL63
Thunderhill Track Day

I mentioned in a few other posts that I was going to Thunderhill Sept 4 with my 2015 C63 S Edition 1. The only real prep I did was to put in DOT 6 brake fluid. My guess was that the Michelin Super Sports would give out first and I was wrong. It was the brake pads. The first 15 minute session was to allow for familiarization of the 5 mile track with the new bypass on the West Loop. I followed a track modified C6 Z06 to familiarize myself with this configuration as I had run each loop many times before but never combined. I should note that I also have a C6 Z06 with Hoosiers and I mention this not to brag but to note that I had to adjust my frame of reference with the new AMG. In my first session, I definitely over drove the car and had to really pare it back in the corners as this car, while capable, is no Vette and more importantly, the Michelins are no Hoosiers. The second session was much better as a backed off and gradually built speed again and the Sport+ mode allows quite a bit of leeway before stepping in. in fact, I had a couple of very nice four wheel drifts in a few corners. One disconcerting factor was that in Sport+, the collision assist (or whatever it is call) intervened unexpectedly...twice. Each time, it went full ABS on me and totally caught me off guard. I vowed to take the third session in Race Mode. Never got that third session. After my friend followed me for two laps in his GTR to get some footage during the second session (see link below), I really got on it and floored it out of the corners (letting traction control and the LSD sort out the grip and getting on the brakes, late and hard. My low fuel light came on, or more accurately, had been on for some time I guess as when I checked the gauge, I was darn nearly empty. Not wanting to slow others down (I was in the top group), I hit the pits right away without much of a cool down. The pumps are at the far end of the pit but even that distance was not much help as when I parked at the pumps, smoke started rolling out of my front wheel wells. I checked the brakes and was so alarmed that they may catch fire, that I drove around the paddock to cool them. Once I stopped again, the pads were nearly gone and their material totally white. Clearly toasted them. So my day was done and just grabbed my lunch and headed home. The only good part is I missed most of the holiday traffic and made it back to Reno in short order. I took the back roads rather than I-5 and I-80 and have to say, this car dispatches slower traffic so effortlessly and in short order on the highway. The ride home was pretty fun and, in case you are wondering, the brakes were fine for road use. In the end, there was more pad left on them than I had thought. Still not safe for more track use though.

So my summary of the new AMG C63 S on the track? Overall, pretty impressive. Better rubber and brake pads are definitely in order for the next event. It was a perfect day at 72 degrees and nothing but the brakes got hot. All other temps stayed well in the normal zone. Yes, it does understeer as you might expect, gets a bit loose in the back end under heavy braking, but the steering feel provides more feedback on the track than expected given the lack of general feel on the street.

My friend in his GTR was 11 seconds faster than me and he is a very good driver. For context, he was on Dunlops (not sure model but near slicks) and my Z06 on Nitto NT05s is about a second a lap slower than the GTR on THill's east loop. With my Hoosiers, I am about 6 seconds faster. So being 11 seconds slower than him is not that bad. If I could have finished the day, I think I would have shaved at least 2 or 3 seconds off my time. Another day. I never had the perfect lap given the short amount of time but did see 1.1 Gs on a couple of corners and hit 136 MPH on the front straight on one lap.

A couple of videos from the day:



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Old 09-07-2015, 06:22 AM
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Nice post. Great vids! Looks like an awesome place to test your car out. Wish we had places like that here in the UK. Enjoy it mate!
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Old 09-07-2015, 07:10 AM
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Thanks for sharing Looks like you had some good fun, no doubt. 1.2 g's thru the corner on stock Michelins is pretty impressive.
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Old 09-07-2015, 08:57 AM
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Can you tell us How you used the transmission? Did you always use it in manual shifting or did you see how it reacted in drive and if it shifted down it the corners properly?
Thanks for the vids, looks like a good day.
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Old 09-07-2015, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by RDOCA View Post
Can you tell us How you used the transmission? Did you always use it in manual shifting or did you see how it reacted in drive and if it shifted down it the corners properly?
Thanks for the vids, looks like a good day.
I had it in Sport+ For all sessions with plans to try "Race" after that. Unfortunately, with the brakes, never got to that "next session" to try race mode.

Kurt
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by kfehling View Post
I had it in Sport+ For all sessions with plans to try "Race" after that. Unfortunately, with the brakes, never got to that "next session" to try race mode.

Kurt
Kurt
If you left it is D did you find that the Algorithm did a good job of keeping you in the correct gear for the situation or were you forced to pull the left paddle sometimes to get the revs up thru and out of corners?
With all the torque in this car it might not be such a problem as with cars I have had that needed revs to have enough power. Just would like your thoughts on this.
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by RDOCA View Post
Kurt
If you left it is D did you find that the Algorithm did a good job of keeping you in the correct gear for the situation or were you forced to pull the left paddle sometimes to get the revs up thru and out of corners?
With all the torque in this car it might not be such a problem as with cars I have had that needed revs to have enough power. Just would like your thoughts on this.
Good question! The transmission did a brilliant job of being in the right gear at the right time. I never once had to shift for more power. I did accidentally up shift once and it really confused the car for a bit as it now "thought" I wanted a higher gearing for what I was doing. It kept shifting sooner than I wanted for a short while. It soon figured it out again (probably because I just floored it several times) and then it seemed to be once again, clairvoyant.

I really lament the fact that I never got to try Race Mode as I am sure it would have been fun. However, I was focusing on learning the car's limits so I didn't want to do too much at once.
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Old 09-08-2015, 01:29 AM
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Originally Posted by kfehling View Post
Good question! The transmission did a brilliant job of being in the right gear at the right time. I never once had to shift for more power. I did accidentally up shift once and it really confused the car for a bit as it now "thought" I wanted a higher gearing for what I was doing. It kept shifting sooner than I wanted for a short while. It soon figured it out again (probably because I just floored it several times) and then it seemed to be once again, clairvoyant.

I really lament the fact that I never got to try Race Mode as I am sure it would have been fun. However, I was focusing on learning the car's limits so I didn't want to do too much at once.
For your next track opportunity, consider the following. You can put the engine / transmission in race mode without also engaging sport handling mode or setting the suspension to its stiffest setting. Just select each setting individually in the car set up screen. The benefit of race mode for the transmission and engine is that it appears to provide more power (based on at least one dyno test), the transmission will hold gears until red line and it shifts faster up and down. Once you get a better feel for the car, you can change the sport handling mode as it will allow you greater leeway to slide the tail around if you wish.
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Old 09-08-2015, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by irablumberg View Post
For your next track opportunity, consider the following. You can put the engine / transmission in race mode without also engaging sport handling mode or setting the suspension to its stiffest setting. Just select each setting individually in the car set up screen. The benefit of race mode for the transmission and engine is that it appears to provide more power (based on at least one dyno test), the transmission will hold gears until red line and it shifts faster up and down. Once you get a better feel for the car, you can change the sport handling mode as it will allow you greater leeway to slide the tail around if you wish.
I didn't realize this and will definitely give it a try. Thanks!
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Old 09-08-2015, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by kfehling View Post
I didn't realize this and will definitely give it a try. Thanks!
Happy to help a fellow owner. I hope to play with these settings in November. I'm going to the intermediate AMG Driving Academy at Laguna Seca. I believe they are now running both C63S and GT-S. Hopefully, I can do some of the laps in the C63S and hopefully they will let me use race mode.

I'll give a full report.
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Old 09-08-2015, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by irablumberg View Post
Happy to help a fellow owner. I hope to play with these settings in November. I'm going to the intermediate AMG Driving Academy at Laguna Seca. I believe they are now running both C63S and GT-S. Hopefully, I can do some of the laps in the C63S and hopefully they will let me use race mode.

I'll give a full report.
Ira,
I'm going to the same 2 day course in Dec at COTA and look forward to your report.
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Old 09-08-2015, 03:49 PM
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If the AMG track days in USA are same as Australia the whole day is done in "race" mode.The only limitation for us was the 150mph speed limiter on the cars.Which we hit 1/2 way down our back straight. It is the best car day you will ever do & the big bonus, it is their vehicles you are wearing out tires , brakes & motor etc .Enjoy.
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Old 09-08-2015, 06:19 PM
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I hope to do the three day course at COTA in December but have yet to finalize as I may have a conflict.

On a different note, I asked my dealer to talk with their AMG rep to see if we can deactivate the automatic parking brake while at the track. I don't want to flat spot the rotor when coming off the track and the rotors are still hot.
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Old 12-07-2015, 12:32 PM
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Thanks for sharing. Sonoma is probably a better track for this car. Thunderhill and Laguna are notoriously tough on brakes. Or you can just coast the straights and let all of the cars by. A 405mm Brembo GT kit would be a lot more appropriate for the front of this car.
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Old 12-09-2015, 11:50 PM
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I would like to do Sonoma soon too. I love that track and used to visit it often given that I lived in Santa Rosa and Novato for about 12 years. I am working with my dealer to see if we can upgrade to the carbon ceramic brakes despite the brake dry feature on my car. If not, a big brake kit will be in order.
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Old 12-10-2015, 08:45 AM
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Great info. A sedan like a C63 is terrific car but as you have so eloquently noted, it is really not an all out track car.
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Old 04-26-2016, 08:28 PM
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Ready for round two!

As we speak, Porterfield is making a set of rear brake pads with their "ST-43" track compound. They already had a set for the front ready to go. The DOT 6 fluid is already in. In addition, I have ordered a set of Michelin Pilot Port Cup 2 tires all the way around on O.Z. Formula HLT wheels. I ended up having to stick with stock tire sizes as the next width up were on back order and there was no guarantee that they would arrive in time for my May 6th event at Thinderhill.

I will try a couple of the suggestions on track settings as discussed above and will post results and videos following the event. I will also post some more here as products start to arrive.

Can't wait! Let me know if anyone has any other settings they would like me to try or other ideas.

Kurt
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Old 08-18-2016, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by kfehling View Post
Ready for round two!

As we speak, Porterfield is making a set of rear brake pads with their "ST-43" track compound. They already had a set for the front ready to go. The DOT 6 fluid is already in. In addition, I have ordered a set of Michelin Pilot Port Cup 2 tires all the way around on O.Z. Formula HLT wheels. I ended up having to stick with stock tire sizes as the next width up were on back order and there was no guarantee that they would arrive in time for my May 6th event at Thinderhill.

I will try a couple of the suggestions on track settings as discussed above and will post results and videos following the event. I will also post some more here as products start to arrive.

Can't wait! Let me know if anyone has any other settings they would like me to try or other ideas.

Kurt


Thanks for all the great info Kurt! A few comments from my time with the car on and off the track so far...

- Race mode is definitely better than Sport+ by far! The transmission will hold high RPMS all the way through the corners right to red line and you do get about 15 more WHP (Verified this on the Dyno - someone else mentioned it above)

- Carbon Ceramic Brakes - don't do it! I have replaced one set of carbon ceramic rotors already, fortunately under warranty as there was a service bulletin on them. They were starting to oxidize. The replacement costs on each rotor is $6000! Even the parts guy was laughing when he told me the price. I have had the car out 2 times on the new rotors, they look OK but they have me concerned. I don't think they would last a full season (6 - 8 races)

- Would love to see how the brakes work out for you. Carbotech also has a set of brake pads in a number of different compounds

- I'm running the Bridgestone RE-71Rs on the track. Stock wheel dimensions, a bit more of an offset pushing the wheels out a bit further and 255 on the front 275 on the rear. Tires are making a world of a difference! The PSS tires aren't the greatest. The RE-71's start to get pretty greasy at lap 7 - 8 pushing pretty hard. Would love to hear out the Sport Cups work out for you

- I have a bigger front lip and a rear lid spoiler and I can honestly feel a difference

- Next up some lowering springs which hopefully gives me a little camber... burning out the tires way too fast and not evenly

Have fun at the track!

J
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Old 08-20-2016, 12:57 AM
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Thanks J. All good info. I am heading out to Thunderhill again on September 2nd; this will be the third event in the car and the second on the Cup tires and Porterfield brake pads. Last time, the Cup tires overheated like crazy. I would start out with 28psi and they would still get up near 50 psi after a few laps. It was in the 80s so the track was warm but still, could not push them too much. I am having them nitrogen filled this coming week and I hope that addresses the issue to some degree.

I agree on the carbon brakes, the more research I do, the more I realize that they are not worth it. Plus, $5k would get me a heck of a steel set up. At the last event though, the stock rotors and Portferfields seemed to do just fine. I never had any fade. I did manage to melt the center lug nut caps on the OZ wheels though! Lesson learned to leave those off this time.

I will post some videos and other details following the event in Sept 2nd.

Kurt

Last edited by kfehling; 08-20-2016 at 12:59 AM.
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Old 08-23-2016, 06:41 PM
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I received new pads and rotors then bedded the brakes that evening - no issues now
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Old 08-23-2016, 08:17 PM
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Guys,

What pads do you recommend for the track?
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Old 08-24-2016, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by - Guilty - View Post
Guys,

What pads do you recommend for the track?
These:
http://racebrakes.com/product_info.php?productID=15834

I would call them and ask what different compounds they have as I cannot remember which I have. I can tell you that I have the ones meant for track use only as they take a bit of heat to get them to bite. They have others available if you want to use them for street and track without changing in between. I would also advise to change your brake fluid to DOT 6.

Kurt
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Old 08-25-2016, 07:56 AM
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Nice vids! Keep them coming!!
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Old 08-25-2016, 08:30 PM
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Should have some new ones after the Sept 2 event. Stay tuned!
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Old 08-26-2016, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by kfehling View Post
I hope to do the three day course at COTA in December but have yet to finalize as I may have a conflict.

On a different note, I asked my dealer to talk with their AMG rep to see if we can deactivate the automatic parking brake while at the track. I don't want to flat spot the rotor when coming off the track and the rotors are still hot.
yes this is main concern, I am planning on just leaving the car on for a few minutes until the brakes cool down
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