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Race Report: NASA Championships at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
Didn't want to post too much about the event too soon until I had cooled off a bit and was a better ambassador to the sport - I've been real frustrated as this was among the most difficult events I've been at.
Between a new-to-me car, working the event (please for all things holy ST guys fill out your damn forms), missing track time and not getting properly prepared. I was 6 seconds off pace and likely had no business competing at that level with my approach.
That said, the psychology of the sport is complicated, and I'm sure I'll feel much better once the car is patched up and I have a good event under my belt. I want to come back to this track before too long to prove to myself I can drive there at a competitive level and speed, its such a fun track that you haul the mail around. I've setup some coaching as well to hopefully knock some rust off
I was also a bit frustrated with the sportsmanship at the event or lack thereof, never heard from the guys involved in the incident but I'm guessing at a champs level that's to be expected. I do love being around the NASA family (absolute group of professionals!) however and I'll absolutely work at these events in the future, just won't balance trying to race them as well. I also really enjoyed meeting competitors I've long followed online (at least 6 TMO'ers were at the event I talked to) and seeing friends old and making new ones along the way.
Some pictures from the event (my video had to be impounded for the body-contact-process so will have that later):
To fix the car to 50/50 rule I'll need to get the quarter panel pulled and painted, bumper and brackets seem ok. There's some buckling in the wheel well and rear floor, and the wing is pretty mangled on the one endplate side (the entire mounting flange face ripped out of the carbon wing element). Killed another apex wheel but the axle assembly seems fine. I'll buy another set of wheels soon and get to work on the body.
Other driver's notes:
The Cortex Cambered Axle and watts link didn't immediately net any gains - but that was likely due to my not having time to set it up properly, I just set everything in the middle setting, took a guess on spring rate (went up 50lbs/in), and likely had too much rear bar with the 18mm
The car really doesn't like more restrictive mufflers - I blew 107 in practice in the morning, so I had to slap on some borla street mufflers to pass sound (an overcorrection, honestly). Definitely took some of the grunt out of the car
Every time I stop driving for a while I pick up some bad habits, like doing my blip-downshift too early in the braking zone
Braking confidence is an issue - if I could get some better feel out of the pedal, I think there was at least 2 seconds in just being more aggressive into the braking zones
Wet Tires do not work well on dry tracks - trust your gut over the crew's when it comes to which set of tires to bolt on for a big race. Was pouring before the main race, but by the time the car was in grid, the sun came out and the track was bone dry on the outlap.
I'll have more to come soon, have some video from another car of the incident.