Project Update for September 18, 2012
: Sorry for the month long delay in writing our "post-race report" update with the details of how the actual event went down for Brianne. We've been busy with other projects, preparing for and attending/competing in the 2012 SCCA Solo National Championships, buying some cars, and more.
Vorshlag Race Photo gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/PPIHC2012/
I was only at this event for a little over three days and in this post I cover the Friday practice and Sunday race day from my point of view as a spectator/sponsor/race day supporter for the Brianne Corn Racing entry at the 2012 PPIHC event. No more talking about the event, rules, crashes, or other distractions - this is what I saw that related to Brianne's event.
2009 PPIHC Interview with Brianne Corn
Before you read about our race write-up, you should watch the video interview linked below. I had never seen this until today and actually found it while searching for the race day video from 2012. This interview was made at Pikes Peak in 2009, when Brianne first raced a motorcycle up the mountain. Great stuff, as it let's you see the history of her racing and her passion from 2004 to 2009. She talks about the moment she knew she had to become a racing driver (an accidental
mountain road drive in a rental Golf, following some caged rally cars in Italy). Her start in autocrossing, her move to land speed racing in 2007, then to an experience in the Baja 1000 (Class 3 truck), onto rally, then to Pikes Peak. Great stuff!
Click the image above to watch this 2009 interview with Brianne Corn.
Excellent interview. You must watch this if you follow Brianne in her racing endeavors. Also, make sure to follow Brianne Corn Racing
on Facebook, where you can keep up with all of her racing efforts.
Amy, Matt, his girlfriend, and I all flew into Colorado Springs LATE on Thursday night (at our hotel by 1:30 am). Then Amy, Matt and I got up at 4 am Friday morning to meet the team that had been here all week (including Ryan and Jason from Vorshlag) up on the mountain. Friday was the last day of practice and it took place on the middle stage of the mountain (qualifying was on Thursday on the bottom stage). It was a total CF once we arrived in tow with the crew, as there was no room for us to park at the start area. We made a split second call and drove our rental Impala to the top of Devil's Playground at 12,780 feet elevation, which was the finish area for that days practice runs. We were going to help with taking tire pressures, getting IR temperatures of key components, and snapping pictures as they came into this section and finished each run.
Two excellent pictures of the Subaru during practice - click either for a larger view
We hopped out of the rental car at 5 am, which was wheezing and detonating like mad going up at this altitude, wearing our shorts and t-shirts (it was warm at the hotel!) and we were freezing our butts off. Oh DAMN it was cold!!! 40°F and a wicked breeze that went right through you. I had like three raincoats on and was barely able to stand it. Matt hiked down the mountain a bit and took pictures near the finish area and I stayed up top to talk to Brianne and Jeremy as they made each of their three runs up the mountain.
With air this thin, shivering, and working on no sleep I was a wreck. Can't.... breathe.... ack! I was in a daze all morning trying to acclimate to the altitude. Much of this has been relayed to me, as I was only semi-conscious during the practice runs. On her first Friday run up the the mountain she was feeling the car out and getting used to the road on this middle practice stage in this car. The suspension was sorted and had been tested at PPIR the previous afternoon. Brianne and Jeremy were getting their notes synced up and just taking it easy. The second run up showed some minor boost leaks that Keith at AWD Tuning fixed. These leaks were causing part throttle lag, that went away ones the leaks were fixed. With these issues sorted they made fast on their third run for Friday.
Click the image above for in-car video from Friday's practice (on dry weather 285 width Hoosier R6s).
The "roof cam" video shown above is from their third and final run up the mountain on Friday, which was also their best time for the day.
At right you can see Brianne's "race dog" Meadow - who was stealing water bottles and burying them in the woods all week! Cracked us up.
Now they had some other issues on Thursday, which was the practice day when final qualifying occurred (even though they had another day of practice on Friday). A pressurized turbo hose popped off on the only serious practice run that day and she lost power on the 2nd sector, limping the car to the finish. That made for a 10th place qualifying spot, which didn't really show the true performance of the car (other practice times were 4th or so). Brianne was confident she could finish much higher than 10th and hoped to get a clean, dry run on race day, even buried halfway down the starting order. She also knew that running less than a third of the mountain in practice runs is nothing
compared to running the entire, grueling course length in anger on race day. She was well acclimated to the altitude, had trained for this for four years, and the "last minute thrash built" car was finally sorted and fast.
Friday: Fan Fest (Car Show)
FanFest is a big car show and meet-and-greet with the drivers, held on Friday night in downtown Colorado Springs. They shut down the roads from ~4 pm to 10 pm and the top qualifiers from each class are required to attend and a big chunk of the other racers volunteer to bring their race cars out to this event as well. If you ever go to the PPIHC, you have to make sure not to miss this thing!
There are SO many cool photos from FanFest that I can only show a few here. If you start here in the Vorshlag photo gallery
you'll see a bunch of the pics from FanFest that Brandon took. There was some incredible machinery gathered here for everyone to see - in a more concentrated area and easier to view than on race day or during practice.
Left: The crazy LoveFab "NSX" which ran in Unlimited class. Right: Dave Kern's beautiful and FAST EVO, which placed 2nd in the Time Attack class.
This year's FanFest had a giant RedBull show with motorcycles doing jumps, interviews with drivers, crazy stunts on bikes, and a huge carnival-like atmosphere. Later in the night, they had two stunt parachuters drop out of a plane and fly down onto the motorcycle ramp. We had a ball and the entire Vorshlag crew ate at a great pizza joint right on the main drag, during a break in the meet-and-greet period.
Above you can see some of the Vorshlag folks and Brianne herself hanging around the car. She was talking to hundreds of fans, signing autographs on the free "team poster" she was handing out, and saying "Hi" to old friends and racers that stopped by. Excellent PR there and she made a lot of new fans that day. This is a good opportunity for people to get up close to the cars and teams even whether they do or don't attend the actual event on race day.