Thursday, July 5, 2012

PTA Race @ Mid Ohio 6.30.2012

After arriving at the track around midnight ET Friday without much drama, I had a few short hours of off-and-on sleep and started unpacking the car early Saturday as it had a total of 10 tires (mounted and unmounted) inside the car.  As I started to prep it as the rain creeped in and after the driver's meeting the rain ended and I decided to mount the rains for warmup.  I wanted to feel out the differences in the car after the corner-weight and the suspension tweaks as well as bed in the new pads and rotors all done by GP Racing.  And I'd yet to run the set of Hoosier WETS that I picked up from a fellow Evo guy.  With the track still soaked and slick I didn't take too many chances with all the slower cars in our rungroup, but the times from warmup would set the grid for Qualifying.  We'd be racing with 50 other cars including 30+ Spec Miatas and 5-6 Honda Challenge 2 cars that would all be running at best 10 seconds a lap slower; some would be 20-25 seconds a lap slower so you can imagine the closing speeds down the straightways we'd be seeing!  Overall I ran a 2:07 and would be gridded 7th for quals.

I mounted up the new 265 BFGoodrich R1's for qualifying and really made no other changes.  I new with all the cars in our group, it'd be difficult to get a clear lap after the first 1-2 laps so I'd need to hit it immediately which isn't ideal for tire pressures/temps - especially on brand new tires!  Exiting the pit lanes for Quals, we have an immediate green track so I easily passed the 5 SM's in front of me prior to T2 and then modulated my speed enough to stay clear of them and setup for my qualifying laps.  I ran about an 80% lap and all felt good until the first turn combination (T13-T14) where the car emitted a horrid high-pitched screech until throttle and I knew something was wrong.  I wasn't sure if it was in the engine or the tires rubbing badly but I knew I wasn't going to improve on the crappy 1:42 I ran so I came in.

I opened the hood and pulled off the new undertray and started checking all the intercooler coupler connections - thinking that was the leaking screech sound.  Everything up top looked good, but there was a loose connection with the LICP and that would be the issue - a simple one!  So we fixed the LICP and tightened everything else up.  I also took the opportunity to change the oil which was on my list to do that evening.  And while we were at it we rolled the front fenders a bit at the DS showed some rubbing.  We had about a 4.5hr gap before the race so there was plenty of time - it only got hotter as the day went on!

For the race itself I would be gridded 3rd overall in the first wave of about 10 cars.  Wave #2 would be the SM's and the Honda Challenge guys would be 3rd; I think with a possible standing start.  The start on the backstraight went fine, I was able to take 2nd and get right on the leaders butt.  Coming onto the S/F straight I got a good run through T1 and took the inside line into T2 and the position.  I led for about 3-4 laps I think as we started hitting the slowest of the traffic.  My lead went away several times because of traffic and we actually traded the lead a few times working through traffic until around lap 8 when I made a bad traffic decision and was passed on the inside of T1 and then was gapped by more traffic slowing me down.  Around lap #10 or so the pedal got a little soft; the brakes had been great until then - but nothing I couldn't work with.  Oil temps were above 285 pretty much the entire time.  The tires held well for the first 1/2 of the race, but the 2nd half my turn-in was crap.  Race pace was 1:35-1:36 the entire way unless traffic slowed us which is just flying imo.
There were a few local yellows that I picked up some time through and about 6 cars off in 3 consecutive turns when I was gaining but a very very slow SM held me up and they checkered the race right after than on lap 14 and I'd take 2nd.

So we learned a ton from the race and how the car would change throughout the laps at Mid Ohio with respect to the tires and brakes.  Traffic was horrible as you can see in the vid - and I knew that traffic management would determine the winner.  David and I (1st and 2nd) both finished on the podium in TTA at last year's NASA Nationals so we knew each other's pace would be fierce.
Inside the car was; HOT.  I'd been debating a coolsuit and wish I'd pulled the trigger.  Ambient was low-mid 90's with zero clouds and racetime was 2:50pm.
All 3 of my ACD lights came on again; maybe 3 laps in and I think that was affecting rotation (or the new ballast in the trunk).  The car itself ran great with respect to the Buschur tune - nothing to complain about there!

No comments:

Post a Comment