Chapter 250 - October 2016
NASA at TWS
Another TTD drive for Vorshlag and maybe another win???
Scratcher was taking the year off as Anna and I focused on the kids and getting more finish work done on the new shop. No, it will *never* be finished, but in between diaper changes and working with our 8 year old, the shop got a rock-climbing wall and lights installed, etc. Still have lots to do, but we're making progress as the little one is beginning to be much more interactive and think about being mobile.
So, with NASA in town, Fair asked me if I'd have time to come take a session if they needed it and I said "sure". I went out for part of the day Sunday (I'd been watching racehero.io on Saturday to see times, wondering how track records were holding up) and watched, snapped a few pics and chatted with lots of friends. Fair had flogged the car both mornings and ended up just shy of breaking the 2:00 barrier and for the first afternoon session asked if I'd try and throw down a fast lap.
I was skeptical for sure. Fast laps at TWS always occur in the morning sessions before it gets to hot and it was HOT when I got in the car. Fair had clocked a 2:00.027 in the morning and honestly I was just hoping to match that time. I wasn't worried about the power (LOL, stock super-high mileage, under 200rwhp, over 3100lbs, hah!), or the clutch ("just leave it in 4th on the straight, it slips in 5th!"), or the brakes (new G-Loc stuff), or the tires (thankfully R7 and not A7, so I could stay out the whole session)....I was just worried that in the heat of the day putting down a fast lap would not happen. Glancing at benchmark times in other classes, they were significantly slower in the heat on Saturday versus their morning sessions that day. Ug.
On the plus side, I'm usually pretty decent at throwing down a fast lap when needed and I'm pretty familiar with TWS. I've always found Vorshlag cars setup very well and Fair and I have similar driving styles so hopefully the car will do what I want. I sat in the car for the first time at the trailer and drove it nearly 100 yards at 20mph to grid to get a "feel" for it. LOL.
Just before launching Fair fired up the SOLO (same as I have in Scratcher with predictive) and video (ruh roh, no hiding any screwups!) and I headed out.
Car felt awesome on the outlap and I immediately pushed really hard to find the limits and figure out how to modify the line* to make it work for this car. I ran a pretty good exit line and did my best on my first lap, dropping into T1 at a really good clip and while still getting the tires to temp, I nevertheless pushed hard, leaving just a bit in reserve. My first lap was a 2:00.9 and I knew where I left hopefully a second and so I pushed again on Lap 2 and got a 2:00.0 to match Fair's best time. Lap three fell back to a 2:00.9 again as I overdrove a corner and also had some traffic but lap 4 started with a ton of open track and I really focused on putting the car exactly where I wanted. The brakes were too good, and I over-slowed on my first laps and I was careful not to do that now, focusing on entry speed to overcome the heat and lack of mid-corner grip. I was rewarded with a 1:59.838 for the lap and I went ahead and took a 5th flyer getting me a 1:59.850. Mister Consistency!!! There might have been a bit left, but since this is not my car, I'm not going to risk the damn thing for another few tenths. Heading to T7 on my 5th lap, the predictive actually had a very low 59, but slowly went away as I wrapped up the lap and I don't have any idea if it was accurate or not. They typically are and maybe I was getting the tires greasy....don't know.
*= "the line" is not an absolute. It is a guide and will endure minor changes due to a car being better on turn-in, having better lateral grip, or being more of a point-n-shoot. Yes, I've found that usually fast laps are close to the typical "line"....this still leaves plenty of room to optimize the corner for the characteristics of the car. Just my .02
On the cool down lap headed to T3 I noticed the temp gauge was a bit higher than it had been the previous laps (lots of time on the straights to check gauges...heh) and kept an eye on it. When I got to the back stretch it spiked up near the red and I simply turned the key off and coasted all the way past the carousel and then fired it back up to get me back up to speed. The temp fell a bit, so I again coasted sans motor the rest of the track and into the paddock. A quick fire up and a bit of gas and then I shut it off again and coasted to the trailer. Chatted with Terry and Amy and after cooling a bit the car fired up again easy, temps looked fine, no weird noises and in-the-trailer it went for the ride back home. Turns out the factory plastic coolant reservoir had rubbed a bit over time on the PS pulley and lost pressure. When the big radiator got installed not quite enough clearance was left, but thankfully no damage was done and the car was lapping MSR-C the next weekend!
HUGE thank you to Fair and the Vorshlag team for a very well-setup car and for letting me play a bit in my "off" year. The little car won TTD that weekend by 5+ seconds!!!
Sidenote: The whole build thread and development story of this E46 is here: http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8400 with the section on this TWS event happening on forum page four on post #39.
(Longtime readers will remember I drove the old blue Vorshlag E46 TTD car to a track record at ECR back in October of 2010! I'm basically undefeated in Vorshlag TTD machines...LOL http://www.witchdoctormotorsports.com/ch167.htm )
My comments after getting the drive: