Rainy Day!

Illustration for article titled Rainy Day!

We were scheduled for Qualifying before lunch and Race 1 in the afternoon. Thunderstorms began early in the morning and heavy rain continued to the afternoon, so qualifying was cancelled. They used our practice times to determine qualifying, and I would start 10th. After lunch the rain stopped and things started drying out.


But about 15 minutes before our race, the heavens opened up again. I had anticipated this, put on rain tires and disconnected the anti-roll bars. Everyone else thrashed to put on wet tires and nobody started on slicks.

Coming to take the green flag, I realized that I hadn’t turned my rain light on. The switch is beside my left knee, and I can’t really see it with a helmet on. So at perhaps the absolute worst time, I began fiddling with the switches. One of them was the rain light, but nearby were also the fuel pump switch and ignition switch. In my haste, I shut off the fuel pump and ignition a couple times each. Luckily I was rolling downhill, so I just had to switch them back on and I could carry on my way. But I did fuck up the start massively, and dropped back to almost last place, and I eventually got the rain light on.


A few corners later, going through the Esses, one car in front spun and hit the wall. They finally threw the full course yellow as we were coming to the start/finish straight. This would give me more time to get used to the car in the wet, and learn where the puddles/rivers are, and where might have more grip. That’s one thing about racing in the rain, you have to be constantly evaluating the track conditions.

When the race re-started, I slowly began working my way forward. Feeling out how much speed the car could take in each corner while trying to figure it out faster than the guy in front. For the next several laps after the re-start I managed to pass a car on each lap, eventually working my way up to 9th place.


While chasing down 8th, he spun entering the chicane at 10a. That gave me the spot and instigated another full course yellow. After the FCY it was a one lap sprint to the finish. I blew the restart but didn’t lose a position. Exiting Turn 7, the car in front of me missed a shift, allowing me to pull ahead. Somehow, even though he never went into my draft, he found the horsepower to get back ahead of me and outbraked me into the chicane. So I finished 8th. Who knows what I could have done if I didn’t fiddle with the switches on the start, but I’m happy with 8th. Later this evening I learned that the 3rd place finisher was disqualified, so I inherited 7th place.

I’ll have the full race video with commentary up by the end of next week. Tomorrow will be Race 2 and Race 3.

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