May15-16 – Summit Point Main – PCA

Back at Summit Point, our home track. Since we were at a Porsche Club event and massively outnumbered the BMW M3’s grouped together. We arrived early and I quickly slid the trailer into a parking spot longways back just far enough we could all line up together – what a nice showing of BMW’s!

With a few more days under my belt I’m now getting a better feel for the modifications we made to the car this past winter and am ready to shave more time off my previous best lap. Caesar and Preeth were down from New Jersey in their E46 M3’s it was the first event we’ve run together since meeting last fall at NJMP. I knew both of them would be fast, but this is my home track 😉

We started out with some lead/follow – After a few laps Caesar was stuck to my bumper like glue so I let him pass me and he disappeared! Caeser with headers, exhaust, 4.10 gears on BGF’s v/s my stock car (less suspension & cage) was no match! Caesar ended the weekend turning a 1:24.x bettering his previous time by multiple seconds – I managed a 1:25.x nearly a second quicker than my last visit in April so I was quite happy.

Here are a few more paddock shots – Thanks for the great pics Caesar!!!


May7-9 – Mid-Ohio – PCA

Mid-Ohio – having grown up in the central Ohio area and never getting the chance to drive the famous Mid-Ohio course I was excited for this opportunity to join Potomac PCA on their annual 3day trip this year!

Topped off the truck tank and 110gallon bed tank earlier in the week:

Left work early Wednesday May 5th to start the journey westward. The weather was perfect and Donna (3rd gen Dodge RAM 3500 Diesel Dually) tugged the 14,000lb trailer through the hills of western MD with ease. I make one stop to refill the truck tank from the bed tank as I hit West Virginia so I wouldn’t have to stop again until reaching Columbus.

Rolled up to my house in Westerville (NE side of Columbus) about 10:30pm, Tony & Mike joined me for a drink on Woodstream to catch up and check out the trailer and newly built #72 M3 track car. Crashed about 1am on the floor in my old master bedroom. I used to live in this house, but today it is empty, between renters. I slept well with just one blanket and a pillow on the floor.

Up early Thursday morning, time to visit Ohio Title Agency and License Bureau to get title and tags for the truck and trailer — and to pay the 6.75% Ohio tax bill, ugh. This just became an expensive weekend!

Leave Columbus about 1pm arrive at Mid-Ohio about 2:30, gates don’t open until 4, parked outside the gate and took a quick nap. Being the 2nd to arrive I had my choice of paddock parking, was able to get a spot near the center of the paddock within reach of an electrical outlet to power the lights and provide 110v power to laptops, etc.

I’ll let Mary fill in the details – it’s Mothers Day weekend, my parents are coming to the track – how cool! Although I’m not sure that coming to see your son race around the race track is the first choice for a mother on her special day. 🙂 Knowing how much I’ve loved cars all my life, a mothers day weekend unfolding like this shouldn’t have been a surprise!

Mary writes about the event:

The Mid Ohio track! Kyle and I have been looking forward to this since we first heard about it from Alan and Sally last fall. This is like going home, truly. Kyle grew up miles away from here and my family is in Wheeling, WV. We can have a track event and see family at the same time.

I arrive at the track shortly after Kyle on Thursday- we see Sally and Alan and a few others arriving. We are surprised that the paddock seems a bit empty for this event, maybe more people will show up in the morning. We are ready to grab a bite and get some sleep anticipating the big weekend.

DAY #1
We arrive eagerly bright and early- it is Freezing! I meet my cousin’s friend for the 1st time who is also driving an M3 and in my class- instant competition! 🙂

Kyle and I are running in different run groups for this event- me in blue, him in white. My competitive nature isn’t thrilled about this but at least I get to have Alan as my instructor. I spend the 1st day awkwardly finding my way around the track. Mid-Ohio isn’t available on iRacing yet and this make me realize how much practicing a new track on iRacing before going helps to shorten the learning curve of the new track!

Kyle’s parents are here for Mother’s day. She is a trooper- it’s cold- rainy, etc… but she doesn’t see Kyle much during the year-this a big visit for her. She carries the track schedule around and ensures that we are ready to go. Kyle’s mom clearly understands how important this is to him and she quickly fits right in.

It’s great to see Rob Talastas here in my group too. It’s fun to see a familiar face so far away from our home track at Summit. Following tradition, at the end of the day we head out to find a “great” Mexican restaurant after a long 1stday. There’s nothing like a good margarita after a day at the track!

DAY #2
I announce to our friends that I had studied data with Kyle the night before and had a new plan…It’s possible that they thought I joking but a few started to wonder what my new plan was as I had clearly improved my line and time on day 2. I turned my best lap of the weekend on my 1st session! Alan signed me off to go solo for the rest of the weekend. Now…I was very happy for that but was hoping to move on up to white. At the end of the day Kyle went out with one of Potomac’s senior instructors to get evaluated to move to Black group, he came back beaming with his new black wristband!! I am very happy for him! I was having soooo much fun! I was surprised that I was most challenged this weekend by turn #1!

We all stuck around at the end of the day to share a few beers and talk about the good times we were having.

DAY #3
I am focused on doing my best today knowing that I will likely only do a couple of sessions today so that we can hit the road early. By now I am familiar with the other guys in my group- Rob, Tony, Ernest, Mike… The groups are getting smaller too- trailers are rolling out and we also start to pack up. One last meal at the track and then off we go! Over 7 hours to get home- ugh!

So my challenge is in every event to try to be within 3-ish seconds of Kyle’s car based his modifications. I found out later that there was an instuctor running in the “Black” group- ( 2 groups ahead of me) with the same E46 M3 set up-no mods- he sent his data to Kyle later and I discovered I was turning faster laps than him! Yay for me!!

Since Mid-Ohio is a 9hr tow, I thought a track walk-through that I can use as a refresher before returning next time was appropriate.

Track map and copy of someone else’s track notes:

Mid-Ohio Track Walkthrough

Down front straight, across the start/finish, braking between 100 and 200 marker, start looking for the raised yellow pit blend line, use first seeing it as your indicator to turn in. Goal is to be WOT by beginning of the blend line (I never got to that point, was rolling into the throttle as I was passing the blend line and WOT by the end of it), follow the blend line around the corner, at first about a ½ car width from it, then almost touch it at the end, track out near the end of the yellow gators on the right.

When running the Club course with chicane before the keyhole, make your way all the way track left for a gentle entry into the chicane. Goal is to stay WOT while you are turning right, then quick brake and anticipate the left turn of the chicane – stay in 4th don’t downshift to 3 during this quick brake, unsettles the car too much and don’t work too hard to get back left to the second set of red/white curbing – aim straight toward the keyhole curbing on the right, but don’t drop a wheel in the (wheel eater) hole before the start of the curb.

Hard break, downshift to 3 – trailbrake into the keyhole, apex very late to get a nice run out. Now down the longest downhill straight of any road course in NA, > 150mph on speedo before you brake for 6. Instead of braking at the last minute for 6, brake early, before the brake markers in the fence (I was using the last camera hole in fence as my marker) downshift to 4th from 5th while braking so you enter 6 quickly and controlled. Turn in early –you are going to understeer right across the red/white curbing (apex), carry lots of speed and let the car wash out. After letting the car wash out, you’ll find yourself entering madness from the left. Downshift to 3rd while braking, I found a ton of grip on the inside of 7 entering madness, others recommend trying to get your turning down early by entering wider (doing this wouldn’t allow you to carry near as much speed through 6). Either way, get your steering straight before cresting 7 or you’ll go for a ride (and not a good one). 3rd gear through madness all the way until you need to shift going into thunder.

OK to enter turn 8 (right hander) from mid-track, returning to mid-track preparing for 9-10-11. Around 9 get on the first yellow gator then prepare to straighten out run over red/white curb in 10, far left to turn into 11 from far end of left yellow gators, apex over the red/white gator to right and get the wheel straight before cresting and entering thunder (another place to go for a ride if you don’t have the wheel straightened out). 12 isn’t really a turn, more of a bend, get far right for entrance to 13, feel like your mirror is going to hit the red wall on the right. Not much room to track out after 13, get straightened out, brake in a straight line as you clear the hump before 14. I liked entering 14 from mid-track for a late apex, line yourself up with red/white gators on right to make a straight line to 15 (over curb on left) and track all the way out as you head down the front straight. Repeat for best results.

And here is what it looks like when I am trying to follow these directions: