Monday, November 02, 2015

and now for something completely different

Headed down to Laguna Seca yesterday to hang out with a friend who does Porsche Cup car racing. He brought his cup car and installed the passenger seat (there is usually a cooling system for the driver in its place instead), so a few of us were able to ride along with him during his sessions. It was just a standard track day for our buddy, so he was driving for fun, not for glory (which is why passengers were allowed). It was also a very rare "unlimited sound" day at Laguna (it's normally limited  to 92dB), so there was an amazing variety of cars making an amazing variety of noises.

The weather cooperated beautifully, so we were able to enjoy a top-down drive in my car on the way down (man, I miss driving). Hung out with the awesome folks of BR Racing, who do the race support for our is fascinating to see some of the behind-the-scenes stuff that is needed to keep race cars racing. We didn't even get to see the whole of it, since it wasn't a race day; it's usually hustling and hectic, with constant tweaking and fixing and downloading and telemetry and analysis and driver briefings and a thousand other things (luckily, we have a standing invitation to hang out, so I'll get to see the organized chaos when the series starts up again).

Yesterday was a casual day, though. Two track day groups through Trackmasters, two CFRA (Checkered Flag Racing Association) race groups, making a total of four car groups trading off 20-minute sessions, with each group getting five sessions throughout the day. And holy cow, twenty minutes in a race car goes by really, really fast.

It was a long day: we started our day around 4am and didn't get back home until after 7pm. But it was an incredibly fun day shared with some very cool people; there were lovely sights, sounds, and smells; and it got both me and Will seriously thinking (again) about getting ourselves a dedicated track car. It's one thing to drive your fast street car around a track...but it's a totally different world when you get yourself a car that is *born* to zoom from turn to turn.

A few pictures from the day:

Map of the track from the Driver's Briefing

Our buddy's Cup Car, Number 11 (aka "Kelly")

Our buddy, going through pre-race checks.

This is what happens when you lock up the tires.
An expensive (and sometimes dangerous) mistake.

Down the main straight. This is fun part, where we hit 130+ mph.

Me, our buddy, and Car 11, getting ready to head out for our session.

Me, our buddy, and Car 11, getting ready to head out for our session.
Will, our buddy, and Car 11, just before their session.

Will, our buddy, and Car 11, just before their session.

One of the ways to transport the cars (it's lifted up and
stored on an upper platform, while tools, equipment,
parts, and another car are stored below).

Another way to transport the cars (that lift goes up higher
and a second car is pulled in underneath).

And a very short, laughably quiet video of Kelly doing her thing down the main straight.  It's an unlimited sound day, so the sound is especially pathetic compared to actually being there, but you can get a glimpse of a few of the different cars that were enjoying the lack of sound restrictions.

(And it really doesn't look like they are going 100+ mph, does it? I love that main straight, so much fun, second only to the Corkscrew.)