Lightning fast

New Jersey Motorsports park: Lightning circuit is the site of rounds 14 and 15.  A track we have the slight advantage of one weekend of experience.  The weather is sunny and dry again, even in the morning session, the heat is becoming uncomfortable in the car.  Luckily for us, we got in at 2:30 last night at had a good night’s sleep (or at least 3.5 hours of one).  Feeling refreshed, we quickly ran through the routine that has come to be 2nd nature this week:

  • unhitch trailer and empty car
  • check tire pressures, oil level, coolant level
  • add ice to intercooler reservoir, prime pump
  • remove headlight, tape hood shut
  • change into race suit

As we finished, we are called to the grid.  We’ll be the 3rd group out, so I get to watch the front runners blast down the front straight.  I smile when they check up early into the blind turn one.  This is my advantage this morning.  The front straight leads to a slight uphill blind fast right turn.  Done properly, its a quick stab of the brakes uphill and back on the gas in 4th over the hill.  But if you’ve never been around the track, it will be much slower.  Since the pit out is after turn one, none of the competitors will drive turn one on the recon lap, the first time will be in timed competition.  Only the frontrunner Porsche GT2 piloted by pro driver Leh Keen manages to go fast through one.

I’m on track shortly, and it becomes familiar very fast.  The civic handles the high speed corners well, and I’m able to brake deep into the corners.  On  my 1st lap, as I cross the start/finish, there is a bump in the track, and my splitter bottoms out.  As I brake into turn one at over 200km/h, I hear the splitter contact again, this time hard, and it begins to oscillate.  Disastrous, one of the mounts has broken!  The splitter hits hard again and again in the braking zones, and begins to oscillate at high speeds so much that the steering wheel is nearly bouncing out of my hands.  Frustrated, I slow on the straights and manage to complete the rest of the session at a slower pace.

Luckily, most of the field was slow as well and I place 7th overall.   Will and I repair the splitter and I go out for the afternoon session in blistering heat.  We are delayed getting to the grid when the ice chest at concessions doesn’t open, and I line up at the front of a slower group of corvettes and camaros.  The car runs fast, the splitter no longer bottoming out, and I manage to catch up the the C6 Z06 at the back of the group!  As the gap closes between us, my mind scrambles to figure out how to pass him without losing too much time, unfortunately, I can’t gain on the straights, and before I know it I’m following him into the carousel that leads on to the front straight.  He brakes early, while I’m still on the gas, and I make the decision to take the outside line.  Halfway round the 180 degree corner, we’re side by side, and as I move ahead on the straight, he tucks in behind me to catch a tow – exciting!

Unfortunately, between the passing on my 3rd lap, and the rest of the field learning the track, I place 8th overall, less than 2 tenths slower than a Porsche 997 Turbo.

The enmo civic now sits in 8th overall with only 3 rounds left.  We’re heading back to Ohio tonight to run Nelson Ledges road course.  Will is behind the wheel tomorrow and hopefully he’ll use our 100+ lap experience from LeMons to secure our top 10 spot.


2 Responses to “Lightning fast”

  1. 1 Brian Weir
    May 7, 2010 at 6:40 am

    Jon and Will:

    Pleased to hear that you are doing well. I am enjoying reading all your posts. I have been reading some of the other blogs on the main site and it is interesting to learn of the various mechanical issues being faced by some of the competitors. Glad to hear that you got some decent sleep last night. Hope you get to Ohio early enough to get some rest tonight. Good luck tomorrow and Saturday.


  2. 2 Krispy
    May 8, 2010 at 2:57 am

    Show’em how it’s done at the crap can boys. Good work so far:)

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