Quenching the thirst for competition…leaves a salty aftertaste
So I have decided, against my own better judgment and against the advice of friends, financial advisors and loved ones to enter into yet another racing series, the S2000 Challenge. This was really more of a way to twist my own arm to get my lazy ass up to the track at LEAST once a month, wreck some tires and try to improve upon the a-rhythmic gyrations and accompanied swearing that I loosely refer to as driving.
I figure the best way to do this was to do it just like the way I learned how to swim. Stay up late the night before drinking, then show up completely unprepared and jump into the deep end. Man 7 was a weird age for me….but back to the car thing….So I took my car to the 2nd track event I had ever driven it at, and promptly entered it into event number 1 for the 2012 S2000 challenge, in the stock class.
Before I discuss how the event actually went, lets quickly take a look at what I learned:
1: GT-R’s are fast, even when parked.
2: I apparently have an over-inflated sense of braking and traction (or why are the other cars coming at me)
3. Video taping yourself doing ANYTHING never looks as cool as it feels when you’re doing it (hey you, get your mind out of the gutter were talking about cars here)
So now lets quickly review how i learned the 3 lessons outlines above.
The GT-R and the M3 are clearly the track-day car of choice for the well-heeled, and they were both present in abundance when I arrived at Buttonwillow raceway that morning after a long and freezing drive in the tule fog. This number includes some friends that had also come up to participate in some of the non-competition track time. The day was off to a slow and cold start since due to the fog we couldn’t see halfway across the paddock, which would certainly make driving at speed difficult, but this left plenty of time to lament our choice of breakfast, wish we had slept in and watch 3M stock prices rise as people mummified their cars to greater or lesser degrees in blue painters tape.
Finally around 9:30 the fog lifts, and my run group gets on track by about 10-ish. The first session doesn’t actually count but instead just sets the starting order for later. I throw a dart at a board to pick my tire pressure and set out with the goal of passing at least one person and not coming in on a tow-truck. The session progresses rather well, I manage to spend it facing the right direction, and turn a respectable enough time to get 12th on the grid for the next few starts.
In the second session, while overtaking a Miata on the front straight, I brake wayyyy too late (as measured by the calendar) into turn 1, and get to watch the world go around, and get the chance to parallel park my car onto the dirt on the inside of the turn, where I promptly get to see all of the people I had passed that session come right at me. i wave “hi everybody” and the rest of the session is thankfully uneventful.
The remainder of the day I manage to continue to shave off 2-3seconds per session, finally ending the day with a best time of 2.14.820, which is good enough to net me 4th place, but even there I know i left a ton of time on the track.
So on to the 3rd topic, here is my fast session. As you can see from the video it looks like a calm drive to the supermarket. I will endeavor to figure out how to show some of the telemetry I collected on my android tablet.