It has been an exciting and busy summer for OnPoint, our second year in business. There have been a number of highlights I want to share with all of you this year, along with a number of people who have been a great help. As many of you know, 14 is my lucky number and the number that I run on all of my cars whenever possible – so I had a strong suspicion 2014 was going to be a banner year for us. It certainly was. Here are some of the highlights!
For those of you a bit too busy to read, here are some of our highlights this season:
– 2 additional pods allowing us to dyno tune AWD cars
– OnPoint became a COBB ProTuner for Subaru
– OnPoint became a Motec factory trained dealer
– Kels travelled down to Road Atlanta for Global Time Attack and kicked ass, and a sequential gearbox is now on the way
– I joined Mantella Autosport and ran their Aston Martin Vantage V8 in IMSA’s CTSCC series and set a new race lap record at VIR
– I worked with Sports Car Boutique Racing as the Team Manager and “engineer” for their GT3 Cup Canada race team.
– OnPoint purchased a 3D printer and have since printed a number of functional parts that are actually used on our racecar, as well as a number of prototype parts for various race teams in the GTA.
With the addition of two more dyno pods OnPoint is now offering All-Wheel Drive dyno tuning and have become a COBB Pro-tuner and with the help of Chris and the guys at Touge Tuning Subaru’s have now become one of the most popular vehicles we tune. Touge Tuning have not only believed in our ability to tune since day one but they also have been a huge help by sharing all of their Subaru knowledge and expertise among differences among varying model years and common problems and issues Subaru’s face.
In 2014 OnPoint also became a Motec authorized dealer – a partnership I have been interested in starting since I first used an M800 many years ago. Motec continues to impress with their new M1 ECU which is far and above the most capable ECU I have ever used. Motec has also started to offer products that are within reach of the privateer – their new C125 dash is by far the best deal in the market right now for a dash logger. Pat Cyr’s car ran flawlessly all year with his M150 – even when a cam solenoid was unplugged and the cam control wasn’t working the ECU had a back-up strategy that took care of the problem. The guys at Motec have been great to deal with and I look forward to helping more racers realize all of the great features that Motec has to offer in 2015.
In 2014 we have proven ourselves as the premier Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ tuner in Canada having tuned multiple forced induction cars this year – using turbo’s, Kraftwerks and Innovate superchargers. The engines are extremely complex featuring dual cam control, drive by wire and direct+port injection, but ECUTek has done a stellar job unlocking tables that allow us to accommodate for nearly any setup.
I just recently tuned the naturally aspirated FR-S for Speed.Academy which is competing at Targa Newfoundland as we speak. They have been a very difficult platform to learn but the engines are certainly capable and I am excited to see how much power we can produce with these engines in 2015.
Along with the FR-S we have been tuning a number of Rotrex supercharged Honda’s, in no small part thanks to Teknotik who have called upon us to tune these wildly efficient Honda engines. The K-series (and F-series) continue to make me doubt the dyno – the power these engines can produce with relatively low levels of boost is simply mind shattering. I look forward to continuing to tune these incredible engines and to perhaps build a naturally aspirated one for myself in some small vintage chassis in the future.
HONDA S2000 / KPRO Pictures
We haven’t only been working with Japanese cars this year. 2014 has also introduced me to the Germans. Porsches and BMWs have become a much larger part of OnPoint’s business now than I had ever anticipated, however I regret to say that it is often tuning some old and frustrating engine management systems. Perhaps we are the only ones willing to touch these 15-20 year old ECU’s. I’m not sure but it has been an interesting history lesson either way, and we can slowly convince these customers to upgrade to newer technology which will improve engine control, offer better engine protection and reduce tuning costs. It has been a pleasure working with some of these older engines and it’s amazing how much power they are capable of making especially when modern advancements have been applied.
I had the pleasure of working with Ilker and everyone at Sports Car Boutique this year as well – taking on the role of Team Manager and “engineer” for their 997 GT3 Cup car that was competing in Porsche’s GT3 Canada series. We had a great time at some of the biggest venues in Canada like the Honda Indy Toronto and IMSA / Nascar races at Mosport. The GT3 Cup car is an incredible production racecar and I learnt a lot being part of the team as well as Porsche’s in general.
In addition to working with SCB I also had the pleasure of working with Marc-Andre Bergeron’s Mazda RX8 Canadian Touring Car team where my good friend Joe Ferguson has taken the lead to develop a peripheral ported 13B that will compete against turbocharged 2.0L turbos in the Super class. Power levels in that class are now close to the 400whp with some competitors so Joe certainly had his work cut out for him. It was a pleasure to help with the tuning throughout the year as they developed the engine and it’s incredible how far they came in just one season.
In addition to Marc Andre’s RX8 I was again helping the Blanchet Motorsports team with their Honda Civics who have won the CTCC Touring class championship two years in a row. Unfortunately some electrical gremlins kept them from winning again this year but it was exciting to see Damon out there giving it his best regardless.
The highlight of the year has to have been working with Mantella Autosport, managed by my long time friend Andrew Wojteczko Mantella Autosport runs an Aston Martin Vantage V8 in IMSA’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (GS). I started the year helping the team with dyno testing and some 3D printed parts, and during a dyno session Andrew casually asked me how I fit in the seat. Not thinking anything of it I replied “oh not bad, the seat is a little bit too loose though.” Little did I know that I would end up racing the car at VIR for an event that the primary driver Mark Wilkins was un-able to attend due to a World Challenge conflict.
Anthony, the owner of the team, as well as Andrew put a ton of trust into me and gave me an opportunity I am very thankful for. We did some testing at Mosport and the team was happy with my ability to not stuff the car in the wall, so they agreed that I would drive the car at VIR. VIR was a blast and I will have to write a blog post about the event as there isn’t enough space in this article to talk about all of the incredible moments we had at the event. I will say we set a new race lap record and finished 7th in the race, and brought the car home without a scratch on it. VIR was a wild track to run at – especially in a car with gobs of power and no aero. It was great to be racing with friends and I look forward to doing it again.
On the grass-roots side of things I worked with a number of CSCS competitors and drivers in varying capacities over the year, doing some coaching with Corwyn and Laine and Touge Tuning – and I am proud to say that Corwyn is right in the hunt for the CSCS championship that is going down this weekend.
I also helped my good friend Kevin Stittle with the on-going development of the little Swift that can. We have had a big struggle with this car, developing it into a very fast time attack car with a 1.3L naturally aspirated engine that has next to no after-market support. In fact the entire car has next to no after-market support save for the regular tuner bolt-on parts. While we have successfully made over 150whp on the dyno, we have never been able to get the engine to hold together at that RPM and power level. The vibrations from the engine are literally backing out hardware – specifically the crankshaft bolts, flywheel bolts and camshaft bolts – and causing the engine to essentially self-destruct. Some mis-shifts have not helped this issue. Kevin has been incredibly patient with this whole program despite the never ended costs that are incurred each time an engine decides it wants the pistons and valves to mate intimately. I have to give him a lot of credit for that. Most people would have put in a Honda engine by now. The car is making massive amounts of grip now with the Hankook TD’s that are on the car – and the next problem to address is the fact that the car is literally on the verge of rolling over while cornering.
Dylan Sharpe has been driving the car as Andrew and I have been away racing and if you look at some of the pictures and in-car video you can observe that any curb strikes at all cause the car to basically want to roll over – the driver has to intervene to save the thing from going over. Something you might expect from a Ford Explorer or a Jeep. But the car is just so narrow and fairly tall that grip levels it is producing are pushing it over the edge (literally). Kevin’s next project (after getting the engine to hold together) is now going to be to widen the car by at least 3″ and lower the car by at least 2″. The problem is so bad that it seems no matter what diff preload or ramps we put into the thing, it will spin the inside tire on corner exit as there is simply zero weight on the inside tire. I am excited to see how this car progresses for next year and I know that Kevin will not stop working on it until the car is a fun to drive proper racecar. Right now it’s still in that really fast but wants to kill you stage.
I also had the pleasure of tuning a number of other CSCS time attack and drift competitors, as well as some regional race, vintage and solo customers. I would love to touch on all of them here and share their results but there just doesn’t seem to be the space. It certainly makes me very proud to see guys learning and getting faster and overcoming the same problems and obstacles I had problems with when I first started racing. It’s only a matter of time until these guys start beating me!
And then there is Kels. Oh Kels. 2014 was a good year for you old girl. It started out quite rough, with a newly installed shiny Dailey dry sump system we spun a bearing on the dyno. The engine made the same power as it had last year – right around 400whp before the bearing spun. It turns out that you need oil pressure inside of an engine, and I had been running all of 2013 with a scary low level of oil pressure due to an extremely restrictive oil cooler.
However the engine went back together and hasn’t skipped a beat since. The new dry sump has worked flawlessly and the new Motec ADL2 dash, Sparco wheel with all sorts of fancy buttons and knobs have made driving the car more fun than ever. You know it’s cool when the shift lights tell you when you’re locking up tires.
We did a lot of other development to the car more significant than pretty gauges and a suede steering wheel – with a carbon roof, doors and a splitter extension and fences thanks to Kevin Stittle’s new carbon company C3. I also purchased a lithium-ion battery that weighs 3.2lbs. Or maybe it’s 2.3. Regardless you can hardly feel the weight of the thing and my battery tie down is now a plastic 3d printed part. Because a metal bracket would be half the weight of the battery and that would be ridiculous.
I had my first go at brand new slicks this year at Road Atlanta for Global Time Attack, and that was an incredible feeling I will never forget. The car was un-stoppable. It only needed an extra 40hp or so. I only did a few laps at Road Atlanta on the new tires but in hind-sight I wish I had done more as I wasn’t taking full advantage of the tires. The grip was simply staggering.
The car sat for some time after Road Atlanta before we took it to Mosport for a regional race, where the car did a 1:22.8 in qualifying which is almost 2 seconds faster than it has ever gone before, with no additional power at all. I was blown away. We were all so excited when that happened and the whole weekend was a blast. It is always fun to be racing in a low stress environment with friends as crew where we can all have a good time and not feel stressed. A race weekend is literally just a proving grounds to see how fast Kels is, and then take her back to the drawing board once we have set a good data point.
I have since ordered a MakTrak sequential gearbox for Kels as she deserves it, and it is the next logical step for the car on the quest for a real GT car. Most of the work for the gearbox is already under way, with a flange being water-jet cut as we speak, the bellhousing of an old gearbox already machined and ready for that flange and all of the shifter parts 3D printed and prototyped and sent to the machinist’s to be made in aluminium. MakTrak is even going to attempt to make the factory carbon driveshaft work with the gearbox.
This post has already become a little bit too long for it’s own good, but I hope you’ve enjoyed it. It has been a fun season and I look forward to doing it again next spring. For now I am off to Vancouver and Whistler with my wonderful and supportive Fiancée. Good luck to all of my friends competing at CSCS this weekend, make us proud!