Monday, August 26, 2013

Lots of track time, but not as much as I had hoped for, and Jules turns one!

Birthday Boy!
The biggest news since my last post is that our little "Poussin" Jules has turned one. Cake (baked by Val) was enjoyed by all!



The first year has gone by so fast, it's almost hard to believe. We love you Jules!

On the Monday and Tuesday following J's birthday, I headed up to Tremblant to instruct with the BMW club. The car was reliable, but my lap times were 4 seconds off last year's times. I headed to Synoptic to tune the car, because something felt "off" since Pat changed the exhaust and piston rings. On the dyno, the car had lost 10 hp and 10 ft-lb of torque since last year. We tried removing the exhaust, but it made no difference. Mystery: unsolved.


One of my students was driving this supercharged Elise, and I got to take it for a spin for a few laps. It was a real pleasure to drive, and felt quite planted on track. My student was really driving it nicely by the end of the event.


It's funny how there seem to be more Porsche's than BMW's at these events now. Rodrigo had just finished restoring this original Rothman's Challenge 944.


At the gas station in Tremblant Village...


BMW Club?

At Sajan's, there was a K20 turbo Elise with no body work... pretty cool.

They also had this neat Cappucino

This weekend, our family of three headed to Calabogie, where the next rounds of the Super Production Challenge were being held. I also signed up to run the Sunday sprint races, with Carl driving the Civic in the Saturday races. Pascal and Jean St-Cyr also drove down in their race cars, and the Boyer's trailered in Pat's Integra.

My first session went well, and I dipped into the 2:32's, despite traffic. The car felt good, which is rare at Calabogie. Carl switched to Hoosiers and ran almost five seconds faster with brand new Hoosiers. He loved how the car was handling as well. The next session was a 60-minute race, to be scored as two 30-minute races in SPC and involving a mandatory pit stop. Needless to say, the half-hour in which you choose to pit will be your poorer race result.

I had qualified near the back, but managed to catch and eventually pass the pesky Audi A4 that beat me at ICAR. I pitted in after 35 minutes (and a small off at 4-Left!), which resulted in my placing 9th out of 18 in the first race. Unfortunately, I had an ignition failure after 50 minutes, which left me stranded on the side of the track. The car never ran right all weekend. We checked the distributor, main relay, ECU and spark plugs. The problem would go away and then reappear as soon as we hit the track. The car saw only 2 more laps of racing before we gave up and focused on getting home.


The car even died on the way home, but the Boyer's, who were driving by, saved our butts. Pat switched out the ignition control module in our distributor with one he had in his trailer. He showed us where our own module had overheated and recommended we install a genuine Honda replacement. We had tried a different distributor at the track, but I guess that one was not good either. At least we got home in one piece and I did manage my best SPC finish yet this year. Pat ran in SPC and finished 7th and 4th. Pascal took a class win and Jean took home a trophy as well. Carl managed to finish the one hour race in Jean's Civic, completely obliterating a pair of front tires in the process.

I was glad that Alex and Jules were there, so that the weekend was not only about racing. We got to spend a day doing touristic stuff (visited Almonte, looked in vain for a petting farm!) on Friday and stayed in a neat chalet we had rented with the gang (the Doublebogie). All in all, I still had a pretty nice weekend.

Our area at the track

Jules wanted to help out...

All four of my "Babies" in one place!
Cool vintage Lotus Formula (Ford?)


Extremely fast TR8


Extremely cool Volvo
Lovely race M3's
The Civic ready for action

Pascal's Civic, quick and reliable

Pat's car was less reliable, with oiling issues

Jean's "Special K" Civic, capable of 2:22's at Calabogie, and the subject of an insanely intense rear trailing arm swap on Sunday


Lovely BRE-style Datsun 510

Cool cars spotted:
Lamborghini Gallardo
Ferrari 348
Ferrari F430
Ferrari 458
Ferrari F12
Ferrari 599
Maserati GT
Audi R8
Audi RS4
Audi RS5
Acura NSX
Aston Martin DB9
Shelby GT350
Porsche 993 turbo
Porsche 968
Porsche 997 GT3
Porsche 996 GT3
Porsche 964 Carrera RS America (!)
McLaren MP4-12C
Buick Grand National
Datsun 240Z
Lotus Elise supercharged
AMG SLS


Carrera RS America



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I finally made it back to Monday Night Lapping

Racing is fun, of course, but I had almost forgotten just how fun it is to head over to St-Eustache and give the Civic a good thrashing at the ASE Lapping Club's Monday events. I managed to get organized enough to bring the Civic out there on Monday and everything went well. I would have liked to have been a bit faster (best lap of 1:01.3), but the car was reliable and easy to drive. Curiously, the car barely used a drop of oil in the first two sessions, but the level dropped visibly after the third (maybe I was parked on uneven ground?).

It's hard to tell if I was slower because of the car, or because I was a bit rusty. I don't like to make excuses, but there are a few things on the car that might contribute to my lack of pace. 1) There is no rear wing, for now. Is is possible that, even at a slow track like St-Eustache, the wing makes a difference? The G2X tells me I am slower in certain sectors, like the second part of the esses. I know I am a bit tentative there, since an aggressive style leads to loooong slides there at high speed. 2) The tires, which were bought used last year then uses a lot, may be getting too old to deliver maximum grip. 3) Since we changed the exhaust and piston rings, the car seems to be slightly out of tune, although my top speeds have only dropped a very small amount. I will try to resolve all these issues before my next race on August 24th at Calabogie.

Here is a pic of the Civic, ready for action at St-Eustache.


In other news, our condo is sold and we will be moving over Labour Day weekend. All three of us are looking forward to this. I look forward to having more space and a garage!

Other than that, we are enjoying summer with Jules, who will turn one year old in a few days. I know it's a cliché but time goes by so fast!

Jules with the family car
As is typical during a Montreal summer, there are many cool and interesting cars on the road. 

Cool cars spotted:
Lotus Elise Supercharged
Lotus Evora
Austin Healey 3000
Lamborghini Gallardo
Maclaren MP4-12C
Maserati GT
Maserati Quattroporte
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 1
Nissan Pulsar GTi-R
Nissan Skyline R32
C1 Corvette
C2 Corvette
Audi R8 GT
Audi RS4
Audi R8 V10
Mercedes 500e
AMG SLS
Porsche 993 Turbo
Porsche 997 GT3
Porsche 968
Porsche 930
Dodge Viper
Early Porsche 911
Ferrari F430
Ferrari 458
Ferrari 599
Ferrari FF
Ferrari F12(!)
MGB GT
MG Midget
Citroen DS
Jaguar F-Type
BMW 635CSi
BMW 1M
Early Toyota Celica
Pinzgauer 710
Alpina B7
Tesla Roadster
Aston Martin Vantage
Aston Martin DBS
Aston Martin Virage


Had a baby seat in the rear!


Doesn't this Miata just look right with the steel wheels?

There were three of these, but only two fit in the photo

Cool grey 968




Unexpected spot on my street!




Cool old garages of the Plateau/Mile-End/Outremont

On my walks with Alex and Jules, I come across some neat old garages. Here are a few of them.