Sunday, September 18, 2011

AROCA Sprints - Sandown Motor Circuit

Today I joined the Alfa Romeo Owners Club of Australia at their track day at Sandown. The weather was perfect - sunny and no rain in sight. I went to this track day not expecting much improvement (if at all), judging from my last visit to Sandown. The things that have changed on the car since last year are the Project Mu Level Max 900i brake pads and Project Mu brake fluid. In addition to that, the car now has the 265/35R18 Hankook Ventus TD Z221 semi slicks at the rear, compared to the 255/40R17 Dunlop D03G last year. I was to be pleasantly surprised.

Practice
1:51.2488 1:41.1170 1:42.3953 1:36.5952 1:32.5984 1:38.6449 1:33.8959

Session 1
1:40.9837 1:34.0626 1:35.7845 1:32.1095 1:31.2179 1:34.2567 1:35.2121 1:33.3627 1:56.8544

Session 2
1:32.0829 1:34.7989 1:31.8079 1:30.8023 1:31.0758 1:31.0492 1:32.6734 1:49.5718

Session 3 - New PB!
1:53.3659 1:32.2929 1:34.0607 1:29.9864 1:33.9377 1:29.7400 1:30.6694 1:32.3326

Session 4
2:05.5371 1:32.3262 1:32.1319 1:34.3576 1:35.8649 1:34.9616 1:35.3367

After the practice session, I was thinking whether I would actually improve today, with my best time for the session being 1 second off my PB of 1:31.6. Then, I was surprised that I actually beat my PB in session 1 with a 1:31.2. I realised that I was starting to get more things correct and I continued to try and go faster through turns 1 and 6, two areas that I identified as being particularly weak previously. In session 2, I was really starting to get into the rhythm for the day, the car felt very planted out of corners and the brakes were inspiring confidence. At the end of the session, I couldn't believe it - finally into the 1:30s, beating my PB again. In session 3, I worked on later braking for turns 1 and 6. For turn 6 I aimed to brake just after the 100 metre mark and maintain at least 130 KPH through the corner. This seemed to work as I ended the session with my new PB of 1:29.7. Session 4 was a write-off as I was stuck behind a "150kW at the wheels MX-5 race car" whose driver would pull away from me on the straights but could not get away from me through the corners. This was incredibly frustrating as the driver refused to yield and let me past. It's one thing to be fast in a straightline (the car), it's another to be able to be fast while cornering (the car AND the driver).

Anyway, an enjoyable day for the most part and I'm happy with the car setup. The front brakes performed consistently for almost the entire duration of the 12 minute sessions and the new semi slicks kept the rear end very stable out of corners. I'm happy.

Thanks for the company and also coming out to race Exe Crew.

Speed versus distance

Corner speeds