View Full Version : Inferno at VIR

07-05-2006, 04:10 PM
Hot track, hot cars, hot laps and even a few hot tempers.....

VIR on 3 and 4 July was a great track event. Getting ready for the event was the biggest chore until we defaulted to taking the ZO6 instead of continuing to thrash on the Fixed Roof Coupe repairs. Leaving on a Sunday for an event felt strange - normally I am dragging myself in late on Sunday night.

A Cobra/Shelby club had the track for the weekend and we had to wait until they cleared the paddock a bit before we could get in. Their turnout was huge - lots of cool Ford powered autos running around there. The number of big buck semi car haulers made me think it was a NASCAR/Rolex race weekend or something. We were forced to wait outside at the Big Pine Key Motorsports hospitality site drinking the teams beer until we could get in the gate. Luckily, the Mayor's cooler was well stocked and made the check in and registration process a painless event - even if it was a bit warm.

Jake and I were fortunate enough to be allowed to share the BPKM Executive Penthouse Suite in the VIR paddock. Life will never be the same now that I have had a taste of the good life. We never left VIR once we entered the gate and spent most of it right in the paddock - life, for a track addict, does not get much better than this. Combined with mooching food, beer and rides it makes a follow on event hard to beat.

A lot of the "regulars" were there and we were all able to co-locate in the paddock - now the location was not close to anything - but we were parked together. Jody, Tim, Graham, Geoff, Steve and many others made the event. We closed out the day having a little dinner at the Tavern and drinking some more of BPK beer.

Monday started out a little hazy and hot with hot being the dominant factor. The run groups were nice sized with a range of cars from Ford GTs to Viper Comp Coupes to rental cars. Carnage was pretty minimal as long as you were not the Daytona Orange ZO6 that ate the tire wall in the uphill esses - it was banged up pretty good. Not sure what happened - just saw the car next to the tires on the black flag lap. It was not capable of movement on its own so it was hauled somewhere.

Tuesday had a first session "avoidable contact" with a Viper Comp Coupe trying to pass a Spec Racer in the uphill esses - the Spec Racer got punted off the track at about 110 mph and some moderate damage. The grid workers kept him in his car until he cooled down a bit and lost his urge to whack someone with a helmet. At that point they had a come to Jesus meeting with the Advanced Group and Instructors to warn them there were no more "warnings" and to follow the dang rules or leave. I missed that since I was on the track with a student at the time.

Once again I had a truly great pair of students sharing a car. Eddie had brought his Superformance Cobra but it did not have roll protection for the passenger so it was not allowed to run in the novice group. As a result he double teamed on Pete's very nice 2005 Saleen S281 (what a stand up buddy!). They had run on Sat and Sun with the Shelby/Cobra club - without any instructors in the car. They had learned some interesting lines for the VIR North Course on their own. I am not sure that is the best way to have your novice introduction to track events. I was not comforatable clearing Eddie out on his own and he had no problem with that (or at least he did not mention it to me!). They had excellent attitudes and were very serious about learning to drive the car on track so we had a great time in the car. They were pretty conservative and really perked up when I took them out in my car for a few hot laps. Later in the day Pete asked me if I would be "willing" to drive his Saleen to show him what it could do. I normally do not drive someone else's car (except Denise's 911 when I can wrench it from David's hands) but I have tracked a Saleen before and they really needed some confidence in what the car could do. After I took him on a few laps at 8/10ths (honest - I did not want to bend someone else's car!) and he was amazed. The car did understeer quite a bit, the pedals did not fit my heel toe pattern like I prefer and the brakes were in need of bleeding - but otherwise it works fine as a track car. I could definitely use one of those in my corral. I did bleed the brakes for them on Monday night to get the sponge out of the pedal. Instructing guys like them makes it worthwhile - other than a few "offs" (well handled overall I might add) on Tuesday they were really picking the pace up and understood what was going on. They were talking about a "getting" a track dedicated car - sounds like a couple more "hooked" to me. Since they are close to Summit Point I may have some good "laydown" near the track! I will ride with them anytime (with proper roll protection), anywhere.....

Jake had a CTS-V student and the guy was, quite frankly, a little overwhelmed with the power available. Jake did get him to run the car a lot faster but he really came alive when he had ridden with Jake in the ZO6 and swapped to his sons BMW (far less intimidating and he responded with some blistering laps). Jake was very proud of getting the student to run the car hard, safe and fast. Needless to say I felt a little pride in that feat myself.

Eddie and Pete supplied Jake and me with some spare tickets to the Banquet on Monday night (did I mention what great students and all around fine gentlemen they were?). The food was good, the company was better and we enjoyed the evening. Jake did get grilled over his instructor status by a lady from PA driving a Boxster S in the Tavern after she was grumbling over her 26 year old instructor. He took it well and let his student speak for his ability and experience.

We put the new Hoosiers on Tuesday AM and Jake proceeded to run the snot out of them for three sessions and pretty much ran the pads down to the backing plates - then he said I "could drive it" - nice kid, really. I took it out with one of his students son's after lunch and ran it hard for 25 minutes - even new Hoosiers slip at those speeds, with those ambient temps and track duration - it was great to have good stick! About the time I caught up to the mean green ZR1 (he slowed down to get us together) I was at 308 oil temp, had run a little while with the madman from BPK losing a little at nearly every turn and needed to cool the car off. Jake bought a few gallons of gas (using my money, naturally) and took Steve's son (who was a student in his Dad's ZO6) out for a few hot laps until the metal to metal contact on the pads made him roll it back in - no point in wasting the remainder of the pad and the rotor was heat checked already so it was no great loss.

It was a really busy weekend and I never did get hooked up with the data logging guy (got passed by him though) or several other Vettes and guys from other events. I was searching for shade and a fan when not walking back and forth to the bathroom or getting another bottle of water. Chin ran out of drinks by about 10 AM on day 2 - they went through over 400 bottles of water on Monday alone - I know Jake and I finished off a case of water plus what we drank from the event. It was hot and the air was dead still Monday and Tuesday. Geoff and I never did get together on the track before he "heat exhausted himself" (good call actually!) and loaded up his M3 to go drink cold beer and shoot off fireworks - it sure looked good out on the track - it was almost as fast as a stock ZO6 it looked like to me....

I am headed to Camp Raven Knob with my Scout Troop this Sunday (my youngest son has his Eagle Ceremony on Saturday) and will hang out with 27 Scout and 3 Scout Leaders - guess which ones give the most trouble? There will be no electricity, no A/C, no Fans, and worse no BPK pit babes.