We didn’t do anywhere near as well as we were hoping to, but we did at least succeed at having fun and maintaining a safe distance from DFL. At the end of the two days of competition, I finished in 32nd with my husband in 41st out of 51 drivers in the class, missing out on a trophy spot (14th) by about 0.9 and 1.6 seconds per day respectively. The delta between us and first place was an even more shocking 2.7/3.4 seconds per day.
I think what did me in was a combination of uncooperative brain, a not-yet-fully-established comfortability in the car’s limits, and changes in handling feel from having to fix a very loose front sway bar. My first two runs involved 8 cone hits and one unceremoniously ejected fender liner, so needless to say, my confidence wasn’t in the best of shape right out of the gate.
I did manage to clean up my 3rd run for Day 1, but it came at the cost of some overly cautious driving. There were definitely some turns I could have carried more speed into or gassed out of earlier, but I just couldn’t afford to risk it.
Day 2 didn’t go much better. I coned again pretty badly from the start in spite of my plans to start “easy” and while I did get my act together faster, my attempts to push harder into areas that I knew I could didn’t work out. You can see me blowing pretty far out past some critical apexes in the big sweepers here.
I can figure out where I could have made up that 0.9s/day to trophy, but the nearly two seconds beyond that to first place is still kinda blowing my mind. There’s clearly a whole lot more here that I have yet to grasp, which is admittedly frustrating, but also exciting in a way. It’s a new challenge and a new opportunity to learn, and that always helps to keep things interesting. We’ll just keep plugging away at local events and things should eventually start clicking better in time.
Finally, speaking of interesting things, Falken’s contract as the spec tire for SSC is expiring at the end of the year, so there’s some hope of some change coming soon. Even if Falken gets renewed, they may be giving us some new rubber to play with before too long. They had some new pre-production tires available for people to demo after our run days, albeit with an NDA attached. We unfortunately couldn’t stick around to try them due to other travel plans, but the various winks and nods that people have been able to coax out of participants so far have indicated that they’re very clearly aiming at a competitive 200TW offering and a MASSIVE improvement over the 615K+.