Summer of Fun

The summer has been going well (until transmission problems yesterday…that’s another story) with some excellent students and great weather at the track. So far I’ve done 8 days at Summit Point main, 2 days at Shenandoah, 3 days at Mid-Ohio, and 3 days at Watkins Glen. The big change to the car this year doesn’t change it’s driving (just the driver). We installed a Racepak G2X data logger, and it immediately showed me how (and where) I could get faster–and I’m just beginning to use it. First of all, the most immediate improvement was due to the shift lights. I no longer need to look at the tachometer or even be concerned about it–the lights get brighter and redder as I approach the shift point. No more hitting up against the rev limiter and both slowing the car down and frightening the engine. The next item of usefulness has been the accelerometers. My car can log 1.3 lateral G’s with RA-1s, so when I’m consistently taking a (relatively) constant-speed turn at a reading of 1.15 G’s, I know I can take it faster. Unfortunately, that means actually looking at my data before the end of the event, and so far I’ve been too tired to do that–but I’m working on it! The third easy improvement is to see what gear is faster. For example, at Watkins Glen I used to downshift to 3rd at the bus stop, and upshift to 4th after the sweeper, down to 3rd before turn 6 (leading into the laces), and back up to 4th running down the laces. On the suggestion of John Sullivan, I tried downshifting to 4th for the bus stop and staying in 4th right to the toe of the boot, hard on the gas (with less torque) most of that distance. It was a lot faster after I’d tried it a few times (and developed the courage to stay on the gas–less torque meant more stability). It felt a lot slower, but was actually faster – that’s where the data logger is really useful.

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