Thursday, May 3, 2012

929 Evo Racing Debut! 4.21.2012 - NASA Autobahn

Saturday April 21st was the wheel-2-wheel (w2w) racing debut for the #929 Evo.  After warmup and an oil-soaked qualifying the grid was set for the Thunder racegroup.  Because of low carcounts in my chosen class of PTA, I'd be bumping up to run in ST2 this weekend.  ST2 would be joined with the faster ST1 and SU groups for the first 'wave' of the Thunder racegroup.  I ended up gridded 11th in the first wave.

The start was odd. I ended up beside a fellow rookie that ran TTA with me last year so there was some comfort there. We actually took the green when I was in 4th gear (yes above 90mph)... which is just odd at least compared to all our practice starts I'd done the previous week.  I was side-by-side with said Vette for about the first 4 turns including some sideways action and him taking the gators to thankfully give me room! The next turn I backed off a hair (the car was loose on colder tires) and I tucked in behind him and the leaders. About 4 laps later the 4-5 leaders were pulling away from us but we were having our own race. About this time my 245 R6's were starting to give up a little grip and the Vette running 315 A6's was able to distance himself some. The next lap my pedal starting getting longer and I was doing some LFB pumping on the straights. The next lap when I was 3-wide down the backstraight passing a slower GTS car and letting a faster GTS car past I reached for the brakes and the pedal went to the floor repeatedly. Checking my data I left the track at 85mph.

Pumping the brakes feverishly, steering strategically and downshifting accordingly I was able to drift it through the grass & weeds to an eventual stop. I kept the revs up, got the car turned around and back to the track safely and into the pits to avoid a tow or extended yellow.

The brakes - 100% stock Brembo's - have always been a bit of an issue with this car and Autobahn S can be a difficult track. Most of the guys racing have upgraded to a BBK (Big Brake Kit) and that's ideally what I would do. But, that's not the plan as I have a TTA/PTA build and a BBK is a 2pt upgrade, not to mention the $1800-2500 price. So we'll see what the longterm fix is....  I later found a faulty RF brake caliper that looked to be a big issue as well with evidence of corrosive leaking.

The vid below is the green flag and first lap.  The brake caliper issue happened on my 6th lap and caused a nasty off and my retirement from the race.  Fortunately I was able to save the car w/o damage.  And to my surprise, I didn't finish last in the ST2 field!

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