GP3R Win, CSCS Lap Record, Mosport ALMS Weekend 3rd!
What can I say, I’ve been slacking a little bit on the blog. That’s due to the fact that we’ve been so busy! In two weeks (three weekends) we’ve done the following (not including customer’s cars!):
- GP3R with 2nd place at 1st! (More about that below)
- CSCS with Kels to a new track record and URWD first place with a 1:16 min lap time around Cayuga
- New splitters on the Hyundai’s using APR’s Carbon front air dam and our own “flat bottom”
- Mosport for the ALMS weekend where we would qualify 3rd, finish 3rd in both races. Bob’s car had a wheel break around the spokes in the middle of corner 8 (one of the fastest on the track) which sent him straight into the tire wall. The car was too damaged to repair for the rest of the weekend.
So forgive me for not putting a post up!
I’ll try to make this post short since there’s so much to cover, but i’ve got to give everything justice, since it was all awesome. August has been a great month for us, infact all of 2010 has been fucking incredible.
Ok let’s start with the final race at GP3R.
I was starting P2, Bob was starting P3 after Gary Kwok was sent back a lap for brake lights that didn’t work. lol. This worked out HUGELY in my favour. I’ll explain to you why in a moment.
On the pace lap our buddy Horsepower Camirand had a mechanical problem and had to pit in, so we were now P1! Essentially, except for the fact that I had to maintain my grid position. Which means the person in P3 would REALLY be the P1 car. The rules state you have to maintain your grid position, but in reality if anyone was in 3rd except for Bob they would have gridded right beside me and stole 1st place. Since Bob was in 3rd and I was in 2nd I could be confident knowing Bob would let me in at the start of the race and that he would hold his position. Our plan worked marvelously, and having a wingman is the most awesome thing ever. You can just focus on blasting and the mirrors don’t even exist.
Since so many people had problems at GP3R the race was ours from the start if we didn’t make any mistakes. My brakes were a little bit soft there at the end of race one, so I did nurse them a little bit in the last half of the race. There was only one thing that could ruin my day. A full course yellow flag that brought out the pace car towards the end of the race. All of the fast cars would have made their way up to the front by then, and with their enraged state they could very likely get by me, who was essentially just out there lapping and not in the most aggressive state of mind.
Well with only a few minutes to go that exact thing happened. Except there wasn’t enough time in our session to go back to green so I was sure they would finish the race under yellow. Which is easy enough for me! Except that’s not what happened. Instead they gave us a green/white start which essentially means it’s a one lap race. I got a good start out of the last corner and I had Dave’s big power black Subaru behind me and Audette’s RSX nipping at my heels as well. Thankfully they fought with each other a little bit (Audette made an awesome pass on Dave) and I was able to open the gap a little bit. Did I like seeing my 15+ second lead go to nothing? No. Was I concerned? Yes. I had to drive on the ball. Not lock a wheel or miss a shift or anything silly, or I would be beating myself up about it forever! I had a clean lap though and was able to keep my mind out of the game and the team was rewarded with Victory! Bob was so close to being there on the podium with me (which would have been awesome beacuse I would have anihlated him in champenge), but with Audette storming the field it just didn’t work out, and he finished 4th.
So Quebec treated us well, and that place is by far my favorite place to race as far as the crowd and atmosphere goes. Mosport is of course my favorite track however! But before we talk about the Mosport race we’ve gotta throw in some 350z love.
*EDIT* GP3R Video:
CSCS Time Attack’s are always a fun place to showcase the performance of a real racecar, and the track is a good place to setup a baseline for low speed handling and braking performance. Since 2009 I’ve switched to 18s and real slicks as you all know, along with basically entirely new rear suspension. Other than the one lapping day at Mosport, it’s relatively untested. The slicks we’re using are 5 yrs old, so I have no idea on the level of grip they offer compared to a fresh set, but it’s already pretty amazing! Unfortuantely the day was really wet, raining all through the night before and the morning drive up there. We ran on the rain tires and I did some traction control setup with the Motec which was a ton of fun, the system sounds incredible when it’s engaged. I’ll need to do a lot more tuning on it though to get it more responsive as right now you’re already in a full out slide before it starts pulling ignition!
Thankfully the track dried up for the Time Attack and despite not having a single lap on the slicks or having a chance to do any setup work the car felt pretty spot on. A little loose at high speed perhaps but otherwise the setup was pretty close. My main complaint is the knockback from the brakes and the pedals in general are just too big and goofy for a car of this speed. Pedalbox next season for sure. The car went almost 1.5 seconds faster than last year, with a 1:16.639. The amazing thing was that even on the 3rd lap the slicks still had not come up to temperature. The first lap was like driving on ice. R-Compounds never took that long to come up to grip, maybe 2 corners at best and they felt ok. I finally know what people mean now when they talk about “cold tires.” Our time was good enough to break the lap record by over a second and my goal is to do some more setup work and come back with fresh tires and a bit more power aiming for a 1:15!
Back to the Canadian Touring Car series, Thankfully both cars were in great condition from GP3R and needed hardly any work, so we were able to focus our time on building new splitters. The old splitters sat on the factory bumper were pointing upwards, and were way too high. APR’s Genesis Coupe air-dam looked like a great base to work off of, as it has a formed shape to the bumper to bring the front section down, which helped us get the nose as low as legal (3″). It actually worked out as close to perfect as you can ask for, with the car at it’ s current ride height (which clears 3″ everywhere by about 1/4″ of an inch, that’s frame, exhaust, pinch welds, trans crossmember – it’s all right at the limit!!), the splitter/airdam also had about 1/4″ clearance. Being a hollow peice of carbon it didn’t have much ridigity for real racing, and naturally required some support. The other part of aero that is very important is closing off the underside of the engine bay to reduce lift. Usually a splitter will incorporate both the protrusion from the bumper, and the engine bay “flat bottom.” We ended up making an insert that slipped inside of the hollow lip that bolted to the lower bumper support, to provide a ton of strength and stiffness to our airdam, and the rear of the insert bolted to the front subframe in four locations. We had to cut one section of subframe and box it in to raise it up half of an inch, or it would have been lower than the 3″ ride height. When boxing in the section we welded in to M8 nuts to use as the supports for the undertray. All in all it ended up awesome and in the end I could stand on the airdam in any spot and it supported me with next to no flex and absolutely no scary crackly noises! To Mosport we go!
I always love going to ALMS weekends because you see some of the most incredible racecars in the world, and I can personally relate to them a lot better when they are built off of a unibody, or close to that anyhow. Formula cars are incredible, but there’s something about GT cars that I live for. The Rayhall Letterman M3 is my inspiration and I really hope I can get my 350z into the sub 20′s at Mosport one day. They’ve shown that it can be done with tiny restrictors, so it makes me feel like a little bit of a failure for not even being able to do it un-restricted! The tires are incredible, I tried scoring some from the Michelin guys, the Yoko guys, Dunlop, Falken, you name it. Got nothin. So sad!
The Hyundai’s were ready to go and because there wasn’t much to test on the car we opted out of the Thursday test day. That meant we had one practice on Friday before Saturday’s qualifiying, so we had minimal setup time. My car felt pretty good in practice out of the box, I just made some damper changes for qualifying to get a bit more aggressive as the car had a lazy turn in. Bob’s car was a bit too loose so we threw some rear wing at it and he was happy.
When it came to qualifying time however, things were going to get crazy. Crazy in the kind of way you can never expect, and when these kinds of things happen you just stop for a second and attempt to fathom if it’s real life or a bad dream.
During Qualifying I had put down a good time and was confident I wouldn’t go any faster. I was out for 3-4 laps with Greg Pootmans and we were racing each other a bit too much and I think I even helped him into his best laptime. I did a 1:31.8 or something which I wasn’t overly happy with and I was only a tenth or two away from 3rd. (That put me in 4th) So I made a damper change and let the tires cool. On my first or second flyer out of the pits I found another 3 tenths, so I knew it was worth it. We got P3 and I was happy with the lap. It was one of those laps where you felt like you should have died, multiple times. I came back into the pits and Bob was in there and we decided I would try to do some laps infront of Bob to show him when to get on the throttle as thats’ really the only place he’s losing time. Just need to jam on it early because the exit speeds make such a huge difference.
We did 2 or 3 laps like that and then swapped positions, bob was having a great lap and he would have been deep into the 33s if… Coming up the backstraight I gave him a nice bump draft and as he entered corner 8 everything was great until his front left wheel departed the car. Yes. The wheel left the party. The wheel and tire that was providing all of the grip to go around this right hand corner. Without it, bob went into the tire wall at no less than 100kmh. He left the track at over 140, and I don’t think the dirt did much to slow him down. We were saved by the 4 rows of tires that really softened the blow, but even watching the video you can just see how hard of a hit it was.
It turns out that that wheel had been rubbed before in racing, and it must have cracked internally (or even on the inside of the hub and we never noticed it), it had been 4 races ago, and we’ve been racing on that wheel ever since. Infact it was on my car in the rear the day before. It’s one of those things in racing that just happens. It didn’t start a vibration, or give any real notice that it was letting go. Just at that very moment, one or two spokes said no more, and the wheel broke off of the hub like an explosion. Bob was pissed. He was having a great lap.
The good thing about this, is that I have it all on camera. From 2 different angles. I was directly behind him with a camera mounted to my helmet, so the footage is ridiculous. The incar from bob isn’t as exciting, it just looks like he’s driving off the track. Haha.
So let’s get to race one. Bob’s car was mangled and he wouldn’t run the rest of the weekend, but he was in good spirits when he found out the cause of the failure wasn’t our fault and that there was little to nothing we could have done about it, short of checking all of our wheels for cracks from now on. I was in 3rd position for the start, and it would be a weird race.
I had a poor start, or Nick had a great start. I’m not sure which one it was, but he started to pass me on the front straight and I went for a little block action but he was already too close and too fast to make it stick. He passed me on the inside of one, which was actually an awesome pass, but he and Greg Pootmans got together and smashhhh. I got by Greg and was now chasing Nick, who slowed down a few corners later and I passed. I think his left rear was damaged in the hit with Greg.
Sitting pretty. 2nd place, two major competitors already down. I start hunting the Subaru and I’m eating him in corners. We get to the front straight and he slows right down and I blow by him. Oops. I slam on my brakes. Just caught the red flag out of the corner of my eye as I slowed down. When you’re bumper to bumper with another car you don’t always catch all of the flags! I let the Subaru back by me so everyone was happy, but it looked like there was a huge wreck between corner 1 and 2. I would later find out that like 4 cars wrecked and one mini was going backwards sandwhiched between 2 cars through the corner. That sounds amazing! I sure love being able to start near the front and being able to avoid that kind of stuff.
We would end up sitting in the pits for 10 minutes and then re-gridding as the series decided we would have a race re-start. Pootmans even got to change his flat tire and tape up his bumper despite it being a red flag. Lucky? It just was too bad because I was enjoying being 2nd, and I was not enjoying sitting there baking in the car for 20 minutes. Thank god I had my drink tube. I love that thing!
The race re-start would be for a 20minute race rather than a 30 minute one, and we basically had an uneventful second race start, I held 3rd position and no-one really changed much. I was able to pace the BMW and Subaru for a few laps but I started to crash gears in the transmission, I guess the syncros are on the way out from too much SG powershifting. I would go a few laps taking it easy on the transmission and then as I got more and more aggressive eventually I would crash the box again. At that point I lost any little bit of draft I was getting from Greg and wasn’t able to keep up. I’d finish 3rd pretty un-eventfully.
The second race was a little different. Audette finished 4th, so we were side by side for the start. Matt (Audette) had a great start and we were side by side through corner 1, which gave him the inside line for corner 2. I had no choice but to let him have it. I almost lost another position just for being on the outside of corner 2! But was able to make it up through 3. On the back straight I crashed the box again (FUCK!!!) and Nick Wittmer and Borgeat got by me. So from 3rd to 6th in one lap. Sucks. But the fun was in catching them back up!
Passed Borgeat in the outside of corner 9, which was an amazing pass. Passed Nick a few laps later into corner 1, dive bombbb, and it took me until the last lap to catch and fight with Audette for 3rd. This was by far the most intense pass of my life, because it started when Matt made a small mistake into corner 3, he was a little wide and his exit speed was a bit affected by that, so I was able to get a run up beside him and we approached 4, the fastest corner on the track, perfectly side by side. We both went through the corner at basically the exact same speed, side by side the whole way down, but I had the inside line for 5 and I was able to get ahead. But I messed up the exit of 5b and so Matt was able to pull back beside me up the back straight. Side by side again entering corner 8! I was able to pull ahead but just barely, and I was watching my mirrors a little too much exiting corner 10 onto the front straight, big slideee, full throttle, Matt’s almost passed me but I made it stick! Best race ever. Even though I only got back to where I started.
*EDIT:* Mosport Video
Mosport Video From Dan Cyr of Cyrious Productions. Dan puts together great drifting videos and really has a nack for conveying the emotion and passion we all have for racing. This is his first road racing video and I think he did amazing with it. Check it out,