Another interesting weekend battling the elements! Although my buddy with the 618CTR was finally supposed to be ready, more delays at the shop prevented him from coming out this weekend – might have been to his advantage anyway due to the rain. Hopefully he’ll be ready for the next big double header 7/11-12. I did have another friend come drive all the way from Cincy to race his ’15 GTI for the first time – more on that below.
We’d been watching the weather all week in hopes of a dry event, and it looked pretty good in the morning. CCSCC set up the course from the north end, which always meant a brutal (for me) turn around where we normally grid for normal style events. I ran 2 and scheduled to work 3, while my friend was Work 1 Run 3. Unfortunately, we ran into a monsoon shortly after I ran, and 3rd heat did not get to run at all – if he hadn’t planned to race in STL the next day, he would have come for nothing. Luckily when we get home, we did manage to change the oil on his car and install the rear sway bar.
Course overall was very fast and very fun. Most corners were lift to turn/rotate in the Mini, save for a couple spots. I was in 3rd gear for a very long time before entering the slalom and downturn, which is what hurt me the most this event. My biggest mistake was downshifting from 3 to 2 immediately when braking to enter the slalom. I think this cost me a lot of concentration and overbraking while trying to get into 2nd. again, there’s no lockout on the Mini to the reverse gate, which is a push over left from the 1/2 gate. In the heat of racing, it’s very easy to slide it over there, not only from 2-1 but also from 3-2. I should have stayed in 3rd until I got through slalom, had to brake more for the turn around, then put it in 2nd. The turnaround was deathly slow as usual, so in addition to being a power course the turn around required a lot of down low torque or 1st gear shift, neither of which were available to me. Overall I didn’t do that well. My index time from first is what I’m watching for, and I missed the mark badly – though I think much of it had to do with the nature of the course. Fastest time was a 46.125.
Things to work on (Mini):
- Carrying more speed through slaloms
- full tank
- New oil, Amsoil SSO 0w30
- 40/43psi, all dry
- 6 runs
Stl Solo 3 06142015
Wasn’t looking much better at the home region weather-wise. Spotty rain but I was confident my GTI friend would get some runs in today, which he did. A lot of things going on on top of the normal racing business. Our work assignments guy quit the day before (while I was racing in Champaign), leaving us stuck with no work assignment sheet. Luckily I was able to get it set up since I had done it the last event. We had planned to run a 2 heat format due to low pre-reg numbers, and for that reason I didn’t bring my Evo (had to work twice, impossible with only 2 heats). However, midway through registration we had a good number of walk ups and decided running 3 heats would be a good idea. So after dealing with reassignment heats for everyone who had already checked in, instead of walking the course I took my girlfriend and drove back to my house to pick up the Evo. In the midst of rushing back, we had monsoon-like rain and the event was postponed 30 minutes anyway.
The course was very simple, short, and seemed to be another that favored some power. The start had an offset gate that was barely anything, flowing into a slalom far ahead. I drove the Mini in heat 2 with my girlfriend, and conditions were still damp from the downpour during heat 1, dried off a little and then drizzled again before the end of the heat. I thought I did okay, clocking a 43.324. My girlfriend did great, taking the ladies first place with a 49.677 and slowly catching up to me! However, due to the overall heat of the event she vowed not to race again during the summer. From the video below, it looks like overall I need to be smoother with steering again. I’m not yanking like I did in the beginning of last year, but I am doing these little preemptive turns before turning fully from time to time. I need to learn to commit to the turn, and run over cones if need be. I’m lacking a confidence in the car that I had last year. Overall need to be more aggressive.
I also lost to co-owner M in the Miata, both in raw time and index for the first time. He also cracked into the Top 10. This was an unusual event overall due to conditions, but still great driving on his part. Overall, compared to my usual indices of other drivers, I seemed a little slow. However, I realized after the event I need to make a mental shift. I’m too focused on the competition and racing, and not enough on learning, technique, and being FAST. Subtle, but different. I had hoped after last year and tons of codriving that I’d be good to pick up where I left off, slowly improve with seat time as the year went on, but I am still far from fast and need to focus on learning. I think I’m not pushing the car – instead mentally limiting myself, thinking this is what the car can do. I need to push the limits and see how far it will go rather than assume the limits. If I don’t win, it doesn’t matter how badly I do or if I cone every run – I’ve still lost, so I need to push as hard as the car will go.
Things to work on (Mini):
- Smoother steering – right now a little jerk-y, need to set the car and commit to the turn. still need to be quick with steering, just more committed.
- Slow in fast out some elements more.
- More aggressive overall, in slaloms, brake a tiny bit less, try to carry more speed, etc.
- Need to rebuild some confidence in the car, and focus on learning more.
- 2/9 tank
- 40/38 psi for the damp conditions
Ran the Evo during Heat 3 and I was actually quite happy about how I did. Again though, Heat 3 had overall much better conditions, actually built some heat in the course and in the tires, and despite a light drizzle it seemed like people were running faster overall, though the fast guys usually bundle in Heat 3 anyway. I ran a 41.000 by the end of the event, indexing very very closely with the Mini. The Evo involved more dialing back, as I was losing control in a few spots (usually the slalom). The pretty much straight start really helped for the Evo, letting me pretty much launch the car as I pleased. I hit the rev limiter twice, sat on in at the beginning entering the slalom, which I backed off early for the health of the motor, and again crossing the finish – meaning the course was fairly fast overall. Balance could be a little more neutral, but I’ve got the RSB to help with that. Will probably consider going one stiffer for the future.
Again, this should be a learning experience rather than competing, so I need to experiment with doing different things in the car.
Things to work on (Evo):
- Continue getting comfortable in the car
- Experiment with getting on the throttle very early to induce power oversteer
- Closer to the cones for better line
- Car feels good overall, could use a little less understeer that I will probably adjust with the RSB
- 34/36 psi. A little low, and didn’t have much time to adjust PSIs with either car.
2015 Run Count: 91 (+11 Mini, +5 Evo)