HPDE: NJMP Thunderbolt + Lightning July 22 – 23, 2010

I just got back from NJMP after spending two humid and warm days under the South Jersey sunshine. I ran with Schattenbaum Porsche Club of America, which is the best group that I have run with to date. They offer competitive prices and their members are kind and always willing to lend a hand. Also, compared to NASA/PDA, there are not many egos on the track which results in an enjoyable quick paced event.

This event was my first in about a month. I was really excited for this event as I was going to be testing two new things
ContourHD 1080p camcorder
Toyo R888 Tires

I had moved from Chase Cam to Go Pro HD to the contour. My main beef with the GoPro was that the mount that I was using – the roll bar mount Chase Cam sells – made the GoProHD + Case a bit top heavy. There would be waviness in the video and vibration. I could not deal with that. I went with the Contour HD 1080p because it weighs 4.3 ounces versus the GoProHD which comes in at 2 lbs or so with the case on. I believed that the Contours weight would be best suited for the Chase Cam mount, which originally used a Bullet Cam, that was as light as the contour is. It was a success. The video came out great. The only issue I have is the audio – the wind noise is very strong. I actually modified my contour HD like the guy in this link did, even so, the wind noise was strong.

The one complaint I have about the Contour HD is the universal mount. It is the biggest pain in the ass to remove. I actually took a hammer to it to remove it. Why would I want to even remove the mount? Well the camcorder comes with a flat surface mount, which I mounted to my helmet. The mount makes it impossible for quick removals, so I am planning on purchasing another Contour HD to just keep on my helmet exclusively.

The Toyo R888 were fantastic. I had been reading on a message board that they were not as good as my previous tires, the NT01, but I think they are BETTER. Peoples main concerns are that they wear down too quickly. I think thats a horrible reason. These are r-compound tires. Their main use is for competition and track driving. One can not expect longevity in this type of tire. They do make a whooshing noise driving to and from the highway, but their performance on the track is spectacular. I improved my lap time on both Thunderbolt and Lightning by 2 and 1.5 seconds, respectively. I can feel the tires compress on turns, grab, and catapult me into the turn and allow for easy acceleration. I love these tires. I ran them at around 28psi cold and they bumped up to around 35 – 36psi. I found this to be a nice zone. Next time I am going to run them at 38psi and see how they react as that is a sweet point a few R888 like them at.

On to the track. Once again we woke up at 4am and headed down Thursday morning. Arrived by 7 o’clock and got our cars prepped for Tech. The turnout was not great which was awesome for the ones there as that meant MORE track time. We got 6 sessions each day, which is unheard of. I really enjoyed Thunderbolt. My best time there was 1:39.4 w/out the chicane and I got my time down to 1:37.4. I still have about 2 seconds remaining before I can catch up with my friend, but I am working on it!

All of the E46 experienced something new. We all had extremely high water temperatures – mine went as far as 2mm into the red. I am not sure if this has happened before and I never noticed it as I normally pay attention to my oil temperature, but I think this is something new. I am doing research now as to HOW we are going to solve this problem. I think that a new radiator, coolant tank courtesy of RennSPEC motoring out in L.A. and a new clutch fan will be replaced. Hopefully that will solve this problem. We all were having to let off at various points through the sessions, due to the car running hot. Albeit, the ambient temperature was 90+ and the temperature on the track definitely was in the 100+ range.

The next day we were at Lightning. I can never figure out this track. I am always overbraking turn 1 and the turn after the bridge – I believe it is turn 6 or 7. I slowly got accustomed to not braking as much for turn 1 and that helped me break into the 1:18s. Slow, but still quick on this track. I would like to get into the 1:16s by the end of next year. I hope that happens.

Here is my video of the 1:18.8 at NJMP Lightning

My next event is a 3 day Thunderbolt event w/Schattenbaum PCA. Can’t wait.

My goal for that event is to get into the 1:35s or as close to 1:35 as possible on the Thunderbolt circuit.

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