8-21-2013 Gateway Motorsports Park SCCA PDX

By August 23, 2013Automotive, Featured, Neil, Racing

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Another track day down! And boy this was a good one!

This time the track day was a 1/2 day event that began around 3:30PM and ran until dark. I have never done one of these half day events but I have to say there are a few benefits to them over a full day.

First off you do not really need to get a hotel because you do not have to be on track until 2:30-3:00 so that is nice on the wallet. The down side? Well you are packing up around 8:00PM, tired and dirty and still have a long drive back home hauling the car; exhausting and makes for a late night.

So I do kind of like the 1/2 day events, but they do feel like more of a rush than a full weekend event.

In any case… The reason why the event was such a good one is because it was the first time that as a driver I felt like I really started to push this car’s limits and I was not the only limiting factor. I think going to Mid America Motorplex in May really helped me with my confidence. Feeling the car on a much different track and getting a lot of solo seat time let me really connect with the car and start to test and feel its limits.

The track times agreed. Overall I improved my lap times between 6 and 8 seconds on average between this event and the last event in late April! That is huge to scrub off almost 10 seconds for my fastest lap.

8-21-2013 Gateway Motorsports Park PDX Lap 4 from Kohler Created on Vimeo.

As you can see in the video I was really moving and keeping very smooth throughout the track. I was very happy with the car and it was giving me great feedback on what was going on.

I decided this time to break up the videos into laps in order to make them easier to flip through and digest for a viewer. Here are a couple more good laps:

8-21-2013 Gateway Motorsports Park PDX Lap 28 from Kohler Created on Vimeo.

8-21-2013 Gateway Motorsports Park PDX Lap 12 from Kohler Created on Vimeo.

And if you cannot get enough and want more laps I have created a group for this event and you can check them out here:

8-21-2013 Gateway Motorsports Park PDX

The day was not without some tribulation. I did experience my first time going off track. I have gotten pretty sideways and out of control before but I have always managed to stay on the track. Well this time was a bit different.

Coming into turn 5 I was really moving. Most of the day I was tracking out very wide out of turn 5 and almost clipping the track out cone. This time I hit the turn 5 apex a bit too early, coupled in with carrying a bit too much speed into the turn which caused my track out line to move wide. Coming out of turn 5 the car got a bit sideways and then grabbed after I did a bit of throttle modulation. After grabbing it pointed me even further wide and my rear tires hit the rumble strip paint and lost traction again. Instead of fighting it and perhaps spinning or shooting back across the track I decided to let it track out into the grass. A good and safe bet.

I did however kill a cone and do a pretty good amount of paint damage on the front bumper. No biggie really. Paint is easy and relatively cheap to have re-painted. No structural or parts damaged and to be honest I was not really even disappointed in myself at all. The only reason it happened is because I had been getting faster and faster and just pushed the edge a bit too far. Nothing stupid, nothing silly.

The aftermath:

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And on to the video of the off track adventure:

8-21-2013 Gateway Motorsports Park PDX Lap 7 – Went off track from Kohler Created on Vimeo.

I ended up getting right back on the track and hitting some more laps that session.

At the end of the day I did learn a lot during the sessions. I learned a couple new lines on some corners and more so I gradually kept pushing my limits while keeping things smooth and I do not believe I ever once was caught “over driving” the car, a problem I sometimes run into. That all came together with much smoother and faster laps.

A great ending to the day was when my instructor and the Chief Steward both agreed that I was ready to drive solo and move up to the advanced group. I usually do not ever get prideful in myself but it did feel good to get that nod.

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I have one more event this season going to Heartland Park Topeka with NASA and then the car goes back in the garage for maintenance, improvements and some hibernation. Next spring I aim to work with NASA(National Auto Sport Association) Central and go to Competition Driving School and get my comp license. A dream of mine coming in to reality.

If you got this far, thanks for reading! Let me know what you like or do not like or what you would like to see more of about my automotive hobby. Here are some more links to albums and videos of the day.

Full Flickr Album
My YouTube Channel