So I had another good weekend with the A700... really starting to get clicked in with how to get the best from it, and my concerns about modified running have been blown out the water, which is nice.
Saturday, headed to the outdoor gas track. Wasn't feeling to bright to be honest, having had a heavy session the night before, and didn't sleep particularly well. Given I wanted to practice mod (given the upcoming TITC), I thought best just to take it slowly, so gave the 417 a run first to get my eye into the track, and get used to the power having only run blinky 13.5 recently.
Still, gave me the opportunity to check the setting of the A700, and whilst originally I was going to strap in a boosted 10.5 to build up to speed, than plan got blown out the window when the 10.5 refused to work... so straight in with the 4.5t. And actually, I don't know what I was worrying about!
Car felt really nice and easy to drive with the setup I had on the car, and seemed to be riding the bumps quite well. Would get a little loose if coming off power quickly, but could correct this, and the forward traction was just immense! Braking was very good too, which I was a little surprised as the traction wasn't so good in the track.
Now I didn't make too many changes, apart from softening the damper off a little. Really was struggling not feeling so well, and it was cold... so just concentrated on turning laps. One thing I did change was going to 3mm under the rear inner links, helped to make the car a little more stable throughout the corner. Then the rain came, and put paid to any more running, but overall I was happy with how it went.
Anyway, with the rain, Sunday I headed back to the indoor track to carry on running through different settings.
I started out with the car set-up the same way I had been before, with long links, reasonably stiff springs and dampers, low front roll centre, and roll bars. Running through my list, tried softer springs dampers (went slower), removing the roll bars (again went slower). Seems that with the long links, every time I tried to make the car a little softer, it would lose corner speed, and start to pitch around too much. One thing I did find interesting though was that adding the bulkhead flex screws back in did gain lap-time, going from a 12.5 to a 12.2. Maybe it was the car simply working the springs better, but the lap times don't lie.
Next on my list was to try out the shorter links. After a bit of phaffing, I made up a second set of top links just to making switching out easier if needed. On track.. big difference. Could instantly feel the car was more reactive, and rolling a lot less (as expected), but with an increase in grip too. I know now that the shocks weren't set right (now being too stiff), so I made some more alterations, basically softening off the springs and dampers again, and it all seemed to move in the right direction, getting a good consistent balance.
Part of my issues were with the bumps in the track, too soft, and it would be good over the bumps, but pitch too much into the corner. This is something I'm going to need to work on a bit harder (wondering if looking at the symmetric dampers again will help here to).
Anyway, I did try out Freddies settings at the end of the day, and I will say the balance felt good, but was too soft for the track. Given I was running out of time at that point, I simply moved the shocks and dampers out 2mm all round from his setting, and then found another 3/10ths of laptime... It's still not perfect, as the damping and spring rates aren't right IMO, and I want to get the roll bars back on the car for corner speed... but it's a move in the right direction for sure, and geometry wise I'll probably use that as the starting base setup for the TITC. Might need to run a little less rear droop to aid initial turn in, and possibly soften the rear a little to remove the slight oversteer tendancy in the high speed sweepers, so I'll add that to the list for testing next weekend, along with the IAS.
Apart from that, just need to improve my driving now!