Diary December 2006
I ordered a set of Rotas from BlackWatch Racing. Robert specified the wheels specifically for the Elise. They are exactly the right offset and are as wide as can be fitted. I decided to go with the 15 and 16 inch rims, down one inch from stock. There are some advantages to making this change including lighter weight, more sidewall which can help keep more tread on the ground during cornering, and a smaller outside diameter. The latter can provide an acceleration advantage.
I decided to go with black, mostly out of curiosity. Obviously this is pure bling and a decision based only on cosmetics. I doubt the wheels will handle any better in this color.
This was before...
I was frustrated by Yokohama's pricing of the A048 tires. I decided to try the Toyo RA-1 tires as an alternative. I bought 205 x 50 R 15 for the front and 225 x 50 R 16 for the rears. These are close to the size of the originals and within tolerance of the ABS software. I could have gone large and lower profile at the rear but since I drive long distances I decided to stay close to stock.
My first opportunity to try these wheels and tires was at Thunderhill. I ran four sessions and did not ever feel comfortable with the feel of the car. I did not have the same confidence as I did with the A048 stock LSS combination wheels and tires. The first session was just to scrub in the tires. I started with the pressure too high, a couple of pounds higher than stock. By the end of the last session I was running a couple of pounds less than stock. I was actually running two pounds under stock hot.
Note the difference in tread pattern. Since I did not shave the tread depth, I may have just been experiencing block squirm.
Christmas Tree Decorations?
There were a couple of presents included in the shipping box from BlackWatch Racing. Included was a pretty stamped silhouette of the Elise. I did not know what it was and since it was the holiday season, I hung it on the tree. Robert suggested it might do better as a bookmark.
Three of us ran Thunderhill, all Storm Titanium in color. Since I never felt comfortable with the tires (see above) I was usually running at the back of the pack. However once we went out together. I waved one of them by on the front straight and followed him down. I generally brake early but this time I was going to be a bit more aggressive going into one, just so I could keep up with the other Elise, watching his line and watching the car. We went deeper and deeper and then I decided this was my braking point. He went a bit deeper and then started braking.
Yep, a bit too deep! It was exciting seeing an Elise spinning in front of me, me aiming at his door and looking at the expression on his face. Since I had left plenty of room, there was no near miss, but it was fun.
The Exige looked nice.