Lotus Elan

Suitability of Elan +2 in drifting

PostPost by: Madbury » Tue Jun 20, 2006 9:27 am

Hi,

First up apologies to all the die hard race heads in here for dirtying up this forum with a topic on drifting. I attended the D1GP (http://www.d1gp.co.uk) exhibition match at Silverstone last weekend and as a result I'm thinking about using my +2 130S for a bit of amature drifting at the various meets that take place up and down the country. I've got some tuition lined up to learn the basics, but need some advice on sensible modifications to the +2 for driving it sideways. It could make a very unconventional drift car (non Japanese and classic) plus I would have thought the longer wheelbase and slightly wider track over the baby elan might make it easier to control.

Suggestions for modifications, tuning and parts gratefully received. My car is completely standard bar electronic ignition, a TTR solid driveshaft conversion, spax adjustables at the front (doh!) and Koni specials (TTR) at the rear. Near the top of my current list is a new wider radiator/fan and a limited slip diff (I'm a bit stuck as to what type would best be suited to drifting to be honest).

I'm also guessing I might need uprated diff output shafts and mounts, a beefier clutch (standard one feels too progressive). Oh and ultimately more power, but that's not a priority.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:53 am

I have always struggled with the whole drifting bit but if you are into it then a Plus 2 is probably a good choice provide you can actually make it slide at a reasonable speed which is what I interpret drifting is all about.

The Plus 2 is very neutral and progressive in its basic handling so controlling in a drift should be good. Its high levels of adhesion mean that you need to run hard and non sticky tyres to get it sliding at a reasonable speed, I presume the drifing crowd has a selection of the worst tyres in the world they can recommend for this activity.

Once you have the right tyres then you would need to play with spring rates to get the level of control you are looking for. Probably about a 50% spring rate increase would work I suspect with low adhesion tyres to give good slide control and minimise camber change and weight transfer which is critical for good control of drifts. I suspect a stiffer front bar and probably a rear bar also you help.

You will be the first guy in the world to do this in a plus 2 to my knowledge so it will be a development exercise that you will not get much real past experience to help you with. Have fun

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PostPost by: Madbury » Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:01 pm

rgh0 wrote:I have always struggled with the whole drifting bit but if you are into it then a Plus 2 is probably a good choice provide you can actually make it slide at a reasonable speed which is what I interpret drifting is all about.


Yeah it's something which held no interest for me until a year ago. Infact I used to dismiss it as a pointless excercise since it isn't as quick as grip driving.

However seeing cars enter a turn at 100mph+ going sideways was quite spectacular at Silverstone. As far as I understand it's quite different to a powerslide in that the drift is initiated by double clutching into a lower gear under braking and revving the engine to send a jolt down the drive train to break traction on the rear tyres.

As for tyres I assume they use a special hard wearing compound. Most of the cars were shod with Yokohamas. There was certainly lots of tyre smoke = expensive.

Thanks for the comments on spring rates I guess I'd need to play around with these to home in on an ideal setting.
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PostPost by: Madbury » Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:08 pm

rgh0 wrote:I presume the drifing crowd has a selection of the worst tyres in the world they can recommend for this activity.


Just remembered. Logically you would have thought that would be the case, but the race programme included a guide to drifting which suggested the use of standard tyres for beginners migrating to expensive grippy tyres for the professionals. Aparently increased grip actually helps them to control the drift better. Maintaining a constant angle of attack is essential for scoring maximum points.

Also it's pretty much the only motor 'sport' I can think of where cars of unequal horsepower compete head to head on a level footing. The lowest powered car was 160bhp and the highest 460bhp.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:12 pm

You are right -- Stiff sidewalls most of which are on expensive grippy tyres certainly would help control a stable drift. Sounds like you need to talk to Hoosier or other specialist tyre makers about special drift tyres. They could probably be persuaded to made their track tyres with a less grippy compound to get easy drifting with good control.

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PostPost by: thor » Wed Jun 21, 2006 9:48 pm

you're both completely off your heads.. :shock: :o :D
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PostPost by: Dag-Henning » Thu Jun 22, 2006 7:25 am

- is the Lotus rear-end really suited for drifting ? I would suspect a live rear axel and a rear anti-roll-bar would be the things to have....?? :?
Would agree with Thor.....- get your heads examined..... :lol: :lol:

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PostPost by: thor » Thu Jun 22, 2006 9:01 am

Not to mention the relative fragility of the +2.... :shock:

Doesn't this silly sport also warrant the benefit of a heavier car to gain more momentum in the drifting..?
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PostPost by: Madbury » Thu Jun 22, 2006 9:47 am

thor wrote:Not to mention the relative fragility of the +2.... :shock:

Doesn't this silly sport also warrant the benefit of a heavier car to gain more momentum in the drifting..?


Momentum plays a part certainly, but many drivers opt for lighter cars. The Toyota AE86 is very popular largely due to its relatively light weight, FR layout, vast range of tuning options and cheapness. In general if it's RWD with an LSD then you can drift.

Obviously the drive train is going to take a hammering as is the engine, but I'm guessing that the lower speeds and short running times would result in less mechanical wear compared to a car that's participating in full on competative racing. Afterall if you deliberately break traction on the rear then the lateral forces on the car should be much less compared to someone on the limit during a race.

You're right though it's a mad idea. Perhaps I should look for a cheap Nissan 200SX instead.
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PostPost by: thor » Thu Jun 22, 2006 10:12 am

A lowered Excel with a tunable Toyota engine.....?
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PostPost by: Madbury » Thu Jun 22, 2006 10:42 am

thor wrote:A lowered Excel with a tunable Toyota engine.....?


Now you're talking :)
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PostPost by: thor » Thu Jun 22, 2006 11:52 am

Good budget buy, and less sacrilegous than an early Chapman creation . . .

:)

http://atsearch.autotrader.co.uk/www/ca ... ull=SEARCH

This is a track day prepped one for £1950... ready to go?
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PostPost by: Madbury » Thu Jun 22, 2006 3:22 pm

Yeah that would be perfect. Trouble is for 2k think of all the neat things I could do to the Elan. I need a higher paid job :(
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PostPost by: thor » Thu Jun 22, 2006 3:46 pm

How very very true.
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Sat Jul 01, 2006 1:27 pm

The first tyres I got for my +2 were extremely cheap - £22 each, and some unheard of chinese make. They were as hard as mahogany, and allowed glorious drifting around the roundabouts in Milton Keynes, making a glorious wail as they did so. I found it quite neutral and controllable, but there wasn't really the power for powersliding (or perhaps I still had too mich grip!)

They were at their best on really hot, dry days, but were absolute pants in the wet (read scary). I changed them for 'proper' tyres after a year or so (10k miles), and they showed very little wear. I would be more concerned about wear on wheel bearings, and wheel breakages if you went for drifting in a big way. I have the twin wishbone set up which probably keeps the tyre contact patch more even, and helps with wheel bearings.

Odd choice for drifting, but if it works.... keep us posted!

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