Thursday, October 21, 2010

OK, the racing season is really over now!

I could not resist heading out to the track on Monday evening for one last thrashing of the race car. Carl had arranged it so that the lights would be on, allowing us to run later than usual. Here is a little video I compiled:

Here is an awesome picture taken by Jeremy
Sadly, on Monday evening, Franck informed me that the 2011 Boston Marathon was sold out. In fact, it sold out in 8 hours, whereas it took two months to sell out last year. This sucks, as it was our plan to run in this historic event... I guess we'll have to find another event.

The schedule for my girls' basketball team is out and we don't have any regular-season games until late November. In order to keep the practices interesting, I've borrowed a couple of library books with drills. So far, the players seem to be enjoying the variety. My own season starts next Friday. I was drafted by my buddy Jean-Seb, who was newly promoted to team captain this year. We should have a pretty strong team.

In a few minutes, I will head over to the airport to pick up Alex, who will be in town for the weekend. :) :) :)

Cool cars spotted:
Jaguar XK-R
Jaguar XF-R
Audi RS4
Audi S8 V10
Maserati Merak (!)
Maserati GT

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Yesterday at St-Eustache, Marc offered me a little test drive in in his Locost/Lotus Seven replica. I have always wanted to try one of these little rockets, so I jumped at the chance. Here is a photo of the car:

Marc's Seven
After a few laps, I felt comfortable enough to try to carry more speed through the corners. Clearly, the car can be driven much faster, but it was still quite thrilling to be driving in a car where you sit so low, with no windshield. I love seeing what my front tires are doing! This is an amazing little car and what is even more amazing is that it was built in a garage by Marc and Fred (who will soon have his own completed version of the same car). Thank you for the opportunity, Marc.

Here is a small video where you can hopefully get an idea of how fun this car is to drive:

Apart from driving Marc's car, I got in a bunch of laps with my own Civic. I was hoping to clock my best lap of the year, but I missed it by a few tenths. I managed a 1:02.91 and several other laps under 1:03. There were a few puddles on the track, which kept us from driving the race line in the dogleg. I again had fun dicing with Pascal and his Civic and Trong and his CRX. It was a fun day and probably the last outing of the year for the race car. The car really felt good anf it's nice to end the season on a high note.

Here are a couple of pics of the Civic on this beautiful fall day:

Cars look better on grass!

Beautiful day!
Cool cars spotted:
Ford GT
Lotus Elise
Bentley Continental

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mosport: Fun as Ever!

I had a great day at Mosport on Monday. The event was a track day organized by the ASE Lapping Club, the club that usually hosts Monday night lapping at St-Eustache. We headed West in a convoy of six cars on Saturday morning and arrived at the track late in the afternoon. We were denied access to the big track as the private club who had rented the place Sunday did not allow spectators. We headed over to the smaller DDT track and caught the tail end of another track day. This track day featured some very fancy Japanese cars (Acura NSX, Mugen Honda S2000, Veilside RX7, turbo 350Z and RX8, Nissan GT-R, etc.) but, shockingly, helmets were not required. I can't believe the organizers of such a day can get insurance, although my guess is that they don't have any.

When we were finally allowed access to the paddocks of the big track, we had a great BBQ in the paddocks. I decided not to camp this year and split a motel room with Choo. Carl's brother Perry was staying at the same motel, which allowed us to leave our race cars at the track and ride in comfort to the motel in Perry's Cadillac CTS-V. Nice.

On Monday, the plan was that fellow instructor Jean-Sébastien would share my car. I was running in the advanced group and he was in the intermediate group. For the first session, I took Pascal's girlfriend for a few laps in his Civic hatch so she could see the track. She decided that the track was a bit much for her and decided not to drive it. I got to try Pascal's car and can confirm that it is fast in a straight line, but more of a handful than mine in the corners.

When I finally hit the track in my own car, I had a blast. After a discussion with one of the track marshals, I decided to try a different line (single apex) through corner two. After analyzing the data, I still cannot confirm if it is faster or not. At least I now have two options for entry into that corner, which could come in handy in a race situation.

I managed to follow Pascal for several laps, as I often can when he has a passenger on board. In the following session, I managed to follow him yet again, even though he had no passenger. I managed a 1:43.20 in that session, my best ever lap since installing the 1.6 liter engine in late 2008. I was unable to match that time later in the day as my Toyo RA1 tires seemed to be gripping less and less. Maybe it was the rising track temperature?

I also got to try Choo's fast 2.4 liter Civic. The body is identical to my car, but the engine comes from an Acura TSX. After a few laps, I managed to get down to a 1:41. Choo himself managed a 1:37... pretty darn fast. I rode with him for a few laps and he is really driving well. He had the car lightly drifting in corners 2 and 4, which I would not dare to do (on purpose) in my own car.

When Nick offered me the chance to try his E36 M3, I could not refuse. I took it much easier with this car, as I am not that used to rear-wheel-drive. Still, I managed to enjoy myself and I can see why people love these cars.

All in all, it was a great day. The only negative point: I did not get the GPS data on my fastest run because the files were somehow corrupted. At least I have those laps on video (see below).

Here are some pics:

Good vs. Evil Civic coupes
The cars waiting to re-enter the track after a red flag
Nick's E36 M3 and Hubert's 996 GT3
My Civic during a break in the action
Action shot by Marc-André Martel
Add caption
Here is a little video I put together of a fun few laps chasing Pascal around the track:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pre-season basketball

Although we have only had a couple of practices, my new girls' grade 7-8 team was put to the test this morning in the pre-season qualifying mini-tournament. The goal of the tournament is to determine whether the team will be considered an A team or a B team. Last year, we played in A and won about 1/3 of our games. I figured we would improve this year, as the majority of last year's team is back (now in grade 8) and we are still in the same age category.

The mini-tournament went well. Many of the girls have improved over the summer, one of them drastically improved. Also, one of the new girls is simply astounding. She had no apparent weakness, except that she is really quite short. We won our first game against Jean-Eudes 26 to 10. We won the second game 30-8. Considering that these were 30-minute running time games instead of 32-minute stopped time games, this was a serious offensive performance.

So the tournament went well, but I was quite surprised to find out that, for a technical reason, we have to play in AA. It turns out that three of my girls will be playing on a AAA municipal team, which automatically sends the team to AA. I have seen AA teams in action, and they are pretty good teams. It will be a tough season, but I figure the girls will learn more than they would have winning a bunch of games in A. Also, there are 3 other teams in the same situation, who were planning to play in A and also got bumped to AA because of a few AAA players. We will have to work hard and see how it goes!

I am heading out to Mosport for an ASE Lapping Club track day on Monday. This should be a fun, low-key event. If the weather is nice, I look forward to a fun day. Last Monday, I went to Monday night lapping and ran my best lap of the year: a 1:02.86, which is only 1/10th slower than my fastest ever lap with the 1.6 liter engine. The car felt "hooked up". The tires were semi-worn Toyo RA1's. I hope the strong reliable performance continues at Mosport.

Here is a short video I made of me dicing with Pascal:

News of Alex:
Alex has given her students a mid-term, and it seems to have gone well for most of them. She will be back in town in two weeks for a brief visit. A couple of our friends are currently visiting her. We speak often on Skype and G-mail-phone. I will be glad when she is back for good!

Cool cars spotted:
Porsche 997 GT3
Ferrari 550 Maranello
Bentley Continental
Audi R8
Nissan Skyline R32 GTR
60's Corvette
Maserati GT