Saturday, June 11, 2011

Track Day #14 -- 2011/06/06

This time I went to a BMW track day instead of the usual PCA or AR track day. Nothing new to try out this time -- mostly just having fun out there. The tires were pretty much at the end of their life, but nothing to get overly worried about.

Weather was great for a trackday -- cloudy but mid-high 60's so it was warm enough, and most important stayed dry the whole day.

The first session was mostly just a matter of getting used to it all after the long break. I think I got something like a 1:36 or so. It's a good thing I wasn't expecting much because there was just tonnes and tonnes of traffic. I think I had something like 2 or 3 clear laps in the entire session. I do have to admit that I kinda like passing folks though -- even if they're way off the pace -- something about it just makes me feel better. Especially in the first session which is really my warm up session anyway.

I got quite a bit better in the second session; still lots of traffic (only a couple of clear laps again), but I did manage to better my PB -- now down to 1:33.8! So I'm officially in the 33s, which feels pretty good. I know it's artificial, but there's something satisfying about getting under 1:34.

Here's the lap video using GoPro this time -- the AIPTek was pretty good, but the GoPro does a much better job. Better sound, better framerate -- all around better package.

And here's my lap comparison:

As you can see in the plot, I've still got some time left on the table. I braked OK for turn 1, but lost about half a second getting off the chicane (turns 2 and 3). Fought back and regained that time in turn 6 only to loose it again in turns 10 and 11! Sigh. I suppose if you add up all the missed time I might be something like low 1:32s or so...

The third session was a bit warmer, so ended up being slower. Unfortunately, somebody had a situation out there and had to be towed out of Turn 4, so the session was black flagged and we hung out in the pits for 5 or 10 mins before they could reopen the session. I never did do the last session; after the 3rd session it was going to be about 1.5 hours wait and I had events at home I needed to get back to, so just packed up early.

All in all, it was an excellent day and I'm really happy about getting a new PB time.

The Future

I decided recently to sell the WRX and purchase a purpose-made track car. It all came to a head when I had to DEQ and re-register the WRX in February, and I really just asked myself why I'm paying insurance, registration, DEQ for a car that spends 95% of it's life in a storage locker.

The plan is to put the car back to stock form, get what I can from it and use the money to purchase a Thunder Roadster. Those are tubular-frame chassis cars weighing about 1500 pounds with a yamaha 1300 CC motorcycle engine (about 120HP). I have not seen any at PIR, but they're fairly popular in southern states. I'm really trying to shoot for a car that's top-speed limited to no more than about 110 - 120 MPH, but rear wheel drive and nimble. Seems like the Thunder Roadster might fit the bill.

Anyway, as always -- I'll update my blog here with information as it comes up.