|Looking through the corner, I'm entering turn 8 at 60mph and accelerating with the gas pedal to the metal...and I know I should have been going faster!|
Finally, after months of work and preparation, it was time to go out and drive the 99 Miata on the track. Thursday evening was spent getting the new track-capable brake pads, fresh rotors, and high-temperature brake fluid in the car. Going fast is only fun if you can also STOP. With all the maintenance out of the way it was time to join up with the NASA (National Auto Sport Association) folks out at Carolina Motorsports Park just down the road for some fun!
|Carbotech XP10 brake pads purchased from Panic Motorsports. This is the brake pad set up the pro Spec Miata drivers use on their cars so I know I've got the best brakes for the car. They're redish colored so you know they stop FAST.|
Friday the car was loaded up with camping gear, extra fluids, tools and food. Similar to an autocross, you have to check in with the folks at registration and then head over to the tech station to get the final OK that the car is ready to go on track. As a novice on track, I'd be participating in the first level of 4 HPDE (High Performance Driving Education) groups, so I got the green HPDE 1 sticker slapped on the windshield. The goal of the HPDE groups is to learn how to drive on a track and push your car to the limit in a safe way under controlled conditions. The key is that these sessions are not RACING, but still driving as fast as you can. Avoiding contact with other cars and keeping everyone safe is a top priority...hey, some of us need to drive our cars home at the end of the weekend!
|Helmet and car, ready to go!|
The NASA group runs mostly two day events, and generally each HPDE class gets four twenty minute sessions on track each day between races, qualifying sessions, and time trials groups. With so much going on, each day kicks off just about as soon as the sun comes up with crews and drivers preparing their cars for the day. Because there's so much going on, many people choose to camp out at the track. This weekend I was hanging out and camping with good friend of NMS, Kyle, who has been instrumental in getting the car ready as well as a few other Miata drivers.
|Blue car, check. Red car, check. Blue car with red stripe, double check.|
|View into turn 8 at CMP. Coming in at over 80mph these 100 feet markers go by quick!|
|They got hot, but didn't give up an inch all weekend. Those guys at Panic know what they're talking about.|
|The sticky autocross tires held up pretty well throughout the weekend.|
|The car was in the sun, but I was in the shade most of the weekend, so luckily we don't match!|