On to the main event! Sunday’s course in Chicago was long and technical, with special emphasis on getting line and placement of the car correct. While it is definitely good training, I never felt entirely comfortable on the course. On top of that, the dieselpower driver who beat me at the 2nd event was there, as well as the nationals level friend in his HS Mazda3.
My morning runs were not fantastic – and on my final morning run I clipped a cone. I thought it was all but over, but there had been some kind of issue on the course. Downed cones were everywhere, and several people including myself were able to get a rerun. However, on my final run I once again pulled the shift knob out of the shifter on the 1-2 shift and was left coasting through the early portion of the course for a bit. This has been extremely frustrating for me. Even with that, I managed my fastest run of the morning with a 72.574. This left me about a half second behind the dieselpower, and about a second behind the nationals driver. Because the first heat had taken so long, and we had just finished the first half of the second heat (around noon now), it was getting late in the day, and I was all but ready to go home. Forecast was again the story of the day, with a 75% chance of rain coming at 4pm – at the rate we were going, 4th heat was probably going to start after 430pm. I decided to grab lunch with friends before heading back, still feeling quite salty about my final/fastest run being with the miss-shift. By the time we ended lunch though, the forecast had cleared, and I decided to give it one more go.
For the afternoon, my nationals level friend decided to hop into the car with me to do some back to back comparisons. In the afternoon I was able to clean up my runs with a 71.630 and grab second in class. My codriver put 1.9s on me in my own car, with a 69.711. After watching the videos, while I had a few larger errors, overall there wasn’t one outstanding thing that made the difference. It seems every corner is just a touch faster with him driving, just a liiiittle more speed carried through. Where I’m pushing, he’s finding grip, etc. While it’s hard not to be disappointed with such a huge gap (was hoping to be more like 1s or so behind), he has been doing this for much longer than I have. That said, I’ve put a lot of work into my driving this year. I’m still not yet at a thousand runs, but I really need to pick up the pace of my improvement.
Also, as I wasn’t expecting a codriver when we got back from lunch, we ran the gas tank down to fumes from our runs. First it said 1 mile to empty, then 0 to empty, then —-. I’ve never seen this before on the MINI, never ran my old car down this low before. Was worried the car would die, but managed to find a gas station in time, for a 14.1 gallon fillup (tank is 14 gallons). Anyway, pictures and videos below.
Chi Solo PAX: 56th, 3.133s behind
Things to work on:
- Still need to get closer to the cones
- Take wider approaches to tight corners
- Unwind sooner/more progressively and get on the gas earlier
- Reemphasize early turn in – get closer to the cones (mentioned it twice because it’s that important)
Run count: 117 (5 +1 rerun)