Road America is one of those tracks that you've spent many years wishing to drive after getting many looks at it in video games like Forza. Finally, those laps materialized in real life and Road America did not disappoint. As one would notice in video games, the track is huge, what you don't get a feel for in the video games is that there are elevation changes at almost every corner. The track is exciting to drive without feeling or being dangerous. The track does demand a lot from brakes though and our car almost completely lost brakes going into Canada corner which is one of three stretches in the track where you to out 4th gear in our car near 130mph. All the excitement on track was meet with the realization that our journey was coming to an end, sadly this was our last track event. The good news though was that we had survived and due to EVO failures we would end up getting third in our class. Third place it's important because that means we get a little trophy to commemorate our trip. Not to bad for what amounts to an almost stock Lexus.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Saturday, May 12, 2012
When we arrived at the track the next morning the first order of business was to find the source of the rattle. After tearing apart the trunk we could see that the nut that affixes the shock shaft to the mount was no longer doing that. We re-installed it and carried on with the events for the day.
Four different competitions were to take place at Brainerd. The first two were roadcourse time trials, one on the historic Donnybrook Circuit used for TransAm 40 years ago and the shorter course used for SCCA club racing to day. The long course was intimidating with two extremely high speed sweepers, think Daytona without the banking, they're supposed to be flat out well over 100mph. We weren't confident enough to enter at over 100mph. The shorter course was more suited two our car as it doesn't use the super long straight. Corner 1 was a lot of fun and people watching from the bridge cheered our car on as it slid sideways through the corner. This turned out to be one of our best placing road course events at 44.
The remaining competitions were low ET and Bracket racing drag competitions. Oddly we did better in the low ET than Bracket racing due to being unfamiliar with the operation of the Christmas Tree.
When it was time to leave Brainerd our car wouldn't start. We received help to push start the car and drove it to the local Napa hoping we could replace the battery and continue on. After replacing the battery the car still wouldn't start and the Napa people told us we could pick one up in Minneapolis which we would then have to figure out how to install in the morning at Road America. Just as we were about to leave a guy came by and said he could fix it down the road, it happens that they rebuild starters and alternators all day long. These guys were great and know their stuff, we were back on the road an hour later with a fully functioning car. If your starter is on the fritz don't buy a cheap reman, have these guys get the original fixed up and you'll be back on the road for another 160k mi and it may even cost less that the reman.
The trip out to Hastings from High Plains went smoothly but once again we got in pretty late due to the time change. We read on the drive that Hastings was designed by the same person that designed High Plains and were really excited to check it out. Unfortunately, the track was missing many of the elements that made High Plains so cool due to the flatness of the topography. Like many of the tracks this one had a lot of room for the more powerful cars to stretch their legs so we didn't end up to high in the rankings though we were able to improve in the afternoon. There was also an autoX hosted at Hastings and that went pretty well except for the Mustang which somehow managed to collide with a barrier. An interesting development unfolded at Hastings, one of the EVOs broke down in the afternoon, leaving us a shot for second place.
Videos to come.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
A very interesting track, lots of blind corners and elevation changes. Lots of excitement despite its small foot print.
Awesome track, here's the morning video.
Monday, May 7, 2012
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Today our time trial was at Mid America, as with all tracks in the event this one was new to us. During our morning session we were run down by a GTI, originally we were a bit discouraged but in chatting with the driver afterwards we found out this car has 400whp, for reference that's probably double what we have and then some. It's amazing we were able to best them at Autobahn. A few hours later we checked the results and were surprised to see that we had posted a better time than Pete and Enrique in the 335I. This news gave us hope that we could compete with them for 3rd place. This hope was short lived as they schooled us again in the afternoon. I'll work on posting video when we get to the hotel with WiFi.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Unfortunately this doesn't mean an extra hour of sleep. We're still driving, it's 9:00PM and it looks like we have another 300 miles to go. Driving the South course at the Autobahn Country Club was a blast. We received some great tips from Enrique, one of the drivers of the 335i in our class. Unfortunately those tips didn't get me close to the time set by Pete the other driver of the 335i and the two EVO's. We're still tied for third in class but if things keep going like this I we won't be within reach much longer. All three of those cars were in the top 20 overall at Autobahn and we we're 54. The camera mount fell apart just as it was our turn to go so now in car video this time around:(
Skid Pad In-Car http://youtu.be/S6dtREgWlG4