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Old 04-30-2010, 05:35 PM   #1
Cobb Tuning
Member#: 4803
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Default Redline Time Attack Round 3, Cameron Benner Recap

This weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was an absolute roller-coaster ride for the COBB motorsports team. I arrived in Las Vegas Thursday night with plans to test and tune over the course of Friday and Saturday, and by 8:00a.m Friday morning I was in the car learning the track. We began our weekend on par with our previous performances; I picked up the track relatively quickly, running consistent 1.51ís and 1.50ís by the end of the day on Friday. As I became more confident with the track, I gradually moved braking zones closer and pushed the car harder.

The wastegate issues that plagued us at New Jersey had been resolved at the COBB facility in Salt Lake City, and it finally looked like we could get some solid setup time on a consistent platform. We used much of Friday and Saturday testing to further dial in the 5200 Series ASTís and we were getting very good results. The high speed sweepers that were always an issue for the Ohlins singles, were easily negotiated by the new doubles. The track we were running wasnít the larger Speedway, but a smaller auxiliary track just outside the NASCAR facilities. Despite being remarkably flat, the track certainly held its challenges. An intricate section of esses in the back portion of the track proved to be incredibly fun- and fast! The level of speed we could carry through this particular section surprised both Brian Lock and myself; by late Friday we were both pushing our cars hard through here with the AWD gobbling up the curbing. A few changes in rebound to the rear of the STI made this section even faster, and by midday Saturday I was going through the section full throttle in 5th gear.

Friday went by uneventfully for the STI. We were running consistently faster lap times every session out, our equipment was holding up well, and I was overall really enjoying the event. Things quickly changed following a routine oil change on the GT-R. GT-R Car Chief Dustin Harris identified bearing material in the GT-Rís oil pan, and soon we were in crisis aversion mode. After making calls around to regional contacts, friends and strangers it was concluded that sourcing another GT-R or GT-R motor for Brian to run wasnít going to be a reality. Things fell on the shoulders of Tim Bailey, my car chief Brian Marsteller and GT-R driver, Brian Lock, to determine whether or not we should run the STI in Modified AWD. It looked like the STI would be pulling double duty at Redline Vegas, running both Street and Modified AWD. Would the already tired Cosworth long block hold up to the additional thrashing in the 85-degree Vegas heat? We really hoped so.

With the heat ripples already radiating off the ground at 9:00 in the morning, we knew it was going to be incredibly hot. As we ran the first morning session I shared track with our familiar competition from Buttonwillow; Steve Ruiz in the Stoptech Evo X was out in force as was Jon Drenas in the HB speed Evo X. Several locals were also running including Thomas Smith running the Zenkai Motorsports STI. We clicked off a 1.49.1 early Saturday, a time that would remain as the fastest of the day until Ruiz chimed in with a blistering 1.47.5 following a successful repair to his wastegate. Given the heat, wastegate issues seemed to be the talk of the paddock as both the Stoptech guys and the FXMD NSX were having issues with their wastegates. As ambient temperatures rose, and our measurements for track temp exceeded 120 degrees, we expected equipment to begin to degrade. Even with the rising temperatures, I was able to match our best times from the morning sessions in the afternoon session, running low to mid 1.49ís. With Ruiz clicking off that 1.47.5 before conceding once again to wastegate issues, we knew we were going to have to find time. We changed up wing angle to keep the car from plowing in some of the high-speed sections and picked up a few more tenths. By Saturday evening the heat and exhaustion had begun to set in; the car was feeling tired and I was doing just as poorly. The 12% humidity and 85+ degree temperatures were proving to be difficult for both the car and me.

Sunday practice brought more of the same. Morning temperatures hovered around that of Saturday, an unsettling omen of what the afternoon temperatures would be. I proceeded to the grid for the fist time attack session, calm and cool in the head despite the 110 degree in-car temps. My plan of attack was to find that extra time in the car by using the equipment, by bouncing off the curbs and just driving the car HARDER. After my first hot lap my crew chief exclaimed ď1.48.6!Ē over the radio. This was a respectable time, but for one reason or another Redline Timing Officials didnít pick up the lap, leaving me to repeat my performance in the second time attack. I was frustrated that they had missed timing on that lap, and this was compounded by the fact that our coolant temps had spiked and it looked as though the head gasket had started to deteriorate. I kept it out of my head and set out to set a time in the 1.47ís. During the second timed session I drove the wheels of the car. I maintained the smoothness I had in practice, but was much more aggressive. In the end I clocked in at a 1.48.0, good enough for 2nd overall in the AWD Street Class behind Ruiz, who set a time of 1.47.4, and ahead of Smith who took 3rd with a 1.49.1.

Redline Vegas was by far the most emotionally charged event for the team. Though incredibly taxing, the weekend was by far the most rewarding Iíve had yet with Redline, and the COBB team. Coming back from the frustration incited by the timing debacle to set my fastest time of the weekend by over half a second was awesome. I was very impressed with our ability to bounce back and continue to better our showing. Weíve now got a month to let ourselves re-cooperate and nurse our cars back to health.

The motor of the STI is now back at Cosworth for a proper refresh, a Cosworth intake manifold and new headers will be fitted to increase horsepower potential, and the cage is being rebuilt for safety and better rigidity. We hope to have fender flares on the car by the Auto Club Event, to utilize our new Jongbloed Racing wheels that will be on the car. To round out our refreshes, the STi will be fitted with OS Giken front and rear differentials, and the OEM 6-speed will be re-built. We look forward to bringing an even more competitive car to the Auto Club Event, where I fully expect to land a 1st Place finish.

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Old 04-30-2010, 09:56 PM   #2
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 96601
Join Date: Sep 2005
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: Huntington, WV
2004 WRX


Great write up and congrats!
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