Monday, April 12, 2010

First 944 SPEC Race Report

So, was it worth it? The building of the car. The money. The time. 

Of course.

Just finished my first real 944SPEC race weekend. The #901 finished in one piece and I got a couple of more races in the books, literally. As with NASA your first 4 races are run under a provisional license and you need to get the booked signed off by the race director. This makes sure you know what the heck you are doing out there. Know the flags. Know how to hold your line. So, I have three clean races and need one more. The enduro last year, a race on Saturday and a race Sunday.

How did I do? Ugh. I finished at the back of the pack. But, I am cool with that. My car needs work on getting suspension set up. As a friend of mine, Joe Rothman who is also a PCA instructor noted after one session, "I saw your drifting display." The car, after the RA-1s warmed up got quite oversteery. Not in a snap way. But in a definite way. I would just watch the  cars in front of me stick a turn where I would be sliding. I think I need to loosen the rear weltmeister sway more as well as lower my rear ride height some.

I had never driven PPIR before. And your first time around that oval has you thinking, "did I really torque down all my suspension bits?" In a SPEC 944 you are foot to the floor in fourth, touching 110MPH or so as you drive around the corner. That concrete wall looming large on your right hand side. Bumps near the apex put your heart in your throat. I mean, we have good safety equipment, but not NASCAR spec gear so smacking the wall at those speeds would be brutal.

My first qualifying session I ran a 1:15.8. Almost five full seconds off the next slowest car. By the end of the weekend, I had run a 1:11.3 only a half-second off the slowest car. So I was quite pleased driving a new track. A car that oversteered and an old motor. My new motor will be installed this week. 

Goals for the year are to be able to run mid-pack. And I feel confident now I can get there. Moving up to the sharp end of the pack will take some time for sure. 

Note, I was so busy that I forgot to take any pictures. The only pic I have from the weekend was the one my wife took of me and Graham. Note his firesuit. Getting him race-ready.

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