Our best race weekend yet!! It was a new race schedule with 3 races total over two days, instead of everything all packed into sunday afternoon.
I actually missed practice on the saturday morning due to a swim meet, so qualifying was used as a qualifying for the first couple laps to get a good time and then I carried on at full pace to get the tires fully warm so we could get them set to what we wanted once I knew how the track felt. I qualified in 15th out of 23 – I couldnt get free space on track to get a fast lap in, I kept catching up to others during my fast lap and if i backed off to find some space, others were too and I still kept catching others. I need to plan that better for next time. It’s on my list of ways to improve for june.
Race 1 went great! I went 15th to 11th. There was some craziness in the first couple laps, but after that it went smoothly and I brought it home for our best finish yet.
Race 2 (sprint race)
Race 2 actually only had 1.5 laps of racing – a car had a mechanical failure at the end of lap 1 spun off, and got stuck in the gravel. The car spewed oil on the track and I almost spun off with it! but i got it collected up. Because I lost time with that, mike in the other audi TT caught up and passed me. I finished 11th again. Skip to 7 minutes into the video to watch – sorry for not editing this one.
Race 3 (wet 12 lap feature race)
finally! a wet race! It actually ended up starting weet and then by the end of the race there was a good drry line. I started 11th, gained a position right off the start, and kept moving up from there. I took the first couple laps to really get a handle on how the car did in the wet as that was my first time driving it in wet conditions. After the first couple laps I had an amazing race. I finished 7th! AND, perhaps even more significantly, I had the second fastest lap of everyone. by the end of the race, only the guy in first was going faster than me. That is extremely encouraging. I had my best pass yet on lap 5 coming out of turn 12 – 3 wide to get past brad in the red miata. That felt amazing.
Sorry that I don’t have a full write-up for each session for this race weekend, I forgot to get to it right away and the camera didn’t work in the heat for all sessions except the first race, which was WILD!
It was also a very hot weekend and during practice we also got tire pressures wrong and we were worried we would have the same issues as the August weekend where we performed poorly. But on my Dad’s advice we lowered the pressures and qualifying went 3 seconds faster than our best time in practice. We were happy to find that improvement.
The first 3 laps of the race were crazy. I was stuck in the middle of 3 wide going into turn 2 on both lap 1 and lap 2. This is a product of us being a bit down on power (updates on that are further down this page).
On lap 1, a car to my left collided with me. I left him enough space and he outbraked himself and he ran his front right tire into my drivers door. There was no real damage and both of us continued fine. It was the black BMW – he passed me after that, and later in the lap we had a great fight. He was kind of a dirty racer that day, and he tried to squeeze me on the left hand kink at Turn 13 on lap 1 – you will see in the video, he left me no space on the inside. I was able to barely avoid contact. I passed him on the outside of turn 16 on lap 1 and never let him get me back.
After the first few laps, things calmed down a bit. I finished a solid 14th in Race 1.
Heres the video!
After the last two races, awards were given out, and I won Rookie of the Year! I also won a set of 4 free tires for the race car.
Here is a photo showing the car’s new scar from the race 1 lap 1 contact:
Small dents and tire marks. I will have to replace that yellow vinyl in the spring and give the KSW Lawyers logo a good scrub!
2022 GT27 SEASON RESULTS
I ended up in 16th place out of 30 entrants! Dad and I are both very proud of that. The chart below really shows the value of consistent finishes and car reliability. We didn’t score a ton of points each race, but so many people had car breakdowns, crashes, or didn’t have the car prepared for each race, so we gained a ton of ground that way!
Preparation for next season
We are targeting top 10 finishes next season! We believe this is possible because we will be adding power to the car for next season:
Dad improved the air intake to go through the headlight. The car breathes much better this way and on October 30th, we tested it out with only this change, and we went 3 seconds faster than I ever have before! I was going 5-6 kph faster on every single straight, even the shorter ones. That’s according to our race telemetry, not just me looking at the speedo. It felt great. Hopefully this means I don’t get swallowed whole on the straight stretches like I did last season.
Because we didn’t have crash repairs or breakdowns to eat at our race budget, we could afford some new exhaust headers for our car! Headers for our VR6 engine are only made by one company in Italy, and are expensive, so we waited a while to do this. Dad currently has the car taken apart to install these. It’s a big job! This should add power and make the car sound even better.
We have a total of 8 tires ready to go for next season: 6 front tires @ 255 wide, and 2 rear tires @ 225 wide. We are changing to a setup that is much wider in the fron than rear. This will help us greatly reduce understeer for next season.
Race Dates for Next Season!
Mark your calendars!
April 22/23 May 20/21 June 17/18 August 19/20 Sept 16/17
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.
To start this off, I’ll start by saying that air temperatures were nearly 15 degrees higher than at the last race, and pretty much the entire field was 1-2 seconds slower. The entire week before the race it looked like it was going to rain, but we never had enough rain to affect the racetrack and give us and our AWD an advantage. Also, we did end up ordering drilled brake rotors to try, but they sent 2 left side rotors. So this weekend is still on the stock rotors and track pads. They still held up great.
Practice and Qualifying
Practice and qualifying both went smoothly! Dad and I did a practice session the wednesday before, and other than being a bit slower, the car felt good. No surprises with how it felt, and no surprise trips into the gravel! In qualifying I went Outlap – Hotlap – slow lap to get a gap again – hotlap – inlap. I qualified over a second slower than last weekend. Video Below. I qualified 18th.
After the starting few laps in race 1, I spent the rest of the race attempting to get past Wayne good in the martini BMW. My car was much faster under braking and in the corners, but every time i got past him, he just powered back past me after the corner. This video is a good example of how we apparently need a little more power in the car! I tried literally EVERYTHING to get past this guy! Inside of corners, outside of corners, slow corners, fast corners, you name it! Watch the video for some frustration! My fastest lap was 1.5 seconds faster than his, and when we were battling, we were lapping 4-5 seconds slower than my qualifying lap. I had way more pace, I just couldn’t make the pass stick.
The upside to this long battle is that it is more incredibly valuable experience for me driving incredibly close to competitors. I was pretty much literally on this guys bumper nearly the entire race. This is a skill I was worried about before starting this season, and I get very comfortable with driving incredibly close over the course of this race. I also got a lot of practice attempting and making overtakes, even if they didn’t stick. So I was still happy with how the race went.
And as a bonus, the black BMW was penalized for not leaving enough space for me on the last lap at the finish line, where I had to put 2 wheels on the dirt. So he was demoted to last and I finished ahead of him after all!
Race 1 result: 16th – 7 Championship points
Race 2 went great. I actually had a bad start, and after a missed shift at the end of lap 1, I was briefly last. But then I made 3 passes in the next two laps, including getting back past the black BMW that I couldn’t pass in race 1. I made the pass stick, then I got started to just put in qualifying lap after qualifying lap. Race 2 was 2 laps longer than race 1, but I was 20 seconds closer to the leader than in race 1. So that goes to show how much faster I was once I was lapping at my own pace in clear air. Lapping as fast as I could, even though I was on my own, proved to be well worth it. When a porsche spun out in front of me, I was close enough that I could pass him once he re entered the track. If i was even a couple seconds behind my actual position, he wouldve stayed in front of me. A couple other competitors retired with broken cars, and I was able to keep the porsche behind me (even though he qualified ahead of me!) and I ended up finishing 12th! That’s our best finish yet! Video Below. The race starts at about 4 minutes in as the start was aborted and a second pace lap was needed.
Race 2 Result: 12th – 11 championship points
For the Next Race:
Dad is working on a more substantial exhaust improvement – it should flow better, and weigh a fair bit less. So hopefully that gives a small boost in power so we aren’t just passed back after I make a good overtake in the corners or braking. we also won 2 free tires in a door prize! I don’t think they’ll get delivered before next race as they’re back ordered, but at some point we will get those on. Until then we will be using the spare set. Dad is also going to move the 15 pound fire extinguisher to the rear of the car – it’s currently in the passenger seat area. This has 2 benefits, it’ll move 15 pounds further back to aid our weight distribution, and it’ll free up the passenger space for a second seat! We don’t have enough to buy another race seat + harness + bracket right now, but it’s in the plan. Then we can take our sponsors as passengers!
Also: Hurrah! I’ve completed my first 6 races as a novice without incident or being called to the stewards over a driving infraction! I can now apply for my full racing license and get rid of my novice license!
Next race weekend is August 6 & 7, mark it in your calendars!