Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Spring 2015 Dragon Run: Killboy Krew Kars And A Ride With Killboy (Post 5)

In my opinion (and others'), the best Dragon Slayer is a small, light car with big, sticky, tires.  Anything over 200 horsepower is adequate.  300 horsepower is ideal; more than that is useless.  What you need most is mid-range torque.  Dragon regulars, including the Killboy Krew, mostly build cars along these lines.

Kamal's Civic has never had big power, although his built engine has a lot more than stock (and can live at high revs,
pass after pass).  He has the biggest, stickiest, tires that will fit in the stock wheel wells.  But they don't have grooves
to move a lot of water, so he doesn't make hard passes in the rain.  For this season, he went for even more grip with
a front splitter and a rear wing with cleverly engineered (by him) mounts.  I doubt that aero-induced grip makes
much difference at 30 m.p.h.  But this car can get around plenty of Dragon bends at 45 m.p.h. and more.  Even
before the aero, high grip made this car brutally fast on the Dragon.

Last summer, Hayden was driving a modified Honda Fit, in which he was fast.  But he wanted a rear-drive car with more
potential.  Partly on Kamal's advice, he chose this late-model Miata.  Now it has super-stickies on wider wheels, a roll
bar, and other mods.  And Hayden gets thru the Dragon faster.  More mods to follow: first up, powah.

Above: Killboy's Scion FR-S; below, Killgurl's Subaru BRZ.  This car re-ignited the styling debates between Hotshoe and
me.  He thinks they look generic, plain vanilla.  I can see that critique, but I like the clean lines.  They remind me of the
look of high-end GT cars of the early 1960's.  Killgurl's car has a Subie World Rally Car vibe.  But it's new to her,
and some neon Killgurl Kolor accents--or a wrap--would not surprise me.

Killboy has already built his FR-S some.  The next step may be a turbo.  "It has OK low-end torque, but there's nothing there in the last half of gas pedal travel."  That should put the car's power in the 250-300 h.p. range, spot-on for a Slayer.  For those interested in following the build, here's a link to his YouTube channel dedicated to it:

The latest additions are the wheels you see in the picture with Cooper summer-only stickies.  Unlike Kamal and Hayden, Darryl runs tires with rain grooves which make this possible:

On this trip to, I was privileged to passenger with Darryl on a round-trip pass to the Overlook and back. The video gives a good impression of what the pass was like, except that it was maybe 10% faster on a dry road.  He may not be able to pull the same ultimate lateral G's as Kamal and Hayden on their super-stickies, but the grip is "adequate" (as Rolls Royce used to say of its horsepower).  The car is loud inside the cabin--the video makes it sound just nicely rorty.  He usually makes passes with the stability control on, but at the "minimum" setting.

I heard chatter from the rear tires on exit, which I took to be the l.s.d. clutches trying to keep up, but Darryl said that wasn't the cause.  It might be wheel-hop.  The new wheel/tire package makes the suspension too stiff.  Darryl wants to soften the spring rates for better grip.  His kidneys may appreciate it too.  He had some fun kicking the tail out.  As a Killboy's Highlights commenter once said, "It may not be the fast way around, but it's the fun way."

If orange [whatever color] is the new black, the FR-S/BRZ is the new Honda S-2000.  I mean as a Slayer platform.  Hotshoe and I saw a lot of them on this trip.  It's light, inexpensive, and front engine/rear drive.  It has independent rear suspension and a tin top for extra rigidity.  And lots of aftermarket goodies are available to make it quicker.

Before riding with Darryl, I thought I had learned about 40% of the Dragon passably well.  That is, well enough to be confident of how, and how fast, to take the next few bends.  Wrong.  I know maybe 20% of the Dragon well.  Darryl knows it so well that he reminds me of racing drivers who can do a running commentary for their passenger while driving at 9/10's:

"This is a double apex..."
"The Triple Doubles?"
"Yeah, that was the last one."  (I completely missed the first two.)
"...this is Parsons Branch... the exit is always slippery, but you can take the first left-hander after it... here... faster than it looks or than most people do..."

How did Darryl get so fast on the Dragon?  The same way you get to Carnegie Hall.  (Photo: Road &

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