Unfortunately, our video camera only worked for Race 1. It malfunctioned in the 40-degree heat under the windshield for the other sessions. The heat caused a lot of problems for us last weekend!
Over the summer break we made a few changes to the car:
We actually tested our changes 2 days before race day, so practice was fairly straight forward. Just making sure it handled the same as it did on the Friday, because it felt good then. It was 15 degrees warmer on race day then practice, but otherwise, practice felt good.
Just to head this off, because of the very high temperature (almost 40 degrees with no clouds) the whole field was even slower than before. The pole position ended up in the mid-2:28s, and my one-lap pace was good enough for 14th out of 21 with a 2:33.035. 14th is my best qualifying yet and put me in a great position for the race! Qualifying was otherwise fairly uneventful. I don’t feel like i made any big errors and I was able to get the right amount of space between cars to get a strong run in.
After reviewing my previous race starts, I figured that covering off the middle of the track and going up the middle was my best bet to make up places at start or, at least, avoid losing places like last races. I actually executed that plan very well, and Im very happy with my start and first turn. Unfortunately, everything kind of ‘fell apart’ after that. Our one-lap pace was still good and hence the good qualifying, but this very front-heavy car did not take several laps at all out pace very well. The front tires got WAY too hot, and I started to understeer an incredible amount. I ended up getting passed a few times over the race, and I was defending and getting passed by people that I would normall be attacking and passing with ease. This was incredibly frustrating, but on the other hand, I did get a lot of experience defending against people faster than me. I haven’t had much practice with that yet, so in that sense it was still very a very good experience out on track. Race 1 video is below. notable points – first lap obviously, and 11:30 ish, Mike in the other audi TT gets past me on the main straight, then his car shuts down mid corner and we almost collide because of his unexpected reduction in pace. The video demonstrates well, especially in the second half, how little front grip I had. My tires were not very pleased with me.
I finished in 16th place out of 21. Which really isn’t that bad at all considering how bad it felt to me on the inside and getting passed by everyone.
Race 2 was much of the same as the the first, but with a safety car in the middle to bring the pack together. Unfortunately Mike in the other audi TT (silver) blew his engine. I don’t think I had any real opportunites to pass anyone, only defend. Near the end a rookie was trying to get passed me, and I was able to understand where his car was faster and slower, and used that to my advantage to keep him behind me. I kept taking the inside line in turn 2, and forcing him to go the long way around me. He didn’t have the cornering confidence to do that and therefore I was able to hold on to my position in front of him until the end of the race.
I finished 16th again. So despite it being a very very tough day in the car, 2 16th places is still a decent amount of points. More importantly, nothing broke on the car and it’s still good to go for the last race of the season.
For next race:
The weekend of September 17 and 18 is the next and FINAL race of the season! I will send out the schedule once I get it. We finally received good new slotted brake rotors and race pads so we will be installing those for next race. We are also installing a tune for our AWD system, so the rear wheels are engaged more often. It should improve our handling balance significantly to help in the corners.