Posts tagged Drift

120 Seconds in a BMW 325

Yes that is 325 without the i. This year’s shootout car, the car that the points tied drivers drive to determine the winner, was a E30 BMW 325.

The owner warming the car up for us.

The owner warming the car up for us.

Since I was going second, my fellow shootout driver staged the car for me. That meant I couldn’t even try the brakes before the first corner. This truly was a blind drive.

Getting comfortable.

Getting comfortable.

Wow! Fun car! The stock (and probably somewhat tired) suspension meant that there was much body roll. Which I’m more than used too. All season tires meant there was little grip. Which I love. The controls seemed to work very well, apart from the hilariously loose shift linkage. Heel and toe was very easy. Having never spent much time with a floor mounted throttle, I didn’t think it would be as easy as it was. However, the throttle was far more sensitive than the one in my car. Or maybe I wasn’t used to the extra powah.

Speeding to the stop box. (Thanks to Lucas for the pic!)

Speeding to the stop box. (Thanks to Lucas for the pic!)

Even though my competitor was unable to match my first lap time. I was granted a victory lap. And being more familiar the car, I was much faster. Even sliding, countersteering, and downshifting into the first hairpin. At one point I pushed a bit to hard into a corner losing some speed. The run didn’t feel that much faster than the first one, so I decided to throw some time away and powerslide a medium speed left hander. I could hear the crowd cheer from the open window.

I got some cheers for this!

I got some cheers for this!

E30s are those cars that you often see racing. At track days. At autocross. Even rallying. I knew they were good cars. And after driving this very modest example, I was sold. Sweet car! This car bring RWD and all, was a far better match to me. Racing last years FWD shootout car didn’t feel nearly as natural as this year’s shootout car.

Champion! (Check out that hair!)

Champion! (Check out that hair!)

Big thanks to the competitor that offered up their own ride and tell us to really go for it.


Link to video

To see all the runs I recorded that day head over here.

Yup. I totally did it again. (Thanks for the pic Lucas!)

PITL #8 – The Shootout

Whether I was prepared or not, the last event of the series was going to be one to remember. I was excited to see a long time friend, who was going to be in town on his eastern Canada/US trip. The last we saw each other, he was doing a similar trip about 5 years ago. And back then I happened to be doing the same thing when he was in Ontario. What are the odds! I was keen to show him how much faster I’ve gotten after 5 years of slalom experience.

Friend Lucas getting to experience the 240Z.

Friend Lucas getting to experience the 240Z.

Of course, there would also be the inevitable shootout. And before that, the knockout round. I’d be lying if I wasn’t apprehensive about it. Lots of pressure there. The entire day leading up to it was nerve wracking. But the minute it was time to make it count. It was business time.

Lets not get ahead of ourselves though. It was freeeeeezing. Super cold. We could all see our breaths in the morning. It really isn’t often that we race in these conditions. As a result, the tires limited traction in the lower temperatures was catching a number of people out. Always remember, rubber gets harder when it gets colder. Harder rubber means less grip! It was pretty amazing to watch cars on race compound tires spin their cold rubber off the line finding far less traction that normal.

Cold weather brings out the funny hats.

Cold weather brings out the funny hats.

Thankfully my street tires weren’t affected quite to that degree. But there was less grip than normal. I couldn’t really tell how much on the first run as my power steering belt popped off immediately during the first run. Thankfully I was able to get that back on with the help of some of my competitors. With that back on I went looking for time.

Yup. I totally did it again. (Thanks for the pic Lucas!)

Yup. I totally did it again. (Thanks for the pic Lucas!)

There were 4 FRS/BRZ drivers this event. And I was determined to beat every one. I pushed pretty hard trying to catch them. Unfortunately due to the threat of rain, we called the event early with two runs to go and moved to the shootout. This ended the fight prematurely with me just behind the fastest BRZ. Which happened to be on non-stock wider and stickier rubber. Chasing the BRZ meant I worked all the way up the fourth overall. Which is dang fast for a stock Miata.

I'm going to have to get used to fighting these cars.

I’m going to have to get used to fighting these cars.

But with that cut short, it was time to crown the overall champion. This year, even more drivers were in the running for overall. So once again, there needed to be a knockout round. Last year, we ran the course, and the 3 people closes to their fastest time without going faster moved on. Last year I moved on, but lost in the actual shootout. This year was a bit different. The organizers modified the course in a few places. And without being able to walk it again, we were told to go back out in our own cars. The two drivers who get closest to their original time, or improved the most, would move on to the shootout. I went first. And matched my time to the tenth of a second. On my second run, I actually improved by over a second! This was enough to put me into the lead and keep me there while everyone had their second runs.

Running to the stop box.

Running to the stop box.

There were some rumors throughout the day as to what the shootout car would be. A popular thought was that since we’re sponsored by Scion, we would get an FR-S to use as the shootout car. Much like last year, where our sponsor was Scion, and we were given a Scion tC to race.

However, that was not the case. Instead, for some reason, one of the competitors showed up in their winter car. A RWD E30 BMW 325. In all seasons. That would be our championship deciding chariot. It was red. I suppose that helps. It did have an LSD. And a manual transmission. And those things really help. I’ll be going into more detail into how it drove in the next post. SPOILER: It was so much fun.

I won the coin toss, and as per normal with the winner of the coin toss, I made the other guy go first. Unfortunately for him, he hit a pylon. My turn. No cone! Decent time to boot. My competitor, to his credit, was pushing pretty hard. But through one of the turns he went wide hitting a cone. Handing me the win. Woah! PITL drivers champion! The owner of the BMW was OK with me taking my second run. So I went for a victory lap in the BMW. Sideways.

Powersliding is the best!

Powersliding is the best!

After the weather turned sour, a bunch of us decided the perfect end to the event, was a random sushi buffet that was near by. Much fun.

Absolutely rad day. Got to hang out with an old friend, have a sweet battle with the FR-S/BRZs, and won the drivers championship. Fantastic! But to be honest, even losing is ridiculous amounts of fun. PITLers are the funnest dudes to race with. On to next season!


Link to video

To see all the runs I recorded that day (Including my shootout runs) head over here.

We had a helicopter! It parked at the Walmart!

ASN Autoslalom Nationals – Day 2

Getting back to autocross is way easier when your 5 minutes from the event. Cheers to the fellow competitors who let me sleep on the pull out couch in their hotel.

The day went much like the last. I did overhear some people talking about what was and was not legal for certain classes and that a car may not be legal his/her class. Not long after hearing these discussions it was announced that at the end of our last run, we were to drive our cars straight from the course to impound where our class competitors would check each others cars for legality. I’m glad I bolted a mis-colored mirror to my car to make it 100% ES legal.

Ready and waiting. Happy marshal.

Ready and waiting. Happy marshal.

It was rumored that the day 2 course would be a reverse of day one. Far from it! It shared some elements of the test day, but felt largely different. Very flowing. Much faster too. It was hard to keep the front of my car from understeering in the fast sweepers. Keeping my car neutral (where it is neither understeering or oversteering) can be hard. Knowing how deep to trail brake, how much to trail brake, and when to get that throttle on isn’t easy. Without mega power, throttling on at the wrong time can cause you to just lift weight off the front tires increasing understeer. Get the brake and throttle timing just right and you can ride the slip angle through the corner maximizing your speed. Nailing a corner like that feels fantastic. And it’s always neat to see the car rotate it’s way around the corner without actually steering into the corner very much.

We had a helicopter! It parked at the Walmart!

We had a helicopter! It parked at the Walmart!

On the last run, I was nailing every turn. Getting the slip angles just right, until the last tight section, when I lost my line a bit due to oversteer, and jabbed the brake mid corner. This lifted my rear wheel up enough to cause my Torsen LSD to stop being an LSD. (Which happens when one wheel has zero traction) The wheel spun up, touched down and threw the car sideways. I’m not quite sure why, but I decided to keep the drift going into the next turn, go for broke, keep it floored, and powerside it all the way to the finish line. I sacrificed some time, but got a good rise out of the crowd. If it wasn’t for that powerside I most definitely would have gone faster. The powerslide run was only .1 second slower.

Do you like sliding? I like sliding!

Do you like sliding? I like sliding!

It seems my car wasn’t expecting the lary finish. It had been overfilled by the dealer during the last oil change. Extra oil isn’t always bad, but it seemed that there was a bit too much this time. Enough that when I threw it down the off camber corner, the rather large amount of right side body roll coupled with the downhill camber to the right, and the fact that the oil breather is on the right side of the engine, meant that my engine ended up ingesting some oil and blowing a good cloud of white/blue smoke out of the tail pipe. Enough to freak me the heck out and cause a bunch of fellow competitors to see me in the paddock to express concern.

All was well though. My little machine survived 3 pretty gnarly days of travel and competition. Didn’t complain one bit. It even won me a trophy.

Trophy!

Trophy!

National Champion! Result!


Link to video

To see all the runs I recorded that event, head over here.

Boy Clive takes some good shots huh?

PITL #5 – Getting wet.

I decided to do two events in one weekend. Mother nature decided that she was going to see if she could dissuade me with bad weather reports. I was not dissuaded. Mother nature was not bluffing.

Boy Clive takes some good shots huh?

Boy Clive takes some good shots huh?

Days like these throw strategy out the window. Course conditions are ever changing. Your first run may be your driest. You may master one section, but have to relearn another due to standing water or a mix of wet/dry patches. It’s one thing when you get to a wet course, but when it rains in the middle of the day only, you never really have time to get comfortable with the course. You may know where your going, but the braking points and cornering speeds you used last lap won’t be suitable for the next run.

OK, I'll admit I got a little too close to that one.

OK, I’ll admit I got a little too close to that one.

Annoyingly I only got two completely dry runs. One that was slow due to it being my first run, the other unfortunately carried a pylon penalty. Then it started to bucket with rain.

Don’t get me wrong, I love racing in the wet. I just don’t like when it’s actually raining during my run. I barely fit in my car with a helmet on. And my car rolls a lot. I need more space than you might think to counteract all the leaning that my car does. This means if I leave the roof up, I’m bashing my helmet into all of the convertible top supports. The easy solution is to of course, just drop the top. Which works great. Crappy part is getting wet. You don’t get very wet in the short time it takes to do a run, but there’s enough water to make everything a bit damp, which makes fogging an issue later. Though I usually just leave the car running the vents and fans for a few minutes without anyone in it to make sure the next run would be fog free.

Kid wanted to go sideways. So we went sideways.

Kid wanted to go sideways. So we went sideways.

Since it was raining, I couldn’t bring my DSLR out to play movie-man with. Worst still, while I was marshaling, the wind and rain really picked up, properly soaking my pants and feet. But mother nature can’t stop me.

A ton of water came down. Thanks to Clive for the shot.

A ton of water came down. Thanks to Clive for the shot.

Fellow competitor slinging some water. Thanks to Clive for the shot.

Fellow competitor slinging some water. Thanks to Clive for the shot.

I’m going to blame this one on the conditions and having to marshal last, which meant I was picking up cones when the course was at it’s best. I didn’t do as well as I’d hopped, getting nudged out of the top 5 for another top 10.

But hey, I had had fun slithering around in the rain. Going sideways is never not fun, you know?


Link to video

To see all the runs I recorded that day, head over here.