7 Feb

Corner-weighed the car: 1718 lbs fully loaded, full tank but without me. Rear weight percentage is 65.4%, not as much as I thought but I want to run the numbers and see what moving the dry sump tank to the front of the car would do.

Anyhow, after that, went out for a long test drive in the back country. We’re having strange weather, last week it was freezing cold with near hurricane-force winds and tons of hail. One week later it’s 80 degrees. Anyway, right as I was about to turn into one of my favorite twisty roads, I caught sight of a Ferrari turning ahead of me. The first part of the road is straight and he took off like a shot, so naturally I had to see if I could catch up. I did, but he also let off to let me pass. Well that backfired – he knew as well as I did that when two cars are doing “spirited driving”, the guy in front has all of the pressure. He’s first to find out what’s around the next corner: open road, dirt scattered through the turn, water, squirrels, bicyclists, or a cop (turned out to be a bit of each). The guy behind doesn’t have to worry about that stuff and can concentrate on just keeping up. I refuse to get into “who’s got the bigger pair” so drove at 8/10s. Several times the Ferrari would lag back then catch up in a hurry. Toward the end of this road is some pretty twisty bits, so when he lagged behind the last time, I decided, no, you’re not catching up this time. At the end of the road I was pulled over, out of the car, putting on my sweatshirt because it was getting cold at altitude when the Ferrari caught up and pulled over.

I had a long enjoyable talk with the driver who turned out to be an automotive journalist. He was doing a road review of Ferrari’s first turbocharged street car, the 488 GTB with 661 hp. I learned that the base model has a turn-your-head-and-cough price of $250,000, with this one having another $100,000 in options – yikes. He used to work for Road and Track and is now a freelance writer who knows a lot about everything automotive. He was interested in Midlana and asked a lot of questions, so I was happy to open the engine cover – that’s why the cover’s off – no I hadn’t broken down 🙂 The place we stopped was a very old section of road which is hardly used, that’s why he’s sitting in the middle of the road.

Anyway, back to Midlana’s suspension, it’s definitely working better. The back end can still be made to come around but no longer happens as suddenly and is much easier to control. We’ll have to wait a few weeks to see how that translates at higher speed, but it seems promising.