Monday, August 2, 2010

GRM's Ultimate Track Car Challenge @ VIR

Part 2 - UTCC Event
Went out for the morning practice session at VIR! Never been there before, only watched videos. I knew the top cars were going to try and put down a fast lap to get a good grid position. So I was pointing around cars and on lap #2, going ~120mph down the back-straight I see a few fast movers coming - a Porsche GT3 & 2 Vettes - come flying past me probably 30-40mph faster, bang a few gears while downshifting into the corner and gone! Just the shear closing speeds was an instant wakeup call!
Overall for my first session, minus a few key turns, I got the hang of the track rather quickly and felt comfortable at the high speeds. I ended with a 2:23x and was grouped into the '2nd fastest' rungroup which was my plan so I wouldn't feel pushed.
My prep for the first timed session was very minimal. Just some tire pressures and the required stickers for the event really, leaving my boost at 24psi. For the first timed session I put down 2:16x I think. A lot of us were heading for A/C after this session; sweat literally pouring down through my helmet and into my ears just on the warmup lap! It was at least 99 at this point; plus the humidity.

For the 2nd timed session it was around 1-2pm in the afternoon. I turned my boost up a few cranks to what I assumed would be ~26psi. Once on track, all it was showing was 24psi down the straights - just f'in hot! My datalogs showed I was already reaching 140mph on the backstraight, 142mph on the frontstraight and 121mph before the essess! This session yielded me a 2:13x. This also gave me some good comparison data from my traqmate to see where I was picking up time - and I guarantee it wasn't more speed down the sun-drenched straightaways! Have I mentioned it was hot?

Between the 3rd and 4th session I got ahold of a friend that races an Evo in SCCA T2 and got some advice about the track. I was learning that I was being a pussy at the top of the esses and definitely messing up 2 other turns badly as well. With that advice in hand, some more studying of my traqmate and the shear will of knowing my final time goes in a magazine, I went out for the final timed session. I thought it was hot and greasy before... it was horribly worse! I didn't mean to trailbrake in every corner but it felt like that's all the car would do! I thought I was going off more than once in T1 - the hardest braking zone on the track. Braking into T1 at 140+ down to 50 the car just wiggled left-right-left-right as it was fighting for grip.

The final session was about 3:30pm - by far the warmest part of the day. I tried something new - just not let up through the climbing essess - and it was soooo much fun floating through there! On my final lap of the final session I ended with a 2:12.2 which put me 29/66 cars and 14/27 in class.

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