Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Track Prep: October 21-22

Going HPDE this weekend! Woohoo! It's been too long. Prep this time was oil changes for both cars (blue and yellow; mine and spouse), plus brake pads for her. Decided on Carbotech Bobcats this time around. Hope she likes them. This plus the usual fluids check, tires, belt check, brake line check, wheel bearing check, power steering fluid check, radiator check, etc. Kind of like I imagine pre-flight to be in an aircraft, but less formal.

The track is good old TWS, in the counter clockwise direction (which is the intended route, but a little slower than colckwise).

This time out is special because my father-in-law is attending, as a driver. He was a hot rodder in his younger days, and we bought him a session. He'll be driving a Mercedes, I think, which will have plenty of power (if not cornering ability). Hope he has fun.

Tires are going to be a problem this time. My usual friendly tire transporter will not be attending, so I have to find other means of moving them to the track. This part of the hobby is getting to be a pain. I need to find a better way to take me and my tires to the track. I have thought of buying a trailer and borrowing a pickup to pull it on track weekends, but that seems silly. Might break down and put a trailer for tires on the vette, though that is a little weird (many do this, but my wife hates the idea).

I feel lucky to be solving this sort of problem, actually. A bad day at the track is still a day at the track.

The objective this time out is to run as smooth and clean as possible, and work on the chicane. The chicane at TWS leads onto the main straight (going this direction). If you hit it right, you get a great launch onto the banking and down the main straight. If you hit it wrong, your entry onto the straight is botched, and you end up slow. It's a hard left turn followed by a right and an immediate left, then a quick right that leads into a gentle left onto the straight. The last left is not really a turn, as you can use the entire width of the straight to get lined up down track, and you're pointed up the banking at that point, so there's plenty of grip.

Like most sequences, it makes the most sense to work it backwards. If you want to be pointed downtrack coming on to the straight, where must you exit that last right turn? If you want to hit that right correctly, how must you enter the upstream left? And so on. The end of the sequence is how do you brake to enter the first left. I've found that I have to hug the left side of the track before I turn into the chicane. I'm literally wheels parallel to the left side of the track, a few inches from the edge before I turn back right. That requires a very late entry into the turn, and heavy braking, as you want no slip angle when you have to turn back right. I'm really looking forward to it.

Another section to work on is the entry into turn 1 and 2, coming off the main straight. This turn can be done going very fast, but requires good spotting and good timing. I want to try a lower line and see how that works as it's a shorter distance around when you go that way.

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