Saturday, April 23, 2011

[4/22/2011] Track Report (TMP)

Event: TCI & TMMC Open Lapping
Track: Toronto Motorsports Park, Cayuga
Weather Conditions: +4~7°C, Overcast

Yesterday was my first open lapping day of the season with co-workers & friends. It was also my first time at TMP, Cayuga. The day was very cold and windy! But at least it was dry :rolleyes:

Run 1 - High 1:30's ???
I started my first run with pressures of LF 31.5, RF/LR/RR 32.0 PSI. Damper settings were +3F, +4R from soft, my street settings. Goal of the first run was to get familiar with the track and see how my tires were holding up. The track was very slick at this point and it felt like I was struggling for grip. I was not confident at ALL in T1 because of the speed, lack of grip and amount my car was rolling. I was also having trouble finding a line through T7 because it was a deceivingly long turn. I was also hitting the rev limiter on the straight up to T7. Hot pressures after cool-down lap and 5 minutes into pit were LF 39.5, RF 39, LR 36.0, RR 37.0 PSI. No idea what my lap times were at this point, but I'm guessing high 1:30's

Run 2 - 1:34.xx
Decided to go out again and not change anything. Maybe my line was wrong, or I just needed more guts? My friends put a MyChron beacon up at this point so I started timing. The beacon was running out of batteries though, and everyone was getting intermittent readings. It only recorded 1 of my lap times and it was 1:34.xx I decided to crank up my dampers for the next run. Last week at HANSON +3/+4 might have been OK in the wet with my StarSpecs, but today I was running RA-1's in the dry so I definitely needed something stiffer.

Run 3 - 1:33.xx
Did not change tire pressures for the whole day, but I started to play with the dampers. I set them to +6/+6 and immediately noticed less roll in the car. They also relocated the beacon and put new batteries so I was getting proper lap times readings every lap. I put down a 1:33.xx best on Run 3 so I knew I was on to something. My buddy Tang riding shotgun pointed out that I could be braking much deeper into T10 (after the chicane) and taking T13 wider to get a faster slingshot through T14 onto the main straight. Excellent advice, I would try it out in Run 4. I love having useful passengers in my car!

Run 4 - 1:30.xx
Cranked the dampers up to +8/+8 this time. Noticed tighter turning response and less body roll again, with zero drawbacks. Started refining my line and shift points at this point since I was getting much more confident in my car's handling. I started upshifting to 3rd on the straight before T7 and overall using more of the track. I took Tang's advice and managed to bring my time down to 1:30.xx. Huge improvement on this run.

Run 5 - 1.29.89
Ran the same settings since they gave me confidence. I just tried to be faster this time. It was on Run 5 where I really started to push it. My friend Vinh in his Team Lexus IS300 racecar was on my tail chasing me down and we had an amazing battle for several laps. I started taking T11 in 3rd gear instead of downshifting to 2nd because I was carrying much more speed and confidence. I was getting a lot more consistent with my times hovering around 1:30. Best time for this session was 1:29.89.

Run 6 - 1.28.44
Time for some more experimenting. Dampers to +10/+10. Again, tighter than +8/+8, but I started to notice a very minor amount of sliding through turns. It was absolutely AWESOME to be able to feel the car on the limit of traction through the turns. I don't really know how to put it into words. Had it not been for last week's practice in the rain, I definitely would not have been able to control the car through this type of sliding. I'm not sure if it was my damper settings, or just me getting faster overall, but this time out I managed to do a 1:28.54 and 1:28.44 in the same session, with most of my times being under 1:30. I don't know if this type of sliding is actually the fastest way around the corner, but hell it's fun! My passenger thought I could definitely be going faster though. He pointed out that the car in front was holding me up and that I could still be taking T1 faster.

I really wanted to do a 7th run but at this point I was running with about 1/4 tank left and all my friends were packing up to go home. It was probably a good idea to call it a day. I was happy with my results and quitting on a good note is never a bad thing.

At this point you're probably wondering - where are all the videos? Well here's ONE :p

It turns out the front USB ports on my PC are garbage at charging devices. I'll have to make sure to use a wall outlet to charge from now on.

Other notes:
- Could not for the life of me get my Android Trackmaster to start. I tried playing around with different 1st split marker locations but I think the GPS is inaccurate overall. The MyChron is still way more reliable.
- I really like the view from the rear windshield mount. It gives a wide view of the track and apex, as well as captures my steering input, gear position, and where I'm looking. The only thing missing now is a pedal cam and telemetry!
- Look at how much of a difference a harness makes on the track - my passenger is flying all over the place and this is just warm-up! I'm planted solid. I love my Schroth harness!
- Having a friend or three help in the pits is a HUGE help. I invited 3 friends to the track day and they helped me unload, change tires, and re-pack in exchange for turns riding shotgun. It saved me a ton of labour and allowed me to focus on driving well. Thanks Jeff, Francis, and Tang!

Overall another awesome day at the track. These small steps in driver improvement are giving me a lot of confidence for the upcoming time attack season.

One final thanks to my gf who prepared a feast for the boys when they got home: