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i30 N A rookies review of his own i30N on a challenging race track

Mightymoo

Well-Known Member
#1
Intro
I have had the i30N Performance for 8 months now. I love the car on the road, although it is a bit on the firm side even in the "Normal"-suspension setting. The car is quick on the road, but I have always felt that the i30N has so much more to give. That it needs to really be challenged. I decided to finally give the car a proper workout. Hopefully this review will also inspire other beginners to try a track day.

The Track
Where do you do this in Norway? Rudskogen! This track is a very technically challenging track, with
many corners and two very fast straights. Serious race cars and motor bikes can reach a top speed of
between 270-300 km/h on both straights.

image002.jpg

What the track is most famous for is the straight translated to “The Anxiety”. This is a downhill with a 13 degree(!) slope and a drop of 40 height meters through a rocky pass. The top speed is up to 270 km/h before hard braking downhills into a sweeping right turn. This is the place to really loose your nerve. The weather on the race day was great. Sunny, dry and 7 degrees Celcius.

Track height profile.jpg

Video of "The Anxiety" (courtesy of knastenrad):

The car
My car is a 2018 model all stock with original Pirelli P-Zero tires. It is 13 months old with 13000 km on the odometer.

Trackday (1 of 9).jpg

The other“participants”
I decided to come to the season opening of the track. This translated into hardcore people and even more hardcore cars. There were mostly high performance cars this day. In this exotic group the i30N felt like the littlest kid on the block, but this was a non-timed event and I like a challenge. As much as I love my i30N, I also love other sports cars. Here are a few of the participants:

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Trackday (7 of 9).jpg
Trackday (3 of 9).jpg

Trackday (2 of 9).jpg


How did the i30N perform?
I am by no means an expert, but an ordinary guy who loves cars. Below is my personal impression of how the i30N performed on the track day. To keep the strain on the car down and not killing the tires, I tried to follow this pattern: “One warmup lap --> Two hard laps --> One cooldown lap --> Two hard laps --> One cooldown lap --> Pit --> Car on idle and heater on max for 5-10 mins”. The car was driven a total of 34 rounds spread over four sessions.

Here is a on board video of one of my laps (w/Harrys Lap Timer). Not the fastest, but maybe the most interesting for you since I am chasing a Porsche:


One of the experienced drivers estimated that he would get the lap time down to about 01:45 (8 seconds better than my personal best that day).

1. Performance
Power (4/5 Very good)
Out of corners the car felt very powerfull and the LSD worked well helping to get the power down on the tarmac. Very fun to start accelerating halfway through the turns. This is where the car was shining. The feeling of how the car accelerates out of corners/turns is great. Almost gokart like. On the straights the car feels underpowered, even if I managed a decent top speed of 175 km/h (GPS-speed) on the fastest straight. As a reference a Porsche GT3RS will reach a top speed of 210-220 km/h (see video below):


Gear shift (4/5 Very good)
The gear shifter worked flawlessly on the track.The shifting was quick and effortless. The high middle armrest was (surprisingly) not a big anoyance, but still keeps the gear shifting from getting a perfect score.

Rev Matching (5/5 Excellent)
The Rev Matching makes you look like a pro when you drive on the road, but on the track is where it really shows its value. For an rookie like me the Rev Matching was a invaluable help on the track. Made the downshifts very smooth, and minimal risk of loosing grip/upsetting the car because of poor downshifting.

Trackday (8 of 9).jpg

2. Handling
Suspension / N-mode (5/5 Excellent)
A lot has been said about the super hard suspension in N-mode on the road. It is when you enable N-mode on the track that you find out what it really was designed for. Neither the suspension or steering felt to hard, just perfect.

Brakes (4/5 Very good)
As I told in the intro, this track is very demanding on the brakes. Down “The Anxiety” I had a top speed of 165 km/h and the brakes performed well, with a firm braking feel. During one of my laps I did feel some fading, but this was a one time observation.

Tires (3/5 Good)
Not surprisingly the track demands a lot of the tires. Because of several tight right turns, it is especially demanding on the front left tire. The Pirreli had lots of grip, but I noticed that the tires turned “slightly buttery” if you pushed them beyond the two hard laps. I am sure some may be contributed to my somewhat lacking driving skills. A cooldown lap and all was good again. All in all happy, but I will buy Michelin Pilot Sport 4S when the tires are
worn out.

Stability/traction control (4/5 Very good)
I drove with the stability/traction control in “Sport”. This track is to technically demanding for me to risk turning stability control off. Did not want end up in the kitty-litter. “Sport” still gave plenty of freedom for fast, active and fun driving and I did not feel inhibited by it most of the time. You can still get lift-oversteer, as my son found out,
spinning on the track. I did feel on a few occations that the traction control kicked in, when applying to much throttle in the most demanding corners. I wish you could turn off just the traction control and keep stability on.


3. Other
Sound (3/5 Good)
The i30N sounds just awesome on the road in N-mode. But on the race track it was (not surprisingly) outmatched in "coolness" by the hardcore Porsches and BMW M-series). Even a Mazda MX-5 (with aftermarked exhaust) sounded better.

4. Summary
Overall (4/5 Very good)
All in all the i30N was a strong competitor, but there are better performers out there. Don’t expect to pass everyone just because you have an i30N.

Value for money/Fun-factor (5/5 Excellent):
The i30N gets top score in this category. I can’t think of many/(any?) other cars giving as much performance and fun for the money.

If you still have not tried your i30N on the track, I highly recommend you trying. It is a huge thrill when you push the car. If you are afraid of your car, remember you will still have loads of fun even if you are not pushing man and machine to the limits…
 

Attachments

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GazmaN

Well-Known Member
#5
Great post man, looks like you had a ball!! And I would have used the term "destroying" as opposed to "chasing" the Porshe :cool:.
 
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Mightymoo

Well-Known Member
#7
Thanks for all the nice feedback :).

Forgot to tell about the coolest part. My son (18y) is practicing to get his car licence (for the road). The great thing on this track event, is that the track is regarded as a normal road with normal traffic rules. That means that you can let your kid practice driving (learners permit) on the track! And practice he did...to be a racing driver :p

Needless to say, my son had a great driving experience. He was only 2/10th of a sec behind my best lap. He has less experience, but more balls ;).
 

Mightymoo

Well-Known Member
#12
Great post, very informative. Thanks for writing it. :)

It is often mentioned in reviews that the car is a bit heavy. Did you notice the weight of the car when driving around track?
No, I did not notice the weight very much, other than on the straights. In the turns, it is very nimble and tossable. I was surprised of the good grip and brakes. But be aware/careful of possible liftoff-oversteer when tossing it through the tight turns. This is not something special for this car, but all FWD cars.
 
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Mightymoo

Well-Known Member
#13
I'm at Zolder in November I cant wait

looks a great track and review thanks for sharing
Thanks ;)

Zolder looks like a great track. Several tight turns and three (four?) straights.
On the longest straight I would assume you can reach a topspeed of about 165-170 kmh.
You will love it.
 

Jajodu

Active Member
#16
No, I did not notice the weight very much, other than on the straights. In the turns, it is very nimble and tossable. I was surprised of the good grip and brakes. But be aware/careful of possible liftoff-understeer when tossing it through the tight turns. This is not something special for this car, but all FWD cars.
I only experience lift off oversteer on mine not understeer.
 
#18
Great story, this combined with EssEll thread about preparation makes it actually a complete story. That does look like one long and fast track, do not have any of those close to me, have a much more simple one, though it looks to be a safer one. ( auto24ring.ee )

Have my car at around 15k km now and it's calming to know that it's totally ok to bring it to track with no special maintenance.

Though the 3/5 for sound - not sure it should be compared to the others, main point is how much you liked it. Not like you compared the braking to other cars ;)
 

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