Lime Rock Park 2007 “Debut”

Posted: 29th October 2007 by Joseph in Lime Rock Park
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so all-in-all, it was a successful weekend. I guess obviously from the lack of bad news, all went well for the most part. the day started out fine aside from the low 40 temps with a nice little wind chill that kept all of us moving pretty slow. it’s nice to have a car that you can roll right off the trailer and over to tech without all the usual daily-driver/track car conversions. More or less, we have to remove the front bumper, roll her off, and put the front bumper back on and head on over to tech. It really helps that we took as much time as we did to prepare everything we could.

tech was a breeze – and although we had nothing to hide, they really didn’t look too closely anyway. prior to this event we hit up the head of tech via email and consulted him with regards to all our safety equipment, so he was familiar with the car before even seeing it in person – this really helped cause he didn’t really check much of anything besides commenting on our very rusty rear brake bias thingy in the engine bay (something we plan to change this winter when doing all new lines with an inline rear bias controller.

I got the honors of taking her out on her first laps. needless to say I was pretty nervous and somewhat scared (to be honest). I had never lapped at LRP and of course this was the cars first time out at high speeds with lots of loads and braking; who knows what might have given out at any given time. I’m happy to report that everything held up great. I did find that the rear was setup WAY too tight which created a ton of oversteer. However, not being very in tune with how a corrado drives and not having any real seat time, I chalked it up to me just pushing too hard too soon with cold slicks. It’s hard to remember exactly, but I did spin once if not twice in the first session; once in a turn called “left hander”; it’s a very late apex corner and if you are a bit lose in the rear, it’ll bite you real quick as you guys saw in the vid. The other spin was at “big bend” which is the two apex’r at the end of the straight. on top of the car being lose, I just pushed way too hard trying to pass a mustang (which I did), but just had way too much speed going into the corner and lost it. I remember seeing that mustang just walk on by as I was spinning out into the dirt – very humbling.

the way the run-groups were setup put marked001 in the car a few sessions later, so he had plenty of time to psych himself up, which most likely just added to his fears – not to mention he saw both of my spins. It was still early and not knowing enough about the car just yet we didn’t make any adjustments to the rear – retrospectively, we of course should have softened it up a lot before he got in the car, but we didn’t. Happily, his first session went off without a hitch… or a spin for that matter. Unfortunately for him he was stuck behind a train of cars so he couldn’t push it as much as I would have liked him to, but I’m sure he was more than happy to take it slow knowing the car was on edge.

Still not thinking straight (we were just too pumped up) we didn’t make any major adjustments aside from loosening up the rear rebound a bit and session two for both of us was more of the same. We did however feel much more comfortable and confident with the car and were able to push even harder; even though she was on the edge in a few turns. I again spun, but only once this time; same corner as before at “left hander” (which is prob the spin in the vid). So by the 3rd spin of the day I was pretty much an expert and was able to drive right out of it like Mike said: “Michael Knight style”. I did however notice the car hiccup a bit on the straight. For some reason she completely cut spark coming down the downhill and then again at WOT on the straight in 4th going into 5th. At the time I chalked it up to hitting redline or maybe fuel sloshing around, but it would inevitably cause problems later on.

After session two we had a lunch break. Maybe it was the needed food in my stomach, maybe it was just that we needed a break from the excitement, or maybe it was what benfica said to me after he followed me around the track in the 2nd session, but whatever the reason, a light bulb came on in my head and I realized… “you know, maybe the back end is just too tight” – LOL. So after we ate, I asked marked001 if he get under the car and pull the sway bar brackets out to their softest setting (Olaf – we didn’t listen to you and we paid the price in the first two sessions) and hoped for the best.

Because of the rain threat, the racers all opted to do their time trail runs right after lunch and hope we could get another practice session in should the weather hold out. marked001 and I both opted to not run the time trial laps since we weren’t really there to compete, but after almost an hour of standing around I figured I might as well get out there and put down some numbers – praying our rear adjustment would pay off. Time trials are two hot laps with one 1/2 lap warm up. As I went out I did the back and forth to scrub the tires and get some heat in them – I must have pushed it a bit too far cause the back end stepped out on me and although I saved it, I was thinking to myself, “oh crap, here we go again”. I’m happy to report the changes we made def. made a difference (go figure) and both hot laps were without incident. I don’t have the official times yet, but they are somewhere in the 1:11/12’s (so we have a long ways to go before we get to the 1:00 flat)

Session 3 for me was right after my timed runs, so after a quick pit stop and some fuel I was right back out there. I pushed as hard as I felt comfortable and all seemed to go great for several laps until… spark cut again coming down the “downhill”, then came right back. By then it was too late to dive into the pits so I hoped I could get around the track once more. Sadly it wasn’t meant to be and she completely died around “big bend”. I eventually rolled to a stop right at the “left hander” that had bit me twice before. Fortunately for the rest of the drivers it was already the end of the session, so the wreckers that came out didn’t kill too many laps for everyone else. As I got pulled around 3/4 of the track I continued to try and start her; nothing. Finally as I was being drug down pit lane I tried one more time and she fired right up! WTF.

Once back in the pits, marked001 felt it was best we put her on the trailer while she was still running and not chance any further problems. He had to give up his 3rd and final session because our confidence in the spark was pretty shattered. We got her up with no problems, packed up and made our way home.

So that’s it – that’s my take on the day for the rado’s debut (sorry for the drawn out story). It was def. a blast when I was pointed in the right direction and everything I could have hoped for. Obviously we have a lot to learn about the car and how to set her up correctly, but we were def. moving in the right direction even though it did take us all day to realize it.

I haven’t had a chance to go over the vids or the pics from the “big” camera, but here are a few good snap shots my wife took.

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