The Ram's Eye - A Driver's Blog: Natal Day 2016 AFRA Lapping Day



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Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Natal Day 2016 AFRA Lapping Day




I went back to the track earlier this week for a lapping day organized by the Atlantic Formula Racing Association (AFRA). Turnout was great and weather was nice. There were quite a few Mustangs, actually, something I haven't seen since the S197 Boss 302's were released.




This Natal Day, there was a '13 or '14 Mustang V6, first time I had seen a V6 Mustang on the track. The V6 Mustang didn't sound bad at all and had quite a few modifications. Its pace was better than I had expected too. There were also two 2015 Mustang GT's, 3 Boss 302's (two 2012's and one 2013 - all white! The fastest colour, of course.), and there was one Shelby.. a GT350R. Beautiful car and it sounded awesome.  I (very unfortunately) did not get a chance to take a video to capture the noise since we typically were on the track at the same time (but different sections). I'll try to make sure to capture it next time. For now, here are a couple of pictures.








The day, unfortunately, did not go as smooth as I had hoped. To start, the track was greasy. Plenty of people mentioned the cars squirming around and I ran out of grip at slower speeds than I typically did. To make matters worse, the car didn't feel too happy. There was a vibration that wasn't there before and a slight steering shudder under braking in the quicker corners. I checked wheel lug nut torque, pressures, if anything was loose, etc. but found nothing. I started slowing down and it seemed to get better so I thought, what if the wheels are out of balance? Sure enough, my two front wheels lost two and three wheel weights, putting them out of balance and upsetting the car. On the plus side..

I got a new best time! Before I figured out what the problem was and started slowing down, I got lap time of 1:20.40. That's just over a second quicker than my last best of 1:21.46. Moreover, that was in spite of the above and on a lap where I had just passed someone on the front straight, reducing my speed in the first section (note the pass at the end of Lap 2/beginning of Lap 3 below). Account for all of that, and I believe I would break into the teens with a 1:19.xx time. Check the videos below for a couple of lapping sessions. All my sessions were short, as you can see from the videos of those sessions, due to the vibrations as I kept pitting to check things and try to figure out the problem. You can actually notice the vibrations in the video compared to my last time on the track with Porsche Club of America (PCA) HPDS - link here.




Lap 1 - Outlap
Lap 2 - 1:23.73 (traffic)
Lap 3 - 1:20.40
Lap 4 - 1:23.43 (traffic)
Lap 5 - 1:20.87
Lap 6 - 1:23.50 - I slowed down after turn 10. I had a good chase with the Cayman GT4 and didn't want to get caught up due to the vibrations so I decided to let off, take a cool down lap, and pit again to check on things.




Lap 1 - Outlap
Lap 2 - 1:22.23 (traffic)
Lap 3 - 1:21.30 - I had a close call in corner 8..
Lap 4 - 1:20.80
Lap 6 - 1:21.10

Keep in mind, I am still on street brake pads and street tires, something everyone I know to be running sub 1:20 lap times doesn't share. I'm confident that the car still has several seconds in it. I will post a list of local lap times with as much information as I can find on the cars to provide a gauge for my times. Also, stay tuned for a better time, hopefully before the end of this season, with better track conditions and balanced wheels.
 

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