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Back In A Datsun! My New 2+2

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So I have decided it's time to leave the Datto Restoration thread to the Datto and split this one out as it should have been done from the beginning.


The car:

2015 Infiniti Q60s Limited



I picked this beauty up in October following an unfortunate accident that resulted in my previous car - 2013 MX5 GT - being written off by insurance. I loved that car, I still miss it, but I didn't buy another one and swap the aftermarket parts in to it for 2 reasons. 1: 100km per day commute at 130kph on a laser straight road is mighty uncomfortable in a convertible. 2: Being 1/5 the size or less than the average american truck meant that it was a constant issue of personal health to be weary of other drivers simply not seeing the car. I imagine it's a bit like being on a motorbike, but being in something larger and less maneuverable to get out of the way when people decide they want your piece of road.


So, the Infiniti: The car is 2014 manufactured, 2015 plated and had 8,700 miles on the odometer when I picked it up, which ticked to 12,000 yesterday. I had not intended to purchase one of these, I was thinking semi-seriously about a Porsche Boxster and comparing it to Mustangs, Camaros, BMW 335, 370z, 2016 new MX5, Toyota GT86, the list goes on. To say I was confused would be about right, I only knew I wanted a few essentials: Manual, RWD, Sports Car. And I was a little loose on the sports car front, as evident by the 'luxury' sports sedans I had test driven.


It was about 830pm on a Thursday night and I had been driving around town all evening looking at cars and was suitably unimpressed by everything I had driven when I thought to myself with 30 minutes left till closing "What was it that Nissan sells as the Skyline GT, Z based 2+2 in Japan?... Infiniti G37. Right, let's go there". So I stopped at the local Nissan on the way home who happened to have one! Pearl white, sport model, 2013. I drove it and immediately fell in love. The design is 8 years old now, being first released in 2007 and the 2017 model year is a full refresh, meaning it would be a previous model soon, but the new one is also going to be a LOT more expensive at top trim.


I took the missus back the next morning to take it for a drive and she agreed, very nice car, go for it. With the green light, I went back to the PC to just check out comparative pricing around the country. That's when I found out this one had been returned under California Lemon Laws before being shipped to Texas... Great, well, not that one then. A couple weeks passed and I had found only 1 more in town when on a fluke I stopped by the local Infiniti dealer on the way home. They didn't have any G37's, but he did have a 2015 Q60 for me to look at. "Here we go" I thought, here comes the up-sell, just what I don't need. Humoring the man, I let him take me to the lot and low-and-behold there it was: pearl white, black accents and that EXHAUST sound! It's gotta be modified I said, to which he replied "Absolutely not" and pointed me to the 0 mile brand new one on the lot, with the $15k price tag premium!


Short of the long, I wrote a cheque (yep, that's still a thing over here) and drove home in my new car :)


The Q60 is exactly identical to the G37 but underwent a name change in the US when Infiniti moved to a single naming structure for their cars (Q for sedan/coupe, QX for SUV, etc with the higher numbers denoting higher trim levels: 50,60,70 and so on). At the same time, Infiniti dropped the Infiniti Performance Line (IPL) models - think NISMO - and replaced them with the 'Limited' moniker. It comes with a black grill, exclusive black rims, black rear spoiler and side mirrors, matched with the sports version of the sports suspension and close ratio 6 speed. There is also the adjustable bolster seats, red stitching on the seats and steering wheel along with perforated leather. So, there I was, 2 years newer build date and a model level higher than I was anticipating and I was loving it. The platform is based on the 370z and this one is best thought of as a NISMO 370z 2+2. It's got the same VQ engine, same gearbox, suspension, and almost all parts are transferable between the cars, sans the exhaust due to the wheelbase being longer.


A quick wash and she's ready for some photos:






By the next weekend I was out at the Police Driver Training Center getting to know the new girl:




I've now done 3 autocross events, totaling about 20 runs of 1 minute or so each and the front tyres are copping a hammering, so I need to do something about that. The rest of the car is actually fairly well setup. Being the Limited model, it's got the sports version of the sports suspension, or 'Performance tuned sport suspension' as the options list reads. It's a decent step up from the sport and is very composed. I don't have any of my own photos, but these were taken at a couple of the events I have attended.








I have been getting a bit in to it as track days tend to be expensive and whole weekend long over here, not to mention expensive in such a big 'import' car, autocross is nowhere near the seat time, but at $35 it's a WHOLE lot cheaper. Did I mention track days are expensive? In Autocross, whilst I was between cars I setup a deal where I've been driving a friends class leading capable car and starting to try a bit hard. In search of more speed I've been looking in to data logging and stumbled across some good phone-based solutions that can run at 10hz (still slow, but a LOT cheaper and easier than 100hz capable hardware). Besides being able to analyse and compare runs on the day, it also does really cool video over-lays, which when paired with the gopro and an external mic, make for some fun videos.



The App is called Solostorm and it's android only. It uses an external GPS unit, connects to the car via a bluetooth OBD reader for RPM and throttle and uses the phone/tablet internal accelerometers and gyro's for those channels. I'm still learning what to look for, but it's been a great tool. For instance, I have been working on the launch as the data showed between runs that the lauch alone has typically been worth 0.5s per run! Just getting off the line, 0.5s! I've lost many hillclimbs by less than that, so I'll be re-assessing how I approach them in the datto in the future.


There are other software solutions, phone and PC based alike, but this one has great visualisation which is really where the value is in data logging, limited by the fact it's designed for autocross/hillclimb with a single lap start/stop marker and cannot compare multi-lap track based activity. Being phone and GPS based, I will be hooking this up to the datto in the future for track analysis.


Back to the new zed; It turns out it has non-adjustable front camber/caster and is set at about 0.5 degrees from factory. That was never going to cut it driving hard, and it's obvious not only by the understeer but also how badly the front outer edge of the tyre is wearing. Unfortunatly, the rules here dictate that unless I want to go full race trim, changing the arms means I get bumped out of class and in with the big boys where I'll go from being a podium placer to an also ran. I would prefer not to do that, but I'm not going to tolerate the tyre wear either, so I guess I'll keep my mouth shut and wait until I get told off....


Bad photo showing tyre wear:





New SPL control arms:



And on the car:



2.4 degrees of camber in front now, that should help :)



I just had the wheel alignment done yesterday and I asked them to target some specific settings, which they got, but we got lost in translation with the rear toe. Historically, toe has been measured in distance offset front to rear on the rim. Targetting 0 toe on the front was easy, but in the back, instead of 1/32 inch of toe in, the shop put 1/32 degrees... This will work for now, but I expect it'll be VERY loose in the rear. I don't want to spend another $100-150 taking it to a shop every time I want to change the alignment, so I spent some time looking around last night and found some fantastic tools for doing car setup personally, either at home or the track!


It's call Smart String and it works on the principle of equidistant measurements from fixed locations to derive a perfect box around the centerline of a vehicle. Using the string as a reference it's then possible to measure the distance between rim and string at front and rear of the rim and then derive the toe. Being based on the centerline of the car, one will always measure individual toe and ensure the car is 'square' whereas measuring 'total toe' by measuring left to right rims is much easier and will give total toe, it won't tell you if the car is square (not equal toe on each side, only the total) and may mean the car doesn't track straight. Not ideal.


You can make a setup yourself using jack stand and cotton line, but every time you move the car you need to remeasure, so a useful bloke designed a universal system that mounts to the car: http://www.smartracingproducts.com/smartstrings.html combined with some tools to measure camber and caster http://www.smartracingproducts.com/smartcamber.html and you can do a full setup at home or at the track and test changes immediately. The usage scenario is limited, but at $100 per alignment change, then waiting between events to test, I think it'll be useful enough to purchase in the future. It will be 'cool' to use on the white zed, but I can see huge benefits on the blue zed at a test and tune day. The zed has all the go fast bits, but we have no reference for setup, so this would work very nicely. Plus, it's static, based on physics and built from aluminium, so as long as it doesn't get run over, will last longer than my lifetime and never need upgrading...


Well, that's it for now. I am entered in another autocross next weekend so I'll get to test how the car performs with a new alignment :)

Edited by Whittie

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