Saturday, June 15, 2013

24hrs of Lemons @ Autobahn - June 8-9

With a sudden change in plans a few days prior to the event, I was able to run again with Team Little Lebowski Urban Achievers.  This time the race codenamed 'Doing Time in Joliet' would be 14.5 hrs across 2 days at the Autobahn Country Club; running the 2.1 mile South Course.

Including us, there were 82 cars registered and many were familiar from the April event at Gingerman where our team managed to finished 2nd!  With my change in plans, our team would have the same driver lineup for Saturday with me filling the middle stint.  We'd also be running on the new Dunlop Direzza ZII tires (vs the usual Z1's) and managed to eek out a bit more camber to help keep up the corner speed... as the '86 Volvo definitely isn't very fast on the straights!

Eric started us out in 35th place and methodically worked up into the top 20 halfway through his stint even though we were about 7 seconds off the pace of the top guys as usual.  A very very minor bump with a Mustang brought out a black flag and dropped us a few more laps off the leaders.  The rest of his stint was great as usual and I was up next.  Compared to Gingerman - I drove a hell of a lot harder.  I drove it about 8.5/10 at Gingerman whereas here I pushed it at 9/10's and more the entire time. I knew the car could handle it after the previous event and I was much more aggressive with an event under my belt and feeling confident that the other cars had some decent awareness to run 2-3 even 4 wide throughout the track.  It was fun.  I was mixed up in some other cars spins, but always felt comfortable with the car control (reduced speed on street tires and low HP helps).  I didn't feel like being tentative so if I had the momentum and the room, I stuck the car in there pretty much anywhere on track.  Note that I wasn't using the NASA rule of front tire to door to 'own' the corner - I was using a safer rule of my car 'past' theirs so I KNEW they'd see m. 

In the first hour of my stint I did get bumped on the inside of a turn by a Miata which shoved me way offline.  They didn't call it in though, so no harm no foul I suppose.  About an hour later I got a point-by from an e30 for the outside of T13.  I setup to go around him and midturn he either changed his mind or forgot and came over into my section of track so I had to get to the brakes and ended up locking up a tire and dropped the outside tires off the track while avoiding.  I was black-flagged (for going 2 off) and had to come in and explain the situation.  Once I said I'd been in the car "about 2 hours or so" the judges suggested I get out and end my stint.  It was unfortunate and I still had time to go, but you have to obey and respect whatever judgement is deemed so I radioed in and the team hustled to get ready for the fuel refill and driver change about 25min ahead of schedule.

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