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Old 04-08-2010, 10:29 PM   #23
Focus Enthusiast
Join Date: Aug 2006
Fan#: 37876
Location: Fairfield, CT
What I Drive: 2003 Focus SVT, silver

Posts: 337
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I agree with geezer that a combo track and street car can be a compromise. Keep in mind the type of track use intended though. A RACE car that's street driven just isn't likely to make any sense these days. When I started getting involved with SCCA it was with friends running Improved Touring and Showroom Stock classes back in the late '80s/early '90s, when you could actually be regionally competitive with a car you drove to the track..stuffed full of race tires and tools of course!

I do not agree with many of the remarks regarding suspension. Stiffer is not always better, period. There's no such rule. (The same applies to ride height: lower does not automatically equal an improvement in handling. A particular car's suspension geometry has it's quirks, strengths, weaknesses etc). Without any experience with a particular spring/shock set-up, claiming it's "too soft" is just empty commentary. Adjustable shocks are not practical for most people, even including amateur "racers" (as opposed to track-day folks), since (aside from the extra cost of the good multi-adjustable ones like Penske) it takes quite a bit of experience, knowledge and track time to properly evaluate/test setting combinations to optimize a spring/shock combo for a given car on a given track. The FRPP Spec Focus suspension IS streetable, but it depends on the quality of the streets in your neighborhood. Around here the pothole population is like never before this past winter, and I am about to replace a floppy front strut that suffered a few hard smacks.

Brake component choice again depends on intended use. I am not a racer, my car gets me to work every day, and when it's on track for HPDE or time trial use I am conservative with the brakes, not hammering them at 10/10ths every single lap. Quality brake fluid (Ate) and lots of (stock SVT) pad material works for me so far.

Tires, tires, tires...I have never run my street tires on track. Geezer is dead on target with the remarks about the total destruction that full tread tires can suffer. If your track day happens to be wet, maybe use full tread to get some experience pushing under such conditions. I have always had a set of track wheels/tires, sometimes true R-compound stickies, and currently Dunlop Direzza "relatively sticky street" tires. I went the cheaper route with the Dunlops this time, but can not complain really. For me, lap times are less important than consistency from the tire grip AND the driver.

Bottom line appears to be: What are your goals and intended/expected use of your car?

I live with compromise every 20 mile round trip commute, waiting for those all too few days on track
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