Wednesday, June 13, 2012

(173) Familiar faces

I'm sorry I'm a little late on this post, this week is a bit hectic.

The weather for Saturday's 8th round in the SFR Solo Championship was beautiful. Oakland always delivers on that front, pun intended.

In walking the course, it looked rather busy. There were almost no straights and there were plenty of tight spots to thread the needle through. My first run incurred a cone, but the runs after that went pretty smooth. After my third run I was sitting on a 47.0, and I thought it was pretty quick but there was plenty of room for improvement. I have trouble gauging my pace in autocross. In road racing I have a tuned sense of how busy my body is and how it relates to my speed. I know what intensity level results in a fast lap, a slow lap, and a lap where I try way too hard. If I'm sawing at the wheel in road racing, I shake my head. On the other hand, if I'm sawing at the wheel in autocross, I may be doing it just right because that is how quick the course is.

As a result of this, I can surprise myself when I thought I had a pretty good run and then do it nearly 2 seconds better in the next. That's what happened in my 4th run. I got it down to a 45.7, and earned another win. That's 7 in a row now.

This is good for me. It's teaching me new ways of listening to what the car is doing other than simply paying attention to what I'm doing with my inputs as a driver. I'm looking more to the outputs of the car. Not that I wasn't before, but it's a bigger factor now in my driving.

So here's the video. Scott also did well by scoring a 4th place out of the most competitive field of novices so far.

Round 8 helmet cam.
The next day I went down to visit Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, which was hosting the San Francisco Region SCCA for the Spec Racer Ford Festival. A friend of mine, Seth Reid, was racing in his first race weekend and I figured I'd stop by to watch. Seth has been volunteering for the SCCA on the tow crew for a long time, and is writing a blog about his experience during his first race weekend here: Grip Theory  

It was also nice to catch up with people in the paddock and watch the racing. After ALMS a month ago, SCCA weekends in the paddock seem so calm and relaxed. There is no hype or TV frenzy or media promotion, just racers enjoying the sport. I do miss it.

I'm no great photographer but I did get some shots I like.

Group 5 cars under caution.

Ed Railton, my car owner from last year, races through Corkscrew in his #01 Spec Racer Ford.

Seth comes through not long after in his 39 car. There were tons of Spec Racers out for this festival race!

Overlooking my favorite corner on the track, turn 6, also known as the Salinas Off Ramp. Don't go off that cliff!

Ed had one of his best races ever, blasting from 12th to 4th in 30 minutes.