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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

Longtime lurker and fan of the platform. I own a low mileage NA Sky, but am looking to scoop up a Redline or GXP as an autocross and track car. I have spent a couple years participating in autoX in Camaros and Corvettes, and while there are plenty of LS swapped Solstices in SCCA CAM-S, I want to explore the effectiveness of this platform as a cheap track entry/NB miata replacement option.

I have searched both this forum and the Saturn forum somewhat thoroughly and haven't found a concise track build list on either. So I am hoping to gather a little more info on this post.

Beyond the usual track prep upgrades; fluid, pads, alignment, what updates are recommended to make these cars more reliable for long weekend sessions?

Online I have found the RPM intercooler and radiator upgrades, the big brake upgrade, a recommendation to loctite the hub bolts, and a rear bar. The 2 cooling upgrades seem like no brainers but I am curious if they are requisite.

Is anybody running the RPM Stage 3 kit on track, and if so has that limited your reliability at all?

There also doesn't seem to be a clear option for off the shelf seat upgrades, maybe I just haven't found the right thread yet.

Thanks!
 

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A number of folks have also swapped out the brake/clutch fluid tank for a taller/larger one to avoid spillage and better fluid cooling through the larger volume. GMPP released a bigger tank for this back in the day, but it's no longer available. However, folks have found that was actually the same as the factory Saab tank from Europe. There's a thread somewhere on the part number and obtainability.

UPDATE: I searched for you: Results are in, 2/22/2019...GMPP Brake Reservoir is...
 

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Talk to DDM Works and Performance Auto Werks before making a decision with RPM. DDM and PAW have top notch customer service and Dave at DDM will call you back, even if it's 9pm at night if you left a message after they've closed.
 
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You probably don't need to change the brakes, intercooler, or radiator unless you are planning on extreme levels of boost..

The big-brake kit is generally thought to be a cosmetic change as more agressive pads will probably get you all of the braking you need.

Seats are somewhat difficult due to the narrow space available.
 

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The kappas aren't very popular as weekend track toys because it's impossible to fit a proper roll bar and preserve functionality of the top.

Yes - there is a bolt in bar made by a different RPM that people have used to get on track, but it doesn't meet SCCA guidelines, and a number of us have likewise been told not to show up with it. In either regards, I would consider it more of a "legality" bar than a safety item, similar to any cheap bolt-in miata one.

Continuing John's mention of the narrow seat space available - very few people are willing to sacrifice the waterfall storage compartment, which tends to become inaccessible with a fixed back winged racing seat. It is also inaccessible with the RPM bar.

So you really have to choose between a streetable AS/CAM autocross car, or a purpose built track car. If you go the track car route, don't expect to be able to do many of the common modifications/upgrades and stay within class regulations.

In addition to the larger brake fluid reservoir mentioned, there was also a different cap that could be used. It was GM# PCS-0667, and is recognized by an additional aluminum "skirt" around it, but has been unobtanium for some time.

If you are a facebook user, there is a group called "KappaCross" that is much more active in these sorts of things than these older style forums [the Sky one, and KP] tend to be.
 

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When you talk with Matt Nicklay at esaabparts.com about the brake reservoir, mention the forum and tell him I'm still here and found his coffee cup thank you gift the other day. It may actually get to him this year! He was a great help in my search for the GMPP reservoir and is one of the good people, like Dave at DDM.

The book referenced above is the bible and guide to track building a car, I believe. It is still available but you will most likely have to search a bit. While I will not use my GXP in competition, I found the book to be a great visual reference and option opening in its coverage.

You might also want to speak with David Lively, forum handle raygun. He has done everything you are talking about and has moved into vettes. He may still have his car or have it for sale. Regardless, he is a fine person and knowledgeable. His experience with the roll bar install is quite valuable. I will mention your interest to him if you wish, so perhaps you can get in touch.

Using the Solstice/Sky for this application is a labor of love, here at 15-16 years after it becoming the new kid on the block in this area. At the time it did quite admirably at it progressed in production. Thankfully there are those who still view it with some passion and know the money magnet it can become to be more than what it is. What it is, in my opinion, is one fine and beautifully designed fun car with the potential for more compromises than kissing the pretty girl on the tilt-a-whirl.

Good fortune...

Richard Snipes
 

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For competitive driving you'll want to reconsider putting in better bolstered seat until you have a good roll cage, assuming your seat upgrade includes a 4 or 5 point harness too. Those features of a better bolstered seat to keep you upright while driving, also keep your head upright in a roll-over situation. The window and convertible top frames will provide little support when the vehicle is upside down. With a race seat and harness, your body will be forced to stay in the driving position, pretty much leaving your head and neck to support the mass off the vehicle as the top and windshield frame start to deform. With a stock seat and single shoulder belt your body has a chance to be pushed over the console so as to not be supporting the vehicle mass.
In a convertible with no cage, you're better off allowing more body movement in the event of a roll. I'm not an expert by any means, but In the track days that I'd participated in with my Sol (the ones that actually allowed convertibles without cages), Inspectors were very quick to note that I didn't have a race seat and multi-point harness. This was the factor that allowed me on the track. Had I put in the race seat as was my plan at the time, it would've been a no-go.
 

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So...... Some remember the show "Setup" on Speedvision, where GM sent 15 GXP's to Pratt & Miller to turn into track day cars for a 10 episode show. These cars, while "Mostly Stock", were set up for a hard charging track days (you can check out the show on Youtube). I ended up with 3 of the cars, sold one and have set up (well, always in the improvement category) the other 2 for spirited track days.

Remember these cars ran in T2 in SCCA back in the mid 2000's and if I remember correctly won the SCCA National Championship several years....

That said, T2 is basically a stock class, but the cars were fast... very fast.

I think Dave Gilbert from Performance AutoWerks campaigned one.

Also Phoenix Auto body (?) also won a ton and I think the book above was their effort.

So, I pulled mine out of storage this past winter and have done some modifications to them to make the safe, fast and fun.

At this point, I can beat some Z06's and GT3rs (loose on HP for big straights), but with some time and further improvements, I know I can beat most, if not all.... All with a financial commitment that is truly minimal....

(gonna put a "for sale - $3,500) on the back of the car so when I pass GT3's and Z06s, it will send a message... all in good fun.

I am happy to discuss how my car is set up now and what plans are in the future if you are interested....

Globally,. I always say safety first, learn to drive, performance later

Amazingly, I am running a mostly stock suspension with Koni sports that I put collars on and am running stiffer springs... Stock bars, stock bushings, aggressive alignment. While the car seems too soft for my driving style (I have decades of successful racing background), and I do plan to test a bunch of combinations next year, the cars seems to like to run soft...

Brakes, all I have done is put on Brembo front calipers and racing pads/fluid and the car has amazing slowing capabilities

Put on the full DDM chassis stiffening stuff and do have a cage in it

Engine, have not been inside it, but have installed the Werks 3 kit..

While my kit is having some teething issues, globally both Daves (Gilbert from PAW and Dave DDM) have been truly outstanding in support and lord knows, with my teething issues I've been on the phone a bit....

Sure I'm missing points but ask away..

Start with, how do you want to run the car?
 

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I have the a set of the Koni sports on my car right now. question. Which are the fronts? I put them on as they were labeled from the guy I got them from.Odd thing is the adjusters seem like they should be on the other end of the car. The rear adjusters have the little tab sticking up like most Koni sports, but the fronts have a little tinker toy looking piece on top that gets adjusted with a pin from the side. Seems like you'd want those on the back, where the trunk gets in the way. I haven't really pushed it yet, and wonder if there's even a valving difference between them anyway. Just tough to adjust the rear one right now.
 

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Thank you everyone for all of your input, I really enjoyed reading through it all. I was lucky enough to find a already pretty well sorted GXP over for sale on FBM and jumped at the opportunity. The previous owner had installed a custom fabricated SCCA stamped rollbar, and a myriad of braking and cooling enhancements. Frankly he made the decision pretty easy for me.

I'll be running the car through NASA Great Lakes HPDE and general Detroit area track days over the coming year, using it as a learning tool before making a decision on whether to make it a full fledged race car to compete in NASA ST4 or similar. Or maybe I will see the light and join my buddies in Spec Corvette haha. Looking forward to representing this oft-forgotten piece of GM history in the racing community. Perhaps I'll make a build thread to document the car and updates I'll be making all the way. All the best to those you shared their advice I appreciate you!
 

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Actually I will just post the build list here in case someone in the future does stumble upon this thread:

Custom fabbed roll bar : Top Garage
Cobalt SS front brakes with adapter for cooling hoses
DDM tunnel and rear bracing
K&N intake
Solo racing exhaust
DDM charge pipes
WERKS racing radiator
Sparco Pro 2000 bucket - not sure yet if this is on a custom seat rail I havent gotten underneath it yet
17" wheels on 245 square tires

Suspension is stock, and I am going to hold off on changes until I actually drive it on track. I will be tuning it as well.

I'm sure a lot will change and be added in the future. Also, somebody above gave a shoutout to the KappaCross facebook group. That is where I found my car and they have been a great resource. I highly recommend joining if you are interested in driving these cars competitively

109774
 
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