Race Weekend

I’ll update this post with things as they happen.

Thursday

My race preparations are pretty streamlined at this point. It takes about 12 minutes to pack up everything I need for the weekend.

I arrived at the track to find that Lemons HQ is now under the far awning. So I’m parked right across from the main building. That’s pretty convenient for bathrooms and such.

Friday

It was an unseasonably cool day with a light breeze. Perfect for sitting around and doing mostly nothing.

We got the car inspected in just a couple minutes and got classed in C with 0 penalty laps. We’re pitted next to a 90s Accord with the C0 classification on one side and a Jeep-themed Miata on the other side that probably got B class despite being a little slower.

As the day wore on, we decided to inspect the brakes. I use StopTech 309 brake pads, which have the annoying feature of being good for about 20 hours. A Lemons race lasts about 15 hours, so I have a lot of pads with about 5 hours left. The mizer in me can’t throw away $50 brake pads, so I have a whole bunch of them. We picked through to find the best ones and decided we would use those Saturday and then do a full pads & rotors job between race days.

Towards the end of the day, Jason Simms, the Jeepiata owner, asked if I wanted to take a few laps in his car to give some driver feedback. Jason is the owner of Argonaut Garage in Berkeley, so he knows some shit about cars, but he’s not as confident about the driving part. I wasn’t planning on doing any driving, but I had my gear in case I was going to help fuel. So I got in the car and drove it 3 laps. The out lap starting from the pits was a 3:57, which was apparently faster than anyone did last year. I dropped it down to 3:53 on the second lap, and then brought it in. 3-ish laps was enough to get a feel for the car. It was typical Miata goodness. The only odd thing is that they had de-powered the brakes. I’ve never been in a car without power brakes and I can tell you that the first time I went for the pedal it was a bit of a surprise. I got used to it eventually, and I found it a really fun experience. There’s a lot more feel on brake release. However, if I had to stop in a panic situation, it would be a panic situation. Compared to the Yaris, the handling is better, but the acceleration might not be as good. It’s too bad we weren’t logging data.

Saturday

It wasn’t the best day. The first driver got in a tangle and and suffered damage on the front left. The second driver went to the home pit instead of the hot pit, which burned a lap. The 4th and 5th drivers got black flags. And so we ended the day in 4th position, 4 laps behind the leader in class. If not for our own incompetence, we would be vying for first. But of course, that’s always the case.

After the race, we did pads and rotors. The only other maintenance we needed to do was to repair the front quarter panel.

Sunday

We started the day with some body repairs and got on track on time. Despite clean driving all day, we ended up 3rd in class and P21 overall. Not bad. I have video to watch and edit, but it will be a few days before I can get to it. Check back for that.

How could we have won? Honestly, it would have been hard this race. We ran 5 drivers through the car every day when a smart team would have run 4 the first day and 3 the second. We also had a few mishaps as explained earlier. Overall, it was a good performance from the team and a great way to hang out with friends.

RATTY

How well did RATTY work? It worked fine until the shifter became loose and cut the wire. I have to figure out a different placement for the button. Also, it would be better if there was more than one button. But it was nice being able to check in on the driver. Even when the button wasn’t working, we could still send text messages to the car.

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