McLaren Life banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Went for my first track day in the 12C at Autobahn Country Club's south course yesterday. I usually drive my Exige on track - which is quite a different animal than the 12C. My best time was 1:36.17 which is not all that fast but not too shabby given that I wasn't pushing it that hard. Some thoughts, driving in Track/Track unless otherwise mentioned:

The cornering limits of the car are phenomenally high. This is accentuated by the very inobtrusive traction control and brake steer. On the couple occasions where the rear broke free, the traction control stepped in just a bit to rapidly bring the rear back in line. As I've been thoroughly trained by the Exige to quickly countersteer, I'm not sure what the car would have done in the hands of a really ham-fisted driver but I suspect it would take care of you just fine.

Steering feel is excellent - a little lighter than my liking but no less communicative than that of the Exige.

Brake steer is amazing. I got used to this by the 2nd or 3rd lap. It seems like it is easiest to activate with excessive trail braking - i.e. brake much harder than normally while turning in, wait for the second bite from brake steer, then get right back on the gas and power out of the turn. It seemed like brake steer was more easily triggered in Track handling mode although it was still there in Sport mode. Sometimes it would activate when turning in without the brake, but it was much easier to consistently activate it trail braking.

Brake feel is a major weakness. I have the steel brakes and they were rather inconsistent. I think it is only partly a heat issue as the feel varied from corner to corner with similar brake pedal pressure. The occasional soft pedal and decreased brake performance reminds me of my Exige before it got stainless steel brake lines. I am pretty sure the 12C has steel brake lines so it's probably not that, but I wonder if there is something happening in the ABS unit. That said, letting everything cool off does restore the feel & consistency.

Unfortunately, all the electronic wizardry makes throttle steer difficult to impossible. The car is just really not willing to let the rear slide out. Perhaps if I ever get brave enough to turn all the stability control off I can evaluate this more - but the limits are so high that I'd have to be going far faster than I'm comfortable with. It is astonishing though how fast the car is and how easy it is to drive fast, pulling >1g in the corners.

Engine / tire heat is a major issue. While running on track I got failure warnings on all four tire pressure/temperature sensors that cured themselves after everything cooled off. Definitely let out at least 4 psi before going on track. More disappointingly, I was only able to run for 3 hard laps (about 6 minutes) before the engine coolant temperature warning came on. Autobahn is a pretty tight track and I keep the RPMs over 6k so I was running pretty hard, but still - 6 minutes is very short. I do wonder if the warning is overly conservative though as my first session out I wasn't expecting the warning & couldn't hear it over the engine, so I ran for nearly 40 minutes at full tilt without causing any harm to the engine. Incidentally, that 40 minute session burned through an entire tank of gas, so about 6 mpg.

Finally, I got a lot of compliments from everyone else at the track. Standard exhaust is very quiet from outside the car though. Inside, I think this is the only time I appreciate the Harry Metcalfe option - especially combined with the turbo whine.

Overall the car is mentally fast on the track. Is it more fun than my Exige? Hard to say - they're very different. In some ways the Exige is more challenging, in some ways the 12C is. The engine heat issue in the 12C is a real killjoy though. But I certainly can't wait to bring the 12C to Road America in October.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,177 Posts
Good write up,im not sure were it went wrong with the engine heat? At the british event at castle coombe 17 of us were averaging 5.5mpg in 20 minute sessions for 6 sessions and not one overheated,the day time temp was about 22/23 so probably not as hot as where you are.From what i can remember we were at full chat from 3500 to 8500 because of the torque.Im probably wrong,but could it be that if you were running at 6000 and above all the time that was the problem and did you need to run that higher rpm.One thing i remember that the 12c develpoment drivers who were our instructors told us to do was to short shift between some corners as it had the grunt and didnt need the revs all the time!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,955 Posts
I can't recall the torque/rpm curve but I concur with Andy about driving on torque as an option. I am currently in the Dolomites with my Mac and have been experimenting with revs versus short shifts; the straights between bends are typically short.

I've concluded that short shifting is a very viable option especially as the engine delivers and the gearbox obedient. Going for high revs does not seem to deliver more speed, well it is fun in low gears, but does give some engine braking. Short shifting now seems natural to me.

I agree about the brakes. Still not convinced about the modulation and wonder if the master cylinder is the issue.......in other words not me:D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Hmm, good suggestions. I will be back at Autobahn on August 6 and will try short shifting. Feels strange to me since I'm so used to the Exige which goes on the second cam at 5k. The engine braking seems quite substantial to me and is nice when the brakes decide to feel squishy.

Temps were 29-30 C so a bit higher but I don't think that should make a huge difference. Also I don't think the engine overheated per se - the oil and water temps would go orange and a warning would come up, but the car would still perform as expected. On the first session when I didn't notice the warning I was going full tilt for 40 minutes - oil and water temps were in the red but again there didn't seem to be any adverse effects (except for the tire temperature/pressure sensors overheating).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,177 Posts
Hmm, good suggestions. I will be back at Autobahn on August 6 and will try short shifting. Feels strange to me since I'm so used to the Exige which goes on the second cam at 5k. The engine braking seems quite substantial to me and is nice when the brakes decide to feel squishy.

Temps were 29-30 C so a bit higher but I don't think that should make a huge difference. Also I don't think the engine overheated per se - the oil and water temps would go orange and a warning would come up, but the car would still perform as expected. On the first session when I didn't notice the warning I was going full tilt for 40 minutes - oil and water temps were in the red but again there didn't seem to be any adverse effects (except for the tire temperature/pressure sensors overheating).
Let us know how you get on choatie:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,955 Posts
choatie. That's a revealing comment about getting the Exige/Elise on the cam as the Mac needs 1500 revs or so for the Turbos to be doing their thang.

I was amazed on track at Castle Coombe by the shear linear drive from lowish revs. And that has been reinforced on my current trip. Where it goes wrong is if you drop two gears to go, so if you drop one and keep prepared(so drop another if needed before demand so to speak) then the car delivers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
313 Posts
The supercharged Lotus does not have the cam problem, it is the NA Toyota engine that only switches on at about 5.5k revs. Likewise, Lotus with LSD and ESP can be floated round a corner in a very controlled slide with ease. Also, the track pack on the Lotus includes oil coolers and the temp never rises whatever you do. It seems strange that the 12c doesn't have a proper engine temp reading. Everything else is in tenths of a degree, so why not engine temp.? I'm glad I have not specified TPMS as it just seems a huge problem.
Has anyone tried turning off the ESP on the 12c? Henry Catchpole in that latest Evo article, says he had it off in Morocco and got very controllable slides, and also had it off when going up the hill at Goodwood, so as to be able to burn rubber at the start. Find a nice safe place and let us know - is it really that easy?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
The supercharged Lotus does not have the cam problem, it is the NA Toyota engine that only switches on at about 5.5k revs. Likewise, Lotus with LSD and ESP can be floated round a corner in a very controlled slide with ease. Also, the track pack on the Lotus includes oil coolers and the temp never rises whatever you do. It seems strange that the 12c doesn't have a proper engine temp reading. Everything else is in tenths of a degree, so why not engine temp.? I'm glad I have not specified TPMS as it just seems a huge problem.
Has anyone tried turning off the ESP on the 12c? Henry Catchpole in that latest Evo article, says he had it off in Morocco and got very controllable slides, and also had it off when going up the hill at Goodwood, so as to be able to burn rubber at the start. Find a nice safe place and let us know - is it really that easy?
I think it'll be a bit before I'm brave enough to turn the ESP off. The supercharged Lotus definitely still has a switch over in the cam. There is certainly more torque down low with the supercharger but there is still a noticeable bump in power on the second cam.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top