Aside from a few trips to UPS and FedEx, Project Emotiv3 has mostly sat since its workout at Thunderhill East and West. Looking ahead at the calendar the options were to throw a bunch of parts at the car to run at Holley High Voltage or to leave the car alone and compete for a "Stock Class" Time Attack award. If you know anything about Project Emotiv3, you will know it is an evolving science project so unboxing the coilovers and suspension arms was out of the picture.
Jacob Graham's DeLorean EV Conversion
Holley High Voltage
If you are not familiar with Holley, they are the original producer of carburetors for older internal combustion engine cars. Since then they have become a billion dollar powerhouse in the automotive performance industry owning ignition brand MSD, exhaust brands like Flowmaster, and more recently tuning houses like APR and Dinan. One of their landmark promotional events is the annual Holley LS Fest, a celebration of everything and anything powered by the incredible General Motors V8 LS engine. So what in the world is Holley High Voltage?
Holley High Voltage is essentially the EV version of LS Fest. It is a two-day celebration held at Sonoma Raceway that features a car show, vendor midway, autocross, track, and drag events. Holley sees where the future of the performance automotive aftermarket is going. Prior to last year's Holley High Voltage event they had purchased AEM Performance Electronics, a leading developer and supplier of electronic control and monitoring systems for internal combustion to EV conversions. This is where Holley hopes to lead the industry. At the same time, EV conversions are still very much a burgeoning segment of the aftermarket so much of the competition was dominated by Teslas.
Geoff Budd's NA1 NSX EV Conversion
HHV 2022 had some repeat attendees from 2021, but notably missing from the event were Bisimoto's Electric Porsche 935 and Ford's Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 Dragster. I was most intrigued by Geoff Budd's 1994 Acura NSX conversion, dubbed NSX EV. While the car had to be winched on and off the trailer given the tight timeline between start of build and the event, the car has since run under its own power. It got me thinking of what EV conversion I would want to take on. The current candidates are a Honda Ruckus or a Y34-generation Infiniti M45 that my Dad has sitting around. You can find Holley's full coverage of HHV 2022 on their site where you might also come across my ugly mug.
Having only attended as a spectator last year, I was not quite sure what to expect from the track event portion of HHV. A competitive element of the "Road Course Experience" was that 3 participants would walk away with $500 in each of the Stock, Street Modified, and Race categories. This would basically cover the entry fee, Supercharging in nearby Novato, and an In-N-Out Double-Double while I waited for charging. I confirmed with the tech crew that my wheels and brake pads were definitely Stock Class (so were some with coilovers!?!) and went gunning for cheeseburger money.
Photo: 📸: Project Emotiv3 - Sonoma Raceway Bus Stop
I was somewhat disappointed by the layout chosen by Holley as it meant I could not benchmark the car against lap times I have laid down in other cars and that my only chance to benchmark in the future would be at an HHV event. Holley uses a modified WTCC Configuration at Sonoma which replaces the full esses with a bus stop style chicane and replacing the full Turn 11 hairpin with "middle hairpin". While personally disappointed by this configuration, I would consider Sonoma my home track and know exactly why Holley chose this unconventional layout. Keeping the esses means a triple-digit speed approach to the fast right hand sweeper that is Turn 10. I have been sideways through there in the rain and can attest to the fact that the walls narrow once you have cleared the turn. The approach Turn 11 includes a slight dip that may upset the car and is not a great place to test the efficacy of your stock Model 3 Performance brake fluid and pads. I have seen more than a few cars go in to the wall. "Middle hairpin" allows you to have plenty of room to blow past your braking zone should you be headed towards the pit lane wall.
So how did things go? Stock Class win!
Holley High Voltage 2022 - Stock Class Road Course Champion
After reviewing lap video I was not terribly happy about my times. At the end of Saturday I had a 3 second lead in Stock Class, but did not feel like I had put together a single good lap. The track was much hotter on Sunday and I struggled all morning to find open space in traffic to lay down a flyer. My PB of the weekend finally came around half charge in the last session of the day as I found some open track to attack. However, by that point the brake pedal felt mushy. This meant I had trouble controlling my speed through T7 at the end of the drag strip and was overly timid going in to the bus stop at T9. The Garmin Catalyst showed a 1:58.99 compared to the transponder's 1:58.981. I absolutely think a 1:57.x was doable in my hands during the event weekend and a 1:55.x by a hot shoe.
HHV 2022 Grand Champion - Rattlesnake Electric Sport Model 3 Performance, Driven by Matt Cresci
2021 NASA Nationals Spec Miata podium finisher and Allen Berg Racing Schools' Chief Instructor Matt Cresci was on hand to dominate the awards ceremony. Piloting 's Rattlesnake Electric Sport Model 3 Performance, Matt managed a 1:48.464 on the road course and took the Autocross, Full Race - Road Course, and Grand Champion awards. This is a serious machine on 18x10.5 Konig Hypergrams and a TC Design roll cage - the same fabricator that does cage work for Tesla and put the roll cage in my Spec Corvette. Now there is a benchmark to beat for both man and machine.
Knowing that I boiled the Motul RBF600 after the fourth track day means some braking upgrades are in order. And in fact, I will be removing RBF600 from the site and recommending only RBF660 for the Motul-committed. A simple switch to Project Mu G-four 335 or Castrol SRF brake fluid with the stock calipers will likely be enough for most, but some beefier parts will certainly help boost driver confidence. Through rigorous scientific testing, I can confirm that the stock suspension is too soft and the ride height is too high. Not that the HHV Stock Class victory out of the way, it is finally time to unbox the suspension bits that have been sitting in the shop for the last six months awaiting "proper testing". Next up are:
Coilovers! (... more later!)
A pseudo-Big Brake Kit (... much more later!)
... and hopefully a custom mount to place the Garmin Catalyst on top of the steering column. Looking out of the corner of your eye for red/green differentials certainly does not help with lap times.
I would like to extend a huge thank you to Holley for investing the time, energy, and resources in an event like this. I do not know the exact numbers, but attendance this year seemed far higher than in 2021 and I expect it to grow even more in 2023. I will certainly be back next year to compete for the Street Prepared category title. I have never come home from the track with a check before which made my wife much happier about how I had spent my weekend. Does getting paid make me a professional driver? One can only hope. Until next time... happy motoring!