Monday, June 24, 2013

SCCA NER Points Event #4 6-24-13

We had an interesting day of autocross this past Sunday.  First we all knew that it was going to be a very hot day, getting into the low 90's by early afternoon.  There were 130 drivers registered to be run in three heats.  ASP was in the first heat and we were right up front in grid because Sandi and I were both driving my car for this event.  This was the first time this year that I had to spray the tires between runs.  I used to have to do it all the time on my old 245's but the 295's handle the heat much better but I have always had the sprayer on hand just in case. The Hoosiers also like heat a bit more than the Kumhos do but the heat on this day was way to much.

The course was a rather open one with many higher speed elements and on my first run I spent a lot of time on the rev limiter.  I put down a solid on that run but knew there was a lot of time out there.  My second run I went to third gear for a good portion of the back section.  When I came in from the run the time display showed some crazy time like 86 seconds so I immediately knew that there was a timing error.  Apparently a few cars ahead of me someone had broken down off the course (I didn't even see them out there) so they never tripped the timing lights, screwing up the other on course cars times.  I was pissed because I knew that it was a blazing fast run and it was clean.  We got set up to take our re-runs and before I made it to the line they stopped the event.  The powers that be had decided that the course was way to fast to be safe so they wanted to make some changes.  I've been around for mild changes to courses before but this time was a big deal.  They actually decided to start the event over again.  The heat groups switched out like it was the end of the heat (so the current workers weren't stuck out on course forever) so we went back to paddock for our "break heat".

We didn't get to walk the course again so we had no idea of what exactly had changed but I had talked to a few people and found that it was basically the same but some elements had been tightened up to slow us down a bit.  When it was our turn to drive again I asked Sandi to drive first and if I could ride along in a slight "cheater" move to be able to see the course before I had to run it.  It was true that it hadn't changed much and it was still easy to read and drive.  My first run back out on course was still faster than my time on the "fast" course.  I ran a 60.9xx, which, in the end, could have carried me through the day.  I even had a Ken Block moment on course making for some good footage (see below) and still produced a fast run.  Being who I am, I continued to try and improve my times throughout the day, never expecting my time to hold up, but I was having trouble improving cleanly.  I did run a 60.09x on one run but I had 3 cones to negate the improvement.  My final run was actually after everyone else in my class so I knew I had locked in the victory but I still put all I could down and managed out a clean run of 60.4xx!

Somehow, even with all the down time from the course change, several cars breaking, timing issues and what ever else slowed the event, we managed to get in 5 runs for everyone and still be off site by 6pm.  I was very surprised/impressed.  Kudo's to everyone who worked so hard at the event to make it happen.  The "new" course was still a blast to drive and suited my car well.  I also remembered to used plenty of sunblock so no burns for me!

On the negative side I somehow managed to hurt my neck and shoulder driving.  I don't know if it was from cranking the wheel or twisting my head trying to look ahead etc. but it is now rather uncomfortable.  I have also been noticing some small hiccups from the car both under heavy load/light throttle on the highway or when first taking off from a stop. The throttle seems unresponsive at first and needs to be "blipped" more.  After some discussion I am going to be replacing my spark plugs (even though they were new with the motor only 3k miles ago) because they could be fowled up from break-in and all the abuse.  I am also planning on replacing all four coil packs since I have so many miles on them anyways, I'm sure it is time.  When pushing the car it seems to run/pull just as well as when it was tuned.  I really hope it is just plugs.  I also think I sheared the oil beyond its capability as when it is hot (230*+ after a run) the pressure is really dropping until it cools down.  I only have 2k miles on it, at most, but with all the hard driving it is probably the case.  I will find out soon!

Hopefully I will have some pictures to share sometime soon as well but for now here are my two fastest, clean runs:

Run #1 60.9xx (with the drift action at ~1:00, it happens fast but a trained eye will see how big the slide was as well as how close to the cone I got!)

Run #5 60.4xx (I left in the bit with the starter trying to trick me :lol:)

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