LapMeta Drivers Spotlight: Ben Cort
Time Attack has slowly been on a recent rise. Although not a new form of motorsport, Global Time Attack here in the U.S. has been gaining momentum in the past decade. With so many wild builds and cars competing, one would assume you have to start with something modern to be competitive. Well Ben Cort is sticking to his old school cool roots.
Photo Credit: Motolyric
He has had his 280Z since 2012. We asked him why a Z? His answer, “They’re rad! In 2012 you could still find them for really cheap, and compared to other cars that were on my radar, they were just the coolest option. I had seen a few on Motor Mavens and Stanceworks back in the day and really liked the body lines, but them being affordable was huge. They weren’t as popular as they are now, but they had a large following and a lot of resources for information and parts. I knew nothing about them, so looking for one was a bit of a crapshoot. In hindsight, they are a great platform. Very light, small wheelbase and brutally simple to work on. It was a great first project, and it continues to be a lot of fun!”
We agree. They are rad. The long bonnet and short abrupt tail makes these cars look good from nearly angle when lowered with some proper wheels.
Photo Credit: NWR SCCA Solo
Ben first competed with his Z for many years in SCCA Solo and Auto-X competing at 7x national tours and one Solo Nationals. “I’ve taken this car to more Auto-x’s then I can count,” he tells us. That’s where he got his start in motorsports. “When I was in school back in western NY, there was a FSAE team who would test in the parking lot across from the buildings where I spent a lot of time. Chatting with one of the guys one night after school, he mentioned that weekend there was a SCCA novice school. It was full, but I should keep an eye out for it next year. I signed up, and took my bone stock 2005 WRX wagon to a couple events in NY before moving to Portland later that year. There is a really good SCCA scene here, and I got really involved with that. Auto-X was competitive, fast and fun. Low barrier to entry and it was great. Once I got the Z, my desire to tinker took over and I couldn’t leave enough alone. I was always changing something and I climbed through the classes to wind up at a pretty high level there. Not that I was particularly fast, but the prep level of the car was high. I realized if I wanted to keep pushing the engineering side of the car, the open rule set in Time Attack was much more accommodating to the projects I had in mind moving forward.”
“The previous iteration was powered by a L28 running 14:1 compression, a big cam, fuel injection and ITBs, making 248whp on E85,” Ben says. But after suffering catastrophic engine failure this past season, he is now in the process of an engine swap to make the car even faster for the ‘23 season.
Photo Credit: Ben Cort
“The L33 swap was born out of sadness. At Global Time Attack at the Ridge last year the L28 sheared the oil pump gears and the entire top end ate itself. I let the car sit for a few months before deciding on the L33. It was apparent that the cost of rebuilding the L28 to the next level was going to be wildly expensive. There are some really cool projects out there, but we’re talking deep 5 figure bills for maybe 300hp. I thought about a K swap, VQ’s, Ecotecs, but the LSx platform is just too obvious on a bang for buck level. There is a ton of support for those motors, and all the hard things to sort out, mounts, transmission etc, were things I could easily sort out. The Jerico trans is designed to fit the GM motors, so that was easy. Swap headers exist so those were good, and Apex Engineered, who I work with quite a bit, makes a front subframe/motor mount kit. Life gets in the way to slow something like this down, but it’s been fairly straight forward in the grand scheme! No idea on cost effective, I’m not good at budgeting for the car, but you can get deals on used parts.”
Photo Credit: Blueyed.media
Current mods include:
-Custom suspension with adjustable front and rear tubular subframes from Apex Engineering
-Hand built front uprights with Nissan S13 struts, 350Z wheel bearings + ABS Sensor
-Wilwood big brake kit
-Jerico WC-4 Dog Box
-Electric power steering
-Bosh MK60 ABS system
The new L33 will be bolstered with:
-Aluminum Head Rebuilders head with a Texas Speed spring kit.
-All new valvetrain complete with trunion upgrade, LS7 lifters, and a BTR Stage 3 camshaft.
“On E85, I’m aiming for ~400whp”, Ben tells us. That will certainly be an upgrade over the previous L28.
Photo Credit: Ken Todd
Having spent so much time in the auto-x discipline Ben had a great chance to identify the Datsun’s handling weaknesses telling us that, “Z cars really suffer suspension wise, particularly when you lower them. With a car that is 5” lower than stock, your geometry is a nightmare. The single biggest mod I did was re-drilling the front subframe to get my roll centers back. I remember doing that the week before the SCCA National Tour stop in Packwood Washington. I aligned the car after getting to the site, and took it out on the practice course. Prior, turn in was sluggish. You would turn the wheel and the car would take a beat then you’d feel it set and go. I got to a slalom on the practice course and the car was dancing. It felt more alive than ever, and not in the tail happy, sketchy way. This was on the nose, sharp and precise in a way I’ve never experienced.” Nimble is certainly the name of the game in auto-x.
Taking his knowledge to full road courses, Ben has relied on video analysis to improve the driver mod. Ben says the “best resource for me has been mentors and friends who can help guide changes. Video has been huge, it’s a great reflection point and combined with data allows you to separate what you think happened from what actually happened. But without people to look at that and say “hey man, try this instead” there’s not a lot of utility.”
Photo Credit: Ken Todd
When asked what his favorite part of the track community is, his response was simple. “It’s always the people. There’s always a group that you connect with on some level and the time attack community is great for a lot of reasons. From tech support to hanging out after an event, I feel like it’s a community that sees and respects people who are involved and give back. It’s been exciting to watch the time attack scene grow, I’m hoping more people get bit by the bug!
So what’s next once his L33 swap is completed? Ben tells us that “a new, more capable ECU is high on the list along with a fully built motor. A new rear gear / differential is on there too. I’d like to get at least one full season of Time Attack done without a major issue on the car! I’m Hoping to get to some of the California tracks this fall, and a stretch goal would be Super Lap Battle at COTA in 2024. That’s a tough event since it’s so early in the year. I was hoping to make it this year with the L series, but that wasn’t meant to be.”
Photo Credit: Motolyric
Ben leans toward The Ridge Motorsports Park as his favorite track to drive. “I’ve been there enough now to know the track fairly well, and it’s a place where I’ve been able to track progress the most effectively. I am really excited to be able to explore more tracks, I’m hoping to get up to Canada later this spring to drive at Area27, with Thunderhill also on the to-do list."
We'll certainly be keeping tabs on how this neat old Z contninues to surprise peeople at future Time Attack events.
Watch an onboard lap with Ben from The Ridge running a 1:50.5 on LapMeta HERE.
Follow Ben and his 280Z build on Instagram at: @brokenjawracing
LapMeta Drivers Spotlight: Chris Drum
When deciding on a platform to develop and race in NASA Time Trials competition, today we see a lot of BMWs, Corvettes, Mustangs, Porsches, and other off the shelf ready to track sports cars. Chris Drum decided to take the “different” route as he puts it. Rather than choose something proven, he opted to stick with something he’s passionate about. Of course, Cadillac has offered their CTS-V since 2004 which is marketed as a performance luxury sports car. That doesn’t make it an obvious choice though for a competitive platform on track. It’s on the heavier side, lacks factory aero, doesn’t offer many modern technical driver aids, and after all, has four doors. But all of that makes Chris Drum’s 2005 CTS-V race car that much cooler if you ask us.
Chris took ownership of the car in 2021. He has been a Cadillac enthusiast through and through. “I have owned 3 CTS-V's in total, and currently still have 2 of them. I am a big fan of four door cars in general and the CTS-V ticked all the right boxes for me. Four doors, manual, V8. Hard to get any better than that. I owned a C5Z previous to my first CTS-V, and I was building the Corvette to be my first track car, but it didn't work out. Then I ended up with my first CTS-V, which was eventually sold after I bought my silver CTS-V everyone currently knows. I've always liked having a "different" platform and once I took the CTS-V to the track for the first time, did well in it, and saw how much attention it got combined with how much people loved it, I was absolutely hooked on the platform”.
The car was built by Phoenix Performance in 2011. They are renowned experts that specialize in building modern muscle race cars. They have won a boatload of SCCA National championships over the years. The current engine is a crate LS376/525 from GM performance. It makes north of 450 whp/440 wtq turned up, but NASA TT3 classing detunes it to 388 whp.
A few highlights of his build:
- Penske 8700 Series triple adjustable shocks
- AP Racing Pro 5000R front calipers
- GM Performance anti-roll bars
- Single Element rear wing
- Custom plywood front splitter
- 255 and 275 wide Hoosier A7
- Full fire suppression system
“I always liked cars growing up and with that comes racing,” he tells us. “I remember watching NASCAR on TV, and always being drawn to the road courses like Sonoma and Watkins Glen. I was in college, and I rode with a friend to a track day he was running at, and I was instantly hooked. I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do. Especially the competitive side of it. I am an extremely competitive person, so I always have to have something pushing me”. His first real track event was with NASA in HPDE1 at Road Atlanta in my first CTS-V in June of '21 after he purchased his track CTS-V. He progressed through the NASA ladder relatively quickly and received his time trial license at CMP in February of '22.
He’s won five NASA events in the TT3 class since. How does one hone their craft so quickly? A combination of tools by utilizing every resource available to him. “I’m analyzing my AiM data consistently. There’s always more tenths to be found. But when you go to a new track, you're starting from scratch. So I am a big fan of watching other lap videos, and thankfully LapMeta allows you to sort by course and filter lap times from fastest to slowest, or by whatever means you want. So, I go through and watch a lot of other people's videos just to try and see where I can improve based on what they are doing in their lap. I am also a big fan of utilizing Racer's 360 as a coaching tool. I have done multiple coaching sessions with them and always gained at least some form of insight from them”.
When asked what mechanical modification has made the most difference he credits the Penske shock package by Anze Suspension. “It is next level”, Chris says. “It's above and beyond any other shock setup I've driven in other CTS-Vs and other platforms. Future plans for the car are to further develop the aero package on it. The current package I've put together has relatively low downforce, so I would like to improve all facets of the aero package. I would also eventually like to put a bigger motor in it, maybe a LS3 based 416, something in the 550-600 whp range, just for fun, as that would be ridiculous. A Motec M1 setup as well as Bosch M5 ABS is on my radar as well, especially considering the constraints of the factory 2005 GM electronics I am currently working with”.
Chris loves the motorsports community and all that it has to offer someone. “I have met so many people I consider to be lifelong friends through this sport that I would not have met otherwise. There are people who will give you the shirt off their back, or lend you their car, just to help you succeed. As well as those companies who help us out. I wouldn't be where I am today with this platform without the guys and girls at Creative Steel (creative-steel.com) behind me. Their support has meant everything to me”.
With regards to his future aspirations he plans to take another step forward in his motorsports journey and do a competition racing school with NASA. His goal is to run his first wheel to wheel race in March. He will also try his hand in a different GM track product for a special one off event. “I am competing in One Lap of America driving a 2017 Chevrolet Camaro, so that will be a once in a lifetime experience. Lap time goals involve sub-2:00 laps at VIR and sub-1:30 at Road Atlanta”. We’re told he also wants to try and do a professional race at some point in his life to check it off his bucket list.
Chris tells us his favorite track is Road Atlanta by a longshot. “There is just something special about the place and the way it makes you feel as a racecar driver. The elevation change is phenomenal, the variation of corner speeds is great, and the track requires the right amount of "send" to be properly fast at. It is truly my happy place and the track that feels most like home,”
Watch an onboard lap with Chris from Road Atlanta on LapMeta HERE.
Follow Chris and his CTS-V Development on Instagram at: @ctsvr
LapMeta Drivers Spotlight: Jared Floyd
Human’s have a natural tendency to get attached to things. Some, more than others. With cars we feel the community is fairly split. You have some that regret selling their first or their favorite over the years. They cling to the one that got away. Others are smart enough to retain their prized possession and still have it stored safely in their garage with the sole intent of never selling it. We often hear the phrase “I will be buried in that car”.
While on the other side of the spectrum we have people these days flipping cars faster than they can change shoes. In a modern world saturated with social media vloggers and YouTube influencers the idea of upgrading and moving up into something faster and more exotic than the previous car is becoming a common trend. If you’re not “leveling up” then you must not be going faster.
Although he’s going against the grain, Jared Floyd and his J-swapped S2000 reveal you can still have fun developing, driving, and competing in an older sports car after two decades of ownership.
Jared drove his brand new Honda S2000 off the lot in April of 2002. The same car he competes in Global Time Attack with today, nearly 21 years later. Jared tells us that he's “always been a Honda fan. I appreciate the simplicity and engineering of Hondas. My dream car was an NSX. After graduating college and working as an engineer for a few years, I decided to splurge. At the time, used NSX’s were about the same price as a new S2000. I had driven both and liked the smaller and more nimble S2000 and thought it would be a better fit for daily driver, auto-x, and track use.”
Jared got into motorsports back in the 1990’s. “I started autocrossing in college and wanted to get on track. My first time at a race track was a time trial competition at Lime Rock Park hosted by a local auto-x club. Three cars were totaled that day on track and I decided I really wanted to run more track events but needed proper safety gear (roll bar, harness, etc). Life happened and I continued competing in auto-x in my 1990 Civic Si. Once I bought the S2000, I continued to auto-x but fabricated a roll bar to start running HDPE events and time trials. I really enjoy the competition and the process of optimizing the car setup and driving performance”. Something that many today don’t have an appreciation for. The commitment to developing something over time is a lost art. We live in an on-demand world where words like development and craftsmanship aren’t applicable.
Today his ’02 S2000 is fitted with J32A V6 from a 2002 Acura TL Type S. Certainly not your ordinary F22C1 under the hood. The swap certainly wasn’t a quick process but the personal sense of accomplishment from completing such a project, is what drove Jared to do it.
A few highlights of his build:
- 255/40-17 Yokohama A052
- Radium Engineering Fuel Surge Tank and Competition Catch Can
- Custom Wire Harness by @trever.mcdermott
- Spherical Bearings in all A-Arms provided by BlackTrax/Kingpin Machine
- Urge Design / Essex AP Racing Front Brakes
- Ohlin Shocks
- APR GT-250 Rear Wing
- Fluidampr S2000 crank pulley from Urge Designs
- P2R CNC Ported Cylinder Heads and intake runners
- Hawk Brake pads
- Custom parts by Sector One Design: Shift knob, vented hood, roll bar, rear lower tie bar, X-Brace, starter spacer, baffled and winged oil pan, alternator mount, CD-5 Dash mount
“I had been racing time trials with NASA NW and was competitive locally, winning two regional championships and setting some track records”, he tells us. “I raced at the NASA National Championships at Sonoma though and realized the top cars were all detuned to maximize power to weight throughout the usable rev range. My Rotrex supercharged 2.2 liter had a very peaky power band so the majority of time the power was significantly less than peak and power to weight wasn’t competitive.”
He ultimately suffered some ring damage that scored up his cylinder walls after that season. Rather than running it back and building another F22 based supercharged engine that might cost him an arm and a leg, he decided to go a different route that would be more competitive and more cost efficient in the long run.
“I thought an NA motor with more torque would better fit the hp to weight formula. InlinePRO makes engine mounts and a flywheel adapter for the stock trans so that part was easy. Everything else was custom. Wiring harness, coolant plumbing, oil plumbing, intake, exhaust, etc. But the engines are cheap. Mine is a junkyard $360 engine. Everything else adds up in a hurry but is a one-time purchase. If I nuke the engine, it's very cheap to replace. My engine is all internally stock. I'm running ASP headers and homemade stainless exhaust. The heads are P2R CNC ported with stock cams and Supertech springs/retainers. I use a 2009 Acura TL AWD SH intake manifold which is magnesium and has a larger T-body inlet and I designed a 3D printed aluminum T-body adapter to mount a Hybrid Racing K-series T-body. I'm also running S2000 injectors, crank pulley, and alternator. The car now makes 285 whp on a dynojet and is tuned on an AEM Infinity ECU”. There wasn’t really an instructional manual for Jared to follow, but it was a labor of love that involved fabricating and innovating a lot of components himself. Having the opportunity to design things the way you want it to be, can be very rewarding, it just takes time and dedication.
When it comes to handling Jared admits the S2000 chassis leaves something to be desired. His motor swap wasn’t the only key ingredient in dropping his lap times. “Upgrading the suspension was the most important modification I made”, he tells us. “S2000's are a bit diabolical at the limit with the stock suspension. I'm running custom built Ohlins that started life as rear motorcycle coilovers. I revalved them and machined new upper and lower mounts. The car is still very lively, but much less likely to snap on you... usually.”
When it comes to developing the other half of the equation, Jared turned to a data acquisition system. “I purchased a Racepak G2X in ~2008 (still using it) and it changed everything. Both the immediate lap time feedback and predictive lap time and pouring over data provided significant gains in lap time from optimizing car setup and driving line/technique. They say that engineers aren’t boring people; they just get excited about boring things. I'm guilty of this as I spend lots of time staring at squiggly lines. I really enjoy analyzing the data to find tenths here and there.” As most of us know, discovering where those tenths are hiding and how to actually shed them from a lap is more difficult than it looks. It takes development, practice, and time.
Jared points to the competition and the camaraderie that the track community offers as to what brings him back every year. “It's great to have close competition with your friends. Everyone is very supportive and helpful and we all want to see each other improve. Some of my favorite memories were losing by tenths of a second. That's much more fun than winning by 6 seconds. The PNW time attack community is growing and the driver progress is staggering. A few years ago, it was very rare to have drivers lapping the Ridge Motorsports Park under 1:50. Now all the fast drivers & cars are in the mid 1:40's”.
In over 20 years of competition with his S2000, Jared has won 5 championships between Auto-x and time trial events. He also holds several track records including at the Maryhill Hill Climb. A few of the recent accomplishments since completing the V6 Swap:
- 1st Place Season Championship 2022 OnGrid PNW Shootout Time Attack, Touring Class
- 1st Place 2022 OnGrid PNW Shootout Round 5 Time Attack, Ridge Motorsports Park - Touring Class
- 3rd Place 2022 OnGrid PNW Shootout Round 4 Time Attack, Oregon Raceway Park CW
- 4th Place 2022 Global Time Attack July Ridge Motorsports Park - Street Class
- 1st Place 2022 OnGrid PNW Shootout Round 3 Time Attack, Portland International Raceway - Touring Class
- 1st Place 2022 OnGrid PNW Shootout Round 2 Time Attack, Ridge Motorsports Park - Touring Class
- 2nd Place 2021 OnGrid Ridge Wars Time Attack, Ridge Motorsports Park - Modified Class
- 2nd Place 2021 Global Time Attack July Ridge Motorsports Park - Street
- 1st Place 2021 Global Time Attack April Ridge Motorsports Park - Street
Moving forward Jared does have a GR Supra build in progress. But unlike many other enthusiasts of today’s era, Jared will be holding onto his S2000 for the time being. He admits that “there are still a lot of other mods I'd like to develop / fabricate for the S2000 including more advanced aero”. With regards to his motorsports goals he plans to continue competing at local time attack events with his sights set on one day winning a National Time Attack Championship. He also wants to try his hand at some wheel to wheel competition. We look forward to following along with Jared’s future endeavors on track and his upcoming developments to S2000 and Supra.
Check out his onboard video from The Ridge Motorsports Park on LapMeta HERE.
Follow Jared and Sector One Design on Instagram at: @sectoronedesign
Welcome to our first edition of Track Guide. The notebook on how to be fast at tracks around the U.S. In each edition we will cover a different circuit giving drivers the best approach to tackle a track and bring down those lap times.
We’re going to start with a track that LapMeta is close to home to; Portland International Raceway. Nestled outside of downtown Portland, Oregon. The 1.9 mile road course carves through what used to be the streets and city of Vanport. A small suburban WWII resident town in Northwest Portland that flooded in 1948. 12 turns goes by pretty quickly at Portland as lap times for a fast car fall in the 1:20’s typically.
You start down the front straight and head towards the heaviest brake zone on the circuit which is the “Shelton Chicane” in turn 1. Marker signs align the wall and typically a driver up to speed will find their brake point to be somewhere between the 500 and 300 foot sign depending on how well your car slows down. The sequence of the Chicane is a quick right and then immediately back to the left.
The key to being fast here is finding the balance of rolling in as much speed into 1 without compromising your exit out of 2. You want to brake late enough that you’re not coasting before turning in. It’s important to not brake too late though as you want to get the car all the way to the apex curbing or inside of it into 1. There’s a drop off there and we refer to it as the “dip” or the “hole” between the armco barrier and the curbing. Some cars that have higher ground clearance can and should utilize going into that area to straighten out turn 1 as much as possible and help you be better set up to exit 2 and get on throttle sooner. At minimum you should aim to get your right side tires as far over as your car will allow without bottoming out. If you watch a fast HPDE driver or a Spec Miata driver go through the Chicane they are driving beyond the curb every lap and into the dip.
Ideally, you want to be back to at least a maintenance throttle while you're between 1 and 2 and then a slight tap of the brakes to settle the car and transfer weight forward to aid in grip on turn in. Job one is getting the car to rotate so you can go back to throttle as soon as possible. In momentum cars typically the front end will want to push at the exit so you may want to get a bit of the high apex curbing to help the rear rotate. In a high horsepower car, oversteer can be an issue so focus on opening the wheel up to not pinch the car. Your priority though is to use 1 to set up 2 so you can get back to throttle as quickly as possible driving the car all the way out to the FIA curbing on drivers right as there is a bit of a straight stretch leading into turn 4. This is a section where time can be made with a good exit from the Chicane.
This is typically a full throttle corner for 85% of cars. If you have a high hp machine you may want to swing to the middle of the track to straighten out the bend and aid in rear traction.
A tricky one that people tend to overdrive on entry. It’s a bit of a double apex with two real arches in the corner. The focus should be rolling as much speed as you can through here as this corner just leads to another corner. But keeping your minimum speed up is important.
There’s two approaches here depending on the car you drive. If you drive a car that doesn’t handle well you’ll want to brake late but firm. Get the nose of the car to completely settle when applying the brakes so when you turn in the front and rear are more confident and planted and you can go back to throttle sooner. Don’t aim for the first curbs. Skip the first set and drive more in the middle of the track on entry which will straighten out the corner a bit so you can roll more throttle at the real apex and hit the second set of curbs with your right side tires.
If you drive a momentum car then this is a momentum corner. Use your car’s superior handling and hustle the car into 4 taking the shortest distance. Roll speed in and get back to a maintenance throttle as quickly as you can. Hit the first curbing with your right side tires and the second set of curbing also. In a Spec Miata you can be 75% throttle from turn in of 4 all the way to 5 while modulating throttle through the second apex.
Set up by 5 by letting your car drive all the way out to the FIA curbs on drivers left. You don’t need to be on them just up to them. Oftentimes some cars will need a little tap of the brakes to transfer weight to the nose and aid with turn in. Other times you can get away with just a lift of the throttle if your car handles really well. The apex curbing in 5 is really long. But the actual apex of the corner is really late. Don’t turn in too early or your car will push on exit. In order to get through 6 correctly you want to exit 5 in the right place. So resist the urge of turning in too early and apex late. Try and get a little bit of the curb with your right front tire and track out to the middle of the track to set up 6. You want to be on throttle as much as your car can handle from 5 to 6.
The left hand corner every car and driver hates in Portland. It’s a decreasing radius with a bit of a gradient as the track falls away from you which reduces grip. There’s a few approaches here. Once again if you’re in a momentum car you can aim for the shortest distance. You can roll more throttle out of 5 and let the car drive itself to the inside of 6. Turn in hard and get the car to ride the curbing and then unwind the wheel and track out. This is a delicate balance of throttle modulation. Keep giving it throttle until the rear starts just barely starts to get light then just lightly pull your foot back.
If you’re in a high horsepower car, set up 6 by driving out of 5 and keeping the car more in the middle of the track. By doing so this will straighten out the corner a bit and aid in front traction on entry and reduce oversteer on exit because you will be able to straighten the wheel a bit sooner.
Regardless, be sure to drive the car all the way to the white line on drivers right. In order to make lap time you want to use all the available track surface so drive it out right to the edge of the grass and keep your foot down. ‘
As you track out of 6 you can just hold the wheel at the same position and it should just take the car right back across the track to drivers left and put it in the perfect spot for 7. Go all the way out to the white line again to widen the entry of 7 as much as possible. Get the car slowed down in a straight line and then turn in late. Get the car's right side tires all the way down and on to the apex curbing and commit to full throttle as soon as the rear will take it. Open up that wheel as soon as you can, allowing the car to track all the way out to the FIA curbing on drivers left. Don’t be afraid to drive over those curbs every lap. A good run out of 7 is essential for a fast lap as it leads all the way down the back straight.
Full throttle down the back straight. A good opportunity to check your mirrors, gauges, and relax your hands a bit.
As the back bend straightens out you’ll want to get your car right along the wall entering the brake zone. Leave about half a car length for safety. You’ll want to brake late and quickly somewhere between 300-100 boards generally. It’s a very short brake zone to settle the nose of the car enough to turn in and commit back to throttle as soon and as much as you can while putting your left side tires on the FIA curbing. You want to straddle this curb as much as you can to straighten out this section which will allow you to keep your minimum speed up.
It takes a bit of bravery and trust to go through this part of the track fast but it will certainly aid in reducing lap time. Find a safe limit to push the car through here. It’s a bit uncomfortable but is certainly a part of the track where time can be made or lost.
Not much to it. 10 sweeps to the left. 11 sweeps to the right. You’ll want to get a smidge of the FIA curbing on drivers right of 11. Keep your attention forward though and aim to drive right out towards the South Paddock pit entry. Put your car right on the dotted line for the pit entry zone to set up turn 12.
The track falls down a little bit coming into 12. Be sure to brake early. You don’t want to miss the apex and chase the car out to the wall. Try and get your braking done early and turn in right as the FIA curbing on the left starts at the end of the pit entry. Try and get the right side tires all the way down and on to the FIA curbing and hit them in the middle of 12. Once again you want to focus on committing to throttle as quickly as possible as this corner leads onto the front straight. Let the car track all the way out to the front straight wall. Some drivers tend to keep their car in the middle of the track exiting the corner which will hurt exit speed dramatically. By enabling a faster run out of 12 it will provide a higher top speed at the end of the straight away. And that’s easy lap time savings. So take advantage and really focus on exiting cleanly with one smooth throttle application. If you over drive the entry and middle you’ll find yourself having to take your foot out of the gas to help the car turn and that will instantly cost you time.
That’s a wrap on our first Track Guide. We hope those of you who lap and race at Portland now have some new notes to take with you to your next track event! For those that are just getting started with driving at Portland we hope this gives you a baseline to prepare with.
If you have any questions or tips of your own feel free to write them below in the comments and discuss.
Track Day 101 Edition #4
For our fourth edition, we want to provide you with some tips and tricks on how to shave seconds off those lap times. In our last edition we focused on getting up to speed safely. After your first few track days have been completed successfully and hopefully without any major off track excursions, it’s time to start looking for ways to improve your speed. As you continue to work up your pace here are some things to keep in mind that are good driving habits to develop.
Oftentimes the message being pushed is “the later you brake the faster your lap time will be”. The idea being that if you’re full speed for the longest amount of time as possible it will lead to faster laps. This is only true to an extent. Yes, being on throttle as long as you can is the right idea. But if it forces you to overdrive the entry and miss the apex then oftentimes you will find out that you’re losing lap time. Especially when tackling hair pin corners that lead on to another straight away.
So the key is finding the balance of driving your car in deep to a brake zone without compromising the exit of the next corner. Those with Garmin’s or AiM Solo’s have probably seen this before, but if you brake really late you may end up gaining time and your AiM might reflect that with a few green dots. But if the driver over shoots the entry and has to spend time waiting to return to throttle on exit, then those green dots will disappear and suddenly multiple red dots will appear. Every driver's worst nightmare.
Something not always discussed is the point in which you come off the brake pedal. This can be just as important as when you get on it. When a driver releases brake pressure he is feeling that the car is stable and pointed in the right direction to begin rolling on the throttle. This point is super important and oftentimes you’ll find the best drivers have an earlier release point than your average joe. The sooner you’re on throttle the more time you’re going to make up at the end of the straight.
During your track day, always work up to it and slowly move your brake point one marker or half a marker at a time until you find yourself missing the apex and entry. Then back it up the next lap to find the sweet spot. We often use the phrase “smooth and slow on entry to make it up on exit” when it comes to tight corners that lead on to long sections. The sooner you can get to full throttle on exit the better as long as you’re not sliding the car too much on exit.
That phrase doesn’t always apply to corners with a medium radius, short brake zone, or no brake zone that might require just a lift. We tend to think of these as corners where you want to maximize entry speed as much as possible. Minimum corner speed is a word used by a lot of driver coaches when reviewing data. What’s your minimum speed entering a corner? Although not all of us have fancy data machines you can still focus on rolling speed into a corner by feeling it through the seat of your pants. Those of us that have ever done karting or been to an indoor kart track know it’s all about entry speed and pushing the kart into corners to keep your momentum up.
These types of corners at road courses will sometimes involve a bit of bravery. You’re putting the car right on the ragged edge of losing grip when rolling into the corner. Perfecting the art of driving a car at its limit can take time and lots of practice. We always emphasize working up to this. Don’t go flying into a corner without progressively pushing the car a little more each lap. You don’t want to have a big snap moment that sends you sliding off into the grass or worse.
Focus on getting the car slowed enough but not too much and then put an emphasis on how soon you can get back to throttle. Oftentimes in longer radius corners you might need to hold a maintenance throttle. If the car starts to step out in the rear then slowly bring that foot back to a lesser amount of throttle. But try and stop your natural reaction from wanting to lift all the way off the gas which brings us to our next tip.
Weight transfer is a big key in high performance driving. Your feet are what controls where the weight moves. If you touch the brakes you send weight forward. You take your foot and move it over to the throttle then you're sending weight backwards. For each of these actions you want to do them in a smooth manner. Jump on the gas too hard and you’ll find yourself doing a Tokyo Drift. Stab the brakes too hard and you might find yourself locking up your front tires with little to no control of your steering. These applications need to be done with finesse. The paddock mumbo-jumbo is “slow hands, slow feet”. If a car is working properly then you shouldn’t need to be jumping on and off the gas. Resist the urge to be throttle stabby.
Moving to our last point for this edition, we will talk about your hands and your eyes. Your hands are the extension of your eyes and they act based on your vision. In our favorite book The Art of Racing in the Rain, author Garth Stein says “the car goes where the eyes go”. Basic drivers ed can teach you this as well if you had a good instructor growing up. You always want to be looking ahead of you. If you’re looking 20 feet in front of you at the apex curb then your eyes are too far behind. You want your vision to be focused around your next point you’re heading to. If you’re flying down the straight then it’s your brake zone marker you should be looking at. If you’re at the apex then it’s your exit point you should be looking at. The mind will tell the hands to take you to that point if you’re looking at it. So avoid having shallow tunnel vision and pick those eyes up.
When it comes to your hands it’s important to keep things smooth. If you turn in too hard with too much implementation the car will want to push itself off the track. After a certain point, if you turn the wheel too far you are actually limiting the contact patch of the tire which will reduce overall grip. On corner exit, if you’re pinching the wheel too much the rear of the car will become overloaded and create a snap oversteer and potentially lead to a spin. Turn in smoothly and slowly and the car will have grip to make the apex. Then open up your hands and let the car use all of the available track surface on exit. This will keep your momentum up and aid in traction for high hp cars.
Although there is a plethora of insightful driving tips, this hopefully provided you with some good habits to consider and hopefully try to implement when hitting your next track event.
LapMeta Drivers Spotlight: Max Means
In a period of time where used car prices are soaring, performance parts are out of stock, and all track cars are modern factory built weapons, Max Means and his Honda CRX are the exact embodiment of what “having fun with cars” is really all about; and he’s doing it all while going to Welding School.
Credit: Aries Photography
Max purchased his stock 1991 base model Honda CRX during his Senior year of High School. He’s owned it for three years and paycheck by paycheck has been building it up into a safe-suitable track car for him to learn how to do performance driving with. The best part is he does all the wrenching himself. Seems like quite a bit of fun for a 21 year old to experience.
We first met Max at an SCCA race event in Pacific Raceways two years ago in 2020. He made the trip down from Spokane to see competition sports car racing first hand for the first time. We found him roaming the paddock with a camera in hand asking questions and learning the ins and outs of what it took to build, prepare, and race a car. He told us about his CRX and his plans to do track events with it. We could tell he had a passionate eye for motorsports and was interested in getting more involved with the sport.
Fast forward a few years and Max now has a full two seasons of track events under his belt. His CRX still maintains the stock 1.5 liter non-vtec d15b2. He has been converting it from a completely stock CRX to a lightly modified track car to help handling and drivability.
A few budget highlights of his build:
- Ksport Coilovers
- B+M Short Shifter
- Sparco Evo Seat
- Hawk Brake Pads
- Wilwood Big Brake Kit
- Toyo R888R’s
- Tanabe Exhaust
“I always liked the look of the CRX and found a good deal on one” he says. “I had heard about the racetrack outside of Spokane, and went to an open lapping day to spectate and check it out. It opened my eyes to a whole community of people with that same passion, and I haven't looked back since.” Hearing how inspired Max was by simply attending a track event is nice to hear in an age when most kids would rather be at home on their Xbox. We have continued to see Max at multiple track and racing events, sometimes participating as a driver and other times as a spectator in order to watch and learn from others.
Finding creative ways to save money while still honing his craft is something Max has done really well. “I have had the opportunity to have an in-car coach once, and while it was a worthwhile experience, it is not financially feasible for me to do often. What I have found to be a big help is writing down as much as I can. The first thing I do after pulling into the paddock after a session is go to my notebooks and write about the session while it is still fresh. You'll see me walking the paddock with my clipboard, taking notes on other cars and drivers. Going over in-car footage is also something I started doing this year and has proven to be a valuable resource.” Many have AiM Solo’s or Garmin Catalyst’s these days but at the minimum price point of $500+ for a reasonable driver data system, doing it the old school way without spending much can still be very effective. Personal reflection, video analysis of your own onboard, and comparing your laps to others on LapMeta can all aid in the learning process.
“I save money by having a cheap and reliable car. It runs on 87, it is super easy to work on, parts are super cheap and it hardly ever needs fixing. My car made 92 hp to the crank, 30 years ago. I'm probably around 60-70 hp to the wheels now. For me, it is less about having a fast car and more about getting seat time, and having a great time doing it.”
As a current welding student Max doesn’t have the funds to own or maintain an expensive car at this time in his life but all the learning is still relevant. Whether you do it in a fast car or a slow car, it can teach you the same principles. And if you ask us, we believe it’s best to learn how to drive a slow car fast.
“With this car I want to get as much seat time as possible and learn as much as I can. More concretely, I want to run a sub 2 minute lap at the Ridge with an NA D-series. In the future I really want to get into wheel to wheel racing. This is a few years off, but I am marching towards that goal.”
Based on Max’s motivation to this point, we have no doubts that he will be racing wheel to wheel in no time in a reliable, budget friendly race car. We’ll place a bet it might be a Honda or Acura.
Credit: Aries Photography
We commend Max for his perseverance to divulge himself into the track community. Jumping into something so new can be intimidating for anyone. Especially considering that he wasn’t showing up with a high dollar sports car that has come to be the common norm at HDPE events. However he quickly found that everyone was accepting of him and his CRX. “I love how everyone is so friendly. Track days are big play dates where we all bring our toys out. There is no place that is easier to make friends than the track. We are all connected by the same passion.”
Check out his onboard video from Max’s favorite track, Qlispe Raceway Park, formerly Spokane Raceway on LapMeta here: https://lapmeta.com/en/lap/detail/10822
LapMeta Drivers Spotlight: Duncan James
Is the Nissan 350Z the perfect budget track car? Duncan James’ Alliance Racing 350Z is a perfect example of building a fast car on a reasonable budget. His continued focus on improving his car combined with his dedication to improving his craft behind the wheel has led him to be a NASA National Championship Time Trials runner up in TT3. Right on the tail of a Porsche that costs about seven times the price of what you can buy a 350Z for right now.
In the drifting community the 350Z is highly regarded for being a cheap, entry level, fun rip machine based on how affordable it is to obtain. Considering the plethora of aftermarket parts available for these cars, they are a hot commodity among young car enthusiasts looking to get their hands on something fun that doesn’t break the bank .
However, the same can be said when considering a 350Z for a track car candidate. All of the same principles apply. You can acquire a street example for somewhere in the 5-10k range. For a car that handles rather well, has a great exhaust note, and makes 300hp from the factory - it’s easy to see what makes these cars popular.
Duncan’s 350Z started life as a street car that he purchased all the way back in 2013. Since then he has turned it into his NASA Time Trials competition track car for the TT3 class. Building it up one mod at a time, the build has been a labor of love over the past 9 years. He has tried different tires, brake packages, and suspension set ups along the way. Which is why it’s fascinating to see someone stay committed to a vehicle for such an extended period of time with a constant pursuit to make the car better.
A few highlights of his build:
- Stock 350Z Engine with Cams
- Stoptech Big Brake Kit
- SPL Suspension
- BC Racing Coilovers
- Hawk Brake Pads
- Goodyear Tires
- Gutted with Full Cage
- NISMO GT Differential
- Cooling Upgrades
- Front Splitter & Rear Wing
- Race Louvers Fender Vents
Duncan has always been surrounded by cars. “Motorsports has been in my veins since I was a kid. My family was always drag and street racers. I only started doing competitive driving recently with less than two years of competition under my belt.” He had previously been doing track days prior to turning to NASA and their well known Time Trials series to try his hand against other drivers. With fairly limited experience Duncan states that he “really tries to focus in and pick things up quickly”.
We asked Duncan what he thought the most important modification a driver can make to his or her car? He quickly defrayed from talking about his 350Z and said “It sounds cliche, but the loose nut between the seat and steering wheel. I try to focus more on myself as a driver than the car. I believe driver development is the key to move up. Plus it's a great feeling beating the people and teams that just have money to throw away.”
His tool of choice to improve his driver mod would be data review. “Comparing other people's laps and consistently reviewing my own has made a difference. It's one of the reasons I use Lap Meta. Also just reviewing my own video and seeing what I do wrong and finding new things I can try. Sim racing has also been a massive advantage to help me build strong habits”. We can attest to the benefits sim racing can provide any driver from rookie to experienced. Duncan is certainly focused around improving his craft in any way he can.
A look at Duncan’s Alliance Racing Sim Rig.
Duncan took his 350Z all the way to the NASA National Championship Race at Daytona in 2021 competing in the TT3 class with his 350Z. He finished second, only 1 second slower than the winner who competed in a newer 991 Porsche 911 with aero. Considering the original MSRP of the Porsche was probably double what Duncan currently has invested in his 350Z track build, the results are exceptionally impressive.
Seeing what he has achieved with this platform with a mostly stock powertrain and only focusing on handling and driveability upgrades reveals the true value of what a 350Z has to offer to someone looking to get into the track community.
Moving forward Duncan’s long term plans are to do endurance racing. Whether that be professional or at the semi-pro level in series like AER or WRL. He’s yearning for some wheel to wheel racing action to take the skills he’s learned in time trial competition and apply them towards more serious racing.
We look forward to seeing where Duncan’s career progresses and plan to follow along with all of his fast laps on LapMeta. You can follow his build and efforts on his Instagram account @theallianceracing
Check out his onboard video from Duncan’s favorite track, Barber Motorsports Park on LapMeta HERE.
LapMeta Drivers Spotlight: Dustin Furseth
Can you build a car that’s still street legal yet competitive in Global Time Attack? Dustin Furseth might have built the ultimate blend of practicality with performance.
Cars are certainly unique based on the modifications that each owner tastefully chooses. Some mods are focused around aesthetics. Others are based on performance. The blend of both comes together to create something beautiful sometimes. Dustin Furseth’s silver BMW E46 M3 is a fine example of this.
He classifies his M3 as a dual purpose build that is still streetable yet competitive at Global Time Attack events in the competition Street class. It’s no easy feat to accomplish this, but we feel Dustin has done it to perfection. His car maintains its Bavarian roots while exuding its own sense of swagger and class.
A few highlights of his build:
- MCS 2-way adjustable dampers
- Ground Control competition coilovers, sway bars and endlinks
- Ground Control camber plates, arms, and tower mounts
- Bimmerworld 18x10” TA16 wheels
- Bimmerworld carbon CSL plenum & headlight delete intake duct
- Bimmerworld lightweight flywheel and (clutchmaster) ceramic clutch
- Rogue Engineering resonated v2 section 1 & 2 exhaust
- Agency Power section 3 muffler
- Fabspeed headers
- Recaro Pole Position NG seats
- PB 380mm front/356mm rear BBK
- PFC brake pads
- Yokohama ADVAN A052 295/30ZR18 tires
- Custom 4-point roll cage
- CSL carbon fiber roof and headliner
- CSL trunk and rear diffuser
- RSFuture carbon front splitter
- APR GT-250 61” wing
- Mishimoto radiator, oil cooler, and AN lines
He purchased his car in May of 2016. The same month his son was born. Since then it’s been a labor of love evolving it to its present state. He got his start in HPDE events when he attended his first Hooked On Driving event. “I did three events that first year, and as their name suggests...hooked. I slowly ramped up my yearly participation in local HPDE clubs and in 2020 moved into the competitive world of Time Attack. Specifically, GTA's first pacific northwest event at the Ridge Motorsports Park. I used the Street Class rules to build my aero package, and heavily modified the suspension, engine, interior, etc.”
As time progressed he explored other series and continued to focus on doing more competition events. “In 2021, I also entered the OnGrid shootout time attack series and won GT Class at their first Oregon event (The Oregon Cup) at Oregon Raceway Park. Later that year I also won OnGrid's first Washington event, RidgeWars, in the Street Class. In 2022, I am planning on competing in both OnGrid Shootout (five PNW events) as well as Global Time Attack events in Washington and California (Buttonwillow).
Having achieved some success winning some local events Dustin believes that the coaches that have sat next to him have made a huge difference in shaving lap time. “There is no substitute”, Dustin says. “I also record and watch videos but it's not the same as a fresh set of eyes and ears to see things you don't even realize. Data analysis is great now that I've elevated my driving skills but I've only started looking closely at data in the last 18 months.”
However Dustin understands that racing isn’t all about the competition saying that “motorsports is very much a hobby for me. I love driving and it's opened many unexpected doors in my life. A huge community of friends, support, and encouragement. I was recruited to be a driver in a LuckyDog endurance car owned by a team. Just getting some true wheel to wheel race experience has been eye opening. I have also always documented the evolution of my car and driving via a public profile instagram account. It started as a way to document modifying and driving an E46M3 time attack car for fun, and has now snowballed into much more, attracting sponsors, event organizers like OnGrid and GTA, and has deeply rooted me in both the E46M3 community (DIY, forums, car clubs) as well as the PNW racetrack culture.”
Dustin recently suffered a significant engine failure where a rod snapped and one of the piston’s ejected the engine. What blew him away was the immediate outpouring of support from the local track and car community. “A group of 20+ people, without me knowing, put together a small fundraiser to help me start the rebuild. Some of these people I barely know outside of a nod or "good luck" at the track.” He commends the track community as a whole for what they do to support one another. “The people: my friends, competitors, event organizers.. Everyone just has each other's backs and it makes all the difference in the world in a sport that takes so much time, money, and dedication to participate in”.
Dustin’s approach to motorsports is obviously well received by his peers based on the amount of support that was garnered after his motor failure. His execution of a streetable track weapon is something we admire. These are the types of builds that resonate with people and inspire them to want to join the track community. It’s obvious you can have the best of both worlds if you’re diligent with your modifications and keep a car true to its roots without going crazy on custom mods.
They sometimes say a man or woman’s car often fits his or her personality. That theory seems to be proven true with Dustin and his BMW E46 M3.
Follow Dusty on Instagram: @dusty_m3
Follow LapMeta on Instagram: @lapmeta
Check out his onboard video from Dustin’s favorite track, the Ridge Motorsports Park, on LapMeta here:
We all have one thing in common. We’re drivers. But we all have unique stories about our experiences in motorsports and our upbringing in the track community. We thought we’d start sharing more about the people that make up the LapMeta community. “Drivers Spotlight” will be a column dedicated to sharing insights into people’s cars, mods, experiences, and personalities - with the hope of further inspiring our community to learn and connect with each other.
Meet Alessandro Sensoli, a Bay Area resident who currently owns and tracks a 2018 Mustang PP1 10-speed prepared for NASA Time Trials competition.
Alessandro grew up in Italy and moved the U.S. seven years ago. After playing professional soccer and rugby, a back injury made him explore other sports. “I needed some kind of "adrenaline kick”. So, I bought my 2018 Mustang and did my first HPDE day with it after 500 miles. I got hooked!”, he says. In 2019, he tried his hand at competition in the American Muscle Cup and won the street class. He joined NASA at the start of 2021 and made the push to go to Nationals at Daytona. He came home the National Champion in the TT2 class, an achievement he didn’t think was possible when he started the year. Moving towards 2022, the NASA Nationals now come to his neck of the woods at Laguna Seca this fall. Although he’s not sure the track favors his heavy car he will be counting on his local track knowledge to help him out compared to others.
He purchased his Mustang in 2018 and he has done some heavy modifications to it. Although the engine stock is stock it runs on E85 and currently weighs 3,850lbs.
Highlighted mods include:
Tuned by OZ Tuning
Hoosier A7 315mm Tires
"ITALIA" Custom Splitter made in house with AJ Hartman diffusers
AJ Hartman Fulcrum 14 wing
Cortext JRi coilovers
Apex forged wheels
Hood Vents by RaceLouvers
Alessandro says the weak point is currently the 10spd Transmission. He’s currently on his fourth one and has plans to upgrade to a better gearbox at some point soon to solve these reliability issues.
Alessandro is a firm believer in the driver mod being key he told us with a smile. But when asked what modification has made the most difference in his Mustang’s performance he credited his newer aerodynamic components. Specifically his homemade front splitter and his AJ Hartman rear wing. “The added downforce has really increased the confidence I have in the car and allows me to push the limits and sometimes beyond”. That’s what it takes to find speed. In order to know the limit you have to go past it sometimes.
With regards to his focus on improving as a driver, Alessandro credits Blayze Motorsport Coaching (formerly Racers360). “I use them every single time I'm on track and they are part of my annual budget forecast. I've learned a lot from them.” He’s got four favorite tracks that he looks forward to driving. “Sonoma is probably the one that I feel the most connected to. Laguna..well for the famed history. (especially related to Italians ) . Daytona based on the extreme speed. Lastly Willow Springs ..cause you need the balls to be fast haha”.
When we asked him about what he loves most about the track / racing community he said it’s amazing and reminds him of his rugby family. “No matter if you drive a Ferrari, a McLaren, or a Miata, everyone is there to have fun and respect others. I love it. The sense of belonging makes this a special group. I love the speed. I love the binomial between man and car. There is a connection that you have that makes every event special. Assuming you don't crash of course”, he says with a laugh.
Alessandro is looking forward to this Fall. “My main goal is to be able to participate at the NASA Time Trial Nationals in September at Laguna and finish in the top five”. He’s itching to try some wheel to wheel racing next year though and plans to rent a Miata to race in NASA Spec Miata. His dream is to race in a WRL endurance event.
It’s neat to hear of an Italian sports professional who moved to the U.S. and has found a new passion in motorsports. It’s obvious Alessandro is a competitor by nature but it’s also apparent how much he cares about the camaraderie of the sports he participates in. We wish him the best of luck on his quest to claim another National Championship in NASA Time Trials.
Check out his onboard video from his Mustang at Sonoma here:
For our third edition, we want to provide you with some insights to safely get up to speed and navigate your first track day. When getting started, it’s less about technical skills than one would think. In reality, the focus should be centered around having the right mindset and setting reasonable goals.
The main goal should always be safety; experienced or not this is always the priority. As you prepare to head out on track make sure all of your safety gear is properly functioning. Helmet and belts tight. If you ask any experienced driver many will tell you they have forgotten to tighten their helmet on occasion. Be sure to confirm your mirrors are also in the right position to have good visibility behind you.
As you engage the clutch and knock your car into 1st gear now the fun begins. On your opening lap(s) keep in mind your tires, brakes, and brain are still cold. It takes a few laps to heat up everything including your mind. As you continue with your warm-up lap(s) be sure to acknowledge the turn stations as they are oftentimes manned by corner workers that are there to give you important flag information. It’s essential to identify where all of the turn stations are as they are your guardian angels to keep you safe in the event of an incident on track. They also appreciate a wave on the first and last lap of the session.
A good rule of thumb is to give yourself some cushion on each side of the car. Don’t plan to drive line to line on your warm-up lap(s). Enter the brake zones more in the middle of the surface giving yourself some room on each side of the track in the instance the car doesn’t react so well with cold tires and brakes. Keep an eye on your mirrors and observe who is behind you. Oftentimes as drivers, we can get over-focused on what’s in front of us, but you’re also responsible for being aware of what’s behind you. If you’re fortunate enough to have an instructor, they will advise you on most of these things.
As your tires start to come to life and you’ve had a chance to feel out the racing surface, now you can focus on driving a little harder. Don’t get sucked into the idea of trying to run your fastest time on the second lap. Work up your speed little by little. Continue to use more of the track, brake slightly later, and get into a good rhythm. Lap times should be your last concern.
Consistency is the most important element of becoming a good driver. People can get caught up chasing a certain lap time. The speed will come if you focus on hitting your marks in every corner and evolving your pace throughout the entirety of your session and your track day. Especially as a new driver, it’s important to maintain constant control of your vehicle. If you’re aiming to move up to the intermediate and advanced track groups in the future you’ll want to maintain a good reputation with the observers and organization.
Now mistakes can happen. We’re all guilty of them from time to time, but it’s essential to minimize the opportunity for a big one. Nobody wants to have to call the tow truck after having a run-in with a wall on their first track day. Observe the places where you might be able to push your car a little harder and still have adequate run-off room. On the contrary, there are other places on certain circuits that don’t provide as much forgiveness if something goes wrong.
The key is to focus on setting reasonable and attainable goals. If you’re aiming for a lap time that isn’t achievable on day one then you might find yourself overdriving your car and your abilities. Becoming a skilled and fast driver is a process that develops over time. Without any prior high-performance driving experience reaching your ultimate goals for speed won’t happen overnight. Sometimes early on in one’s driving career, the best mindset is to just focus on being smooth and consistent. With that perspective, you’ll keep your car in one piece and you’ll be able to make continued progress without feeling pressed or disappointed about not hitting that fast lap your buddies are running. Stay patient and the pace will come!
In our next edition, we will focus on some tips and concepts that will help make you a smarter and more skilled driver to shave time off your laps.