August 28, 2011

Whats New?

A lot has been going on the past few weeks, so I'm glad I finally have some time to myself to kick back and relax. The main topics of whats new is in bold below. You will begin seeing more review posts, DIYs, and casual posts now that things are back under control.

Blog Updates
The blog has received many changes over the past few nights. Most of these updates I have been planning to implement for awhile. For starters, I decided to spruce up the fonts and colors used around the blog a little bit, while maintaining the same overall feel as before. Then, I cleaned up the side bar by getting rid of a few extra things and making everything easier to navigate. I also added some new pages to my blog that I think everyone will enjoy.

August 20, 2011

Switch It Up!

With Serenity currently having some serious issues with the MAF sensor and ignition coils, I was almost unsure if I would be able to race today. Thanks to my friend Jordan, he offered me to co-drive with him for this event. In my pursuit of learning to become a faster driver, (both skill set and mindset), I graciously took his offer to co-drive his RX-8 today. I really do believe you can learn something new when you switch cars from time to time, so this was a great opportunity for me. Jordan's RX-8 is a black 2004 sport model that is mildly setup somewhere in-between STX and BSP, sporting these major modifications:
  • CorkSport Resonated Midpipe
  • Modified Mazdaspeed Intake
  • BHR Ignition Coils
  • Tein S-Tech Springs
  • Mazdaspeed Front Bumper
  • 18x9 +40 Enkei RP03 with 265/35 Toyo R1R Tires (We used my street wheels for the event)
This was Jordan's and his girlfriend Domenique's first ever autocross. Domenique was going to have some fun driving her tastefully done Mazda 2. Be sure to check out Domenique's own blog, with plenty of great pictures. The course was done by Brian Levesque this time around, and was great with an interesting rhythm to it. The course definitely helped me focus on improving my lines (especially on where I should be aiming my car) and working on carrying more speed into some of the elements I have been trying to get better at. Even though I was not used to the car's body roll and handling characteristics, I managed to adapt quickly and learned to turn earlier than I normally would for turns.I managed to get down to a 1'15.1, but that was with 4 cones. After cleaning it up a little, I ended up with a 1'17.1. Jordan and Domenique did amazing for their first autocross, as Jordan finished with a 1'23.4 for the day, and Domenique took home a 1'31.8! The results are posted on the Renegade Miata website, along with the current year standings. Hopefully we will be seeing more of Jordan and Domenique at the local autocross events.

At the moment, I have 4 weeks to figure out the issues with my car before the next race. Hopefully it is nothing too serious, but we will have to wait and see. In the meantime, below are videos of my fastest dirty run, my fastest clean run, Jordan's fastest run and then Domenique's fastest run. Thanks again for the co-drive Jordan! I enjoyed helping you two out, driving the car was great practice for me, and it was a blast to drive! Until the next update, stay tuned.

August 14, 2011

Scorched Orange

Photo by Ed Savage - NoWin Photography
BSP is becoming very interesting, but more so, what I'm learning and re-learning as a driver. This weekend was a great event, with a solid course that had elements I needed to work on and become faster at. Big Thanks to Hank for coming out with me on one of my runs and giving me some advice on the parts I was struggling with.
Photo by Ed Savage - NoWin Photography
For starters, I need to make my lines with more of an arch to them when approaching offsets (or clam shells). I'm doing too much of a" point and shoot" approach surprisingly. I also need to keep focusing on getting on the gas earlier, and staying on the gas through a turn, trusting the grip. Another issue is that I need to learn my braking zones a bit more and remind myself to stop over-braking (I've gotten a lot better, but still need work!). Lastly, I need to focus on learning the high speed sections of any course and figuring out the fastest way to take them, since those are sections I can easily lose to faster cars on.
Photo by Ed Savage - NoWin Photography
Those are all things I have to work on, but it only motivates me to work harder. My raw time could have been good enough for first place, but unfortunately I will have to settle for 3rd today. My fastest dirty run was a '58.3 and my fastest clean was a '59.9. The results are located here, and I have videos below of my fastest dirty run and then fastest clean run. The rest of my videos are located on my YouTube page, which I've redone a bit and have started organizing the videos in playlists.

I wonder how many of these road blocks I'll be able to break and refine upon this year. Until then, stay tuned.

August 7, 2011

SCCA NER Jeff Gordon Challenge & Race Against Leukemia

Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was the Jeff Gordon Challenge and our fundraiser pledge runs. I would like to thank everyone who donated to my fundraiser for the Race Against Leukemia. Thanks to the help from you all, I was able to raise up to $350. With that, I was able to take 35 fun runs out on the course.

In the afternoon, I participated in the Jeff Gordon Challenge. The Jeff Gordon Challenge is a race in where you have 3 qualifying runs, and if you are in the top ten PAX times, you move on to the next round. From there, you go head on in an bracket elimination match, getting only one run to progress to the next round. I would have made qualifying but unfortunately all of my runs were coned, so I didn't get far. Needless to say, it was still fun and the seat time is still worth it.

Sunday was the 5th points event and with a very different course this time around for NHMS. I managed to take first place in BSP, as it was a close match between everyone. I got to co-drive with PJ (which come to think of it, is ironic because he co-drove with me last year at the same event at NHMS). My fastest time was a '27.0 flat, and PJ's fastest time was a '26.2, showing me that the car could do more. Thanks for showing me that and all the tips PJ, and as always, you are welcome to co-drive with me anyday! The results for Sunday are posted here.

I'd also like to give a big thanks to Ben for the hard work he put into my car with the new and amazing alignment. The car with r-compounds is VERY balanced and rotates the perfect amount. This allows me to simply focus on shock dampening and tire pressures for once! Thanks again Ben, everything is going great in that department.

Below are two videos of my fastest runs from both days, followed by PJ's fastest run in the afternoon in my car. Stay tuned for next week, as it's already the 6th points event.