I went to Pueblo Motorsports Park with CECA today. I was hoping for a better turnout. Only about forty cars registered, and a couple of cars ran only a lap or two. Even so, it seemed like traffic was heavy. There were a lot of very fast cars there, and cars are split up by driver experience rather than speed. There were Viper race cars, high horsepower Mustangs, and Nissan GT-R’s in every group. Passing was allowed in only two places, and I’m sure it was frustrating for the fast cars to be stuck behind us lower hp cars.
I ran in the Red (experienced) group. My top speed, at the end of the straight before turn 1, was 107mph. The Viper race cars were hitting 140. I ran on inexpensive street tires while many were on racing slicks. The slowest car in our group was a classic Mustang. I was probably ten seconds a lap quicker. I ran with a couple of Porsches that were doing very similar times. I let one by on the straight but he never managed to pull away from me. I enjoyed those couple laps immensely. I get faster laps running alone, but there’s a certain joy in matching speeds with a car that is on better tires and has more horsepower.
There were four Lotuses, all Elises. Fellow LOCO member Judd drove his blue one. There was a black one, turbocharged. And Joe’s red one. I first met Joe last year at this event. He is quite the hot shoe, turning very quick times I will probably never match. His car was there today, but he wasn’t. I was sorry to learn he’s been diagnosed with ALS and can no longer drive.
There were five Vipers there. One was a CECA regular – Alan’s pretty maroon car. Also a silver one, a shiny black one, and two matte black. The matte ones were race cars, owned by guys in Estes Park. Carriage Hills, my old neighborhood. They previously ran the cars in the Viper Cup and a GT series. They’re not running in either series this year, so will exercise the cars at the CECA events. These are monster cars. They ran several very fast laps at the end of the day, by themselves on the track. It was the only time all day they could really run at speed – they were that much faster than anything else there.
Judd and I were working turn 4 for the final session. All the fast cars were out, and the GT-R’s were fastest. One of the Mustangs was quite quick as well. The two Vipers ran nose to tail for several laps. They talked to each other by radio, one teaching the other the track. When all the other cars left the track, they opened it up. They had only been cruising until then. Now you could hear the V-10 clearly from the opposite end of the track. Still nose to tail, but now at real racing speed. I thought it was a lot of fun to watch, particularly from such a nice vantage point.
In addition to the Elises and Vipers, there were three Nissan GT-R’s. These are also quite fast cars. All wheel drive, putting out something like 500hp, with all sorts of computers that help the driver keep it on the track. Filling out the group were the usual assortment of Corvettes, Mustangs, and Porches with a Sunbeam Tiger, Mazda Miata, Hyundai Tiburon, a Cobra replica and a few other miscellaneous.
Some time ago, I was using a smart phone app to do my lap timing. I had some trouble with it and quit using it, then upgraded phones. Since then, I’ve been getting lap times from the video, which is not ideal. I finally got around to getting a new timer a few days ago. It’s called RaceChrono. Very simple to use, much easier than the last one. It doesn’t have as many features as others I’ve looked at, but it fits my needs.
I ran only three sessions, as Judd and I volunteered to work a corner in the afternoon. The first session was 10 laps, 8 laps in the second, and 7 in the third. There were some kids volunteering on the corners. Their only compensation for the day was getting rides. I gave rides in the second and third sessions. Both passengers really got a kick out of their rides, which made me happy. The second guy said “Aside from combat, this is the most adrenalized I’ve ever been!”
I recorded my fastest lap of the day in that third session. I told Judd after the second session that my goal was to get a time under two minutes. I didn’t make it, but it was close: 2:00.61. That’s about six seconds a lap faster than last year. Same set of tires, but last year it was much hotter.
I’m thinking that I won’t run the CECA days at HPR this year. Not a final decision, but under consideration. In a half day of open lapping at HPR I can get about as many hot laps in for about two-thirds the price. And those sessions are more or less split by the speed of the cars, which I find more comfortable, even offsetting the restricted passing of club days. I am still looking forward to the CECA days at Pikes Peak International and the State Patrol track.
And, finally, here’s today’s highlight reel. I get passed a lot, I only pass one car and the camera is on the wrong side to see it. And the lap behind the Porsche, one of my better laps: