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Circuit goers of the 4C forums, what were the first problems you found driving the 4C in a race track and what mods did you do to improve it?

Here's my opinion after a circuit practice session I did in the 4C a few days ago.
Mine is still in its original spec including the tyres, except for racing seats and brake pads.

I wouldn't call myself more than a novice driver yet, but I do drive a racing car (more primitive, more classical one) in the same race track and the differences were obvious.

In short, the car felt very sensitive to the throttle control during high speed bends. Acceleration after the apex tends to cause oversteer instead of getting traction that pushes the car forward, while deceleration during a turn-in before the apex makes the car shaky and unstable.

This might be a fun factor in mini-circuits where nimbleness counts, but not in a larger, more high-speed race track.
I mainly felt the unstable movement coming from the rear, I guess.

I wonder if you guys share the same view, or is it primarily about improving my skills first (and replacing tyres).

(sorry if the word choices are unclear or awkward, English is not my first language and my car-related vocabulary is very limited)
 

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Besides the power lag coming out of turns without a tune to assist that, handling and braking is the most noticeable on a stock 4C.
Stock tires perform poorly comparable to aftermarket R888s, RE-71s or RS3/4s (or other R compounds or slicks dependent on track conditions of course).
Handling is exponentially improved with [email protected] racing blocks by itself. Otherwise, you have the deathgrip to try to control the tramlining fun/fear.
As you push the car harder, brakefade with the stock pads, rotors, lines and fluid becomes more evident. Obviously one shouldnt ride the brakes through every corner but as a novice driver with a frickin fun car, as confidence grows, going hotter into a corner can have its potential drawbacks.
Lastly, the stock seats are not truly suitable for improving track performance. Having tracked the 4C with the stock seats and then with Sparcos and Schroth 6pts on the same tracks, I didnt realize how much effort I was putting in staying centered while on track. With race seats and harnesses, I was able to go deeper into sessions and weekends with less fatigue and more concentration on driving skill development. I realize race seat conversion is undesirable for some but since you asked for a comparison from those who have tracked stock and after modifications. 馃檪馃憤
 

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Its very educational and insightful to get to know your 4C鈥檚 performance and handling while in stock form. I think it provides a greater appreciation when you do upgrades and modifications. And yes, I鈥檓 a strong believer of ongoing driving skill development... you can never learn enough or learn more. 馃檪

again dependent on track and temperature conditions, tracking on your stock tires and then with a different set would be an insightful beginning. Luckily, you have many other 4C enthusiasts on this forum who have tracked a little to a lot, who have modded a little to a lot who can happily share their trials and tribulations, mistakes and successes and overall knowledge and experience on road or track over the last 5 years. 馃槈
 

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I think you are correct in your assessment of the 100% stock 4C on P-Zero tires on a race track. And your comment about it shining on a track where nimbleness Is rewarded, is exactly right.

If you have not changed (at least flushed, better upgraded) your brake fluid, do so. It probably will not solve the instability under deceleration, but it will keep it from getting worse as it approaches boiling. Mainly for safety, though.

First things to change, to improve the car鈥檚 behaviour on a circuit would be the tires. The 4C puts down more torque than the stock (non ARR) tires can handle. Of course, you can adapt your driving to prevent throttle-induced oversteer. But eventually, to get faster, you鈥檒l need to do this in order to get on the throttle sooner.

Same with braking. If you apply the brakes earlier, smoother, and a bit softer, you will lose some of the dartyness under deceleration. You don鈥檛 need to be Daniel Ricciardo here, but to wring the last tenths out, you will eventually have to brake later and harder.

The instability under braking, and some of your oversteer issues, may come from alignment. If you have not optimized your settings for track, try GMS鈥 suggestions.

Once you upgrade the tires, you will find that the rear becomes unstable in high speed / high G corners. Upgrade the rear bushings to GMS or Alfa Workshop arms to address this.

Part of your braking issue may come from pads and rotors. I would suggest re-surfacing the rotors and bedding in new pads per manufacturers recommendations. Upgrading pads is a good idea. It may also be in part the vehicle stability systems kicking in, as the P-Zeros don鈥檛 give you any more grip under braking than the do under acceleration. Especially in the rear, which is radically un-weighted in heavy stopping with stock suspension. But I have experienced this on sticky rubber as well. Not so much on clean rotors with a good alignment though. Also, if your braking zone is in any way bumpy, the 4C will get tossed about. Consider moving to the wet line in these areas, where the asphalt isn鈥檛 as worked up by heavy vehicles braking hard.

Next (for me, anyway) will be suspension. The stock car squats and dives under longitudinal forces, and rolls like a torpedoed battleship in hard corners.

I trust that you have a good way of holding yourself into the seat. There are seatbelt locks which you can buy, or you can trick your stock belts into thinking they are in a crash (locking the shoulder belt), or better yet install a better seat and or harness. Having the driver planted and properly connected to the car is really key to learning and to developing a better feel for what the car s doing, in order to prevent a problem before it happens. But by then, you鈥檙e talking big money for a car that may not track often.

I鈥檓 making it sound like the stock car is bad on track. It is not. But it depends on the track, driver skill, and how hard you want to push (and how much money you wish to throw at it) to improve what is already a very competent track car.
 

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I agree, stock tires are absolute trash.
Then in order of priority (in my opinion) : brake fluid (any car), pads, power, seat+harness, steering wheel, coilovers, swaybars then maybe aero
 

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Besides the power lag coming out of turns without a tune to assist that, handling and braking is the most noticeable on a stock 4C.
Stock tires perform poorly comparable to aftermarket R888s, RE-71s or RS3/4s (or other R compounds or slicks dependent on track conditions of course).
Handling is exponentially improved with [email protected] racing blocks by itself. Otherwise, you have the deathgrip to try to control the tramlining fun/fear.
As you push the car harder, brakefade with the stock pads, rotors, lines and fluid becomes more evident. Obviously one shouldnt ride the brakes through every corner but as a novice driver with a frickin fun car, as confidence grows, going hotter into a corner can have its potential drawbacks.
Lastly, the stock seats are not truly suitable for improving track performance. Having tracked the 4C with the stock seats and then with Sparcos and Schroth 6pts on the same tracks, I didnt realize how much effort I was putting in staying centered while on track. With race seats and harnesses, I was able to go deeper into sessions and weekends with less fatigue and more concentration on driving skill development. I realize race seat conversion is undesirable for some but since you asked for a comparison from those who have tracked stock and after modifications. 馃檪馃憤
Ha! We typed roughly the same responses at the same time!
:)

No question that a tune will get you out of a corner sooner. Assuming that you have the grip to take advantage of it. But there isn!t really much lag if you choose the right gear going in. Bigger issue that I had with the P-Zeros (or semi-slicks if wet) is the traction control interfering on corner exit. I need to go on a balls-enhancing program, and just throw the car into Race mode, I guess!
 

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I鈥檓 preparing my car at the moment. I do plan tracking next year but honestly, after owning the car a few months and road driving, I think the car needs the upgrades I鈥檓 doing even for road use.
The stock tyres, factory open diff and suspension ruin the carbon tub.
 

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I mainly felt the unstable movement coming from the rear, I guess.
Hard to tell when the car will break grip at the rear, disconnected / floating feeling? That was my experience with 100% OEM 4C on the track and when I spoke about that officially, everybody were telling me that I need to learn the MR platform, but I knew something was off. Rear control arm rubber bushings are the biggest issue, causing a lot of dynamic alignment change and there are soem other things that improve the handling a lot. Once you get everything right, 4C will become super capable.

If you like reading a lot, then I invite you to check my saga of 4C handling issues and solutions: 2017 Alfa Romeo - 4C Coupe
 

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I鈥檓 also convinced the rear camber is too much. I鈥檓 going to try adjustable top mounts to move the top of the wheel out. I will have to swap from 25mm spacers to 12 to avoid rubbing but I think it will improve matters.
 

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Oh boy... @Docron & @4Canada have posted from very good comments, but I would like to expand on them...

First, track vehicles are an exercise in compromise. And your job as a driver is to optimize performance, by minimizing the "bad" aspects of the car and maximizing the "good" aspects. This goes for street cars, to "race" cars, to F1 or LMP cars. As "Stock" street cars go, the 4C is better than average, but not quite in line with the "best" sports cars. The advantage of the 4C is a very stiff chassis, quite good power to weight ratio, Mid-engine design/weight balance, and moderate price tag. (Being very good looking doesn't hurt for track days either) ;) . The negative of the 4C is that it isn't the easiest to balance on the knive edge, and modern drivers may get frustrated compared to "best in class" cars like the Porsche Cayman, Ford GT500, or Camero ZL1 1LE. Those cars almost drive themselves...

Where I see the biggest bang for your buck (or $ for laptime reduction), is the following areas.
1) Rear brake pads - they are crap, pure and simple. They make the car VERY front brake biased and the car will DANCE all over the place when braking hard. Getting real brake pads help A LOT.
2) Tire Balance - Yes, the stock tires aren't the greatest. BUT, now having gone much wider (265) in the rear, I feel that the tire balance is a challenge. The wider rear tires manage heat better and you tend not to smoke them (make them greasy) as soon. I feel MUCH more confident with the gas with the wider tires. I was ALWAYS pussyfooting after the apex, because of rear traction. Oversteer was always a risk... It is soo soo much better balanced. I am now sliding around corners simply trusting the car. You WILL want to move away from that 18/19 stagger anyways, so going slightly wider isn't much more expensive.
3) Alignment - the stock alignment makes the car darty... Alfa Works or GMS mods work wonders!
4) Rear bushings... Again Alfa Works or GMS

The rest of my suggestions center around reliability and safety... Race seats, 7 point harness, brake fluid, Oil Catch Can, coolant reservoir, rubber hoses, brake cooling duct.

You will notice nothing above mentioned power upgrades, that is because you max out the car's inherent abilities it doesn't need it. Once you are getting much closer to the true limits, then suspension/shocks, GMS big brake kit, and swaybars could be on order....
 

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@FLORO Reducing rear negative camber and reducing rear toe in will provide more fluent and less snappy oversteer transitions indeed, but will decrease overall rear grip. Once again, due to lot of flex of OEM rubber bushings, OEM alignment has built-in lots of toe-in and makes the car snappy on the limit. However, reducing rear toe-in, on stock car is not recommended as it can quickly lead to toe-out in certain situations, again due to rubber bushings flex. Once the uniballs are in place and dynamic alginment change is gone, you can afford much more neutral setup (less toe-in) which will give you more neutral behavior of the car on the limit, smoother transitions and more feedback and prediction. Very simplified explanation - the 4C will feel more like a FR platform car, although the yaw rotation of the 4C will be greatly affected by throttle input, which is a blessing and a curse at the same time. The limit window of the 4C is very narrow and requires very precise driver to drive one on the limit. If done correctly, 4C is a car that will guaranteed reach for podiums once sorted out properly.

@4Cn'it I would really like to address to all the new trackers, not to go berserk with all the mods right away. I would suggest to drive the car 100% stock first and then progress with only 1 handling upgrade at the time to get the idea how much of the improvement particular upgrade brought.
 

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Circuit goers of the 4C forums, what were the first problems you found driving the 4C in a race track and what mods did you do to improve it?

Here's my opinion after a circuit practice session I did in the 4C a few days ago.
Mine is still in its original spec including the tyres, except for racing seats and brake pads.

I wouldn't call myself more than a novice driver yet, but I do drive a racing car (more primitive, more classical one) in the same race track and the differences were obvious.

In short, the car felt very sensitive to the throttle control during high speed bends. Acceleration after the apex tends to cause oversteer instead of getting traction that pushes the car forward, while deceleration during a turn-in before the apex makes the car shaky and unstable.

This might be a fun factor in mini-circuits where nimbleness counts, but not in a larger, more high-speed race track.
I mainly felt the unstable movement coming from the rear, I guess.

I wonder if you guys share the same view, or is it primarily about improving my skills first (and replacing tyres).

(sorry if the word choices are unclear or awkward, English is not my first language and my car-related vocabulary is very limited)
Somehow this is my opinion too.
Regardless of what tires is everyone using on their car (and I tested a lot of tires like: OEM non ARR, Nankang AR1, PS CUP 2 in several dimensions, Trofeo R, Federal FZ 201 ) I find the alfa to have some issues, more or less fixable. Initially I thought that a 1000 Kg car with Carbon Fiber chassis should handle stellar out of the box, yet it's not the case. There are some issues (mentioned above) that can be fixed with parts as listed BUT these will not fix the car instability during high corners --> Many less "sporty" cars equiped with rubber bushings from factory will be more stable during high corners. My VW scirocco was more stable during high speed corners than the alfa (VW with oem magride suspension + upgraded antiroll bars + front control arms with rubber bushings).

This instability during high speed corners is caused by 2 problems:
1) Downforce created by the car (or the lack of downforce) --> This is fixable with my parts :)
2) Engine position and weight distribution --> In short: the engine is heavy (compared to the rest of the car which is extremely light) + it sits too high. --> The engine push and creates forces on the rear tires (and in turn on the control arms and rear bushings) --> Rear uniballs + wider rear tires address somehow this issue but it's not a fix but an improvement. Wider tires create more grip + rear uniballs maintain the rear geometry and the grip created --> Because the engine sits too high it acts like a "leverage arm" that is pushing on the ground the outside tire and lifting the inside tire.

Despite these I believe that even "out of the box" this car is stellar in what concerns the driving feel and experience. With every modification I did on my car I tried to maintain it's OEM driving "feeling" while just improving the performance.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I would suggest to drive the car 100% stock first and then progress with only 1 handling upgrade at the time to get the idea how much of the improvement particular upgrade brought.
Yeah thanks, I think I'll upgrade just the tyres now (I'm done with the stock P-ZERO), and see how it changes the handling.
 

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@4Cn'it - I agree they aren't good when you are aiming for lap time, but they aren't going to magically fix the handling issues with the 4C. Learning with the stock PZero is an excellent way to learn throttle control, car control, and other handling techniques you will NEED with the 4C. I ran 2 years on track with the PZeros before moving to stickier tires (such as Trofeo R, Falkin Azenis, etc). Now I can toss the car around, and FEEL what it is doing and so I'm much much better at balancing the car. And probably most important of all, not panicking when the car moves, slides, or steps out....
 

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Some great tips here for the OP.

One that I haven't seen mentioned is the tire/tyre pressures.

This car is very sensitive to tire/tyre pressure, a little too high, or a little too low will result in the car's handling feeling awful and the balance of the car simply disappears.

Cheers,

Alf.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The 4C wheel base and track are the strange thing. It鈥檚 as wide as an Aventador and as short as an Austin Mini.
For this anomaly alone, I expect the unexpected.
I find the stock 4C's behavior over-sensitive to the throttle, presumably due to its short wheel base.
Reminds me of how Lancia Stratos was described: The gas pedal is what does the steering with this car, not the steering wheel.
Indeed the 4C's dimension is even squarer than the Stratos.
 
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