We ran the track counter-clockwise. The turn numbers
are all wrong for us, but you can get a feel for the track from the map.
One other thing, on Saturday, we ran a short version, skipping the hairpin
and basically making the course an oval. On Sunday, we ran the hairpin.
That makes those few corners like an autocross.
In the second run I was having a blast. I had adjusted
the tire pressures a little after the last session, and most of the oversteer
was gone. The car was handling very neutral with lots of grip, plenty of
power, and excellent speed. I was passing almost everyone, when I came
up to a PCA Club Race class GT1 S 911 turbo. The car is very fast, but
I was catching him in the NASCAR turn 1. He was leaving me in the dust
on the straights, but I was gaining on him in all the corners. Finally
he have me the pass signal, and after a few laps I put enough distance
between us that I was able to relax a little. That run was major fun, and
after it, the driver, Chris, came over and we rehashed the run.
Third run, more of the same. I took my student, Lisa, for a ride. I wanted to show her exactly what I meant by ďhitting the apex.Ē Again, the car was working great. The brakes were excellent, and the old K tires were pretty grippy. By now, I had worked up to going through the bowl or NASCAR 1 wide open. From the time I completed the last corner before the main straight, I was at wide open throttle until braking for T2. Mid way through the run I caught up to the chief instructor, Bob Slawson, in his 911. Bob is a great driver, very fast, and his car is well set up. He was faster than me through the infield, but I was able to make up all the ground NASCAR 1. We ran nose to tail to a few laps, and it was really great. If we were racing I donít think I would have been able to pass him. Since we werenít, he was nice and gave me a passing signal. Then I tried to stay in front of him. It was easy in the bowl, but not easy in the infield. He was faster than me in the tight stuff.
Thatís it for day one. I cleaned up my stuff, got
some gas, and picked up some stuff to make for dinner. I was looking forward
to a quiet, relaxing evening in the RV. After working so hard for so long
to prepare for the event, an evening in the RV, with nothing to do but
eat a little, read some magazines, and turn in early was very attractive.
However, at about 6:30 some of the track workers came by and told me that
I couldnít stay in the track, I head to leave. Bummer! I asked where I
could stay, and they told me of a small entrance about ½ a mile
down the road. So I unhitched the trailer, stowed all the loose gear, and
hit the road. I found the spot to park, and I did have that quiet evening
I was looking forward to. I was sleeping by 10:00 PM.
Sunday I drove back into the track, and prepared for
the day. We were running the same course, but with a slight change, the
hairpin turn was back. I was looking forward to making at least the one
The first run I took a passenger, nothing eventful happened. We got on the track a little late, and the car worked well. The slow sections of the track are slow, and took some getting used too.
For the next run the sun came out, and the weather
started to get very nice. What a pleasant surprise. I was driving some
good fast laps, when, in traffic, I caught up to a red 911 TT. I know the
car and the driver. He is a new instructor, and while heís a good driver,
heís not great, and I can keep up, and even gain a little. Heís on Hoosiers
for the first time, and the car is hooked up, working well, and fast.
Heís faster than me everywhere on the track but NASCAR 1. I use my superior
speed in that section of the track, the fastest, to stay with him. Each
lap Iím getting closer, but not close enough to get a pass signal. Iím
working hard, driving the wheels off the car trying to keep up. I analyze
the situation, and see that I have to be careful where NASCAR 1 ends. If
I go through there flat out, I am probably going 15-20 mph faster than
the 911 turbo. When he gets on the brakes, Iím usually still on the throttle.
If Iím not aware of the situation, it could get ugly. So Iím making sure
that I have enough space to brake, and I leave myself some track to use
in case I canít slow down. Iím putting the pressure on the 911, and I see
his driving start to suffer. Heís starting to miss apexes as he pushes,
I see little puffs of smoke as he activates the ABS under braking. Iím
smiling to myself as I gain. Finally, exiting NASCAR 1 and preparing to
make the left into the infield, I see him start to lose control. The car
starts to spin, but the driver catches it after it goes about 10 degrees
around. I back off, and give him room, but he collects it and heads to
the next corner. Suddenly, as he turns in, the car just does a snap spin,
doing about a 270 degree turn, and stopping in the middle of the track.
Since I had backed off a little, I had no problem moving left, and driving
I figured it was a harmless spin, and that the car
would be on the track next lap. However, next time by the car was still
sitting off the track. Next lap, and the driver was out of the car, and
the hood (or is it a trunk in a 911) was open. Uh oh, was it a mechanical
failure? After the run, they called for the tow truck. I went to look for
the driver, but I didnít see him anywhere. Later, he came over and we talked
about the run. The tire, a brand new hoosier, had a 2Ē cut in it, right
where the tread meets the sidewall. Our theory is that he developed a leak,
and then the tire let go and that caused the spin. Luckily, no damage done,
just a $200+ tire reduced to junk.
In the afternoon, I did two more sessions. I eventually
wore my RR tire down to the cord on the outer edge. That was an old tire,
and I was very surprised that it lasted as long as it did. After finishing
up with my student, I loaded the car on the trailer, cleaned up, and headed
for home. Got home, saw my wife and daughters, and ate a late dinner.
Now the carís in the garage, and I donít have that
much time to prepare for the next event, NHIS with Metro and Rennlist,
on May 8-9. I need at least one new (or used) 265/45/16 V700 before then.
Hopefully I can track one down before then.
Hope to see you there!