Sunday, August 21, 2016

August AutoX Awesomeness

77 = My favorite number, even the NAVY likes it!

Sunday August 21st was the monthly autoX with the Tidewater Sports Car Club (TSCC), and from the seat of the NMS FIAT Abarth it looked like this:

In the G Street class we once again battled with John Henderson in his VW GTI for "Fastest Car From the WWII Losers Club" (since these cars are from Germany and Italy), and this time the Italians won! We had 4 runs each, so it played out like this:

RUN 1: The VW took the lead after the first runs, 38.033 to my 38.038.  Yes you read that right, I was in 2nd place by 5 THOUSANDTHS of a SECOND! Very close, and I figured I could go faster, so the challenge was finding out how fast the VW would go too!

RUN 2: I raised my tire pressures just a tiny bit, pushed harder and drove a bit more on the edge, to include staying in 1st gear a bit longer to get more torque going into a slalom, and sure enough I was faster, down to 37.555. My competitor was a bit slower than his first run, so now I had a lead of almost half a second. Remember that only the one fastest run counts, so it was now my 2nd run beating his 1st run. Two more to go though, anything could happen.
FIAT Abarth, Bobby Smith's Porsche 911

RUN 3: Luckily "anything could happen" did NOT include rain. We'd had a very hot day in VA today, and right before we drove about 10 rain drops hit my windshield, but that was all, and it didn't affect our driving at all.
So, run 3, I again raised my tire pressures just to see if it would help, and sure enough, after mentally running the course in my mind a couple times after the 2nd run, I managed to go faster, now down to 37.122. That felt really great, and I knew that again the VW hadn't improved his time from run 1. OK, one run to go, and at this point I've got about a 0.9 second gap, but now that I was on 37.1 I wanted to get into the 36s. Could the FIAT do it, and would the VW make a dramatic come back and beat my time?
GOT CIVIC? With John Henderson's VW GTI.

RUN 4: This time I kept the tire pressures the same other than evening them off side to side, and tried to get around the cones even faster. It felt pretty good, and especially at the ending sweeper and flick back the other way to the finish line I was pushing it more than previously, and at least it felt faster. Crossing the line and checking the timer later, I saw that I made it into the 36 second range, final and fastet time in G Street class of 36.860. I think this makes it two victories each between the FIAT and the VW this year, so we've got a great battle going on in our little tiny class of only two cars most of the time!

We had a fun day in Virginia Beach with our local TSCC, and can't wait for the next events in September. For this driver that means another autoX on the 18th in the same location, and another unusual event that's a bit out of the ordinary. Before then we'll take it easy next weekend and probably just watch the Formula 1 race from the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. After two weekends in a row of being out in the upper 90s hot weather in SC and VA, keeping cool sounds like a great idea!

Grant Cook's  Brand New GOLF R!
Keep driving, Look out for the other guy, and buckle up!



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