Yeterday, I attended a track day organized by the ASE Lapping Club at Mosport. My buddy JS and I planned to share the use of my Civic. The schedule provided for seven 30-minute sessions for each of us... a lot of miles on the car!
We drove down Sunday afternoon and enjoyed a fantastic BBQ at the track, organized by Carl and the gang. We headed to our hotel early enough to enjoy a good night's sleep and reappeared at the track in the morning. Most people had slept at the track.
There were some pretty serious cars at the event, including three Porsche GT3's, Corvettes (both Z06 and ZR1), Evo's and STi's, M3's and S4's, Lotus Seven replicas and a Supercharged Elise. There was also a bevy of Honda products. Here is a summary of my day:
Session 1: I headed out and took it pretty easy. The track was a bit "green" and there was not a ton of traction. Unfortunately, a combination of events led to a major crash. First, a Subaru blew a hose or an engine or something and dumped a bunch of coolant on the back straight. A short while later, a Porsche GT3 lost it near the end of the back straight, probably after driving through the spilled coolant, and probably travelling at over 200 km/h. By the time I approached the site of the crash, there were pieces of the Porsche all over the track, including a wheel. A fellow driver who had stopped before me was pointing to his empty fire extinguisher, so I pulled over and pulled out the extinguisher that is always in the Civic. This is the first time I have had to use in seven years. I emptied it into the GT3's engine bay, where a small fire had started. The car looked terrible, but the cockpit was largely intact and the driver and co-driver walked away. This left a lot of track to clean up: the coolant and the oil that leaked out of the crashed Porsche. Luckily, no one was hurt. We all pitched in to spread absorbant on the track and sweep it up.
Session 2: cancelled due to clean up.
Session 3: I managed to get some open track and hit a best lap time of 1:43.67, about 2.5 seconds slower than my personal best. I hoped I would get down into the 1:41's in one of the afternoon sessions.
Session 4: I notice that the front end (Toyo 888's borrowed from Pascal) was not gripping and that I could no longer drive flat out through turn 4. The grip was steadily worsening so I pulled in (best lap in the 1:46 range). I pulled off the front tires and they were both corded, the right one badly. Good thing I pulled in. That session was a waste! The proof that I am not close to the limit in turn 2: the car was not sliding at all, despite the corded front right tire! I have to remember this for my next visit to Mosport!
I put the rear tires on the front, and another pair of borrowed RA1's in the rear so JS could go out for his session. JS pitted in at the end of the session with an engine problem. The Civic sounded like a lawnmower and we quickly diagnosed a timing problem. After having concluded the timing belt was where it was supposed to be, we decided to check for spark in each cylinder. Someone suggested checking the cap and rotor first, and we did: the rotor had disintegrated in the cap. This was the cause of the problem. As I did not have a spare (no one else did either), my day was over. Still, it was not an expensive failure, so JS and I were not that disappointed. At the end of the day, Kevin gave us his cap and rotor, as his car would be leaving on a trailer.
All in all, it was a fun, super well organized day. I just hope I get in a few more laps before winter!