[s-cars] Dragstrip Numbers - This Time at Sea Level (A little long)

calvinlc at earthlink.net calvinlc at earthlink.net
Sat May 28 11:15:24 EDT 2005

I drove my S4 down to Cape Canaveral, FL for my TDY assignment down there
because I just couldn't bear the thought of driving a stinkin' rental car
for 3 months!  Since I was down there I decided to do a controlled
experiment of sea level vs. 5800 ft.

For refreshers I ran a 14.66 at 94.2 mph at Bandimere as my best run with
this same setup.

The Car:
1992 UrS4.  Only modification was wheels (17x8) and a chip, otherwise
totally stock.  The chip is one produced by Steve Eiche with the VMAP
sensor.  The sensor was set at the "2.8" setting.

The track and conditions:
It's Florida in late May, what else do you need to know? :)  It was in the
high 80's at the beginning of the set of runs dropping to the low 80's by
the end of the night.  Of course for any of you who have ever frequented
Orlando Speedworld you know it is in a tiny town called Bithlo where it is
situated between trailer parks and swamps :)  Pretty humid....

I got in about 6 runs.  None were worse than 14.8.  The best run of the
night I had was a 14.05 @ 95.4 mph.  Only about 1.2 mph pick-up from 5800
feet.  However, what I was able to do consistently all night is demolish
ANYTHING out of the hole.  Most of my short (60') times were below 2.1
seconds and my best was 1.901.  My weakness was 3rd gear pulling from 62 mph
all the way to the end of the run at 95.  The little K-24 just doesn't have
enough oomph up high.  If I lived at sea level I would definitely get an RS2
type setup, but at altitude I am afraid of the lag.  BTW, on that topic, I
did a test before I left that I repeated when I got to FL.  Starting in 4th
gear at 2k rpms I reach 15 psi at 2700 rpm at altitude.  It was only about
50 rpm sooner at sea level, but the difference is that 15 psi of boost at
sea level is 2.7 psi higher than at altitude. So it's not really a change in
boost vs. rpm you feel at sea level, but absolute pressure vs. rpm that
makes the difference.

For comparison purposes there were 2 2005 S4's there running between 13.9
and 14.2.  Of course neither one of the owners had a clue what my car was :)
I lost one race by a fender to a newer Z-28 and one race by a bit to a
Mercedes E55 AMG (he ran a 12.9 @ 110)

The funny thing about the AMG, though, was that it took him up until we got
to 60 mph to pass me because I just toasted him with that 1.9 short time.
This just goes to prove my theory that the 0-60 times on supercars are
greatly exaggerated.  This thing is supposed to run a 4.3 second 0-60 time
and I know my car doesn't run a 4.3. but yet I was right with him at 60
mph...hmmm.  I would guess he runs about a 5.2 or so, as he was moving
faster at the point I was at 60 mph since he was catching up.

The best part was the looks people gave the car, especially after seeing it
run.  The rice-bruner scene couldn't believe the size of the wastegate
assembly and nobody could fathom that the car had 145k miles on it.  It was
really fun to be unique and give people an education that S4s weren't just a
2000 and up phenomenon.  As a matter of fact, real S-cars stopped production
in '97 :)


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