Sunday, July 15, 2012

[7/15/2012] CSCS #3 (DDT)

Event: Canadian Sport Compact Series #3
Track: Mosport DDT (CCW 1 kink), Bowmanville
Weather Conditions: 24-30°C cloudy with thunderstorms
My body woke itself up at 5:13AM with a random burst of adrenaline, ahead of my alarm set for 5:45AM. Funny how your subconscious just knows it's going to be an important day. Pre-track day routine was business as usual. Get dressed in light clothing, slap on the sun screen. Eat a big breakfast, forcefully if necessary (hard to eat when anxious sometimes) while watching YouTube and listening to some music. Washroom pit stop (very important!). Pack the cooler with the sandwiches and drinks prepared the night before. Pack the jerry cans, left out on purpose so the car doesn't reek of gasoline. Double check that all my other gear is packed: helmet, driving shoes, GoPro, lap timer, etc. And then head off to Mosport :)
Pit lane was set up around the skid pad because the rectangular paddock was used for the show & shine and vendors.. This is something I wasn't used but it worked out better than I expected. There really wasn't much for me to set up today as I had done everything, including set my initial tire pressures, at home. All I had to do was put up the EZ-UP tent and then kill time until the technical inspection opened up and then driver's meeting.
I got a good jump on the crowd and was one of the first in line for tech. Great start to the day for me and weather seemed to be holding out for now, although forecasts did call for a 40% chance of thunderstorms around 2:00PM and lasting throughout the day. As long as it rained for everyone during the time attack, there was no need to sandbag the competition ;)
Open Lapping
 Racing the 'Bro'
My first session features Andrew Cassidy's RX-7 on a semi-wet track. Although I had a great start to the morning, the same couldn't be said for some others. Vinh, who had snapped his left half-shaft at CSCS #2 in Grand Bend, had snapped the other side on the very first lap of the day. Back-to-back DNS must suck.
BC Racing Civic Disaster!
But that was nothing compared to the terrible incident involving Joe Liu's BC Racing EK9. I'm not exaclty sure how it happened, but you can see from my footage that it was quite a shock to see his car upside down on the front straight. I've seen Joe's car out many times before so it just goes to show how anything can happen at the track despite someone's experience level. I should really consider a half-cage/roll bar if I continue to do time attack in the future.
Struggling with the Uphill
I was having a very difficult time re-learning the uphill portion of the track. I think it's because I've done the CCW 2-kink layout so many times from SRTA that it's become second nature to me. Without the first kink on the uphill, my entry speed is way higher into the uphill S and it was throwing me off my pace all morning. MIBAgentQ had a good tip which was to visualize yourself coming out of T6 in the 2-kink layout. This meant keeping track left over the first part of the S, which is a bit counter-intuitive given the nature of the blind corners. It seemed to work for me. But then I was still confused with the exit of T5. I couldn't figure it out all day, whether or not to late apex or turn-in regularly. Almost everyone I went up against seemed to pull away from me there. I had been watching videos of the CCW 2-kink layout all week in preparation for this event so I felt a bit frustrated that I still couldn't figure it out. Sti_04 you're in this video!
To add to my list of problems was my left front making the clicking noises again and the bucking/chugging feeling from lack of damping. Regarding the clicking noises, I wasn't sure whether or not I should have kept pushing and trying to shave tenths, or to save the car for the time attack and collect points. But after some reassurance from Can-Jam that my car wouldn't explode, I decided to keep practising. Every time I run DDT it's a painful reminder of the poor decision I made to buy cheap coilovers 2 years ago. A good suspension setup is crucial to getting good times at DDT.

Mario Kart Shenanigans
My final run of the day featured some interesting action following two Hondas. VTEC kicks in quite frequently in this video. Windows movie maker is terrible at adding sound effects so you'll just have to imagine the banana boing sound and Luigi going "Ahwowowowow" in your head ;)

Best lap times per session:
Session 1 - 1:03.71
Session 2 - 1:03.31
Session 3 - 1:03.88
Session 4 - 1:03.43

Time Attack

As grumpy old Mac was wrapping up the driver's meeting for the time attack, thunder struck. Some small chuckles broke out amongst the drivers but I know everyone was really thinking "FML"
It started to pour as the time attack was just about to get started. Not sure what happened but the first few heats were stalled quite a bit. During this time, the rain was subsiding but the damage had already been done to the track. It's a good thing I decided to just go all out during qualifying and not sandbag. I would've been punished so badly for that haha!

I love racing on a semi-wet track as it really tests your ability to adapt to changing conditions. I also love watching other people tackle the wet tracks too. I'm not a big fan of drifting, but when it's the fastest way around the corner it becomes the most awesome thing in the world. I really enjoyed being a spectator for the first 7 heats of the day. Kpower elicited a crazy reaction from the crowd when he held a crazy powerslide on the uphill section of the track and only to lose it at the very last second. We all thought you had it man! Nice try. Looking forward to the footage on that one lol.

By my turn the rain had completely stopped but the track was still semi-wet. It helped that people were driving on it so some dry patches were starting to show up. But still plenty of standing water, especially on the downhill. The entire back section of the track, especially T5/T6 felt like it was covered in oil. I had a few moments where I thought I was either going straight into the field, or going to end up backwards.

Despite my trouble I guess I was doing relatively well as I was able to catch up to the RX-8 in front of me after only the very first lap. AWD FTW. But it wasn't doing me any favours because of the pace of the car ahead of me. With 3 of the cars in my heat being RWD, I had even volunteered to lead the pack but they stuck with their decision to keep me in 3rd. It was mildly frustrating to say the least. You can see it from my GoPro footage that I had to back it off a LOT. Even after they released the RX-8 in front of me and gave us 2 additional laps, MIBAgentQ had somehow managed to catch up to the last car in the pack and now both of us were blocked lol! SRTA trained us well man!
Official time was 1:06.539, enough to put me in 1st place for Street AWD again. Personally, I wasn't happy with the time because of how blocked I felt during the run. I asked for a re-run but they wouldn't let me go out again because I had already won my class. I would have only held up the event for a selfish reason. While this much was true, leaving time on the table is never a good feeling. Still, a win is a win so I'll take it :D

To do:
- Fix left front clicking noise (most likely driveshaft)
- Get some rest

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