After missing the first two events (3/19 Rantoul, 3/20 GAX) due to disappointing weather, I was able to get out on Sunday to the first StlSolo event for the first event of 2016!
The two main goals of this event were to (1) try out the RE71Rs and (2) shake off the rust. While I got a good 6 runs to get familiar with the RE71Rs, it looks like it will take some time before I shake off the rust. My first 3 runs were with passengers, and was running in the 48s. Shedding the weight, I dropped into a 47.4xx. The other fast HS car, a Civic Si, was running in the 47s from the start and had dipped into the 46s – dirty. My 5th run I pushed way too hard and ended up overshooting a sweeper, DNF’ing the run. With the Si’s clean fast run at 47.3, I was still a tenth off. For my 6th run, I managed to click off a 47.289, barely edging by – if he stayed slower for his last run. Last run for him was a 46.9 – dirty again, giving me the hollow win in HS, and putting me at the top in index after Heat 1, which obviously was only temporary.
A few mitigating factors regarding this course – the main being that it was a very power-focused course. From the start, it was a brutal, WOT-in-any-car digfest. Every decent car should have been able to stay WOT through the first slalom, braking into a very slow, bumpy dig through another WOT section that transitioned into a nice sweeper. Another straight, another sweeper, into effectively a very large slalom that was again WOT. A slightly tricky left-hander after that into a 3 cone slalom followed by a fast left and another WOT through the finish. The course was way, way too straight for my car, and I anticipate something a little more technical for the next course, as that is where the Mini shines.
This Civic Si is likely going to be my main competition year-round. At roughly 2700lbs, it’s 300lbs heavier than the Mini, but in exchange it packs ~200hp & a mechanical limited slip differential. The car is very quick, with short gearing and despite the weight differential straight-line is no contest in it’s favor. The Mini probably has it in chassis/handling, though not by much, with the Si running slightly wider tires vs the Mini. Both of us are on RE71Rs. The only criticism the Si actually had when it was released was being down on power, which is no problem against my car. The driver is also very good, and this will likely be a dogfight for the rest of the year. My one hope is that at our other site, Family Arena, the courses tend to be much faster, negating some of it’s advantage in acceleration and exploiting its relatively short 2nd gear at 55mph. I spent last year training on bad tires, and it looks like this year I’ll be training against good competition. Hopefully at the next event, I’ll be able to clean up my driving and win legitimately.
This was a strong event for me, BUT the competition was so tough that even though my pax points (9,623) and pax time behind (1.420) was pretty good as far as my history, I still placed 23rd in index. With a 47 flat, I would have placed 17th, and it was the first heat of the first event on new tires & a cold and dirty lot, I think it’s a pretty promising start.
Things to work on (Mini):
- Get back in the habit of looking ahead – any feeling during driving that I missed an apex cone/need to turn more to hit the mark I want to hit means I wasn’t looking ahead far enough, need to look ahead to hit the mark from way further out
- Get used to the tires
- Get back to staying tight on the cones – line was terrible
- 6/9ths tank
- Ran 39/41psi
- First time on RE71Rs
- Distance from 10th – 0.981s
- Pax Points: 9,624; Pax Time Behind: 1.420
2016 Run Count: 6 (+6 Mini)