Finally back on track after over 8 months since my last track day and crash at the October Autobahn Full Laps, Inc. event. This was a Wednesday evening event, similar to how SCCA runs their PDXs. They went from 530pm to 830pm, the key difference being that this was an open lapping day, meaning the track is hot for 3 hours straight. I was also concerned, as that meant there would be no real ability to do cool down laps, and it being upper 80s well into the afternoon & evening.
By chance and a little orchestration on my end, I was able to have both cars there. The Evo was already in the suburbs getting the intercooler adjusted to better fit the undertray – so we drove up Weds morning with the Golf, and got to have both cars on track. The day was brutally hot, but it was sunny at least. The forecast this weekend is calling for a bit of rain…
It was a challenging day – we had been moving all week, so we didn’t have all the necessary tools with us. I was hoping to run the Full course for a chance at redemption, but it was not meant to be – we were told we would be running South at the last minute – better than North at least. I also couldn’t get the data overlays to work, due to I believe 60fps being too much for the laptimer.
First up was the Golf – I planned to do two sessions in the Golf and two sessions in the Evo. The Golf’s original intent was to serve as a proxy for the Evo, so that I could get seat time without risking the Evo. This is not going to work, at least in the Golf’s current state. The car is way too pushy, with really awful steering. As a result, I missed most of my apexes while driving the car. In my/it’s defense, it was my first time driving the car, and I drove it like I drove the Evo, which probably did not make sense. The limits of the car are much lower, and I was likely entering corners too fast and getting too bogged down in the middle of them. The Golf’s brakes were also quite touchy, and light brake work was difficult – sometimes the car would clamp down on the brakes when all I wanted was a little bit of pedal. Overall, the experience was quite frustrating, and the car was very slow, even in the straight line. On top of that, being that it was the open lapping format, everyone was out there from the get-go – resulting in a black flag every other lap where everyone had to come off the track, with no cool down. This may have contributed to the Golf also overheating during the final laps of the session, despite me having the heat on full blast – a disappointing result overall. The fastest time of the day was a 1:44.96, though I am confident I can shave off quite a bit of time there.
As the day cooled down and less people went on the track, things really started to open up, allowing me to take out the Evo for the first time since October, first time since being fixed. The first turn of the wheel felt like absolute lightning out there. At least when cold, the car turns in like absolute lightning. Didn’t run any amazing lap times, didn’t exactly expect to in the heat – but the car felt better than ever, with the various other tweaks I made really tightening the car back up. I ran two laps in succession that were within a second of my best, and decided to call it a day. The lap times were 1:37.69 and 1:37.63 – also within literally a tenth of what I ran in October 2019, pre-crash. I think I’ll need a tweak or two with the car to get back to my fastest, and I’ve got a number of things in my driving to fix as well – but overall, very positive signs that the car is running happy and healthy – basically back to where it was before, maybe a tenth or two faster. May have additional setup tweaks depending on the weather – we’ll see by Saturday/Sunday at Grid Life!
Set Up (Golf R):
- STH Prep
- Unitronic Stage 2+
- Vorshlag Camber/Caster Plates, H&R FSB (Soft), H&R RSB (Soft)
- ECS Full Off
- Enkei Raijin 18×8.5 +42, 255/35-18 RS4s
- Camber at -2.2 F, -18 R, 1/32nd toe-in F/R
- 3/5 Tank
- 35psi all around on RS4s
Notes (Golf R):
- More seat time needed
- Rev limiter for 2nd at 58mph
- 2020 Golf R: 12 runs on RS4s, 2 track sessions
Set Up (Evo):
- Ohlins DFV (Custom valved); Shocks 7/6
- OEM FSB; WL 26mm RSB; Soft
- RE-ACD: Tarmac; TRE-OSG Rear Diff
- Camber at -3.5, -1.9 rear, 0 toe all around
- Brakes F: Girodisc 2-pc & ST43s; Brakes R: Girodisc 2-pc & S/S
- CE28N 18×9.5; 255/35-18 Bridgestone RE71Rs
- 35psi all around on RE71Rs
- Look up, look ahead
- 2020 Evo: 6 autox runs, 2 track sessions
2020 Event Count: 3 Autox, 1 Track Day