NASA HPDE 3 from 9/25/2015-9/26/2015

Last HPDE session I learned a valuable lesson, to be gentle. What do I mean by that? Well ever since I can remember I do things a bit rough. For example if someone told me to pluck a single pedal off of a flower the whole flower would be destroyed by the time I was done with it. Of course this is an exaggeration but you get the point. Same thing happens with my inputs when I am racing. I do things so harsh and fast. Which upsets the balance of the car. I swear my feet have a mind of their own! I even tell myself I’m going to break “nicely” this time. Nope. Doesn’t work. It just does whatever it does. But I have gotten smooth with the steering. That’s a plus!

It seemed braking was the theme that weekend. I had an instructor with me, he told me to not brake so hard and let go more gently. Of course in usual fashion my feet had other plans. During one our HPDE driver’s meeting the topic came up again. Our HPDE director, Matt Guiver, said something I will never forget. “The best drivers are so smooth that when they lift off the brake you don’t know they did until they start accelerating.” I imagined what that felt like. So next time around I was able to “gently” let go of the brake pedal. It felt nice, not so harsh and jerky. I am still transitioning from autocross to track racing. I still feel a little slow when lifting off the brake but I know I will get the hang of it.

As I was finessing this technique my neck was starting to give out on me. I guess my body is still healing from the racing accident the month prior. The first day of HPDE my neck was a bit sore. The next day, I could feel the weight of helmet stressing out my neck. I was nausea all day from the pain. But I pushed forward. While I was on the track I didn’t feel anything, I was hyper focused. But on the last session of day, my neck muscles tightened up. I couldn’t even see where I was going to exit on a turn very well. Then I was wondering why was my car feeling so sluggish? I realized what had happened when I went through turn 4. I usually shift from 3rd to 4th gear on this turn.  I was in 4th gear for a lap and a half! I knew then that I was disoriented and I needed to come off the track. I didn’t want to be the fast moving hazardous object out on the track.

I was disappointed and frustrated that my body couldn’t keep up with my mind. I was mentally ready to get out on that track and prove that the accident didn’t beat me. It’s just like riding a motorcycle, I have dumped my bike numerous times but I pick up my bike and ride it again. Am I worried that it might happen again? A little but I don’t let that stop me and I don’t think about it when I’m out on the track.

Overall it was a good weekend. I learned a lot! Here are some tips I learned that might help you on the track:
  • Be smooth on the brakes
  • Be smooth off the brakes
  • Stay off the rumble strips
  • Put a piece of tape at 12 o’clock position on the car (in case of an accident you will know where your wheels are at)
  • Settle chassis before getting on or off the brakes (AKA don’t piss off the platform)

The following are stats from HPDE days:

Engine:                 Stage 1 Tune
                             Mishimoto Silicone Throttle Body Hose
Tires:                    Dunlop Direzza ZII Star Spec 245/40/18
Wheels:                Enkei PF01 18x8.5
                             Gorilla Forged Steel Racing Lug Nuts 12x1.25
Brakes (Front):     StopTech ST-40
     355mm 2-piece rotor
     Hawk DTC-60 Pads Brakes
     Goodridge Stainless Steel Lines
Brakes (Rear):     Stock caliper
    Centric Premium Rotors
    Project Mu HC+800 pads
    Goodridge Stainless Steel Lines
Brake Fluid:        ATE Type 200 DOT 4
Suspension:         Whiteline Adjustable 22mm Rear Sway Bar
    Kartboy Rear Endlinks
    Tein Street Flex Damper

Moring Temp: 76 F˚
Afternoon Temp: 90 F˚
Track: Miller Motorsport-West Track
Front Tire Pressure: 32 psi cold 40 psi hot
Rear Tire Pressure: 38 psi cold 45 psi hot

Moring Temp: 73 F˚
Afternoon Temp: 88 F˚
Track: Miller Motorsport-West Track
Front Tire Pressure: 32 psi cold 40 psi hot
Rear Tire Pressure: 38 psi cold 45 psi hot