Saturday, July 19, 2008

AutoSports Track Day - Wakefield Park

The weather on the day was perfect - cool, dry and sunny. This made the trip up to NSW well worth it. This was my second time at Wakefield and I was keen to try out the newly resurfaced track for the first time and also set a new PB seeing as I had more experience under my belt.

Congratulations to AutoSports for running a smooth and well structured track day.

Setup
Tyres: Yokohama A048 235/40/18 all around
Brake pads: Project Mu Type HC+ front, OEM Ferodo rear
Brake fluid: Motul RBF600
Camber: -2.5 degrees front, -1.5 degrees rear
Toe: Neutral front, 1.5mm toe in rear
Remainder: Stock

Analysis
Session 1
As I didn't have enough time before session 1 to change to my semi slicks, I decided to try out my street tyres (OEM RE040). This is something I absolutely do not regret doing and it was serendipitous that I did. It proved to be a very valuable experience as I finally saw the difference between street tyres and semi slicks. I now have an idea of the limits of street tyres and I definitely have much more practice to do to extract more out of them.

1:24.0380
1:20.4640
1:30.8980
1:16.9460 *STREET TYRE PB
1:18.9410

Session 2
My first session with semi slicks saw me beat my previous PB (1:15.8). I had a renewed appreciation of the benefits of semis, it's always good to get that kind of refresher. I had too much confidence in the semis though and tried to get on the throttle too early after the "dog leg" corner and spun into a shallow pool of mud. Embarassed

1:24.6020
1:18.5940
1:13.3090
1:42.9990

Session 3
No success in getting a better time here - I was still figuring out my braking point before the "dog leg" corner and when to power out. I got on the gas too early again resulting in another spin. Embarassed Embarassed

1:15.1540
1:17.1440
1:19.9390
1:15.6680
1:13.9580
2:04.3090

Session 4
No spinning this time, but I was still not there yet. So after this session, I compared my RaceChrono logs with Silas' and he pointed out where I could go faster. I needed to brake after the "Kink", not brake when going uphill and try not to coast.

1:19.2920
1:15.2560
1:16.0580
1:15.6570
1:14.0530
1:15.2070
1:13.8170

Session 5
With Silas' tips in mind, I set out again and tried for a faster time, and it worked! Thank you again Silas for your help. I know there are still many places where I can improve and having a look again at the logs on my phone, I have spotted some things already. I can't wait to gather more data at Winton this Saturday to compare.

1:13.4100
1:12.5700 *SEMI-SLICK PB
1:13.3820
1:41.9940
1:13.3200
1:17.2250
1:16.2440

Session 6
This session saw me get stuck behind a Lotus Elise whose driver was a little stubborn to say the least. He was slower around corners than me, but his car out accelerated mine on the straight and he wouldn't let me pass. Therefore, a disappointing session without any clean laps.

1:15.1680
1:18.5450
1:18.0900
1:17.1710
1:18.8520
1:19.8200
1:18.0960




Full results
http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?19/07/2008.WAKE

Observations
- Left hand side tyres bubbling much more than right hand side.
- Wakefield's new track surface is more slippery than Winton.
- Wakefield's corners are faster than Winton as they are more sweeping.
- Track drivers in NSW (in general) are a very different breed to those in Victoria. The etiquette seems different - they seem unwilling to let you pass even if they are slowing you down. They also seem to think that it's a race rather than a track day where your only competitors are yourself and the clock.

The Funny Shit & Other Stuff
18th July 2008
I get to Silas' place at 11:55am with the intention of quickly loading my semis into the back of Jally's car and leaving soon after noon. That was everyone's plan. When I got there, Shaun says to me "Silas just woke up... and he still needs to change to his street rims". I look at Shaun in dismay and knew that it was going to a long long long day. We ended up leaving Melbourne just after 5pm and arrived at Wakefield at 1:30am.

On the drive up to Wakefield, I also witnessed the scary trailer drifting caused by bumps in the road as Shaun struggled to contain the beast known as Doris the Cressida.

19th July 2008
Our plan was to leave the villa by 7am to go and get petrol. Shaun woke up at 7:15 and walks out of his room and asks me how much time he has to get ready. I say to him "negative 15 minutes", the expression on his face was one of drowsiness, confusion, indifference and amusement.

20th July 2008
The drive back to Melbourne was epic. About two hours into the journey, we appeared to cross between the "not raining" zone and the "raining" zone. The rain just started and it rained all the way back to Melbourne. It even washed the mud off my car from when I spun on the track. The scary part was when it was so heavy that we couldn't see more than a car length ahead of us. This was compounded by trucks passing us with massive amounts of water spraying from their tyres on to our windscreens. Visibility was then reduced to zero momentarily. Shocked