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2013 Kia Optima
585 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey all!

Finally got my car on the track. Been buying literally every part sold from @K5 Optima Store (and a few others) that I care about for a few years to get it ready specifically for this purpose. Was supposed to start in 2020, but something weird happened that year. So, here we are!

My 2013 SXL (it is a DD) has 83k miles, but the engine and turbo were replaced at 67k miles. My mods are plentiful at this point: Laguna's 2013 Kia Optima SXL | Kia Optima Forums. I have a throttle response controller coming and am probably buying the Stiff Ring's soon. Likely will be replacing all suspension bushings as well.

Prior to the track, got a fresh alignment, put in ATE Type 200 Brake Fluid, did an oil change, and had every part of the car reviewed by 3 different mechanics. My brake pads have about 12k miles on them and probably have 60% life prior to the track. The entirety of my mods are under 3 years old on the vehicle.

I went to Blackhawk Farms.

Lots of Corvettes, good number of Mustangs and Porsches. I can safely say I was the main rep for Kia there. Actually received a fair amount of compliments on being unique and the work that was done on the car, specifically all the suspension work and the BOV. Also condition of the vehicle for being a 2013 (pro's of being a detailer and always replacing anything that breaks immediately).

This track is very technical. The highest my speed got on the straightaway was just over 90mph (for comparison, higher HP cars and racers get up to 120-130mph there). I did start capping myself around 80mph though to not have to brake so hard into Turn 1 and I was more focused on learning the race line and proper apexing. The hardest area is the end of turn 3 with that little blip through turn 5. It comes very rapidly and is constant braking, finding the line, diving into late apex (needed due to FWD), and then accelerating.

Car did good on first go. Went around 5x I think. I spent that time learning the apex and to trust my brake pads. I was also street braking (like 50-75%), not pedal to the floor. Suspension is 👌. My car felt extremely tight and I had FULL trust and confidence with my suspension, engine, and tires before I even started. I had worry about the brake pads since they're not the better sport or performance pads that you can get from R1.

I gained WAY better trust in my brakes after my 2nd time because I said **** it and just pushed them as per instructor recommendation. They handled very well, even better than I expected. I started braking properly which helped a ton. Instead of long holding which heats them up too much, I started braking much later and just went on it. They exceeded my expectations as coming into turn 1, everyone else was braking around the #4 marker, I was braking at #2. Was roughly nailing most of my proper apexes as time progressed in the last few laps at direction of instructor. A few mishaps but nothing crazy and never lost control. Just need to keep working on that line and also to use the entire track.

Nothing ever broke or failed or caused any issue. The only limit so far was my own driving and not finding the line yet. I can safely say every mod listed performed extremely well and gave me so much trust into the platform.

I did have 2 more times on the track, but sadly, rain and lightning came and it essentially ended the day. Very disappointed as I just got faith in all systems and I was ready to start pushing and remove my fear so I could really find where the car's limits are. There was one last lap towards the end once the lightning finally broke, but I want to really work on dry first and get that down before I muddy my spongey-brain with the changes needed for rain. I was interested, but didn't want to muddy the lessons I was learning.

The traction control was starting to hold the car back significantly on my 2nd go. Car was yelling at me every time in Turn 1 and here and there in other turns. Instructor was thinking I was holding back on going once passing the apex and wondering why I was not utilizing the whole track. We determined it wasn't me and was the nanny system. Was going to try disabling it and see how I perform, but rain stole that from us as well.

Lastly, the turbo lag was significantly impactful. I'm hoping the throttle response controller really does what it needs to there. Coming out of an apex hitting the gas and the instructor yelling GO GO while I'm flooring it and nothing is happening is really annoying. There was about a 1-1.5 sec delay out of the apex and me hitting the gas before the car went. This isn't doable as I start getting better, it's just severely slowing my pace down.

I'll be back in September though with traction control off, the new throttle response controller installed, and ready to say **** it and see where this car's limits are.

Pics and video.







No sound on the long video (Video shows whole track starting in Turn 2). I'll get sound once I'm alone. You would just hear the instructor and I constantly strategizing and discussing what I need to work on and where.
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