On Saturday morning, Will, his oldest boy Charles-Riddick and I drove to the track. The plan was for the rest of our families to join us later. We signed in and could see that it was a low-key event where everybody just wanted to have some fun. In addition to Civics and BMW's, there were some interesting and unexpected cars, including a turbo Toyota Tercel, a Toyota Paseo track car, and even a Chrysler Crossfire. There were also about 20 Miatas, as a Miata club was sharing the day with the Sunday Cup gang.
I had watched some video online to get an idea about the track. The lap time was well under a minute and the layout utilized about three quarters of the oval track. At the exit of the oval, there was a chicane with a sharp drop in elevation, like a miniature version of the corkscrew at Laguna Seca. It was not clear to me where one was supposed to brake for that corner, but I figured we would learn soon enough.
|This is the track map created by my GPS|
My second session was organized like a race, with the cars gridded 2 by 2 and following a pace car. They call this the Gentleman's Race. We were allowed to pass without point-bys on the first 2 laps. I was gridded last, as I had to wait for Will to arrive from his session. When the green flag dropped after the pace lap, I made sure I was in second gear and I immediately passed the two cars ahead of me. Then I settled in behind the suprisingly quick Paseo, which I eventually passed when he drifted a little too much in the oval. I managed to catch and pass a Golf GTi later on, but as my tires began to overheat, he re-passed me. My best lap was a 53.0. Will had done a 53.8 in his session. I figured a 52-flat was possible.
After lunch, we each had 5(!) more sessions available to us and we made the most of it. The rest of our families showed up for lunch and we were geneerally enjoying ourselves. I managed to get down to a 52.4, but could do no better. I was finally really pushing it in the oval, the tires screaming all the way through the long 180-degree corner, and I figured there was not a lot more I could do to gain the last few tenths of a second. We both decided to skip the last session so we could meet our families for dinner in St-Jean-Portjoli, where Will's mother-in-law lived.
The day was a success from our perspective. The car performed flawlessly. We had no off-track excursions. We were physically tired and very satisfied. We were back at Will's house a t a reasonable hour Saturday night and took it easy on Sunday before heading home for dinner time. Thanks to Will and his wife Marie-Hélène, as well as Alex, for making this mini road-trip into a memorable weekend.
Here is a video of the Gentleman Race filmed from the Civic: