Location:Â Gun Range Rd. Geneva FL. It seems to be a police gun range and a small run way/taxi area that doesn’t appear to be regularly used. The road leading to the runway is HORRIBLE!! holy crap is it bad. haha.
We had 66 entrants, a guy in a new Mustang GT who yelled at me on my way to work a few months back was there which was cool. There was a strong S2k showing, they were going so fast their magnets kept coming off.Â
Weather:Â It was cloudy all day but the temps were in the 50’s so I was content with a long sleeve shirt and a hoody for 90% of the day. It did sprinkle during the first run group but everyone got at least 2 dry runs. It didn’t rain in the afternoon.
Car Prep, Course Walk, Tech Inspection:Â I got there EARLY, pulled in at about 7:15am behind the main organzier and course designer. They already had a few guys setting up the course so I stripped the stuff out of my car.
- Autox Box
- Jack Stand
- Passthru ratchet set
- Breaker Bar, Torque Wrench
- Stock Jack, Stock Jack handle crank, Stock Tool bag
- Registration / User Manual Booklet
- Domo Bag with random stuff
- Mashmellow fluff container Cobb AP Holder
Things that stay in the car
- Puma Speedcats
- ContourGPS w/ Water Proof Case and Windshield mount
I then proceeded to drink the rest of my coffee and have a snack. People started rolling in at full force between 7:30am and 8:15am. Registration opened at 8am so I checked in, since I prepaid online the check in process is pain free. Just state your name, class and boom you’re good. I signed up as an SCCA member the Thursday before the event so I saved $15 on my entry fee.Â
After registration I jumped in the tech line and got my annual tech sticker!! w00t. Annual tech ftw. I have a small Abu (monkey from Aladdin) who lives in my trunk. He stays back there all the time including during the runs. Tech inspectors always get a kick out of it.Â
Course Walk:Â Right at the start I knew this was going to be a fun course. Started off with a small straight away which would allow a nice launch and a quick short shift to second before the first right hander. There was a pretty self explanatory set of a few gates and pointer cones then a hard left hander followed by a quick right hander that if lined up correctly is a straight shot to the “lane change” section. I thought this section looked like a 3rd gear section but the gates seemed tight, most people agreed 2nd gear would most likely be ideal. After the lane change there was a 3 cone optional slalom with an optional turn around. Meaning you could start on either on the right or left of the first slalom cone and you could either go clockwise or counter clockwise thru the turn around. There was one additional gate before the turn around forcing you to stay tight after the last slalom cone. This section constantly had people stopped trying to figure out the fastest way thru. No one group truely agreed with each other, one guy would say Right, Counter Clockwise, Left another would say Right, Clockwise, Right.Â Â My group decided to start Right and then see what the car was more comfortable doing. As you’ll see in my videos from the runs Clockwise was how my car wanted to go.Â Â I switched between Right and Left after the turnaround and didnt find much time gained or lost either way. After going thru the lane change a second time the course veered right, then a series of sweeping S curves. They then threw a wrench in the works.Â Â It’s hard to explain, but there were 3 cones equally spaced perfectly in line. The last cone was the finish. It was designed to slow people down.Â Â yeah that didn’t work. haha.
Either way after walking it 3 times and changing my mind 6 times on how to handle the turn around I finally felt comfortable. On to the driver’s meeting.
Run Group/Work Order:Â There were 3 run/work groups which meant you worked 1 heat, ran 1 heat and relaxed 1 heat. This run/work order works great and is the one I’m used to from running in S. FL.
I worked first at station 4 (on the right side of the lane change), it was an eventful station as people kept clipping the exit of the lane change or forgetting to setup for the slalom and WAMM hit 4 cones.Â Â It rained while we working but not enough to soak my hooded sweatshirt which was nice.
The S2ks looked amazing thru the lane change and there was a huge speed difference between the ones who shifted into 3rd and who didn’t.
Luckily running in the 2nd group worked out to my favor, all the water had dried up and I got to see how people were taking the funky slalom/turn around. I started up my car to let it warm up and chatted with a fellow STi driver who was competing in STU. He wasn’t shifting into third on lane change and he couldn’t crack under a 50 sec run. I decided to try it in second and get comfortable then try 3rd. So I get up to staging all is well and good, then theres a delay as they move course workers around. I look to my left and I see this guy in a GTI get out of the passenger seat of his car and he’s wearing some cool Puma Speedcats. I look at my feet and see these huge eS Accels and just giggle, I forgot to swap to my race shoes that were sitting in my back seat. So I swapped shoes, thanked the GTI driver who reminded me and took off my driver’s side fog light cover to give my Oil Cooler access to some fresh air and proceeded to wait my turn.
Run 1:Â It was pretty uneventful, I took it at about 7/10ths to get a lay of the land since it had been so long since I walked the course and for some reason people were going off course constantly. I stayed in 2nd for the lane change, got a little loose going into the finish line and finished with a 49.5
Run 2:Â I tried to step it up for the second run, but still stayed in 2nd for the lane change, still loose going across the finish and got another 49.5Â Clearly I needed to change something.
Run 3:Â I said **** it I’m doing it live and went balls out. I shifted into 3rd before the lane change and hauled *** up to the slalom. I braked way too much and down shifted into 2nd going into the slalom and around the turn around. Going back thru the slalom I shifted into 3rd for the lane change. HOLY CRAP the car felt GREAT!! totally composed awesomely fast.Â Â I almost didn’t want to down shift to 2nd for the back half of the course. The back half of the course felt good until I got to the finish, I clearly was going into it too hot. I got thru the gates and hard on the brakes clearly too early as the car was still sideways going thru the finish. Both feet in and came to a quick safe stop. Unfortunately I killed 3 cones after the finish. This was by far my fastest run dipping into the high 47’s. No damage done to any equipment (mine or SCCAs). A little frustrated I proceeded back to staging for my 4th and final run.
Run 4:Â Knowing I needed to calm down towards the finish and use 3rd gear twice I tried to be patient this run.
I was trying not to leave anything on course and being one of the last cars out to run in my session I was really trying not to eff it up. As I’m getting to the lane change I see that one of the cones is out of place, I was already nearing the top of 3rd gear and I wouldn’t have been able to stop in time to point it out so I avoided it and went about my way. In the back of my head I was praying the corner workers were being lazy (which they clearly were). On the turn around I was focusing more on not hitting that cone that was out of place and didn’t shift in to 3rd. This hurt my time substantially. The rest of the run was clean and I didn’t spin after the finish. Crossed the line with a 48.337!! w00t. Had I shifted in 3rd I easily could’ve dropped into the 47’s. *Kick self in face*Â Â Still 48.337 was good enough to clinch 1st in ASP/STU.Â
Before the 4th run I was checking my camber wear on my frontÂ tiresÂ and I couldn’t feel the groove on the inside of the Star Specs. I thought this was strange…..turns out the -3.8 has been eating away the inside frontÂ tireÂ (surprise).Â Â So after my last run I decided to hang out during the 3rd run group so I could get my 3 punches for clinching 1st place in ASP/STU.Â Â During the 3rd run I rotated my camber worn frontÂ tiresÂ to the rear, the rears looked new compared to the fronts.Â Â I have been neglecting the rotation of the wheels/tiresÂ (obviously). It could end up biting me in the *** as I’ll explain later.
I get the car on some asphalt and break one side loose and jack the car up. Mind you with the ARP wheel studs are HUGE. I grab my impact gun only to find out it’s dead.Â Â :fail: I spin one wheel worth of lugs off and my arm is about to fall off. haha. Luckily I was able to borrow an impact from a fellow racer (who pulled off a 45 second lap in his R-Comp equipped CSP MR2!!). Once that was all done and I packed up the car I was able to take a second to relax and wait for the trophy presentation.
All in all a great race day, still plenty of room to imporve and I’m looking forward to the AutoX next weekend!!
I’ll get the other vids posted and try and find some pics from the event.