So after a day of being back from the track for my first day with the new DSR I am still as excited as I was after the first session. I want to try and recount as best I can the day and my feelings just to share them with everyone on here.
So day starts off with some very strange happening. I actually slept comfortably and all night in the hotel room. This is something that just doesnít happen with me so it must have been a sign. Anyway wake up at 6:30 shower, eat, get dressed and head over with the car haulers to the trackÖno one is there and the track doesnít seem to know that we are coming as they have all the NHRA stuff still there. 45 minutes later they start changing the configuration around and we are allowed to unload.
Now getting the car in and out of a trailer is a pain. Well its not as big of a pain as it could have been but itís a pain. Basically you have to stick a bar through the front tow hooks and have a two person deadlift-a-thon to pull the car out of the trailer so you donít scrape the front splitter. Conan and I lifted the front up on the car and hauled it out onto the ground. Then I started reassembling everything on the car and fueling her up. The tank is way bigger than I thought. I was thinking 5 gallon max but sheís larger than that so I need to figure that out.
So after checking everything over and validating and filling tires to the correct pressures I put my suit on and got ready to rock. Needless to say I was a little nervous and had the good old leg twitch going. It took me about 10 minutes to get into the car and get all my belts on and into a position I was comfortable. Once I was all buckled in I put my helmet on, turned the main power switch on, toggled the fuel pump on and then pushed down the starter button. She started right up and after a few blips of the throttle I dropped her into first and was off.
First session I pulled down the pit lane with my heart beating pretty damn fast as I was excited as all hell to FINALLY get to drive this baby. I head out of pit out in second and lay into her up to 9k shift to third back up to 9k, then short shift to fifth and warm up the tires a little going around turn 1 and the short shoot between T1 and T2. I work the rest of my first lap very much the same way just trying to get a feel for the car. Coming out of Turn 10 I decide it about damn time I start having some real fun and put the hammer down. All I can say is oh my god. I literally said that inside my helmet I was so excited. The acceleration is unbelievable. Coming out of 10 in third gear by track out I was at red line with the motor just screaming behind my head (itís truly a sensation you have to feel to believe). The vibration and the noise is just unrealÖI cant imagine an F1 car as this has to be the most beautiful mechanical sounds I have heard.
So out of the corner lift for a millisecond and pull hard on the gear change paddle on my left hand and back on the gas. By the pit out I hit red line in 6th gear. Itís just mind altering how quick you go through the gears. The next big task at hand is learning how fast I can go through T1 and T2. Well let me tell you its fast and itís the smoothest I have ever gone through them. After a few laps I was flat out through 1 and 2. While it seemed like I was holding speed through the turns I actually wasnít as I had to lift off the throttle to maintain 11k RPMs that same lifting off caused me to bleed speed as I didnít get back in the throttle through the turn, something I only found later on the G2X data loggers output. It was then up to red line in 6th again coming into turn 3 which is a heavy braking area all the way down to 2nd gear. Now I figured I could brake later. So I picked an area about 100 feet closer than I was with the Ferrari. Letís just say I had 150 feet left after braking that I had to push the gas on and drive around to make the turn. Once again I was laughing to myself.
All the other sessions pretty much went the same way. I slowly ramped up my speed as I got comfortable with the car. Itís a lot different than a normal car so it took me some time, mainly just because everything happens at what seems to be twice the pace of the Ferrari. Once I started getting the hang of it my lap times started dropping. I started off at a 1:55 range in the first session and by my fourth session I was consistently 9 out of 10 laps in the 1:50.2 or lower times. I know for a fact that there is at least another 5-8 seconds on the track EASILY. Once I got home and was able to digest the data I found a lot of little things that would shave a tenth here and in some cases a full second off. Case in point looking at the data I have at least 3 seconds to be gained on the front straight and T1/T2 into T3 because of my gears being to low as well as me thinking I was maintaining the same RPMs on the engine through one and two but in reality was dropping them and thus bleeding speed. I also am not braking as effectively as I could which I attribute a lot to BIR not having braking distance indicators and no real markings on the track to give you an idea of where to brake either. I need to work on this big time as I need to be a lot more consistent. Cornering speed is another area. I was very good going though 4/5/6 but lacked some pace in 7/8 (possibly because of Conanís spin in the back of my head) and in turn 10. Also T9 is flat out but I was feathering going in because I just could not believe the car could stick but looking at the data I know it can.
The day went for the most part without issue for me. I mishifted a few times and made some other mistakes that are all part of learning the car. Only major issue was water temps were too high in the morning causing me to have to run half the laps in 5th/6th gear to keep engine revs down and let the motor cool. I think it is possible that the engine just needed to really be ran good as the issue worked its way out by the afternoon. Beyond that my exhaust heat reflective tape kept boiling off which was a pain as it led to constant replacement but in the end didnít ruin my day.
All in all I am in love. The car is above me at the moment but I will master it. I feel pretty confident as in my last session I was setting laps within a tenth of a second of the previous owners best time and he had run 3 days at the track and been through Skippy, etc before getting in the car. He finished 10th at the June sprints in the car so I feel really good about being competitive after I get some more seat time and can explore the limits further. A big thanks goes out to everyone that got me to this point from kicking me in the ass and telling me to get the DSR in the beginning to Rob for helping with the paint, Billy and Eric for helping with the seat building and hard wiring of the data logger into the car and lastly to Lindsay for helping me finish the seat and putting up with my strange car obsession.
Itís going to be a long winter sitting and staring at the car in the garage thinking of how much I canít wait to get it back on the track. But I figure doing a driving school and making a trip down to the South to run it once in early Spring/late winter should be enough to keep me going as well as support from my fellow track addicts here.
Hopefully tonight I will have my little edited video teaser of me going through the pits until the camera broke as I went onto the track and also I am hoping that Chris P has some pictures of me on the track as I still dont have any.