NASA NW Time Trials Round 1 – Pacific Raceways‏

NASA – National Auto Sport Association recently created a NW chapter and held the first event on May 4/5th.  NASA runs HPDE’s, Time Trial, and wheel-to-wheel races all in the same weekend.  Saturday and Sunday are treated as individual events.  I registered to compete in the Time Trial event in TT2 class (8.0:1 Weight to HP ratio with adjustments for tire size and compound).  The number of cars registered was low but I expect participation will increase as it was a great experience and the event organizers had very positive attitudes and made for a friendly and fun event.

I spent a fair amount of time over the last two weeks preparing the car for this event as it’s been a while since it’s seen serious track duty.
I rebuilt the front calipers, installed new front pads and 2-pc Girodisc rotors, added an oil cooler for the supercharger and fabricated some ducting, installed an AMB transponder, welded up a new supercharger mounting bracket, installed a new in-line 02 sensor controller, replaced fuel pump, installed some 2-yr old but unused 245/40-17 Kumho V710’s, scaled the car, and a bunch of other maintenance items.  The car ran great all weekend.  Lots of power, awesome brakes.  Balance felt a little pushy initially but once up to full speed, a slight throttle lift before apex would rotate the car into a ~5 degree slip angle and I could apply full power out of the corner with just a hint of opposite lock.

Saturday – I have very little experience at Pacific Raceways.  The two events I’ve attended previously (several years ago) ended early due to mechanical failure (failed clutch and cracked brake rotor).  I probably have 20-30 laps total experience.  Saturday was spent figuring out the format and learning the track.  Weather was beautiful – sunny skies and mid-70’s.  The Time Trial group runs with HPDE 4 group and uses an open passing policy.  Competition is based on your fastest lap of each day.
My first session yielded a fast lap of 1:37 which was 2 seconds faster than my previous best lap.
My lap times dropped as I got more comfortable with the track and limits of the car.  I hit a 1:34.2 on the second session and by the end of the day, I was consistently running 1:33’s.  Second place in my class had a best time of 1:41.  There was a little drama in session 3 when #63 Porsche turned right for turn 1 as he was passing #8 Baby Grand on the outside.  The #8 driver went straight and they hit door-to-door and sent both cars spinning off at ~130 mph.  I was right behind them and drove through the debris flying around and followed them onto the runoff road (end of dragstrip).  No one was injured and both cars were back on track later in the day… a little uglier than before.
Sunday – I reviewed some data logged on Saturday and saw some areas for improvement.  My new goal was to run a 1:32.  Sunday was warmer and I noticed the V710’s lost a little grip after 3-4 laps at full tilt.  Fortunately, grid position was determined by the previous sessions lap times so I was first on track every session.  This gave me 3-4 laps of wide open track before catching the back markers.  The plan was to run hard for the first 3 laps during the morning sessions before the conditions got too hot for optimum grip and power.  Unfortunately, I filled the gas tank full in the morning so I was packing an extra 60+ pounds.  1st session, I clicked off multiple low 1:33’s before hitting traffic.  2nd session I got a 1:32.7 and pretty much called it good.  I continued to run a few more sessions but didn’t push it hard to save tires/brakes/car for the next event (I must be getting old… or broke).
PR is a fast track!  Data shows I was hitting 144-145 mph on the main straight and taking Turn 1 at over 140 mph.  Hit 115+ going down the hill to Turn 3 and up the hill to Turn 5 and 100 into turn 9.  Minimum speed was in Turn 3B (37 mph).  Peak lateral acceleration was 2.09L/1.85R g’s and max deceleration was 1.44 g’s.  2nd gear wasn’t used on track – just 3rd-6th.  

I’m pretty happy with the 1:32.7 but after reviewing the data, I’m sure a 1:31 is possible with two or three slight changes to the line.  I took 1st place in TT2 both days and had the fastest lap of the weekend (granted, it was a low turn out – “small pond” – but still not bad for a “street car” that drove to and from the track).  Next fastest lap was from the #81 GT3S Porsche racecar (1:35).
Made the NASA NW Facebook cover page.

Final Results:
Saturday: 1st Place TT2, 1:33.457, Track Record
Sunday: 1st Place TT2, 1:32.762, Track Record
Next event is June 1/2 at the Ridge Motorsports Park which is an amazing new track in Shelton, WA.

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