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Racer Recap: Cameron Benner takes third at a wet Infineon Raceway!

COBB Tuning

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Infineon was wet, to say the very least. The COBB Tuning team arrived Friday afternoon to a damp paddock, and after consulting the weather forecast it looked as though the weekend’s weather was only going to get worse. With heavy rains in the forecast we began mapping out our setup strategy, with plans to use Saturday as a full day of “wet setup” time.


Despite our initial assumptions, the heavier rains didn’t roll into the North Bay until later in the afternoon, leaving us with a drying track and one session of “dry” track to dial in our “wet” setup. This of course proved to be troublesome when it came to setting up our car for the rain, which would most assuredly arrive on time for Sunday’s time attack.




As conditions changed we moved from softer rebound and compression settings back to stiffer and vice a versa. It wasn’t until the last session of the day that we finally got a full 3-lap stint in the standing-water like conditions that we would see Sunday. We setup the car to be very compliant and predictable, both characteristics that are helpful in heavy rain; we softened the compression and rebound, and moved to the full soft position for both the front and rear anti-roll bars. The car was doing great in the rain; I was very pleased with our ability to switch from an aggressive dry setup to a full wet setup in such a short period of time. We set some of the faster laps of the day in the wet and intermediate conditions, but towards the end of Sunday it was clear that there was a developing issue with our intake system.


The massive amounts of water spinning off the tires were dowsing our intake filter and the water was migrating up towards the MAF, eventually drowning it. This in turn interfered with the car’s ECU, forcing massive amounts of fuel into the engine driving Exhaust Temperatures skyward. The more laps that were run in the wet, the worse the symptoms became; the car would hiccup unless throttle was applied ever so slowly and would rev to a ceiling of only 5k. Our logs showed we were making boost, but the power was not there. An evaluation between car chief, myself and calibrator led us to some extravagant attempts at keeping the intake system dry.




We began our Sunday morning with building a makeshift fender liner crafted from cardboard and duct tape, which despite using an entire roll, summarily failed. However, not dissuaded we moved onto even more innovative fixes; taking engineering cues from LIC Motorsports, we ran a 8ft long piece of brake duct tubing directly from the turbo MAF housing into the cabin of the car, with the idea in mind that there would be considerably less exposure to water here. This made for some great photos, and really exemplified what a bunch of committed engineers and mechanics are capable of, but in the end ultimately failed.




Even when switching to a new MAF sensor (courtesy of a generous enthusiast at the event) it was clear we could not keep the system dry. Before finally parking the car for the remainder of competition, we were able to post one timed lap that was just good enough to squeeze us onto the podium in 3rd place. Though this is our worst finish since Buttonwillow, we gained more championship points, and the lack of competition at round. 9, moves us further into the lead. While this weekend was rife with frustration and adversity, we succeeded in bringing our car home in one piece (a good number of driver’s were not so lucky) and I felt we really tried our best to fix an issue that would have led many to just pack up and leave.


Looking ahead to round 10, and our last Redline Event, we will be re-building our transmission, the car will be re-tuned at COBB’s new Social Facility and we will be ready to take on the track record and clinch the championship at Fontana. Our newest sponsor, MSI has supplied us with several parts that will also be fitted for the last event, which will help with front end grip and turn-in and hopefully find us a few more tenths.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQ6w2wJGtYE]Cameron Benner 1 Lap of Infineon[/ame]

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Congrats on the finish.


Brake ducting wasn't a great idea, flow through that kind of tube is remarkably poor. Do you plan on optimizing the car for rain scenarios in the future? Composite fender liners, or moving the MAF somewhere else, maybe? I'm sure you could have had a winning lap, had you been able to keep running.

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