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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I have been following the forum and always get good advice and learn from others experiences. However, most of the track experience posts here are related to the QV. So, I found it would be useful to share my first experience tracking my Giulia TI Sport Q4, with performance package. This car was a special order (Alfa Romeo of St Louis Park) and came exactly as I wanted: Q4, 19" Sport package, Misano Blue with black interior, no moonroof and with the PP (active suspension and mechanic LSD). So far, the car has been a blast as a daily driver, so I decided to take it to the BMWCCA Windy City chapter HPDE at the Autobahn Country Club South Track. I have driven this track several times with my Mini Cooper and it is a good and safe track to have Giulia stretching her legs for the first time. The car is completely stock, with the terrible all-season Cinturatos (UTGQ 500) and stock brake fluid and pads. We all know that our cars are beautiful and I was impressed on how many people came to just give a thumbs up and/or asking questions about the car. The sport seats were a must!

I put the car in Dynamic mode with harder damper setting and automatic mode, as I was trying to focus first on the line and always had good information about how the automatic transmission works. The car was doing fine: some understeer and lots of intrusion of the ECS, sometimes cutting almost all the power when I was being more aggressive with the throttle exiting turns. This, itself was a little bit annoying but, as the car drives really well, I was being able to manage by being more smooth. The problem came after 7-8 laps: I got a message to "Check AWD system" and the car was put automatically in Natural mode, meaning that I had earlier upshifts and the damper settings were now soft. It was not a "limp mode" and the car was still driveable, but it frustrated me a lot as I was in 7th gear on the straight (not really "sporty") and had to learn a little bit more about weight transfer... In the second session, I had the same experience: however, this time, I started using the paddles to downshift for turns and it helped a little, but, nonetheless, things were not going well.

My instructor (Thanks John!) had me using the manual mode then, not only to downshift, but to have full control of the car. And this CHANGED THE EXPERIENCE COMPLETELY! After two extra full sessions, I could push the car harder and had no AWD messages. Moreover, this car is great to use in manual mode as, differently from other brands, I could bounce the rev limiter if I wanted to and the car would not upshift automatically. The change in the experience was so dramatic that it appeared that I had a different car, so different that I was now picking up the pace and being only slower than some M3/4s and race prepped cars. The ECS basically worked on the background and made its work imperceptible and I had one or two moments of slight oversteer, what I found remarkable for an AWD car (maybe the LSD helped?). I have a video link below and, despite the crappy tires and crappy driving :surprise:, I could keep a good rhythm with a Blue M3 (race prepped and with a VERY good driver) and close the gap to a silver M5.

In the end of the 5th and 6th sessions, I had a message about "Overheated brakes" and the pedal was starting to feel soft. This was expected due to the pace I was having and the stock brakes. I cannot wait to take her again with proper brake fluid, pads and summer performance tires. And, in the end, I could drive my 3 hours back home and still get 36mpg. I am more in love with my Giulia!

Here is the video (sorry for all the wind noise and for the lack of OBD data, I am still working on that in my desktop computer):
https://youtu.be/hW7Q9KteSGg
 

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Hi Bruno,
I saw John last week at our monthly Chicago chapter meeting. He told me how much he was looking forward to working with you at Autobahn. Sounds like you had a blast, and thanks for your writeup so the rest of us Q4 owners can learn! Come and join us at the June 9th Blackhawk Farms trackday if you can. Your car looks great!
Marco

http://www.giuliaforums.com/forum/8...ackhawk-farms-trackday-saturday-june-9th.html
 

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This is so interesting! Thanks for posting.

I agree about manual mode and the change in ESC characteristics. Recently, I had to do a quick u-turn, and so I switched it to manual mode and was stunned to have complete oversteer. Maybe that's why no race mode.....
 
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I have a similar spec car, and have done 2 track days at Lime Rock.

The Q4 is an absolute delight on track. Very well balanced, confidence inspiring and punches well above its weight. With a decent driver behind the wheel you'll be passing cars you normally don't think you should be able to keep up with.

I had a pretty good battle with an M4 in my last session of the day, and was square on him in the turns. He'd pull on the straight aways of course, but given 1 more lap free of traffic, I think he would have had to concede I was the faster car/driver that day. Other notable takedowns were e90 m3's, several e46 m3's, and in previous sessions a Chevy SS and a CTS-V.

The only car to pass me this past weekend was a 718 Cayman S in one session, but I was able to fend him off in another.

Confidence at the limit is really Giulia's secret. I watched a well sorted e30 m3 almost lose it right in front of me coming off the downhill at Lime Rock. I think some of the beginner to intermediate drivers in the newer f80's seem to struggle to put the power down and don't have the same confidence at the limit, which seems to be a limiting factor. MDM seems to be stepping in quite a bit for them, and they are also afraid to turn traction control completely off generally. Kinda interesting...

Traction control hasn't been a big issue for me. My Pilot Super Sports might be helping there.

I've actually never seen the 'Check AWD System' though I did get the 'Service Electronic Throttle' Error in my last session which put me into limp mode (that ended my chase with the M4). That was resolved just by turning the car off and on.

I hope to test the paddles in my next track day but still focusing on consistency, driving line, and braking zones.

I haven't noticed brake fade yet but thats also one of my areas of improvement. Hopefully we'll see pad options soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Bruno,
I saw John last week at our monthly Chicago chapter meeting. He told me how much he was looking forward to working with you at Autobahn. Sounds like you had a blast, and thanks for your writeup so the rest of us Q4 owners can learn! Come and join us at the June 9th Blackhawk Farms trackday if you can. Your car looks great!
Marco

http://www.giuliaforums.com/forum/8...ackhawk-farms-trackday-saturday-june-9th.html
Thanks for your post Marco,

It was a really enjoyable event with John on the passenger seat. I am planning to attend the event on 06/09, but I still have some pending schedules that I will need to confirm first. Anyways, I will become a member this month and start to receive all communications.

Bruno
 

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good write up... thanks! I'd try some Castrol SRF as new break fluid. Thankfully I've not had warning messages thus far in three track days! I too wish to go paddles next time too
 

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Thanks for your post Marco,

It was a really enjoyable event with John on the passenger seat. I am planning to attend the event on 06/09, but I still have some pending schedules that I will need to confirm first. Anyways, I will become a member this month and start to receive all communications.

Bruno
Nice write-up and video:grin2:
your going to join us in the CCA???>:).....but all us BMW drivers are no -good yadda yadda yadda's according to some folks here...LOL
Glad you enjoyed your track-day and it sounds like you had a good instructor...that means everything at HPDE's.....
Could it be that the overheating you experienced was your diff??
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This is so interesting! Thanks for posting.

I agree about manual mode and the change in ESC characteristics. Recently, I had to do a quick u-turn, and so I switched it to manual mode and was stunned to have complete oversteer. Maybe that's why no race mode.....
Yes indeed. But it appears to be something "hidden", like Alfa wants us to discover it by ourselves...

I have a similar spec car, and have done 2 track days at Lime Rock.

The Q4 is an absolute delight on track. Very well balanced, confidence inspiring and punches well above its weight. With a decent driver behind the wheel you'll be passing cars you normally don't think you should be able to keep up with.

I had a pretty good battle with an M4 in my last session of the day, and was square on him in the turns. He'd pull on the straight aways of course, but given 1 more lap free of traffic, I think he would have had to concede I was the faster car/driver that day. Other notable takedowns were e90 m3's, several e46 m3's, and in previous sessions a Chevy SS and a CTS-V.

The only car to pass me this past weekend was a 718 Cayman S in one session, but I was able to fend him off in another.

Confidence at the limit is really Giulia's secret. I watched a well sorted e30 m3 almost lose it right in front of me coming off the downhill at Lime Rock. I think some of the beginner to intermediate drivers in the newer f80's seem to struggle to put the power down and don't have the same confidence at the limit, which seems to be a limiting factor. MDM seems to be stepping in quite a bit for them, and they are also afraid to turn traction control completely off generally. Kinda interesting...

Traction control hasn't been a big issue for me. My Pilot Super Sports might be helping there.

I've actually never seen the 'Check AWD System' though I did get the 'Service Electronic Throttle' Error in my last session which put me into limp mode (that ended my chase with the M4). That was resolved just by turning the car off and on.

I hope to test the paddles in my next track day but still focusing on consistency, driving line, and braking zones.

I haven't noticed brake fade yet but thats also one of my areas of improvement. Hopefully we'll see pad options soon.
I agree that the Giulia can keep the pace with faster cars. I was in a very good intermediate session and about 70% of the cars were technically faster than mine, including some race prepped M3s, V10 M5s, Corvettes and F80 M3/4 in the hands of good drivers. I am also looking forward for pad options. So far, I am having no success trying to find aftermarket ones as they are only available for the QV. Anyways, as soon as I have better pads available, I am taking her again to the track :smile2:

good write up... thanks! I'd try some Castrol SRF as new break fluid. Thankfully I've not had warning messages thus far in three track days! I too wish to go paddles next time too
Thanks! Good advice. I have been using Motul 600 for the Mini, but it is a completely different car (lighter and FWD). I will post updates when trying a better brake fluid.

Nice write-up and video:grin2:
your going to join us in the CCA???>:).....but all us BMW drivers are no -good yadda yadda yadda's according to some folks here...LOL
Glad you enjoyed your track-day and it sounds like you had a good instructor...that means everything at HPDE's.....
Could it be that the overheating you experienced was your diff??
I have been a BMWCCA member for a while and will become an AROC member too as I am both an Alfa and BMW driver (well, I was an E46 driver few years ago and now, technically, my BMW is a R56 Mini Cooper S). So, maybe I am a half good driver 0:)... And yes, my two track day experiences with BMWCCA Windy City were very good due to great instructors.

I do not think that the issue was related to the differential, as it appeared more an electronic overload than overheating. Just turning the car off and on again would reset the message. And, as I said, putting in Dynamic, Hard damper settings and the transmission in Manual mode solved the problem on the long term and I was driving much harder after that. I guess that if things were overheating, the message would appear in these conditions too. Anyways, the car became a great track toy and I guess that is why it has the DNA to switch between modes.
 

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thanks for that, I figure the awd has less nanny intervention simply because the awd is a nanny of sorts - so you can be on the gas when a q2 might be cutting power. but no way for me to absolutely verify that.
and you were consistently pulling 1g on tires many consider not sticky enough for street use.
just remember, if you put the stickies on the brake "issues"/costs go up too. whether that is worth it for track days is a personal decision.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Question: how do you guys manage to add the fancy onscreen data (g-meter, speed, track position...) to the video? Is it a function built in the gopro...?
For this track day, I used Harrys Laptimer on my iPhone to record and overlay the video with G-forces and speed. I used my most basic setup as we are not supposed to record lap times in some HPDE (in fact, I was more interested in the telemetry with braking points and accelerator inputs). I also use an OBD dongle to record more data but did not overlay them in the video as I did not have time to edit and render in my desktop.

So, this video was generated by my iPhone, just using Harrys LT Petrolhead edition. It is as easy as it gets. Using an extra GoPro and the OBD data, plus rendering the video (I use RaceRender) you can get even more information and nicer videos.

Hope that it helps!
 

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For this track day, I used Harrys Laptimer on my iPhone to record and overlay the video with G-forces and speed. I used my most basic setup as we are not supposed to record lap times in some HPDE (in fact, I was more interested in the telemetry with braking points and accelerator inputs). I also use an OBD dongle to record more data but did not overlay them in the video as I did not have time to edit and render in my desktop.

So, this video was generated by my iPhone, just using Harrys LT Petrolhead edition. It is as easy as it gets. Using an extra GoPro and the OBD data, plus rendering the video (I use RaceRender) you can get even more information and nicer videos.

Hope that it helps!
Awesome! I'll give it a try... how did you mount the phone, if I may ask? Positioning is perfect..
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have a RAM mount, which I bought from Amazon. It is very stable and I just positioned with the video camera on to get the most centered to the windshield as possible. Of course, as the camera is on the left, the mounting is slightly offset towards the passenger side, but it is really easy to set up.

Another app (this one free on the basic version) is TrackAddict. It also has some track maps and overlays the same way as Harrys. I use it for AutoX but I like Harrys better for tracks. Feel free to shoot any questions about this. I am still learning but I am glad to help.
 
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Looking forward in recording a video without having to buy a gopro :)
Isn't there one you can borrow? My son is generous with his. Maybe because he remembers who paid for it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Like this one?
https://www.amazon.com/Suction-Univ...?srs=2599345011&ie=UTF8&qid=1527177725&sr=8-2
Thanks for all the help. Looking forward in recording a video without having to buy a gopro :)
Almost. Mine is this one:

With this dedicated cradle for more stability:

Surely, a GoPro video will look much better (crisp and less shaky) but using your phone is a good way to start. I also have a GoPro and Harrys LapTimer works relatively well with it by producing the videos quickly from your phone. Other action cameras will need syncing and rendering on a desktop computer. So, it depends on your budget and available time to edit videos. I have many more recorded videos but no time at all to edit them :frown2:
 
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