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2 days at NJMP

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My Track experience: I've done the Richard Petty Stock car experience twice, 1 HPDE at NJMP on Lightning with my Pontiac G8
My Boss: Hankook V12 255's in the front & 285's in the rear, SS brake lines w/ Dot 4 fluid, Boss 302R rear wing, Boss 302S hood, LS splitter, brake cooling ducts, and tranny cooling scoop. Can't forget Gary's cooling mod, drilled the fake fogs.

Lightning Raceway Day 1

View attachment 93222

The weather both days had highs in the mid to high 80's with real feels in the 90's. It was hot and Sunny.

I'm no pro but I was pushing her hard. Lightning is a pretty short track 1.9 miles. At times I was leaving her in third to concentrate on learning the track and the line. She was high revving all day, never hit above 225 on the temps. I did through an engine code 0300, I believe someone said that was to do with vibration in the drive shaft. Someone please let me know if that's correct. Either way, she's going in for service tomorrow - oil, differential fluid, manual tranny fluid, check the computer for the trouble codes, front bushings seem to be getting louder(slight noise since day 1), and multi-point inspection for everything else. Anything else I should have them change or look at more in depth?

No mishaps, uncontrollable spins, slides or crashes!

First session: I was in the novice class with an instructor (Bill Prout - He was one of the head instructor's at Skip Barber in the beginning.) We drove a little slow but nobody passed me and I concentrated heavily on my line. He said I did it perfectly. Nice! Then he said next session your moving to intermediate. Doh, I wasn't ready for that, Its only my second HPDE yikes. But he said trial by fire is usually the best way!

Second session: Bill was with me again. Concentrated on my line again and added more speed! Nice! Every1 passed me, but that's ok. I'm learning the track, the car, the line, oh yeah everything! Some advanced guys were joking how slow the Boss was. I was currently driving it. My fiancé let them know "it's not the Boss, it's my fiancée second ever day on the track and already running in the intermediate group. He's learning!" I love how she defends the car! She has never driven it, doesn't know how to drive stick, and doesn't like when I drive it fast. But she does LOVE the Boss! How could you not :)

Third session: Bill had to leave and I was on my own. Uh-oh :( He said, if I felt overwhelmed (code for scared) let someone know and they would put me back in Novice. No way! I added more speed still concentrating on my line. Still got passed, but not as much. Tires got a little greasy, it was the hottest point of the day and I was pushing the car harder. They never broke completely loose and I was always able to tell when I should be a little easier with them.

One lotus lost it on the chicane spun and came face to face with the wall. The car was still drivable but heavily damaged front end.

Fourth session: tires cooled and felt better, more speed, more following the line, now concentrating on my down shifts (really need work. Heel/toe is like quantum physics to me) some real Duches on and off the track. I had no problem pointing people by as soon as I could. I know I'm slower and learning. I was behind this guy with a black M3 and he would not point me by. I was working very hard to stay on his rear bumper and he was just not letting me go. Eventually someone was on my back bumper and I let him by and the M3 let him go too.

Thunderbolt Raceway Day 2



View attachment 93225

Longer, 2.6 mile more technical, faster track. There are 2 sets of optional chicanes that were taken out which made the back much faster.
Tons of people in the intermediate and advanced groups (over 30 in each). They asked if I would like to go back to novice and I would be number 17? Absolutely!

Same as Day 1 nothing bad happened and I felt more confident and smoother!

First session: Bill was back and I was happy. This was my first time on this track and needed a good guide! There's this 1 turn they call the Octopus, and the classroom instructor says "There's really no good line through it." it's a right hander into a double apex left hander and it's off camber. Total nightmare for me. Bill showed me the line I felt good! Bill said "you're getting better every time out" then left me alone for the rest of the day.

Second and third sessions: More following the line and adding speed! Downshifting is getting better! Heel/toe still a no go. But I'll keep at that!

Fourth session: best ever! I definitely will be looking into a lap timer system! But I didn't need it to know that I was 20 times faster and smoother from my first session on lightning. Plus I could tell from the video my fiancé took from the sidelines and tower. Only got passed by an M6 and a GTI. M6 was faster and the driver was more experienced than me. GTI, not so fast, only reason he passed me was because I was concentrating on my line and not pushing her. Well after I let him pass, I stayed on his rear bumper. He was trying so hard not give me back the lead! ;) He wound up putting 2 tires off the track and then decided that he had better give me back my position. :)~ Great session, great 2 days! I'm sure after 2 days at Miller in October, I will be even better!

With 5 minutes left, a Porsche with an instructor wrecked bad! Took out some wall. He had an instructor and she was hurt and taken to the hospital. I hope she's okay. Driver walked away, car was flat-bedded. For all the rookies like me, 1 take your time and learn. 2 get track insurance.
http://hpdeins.locktonaffinity.com/
No one wants to see there car wrecked or damaged, but in these events there is risk. Your regular insurance will not cover you on the track. I paid $371 for the 2 days and my car was insured for $51,000 (book value plus mods). Didn't use it but still worth every penny! My fiancé said she spoke to him and he had it. He was more upset about the instructor, of course!

The Car: Unbelievable! Thank you Ford!!! Once you learn to trust the brakes and the steering! She literally stops on a dime and then if you want to run circles around the dime, she'll do that too! By the second day was more confident in our (mine and hers) abilities, and started playing with the throttle to control oversteer/understeer. much more to learn and much more practice needed. Only experienced a little brake fade in the last session.

The settings: front shocks on 5, rear shocks on 4. Left TCS on for the first session on the first day. After that, she was in sport mode.

The Hankooks: Great for a beginner like me! They had lots of grip and Never broke loose. They did get a little greasy, but several people were experiencing that, due to the heat and driving flat out :) I could feel through my butt and hands when they were getting a little slippery and take it down a notch. That was only one half hour of one day. Other than that they were great! Plenty of tread left too. Definitely get a few more events out of them. I will definitely buy another set and after that set, decide if I want to go better or not. For rookies wanting to learn and not tear up an expensive tire, these are the way to go.

Next years upgrades: I spent enough on the car this year. First and foremost, a five or six point harness. The Recaro's are great and do a good job of holding you in the seat. But, I did find a few times where I was using my left knee braced against the door panel to hold my position. Then, brake pad and rotor upgrade. As I get better, I'm sure I'll want better stopping ability!

Eventual upgrade: Data acquisition system, castor/camber plates, a Hans device, on board fire extinguisher

The club: SCDA, very professional and prompt! Everything ran like a well oiled machine. Plenty of knowledgable instructors. Good classroom instruction. I definitely will run with them again!

The GoPro: First day, it wasn't working. Took it back to the hotel and tested it. Made sure it was working. I should have made sure it was working for more than 1 minute. Because for some reason it kept shutting off after 1 minute on the second day. I would have loved the video from the last 2 sessions of day 2. It was the batteries. But the low battery indicator never came on. So annoyed with that!

I think that about covers it!
 
Jza1736 said:
I'm no pro but I was pushing her hard. Lightning is a pretty short track 1.9 miles. At times I was leaving her in third to concentrate on learning the track and the line. She was high revving all day, never hit above 225 on the temps. I did through an engine code 0300, I believe someone said that was to do with vibration in the drive shaft. Someone please let me know if that's correct. Either way, she's going in for service tomorrow - oil, differential fluid, manual tranny fluid, check the computer for the trouble codes, front bushings seem to be getting louder(slight noise since day 1), and multi-point inspection for everything else. Anything else I should have them change or look at more in depth?

Sounds like you did great Jason! Don't worry about the P0300 code it is due to vibration in the crankshaft position sensor. I would (or have them) check the brakes very well. Look at pads for wear, cracks etc. Also check the rotors for grooves or cracking. You should be OK but that is something you should always check well. If I were doing a two day event I would pull the front tires and give a quick look after day one.

Are you checking the lug nut torque after your runs? Good thing to remember to do also.

Sorry to hear about the wrecks, I have seen a few down here, makes you think and be happy we have such a well balanced car. Since winter is coming I suggest you ship the Boss down here, it will keep it from freezing and I will start it up once a month for a quick drive around a local track to keep the battery fresh :)
 
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Thanks, they will be checking the brakes too. I don't have a torque wrench yet, but I did give them a nudge every session to make sure none were loose and checked tire pressure after every session. First day I started with 32 cold was 38 after first session. Added to 41. Good till end of 4th session were at 45. Bled them down to 41. Ran 5th and didn't check after, b4 first session, cold I was at 34. Every session I was bleeding down to 41. Is that normal?

Thanks for the offer to care for her, but she will be safe and sound in her garage all winter. I'll start her every once in awhile, so she knows I didn't forget about her
 
Jza1736 said:
Thanks, they will be checking the brakes too. I don't have a torque wrench yet, but I did give them a nudge every session to make sure none were loose and checked tire pressure after every session. First day I started with 32 cold was 38 after first session. Added to 41. Good till end of 4th session were at 45. Bled them down to 41. Ran 5th and didn't check after, b4 first session, cold I was at 34. Every session I was bleeding down to 41. Is that normal?

Thanks for the offer to care for her, but she will be safe and sound in her garage all winter. I'll start her every once in awhile, so she knows I didn't forget about her

Pressure is hard to learn. It depends a lot on how hard you run and how quick you get back in to check them. You were at 45 after getting use to the track and you were running harder. I should follow my own words here but resist the urge to over fill on the first and second sessions. As it gets hotter and you run more aggressive the higher the pressure will go up. I have added pressure after the first or second session to find 45 in them after a strong third session. Plus when you added to 41 in the pits the tires had cooled down and you added more cold air.

I have destroyed the center of my first track tire set. Best to find help from a long time track rat with the pressure. The right guy can teach you a lot.

Get that torque wrench, over tightened lugs can fail also.
 
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It sounds like you did great, and that you have your head on straight and have the right attitude. I have seen several wrecks at NASA HPDE and it is pretty much always the result of someone overdriving their car or not staying focused. I recommend sticking to the intermediate level for a while so that you can get some good seat time without dealing with the pressure of running in the advanced group even if they move you forward soon.

NJMP is one of the tracks on my list.
 
Jason sounds like you had a great time and thanks for sharing the info on the tires. How did your car numbers hold up?
 
Sounds like a great two days Jason. Thanks for sharing. Like Scott said, get the torque wrench. One thing though, don't torque them right after a session when they're smoking hot. Let everything cool and check torque right before your next session. Otherwise you'll end up overtightening them and they may lock up when trying to get them loose later once fully cooled.
 
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cloud9 said:
Sounds like a great two days Jason. Thanks for sharing. Like Scott said, get the torque wrench. One thing though, don't torque them right after a session when they're smoking hot. Let everything cool and check torque right before your next session. Otherwise you'll end up overtightening them and they may lock up when trying to get them loose later once fully cooled.

Thanks, I'll take that info & will be getting the torque wrench b4 my next event. Which won't be for a while. 2 days at miller in October, 3 laps in a Bentley Continental GTC at Englishtown, NJ, Boss goes away for the winter in November, out sometime in April/May, but getting married in July. So hopefully by August I can get back on! Can't wait!!!
 
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NJMP
http://s1094.photobucket.com/albums/i459/jza1736/NJMP%20Sept%202011/

Car show
http://s1094.photobucket.com/albums/i459/jza1736/south%20Jersey%20Car%20Show%20Sept%202011/
 

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