Here we go, first competition weekend of 2021. The Evo has continued to perform flawlessly lap after lap, track day after track day – thank God. The car continued that trend through day 1 of the Grid Life competition. Back to NCM, where I was 2 weeks ago to learn the track and get some seat time. 3 laps in the first session – 1 damp, where no one really pushed their cars. Session 2 was the first “hot” session, in which I was able to just knick my personal best – down to a 2:20.49, from a 2:20.8. The 2:20.49 also had some massive fuel cut issues due to running the fuel to low, but those aren’t as apparent on video. Session 3 was cut in the middle due to an incident on the track, and I just wasn’t able to put down a decent lap during that timeframe. The fast drivers in the class are literally 5-6s faster than me, but as seems common with Grid Life events, 3rd place, podium, seems just barely attainable. At the end of day 1, I sit 1.6s out.
As a sanity check, I had Tomo drive the car – to a blisteringly quick 2:16.8 on his first and only hot lap, with me in the car. I think there are some major differences with input, and I just ask the front tires for too much of the work. I think for him, a lot of the work is done with lifts in the car, or off throttle or brakes by turn-in, where as I’m still on them. That’s one major difference, aside from in general, turning in earlier, braking earlier, getting all up on the curbs, and carrying massive amounts of speed through 5 and 15, something I need to work on to really be up there. As luck would have it, the video did not record for me. I 100% need to push harder tomorrow, and I am really hoping I can cut about 2s off my time just from having Tomo drive the car with me in the passenger seat.
Day 2 started with a little bit of drama – after Tomo mentioned the softness of the brakes, ASM suggested we swap the pads out to a second set I happened to bring to the track. Fortunately, ASM can do this kind of work in literally minutes, so he swap the pads, and we took a spin in the advanced section. Brakes were confirmed good, the ST43s do tend to get soft once they’ve got a good amount of wear in them. ASM also mentioned that the LCA bushings are bad – I think these are the superpro’s I’ve got. They are causing quite a bit of flex/unsteadiness, so they will likely need to be replaced. He wasn’t able to get a great clean lap in due to all the traffic, but we otherwise had the confirmation we needed.
I went out immediately after that test drive and set what would be my fastest lap of the day – a 2:19.3. The car was feeling really good and I was ready to try to pull in more time. The second session ended up getting blocked by an S2000 that should not have been in the session – how or why they got in, I have no idea. Even when I took a breather lap to gap myself, between the s2k and the corvette behind me that was much slower, I didn’t have a ton of room, and when I sped up to pace, I would catch – and then have to coast through the straights. The final session of the day, I’m not sure why I couldn’t put any pace down. I had a clear field, and the car was definitely loose after the tire rotation f/r, but I must not have been driving the car very well, or at least as well as my 19.3. I ran a few close times, but ultimately couldn’t get there, or the 0.7s I needed for podium.
We’ve got a few things to fix, a few things to add for the next event, so fingers crossed I can make it happen.
Set Up (Evo):
- Ohlins DFV (Custom valved); Shocks 3/5
- OEM FSB 4/5; WL 26mm RSB: Medium
- RE-ACD: Tarmac; ATS 1-way CH Front Differential; ATS 1.5-way CH Rear Differential
- Camber at -3.5, -2.5 rear, 0 Toe F/R
- Brakes F: Girodisc 2-pc & ST41s Brakes R: Girodisc 2-pc & ST43s
- CE28N 18×9.5; 255/35-18 Falken RT660
- 2021 Evo: 11 autox runs, 13 track sessions (8 on the new Falkens)
2021 Event Count: 1 Autox, 3 Track Days