Sunday, June 26

The original plan was that Michael would come to the track with me. CECA charges by the car, not the driver, so he would get do drive for free. But he had scheduling difficulties and work and he couldn’t make it.

We get a slightly different crowd on CECA days, a bit more upscale. When I got off I-70 I passed a Mercedes SLS AMG parked in the shade of a cottonwood, occupants relieving themselves (did I say “upscale”?). At the gas station, Dave was filling up a couple two gallon cans for his Elise. He prefers those over the five gallon because they fit in the boot. But I think he only carries one helmet. Before I left, a red Ferrari came in for a pit stop.

About two weeks before the event, organizers were concerned about attendance. Only a dozen or so cars had registered. With a week to go, it was nineteen. In the end they were happy to announce that we had 41 or 42 cars. Of those, nine were Lotus. Specifically, six Elises (three green, two black, one orange), two Exiges, and an Evora. We outnumbered all the other marques. Corvettes and Porsches numbered five or six each. In addition to the aforementioned SLS and red Ferrari there was a gray Ferrari as well. And, of course, the usual assortment of Mustangs, Miatas, Minis, and BMWs. I think this is the first CECA event I’ve been to with no Vipers.

It was a pleasant day, clear and sunny, a bit breezy. A bit on the warm side, but not uncomfortable.

I enjoyed the second session quite a bit. My last few visits to HPR were the free day and the two Emich days – well over a hundred cars each time. With three groups instead of two, and so few cars, most of my laps were free of traffic. For the first four or five laps, Jeremy was following me in his Exige. He wanted to see my line. I was able to open up a little distance between us on the twisty bits, but with his extra horsepower he could catch me on the straights.

I wanted to switch places with him, follow him for a couple of laps and get his line on camera. The red Ferrari was behind him. In the first session, even though I was three or four seconds a lap slower than the second session, I was able to gain on the Ferrari. But in the second session he was now a bit faster than me. I waved Jeremy by but could only follow him for about a lap before I waved the Ferrari through. The rest of the session I worked hard to keep up with them. The Ferrari couldn’t catch Jeremy, and I couldn’t catch the Ferrari; we were all running very similar lap times. Following them, I put together my two best laps of the day.

Even so, my fast time was about five seconds slower than my best. I never put any wheels off the track (although Jeremy says I was consistently hanging half my left side tires off the outside of the kink before the highway straight), I felt like I was sliding around quite a bit. I need to figure out tire pressures.

With my big trip starting soon, today was sort of a shakedown run. We mounted the stock exhaust in preparation for Laguna Seca. We did an oil change and had the brakes flushed as well. It could be that the stock exhaust is part of my five second deficit. It’s quite a bit quieter – more restrictive – and it weighs fourteen pounds more.

I normally get faster every session, and I tend to run every session I can. But today didn’t work out that way. Jeremy said he could see something flopping around under my car. This winter I mounted a cheap splitter. I figured it would be a sacrificial piece; instead of grinding the front clam I’d grind the splitter instead and replace it as necessary.

However, this one is quite flimsy, and attached only with six bolts with large washers. You can take it between index finger and thumb and move it up and down. Certainly not an aerodynamic aide. Jeremy asked if I could feel it causing any vibration. After two sessions I hadn’t felt a thing.

Late in the third session, though, the story changed. Over about ninety I developed a huge vibration at the front, bad enough to move my rear view mirror. I cut the session short a lap or two. I’d have taken it off right there at the track but I couldn’t do it without lifting the front of the car. It has pretty much destroyed itself. The door edge trim piece I had on the edge was disappeared and the front of the spoiler looked like it had been run over by a tractor. I’m disappointed that it’s a total loss, but happy that it happened here instead of on my trip.2016-06-26 14.33.58sThis was caused entirely by the vibration – I didn’t go off.

Okay, I know nobody watches these videos, but here’s my fast lap. Nothing special here, the Ferrari isn’t close enough to get a good look and my time isn’t noteworthy.