At the gate
This was my first time at RA. The night before I had attempted to find the gate in the dark. That didn’t go well. Today I am determined to get to the track with time to spare. When I arrived at the gate I was warmly greeted and issued my wrist band. Then with no idea where I was going I kinda meandered around following signs until I arrived at the tech in. I didn’t quite make it to tech in when I saw a guy pushing his BMW towards tech in. It was prior to the time you are allowed to start your noisy engines. I helped him push it abaout 50 yards up the slight grade. I was huffing and puffing pretty well as he thanked me. I looked back at the long walk back to my car and it was obvious that I should have parked off to the side. Trucks and trailers were having to route around me to get to their spots on the paddock. I scurried as best as I could with my legs feeling like tree trunks to get my car out of the way.
I found a spot on the paddock to set up and unloaded my jack spare rotors, pads, fluids, tools, and of course, chair and cooler. This turned out to be a great time to get my car through tech in.
The driver’s meeting was packed with more than 40 drivers. This was a first for me. Usually I run with 18-20 drivers in HPDE2. They went throught he normal things and ran out of time before actually going over the line. The line, if you are like me new to this, is the part of the pavement that they want you to be on through each straight and turn. Knowing where drivers are going to be “usually” on the track makes them more predictable and safe to aproach and or pass. It is also the safest and fastest way around the circuit. I am glad I viewed “Racer 360”, “Sim racer”, and Professr Apex” videos on you tube prior to making the trip. Also, I found out in our second driver’s debrief that this for them is a right hand only point by pass track.
I followed a Miata out onto the track so I was able to see what his car was doing and match speed as he warmed up. I did not pass him on the back straight as I was unsure of how the new brake pads would act going into turn 10. Good thing. I had about half the stopping power with the power stop ceramics as I did with the Hawk HPs. A little unsettling and I was out of Hawk’s.
The esses were a blast! I was able to go full throttle up to turn 5. The car felt really great through here. Anyone who passed me in the front straight I was able to reel in and get right on their hip through here.
I was unable to master turn 5 to accelerate well out. Turn 6 I was doing pretty good at slowing correctly and exiting at full throttle. Turn 7 still needs a bit of work. The turns 5 and 11 showed the weakness of my street tires and FWD. Turn 11 was the most unsettling. My Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 tires were screaming “get me off of here” all the way through turn 12. Less than half of the drivers in our class passed me. I am considering that a success.
My last post was about me getting a handle on my roll. I have to say that I am really pleased with the progress on the handling as far as body roll. The H&R springs with the Stillen sway bar revealed more so than ever that the tires are the weakest point, short of my skill, in getting my lap times to be respectable.
HPDE track days are by far the most sustained fun in an automobile that I have ever had. I highly recommend NASA club membership and the HPDE program to anyone wanting to take their daily driver and see what they can do on the most iconic tracks!