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Tracking / Autocross / HPDE / Drifting What these cars were built for!


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Old 08-04-2017, 09:36 AM   #1
trippinbillies40
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Review of "Track Mode" on the MY17+ cars

So I took my '17 BRZ to High Plains here in Denver a couple nights ago. I had previously owned a '13 FR-S for just over 3 years, and had done probably 20 track days with that car anywhere from completely stock to STX autocross trim. In the old car, I also had TC all the way off because sport mode was far too intrusive. Fast forward a few years, I had gotten rid of that car, got engaged, and my lovely fiance wanted another twin, so we got the new one. She's a pretty darn good autocrosser but has yet to do a track day, and she's a little nervous about pushing the car hard on track and writing it off.

Sooooo, I decided to see what "Track Mode" is like on the new cars. Subaru touted this as being a more "relaxed and unobtrusive" version of the prior cars' Sport Mode. I have to say, I'm incredibly impressed with the level of interaction it provides.

If I had to sum it up in one sentence, I would say "If it's saving you, you weren't going to be fast anyways." It allows a very surprising amount of slip angle. I started out my final session of the day trying to put in a few good laps and not slide the car too much because I was curious to what the car was capable of in stock trim. After that, the tires were a little hot and greasy, so I started getting a little more sideways to see where the limit was. At many points, I had half a turn of lock in (wheel upside down) just standing on the gas sliding it around. So I tried to give it more, wondering where the limit was. It honestly took almost a full turn of lock before the TC grabbed and said that's enough.

In summary, I think this is the perfect mode for the budding track day enthusiast who wants to become a better driver but doesn't trust himself to not loop the car into a wall. It will stay out of your way if you're driving correctly, and will only interfere when you've gone a bit too far. If it grabs, it wasn't going to be your fastest laps anyways. That having been said, you can't use this for all-out drifting, and seasoned drivers will still probably prefer TC all the way off because they don't want to worry about losing their man card.

Video for reference, all in track mode.

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Old 08-04-2017, 03:58 PM   #2
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100% agree with the statement "I think this is the perfect mode for the budding track day enthusiast who wants to become a better driver but doesn't trust himself to not loop the car into a wall."
I just started this year doing track days. First one was in the rain, left all nannies on and only had them kick in a few times. Next track day was dry, put in track mode and never had it kick on, so obviously I was not driving at the cars limit yet.
3rd Track day was Lime Rock, and those that have driven there know the uphill at the end of no name straight can be interesting if you don't get squared up going over the crest.
First few times going over the crest TC would kick in to stop the wheel spin, then I got the hang of just when to lift on the crest to prevent wheel spin and never saw it kick in again. I will say it did save me once on the left hander as I turned in to late and back was kicking out pretty good. Track mode let me slip almost 3/4 of the way around the turn and as the OP said, then it decided that was enough and helped correct.

The nicest thing about it in my mind is the correction when TC kicks in is so unobtrusive, a few times I wouldn't have even known it was helping if not for the light flashing on dash. Subaru really got this one right imo.
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Old 08-04-2017, 06:53 PM   #3
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Great write up! "I think this is the perfect mode for the budding track day enthusiast who wants to become a better driver but doesn't trust himself to not loop the car into a wall."
Great way to describe it .

I have a '16 and used the sport modes for about 4 track days before turning on my @86Nanny which totally disables TC and VSC and keeps ABS on which is key. Track mode should be a better starter tool.
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Old 08-04-2017, 08:14 PM   #4
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When I was attempting to get it to kick in on my MY17, I had to go well into "im making a huge driving error right now" territory for it to kick in. I had to force myself to get to that point, as I was driving in a manner i never normally would be.

It's quite impressive, and an excellent fail-safe for the novice.

That being said, experienced drivers, or those getting coached should still be pedal dancing!
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Old 08-04-2017, 09:50 PM   #5
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When I was attempting to get it to kick in on my MY17, I had to go well into "im making a huge driving error right now" territory for it to kick in. I had to force myself to get to that point, as I was driving in a manner i never normally would be.

It's quite impressive, and an excellent fail-safe for the novice.

That being said, experienced drivers, or those getting coached should still be pedal dancing!
There is no "e-diff" on the 17+ cars, which is what the pedal dance was disabling. If you hold TC off down for 5 seconds, that's all you need.

And yeah, I had to consciously chuck the car into the car and whip it around. Always ran into the same problem at our go-kart track in Cincinnati. We'd see someone have some crazy wreck and go out and try to replicate it, then common sense and self preservation would take over. It's very weird trying to make "big mistakes" to test something haha. But it sure was fun!
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Old 08-05-2017, 12:46 AM   #6
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There is no "e-diff" on the 17+ cars, which is what the pedal dance was disabling. If you hold TC off down for 5 seconds, that's all you need.

And yeah, I had to consciously chuck the car into the car and whip it around. Always ran into the same problem at our go-kart track in Cincinnati. We'd see someone have some crazy wreck and go out and try to replicate it, then common sense and self preservation would take over. It's very weird trying to make "big mistakes" to test something haha. But it sure was fun!
E-diff and EBD is still present. Pedal dance is still needed for mechanical control.
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Old 08-05-2017, 01:00 AM   #7
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E-diff and EBD is still present. Pedal dance is still needed for mechanical control.
That's not correct. I work for Subaru MY17 changed to disable brake assist on the LSD when TC/ESC is disabled by holding the button down.
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Old 08-05-2017, 01:40 AM   #8
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That's not correct. I work for Subaru MY17 changed to disable brake assist on the LSD when TC/ESC is disabled by holding the button down.
That's news to me, but it's not something I enjoy testing, as it's... rather risky.
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Old 08-05-2017, 01:49 AM   #9
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at 11:12 in your video, in that place, the tc light consistently blinks when you're coming off of the berm. I can't tell from the video. Are you actually losing traction, or is it prematurely engaging? That type of scenario is where the e-diff might activate, but tends to be more frequently with low droop suspensions.
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Old 08-05-2017, 10:59 AM   #10
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at 11:12 in your video, in that place, the tc light consistently blinks when you're coming off of the berm. I can't tell from the video. Are you actually losing traction, or is it prematurely engaging? That type of scenario is where the e-diff might activate, but tends to be more frequently with low droop suspensions.
That was all in track mode so e-diff and EBD are still working. Those curbs are pretty damn big and my faster laps didn't pound over those downhill esses like that, but yeah I think a wheel was probably in the air for those. I don't recall feeling any huge intrusion though during those. I think in one of the earlier sessions I hit the curb in T3 pretty hard and it grabbed some brake though.
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Old 08-05-2017, 04:03 PM   #11
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So is there a separate computer module for VSC that could be easily swapped out for a new one on earlier year cars to enable us to have track mode?
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Old 08-05-2017, 11:52 PM   #12
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So is there a separate computer module for VSC that could be easily swapped out for a new one on earlier year cars to enable us to have track mode?
Work up to using this

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Old 08-06-2017, 08:15 PM   #13
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That was all in track mode so e-diff and EBD are still working. Those curbs are pretty damn big and my faster laps didn't pound over those downhill esses like that, but yeah I think a wheel was probably in the air for those. I don't recall feeling any huge intrusion though during those. I think in one of the earlier sessions I hit the curb in T3 pretty hard and it grabbed some brake though.
I'd love to have you come out and drive WSIR. We've had more than a few people unexpectedly fly off track sideways when brakes were grabbed at 115+ speeds over a bumpy surface...
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Old 08-07-2017, 09:29 AM   #14
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I'd love to have you come out and drive WSIR. We've had more than a few people unexpectedly fly off track sideways when brakes were grabbed at 115+ speeds over a bumpy surface...
If I had anything to do with product development, I'd love to pass feedback along. Unfortunately, that all comes from Japan. Definitely don't disagree with what you're saying though.
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