|Lotus launches at the start|
Sunday was my first event with the NY Region, and I had a blast! Driving the FIAT for the first time with the new shocks, new springs, and brand new Bridgestone tires, it felt very solid and seemed to handle better than before. On top of that, the other good news is that all the drivers got 8 runs, with 4 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. Compared to events where you only get 4 runs at setting your fastest time, it's always fun to drive MORE!
The morning drive out to Splish Splash water park on Long Island was wet, with rain all the way out there and even when we started driving. The first four runs were slippery, but from my driver's seat I think it helped the Abarth rotate and get around the two approximately 180 degree turns out on the course. Unlike driving on a big oval like in NASCAR, the typical autocross course doesn't have nice big banked turns to help you just go at top speed all the time, and we actually have to use what scientists call the "brake" pedal, and negotiate both left and right turns. That's what makes it fun, and allows us lower horsepower cars to compete with the big guns.
|All the Italian Cars|
So, since it's all about the competition, how did it go? Well, according to the results on line RESULTS, it was a pretty good day for the FIAT, so let's break it down, starting with my favorite made up category.....
Once again, the NMS FIAT has taken FASTEST ITALIAN CAR OF THE DAY! As you might know, there aren't a LOT of Italian cars competing, so this title doesn't really mean anything, other than I did finish a bit faster than the only other Italian car today, which was another FIAT Abarth. We got together and compared notes on tires and springs on our cars, so that was another highlight of the day, getting to meet other drivers and talk cars!
|Course Walk: Fun in the Rain|
OK, in the "real" competition, let's look at plain old Who Went The Fastest. Out of a total of 63 cars that competed, the FIAT placed 19th, which just might be a record for me. Typically I'm doing fine if I'm even in the top 50%, so hitting top 70% is a good day in a 160hp FIAT.
If we modify everyone's time by what class they are in, or the PAX Time, then the NMS car moves up to 13th out of 63, which again is pretty good for yours truly. Of course that's not first, or even top ten, so don't get carried away or anything, but I am willing to listen to offers from pro race teams that might want to give me millions of dollars. Or even thousands. Heck a pizza and a beer and I'll drive for you!
|After 6 months, back behind the wheel|
Now, down in the multiple classes that make up Street Touring in the SCCA, today's drive put NMS into 4th out of 14 drivers, so for a car in a brand new region, new category, and new components on the car, on a half wet day, 4th is cool with me!
Finally, down at the tiny level of Street Touring Hot Hatchbacks, or STH, today saw the FIAT in 2nd out of 5 cars, just 0.196 behind a Ford Fiesta ST in the battle for fastest STH.
Other than all those numbers, it was plain old fun to drive the car as hard as possible, even on a tiny cone strewn parking lot for about 25 seconds at a time, and I can't wait to do it again in two weeks.