Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ahhh.... Summer!

Summer is rushing by in a flash. I've been enjoying the weather, going to St-Eustache on Monday nights to lap with the Civic as much as possible. Carl borrowed the car last weekend to race at the Ted Powell Memorial race weekend at Calabogie. Although he often complains that the car has no power with the stock engine, he seemed pretty happy with the way it performed for him. He managed some great lap times and a podium finish. He also beat our mutual friend Pascal, who was driving a more powerful Civic.

On Monday, I managed my best lap of the year in the Civic at St-Eustache, running on the Hoosier tires that Carl had bought for his spring race at ICAR. Here is a short video of my 1:03.54 lap:

I haven't planned which events I will be running in the Civic from now until the end of the season, but I will probably skip the War Bonnet Enduro at Mosport and instead race at the Fall Classic at Tremblant.

I haven't gone running much. Yesterday, I did a loop of the Olmsted trail on Mount Royal, about 13 km, with Nolin from the Running Room group. It had been a couple of weeks since I had gone out. I'm still in decent shape, but my heart rate was pretty high for the speed I was going. I have to get it together if I plan to run the Asics X-Trail at Orford again this year, as it is less than 12 weeks away.

News of Alex:

Alex is getting ready for a conference next weekend and then for her stay in Chicago, where she will be teaching a class for the fall semester. She has ordered her textbook and is preparing the class! She will be back in town for a visit after one month.

Cool cars spotted:

Lamborghini Gallardo
Ferrari F430
Ferrari California
Porsche 356
Porsche 996 GT2
Lotus Elise
Lotus Evora
Jaguar XKR
Aston Martin Vantage
Aston Martin DB7
Shelby GT350
Audi RS4
Audi 4000 Quattro
Triumph TR6
Maserati GT
Maserati Quattroporte
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8
Nissan Skyline GT-R R32
AMG C63
Bentley Continental

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Civic takes a beating at Calabogie

My Civic is a tough little car. My friend Rob and I drove the car in 13 different lapping sessions at Calabogie yesterday, for a total of about 5 hours of track time. The car had absolutely no problems. All we did was add gas and, once in a while, oil.

This was the first time for me driving my race car at Calabogie, after several visits as an instructor. It was Rob's first time at the track. Rob went out first and felt confident enough that he did not need me to ride along with him. I had a spin on my very first lap, when I was checking behind me to see if my students were following and lost track of where I was on the track. It turned out I was in Temptation, a corner with a sharply decreasing radius, and I ended up braking mid corner like a total beginner. After that, the day was relatively uneventful. I had an off later in the day at the Brow when I locked up in the short but crucial braking zone. As a result, I flatsptted one of my better tires. We totally cooked a pair of Toyo 888's as well. We also flat-spotted a Hoosier (I had brought 7 tires of three types). My stash of used race tires is rapidly decreasing. I can't say that my lap times were great. The old tires did not help, but I was several seconds per lap behind Carl's pace with my car at the Ted Powell Memorial race in 2009. Part of this is due to the old tires we were using, but part of it is due to my less than great driving. I only had the lap timer in the car for two sessions, and I didn't get many clean laps, but my best time was a 2:37. Carl had managed a 2:29 with new race rubber. I can tell that I am losing time in some of the slow corners and in Temptation. Still, I was flat out in many areas on track (which means I can't go any faster in those areas) and I am confident that if I show up for a race weekend, I will not be totally lost. All in all, both Rob and I had a blast.

Photobucket
The Civic parked at the end of the day

Cool cars spotted:
Ferrari F430
Aston Martin Vantage
Corvette Z06
AMG SL63
AMG C63
Lotus Elise (x3)
Acura NSX (x3)
Volvo P1800

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gearing up for Calabogie

I still have not actually raced my race car this year. I am trying to drive it on the track whenever possible. Rob and I will be sharing the race Civic on Wednesday at a lapping day at Calabogie. I hope it doesn't rain!

I've been playing around with the MSD Racepak data logger software and I know how to use it a bit better now. I look forward to analyzing all the data the memory card has racked up in the past 2 years. I also found a cheap CompactFlash card reader that will allow me to upload the data to any of my computers. I also fixed Alex's old laptop, which I hope to bring to the track on occasion to look at the data while there is still time to try different things. The Racepak records lap times, speed and G-forces. It also maps the track, which lets you see your data from any point in the lap. I have basically been using it as an in-car lap timer, but in reality, there is so much more to get out of it.

I went running again yesterday, 18 km with Nolin from the Running Room crowd. It was hot. Really hot. I think I will wait until the temperature drops a bit before going out again.

Cool cars spotted:
Ferrari 348
Ferrari F355
Ferrari F430
Ferrari California
Lamborghini Gallardo
Audi R8
Audi S6 V10
Acura NSX
Maserati GT
Triumph TR6
Triumph Sptifire
Nissan Pulsar GTi-R
AMG G55
Corvette Z06
Dodge Challenger (original)
Porsche Speedster
Porsche 997 turbo

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I finally got off the couch...

...and went running on Friday. It was my first run in almost 5 weeks! I don't know why, but I simply have not been that motivated to run since I got back from vacation. I ended up running the Olmsted trail on Mount Royal. I felt pretty good and my average speed of 4:31 per km was decent. My heart rate was higher than when I was in training for the marathon, but all went well. Strangely, 11 km felt long. I remember when 16 km was a short run in the weeks before the marathon. This shows that perspective can change quite quickly.

I also tried one of Alex's step classes. I can see that it is a serious workout, although sweating in a hot dry room indoors in the summer does not make sense to me. I was not able to do about half the moves that the instructor was calling out. It's not easy... much respect to Alex, who is a pro at this stuff.

News of Alex: Alex is now working on several projects for her Montreal professor and Chicago professor and will be leaving in a bit over a month to teach a class in Chicago in the fall semester. She will try to come back home a couple of times during the semester so that she won't be too cut off from her life in Montreal.

I went to Monday night lapping yesterday and had quite a good time, despite the extreme heat. The car felt pretty good and I managed a best lap of 1:04.06, my best time of the year. Carl managed low 1:03's with new Hoosiers during the road race on June 20th, so that seems about right (old tires costing 1 second per lap). I also drove a Corvette for the first time ever. I thought it was quite a pleasant drive. You could feel the sheer size, but the car had a lot of grip, even on street tires. It was a convertible C6 generation car.

There is a lapping day in Calabogie next week that I will try and get to. For various reasons, I have never been able to drive my race car at Calabogie yet. Hopefully I can break that curse next week!

Cool cars spotted:
Ferrari 308
Ferrari 328
Ferrari 360
Ferrari F430
Ferrari Testarossa
Ferrari California
Ferrari 599
Porsche 997 Turbo
Maserati GT
Audi R8
Audi S6 V10
Audi S8 V10
AMG G55
BMW M6
BMW M3
Corvette Z06
Cadillac CTS-V
Nissan Skyline GT-R R32
VW Golf R32