EDK's Real Life Racing Exploits

Discussion in 'GTP Weekly Race Series Time Trials' started by EDK, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. EDK

    EDK Moderator

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    I thought I would give a quick write-up of my first real life racing experience. I know this post could just as easily go in the Motorsport section of the site, but this is really my home here on GTP, and the place where the people I would like to have read it are going to see it.

    As I had mentioned in the WRS Pitbox thread, I raced at Portland International Raceway this past weekend in a ChumpCar World Series event. I'm originally from Portland, and the first live races I ever attended were at this track. The first race I ever went to was the inaugural Portland 200 CART/PPG IndyCar race in 1984. Running my first race in my hometown at that track was a really special experience. In retrospect, I don't think I would have it any other way.


    The car we raced in is an '86 Toyota MR2 that the team owner (Jason) uses as a daily driver for much of the year when not racing. Allowed modifications in the series are minimal, after all, these are supposed to be $500 cars. He has race doors that he uses that have everything but the inside frame and outer skin stripped off, most of the interior is stripped out of the car with the exception of the driver's seat (which has been replaced with a racing seat), there's a 5 point safety harness and roll cage installed, Ultra High Performance Dunlop Direzza tires are used on race day, and he's installed front brakes on the rear, along with a brake balancer. The engine is a normally aspirated stock 4 cylinder junkyard engine, and dynos at about 130 hp.


    It was a whirlwind of a weekend. My flight arrived into PDX at 5:05 pm, and I needed to get to the track, get my equipment inspected, and make it to a new drivers' meeting that started at 6 pm. Fortunately I was able to fit my helmet and racing gear in a carry on roller bag, and all my extra stuff was in a backpack, so no wait at baggage claim.


    The weather on arrival was misty rain, typical for Portland in late October. The forecast was calling for it to rain into the very early morning hours, and to be clear by race time. I was definitely apprehensive about the rain, as it just added one more potential variable to my first track experience. Fortunately, my first stint was not scheduled until 1 pm, so I was reasonably confident that things would be clear by the time I got out on track. More on that later.


    My friend picked me up at the airport and we made it to the track without much hassle or delay. I was able to check my equipment in right away, and made it to the drivers meeting at 6 pm on the dot. At 7 pm, after the drivers meeting, 3 of us were there to take care of last minute prep on the car. We changed out the tires and wheels, took off the side markers, the front license plate, used wire ties to hold a few odds and ends in place, and attached the race headlights. We were finished up by about 8:30, and had just enough time to grab a quick bite and then head back to my friend's place to catch some Z's.


    Race day morning, I was up at 5 am on the dot, my normal wakeup time for workdays. Despite the fact that I had an alarm set for 5:45, and could sleep that long if I wanted to, I was not able to get back to sleep. I guess the nerves and excitement of the day were a little overwhelming.


    The 3rd driver on the team (Tom) picked me up at 6:30 as planned, and we were out to the track at 7 am, gate open time. The main drivers meeting was at 8 am, with a 9 am race start. We had a little more prep to do on the car. I cleaned and Rain-X'd/FogX'd the windows while the other guys did things like check tire pressure and fluid levels. We were finished with that at 7:45, which gave me just enough time to walk down to the turn 1 chicane and get an idea of the track surfaces and edges. Not optimum for a first time track experience, but I knew the layout reasonably well from studying it and watching videos, and I knew it was going to take me some time to get comfortable and find the line and limit I was comfortable with anyhow. Unfortunately, the weather was too cool to do an adequate job of drying the track out, so while there was no falling rain, it was a little bit foggy and the air and track remained quite damp.

    Here are some cars rolling during the parade laps. You can get an idea of the track conditions from looking at pit lane. And no, a dry line was not forming quickly.



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    Here's what the paddock looked like facing either way from our paddock stall when I took my quick track walk -



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    I was scheduled for the 3rd stint of the day, with our first driver being in the car from 9 am to 11 am, and the car owner being on track from 11 am to 1 pm. Here's our first driver of the day in the car -



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    There were 84 cars in the field, which is really difficult to comprehend, unless you see it live and in person. This being an affordable series for $500 cars, there was definitely a wide range of vehicle quality and performance. Some people focus more on their team theme, while others are focused on performance. There was everything from 70's and 80's Volvos, to 70's-90's Camaros, to 80's V-8 Mustangs in the field. More on this later, but the wide variance in performance definitely made for an interesting track experience.


    Here's a graphical view of our lap times. Red or yellow flag periods are fairly easy to see, but some of the slower laps are really just traffic and/or rain in the earlier going of the race.

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    The race got off to a bit of a rough start, with several cars running off, and resulting full course yellow flags at times. There was even a red flag on about lap 15, due to an accident on the back straight with some cars getting into the tire wall. Everyone was OK, but it definitely took it's toll on our first drivers' nerves. As a result, he came in a bit early for the first stop and driver change, with the car owner getting in at about 11:15 am, causing us to find ways to shift strategy. Fuel pit stops are timed at 5 minutes total, which is plenty of time to change drivers and clean windows, but amounted to about 3 laps at race pace, so we definitely wanted to find a way to minimize the number of those stops. He came across the radio to let us know he needed to come in, and we had to quickly get into our race gear (the fuel person is also required to be in race gear) to prepare for his stop. The stop went smoothly overall, with the car only taking about 4 gallons of fuel, of a 10 gallon capacity.

    The second stint went well, as the Jason is very comfortable with the car and track, and definitely our fastest driver. By about 11:45, a dry line was clearly visible and by noon the sun was starting to come through and the track was almost completely dry. He had us into the top 10 by the end of his stint, and then handed off to me at 12:15.

    When I fired up the car, it was making an odd sound that I could not hear from my helmet. Jason reached in and shut off the ignition, only to hear that the starter was staying engaged after the car was started. We trid messing with the push button, etc, but nothing was working so we decided to push start. That meant if I spun the car and stalled, I would need to come back to the pits to get another push start, rather than driving around the track with the starter constantly engaged.

    That meant I was pretty nervous coming out of the pits, only haven driven the car one other time on the street, and not wanting to stall it coming out. When they cleared me for pit exit, I wound it up to about 4,000 RPM's and eased the clutch out. I immediately had Jason on the radio with, "Easy on the clutch, Kevin!". :lol:

    His advice was to take it easy my first 10 laps and just learn the layout while getting comfortable with the car. That meant I was getting passed by a lot of cars, and really only doing any passing of my own when coming up on extremely slow traffic. If I had to summarize my first 2 hours in the car, it was something like this -

    Laps 1-10 - Oh :censored: I'm really racing! (Average Laptime 1:53.6)
    Lap 11 - Alright, I can do this. Going to start pushing this thing (1:45.4)

    From there, I was alternating getting caught behind traffic and then having a gaggle of cars come up behind and start passing me before I could find my way around the car that's clearly slower than me, then finally getting past the slow car to run 3 or 4 laps in clean air. You can see on the graph that I found more consistency toward the tail end of the stint, which is to a great degree what I expected to have happen, based on my experience with learning new tracks and/or combos on GT. By the end of the stint, I was getting low on fuel, and Jason told me over the raido to "keep going until it sputters a couple of times". 10 laps before the end of my stint I ran my fastest of the stint, a 1:43.7. 2 laps before the end of my stint I ran my 2nd fastest lap of the stint, a 1:44.6, but the car sputtered in the high speed left coming off the back straight. The next lap, it bogged out completely there, so I made a dive into the pits as I came around the last corner.

    Between stints, I relaxed and hung out with a couple of my friends who had come down to the track to watch us race. And I asked some questions or Jason to clean up a couple of spots I knew I was losing speed in but was not quite sure how to correct.

    I also prepared myself to be more aggressive with traffic, as I had a better Idea of which cars I was faster than and where, and also where my grip limit was for the twisty bits and the braking points I could get away with for the higher speed turns.

    When I took the car back from Tom after his 2 hour stint, I needed to be ready to keep us in position and take us into the dark. We were in about position 6 or 7 at the time, so I knew I had my work cut out for me.

    I was a lot more comfortable out of the gate, and didn't wind the car up to 4,000 RPM's coming out of the pits, so Jason didn't have to yell at me over the radio.

    My first 2 laps on cold tires were in the low 1:50's, then I had 11 laps of caution. :grumpy: Once I got going again, I cut a few 43's and 44's, then found more traffic, but was much more aggressive this time around as the cars were more spread out and I was more familiar with them.

    I was confident in passing slower cars in almost any area of the track, which also helped me learn the lines I could take to get around some of the faster cars when the time came to make passes for position. My fastest lap of the race came about an hour and 20 minutes into the second stint, where I ran a 1:42.6. This was just a tenth off of Tom's fastest, but was 3.5 seconds off of Jason's fastest. I joked with him that he must have cut the chicane, as his next fastest laps were in the 1:41's!

    15 minutes later, as the track got much darker, we had a second full course caution period of 6 laps. The restart for the caution happened while I was halfway down the main straight, so everyone was bunched up and 2 wide going into the chicane. I was on the wall side, the traditional line through there, trying to be relatively conservative. I had a car on my inside, and as I entered the second half of the chicane, the sharp left hander, I had a car on my right. I left a little room rather than bumping into him, and that's when things went awry.

    I'm still not entirely sure what happened, but what I think occurred was the car behind me tried to go by on my left, backed off as I turned in for the left hander, then got run into by the car behind him. I got whacked on the left rear quarter panel and spun around 180 degrees, and ended up on the far side of the chicane, trackside left, facing traffic. The car was dead and didn't want to refire on my first try. I toggled the ignition off and then on again, then pushed the starter button again. Still nothing. After 3 or 4 times of doing that, the car finally decided to fire, but the starter remained engaged. :ouch:

    I got it pointed back in the right direction as the track was fortunately clear due to the bunched up traffic from the caution. But then the car was barely limping along, I wasn't sure if it was a flat tire, or what. I radioed in to let them know of the issue, then noticed that the yellow check engine light was on. So I was planning to limp back to the pits to see if we could figure out what was wrong with the car.

    I was frustrated that the incident during my stint was probably going to cost the team some positions if not the entire race. Then as I rounded turn 7 approaching the back straight, the light went off and the engine came back to life! That lap ended up being a 2:55, so it only cost us a minute or so. But at the time, it seemed like a year! I ran 10 more laps to finish out the stint and handed the car over to Jason in 6th position with 2 hours to go.

    Here's my trophy. Taken in the dark after the race, so hard to see. But that dent wasn't there before I started.

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    Things really went our way in the last stint, as Jason was fast and confident in the dark, and some other cars had to take final pits stops or ended up dropping out of the race. There was a scary moment about 10 laps before the end of the race, when 3 or 4 cars were involved in an incident on the front straight. one car ended up nose first in the left side track wall, while another was so badly damaged at the back it wouldn't move. They had to red flag the race for about 20 minutes while they cleaned everything up. All the drivers ended up being OK, and that's really the main thing. But we still couldn't figure out how such a bad accident would occur on the front straight!

    In the end, we finished just one step off the podium in 4th place! Here are the full results. As you could see from the lap graph above, our team name is Clutch on Fire Racing. The first race they ran in the car in Portland last April, one of the drivers was used to auto crossing and rode the clutch the entire first couple of laps. It literally started on fire, and they had to change it in the paddock. Now you know why Jason was so nervous about my launch on my first stint!

    Anyhow, all in all I had a fabulous time in my first real racing experience. And we're running 2 races at Laguna Seca before the end of the year, one in November and one in December. I can't wait to get out on the track that I've gotten to know so well in the virtual world and give it a try in real life!

    I'll also have some video to share in the next couple of weeks, and will be sure and post it here once I do.


    EDIT : Here's the video I promised. I'll have more after the Laguna race. I'll be able to take my laptop with me and grab all of the footage from both Portland and Laguna. :tup:

    This is from the tail end of my fist stint. You can see the cars that took 1st and 2nd pass me during the first lap. The first place car (60's Nissan Roadster with an SR20 4 cylinder) passes me at 1:04 of the video, then the CRX that passes me at 1:20 is the 2nd place finisher.

    The lap from 12:30 to 14:13 is one of my fastest of the first stint, about a 1:43. I just looked at times at the 300 marker of turn 1 every lap to get an idea of these lap times.




    Here's a second video from Portland, with more to come. This is my personal fast lap of the race, a 1:42.6.



    Here's a video of me getting punted at night. Can you hear the disgust in my voice? :p



    Update - Laguna Seca race, 11/21/11.


    I'm back from the Laguna Seca race and finally have some time and energy to write an update for you guys.

    Laguna Seca is a relatively local track for me, being a little over 2 hours from my home. I've been to the track on several occasions, mainly to watch the annual historic races that occur the same week as the Monterey Concours. The track has always been one of my favorites to drive on GT, and then after visiting the track, all I've wanted to do was lay down some real life laps there.

    Last February, my friend Chris approached me about my interest in joining the Chump Car team that a friend of his was putting together. He mentioned they would be running a race in December at Laguna Seca, which was all they needed to do to convince me. I did a road test in the car last July when visiting Portland, as the team is based there. The Portland race at the top of this post was the culmination of that February conversation, a warm up, if you will, for the big race at Laguna Seca.

    At the start of October, before the Portland race even happened, a second Laguna Seca race was announced. Jason asked around to see who would be interested in running a second race, and right away, I said I was in for it. So in addition to this race that I just ran at Laguna, we’ll be running the one that was originally scheduled and discussed, on December 22nd.

    As we worked to get ready for the race, I looked to find the car setup on GT that I thought most closely matched the pace and handling characteristics of Jason’s car. I ended up using an ’86 MR2 with stage 2 weight reduction, Comfort Medium Tires on the front, and Comfort Soft Tires on the back. With this setup, the car understeered slightly more than the real thing, but with the same compound on both ends, it featured severe snap oversteer that I found to be uncharacteristic and unrealistic. A couple weeks before the race, I worked on a ghost lap to send to Chris, and Jason and the other 2 guys that would be running with us planned to go over to his house and practice. None of these guys have a GT setup with a force feedback wheel, but Chris has my old G27 and a wheelstand Pro. The lap I managed to put down for the ghost was a 1:54.4xx. The 3 guys I would be racing with all got together at Chris’ a couple weeks before the race. Their best times that night were in the 58’s and 59’s, but it gave the guys a great opportunity to get used to the track layout. With none of them being used to GT Physics, and some not knowing Laguna Seca, it was not a real surprise for them to be 4 seconds off the pace.


    Fast forward to the weekend of the race. The other 2 drivers for the race were Ethan and Che. They both work with Jason, and run their own Chump Car team, using the same generation MR2 as Jason does. They are signed up with their own car for the December race, but decided to run in Jason’s car for this event. The plan was for everyone to drive down on Saturday, stay over at my place, and then head to the track on Sunday for the tech and safety equipment inspection the day before the race.

    The guys texted me once they were on the road from Portland, at around 8 am. Since they were pulling a fully enclosed trailer with a race car, were projected them to get to my house at around 7 pm. They showed up right on time, at 6:55. A few minutes later, I was pulling tri-tip off the grill and grabbing some beers from the fridge. We sat around and chatted, had some local Nor-Cal fare, and all got to know each other a little better.

    After dinner, we all made our way to my GT setup to work together on track strategy. Within 2 or 3 laps, I had a 1:54.2 ghost car to let everyone chase. Everyone took a couple of turns at driving, we had a few more beers, and I got back in the seat to try and get that elusive 53, while I talked everyone through my approach to the lap in regard to braking points, where to lift only, apexes, etc. 2 of the 3 guys managed to get some laps in the 58’s, and everyone had a great time. We finally wrapped up about midnight, and made our way to bed.

    The goal the next morning was to be on the road by 10. We had some breakfast at around 9, got the rest of my stuff packed, got everything loaded up, and were on the road at 9:55. We arrived at the track at around 12:15, just a few minutes after the start of the tech inspection. There were probably 8 or 10 cars already there, mostly Mustangs and BMW 3 series. The weather on arrival was spotty rain, with the track surface and surrounding area being quite wet. The forecast for the next day was clear and sunny, but we were all a little apprehensive that the forecast might not be right!

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    Here’s the MR2 after tech inspection.

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    Jason took about 150 lbs. out of the car since the Portland race. That was in the form of bumpers (only 27 entrants to this race rather than the 84 we saw in Portland), Heater, lighter wheels, and some weight reduction to the hood and engine cover panels. Tires were changed from Dunlop Direzzas in the Portland race to Falken Azenis.

    Once we got the car and our gear checked in, we watched some of what was going on at the track. The AMG Driving Academy had the track rented for the week before, and were there doing some filming work, with a C63 AMG on track. Here’s a quick vid I took using the Android phone. That’s from behind the paddock fence outside of turn 4.



    After watching a little of that, we headed back up to the tech area, and were spending some time talking to the series owner/organizer about car valuation rules, and the potential of future modifications to the MR2’s to put them in a better position to win. Some of what we were discussing related to “penalty laps” received by other cars that are determined to be below the $500 (before safety, brake and tire upgrades) requirement of the series. The end of our conversation was the series owner telling us that he thinks about 70% of Chump Car participants are just there to have fun, about 20% want to win, and about 10% are first timers that don’t know what they’ve gotten themselves into. He told us that if we really wanted to win, maybe the MR2 wasn’t the right platform. That a 3 series BMW, or a Neon, or a Sentra SE-R might be better picks. We walked away determined to go out the next day and prove him wrong. :mischievous:

    Once we were done chatting and watching some of the other cars roll in, we decided to go walk some more of the track to check things out. We hiked up to take a look at the corkscrew, and also took a walk along the track fence to have a look at the Rahal Straight and turn 6. Turn 6 is the uphill left hand kink after the bridge, on the way up the hill to the corkscrew. It’s a tricky one, and we wanted to have an idea of how it looked in real life, and how we would need to approach it. As it turned out, when we got to turn 6, the AMG guys were there doing some work. They had started in turns 2, 3, 4 and 5, and were filming several passes of the car coming through the turns. That meant the driver would complete a pass of the turn aggressively, and then turn around and drive back to a starting point. I have to say, it was pretty odd seeing someone run “Laguna Seca Reverse”! :lol:

    It was good for us to see, ad we saw the braking and turn in points that the AMG test driver was using. At one point, he rolled down his window while waiting for the film crew to set something up. We asked, “Having Fun?” and he said in a strong German accent, “Ya! Is Good!”.

    After watching a bit more of that, we headed off to set up camp. Laguna Seca features some very nice campgrounds, with full hookup sites, so we had all decided in advance to sleep in the enclosed trailer the night before the race, wake up, and hit the track. :D

    Once camp was set up, we headed into Monterey for dinner at a restaurant whose owner was driving with one of the teams the next day. That gave us a chance to chat with several of the teams we’d be running with the next day, getting to know everyone a little better, and understand everything that went into building their cars and getting them ready for race day. It was a lot of fun, and really made for a different dynamic along the pit wall the next day. Because of those conversations the night before, we were cheering each other on during the race, and genuinely happy for the results the other teams were realizing, while appreciative of the effort each team put forth to be able to compete.

    After dinner, we went to the grocery store to grab some food for the next day, as the concessions were not open at the track during our race. Then we stopped to pick up the last of the fuel we would need to keep the car going the next day and headed back to camp.

    Once we were back to the track, we started making last minute preparations on the car, and also had a plan to get a view of the track before the next day. We had brought some bicycles along with us to try and ride the track, but as it turned out, only 3 of the 4 were operable. We decided to go 2 at a time, and Ethan and I took the first shift. We rode down to the paddock entrance, half expecting the gate to be closed. But as it turned out, the gates were wide open. Even more interesting, all of the Skip Barber school cars and AMG Academy cars were just out in the open. There were probably 10 C63 AMG’s, and 4 or 5 SLS AMG’s, along with several other high dollar cars. :eek: After taking that in for a bit, we rode over toward the pit wall, to see if there was a way onto the track.

    The first 2 fences we rode by, toward the exit end of the pits, were closed and locked. But then as we made our way down, the concrete wall cutout in the middle of the lane was wide open out onto the pit lane, so we started to make the 2.2 mile journey around the place. We checked out the narrow pit exit lane we would be using the next day, checked the rumbles for traction and height, got a good idea of the banking in some of the turns, and gained a better understanding of the elevation changes. I had to get off the bike and walk for a bit on the way up the Rahal Straight after turn 6, the elevation there is just immense. Then, from the top of the track, before the entrance of the corkscrew, I snapped this shot of the lights of Monterey and the ocean beyond. You really can’t see anything, but I’ll post it anyway.

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    Riding down the corkscrew, then through 9 and 10 and into the pit entrance was quite a rush. With that out of the way, we made our way back to camp to let Jason and Che have their turn at riding around. We did a little more work on the car, hung out around the campfire, and eventually made our way to bed, at around 1 am, with a 6:30 wakeup call.

    The morning came fast, and we got to work right away. We packed up camp and the trailer, then made our way back down the paddock to find a place to set up.

    It was a beautiful morning, a premonition of what was to be a great day of racing. Look at the sunshine over the track, main straight bridge and control tower at about 7 am. :)

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    The paddock was hopping, here’s a view of our trailer and the rest of what was going on around us.

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    We spent the next hour or so re-torquing the wheels, checking air pressure, removing the turn signal switch, applying last minute speed tape, and cleaning windows. The drivers meeting was at 8:15, with no particular surprises. It was mainly just the usual reminders about the key rules, such as maximum 2 hour driver stints, and the fueling rules, which include no fuel over the wall until the car stops, car is turned off, fueler must be in full gear with visor down, fire extinguisher must be pointed at the fueler from 10 feet away, and fuel stops must be at least 5 minutes from pit entrance to pit out.

    Che was first in the car, with me driving second, Ethan third, and Jason acting as our closer. The race was to run from 9 am until 4:30 pm, so our stints were to be about 1 hour and 45-50 minutes each.

    Here’s a picture of Che getting ready to jump in the car, with Jason looking on.

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    Here’s Ethan giving last minute reminders, and making sure everything is ready.

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    Here are some of the cars pulling away from the grid. The white vehicle you can see is a Crown Victoria chassis with a chopped down F-150 body mounted on it backwards! It was crazy to come up on while driving around the track!

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    The field was a total of 27 cars, and several had "penalty" laps, meaning they started the day with negative laps due to value and performance.

    After 3 or 4 laps of yellow, we got the race going, and were were in 2nd position at the start of the race, on the lead lap.

    Che did a really nice job on his stint, starting out with some laps in the 2:06 range, then settling into several laps in the low 2:00's. During the last of his stint, he clipped off several times in the 1:59's, and a few in the 1:58's, with a best lap of 1:58.0. That stint went really fast for me, as it meant I was next in the car. I got ready at a little after 10, just making sure I had plenty of time to get in my suit, and so that I was ready 30 minutes before, just in case he had to come in early for some reason.

    I got in the car at about 10:55, and was in the car for just about 1:50. We were in second place when Che came into the pits, so I knew I had a challenge ahead to hold onto a high position.

    Coming down onto the pit lane and on track was a great experience. My first lap without pit slowdown was a 2:08. Then I clipped off several in the 2:04-2:06 range. Then on lap 10, I was feeling in the groove, and managed a 1:59.2. I didn't know any of these times until after I got out of the car, of course, but I did realize when I was pushing and gaining pace, and when I was backing off.

    Learning shift points and how the car acted on track was a challenge. We hit 4th on the main straight, just as you came over the crest at the turn 1 kink. Turn 2 was a second gear turn, with the car having a ton of grip to take it full throttle from halfway through and carry to the right rumble. The next 2 were in 3rd, with a bit of brake going into both, just to brush speed off. Then just a momentary shift into 4th on the back straight, before taking 3rd all the way until the very last turn.

    Turn 5 was incredibly difficult, trying to find the right line, knowing when to brake, when you could get back on throttle, all in an effort to carry maximum speed up the hill. I don't think I ever hit it just perfect, that's an area of focus for me going into the December race.

    I'll have video to post over this coming weekend, but I had several good battles from the middle to end of my stint. There were no full course cautions during my stint, or during the race for that matter. But there were a few local yellow flags, and a few times the tow crew had to come on track. One car blew a motor going up the hill, and was stopped at the crest just before the corkscrew. And another missed the braking point for the corkscrew and ended up out in the kitty litter.

    The corkscrew was actually not as insane as I thought it would be. I was able to brake at the #3 marker at the crest, apex on the left side rumble, and then hammer down in 3rd. The weird part is that the first third of the corkscrew is completely blind to the driver on trackside right. The next turn, Rainey, is actually more challenging, and was a tough one to get right as I began carrying more speed down the hill and needed to find a new braking point.

    I almost lost it a couple times in the second to last turn. While it's banked, the entrance and braking point are tricky. The last turn is very straightforward. I could brake at Marker 2, late apex, and carry out to the right rumble, with full throttle before apex. It was a shift to second, but nothing more complicated than that.


    Before I knew it, Jason was telling me I had just 2 laps to go, and I still did not have a lap I was completely happy with, so I decided to really go for it on the next lap. I ended up setting my hot lap and the fast lap of the race for our team so far, with a 1:57.7.

    Back to the pits to jump out and help Ethan get in the car. Once Ethan was off, I turned toward the wall, and saw none other than our very own LeftyWright69 and LittleLefty standing there.

    I chatted with those guys for a few minutes, then went right back to watching the race progress from the Smartphone app that's available to us during the race.

    Ethan was FAST in the car. He shattered my fast lap by his 9th lap, with a 1:56.1. 9 laps later, he was consistently in the 55's. He finished his stint strong like I did, and hit 2 consecutive laps in the 54's, with a best of a 1:54.5. :crazy:

    We were in second place, and fighting with a BMW 3 series for the lead. It was a fast car, with the best laps in the 1:53's. They made a pit with 2.5 hours to go in the race, so we thought we were going to have them on pit strategy alone, by being able to wait until less than 2 hours were left, and comply with the race rules.

    Jason was in the car with about 1:50 to go in the race. He was also really fast in the car, but not quite as quick as Ethan. He was finding 1:57's by his 9th lap, and found some 55's after around 20 laps.

    With an hour left, the BMW in the lead started to slow, and was running 5-10 seconds slower than us. We speculated that they were trying to save fuel, but also knew they needed to stop to comply with the regulations. By that time, we had a 7 lap lead over the 3rd place car, so we knew it was just a 2 car race.

    We were talking with Jason about balancing fuel consumption against keeping up fast lap times. With 30 minutes to go, we closed the gap down to about 15 seconds, and knew the other car still had to pit!

    Then, the timing app went down, and so we went to one of the Chumpcar officials for an update. Once they saw the 1st place car had been out for 2 hours and 7 minutes, they brought them in on a black flag, moving us into the lead!

    From there, Jason was in fuel conservation, just trying to hold on. When we told him there was just one lap to go, he said, "I hope I can make it, I'm running out of gas!".

    We made our way out to the wall for the last lap and checkered flag. It seemed like it took about 3 days, but Jason finally came around the corner and slowly made his way up the main straight to take the flag! We had won the race, in an MR2!

    And here's our trophy!

    [​IMG]

    We won because of -

    Good Strategy
    No Contact or Black Flag Incidents
    No Off Track Incidents
    No Reliability Issues
    Consistent Driving from All of us, even if some were faster than others

    Here's the first of several videos, my fast lap of the race, second to last lap, just after I got the radio call that I was coming in after 2 more laps.



    Here are some pics of our car (and a few others) coming through the Corkscrew and Turn 11.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    Backwards Truck Pic :D

    [​IMG]

    Here's a Video of an Amusing Stretch of Racing I had. The Colt Tried to Put me 3 wide, and I wanted to make sure he Knew I was there. Who knew race cars don't have horns. :p



    Here's a video of a 4 lap battle I had just about 1 hour into my stint. I was having trouble getting enough speed to pass in the conventional areas of the track, and the car was much faster when I was driving around it earlier in my stint. I also knew the car had a very strong fast lap, from looking at Live Timing before I got in the car. When the other traffic went by, I became determined to figure out a way past.



    Update - Laguna Seca 12/22/11


    OK - I'm finally getting around to doing a writeup on the December Laguna Race. The race was last Thursday, December 23rd.

    It was another clear, beautiful day for racing out at Laguna Seca. High temps of about 60 Degrees F were expected, while wind was at a minimum.

    Jason left the trailer at my house after the last Laguna race, to make the long drive up to Portland in November and back down in December a little easier. I had a busy week, once again, even if I wasn't working. I had a couple friends in over the prior weekend, and the 3 of us went to Monday Night Football (Pittsburgh at San Francisco) on the 19th.

    One of my friends flew home on the 20th, while the other stayed down to attend the race.

    Jason arrived at my house on the evening of the 21st. I had a Strip Loin roast to throw on the grill (Like Prime Rib, but with New York Steak cut. Highly recommended. :) ). And I even had a Pony of IPA in the Kegerator for the occasion.

    We ate, had some beers, hung out, reflected on the last race, and talked strategy for the upcoming race. For this race, we would have just 3 drivers. Tom, who raced with us in the Portland race, was flying in on Wednesday the 22nd.

    Since we were running with 3 drivers for a 7.5 hour race, and the time limit for each stint is 2 hours (Not to mention our Fuel capacity), one of the 3 drivers would need to take 2 stints. This is something Jason offered me the chance to do prior to the race, and I jumped at the opportunity.

    The race schedule was to have me take the first stint, Tom take the second, I would be back in the car for the 3rd stint, and then Jason would take us home. In light of our fuel situation in the last event, the plan was to have us run until we got to the 2 hours, or ran out of fuel.

    With lots of video to review and break down from the last event, and the fact that I would be running 2 sessions, I had set some goals for myself.

    1. Get on pace more quickly. I would be starting the race, making this a little easier, as I would not be coming out onto track with cars that were already "in the groove". In the last race, it took me about 10 laps to get my pace down to a level I was happy and comfortable with, and half the stint before I was running my fastest laps.

    2. Be more aggressive in overtaking situations, particularly with cars that were clearly off the pace.

    3. Improve on my fastest lap times and overall pace by about 2 seconds.

    I had already analyzed my lap as compared to Ethan's from the last race, who had the fastest for the team (a 1:54.7). I knew the corners I was losing it to him, had a good idea of how I planned to change my approach, and only needed to go out and put it into action.

    The next day, Jason headed down to the track to get the car through Tech Inspection and check in everyone's gear. Since Tom was coming in at the airport that afternoon, the plan was for us to stay at my place and get up early the next morning and drive down to the track for arrival by the 7 am gate open time.

    Tom arrived Wednesday afternoon, as planned. We had a chance to load up GT and get him some wheel time, just like we did with the other guys before the last race. He already had a good idea of the track layout, and was able to find some pretty good consistency in the car. after a bit of doing that, we headed out to grab some dinner before an early bed time. Wake up call the next morning was 4 am. But it was race day! So getting up was no issue. We were on the road by 4:30, and arrived at the track about 5 minutes before 7, while there was still a line at the gate.

    Jason had me drive the race car into the gate, so we could work our way down and get a good spot in the paddock area. There were 4 teams from Portland that we were lining up in the same general paddock area, and we wanted to be toward the start finish line, which allows you a view back up the hill at the action in turn 9. We got everything set up in the paddock, checked tire pressure, fluid levels, cleaned windows, and all the other little things that have to be handled before starting the race.

    I was a little bit nervous about being the car first, but it really wasn't even as bad as the feeling of knowing you have to come up to speed with cars that have already been out on track for a bit. at 8 am, I got into my race gear, to prep for the 8:15 am drivers meeting.

    Following the drivers meeting, we made final preparations and got me into the car. We were ready before most of the other teams, and I was right at the Start/Finish release at 5 minutes before 9, and would get to lead the parade out onto the track!

    After 2 1/2 laps of yellow flag running, the green flag dropped on the front stright while I was on the way up the hill between turn 6 and the corkscrew. I saw the yellow come down at the corkscrew flagstand, and nailed it!

    By turn 2 on my first green lap, I was overtaking cars at the back of the field. My first few laps were pretty slow, due to passing all the slower traffic, but I was meeting my goal of being more aggressive about getting by them especially because many of these cars had not been on the track in the last race, so were likely less familiar with the track.

    Those laps were in the range of 2:02-2:08. But on my 6th green lap, I managed a 1:58.2, while was about 1.0 better than my tenth lap in the last race. Nice start to my goal. :)

    It was around that time that I got passed for the first time of the day, when 2 BMW's came screaming up on me, both 80's vintage, an E30 3 series and an E28 5 series. I was working to hang with them after that, which definitely helped me drag up my pace.

    A couple laps later, I got back past the 5 series, when he had a spin from getting his back right on the dirt at the exit of 6. I was about half way up from 5 at the time, which turned out to be pretty lucky, as I just had to lift and shift down to 2nd to get by him once he stopped. It was the first big spin I had seen in front of me on track, and was a real eye opener. :eek:

    There were a few local yellows early in the race, but by lap 13, I had crushed my fast lap of the prior race by getting a 1:56.9. The last 30 laps or so of my first stint were marred by many local yellows, and even a Full Course Caution that lasted for 7 laps, due to an exception class car crashing into the tires on the right between turns 3 and 4. Exception Class cars are cars that have been approved to run in SCCA and are not in the main competition. This car was an E46 M3 that had a fast lap of 1:45.3. Fast car, and it looked like they probably spun in 3 and put it into the tires.

    My fast lap of the session came before that long caution, on my 24th clear air lap, when I manage a 1:56.335. That was 1.5 seconds better than my best lap the last time out, so I had almost found the 2 seconds!

    With all that yellow flag running, I was able to make it the whole 2 hours on fuel. I came in to hand the car over to Tom, and we were running in 5th position at the time.

    Tom was hitting in the 2:02-2:05 range in the early laps of his stint, a really nice start for his first time on track. On his 8th lap, he had a spin in turn 6 and then spun again in turn 10. That meant a black flag warning point, and a 3rd offense would mean a penalty.

    Then on lap 14, he got a penalty for passing under yellow. I watched the video of the situation, and I can't honestly say that the same would not have happened to me. The yellow was posted at turn 4, and was held out without waving. The flag stand is all the way in the back left corner, away from the apex. The car he passed was a MUCH slower car, and had slowed more than needed for a local yellow. Unfortunately, he didn't notice until the turn 5 stand, and they brought him in for a penalty before he could give the position back.

    With the penalty of about 2 laps time served, he headed back out for the second half of his stint. He managed to get his laps in to the low 2:00's by the end of his stint, with a best lap of 2:00.1.

    It was then my turn to get back in the car. I had loaded up on food and fluid between stints, and was ready to dive back in!

    I was up to pace right off in the second stint, with my first flying lap being a 1:59, followed by a 1:58, followed by a 1:57. I was in the groove! Then there was a local yellow for a couple laps, followed by a 1:57, then 2 more laps in the 1:56's, followed by 4 more laps of yellow.

    In general, people were running a little crazier in this race than the last one. It was the last race of the season for everyone, so I think there was a little more hang it out on the line mentality. That resulted in a lot more local yellows than the last race, and amazingly, there were no full course yellows in the last race, while I had at least 3 while I was in the car in this race.

    About 15 laps and 30 minutes into my second stint, I came up on a Black, early '90's Mazda RX-7. The video below shows you what proceeded.



    Ultimately, the RX7 was a much faster car in a straight line, and the passing techniques I had used successfully on other cars would just not work. I could not use exit speed out of the last turn to get a run into turn 2, I could not use exit speed out of 4 to get a run into 5, and I could not get inside soon enough going into 11 to force him wide and take him coming onto the main straight.

    I was having to back off from turns 6 through 10, but that's a really tricky area of the track to make a pass and make it stick, so I decided to bide my time and wait for a mistake. The battle was 10 laps of being behind him, trying to chase him down, running laps that were in the 1:59-2:00 range when I was glued to his bumper, while faster when traffic affected us and I had to catch up. I really cranked up the pressure on the full lap before the pass was made, and we ran a 1:57.385, still a second off my fastest of the race. Finally, he made the mistake I was looking for by getting a poor run into turn 6 on the lap I passed him on. I nailed the turn, and took him on the inside going into the corkscrew! That was crazy fun, as you could tell from my radio in while going down the cork!

    That lap I made the pass on was my fastest of the race, a 1:55.777! I had found the 2 seconds I was looking for. :)

    After I made the pass, I was really pushing to make sure I stayed ahead. You can see the fast lap again, and the 2 laps after it, in this video.



    Those were quick laps also, a 1:56.2 and a 1:56.1. I was happy to make my way past the traffic before the RX-7 could attempt a repass on the straight, something that has happened to me before.

    The lap after those 2 on the video, I made an unfortunate mistake. I'll have a vide of this up over the weekend, I have not had the heart to make it yet. I had a run on a BMW that had run much slower than us all day coming out of turn 6. He held to track left going up the hill, so I took the right line, meaning I would have to pass on the outside going into the cork. I left him room as I lifted coming over the crest into the braking zone, and got on the brakes at the #3 marker, as I had on every other lap.

    I think because I hit the rumbles a little harder than I did on other laps, by having the whole right of the car up on them, the car was light on the right side as I got on the brakes. As a result, I had a huge lockup and it was all I could do to keep the car going straight (not to the left and into the car I was passing!). I ended up in the foot deep pea gravel at the back of the cork and had to wait the equivalent of 2 laps for the tow crew to come pull me out. :ouch:

    I've replayed that one in my head, and if I had it to do over, I would just wait and try to make the pass in 6, or into 11, and not risk by going around the outside into the cork unless I KNOW I can get back to the left before braking. Lesson learned.

    The car was fine, I stayed out for the rest of my stint, and even had another 1:55 lap, a 1:55.884 on my last lap before coming in.

    Next, it was Jason's turn in the car. After the pit we were in 12th place, which left us hope for a top 10 finish, knowing some cars would likely need to pit, or would break down, and that Jason would be our fastest driver of the day.

    Jason was fast as expected, and had bested my fast lap by his 7th, with a 1:55.7. The next 2 after that, he has 55.2's, and was really in a groove.

    On lap 17, Jason ended up with his share of the "that's racing" issues we had already been experiencing. As he came around turn 2, a BMW was spinning out in front of him. He thought the car was headed toward the left wall to settle in, but as he tried to scoot past, the car was back on the throttle and coming across the track in front of him. He locked up all 4, but ended up hitting the car's left rear quarter with the right front fender of his car. I have not watched the video of this one, and won't be posting it out of respect for our team leader and owner.

    We had to have the car in the pits 3 times to make enough repairs to allow us to continue to run. We had to bend the fender flare up away from the tire, jack up the car to pull out the inner fender, and tape town the metal headlight cover "templates". This cost us about 7 laps of time overall, and had us back in 12th spot, after crawling up to 9th.

    After all of that, Jason was able to finish the race out, and managed to make some even faster laps in the car. The fender was still rubbing lightly on the tire, and the tire are "siped" radially by the fender touching on it. But he said it was turning left "awesome", and he set far and away the fastest lap the car had seen on the track with 5 laps to go. This video is of Jason's fastest, a 1:52.821!



    We ended up finishing 12th on the day. With the faster cars that were out there, we figured we could have been as good as 5th, if not for the team mistakes. The most important thing about mistakes is to learn from them, which we all intend to do.

    Our next race is already on the horizon, November 12th at Laguna. Jason is talking about getting the November "Dream Team" back together to run that race. With everything we've learned about the track, a couple of (series legal) performance upgrades planned, and a little bit of luck, maybe we'll find our way back to the podium for that one. :)

    Update - Laguna Seca - 2/12/12



    As many of you know, I ran another race at Laguna this past weekend, on Sunday the 12th. It was pretty cool to get the chance to run an event on the traditional day of racing, especially at the hallowed Laguna Seca. As it turned out, with the calendar falling on the weekend before Valentines, most of the guys who normally race with us already had plans. Jason made a pitch at getting the old team back together, wanting to run a race with Che and Ethan, who ran with us in our November win. Once that didn’t work out, he offered up the spot to any experienced ChumpCar racers on the Chumpcar forums. It was looking like we had a taker, a guy from New Jersey. But then he backed out about 2 weeks before the race. That left us with just the 2 of us to run. That’s legal within the rules, we would each need to run 2 stints, and they would need to be staggered. I was really excited about the opportunity to get another 2 sessions in the car, and to improve on my prior performances at Laguna after everything I’d learned in the last 2 races.

    The weekend started with Jason arriving at my house on Friday evening. We had the traditional BBQ and beer, some nice ribeye steaks off the grill. The one thing we would need to be legal for the race was someone to hold the fire bottle during fueling. That’s where my friend Drew would come in. He came over and joined us on Friday night, so he could get to know Jason and check out the car before race day. After we ate, we got the Challenger out of the garage so we could back the racecar in for some last minute preparations. The brake package we have on the rear of the car is very effective, but the pads do not wear evenly. The inside pads wear at a faster rate than the outside, and there’s potential for them to wear to a point that they fall out, since the rotors are actually thinner than stock. As a result, we needed to replace the inside pads on both sides of the rear. Beyond that, we rotated tires, and put some plastic pieces that channel airflow back under the car. We wrapped everything up by about 10:30, and then hung out chatting over beers until about 1 am, talking race strategy and reflecting on the success and opportunities of our prior races.

    Jason and I hit the road to head for the track and tech inspection at 11 the next morning. Since time was going to be at a premium, with one of us already in the car, we had everything we would need for food and drink packed up with us. We planned to camp at the track campground that night, and make dinner on his portable gas grill. Running to concessions during the race would be risky, as if anything happened on track with the car, we’d need to be available and on the wall to take care of it. Having the food ready would allow us to focus on the racing.

    We were at the freeway exit toward the track at about 1 pm. We stopped for fuel for the truck and the racecar, and when standing out fueling, we noticed it was quite a bit cooler than had been forecast, with a lot of wind and gray clouds. The weather forecast was for clear weather on Sunday, but that looked to be in doubt. We finished fueling up and were on our way again. We arrived at the track for tech inspection by about 2 pm. Inspection went smoothly, and then we walked around to check out some other cars and the area of checkin. We happened to be in the area that the old section of track used to run between the modern day turns 2 and 5. Here’s a pic that shows the rumble strip, tarmac, tech inspection in the background, and the run up the hill. Imagine hitting that hill with all that built up speed before the track layout was revised!

    [​IMG]

    Once we were wrapped up with tech, we headed up to the campground to set up camp. We grabbed the same spot we had when we won the race in November. A little superstition never hurt. Once we were set up, we grilled a couple hot dogs and watched the BMW driving school going around turn 5. We were watching their lines carefully, as everyone had instructors in the car, and we thought we might see an approach that would help us. We noticed the turn in point was just a bit later than what we had been using, and decided to put that knowledge to use the next day, to improve our speed on the run up the long hill.

    Once the BMW’s were done, we hiked up to the corkscrew to check out more of the track and discuss strategy. We made our way back down past turn 9, around near the paddock, and then back over to camp. At that point, we made final preparations on the car, which mainly consisted of cleaning up the front end aerodynamics that had been compromised in the last race. That’s mainly done with cardboard and tape, but is nonetheless still important. The weather had turned for the worse by then, and we were seeing a steady and consistent drizzle. We knew the track would start out damp, at a minimum, but were just hopeful that weather would work in our favor for most of the day on Sunday. When we were done working on the car, we grilled some steaks at around 7 pm, then got the trailer set up for bed.

    Before going to bed, we hung out for a bit with the winning team from the last race, the Geo Metro Knome. They were nice enough to let us stand around their warm fire! They run a Geo Metro that has a 1000 cc Super Bike Engine in the back, with a chain driven rear axle. We were talking to them for a bit about their build and car, came to understand the evolution of it, and were pretty impressed with all the trial end error that went into the car, as well as the skill required to drive it properly. They actually use stock Geo Metro brake hardware on the car, and just upgrade the pads to ceramics!

    As the fire burned down, we made our way to bed. I was fast asleep by 10:30, with a planned wake up call of 6 am. Morning came fast, and there was a lot to do. The gates to the paddock open at 7 am, but most of the cars line up before then, and to get the spot you want on the wall, you have to be in line. I grabbed a quick shower, and then we wrapped up everything in camp. I drove the car down from the campground to get into line. When I took the uphill, right hand turn out of the campground area in 1st gear, the back end immediately kicked out. I knew it was going to be a little slick on track to begin my first stint.

    They let us down into the track at 7 am sharp. With just 2 of us to set up pit lane, it was going to be a fast and furious morning. We got everything set up, checked tire pressures, cleaned and Rain-X’d the windows, and got the radio and camera ready. By then, it was 8:10, with the drivers meeting at 8:15. I quickly went and changed into my race gear so I would be ready to jump in the car after the meeting.

    After the meeting, we got the car started and warming up, and I jumped in and strapped in, got the radio check, etc. It was still misting, to the point that I had to clear the windshield with the wipers. It was going to be slick on the way out! Before I knew it, they were waving us onto track. We were toward the front of pit lane so were 3rd out on track. As I made my way around track the first time, I was looking at the track edge conditions, and noticed pooled water on some of the rumble strips. I made a mental note to stay off of them early in the race!

    After my second pass under the bridge, the yellow flag came down at the turn 3 flag stand. I got on the car right away, and the back end kicked out immediately, causing me to have to aggressively correct. In the very next corner, the car directly in front of me, a Mazda Miata, apexed to the inside rumble and appeared to be making a passing attempt on the Mustang in front of him. He got really sideways, and almost made a full spin! He was able to correct and continue on, and made the overtake on the Mustang going up the hill after turn 6. At that point, I was up on the Mustang, and was right on him coming through the corkscrew. My plan was to just overtake him on the main straight, as it was the first lap, and grip was at a premium. As we came down the hill into turn 9, the high speed left handed sweeper, I was not at all impressed with his line or speed. As we came around the turn, the back of his car stepped out to the left badly, and he was slow to correct. He headed straight for the dirt at track side left, and I sped by on the right. Watching video later, he came back across the track behind me once I was past by a few car lengths! It was a really close call.

    Unfortunately, the normal Electronic timing and scoring system did not work for the race. As a result, 2 things were happening. First, we had no idea where we stood in terms of position. Second, the only way we could know our lap pace was to manually time them with the smartphone stopwatch from the pit wall. That made for an interesting race, where we just needed to push as hard as we could and hope for the best. I was only passed by 4 cars in my first stint, and I passed quite a few cars myself, some of them several times. The first hour was very slick, with the track improving continually. Complicating things further, the brakes were not optimum, as we had installed the new pads on one side of the back, and I was getting vibration under hard braking as they worked themselves in and found a wear angle that was similar to the outside pads. That made it very tricky, where my first 5 laps were in the 2:15 range, then I improved to 2:07 or so on average for the next 10 laps, with my best being 2:05, then finally settled into the low 2 minute and high 1 minute marks for another 20 laps or so. I was on my 36th lap and 1 hour 20 minutes in before I finally found some dry running pace, with a 1:55 on lap 36, followed by a 1:54 and a 1:53. These laps are all hand timed by pausing at the start finish bridge each lap, so I don’t have tenths yet, but I will when I load them into video editor. My best laps were about 3 seconds faster than the last race. I used footage from Jason’s fastest in the last to find out where I had room to improve, and capitalized on it. Except when in traffic or under local yellow, my pace was about 1:55 for the rest of the stint. Fortunately, the brakes had worked themselves out, and were as good as ever by the time the stint was complete. The car started to cut out on me as I neared the 2 hour mark and fuel was at the empty line, so we ended up coming in on fuel after about 1 hour and 57 minutes of running. That would really help us stay on fuel strategy as we worked our way toward dry running and faster laps for the rest of the race.

    The 2 man pit stop was pretty tricky. I needed to loosen up the belts and get everything set just right for Jason to get in the car on his own, unaided. Jason would put the first 5 gallons of fuel in the car, then I would hop out, and fill it with the second 5 gallons while he belted himself in, plugged in the radio, etc. From there, we reset the timing clock in the car, did a quick radio check, made sure the camera was still on, and headed out on track. We made it out of the pit stall with a minute to spare on the first stop!

    Jason was quick in his stint, as usual. He matched my best lap with a 1:53, and also had several 1:54’s, which was his general pace when he was not in traffic. Jason made it an hour and 42 minutes before fuel became an issue. He came in for his stop and I was back in the car for my second stint. He checked the oil during that sint, and had to top it off some, so we ended up coming out of the stall right as the timer was going off, so probably lost 30 seconds or so. But better to be safe, and make sure the car stayed running right!

    In my second stint, I settled into a pace of 1:56’s almost right away. My first fast lap was a 1:57, my 3rd was a 1:56. 20 minutes into the stint, I passed a car between turns 4 and 5. There was a yellow flag at turn 5, but there had not been one at turn 4. But on the way up the hill to the corkscrew, they waved the black flag at me. I pulled into the pits, and they told me right off that they thought the car numbers were reported wrong. I explained what happened, and they let me drive on through, but it cost us about a minute, or a half lap of track position. As a result, I spend the rest of the first half of my stint making my way through traffic, and my laps were really inconsistent, with my average in that time being 1:57.3. Once I was back in the clear, I was consistently running faster laps, several 1:55’s, with a 1:54 and a 1:53 thrown in. My average during that time was 1:55.7. 90 minutes into my stint, the fuel was already down to the top of the Empty line, and we really needed to get more time out of the car, so we decided I would need to go into fuel conservation, which meant rolling off the throttle sooner coming into corners and using higher gears all around the track. I managed to keep that going for 7 laps, and averaged 2:02.3. Losing 30 seconds or so there was a lot better than needing another fuel stop, as that would have cost us more than 5 minutes.

    I brought the car in with about 1 hour 45 minutes to go in the race, meaning Jason would need to make it as long in his final stint as I had in mine.

    While I was in the car for that second stint, they updated the live timing application with the mid race lap count. It showed us in 6th position, but we were just 2 laps off of all the cars that were in 3rd-5th. We knew who those cars were, and Jason went to chase them down! He got by the car that had been reported in 5th place at about 20 laps into his stint, and then started gapping them from there. H pushed hard all through the stint, and averaged 1:55 in his first 35 laps. He kept that pace up until the final 10 laps or so, when he had to back off to conserve fuel, and when we knew we would not catch any more of the lead cars, and also did not risk getting passed by them.

    We made it to the finish without running out of fuel, and then had to wait about 15 minutes before they made podium announcements for the race.

    In the end, we were announced in 4th place, a very solid finish for the day. For us, some doubt remains as to the accuracy of the hand count. Our video does not show being passed the number of times we would need to have been for the lead cars to have outlapped us by as much as the posted count.

    But nonetheless, we are very happy with our performance, and think we had a very solid result for the day. Here I am next to the car before loading it on the trailer.

    [​IMG]

    And here I am making an overtake through the corkscrew. ;)

    [​IMG]

    Video Update - 2/28/12

    Here are a few videos I posted up on YouTube over the past week or so.

    Here's a video from early in the race. It shows how much water was on the windshield before I exit the pits, and a couple of the spins I saw from other cars early on.



    Here's my fastest lap of the race., turned out to be a 1:53.760.



    Here's Jason's fastest lap, a 1:52.770.



    Here's a great battle Jason had in his second stint.



    And here's a vid I posted for the Alfa drivers since their camera was broken. Shows some pretty nice passes and laps.

     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  2. WRP001

    WRP001 Moderator

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    :tup: Awesome job in the car Kevin and an interesting read too.

    I can just imagine the nerves in the first few laps of that first stint. It would probably take me 50 laps by myself to get the point where my heart could slow to 120 bpm... never mind someone else's car on a track with 83 other cars swarming around.

    Your probably hooked for life now.

    PS> You need a GTP_WRS sponsorship sticker on the side of that car! OR maybe Hydro can make you one of his "GTP on Board!" signs for the back window. :sly:
     
  3. EDK

    EDK Moderator

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    Now that I've had a race in the car and survived, I'll contact Jordan about a GTPlanet sticker. :)
     
  4. AspecBob

    AspecBob Premium

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    Thank you for sharing this amazing experience! I am looking forward to further reports on your future races.
     
  5. mcfizzle

    mcfizzle

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    Very cool write up Kevin. It sounds like you did a great job. :tup:
    Laguna Seca will be an amazing experience for sure.
     
  6. Gravitron

    Gravitron Moderator

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    Wow, jumped in the fire, Kev. :tup: Great write-up to match what must have been something you'll never forget. Really cool.

    EDIT: Oh, and thanks for getting the Spa WRS event posted as soon as possible, Sat night after the race/burgers/beers! :tup:
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
  7. NINE_HUNDRED

    NINE_HUNDRED

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    Sounds like a fun weekend :tup: Glad the car got going again after the incident, 4th overall must of been pretty cool.

    Good luck for the Laguna Seca races, onboard camera next time :idea:
     
  8. Small_Fryz

    Small_Fryz Premium

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    Very jealous Kev!!

    Looks like you had a great time and some very consistent driving as well :tup:

    Was a great read, thanks for taking the time to share :cheers:
     
  9. EDK

    EDK Moderator

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    There is a camera in the car, and I'll have some footage soon. I brought an external hard drive to bring the data home with me, but we were having trouble making it work with Jason's laptop. And at ~10 pm on race night, I was more interested in burgers and beer than technical difficulties. ;)
     
  10. JoostBaksteen

    JoostBaksteen Moderator

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    Nice Kevin, really cool! Sounds like you've had a great time! Luckily nothing serious happened with the incident in the chicane and you could continue on :tup:

    Racing in real life is so cool :) I've done a couple of laps in a free-run session on Zandvoort with my first car, an old Mazda 323 hatchback. Coming on the straight with 120K/u, getting passed by Fiat 500's and going 140K/u and the end off the straight, but that doesn't matter. It's just soo much fun :) Driving at limit can be done in any car :)

    But it sounds like you've had a much better car to race with. Great stuff and have fun at Laguna Seca!!

    :cheers:
     
  11. Vagabond

    Vagabond Moderator

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    Heh, great story Kev, I'm so jealous. I haven't driven in anger on racetrack for about 15 years.... you never forget that first lap sweat though. Brilliant performance mate - all those WRS combos paid off. :tup:

    Great idea that. :)

    Looking forward to the video footage. And can't wait to hear about Laguna Seca - that corkscrew is one scary mother of a corner. :crazy:
     
  12. MadMax

    MadMax Moderator

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    Very enjoyable writeup Kevin. :tup:

    Looking forward to the video footage.
     
  13. Jump_Ace

    Jump_Ace Staff Emeritus

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    COOL STORY BRO

    No, really, cool story :tup:


    I wanted to come watch you and Kyle race this weekend, but the wifey wanted to go to a party in Salem and then she got too hammered, so I had to play nurse all day Sunday :rolleyes: :lol:

    GL in Monterey buddy!

    Jerome
     
  14. EDK

    EDK Moderator

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    Didn't mention Kyle in my writeup, but I did have a chance to go say hello to him and then offer congrats for their second place at the end.

    Definitely something to be said for 2 WRS vets being on the traack and their teams finishing 2nd and 4th.
     
  15. cicua

    cicua Premium

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    Great writeup Kev :tup:

    What a great experience. All I can really say is ... envy.

    Looking forward to videos!
     
  16. LeftyWright69

    LeftyWright69

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    What a great experience for you, I wonder what they would think if I brought out one of my junkers ...... lol

    [​IMG]

    Full blown Celica Race Car, an un finished race car without a home track :( I only paid 500 for it, would that count given that it has over 5k into it from the previous owner?
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2011
  17. EDK

    EDK Moderator

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    The rules are quite specific on what can and cannot be done to the cars. As well as the safety upgrades that are required.

    http://www.chumpcar.com/rules_fees.php

    If the rollcage has other reinforcement, or if the car has upgrades and/or the initial street value is higher than $500, it would get penalty laps.

    You can show up in almost anything, it's just that penalty laps might put you out of contention.

    The MR-2 had a Supercharged Junkyard motor in it in April, and they docked them severely for that.
     
  18. KLR142

    KLR142

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    w00t! I was searching Google for any write-ups/videos/pictures from this weekend and came across your thread.

    It was great meeting you and it was a GREAT race weekend! First time we've finished a race solidly with that car, and boy did we do solid!

    I wish I had more time to compete in the WRS and play GT5...
     
  19. LeftyWright69

    LeftyWright69

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    Thanks "E" I have a couple of other contenders around here still so I'll check out the specs and see what it's all about........ Thankzzzz
     
  20. 2smokes

    2smokes

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    Easy on the clutch!! That was a really good recap Kevin, congrats and thanks for sharing! Good luck in Laguna!

    Joel
     
  21. LinPark

    LinPark Premium

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    Great write-up Kev - sounded like a ton of fun! This will get you prepared nicely for GT Academy Finals sometime soon!

    On your best laps, what kind of top speeds were you seeing? And I didn't see any mention of bump drafting. :lol:

    I'd like to see these Camaro's and Mustang's with a street value of $500. :)
     
  22. EDK

    EDK Moderator

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    Back straight top speed into braking zone was probably ~110 mph, but the only time I ever looked at the speedo was in the pit lane.

    And yeah, the only Mustangs and Camaros that are $500 have V6's, and these are V8 cars. But none of them were in the top of the field, mainly down to fuel consumption and cooling issues.
     
  23. superwally

    superwally

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    Great read Kev, so cool you could get your first track time where it all began. Congrats on the great finish and lap times. :tup:
     
  24. Grand Prix

    Grand Prix Premium

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    Great story Kev. :tup: Sounds like you had a good time. :cheers:
     
  25. KLR142

    KLR142

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    One of the Camaros that is consistently in the top 3 for fastest time of day at the past few events did actually finish in the top 3 on Sunday's race. The #72 American flag looking one.

    Here are some pictures that you guys may or may not be able to see:
    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150459223755522.422167.637270521&type=1

    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.300509473310286.86747.100000537079827&type=1

    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150358987883992.360574.281530008991&type=1
     
  26. EDK

    EDK Moderator

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    Just added an imbedded YouTube video to the bottom of the first post.
     
  27. AspecBob

    AspecBob Premium

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    WOW! What game is that? The graphics are much better than those in GT5! :dopey:
     
  28. MadMax

    MadMax Moderator

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    Awesome video Kevin , I laughed at ~7min mark when I saw that black/white (police) car paint job.

    Looks like there was plenty of grip to spare in that MR2 . :D
     
  29. WRP001

    WRP001 Moderator

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    Also enjoyed the video. It's a shame they don't display the driving line on the replay though. :dunce:
     
  30. EDK

    EDK Moderator

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    Yeah, that "police car" was really fast, it set the fastest lap of the race, in fact. (a 1:33.x, where our very best was a 1:39.x). My wife also laughed when she saw it, she said "Uh oh, looks like the fuzz is after you" :lol:

    I definitely did not explore the full grip limits of the MR2, although you probably noticed some lockup moments as well as a few sideways moments, particularly in turn 6 (off camber left) and the last turn before the main straight.

    What you don't get an idea of from the video is the G loads that the car is generating. In the double apex right hand complex (turns 4 and 5) , even when it looks like I'm just taking it easy through there, I was pinned to the roll cage and door on the left of the car. My leg has the (nearly healed) bruises to prove it.

    Line is easy to see, just look at where I just driving the car. ;)

    Actually, I did clean some lines up between stints. The transition from 1 to 2 and turn 7 (right hander onto back straight) in particular. Both were partly down to having less traffic in the second stint, as turn 1 is a main passing zone and often required altered lines, and the inside line helps you pass and defend at turn 7.