I tore ass down the straight and hit upward of 85mph before having to brake down to 60 for a right hander in third gear, brought it back up to 70 through the chicane before hard on the brakes for the right handed spoon. I had consistent lap times in the 1:30 range and we are currently at 40th out of 57 over all.
This is one of the best days of my life and one which I will never forget. I am nearly exhausted after just three 30 minute stints, a total of 1.5 hours of driving out of eight hours of racing. We have another 6 hours to race tomorrow.
The car is running flawlessly. We haven’t had a single mechanical issue, and have only experienced the previously mentioned issues with our tires. Lots of chunking from the center lugs, impressive amounts of tread scrubbing, and a greasy-floaty feel on hard cornering. Because most of the high speed turns are right-handers, the front driver rubber is taking most of the punishment. We have directional tires so we swapped the port side front with the starboard side rear and I took her back out for another 30 minutes without any real issues.
We have to work on our pit/driver swap times because we’re averaging about 18 minutes per. This facility doesn’t have a proper hot pit lane, so we can’t actually do any of this on what you would normally call pit-lane. We actually have to roll all the way back to the paddock at 10mph to swap drivers unless we’re refueling at the same time. We’re only permitted to re-fuel on the hot pit lane and it’s a pretty short drive back to the paddock, but in-and-out it just isn’t.
Still we can do better, but we’re all just really jazzed to be here and are taking our time to make sure we have all the safety gear on properly, are strapped in good and tight with radio checked before we start rolling again. I saw a lot of cars black flagged, spun out, off the track, broken down, and some sure to be marked DNF when it’s all said & done tomorrow afternoon. I don’t care if we come in dead last as long as we’re still in this for the checkered flag tomorrow.
We have a laundry list of things to do for the next race and just about all of them are pretty spendy. I haven’t done the math yet to know if I can do any of them before the Colorado race but I know I’m going to have to prioritize needs vs wants. I don’t know if I should do better tires or just more tires. Bigger rims and wider rubber? Two sets? Or three? I could make up for handling changes due to wheel changes with a fully adjustable suspension but that’s a whole different cost structure.
Funny note for the day was when Lawrence gave his cell phone to Cope before going out on track. Cope put the phone down someplace and promptly lost track of it. For the next several hours between driver swaps and dozens upon dozens of laps various members of the team looked for the phone and came up empty handed. After the checkered flag a bunch of the drivers went out on track walking around picking up debris and found the phone at the end of the back straight.
Apparently Cope had put the phone on the deck lid of the car while strapping Lawrence into the driver seat and left it there. Nobody noticed as he drove out of the paddock and it stayed on the back of the car all the way down the straight. I guess it flew off after he cut speed for the right-hand sweep at the end of the straight, and it’s just lucky that someone happened upon it after the race. The screen is cracked a bit but it still works! A great souvenir for our first day on the track.