After a long, but fun winter of car preparation (chronicled in these forums)and hockey, it was finally time to hit the track ! NASA Rocky Mountain gambles a bit with the weather by having our first event in March, but I'm glad they do. I felt that the one thing I was lacking was brakes, so I splurged on a set of Hawk blue 9012s for the front, which I picked up at Checkpoint Racing in Denver, while I was getting my daughter to a regional hockey tournament. I arrived in Pueblo fri. night about 9:30 and figured it was better to get them on and properly bedded before getting to the track, so that's how I wore myself out to get a good night's sleep. zzzzz......
Sat. A.M. I checked in at 7:00, got my wheels swapped out with race rubber, emptied a huge pile of tools, ramps, jackstands, lawnchairs, cooler etc. and gave the car one last check. Good to go. I was a little anxious, because today was my first opportunity to get a Time Trials licence. Our first run for the HPDE 4/TT group was at 8:30, and the track, car and driver were still very cool. I put the pedal down after a couple of warm up laps, with an STI (the only other Subie there) and a full race Mustang breathing down my neck. I went into turn 2 too hot, tried to trail brake, threw the tail around, and with a huge cloud of dirt I had spun on my 3rd lap...D'oh ! I hadn't given the cold tires and unbalanced brake set-up enough consideration, and felt like an idiot
Bad first session. Great weather though, NASA's gamble won huge ! By the way, I'll be upgrading my rear pads too.
Subsequent outings found me driving a little more conservatively until I got used to the new feel of the car, as I have changed my suspension quite a bit for this year, and only ran it for a test afternoon at Sandia, which is a very different circuit. Our third session was washed, after an RX-8 found the wall twice coming out of turn 10. This is quite unusual for a HPDE/TT event, to see a car completely wadded up. The driver was fine, but he hadn't faced his wife yet ! I posted the 2nd fastest time for our group, behind a 350Z with a very experienced driver. Needless to say, I was quite pleased
What was even more exciting, at the end of the day, the regional director signed me off for my TT licence
and a check of the timesheet showed that I had held on to second over an M3 that one of the instuctors was piloting. I am digging it !! The car performed flawlessly, this being only my second chance to use PDXtunings race gas maps, and my set of DOT R tires. It's a good day at the track when there are absolutely no mechanical worries. No problems sleeping tonight.
Sunday morning started out about the same except I didn't spin again ! I was really concentrating on the new feel of the car, and trying to find a couple seconds off my times. I don't like being shown up by a Nissan. I managed to bring my laps down another second and a half, which was enough to smoke the 350Z, but the M3 had laid down a blistering lap in the morning that I would not be able to top. I did manage to run a best 1:52:37, which was just under three seconds off what the STI posted for his best lap, which was good enough to win the TTB class. I am feeling pretty good about my car and the modification choices I've made, as I don't expect to match an STI (with a good driver) but under three seconds on a 2.3 mile track is pretty damn close !
By the last session on Sunday, I was pretty crispy. Driving fast is hard work even if you don't have to climb under the car much. I only did to check everything was still tight, full of fluids etc..I drove back to New Mexico feeling that it had been a triumphant weekend, achieving my licence goal, placing second in class both days, and having a very solid car. Now, if only I didn't have to wait four weeks for our next event
Here are some paddock photos, and yes, that is an Ariel Atom you see in the background (lots of cool cars there) All of my sponsors are proudly displayed, as I couldn't have been there without them. Please check out my newest at www.privatelabelselect.com
I'll post action shots (including the spin) in a few days. Thanks for reading, and please try to get yourself and your car to a track event, you will not regret it !!