March 28, 2006

Lime Rock March 25 report

Well most 3/5ths of the Axis was at Lime Rock last week end and a great time was had by all. Here are the reports

The Stee Report:

1st session was cold and slippery. I took the time to warm everything up and remember LRP. Braking (with HT-10 up front and HP Plus in the rear) was ungodly unstable, especially with all those LRP bumps.
Braking for turn 1 was a nightmare with all those bumps. I swear, I almost put the car in the guardrail on the left multiple times. After the session, I attempted to calm the wandering rear end down by making shock adjustments.

Session 2 was more of the same, just with an increased pace and a slightly calmed down rear (but still rather scary). I do have video of this session. The video is pretty decent. Those puny Continental's (225 up front! to turn and brake 3450 lbs) howl and scream for mercy which makes for good video. Lap times were mostly 1:05s with one 1:04 in this session.

During the lunch break Matt, Carlos and I changed the rear pads to HT-10s in about 6 minutes. And then I jumped in La Bomba's passenger seat for the best ride of the day. I told Matt that if he passed the Porsche, that Mr.Porsche would cry, so we lined up a few cars behind him, with CG behind us. Matt is understating that run, it was fucken awesome! Matt is really working that poor little car as hard as possible. Clutchless downshifting in the middle of Big bend, and banging curbs like its his job. The car truly feels and sounds like a race car. It was clear that we were on a faster pace than the Porker but traffic was a bit of an issue.
Finally we were able to sort through it and had a clear sight of the back of the Cayman. I gave Matt the fist pump and he took that as his queue to turn it up. Trblmkr put it in full attack mode and started making a ton of noise behind Mr.Porsche slipping and sliding, nailing curbs and spitting up some dust clouds on "extended" track outs. Matt and I both waived in unison to him as we rolled past him down the front straight.

Session 3 in the fat bastard was completely different. After the rear pads bedded in, the braking became 100000% more stable. Finally hard braking without wagging the tail. Now the only thing I had to be careful of was not stabbing the brakes hard enough to invoke Brake Assist which extends distances and completely takes away the ability to modulate. With Matt in the car cheering me on we were able to pull off more 1:05s with a handful of 1:04s while listening to the S54 and the
Continentals battle it out at full volume.

Session 4 was time to get some instruction from CG. The only problem was, I couldn't hear a word he said. All I could get during the run was that he wanted me to unwind earlier, but it was too late. To unwind earlier meant coming into the apex at a steeper angle. Anyway, we still had fun, although my times slipped a little. CG, I'm going to really think about adjusting my line, especially entry to allow an earlier unwind and translate into faster exit speed. Maybe with more tire in
front I can actually get the car to rotate better so I can unwind sooner. I'm also going to concentrate on getting over my fear of running out of track and try to use all of the track. Make sure to reserve a session on April 8th to come for another ride with me so I can make you proud (this time with my communicators so we can actually hear each other).

Side Notes:

The uphill was pretty entertaining with the sudden wheelspin as the rear gets light over the crest.

My car is way too low and spends a lot of time on the bump stops. Before April 8th I plan to raise it substantially and recorner balance and realign.

I have been driving around with the HT10s all around and the braking is much more civilized. Formulas and science are one thing, but reality is another. This setup is MUCH better. There is much less nose dive and as long as the Brake Assist keeps out of the situation the car feels like it gets sucked into the pavement.

The BadbadM report:

My report:
Session 1 seemed like it would be a waste for me and CG because some poor guy smashed his V8 RX-7 on the inside of the downhill on lap 3, stopping us for a good 15 mins. But they sent us back out, and I agree with CG the grip was terribly inconsistent... on cold-winter-storage V710s (well-used at that) it felt like driving Johan's endurance kart with an extra 20bhp... it was all over the place! So I just used session 1 to scrub the tires in... no way I was getting any temperature into
them or going fast. However, I noticed the car was "neutral" during this session, meaning neither end had grip :(

Session 2 saw the V710s liven up, and I grabbed a Gershanok MClub lap timer to ensure I would see the red mist all day. Session 2 brought a bunch of laptimes in the 1:06 range, with a 1:05.2 being the lowest, IIRC.

Session 3 was different; definitely a highlight session for the E30 that day... SK rode with me and we had - where are the words - a freaking blast. Suicidal attacks on the uphill, doing the full-on DTM-racer thing by using every last inch of track (more in some cases)... it was great. Methinks it could be a mistake to have a fellow Axis member riding shotgun, especially the Dr. Jekyl of the Harassment Brigade (SK). We didn't break the 1:05.2, but we had a blast showing off for CG behind us
and for the Cayman (temporarily) in front of us.

Session 3.5 - I rode in the Kwiat Centrifuge... good God Almighty... what a car. This was my first time on a road course in the E46 M3. I hope it's not the last. The car has a different personality on the track... the S54 is way too small to make that kind of POWER and NOISE; I was shocked. The forces generated by that car were just awesome and my neck hurts like hell to prove it. THANKS to SK for a fantastic ride (complete with curb-jumping for added flavor).

Session 4 - long story short: everything came together. Labomba went very very quick and set at least 4 laps under 1:05. It remained neutral, power/gearing were good, and I chased that club racing lady Anne in the J-Stock M3 as my "line model". This was the first session she couldn't get away. Really I used her more for braking points, but I learned a ton
by following her.

A great day. Sorry I can't be there on April 8.

The CG report:

My day and some other highlights:

Track was the coldest I've ever experienced. Weird and inconsistent grip. Couldn't get those "in the zone 4 wheel drifts"
Lap times a full second or more slower than last year summer's (1:03.9 vs 1:02s).
Going long on braking or out of line felt like hitting an ice spot. When trying to push harder the rear slid first and did some nice (but safe) opposite lock turns plus a half cool down. lap ala Tiff Needel (just to prove myself it could be done, but clearly MUCH slower than at fullpace). Let's see if any were caught by the camera guy.
I believe the rears didn't survive the winter as well as the fronts. Let's see when weather is above 50F or if the car becomes a handful at autox (then its time to change rears).

Other highlights:
Looking at Mr P-car's eyes on his rearview mirror...... Through Matt's rear window and windshield (the harrassment train)

Driving and yelling with SK...... Unfortunately my voice pitch was overwhelmed by the S54 but it was fun to be on an E46 M3 on the passenger side (felt very comfortable and trusted SK 100%).

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