I missed rounds 1 and 2 of the 2017 NASA Time Trials season. These were held at the National Corvette Museum.
I did very little to the car during the off-season; just regular maintenance.
Rounds 3 and 4 were held at the Memphis International Raceway.
Saturday it rained most of the morning and I stayed in the pits hoping the rain would stop and the track dry out. As this looked unlikely I changed to street tires during the lunch break so I could get some laps in and qualify for contingencies.
My road tires helped get through the standing water without hydroplaning but had very little grip. Also, we had to run through the hot pits as the coating they use on the drag strip is like ice as soon as it gets wet. I managed to get a 1:32 time which I was happy with considering and it got me 2nd place and one free Maxxis tire!
Saturday fast lap, official time 1:32.220
Sunday was dry thankfully so was able to put on a set of slicks. I had brought an old set that I probably should have trashed instead as they would not grip when putting the power down. However, I was able to get a run below 1:24 ( 1:21.504 is my personal best) so it wasn’t too bad and put me in 2nd place.
Contingencies paid another free Maxxis tire and $90 in Hawk bucks!
After missing round 6 that was held at Watkins Glen I attended Round 7 of the NASA Mid-South Time Trials season at Barber Motorsports Park on October 29 2016.
As Team DevelopMental Racing was not able to make this event I had a mathematical chance of winning the MidSouth Time Trial TTD class championship for the year. Unfortunately a number of racers chose to also participate in TTD for this event. I ended up 6th in class and so ended the season in 2nd place overall.
I thoroughly enjoyed being able to visit some new tracks (NCM and NOLA), to revisit some others (Memphis and Barber) and almost complete a full season.
Round 5 of the NASA Mid-South Time Trials season was held at Barber Motorsports Park on July 30 & 31.
The heat and humidity, particularly on Sunday, meant my car struggled for power and grip all weekend.
On Saturday at the end of the first 20 minute session the car cut power and would not boost above 10PSI. At first I thought it was in limp mode so I tried an ECU reset but that didn’t help. The 3rd session was cancelled due to a thunderstorm that moved through the area that came with a lot of lightening.
After the final session I dug into the engine bay and found the issue. It appeared a hose from the turbo had deteriorated to the point where it eventually detached from the T-piece it was attached to and the T-piece then melted!
The issues meant I ended up in 4th place out of four competitors in the TTD class Saturday with a 1:55.702 lap, beaten by just over .3 of a second by the 3rd place BMW Z4.
I made a trip to Autozone to pickup a replacement T and fitted that in the evening after the awards ceremony and dinner ready for Sunday.
Part the way through the first session I again lost boost. Back at the pits I found another vacuum line in the same area had broken. Thankfully enough line was left for a re-connection but everything was so hot under the hood I burned my arm on the Turbo piping getting it done. The things we do to get back on track!
The work and pain paid off and the car ran great the rest of the day. This was the first time I had run with the HPSI / RRM water injection system and the Alfa 4C coils installed. Both performed really well and the boost and power were much more consistent despite the heat. Definitely worth the work plumbing the water injection!
I ended Sunday 3rd in class with lap of 1:53.405, approx. 0.7 seconds ahead of the BMW Z4 that beat me Saturday
What made me extremely happy was that I had beaten my previous fastest lap by over 3.5 seconds. This I ran in February 2014 when temperatures were much cooler, I had better Toyo Proxes tires on but the less powerful RRM U3 piggy back. Hopefully I can be even faster when we go back for the final round of the series at the end of October.
Thank you again to Eurocompulsion and the Jolly Club for their help and support and to Maxxis Tires and Hawk Performance for their great contingency programs.
Needless to say i have some thicker-walled vaccum line and some brass T-s ordered to get installed before the next outing!
The 4th round of the 2016 NASA Mid South Time Trials championship took place June 11 and 12 at Memphis International Raceway, my home track.
With the very high heat indexes and people being on vacation the turnout was smaller than previous events. Competition was still stiff however.
Saturday there were a total of four competitors in the TTD class. I took second place for the day, chasing the CRX of Team Development Racing.
Sunday we had just three competitors in TTD. I managed a personal best lap time for this track to get closer to the class leader, Team Development Racing. This got me 2nd for the day.
All in all a good weekend. Contingency sponsorship meant I earned another two Maxxis tires and $100 in Hawk bucks.
After trying to get some use out of a pair of EBC red front brake pads I had lying around (big mistake!) I ended up installing Hawk pads during the Saturday lunch break. They performed awesome the rest of the weekend and with the contingency program they have I will be using Hawk from here on out.
The final two rounds of the championship will be held at Barber Motorsports Park at the end of July and October.
I have only been to Barber once before, back in February 2014. I had a good time then and can’t wait to get back there to see how the Abarth does now with all the mods!
The third event of the NASA Mid-south region Time Trials season was at the NOLA Motorsports Park on their 2.75 mile, 16 turn Indy track.
I took advantage of an Open Track Day on the Friday to try and learn the course layout and to get some experience. It was an overcast day and by the end of it I felt comfortable with the track and where I thought I could pick up more speed.
Saturday was a much hotter, more humid day and I was not happy with my times compared to Friday but I did get faster and got experience being on the track with other (mostly faster) cars.
Sunday cooled of some, and I was able to improve my times from Friday and Saturday, getting my fastest lap in the last session Sunday. The lap of 2:11.887 got me 4th in class, just outside the contingency pay out window.
I think my biggest issue was getting grip coming out of the turns – I could not get the power down. An LSD would be an awesome addition to the Abarth at this track. Unfortunately it is an expensive option so I think making sure I have newer tires next time will help.
We had great weather for both days of competition with highs in the low 80’s both days.
I again suffered with an intermittent misfire but I think I may finally have found the cause; time will tell.
Since removing the AC condenser and upgrading to a larger radiator coolant temperatures are under control and power seems to be more consistent. Best times both days were set in the morning though when the air temperatures were cooler.
Saturday I came away with 3rd out of seven drivers in the TTD class, Sunday I got 2nd out of five drivers. I also set a personal best time of 1:21.713 for this track which I was very pleased with.
This all meant contingency payouts of two free Maxxis tires and $100 in Hawk Bucks so another successful weekend!
This was my first time entering a Time Trials event, having obtained my license over the winter. It was also my first time at NCM.
I wasn’t as prepared as I wanted to be as I had to have an unexpected surgery over the winter months. All of these factors together made me extremely nervous about the event but the folks at NASA Mid South gave me great coaching and support!
NCM is a very new facility, being completed in late 2014. We were running the 3.2 mile Grand Course which is made up of 23 turns and lots of elevation changes. I made sure to walk the track Friday evening and to watch some YouTube videos to try and prepare.
The warm up session on Saturday morning was very crowded with the HPDE4 cars on track with the TT competitors. This turned into more of a parade lap session unfortunately.
The first timed session Saturday morning was the first time where I could get up any speed and I embarrassed myself by spinning in turn 1 on the first green lap! After recovering I set about trying to at least memorize the turns to work out where I was on the track.
I also found that my car had developed a misfire and this eventually led to it shutting down one cylinder on the first lap of the last session of the day.
I ended up 3rd out of three driver in the TTD class for the day with a lap of 2:51.162, almost 10 seconds behind second place. First place set a new TTD track lap record of 2:29.124.
Diagnosis of the engine suggests that Solenoid 1 in the MultiAir actuator assembly is sticking causing the misfires and eventual cylinder shutdown. The plan for Sunday was to try and compete and to reset the ECU between sessions to try and avoid the ECU shutting down one cylinder again.
The weather played into my favor as it was raining on Sunday. For the first timed session almost everybody went out on slicks as there was not much standing water. I placed 2nd out of three drivers in TTD with a 3:58.750, 1.3 seconds behind 1st.
For the 2nd and 3rd timed sessions I went out on stock 16″ wheels and tires as standing water was now forming on the track. I was starting to feel a little more comfortable with the track and was able to improve my time to an eventual 3:08.406 which gave me 1st place for the day in TTD and 9th out of 21 drivers that set times.
I had made sure that I had all the necessary NASA, Hawk Performance and Maxxis Tire contigency decals on my car so I came away from the weekend with $150 in Hawk Bucks and one free Maxxis tire making it overall a successful weekend!
Had a good day with the NASA folks out at Memphis International Raceway. Starting at the carousel and finishing just after the 90’s, the course was fast but very tricky in a couple of places, forcing you off what would be the normal racing line. I was able to get to 11th out of 28 drivers in raw times with a 50.358 second run. In the fun runs afterwards I was able to reduce this to 50.007 which would have put me in 9th.