View Full Version : ZO6 burns up the track at VIR

12-17-2006, 05:20 AM
A 2001 ZO6 burned up the track at VIR this last weekend, literally. Sometimes, no matter how chilly it is you probably should not start a fire at the race track. A good fire does knock off the chill in an outdoor setting but it is not always advisable. Specifically, it is not the best idea, in the grass, next to the race track, and when you are sitting in the fire you started.

But then again staying on the race track negates that problem somewhat (or at least it increases the suspects for the "hot spark" source) from a track side grass fire. ZO6Driver displayed a total lack of fear in a sideways car in T2 and ended up in the tall grass opposite the flag station at T3 (it happens) with a really hot exhaust lighting fires everywhere he went (I never knew Cavemen used catalytic converters to discover fire before). In the end all there was a little patch of burned grass next to the track and a little hole burned in his wallet for the VIR track extinguishers used to put out the fire. It was a good show while it lasted.

Chin put on a good event at VIR last weekend. There were lots of folks there, quite a few from other events, plus a few new faces. The Corvette crowd was very well represented at the event. I was able to meet some more people I only knew from the "forums" and catch up with many I have already met. That is always fun.

The weather was cold and clear both days with Saturday being much colder. The weather on Sunday was near perfect for horsepower production and two days of insolation had made the track surface a little more grippy by Sunday afternoon.

Getting there is always a challenge since I get the privilege of driving through Charlotte and Columbia on my way there. Luckily, I had my co-driver sound asleep in the cab of the truck to keep me company. Jake can sleep anywhere, anytime - it is a gift.

When we showed up at the gate I had a first. I was offered the chance to buy a $20 wristband for my extension cord so I could plug in for the weekend. Guess it is a sign to come. I have heard of it before at some tracks (e.g., Little Talladega) but managed to miss it till now.

We had plenty of time to unload the car, go through registration, get a tech sticker, grab a sweet roll and make it to the marathon Saturday drivers meeting. After the meeting at least someone proceeded to demonstrate precisely what they were told not to do at the meeting. Spin on the first lap (the track was cold - so were the tires - so was the darn car), pass under yellow, pass after checker, blow by a multiple black flags, cross the blend line, not point by, not wait for a point by or just lose the clue bird in general. In other words - standard for such a large and diverse group....

As is my custom we started off the weekend with a set of near dead Nitto RIIs - got to make sure all the life is out of them, right? The first session was not real bad for the tires. The track was very cold and everyone's cold soaked tires were not much better than my scrubs so I was able to maintain pace and even pass a few. I did notice a little more wiggle than normal though. Then Jake took the car out. Patience is a virtue and in his defense I have none to give so he started at a real disadvantage, genetically. He was able to practice his spin procedures at T1 after a little application of the throttle at the apex early in the session. It was his first really cold track experience - but it was the perfect opportunity for me to point out his errors - so, naturally, I took the opportunity given me.

Jake and I are really lucking out with students lately. His was driving a caged 2006 ZO6 set up for the track. Luckily for him the guy could drive the car pretty well and Jake really just walked him through trailbraking, heel/toe and other advanced techniques. The guy was in red group by the afternoon. Jason is a really nice guy with a well loved 1999 C5 Coupe - for some reason he even asked for me. It is really nice to get drivers who are willing to listen and take it all in at a rapid pace.

When Jason and I got out for the first session it was like lap 7 before we went on a little trip at T1 - really not related to cold tires, track or weather in any way. It was really related to finally getting by a Turbo Porsche on the pit straight and in the excitement forgetting about making T1. He handled it very well and took it in stride.

Jason and I then went out in the next available session - 300 meters into the lap I went a little sideways in T1. I kept it on the track but boy was the car throttle sensitive - I was pretty motivated so I would not get a lecture from Jake. Jason seemed to get a lot from the session as far as line and the importance of keeping the car balanced. The tires did pretty good for that early session also.

After lunch we went out again. It was taking 4 laps to get the tires warm, then good stick for 4 laps, then it was a balancing act to keep it on the track for any other laps. After pointing by a Miata, a RX7 and a M3 in one of the sessions we pulled it in and put on a set of Hoosiers . What a difference tires make. Jake went out and proceeded to run for a lap or two with the "Chris Ingle Train" before they left us in the snake. The only Miatas, or anything else, in the mirror after that was just after we passed them.

Sunday was much warmer and really pleasant. The times were reflecting to the great air temps and the traffic was all that really slowed us down. Jake was turning consistent low to high teens in traffic and was having a blast doing it. Unlike Saturday our oil temps were hitting 295-300 on Sunday. I also had to deal with a Check Engine Light (CEL) for a O2sensor (thanks to ZO6Driver for the code info). The repair was tough - drive it and hope it made it till quitting time.

I had a great session running lead follow with TimZO6 - hitting a 100 mph up the esses on a warmup lap is one way to put heat in the tires I guess. I then decided life was not what it was rated and rode with Tim. He bends a car to his will like no other I have seen. It was blast. Of course later in the day his car did go backwards when placed in neutral (my engineering opinion was that it was "malfunctioning") and would not go forward at all for a while. It did manage to get itself on the trailer though. I was not looking forward to pushing it up! That makes two cars out of action in three events for Tim....

Since Jake was lounging around without a student on Sunday I had him take Jason out to show him a different perspective of the track. I know Jason really understood loading the car much better after the track ride with Jake. It is a real pleasure to help "somebody get it" and to infect them with this disease.

As always we had a blast, ran with some great folks, met some more really great people and look forward to Sebring in a few weeks. I really appreciate all the assistance at the track and the great company...

12-17-2006, 10:24 AM
Nice read. :)
Sounds like a great time....then again, a day or two at the track is always a good time. :D

Thanks for posting!