I finally returned to ORP after two years. I really love this track. It’s like a roller coaster with constant elevation changes and banked corners. My previous best time running this track in the CCW configuration was a 1:52.6. That time was run on 2-year old 30+ heat cycle Kumho V710’s and during my first day ever running the track in that direction. I had high hopes of making a big improvement with better tires (Hoosier A7’s) and a second look at the track.
First session – Full of traffic but, after 4-5 laps, found some open track and put down consecutive 1:54’s. Turn 7 is a blind right hand corner that can be taken at 80+ mph if you commit to the line and know where you’re going. It’s an uphill corner with no landmarks visible for reference. A momentary lapse in concentration (checking mirrors, etc) can be costly here and I had a bit of panic moment when I turned in at the wrong point.
Second session – Grid asked if I’d go out first so other cars wouldn’t have to let me pass right away (hehe – more than happy to oblige). With a clear track, I laid down a 1:51.788 which is a 0.9 second improvement over my best time. Next lap was a 1:52.9 and then hit a bunch of traffic as I caught up to the pack.
Third session – Ran another 1:52 and a few 1:53’s. Was fun running with two Nascar racecars and comparing speed and lines.
Fourth session – 1:52.5 and several 1:54-1:56’s while trying to get around cars.
Fifth session – Open to all drivers, so fast and slow drivers and cars on the track at the same time and limited passing zones led to lots of congestion and slow times. I did run a 1:52.9 but then got caught behind a car leaking fuel around the entire track so I backed off and called it a day.
Overall, a great event. Beautiful weather, met some cool people, and beat my previous best time (which was a track record for NASA TT2) by nearly a full second. For some reason I never got comfortable with Turn 7 and backed off the throttle every lap. On my fastest run (in Session 2), I took T7 at 65 mph vs 80 mph during my fastest run in 2013. Comparing the data afterwards (see below, cursor is at T7, red trace is current lap, blue trace is lap time difference vs 2013), this cost me several seconds. Up to T7, I was 1.8 seconds faster and lost all of that lead through T7 and then picked up another .9 seconds on the second half of the track.
Assuming an equal speed through T7, my fast lap could have been a 1:49.2 which is my new target for next time. My best calculated theoretical fast lap on this day was a 1:50.9 but that was based on consistently underdriving T7. As the day went on, I did pick up a little speed through T7 as shown below (cursor at T7, 74 mph minimum) but failed to put everything else together in a single lap.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to take pictures of the amazing track, scenery, or cool cars this time. Can’t post without some pictures so here are some shots from the garage and a few of the track from 2013.
ORP CCW 1:51.788