Nov14-15 – VIR – PCC-ACNA

Mary writes:

Finally! VIR!
I have heard so much about this- we are staying above the garages; I think this is so cool!

Alan and Sally invite us to dinner with on Friday and we meet more of the instructors- more Porsche people!

Day 1- Alan has been my instructor multiple times now- I have requested him for this event- so I feel very comfortable from the start. Again- I have memorized the track (turns) from iRacing. I truly appreciate that it is what it is- a video- and only useful for learning the turns but understand the being on the track is completely different!

Alan’s patience and calmness is as always-perfect! Yes- I am messing up on certain turns; doing better on others. I listen closely to his direction but still can’t seem to get turn 3- struggle over and over on this one. Hitting the snake when I am timid at first, realize that I can take it with much more power as he convinces me and then under the bridge and up through the S’s….on to turn 10! Now I am much more confident!

Not perfect with the Oak Tree but up the straight away- he keeps me on the gas….on the gas….wait..

Stay strong on the left, sharp right-strong-quick left- still on the gas, track out- quick mini tap- down into the hog’s pen (or as I call it the pig’s pen)- no breaking out right, on the gas….and out on the straight away! I can’t swear that is the way he described it but that is what I was doing! Ha!

Day 2-I looked at my data and Kyle’s- I know that I am losing time from 1 through 4. I hit all of this much better with Alan in the car- then out for the last time when I am solo…I got sloppy- I was trying too hard to beat the time- big mistake- I had 2 tires off a couple of times- scared myself!

Let Jamie in the other M and the Lotus pass me- tried to stay close though!
It was very cool that I was able to race around with the Lotus Elise most of the weekend having fun with passing each other/ challenging each other! My best time here was 2:24 flat! Not too shabby for my 15th day ever and 1st event at VIR…?

I can say that I walked away from this weekend as my last for the season feeling fulfilled!! And look forward to next season- hopefully I will meet more people during these events and make more friends!!


Nov7-8 – Summit Point Main – NASA

Brian Hair is my instructor-Alan Herod sent him a message ahead of time for what he should work on with me. (Alan is awesone-super cool that he looks out for me like that!)
This is the following weekend after my great time at Summit Main.

Kyle and I are in the same group- Blue- he has Eric Wong. Seems that the challenge is on even before it starts. We don’t line up together and don’t see each other on the track. We review our data after the first day and realize that we were consistently on the opposite side of the track the entire time (going close to the same speed). This is good news- must mean that I am doing ok if he hasn’t caught up.

This event is much more crowded and I am frustrated by being stuck behind other cars. I know that I should use this time for learning other stuff but still want to maximize my own speed and skills

Day 2- Brian keeps telling more and more that I need to work on my posture-stop invading his space as I am sliding and leaning too much around the turns. I make a conscious note but it is very hard to control this with my maximum speed (ha!). But true!

Kyle gets solo’d…takes off for the last round- waiting for Brian….I’m not going to be happy about this if he doesn’t give me the option, and then…finally!! I get to go solo too! I finish the weekend finally feeling like I accomplished something that I set out for! I am very comfortable on this track-feel great at pushing my car and working the slide around turns (the butt dance as I call it) as necessary and going full throttle(for me) everywhere that I can!

Overall, I liked the nature of the event, but would prefer not to be in a group this crowded again at a different speed.

I am looking forward to next season on Main!

—Kyle speaks

Looked at my pads after the PCA event, thought I was going to have enough pad for this weekend (3 days), but the brake pad wear sensor came on during the last lap of my session on Friday, the rear pads were done. A quick call to OGRacing and I was able to get Brian Hair (Mary’s instructor who works at OGRacing) to bring a set of PFC01’s with him on Saturday morning.

Saturday morning I did my first paddock brake pad swap *beaming proud*. I had previously done a paddock brake system bleed after boiling the brake fluid back when I was running ATE Super Blue, only Castrol SRF now! Guess that makes me a paddock brake expert now. 🙂

Confession: Bruce the lead Tech from RRT (BMW performance shop in Sterling where I get our tech inspections done) was there with his car for the weekend so he instructed me through the pad swap on the first corner then I comfortably flew through the remaining 3 corners.

Sat/Sun with NASA were good, other than a few cars in our HPDE2 group that should have been in HPDE1. I’ll be sending a note to Jon Felton expressing my concern about that. Literally there were 3 cars turning > ~2:00 laps that Mary and I (as well as others) lapped several times/session, really breaks your rhythm & concentration when you have to slow down and follow cars that slow until the next passing zone (I’ll call it an exercise in patience).

Eric & Brian were great instructors, Mary and I both feel we improved our consistency and were able to work on the corners previously identified (mainly 3,9,10).

*Traqmate shows Mary was able to reduce her “coasting before braking” into 3 and 10 *thumbs up*

*Mary was 4Mph quicker through turn 3 than last Sunday (min speeds through 3 increased from 66mph to 70mph)

*Mary’s average speed through segment 3 which included turn 4 was 5mph higher (87mph v/s 92mph).

*Mary was 4Mph quicker through turn 10 than last Sunday (min speed through 10 increased from 69mph to 73mph)

*Mary turned multiple 1:31’s in her last session Sunday and one flying 1:30.3, nearly repeating her best lap from last week of 1:30.2.

*Traqmate shows she needs to continue to work on her braking into 1, instead of threshold braking then easing off the brake as she turns in, appears she is still jabbing the brakes just prior to turn in. It wasn’t an area she mentioned Brian and her discussed or worked on so no surprise this behavior was unchanged.

*I talked to her about the concept of trail-braking, she isn’t consciously trail-braking anywhere, I told her not to worry about it for now. She is probably doing it a little bit w/out realizing. It is hard to tell via the traqmate data (w/out brake pedal position sensor tap) whether she is trail-braking or simply scrubbing off speed early in the turn.

BTW: Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) tap and Brake Position Sensor tap are both on the winter project list. TPS is easy, I haven’t research BPS yet.

*Maybe turn 4 @ VIR would be an appropriate time to introduce conscious thinking about trail-braking, but I’ll leave that up to you as her instructor. 😉

*We both exercised caution entering 4 but were able to enter w/only a lift (ie no brake) prior to entering 4.

*Eric and I worked on Turn 3 quite a bit. He had me move my turn in point back about a car length…now the turn in point I’m using is about a car length prior to where the second entrance way starts, we worked on entry/corner speed. Minimum speeds through Turn 3 increased from an average of 62Mph to 68Mph which resulted in .6sec quicker segment times through there.

*Nailed consistency through turn 8/9 resulting in high level of comfort through that area now. .3 sec quicker through that segment and picked up 5Mph by the time I passed under the bridge (107Mph v/s 102Mph).

*We played with 3rd gear v/s 4th gear through turn 10. Didn’t seem to be able to carry enough speed through 10 to be high enough in revs in 4th gear to power out. Carrying 73Mph through that corner (which is the max either Mary or I have done) puts us about 4500rpm in 4th which is significantly below ideal power band of the M3 (I have RPM tap installed in my car to traqmate so I’m confident of this RPM #). Traqmate ultimately confirmed 3rd gear was best for us now on street tires. Maybe sometime next year on r-comps we can experiment with 4th gear again.

*I turned a best lap Sunday afternoon of 1:30.5, a full second quicker than my previous best.

This week Mary is scheduled to complete her 4 x 20 min sessions on the simulator lapping at VIR, essentially giving her a day worth of track time prior to heading down Friday night. Good enough to memorize the direction and relative speed of all the turns. Same drill we followed before her first time at Summit – Main…ie a great jumpstart!

Oct31-Nov1 – Summit Point Main – PCA

Halloween Weekend… my first event on Summit Main.

I am so excited yet a bit nervous for finally having the opportunity to get away from Shenandoah.

Kyle has been here several tmes and the competitve nature in me makes me feel timid about being able to master this track as well as him.

Thankfully I have requested Alan Herod as my instructor, so I am instantly feeling better about my learning curve. I feel very comfortable with Alan in the passenger seat to guide me towards excellence!

Day 1 was not too bad, learning the track in real life as opposed to the iRacing- (which is great for learning what to expect in turns but understand it’s not true to driving the real track).

Day 2 – much more confident- reviewed traqmate data- compare mine to Kyle’s data- now I see where I can make up time, gas more, break less, coast less. I am better in some segments, he is better in others- we learn from each others data. I take away from this where I can improve and put it to the test on Sunday.

Alan gives me the solo for my last run and I hit my top lap speed of 1:34! I think I just beat Kyle’s best! I am very excited- underdog as a girl with less time on the track. It wasn’t about beating Kyle’s time- more about wanting him to be proud of me for kicking ass as a great driver!

Happy Halloween!

Nov6 – Summit Point Main – FATT

I thought this FATT was going to be a waste of a day, I hadn’t done a FATT in a while and got stuck in Group 1a (Novice). Fortunately my instructor got me moved up to Group 2i by the afternoon and I was able to experience open passing… ie passing anywhere w/point like PCA Red/Black does. That in itself made the day worthwhile!

Oct24-25 – NJMP – Lightning – Audi

Headed to NJMP – Lightning to drive with the Audi Club. Mary stayed in Vienna, her friend Danielle was running the Marie Corps Marathon and Mary stayed in town to show her support.

This was my second time to Lightning (days 3 & 4). I wasn’t overly excited because the last time I was there I didn’t think the track was that exciting… however by the end of this weekend the track had really grown on me and I was having a ton of fun chasing Audi S4’s and RS4’s around the track.

I drove in Audi’s red group which is their Advanced group. They don’t have Open Passing (ie passing in corners) in their advanced group which I kinda wish they did, I’m ready to try that out!

The first day started rainy and cold but the weekend ended with lots of sun. End of day 1 I was running consistent 1:24-1:25’s. By the end of Day2, I concluded that this is definitely a 4th gear track and managed a 1:21.2 although I was shooting for a 1:20.

On my way home picked up Mary @ Danielle’s (she had driven Danielle’s car home after the marathon). I think Danielle was grateful for the ride and I was happy to have the company for the remainder of my ride home.

Saw a pimp Audi AllRoad, rockin Porsche brakes and racing suspension, I think it was running in the instructor group, but never actually saw it on the track.

Revised Track Walkthough
Entering Turn1 from the back straight, hard on the brakes at the faded white line between start/finish and the #3 braking marker, last part of the braking zone is uphill which means you can save yourself during those late braking moments by holding the brakes just a bit longer and digging into the incline before turning in late for Turn1. No need to hug the inside apex, ½ a car width away is fine, up over the crest then tracking out all the way to the left (caution not to begin unwinding until after cresting the hill, it feels weird to be turning and cresting but believe me, you’ll run out of track if you unwind before you crest).

Having downshifted into 3rd from 5th during braking you can wind out 3rd and shift into 4th before a quick but firm brake before entering turn 2, a sweeping right hander. This is another corner best not to tight apex, a car width from the curbing feels about right, heading about ¾’s down the track before turning in harder for turn 3. Once up to speed this will feel like a double apex v/s two turns both of which can be taken in 4th.

Import to get parallel with the right hand side of the track to set yourself up properly for a tight left hand turn 4, down to 3rd gear and once turned into 4 crossing the apex tight knowing you are in the clear to track out just as the right side of the track comes in you can put the pedal down and start winding out 3rd as you head for the turnin point (left side curbing) before turn 5. You want your turn in point to 5 to be closer to the first part of the turtles than the center or second half, this will allow you a proper apex into 5 and you are able to get on the throttle before the apex w/out fear of the offcamber portion of the track on the left. Use a medium 1second brake before turning into 5.

Previously I had tried to apex 6 on the inside, but Ralph (instructor) had me stay 2/3 left to mid track and I was able to carry much more speed, holding the wheel to bring you back to the right side of the track as you pass under the bridge. Passing under the bridge I had previously only been hitting 105mph, the traqmate says 112mph (close to 120mph on the speedo) by the end of this weekend.

On the brakes hard midway between the bridge and #3 braking marker, downshift to 3rd, late apex the sharp left hander and track out at the end of the right hand curbing, wind out 3 going uphill, shifting into 4th as you run out of gear and head back a gradual decline toward turn 7, the lightbulb…hitting about 110mph, medium braking for a second to pull speed down below 90mph (at least this weekend), entering the lightbulb about ¾ track left, looking around to the very late apex at the bottom end of the lightbulb, if you are looking there you will naturally and gradually turn in to meet the right hand apex at the curbing as you move from maintenance throttle to WOT at the lowest point on the track. Previously I wasn’t getting to WOT until the lowest point (apex), this weekend I was WOT a good 2 seconds before which significantly increase my speed onto the back straight.

Trackout all the way to the left (you’ll need to with the speed you are carrying if you are WOT as early as you should), then keep holding the same arch and you’ll crest the hill three quarters of the way to the left side of the track, pass over the blend line into the pits and down the main straight,
winding out 4th until the speedo says almost 140mph (traqmate says 131) before braking hard and returning to turn #1.