2014 NASA NW Time Trial Round 5 – Portland International Raceway

Final round of the 2014 NASA NW racing season.  Weather was sunny and hot (mid 90’s).  My previous best lap time at PIR was a 1:22.379.  My goal was to crack the 1:21’s but the high temperatures wouldn’t be in my favor.

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Saturday morning was warm.  I ran the first session on old Hoosier A6 tires and extra fuel with the plan to put in as many laps as possible to get back into the groove of this track.  Fastest lap of 1st session was a 1:22.613.  #9 Turbo Miata, who holds the track record, ran a 1:22.308.  I realized that with my current pace, my previous shift locations are no longer valid.  I was entering T4 in 4th and carrying that till T5 where I’d downshift to 3rd.  Now I can easily get into 5th before T4 (could before but didn’t think it was worth the shift up and back down) and I was hitting the rev limiter in 3rd coming into T6 so a new shift strategy was implemented.  Second session was two tenths slower for me despite putting on newer Hoosier A7s.  #9 was also slower by three tenths.  Temperatures were high and times weren’t likely to decrease.  Third and fourth sessions were even slower so the results were determined by the first session which meant a second place finish out of seven in TT2.  Datalogs indicated a theoretical fast lap of 1:21.993 was possible.

Sunday morning was even warmer and the forecast was for another hot day.  I decided to run the A7s in the first session to put down a fast time while temperatures were still cool. Took 4 laps to break the 1:21’s but ran a 1:21.983.  By this time, I was running into traffic and tires were greasy so I took a cool down lap and pitted.  #9 Turbo Miata ran another 1:22.374 just like Saturday Morning before having transmission issues that resulted in loss of 3rd and 4th gear.  With the goal of 1:21’s in hand, a winning time and the closest competitor out with tranny issues, temperatures rising, we packed up for the long drive home.  Data shows a 1:21.271 theoretical fast lap is possible – new goal for next season.  The predictive lap timing on my Racepak G2X is really helpful for getting instant feedback when trying new lines or aborting a lap if you’re way behind mid course.  In the video’s you can see the predictive time on the left side of the display (upper left of screen).  A great example is braking into T1.  I can brake later which can shave off around 0.3 seconds but I typically end up giving that time back with a poor exit out of T2/T3.  It’s all about finding the compromise that yields the fastest overall lap.

 

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Update on Urge Design / AP Racing brakes with Hawk DTC-70 pads.  After this event, pads measured over 10 mm of friction material remaining after 6 days of Time Trial competition on 3 different tracks.  Drivers side caliper temperature indicator finally registered at the lowest level (300 F).  Passenger side caliper temperature indicator still shows nothing.  I’m very impressed with this brake set up.  The primary goal for this set up was to reduce rotor cracking and pad taper issues.  On top of those goals, the kit added a significant weight reduction, dramatically improved pad life, and I have also measured decreased braking distances and higher decel rates in some cases.

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A big thank you to the NASA NW crew who are all friendly and helpful and put on a great Saturday night BBQ for everyone.

Also thanks to HAWK and Hoosier for supporting NASA Time Trial competition.

Final Results:

Saturday: 2nd Place TT2, 1:22.613

Sunday: 1st Place TT2, 1:21.983 – Personal Record, Fastest lap of weekend

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