Cecil’s Hi-Tech hits the track for SCCA Track Night In America at Thunder Hill
Published August 24, 2020
It’s been a long time since we have been able to participate in any “normal” car related activities. With most events, like cars and coffee and the National Lotus Meet cancelled, it was a time for some much needed automotive stress relief.
The Lotus Elise needed a little preparation prior to getting back on the track, so it was time to perform some pre-event modifications to ensure we would have a safe and reliable vehicle. The Lotus has a known weak point in the rear suspension toe links. This is not a failure that you want to experience at speed on a track, and with 80,000 mi. on the chassis we decided it was time to upgrade to the InoKinetic RTDBRACE. This kit replaces the single shear ball-joint assembly with double shear, high-strength rod ends and a central brace that transfers loads to the chassis.
With the brace and upgraded toe links installed it was time to move on to the wheels.
We managed to score a set of used Konig wheels from a fellow Lotus enthusiast in a 15” / 17” fitment that were in near new condition, as they had only been used by the previous owner for a few autocross events. These fit our needs perfectly, as the smaller 15” wheel has better turn-in characteristics than the standard 16” wheel, as well as providing greater clearance to the fender liners, which tend to rub with the stock wheels under heavy braking on track. The 15” wheels also afford a much greater selection of tire choices. A set of high strength extended wheel lug bolts were added to ensure we wouldn’t experience any failures under the high cornering loads experienced on track.
Wildfire Concerns and Trackday
We finished the car around midnight and got it back on the ground and ready to go.
Unfortunately, mother nature was not cooperating and we were about to experience another set back. By the time we’re done prepping the car it had become evident that the situation with the wildfires was becoming worse. The parking lot was now covered in ash and the smoke was thick in the air. With uncontrolled wildfires burning across the state, and close to the shop, it was looking like the event would be shut down. By the following morning the situation had become even worse and the air quality was so bad that we had to shut down the shop early to protect the staff. At this point we assumed that the event would be cancelled for sure, but we received word from the SCCA that the event would proceed, and conditions at the track were acceptable.
We decided to go ahead and try to make the best of the situation and attend the event. Conditions at the track were not ideal, with a haze of smoke in the air and temperatures in the high 90’s, but everyone tried to stay positive and the SCCA put on a good event. We got plenty of incident free track time and the Lotus performed well under the conditions.