When I discussed my track season with Alex in the spring, I told her I wanted to do a few full day events and as many Monday nights as possible at St-Eustache. Everything worked out: I got to attend a full day of lapping at Tremblant, a bunch of Monday nights, the Club Civic Quebec track day at St-Eustache and a track day at a new (to me) track, Autodrome Montmagny. However, there was one event that would involve me spending the night away from home, without the family, which I absolutely did not want to miss: the Thanksgiving day ASE Lapping Club track day at Mosport. The last time I attended one of these days, or even turned a lap was in 2011 (see the story here: LINK).
The plan was to leave in the late afternoon on Sunday with Rob, who would be attending with his super clean E36 M3. Rob and I haven't had the chance to attend any events together this year, so I was looking forward to that aspect of the trip as well. Generally, I am a bit quicker in the Civic than he is in the M3, probably because I am more comfortable pushing the car hard than he is. I was not sure if this would hold true at Mosport, as power and top speed play an important role compared to St-Eustache.
To save time and money, Rob and I decided we would each sleep in our own car. Neither of us felt like setting up a tent at 10:00 pm in the cold October weather. I had tested out a layout using a Rubbermaid bin on the floor and the rear seat folded down and sure enough, I could lay almost flat in the car. I brought a thin camping mattress and my good sleeping bag, and hoped I would get a good night's sleep.
The drive to the track was uneventful. We arrived before 10:00 pm and it was barely above zero degrees. I went to hang out with the gang, who had built a fire. Rob decided to set up his EZ-up tent... I don't know why, these tents are usually only useful to protect you from sun and rain, and it was going to be dry and 3 degrees on Monday morning... in other words, a driver should want all the sun he or she can get! Anyway, Rob's plan was to park under the tent and lower it down to the level of the car's roof, to retain heat I guess. We went to bed early and I slept pretty well. When I awoke a bit before 7:00 am to help with registration, the car was covered in a thick layer of frost. It was a cold morning.
We had access to seven 30-minute sessions in the day, which is a lot. Mosport is not a terribly relaxing track to drive on, with average speeds over 140 km/h. It requires serious concentration. As a result, I doubted many people, including myself, would drive in every available session.
With the track so cold, Carl wanted us to make sure that the drivers in the first group were having a trouble-free session before we headed out. This was fine with me. I was not going to try to break any lap records in the first and coldest session of the day. What kind if lap times was I hoping for? The best lap I had ever achieved with the old Civic was 1:41, with a 1.6 liter engine. At Tremblant, I managed to get within a second of my best time with the 1.6, si I hoped I could do it again. I hoped to get into the 1:42's at some point in the day. I also hoped to do better than Rob!
There were many cool cars on hand, including race cars, modern Corvettes, M3's and Porsche's. There was also a wild Triumph TR8 racer (which we had seen at our events before). The best towing rig setup has to go to Marc Julien, who was towing he Lotus Exige with his new Focus RS! Each saw track time at some point.
In the first session, I was mostly looking around at the track. In the five years since my last visit, they paved over some new areas, most notably the area outside of turn 2, which used to be grass. If you screwed up turn 2, you were almost surely going to be trying to regain control of your car on the grass, at very high speed.
As I was unused to losing the back end of this Civic, I was taking it really easy in turn 2. I tried the 2-apex line and the single apex. I preferred the single apex, as the 2 apex required a tightening of the line mid-corner, which required steering imput at a time when I just want the car to stay settled. I think this line is better suited to cars for which the rear tends to step out a bit, naturally tightening your line. After one session, I was in the 1:47's, but I wasn't worried, as there were many places I could safely push harder.
Throughout the morning, I shaved off a couple of seconds and was lapping in the 1:44's. I realized that 1:42 would be tough, as I was only willing to push so hard in a car with no harness or rollover protection. Still, I knew I would not be satisfied with my driving if I didn't at least break into the 1:43's. Satisfaction would come in my second session after lunch. I managed to hook up with fellow instructor Nick Miron, who was driving a Honda S2000 with the same Hankook RS3 tires that I was using. I was able to keep up with him, as I was faster on the straights and he was faster in several corners. I managed my best lap of the day: a 1:43.04 (see video below).
The session after that I only managed a 1:44. I wasn't adjusting anything on the car, but I noted when looking at the date that having the driver window down cost about 4 km/h at the end of the straight versus windows up. In the sixth session, there was oil in the last couple of corners and the car just didn't feel as stable. After a moment in turn 2 where I aborted my approach and drove off the line onto the paved runoff area, I decided that there was no point in continuing, as I would not beat my best lap time. Rob was also done after six sessions, so we packed up and headed home. As it was the end of Thanksgiving weekend, we hit some nasty bumper-to-bumper traffic on the 401 and lost a couple of hours. We were still home at a reasonable hour, as we had left an hour earlier than planned. It was a fun little trip, even though it was exhausting. Rob and I had don't get to see each other that often, so I was glad we got to attend such a memorable event together. It was also our last event of the year, so I'm glad we made it count.
|The Civic never missed a beat|
|Big size difference between these two 2-seaters|
|Crazy tube-framed C7 Vette|
|Nice colour for this E92 M3|
|Crazy fast TR8|
|Lovely street registered Cayman race car|
|The same shop brought this nice E46 M3|
|Yet another C7 Corvette|
|Lee came by in his 135i and his buddy had this lovely 4th generation Civic, with turbos visible through a cutout in the hood|
|Selfie from my phone/lap timer. It was warm enough to shed the jacket, but not the hoodie|
|My in-car sleep setup. Enough room for one.|
|Rob and me at the end of our day|
|Rob in his clean M3|
|Not too much body roll in the Civic|
|It was sunny, though not that warm|
|2 M3's, 2 generations apart|
|Rob is keeping his eyes ahead|