Monday, May 14, 2012

Putnam Park 3hr Enduro Podium Finish!

On Friday I split a 3hr Enduro with a Jason P. from GP Racing Products in one of their Miata's.  I drove past the halfway point, to a total of 66 laps.  Accomplished everything I wanted to do.

Around 20-25 cars in total I think with 8 in our E3 class.  Being our car wasn't in 'Spec' Miata form, we were faster than all the other SM's and right on par with the top 2 944's judging by laptimes.  Then there were 3+ a lot slower and 5+ cars that were considerably faster.  So really a good mix of traffic imo with passing some and being passed some as well.  So I was able to accomplish everything I wanted with regards to traffic management.  I was also able to settle into a groove and click off consistent laps w/o having to think about it which was a huge goal of mine.

I started out running 1:26's.  Trying hard early with a FULL fuel load I got a few 1:25's before settling into a groove.  Then we were forced to pit with a clutch issue that Jason quickly jumped into the car to fix by adjusting the pedal a few inches - then I was back in and we were off - but about 5 laps down.  So back to work....  Some open laps then some passing back-and-forth and some chasing I netted a few high 1:24's before settling into a groove with consistent low 1:25's which made me very happy.  Best of 1:24.6 I think.
I wasn't getting too tired really and was calling out my fuel load over the radio every so often and saying everything was good (with regards to the clutch issue fix).  I was having fun with the car, and the combination of less fuel and me driving about 1.5 seconds faster really livened up the corners for me with a decent amount of 'dancing' which kept it interesting and funner still.

About 1 hr and 45 minutes into the 3hr timed race, I was called in for the driver change pitstop.  This went very very well as we did the switch and a 5 gallon fuel dump and Jason was off to finish things up.  I think we were sitting in 4th at this point.  A combination of a pitstop and Jason's pass got us up into P3.  He was clicking off consistent high 1:23's and chased down P1 and P2 in class and after 2 long battles was able to get around both with a best of 1:23.3 I think.  We're pretty sure had it not been for the clutch issue we'd have been on the lead lap and in our class lead at that point. 

Overall finished 3rd out of 8 in class - and ON the podium!  I was pretty happy with the way I drove.  I know I was giving up time in the braking zones as I was paranoid about locking up the tires w/o ABS and cording something.  Jason isn't the fastest in the world, but he's damn consistent and to be about 1.5 off his laps when he was running less weight in fuel I feel pretty good.  
This was an arrive-and-drive deal with GP Racing and the experience couldn't have gone better.  The whole team is so relaxed and that really helped, especially being my very 1st race and very 1st Enduro.  They regularly crew for 3+ cars including 8hr Enduro's so they've quickly become pro's.  Highly recommended...

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