Monday, July 29, 2013

[7/28/2013] CSCS #3 (DDT)

Event: Canadian Sport Compact Series #3
Track: Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, DDT (CCW, 1 Kink)
Weather Conditions: 19-21°C (Morning was cool and damp)

The car received some new upgrades for CSCS Round 3. A custom fabricated front splitter made by Can-Jam Motorsports and a massive APR GTC-300 rear spoiler. The ride height was also lowered and the car re-tuned on race gas yielding a 10% bump in power. Although DDT isn't the fastest of tracks, I was eager to try out the new aero upgrades. Personally, I think this is the most bad-ass the car has ever looked!

Weather was quite a contrast from Round 2. It was quite chilly in the morning having rained the night before. When I tried to fire up the car in the morning, it wouldn't crank. As my luck would have it, my booster pack was also dead. This was the 2nd day in a row it was having battery issues. I had to jump the car to get it going, putting me about 30 minutes behind schedule.

Although I was late to the paddock, I was still able to find a pit spot in "Subaru lane" beside Ricky Bobby's STI, the NV Auto Crew, and Richard Nadeau's STI.

Last minute battery swap

The battery died once again after setting everything up in the pits. We had to roll the car over to the technical inspection lane. Apparently you can't let these Antigravity Li-Po batteries die, or they just become paperweights. Can-Jam would have my back though. They had a spare battery for me but because it was a different size, they had to custom fab a new battery bracket for me on the spot.


About 2 hours after I got to the track, things were looking up. The car was ready and it was time to start putting down some lap times...

My first session out I was taking things slowly, getting some heat into the tires by aggressively braking down the main straight. The acceleration with the new tune was absolutely incredible and intoxicating. But because of the train of traffic in front of me, I had no room for a clean lap. I exited the track after 2 laps. Originally I was hoping to get enough laps done in the first session so that I could pit and re-torque the wheels and adjust tire pressures. But 2 laps wasn't enough so I re-entered the track immediately to try and find a better gap.

Crash location

This is where things went all wrong. On my first lap of the 2nd session, finishing off the downhill section of the track quite comfortably, my tires let go. At the sharp left hander entering the short straight I applied just a bit too much throttle through the corner exit and I broke the rear end loose. The car started to oversteer left. I tried to correct it, but then it began to oversteer right. Classic tank slapper situation. I slammed on the clutch and the brakes but the tires would have none of it, and I was sent off the track perpendicularly.

Yep, that's coolant...

Normally this type of spin out isn't that big of a deal. But the area I went off in was extremely bumpy so it sent the front end bouncing several times. With my low ride height, splitter, and V-mount setup, this was bad news. The steering wheel was off centre and vibrating excessively on my way back. I knew the damage was bad and the stunned look on spectators faces as I came into the pits only confirmed my suspicions.

Initial diagnosis was a broken V-mount radiator and splitter. The bumper was probably cracked in a few places but possibly re-usable. Unknown amount of suspension damage. Who knows what else. The forward thinking Can-Jam crew was already looking for a solution. They were examining Crazy Leo's car (on display) for a possible radiator transplant. I really admired their perseverance, but reminded them that even if they got the radiator fixed, there was also possible suspension damage. We agreed that it would probably be better (and safer) if it were repaired back at the shop. I was now looking at a DNF.

Chris to the Rescue

During all of the crisis management, Chris from Can-Jam came up to me and said "Just use my car". What the hell? I was thinking to myself: this guy just watched me wreck my car during a warm-up lap and now he's going to trust me with his ride? He must be crazy lol. But he was serious. And then it dawned on me that if I could score some points today then I might still be in contention for the Championship. And as slim as those chances might now be, I had to at least try.

The current points leader, Mike Harvey, had an unfortunate engine failure a week prior. He was MIA today, so that meant both Alex Li and I (currently both tied for 2nd in points) could have a chance at catching up.

Points Standings as of Round 2
Mike - 200
Alex - 170
Bdon - 170

Doing some rough math in my head, I figured that my chances at the championship would be much increased if I just scored some points today. Even if I came in last place, it would put me over 200 points and ahead of Mike. Of course, there was the risk of possibly damaging Chris' car as well. But I made a promise to both him and myself that I would treat his car with utmost respect and to drive it as carefully as I could. The only goal was to not DNF!

We swapped out his stock OEM brake pads to something more capable and also put on my ZII StarSpecs. A tire I was 100% confident with. Lucky for me, the gearing in Chris' STI was the same as mine, being a JDM 6-speed. He also had a decent ZeroSports coilover suspension. But his engine was a stock 2.0L JDM Version 8. It had a bit less torque than I was used to, coming from a 2.5L engine.

I did a quick run just to dial in the tire pressures and then parked the car for the time attack.

Time Attack

I drove conservatively as planned, and finished 5th in class (last place) with a 1:06.066 scoring 60 points. Alex dominated the class with a 59.327. Big congrats to him for having the patience to figure out those Hankooks and breaking the 1 minute barrier. Could I have beaten that time with my own car? No idea, it was a very fast time! For comparison's sake, I did a 1:03.31 last year in my Stage 2 WRX.

Points Standings as of Round 3
Alex - 270
Bdon - 230
Mike - 200

The last two rounds of CSCS will be very interesting!


So the day didn't go quite as planned. And I may have a big repair bill coming up. But I didn't come this far to quit now. Which is what I had to keep telling myself throughout the day when I felt like giving up.

A fitting quote for the day

A huge thanks goes out to my pit crew Ryan and Francis who put up with pushing my dead car all around the paddock, to Chris K. for lending me his Suby, and to Can-Jam for their strong support.

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