Tuesday, June 12, 2012

1st ever Sprint Race - 6-9-12 @ Gingerman!

After arriving about 10pm and drinking until 2:30am - morning came quick and I made the registration switch from PTA over to ST2 already.  I knew I didn't have a chance in ST2 w/o at least good tires but I wanted to be in the faster rungroup and get used to the traffic.  My goal was simply get the car through the weekend successfully and see how everything felt and reacted over the course of an entire race.  I prepped the car and went out for practice on street tires to feel out the brake updates.  Everything felt solid, although the car pushed hard on the street tires - which it has all year since the cage went in - I ran a 1:47 and had a car spin in front of me and 2 of us had to split to miss it in the track which was fun.  I was weighed afterwards and started doing to the math for the ballast I'd need.

I switched rims to the last of my leftover 2011 255 Hoosiers and stuffed the car full of fuel until it ran back out!  I only ran a few laps and qualified with a 1:41 trying to save the tires as they were pretty beat up from running hard TT sessions last year.  Last year pushing hard on the tire setup I ran a 1:38.8 (current TTA record) so I was in the ballpark.  I made weight, but not by much, so we definitely would need to add ballast.  Another issue was the oil temps.  In my effort to fix the brake cooling issue I admittedly borrowed from the oil cooler flow as well as fixing the hole in the rubbed fenderwell by adding a chunk of plastic.  I think the latter made things worse so I removed it and then worked up a special duct from the 'faux hole' around to the oil cooler.  I was fairly confident this would make things at least manageable. 

With a 3hr gap before the race I had some prep time.  I had a tire that was starting to cord, so I replaced it with an another used 255 I had.  I also was able to secure the ballast I needed, with the help of Jason from GP Racing we secured 25 lbs in the passenger side and another 30 lbs in the trunk.  I'd already topped off every fluid container in the car (oil, radiator, drink bottle, windshield fluid, fuel, etc).  Not knowing how much fuel the car would burn I errored on the heavy side as I didn't want a DQ.

The race went pretty well overall.  All of the ST cars lined up in the 1st of 3 waves; I was 9th of 12 in that group and started on the inside of a very tight T1.  I got a good jump, but all the big V8 N/A cars in front of me pulled harded off the line.  I also realized from my vid I should have been up closer to the car in front; so I'll learn.  I took T1 pretty slow trying to stay clean and dropped below boost in 3rd so I lost some momentum there.  I ran a few 1:42's and after that settled into a pace around 1:45-46 carefully eyeballing my oil temps the entire time around the 280-285 range.  I babied the car, avoiding the high rpms when I could by shifting early and pushing the clutch in to coast into braking zones - all tricks that I know help the oil temps.  Brakes felt good throughout and the tires stayed underneath fairly well since I wasn't pushing hard.  I picked up a few overall spots from traffic and I picked up the pace on the final few laps just to see how the car felt and the tires were giving up for sure.  In all the race lasted 17 laps and I covered about 43 miles.  As for the fuel, after the race I had exactly 1/2 tank but was not weighed.

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