Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2011 Racing Season in Review

To start off, here is a highlight clip reel from the season...

2011 was an interesting year....it started off with plans of selling all of my karting gear to go Spec Miata road racing, then I decided my plan was to stick with shifter kart racing for a while longer while also trying to compete in the Skip Barber and Bondurant driver shootouts in addition to some open-wheel road races. Well, the Skip Barber Shootout changed their rules which basically made me ineligible this year and the Bondurant shootout was a one-and-done, so that left kart racing in the SWRC and local events. 
I decided to kick it up a notch with some last minute plans to attend the 2011 SCCA Solo Nationals in Lincoln, NE. Thanks to Lane, some help from my Dad, and late nights in Lane's garage, the Solo Nationals went from maybe to definitely, and that's when 2011 went from good to awesome. I finished 2011 undefeated in Solo events (3 for 3 incl. Solo Nats) with 2 feature race karting victories and 4th place in Stock Moto Senior points in the Southwest Regional Cup. 

Season Summary:
  • Proposed to my now-fiance Ali (not racing, but still important I'd say)
  • SCCA Solo National Championship in A-Stock Class
  • 100% win ratio in Solo events
  • 2 Pro Class wins and Overall Top PAX wins with Equipe Rapide Autocross Club
  • 2 Feature Race victories in Stock Moto Senior with North Texas Karters
  • 4th place in Stock Moto Senior points in Southwest Regional Cup
  • Completed first full season of Regional-level karting
  • Raced at 3 new kart tracks (GCKI, OMC, DKC)
  • Completed a 3-day Bondurant Advanced Road Racing School
  • Drove a 305 Sprint Car for the first time (thanks Gary!)
However, one of the things that made the 2011 racing season the most enjoyable was getting to do it with friends and family. My fiance Ali was quite the trooper and attended almost all of my races this year including co-piloting with me on trips to Oklahoma and Houston. I started autocrossing with Lane and got to continue racing with my Dad. Joe and Stuart bought shifter karts so now we have our very own karting team in San Angelo. This was a big step up from being the lone West Texas karter in 2010 and I look forward to keeping it going in 2012. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Porsches and Rental Karts in San Antonio

This past Saturday, Yama and I made a quick day trip to San Antonio to pick his car up from Porsche of San Antonio. They have a fantastic new facility off of 1-10 and had a quite a collection of fine Porsches including a GT2 RS, GT3 RS, several GT3s, several hardtop and droptop 911 Turbos, and also had some new 991 911s.

Here are some photos of the GTRS:

After grabbing some Japanese food for lunch, Yama and I hit up Alamo Karts on our way back to San Angelo which is an outdoor rental karting facility that uses unique propane powered karts. This also the home of Alamo Powersports and Alamo Sportscars . Clearly, the owners of this business are my kind of people - they were motorcycles, racecars, street kit cars, shifter karts, and their own go-kart track. Here are some pictures of their facility:

 Here is some onboard video from Alamo Karts:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

5 Cars I Love

Road and Track had a cool article this past episode where each editor listed 5 cars they love.....here is my list.

Here are 5 cars I love in no particular order:

1. Ferrari F40

2. Acura NSX

3. Crossle 50F Formula Ford

4. 2004 Yellow C5 Chevy Corvette

5. Chaparral 2J

The Ferrari F40 is my favorite Ferrari of all time and will be the first thing I buy if I hit the lotto. The F40 is a no-compromise supercar and I you can't beat 3.0L of mid-engine twin-turbo V8. The Acura NSX is my Dad's current toy and an absolute blast to drive. It also has the greatest gearbox ever installed in a production car. The Crossle 50F was a great learning tool and I have special memories racing this car with my Dad. The '04 Corvette has to make the list because it (along with Lane's tuning, thanks buddy) helped me win my first SCCA National Championship. The Chaparral 2J is a truly innovative racecar made right up the road from where I live in Midland, TX. Also, it is one of my favorite cars to drive in Gran Turismo.

I posted the link to my Twitter account and got a nice shoutout from R&T:

Link to the Road & Track Article: http://www.roadandtrack.com/column/cars-we-love

Friday, January 20, 2012

Simon Says...No Driving Style

I came across a very interesting interview with Honda Factory driver Simon Pagenaud done by SimRaceway. The article is basically his description of how to set blistering lap times around Mid-Ohio for which he is the overall lap record holder in a Panoz Champ Car pictures below.

The most interesting part of the article is when Simon describes his philosophy on "driving style." Here is the quote:

LinkOne would think that the techniques required to steer 800bhp of open wheel fury like the Panoz DP-01 simply would have no correlation with a rear wheel or all wheel drive production car. Simon begs to differ. “It is important to have a car that is the same on entry, mid-corner and exit”. He went on to explain that the car “needs to be predictable from entry to exit. I want the car to drive into the corner by itself, I never want to force it with the steering. I want to transfer enough weight to the front of the car with my braking or by lifting but I don’t want to have to turn the wheel too much. My belief is there is no ‘driving style’, you need to be able to adapt at every corner.”

I am a big fan of this philosophy. I think it is a very common "paddock myth" for drivers to blame a lack of pace on their "driving style" not matching a certain racecar. I think this is more due to the driver not being able to adapt to what the racecar needs....in the end it's the driver not the racecar. The same basic fundamentals of weight transfer apply to any given racecar, but the method to achieve the end result of perfect corner entry, mid-corner balance, and exit velocity will be different. This is why drivers with good fundamentals can hop into any car and be on pace with in a few laps.

Link to the article: http://blog.simraceway.com/2012/01/simon-says-a-lap-around-mid-ohio-with-the-track-record-holder-simon-pagenaud/

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mr. Yama's Cayman R

My buddy Yama recently purchased a new automobile....

It is a 2012 Porsche Cayman R with 6-speed MT, Sports Chrono package, Carbon fiber sport bucket seat, and a really nice Alcantara steering wheel. It puts out 330 HP at 7,400 while making it's trademark Porsche flat-six engine note. I was lucky enough to get to drive into work a few days ago....and I truly understand why there are so many Porsche fanatics out there. It is his dream car and all of our friends are happy to bum rides in his fancy Yellow Taxi anyday!

Here is an interior shot:

New owner with Cayman R:

Yama and I will be installing a hitch on his Cayman R soon so he can bring some Goodyear R-Compound tires with him on his track day adventures at Harris Hill Road in San Marcos, TX. Yama's current personal best of around a 1:29s lap will be in danger when he brings the new whip to HHR next month!