NJMP Thunderbolt / Lightning – June 17-18, 2010

So the June track event finally had arrived. We tried a new method – drive to the track day of – its only a 2 hr drive down, and we’d save $70 on a hotel room. Seemed easy enough. Was a smooth ride down, no traffic, and actually went by quickly. It was beautiful to see summer arrive in the nicer parts of New Jersey.

We arrived at the track, and like most Schattenbaum PCA events, the crowd is light, the cars are gorgeous, and the pace is quick. At this point, we know who is in our run groups so the predictability is high, which is what is very important in advanced groups.

Thunderbolt was on the agenda for the 17th. A great track. We were running with the chicane which is interesting and creates more of a challenge. I have run the chicane only on one track event when I come to thunderbolt but I have no previous timing notes on it. My best time was 1:41.311, which is OK, but my friend was running 1:36, so I am WAY off the pace. Although I am over my spin 2 events ago, I just find myself not pushing the car as much as I used to. I am not really sure why. It is not a question of the line, because I am driving the line correctly, I just find myself braking too early and too hard. Perhaps the pace has increased but I am slowly getting to the point where I can start braking a bit later, carrying more speed through the turns. Data analysis shows that my exiting speed is proper, but I think I just brake too early, and am using my HP to muscle myself back into it, which is costing me time.

My main focuses the next time I go back to thunderbolt will be Turn 1, I think that I can get off the brake earlier, and prob put a few more mph through T1. T2 is a blind corner and the rear end gets extremely loose, so I will maintain what I am doing. I would like to work on Turn 7 – which is the right hander that leads into the Octopus. I find myself braking too much and just lose a lot of momentum and have people catch up to me too easily. I think that I also want to practice some trail braking – which I did @ lightning the next day.

Anyways, here is my video @ Thunderbolt

Lightning was the track on June 18. Like Thursday, Friday was a beautiful day – 90 degrees in the paddock, and mid to high 90s on track. Summer is here! I was having a hard time pushing the car the first two sessions, but finally woke up on the third session and shattered my previous best of 1:19.5 with a 1:19.103, and on the final session, finally broke into the 1:18s, but unfortunately the video for that session was not recorded. What pushed me over the edge was my approach in the lightbulb. I was following my friend Lightwerkz line, where he stays almost towards the inside and brakes almost after the turn in cone and while turning (trail braking) and my speed drops from 100 to about 80mph and I can maintain 80+mph throughout the bulb, which sets you up for some SERIOUS speed on the main straights.

Another trick that I started doing was braking at the 3 marker on the main straight. It is a bit scary, since the rear end wobbles, but the car can handle it. I also am applying a lot more throttle on the 2-3-4 sequence. But I was told that my brake lights come up, even though I am BARELY brushing them. I just have to let go and trust the car can handle it – which it most definitely can.

One final note. I had changed the rebound on all 4 shocks to full stiff. I wanted to test some things out and went from full stiff to one turn FROM full stiff – so 75% stiff pretty much. It made a world of difference. I felt more suspension travel and the car actually, may have been jedi mind tricks, felt more planted. It makes sense, since stiffening the rebound decreases the amount of shock travel, so perhaps that was causing that feeling of “uncontrolability”.

Here is the video of the 1:19.103

Anyways, It was a great event. I really want to sign up for the July event w/PCA NNJR @ NJMP Thunderbolt, but I need new tires. I am going to decide between the Nitto NT01 and the Michelin PS Cups.

TIme to do some research!

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