|August 10, 2008 - In terms of rain, the trackday at Aspen was a failure.|
For me, anyhow. One run group of Audis was lucky enough to get wet. I was the only one disappointed, however. Nobody else is any fun.
The day started with a really early morning (8 am driver's meeting and a 2.25 hour drive to the track). The good news? The new foam in the seats makes all the difference. No numb bum at all. That's a big win for the "backsaver" pad from Pegasus racing. Insert glowing testimonial here.
The bad news? The 8 am driver's meeting was at 9:50. My car was given a tech inspection four times. This kinda gives you an idea of the level of organization present. Still, we finally worked out way out to the track. I was staged right behind three Formula Fords that had me a little spooked - Aspen's track is a little on the small side, and I didn't want to accidentally squash one that had sneaked into my mirrors. That wasn't a concern. My biggest problem was trying to get one to give me a point-by. I had the same acceleration, better cornering and vastly better brakes than the driver in front of me, but he apparently didn't have mirrors. After seriously considering using the old "chrome horn" on an open-wheeled car, I ducked into the pits to get some clear track.
The car was okay, but it was hunting for grip. Both ends were skating. I checked the tire pressures and found I had them too high. The next session was better, but still too much hot pressure. Finally things settled down a bit. The car's quite safe right now, giving me lots of warning of what it's about to do. For a track car, I think there's still just a bit too much understeer. Of course, that means it will understeer, even mildly, on occasion. I can throttle steer the car fairly well. But given the unknown nature of most corners in the rally, that's a good setup. In my opinion, anyhow! I'll have the ability to tweak it at the rally if required.
And while it may not have been my preferred setup, a chicane at the fastest part of the track was handled very nicely, a high speed right-left jink that could have been a real problem if the car oversteered too much. Instead, it just screamed right through and surprised a few cars. I was also informed that my lap times were very good for running two-up with a chicane on the straight. Considering my lack of knowledge of this track, I'll take that as an endorsement.
So, despite the lack of rain, a good day. I had fun playing with some purpose-built race cars (who were a little surprised to see how fast this particular Miata could squirt out of corners) and Brandon had an excellent time bonding with his new Locost. Smiles all around.