Humidity, how I loate thee.
Thursday August 12th rolled around quickly, and the THMotorsports crew was on the road to depart on their Journey from Chicago, Il to Sebring, FL for round 7 of the Redline Time Attack Series. 1300 miles needed to be covered in a 24hour time period, a task we would accomplish with ease…or so we thought. Here is my synopsis of our last road trip!
Our trip began with a detour to Competition Race Fuels in Michigan to pick up some much needed 116 octane gas. A mere 200 mile detour, but this would not stop us. Upon receiving our fuel, we loaded up and hit the road. The plains of the midwest are really, really boring. We continued on, at a blazing pace, passing through the south. Our trip was filled with gas station fillups, rain, and flipped over cars (yes, we saw about 8 during the course of the trip).
We arrived in muggy Sebring, Fl around 5PM local time. Upon arriving at the track, we checked in, dropped off the trailer and did some mild prep to the car. Following this we arrived at our track-side hotel, relaxed for a few and hit the hay. Saturday morning rolled around quickly, and we found ourselves back at the track. Over 70 cars showed up for the test and tune, a mix of about 50/50 time attack and HPDE cars. We quickly jumped out on the track to get a feel for the turns as well as the car. After a few shakedown runs we started to get a good idea of the track layout. We noticed some issues with our braking system as well as steadily increasing temperatures, both with the car and on the track. Surface temperatures were approaching 125 degrees, and our oil temps were breaking the 250 degree marker. On top of this, our race fuel map was not activating the boost solenoid. As a result, our wastegate was not opening and we were hitting close to 40lbs of boost…not so good.
After a few more laps on our pump gas tune, we decided to pit in and make some minor adjustments to the car. Upon the suggestion of Mike from Kognition racing, we removed our entire rear bumper cover and diffuser. Our chassis mounted Kognition wing seemed to be making more than enough downforce to keep our Toyo R888’s planted in the sweeping turns. Why stop the weight reduction there? Off came the axleback and the passenger seat. Effectively, we had lost a good 40lbs. We decided to stop there, and see how this would work on the track the following day. Phil from Element Tuning was so gracious to help us figure out our race gas map via email. After some tinkering, we retired to our beds in preparation for a long day.
Sunday morning showed up knocking at our door and we were off to the track. It was another scorching day in Sebring Florida; many of the same problems plaguing us the day prior affected several of the other teams. Ambient temperatures were near 105 degrees, with track temps equally as hot. We hit the track with our new tune, and noticed we were having some of the same braking problems from the day before. None the less, we continued, and began to shave some time off of our laps. With a best lap time of 2′28″, we were mildly happy, but knew there was room for improvement. The changes in aero gave us a solid feeling on the track, but the dropping oil pressure brought on the fear of engine failure. The competition was stiff with the Turn In Concepts WRX running a 2′16″ to secure fastest time of the day, as well as the East Coast Modified AWD series championship. As the day wound down, we found ourselves in the pits, happy with our times and exceptionally happy we avoided any sort of extreme failure.
Just as quick as we arrived in Sebring, we felt like we were leaving. The 48 hours on the track proved to be a phenomenal learning experience for the entire team. It also showed everyone that we have alot more in the car, only to be shown in the 2011 season. Keep an eye out for more updates throughout the rest of the year as we continue to tweak our Time Attack STi and dominate local and national races.