I really like the SCCA Club Trials program that my region started a couple of years ago and this past weekend we had our first 2 events of the season (Saturday and Sunday counted as separate events for points).
The idea is that you strap a transponder onto your car and go out to set your best time competing against cars in your class (we combine 3 or so autox classes into single classes and then have them compete with pax indexes to reduce the number of classes and increase competition).
Other cars are on course, but the majority aren’t in your class and since you’re just going for a single good lap you aren’t directly competing, and you only pass with a point-by in a designated passing zone (one of the straights) to keep everything safe.
Over the course of 2 days and 12 sessions (so much seat time!) I only had 2 people who weren’t courteous on track. The worst by far was this guy in the M3. My BRZ has all of 178whp, it’s faster in a straight line than a Miata but that’s about it (they still have to lift to let me by before the end of most of the straights). However, on Sunday I put on fresh tires and was the 2nd or 3rd fastest car on track.
When you drive a slow car fast, the worst thing that can happen is to get stuck behind a slow guy in a fast car with an ego. If I lose momentum, not only is the lap I’m on ruined, the next lap is going to be slower too. With 20min sessions and 1.5min laps, a whole session is at most 10-12 laps at speed.
Here’s the scenario: M3 guy didn’t run Saturday and his first two sessions on Sunday were very slow (you get gridded by your lap times to minimize passing) and I had to quit early during the 3rd session due to fuel starve issues. I dropped from 2nd in grid to 6th with the M3 in 4th. He drops out during the warm-up lap and I don’t see him again until I run him down halfway through the session.
I catch him just before he catches some lapped traffic. I tuck in behind him and we start making our way around the slower guys. There are a couple of opportunities for him to let me by, he doesn’t but none of the gaps are too big and we’re still dealing with the guys in the back of the pack so whatever, no worries. We get past the last of the lapped traffic and I don’t get my point-by, I fill his mirror and do my best to make him realize that I’m faster and waiting for the pass. He decides to drag race down the straights and keep me behind him, I’m not happy.
We get to a fast corner and he over-slows, I have to dive inside and slam on my brakes to miss him. After the corner is a passing zone and he doesn’t even consider giving a point-by. I catch him in the corners, he skips one more passing zone, and finally on the main straight he gives me the point-by... but he doesn’t lift. In fact, he continues to accelerate and starts to pull ahead until he has to brake (early, again) for the next turn.
Once I’m in front, I start to pull a gap and he never catches me from behind. The flaggers did try to blue flag him, but by the time they got the message I had already passed him.
His E46 M3 was gutted and on Hoosiers while my BRZ has a full interior (it’s my daily) and I was running RE71's. Thankfully, I didn’t get stuck behind him in any of the later sessions (he got an earful in grid from the stewards). Please don’t be one of these guys.