Tuesday, August 23, 2011

[8/21/2011] SRTA #4 (DDT)

Event: Sigma Racing Time Attack #4
Track: Mosport DDT (CCW w/ 2 kinks), Bowmanville
Weather Conditions: 17-21°C slightly wet morning, cloudy afternoon, thunderstorm during time attack!

Wow event #4 already? Time flies! I went karting the day before with some friends and also had a really long night so I didn't wake up with the most energy. But I was determined to do well at this event. Many of the faster guys were out competing at CSCS or just taking a break in general. Today was my chance to redeem myself from the DNF at SRTA #3, and maybe even score a podium finish...

Test & Tune

Very cool morning. The temperature surprised me actually. It was if summer was gone overnight. It also rained. The track was very wet, with standing water all over the place. I knew it would take a while for the track to dry off so I took the entire morning at a snails pace, being very calm and relaxed and not rushing anything.

There were a few changes to my line I wanted to try today. Driving the course in the opposite direction last week gave me some new perspective on which curbs to cut. I was also going to move my downshift point from T2 to T4 because I don't need the torque on the downhill (thanks random YouTube guy).

From the looks of the weather report on my phone it was supposed to clear up and be warmer in time for the 3:00PM OTA. There was really no point practicing in such wet and cold conditions so I pretty much sat out and let other people dry up the track.

Run 1 - Dampers +20/+20, Hot Tire Pressures 39/36 psi Best Time 1:11.36
Before I went onto the drying but still very damp track I made sure to ask some friends how their runs went. Danwizzle warned me about standing water at T4 and it was a damn good thing I asked. A small lake was present and had I not slowed down enough I would've been owned for sure. I still ended up sliding through it but it wasn't nearly as dramatic as it could've been.

The track surface was also quite cold. My tires weren't heating up and thus lacked grip... especially the rears. The car was very tail happy. I pulled some crazy slides on the uphill because of no rear traction so I came off early to check the tire pressures. What do you know, the rears were very far off from the fronts. 39 psi front, 36 psi rear. I added +2 psi to the rears and went out again.

Run 2 - Dampers +20/+20, Hot Tire Pressures 39/39 psi Best Time 1:11.30
Immediately there was a difference in the handling bias with the +2 psi in the rear. The car was back to predictable, but still lacked overall grip due to the cold surface. I had Karen riding shotgun and managed to do a 1:11.30. Still not so great, but my confidence was back. Although I didn't think my time was spectacular, apparently I wasn't the only one having grip issues. With this time I managed to hold 2nd place overall. Chatting with everyone else they all had the same issue as me - just no grip.

Runs 3 & 4 - Same settings Best Time 1:10.14
The next 2 runs were just for fun giving people rides. But the track was drying up so I managed to lower my time again. By this time I dropped to 3rd place overall, with James in his S2000 somehow pulling a 1:09.69 to secure the lead... in the wet... on street tires?? WTF! He's crazy.

Run 5 - Same settings Best Time 1:09.53
Afternoon time now. A short sunny period broke out and it was actually feeling nicer out. The track had mostly dried up so I decided to give it 110%. This was also a test run for the OTA. I won't elaborate on my strategy but it doesn't take a genius to figure out. It was a great run. I set a personal best and managed to snatch 1st from James... mwahaha sorry dude :P

Run 6 - Same settings Best Time ???
Another strategic run. Really can't talk about this one ;)

Official Time Attack

During the drivers meet it started to look very dark and cloudy. As the meeting was coming to an end, a loud BOOM thundered across the sky. We had to start the OTA ... now!!! Everyone ran to their cars. Luckily for me I still held the #1 position so that meant I got to be the first person on the track. I sprinted to my car, fired up the GoPro, and raced to the staging area.

Waiting in line was pretty nerve wrecking. Looked like I might have to drive a wet track after all. Was it smart to skimp on the morning practice session? lol. Rain was starting to spit down. More thunder too. I remember the Jetta driver in 3rd place shouting to the marshalls "Are we gonna go now or what?!" He was right. It was spitting enough now that I had to use my wipers. Uh oh... Howi give me the signal!!

A mid-season rule change was to tape up the lap timer screens during OTA. I knew I was slow from the rain. But how slow? I tried to push as hard as I could while still keeping the shiny side up. But would it be enough? The other guys in my group were the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fastest guys (S2000, Jetta, and S2000). I was using RA-1's without tread. But they had RWD, bad news in rain. But we saw how well James did with his street tires in the wet! I was really nervous about the results.

It wouldn't matter though. By about the 4th heat there was really no point in continuing the OTA. Lots of people were spinning out (Danwizzle nooo!) and times were approaching 1:30+ Ken's Honda Civic hit a puddle so hard his CAI sucked in water and stalled the engine. Lucky no hydrolock buddy!! A wise decision by SRTA staff to call off the event...

Later on I found out that my 1:12.33 time would've held up. 2nd place was in the 1:13's But it definitely wouldn't have been a fair comparison for heats 2+ because they had way more rain than we did. So unofficial win? No T-shirt or prize money, but hey -- I'll take it. Finally got SRTA #3's DNF monkey off my back, and really happy about doing it after 1 event!

Overall result: 1st place Test & Tune, Unofficial 1st place Group B and Overall :D

For Next Time

Tires are pretty worn/heat cycled. Probably only good for 1 more event, if that. Not sure how competitive I'll be. But I really don't feel like buying a new (used) set of rubber just for 1 more event.

Hot Brakes?
I had zero hot-brake issues. I'm wondering if it had anything to do with the fact that my front lip was missing. More under car air flow? Or maybe it was just the cooler ambient temperatures... that's the most logical reason. Pit temps after cool down were rotors 370°C, pads 340°C.