It was near impossible for me to keep up with those Subies on Saturday in the rain, I was driving my butt off just to stay within a half second of them. On Sunday, in the dry, the 2nd place guy and I ran the exact same time. My last run on Sunday was my quickest and I missed a shift on the start. I'm not sure how much time I lost, but I think I could have been right up there with Brooks if I wouldn't have missed that shift.
I was sitting in 3rd after day 1 and was unable to make up enough time on day 2 to move up. I wound up 3rd overall. I am pleased with the outcome with all things considered (i.e. the rain on day 1).
Here's to bone dry conditions for the Peru Tour. :beerchug:
Towards the end of the walkthrough break between second and third heats, the wind shifted and it cooled off a little bit. Semi threatening looking clouds that were around all day started looking more ominous, but it was still mostly sunny and still pretty hot. No one in the third heat seemed to be thinking rain tires. During first runs of the third heat, the sky just opened up. The event was halted for a few minutes (I think someone spun and took out the finish light, but I'm not sure). John and I did our best to get Nick and Bren's stuff covered up, but Nick had locked his car and my rental was more than a couple steps away and mostly full already. People were making mad dashes from grid to paddock to get their rain tires or crap covered up. Sheer pandemonium. Inside of 10 minutes later, the rain had pretty much stopped and there was lots of standing water on the course and in the paddock. The way the concrete panels were sloped, there was over an inch of water in many places. Nick and Bren were working the course.
A little while after the rain stopped, John and I took the RX-8 to grid. It wasn't really getting sunny again, but the course was drying. The sky to the west looked ominous, but it looked like it might just skirt us. We talked a lot with the two drivers of the other RX-8 about switching to street tires. Carter had Hoosier Wets for his 350Z, so we knew that if the course was still really wet or it rained more that he and his father were going to walk away from us no matter what we did. Two of my street tires are nearly bald, so we would have had to decide if we wanted to be able to steer or accelerate. Collectively, the four of us decided to stick with our R comps to maintain eligibilty for third place contingency (although I've since been told that they will usually let you slide if you switch to another brand because of rain :eeps: :banghead: ) since we knew that one of the four of us would come in third. About that time, the third heat ended and some lightning strikes were visible. The event was halted for 20 minutes as another cell moved through and resoaked the course. We were fux0r3d.
When we started to run, the rain had pretty much stopped, but it was ugly out there (which you'll see if you watch the videos). After the first drivers, the rain picked up again a bit and it was much worse for the second drivers on the first run. We didn't have that much trouble getting power down or braking (although it took us far too long to figure out just how hard we could accelerate), but the car just wouldn't turn. We would turn the wheel and the car would go straight, move laterally an inch or two, go straight another a few feet, move laterally another couple inches, etc. By third runs, the course was starting to dry again and there was a big difference in course conditions between the first and second drivers for our third runs. My third run was faster than John's fast run by over two seconds...so even with my cone, I was sitting two tenths in front of him for Saturday. I was also about 7 seconds behind Carter (and 6 seconds behind his dad). Bryan (the other RX-8 owner) pressed a little too hard on his third run, spun and wound up standing on his second run time which left him about half a second behind John.
The weather report for Sunday called for rain off and on all day...mostly on. When we left the hotel early in the morning, it was decidedly damp. It did a little more than just drizzle during the morning walks, but everything was dry by the time the first cars were off...and it stayed that way all day. Once it was time for us to run, we found out pretty quickly that the V710s I brought with us were pretty spent after about 86 runs. They were still okay, but not super fantastic like they were before. As they built up heat, they got more difficult to drive. John wasn't able to improve on his first run of the day. After spraying the tires down with water (thanks, Andy!) before my third run, I was able to just ecke out a slight advantage over John for the day on that run with a 36.599 to his 36.629. Carter's best was also his first run with a 36.633, so the three of us were only separated by .034 seconds. One of the things I really wanted to see this weekend was where I stood against Carter and his Z. After Saturday's rain, I decided that if I was within a tenth or two of him on Sunday, I'd be driving home happy. What I didn't expect, though, was for Bryan to beat me by three tenths on Sunday with his brand new Hankook R comps. To be honest, neither John nor I drove all that well either day weather and tire lifecycles aside. If we don't improve that, we don't stand a chance in Peru next month or in Topeka in September. I also wonder if Carter was going full out and/or how much work he has left to do on his car to get it setup. OTOH, the car felt just about perfectly balanced.
Overall, the courses were kind of lame and not all that fun to drive (although Sunday's was definitely better than Saturday's) compared to what we've grown used to. At points during the weekend, it felt like we had wasted a lot of time and money by going out there. However, in the end, I don't think it was. We learned a lot and we did get our day in the sun against Carter (questions or not). Based on what we saw and experienced, we will have (what will hopefully be) a rain tire solution at all future events and we did learn more about the car and recognizing when tires are starting to go off. We had a blast with Andy, Rumatt, Mrs. Andy, Bren and Nick, we put more names and faces together as well as met a lot of new people. And only being a few hundred feet away from F16s taking off with full afterburner was kinda cool too.
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