Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pretty good weekend so far.

Despite the fact that Alex has been at a conference in Chicago since Wednesday, I've been having a pretty decent weekend so far. Yesterday, my basketball team was playing for a spot in the semi-finals of our garage league. Despite the fact that there were only five players present on my team, we played a strong game and managed to win by 10 points. For what is probably the first time in my life, I was the high scorer of the game, with 19 points. I managed to get a couple of easy rebounds and some medium range jump shots. Also, I felt the offense was really gelling for the team. Next Friday, we will start the best of three semi-final.

Today was the first day of our two-day AISA road race school at Autodrome St-Eustache. I am in charge of the advanced group, and it is one of our best disciplined groups ever. There are four Civic race cars in the group, as well as a Porsche GT3, a Nissan GTR and a supercharged Mustang. Things went well, despite the crazy weather, which included hail, freezing rain and plain old rain. It was barely above freezing all day.

I managed to get a few laps in the M3 on some clear track at lunch time. Here is a video:

It was my first time driving the M3 on a track. The conditions today were far from ideal, although the track was still dry. I definitely had fun... I think I must be one of the first people to drive this track since it was repaved late last fall. It was pretty neat.

My impressions of the car: 
Compared to my Civic, the acceleration is insane. It is sometimes frustrating driving the M3 on the street, since as soon as you get on the gas, you are driving at illegal speeds. As it was my first time on track with the car and Alex would kill me if anything happened to it, I kept the DSC on the whole time. When the weather is nicer and I'm feeling more confident, I will try driving without it. I could feel it kicking in coming out of the two slow corners in 2nd gear and a couple of times at full throttle in 3rd. The ABS came on a couple of times as well when I began my turn in before having finished my breaking. Rev matching during heel and toe downshifts is quite manageable (I was in Sport Mode). The brakes were up to the task, and there was no hint of fade. In fact, the little bit of squeal that remained after my rear pad change (probably due to the new pads not being mated to the discs yet) was gone. The car seems to enjoy the track. I don't know if it's my imagination, but the car felt more alive on the drive home.  

The car feels very stable and safe. Driving on street tires is different from R-compounds, as there is a lot of warning (i.e. squealing) before they let go. I would say that the worst aspect of the car in its present state is the seat: you just slide around too much on leather seats with the stock seat belts. 

As far as lap times, I was running in the 1:06 range, which is not terrible, but not great. I run around 1:03 with my Civic on R-compound tires. I figure I can probably get the M3 down to a 1:04 with the present set up if I drive less sloppily. My average track fuel economy was 35.4 liters/100 km, almost three times worse than daily driving!

I made the video using my new CruiseCam headrest camera mount. The mount worked well, except for the jiggling/vibration sound it made in the recording. Hopefully, the weather will be warmer and dryer tomorrow.

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