View Single Post
      08-26-2017, 08:29 PM   #69
Major General
roastbeef's Avatar

Drives: E92 M3
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Orange County, CA

iTrader: (2)

Originally Posted by ThunderMoose View Post
I just made it back from the best track outing I have ever had.

Let me provide some background first.

Last year, I went to WGI for Nationals. I finished 7th out of 11. Greg Smith won with a 2:00.xx. My best time of the weekend was on Sunday morning with a 2:04.xx which featured a 3-2 money shift that spun the engine to 10,200 rpm (redline is 8200). Fortunately, the engine survived, but I figured that the mis-shift cost me at least a second. Even without that, I probably would have only finished 1 spot better. In any event, I fell in love with the track and have been thinking about how to get back ever since. I saw that Chin had a VIR / WGI / Barber series of events in July over 8 days which I thought would have been pretty neat. Unfortunately, the dates were to close to Hallett and NASA takes precedence over everything else for me. However, the seed had been planted and I started looking for similar plans in August.

I saw that NASA Mid Atlantic had an event on 8/19-20. Then I started looking for WGI dates and saw that Group 52 was there on 8/23-24. Group 52 is freakin awesome. You have to have someone that is already a member sponsor you and I was fortunate to know 2 guys that were willing to back me up. They basically run a 2 day open track day with all advanced drivers and some incredibly fast cars. I got lapped by some Formula Mazda cars. As the dates approached, I saw that VIR had an HPDE event run by Track Daze on 8/17-18. I was able to convince my friend Will Chung (2017 TTB NASA Eastern States Champion) to sign up for the 4 days as well as an arrive and drive Kart enduro at VIR on Saturday night.

While at VIR, I stayed in the rooms above the paddock garages so my view was of the front straight.

So let's talk about track daze. They run a great event. It is a typical HPDE format. I think the sessions are like 30 minutes long. I ran in Advanced (pass anywhere with a point). Will ran in Instructor (pass anywhere, no point required). IMSA was going to be out the next weekend, so there were 4-5 IMSA cars running in Instructor group. A lambo popped up in my group a couple of times and man that car was fast. First session out, I ran a 2:10 on RE71r's. I ran 2 more sessions and I managed to eke out a 2:09. Track record for TT3 is a 2:00.xx, so I needed to go a lot faster. It was very hot at the track so I didn't run a 4th session. Friday morning, I put on my scrub A7's and ran 2:04.xx in morning and a 2:05 in 3rd session (hot!!!). I felt pretty good about times,

VIR is awesome. The main place to find time is in the climbing esses and southbend. Good drivers can stay flat out of the esses until south bend and then a slight tap and still carry a lot of speed through south bend. I never could stay flat but I got faster and faster all weekend. I never did figure out oak tree, I got squiggly in hog pen once. Before I went, a guy sent me a PPT with links to crash videos from almost very turn, including climbing esses and hog pen. The videos actually helped because I knew what to do in both of those places to avoid a bad off.

NASA MA does the Saturday warm up different that TX. They don't record times, so you don't have grid positions for first timed session. I put on sticker A7's for the first timed session, but I gridded too far back and couldn't get a clean lap. I put the scrubs back on for 2nd timed session and got a 2:04 which put me in front of the two cars that I couldn't get by in the morning.

Sunday morning, the 1 HC A7's were back on and I ran a 2:02.44. My goal for the weekend was 2:03 or better, so I was pretty pleased. I can still go faster if I nail the esses and then clean up my corner exits (i.e. get to throttle quicker). Cooler conditions would also help!

There was only one other car in my class, but I won both days and was 5th or 6th overall if you include the TT1, TT2, and TTU cars.

Will and I finished 11 out of 13 in the Kart Enduro. Everyone out there could drive, so it came down to weight and differences (perhaps) in the Karts themselves. We still had a blast.

A side note on track karma. I always bring some spare parts with me. One common item I bring is a vanos return line. On two occasions, a fellow E46 M3 tracker has had one of these fail and I was able to sell them my spare. In one instance, I even installed it for the guy and then went out and set my best time ever at TWS. For VIR and WGI, I brought a few more things including a brake master cylinder and an old set of front rotors. Will and I are sitting in the paddock and this guy comes by on Saturday and asks if either of us happens to have an extra brake master cylinder - well yes sir, I do. The guy doesn't miss a session and ends up winning his class on Sunday! Similarly, Will had a cracked front rotor and was able to use my spares Sunday morning to finish 2nd in TT4. I figure those good deeds were worth a second or two!

With two days to spare between VIR and WGI, I decided to stay in Williamsport PA on Monday night and watch some of the LLWS. My wife booked me a room at a hotel with a spot to park the truck and trailer and I was able to take the bus to and from the field. They have two stadiums for the kids - Volunteer and Lamade. I was able to watch games at both fields. I also got to watch the North Carolina team practice. I also met the wife of the coach of the Texas team and got a hat from her. The fields are immaculate and the kids are so good. It was really fun to watch. Bucket list item checked off.

Then on to WGI. When I got there Tuesday night, it was pouring, but by Wednesday morning the skies had cleared and the morning temps were in the high 50's.

My goal for the WGI was a 2:02 or better. I ran the first two sessions on RE71r's and managed a 2:06 in the second session. I put on the sticker R7's for the 3rd session and ran a 2:02.66. I ran two more sessions but couldn't improve on it. Thursday morning, I decided to only run two session. I ran the first session on the R7's and managed a 2:02.8 which included a pass in 8 so it might have been my best lap. I put on the 2 HC A7's, but they wouldn't "wake up" and I don't think I did better than 2:05. I felt like I did better through the esses, but I still lift a bit between 2 and 3. I was slower through 10 but faster in 11 than my Nationals time. The car will definitely do a 2:00 or better.

I had to leave early Thursday to get home before the weather got too bad at home.

I put about 3400 miles on the Truck and trailer and they performed flawlessly. As did track car, other than slightly loose battery connection.

Special thanks to my wife for letting me make this trip.

In hindsight, 4 days at 1 track is enough as long as one of the events is a NASA event. I enjoy HPDE's to some extent but only for learning and tuning, but TT is where my passion lies. I have a hard time just pounding out laps.

Will and I will be looking for a Road Atlanta trip early next year or possibly later in 2018 (but not in Summer). We nearly died in the heat.
some of the corners and transitions almost look like they are sped up... looks like you have a ton of grip! what does your car weigh?
Instagram; @roastbeefmike